Pakistan's Faheem Ashraf says India are world class even without Virat Kohli

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Pakistan's Faheem Ashraf.

Pakistan began training for the Asia Cup at the ICC Academy in Dubai with their sights set firmly on their second match of the tournament – against India.

Pakistan have a lot going for them ahead of the India clash. They defeated their rivals the last time the two teams met – in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy last year in England. There they thumped favourites India by 180 runs to register one of the most comprehensive wins in a world event.

The Indian team has suffered losses in the ODI and Test series in England with the reputation of many players, apart from Virat Kohli, taking a big hit after heavy defeats. Moreover, Kohli himself will be not be in the UAE to take part in the tournament, with Rohit Sharma leading the side.

All this means Pakistan should hold the upper hand in the Dubai clash, especially since the UAE is like their second home.

But Pakistan all-rounder Faheem Ashraf said India can’t be taken lightly even though they are without their best batsman and main captain.

“Even if Virat Kohli isn’t coming, India are still a world-class team. You can’t take them lightly. We are practising at 100 per cent. Be it bowler, batsman or fielder. If we give our 100 per cent, I am sure we will win that match,” Ashraf said after training on Wednesday.

The main focus for Ashraf, who has become a reliable seam-bowling all-rounder in all three formats, is to get into the playing XI as the men in green might be tempted to have more spin bowling options. However, Ashraf said all he can do is give it his best and not worry about selection.

“My job is to play at my best. Being in the playing XI is the job of the coach. I am sure that if I keep giving the performances, I will be in the playing XI. And obviously, it’s the dream of every player to play against India.”

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Pakistan's Sohail Tanvir revives IPL memories, hits six to seal CPL final spot for Guyana

Waseem Ahmed 12/09/2018
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Sohail Tanvir of Guyana Amazon Warriors.

Pakistan seamer Sohail Tanvir hit a six off the penultimate ball to help Guyana Amazon Warriors beat Trinbago Knight Riders by one wicket and seal a spot in the Caribbean Premier League T20 final.

Guyana were set a target of 123 after Tanvir picked up two wickets (2-38) alongside new-ball bowler Chris Green (2-8) to peg back Trinbago. In the chase, Guyana lost their way and were down and almost out at 105-8 in the 18th over.

The equation came down to four needed from the final over but Tanvir played out three dot balls against T20 veteran Dwayne Bravo. However, off the penultimate delivery Tanvir hit a six down the ground to send the Warriors into the final.

Tanvir has enjoyed a brilliant CPL T20 so far. In 10 matches, he has picked up 12 wickets at an economy of less than eight an over.

Tanvir’s thrilling six brought back memories of the inaugural IPL final in 2008.

There, the left-arm seamer was playing for Rajasthan Royals under Shane Warne. In the final against Chennai Super Kings, Tanvir was on strike with one run needed from the final ball for the title.

Tanvir then smashed seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji past mid-on to script one of the most memorable chapters in modern cricketing history – Rajasthan Royal’s incredible victory and the success of the IPL model.

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Sarfraz Ahmed credits Pakistan team for reviving cricket in the UAE

Waseem Ahmed 12/09/2018
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Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said his country’s team and board have played a major role in reviving cricket in the UAE and putting it on the world map.

Sarfraz is in the UAE leading the men in green for the upcoming Asia Cup, which also involves India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.

Pakistan are the seen as the favourites to win the tournament as they have been playing in the UAE full-time since 2009 and have a full-strength side for the Asia Cup. India are without talismanic captain Virat Kohli.

The experience of local conditions gives Sarfraz’s team and edge and the captain also believes it’s a matter of pride for him that his country has helped raise the profile of UAE as a cricketing hub.

“There is no doubt Pakistan cricket board has played a major role in promoting UAE cricket. Credit goes to PCB as there was no cricket in Sharjah since 2002-03,” Sarfraz told ARY news channel.

“But ever since Pakistan has come here to play, we now see they are having the Emirates league, Afghanistan T20 league, T10, IPL matches have been held here, PSL is here. It’s because of Pakistan cricket team and board that cricket has been revived in UAE.”

Knowledge of local conditions is what gives Pakistan the edge in the tournament and Sarfraz said his team has prepared for conditions and weather.

“We have trained very well. We had good preparation in Lahore, played a practice match as well. Batsmen look in good nick, bowlers did well. The morale is very high.

“UAE conditions keep changing. At this time, weather is hot and humid. We have prepared for that. Training is very important for this weather.”

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