Pakistan in line to become Ireland's first ever Test opponents in 2018

Ashish Peter 11/10/2017
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Ireland and Pakistan could play a Test at Malahide in May, 2018.

Ireland, the latest entrants in the Test club along with Afghanistan, could be set to play their first official Test against Pakistan in May next year.

Cricket Ireland are hoping to persuade Pakistan to be its first opponents in the longest format of the game at Malahide next year.

Cricket Ireland officials will be travelling to Auckland in New Zealand for the ICC Board meeting this week where they will lobby for international fixtures for the next two calendar years.

According to a report published by the Independent in Ireland, a well placed source has revealed that Irish cricket officials will look to use the Auckland meeting to tie down Pakistan for the Malahide fixture.

“The interim spadework has been done,” the source told the Independent.

Pakistan are popular visitors to Ireland over the years with their fan support.

Pakistan are popular visitors to Ireland over the years with their fan support.

Pakistan have just come off their first ever Test series defeat in the UAE since moving base in 2009 after Sri Lanka pulled off a shock upset.

Pakistan is scheduled to tour England for two Tests, fives ODIs and a solitary T20I in May next year and Ireland hopes to use this window to organize the match at Malahide.

The subcontinent team might not play another Test until the proposed clash with Ireland next year. They were scheduled to tour India in early 2018 but that bilateral series remains off limits currently owing to the Indian Government’s stance.

The team is currently coming to terms with the retirements of greats like Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan after sliding from the top of the ICC Test rankings to a lowly seventh below Sri Lanka after their latest defeat.

Ireland and Afghanistan were granted full Test membership rights after years of lobbying in the Annual General Meeting of the ICC in London earlier this June.

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Australia's Guwahati win hero Jason Behrendorff laughs off comparisons to WWE's John Cena

Ashish Peter 11/10/2017
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Behrendorff said John Cena is a bit bigger than he is.

Australia’s latest entrance in their ever bludgeoning pace battery is one Jason Behrendorff.

The 27-year-old showed why he is one to keep an eye on after wreaking havoc in only his second international appearance for his country.

The left-arm pacer ripped through the famed Indian top-order in the second T20I between the two sides at Guwahati on Tuesday to help the visitors level the three-match series at 1-1 courtesy of an eight-wicket victory.

Behrendorff announced himself on the international stage in style after his sensational and match-winning spell of 4-21 off his four overs.

He picked up the premium wickets of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey and Shikhar Dhawan in a fearsome display of fast and accurate bowling to extinguish India’s hopes early into the match.

Behrendorff in the process became the first bowler to dismiss India skipper Kohli for a duck in a T20I match when he caught the dashing right-handed batsman off his own bowling in the first over of the match.

After having dealt with the Indian batting so deftly in the match, the pacer was in even better form at the post match press conference where he was told of his comparison to WWE wrestler John Cena.

“He’s a fair bit bigger than I am,” the Aussie shot back immediately as he struggled to contain his laughter.

The New South Wales born man currently plays his domestic cricket for Western Australia while turning up for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League (BBL). He was over the moon after his efforts on Tuesday bore him four top class wickets after being smashes for two boundaries in his first three deliveries by Sharma.

“I was really happy with that,” the pacer said about his comeback.

“Few ones that I got hit to the boundary probably weren’t where I needed to be bowling. But then to get the ball up there, swinging the ball, hit guys on the pads and nick blokes off: those are the things we talk about in our meetings. To get the balls in those areas especially up front.”

While he might intimidate most batsmen by his sheer accuracy and swing, Behrendorff though revealed a much gentler side to his persona in the post match presser.

“You don’t have to be mean and nasty all the time,” he said. “Generally I’d try and let my skills and the ball do the work and let that do the talking for me instead of getting into a verbal battle or anything like that. Some guys enjoy that and that’s what fires them up and gets them going. But that’s not really my style.”

The Aussie is definitely making the ball do all the talking for him in his maiden international series so far and all eyes will be on him at Hyderabad on Friday when the two sides meet for the deciding T20I.

Whether Behrendorff can repeat his Guwahati performance remains to be seen, but for now Australia have another gem of a pacer on their hands.

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Rock thrown at Australia team bus after visitors rout India in T20I

Ashish Peter 10/10/2017
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The Australian team bus was attacked with rocks by unruly miscreants.

Australia beat India comprehensively in the second T20I of the three-match series but it seems that not everyone has taken too kindly to the visitor’s victory.

David Warner’s men thrashed India by eight-wickets at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati to level the series at 1-1.

However, Aussie opening batsman Aaron Finch took to Twitter to recount a harrowing ordeal his side had to face while returning to their hotel in the team bus.

It seems some unruly supporters could not digest India’s defeat and shattered one of the team bus’ window with a large rock.

The Australian posted an image of the damaged window with a huge hole created by the thrown projectile.

He accompanied it with a caption saying, “Pretty scary having a rock thrown through the team bus window on the way back to the hotel!!”

Tuesday’s match was the first ever international staged at the newly constructed Barsapara cricket ground and it recorded an attendance of 38,132.

Previously, matches held in Guwahati were played at the Nehru stadium while the Barsapara ground was only inaugurated by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on match day.

A crowd of around a 1000 had gathered at the Guwahati airport on Sunday to welcome both the teams to the city.

However, that jubilant and celebratory mood has now been dampened by the incident surrounding the Australian team bus.

Virat Kohli’s India had been bundled out for 118 after being put into bat by Warner before the visitors comfortably chased down the score with almost five overs to spare.

The two sides will meet again for the deciding match of the T20I series at Hyderabad on Friday to culminate Australia’s tour of India.

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