PCB chief says Pakistan's participation in new Test Championship and ODI League dependant on India honouring MoU

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Sethi wants BCCI to honour the MoU to hold bilateral series between the two.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said that they will only agree to play in the ICC’s Test Championship and ODI league if India honour the memorandum of understating (MoU) signed between the two boards in 2014.

The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) had signed a MoU with its Pakistan counterparts for the holding of bilateral series between the two countries in 2014 but has yet to commit to the same.

The MoU stated that the two countries would hold six series between 2015 an 2023 with the first being held in Pakistan.

PCB chief Najam Sethi was speaking to the media in Lahore upon his arrival from the recently concluded ICC Board meeting in Auckland.

“PCB will only sign on the document for participating in the World Test and ODI leagues if India fulfils its obligations to play bilateral cricket with Pakistan outlined in the MoU signed between the two boards,” the PCB chairman said.

The PCB supremo made it clear that the ICC’s newly introduced Test Championship and ODI League can only work if India and Pakistan agree to play a bilateral series.

Bilateral series between the two countries has been put on a hiatus after the BCCI’s refusal to do so following government directives.

Matches between the two sides is currently limited to ICC events only.

Matches between the two sides is currently limited to ICC events only.

The ICC has recently introduced an ODI League model comprising 13 teams where each team will participate in eight home and away series in a two-year cycle.

Similarly the Test Championship format will see the top nine sides three series each home and away in a two-year cycle with the top two teams fighting it out for the champion’s mantle in a one-off Test.

Sethi remarked that Pakistan would only sign on the dotted lines foe the new models once India honours the MoU to hold bilateral series.

“The documents signed by participating boards have to be handed over to the relevant committee in three or four months time,” he said.

“We will only sign if we get what we want. India fulfilling its obligations as per the MoU in 2014,” he concluded.

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Hashim Amla quietly making his way as one the greatest ODI batsman of all time

Ashish Peter 17/10/2017
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Amla has quietly worked his way to 26 ODI centuries in record time.

There’s no doubt that Hashim Amla is one of the best batsmen in today’s game.

However, when talking about the all-time best in limited-overs, Amla’s is not the first name that comes to mind when talking about the best batsmen.

The South African burst onto the scene as one the classiest Test batsmen with the most elegant of techniques. He piled on the runs instantly in the longer format but it would take the right-handed genius some time before making his mark in limited-overs cricket.

For much of the early stages in his career, the 34-year-old’s orthodox technique failed to transition well in the 50-over game.

The man for the long innings, Amla would make his South Africa debut in Tests during 2004 against India. It was four years later in 2008 that he would get his first ODI cap for the Proteas.

Amla’s lack of firepower and explosiveness at the top was seen as a major handicap when it came to opening the innings in ODIs.

Despite these hurdles, the Durban-born man quickly showed that a world class batsman can adjust his game into any situation. 157 matches for South Africa later, Amla is arguably one of the greatest ODI batsmen to have played the game for his country.

He has 26 tons in the 50-over format, the fifth highest of all-time and only the second among the active players.

He sits just four centuries behind Virat Kohli who is the indisputable king of the one-day game.

For long Amla was seen as a Test specialist.

For long Amla was seen as a Test specialist.

However, despite trailing in number of centuries, the rate at which Amla has scored them overshadows the Indian batting maestro.

On Sunday, Amla hit his latest ton in an unbeaten knock to guide South Africa to a 10-wicket victory over Bangladesh at the Diamond Oval in Kimberly.

In the process, he became the fastest in ODI cricket to score 26 hundreds taking only 154 innings to do so. For the record, it took Kohli 166 innings to achieve the same.

A few months back, the South African broke another of Kohli’s records, becoming the fastest batsman to breach the 7000-run mark. The Proteas batsman took 150 innings to get to that mark while the Indian skipper took 169.

Breaking records has become a bit of a habit for the 34-year-old as he remains the fastest to get to 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 runs in one-day cricket.

That he has played only 157 ODIs for the Proteas so far at 34-years of age when the likes of AB De Villiers have played many more remains a travesty and ultimately South Africa’s own loss.

No longer seen as a limited batsman in the shorter format, the South African is quietly and unassumingly etching his name as one of the greatest one-day batsman to have played for the country.

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Century making machine Babar Azam sends record books tumbling on the way

Ashish Peter 17/10/2017
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Azam became the quickest to score seven ODI tons.

It was a night of records for Pakistan’s Babar Azam as his side beat Sri Lanka by 32 runs in the second of the five-match ODI series at Abu Dhabi on Monday.

The 23-year-old scored his second consecutive century in the series after hitting a 133-ball 101 to rescue Pakistan from a precarious position of 101-6 to finish at a challenging 219-9.

Azam had scored 102 in the first ODI during his side’s 83-run win and with Tuesday’s century he has now scored five consecutive tons in the UAE in the 50-over format.

Still only 33-innings old in the one-day game, Azam has come a long way already to establish himself as the best bet to carry Pakistan’s batting in the next decade or so.

The Abu Dhabi ton was the right-hand batsman’s seventh in ODI cricket, making him the fastest to achieve that feat having played only 33 games.

South Africa’s Hashim Amla who himself scored an unbeaten ton in the recently concluded first ODI against Bangalesh, took 41 innings to score seven centuries while Pakistan great Zaheer Abbas had taken 42.

Azam has now scored five centuries on the trot in the UAE.

Azam has now scored five centuries on the trot in the UAE.

His five consecutive UAE tons make him the first batsman in the world to have done so in a particular country. The previous best was AB de Villiers who has scored four on the trot in India in 2010-11.

Azam’s meteoric rise in Pakistan cricket has been nothing short of extraordinary. Having failed to score a century in his first 15 innings in the 50-over game, the batsman has now scored seven in his last 18 with a resounding average of 75 plus.

Occupying the crucial number three slot in the batting lineup, Azam now averages a stupendous 57.20 in ODI cricket, the second highest among active players with a minimum of 1000 runs.

In comparison, India’s Virat Kohli, considered by many as the greatest limited-overs batsman in the current generation, averages 55.13 though he has played 199 matches as compared to Azam’s 33.

Kohli, who has 30 tons to his name, had scored seven at the age of 23 though he took double the amount of Azam’s innings to get there.

Among the current crop, only de Kock had more tons at the age of 23.

Among the current crop, only de Kock had more tons at the age of 23.

The legendary Sachin Tendulkar had eight centuries to his credit at the same age and only South Africa’s Quinton de Kock can join the former India batting maestro in having more centuries than Azam at the particular stage of their careers.

The South African left-hander had eight tons himself at the age of 23 though he did take 52 innings to achieve the feat.

The Pakistan batsman’s rapid rise is still at an early stage with years of cricket left ahead. If he continues in the same vein, he could very well end up as one of the greatest limited-overs batsman of all time.

He has become a century making machine, converting his 50s into 100s more often than not. In him, Pakistan have a gem of a player on their hands who could wind up shattering countless records as he continues his cricketing journey.

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