West Indies' tour of Pakistan in the balance after smog concerns and security fears

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West Indies' visit of Lahore is all set to be postponed to 2018.

West Indies’ proposed three-match T20I tour of Pakistan is facing further uncertainty after several leading players from the Caribbean expressed concerns about the security.

Sources from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have said that several West Indies players have refused to tour Pakistan and that the series will now take place in 2018 if a window for the same is available to both sides.

“Some of the players were reluctant to tour when the West Indies Board spoke to them. Seniors like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo made it clear they would not be available for the series if it went ahead,” one source told PTI.

“Even the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) had concerns despite being sent the report of the security company hired by the ICC to inspect security situation and arrangements in Pakistan,” the source added.

After international cricket in the country came to a halt following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009, 2017 has brought a cheer for the country with the ICC World XI visiting for a three-match series and Sri Lanka playing a lone T20I in Lahore on October 29.

The likes of Chris Gayle and Keiron Pollard remain hesitant to tour Lahore.

The likes of Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard remain hesitant to tour Lahore.

However, it seems that the positive momentum generated by these matches has failed to allay the fears of several players from the West Indies side.

“But apparently even the World Eleven and Sri Lankan team tours were not enough to lay to rest the concerns of some West Indies players,” the source said.

There had earlier been reports that the proposed T20I series in Lahore would be postponed to next year amidst concerns of smog in November. Coupled with the security concerns, it looks like the visit of the Caribbean side will be postponed to 2018 in all probability.

The source added that Cricket West Indies remains committed to the series going ahead at some point in time.

“But it will take place eventually as the West Indies cricket board have not backed out and are committed to making the tour,” the source concluded.

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Mark Stoneman rues sloppy dismissals after disappointing day for England in Ashes warm-up

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Stoneman and Root were two of the three batsman to cross the 50-run mark.

Mark Stoneman admitted a succession of “sloppy” dismissals added up to a disappointing first day for England in their pink-ball match against a cricket Australia XI.

The opener was one of three batsmen – captain Joe Root and Dawid Malan were the others – to pass 50 yet get no further than 63 in a total of 278 for eight at the Adelaide Oval.

He did not absolve himself from criticism after being caught at midwicket off a full-toss from rookie leg-spinner Daniel Fallins, who finished with figures of four for 71.

England then lost three late wickets to the second new ball under lights in the second fixture of their Ashes tour, and Stoneman said: “We’re a fraction disappointed.

“Some of the dismissals we had today were a touch on the sloppy side, so it was a little bit frustrating more than anything that we didn’t kick on and probably have a couple of hundreds scored out there today.

“Everyone got a bit of time in the middle, so that was encouraging – but we also need to be scoring hundreds, and big hundreds.

“So there are lessons to be learned from today.”

A young home team therefore remain in contention, and Stoneman added: “Credit to (them) – they’ve got themselves back in the game.

“Obviously there’s been a progression from the opposition we faced in Perth… it was a step up.”

The opener, who again saw Alastair Cook dismissed cheaply at the other end, posted his second successive 50 but rued his own error when a bigger score was there for the taking.

“The bat twisted a little bit in my hand, and I clothed it to midwicket – so it was pretty disappointing,” he said.

“There was a chance there to go on and make a really big score, and really get myself into the tour.”

He is not concerned about Cook’s lack of runs in two innings so far, though.

Stoneman said that Alastair Cook's lack of runs was not a concern.

Stoneman said that Alastair Cook’s lack of runs was not a concern.

“He’s had a couple of decent balls early, up front,” he said.

“That’s the nature of opening the batting… but I think the feeling between us is quite good, and there’s a decent level of chemistry.

“His record speaks for itself.”

Stoneman was dropped by wicketkeeper Tim Paine on 17 but did not report that facing the pink ball was too taxing.

“It was fine,” he said.

“There was the odd one that seamed early on, but not a great deal of movement.

“It was quite a slow wicket and a slow outfield as well – so 278 is probably worth about 320 – but those dismissals took the edge off the day.”

Twenty-one-year-old Fallins, meanwhile, had a first-class debut to remember. He marked each wicket with a ‘double-dab’ celebration which he is building as a personal trademark.

“It came from a few of my mates mucking around,” he said.

“It started in grade cricket, and I keep getting invited to these bigger and bigger games – so I thought I’d carry it through.”

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Pakistan pacer Mohammad Irfan responds to Virat Kohli's praise

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Mohammad Irfan said that he would love to play more often against Kohli.

After India skipper praised Pakistan pacer Mohammad Irfan in a recent television show, the latter has responded with compliments of his own for the batting maestro.

In a show, Breakfast with Champions, Kohli had described Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Irfan as the bowlers he most feared facing in the early stages of his career.

The seven feet plus tall fast bowler said that he hoped to play more cricket in the future against the Indian skipper and called him a player with a great heart.

In a tweet posted on his official account, the left-arm bowler said: “What a gentleman @imVkohli is! Great player with a great heart. Prayers for you my friend. Hope that we play more often in grounds.”

Cricketing ties between the two countries remains on a hiatus owing to geo-political tensions with matches limited to multi-team ICC tournaments only.

The last meeting between the two sides came in the ICC Champions Trophy in England earlier this year when Sarfraz Ahmed’s upset the highly fancied Indians in the finals at Lord’s.

Earlier, former pacer Shoaib Akhtar had himself responded to Kohli’s high praise through a tweet of his own.

“I was better off not bowling at all when Kohli was batting. Jokes apart, he’s a great batsman & bowling against him would have been a great contest,” the man known as the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ had said.

Kohli had said that Akhtar was the bowler who he feared the most even though he never got the chance to play against him.

“I have never faced Shoaib Akhtar. But I have seen him in a game in Dambulla against Pakistan. I got out. I couldn’t face him. He looked lethal. When I saw that, I realised what it would feel like after his ball hit the batsmen on the body,” the 29-year-old had said on the TV show.

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