Mohammad Amir on working with Akram and playing alongside Sehwag in T10 tournament

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Mohammad Amir is excited about the latest avatar of limited-overs cricket.

Ahead of the opening day of the inaugural T10 Cricket League, Pakistan pace spearhead Mohammad Amir spoke to the media in Sharjah on Wednesday.

The Pakistan star has been picked up by the Virender Sehwag led Maratha Arabians in the six-team competition which will take place from December 14 to 17.

Amir’s side Maratha Arabians will play their first match against the Pakhtoons on Thursday.

Here, we take you through the 25-year-old’s Q&A session.

How excited are you about participating in the T10 Cricket League?

I want to thank the Maratha Arabians management first of all for selecting me in their team and giving me a good welcome. Regarding T10 cricket, this is my first involvement with it so I am really excited to see how it goes.

Is T10 cricket a batsman’s game?

I think it will be tough for both, the bowlers and the batsmen. The bowler has to think on his feet for each and every ball to prevent runs. For a batsman, every dot ball will add to the pressure and they will need to be inventive to score runs from every delivery.

What was your first thought which came to mind with respect to T10 cricket?

First question which came in mind was how I can ensure the least runs in my two overs. I firstly thought it will be a batsman’s game but at the end of the day it struck me that it is challenging for both (batsmen and bowlers). If there is a dot-ball, pressure builds on the batsman. If I go for a boundary, the pressure will build on me.

Ultimately this game is a test of skills. This cricket cannot be defined as a batsman’s game or a bowler’s game. This is a test of skills for both.

Amir believes T10 cricket will be equally challenging for bowlers and batsmen.

Amir believes T10 cricket will be equally challenging for bowlers and batsmen.

The most challenging thing about T10 cricket?

To be honest, it is the new ball. Since it is only a 10-over game, the ball will not get old and will come onto the bat pretty well. However, since the matches are starting late at night, it is possible that the conditions will suit the bowlers, too. So here the challenge is once again for both – batsmen and bowlers.

As I said, it is my first experience with T10 cricket so we will have to wait and see how it goes. I think it will be entertaining cricket and whoever enjoys cricket will accept this challenge with ease.

There are lots of 10-over games played in ‘street cricket’ in India and Pakistan, is T10 cricket similar?

There is a huge difference between street cricket and this (T10 Cricket League). Over here, there are many partners involved. Lots of people have their money and passion involved in this. So there is added pressure from media and the crowd. It is totally different cricket and you cannot take it easy.

You can enjoy the cricket but you also have to perform since you are getting paid a lot of money by the franchises. You have to play for their passion and love and also for your self-respect.

How does it feel to work with your idol Wasim Akram?

I am very excited and I want to learn as much as possible from him in the four days. He has always been my idol and I have grown up watching him. So I am very happy that I will be learning from him and spend some time in practice with him.

Amir is keen to link-up with his idol Wasim Akram.

Amir is keen to link-up with his idol Wasim Akram.

How excited are you to play alongside Virender Sehwag?

No doubt it will be enjoyable playing with him. Viru bhai is one of the biggest names from Indian cricket so it will be a fun experience playing with him.

How has 2017 been for you personally?

It has been a very good year for me personally. We won the ICC Champions Trophy and then I had a great time with Essex in County cricket. I became a father too so this year has been amazing.

Any message for India skipper Virat Kohli on his marriage?

I am very happy for him and I even congratulated him. My wishes are with him for his new innings in life. A successful as he has been at cricket, I hope God gives him and his partner all the success and happiness in this chapter of his life too.

What is your target in the T10 Cricket League?

My target is to take a lot of wickets and to have the best economy rate. In T10 cricket, the bowler with the least economy rate will be the most successful and I want to be able to do that

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Rohit Sharma is on a different planet as India win big in second ODI

Ashish Peter 13/12/2017
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Rohit Sharma hit his third double hundred in ODI cricket.

After succumbing to a humiliating defeat in the first ODI at Dharamshala, hosts India came roaring back into the three-match series with a massive 141-run victory at Mohali in the second game.

For the second time in a row, Sri Lanka skipper Thisara Perera won the toss and chose to field first. However, the visitors were unable to repeat the bowling performance in the first match as the Indian batsmen found their form once again.

Here, we look at the good and bad performances of the match.

THE GOOD

ROHIT SHARMA IN A DIFFERENT LEAGUE WITH THIRD DOUBLE-TON

The stand-in India skipper was already the only batsman in the world to have two double centuries in ODI cricket. On Thursday, he went one step further to score his third in fine fashion.

The opening batsman brought up his century in 115 deliveries. What came next was a typhoon which would leave the Sri Lankan bowlers in tatters. Sharma’s next hundred runs came off just 36 deliveries as he tonked 12 sixes along with 13 boundaries in his unbeaten 153-ball 208.

The Mumbai-man changed gears towards the death as he racked up 92 runs in his final 27 deliveries with 11 of his sixes coming during this period.

Sharma now has three double tons to his credit out of the seven which have been scored so far in ODI cricket history.

Sharma exults as he completes his third double-ton in ODIs.

Sharma exults as he completes his third double-ton in ODIs.

SHREYAS IYER SHOWS PROMISE FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE

The 23-year-old has been recently called up to the Indian limited-overs setup and had played three T20I against New Zealand. Despite that, he hasn’t really got an opportunity to shine so far and fared poorly in his ODI debut in the first match at Dharamshala where he was dismissed for just nine runs.

At Mohali, he showed why he is held in such high regard amongst followers of Indian domestic cricket with a display of clean-hitting and impeccable timing. He found the gaps with ease and looked fluent throughout his innings.

Iyer was looking good for his maiden ODI ton as he motored along to 88 runs of just 69 deliveries before he was undone by a slower delivery from Perera. The youngster put on a 213-run partnership with the skipper for the second wicket, a stand which effectively dealt the death-blow to Sri Lanka’s hopes.

Iyer looked in command throughout his innings.

Iyer looked in command throughout his innings.

THE BAD

NUWAN PRADEEP COMLETES INFAMOUS CENTURY OF HIS OWN

While centuries flowed from Sharma’s bat on Thursday, Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Pradeep had a ton of his own though he will want to erase all memories of it.

The 31-year-old bowler went for 106 runs in his quota of 10 overs as Sharma and Iyer inflicted maximum punishment. His bowling figures of 0-106 are the worst by a Sri Lankan in an ODI match. It is also tied with India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar now for the third worst in one-day cricket history with only Mike Lewis and Wahab Riaz going for more runs.

Not a day to remember for the senior Sri Lanka pacer in the end.

SRI LANKA’S SHAMBOLIC DEATH-BOWLING

The Sri Lankan pacers had taken plenty of plaudits in the first game at Dharamshala as they tied up the Indian batsmen in knots on a pitch which assisted swing and seam.

On a flat track at Mohali though,the islanders found it tough to find the right lengths as India’s batsmen made merry. They were particularly woeful in the final 10 overs where they were carted for a whipping 147 runs as Sharma ran riot.

None of the bowlers including Suranga Lakmal, Pradeep and Perera were spared as boundaries became moot and sixes flowed from the bat. The Sri Lankans tried bowling wide and full in the death overs but erred in their lengths as full tosses rained down at Mohali.

On a batting pitch, the visitors would have done well to restrict the Indians below 330 but 393 runs would be a bridge too far for their batting line-up.

The Sri Lankan bowlers didn't have much to celebrate in Mohali.

The Sri Lankan bowlers didn’t have much to celebrate in Mohali.

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England battling against history and other talking points ahead of third Ashes Test

Ashish Peter 13/12/2017
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England are up against it at the WACA.

After a brief lull, the Ashes is ready to dominate cricket headlines in the next week with the third Test set to start at the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) stadium in Perth from Thursday (6:30am UAE time).

Hosts Australia have one hand on the urn after taking a 2-0 lead in the series at Adelaide as England wilted under the pressure.

Here, we look at the key talking points ahead of the WACA Test which will be the final game at the historic ground with the new 60,000 Perth Stadium ready to take over.

THE TOURISTS’ DISMAL RECORD AT THE WACA

England will feel they missed a trick at the Adelaide Oval as it might very well have represented their best chance in the five Tests. With their bowling attack led by James Anderson and Stuart Broad, the pink-ball under lights in theory should have evened up the playing field for the visitors but their batting in the first innings cost them big.

Their record at the WACA reads a sorry one win out of the 13 Ashes Tests they have played there. Their only win at the ground came all the way back in 1978 when the John Michael Brearley led tourists beat Graham Yallop’s Australia by 166 runs.

That they have lost their last seven Tests at Perth on the trot by huge margins will bear no comfort to Root and his men either.

England have not fared well at the WACA.

England have not fared well at the WACA.

AUSTRALIA SET FOR MITCHELL MARSH GAMBIT

With the WACA pitch traditionally being a fast bowler’s paradise with its famous pace and bounce, the Australian selectors seem inclined to favour Shaun Marsh’s younger brother Mitchell as the fifth-bowler option.

With Peter Handscomb struggling for runs in the middle, Steve Smith might be pushed to include Marsh as an extra bowling option on the back of his impressive Sheffield Shield performances this season which has seen him being recalled to the side ahead of the third Test.

The Australian skipper hinted at the pre-match press conference that an extra bowler might be the way to go on a flat WACA track.

Mitchell Marsh looks set to get the nod over Peter Handscomb.

Mitchell Marsh looks set to get the nod over Peter Handscomb.

ENGLAND SEEK TO BANISH OFF-FIELD WOES

While their performances so far in this tour have been nothing to write home about, England’s off-field alcohol-related incidents have given the Aussie media plenty of ammunition.

The Ben Stokes saga much before the tour had even begun had cast a dark cloud over the tourists’ visit. The Jonny Bairstow-Cameron Bancroft ‘head-butting’ incident which came to light after the first Test did not help matters for England either.

With Ben Duckett the latest to bring out the headlines with his pouring of a glass of beer over James Anderson’s head, England’s drinking culture has become the centre of attention.

In the past few days, Root, Moeen Ali and former skipper Michael Vaughan have all spoken about the need for the visitors to contain this problem. With three Tests still to go, it remains to be seen if England can manage to stay out of the headlines for the wrong reasons.’

Jonny Bairstow's 'head-butting' incident was highly discussed in the media.

Jonny Bairstow’s ‘head-butting’ incident was highly discussed in the media.

AUSTRALIA ON VERGE OF BECOMING KINGS OF THE ASHES

Since its origins all the way in the 1884-85, England had been the dominant side in the 19th century. However, the last century has belonged to the Aussies primarily who have done well to catch up with England and more.

After their 5-0 win Down Under in 2013-14, the Aussies had moved ahead on the series wins count with 32 wins compared to 21 from England.

England levelled up on that front with their 3-2 win at home in 2015. With a 32-32 tie at the moment, Smith’s men have the chance to take the series win and the all-time bragging rights once again at the WACA.

Steve Smith and his men can take the bragging rights with the series win.

Steve Smith and his men can take the bragging rights with the series win.

ENGLAND STARE AGAINST HISTORY

Only once in the entire history of the Ashes has a team come from 2-0 down to win the series. That the instance happened nearly 80 years ago in 1936-37 shows the enormous task at hand for Joe Root’s men when they take their place at the WACA on Thursday.

It was the legendary Sir Don Bradman who had led Australia’s famous comeback in that series with two double hundreds and a century in the final three Tests. England will require someone to stand up with the same caliber if they are to turn this around.

Joe Root and his men have their task cut out ahead of the third Test.

Joe Root and his men have their task cut out ahead of the third Test.

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