Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed suggests Fakhar Zaman could be given a run in Test matches in the UAE

Waseem Ahmed 24/07/2018
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Sarfraz has hinted at Fakhar being given a run during the Tests in the UAE.

Fakhar Zaman’s phenomenal showing in Pakistan’s recently concluded ODI series against Zimbabwe could see the opening batsman being given a run in the Test outfit.

The left-hander amassed 515 runs in five innings against Zimbabwe at an astonishing average of 257.50 as Pakistan completed a 5-0 series whitewash. The 28-year-old became the first batsman from Pakistan to register an ODI double ton with his unbeaten effort of 210 in the fourth match of the series.

Along the way, the swashbuckling batsman also broke Sir Viv Richard’s record to become the fastest to 1,000 runs in ODI cricket. This sensational run of form could see the batsman being tried out as an opener for Pakistan’s upcoming Test series at home against Australia and New Zealand if skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s words are anything to go by.

“If you look at our (Test) team, the opening slot is a concern,” the Pakistan skipper said in an interview with PakPassion.net

“We can definitely try Fakhar in Tests in UAE. The way he’s been playing, he is an opener who can attack the opposition.

“I am hopeful that he plays Test cricket in the near future.”

Fakhar Zaman scored 515 runs in five innings against Zimbabwe.

Fakhar Zaman scored 515 runs in five innings against Zimbabwe.

Fakhar made his limited-overs debut for Pakistan last year but is yet to be given a run-in in the Test format. He was included in the Test squad for Pakistan’s tour of England earlier this year but failed to get a game with Azhar Ali and Imam-ul-Haq being preferred in the roles.

In the ODI series against Zimbabwe, the opening pair of Fakhar and Imam added more than 600 runs in total for the first wicket which is a new world record for a bilateral series. While Fakhar’s exploits were sensational, so were that of his young opening partner who registered three centuries in the five matches.

Sarfraz has stated that grooming the two batsmen in the role has been part of the plan for the Pakistan side.

“We gave Fakhar and Imam maximum chances while opening as this is an area we want to make strong,” the wicketkeeper-batsman said.

“When we play against top teams and play events, we want to keep improving with the opening pair,” he added.

A two-Test series between Pakistan and Australia in the UAE has been mooted apart from the already scheduled limited-overs clashes starting in October this year. Following Australia’s tour of the UAE, Pakistan will welcome New Zealand next for a three-match Test series at their alternative home.

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Suspended Danushka Gunathilaka not picked as Sri Lanka name squad for ODI series against South Africa

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Gunathilaka (L) was suspended by the SLC pending an inquiry.

Sri Lanka on Tuesday named their 15-man squad for the upcoming five-match ODI series against South Africa with batsman Danushka Gunathilaka not considered for selection.

The opening batsman was suspended from all forms of international cricket pending an inquiry by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Sunday after Gunathilaka’s friend was accused of raping a Norwegian tourist at the team hotel.

The incident is said to have occurred on Sunday after the third day’s play in the second and final Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa with Gunathilaka allegedly present in the room at the said time.

The Sri Lankan governing body have not revealed when the disciplinary inquiry will begin against the 27-year-old. The left-hander was the second highest run-getter for the hosts in their 2-0 series clean sweep against the Proteas and had registered half-centuries in each innings of the final Test at Colombo which ended on Monday.

The five-match ODI series between the two sides is set to get underway on Sunday at Dambulla. Sri Lanka have given a maiden call-up to Prabath Jayasuriya in Gunathilaka’s absence in the 18-man squad which will be led by Angelo Mathews while Dinesh Chandimal continues to serve the suspension handed to him by the ICC.

SRI LANKA 15-MAN SQUAD

Angelo Mathews (Captain), Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Thisara Perera, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Akila Dananjaya, Prabath Jayasuriya, Lakshan Sandakan, and Shehan Jayasuriya.

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ECB says it has not taken any decisions yet on playing rules for new 100-ball competition

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The ECB has dismissed reports surrounding the rules to the new format.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has dismissed two newspaper reports about the format of its new 100-ball competition as “speculation”, adding that nothing will be decided until after pilot matches this autumn.

In a statement, an ECB spokesperson said: “No decisions have been made on the playing conditions for the new competition which will start in the summer of 2020.

“To develop the competition there are a number of on-going discussions, including one with a high-performance group who are planning a series of pilot matches in September.

“Conversations with players, host venues and stakeholders across the game are vital to the competition’s development and inevitably lead to speculation on a range of matters.

“Ultimately, it is board of the ECB which makes the final decision on the format and rules for the new competition and that is expected later this year.”

Originally planned as a city-based T20 to rival Australia’s Big Bash and Indian Premier League, the competition was soon shortened to 100 balls in order, the ECB claims, to make it more attractive to families and terrestrial TV, with the BBC sharing the broadcast rights with Sky Sports.

The new format will be introduced in 2020.

The new format will be introduced in 2020.

On Tuesday, The Telegraph reported the game’s governing body is considering allowing a substitute to bat or bowl for their team and The Times claimed it could be as many as four substitutes, which would effectively turn the competition into a 15-man game but with only 11 players allowed to bat or field.

The concept of a baseball-style designated hitter – a specialist batsman who does not have to field – would probably provide a few more boundaries, add a tactical wrinkle to the game and solve the problem seen in other high-profile T20 competitions of having highly-paid players on the sidelines.

The International Cricket Council also trialled this idea in 50-over cricket between 2005 and 2006, although the ‘supersub’ was dropped after 10 months.

The ECB is understood to be very much still at the planning stages and has still not settled on a name for the competition, although its working title is ‘The Hundred’.

What has been decided, though, is it will feature eight city-based franchises playing four games at home and four away (each team will play its nearest geographic rival twice), before the top four proceed to the play-offs where the first-placed team will play the runner-up for a place in the final. The loser of that game will then get a second chance against the winner of a third v fourth match.

This adds up to 36 games over 38 days which will take over from mid-July 2020 to the end of August. There will be men’s and women’s competitions and each team will be allowed up to three overseas players with squads selected via a draft system.

Among the key issues still to be resolved are what happens to the existing T20 Blast competition and county schedule, and the availability of centrally-contracted England players.

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