Cricket stars congratulate former Pakistan captain Imran Khan after his election victory

Waseem Ahmed 27/07/2018
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Imran Khan is set to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The wishes have been pouring in for Imran Khan ever since the former Pakistan skipper’s political party won the most seats in the country’s general elections.

The Pakistan Election Commission has announced that Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party enjoys a substantial lead over the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) but has fallen short of an overall majority.

Hence, the World Cup winnings former Pakistan skipper might be required to form a coalition in order to form the next government.

Khan’s former Pakistan team-mates have been sending in their congratulations since the results of the elections started pouring in.

Former pacer Wasim Akram, who played under Khan’s captaincy in Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup triumph, was one of the first to wish the former cricketer on his party’s result.

“Congratulating the new Prime Minister of our country. It was all very formal but I still got to call him Skipper” the Pakistan pace legend wrote on Twitter after a meeting with Khan.

He was joined in his wishes by his new-ball partner Waqar Younis.

“A special speech from a Great Leader..Very simple, honest and practical..Feeling so proud to be a student of such a Mentor.. Congratulations Skipper,” Waqar tweeted.

Ramiz Raja, another member of the 1992 World Cup squad, also expressed his delight on election results.

“Who could be a bigger and better example of a leader than Imran Khan, who as a super star had the world at his feet and yet elbow greased for 22 years to work for his objective and vision..he’s special and we are proud to have him as our Prime Minister,” he wrote.

Members of the current Pakistan squad too sent in their congratulatory messages with pacer Mohammad Amir, leg spinner Shadab Khan and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez leading the chorus.

“Congrats to @ImranKhanPTI i hope u guys will do the best for Pakistan,” Amir wrote.

“Ma Shaa Allah (God has willed) @ImranKhanPTI U done it once again. Long marathon struggle against corruption. A man of strong belief,” Hafeez wrote on his part.

“Congratulations captain on your victory,” Shadab said.

There were wishes for Khan from across the border too with India’s 1983 World Cup-winning skipper Kapil Dev and former batsman Sanjay Manjrekar sending their congratulatory messages.

“It looks nice that a cricketer and one who we know is going to be the PM,” Kapil Dev said.

“Imran is the epitome of setting the bar high and reaching it. Congratulations & good luck to my cricketing hero, Imran Khan!” wrote Manjrekar.

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Test teams of the future: Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw paint a bright picture for India

Ashish Peter 27/07/2018
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Pant and Shaw are among the brightest young Indian hopes.

The upcoming five-match Test series between England and India is eagerly anticipated as Joe Root and Virat Kohli‘s respective sides prepare to face-off.

There is no dearth of quality in both teams ahead of what promises to be a blockbuster end to the English summer.

While all eyes of the cricketing world are on the two heavyweights, there are plenty of promising youngsters in both countries who are ready to take on the mantle from the seniors in the near future.

Here, we take a look at 11 such youngsters from India aged 21 and below who could make up the Test squad in the future.

PRITHVI SHAW

AGE: 18

The Mumbai-born opening batsman has been going from strength to strength ever since his record-breaking innings of 546 in the Harris Shield aged just 14. Since then, he scored a century on his Ranji Trophy debut, led the India under-19 team to the World Cup title in 2018, impressed for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL and put in a solid showing during India A’s recently concluded tour of England.

Shaw's transition to senior cricket has been effortless.

Shaw’s transition to senior cricket has been effortless.

MANJOT KALRA

AGE: 19

The Delhi-born opening batsman was a member of India under-19’s World Cup-winning squad earlier this year where he scored an unbeaten century in the final against Australia, leading his side’s march to the title. The left-handed batsman can also bowl a bit and his development from the World Cup heroics will be an interesting one to watch in the coming years.

SHUBMAN GILL

AGE: 18

Although Shaw has grabbed the headlines recently, it was Shubman Gill who was the real star of India’s under-19 World Cup triumph. The Punjab-born batsman scored a brilliant century in the semi-final clash against Pakistan before turning heads with his display for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. He also scored a half-century on his Ranji Trophy debut and followed it up with a ton in his next appearance.

Shubman Gill was the MVP in the U19 World Cup.

Shubman Gill was the MVP in the under-19 World Cup.

HIMANSHU RANA

AGE: 19

Another batsman who impressed in that young Indian side was Himanshu Rana, who is considered as the next big thing to emerge from the state of Haryana. The top-order batsman has scored some decent returns in the World Cup and his transition to senior-team cricket has been just as good. The right-hander has already struck two first-class tons in 15 matches so far and could be set for bigger things to come.

RISHABH PANT

AGE: 20

Rishabh Pant is as much a player for the future for India as he is for the present. The swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman has already been named in India’s 18-man senior squad for the first three Tests after his impressive showing during India A’s tour of England. That came after his exhilarating performances for Delhi Daredevils in the 2018 IPL where he notched up 684 runs in 14 innings at an average of 52.61 and at a staggering strike-rate of nearly 174.

Pant has already earned a maiden call-up to the senior Test squad.

Pant has already earned a maiden call-up to the senior Test squad.

ISHAN KISHAN

AGE: 20

Like Pant, Ishan Kishan’s rise in Indian cricket has been equally meteoric. The wicketkeeper-batsman has already developed a fearsome reputation for his ability to strike the ball a long way. At just 20 years of age, the Patna-born man already has four first-class centuries under his belt and he is another one who has impressed on English shores this summer.

ABHISHEK SHARMA

AGE: 17

The youngest player in the list, Abhishek Sharma is a hard-hitting lower-order batsman who can also bowl a bit of left-arm spin. He led the India under-19 squad to victory in the 2016 Asia Cup before performing an integral role in their World Cup win. His debut in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils saw him score an unbeaten 46 in just 19 balls.

ANUKUL ROY

AGE: 19

The Jharkhand-born left-arm orthodox spinner has earned comparisons to Ravindra Jadeja due to the similarities in their bowling style. He could follow Jadeja’s footsteps into the India senior team soon if he fulfills the promise he has shown in his young career to date. Roy finished as the joint highest wicket-taker in the under-19 World Cup win with 14 dismissals in just six matches at an outstanding average of just over nine.

Roy has drawn comparisons with Jadeja for his bowling style.

Roy has drawn comparisons with Jadeja for his bowling style.

SHIVAM MAVI

AGE: 19

One of the highlights in India’s World Cup triumph was the performance of their pacers; Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti. Mavi, who picked up nine wickets in the tournament, bowled at impressive speeds of over 140kph on a regular basis. He then followed it up with an equally astute debut IPL campaign for Kolkata Knight Riders. His effortless raw pace has seen him earmarked as a potential world-beater already.

Mavi has the ability to generate some lethal pace.

Mavi has the ability to generate some lethal pace.

KAMLESH NAGARKOTI

AGE: 18

The Rajasthan-born fast bowler picked up nine wickets too in the World Cup. He had already been making strides prior to the tournament by becoming the first Rajasthan bowler to claim a List A hat-trick during the 2016-17 edition of the Vijay Hazare trophy. He was unable to play in the IPL this year after sustaining an injury but he is definitely one to keep an eye out for on in a country which has struggled to produce genuine fast bowlers over the years.

ISHAN POREL

AGE: 19

While Mavi and Nagarkoti turned heads with their raw pace, Ishan Porel showed he has the ability to seam the ball both ways in the World Cup win. The Bengal-born bowler grabbed headlines in India’s win over Pakistan in the semi-finals with a four-wicket burst. Much more dependent on his line and length, Porel has shown enough promise to be considered as a future senior star.

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England skipper Joe Root backs ECB decision to hand Adil Rashid a Test recall

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Root has thrown his support behind Rashid's Test recall.

England captain Joe Root is fully behind the controversial decision to recall Adil Rashid to the Test fold, according to national selector Ed Smith.

Leg-spinner Rashid has been selected in the 13-man squad to face India at Edgbaston next week despite his self-imposed exile from county cricket.

The 30-year-old even admitted he was taken aback by the decision, despite having held talks with Smith prior to the recent one-day series against India about a potential call-up.

He told Sky Sports News: “I was kind of surprised. To get back in the Test side, usually people have got to go back to their counties and perform to be considered.”

Rashid won the last of his 10 Test caps in Chennai more than 18 months ago, but underlined his case when he bowled India captain Virat Kohli with a memorable leg-break at Headingley last week.

Nevertheless, the move prompted an angry response from Rashid’s county Yorkshire, who are also captained by Root, and whose chief executive Mark Arthur said: “We’re very surprised that England have called Adil up after not playing red-ball cricket this season.

“Neither has he expressed a desire to do so. I hope that England know what they’re doing to Adil, and the county game.”

Rashid currently only has a limited-overs contract with Yorkshire but Smith made it clear that in order to be eligible for England Test selection next year he must return to the longer form of the game domestically.

Yet Smith insists he, his selection panel and, crucially, Root, are “comfortable” with what he calls a “one-off” decision.

“The decision involved quite a lot of context,” said Smith.

“We are fully aware of the summer we are having and the likelihood that the pitches are going to turn.

“In the event of needing two spinners how would we get people into the side who turn the ball in different directions?

“In that context is obviously Adil’s form in white-ball cricket, his confidence, his touch, the fact that he has evolved so much as a bowler and is in the form of his life and has never felt more at home in an England one-day or Twenty20 jersey.

“Clearly, the one-off circumstances around Adil’s return to the Test squad are unusual.

“My task is to put the best available squad together to give to the captain and the coach to pick the XI on the day.

Rashid last played a Test for England in December, 2016.

Rashid last played a Test for England in December, 2016.

“That’s the extent of my job. Given the circumstances I feel very comfortable that we have picked Adil Rashid in the squad.

“The decision was a unanimous one, the decision makers being myself, James Taylor and coach Trevor Bayliss, and also round that table was Joe Root.

“When it came to the final decision I asked all four if it was the right thing to do and the answer was ‘yes’ from all four.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan – an ex-team-mate of Rashid’s for Yorkshire – is wholeheartedly against the move and says it is a “stab in the back for county cricket”.

Writing in the Telegraph, he said: “It basically says our county game, the finishing school for our cricketers, does not matter anymore and that it is irrelevant.”

Referring to the ongoing discussions about the proposed ‘Hundred’ competition, he said: “The ECB has to be careful. It is running out of friends.”

Paceman Stuart Broad welcomed Rashid’s inclusion, saying: “One thing is for sure, he’s bowled beautifully in the one-day series.

“I know it’s easy to say it’s a very different format with different strategies and all that sort of thing but you can see he has got wicket-taking balls in him and he’s come through a couple of years of wonderful white-ball bowling which will give him a lot of confidence at the top level.”

Moeen Ali is back in the Test reckoning for the first time since his miserable Ashes winter while Essex seam bowler Jamie Porter earned a first call-up for what will be England’s 1,000th Test match.

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