Former all-rounder Mushtaq Mohammad says Virat Kohli would be tough to handle for any Pakistan captain

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Mushtaq Mohammad has praised India skipper Virat Kohli.

Former Pakistan all-rounder Mushtaq Mohammad has lavished praise on India skipper Virat Kohli for his ability to shine in all three formats of the game.

The former international who now lives in Birmingham where the ongoing first Test between England and India is being held, believes Kohli will be the most difficult to handle for a Pakistan skipper in comparison to Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar.

“Gavaskar played in a different era and I am not saying Tendulkar is a lesser player. But the very fact Kohli plays all the three formats so well makes him a more difficult player to stop. I hope he wins this Test series against England,” Mohammad told the Times of India.

Brother of the legendary Hanif Mohammad, the all-rounder went on to play 57 Tests and 10 ODIs for Pakistan before retiring in 1978.  Mohammad praised India’s ability to constantly produce world-class batsmen while reminiscing about the rivalry with Pakistan’s arch-rivals and neighbours.

Mohammad admires Kohli's ability to shine in all formats.

Mohammad admires Kohli’s ability to shine in all formats.

“We used to be such fierce competitors on the field and such good friends off it. You guys just keep producing great batsmen from Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli,” he added.

With Imran Khan all set to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mohammad hoped that the former skipper could lead the country in the same way he led the cricket team.

“I just hope he leads the country the way he led the Pakistan team. Cricket will probably not be on his mind. He would have bigger issues to deal with,” he remarked.

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Nepal suffer 55-run defeat at the hands of Netherlands on ODI debut

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Nepal's played their first-ever ODI match on Wednesday.

Nepal’s ODI journey got off to a losing start after they were beaten by 55 runs by the Netherlands in the first of the two matches scheduled between the two sides.

The Paras Khadka led Nepalese team were bowled out for just 134 at Amstelveen in their chase of Netherlands’ 189.

Netherlands skipper Pieter Seelar won the toss on Wednesday and elected to bat first. However, the hosts were bowled out for 189 with Nepal skipper Khadka picking up a four-wicket haul.

Only Michael Nippon was able to muster a knock of note for the hosts with the all-rounder registering a 76-ball 51.

In reply, Nepal openers Gyananedra Malla and Anil Shah gave their side the perfect start with a 58-run stand for the first wicket. Once the latter was dismissed for 21, the floodgates opened with Seelar, Fred Klaassen and Nippon running riot for the hosts.

The three bowlers picked up three wickets each as Nepal suffered a dramatic collapse at Amstelveen. Four of the visitors’ batsmen were dismissed for a duck as the Netherlands held on to a thrilling win in front of their home fans.

This was Nepal’s first official one-day international ever since they won that status during the ICC World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe earlier this year.

Khadka’s men will now lock horns with the hosts in the second and final ODI which will be held at the same venue on Wednesday.

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Ravi Ashwin stars in England v India first Test day-one player ratings

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Ravi Ashwin was monitoring the stumps as Joe Root was run-out.

The first day of the first Test in the five-match series between England and India lived up to its billing.

The Men In Blue enjoyed a good day at Edgbaston and just about edged proceedings, while England were victims of their own downfall after collapsing from 216-4 to their end score on 283-9.

India’s depleted bowling attack bowled with heart and quality as Ravi Ashwin secured a four-wicket haul.

Here, we look at player ratings from the opening day.

England batting card:

Alastair Cook – 5: A beauty of a piece of bowling from Ashwin gets the opener, credit to the spinner. It gripped, and spun, meaning Cook couldn’t do a great deal.

Keaton Jennings – 6: Played pretty well for his 42 and looks confident in the opening position, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like he has a big score around the corner. So unlucky for the ball to clip the stumps after defending Shami’s pace delivery.

Joe Root – 6: Looked well set to finally get a long-awaited Test hundred after passing the 6,000 run mark but mix-up with Bairstow proved costly. Did he need to go for the second run? Root will be wishing he pushed his partner away. That said, he looks in fine touch and his consistency should be admired.

Joe Root struck another Test half-century.

Joe Root struck another Test half-century.

Dawid Malan – 3: Trapped deep on the crease by Shami and is out of nick. It is set to be the start of a long summer for the Middlesex man, and if runs don’t come quickly, his place in the side will come under scrutiny.

Jonny Bairstow – 7: Any drag-on is unlucky, and although he was guilty of chasing a back-of-the-length delivery, Bairstow kept with his attacking instincts that had served him well for a quick-fire 70. However, Root’s run-out, just three and a bit overs before his demise, seemed to affect his batting given the way they went about it.

Bairstow blazed his way to a 72-ball half-century.

Bairstow blazed his way to a 72-ball half-century.

Ben Stokes – 3: Struggling for form and timing with the bat and offered up the simplest of caught and bowled chances back to Ashwin. He won’t want to see the replays of that one.

Jos Buttler – 3: Guilty of playing across a straight ball from Ashwin and was struck on the knee roll. A batsman of his pedigree should have really done better and helped England regroup after the collapse.

Sam Curran – 6: The 20-year-old is a livewire at the crease and shows plenty of enthusiasm. Dug around well for his 24* from 67 balls and has the freedom to have a go on day two.

Adil Rashid – 5: Scratched around a bit and front foot was stationary as an excellent Sharma in-swinger was adjudged to have been knocking over his leg-stump on review. Gone for 13, lbw, on his second-coming in Tests.

Stuart Broad – 5: Didn’t really get his feet moving and was done by a lovely full, swinging and seaming spin delivery by Ashwin. Out lbw for one.

James Anderson: Can’t be rated after facing just nine balls as a tail-ender at the end of the innings. Will want to give Curran the strike early on Thursday and quickly get back in the pavilion and ready to have a bowl.

India’s bowlers:

Umesh Yadav – 6: Bowled with decent discipline and control, picking up the key scalp of Bairstow. Early indications that his overall mileage to come back for second and third spells could prove lethal throughout the series.

Ishant Sharma – 6: England found the tall Indian pacer hard to get a way but he probably didn’t get the pace and bounce out of a pitch that is bound to quicken up. Claimed the solitary scalp of Rashid.

Ravi Ashwin – 8: A superb four-wicket haul for the spinner and caused England’s all sorts of problems, with his guile and ability to spin the ball. Will no doubt be a trump card for the tourists throughout the series.

Ashwin was the pick of India's bowlers from the first day.

Ashwin was the pick of India’s bowlers from the first day.

Mohammed Shami – 7: Bowled with real pace to make England’s top-order jump around a bit, and sticking with tight lines paid dividends as he sent Malan packing. He did though get a bit of luck with Jennings’ dismissal.

Hardik Pandya – 5: India’s fifth-choice was expensive and struggled on day one. He will need to up the ante and be more of a go-to man later in this Test and for the remaining matches if he’s going to make an impact.

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