Pakistan players undergo fitness camp in military school ahead of Asia Cup in UAE

Waseem Ahmed 28/08/2018
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Pakistan have begun their preparations for the Asia Cup.

Pakistan have upped the ante in training ahead of the upcoming Asia Cup in the UAE.

The players, this week, have been taking part in an intense fitness camp at the Army School of Physical and Training (ASPT) in Abbottabad.

Labelled the ‘retreat camp’, involving 26 players and led by captain Sarfraz Ahmed, the physical work began on Monday and will conclude on Friday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday shared images of the players hard at work in the Pakistan military establishment, under the guidance of qualified coaches.

These fitness drills form part of Pakistan’s preparation for the Asia Cup in the UAE and will be followed by another training camp for which the schedule is set to be announced at a later date.

The Asia Cup was originally slated to be held in India but uncertainty surrounding Pakistan’s players being granted visas by the Indian government saw the tournament moved to the UAE.

The biennial tournament gets underway on September 15 in Dubai with Pakistan opening their campaign a day later against a yet to be decided qualifier.

Pakistan have been drawn in the same group as their arch-rivals India and the blockbuster meeting between the two sides takes place on September 19, again in Dubai.

PAKISTAN 26-MAN PROBABLE LIST

Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan Shinwari, Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Junaid Khan, Sahibzada Farhan, Shan Masood, Usman Salahuddin, Asad Shafiq, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Asghar, Rahat Ali, Mir Hamza.

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Bhuvneshwar Kumar declared fit to play for India 'A' in quadrangular series

Sudhir Gupta 27/08/2018
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Bhuvneshwar Kumar is fit to bowl once again.

India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar is set to begin his comeback from an injury layoff after being named in the India ‘A’ squad in the ongoing quadrangular series in Bengaluru.

The India man has been out of action for some time now after aggravating a lower-back injury during the final ODI against England in July. He was subsequently ruled out of the first three Tests against England as he returned home to India to begin his recuperation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), also in Bengaluru.

The team management had hoped for the pacer’s return in the final two Tests in the series but that didn’t prove to be the case with Bhuvneshwar not being deemed fit enough.

Now, the 28-year-old will turn out for the India ‘A’ team in their third place playoff match against South Africa ‘A’ which takes place at Alur on Wednesday.

His participation in the playoff match was confirmed by the BCCI through a tweet on Monday.

“Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been declared fit and will be a part of the India A squad in the ongoing Quadrangular series. He will feature in the side’s next fixture against South Africa A,” the tweet from BCCI read.

Should Bhuvneshwar perform without hiccups in the 50-over game, India could be tempted to draft him into the side for the fifth and final Test against England which gets underway on September 7 at the Oval in London.

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18,000 international runs and other milestones on Virat Kohli's horizon

Ashish Peter 27/08/2018
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Plenty more records for Virat Kohli to break in the coming days.

Virat Kohli has been on a record-breaking spree for some time now and there could be a few more milestones on the horizon for the India skipper when his men take on England in the fourth Test at Southampton starting on Thursday.

Kohli’s 23rd Test ton helped India fight their way back into the five-match series with a 203-run win at Trent Bridge as he once again leapfrogged Steve Smith to claim the top ICC ranking for Test batsmen.

The win at Trent Bridge catapulted Kohli above MS Dhoni as the second most successful Indian Test skipper and the fourth overall with 22 victories from 38 matches.

The 29-year-old has made amends for his disastrous tour of England in 2014 by registering 440 runs so far in the three matches at an average of 73.33.

With two Tests still remaining, there are quite a few records Kohli could yet break in the English summer. Here, we take a look at those records.

SECOND FASTEST INDIAN TO 6,000 TEST RUNS

Kohli’s superb 103 in the second innings at Trent Bridge means he is now just six runs shy of the 6,000 run-mark in Test cricket.

Should Kohli notch up the remaining six runs in the first innings at Southampton, he will leapfrog Sachin Tendulkar to become the second fastest Indian batsman to the milestone.

Tendulkar’s 6,000th Test run came in his 120th innings while Kohli has played 118 innings so far in the format. Sunil Gavaskar holds the record for the fastest Indian batsman to do so with the legendary opener attaining the feat in only 117 Test innings.

Kohli could leapfrog Sachin Tendulkar in the list.

Kohli could leapfrog Sachin Tendulkar in the list.

18,000 INTERNATIONAL RUNS

In 342 matches, the Indian skipper currently has 17, 875 runs under his belt combined in all three formats of international cricket. Should he be able to collect another 125 runs in the Southampton Test, Kohli will become the 15th batsman in history and the fourth Indian to register 18, 000 international runs.

The three Indian batsmen to achieve the feat before Kohli currently are Sachin Tendulkar (34,357), Rahul Dravid (24,208) and Sourav Ganguly (18,575).

The 18,000-mark beckons for Kohli.

The 18,000-mark beckons for Kohli.

MOST RUNS BY AN INDIAN BATSMAN IN A TEST SERIES IN ENGLAND

With 440 runs to his name in six innings so far, Kohli has another record set by Rahul Dravid in his sights.

In India’s tour of England in 2002, Dravid aggregated a total of 602 runs in the four Tests at an average of 123.80. That remains the most runs scored by an Indian batsman in a Test series in England.

Should Kohli score 163 runs or more in the remaining two Tests, he will become the Indian batsman to hold that accolade.

Dravid had scored 602 runs in four Tests during India's 2002 tour.

Dravid scored 602 runs in four Tests during India’s 2002 tour.

MOST RUNS BY AN INDIAN IN AN OVERSEAS TEST SERIES

This record too remains on Kohli’s horizon but it will take some doing by the Indian batsman to break it. Sunil Gavaskar’s debut international series was one to remember with the Indian opener amassing 774 runs in eight innings away to the mighty West Indies in 1970-71.

Scoring four centuries including a double ton in the series in the Caribbean, Gavaskar announced himself to the cricketing world in some style.

His contributions led India to their maiden Test series win in the West Indies and remain the highest tally by an Indian batsman in an overseas series.

Kohli will need to surpass his own personal best of 692 runs in eight innings in the Border-Gavaskar series during India’s tour of Australia in 2014-15.

Gavaskar's record will be a tough one to break for Kohli.

Gavaskar’s record will be a tough one to break for Kohli.

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