Pakistan appoint Grant Bradburn as new fielding coach

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The former Scotland has signed a three-year deal with Pakistan.

Pakistan’s long hunt for a fielding coach has come to an end with Grant Bradburn appointed to the position on Thursday.

The New Zealander resigned from his position as the head coach of Scotland to take up the three-year stint in the Pakistan setup.

The 52-year-old’s resignation brought an end to his four-year stint with the Scotland men’s team which saw them qualify for the World Twenty20 in India during 2016 while also achieving a historic win in an ODI against England at Edinburgh this year.

He will take over from Steve Rixon and will start his tenure with the upcoming Asia Cup in the UAE.

“It is a great honour to be joining Pakistan cricket team and their high-quality coaching staff. I have seen the progress that has been made under Mickey Arthur and the opportunity to work with a leading full member team on the rise in world cricket, is a real privilege,” Bradburn said on his appointment.

Bradburn's Scotland famously upset England in an ODI this year.

Bradburn’s Scotland famously upset England in an ODI this year.

“Against Scotland in June, we saw the impressive changes that have been instilled, noticeably with the physical stature and fielding abilities of Pakistan’s players. I look forward to adding my experience to the players and staff, while being an integral part of the exciting and dominant team, Team Pakistan is becoming,” he added.

Earlier, Australia’s Darren Berry had been in negotiations with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the fielding coach role but he pulled out citing personal and professional commitments.

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Ricky Ponting's Australia coaching plans take a hit after Achilles injury

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Ponting injured himself while shooting a commercial.

Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting has sustained an Achilles injury which has raised doubts over his coaching role with the national team.

Ponting had assisted head coach Justin Langer in his maiden assignment when Australia toured England for five ODIs and a T20 earlier this year. He was reportedly in talks with Cricket Australia to continue as assistant coach during the upcoming tour of the UAE where they will take on Pakistan.

Ponting is now set to miss the T20 leg of the UAE tour due to the injury he sustained while kicking a football during a commercial shoot. According to a report by ESPN, Ponting’s injury is set to affect his mobility for the next three to six months after he underwent surgery for the tear last week.

Ponting had assisted Langer during Australia's tour of England.

Ponting had assisted Langer during Australia’s tour of England.

Despite his injury setback, the former skipper is expected to remain in negotiations for future coaching stints with the Australian team.

The Australian team is set to take on Pakistan in two Tests followed by three T20s in their tour of the UAE with the first Test getting underway on October 7.

The two Tests will be the first time Australia will take the field in the format since their infamous tour of South Africa in March this year which was rocked by the ball-tampering saga.

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Pakistan's Shaheen Afridi and India's Khaleel Ahmed in battle of emerging left-arm quicks in Asia Cup

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Shaheen Afridi (l) and Khaleel Ahmed.

The upcoming Asia Cup tournament in the UAE won’t feature India captain Virat Kohli, robbing the tournament of some of its sheen. However there are still many interesting plots in the tournament that should enthrall fans.

While the India-Pakistan clash on September 19 is on everyone radar, two players have raised the interest levels following their selection for the Asia Cup. And that’s because they are young and exciting left-arm fast bowlers.

Cricket has had a special relation with left-arm pacers. The novelty they bring to the game is such that many times they get a spot in the playing XI just because they bowl left arm.

The selection of Pakistan teen sensation Shaheeh Afridi and India’s left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed in their respective sides has raised the prospects of witnessing the defining moments of possibly successful careers.

Afridi grabbed headlines earlier in the year as he starred during the Under-19 World Cup. There he finished with 12 wickets from five games but more importantly, impressed with his build, high-arm action and extreme pace.

Afridi continued his excellent work for Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League and earned his international cap by April, in the T20 against West Indies in Karachi.

The 18-year-old has played three T20s and should make his ODI debut at some stage in the Asia Cup which also includes India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and another qualifier.

Pakistan have left-arm ace Mohammad Amir in their line-up while there is also Usman Shenwari and Junaid Khan. But given that Afridi is quicker than all of them, he could be picked as the second left-armer especially against lighter teams.

India, on the other hand, have picked rookie left-arm paceman Ahmed. The 20-year-old hails from Tonk in the Indian state of Rajasthan and has 28 wickets from 17 List ‘A’ matches and 17 wickets from 12 T20 games.

Since July, he has been part of the India ‘A’ team for 50-over matches and has picked up at least one wicket in nine successive games, in England and at home. His best efforts in recent months were 3-45 against South Africa ‘A’ in Bengaluru and 3-48 against England Lions in London.

Since India haven’t had any quality left-arm fast bowler for many years, Ahmed also has a good chance of getting game-time at some stage in the tournament.

He is reported to have added a few yards of pace to his bowling and that should convince the team management of giving the youngster an outing even on the sluggish surfaces in the UAE.

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