Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir to join up with squad in England after being granted visa

Waseem Ahmed 24/04/2018
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Amir rattled India in the Champions Trophy final.

The Pakistan squad arrived in London on Tuesday for their tours of Ireland and England minus pacer Mohammad Amir.

The fast bowling spearhead was not able to depart with the rest of the team due to troubles in obtaining a visa.

“Amir could not travel with the team. There’s some procedural issue which I hope will be resolved by Wednesday,” Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman Amjad Bhatti told reporters on Monday as the team departed for London.

It was however confirmed by the PCB on Tuesday that the pacer had been granted a UK visa. Amir will now be travelling to London on Wednesday to join up with the rest of his team-mates.

Amir has previously had troubles in obtaining a UK visa during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2016. That time, the PCB sought the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) help in resolving the matter.

The Pakistan star served a five-year ban from cricket after his involvement in the spot-fixing saga of 2010 during the tour of England.

The Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan team are set to become Ireland’s first-ever Test opponents when the two sides meet for a one-off Test in Dublin on May 11. The squad will then return to England for a two-Test series before finishing the tour of the UK with two T20Is against Scotland.

The subcontinent side will be playing two warm-up matches against Kent and Northampton before they jet-off to Ireland for the sole Test. The match against Kent at Canterbury will get underway on Saturday with Amir expected to be a part of the squad.

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PCB chief Najam Sethi says India and Pakistan need to resume cricket ties for the sake of fans

Waseem Ahmed 24/04/2018
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Matches between the two sides is currently limited to ICC events only.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Najam Sethi has urged for the resumption of cricket ties with India for the sake of the fans from both countries.

The PCB supremo is currently in Kolkata to attend an ICC meeting and has laid the ball once again in the BCCI’s court when speaking about the possibility of the future bilateral tours.

“Firstly, the two sides need to play each other for the sake of the people of the sub-continent. Secondly, the ball is in the BCCI’s court. That’s it. We hope sooner than later better sense will prevail and the two sides can get back to playing good cricket again,” Sethi was quoted as saying the PTI (Press Trust of India).

“My sense is that all this is a melting pot and at some stage or the other, we will have to have a good resolution,” he added.

Cricketing ties between the two neighbouring countries has been restricted to multi-team competitions with the Indian government not in favour of holding any bilateral series between the teams.

Sethi (L) has put the ball in the BCCI's court.

Sethi (L) has put the ball in the BCCI’s court.

The Pakistan cricketing body had recently demanded a compensation of $70 million from the BCCI for its inability to honour the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two boards in 2014 which called for the holding of six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023.

An ICC appointed three-member tribunal is expected to hear the matter in October.

This is the first time in two years that a PCB official has visited India. Sethi also urged the Indian media to push for the resumption of cricketing ties between the two arch-rivals.

“I’m just surprised that there’s not sufficient media pressure here in India for resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan. I am sure the people of the two countries want to see cricket between the two countries. There’s a lot of goodwill on both sides so let’s hope that the issue can be resolved in the interest of the fans. There’s no rough weather between the two Boards. There’s no problem at all,” he said.

The five-day ICC meeting got underway on Sunday and matters related to player behavior and cheating along with the extension of ICC chairman Sashank Manohar’s tenure are expected to be discussed in the meeting.

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Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi and Thisara Perera to play for ICC World XI in charity T20 clash against West Indies at Lord's

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The Pakistani duo will turn up for the ICC World XI at Lords.

ICC World T20 winners – Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Thisara Perera – were the first set of players to confirm their participation for the ICC World XI in a T20I against the Windies to be played at Lord’s on 31 May.

The match is being organised to raise funds for stadia in the Caribbean that were badly damaged following Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.

Afridi and Malik were part of the Pakistan squad that won the ICC World T20 2009 at Lord’s, while Perera was a member of the Sri Lanka side that lifted the silverware in Dhaka in 2014.

The three World T20 winners will lend a lot of weight to the ICC World XI side which will see more names being added in what is expected to be a star-studded line-up led by England’s white-ball captain Eoin Morgan, who has already been confirmed to lead the side.

Afridi said: “I am humbled to have been selected for such a noble cause. Cricket is one big family and no matter how hard and tough we play against each other, there is tremendous comradery within the group. As such, it is our moral and professional obligation to stand up and support whenever and wherever we can, to assist our members, colleagues and cricket fans.

“Lord’s is an iconic venue and the perfect location for this match. I have some fond memories of this great venue, having played the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999 and the ICC World T20 2009, and I look forward to visiting it again in May with an aim to entertain the fans.”

Malik said: “It’s a matter of great honour and pride to be selected in an ICC World XI and a wonderful opportunity to play along with and against some of the biggest names in world cricket.

“As much as the chance of figuring in such a select group, I also see this as an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful cause. We have all heard of the damage caused by the two hurricanes in the West Indies last year and it is really good to see so many cricketers come together for the objective of raising funds to repair the damage to cricket venues.

“That the match is being played at Lord’s makes this event extra special for me. Lord’s obviously is one of the most revered cricket venues but I also have some very delightful memories there. One that really stands out is anchoring the chase along with Shahid Afridi when we beat Sri Lanka in the final to win the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009.”

Perera added: “I’m privileged to have made the World XI side for a second time after having also played in the series against Pakistan in Lahore last year. I’m looking forward to the match at Lord’s next month with great enthusiasm as this is one of those rare opportunities when you get to rub shoulders with the best in the world. To be playing alongside so many top players from different countries will definitely be a high point of my career.

“I’m also very happy because I have been given the opportunity to contribute in what I think is a very good cause. It is heartening to note that players have come together for helping rebuild stadia in the West Indies. The West Indies have contributed a lot to world cricket over the years and they deserve all support from our generation of players.”

Carlos Brathwaite-led Windies too are a strong side boasting big names like Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Samuel Badree and Andre Russell and will be looking to give off their best and show the might that helped them win the ICC World Twenty20 title two years ago.

The match is being staged to raise funds to rebuild and restore five major cricket venues at the heart of Caribbean communities that were damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The tickets for the match are now on sale at https://tickets.lords.org/ with all proceeds going towards rebuilding and renovating these major venues as well as other community cricket facilities. The venues that will benefit include the Ronald Webster Park in Anguilla, the Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua, the Windsor Park Stadium in Dominica, the A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground in the British Virgin Islands and the Carib Lumber Ball Park in St. Maarten.

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