India Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane seeks BCCI permission to play county cricket for Hampshire

Sudhir Gupta 19/04/2019
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Rahane is hoping to play county cricket for the first time.

India Test stalwart Ajinkya Rahane has reportedly approached the BCCI to seek permission to play in the County Championship for Hampshire.

The India Test deputy skipper will have plenty of time on his hands in the summer after not being considered for selection in the 15-man ODI squad for the 2019 World Cup in England.

According to a report by IANS, Rahane has submitted an application to the BCCI and its Committee of Administrators (CoA) to seek permission to play for Hampshire from May to mid-July this year.

If granted permission to do so, Rahane will play in the County circuit for the first time in his professional career. Last year, India’s top-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara had turned out for Yorkshire in the County Championship First Division while skipper Virat Kohli was due to play for Surrey before pulling out due to a late injury.

Pujara turned out for Yorkshire last year.

Pujara turned out for Yorkshire last year.

“There is no reason why Rahane wouldn’t be granted permission as the likes of Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara were also given the go-ahead,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying by IANS.

“Also, Rahane isn’t a part of the World Cup team, so he won’t have any international commitment at that time. He wants to play four-day games and that should actually help him when he returns to play Test cricket for India after the showpiece event gets over in England and Wales,” the official added.

Rahane is currently leading Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) where he has so far scored 201 runs in eight innings.

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Afridi feels Amir and Wahab should have been included in Pakistan's World Cup squad

Waseem Ahmed 19/04/2019
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Afridi believes Wahab and Amir will be big misses in the WC.

Former Pakistan stalwart Shahid Afridi hopes the 15-man preliminary World Cup squad led by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed can capture the trophy but believes that they will miss the experience of pacers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.

Pakistan named its preliminary 15-man squad for the 2019 ICC World Cup on Thursday with Amir being the biggest omission although the left-armed pacer still has a chance to make the final cut should he impress in the preceding ODI series in England.

Wahab, meanwhile, had not been named even in the 23-man initial probable squad which underwent a two-day fitness camp at Lahore recently.

Amir’s struggles in limited-overs cricket since Pakistan’s 2017 ICC Champions Trophy triumph in England is all two well-known with the pacer going wicketless in nine of the 14 ODIs he has played in the period.

However, Afridi believes that Amir’s ability to swing the ball in English conditions and Wahab’s pace would have been massive assets for Pakistan’s World Cup squad.

“Must’ve been a tough decision for selection committee to select the best 15-member squad for the World Cup. Best of luck to those who have made it – Hopefully you’ll bring the cup home,” the former Pakistan all-rounder wrote on Twitter.

“Personally, I’ll miss Wahab Riaz because of pace and Mohammad Amir given the English conditions,” he added.

It will now be interesting to see if Amir can have a substantial impact in Pakistan’s upcoming five-match ODI series against hosts England to give the selectors something to think about before the final squad for the World Cup is announced.

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Make up of pace battery and other questions facing Pakistan during 2019 World Cup selection

Waseem Ahmed 17/04/2019
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Will Mohammad Amir make the cut for the 2019 World Cup?

With the 2019 ICC World Cup in England just over a month away, the excitement has been building up with participating countries naming their respective squads for the tournament.

New Zealand, India, Australia and England are some of the countries who have already named their squads for the World Cup as the final deadline of April 23 approaches.

Pakistan’s 23-man probable squad for the World Cup recently underwent a two-day fitness training camp with the final 15-man squad set to be announced on Thursday.

Ahead of the all-important squad announcement, we take a look at the key talking points.

BACK-UP OPENERS

In Pakistan’s recent 5-0 ODI drubbing at the hands of Australia in the UAE, opener Fakhar Zaman was handed a rest with Shan Masood and Abid Ali given the chance to audition.

Both players made their respective ODI debuts in the series with Masood aggregating 111 runs from four appearances with a fine half-century in the final match.

Abid Ali, meanwhile, scored a superb 112 on his ODI debut before being dismissed for a duck in his second outing.

While Fakhar and Imam-ul-Haq will surely take the opening slots for Pakistan in the World Cup, they will want an able back-up option and it will be interesting to see who among Masood and Abid the selectors will finally tilt towards.

Abid Ali.

Abid Ali.

PACE OPTIONS

It is in the pace department where Pakistan’s biggest headaches are with regards to the World Cup squad selection. There are several contenders for the pace attack which includes Hasan Ali, Usman Shinwari, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan and the three Mohammads – Abbas, Amir and Hasnain.

Of them, Hasan and Shaheen are certain to board the World Cup plane but the make up of their supporting cast remains up in the air. While Abbas has always been a Test specialist, Hasnain is still an inexperienced teenager with just three ODIs under his belt.

Then there is Amir who has failed to pick up a single wicket in nine of his last 14 ODI appearances with his white-ball struggles an open secret. Add in Junaid’s unflattering injury record into the mix and the picture become even murkier.

Who among the remaining pacers joins Hasan and Shaheen on the World Cup plan remains anyone’s guess at the moment.

Hasnain (r) has played only three ODIs so far.

Hasnain (r) has played only three ODIs so far.

YO-YO FITNESS TEST CLOUD

While there are several puzzles to solve for Pakistan’s selectors ahead of Thursday’s announcement, the recent results of the Yo-Yo fitness test have thrown up a few problems.

As many as five players including stand-in skipper Imad Wasim were reported to have failed the Yo-Yo test during the ODI whitewash at the hands of Australia. The team management has made it clear that all players travelling for the World Cup will have to pass the fitness test at any cost and that could prove to be decisive with several players currently struggling.

Imad is still recuperating from a knee-flare up and was reportedly unable to take the test in the recently concluded fitness camp at Lahore. The all-rounder is set to be provided with another chance to prove his fitness before the World Cup gets underway.

Meanwhile, Abid and Hasnain were two of the players to fail the test in the Australia series and as such, their selection could be in jeopardy depending on the progress they have made ever since.

Imad Wasim is currently struggling for fitness.

Imad Wasim is currently struggling for fitness.

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