Pakistan grapple with Mohammad Amir setback as England look to ring in the changes for third ODI

Ashish Peter 13/05/2019
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Mohammad Amir (l) is reportedly down with chicken pox.

After what was a high-scoring second ODI between the two sides, hosts England and Pakistan are all set to lock horns once again in the third game of the five-match series at Bristol on Tuesday.

Led by a 106-ball 138 by opener Fakhar Zaman, Pakistan nearly pulled off the second highest run chase in ODI history after England had scored 373-3 at Southampton but they now find themselves trailing 0-1 in the five-match series.

Ahead of the pivotal third ODI between the two sides, we look at the key talking points.

ENGLAND PONDER WORLD CUP OPTIONS

While they will want to keep the winning momentum going, hosts England also have the World Cup on their mind and that could see them making a few changes for the third ODI.

World Cup prospect Jofra Archer did not feature in the second match after an impressive outing in the washed-out series opener. While Archer waits for another chance, England could bring in Tom Curran on Tuesday as they seek to test various combinations.

After an expensive outing at Southampton, leg-spinner Adil Rashid could be dropped to make way for Joe Denly who would be a like-for-like replacement. There is also a chance that second ODI centurion Jos Buttler could be rested to give the recalled James Vince an opportunity with the bat following his fine recent showings for Hampshire in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Vince (l) could feature for England on Tuesday.

Vince (l) could feature for England on Tuesday.

PAKISTAN DEALT AMIR BLOW

Eyebrows had been raised after Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir was omitted from the playing XI for the second ODI given how the series remains his final chance to work his way back into the 2019 World Cup squad.

However, it is now reported that the left-armed pacer is down with chicken pox and that means he is a certainty to miss the Bristol clash as well.

Question marks remain over Amir’s availability for the fourth and fifth ODIs but this latest setback has come at just the wrong time for the Pakistan pacer. Having endured a torrid time in limited-overs cricket since the end of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, Amir would have hoped to impress under the swinging conditions in England.

Now, time is running out for him to stake a claim for a spot in Pakistan’s World Cup squad.

A big setback to Amir's 2019 World Cup hopes.

A big setback to Amir’s 2019 World Cup hopes.

CHANCE FOR ASIF ALI TO PUSH WORLD CUP CLAIM

While Amir’s World Cup hopes have taken a big blow, there is still an opportunity for Asif Ali to further strengthen his claim.

Like Amir, Asif too has not been picked in Pakistan’s preliminary World Cup squad but his latest display at Southampton would have done his chances of making the final cut no harm.

With the lack of a big finisher down the order among Pakistan’s current white-ball cricket woes, Asif’s quick-fire fifty in the second ODI was a breath of fresh air.

The right-hander nearly pulled off the improbable for Pakistan with his first half-century in nine ODI innings and another big display in the remainder of the series could very well see the 27-year-old get a ticket for the World Cup.

Asif Ali struck a fine 36-ball 51 in the second ODI.

Asif Ali struck a fine 36-ball 51 in the second ODI.

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IPL 2019: Kuldeep Yadav and Kedar Jadhav's form a concern for India ahead of World Cup

Ashish Peter 13/05/2019
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An IPL 2019 campaign to forget for Kuldeep. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

The 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) drew to a close on Sunday with Mumbai Indians defeating Chennai Super Kings to clinch a record fourth title.

With the IPL now coming to an end, all attention shifts to the 2019 World Cup in England which is slated to begin at the end of May.

Apart from hosts England, Virat Kohli and his team India are among the favourites to land the World Cup title. Here, we look at how India’s 15-man squad for the World Cup fared over the course of the IPL campaign.

Shikhar Dhawan – 8

An excellent campaign for the India opener on his return to the Delhi Capitals franchise. Grew into the tournament after an indifferent start and ended it with a total of 521 runs scored with the help of five fifties.

Shikhar Dhawan. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Shikhar Dhawan. Image – @IPL/Twitter.

Rohit Sharma – 7

While he led Mumbai well to their fourth title, Rohit also had a decent campaign with the bat after his horror show in 2018. Averaging nearly 30, the India deputy skipper scorer 405 runs from 15 matches after returning to his favoured opening slot.

KL Rahul – 9

It was arguably Rahul’s IPL 2019 displays which earned him a spot in India’s World Cup squad. The KXIP opener was the top run-scorer among Indians and the second highest overall with a tournament tally of 593 runs.

Virat Kohli – 7

Despite yet another forgettable IPL campaign for RCB, skipper Virat Kohli did well individually with a tournament tally of 464 runs. He is the only Bangalore batsmen to feature among the top 10 run-scorers in the tournament.

Kedar Jadhav – 3

One of the biggest worries for India will be the form of Kedar Jadhav who tallied a mere 162 runs from 12 innings at an average of just 18 and a strike-rate below 100. Injured himself too in the process.

CSK's Kedar Jadhav. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

CSK’s Kedar Jadhav. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Vijay Shankar – 4

India’s surprise pick for the World Cup didn’t cover himself in glory either despite starting strongly. Just 244 runs in the end for Shankar at an average of 20 while he picked the solitary wicket with the ball in hand.

MS Dhoni – 8

Despite his failure to fire in the final, Dhoni was the lynchpin for CSK throughout the tournament with several match-winning displays. His wicketkeeping brilliance continues to astound while his batting was excellent with a total of 416 runs at an average of nearly 84.

Dinesh Karthik – 5

The KKR skipper’s own form wasn’t the best as his side fell away drastically in the latter half of the competition. Bar one unbeaten knock of 97 against Rajasthan, Karthik was abysmal with the bat with just 156 runs to show for in his other 11 innings.

Hardik Pandya – 9

While Andre Russell was mesmerising one and all with his sensational hitting for KKR, Hardik Pandya more than matched the Windies all-rounder with a power-packed tournament. Pandya was brilliant with the bat where he scored 401 runs at a strike-rate of over 191 while he was a handy bowling option for champions Mumbai with 14 wickets in total.

Ravindra Jadeja – 7

The CSK all-rounder’s form with the ball will be highly encouraging for India with the southpaw bagging 15 wickets at an economy-rate of just 6.35. His batting wasn’t the best but his fielding alone saved several runs for Chennai over the course of the tournament.

Yuzvendra Chahal – 7

One rare shining light for RCB after what was a shambolic campaign was the displays of Yuzvendra Chahal with the leg-spinner chipping in with 18 wickets.

Kuldeep Yadav – 2

Perhaps the biggest worry for India heading into the World Cup. The wrist-spinner looked out of sorts for most of the campaign with only four wickets to show. He was taken to the cleaners by Moeen Ali in an expensive display against RCB and was left inconsolable after that thrashing. Even more worryingly, he did not feature at all after the Moeen assault.

Confidence low for Kuldeep Yadav. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Confidence low for Kuldeep Yadav. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Mohammed Shami – 7

Shami was a breath of fresh air for KXIP with the India pacer contributing with 19 wickets in 14 appearances. Although he was slightly expensive, Shami looked fit and hungry throughout the campaign which bodes well for India.

Jasprit Bumrah – 9

He tally of 19 scalps does not do justice to the exceptional campaign Bumrah had for Mumbai with the India pacer going on to show why is the best bowler at death in limited-overs cricket. Maintained an economy-rate of 6.63 which is magnificent for a pacer in T20s.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 6.5

Not the most prolific of campaigns for Bhuvneshwar despite maintaining a healthy economy-rate of less than eight. His 15 appearances yielded 13 wickets with the seamer looking a touch below his best.

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South Africa's AB de Villiers cools interest in securing Big Bash League stint

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Former South Africa batsman AB de Villiers.

In a setback for Cricket Australia, South African ace AB de Villiers has reportedly pulled out of negotiations for a future stint in the Big Bash League (BBL).

Cricket Australia, the BBL franchises and broadcasters had come together to rope in the former Proteas batsman as a marquee player for the T20 league with a package deal of A$350,000 reportedly mooted to tempt the South African.

35-year-old AB de Villiers has been concentrating on T20 franchise tournaments ever since his shock retirement from international cricket. The right-handed batsman has recently played in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the Indian Premier League (IPL).

As of a few weeks ago, de Villiers remained interested in working out a possible deal with almost every BBL franchise expressing their interest in securing his services.

AB de Villiers in action for RCB in IPL 2019. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

AB de Villiers in action for RCB in IPL 2019. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

However, according to a report by the News Corp, the 35-year-old batsman has now cooled down his interest in joining the league for the 2019-20 edition.

Cricket Australia and its partners have been attempting to raise the popularity of the T20 competition with the board recently raising the limit for overseas players per franchise to six. Previously, each franchise was only allowed to contract two overseas players in its roster.

Now, teams will be allowed to sign six foreign players over the course of the BBL although they will still be permitted to keep only two of them in their 18-man roster at any particular stage.

Along with de Villiers, the BBL franchises have also expressed an interest in bringing big-hitting West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell to the league following his stupendous displays in the recently concluded 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL).

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