CPL 2019: Pakistan's Shadab Khan headlines host of star names picked in player draft

Waseem Ahmed 23/05/2019
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Shadab Khan (l) will turn out for Guyana Amazon Warriors.

Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan was among some big names picked up by various franchises during the 2019 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) player draft held on Wednesday.

Shadab, who had missed the 2018 edition, was picked up by Guyana Amazon Warriors in the first round of the draft. Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and England’s Alex Hales were two other big names picked up in the draft with the former being snapped up by St Lucia Stars while the latter went the way of Barbados Tridents.

19-year-old Pakistan pacer Mohammad Hasnain bagged his maiden CPL contract with the youngster being picked up by defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders. Meanwhile, senior Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz was retained by his franchise Barbados Tridents.

Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who played for St Kitt and Nevis Patriots in the previous edition, has now moved to Barbados Tridents. Niroshan Dickwella found a taker for his services as well with the Sri Lanka wicketkeeper batsman being picked up by St Lucia Stars.

West Indies veteran opener Chris Gayle returned to his home franchise Jamaica Tallawahs as a marquee player while Kieron Pollard made a return to Trinbago Knight Riders. Windies skipper Jason Holder was chosen as the marquee player for Barbados while Nicholas Pooran will play the same role for Guyana Amazon Warriors.

Big-hitting Andre Russell was retained by Jamaica Tallawahs along with veteran Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.

The 2019 edition of the CPL is set to get underway in September this year. Several big names such as Afghanistan leg-spin sensation Rashid Khan and Australia’s Chris Lynn have chosen to give the tournament a miss this time after signing up for the inaugural Euro T20 Slam as marquee players.

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2019 World Cup: Wahab Riaz itching to prove Mickey Arthur wrong after shock Pakistan recall

Waseem Ahmed 22/05/2019
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Wahab Riaz was a surprise inclusion in Pakistan's World Cup squad.

Having become a shock inclusion in Pakistan’s squad for the 2019 ICC World Cup in England, pacer Wahab Riaz is now determined to prove coach Mickey Arthur wrong during the global showpiece.

The 33-year-old has not played an ODI for almost two years now with his last appearance coming in June, 2017 and was not expected to be picked for the World Cup after being ignored in the 23-man initial probable squad.

The left-armed pacer’s international career seemed to be fading after Arthur’s scathing comments about him last year with the South African publicly questioning Wahab’s ability to win games for Pakistan.

“He (Wahab) has not won us a game in two years,” Arthur had then told ESPNcricinfo.

“I expect players that have been around for a long time to be winning us games and setting standards. Otherwise we will invest in younger players who have long futures.”

Having earned the most unlikeliest of recalls, Wahab is now hoping to prove Arthur wrong when the 2019 World Cup gets underway later this month.

Wahab last played an ODI  for Pakistan in June, 2017.

Wahab last played an ODI for Pakistan in June, 2017.

“I can’t explain in words the pain I have gone through, but I don’t want to live in the past. That’s history now,” Wahab stated ahead of his departure for England.

“Now it’s about what we are going to do in the World Cup. Obviously, it’s the coach’s duty to get the best results from the players, and he wants players that can win matches for the team.

“I also wanted to be in the team, the only difference is I missed two years of (international) cricket. Now I am in and want to prove him (Arthur) wrong and justify my opportunity.”

Eyebrows were raised over Wahab’s inclusion in the World Cup squad despite the pacer not featuring in Pakistan’s recently concluded ODI series against hosts England. The biggest casualty of Wahab’s recall to the ODI setup was fellow left-armed pacer Junaid Khan who failed to find a place in the final World Cup squad despite being named in the preliminary team.

Junaid had later made his disappointment clear with a cryptic tweet following his World Cup snub and Wahab has empathised with the 29-year-old’s plight.

“Every player wishes to play for Pakistan and the World Cup is the biggest challenge in your career,” said Wahab.

“Obviously, he will be saddened and very frustrated, and must be thinking he had been treated unfairly. But when I was out for two years, I was thinking the same.

“At the end, this is the Pakistan team and its selectors, coaches and captains make the decision. I am sure this wasn’t meant to hurt someone but it’s for the country, and whatever they think is good for Pakistan.”

Wahab had been Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup edition with 16 scalps in seven games at an average of 23.

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India skipper Virat Kohli prepared for most challenging World Cup campaign of his career

Sudhir Gupta 22/05/2019
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Kohli is set to embark on his third 50-over World Cup campaign for India.

India skipper Virat Kohli believes that the upcoming edition of the 50-over World Cup in England will be the most challenging one of his 11-year international career so far.

Set to embark on his third World Cup campaign, the India captain feels that the change in format for the 2019 edition will present a difficult challenge for all of the 10 participating teams.

The 2019 World Cup sees the 10 teams play each other once in a round-robin group-stage before the top four sides move on to the semi-finals. India have a tough start to their campaign with their first four opponents being South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and arch-rivals Pakistan but Kohli believes facing the top sides early on will hold the team in good stead.

“It is probably the most challenging World Cup of all the three that I have been part of because of the format and looking at the strength of the all the sides as well,” Kohli stated ahead of the team’s departure for England on Tuesday.

“If we live up to our skill sets and our standards that we set for ourselves, we’ll be on the right side of the result more often. That is going to be key. Every game you have to play to the best of your potential because it’s not a group stage anymore, it’s playing everyone once.

Kohli is confident of India's chances of landing a third WC title.

Kohli is confident of India’s chances of landing a third WC title.

“The best thing is that we’ll have four tough games straight up and that will set the tone nicely for us. Everyone has to be at their best intensity from the first match onwards and we don’t have any room for complacency.”

Having won the competition previously on home soil in 2011, Kohli feels that handling pressure in England will be key if India are to clinch a third World Cup title.

“A team that does well at the World Cup is a team that can handle pressure well and secondly try and be as normal as possible. Looking at the magnitude of those games, the team that stays more focused and more balanced can go on to win the tournament,” the 30-year-old said.

India will play two warm-up games in England before starting their 2019 World Cup campaign with the first of them coming against New Zealand on May 25. They will then take on Bangladesh three days later before locking horns with South Africa in their World Cup campaign opener on June 5.

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