Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera among Sri Lankan players to pull out from Pakistan tour

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Ten Sri Lankan players have decided against travelling to Pakistan for the upcoming tour, scheduled to begin on September 27 in Karachi.

Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera are among the top players to pull out from the tour, which consists of three ODIs and three T20 games.

A militant attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore a decade ago had stopped several top cricketing nations from touring the country.

The Sri Lanka cricket board stated that all players were briefed about the security arrangements and it was left to their discretion if they wanted to go ahead.

Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne were the other players who “chose to stay away” from the series.

It was believed that this tour will attract more nations to Pakistan after years of isolation.

Sri Lanka batsman Danushka Gunathilaka was among the players who believed that the security would be adequate.

“From what they told us, I think there will be very tight security,” Gunathilaka said.

The island nation will also participate in two Test matches against Pakistan but the dates and venue have not been announced yet.

Sri Lanka’s sports minister Harin Fernando has suggested the United Arab Emirates should be the venue, as opposed to Pakistan. The UAE has served as the home ground of several of Pakistan’s series in the past few years.

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Mumbai cricket legend Amol Muzumdar lands South Africa coaching gig

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Prolific Indian domestic batsman Amol Muzumdar will be heading back to his home country after being named as South Africa’s batting coach for next month’s three-Test series.

Muzumdar never won a Test cap with India, despite hitting 30 first-class centuries and 16 half-centuries in a career that spanned two decades and saw him collect more than 11,000 runs for Mumbai, Assam and Andhra Pradesh.

Now he will provide specialist knowledge to the Proteas, who need all they help they can get after failing to score more than 200 in each of their seven innings the last time they toured India in 2015-16.

“Amol is a perfect fit for us,” said CSA acting director of cricket Corrie van Zyl. “He brings an intimate knowledge of Indian playing conditions and the challenges our batsmen are likely to face. He also assisted us at the spin bowling camp we held recently in India and thus has already built up a good working relationship with Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma and Zubayr Hamza.”

Muzumdar, 44, has previously served as batting coach for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and has also worked with the India Under-19 and Under-23 sides. He failed to make the shortlist for India’s batting coach earlier this year, with the position instead going to Vikram Rathore.

“Cricket has always been and will continue to be my calling,” Muzumdar said. “Having spent 25 years on the pitch as a player, I intend to spend the next 25 tapping and grooming talent on the cricket field. I am very excited about this new chapter to my coaching career.”

The first Test starts in Visakhapatnam on October 2.

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Ashes 2019: Joe Root in no mood to relinquish his England Test captaincy

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England Test skipper Joe Root.

Joe Root has no doubts he is the man to lead England back from the disappointment of surrendering the Ashes on home soil for the first time in 18 years, starting next week at The Oval.

Root’s hopes of getting his hands back on the famous urn, which England lost after a 4-0 beating on the 2017/18 trip Down Under, evaporated at 6.15pm on a hard-fought final day of the fourth Test.

There was no doubting the home side’s desire at Old Trafford, where they defied the tourists for 84.3 overs against the odds but there were still 81 deliveries left to bowl when Josh Hazlewood trapped Craig Overton lbw to leave England 197 all out.

That left Australia with a 185-run win and an unassailable 2-1 lead going into the final match, as well as ensuring Root would be his country’s first skipper not to win the series on home soil since Nasser Hussain in 2001.

Questions over his captaincy have yet to be asked at much more than a murmur, partially because there are no clear cut rivals for the job, but this is the stage on which England’s Test skippers are ultimately judged.

Root was visibly distraught after seeing his side’s resistance come up short but is single-minded about his own future.

“Definitely, yes,” he said when asked if he felt he was the right man for the job.

“Whenever you lose a series it hurts and I have to take that on the chin. It’s still very raw. You have to look at areas you want to get better at, both in yourself and as a team.

“But I have been given a fantastic opportunity to captain the Test side and will continue to work very hard doing my best at that. That is in my control and I have to make sure I keep getting this team in the best shape to win as many games as possible.”

There is precious little time to wallow in the aftermath of defeat, their first at the Manchester venue in 11 Tests, with the final international clash of a long, draining and – lest it be forgotten less than two months on from the World Cup win – historic summer of cricket, close at hand.

The fifth Test begins on Thursday and with a score to settle, a series to draw and points up for grabs in the inaugural World Test Championship, Root is focused on the task at hand.

“It’s important to look at next week. We have an important Test match against Australia and we have to make sure we finish this summer strong: do not lose this Ashes series,” he said.

“We have the Test championship to play for, do not lose this Ashes series. It matters to me, it matters to everyone involved. I know the Ashes are not coming home but in terms of the Test championship, at the end of the two-year cycle those points could be crucial.

“Every game against Australia matters.”

Had England somehow managed to reach the end of the day, fashioning a fitting sequel to Ben Stokes’ Headingley heroics, there would have been glowing tributes paid to the likes of Joe Denly, Jos Buttler and Overton.

All three faced more than 100 balls as they clung to a foothold in the game, the latter getting Australia twitching as he lingered for two hours and 52 minutes – including a long and stoic stand with Somerset team-mate Jack Leach.

“When you find yourself in a situation like today you learn a lot about your team and the guys. I thought everyone showed a lot of courage, resilience, character and everyone should be really proud about how they approached the day,” said Root.

“Our guys fought extremely bravely, dug in and put a high price on their wicket. That almost makes it a little bit harder to take but at the same time I could not be more proud with how we fought.

“We constantly believe we can get something out of situations we would not expect so I think that is a strong message and we will put in another real hard shift in and take as much as we can from The Oval.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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