Pakistan star Shahid Afridi unveiled as Qalandars' icon player for third edition of T10 League

Waseem Ahmed 23/09/2019
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Shahid Afridi to grace the T10 League. Image - @AbuDhabiCricket/Twitter.

Pakistan cricket icon Shahid Afridi is ready to entertain his passionate fans in the UAE in the third edition of the T10 League which is set to take place in Abu Dhabi.

Afridi was on Sunday unveiled as the icon player of the Qalandars who are the latest franchise to join the league along with Bangla Tigers. The 10-over format league came into existence in 2017 with its first two editions being held in Sharjah and the tournament has now moved base for the upcoming 2019 edition after signing a five-year deal with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

“I was very excited to be a part of it from the time I heard it was going to be played in Abu Dhabi,” the former Pakistan all-rounder was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“The first two editions of T10 were in Sharjah and now it is in Abu Dhabi. We will be here to provide fans all the entertainment in this short format of the game.

“T10 is a different concept where batsmen will have to have a go from the start. It’s good to have some variety for the fans.”

The Qalandars T10 franchise has a close connection to Pakistan Super League (PSL) outfit Lahore Qalandars with both teams being owned by Pakistan businessman Fawad Rana.

“We the Qalandars are delighted to be joining the Abu Dhabi T10 league as we look forward to helping build a new legacy for cricket in the UAE capital,” Rana stated.

“The game is built on big stars and fast action, so the Qalandars are very excited for this opportunity to bring iconic players like Shahid Afridi to play here.”

The third edition of the T10 League is slated to get underway in November this year with England’s Eoin Morgan, Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan and West Indies’ Darren Sammy being some of the other stars to confirm their participation in the tournament.

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India veteran MS Dhoni reportedly set to extend his break from international cricket

Sudhir Gupta 23/09/2019
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Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni.

MS Dhoni’s self-imposed break from international cricket could be extended further if the latest reports from India are to be believed.

According to a report by the Mumbai Mirror, the India veteran wicketkeeper has extended his break from the international game to November and will likely not be available for the three-match T20 series against Bangladesh at home.

The 38-year-old has been away from cricket since the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup in England and played no part in India’s subsequent tour of the West Indies and the recently concluded T20 series against South Africa.

While Dhoni has been away from the limelight, India’s selectors have opted to groom Rishabh Pant as the wicketkeeper in all three formats with the youngster taking the gloves in both T20 series against Windies and South Africa.

Dhoni’s international future has been subject to intense speculation since India’s exit in the semi-final of the World Cup with the next major ICC tournament (2020 T20 World Cup) still being over a year away.

India veteran MS Dhoni.

India veteran MS Dhoni.

The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman has been away from the media scrutiny since returning from England but has not stopped the Indian team management from being bombarded with questions pertaining to his future.

Skipper Virat Kohli recently stated that Dhoni remains a valuable asset for the team as long as he ‘available’ while chief selector MSK Prasad has denied reports of a retirement being on the cards for the veteran.

India are slated to play three T20s against Bangladesh at the start of November and it now remains to be seen whether Dhoni returns for the home limited-overs clashes against West Indies in December this year.

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Virat Kohli backs India's changed T20 approach despite series-levelling loss to South Africa

Sudhir Gupta 23/09/2019
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Virat Kohli remains committed to his vision.

India’s gung-ho batting effort in the third and final T20 against South Africa at Bengaluru failed to pay off but skipper Virat Kohli has vowed to not drop that approach in the lead up to the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia.

Kohli and his men were dealt a nine-wicket loss by the visitors on Sunday after they were restricted to a modest total of 134-9 at the Chinnaswamy stadium. This came after Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first at a venue where chasing teams have dominated historically.

Despite generating a decent start which saw them race away to 62-1, India’s batsmen faltered greatly in the latter half of the innings in a bid to force the run-scoring rate. While that adventurous approach cost the hosts a chance to win the series against South Africa, Kohli is more than happy for the team to stepped out of its ‘comfort zone’.

“We wanted to go for a big score and that’s exactly why we batted first,” Kohli told broadcasters Star Sports after the loss.

“In the past, in certain games in T20 cricket, we have been 20-30 runs short, batting first. That has cost us the game. So, the idea again, as I said at the toss, was to come out of our comfort zone and then try to get that big score because we are batting till number nine.

“These kinds of games will keep happening as long as we are wanting to come out of our comfort zones as a team and putting ourselves in a situation, which could be the case in a big game in a big tournament.”

India’s modest total failed to trouble the Proteas who chased down the target with more than three overs and nine wickets to spare in the end. Despite the unflattering scoreline, Kohli remains committed to taking a risky approach in the format with the World Cup just over a year away.

“Nothing is a given or a guarantee before you start playing,” Kohli stated.

“I think if we as a team are willing to get out of our comfort zones a lot more, then we will be unfazed with what happens at the toss. That’s why we have people batting till nine.

“Unless you do that and start taking those risks, you are always going to be put under pressure somewhere or the other. We want to make sure we iron all of those things out before we head into the World Cup.”

Kohli and India will now turn their attentions to a three-match Test series against the same opposition which begins at Visakhapatnam on October 2.

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