Will eat grass but raise Pakistan Army budget, says Shoaib Akhtar

Agencies
August 7, 2020

Islamabad, Aug 7: Former Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, known for his blistering deliveries on the cricket field, recently baffled many with a deadly off-field bouncer by claiming he is willing to eat grass if it enabled an increase in budget for his country's Army!

"If Allah ever gives me the authority, I will eat grass myself but I will increase the budget of the army," said Akhtar in an interview with ARY News.

The 'Rawalpindi Express', considered the fastest bowler in history said he does not understand why the civilian sector cannot work in collaboration with the Armed forces.

"I will ask my army chief to sit with me and make decisions. If the budget is 20 per cent, I will make it 60 per cent. If we insult each other, the loss is ours only," the once feared fast-bowler said.

Akthar had also claimed to ARY News interview that he was willing to take a bullet for his country and had turned down a county stint just because he wanted to fight the 1999 Kargil War.

Ties between India and Pakistan have been strained in the recent months over several issues, the latest being Pakistan's attempt to broach in the UNSC the issue of Kashmir on the first anniversary of the India's move to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and to split the erstwhile state into two union territories .

Pakistan also has not been in a good financial position and under prime minister Imran Khan, himself an all rounder cricketer, has added nearly USD 22 billion, that is 35 per cent to the nation's international debt pile in the last two years, according to an Asia Times report in July.

While Pakistan recently received USD 1.39 billion from the IMF to cushion the economic shocks caused due to COVID-19 outbreak, Akthar had a few months ago proposed that a joint cricket match be played between India and Pakistan to raise funds to fight the coronavirus. The suggestion that was put down by cricketers in India.

Meanwhile the 'Pindi boy' whose deadly pace and bounce was once dreaded by batsmen had recently taken to Twitter to deny former India cricketer Virender Sehwag's claim of sledging him.

Sehwag along with other Indian crickerters such as Harbhajan Singh and even Rahul Dravid had been at the receiving end of Akthar's sledging and antics during their playing days.

"Yes, totally self made story by him. Mujhe yeh bol k bach k jana kidhar tha us nay," Akthar tweeted to a report in which Sehwag claimed that he had sledged the 'Rawalpindi Express' by telling him that Sachin Tendulkar was his father.

During an awards ceremony Sehwag had recounted that fed up with Akthar's sledging and retaliated by telling him to say the same things to Tendulkar, who smashed the 'Pindi boy' for a six. Sehwag quipped that he told Akthar then that "Baap baap hota hai".

In the recent ARY interview, asked about the allegation made against him by former India cricketer Virendra Sehwag that he makes pro-India comments for greater following on social media channels, Akhtar said, "I cannot talk on the basis of hate." 

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Agencies
September 27,2020

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Abu Dhabi, Sept 27: Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan has said that Shubman Gill is very pleasing to watch on the eye and the opening batsman deserves all the success.

His remark came as KKR defeated SunRisers Hyderabad by seven wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The Dinesh Karthik-led side chased down a total of 143 with 12 balls to spare. For KKR, Gill and Eoin Morgan remained unbeaten on 70 and 42 respectively.

Both Morgan and Gill got together at the crease when KKR was at 53/3, but the duo formed an unbeaten stand of 92 runs to take the side over the line by seven wickets.

"Nice feeling to get a win under our belt. It's a long tournament, but obviously, this win helps us get some momentum and confidence going. We were a bit rusty in our last game against MI, but we won this match with our bowlers, they did a great job restricting a very strong Sunrisers batting line-up. 
The wickets of Bairstow and Warner at the top put us in a good position. They put them on the back-foot and we knew we didn't have to put ourselves under pressure in the chase," Morgan told host broadcaster Star Sports after the match.

"I didn't have to tell him (Gill) a great deal, to be honest, he's beautiful to watch on the eye, good bat swing, very languid style, magnificent to watch, he's good kid, very hungry to learn and I would love to bat with him once again. I think he deserves all the success. The pitches have been a bit different, you can't be fixated by one pitch, but with the nature of the heat, it should change considerably as the tournament wears on. You should take each game as it comes and try to adapt, stick to your game plan, and hopefully, it works," he added.

KKR restricted SunRisers to just 142/4 in the allotted twenty overs as all the bowlers displayed clinical performances. Pat Cummins was the standout bowler as he ended with figures of 1-19 from his quota of four overs and he also managed to bag the wicket of Jonny Bairstow.

Cummins had a poor performance against Mumbai Indians as he conceded more than 50 runs in his four overs, but he was able to bounce back against Hyderabad.

Speaking about Cummins, Gill said: "He is a world-class bowler, he is probably one of the best bowlers in the world, one odd day doesn't matter to us, he is a world-class bowler and he bowled really well against SunRisers Hyderabad."

KKR has so far played two matches in this year's IPL and the side has won one match. The Dinesh Karthik-led side will next lock horns with Rajasthan Royals on September 30.

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Agencies
September 26,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 26: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday appointed five-member for the all-India Women's Selection Committee.

All-India Women's Selection Committee include former India cricketers -- Neetu David (10 Tests and 97 WODIs), Arati Vaidya (3 Tests and 6 WODIs), Renu Margrate (5 Tests and 23 WODIs), Venkatacher Kalpana (3 Tests and 8 WODIs), and Mithu Mukherjee (4 Tests).

The board had invited applications for the respective positions earlier this year via a press release and a notification on its official website.

On account of seniority, Neetu David, the former left-arm spinner, will head the five-member committee.

"She holds the world record for best bowling figures in an innings in a Test for her 8/53 against England Women in the Jamshedpur Test held in 1995. She is also the second-highest wicket-taker for India in WODIs with 141 scalps and was also the first from India to take 100 WODI wickets," read a release from BCCI Secretary Jay Shah's office.

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Agencies
September 27,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 27: Neetu David, the newly-appointed chief women's selector on Sunday said that the match temperament of all Indian players needs to be worked upon if the side wants to win close and crucial matches.

David was appointed as the women's chief selector on Saturday. She holds the record for best bowling figures in an innings in a Test as she returned with the figures of 8/53 against England in 1995.

"One issue that I have observed when I was not in the committee, is that of the match temperament. Playing good cricket but not winning is something which is related to the match temperament, it can be worked out and we will definitely do that," David told media persons.

"Mental toughness is important it's not necessary that a player will click in all games, there have been small performances from everyone, patience and playing with unity is required and I am sure we will talk about it and be successful in this regard," she added.

When asked as to whether selecting the Indian team would be a difficult task looking at the COVID situation, David said: "Everyone is professional, everyone knows their role and responsibilities. We are also keeping this COVID situation in mind and we will work according to the guidelines of BCCI. This new committee was in touch with the players, we have seen them playing in the domestic circuit and I don't think there is any need of a trial base for the selection because all are professionals but yes at the same time there are some young players who can be scanned, we will definitely look into it."

"It will be a bit challenging to form a team because we haven't seen players playing on the field in the current situation but we will see how to tackle this, this committee is full of experience, we will keep everything in mind. Girls are performing well but one thing I feel is that we need to talk to the coach and captain of the team so we will come to know what they are feeling and what's their mindset."

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday appointed a five-member women's selection committee.

All-India Women's Selection Committee includes former India cricketers -- Neetu David (10 Tests and 97 WODIs), Arati Vaidya (3 Tests and 6 WODIs), Renu Margrate (5 Tests and 23 WODIs), Venkatacher Kalpana (3 Tests and 8 WODIs), and Mithu Mukherjee (4 Tests).

David-led panel's first task will be to pick players for three teams for the upcoming Women's T20 Challenge which is slated to be held in the UAE in November alongside the IPL play-offs.

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