'We have to lift ourselves': Wahab calls for WC unity

Agencies
June 22, 2019

London, Jun 22: Wahab Riaz called on Pakistan's World Cup strugglers to stick together as they prepare to face South Africa in a must-win game at Lord's on Sunday.

Pakistan have only three points from five games and to make the semi-finals they are likely to need to win their four remaining games and improve their net run-rate, while hoping other results go their way.

Pakistan pace-man Riaz insists his team-mates realise the importance of the do-or-die game and he hopes displaying a united front against South Africa will spark a strong performance.

"We have to lift ourselves," Wahab told reporters. "We are each other's strength. We are all good friends and know that only 15 of us can lift the team which not even our family members can do."

Pakistan's defeat against arch rivals India last weekend sparked a depressing few days, not only for the team but also millions of fans back home.

Team management gave Pakistan's players time off to unwind and come back refreshed after the India game.

And Riaz insisted his team-mates realise the mistakes they have made so far and are determined to make amends.

"Good teams are the ones who realises their mistakes, so we have discussed all those mistakes and a two day break has refreshed us," he said.

But the 33-year-old, who took three wickets in Pakistan's shock win over pre-tournament favourites England, admitted the bowling unit needs to work harder.

"As a bowling unit we are trying hard, We are all focused to do well in the South Africa match. You need wickets upfront in England but we were not getting that," Riaz said.

Riaz singled out middle-order slumps for Pakistan's downfall against Australia and India -- both in chasing 300-plus targets.

"We were going well in batting in both the games but lost crucial wickets and got derailed," said Wahab of Pakistan's collapses.

Pakistan slumped to 160-6 after being 136-2 against Australia, while they lost four wickets in the space of 18 balls and 12 runs against India.

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Agencies
January 15,2021

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Brisbane, Jan 15: India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj was targetted for abuse by a section of the crowd on the opening day of the fourth Test against Australia, a local newspaper reported, claiming that he was called a "grub" by some spectators.

The reported incident happened a few days after Siraj was racially abused by spectators at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the third and fourth day of the drawn third Test. That had led to an expulsion of six people from the stands and an unreserved apology from Cricket Australia to the visiting team.

On Friday, a report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' quoted a spectator as saying that a section of the crowd at the Gabba targetted Siraj.

"The guys behind me have been calling - shouting - both Washington and Siraj grubs," a spectator named Kate was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

"It started targeted at Siraj and it was a chant similar to the SCG one (in which fans sung to the tune of Que Sera, Sera but substituted the lyrics with Que Shiraz, Shiraz).

"But this time it was Siraj. I suspect it's not a coincidence that it's Siraj being targeted post the SCG stuff."

According to the newspaper, at one point, a man in the crowd was heard yelling, "Siraj, give us a wave, give us a wave, give us a wave. Siraj, you bloody grub."

Play was halted during the Sydney Test for about 10 minutes after Siraj complained of racial abuse from a section of the crowd. The BCCI had also lodged a complaint with the match referee against the abuse.

CA had promised strongest possible action against the offenders, which included the possibility of them being banned for life from the SCG.

The ICC had condemned the incidents of Indian players being subjected to racial abuse by the spectators and had sought an action-taken report from CA.

Former cricketers and current players like India captain Virat Kohli, Australia skipper Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer had also condemned the incidents at the SCG.

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Agencies
January 7,2021

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Sydney, Jan 7: Australia were all out for 338 in their first innings on the second day of the third and penultimate Test against India on Friday.

After Will Pucovski (62) and Marnus Labuschagne (91) gave the hosts their strongest start of the series, Steve Smith struck a gritty 131-run knock to ensure that the team had a fighting score on the board.

For India, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was the top wicket-taker with four scalps, conceding 62 runs in his 18 overs.

Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and debutant Navdeep Saini chipped in with two wickets each to keep the visiting side firmly in the match after the hosts claimed the day one honours.

The series is currently locked 1-1 after India's remarkable eight-wicket comeback win in the Melbourne Test, off-setting a humiliating loss in the opener in Adelaide.

Brief Scores:

Australia 1st innings: 338 all out in 105.4 overs (Will Pucovski 62, Marnus Labuschagne 91, Steve Smith 131, Ravindra Jadeja 4/62, Jasprit Bumrah 2/66).

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Agencies
January 13,2021

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Sydney, Jan 13: Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj has set a new standard for calling out poor crowd behaviour, Australia's top off-spinner Nathan Lyon said on Wednesday, describing cricket as a sport for all with no room for racism or abuse of any form.

The Indian team had lodged an official complaint with the ICC after a group of spectators at the Sydney Cricket Ground racially abused pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Siraj on the third and fourth day of the third Test.

"There is no room for any racial sledges or any abuse in any type. People think they are being funny, but it can affect people in different ways. For me, cricket is the sport for all and there is no room for it at all," Lyon said during a virtual press conference.

"If the time is right to call in match officials you do it. We have got a lot of security around the ground these days and if there is anyone doing it then they can be removed, as there is absolutely no place for it. It well may set precedence to report issues to officials."

While fielding at the square-leg boundary, Siraj was allegedly called "monkey" and "brown dog" over two days by some spectators, who were removed by security guards after the matter was reported to the on-field umpires.

"I think it's quite disgusting to be honest. Yes, I've been on the other end of it, coping abuse, whether that's England, New Zealand, South Africa or wherever it may be. But there's no room for it. As a player you've got to try your best to block it out," Lyon said.

He feels that players would now have the option of stopping play and call out their abusers in the stands.

"It well may do (set a precedence to report issues to officials). It will be up to that player and how they have been affected.

"I just really hope in a whole world society, we can get over it and people can come to watch us play cricket, with players not going to work and not be worried about being abused or racially abused," the country's experienced spinner said.

The Australian players had supported their Indian counterparts after the incidents with skipper Tim Paine even joining the visiting team huddle after Siraj's complaints on the fourth day of the drawn match.

The four-match series is currently tied 1-1 with the fourth Test scheduled to be held here from Friday.

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