The current Pakistan cricket team has had the “worst” possible preparation for the World Cup but is still capable of lifting the trophy if it manages to stay united through the mega-event, feels the country’s 1992 World Cup winning captain Imran Khan.”The team had the worst preparation for the World Cup but it is all a matter of some players putting up their hands and performing consistently in the tournament and the team clicking and gelling together after a good start and anything can happen,” Imran said when asked about the team’s chances in the event starting February 19.But Imran said the team management and the captain need to be very clear about how they approach the tournament.”My mind is clear and my planning is clear the specialist players can win you matches so play them at the top. The top three or four batsmen should all be specialists and you can’t have ‘pinch hitters’ coming in at the top even on the sub-continental pitches,” the former captain said.Imran feels the responsibility lies primarily with seniors such as Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq as far as batting is concerned.”They have to play central roles in every match. The team management must focus their plans and strategy for every game around them. Because the World Cup is all about pressure and once you lose quick, wickets it becomes difficult for the incoming batsmen to handle the pressure,” he said.The cricketer-turned-politician also felt that it was wrong for critics and pundits to describe captain Shahid Afridi as a batting all-rounder.advertisement”I don’t consider him a batting all-rounder. To me he is a very energetic captain on the field a very good stock bowler and brilliant fielder. His batting is a bonus. We should not depend on it we should consider his captaincy, bowling and fielding as his main assets,” he explained.”He has all the batting talent in the world but he lacks management while batting and that has always been his weakness.”Imran said there were a number of players in the team who were not doing justice to their talent.”Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Afridi and even Abdul Razzaq are examples they have immense batting abilities but don’t manage their innings well,” he said.Imran also felt that Afridi should never have left playing Test cricket last year.”If he had decided to fight on and not left the test captaincy he would have been a much better captain today.Because test cricket is the real cricket and if as a captain you can learn to deal with the pressures of Test cricket then captaining in ODIs become much easier.”
Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar is taking guard to bat for an all-new cause.The preparation seems to be impeccable – just as you had seen him at Wankhede, the WACA in Perth, Trent Bridge or the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain – and could see him playing a larger political role in the coming days.Four months into his innings as a Rajya Sabha Member, he appears to have got a measure of the political pitch and is clearly keen to make his time out in the middle count. The result is a letter to Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal on the issue of integrating sports with education.Tendulkar has sent a presentation to Sibal on his vision of how sports can get its due in the country’s education system. Writing in his capacity as an Elder, he says he wants to meet Sibal and is keen to further the cause of sports.Sibal told Mail Today, “Yes, I have received a letter from Sachin. I have written back to him asking him to come to the HRD ministry to make a presentation on the subject.”Sources close to the minister said that while the minister is personally inclined to incorporate Tendulkar’s suggestions in the curriculum, such matters are decided by the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which will work out the modalities for the same.Political dutiesTendulkar’s initiative in reaching out to Sibal – his first steps in trying to address a larger audience as a politician with the prospect of a role in government – comes at a time when his comment on reassessing his cricketing future in November has fuelled speculation on his retirement from cricket.Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal.”When I feel that I am not delivering what is needed, and then I will re-look at the scheme of things. I am already 39 and no one expects me to go on playing forever,” he said in an interview to a private TV channel on October 5.Sachin’s letter to Sibal could not have come at a better time for his efforts to seek a formal role for sports in education. The HRD ministry has of late been focusing on giving education a holistic outlook, which includes according importance to sports and co- curricular activities in schools and higher education.For instance, in the case of Unmukt Chand, the under-19 cricketer who was not allowed to appear for his college examination because of low attendance, Sibal had intervened to get him an exemption.Recently, the minister approved UGC guidelines to provide free education to undergraduate and postgraduate students who win laurels for the country at the Olympics or world championships.According to the sporting fraternity, Tendulkar’s efforts to highlight sports in curriculum will make a quicker and bigger impact. “It’s a great initiative from Sachin Tendulkar,” said former cricketer Ravi Shastri.”Yes, sports should be included in the curriculum.It’s a great gesture from Sachin and his voice can make a great impact. Sport is important not only for winning medals but for the general health of the nation,” said badminton player P. Gopichand.Olympic medal winner and boxer Mary Kom hopes that this will benefit all sporting disciplines and not just cricket.”I would want that all sport be given equal importance and not just cricket. Because, in that case, youngsters will choose only that sport,” Kom said.New inningsThe veteran cricketer was sworn in as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha on June 4 this year. There were mixed reactions to this. It was then that Tendulkar had first said that he would like to be remembered as someone who contributed to all sports.”With the nomination as Rajya Sabha member, I think I am in a better position not only to help cricket but also other sports in the country which is really important and means a lot to me. And I will try my best to help other sports,” he had told reporters right after his swearing-in.Meanwhile, an HRD ministry official said that the ministry had already taken steps towards integrating sports with education.”The minister would like to meet him ( Tendulkar) to get a better understanding of his ideas and vision,” a ministry official said.advertisement
A record-breaking crowd of 24,156 flocked to the Edgbaston Cricket Ground for the high-profile India-Pakistan Champions Trophy match hours after the horrific terror attack on London Bridge.Three attackers drove a hired van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed others nearby, killing seven people and injuring 48.London’s Metropolitan Police arrested 12 people in the Barking district of east London in connection with the attack and raids were continuing there, the force said. A Reuters photographer saw another raid take place in nearby East Ham.Following the incident, security was beefed up at Birmingham where India and Pakistan squared off for their opening match of the Champions Trophy.Today’s ????v???? crowd is 24,156 – a new record attendance for an ODI at @edgbaston! ??? #INDvPAK #CT17 pic.twitter.com/z4Aj1ie49w- ICC (@ICC) June 4, 2017As many as 24,156 fans turned out to watch the marquee clash. This was the highest attendance ever for an ODI at this venue.Among those present at the ground were star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and South Indian movie star Dhanush.At the stadium .. Ind vs pak.. champions trophy 🙂 and got to meet the one and only god of cricket @sachin_rt ????????? adrenaline pumping pic.twitter.com/YQclMUwRyS- Dhanush (@dhanushkraja) June 4, 2017The crowd was treated to some outstanding cricket by Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan before Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh reiterated their class with free-flowing half-centuries.Hardik Pandya then joined Kohli in the middle and clobbered Imad Wasim for three successive sixes in the last over of the Indian innings.advertisementAP Photo Rain breaks for most of the first half of the match forced the match to be reduced to 48-overs-a-side.