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Deadline for Registration is 25th Feb, 2014

LAHORE: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said on Friday he hoped his team will carry the momentum of their recent one-day winning form into the Asia Cup starting in Bangladesh next week.

Pakistan will open the defence of the title they won under Misbah in 2012 with a match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

“For me every team is favourite (to win the Asia Cup) but we definitely have the edge as we have won our last two one-day series,” Misbah told reporters on the last day of a training camp.

Pakistan won a three-match series in South Africa 2-1 before taking a five-match series against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates 3-2 in December last year.

Five-time Asian champions India, hosts Bangladesh and Afghanistan are the other teams in the event which runs until March 8.

Misbah believed hosts Bangladesh are also dangerous.

“In their home conditions Bangladesh will also be very dangerous because the way they played in the last Asia Cup, beating India and Sri Lanka, they will be equally dangerous,” said Misbah.

Misbah said because of the twin wins, Pakistan have an ideal combination.

“We have given good performances and because we won the last two series the combination is good and when you are on a winning run your confidence is high and that's the case with us,” said Misbah.

Misbah refused to reveal his plans when asked about when he would hang up his boots.

“I don't know why people are after me,” said a visibly irked 39-year-old, who leads Pakistan in Tests and one-day matches.

“I want to play with commitment as long as I play,” said Misbah, the world's leading scorer in one-days in 2013 with 1,373.

Despite his form there remain concerns who will lead Pakistan in the 2015 World Cup to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Pakistan will fly to Dhaka on Saturday.

Pakistan suffered a huge blow to their Asia Cup and World Twenty20 preparations as fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, the team's spearhead in recent times, was ruled out of both events due to a recurrence of his hip injury.

Lanky Irfan, the tallest ever man to play international cricket at 7 feet one inch, fractured his hip in Pakistan's T20 series against South Africa in UAE in November last year.

However, his recovery proved short lived when the injury recurred in a domestic tournament this week, prompting chief selector Azhar Khan to say Irfan had to be left out of the squads.

“Irfan was left out as he injured himself again and needs some time for recovery,” Khan told reporters while announcing the squads.

The notable inclusions in the squads for the upcoming events are Fawad Alam, who returns to the ODI squad after a gap of over two years and Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik who have been included in the World T20 squad.

“Kamran and Malik will give experience to the team for the important event,” said Khan.

The Asia Cup will be held in Dhaka, from February 25 to March 8. Besides Pakistan - the defending champions - India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and hosts Bangladesh will also take part in the event.

The fifth edition of the World T20 with 16 teams in competition will also be held in Bangladesh from March 16 to April 6.

Asia Cup squad:

Misbah-ul-Haq (Captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Fawad Alam, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Talha

World Twenty20 squad:

Mohammad Hafeez (Captain), Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Sharjeel Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Junaid Khan, Bilawal Bhatti, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Talha, Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal

ISLAMABAD: Significant changes to the way international cricket is run were agreed in principle by the ICC board on Tuesday, the governing body said, although they were toned down from a set of radical proposals put forward by the game’s big three – India, England and Australia.

“Key principles” that had “unanimous support” from the board at its meeting in Dubai, according to the ICC, included the dumping of the troubled Test championship, which will be replaced in 2017 by the limited-overs Champions Trophy competition.

The International Cricket Council also said a new executive committee would be set up consisting of representatives from India, England and Australia and two other representatives taken from the ICC board.

The fact that those proposals were softened suggests they were opposed by members of the ICC board.

Pakistan and South Africa, two of the leading opponents of the original sweeping changes, stressed the principles laid out Tuesday had to be passed by their own national boards before they would back them at next month's ICC meeting.

“The PCB clearly stated at the (Tuesday) meeting that the guiding principles were subject to PCB’s governing board’s approval,” the Pakistan Cricket Board said.

Cricket South Africa said its board would carefully consider the changes before the follow-up meeting on Feb 8.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India, England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia had proposed a four-member executive committee, with those three countries deciding who joined them and rotating the chair between them.

The ICC said anyone from its board, which is made up of the 10 Test-playing nations and three representatives of smaller cricket countries, could eventually be elected to chair the board and anyone on the executive committee or influential finance and commercial affairs committee could chair those, but only after a “transitional period” ends in 2016.

Until then, India, England and Australia would lead the governing body’s top committees.

It was also agreed in principle that smaller countries would also have the chance to play Test cricket, but no one would lose their Test status. The ICC didn’t give detail on how current non Test-playing countries might win the right to play Tests.

India, England and Australia had suggested a reduced eight-team top tier for Tests with two countries immediately relegated, regular promotion and relegation, but immunity from relegation for the big three.

Tuesday’s proposed changes were yet to be formally adopted, with ICC President Alan Isaac saying “extensive work will now be undertaken in advance of a follow-up board meeting next month.”

Before the start of Tuesday’s board meeting, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashaf told a Pakistani television station that his board was united with South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in opposing the radical proposals, which would have needed eight of the 10 test nation votes to be passed.

Although the principles ultimately agreed on were watered down, there were concessions that India, England and Australia would take more control of the ICC, recognising the reality that the three countries, and specially India, raise a huge portion of the ICC's revenue.

Some of the changes agreed in principle are:

a) An opportunity for all member countries to win the right to play Tests, “with participation based on meritocracy,” according to the ICC. There were no details of any promotion format.

b) A Test cricket fund will make money available annually to the other seven Test countries outside the big three: Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

This would be introduced to “encourage and support Test match cricket,” the ICC said, with the game’s flagship format struggling to make money away from the big three.

c) Bilateral agreements for Test series could come into effect from 2015, a move away from the ICC-controlled Future Tours Program which ensured big teams had to play series against smaller teams at some point in the rotation.

Bilateral agreements would give India, England and Australia more scope to pick and choose who and when they play.

d) The ICC said the powerful and rich Indian board would take “a central leadership responsibility.”

e) The new five-member executive committee made up a representative from the BCCI, the ECB, CA and two other members. For two years from June the BCCI would chair the ICC board, CA would chair the executive committee and the ECB would chair the influential finance and commercial affairs committee while the governing body undergoes a “transitional period.”

f) The Test championship planned for 2017 will be dropped and the 50-over Champions Trophy played in its place.

DUBAI: Sri Lanka owed it to their bowlers for taking the opening day honours against Pakistan in the second Test in Dubai on Wednesday.

A three-pronged pace and one-man spin attack helped Sri Lanka bowl out Pakistan for just 165 after Angelo Mathews won the toss and opted to bowl on a seaming Dubai stadium pitch.

Paceman Nuwan Pradeep finished with a career-best 3-62 while spinner Rangan Herath took 3-26. Fast bowlers Shaminda Eranga (2-25) and Suranga Lakmal (2-45) were also useful in the second session.

By the close Sri Lanka had knocked off 57 runs for the loss of opener Dimuth Karunaratne, out leg-before to Junaid Khan for 32.

Kaushal Silva and Kumar Sangakkara were each on 12 as Sri Lanka now trail Pakistan by 108 runs with nine wickets intact on a day dominated by the bowlers.

But initially it looked as if Sri Lanka had miscalculated in bowling first as Ahmed Shehzad, trapped leg-before by Pradeep in the tenth over for three, was the only man out by lunch, but five wickets fell for 71 runs as Pakistan slumped from 57-1 to 128-6 at tea.

Pradeep said his hard work paid off.

“I came into the team after a long time,” said Pradeep who played his last Test in January last year. “During that period I worked hard in the club as well as with the A team and from that experience I bowled well today.”

Opener Khurram Manzoor top-scored with 73 in an otherwise insipid batting display.

Manzoor termed the seam movement as difficult to handle.

“It wasn't easy out there, toss was vital because pitch is helping seam bowlers,” said Manzoor.

“Whoever plays positive will score runs. Sri Lankans really bowled very well and the first hour on Thursday will be important for us.”

Sri Lankan pacemen had little success in the first session and their hard work was also spoiled by sloppy fielding.

Mathews floored Shehzad in the slips off Lakmal with the batsman still to get off the mark, but the lapse did not prove costly.

Mahela Jayawardene dropped Hafeez off the first ball he faced from Pradeep, but the paceman had the last laugh when he bowled Hafeez through the gate soon after lunch.

Pakistan had pinned their hopes on Younis Khan and Misbah-ul Haq but they lost their last eight wickets for 58 runs.

Eranga took the prized wickets of Younis and Misbah in the space of seven balls. Younis, who made 13, tried to cut a wide delivery while Misbah was squared up on a moving delivery on one -- both caught behind.

It was a rare failure for Misbah who was Pakistan's best batsman in Tests and one-dayers last year.

Lakmal then had Manzoor caught behind off a rash shot and Asad Shafiq off a miscued drive for six.

Manzoor hit seven fours and a six during his 136-ball knock but failed to turn it into a big score and halt the slide.

Pradeep, who had three wickets in his previous four Tests, took the scalp of Sarfraz Ahmed after tea for seven to claim his best figures in Tests.

Herath polished off the tail to wrap Pakistan's innings.

The third and final Test will be played in Sharjah from January 16.

Teams: Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Khurram Manzoor, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Bilawal Bhatti, Rahat Ali.

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Prasanna Jayawardene, Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera.

Umpires: Bruce Oxenford (AUS) and Sundaram Ravi(IND)

TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)

Match referee: Javagal Srinath (IND)

ABU DHABI: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq termed the one-day victories over South Africa and Sri Lanka as “special wins” which meant his team ended a tough year on a high.

Pakistan beat South Africa 2-1 last month - their first-ever one-day series win over the Proteas - before clinching the Sri Lanka series 3-2 on Friday.

Even though Pakistan lost the fifth and final match by two wickets in Abu Dhabi, Misbah said the series win was satisfying.

“I think it was a tough year for us but the two series we won in South Africa and now against Sri Lanka, they are very special and ended our year on a high note,” Misbah said after Friday's game.

The win over Sri Lanka was Pakistan's seventh one-day series win this year -- their best-ever in a calendar year -- which also included a 2-1 victory against India in January.

Misbah hoped the one-day series win over Sri Lanka would lift his team's morale ahead of the three-Test series starting in Abu Dhabi from Tuesday.

“We did struggle in the middle of the year,” said Misbah of Pakistan's loss in the Champions Trophy in June in England.

“We have to improve our fielding because we had Friday's match in our hands but we let it go because of poor fielding.”

Misbah hit a solid 51 to end the year with 1373 runs in 34 one-days -- the highest by any player in 2013 -- to lead Pakistan to 232 all out. Sri Lanka sneaked through in the final over with Dinesh Chandimal hitting an unbeaten 64.

Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews showed disappointment over the series loss.

“We were good enough to get over it but I think we were nowhere near our brand of cricket and disappointed that we lost the series,” said Mathews, describing defeat in the first match as the turning point.

“If you look at the series, the first game was very crucial, we lost that by 11 runs and had we won that game we would have been sitting 3-2 winners,”said Mathews of the match in Sharjah.

Sri Lanka levelled the series in Dubai with a two-wicket win before Pakistan won the third and fourth matches to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead.

Mathews said his team will be more competitive in Tests with experienced batsman Mahela Jayawardene and ace spinner Rangana Herath joining the squad.

“We played without Herath and Jayawardene in the one-days but they will back for the Tests and so we will be at our full strength and we will be more competitive,” said Mathews.

The second Test will be played in Dubai (January 4-8) and the third in Sharjah (January 16-20).

DUBAI: Dashing allrounder Shahid Afridi starred in Pakistan's exciting three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 international at Dubai stadium on Wednesday.

Afridi scored an unbeaten 20-ball 39, hitting the winning six off the first ball of the final over by paceman Nuwan Kulasekara to give Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

In all Afridi hit three sixes and two boundaries to help Pakistan overcome a tough challenge from world number one Sri Lanka who had taken the match to the final over with Pakistan needing six runs.

Set a challenging 146 to get, Pakistan lost Ahmed Shehzad (four) in the third over but Mohammad Hafeez (32) and Sharjeel Khan (34) steadied the innings through their 57-run second wicket stand before they lost three wickets in the space of seven runs.

Sharjeel holed out after hitting three fours off 31 balls while Hafeez, who hit two fours and a six in his 27-ball knock, fell leg-before and Umar Akmal was run out for five. It was left to Afridi to see Pakistan through.

Criticised for his recent poor batting form, Afridi hit two towering sixes in Kulasekara's 16th over to give Pakistan a sniff of victory.

When on 23, Afridi also became the first player to score 1,000 runs and take 50 wickets in all Twenty20 cricket. In all he has 73 wickets in 69 matches.

Afridi said he was delighted to return to his aggressive batting.

“Pakistan won and I'm very happy for that. I have to mention (skipper) Hafeez, who was not feeling well but still he played for the country,” he said at the presentation ceremony.

“It's nice to bat well, once in a blue moon.”

Sent into bat, Sri Lankan batsmen did not capitalise on the good starts before Mathews (50) and Lahiru Thirimanne (23 not out) added 58 for the fifth wicket stand to take their team to 145-5 in 20 overs.

Mathews hit five boundaries and a six off 34 balls before holing out in the last over. He hit paceman Bilawal Bhatti for three boundaries in one over before sending left-arm paceman Sohail Tanvir to long-on ropes to reach his fifty off 32 balls.

Experienced opener Tillakaratne Dilshan managed just seven before he was the first wicket to fall in the second over.

Kusal Perera (15) and skipper Dinesh Chandimal (22) then added 32 for the second wicket but off-spinner Saeed Ajmal put on the initial brakes with 2-35. Kumar Sangakkara scored 21.

Pakistan gave an international debut to 19-year-old Usman Shinwari after the left-arm paceman was drafted into the team as late as Tuesday but the youngster from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bowled only one over, costing nine runs.

Tanvir finished with 2-32 while leg-spinner Shahid Afridi took 1-20 in his four overs.

The second match will also be played in Dubai on Friday. The two teams also play five one-day internationals and three Tests.

 

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