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Pakistan star Akmal arrested Scotland win ICC WC qualifying tournament

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Feb 1, (Agencies): Scotland captain Preston Mommsen made an unbeaten 139 on Saturday to set up a 41-run win over the United Arab Emirates in the final of the International Cricket Council’s World Cup qualifying tournament. Scotland made 285-5 batting first in Saturday’s final and Swapnil Patel not out on 99 as the UAE made 244-9 in reply. Both teams had already qualified for the World Cup by making the final, and will join the top nations at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand over February and March, 2015. Scotland will play in Group A with New Zealand, Australia, England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan while UAE will play in Group B with India, Pakistan, South Africa, the West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland. Pakistan’s middle-order batsman Umar Akmal was arrested Saturday for violating traffic rules, interfering in government work and “scuffling” with a traffic official.

Police said the 23-year-old Akmal, whose brothers Kamran and Adnan also play for Pakistan, did not stop at a traffic signal in the commercial Firdous market area in Lahore, and later engaged in a scuffle with a traffic warden. “Three wardens tried to stop him after he violated a traffic signal but he did not. And when he finally stopped, he scuffled with a warden and tore his uniform,” senior local police official Zahid Nawaz told reporters. “Umar is under arrest and a case has been filed against him.” Akmal is charged on three bailable counts and faces a case which could lead up to a big fine or six months in prison. Akmal denied the charges.

“The warden hit me on my face and you can see the wounds,” he told reporters. “I myself came to the police station with a request to control the wardens who misbehave with people and police have instead registered a case against me.” Akmal has so far played 16 Tests, 89 one-day internationals and 52 Twenty20 for Pakistan in a career that began in 2009. He is regarded as Pakistan’s most talented batsman, but has failed to live up to his potential because of his rashness in batting and approach. He was dropped from the Test side in 2011 but regularly plays limited overs cricket.

England Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke hinted Saturday that Ashley Giles would succeed Andy Flower as Test coach after the former Zimbabwe international quit following their Ashes whitewash. Flower resigned on Friday to allow the team to rebuild after their disastrous tour of Australia, where they lost the Test series 5-0. However, he is remaining a selector “for the time being”, with British reports saying the decision to stand down was his alone and not prompted by the Ashes humiliation. Flower had already ceded coaching control of England’s one-day team to former England spinner Giles, and said he had come to the conclusion that a man in his position needed to be “responsible across all formats”. Clarke suggested Giles could take over all three formats, without putting a timeframe on any appointment.

“We would all agree he is a very strong candidate. We have the highest regard for him as a man and coach of great integrity and capability,” he said in Melbourne. “He played a lot of cricket for England and is respected in the game. It may well be that other outstanding candidates emerge as Paul Downton (England cricket’s managing director) leads the process.” England’s next Test match is not until the northern hemisphere summer, when they host Sri Lanka. Last month British press reports, denied by Flower, suggested he was not prepared to carry on as England coach so long as Kevin Pietersen remained in the team. Clarke refused to be drawn in whether the controversial batsman had played his last Test. “I have spent zero time on him (Pietersen) or whatever he or the selectors are choosing to do,” Clarke said.

“I have been focused on ICC business and Paul Downton, quite rightly, on looking at the coaching strategy as far as Andy is concerned.” Pietersen has signalled he intends to keep playing international cricket until at least the 2015 Ashes, with a clearer indication of his future coming this week when England name their squad for the one-day series in West Indies and World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
England play their final Twenty20 international in Sydney on Sunday.

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