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Pakistan ‘drop’ Afridi and Shehzad from England Tour – Voges hospitalized

LAHORE, Pakistan, May 2, (Agencies): Pakistan’s new selectors Monday dropped star players Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal from next month’s tour of England, stressing there would be no compromises after the country’s disastrous exit from the World Twenty20 in India. Former Afghanistan coach Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is heading up the newly formed selection committee as part of wholesale changes following last month’s tournament humiliation, announced 35 players would attend boot camp starting in Kakul from May 14 to June 4.

He said Afridi — who announced he would continue playing the Twenty20 format after resigning as captain in the wake of the event — needed to perform in domestic matches. As for Shehzad and Umar, he said, “the selection committee will not compromise on discipline”. Shehzad was declared best batsman of the Pakistan Cup one-day tournament which ended on Sunday, scoring 372 runs, but along with Umar has been involved in various disciplinary breaches.

Former Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis — who resigned in early April — had also recommended dropping Shehzad and Umar. Spot-fixing convict Salman Butt was also not selected. Butt is also likely to face issues with obtaining a visa to England — though another spot-fixing convict, Mohammad Amir, was included in the squad as he is expected to get the visa after pleading guilty in a UK court.

Pakistan will play four Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international on a two-month long tour of England.

Squad: Mohammad Hafeez, Sami Aslam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Sharjeel Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Khalid Latif, Fawad Alam, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Asif Zakir, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Adnan Akmal, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Asgher, Imad Wasim, Bilal Asif, Zohaib Khan

Former England coach Peter Moores has turned down an opportunity to succeed Waqar Younis as the new Pakistan coach, the 53-year-old Englishman said.

Coaching Pakistan, traditionally a fractious bunch of talented individuals, is one of the toughest jobs in international cricket and Younis stepped down a disillusioned man last month after the team’s poor World Twenty20 display in India.

Younis’ exit has forced the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) into fresh head-hunting and Moores said he declined a chance to return to international coaching after England sacked him for the second time last year.

Australia batsman Adam Voges was taken to hospital after being struck in the head by a ball while fielding during a county game in England.

The Middlesex captain was hit in the back of the head by a ball thrown to the stumps by a substitute fielder and missed by wicketkeeper John Simpson during the match against Hampshire at Southampton’s Rose Bowl.

Voges had to be helped from the ground by physios and had likely suffered concussion, Middlesex said.

“It is sad for Adam and disappointing for us as we will have no more use out of him in this match,” Middlesex managing director of cricket Angus Fraser said.

Australia cricket captain Steve Smith has pulled out of the Indian Premier League to head home for treatment on a wrist injury. Cricket Australia said Smith had laboured due to pain in his right wrist for the past week while playing for Pune in the Twenty20 tournament.

“From the information we have so far, this doesn’t appear to be a serious injury but we are keen to give him the time to recover and rehabilitate before heading to the West Indies at the end of May,” CA said in a statement on Monday.

When Paul Adams burst onto the scene with his bizarre way of delivering the ball, many were convinced they would never see anything like it again.

Two decades later, India’s Shivil Kaushik has emerged as the proud heir to the South African spinner’s “frog-in-a-blender” action.

Heads, including Kaushik’s own, turned at Pune’s Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium when the left-arm chinaman bowler made his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut for Gujarat Lions on Friday.

Pressed into attack in the eighth over, the 20-year-old ambled slightly wide of the crease when a spirit seemed to enter his body as he bent his knees, twisted his torso and sent down the ball rotating his left-arm around his head.

“Shivil Kaushik. Wow!! Wouldn’t have thought we’d ever see that action again. #Gogga #PaulAdams #FrogInABlender,” tweeted former Zimbabwe cricketer Pommie Mbangwa.

He was not alone. For many, it brought back memories of Adams’ outrageous action which got him a bagful of wickets, especially in his debut home series against England. Adams, now coaching Cape Cobras, himself appeared amused.

“Remind you of someone! Wow #Kaushik! Great to see the art of #Chinaman bowling alive”, tweeted ‘Gogga’, who played 45 tests and 24 one-day internationals for South Africa between 1995-2004.

Kaushik thanked all his coaches for not forcing him to dump the action, however weird it maybe.

“I was eight-years old when I started playing cricket and the first ball I bowled was this way and I have not changed,” the spinner said after claiming 3-20 against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.

“Batsmen found it a bit difficult because my action was a bit different. I got a lot of support from all my coaches. They’ve not tinkered my action and been backing me.”

Seeing him bowl is like watching a contortionist perform — straining every muscle in his torso but the spinner assures his body can cope with it.

“It’s something which comes naturally to me so my body doesn’t take much of a load”.

Kaushik went wicketless in his IPL debut but bounced back against Punjab, dismissing rival skipper Murali Vijay and the Australian duo of Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell.

“The first three balls, I didn’t understand what was happening,” Vijay, who opens for India in tests, said with a smile.

“It was very difficult for me to pick whether it’s going in or coming out. I did my video analysis before the game and I saw a bit of his bowling, but it was still difficult.

“Maybe the next time I face him, I will be better equipped.”

Once the element of surprise wears off, Kaushik will need much more than just an unorthodox bowling action to graduate to international cricket.

The youngster is now focussing to get his line and length right and refuses to look too far.

“It feels really nice that a lot of people (are) talking about me but I think it’s more important to stay focused and look at our future matches and all I look to do is to contribute to our team”.


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