Pakistan in good shape for World T20: Misbah

Misbah-ul-HaqIslamabad, Mar. 11 - Pakistan cricket captain Misbah-ul-Haq believes that his players are in good shape to perform in the upcoming World Twenty20 Championship to be held in Bangladesh from the middle of March this year.

Returning home after ending up as runners-up in the Asia Cup, Misbah said stand-out performances by Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam and Shahid Afridi on wickets in Bangladesh indicated that the team can perform well in that country during the World Twenty20, which starts from March 16.

Kevin Pietersen seeks 'urgent help' to get Indian visa

Kevin-PietersenNew Delhi, March 10 : Sacked England cricketer Kevin Pietersen has taken recourse to social media to urge India's external affairs ministry to expedite his visa for which he had handed over his passport to the Indian high commission in London 10 days ago.

"Trying to travel to India urgently & the Indian Embassy has had my passport for 10 days for a 24hr service. Help @MEAIndia, @IndianDiplomacy?" tweeted Pietersen to his more than 1.6 million followers, taking a dig at the Indian ministry of external affairs.

Collingwood urges England to focus on winning Windies T20 series before Bangladesh preparations

Paul-CollingwoodLondon, Mar 9 : Former England one-day captain Paul Collingwood has advised his former team to focus on victory in the Twenty20 series in the West Indies now instead of preparation for the ICC World Twenty20.

Following England's 50-over series victory over West Indies, the tourists have three T20s, the first of which is on Sunday, before the World T20 begins in Bangladesh on 16 March.

Gayle fears Windies to face tough challenge while defending World T20 title

Chris-GayleKarachi, Mar 9 : West Indies batting star Chris Gayle has said that he believes his team will face a tough challenge when defending their World Twenty20 title at Bangladesh this year.

The left-handed opener was a key member of the side which lifted the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka two years ago, and is expected to be at the forefront again in the March 16 to April 6 campaign in Bangladesh.

According to The Nation, Gayle said that although West Indies has a realistic shot at defending their World T20 title, it however, would be a tough challenge for them as the other teams are playing good cricket and are in good form currently.

Steyn to miss first two T20s against Oz with hamstring injury

dale SteynJohannesburg, Mar 8 - South African fast bowler Dale Steyn has reportedly been ruled out of the first two Twenty20 internationals against Australia next week with a hamstring injury.

Steyn's bowling in the recently concluded third and final test against Australia in Cape Town was affected by the strain as the tourists went on the win the match and the series.

According to Sport24, confirming Steyn's absence, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said that the bowler will return for the last of three-match series in Pretoria next Friday and is still earmarked to compete in the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh later this month.

Fans wish for dad of four daughters Afridi to be 'blessed' with son

Shahid AfridiIslamabad, Mar 07 : Shahid Afridi's fans have reportedly wished for the cricketer to be blessed with a son following Afridi's match-winning performances against India and Bangladesh in the Asia Cup.

A fan has said in a post on a Facebook page 'Meri jaan Pakistan' that Afridi's fans should pray to God that the 'person who has provided all Pakistanis with jubilation and smiles in such terrible times' is 'blessed' with a son.

According to the Nation, the post, which appeared on Wednesday, has so far received more than 5,000 likes and 1,000 shares with comments saying 'Ameen (Amen)'.

Lehmann happy if Oz returns to 'ruthless sledging streak' of past

Darren LehmannSydney, Mar 7 : Australian head coach Darren Lehmann has said that he will be happy even if Australia regained the ruthless sledging streak of teams from past generations.

Ian Chappell 's charges in the 1970s earned the tag "ugly Australians" from some sections of the media, while Lehmann played alongside Steve Waugh in the all-conquering Test side of the late 1990s that made 'mental disintegration' an art form.

Warner, Harris move to `career-high` spots in ICC Test player rankings

David Warner Ryan HarrisSydney, Mar 7  : Australian opener David Warner and veteran fast bowler Ryan Harris have moved up to career-high positions in the ICC Test player rankings following their impressive contributions in Australia's series-winning third Test defeat of South Africa in Cape Town.

In the Test bowler rankings, Harris - with a match haul of 7-95 - moves up two places to second position, behind only Dale Steyn, to overtake South African Vernon Philander and Australian teammate Mitchell Johnson.

England need to adjust to new conditions quickly: Broad

England need to adjust to new conditions quickly: BroadNorth Sound (Antigua), March 7 - England captain Stuart Broad says the key to his side's success in the upcoming Twenty20 Series against West Indies, will be how well they adjust to new conditions in Barbados.

The tourists pulled off a 25-run victory in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) here Wednesday to take the series 2-1. They face the hosts against Sunday in the first of three T20s at Kensington Oval, reports CMC.

Johnson to miss T20s against South Africa

Mitchell-JohnsonMelbourne, March 6 : Cricket Australia's national selection panel Thursday said Mitchell Johnson will return home to rest ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh and will not take part in the Twenty20 Series against South Africa beginning Sunday.

All-rounder Moises Henriques will stay on in South Africa as a replacement for Johnson, CA said in a release.

I am still India's number one off-spinner: Harbhajan

Harbhajan-SinghNew Delhi, March 6 : After 15 years of international cricket, Harbhajan Singh is still enjoying playing in domestic cricket. The 33-year-old rates himself the best off-spinner in the country and says it is a matter of time before he is recalled to the national side.

You ask him about the motivation for toiling on the nondescript grounds, the veteran of 694 international wickets snaps back.

"What could be a bigger motivation than striving here to get back into the Indian team," Harbhajan, who is relishing captaining Punjab, told IANS on the sidelines of the North Zone Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Ferozeshah Kotla here.

Smith signs off in 16th position in ICC Test Rankings

Graeme-SmithDubai, March 6 : South African captain Graeme Smith signed off on his impressive cricket Test career in 16th place in the ICC Rankings for batsmen announced Thursday.

Smith reached a career high of second position after his match-winning century against England in Johannesburg in January 2010. That was also when he achieved a best-ever 843 ratings points.

He ends his ODI career in 42nd position on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batsmen. Smith spent 57 matches and 160 days as the top-ranked batsman in ODI cricket between March and August 2008. He achieved a best-ever ratings points of 784 in November 2005.

De Villiers unsure of taking over as Test captain

ab-de-villiersCape Town, March 5 : World's No. 1 batsman AB de Villiers is not sure he would take over as the South African Test captain succeeding Graeme Smith, who will be retiring from international cricket after the third and the final Test against Australia.

De Villiers is the obvious choice to take charge of the world's top-ranked Test side but he remains unsure.

De Villiers, who is the Test vice-captain and ODI captain, said he will have to take a call after a discussion with coach Russel Domingo.

Proteas legends hail 'unrivalled' Test captain Smith following retirement announcement

Graeme SmithJohannesburg, Mar 5  : Former South African stars have reportedly hailed current Test captain Graeme Smith, who recently announced his intention to retire from international cricket after the Newlands Test against Australia.

Smith's late Monday announcement caught South African cricket off guard after saying only three days before that he still had international cricket goals to achieve.

According to Sport24, former captains Kepler Wessels and Shaun Pollock have hailed Smith, saying that even though the captain is not the most technically gifted batsman, his leadership and fighting qualities were unrivalled.

Bravo wants more from batsmen in last ODI

Bravo wants more from batsmen in last ODISt. John's (Antigua), March 5 - West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo wants more runs from his batsmen when they take on England in the third and deciding One-Day International (ODI) here Wednesday.

England levelled the series one-all after holding their nerve to clinch a three-wicket win in the second ODI Sunday after the West Indies won the first by 15 runs at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium here, reports CMC.

Afridi's 'record' 50 boosts Pak's three-wicket win over Bangladesh in Asia Cup

Shahid AfridiJohannesburg, Mar 5 - Pakistan has entered the Asia Cup finals following a three-wicket win over hosts Bangladesh on Tuesday, a victory which was boosted by the second fastest ever ODI half-century by veteran Shahid Afridi and Ahmed Shehzad's century.

Afridi, who overshadowed a brilliant 123-ball 103 by opener Ahmed Shehzad and a sedate 74 by Fawad Alam, helped Pakistan overcame a tough resistance from the hosts and led the visitors' chase of their highest-ever target of 327 in 49.5 overs in Dhaka.

Kohli trending more than Dhoni

Virat-Kohl-dhoniNew Delhi, March 4 : A series of losses overseas for Team India saw skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's popularity taking a hit on internet and Virat Kohli's fan following rising.

A study by search engine Google showed that Dhoni's last minute withdrawal from the Asia Cup and Kohli's century as a captain has impacted the ranking of these two cricketers on Google Search Trends.

While Kohli ended 2013 with more endorsements than Dhoni, a search trend analysis over the past 30 days revealed how online search on Kohli is on the rise leaving the popular Dhoni at second spot.

Sri Lanka enters Asia Cup finals following 129-run win over Afghanistan

Kumar SangakkaraJohannesburg, Mar 4 - Sri Lanka has defeated minnows Bangladesh by 129 runs to reach the final of the Asia Cup in Dhaka on Monday.

The four-time champions scored a challenging 253-6 with in-form Kumar Sangakkara hitting a solid 76 before they bowled their rivals out for a poor 124 in 38.4 overs.

According to Sport24, Afghanistan, which beat Bangladesh by 32 runs in their second match, found Sri Lanka's pace-cum spin attack too hot to handle and only captain Mohammad Nabi (37), Asghar Stanikzai (27) and Noor Ali Zadran (21) were among the runs.

Giles says Pietersen-Prior spat to have `no impact` on England's chances in World T20

Ashley-GilesLondon, Mar 2 : England coach Ashley Giles has urged sacked batsman Kevin Pietersen and his former teammate Matt Prior to patch up their relationship privately, although he insisted that their 'bickering' will have no impact on the well-being of his ICC World Twenty20 squad.

Under Giles and stand-in ODI captain Stuart Broad, England lost against West Indies on Friday and must battle back to stay in the three-match series at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Sunday.

Afghanistan beats Bangladesh by 32 runs in Asia Cup

Johannesburg, Mar 2 - Afghanistan cricket team has defeated hosts Bangladesh by 32 runs in their Asia Cup clash at Fatullah on Saturday, marking its first win over a Test playing country in four one-day matches.

Afghanistan, which is playing the Asia Cup for the first time, previously lost both their one-day internationals against Pakistan and one against Australia.

According to Sport24, an impressive unbeaten career best 90 by Asghar Stanikzai and a punishing 69-ball 81 by Samiullah Shinwari led Afghanistan to post a challenging
254-6 before bowling out their rivals for 222 in 47.5 overs.

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