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Lack of freedom most frustrating about living in Pak: Flower

The 48-year-old also said that Babar Azam was the best Pakistan batsman he had ever coached when asked about the middle-order batsman.

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Grant Flower PCB Coach

New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) Former Pakistan batting coach Grant Flower believes the lack of freedom and the security aspect is the “most frustrating” thing about living in the country. The former Zimbabwe batsman had been with the Pakistan team since 2014 before the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided last week to not renew his contract in a move to revamp the national coaching set-up.

In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, he shed light on his tenure with the Pakistan team. “The security aspect and the lack of freedom,” said Flower when asked about the most frustrating thing about living in Pakistan.

Very few international teams have visited Pakistan since the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus. Since then, the PCB has been trying its best to revive international cricket in Pakistan.

Flower also rated winning the Champions Trophy with Pakistan in 2017 — when they defeated India at the Oval — as his greatest personal achievement.

“Some of the backstabbing by ex-players. And a lot of the politics that happens within the TV channels, the journalists and some of the politics in the PCB itself. I won’t miss those, certainly,” said Flower when asked about the things he won’t miss about Pakistan.

The 48-year-old also said that Babar Azam was the best Pakistan batsman he had ever coached when asked about the middle-order batsman.

“He’s probably the best bloke I’ve ever coached — certainly the best Pakistani I’ve ever coached,” said Flower.

He also wished the Pakistani fans all the best for the future and asked them to continue being supportive and passionate.

“I just want to wish them all the best for the future and being supportive and passionate, which they already are. And have faith. Have faith in the players and stick behind them. Look for the positives as opposed to the negatives.”

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Seven balls, seven sixes: Nabi, Zadran tear Zimbabwe apart

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Dhaka, Sep 15 : A rather monotonous T20 international between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe was brought to life by Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran when they smashed seven consecutive sixes across the 17th and 18th overs here on Saturday.

It was the second match of the tri-series being played between Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, which the latter ended up winning by 28 runs.

Afghanistan batted first and were ambling at 123/4 after 16 overs. Tendai Chatara bowled the 17th over with Nabi and Zardan in the middle and the pair took singles off the first two balls. Nabi, who recently retired from Test cricket after Afghanistan’s triumph over Bangladesh last week, started the carnage with a six over deep mid-wicket off the third ball of the over.

The second six came off a fuller delivery that Nabi smashed over the bowler’s head while the third, which was a low full toss on the stumps, disappeared over deep mid-wicket again. The last six of the over was over deep extra cover, thus making it 26 runs for the over.

But that was not the end of it as Zadran decided to pick up where Nabi left off. Neville Madziva bowled the 18th over and his first ball disappeared over deep mid-wicket. The second ball was a short outside off which Zadran pulled higher over the same area. The final six of the streak was hit over fine-leg off the next delivery.

While the next ball was wide, the one after that almost went all the way but replays showed that it had landed just inside the ropes.

The pair batted till the end of the innings with Zadran remaining not out on 69 off 30 balls. Nabi was dismissed off the last ball for 38 off 18 balls. The duo added 107 runs for the fifth wicket.

The late surge saw Afghanistan post 197/5 in the allotted 20 overs. In reply, Zimbabwe could manage 169/7 in the stipulated overs, thus falling short by 28 runs. Skipper Rshid Khan was the pick of the bowlers for Afghanistan, returning with figures of 2 for 29 from his four overs.

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Rohit can help chase down unachievable targets: Bangar

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Rohit Sharma

New Delhi, Sep 14 Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar believes that Team India will be able to successfully chase down targets they haven’t achieved in the past if Rohit Sharma succeeds at the top of the order in Test cricket.

Rohit, who is a regular opener for Team India in the limited-overs format, has been included in the 15-man squad for the upcoming three-Test series against South Africa beginning October 2.

KL Rahul, who had been opening the innings for India in the last two years, has been dropped owing to his poor form. In the two-Test series against the West Indies, he managed scores of 44, 38, 13 and 6 and didn’t seem to be in any sort of form.

His last 50+ score since his 149 against England at the Oval came some 12 innings back.

His poor form opened the opportunity for Rohit, who has been for long waiting for his chance to come good in red-ball cricket as well.

“At the moment, there is no place in the settled middle order in the Test team. Opening will be a new challenge for him, since he has rarely done it in the longer formats. But the advantage is that he will get to bat against a hard ball with plenty of gaps in the field. He will also not have to wait for his turn to bat, which will save his mental energy,” Bangar told ESPNcricinfo in an interview.

“If he succeeds, his style of play will be extremely helpful to the team. It might result in being able to successfully chase down targets that we haven’t achieved in the past, like in Cape Town and Edgbaston,” he added.

Considered as one of the modern-day greats, Rohit has not been able to cement his place in the Test side. The 32-year-old has played 27 Tests so far, in which he has scored 1585 runs at an average of 39.6. The swashbuckling opener, who has three double-hundreds to his name in ODIs, has been able to hit just three centuries in red-ball cricket.

However, the upcoming series against the Proteas provides him with the opportunity to score big and permanently cement his place in Test cricket as well.

And in order to be successful for that, Bangar believes Rohit needs to maintain his unique playing style.

“The key to his success will be if he maintains his individual style of play. He has to maintain his individuality,” Bangar said.

The first Test against South Africa will be played in Visakhapatnam from October 2 before the teams travel to Pune for the second Test from October 10. The final match of the series will be played in Ranchi from October 19.

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Always wanted to do well in Test cricket: Bumrah

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New Delhi, Sep 13 : Star India pacer Jasprit Bumrah said on Friday that he always wanted to do well in Tests and not restrict himself to just limited overs cricket.

Bumrah has picked up 62 wickets in just 12 Tests and was magical in the recent tour of the West Indies, where he scalped 13 wickets in two Tests, including a hat-trick.

Bumrah is also the first Asian pacer to take five-wicket hauls in South Africa, England, Australia and the West Indies, besides becoming the fastest Indian fast bowler to 50 Test wickets.

“For me, Test cricket was very important and I always wanted to play Tests and didn’t want to be a cricketer who has played (only) T20s and ODIs. I gave a lot of importance to Test cricket… I always wanted to make a mark in Tests,” Bumrah said at a promotional event here on Friday.

“I had the belief that I do well in first-class cricket, I could replicate that in Test matches. The journey has just started and I have just played 12 Tests. When I made my Test debut in South Africa after playing two years of international cricket, it was a dream come true (moment).

“Playing in the white jersey was a great feeling, and then slowly contributing to the team’s success gave me satisfaction,” said Bumrah, who is the third Indian to pick a Test hat-trick after Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan.

Quizzed about his away going delivery, Bumrah said, “Not mastering it, but I always had the out-swinger and not used it. But playing in England gave me a lot of confidence… the duke ball swings for a long time and that gave me a lot of confidence. I became more confident as I played more Tests.”

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