Azhar Ali terms the upcoming England tour as ‘challenging one’

One-day cricket team captain Azhar Ali has termed the upcoming England tour as ‘challenging one’ and sought consistency to counter England challenge. Talking to media, he said during our 2010 England tour, we had some young players in our rank and the team performed up to the expectations with the help of pace battery. This time too, we have good combination of fast bowlers, who are equally capable of shattering any given opponent. Azhar Ali said presence of pacers M Aamir, Rahat Ali, Wahab Riaz and Imran Khan would prove beneficial and help in keeping the English side under pressure with skillful bowling. The captain said, “If we look at the playing conditions in England, on the third day of a Test match, the wicket extends help to the pacers for reverse swing and some broken parts of wicket also help the spinners.” He said, “We are lucky to have a good combination of pacers and spinners, who can cause trouble for English batsmen.” Pakistan team is due to travel to England on June 16, and the decision for the inclusion of the veteran batsman will be taken in the light of his fitness report. The Men in Green will play four Tests, five ODIs and one T20I during a 10-week long tour, which will begin with a tour match against county side Somerset on July 6 at Taunton. 

Azhar backs Amir ahead of England return

Pakistan's one-day captain Azhar Ali threw his support behind Mohammad Amir on for the team's forthcoming tour of England, saying the spot-fixing episode is behind the pacer. Amir, 24, is seen as Pakistan's main weapon for the team's tour of England, where they will play four Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 between July and September. Amir has returned strongly since his five-year ban for spot-fixing was lifted in September last year, taking five wickets in the two one-day internationals against New Zealand in January and as many wickets in 11 Twenty20 games.

Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez’s recent MRI being termed satisfactory

Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez’s recent MRI is being termed satisfactory. The 34-year-old, who got injured during the Asia Cup earlier this year, went to the Agha Khan University Hospital in Karachi on Monday to get his MRI scan done privately. New Australian Physio of the national team has been given the task to work on the fitness of the right-handed opener. Hafeez missed the fitness and boot camp at Army School of Physical Training, Kakul due to the same injury. He is also expected to miss the skills camp currently underway in Lahore.

Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, and Yasir Shah maintain their position
Three Pakistan Test cricketers Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, and Yasir Shah maintain their position in the top 10 of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test Player Rankings which were announced by the cricket's global body. In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, Younis Khan secured 5th position with an average of 53.94. Pakistan's Test Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq stands on the 10th spot with 48.89 average. In the Test bowlers's rankings, Yasir Shah is ranked at the 4th spot. He has bagged 76 scalps in 12 matches in the format so far

Quetta Gladiators plan to play a couple of T20 matches against Peshawar Zalmi in England
Gladiators' owner, Nadeem Omar, told media that he wishes to organise the matches to promote the franchise and Pakistan Super League (PSL), as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) allows franchises to hold three promotional events in a year. The Gladiator's owner also expressed his desire to invite the foreign players to participate in promotional matches in Quetta and Peshawar in future. Despite being the runner-ups, Gladiators put up a phenomenal show in the inaugural edition of PSL earlier this year. They won seven out of their 10 matches

Boxing champ Amir Khan is in Pakistan to organise the country's first ever international boxing event
Boxing champ Amir Khan is in Pakistan to organise the country's first ever international boxing event in Karachi featuring European boxers. Khan, who became Britain's youngest boxing medalist at the age of 17, has vowed to promote the game in Pakistan. Two days after the event, Amir will inaugurate his boxing academy in Islamabad. "I want to promote the sport in Pakistan and on June 4, I am opening my academy in Islamabad," he said. "I want to expand academies across the country. There is a lot of talent in Lyari, Karachi. I want promote boxing in those areas. I want to build gymnasiums in different areas of Karachi." The receipts from the boxing event will be used to build water wells in Thar. Amir, who visited Lyari last year, praised the young boxing talent of the neighbourhood that is usually struck by chaos and anarchy. "There is amazing talent in Lyari. I cannot believe it," said the orthodox-styled boxer. "We could produce so many world champions from Pakistan not just from Lyari.” There are boxers there who have good technique, good fitness, all they need is gymnasiums and someone to support them and I am here to do that Within the next couple of years you will see a big change."

US warns Euro 2016 possible terror target
The United States warned its citizens Tuesday that this summer’s Euro 2016 soccer tournament and related events across France and Europe will present “potential targets for terrorists.” The month-long European Championship finals start in Paris on June 10, drawing the best international teams from the continent and hundreds of thousands of fans. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the intent of the warning was not to dissuade Americans from traveling to Europe, but simply to remind them to stay vigilant. According to the warning, the threat concerns not just the French stadiums hosting matches themselves, but also areas across the continent where fans will gather in numbers

UEFA is set to decide in December on changing the Champions League
UEFA is set to decide in December on changing the Champions League as Europe’s top clubs chase a new format and bigger share of the competition’s billion-dollar annual income. Closed-door meetings of European football leaders in Milan around Saturday’s Champions League final made slow progress shaping the competition for the three seasons from 2018. Talk of a breakaway Super League was fuelled in January by some wealthy members of the European Club Association (ECA) who saw uncertainty over UEFA’s leadership during the FIFA presidential election. UEFA’s election on Sept 14, to finally replace its banned president Michel Platini, is a key step for Europe’s governing body to focus fully on its biggest asset. 

Sindh clinch U-17 Football title

Sindh became the crowned champions of the PSB Inter-Provincial U-17 Football Championship after defeating injury-hit Islamabad 1-0 in the final played at City Park Football ground in Gilgit. Both teams played first half on slow pace while the teams gained momentum in the second half Sindh finally broke the deadlock in the 55th minute, when Junaid scored the winning goal When the referee blew the final whistle to signal the end of the final, wild celebrations broke out in Sindh camp while Islamabad players burst into tears. According to Islamabad team coach Rana Tanveer Javed, Islamabad were hit-hard by injuries as non-availability of medical staff at the venue hampered team’s chances of lifting the title, while age scrutiny was another major reason behind Islamabad’s loss.

French Open: Radwanska shown the door in fourth round

World number two Agnieszka Radwanska suffered a monumental meltdown at a soggy French Open yesterday as her Roland Garros hopes fizzled out with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 defeat at the hands of Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in the fourth round. Radwanska had been leading 6-2, 3-0 when rain halted play on Sunday, but with the match resuming more than 40 hours later, following Monday’s washout, the Polish second seed seemed all at sea as she lost 10 games in a row against a player ranked 100 places below her. With misty rain falling over Court Suzanne Lenglen, Radwanska struggled to handle the heavy conditions and lost six games in a row to surrender the second set with a forehand error. A further 2hr 45min rain disruption failed to improve Radwanska’s mood or her fortunes as she fell 4-0 behind in the third set.  The 27-year-old, who called on the trainer to get treatment on her right hand midway through the decider, eventually halted Pironkova’s run by breaking the Bulgarian in the fifth game.

Punjab Blues set final clash against KP Colours in National U-18 Hockey

Islamabad-Punjab Blues set final clash against KP Colours after defeating their opponents in the 1st National U-18 Hockey Championship semifinals played here at the Naseer Bunda International Hockey Stadium. It was a truly remarkable first semifinal between both Punjab teams on offer. The pack-to-capacity crowd was entertained with top class hockey. Punjab Blues were hot favourites to win the semifinal against Punjab Colours, which displayed remarkable performance, especially Ali Aziz exhibited excellent stick work and scored a brace for the losers but his heroics couldn’t save his team’s blushes. Olympians Shahnaz Sheikh, Naveed Alam, Kamran Ashraf, Rasheed Junior, M Irfan, tournament director Col (R) Ahmed Nawaz Malik, secretary Ramzan Jamali, Punjab Hockey Association (PHA) secretary Col Asif Khokhar along with others were also present during both the semifinals.

Zakir helps Capital Star lift Memorial Hockey title

Hat-trick boy Zakir Khan helped Capital Star Hockey Club (HC) defeat Zakir Hockey Academy Wah Cantt 6-4 to clinch the 2nd Anwar Feroz Memorial Hockey Tournament title here at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium. A total of 14 clubs of different cities took part in the event. Punjab Chief Minister Advisor Malik Meherban was the chief guest while Islamabad Hockey Association (IHA) chairman Shahryar Khan, tournament director M Hussain and others were also present on the occasion. Capital Star had advantage of having the services of international player Zakir Khan, who proved to be the main difference between both the teams. Zakir scored the first goal in the 13th minute and scored a brace in the 21st minute. Zakir Hockey Academy bounced back in style as M Faizan also smashed a brace in the 23rd and 28th minutes to level the score at 2-2. Zakir Academy then took 3-2 lead in the 33rd minute through Ali who converted a beautiful goal.

SCCI agrees to support martial arts association’s cause

Lahore-Pakistan Martial Arts Association (PMAA) president Anwar Mohiuddin has said that Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has agreed to support the association for its cause as well as for its programme ‘self defense through martial arts’. Anwar said he had organised ‘Martial Arts Festival and Sports Gala’ in GC Women University Sialkot with PMAA bearing all the expenditures. He also announced to support PMAA not only in Sialkot but also in other cities. He promised to ask other chambers of commerce for their participation in supporting a national cause of the PMAA. He also awarded ‘Excellence Trophies’ to coach Maqsood Ejaz and me.

Player Profile: Kevin Pietersen

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