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Asia Cup: Pakistan pace star Shaheen says ‘best yet to come’



(Last Updated On: September 9, 2023)

Pakistan pace ace Shaheen Shah Afridi has warned his devastating spell against arch-rivals India that set the Asia Cup alight is just the start, with the World Cup only weeks away.

The left-arm fast bowler rattled the Indian top-order in their Group A clash last week, taking 4-35 – including the wickets of star batters Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.

That match was washed out but they meet again in Colombo on Sunday in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup, a precursor to the 50-over World Cup that kicks off next month.

And Shaheen told AFP there is more to come.

“Every match against India is special and people watch this a lot,” the 23-year-old said Friday. “I used to wait for this match as a fan before I played under-16 cricket.”

“I can’t say this has been my best spell so far. This is just the start and there will be many more, so the best is yet to come.”

With his ability to move the ball both ways, Shaheen leads one of the most potent pace attacks in the world.

“If you play all the three formats at such a young age for Pakistan and handle the new ball, people expect you to perform like that,” he said.

Shaheen and his fellow fast bowlers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf have picked up 23 wickets between them in the Asia Cup so far.

“We know our roles with the new and old ball,” Shaheen said.

“Haris is quicker than us and impacts with his pace. Naseem and I try to get early breakthroughs.”

The “communication is good between us,” he added. “And that’s our success.”

Shaheen, who stands at 6 feet and 6 inches (1.98 meters), suffered a serious knee injury last year but returned strongly in Sri Lanka in July.

“It’s your match time that helps you improve. These test matches against Sri Lanka recently made me improve as I bowled long spells and fielded all day,” said Shaheen, who has 105 wickets in 27 tests, AFP reported.

“So that cleared all doubts about the knee injury.”

Shaheen has never played cricket in India – bilateral cricket ties are frozen because of political tensions between the neighbors.

He is keen to do well when Pakistan take on hosts India in the hotly anticipated World Cup match in Ahmedabad on October 14.

“All the foreign players who have played in the IPL (Indian Premier League), we had discussions with them. I think our Pakistan wickets or Dubai pitches will be similar,” he said.

“Spinners will get more help, maybe. We will hit good lengths. Our team performance is going well as the No 1 (ODI) team. We have prepared well.”

Shaheen is married to one of the daughters of former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, and said he speaks to the former allrounder before every big match.

“I try to pick his brains before a big game and include it in my plans as he was a big-match player,” said Shaheen.

“He talks simply and says: ‘Just play your cricket’.”

A fan of legendary Pakistani left-arm fast bowler Wasim Akram, Shaheen said he keeps his focus on the field by avoiding cricket off it.

“I don’t go out much and stay in my room. Just stay indoors, make green tea… and talk about anything other than cricket,” he said.

“That keeps me relaxed.”


Day 2 Roundup: China’s medal momentum continues at Asian Games



(Last Updated On: September 26, 2023)

Hosts China continued to dominate at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou on Monday, securing an impressive haul of 19 gold medals, while the shooting range had three world records shattered.

The Chinese rowers once again made a significant impact along the Fuchun River, earning five more gold medals on the last day of rowing action, Xinhua reported.

On Sunday, Chinese rowers also won the Men’s and Women’s Quadruple Sculls, Women’s Pair, and Eight.

In total, China has taken 11 out of the 14 gold medals available in the sport, including the first gold of these events in the Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls.

After a dominating performance in the pool on Sunday with seven gold medals, Chinese swimmers slightly slowed their momentum on Monday, clinching four out of the seven golds. Triple Breaststroke world champion Qin Haiyang won the 100m Breaststroke, setting a Games record of 57.76 seconds.

His compatriot Yan Zibei was second in 59.09 seconds, while Republic of Korea’s Choi Dongyeol placed third in 59.28.

Qin, flagbearer for the Chinese team at the opening ceremony, rose to stardom at the World Championships in Fukuoka in July, becoming the first man in history to win all three Breaststroke titles while also setting a world record in the 200m.

When asked about his plans to break the 50m Breaststroke world record, Qin said that he wouldn’t specifically prepare for it, as “it’s not an Olympic event.”

“I think I’ll need some luck to break the world record,” the 24-year-old added.

In the Women’s 200m Individual Medley final, a competitive duel unfolded between rising star Yu Yiting and London Olympic champion Ye Shiwen. Yu set a Games record of 2:07.75 to claim the title, with Ye finishing second in 2:10.34. Republic of Korea’s Kim Seoyeong was third with a time of 2:10.36.

China’s world champion Xu Jiayu secured the top spot in the Men’s 50m Backstroke with a time of 24.38 seconds, while Wang Xue’er narrowly outpaced teammate Wan Letian to win the Women’s 50m Backstroke in 27.35 seconds.

In a historic moment for Hong Kong, China, Siobhan Bernadette Haughey earned Hong Kong’s first-ever gold medal in Swimming at the Asian Games. Haughey, the Olympic silver medalist in the Women’s 100m Freestyle, cruised to victory in the 200m, beating defending champion Li Bingjie of China in a Games record of 1:54.12.

The shooting range also provided cause for celebration as China’s shooters claimed 3 gold medals, breaking 2 of the 3 world records on the day.

In other events, China’s women gymnasts extended their remarkable streak by winning their 13th consecutive team title at the Asian Games, scoring 161.896 points. Japan was second with 157.229 points, while DPR Korea placed third with 156.829 points.

China also claimed gold medals in Cycling, Taekwondo, Skateboarding, Fencing and Wushu to lead the medal table with 39 gold, 21 silver, and 9 bronze medals. The Republic of Korea was second with 10 golds and Japan third with 5.

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ACB announce Amul as the National Team’s Sponsor for the ICC Men’s CWC 2023



(Last Updated On: September 26, 2023)

The Afghanistan Cricket Board has signed Amul as the Afghanistan National Team’s Principal Sponsor for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, starting October 5 in India.

Amul is India’s largest FMCG brand and one of India’s most iconic and trusted dairy brands, which will appear on the Afghanistan team’s jerseys as well as on the training kits throughout the World Cup.

Jayen Mehta, Managing Director of Amul said: “Sports is an important medium for Amul to connect with today’s generation. Milk is the world’s original energy drink and is consumed by all sports persons. We also celebrate the values of milk which are imbibed by today’s youth with our BeMoreMilk initiative which will feature the Afghanistan team.”

Amul exports its milk powders and baby food to Afghanistan and has done so for the last 20 years. “We are proud to build our association with the Afghanistan Men’s Cricket Team and wish them all the best for the World Cup,” Mehta said.

Naseeb Khan, the ACB’s CEO said: “Amul has been ACB’s commercial partner in the past and we are pleased to have them on board again for this year’s event as well.” T

The Afghanistan National Cricket Team will arrive in India on September 25 and will begin their preparations for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. They will first face South Africa and Sri Lanka in the two warm up games ahead of their first game at the mega event against Bangladesh on October 7, 2023 in Dharamsala.

Afghan players have meanwhile arrived in Thiruvananthapuram, India, ahead of their first warm up match against South Africa on Friday.

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Afghanistan scoops Bronze Medal at Asian Games 2023



(Last Updated On: September 25, 2023)

Mohsen Rezaei, the captain of the country’s national taekwondo team, won bronze on Sunday after losing in the semi-final to Jang Jun from South Korea.

Rezaei won the first round against world champion Jang Jun with a close score of 7-5 but lost 14-12 in the second round and settled for a historic and valuable bronze medal.

Reports indicate Rezaei broke his hand in the first stage of the competition, but still managed to register the first medal for Afghanistan at this year’s Games.

According to officials of the Taekwondo Federation, Afghanistan won bronze by defeating opponents from Tajikistan, Japan, and Kazakhstan and South Korea.

Early in the day Afghanistan’s national rugby team lost in its last match.

After beating Nepal, the team went through to the next round and faced the United Arab Emirates. However the team suffered a defeat, despite their best efforts.

Other Afghans were also unlucky on Monday, including swimmer Fahim Anwari who took part in the 50m freestyle and 100 m breaststroke but failed to qualify for the next rounds.

Afghan boxer, in the 71kg weight division Mohammad Khyber Nooristani also fell out following an injury during his bout against his Mongolian opponent.

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