Pakistan vs Australia: Pat Cummins Announces Australia Playing XI For 2nd Test

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Leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson will make his long-awaited Test debut for Australia as the tourists opted for two spinners for the second Test against Pakistan starting on Saturday. After a dreary draw on a flat Rawalpindi pitch in the first Test there is hope that Karachi will live up to its reputation of producing a result through spinners. The 28-year-old Swepson will become the first specialist leg-spinner to play a Test for Australia since Bryce McGain against South Africa in 2009. His inclusion is poignant because it comes a week after legendary Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne died of a suspected heart attack in Thailand.

Swepson will come in for fast bowler Josh Hazlewood in a twin spin attack alongside the experienced Nathan Lyon.

“He’s pumped and to be honest we’re all pumped for Swepo,” said Australian skipper Pat Cummins.

“It’s been a long time running drinks over the last couple of years, but he’s absolutely ready. He’s been a huge part of the squad, even though he hasn’t been playing.

“So we’re really excited to see him get a chance.”

Cummins acknowledged the Warne link.

“I think all spinners have a close affinity with Warnie and he inspired everyone,” said Cummins, who hopes the Karachi pitch will assist the spinners.

Pakistan beat South Africa by seven wickets in Karachi last year with spinners taking 18 of the 33 wickets to fall, with current Pakistan squad member Nauman Ali taking seven on debut.

“The wicket here is a little bit drier and historically a bit friendlier for the spinners, history shows the spin is probably more damaging here than the pace,” said Cummins.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam says his batsman will do their homework on the debutant Swepson.

“We have not seen him bowl much but will watch his videos and plan accordingly,” said Azam, who believes Pakistan were the dominant side in the first Test despite the draw.

Pakistan are likely to bring in frontline pacer Hasan Ali and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf — who both missed the first Test with injury — in place of Naseem Shah and Iftikhar Ahmed.

Ashraf tested positive for Covid on Wednesday but returned negative a day later to join the squad.

“This pitch looks sporting and will help spinners,” said Azam.

The third and final Test is in Lahore from March 21-25.

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Australia are on their first tour of Pakistan since 1998, having previously refused to tour the country over security fears.

Australia XI: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Swepson

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“A Lot Of Ravindra Jadeja”: Watch Shaheen Afridi Bowl Left-Arm Spin In Nets, Video Goes Viral

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After the first Test against Australia ended in a draw in Rawalpindi, Pakistan are gearing up for the second Test at the National Stadium in Karachi. Ahead of the second Test, Pakistan players were seen sweating it out in the nets. In a viral video, Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi was seen bowling left-arm spin during one of the net sessions in Karachi. Afridi’s bowling action reminded many of India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. Meanwhile, the batter who was facing him tried to scoop Shaheen’s delivery over the leg side but ended up missing it.

Watch the Pakistan star Shaheen Afridi bowl spin:

Here are some of the reactions:

The first Test ended in a high-scoring draw as bowlers from both the teams, except Pakistan’s Nauman Ali, failed to trouble the opposition batters much.

Imam-ul-Haq scored centuries in both the innings as Pakistan scored 476 for 4 declared and 252/0 in the first and second innings, respectively.

Apart from Imam, Azhar Ali scored a marathon 185 in the first innings while Abdullah Shafique scored his maiden Test ton in the second innings (136 not out).

In the bowling department, Nauman returned with figures of six for 107 while Shaheen also took two wickets.

For Australia, Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne played impressive knocks but failed to reach triple figures.

Notably, the Australian cricket team is touring Pakistan for the first time in 24 years.

The last time Australia played a Test series in Pakistan, they ended up winning the three-match series 1-0 under the leadership of Mark Taylor in 1998.

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While the second Test starts in Karachi on Saturday, the third and final Test is scheduled to be held in Lahore from March 21-25.

Both teams will also play three ODIs and a one-off T20I after the conclusion of the Test series.

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Pakistan vs Australia: Alex Carey Accidentally Falls Into A Swimming Pool, Teammates Can’t Stop Laughing. Watch

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Watch: Alex Carey falls into a pool and his teammates can’t stop laughing.© Twitter

The Australian cricket team arrived in Karachi earlier this week ahead of the start of the second Test at the National Stadium, starting Saturday, March 12. Wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey was involved in a hilarious incident after the team arrived at their hotel in Karachi. Carey, who was having a conversation with Nathan Lyon, accidentally fell into a swimming pool. The Australian players present at the scene couldn’t control their laughter as even Carey was seen having a giggle about it. The moment was captured by Australian skipper Pat Cummins, who shared the video on his Instagram handle.

Carey was quick to throw his mobile phone to one of his teammates after falling into the pool.

Meanwhile, the first Test in Rawalpindi ended in a draw last week.

Pakistan after electing to bat first, posted 476/4 declared with Azhar Ali and Imam-ul-Haq scoring 185 and 157, respectively.

In reply, Australia managed to reach a total of 459 all out as Usman Khawaja (97) and Marnus Labuschagne (90) missed out on their respective centuries.

For Pakistan, Nauman Ali took six wickets as the hosts took a lead of 17 runs.

In the second innings, Pakistan were 252/0 as Imam (111 not out) and Abdullah Shafique (134 not out) scored unbeaten centuries.

Notably, the Australian cricket team is in Pakistan for the first time in 24 years.

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The last time Australia played a Test series in Pakistan, they ended up winning the three-match series 1-0 under the leadership of Mark Taylor in 1998.

While the second Test starts in Karachi on Saturday, the third and final Test is scheduled to be held in Lahore from March 21-25.

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Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test: ICC Rates Rawalpindi Pitch As “Below Average”

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ICC has rated the Rawalpindi pitch as “below average”.© AFP

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday rated the pitch at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi that was used for the first Test between Pakistan and Australia as “below average”. Due to this rating, the venue has received one demerit point under the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process. “The character of the pitch hardly changed over the course of five days and that there has been no deterioration apart from the bounce getting slightly lower. The pitch did not have a great deal of pace and bounce in it for the seamers nor assisted the spinners as the match progressed,” Ranjan Madugalle of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees stated in an official statement.

“In my view, this does not represent an even contest between bat and ball. Therefore, in keeping with the ICC guidelines, I rate this pitch as below average,” he added.

The first Test between Pakistan and Australia ended in a draw on Tuesday. Pakistan openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique scored unbeaten centuries as Pakistan scored 252 without losing any wicket on the fifth and final day.

Both the teams will be squaring off for the second Test of the three-match series on Saturday at National Stadium, Karachi.

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David Warner Says Mankading “A Spirit Of Cricket Thing”

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Run-out at non-striker’s end remains a “spirit of cricket issue” for Australian opener David Warner despite the MCC amending its code to remove it from “unfair play” laws even though he believes that batters are the ones solely at “fault” if such a dismissal is effected. Custodians of cricket laws, the Marylebone Cricket Club on re-classified the controversial runout, from law 41’s ‘unfair play’ and incorporated it within law 38 pertaining to legitimate run outs. It’s one of the nine changes that the MCC made to its code, which is set to come into effect from October this year.

“I still think the history of the game suggests it’s a spirit of cricket thing… You don’t expect players to do that,” Warner was quoted as saying by ‘news.com.au’ ahead of the second Test against Pakistan beginning in Karachi on Saturday.

“I do agree with the fact that if you are backing up, and you’re out of your crease by a long way (you are fair game).

“I think it happened more predominantly at the end of a white-ball 50-over games, or obviously in T20 cricket we’ve seen it but at the end of the day, as a batsman, you’ve got to stay in your crease,” he added.

Warner said batters have only themselves to blame if they end up being dismissed in such a manner.

“There’s no doubt about that, and if you’re silly enough to get caught out like that and run out, that’s your own fault. You’re told not to leave before the bowler lets the ball go, so just don’t do it,” Warner said.

The dismissal first came to be known when the legendary former India allrounder Vinoo Mankad twice ran out Australia opener Bill Brown at the non-striker’s end — once in a tour game against an Australia XI at the SCG in 1947, and then again in the second Test of the ensuing series.

The Australian media dubbed it as ‘Mankading’, a name which stuck in popular parlance but was vehemently opposed by legends like Sunil Gavaskar for being “disrespectful” towards Mankad.

Warner does not believe the switch from “unfair” to “legitimate” will cause bowlers to pursue such a dismissal more often as it would only slow down the game.

“I think what’s important for the game of cricket is that bowlers don’t be looking for that, because then you’re going to slow the game down even more,” he said.

“I know from before, being a captain, it can be frustrating and you’re taking time out of the game.

“So there’s some areas there that need to be addressed, but that’s on an individual basis,” he added.

England fast bowler Stuart Broad has also endorsed Warner’s views.

Responding to MCC’s announcement, Broad wrote on Twitter “Hasn’t it always been a legitimate dismissal and whether it is unfair is subjective? and added Mankad “requires zero skill”.

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Indian ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had ignited the most recent debate about the tactic’s legitimacy by dismissing England’s Jos Buttler in an Indian Premier League match in 2019.

He has been advocating for its usage by the bowlers if the batters do not respond to warnings on backing up too far.

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Australia’s David Warner Pledges To Attend Idol Shane Warne’s Funeral

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Australian opener David Warner plans to attend the state funeral of his childhood idol Shane Warne later this month, but he says it will take time to get used to the legendary bowler’s passing. Warne died following a heart attack while holidaying in Thailand last week, and his death has shaken the Australian team, who are currently touring Pakistan. “It still hasn’t really sunk in,” said Warner ahead of the second Test starting in Karachi from Saturday.

“When we first found out, we thought it was a joke.”

Warner said he will head home after the third Test, in Lahore starting March 25, as he was not part of the subsequent limited overs series.

Warne’s state funeral is scheduled for March 30, and Warner said: “I will be there, 100 per cent.”

“It’s definitely going to be extremely emotional for everyone. There will be lots of people paying their respects,” he said.

“You just look at the tributes from around the world — he has touched millions and millions of people, and from different countries.”

Warner said he grew up idolising Warne.

“As a kid, I had his poster up on the wall. I wanted to be like Shane.”

Still, Warner has attracted fans of his own in Pakistan, where Australia are touring for the first time since 1998, having declined to visit previously on security grounds.

The nuggety opening batsman has amused the crowd by showing off his dance moves to music played between overs or accompanying the spectators in their chants.

“We’re entertainers as well,” said Warner.

“If I’m not playing in the middle where I’m batting, I like to engage with the fans.”

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Warner acknowledged the Australians wanted to win over the Pakistan fans after such a long absence.

“I’ve got nothing but great words to say about the place,” he said.

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Shane Warne’s Body Returns Home To Australia

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A private jet flew the body of Australian cricket superstar Shane Warne home to his native Melbourne Thursday, six days after his death at the age of 52 provoked shock and grief around the world. Carrying the cricketing great’s coffin wrapped in an Australian flag, a chartered Dassault Falcon 7X jet landed in the evening at Melbourne’s Essendon North airport after an eight-hour flight from Bangkok. His family is reportedly organising a private memorial. Warne, adored by fans as the “king of spin” who bamboozled opposing batters, will be honoured with a state memorial at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 30, with tickets open to the public.

The sporting legend’s body was found on March 4 at a luxury resort villa on the Thai island of Koh Samui. He was rushed to the Thai International Hospital Samui but despite medical efforts could not be revived.

An autopsy confirmed he had died of natural causes following a suspected heart attack.

Thai police reported that Warne’s father said the player had been suffering “chest pains” and had planned to return home for a check-up after the trip.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the state memorial as a tribute to a larger-than-life man who has been a reference point in his home country for the past 30 years.

“There’s nowhere in the world more appropriate to farewell Warnie than the ‘G’,” Andrews said.

Warne has been a big part of Australian life from his 1992 Test debut against India to his incisive commentary, now as much a part of the summer’s soundscape as kids laughing on the beach or the click of bat on ball.

In the time in between, he captured the imagination of countless backyard cricketers and set the sporting world on fire.

Credited with reviving the art of leg-spin, Warne was part of a dominant Australian Test team in the 1990s and 2000s and helped his country win the 1999 limited-overs World Cup.

– ‘Inconceivable’ –
Warne “didn’t just inspire a cricketing generation — he defined it”, said a statement by the Victoria government.

Warne’s family have released messages expressing their love and grief.

“To find words to adequately express our sadness is an impossible task for us and looking to a future without Shane is inconceivable,” parents Keith and Brigitte Warne said in a statement this week.

“I miss you so much already,” said daughter Summer Warne. “I wish I could’ve hugged you tighter in what I didn’t know were my final moments with you.”

“I wish I could’ve told you that everything was going to be OK and hold your hand.”

Son Jackson Warne reminisced about playing golf and poker, and watching Australian rules football while eating pizza with someone he saw as a brother and best friend, as well as a father.

“I love you so much. I don’t think anything is ever going to fill the void you have left in my heart,” he said in a statement.

“You were truly the best father and mate anyone could’ve asked for. I love you so much Dad, see you soon.”

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison led tributes to one of the country’s “greatest characters”.

Over the weekend fans paid homage to Warne at his statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground — including offerings of cigarettes, beer and meat pies — to remember an extraordinary cricketing talent with a huge appetite for life.

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Australia Look To Second Spinner After Rawalpindi Stalemate

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Australia are likely to play two spinners as they go in search of a win in Saturday’s second Test in Karachi after Pakistan batted their seamers into the ground in the draw at Rawalpindi. The historic occasion — Australia’s first Test in Pakistan since 1998 — was marred by a pitch described as “dead” by vice-captain Steve Smith as Pakistan piled up 728 runs for the loss of just four wickets, and one of those was a run out.

Openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique both made maiden Test hundreds — Imam scoring one in each innings — while senior batsman Azhar Ali also passed three figures during five attritional days.

The series now moves to Karachi’s National Stadium, a favourite hunting ground for Pakistan, who have won 23 of the 43 Tests they have played there while losing only twice.

Australia have never won in Karachi in eight attempts, losing five and drawing three.

With conditions sultry, the pitch is likely to help the slow bowlers, prompting Australia to rest at least one of their famed pace trio of captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

‘Still feeling fresh’

“From our intel in Karachi and Lahore, a second spinner is probably the way to go but we’ll have a look,” said Cummins, hinting that leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, 28, could make his Test debut alongside veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

“Just about everyone got into the series,” said Cummins, whose side made 459 in their only innings in Rawalpindi without anyone making a century.

“All the batters got some runs. We’re still feeling relatively fresh going into the game.”

Pace bowler Hasan Ali, who missed the first Test through injury, is likely to replace Naseem Shah for the hosts.

But Faheem Ashraf, who missed the first Test through injury, has now been sidelined with Covid.

Left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, who took a career best 6-107 in Rawalpindi, was Pakistan’s match-winner in Karachi last year on debut against South Africa with seven wickets.

“The way our batters played and how Nauman bowled in difficult conditions was good,” said Pakistan captain Babar Azam of his side’s performance in the first Test of the three-match series.

“There were some positives to take for us. We have some of our fast bowlers available for the second Test so we should be stronger in that department.”

Ramiz Raja, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, defended the flat pitch in Rawalpindi.

“I understand the frustration of the fans but there is a lot of cricket still remaining to be played,” said Raja.

“Just for the heck of it, we can’t prepare a fast pitch or a bouncy pitch and put the game in Australia’s lap.”

The third and final Test takes place in Lahore from March 21-25.

Pakistan (from): Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Hasan Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Naseem Shah

Australia (from): Pat Cummins (capt), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Mark Steketee, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Ahsan Raza (PAK)

TV umpire: Rashid Riaz (PAK)

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Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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We Did Not Want To Play Into Australia’s Hands: PCB Chief Ramiz Raja On Pitch Criticism

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PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja on Wednesday defended the use of a flat track for the first Test, saying they did not want play into Australia’s hands by preparing a track that would assist pace and bounce. The series-opener ended in a high scoring dull draw on Tuesday. The Rawalpindi track, where Just 14 wickets fall in five days with 1,187 runs scored by both teams, drew criticism from some former players, critics and fans alike.

“I understand fans’ frustration and a result would have been good but this is a three-match series. We need to remember that there is a lot of cricket to come,” Ramiz said in a video message released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

“Just for the heck of it, we don’t want to prepare a fast and bouncy pitch and play into Australia’s hands.” He conceded that the Pindi pitch was not a good advertisement for Test cricket but backed the track.

“You must understand Pakistan team had limited resources for the Test and our bowling line up was disturbed as well with Faheem and Hasan not available and Yasir Shah also unfit,” he said.

He said the pitch was prepared accordingly.

“I am totally for having better pitches in Pakistan but I took charge in September and the season had already started. Remember one requires at least five to six months to prepare a pitch.

“When the season finishes you will see that we are bringing in soil from Australia and we are experimenting here with soil experts. We will redo 50-60 pitches all over Pakistan as soon as our season ends in March-April,” he said.

Fomer batter Inzamam-ul-haq said it felt rather weird to see a Test match ending in a high scoring draw.

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“Nowadays if a Test is drawn it feels strange and I can’t remember the last time we had a test where so many runs were scored and the pitch was flat.

“You knew it was going to be a draw from the first day. I am hopeful, the pitch will undoubtedly be more sporting (in next Test). You help spinners by making a turning pitch. You take advantage of the home field advantage, but don’t make a dead pitch,” he said. PTI Corr AT AT

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Shane Warne’s Body En Route Back To Australia

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The body of Shane Warne left Thailand early Thursday, flying back to Australia where the cricket superstar will receive a state funeral. Wrapped in the Australian flag, the coffin of the 52-year-old — who died on Thailand’s Koh Samui island Friday — left Don Mueang International airport at 8.24 am local time (0124 GMT) on a private plane, a Thai airport official confirmed. Autopsy results confirmed that the leg-spin bowler, one of the greatest Test cricketers of all time, died of natural causes after a suspected heart attack.

Warne “didn’t just inspire a cricketing generation — he defined it,” said a statement by the Victoria government, announcing the state funeral would be held on March 30 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Warne was discovered late Friday at a luxury villa on Koh Samui where he was on holiday, after failing to meet friends that evening.

He was taken to the Thai International Hospital Samui but despite medical efforts he could not be revived.

On Monday, police said an autopsy had found “the death was due to natural causes”.

Surachate Hakparn, assistant to the national police chief, added that Warne’s father said the player “had been suffering chest pains and was planning to return home for a check-up after this trip”.

– ‘Inconceivable’ -In their first public comments since his death, Warne’s parents, brother, children and ex-wife expressed deep sorrow.

“To find words to adequately express our sadness is an impossible task for us and looking to a future without Shane is inconceivable,” parents Keith and Brigitte Warne said in a statement.

“I miss you so much already,” said daughter Summer Warne. “I wish I could’ve hugged you tighter in what I didn’t know were my final moments with you.”

“I wish I could’ve told you that everything was going to be OK and hold your hand.”

Son Jackson Warne reminisced about playing golf and poker, and watching Australian rules football while eating pizza with someone he saw as a brother and best friend, as well as a father.

“I love you so much. I don’t think anything is ever going to fill the void you have left in my heart,” he said in a statement.

“You were truly the best father and mate anyone could’ve asked for. I love you so much Dad, see you soon.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison led tributes to one of the country’s “greatest characters”.

Over the weekend fans paid homage to Warne at his statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground — including offerings of cigarettes, beer and meat pies — to remember an extraordinary cricketing talent with a huge appetite for life.

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Credited with reviving the art of leg-spin, Warne was part of a dominant Australian Test team in the 1990s and 2000s and helped his country win the 1999 limited-overs World Cup.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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