Pakistan hopes World XI series will herald return of international cricket

first_imgPakistan will host a World XI cricket team for three T20 matches starting on Tuesday and hopes the series will herald the return of international cricket to the country eight years after a militant attack on a Sri Lankan team bus.The star-studded series to take place under tight security will be closely monitored by other cricket boards and if all goes well Pakistan expects to host Sri Lanka and West Indies this year, Pakistan cricket board chairman Najam Sethi said.Pakistan has only hosted one international series since militants attacked the bus in Lahore in 2009, wounding six players and killing two civilians and six security officials.In March, calls for the return of international cricket picked up steam after the final of the domestic T20 Pakistan Super League, featuring high profile foreign players such as World Cup winner Darren Sammy, was held in Lahore.”It’s a great opportunity to showcase Pakistan,” Sethi told Reuters, adding that these matches could revive cricket in the country. “This is a momentous occasion.”Over 6,000 police officials and paramilitary officers have been deployed around the stadium, according to provincial government spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan.”A foolproof security plan has been devised for the protection of the teams and spectators,” he said.Attacks in Lahore have become less frequent in recent years but security remains high as Pakistani Taliban and other militants groups remain active. A Taliban suicide bomber killed 25 people in July in an attack that appeared to target Lahore’s police force.The streets of Lahore were swathed in posters of the visiting players and advertisements for the matches. Long queues formed at vendors across the city and many fans were turned away as tickets sold out.advertisementReuters Photo “I am very excited,” Lahore resident Qasim Ali Shah told Reuters. “I have bought a ticket, an expensive one, and will go to watch the match tomorrow.Local television channels had pre-match footage on a constant loop, showing players arriving for practice at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.For young fans and many players on the team itself it is one of the first times they can experience a high-profile match on home turf.Pakistan’s cricket board has shouldered the expense of hosting matches in Dubai since the 2009 attack and lost considerable revenue in fees and other expenses.”Dubai has proven to be a very expensive venue and my sense is we will cut our costs by 50 percent when it comes back to Pakistan,” Sethi said.Cricket board spokesman Amjad Bhatti said an estimated 90 percent of tickets had been sold.”I wanted to watch all of the three matches but could not get tickets,” said aspiring cricketer Rameez Sindhu.The Commentary team for the World XI will include Pakistan fast bowling legends and former captains Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja and former Zimbabwe Medium Pacer Pommie Mbangwa.Match Schedule:Match 1: September 12, Tuesday at 7.30pm ISTMatch 2: September 13, Wednesday at 7.30pm ISTMatch 3: September 15, Friday at 7.30pm ISTlast_img read more

Aguero: Signing Messi ‘complicated’

first_imgLionel Messi Aguero accepts prospect of Man City signing Messi is ‘complicated’ Ryan Benson Last updated 2 years ago 05:15 10/12/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(4) Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi, Man City, Barcelona 2016-17 Getty Lionel Messi Manchester City v Stoke City Manchester City Stoke City Premier League Sergio Agüero The star’s Barcelona contract expires in less than a year, but his Argentina team-mate cannot see him ending up at Manchester City Sergio Aguero would “love” to have Lionel Messi join him at Manchester City, but accepts it would be complicated persuading a club “symbol” to leave Barcelona.Speculation about the future of Messi has been rife for several months now after the Argentinian superstar — who scored a hat-trick to book his country’s World Cup place on Wednesday — entered the final year of his contract at Camp Nou.City 4/6 to claim PL crown Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has claimed several times that Messi’s renewal has already been actioned and just needs to be announced, but the clock keeps ticking and that confirmation is yet to be made.In spite of the delay, Aguero does not think that there is much hope of Messi joining him at City, even if money is not an issue for the Premier League side.”The money isn’t a problem here,” Aguero told TyC Sport . “But I think Messi, like [Cristiano] Ronaldo, are players who are symbols of their clubs and it’s difficult for them to leave.”I would love to have Leo on my team, but that seems quite complicated.”Sergio Aguero Lionel Messi ArgentinaAguero is on the sidelines after breaking a rib in a car crash in Amsterdam at the end of September, an injury which kept him out of Argentina’s final two World Cup qualifiers and was expected to prevent him from playing throughout the rest of October.The 29-year-old, though, has appeared to indicate he could be in selection content for the match against Stoke City on Saturday, while he also hit back at those criticising him for going to Amsterdam on his days off.”When a player has a free day at Manchester City, most of the players go to London, others to Italy, some to Spain,” he said.”I was lucky that I know the agent of Maluma [a Colombian singer], he invited me and I went. I had almost two days off and going to the airport was when I had that accident.”Then one thinks “why did I [go]”, but it’s difficult to imagine that something like that could happen.”I still do not know if I am going to play on Saturday. Today I trained normally, but without the group.”Tomorrow I will get into the group to see how I feel, but at training it’s not the same thing as a game, I want to see if I have pain.”last_img read more