No home Tests holding Pakistan back, says Misbah

Updated 21 January 2013
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No home Tests holding Pakistan back, says Misbah

JOHANNESBURG: Pakistan are losing ground on Test rivals because they cannot host international teams owing to security concerns and accordingly play fewer test matches, captain Misbah-ul-Haq said yesterday.
As his team prepared to take on the world’s top-ranked test team South Africa in the three-test series starting in Johannesburg on Feb. 1, Misbah said Pakistan were at a disadvantage because of the “limitations.”
“As a team it is very difficult when you not playing a format on a regular basis. You really have to work hard. But we have to adjust, you could say it is a limitation for us but we are professionals, we have to do well,” he told a news conference.
“We don’t have home series and when you aren’t playing at home then you miss a lot of cricket and you play only about five or six tests a year when other teams are playing 15 or 16 Tests a year. It really does affect your team.” Pakistan have not hosted a test-playing team since armed militants attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009, killing eight Pakistanis and wounding six Sri Lankan players.
Their ‘home’ matches since then have been held at neutral venues, mostly in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, while Pakistan have not played a Test series anywhere since July last year.
Misbah said that the success of the two-match series between a World XI and a Pakistani All Star team in October last year showed that Pakistan could safely host international matches.
“Pakistan is such a big cricketing nation and the world has to think about bringing international cricket back (to Pakistan).
“The T20 tournament in Pakistan saw full stadiums for every match. There were no (security) concerns. The people should have international cricket,” he said.
Misbah’s words were echoed by Pakistan team manager Naveed Akram Cheema who said that the situation in Pakistan was a lot safer than outsiders perceived.
“Our people in Pakistan are being deprived of international cricket. There is a difference between perception and reality. People don’t come (to Pakistan) on the pretext of security concerns. But I can tell you that it is as safe as any country in the world,” he said.
Bangladesh were due to tour Pakistan this month but it was postponed for security reasons.

Irish confirms
ODI dates
Ireland will play two one-day internationals at home to Pakistan in May, Cricket Ireland said yesterday.
Pakistan will use the matches at yet to be specified venues on May 23 and May 26 as preparation for the ICC Champions Trophy starting on June 6.
“It’s fantastic news for Irish cricket, and we’re grateful to both ICC and the Pakistan Cricket Board for making the series possible,” said Ireland coach Phil Simmons.
“Pakistan are a formidable one-day side and it’s a great way of measuring where we are as a team. We’ve had some wonderful tussles with them in the past, and for many, Irish cricket was born the day we beat them in the 2007 World Cup. That win grabbed the attention of the world and we haven’t looked back since.” British media quoted Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore as saying: “We are eagerly awaiting our matches against the Irish team.

“Irish cricket has been improving consistently and we will be looking forward to some competitive games ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy.”


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.