‘Your Cannot Live a Life With Lies’ – Pakistan…

Pakistan’s Danish Kaneria has finally admitted his role in a fixing scandal that led to the imprisonment of former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield after six years of denial, Britain’s Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.

Kaneria, who was given a life ban by English cricket chiefs that effectively applied worldwide, said in an interview for an Al Jazeera television documentary quoted by the Mail: “My name is Danish Kaneria and I admit that I was guilty of the two charges brought against me by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2012.”

Leg-spinner Kaneria, who insisted he was repentant as he called for his life ban to be overturned, added: “I have become strong enough to make this decision, because you cannot live a life with lies.

"I want to apologise to Mervyn Westfield, my Essex team-mates, my Essex cricket club, my Essex cricket fans. I say sorry to Pakistan.”

Westfield spent two months at Belmarsh prison in south-east London after pleading guilty to accepting £6,000 ($7,862) from an illegal bookmaker, Anu Bhatt, to concede 12 runs in his first over of an English county 40-over game against Durham in 2009. He conceded only 10, but still took the money.

Kaneria was the “middle-man” in the scam, having introduced Westfield to Bhatt, but avoided criminal charges when English legal authorities decided they lacked the evidence for a conviction.

Now 37, Kaneria remains Pakistan’s leading spinner with 261 wickets in 61 Tests.

– ‘Forgiveness’ –

He last played for Pakistan in the Trent Bridge Test of 2010, and has not appeared in any first-class game since March 2012, with all major boards upholding the ECB ban under the International Cricket Council guidance.

“I want to ask people’s forgiveness,” said Kaneria.

“Cricket has given me so much in my life and I want to give something back.

"If the ECB and ICC and other bodies would give me a second chance I can help to educate young people in cricket, teach them that if you do wrong you are finished like me.”

Kaneria said the fear of embarrassing his father, who died in 2013 and had been suffering from cancer, explained part of the reason behind his repeated denials of wrongdoing.

“His health was getting worse and worse,” he recalled.

“I didn’t have the courage to face him and tell him that I was wrong. He was a very, very proud guy. Very, very proud of me and what I did, representing Pakistan, representing my country.

"I want to apologise to my father, who has always been a role model for me.”

Meanwhile, Westfield told the Mail he accepted Kaneria’s apology, saying: “This whole chapter of spot-fixing changed my life, but I have never blamed anyone for the terrible mistake I made.

"However, opening up about my wrongdoing and telling the truth allowed me to move on,” added Westfield, now 30, who was banned from professional cricket for five years after being released from jail but has since played club and minor county matches.

“I hope that Danish finds peace and closure by doing this, and I wish him all the best for the future.”

Tim Paine Did Seek Clarification on 3m Rule: A…

Australia opener Aaron Finch confirmed captain Tim Paine’s enquiry on the 3m regulation involved in determining LBW decisions during referrals and seeker clarification on the possibility of a rule change if the ball is hitting the stumps as clearly as Jon Holland’s appeal appeared to be against Azhar Ali on Day 2 of the second Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.

“Yeah it was just a bit of confusion again,” Finch said at the end of the game. “Where 3m is down the wicket, if it’s still hitting the stumps and hitting in line can we tinker the rule. I know it’s sounding sour at the moment because we’ve been on the receiving end, but it’s certainly not. We understand where the rule’s at now. but maybe if it’s hitting in line and if all three (pitching point, impact with pad, impact with stumps) are still red, maybe there’s a chance to overturn it.

Umpire S Ravi ruled the initial appeal not out but a review taken by the visitors showed the ball was pitching in line, impact was in line and hitting the wickets. However, the line of impact was immaterial as the ball had struck the batsman’s pads more than 3m away from the stumps.

"But we’ve just got to deal with that, it’s a part of the game and it’s unfortunate that it didn’t go our way but that’s cricket, and a lot of the time when a team has momentum, them things go their way, and we’ve certainly been on the back foot. That’s through our own doing. We didn’t really know about it until last Test, about the three metres. Pitching in line, hitting in line, hitting the stumps – to me that’s strange.

This is a point of contention for the Australian side as Azhar Ali’s LBW claim was the second time they were denied in the series owing to the 3m rule. Earlier, Harris Sohail was also given not out under similar circumstances in Dubai.

"Obviously I understand the element of predicting the path of the ball. That’s something that’s gone against us a couple of times, but that’s the game, that’s the rule, and we’ve just got to deal with it. I honestly haven’t thought about it too much. I think as the technology improves … I think in time it will be 100% accurate, or 99% accurate. Rules like that are always tinkered or changed slightly.”

Rashid, Curran Star as England Take Unassailab…

Bowlers Adil Rashid and Tom Curran set up England’s comfortable seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the rain-shortened third one-day international in Kandy on Wednesday.

Rashid and Curran shared seven wickets between them to restrict Sri Lanka to 150-9 in the 21-overs-a-side contest. The visitors surpassed the total in 18.3 overs to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

Skipper Eoin Morgan remained unbeaten on 58 off 49 to give England their second successive win after the opening match was washed out in a series hit by the Sri Lankan monsoon.

The left-handed batting combination of Morgan and Ben Stokes, who made 35, put on an unbeaten 73-run stand for the fourth wicket to blunt the Sri Lankan bowling attack.

Left-arm spinner Amila Aponso took two early wickets including Joe Root for eight to dent England’s chase but opener Jason Roy ensured the runs kept coming quickly from one end. He made 41 off 26 balls.

Earlier put in to bat after nearly six hours of play was lost due to rain, the hosts were off to a breezy start courtesy of a 20-ball 36 from Niroshan Dickwella.

Rashid helped England bounce back with wickets at crucial junctures as he claimed four from his five overs of leg-spin.

The left-handed Dickwella put on 57 runs off 33 deliveries with opener partner Sadeera Samarawickrama, who also made a brisk 35.

Fast bowler Curran got Dickwella caught at mid-off to check Sri Lanka’s surge. Curran returned figures of 3-17 from his four overs.

Rashid hit Sri Lanka hard with the wickets of Samarawickrama and Thisara Perera for nought in consecutive deliveries to be on a hat-trick.

Skipper Dinesh Chandimal played out the hat-trick ball and stayed on to make 34 crucial runs before falling to Curran in the final over.

Sri Lanka now need to win the remaining two matches to at least draw level the series. The fourth ODI is scheduled in Kandy on Saturday.

Grounded Mohammad Abbas Determined to Continue…

Pakistan paceman Mohammad Abbas insisted on Wednesday he is confident his rapid success will not go to his head, saying a tough early life has helped him mature as a person. The 28-year-old worked as a welder and a leather factory labourer in Pakistan before his hard work in cricket paid dividends with a first-class debut in 2009.

Abbas has been Pakistan’s most successful bowler since making his Test debut in the West Indies last year, taking 54 wickets in nine-and-a-half games. The pacer sent Australia tumbling to 145 all out with figures of 5-33 on Wednesday, helping Pakistan to a 137-run first-innings lead in the second Test in Abu Dhabi.

By close on the second day Pakistan were 144-2 in their second innings, stretching the advantage to 281 runs with eight wickets intact as they bid to win the two-match series 1-0.

Abbas took seven wickets in the drawn first Test in Dubai last week. But success is unlikely to go to his head, like it did to Mohammad Zahid, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir – all three fast bowlers who shot to fame early in their careers.

“Look, I have a firm belief in Almighty Allah and I pray that he keeps me away from tough situations,” said Abbas. “I have played first-class cricket and a lot of things have happened before my eyes.”

Zahid shot to prominence with 11 wickets in his debut Test against New Zealand in 1996 but managed only four more matches after struggling with a back injury.

Asif and Amir were each banned for five years after their parts in the spot-fixing scandal on Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010. Since completing his ban, Amir has returned but struggled to make the most of his talent.

“I suffered hardship in my life so my focus is on cricket and that has made me mature. I want to keep my feet on ground, that has been my life and it has matured me,” added Abbas. "Right or wrong, I know where to go and my focus is to go step to step and whatever happens around me doesn’t bother me.“

When he claimed his 50th wicket in his 10th Test on Tuesday, Abbas became the joint-second fastest to achieve the feat from Pakistan alongside the legendary Waqar Younis, Asif and Shabbir Ahmed. Team-mate Yasir Shah is the fastest Pakistani to 50 wickets – in nine matches.

Abbas also has the fourth-best average (15.94) – and lowest this century – among those with 50 or more wickets. England’s George Lohmann (10.75), Australia’s J.J. Ferris (12.70) and Billy Barnes of England (15.54) all played in the 19th century.

But Abbas said records are made to be broken.

"I focus on my bowling and taking wickets for Pakistan and in the process get records, which are made to be broken.”

UAE to Face Australia for First Time in One-of…

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) national side will play a one-off T20I against Australia on Monday, October 22 at the Abu Dhabi Oval. The ECB (Emirates Cricket Board) announced that the match would be slated between the Test and the T20I series between Pakistan and Australia.

“We are delighted to be in a position to announce this fixture and we are extremely grateful to the ICC for their support in accrediting the Abu Dhabi Oval for T20 International cricket at such short notice,” said Zayed Abbas, an ECB spokesperson.

In an effort to attract more crowds and to promote the national team, there would be no entry tickets for this match.

“It has been an incredible effort from all parties to bring this match to fruition,” said the ECB spokesperson, thanking the Pakistan Cricket Board and Cricket Australia.

UAE selector, Waleed Bukhatir, said that the exposure and challenge of playing top teams like Australia would prove beneficial for the UAE players. He stated that the national team needed to be put under pressure and “focus more intently by being challenged by higher-ranked, leading teams” in international cricket.

UAE does not have a great record in T20I cricket. They have played 26 matches and won just 9.

They are yet to beat a major team in T20I cricket though they have defeated the likes of Ireland and Afghanistan.

They beat PNG in three matches last year – all in Abu Dhabi – which was also the last time they played the format.

Rashid, Gayle & Bravo Among Star Players Draft…

Dan Christian, Samuel Badree and Jeevan Mendis headlined a modest list of international stars drafted into South Africa’s new Mzansi Super League Twenty20 tournament on Wednesday.

Australian all-rounder Christian, Sri Lankan all-rounder Jeevan Mendis and West Indian leg-spinner Badree were signed for 750,000 rand ($52,600) each for the month-long tournament, from November 15 to December 16. They will play for the Jozi Stars, Tshwane Spartans and Cape Town Blitz respectively.

Apart from six international marquee players, who had already been announced, none of the foreign players attracted bids in the the top salary bracket of a million rand during a draw function in Johannesburg.

All the million rand players were South Africans; David Miller, Dane Vilas, Tabraiz Shamsi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi and Chris Morris.

Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan was assigned to Durban Heat, who had first choice of the international marquee players.

West Indians Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo will play for the Jozi Stars and Paarl Rocks respectively while England’s Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy and Dawid Malan will represent the Tshwane Spartans, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and Cape Town Blitz.

None of the international marquee players will be available for the full tournament because of commitments to international cricket and a T10 tournament in Abu Dhabi but they will all be available for the final 13 days of the South African event.

South African marqee players are AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Kagiso Rabada, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir and Quinton de Kock, with the latter replacing the injured JP Duminy.

Other foreign players who will play in the league are Asif Ali (Pakistan), Sean Williams, Brandon Mavuta and Sikhandar Raza (Zimbabwe), Ben Duckett (England) and Paul Stirling (Ireland).

The six teams were allowed to pick a minimum of three and maximum of four international players, including South African Kolpak players. Kolpak players selected were Vilas, Kyle Abbott, Marchant de Lange, Simon Harmer, Cameron Delport and Heino Kuhn.

Abbas’s Five-for, Zaman & Ali Half-centuries P…

Mohammad Abbas and Bilal Asif ripped through Australian batting before Fakhar Zaman and Asif Ali hit half-centuries as Pakistan ended Day 2 of the second Test in complete control in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan had reached 144/2 with a commanding lead of 281 at stumps.

Ali remained unbeaten on 54 with Harris Sohail (17) batting at the other end. Zaman (66) and Ali had put on a 91-run stand to put Pakistan in charge before Nathan Lyon took a stunning return catch to send back the Pakistan opener for 66. Mitchell Starc had removed Mohammad Hafeez early for 13.

Earlier, it was Abbas who continued to wreak havoc with the ball, picking 5/33 as Australia continued to struggle against the right-arm pacer.

Abbas removed Shaun Marsh (3) in the fourth over of the day before dismissing Travis Head (14). Then, it was the spinners led by Asif (3/23) and supported by Yasir Shah (1/59) who got into the action for Pakistan.

Shah got the wicket of Mitchell Marsh, caught close to the wicket for 13. Asif removed Aaron Finch (39) – the only batsman who looked like putting up a fight and then also got the better of the Australian captain Tim Paine (3) in the last over before lunch.

Australia were then left struggling at 91-7 after the 1st session. After that, it was all about providing some respectability to the total and Marnus Labuschagne along with Mitchell Starc did exactly that, stitching together a 37-run stand before a freakish run-out ended Labuschagne’s stay at the crease,

He backed up too far and a straight drive from Starc was deflected to the stumps by Shah which caught the Australian out of his crease. Abbas then ended Starc’s fight, removing him for 34 as Australia were dismissed for a paltry 145, giving Pakistan a healthy lead of 137.

Zaman’s fine form continued and Ali’s half-century meant Australia will need nothing less than a miracle to save this game with three full days still left.

Shaw, Iyer Half Centuries Guide Mumbai to Vija…

Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer both scored half centuries as Mumbai beat Hyderabad in Bengaluru on Wednesday by the VJD method to advance to the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Shaw (61) and Iyer (55*) shone with the bat in a match that was curtailed by rain, with Mumbai only managing to bat out 25 overs before the weather played spoilsport.

Mumbai’s win overshadowed the knock of Rohit Rayudu, cousin of India international and Hyderabad captain Ambati Rayudu.

Rohit scored 121 off 132 balls to take Hyderabad to a competitive score of 246 even as other batsmen around him failed.

Rayudu chose to bat after winning the toss but Mumbai consistently took wickets and Hyderabad had lost half their side for just 102 in the 28th over.

However, Rohit knuckled down and played a knock of great composure to ensure that his side started the innings with at least a chance of competing.

For Mumbai, Tushar Deshpande starred with the ball, ending the innings with figures of 3/55. He was supported by Royston Dias who took 2/43 in his 9 overs.

Any hope that Hyderabad might have had of competing were dashed by Shaw, who made his Test debut for India in the recently-concluded West Indies series and scored a century on debut.

The opener notched up his fourth half-century in as many innings in this year’s edition of the tournament and ensured that the asking rate never troubled Mumbai.

Rohit Sharma could only add 17 to the scoreboard but Shaw found ample support in skipper Iyer, who was unbeaten alongside Ajinkya Rahane (17*) when the rain started.

When the game was called off, Mumbai were 155/2, well ahead of the required target of 96.

Mehdi Hassan was the pick of the bowlers for Hyderabad as he took both the wickets to fall in the second innings. However, Mohammad Siraj also did well to keep Shaw quiet for a short period of time despite not getting among the wickets.

Mumbai will take on the winner of the second semi-final between Delhi and Jharkhand on October 20.

Angry Fans Force England to Issue Statement on…

Rain playing spoilsport in a cricket game is nothing new but when a whole tour is all but curtailed due to unfavourable weather conditions, it is understandable that fans will feel short-charged.

That is exactly what has happened thus far during England’s tour of Sri Lanka. The first practice match saw the game reduced to the rain while the second was entirely washed out.

The first ODI of the series also couldn’t get underway due to rain whereas the second match – which England won by 31 runs – was also curtailed by showers.

The third ODI at Pallekele has also seen its start delayed due to incessant rains and this didn’t go down well with English cricket fans on Twitter, who questioned the logic of holding a series in a country at a time when rain is expected.

The backlash eventually led to the England cricket team’s official Twitter handle issuing a statement on why the tour was scheduled at this time.

“In respect of touring Sri Lanka at this time of year: The Future Tours Programme is congested involving 13 Boards whose schedules all interconnect, so there are unfortunately a number of tours that have to take place outside prime match-staging periods,” @englandcricket tweeted.

“After hosting England, Sri Lanka spend the rest of the 18-19 season touring New Zealand, Australia & South Africa. They play their first match in New Zealand on Dec 8, which left very little wriggle room given our final Test in Sri Lanka is finishes on Nov 29.”

The explanation cut no ice with fans, who lamented the fact that people spent their hard-earned money to watch a game which was never likely to take place.

The final two ODIs will be played on October 20 and 23, respectively. This will be followed by a lone T20I on October 27 and a three-match Test series starting November 6.

Wishes Pour in From Tendulkar, Sehwag and Yuvr…

Wishes poured in from all quarters for legendary cricketer Anil Kumble on Wednesday as he celebrates his 48th birthday. From reminiscing fondly about the time Kumble spent with them to hailing his qualities and virtues, ex-cricketers and people from the cricketing fraternity wished Kumble on his special day.

Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar wished his ‘dear’ friend on Twitter and wrote, “To a dear friend and a champion. Happy Birthday.”

Former India opener Virender Sehwag too wished Kumble in his quintessential style. He wrote, “Happiest birthday to one of India’s greatest ever match winners, a man who defined grit and courage. Those toe-crushing yorkers to tail-enders are something even pace bowlers struggle to execute. Have a great & jumbo life ahead @anilkumble1074 bhai !”

Here are some of the other wishes: