October 8, 2020

PCB holds talks with PSL franchises

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By Masood Sattar Khan

(Pakistan News & Features Services)
A positive and constructive meeting was held between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and all the franchise owners of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Lahore on October 7. 

The PCB media release informed that the participants engaged in positive and fruitful discussions with a view to resolving outstanding matters, disputes and grievances. 

"Both sides held healthy candid discussions airing concerns and their respective viewpoints on outstanding matters,” the statement said. 

The PCB presented to the team owners a draft proposal which has been put together at the behest of the franchises who requested that the Board explore a more equitable model. 

Both sides, according to the PCB, have agreed to delve deeper into the proposed model with their respective financial and operational teams over the coming weeks and aim to resolve outstanding concerns and find a mutually beneficial position as soon as possible.

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Babar Azam not taking any opponents lightly

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By Masood Sattar Khan

(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Pakistan's T20 and ODI skipper, Babar Azam, has categorically stated that it’s out of question taking any international team lightly in this era.

"We have to apply ourselves in the home series against Zimbabwe to win it ahead of the tour of New Zealand later this year. If perform well against the tourists we would be oozing with confidence when tackling the Black Caps in their own den,” the celebrated batsman observed in a session with media.

“Efforts would be made to perform 110 percent in the series against Zimbabwe. We have to try to win these matches which would be helpful for playing tests and ODIs in New Zealand,” he added. 

“In New Zealand we have to play in different conditions, so if we play well here that would build up our conference to play against Kiwi. The ongoing National T20 Cup is an excellent opportunity for youngsters to impress and stake a claim for a spot in the team that will play Zimbabwe. The series against Zimbabwe will also serve as practice for the tour of New Zealand,” Babar Azam reckoned.

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October 7, 2020

Dean Jones farewelled at Melbourne Cricket Ground

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By Masood Sattar Khan

(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The historic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) was the venue where Dean Jones was privately farewelled by his family with a lap of honour on October 2. 

The public address system of the MCG played tunes by musicians Elton John and INXS, who happened to be friends of the former Australian batsman turned commentator. 

The memorial service was limited to just 10 attendees, which included wife Jane and daughters Isabella and Phoebe, because of Victoria's ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. A public memorial service for Jones has been planned at a later stage when more mourners will be permitted to attend. 

"We have been deeply moved by the outpouring of love for Dean over the last week and can't thank everyone enough for their support and for sharing their memories with us," Jane Jones remarked on the occasion, adding that the family had been extremely moved by the way her husband's life and cricket had been remembered and revered by so many. 

"It has been an awful time to navigate as a family, but I could not have thought of a more fitting place to say goodbye to my husband than under the lights of his beloved MCG. What better way to honour him than with the music of his friends Elton John and INXS echoing throughout the empty stadium. We'd like to extend a huge thank you to the Melbourne Cricket Club and the MCG for their willingness to create our personal tribute to Dean and for Cricket Australia's support,” she said. 

"We would also like to extend a big thank you to the Department of Foreign Affairs for ensuring Dean was returned home to us as quickly as possible. We will forever miss Dean's energy, his zest for life, passion for cricket and his love for us as a family," she acknowledged.

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October 6, 2020

Afghanistan’s Najeeb Tarakai dies at 29

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By Masood Sattar Khan

(Pakistan News & Features Services)
One of Afghanistan’s top order batsmen, Najeeb Tarakai, has died at the age 29 after succumbing to injuries sustained in a road accident according to tweet issued by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on October 6. 

“ACB and Afghanistan Cricket Loving Nation mourns the heart breaking & grievous loss of its aggressive opening batsman & a very fine human being Najeeb Tarakai (29) who lost his life to tragic traffic accident leaving us all shocked! May Allah Shower His Mercy on him,” the ACB tweeted. 

The ACB had earlier tweeted on October 3 that Tarakai had been severely injured in a car accident the previous day and had subsequently undergone a surgery. 

He was being treated in Nangarhar at the time and it was communicated officially that he would be shifted to Kabul or outside Afghanistan as soon as possible whenever allowed by health officials. 

Tarakai's, who represented Mis Ainak Knights in the Shpageeza Premier League last month, had represented his country in 12 T20Is and one ODI for Afghanistan, having made his international debut in 2014.

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October 5, 2020

Pakistan Navy retains National Shooting Championship

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By Masood Sattar Khan 

(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Pakistan Navy has won National Shooting Championship consecutively for the third time. The week-long mega event concluded at the Army Marksmen Unit in Jhelum on October 5. 

Being the defending champions, Pakistan Navy won the title with 17 Gold, 17 Silver and 11 Bronze medals whereas Pakistan Army secured the runners-up position and Pakistan Air Force got third position. 

Over 300 shooters belonging to the teams of Army, Navy, Air Force, Punjab, Sindh, WAPDA, ASF, Federal Rifle Association (FRA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) participated in the event and displayed their skills.

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September 28, 2020

Deano-the dasher leaves cricket world gloomy

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Naeem-ul-Haq in USA

(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The entire cricket world has become gloomy all of a sudden because of the shocking death of Dean Jones, the former Australian top-order batsman, while performing duties as commentator in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. 

Jones was as jolly and outgoing as ever when describing action only the previous night, with no hints of any discomfort or illness, but he collapsed in the lobby of the five-star hotel where he was staying on the morning of September 24. 

Brett Lee, also a former Australian star, was reported to be very close to him as he watched in utter disbelief his fellow commentator suffer a cardiac arrest. He showed the presence of mind and tried his level best to revive Jones but his efforts could not yield the desired results. 

The gloom spread all over the world because, Jones, popularly known as Deano, was a lovable character, adored from North to South and East to West. There are not many cricketers around who have enjoyed this kind of admiration globally. 

As far as my knowledge is concerned, he was the first top-order batsman of Australia to have adopted aggressive approach in batting from the moment he arrived at the crease. 

Australia has been the home to many world-class batsmen, before and after him, but in my estimation Deano was a trend-setter of sorts. 

He showed attacking instincts and loved to dominate the bowlers with unorthodox shots, which were not very common those days. 

The likes of Adam Gilchrist and Mathew Hayden emerged in the following years to make Australia the number one team as they ruled the world for a long time. The foundation for attacking batsmanship in Australia was laid by none other than Deano, I think. 

If my memory serves me right, it was Deano who introduced colorful glasses in the cricket field. The cricketers from all over the world then emulated him. He was a character in the truest sense of the word.  
Upon hanging his boots, when he had still seemed good for many more years, he made his presence felt in the team of commentators with his distinct voice and witty remarks. 

Then we also saw him excel in the role of a coach. He helped Islamabad United win the title of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). He was the head coach of Karachi Kings in the PSL 2020. 

It’s hard to believe that such a proactive and energetic man has left this mortal world abruptly. The cricket world may never be the same without him and he will be missed.

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September 24, 2020

ICC saddened at passing of Dean Jones

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By Masood Sattar Khan

(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has expressed sadness at the passing of former Australian Test batsman Dean Jones, at the age of 59, in Mumbai on September 24. 

“We are extremely sad to hear of Dean’s sudden death and I would like to extend our deep condolences to his family and friends on behalf of the ICC,” Manu Sawhney, Chief Executive, ICC, said in a statement. 

“Dean was a prolific batter playing in 52 Tests and 164 ODIs and was part of the 1987 Australia team who won the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. He had a significant impact on the game of cricket as a player, as an advocate for the development of the sport as a coach and latterly in his role as a broadcaster. He will be sorely missed by all those in the cricket family,” the ICC chief added. 

An attacking batter, the Victorian featured in 52 Tests, making 3631 runs at an average of 46.55. In 164 ODIs, he made 6068 runs, at 44.61, with seven hundreds and 46 fifties. He was a part of Australia's winning team in the 1987 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, hosted jointly by Pakistan and India, and remains number five on the all-time MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Batting Rankings in the format. 

One of his most memorable Test innings came in 1986, when in the heat and humidity of Chennai, he battled exhaustion and illness to make a heroic 210 in what would be only the second tied Test ever. He had retired from international cricket in 1994 and went on to become a coach and more recently a broadcaster commentating on cricket around the world.

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‘Deano’ Jones suffers fatal cardiac arrest

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By Masood Sattar Khan

(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Former Australian batting great Dean Jones, having become one of the characters of the game in his later years because of his coaching and commentating stints, suffered a fatal cardiac arrest in the Indian city of Mumbai on September 24. He was 59. 

Jones, affectionately known as Deano to his friends and colleagues, was in Mumbai as a part of the commentary team for the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, was reported to have suffered a massive heart attack around noon IST.

"It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing away of Dean Mervyn Jones AM. He died of a sudden cardiac arrest. We express our deep condolences to his family and stand ready to support them in this difficult time," Star India confirmed his death through a statement. 

He was recognized as one of the most explosive batsmen of his generation as his stroke-play was more suited to the shorter format of the game, making him one of the most valuable players in One-day Internationals. Jones also played 52 Tests besides 164 ODIs for Australia and his international career was cut short abruptly in mysterious circumstances, leading to speculations of various kinds. 

His second innings in cricket arena was equally, if not more, successful as he excelled in the role of a commentator as well as a coach. He seemed to have become a kind of folk hero in South Asia with his continuous engagement in cricket activities in this part of the world. He was head coach of Karachi Kings in the last edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

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