ICL: Indian Cricket League


New-look Pakistan, Sri Lanka teams lock horns today

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The new-look Pakistan and Sri Lanka cricket team lock horns in the opening encounter of their first post-World Cup three-match One-day International series, at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today (Friday). The day/night match starts at 5.00 pm Pakistan Standard Time.

While Pakistan will be captained by a brand-new skipper in the 25-year-old all-rounder Shoaib Malik, Sri Lanka are being led by their regular captain Mahela Jayawardene who recently took the team to the final of the World Cup event in the West Indies, where it eventually lost to champions Australia.

Where the history of results in the realm of One-day Internationals is concerned, Pakistan though start at an advantage. Since the first meeting between the two nations back in the World Cup competition of 1975, of the 107 ODIs played Pakistan have won 65 and Sri Lanka only 38. One match was tied and three were no-results.

The two countries are pitted against each other in Abu Dhabi for the first time. This rather new international cricket venue, however, has staged only two previous ODIs — in April last year, when Pakistan and India shared the DLF Cup winning and losing one each of the matches played.

Pakistan have beaten Sri Lanka in the last three ODIs played between the two nations. At the ICC Champions Trophy last October in India, Pakistan won by four wickets against a full strength Sri Lanka at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur making 255-6 in 48.1 overs to reach the target.

All-rounder c was the Man of the Match. He first captured four wickets for 50 runs in 7.2 overs with his right-arm medium-fast bowling and then hammered an unbeaten 38 off 24 balls with two fours and two sixes to lead his team to victory.

Chaminda Vaas, Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan are not part of Sri Lanka’s squad for the series in Abu Dhabi. Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lanka captain, has also been left out of the 15-man squad.

Only nine of the 15 players who travelled to the World Cup have been selected. Sangakkara, Muralitharan and Vaas had earlier been released from selection for the series so they could play county cricket in England.

Among the uncapped players named in the squad is Malinda Warnapura, a left-hand batsman. Ishara Amerasinghe, a right-arm fast-medium bowler, has also been named in the touring party.

Prasanna Jayawardene will keep wickets in the absence of Sangakkara. Middle-order batsman Chamara Kapugedara and leg-spinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi are also part of the squad.

Sri Lanka squad: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Silva, Tillekaratne Dilshan, Farveez Maharoof, Dilhara Fernando, Malinga Bandara, Lasith Malinga, Malinda Warnapura, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Ruchira Perera, Ishara Amerasinghe, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Chamara Kapugedara.

Mohammad Asif was recalled to the Pakistan squad for the ODI series and also named vice-captain. The 16-man squad contains only two new faces for Abu Dhabi.

Fawad Alam, the young Karachi all-rounder, who had such an outstanding domestic season, has expectedly taken his place in the squad. And Najaf Shah, a left-arm fast medium bowler who plays for PIA and Rawalpindi, was also called up after an impressive display at home and on tour in Bangladesh.

Kamran Akmal, for the time being, retains his place as the leading wicket-keeper in the land. Opener Salman Butt has also made a comeback into the squad, having been dropped after a disappointing tour to England last year.

Talat Ali, recently appointed manager of the team for two years, is also the acting coach for the three-match series.

Pakistan are without Younis Khan and Shoaib Akhtar. Younis is currently turning out for Yorkshire, while Shoaib is not yet fully fit.

Squad: Shoaib Malik (captain), Salman Butt, Imran Nazir, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Kamran Akmal (wk), Abdul Razzaq, Abdul Rehman, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Najaf Shah.

The other two matches of the three-game ODI series will be played at the same venue on May 20 (Sunday) and 22. These two are also day/night affairs.
Source:The News

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