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Smith feels sorry for overlooked Khawaja in first ODI

AUCKLAND: Steven Smith admitted that Usman Khawaja has the right to feel aggrieved after the Australia captain confirmed the in-form batsman had been overlooked for Wednesday’s opening one-dayer against New Zealand.

Khawaja struck three centuries in four Tests against New Zealand and West Indies, and hit two Twenty20 hundreds to help Sydney Thunder capture their first Big Bash League title in a productive Australian summer.

Despite his rich vein of form, the 29-year-old top order batsman was still omitted from the original Australia squad for the three-match ODI series in New Zealand before a hamstring injury to Aaron Finch led to his recall.

The team management, however, opted to persist with Shaun Marsh, rewarding him for two fifties in the three ODIs he played against India last month.

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“He’s unlucky to miss out but Shaun’s going to get the first opportunity,” Smith said at Auckland on Tuesday. “No doubt he’d be frustrated. He’s hitting the ball extremely well.”

The Australian captain said it was very difficult to break into a well-set team that had been performing really well but suggested Khawaja would get a chance in one of the two remaining matches that precede a two-Test series between the teams.

Khawaja was selected in the Test squad for those matches.

“We’re the current world champions. We’ve been playing some very good one-day cricket and the batters have been scoring lots of runs,” Smith added.

“We scored 300 on every occasion in the recent one-day series [against India] at home.” “I think he’ll play one of the [three ODI] games at least,” the skipper said.

“He does need a hit going into what is a big Test series and he’s batting extremely well. I’m sure if he gets an opportunity, he’ll take it with both hands.”

Cricket

PCB bans Khalid Latif for five years in PSL spot fixing case

LAHORE: Khalid Latif, the batsman who was sent back from Dubai to Lahore during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) over spot-fixing allegations, is now banned for five years from the cricket.

According to a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official, the board’s anti-corruption tribunal announced the verdict after hearing the case and pleas made by Latif.

The tribunal also imposed Rs1 million fine on the right-handed top-order batsman.

“There will be no leniency for him,” said the official.

The 31-year-old was facing six charges including that of persuading three other cricketers — Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan and Sharjeel Khan — to get involved in spot-fixing in the second edition of the PSL.

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Cricket

Hashim Amla says he wants to play PSL 3

CAPE TOWN: The South African batsman Hashim Amla has expressed his interest to play the Pakistan Super League (PSL)’s third edition.

Amla, who recently participated in the Independence Cup as a part of the World XI squad, said that he will be busy playing Test cricket for his national side during the next PSL.

However, he said that he will definitely play the tournament if he is free.

The 34-year-old hailed the security arrangements made by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) during the World XI tour, and said the step taken by PCB to revive international cricket in the country is commendable.

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Hockey

Hockey federation sees international events after World XI visit

LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) believes the recently held cricket series between Pakistan and World XI will help the federation to invite players for the first Pakistan Hockey League (PHL).

“These three matches were a historic event for Pakistan and the way people enjoyed the game was great to watch,” PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed Senior said.

Big names of cricket visited Lahore for the T20I series and returned without any incident and the PHF will be looking for more of the same with the hockey players they invite for the league that begins in November.

Talking about PHL, Shahbaz said the PHF has done all the paperwork and is making a list of international players to be invited.

“There have been matches featuring international players both in the Abdul Sattar Edhi Stadium in Karachi and the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore which is adjacent to the National Hockey Stadium,” he said.

“Our security agencies have proved that both the cities are safe for sports activates featuring international players, the Ronaldhino and Friends football match in Karachi and the World XI matches in Lahore are solid proof that sport can return to Pakistan.”

The secretary further went on to add that the league will feature in these two cities.

“The Pakistan Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council made this possible, with the help of security agencies, and this will surely help us in organising the league,” he said.

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