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Misbah going back to basics to solve batting slump

“I feel it myself that my not contributing with the bat was one of the reasons for our poor performances in Sri Lanka,” Misbah told reporters in Lahore on Tuesday after a meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan.

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Misbah and head coach Waqar Younis were called for separate meetings to discuss the recent tour to Sri Lanka where Pakistan lost both tests and the one-day series 2-1.

Misbah, 40, normally a prolific scorer in both formats, contributed just 67 in his four test innings and the same number of runs in the three one-dayers that followed.

The senior batsman has been under pressure to step down as captain.

“If you talk about pressure on me, I don’t take pressure because it is no solution to any problem. I try to remain positive all the time, no matter what is said,” he added.

“But when you play in a team as a senior batsman you are expected to contribute tellingly, which I didn’t do in Sri Lanka.

“I know it myself. I will go back to my basics and try to regain my form, as this is very important for the team,” he said.

Misbah, who has remained under fire by critics and former players despite having a healthy average of 55 in his last 10 tests, felt that the debacle in Sri Lanka was due to lack of cricket.

“After Asia Cup and T20 World Cup we didn’t get any cricket, and our domestic season was also off. I think this break in our momentum, rhythm and continuity led to the poor performances,” he said.

Misbah, who has been captain since late 2010, was also asked whether he would like to have more say in selection matters.

“I think you should ask this question to someone, but as a captain I can only give my suggestions to the selectors,” he said. “They listen to me, but sometimes the team is not according to what you want.

“Obviously everyone has his opinion on selection matters, but at the end collective opinion is taken into consideration while finalising team,” he added.

Misbah also said that Pakistan’s pool of players for the 2015 World Cup was more or less finalised.

He said the squad would be picked from the pool of players given central contracts, with the odd exception.

He said there was no need to press the panic button, promising that the players would look at the mistakes they made in Sri Lanka and try to improve in every department of the game before the next series against Australia and New Zealand

“We have time to find our rhythm again in the batting and bowling departments.”

(Editing by Neville Dalton)

Ryder Cup joy for veteran Westwood and rookie Gallacher

The 41-year-old Englishman will be making his ninth consecutive appearance in the biennial team event and only three Europeans have played in more Ryder Cups – Nick Faldo (11), Bernhard Langer (10) and Christy O’Connor senior (10).

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Westwood won the Malaysian Open in April but has slipped down the world rankings to 38th and is grateful to have been given a wildcard along with 2012 hero Ian Poulter and rookie Stephen Gallacher.

“The Ryder Cup has always been a massive thing for me and I was delighted to get the call from Paul,” Westwood said in a European Tour news release.

“It was a long day yesterday but when Paul rang with the good news I was relieved. I’ve played a lot better in the last month and a half.

“I’ve been showing some form and given Paul a reason to pick me. I’m honoured to be representing Europe again,” added Westwood who has a record of 18 wins and six halves from 37 matches since making his debut at Valderrama, Spain in 1997.

At the other end of the spectrum of experience, Gallacher will be making his Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles from Sept. 26-28.

The 39-year-old has a good record on home soil, having won the 2004 Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns and losing out in a three-way playoff for the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

“It’s massive for me and my family. It’s been a goal all my career to play in the Ryder Cup,” said Gallacher, the nephew of former captain Bernard.

The world number 33 came agonisingly close to earning an automatic place in Europe’s team on Sunday.

Needing a top-two finish at the Italian Open in Turin, Gallacher wound up in third place.

“On Sunday I had mixed emotions,” said the winner of the 2013 and 2014 Dubai Desert Classic. “I was delighted with the way I played but disappointed not to have made the team automatically.

“I knew there were other great players in with a shout of getting a pick so I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I’m just glad it all turned out okay in the end.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Oldest former Test cricketer Gordon dies

South African Norman Gordon, who was the oldest former Test cricketer, has died at age 103 in Johannesburg.

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“Norman died peacefully this morning in the flat where he lived for 60 years,” friend and former South Africa Test skipper Ali Bacher told reporters on Tuesday.

The former fast bowler played in the famous ‘timeless’ 1939 Durban Test, which lasted 10 days before being drawn because England had to catch a boat home.

England were 42 runs short of victory when play was abandoned in a Test where Gordon bowled 92.2 eight-ball overs.

That marathon spell remains a record for balls bowled by a fast bowler in a Test.

Gordon played only five Tests – all against England during the 1938-1939 season – because his career coincided with World War II.

Born Jewish, Gordon loved recalling an incident during his Test debut against England in Johannesburg when a spectator shouted “here comes the rabbi”.

“Fortunately, I took five wickets in the innings,” Gordon said decades later in an interview, “and that shut him up for the rest of the tour”.

After the war, Gordon played for the then Transvaal until 1949 and concluded his first-class career with 126 wickets from 29 first-class matches.

A highlight for then 99-year-old-Gordon was a surprise visit by West Indies cricket legend Brian Lara.

Thrilled Gordon said at the time: “I was so happy to meet him and could not believe what a modest person he was.”

Lara was equally delighted after the meeting.

“It was a humbling experience,” he recalled.

“His appreciation of the game and knowledge of the changes to it since his last Test made me smile.”

Larger than life, Gordon practised accountancy part-time until 94 and played golf until 96 when failing eyesight forced him to quit.

Nicknamed ‘Mobil’ because he greased down his hair, Gordon cut a dashing figure at the height of his career, making him extremely popular with women.

The death of Gordon leaves another South African, 95-year-old ex-fast-medium bowler Lindsay Tuckett, as the oldest living former Test cricketer.

Foreign players can help England, says Hodgson

“Some of our players will be selected from the bench at club level, which would have been unthinkable five or 10 years ago,” Hodgson told reporters before Wednesday night’s friendly with Norway at Wembley Stadium.

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“But if they are chosen and involved, then it can be advantageous for our players and very helpful for England.”

The standard in the Premier League had made the country a magnet for world-class players, added Hodgson, whose team travel to Switzerland – a country he used to coach – for their first Euro 2016 qualification match next Monday.

He said England striker Danny Welbeck’s move from Manchester United to Arsenal for 16 million pounds on Monday was a bonus for the player.

“I’m pleased for him. There is enormous competition for places and he is now at a club where he may get more starts,” he said.

Hodgson was also upbeat about the young talent available to England, despite the disappointment of a poor World Cup in Brazil this year.

“I get the feeling the players can’t wait to kick off this new campaign with a difficult game on Wednesday,” he said.

“It’s a team that contains a lot of talent and I think one with enormous potential.”

There is media speculation that the crowd for Wednesday’s match may be well down on recent matches but new England captain Wayne Rooney said he was grateful for the fans’ support after the disappointing showing in Brazil.

Manchester United striker Rooney took over the armband after the retirement of Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard.

“There is no point looking back,” Rooney said. “We have young players coming through and it is exciting times. We need these young players to bring back good form to England.

“Last summer we were all very disappointed. We went into the tournament with high hopes but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

(Reporting by Tony Goodson, Editing by Neville Dalton)

Lusty hitting from Marsh gets Australia back on track

Marsh plundered an unbeaten 86 off 51 balls, including seven sixes and three in a row off fast bowler Dale Steyn, to take his side to 282 for seven in 50 overs at the Harare Sports Club.

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South Africa were then bowled out for 220 in 44 overs despite 126 from Faf du Plessis who scored his second consecutive century against Australia.

Australia’s win came after an embarrassing defeat on Sunday to hosts Zimbabwe and a seven-wicket loss to South Africa last Wednesday.

They also picked up a bonus point for their victory, ensuring them a place in Saturday’s final, when they will play the winner of South Africa’s match against Zimbabwe on Thursday.

Australia made a bright start as opener Phil Hughes and Steve Smith – restored to the side in the absence of injured captain Michael Clarke – added 85 for the second wicket before South Africa put the brakes on their scoring.

Hughes holed out to long-on for 85 off 92 balls as he tried to take advantage of the last over of the power play but Marsh came to the crease and soon set about the bowling as Australia stepped up the run rate again in the last 10 overs.

“We lost wickets at key times but Mitch helped set a competitive total on that wicket, one we could look to defend,” said stand-in captain George Bailey.

Early wickets proved important for Australia as South Africa slumped to 64 for three in response, with captain AB de Villiers among those failing with the bat on his return following a viral infection that kept him out of last Friday’s win over Zimbabwe.

But 73 runs for the sixth wicket between Du Plessis and Ryan McLaren briefly threatened a comeback before McLaren (24) was caught by Smith at mid-wicket off Kane Richardson.

Du Plessis then followed as he stood on his stumps, attempting to take off for a quick single, and was out hit wicket. His innings featured six sixes and came off just 109 balls.

Marsh followed his batting heroics with two wickets off his five overs but Glen Maxwell posted the best bowling figures of two for 22.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson,; Editing by Neville Dalton; [email protected]广西桑拿, +27828257807 Messaging mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters广西桑拿,@reuters南宁桑拿网,)