Eoin Morgan said wins like England's over Pakistan on Tuesday will boost his side's confidence ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

England completed their second highest successful one-day international run chase in a six-wicket victory in Bristol.

Set 359 for victory, Jonny Bairstow (128 off 93) and Jason Roy (76 off 55) guided England to their target with an incredible 31 balls to spare.

With the Cricket World Cup starting later this month, captain Morgan said such performances would only give England more belief.

"When guys perform like this it builds confidence within the changing room," he said.

"With regards to looking ahead, that is a really positive thing for our group."

Imam-ul-Haq's 151 had set Pakistan up in the third ODI, but Roy and Bairstow quickly took the game away from the tourists.

Bairstow, who hit 15 fours and five sixes, was happy with his innings, although he wanted more.

"I was really pleased with that hundred. Coming back into English conditions after playing in the IPL [Indian Premier League] was a big change and it's nice to hit the ground running," he said.

"It was frustrating to drag one on – I wanted to get a 170, 180, win the game and walk off that way."

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed lamented his side's bowling performance as they conceded eight runs per over to fall 2-0 behind in the five-match series.

"At halfway we spoke and were very confident, but our bowling was not up to the mark. I think they played better than us and that is why they won," he said.

"We have to improve our bowling in the next matches. Both openers have played well and again Asif Ali played really well for us. That is a good sign."

Captain Sarfraz Ahmed is one of six players rested by Pakistan for their one-day series against Australia, with Shoaib Malik leading a 16-man squad that includes Umar Akmal and Junaid Khan.

With a tour to England and also the Cricket World Cup looming on the horizon, Pakistan's selectors have opted to leave out some of their leading names for the upcoming 50-over fixtures in the United Arab Emirates.

As well as wicketkeeper Sarfraz, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Shaheen Afridi will not be involved.

Mohammad Hafeez also misses out as he is recovering from thumb surgery, while Hussain Talat is dropped following the 3-2 ODI series defeat to South Africa last month.

Uncapped quartet Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain and Saad Ali have been called up after impressing at domestic level, while batsman Akmal and seamer Junaid are recalled.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah is also included as Pakistan look to manage their players carefully ahead of a busy schedule.

"Had there been no pre-World Cup matches in England, then we would not have made these many changes," Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is chairman of selectors, said in a statement.

"While Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan, Umar Akmal and Yasir Shah are returning to ODI cricket, Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain and Saad Ali have been rewarded for stellar performances in domestic cricket.

"The series against the world champions will not be an easy one and these players, in fact, will be tested to their limits.

"This will provide these players a great opportunity to display their skills and temperament, strengthening their claims for a World Cup call-up as there are a few places up for grabs."

The first one-dayer takes place on March 22 with the series concluding before the end of the month.


Pakistan squad: Shoaib Malik (captain), Abid Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Saad Ali, Shan Masood, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari, Yasir Shah.

Coach Irfan Ansari has been banned from all cricket for 10 years for breaching three counts of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.

Sarfraz Ahmed reported Ansari after he approached the Pakistan captain during a series against Sri Lanka in October 2017, with a view to soliciting information from him.

Ansari, a coach of two teams that play domestic matches in the United Arab Emirates, has been banned for a decade by the governing body - a punishment that was compounded by his failure to cooperate with its investigation.

Alex Marshall, ICC General Manager – ACU said: "I'd like to place on record my thanks to Sarfaraz Ahmed, who showed true leadership and professionalism from the moment he reported this approach.

"He recognised it for what it was, rejected it and reported it. He then supported our investigation and subsequent tribunal.

"This is the first time we have prosecuted for failure to cooperate with an investigation since the new rules enabling us to demand the participants hand over their phone for examination and the sanction reflects the seriousness of the offence.

"It is an important tool to aid our investigations and continue in our efforts to rid the sport of these corrupters."

Sarfraz Ahmed will remain as Pakistan captain for the World Cup, the country's cricket board has confirmed.

Sarfraz's role as skipper was in doubt after he was hit by a four-match ban from the ICC for breaching the body's anti-racism code during the recent ODI series against South Africa.

The 31-year-old was picked up on the stump microphone making remarks that could be construed as racist towards Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the second of the five-match series.

He later took to Twitter to offer his "sincere apologies" to anyone he may have offended, insisting his words were simply an expression of his frustration and not directed at any individual, while the PCB noted its "utmost disappointment" over the sanction.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the PCB confirmed Sarfraz will retain the captaincy for the World Cup that takes place in England and Wales beginning in May.

"I feel humbled and honoured to be placed in the same bracket as some of the most iconic and legendary cricketers who have previously captained Pakistan at World Cups," said Sarfraz, who led Pakistan to ICC Champions Trophy glory in 2017. 

"It is the dream of any international cricketer to play in a World Cup, but to be appointed captain in the biggest cricket spectacle on the planet is something that is extremely special.

"The reality is that the last few weeks have been extremely difficult for me as a person and professional. But I am delighted that the PCB has reassured its confidence and faith in me. It has boosted my confidence tremendously.

"I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. We have top quality talent and match-winners with a committed support staff in the dressing room. 

"Everyone is geared up and keenly looking forward to returning to the country where we won the last major ICC tournament.

"In the lead up to the World Cup, Pakistan will play five ODIs each against Australia and England, which will also allow us the opportunity to further fine-tune our preparations. I am sure we'll give a good account of ourselves at the World Cup."

PCB chairman Ehsan Mani added: "I was always clear in my mind that Sarfraz would be the captain. 

"I was keen to speak with him on the team's recent performances as part of the normal review and appraisal process, and, more importantly, about his own future plans as we all know he has undergone some tough times as a professional cricketer in the past few weeks.

"Sarfaraz has reiterated his commitment to the Pakistan cricket team as well as his availability and enthusiasm to captain the team at the World Cup."

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has expressed its "utmost disappointment" with the ICC after the governing body imposed a four-match ban on Sarfraz Ahmed.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz apologised after he was heard on the stump microphone making remarks to Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo which could be deemed as racist during the second ODI on Tuesday.

Phehlukwayo accepted the wicketkeeper-batsman's apology, but the ICC sanctioned the 31-year-old for an anti-racism code breach ahead of Sunday's crushing eight-wicket ODI win for Pakistan, which set up a series decider.

The PCB will urge the ICC to make reforms following the decision to punish Sarfraz, who will play no further part in the tour.

A PCB statement said: "The PCB notes the ICC decision on Sarfraz Ahmed with its utmost disappointment. PCB had anticipated that the matter had been resolved amicably between the two players and the two boards following Sarfraz Ahmed's public apologies which were accepted by the player, the board and South Africa cricket team.

"The PCB will be pursuing this matter at the ICC forums with the objective to bring reforms to the code, promoting amicable resolutions to issues as opposed to penalties. Having said that, the PCB reiterates its zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments and behaviour.

"In consultation with Sarfraz, it has been decided that he will return to Pakistan immediately. Shoaib Malik will captain the team for the remaining ODIs and T20 internationals of the series, while Mohammad Rizwan has been included in the T20I side."

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has expressed its "utmost disappointment" with the ICC after the governing body imposed a four-match ban on Sarfraz Ahmed.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz apologised after he was heard on the stump microphone making remarks to Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo which could be deemed as racist during the second ODI on Tuesday.

Phehlukwayo accepted the wicketkeeper-batsman's apology, but the ICC sanctioned the 31-year-old for an anti-racism code breach ahead of Sunday's crushing eight-wicket ODI win for Pakistan, which set up a series decider.

The PCB will urge the ICC to make reforms following the decision to punish Sarfraz, who will play no further part in the tour.

A PCB statement said: "The PCB notes the ICC decision on Sarfraz Ahmed with its utmost disappointment. PCB had anticipated that the matter had been resolved amicably between the two players and the two boards following Sarfraz Ahmed's public apologies which were accepted by the player, the board and South Africa cricket team.

"The PCB will be pursuing this matter at the ICC forums with the objective to bring reforms to the code, promoting amicable resolutions to issues as opposed to penalties. Having said that, the PCB reiterates its zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments and behaviour.

"In consultation with Sarfraz, it has been decided that he will return to Pakistan immediately. Shoaib Malik will captain the team for the remaining ODIs and T20 internationals of the series, while Mohammad Rizwan has been included in the T20I side."

 

Pakistan ensured their ODI series with South Africa would go to a decider thanks to a comprehensive eight-wicket success in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Trailing 2-1 heading into the fourth game at the Wanderers, the tourists were dealt a further blow with the news that captain Sarfraz Ahmed had been suspended under the ICC's anti-racism code for comments made towards Andile Phehlukwayo during Tuesday's loss in Durban.

Shoaib Malik led the side in the absence of Sarfraz, who will also miss the fifth ODI as well as the first two Twenty20s, and the stand-in skipper saw Usman Shinwari and Imam-ul-Haq deliver telling performances.

Left-arm quick Shinwari produced a sensational burst to pick up four wickets in six balls to blow away the lower order as South Africa crumbled from 119-2 to 164 all out, failing to build on the good work of Hashim Amla (59) and Faf du Plessis (57).

Imam made 101 in Friday's 13-run loss via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, and the opener followed that up with a typically patient 71 as Pakistan cruised home with more than 18 overs remaining to set up a winner-takes-all finale in Cape Town on Wednesday.

There was little reason for Quinton de Kock to celebrate his 100th ODI as he was trapped lbw for a duck by Shaheen Afridi, who also accounted for Reeza Hendricks - caught behind down the leg side.

From 18-2, Amla and Du Plessis mounted a recovery - the latter given a reprieve on four when Shadab Khan shelled a tough chance - but a stand of 101 was ended when Shadab won a battle of wills with the Proteas' captain, who holed out in seeking a third swept four of the over.

Imad Wasim castled Amla soon afterwards and the South Africa collapse was well under way as Mohammad Amir pinned David Miller before Shinwari (4-35) took out Rassie van der Dussen, Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada in one over and accounted for Phehlukwayo with the first ball of his next.

That spell gave Pakistan all the momentum and they carried that into the chase as Imam enjoyed a fluent stand of 70 with Fakhar Zaman, who departed having hit seven fours in his run-a-ball 44.

There was little sign of a collapse to rival that of South Africa's, however, and even though Imam perished in aiming a wild swipe at Phehlukwayo with only one needed, he and Babar (41 not out) had essentially eased the visitors to victory with a minimum of fuss.

The ICC has suspended Sarfraz Ahmed for four matches after the Pakistan captain accepted he had breached the body's anti-racism code.

During the second ODI against South Africa in Durban on Tuesday, Sarfraz was picked up on the stump microphone making remarks that could be construed as racist towards Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.

Sarfraz subsequently posted on Twitter to offer his "sincere apologies" to anyone he may have offended, insisting his words were simply an expression of his frustration and not directed at any individual.

On Sunday, the ICC issued a release announcing Sarfraz would be banned for the fourth and fifth ODIs of the series, led 2-1 by South Africa, as well as the first two of the three Twenty20 fixtures to follow the 50-over contests.

The ICC statement read: "Sarfraz aimed a comment at South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo which resulted in Sarfraz being charged with an offence under the code, namely;

"Engaging in any conduct (whether through the use of language, gestures or otherwise) which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify any reasonable person in the position of a player, player support personnel, umpire, match referee, umpire support personnel or any other person (including a spectator) on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin.

"As per Article 7.3 of the anti-racism code, Sarfraz will also have to undergo an education programme to promote the understanding and awareness of issues directly relevant to the offence that he has committed.

"The ICC will work with the PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board] to determine when and how this should take place."

Sarfraz Ahmed has offered his "sincere apologies" to anyone he may have offended with his on-field comments during Tuesday's ODI against South Africa. 

The Pakistan captain and wicketkeeper was picked up by the stump microphone making remarks that could be construed as racist, with all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo on strike at the time for the Proteas.

Sarfraz posted an apology on his official Twitter account on Wednesday, while making clear his words were an expression of frustration and not directed towards any individual.

"I wish to extend my sincere apologies to any person who may have taken offence from my expression of frustration which was unfortunately caught by the stump mic during yesterday's game against SA," he wrote. 

"My words were not directed towards anyone in particular and I certainly had no intention of upsetting anyone. 

"I did not even mean for my words to be heard, understood or communicated to the opposing team or the cricket fans. 

"I have in the past and will continue in future to appreciate the camaraderie of my fellow cricketers from across the globe and will always respect and honour them on and off the field." 

South Africa won the game at Kingsmead by five wickets, levelling the five-match series at 1-1. The teams next meet at Centurion on Friday.

Sarfraz Ahmed lamented the lack of pace in Pakistan's attack after they slumped to a nine-wicket defeat in the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

The tourists were always up against it at Newlands after being skittled for 177 in their first innings and South Africa duly completed victory inside 10 overs on the fourth morning.

Although Pakistan have failed to pass 200 in three of their four innings in the series, which the Proteas have now won with a match to spare, Sarfraz made it clear he was less than impressed with the efforts of his bowlers.

"If you talk about our bowling and their bowling, I think there's a big difference," said the skipper in his post-match news conference.

"The way our bowlers are bowling is not up to the mark. Our bowlers are bowling... with an average speed of 130 [kilometres per hour] and their bowlers are bowling at 145.

"With this type of bowling, if you're bowling with a lack of pace, you're not getting wickets here."

Sarfraz acknowledged his team had also not done enough with the bat, stating at the post-match presentation: "There were definitely not enough runs in the first innings. If we had got 250 or 300 [in the first innings], it could have been different.

"It's hard to recover if you're losing five wickets in the first session, but the way our batsmen were batting in the second innings [when Pakistan made 294], we showed that's how you learn in Test cricket.

"Our batsmen showed their courage. Hopefully, we'll have the confidence to do well in [the final Test in] Johannesburg."

Sarfraz Ahmed acknowledges Pakistan have been suffering from mental frailties in Test matches for some time after a six-wicket defeat to South Africa.

The tourists were all out for 190 in their second innings by the end of the second day in Centurion and the Proteas took advantage with a comfortable chase, reaching their target of 149 inside 51 overs on Friday to secure a 1-0 series lead.

But the collapse sparked by Duanne Olivier's 5-59 was far from unique for Pakistan, with Sarfraz recognising there have regularly been poor second-inning totals in recent times, seemingly due to mounting pressure.

The captain pinpointed a 2016 defeat in New Zealand as the starting point, as his side crumbled from 159-1 to 230 all out to hand the Black Caps victory.

"We have to see why we have a mental problem where we take on a lot of pressure," he said. "Because of this, we are unable to perform in the second innings. 

"We have been struggling in the second innings [for the past two years]. We do get starts but then a wicket falls which initiates a collapse.

"It has been [this way for] a while now. Since Hamilton [in 2016], this is happening. We will have to sort this out going forward. The responsibility lies on everyone: the players and the coaching staff."

But Sarfraz added that the pitch this week made batting difficult for both sides, saying: "If you see throughout the two-and-a-half days, all of the batsmen struggled.

"The first 30 or 40 balls for any batsmen were not easy. For me, this pitch qualifies to be a bowling paradise."

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis compared Duanne Olivier's man-of-the-match performance against Pakistan in Centurion to a similar effort by Mitchell Johnson on the same ground four years ago.

Olivier, selected in the Proteas XI for the first Test after Vernon Philander missed out with a fractured finger, returned match figures of 11-96 as the hosts secured victory by six wickets inside three days.

The seamer, having taken a career-best 6-37 in the first innings, followed that up with a prolonged spell of short-pitched bowling in the second and was rewarded with 5-59 as South Africa were set 149 to win.

Hashim Amla's unbeaten 63 and Dean Elgar's 50 did the bulk of the work as the home side took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and Olivier's display reminded Du Plessis of former Australia left-arm quick Johnson, who took 12 wickets in a match-winning effort at SuperSport Park in February 2014.

"That was probably the match-turning moment," said Du Plessis of the period which saw Pakistan collapse from 101-1 in their second innings to 190 all out on day two.

"They got themselves in a position where we needed wickets. That period was an incredible effort by the bowlers, especially Duanne.

"To bowl short for that long takes a lot out of the body, as a captain it was great to have and it reminded me of Mitchell Johnson a few years ago, very uncomfortable to face."

When asked if Philander would return in Olivier's place for the second Test at Newlands starting on January 3, Du Plessis replied: "Vernon in Cape Town is like peanut butter and syrup. I expect him to come back, but Duanne has made a nice selection headache for us."

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, meanwhile, hopes to see seamer Mohammad Abbas recover from a shoulder injury in time for the next Test.

"Yes hopefully he'll be back for the second Test match," Sarfraz said in the on-field presentation.

"We're very disappointed. We had a good opportunity and lost too many wickets in that session."

Faf du Plessis and Sarfraz Ahmed secured an unwanted piece of history on Friday as both men bagged a pair in the first Test between South Africa and Pakistan.

For the first time in the longest format, the captains of both sides recorded a duck in each innings as the Proteas earned a 1-0 lead in the three-match series thanks to a six-wicket victory inside three days in Centurion.

Having won the toss on Wednesday, Sarfraz's Pakistan had first use of the SuperSport Park pitch but they were bundled out for just 181 - the touring skipper bowled by Duanne Olivier from just his fourth delivery.

Du Plessis suffered the ignominy of a golden duck when he edged Shaheen Afridi to gully in South Africa's response, and Sarfraz's pair was confirmed when he nicked to his opposite number in chasing a wide delivery from Kagiso Rabada in the second innings.

To complete the slice of history, Du Plessis hooked Shaheen to deep fine-leg when the hosts needed just 12 to win.

With Virat Kohli also making a duck for India against Australia at the MCG, Friday was not a day to be a Test captain...

Sarfraz Ahmed believes Yasir Shah could prove crucial in swinging the three-Test series with South Africa in Pakistan's favour.

Following a surprise 2-1 loss to New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan take on the Proteas over the next three weeks, starting at Centurion on Boxing Day.

South Africa were last in action in July, going down to two heavy defeats in Sri Lanka, and Sarfraz is hoping it will be trial by spin once again for Faf du Plessis' side.

Yasir became the fastest man to 200 Test wickets during the New Zealand series and Sarfraz has tipped the leg-spinner to be a key figure once more.

"All foreign teams struggle there [Sri Lanka], just like all Asian teams come to South Africa and struggle here," he said.

"Here, the conditions are different but we do have a world-class spinner. He took 200 wickets in 33 Tests and we know South Africa haven't played a top-quality leg-spinner in three years.

"So we have an advantage, we have Yasir Shah, and hopefully they will struggle against him."

Sarfraz's opposite number Du Plessis, meanwhile, believes the performances of South Africa's struggling batsmen - who were bowled out for under 130 three times in Sri Lanka - will be crucial to any success.

"He [Hashim Amla] has not scored the amount of runs he's wanted to in the last year, but it's a new season, he's coming off a fifty," Du Plessis said.

"It will be important for him to get off to a good start in the series, to settle the nerves and be confident.

"These things are a battle within yourself as a player, you must make sure you fight whatever you need to fight, and get over what you what need to get over in your head.

"The two sides have tremendous bowling attacks, both in good form. Our success in this series will be the form of the batters. Hopefully we get two or three guys who have a good series,"

Sarfraz Ahmed admits he could contemplate giving up his role as Pakistan's Test captain if the team continue to underperform.

Pakistan were beaten by 123 runs by New Zealand on Friday in the final match of a three-Test series, handing the Black Caps a precious away triumph in Abu Dhabi, with Sarfraz's decision-making questioned as the contest got away from his side.

The skipper repeatedly opted against taking the new ball as his bowlers toiled on day four and Pakistan's gameplan looked far from clear when they batted on the final day, seemingly stuck somewhere between chasing the match and defending a draw.

Opposite number Kane Williamson was far more decisive as he declared in time for New Zealand to bowl their opponents out, with Sarfraz later conceding that he cannot make costly mistakes as captain.

"When things like this happen, you do start to think about [giving up the captaincy]," Sarfraz said. "But let's see what happens.

"The tour of South Africa [starting on December 26] is a tough one and if you start thinking like this before it then it is not helpful for anyone. If I make mistakes or it is because of me that the team is losing, I will definitely think about it.

"If there is someone better than me to do the Test captaincy, then he should."

And the Pakistan skipper turned down the opportunity to shift the blame onto head coach Mickey Arthur or batting coach Grant Flower after a dismal attempted chase.

"The head coach has his job, the batting coach has his, but it's the responsibility of the players as well," Sarfraz said. "Mentally, we have to be strong as a batting unit. The batting pair who play the new ball have to set the momentum because it's not easy to bat on the fifth day.

"Before the series, I had said that it's the responsibility of the batsmen.

"The batting coach does his job. He tells them the basic faults and helps them improve their technique. But if the batsman is in form then he has to carry that form."

Page 2 of 3
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.