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Pak vs Aus: Rain reduces 4th day’s play to 67 overs

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RAWALPINDI: The overnight rain and wet outfield have compelled the umpires to reduce the fourth day’s play between Pakistan and Australia to maximum 67 overs in the first Test of the series, which is being played between the two sides in the country after a span of 24 years.

Earlier the play was delayed due to the wet field but after inspecting the gourd at 12:15 pm, the umpires decided to start the play at 1 pm with limited overs,  the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in its latest update.

On Sunday, the third day of the opening Test at the Pindi Cricket Stadium was called off early due to inclement weather.

Australia were 271-2, with Marnus Labuschagne undefeated on 69 and Steve Smith on 24, when the umpires took the players off the field due to bad light.

Australia are 205 runs behind Pakistan with eight wickets remaining after the hosts declared on 476-4 on Saturday.

The Aussies are visiting Pakistan for the first time in 24 years, having previously declined to visit due to security concerns. On the current tour, they will play three Tests, as many one-day internationals as possible, and a Twenty20 international.

Cricket fans express disappointment with pitch

The majority of cricket fans who turned out for Australia’s historic Pindi Test against Pakistan expressed disappointment with the pitch prepared for the series opener, feeling that a more yielding surface would have been suitable for such an event.

According to a The News report, fans who turned in numbers at the stadium over the last three days were surprised by the curator’s selection.

“Look, Test cricket is already dwindling in popularity as T20I and other limited-overs forms gain traction. There should be more pitches, not only the one at the Pindi Stadium, for this historic event,” Tehseen Ahmad, who travelled from Peshawar specifically to watch both sides in play, remarked.

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Azhar Mahmood suggests that Babar Azam should also take a break.

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Azhar Mahmood stated during a Rawalpindi press conference that, depending on the circumstances, any player, including Babar Azam, might be substituted during the five-match series.

“We shall endeavor to choose the top 11 players available for each game, taking the circumstances into consideration, in accordance with policy,” he continued.

The team’s management hasn’t chosen the starting duo yet, according to Azhar Mahmood in response to a query. “Who will open the inning has not been decided upon yet. Saim-Rizwan, Babar-Saim, or even Fakhar Zaman may start the inning as the opening duo, he continued.

With an emphasis on the team’s strong makeup and tactical preparations for their forthcoming home series against New Zealand, the head coach also conveyed his confidence in his team’s ability.

The coach expressed his faith in the team’s makeup, saying that it consists of a mix of skilled batters, quick bowlers, and adaptable all-around players.

Imad Wasim, an all-rounder, and Mohammad Amir, a fast bowler, were among the returning veterans that Azhar Mahmood believed strengthened the team. His statement went like this: “Their return will definitely strengthen our team.”

In response to a query, he described the New Zealand players as potential stars and dismissed the idea that they were a “B Team” that had been sent to face Pakistan.

Their extensive domestic cricket expertise is shown by the date. No side is weak in T20 cricket, and they are their best player. “They’re playing Pakistan; this is the New Zealand team,” Azhar Mahmood continued.

Fast bowler Shaheen Afridi, according to the head coach, is fully fit and eligible for the series beginning on April 18.

Pakistan squad

Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, Zaman Khan

Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Wasim Jr.

New Zealand squad

Michael Bracewell (c), Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), Ish Sodhi, Tom Blundell, Zak Foulkes.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series schedule

April 18 — 1st T20I, Rawalpindi

April 20 — 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi

April 21 — 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi

April 25 — 4th T20I, Lahore

April 27 — 5th T20I, Lahore

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Weather in Rawalpindi: PMD prediction for the Pakistan-New Zealand T20Is

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Rain is expected to have an impact on Pakistan vs. New Zealand’s five-match Twenty20 International series.

According to meteorological projections, the city is likely to have thunderstorms and rain starting tomorrow, and the rain is predicted to continue all week.

The series’ final two games are slated to take place in Lahore.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecasted a “rain-windstorm/thunderstorm with an isolated hailstorm” on April 18 throughout a number of Pakistani regions, including upper/southwest Sindh, KP, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Islamabad, Punjab, and Balochistan.

On April 20, however, precipitation was predicted by the Met Office for KP, the nation’s capital, Punjab, northeastern Balochistan, Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The New Zealand team has already landed in Islamabad for an intriguing five-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan, it should be mentioned.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series:

18 April: 1st T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm Pakistan Standard Time)
20 April: 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
21 April: 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
25 April: 4th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)
27 April: 5th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)

Pakistan squad:
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, and Zaman Khan
Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, and Mohammad Wasim Jr

New Zealand squad:
Michael Bracewell (c), Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Zak Foulkes, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), and Ish Sodhi

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PCB acquires a multi-story structure next to Gaddafi Stadium

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The multi-story building is set to undergo renovations and be converted into a seven-star hotel, catering to both local and foreign guests.

With this development, the problem of housing foreign players and visiting teams during the Pakistan Super League (PSL)—who presently have to stay in five-star hotels in the area—will be resolved.

This will also save travel time and get rid of traffic problems while teams are traveling from their hotels to the stadium.

In addition, three significant stadiums, including the Gaddafi Stadium, are being renovated by PCB in preparation for the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy, which will be held in Pakistan.

In an interview with the media during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 final last month, Chairman PCB Mohsin Naqvi acknowledged the necessity of upgrading three main stadiums before moving on to other locations.

“Before the Champions Trophy, our three key venues—Lahore, Karachi, and Rawalpindi—will be refurbished. After these three are completed, we will renovate the remaining venues as well. After they are renovated, our stadiums will be state-of-the-art, according to Chairman PCB.

Later that month, representatives from NESPAK (National Engineering Services of Pakistan) gave the chairman the idea to renovate three significant stadiums.

In addition to highlighting the significance of renovating the hospitality boxes at all three locations, the chairman gave instructions to the officials about his plans to improve the view for the fans from every seat in the stadium, according to a press statement from the PCB.

“The Chairman directed the NESPAK officials to begin stadium work immediately, keeping in mind a tight window of time before hosting the ICC Champions Trophy 2025, as the upgradation plan will be finalized soon.”

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