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Pak vs Aus: The most ‘powerful’ picture from Karachi Test

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KARACHI: Pakistan-Australia Karachi Test ended in a draw Wednesday, but it provided fans with several moments to cherish.

Babar’s majestic 196-run knock, which included 21 fours and a six, was an inspiration for his team heading into the third and final test in Lahore on Monday.

The much-needed knock was also recognised by the opposing side as they appreciated and clapped for him as he was moving towards the pavilion after Nathan Lyon dismissed him.

Here is the most “powerful” picture from the match:

Babar Azam sees the Australian team appreciating him after he was dismissed for 196 by Nathan Lyon during the second Test at Karachi, on March 16, 2022. — Twitter/@andymcg_cricket via PCB
Babar Azam sees the Australian team appreciating him after he was dismissed for 196 by Nathan Lyon during the second Test at Karachi, on March 16, 2022. — Twitter/@andymcg_cricket via PCB

Chasing a record 506 for an improbable win, Pakistan’s best bet was to bat out the final day and Babar led by example as they finished on 443-7, the sixth highest fourth innings total of all time.

“The plan was to bat session-by-session and build partnerships,” the Pakistan captain, who was adjudged player-of-the-match said at the presentation ceremony.

“It was a team effort, as others chipped in with useful contributions too.”

“We tried to be positive and play our shots. The team needed this knock, so I tried to bat for as long as I could.”

Here’s how fans responded to the picture:

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How much Babar, Shaheen and Rizwan will earn under new PCB deal?

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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday announced the much-awaited central contracts, awarding a massive 202% hike in the monthly retainer of Babar Azam, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Rizwan.

After the increase, the trio — roped in category A — is expected to receive Rs4.5 million, a more than four-fold increase over the previous year.

The deal comes after four months of deadlock between the PCB and players, and for the first time will see them get a share of the country’s payout from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“PCB has successfully negotiated a three-year central contact deal with its senior players that will run from July 1 2023 to June 30, 2026 in which 25 cricketers will be offered a deal,” the board said in a statement.

According to the agreement, players are divided into four categories with skipper Babar, Rizwan and Afridi in the top flight.

Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah and Shadab Khan are placed in category B with a reported salary of Rs3 million, while Imad Wasim and Abdullah Shafique are in category C on Rs1.5 million.

Category D players — Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Saim Ayub, Agha Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmad, Saud Shakeel, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Usama Mir and Zaman Khan — will be on Rs750,000 a month.

The PCB said player match fees will also be hiked by 50% for Tests, 25% for one-day internationals and 12.5% for Twenty20 matches.

In a departure from the previous year, red-ball and white-ball national contracts have been amalgamated.

Furthermore, players have been granted the liberty to participate in two foreign leagues each season while the financial model for the three-year contract will be locked, with player performance reviews scheduled every 12 months.

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Shubman Gill vs Babar Azam: Top batters vie for No 1 ranking in World Cup 2023

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam’s lead as the top ODI batter continues to diminish as India’s Shubman Gill makes further inroads on the batter on the latest ICC rankings update.

Gill has been in superb touch for India during the first two matches of their ODI series against Australia, with the in-form opener having amassed a total of 178 runs for the series during the opening two contests.

The right-hander hit a quickfire 74 during the opening match of the series in Mohali and backed that up by scoring the sixth ODI century of his career in Indore to reach a new career-high rating on the updated list for ODI batters.

Gill now has a total of 847 rating points and is just 10 rating points behind Babar, ahead of the start of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup on October 5.

With Pakistan not scheduled to play an official ODI match until their World Cup opener and Gill set to sit out India’s final clash of their series against Australia, it means Babar will enter this year’s tournament with the top ranking.

The race between Babar and Gill at the top of the batter rankings will continue to be closely fought throughout the six weeks of the World Cup, with the pair holding a massive lead over their nearest challengers.

South Africa hard-hitter Rassie van der Dussen (743 rating points) is third on the batter rankings and more than 100 points adrift of the leading duo, while Ireland young gun Harry Tector rises to fourth and a new career-high rating despite the fact much of his side’s ODI series against England was affected by rain.

India duo Shreyas Iyer (up eight places to 30th) and KL Rahul (up six spots to 33rd) also enjoy a rise up the rankings this week following impressive performances against Australia, while teammate Mohammed Siraj maintains a narrow lead at the top of the list for ODI bowlers.

Siraj rose to the top on the back of his six-wicket haul during the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka earlier this month and holds an 11-point lead over Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood at the top of the rankings despite the fact he hasn’t featured in the ODI series against the Aussies.

Just 55 rating points separate the top 10 players on the ODI bowler rankings, with experienced Australia spinner Adam Zampa improving one place to seventh on the back of his three wickets from the opening two matches against India.

India pacer Mohammed Shami (up nine spots to equal 25th) and Australia counterpart Sean Abbott (up 14 places to equal 45th) also make some ground on this list on the latest rankings update, while Bangladesh quick Mustafizur Rahman improves five spots to 23rd after five wickets in his side’s ODI series against New Zealand.

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Babar Azam breaks silence on ‘spat’ with Shaheen Afridi

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LAHORE: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam on Tuesday rejected reports of a “war of words” with pacer Shaheen Afridi, saying the players “love each other like a family”.

The captain was addressing a pre-departure press conference in Lahore before travelling to India for the ICC World Cup 2023.

“Since when you became captain, the team has given you respect and everyone honours you a lot, even Iftikhar Ahmed considers you elder brother,” a journalist asked Babar.

He was then asked about rumours of differences within the team.

“There were reports regarding Shaheen Afridi after the Asia Cup debacle so the fans want to know how good your bonding is with Shaheen Afridi and how much he respects you?”

In response, Babar said: “Everyone gives me respect…. and see when you lose close matches then certain [diagreements] do take place in team meetings but this was taken out of context that there was a duel between us.”

“There’s nothing like this. We have the same respect for each other and will remain the same. We love each other like a family.”

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