Ireland proud on Test debut even as Pakistan ‘get away’

Irish players appeal unsuccessfully for a wicket during play on day two of Ireland’s inaugural test match against Pakistan at Malahide cricket club, in Dublin on May 12, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 May 2018

Ireland proud on Test debut even as Pakistan ‘get away’

  • Ireland became the 11th nation in the 141-year history of men’s Test cricket
  • “It’s a very proud moment for everyone but for everyone involved in Irish cricket and to be presented with a cap this morning was brilliant,” says Ireland’s Gary Wilson

DUBLIN: Not even a spirited late-order recovery by Pakistan could dent Ireland’s pride as their men’s side finally made a long-awaited Test debut on Saturday.
There was a huge sense of anti-climax when Friday’s scheduled opening day of this stand-alone match at Dublin’s Malahide ground was washed out without a ball bowled.
But when Ireland captain William Porterfield won the toss, on a sunny Saturday morning beneath blue skies, his side officially became only the 11th nation in the 141-year history of men’s Test cricket.
And having waited more than a century for Ireland’s first Test wicket, two then came along at once as new-ball duo Boyd Rankin and Tim Murtagh struck with successive deliveries to leave Pakistan 13 for two.
Despite a fine fifty from top-order batsman Asad Shafiq, Pakistan continued to lose wickets before an unbeaten seventh-wicket partnership of 109 between Shadab Khan (52 not out) and Faheem Ashraf (61 not out) turned the tide to leave the tourists 268 for six when bad light and a heavy downpour led to an early close.
“They got away from us a little at the end, with edges flying over gully, over slip,” said Ireland’s Gary Wilson, blocked at first slip when diving wicket-keeper Niall O’Brien missed a chance to catch Test debutant Faheem when the left-hander was on 36.
“Then one went between Niall and myself so it could have a very different end to the day. We could have been right on top if those had gone to hand.”
Nevertheless, Wilson added: “It’s a very proud moment for everyone but for everyone involved in Irish cricket and to be presented with a (Test) cap this morning was brilliant.
“Everyone recognizes what the 688 people (the previous number of Ireland men’s internationals) who had gone before us.
“They were on our minds and we were definitely the lucky ones that got their caps this morning, a great moment.”
Prior to this match, the 36-year-old Murtagh had taken 712 first-class wickets in 210 games but he was in no doubt as to what Saturday meant for Irish cricket.
“The presentation of the caps — a few players kept their sunglasses on in case a few tears came running down, it was a nice occasion,” he said.
“It was a magic feeling to get my first wicket, I was happy for Boyd to take the first and then to get the next one, next ball was special.”
The Middlesex paceman added: “Test cricket has always been a priority for me and it’s fantastic that it has come round in my lifetime.”
A crowd of just under 5,000 gave plenty of vocal encouragement to Ireland and they were in full voice following Rankin and Murtagh’s early strikes.
“The noise for those first couple of wickets was great, they really got behind us and that helped with the adrenaline pumping and gave us an extra spring in our steps as bowlers,” said Murtagh.
Meanwhile Shafiq, in at 13 for two, was proud to play the innings Pakistan needed in the absence of retired batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
“I always wanted to bat up the order, like three of four,” explained Shafiq.
“So did the coach, Mickey Arthur and Sarfraz (Ahmed, the Pakistan captain), especially after the retirements of Misbah and Younis, so it’s now my responsibility to take that number four position.”
Saturday’s early close may have disappointed cricket purists, but it was not all bad news as it allowed Malahide spectators who were also rugby union fans to watch live television coverage of Dublin-based Leinster’s 15-12 European Champions Cup final win over Paris club Racing 92 in Bilbao.


Doctors warn over Delhi’s ‘suicidal’ half-marathon

Updated 27 November 2020

Doctors warn over Delhi’s ‘suicidal’ half-marathon

  • Organizers say the “highest level of safety-standards, with bio-secure zones” have been laid on for the race starting at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
  • Delhi has been hit by a winter pollution crisis each year for the past decade when crop-stubble burning from nearby states, cold temperatures and car and industrial pollution produce a toxic mix

NEW DELHI: Top doctors have warned elite runners are taking a major health risk by competing in Sunday’s New Delhi half-marathon in the midst of a major coronavirus outbreak and soaring air pollution.
Women’s marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei from Kenya and Ethiopia’s two-time men’s winner Andamlak Belihu are among the 49 elite athletes running the 21-kilometer (13.1 mile) race, while thousands of amateurs are taking part virtually.
Organizers say the “highest level of safety-standards, with bio-secure zones” have been laid on for the race starting at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
But with New Delhi recording more than 500,000 virus cases, and air quality in the world’s most polluted capital hovering between ‘unhealthy’ and ‘hazardous’, health experts said the athletes should think twice.
“It will be suicidal for runners to run the race this time. We have such high levels of pollution, we have the risk of coronavirus,” Arvind Kumar, founder trustee of the Lung Care Foundation, told AFP.
“With the presence of this twin threat if people are still running despite knowing everything, well, I have no words to express my anguish.”
“Whether you are an international elite runner or you are a small boy from a village, the damaging potential of a damaging agent remains the same,” said the doctor.
Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the country’s top research body, told AFP that “in an ideal situation” the race should not be run.
“Because of high levels of air pollution, exercising outside in this weather sometimes can lead to aggravation of underlying lung problems,” he said.
“Even if you are an elite runner the air pollution would still affect your lung.”
Normally thousands of amateurs would also take part, but because of the coronavirus they have been told to run their chosen route between Wednesday and Sunday and chart their time on an app.
Delhi has been hit by a winter pollution crisis each year for the past decade when crop-stubble burning from nearby states, cold temperatures and car and industrial pollution produce a toxic mix.
This year, the Indian capital is also a major concern in the battle against the coronavirus. India is the world’s second worst-hit country behind the United States, with about 9.3 million cases.
The city is considering imposing a night-time curfew because of the rising number of cases, according to media reports.
Kosgei, who is visiting India for the first time, acknowledged her concerns about traveling for the race.
“We have definitely been affected by Covid-19. I had to convince my parents and family back home to allow me to visit Delhi for the half-marathon,” she said.
“The virus has affected most of the sporting events. But it is important for us to take care of ourselves.”
As in other countries, nearly all sport in India has been canceled.
After repeated delays, the Indian Premier League cricket went ahead in the United Arab Emirates and the Indian Super League football is being held in a bio-secure “bubble” in Goa.