Amir aims for another Taunton triumph as Australia await

Pakistan's Mohammad Amir during a warm up match against Afghanistan before ICC Cricket World Cup at County Ground, Bristol, Britain on May 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 June 2019
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Amir aims for another Taunton triumph as Australia await

  • Pakistan to face Australia in a World Cup match on Wednesday
  • Pakistan have won just one of their last 14 matches against champions Australia

TAUNTON, United Kingdom: Mohammad Amir will hope to enjoy another landmark occasion at Taunton when Pakistan face Australia there in a World Cup match on Wednesday.
The group fixture at southwest county Somerset’s headquarters sees Amir back at the ground where he made his return to first-class cricket in England three years ago.
Amir was the rising star of world cricket when his career came to a stunning halt during a Lord’s Test in 2010 after both he and new-ball partner Mohamed Asif were caught bowling no-balls on the orders of then Pakistan captain Salman Butt as part of a newspaper sting operation.
The trio all received five-year bans from cricket and jail terms.
That same 2010 season had seen Amir produce a superb display of swing bowling in taking three for 20 as Pakistan dismissed Australia for just 88 on the first day of a ‘neutral’ Test at Headingley.
Those skills remained intact as Amir marked his 2016 return to the first-class game in England in 2016 with a haul of three for 36 against Somerset at Taunton.
All three wickets — including that of former England opener Marcus Trescothick — owed much to late swing.
The intervening years have not been easy for Amir, however, and he almost missed what is his first World Cup after taking just five wickets in 14 matches before a recent one-day international series in England.
Amir did not bowl in the washed-out first match against England and missed the last four games with chicken pox. England won the series 4-0.
But having been left out of Pakistan’s preliminary squad for the World Cup, the 27-year-old made it into the final 15.
His World Cup debut was a rare Pakistan highlight after they slumped to 105 all out against the West Indies, with Amir taking three for 26 in a seven-wicket loss at Trent Bridge.
He was in the wickets again at the Nottingham ground, but this time in a winning cause, with two for 67 as Pakistan surprisingly beat tournament favorites England by 14 runs last week.
But Pakistan’s progress was checked by a total washout against Sri Lanka at Bristol.
Pakistan have won just one of their last 14 matches against champions Australia, the five-times World Cup winners.
That victory was inspired by Mohammad Hafeez’s 72 at Melbourne in January 2017.
And it was Hafeez’s 84 that laid the foundations for an impressive total of 348 for eight against England.
“We have not won many matches against Australia but we had not won too many against England either,” said Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.
“But we have finally beaten England and that has given us a lot of positives.
“We will go with the aggressive approach we showed against England.”
The wicket-keeper expects to face an Australia side stung by a 36-run loss to India last weekend — their first defeat of this World Cup following wins over Afghanistan and the West Indies.
“We know Australia will try to come back and with (Steve) Smith and (David) Warner back they are at their best again,” said Sarfaraz.
“We respect all our opponents and are ready for them.”
Australia will hope opener Warner, for all he has already scored two fifties this World Cup, is back to his destructive best at Taunton.
Warner’s 56 off 84 balls against India — of which 48 were dots — helped contribute to a slow run-rate that left Australia with too much to do at the end of their innings.
The left-hander was also involved in the run-out of Australia captain and opening partner Aaron Finch.
But Finch backed Warner, who along with Smith is playing in his first major tournament for Australia since serving a year-long ban for ball-tampering.
“They (India) bowled very well to Warner and he needs some more time. He’s a world-class player and will get us off to a flyer,” said Finch.


Jailed Pashtun lawmakers released after four months in custody

Updated 21 September 2019
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Jailed Pashtun lawmakers released after four months in custody

  • Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar were arrested after a deadly clash at a security checkpost in northern Pakistan in May
  • In Twitter post after his release, Dawar thanked Bilawal Bhutto for support; said allegations of violence were “most hurtful”

PESHAWAR: After months of detention, two Pakistani parliamentarians from South and North Waziristan were released two days after they received bail in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a senior member of their political party, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), said on Saturday.
The two lawmakers, Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar, were arrested alongside several members of the PTM following a deadly clash between troops and party supporters at the Khar Qamar checkpost in North Waziristan tribal district in May, where 13 people were killed.
“Justice has won and it is proved that Wazir and Dawar were innocent. Both the members (of the) National Assembly are among us and our constitutional and peaceful struggle will get fresh momentum,” Abdullah Nangyal, a senior leader of the PTM, told Arab News.
He said that hundreds of PTM supporters greeted the two lawmakers when they came out of the high-security Haripur prison after midnight on Saturday.
“The release of the MNAs had to be delayed for hours because of submitting legal documents and furnishing surety bonds,” Nangyal said.

From right, lawmaker Mohsin Dawar, leader of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), Manzoor Pashteen, PTM leader Abdullah Nangyal and lawmaker Ali Wazir in a car heading to the provicial capital Peshawar after the release of the two lawmakers from a jail on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Photo: Social Media)

Soon after their release, both parliamentarians drove straight to the provincial capital of Peshawar alongside supporters, from where it is expected they will travel onwards to their home constituencies in North and South Waziristan.
After his release from jail, lawmaker Mohsin Dawar said in a series of Twitter posts that the “allegation of violence against us preachers of non-violence,” was the most “hurtful in all this.”
“I would like to thank all of those who raised their voice for our release. There are too many names, but one that I must mention is @BBhuttoZardari for his unwavering support both in & out of parliament,” he tweeted.
Headed by Justice Nasir Mehfooz, the Bannu bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday had conditionally approved bail applications that said the lawmakers would furnish surety bonds of Rs. 1 million each.
In addition, the court barred the parliamentarians from leaving the country, and directed them to appear before district police officers once a month.
Later, in a detailed verdict, the bench stated that the bail was granted only for a period of one month, and would be subject to conditions of “good behavior.” Before the expiry of that period, both men would need to file fresh bail applications in the PHC.
Separately, the two lawmakers were also named in a case lodged on June 7 at a police station in Bannu, after an IED explosion in Doga Macha in North Waziristan tribal district, left four army officers martyred. Wazir and Dawar were already in custody at the time of the IED blast and received bail in the Doga Macha case last month by an anti-terrorism court.