Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy is reportedly set to be named an honourary citizen of Pakistan.

The 36-year-old allrounder has become a popular figure in the country, where he has captained Pakistan Super League (PSL) Peshawar Zalmi to the title.  The player has, however, been recognized for an even more important contribution and that is his prominent role in advocating for the return of international cricket to Pakistan.

The country was blacklisted as a destination for international cricket in 2009 after a horrific attack on the Sri Lankan team bus outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.  International cricket, however, returned to the country in 2017, with Test cricket returning last year.

Sammy was the first player to agree to tour Pakistan when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) attempted to bring the PSL final to the country.

When an ICC World XI was lined up to tour Pakistan for three T20Is in September 2017, it was Sammy who spoke as part of that squad to the other tourists as part of a security briefing.

The idea of honourary citizenship was first broached by Javed Afridi, the owner of Peshawar Zalmi.  The PCB then followed up with the federal government and the honour was accepted.  Sammy will also receive the Nishan-e-Pakistan, the country's top civilian award, on March 23 in Islamabad.

Umar Akmal has been suspended from all cricket-related activities by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) under its anti-corruption code.

The PCB on Thursday revealed that Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Akmal has been suspended under article 4.7.1 of its code, but did not state the nature of the alleged offence.

Akmal's ban was imposed on the day he was due to play for defending champions Quetta Gladiators in the first game of the Pakistan Super League against Islamabad United.

The 29-year-old has been replaced in the Gladiators squad by Anwar Ali, with an investigation ongoing. 

Akmal was this month reprimanded by the PCB after allegedly exposing himself while undergoing a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy.

That incident, which is reported to have seen Akmal ask a trainer "where is the fat?" during a skin-fold test, was described by the PCB as a "misunderstanding".

Akmal has played 121 ODIs and 84 Twenty20 Internationals, also featuring in 16 Tests between 2009 and 2011.

West Indies women will get their T20 World Cup in Australia off to a start this Saturday with an opener against Thailand but have much improvement to make if they are to reach the heady heights they have in recent times.

There will be two groups of five competing for progress to the semi-finals, with the top two from each group making it through.

The West Indies find themselves in Group B along with England, South Africa, Pakistan and Thailand.

West Indies had a successful tournament in 2018, reaching the semi-finals before being knocked out by the eventual champions Australia. Whilst their form in the format has not been ideal over the last few years, they still have some of the most exciting players in the tournament lining up for them.

Deandra Dottin is among the best attacking batters in the world, particularly if she's facing spin - in the last two years she scores at 8 runs per over against spinners, and only gets out every 38 balls.

With ball in hand, captain Stafanie Taylor will be looking to Shakera Selman to make inroads at the top of the inning - nobody swings the ball more than her over the last two years of T20I cricket, and on the hard fast pitches of Australia, movement through the air will be crucial.

If all goes to plan, West Indies will be more than confident of progressing to the knockout stages.

England made the final in the last edition of the T20 World Cup before, like West Indies, being eliminated by Australia. Heather Knight's side are still somewhat in transition, but a new-found balance relying on Nat Sciver to bowl four overs has allowed them to play an extra specialist batsman - it's given the batting line-up some serious oomph. On the bowling side of things, Sophie Ecclestone is a very important part of the English attack. A tall left-arm orthodox spinner, no player has taken more wickets for England in T20Is since the start of 2018 than Ecclestone, with 35 wickets in that time at an average of 16.82. Offering control as well as attacking threat, she'll be the likely fulcrum of the England attack. Knight will see anything but progress from the group as abject failure, and they'll be eager to go all the way.

Pakistan bowl 76 per cent spin over the last two years - that’s the most of any team in the world during that period. Much like Bangladesh in Group A, this does at least give them a clear blueprint to work to a basic structure they can focus on in the absence of many acclaimed stars. If they have one standout player it's Bismah Maroof, who has notched up 782 T20I runs in the last two years, comfortably the most of any Pakistan batter and the 11th most for anyone in the world. If anyone in Pakistan green is going to spring a shock on the opposition, it'll be her.

In contrast to Pakistan, 76 per cent of the deliveries sent down from South Africa over the last two years, come from pace bowlers, the most of any side in the competition. They were a disappointment at the last T20 World Cup, not reaching the semi-finals. Their bowling is mixed, but their batting is likely to focus around a few key individuals, and one in particular. Alyssa Healy is renowned as an absolute colossus, but Chloe Tryon - at least statistically - is almost keeping pace with her. A powerful left-hander, Tryon is particularly effective against spin bowling, rocketing along at 8.6 runs per over (compared to 7.6 runs per over against seamers). The South African has a particular preference for hitting off spinners, scoring 180  from 113 deliveries against off-break bowlers in T20I cricket. Given how much spin is bowled in T20 cricket, this sets Tryon apart, her strength and power meaning that she doesn’t need pace on the ball to cause damage - South Africa will be looking to her to really lift the scoring rate when she’s at the crease.

Thailand are the most notable presence at this T20 World Cup, an unfamiliar presence in top-level cricket for both men and women. However, much of their success in recent years and in qualification is down to Nattaya Boochatham. A skilful right-arm seamer, Boochatham has taken a lot of wickets since the start of 2018; in fact, in that time period, only Poonam Yadav has taken more international T20 wickets than Boochatham. Undoubtedly, this has been given a boost by the standard of opposition that Thailand have been facing, but it’s been Boochatham who has done the damage in those matches. If Thailand are going to lay a glove on any side at this tournament, she’ll have to be at her best.

South Africa have cancelled plans to tour Pakistan next month.

Three Twenty20 internationals were proposed but have been scratched because of South Africa's concerns over their players' workload.

The short series is set to be rescheduled and may take place before the end of the year.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said it had received assurances from Cricket South Africa that "they will honour the commitment of sending their side as soon as it is reasonably possible".

South Africa are already due to visit Pakistan for two Tests and three T20 matches in January and February next year.

PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said: "While we were keenly looking forward to hosting South Africa next month, we respect Cricket South Africa's reason for not sending their side next month.

"Managing player workload is a top priority for any cricket board, and from that perspective, their decision is understandable.

"We are pleased that the CSA remains committed to rescheduling this short series as soon as practically possible.

"As there is a strong willingness and commitment, both the boards are now exploring their FTPs [future tour programmes] to find gaps so that we can agree on the dates."

Sohail Tanveer is confident he can force his way back into the Pakistan side and make a big impact at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

The left-arm paceman has not played for his country since April 2017, but remains as driven as ever to showcase his talents on the international stage.

Tanvir was the leading wicket-taker when Northern won the National T20 Cup late last year and is determined to catch Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq's eye with a fruitful Pakistan Super League campaign for Multan Sultans.

Mohammad Hafeez, 39, and Shoaib Malik, 38, have recently been recalled by Misbah and 35-year-old Tanvir believes his skill and experience can also be invaluable for Pakistan.

The quick told Omnisport: "I feel that if you don't have the inspiration to play for your country there is no point in playing cricket.

"I started playing when I was seven or eight years old with the dream of playing for my country, that gave me inspiration and I worked hard, made it and played for my country.

"I have always wanted to play well and show my worth. Unfortunately for around two and a half years or so, I didn't play for Pakistan but I'm still inspired to do that and the PSL is going to be key not only for me, but many players trying to play for Pakistan.

"The T20 team is not settled at the moment and the places are pretty much open, so I'm still fancying my chances."

Tanvir says the appointment of Misbah to replace Mickey Arthur has given him renewed hope of wearing the famous green shirt once again.

He added "The mindset is different, Mickey came with a different mindset and approach, he was just giving chances to youngsters.

"On his behalf fair enough, I won't argue about it but Misbah has a different mindset. We have seen more experienced players such as Shoaib Malik and Hafeez coming back into the team, that means age is not an issue and anybody can get a chance.

"That is how it should be, if someone is doing well. You want to win games for your country, it doesn't matter if you are 35 years old or 20 years old, the motivation is to win the game.

"If someone comes into the game with a lot of experience and still wins you games, that is a plus-plus for you instead of youngsters coming in with no experience.

"We all know the pressure of playing T20 cricket, things change very quickly and you have to make instant decisions. Having that experience gives you more confidence in yourself.

"I've not been playing international cricket, but I've been playing in high-quality leagues very close to the level of international cricket. I believe I can serve my country well again.

"The T20 World Cup is in sight this year and there is one next year as well, so I'm fancying my chances.

"I'm right on top of my game, fitness-wise and performance-wise I'm pretty much there, PSL is the key now.

"I had a conversation with Misbah and he was pretty much clear, as other key people have said, we will be looking at PSL, then check on fitness and performance."

Sohail Tanveer hailed "very special" pace sensation Naseem Shah after the 16-year-old took a record-breaking hat-trick in Pakistan's Test victory over Bangladesh.

Naseem made history in Rawalpindi on Sunday, becoming the youngest bowler to take three wickets in as many balls in the longest format.

The paceman, who turns 17 on Saturday, has shown enormous potential since becoming the ninth-youngest Test player when he made his debut against Australia in the cauldron of the Gabba last November.

Tanveer, who harbours hopes of making a Pakistan comeback, has seen Naseem's ability at close quarters while training with Pakistan Super League side Quetta Gladiators and believes Pakistan have unearthed a gem.

The quick told Omnisport: "Unfortunately Naseem was injured for the PSL last year, but when I first saw him in the nets I thought this kid has serious talent, I've never seen someone of that age bowl so fast and he can bowl with control as well.

"He has incredible ability and is a really exciting talent. To play Test cricket at that age and make the step up like he has is amazing. He is very special.

"He's a quiet guy, he doesn't say a lot, but he knows if he needs to ask any of the senior players for advice then we are there for that."

Tanveer is optimistic Pakistan can be a force in all formats with a combination of youth and experience.

"We have seen youngsters coming in and developing, such as Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah," the leading wicket-taker in the 2019 National T20 Cup said.

"We are seeing some serious talent and the day will come where you have the right combination.

"We have Babar Azam and we hope to see more young batting talent come through, then we have [Mohammad] Hafeez and [Shoaib] Malik now to offer a mixture of youth and experience. I'm hopeful Pakistan cricket is in good hands and I really hope things will keep getting better."

Naseem was cleared of serious injury after complaining of a rib problem on day three of a crushing innings-and-44-run victory over the Tigers.

Yasir Shah finished with a four-for as Pakistan made swift work of seeing off the Bangladesh tail to wrap up an emphatic victory by an innings and 44 runs on day four of the first Test.

Teenage sensation Naseem Shah had done the bulk of the damage on Sunday when he became the youngest player to take a Test hat-trick.

Bangladesh started Monday's play 126-6, still 86 runs in arrears, and were all out for 168 with Yasir (4-58) claiming the last two wickets to earn Pakistan 60 points in the ICC Test Championship.

Already fighting a losing battle, Bangladesh's task was even more daunting in the first over of the day at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium after Mominul Haque (41) was trapped leg-before by Shaheen Afridi.

Liton Das (29) and Rubel Hossain (5) showed resistance for 12 overs before the latter was sent back lbw by Mohammad Abbas, having overturned a review off the same bowler shortly before.

Yasir then got in on the act, pinning Das in front before tempting Abu Jayed (3) into a top edge off a slog sweep to Asad Shafiq in the slips, which brought an end to proceedings.

The second and final Test does not begin until April 5, when Pakistan will look to complete a series win in Karachi.

Shoaib Akhtar and Viv Richards led the praise for "teen sensation" Naseem Shah after Pakistan's 16-year-old paceman became the youngest bowler to claim a Test hat-trick.

The precocious teenager achieved the feat on day three of the first Test against Bangladesh, putting Pakistan in a strong position to clinch a crushing victory.

Naseem reduced Bangladesh from 124-2 to 124-5 as he removed Najmul Hossain Shanto, Taijul Islam and Mahmudullah with successive deliveries, the first two of his victims falling to lbw decisions before the latter was caught at first slip.

The stunning burst arrived six days ahead of Naseem's 17th birthday and came less than two months since he became the youngest fast bowler to take a five-wicket haul in Tests.

Given the hat-trick came in Rawalpindi, it was only appropriate one of the city's favourite sons should offer his approval.

Shoaib became known as the 'Rawalpindi Express' during his career as Pakistan's premier quick.

And though his message was brief, it signalled how impressed he was by the youngster.

Shoaib wrote on Twitter: "Wow. Hat-trick by the teen sensation. #NaseemShah"

West Indies great Richards said Naseem's performance was "quality as its best", and said Pakistan Super League side the Quetta Gladiators had again shown a knack for uncovering "impeccable talents". Richards works for the team as a mentor.

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif said: "Congratulations to Naseem Shah for his remarkable achievement in such a short time. No other format can match a Test match."

Mushtaq Ahmed, Pakistan's former star leg-spinner, wrote on Twitter: "You are born to shine son. Keep your feet on ground and eyes on sky."

Bangladesh, meanwhile, appeared not to know what to make of the fuss, even after finishing the day six wickets down.

They will resume their second innings on Monday, needing 86 runs to make Pakistan bat again.

Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal said in an end-of-day news conference: "I thought we handled him quite well before that final over when he got the hat-trick.

"No doubt he is something that excites world cricket, but apart from that over I felt we handled him quite well."

Pakistan's Naseem Shah became the youngest player to take a Test hat-trick as the 16-year-old achieved the rare feat against Bangladesh on Sunday.

Naseem reduced Bangladesh from 124-2 to 124-5 as he removed Najmul Hossain Shanto, Taijul Islam and Mahmudullah with successive deliveries.

His spectacular effort came six days before he turns 17 and provided further evidence of his emergence at international level, barely six weeks after becoming the youngest paceman to take a five-wicket haul in Tests.

That 5-31 performance against Sri Lanka in late December tied up a Test win over Sri Lanka in Karachi, and this time it was the Rawalpindi crowds who were treated to a show from the teenager.

His hat-trick began with a review following a loud lbw appeal, with Naseem and his team-mates confident he had Shanto pinned in front. Replays showed the ball would have struck leg stump.

Taijul came out as a nightwatchman but hopes he would block out the rest of the day were shattered when Naseem produced a sizzling delivery that struck him on the pads, leaving no doubt it was a second wicket in two balls.

Bangladesh sent out Mahmudullah next, hoping the frontline batsman would prove more resilient, but he flung the bat and got a big edge that was taken expertly at first slip by Haris Sohail.

Naseem soon left the action, reportedly for treatment, but Bangladesh lost a sixth batsman before the close, Mohammad Mithun bowled by Yasir Shah before he had a run to his name.

Pakistan - who made 445 in their first innings - looked to be heading to an innings victory, with Bangladesh, on 126-6 at stumps, still trailing by 86 runs with four second-innings wickets standing.

The home team began Sunday's third day of the match on 342-3 and had Babar Azam at the crease on 143 not out.

However, he fell to the second ball of the morning without adding to his overnight score, while Asad Shafiq only progressed from 60 to 65 before he too was dismissed, with Abu Jayed and Ebadat Hossain the bowlers striking early.

Haris Sohail made a swift 75 to stretch Pakistan's lead to 212 runs, hitting seven fours and two sixes.

Naseem then struck in the ninth over of Bangladesh's innings when he bowled Saif Hassan, and Yasir had Tamim Iqbal pegged lbw for 34.

Bangladesh rebuilt, but Naseem halted a 71-run stand between Shanto and Mominul Haque with the first wicket of his hat-trick.

Figures of 4-26 in 8.2 overs reflected his contribution, the youngster becoming just the fourth Pakistan bowler to snaffle a Test hat-trick after Wasim Akram, who achieved the feat twice, Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Sami.

Babar Azam continued his incredible form by reaching a career-best 143 not out as Pakistan took charge of the first Test against Bangladesh at Rawalpindi.

Coming in at number four, Babar was dropped by Ebadat Hossain when he had only scored two and went on to punish the tourists, firing 19 fours and a six off 192 balls.

Shan Masood (100) scored a century of his own as Pakistan ended Saturday's action on 342-3, 109 runs ahead of Bangladesh with seven wickets in hand.

Abu Jayed (2-66) had Pakistan on 93-2, but Babar shared stands of 112 with Masood and 137 with Asad Shafiq, who will be looking to become Pakistan's third centurion of the innings when he resumes on 60 not out.

Bangladesh made an ideal start when Jayed removed Abid Ali for a duck, the opener edging behind to Liton Das from a short and wide delivery in the second over of the day.

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali (34) also fell before lunch, taken at slip off the bowling of Jayed.

That brought Babar to the crease and he did not score in 14 deliveries before lunch and then had a major let-off in the third over of the second session.

Taijul Islam thought he had his man but Edabot could not hold the catch at long-off, a mistake he would regret increasingly as the day progressed.

Masood had already reached 65 by that point and he had his third Test century off 157 balls with a single to fine leg, having hit 11 fours.

But in the next over he was bowled by Taijul (1-111) just before tea in what proved to be the Tigers' last wicket of the day.

Babar brought up his fifth Test ton off 137 balls when he hit Taijul for four and kept his foot on the accelerator from there.

Shafiq reached his fifty from 83 deliveries as part of a useful supporting role, with both players now eyeing big individual totals on day three as Pakistan look to put the match out of reach.

In-form Babar, already on his highest Test score, has now scored a century in four of his past five matches, and had an innings of 97 in the other.

Mohammad Mithun posted his second Test half-century before Bangladesh were bundled out for 233 on day one of the first Test against Pakistan.

Hosts Pakistan fended off a mid-innings revival from Bangladesh, who improved from 107-5 to 214-6 before their last four wickets fell in quick succession.

Mithun, coming in at number six, held the innings together before falling for a battling 63, while Najmul Hossain Shanto weighed in with 44.

Pakistan's 19-year-old left-arm paceman Shaheen Afridi took 4-53, while Mohammad Abbas was economical and accurate in a supporting role, his 2-19 coming from 17 overs.

Bangladesh made a wretched start, losing Saif Hassan to the third ball of the morning and Tamim Iqbal in the next over, the openers both gone with just three runs on the board.

A stand of 59 between Najmul and Mominul Haque gave Bangladesh a platform of sorts, with the alliance ending when the latter fell for 30, edging Shaheen to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.

Najmul followed in much the same way, out for 44 when he was caught behind off Abbas' bowling.

Bangladesh were in trouble, five down, when Mahmudullah fell for 25 to a fine catch by Shafiq, giving Shaheen a third wicket.

Liton Das perished next, lbw for 33 to Haris Sohail after a Pakistan review. Taijul Islam made 24 before falling to the same bowler, with Shaheen then cleaning up Rubel Hossain for one.

Mithun impressed before gloving Naseem Shah to Rizwan, and his departure meant the innings was all over bar the shouting, with Abu Jayed run out in the next over.

Fading light meant Pakistan could not begin their reply before the close.

Pakistan have named veteran Bilal Asif and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf in a 16-man squad for their forthcoming Test against Bangladesh in Rawalpindi.

Azhar Ali's men edged Sri Lanka 1-0 in December and are looking to strengthen their World Test Championship prospects before the mid-year tour of England.

The first Test against ninth-ranked Bangladesh begins on February 11, with off-spinner Asif hoping to appear in the international arena for the first time since 2018.

Kashif Bhatti and Usman Shinwari, neither of whom featured against Sri Lanka, have been omitted from the squad.

Head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said the 34-year-old and the versatile Faheem, a powerful hitter who bowls medium pace, have been called-up with a view to exploiting Bangladesh's left-handed batsmen.

"Following our convincing victory in Karachi, I don't envisage any major changes in the playing line-up but we have tried to cover all our bases just in case the wicket has any surprises for us," Misbah said in a statement.

"We are aiming to collect maximum points from the two upcoming ICC World Test Championship matches against Bangladesh so that when we take the field for the Lord's Test against England on 30 July, we are in a strong contention for a top-two finish by the end of the 2020-21 season.

"This is what our aspiration is and that’s what are aiming and striving for."

The second and final Test will take place in April after the Bangladesh Cricket Board agreed to participate in a three-part tour.

 

Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Bilal Asif, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.

Pakistan's T20I match against Bangladesh was called off on Monday due to heavy rain in Lahore.

The hosts had won the first two clashes in the three-match series, so were already assured of victory before the cancellation of the final meeting meant they came out on top by a 2-0 scoreline.

Pakistan will now play Bangladesh in a Rawalpindi Test match that begins on February 7.

There is a further Test in Karachi on April 5, which starts two days after a solitary ODI clash between the nations.

Bangladesh agreed a revised schedule for their tour earlier this month.

The Tigers had initially said they would only play the three T20Is due to the situation in the Middle East amid tension between Iran and the United States.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez powered Pakistan to a dominant nine-wicket win over Bangladesh as they clinched the Twenty20 series with a game to spare. 

Pakistan claimed a five-wicket victory in the opening game in Lahore on Friday, and Babar and Hafeez ensured the hosts were in cruise control again at the same venue on Saturday.

After Bangladesh finished on 136-6 thanks predominantly to Tamim Iqbal's 65, Babar (66 not out) and Hafeez (67no) combined superbly for an unbroken stand of 131.

It meant Pakistan clinched the match and the three-match series with 20 balls to spare, rendering Monday's finale a dead rubber.

Bangladesh opener Mohammad Naim went for a duck in the second over and, though Tamim held the innings together, he found little in the way of partners.

Afif Hossain (21), stayed with Tamim for a stand of 45, but after the latter was run out in the 18th over, any impetus Bangladesh's innings had was lost.

Shafiul Islam removed Ahsan Ali for a duck to give Bangladesh hope of defending their total, which was swiftly and brutally extinguished by Babar and Hafeez.

Hafeez brought up his half-century in 39 balls, but Babar was four deliveries quicker, the pair hitting 16 fours and two sixes between them as they tormented the Bangladesh attack en route to an easy win.

Shoaib Malik marked his recall with an unbeaten half-century as Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by five wickets in the first match of the Twenty20 International series at Gaddafi Stadium.

Mohammad Naim top scored with 43 and Tamim Iqbal struck 39 on his comeback outing to become his country's leading T20I run-scorer, but the Tigers could only post 141-5 Lahore after Mahmudullah won the toss in Lahore on Friday.

Babar Azam fell for a duck in reply, but all-rounder Shoaib ​– back in the side along with fellow veteran Mohammad Hafeez ​– made 58 not out as top-ranked Pakistan got home with three balls to spare.

Ahsan Ali also made 36 on his Pakistan debut in the first of three T20Is, Shafiul Islam's impressive figures of 2-27 proving to be in vain.

Tamim and Naim laid the foundations with an opening stand of 71, but Bangladesh failed to build on that after the former was run out going for a second.

Liton Das was dismissed in the same fashion and Naim was following him from the next ball, caught behind off Shadab Khan, before Afif Hossain became Haris Rauf's first international victim.

Mahmudullah made an unbeaten 19 and Bangladesh had a spring in their steps when Babar nicked Shafiul behind second ball.

Hafeez followed for 17 and Pakistan were 81-3 in the 12th over when Ahsan departed, but Shoaib ​– playing his first T20I for 11 months – used his experience to keep them on course for a 1-0 lead.

Shoaib had his half-century when he was dropped at long-off and the ball crossed the rope, while Soumya Sarkar came back for a second run when he was also put down in the final over as Pakistan claimed a first win in the shortest format since last February.

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