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Many people give Afghanistan no hope of toppling Australia in Perth on Wednesday but the sentimental favourites of the World Cup are daring to dream the impossible.
Afghanistan recorded their maiden World Cup victory when they defeated fellow associate Scotland last week, but taking on what their assistant coach Peter Anderson describes as the “best pace attack in the world” on the bounciest deck in world cricket is another issue.
“It’s a shop front for us, it’s an opportunity to show the cricketing public, the world, what talent we have in Afghanistan and I know the boys will do themselves very proud,” Andersen said.
Merely being competitive would be seen as a victory of sorts for Afghanistan but they are emboldened by their effort to push the Australians in Sharjah in 2012 when they lost by 66 runs. “But deep down we are a 50/50 chance,” Anderson said. “Our goal is to go out there and bat 50 overs and make it very competitive and you never know.”
Clarke talks to Stars
Melbourne Stars president Eddie McGuire has confirmed his team is talking with Michael Clarke about a move to the Big Bash League franchise next season.
While Clarke did not comment, McGuire used his breakfast show on Melbourne radio to outline the interest in the Australian captain. “I’ve spoken to Michael, he’s a friend of mine,” McGuire said on Melbourne’s Triple M. “We’ll have further discussions once the World Cup is out of the way. That’s where it is at the moment.”
McGuire said he was “hopeful” Clarke would join the Stars, who are undergoing wholesale changes after another semi-final defeat. “He hasn’t played Twenty20 Big Bash at all, he pushed that aside so he could concentrate on one-day internationals and his Test career,” McGuire said.
“He’s never played in the IPL for that reason, because he wanted to keep his body as good as it possibly could be.” Should Clarke sign with the Stars he would join probably the biggest name in the BBL – Kevin Pietersen.
Gilly jnr worries security
Adam Gilchrist caused a stir with security at the WACA Ground on Tuesday when he brought his son Archie’s cricket team to training. The youngsters, accompanied by several fathers no doubt enjoying an extended long weekend in Perth, posed no threat, of course, as they watched their heroes being put through their paces. Also present was John Inverarity despite Rod Marsh’s prank on security to prevent the former chairman of selectors from approaching him. The two are long-time friends.
They’ll be hammering each other on Wednesday but Pakistan and the UAE share a common bond. Not only is the UAE side formed of several Pakistan expats, the Gulf nation has also become a defacto home for international cricket’s nomads.
Due to security concerns in Pakistan, the team plays all their home games in the UAE. “We just achieved so many things there, whitewash to England and whitewash to Australia in Test matches there. We won against Sri Lanka, also,” said Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
“We played most of our cricket in UAE, so you could say that’s home for us, and whatever we are achieving, whatever we did in the last four years, that’s due to UAE, and that played really a big part, an important part in Pakistan’s cricket.”
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