ICMD, Oct 21, 2021: Former Pakistan all-rounder Mudassar Nazar insists his country will once again be the kings of Asian cricket despite India's rise as world beaters on the back of the riches of the IPL. Pakistan were kings of the sub-continent from the mid-1980s to 1990s with their on-field brilliance under Imran Khan, who led them to the 1992 World Cup, before India turned the tables. "I don't think Pakistan has changed. It is India who have changed," Nazar told AFP ahead of the eagerly-awaited India-Pakistan clash at the Twenty20 World Cup in Dubai on Sunday. "With the advent of the IPL they have used the money really, really well. If you look at the domestic competition in India, look at all the associations, how well they are organising their cricket. He added: "Everybody has got their own stadium, their own academies, school cricket, state cricket. Cricket is thriving in India. "But the people who have been consistently doing well have been England and Australia...India is in the forefront and among the three best sides in the world." Starting in 2008, a year after the inaugural T20 World Cup, the IPL ushered in a new era of white-ball cricket that witnessed the game break new ground in viewership and fan base. The IPL emerged as the world's richest T20 league with its brand value estimated at $6.7 billion in 2019 by the Duff and Phelps financial consultancy. At the same time, Pakistan was becoming a no-go zone for international cricket following the 2009 terror attack on the visiting Sri Lanka team. "The BCCI have been very clever in how they used the IPL money. Indian cricket was powerful before that but since then it has seen a lot of consistency," said Nazar. "They have got all the areas covered. You talk about fast bowling, you talk about spinners, fielding, the physical side, it's a powerhouse. They seem to be getting top class batsmen every season. At the moment they are looking very formidable." 'Tables will turn' But Nazar remains hopeful that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) - the nation's premier T20 tournament - and new management will revive the game. "It is also a matter of cycles. One decade we could be better than the rest of the world and then somebody else catches up," said Nazar, who played 76 Tests between 1976 and 1989 with a batting average of over 38. He also sees a bright future under new PCB chairman Ramiz Raja.
ICMD, Oct 16, 2021: Bangladesh's star all-rounder Shakib Al-Hasan believes that series wins against Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe will boost their chances at the T20 World Cup despite a record which shows just one victory at the tournament since 2007. Bangladesh will have to take part in the qualifying round at the 2021 event starting in the United Arab Emirates and Oman on Sunday. But Shakib believes the recent wins in Dhaka have toughened the side at the right time. "I think we have a good chance in the World Cup. We had a good preparation. The big reason for this is that we won those three series," said Shakib. "When a team keeps winning, it builds a winning mentality, it takes confidence to a new level." The Tigers go into qualifying against Scotland, Oman and Papua New Guinea seeking one of two places to take part in the main Super 12 competition. Now sixth in the ICC Twenty20 rankings, they are among the favourites to get through. The team's limited over fortunes have been boosted by the good form of fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman -- a standout performer at the Indian Premier League with Rajasthan Royals. Bangladesh have also discovered a new generation of batters in Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar and Mushfiqur Rahim to back captain Mahmudullah Riyad. But the wins against Australia and New Zealand were against weakened touring sides on slow pitches that perfectly suited Bangladesh's game. And not everyone is optimistic about Bangladesh's improved showing having an effect at the World Cup. "We have not won a game in the main round since 2007. I can only hope that this situation will change this time," former captain Mohammad Ashraful told AFP. "I am expecting two wins against Afghanistan and Ireland (if they qualify). Anything more than this will be a big achievement," he said. -- AFP