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PCB announces ICC World Cup T20 squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed and Sharjeel Khan miss out, Asif Ali makes a comeback!

Pakistan set preparations underway for the T20 world cup campaign, by playing New Zealand for a five-match series in Lahore starting from 25th September



The National Chief Selector, Muhammad Waseem, has announced Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming home T20 series against New Zealand and England. The same squad will play the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup, scheduled to take place in the UAE, beginning from next month from 17th October till 14th November.

The experienced campaigner and previous skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and Sharjeel Khan have been dropped from the 15-man squad. Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali and Azam Khan have once again been added to the line-up. The selection panel have also dropped the allrounder Faheem Ashraf, whilst the trio of Shanawaz Dahani, Fakhar Zaman and Usman Qadir have been named as travelling reserves.

We have tried different combinations, identified different areas and found final options for the best selection”, stated the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief selector Mohammad Wasim when announcing the squad in a press conference on Monday. He went on to say that, “there were things required but had been missing and now you will see the difference as we tried to cover all the bases, especially considering the conditions in UAE where we are carrying an advantage” 

Wasim further added, “We are very much familiar with the conditions and have a good T20 record, so taking every aspect in account including the opponents we have combined this team. The team has a tendency required for modern day cricket, a brand we often talk about. We tried to load specialist players for the role. So we are quite hopeful that with all the preparation our team will play outstanding and perform.”

The selection of Asif Ali over the experienced middle-order batsman and allrounder, Shoaib Malik, has been met with some surprise as Asif Ali’s recent performances show a poor form. He is currently averaging 16.38 with a strike-rate of 123.74 from 29 T20Is. Though his domestic T20 career is decorated with a strike rate of 147.02, Asif is presently playing in the Caribbean Premier League with 32 runs at a strike rate of 96.96 from five games.

Justifying their inclusion in the squad Waseem said; “I do agree they [Asif and Khushdil] didn’t perform (since they were dropped) but then none of the others made their case, as well. So, we figured out which player we can lay our confidence in, who can do well under pressure and can perform in those conditions against the bowling line-ups expected in the UAE. They are the best options we have with the left and right combination in the middle. Asif Ali is still the best striker of the ball in Pakistan. I believe he can do well in pressure handling, and will do well in the tournament. We considered a lot of players, but we have our trust in them as compared to others.”

Based on his recent top-notch performances behind the stumps and as a batsman, Mohammed Rizwan has kept his position as the first-choice wicket keeper in all three formats. However, the young talent, Azam Khan, has now replaced Sarfaraz Ahmed as the reserve keeper.

Wasim commented on this choice stating, “Azam is selected as a back-up keeper with Rizwan as our number one keeper and he will remain on top. Earlier we had an option to pick a larger squad and there was always room, but now when it comes down to pick a 15-man squad, then Azam can easily edge anyone because of his ability as a power-hitting batter. If on any day we want anyone with a high strike-rate in the middle order, he offers the luxury of being able to fill in as an extra batter as well.” 

Overall, the squad is well-balanced, which covers all the bases of the game, albeit, on paper. In the UAE, playing conditions traditionally are in favour of the slow bowlers, as pitches ordinarily have a low bounce and are susceptible to spin from the outset. There are three full-time spin bowling options with Mohammed Hafeez being fourth with his more-than-useful right arm off-break. 

An argument could be presented for Shoaib Malik’s inclusion to strengthen the inexperienced middle-order. However, Mohammed Hafeez has been preferred over Shoaib Malik considering his impressive numbers in the past two years. Since the beginning of last year, Hafeez has scored 521 runs, averaging 37.21 with a strike rate of 142.73 from 17 innings, he scored four half centuries with 99 not out being his highest score. Mohammed Hafeez’s superior all-round abilities, especially his off break against left-handed batsmen also gives him an edge over Shoaib Malik. 

While a lot of slack is being given in the way of Pakistan, it is a team full surprises and shocks, ups and downs, heroes to zeros. Pakistan will entertain us from on and off the field and they will be looking to chase their 2nd T20 World Cup since 2009. The upcoming series will be crucial in identifying the team’s best line-up.

So here is the final 15-man squad carrying Pakistan’s hopes:

Babar Azam (Captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Hafeez, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Azam Khan (wicket-keeper), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Wasim Junior.

Travelling Reserves: Fakhar Zaman, Usman Qadir, Shanawaz Dahani 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.


Double Olympic Champion: Losing to Trans Women is About Biology – ‘I Feel Let Down’ 



Nicola, Wikimedia Commons via Wikimedia Commons

Katie Archibald, the double Olympic champion has criticised the International Olympic Committee and other sports bodies for their transgender policies saying they have not only let down female cyclists by underplaying biology but also left trans women like Emily Bridges to face intense scrutiny. 

“It is my opinion that the international governing bodies of several sports have let down transgender athletes, in particular transgender women, with their inclusion policies,” Archibald said in a statement.

According to Archibald, it was wrong for governing bodies to ignore the science that shows trans women who have gone through male puberty have a retained advantage in strength, stamina and physique. She made it clear that she and other females were also being let down by the unwillingness of sports to accept the importance of biology. 

Sadly, this is just an extension of the policies we have chosen to enact in our society without any regard to their consequences. Following the law for some such as trans results in rights being taken from others such as female athletes in sports. 

“These policies have put the athletes, their involvement in sport, and their personal lives under intense scrutiny when all the athletes have done is follow the rules and enter a category they were encouraged to enter.”

“I feel let down by the International Olympic Committee who tell me there should be no assumed advantage for an athlete with a gender identity different to their sex,” she said.

“I read this and hear that my world titles, my Olympic medals, and the champions jerseys I have at home, were all won in a category of people who simply don’t try as hard as the men. That losing to male androgenisation is not about biology, but mindset. They are wrong.

It’s ironic that women had to live under the tyranny of men for so long but now in a so-called liberal society, we are allowing men to become women and oppress women as women. Katie has shown incredible courage to point out something so obvious that our society continues to ignore with no real questions or fair solutions on offer!

She continued: “The retained advantage of people who have gone through male puberty in strength, stamina, and physique, with or without testosterone suppression, has been well documented.

“Cycling’s global governing body, by its president’s own admission, knows this. But they chose to delay action until it became sadly personal for one rider. That wasn’t fair.”

She also expressed deep sympathy for Bridges, who broke the junior men’s 25-mile record before transitioning in 2020, saying she was only following the rules of cycling’s governing body, the UCI, before it decided to block her racing as a woman last month.

In her statement Archibald also called on governing bodies of sports such as cycling, triathlon and rowing to come together to develop policies based on science, while also making their sport more welcoming for trans athletes. “But I’d like us to do all this without sacrificing one of the foundational pillars of sport: fairness.”

This is a key point, but it is not just limited to sport, in all aspects of society fairness should be a key consideration before making policies that allow individuals to act in a way that is legal but harmful to other individuals. We choose to ignore this principle at our own peril and decisions made in the past are slowly starting to unravel before us. 

When little 8-year-old boys start to transition and when a male swimmer who ranked 554th in men’s competition, becomes one of the top ranked swimmers in women’s competition, it tells us that this question of fairness should have been asked a long time ago! Not just from IOC but from governments and societies at large!

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Utah Governor Vetoes Bill Targeting Transgender Athletes



Utah Reps, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, a republican-backed bill was vetoed by the state governor of Utah that barred transgenders from competing with girls in sports in schools.

Gov. Spencer Cox said in a statement that while “politically, it would be much easier and better for me to simply sign the bill,” he chose to veto it because he “tried to do what I feel is the right thing regardless of the consequences.”

Mr Cox was the second governor in vetoing the bill as on Monday, Gov. Eric Holcomb of Indiana, a Republican, vetoed a similar bill, saying it would likely have been challenged in court and would not have solved any pressing issue.

The two governors’ actions of vetoing the bill are at odds with steps taken in a number of other Republican-led states where transgender rights have become an imminent issue in a broader U.S. culture war over sexuality and gender identity. Whereas governors in states including Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Iowa have signed into law bills that ban trans girls from competing in girls’ sports.

In a series of tweets Cox made an emotional plea for compassion toward transgender youth Tuesday in explaining his decision to veto the bill. He said “No other state has done this, and we hoped that Utah could be the first. Unfortunately, that compromise fell apart in the 11th hour of the session.” Regarding transgenders he also tweeted “I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion.”

Also in a letter to the state’s Senate president and House speaker, the governor said he was moved by the data that shows that among 75,000 kids playing high school sports in Utah, only four were transgender, with just one involved in girls sports.

“Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day,” he wrote. “Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.”

However Republican legislators plan to override the veto on Friday, as State Senator J. Stuart Adams, a Republican, mentioned in a statement.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Sanctions Against Russia Leave Chelsea Football Club Up for Grabs



  • Former Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, was pushed to sell the Club amidst the hard sanctions against Russia.
  • Turkish businessman, Muhsin Bayrak, is set to bid 1 billion pounds for the football club, half of the 2.2 billion pounds he intended to offer Abramovich.
  • The British government will issue a license for the sale, despite not being directly involved in the sale process should they agree with the conditions.

Former Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, was pushed to sell the Club amidst the hard sanctions against Russia. Leaving room for potential buyers to submit bids in hopes of taking the Club at a fraction of the cost now that it was transferred to the government. The British government has set Friday as the deadline for any bids.

Turkish businessman, Muhsin Bayrak, is set to bid 1 billion pounds for the football club, half of the 2.2 billion pounds he intended to offer Abramovich. Strict sanctions connected to Russia’s occupation in Ukraine have hit multiple Russian oligarchs. This has caused an opening in the world market where many top Russian business owners held assets. 

Bayrak also intended on offering Abramovich $400 million of his company’s cryptocurrency and the transfer of certain real estate projects to the Russian billionaire. The Turkish investor is set to meet with Abramovich later this week in Turkey to receive his blessing for any deal. The British government will issue a license for the sale, despite not being directly involved in the sale process should they agree with the conditions.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Commentary Box

What does the Russia Ukraine conflict mean for sport? – The Commentary Box

We discuss the consequences of the ongoing war in Russia and how Putin’s invasion is having a direct effect on the Premier League in England and the Paralympic Games in China

#Sports #Football #Ukraine #Russia #TheCommentaryBox

Discover more at

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All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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FIFA: Foreign players in Russia and Ukraine can opt out of their contracts



Amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, FIFA has announced that any foreign players at
clubs in the two countries can tear up their contracts and move elsewhere.
The statement from the football’s world governing body came on Monday stating that those clubs in
other countries, will be allowed to select and add up to two players who are at Russian or Ukrainian
clubs and have left due to the current situation, this must be done by June 30 th .
Russia has been banned by many sport bodies throughout the world from international sports, due to
the conflict and FIFA has put new measures in place “to facilitate the departure of foreign players and
coaches from Russia” should they wish to leave.
“Foreign players and coaches will have the right to unilaterally suspend their employment contracts
until the end of the season in Russia,” it said.
“Players and coaches will be considered ‘out of contract’ until 30 June 2022 and will therefore be at
liberty to sign a contract with another club without facing consequences of any kind.”
The player’s union, FIFPRO, however, said the measures were not enough, saying in a statement that the
decision “to allow foreign players to only suspend their contracts and thus only temporarily leave
Russian clubs is too timid.
“It will be hard for players to find employment for the remainder of the season with uncertainty looming
over them and, within a few weeks, they will be in a very difficult situation once again.
“It is unsatisfactory even for players who are tied to short-term contracts in Russia – where contracts
typically end in December – and who may not want or be able to return after 30 June 2022… FIFPRO
communicated to FIFA last week that these players should be allowed to terminate their contracts.”
FIFPRO suggested that FIFA and its European partners set up some sort of fund that would aid those
players and coaches who are in Ukraine:
“It is disappointing that other stakeholders in this process were not prepared to agree to this important
“For players, coaches and others in Ukraine, we consider it essential that UEFA and FIFA widen
professional football’s response to the war by establishing a fund to support all those in the industry
who are affected.”
While this does at least offer some support for foreign players, domestic players are once again left out
in the cold, being punished for events outside of their control. With no end to the conflict in sight, there
will undoubtedly be many more instances of talent leaving these two countries.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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What is ‘Sportswashing’?



Roman Abramovich has announced the sale of Chelsea football club after owning it for 20 years. Being a Russian, he may be “terrified of being sanctioned” said Labour MP Chris Bryant, earlier this week.

First he handed over “stewardship and care” of Chelsea FC to trustees of the Club Foundation, on Saturday, in order to save it. But now he has publicly announced the sale.

All this pressure started with claims of Russian sportswashing amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian Airline, Aeroflot sponsors Manchester United and Russian gas company Gazprom has a deal with Uefa’s Champions League. All these are being highlighted as sportswashing.

Asking about the UK Government response to the Russian attack on Ukraine, Labor former minister Chris Bryant presented his demands and said “Surely Mr Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country? Surely we should be looking at seizing some of his assets including his £152 million home? And making sure that other people who have had Tier 1 Visas like this are not engaged in malign activity?”

There are many among Chelsea players and fans who support Abramovich and his service for the football club over the years. Abramovich, in his statement, states “I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.”

But the question is, is sportwashing invented by Russia, Saudi Arabia or UAE? Of course not. The West, especially the US and the UK have used sportswashing and still use it to better their image. 

“We are losing the respect of the peoples of the world,” John F. Kennedy stressed during his campaign. This was before the 1960 Olympics which was used as sportswashing, even though the name wasn’t invented. 

“We don’t feel at all abashed about urging our boys in Rome to go out and beat the pants off the Russians and everyone else,” an editorial of Sports Illustrated stated.

In the middle of the cold war and five years into the Vietnam war, at the time when the Soviet had launched Sputnik in 1957, distracting people with the Olympics is sportwashing by definition. 

By the end of the Vietnam war, in 1973, the US dropped more than 338,000 tons of napalm in Vietnam, which 10 times more than that destroyed North Korea. Even then the North captured south Vietnam by 1975. The US Government tried to cleanse its reputation by getting involved in the 1976 Olympics. 

President Ford made an 18 member Olympics committee in June1975 and said that Committee “shall determine what factors impede or prevent the United States from fielding its best amateur athletes for participation in the Olympic Games and other international amateur sporting events.”

In July 1976, President Ford went to the Canadian border to send off the USA Athletes. “On behalf of all Americans —215 million of us—good luck and God bless you,” the President Said, “From every indication I get we’re going to do darned well in Montreal,” he added.

Whether it is the 1948 London Olympics which was the most covered Olympics until then, or obsession with football league in the UK, at a time when the UK and NATO are involved in wars is in fact sportswashing. 

It is hypocritical that Abrovich is forced to sell Chelsea FC, when it suits the UK, but when they need the US and the UK to utilize sportswashing for their benefit. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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