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Qazi Onik banned for two years for failing dope test

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Bangladeshi left-arm fast bowler Qazi Onik has been banned for two years for failing a dope test during the National Cricket League in November 2018. After failing the test, he was removed from every BCB programme that he was part of.

According to a BCB media release, Onik tested positive for Methamphetamine during an NCL match in Cox’s Bazar. He admitted to the offence and accepted a two-year suspension for an anti-doping rule violation involving his use of a prohibited substance.

The substance is included as a stimulant, prohibited under section S6a of the 2018 ICC Prohibited list and consequently prohibited under the BCB Anti-Doping code 2.1, which has adapted the ICC Anti-Doping code.

His two-year ban started from February 8, 2019, the day of formal notification of the player’s adverse analytical finding and the day upon which he accepted a provisional suspension. He will therefore be re-eligible to participate in cricket-related activities from February 7, 2021.

Onik was Bangladesh’s highest wicket-taker in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, with 10 strikes at an economy rate of 4.58. In senior cricket, he has taken 15 wickets in four first-class matches, 41 wickets in 26 List A games and 11 wickets in nine T20s.



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Recent Match Report – Pakistan vs England 1st Test 2020

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Pakistan 326 and 137 for 8 (Yasir 12*, Abbas 0*) lead England 217 (Pope 62, Yasir 4-66) by 244 runs

Yasir Shah collected four wickets as Pakistan secured a healthy first-innings lead but England’s five-pronged seam attack chipped away to keep them in contention during the opening match of what could turn out to be a classic three-Test series.

Late on an intriguing third day, it felt as though there were multiple scenarios yet to be played out, but it would take much more than England had shown so far to completely flip the script. By the close, the hosts had put themselves in a position to do just that, provided they can take early wickets on the fourth day and then produce an improved batting performance in their second innings.

England had resumed in peril at 92 for 4 and required either Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler or both to produce big innings with the deficit 184 runs following Shan Masood’s outstanding 156, built over the first two days.

Instead, Pakistan seamers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Abbas kept the pressure on the batsmen with a miserly first hour in which England managed 19 runs. Abbas was particularly exacting, conceding just one run from his initial seven overs.

Pope, who had resumed on 46, passed fifty during that time but he and Buttler, who began the day on 15, just couldn’t get into a flow.

It was teenage firebrand Naseem Shah who caused the batsmen real bother, however, eliciting loose shots from both before he had Pope out to an excellent ball that lifted late off a full length, found the splice and went straight to Shadab Khan at gully for 62.

Three balls later, Naseem cracked Chris Woakes on the side of his helmet with bouncer. Concussion tests passed, Woakes joined Buttler in guiding England to lunch otherwise unscathed, despite the introduction of Yasir, who bowled two overs before the break. In all, England had added 62 runs for the session and trailed by 167.

Yasir, who had Joe Root caught behind on the second evening, struck with his second ball after lunch, bowling Buttler between bat and pad as he played forward to a ball he expected to turn more than it did and which crashed into the top of off stump. Buttler, having come in under pressure to score runs, added just 23 for the day before he found himself out to a very good delivery.

Yasir then removed Dom Bess with turn and bounce and an excellent slips catch by Asad Shafiq, who leapt high to his right to pull down the ball which looped off the shoulder of the bat and, crucially, held on as he hit the ground, horizontal and at full stretch.

Woakes had dug in for 19 runs off 48 balls but he also fell to Yasir, whose quicker ball clattered into middle stump. For a third day in a row, England were struggling after lunch but being eight wickets down brought Stuart Broad to the crease and there was a sense of anticipation following his crucial half-century in the third Test against West Indies not a fortnight ago.

Three consecutive boundaries followed off Afridi but by the time Khan had Jofra Archer caught behind off the glove for 16, Broad had quietened down. He had another go with 6-4-2 in succession off Yasir to move to 29 but that’s where he stayed, unbeaten, when James Anderson fell lbw to Khan attempting a reverse sweep and England were all out for 219, trailing by 107.

When Broad removed Masood for an 11-ball duck, Pakistan were 8 for 1 and they could have been two down at tea but for Ben Stokes putting down Abid Ali off the bowling of Anderson.

It took the introduction of Bess to make further inroads after the interval. Bess struck with his sixth ball to remove Abid, hoicking in ungainly fashion to deep square leg, and so began an enthralling period where the plot deviated one way then another.

Like Bess, Woakes came in with immediate effect, removing the dangerous Babar Azam – who scored 69 in the first innings – for just 5, caught by Stokes holding on this time at second slip. Woakes then trapped Azhar Ali lbw for 18 to put Pakistan at 63 for 4 with the lead 171 and keep England in the fight.

Asad Shafiq and Mohammad Rizwan pushed Pakistan’s advantage beyond the 200-mark with a partnership that looked set to frustrate the hosts but which ended on 38 with a superb run out by Dom Sibley, descending on the ball from point and firing it in off-balance to take out the stumps with Shafiq nowhere near making his ground.

Stokes, who did not bowl in the first innings due a quad injury suffered in the West Indies series, came into the attack late in the day and his ability to make things happen could not be denied. Stokes had Rizwan out lbw and Afridi gloving a bouncer to gully, with Broad accounting for Khan via the DRS in between after his appeal for lbw was initially turned down by on-field umpire Richard Illingworth but was shown to be hitting leg stump.

That left Yasir set to be the protagonist again, seeking quick runs to push the lead up on the fourth morning as the storyline came full circle.



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‘Miracle-worker’ Ben Stokes has instilled England belief, says Chris Woakes

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Chris Woakes says that England’s battling performance with the ball on the third afternoon at Old Trafford, capped by Ben Stokes‘ late breakthroughs, has instilled the side with belief that they can still turn around the first Test, and hunt down a stiff fourth-innings target in spite of the challenge that Pakistan’s twin legspinners are likely to cause on a dry and turning surface.

After conceding a first-innings deficit of 107, Woakes was instrumental in England’s partial comeback with the ball, claiming the key wickets of Babar Azam and Azhar Ali as Pakistan reached the close on 137 for 8, a lead of 244.

However, the vital breakthroughs arrived in the final hour of the day, when Stokes – who had not bowled in the first innings after aggravating a quad strain in the West Indies series – was thrown the ball for his first spell of the match. He responded with two late strikes as Pakistan lost three for 17 before stumps, and afterwards, Woakes hailed yet another showing of his never-say-die spirit.

“I had no idea if he was ready to bowl, but I’m not surprised that he can do what he does,” Woakes said. “He’s Ben Stokes, he’s capable of miracles.

“The longer he’s had to recover has helped, but it’s nice to see him back with a ball in hand. He’s got a bit of a golden arm, he always has a knack of picking up wickets, and when you’re in a bit of a dogfight he’s the sort of player you want in your team. Always putting his hand up and giving 110%, and he certainly did that in picking up a couple of quick wickets.”

Nevertheless, with England obtaining a hint of reverse swing with the old ball, and Pakistan armed to the teeth with men who can exploit similar assistance, the challenge in the fourth innings is already a stiff one.

Only one team has previously chased more than 250 at Old Trafford – Michael Vaughan’s men hunted down 294 against New Zealand in 2008 – but with Stokes in England’s ranks to provide memories of their comeback from the dead against Australia at Headingley last year, Woakes insisted they would take the proactive approach.

“There’s always belief,” he said. “You have to believe, it’d be stupid to rock up tomorrow and think three quick wickets and we’re done. You can’t think like that. We’ll hear overnight about records, but they are there to be broken. I remember being a part of a win at Edgbaston [against Pakistan in 2016] when we had a deficit of 100, and that was one of my favourite Test wins ever. We’ll certainly give it a good go.”

England’s Test mindset has had a vastly more disciplined outlook since the end of the Trevor Bayliss regime last summer, with the new head coach Chris Silverwood favouring time at the crease and solid accumulation over the sort of frantic run-harvesting that England had previously targeted. But, given the unfamiliar threats posed by Pakistan’s multi-faceted attack on a wicket that is beginning to misbehave, Woakes suggested that the side might choose to revert to type over the weekend.

“As soon as we lost the toss, it was always going to be challenging,” he said. “We knew at some point we’d be batting on a fourth- or fifth-day pitch, so we’ve got to try and be proactive.

“They’ve obviously got two legspinners in the side, and a bit of variable bounce as well, so you have to play well and take the positive approach, rather than sitting in and doing it the long way. The longer you stay at the crease, the more you imagine there’s one with your name on it.”

ALSO READ: No, no way! You cannot do that, Mohammad Abbas!

Yasir Shah in particular has served notice of his threat with four first-innings wickets, and Woakes acknowledged that high-class legspin was not a weapon that this particular team had often encountered at Test level.

“[Yasir] thinks of wickets, which is the beauty for Pakistan,” Woakes said. “He’s an attacking legspinner, and he’s always bringing in the stumps. He’s got a googly that he hasn’t been bowling that often, but when it’s on the stumps, and he’s spinning it like that, you’re worried about both edges a little bit.

“We haven’t faced much legspin, so we’ll have to work on our feet a little bit and get used to it on the job, so to speak. But we’ve also seen a lot of footage of these guys, so we don’t use that as an excuse.

“But you have to be proactive and put the pressure back on them,” he added. “There is always that pressure for spinners in the fourth innings, so we’ll try to remember that. Put them under pressure and make them feel it a little bit. We’ve certainly given ourselves a chance with the way we bowled today.”



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Mushtaq Ahmed confident that Pakistan errors won’t derail victory push

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After squandering much of the advantage following five sessions of gritty batsmanship, breathtaking pace, sublime swing and tricky spin bowling, you could have excused Pakistan’s spin-bowling coach for being somewhat miffed at what transpired in the final session. Mushtaq Ahmed, though, ever a ray of sunshine, insisted there was no cause for irritation, adding that the scorecard, and the first-innings lead, meant he was “very confident” about the direction of the game.

“We’re not frustrated,” he said at the video press conference. “It’s been awhile since we played Test cricket. But the guys are now getting back into the swing of things. We are very confident. We’ve got a 244-run lead, and if we get another 20-30 runs, it’ll be a very good score on this pitch. If we bowl and field well, I think this will be a very good Test match.”

A scoreline of 137 for 8 may not make for pretty reading, but Pakistan’s overnight lead already means England will have to pull off the second-highest chase in the venue’s history to take a series lead here. And while that should assuage any Pakistani nerves, they will doubtless be ruing some of the unforced errors that allowed England a look-in once more. Shan Masood, a picture of resolute steel for much of Pakistan’s first innings, tickled Stuart Broad down the legside, for a catch so straightforward even the beleaguered Buttler couldn’t fail to hold on to. By his currently stratospheric standards, it was a soft dismissal.

Pakistan would give away a few more wickets to poor decision-making, from low-percentage slogs they didn’t need to go for, (a la Abid Ali), to unnecessarily risky singles (in the mould that saw Asad Shafiq run out). With Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah and Yasir Shah the only survivors from the innings overnight, there is little confidence Pakistan can add too much to the overnight tally, but Mushtaq dismissed suggestions complacency had played any role in some of the mistakes the visitors made.

ALSO READ: Chris Woakes hails ‘miracle-worker’ Stokes in sparking fightback

“I don’t think we were complacent,” he said. “The boys are very focused. But whenever we were about to put up a partnership, we lost a wicket. The Asad dismissal was a bit painful because the scoreboard had started tickling along and both batsmen were set. Like I said, the boys are playing cricket after a while so you need to understand the ebbs and flows of the game and that sometimes takes time.

“But there isn’t need to worry too much,” he added. “The way Yasir and Shadab bowled, they understand the pitch and the pace you have to bowl to each specific batsman and the field positioning you need to have. I think they’re very confident in the way they bowl. Yasir began with nerves but you can understand that. Both spinners bowled very well in the middle session, and that gives me hope they can play a crucial role as long as they have a decent target to defend.”

For all of Mushtaq’s diplomacy, however, there’s little doubt Pakistan will be privately seething at the opportunities they handed England during a final session that they may yet look back upon with remorse. If the bowling performance in that fourth innings is half as decent as it was in the second, though, then Pakistan supporters, like the implacable Mushtaq Ahmed, may indeed have little to worry about.



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