The euphoria around cricket’s return to Pakistan with the three-match Twenty20 International against World XI continued to dominate the headlines in sports sections of newspapers on Wednesday (September 13).

India’s limited-overs series against Australia was the other talking point as Michael Clarke and VVS Laxman weighed in on the potential outcome.

Meanwhile, England are gearing up for the Ashes, and The Independent documented how refugees are driving Germany’s cricket renaissance.
Cricket world’s gaze shifts to Pakistan (The Indian Express)

India continues to be in the heart of the Pakistani people. And its cricketers in particular. Speaking to The Indian Express, Basit Ali, a former player, doesn’t mince words on the topic. “While it’s great that the World XI team is here for this series, cricket in Pakistan, I feel, will be back to normal only when India come and play here. I would have loved to see a few Indian players in the World XI. There is so much love on either side of the border for Indian and Pakistani cricketers. There used to be a huge fan following for Javed Miandad in India, and I am a huge Rohit Sharma fan. After Gavaskar, I think he’s the one batsman I enjoy watching the most.

Making history to make our future (The Express Tribune)

On September 12, they will tell you that cricket will once again return home. But this time around, something seems to be different. This time around, there seems to be a quiet confidence that this is not a tentative toe into the water but rather a giant leap onto a very real wave of optimism.

Don’t let the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) marketing department and its silly hashtag of cricket halalala (whatever that may mean) fool you. This is serious business. A match against World XI is of course not the same as Australia or England or South Africa touring the country but it has some veritable superstars in its ranks.

Match notes on returning to Gaddafi Stadium (ESPNCricinfo)

A couple of men turned up, one of whom had traveled from Larkana, over 800km south-east of Lahore, in Sindh, for a game that would be over in just over three-and-a-half hours. One gentleman on the bus was a Gaddafi regular, when one could be such a thing. Back in the day, he used to walk to the stadium, unimpeded by the five (at least) rings of security checks he would have to go through today. That’s how he went to watch the Test against India in 1978-79. It so happened that he worked for a well-known law firm in Lahore which had defended Salim Malik and Shoaib Akhtar. A reporter found a couple who traveled 26 hours to watch this game, having found themselves stuck at Liberty Chowk on the day of the attacks.

Situationer: cricket leads revival (The Dawn)

The board had asked for support from the people and the turnout at the stadium for the first game was impressive. However, there were people around who questioned locking down a good part of the city for the grand show. The lockdown in itself, in the eyes of many, exposed the people to fear.

‘Rested’ Ashwin spends 279 overs on field (Mirror)

In fact when the news of Ashwin joining a county team trickled in from informed sources, there were also rumours of Jadeja and Ishant Sharma also getting a county contract. But these didn’t materialise. Yesterday Jadeja tweeted: Make your comebacks stronger than your setbacks. Is there a message for someone there? We will take a proper rest here.

The world’s No. 1 rivalry: Laxman (The Hindu)

“It’s always going to be competitive on the field. Both teams understand there is a line they can’t cross. Both respect that. Fans deserve to see a highly competitive and entertaining series. The best players will stand out and perform. This series won’t be different to any other we have seen between Australia and India,” observed Clarke, part of the broadcasters’ team.

VVS Laxman, Michael Clarke stoke fire ahead of India vs Australia series (Hindustan Times)

VVS: 4-1 to India. It is going to be competitive no doubt about it. Australia’s bowling department is depleted. Last time, it was highly competitive because the bowling was still good. Cummins is a good bowler. Coulter-Nile has had IPL exposure. But spinners are inexperienced, that is why India will dominate.

MC: 3-2 to the Aussies.

India v Australia ODI series: James Faulkner says shock Aussie axing gave him time to ‘get strong, fit’ (Fox Sports)

JAMES Faulkner didn’t stew for too long when he was dropped from the Australian one-day team, even though he didn’t really know why he was axed.

The all-rounder has been recalled to the Aussie line-up for the five-match limited overs series against India, which begins in Chennai on Sunday, having been dumped for the unsuccessful Champions Trophy campaign in June.

Unfazed England are fired up to retain Ashes, says Stuart Broad (The Guardian)

“I was sledged by the West Indies 12th man [Raymon Reifer] at Lord’s last weekwhen I came out to bat – that got me in the fight straight away and helped me get some runs. I seem to thrive off the extra spice. I thanked him for after the game. I don’t think I’ve had that before taking my guard, I took offence to the fact he wasn’t even playing.

“The great thing about Australia is that generally they like competitors – they like giving stick but if someone comes back, they respect that.”

Ashes scout: From No. 1 to 11, how Australia and England could line up (Fox Sports)

Two and a half months out from the Ashes, and Australia and England have each played their final Tests before the big dance.

But there remain serious question marks over both teams. Not just who will line up for the anthems come November 23, but also what each side is capable of producing.

Following each side’s final pre-Ashes Test, we take a position-by-position look at both teams in Ashes’ Scout.

Should I stay or should I go? – Black Caps’ 1992 Sri Lanka tour (Stuff.co.nz)

8am, November 15, 1992. The New Zealand men’s cricket team – the Black Caps – are waking up in Colombo, Sri Lanka. They’ve been in the country less than a day and are looking forward to some practice and working out the kinks after a long flight.

Ahead of them is a month of Test matches and One Day Internationals against their hosts. They’re tired, a bit stiff, but cheerful and ready for a good competition.

In his hotel room, batsman Ken Rutherford’s breakfast has just arrived. “And I just plonked it on top of my bed and then – Boom! The tray ended up on the floor and gee whiz, what’s this?”

Shane Bond tight-lipped on England coaching role for Ashes as NZ Cricket gives blessing (New Zealand Herald)

He’s playing his cards close, but it’s hard to think of a reason why Shane Bond wouldn’t accept a prized role as England’s bowling coach for the Ashes cricket series this summer.

One of New Zealand’s best fast bowlers, and a quality bowling coach in his time with the Black Caps, Bond was labelled by the Telegraph as the No 1 target to help England plot the downfall of Australia’s batsmen in the five-test series starting in November.

Shot story: illuminating the art of freezing time (The Hindu)

Great photos need understanding editors. Most newspapers seem to have reduced cricket photography to a series of clichés; perhaps for lack of space and out of sheer laziness. The standard picture of century-makers holding up their bats on achieving the milestone is inspired by his removing the helmet and thus revealing his face for the occasion. More seriously, the focus seems to be on capturing reactions rather than actions.

Welcome to Germany: The fastest growing nation in world cricket (The Independent)

The sport itself hasn’t been immune from criticism in certain sections of German society with some believing cricket isn’t encouraging integration but is, instead, encouraging refugees to do something that they would be doing in their home country anyway.

In football-obsessed Germany, it seems the true spirit of cricket is alive and kicking.