Sports pages in newspapers around the world gushed about Pakistan’s win over arch-rivals India in the final of the Champions Trophy 2017 on Sunday (June 18), with Fakhar Zaman’s spectacular hundred and Mohammad Amir’s telling burst the highlights of Pakistan’s first major 50-over title since the 1992 World Cup.
Elsewhere, David Warner urges Steven Smith to push more on the pay dispute issue, Bishan Bedi questions the reprieve for Gautam Gambhir, and there’s a piece on why there might not be a World T20 in 2018.
Let’s say it from the get-go. No team in any sport has had such an unlikely victory in a global tournament. Pakistan’s 2017 Champions Trophy triumph sets the bar.
Denmark snatched the 1992 Euros after failing to qualify. Greece came from the clouds in 2004. Perhaps Pakistan can match Pakistan, via the 1992 World Cup. There may be results in handball or bocce that lie beyond my world view. But nothing springs to mind.
Admittedly cricket tournaments have relatively few teams compared to football’s monolithic endeavours. Even so: Pakistan was the lowest-ranked side contesting a world title, scraping in to qualify eighth out of eight. Then, first game, they were utterly demolished.
Pakistan’s Champions Trophy victory could encourage the world’s top cricket nations to resume touring the country, captain Sarfraz Ahmed says.
There has not been an international match in Pakistan since a 2009 attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus killed six policemen and injured seven cricketers.
“Hopefully this win will boost Pakistan cricket and all playing nations will come and play us,” said Sarfraz, 30.
Fakhar Zaman, the fauji who is now the pride of Pakistan (The Indian Express)
On January 12, 2007, Fakhar Zaman joined the Pakistani Navy. After years of trying to dissuade their son from his addiction with cricket, which impacted his academics greatly, his father Faqir Gul had decided that that was the best move for his son. Once he was done with his selection process, he moved from his hometown of Mardan to Karachi and was posted as a sailor.
The Kiwi hand behind the fearless Fakhar (cricket.com.au)
Brendon McCullum inspired England’s one-day revolution and the man who helped derail the hosts’ Champions Trophy campaign this week has also credited the former Kiwi skipper for the blistering start to his international career.
Rookie opener Fakhar Zaman has been a surprise force in Pakistan’s resurgence following their crushing loss to India two weeks ago. The exciting left-hander has posted scores of 31, 50 and 57 to give much-needed impetus to a top order that is short of true attacking stars.
Before the Champions Trophy final, some people were saying that the best hope for Pakistan was to make a game of it before India’s inevitable triumph.
That Pakistan then demolished India by 180 runs to win a global 50-over title for the first time since 1992 – when they defeated England in the World Cup final – is a big upset.
This success reminds me of that Imran Khan side in that, on both occasions, Pakistan gained a lot of late momentum and won a tournament that they looked like going out of.
“A friend of mine has two Oval VIP tickets for the ICC India v Pakistan final. He paid £250 each but he did not realise when he bought them it was on the same day as his wedding. If you’re interested he is looking for someone to take his place.
“It’s at the Sikh Temple in Gravesend at 11am. The bride’s name is Gurmit Kaur. She’s 5ft 4in, about 115lb and she’s a good cook too. She will be the one in the Red Lengha.” – Text message on the eve of yesterday’s final, author unknown
Rip up the ECB blueprint. Ditch the talent‑pathway, bin the nannying selection policies, puncture the sealed blue Lycra juggernaut. Pakistan are ICC Champions Trophy champions, a victory not just for Sarfraz Ahmed’s wonderfully balanced and skilful team, but also for the idea that success in sport can emerge from a less managed environment, from talent, perseverance and the sheer nerve and craft to seize the moment in front of you.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, right?
The background theme was set up to be more valedictory. England, Australia and India were here to waltz through the group stage and then fight between themselves for a world title. They probably wouldn’t have minded South Africa joining them. This was the Champions Trophy, after all – and even if the Proteas were expected to choke, the No 1 one-day team in the world were mostly supposed to wait till the semi-final stage to do that. Remember how large the gap between the top four and the next four was supposed to be?
David Warner says he is happy to be the public frontman for Australian cricketers in their fight to retain a fixed percentage of revenue, but concedes captain Steve Smith could “probably push a little bit more” when it comes to stating the players’ case.
As the June 30 deadline for a new memorandum of understanding between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association draws closer, Warner again insisted that the players won’t budge on their demands.
No ICC World T20 in 2018, India to host next Champions Trophy in 2021 (Hindustan Times)
Twenty20 cricket may be lucrative business around the world but the International Cricket Council has decided not to host the 2018 World T20 due to a cramped schedule and lack of sponsors’ interest.
India hosted the 2016 edition, won by West Indies, but the World T20 will become a quadrennial event as per the original plans. Australia will host the next championship in 2020.
Bedi questions reprieve for Gambhir (Sportstar)
In a message to Justice Sen, who took the decision in his capacity as the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) Administrator and despite the Inquiry Committee recommending a four-match on Gambhir starting next season, Bedi said, “We are indeed disappointed to note how the ex Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir has been first handed a four first-class match ban for his verbal spat with coach KP Bhaskar during the Vijay Hazare tournament and how thereafter he has been ‘exonerated’ by you despite a stinging report of his unprovoked verbal assault against the Delhi coach- a much respected ex cricketer himself.”
Dennis Amiss: Greats put a heavy price on their wicket (The Telegraph, Kolkata)
Dennis Amiss, a great with over 100 first-class centuries to his credit, spoke to The Telegraph almost exclusively on his (five) top batsmen of the present times.