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Hamza’s wait could be over and he is ready – WSAIGO Sports
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Cricket

Hamza’s wait could be over and he is ready

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Zubayr Hamza doesn’t want to get ahead of himself, but the possibility of making his debut in the current South Africa batting unit is “something you only dream of”.

Hamza has been travelling as a reserve batsman in the Test squad, but Faf du Plessis’ suspension has opened up an opportunity for the 23-year-old to South Africa’s 100th cap since readmission.

“As a batting unit, It’s something you only dream of, batting with these guys, playing in the same side and representing your country,” said Hamza at the Wanderers on Wednesday. “I haven’t received confirmation if I am playing or not. If given the chance that would be great, I have really enjoyed my time so far, the training has been intense and everyone has been welcoming. I have felt comfortable within the team surrounding. If given the chance, I am looking forward to it. There is a lot of excitement at the moment.”

Hamza is yet to score a first-class century this season (he has three fifties for Cape Cobras), but has enjoyed an otherwise fruitful run at franchise level over the last two years, averaging a shade over 49 with nine centuries, including an unbeaten double. Although he is lacking in match time after missing out on the Mzansi Super League and a round of CSA four-day matches since he has been with the squad, he remains confident about his preparation and form.

“It was disappointing, but the month off [from the MSL] gave me perspective and I focused on working on myself and on my game,” he explained. “Yes I haven’t started off too well this season with franchise cricket but I don’t feel out of form. I still feel like I’m batting well and that I have a lot to offer. The runs and performances haven’t shown it but that is not how I feel, I have been batting well. I have been training well with the world-class coaching staff that we have here, and I have learnt a lot so far.”

Born and bred in Cape Town, Hamza matriculated from Rondebosch Boys High School, an institution which has produced a notable cricketing alumni including Jonathan Trott, Gary Kirsten, HD Ackerman and Andrew Puttick, who also played an early role in guiding Hamza’s development.

While not many will have seen him bat before, Hamza’s promising first-class record speaks for itself. He is a batsman with the kind of grit that could help him slot easily into a squad that has thrived off fast bowling and brave batting in seam-friendly conditions, and professed a “willingness to battle” as what he will look to bring to the side if selected.

Hamza described his style as” “at times free-flowing, but also willing to graft. Never looking the prettiest, but I take pride out of the innings where there’s a bit of struggle in them.” He grew up idolizing players such as Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla, but says he has been feeding off most of the players in the squad on what it takes to perform at international level.

“When I look up to someone, it’s not necessarily the person they are, but a combination of a whole lot of people and what they bring to the game,” said Hamza. “Faf for example is very cool and calm at the crease. Then there’s Kallis’ technique, or Virat Kohli’s passion. Stuff like that, I pay attention to. I look up to those things.

“I have learnt a lot from every individual in the team, whether it is on the field or off the field. For me, I’d like to stay true to myself and stick to the game plans that have got me to this position. I will try to be self-confident and have self-belief.

“I have tucked under a few guys’ wings so far,” he admitted. “I’ve been leeching as much information as I can about what it takes to perform at this level, and then sort of combining it and finding my own mixture to try and perform as an individual.”



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Cricket

Mumbai teen gets three-year ban for flashing in dressing room

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A Mumbai age-group player has been banned for three years for “gross misconduct” towards a team-mate during an all-India tournament in December. The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) took the decision after a complaint was raised against the player by his team-mate on December 22. The ban will last till January 14, 2022, during which the player will not be allowed to participate in any cricket organised by the MCA, or represent Mumbai in any BCCI tournament.

The player’s details are being withheld given that he is a minor.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the in addition to using bad language, something the player admitted to during the inquiry by an ad-hoc committee set up by the MCA, the player exposed himself in front of his team-mate. It is understood that the player will appeal to the MCA to review the ban.

This is believed to be the first such case where a player in India has been punished for a sexually offensive act in front of, and following a complaint by, his peers.

The MCA’s verdict did not specify the offence. But in the notice sent to the player, the MCA said he was guilty of “gross misconduct and bringing the name of the association to disrepute”. It also pointed out that the player had resorted to “the ugliest behaviour, which has shocked the entire team. In fact, this [incident] also affected the team atmosphere and is against the very principles of sportsmanship and healthy atmosphere amongst the team members.”

The verdict was reached by the ad-hoc inquiry committee, after a meeting held at the MCA office on January 14. In addition to hearing the player and the complainant, he committee also spoke with the team coach, manager and chairman of the age-group selection committee. The ad-hoc committee comprised MCA secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar, CEO CS Naik, and managing committee members Naveen Shetty, Ganesh Iyer and Shah Alam Shaikh.



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Pakistan heritage causes India visa delay for England Lion Saqib Mahmood

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An administrative delay has caused Tom Bailey to be added to the England Lions squad as cover for Saqib Mahmood.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Saqib, who is Birmingham-born, is struggling to obtain a visa for India due to his Pakistan heritage. While the ECB hope the issue can be resolved within the next few days, he did not fly out with the rest of the squad.

Bailey, like Saqib a Lancashire seamer, enjoyed an excellent 2018 season, claiming 64 wickets at 19 in the County Championship, the most by any bowler. He was voted the PCA’s Championship Player of the Year.

England Lions are set to play five 50-over matches against India A in Trivandrum, in the southern state of Kerala, before two unofficial four-day Test matches in February.

“Both sides will want to play good, winning cricket but I think we all understand that it’s the development opportunity for these high potential youngsters that we’re after,” Andy Flower, the England Lions head coach, told the ECB website.

“The purpose of these Lions tours is to offer our highest potential young talent in the country the opportunity to either train or to play in a competitive tour in foreign conditions. Our county system is good; there are some really talented, outstanding cricketers that come out of it.”

Saqib’s late omission was the third change that the Lions squad was forced to make prior to their departure at the weekend. The Worcestershire pair of Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-Cadmore were withdrawn on the eve of the squad’s gathering after details of their off-field activities emerged during the trial of former team-mate, Alex Hepburn.



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SLC elections postponed to February 21

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Sri Lanka Cricket elections, which were set to be held on February 7, 2019, have been postponed by another two weeks to February 21. The move comes as a result of a technical error in the Sinhala to English translation of the gazette which empowers Sri Lanka’s sports minister to appoint an advisory committee to hear election-related appeals.

The original Sinhala gazette had stated that a retired judge would have to head the committee, however the English translation had missed out on the word “retired”, sports minister Harin Fernando said. Therefore, following consultation with Sri Lanka’s Attorney General, it was decided that elections be postponed by two weeks until the error was rectified.

“It is because we had to correct the gazette, it was a legal issue,” said Fernando. “I couldn’t appoint a sitting judge. The gazette was done by the previous minister, and according to the Attorney General’s advice we had to change it and give ample time for the new appeal committee to make their considerations.”

Sri Lanka Cricket elections have been postponed indefinitely since May 31, 2018, after a court of appeal found that election protocol had been flouted. The ICC had set a deadline of February 9 for elections to be held. Fernando said that the recent developments were conveyed to the ICC, and that he hopes to meet with ICC chairman Shashank Manohar as soon as possible to explain the present state of affairs.



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