KARACHI - Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has insisted head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam to pick more youngsters in the national T20 squad.  Ramiz felt that Pakistan cricket should move on from the senior players now and give more opportunities to the youngsters without the fear of losing. “T20 is a format for young guns and I don’t know why we have been insisting on selecting the tried and tested seniors in the recent times. We have many youngsters who can play very well in the limited overs formats and can cement their places in T20 & ODI teams and the must be given a fair chance to showcase their talent,” he said on Sunday.  The cricketer-turned-commentator also felt that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should direct Misbah-ul-Haq to build teams for the future across all the formats.

He also went on to say that there is no point in playing safe every time and giving fair chances to the budding cricketers in the only way forward for Pakistan cricket.

“I don’t know about PCB’s thinking about Misbah’s role, but I feel that instead of playing safe all the time for the fear of losing, both PCB and Misbah should focus on the future and chances must be given to youngsters in white ball cricket and that’s the only way we can build teams for the future,” the 57-year-old added.

Taiwan bucks COVID-19 sports cancellations with new baseball season

TAICHUNG - Taiwan swung into a new baseball season on Sunday -- with one team planning to place robot mannequins in their crowdless stands -- as the island bucked the global trend for scrapping sports events during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite its proximity and trade links with China, Taiwan has so far managed to keep a lid on the pandemic now sweeping the globe. It enacted travel bans soon after the virus emerged publicly and rolled out comprehensive testing, contact tracing and quarantining. Some 100 hundred days into the crisis it has fewer than 400 confirmed Covid-19 cases and just six deaths with schools, offices, restaurants and bars largely open. Large gatherings like religious festivals have been scrapped. But on Sunday the island’s 31st baseball season got underway with Chinatrust Brothers taking on the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions in Taichung. The games are being played to empty stadiums with fans being told to stay away. But players are still travelling across the island for fixtures that are broadcast live. On Saturday, Rakuten Monkeys unveiled robotic mannequins and cardboard cut-outs of fans dressed in home colours and caps at their stadium in northern Taoyuan county. Some of the robots even banged on drums from the empty stands. The mechanical stand-ins were ready to cheer Rakuten against Chinatrust Brothers for what would have been the first game of the season on Saturday, but heavy rain led to its cancellation. Baseball is the most popular sport in Taiwan with some 240 games scheduled for the coming season.