I’ve never seen a coward captain like Misbah, says Akhtar

“I have not seen a more coward and selfish captain than Misbah,” the 39-year-old Akhtar told the Geo News TV channel.

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“He is not willing to bat up the order to protect the other players at a time when he needs to show inspiration.

“He is happy with his own runs and I don’t know what coach Waqar Younis wants. He has no game plan or direction for the team,” added the man known as the Rawalpindi Express, who won 46 test caps and played in 163 one-day internationals.

Misbah, 40, has been a successful test captain since taking charge in 2010 and has also led the one-day squad since 2011.

He batted at number five against West Indies in Christchurch on Saturday but made only seven as Pakistan were bowled out for 160 to slump to their second straight defeat in the competition.

Former test captain Ramiz Raja also believes it is time for senior batsman Younus Khan to step down after failing in the opening two World Cup matches.

“I beg of Younus. Thank you for your services to Pakistan cricket but please leave this ODI side now,” said Ramiz.

“I think Younus should tell the management he should be rested. Our fielding has also been a joke but we need just one good match to get back on the winning track.”

Irate fans also vented their anger.

In Multan angry supporters carried out a mock funeral of Pakistan cricket, offering prayers around a bed of cricket bats and smashing television sets with sticks on the roads.

“This is a joke we arrange for special sittings to watch the match together and we stay up all night praying for their success and they perform like a third-rate team,” Pakistan fan Zamir Ahmed said.

Another former captain Mohammad Yousuf called for wholesale changes after the World Cup.

“The problems ailing our cricket will not go away unless we produce better batsmen and the management is reshuffled,” Yousuf said.

Former test spinner Saqlain Mushtaq was also scathing in his criticism.

“We went to pieces against a West Indies side hit by internal issues so what can we expect from this team in the remaining games?,” Saqlain said.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

Bunnies ready to battle St Helens in WCS

South Sydney admit they will have to overcome the fear of the unknown if they are to be crowned world champions on Monday morning.

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For the first time ever, the Rabbitohs will contest a World Club Challenge when they face St Helens at Langtree Park, the final match in a World Club Series format which has also included St George Illawarra and Brisbane.

And while prop Thomas Burgess is the only player to have set foot on St Helens’s home ground, South Sydney’s newly-installed captain Greg Inglis accepts there are also unknown elements in the opposition lineup.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys who probably don’t even watch Super League,” the champion fullback admitted.

“But we’ve got to keep working hard and doing our homework on them.”

Inglis said the Saints’ crafty hooker James Roby was one player who would require special attention from the Rabbitohs’ defensive line, with the club well aware of his dangerous runs from dummy half.

“I think James Roby is one of the key players for them,” he said.

“If he can get their forwards going forward, they’re going to be hard to top.”

The St Helens lineup has a sprinkling of former NRL talent, including giant former Roosters and Penrith prop Mose Masoe, new signing Atelea Vea and journeyman playmaker Travis Burns.

But their local players were snubbed by international selectors last year.

“It just goes to show you don’t have to be in rep sides to win a comp,” Inglis said.

“Every man who takes that field is a danger. And the brand of footy, because they play so well together, just makes it even more dangerous.

“We know we’ve got a challenge ahead of us.”

Coach Michael Maguire was in charge of Wigan when they lost the 2011 World Club Challenge to St George Illawarra.

He says becoming South Sydney’s very first world club champions would give this playing group a special piece of the club’s proud history.

“We’ve got a very historic club and to be a part of Souths is very special, and to coach is a very special thing to as well,” Maguire said.

“But to be the first team that’s been across here in the World Club Challenge would be something else.

“I see the World Club Challenge as a great honour and the trophy there that’s available is a big one that we want in our cabinet.

“For us, we’re looking forward to ripping in on Sunday.”

A World Club Challenge title would leave the Rabbitohs’ trophy cabinet at bursting point – as well as winning last year’s NRL premiership, the club also holds the Charity Shield and last month won the Auckland Nines.

“Yeah we’ve won some trophies recently, but you put a lot of hours of hard work to get the opportunities we’ve got,” Maguire explains.

“We make sure we’re continually improving in what we’re doing.”

Jennings brothers something special: Idris

Jamal Idris is an unabashed member of the Jennings brothers fan club and expects the Penrith dynamos to put pressure on him and his backline teammates throughout the 2015 NRL season.

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Idris made a successful return from back surgery in the side’s 30-22 trial loss to Parramatta at Pepper Stadium in Penrith on Saturday afternoon.

While Idris’s comeback, just more than three weeks after going under the knife, was a positive sidenote for Ivan Cleary’s men, the performances of George and Robert Jennings emerged as the good news story of the match.

Captain Peter Wallace has already declared he expects the pair to make their NRL debuts this year and branded them the pre-season standouts of the squad.

George, 21, looks to have the inside running for the wing position made vacant by Josh Mansour, who is recovering from a shoulder injury and is due back in round 4.

He scored two tries against the Eels on Saturday night and at times looked almost identical to his older brother, Sydney Roosters and NSW flyer Michael.

While Robert, 19, scored a memorable try when the fleet-of-foot winger touched down with a one-hand put-down in the corner just minutes after coming on in the second half.

“(George) is strong isn’t he? People underestimate his strength. He’s outstanding,” Idris said.

“I’m a big fan of both the Jennings boys. They’re good players.

“They have this weird strength about them. They get in contact and these blokes that are bigger than them are being shrugged off.”

Idris, at 24, is no withering veteran whose best is far behind him, yet he admits to looking over his shoulder at the young talent coming through the grades.

He said he came out of his playing return feeling good and was raring to go for round 1 after pushing himself in his recovery.

He said he would be right for their season opener against the Bulldogs in a fortnight and was anxious to get back out on the field.

“I’m pretty stubborn and I started running as soon as possible,” he said.

“Then I started getting moving again and I slowly worked my way into training.

“I don’t like sitting on the sideline while the boys are doing ball work and fitness so I said ‘bugger it, get me out there’.”

Cure cycles to worlds 10km scratch silver

Tasmanian Amy Cure has won silver in the 10km scratch race at the track cycling world championships to go with the gold and bronze she’d already collected in Paris.

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Cure rode a tactically astute race on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT) at France’s new national velodrome but couldn’t come around Dutch rider Kirsten Wild who took the win.

France’s Pascale Jeuland crossed the line third but was later relegated meaning Canada’s Allison Beveridge was awarded bronze.

Cure was perfectly positioned in second wheel behind Wild on the final lap but lacked the power to come around her stronger rival.

The Tasmanian had already won gold in the team pursuit on Thursday when the Australian quartet obliterated the world record by almost three seconds.

She followed that up with bronze in the individual pursuit on Friday behind fellow Australian Rebecca Wiasak, who won the rainbow jersey on debut.

Cure, 22, won the points race at the 2014 world championships in Colombia but couldn’t defend her title this week due to a schedule clash with the team pursuit.

Australia has reached the podium on eight occasions in the women’s scratch race but never won.

Cure later said she didn’t have quite enough in the tank to beat Wild on Saturday night.

“I knew when she came around me I had to get on her wheel if I wanted any chance to podium,” the 22-year-old told AAP.

“I got on her wheel and tried to hold it and come around in the end but she was just too strong.

“She rode an awesome race so full credit to her, she deserves the win.

“I’m happy with the silver.”

Cure went to Paris focused on winning the team pursuit and said it was an added bonus to take home individual silver and bronze as well.

“I trained so hard for the team pursuit and that training has really helped me in both the individual pursuit and the bunch race,” she said.

“I went out there with nothing to lose and everything to gain and just gave it 100 per cent.”