New Delhi: With Pakistan successfully hosting Sri Lanka for ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals recently in the country, the Pakistan Cricket Board have decided to invite more teams to the country in the wake of the improving security situation. Following Sri Lanka’s tour for games in Karachi and Lahore, the Pakistan Cricket Board have invited South Africa and Ireland for limited overs series next year while at the same time, they are also trying to convince Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to play the Test series which are part of the ICC World Test Championship also at home.”The Board is confident that it will be hosting at least four foreign teams in a span of five to six months next year after it invited South Africa and Ireland to tour Pakistan for limited over series. South Africa is a top team while Ireland also carry substantial influence in the ICC so the PCB believes if these two teams come to Pakistan early next year it will pave the way open for even Australia, England and New Zealand to send their teams soon,” a PCB source said.Despite security not proving to be an issue, top Sri Lankan players like Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal decided to skip the tour on safety grounds. This invited severe criticism from Pakistan’s politicians with some of them accusing India of arm-twisting tactics. Despite the absence of star players, Sri Lanka whitewashed Pakistan, the number one ranked T20I side 3-0 despite losing the ODIs 2-0. South Africa have not toured Pakistan since 2007 while this could be Ireland’s first tour to Pakistan.Teams like Australia, England and New Zealand have not toured the country for a very long time. In the wake of the deteriorating security situation, England have not gone to Pakistan since 2005 while Australia’s last tour was in 1998. New Zealand had travelled to Pakistan in 2002 for a Test series but a terror attack in Karachi saw their tour being cancelled and their last tour was in 2004. International cricket stopped coming to Pakistan following the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March 1, 2009. Many Sri Lankan players were hurt and for six years, Pakistan were forced to play their ‘home’ games in the UAE.Also Read | Explained! Why Pakistan, The No.1 Twenty20 Side In The World Is Undergoing A Massive SlumpZimbabwe became the first team to tour Pakistan in 2015 for three ODIs. This was followed by tours by teams like ICC World XI, West Indies, Sri Lanka and the successful hosting of the Pakistan Super League Twenty20. Sri Lanka last played a Test in Pakistan in 2009 on that ill-fated tour while Bangladesh have not played a Test in Pakistan since 2003, which has been their only tour of the country in their cricketing history. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
Guard Josh Gasser reacts after hitting the Badgers’ third three-pointer in a row to take a 9-2 lead early on Jan. 18 against Northwestern.[/media-credit]In a deeper-than-usual Big Ten this season, the Wisconsin Badgers have been challenged early and often through the first seven games of their conference slate.Though they were riding a three-game winning streak entering Sunday’s game at Illinois, the Badgers initially dropped three of their first four games in Big Ten play. After beating newcomer Nebraska on the road Dec. 27, Wisconsin lost its next three, at home to Iowa, at home to Michigan State and at Michigan.More than anything else, the two consecutive losses at the Kohl Center were most stunning for the Badgers, a team that takes great pride in its home record. Back on Dec. 3, Marquette snapped Wisconsin’s 23-game home winning streak. For the season, the Badgers are 2-2 at home in Big Ten play. The mark, though a result of several different contests, has one fairly simple common denominator – shooting.After wins, UW players and coaches celebrate the team’s depth and the balanced scoring it fosters.“Since our scoring is so balanced, other teams have to cover everybody on our team every night,” guard/forward Ryan Evans said after Wisconsin’s 77-57 win over Northwestern on Jan. 18. “That’s big because you don’t know who is going to be hot, and you can’t just focus on one person.”Following losses, which have seen the Badgers shoot as poorly as 16 for 51 from the field (31.4 percent, against Michigan Jan. 8), the explanations are harder to come by. For a team that, as usual, blazed through its non-conference schedule with frequent lights-out shooting efforts, Wisconsin’s hot-and-cold manifested itself at the worst time, right near the beginning of Big Ten play.In that three-game losing streak, the Badgers posted three of their four worst shooting percentages of the conference season, never hitting above 34.8 percent. In the second game against Nebraska Jan. 15, which Wisconsin ultimately won 50-45, the Badgers were just 15 for 48 from the field (31.3 percent), though they reached the foul line 48 times and hit 18 (75 percent).“The game doesn’t change for us, what we’re trying to do,” head coach Bo Ryan said. “It’s just at times, everybody goes through this with shooting. I’ve seen it more in the past couple years than probably 10 years combined – just kind of the swings in shooting percentages, in guys’ confidence, in guys being comfortable in what they’re doing.”As usual, Wisconsin’s saving grace has been its defense. The Badgers lead the nation in both points allowed per game (49.0) and opposing field goal percentage (35.4 percent). But with uncharacteristic struggles – a relative term, as the Badgers are still fourth in the Big Ten at 71.7 percent from the free throw line but subpar for a Ryan-coached team – from the charity stripe, the inconsistent shooting performances have the ability to derail Wisconsin’s season against a tough Big Ten slate.“We knew that going into the year that it was going to be a night-in, night-out grind, even more so than it normally is in the league just because there are so many good teams,” point guard Jordan Taylor said.Aside from the weak shooting in the win over Nebraska, Wisconsin’s three-game winning streak has seen a pair of its finest shooting efforts of the season. On the road at Purdue – Mackey Arena is consistently one of the nation’s toughest venues, especially for a team having lost three in a row – the Badgers sunk 47.5 percent of their shots and 45 percent from three-point range. Against Northwestern Wednesday, Wisconsin was 50 percent from the field (27-of-54) and 52.2 percent from three-point (12-of-23).“I think a lot of guys spent a lot of time in the gym, myself included,” forward Mike Bruesewitz said of UW’s improved shooting effort. “I think everybody has done that. There have been a lot of extra hours after practice, before practice. We do that anyways, but we’ve been in kind of a slump.“Also we’re moving quite a bit better without the basketball. We’re making good cuts and getting a little bit more open shots, and that’s why they are falling.”For Ryan, tasked with quelling the worries prompted by his team’s up-and-down shooting while simultaneously finding ways to improve it, the answers are relatively straightforward.“You don’t whine, you don’t complain, you don’t feel sorry for yourself – you just play and practice and practice and practice some more,” Ryan said. “It’s always all smiles when the ball’s going down.”