Darren Fletcher: This Scotland squad is one of strongest in my time

first_img“It shows people are competing for places and when you have a tough campaign and pick up injuries, we have plenty of options.“We are in a good place at the moment and hopefully we can show that on the pitch.”Youngsters Oliver Burke, Kieran Tierney, John McGinn and Jack Hamilton have come into the squad since the failure to reach Euro 2016 and West Brom man Fletcher outlined how he and his fellow experienced professionals can help the new boys settle in.He said: “It’s about giving them a platform to perform and giving them small bits of advice when I can. Captain Darren Fletcher believes the current Scotland squad is one of the strongest he’s seen during his time with the national team.Gordon Strachan’s team face Lithuania at Hampden and Slovakia away as they aim to maintain their spot at the top of Group F.An opening 5-1 victory over Malta got the country’s bid to reach the 2018 World Cup off to the perfect start and Fletcher feels the team are well placed to end Scotland’s long exile from a major tournament.Fletcher told the Scottish FA’s website: “You look around the squad, the manager has selection headaches in every position and although it’s tough for him, he’d probably want it that way. “We need them to express themselves, be creative and make a mark for themselves.“They can let the older players take the pressure and the other stuff that goes on.”last_img read more

Pakistan will survive without playing India: Shahryar Khan

first_imgBy Bharat Sharma New Delhi, Sep 8 (PTI) PCB chief Shahryar Khan today said not playing India is a “setback” but Pakistan will continue to survive in case the BCCI backs out of the bilateral cricket series slated to be held in the UAE in December. The PCB and BCCI has signed an MoU to play six series between 2015 and 2023. However PCB is yet to get the Indian boards response on its letter last week, asking them to honour the binding agreement. Asked whether he sees the arch-rivals resuming on field ties in December, Khan told PTI : “Well, it depends on your government. Your board has signed an agreement with us that we will play in December. They said we will have to get permission from the government. We have written to the BCCI, asking them honour the agreement. We are not running after them. We are just saying you have signed something so please honour your signature.” The PCB has often been criticised at home for reaching out to BCCI time and again for resumption of ties. The great Javed Miandad went on to say that PCB must not play India at the cost of self-respect. Reiterating that politics and sports should not be mixed, Khan made it clear that Pakistan will survive irrespective of the future of the high-voltage series. “Suppose for political reasons, the Indian government decides against playing Pakistan, it doesnt mean we will go bankrupt. We will survive. If we have survived without India-Pakistan cricket for the last so many years, we will continue to survive. Yes, it will be a setback but that is about it,” said the 81-year-old candidly. Like in the past, the Indian government will have a final say on the popular matter but going by the recent tweet of BCCI secretary and BJP MP Anurag Thakur, it doesnt make the fans on either of the side of border any more hopeful. “We have nothing to do with Dawood Ibrahim. Our government has made it clear time and again that he is not in Pakistan. It is a part of political ups and downs. Cricket is one way we can build up better relations,” said Khan when asked about Thakurs controversial tweet last month. “Dawood in Karachi. NSA wants to meet separatists here. Are you really serious about peace and you expect well play cricket with you?” Thakur had posted. PTI BS KHS MRM MRMadvertisementlast_img read more