Pakistan

Indian squad finally arrives as West Asian Baseball starts

Indian squad finally arrives as West Asian Baseball starts

28/01/2023, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 31017123

ISLAMABAD: After a two-day delay, the Indian baseball finally stepped into Pakistan.

Waiting to be granted NOCs by their government, the Indian squad was stranded at the Wagah Border since its arrival there on Wednesday.

On Friday, they were allowed to cross the border and travel to Islamabad to participate in the West Asian Baseball Championship, which started here on the same day.

In the tournament’s first match, Pakistan registered a 17-0 victory over Afghanistan as Faqir Hussain scored three runs while Waseem Akram added two, including a home run.

The home side’s Mohammad Hussain, Arslan, Fazal Khan, Shahzad and Mohammad Younis struck two runs each.

In the day’s second fixture, defending champions Sri Lanka outclassed Nepal 26-0.

Nepal, Bangladesh and Palestine are the other teams featuring in the regional tournament.

Pakistan Federation Baseball president Fakhar Ali Shah expressed delight over the Indian players’ arrival and expected the team to compete with full force.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2023



https://www.dawn.com/news/1733987/indian-squad-finally-arrives-as-west-asian-baseball-starts
Djokovic shrugs off dad drama to surge into Australian Open final

Djokovic shrugs off dad drama to surge into Australian Open final

28/01/2023, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 31017179

MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic put aside the controversy surrounding his father to surge into a 10th Australian Open final Friday and close in on a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam crown.

Nine-time champion Djokovic maintained his perfect semi-final record at Melbourne Park with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 win over outgunned American Tommy Paul at Rod Laver Arena, where his father Srdjan was a conspicuous absentee, and set up a blockbuster decider with Greek trailblazer Stefanos Tsitsipas and a battle for the world number one ranking.

Another title on Sunday will move Djokovic alongside Rafael Nadal with 22 Slam wins and see the 35-year-old Serb return to world number one for the first time since last June.

Earlier on centre court, third seed Tsitsipas saw off Russian 18th seed Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 to become the first Greek to reach the title match in a city boasting the biggest Greek population outside the southern European nation.

Srdjan Djokovic created a distraction for his son ahead of the semi-final after a video emerged showing him with fans holding Russian flags, which were banned at Melbourne Park early in the tournament.

Amid calls from the Ukraine embassy and media pundits for Djokovic Sr to be banned from the tournament, he declined to attend the semi-final, saying he wanted to avoid “disruption” for his son.

Djokovic defended his father, saying he had been “misused” by Russian fans and that media had misinterpreted the video as a show of support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“As my father put in a statement, we are against the war, we never will support any violence or any war. We know how devastating that is for the family, for people in any country that is going through the war,” Djokovic, who grew up in Serbia during the wars in former Yugoslavia, told reporters.

Djokovic said he hoped his father could return to his players’ box for the final on Sunday, though Tennis Australia declined to comment when asked whether Srdjan would be welcome.

A year on from being deported from Australia on the eve of the tournament due to his lack of Covid-19 vaccination, drama has found Djokovic again at Melbourne Park.

He was criticised for ducking off court for an unauthorised toilet break early in the tournament and later hit out at media for scepticism about his hamstring injury.

On Friday, a man in the terraces held up a Ukraine flag when Djokovic served in his direction against Paul.

Djokovic was in a foul mood even as he raced to a 5-1 lead in the first set, repeatedly yelling at his players’ box in Serbian.

He bickered with the chair umpire over the time taken to get a towel between points, drawing loud jeers from fans.

Sensing his chance, Paul raised the pressure with some outstanding tennis, breaking the Serb twice and levelling the match at 5-5 after edging Djokovic in a 30-shot rally.

RUSSIA’S Karen Khachanov competes against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their semi-final.—AFP
RUSSIA’S Karen Khachanov competes against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their semi-final.—AFP

Desperate for a player to give Djokovic a proper match, the crowd was firmly in Paul’s corner, cheering the Serb’s errors.

However, that was as good as it got for Paul, as Djokovic knuckled down to win 14 of the last 17 games in a stunning counter-attack 15 years to the day after his first Australian Open title as a 20-year-old.

Despite the emphatic win, Djokovic said the fuss over his dad had affected him.

“Of course, it’s not pleasant for me to go through this with all the things that I had to deal with last year and this year in Australia,” he said. “It’s not something that I want or need. I hope that people will let it be, and we can focus on tennis.”

TSITSIPAS ROLLS ON

There was far less drama earlier as Tsitsipas won his first Australian Open semi-final on the fourth attempt.

Sunday’s decider will be a re-match of the 2021 French Open final, which Djokovic won from two sets down to leave the Greek heartbroken.

The winner will take the number one ranking from Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz.

“I’d like that number,” said Tsitsipas. “It’s a cornerstone final ... I’ve been wanting for many years now to put Greek tennis on the map, and me and Maria [Sakkari] have done an incredible job.”

At 24, Tsitsipas is the youngest man to reach the Melbourne final since a 23-year-old Djokovic in 2011. “I dreamed as a kid to maybe one day get to play in this court against the best players in the world,” said Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas can rely on a huge contingent of Greek fans to rival Djokovic’s army of Serbian supporters.

They were in full voice as he traded breaks with Khachanov in a see-sawing opening set before taking control in the tiebreak.

Two sets and a break down in the third, Khachanov showed great courage to fight back to 5-5 and take the tiebreak after Tsitsipas blew two match points.

Tsitsipas quickly regrouped, though, and closed out the fourth set in dominant fashion.

“Serbia is also a very small country, just like Greece,” said Tsitsipas. “I hope we in Greece can achieve the same thing they have in recent years — win multiple Grand Slams.”

Tsitsipas has thrived in Melbourne throughout his career after bursting on the scene at the 2019 event as a 20-year-old when he dethroned defending champion Roger Federer in the last 16.

He went on to reach the semi-finals that year and again in 2021 and 2022.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2023



https://www.dawn.com/news/1733980/djokovic-shrugs-off-dad-drama-to-surge-into-australian-open-final
All female umpires for first time at women’s T20 World Cup

All female umpires for first time at women’s T20 World Cup

28/01/2023, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 31017178

DUBAI: The women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa next month will feature for the first time an all-female panel of match officials, the International Cricket Council announced on Friday.

Previous tournaments have all included a number of male umpires or match referees but for the South African event, all 13 officials — 10 umpires and three referees — will be women.

Wasim Khan, ICC’s general manager - cricket, said he was “thrilled” by the appointments.

“This announcement is a reflection of our intent... and just the start of our journey where men and women enjoy the same opportunities across our sport,” he said.

“We are committed to continuing to support our female match officials and provide opportunities to showcase their talents on the global stage.” The panel includes seven first-timers at the women’s T20 World Cup and reflects a constant rise in the number of women officiating in global tournaments.

“It shows the next generation that there is a career and a pathway that takes them to the very top of the game, the World Cup, even if you’re not a player,” said Snehal Pradhan, ICC manager women’s cricket.

“It shows that there are so many ways to get involved.”

The Australian Claire Polosak is the most experienced of the umpires, having officiated in every women’s World Cup, T20 and ODI, since 2016.

England’s Anna Harris is the youngest of the umpires at just 24, as she makes her debut at a major international event.

Match Officials at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023:

Match Referees: GS Lakshmi (India), Shandre Fritz (South Africa), Michell Pereira (Sri Lanka); Umpires: Sue Redfern (England), Eloise Sheridan (Australia), Claire Polosak (Australia), Jacqueline Williams (West Indies), Kim Cotton (New Zealand), Lauren Agenbag (South Africa), Anna Harris (England), Vrinda Rathi (India), N Janani (India), Nimali Perera (Sri Lanka).

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2023



https://www.dawn.com/news/1733983/all-female-umpires-for-first-time-at-womens-t20-world-cup
Indian trailblazer Sania Mirza bows out of Grand Slam tennis

Indian trailblazer Sania Mirza bows out of Grand Slam tennis

27/01/2023, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 31015924

Indian trailblazer Sania Mirza bowed out of Grand Slam tennis Friday with defeat in the Australian Open mixed-doubles final playing alongside Rohan Bopanna — her first playing partner 22 years ago.

The 36-year-old Mirza, regarded as her country’s greatest women’s tennis player, returned to Melbourne Park for one last hurrah and made it all the way to the decider.

But she and 42-year-old Bopanna were unable to get over the line, losing 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 to Brazilian pair Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos.

Mirza was in tears in the post-match presentation ceremony.

 (L-R) Brazil’s Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos pose with the trophy after their victory against India’s Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna during the mixed doubles final on day twelve of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Friday. — AFP
(L-R) Brazil’s Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos pose with the trophy after their victory against India’s Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna during the mixed doubles final on day twelve of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Friday. — AFP

“Rohan was my first-ever mixed-doubles partner at (aged) 14 and we won the nationals,” said Mirza, a six-time Grand Slam champion, three in doubles and three in mixed.

“It was a long time ago, 22 years ago, and I couldn’t think of a better person — he’s one of my best friends and best partners — to finish my career here and to play the final.

“There’s no better place for me, or person for me, to finish my Grand Slam career.”

Mirza, who is married to former Pakistan team captain Shoaib Malik, has a young son Izhaan and said it was incredible to play in front of him in a major final.

 Sania Mirza (L) and Rohan Bopanna hug during the awards ceremony after their defeat against Brazil’s Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos during the mixed doubles final on day twelve of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Friday. — AFP
Sania Mirza (L) and Rohan Bopanna hug during the awards ceremony after their defeat against Brazil’s Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos during the mixed doubles final on day twelve of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Friday. — AFP

“I never thought that I would be able to play in front of my child in a Grand Slam final, so it’s truly special to have my four-year-old and my parents here,” she said.

Mirza, known as a feisty convention-breaker, was the first Indian to win a WTA singles title, in 2005 at her hometown Hyderabad.

She reached the fourth round of the US Open the same year and by 2007 was among the women’s top 30.

But a wrist injury caused her to concentrate on doubles, forging a partnership with Swiss great Martina Hingis which produced three Grand Slam titles.

She is due to retire from all tennis after a tournament next month in Dubai, where she has lived for more than a decade and recently launched a tennis academy.



https://www.dawn.com/news/1733901/indian-trailblazer-sania-mirza-bows-out-of-grand-slam-tennis
Massive victories for India, Argentina in hockey World Cup

Massive victories for India, Argentina in hockey World Cup

27/01/2023, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 31015863

ROURKELA: Hosts India and Argentina recorded thumping victories in the first round of classification matches of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup here at the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

The day’s opening game, South Africa overwhelmed Malaysia 6-3.For the Africans, Bradley Sherwood (ninth minute, 57th), Guy Morgan (17th, penalty corner), Nqobile Ntuli (26th), Keenan Jorne (43rd) and Mustaphaa Cassiem (44th, penalty stroke) scored the goals while Razie Rahim (35th penalty corner, 45th penalty stroke) and Firhan Ashari (57th) found the back of the net for Malaysia.

South Africa in the next round of classification matches face hosts India who later in the day outclassed Japan 8-0 while Malaysia meet Japan.

The next game of the day between Wales and France turned out to be a competitive contest, which ended 2-2 after regulation time.

  ROURKELA: A Malaysian player in action during their World Cup classification match against South Africa at the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium on Thursday. —courtesy FIH
ROURKELA: A Malaysian player in action during their World Cup classification match against South Africa at the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium on Thursday. —courtesy FIH

The former opened the scoring through Luke Hawker in the tenth minute, followed by the latter’s equaliser five minutes later by Corentin Sellier. In the 21st, the French gained the lead, with Sellier scoring his brace.

Meanwhile, a ruthless Argentina side bulldozed Chile 8-0 with Nicolas della Torre (ninth, penalty corner), Maico Casella (17th, 34th), Lucas Toscani (19th, penalty corner), Bautista Capurro (23rd), Nicolas Keenan (25th), Martin Ferreiro (51st) and Tomas Domene (56th, penalty corner) among the scorers.While Argentina take on Wales in the following round, Chile will vie against France.

However, France’s relief could not last long, as a couple of minutes later, Gareth Furlong equalised through a penalty corner.

In the shootout, Wales overcame France 2-1.

For Wales, skipper Rupert Shipperley and Benjamin Francis managed to score, while Lewis Prosser and Jack Prit­chard missed out. In contrast, Timothee Clement scored for France.

In the day’s final match, India simply gave no space to Asian champions Japan while recording a magnificent 8-0 victory.

The goal scorers incl­uded Mandeep Singh (33rd, penalty corner), Abhi­shek (36th, 44th), Vivek Sagar Prasad (40th, penalty corner), skipper Harmanpreet Singh (46th, 59th, both on penalty corner), Manpreet Singh (59th) and Sukhjeet Singh (60th, penalty corner).

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2023



https://www.dawn.com/news/1733795/massive-victories-for-india-argentina-in-hockey-world-cup
Mitchell Santner looks to use CSK experience as New Zealand captain

Mitchell Santner looks to use CSK experience as New Zealand captain

27/01/2023, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 31015805

RANCHI: Mitchell Santner says that time spent under Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Stephen Fleming at Chennai Super Kings will come in handy as he leads New Zealand in the T20 series in India.

Santner had also led the side in the third and final T20I in India back in 2021. He is captaining the side in the absence of regular skipper Kane Williamson.

“If you look at both of them [Dhoni and Fleming], they’re both very calm and very level-headed, which I like as I feel I’m similar in that respect. To work under and alongside MS [Dhoni] has been a pretty cool experience for a few years now.

“I guess it’s nice to be back at his home ground as well. And Flem [Fleming] — he’s the same, very level-headed and keeps it pretty relaxed and that’s what we try to do in this set-up as well,” said the left-hander ahead of the series opener.

ODIs take precedence over T20Is in a World Cup year but Santer said playing every game for the country is an honour. “I guess the way ODI cricket is going at the moment, you know it’s not too different to T20. So, banking the experiences in T20 cricket this year will be similar to what we got in the one-day series, where we saw some high scores and good hitting.

“I guess trying to bank those experiences from that series…yes, we obviously lost 3-0, but we showed glimpses in games we want to take forward in this series.”

Would he continue to be calm under pressure now that he is leading the side?

“Yeah, I guess that’s my nature, and it has been like that for a little while now. But obviously there’s also a bit more nerves (now) and it’s very exciting to captain another series in India — it doesn’t get much better than that. So, definitely looking forward to it and it’s going to be a challenge, no doubt,” he added.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2023



https://www.dawn.com/news/1733811/mitchell-santner-looks-to-use-csk-experience-as-new-zealand-captain
Pakistan’s winless run in Australia continues

Pakistan’s winless run in Australia continues

27/01/2023, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 31015804

HOBART: Pakistan women’s winless run on their tour to Australia continued on Thursday when they were beaten in the second Twenty20 International at the Blundstone Arena to give the hosts an unassailable 2-0 lead.

The Bismah Maroof-led side went down by eight wickets as Australia chased down a paltry target of 97 runs with more than seven overs to spare.

Opting to bat first, Pakistan managed to score 96-7 with opener Muneeba Ali top-scoring for her side with a 43-ball 33, an innings that included four boundaries.

Bismah was the other notable run-getter for the visitors, as the captain returned undefeated on 29 off 28 balls, smashing two fours.

For Australia, leg-spinner Alana King bagged two wickets for 10 in two overs.

In return, the hosts achieved the target in the 13th over as wicket-keeper/batter Beth Mooney top-scored with 46 off 29 balls with the help of six fours and a six.

Australian captain Meg Lanning scored 31. Both batters fell to off-spinner Nida Dar as she ended up with match figures of 2-27 in four overs.

The third and final T20I will be played at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on January 29.

Summarised scores:

PAKISTAN 96-7 in 20 overs (Muneeba Ali 33, Bismah Maroof 29 not out; Alana King 2-10); AUSTRALIA 100-2 in 12.4 overs (Beth Mooney 46, Meg Lanning 31; Nida Dar 2-27).

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2023



https://www.dawn.com/news/1733788/pakistans-winless-run-in-australia-continues
Waiting game: PFB sets deadline until Friday evening for India to arrive

Waiting game: PFB sets deadline until Friday evening for India to arrive

27/01/2023, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 31015861

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Federation Baseball will wait until Friday evening for the Indian team to arrive in Islamabad for the West Asia Cup before taking a definitive decision on the tournament’s format.

India’s squad, which received its visas on Tuesday night, was stopped at the Wagah border on Wednesday by officials of their own country and are awaiting a No-Objection Certificate from their government to enter Pakistan.

PFB president Fakhar Ali Shah told a news conference at the Pakistan Sport Complex that if India were unable to reach till Friday, when the West Asia Cup begins with the opening match between Pakistan and Afghanistan, then the tournament will become a six-team event.

Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Palestine have already arrived in Islamabad and captains of all the teams were present at the news conference.

West Asia Cup begins today

“If India are able to reach till Friday evening, we can adjust them,” Fakhar told reporters, displaying a video message by Indian Baseball Federation general secretary Harish Kumar, who is accompanying the 20-member squad.

Kumar said that the IBF was making efforts to get clearance from their government by Friday morning in order to reach Islamabad by the evening.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2023



https://www.dawn.com/news/1733789/waiting-game-pfb-sets-deadline-until-friday-evening-for-india-to-arrive
OCA offers Russian, Belarusian athletes to compete at Asian Games

OCA offers Russian, Belarusian athletes to compete at Asian Games

27/01/2023, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 31015862

KUWAIT CITY: The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said on Thursday it has offered to let Russian and Belarusian athletes take part in the Asian Games, a first step towards them competing at the Paris 2024 summer Olympics.

On Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said a pathway for the return of athletes from the two countries to competition “under strict conditions” should be further explored.

“The OCA believes in the unifying power of sport and that all athletes, regardless of their nationality or the passport they hold, should be able to compete in sports competitions,” the OCA said in a statement.

“The OCA has offered to give eligible Russian and Belarusian athletes the opportunity to take part in competitions in Asia, including the Asian Games.”

The Asian Games are Olympic qualifiers and the move could help athletes from the two countries compete at Paris 2024. Qualifiers for the Paris Olympics in some sports have started with many more taking place throughout the year.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Feb­ruary, many sports bodies have moved events and suspended Russian teams or athletes while sponsors have ended contracts in protest against the war.

Belarus is a key staging area for the invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation”.

In a call with IOC president Thomas Bach in December, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy opposed the idea of Russian athletes taking part under any kind of neutral banner at the 2024 Summer Games.

The Hangzhou Asian Games, which could not be hosted last year because of Covid-19, will be held in the Chinese city from Sept 23 to Oct 8 2023.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2023



https://www.dawn.com/news/1733808/oca-offers-russian-belarusian-athletes-to-compete-at-asian-games
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