Pakistan

Veteran commentator Jamsheed Marker dies at 95

Veteran commentator Jamsheed Marker dies at 95

22/06/2018, Pakistan, Cricket, Pakistan Cricket Board, Article # 27052495
Marker, who provided cricket commentary to fans in Pakistan during an era when coverage was rare, died in Karachi on Thursday

http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan/content/story/1150179.html?CMP=OTC-RSS
Argentina on brink of exit after stunning 3-0 loss to Croatia

Argentina on brink of exit after stunning 3-0 loss to Croatia

22/06/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 27047526

There was an air of expectation around Nizhny Novgorod that this will be Lionel Messi’s night. Argentina fans had packed the venue, making it a cauldron of noise for their match against Croatia.

They had sang all the way from the train station to the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium hoping that Messi and Argentina will kick-start their World Cup campaign in Russia. Argentina’s 1-1 draw in their Group ‘D’ opener against Iceland hadn’t dampened their spirits.

At the end, though, all that noise, that enthusiasm was gone; their hopes of seeing Messi lift the World Cup trophy in Russia have gone down drastically.

Instead, it was a section of Croatian fans whose voice echoed around the stadium. Even if they win their last match against Nigeria, it wouldn’t be enough for Argentina.

On a night when Messi failed to turn up, a massive howler by goalkeeper Willy Caballero early in the second half potentially sealed Argentina's fate.

A sensational solo goal from Luka Modric and another from Ivan Rakitic late on saw Croatia stun Argentina 3-0 and seal their place in the last-16.

Messi and Argentina now need to rely on other results go through. This was a debilitating, humiliating defeat for Argentina. How they recover from this remains to be seen.

Jorge Sampaoli had rung the changes following the Iceland stalemate and Argentina were set up to press Croatia high.

But the lack of quality players at the back meant they would’ve been exposed on the counter and they were in the fifth minute; goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s fingertip save denying Ivan Perisic from opening the scoring after the Croat was given both space and time to run in from the left.

On the other end, Sampaoli’s high press was working. Argentina were nicking the ball off Croatia, who had won 2-0 against Nigeria in their opening match, in good spaces.

Messi almost had his moment 12 minutes in, his outstretched leg missing a delightful lob from Enzo Perez by inches.

A minute later, Croatian Dejan Lovren had to be alert to block Eduardo Salvio’s shot after Argentina had opened up Croatia again.

The opening exchanges had set the tone for a open contest. Croatia’s midfield trio of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic began exerting control.

Croatia’s buildup was neat, Argentina were still looking for Messi to do something but Sampaoli would’ve been encouraged to see that Salvio, Marcos Acuna and Maximiliano Meza were taking some burden off Messi with some incisive running.

An attack from the left almost saw them take the lead on the half hour mark. Croatia’s defence was all over the place when Salvio cut the ball back for Perez. With the goal at his mercy, Croatia goalkeeper Daniel Subasic not even in his line of sight, he shot wide.

It was a chance that stung Croatia into action and two minutes later, Sime Vrsaljko curled in a tantalising cross at the far post for Mario Mandzukic, who headed wide with just Caballero to beat.

It was such an absorbing encounter that even halftime couldn’t break the tempo. Ante Rebic had ran endlessly in the first half and he got his reward in eight minutes in.

Caballero tried to chip a backpass to Gabriel Mercado but instead ended up looping it up for Rebic who smashed in an unstoppable volley.

More than ever, Argentina now needed that moment of Messi magic. Only last-ditch defending from his Barca team-mate Rakitic denied Messi a chance to score in the 63rd.

Sampaoli and Argentina were feeling the pressure. A World Cup exit was staring them in the face. Having already sent Gonzalo Higuain in for Sergio Aguero immediately after Croatia’s goal, he threw on Paulo Dybala, the man long touted to be Messi’s successor in the Argentina squad.

It was Croatia, however, who scored 10 minutes from time. Modric picked the ball at some distance from the goal and ran past Nicolas Otamendi before sending in a rifling shot from the edge of the box past Caballero.

Rakitic piled on the misery when he scored in injury time after a blistering counter-attack. Messi, stone-faced, slunk away. The players and the team that had turned up on the night could now celebrate.



https://www.dawn.com/news/1415428/argentina-on-brink-of-exit-after-stunning-3-0-loss-to-croatia
Pakistan call up uncapped Sahibzada Farhan for T20I tri-series in Zimbabwe

Pakistan call up uncapped Sahibzada Farhan for T20I tri-series in Zimbabwe

22/06/2018, Pakistan, Cricket, Pakistan Cricket Board, Article # 27050665
Asif Ali, meanwhile, has found a place in the ODI squad, which also features Yasir Shah, who hasn't played a 50-overs game for Pakistan since October 2016

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1150063.html?CMP=OTC-RSS
Amir Khan launches Super Boxing League in Pakistan

Amir Khan launches Super Boxing League in Pakistan

22/06/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 27046801

KARACHI: British boxer Amir Khan launched the Super Boxing League (SBL) here on Thursday at a local hotel.

Two-time world champion Amir Khan is promoting the event backed by British business tycoon Bill Dosanjh.

Khan and CEO ARY Digital Network Salman Iqbal, who also owns Pakistan Super League franchise Karachi Kings, will jointly serve as the league’s chairman which is set to feature eight teams owned by cricketing and showbiz celebrities.

The teams are named after major cities of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Multan, Sialkot and Quetta. Each team will comprise of 10 men and two women boxers.

Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi owns Pakhtoon Warriors, legendary pacer Wasim Akram bought Multan Nawabs, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan owns Faisalabad Falcons, while Iqbal and actor Fahad Mustafa jointly own Karachi Cobras.

Khan said he aimed to provide the right training to potential boxers which will help in producing more professional world champions.

Super Boxing League will be organised in association with Punjab Sports Board (PSB) and World Boxing Council (WBC) from September 28 to November 3 at the Amir Khan Boxing Academy in Islamabad.

The league, in its first season, will have a mix of experience and youth and will bring in talent across the featherweight 57 kg, welterweight 66.7kg, middleweight 72.57 kg, super middleweight- 76.2 kg, heavy weight unlimited and female super fly 52.16 kg categories.

However, the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF), in a statement released on June 19, has said it does not recognise the SBL due to it not being in line with the Constitution of the national federation and the statutes of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

“The league is being organised under the banner of WBC shall have adverse effects upon national boxing which could have been mitigated, if the league was organised through PBF as laid down in AIBA statutes,” the PBF statement said.

“The PBF shall be readily available to assist Mr. Amir Khan in his all plans aimed for the promotion and development of boxing in Pakistan once [his league] in line with the statutes and rules of AIBA and Constitution of PBF.”

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018



http://www.dawn.com/news/1415379/amir-khan-launches-super-boxing-league-in-pakistan
Pakistan squad for Zimbabwe tour expected to be named today

Pakistan squad for Zimbabwe tour expected to be named today

22/06/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 27046802

LAHORE: The Inzamam-ul-Haq led national selection committee is expected to announce the Pakistan squad for the upcoming tour to Zimbabwe on Friday after four key players go through a fitness test.

Pakistan will be involved in a tri-nation series along with Zimbabwe and Australia from July 1 to 8 before they take on the hosts in a five-match One-day International series from July 13 to 22.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah, middle-order batsman Babar Azam, left-arm spin all-rounder Imad Wasim and pacer Rumman Raees all are on injury list and have been called up for fitness tests on Friday.

Yasir was facing hip injury, which forced him to skip Pakistan’s tour to England, Ireland and Scotland. Babar fractured his arm during the England tour, while Imad and Rumman are also struggling with fitness problems for the last couple of months.

Opening batsman Ahmad Shahzad, who was tested positive in a doping test conducted in an Indian lab recently, will not retain his place in the T20 squad.

However, a review board of the Pakistan Anti-doping Agency will decide Ahmad’s fate after Pakis­tan Cricket Board’s (PCB) suggestion.

All-rounder Muhammad Hafeez is likely to get a place in the One-day side but not in the T20 squad. There are reports that the selectors may pick youngster Sahibzada Farhan in place of Ahmad.

Head coach Mickey Arthur has also reached Lahore to personally monitor the fitness test of the four players before he takes part in a consultation session with the selectors to give the team a final shape.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018



http://www.dawn.com/news/1415385/pakistan-squad-for-zimbabwe-tour-expected-to-be-named-today
PCB to negotiate with ECB over Afghan league dates

PCB to negotiate with ECB over Afghan league dates

22/06/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 27046803

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is holding negotiations with the Emi­rates Cricket Board (ECB) on June 26 and 27 in the UAE to settle their issues, arising from the Afghanistan cricket league being held in the month of October this year in Sharjah.

Also during October, as Pakistan are scheduled to host Australia for a full series in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the PCB fears the Afghan league matches being staged in the same month may hit the latter’s commercial interests.

Sources told Dawn that while the PCB is not against holding of the Afghan Premier League T20 event in the UAE, it is only concerned that the dates of the said league are clashing with its home series, which Pakistan has been organising in the UAE since 2010 due to security-related issues in the aftermath of the terror attack on Sri Lankan cricket team at Lahore in March 2009.

The PCB may shift its home series from the UAE to Malaysia in case it fails to get positive result through the negotiations with the ECB, sources said.

The expenses in hosting matches in the UAE are already very high, making it almost impossible for the PCB to earn any profit from the series in the Emirates.

In contrast, it is learnt, hosting in Malaysia will be lesser in cost. However, long travelling and a weak cricket infrastructure there as compared to the UAE may create different sort of hurdles for the PCB in choosing the far eastern country as a neutral venue.

According to sources, the PCB may also opt to negotiate with the UAE authorities to reduce its charges if it wants to also allow Afghanistan to hold its league in Sharjah.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018



http://www.dawn.com/news/1415380/pcb-to-negotiate-with-ecb-over-afghan-league-dates
Khedira laughs off early flight joke

Khedira laughs off early flight joke

22/06/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 27046804

SOCHI: Under-fire Germany star Sami Khedira on Thursday laughed off a cheeky offer of early flights home for the holders from a Swedish reporter ahead of their crunch World Cup clash.

Holders Germany will be under intense pressure in the Group F clash in Sochi on Saturday against Sweden after suffering a shock 1-0 defeat to Mexico in their first match of the tournament.

The Juventus midfielder kept his cool when a Swedish tabloid reporter handed him a home-made return ticket for the entire German squad.

“I don’t think we will need that until July 16,” said the smiling Khedira.

The Germans are deadly serious ahead of the Swedish match, knowing a second loss will effectively send them home at the end of the group stages.

Despite calls to drop him, Khedira insists he can handle the pressure and shore up the German midfield, which was badly exposed by the Mexicans.

Ex-Germany stars Lothar Matthaeus and Stefan Effenberg said Khedira should be dropped after his woeful display.

“I have no problem with that at all, I can live with it,” said Khedira, referring to the criticism. “I know for myself that I did not play well.”

Khedira was often out of position in the defensive midfield when Mexico counter-attacked through the German ranks in the first half on Sunday.

“If the holes are as big as they were against Mexico, you’d need Usain Bolt and Carl Lewis to close the gaps — which we’re not,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018



http://www.dawn.com/news/1415390/khedira-laughs-off-early-flight-joke
Brazil sweat on Neymar fitness as pressure mounts

Brazil sweat on Neymar fitness as pressure mounts

22/06/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 27046990

ST PETERSBURG: A battered and bruised Neymar will aim to get Brazil’s World Cup campaign back on track on Friday as the pre-tournament favourites seek to re-assert their title credentials with victory over Costa Rica.

Neymar was given a rough ride in Brazil’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Sunday, fouled 10 times during the match, the most for any player in a single World Cup game for 20 years.

The world’s most expensive player then set alarm bells ringing when he hobbled out of training on Tuesday in full view of the cameras.

However, he returned to the training pitch 48 hours ahead of the clash in Saint Petersburg, raising hopes he will feature.

Even before his latest setback, there were doubts over Neymar’s fitness heading into the World Cup after a three-month layoff.

The Switzerland clash was his first competitive game for nearly four months after a broken bone in his right foot ended his club season with Paris Saint-Germain in February.

To the frustration of many in the French capital, Neymar returned home for much of his recovery process with the intention of being fully fit for the World Cup.

However, questions remain whether he is seriously lacking match practice.

Brazil looked to their talisman time and again in the final stages in Rostov-on-Don, but he failed to find the final pass or finish to unlock a well-organised Switzerland defence.

Instead, it was Philippe Coutinho who got Brazil’s campaign off to a flying start with a wonderful long range strike to open the scoring.

In contrast to Neymar, Coutinho ended the season in sensational form for Barcelona after sealing his dream move from Liverpool.

Should Neymar not be fit, Coutinho could be moved into his role on the left of a front three with Tite bolstering his midfield.

However, Coutinho insists Neymar remains the key figure in Brazil’s pursuit of World Cup glory.

“Neymar is one of the best players in the world. Of course having him in our side is a big plus for us,” said Coutinho. “He is so important. He is always creating the play, creating space.”

Brazil were not just unhappy with the treatment meted out to Neymar, but also Switzerland’s equaliser when the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system failed to rule out Steven Zuber’s equaliser for a slight push on Miranda. The Brazilian federation even took their complaints to FIFA.

Needing a break and to relieve the pressure with a win, Brazil could hardly have picked better opposition in Los Ticos, who have only beaten Brazil once in 10 meetings way back in 1960.

Costa Rica shocked England, Italy and Uruguay to reach the quarter-finals four years ago, but are even more in need of the points after losing 1-0 to Serbia in their opening game.

They also lost heavily to Belgium and England in warm-up friendlies, but captain Bryan Ruiz believes they can follow Switzerland’s example to cause another massive upset.

“Switzerland pressed them in midfield and that’s what you need to do because everybody knows that Brazil are best from midfield going forward,” said the Sporting Lisbon attacker. “We need to win the ball back quickly and counter-attack quickly.”

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018



http://www.dawn.com/news/1415391/brazil-sweat-on-neymar-fitness-as-pressure-mounts
Argentina on brink of exit after stunning 3-0 loss to Croatia

Argentina on brink of exit after stunning 3-0 loss to Croatia

22/06/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 27045198

THERE was an air of expectation around Nizhny Novgorod that this will be Lionel Messi’s night. Argentina fans had packed the venue, making it a cauldron of noise for their match against Croatia. They had sung all the way from the train station to the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium hoping that Messi and Argentina will kick-start their World Cup campaign in Russia.

Argentina’s 1-1 draw in their Group ‘D’ opener against Iceland hadn’t dampened their spirits.

At the end, though, all that noise, that enthusiasm was gone; their hopes of seeing Messi lift the World Cup trophy went down drastically. Instead it was a section of Croatian fans whose voice echoed around the stadium. Even if they win their last match against Nigeria, it wouldn’t be enough for Argentina.

On a night when Messi failed to turn up, a massive howler by goalkeeper Willy Caballero early in the second half potentially sealed Argentina’s fate. A sensational solo goal from Luka Modric and another from Ivan Rakitic saw Croatia stun Argentina 3-0 and seal their place in the last-16.

Messi and Argentina now need to rely on other results to go through. This was a debilitating, humiliating defeat for Argentina. How they recover from this remains to be seen.

Jorge Sampaoli had rung the changes following the Iceland stalemate and Argentina were set up to press Croatia high. But the lack of quality players at the back meant they would’ve been exposed on the counter and they were in the fifth minute; goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s fingertip save denying Ivan Perisic from opening the scoring after the Croat winger was given both space and time to run in from the left.

On the other end, Sampaoli’s high press was working. Argentina were nicking the ball off Croatia, who had won 2-0 against Nigeria in their opening match, in good spaces. Messi almost had his moment 12 minutes in, his outstretched leg missing a delightful lob from Enzo Perez by inches. A minute later, Croatian Dejan Lovren had to be alert to block Eduardo Salvio’s shot after Argentina had opened up Croatia again.

The opening exchanges had set the tone for a open contest. Croatia’s midfield trio of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic began exerting control. Croatia’s buildup was neat, Argentina were still looking for Messi to do something but Sampaoli would’ve been encouraged to see that Salvio, Marcos Acuna and Maximiliano Meza were taking some burden off Messi with some incisive running.

An attack from the left almost saw them take the lead on the half hour mark. Croatia’s defence was all over the place when Salvio cut the ball back for Perez.

With the goal at his mercy, Croatian goalkeeper Daniel Subasic not even in his line of sight, he shot wide.

It was a chance that stung Croatia into action and two minutes later, Sime Vrsaljko curled in a tantalising cross at the far post for Mario Mandzukic, who headed wide with just Caballero to beat.

It was such an absorbing encounter that even halftime couldn’t break the tempo.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018



http://www.dawn.com/news/1415313/argentina-on-brink-of-exit-after-stunning-3-0-loss-to-croatia
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