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Regional Sports News
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced Australian duo Steve Smith and David Warner and West Indies opener Chris Gayle are among the most expensive players listed in Sunday's draft for the new domestic tournament The Hundred.
Smith helped Australia retain the Ashes in England last month while Warner endured a miserable series, managing just one fifty in five tests.
Paceman Mitchell Starc, who played just one test in that series, is the third Australian in the six-man group who will command a 125,000 pounds ($159,400) reserve price, the ECB said in a statement.
Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga and fellow speedster Kagiso Rabada of South Africa are the other players in the top bracket for the inaugural edition of the 100-ball competition, which will be played in July-August next year.
Five of the eight city-based sides will have an Australian in charge with Shane Warne, Darren Lehmann and Tom Moody among them. None of the men's teams have a local coach.
Twenty20 stalwarts Rashid Khan of Afghanistan and West Indian Andre Russell, with an identical 100,000 pounds reserve price, are among 239 players from outside the UK to enter the draft. Fast bowler Mohammad Amir also has a reserve price of £100,000, according to Geo News.
England World Cup winners Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett headline the 331 domestic players who have put their names forward for the draft.
"Teams will select 12 players on the night — with a maximum of three overseas picks — who will join the already-announced England red-ball contracted players and Local Icons,” the ECB said in a statement.
Australian cricketer Shane Watson has apologised to fans after his social media accounts were flooded with "illicit" photographs of half-naked women and racist comments, seemingly the work of hackers.
The all-rounder, who plays for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, said in social media posts late on Tuesday that both his Twitter and Instagram pages had been hacked in recent days.
Screenshots published by British tabloid The Sun showed revealing images of women in underwear posted on his personal Instagram account.
The West Australian reported that a hacker also posted racial slurs and fat-shaming comments to his Twitter account last week.
The 38-year-old, who has more than two million followers across the two platforms, apologised to his followers for the posts.
"My apologies to everyone for the illicit photos that have been posted on my Instagram account," he tweeted.
"First my Twitter account on Friday got hacked and now Instagram today."
He also recorded a separate video, uploaded to Instagram, in which he slammed the content as "disgraceful".
Watson played 59 Tests and 190 One Day International matches for Australia before retiring from international cricket in 2016.
SYDNEY: Australian captain Tim Paine has addressed speculation over whether Steve Smith will again lead the team once a ban ends in March, saying he would be fully supportive if it happens ‘one day’.
Smith skippered the team until he was suspended for 12 months over a brazen attempt under his watch to alter the ball with sandpaper in Cape Town last year.
Part of his punishment included a further year-long exile from any leadership role.
Calls have grown for Smith to take over from Paine when the ban is lifted following batting performances that helped Australia retain the Ashes against England.
Paine, who will turn 35 in December, on Monday brushed off questions surrounding the Australian side’s future leadership.
“I’m enjoying having the job at the moment... and I certainly hope Steve Smith does captain Australia again one day, and if he does, I’ll be fully supportive of it,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
Paine will not play in this summer’s Big Bash League, instead joining broadcaster Channel Seven’s commentary team.
But he will almost certainly retain the captaincy for the home summer Test series against Pakistan and New Zealand, despite occasional criticism of his form during the Ashes.
He recently ended a 13-year century drought by scoring his first ton since his maiden century as a 21-year-old in 2006.
Coach Justin Langer has praised his leadership as ‘brilliant’ and said Smith may not want to take on the ‘burden’ of the captaincy on top of batting pressures.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2019
ISLAMABAD: The National Games torch reached Islamabad on Tuesday, amid the postponement of the much-awaited event which is being held after a gap of seven years.
The Games were slated to be held in Peshawar from October 26 to November 1 but on Tuesday, the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) announced that it was deferring the event by two weeks. The POA announced, with the consent of the organising committee and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, that the Games will now be held from November 9 to 14.
“With the safety and security of the athletes always of paramount concern, the Pakistan Olympic Association, Organising Committee and the Government of KP have mutually agreed to reschedule the dates of the 33rd National Games,” the POA said in a brief statement. “The Games shall now be held from 9th to 14th November while the closing ceremony will be held on 15th November. The events, venues and details of events already notified shall remain unchanged.”
The delay in the Games comes due to a high risk of worsening law and order situation in Peshawar with some of the country’s leading political parties, led by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, set for an “azadi march” against the government on October 27.
In a video message on Tuesday the provincial Minister for Information Shaukat Yousufzai said that the games had been re-scheduled and added that the decision was taken with consensus in a meeting of the apex committee with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman at Governor House.
The minister said the Games were delayed following “suggestions of the security departments so that to avoid any complication”.
“The government wanted to hold the Games with full attention in a very befitting manner, as it is a mega event wherein at least 10,000 athletes would take part,” he said.
“Provincial minister for sports Mohammad Atif Khan also held a discussion with the POA president retired Lt Gen Syed Arif Hasan and the decision was taken with mutual understanding.
“The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially Peshawar was going to become a hub of sports activities as the government was fully determined to promote sports, provide facilities to sports lovers.”
The decision to defer the Games overshadowed the arrival of the torch in Islamabad. It arrived nine days after the relay began in Karachi before travelling to Quatta, Lahore and Rawalpindi.
In Islamabad, the relay began with a function at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) where the torch was handed over to HEC acting executive director Dr. Fateh Muhammad Marri by Islamabad Olympic Association management committee chairperson Begum Ishrat Ashraf.
The torch then travelled to Daman-i-Koh, the city’s famed viewpoint, where it was received by Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) commander Nosherwan and squash legend Jansher Khan.
Jansher wasn’t too pleased with the postponement of the Games.
“I eagerly travelled from Peshawar to Islamabad to hold the torch but the news of the postponement came to us while the torch was travelling in the capital,” he told Dawn.
“The country’s sportspersons have been eagerly anticipating the Games for the last several years and the postponement adds to the agony they have suffered,” added Jansher, asking the government to make sure that the Games are now held on the revised dates come what may.
Then torch was then brought to Faisal Mosque, where it was received by Pakistan Navy. Navy handed over the torch to Pakistan Army at the F-8 signal before it was brought to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), where athletes including Olympian Manzoor-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Usaman, Brigadier Zaheer Akhtar and Kabaddi player Mohammad Nasir carried it.
Federal Minister for Inter-provincial coordination Dr. Fehmida Mirza received the torch during a function held at the Jinnah Stadium.
“The Games would not only promote sports in the country but they will also promote the country’s soft image,” she said.
The torch will now travel to Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Ali Hazrat Bacha in Peshawar and Mohammad Yaqoob in Lahore contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2019
KARACHI: A couple of series in Pakistan involving Bangladesh women and BD’s junior men’s U-16 outfit are scheduled to commence in the last week of this month but reports say that the visitors are keen to assess the security arrangements prior to the tours.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on the one hand, is upbeat about the two series and has already announced the training camp for women cricketers in Muridke.
“As of now, both Bangladesh outfits are coming as per schedule and we are gearing up for the series accordingly. The PCB is in constant touch with our Bangladesh counterparts in this regard,” the PCB spokesperson told this correspondent.
On the other hand, the spokesperson of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), Jalal Yunus was of the opinion that the above mentioned trips were still subject to security clearance for which the assessment team would visit Pakistan very soon.
“The security assessment team will reach Pakistan in a few days and on the basis of their report a final call with regards to the tour will be made,” Jalal Yunus said
Bangladesh women team is scheduled to reach Lahore on October 23 to feature in three T20I matches and two ODIs in Lahore. The series starts with the opening T20I at the Gaddafi Stadium on October 26.
“Government’s nod is essential for the Pakistan tour. The time is running out but there will be no delay in the itinerary if the trips go on”, the BCB spokesman added
Regarding the senior men’s team trip to Pakistan in January, the BCB spokesperson said it will be pondered upon in due course of time.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2019
KARACHI: Head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq is extremely disappointed with the attitude of some Pakistani players who shy away from proper training, lack discipline and don’t adhere to professional standards.
Pakistan recently suffered a shocking whitewash against Sri Lanka’s depleted outfit in the three-game T20I series and Misbah remains very disappointed at the way the top-ranked side capitulated against the tourists in front of home crowds.
“What has disturbed Misbah the most in his first assignment as head coach and the chief selector is the reluctance of some players to follow directions of the management and do proper training to keep high fitness standards,” one source said.
“He is unhappy that some players are just too relaxed and take training lightly and are not working on improving their cricket discipline. He has also not been encouraged by the attitude of captain Sarfraz Ahmed whom, he feels, shies away from taking responsibility when the chips are down.”
Another source told PTI that Misbah was surprised by the behaviour of three senior players — Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, and Haris Sohail. “Several times he felt they were making excuses to shy away from training and proper nets. He got the feeling they had some sort of excuse ready to go easy on their training,” the source said.
“Batsman Haris Sohail has developed a painful habit of making excuses for having some niggling problem or pain when asked to push himself in training.
The source said at one stage Misbah even felt that the decision of former head coach Mickey Arthur to keep left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz out of the team was understandable. The long-serving former Pakistan captain is also not pleased that some players are also not displaying the required professional standards.
“Two players bluntly informed their team’s head coaches that they would reach for the National T20 Championship matches in Faisalabad on the morning of the games. When Misbah came to know about this he told the head coaches they should be more firm with the players and ensure they joined their provincial team a day before the matches,” one source said.
Misbah is also surprised that Arthur and the ex-support staff didn’t pay enough attention to developing proper batsmen in all formats and didn’t look beyond Babar Azam.
“It is not a very happy situation now and one can expect Misbah to take some hard decisions as chief selector while selecting the T20 and Test squads for the coming tour of Australia,” he said.
Zahid Mahmood, a leg-spinner who in the past has been ignored by the selectors and coaches, is now under the consideration of Misbah who is not satisfied with the form of current team leggies, Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan.
Similarly, Misbah is also on the lookout for some new pace bowlers and youngster Naseem Shah is under his scanner for the Australian tour. The source said it will also be interesting to see whether Misbah supports Sarfraz to continue as a Test captain when the board meets to decide on the captain for the Australian tour.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2019
DOHA: Pakistan’s top grappler Mohammad Inam Butt won the gold medal at the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games in the Qatari capital Doha, defeating Georgia’s Dato Marsagishvili in the 90kg final at Katara Beach late on Monday.
The 30-year-old is Pakistan’s lone participant among 1237 athletes from 97 countries, who are competing in 14 different disciplines at the Games that started Friday and end on Wednesday. A total of 350 medals are up for grabs at the Games which were created by the world’s Olympic committees and announced in 2015.
Inam, Pakistan’s sole gold medallist in last year’s Commonwealth Games lived up to expectations as he defeated Marsagishvili 5-2 after a thrilling contest.
The Gujranwala-born Inam showed his class from the early rounds and powered up his capacity against the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Marsagishvili in the final game.
The Georgian took a 2-0 lead with just a point more required to win gold, but Inam was not the one to give up so easily. He made it 2-2 with two throws, and with seconds remaining in the first period, produced a 3-point takedown to clinch a thrilling contest.
“For the last three months I was training for this one, to beat that guy. I knew he was the strongest that’s why for three months I dedicated my training on his technique,” explained Inam in the mixed zone.
“I trained very hard for this after missing the World Wrestling Championship in Kazakhstan last month,” he added. “It was not easy but I was confident of winning gold at the Beach Games. I have been training hard at home too, but training myself, and then also teaching and training other juniors at my gym is tough. I picked up an injury almost two months ago and underwent surgery.”
After his triumph, Inam posed for several selfies with his devoted fans who had gathered to create a fantastic atmosphere in the stands.
“Wherever Pakistanis see their compatriots competing in sports they always show their love, because there are not many great athletes in our country. I came here, I played hard and they love me for that,” he said and explained why he is so good in Beach Wrestling. “This is my own game because in Pakistan we have a similar type of wrestling. That’s why I find a better grip than the other wrestlers do.”
Inam had earlier recorded emphatic wins in all his bouts on the day to finish at the top in Group ‘A’ and got a smooth sailing in the semi-final, defeating Pedro Jacinto Garcia Perez of Spain 3-0.
Starting with a landslide 3-0 win over Portugal’s Adao Rafael Andrade da Silva, Inam also triumphed against Marsaghishvili in the group stage, which he rounded off with 1-0 and 3-1 wins over Turkey’s Murat Ozkan and Kanan Aliyev respectively.
Inam had qualified for the Games after finishing as runner-up in a qualifying tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in May. Next up for him, are qualifiers for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2019