ACB signs contract for 2nd phase construction of Najeeb Tarakai Cricket Stadium - The Daily Guardian
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ACB signs contract for 2nd phase construction of Najeeb Tarakai Cricket Stadium

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Kabul [Afghanistan], February 8 (ANI): The official contract for the second phase construction of Najeeb Tarakai Cricket Stadium in Nangarhar was signed between the Afghanistan Cricket Board and the Noor Matoon Construction Company on Sunday.
“The second phase construction activities will consist of surrounding walls, oval ground, borewell, water tanks as well as the levelling of the ground. The construction will start from February 13 and will be completed in a period of seven months,” ACB said in a statement.
The Engineers from ACB’s Engineering and Infrastructure department will oversee the construction closely and report the progress on time to ACB leadership.
Earlier, in December, Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani approved 1,20,000 square meters of land in the Alokhail area of Kabul for the construction of a ‘state-of-the-art’ stadium.
“Acknowledging the efforts of ACB management, the president’s office approved the site for the stadium, the construction of which will commence soon,” the ACB had said in a statement.
The stadium will be built as per international standards and will include “a five-star guest house, a standard swimming pool, indoor and outdoor academies, canopies for crowd, health clinic, mosque, car parking, administrative block and other such facilities”.
The stadium will have a capacity to host 35,000 spectators, including designated places for the families.
Once completed, the stadium will boost cricket in the country. Since getting full membership from the ICC a few years ago, Afghanistan has hosted all its ‘home’ matches at neutral venue India, mostly in Dehradun and Greater Noida. (ANI)

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Shola Shoretire becomes Man Utd’s youngest ever player in European competition

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Manchester [UK], February 26 (ANI): Shola Shoretire has become Manchester United’s youngest ever player to play in European competition after making his Europa League debut on Thursday.
The teenage forward replaced Mason Greenwood in the 76th minute of United’s 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad at Old Trafford. As a result, he became the club’s youngest ever player in a European match, at the age of 17 years and 23 days.
The previous record-holder was former United forward Norman Whiteside, who was 108 days older than Shoretire when he played in a continental fixture for the first time in 1982.
Surprisingly, the tournament, venue, scoreline, and nationality of the opponents, Spanish, were all the same. The Reds drew 0-0 at home to Valencia in the UEFA Cup, the Europa League’s former guise, when Whiteside made his debut in Europe, on 15 September 1982.
Shoretire relished the remarkable achievement of being the youngest ever footballer to feature for Manchester United.
“What a feeling to make my European debut! To become United’s youngest ever player in Europe is an incredible honour and a proud moment for me and my family! On to the next round,” Shoretire tweeted.

Meanwhile, with a draw against Real Sociedad, the 13-time Premier League winners progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League 4-0 on aggregate
Manchester United will next lock horns with Chelsea on Sunday before they face Crystal Palace three days later in Premier League. (ANI)

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PSL 6: Mohammad Wasim aims to play for Pakistan as all-rounder

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Karachi [Pakistan], February 26 (ANI): Islamabad United’s Mohammad Wasim Jnr, who hogged the limelight with three wickets in their opening game of sixth season PSL, wants to represent Pakistan at the highest level as an all-rounder.
Wasim though went wicketless in Wednesday’s game against Karachi Kings but gave way just 30 runs compared to other bowlers who leaked runs at more than 10 per over.
He had an impressive beginning with the ball in hand but hasn’t had the opportunity to display his batting skills because of a deep batting line-up which United, the two-time champion side, boasts.
“I want to be an all-rounder for Pakistan and make my name at international level,” said Wasim in the PSL release.
To achieve his goal, Wasim has made rapid strides. The journey started with tape-ball cricket in North Waziristan in early 2011 and took a real flight once he shifted to Peshawar and trained with the hard ball.
“It was tough. There were very few opportunities in Waziristan. My father did not want me to play cricket, but my uncle supported me and then friends helped me in my progress,” said Wasim.
He caught the eyes of the junior national selection committee and was included in Pakistan’s squad for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in 2020. In Pakistan’s tournament opener against Scotland, Wasim made a five-wicket haul.
“I was lucky to get selected for the junior World Cup. It was a great experience for me,” said Wasim.
The all-rounder said sharing the dressing room with Pakistan cricketer Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan is helping him in a big way.
“Islamabad United are too good. We have top-players in Hasan Ali and skipper Shadab Khan. They are all too good and their presence is helping me a great deal,” said Wasim.
Having won the first two games, Islamabad United will next meet Peshawar Zalmi on Saturday.
Wasim’s ultimate goal is “to be the best emerging player in the HBL PSL 6 and then play for Pakistan”. (ANI)

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Guptill’s blitzkreig knock guides NZ to a win

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Marcus Stoinis’ 78 off 37 balls and Daniel Sams’ 41 off 15 balls weren’t enough to help Australia secure a win as New Zealand emerged victorious in the second T20I by four runs on Thursday.

With this thrilling win, New Zealand has taken a 2-0 lead in the five-match T20I series. Martin Guptill returned to form with a sensational knock while James Neesham slammed 45 off 16 balls before Stoinis and Daniel almost got Australia over the line. Neesham dismissed both Stoinis and Daniel in the final over to help New Zealand secure a win in the second T20I. For the Kiwis, Mitchell Santner picked four, Neesham struck two while Tim Southee and Ish Sodhi picked a wicket each.

Chasing a mammoth 220, Australia got off to a good start as the visitors smashed 33 runs from the first three overs. But Southee removed Matthew Wade in the fourth over to put a break on Australia’s chase.

But the visitors continued to bat freely and seven overs into the chase, Australia was 64/1 before Sodhi dismissed skipper Finch on the last ball of the eight over.

After the Finch’s dismissal, Australia kept losing wickets at regular intervals and was soon found reeling at 113/6 before Stoinis and Daniel came out firing on cylinders. The duo stitched a 92-run stand for the seventh wicket in just 37 balls but New Zealand held their nerve in the final over to prevail

Earlier put in to bat first, New Zealand got off to a bad start as Kane Richardson struck with his first ball to dismiss Tim Seifert in the fourth over.

However, Guptill was in altogether a different mood on Thursday as he raced off to 37 in 23 balls to announce his return to form in style. New Zealand scored 45 runs in the first six overs with Guptill alone accounting for 37 of those. Guptill continued his scintillating batting and notched up his half-century in just 27 balls. A few blistering shots and the right-handed batsman moved to 70 off 37 balls as New Zealand went past the 100-run mark in the 11 overs.

With Guptill’s 97 (50) and Neesham’s quickfire 45* (16), New Zealand ended the innings with 219 runs in the allot-ted 20 overs.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 219/7 (Martin Guptill 97, James Neesham 45*; Kane Richardson 3-43); Austral-ia 215/8 (Marcus Stoinis 78, Daniel Sams 41; Mitchell Santner 4-31) .

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PEP GUARDIOLA SEEKS IMPROVEMENT DESPITE MAN CITY’S WIN

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Despite a win over Borussia Monchengladbach, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is seeking improvement in his side and said that the team has to be more clinical.

Manchester City secured a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 match here on Thursday. “We had incredible focus for 90 minutes but we were not good enough today in the opposition’s box. We played really well, but we have to be more clinical in this competition. You have to be better, but in general no complaints because we know how good they are and how physical they are,” the club’s official website quoted Guardiola as saying.

During the match, Bernardo Silva opened the scoring in the 29th minute before Gabriel Jesus doubled Manchester City’s lead in the 65th minute.

Guardiola said Champions League is different from Premier League and they have to be clinical in the competition.

“In this competition, we don’t have much margin for error — if you have a 1 on 1 or a 3 v 2 situation, you have to at least finish the action or make the keeper make a save and we didn’t do it. In that position, we have to finish better. They have to know that — in the Premier League we can drop points but in this competition, you have to be clinical,” he said.

“If there is something I want us to improve it is that. In general, it was a good game. It was the first step and there are many weeks until the second leg. We are thinking now about recovery before West Ham,” Guardiola added.

Manchester City will now take on West Ham in the Premier League on February 27. Guardiola’s men will face Borussia Monchengladbach in the second leg on March 17.

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SAURABH CHAUDHARY: HITTING BULL’S EYE

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In the previous century, shooting remained largely a sport for the elites. It was Jaspal Rana who brought this sport to the limelight with his Gold medals from International shooting ranges. After the silver of Ra-jyawardhan Rathor in Athens Olympics 2004, the sport started to spread to every nook and corner.

Only 2 years before this historic first-ever Olympic silver, a boy named Saurabh Chaudhary was born. Toy-gun was his first touch with the sport, courtesy being his sibling Nitin. He would pay a visit to the nearby shooting range with Nitin when he was 13. From then onwards, he was a regular to blaze the gun in Mee-rut shooting range. His coach Amit Sheron asked his father to purchase a gun for Saurabh. For a family of limited means, it was a big task. Taking their call, his farmer father Jagmohan Singh took a loan to purchase the best equipment for his beloved son.

He didn’t let them down. The rise was visible as results started in only 3-4 months, and the elated family created a makeshift shooting range in their home for the emerging superstar. The range was between two rooms, providing a quiet space to the talent, away from the chaos of the academy.

In his first World Juniors Championship in Suhl 2017, Saurabh finished just outside the medal zone. But his 4th position from the shooting capital of Germany shaped him to touch new heights.

From 2018 onwards, Gold medals began to fall in his bag one after the other. At Jakarta, he faced a stiff challenge from 42-year-old Japanese Tomoyuki Matsuda and his sparring partner Abhishek Verma. Final-ly, Saurabh became the youngest Gold medal winner for the nation in the Asian Games. His success story was published on the front pages of the newspapers. Now ‘Saurabh Chaudhary’ was a well-known name.

The sensational run continued. The boy from Kalina village of Meerut (UP), returned with another Gold from the 2018 Youth Olympic Games held in Argentina. He would bag five more gold medals and a bronze at the ISSF Junior World Cup, the ISSF Junior World Championships, and the Asian Junior Airgun Championship in the same year.

He showed no signs of slowing down in 2019 either. In February, he clinched Gold at the ISSF World Cup in Delhi.

From here onwards, his tuning with fellow teenage prodigy Manu Bhaker began. The duo won the gold medal at the mixed team 10m air pistol events in 2019 shooting World Cup. The combo added two more gold medals from the ISSF World Cups in Beijing, Munich, and silver arrived from Rio de Janeiro. Adding ice to the cake, Saurabh broke the world and junior records in 10m pistol in Munich. In January 2020, otherwise shy Saurabh came first at the 63rd National Shooting Championship in men’s 10-meter air pistol.

Just when he was a firm favorite for a medal from the Tokyo 2020, COVID-19 come a bolt from the blue. Saurabh Chaudhary was ready for the challenge.

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AXAR, ASHWIN STAR AS INDIA SINK ENGLISH ARMADA BY 10 WICKETS

India beat England inside two days, dashing the tourists’ hopes of making the final of the inaugural World Test Championship in June.

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Riding on brilliant spells of spin bowling from Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin, India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the pink-ball Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thurs-day to go 2-1 up in the four-match series. In the end, English skipper Joe Root winning the toss and bat-ting first meant nothing as the visitors were completely outplayed in the game.

Axar Patel finished with 11 wickets in the match.

Chasing 49 for a win, India raced home with 10 wickets in the bag as Rohit Sharma (25) and Shubman Gill (15) looked in a hurry to finish proceedings. Rohit finished it off in style by sending Root into the mid-wicket stands. The win has taken India one step closer to the final of the World Test Championship. But the star of the show was hometown boy Axar as he finished with 11 wickets in the game (six in the first innings and five in the second). Senior partner Ashwin wasn’t to be left too far behind as he picked four wickets to finish with 7 in the game. Interestingly, the off-spinner also became the second-fastest to 400 Test wickets during England’s second innings when he trapped Jofra Archer plumb in front.

Root and Jack Leach’s domination in the opening session on the second day was indication enough that the English batsmen would have their task cut out in the second innings. And that is exactly how it panned out as Axar picked his third consecutive fifer in Test cricket.

It all started from the first ball of England’s second innings as Axar took the new ball and immediately sent back first innings’ top-scorer Zak Crawley for a duck. The flow of wickets didn’t stop from thereon with only Root (19) and Ben Stokes (25) looking like they were in with a chance to take England’s total past the 100-run mark.

But clearly the Indian spinners had other ideas as they kept picking wickets in quick succession to ensure that the game didn’t roll out of their comfort zone for a second. Washington Sundar picked the last Eng-land wicket as he sent back James Anderson (0) to see the visitors’ innings fold up for 81 — their lowest in Test cricket against India.

Starting the day on 99/3, Rohit did not have Ajinkya Rahane’s company for long as India’s Test deputy was out for 7 minutes after passing England’s first innings total. His lack of consistency will be a concern for the team management.

It was the Root show after that as he started with the wicket of dangerman Rishabh Pant and took 5 wickets.

Of the 30 wickets that fell in the game, 28 were picked by spinners with Ishant Sharma and Jofra Archer picking one wicket apiece.

Brief Scores: England 112 and 81 (Ben Stokes 25; Axar Patel 5/32); India 145 and 49/0 (Rohit Sharma 25*, Shubman Gill 15*).

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