Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 15 (ANI): Shane Warne on Monday took a dig at former cricketers who had questioned the quality of the pitch in the ongoing second Test between India and England.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan on Sunday had raised questions over the Chennai pitch as the Joe Root-led side crumbled to 134 in their first innings. Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen had sarcastically questioned the “brave wicket” prepared for the second Test.
It was a dream start for England on day three as India lost five wickets in the first session but Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin steadied the Indian ship with respective half-centuries.
The turning track has assisted spinners but former Australian bowler Shane Warne said that India has made more than 520 runs on the “bad pitch”.
“India have now made 523 runs on this so called “bad pitch” and they still have 2 wickets in hand ! Thoughts?” Warne tweeted.
At the end of the second day’s play, Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin hit out at cricket pundits who had questioned the quality of the pitch.
“The only comparison I would say is if the ball is moving around in 140-150 clicks off the deck, that has to be more challenging than someone bowling at 85 or 90 kph when the ball is spinning,” Ashwin said in the virtual press conference on Sunday.
“Clearly, the challenges are way greater when you come up against seam. It’s just the same way when you play spin, you have to give it to the bowler, play time and then look to score runs. It’s another form of art, that’s it. As simple as that,” he added.
Meanwhile, India has extended the lead to over 440 runs in the second innings after being reduced to 106/6 in the first session on Monday. (ANI)
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Afridi thanks fans for birthday wishes, creates more confusion about his “age”
New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi is celebrating his birthday today and he took to Twitter to thank the fans for sending their wishes.
However, a simple tweet by Afridi has ended up creating more confusion about his age which has always been a huge point of debate in the cricketing world.
“Thank you very much for all the lovely birthday wishes — 44 today! My family and my fans are my biggest assets. Really enjoying my stint with Multan and hope to produce match-winning performances for all MS fans,” tweeted Afridi on Monday.
As per the official website of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Afridi was born on March 1, 1980, which makes his age 41.
This is not the first time that Afridi has been talking about his age. Back in 2019, Afridi had revealed that he was not 16 but he was 19 when he made his debut way back in 1998.
As per the record books, Afridi had smashed the fastest-hundred in international cricket against Sri Lanka when he was just 16 years old.
“I was just nineteen, and not sixteen like they claim. I was born in 1975. So yes, the authorities stated my age incorrectly,” Afridi had written in his autobiography titled ‘Game Changer.’
Now if Afridi’s claim of being born in 1975 stands correct, then that makes his age 46, so saying that he is 44 only adds to the confusion.
Afridi had retired from international cricket in 2017. He bid adieu to the longest format of the game in 2010 and he retired from ODIs in 2015.
The former Pakistan skipper was part of the T20 World Cup-winning squad in 2009. The tournament was played in the UK and Pakistan had defeated Sri Lanka in the final.
Afridi was adjudged Player of the Tournament for his performance throughout the T20 World Cup. (ANI)
Halliday, Sullivan added to White Ferns T20 squad
Wellington [New Zealand], March 1 (ANI): Northern Districts all-rounder Brooke Halliday has replaced Lea Tahuhu in the New Zealand women (White Ferns) squad for the upcoming GJ Gardner Homes T20I series against England.
Meanwhile, Canterbury’s Gabby Sullivan remains with the squad as injury cover for seamer Hannah Rowe. Rowe tweaked her quad in Sunday’s third ODI in Dunedin and will be monitored over the next 24 hours.
All-rounder Halliday, who scored back-to-back half centuries in the opening two ODI’s against England, gets her opportunity on the back of an impressive start to her international career.
“Everyone saw how well Brooke went in the recent ODI series,” said White Ferns skipper Sophie Devine.
“She stepped up with the bat and ball offering some handy overs. Although she’s not a like-for-like replacement for Lea Tahuhu, it’s good to see her getting a chance in the T20 format,” she added.
The White Ferns assembled in Wellington today ahead of the T20 series to be played alongside the New Zealand men v Australia T20I series as double-header fixtures at Sky Stadium in Wellington on March 3, 5 and 7.
All the matches will be played behind closed doors. (ANI)
Yasir Shah, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail to attend month-long High Performance camp
Lahore [Pakistan], March 1 (ANI): Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday informed that the High Performance department will hold a month-long camp for elite cricketers who are either not featuring in the Pakistan Super League 2021 or knocking at the doors of international cricket or recently lost their places in the national side.
“The camp will commence at the National High Performance Centre in Lahore on Tuesday, March 2, in which the High Performance coaches will work on various technical and physical aspects of the elite cricketers,” PCB said in a release.
National High Performance Centre’s world-class coaches, including Atiq-uz-Zaman, Mohammad Yousuf, Mohsin Kamal, Saqlain Mushtaq, Umar Rasheed, will work with these elite cricketers according to a robust programme.
“This camp is being organised as part of our philosophy and strategy to build the profile of the National High Performance Centre as a developing and finishing school for the cricketers so that our national coaches can extract the required performances at the international stage,” Director – High Performance, Nadeem Khan said.
“This camp has been designed in such a way that the current players who are not part of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2021 and may potentially be in contention for the April tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe can remain connected and can hit the ground running when they land in Africa,” he added.
Players invited for the camp are: Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Ahmad Bashir, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Bismillah Khan, Fawad Alam, Hammad Azam, Haris Sohail, Hasan Khan, Imran Butt, Irfanullah, Kamran Ghulam, Khurram Shahzad, Mohammad Abbas, Nauman Ali, Rehan Afridi, Sajid Khan, Salman Irshad, Saud Shakeel, Tabish Khan, Taj Wali, Umar Khan and Yasir Shah. (ANI)
You’re going to land of spin, should expect that: Vivian Richards bats for same pitch for 4th Test
New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Amid debate over the third Test pitch, West Indies great Vivian Richards slammed England for complaining about the spinning wicket and added that he wants to see a similar track in the final Test of the series.
India had managed to defeat England within two days in the pink-ball Test. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that didn’t turn and skidded through from the spinners. But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen.
India batsman Rohit Sharma clarified that he did not think the pitch had any demons. Even skipper Virat Kohli was vocal about the dreadful batting display from the two teams. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also echoed the sentiments.
Further, Richards also feels that batters need to prepare themselves for these conditions rather than complaining about the spinning conditions.
“I’ve been asked questions recently about the Test match that was played in India… the second and third Test match against England. And I am a little confused about the question really because there seems to be a lot of moaning and groaning about the wicket that they were playing on. I just felt that the ones who are moaning, in my opinion, should realise that there are times that you’re going to get a seaming track, a ball that is basically jumping off a good length and everyone thinks that’s a problem for batters. There are times batters sometimes cope with that,” Richards said in a video posted on his Facebook page.
“But now you’ve seen the other side, and this is why I think it was given the name Test match cricket, because of the test of the mind and will and everything else that goes with it when you’re competing. And the complaints have been that the wicket is spinning too much and all that sorts of stuff. This is another side of the arc guys. People seem to forget that if you’re going to India, you should expect that. You are going to spin land. You should basically prepare yourself to know what you’re going to encounter.
“Rather than the moaning and groaning, especially just recently how quickly that Test match was over. It gives England an opportunity and a chance to assess things, to believe that for some reason the wicket that they’re going to encounter in the fourth Test is going to be the same. If I was India or I had anything to do with the preparations of the wicket, I would bring in very much the same,” Richards added.
One of the living legends of the game Richards went on to praise the Indian side and said England should come out of their comfort zone and they have to face the spin.
“Ever since that first Test match, England were in their comfort zone. They have now been taken out of their comfort zone at present and they have got to find ways and means to cope with what they are going to encounter. Spin in all part of the game, this is what a Test match brings. The Indian pacers have been brilliant over the past few years in terms of substance, wicket-taking ability and stuff like that. But now that you’re in India, you are going to encounter things and have got to find a way. You’re going to get dirty. There is nothing in the rule book that says I’ve got to score my runs in pretty, classical ways,” he said.
“I just believe all the moaning and groaning has got to stop and just see the classical side of things in terms of the Indian armoury. And from where I’m sitting, it’s good to see,” the West Indian signed off.
On Sunday, England wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes said that his side knows that the pitch is going to turn from ball one as the hosts are pushing their conditions to the extremities.
“Obviously, we got thoroughly outplayed. Those were tricky conditions, but they played well. They have a couple of class spinners and we did not have answers to them so I think going forward, we have to be good enough to counter that to score big runs on the board. I think we know what we are going to get in the last Test in terms of surface. They are pushing their conditions to the extremities and we know it is going to spin from ball number one, it is about finding a way to play well in those conditions,” said Foakes during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“The last two pitches are the hardest I have kept on, the last game, the pink-ball was skidding and the amount it was spinning, I have never seen that and it was a challenge to keep on those wickets. We have been outplayed in the last two games, but we are in a position to draw the series, we have to put a good performance and if we go away with a 2-2 draw, it will be a good performance,” he added.
The fourth-Test of the series will commence on Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
If India manages to win or draw the final Test against England, then the side would qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC) and the side would take on New Zealand in the summit clash. England is now out of the WTC final contention after losing the third Test against India. (ANI)
Klopp expects Alisson, Jota and Fabinho to be ready for Chelsea clash
Sheffield [UK], March 1 (ANI): Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is hoping to have Fabinho and Alisson Becker available for the upcoming home clash against Chelsea.
Liverpool boss is also hopeful on Diogo Jota’s chances of returning against the Blues.
Fabinho has resumed full training after a muscle injury had kept him out of Liverpool’s last four outings, while Alisson was absent from the Reds’ 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday evening on compassionate grounds following the passing of his father earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Jota had been set to be included in the squad for the first time since December 9 after a knee issue; however, the forward fell ill at the team hotel overnight and was ruled out of the contest.
“Alisson and Fabinho, I am pretty sure [they can play],” Klopp said after the win over Sheffield United.
“With Diogo, he was with us last night in the hotel, but he got sick overnight and we had to send him home. So it will depend how quickly he recovers, obviously. He wasn’t in the squad, but he’s trained with the team before [this week] and looked really good, like I said before. I think he will be available but I don’t know,” he added.
The defending Premier League champions are now at the sixth spot in the standings with 43 points from 26 games and the side is just one point behind fifth-placed Chelsea. The first-half between Liverpool and Sheffield United saw no goals being scored and the honours were level at the halfway mark. (ANI)
After League Winners Shield, Lobera eyeing ISL trophy
Bambolim (Goa) [India], March 1 (ANI): After winning their first-ever trophy on Sunday, Mumbai City head coach Sergio Lobera is now setting his eyes on the Indian Super League (ISL) trophy. Mumbai City defeated ATK Mohun Bagan in the final match of the ISL league stage on Sunday to win the League Winners Shield.
Lobera’s men made the most of their chances as they dished out a complete performance to beat Bagan 2-0 at the GMC Stadium Bambolim.
“The season is not over. We have to continue being ambitious but now we have to enjoy the play-offs. We want to win the trophy,” Lobera said after the match.
“At this moment, every team is a difficult team. We have to be careful. It is (FC Goa) going to be a very good game against a good team and hopefully, we will win the semi-final,” he added.
With the win, the Islanders not only topped the league stage but also booked their place in the AFC Champions League (ACL) 2022 group stage. By doing so, they will become the second Indian club after FC Goa to play in the ACL.
The final league game of the season was expected to be close, with two of the most consistent teams in the league going head to head. But Lobera’s side won comfortably in the end after first-half goals from Mourtada Fall (7′) and Bartholomew Ogbeche (39′).
Despite losing the top spot to Mumbai, ATK Mohun Bagan will still harbour hopes of salvaging their season with a second successive ISL title.
Lobera is elated after securing the League Winners Shield and said his players deserved the trophy.
“I am very happy because Mumbai City and City Football Group (CFG) gave us all everything and now is the moment to enjoy and analyse the things we achieved. I think my players deserved to win this trophy and finally, hopefully, we can achieve another one,” said the Mumbai City boss.
“I always believe in my players because I am working with them all the time. They are warriors. They are ambitious players and amazing persons. We are a family on and off the pitch and finally, I think we were very strong mentally. We had a difficult situation when we lost one game against Jamshedpur but finally, we are a strong team and we deserved to finish at the top of the table,” he added.
Mumbai City FC will play their two-legged semi-finals against fourth-placed FC Goa. ATK Mohun Bagan, who finished second in the league stage will lock horns with third-placed NorthEast United FC. (ANI)
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