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Coach Mickey Arthur to meet PCB officials

LAHORE (Monitoring Desk): Head coach Mickey Arthur is expected to meet with officials from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday where he will be consulted in chalking out future course of action for the team.

Arthur, who arrived in Lahore late Sunday night, is set to meet with Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and Director of Academies Mudassar Nazar, along with other officials, sources close to the matter said.

The meeting will lay out future course of action to be adopted regarding the team and talent development for the game. Among other topics, matters relating to the training camps at the National Cricket Academy will be brought under discussion, the sources added.

According to the sources, the PCB will consult with Arthur for feedback on the team’s coaching support staff.

The board is believed to be unhappy with the performances of batting coach Grant Flower and fielding coach Steve Rixon, and there are chances the two coaches may be released by the PCB for their supposed failure to produce desired results.

The performances of the coaching staff will be reviewed at the Governing board meeting scheduled for July 29, after which a decision is likely to be made on retaining or releasing the support staff.

Since joining the team in late 2013, Flower, a former Zimbabwean player, has worked with three coaches including Dav Whatmore, Waqar Younis and Arthur.

 

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PCB receives Champions Trophy prize money from ICC

KARACHI (PPI): Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) received the Champions Trophy prize money, Rs230 million, from the International Cricket Council (ICC) and is ready to distribute it among players.

Pakistan beat India in the final to be crowned the 2017 Champions Trophy winners and bagged a total prize money of $2,200,000 (which is approximately Rs230 million) which was sent by the ICC without any tax cuts to the PCB.

The money will now be divided into 17 parts, where 16 players will receive the money while the last part will be distributed among team management.

According to an estimate, each player is set to receive Rs13.5m. Every person in the team management may receive Rs10,00,000 each.

Left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz, who was sent back to Pakistan after incurring an injury in the first match of the tournament, will also receive one part of the prize money.

Apart from this, the players were also promised Rs10m by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, also the Patron of the PCB.

Meanwhile, many individual performers also received prize money and other gifts from private organisations.

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Manchester United edges Real Madrid on penalty kicks

LONDON (AFP): Anthony Martial offered Jose Mourinho a timely reminder of his attacking prowess Sunday despite missing from the spot in Manchester United’s penalty shootout victory over Real Madrid.

After a hugely impressive debut campaign at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal, Martial struggled to consistently produce the goods under Mourinho last season — prompting speculation throughout the summer that the French international could depart.

But a stunning individual run saw Martial lay-on Jesse Lingard’s opening goal in the International Champions Cup tie at Santa Clara before Real Madrid’s young guns produced an energetic second half fightback to earn a 1-1 draw and prompt a penalty shoot-out.

Intensity levels will rise several degrees when these two teams meet in the European Super Cup final in a fortnight, with Real’s big names understandably rusty during the first half, in their first pre-season outing.

After three Stateside games in the previous eight days, United were the sharper outfit, particularly Lingard, who caused Real plenty of problems drifting inside off the right.

The England international went close to opening the deadlock with an early screamer, when he collected Martial’s lay-off and hit a swerving shot from 25 yards that was pushed past the post by Keylor Navas.

In first half stoppage time, Lingard finally got his reward, albeit the goal owed much to the brilliance of Martial.

The Frenchman’s quick feet saw him leave both Daniel Carvajal and Luka Modric for dead as he surged inside from the left, before squaring the ball across the six-yard box. Lingard was ready and waiting at the far post to tap home.

Zinedine Zidane changed his entire 11 at the start of the second half and it prompted a much-improved display from Real, despite the absence of their key figures.

The Spanish giants drew level midway through the half when Victor Lindelof brought down Real summer signing Theo Hernandez in the area and Casemiro smashed the resulting spot-kick down the middle of David De Gea’s goal.

Real came close to going ahead moments later, but De Gea smartly tipped away Luis Miguel Quezaeda’s free kick.

The unmarked Marouane Fellaini should have secured victory for United in the 83rd minute, but produced an appalling finish after being picked out by Scott McTominay’s cross.

In the desperately low quality shootout that followed, only three players converted their penalties — Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Daley Blind notching the successful ones for United.

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Aisam wins thriller to clinch Hall of Fame Doubles Championship

NEWPORT (AFP): Continuing his superb form this year, Pakistan’s tennis star Aisam ul Haq has added yet another feather to his cap by winning the doubles title of the ATP Hall of Fame Tennis Championship, held in Newport.

The top seeded pair of Aisam and Rajeev Ram – his partner from the US – defeated the Austrian duo of Matt Reid and John Smith in a thrilling final that lasted 75 minutes.

The Pak-US duo won the first set without much resistance, dropping only four frames, but lost the second frame 4-6. In the super tie breaker, Aisam and Ram were better than their opponents, securing a 10-7 victory.

With this win – 6-4, 4-6, and 10-7, Aisam has bagged his fifth ATP title of the year apart from four ATP World Tour ones, all with different partners, and one ATP challenger at Surbiton, UK.

Aisam emerged the victor in ATP World Tour titles at Auckland (with Marcin Matkowski), Barcelona (with Florin Mergea), and Antalya (with Robert Lindstedt). The win at Newport completes 15 ATP world tour double titles for the Pakistani player.

This was also his first title with Ram and Aisam was happy to be paired with him, saying that he looks forward to winning more tournaments with him.

“It’s been a pleasure to play with Rajeev. It’s been a great week. I love Newport and I love coming back here. He’s won so many titles on grass so it was a perfect combination,” he said.

Talking about future, Aisam said, “Hopefully, we can play in the future again. Winning a tournament when playing together for the first time is a great feeling.”

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Ashes series under threat from Australia pay dispute, says players union – report

MELBOURNE (AFP): Australia’s cricketers union is reportedly warning its players this summer’s home Ashes series might be scrapped, even if a new pay deal can be reached tentatively with Cricket Australia (CA).

According to Fairfax Media, the head of the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), Alistair Nicholson, sent an email on Saturday to players, warning the Test series against England was under threat.

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Hasan Ali signs up for Caribbean Premier League: sources

LAHORE (Monitoring Desk): Pakistan pacer and Champions Trophy hero Hasan Ali has been signed by West Indies’ popular T20 venture Caribbean Premier League (CPL), sources within the Pakistan Cricket Board said.

According to the sources, the star bowler will be featuring for CPL franchise St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, which also boasts the likes of Faf du Plessis, Samuel Badree, Carlos Brathwaite, Lendl Simmons and Brad Hodge.

Hasan Ali’s latest signing comes on the heels of his agreement with Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) earlier this month, under which he will also be playing for Comilla Victorians in the upcoming season later this year.

The 23-year-old is currently waiting for his US visa, which will enable him to play for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in some matches which are scheduled to be held in Florida in early August.

Hasan Ali is confident of performing his best in his CPL stint and is looking forward to playing cricket during the off-season – an opportunity that would help him stay fit for when national duty calls, the sources said.

The pacer, who burst onto the international scene after successful stints in the Pakistan Super League, bagged 13 wickets in the ICC Champions Trophy, winning the Golden Ball as well as Player of the Tournament awards along with capturing the hearts of his fans with his trademark celebratory style.

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Aisam ul Haq in final of ATP Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

NEW PORT (Web Desk): Pakistan’s tennis ace Aisam ul Haq, along with his partner Rajeev Ram of USA, has qualified for the final of ATP Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in New Port .

The top seed of the tournament, Pak American duo faced third seed India-Australia pair of Leander Paes and Sam Groth in the nail biting semi final.

Aisam and Rajeev could win only four games in first set of the match but came back strongly in the second set, saving multiple match points with score of 7-6 to take the game into super tie breaker.

The Pak-US duo continued their battle in the thrilling super tie breaker to win it 11/9 and qualify for the final where they will meet Australian pair of Matt Reid and John Smith.

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PHF names 60 probables for Asia Cup training camp

LAHORE (APP): Some senior players, who were not considered by sacked head coach Khawaja Junaid and the previous national selection committee, have been included in the list of 60 probables, who will attend the national training camp in Islamabad from July 24 for the Asia Cup.

The newly-appointed national selection committee, headed by Olympian Hassan Sardar, announced the list of the probables in which some senior players like Irfan Senior, Rashid Mahmood, Rizwan Senior, M. Ateeq, Tousiq and Kashif Shah have been recalled.

The 10th Asia Cup is being held in Bangladesh from Oct 12 to 22.

The training camp will be held at Naseer Bunda Stadium, Islamabad, under new head coach Farhat Khan.

No goalkeeper is included in this list as the PHF has already announced a list of 10 goalkeepers, who will attend a separate training camp in Karachi.

Our sports reporter from Islamabad adds: The two-week training camp for goalkeepers starts from Saturday (today) at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium.

Former Olympian goalkeeper Nasir Ahmed of PIA will impart training to budding goalkeepers.

“We are going to hold a separate camp for goalkeepers in Karachi,” said PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed Senior, adding the new coaching staff and selection committee have been appointed for achieving better results.

“The new appointments have been made in order to bring improvements in the national side,” maintained the PHF secretary, stating the training camp at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium will continue for two weeks.

Probables:

Defenders: M. Irfan, M. Aleem Bilal, Niwaz Ishfaq, Rashid Mahmood, Toseeq Arshad, M. Rizwan Jr., M. Atif Mushtaq, Tasawar Abbas, Ammad Shakeel Butt, Abu Bakar Mahmood, Mubashir Ali, Asad Aziz, M. Faisal Qadir, Taimoor Malik, Hassan Anwar, Qazi Asfand, Tazeem-ul-Hassan, M. Junaid Kamal, Saleem Nazim, Kashif Shah, Ali Hussain, Kashif Javed, Ali Hassan Faraz, Sami Ullah, M. Zeeshan, M. Zubair, M. Ateeq, Sohail Manzoor.

Forwards: M. Irfan Jr., Umar Bhutta, Arslan Qadir, Ali Shan, Ijaz Ahmad, M. Rizwan Senior, Abdul Haseem Khan, Azfar Yaqoob, M. Dilber, Rana Umair, Karim Khan, Shan Irshad, M. Bilal Qadir, Shajeeh Ahmed, M. Atiq, Rana Suhail Riaz, Mohsin Sabir, Sami Ullah, Saran Bin Qamar, Khizer Akhtar, Rizwan Ali, Kashif Ali, Ali Akber, Umer Sarfaraz, Fahad Ullah, Fraz Dar, A. Jabbar, M. Naveed, Nohaiz Malik, M. Sabir, Umar Hamdi, Faisal Rasheed.

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Barcelona manager Valverde dismisses talk of Neymar move

NEW YORK (AFP): Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde swatted down talk of star striker Neymar departing for a world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, dismissing “rumors” Friday and saying the squad wants him to stay.

Amid reports Neymar s future at the Camp Nou is in doubt, Valverde says the Brazil international is beloved and wanted at Barca for years to come.

“This is a time of rumors. We understand it s how it is,” Valverde said. “He is with us right now. One of us. It s a player we love and we want. Not only football-wise, but also for the things he brings to the locker room.

“It s only rumors. There s no need to worry about something we don t know if it s going to happen or not. If it happens in the future, we ll see. But no need to worry about it now.”

The comments came as Barcelona opened a US exhibition tour to prepare for the upcoming campaign.

They face Juventus on Saturday in New Jersey, Manchester United on Wednesday in suburban Washington and El Clasico rival Real Madrid in Miami on July 29.

Barcelona midfielder and captain Sergio Busquets also shrugged off talk of Neymar departing as rumor.

“It s a period of rumors and there s a lot of news going on,” Busquets said. “He s the only one who knows. If he has to say something he will. There s nothing I have to tell him. He already knows where he is. I don t think he could be in any better place. I hope he stays here for many years.”

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano called Brazilian star Neymar the future of the Spanish giants, telling ESPN on Friday that he hopes the 25-year-old striker stays as well.

“In the case of Ney, obviously he is young, and I hope he s here with Barcelona for many more years,” Mascherano said in a posting on the US-based sports network s website.

“He is a really important player for the club. Because of his age, he s the future of the club, and we hope we can keep on counting on him.”

Reports suggest Neymar has already told Barca teammates he wants to move, but Mascherano says such talk has not affected the Brazilian, who has scored 105 goals in 186 matches for Barcelona and 52 goals in 77 caps for his country.

“He s accustomed to the pressure and people talking,” Mascherano said. “There s always going to be rumors and news around him.”

Asked what advice he might have for Neymar after his own pondering of a move to Juventus a year ago, the Argentine said he sees Neymar enjoying Spain.

“It s really difficult to give advice,” Mascherano said. “Firstly, I m not anyone to be giving advice and secondly, I see him really happy here, really happy.”

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Pietersen eyes South Africa international return

LONDON (AFP): Kevin Pietersen said Wednesday he has not ruled out resurrecting his international career with his native South Africa even though he’ll be pushing 40 when he requalifies.

The 37-year-old batsman will become eligible to play for the Proteas in 2019 having not been selected for England after being sacked in the aftermath of the 2013-14 Ashes defeat in Australia.

“You are talking about in two years’ time. Would I? Who knows? We’ll have to wait and see where I am,” said Pietersen after smashing a thrilling half-century to lead Surrey to a 10-run win over Essex in front of almost 24,000 fans at the Oval in the Twenty20 Blast in an explosive return to English cricket.

“I’m going to be playing a lot of cricket in South Africa over the next two years, so we’ll see. “I love batting: I will bat for as long as I love the art of batting. I do at the moment, but I’m an old man now, I’ve just hurt my calf, I didn’t field. “Who knows where I’ll be in two years’ time? If I enjoy batting, we’ll see where I get to. I’m in a very happy place.”

Pietersen hit four sixes in an over on his way to 52 off 35 balls in a Surrey total of 150 for nine on Wednesday. In reply, Essex were restricted to 140 for seven. Pietersen, who suffered a calf injury which prevented him from fielding, was playing his first English domestic match for nearly two years.

He had a lucky escape in the 10th over when he was dropped by Dan Lawrence off Ashar Zaidi and added 43 with Dominic Sibley. Pietersen was eventually out in the 16th over, three balls after reaching his 40th half-century in T20 cricket.