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No recall for Stokes as England name unchanged third Test squad

LONDON (Agencies): Ben Stokes was again omitted as England named an unchanged 13-man squad on Monday for the third Test against India at Trent Bridge starting Saturday, where victory would see them clinch the series.

Stokes’s ongoing trial on a charge of affray in Bristol saw him left out by England as they thrashed India by an innings and 159 runs in the second Test at Lord’s on Sunday to go 2-0 up with three to play in the five-match campaign.

However, a brief statement issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said they would review Stokes’s position following the conclusion of the trial, which is expected to end before the third Test starts.

“The ECB will make an assessment of Ben Stokes’s availability after the trial in Bristol has concluded,” the statement said. Fellow pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes, who took Stokes’s place, starred with both bat and ball in a man-of-the-match display at Lord’s.

Woakes made 137 not out, his maiden Test century, and also took four wickets as England overpowered India, the world’s top-ranked Test side. By naming the same squad, England retained uncapped Essex paceman Jamie Porter and off-spinner Moeen Ali, both of whom missed out on a place in their XI that played at Lord’s.

England squad for the third Test against India at Trent Bridge, August 18-22:

Alastair Cook (Essex), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire, wkt), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jamie Porter (Essex).

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Nadal and Simona win Rogers Cup titles

TORONTO (Agencies): World number one Rafael Nadal beat unseeded Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the Rogers Cup in Toronto, bringing the Greek’s stunning run to an end.

Tsitsipas, who turned 20 on Sunday, beat Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev en route to the final but lost 6-2 7-6 (7-4). He had a set point in the 12th game of the second set but could not convert.

Earlier, Romania’s Simona Halep beat American Sloane Stephens in three sets to win the women’s event in Montreal. In a re-run of the French Open final in June, Halep eventually came out on top 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-2.

Tsitsipas runs nervy Nadal close

Tsitsipas, who was the first unseeded finalist in Canada since Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer in 2008, has won new fans with some brilliant shot-making and an extrovert personality.

But Nadal, 32, was in no mood to pander to the crowd in Toronto, who were firmly behind the birthday boy appearing in his first Masters Series final.

The French Open champion raced through the first set but was broken for the first time when serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, a game that featured two double faults. That handed the momentum to Tsitsipas, who then had a set point at 6-5 only for Nadal to benefit from a net-cord volley.

After an apparent bout of nerves, Nadal gathered himself in the tie-break to win his 80th ATP Tour title, sinking to his knees and letting out a huge roar at the end.

Halep and Stephens enjoy another epic

In the women’s final, world number one Halep took a dramatic first set in a tie-break after three breaks of service apiece, but lost the second before recovering in the decider. Halep, who also won the Rogers Cup in 2016, emerged victorious after a marathon encounter lasting two hours and 41 minutes in sweltering conditions.

Both players were regularly doubled up, struggling for breath, amid some punishing rallies in the gruelling heat. “I just didn’t give up during the tournament, I fought until the end,” said Halep.

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Ashraful targets Bangladesh comeback as five-year ban ends

DHAKA (Agencies): Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful said Monday that has set his sights on a comeback with the national side after his five-year ban for match-fixing ended.

“I am feeling really nice as I was waiting for this day for the last five years. (I told myself) when August 13, 2018 came I would be available for national team again,” Ashraful told AFP from Britain.

“Over the last five years I never felt I wouldn’t be able to come back. I never lacked this confidence. I always felt I would come back,” he said.

Ashraful was fined and banned for eight years — cut on appeal to five — in 2014 for match and spot fixing during a T20 tournament in Bangladesh in 2013.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board partially lifted his ban in 2016, allowing him to play domestic first-class and List A cricket.

But he was still suspended from international and franchise-based Twenty20 cricket for another two years.

Ashraful, who turned 34 in July, showed a glimpse of his talent in domestic 50-over Dhaka Premier League competition last year when he scored five centuries in 13 matches to accumulate 665 runs at an average of 66.50.

Bangladesh chief selector Minhajul Abedin told reporters in Dhaka on Sunday however that Ashraful must prove his form and fitness.

Ashraful, who played 61 Tests, 177 one-day internationals and 23 Twenty20 internationals, acknowledged he has a tough road ahead to revive his international career.

“Of course it will be tough to get a chance in the Bangladesh team,” he said. “Still I think if I can perform. There is plenty of room for me to serve Bangladesh team. This is what I believe,” said Ashraful.

He said he believed he would face little problem in the dressing room if he was picked again, since he always maintained a good relationship with his former team-mates.

Bangladesh last week completed a T20 series victory over the West Indies in Florida.

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Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-1 to win Spanish Super Cup in Morocco

MOROCCO (Agencies): Barcelona battled back to defeat Sevilla 2-1 and win the Spanish Supercup on Sunday with French World Cup winner Ousmane Dembele hitting a sensational winner to help give Lionel Messi a winning start as captain.

It was Barcelona’s 13th Supercup and sixth in the last nine seasons.

However, Sevilla squandered a golden chance to send the match into extra-time when Wissam Ben Yedder missed a last-minute penalty.

Pablo Sarabia gave Sevilla the lead after just nine minutes on a counter-attack. Gerard Pique, who announced his international retirement with Spain on Saturday, levelled three minutes before the interval for Barcelona after he was fastest to respond to a loose ball following a Messi free-kick.

That set the stage for French star Dembele to take the headlines with a 78th minute screamer from 25 yards and again Messi played a crucial role with the key pass.

There was still time for late drama when Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen brought down Aleix Vidal in the area as the Sevilla youngster closed in on an equaliser. But Ben Yedder hit a weak penalty which was easily saved by Ter Stegen.

The match had endured a controversial build-up when Sevilla threatened to file a complaint against Barcelona if the La Liga champions fielded more than three non-EU players. The Spanish football federation (RFEF) said on Saturday that there would be no restrictions on players from outside the EU for the Supercup, despite only three being allowed in squads for league matches.

Sevilla said they could file a complaint if Barca name an “improper lineup” in Tangier. New signings Malcom, Arturo Vidal and Arthur were expected to be Barca’s three non-EU players on Sunday, although Brazilian centre-back Marlon also travelled with the squad.

In the end, 21-year-old winger Malcom, signed from Bordeaux in the summer, was left out of the match day line-up. Philippe Coutinho has reportedly acquired a Portuguese passport through his wife in the last week, while his fellow South Americans Messi and Luis Suarez are already EU citizens.

Sevilla qualified for Sunday’s match as last season’s Copa del Rey runners-up, after Barcelona won the league and cup double.

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Hafeez’s intimidations draw PCB’s ire

Monitoring Desk

KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is reportedly unhappy with all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez’s intimidations that he might leave national team without taking retirement after his demotion to category B in the newly announced central contracts.

Hafeez, who played 50 Tests for Pakistan, clarified in a tweet that he did not make any statements regarding his demotion to category B, and said he is ready to play for the country in whichever category he’s put in.

“Regarding central contract issue, I want to yet again clear to all my fans and media people that I always played for Pakistan with highest passion, dignity and honour, surely not for money. I am happy to serve my beloved county in even C or D category, no matter what, but to play with respect,” he tweeted after news surfaced he was unhappy with his new central contract.

However, sources say PCB is not taking Hafeez’s tweet as his final word and will want him to clarify things if he wants to be a part of the squad for the upcoming Asia Cup in the UAE.

Earlier, PCB chairman Najam Sethi told media that they will not be intimidated by anyone and will not make any changes to the central contracts. Sources claim that Hafeez will be needed as a reserve opener during the Asia Cup alongside Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq, but if the dust is not settled than the all-rounder might have to miss the tournament.

Meanwhile, if the issue is resolved, then the 37-year-old might fly to the UAE with the team, but that still doesn’t confirm his place in the final eleven. It should be noted that during Pakistan’s recent ODI series against Zimbabwe, Hafeez warmed the bench after not being called into the playing eleven for even one match.

Imad to return for Asia Cup

Pakistan all-rounder Imad Wasim will be available for Asia Cup after recovering from injury and successfully representing the Jamaica Tallawahs in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League.

Imad last represented Pakistan during the October series against Sri Lanka and then incurred an injury during the February-March Pakistan Super League. He is supposed to replace all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz in the team. Once the apple of head coach Mickey Arthur’s eyes, Imad lost his reputation in front of the South African courtesy bad attitude and lack of commitment.

However, it is reported that management will be giving him one more chance to prove his worthiness. Pakistan are facing a busy schedule starting from Asia Cup in September followed by Australia and New Zealand’s tour to the UAE.

After that, Pakistan will travel to South Africa for a full-fledge series including Tests, ODIs and T20Is.



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Lorenzo holds off Marquez to win Austrian MotoGP

SPIELBERG BEI KNITTELFELD (Agencies): Jorge Lorenzo struck the final blow in a dog fight with fellow Spaniard Marc Marquez, overtaking at the start of the final lap on Sunday to win the Austrian MotoGP.

Ducati’s Lorenzo and Marquez, on a Honda, traded first place over the closing laps before Lorenzo powered past on the home straight and then held off Marquez on the next corner to pull away to win. Lorenzo, who will be moving to Honda next season, said he made an effort to conserve his tyres in the early part of the race.

“Ten laps to the end, I decided to attack,” Lorenzo said immediately after the race. “I was stronger in some areas, like uphill, he was stronger on the second corner. When I passed him, I gave everything and pushed to the limit. One of my best victories.” Marquez could afford to savour the battle because his closest rival in the standings, Italian veteran Valentino Rossi, started from 14th on the grid and could only climb to sixth.

“This race I enjoyed,” Marquez said. “I gave everything, everything. I would try to defend my position but he did it to me on the straight. Great show.” Marquez now leads the standings by 59 points.

Lorenzo jumped to third overall, one point ahead of Andrea Dovizioso who finished third on the other Ducati. The Italian, who won last week in Brno, could not quite keep up with the pace of the two leaders.


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Nadal breezes into Rogers Cup final

Toronto (Agencies): World number one Rafael Nadal on Sunday stormed into the final of the Rogers Cup after he saw off Karen Khachanov of Russia in their men’s singles semi-final match.

The 32-year-old thrashed his Russian opponent 7-6(3), 6-4 to register a straight-set victory in a one-sided clash. The Spaniard will now take on Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the final match. The top seed, who never won an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title after Cincinnati Open 2013, will look to end the drought of five long years by clinching a victory against Tsitsipas.

Nadal and Tsitsipas last met each other in the final of the Barcelona Open, in April where Nadal registered a straight-set victory over the Greek player.

As far as head to head record is concerned, the figures are tilted 79-36 in Nadal’s favour. Reflecting on the final clash, the seventeen-time Grand Slam title said that he is looking forward to the match and asserted that it would be great if he managed to win the title.

“Tomorrow is a day to play a great match against a very tough opponent. And I hope to be ready for it. It’s another Masters 1000 final. But still a lot of work to do. If it happens, it’s going to be great news of course. Canada is a tournament that I play well a lot of times in my career. And it’s a very important result for me to be back here where I am,” ATP website quoted Nadal, as saying. The Rogers Cup final is slated to be held on August 13.

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Fakhar hails Qalandar’s development program

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan batsman Fakhar Zaman said Sunday the Lahore Qalandars’ development program is an amazing opportunity for youngsters.

While speaking to a private news channel, Zaman said through this program, talent from far-flung areas will have a chance to shine.

“These areas have a lot of talent, however, a lack of facilities holds people back from showcasing their talent. The Rising Stars programme gives them a platform to showcase their talent,” he said.

On the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and playing for the Lahore Qalandars’ franchise, Zaman said the league gave him an opportunity to improve his game.

“I learned a lot while sharing the dressing room with some of the top players from Lahore Qalandars.” “Not only did I get a chance to play with some of the top players I got to play against them,” he added. “Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf and I all came into the spotlight because of PSL.”

The 28-year-old added the reason behind his success is hard work. “I try to perform my best in every match,” he said. “I do not run after individual targets.” “I play from match to match and series to series.” To a question about the upcoming Asia Cup encounter against India, the record-smashing batsman said that he will try to replicate his Champions Trophy innings against India.


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Imran and team will do what is best for country: Waqar

F.P. Report
Lahore: Former Pakistan Test and ODI captain Waqar Younis believes that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and his team will do what is best for the country. Speaking to the media, Younis welcomed the change and expressed hopes of a better future for Pakistan.
The 46-year-old said there were a lot of areas that needed improvement in cricket and other industries, and that Imran was aware of the challenges facing the sports landscape. “The good thing is Imran has played cricket and that also top-level cricket. No one is a better judge of it than him. He has been thinking about changes in the sport for a long time,” said Younis.
The former coach pointed out Imran had always been talking about making changes in the domestic circuit, to have fewer teams, better playing conditions, better cricket stadiums and a better standard of cricket overall.
On his meeting with his former captain at his Bani Gala residence after the PTI won the July 25 election, Younis said, “It was our responsibility to meet him and give him hope. We discussed a number of things at the meeting which will hopefully bring improvements.”

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Rashid launches charity foundation for children

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s national cricket team hero, has launched a charity foundation providing healthcare and education to orphans and impoverished Afghan children. Rashid, 19, announced the establishment of the Rashid Khan Foundation on his Facebook page, and said: “I cannot do great things, but I can do small things with great love and inspiration.”

The charity will aim to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghan children, especially those in need of clean drinking water and affordable healthcare facilities. “(The) smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. The Rashid Khan Foundation will support Afghan children in need of education, orphans, clean water, and healthcare,” read the Facebook announcement.

Rashid is currently in England for Sussex’s T20 Blast campaign, but will travel to Ireland later this month for Afghanistan’s limited-overs tour, comprising three Twenty20 internationals and as many one-day internationals. The leg-spinner is the top-ranked bowler in the MRF ICC T20I Rankings, and is No.2 in ODIs.