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Moeen calls for greter Asian involvement in England

LONDON (AFP): Moeen Ali believes English cricket is missing a trick by not reaching out to more potential players from Britain’s Asian communities.

Moeen, whose hat-trick sealed England’s 239-run win in the third Test against South Africa at The Oval on Monday, is the latest of several players of Asian descent to represent England, including former captain Nasser Hussain, with cricket deeply embedded in the life of many British Asian communities.

But Moeen, who was born and brought up in Birmingham, a city with one of Britain’s largest Asian populations, said more work was needed if English cricket was to make the most of this enthusiasm for the sport.

“Now, a lot more south Asian people are thinking: ‘Actually, I could make a good career from this now.’ But it’s also down to the counties to do more to help South-Asian kids,” Moeen, who started his career with Birmingham-based Warwickshire before moving to Midlands rivals Worcestershire, told The Guardian on Wednesday.

“Look at Warwickshire. This is a big city of Asian people, so why can’t you produce any south Asian players? I don’t understand.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board (WCB) has launched a south Asian initiative to help develop players from those backgrounds and Moeen said: “It’s a very good step in the right direction to ask people how the ECB can help them. It’s very positive because the pool of talent is vast.

“But the south Asian mentality must also change. Cricket is not just batting and bowling. There’s a lot of physical stuff, fitness, fielding, diet, discipline, being on time.”

The bearded Moeen, a 30-year-old off-spinning all-rounder, is also one of the most high-profile practising Muslims in British public life and a representative of a community that has often felt stigmatised following recent terror attacks in Manchester and London.

“There is such negativity in the media around Islam but when I play cricket for England I don’t have to say anything,” Moeen added.

“I’m hoping people look at me and other Muslims and think: Actually, it will be all right. They’re not too bad.’”

Meanwhile Moeen, who made his name as a batsman, was hailed as an “unsung hero” by former England captain Alastair Cook.

England are now 2-1 up against South Africa ahead of the fourth and final Test.

Moeen is the leading bowler on either side with 18 wickets — including a 10-wicket haul in England’s series-opening win at Lord’s where he also made 87.

“It has been an amazing series for Mo, he is a legend,” opening batsman Cook told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.

“He is the unsung hero in one sense. He came into the side a few years ago when I was captain as a guy who could balance the side and bowl a little bit of off-spin and now he is the leading wicket-taker in the series.

“His off-spin is actually very good, he’s not [former England off-spinner] Graeme Swann but his record is improving all the time.” Cook added.

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Chitral Team thrashed Gilgit-Baltistan team

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The Chitral team thrashed the Gilgit-Baltistan team in a thrilling finale and clinched the trophy on the last day of the three-day annual Shandur Polo Festival held at the world highest polo ground at Shandur in Chitral.

The Chitral team scored 12 goals against 6 of Gilgit-Baltistan and won the coveted trophy of the polo tournament.

The first half of the match was very sensational as the Chitral team scored 4 goals in a jiffy while Gilgit-Baltistan got just one goal.

However, the players of Gilgit-Baltistan team later tried hard and leveled the goals during the first half of the match, facing the Chitral team with a tremendous pressure.

Sensing the situation, the Chitral team changed the strategy in the second half and scored 12 goals continuously. The Gilgit team scored no goal during this time and was kept restricted to only 6.

Naib Subedar Izhar Ali of Chitral Scouts was declared man of the match, who scored 7 goals, which helped the Chitral team to win the finale.

Corps Commander Peshawar, Lt-Gen Nazir Ahmed Butt was the chief guest, who gave away trophy to the winning team and distributed prizes among the players. The spectators lauded the performance of both teams.

Besides the polo teams of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan, Laspur, Mastuj and Ghizer teams also participated in the polo tournament this year.

Compared to yester years, the event attracted an increased number of polo players, fans, tourists, both foreign and domestic, and local populace from Chitral, Gilgit-Baltistan and adjoining districts of Malakand division this year.

Also, the visitors enjoyed several other features and folk games of the event in daytime including archery, paragliding, rafting in the Shandur lake and kite flying. Nights were kept brightened and enlivened with huge fireworks and traditional music by local artistes and singers.

A group of children from Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan enthralled the visitors with several national songs on the concluding day.

In addition to music and cultural evenings and traditional dances, the local artisans and skilled entrepreneurs and other stakeholders showcased their products and traditional foods during the event.

A tented village established to highlight and promote the artworks of the Chitral and Gilgit local artists and skilled people.

The provincial government had taken solid steps for organizing the Shandur Polo Festival in a befitting manner.

District Government Chitral, Police, Pak Army and other institutions provided security to hold the gala peacefully.

The game has got international fame, which is being played at the highest polo ground of the world at Shandur Pass in Chitral.

As Chitral is the most peaceful region, it attracts thousands of domestic and international tourists annually, especially during the Shandur and Kalash festivals.

It merits mention here that from Chitral to Shandur the roads and infrastructure are very poor and the tourist travel the five hours travel in ten hours.

 

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Wasim Akram emphasizes need for improvement in domestic cricket structure

F.P report

KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain and swing king Wasim Akram has said that the domestic cricket structure should improve in the country and that there are glaring shortcomings in the whole first-class cricket set-up in Pakistan.

Speaking to a local media outlet he said that it is disappointing that even after seventy years of its creation, Pakistan still doesn’t have a proper domestic and first-class cricket structure.

He said that the team needs to continue delivering amazing performances like the one they did in Champions Trophy and that can only be achieved if the country invests in its domestic cricket structure.

He also said that young cricketers should experience first-class cricket in addition to playing country cricket, in order to get more exposure.

 

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Pakistan tour to New Zealand schedule revealed

KARACHI: Pakistan will play five One Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals when they tour New Zealand early next year.

According to the schedule announced by the New Zealand Cricket Board, Pakistan and New Zealand will play these matches from January 6-28, 2018.

Schedule

ODIs:

Sat 06 Jan 2018:  1st ODI,  Wellington

Tue 09 Jan 2018:  2nd ODI, Nelson

Sat 13 Jan 2018: 3rd ODI, Dunedin

Tue 16 Jan 2018: 4th ODI, Hamilton

Fri 19 Jan 2018: 5th ODI, Wellington

T20Is:

Mon 22 Jan 2018: 1st T20, Wellington

Thu 25 Jan 2018: 2nd T20, Auckland

Sun 28 Jan 2018: 3rd T20, Mount Maunganui

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Neymar: What would motivate Brazil forward to leave Barcelona?

Romario won it in 1994. It was the turn of Ronaldo in 1996 and 1997, and again in 2002. Rivaldo was chosen in 1999, Ronaldinho in 2004 and 2005, and Kaka in 2007.

In a 13-year spell, five Brazilians won the Fifa World Player of the Year award on eight separate occasions, which set the bar for subsequent generations of their compatriots.

The career of Neymar will be seen – by himself and other Brazilians – as falling short of potential if he does not get his hands on the award.

And so if you want to know why the 25-year-old forward might consider leaving Barcelona for Paris St-Germain then it is crucial to understand that how he will be remembered back home in Brazil is paramount.

But beyond that, there is also the issue of why PSG might be the next logical step for Neymar to take if he is to finally win an award that has so far eluded him.

How failures have shaped Neymar’s career

Like all success stories, failure plays a part in what has happened to Neymar.

There was his astonishing flop at the 2009 Under-17 Championship in Nigeria, when Brazil were one of eight teams to fail to make it out of the group stage.

A frontline of Neymar and Philippe Coutinho could not come up with goals when it mattered. Making little impression, Neymar was hauled off when Brazil were losing 1-0 to both Mexico and Switzerland.

He was already a budding star at senior level for Santos in the Brazilian first division.

The lesson was clear: global football was hard, and he needed to be ready before making the move across the Atlantic.

Chelsea thought they had secured him at one stage, but he stayed put at Santos until 2013, avoiding the pitfalls of the premature move.

Neymar made his scoring debut alongside his idol Robinho as Brazil beat United States in a friendly in 2010

The other relative failure was that of the man Neymar grew up idolising – Robinho, a former Santos star. When Robinho moved to Real Madrid in 2005 it was automatically assumed in Brazil that the forward would cruise to the World Player award.

One media pundit, former Brazil striker Casagrande, felt Robinho would be better than anyone who had ever played the game, with the exception of Pele.

History tells us otherwise, and Robinho’s career has never completely recovered from the discovery that Real were prepared to use him as a makeweight to get their hands on Cristiano Ronaldo – a decision which in hindsight looks like a masterstroke.

Neymar, then, was well aware that his bid for world domination would have to be made step by step, which made Barcelona such an enticing prospect.

Stepping out of Messi’s shadow

The Barcelona Neymar joined in 2013 was Lionel Messi’s team.

The pressure would be off.

Former Brazil winger Denilson, for example, became the world’s record signing two decades ago and was immediately supposed to carry a mediocre Real Betis side. Neymar would not have this problem. He could ease his way into European club football in the shadow of Messi.

But, in this step-by-step strategy, he would not want to be in the shadow of Messi forever. How could he win the World Player award if he was not even the most outstanding member of his own team?

So either Messi would move on, Neymar would replace him as the focal point of the attack, or Neymar would move on. Messi has just signed a new contract. He looks set to remain the lead violinist for the foreseeable future – leaving option three.

Neymar scored twice against Paris St-Germain as Barcelona overcame a 4-0 first-leg deficit to win 6-5 on aggregate in last season’s Champions League round of 16

While Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said Neymar will not be leaving the club, reports have continued to say Paris St-Germain have offered Neymar the opportunity to lead the pack. And there would be an added bonus.

This season ends with the World Cup, when Neymar should be in peak condition – he will be 26 next June.

In the French league he will be able to coast a little, pacing himself to ensure there is enough gas in the tank for a top campaign in Russia.

A move to Paris, then, makes plenty of cold, hard sense. Its attractions are clear in the eyes of some of those around Neymar – and it is wise to remember that the structure around him means clubs are dealing with a limited company as much as a man.

His father, agents and advisers all have a strategy and an opinion, but none has the joy that he experiences lining up alongside Messi and Luis Suarez in the Barcelona forward line. What is best for the brand may not necessarily be what is best for the player.

Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored a combined 96 goals for Barcelona in La Liga last season

It is an assumption, but probably a fair one, that Neymar is going through something of an internal conflict at the moment, pulled in different directions by contrasting urges of logic and emotion.

“I would not be surprised if Neymar stays at Barcelona or if he goes to PSG,” wrote 1970 World Cup winner Tostao, always the wisest voice in Brazilian football.

“Neymar has learnt a lot playing at Barcelona with Messi. There is no contradiction between, on one hand, the happiness that he has playing for one of the world’s great teams and the admiration and friendship he feels for Messi, and on the other his desire to be even more famous and become a bigger star than he already is.

“It is impossible to predict which choice would be better or worse for Neymar. The bad thing would be he dreams about one option and takes the other.”

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Dopers must stop or athletics ‘will die’: Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt says athletes who dope must “stop or the sport will die” as he prepares to race for the final time in his illustrious career.

Bolt, an eight-time Olympic champion and icon of world sport, will retire after this month’s World Championships.

The Jamaican, 30, will run in the 100m and 4x100m at the Worlds, which begin in London on Friday.

“Hopefully athletes will see what’s going on and what they need to do to help the sport move forward,” he said.

Referring to the McLaren report, which uncovered evidence of a Russian state-sponsored doping programme, he added: “Personally I think we were at rock bottom. After the scandal on Russia I don’t think it gets any worse than that.

“Over the years we’re doing a better job, it’s getting clean and we’re catching up to a lot of athletes. There’s an understanding that if you cheat you will get caught. Over time the sport will get better.

“I said a couple of years ago it had to get really bad, when there’s nowhere else to go but up. Doping is always a bad thing and it’s never pleasant because you put in the hard work and the sport starts going forward and then you have other guys bringing it back, it’s hard.

“It’s going in the right direction so hopefully it will continue in that direction.”

‘I’m still the fastest’

The men’s World 100m final is on Saturday, 5 August, while the men’s 4x100m relay race – which will mark the end of Bolt’s career – is on the following Saturday.

Bolt has won 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold at the past three Olympic Games – Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

However, his unprecedented ‘triple triple’ of nine gold medals was downgraded to eight after Jamaican team-mate Nesta Carter, who was part of the quartet that won the 4x100m in Beijing, tested positive for a banned substance. Carter has appealed against the decision.

Nevertheless, Bolt’s exploits remain unprecedented and he also holds the world record in the 100m (9.58 seconds) and 200m (19.19).

Asked if he still believes he is the fastest in the world, the Jamaican replied: “Yeah, without a doubt.

The last race I ran was a 9.95, so that shows I am going in the right direction. After the two rounds leading up to the 100m final, which always help me, it’s all about who keeps their nerve.

“I have been here many times. I know I am ready.”

Asked in an interview with BBC Sport whether he believes his world records will be broken, he replied: “I hope they’re not. No athlete would ever wish for that – I want to brag to my kids when they’re in their 20s: ‘See, I’m still the best!

“There is no-one around now, in this era, who can do it. No. Maybe in a couple of years, 10 years, but my records are safe for now.”

Athletics after Bolt

Bolt was also asked which of the current stars of track and field could potentially replace him as the pre-eminent force in the sport.

Van Niekerk broke Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old 400m world record to sensationally win Olympic gold at Rio 2016

He named South African 25-year-old Wayde van Niekerk, who will be competing in the 400m and 200m in London.

“Wayde van Niekerk is proving he is a world star. He has broken the 400m world record, he ran the fastest 300m ever, and now he’s doing the 200m also. For me, he’s proving that he can step up to the plate,” said Bolt.

“I’m watching him, we’ve had discussions and he’s a cool person but I’ve told him to open up his personality a little bit because he’s really laid back.”

Bolt after athletics

Bolt says he will miss the “thrill” of being on the track but that it is time for him to slow down and enjoy himself.

“The energy when you first walk out on the track and the people go crazy, that’s what I’ll miss the most,” he said.

He might manage to replace the buzz of competing with one of his hobbies, though.

“I ride quad bikes, that’s an adrenaline rush,” he said.

“But I think it’s time for me to slow down a little, relax a little bit. Enjoy myself as much as possible.”

He says he does not think he will re-consider his retirement as he has nothing left to prove – and of his legacy added that he wanted to be considered among the greatest sports figures of all time.

“I just want to be one of the greats,” he said.

“Whenever there’s a conversation about the greatest sports stars, I want to be part of that conversation. I want people to say: ‘Yeah, Usain Bolt was one of the greatest’.”

Asked if it was his mind or body saying ‘enough’, he replied: “It’s the body, definitely.

“Over the years, I’ve got more niggling injuries than anything else, simple little things, but it’s just because I’m getting older. The pounding means my body’s just deteriorating now, so for me it’s just time to go.”

Courtesy: BBC.com

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Wasim Akram leaves Islamabad United

KARACHI (Monitoring Desk): Legendary fast-bowler Wasim Akram has left Islamabad United and is expected to join the new franchise of Multan for the third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Akram’s manager Arsalan Shah, while talking to The Express Tribune, confirmed that the 51-year-old has left United after two successful seasons. “We have left Islamabad United and are officially signing with another franchise this week,” he said.

When asked about which team the legendary pacer will join, Arsalan revealed that talks with Multan and other franchises are still in progress. “We have been in talks with Multan for some time and also plan on holding discussions with other franchises,” said Arsalan. “A decision will be made this week.”

There have been rumours circulating on social media that Akram has already decided to join Multan, but the franchise’s marketing manager Hammad Ilyas has denied those reports. “These are all rumours. We haven’t considered him for any position yet,” he said.

But Hammad also confirmed that the franchise is excited about the prospect of Akram joining for PSL 3. “We are just excited to hear all the rumours. We are still in the process of setting up a team and nothing has been locked yet,” he said. “We are looking at big names but nothing has started yet.”

Akram played a crucial role in United’s first season triumph and also earned praise from captain Misbahul Haq for the way he managed things in the aftermath of the infamous spot-fixing scandal in the second edition of the T20 league.

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Bumpy ride ahead for Sethi after Nawaz’s disqualification

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) has accepted the petition that was filed against Pakistan Super League (PSL) Chairman Najam Sethi for hearing, and has summoned all parties on August 10.

The appeal was made against the nomination of Najam Sethi for chairmanship of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), and the petitioner had taken the stance that Sethi was nominated by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who himself has been disqualified by the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan, therefore, his decision should also been terminated by appointing new members for the governing board.

Let it be known that the last session of PCB governing board under former chairman Shahryar Khan was held on July 28 where four regions and four departments were selected for the selection of eight new members of governing board.

Najam Sethi and Arif Ejaz were the two candidates for chairmanship, but due to strong lobbying, the appointment of Sethi was almost certain. Furthermore, Arif Ejaz was also said to be the right hand of Najam Sethi who assisted him in PSL as well, and was no threat to Sethi’s position.

On the other hand, sources have informed that the interim prime minister will definitely continue the policies of Nawaz Sharif, and will nominate the same names again even if IHC dismisses the current members.

Although Najam Sethi might face a delay in getting the power, but he ultimately will become the chairman of PCB. Moreover, he will simultaneously hold two posts as he has decided not to make PSL a private company, and will himself be the PSL as well as PCB chairman.

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Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif likely to be banned for life: sources

LAHORE (NNI): Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif are likely to be banned for life for their alleged involvement in the spot fixing scandal which rocked the Pakistan Super League earlier this year in Dubai.

“We have requested the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Tribunal probing into the spot fixing scandal to impose a life ban on them (Sharjeel and Khalid),” the sources in the PCB’s legal department said while talking to media.

They were optimistic that justice will be done with both the cricketers and they will be fined heavily besides getting life ban for bringing the game into disrepute and lowering the country’s image.

Sharjeel and Khalid were sent home after the first match of the PSL after they were accused of spot fixing in the mega event.

“In the case of Sharjeel concluding written arguments have been submitted to the tribunal,” they said adding “As far as PCB lawyers are concerned we have completed the case and now it is up to the tribunal to announce the verdict and we are expecting that verdict will come shortly.”

They said Khalid initially boycotted the proceedings of the case and now he wants the whole process to be done again and his conduct and attitude were quite ridiculous during the case.

“We hope that the tribunal will announce the verdict soon as there is nothing left to be further done in the case,” they added. NNI

 

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Amir, Imad announce donations for Shahid Afridi Foundation

LONDON (NNI): Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir and all-rounder Imad Wasim have stepped forward to help former captain Shahid Afridi, whose foundation is making a hospital in Thar.

A fund raising event was held in London which was attended by Amir and Imad, and both announced 10,000 euros apiece for the Shahid Afridi Foundation (SAF).

Furthermore, Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim also declared to provide 20 beds for the under construction hospital.

On the other hand, Shahid Afridi auctioned off India skipper Virat Kohli’s signed jersey, which was gifted by Kohli to the star all-rounder, for 4,300 euros. The estimated price of the shirt in Pakistani rupees is 0.55 million.