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U-19 WC: India qualify for final after crushing Pakistan in semi final

Monitoring Desk

CHRISTCHURCH: Pakistan faced a humiliating defeat in the semi final of Under-19 World Cup at the hand of India on Tuesday at Christchurch.

India set a challenging target of 273 for the green with the help of Gill 102* in the 50 overs.

In reply Pakistan was not looking to achieve the target as all the target were only come to crease and quickly go back to pavilion. The Pakistan team were all out on just 69 runs and Porel takes four wickets and dismantles the batting side. India won the match convincingly with the 203 runs and qualify for the final of Under-19 World Cup against Australia which will be played on Saturday.

 

 

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Players returned in worse shape after time off: Mickey

Monitoring Desk

LAHORE: Pakistan’s players returned to national duty in New Zealand in worse shape after a five-week break, according to coach Mickey Arthur. Maintaining high fitness standards for Pakistan’s cricketers has been a particular challenge for Arthur, and on a tough tour in which Pakistan were blown away 5-0 in the ODIs before bouncing back to clinch the T20I series, their lack of match fitness was at times exposed by a fresher looking New Zealand side.

Arthur deemed the ODI showing unacceptable, saying his focus was primarily on the 2019 World Cup, for which he would in future look to manage players’ T20 commitments in a way that did not compromise their match fitness when they turned out for Pakistan.

“I saw that players returned in a far worse state physically and technically when they were away from us for five weeks,” Arthur told ESPNcricinfo. “Of course I want our players to make extra money, so I will be reasonable with our management plan. But some players came back far worse from T20 competitions in all departments. It’s just so important to manage the players individually because each case is different.”

Pakistan’s last international commitment before the New Zealand tour was against Sri Lanka, a tour which ended on October 29. Since then their players have taken part in a domestic T20 competition, some played in the BPL, some in the T10 tournament in the UAE and one – Shadab Khan – in a few matches in the BBL. That broke a period in which the management’s oversight of players’ fitness was very hands-on, perhaps even too overbearing. Last August, for example, because of a board mix-up, some players ended up returning to Pakistan from commitments in the CPL and England just to take fitness tests in Lahore and then fly back.

But fitness levels after this break will only reinforce the need for that kind of strict approach. Pakistan’s players did undergo fitness tests in Lahore before the New Zealand series but without senior management present. Arthur has clamped down hard on several occasions in the past.

Arthur stressed the importance of planning towards the 2019 World Cup in England more than once, saying everything they did in the time between should ensure players’ peak physical condition during that tournament. That, he said, would mean having to rest players strategically, drawing a comparison between Hasan Ali and Trent Boult. Hasan had a disappointing ODI series with the ball, conceding 217 runs in 33.5 overs and taking just six wickets. On the other hand, Boult was arguably the best bowler on either side with 9 wickets in four games, including 5 for 17 in the third ODI, the second-best figures in his career.

“I want a conditioning window and technical window outside of series time to improve our players in all departments,” Arthur said. “It’s hard to do it in the middle of a series. The example I used was Hasan played all competitions after Champions Trophy while Boult had a three-month conditioning process. We see the difference in terms of freshness and performance. I want us to manage our players according to what we think their needs are. The players we think are going to play in the World Cup have to be in optimum condition for it. Even if it means resting players for games and series.”

Arthur insisted he did not wish to place a moratorium on Pakistan’s players taking part in foreign T20 leagues, but did say there would be a more uncompromising line on player fitness. “My concern is the players need to be working hard off the field in terms of fitness during all these competitions, not coming back in worse shape. I want them to make money but not at the expense of performance for Pakistan.”

 

 

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Ronda Rousey is the WWE’s newest superstar

Monitoring Desk

NEW YORK: The rumors were true. Ronda Rousey is now officially a WWE superstar.

The former Olympic bronze medalist and first-ever UFC women’s bantamweight champion made a last-gasp appearance at the WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view event in Philadelphia on Sunday night.

And while she didn’t utter a word, or take part in a match, she made a big enough statement, standing in front of the two WWE women’s champions, Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss, as well as the Royal Rumble winner Asuka, and pointing to the Wrestlemania sign.

A lifelong pro wrestling fan Rousey was linked with a switch to the WWE from the moment she left the octagon following her TKO loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016. Her ‘Rowdy’ nickname was a tribute to WWE legend ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, who gave her his permission to use his nickname during her MMA career.

And that relationship with Piper, who sadly died in 2015, was evident at the Royal Rumble, as Rousey walked into the arena wearing his old leather jacket, given to her as a gift by Piper’s family.

Rousey was a trailblazer in the world of mixed martial arts, as she became the first woman to win a bout in the UFC, and the promotion’s first-ever women’s world champion.

And now she’s swapping the octagon for the squared circle as she fulfills a lifelong ambition to become a WWE superstar.

“This is my life now. This is not a smash-and-grab. This is not a publicity stunt,” Rousey told ESPN.

“It was something I always wanted to do but I never thought was in the cards for me.

“And now that I realise I really do have this opportunity, I feel like my six-year-old self would totally kick my ass if I didn’t take it.”

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Neville: England women’s boss denies he is sexist

Monitoring Desk

LODON: Phil Neville denied he is sexist and said he has huge respect for women in his first media appearance after being appointed England women’s head coach. Last week he apologised a day into the job for past tweets about women.

“I had to apologise – I didn’t like the words used,” Neville said. “I’m not a sexist. I’ve lived my life right.”

The appointment has been criticised because of Neville’s lack of coaching and women’s football experience but he denied the job was a “stepping stone”.

“I’m England manager. Any job after this will be a step down not up,” Neville, 41, told BBC sports editor Dan Roan.

The former defender has only ever managed one game – at Salford City, a team he co-owns – but has coached former club Manchester United, England Under-21s and Spanish side Valencia.

“I’m qualified for the job, I have a [coaching] Pro Licence. It’s to work in all aspects of football.

“I’ve worked at elite level. I’ve worked abroad. Some of the players are world class. I’m best qualified for this job.”

Phil Neville denied he is sexist and said he has huge respect for women in his first media appearance after being appointed England women’s head coach.

Last week he apologised a day into the job for past tweets about women.

“I had to apologise – I didn’t like the words used,” Neville said. “I’m not a sexist. I’ve lived my life right.”

The appointment has been criticised because of Neville’s lack of coaching and women’s football experience but he denied the job was a “stepping stone”.

“I’m England manager. Any job after this will be a step down not up,” Neville, 41, told BBC sports editor Dan Roan.

The former defender has only ever managed one game – at Salford City, a team he co-owns – but has coached former club Manchester United, England Under-21s and Spanish side Valencia.

“I’m qualified for the job, I have a [coaching] Pro Licence. It’s to work in all aspects of football.

“I’ve worked at elite level. I’ve worked abroad. Some of the players are world class. I’m best qualified for this job.”

Last week the Football Association said former England international Neville would not be charged over his controversial tweets.

In one tweet, he suggested women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other users picked up on comments Neville had made when interacting with his sister and with his wife – and one in which he joked he had “just battered the wife”.

“The words in 2018 are wrong, the words in 2011 were wrong. It’s not a reflection of my true character,” Neville added.

The former Manchester United and Everton full-back told BBC Sport the reference saying he had “battered the wife” was in relation to beating his wife at sport on holiday.

Neville met the Lionesses players for the first time at a training camp in Spain last week and described doing so as one of the “best moments” of his career.

Asked if he had ever watched a women’s football match, he said: “I’ve seen Man City women’s games, Valencia women’s games.

“I know women’s football. Do I know everything? No. I learn fast.

“At Valencia I knew three players, and in a week I knew everything about the club and in six months I was fluent in Spanish. I’m a fast learner.”

England women were losing semi-finalists under Mark Sampson at the 2017 European Championship and finished third at the 2015 World Cup.

Neville said it was up to him to take the team to the “next level”.

“[I have] immense pride and excitement to take over the third best team in world,” he said. “We have players who have desire and determination to be the best.

“The foundations are so strong, performances have been great.”

 

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Suarez, Messi lead Barcelona comeback

Monitoring Desk

BARCELONA: Barcelona simply will not lose. It refuses to. Every time it finds itself in a hole, one of its superstars lifts it out. And more often than not, that superstar is either Luis Suarez or Lionel Messi.

On Sunday, it was both. Barca trailed 17th-place Alaves for almost 50 minutes at home, its unbeaten La Liga record dangling by fewer and fewer threads as the minutes ticked away at Camp Nou. But then Suarez struck.

Alaves screamed for a penalty in the final minutes of the 90. They remonstrated with the referee after the final whistle as well. But it was not to be.

It rarely has been against Barcelona. Not only are the La Liga leaders still unbeaten, 21 games in, with 17 to go; they’ve also only drawn three of the 21. They’re 11 points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid, and 19 clear of annual title rival Real Madrid.

But you probably know all of that by now. You know Barcelona is going to reclaim the title. Everybody in Spain has known that for a while. Pretty soon, the discussion is going to turn to a new topic.

It’s going to turn to the unbeaten season, if it hasn’t already. The accomplishment is still far off in the distance. But with every weekend, it becomes slightly more realistic.

Barca has already returned unscathed from its three most difficult domestic trips of the season, to the Bernabeu, Wanda Metropolitano and Mestalla. It still must go to Sevilla, and host both Madrid sides and Valencia. The Barcelona derby next weekend, at Espanyol, won’t be easy either.

But Barcelona, despite not exactly flying through its league slate, doesn’t look like slowing down. That’s the thing: Barca wasn’t good on Sunday. Philippe Coutinho started in La Liga for the first time, and the hosts looked a bit incoherent in the first half, with a bevy of similar players, a lack of definition and little width.

But despite its imperfections, Barca’s record remains perfect. And pretty soon, a 38-game unblemished record will at least begin to come into focus.

 

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Amir Khan to fight Phil Lo Greco in Liverpool

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Britain’s Amir Khan will fight Canadian Phil Lo Greco at the Liverpool Echo Arena on 21 April in his first bout for almost two years.

Khan, 31, was beaten by Saul Alvarez in a WBC middleweight title bout in May 2016, his most recent fight.

“He will be coming with everything to win this fight and I’m not going to give him an inch,” said former light-welterweight world champion Khan.

“He’s an aggressive fighter who is always looking to come forward.”

Khan has won 31 and lost four of his 35 professional bouts, while Lo Greco, 33, has 28 wins and three defeats from 31 fights.

“Being my first fight in the UK, I’m excited about the crowd,” said Lo Greco.

“I can’t wait to feel that energy. As much as UK fans love their fighters, they love great fights and I promise just that. This night will go down as one of the best fights ever in the UK.

“I’ve got a full training camp this time around – there will be no room for error. Amir Khan will be knocked out.”

 

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U-19 World Cup: Australia reaches final after thrashing Afghanistan in semi final  

Monitoring Desk

HAGLEY OVAL: Australian secured place in the final of Under-19 World Cup after thrashing the Afghan in the semi final by six wickets on Monday.

The fans were expecting a tough contest but it turned out to be a one sided match and it was all over Australian dominance in the match.

Afghanistan decision of batting first was backfired and only Ikram Ali was fighting against the Aussies bowlers and he scored 80 runs and eight Afghan players were not able to cross the double figure. Afghan were all out on 181 runs.

J Merlo picked up four wickets in his 10 overs and conceded 24 runs and put his team in a commanding position.

In the reply the Australian team easily chases the target of 182 runs with the loss of four wickets and still 75 balls were remaining.

The Australian will face the winner of second semi final in the finalon Saturday. The second will be played on Tuesday among the two arch rival India and Pakistan.

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PM Abbasi felicitates Pak cricket team over T20 win

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi congratulated the Pakistan cricket team for the series win against New Zealand.

PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Sunday phoned  Captain Sarfraz Ahmed and the management and appreciated the performance of the green team in the T20I in New Zealand and securing the top position in International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 team rankings.

PM Abbasi added that He said that the whole nation was proud of its national team and observed that the top position in the ICC ranking and win in T20 series demonstrated the hard work of the national team and its management.

 

 

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Real Madrid roar back with big win at Valencia

Monitoring Desk

MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo scored two penalties as stumbling Liga champions Real Madrid hit back from their miserable start to 2018 with a rousing 4-1 win at Valencia on Saturday to move within two points of recapturing third place in La Liga.

Ronaldo sent goalkeeper Neto the wrong way to slot in his 100th penalty for club and country in the 16th minute after the Portuguese was felled in the box following a lightning quick breakaway from a Valencia corner. He made no mistake again from the spot in the 38th after Karim Benzema had been pushed over in the area by defender Martin Montoya, stretching Madrid’s lead and moving on to eight goals in the league this season, including four penalties.

Valencia pulled themselves back into contention in the 58th minute when Santi Mina headed home from a corner while Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas denied Dani Parejo an equaliser with an impressive save with his foot.

Real had gone into the game on the back of being dumped out of the King’s Cup by Leganes in midweek and were missing captain Sergio Ramos and midfielder Isco through injury but produced a gritty display, defending well and striking with intent on the counter-attack.

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VC Islamia College awards cash, gold medal

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Vice Chancellor Islamia College University Professor Dr. Habib Sunday honored Pakistan No. 1 International Table Tennis player Fahad Khawjah Chitrali for winning triple crowns in the recently held National Master Cup Table Tennis Championship besides winning medals in international event.

“We are proud enough that Fahad is our student and like him Islamia College, which is the historical education institution of country also produced world class sportsmen who bring laurels for the country,” Professor Dr. Habib told APP when he calls on Fahad Khawjah.

Besides the Vice Chancellor, Director General Sports Irfan Ullah Marwat, Registrar Dr. Tauqeer Alam, Dr. Naveed Abbas, Dr. Zafar Hayat and Chief Proctor Professor Dr. Javed Iqbal were also present. He lauded Fahad Khawjah, a 12 grade student for winning such a great credential in the international Table Tennis circuit.

Professor Dr. Habib also awarded Fahad Khawjah gold medal and cash incentives to Fahad Khawjah of recently winning the double crowns in the National Table Tennis Championship besides remaining at KP No. 1 in the age of seven and in the age of 12 he declared as the youngest even national Table Tennis Champion.

Fahad Khawjah, son of a renowned and senior journalist Nadir Khawjah, got first position in Under-14, Under-15, Under-17 and Under-18 age grounds. Fahad Khawjah also represented Pakistan in China, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Qatar, Uman and Iran.

In his younger age Fahad won singles gold medal, doubles and team event gold before being declared as the triple crowns winners against their strong rivals from different departments. Looking after his tremendous performance the Pakistan Table Tennis Federation selected Fahad Khawjah in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Cost, Australia.

Professor Dr. Habib ensured Fahad Khawjah that he would be fully facilitated and his achievements would be marked so that other students would follow him and achieve name and fame for the country internationally.

He said the students of Islamia College University is serving the country since its establishment and hopefully more talent like Fahad Khawjah would come up in other games as well. He also appreciated Director General Sports Irfan Ullah Marwat as in his supervision the students of Islamia College University have been achieving great name for this historical institution, province and for the country.

He said the management of the Islamia College University is working with great devotions and wants to bring this historical institution according to international day need.

The present govt, he said, giving top priority to education and sports and certainly efforts have been made to provide best educational and sporting facilities to their students. He assured Fahad Khawjah that he would be looked after in both education and sports so that he could win back more laurels for the country.

At the end, Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Habib awarded gold medal and cash incentives to Fahad Khawjah on behalf of the Islamia College University management.