Expectations are high from Babar in CWC19 – Mickey Arthur

Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has heaped praise on batsman Babar Azam ahead of the side’s upcoming ODI series against England and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019. Speaking to media at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Arthur described the 24-year-old Azam as Pakistan’s ‘best batsman’.

Expectations are high from Babar in CWC19 – Mickey Arthur
Expectations are high from Babar in CWC19 – Mickey Arthur

The right-hander is ranked No.7 in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Batting Rankings, and averages 51.29 in the format, with eight hundred and ten half-centuries. “Our hopes are high from Babar Azam as he’s our best batsman,” said Arthur. “He is so talented; he is a batsman who gets the required scores.”

 

Arthur was also complimentary in his assessment of leg-spinning all-rounder Shadab Khan, who recently withdrew from the squad for the England series due to a viral infection, describing him as a ‘three-dimensional cricketer’. He also outlined the expectations from Yasir Shah, who has come in as Shadab’s replacement. “Shadab Khan is a wonderful cricketer,” he said.

“As the buzz word nowadays goes, he’s ‘three-dimensional’. He plays a key role for us just outside the Power play. However, we have tried to cover with another wrist-spinner in Yasir Shah.

“Yasir is below no trickery that he has to challenge both the outside and inside edge of the bat. Our plan will be to attack; we’re going to eye wickets. We have got all the bases covered.”

 

Expectations are high from Babar in CWC19 – Mickey Arthur
Expectations are high from Babar in CWC19 – Mickey Arthur

Arthur was confident that his team is well-equipped for this year’s tournament, citing the versatility of players such as Mohammad Hafeez, who is also an option in the spin department, as he outlined the “faith” that he has in his players. “We have worked really hard over the past two years. We are as ready as we can be,” he said.

“Mohammad Hafeez will be accessible for us during the CWC as an off-spinner too. We have faith in our team. All 15 of those players have the capacity to win matches. We have to bring all our capabilities to produce results in our favor.”

Arthur also said that pacer Mohammad Amir will still have an opportunity to press his case for World Cup selection. The left-arm fast bowler’s form has been on the wane over the last couple of years. Since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, Amir has returned five wickets in 101 overs, averaging 92.60 per scalp. However, Amir could still be handy.

“He is running well and his attitude has been outstanding,” he said. “He’s been vivid in the last couple of weeks and he will have chances in England to show us he still justifies a spot in the CWC team.”

 

Sarfaraz echoed Arthur’s views. “Amir has a chance in the Eng. series to make the final cut,” he said. “He has been working hard here and has exposed that in his bowling in the training camp. In the practice match yesterday, he looked good while bowling. We will try to provide him an opportunity in England so he can perform. It will be a good rivalry amongst our pacers. We have occupied six fast bowlers, so we can alternate and not put any of them under pressure.”

Expectations are high from Babar in CWC19 – Mickey Arthur
Expectations are high from Babar in CWC19 – Mickey Arthur

Pakistan faces England in a T20I in Cardiff on 5 May, before their five-match ODI series commences on Wednesday, 8 May at The Oval in London.

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All Blacks selector hints at Rugby World Cup team after McKenzie’s loss

Since Damian McKenzie injured his knee, which prevents him from competing at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. There is much questioning about who could fill the gap in the All Blacks 31-man Squad. Rugby fans are waiting for thrilling performances in RWC. Now you can book Rugby World Cup Tickets to support your favourite players.

All Blacks selector hints at Rugby World Cup team after McKenzie's loss Tickets
All Blacks selector hints at Rugby World Cup team after McKenzie’s loss

According to comments from All Blacks and former RWC winner Grant Fox, some importance has been given to the latter of these 2 proposals. Speaking to Radio Sport, Fox said New Zealand did not necessarily need to add a third fly-half to complete the duo of Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga.

We are pretty clear right now, but it’s something we do not want to divulge too much. You have to worry about your injuries. If you have a late injury before a big match, you run a huge risk.

“Compromise and risk are part of your discussion and we just have to deal with it. But it is much easier to bring a player to Japan if necessary, compared to the United Kingdom in 2015. “

With Jordie Barrett, barring injury, almost a certainty of being part of the team later this year. The All Blacks are given a safety net at the position if a player suffered a minor blow and missed a match. However, did not need a substitute who would then drive him out of the rest of the competition.

Young brother Barrett has a lot of experience in mid-season flying. Although his rugby for the Hurricanes and All Blacks has occurred mainly in the back, on the wing or in the middle of the field.

New Zealand’s Steve Hansen and Fox will take advantage of the upcoming Rugby championship to look at the balance in the team, possibly give Jordie some playing time at 10 or even call on a half-fly specialist as Otere Black or Josh Ioane. Before making their final decision on who and who not to take in Japan in September.

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Five takeaways from Afghan’s CWC team

Afghanistan has named their 15-member squad for the Cricket World Cup 2019 on Monday, 22 April. There’s the surprise inclusion of pacer Hamid Hassan, who last played an international game in 2016. While the leadership change, from Asghar Afghan to Gulbadin Naib, is no surprise, having been announced before the preparatory camp, it is notable that Afghan has also been named in the squad.

Here we list the five main takeaways from Afghanistan’s CWC team list.

A brand new captain 

The Afghanistan Cricket Board’s announcement earlier this month, naming Naib as the new one-day international captain, took not only the followers of Afghanistan cricket by surprise but also their own players. Under Afghan, the team had risen through the ranks, becoming a Full Member of the ICC, winning last CWC Qualifier and also completing their first-ever Test win over Ireland last month.

Five takeaways from Afghan’s CWC team
Five takeaways from Afghan’s CWC team

Naib’s nomination as the new skipper was taken keeping the long-term goals in mind. He has never captained in an international match, so handing him the responsibility in an event as big as the World Cup is a gamble, but he could well inject fresh energy into the squad.

The return of Hamid Hassan

Hassan, arguably one of the best pacers from Afghanistan, last played a game at a senior level in 2017; his last international appearance was in 2016. He has been out of the picture due to prolonged injuries. His fitness is still going to be a topic of discussion – the selectors said as much at the announcement – but his experience on the grand stage could be a vital addition to the squad.  Hassan was an effective – and entertaining! – presence in the CWC 2015, picking up eight wickets in five matches, including 3/45 against SL. If he can rediscover that pace and precision, he will be a vital part of the team.

Five takeaways from Afghan’s CWC team
Five takeaways from Afghan’s CWC team

World-class spinners but how to fit them all in 

Afghanistan stuck to having just three front-line spinners in Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, which meant there was no place for Zahir Khan. In their main spin trio, they have world-class skills. Rashid and Nabi, who are No.1 and No.3, are likely to feature in most, if not all playing XIs. Rashid, who is also the No.3-ranked bowler, has distorted into a reliable finisher with the bat and Nabi’s middle-order experience is valuable.

Five takeaways from Afghan’s CWC team
Five takeaways from Afghan’s CWC team

Rahman, on his day, can win games for his team too. He is the kind of mystery spinner that every team wants in their side. But can the selectors fit all of them in? It might give them a happy headache while picking the playing XI.

The year of Hazratullah Zazai

Zazai successfully announced his arrival as a hard-hitting batsman this year. Before 2019, he featured in only two ODIs for Afghanistan and had scored only 15 runs at 7.50. This year, he has played four ODIs, all of them against Ireland, and scored 140 runs at an average of 35 and a strike-rate over 100. In the shortest format, against the same opponent, he scored 204 runs from three matches at 102, including a personal best 162*.

The matter of experience

“We selected the best squad considering factors such as experience, fitness, team balance, current form, and conditions,” selector Ahmadzai said at the announcement.

And the experience is something Afghanistan has in spades. They have valued the experience that Afghan brings to the squad, with his 99 ODIs. Nabi is 111 ODIs old, while Shinwari, Shahzad, Najibullah Zadran, Naib and Rashid have all played 50-plus ODIs for their side, and were in good touch in the series against Ireland. They do have a good mix of experience and youth; however, the onus will be on the veterans to help win matches for their side.

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It’s in our hands – Emery confident for Arsenal in the Champions League

Arsenal could lose ground in the race for the top four after losing 3-2 at home against Crystal Palace.

Unai Emery reminded sceptics that the hopes of the Arsenal Champions League were still in their hands despite the 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace.

It's in our hands - Emery confident on Arsenal's hopes in the Champions League
It’s in our hands – Emery confident on Arsenal’s hopes in the Champions League

Arsenal has succumbed to its first loss in the league since August since Sunday, the soft defence returning to the origin.

With Mesut Ozil cancelling Christian Benteke’s first goal, Palace scored with two goals in eight minutes, making the effort of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a comfort.

The Gunners would be in third place, two points behind Tottenham’s rivals, with a win, but Emery said Arsenal can still decide his fate, even if he misses a huge chance to boost his hopes of qualifying.

“A big frustration was a great opportunity,” he said.

“But we can say that we had a great opportunity in previous matches and that we have taken a lot of points in many key moments that give us the opportunity to be, in our own way, with the opportunity to achieve our goals.

“Our first goal is to reach the Champions League in the Premier League or Europa League. We have lost a great opportunity but that does not change our idea.

“It’s in our hands, we can continue to win and be among the top four.”

Arsenal’s weaknesses came back to haunt Emery again. Palace opened the scoring with a free kick before James McArthur became the winner without a corner kick, while Wilfried Zaha’s goal came from an error by Shkodran Mustafi.

And Emery acknowledged that the obstacles, in particular, were a difficult obstacle for his team to overcome.

“If we were better in the set-set, maybe we could win this game,” he added.

“I think it’s been a problem all season. They have good players and in sets, we have not been strong like the whole season. We had more difficulties than we wanted in these situations.

“A day can happen like today. They won in Manchester City, Newcastle and Leicester.”

All Blacks Dan Carter’s Selection for Rugby World Cup 2019

Dan Carter would still be good enough to go to the RWC with the All Blacks, but that would be a bad decision. There is growing speculation that Aaron Cruden or Carter could return to the fold to fill the void left by Damian McKenzie’s injury.

Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry hit home when he supported Carter’s inclusion in an interview with Newstalk ZB radio. No one could dispute Henry’s claim that Carter would”add a huge amount of experience and intellectual property about the RWC.” Rugby fans are waiting for thrilling performances in RWC. Now you can book Rugby World Cup Tickets to support your favourite players.

All Blacks Dan Carter Should be Joining Long-term for RWC19

All Blacks Dan Carter Should be Joining Long-term for RWC19

He would like to have a personal trainer for Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga. Carter is arguably the best, back in the history of the All Blacks after 112 tries in 13 seasons.

The 3-time world rugby player of the year is still – 16 years after his debut as a professional test player in Japan. Henry heard Carter play remarkably when he led the Kobelco Steelers to the title of the best league.

However, New Zealand rugby has a long-standing rule for the All Blacks to play national rugby here. Carter left for France after the 2015 RWC, after competing in two gold medal campaigns. With the Parisian Racing 92 club, nobody has reproached him for a chance to live very lucrative pension seasons.

Now, he is under contract with Japan, where the Top League will be suspended, the country organizing its first Rugby World Cup. The Kobelco Steelers are Carter’s main employers.

To get around the New Zealand rugby rule, Carter would have to sign to play in the back of the Super Rugby season, or for a Mitre 10 Cup province. He could then be caught by the All Blacks. The case of Cruden’s return is more complicated.

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Asghar Afghan to join Gulbadin naib-led CWC team

The inclusion of Asghar Afghan, the former captain, and the return of Hamid Hassan, the fast bowler, was the big news as Afghanistan announced their 15-man squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 on Monday, 22 April.

Asghar Afghan to join Gulbadin naib-led CWC team
Asghar Afghan to join Gulbadin naib-led CWC team

Hassan, 31-year-old fast bowler, last played the sport at a senior level in 2017, with fitness issues hampering his involvement since. He has, however, made a dramatic comeback to the squad, although his fitness remains under scrutiny.

Hassan’s inclusion came at the expense of Shapoor Zadran, whose ODI numbers have been on the wane. The other frontline quicks in the side are Dawlat Zadran and Aftab Alam. Naib slots in as a seaming all-rounder.

 

“Luckily for us, the comeback of senior fast bowler Hamid Hassan is good news,” Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai, the chief selector, said. “However, we will take into account his form and fitness during upcoming practice matches.”

Afghan, who was axed as captain earlier this month, was included as well. He will be one of Afghanistan’s key middle-order batsmen, along with Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Naib, and Najibullah Zadran. The presence of Nabi, Rashid, and Samiullah Shinwari means that Afghanistan will bat fairly deep.

As for the openers, Afghanistan has two options in Noor Ali Zadran and Hazratullah Zazai to partner with Mohammad Shahzad, who is a guaranteed starter for his batting and wicket-keeping. Javed Ahmadi, who was also in the race, was left out.

In the spin department, Afghanistan decided to stick to just Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi as their primary options with Shinwari and Rahmat Shah serving as part-time options. Left-arm wrist-spinner Zahir Khan, who played his only ODI against Ireland in March, was left out.

“It has been a six-month preparation process for the ICC Cricket World Cup. The mission is to play inspirational cricket in the tournament; I know there are strong teams but we will do our level best to achieve our goals,” said Ahmadzai. “There were some challenges that we needed to handle. We selected the best squad considering factors such as experience, fitness, team balance, current form, and conditions.”

Afghanistan also has picked three reserve options in Ikram Ali Khil, Karim Janet, and Sayed Shirzad. Ikram Ali Khil is a top-order batsman and offers an emergency wicket-keeping option. The other two are seam-bowling options.

Squad: Gulbadin Naib (c), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

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Champions League: The 7 best black horses in tournament history

The composition of this year’s Champions League semi-finals features two teams that are unlikely to survive so long. One of the members of Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur is sure to appear at the tournament’s flagship event in Madrid in early June, as they meet in the last four.

Champions League: The 7 best black horses in tournament history
Champions League: The 7 best black horses in tournament history

Their European adventure continued as they beat Borussia Dortmund 4-0 overall and knocked out Manchester City in the quarterfinals in a thrilling encounter.
In honour of these two captivating journeys, here are the seven greatest black horses in the history of the Champions League.

Dynamo Kiev

In 1998, Dynamo Kiev was beaten 5-2 by Juve in the quarter-finals of the European elite competition, but he ensured that there was no such disappointment the following year. Attracted against the famous Real Madrid at the same stadium in 1999, they shocked the world of football with a 3-1 win over both matches.

Porto -2004

It was the season in which “The Special One” won its noble title. Jose Mourinho guided the Porto outsiders to their second European trophy, comfortably defeating their fellow Monaco 3-0 winners in the final.

Internazionale -2010

The Portuguese manager, idiosyncratic, was far from finished after the success he won in Porto in 2004. Six years later, he worked magically to bring a hat-trick to San Siro, where Inter won their first European Cup since 1965. Barcelona in the group stages that year, but shocked tournament favourites when they clashed in the last four.

APOEL Nicosia -2012

With less than 5,000 people attending their matches and a record-breaking 2 million euros in transfers, no one expected APOEL to stand out from the groups, let alone the quarter-finals. The Cypriots have torn the scenario, leading seven times the French champion in qualifying, Lyon, until penalties in the last 16.

Chelsea -2012

It was a disastrous season at Stamford Bridge until early spring. At the beginning of March, Andre Villas-Boas had paid a high price for poor performances, including a 3-1 away defeat in Naples in the first qualifying phase. Roberto di Matteo came into play and reversed the return, beating Benfica in the last eight games.

Atletico Madrid -2014

Football can sometimes be so cruel. Atletico reached the final thanks to a series of exceptional team performances that ousted their prestigious opposition. Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea had all fallen in a camp that was driven by spirit, cohesion and organization.

Roma -2018

The Roma were in the big names in European football last season and featured in two of the most exciting matches of the year. Edin Dzeko’s late strike in the quarter-final first leg against Barca seemed only a consolation.

Liverpool ended their race in the Champions League semi-finals, but only after another sublime match. The Reds won 7-6 in both games, with eight different players getting their names on the scoresheet.

Return Of Former All Blacks Star For Rugby World Cup Is Unlikely

The return to New Zealand of Aaron Cruden, a former member of the All Black group, despite a shortage of leading players in the country, was considered very unlikely.

Damian McKenzie’s late-season injury to ACL last week in the Blues defeat to the Chiefs left. The All Blacks in the semifinals 5th overall at five months of the Rugby World Cup. Their fans are excited to get their Rugby World Cup Tickets.

Return Of Former All Blacks Star For Rugby World Cup Is Unlikely Tickets
All Blacks Star Rugby World Cup 2019

There is growing speculation as to who will replace the first five / halfback, with options at the national level, including Otere Black, Brett Cameron, Mitch Hunt, Marty McKenzie, and Josh Ioane. But there are no eligible candidates left.

As a result, some have suggested that the All Black at 50 tries could be waiting for a shock call from the national team. While he was under contract with the French club Top 14, Montpellier.

Since McKenzie’s untimely injury, the Chiefs have been called upon to sign a new contract with their former game maker at the end of the European club season to end the Super Rugby campaign in 2019, making it eligible for Rugby World Cup.

However, speaking to Newstalk ZB, Chief Executive Officer Michael Collins almost completely ruled out this possibility.

“I do not think it’s realistic,” said Collins.

“In a perfect world, with Damian going down, that would be wonderful but what I understand is he’s contracted to his French club and that season doesn’t end until May or June. I don’t think he’ll be back playing for the Chiefs this year.”

The Pro14 Warriors, coached by former Cruden Chiefs coach Dave Rennie, will also continue his signature. Information suggests that the Scottish club offers a much lower value than what Cruden currently earns in Montpellier.

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Pakistan focused on acclimatizing before CWC

Haris Sohail, the Pakistan middle-order batsman, said it was important for his team to focus on getting used to conditions during the five one-day internationals in England before the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 gets underway.

Of the overseas teams, Pakistan is at the greatest advantage in terms of adapting to conditions for the World Cup as they will be facing hosts England, the No.1 team on the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings, in an ODI series days before the World Cup begins on 30 May.

Counting the sole Twenty20 International and the World Cup warm-up matches to follow, Pakistan will end up playing close to 10 matches before the World Cup starts, and want to make it count.

Pakistan focused on acclimatizing before CWC
Pakistan focused on acclimatizing before CWC

“The CWC is still a little while away,” said Sohail. “Earlier, we have a very important series against England. England is a quality side, the No.1 team. If we win that series, we’ll get a great deal of help in getting used to those conditions. We still have about ten matches to go before the CWC if you count all the practice matches. So we’re hopeful of getting acclimatized well and producing good results at the World Cup.”

On a personal note, Sohail is enjoying the great form and will hope to take that into the showpiece event. He goes into the England series on the back of two centuries against Australia in UAE.

“Since the Aussies series, my confidence and form are in a good place,” Haris said. “Over the past few days, I wasn’t feeling too great, but a match situation is different, and the practice match we played today, the ball felt great on the bat.”

Despite Haris Sohail scoring 291 runs at 72.75 in that series against Australia, Pakistan conceded each of the five ODIs. Some felt that part of the reason for the repeated failures was the inability of batsmen to score quickly enough. There have been concerns that the team is falling behind in that area, but Sohail downplayed those doubts.

“Cricket is a different game nowadays,” Haris said. “Now, when you’re No.3 or 4 plays big innings or get a hundred, batsmen play around him. In one day international cricket, a total above 300 is now par. Not in the UAE, where pitches are slower and you need to take more time. But definitely, that applies in countries like England. So over there, you’ll see us play more aggressively.”

Babar Azam, Pakistan’s middle-order star, is known for his more classically styled shots along the ground, but he too feels he is equipped to go big when the situation demands that of him.

Pakistan focused on acclimatizing before CWC
Pakistan focused on acclimatizing before CWC

“If I can be No.1 in the world without power hitting, then I don’t need power hitting,” he said. “But when I need to, I utilize it well. I don’t just play along the ground. I practice striking the ball big and when desired, I use it. My role is to play out the complete overs. My separate role is to take the innings as deep as I can and perform in a way that benefits the team most of all.”

Pakistan’s series against England will start with a one-off T2OI in Cardiff on 5 May and the all-important ODI series will begin on 8 May.

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Man Utd’s Pogba and De Gea want pay hike despite Champions League penalty clause threat

David de Gea and Paul Pogba are demanding huge pay raise, fearing they will be penalized by Manchester United’s possible inability to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Man Utd’s Pogba and De Gea want pay hike despite Champions League penalty clause threat
Man Utd’s Pogba and De Gea want pay hike despite Champions League penalty clause threat

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team left Europe on Tuesday after being outclassed by Barcelona-inspired Lionel Messi at Camp Nou and facing a tough battle to qualify for club competition next season. United are currently in fourth place, Arsenal, by two points and should face Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City successively after losing five of their last seven games. According to the Times, each member of the first United team will see his base salary reduced by 25% if the team fails to secure a place in the Champions League, was the case in 2016 before the appointment of Jose Mourinho.

Given the prospect of being demoted to the Europa League, two of United’s biggest stars are actually demanding tactical wage increases in a climate of uncertainty over their long-term future. De Gea has been stuck in contract negotiations for almost 18 months and little progress has been made, United has chosen to trigger an automatic extension of 12 months earlier this year to guard against the prospect of losing it through a transfer fee.

Man Utd’s Pogba and De Gea want pay hike despite Champions League penalty clause threat
Man Utd’s Pogba and De Gea want pay hike despite Champions League penalty clause threat

The Spanish international, whose form has recently declined sharply, culminating in Tuesday’s disastrous error that gave Messi his second goal in the middle of the week, is seeking parity with the club’s best player, Alexis Sanchez, who wins £ 400,000 a week before a lucrative series bonus. Pogba, meanwhile, still has a little over two years to run for his current contract and is considering his future and the opportunity to leave Old Trafford for the second time in his career. Zidane is anxious to team up with his neighbour at Real Madrid, but top officials at the Spanish club are not sure if the former Juventus midfielder is a great value.

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