Jan 052018
Smith, Khawaja frustrate England in Sydney

Usman Khawaja raises his bat on reaching fifty, Australia v England, 5th Ashes Test, Sydney, 2nd day, January 5, 2018/Getty Images Australia captain Steve Smith continued to be England´s Ashes nemesis on Friday as he passed 6,000 test runs in an unbeaten knock of 44 to help his team to 193 for two at close of play on the second day of the fifth test.The world´s top ranked batsman and Usman Khawaja batted through the final session in a 107-run partnership after openers Cameron Bancroft and David Warner had departed earlier in Australia´s reply to England´s 346.Khawaja notched a stylish 91 not out on the ground where he made his test debut in the corresponding fixture at the Sydney Cricket Ground seven years ago but it was the wicket of Smith that England most desperately wanted.They were to be disappointed with only a couple of half chances presenting themselves as Smith sent a couple of early edges fizzing through the slips.The 28-year-old was soon looking comfortable and unfussily swatted a single to backward square to pass the 6,000 career runs mark in his 111th test innings.Only the great Donald Bradman reached the milestone in fewer knocks.Having started the day with a brilliant diving catch in the slips to dismiss Dawid Malan, Smith walked off his home ground in the brilliant afternoon sunshine with 648 runs to his name in the series so far.The tourists, 3-0 down in the series with the urn already relinquished, earlier posted a competitive tally in the [Read More…]

Dec 292017
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Oct 092017
Racism turned me away from backing Australia teams: Usman Khawaja

MELBOURNE: Test batsman Usman Khawaja has said being racially vilified when he was growing up in Sydney led him to support other countries rather than back Australian sports teams.The Pakistan-born 30-year-old said in a blog post that racial abuse was widespread on the playing field during his junior days and blamed it for curtailing the sporting ambitions of a number of his overseas-born friends.“Getting sledged by opposition players and their parents was the norm,” Khawaja wrote on the PlayersVoice website.“Some of them said it just quietly enough for only me to hear. It still hurt, but I would never show it. Most of the time it was when I scored runs. Some parents take things too seriously.“It is for this reason why so many of my friends, most of whom were born outside Australia, didn´t support Australia in sporting contests. I didn´t either.“Especially in cricket. It was either West Indies, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka. Anyone else.”The first Muslim to play test cricket for Australia, left-hander Khawaja has scored 1,728 runs in his 24 tests at an average of 45.47, and is likely to be selected at number three for the upcoming Ashes series against England.He said the hard-edged Australia teams of his childhood held little appeal.“In hindsight, the fact we didn´t support Australia is disappointing,” he added.“Everything that was going on in our childhood and around us built up this resentment of the Australian cricket team.“I mean, none of them looked like us. “I was brought up to be respectful, [Read More…]

Jan 292017
Chelsea to play Perth Glory in Australia

SYDNEY: English Premier League giants Chelsea will play the A-League’s Perth Glory in a friendly next year in the team’s only Australian appearance, officials said Sunday. The match will take place in late July or early August at Perth’s new 65,000-capacity stadium, Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett said in a statement. Officials are hopeful Antonio Conte’s side — the 2014-15 Premier League champions and current league leaders — will attract fans from across the island continent and from Asia. “This is an enormous opportunity for not only football fans, but sport fans in general, from around the nation and the Asia-Pacific region, to witness one of the best and biggest clubs in the world to play in our own backyard,” Glory’s chief executive Peter Filopoulos said. There has been a growing trend of top clubs choosing Australia as a warm-up destination. Arsenal, currently second behind Chelsea in the EPL standings, are playing two pre-season friendlies in Sydney this year. A string of other clubs including Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid have visited Australia in recent years. Perth Glory are currently fifth on the A-League table. London club Chelsea — owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich — last played in Sydney in 2015, the club’s first game in the country for 41 years. Click for detailed story

Jan 252017
Azhar urges team to repeat intensity of Wahab-Watson spell in Adelaide

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali has called on his team to repeat the fierce intensity of the unforgettable spell of fast bowling by Wahab Riaz to Shane Watson during the 2015 World Cup. Pakistan will play Australia at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday for the fifth and final ODI of the series, which has already been decided in the hosts’ favour. The ground, however, will bring back memories of the fierce moments exchanged between the left arm quick Wahab and the now retired Watson. It was a spell which Watson later described as “nasty” and which, according to captain Michael Clarke, was one of the best spells of fast bowling that he had faced in his one-day career “in quite some time”. Addressing a press conference at the Adelaide Oval today (Wednesday), Azhar urged the Green Shirts to channel that energy and passion in Thursday’s match. “That spell was brilliant that day, so hopefully whoever gets the opportunity can try and do the same,” the skipper said, cricket.com.au reported. “It’s really important tomorrow that everybody turns up with that intensity and trying to win the game for Pakistan. You have to come every game and every individual find the best out of himself and get his match-winning performance. “The series is definitely decided but every game is important, and for us to finish the tour well is very important.” ‘Doing a lot of practice’ On Pakistan’s embarrassingly poor fielding in Sydney, Azhar said the team had worked hard on their fielding [Read More…]

Jan 232017
Warner, Khawaja to be rested for Australia-NZ series

SYDNEY: Top order batsman David Warner and Usman Khawaja will miss Australia´s one-day Chappell-Hadlee series in order to rest and prepare for next month´s tour of India. Warner, who scored a century in leading Australia to an 86-run victory over Pakistan in Sydney on Sunday, will take a complete break, while Khawaja is to head to Dubai for a pre-tour training camp. Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch have been recalled to the side to replace the pair. “David has had a very big summer and will benefit from a break in cricket, both mentally and physically,” interim chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said in a statement. “He will travel to Dubai in the second group of departures to coincide with those players arriving from the one-day series in New Zealand. “This gives Aaron an opportunity to return to the side. His form in the Big Bash League has been very good and he has earnt his recall. “With Usman heading to Dubai in the first group of players this provides Shaun with a chance to get back into international cricket following his injury earlier in the summer.” The Chappell-Hadlee one-day series begins on Jan.30 in Auckland, before matches in Napier on Feb. 2 and Hamilton on Feb. 5. Khawaja will leave for Dubai on Jan. 30, while Warner will not join the team in the UAE until Feb. 5. The first match of the four-test series in India starts in Pune on Feb. 23. Australia squad: Steve Smith (captain), Pat [Read More…]

Jan 062017
NZ Olympic champion Powrie retires, Aleh still keen on 2020

WELLINGTON: Former Olympic champion Polly Powrie has retired from international sailing at the age of 29, Yachting New Zealand said on Friday. Powrie won gold with Jo Aleh in the women’s 470 class at London and silver in Rio, with the pair also crowned world champions in 2013. In addition, they won three silver medals at world championships. “Jo and I have been sailing together for eight years and achieved possibly everything we could have,” Powrie said in a statement. “I had to ask the question, ‘was I excited about going again and did I still feel like there was a challenge to achieve?’ “I also had to take family into consideration and decided it was time to move on and experience different things and challenge myself in different ways.” Aleh said last week she was taking a year off from sailing but was still keen on going through to the 2020 Games in Tokyo. She recently completed the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and was keen to crew on a boat in the round the world Volvo Ocean Race later this year. Click for detailed story

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