“Entree Over, Time For Main Course”: Scott Styris Lays Down Challenge For Team India


After concluding the Australia tour on a high, India are scheduled to tour New Zealand for five One Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals, starting on Wednesday. India drew the three-match T20I series 1-1 and won their maiden Test series in Australia in 71 years and 11 attempts before clinching their first-ever bilateral ODI series on a highly-successful tour Down Under. Ahead of another tough tour, former New Zealand cricketer Scott Styris laid down a challenge for Virat Kohli and his team. “Well done @BCCI ..entree is over time for the main course,” Styris tweeted on Friday.

Australia were playing without their prominent batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner, who are serving one-year bans for their involvement in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March 2018.

New Zealand, on the other hand, look daunting as ever with captain Kane Williamson in remarkable form. Besides the skipper, seasoned batsmen Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill are also riding the best form at the moment.

In the recent 3-0 routing of Sri Lanka in the three-match ODI series at home, Williamson led by example scoring 132 runs in three innings with two fifty-plus knocks.

Taylor, 34, finished as the top run-scorer in the ODI series with 281 runs, including a noteworthy 137-run knock in the third and final match in Nelson.

New Zealand opener Guptill accumulated 153 runs in the ODI series with a match-winning century in the first match in Mount Maunganui.

New Zealand have brought together their strongest possible line-up for the ODI series against India.

On the other hand, India have decided to rest their prime pacer Jasprit Bumrah and Hyderabad-based fast bowler Mohammed Siraj has been called in as his replacement.

“Keeping in mind the work load of the bowler, it was best felt to give him adequate rest ahead of the home series against Australia. Mohammed Siraj will replace Bumrah in the squad for the Australia and New Zealand tour,” the BCCI said in a statement.    

Bumrah was the joint-leading wicket-taker alongside Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon with 21 wickets in the four-Test series Down Under.





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Doug Bracewell, Scott Kuggeleijn Star As New Zealand Beat Sri Lanka In One-Off T20I


Although the target was not daunting, and Sri Lanka easily kept up with the required run rate to be four for 118 after 12 overs.

But their last six wickets fell for the addition of only 26 more runs and the innings folded for 144 with 19 balls remaining. 

Kuggeleijn and Bracewell both took wickets in their opening overs.

Kusal Perera, who raced to 22 off 12 deliveries was removed by Kuggeleijn’s third delivery while Niroshan Dickwella, who smacked a four and a six from the first two balls of the innings, went for 18 with the first ball from Bracewell.

Kuggeleijn and Bracewell also took the catches to dismiss Kusal Mendis (17) and Thisara Perera (43). 

The first game all tour for Sadeera Samarawickrama was a short-lived affair when he was bowled first ball by Lockie Ferguson.

Ferguson finished with figures of three for 21 while Ish Sodhi took three for 30.

Sri Lanka did with the toss and put New Zealand into bat with impressive early results.

With a more disciplined bowling attack than was seen in the ODIs, and with astute field placements, Sri Lanka ripped through the New Zealand top order to have them four for 27 midway through the fourth over. 

Ross Taylor, who tormented Sri Lanka in the one-dayers, had to play a more circumspect role.

His first 11 runs were all singles from 22 deliveries before he first found the boundary on his way to 33 off 37. 

Taylor’s patience, however, had set the stage for the Bracewell and Kuggeleijn to hit out and give the total some respectability.

Bracewell clubbed 44 off 26 balls including five sixes and a four while Kuggeleijn only faced 15 deliveries to be not out 35 with four sixes and a four.

New Zealand now prepare to host India in a series of ODIs while Sri Lanka head to Australia.

(With AFP inputs)



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Mocked For Photoshopped Shoes, Australian PM Scott Morrison’s Message To My Department


Morrison posted a first person view of his legs and tattered old blue and what-was-once-white trainers

Sydney: 

Australia’s prime minister laughed off a clumsy attempt by aides to Photoshop him wearing snazzier, and markedly cleaner, footwear on Wednesday, saying he was perfectly happy with his battered old kicks.

A snap of Scott Morrison with his family — which featured as the banner heading on the prime minister’s official website — drew public attention thanks to his obviously doctored and implausibly white sneakers.

Facing widespread mockery on social media, including suggestion that the fake shoes were both for the left foot, Morrison decided to jump into the furore feet first.

“Message to my Department,” he jokingly tweeted. “I didn’t ask for the shoeshine.”

“But if you must Photoshop, please focus on the hair (lack thereof), not the feet!”

Morrison posted a first person view of his legs and tattered old blue and what-was-once-white trainers.

“Here they are in all their glory — my footwear of choice whenever I can get out of a suit,” he said.

The prime ministerial shoes were also resurrected in a more authentic version of the family photo on his website.

Amid a string of suggestions that he resign and general Twitter abuse, some social media users reciprocated the gesture, posting photos of their own questionable shoe choices and portraying Morrison with clown shoes.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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New Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison Rewards Allies, Keeps Rebels In Cabinet


This new Liberal-National team is a next-generation team, say Prime Minister Scott Morrison. (AFP)

Sydney: 

New Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison rewarded supporters and extended an olive branch to rebel right-wingers as he unveiled his “new generation” cabinet Sunday after taking power in a party-room coup.

Morrison, the former treasurer (finance minister), was sworn in as prime minister on Friday after winning a Liberal Party leadership challenge against incumbent moderate Malcolm Turnbull.

The challenge had been instigated by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, whom Morrison — also to the right of the party — defeated in a secret ballot. He sought to heal the wounds exposed by the infighting.

“This new Liberal-National team is a next-generation team,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra of the governing coalition between the Liberals and the rural-based Nationals party.

“What we have done today in pulling this team together is provide for stability… it does begin the process of healing.”

Dutton kept Home Affairs but his super-sized portfolio was split to separate immigration and national security, with migration issues to be handled by former assistant finance minister David Coleman.

The environment and energy portfolio, which was held by the man who is now Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, was also broken up in an acknowledgement of the tensions the two issues caused within the party.

Environment and energy policies were key bones of contention between Turnbull and the right-wingers, who wanted him to prioritise older electricity generation sources such as coal over renewables and emissions mitigation.

Wind-farm critic and Dutton supporter Angus Taylor was chosen as energy minister, tasked with the job of lowering soaring electricity prices.

MP Melissa Price, who represents major mining and agriculture centres in Western Australia state, picked up the environment ministry.

Marise Payne, the former defence minister, was given the foreign affairs portfolio after incumbent Julie Bishop resigned Sunday.

Bishop, a rare female voice in the Australian government, had put her hand up to be one of three candidates to replace Turnbull. But she received minimal support from colleagues, even as opinion polls pointed to her popularity among voters.

Her departure has raised questions about whether she fell victim to party politics and to a perceived glass ceiling for women in Canberra.

Renowned for her steely gaze dubbed the “death stare”, Bishop’s highlights as foreign minister include her strong condemnation of Russia’s role in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 in 2014.

Moderate Christopher Pyne was promoted to defence minister, while Dutton allies Matthias Cormann (finance), Mitch Fifield (communications) and Greg Hunt (health) remained in their cabinet roles.

Former deputy PM and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, who was forced to quit in February and move to the backbench over his affair with his younger former media adviser, returned in a drought advisory role.

But there was no room for ex-PM Tony Abbott — a vocal critic of Turnbull after Turnbull ousted him as leader in 2015.

Morrison said he was open to Abbott, who had supported Dutton, being involved in government decisions in an advisory capacity.





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Faced With Ethics Scandal, Donald Trump’s Environment Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns


Congressional Democrats have called for Scott Pruitt’s ouster for months.

Washington: 

US President Donald Trump on Thursday announced the departure of his environment chief, Scott Pruitt, who faced ever-growing ethics scandals over his spending and conduct in office.

“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” tweeted the president, ending months of speculation about the future of the man he had tasked with dismantling former president Barack Obama’s green legacy. 

“Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” added Trump.

Trump told journalists aboard Air Force One that there was “no final straw” that led to Pruitt’s departure, and that the move — which he said had been in the works for “a couple of days” — was “very much up to him.”

“He came to me and he said, ‘I have such great confidence in the administration. I don’t want to be a distraction.’ And I think Scott felt that he was a distraction,” said Trump.

Trump tweeted that Pruitt’s deputy, the former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, would take over Monday as acting head of the agency.

“He is a very environmental person. He’s a big believer, and he’s going to do a fantastic job,” the president told journalists of Wheeler.

Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general reported to have close ties to fossil fuel industries, had become the focus of multiple investigations in recent months, including by his own agency’s inspector general, two other independent federal agencies and by Congress itself. 

The list of accusations levelled against the 50-year-old EPA chief had grown almost too long to itemize.

All the charges share a common thread: he appears to have used the position he has held since February 2017 to enrich his and his own family’s lifestyle in violation of federal law, while punishing subordinates who raised objections to his behavior, or who failed to show sufficient loyalty to him.

It all began with a penchant for first-class and private air travel while on official business, a bill footed by the taxpayers, in contravention of usual government practice. 

Then came reports of the large number of bodyguards he kept around him 24 hours a day, doubling the cost of his predecessors’ security detail.

He also ordered the installation of a secure telephone cabin in his Washington office at the cost of $43,000, which critics found excessive.

– Zealous lieutenant –

And there was the question of his personal expenses. He rented an apartment linked to oil industry lobbyists in a pricey neighborhood of the capital for a mere $50 a night, a sum he only paid on nights he actually slept there.

He also tasked members of his staff with personal assignments, including finding him another apartment, getting his tickets to sporting events and trying to help his wife find a job.

Some of the tasks were outright bizarre, including a reported order to find and obtain a used Trump-brand mattress from a Trump hotel.

Despite the laundry list of ethics complaints putting him on thin ice, Pruitt was invited to and appeared at the White House Wednesday for Trump’s Independence Day celebration, where he and other cabinet members received a shout-out from the president.

Pruitt made no mention of the various ethics complaints in his resignation letter, instead praising Trump for having “blessed me personally and enabled me to advance your agenda beyond what anyone anticipated.”

But instead of taking responsibility, he pointed a finger at the pressure from critics including congressional Democrats.

“The unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us,” he wrote to Trump, in his letter posted by Fox News.

Trump’s inner circle has had a revolving door since his first weeks in office, when he sacked national security advisor Michael Flynn. 

Cabinet members who resigned or were ousted include health secretary Tom Price, secretary of state Rex Tillerson, national security advisor HR McMaster and veterans affairs chief David Shulkin.

Until now, Trump had stood by Pruitt — a zealous lieutenant who strongly defended his decision to quit the Paris climate accords — praising his work to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations that the president says hinder economic growth.

But the tone changed in recent weeks.

Last month, while praising Pruitt’s “fantastic job” at the EPA, the president admitted, “I’m not happy about certain things, I’ll be honest.”

Congressional Democrats have called for Pruitt’s ouster for months, and on Thursday their reaction to his departure was swift.

“Good riddance,” tweeted House Democrat Earl Blumenauer. 

“Given Pruitt’s complete failure to protect our clean air and water, and with 13 open federal investigations into his work, the only question is why this took so long.”

Pruitt’s exit came just days after a woman confronted him at a Washington restaurant and called on him to resign.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Scandal-Hit US Environment Chief Scott Pruitt Could Be Sacked


Scott Pruitt has become the focus of multiple investigations in recent months. (AFP)

Washington: 

Facing ever-growing scandals over the spending and behavior of his environment agency chief, Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump appears close to firing the man he appointed to dismantle Barack Obama’s green legacy.

The list of accusations levelled against the 50-year-old head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has grown almost too long to itemize in a single article.

Pruitt has become the focus of multiple investigations in recent months, including by his own agency’s inspector general, two other independent federal agencies and by Congress itself.

All the charges share a common thread — that Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general reported to have close ties to fossil fuels industries, appears to have used the position he has held since February 2017 to enrich his own family’s lifestyle in violation of federal law and has punished subordinates who raised objections to his behavior, or who failed to show sufficient loyalty to him.

It all began with his penchant for first-class and private air travel while on official business, a bill footed by the taxpayers, in contravention of usual government practice.

Then came the reports of the large number of bodyguards he kept around him 24 hours a day, doubling the cost of his predecessors’ security detail.

He also ordered the installation of a secure telephone cabin in his Washington office at the cost of $43,000 (36,000 euros) which critics found excessive.

Then there was the question of his personal expenses. He rented an apartment linked to oil industry lobbyists in a pricey neighborhood of the capital for a mere $50 dollars a night, a sum he only paid for on nights he actually slept there.

He also tasked members of his staff with personal assignments, including finding him another apartment, getting his tickets to sporting events and trying to help his wife find a job.

This week, Kevin Chmielewski, a former EPA deputy chief of staff who was sacked in February, told MSNBC news that he saw Pruitt pay back a young member of staff $600 she had been forced to put on her own credit card for hotel rooms for Pruitt’s family during the celebrations for Trump’s swearing-in ceremony.  

Chmielewski, a Republican and Trump loyalist, also told CNN news that Pruitt allegedly used secret calendars to hide contacts with industry insiders from his own staff.

He was just one of a number of whistle-blowers at the EPA to raise the alarm about Pruitt’s behavior to Congress, where many Republicans now appear to be losing their patience with the environment chief.

‘Not Happy’

Until now, the president has stood by his zealous lieutenant, praising his work to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations that Trump says hinder economic growth.

Trump, whose decision to quit the Paris climate accords was vociferously defended by Pruitt, may be changing his mind now though with November’s mid-terms looming and Democrats knocking his pledges to “drain the swamp” of Washington graft.

Last month, while praising Pruitt’s “fantastic job” at the EPA, the president admitted, “I’m not happy about certain things, I’ll be honest.”

On Tuesday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley addressed the mounting ethical questions facing Pruitt and said “these things matter to the president as well, and he’s looking into those.”

The cooler tone towards Pruitt recalls the changing attitude to other cabinet members who have been dismissed by the president.

Last September Trump said he was “not happy” with his health secretary Tom Price after multiple reports about extravagant spending on air travel. Price resigned shortly afterwards.

In March, Gidley said the president still had confidence in his Veteran Affairs chief David Shulkin “at this point in time.” Two days later, he was gone.

And the ouster of former secretary of state Rex Tillerson in January was preceded by a stream of barbed comments and public slights from the president before he finally sacked the former oil industry executive.  

Pruitt’s fate seemed secure for the rest of Wednesday at least, since it was Independence Day and the president had no scheduled public appearances aside from a picnic in the grounds of the White House.





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