After Test Snub, Mohammad Amir Dropped From T20I Series

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday announced the 15-man squad for the upcoming three-match T20I series against Australia and pacer Mohammad Amir was once again given the cold shoulder by the selectors. Amir was dropped from the Test team after a poor outing in the Asia Cup 2018 and the selection committee, headed by Inzamam ul Haq, excluded the 26-year-old from the shortest format of the game as well. Left-arm pacer Waqas Maqsood (yet to play for the national senior team) has been included in the team after good performances in domestic cricket while Imad Wasim, who missed the Asia Cup due to injury, returns to the squad.

“Waqas Maqsood has been drafted in the T20 squad after his recent performances in the domestic cricket and playing for Pakistan ‘A’ team in the recent series. Similarly, Imad Wasim makes a comeback in the team after his form and fitness was monitored by the selection committee during the current domestic matches,” said Chief Selector Inzamam ul Haq.

Pakistan are currently playing a two-match Test series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates. The first match in Dubai ended in a draw while the second match is currently being played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The three-match T20I series against Australia will start on October 24 in Abu Dhabi. The second and third T20I will be played on October 26 and 28 Dubai, respectively.

Pakistan T20I squad: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Sahibzada Farhan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain & wk), Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Khan, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Waqas Maqsood, Faheem Ashraf.


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Murali Vijay Questions Selectors’ Lack Of Communication After Test Snub

Murali Vijay Questions Selectors

Murali Vijay was dropped from the team after the 3rd Test in England. © AFP

India opener Murali Vijay was dropped from the Indian team after the third Test in England due to a poor string of performances. Following that, he was left out of the ongoing two-match Test series against the Windies as well. Talking about his omission from the Test squad, Murali Vijay on Thursday said that no one from the team management, or the chief selector, spoke to him about his omission. Reiterating his point, Vijay mentioned that it is important for a player to know why he is being kept out for the team so that he knows where he stands in the scheme of things.

“Nothing at all. Neither the chief selector nor any other person spoke to me in England after I was dropped from the third Test,” Vijay was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror.

“None of them have spoken to me since. I did have a conversation with the members of the team management in England and that’s it,” Vijay further said.

Last week, India’s veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh had said that he failed to understand the parameters of being selected in the team after Rohit Sharma and Karun Nair failed to make it to India’s 15-member squad for the West Indies series. Following up on that, Vijay also agreed with Harbhajan.

“I tend to agree with what Harbhajan Singh has said (on Tuesday) about parameters of selection. I think it is important that a player is told about the reasons for keeping him out so that he knows where exactly he stands in the team managements’ and selectors’ scheme of things.” Vijay remarked.

The right-handed batsman is currently playing for Tamil Nadu in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

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Akhilesh Yadav’s Advice To Congress After Mayawati Snub

Akhilesh Yadav said that the BSP does not take any decision due to fear of anyone


Urging the Congress to show magnanimity, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said on Wednesday that any delay in this regard might prompt other parties to declare their candidates for the upcoming assembly elections.

His comments came hours after Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati announced that her party would contest the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh assembly elections either on its own or in an alliance with regional parties, but not with the Congress.

Speaking to reporters in Lucknow, Mr Yadav said, “I am saying even today that the Congress should show its large-heartedness, and it should contest elections by taking along all the political parties who have similar thoughts and ideology.”

“If there is any delay, then there is a possibility that other parties may declare their candidates. After this, they (Congress) will be levelling allegations that they colluded with the BJP,” Mr Yadav said.

But, Akhilesh Yadav added, he knows one thing that the BSP does not take any decision due to fear of anyone.

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After Mayawati Snub, A Don’t Know From Kamal Nath

Kamal Nath said there is no possibility of an alliance with the BSP now that Mayawati has called it off.

New Delhi: 

Dalit powerhouse Mayawati’s shock announcement that she would not ally with the Congress in the coming elections in Madhya Pradesh has the state party on the backfoot. Kamal Nath, in charge of the elections in the state and a key interlocutor with Mayawati, indicated that the Bahujan Samaj Party chief’s stance was unexpected.

“I do not know why Mayawati did what she did. We were discussing (seat sharing) with her and her party till day before yesterday,” Mr Nath told NDTV in an exclusive interview. “There is no possibility of an alliance with the BSP now that she has called it off,” he added.

The shock announcement from Mayawati came this afternoon after weeks of negotiations that failed to break the impasse the two parties had hit. Mayawati had demanded 40 of the state’s 231 seats, but with a package deal in Rajasthan. While Madhya Pradesh Congress was agreeable to a deal though with a rider on the number of seats to be offered, the Rajasthan Congress was of the view that it would be Mayawati who would benefit from any seat sharing arrangement in the state. Mayawati made it clear that she would not make any deal unless her demands were met.

“It was not about me getting the Chief Minister’s post but getting the Congress back in power,” Kamal Nath told NDTV, responding to Mayawati’s allegations of “sabotage” by “some leaders”. “We couldn’t give her the seats she demanded, which would have allowed the BJP to win easily. We did not want the vote against BJP to be fragmented,” he said.

“Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi both want that the BSP and Congress party should have a tie-up for the state and Lok Sabha polls. I feel that their intentions for Congress-BSP alliance are honest… but some leaders are sabotaging it,” said Mayawati, who was photographed months ago holding hands with Sonia Gandhi at the oath ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy in Karnataka. Mayawati was the ally of Mr Kumaraswamy, whose party joined hands with the Congress to keep the BJP out of power in the state.

The other key Congress leader in Madhya Pradesh, former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, reiterated his remark that Mayawati was under the Centre’s pressure to not ally with his party.

“When Mayawati addressed a press conference with Jogi (September 20), she categorically said that she will not align with the Congress and went ahead to declare her party’s alliance with Jogi and even announced contesting 22 seats in Madhya Pradesh unilaterally,” Mr Singh said.

The central leaders of the Congress said they hoped that the BSP chief reposing her faith in Rahul and Sonia Gandhi will provide it a window of opportunity help iron out the “creases”.

“Mayawati has expressed her sentiments and we respect that. She has reposed full faith in Rahul ji and Sonia ji and we respect that too. If there is harmony among Sonia Gandhi, who is our guide, and Rahul Gandhi, who is our leader, and Mayawati ji, then no fourth person can create a rift among them,” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

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Digvijay Singh Refuses To Be Blamed For Mayawati’s Congress Snub

Digvijaya Singh reiterated that Mayawati was under the Centre’s pressure to not ally with the Congress.

New Delhi: 

As Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati ruled out an alliance with Congress for the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Assembly elections, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said he stood by his comments that she was under the Centre’s pressure to not ally with his party.

Digvijaya Singh, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, also dismissed Mayawati’s accusation that he had “sabotaged” the BSP-Congress alliance.

Mayawati had denied Digvijaya Singh’s claims that she was under a “lot of pressure from the Centre because of which she did not want an alliance with the Congress“. 

The senior Congress leader pointed out that the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister had earlier made her intentions clear by announcing an electoral pact with Ajit Jogi’s Janta Congress Chhattisgarh for the Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh.

“When Mayawati addressed a press conference with Jogi (September 20), she categorically said that she will not align with the Congress and went ahead to declare her party’s alliance with Jogi and even announced contesting 22 seats in Madhya Pradesh unilaterally,” Mr Singh said. 

Asked if his statement on Mayawati triggered her latest snub, Mr Singh said: “Nationally, central agencies have been let loose to suppress the voices of every political party or person who is not with the BJP or has criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi or his government.” 

The Congress leader added: “We will be very happy if we have an alliance with the BSP. At the national level, I have always supported the idea that all parties opposed to the BJP-RSS ideology should come together to defeat them.” 

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Harbhajan Singh, Fans Blast Selectors Over Rohit Sharma Test Snub

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said he could not digest the Rohit’s exclusion.

Fans too were left scratching their heads with the decision to leave Rohit out with many taking to Twitter to vent their anger. 

Rohit Sharma finished the Asia Cup 2018 as the second highest run-getter behind only teammate Shikhar Dhawan.

Rohit, who captained India in the absence of Virat Kohli, scored 317 runs in five Asia Cup 2018 matches at an average of 105.67

Having made his debut in the longest format in 2013, the 31-year-old has played played only 25 Tests for India, scoring 1,479 runs at a healthy average of 39.97.

Rohit last played a Test for India against South Africa in January earlier this year. The right-hander struggled to get going against the Proteas, scoring a total of 78 runs in four innings at an average of 19.50.

Rohit’s underwhelming show saw him being dropped for India’s one-off Test against Afghanistan. However, a good performance in UAE would have raised hopes of a Test call-up, however, the selectors thought otherwise and decided to give youngsters a chance.

Indian team for the Windies Tests: Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R shwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Turns To Juventus Challenge After FIFA Best Player Snub

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri had backed Ronaldo – who has scored three goals in his last two league games – for the award, as he led the way in the Champions League with 15 goals to help Real to a third straight title.

“With no offence to Luka Modric, I’d give the Ballon d’Or to Ronaldo for what he did last season. I think he deserves it,” said Allegri.

The Italian champions face a heavy week in Turin with three games in their Allianz Stadium in the space of seven days.

After Wednesday’s game against 18th-placed Bologna, who shocked Roma 2-0 at the weekend, Juventus play Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli in a top-of-the table clash on Saturday.

Juventus have had a perfect start to the season with five wins and 15 points – three points ahead of Napoli.

Allegri’s side also play Swiss club Young Boys in the Champions League a week on Tuesday, a game which Ronaldo will miss after his controversial sending off against Valencia in Spain.

Napoli host promoted Parma, before their trip to Turin, with an eye on their Champions League game against Liverpool in Naples.

“We won there (Juventus) last season and still finished second,” said Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne. 

“If we don’t win the midweek game with Parma, then the result with Juve is irrelevant, so we have to take it one at a time.”

Under-pressure Roma host promoted Frosinone looking for a boost after slipping to 14th with their weekend defeat in Bologna.

Coach Eusebio Di Francesco has reportedly been given a week to save his job, starting against the newcomers from outside Rome, before the city derby against Lazio at the weekend.

Frosinone are second from the bottom of the table with 12 goals conceded, including two to Juventus last weekend.

“At the end of the year when the points are counted the matches like the one in Frosinone you don’t remember immediately, but you know how important they were,” said Allegri.

Roma then host Czech club Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League next week, having lost their opener to holders Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Inter Milan face a tough task against Fiorentina in the San Siro Tuesday with coach Luciano Spalletti serving a touchline ban for his over-exuberant goal celebration against Sampdoria.

Inter have been struggling but their last-gasp win against the Genoa side followed their come-from-behind 2-1 win in the Champions League against Tottenham. 

Spalletti’s side travel to the Netherlands to play PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League next week.

Fiorentina are third in the table five points adrift of Juventus, with Inter in ninth.

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Boxer Sonia Lather Eager To Forget CWG Snub, Eyes Asiad Glory

Two-time Asian Boxing Championship silver medal winner Sonia Lather is heading to the upcoming Asian Games with a positive attitude, leaving behind the disappointment of being excluded from the recently concluded Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (CWG). Lather has enjoyed considerable success during her full-fledged international career and has emerged as one of the brightest emerging stars of women’s boxing in India. The Haryana boxer had taken silver at the Asian Championships of 2012, her first year at the senior international level. She went on to finish runners-up in the 57-kilogram category at the 2016 World Championships before taking another Asian Championships silver last year. Having won the senior national title earlier this year, a confident Lather wants to repeat her past glorious performances when the 2018 Asian Games starts in Jakarta.

“I want to repeat the show again in Asiad. My preparations have been good and received a lot of help from our foreign coach Raffaele Bergamasco, who helped to learn new techniques,” Lather told IANS.

Speaking on her exclusion from the 2018 CWG boxing squad despite winning the national championship earlier this year, the Jind girl said, “Whatever happened during CWG, as a sportsperson I don’t regret about it. I try to keep off the negativity of the past when I am heading to a new competition.”

Lather was all praise for the support from the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), which served a four-year ban due to administrative problems and was again recognised by the sport’s international body on December 20, 2016.

“Earlier, we lacked the desired support from the federation but today we get it in advance. A sportsperson excels on motivation and today we receive a huge amount of it from the BFI,” she said.

“As a result, we head to any competition on a positive frame of mind. Now we get every facility well in advance,” Lather added.

When queried on the future of women’s boxing in India, Lather was hopeful that the present working culture of the BFI will result in further improvement in standards.

“When I see the present BFI, future of women’s boxing looks very bright,” the Haryana boxer opined.

“A player wants to feature in more and more of tournaments and the federation is organising a number of national and international competitions which is very beneficial for us,” Lather explained.

Commenting on her strategy at the upcoming Asiad, Lather said: “I personally believe in making strategies after entering the ring and not before that.”

“I simply believe in delivering my best and playing hard,” she signed-off.

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Big New Snub For India From Maldives As It Favours China

Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is considered a backyard of India. (File)


The Maldives wants India to withdraw military helicopters and personnel posted there following the expiry of an agreement in June, its envoy said, the latest snub to Delhi by President Abdulla Yameen’s China-backed government.

India and China are going head to head in the Maldives, the Indian Ocean island chain where Beijing is building roads, bridges and a bigger airport, upstaging India which has been the country’s prime provider of military and civilian aid for decades.

India has opposed Yameen’s crackdown on political rivals and the imposition of an emergency this year and some of the president’s rivals have called on Delhi for military intervention, creating worries in the Maldivian government.

The tensions are impacting aid programmes such as security assistance that Delhi has given to smaller countries in the region to help them protect exclusive economic zones, carry out surveys and combat piracy.

The Maldives’ ambassador in India, Ahmed Mohamed, told Reuters that two military helicopters provided by India were mainly used for medical evacuations but were no longer required as the islands had built up enough resources of its own.

“They were very useful in the past but with the development of adequate infrastructure, facilities and resources we are now in a position to handle medical evacuations on our own,” he said.

However, India and the Maldives are still conducting joint patrols in the islands’ exclusive economic zone every month, Mohamed said. The Maldives, 400 km (250 miles) to the southwest of India, is close to the world’s busiest shipping lanes, between China and the Middle East.

Along with the helicopters, India had stationed around 50 military personnel, including pilots and maintenance crew, and their visas had expired. But Delhi has not yet withdrawn them from the island chain.

“We are still there, our two helicopters and the men,” an Indian navy spokesman said on Wednesday, adding the foreign ministry was handling the situation. The foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

India has been demanding that Yameen free political rivals including former President Abdul Gayoom and Supreme Court justices. It also criticised Yameen’s decision to hold elections in September saying the rule of law should be restored before embarking on such an exercise.

India was a close supporter of Gayoom during his long years of stewardship of the island chain and sent troops to foil an attempted coup against him in 1988.

China, which opened an embassy in the Maldives in 2011, has rapidly built ties with the tropical island chain as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. It says it is opposed to any country interfering in the internal affairs of the Maldives.

Providing helicopters and patrol boats and satellite assistance to countries such as the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles has been part of India’s naval diplomacy to retain influence in the Indian Ocean.

But in recent years China has moved in, building ports and roads backed by loans. In the Maldives, Beijing Urban Construction Group Company Limited took over a project to expand the airport servicing the capital Male, after the government cancelled a $511 million deal with India’s GMR Infrastructure.

Maldives has also given the Chinese a few islands to develop, officials said. Abhijit Singh, a former Indian naval officer who specialises on Indian Ocean politics at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, said the Indian helicopters were deployed near the islands where the Chinese were present.

“Now the issue is Yameen wants the helicopters out, but more importantly he wants the personnel out. It is not the helicopters that trouble him so much, it is actually the fact that there are these people there.”

“Yameen has invited China to do a lot of infrastructure building and he suspects that India is trying to keep a watch on what the Chinese are doing and so wants to keep the Indians out,” said Singh.

Ambassador Ahmed declined comment on that view.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

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Manchester City’s Leroy Sane Determined After Germany World Cup Snub

Leroy Sane has thanked Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola for helping him overcome his World Cup heartbreak. The City forward, who was a key member of Guardiola’s Premier League title-winning side last season, was left stunned by Germany coach Joachim Low’s decision to omit him from the squad for the tournament in Russia. It was a move which backfired for Low after his side failed to exit the group stages, leaving many to question the wisdom of leaving out a player who scored 10 goals and provided 15 assists in a campaign which ended with him being named as the Football Association young player of the year. Yet with the Euro 2020 qualifiers on the horizon, Sane, who refused to comment on the Mezut Ozil racism scandal which has engulfed German football, believes he will have a chance to resurrect his international career under Guardiola’s guidance.

“Yes, Pep had a chat with me after it happened,” said Sane, when asked about his shock omission from Germany’s squad. “We talked about everything and how my mind was and now we are just looking forward.

“I was disappointed but from that moment and now I’m just looking forward. I’m just preparing to be ready for the start of the new season. It gives you motivation. It would be a dream to play in the World Cup.

“When I watched the World Cup I had the feeling that I wanted to be there. But I’m 22 and I still have a lot of years to prepare.

“I was disappointed at the time – it was really hard for the first week. It’s just made me want to come back really strong.

“It was a surprise because I thought I’d played quite a good season. I’m still feeling it (the disappointment) a bit but it’s another season for me and I’m looking forward to it.”

Sane took no joy in seeing his country suffer, despite experiencing such a difficult personal setback.

“I was disappointed for them too because some of them are my friends and I’ve played with them before, ” he added.

“They are all good guys – and that’s why I was disappointed for them. The World Cup has special games and losing them hurts more than the other ones.”

With Sane fresh after a summer break and one of the few first team regulars on duty for City’s pre-season tour of the United States, Guardiola will at least have the German ready for the Premier League season opener at Arsenal on August 12th.

Together with new signing Riyad Mahrez, both will look to feature in the International Champions Cup match with Liverpool in New Jersey on Wednesday and hand their manager a glimpse of what the future holds.

“A lot of the players went really far in the World Cup. I was really happy for them – especially Ben (Mendy) because he won it,” said Sane.

“Of course they now need a break to recover and be fresh for the new season.”

“I’m happy Riyad is here. Every time we played Leicester and he had the ball, I was like ‘ok please don’t do anything creative’.

“I’m really happy that he’s now with us as he’s a really good football player. You can see it already. He’s a really good player and a really good person.”

“Have I told him that? I can’t tell him that, then he’ll be stronger and take my place!”

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