LONDON: Pakistan Test batsman Azhar Ali marked his Somerset debut with a century as the visitors established a commanding position in their First Division County Championship match away to Worcestershire .
The 33-year-old right-hander made 125 off 188 balls with the help of 13 fours and two sixes, before he was last man out in a Somerset total of 362 for nine declared at New Road.
England off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali did his chances of a Test recall ahead of next week’s series opener against India at Edgbaston no harm with a return of five wickets for 107 runs.
Worcestershire then lost Daryl Mitchell (6) and Moeen (7) before ending the third and penultimate day on 50 for two, leaving them needing a further 393 runs to win on the final day of the four-day fixture.
“I’m really happy. It is my first game for Somerset and I’ve been made welcome,” Azhar, a veteran of 65 Tests since his international debut in 2010, told the county’s website. “I really enjoyed batting out there and it was really pleasing to get some runs in the first game and hopefully I can build on that.”
Reflecting on his innings, Azhar, who played in Pakistan’s drawn Test series in England earlier this season, added: “Moeen started to turn the ball out of the rough so I thought attacking him early on was the right option because if you are bogged down, they can bring a short leg into play so, I had to go after him to start with.
“We wanted to score runs as well to be in a position to boss the game. That is why I played positively and it paid off,” explained Azhar, who was eventually caught off a reverse-sweep against Moeen.
Somerset have had a superb return from their overseas batsmen so far this season after deciding not to go ahead with bringing Cameron Bancroft to Taunton following the Australian’s role in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa earlier this year.
They signed Matt Renshaw, a fellow Australia batsman, in his place and he went on to make three hundreds, while averaging 51.30, before breaking a finger against Surrey last month — an injury that paved the way for Azhar’s arrival.
Women’s football team better than men’s, says Chhetri
New Delhi: The FIFA ranking says so and India football captain Sunil Chhetri too has no qualms in conceding that the national women’s team is better than the men’s side. The men’s team is currently ranked 103rd out of 211 countries, after being in the top-100 last year. The women’s side is currently 62nd out of 152 nations.
Chhetri, the poster boy of Indian football with second-most goals among active international players, praised the national women’s team for its fifth consecutive SAFF title win. “Extremely proud of all of you. I have always maintained that the women’s team is much better than the men,” Chhetri said.
The women’s team will feature in Round 2 of the Olympics qualifiers, which kick off in Mandalay in Myanmar on April 3.
I will be first one to hang my boots when time comes: Yuvraj on retirement
Mumbai: Yuvraj Singh’s cricketing future has been a topic of discussion for some years now but the player said he would be the first one to bid adieu when he felt that his time is up.
Out of national team’s scheme of things for good, Yuvraj has had a poor track record in the IPL but started on a bright note with a half-century for his latest franchise Mumbai Indians.
“When the time comes, I will be the first one to hang my boots,” Yuvraj told the media after MI’s 37-run defeat against Delhi Capitals in the IPL opener.
However, India’s 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup hero did admit that at times he felt indecisive about carrying on.
“The last two years, have been up and down (for me). And I could not decide on what to do,” said the 37-year-old.
Yuvraj said when on introspection, he found that he is still enjoying the game just as he did as an U-16 cricketer not thinking about national team selection.
“The main thing for me was why I played the game when I started off. I played the game because I enjoyed playing cricket. When I enjoyed playing cricket, I was not playing for India. I was playing for U-14s and U-16s. So till the time, I enjoy playing cricket, I am going to play.”
The veteran left-hander spoke to Sachin Tendulkar, who could relate with his situation as to how he felt when he was at the business end of his career.
“I have been speaking to Sachin (Tendulkar) as well and he has gone through that time when he was 37-38-39 (and how he felt). Talking to him makes things easier for me. And I am just playing because I enjoy playing cricket pretty much,” he signed off.
Zidane is the right man for the Real Madrid job : Mourinho
London: Jose Mourinho has said that he believes Zinedine Zidane is the right man for the Real Madrid managerial position.
Zidane was re-appointed as Madrid’s head coach earlier this month, just 10 months after he had resigned from the same position.
After Solari’s dismissal, many tipped Mourinho to return to the Santiago Bernabeu after he had been sacked as Manchester United boss in December.
Mourinho was Madrid’s manager from 2010 to 2013, but the Blancos instead opted to bring back three-time Champions League winner Zidane.
And Mourinho himself has now said that the Blancos made the right call, adding that the Frenchman is just getting started in his managerial career despite what he has already achieved.
“I do not think we can talk about a career for him yet,” Mourinho said of Zidane on Canal Plus.
“But in a very short time, he did what no one had done before, that is winning three consecutive Champions Leagues”.
“Now he is starting a new step in his career. He has to build a team, he has to make choices, buy players, sell them. He has to train them, give them his philosophy of play.
“I think he’s probably the best person for this club.”
Mourinho has not been shy about his desire to return to club management, and said this week he has already turned down a number of job offers.
The Portuguese said that he’s growing more eager to return every day.
“Day after day, I miss training. I’m not going to hide it,” Mourinho said.
“There’s something going on in my head, winning a fifth league and a new Champions League with a third club.”