CANTERBURY: Former Australia coach Mickey Arthur, who now is with Pakistan, hopes the recent ball-tampering scandal will prove a ‘reality check for world cricket’ and that the banned trio of Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft get a chance to play county cricket in England.
Smith and Warner, the deposed captain and vice-captain, have been given one-year bans by Cricket Australia, while Bancroft has been hit with a nine-month suspension for his part in the ball-tampering scandal that marred the team’s recent tour of South Africa.
Top-order batsman Bancroft was all set to be Somerset’s overseas player this season but the county backed out of that deal after it emerged he had used sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball in Cape Town.
The CA ban applies only to Australia international matches and domestic fixtures, leaving open the possibility that the shamed trio could resume their careers elsewhere before their respective suspensions expires.
As Pakistan begin their tour of England against Kent later this week, Arthur told reporters at the south-east county’s Canterbury headquarters on Wednesday that he had been stunned by the extraordinary scandal.
“It was a shock to me. I was disappointed, really disappointed, when I saw it go down,” he said.
Arthur, who coached Australia from 201 to 2013, added: “Australia always play their cricket really hard, they play it tough. They’ve pushed ‘the line’ — I just want to know where ‘the line’ is because I’m not sure many people do know where that line is and what it is.
“But I think it got to a point where perhaps, hopefully this is a reality check for world cricket and just makes everybody sit back and take stock.
“Hopefully, something good comes out if it.”
Arthur was sympathetic to the idea of the banned trio playing county cricket.
“In a way, I feel really sorry for them. I can understand they were really stupid, they’ve paid a massive price for it and I know Steve Smith, he would be absolutely gutted.
“Cameron Bancroft is a new guy on the block so for him it would be really hard to swallow and Davey [Warner].
“For them to be missing the amount of cricket they are missing is tough on them so if the ECB [England & Wales Cricket Board} allowed it, it would be good for them to keep playing because I think they have paid a big price already.”
Arthur’s focus, however, is firmly fixed on Pakistan.
They face Kent in a four-day warm-up match starting from Saturday ahead of an inaugural Test in Ireland and a two-Test series in England.
Pakistan impressed during a 2-2 drawn series in England two years ago and last year Arthur’s men won the Champions Trophy one-day tournament in Britain.
But since that 2016 series, Pakistan have seen the likes of veteran batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan retire.
England may have suffered a 4-0 Ashes reverse in Australia and a subsequent Test series loss in New Zealand, but Arthur was in no doubt about how tough it would be to face Joe Root’s men in early-season English conditions.
“England are a really good side and in these conditions they are outstanding,” he said. “There are not that many sides that win away from home these days, so that’s how we are challenging ourselves.
“England in the Ashes, I watched a lot of that, weren’t too bad. They had opportunities in a lot of the Test matches which they just didn’t close off.”
Arthur, who made his name coaching his native South Africa, added: “We are under no illusions. It will be a very tough series.
“But we’ve got a dressing room full of young cricketers who are extremely talented.”
Pakistan are set to be bolstered by the late arrival of Mohammad Amir after visa problems delayed the star paceman’s entry into Britain until Wednesday.
Would be sitting at home if I think like people from outside: Kohli
Mumbai: Virat Kohli said he would be “sitting at home if he thinks like people from outside”, responding, in his trademark combative style, to Gautam Gambhir’s recent jibe at him, but without taking the former opener’s name.
Gambhir, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL trophies in 2012 and 2014, recently said that in a result-oriented franchise environment, Kohli has been “lucky” to have survived despite Royal Challengers Bangalore never winning the coveted title in his eight years as skipper.
Asked about it, the batting maestro said, “Obviously, you want to win the IPL. I am doing what I am supposed to do. I don’t care whether I am going to be judged on this (not winning IPL) or not. There is no real, sort of, parameters you set. I try to perform wherever I can. I try to win all the possible titles, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
“We have to be practical about why we haven’t won one. That boils down to bad decision making in pressure situations. If I think like people from outside, I can’t even sustain five games. I would be sitting at home,” Kohli said.
According to Gambhir, one can’t say Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the same breath, as India’s current captain has not won the IPL even once in comparison to his predecessor’s three. Gambhir also compared Kohli with his national team deputy Rohit Sharma, who too have three IPL titles to his credit.
“I know people talk about it a lot and they like to grab opportunities to talk about these things. But I have a responsibility here and given a chance, as a captain, I would love to win the IPL for my team.
“We all are motivated to do so. It has not happened and that’s the reality. No excuses for that. Only acceptance of the faults that we made in the past. The fact that we played six semi-finals means that we have been a side who are always in contention. If we make better decisions, we can go further than that. That’s how I see things,” Kohli added.
The Indian captain was speaking on the eve of the IPL 12 opener between his team and Chennai Super Kings.
To a question if he felt RCB were the underdogs against CSK at home, he said every team that comes here has to be considered so, with the home team being led by Dhoni.
“MS knows exactly what he wants from his team in these conditions. We all have seen that and are aware of it. We are going to be backing our skills and then find ways to come out on top.
“It’s very easy to be overawed by the support that CSK are going to get. In the IPL, people can get carried away by the support that a team like CSK gets at home but we have to focus on our basics.”Kohli also said RCB’s focus this year would be on being consistent and scratching their way to wins.
“It again boils down to how much composure you have in crunch situations. If you see all the teams that have won, they have had players who have stood up and done the job.
“In the past, when we have been close to winning the title, we have just expected things to go our way instead of standing up. That is something we want to correct this season. If we look ugly, we look ugly. It doesn’t matter. We don’t want to be a side just playing flamboyant cricket. We want to be a consistent side,” Kohli said.
AIFF deny I-League clubs’ request to reschedule qualifiers
Mumbai: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has denied the I-League clubs’ request to restart the 2019 Super Cup, Goal can confirm.
Nine I-League clubs had earlier informed the Indian FA that they are willing to take part in the Super Cup 2019 after AIFF president Praful Patel reached out to the clubs on Thursday and assured them that he will hold a meeting with them in mid-April.
After initially deciding to withdraw from the competition citing AIFF’s unfair treatment towards the clubs, the I-League clubs’ unison expressed their willingness to take part in the knock-out competition if all the clubs are allowed to take part.
However, as Goal reported earlier, matches given as walkovers cannot be replayed according to the regulations of the national cup competition. The AIFF has made it clear to the clubs that the regulations must be adhered to and that it would be unfair towards the opposing teams – Delhi Dynamos, FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC – that took the field for the matches which did not take place.
Minerva Punjab, Gokulam Kerala FC and Aizawl FC failed to turn up for their Super Cup qualifiers on March 15 and March 16.
Due to the I-League clubs’ absence on the match days, the AIFF awarded Delhi Dynamos, FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC wins by virtue of walkovers.
Neymar charged for ‘insulting’ referee in Man United defeat
London: Paris St Germain forward Neymar has been charged for “insulting and/or molesting” the referee following his post-game rant after the French side were knocked out of the Champions League last 16 by Manchester United, UEFA said.
Neymar, who was sidelined by injury, was investigated for lashing out and labelling the video assistant referee (VAR) system a “disgrace” after United won a controversial penalty in the dying stages to advance on away goals.
“Disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United FC (1-3), played on 6 March in France,” UEFA said in a statement.
“Player Neymar Junior – insulting / molesting acts against match official (statements made by the player following the above-mentioned match) – Art. 15 (1) (d) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.”
If the Brazilian is found guilty, he could be suspended for three matches in the competition for insulting match officials.
UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will look into the case and a date for the hearing is yet to be confirmed.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel had said after the game that he understood Neymar’s anger and defended his comments, saying they were made in the heat of the moment.