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Butt, Asif Among Pakistan Players Who Took Part in Dubious Event in UAE

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Karachi: Pakistan’s tainted former captain, Salman Butt, and some other Pakistani players are again in the spotlight after the International Cricket Councils Anti-Corruption unit confirmed it was investigating the Ajman All Stars T20 League held recently.
Butt and Asif who have served five-year bans for spot-fixing between 2010 and 2016 were among a couple of Pakistani players who took part in the private tournament which apparently has caught the attention of the ICC after visuals of some matches were aired which contained some questionable dismissals and behaviour on part of the players.
Former Pakistan players, Hasan Raza, Muhammad Khalil and some others are said to have taken part in the private league which has been disowned and termed as illegal by the Emirates cricket board and Ajman Cricket Council.
The footage of the match which apparently was broadcast don’t include any of the Pakistani players. Butt who was captain when the spot-fixing scandal broke out in England in late 2010 confirmed he had played two matches of the league.
“I went there as I was not picked for the national regions one-day cup by Lahore and I was doing nothing. But when I reached there I realised it was just an amateur level event which had no match referee, ICC anti-corruption representative or even scorers,” Butt told PTI.
“Since the spot-fixing scandal I try to stay away as far as possible from any related controversies. I am happy the ICC is investigating the event because they were lot of flaws in it. But I played just two games and than went away to Dubai, he explained.
Butt said that he had got out first ball in the first match as he was told to play just three hours after reaching Dubai while in the second match he scored around 70 odd runs.
“I don’t know the exact score I got since there was no proper scorer around.”
Butt made it clear he didn’t feature in the match footages which were aired on the social media and had come under scrutiny.
The former captain also disclosed that when he was made an offer to play in the Ajman all stars league he had told the organisers he would need some time to get NOCs from the PCB and his department, Wapda.
“But they told me it was a private tournament and not sanctioned so no NOC was required to play. When I went there I realised it was just a badly managed street level event and it made no sense to me.”


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Ganguly backs Dhawan to shine at ICC World Cup

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Mumbai:There is not a bowler in the world that can stop Shikhar Dhawan when the opener is in determined mood and the left-hander will be crucial to Indias hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.

Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitalsseven-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in Fridays Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at Eden Gardens, much to the delight of Ganguly, an advisor to the Capitals.

Captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma are India`s batting mainstays in one-day cricket but Ganguly puts Dhawan, who has 16 centuries from 128 ODIs with a 93-plus strike rate, in the same league.

 

“The three best players in one-day cricket — Dhawan, Rohit, Virat,” Ganguly told the IPL website. “When he (Dhawan) gets set and gets in he`s unstoppable.

“All I expect from him is determination. When he is determined, no bowler in the world can stop him.”

Dhawan`s second fifty of this IPL season, which catapulted Delhi into the top four, augurs well for India ahead of the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.

Along with opening partner Rohit, the onus will be on Dhawan to give India strong starts in the tournament and the southpaw has performed well on English soil.

Named man of the series in their triumphant 2013 Champions Trophy campaign, Dhawan was also the tournament`s leading scorer four years later when India lost in the final to Pakistan.

“If he gets set, he takes the game away. This is how he plays for India,” Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup, later told reporters. “He`s a class act.”

Two-time champions India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.

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Olympique Lyon’s Champions League spot under threat after Nantes defeat

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London: Olympique Lyonnais` Champions League qualifying hopes were hit as they were beaten 2-1 at Nantes in Ligue 1.

Third-placed Lyon, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, were undone by Anthony Limbombes late free-kick after Martin Terrier had cancelled out Kalifa Coulibalys opener for Nantes.

Lyon are on 56 points with six games left, six ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne, who play their game in hand at home against Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.

 

It was Lyon`s third straight defeat in all competitions after they were knocked out of the French Cup semi-finals by Stade Rennes and lost at home to lowly Dijon in the league last weekend.

The result leaves an even bigger question mark over coach Bruno Genesio`s future, with the club set to make a decision on whether to extend his contract at the end of the season.

With Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Marcelo on the bench, Lyon got off to a bad start.

Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 11th minute after collecting a though ball from Majeed Waris.

Lyon were shaken by the hosts but weathered the storm and equalised one minute before the interval when Terrier curled a fine shot into the back of the net to finish off a counter-attack.

Limbombe earned Nantes victory seven minutes from fulltime with an inch-perfect free-kick, lifting the Canaries up to 15th in the table on 34 points.

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Defender Gomez sign two-year contract extension in East Bengal

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Mumbai: East Bengal fans will heave a huge sigh of relief after their star defender Borja Gomes decided to sign a contract extension with the club and not follow Jobby Justin to go out. The Kolkata-based club is in the process of becoming a part of the ISL next season with I-League’s future looking bleak.

East Bengal came agonizingly close to lift the I-League title yet again this season before Chennai City FC eventually won it as the Kolkata club finished second.And with I-League looking to either get dissolved or set to get demoted to the second division, it was important for East Bengal to finish high on the table.

However, that wasn’t enough for the club to retain their star striker Jobby Justin, who signed a pre-contract with two-time ISL champions ATK just after the I-League ended and the Super Cup was in its quarter-final stage. But, the club was quick to react after that setback and on Friday handed a two-year contract extension to Spanish defender Borja Gomez.

 

“East Bengal FC are pleased to announce the renewal of contract with Borja Gomez Perez for the next two seasons,” the club said in a statement.

“According to him, this is the best team and ‘fans are the best in India’,” the statement added.

The Madrid-born La-Liga star, who is nick-named as the ‘Senapati’, was one of the key members for the club last season and has been a motivator for the team both on and off the field. Gomez has previously played for Granada CF, Real Oviedo, Hercules CF, Real Murcia and more before East Bengal had signed him from UD Sanse in January last year.

East Bengal has already announced their bid for ISL in a board meeting and are currently waiting for the terms to get financially acceptable.

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