New Delhi:Phil Simmons, the Afghanistan cricket team coach, said the unavailability of some top India players will not lessen the importance of the one-off Test between the two sides in June, which will also be Afghanistan’s first Test. Simmons added that if Afghanistan win, no one can undermine their feat, with the five-day format being the pinnacle of cricket.
“If India play Afghanistan and Afghanistan win the Test, nobody will say Kohli wasn’t there, Cheteshwar Pujara wasn’t there or (Ajinkya) Rahane wasn’t there. It’s India’s choice what they do with their players,” said Simmons in an interview on the sidelines of the launch of Afghan Premier League.
“If we win, we have beaten India. We will take that.”
India face their toughest assignment this year when they travel to England for five Tests, three ODIs and as many T20s in June. Keeping that in mind, Test specialists like Murali Vijay and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will all land in England a little earlier in order to acclimatise to the conditions.
Kohli will play for Surrey in the Division One of English county in June while Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma, both of whom went unsold at the IPL 2018 auctions, are currently playing for Yorkshire and Sussex, respectively. The India captain, who managed 134 runs in 10 innings during the England tour in 2014, had expressed his desire to prepare well before the start of the tour.
“Playing county cricket will help me improve my game. It’s just about giving yourself more opportunity to get used to the conditions that you are not used to,” Kohli had said.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Friday confirmed that the inaugural five-team Afghan Premier League will be played in October in the UAE. The tournament will most likely be played in Sharjah. As in the IPL, each team will field seven Afghan and four overseas players.
“Asked about the ACB initiative, Simmons said: “It’s a huge step. It shows they are looking forward to be a big player in cricketing world. To take an initiative like this shows they have an ambition, they want better teams for their players.
“Rashid (Khan) just came out from nowhere. Same goes with Mujeeb (Zadran). Luckily, Afghanistan has this league now and a lot of people from around the world are going to watch the young players. They (young players) might be found sooner than Rashid and Mujeeb. We might have a 15-year-old coming and making his mark.”
Asked who all he wants to see in the tournament, he said: “We know Indian players might not be available, which is understandable. It would be nice to see some big T20 names like Chris Gayle, David Miller participate.”
WC final was the best and worst day of my cricketing life: Guptill
London: After coming out as the losing side in the ICC Men
s Cricket World Cup final, New Zealands opening batsman Martin Guptill posted an emotional message on Instagram saying it was the best and worst day of his cricketing life.
“Hard to believe it`s been a week since that incredible Final at Lords. I think it was both the best and worst day of my cricketing life! So many different emotions, but mainly proud to represent New Zealand and play for the @blackcapsnz alongside a great group of mates. Thank you to everyone for all your support, it has been amazing,” Guptill wrote on Instagram.
In another post, Guptill thanked his family for always being with him through thick and thin.
“I couldn`t have been more proud to have my 2 best supporters with me for the ride. @lauramcgoldrick13 you are my rock. Thank you and Harley for being there through the good times and the tough. Love my girls more than anything,” Guptill posted.
The final between New Zealand and England at the Lord`s Cricket Ground on July 14 could not separate the two sides despite the 50-over match and subsequent super over as both ended in a tie.
England were finally declared the champions on the basis of boundary countback rule.New Zealand had set up a target of 242 for England to win the World Cup.
As the hosts needed nine runs off three balls, Ben Stokes hit the ball into the deep and ran for a double. Guptill had thrown the ball in an attempt to run out Stokes but the ball bounced off Stokes` bat and reached the boundary giving England six runs.
Former ICC Elite umpire Simon Taufel had said that there was a judgment error by the on-field umpires and the six runs should not have been awarded.
“There was a judgment error on the overthrow. The judgment error was the timing of when the fielder threw the ball. The act of the overthrow starts when the fielder releases the ball. That`s the act. It becomes an overthrow from the instant of the throw,” Taufel had said.
In the super over, New Zealand needed two runs of the final ball for the win, but Guptill was run-out, ending the over in a tie and leaving the batsman distraught. Many former cricketers had criticised the ICC for deciding the World Cup winner on the basis of boundary countback.
Ronaldo will not face rape charge in Vegas
London: Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo will face no charges in Las Vegas in connection with a 10-year-old sexual assault allegation because the case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, prosecutors said.
Ronaldo, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time and plays for the Italian club Juventus, has maintained he is innocent.
Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in September 2018 in state court in Nevada accusing the athlete of raping her in a Las Vegas hotel penthouse suite in 2009, then paying her $375,000 in hush money.
A woman called Las Vegas police on June 13, 2009 to report that she had been sexually assaulted and police took her to the hospital for an examination, the Clark County District Attorney`s Office said in a statement on Monday. She declined to identify the person who she said assaulted her.
The statement did not identify the woman, but Mayorga`s civil lawsuit mirrors the allegation outlined by prosecutors.
Mayorga and Ronaldo reached a civil settlement in 2010 and law enforcement did not hear again from her until Aug. 28, 2018, when she asked police to reopen the investigation. She said Ronaldo was the person who sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said.
Las Vegas police on July 8 asked the Clark County District Attorney`s Office to prosecute the case.
“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the District Attorney`s Office said in a statement on Monday.
Ronaldo`s attorney, Peter Christiansen, did not return calls. Attorneys for Mayorga could not be reached for comment.
Las Vegas police said in January they had formally asked Italian authorities to obtain a DNA sample from Ronaldo.
Police did not immediately respond to emails asking if they ever obtained the DNA.
The civil lawsuit, in which Mayorga sought more than $200,000 in damages, has been moved to federal court.
Tokyo adds robots to Olympic roster
TOKYO: A roster of Olympic robots that will do everything from welcoming visitors to transporting javelins has been unveiled as Tokyo works to showcase Japanese technology at next year’s Summer Games.
Japan hopes the 2020 Olympics will be a chance to put its tech sector back on the map after years in which the country’s reputation as an industry leader has flagged.
Auto giant Toyota has a roster of five robots with different roles to play, from cutesy renditions of the Olympic mascots to a staid transport bot.
Undoubtedly the most appealing are the toddler-sized versions of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic mascots, the futuristic Miraitowa and Someity.
Blue- or pink-checked, with huge eyes and pointy ears, the mascot robots have multiple joints and arms which can be remotely controlled.
And while the pint-sized pair can’t move or talk, a camera inside their heads helps them interact with spectators and athletes, said Tomohisa Moiradaira, an official responsible for Tokyo 2020 robot development at Toyota.
“Thanks to the camera, the robots can recognise people’s expressions and respond back,” he told reporters on Monday. “If a person moves away it will look sad.”
The mascot’s ‘feelings’ are reflected in its eyes: they can display hearts or stars depending on emotions.
Toyota has suggested the mascot robots could welcome athletes and spectators, and possibly help engage children with the Games.
Significantly less cute — but slightly more practical — is the company’s Field Support Robot, a suitcase-sized automaton on wheels that will help Olympic staff.
“It is capable of following staff, while avoiding obstacles, and can be loaded with items like javelins or discusses, helping reduce the amount of time needed to retrieve items as well as reduce the amount of staff labour for events,” Toyota said.
Other offerings include robots designed to support people in wheelchairs or deliver food to spectators.
For those who can’t attend the Games, there’s the T-TR1, effectively a human-sized narrow screen on wheels equipped with a camera.