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PCB delegation to visit India after 31 months

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LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi and chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed will fly to Kolkata on April 21 to attend the International Cricket Council meeting.

The visit to India will be the first by a PCB delegation after Sethi and former chairman Shaharyar Khan traveled to Mumbai in 2015 to hold talks with Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) representatives regarding bilateral cricketing ties between the two countries.

The talks were sabotaged following strong protests carried out by the activists of Shiv Sena, a right-wing political party, outside the BCCI headquarters.

 

The matter of resuming the bilateral series is still unsolved with the decision now to be taken by the ICC dispute resolution committee, which will start the hearing of the case in October this year.

According to reports, ICC played a key role to ensure the Pakistani delegation faces no difficulty in getting visas for this month’s amid political tensions between the neighbours.

The agenda of the meeting includes discussion about players’ discipline, international cricket structure, forming of the ICC Cricket Committee and a decision over cutting off automatic qualification for the ICC World T20.


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Finch expects ‘no issues’ with Smith, Warner’s return

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London: Australian skipper Aaron Finch has welcomed the return of Steve Smith and David Warner into the national squad, saying that the duo’s comeback would not be of any issues to the team.

Former skipper Smith and vice-captain Warner are all set to make a return to the international arena after being named in the 15-member Australian squad for the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, which is slated to take place in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.

Smith and Warner are currently playing for Rajasthan and Hyderabad respectively in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after serving their one-year bans for their role in the ball-tampering scandal that took place in South Africa in March 2018.

 

Reflecting on their return, Finch said that the pair had done everything they were asked for in the last couple of months and, therefore, there would be no problem with Smith and Warner coming into the side.

“As far as I’m concerned, they’ve done everything they’ve been asked in this last 12 months. They were very good around the group and continuing to do everything they can, that’s in the best interests of the side, and that’s a real key,” the ICC quoted Finch as saying.

“Knowing them both personally as well as I do, I don’t think that will be any kind of issue whatsoever. They’re both great guys and I can’t see there being any kinds of issues,” he added.

Echoing similar views, chief selector Trevor Hohns said that the duo’s reintegration into the team would be seamless.

“I’m quite comfortable and quite confident that they know what is expected and they know the environment they are stepping into, which is quite different to when they left,” he said.

Hohns further expressed confidence that Smith and Warner would cope well with the potential backlashing from English crowds.

“Probably going to England there will certainly be a little bit of aggro.I’m sure everyone expects that, particularly the two players themselves. The team will come in for a bit of heckling I would say,” he said.

Australia will kickstart their campaign at the 2019 ICC World Cup against Afghanistan on June 1.

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Ajax eliminate Ronaldo’s Juventus with scintillating display

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TURIN: Ajax Amsterdam followed up their elimination of Real Madrid by producing a spell-binding display of inventive, passing football to win 2-1 away to Juventusand end the Serie A team`s dreams of winning the Champions League.

Ajax`s 19-year-old captain Matthijs de Ligt headed the winner from the corner in the 67th minute of the quarter-final second leg as the Dutch side came from behind to clinch a 3-2 aggregate win and reach the last four for the first time since 1996/97.

Cristiano Ronaldo, aiming for a fourth successive Champions League title after winning the last three with Real Madrid, put Juventus ahead in the 28th minute with a typically emphatic header, his sixth goal of the competition.

 

But Donny van de Beek levelled six minutes later before the visitors swept Juventus aside in the second half with wave after wave of attacks as they earned a semi-final against Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspur.

“Can we can go on to win the competition? Well, we are in the semi-finals now. And we have eliminated two of the favourites in the last two rounds. The next games will be very difficult, but so were these ones. So who knows?,” said De Ligt.

Frenkie de Jong added: “We dominated after the break and were well worth our victory. In fact, we probably should have won by more.”

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana gave his team an early scare when his clearance was charged down by Emre Can but the rebound flew wide.

Ajax settled well after that but, despite not playing well, Juventus went ahead when Ronaldo got away from the defenders to score the 126th Champions League goal of his career.

There was a long delay for the VAR review, the referee eventually going to the pitchside monitor with the ball back on the centre circle ready for the re-start, before the goal was confirmed.

Ajax kept their cool and took six minutes to level, helped by a somewhat lucky break.

Hakim Ziyech`s long-range shot hit a defender and fell perfectly for Van de Beek who, unmarked and onside, slotted the ball calmly past Wojciech Szczesny, and then had to wait for another long VAR check before the goal was confirmed.

Ajax took complete control in the second half and their geometric passing repeatedly opened up the Juventus defence, which sorely missed injured veteran Giorgio Chiellini.

Szczesny made one-handed save from Ziyech after Juventus were opened up again and then turned Van de Beeks curling shot over for a corner. Juventus were rocking but, ironically, Ajaxs winner came from an old-fashioned header as De Ligt outjumped two defenders to score.

Ajax had chances for further goals and Ronaldo`s frustration boiled over in stoppage time when he was booked for a lunging tackle from behind near the centre circle.

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Acosta parts ways with East Bengal

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New Delhi: Acosta had joined the Kolkata club in July 2018, right after participating in the FIFA World Cup in Russia, where he was a regular starter for Costa Rica. His signing created quite a stir in the Indian transfer market as he was also the first big-name acquisition after investors Quess Corp came on board at East Bengal.

Today I want to thank this great club that I was part of this season, Quess East Bengal. I feel very fortunate to have been part of the club where I only received samples of affection and respect. I say goodbye happy and with the satisfaction of knowing that in each game I gave the best of me, I sweated my shirt with the aim of providing my best version in each game. The objective will always be the same, but now with another course. Thanks to the great support of their fans to whom I thank in the same way all the love given in this time, I carry them in my heart, they are the best. Thanks for everything. @eastbengalfc

The defender lived up to the expectations and became an overnight sensation among the club fans. He made his debut for East Bengal in the Calcutta Football League (CFL) 2018 Kolkata derby. He marked his arrival at the club by scoring a goal against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan.

 

Acosta went on to play 18 matches in the I-League and created a solid defensive partnership with Spanish central defender Borja Gomez Perez.

At the end of the ongoing season, there were rumours going around that the Costa Rican would not be a part of East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez’s plans for next season.

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