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Raees reveals his ‘dream’ encounter with Virat Kohli

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Dubai :There have been very few bowlers who have troubled Virat Kohli on a consistent basis. He has fallen to James Anderson five times in Tests, four of those in English conditions on a forgettable 2014 tour for the world’s No.2 ranked Test batsman.
Last year, Nathan Coulter-Nile caused Kohli plenty of trouble with his wicket three times in the ODI series in September-October 2017.
The Indian captain has even said Mohammad Amir worries him most when he’s at the crease.
And now, Rumman Raees, the 26-year-old left-arm pacer from Pakistan, hopes to outfox Kohli whenever an opportunity arises.
“I still haven’t bowled to Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. But I have bowled to Kane Williamson. It’s very difficult to get him out. He has a very compact technique. But I managed to get him out four times. And then you have Hashim Amla, one of the greatest of all-time. It was a good learning curve bowling to him.
“I’m not here to issue a challenge but I hope to get the better of Kohli, Smith and AB de Villiers whenever I get a chance to bowl to them. It would be a great feeling,” Raees, who has played nine ODIs and eight T20 internationals, said in an interview.
Recently, Adil Rashid (30) and Alex Hales (29) became the first England players to turn their back on first-class cricket after signing a white-ball only deal with their respective clubs. This also gives them a chance to participate in various T20 competitions.
It’s understandable that big money is involved in such leagues and Rashid and Hales’ decision could well become a trend in years to come.
Asked if he would travel the same path in future, Raees — who is relatively new to international cricket — said he prefers the limited-overs format but is adamant to play Test cricket for a long time.
“There’s a lot of cricket played now. The demand of ODI and T20 cricket has increased,” he said.
“But for me, Test cricket is the ultimate format. I personally want to play all three formats. I am a part of the ODI and T20 setup. For Tests, I’ll have to work my fitness a lot more, work on my pace and then only I’ll stand a chance to get selected.”
Asked how big a role the Pakistan Super League (PSL) has played in shaping up his career, Raees said:
“It has been a magnificent experience. I got selected in the Pakistan team because of PSL. Viewers get to see some quality cricket. It is a well-disciplined league.
“Playing in PSL has helped me deal with pressure. I feel a lot more composed at the international stage now. Plus the experience of senior pros helps a lot,” Raees, who took 2/44 in his ODI debut for Pakistan against England in the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy, added.
Asked how he sees the competition in Pakistan’s pace attack, Raees said, “We have six left-armers including myself (Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Usman Khan Shinwari). And then we have Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf. You need to respect the competition. It’s all about performing to the best of your ability.”


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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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