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South Africa to host Pakistan in three Tests next season

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JOHANNESBURG: Cricket South Africa (CSA) have announced their home schedule for the 2018-19 season that will see tours by Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, with the focus on One-day Internationals ahead of the World Cup next year.

South Africa will also host a total of five Tests, 13 One-day Internationals and nine Twenty20 Internationals against these three nations.

Pakistan will feature in the marquee Boxing Day and New Year Tests as they tour South Africa for the first time since 2013.

 

The first Test will be played in Centurion from Dec 26-30, before matches in Cape Town (Jan 3-7) and Johannesburg (Jan 11-15). The sides will also clash in five One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals that will follow the Test series.

There will be a just a week’s break before the end of Pakistan’s tour and the arrival of Sri Lanka for Tests in Durban (Feb 13-17) and Port Elizabeth (Feb 21-25).

The sides will also be involved in a series of five One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 fixtures that will finish on March 24.

After the busiest home season in South African history in 2017-18, which included 10 Tests — one of which was the first day-night, four-day long format fixture — South Africa will have much less of a workload next summer. They will only play half the number of Tests but more than double in ODIs and T20s, as preparation for the 2019 World Cup.

That means the five major Test venues receive one match each, with a significant change in the hosting of the Boxing Day Test. Centurion’s SuperSport Park has been selected as the venue for the fixture, which will move inland after several years of being played on the coast.

Previously, the match has alternated between Durban and Port Elizabeth, with the rationale that holiday-makers from up-country would fill the stadiums but poor crowds over recent years have forced a change.

Though many Highveld residents flock to the sea over the festive season, a large number remain at home over that period and CSA have long spoken about trialling the Boxing Day match there.

South Africa’s summer will get underway with a limited overs tour by Zimbabwe that will include three One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 fixtures between Sept 30 and Oct 14 at some of South Africa’s smaller cricket venues.

CSA’s acting chief executive Thabang Moroe said that the scheduled 13 One-day Internationals during the season would enable the national team to fine tune their preparations for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.

“Following the outstanding Test match cricket played by the Proteas during the past season we can also look forward to plenty more world-class entertainment by our acknowledged stars during the five Test matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka,” Moroe said.

South Africa are ranked second in the world in Tests and ODIs, but only sixth in Twenty20 Internationals. Their next assignment is a tour of Sri Lanka that has matches in all three formats and starts in mid-July.


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Salah wants the Muslim world to treat its women better

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London : Salah is joined by fellow Arab and Muslim celebrities such as Rami Malek and Mahershala Ali, as well as Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
Mo Salah is a titan, there’s no denying that. The Liverpool forward has been named as one of Time magazine’s most influential people for 2019 and rightly so. Salah has had one hell of a year. He was named African Footballer of the Year in 2017 and 2018 and was also named English football’s Player of the Year in 2017-2018 along with a whole host of other accolades.
He was listed within the “Titans” section of the list — which includes a record 48 women — and was championed by British comedian and US TV host John Oliver.
Salah however didn’t make waves for being a part of the illustrious 100 but for his statements championing women rights.
“We need to change the way we treat women in our culture,” he told Time.
“That has to be, it’s not optional.”
He added: “I support the woman more than I did before, because I feel like she deserves more than what they give her now at the moment.”
Oliver, a Liverpool fan, wrote an article on Salah for the magazine: “Mo is an iconic figure for Egyptians, Scousers and Muslims the world over, and yet he always comes across as a humble, thoughtful, funny man who isn’t taking any of this too seriously.”

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Kerala Blasters rope in young goalkeeper Lovepreet Singh

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Mumbai : India Super League side Kerala Blasters have roped in young goalkeeper Lovepreet Singh on a free transfer from Indian Arrows with effect from June 1, 2019.
Lovepreet Singh was picked up by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) from the Rurka Kalan Grounds in Punjab during a scouting programme in May 2018 by the National Association. Lovepreet Singh, who was outside of the age bracket, was not eligible for the trials, but he stuck around the trial premises to ultimately be spotted by the scouts and was given a chance.
At 195-cm tall, only Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who is 198-cm tall, has a height advantage over Lovepreet in the entire country as far as Indian Football’s top tier is concerned. He impressed Floyd Pinto in Goa and was given an Arrows contract prior to the I-League 2018-19.
He featured in a single game in the recently concluded I-League against Real Kashmir where he conceded twice as the game ended 2-2.
Lovepreet Singh is an exciting prospect for the Blasters and is one for the future. With his height and physique, Singh surely does have the goods to make it to the big stage as a goal-keeper.
“I’m very excited to join Kerala Blasters. Have heard a lot about the ever-supporting fans in Kerala. I’m looking forward to playing in front of them”, says the very energetic, young member of the team, Lovepreet Singh.
“Lovepreet is a rare find for an Indian goalkeeper, not only is he technically gifted but he also possesses great physical attributes! With Kerala Blasters success of promoting and improving young players, next season should be very exciting”, says Rory Grand, Head Goalkeeping coach, Kerala Blasters FC.
Kerala Blasters now have four goalkeepers in their side with the likes of Dheeraj Singh, Lalthuammawia Ralte and Bilal Khan on the roster alongside Lovepreet Singh. They loaned out Naveen Kumar to FC Goa in 2018 and is unlikely to return.
Kerala Blasters now have a number of Arrows players in their side. Jeakson Singh, Rahul KP, Nongdamba Naorem and Mohammad Rakip feature in the list along with the mentioned goalkeepers in Dheeraj and Lovepreet.
With more and more clubs coming to the fore courtesy the Parallel League action, it is indeed a sensible decision to have a young and lanky goalkeeper in the squad who can provide backup in case of shortage of shot-stoppers in the near future.
However, it needs to be seen whether Blasters do give him ISL game time or demote him to their reserve side for Kerala Premier League and I-League 2nd Division games.

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Super Cup may return as season opener this year

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New Delhi: The recently concluded Super Cup in Bhubaneswar was hardly a super show in the absence of seven I-League teams, but the tournament may return as the season opener (2019-2020) in September-October this year. In the general council meeting of the Indian Super League (ISL) last month, the franchises have been handed out the calendar for the next two seasons indicating Super Cup as the opening tournament.
No I-League club is officially aware of the development. Introduced in 2018, the Super Cup is India’s only knock-out tournament which is played as the season closer involving both I-League clubs and ISL franchises. The format of the tournament is strictly based on the final standings of the two leagues. When contacted, a senior All India Football Federation (AIFF) official said: “They (ISL) have only chalked out a provisional calendar. There is no reason to take it as the final roster.”
I-League clubs have called the Super Cup a meaningless affair which does not offer any prize money. The winners of Super Cup are also not given a berth in the Asian tournaments. The two spots in the AFC Cup and the Asian Champions League are reserved for the winners of ISL and I-League, respectively.

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