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There has to be life after James Anderson, says Andrew Strauss on veteran pacer’s retirement

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London, May 16 (IANS) Former England captain Andrew Strauss said veteran fast-bowler James Anderson, who is all set to retire after the Lord’s Test against West Indies in July, is one of the great bowlers of all time, but also stressed upon the need for the side to have a life after him in their bowling line-up.

On Saturday, Anderson announced he would retire following the Lord’s Test against the West Indies, starting on July 10, bringing an end to a long-standing and illustrious career in the longest format of the game, earning 187 caps for England since his debut in 2003.

Earlier this year, Anderson became the third bowler after Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan to reach the landmark of 700 Test wickets – the most by any fast-bowler – earlier this year during England’s fifth and final match of their India tour at Dharamshala in March.

Anderson and Stuart Broad retiring in less than a year means England have really large shoes to fill in terms of their Test bowling line-up. “We’ve only got a certain number of fixtures (18, including Anderson’s farewell against West Indies) between now and the next Ashes, and even Jimmy himself would admit that next Ashes is looking like a stretch.”

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“It’s the right time to get some games into some new players and obviously a huge hole to fill. If you think about (Stuart) Broad going last summer and now Anderson, it’s very hard to replace them overnight.”

“They were both utterly dependable and were senior bowlers, so you need to invest time and effort, and other people need to step up and take those leadership roles. So I think it is the right time. Often, you don’t fully appreciate what you’ve lost until it’s gone – but there has to be life after James Anderson,” Strauss was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

Strauss was the captain when Anderson became the leading wicket-taker in the 2010-11 Ashes triumph in Australia. He also revealed about his conversation with Anderson and wishes for him to be given a great send-off in his farewell Test at Lord’s.

“It was just to congratulate him and have a chat about what his plans are moving forward. Rightly, he’s going to take stock and he wants to get through this game well, and finish on a real high. I really hope he gets the send-off he deserves at Lord’s.”

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“People have been talking about this moment for years – in a way, we got lured into thinking it was never going to come. It’s been an extraordinary career with extraordinary resilience and will to keep going. Playing sport at the highest level is not an easy thing, and bowling’s even harder. He’s one of the great bowlers of all time,” he added.

“He was just utterly dependable. He was one of those bowlers that you knew what you were going to get, every time. He had a great competitive fire and instinct, and extraordinary skill.”

“Any captain would love to have him in their team. The other thing is that he kept fit: he never – or at least, very rarely – got injured. It’s quite depressing to think that he made his England debut before I did. I’ve been retired for 12 years now!” he concluded.

–IANS

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'Not injured': Neeraj Chopra on pulling out of Ostrava meet

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Olympic gold medallist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has clarified that he is ‘not injured’ and pulled out of the Ostrava Golden Spike 2024 athletics meet as a precautionary measure to keep himself risk-free in the Olympic year.

The 26-year-old athlete has to issue an update on his health after the organisers said in the official statement that Neeraj has sustained an injury during the training which will restrict his participation in the event that is scheduled to commence on May 28.

“Hello everyone! Following a recent throwing session, I decided not to compete in Ostrava as I felt something in my adductor. I have had problems with it in the past and pushing it at this stage can lead to injury,” Neeraj clarified via Instagram story.

“Just to clarify I am not injured but I don’t want to take any risk during the Olympic year so had to take this decision. Once I feel it’s fully recovered, I will get back to competitions. Thank you for your support,” he added.

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Earlier, the organisers said Neeraj picked up an injury in adductor muscle while training two weeks ago. He will only attend the athlete meet as a guest.

“Due to an injury that he sustained in training two weeks ago (adductor muscle), he will not be able to throw in Ostrava,” the organisers had earlier said in a statement.

“He will arrive at the event as a guest,” it added.

Neeraj started his season with a second-place finish at the Doha Diamond League earlier this month. He also returned to domestic competition after almost three years to win gold in the Federation Cup with a throw of 82.27m, pushing DP Manu to the second spot in Bhubaneswar.

–IANS

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Afridi reflects on Pak’s win over India in 2021 WC, says “That is one opportunity I missed”

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) With the 2024 T20 World Cup just around the corner and cricketing fans getting ready to watch one of the biggest rivalry in India-Pakistan reignited on the big stage. ICC on Sunday released a clip of Shahid Afridi reflecting on the match between the two juggernauts at the 2021 T20 World Cup.

“I achieved a lot, played a lot of cricket and experienced a lot but we hadn’t beaten India in a World Cup before, that was an unfulfilled wish,” Afridi said to ICC.

The match in Dubai (2021 T20 World Cup) where Pakistan won against India, that was one of the moments I felt I should have been there on that occasion. That is one opportunity I missed,” said the former Pakistan skipper to ICC.

Pakistan’s 10-wicket victory over India at the 2021 T20 World Cup is one of the fondest memories for Pakistan cricket fans in what was a rampant performance by the men in green.

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Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi was recently announced on the star-studded roster of ambassadors for the T20 World Cup 2024 in the USA and West Indies which begins on June 2.

India will face Pakistan on June 9 at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York in both side’s second group A encounter.

–IANS

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Garnacho's bicycle kick against Everton wins Premier League Goal of the Season

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Less than 24-hours after Alejandro Garnacho scored an all important goal in Manchester United’s FA Cup final victory over town-rivals Manchester City, his goal against Everton has been named the Premier League Goal of the Season.

Garnacho scored a beautiful bicycle goal against Everton in a 0-3 victory at Merseyside Stadium on November 26, 2023. It led fans to draw comparisons with Wayne Rooney’s iconic goal against Manchester City.

Kaoru Mitoma (vs Brighton), Bruno Fernandes (vs Burnley), Saman Ghoddos (vs Burnley), Alexis Mac Allister (vs Fulham), Oscar Bobb (vs Newcastle), Kobbie Mainoo (vs Wolves), Marcus Rashford (vs Man City), Cole Palmer (vs Everton) and Moises Caicedo (vs AFC Bournemouth) were the other nine nominees for the personal honor.

Manchester United won the FA Cup final against City (2-1) on Saturday in a surprising result. Garnacho and Kobe Mainoo became the first teenagers to score in an FA Cup final since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004 (vs Millwall).

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–IANS

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Looking forward to competing in the WR Chess Masters Cup: Viswanathan Anand

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Former five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand is all set to compete in the WR Chess Masters Cup, scheduled to take place in London from October 14 to 18.

The tournament features the best 16 players across four intense rounds.

“I am looking forward to competing in the WR Chess Masters Cup, taking place from October 14th to 18th. Looking forward to see some great games,” Vishy Anand wrote on X.

The WR Chess Masters Cup have recently been officially included in the FIDE Circuit.

It will be an intense elimination tournament with a K.O. System of best-of-two games with the time control of 60 minutes for the first 30 moves, 30 minutes for the next 20 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game.

In case of tiebreaks, there will be a bidding rapid armageddon game.

–IANS

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Babar Azam slams batters for not ‘finishing well’ in second T20I against England

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Birmingham (UK), May 26 (IANS) Pakistan captain Babar Azam said his team didn’t finish well and faltered in the batting department after a 23-run loss against England in the second T20I here on Saturday.

England took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series after the first fixture was washed out due to rain in Leeds.

Chasing 184, Fakhar Zaman looked in great touch as he slammed 45 off 21 runs including five fours and three sixes but failed to take the side over the line. Babar, who scored 32 runs, said they lacked in building partnerships in the middle overs and ended on a losing side.

“It was a par score, our bowlers bowled very well. In the batting, there were moments, but we didn’t finish well. Small partnership between me and Fakhar and later on, there was no big partnership. If someone got 40s and 50s, it could have been different. We are flexible, everyone knows their role. We have decided each player’s role. If you are not in good form, we are flexible,” Babar said in the post-match presentation.

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He heaped praise on Fakhar for his blistering knock despite the fall of wickets at regular intervals on the other end.

“The way Fakhar dominated after wickets fell … if me and Fakhar had batted for three more overs, it would have been a different ball game,” Babar added.

Earlier, Jos Buttler’s 84 off 51 balls decorated with eight fours and three sixes guided England to 183/7 in 20 overs after being asked to bat first.

For Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi bagged three wickets while Iman Wasim and Haris Rauf added two scalps each to their tally.

Imad remained economical in his four-over spell and just leaked 19 runs including wickets of Phil Salt (13) and Harry Brook (1). With the bat, he contributed 22 in 13 balls to keep Pakistan’s hopes alive in the match.

Commenting on his performance, Babaar said, “He is experienced, he knows how to bowl at different situations and how read the batsman. He’s a very clever bowler. In the batting, he has improved a lot, so good for us.

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“Shadab is one of the best players, batting, bowling and especially fielding. He’ll come back. We announced the team (for WC), we are giving confidence,” he added.

The third T20I between England and Pakistan will be played in Cardiff on Tuesday, May 28.

–IANS

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