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I can’t wait to get that red Dukes ball in my hand: Shabnim Ismail



On the verge of playing the second Test match when South Africa face England in a four-day affair from June 27-30, tearaway quick Shabnim Ismail is itching for getting the feel and bowling with the red Dukes ball.

South Africa last played a Test match in 2014 against India, where they suffered a huge defeat by an innings and 34 runs. Shabnim, who had made her Test debut as a teenager against the Netherlands at Rotterdam, had missed out on the 2014 match due to a broken finger.

“I can’t wait to get that red Dukes ball in my hand. I’ll swing it around corners. They say that the Dukes is the best ball in the world to bowl with if you’re a swing bowler. We’ll stack the slips with lots of catchers and be attacking straight away. That’s my style. But I know I have to be patient. I’m confident I’ll get it right,” Shabnim was quoted as saying by BBC in the run-up to the Test match.

The prospect of bowling in Test cricket has ignited the fire in Shabnim to prove that she can do a good job in the longest format of the game. “I don’t think the first one (against the Netherlands) counts. I was still a baby then. And I was so frustrated to miss the game in India, even though we lost badly (by an innings and 34 runs). I want to prove that I’m a great. All the greats step up with the red ball in Test matches and I’m desperate to show what I can do. I know my game. I know what I can do. I want to go out there and do it.”

Picking up wickets in Test cricket is very different from doing so in white-ball cricket, something which Shabnim, who has taken 189 ODI wickets and 112 T20I scalps, is definitely aware of. “It’s definitely something I’m conscious of. But it will be difficult. My natural instinct is to run in and bowl as quick as I can every ball.

“I look to bowl bouncers and yorkers. I do try and set the batter up but I genuinely want to take a wicket with every ball. That’s fine in white-ball cricket because I can bowl short spells. I’ll need to adapt for this Test.”

Shabnim hadn’t got much time to prepare for the one-off Test as she was rested from the three-day warm-up game against England A and missed out on inter-squad red-ball matches as she participated in the Fairbreak Invitational T20 tournament in Dubai.

She signed off by stating her focus in on present rather than what will be the future of women’s Test cricket, which has been a great point of debate after ICC Chairman Greg Barclay’s doubtful comments.

“Whatever happens in the future is for the future. We can’t go into this Test worrying about the future of women’s Test cricket. All I can do is run in as hard as I can to take wickets and that’s what I plan to do.”


‘I’m happy here’: Cristiano Ronaldo pledges to continue at Al Nassr in Saudi Pro League




Portugese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed to continue at Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia despite walking away empty handed in this season. The 38-year-old has earmarked the tournament to be among the top five in the world.

Ronaldo, who signed a two and a half year contract with Al Nassr, scored 14 goals in 16 games in the season, with his side standing second behind Al Ittihad in the Saudi Pro league. However, there were speculations about how long will he stay as reports of swap deal with Saudi-owned Newcastle United emerged, who have now qualified for next season’s Champions league.

In an official Saudi Pro League interview, the star footballer revealed:

“I’m happy here, I want to continue here, I will continue here. And in my opinion, if they continue to do the work that they want to do here, for the next five years, I think the Saudi league can be a top five league in the world. I expected to win something this year, but we didn’t, but next year I’m really positive, but next year I’m really positive and confident that things will change and we go in a better way.”

Cristiano Ronaldo suggests he is still adjusting to strange training timings in Saudi Arabia:

Ronaldo also revealed how contrasting the training timings in Europe and Saudi Arabia are, elaborating:

“In Europe, we train more in the morning, but here we train in the afternoon or evening and in Ramadan, we train at 10 at night. So this is strange but as I tell you, these situations are part of an experience, memories. I like to live these moments because you learn with these things.”

With 837 goals in 512 games, Ronaldo is the combined highest goal scorer in history.

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Lionel Messi to leave PSG at the end of the season, confirms club manager Christophe Galtier




Paris Saint Germain superstar Lionel Messi will leave the club at the end of the current season, manager Christophe Galtier confirmed on Thursday. Messi made 74 appearances for PSG in which he scored 32 goals and made 35 assists. In Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain has played 37 matches out of which they have won 27, lost six and drew four.

PSG had acquired Messi’s services two years ago in a record transfer deal after he left FC Barcelona in 2021.

Messi, who’s contract with PSG ends this season, is now being linked with with a move to Saudi Arabia while talk of a return to the Nou Camp has picked up in Spain in recent weeks.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner will play his final match for PSG against Clermont Foot on Saturday.

“I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football,” Galtier said on Thursday. “This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes, and I hope that he will receive the warmest of welcomes.”

Messi’s envious record

In the Spanish La Liga football competition, Lionel Messi has scored 474 goals in 520 matches. In the French Ligue 1, Messi has scored 22 goals in 57 matches.

The 35-year-old while playing for Football Club Barcelona has scored 672 goals in 778 games. While playing for Paris Saint-Germain he has scored 32 goals in 74 matches.

No plan to bring Messi back: Barca president

FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta recently said that the club has re-established good relationships with Argentine legend Lionel Messi, but it would not pay any price to bring him back to the Camp Nou Stadium.

“I have spoken with Leo to somehow redirect the situation that occurred when I had to put the institution ahead of everything, including him, the best player in the world,” said Laporta in a Monday morning TV show.

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Mark Zuckerberg strikes gold against jiu jitsu fighters, posts pictures on Instagram




In the past, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has appeared helpless in front of the US Congress where he has been slapped by fines, and fired 11,000 vulnerable employees after being hit by falling revenues. But outside the business arena where Meta is facing tough competition from TikTok and other rivals, Zuckerberg is a huge mixed martial arts fan.

Contrary to setbacks in the tech sector, the Facebook founder has tasted victory in jiu jitsu.

Striking gold, but in a different arena

  • The billionaire who has trained with UFC fighters, posted pictures after winning jiu jitsu matches for the first time.
  • The billionaire who tried his hand at martial arts, revealed that he won a gold medal in the Gi categroy and a silver medal in the No-GI category.
  • His post on Instagram received comments from UFC featherweight and bantamweight category champions, as well as jiu jitsu hall of fame member Bernardo Faria.

Competitive or short tempered?

  • The entrepreneur turned sportsperson, who also enjoys surfing, was seen getting into a heated argument after losing a contest during the tournament in California as well.
  • On the work front, Zuckerberg’s firm Meta also surprised the markets by bouncing back with strong earnings, after struggling with loss of ad revenue.
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