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Ollie Pope has benefitted from a small but important tweak: Nasser Hussain




Former England captain Nasser Hussain has said that batsman Ollie Pope has benefitted from a small but important tweak on the second day of the fourth Test at The Oval. Playing at his home ground, Pope top-scored with 81 off 159 balls against India, helping England take a lead of 99 runs.

“During the recent Test at Headingley, I watched Ollie Pope batting in the nets, and I was pleased to see that he was standing on middle stump rather than off stump. On Friday at The Oval, we saw the benefits of that small but significant tweak. Pope was quite bullish earlier in the season about sticking to his off-stump method, and I understand why a lot of batters this summer have adopted the method,” said Hussain in his column for the Daily Mail on Saturday.

“By all accounts, and even from the county championship matches I’ve seen myself, there is so much movement off the seam and through the air that they’ve been trying to protect themselves on the outside edge. The trouble is that can create a problem on the inside edge, which is why Pope has been getting out lbw to the one that comes back,” added Hussain.

Hussain mentioned about Pope shifting guard to off-stump meant that options to score through off-side were reduced. “But watching Pope in one of Surrey’s early games and during the two-Test series against New Zealand in June, I was struck by how much less free-flowing a player he was than when he first came on the scene. By moving across to off stump, he had basically limited his options of scoring on the off side, and his cut shot –once so profitable — had almost disappeared altogether, because it would have to be a very wide ball to be cut for four when you’re standing on off.”

The 53-year-old believed that the bio-bubble life enforced by COVID-19 has brought out a tweak in Pope’s game for the good.

“We’ve all heard a lot about how hard it has been for the players to cope with life in the bubble, and Pope himself spoke last summer about the stress of waking up in a room overlooking the ground where you made a duck the day before. But bubble life has also allowed the likes of Pope to tinker with his game. Jonny Bairstow also benefited, though in his case he moved slightly more to the off side because he was getting bowled so often. But, in Pope’s case, it looks as if a minor adjustment has done him the world of good.”

Hussain concluded by saying that he was happy with Pope’s knock on Friday and his next goal should be to move up the order for his county side Surrey.

“And that’s why I’m so pleased to see Pope batting again with some of the fluency he was showing 18 months ago. Yes, he was a touch frenetic early on, and there were a couple of fiddles outside off stump. And it will also take time for him to rediscover every aspect of his off-side game. But he was scoring more freely all round the wicket than he managed earlier in the summer.”

“The next step for Pope is to get him up the order at Surrey, because there will come a moment when England need to move up from No 5. That moment isn’t here yet, but it’s strange that he has never batted above No 4 for his county. He’s too good a player for that – especially now that he looks comfortable at the crease again.”


‘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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