Wahab Riaz rates Rohit, Babar as current top batters, Bumrah, Shaheen best pacers
Jaffna Kings fast bowler Wahab Riaz, who has so far picked five wickets in three games at the ongoing Lanka Premier League 2021 season, named his picks for top fast bowlers and batsmen in the world at the moment, and he included India pacer Jasprit Bumrah and opening batter Rohit Sharma in the list.
In a recent interaction, Riaz was asked to name some of the best fast bowlers in the world at the moment, and he went on to praise Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mitchell Starc.
“They have a lot of capability. They read the game and execute their plans really well. If they require yorkers, or if they require slow ones, they would read the wicket and bowl accordingly,” Riaz said.
The Pakistan speedster was also asked to name the batsmen he finds difficult to bowl to and he picked AB de Villiers’ and also explained the reasons behind the same.
“There are a lot of such players like Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam who are hard to bowl to. But one player I have always been afraid to bowl to is AB de Villiers. He always knows what is coming next from me. He reads the game well, and always plays well against me,” Riaz added.
The Pakistan speedster further went on to describe his Jaffna Kings teammate Wanindu Hasaranga as the best leg-spinner in the world right now and credited him for the team’s success this season so far.
“If I am honest, Wanindu Hasaranga is one of the best leg-spinners right now in the world. Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana have been really good this season for our team. They really set the tones in the powerplay overs by taking wickets and restricting the opposition,” Riaz said.
Kings have won 4 out of 5 games so far in the season and are currently lying at the top of the table. The defending champions Kings had lost their first game against Galle Gladiators but have bounced back superbly since then.
“We learned from the mistakes we made in our first match. Now we are trying to cover all those basics. Everybody is ticking every box and that’s why we are winning as a team,” Riaz said.
Riaz further went on to praise the Kings management for packing up a stacked squad this season with plenty of options on the bench.
“Hats off to Jaffna coach and captain who have selected this team knowing the conditions and what combinations this team needs. The good thing is that everybody is responding well to all of them,” Riaz said.
Speaking on the team’s game plan to defend the title, Riaz said that they are making plans game by game and not thinking far ahead.
“You have to play good cricket throughout the tournament. You cannot say you are the favourites in the tournament as that can put you on the back foot. I can see the hunger in boys to win. We are thinking about one game at a time. We are not thinking about championship or too far ahead,” he said.
The veteran pacer further went on to praise the Lanka Premier League tournament for giving a chance to youngsters to learn from some of the best cricketers in the world.
“It’s great exposure for youngsters as they will learn to play against some of the best players in the world. They will share the dressing room with senior players like Thisara Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, and gain experience. That is the exposure you require to make an impact at the international stage,” he signed off.
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.
Al Hilal swoop in with bumper €400 million per year salary deal amid reports of Lionel Messi leaving PSG
Paris Saint Germain forward Lionel Messi is reportedly planning to cut short his time at FC Barcelona and eventually join Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia. This comes after Messi was suspended for two weeks for travelling to the Kingdom without PSG’s Qatari owners’ permission.
End of Project Messi
Messi had hoped to stay at PSG beyond the end of the current season. However, with recent events, the situation has changed drastically. Given his incredible record with FC Barcelona and PSG, Messi’s potential move to Al-Hilal would undoubtedly shake the football world.
While Messi’s priority remains to play in Europe, transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano reported that Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal has offered the Argentine superstar a bumper contract with a record-breaking salary worth €400 million per year. The potential deal will lead to Messi surpassing his eternal rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who earns €223 million per year at Al Nassr.
Hindrance to Messi’s Barcelona return
There is strong speculation that Messi may return to his former club, FC Barcelona. However, the club is facing difficulties in shedding the €200 million ($220 million) required from their wage bill to make the deal viable. Despite this challenge, Barcelona is trying to convince La Liga that they have a workable plan to make the numbers work for a potential deal with Messi.
Consequences of Messi’s Suspension
Messi’s suspension was imposed because he went to fulfill his duties as a tourism ambassador. The Argentine will also be docked two weeks’ pay, which Forbes’ recently-published list of the World’s 10 Highest-Paid Athletes 2023 estimated to be around $2.5 million. As a result, Messi will miss games against Troyes and Ajaccio.
In addition, PSG has reportedly cancelled a contract renewal offer to Messi, whose current agreement at the Parc des Princes expires on June 30. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will be free to negotiate with other clubs starting in January 2023.
Saudi Arabia to host FIFA Club World Cup 2023
Saudi Arabia has been named the host of the FIFA Club World Cup 2023, scheduled to take place from December 12-22.
“In relation to the FIFA Club World Cup 2023�, which is due to be played under the current format with seven clubs, the FIFA Council unanimously appointed the Saudi Arabian Football Federation as tournament hosts from 12 to 22 December 2023,” the FIFA said in a statement on Tuesday night.
The unanimous decision was made at a FIFA Council meeting and came only a few days after Real Madrid lifted the trophy in Morocco, following a thrilling 5-3 win over Al-Hilal, the first Saudi club to reach the final of the tournament.
Saudi Arabia will be only the sixth host of the competition since its inception in 2000.
The Gulf nation, earlier this month, was awarded the hosting rights of the men’s Asian Cup 2027 and is also bidding to host the Women’s Asian Cup for the first time in 2026.
The FIFA Council also confirmed a change in the format of the tournament from June 2025 — to expand the FIFA Club World Cup from 24 to 32 teams — with 12 teams from Europe involved along six from CONMEBOL, while CONCACAF, CAF and the AFC will each have four, with one place for the OFC and another for the hosts.
In addition, the Council also confirmed that the hosts of the FIFA World Cup 2026, namely Canada, Mexico and the USA, will qualify automatically as the joint hosts of the tournament, with their slots, therefore, being deducted from the overall allocation of six assigned to Concacaf.
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