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Tuesday,03-August-2021

International

We didn’t tamper with ball, end rumour-mongering: Australia bowlers

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Australia bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood said they were not aware of ball being tampered during the infamous third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in 2018.

Cummins, Starc, Lyon and Hazlewood were the bowlers in that Test and the four released a joint statement on Tuesday amid rising speculation over their awareness of the tactic which eventually led to bans on Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner.

“We did not know a foreign substance was taken onto the field to alter the condition of the ball until we saw images on the big screen at Newlands,” said the players in the statement.

“And to those who, despite the evidence, insist that ‘we must have known’ about the use of the foreign substance simply because we are bowlers, we say this: The umpires during that Test match, Nigel Long and Richard Illingworth, both very respected and experienced umpires, inspected the ball after images surfaced on the TV coverage and did not change it because there was no sign of damage,” they further said.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Bancroft indicated that the bowlers knew about tampering. This was followed by former Australia captain Michael Clarke saying that bowlers had to know about what was happening to the ball.

“We respectfully request an end to the rumour-mongering and innuendo. It has gone for too long and it is time to move on,” the four bowlers further said in their statement.

“We pride ourselves on our honesty. So it’s been disappointing to see that our integrity has been questioned by some journalists and past players in recent days in regard to the Cape Town Test of 2018,” they said.

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Pakistan’s Azam Khan ruled out of two T20Is against West Indies

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Pakistan batsman Azam Khan has been ruled out of the second and third T20Is against West Indies after sustaining a head injury in a training session.

“A neurosurgeon has recommended an observation period of 24 hours. He will then be reassessed on Monday. His availability for the final T20I will depend on the reassessment done on Monday,” said a statement by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday.
Azam, son of the former Pakistan cricketer Moin Khan, made his international debut in the T2I series against England. The 22-year-old had modest scores of five not out and one in two matches before being dropped for the decider at Old Trafford.

In the ongoing series, he didn’t get a chance to bat in the opening T20I at Barbados against West Indies as the nine-over affair was called off due to rain.

The last three T20Is between Pakistan and West Indies will be played in Guyana from July 31 to August 3. The T20I series will be followed by two Tests starting August 12 and 20 in Kingston, Jamaica.

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Olympics: Boxer Amit Panghal crashes out

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Boxer Amit Panghal, the world No. 1 in men’s 52kg, crashed out of the Tokyo Olympics, losing to Yuberjen Herney Martinez Rivas of Colombia in a Round-of-16 bout on Saturday.

Panghal, India’s biggest hope in this section, lost 4-1 (rpt 4-1) on points, starting the day on a disappointing note for boxing after the high of Lovlina Borgohain reaching the semifinals and assuring a medal for the country.

Panghal, the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist, had drawn a tough opponent in Martinez Rivas, the silver medallist at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The 25-year-old Indian from Haryana started off well and won the first round. Starting with an open stance and moving around the ring, Panghal made Martinez Rivas come for him and make him work for his points.

Panghal counter-attacked on all possible occasions and landed some good combinations, winning a split decision 4-1 in his favour.

But Panghal changed his tactics inexplicably in the second round and became too defensive, maybe hoping to make Martinez Rivas work hard for points so as to tire down the Colombian.

Martinez Rivas won the second round, getting 10 points from all five judges.

Panghal, whose fitness looked suspect, looked totally exhausted and could not do much in the third and final round as he tried to go after his rival in the last 30 seconds but that was too late and too little as the judges had by that time seen Martinez Rivas attacking a lot in the right through the round.

Martinez Rivas bagged 10 points from all five judges and one judge gave Panghal eight points while others gave him nine each.

Panghal’s defensive approach — whether it was by design or due to lack of fitness — in the second round undid all his efforts of the last five years.

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Isuru Udana announces retirement from international cricket

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Sri Lankan all-rounder Isuru Udana has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect on Saturday. The reason behind his abrupt departure from international cricket was not known.

The 33-year-old had recently featured in the limited-overs series against India. He played in the first ODI followed by the first two T20Is but had no wickets against his name.

“I believe the time has come for me to make way for the next generation of players. It is with immense pride and passion, and unfathomable commitment that I have represented and served my country,” said Udana in a press release by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

Udana made his debut for Sri Lanka in the 2009 T20 World Cup where he took two wickets against Australia. In 21 ODIs and 34 T20Is for Sri Lanka, the left-arm pacer took 18 and 27 wickets at an average of 52.78 and 33.89 respectively.

As a batsman, he scored 237 ODI and 256 T20I runs at an average of 16.92 and 18.28 with highest scores of 78 and 84 respectively.

Udana was known mostly for his variety and changes of pace with the white ball, especially on slower pitches. He was capable of moving the ball off the seam and possessed a repertoire of slower deliveries, including the back-of-the-hand delivery.

He was also the only Sri Lankan player to feature in the 2020 edition of the IPL, representing Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). In RCB’s run to the play-offs, Udana took eight wickets in 10 matches at an average of 35.25 with an economy rate of 9.75.

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