25.11.2022
Heartwarming video of Shane Warne resurfaces – as young gun Rehan Ahmed closes in on England debut

Shane Warne knew leg-spin better than most – so when the late Australian cricket great declared Rehan Ahmed was destined to play at first class level, it carried plenty of sway.

Ahmed, 18, has lived up to the hype after he was added to England’s test squad for the December tour of Pakistan.

When the exciting prospect was just 13, he bowled in the nets and Warne was impressed.

A video circulating online shows the spin-king showering the raw teenager with praise.

‘That’s awesome man, really, really good,’ Warne can be heard saying in the heartwarming clip.

‘I will be keeping a close eye on you, I think we will be commentating on you very soon.

‘I think you will be playing first class cricket by the age of 15.’

Warne, 52, died of a suspected heart attack while holidaying in Thailand on March 22.

Now it is Ahmed’s turn to carve out a career in his whites and England coach Brendon McCullum is excited to see if the teenager can hold his own abroad.

‘We know he’s not the finished article but he has raw potential,’ McCullum said when quizzed on Ahmed’s shock selection.

‘Ben [Stokes], myself and the rest of the coaches like how he approaches his game.

‘The experience of being part of the squad in Pakistan will be hugely beneficial for him, and he will add to the make-up of our squad.’

The first test is in Rawalpindi from December 1.

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  • 1 час, 58 минут назад 27.11.2022Sport
    England concluded an awful autumn campaign with an embarrassing loss to a depleted South Africa side

    England not only failed to beat a South Africa team robbed of nine first-choice stars but produced another shocking display at Twickenham to conclude an awful autumn campaign.

    These two teams met in the final of the last World Cup. Statistically speaking, that suggested England and South Africa were the No 1 and No 2 teams in the world at the end of 2019. A lot has changed since then and this game proved it.

    The Springboks fully deserved to lift the William Webb Ellis Cup four years ago. Their defeat of England in that Yokohama final was clinical and impressive. England didn’t fire that day.

    Since that game in Japan, Eddie Jones’ side has regressed badly. In his latest book, head coach Jones talks about his plan to ‘turn England into the world’s greatest team.’

    The reality is that right now, they are nowhere near achieving that aim.

    Their latest defeat came at the hands of a reserve South Africa side.

    The Springboks were without Handre Pollard, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jasper Wiese, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Lood de Jager and Duane Vermeulen for this game due to a combination of injury and unavailability. This game took place out of World Rugby’s designated Test window meaning South Africa’s foreign-based stars couldn’t play. It mattered little.

    The first half summed up everything that is wrong with England and Test rugby currently.

    England’s tactical kicking was beyond poor. Owen Farrell missed two penalties he would normally slot in his sleep. Farrell’s frustration at missing his second week was more than obvious.

    Freddie Steward made uncharacteristic errors of his own and his team were lucky not to go down to 14 men in the first half. Jones’ players were yet again guilty of poor discipline.

    The fact England managed only six seconds in the South African 22 in the opening 40 minutes told its own story. Away from the home struggles, there were also endless scrum resets and long delays.

    Referee Angus Gardner tried, and failed, to send the drinks carriers away. They are a blight on the game.

    South Africa didn’t let it bother them. The Springboks take plenty of pelters for their apparent endless physicality and little running rugby. That was not the case at Twickenham.

    Their first-half try, finished by the fine wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, was outstanding as they made England pay for a poor kick and even worse chase.

    England’s mass rotation at the interval showed exactly what Jones thought of his team’s first 40. On came Ellis Genge, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Will Stuart and Jack Nowell. It made no difference.

    As he had in the first half, South Africa fly-half Damian Willemse slotted a brilliant drop goal when the game resumed. The Twickenham crowd tried to rally their team.

    Pre-match, the fireworks and lightshow had lit up the home of English rugby. The same had taken place before the dramatic draw with New Zealand.

    But the unfortunate truth for Jones and his players is they have failed to back-up the off-the-field razzmatazz on the pitch.

    Jonny Hill’s needless throwing off Faf de Klerk, which meant an England penalty was turned back the other way, summed up more brainless home rugby.

    Hill’s stupid penalty concession gave South Africa the field position from which they forced Tom Curry to be yellow carded and then crossed for their second try.

    Even if Eben Etzebeth’s grounding might have looked suspect, South Africa’s dominance and England’s paucity was clear. Oasis’ Wonderwall rang out around Twickenham. There was nothing wonderous about this England display.

    Even when South Africa’s replacement Thomas du Toit was red carded, England huffed and puffed against 14 men. After being hit high by Du Toit, Cowan-Dickie’s line-out throw went all wrong. It summed up another evening to forget for England.

    They saved their worst display of the autumn for their last game which means Jones’ side go into a World Cup year miles off the pace of the best teams on the planet.

    Henry Slade’s late consolation can’t change that fact. Two losses, a draw, and only a win over Japan this month is not good enough for a team of England’s calibre.

    The home supporters were leaving in their droves even before the final whistle went.

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  • 1 час, 58 минут назад 27.11.2022Sport
    World Cup: Mexico fans FUME at Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez’s exclusion after Argentina loss

    Mexican national team fans were extremely vocal on social media following the 2-0 lose to Argentina on Saturday.

    Most of the anger voiced by fans centered around the fact that Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez was not included in the squad by head coach Tata Martino, as they felt he would have made a huge difference in Saturday’s result.

    Mexico now sit at the bottom of Group C with only one game left in group stage play.

    The game remained deadlocked until the 64th minute when a Lionel Messi scored the game’s first goal following a classic moment of Messi magic.

    Just over 20 minutes later 21-year-old Enzo Fernandez scored a second from an amazing strike from the left side of the box to give the Argentinian’s a 2-0 lead that they would take to full time.

    Mexico on the other hand only registered one shot on goal and four shots in total, leading fans to grow increasingly frustrated.

    Mexico have yet to score through the first two group games and as some of the angered fans made sure to mention in their social media tirades the last Mexican to score in a World Cup was Chicharito himself back in 2018 against South Korea.

    One fan blasted: ‘IF CHICHARITO WAS THERE THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED.’

    Another agreed, adding: ‘All I know is El Chicharito wouldn’t have let this happen smh.’

    Another laid the blame at boss Tata Martino’s door, accusing the manager of favoritism.

    They posted: ‘If tata martino would’ve called up players based off players performances rather then favoritism we would had a way better team. Chicharito, Carlos vela, Santi Giménez, and lainez would be there.’

    Another insisted that Hernandez would have found the back of the net, not once, but multiple times.

    They said: ‘Chicharito would’ve had a hat trick against this weak ass team.’

    Another branded the coach ‘the most foolish person ever as they wrote: ‘Argentina really tried this night but that Mexico coach is the most foolish person ever.

    ‘How will you leave two of your best players at home in person of Chicharito and Carlos Vela. Mexico attack is really useless.’

    Chicharito is not only one of the most heralded names in Mexican soccer, but he has also displayed fine form this season in Major League Soccer.

    In 39 appearances with the Los Angeles Galaxy, he recorded 19 goals and three assists in all competitions.

    18 of his 19 goals came from league play which was good enough to tie him for fourth place in the league in goals this season.

    One of the two players Chicharito finished the season tied with on goals was Jesus Ferreira, who was handed the United States No. 9 jersey in Qatar.

    Seeing as they now have only one point and sit in fourth place in the group El Tri will face an incredibly tough mountain to climb if they wish to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.

    Mexico will first and foremost have to defeat Saudi Arabia by multiple goals in the final game of group play while, also hoping for a favorable result in the game between Argentina and Poland as it needs Saturday’s rivals to lose.

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  • 1 час, 58 минут назад 27.11.2022Sport
    Sing when you’re winning! Lionel Messi conducts Argentina’s joyous dressing room celebrations

    Argentina players have celebrated winning their first World Cup match of the tournament following their comfortable 2-0 win over Mexico on Saturday.

    Lionel Messi proved to be the difference after his 64th minute strike from outside the box crept into the corner to hand the South American side a much-needed victory.

    Argentina players were clearly relieved at avoiding a defeat that would have seen them eliminated from the competition after post-game celebrations emerged online.

    In a lengthy video post, players inside the dressing room can be seen dancing to loud South American music as they celebrate on-pitch success with a singsong.

    Players and team staff are shown standing on the sides with arms raised, some still in kit and other in the process of getting changed, with a chant being sung around the changing room.

    Messi is caught centre-stage with his top off and a smile stretched across his face as the six-time Ballon d’Or winner helps his side of tournament hopefuls avoid an early World Cup embarrassment.

    Other immediately recognisable faces include Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez who appears to be leading the antics as he jumps up and down on a centre console, while Paulo Dybala and Nicolas Otamendi are also caught on camera.

    Reports from inside the ground suggested that Argentina’s players were still celebrate their group stage success over an hour after the full-time whistle with one report describing the actions as ‘bedlam’.

    Argentina’s stars hopefully enjoyed their moment of emphatic release before heading back to their budget-friendly university accommodation that is a far-cry from some of the luxurious resorts other nations are staying in.

    The national team opted to be placed in the student digs so they can enjoy traditional beef barbecues and other South American traditions together in the Middle East.

    34-year-old Messi is playing in what is expected to be his last World Cup with the football sensation having already called time on his international career once before.

    Messi carries the weight of a nation on his bac with Argentina supporters desperate to see their hero emulate the success of national hero Diego Maradona who led the country to a 1986 World Cup title.

    The PSG forward has so far scored two goals in the tournament with Messi hoping to clinch the golden boot and World Cup title in Qatar.

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  • 1 час, 58 минут назад 27.11.2022Sport
    Wallabies comeback sees Australia beat Wales in rugby union Test with Mark Nawaqanitawase starring

    The ‘eternal optimist’ Dave Rennie never lost hope in his injury-ravaged side, with the Wallabies producing a stunning 21-point comeback to beat Wales 39-34 in Cardiff to close out their spring tour.

    In one of the most incredible finishes to a Test in recent memory, young hooker Lachlan Lonergan crossed for the match-winning try with just 90 seconds remaining in the match, after the Dragons were reduced to 13 men.

    The win meant Australia avoided the unwanted 64-year first of having their worst calendar year since 1958, and no doubt relieved the pressure on Rennie after a rollercoaster end to the year.

    The Wallabies coach had to scramble to even fill a side against the former world no. 2, with 11 of the original 36-man spring tour squad unavailable: leaving Rennie 25 players from which to pick his 23-player game day team.

    The absence of players like Michael Hooper, Nic White, Dave Porecki and Taniela Tupou just gave the likes of rising stars Mark Nawaqanitawase, Lonergan and Len Ikitau a chance to shine.

    Nawaqanitawase in particular produced his best game in green and gold, scoring a second-half double and proving himself a nightmare for the Welsh defence all over the field.

    The fringe Waratah started the Super Rugby season on the bench, but Dave Rennie called him up to the spring tour squad while the then-uncapped 22-year-old was on holiday in New Zealand.

    And the rest, as they say, is history.

    ‘I guess that’s life,’ Nawaqanitawase said of his tough start to the Super Rugby season earlier in the year.

    ‘Things go up and down sometimes, but I’m grateful for where I am at the moment and I couldn’t score those tries without the boys.’

    The electric winger said the inexperienced side wasn’t deterred by the outside noise prior to the match, and said the win proved the Wallabies could compete with the best ahead of the World Cup next year.

    ‘As you can see by the other games, we’ve only lost by a point to the top teams so don’t lose faith in us,’ he said.

    ‘We’ve got a strong team here. We back ourselves so hopefully everyone else backs us as well.’

    Wales, who have been in a form slump of their own this year, dropping down seven ranking points to sit just behind Australia at no. 8, cruised to a 20-6 margin with less than half an hour played – and it looked like the Wallabies were set for yet another loss.

    Skipper James Slipper then copped a head knock and was forced from the field, meaning Rennie was forced to call on back-up Sam Talakai; astonishingly the 51st player to be used by the Wallabies in an injury-ravaged 2022.

    Crafty play by Folau Fainga’a after a powerful rolling maul gave Australia their first try in the 33rd minute; but Wales continued to pile on the pressure, and were up 34-13 with just 23 minutes remaining.

    From there, carnage.

    Two brilliant tries to Nawaqanitawase in the 57th and 67th minutes sparked Australia into action, bringing the deficit back to seven points with just over 10 to go.

    A penalty try cut the margin to just two with seven minutes remaining, and the stage was set for a thrilling conclusion.

    From a maul just seven metres out from their attacking try line, a sweeping move and a Welsh error found the back-up hooker out on the wing.

    Lonergan scooped it up and scored with a spectacular swan dive, giving the inexperienced side the win with just seconds on the clock.

    ‘Pretty stoked,’ Lonergan laughed after the match in Stan Sport’s broadcast.

    ‘We were in the trenches there in the first half. At the start of the game, all we wanted to do was get a result and do whatever we had to do to do that.

    ‘At halftime we came together and said ‘we need to get a result’. Obviously our captain went down with that head knock. So as a team, we said we had to do it for him, our country, do it for Australia.’

    The incredible comeback win relieved pressure on the under-fire Rennie – who has continued to face mounting criticism over the team’s rollercoaster performances ahead of the World Cup in France next September.

    The New Zealand native now looks certain to lead the Wallabies to next year’s tournament, and he was particularly proud with the way in which they won based on the typical Aussie characteristics of grit, toughness and never-say-die attitude.

    ‘I’m the eternal optimist. Honestly, I genuinely felt with 20 to go and down by 21, there was plenty of time,’ he said after the match.

    ‘It was a game around momentum. We had all the momentum late in the game.

    ‘(There was a) Huge amount of ticker within our group. We had a number of guys who played in the Italy game and it was a chance for redemption today. We’ve had a number of young guys who really fronted up. We’re stoked. It’s a nice way to finish.

    ‘We haven’t beaten Wales for a while, so that’s positive. You get that monkey off your back. It’s more around the fight within the group. We had a pretty short training week.

    ‘We battled for a while but came home really strong. Rapt with the courage and character within the group,’ said a happy, but no doubt relieved, Rennie.

    For his part, Stan commentator, and former Wallabies legend Tim Horan, said he didn’t ever really think Rennie’s job was in trouble.

    ‘I don’t think he’s ever lost the dressing room,’ he said on the broadcast.

    ‘James Slipper this week talked about the belief they have. There’s been a lot of injuries, which hasn’t helped. That’s a great performance. That last 20 minutes was some of the best Wallabies performance we’ve seen this year.’

    Instead, it is now Wales coach Pivac who will now face the firing line after the Dragons lost nine of their last 12 Tests.

    And how will the Wallabies celebrate finishing their long tour and rollercoaster year with a win?

    ‘You know exactly what’s gonna happen,’ Lonergan told Stan commentator Drew Mitchell after the match with a twinkle in his eye and thoughts of beer in his heart.

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  • 1 час, 58 минут назад 27.11.2022Sport
    The ECB is weighing up a massive £400m takeover bid for the Hundred

    English cricket has been subject to a ‘£400m private equity approach’ for a controlling interest in its Hundred competition.

    Bridgepoint Group, a London-listed buyout firm, made the ground-breaking offer over recent weeks, according to Sky News.

    The proposed transaction would see Bridgepoint acquire a 75% stake in the two-season-old tournament and thus provide the England and Wales Cricket Board with an injection of cash.

    It comes at a time when private investment in the sport is increasing around the globe – two new Twenty20 tournaments will launch in the new year in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa, with significant money in both emanating from franchise owners in the lucrative Indian Premier League.

    While such a deal would see new funds injected into the sport, and give the 18 first-class counties a huge financial shot in the arm, it would also result in the ECB relinquishing control of its vehicle for future funding of cricket in this country.

    The 100-ball-a-side game – not played anywhere else in the world – has divided opinion in the sport, drawing criticism for its domination of August, the prime month of home seasons, and therefore messing with the scheduling of both Test and County Championship matches.

    But it has undoubtedly lifted the profile of the women’s game in this country, been the centrepiece of massively increased broadcast revenue and provided the ECB with a new family audience, according to research.

    When plans for the competition were first announced, it was anticipated that it would remain the property of the ECB and its county clubs.

    However, cricket’s landscape has changed dramatically over the past four years and upon coming into office Richard Thompson, the governing body’s new chair, refused to play down the possibility that the eight Hundred teams could be sold to private investors, saying he has a ‘preference for maximising value’, adding ‘you’ve got to make a decision on when’s the right time.’

    The ECB declined to comment yesterday on what is a much more substantial offer.

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  • 1 час, 58 минут назад 27.11.2022Sport
    Liverpool enter talks with Saudi Arabian and Qatari consortiums over a potential £3BILLION takeover

    Liverpool have held discussions with two Middle East-based consortiums over a £3billion takeover.

    The Mail on Sunday has learned that representatives of consortiums from Saudi Arabia and Qatar have expressed an interest in buying the club.

    Several sources report that consortium officials have approached Fenway Sports Group director Mike Gordon – the man responsible for the sale of Liverpool – to register their interest.

    It is understood both groups are private companies rather than state-owned.

    However both consortiums are thought to have close links with their country’s ruling families.

    Saudi Arabia’s Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal this week encouraged takeover bids for both Liverpool and Manchester United.

    Both clubs have been exploring potential sales options over the past month.

    He said: ‘From the private sector, I can’t speak on their behalf, but there is a lot of interest and appetite and there’s a lot of passion about football.

    ‘We will definitely support it if any [Saudi] private sector comes in, because we know that’s going to reflect positively on sports within the kingdom.’

    The kingdom’s state-backed Public Investment Fund (PIF) have already acquired Newcastle United.

    Liverpool are also in discussions with a US-based buyer, while Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe and tech-giants Apple have been linked with United bids.

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Sport Heartwarming video of Shane Warne resurfaces - as young gun Rehan Ahmed closes in on England debut