Yorkshire appoint former England bowler Gough as director of cricket after racism scandal

Former England bowler Darren Gough has been appointed managing director of embattled Yorkshire County Cricket Club. (Action Images)
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Updated 06 December 2021

Yorkshire appoint former England bowler Gough as director of cricket after racism scandal

  • Darren Gough, 51, played for both Yorkshire and England during his long career
  • The club was rocked by a racism scandal that brought on resignations from the club's top brass

LONDON: Yorkshire confirmed the interim appointment of former England bowler Darren Gough as the county’s new managing director of cricket on Monday as the cricket club attempts to rebuild following a damaging racism scandal.
The club came under intense fire over their handling of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of racism and harassment, with chairman Roger Hutton and chief executive Mark Arthur standing down.
On Friday, the county announced that 16 members of the coaching and medical staff had left the club, including first-team coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon.
Gough, 51, who had two playing spells with Yorkshire, captaining them in the second, has been appointed initially until the end of the 2022 season.
“Like many, I have followed how the club handled the recent racism allegations with sadness and anger,” said the former England paceman.
“I want to play my part in rebuilding cricket in Yorkshire and I am looking forward to working with the exceptionally talented group of players here.
“I am also aware of my wider responsibility to listen to everyone and ensure that every person who is associated with this club feels welcome, instilling values we want associated with the White Rose: honesty, straight-talking, hard work, integrity and excellence.”
New chairman Kamlesh Patel praised Gough’s “infectious” enthusiasm.
“As we start on this journey with Darren, we want to engage everyone at the club and involve as many people as possible in shaping our direction,” he said.
“We have a considerable job ahead of us, but we are ready to embrace the opportunity together and build a brighter future for Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”
England captain Joe Root, who plays for Yorkshire, had earlier welcomed reports that Gough was set to be appointed.
“From my experience of spending time with Goughy he is obviously very passionate and knowledgeable about the game,” the skipper said ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane this week. “His love for it is clear for anyone to see.
“And for the club as well, I’m sure he will be wanting to bring all of that to the fore and all of his experiences and achievements within the game and pass that knowledge onto the group.”


Virat Kohli quits as India Test captain

Updated 15 January 2022

Virat Kohli quits as India Test captain

  • 33-year-old Kohli took over India leadership across formats from MS Dhoni in 2017
  • He earlier quit as Twenty20 skipper after debacle at World Cup, then lost one-day job

NEW DELHI: India’s Virat Kohli announced Saturday he was stepping down as Test captain, a day after his side lost a three-match series to South Africa. 
“Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test captain of India, it’s now,” he posted on Twitter after seven years in the high-pressure position. 
The 33-year-old Kohli, who quit as Twenty20 skipper after a debacle at the World Cup and then lost the one-day job, took over the India leadership across formats from MS Dhoni in 2017. 
“There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief,” Kohli said. 
“I have always believed in giving my 120 percent in everything I do, and if I can’t do that, I know it’s not the right thing to do. 
“I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team,” he added. 

India's Virat Kohli holds aloft a stump as he leaves the field after India won Test match agianst England at the Oval cricket ground in London, UK, on September 6, 2021. (AFP)

India lost the final match in Cape Town by seven wickets on Friday to go down 2-1, with Kohli blaming the team’s poor batting for the defeat. 
Kohli is part of the ODI team, led by KL Rahul in the absence of injured Rohit Sharma, that will play three matches in South Africa starting January 19. 


Bangladesh captain tells teammates to 'close ears' ahead of Pakistan Tests

Updated 25 November 2021

Bangladesh captain tells teammates to 'close ears' ahead of Pakistan Tests

  • The series follows a dismal run in Twenty20 internationals, with Bangladesh losing eight consecutive matches
  • Pakistan captain Babar Azam insisted his team will not take the hosts lightly in their home conditions

CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque urged his teammates to ignore criticism and concentrate on the job at hand ahead of the Test series at home against Pakistan beginning on Friday.
The hosts kick off the new Test Championship cycle with the two-match series against Pakistan starting in Chittagong, having never beaten the visitors either at home or away.
The series follows a dismal run in Twenty20 internationals, with Bangladesh losing eight consecutive matches. Five losses at the World Cup were followed by a three-nil whitewash at home by semi-finalists Pakistan.
"This is not the first time Bangladesh have gone through such a phase. We have overcome such times before too," said Test captain Mominul, who was not part of Twenty20 side.
"People got mentally weak ... because they pay attention to what is being said. My job is to bring back focus. You cannot stop anyone from talking. So, it's better to keep your ears closed," he said on Thursday.
Adding to their woes, star player Shakib Al Hasan, batsman Tamim Iqbal and an in-form all-rounder Taskin Ahmed, will all miss the first Test due to injury.
Mominul said it would be a "challenge" to lead a young Bangladesh side against a strong Pakistan team.
"We have always required senior players in the Test side," he said.
"But it is a continuous process. We have to move on. We cannot be disappointed all the time. I firmly believe it is a huge opportunity for the younger players," he said.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam insisted his team will not take the hosts lightly in their home conditions.
"This looks a typical Bangladeshi pitch which will help spinners. So, we are aware of the conditions," he said.
Pakistan announced their 12-man squad for the opening Test, which included uncapped batsman Abdullah Shafique.
Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam and Imam-ul-Haq also made the 12-man squad.
"I cannot score runs all the time, so other batsmen will have to take responsibility. This is an important WTC Tests, so we need to be at our best," Babar said.
Pakistan have played 10 Tests against Bangladesh, winning nine.
The only draw came in 2015 when Tamim scored a maiden Test double hundred in a record 312-run opening stand with Imrul Kayes in the second innings in Bangladesh's southern city of Khulna.
The second Test will start in Dhaka on December 4.


Lydia Ko squares course record in Aramco Saudi Ladies International

Updated 07 November 2021

Lydia Ko squares course record in Aramco Saudi Ladies International

  • Ko: “I played really solid today”

JEDDAH: A course record-equaling 63 from Lydia Ko has the New Zealander in firm control heading into the final day of the $1 million Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by the Public Investment Fund.
The former World No. 1 carded five birdies on both the front and back nine at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club to lead by four with one round to play.
Sitting at -16, the 24 year old will look to hold off a final day push from Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, whose scintillating 65 propelled her into lone second.
England’s Alice Hewson sits two further back on -10, with Spaniards Carlota Ciganda and Nuria Iturrioz both on -9.
“I played really solid today,” said Ko, who tied Australian Steph Kyriacou’s record low round at Royal Greens. “I missed a short putt for par on three and then went on a stretch of birdies. I gave myself a lot of good looks for birdie opportunities and I was rolling it well, so it was a good combination of everything, where I wasn’t making many mistakes. It was that kind of a round where I just kept putting myself in position, trying to play the best golf I can.
“I’ve got to keep playing aggressively. This is a course where you’ve seen players can play well so I’m just trying to make my share out there and see what happens.”
Atthaya Thitikul — who looks set to be crowned the LET’s Race to the Costa del Sol champion after her low round on Saturday — said: “I feel pretty good about my round today. My putter was on fire. I’ll keep trying to roll in my putts tomorrow and keep making as many birdies as I can, staying focused.”
On her final day playing partner Lydia Ko, Thitikul added: “She is really solid. Her putter and short game is one of the best — she’s pretty good! I’ll learn from her tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.”
After an opening day 75, a resurgent Georgia Hall went three-under-par on Friday, before going a further three better on Saturday, placing her in a busy chasing pack, albeit 10 off the top.
Hall said: “Today I could’ve been nine-under if I’m honest. I missed quite a few putts under 10 foot. But my game was a lot better today and I’m very happy with how I played.
“I had three weeks off so maybe just getting back into tournament mode took me a little bit more time than I thought. No matter how much you practice, competitions always feel different, so it’s just been getting my swing back into a good place.”
American Alison Lee — whose compatriot and playing partner Lyndsey Weaver found the tournament’s second hole-in-one en route to a one-under-par 71 — sits one better at -7, herself bouncing back from a day one five-over-par 77 with rounds of 65 and 67.
Lee said: “I feel like I played pretty solid today. My strength today was my putting. Long birdie putts, shaky par putts coming back — it was my savior today.
“I was very disappointed after the first round.
I feel like I’ve been playing really well and that was just one of those days a golfer has in their back pocket once in a while, it just kind of happens. Thankfully I recovered yesterday and hopefully I can put a good number up tomorrow.”
The Aramco Saudi Ladies International will be followed by the Aramco Team Series — Jeddah on Nov. 10-12, the last of four new $1 million team tournaments added to the Ladies European Tour this season.


Injured Hasan Ali ruled out of first T20 against England

Updated 16 July 2021

Injured Hasan Ali ruled out of first T20 against England

  • Pakistan Cricket Board said Ali has been pulled out of the game at Nottingham ‘as a precautionary measure due to a strain in his left leg’
  • His injury will be reassessed ahead of the second T20 at Leeds on Sunday.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan fast bowler Hasan Ali has been ruled out of Friday’s first Twenty20 international against England because of a leg injury.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said Ali has been pulled out of the game at Nottingham “as a precautionary measure due to a strain in his left leg.”
The right-arm fast bowler picked up the injury during Pakistan’s training session on Thursday and his injury will be reassessed ahead of the second T20 at Leeds on Sunday.
England’s second-string team whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in the ODI series. Ali took a five-wicket haul in the second ODI at Lord’s but Pakistan batsmen failed to chase down the 248-run target and lost by 52 runs.


Morgan returns to lead England in Pakistan T20s after squad Covid outbreak

Updated 14 July 2021

Morgan returns to lead England in Pakistan T20s after squad Covid outbreak

  • Morgan missed their one-day international clean sweep following a Covid-19 outbreak within the hosts’ camp 
  • 50-over world champions enjoyed a 3-0 series whitewash of Pakistan 

Birmingham: Eoin Morgan has been cleared to lead England in an upcoming Twenty20 series against Pakistan it was announced Wednesday after he missed their one-day international clean sweep following a Covid-19 outbreak within the hosts’ camp.
England had to select an entirely new squad for the ODIs against Pakistan after several players and support tested positive for the coronavirus, with the rest of those originally selected all forced to self-isolate as star all-rounder Ben Stokes was rushed back from a finger injury to captain the new-look side.
But the 50-over world champions still enjoyed a 3-0 series whitewash of Pakistan, culminating with a dramatic three-wicket win at Edgbaston on Tuesday that featured James Vince’s maiden England century.
But only four of the England players involved in that success have been retained for the three T20s against Pakistan, with Vince omitted.
Saqib Mahmood, Lewis Gregory and Matt Parkinson have all been included in a 16-man squad after starring in the ODIs, with T20 regular Dawid Malan keeping his place.
Jos Buttler has also been included following a calf injury.
Stokes, however, has been rested ahead of a five-match Test series at home to India starting in August, with bowlers Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran absent as well.
Assistant coach Paul Collingwood will be in charge, with England supremo Chris Silverwood taking some family time out after cutting short an intended break to oversee the ODI campaign.
“The Royal London Series success against Pakistan showcased the exciting depth of talent we have developed in men’s white-ball cricket,” said Silverwood in an England and Wales Cricket Board statement.
“We have selected a T20 squad that sees the return of many of our most experienced players after their period of isolation.”
The former England paceman added: “Additionally, we have rewarded some of the players involved in the 50-over series win with selection which allows us to manage multi-format players as we prepare for the much-anticipated Test series against India.
“I would like to express my thanks to Ben Stokes and the players for their efforts over the last week, and the counties for their support in getting this series on.”