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Put an end to this scary dressing room culture in Pakistan, says Amir | Cricket News

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KARACHI: Former pacer Mohammad Amir, who recently retired from international cricket due to his differences with the national team management, on Thursday called for an end to the “scary” dressing room culture in Pakistan cricket.
“Give players some space and freedom. Put an end to this scary environment in the dressing room, these very players will win you matches,” he told the media.
Amir had retired last month after alleging that he had been “mentally tortured” by the management of the national team, comprising chief coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis.
The left-handed pacer said he was dropped from the side for personal issues and not because of his performance.
“The issue is not about performance I know I can make a strong comeback but it is about this mental torture they put you through,” he said.
The 28-year-old said if the coaches are talking about performances, they should tell him why he was dropped the next day after taking 21 wickets in the Bangladesh Premier League.
“If this is not a personal issue then what is it,” he asked.
He also dismissed remarks by Misbah about his speed going down.
“My speed went down because I was not fully fit and fatigued. When I went to the Lanka Premier League I was fresh and I bowled at 145KPH,” he said.
Amir also took a dig at Misbah and Waqar saying he couldn’t play with coaches with different mindsets.
“One coach says speed does not matter what is important is taking 20 wickets (Waqar made the remarks on Thursday when asked about the lack of speed of the bowlers in New Zealand) and the other coach says speed is important in international cricket (Misbah said this at his interaction). Who should we believe?
“First think what you want to say then try to teach Amir.”
He was reacting to recent comments from Misbah and Waqar after returning from New Zealand.
Both the coaches in their interactions with the media spoke at length about the statements made by Amir about them and his accusation that he had decided against playing international cricket because of the mental torture caused by them.
Waqar said he was “hurt by Amir’s statement”.
“It is unfortunate that he gave such a statement and the way he made the exit from (international) cricket. He is a wonderful cricketer and I always advocated his case before Najam Sethi (previous PCB chairman). I also talked to (national team) players when he staged a comeback in 2016 to welcome him back (after the 2010 spot-fixing scandal),” Waqar said in Lahore.
Waqar also said that he felt ‘sad’ after reading Amir’s statements about him and insisted that the left-arm pacer was dropped for the New Zealand tour because of poor form and fitness.
“He is in our plans and if he starts performing again he can be back in the team.”
Asked about the remarks by the two coaches, Amir said: “I am glad he (Waqar) felt sad and bad because at least he will now realise how much someone’s statement can hurt you like I felt when he made statements about my decision to retire from Test cricket.”
“I didn’t say anything wrong and I only spoke the truth, nothing else.”
Amir said he faced mental torture after reading statements from Misbah and Waqar where they blamed him and said he let down the team for the defeat in Australia.
“They also said that I didn’t want to play Test cricket and his decision has nothing to do with managing workload. I was hurt by such comments and they caused me mental anguish,” he said.
Amir said he was now being given lessons that he should go and play domestic cricket and get back his form and a place in the team.
“I think a player knows what is best for him and where he should play domestic cricket or league cricket,” he said.
The pacer, who was banned for match-fixing for five years, said no one needed to tutor him on having patience.
“No one knows about patience better than me. Because for five years I was not permitted to touch the cricket ball.
“I waited for five years to resume playing cricket and when I didn’t lose courage and patience then do you think I will do now just because I am not performing well,” Amir said.
Amir said there were numerous legends in Pakistan cricket who had made several comebacks into the team.
“Be it Younis Khan, Muhammad Yousuf or Shahid Afridi they all made several comebacks so I am not worried I know if one performs he will be able to make a comeback.”


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Paes eyeing French Open comeback in record eighth straight Olympics bid | Tennis News

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KOLKATA: Indian tennis icon Leander Paes on Monday said he is eyeing a French Open comeback this year in his quest to make a record eighth appearance at the Olympics in Tokyo.
Paes, 47, said he skipped the Australian Open as he is apprehensive of playing in a bio-bubble but is looking ahead to the French Open.
“Playing sport in a bio-bubble is very tough and may not be the best thing to do. I got a grand farewell at the Australian Open last year so I felt this year I would be sitting out and watching,” Paes said.
The Olympic bronze medallist in singles and multiple-time doubles Grand Slam winners was speaking during the launch of a cricket tournament named after his father Dr Vece Paes, a bronze winner at the 1972 Olympics.
“I hope that by the time of French Open, by the end of May, Europe will get to a better position than now.”
On the Christmas Day of 2019, Paes had announced his “One Last Roar” tagline, calling 2020 to be his last season as a professional player, culminating with the Tokyo Games that was pushed back by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s my goal to represent India in the eighth successive Olympics. I’m keeping myself in good physical and mental fitness which is not easy being away for 11 months.
“I’ve been practising hard, putting in three hours everyday and I’m in the last 100m sprint of a long career. Tokyo Olympics is important to make sure India remains in the record,” Paes said.
The Dr Vece Paes Cricket Cup will be held between CC&FC and Doctors’ XI at CC&FC on Tuesday.
The doctors of Kolkata wish to make the 75th year of Dr Paes and his achievements a memorable annual event by organising a cricket match which will be played by Paes and former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan.
“I’m very emotional about CC&FC. As a young boy growing up, this very ground where I grew up, learnt leadership, sportsmanship and camaraderie.
“It’s an honour to be your son. I’ve tried to run it and play the game of life as best as I could. I hope I have done you proud,” the tennis great concluded.


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Olympics would be ‘extremely difficult’ for unvaccinated athletes: France | Tokyo Olympics News

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PARIS: Athletes who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 would face “extremely difficult” conditions at the Tokyo Games this summer, the president of the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) said on Monday.
Unvaccinated athletes who go to the Games in Japan face “quarantine of a fortnight” and “will have to undergo tests in the mornings and evenings,” Denis Masseglia warned.
The issue of vaccination of athletes for the Tokyo Olympics, postponed last year because of the pandemic, is to be discussed Wednesday at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Committee.
The IOC officially encourages the vaccination of athletes but says it cannot impose it.
Masseglia said there was no choice. In a video press conference, he said that “holding the Games is at stake”.
“We are not alone,” he said. “For our Japanese friends to receive athletes and accredited people from all over the world requires some precautions.”
He said that the difficulties they would face could have “a dissuasive effect” for athletes who did not want to be vaccinated.
Masseglia said he spoke to IOC president Thomas Bach last week.
In France, nearly a million priority people have been vaccinated, but the pace of vaccination is extremely varied around the world. Some countries, including Japan, have not started yet.
The issue of vaccination of athletes also raises an ethical problem.
“It’s out of the question that athletes should be given priority over other categories of population, but between now and the Games we can assume that it is possible to have them vaccinated without penalising other people,” Masseglia said.
“I have taken a position in favour of vaccination, I hope that all French athletes will share this perspective,” he added.


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AFC cancels, postpones tournaments; India’s schedule also affected | Football News

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Monday decided to either cancel or postpone a number of its competitions, also featuring India, keeping in mind the safety of all stakeholders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indian team was to take part in the next AFC U-16 Championships, which was slated to be held in 2021 after being rescheduled twice last year. A total of 16 teams were to play in the tournament.
“In line with FIFA’s decision to cancel the FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cups in 2021 and taking into consideration the safety and health of Asia’s youth players, the AFC has reluctantly decided to cancel the AFC U-16 Championship Bahrain 2020 and the AFC U-19 Championship Uzbekistan 2020,” the continental football body said in a release.
The AFC said the next editions of both the competitions will be allocated to the same hosts in 2023.
The U-16 tournament was originally scheduled between September 16 and October 3, 2020, and then rescheduled between November 25 and December 12, 2020. It was later announced that the tournament would be postponed to early 2021 due to the pandemic.
AFC general secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “We are grateful for the support of the hosts for these competitions who agreed with the AFC the need to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders during this time of uncertainty and taking into consideration the risks of the current pandemic.”
The AFC also cancelled its Futsal Championship Kuwait 2020 and the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup Thailand 2021.
Both the Kuwait Football Association and the Football Association of Thailand will host the next editions. Kuwait will stage the AFC Futsal Asian Cup 2022 and Thailand, the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup 2023.
The AFC has also decided to reschedule the qualifying rounds for the U20 Women’s Asian Cup 2022 and U-17 Women’s Asian Cup 2022.


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