Afridi on talent search for Saudi Cricket Center

Updated 16 January 2013
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Afridi on talent search for Saudi Cricket Center

Pakistan cricket star Shahid Afridi, who is currently in the Kingdom to select talented cricketers, conducted selection trials in Jeddah in a transparent manner at the Hala Academy Cricket Ground in Al-Aziziyah yesterday.
During the week-long trials in the Kingdom, Afridi is scheduled to visit Riyadh and Dammam also for talent hunt under the sponsorship and initiative of Saudi Cricket Center (SCC).
The two-day selection trial now being held here is divided into two phases. The trials were held for the age group between 15 to 19-years.
Today it will be held for seniors, 20 years and above. Over 100 hopefuls as bowlers, batsmen and all-rounders from different schools, cricket clubs from Madinah, Yanbu and Jeddah. Afridi will have to select 50 from the various centers in the Kingdom, said Hamid Afandi, manager operations, Saudi Cricket Center.
Afridi told Arab News, “That he was very happy to see so many children on the ground and thanked Allah for the talent he has that can help him easily find out the best talent among the players.” I’m proud to lead the talent promotion across the Kingdom. I will do my utmost to identify prospective cricketers who have the skills and the determination to become outstanding players for the Saudi national team, said Afridi.
He also said that process is not a difficult one as he will select the players according to their performance in bowling, batting after they faced a few balls and on their body language in given time.
The Saudi Arabian team that plays under the Saudi Cricket Center (SCC) are performing well. But still there is a lot more talent, which needs to be hunted and I’m here today doing that treasure hunt, said Afridi.
This talent hunt is an excellent idea and challenge, I am sure Saudi Arabia also has excellent cricket players, it’s just needs to bring out the best and capable youth into the limelight.
It will give a chance to the youth of all nationalities who love cricket to show their talent. Our plan is select the best on the basis of their performance. This campaign is a positive sign toward the goals of SCC and their mission, said Afridi.
He further said that, this would give a chance to the Saudi youth to show their talent and shine at the horizon of the Kingdom and at the international level. My job during this campaign will be to check the capability of the boys, on how much ability and potential they have to play cricket and take the name of the country to new heights. I will share my experience with them and go according to age category for the selection. I will do my best during this selection of the best talent hunt, by putting all my experience and efforts. I am fully aware of it, the rest depends on the SCC’s role on how and what they do. We will make sure that this new team will be able to compete not only at the national level, but on an international level as well, he added.
The talent selection is done on a trial basis without discrimination of nationality and religion, where the participants are given a chance to show their talent and abilities in bowling and batting.


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 21 April 2018
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Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #WengerOut believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.