Captaincy row rages as Black Caps head to South Africa

Updated 13 December 2012
0

Captaincy row rages as Black Caps head to South Africa

WELLINGTON: New Zealand cricket chiefs issued a public apology to axed captain Ross Taylor yesterday, as a weakened Black Caps side prepared to depart for South Africa without the in-form batsman.
Taylor opted to sit out the tour against the Proteas after being replaced as skipper by opener Brendon McCullum last Friday, leaving a gaping hole in the New Zealand batting line-up as the side faces the world’s top-ranked Test team.
The axing also exposed deep divisions within New Zealand cricketing circles and provoked a backlash against administrators over Taylor’s treatment.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chairman Chris Moller acknowledged the issue could have been handled better, but stood by the decision to appoint McCullum and said there would be no sackings at the organization.
“The board has reviewed all aspects of the captaincy issue and wishes to publicly place on record its apologies to Ross Taylor and his family for the manner in which events have unfolded,” Moller told reporters.
The drama is a distraction any team poised to confront the Proteas at home could do without, let alone one ranked eighth in the world and already without star spinner Dan Vettori and gifted batsman Jesse Ryder.
“What’s unfolding at the moment is very disappointing,” McCullum, a close associate of coach Mike Hesson, told reporters this week after denying he had any role in Taylor’s downfall.
“I’m sure that will all heal in due course,” he added.
McCullum’s optimism appears misplaced, as cricketing greats and media commentators called for heads to roll at NZC amid claims the sport has lost its way under the current leadership.
Former coach Mark Greatbatch called for Moller’s departure yesterday, accusing him on commercial radio of being “involved with too many underhand dealings in the last two or three years.”
Former captain Martin Crowe has demanded NZC’s entire top echelon, including Hesson, stand down, saying they had permanently damaged cricket in New Zealand, where popularity for the sport runs a distant second to rugby union.
Taylor himself has accused NZC of lying by saying he was initally asked to stay on as Test captain when told before the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle last month that the team’s leadership would be changed.
Dominion Post columnist Mark Reason said Taylor was New Zealand’s only Test-class batsman, averaging 43.45, and slammed the way he had been treated.
“Whatever happened to loyalty? New Zealand Cricket has shamed us all,” he wrote.
However Taylor, who presided over a string of disappointing results in his 16 months as captain, has also faced criticism, with the New Zealand Herald’s Chris Rattue accusing him of abandoning a team that desperately needs him.
“(He) is starting to come across as a prima donna,” Rattue wrote, saying the South Africa tour was looming as a potential disaster without him.


Sublime Mohamed Salah leads Liverpool to stunning 5-2 win over Roma

Updated 25 April 2018
0

Sublime Mohamed Salah leads Liverpool to stunning 5-2 win over Roma

  • Liverpool move onto 38 goals for this season’s competition — 11 more than any other team
  • Salah is now on 43 goals for the season in all competitions

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah put his former side Roma to the sword on Tuesday night with a scintillating performance as the Reds ran riot at Anfield, taking a commading 5-2 lead into next week’s second leg in Rome.
The Italian side had no answer to the Egyptian superstar’s sublime skill as he scored two world-class goals and set up another two for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Firmino added the fifth as the Merseyside club romped into a 5-0 lead to put the English side within touching distance of the Champions League final.
Salah’s display was as exquisite as Roma’s defending was naive, with Liverpool scoring all of their goals in a breathtaking 33-minute spell either side of halftime amid a cauldron of noise at Anfield.
But two consolation goals in the final nine minutes from Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti has given Roma hope of recreating their heroics from the previous leg against Barcelona.
In the latest virtuoso performance of his stunning first season at Liverpool, Salah curled a shot into the top corner in the 36th minute and doubled the lead in the 45th with a dinked finish that is fast becoming his trademark. He is now on 43 goals for the season in all competitions with potentially five games left.
The Egypt forward was not finished there, taking advantage of Roma’s high defensive line to provide crosses for Mane and Firmino to score almost identical goals in the 56th and 61st minutes, respectively.
Firmino glanced home a header from James Millner’s corner in the 69th to leave Roma’s players on the floor — literally in the case of their distressed goalkeeper, Alisson.
Liverpool moved onto 38 goals for this season’s competition — 11 more than any other team — but cannot begin preparing for the final in Kiev on May 26 quite yet.
Dzeko chested down a long pass to make it 5-1 in the 81st and when Milner handled a shot from Radja Nainggolan, Perotti converted the penalty in the 89th.
Bayern Munich play Real Madrid in the other semifinal, with the first leg in Germany on Wednesday.
Roma knows all about Salah, who scored 15 goals and set up 11 more in the second of his two seasons at the Italian club before joining Liverpool for 42 million euros (then $47 million) in June.
He’s obliterating those figures at Anfield this season. His double saw him surge past Cristiano Ronaldo’s 42 goals for Manchester United in the 2007-08 season, for example.
Salah won English soccer’s Player of the Year award on Sunday. At this rate, the Ballon D’Or could be his next year.