Dutch bid to halt record Australian title in Champions Trophy hockey

Updated 08 December 2012
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Dutch bid to halt record Australian title in Champions Trophy hockey

MELBOURNE: An in-form Netherlands stand in the way of Australia winning a record fifth straight Champions Trophy after convincing semifinal victories in Melbourne yesterday.
Netherlands and Australians progressed to Sunday’s final with relative ease, with the Dutch downing Pakistan 5-2 and Australia proving too good for India 3-0.
If Australia’s Kookaburras can win the final they will become the first team to win the Trophy title for five straight years, however midfielder Kieran Govers said they would remain focused just on Sunday’s match.
“It’s the fifth straight time we have made the final but we aren’t looking to claim five titles, we are looking to play a good game tomorrow,” Govers said.
Australia had plenty of early chances via several penalty corner attempts, with their first goal coming off a rebound that was swooped on by five-time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer.
The Kookaburras continued to be relentless, with the ball constantly being forced back into India’s circle, putting their defense to work.
Despite India’s best efforts the pressure eventually broke them, with Dwyer receiving a penalty stroke for a heavy tackle, making no mistake with the conversion for his second goal.
The trend continued after half time, with Jacob Whetton involved in Australia’s third goal after working the ball into the circle, with Govers finishing off to put the result beyond doubt.
India’s Yuvraj Walmiki said Australia were too good on the day.
“We were well prepared but as everyone knows Australia is a very tough team. We played very good in patches but some silly mistakes caused some problems,” Walmiki said.
“We hope to clinch the bronze tomorrow because the last time we won it was in 1982 so we want to repeat the history of 30 years so hopefully we play well.” Netherlands gave themselves a chance to win their first Champions Trophy since 2006 after outclassing Pakistan.
Striker Billy Bakker said the Dutch were pleased with their progress throughout the tournament.
“We have a good team and before we came to Melbourne we had a goal to play in the final, minimum, and hopefully to take the gold back to the Netherlands,” Bakker said.
Pakistan’s Shakeel Abbasi said the players were disappointed, however he was confident his team could respond.
“We are still in the medal race so we will try our best. Today Holland played well but in the start we had a few chances,” Abbasi said.
The Dutch began in terrific form, with Pakistan looking shell-shocked.
It wasn’t long until the Dutch confirmed their dominance with Bakker scoring the first of his two goals only two minutes into the match.
Netherlands continued to attack with Severiano van Ass making it 2-0 at the 20 minute mark.
Pakistan were given a gift minutes later when an own goal was scored off the stick of Netherlands defender Bob de Voogd.
However a second Bakker goal gave them the momentum before half time with a commanding 3-1 lead.
The Dutch powered on in the second half with two more goals before Abbasi scored a late consolation goal.
India and Pakistan will play off for the bronze medal today. Pakistan have not won a Champions Trophy medal since 2004, while India have won bronze, back in 1982.
In Saturday’s qualification matches, Belgium dominated England 4-0 for their first ever Champions Trophy win, while Germany held off a determined New Zealand to win 6-4.
Germany’s Moritz Fuerste was also named the FIH World Player of the Year for the first time.


UAE-based T10 League to help national side find future stars

Updated 21 September 2018
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UAE-based T10 League to help national side find future stars

  • Emirate Cricket Board backs plan to help UAE national side find more talent.
  • Second T10 League to increase to eight teams with star-name players returning.

DUBAI: The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has backed the UAE-based T10 league’s Talent Hunt program designed to unearth stars for the national side.
ECB board member Zayed Abbas welcomed the league’s announcement that is hoped will only enhance the ECB’s own initiatives aimed at finding and developing both Emirati and expatriate players who can go on to represent the country.
Any talented players that emerge from the T10 programme will feed into the UAE’s four cricketing councils.
Abbas told Arab News: “Any talent hunt that takes place here that can feed into the national team is welcome. Once it takes place then our national development programme management and team will be involved with them to set the criteria and the activities and plans going forward.
“At the end of the day, the T10 League is an approved league in the UAE. Their activities and the league are approved by the ECB and ICC so any talent hunt programme of theirs is definitely part of the UAE cricket board’s agenda.”
Casting the net farther for fresh faces in the UAE national team has been an ongoing pursuit for the ECB and is even more necessary following the disappointment of Dougie Brown’s men failing to qualify for this year’s Asia Cup, taking place on home soil, which offered the potential to showcase the UAE team to the country’s enormous cricketing community.
Hong Kong qualified at their expense, and considering the similarities between Hong Kong and the UAE as expatriate dominated countries with a local population waiting to be engaged, it is a case of what might have been. The impact could have been significant had the packed crowds of Dubai been able to witness captain Rohan Mustafa and Co. go up against the likes of MS Dhoni.
The ECB’s support — sought well in advance of the announcement and following discussions that have been ongoing since the culmination of the inaugural edition last year — will come as a major boost to the chairman and founder of the T10 league, Shaji Ul-Mulk.
It is also the latest in a series of expansions to the second edition of the T10 League, due to take place from Nov. 23-2 Dec. Two new teams have already been added, taking the number of franchises to eight and the tournament will be played across 10 days rather than the four of last year in Sharjah.
England’s one-day captain Eoin Morgan will return to lead the Kerala Kings in the defence of their title and he will be joined by a star-studded cast in Rashid Khan, Shahid Afridi, Sunil Narine, Shoaib Malik, Brendon McCullum, Daren Sammy and Shane Watson.
They will be joined once again by two UAE players in each squad — and one in each matchday XI, a further reminder of the T10 League’s investment in UAE cricket.
“The global talent hunt is designed to unearth the unsung heroes from the cricketing world, especially India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh,” Ul-Mulk said.
“This programme will help the talent not only to get a job in the UAE and be able to display their cricketing skills at international level. The ECB is part of this programme and the good top-class cricketers will have a chance to play for the UAE national team.”
Mohammad Azharuddin and Wasim Akram have been announced as Talent Hunt directors and will oversee the searches in India and Pakistan respectively.
Abbas hopes that these ex-players-turned-scouts will add even greater gravitas to the T10’s plans to enrich the sport in the UAE and that the ECB’s own aim to grow the game among Emiratis is supported in everything T10 does.
“These players are considered legends of cricket so the more names you have at this level the better your product can get and the more successful you can get,” said Abbas of Azharuddin and Akram.
“These programmes are open for all, but the more effort (T10 organizers) put into the Emiratis (the) better for us because that will make a huge difference in the country’s national agenda and the sport’s agenda. 
“If you develop your own players there is nothing like it.”