Arthur praises Pakistan player over spot fixing case

Pakistan Cricket team Head Coach Mickey Arthur during nets. (File photo: Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 22 October 2017
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Arthur praises Pakistan player over spot fixing case

SHARJAH: Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur on Sunday praised an unnamed player for reporting a spot-fixing approach as “a real example to our team.”
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Saturday confirmed a player was approached with a fixing offer during the ongoing one-day series with Sri Lanka but he reported the matter to the Board’s anti-corruption unit.
Pakistani media named the player as skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.
“To be honest the player reacted unbelievably well,” Arthur told media at Sharjah stadium.
“He did everything required of him and we had a chat straight afterwards.
“It was handled brilliantly and I think that is a real example to our team and to the cricket world that a really important player was approached and acted to the letter of the law and did exceptionally well as a true ambassador of the game.”
PCB said the matter was also referred to the International Cricket Council.
Arthur was confident any of his players would act in the same manner in future.
“I am very comfortable with our players, they are outstanding and they are intelligent young men and individuals and I have no doubt that if anyone is approached they will do the same way as the individual did,” said Arthur.
As per the anti-corruption rules a player is required to instantly report a fixing offer, failing to which will result in a minimum of six months to a maximum life ban.
Pakistan cricket received a jolt in February when two of their players — Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif — were caught in a spot-fixing scandal which rocked their Twenty20 league held in the United Arab Emirates.
Sharjeel was banned for five years (two and a half years of which were suspended) while Khalid was banned for five years and fined one million rupees ($10,000).
The two played for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and were accused of arranging two dot balls in return for money in the opening match of the league.
Pacer Mohammad Irfan was banned for one year, six months of which were suspended, and fined one million rupees while spinning all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz was banned for two months (one suspended) and fined 200,000 rupees ($2,000) for failing to report fixing offers at various stages.


‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

Updated 20 June 2018
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‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

  • A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half gave Uruguay a 1-0 win
  • Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance

ROSTOV-ON-DON: Good, but not good enough.
That was what Juan Antonio Pizzi stated as he declared himself pleased with his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday night.
But he lamented his side’s lack of firepower as they exited the World Cup after just two matches.
Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance in Rostov-on-Don after losing their opening game 5-0 to hosts Russia in Moscow last week.
The Argentine got his wish with a display that saw the Green Falcons fight throughout and edge possession against a Uruguay side ranked 14th in the world.
A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half after poor goalkeeping from Mohammed Al-Owais, however, was enough to hand the Green Falcons a 12th successive World Cup defeat.
The result means that even with a win against Egypt on Monday, the Green Falcons are no longer capable of progressing to the knock-out stages from Group A.
“We had a lot of ball possession and were able to impose our style of play and distribution,” said Pizzi. “We conceded a goal from a random play and didn’t have the weapons or tools to try to equalize. We kept the ball well and weren’t really troubled defensively, but lacked that ability to score.”
Indeed, for all their possession, Saudi Arabia have managed just three shots on target in 180 minutes of football. Against Russia, they failed to muster a single effort on target and the managed just three against Uruguay, two of which came in the final minutes when they knew they had to score or face elimination. None of the three shots came from a striker.
“This is our weakness. We have good ball possession, but no effectiveness. We lack the depth and skill required to win these games,” Pizzi added. “We have that deficiency and have looked for solutions, but we haven’t quite come up with one yet. But that is one of the reasons great forward are in high demand and are the elite players in world football.”
Pizzi had made four changes ahead of the match, dropping goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf in favor of Al-Owais and introducing Ali Al-Bulayhi at the heart of the defense alongside Osama Hawsawi. Further upfield, Hattan Bahberi came in for Yahya Al-Shehri and Fahad Al-Muwallad replaced Mohammed Al-Sahlawi. The changes, particularly the inclusion of Bahberi, seemed to give the side more impetus in midfield.
“The difference between the performance in the first game and this game is enormous,” Pizzi said. “The only way to compete at this level is to play at the level we did here. And even then it was not enough even to get a draw. Undoubtedly there were other factors aside from the pressure of playing in the opening game that made a difference, but it’s true that the difference was enormous.”
Many critics had predicted a deluge of goals from the likes of Suarez and Cavani, yet both were kept at bay. Save for a couple of half-chances early on, neither came close to scoring until the 23rd minute.
A corner from Carlos Sanchez sailed into the area and when Al-Owais came for it but failed to connect with his punch, Barcelona forward Suaréz was left with the simplest of tap-ins. He was so caught off-guard, he actually looked surprised as he reeled away in celebration.
“I believe you cannot be relaxed in any match,” Suarez said when asked by a Uruguayan journalist whether he had taken it easy against the Saudis.
“We wanted to win and to progress to the knock-out stage and this game simply showed how difficult it is. That’s the World Cup for you though and we are obviously delighted with how we have performed so far to progress.”
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez did not share his striker’s sentiments.
“Saudi Arabia wanted to excel and give a better account of themselves after losing to Russia,” he said.
“They did that very well and we have to respect them. But what surprised me the most is how we played. We underperformed.”