Under pressure Antonio Conte refuses to commit to Chelsea

Updated 12 January 2018
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Under pressure Antonio Conte refuses to commit to Chelsea

LONDON: Antonio Conte has refused to give any guarantees over his future at Chelsea, adding that “everything is possible” as speculation over his position at the club persists.
The Italian won the Premier League last season in his first year as head coach at the Blues, who play former title winners Leicester on Saturday.
Conte signed an improved contract last summer but it was not an extension to his deal, which still expires in June 2019 and there has been continued speculation over his position at Stamford Bridge.
The former Juventus and Italy boss, whose side are third in the table, said that goes with the territory of working at Chelsea and does not happen at other clubs.
“I have another year of (my) contract with this club,” he said. “But as you know very well everything is possible. In one moment you stay here, in another moment another person replaces you in your job.”
Asked if he would extend his contract with Chelsea, Conte added: “In this case, I think the club has to decide to send me away.”
Conte’s position has been the subject of speculation over a rumored frustration regarding transfers.
“For the manager of this club it’s normal to have this type of situation, also if you won last season the league and you reached the final in the FA Cup,” he said. “This is the history of this club for the manager.
“I have a lot of experience to deal with this type of situation. (But) there is something strange if, after the first game we lost against Burnley, the press pushed quickly to sack me for another coach. I think in other clubs this doesn’t happen.”
Conte insisted he is happy at Chelsea, will continue to work as a professional and will “never give up.”


Pakistan’s Azhar Ali signs for Somerset

Pakistan's Azhar Ali celebrates reaching his century during a match between England and Pakistant on August 4, 2016. (Reuters file)
Updated 17 July 2018
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Pakistan’s Azhar Ali signs for Somerset

  • Azhar is set to make his Somerset debut against Worcestershire later this month

LONDON: Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali has joined Somerset for the remainder of their first-class English County Championship fixtures this season, the southwest club said Monday.

The 33-year-old replaces Australia opener Matt Renshaw, who made three hundreds at 51.30 in the opening rounds of the Championship before breaking a finger against Surrey at Guildford last month.

Azhar is set to make his Somerset debut against Worcestershire later this month.

"The standard of first-class cricket in England is very high and I hope that I can make a contribution to Somerset winning matches," Azhar told his new county's website.

"I have heard good things about Somerset and I was impressed by what I saw at Taunton in 2016 (when Pakistan opened their tour of England that year against the county).

"I am looking forward to joining my new team mates and meeting the Somerset supporters soon."

Azhar struggled during Pakistan's three Tests against Ireland and England earlier this season, making 73 runs in six innings although his lone fifty did come during Pakistan's impressive victory over England at Lord's.

"Finding the right fit at short notice can be challenging, however we are delighted to have secured a player of Azhar Ali's character, pedigree and class for the remaining seven Specsavers County Championship matches," said Somerset's director of cricket, Andy Hurry.

"His experience at the top of the order will prove to be hugely valuable at the business end of the season.

"I have spoken to him several times over the last few weeks and he is very keen to share his knowledge of the game with our aspirational players, so the influence he can have within the changing room will also be vital for us as a club."