Infidelity claim puts India bowler Mohammad Shami’s India contract on hold

India’s cricket board has declined to renew fast bowler Mohammad Shami’s contract pending an investigation into “unsavory” allegations. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Infidelity claim puts India bowler Mohammad Shami’s India contract on hold

NEW DELHI: India’s cricket board has declined to renew fast bowler Mohammad Shami’s contract pending an investigation into “unsavory” allegations that he has been unfaithful to his wife.
Shami, who represented India during the tour of South Africa in January, has dismissed the accusations of infidelity as “part of a big conspiracy” to defame him.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) dropped Shami from a list of contracted players unveiled this week, which saw skipper Virat Kohli and other top Test players awarded salaries just above $1 million.
A supervisory committee overseeing BCCI affairs said the allegations against Shami put them in a difficult position and that his contract was on hold pending review.
“We are in a bit of Catch 22,” Vinod Rai, chairman of the committee, told cricket website ESPNcricinfo.
“Ordinarily you would distinguish and say that is a personal issue and the contract is a professional issue.
“But someone could easily point out and say this allegation is an unsavory one and you are still rewarding him.”
A source from the BCCI confirmed the board’s position when contacted by AFP.
Shami’s wife Hasin Jahan, a former model, went public on Tuesday with a series of messages that Shami, 27, allegedly sent to women during their four-year marriage.
She also accused the cricketer, whom she married in 2014, of domestic violence.
The story caused quite a stir on Indian social media, and media in the country reported that Jahan went to the police in Kolkata but did not file an official report against her husband.
Shami vented his frustration at his wife’s accusations and sought to clear his record.
“What is being said about my personal life is completely false,” he wrote on Twitter.
“It’s definitely a part of a big conspiracy against me. This is just an attempt to defame me.”
The board elevated Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah to a new “A+” category for the highest salaried players.
Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravichandran Ashwin were placed in the next grouping and will receive an annual salary of $777,000.


‘We want to make Saudi Arabia proud’: Pizzi promises better showing against Egypt

Updated 22 June 2018
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‘We want to make Saudi Arabia proud’: Pizzi promises better showing against Egypt

  • Saudi Arabia cannot progress from Group A even if they defeat Egypt in their final game on Monday
  • Wednesday’s overall performance was much improved, yet a lack of penetrative passing was obvious

ROSTOV-ON-DON: “Keeping possession of the ball seems to be the absolute and most important thing, but then when you sometimes find issues in getting the ball into your opponent’s half, you have to find other movements and ways of doing that,” said Oscar Tabarez after watching his lackluster Uruguay rely on a solitary Luis Suarez goal to eliminate Saudi Arabia from the World Cup. 
Tabarez was talking about his own team’s struggles, yet the assessment is considerably more applicable to the Green Falcons, who dominated possession and retained the ball with ease in midfield, yet for the second match running looked absolutely bereft of ideas in the final third. With Uruguay and Russia now on six points, Saudi Arabia cannot progress from Group A even if they defeat Egypt in their final game on Monday.
The Green Falcons coach Juan Antonio Pizzi confirmed he intends to stay at the helm of the side for the long-haul, yet is only too aware that the potential of this team is being hamstrung by its inability to score. He called it “our weakness”, adding that his side enjoyed “good ball possession, but no effectiveness”. They, he said, did not have the sufficient “weapons or tools” to equalize.
Pizzi’s side have found the net now just twice in their past five games and against Uruguay managed only three shots on target in 90 minutes — two of which came in added time and were so tame they would hardly have troubled the opposition goalkeeper Fernando Muslera had he been relaxing at his far post sipping a drink. In the 5-0 defeat to Russia last week, they failed to muster a single shot on target. 
Wednesday’s overall performance was much improved, yet a lack of penetrative passing was obvious. One passage of play in the opening exchanges saw Saudi Arabia complete 16 passes untroubled without the ball entering the opposition penalty box. When Uruguay finally won possession, they required only four quick exchanges to find Edinson Cavani on the left wing drilling the ball across the front of goal. 
“I don’t share that assessment,” said Pizzi, when it was put to him that his team was too slow to attack. “We played at the speed that was necessary. We need to be accurate, but if you step up the speed you lose accuracy with your passes. We had control of the game and that was why.”
Striker Mohammed Al-Sahlawi had been the focal point of much criticism from Turki Al-Sheikh, the head of Saudi’s General Sports Authority, after the Russia “fiasco” and was dropped from the side against Uruguay. So too was goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf, another who Al-Sheikh name-checked as having been at fault.
Pizzi, asked whether the scathing assessment from his bosses had forced his hand when it came to team selection, calmly dismissed the suggestion. He also ruled out the notion that administrative issues between the players and the country’s football federation had caused unrest in his squad.
“I have a list of 23 players here and they are all available to play. We are here together and pushing in the same direction. 
“I wanted — and still want — to make the Saudi Arabian people feel proud of our energy and the desire we show in matches. Unfortunately we were unable to do that against Russia and will be playing our next match without any hope of progressing. I hope now they will feel a little more proud even though we are out of the World Cup,” he said.