England were ‘curious’ about potential Australia tampering, says Alastair Cook

Cameron Bancroft was the player who executed Australia's attempt to alter the condition of the ball. (AFP)
Updated 25 April 2018
0

England were ‘curious’ about potential Australia tampering, says Alastair Cook

  • England batsman wondered how Aussies got the ball moving in Perth
  • Cook accepts 'people do make mistakes'

LONDON: Alastair Cook has revealed England’s players were “curious” about Australia potentially engaging in ball-tampering during the recent Ashes series.
Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were hit with long suspensions by Cricket Australia after they plotted to use sandpaper on the ball in their third Test with South Africa last month.
The shamed trio claimed that was their first instance of ball-tampering.
But the spotlight has now been put on the Ashes, with television footage since emerging of Bancroft putting sugar in his pocket.
Australia’s consistent ability to get reverse swing had England’s bowlers scratching their heads during their 4-0 series defeat.
Cook was part of the England side and he admitted on Tuesday that there were questions among his squad about the third Test in Perth.
Asked at a Chance to Shine event in Tunbridge Wells whether England suspected Australia of ball-tampering during the Ashes, he said: “Yes a little bit, certainly in Perth when the outfield was wet with rain they got the ball reversing.
“I didn’t see anything. We have been pretty good at managing the ball to see if we can get it to reverse swing but then there’s the thing with the quicker you bowl the ball it reverse swings more.
“That was the thing in 2005, we had Simon Jones and Freddie (Andrew Flintoff) who were quicker than the Australian bowlers.
“We have to be very careful, we were curious at certain moments but then we couldn’t get the ball up to 90mph where they consistently could.”
Australia’s actions in Cape Town were widely criticized, with Smith and Warner both receiving year-long suspensions.
Cook insisted that should be a timely reminder for the game to be played in the right way.
“It’s not for me to comment on punishment, but the whole thing is a reminder that people want to see,” he said.
“It’s the same with cycling, that whoever is playing that people play in a fair way. If you try your hardest and there’s no external things that you win or lose that way.
“It’s amazing the public outcry for that.
“Sometimes with the pressure of playing, and it is so important to you and it’s your livelihood, sometimes winning or losing can overtake things.
“It’s wrong for everyone to sit in the cold light of day and criticize because people do make mistakes.”


Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Updated 22 May 2018
0

Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs
  • Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million)

RIYADH: The General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) have announced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs.
According to reports, the Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million) that will not only clear monies owed but also enable clubs to invest ahead of the 2018-19 season.
The issue of debt had become a major issue in the country’s football scene.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs are currently experiencing financial problems that require immediate and urgent intervention,” the General Sports Authority, which oversees Saudi Arabian sport, said in a statement released on social media.
The body noted that there are a total of 107 cases under appeal at world governing body FIFA regarding unpaid salaries in Saudi Arabia.
“Failure to intervene urgently to rescue clubs may result in damage to the reputation of the Kingdom in general and Saudi Arabian sport in particular,” added the GSA.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs may face severe disciplinary sanctions because of the failure to meet financial obligations such as the
denial of the registration of players in general or the deduction of points.”
Unpaid salaries were also a factor in Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr being unable to appear in this year’s AFC Champions League after they were denied AFC club licenses.
Al-Ittihad were the club with the highest debt of 309 million riyals ($82 million) and welcomed the news.
“We are delighted by the generous initiative of His Royal Highness,” Al-Ittihad president Nawaf Al-Muqairn said in an official statement released by the two-time Asian champions.
“This contributes to creating solid ground for all clubs to move toward achieving their goals.”
Legendary Saudi striker Sami Al-Jaber, recently appointed president of champions Al-Hilal, announced his gratitude on social media.
“Great thanks to His Highness the Crown Prince for the great support that the clubs have enjoyed which enables sport in our country to keep pace with the aspirations of our leadership,” Al-Jaber wrote.
The Crown Prince’s move followed the SAFF announcing a new raft of regulations in April that will come into effect next season and are designed to take the league forward. These included restricting club spending on transfers and salaries to 70 percent of revenue. The size of first-team squads has been reduced from 33 to 28, of which five must be homegrown players of 23 or younger.