Saudi Arabia set to face Uruguay veterans in key World Cup clash

Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez is poised to opt for experience against Saudi Arabia. (AP)
Updated 18 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia set to face Uruguay veterans in key World Cup clash

  • Carlos Sanchez and Cristian Rodriguez set to start for Oscar Tabarez's side
  • Green Falcon are seeking redemption after Russia thrashing

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia: Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez is poised to hand starting places to veteran opening-game substitutes Carlos Sanchez and Cristian Rodriguez when they meet Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
With the reputation of being a midfield hardman, Rodriguez — whose nickname “The Onion” was passed on from his father — has appeared for his country more than 100 times. He played at Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica, Porto and Atletico Madrid before returning home to top-flight Penarol. Sanchez has won 33 caps but has not started for his country since March last year. They both came off the bench before the hour mark against Egypt and helped change the game.
“What’s important is that we won our opening game ... and that we win the next one,” Rodriguez said.
An avid horse rider and kickboxer, he is proudly old-school and views video review as an enemy of spontaneity.
“Personally, I don’t like VAR because the Uruguayan — well, Latin American — style relies on being fast-footed,” Rodriguez said. “It doesn’t help us. It does help referees, though, especially when there are serious fouls.”
The two-time champions are aware of the Russian tournament’s potential for upsets and they were pushed hard by Egypt on Friday.
“This is a very balanced World Cup,” Rodriguez said. “Nobody really expected results like the ones with from Argentina and Brazil.”
Those perennial contenders were held to draws in their opening games.
Another surprise came in Uruguay’s Group A, when Russia shook off a shaky recent record to thrash Saudi Arabia 5-0 in Moscow.
The game, attended by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, forced the Saudi team and coach Juan Antonio Pizzi into damage control. The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has gone through three national team coaches in the past year. Its vice president, Nawaf Al-Tamayat, publicly scolded players’ “confusion and distractedness” and described the loss as being beyond “an honorable level.” Pizzi called the defeat a “shameful situation.”
The feeling is that the humiliation by Russia may force Pizzi to abandon his ambitions of fielding an attack-minded team for a more conservative lineup, but the Green Falcons only play one up top and need a positive result if they are to get out of the group.


Ravi Ashwin unrepentant over ‘Mankad’ mayhem in IPL

Updated 26 March 2019
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Ravi Ashwin unrepentant over ‘Mankad’ mayhem in IPL

  • India spinner says law shows he was within his rights to run out Buttler.
  • Ashwin told he is a 'disgrace' by Shane Warne and other former players.

LONDON: Ravi Ashwin has reignited the heated debate over whether the “spirit of the game” should be considered when potentially running out an opposition batsman.
Coming into bowl during his Kings XI Punjab side’s match against the Rajasthan Royals the Indian spinner checked his run as Royals batsman Jos Buttler left his crease, and whipped off his bails. Known as a “Mankad” the dismissal is within the laws of the game but critics say it is unsportsmanlike and not in the spirit of the deeply traditional sport.

 


Australian spin king Shane Warne was just one of a number of former players who took to Twitter to attack Ashwin for the dismissal saying: “As captain of your side you set the standard... Why do such a disgraceful and low act like that tonight?” tweeted the Australian.
“You must live with yourself and FYI — it’s too late to say sorry Mr.Ashwin. You will be remembered for that low act.”

But Ashwin was in no mood for contrition and claimed so long as the dismissal is legal he, and others, should have no problem continuing getting batsmen out that way.
“On my part, it was very instinctive,” the 32-year-old said.
“It was not planned or anything like that. It’s there within the rules of the game. I don’t understand where the spirit of the game comes, naturally if it’s there in the rules it’s there.
“I don’t understand the point of ‘sporting’ in that point because it’s rules.”
The dismissal prompted Buttler to shout in the direction of Ashwin as he walked off the pitch and a Royals collapse, losing seven wickets for 16 runs as Kings XI Punjab won by 14 runs.