India confident they can end Test series duck in Australia

Rohit Sharma is talking a good game ahead of the Test series in Australia beginning in next month. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018

India confident they can end Test series duck in Australia

  • India have never won a series Down Under, but are hopeful they can end that run.
  • Four-match series starts on Dec. 6

SYDNEY: India have warned Australia they are in confident mood ahead of the their Test series Down Under, starting in December.
The Indians have never won a series on Australian soil and hitting that stat for six is the main aim of the tour.
“It’s the one place that we want to leave our mark and do well as a unit,” India’s vice-captain Rohit Sharma said.
“The last time we played test series here — although we lost two games and we drew one game — I thought there were a few close games being played.
“We want to make it count this time around. There’s a real good feeling inside the group.”
India top the current Test rankings, while Australia have slid to No. 5 in a year overshadowed by a ball-tampering scandal in March that ended in test captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner being suspended for 12 months from international and first-class cricket and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft barred for nine months.
India are No. 2 in the one-day international and Twenty20 international rankings, while five-time and defending World Cup champion Australia have slumped to No. 6 in the ODI rankings and No. 3 in T20s.
As far as Sharma and the India contingent are concerned, Australia cricket has never been more susceptible to losing at home. India have won only five Tests in Australia — three in the 1970s and early 80s — one in 2004 and one in 2008.
The four-Test series starts in Adelaide on Dec. 6 — a break with tradition from a regular first test venue at Brisbane’s Gabba ground — and will include matches in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.
Sharma knows that going from a relatively predictable Adelaide wicket to what is expected to be a bouncy, fast pitch in Perth could be the biggest challenge of the series.
“Australia has bowlers who are very tall and extract those conditions, use them to their advantage,” Sharma said of the Perth Test. “Indian batsman generally are not that tall.
“Obviously it’s not that easy for us but, again, all the guys are quite determined to change things around this time.”
A rebuilding Australia squad is coming off back-to-back series losses to Pakistan and South Africa in the limited-overs formats, following a Test series loss to Pakistan in the UAE.
The fallout from the ball-tampering episode in March at Cape Town, when Bancroft’s awkward attempt to change the condition of the match ball by rubbing it with sandpaper, has gone way beyond Australia’s playing XI.
Coach Darren Lehmann quit at the end of that series in South Africa, and has been replaced by Justin Langer. Cricket Australia’s chairman, chief executive and high-performance manager have also quit and been replaced in a period of destabilization for the national game.

Amir Khan to appear during Jeddah Season

Updated 26 June 2019

Amir Khan to appear during Jeddah Season

  • The Fight Night will be the culmination of a special “Boxing Week” organized by the World Boxing Council in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Amir Khan, the two-time world boxing champion, is set to appear for a one-off Fight Night event at King Abdullah Sports City Arena, on July 20 as part of the Jeddah Season festival.

The Fight Night will be the culmination of a special “Boxing Week” organized by the World Boxing Council in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

It will feature appearances by Khan and others at a number of gyms across the region, including Fitness Time Gym, where they will engage in sparring demonstrations, open training sessions and meet and greets.

Saudi celebrities Qusai Kheder and Badr Al-Zaidan are also slated to attend.

Tickets for the Fight Night itself will be sold at Virgin Megastores and via the platform, as well as through Jeddah Season’s official website

Raed Abu Zinada, the general manager of Jeddah Season, said: “Our aim is to organize activities that will enrich the lives of the community, as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aims to contribute to the arts, culture, sports and entertainment.

“The city of Jeddah is characterized by a rich cultural diversity, an extended historical heritage, and a strategic location on the Red Sea coast, making it a cultural hub.”

Boxing has become a major attraction in the Kingdom in the wake of the country’s success in various foreign tournaments by its male and female boxers.

Jeddah Season is one of a range of Saudi cultural festivals to be held across the country this year, established as part of the Quality of Life Program, a key component of Vision 2030.