Pakistan lose superstar Mohammad Abbas for Abu Dhabi Test against New Zealand

Pakistan’s worst fears have been confirmed ahead of their third and deciding Test match against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Monday with Mohammad Abbas unlikely to feature. (AFP)
Updated 30 November 2018
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Pakistan lose superstar Mohammad Abbas for Abu Dhabi Test against New Zealand

  • A shoulder injury is almost certain to rule seam-bowler Mohammad Abbas out of the crucial match
  • Fears that he would be ruled out of Pakistan’s tour of South Africa in December have been allayed

LONDON: Pakistan’s worst fears have been confirmed ahead of their third and deciding Test match against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
A shoulder injury is almost certain to rule seam-bowler Mohammad Abbas out of the crucial match, but fears that he would be ruled out of Pakistan’s tour of South Africa in December have been allayed.
Abbas suffered the injury while diving to stop a ball in the field during his side’s victory over the Black Caps in Dubai earlier this week.
He was given painkillers to last through that second Test match, but a shoulder scan after the game showed the severity of the injury.
A shoulder specialist saw the scans and early assessments suggested Abbas could be out for a period of three weeks to four months.
But the injury was not as serious as initially thought and while Abu Dhabi would be too quick a return, experts believe he could be fit again in time for the first Test against South Africa, at Centurion on Boxing Day.
“Abbas underwent a scan on Wednesday which confirmed an injury to his shoulder,” the Pakistan Cricket Board said.
“He will undergo further clinical assessment before we make a final decision regarding his availability for the 3rd Test (in Abu Dhabi).”
The injury clearly had an impact on his performance in the second innings of the second Test, which marked the third innings in a row he had failed to take a wicket.
His brief drought is in stark contrast to the riches of his career since making his debut last year, a spell which has seen him become one of Pakistan’s most potent bowling options.
Abbas’ injury is likely to give another chance to Shaheen Afridi, the young left-arm fast bowler whose introduction into the Pakistan side has been a revelation, and whose performances have been of the highest quality results this season.
Pakistan are likely to protest Abbas for the South Africa series, especially as he represents their most lethal weapon in their bowling attack for years.
In South Africa, on surfaces perfectly primed for his talents, his contribution to the Pakistan cause against the Proteas will be crucial to Sarfaz Ahmed and his side’s chances of victory in a country where they have struggled to win Test matches.


From near-death in Libyan desert to Saudi Arabia in 40 years: A history of the Dakar Rally

Updated 25 April 2019
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From near-death in Libyan desert to Saudi Arabia in 40 years: A history of the Dakar Rally

  • Race will start in Jeddah and make a stop in Riyadh before ending in Qiddiya
  • Take a look back at the most momentous moments

LONDON: A new and exciting chapter in the prestigious history of the Dakar Rally is ready to be written as the world’s biggest and most challenging rally confirmed it will debut in Saudi Arabia in January 2020.

1977: Inspiration
Biker Thierry Sabine gets lost in the Libyan desert while competing in the Abidjan-Nice Rally. After being rescued from the sands on the verge of death, he vows to share the scale and magic of the desert with the whole world.

1978: A dream come true
On 26 December 1978, a field of 170 adventurers starts its 10,000-kilometer quest through Algeria, Niger, Mali, the Upper Volta, and Senegal. A total of 74 vehicles make it to the finish on Place de l’Indépendance in Dakar, with Cyril Neveu at the helm.

1983: Ickx on all fronts
Celebrities and the best drivers and riders in the world heed the call of the Dakar. The combination is a successful one, with the six-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Jacky Ickx and comedian Claude Brasseur taking the spoils in the fourth edition.

1986: Tragedy strikes
Thierry Sabine and Daniel Balavoine die in a helicopter crash alongside pilot François-Xavier Bagnoud, journalist Nathalie Odent and radio technician Jean-Paul Lefur. Gilbert Sabine, the father of the creator of the race, takes over as director.

1992: Africa from north to south
The Dakar takes a break from the capital of Senegal to pit the competitors against the challenge of a lifetime. The drivers and riders have to tackle a route of almost 12,500 kilometers through 11 countries to cross Africa from one side to the other and reach Cape Town in South Africa. Stéphane Peterhansel (motorbikes) and Hubert Auriol (cars) stand atop the podium at the end of the Odyssey.

1998: Peterhansel rolls a six
The biker with a blue bandana emerges victorious from a clash of titans with Orioli and Arcarons to become the undisputed master of the category in the 1990s. His sixth win catapults him past Cyril Neveu as the event record holder. “Peter” has since added seven car victories to his tally!

2000: At the foot of the pyramids
The Dakar marks the turn of the century next to one of the seven wonders of the world: the Great Pyramid of Giza. Reigning champions Richard Sainct (motorbikes) and Jean-Louis Schlesser (cars) both manage to defend their titles against this prestigious backdrop.

2001: Miss Dakar
No one suspects that this will be the last Paris–Dakar. In contrast, everyone sees Jutta Kleinschmidt, who had made her Dakar debut in 1988 on a motorbike, become the first woman to win the rally, this time racing at the wheel of a Mitsubishi 4×4. She remains the only female winner of the event to date.

2009: Rising from the ashes in Buenos Aires
The Dakar picks itself up and crosses the Atlantic to rise from the ashes. A new era dawns with 4 million spectators turning out in force to cheer on the drivers and riders in the majestic landscapes of Argentina and Chile.

2012: Pacific Challenge
After three years with a route starting and ending in Buenos Aires, the organizers break the mold with a finish on the Pacific coast of Lima, Peru.

2014: Dizzying heights
Bolivia becomes the 28th country to host the Dakar. The Altiplano and Salar de Uyuni introduce a new test for the competitors: extreme altitude, which takes a toll on both their bodies and their machines.

2020: Chapter 3
In the wake of its first foray into Paraguay in 2017, the Dakar adds the 30th country to its list. In Saudi Arabia, the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula, the competitors will face challenges such as the “Empty Quarter,” a pristine expanse that has never been explored fully before.