Usman Khawaja and Australia bowlers help tourists outplay India in third ODI

India's captain Virat Kohli, left, interacts with teammates before asking for a review for the wicket of Australia's captain Aaron Finch, right, during the third one day international cricket match between India and Australia in Ranchi, India, Friday, March 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Updated 10 March 2019
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Usman Khawaja and Australia bowlers help tourists outplay India in third ODI

RANCHI, India: Opener Usman Khawaja's maiden one-day international century and incisive bowling helped Australia outplay India by 32 runs to stay alive in the five-match series on Friday.
Adam Zampa led the bowling charge with three wickets including the prized scalp of India captain Virat Kohli, for 123, to help dismiss the hosts for 281 in 48.2 overs while chasing 314 in Ranchi. India lead the series 2-1.
Fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson also took three wickets each and combined to wipe off the Indian tail after Kohli's second successive ton gave the tourists a scare.
Kohli, who hit a match-winning 116 in the second ODI, smashed 16 fours and a six during his 95-ball knock before being bowled off Zampa's leg-spin googly.
For Australia, Khawaja, who made 104, and skipper Aaron Finch, who hit 93, put on a 193-run opening stand to guide their team to 313 for five after being put in to bat.
"It was a pretty good performance. To get 300 on that wicket was very good. It was nice and especially in these conditions," Finch said after the win.
"I have been working really hard and have always had the faith I would get runs. Usman played a fantastic knock, Jhye was also impressive with the ball," he added.
Finch, whose last significant one-day score was a 100 in England in June 2018, struck form with his 19th ODI 50 but fell short of the three-figure mark after being trapped lbw off Kuldeep Yadav, who took three wickets.
His 99-ball knock was laced with 10 fours and 3 sixes.
The left-handed Khawaja, who hit 11 fours and a six in his 113-ball knock, kept up the pace during a 46-run second-wicket stand with the in-form Glenn Maxwell, who made 47.
Khawaja fell to paceman Mohammed Shami and Maxwell, who smashed three fours and three sixes in his 31-ball blitz, was run out by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Yadav soon tried to check Australia's surge with his left-arm wrist spin as he sent back Shaun Marsh, for seven, and Peter Handscomb, for nought, in the space of three deliveries.
But Marcus Stoinis, on 31, and Alex Carey, on 21, put on an unbeaten 50-run stand to take Australia well past the 300-run mark.
Kohli, the world's top-ranked ODI batsman, tried to set up India's chase after they were in trouble at 86 for four following the departure of Dhoni for 26.
The 30-year-old Kohli, who registered 41st ODI ton, built crucial partnerships including an 88-run fifth-wicket stand with Kedar Jadhav to challenge the opposition attack.
Vijay Shankar also made a useful 32 but the ever-increasing run rate got to the Indian chase.
"I was very disappointed when I got out. I really thought we had a chance with the difference being 20 between balls and runs," said Kohli.
"Australia played better on the day. Adam bowled well and they won the game. We will have a few changes in the next couple of games.
"A little hiccup in the middle but we will re-group and come back stronger."
The fourth ODI is on Sunday in Chandigarh.


Interview: Turkish NBA star Enes Kanter on standing up to ‘ruthless’ Erdogan

Updated 23 May 2019
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Interview: Turkish NBA star Enes Kanter on standing up to ‘ruthless’ Erdogan

  • ‘I have an obligation to speak against atrocities,’ basketball star tells Arab News
  • ‘Whatever I am going through in my personal life doesn’t impact my performance on court’

CHICAGO: NBA superstar Enes Kanter says he loves his homeland Turkey as much as he loves professional basketball. 

Yet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has continuously attacked Kanter, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Erdogan has arrested Kanter’s father, and bullied his family after accusing the basketball player of being part of the Hizmet movement of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the president asserts was behind a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Two years ago this week, Erdogan demanded that Kanter be arrested, and fears of violence from the Turkish state have gotten so bad that the FBI installed a panic button to help protect the player.

Kanter said he will continue to play professional basketball, and will not be silent about the Turkish government’s repression.

“His (Erdogan’s) regime’s and his hostility to me began in 2013 when I first start criticizing (the) government on unjust, unfair and illegal closures of college preparatory centers linked to businesspeople in the Hizmet movement,” Kanter said.

 “This closure pretty much became the first public clash between the Erdogan regime and the Hizmet movement,” he added.

“It was obvious that there was something that Erdogan doesn’t like about the Hizmet movement. Up until the closures of college preparatory centers, no one knew about that,” Kanter said.

“The way Erdogan handled this relationship was brutal, ruthless, unjust and unfair. I can’t stand for any of these, so I stood up against this tyranny and started criticizing. Neither Erdogan stopped his approach nor I, and we’ve kept clashing since then.”

Kanter said he will continue to play professional basketball, and will not be silent about the Turkish government’s repression. (AFP)

Kanter played for the Turkish national team at EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania, and for the Turkish U18 national team in 2009.

He led Turkey to the bronze medal at the European Championships in France, and was named Best Player and Best Center at the 2009 European Championships by Eurobasket.com. 

Kanter signed with the Utah Jazz in 2011, the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015, the New York Knicks in 2017, and the Portland Trail Blazers in February this year.

The Trail Blazers lost the Western Division Playoffs, the first step to the NBA Championships, to California’s Golden State Warriors in the final game on Monday.

Erdogan’s threats have placed enormous pressure on Kanter, but he insists it has not impacted his performance or his commitment to help the people of Turkey.

“I’m a successful professional athlete, and whatever I’m going through in my private life would never impact my performance on court,” he said.

“They’re two different worlds for me … I’ve known nothing else but basketball … since I was 13, so I guess it’s pretty important,” he added.

“I see basketball and my platform as a way to teach the younger generation how to be successful and hopeful for the future,” Kanter said.

“Once you’re a successful professional athlete, younger generations see you as a role model, so … I’m trying to do my best to set my life as a role model to them,” he added.

“I believe I have an obligation as a human being to speak up against any atrocities. I believe that as a human being I should be standing for human rights, democracy and freedom of speech … Me being a celebrity makes it easier for people to hear, see and experience what I believe.”

I believe I have an obligation as a human being to speak up against any atrocities.

Enes Kanter, Portland Trail Blazers center

On Erdogan, Kanter does not mince words. “He’s a dictator by definition. He silences media, destroys opposition, demonizes his critics … so all these make him a dictator,” Kanter said.

“Turkey deserves a leader who’s open minded, democratic, progressive, intelligent, modest and forward thinking, a leader who embraces everybody in the community regardless of their political choices.”

The harassment from Erdogan has put Kanter’s family at risk too. “I can’t say they’re safe when my dad lost his job and got jailed based on terrorism charges because I’m his son,” Kanter said. “These allegations are baseless and ridiculous, so how could I feel they’re safe?”

He said he respects Gulen and the Hizmet movement, rejecting Erdogan’s claims against them.

“I’m so close to Mr. Fethullah Gulen in terms of his life philosophy and teachings. I admire his way of extracting an individual’s inner potential … in order to be a better person in his or her community,” Kanter said.

“Erdogan should know that he’ll be brought to justice one day and pay for his mistakes. First, he should stop all his unjust, inhumane acts against the people of Turkey. Second, he should start making everybody’s life better in Turkey.”

Before moving to the US in 2009 to attend college in California, Kanter was a star basketball player in Turkey’s premier leagues.

He said despite playing for the NBA in the US, he still sees himself as a champion for Turkey and its people.

“I was Turkey’s best basketball player, and I’m still Turkey’s best basketball player. The only difference is that I’m now representing my country in the US. I left Turkey for a better opportunity in my career, to play in the NBA,” he added.

“I think everyone in society has an obligation to speak out on issues of human rights and democracy, and to stand tall against atrocities, inhumane practices and dictatorships,” Kanter said.

Celebrities like himself “have a bigger opportunity to make a difference and to raise awareness on such issues because of our platforms,” he added.

Erdogan has continuously attacked Kanter, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers. (AFP)