Steve Smith and David Warner told they must prove themselves in IPL

Smith and Warner have been on the sidelines for the past 12 months. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2019
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Steve Smith and David Warner told they must prove themselves in IPL

  • Ricky Ponting warns disgraced duo they can take nothing for granted when it comes to World Cup selection.
  • Cash rich IPL gets under way on Saturday.

LONDON: Disgraced Australian duo Steve Smith and David Warner have been told they have it all to prove as they return to top-level cricket.
The pair finished their year-long ban for ball-tampering this week and will play in the big-bucks Indian Premier League, which gets under way tomorrow.
The timing of the cash-rich Twenty20 circus is awkward, however, wrapping up less than three weeks before the start of the World Cup in England and Wales. It has long been assumed that both would walk back into the side, but former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has warned them they need to get runs in India if they are to get on the place to the 50-over global showpiece.
“Those guys have not played any high level cricket for a long time,” Ponting told the Times of India newspaper.
“They still have to prove they are the best players.
“If they don’t have a good IPL, then there will be a few more question marks regarding their names,” said Ponting, who is head coach IPL side Delhi Capitals.
The ban only included international and state-level games so both Smith and Warner were able to play in the Bangladesh Premier League but both soon bowed out because of elbow injuries, and now they are keen to get noticed again by Australia’s selectors.
The lucrative league kicks off with three-time winners and defending champions Chennai Super Kings, captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, hosting Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday.
Warner will play for Sunrisers Hyderabad along with Afghan spin sensation Rashid Khan and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday.
Smith is likely to be in action for Rajasthan Royals, along with England’s Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, on Monday against Delhi Capitals.


Alex McLeish sacked as Scotland manager

Updated 18 April 2019
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Alex McLeish sacked as Scotland manager

  • McLeish was hired in February last year and led Scotland to the top of their Nations League group, securing the safety net of a playoff should they fail to qualify automatically for the Euros next year
  • However, qualifying got off to the worst possible start in Kazakhstan and an unconvincing 2-0 victory over San Marino three days later did little to further McLeish’s case to be kept on

LONDON: Alex McLeish’s second term as Scotland manager ended on Thursday as he was sacked following a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan to begin their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign last month.
“Ultimately, the performances and results as a whole in the past year — and, in particular, the manner of the defeat in Kazakhstan — did not indicate the progress expected with a squad we believe to be capable of achieving more,” Ian Maxwell, the Scottish FA’s chief executive, said in a statement.
McLeish was hired in February last year and led Scotland to the top of their Nations League group, securing the safety net of a playoff should they fail to qualify automatically for the Euros next year from a group containing Belgium and Russia.
However, qualifying got off to the worst possible start in Kazakhstan and an unconvincing 2-0 victory over San Marino three days later did little to further McLeish’s case to be kept on.
Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament since 1998, but Hampden will host four matches at Euro 2020 and the SFA are hoping to reinvigorate the qualifying campaign under new management.
“We firmly believe we have the potential to recover from the opening group defeat and unlock the potential of this exciting squad of players for the remainder of the campaign, safe in the knowledge we also have the play-offs as an additional route to UEFA Euro 2020,” added Maxwell.
McLeish led Scotland to the brink of qualifying for Euro 2008 in his first spell in charge, missing out in the final qualifier at home to Italy before leaving for Birmingham.
His second stint managing the national team lasted just 12 games, winning five and losing seven.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to have managed my country for a second time and leave knowing that I gave my all in the pursuit of success,” said McLeish.
“I am proud that together we finished top of our UEFA Nations League group and qualified for the UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs, which gives us a real opportunity to reach a major tournament for the first time in over 20 years.”
The pressure is now on the SFA to make an appointment in time for Scotland’s next Euro qualifiers at home to Cyprus and away to Belgium in June.