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.


Tazkarti ticketing platform draws criticism in Egypt ahead of Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 18 June 2019
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Tazkarti ticketing platform draws criticism in Egypt ahead of Africa Cup of Nations

  • Tazkarti will be the sole source of tickets for the tournament

CAIRO: Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) host country Egypt has launched an online ticketing platform called Tazkarti, which will be the sole source of tickets for the tournament, which begins June 22.

Its aim is to combat ticket touts and black market sales for the continent’s biggest football tournament, and to ensure that ticket prices remain fixed at the price decided by the AFCON organizing committee. It is also a measure of the steps Egypt is taking to ensure that the tournament passes peacefully. 

Football stadiums have been almost entirely empty since 2011 because of security issues after long-time President Hosni Mubarak stepped down following national protests in which football fans played a major role, resulting in violent, often lethal, clashes with police and between rival fans.

In 2012, Port Said stadium witnessed a riot that left 72 Al-Ahly supporters dead after a pitch invasion by Masri supporters at the end of a Premier League game. In 2015, 19 Zamalek fans were killed and 20 injured when police attempted to disperse large crowds making their way into a Cairo stadium to attend a Premier League game. 

Those were just two of several incidents that meant authorities imposed a ban on people attending football matches or severely restricted the number of people that could do so.

Every AFCON ticket purchased via Tazkarti will be scanned at the stadium to ensure it matches the holder’s “Fan ID.” If it does not, the holder will not be allowed into the ground.

Tickets for matches featuring the Egyptian national team range from 200 to 2,500 Egyptian pounds ($12-$150), while other matches range from 100 to 500 Egyptian pounds ($6 to $30).

While those prices might sound affordable to outsiders, in a country where a doctor earns around $90 to $179 per month, many have found themselves priced out of the tournament already.

“I am a married dentist with three kids. If I want to attend a match with my family, I would have to pay 1,000 pounds ($60), (not including) transportation and snacks,” Dr. M. Sheta, who lives in Damietta, told Arab News.

“To book a cinema ticket nowadays ranges between 70 and 100 pounds and a good meal costs 100 pounds minimum. If I can afford that, then I can afford AFCON tickets,” said a housewife in Mansoura, who asked to remain anonymous.

Plenty of young Egyptians took to social media to express their displeasure with the ticket prices.

“This is a clear message that middle-class Egyptians are not welcome,” said Ahmed Zahran.

“I would rather pay a total of 10 pounds at any coffee shop and watch the matches there,” said Ahmed El-Tlabanty.

Some fans believe that the prices have been set high to discourage Ultras (the most passionate football fans) from attending.

An administrator of the “Ultras Ahlawy” Facebook group, while stressing that he hoped supporters “have fun watching AFCON,” asked Arab News: “Why would I pay 200 pounds to watch a match? I do not (make hundreds of pounds).”

Aside from issues with the high prices, people have also been widely critical of the technical performance of the new ticketing platform, which has been under pressure from high demand for Fan IDs.

“You guys are so disrespectful and unprofessional. I’ve been trying to reach out for more than two weeks and no one is answering — not on messenger nor the hotline. You made the whole championship experience the worst,” wrote Fatma El-Dardiry. “I called your customer service at least five times, placed three complaints and texted you on Facebook more than once. Now, the tickets of cat 1 and 2 for the opening match have already sold out.”