PCB happy with India security
PCB happy with India security
Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman Nadeem Sarwar was part of a four-man team that visited India to inspect preparations.
“We’ve visited all five venues and are satisfied with the arrangements including security and facilities for spectators from Pakistan,” Sarwar said yesterday. “This advance team has been looking into all logistics and not just security.” Pakistan will stay in India from Dec. 22 to Jan. 6 to play three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 games in the first series between the countries in five years.
The last series between the two neighbors was when Pakistan visited India in November 2007. Cricket ties were broken after a 2008 terror attack in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed, with India blaming Pakistan for the tragedy.
India and Pakistan have since played each other in International Cricket Council tournaments, including in the 2011 World Cup semifinals at the northern Indian city of Mohali.
Cricket officials from both countries held a series of meetings in Dubai, Chennai and Malaysia to work out the resumption of cricketing ties, while Ashraf met several government and BCCI officials when he came to watch this year’s Indian Premier League final in May.
“This is a very important series because when Zaka Ashraf took over as chairman of the PCB he had identified two things as crucial for us — one was the revival of international cricket series in Pakistan and the other the resumption of ties with India,” Sarwar said.
Pakistan’s tour will start with Twenty20 games at Bangalore on Dec. 25 and Ahmedabad on Dec. 27, while the one-day games are scheduled to be played in Chennai on Dec. 30, Kolkata on Jan. 3 and New Delhi on Jan. 6.
“This is a small tour but a good beginning,” Sarwar said. “We expect that things will move forward from here and that we’ll host India in the near future. We’re open to playing our home series against India at a neutral venue, too. But we hope that a new beginning will be made with some international team visiting us soon.” Pakistan has been playing its home series at neutral venues, usually the United Arab Emirates, as all test teams have avoided Pakistan since gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team convoy at Lahore in 2009.
Sarwar said about 500 spectators will come from Pakistan for each game, with 1,000 expected for the New Delhi match.
“This is the first time spectators from Pakistan will tour so many cities, because in the past it has been mostly Delhi and Mohali,” Sarwar said. “We’ve requested local authorities to set up special facilitation booths for visitors from Pakistan.”
Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot
ST. PETERSBURG: Russia scored three goals in a 15-minute span early in the second half to set up a 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday, moving the host nation to the brink of the World Cup’s knockout stage.
Mohamed Salah won and converted a penalty for a consolation goal on his return from injury but Egypt’s first World Cup in 28 years could be over in barely five days following a second straight loss.
Ahmed Fathi poked the ball into his own net — the fifth own-goal of the tournament — to put Russia ahead in the 47th minute. Then Denis Cheryshev and Artyom Dzyuba scored in quick succession to leave Russia on course for a victory that followed up a 5-0 opening-night win over Saudi Arabia.
It was Cheryshev’s third goal of the World Cup, putting him tied with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring chart.
Russia’s place in the round of 16 will be assured if Uruguay wins or draws against the Saudis on Wednesday. Those two scenarios would also eliminate Egypt, which started with a 1-0 loss to Uruguay.
The hopes of 100 million Egyptians were raised when Salah was selected in the starting lineup, the Liverpool forward making his comeback after 3 1/2 weeks out with damaged ligaments in his left shoulder after a tangle with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final.
Salah trotted out for his pre-match warmup to roars from Egypt fans, who at times appeared to outnumber their Russian counterparts. They shouted every time Salah’s face flashed up on the big screen and when his name was announced before kickoff.
Yet from the start, it was clear that Salah was staying out of anything too physical and there was no concerted effort from his Egypt teammates to pick him out each time. He didn’t touch the ball until the seventh minute.
He did win the penalty — confirmed by the video assistant referee after Salah was pulled down by Roman Zobnin. He converted it in the 73rd minute, but it wasn’t enough. Egypt is still without a victory in six World Cup matches.
Russia is nearly assured of advancing from the group stage for the first time since the Soviet era.
Cheryshev, who entered the World Cup as a fringe player, is proving lethal in front of goal, with his latest a side-footed effort from close range from Mario Fernandes’ cross in the 59th. Dzyuba’s goal was more direct, the striker chesting down a long ball from defender Ilya Kutepov, beating his marker and curling home a low finish.