PCB happy with India security

Updated 07 December 2012
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PCB happy with India security

NEW DELHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board India is happy with the security arrangements being made for a tour of India that will revive cricketing ties between the two neighboring countries.
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.”


Mohamed Salah threatens Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d’Or stranglehold

Updated 23 sec ago
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Mohamed Salah threatens Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d’Or stranglehold

  • Messi and Ronaldo have won the award for the past ten years
  • Salah has emerged as a genuine rival after scoring 43 goals this season

LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah could be the man to finally break the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly at the top of world football after the Liverpool forward burnished his soaring reputation with a mesmerising Champions League performance against Roma.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi have locked down the Ballon d’Or award for a decade, winning five gongs apiece — for the past seven years they have occupied the top two slots.
But Salah is now second favorite behind Ronaldo for this year’s award after scoring his 42nd and 43rd goals of the season in a thrilling 5-2 victory for Liverpool in the Champions League semifinal first leg.
After his first strike against his former club on Tuesday, the man dubbed by fans as the “Egyptian King” stood motionless, hands raised in apology, as bedlam broke out on a night for the ages at Anfield.
Salah’s curling effort arrowed into the top corner with such accuracy his manager Jurgen Klopp labelled it “a genius strike.”
Soon after came the forward’s signature finish, a cute dink over advancing Roma goalkeeper Alisson for his 43rd goal in 47 games for Liverpool.
When Salah, 25, made the move from the Italian capital back to the Premier League just 10 months ago for €42 million ($51 million), there were plenty who felt Roma had got the better deal. Salah after all was a talented player, but who often lacked an end product.
It also came just a few weeks before Neymar’s move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record €222 million revolutionized the transfer market.
The Brazilian’s desire to leave the Catalan giants was tied to his ambition to beat Messi and Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or by stepping out of Messi’s shadow.
Now, though, it is Salah who has emerged as the pretender to end the Messi-Ronaldo domination by not only scoring the quantity of goals that have become the pair’s trademark but doing it when it really matters, in the latter stages of the Champions League.
“If you think he is the best in the world, write it or say it,” urged Klopp, who has been credited with bringing out Salah’s previously untapped potential.
“To be the best in the world you need to do that over a longer period I think, and there are a few others that are not so bad.”
Heavily left-footed, small, speedy and with a low center of gravity, Salah’s characteristics are far more like those of Messi than the muscular goal-machine Ronaldo.
“In a certain light, at certain points, it is possible to glimpse in Salah a little of Messi’s afterglow,” wrote Rory Smith in the New York Times.
And he demonstrated another Messi-like quality in showing no mercy to Roma.
Chasing his first hat-trick in the Champions League, Salah would have been forgiven for going for goal as he bore down on Alisson once more after half-time.
But he showed why he is considered one of the game’s more unselfish superstars by instead creating another two goals for strike partners Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
When Salah left the field to a standing ovation 15 minutes from time, Liverpool led 5-0.
“Unstoppable (when Salah’s on the pitch),” said the back page of The Times.
Two late Roma away goals have at least given the Italians hope of recreating the incredible comeback they staged from a 4-1 first-leg deficit against Barca in the quarter-finals.
For once it is Salah’s turn to lead the way where Messi faltered on his return to the Eternal City next week.
Messi is almost certain to win a La Liga and Copa del Rey double and Ronaldo could lead Real Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League after another bucketload of goals this season.
But Salah is the coming man and after bagging the African and English players’ player of the year crowns, it is hard to back against him also conquering the world.