India picks veterans; recalls Shami for World T20

Updated 05 February 2016
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India picks veterans; recalls Shami for World T20

NEW DELHI: The hosts India Friday recalled strike bowler Mohammed Shami and named veteran former champions Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh in their squad for the World Twenty20, which begins next month.
Shami has not played for India since last year’s 50 over World Cup after suffering a knee injury and was sent home early from India’s recent tour of Australia with hamstring problems.
But chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil said the 25-year-old had recovered and would be given time to prove his fitness, leaving open the possibility of calling up a late replacement before the final selection deadline.
“We have 30 days to ascertain where Shami is,” Patil told reporters in New Delhi.
“He has recovered, he has resumed bowling. That’s what we know right now.”
Shami had been emerging as India’s premier fast bowler before his injury woes, shining in all three formats of the game.
Given India’s struggles to identify a successor to the recently retired spearhead Zaheer Khan, Shami’s fitness could be key to the host’s chances of winning the tournament for the second time.
Shami’s inclusion was the most eye-catching in a 15-man squad packed with experience and skippered by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who led India to victory in the 2007 inaugural tournament in South Africa.
There had been questions about Dhoni’s future after a disappointing run of scores but critics were silenced when he led India to a 3-0 victory in the recent T20 series against Australia.
Patil refused to be drawn on Dhoni’s long-term future but underlined the Indian board (BCCI) retained complete faith in the 34-year-old, who will also captain the same squad in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.
“I have repeatedly said that selectors or BCCI, I don’t think we have any right to tell any player when he should retire,” Patil said.
“We have a right to pick (a) player on his performance and fitness. What the player thinks about his future is entirely his decision.
“We have total faith in MSD’s captaincy and that is why the selection committee felt that he is the right person to lead India in the Asia cup and till the T20 world cup. What happens after that we will wait and see.”
Dhoni, who has already relinquished the Test captaincy to Virat Kohli, is widely expected to retire from internationals after the tournament.
The 35-year-old Harbhajan and Yuvraj, 34, are two other veterans of India’s triumph in 2007, the only time the team has won the trophy.
Harbhajan failed to make the starting line-up in the Australia tour but Patil said the off-spinner, who has taken more than 700 international wickets, still had something to offer.
“Unfortunately he didn’t get a chance (in Australia),” he said.
“But selectors and captain and team management have total faith in Harbhajan and the record which has set and the contribution that he has made, not only toward Indian cricket but toward world cricket.”
The only uncapped player in the squad is the left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, who has impressed in the Indian Premier League with his bowling and his powerful lower-order hitting.
India’s first match in the World T20 comes against New Zealand in Nagpur on March 15. They then face arch rivals Pakistan in Dharamsala on March 19. The final is in Kolkata on April 3.
The Asia Cup, which is also a T20 tournament, runs from February 24 to March 6.
Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra, Pawan Negi and Mohammed Shami.


‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

Al-Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Musa (back right) joins (front left to right) Al-Hilal’s Ali Al-Habsi and Mohammad Jahfali and (back left) Saleh Alweheemed ahead of this weekend’s 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 10 December 2018
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‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

  • 22 Formula E drivers will battle it out for glory this weekend
  • "I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports"

JEDDAH: They may be fierce rivals in the Saudi Pro League, but some of the biggest stars of Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr football got together to tour the venue of one of the most anticipated motor racing events in Saudi history.
The players soaked up the atmosphere as they visited the home of the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix.
This weekend the 2.495km track created within the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah will see 22 Formula E drivers battle it out for glory.
Goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi said: “I’m totally amazed by what they have built here, the track, the grandstands, the hospitality, it’s incredible what they’ve created for the Formula E.  It’s epic.
“As a professional athlete I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports, this will be a fiercely fought contest which is sure to thrill the fans.”

 (Left to right) Al Hilal star players Alberto Botia, Abdullah Almaiouf, Mohammad Jahfali, Ali Al-Habsi and Carlos Eduardo visit the new Formula E track at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah. (Photo/Supplied)

The racing extravaganza will also be accompanied by fan zones, entertainment and cultural attractions.
Three nights of music concerts will feature some of the biggest names in world. 
US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will wrap up the event after the race ends on Saturday with Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo and Amr Diab performing from Thursday.
Al Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Mussa said: “We’re all about entertaining fans and bringing people together, that’s what football and sport is all about. These three nights will be a spectacle like nothing we’ve seen before and I urge our fans to come and be part of history.”