Yasir Shah’s spell ‘one of the best ever’ claims victorious Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed

A happy skipper, Sarfraz (left) with the man of the moment Yasir Shah. (AFP)
Updated 27 November 2018

Yasir Shah’s spell ‘one of the best ever’ claims victorious Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed

  • Yasir Shah has chacne to become quickest bowler to 200 Test wickets.
  • Mickey Arthur says Yasir's bowling was 'some of the best leg spin you'll ever see'.

LONDON: Sarfraz Ahmed claimed Yasir Shah’s eight for 41 was the best spell he has seen in Test cricket for many years.
The Pakistan skipper was speaking after another Yasir masterclass — six for 143 spun the hosts to an innings and 16-run win over New Zealand in Dubai. The win levels the series at 1-1 and sets up a do-or-die encounter in Abu Dhabi next week.
It was Yasir’s magic in the Black Caps’ first innings that ensured victory and Sarfraz waxed lyrical about what he saw once victory was confirmed.
“Yasir’s spell was the best that I have ever seen in my years of Test cricket,” the captain said.
Yasir’s match haul of 14 for 184 was the second best by a Pakistani in Test cricket and Sarfraz’s praise was backed up by Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur.
“We knew he had a big performance inside of him,” said Arthur of Yasir, who now has 195 wickets in 32 Tests.
“That first innings, I think there was a spell of about half an hour of the best leg-spin bowling you will ever see. Fourteen wickets in a Test match is superb.”
With his extraordinary performance, Yasir is in sight of breaking Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett’s 93-year-old record of being fastest to 200 wickets in 36 Tests.
“Yasir is very comfortable mentally, and he knows what an important cog he is in our Test line up,” Arthur said. “He got his rhythm going and we felt he was really good.”
While the coach and captain were gushing in their praise for the star spinner, Sarfraz hailed the entire team for the way they fought back after a humiliating defeat in the first Test.
“The chat was that when we leave Abu Dhabi, we have to leave the mistakes made behind,” he said.
“The responsibility was first with the batsmen to make some runs, and they delivered. Credit must go to Yasir, and the support that Hasan and the other bowlers, for how they bowled.”
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was left to rue a big defeat and told his team they had to learn the lessons of Dubai.
“(Yasir) is an exceptional bowler, and it’s important we learn some lessons quickly because we will face all the bowlers again. 1-1 decider back in Abu Dhabi, important to do that,” he said.


FIFA bribe allegations raise more questions over Qatar World Cup

Updated 07 April 2020

FIFA bribe allegations raise more questions over Qatar World Cup

  • Suspicion and rumors have long surrounded Qatar's bid

LONDON: The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has become the focus of fresh FIFA corruption allegations after the release of a new US Department of Justice indictment which says bribes were paid to football officials to secure their votes for hosting rights.

Suspicion and rumors have long surrounded both the 2010 vote by FIFA’s executive to hand the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. But on Monday, for the first time, prosecutors set direct, formal allegations down in print.

According to the prosecutors, representatives working for Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA executive committee officials to swing votes in the crucial decision of world football’s governing body.

FIFA and the Qatar World Cup organizers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Qatar and Russia’s World Cup bids have always denied paying bribes.

Although FIFA has reacted to previous media allegations about the Qatar bid process by insisting the tournament will be unaffected, the USallegations will lead to further questions over the hosting of the tournament, which is scheduled for November and December of 2022.

The indictment states that the three South American members of FIFA’s 2010 executive — Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira, the late Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay and an unnamed co-conspirator — took bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 tournament.

“Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and co-conspirator #1 were offered and received bribe payments in exchange for their votes in favor of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup,” reads the indictment.

Teixeira, the former son-in-law of long-time FIFA boss Joao Havelange and ex-head of the Brazilian soccer federation (CBF), was not immediately reachable for comment.

The DOJ also alleges that then FIFA vice president Jack Warner was paid $5 million through various shell companies to vote for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup.

Warner has been accused of a number of crimes in the long-running USprobe and is fighting extradition from his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago. Warner, who was not immediately reachable for comment, has always denied any wrongdoing.

Alexei Sorokin, CEO of the local organizing committee for Russia’s 2018 World Cup, told the Interfax news agency: “This is only the opinion of lawyers. We have repeatedly said that our bid was transparent.

“At the time we answered all questions, including from the investigation branch of FIFA and from the media, we handed over all needed documents. We have nothing to add to this and we will not respond to attempts to cast a shadow on our bid.”

Asked if the Kremlin was aware of the US indictment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We read the media reports. We don’t understand what they refer to.

“Russia received the right to host the World Cup completely legally. It is in no way linked to any bribes. We reject this. And Russia hosted the best soccer World Cup in history, which we are proud of.”

The Qatar World Cup organizers have been fending off allegations of corruption ever since the tiny Gulf state was awarded the 2022 tournament.

In 2014, FIFA, then under the control of former President Sepp Blatter, cleared Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing in their bids to host the World Cup after an investigation.

Blatter was banned from football by FIFA along with scores of other officials following internal ethics investigations, promoted by the arrests of seven FIFA officials on UScorruption charges in Zurich in May 2015.