Zimbabwe seeks happy farewell to Taylor

Updated 13 March 2015

Zimbabwe seeks happy farewell to Taylor

AUCKLAND: Zimbabwe hope their World Cup campaign and the international career of Brendan Taylor end on a happy note in their last Pool B match against India in Auckland on Saturday.
The Africans started with an impressive performance against South Africa in Hamilton, losing by 62 runs before beating the United Arab Emirates.
But they then collided with record-shattering Chris Gayle in the West Indies match and a revived Pakistan as their hopes of reaching the last eight dwindled.
Their five-run defeat against Ireland in Hobart ended any outside chance for them to sneak into the next stage.
Taylor, who deputized as skipper for injured Elton Chigumbura, hit a fighting hundred, which was in vain as a controversial catch by John Mooney to dismiss Sean Williams sealed their fate.
Wicketkeeper/batsman Taylor will be playing his last international match after signing a three-year deal with Nottinghamshire.
Taylor could still lead the team on Saturday in case Chigumbura fails to recover in time from a tear to the quadriceps muscle in his left leg.
Taylor believes his team have the capacity to beat defending champions India who have already reached the quarterfinals.
“Well, it’s another opportunity to try and get all three departments right, and if we do that, there’s no reason why we can’t beat India,” said Taylor.
“We’ve beaten them before back home, so we have that belief we can do it.
“Yes, they’re one of the best teams in the world playing on a pretty small ground in Auckland, but it’s a great opportunity for us to be in the World Cup and showcase our talent and skills against the best in the world.
“There’s a lot to play for, a lot of pride at stake. We want to try to finish on a high note.”
But it’s easier said than done as the defending champions have won all their five matches to march into the quarterfinals as the top team in Pool B.
Despite the match bearing no significance for India, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni promises the same intensity.
“We’re highly motivated, in this game also. If it comes to the points, we have qualified for the next stage, but still, it was a challenge in itself,” said Dhoni after a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Ireland.
“The next game will be the last before we get into the knockout stages, so we’ll keep improving every game. That’s our motive so that we can maintain the forward shift that we have got.”
Asked if India could try its bench strength before the knock-out stage, Dhoni replied: “We will have to take input from the physio because the situation demands some rest (for players) but if there are no injury concerns then we want to put the best eleven on the ground.”
India are likely to face Asian neighbors Bangladesh in the quarter-finals in Melbourne on March 19.

Dapper Pirlo and Juventus move on from Sarri era

Updated 22 September 2020

Dapper Pirlo and Juventus move on from Sarri era

  • Pirlo’s Juve look slicker and more attractive than the Bianconeri under Sarri

MILAN: Wearing a suit and tie, new Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo cut a very different figure on the sidelines to his predecessor Maurizio Sarri, who often appeared wearing a tracksuit.

And his Juventus team also looked slicker and more attractive than the Bianconeri of the Sarri era.

Right from the start of Juve’s 3-0 win at Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday there was an intensity to the team’s play that had been lacking for much of the previous year.

“We accepted the changes made by the club,” Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci said. “This season, the new coach is Pirlo, who has changed our way of interpreting soccer that we had last year.

“It’s too early to say if it is right or not, but it is different.”

Juve’s new players also suit Juve’s new style even if Weston McKennie — the first American to play for the Italian champion — was the only player Pirlo signed.

McKennie assisted on two of his side’s goals and also had chances himself.

Two of the team’s other new players who stood out, Dejan Kulusevski and Arthur, were signed by Sarri but fit well into Pirlo’s set-up.

“We have four central midfielders with the right characteristics to play like this,” Bonucci said. “McKennie, Adrien and Arthur and Rodrigo cover a lot of the pitch. They have the legs to be aggressive and are also good at passing the ball.

“That way, we manage to unite being aggressive and having more quality in possession, I think that’s the difference from last season.”

Pirlo has had little time to settle into his new role. The 41-year-old was handed his first coaching job at the end of July when he was put in charge of Juventus’ under-23 team, which play in Serie C. But he had not led a game before he was promoted to replace the fired Sarri.

However, Pirlo knows several of the players well having played with them at the club.

The former midfield great kicked off an unprecedented era of dominance when he joined Juventus in 2011, helping the side to the first four of its record nine successive Serie A titles.

Pirlo has once again been tasked with leading the team to new heights — this time the Champions League, which Juventus hasn’t won since 1996 but which Pirlo won as a player twice with AC Milan.

Massimiliano Allegri went closest for Juventus, steering it to the final in 2015 and 2017.

“Pirlo is much more similar to Allegri (than Sarri), but everyone has their own character,” Bonucci said with a wry smile and a laugh. “Andrea transmits a lot of calm serenity, as he did when he was a player when you could give him the ball in the midst of five opponents and you were sure he wouldn’t lose it.

“We have great respect for him and for this path that has just begun, which I’m sure will allow us to take away great satisfaction.”