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Cricket-Australia postpones Afghanistan test until ‘situation is clearer’

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(Last Updated On: November 5, 2021)

Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed on Friday it has postponed the Afghanistan test in Hobart scheduled for Nov. 27 until the situation regarding the women’s game in the South Asian nation becomes clearer, Reuters reported.

CA had said in September it would scrap the test if the Islamic Emirate’s government, which took power in August, did not allow women and girls to play the sport.

“Following extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders, Cricket Australia and the Afghanistan Cricket Board have agreed to postpone the inaugural men’s test match against Afghanistan,” CA said in a statement.

“CA is committed to support growing the game for women and men in Afghanistan and around the world, however, given the present uncertainty, CA felt it necessary to postpone the test match until a later time when the situation is clearer.”

Meanwhile, Afghanistan Cricket Board [ACB] confirms that the scheduled test match against Australia for late November in Hobart has been postponed following an agreement between the boards and will played in near future.

Afghanistan’s remarkable rise in cricket in recent years has been the sport’s biggest fairytale but the strife-torn nation risks isolation following the country’s IE takeover, Reuters reported.

The IE officials have said they will not repeat the harsh rule of their previous government, which banned most girls’ education and forbade women from going out in public without a male guardian.

According to the report the Afghan cricket board has requested the support of other full members of the International Cricket Council as it looks to retain its place in global cricket.

Afghanistan’s status is set to be discussed at an ICC meeting on the sidelines of the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the test postponement, CA said it looked forward to hosting Afghanistan players — “who are great ambassadors for the game” — in Australia’s upcoming domestic T20 competition, the Big Bash League, Reuters reported.

The board said it also looked forward to hosting both the Afghan women’s and men’s teams in the “not-too-distant future”.

CA said in early September it would call off the test if media reports that women’s cricket would be banned in Afghanistan were substantiated.

The threat followed a report by Australian broadcaster SBS which quoted a IE representative as saying cricket was “not necessary” for women.

Australia’s sports minister Richard Colbeck said at the time the IE’s position was “deeply concerning”.

The Australian government cancelled a tour of Zimbabwe in 2007 over former president Robert Mugabe’s crackdown on political opponents in the African country.

Australia did not play South Africa from 1971 until the end of apartheid.

Australia’s test team had planned to use the Afghanistan match to prepare for the Ashes series against England starting Dec. 8 in Brisbane.

Instead Australia’s players will have an internal three-day match from Dec. 1 in Brisbane, about two weeks after the squad is announced in mid-November, read the report.

CA also published England’s warmup arrangements, with Joe Root’s team playing the second-string England Lions twice in Brisbane from Nov. 23-25 and Nov. 30-Dec. 3.

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US officials to boycott Beijing Olympics

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(Last Updated On: December 6, 2021)

The Biden administration is expected to announce this week that U.S. government officials will not attend the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, CNN reported on Sunday.

U.S. President Joe Biden said last month that he was considering such a diplomatic boycott to protest China’s human rights record, including what Washington says is genocide against minority Muslims.

The administration has been under pressure from activists and members of Congress to skip the games, Reuters reported.

The White House declined to comment on CNN’s report on Sunday. Four sources with knowledge of the administration’s thinking previously told Reuters that there was a growing consensus within the White House to keep U.S. officials away from the Beijing Olympics.

CNN said the U.S. boycott would not prevent its athletes from competing in the games.

The State Department did not respond to questions about the report late Sunday.

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Klusener to step down as Afghanistan’s cricket coach

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

Former South Africa allrounder Lance Klusener will step down as the head coach of Afghanistan’s national cricket team when his contract expires on December 31.

Klusener, who was appointed in September 2019, said in a statement issued on Monday he will not renew his contract.

“Having spent two years with the team, I will take away some memorable moments with me,” he said.

“As I walk away from Afghanistan cricket team and its cricketing structure, I look forward to the next stage in my coaching career and opportunities it brings.”

Klusener took over as head coach from Andy Moles, who was serving in an interim capacity after the exit of Phil Simmons following the 2019 World Cup.

While Afghanistan hardly played any cricket in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team did reasonably well under Klusener, winning one out of the three Tests, three out of the six ODIs and nine out of 14 T20Is.

Considered one of the best South African all-rounders during his playing days (1996 to 2004), Klusener scored 1,906 runs and took 80 wickets in 49 Tests. He also scored 3,576 runs and got 192 wickets in 171 ODIs.

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Messi claims record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world for a record-stretching seventh time on Monday, beating Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to lift soccer’s most prestigious trophy yet again, Reuters reported.

The forward added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies after winning the Copa America for the first time with his country last July.

“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key,” Messi said at Paris’s Theatre du Chatelet.

“It is a special year for me with this Copa America title. It meant a lot to win at the Maracana stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the people from Argentina.

“I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life, I’ve had a long career, but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”

Messi, who joined Paris St Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the close season after finishing as La Liga’s top scorer with the Spanish club, collected 613 points, with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski, named best striker on Monday, getting 580.

Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and the European championship with Italy, ended up third on 460, ahead of France’s Karim Benzema and Ngolo Kante in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Chelsea, named club of the year, also had keeper Edouard Mendy finishing second in the Yashin trophy behind Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, read the report.

According to the women’s Ballon d’Or went to Alexia Putellas after the Spain midfielder guided Barcelona to Champions League glory.

“The key moment was the Champions League final against Olympique Lyonnais,” she said.

Putellas is the third winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin after Ada Hegerberg in 2018 and Megan Rapinoe in 2019. There was no ceremony last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On a good night for Barcelona, the 19-year-old Pedri was awarded the Kopa trophy for the best Under-21 player, Reuters reported.

“The best way to celebrate turning 19 is receiving this award. I’d like to thank everyone at Barcelona for helping me here,” he said.

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