England all-rounder Moeen Ali will lead Capri Global-owned Sharjah Warriors in the inaugural season of the International League T20 tournament starting next month with compatriot Paul Farbrace in the coaching seat. The UAE’s flagship tournament in the short format will be played from January 13 to February 12 in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
Capri Global is the dark horse of the tournament in which five Indian sides include an established set of those in the Indian Premier League – Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders. The cash-rich Adani Group have made their foray in franchise cricket in UAE after unsuccessful attempts to enter the IPL. American company Lancer Capital, who own Manchester United, are the sixth team.
A product of the Emirates Cricket Board and approved by the world governing body International Cricket Council, the UAE T20 League is an annual event with a 34-match schedule released on Wednesday. There will be 84 international players and 24 players from the UAE. Former India opener Virender Sehwag is one of the brand ambassador of the tournament.
Sharjah Warriors are looking to England’s vice-captain of the T20 World Cup-winning side last month to steer their fortunes. “It is a great honour and would be a pleasure to lead Sharjah Warriors,” said Ali, who was also part of the England side which won the 50-overs Cricket World Cup in 2019.
“In this format, any one can beat anybody, and it is important to keep evolving. With the team at our disposal, we can play aggressive, yet sensible cricket and hopefully be in the mix towards the business end of the ILT20. Playing at world-class facilities and especially the iconic Sharjah Stadium is a very exciting prospect, and we are all looking forward to it.”
Farbrace and Moeen are no strangers to the UAE, currently plying their trade down south in the Abu Dhabi T10 league. “The T20 format has been challenging and yet most rewarding,” said Farbrace who had helped Sri Lanka win the 2014 Asia Cup and the ICC World T20 trophy in the same year.
Often considered a T20 magician, he briefly served as England’s interim national coach amid stints as deputy to Peter Moores and Trevor Bayliss and mentored some of England’s current World T20 winning crop over the last decade. “It is nice to see talent from around the world getting more opportunities. I am aware of how cricket is followed here as an extension of the subcontinent. I hope we can work some magic here to inspire future generations and even generate local interest.”
Rajesh Sharma, Founder-Director of Capri Global Holdings, said: “We are twinning the Emirates Cricket Board and ILT20 in our aspirations to become the fastest growing brand and occupy the top perch in international franchise cricket.”
“And under Farbrace, we have the right resources to pack a punch in a league full of established players. Yet the beauty of cricket is that it is such a leveller. With the team shaping up as it is, we are confident our Warriors can build memories with the ILT20 and the sport just how Sharjah has had a beautiful relationship in cricketing history,” he added talking about Sharjah Warriors’ ‘local connect’.
Farbrace’s batting right hand will be another assistant England coach and Glamorgan great Matthew Maynard. And manning the bowling department will be former Kerala fast bowler G Jayakumar who can count Ravichandran Ashwin among his proteges. He coached the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in the domestic Ranji Trophy and led the underdogs to the quarter-final of the 2019-20 season.
The think-tank of the team includes former India fielding coach R Sridhar as Director of Cricket and a young Chief Operating Officer in Kshemal Waingankar, a former Mumbai Ranji player and an MBA from Indian School of Business.
The 14-member squad so far: Moeen Ali (Captain), Dawid Malan, Evin Lewis, Mohammad Nabi, Chris Woakes, Noor Ahmad, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Naveen Ul-haq, Tom Cadmore, Chris Benjamin, Joe Denly, Mark Deyal, JJ Smit, Bilal Khan
Diego Simeone contemplates Atletico future as derby defeat ends trophy dreams – ARN News Centre
Atletico Madrid’s dreams of a trophy this season came to an end with a Copa del Rey quarterfinal 3-1 defeat against bitter rivals Real Madrid on Thursday, with coach Diego Simeone blaming the referee’s decision to send off defender Stefan Savic for the loss.
The match, which was held at the Santiago Bernabeu, saw heightened emotions with Atletico fans issuing threats targeting Real’s Vinicious Junior before the game.
In the 19th minute of the match, Alvaro Morata scored to put Atletico ahead 1-0, but Real Madrid was able to take the game into extra time after Rodrygo Goes equalized late in the second half.
Atletico Madrid defender Stefan Savic was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Eduardo Camavinga, leaving Atletico with 10 men.
It proved too much for Simeone’s side as Real scored twice in extra time, with goals from Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, securing their spot in the semifinals.
After the match, Simeone questioned Savic’s sending off, saying, “For me, we played a very good game until the 70th minute, when [Dani] Ceballos didn’t get a second yellow card [for a foul on Thomas Lemar].”
He went on to say, “We’d have been a man up and 1-0 up, but it didn’t happen. Later Savic was sent off and we were a man down. It got more difficult with 10 men, but the team was brave enough to look for the draw, I’m happy with the effort of the players.”
Simeone was also unhappy with what he said was a lack of protection from referee Cesar Soto Grado for forward Morata. “I asked him ‘Do you have something against Alvaro? If so, I won’t pick him in the next game you referee!'” Simeone said. “[Soto Grado] said Alvaro sometimes goes down easily. But he went off with a knock. They’re decisions. Ceballos could have got a yellow and didn’t, and Savic did.”
The Copa del Rey was likely to be Atletico’s last opportunity to win a trophy this season after the team finished bottom of their Champions League group, and are currently fourth in LaLiga, 13 points behind leaders Barcelona.
Diego Simeone, who has been in charge of Atletico since 2011, hinted it might be time for him to move on, saying he will reflect on his own future at the end of the season.
“We’re out of the Champions League, and we’re out of the Copa del Rey,” Simeone said.
“We’ve got the second half of the season to reach the objective which the club needs [to finish in the top four] and then we’ll look at everything.” He added, “I’m happy to be at Atletico Madrid. From the day I arrived until the day I leave I’ll give everything for the team and the club.”
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti hailed goalscorer Vinicius for remaining “focused” despite being targeted in a racist incident ahead of the game, when a dummy wearing his shirt was hung from a bridge near the club’s training ground, drawing widespread condemnation. “Vinicius played well as always,” Ancelotti said. “His goal was the reward for his work. What happened was disgraceful, but he was focused on the game.”
Wigan sack manager Toure after nine games – ARN News Centre
Championship side Wigan Athletic sacked manager Kolo Toure on Thursday, less than two months into his 3-1/2 year contract, after he failed to win any of his nine games in charge.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City defender was appointed in late November but Wigan took only two points from his seven league games and were also knocked out of the FA Cup by Luton Town after a replay.
Last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Luton in the Championship left Wigan bottom of the table, four points from safety.
“Unfortunately, the results on the field have not been as we would have liked and as tough a decision as this was, the board felt it necessary to give us the best possible chance of remaining a Championship club next season,” Wigan chief executive Malachy Brannigan said in a statement.
Toure, 41, made 353 appearances in the Premier League for Arsenal, City and Liverpool between 2002-16 and earned 120 caps for Ivory Coast. He was in his first managerial role after previously being part of the coaching set-up at Leicester City and Celtic under Brendan Rodgers.
Wigan are now looking for their fifth permanent manager in the last three years. They spent eight seasons in the Premier League before they were relegated in 2013, the same year they won the FA Cup.
Wigan next play at Blackburn Rovers on Feb. 6.
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Dubai Desert Classic to welcome spectators with minor adjustments – ARN News Centre
KARIM SAHIB/ AFP
The organisers of Hero Dubai Desert Classic have made minor adjustments to the guest experience on Friday, January 27.
There will be no public parking available at Emirates Golf Club and spectators are strongly advised to use public transport.
The Al Khail Metro Station, located close to the venue will run from 5:00 am to 1:00 am, while RTA and Careem taxis will have a drop-off point directly outside the Club.
Commuters are also advised to check the RTA website for various bus routing options to the site.
Thursday’s opening day was closed to the public due to adverse weather conditions, which meant play was delayed by more than six hours.
— Hero Dubai Desert Classic (@DubaiDCGolf) January 26, 2023