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Vaughan pokes Jaffer with 2002 memory and discusses social media perils



Kuumar Kavita Shyam


Former England captain Michael Vaughan has been in the thick of controversies for all the wrong reasons. He moved from one to another in a week’s time before getting on a flight to Dubai where he addressed young children of GEMS Modern Academy – this time for the right reason.

Joining the panel of a Mentors Academy, a joint initiative of the school with JMR Sporting, Vaughan told the children that beyond the playing skills, “it is important to enjoy the game and make sure that they share a relationship within the team or the dressing room.”

Vaughan’s words were pause worthy considering the man himself is in the middle of a racism controversy back home where a few Asian players have used an alleged comment of his from a team talk on the field many years ago as an example in court for highlighting their plight.

And barely a day before his address at the sprawling campus in Nad Al Sheba, he got into another tweet tit-for-tat bash with former Indian opening batsman Wasim Jaffer when Bangladesh stunned England to win a bilateral T20 series 3-0 on home turf. Jaffer rekindled their past banter on social media with a jibe “Hello Michael Vaughan, long time no see,” using a picture of himself with a Bangladesh shirt from the past when he was coach of the Under19 team.

Vaughan responded with a tweet (below) even as he has been battling a legal battle, which is getting closer to a judgement where words of one party is being verified with others.

He could not resist having another potshot at Jaffer: “He is one of the victims of my bowling in Tests, my first wicket. He couldn’t play my off-spin.” Vaughan scored 100 in that first Test against India at Lord’s in the 2002 series.

Asked in Dubai if he has an advice on the use of social media for the students, Vaughan said: “As great as social media is, it can be bad too. But, I would like to look at the positive side. I would tell the kids to make use of it, get information which can be handy for half an hour or so, but don’t make it your be all and end all of it. Sadly, the art of live conversation is dying out, which shouldn’t be the extent on social media. I am yet to see a person who is the same profile as they are on social media.

“I have written about 40,000 tweets, including a few I regret. It is a great resource to have powerful conversations, but cricket is getting too fast and serious nowadays. People are hammering others for one mistake in their lives. It is also a great place to have fun. Wasim and I have had some fun going, and it is important to have a bit of camaraderie and fun going.”

I have written about 40,000 tweets, including a few I regret. It is a great resource to have powerful conversations, but cricket is getting too fast and serious nowadays

As good as the memory of picking Jaffer’s wicket from two decades back serves right for Vaughan, he is being put in a box as the world waits to see a court come to a decision if Vaughan said anything objectionable.

Meanwhile, Jaffer’s teammate from that 2002 Lord’s Test Virender Sehwag is in Vaughan’s corner at the Mentors Academy along with former Sri Lankan fast bowler Chaminda Vaas and Pakistan women’s team vice-captain and all-rounder Nida Dar.

JMR Sporting, which has put the whole plan together to coach pupils on the other aspects of playing the sport, has some great cricketing facilities in Sharjah. “Five days of the week, the students will continue to train at GEMS Modern Academy and over the weekend, they will make use of our specialized equipment and coaching techniques in Sharjah,” said Jaffar Moidu, the founder.

“There are four pillars of our holistic approach towards cricket coaching, including mental health and awareness for other aspects. Then once a month or so periodically, we will have camps where one of the mentors will guide the children on things beyond the physical skills.”


Ronaldo leads the way for Portugal while England extend winning run – ARN News Centre





Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed two goals in his country’s 6-0 thrashing of Luxembourg in a Euro 2024 qualifier on Sunday, giving them a second win in four days.

The 38-year-old grabbed a double against Liechtenstein on Thursday and scored twice more in Luxembourg to extend his record tally of international goals to 122 in 198 appearances.

Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Otavio and Rafael Leao added the other goals to put Portugal top of Group J after an easy start to their qualifying campaign.

Elsewhere, Harry Kane underlined his status as England’s greatest international goalscorer and Bukayo Saka dazzled again in a comfortable 2-0 win over Ukraine to put Gareth Southgate’s team in control of Group C.

Fresh from scoring his 54th goal in the 2-1 victory over Italy on Thursday, Kane made up for a couple of missed chances to break the stalemate in the 37th minute.

Arsenal youngster Saka, again England’s brightest spark, then doubled the lead before halftime with a sensational curler that left the visitors and their 4,000 fans deflated.

Ukraine had their moments and enjoyed some pressure after the interval but never really looked capable of claiming only a second victory over England in 10 attempts.

Meanwhile, goals by forward Mateo Retegui and midfielder Matteo Pessina steered Italy to a 2-0 win over Malta in the other Group C clash.

Italy opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Retegui broke free from his marker to power in a header from a corner with Pessina doubling the lead after 27 minutes when he tapped Emerson’s cross in from a short distance.

Vincenzo Grifo was close to make it three for the visitors shortly after but Malta goalkeeper Henry Bonello skilfully blocked his attempt.

Italy came close to increasing their lead in the second half when Gianluca Scamacca produced an overhead kick from a corner but Bonello came to the rescue again with a one-handed reaction save.

Other matches in the second round saw Slovakia beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-0, Iceland crush Liechtenstein 7-0, Kazakhstan overcome Denmark 3-2, Slovenia beat San Marino 2-0, and Finland edge Northern Ireland 1-0.

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Argentina FA training facility renamed after Messi – ARN News Centre





The Argentina national team’s training facility has been renamed after talismanic captain Lionel Messi in recognition of his World Cup heroics and star-studded career, the country’s football association (AFA) said.

The Casa de Ezeiza in Buenos Aires, which houses the national team set-up, will now be known as Lionel Andres Messi “in tribute to the best player in the world”, AFA president Claudio Tapia wrote on Twitter.

“Welcome to the world champion’s house,” Tapia said at the unveiling ceremony attended by current and former Argentina players.

Messi ended Argentina’s 36-year wait for the World Cup, emulating the late Diego Maradona when he led them to victory against France in a pulsating final in Qatar in December.

“I feel very happy. This tribute is very, very special,” Messi, 35, said after unveiling the plaque bearing his name. “Knowing it will be named Lionel Andres Messi is something very beautiful.”

The World Cup had been the one piece of silverware missing from Messi’s extraordinary career, during which he has been voted the world’s best player a record seven times and won the Copa America, 11 league titles and four Champions League titles among other major honours.

Messi scored his 800th career goal in Thursday’s 2-0 win over Panama in a friendly in Buenos Aires – Argentina’s first game in front of their home fans since the World Cup triumph.

He will lead Argentina in a friendly against Curacao on Tuesday before returning to club duty with Paris St Germain.

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Late Joselu double helps Spain beat Norway 3-0 in Euro qualifier – ARN News Centre





Spain’s late substitute Joselu struck two quick-fire goals on his debut to seal a 3-0 win over Norway in their first Euro 2024 Group A qualifier on Saturday as they got off to a promising start under new manager Luis de la Fuente.

Spain, who have won their last 23 European home qualifiers, took the lead in the 13th minute through Dani Olmo, who flicked the ball into the bottom corner with the outside of his boot after being set up by defender Alejandro Balde.

Norway tried to respond two minutes later when Martin Odegaard’s strike was blocked by Nacho, who returned to the Spain team after a near five-year absence.

Striker Alvaro Morata was close to doubling their lead in the 25th but the newly-appointed Spain captain was seconds late to latch onto a low cross by Olmo.

Norway could have levelled just before the half-hour mark with a powerful first-time shot by Fredrik Aursnes but Spain keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, returning for his first cap since October 2020, showed quick reflexes to parry the ball.

Spain, rebuilding with 61-year-old De la Fuente following a last-16 World Cup exit to eventual semi-finalists Morocco, continued to press as they were less focused on possession and much more on going straight for the opposing goal.

This proved enough against a motivated Norway side who nonetheless lacked bite up front in the absence of the injured Erling Haaland and spurned several more chances including from Marcus Pedersen and Alexander Sorloth in the second half.

Spain could only relax however when they doubled their lead in the 84th minute as striker Joselu nodded in a brilliant cross by midfielder Fabian Ruiz three minutes after coming on.

The 32-year-old struck again a minute later to make it 3-0 for the Euro 2020 semi-finalists from a rebound.

He became the first Spanish player to score twice on his debut since Fernando Morientes’ double against Sweden in 1998.

“I have to thank (the coach) for the faith he’s shown in me in his first match in charge. I tried to give my all to reward him,” Joselu said.

“Right now I feel like an 18-year-old kid again. I don’t think age matters – and this is an incredible day to prove that.”

De la Fuente, who previously managed Spain youth teams and saw them win Under-19 and Under-21 European Championships in 2015 and 2019, was happy with his side’s display.

“Besides, the attitude I’ve seen, the desire to win, makes me very optimistic,” he said.

Spain next face Scotland in Glasgow on Tuesday when Norway travel to Georgia.

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