SPORTS DAY: Zondi makes a strong case for veteran Amla
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Selectors explain how Amla cracked the nod
Experience and the attacking nature of the Proteas since coach Ottis Gibson took over swayed the selectors in picking Hashim Amla in SA’s Cricket World Cup-bound squad. There were doubts whether Amla would make the cut but the selectors put all that to bed when the 36-year-old veteran of 7‚910 ODI runs from 171 innings was included in the 15-man squad. “For us I think when you look at the type of philosophy and the type of [positive] game coach Ottis Gibson came with‚ it is a very confident kind of a format he brought into the team‚” said Cricket SA chief of selectors Linda Zondi. “So you have to have experience. You don’t want to be 17 for five.”
Good to be World Cup underdogs, says Sarfraz
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said on Monday that being underdogs in next month’s World Cup eases the pressure on his young team. Pakistan will play three warm-up matches before taking on joint-hosts England in a five-match one-day series and a Twenty20. The 1992 World Cup winners start their campaign against the West Indies in Nottingham on May 31. Sarfraz said he would prefer his side to go into the tournament under the radar. “Look, when we go as favourites, then it’s a problem, but if we go as underdogs then other teams feel the danger, so I think being underdogs is good for us and eases the pressure.”
‘Katsande should’ve been man of the match’
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp applauded his captain Willard Katsande and said the midfield strongman played a central role in the side’s 4-2 win against Chippa United in the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium at the weekend. The German tactician said Katsande should have been awarded the man-of-the-match accolade. The award was handed to Chiefs star Khama Billiat instead.
Zidane bemused as Spanish press round on Bale
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is bemused by his team’s fans’ attitude towards Gareth Bale after they booed the Welsh forward during Saturday’s 3-0 La Liga victory over Athletic Bilbao. When quizzed on why a player who has won four Champions Leagues in five seasons in Madrid – including scoring decisive goals in two of the finals – is given such a hostile reception by fans Zidane said; “I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t understand it.”
Boks to face familiar face in 2021?
The Springboks could see a familiar face when they clash against the British & Irish Lions on home soil in 2021. Current Wales coach Warren Gatland has reportedly agreed to coach the Lions on their tour to SA, having successfully led the team on two previous occasions. The Sunday Telegraph wrote that the 55-year-old New Zealander‚ who led Wales to the Six Nations Grand Slam this year‚ still had to agree to terms but was likely to take the job for a third time. Gatland‚ who succeeded the legendary Ian McGeechan as Lions coach in 2013 in Australia‚ guided the team to a 2-1 series win over the Wallabies.
Johnson still No 1 despite Heritage collapse
Dustin Johnson maintained his position as world number one on Monday despite collapsing out of contention in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head. The former US Open champion holds a slender lead over Justin Rose and his fellow American Brooks Koepka. Johnson took a one-shot advantage into the final round on Sunday, before making four bogeys and two double bogeys to drop to a tie for 28th. Taiwanese golfer Pan Cheng-tsung climbed 58 places to 55th after taking advantage of Johnson’s meltdown to clinch his maiden PGA Tour title. Tiger Woods remains sixth in the rankings after not playing the week following his stunning fifth victory at the Masters.TENNISDjokovic extends lead as world No 1Novak Djokovic stretched his lead over Rafael Nadal at the top of the ATP rankings on Monday, after the Spaniard’s failed bid to win a 12th Monte Carlo Masters title. Djokovic, winner of the last three Grand Slam tournaments, is now over 3,000 points clear of old rival Nadal despite a quarterfinal defeat by Daniil Medvedev in the Principality last week. World number two Nadal dropped ranking points after his title defence ended with a shock semifinal loss to eventual champion Fabio Fognini.
SNOOKERChinese debutant secures unwanted points record Chinese teenager Luo Honghao will not forget his debut at the world snooker championships, but for the wrong reasons as he accrued the lowest amount of points in the tournament’s 43-year history. The 19-year-old bowed out in the first round, beaten 10 frames to nil by 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy on Monday. His 89 points took the unwanted lowest points record off the hands of Englishman Danny “The Dustman” Fowler, who managed 191 in a 10-1 thrashing by Stephen Hendry in a first-round clash in 1993.– AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE