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Messi statue ‘decapitated’ in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES: Argentine superstar Lionel Messi’s statue here was broke into two pieces when vandals attacked it on Tuesday, leaving the sculpture of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner without its head or torso.

“The statue of Lionel Messi fell victim to an act of vandalism that left it without its top half,” the Buenos Aires city government said in a statement.

The vandalised sculpture of Argentinian football player Lionel Messi is pictured at the "walk of fame" in Buenos Aires on January 10, 2017. Vandals in Buenos Aires destroyed a statue of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, leaving the sculpture of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner without its head or torso on Tuesday.  / AFP PHOTO / Leo RAMIREZ

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Sculpted out of black marble, the statue of the soccer star was erected last June just after Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile, after which the 29-year-old Messi announced his international retirement.

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According to local media, the monument is far from the first to be targeted in the area with that of former US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini stripped of its racquet not long ago.

Tributes to Messi as well as the likes of basketball star Manu Ginobili, four-time tennis Grand Slam winner Guillermo Vilas and Formula One great Juan Manuel Fangio are all located along the Buenos Aires “walk of fame”.

Cricket

PCB bans Khalid Latif for five years in PSL spot fixing case

LAHORE: Khalid Latif, the batsman who was sent back from Dubai to Lahore during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) over spot-fixing allegations, is now banned for five years from the cricket.

According to a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official, the board’s anti-corruption tribunal announced the verdict after hearing the case and pleas made by Latif.

The tribunal also imposed Rs1 million fine on the right-handed top-order batsman.

“There will be no leniency for him,” said the official.

The 31-year-old was facing six charges including that of persuading three other cricketers — Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan and Sharjeel Khan — to get involved in spot-fixing in the second edition of the PSL.

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Cricket

Hashim Amla says he wants to play PSL 3

CAPE TOWN: The South African batsman Hashim Amla has expressed his interest to play the Pakistan Super League (PSL)’s third edition.

Amla, who recently participated in the Independence Cup as a part of the World XI squad, said that he will be busy playing Test cricket for his national side during the next PSL.

However, he said that he will definitely play the tournament if he is free.

The 34-year-old hailed the security arrangements made by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) during the World XI tour, and said the step taken by PCB to revive international cricket in the country is commendable.

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Hockey

Hockey federation sees international events after World XI visit

LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) believes the recently held cricket series between Pakistan and World XI will help the federation to invite players for the first Pakistan Hockey League (PHL).

“These three matches were a historic event for Pakistan and the way people enjoyed the game was great to watch,” PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed Senior said.

Big names of cricket visited Lahore for the T20I series and returned without any incident and the PHF will be looking for more of the same with the hockey players they invite for the league that begins in November.

Talking about PHL, Shahbaz said the PHF has done all the paperwork and is making a list of international players to be invited.

“There have been matches featuring international players both in the Abdul Sattar Edhi Stadium in Karachi and the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore which is adjacent to the National Hockey Stadium,” he said.

“Our security agencies have proved that both the cities are safe for sports activates featuring international players, the Ronaldhino and Friends football match in Karachi and the World XI matches in Lahore are solid proof that sport can return to Pakistan.”

The secretary further went on to add that the league will feature in these two cities.

“The Pakistan Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council made this possible, with the help of security agencies, and this will surely help us in organising the league,” he said.

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