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Smith feels sorry for overlooked Khawaja in first ODI

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AUCKLAND: Steven Smith admitted that Usman Khawaja has the right to feel aggrieved after the Australia captain confirmed the in-form batsman had been overlooked for Wednesday’s opening one-dayer against New Zealand.

Khawaja struck three centuries in four Tests against New Zealand and West Indies, and hit two Twenty20 hundreds to help Sydney Thunder capture their first Big Bash League title in a productive Australian summer.

Despite his rich vein of form, the 29-year-old top order batsman was still omitted from the original Australia squad for the three-match ODI series in New Zealand before a hamstring injury to Aaron Finch led to his recall.

The team management, however, opted to persist with Shaun Marsh, rewarding him for two fifties in the three ODIs he played against India last month.

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“He’s unlucky to miss out but Shaun’s going to get the first opportunity,” Smith said at Auckland on Tuesday. “No doubt he’d be frustrated. He’s hitting the ball extremely well.”

The Australian captain said it was very difficult to break into a well-set team that had been performing really well but suggested Khawaja would get a chance in one of the two remaining matches that precede a two-Test series between the teams.

Khawaja was selected in the Test squad for those matches.

“We’re the current world champions. We’ve been playing some very good one-day cricket and the batters have been scoring lots of runs,” Smith added.

“We scored 300 on every occasion in the recent one-day series [against India] at home.” “I think he’ll play one of the [three ODI] games at least,” the skipper said.

“He does need a hit going into what is a big Test series and he’s batting extremely well. I’m sure if he gets an opportunity, he’ll take it with both hands.”

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Security reviewed ahead of Chinese Embassy XI vs. KP-XI Football match!

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ABBOTABAD: Pakistan-based Chinese security team has toady inspected security arrangements ahead of the first-ever exhibition football match between DG Sports Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-XI and the Chinese Embassy-XI scheduled to be held here at Kunj Football Stadium on Saturday 28th of April.

Following thorough inspection Chinese Counselor in Pakistan, Chen Wei, has expressed satisfaction over the arrangements. 

According to details the Chinese Embassy team will be led by the political counselor Jiang Han while Malik Ejaz Ahmad will be the captain of KP-XI team.

 

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Football: Raheem Sterling craves for more after Man City Premier League win!

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LONDON: Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling says he is hungry to win the Premier League again, warning the champions against complacency as they chase more glory.

Pep Guardiola’s men were confirmed as champions with five matches still to play on Sunday when Manchester United were beaten by West Brom.

“This is my first Premier League title so who cares how you win it, whether it was on the pitch or on my sofa, I’m just delighted to win the title,” said the England international.

“It’s been a dream ever since I was a kid growing up playing football with my mates and winning it means everything. 

“It’s important we don’t get complacent though. It’s amazing to win it, but now it’s about the next one.”

The England international, who joined City from Liverpool in 2015, has progressed rapidly this season and Guardiola said at the weekend the 23-year-old could become one of the best players in the world. Sterling, who has scored 22 goals, 17 in the Premier League, is relishing the opportunity to work with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss. “It’s all about the basics with him.

He pushes you to be better at the small things and that improves your performance,” said Sterling.

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Monte Carlo Masters: Djokovic saves ten match points in real battle!

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MONTE CARLO (Principality of Monaco): Novak Djokovic said it was great to deal with the emotions of a real battle again, after saving ten match points to beat Borna Coric at the Monte Carlo Masters here today, while Rafael Nadal made a “positive” return to the ATP Tour by thrashing Aljaz Bedene.

Djokovic, playing only his fourth tournament since Wimbledon last July after struggling with a right elbow injury, overcame some late nerves to win 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 in the second-round clash.

“It was a real battle. I mean, I could have won the match earlier definitely, but it was great to deal with these kind of emotions again,” said the 12-time Grand Slam champion.

Djokovic is working with long-time former coach Marian Vajda for the first time in almost a year after splitting from Andre Agassi, and the 30-year-old has looked rejuvenated in Monaco after early exits in Indian Wells and Miami.

The Serbian will next face Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem with a possible quarter-final against defending champion Nadal, who plays Karen Khachanov in the last 16 on Thursday, up for grabs.

But Djokovic insisted he wasn’t looking past the clash with Thiem, a French Open semi-finalist in each of the last two years. “It’s disrespectful towards Dominic and Dominic’s tennis…

To think about and talk about potentially a match-up with Nadal,” Djokovic added. “Last year in Roland Garros he beat me in straight sets. He’s definitely (a) top-three player in the world on clay.”

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