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Argentina refuses to play Israel friendly

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Messi refuses to play Israeli friendly

Argentina have refused to play Israel in what was to be their final World Cup warm-up match.

Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuaín confirmed the news on Tuesday in an interview with ESPN saying, “They’ve finally done the right thing.”

Gonzalo

Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuaín confirmed the news on Tuesday in an interview with ESPN saying, “They’ve finally done the right thing.”

No reaction from Israeli authorities; Palestinians celebrate

There was no hard reaction from the concerned Israeli authorities or from Israeli politicians. Israel Radio had previously broadcasted, quoting an unnamed Argentinian diplomat, that the chances of the fixture actually happening were slim.

Reportedly, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called the Argentinian President Mauricio Macri in an attempt to persuade him to send his team to Jerusalem.

The scheduled match had attracted huge interest among Israeli fans, mainly because of Lionel Messi’s planned participation.

On the other hand, the cancellation of the controversial match was celebrated among the Palestinians. Gaza and Ramallah came to life, for the first time in many months, when they heard the news. The Palestinian Football Association also issued a statement thanking Lionel Messi and his team for cancelling the game.

“The Palestinian FA thanks Argentina’s players led by star Messi for refusing to be used to serve a non-sporting goal,” it read.

The Palestinian FA chairman, Jibril Rajoub, said: “Values, morals and sport have secured a victory today and a red card was raised at Israel through the cancellation of the game.”

READ MORE: Pakistan’s 10 richest people

Messi

The visit of the two-times World Cup winners had attracted huge interest among Israeli fans, mainly because of Lionel Messi’s planned participation.

Argentina’s World Cup dream hanging by a thin thread

The Argentinian camp doesn’t look in a World Cup-winning form.

The cancellation of their warm-up match against Israel is just another obstacle for Argentina for their preparations have been facing a lot of troubles.

Only in March, Messi’s men suffered an embarrassing 6-1 defeat by the hands of Spain in a friendly and also lost their first-choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero to injury. The two-time World Cup winners are still hopeful, though.

Argentina face Iceland, Nigeria and Croatia in what is considered to be one of the hardest groups in the tournament.

READ MORE: 2nd Test: England breaks Pakistan’s Headingley dream; Series drawn

Messi refuses to play Israeli friendly

A poster in the West Bank town of Hebron featuring Lionel Messi criticises the friendly between Israel and Argentina which was to be held in Jerusalem on Saturday. Photograph: Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images

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Kumar Sangakkara says England, Australia must tour Pakistan

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Kumar Sangakkara

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) President Kumar Sangakkara has stated that England and Australia must tour Pakistan to facilitate regular international cricket in the South Asian country.

Top teams have shunned Pakistan since the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lanka team in Lahore in which six players were injured and eight Pakistanis, including six policemen, were killed.

Batting great Sangakkara, who was part of that team, returned to Pakistan with an MCC team in February this year but top teams have stayed away with security apprehensions.

Read more: Freemasons – their illustrious history and presence in Pakistan

“It doesn’t matter an Asian side going there or a secondary side in terms of world prominence when it comes to having security measures in place,” Sangakkara told The Cricket Show on Sky Sports Cricket.

“I think it’s important that England or Australia, even South Africa, make up their minds to actually tour when security is assured and they have those discussions; the MCC tour will be a precursor to that.”

In December, Pakistan played their first test match on home soil since 2009 when they hosted Sri Lanka in Karachi while Bangladesh also played a test match in Rawalpindi in February.

Bangladesh split their tour in three parts even though the final leg was called off in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sangakkara, who has scored more than 28,000 international runs for Sri Lanka, agreed it was too early for any extended tour of Pakistan.

“I don’t think you are ever going to see in the near future a five-test match series coupled with a one-day series played back-to-back,” said the former Sri Lanka captain.

“I think it will be more a case of you play two test matches, you take a break, you go back and play three one-dayers.

“It’s not exactly the right time for extended tours, but I’m sure that with the right communication and the measures in place that players can go back and play some great quality cricket, have a great time and bring cricket back to Pakistan.”

Pakistan have offered to host global flagship tournaments after the governing International Cricket Council invited expression of interest for events in the 2023-31 cycle. 

The story was first published in Reuters

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Honda, Toyota halt production in Pakistan

Industry sources expect a significantly large dip in sales at the end of the year. It may be recalled that the industry was expecting to increase its sales to half a million units by 2022.

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Honda

KARACHI, Pakistan: Honda Atlas Cars Pakistan (HACP) and Indus Motor Company (IMC,) which produces Toyota models in Pakistan, have decided to shut down production for 10 days and eight days, two days every week, during this month respectively amid rising prices due to imposition of strict new, higher taxes in the budget and steep currency devaluation in the recent weeks.

A Pakistan Suzuki Motor Company spokesperson told media outlets that his company, too, is thinking of making a decision along the same line and will announce what has been decided in the next few weeks after analyzing sales trend and flow of booking orders during the present month of July.

Reportedly, HACP and IMX made their decisions to scale down production after extremely poor sales in the first 10 days of the current month.

READ MORE: Top 10 schools of Pakistan (2018-19)

“Our inventories from the last month and the first 10 days of July have grown rapidly because of steep increase in car prices after currency devaluation as well as imposition of Advance Customs Duty (ACD) on all our imports and Federal Excise Duty (FED) on assembled cars, leaving us with no option but to shut down the plant to cut production. If the present trend holds, we expect our sales to drop to less than 30,000 units this business year (April 2019-March 2020) from over 48,000 units last year,” a senior executive of HACP elaborated.

An IMC official also gave the same reasons for “observing eight no-production days” during July. “It is a very serious situation for the local car manufacturers who are piling up inventories,” he said. But he did not give the size of inventory his company has built so far, saying the production cuts could increase next month if sales do not pick up.

The sales have been on the decrease for the last three months as total car and light commercial vehicles (LCV) volume contracted by 5pc to 17,561 units in June from a year ago. Overall, the car and LCV sales plunged by 7pc during the last fiscal year to 240,335 units from the previous year. The impact of implementation of 5pc ACD on all raw materials and parts used by the local assemblers and imposition of 2.5-7.5pc FED from July 1 has started resulting in further decline in sales.

Industry sources expect a significantly large dip in sales at the end of the year. It may be recalled that the industry was expecting to increase its sales to half a million units by 2022.

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Questioning Team India’s sportsmanship post England loss

India’s suspicious performance against the scarred England has raised a lot of eyebrows, so much so, several experts and former players are accusing India of tarnishing the spirit of the wonderful game that is cricket.

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India’s suspicious performance against the scarred England has raised a lot of eyebrows, so much so, several experts and former players are accusing India of tarnishing the spirit of the wonderful game that is cricket.

Winning and losing is, of course, a part of the game where you win some and you lose some but losing intentionally so to hurt another team’s qualifying chances is making not only a mockery of the contest, but also putting the game that we love so much to absolute shame.

India’s snail-paced chase against England has become an unwanted debate held at almost every match that followed the much controversial match. India’s world class batsmen including the ICC Number 1 batsman Virat Kohli and now four time World Cup 2019 centurion Rohit Sharma could only manage to score 28 runs in the first ten overs chasing a mammoth target of 338 and then when the Indian team somehow managed to level the scoring run rate and the Indian side was well in sight of an east victory, the heroics of former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav made sure that India fell short of the total scoring only 39 off 31 balls in the death overs.

Read more: Mr Khan, keep your Naya Pakistan to yourself

Commentators Nasser Hussain and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly were left surprised with neither looking to push the tempo. “I am completely baffled. What’s going on! This is not what India needed. They need runs. What are they doing? Some Indian fans are leaving now. Surely they must want to see Dhoni go for his shots, even if he slogs it off in the air. It’s a World Cup game, top two sides, give it a go! Indian fans would want their side to do a little bit more. They want their side to go down with a fight. Risk it to win it,” said former England captain Hussain during the last 10 overs.

Ganguly, too, failed to figure the plan at play despite India having five wickets in hand. “I don’t have an explanation for that. You asked me the question but I can’t explain these singles. It’s also the length and the bounce that has deceived the Indian batsmen. You can’t be chasing 338 and still have 5 wickets in the end. It’s about mindset and the way you look at the game. The message had to be clear: no matter where it comes and no matter where the ball lands you have to find the boundary. A dot ball at this stage!,” said Ganguly.

Speaking on Star Sports after the match, Ganguly told that the intent was lacking from Indian batting in the first 10 and last 6 overs.

“The first 10 overs and the last 6 overs left a lot to be desired. Hopefully they will go back and reflect because they have been in excellent form this WC. The intent was not good enough. I would have been more happy if India were 300 all-out. This situation can happen again and they will have to find different ways to succeed in the first and last 10 overs,” said Ganguly.

All in all, India have done what they have done and Pakistan have been kicked out of the competition after England’s convincing victory over New Zealand. India, a proper all round team  of this World Cup, have qualified for the semifinals with Australia, New Zealand, and England but they surely have lost the respect of millions of cricket fans after their condemnable stunt at Edgbaston last Sunday.

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