Benoni Zalmi to face Shah Rukh Khan’s Cape Town Knight Riders in Global T20

first_imgJaved Afridi’s ultimate dream of having a T20 match between champion teams of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pakistan Super League (PSL) may have taken a backseat for now but South Africa’s Global T20 League has given the Pakistani entrepreneur an opportunity to pit his team against a team owned by none other than Shah Rukh Khan.Afridi, who’s Benoni Zalmi team logo was launched at a high school in the suburb east of Johannesburg on Friday, is building the match against SRK’s Cape Town Knight Riders as a virtual Indo-Pak match which in his words would be a “marquee clash” in the first T20 global league in the continent.”Today was a big day for me, personally. There was so much enthusiasm amongst the locals. These people from Benoni are the real owners of our franchise and not me,” Afridi told India Today from South Africa.Posters of Benoni vs Cape Town being ‘the league’s version of Pak vs India’ and carrying photographs of Afridi and Shah Rukh are already doing the rounds in social media. The Benoni Zalmi team will be led by Proteas opener and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.”I own Peshawar Zalmi team in the PSL and so badly wished that IPL champions and my team, the PSL winners, should have three-match T20 series. Unfortunately, the present circumstances don’t allow that to materialise. Inshallah, this could be a reality in future. But for now, I am happy and excited to see my Benoni team taking on SRK’s Cape Town Knight Riders. There is so much diaspora from both the countries in South Africa and neighbouring Zimbabwe too. This will be like an India vs Pakistan game. And, let us not forget that Delhi Daredevlis owner GMR Sports also own the Johannesburg franchise. So, there will be a lot of action in store,” said Afridi.advertisementThe player draft is scheduled to be held on Saturday with Cricket South Africa (CSA) claiming that almost 400 players from 10 countries have confirmed their interest to participate in the new league.last_img read more

Warren Gatland is strong enough to keep faith with new Welsh style

first_imgWales rugby union team Read more I have not read Warren’s book but it is always hard coaching against New Zealand as a Kiwi. I’m sure Hansen had it as well. It was a tough gig for Warren coming back with the Lions, perhaps on the most high-profile tour. The media were waiting for anything, any little soundbite or throwaway comment and it was set up for them with his son playing in the first game. I would not know what that is like but I can imagine it was pretty tough and then he had people attacking his character.Warren has thick skin, so what he has come out and said is more just him being brutally honest. Some of the stuff probably did hurt. He was surprised by the level that some of it got to but he has been around long enough to put it out of his mind . Autumn internationals Rugby union Despite everything that has been said in the past few weeks, and everything written in Warren Gatland’s book, the Wales manager needs to park the British & Irish Lions on Saturday. He has to stick to his guns in terms of what he is trying to do with this Wales side and continue to show ambition. The biggest question will be: when the pressure comes on from the All Blacks, will he revert to type? They may not have said so in public but this is the Test of the tour for New Zealand. It is important to give respect to France and Scotland but it was definitely discussed within the coaching structure, especially with the way Wales played in New Zealand.New Zealand would also do well to forget about the Lions because this is a very different All Blacks side. They have several front line players not there – Ben Smith, Jordie Barrett, Jerome Kaino, Owen Franks, Joe Moody and Dane Coles – but what I do love about them is that there are never any excuses. If you put the jersey on, you are an All Black.There is very little reporting up here about a weakened All Blacks side or anything like that. It is more: this is the All Blacks; it doesn’t matter who puts the shirt on, it is a frontline team. It is never reported as a B team. The All Blacks don’t say it and no one else says it. It builds pressure but that is the kind of pressure Hansen wants on these young guys.Any time the All Blacks lose, the coaches come under fire. We have seen that throughout history. It is not just the coaches. It is the players that get it as well. In 2007, when we lost to France in Cardiff, there was a national inquiry. That is always a burden on the shoulders of All Blacks coaches. It is something they know when they sign up.Hansen is well aware how frustrating it can be to lose the last Test of a tour and that is probably why he bit straight back when asked straight after the Scotland game if he was looking forward to coming up against Gatland and said: “Well, I’m not playing against Warren Gatland – the All Blacks are playing Wales.” Share on Pinterest Wales seek spirit of 1953 for chance of new coronation against New Zealand Read more blogposts Since you’re here… Support The Guardian Topics When that pressure comes – because there is no doubting it will – does he stick to the style he is trying to implement – moving the point of attack, playing at high tempo, what I would describe as three-quarters rugby – or does he go back to the sort of rugby we saw with the Lions?That is not to say the Lions did not show ambition but there was a lot more control and structure. They played in the right areas, they had strong, powerful runners and there was a big focus on the breakdown. My feeling is that Gatland will be strong enough to stick to his guns. I know he took a huge amount from how Wales performed on their 2016 tour of New Zealand, with a much more expansive gameplan, when they really pushed and stretched the All Blacks with quick ball coming from the ruck.Both sides have injuries – Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams and Sam Warburton will be missed – but Wales are in a good place. It was not the most convincing performance against Georgia and not the greatest spectacle but it was another week in the bank for a squad that traditionally takes a little while to get going, especially in the autumn.Owen Williams has another go at inside-centre and it shows the way that Wales want to play. Provided they show the courage of their convictions, it is gearing up for a Test match that should be very competitive. The back-row battle is another element I will be looking at because I have been impressed with Josh Navidi – he is a link man and has the ability to create the width that Wales want to play with.Shaun Edwards has said he has the hardest job in world sport this week because he is trying to stop the All Blacks scoring tries but, as I have said before, if you can limit them to one or two tries, you always have a chance and the All Blacks are not quite hitting top gear at the moment.There will be a clear message from Steve Hansen, though – it was the same when I was playing for the All Blacks – and that is that you do not want to be lying on the beach with rocks under your towels, having just lost the last game of the series. He always used to hammer home that you cannot lift your guard or switch off or even think about your time off. When you lie on the sand you will have that little rock digging into your back if you lose your last game. Sportblog … we have a small favour to ask. 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We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Twitter Warren Gatland Damian McKenzie: the diminutive full-back making a big impact with All Blacks Read more Share on Facebook Share via Email New Zealand rugby union team Share on LinkedIn Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp Sign up to the Breakdown for the latest rugby union news Reuse this contentlast_img read more