January, 2019

Smith’s No.1 ranking at risk, Kohli looms

India’s Virat Kohli will benefit from any long-term sanction imposed on Steve Smith.Steve Smith’s two-year reign as the world’s No.1 Test batsman looks set to end, with Indian rival Virat Kohli primed to overtake the disgraced Australian.
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Smith has been temporarily stripped of the Test captaincy and ordered home from South Africa, along with David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, in response to explosive ball-tampering revelations.

Cricket Australia will finalise sanctions for the trio within the next 24 hours but lengthy bans appear likely.

Smith has been top of the ICC’s Test batting rankings since December 2015.

The 28-year-old’s barnstorming Ashes series helped him to a personal-best 945 rankings points – equal with former England opener Len Hutton and trailing only Don Bradman on the all-time rankings list.

His tally has since fallen to 938 after a career-worst Test series against South Africa in which he averaged just 23.66 with the bat.

Kohli, already the world’s best one-day international batsman, is ranked second with 912 points.

India will play five Tests in England starting in August, with a strong performance potentially enough to propel Kohli to the top spot.

The Indian skipper struggled during last year’s fiery series against Australia but has since been in magnificent form, piling on more than 1000 Test runs at an average of 81.

While it will come as a blow given he takes immense pride in his batting prowess, Smith’s ranking is far from his biggest worry.

His reputation has been irreparably tarnished, his hold on the captaincy is extremely tenuous and several lucrative sponsorships could be at risk.

Already, Smith’s image has disappeared from the website of breakfast cereal Weet-Bix as the brand’s owner consider the future of their relationship with him.

The shamed batsman has also stepped down as captain of Indian Premier League franchise Rajasthan Royals and is no certainty to take up the $2.4 million deal that is the most profitable of his career.


* 1. Steve Smith (938 points)

* 2. Virat Kohli (912)

* 3. Kane Williamson (878)

* 4. Joe Root (870)

* 5. David Warner (828)

Australian Associated Press


Super Size Me director sued for harassment

Morgan Spurlock is “seeking help” and hopes to be part of the solution by admitting his wrongdoings.Super Size Me’s Morgan Spurlock has been sued over his admission of sexual harassment and misconduct.
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Turner Entertainment Networks (TEN) filed a lawsuit against Spurlock in Los Angeles on Tuesday, claiming his confession scuppered a project about women’s issues they were due to make together.

The network claimed that repeated attempts to get back funds transferred to co-defendant Warrior Poets, Spurlock’s production company he stepped down from, have been met with “radio silence”.

Lawyers for TEN accuse Spurlock, 47, of breaching a contract by admitting sexual misconduct and by failing to return the funds.

The US film-maker in December announced he was “part of the problem” in a Twitter post detailing past sexual harassment and infidelity in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

He recounted a sexual encounter during his time at university which he believed was consensual, but the woman believed was rape.

He also admitted paying a settlement to a woman at his office who he addressed as “hot pants” or “sex pants”.

YouTube Red dropped his sequel, Super Size Me 2 Holy Chicken!, after the admission.

The sum allegedly being held by Warrior Poets was not openly disclosed in the lawsuit, with part of it being under seal.

Spurlock, also known for directing One Direction documentary This Is Us, said he was “seeking help” and hoped to be part of the solution by admitting his wrongdoings.

Australian Associated Press


McKeon out of 100m freestyle at Games

Emma McKeon has reduced her workload at the Commonwealth Games.The decision may have robbed Australia of a potential medal but head coach Jacco Verhaeren has backed golden girl Emma McKeon’s decision to ditch the blue riband 100m freestyle from her Gold Coast Commonwealth Games program.
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McKeon made the 100m final at the 2017 world titles and was expected to threaten a Games field featuring ex-world champions Cate and Bronte Campbell and reigning Olympic gold medallist Penny Oleksiak of Canada.

But Verhaeren said McKeon had taken the “sensible option” to cut the 100m because it clashed with her new event the 200m butterfly, held on the same night.

McKeon will still be in line for six gold medals in the Games pool.

Youngster Shayna Jack will replace McKeon in the 100m.

Verhaeren said McKeon was “definitely” a 100m medal chance but could understand her logic.

“You were looking at 14 or 15 minutes between the events (100m freestyle and 200m fly),” he said.

“And she was in a (100m) field where you are racing an Olympic champion and two former world champions; that’s too big an ask.

“You would always want events more spread but in a program you can’t have it all.

“It’s always difficult to give up a spot, no one wants to give up an event but in this case it’s a sensible option.”

McKeon’s coach Michael Bohl said the Games program gave his charge a rare chance to see what she could do in the 200m fly.

“I think it’s going to be hard to pursue further because every time at Olympic level and at world (titles) level, the 200m free and 200m fly are going to clash, so you’ve got to make a call one way or the other,” he said.

“This is just a unique opportunity two years out of Tokyo to just see what she can do in the 200m (fly).

“She won’t get a chance to do the 200m fly too many times looking down the track so if she’s going to do it, this is the time to do it.

“She’s feeling pretty fresh and hopefully swimming well and we’ll see what she can do.”

Meanwhile, Clyde Lewis has got the nod in the 400m individual medley after Mitch Larkin pulled out due to a clash with pet event 100m backstroke.

Verhaeren also revealed not all events would feature heats ensuring some members of the 49-strong team won’t get a competitive swim at the Games.

There are no heats for any of the women’s relays or the men’s 4x200m freestyle, likewise for the the 1500m freestyle.

Those relay teams will now be chosen from time trials held after official competition in the mornings of the Games swim program.

It ensures not all relay squad members will feature in official pool action on the Gold Coast.

Australian Associated Press


Scully and Hopper in Giants selection mix

GWS coach Leon Cameron says breaking into a winning team could prove hard for Tom Scully.Wingman Tom Scully is pushing hard for a return to the Greater Western Sydney side but coach Leon Cameron says it will be tough to change a winning combination for the clash with Collingwood at the Giants’ bogey ground.
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Cameron says Scully and midfielder Jacob Hopper will be considered for Saturday’s clash at the MCG, where GWS have won just one of 12 games.

Scully hasn’t played during the pre-season because of knee soreness, while a groin issue interrupted Hopper’s pre-season, though he played in an NEAFL game last week.

GWS are coming off an 82-point first round pummelling of the Western Bulldogs.

“The 22 that played on the weekend, everyone contributed in their own way and sometimes you just don’t want to break the 22 because of the effort and energy they provided in the first game,” Cameron said.

“Tom Scully is an ultimate role player for your footy club. His two-way running is probably the best in the competition.

“There’s no doubt he will add value to our footy team. It’s just whether we think he’s ready to go for an AFL game rather than come back via the NEAFL.”

GWS’s only victory at the MCG was against Melbourne in August 2014.

“We probably only play there once or twice a year so it’s not as if we have a huge gauge of playing here every second or third week,” Cameron said.

“There’s still going to be two goalposts at either end and two corner posts as well as an opposition that’s going to be hungry to bounce back from last week so I’m not worried about the ground.

“I’ve just got to make sure our players are in a good head space coming off Sunday, knowing that it’s going to be served right up to us on Saturday afternoon.”

Australian Associated Press


Rain-soaked Roos to rebound on Good Friday

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott expects a big improvement from his side in round two of the AFL.North Melbourne coach Brad Scott isn’t about to throw the baby out with the tropical monsoonal rain-filled bath water.
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The Kangaroos suffered a 16-point round one loss to Gold Coast in Cairns last week, with torrential rain associated with Cyclone Nora making for a dour AFL slog on a water-logged oval.

It’s going a step too far to suggest North’s season will start again when they take on St Kilda on Good Friday.

But Scott will certainly get a clearer picture of where the Roos sit after they’ve performed in the pristine conditions of Etihad Stadium.

“We’ll go back really into the focus that we had pre-season more than taking things out of round one,” Scott told reporters from Arden Street on Wednesday.

“We trained all pre-season for more, I suppose, normal footy conditions so we don’t just throw out all of the stuff that we did in the pre-season because of one game.”

Scott admitted his team were outworked by the Suns and will look for improvement in that area against the Saints, who opened their season with a hard-fought win over the Brisbane Lions.

The conditions in Cairns demanded a smaller line-up and Scott will look to add some height to his defence this week with Majak Daw and Ben McKay jostling for a call-up.

Scott called on Kangaroos supporters to turn up in force this week as the club looks to cement its hold on the high-profile fixture.

The Western Bulldogs were dumped after they won the first-ever AFL match played on the religious holiday last year and the league has made no guarantees there won’t be further changes down the track.

“It’s a massive occasion for our club … we fought for decades to play this game,” Scott said.

“It’s huge and we want North Melbourne people to really get behind this game and make it a permanent fixture for us.

“We’ve been the one on the ground doing a hell of a lot of work with the Royal Children’s Hospital and making sure that this is more than a game … that it’s about a bigger picture.”

Part proceeds from game revenues go to the hospital’s Good Friday Appeal.

Australian Associated Press