Peter Siddle earmarks Pakistan's Yasir Shah as biggest threat to Australia in Test series

Waseem Ahmed 25/09/2018
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Yasir Shah must produce his bag of tricks in Abu Dhabi

Senior pacer Peter Siddle has revealed that tackling the leg-spin of Yasir Shah will be Australia’s greatest obstacle when they take on Pakistan in a two-Test series in the UAE.

The 33-year-old was recently handed a recall to the Australia squad for the UAE tour as skipper Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer look to compensate the lack of leadership experience following the bans handed out to Steve Smith and David Warner.

The Australian veteran is under no doubt that spin will be Pakistan’s calling card in the series in the UAE.

“He’s (Yasir) going to play a big part. Spin bowling in this series is going to play a massive part,” Siddle told Reuters.

“I think it’s going to be a tough contest. He bowled well against us last series over here. He took a lot of wickets, so I think it’s going to be number one plan to keep him out. But he’s not the only one we’ve got to focus on as we get closer,” he added.

Siddle has not played a Test for Australia since 2016.

Siddle has not played a Test for Australia since 2016.

Siddle, who last played a Test for Australia in November, 2016, believes that the wickets in UAE could be livelier than usual when the two-match series gets underway on October 7 in Dubai.

“I think the last series we came here, the wicket was a bit more flat. It sort of took a few days to actually break up but this series it looks like it’s going to break up a lot earlier so spin is going to play a part,” Siddle stated.

With pacers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins ruled out of the series, Siddle is ready to lend his leadership experience to the bowling attack.

“From an outside point of view, the side probably in the last little bit maybe lacked a little bit of leadership,” he said.

“I think without having the captaincy or vice-captaincy or any of those terms, it’s just about being a leader in my own right, doing what I do, lead by example and just help out the young guys,” Siddle added.

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Cricket Australia close investigation into Moeen Ali's racial abuse claims

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Moeen Ali had claimed to be racially abused by an Australia player.

Cricket Australia have closed their investigations into Moeen Ali’s claims that he was called ‘Osama’ by a Australia player.

The England all-rounder had made the claim in his new autobiography with the alleged incident said to have taken place during the 2015 Ashes series in Australia.

“An Australian player had turned to me on the field and said, ‘Take that, Osama’. I could not believe what I had heard,” an extract from Moeen’s book published in The Times read.

“I remember going really red. I have never been so angry on a cricket field,” it added.

Following the claims made by Moeen, Cricket Australia had opened its own investigation into the incident. That investigation has now been closed with the Australian cricketing body finding no additional evidence to support the Englishman’s claims.

“We have followed up with the England and Wales Cricket Board and confirmed the incident was investigated at the time,” a Cricket Australia spokesman said.

The incident took place in the 2015 Ashes series Down Under.

The incident took place in the 2015 Ashes series Down Under.

“A response was provided to Moeen. Moeen elected not to progress the matter any further at the time and we have not been able to ascertain any new additional evidence through our enquiries.

“As such, the matter is considered closed.

“We take a zero-tolerance approach to remarks of this nature, they have no place in our sport, or in society, and any allegations raised with us are treated seriously and respectfully.”

The alleged incident is said to have occurred during the first Test in the 2015 Ashes with England eventually going on to capture the series 3-2.

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Afghanistan's Mohammad Shahzad reports suspicious spot-fixing approach to the ICC

Waseem Ahmed 25/09/2018
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Mohammad Shazhad.

Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad has reported a spot-fixing approach for the upcoming Afghan Premier T20 League to the ICC.

According to a report by ESPNCricinfo, Shahzad promptly reported the corrupt approach to the team management before it was conveyed to ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit.

The wicketkeeper-batsman is currently in the UAE representing Afghanistan in the Asia Cup with the approach being made to him on Saturday. The inaugural Afghan Premier T20 League is set to take place in Sharjah from October 5 to 23.

“There was an approach made during the Asia Cup, but for their (Afghanistan’s) own T20 league,” an ICC official was quoted as saying in the report.

“The matter was reported through the right channels on Saturday and is being looked into by the anti-corruption unit,” the official added.

The ICC also recently revealed that five international skippers have been approached by bookies in the past year.

Shahzad is currently playing in the Asia Cup for Afghanistan.

Shahzad is currently playing in the Asia Cup for Afghanistan.

“We can’t give out the names. But there have been five international captains who reported suspicious approaches,” ICC Anti-Corruption Unit chief Alex Marshall said on Monday.

“There have been 32 investigations in the last 12 months, eight involve players as suspects. Five of them involve administrators or non-playing personnel. Three of these individuals have been charged,” he added.

With new T20 leagues mushrooming around the world in recent times, ICC CEO David Richardson has warned against increased attempts by bookies to corrupt matches.

“T20 cricket has attracted new fans. With more people following the game, the risk could be bigger as there could be more attempts to corrupt those matches. Our priority is to increase the number of fans and if it so happens that Alex (Marshall) has to work a little harder, then so be it,” Richardson said on Monday.

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