KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that tickets for Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 6 will go on sale from tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 am.
According to the details, tickets for 30 out of 34 matches will be sold out in the first phase from tomorrow. Ticket denominations for the Qualifier, two Eliminators, and the final, to be played from 18-22 March, will be announced closer to time. Remember, only 20 percent crowd will be able to watch each PSL 6 match at both venues.
Tickets will be available online, as well as on Bookme helpline (03137786888) by showing CNIC and phone number.
On confirmation of the tickets on the helpline, the customer will be sent a token number on the registered ‘phone so that the customer can make the payment at the closest Jazzcash/Easypaisa shop. Upon payment, the customer will receive an e-ticket code along with a Quick Response (QR) Code, which the customer can use to print the ticket or show the SMS at the entry gate on match day.
At the National Stadium, enclosures reserved for the families are: Hanif Mohammad (VIP Enclosure), Wasim Akram (Premium Enclosure), Zaheer Abbas, Iqbal Qasim and Nasimul Ghani Enclosures (First-Class Enclosures), and Intikhab Alam Enclosure (General) while family enclosures at the Gaddafi Stadium include: Fazal Mahmood (VIP Enclosure), Saeed Anwar (Premier Enclosure), Abdul Qadir (First-Class Enclosure) and Nazar, Quaid, Zaheer Abbas and Majid Khan (General Enclosure).
For Saturday’s tournament opener between Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators, which will begin at 7pm, cost of VIP stands (Hanif Mohammad and Javed Miandad Enclosures) have been fixed at PKR5000, while price of the First-Class stands (Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Waqar Hasan, Majid Khan, Iqbal Qasim and Nasimul Ghani Enclosures) have been kept at PKR4,000.
Similarly, price of Premium stands (Quaid, Wasim Akram and Imran Khan Enclosure) have been set at PKR3,000, while the General stand tickets (Wasim Bari, Mohammad Brothers and Intikhab Alam Enclosure) have been fixed at PKR2,000.
For Sunday’s double-header between Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi, and Islamabad United and Multan Sultans, which will start at 2pm and 7pm, respectively, cost of VIP stands (Hanif Mohammad and Javed Miandad Enclosures) have been fixed at PKR4,000, while price of the First-Class stands (Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Waqar Hasan, Majid Khan, Iqbal Qasim and Nasimul Ghani Enclosures) have been kept at PKR3,000.
Similarly, price of Premium stands (Quaid, Wasim Akram and Imran Khan Enclosure) have been set at PKR2,000, while the General stand tickets (Wasim Bari, Mohammad Brothers and Intikhab Alam Enclosure) have been fixed at PKR1,000.
For matches to take place from Monday-Wednesday, cost of VIP stands (Hanif Mohammad and Javed Miandad Enclosures) have been fixed at PKR3,000, while price of the First-Class stands (Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Waqar Hasan, Majid Khan, Iqbal Qasim and Nasimul Ghani Enclosures) have been kept at PKR2,000. Similarly, price of Premium stands (Quaid, Wasim Akram and Imran Khan Enclosure) have been set at PKR1,000, while the General stand tickets (Wasim Bari, Mohammad Brothers and Intikhab Alam Enclosure) have been fixed at PKR500.
For the first match in Lahore on 10 March involving Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings, ticket prizes for the VIP stands (Imran Khan and Fazal Mahmood Enclosures) have been set for 3,000, followed by PKR2,000 for the First-Class Stands (Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz Enclosures), PKR1,000 for Premium stands (A.H. Kardar, Rajas, Javed Miandad and Saeed Anwar Enclosures) and PKR500 for General stands (Inzamam ul Haq, Nazars, Quaid, Imtiaz Ahmed, Zaheer Abbas, Hanif Mohammad, Majid Khan, Saeed Ahmed Enclosures).
Meanwhile, PCB will make sure to implement strict COVID-19 protocols during the matches at venues.
• Hand Hygiene through handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds• Use of hand gel with high percentages of alcohol (70%) or other appropriate product is an alternative• Sneezing and coughing into tissues or the crook of one’s elbow – disposal and cleaning hands afterwards• Avoid touching one’s face and nose• Spitting is banned within the stadium• Medical masks must be worn by everyone while in the stadium. Enough medical masks has been secured for the crowd to ensure risk free environment for everyone in the stadiumCode of Conduct• Wear a face covering before entering through the turnstiles, and continue to wear your face covering while seated in the stands. No mask, No entry• Ensure you are aware of the gate of entrance in advance by asking members of the management team/security staff positioned at the main gates of the stadium• Spectators must not attend if they experience any Covid-19 symptoms, are feeling unwell, or if they have been in close contact recently with anyone experiencing symptoms or who has tested positive• If you develop symptoms while at the stadium, please notify the nearest member of management staff immediately. Rights of admission will be reserved by PCB• At all times and in all parts of the ground, please observe social distancing and avoid close contact with others who are not in your support bubble• You must remain in your seat at all times unless you have to use rest rooms or exit the stadium. In such cases, seek guidance from the ushers and Security Guards available in each stand• When passing in the rows, please turn your backs if you must brush past other spectators, thereby avoiding face-to-face contact• Maintain good hand hygiene – use the sanitizers provided and use toilet facilities where possible to wash your hands• Please observe respiratory etiquette – always cover your mouth if needing to cough or sneeze
• A steward/care taker will be assigned at all times to monitor the flow of spectators and ensure that no more than three people use that facility at a given time• Hand washing facilities will be cleaned and sanitised at regular intervals• Provision of hand sanitizers will be carefully managed by designated staff.Distance between seating• Two seats will be left between two individuals or each group• Group must only contain one household to ensure social distancing is in place• A row between the successive rows shall be left vacant to ensure social distancing
• To be sold (CNIC Holders) to the families only for family exclusive stands and for General stands with individual seating• Applicants must supply their contact details at Point of Sale to help with track and tracing.• To be sold in advance only through online sale with helpline support through telephone. Tickets to be printed at home with QR codes or delivered through cash on delivery mechanism.• Ushers and Security Guards to ensure compliance in seating
KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that tickets for Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 6 will go on sale from tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 am.
Epic Games has been on a roll with Fortnite this season.The Fortnite 15.40 update is an important one that comes to the game today. And it’s expected to bring in a lot of interesting new content with it.Chapter 2 Season 5 will be concluding in a month, so the publisher might begin tying all the loose ends to move forward from this point.The villain for this season hasn’t been disclosed yet, but that’s not the highlight of this update. There’s a possibility that the pump-action shotgun might finally return. Fortnite 15.40 update release time and other detailsKnock knock. 🚪The v15.40 update is scheduled to release on February 16. Downtime for the update will begin at approx. 4 AM ET (09:00 UTC). pic.twitter.com/W54TynVlZQ— Fortnite Status (@FortniteStatus) February 15, 2021As per the above tweet, the downtime for the Fortnite 15.40 update is scheduled to begin at 4 AM ET (9 AM UTC/9:30 AM IST on Wednesday). Although the patch notes for this update is still missing, just like the other update, Epic gave users a heads up of what they could expect.v15.40 brings:✅Blast back with an unvaulted favorite!✅Fun for the whole squad! Characters will have more Exotics in stock for allies (or enemies) to acquire.✅LTMs coming soon: Air Royale ✈️+ Floor is Lava 🌋✅Adjust object/build level of detail in PC Perf Mode alpha— Fortnite Status (@FortniteStatus) February 15, 2021
The very first line of the tweet reads: “Blast back with an unvaulted favorite.”This has led fans to assume that the pump-action shotgun is returning. Many took to Twitter to look for answers that would satiate their curiosity.
The entire community has been asking the developer to unvault the pump-action shotgun for a while now. With Epic saying that a favorite will be unvaulted, some people cannot remain calm.However, there’s another speculation doing the rounds. Since the first line of the tweet says: “Blast back with an unvaulted favorite,” players believe that it’s the Flint Knock that will be returning to the game with the Fortnite 15.40 update today.
since when did you get blasted back with the pump? its the flint knock.— FlameZ (@lachie204) February 15, 2021
While the internet argues on this matter, the Fortnite 15.40 update drops in a few more hours. And once it drops, everyone will know which weapon was unvaulted.Epic has been into heavy teasing as of this season with interesting wordplay as well, so there’s a high chance that it might be the Flint Knock that returns with the 15.40 update.
Published 16 Feb 2021, 12:32 IST
An Australian hasn’t lifted the Formula 1 world championship trophy in 40 years, but Daniel Ricciardo has declared he’s on the cusp of breaking the drought in his new colours.The Western Australian’s new racing team, McLaren, last night showed off their new car for the 2021 season, in which Ricciardo will make his McLaren debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 29.An Australian hasn’t tasted Formula 1 world championship glory since Alan Jones in 1980, and while Ricciardo says he’s likely not ready to take the crown this year, the 31-year-old believes his time will come in his three-year stint with McLaren.”I truly believe I can (win the world championship) and I believe I can in this next chapter with McLaren,” Ricciardo told Nine News.”This year is certainly a stretch, and that’s not to be pessimistic, but there’s probably not enough rule changes happening to swing it massively. I believe in my ability to nudge the car a little bit further up, but I think probably once the new rules come in 2022 we’ll get a pretty good picture.”I think everything McLaren is doing as a team – for me it looks like they are on the right path to give me that.”One of Ricciardo’s strongest weapons in his first season with McLaren could be the team’s new Mercedes engine.McLaren’s use of a Honda engine proved fruitless and their switch to a Renault motor was marred by reliability issues, but McLaren principal Andreas Seidl believes German manufacturer Mercedes could launch his team into an era of dominance.”We wanted to get a championship-winning power unit in the back of our car,” Seidl told Motorsport Magazine.Ricciardo doubts he will win his maiden Formula 1 world championship title this year because the former Renault driver sees the 2021 season as an experimental phase. Not only is he set to operate with a new motor, he will also have to adjust to McLaren’s new aerodynamics.”I obviously like to think (I’ll have a sneaky chance next year). Probably by the middle of this year we’ll have an understanding of how the development for next year is tracking, so I could probably answer it better then,” Ricciardo said.”But even so, it’s probably all speculation until the cars get on track.”We might look really good on paper … but you never know what the other teams are doing. But I think the right people are in place to make this a very successful team.”Ricciardo hasn’t won a world championship race since conquering the field at Monaco in 2018, a race in which he edged Formula 1 greats Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.Last year he had two podium finishes and was ranked fifth overall.Ricciardo said podium finishes would be his aim in 2021.Daniel Ricciardo driving his Renault at the 2020 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi. (Getty)”I made a big point to get back on the podium (in 2020) and I did that. It was really good to get back up there,” Ricciardo said.”Starting this year I want to be aiming to be back on the podium. If that happens to be a win as opposed to a second or a third then of course I’ll take it, but I’ll set the bar at a podium expectation for 2021 and see what that delivers.”Australian Formula 1 fans are hoping the next trademark Ricciardo shoey is not far away.For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
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Alexander Zverev’s ex-girlfriend Brenda Patea has slammed the German for using their unborn child to boost his own public image despite not being in contact with her during her pregnancy.Patea, a German model, announced in October 2020 that she was pregnant with Alexander Zverev’s daughter. She was in a relationship with Zverev until July of last year, and is currently 36 weeks into the pregnancy.Patea had declared at first that she had no plans of sharing custody of their child with Zverev, before subsequent public statements made it seem like the two were on amicable terms.But in her recent interview with German tabloid ‘Bild’, Patea revealed that the pair have had no contact for two months. The 27-year-old claimed that they last spoke when another ex-girlfriend, Olga Sharypova, accused Zverev of domestic violence during their relationship.”I’ve been reading many of Alex’s (Zverev) interviews and I ask myself what he wants to achieve by saying these things,” Patea said. “‘Highlight of his life’? ‘He’s extremely happy’? ‘Highest priority’? I can hardly believe that because we aren’t in contact thus far and he hasn’t reached out.”(Patea’s interview with Bild was in German, and the quotes were translated into English by Twitter users fluent in both languages).Someone asked me to translate this so I’ll share it here too. Brenda is asked in her latest stories about Zverev. I translated her answers. In the background she shows excerpts of his latest interview. My summary: Zverev is full of lies and he’s shown it time and time again. pic.twitter.com/Xq2H1pYuXW— Nawal (@NawalNadal) February 15, 2021Brenda Patea was further asked if she shares the details of the pregnancy and of their unborn daughter with Alexander Zverev. But the model said there had been no contact of any kind and no initiative from Zverev’s side. Patea added that she was tired of people assuming otherwise based on the tennis star’s interviews.
“I just wanted peace and quiet. But so many people are telling me, ‘It’s great that you’re in contact (with Zverev) and that he’s interested’. I’ve had enough of his ‘perfect’ interviews. Be honest for once,” Patea added.”If Alexander Zverev is saying these things in interviews then I can finally say something about it too” – Brenda Patea Brenda Patea cheers on Alexander Zverev during the couple’s happier timesJust hours after Brenda Patea announced her pregnancy in October, another of Alexander Zverev’s ex-girlfriends – Olga Sharypova – accused the US Open finalist of being physically and emotionally abusive towards her during their time together.Sharypova dated Zverev for a year before the NextGen star got together with Brenda Patea. The Russian claimed that Zverev had been physically abusive several times, and specifically mentioned an episode during the 2019 Laver Cup. The incident, in her words, drove Sharypova towards an attempt at ending her life, before she was rescued by hotel staff.Also read: Djokovic’s sympathetic support of Zverev, and the silence of Federer & Nadal, highlight tennis’ insensitivity towards abuse
At the time, there was speculation that Brenda Patea’s refusal to share custody of their future child with Alexander Zverev was an indication that he had been unpleasant towards Patea too. But the German model quickly denied any such rumors.Following the denial, there was a tacit understanding in the media that Alexander Zverev and Brenda Patea were planning to raise their daughter together. That, however, was a misconception, as revealed now by Patea.”We had contact two months ago when the thing with his ex (Sharypova) came out but that was it,” Patea said. “It’s stupid to do this in the media. But if he’s saying these things in interviews then I can finally say something about it too.”If the tone of Patea’s answers is anything to go by, it seems like Alexander Zverev has been using his “happiness” on becoming a father as a way to repair his public image after Olga Sharypova’s accusations. It remains to be seen how the 23-year-old reacts to this new development, especially since he is still alive in the ongoing Australian Open.
Published 16 Feb 2021, 12:22 IST
Every week we pick 22 of the best performing players in Europe’s top five leagues and, with your help, narrow it down to the best XI.
Using polls on our Instagram stories, we pit players in each position against each other and let you decide who deserves to make the cut.
Follow our Instagram page to get involved.
Here’s what our latest European Team of the Week looks like:
GK: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
Earned his 12th clean sheet of the season and Villa a point in difficult circumstances. Brighton were well on top and exerted pressure on his goal, but a stunning nine saves kept them at bay.
RB: Matthew Lowton (Burnley)
Undoubtedly his best performances of the season, excelling at both ends of the pitch. Lowton made three tackles, three interceptions and five clearances in a fine defensive display but really caught the eye in attack with three key passes and one outstanding volley to score at the end of a superb run.
CB: Lucas Martinez Quarta (Fiorentina)
Solid at the back and certainly didn’t deserve to end up on the losing side. Stood out with 11 defensive actions in a 2-1 defeat to Sampdoria, including five interceptions and he even managed to hit the woodwork at the other end.
CB: Diego Carlos (Sevilla)
A rock at the back as Sevilla secured a 1-0 victory at home to Huesca. Made a staggering 11 clearances in the process and was good on the ball, boasting a success rate of 92.7 per cent.
LB: Ola Aina (Fulham)
Perfect ball across for Josh Maja to score the first goal at the end of a fluid Fulham attack. He put in a shift in defence as well. No one made more than his five clearances during the 2-0 win over Everton.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan (Man City)
The Premier League’s Player of the Month continued in his rich vein of form. He was excellent in midfield and tormented Tottenham with his well-timed runs forward, bagging a brace. He sat Davinson Sanchez down before slotting home for his second goal.
CM: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
Dictated the tempo of the game with his exceptional distribution. The German played 107 passes at 94.4-per-cent accuracy. He picked up an assist for the opener and then passed the ball into the back of the net with ease to get himself on the score sheet as well.
CM: Nabil Fekir (Real Betis)
Took his goal superbly, showing great strength to hold off the defender before checking back onto his weaker right foot and dispatching the finish with aplomb. He posed a constant threat with a game-high five shots in the 2-1 win at Villarreal.
FW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Vintage Messi, skipping past challenges and scoring from range. He hammered in his first in emphatic fashion, but his second was a thing of beauty, curling a sublime effort into the corner from the edge of the box with minimal back-lift. He even bagged an assist, by setting up Trincao.
FW: Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan)
Reached 300 goals for club and country by scoring a brace in a 3-1 win over Lazio that fired Inter to the top of Serie A. He made no mistake from the spot and then took advantage of some suspect defending for his second. He then showed immense pace and power to assist Lautaro Martinez on the break.
FW: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Scored his first Premier League hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Leeds and even hit the woodwork. He cut in expertly to score the opener, converted a penalty and then headed home Emile Smith-Rowe’s cross.
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There could be an interesting battle in the Europa League on Thursday evening, as Manchester United and Real Sociedad meet in Turin in the first leg of their round of 32 clash.
Europa League Preview
Manchester United would have been disappointed to drop into the Europa League after strong showings in their first two Champions League group stage fixtures. However, defeat against RB Leipzig in the final group stage match left the Red Devils in third place in their group. Their route for European glory hasn’t been made any easier after being drawn against La Liga side Real Sociedad. However, United will be optimistic regarding their chances, as there have been strong showings by the side over the past 12 months. Their away record is certainly outstanding, as they haven’t lost a domestic game on the road for over 12 months. United will be looking to finally break the mental block that they have endured over recent seasons when it comes to semi-finals, as they have lost their last four across the Europa League, FA Cup and EFL Cup.
Sociedad will not be an easy game for the Red Devils, as the Spanish side have once again been able to find their best form. For a long time, Sociedad looked certainties to finish in a Champions League spot this season, and when the draw was made for this stage of the Europa League, they were sitting in the top two. After a patchy run of form, Sociedad have been able to rediscover their best form over recent games, as they have picked up two wins on the bounce. That is the kind of form that they will need to come into this game with to stand the best chance of progression.
Real Sociedad vs Manchester United Head To Head
This will only be the third time that Manchester United and Real Sociedad have locked horns. They last met in the 2013-14 Champions League campaign, with United winning once and drawing the game that was played in Spain. United’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford came courtesy of an own goal from Martinez Berridi.
Real Sociedad vs Manchester United Prediction
Avoiding defeat in the first leg of a European tie is always the pivotal factor when it comes to knockout football. United will be happy to come away from Spain with a draw, and that also wouldn’t be the worst result for Sociedad.
Make sure to bet on Real Sociedad vs Manchester with 22Bet!
Lionel Messi scored two goals of the highest quality in La Liga this weekend to take his tally to 15 for the season.Both of the Argentine’s goals were scored from outside the box in superb fashion, as he helped Barcelona on their way to a 5-1 win against Alaves.Messi may now make our leaderboard, but he is still some way off reaching the runaway leader, Robert Lewandowski.The Bayern striker scored again on Monday in the German side’s rearranged Bundesliga match versus Arminia Bielefeld which was moved due to their Club World Cup exploits over the weekend.Lewandowski now has 25 goals and 50 points.His nearest rival for the Golden Shoe is fellow Bundesliga striker Andre Silva, who has now scored 18 for the season.Liverpool may have lost against Leicester, but Mohamed Salah still scored a lovely goal to take his tally to 17.Georgios Giakoumakis of Venlo has scored an impressive 22 goals and is the highest player on our list who doesn’t feature within one of Europe’s top five leagues.A talented group on 16 goals for the campaign includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, and Luis Suarez.2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE STANDINGS 2020/21 European Golden ShoeA reminder: The five elite leagues – Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 – all carry a weighting of 2, meaning that a player will be awarded two points for every goal they score in these competitions. For the leagues ranked sixth to 30 in Uefa’s coefficients rankings goals scored are given a weighting of 1.5, and goals scored in a league outwith the top 30, goals are given a weighting of 1. Ciro Immobile won the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, scoring 36 goals for Lazio in a tremendous Serie A season. 2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE (Summer Leagues) 2020 European Golden ShoePlayerTeamGoalsPointsKasper JunkerBomo/Glimt2740.5Amahl PellegrinoKristiansund2537.5Philip ZinckernagelBodo/Glimt1928.5Christoffer NymanNorrköping1827Rauno SappinenFlora Tallinn2626Veton BerishaViking1624Astrit SelmaniVerbergs1522.5Mushaga BakengaOdds BK1522.5Moses OgbuMjallby1421Anders ChristiansenMalmo1319.5Leke JamesMolde1219.5Maksim SkavyshBATE Borisov1919This is the 2020/21 European Golden Shoe race. If you want to see the final standing for the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, follow this link.
Chennai: India captain Virat Kohli said Tuesday his side showed more “grit” and “determination” to thrash England in the second Test, playing down complaints about the difficult pitch.
With local hero Ravichandran Ashwin claiming eight wickets in the match and scoring 106 in the second innings, India completed a 317-run victory inside four days in Chennai.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel claimed a five-wicket haul on his Test debut as England were out for 164 while chasing an unlikely 482 on day four.
Some said the Chennai pitch, which crumbled from nearly the first day, was not fit for a Test.
But England made no public complaint and Kohli rejected the criticism and said his side played a “perfect game”.
“I think our application with the bat was outstanding,” said the India captain.
“The conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application and grit and determination to battle it out.
“We didn’t panic out there looking at the hard turn and bounce on that pitch.”
Kohli highlighted that India scored 600 runs over two innings despite the conditions, and winning the toss made no difference.
“So if you put up that kind of batting performance and you string in those important batting partnerships then we know that our bowlers are going to do the job.”
England captain Joe Root conceded that his side were “outplayed in all three departments this week” and had to learn quickly before the third Test in Ahmedabad.
But he added: “I would say it was a challenging wicket. I do think that it was an important toss to win.”
England, he said, now have to be “honest” and learn quickly to adapt to conditions in India.
England, struggling since the opening day, kept losing wickets after resuming on 53-3 on day four.
Root departed for 33 soon after lunch, falling to Patel.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav joined in to finish off the innings, taking Moeen Ali after he smashed 43 off 18 balls.
The last wicket partnership of 38 between Ali and Stuart Broad, unbeaten on five, was England’s highest of the match.
England, who have been resting and rotating players, said Ali would be returning home after the Test.
Ali had coronavirus in Sri Lanka but recovered to take a total of eight wickets in the second Test against India.
Ashwin’s five wickets to help bowl out England for 134 in the first innings in response to India’s 329 set the tone for the host’s dominance.
England conceded a lead of 195 and then struggled on a pitch that offered turn from day one.
“This wicket was very different to the one we played on in the first game,” Ashwin conceded, but he added that the wickets had not fallen from the balls he expected.
“It was the mind of the batsmen that got us wickets.”
Opener Rohit Sharma hit an attacking 161 to set up India’s big innings after they won the toss and elected to bat first.
Sharma’s seventh Test century and his first against England raised the pitch of the returning Indian crowd — present in a stadium for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.
Kohli made 62 in the second innings, putting on a key 96-run seventh-wicket partnership with Ashwin on day three.
Both sides need to win the series to take the second place in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand later this year.
The third Test — a day-night match — will begin in Ahmedabad on February 24.
Authorities have not said if fans will be allowed into the world’s biggest cricket stadium — with a 100,000-plus capacity — for the game.
Read: England thrashes India by 227 runs in first Chennai Test
As Americans continue to weather the pandemic, the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and spending bill passed by the federal government in December brought an unexpected and lasting gift: a new national park.The 5,593-page spending package included a raft of provisions authorizing little-known projects — the construction of the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, for one — and giving lawmakers a chance to advance a variety of long-delayed initiatives. Among them was the elevation of the New River Gorge, in southern West Virginia, to the status of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the country’s other most renowned outdoor spaces. The designation of the area — roughly 72,000 acres of land flanking 53 miles of the gorge — as a national park and preserve creates the 63rd national park in the United States and completes a multigenerational effort, started in the mid-twentieth century, to transform a tired industrial area into a national landmark.“Towards the end of this year, with these big bills coming down, I decided to strike,” said Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican and the state’s junior senator, who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, introduced the New River Gorge legislation in 2019.“This was the right opportunity,” she said.A draw for rafters, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiastsThe gorge and its surroundings have been prized for decades as one of southern West Virginia’s more spectacular natural places.In 1963, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution seeking to designate the New River Gorge as a “national playground,” preparing to send the proposal to President John F. Kennedy, whose primary campaign was lifted substantially through support from West Virginia voters. But momentum to create a national recreation area stalled after Mr. Kennedy’s assassination later that year.Though the gorge remained a curiosity among rafters and outdoor enthusiasts, the area only received federal protection from the Interior Department in 1978, when it was designated a national river.Now, the outdoor offerings in the gorge have come to define the area as a premier destination for adventure sports in the East.The New River plunges 750 feet over 66 miles, resulting in long stretches of violent rapids that can reach a class five level, generally considered the most difficult that can be navigated by white-water boaters. (Licensed outfitters operate in several towns near the river, providing rentals and tours for rafting and kayaking.)The canyon walls, which soar as high as 1,600 feet, offer miles of cliffs that rank among the best in the East Coast for rock climbing. Sheer faces in the gorge made of robust Nuttall sandstone provide both traditional and sport-climbing routes across the difficulty spectrum.Bike routes are scattered throughout the park on both sides of the river, with options for both technical mountain biking and more casual pedaling along former railroad beds.A glimpse back in timeAccording to the National Park Service, geologists believe the New River — its name a misnomer used by early American explorers who often assigned the same name to any river they came upon for the first time — was a segment of the preglacial Teays River. This larger river, which traversed much of the current Ohio River watershed, was later diverted and broken up by glaciers. The age of the Teays is uncertain, but fossil evidence suggests it could be as much as 320 million years old, leaving its remnant, the New River, as quite possibly the second oldest river in the world.Beyond the millions of years of geological history on display, the gorge is also filled with signs of the region’s heritage as a major coal production hub.Miners once capitalized on the easy access to rich deposits of high-quality bituminous coal in the canyon, where the river had already shorn through hundreds of feet of rock. Especially after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway linked the New River coal fields to markets in 1873, dozens of boom towns popped up along the river’s edge, thriving well into the 1920s.In 1963, a coal mine was still operating in the gorge, said Dave Arnold, a state tourism commissioner who operated a rafting company for more than 40 years.“In ’76 or ’77, if you were in my boat, we’d have been floating down the river and I would have been showing you, ‘here’s an old coal tipple, here’s the old hotel at Caperton, here’s this and that,’” he said.The demand for coal around the turn of the twentieth century was so high that towns existed every half mile along up the river, according to the Park Service. As the industry went into decline, however, by the 1950s many were already abandoned, leaving ghost towns scattered throughout the gorge. Additionally, logging during the late nineteenth century stripped vast portions of the gorge bare, clearing enormous swaths of virgin forest.The park contains the remnants of communities such as Nuttallburg and Kaymoor, which still stand near the riverbank and are accessible from points higher up. Seams of exposed coal are visible along some trails leading into the gorge and its towns, where abandoned mine portals and the foundations of coke ovens remain.Restoring an ecosystem with diverse wildlifeDespite the environmental degradation and pollution that industry unleashed, some unique ecological features make the gorge well-suited to a diverse combination of wildlife, which has slowly reappeared as time has passed.The river lies at the center of a migration corridor where plants and animals that typically range further north or south come together, including several federally endangered and threatened species, such as the Virginia big-eared bat and the Allegheny woodrat.According to Lizzie Watts, the park’s superintendent, the river itself is also notably warmer than surrounding areas, making it a popular warm-water fishing destination with more than a dozen public access points. The river is one of the premier spots for smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast, and muskellunge and walleye are common in the park today.“The next generation will have the opportunity to see what, in the last 150 years, it looks like when an area goes from being logged and mined to left alone,” Ms. Watts said. “The ecosystem has come back to full trees and mature forests.”As federal protections took effect after the Park Service began overseeing the area as a national river in 1978, wildlife has largely recovered, and many see an opportunity to showcase the region’s natural elegance.“To show off our rock climbing, our extreme sports availabilities in that area, is just really exciting,” said Ms. Capito of what she described as a “kind of wild and wonderful part of our state.” ‘The cream of the crop’The National Park Service, created in 1916, oversees more than 400 areas across the country, including national monuments, seashores and battlefields as well as parks, which together total more than 85 million acres.While the new title for New River Gorge does not fundamentally alter the area’s day-to-day operations, both lawmakers and the Park Service tend to view “national parks” as the crown jewels of the park system — a protection granted to some of the largest and most prized tracts of the country.“National Park status is usually considered like the cream of the crop,” Ms. Watts said. “But it really is just another one of those names.”The New River Gorge does not match the scale of many national parks in the western United States, where Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone sprawl over more than 1 million acres each.Nevertheless, officials expect the new designation to bring a substantial influx of travelers, boosted in part by a dedicated set of enthusiasts who strive to visit every national park.In typical years, around 1.3 million travelers visit the gorge, according to the Park Service’s tourism data. Based on studies of other areas that received national park status, Ms. Capito said she expects to see visitors increase by as much as 20 percent.“It does feel like the very beginning stages of transformation for the whole area,” said Becky Sullivan, the executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’ll be very, very interested to see where we are in about 10 years.”Maintaining the community and its favored pastimesAs unique outdoor attractions throughout the Appalachian region have gained more national visibility, some concern has grown over the idea of a wealthy and mobile set from out of state trampling the communities adjacent to these places.West Virginia remains the second-poorest state in the country in terms of median household income, according to data collected by the United States Census Bureau. And while tourism has brought a needed injection of wealth to areas all around the gorge, it has also changed the makeup of neighboring communities, as more people have come to visit the park or settle down near it.Interest in the natural offerings around the park has brought slow but measurable change for small towns nearby like Fayetteville. Officials say that the advent of remote work during the pandemic has only hastened a trend of properties in the area being repurposed for vacation rentals and outsiders snapping up second homes.“You cannot find a house for sale in Fayetteville, because they’re just in such high demand,” said Sharon Cruikshank, the town’s mayor. “So that definitely changed the budgeting of the town as well as the county.”When legislation was first introduced to designate the area as a national park, pushback came from some locals. Hunters have long enjoyed access to secluded sections of woods around the gorge, and with hunting prohibited in federal parks, some protested the potential loss of thousands of acres of hunting grounds.In a compromise, more than 65,000 acres of the total area were designated as a nature preserve where hunting can continue as before, and only roughly 7,000 acres directly within the canyon are officially off limits as national parkland. A provision was included to empower the park to acquire more than 3,000 acres of private land around its current boundaries as well, to expand the size of the preserve and add public hunting grounds.In a nod to tradition, the legislation also enshrines the right for visitors to continue to make use of one of the park’s most famous features — the New River Gorge Bridge — at least once a year.BASE jumping, an extreme sport in which jumpers parachute from elevated structures or cliffs, is banned in every other national park.But, since 1980, BASE jumpers have been permitted to plunge from the top of the 876-foot-high bridge and parachute down toward the river once a year, on Bridge Day, held one Saturday in October. The legislation designating the area as a national park allows that tradition to continue.As many as 100,000 people typically come to watch the jumpers plunge, according to Ms. Sullivan, providing a major boost for businesses in the region. The event has only been canceled twice, including last year because of the coronavirus.Bridge Day’s organizers advise jumpers that the only dependable way to touch down safely is to plan to land directly in the river. In normal years, hundreds do so, often multiple times that day, gliding down and softly hitting the New River’s waters.
FILE PHOTO – PSL chairman Philip Ella Juico during the 2020 league opening. TRISTAN TAMAYO/INQUIRER.net
Despite encountering turbulent times, the Philippine Superliga is in the process of engaging a new television partner in GMA 7.
PSL chairman Philip Ella Juico announced Tuesday at the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum that league officials look forward to forging an alliance with the Kapuso network since breaking up with TV5 has become inevitable.
“We remain as strong as before and even stronger now because the teams that we have are very committed. As we speak today, we are starting negotiations with GMA 7 as our new TV partner,’’ said Juico.
Once the deal has been sealed, GMA 7 will air the league’s beach volleyball tournament starting Feb. 26, featuring eight teams in a bubble tournament in Subic Bay, Zambales.
Juico said the PSL currently has four teams—Sta. Lucia, F2 Logistics, Chery Tiggo and a guest squad in Petro Gazz—while the league is seeking to add two to three more teams as soon as the GMA 7 partnership has been finalized.
He added Generika, Petron and Marinerang Pilipina took a leave from the league and reports have it that Cignal has decided to move ship to the Philippine Volleyball League.
“If Cignal is joining the other league, we have no other sensible reason to stay at TV5. We have to adjust to the reality of the situation and the signs of the times,’’ said Juico during the weekly forum backed by Smart, Go For Gold, Milo, San Miguel Corporation, Braska and Pagcor.
But while the PVL has gone professional under the supervision of the Games and Amusements Board, the PSL, which decided to move the projected March opening of its indoor volleyball to a later date, has opted to remain non-professional.
“Our board, our team owners, the ones who are still with us really want to stay non-professional. We realized that there is really no room for two professional (volleyball) leagues in this country,’’ said Juico.
“What good will that do to Philippine sports development? It doesn’t make strategic sense. Why do we have to move up if there is already a (pro) league there? We’ll just stay here where we are happy and have created a niche,’’ added Juico.
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