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N.Korea says won’t attend Beijing Olympics, blames COVID-19 and ‘hostile forces’

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(Last Updated On: January 7, 2022)

In a letter to China, North Korea blamed “hostile forces” and COVID-19 risks for not being able to attend the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing and accused the United States of trying to prevent the Games’ success, state media said on Friday.

It was unclear whether the letter from North Korea’s Olympic Committee and Sports Ministry was referring only to its athletes – who are not eligible to compete after North Korea was suspended from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until the end of 2022 after failing to send a team to the Tokyo Olympics last year, citing COVID-19 concerns, Reuters reported.

According to the report a summary of the letter by state news agency KCNA made no mention of a diplomatic delegation, and the country has maintained a strict self-imposed border lockdown that has blocked even its own diplomats from entering and choked off nearly all trade.

The letter criticised unspecified moves by the United States, which in December announced its government officials will boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics because of China’s human rights record, while leaving U.S. athletes free to travel to Beijing to compete.

Several other countries, including Britain, Australia, and Canada have also since announced diplomatic boycotts, Reuters reported.

“The U.S. and its vassal forces are getting evermore undisguised in their moves against China aimed at preventing the successful opening of the Olympics,” the North Korean letter said, calling the moves “an insult to the spirit of the international Olympic Charter and as a base act of attempting to disgrace the international image of China.”

North Korea has sent high-level political leaders to some previous games, including the sister of leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong, to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s second-highest official at the time, visited Beijing for the Summer Olympics in 2008.

China has been North Korea’s only major ally since the two signed a treaty in 1961, and international sanctions imposed over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes have made it more dependent than ever on Beijing for trade and other support, read the report.

“We could not take part in the Olympics due to the hostile forces’ moves and the worldwide pandemic, but we would fully support the Chinese comrades in all their work to hold splendid and wonderful Olympic festival,” the letter said, according to KCNA.

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Ex-England captain heaps praise on Gujarat Titans’ star spinner, Rashid Khan

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(Last Updated On: May 22, 2022)

Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has heaped praise on Gujarat Titans star spinner Rashid Khan for contributing in every department in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.

In an interview with Cricket Live on Star Sports this week, Pietersen said: “You can’t keep the great guys down, he’s such an electrifying personality.

“He’s one of the cool dudes and he delivers whenever the captain looks at him. He’s just in the feel in this season. He’s a busy cricketer and keeps talking with the captain which is good to see.”

The Afghan star cricketer credits the team management for his and the team’s good show in the tournament.

Praising the overall mood in the Gujarat Titans’ camp and the atmosphere created by head coach Ashish Nehra and the entire support staff, Rashid said the players are doing well because of the relaxed dressing room.

Also speaking on Cricket Live on Star Sports, Rashid said: “The mood is positive, Ashish bhai always asks us to remain chilled out, take care of our diet and have a sound sleep for that will help in recovery. Whether we win or lose, the environment in the dressing room remains the same. There is no extra pressure on the players as well and that is why we are delivering more often than not.”

“He (GT captain Hardik Pandya) talks to the players who are not just in the playing eleven but also with those on the bench and gives them confidence. He has created a positive mindset in the dressing room,” added Rashid.

The IPL 2022 is almost over with the play-off stage set to commence on May 24.

The tournament which began on March 26 will conclude with the final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on May 29.

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Hindukush Strikers win Green Afghanistan One Day Cup

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(Last Updated On: May 20, 2022)

Hindukush Strikers were crowned Green Afghanistan One-Day Cup champions after beating Pamir Legends in the final match on Friday.

Batting first after winning the toss at Khost Cricket Stadium, Pamir Legends posted 172-4 in 39 overs before bad weather stopped play.

The revised target for the Strikers was 204 runs in 33 overs (DLS method) and they chased it down by three wickets with four balls to spare.

Ibrahim Zadran (60) and Bahir Shah (55) hit fifties for Hindukush Strikers.

For Pamir Legends, Samiullah Shinwari hit 55 not out, followed by Gulbadin Naib who made 44. Naib also picked up three wickets, the most by a player in the match.

Thousands of cricket fans attended the final. Senior officials of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) including Deputy PM Abdul Salam Hanafi also attended.

The domestic one-day tournament started on May 8, with three teams including also Maiwand Defenders participating.

A total of seven games were played across 12 days.

The teams featured all the available national-level players as they prepare for the upcoming international assignments

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Afghanistan to tour Ireland in August for 5 T20Is

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(Last Updated On: May 19, 2022)

Afghanistan Cricket Board confirmed Thursday that the dates and venues for the five T20Is for the Ireland tour have been confirmed.

Afghanistan’s Senior Men’s Team will tour Ireland from August 9 to 17 and matches will take place in Stormont, ACB said in a statement.

Afghanistan’s tour was initially scheduled to include a Test match and three ODIs, but the tour was rescheduled to a later date with both sides looking to maximize their T20 cricket exposure in the lead-up to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in October.

ACB CEO Naseeb Khan said: “Afghanistan have ample experience of playing Ireland for over one decade, and it’s turning out to be a nice rivalry between the two teams. The confirmation of the dates for the series is a positive sight, as part of our build-up to the T20 World Cup in Australia.

“At the same time, we are looking forward to rescheduling our multi-format (a test and three ODIs) tour of Ireland in the near future,” he said.

Afghanistan last played Ireland in a T20I series in March 2021 in Greater Noida, India with Afghanistan winning the three-match series 2-1.

Ireland v Afghanistan men’s T20I series:
9 August: Ireland v Afghanistan, 1st T20I (Stormont)
11 August: Ireland v Afghanistan, 2nd T20I (Stormont)
12 August: Ireland v Afghanistan, 3rd T20I (Stormont)
15 August: Ireland v Afghanistan, 4th T20I (Stormont)
17 August: Ireland v Afghanistan, 5th T20I (Stormont)

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