Pakistan have appointed Younis Khan as their batting coach for the tour of England.

Younis, Pakistan's most successful Test batsman, made his final appearance for his country back in 2017.

He will now help Pakistan in a coaching capacity as head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and his players gear up for a scheduled tour that comprises three Tests and three Twenty 20 Internationals from August to September.

The coronavirus pandemic had brought the cricket calendar to a halt but, with West Indies arriving in England for a behind-closed-doors Test series, Pakistan are making preparations for their tour.

In addition to appointing Younis, they have also named Mushtaq Ahmed as their spin-bowling coach. He has previously served in the same capacity for England.

Younis said: "For me, there has never been a bigger honour and a better feeling than to represent my country and I feel privileged to have been again offered the opportunity to serve it for a challenging but exciting tour of England.

"The Pakistan side includes some immensely talented cricketers who have the potential to achieve greater heights. Together with Misbah-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed and [fast-bowling coach] Waqar Younis, we will try to make them better and prepare them as best as we can with on and off-field coaching and guidance.

"We all know English conditions demand not only precise technique but patience and discipline, and if you can master these, then you will not only excel in England but anywhere in the world. With the quality we have in the team, I think we have a good chance to produce good results if we prepare properly, get our processes right and hit the ground running as soon as we land."

Misbah added: "When I took over the captaincy during a difficult period in 2010, Younis proved to be a great ally and support, and I am confident he will provide similar assistance as we head to England with a clear objective of putting Pakistan cricket back on the road to success.

"Mushtaq Ahmed is loaded with the experience of helping elite cricketers from different countries and is widely regarded as a mentor. Mushtaq is always involved in the game and this attitude will further help us in our pre-series preparations and enhance our prospects in the series.

"Due to events beyond human control, the series in England will be one of the most challenging and difficult and, as such, we need to have the best talent and brains on our side. Younis as well as Mushtaq clearly tick all these and additional boxes, which will assist us in achieving our targets."

Because of the challenge of keeping players in a safe and secure environment, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has elected not to hold a national team training camp prior to their departure for England.

The PCB has asked the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to bring forward that departure date to allow Pakistan extra practice time.

Jason Holder welcomed "a huge step forward" for cricket and sport as West Indies embarked on a trip to England for their three-match Test series.

The Windies have arrived in Manchester ahead of the planned behind-closed-doors Test series, which will start in Southampton on July 8.

They are the first international sports team to visit the United Kingdom since lockdown began in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

West Indies' 39 members of their touring group, which includes 25 players, tested negative for COVID-19 prior to their charter flight from Antigua and are now poised to be tested again.

They will enter quarantine at Old Trafford, which will host the second and third Test matches and serve as their base to prepare for the opening encounter.

Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo and Keemo Paul opted to withdraw from the touring party because of the pandemic.

But West Indies captain Holder was in a positive mood and aware of the significance of the trip.

"This is a huge step forward in cricket and in sports in general," Holder said, speaking before the team landed in England.

"A lot has gone into the preparations for what will be a new phase in the game.

"I’m happy for the support and well-wishes we have been receiving from our loyal and dedicated fans once it was confirmed the tour would go ahead. This has been a source of great inspiration.

"We have a fantastic group of cricketers, coaches, medical staff and support staff and I know everyone is eagerly looking forward to the start of the first match."

West Indies beat England 2-1 in the Caribbean last year but have not won a series in England since 1988.

Holder said: "There is expectation in the air that we will defend the Wisden Trophy and we will certainly put in the work and give it our all to keep hold of it."

Assistant coach Roddy Estwick was also optimistic about the team's chances if they can contain the England bowling attack.

"Three years ago, it was a very, very young unit," Estwick said of the team who lost the 2017 series 2-1 in England. "Now we've got seasoned Test players, we've got players with 50 Test matches.

"So I think once we can hit the ground running and get the preparation in, get some match practice under our belts, we can be a lot better.

"We've got youngsters coming through. If we can get scores on the board we can really challenge England because I know the bowling will be good."

West Indies have arrived in Manchester ahead of the planned behind-closed-doors Test series with England.

England manager Gareth Southgate feels UEFA's approach to tackling racist incidents in stadia is unacceptable and he would not hesitate to lead his team off the pitch if required in future.

The subject of racism in society has been at the fore of global discussion since George Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25. A police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes, sparking protests across the United States and beyond.

England players were subjected to racist abuse during Euro 2020 qualifiers in Montenegro in March 2019 and in Bulgaria last October.

UEFA's three-step procedure for tackling such incidents was initiated during the game in Sofia, with the match twice stopped and announcements made over the stadium's public address system.

The last resort would have been to abandon the match, and Southgate said he would be ready to ensure that step was followed if he found England in a similar situation again.

"It's a strange situation when you're on the side of the pitch, because there are times where you're really attuned to the noise and there are other times where there are obviously chants going on that you can't quite distinguish," Southgate told Sky Sports.

"And in Bulgaria there were moments where it was really clear, when Tyrone Mings had the ball, and I think we were waiting anyway for the situation. In Montenegro that wasn't so clear. We felt a bit underprepared in Montenegro, we didn't even know anything about the UEFA protocols at that time, so we took it upon ourselves over the next period to really prepare ourselves for that night in Bulgaria as a group of players and as a staff.

"We had a long discussion with the players days before the game regarding how they saw it, what they wanted the approach to be, that they were clear we were there to support, that we had the backing of the FA regarding whatever we thought was necessary, but there's also a requirement to follow the regulations as well. We're in a competition, we've got to follow some of those guidelines.

"So we were in a position we wanted and we did the right thing, not just to do something to be seen to be trying to be the heroes and make a stance if it wasn't necessary, but as the evening was going on there were moments in the first half where we didn't think we'd get through the game.

"We had a long discussion at half-time, bearing in mind it really dominated the thinking - thankfully we were well ahead in the game we didn't have to think about the match by that point - and the players were very clear had there been another incident in that second half we were prepared to walk.

"I've heard people say there was abuse in the second half. None of the players were conscious of that, we weren't conscious of that, a big section of the ground were evicted at half-time, so we didn't feel on the night that the next step was appropriate.

"We wouldn't hesitate to go to the next step if we were in that situation again, and I agree, I don't think the protocol of allowing people almost two free hits is really acceptable.

"I agree we've always got to get further and frankly when we're at the point where we're having to take action on the pitch it's gone too far anyway. The situation's got to be addressed before we even get into the stadiums, in society."

Southgate said he had not spoken to any of the Three Lions' black and minority ethnic players about Floyd's death because he knew where they stood on the matter, adding: "It's occupied a lot of my thinking over the past week."

After Raheem Sterling spoke of the need for greater black representation at the top level in the Premier League and FA, and Kick It Out's Troy Townsend criticised the lack of diversity in coaching positions, Southgate said the time has come for significant and sweeping changes.

"I think that's clear across every level of the game and every level of society," he said.

"People have spoken brilliantly this week, [Sport England board member] Chris Grant is somebody who I've met a number of times, has lectured me on a couple of courses and went on about the institutional racism he feels exists in sporting bodies and sporting governance. I think all of those areas are where we've got to focus our attention.

"This feeling that Troy spoke about that people feel there aren't the opportunities there so young black people will refrain from taking qualifications or getting themselves prepared because they feel there is a ceiling to what's possible.

"We need their voices in those decision-making areas and we need to show people the opportunities do exist and that's got to be at every level of the game."

Former England Test captain Kevin Pietersen does not want to see Ben Stokes made skipper should Joe Root miss a game against West Indies next month.

England are set to return to action with three behind-closed-doors Tests against the Windies at the Rose Bowl and Old Trafford.

However, current five-day captain Root may be missing for one of those fixtures as his wife, Carrie, is due to give birth, with the batsman conceding he would leave the bio-secure areas in Southampton and Manchester to attend the birth.

Root has not missed a Test since being named captain in 2017 but has backed current vice-captain Stokes to step up should he not be available.

However, Pietersen has advised against having all-rounder Stokes fill the void given his own brief experience of a role he had for only three Tests.

"Do I want to see Ben Stokes change from who he is and the current player he is? Probably not, Jos Buttler would be my guy," Pietersen, who resigned as England captain in 2009, told talkSPORT.

"The entertainers and the guys that have to carry the mantle in the team sometimes aren't the best captains and sometimes struggle with the extra added pressure.

"As a player you are looked at completely differently until that phone call comes and you are announced as the Test captain.

"Responsibilities change, communication changes, the way in which you carry yourself in the dressing room changes.

"I struggled with it, I absolutely hated it and I was rubbish. You have to change and I couldn't command the respect of the dressing room. You say something and it is frowned upon, it is a completely different story."

Although insisting that he respected the decisions, legendary West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding believes the tour of England could be counted as a missed opportunity for the duo of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer.

Hetmyer and Bravo joined bowler Keemo Paul in rejecting the offer to join a 25-member squad to tour England this month.  With the UK being one of the countries most badly ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, the trio insisted that they did not feel it was safe to take the risk associated with going on the tour, despite safety assurances given by the England Cricket Board (ECB).  The matches will take place in front of empty stadiums and players will be kept in an enclosed and heavily quarantined environment.

With both players, despite their prodigious talent, struggling for firm footing when it comes to the West Indies squad, Holding believes the match could have provided useful hitting time.

“I think it’s unfortunate as far as West Indies cricket is concerned.  I’m not going to tell anyone that they should be going to England, because the COVID-19 is around.  Someone may get sick or even worse,” Holding said on youtube podcast Mikey – No Holding back.

“But at the same time, I think it’s unfortunate for the West Indies team because these guys have quite a bit of talent and they’ll be missed," he added.

“I’m sorry that Bravo in particular isn’t going, because I think he needs to resuscitate his career.  He started off so brilliantly, everyone thought he was going to be another great West Indian batsman but he hasn’t really fulfilled that.  I think the more cricket he can play now, especially with the West Indies, is the more he has a chance of getting on track and showing everyone the great player he could be,” Holding said.

“Hetmyer is another talented player and again I’m sorry that he is not going to get more opportunities to express himself, but I’m not blaming them for not going.”

 

 

West Indies bowling legend Michael Holding believes the team’s previously strong performances against England should give them plenty of confidence heading into next month’s Test series.

England are currently ranked at fourth in the world, four places above the eight-ranked West Indies.  On paper, it should be a comfortable win for the home team.  But, although the Windies have not managed to get any sort of result in the UK since 1995 and have not won a series there since 1998, the regional team has put in some solid performances, including when they last visited in 2017.

On that occasion, the West Indies were obliterated in the first Test but rebounded strongly on the back of two centuries from Shai Hope to win the second.  England went on to win the third Test.  Holding believes that particular battling performance and the fact that the Caribbean team turned the tables on the Englishmen on their last visit to the region will give the team some hope heading into the series.

“West Indies lost 2-1 when they were in England the last time.  They didn’t play that badly…the second Test match will have showed them that they are able to compete in England,” Holding said on youtube podcast Mikey – Holding nothing back.

“They are about 75 percent of the guys who toured England in this same squad, so it won’t be anything new for them.  So that should give them a little bit of help mentally and of course, they have the Wisden Trophy.  They beat England in the Caribbean and that should spur them on to make sure they retain that Wisden Trophy.  That is a big thing for them,” he added.

 

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has used the example of a multi-ethnic England team, winners of the 2019 World Cup, to make its point about the importance of racial equality and inclusion.

Earlier this week, former West Indies captain Darren Sammy called on the body to make its voice heard in standing up for racial injustice as protests continued to spread across the United States.  The unrest follows the killing of George Floyd, an African American man, by a white police officer.

The Minneapolis cop, Derek Chauvin, was recorded kneeling on the neck of Floyd while he was pinned to the floor for several minutes during an arrest.  He went unconscious and later died at the hospital.  Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder.  The protests have, however, ballooned into an international call for an end to racial prejudice with several athletes and federations lending their voices to the cause.

On Friday, the ICC posted a 90-second video clip of the final moments of victory for England with Barbados-born Jofra Archer bowling the thrilling Super Over against New Zealand.  "Without diversity, cricket is nothing. Without diversity, you don't get the full picture," read the message above the video, posted on social media platform Twitter.

The England team that won the competition, in addition to Archer, featured players that had connections to several countries.  Eoin Morgan an Irishman was captain. The best performer was New Zealand born all-rounder Ben Stokes, with the spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid of Pakistani origin.

 

 

The three players who pulled out of the upcoming West Indies tour of England expressed serious misgivings about the risk posed to their health, despite the assurances provided.

The trio, Darren Bravo, Keemo Paul, and Shimron Hetmyer all respectfully declined to be part of a 25-man squad picked to tour England next month.  With eyes firmly on the coronavirus epidemic, the three-Test series will be played in empty stadiums and players placed in a quarantined bio-secure environment as soon as they arrive in the UK.  In addition, the players will be brought in on a private flight.

The precautions were, however, not enough to assuage the fears of the players. With 283,311 cases and 40,261 deaths, the UK recently took over from Italy as the European country most badly affected by the coronavirus.  In declining Bravo, Paul and Hetmyer wrote to the CWI authorities and cited concerns for themselves and their families.

“Keemo Paul is the sole breadwinner in his entire household and wider family. He was really concerned if something happened to him how his family would cope,” CWI CEO Grave told ESPNCricinfo.

“He wrote passionately about how hard a decision it was for him and how much he loves playing for West Indies, but after with consultation with his family he doesn’t feel he can leave them and doesn’t want to go on the tour,” he added.

Grave went on to reveal that in a similar email from Hetmyer, he explained that he “didn’t feel comfortable from a safety point of view, leaving his home, leaving his family and heading over to England.”

The CEO had earlier insisted the decision will not be held against any of the players.

Recently recalled West Indies spinner Rahkeem Cornwall insists he is satisfied with precautions taken for the team's upcoming tour of England, in light of concerns related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The West Indies will travel to England for a three-test series next month, which marks a long-awaited return to international cricket for both teams. 

Due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, however, the matches will be played without fans and the players operate strictly within a bio secure environment.  The UK was the hardest-hit country by the coronavirus, recently surpassing Italy with the highest death toll in Europe.  Three players, batsmen Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo and all-rounder Keemo Paul opted out of the 25-man touring party because of coronavirus fears.

“Basically we are going to be quarantined and stay in an environment where you can’t leave.  So, it’s basically you and your teammates that would have to communicate for the duration of the tour.  So, I am satisfied that the precautions are in place,” Cornwall told the Antigua Observer.

“It’s a good feeling to be selected for the series.  We just have to try and be protective in terms of what’s going on, but cricketing-wise, it’s a good feeling knowing that you are going to get some cricket under your belt.  You just have to go and do what you have to do.  It’s not spinner friendly but you never know what conditions will be like.”

Cornwall could, however, have added concerns.  According to the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC), published in the UK last month, data has shown three-quarters of critically ill UK Covid-19 patients were overweight or obese.  Weight was rated according to body mass index (BMI) - a BMI of under 25 is considered ‘healthy’ while 25 to 29 is classed as ‘overweight’ and 30 or above, ‘obese’.  It is possible the spinner falls into a category associated with a higher risk of being badly impacted by the disease.

 

 

Rafael Nadal has celebrated plenty of times on Court Philippe Chatrier, but the jubilation he felt on June 5, 2005 is likely to live with him forever.

It was on this day 15 years ago when 'The King of Clay' won the first of his, to date, record 12 French Open titles.

Novak Djokovic and Francesca Schiavone were also crowned champions on June 5 in years gone by, while Michael Jordan produced one of the shots of his career in the 1991 NBA Finals.

Here we take a look at the most memorable sports events to have occurred on June 5.

 

1991 - Mid-Air Jordan switches hands for stunning lay-up

At this point 29 years ago Jordan was still the nearly man; a two-time MVP who had yet to win a championship ring.

The Chicago Bulls had lost Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers too, but they would level the series at home with a convincing 107-86 victory in Game 2 as Jordan scored 33 points.

But his display that night is best remembered for a single shot in the third quarter. Jordan drove towards the basket ready for a right-handed dunk, only to switch the ball into his left hand in mid-air upon seeing Sam Perkins and somehow flip a shot up off the glass and through the net to astound those in Chicago Stadium.

The Bulls would go on to win the series 4-1, beginning a dynasty that would see them dominate the NBA for most of the next decade.

 

2005 - Nadal begins French Open dominance

At this point 15 years ago Nadal was still a promising teenager hoping to win his first grand slam.

However, he was considered the favourite in the final against Mariano Puerta, having won three clay-court tournaments in the build up to the French Open and, despite dropping the first set, he would emerge victorious 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-1 7-5.

Nadal has won all but three French Opens since, though on June 5, 2016, it was Djokovic lifting the trophy as he beat Andy Murray in four sets to complete a career grand slam.

 

2009 - England stunned in World Twenty20 opener

Eleven years ago England suffered one of their most humiliating losses in any format.

In the opening game of the second World Twenty20 tournament, the hosts were expected to encounter few difficulties against the Netherlands at Lord's.

With England, who failed to hit a single six, having made 162-5 first up after being restricted to 73 in the second half of their innings, it came down to the chasing side needing two off the final ball to clinch a famous victory.

And they got them in farcical fashion as Stuart Broad's overthrow allowed Edgar Schiferli to scamper through for a second, sealing an incredible four-wicket win for the Netherlands.

 

2010 - Schiavone makes grand slam history

Tennis fans had become accustomed to the sight of Nadal winning grand slams by 2010 when Schiavone became the first Italian woman to reach a major singles final.

The 17th seed was up against Australia's Sam Stosur – who had beaten Justine Henin and Serena Williams along the way – and it was Schiavone who came out on top 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

Schiavone not only became the first Italian woman to win a grand slam singles title, but she was also the second-lowest ranked woman to win at Roland Garros in the Open era.

Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Bill Sweeney is hopeful England will not have to play autumn internationals behind closed doors at Twickenham.

England are due to host New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Australia in November but there are doubts over whether fans will be allowed in due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sweeney stressed the importance of supporters being able to attend for financial reasons and, with lockdown measures being gradually eased, he is optimistic Eddie Jones' side will not have to run out in an empty stadium.

"Playing behind closed doors - for us - is not much different to the games being cancelled," he told BBC Sport.

"By the time you fire up the stadium, pay for the players and the costs associated with preparation time and camps, when you play behind closed doors for us, there is not a huge difference between that and the games not taking place.

"Having attendance and having fans turning up is key."

Sweeney added: "If things progress as they seem to be progressing now, hopefully we will see crowds at Twickenham in October and November."

RFU boss Sweeney says alternative options are being explored if southern hemisphere teams are unable to head north.

"The preference from both the north and the south is that the original programme will go ahead," he said.

"But there are two or three different options that feature more northern hemisphere competition around that autumn window.

"One of them is you'd play a Six Nations tournament in that autumn that would combine with fixtures next year and for the first time ever you'd have home and away.

"Every [plan] has pros and cons to it and those are being evaluated."

Former Barbadian-born England fast bowler Gladstone Small admits he is thrilled by the prospect of seeing a well-rested Jofra Archer making life extremely uncomfortable for opposition batsmen when the West Indies come to town next month.

The West Indies and England are expected to mark a return to international cricket action, with a three-Test series, which will be held in the UK, in July.  Due to ongoing fears concerning the Coronavirus, the matches will be played without fans and in a sterile environment.  Small, insists, however, that he does not expect or want to see a competitively sterile series.

Archer, who is himself another Barbadian-born national turned Englishman and former West Indies youth representative, is expected to capture a good deal of the spotlight.  The bowler who began his career in promising fashion, took 22 wickets in his first four matches at an average of just over 20.  Some of his 95-per-hour thunderbolts, often had batsmen on the ropes, unsettling even the best of them.  During the Ashes, Archer delivered frightening deliveries that struck Australian batsman Steve Smith on the arm and then around the neck area before he could react to the ball.  The bowler has struggled to reproduce such form since and has been hampered by injury.  With the hiatus from sport granting him some recovery time and being recently declared fit for the series, Small is hoping to see that fire return.

“He had a great first year in the international game.  He came back from South Africa with an injury and didn’t play the last couple of Test matches.  Hopefully the time off has allowed his injuries to heal and he can come back charging and hitting guys on the helmet as he did in that series last summer,” Small told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

"I think the term fast bowler gets offered around loosely, especially in the modern game but this guy is genuinely quick and he makes it looks so easy...it’s good to see batsmen hopping around the crease."

Sam Burgess has accused his former Bath coach Mike Ford of behaving like "a snake" and being a disruptive influence on England during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Burgess crossed codes from rugby league to rugby union in 2014, signing for Bath, and was fast-tracked into the England squad by Stuart Lancaster.

But the World Cup experience turned sour, with hosts England knocked out in the pool stage after losing to Wales and Australia.

Burgess was chosen at centre for the Wales game, England's second pool fixture, and has claimed George Ford, named as a substitute, was "upset" with the decision.

Mike Ford, who is George Ford's father, was "doing his thing in the press" in the build-up to the Wales game as the situation became "a bit murky", according to Burgess.

And Burgess alleged Mike Ford was looking to "sabotage Lancaster" because he wanted the England job for himself.

"With George being his son, he [Mike Ford] kind of infiltrated the camp - that is my take on it," said Burgess, speaking to the House of Rugby podcast.

"After me starting against Wales, my relationship with George completely changed. He wouldn't talk to me, he was a bit sulky."

Burgess was replaced by George Ford with 10 minutes to play against Wales, and England went on to surrender their lead after the change.

"Knowing what I know now, I see the politics," Burgess said. "George came on with 10 minutes to go to please Mike, to keep Mike happy and to keep George happy. We didn't need him on, we had the team to finish the game."

Burgess has "so many fond memories" of his time at Bath, and friends from his time with the club.

But he said he struggled to see the right level of commitment from certain members of the squad, and Burgess became increasingly disenfranchised with union when it came to the World Cup with England, saying he had to ask Mike Ford to stop talking about him in the media.

"Obviously the politics went through the roof," Burgess said of the World Cup experience.

"The politics of - you can all read between the lines - I think Mike Ford wanted the England job, then George playing 10, and Owen [Farrell] 10 and me 12. There was a lot going on behind the scenes that I think people probably don't quite understand which influenced a lot of outside opinions."

When Burgess went back to Bath, he found it impossible to get on with Mike Ford.

"I couldn't sit in the same room as Mike. I had to tell him I couldn't play for him anymore, I'd lost respect for him. It was pretty hot if I'm honest," said Burgess.

"I came back from the World Cup and literally went straight into his office and said, 'Hey Mike, I don't trust you, I think you've been playing games behind my back, you have used me as a bit of a pawn in your game of chess, I can't put my boots on and play for you every week'."

Burgess said he was sent away on holiday but returned with the same view and soon returned to rugby league with South Sydney Rabbitohs.

He said: "I will never forget Mike's face when I said to him, 'Mike, I don't respect you anymore, I really don't, I think you are a bit of a snake'. I'll never forget the little quiver that I got from him."

Stats Perform News has approached Leicester Tigers, where Mike Ford is now a coach, for a reply to the accusations from Burgess.

Shane Warne made an indelible mark on the Ashes on this day in 1993.

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