Steve Smith, Matthew Wade to face Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins in pre-Ashes trial match

first_imgFormer Australian captain Steve Smith and Ashes aspirant Matthew Wade will be facing leading pacers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in an internal trial at Southampton that will decide Australia’s squad for the upcoming tour of England. David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will also be part of the practice match, albeit in the same squad as Starc and Cummins.According to ESPNCricinfo, teams coached by Brad Haddin and Graeme Hick were named on Friday evening with Travis Head and Test captain Tim Paine leading the two sides. Head will have Starc, Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle and David Warner in his side while Paine’s side will include Smith, Wade, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson and Cameron Bancroft.”I think it’ll definitely get the adrenaline up like in a Test match,” Cummins was quoted as saying. “It doesn’t happen too often – you’ll see our egos be put to the test, we’ll be going at each other I think. Maybe (played Smith before) in a T20, but not that I can remember.”I think personally from my point of view it’s about trying to get myself 100 per cent ready for a Test match. I haven’t played a first-class game in a few months so it’s going to be trying to bowl long spells, get the ball swinging, try and think of ways to get batsmen out. These guys are really good players just like the English Test side. There’s no really obvious flaw so you’ve got to try to work a batsman out. It’s going to be a good hit-out, everyone is in good form.”advertisementHaddin XII: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Kurtis Patterson, Travis Head (C), Marnus Labuschagne, Will Pucovski, Alex Carey (WK), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, Jon HollandHick XII: Joe Burns, Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (C), Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Chris Tremain, Nathan Lyon.last_img read more

Justice Hill Set to Win NCAA Freshman Rushing Title

first_imgAbout a month ago we looked at the possibility of OSU running back Justice Hill ending the season as atop the list of freshman rushers.Well, thanks to Clemson’s domination of Ohio State (and Buckeye redshirt freshman Mike Weber’s lowest output of the season of 24 yards), it looks like that possibility will be realized.Hill’s 1,142 yards are most among FBS freshmen. The only freshman with a chance to catch him is Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts (891 yards), and it’s not really a chance. Hurts would need 251 yards against Clemson in the national championship game.So, since that’s not happening, I’ll go ahead and congratulate Justice for another badge of honor in an impressive (and record-setting) rookie campaign.Here are the top rushing freshmen for 2016-17.1. Justice Hill (Oklahoma State) – 1,142 yards / 5.5 yards per carry / 6 touchdowns2. Mike Weber (Ohio State) – 1,096 yards / 6 yards per carry / 9 touchdowns3. Benjamin Snell, Jr. (Kentucky) – 1,091  yards / 5.9 yards per carry / 13 touchdowns4. Damarea Crockett (Missouri) – 1,062 yards / 6.9 yards per carry / 10 touchdowns5. Trayveon Williams (Texas A&M) – 1,057 yards / 6.8 yards per carry / 8 touchdowns While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

OSU Named One of College Football’s Most Tortured Fan Bases

first_imgSuccess is subjective. How do you measure it? Winning 10 games in football? Contending for conference titles? Winning a big rivalry game?Mike Gundy has captained Oklahoma State’s program to new heights, turning a once-in-awhile blip on college football’s radar to a top-15 program. But OSU has yet to take that “next step”.What is the next step? That’s also subjective but most OSU fans would like the Cowboys to compete for national championships rather than conference titles. Most would just like them to be competitive in Bedlam.Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports compiled a list of the top five most-tortured fan bases in college football and (wouldn’t you know it?) Mr. Fornelli feels your pain.Oklahoma State landed at No. 4 on his list.It can’t be easy to be an Oklahoma State football fan. You spend your entire existence living in the shadow of your state’s other major program, Oklahoma. Making matters worse, even though you’ve been one of the better programs in the country over the last decade, you still don’t get much respect nationally because everyone is focused on Oklahoma. This is a team that has won at least 10 games in five of the last seven seasons, yet the most attention it received in that period was when it blew a title shot by losing to Iowa State in 2011, and when Central Michigan beat it on a Hail Mary that never should have happened last season. CBS SportsIt’s true that the Cowboys probably don’t get the national recognition they should. The helmet sticker rule is real and it’s a part of college football. But if OSU ever wants to turn the tide on that they get an opportunity every year.The bad news is that, starting this fall, it may take two wins over OU to take that next step. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

Can OSU Finally Find an X-Factor in the Return Game?

first_imgOn October 31, 2015, during a Halloween game in Lubbock, Jalen McCleskey fielded a high-bouncing punt, went right and proceeded to break the hearts of the tortilla faithful as he followed blockers into the end zone. The Cowboys would beat the Red Raiders 70-53. That was also the last time a Cowboy scored on a punt or kickoff return.Over Mike Gundy’s tenure, the presence of a dynamic kick returner had almost become the norm. There were guys like Dez Bryant, Perrish Cox and Josh Stewart. Justin Gilbert. Tyreek Hill.Each one of them had the ability to take the most redundant part of a football game and turn it into a dramatic momentum shift, in no time at all. Unfortunately for Gundy, the Cowboys have hit a bit of a dry spell in highlight-worthy return plays over the past couple of years.In 2015, a good chunk of kick return reps fell to a pair of true freshmen in running back Jeff Carr and wide receiver Jalen McCleskey. At times, their inexperience showed. Neither really struck fear into the hearts of opposing coaches.In 2016, it looked like prodigal son Barry J. Sanders might reignite the return game. After that exhilarating 57-yard punt return in the season opener against SE Louisiana — that probably should have been a TD — Sanders didn’t gain more than 12 yards in any single punt return the rest of the year. Neither did McCleskey, who split punts with the former Stanford tailback.It’s not just that the Cowboys couldn’t score on a single return last season. They were never able to find “that guy,” even with the multitude of playmakers at different skill positions on the roster.During practice this week, our own Hayden Barber asked Gundy if he has anyone in mind to resurrect that crucial role.“McCleskey catches, Carr catches, Tyron Johnson will catch,” said Gundy. “And then we have to get a freshman. One of those guys. We have enough skill coming in between the running backs, receivers and corners that one of those freshmen needs to emerge back there, whoever we end up playing, we need to have one of those guys back there returning.”McCleskey and Carr are both experienced in the role, no doubt. We know both are bigger and stronger now. We know both can make plays. Maybe just more experience is the key.Then there’s the apparent 2017 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Tyron Johnson. Maybe he is the x-factor the Cowboys have been waiting for. There’s also a couple of redshirt freshmen backs in speedster La’Darren Brown and Ja’Ron Wilson who may get a shot by this fall. Or it could be Chuba Hubbard, who hasn’t even showed up for school yet.It could be someone we’re not even talking about.But if you’re in attendance for the Spring Game, you’ll get just a small glimpse at the kick returners. There will be no punt returns and scores will be followed by a spot on the 25-yard line but each half will have an opening kickoff.So fight the urge to check your phone during those kickoffs. You might miss that juke or wiggle that starts a renaissance in the return game. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

‘Ronaldo can play at the top as long as he wants’

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo Ronaldo can play at elite level for as long as he wants – Fernandes Sacha Pisani 19:05 3/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(5) CristianoRonaldo-cropped Getty Images Cristiano Ronaldo Lokomotiv Moskva v Spartak Moskva Real Madrid v Getafe Real Madrid Portugal Primera División World Cup Lokomotiv Moskva Premier League The attacker may have turned 33 last month, but he shows few signs of slowing down, something his countryman puts down to his mentality Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo can continue playing at the highest level for as long as he wants, insists countryman Manuel Fernandes.Ronaldo celebrated his 33rd birthday in February but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is still going strong for club and country.He has scored 14 La Liga goals and 28 across all competitions for Madrid in a relatively modest season by his own exceptional standards but netted twice in Madrid’s 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie last month. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Indeed, he has started 2018 better than any other calendar year with Los Blancos and now the former Manchester United forward will look to help Madrid complete the job at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday as Madrid seek to win the competition for the third season in a row.And Lokomotiv Moscow star Fernandes told Omnisport: “Cristiano is special because of his strong winning mentality.”He is very aware of what needs to be done in order to achieve his goals.”Obviously, he takes care of himself and that’s another main reason for his success. A true model of professionalism and constant superiority.”Keeping up his physical condition and wanting to achieve more, he can play at the highest level until he wants to.” Aside from a potential Champions League three-peat, Portugal’s captain, all-time leading scorer and most capped player will also be targeting World Cup glory.Ronaldo helped Portugal triumph at Euro 2016, and Fernando Santos’ men now head to Russia in June with heightened expectations.The European champions will come up against neighbours Spain, Morocco and Iran in Group B and Portugal’s hopes are set to rest heavily on Ronaldo.”Spain are one of the strongest candidates to win the cup,” World Cup hopeful Fernandes – who has 11 caps for Portugal – said.”It is true that the initial clash with them will be extremely difficult, but I’m sure they think the same when they consider their first match in the World Cup is against the European Champions.”We will be focused on that initial match, but also must consider how difficult the games against Morocco and Iran will be. Morocco has players featuring in the best European leagues and Iran has had an impressive qualification phase and has been preparing exclusively for this competition for over a year now. It’s a World Cup level group, one of the strongest.””Cristiano as always will be in his best form but if you ask him, I’m sure he will say the team’s form and belief will be the decisive factors.”last_img read more

OU’s Recent Recruiting Loss Validates Gundy’s Policy on Commits and Visits

first_imgThere is no right or wrong way to recruit teenage football players. Some coaches act as the last line of defense, empowering assistants to do much of the work and stepping in as the de facto closer when the time comes. Others empower themselves (or have their executive assistant empower them) via social media, building up cache in a world where high schoolers glued to their cell phones spend more than any. Some go as far as to slumber party with their prospective student-athletes.Some probably shouldn’t go that far!In each approach, there is success and failure to be had, risks and rewards to be calculated before they deploy their strategy. And in each approach, the nuances of recruiting teenage players often bubble up.One such instance is one OSU coach Mike Gundy experienced recently when a new pledge, Myles Price, committed to OSU. According to GoPokes.com, Price, shortly after his pledge to the Pokes, made an official visit to Texas Tech against the orders of OSU’s staff, causing him to lose his OSU scholarship and effectively removing himself from the OSU commitment list.Gundy faced backlash from the decision, including from yours truly on this website. Because in 2019, where players are encouraged to explore their options and to take all their visits — Mike Gundy himself said this week of his son, “I want him to take his visits and just enjoy the process,” according to The Oklahoman — pulling an offer when a player is taking a visit elsewhere is somewhat of an old school way of doing things.But perhaps old school isn’t so bad — or so wrong. I’m open to that possibility. And after this weekend, perhaps it’s actually time to consider Gundy ahead of the curve on the matter.I’m not ready to issue a mea culpa on this front, but fans of the crimson and cream who judged Gundy for his ruling on Price are probably now wishing their coach had adopted a similar policy.Over the weekend, the Sooners lost a pledge from four-star cornerback Dontae Manning, a gut punch in itself but especially for this reason: he officially visited Texas A&M in mid-June, less than two months after his OU pledge. Now, A&M is considered by many in the industry to be the favorite to flip him.Perhaps OU pulling Manning’s offer after he visited A&M would have resulted in a Gundy-like backlash. Perhaps OU would never issue an edict to not take other visits, regardless of commitment status. Perhaps Manning’s flirtation was inevitable after A&M offered shortly in the aftermath of his OU pledge. Or, perhaps, this is simply what happens when teenage players make commitments — the commitments simply fizzle and lose their luster.If you make a commitment to a school, as Gundy’s line of thinking appears to be, either stand by it or leave it in the rearview. Because whether or not you’re saying it with your words or with your actions, taking visits elsewhere indicates interest elsewhere, and interest elsewhere indicates a commitment level of somewhere less than 100 percent. Let’s call it 92 percent, for funs.Committed, but not all the way.Call it old school, call it taboo, call it whatever you want. It’s time to consider that Gundy, whose controversial decision to pull an offer from a committed player was met with criticism, has now earned vindication thanks to a huge recruiting loss from his biggest rival. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

Mike Gundy Blames Chuba’s Limited Workload on … a Fumble?

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. The Cowboys offense got off to a slow start on Saturday against McNeese and it was ugly early.On the third offensive snap of the game — and his second carry — Chuba Hubbard basically ran into center Johnny Wilson. The collision dislodged the ball.Well …. oops. pic.twitter.com/szLTcvsKoZ— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) September 7, 2019Fortunately, Spencer Sanders had the presence of mind to dive on the ball and the possession was saved.So do you just chalk that up to a rough start on offense and move along? Not according to Mike Gundy.On Monday, when he was asked about OSU’s run-to-pass ratio early, Gundy blamed Chuba’s light workload on the fumble and not the fact that he’s Chuba and he doesn’t need to play more than one quarter against an FCS team anyway.“Two things,” said Gundy. “The offensive line was average and Chuba put the ball on the ground and when you put the ball on the ground, you’re out. So he’s not going to get his carries if he fumbles and the offensive line was average.”That sentiment is sound. Ball security is one of the most important assets a running back can possess, but it seems a little disingenuous when you look at the fact that Chuba stayed in the game for more than an entire quarter after that fumble and that he carried the ball six more times. He had eight rushes for 44 yards total.Shortly after that bugaboo, veteran wide receiver Dillon Stoner also fumbled but this time the ball ended up in the hands of the defense. It was his first target where he made the catch and the first down before being stripped at the sideline. Stoner would also stay in the game into the second quarter and was target three more times.I get it that Gundy wants to make a point about putting the ball on the turf, but I have a hard time believing that if this happens on Chuba’s second carry in Austin, that anyone else would be the featured back the rest of the way.This was Chuba’s first fumble on the season. He dropped four balls as a freshman last year, losing two of them.last_img read more

9 months agoNewcastle boss Benitez confident Clark and Lascelles injuries not serious

first_imgNewcastle boss Benitez confident Clark and Lascelles injuries not seriousby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveNewcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has hopes of injuries for Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles not being serious.During their FA Cup win at Blackburn Rovers, Lascelles was forced off after just 10 minutes of coming off the bench with a hamstring issue while Clark suffered a knee problem.After the game Benitez said: “We have to assess them over the next couple of days.“Lascelles? I don’t think it is very serious.“We had to make a substitution and we did what we needed to get through. Now it is about getting three points against Cardiff.“Clark went off at half-time with a knock to the knee but we will see if he is fine.“I don’t think it will be serious.“We have to manage the team, manage the squad, but we wanted to win.“You could see the players working hard until the end, with determination to go through.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

a day agoBVB chief Zorc pushed about Mourinho rumours

first_imgBVB chief Zorc pushed about Mourinho rumoursby Paul Vegasa day agoSend to a friendShare the loveBorussia Dortmund chief Michael Zorc has denied they’re planning to change coaches.Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been linked with Lucien Favre’s job at BVB.However, Zorc said: “We have had no coaching discussion and lead no coaching discussion.”Zorc’s comments were made before last night’s Champions League defeat to Inter Milan.The goals were scored by Lautaro Martínez (22) and Antonio Candreva (89). TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img