Smith and Warner banned for a year by Cricket Australia for ball tampering

Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned for 12 months over the Australia ball-tampering scandal while Cameron Bancroft has been suspended for nine months

Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned from representing their country for a year- with nine months for Cameron Bancroft- after Cricket Australia came down hard on the three players involved in ball-tampering.

The sanctions were announced on Wednesday in a damning statement from the governing body, with Smith also stood down from his captaincy role for a minimum 12 -month period. Warner is stripped of his position as deputy and will never again be considered for a leadership role.

Warner has been painted in the worst light, with Cricket Australia stating that the vice-captain was behind the scheme, and instructed Bancroft to scuff the ball use sandpaper – not sticky tape, as previously claimed – with additional advice on how to do so during the 322 -run third Test defeat to South Africa in Cape Town.

Smith was privy to this but did not prevent it and, along with Bancroft, purposely misinformed the on-field umpires when they stepped in. Both players are also noted to have misinformed the public in their post-play press conference, while Warner is accused of not being truthful with the match referee.

In addition to their national suspension, all three players will be barred from representing their states in the Sheffield Shield during this time and cannot play in the next edition of Australia’s Big Bash League.

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A brief history of ball-tampering- video

Overseas assignments, such as English county cricket and the Indian Premier League, appear to be theoretically permitted. However the latter has now barred Smith and Warner from taking up their respective PS1. 3m deals with Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad this year.

The Cricket Australia chairperson, David Peever, told:” These are significant penalties for professional players and the Board does not enforce them softly. It is hoped that following a period of suspension, the players will be able to return to playing the game they love and eventually rebuild their careers .”

The punishments appear draconian when held up against the one-Test prohibition Smith received from the International Cricket Council. Bancroft was simply fined.

But Cricket Australia and its chief executive, James Sutherland, have been under pressure from the public back home, sponsors and even the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to make an example of those involved.

After an investigation by his head of integrity, Iain Roy, Sutherland had announced on Tuesday evening that no other team-mates or support staff- including head coach Darren Lehmann- had been aware of the scheme hatched during the lunch break at Newlands.

All three have the right to appeal against their punishments- they would get a hearing from an independent commissioner- and have been offered support from the Australian Cricketers’ Association should they choose to go down this road.

Without an IPL berth next month, Smith could now attempt a district cricket bargain. It would allow the world’s No 1 Test batsman to prepare fully for defenses of both the Football world cup and the Ashes on English soil although overseas places in this year’s county summer are now in short supply so close to its start on 13 April.

Whether Warner resumes his international career appears unclear, with the mood in the Australian camp having reportedly turned against him, while his vocal posture in last year’s pay dispute has left few allies at board level. A career on the overseas domestic Twenty2 0 circuit may well beckon.

The 31 -year-old opening batsman, who earlier on Tuesday stood down as captain of his IPL side, before the BCCI ruled out his and Smith’s participation wholly, has also lost a personal sponsorship deal, with LG Australia opting not to renew an expiring deal.

Bancroft, who only made his Test debut in the early stages of Australia’s recent 4-0 Ashes victory, is due to play for Somerset this year and the club have put out two statements thus far saying they are monitoring his situation.

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Halep taken to hospital as Australian Open defends roof decision

Simona Halep was taken to hospital with dehydration following her Australian Open final defeat by Caroline Wozniacki, forcing tournament officials to explain why the roof was left open at the Rod Laver Arena

Caroline Wozniacki wins Australian Open title after epic battle with Halep

Caroline Wozniacki won her maiden grand slam title in Melbourne, beating Simona Halep 7-6, 3-6, 6-4

Simona Halep survives marathon 28-game final set against Lauren Davis

The world No1 emerged from a titanic third-round battle with American Lauren Davis to progress to the second week of the Australian Open

Billie Jean King leaves Australian Open organisers reeling over new controversy

Billie Jean Kings call for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed over her derogatory LBGT remarks left Australian Open organisers red-faced for the second day in a row

The Australian Open was plunged into a second controversy in 24 hours when Billie Jean King declared on Friday she could not support the continued naming of Margaret Court Arena after the nation’s best player because of her “derogatory” statements about the LBGT community.

On Thursday, the tournament director, Craig Tiley, was forced to defend the decision to invite Maria Sharapova to share the podium with the men’s champion, Roger Federer, at the televised describe rite, even though she has served 15 months for failing a drugs exam here two years ago.

He argued that in the absence of the women’s champ, Serena Williams, it was appropriate to have a former title-holder in Sharapova step in for her- on the 10 th anniversary of winning the title.

That generated a minor stir locally, and there was more to come on Friday.

King, who announced she was a lesbian at 51, was responding to a New York Times story in which Martina Navratilova- another player who has pioneered homosexual rights since proclaiming her own sexuality several years ago- criticised Court for her stance.

Navratilova said she would refuse to play on Margaret Court Arena if she was still playing, and King agreed as she was being honoured at a press conference when she was named the Australian Open woman of the year.

” She won 24 grand slams, more than anyone else ,” King said of Court, who announced last month she would not attend this year’s tournament.” Rocket[ Rod Laver] got the Arena, and people said,’ What are you going to do for Margaret ?’

” I don’t know. I think it’s really important if you’re going to have a name on anything that you’re hospitable, you’re inclusive, that you open your limbs to everyone who comes to a public facility.

” I was fine until lately when she said so many derogatory things about my community, about the LBGT. That truly ran deep in my heart and soul. If I was part of voting- which I’m not; it’s really up to the people of Australia- I would[ referendum to change it ].

” I personally don’t think she should have[ her name on it] anymore. I think if you were talking about indigenous people, Jews or any other people, I can’t imagine the public would want someone[ such as Court] to have her name on something like that.

Billie
Billie Jean King talks with Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley. Photograph: Mark Baker/ AP

” Maybe because of our community, the LGBT community, people might feel differently but we’re all God’s children. I likely don’t think it’s appropriate to have her name on it.

” I have my name on a whole facility[ at Flushing Meadows] in the US. I remember that day, having my name up there, and the sense of responsibility. I could hardly breathe because of the responsibility. I think if I’m going to have my name on anything, I would welcome Margaret, I would greet whoever- whether I agreed with them or not. It’s not important.

” I think she’s just gotten genuinely derogatory. When she talks about the children of transgenders being from the demon that set me over the edge.

” I think it’s really important to be your authentic self. It took me a long time about my own sexuality. I was 51 before I felt comfortable in my own scalp. Shame-based things are very difficult, so that’s the last thing this is necessary. Children of LBGT family have a much higher rate of suicide. This is part of being derogatory towards us. I just think it’s not healthy .”

The tournament organisers posted an audio tape of the press conference on the media section of their website- only to take it down soon afterwards without explanation.

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Mile Jedinak hat-trick against Honduras sends Australia to World Cup

Captains match-winning showing procures Australias passage to next years World Cup finals in Russia

The day ended in the same manner it had started in Australia– with a resounding, deafening “yes”. The thunder from the ANZ Stadium crowd as captain Mile Jedinak three times received the back of the net in an ultimately comfy 3-1 win over Honduras matched those around the country when the nation’s marriage equality survey result was announced earlier on Wednesday.

The Socceroos are going to next year’s World Cup in Russia, their fourth successive finals, after ending a mammoth qualifying campaign that considered Ange Postecoglou’s side play 22 games over 884 days and travel more than 250,000 kilometres to 22 countries. This campaign has been nothing if not an epic journey.

They didn’t made it easy for themselves and will rue the missed opportunity to qualify automatically at the end of the group stage, a failing that added yet more air miles and another four games to their circuitous route to Russia. But Jedinak’s 53 rd minute free-kick and two coolly-converted penalties eventually, memorably, secured his side’s passageway to Russia on a momentous day in the nation’s history.

The game was the epitome of a must-win match , not just to its implementation of qualification but also in terms of the longer-term ramifications for football in Australia. Given the destabilising consequence recent political infighting among the domestic game’s stakeholders has already had, defeat and failure to qualify for the World Cup was unthinkable. Then there is the question of cash- the tidy sum of $12.5 m paid out by Fifa for qualification is not to be sniffed at, particularly at a time when FFA need it most.

Yet question mark remain over the future of Postecoglou, and whether he will be in charge once the flight departs for Russia next year. As expected, the coach refused to deflect from the glory of the night and did not corroborate or deny supposition he will leave his post before the finals. That particular storyline will be played out over the next few days, once the hangovers are overcome and the euphoria dies down.

Rarely one to stick to a starting lineup- he has sent out the same side just once during his tenure- Postecoglou promised changes, and true to his term there were four. Tim Cahill’s ability to change a game in a snap of his neck muscles was backed from the beginning, while Mark Milligan and Mathew Leckie returned from suspension. Tom Rogic, who began on the bench in San Pedro Sula, also came in.

Postecoglou had also indicated his side would” go hard” in Sydney and with six players lining up on the halfway line for kick-off, home intentions were clear. But a briskly optimistic opening soon dedicated way to the beginnings of annoyance as the visitors attempted, at times successfully, to take the sting out of the Socceroos early fervour.

Yet Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic, Australia’s most influential players, were able to give indications of their skills. Huddersfield midfielder Mooy’s free-kick on 13 minutes created pulsations in the Honduras box before the ball was parried to security by goalkeeper Donis Escober and the first real chance of the night fell to Rogic, who scuffed his shooting after good work by Cahill at the byline had played in Aziz Behich.

For Honduras, forays into the Australian half were few and far between and it took half an hour for the returning Alberth Elis, the visitors’ most dynamic player who missed out on the first leg through suspension, to prove what he is capable of going forward. Otherwise, as an attacking entity, Honduras were barely existent.

If coach Jorge Luis Pinto’s gameplan was to play for extra-time and the lottery of penalties, it worked- for the first half at least. But with the Socceroos enjoying far more possession, there was a degree of inevitability to the first goal.

Jedinak was the designer as his free-kick took a hefty deflection off Henry Figueroa, on as a substitute and to be later brought back off again, and wrong-footed Escober. There was some embarrassment as to who to award the goal to, but the Aston Villa midfielder was afterward credited.

Cahill, full of running but with little opportunity to showing his nose for goal, did go close soon after the opener ran in. His looping header from nearly the leading edge of the penalty area ricochetted on top of the crossbar.

Yet with the score only 1-0, and given the vagaries of the away objectives rule, the game still rested on a knife edge and Australia needed a second. It came from Jedinak again, with 18 minutes remaining, after Bryan Acosta was adjudged to have handled in the area, perhaps unjustly. With the pressure on, the skipper induced illuminate of any nerves he may have been suffering and slotted home.

He was to repeat the trick on 85 minutes, this time after Robbie Kruse was carried down in the box, to complete his hat-trick and a consummate captain’s performance.

Honduras grabbed a late consolation, through a scrambled effort involving Elis and later credited by Fifa to Maynor Figueroa, but it meant nothing. The day had already been won.

Pre-match logic suggested that if the Socceroos could not beat Honduras at home, they did not deserve to rub shoulders with the world’s best in Russia next year. By extension, this victory fully justifies their place. They might have taken their hour on a long, circuitous route and given their supporters hell through the process, but their objective has been completed. They induced it.

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Orica-Scott: 24 hours on the road with the Australian Tour de France team

Kieran Pender joins the Orica-Scott cycling team as they battle their route through the gruelling stage 17 of the Tour de France

Since its establishment in 2011, Orica-Scott has become one of the leading squads in the World Tour peloton. The only Australian outfit competing at the highest level of road cycling, Orica-Scott has won stages at each Grand Tour and numerous prestigious one-day races.

In 2017, the team travelled at Tour de France start city Dsseldorf with a different objective in mind: Orica-Scott has come of age, and stage wins are no longer enough. The yellow jersey is the most prestigious award in cycling, and it is firmly on team proprietor Gerry Ryans agenda.

While Ryans squad has performed admirably in the overall rankings before last year Esteban Chaves placed second at the Giro dItalia and Adam Yates finished fourth in France the Tours 104 th edition is the first time the team is entertaining just one objective: general classification success. Although Orica-Scott has attempted to manage expectations, with this campaign portrayed as a warm-up for an assault on the 2018 maillot jaune, they faced their toughest Tour yet.

This got nothing to do with luck

11:36 am, Wednesday: Team Bus

In the scenic mountainside township of La Mure, Orica-Scotts team bus parks at the end of a kilometre-long throng of vehicles, bikes and people. True to form, the Australian-registered World Tour outfit is 19 th of the 20 participating squads to arrive. We are not always last, a staff member gag. But we are certainly never first.

Stage 17 is one of the toughest in the three-week race, the difficulty of multiple category two or tougher climbings compounded by tired legs. Today is a key stage, tells Orica-Scott sports director Laurenzo Lapage. It is no longer a question of being fresh, but of being less tired than the other squads. Every day something can happen one weak moment and your Tour is over.

Given the challenging climbs ahead, maintaining riders fed and hydrated throughout the stage is critical. Each evening the directors devise a plan for the following day, determining the placement of bottle-carrying staff along the course. It is quite the puzzle, Lapage admits. Riders can collect food and water from squad cars by falling to the back of the peloton, but doing so wastes precious energy.

Orica-Scott by numbers

With the start time rapidly approaching, head athletics director Matt White initiates a pre-stage briefing. His colleague Matthew Wilson offers the weather report light breezes, variable temperatures and a chance of rainfall before outlining each section of the course. White then takes over: I am not going to complicate something very simple. We know what we need to do today.

That something is to protect Brit Simon Yates, Orica-Scotts 24 -year-old general classification contender. Yates is wearing the young riders white jersey and sits barely two minutes behind overall leader Chris Froome. This got nothing to do with luck, White tells his charges. We are here because we have ridden well as a team.

The likely tactics of rivals are briefly considered veteran Mathew Hayman interjecting occasionally before the working day strategy is unveiled. White wants an Orica-Scott rider in the early violate, someone who will be available to help Yates over the latter climbing. You are not there to win the stage, he tells bluntly. Run as far as you can and then assist Yatesy. With Whites spiel over, the riders exit the bus wearing focused expressions. Yates mumbles some words to the media before riding to the start. I have had a few strong days and I am feeling good, he says.

Internet access can induce or transgress your day

1:43 pm, Team Bus

On the bus, driver Garikoitz Atxa winds his way through the Alps as a skeleton crew run away onboard. Most staff are roadside on bottle responsibility. Communications director Taryn Kirby taps at her laptop, sending out live race updates to Orica-Scotts 520,000 -strong social media following, while videographer Anthony Drofenik naps; the teams popular backstage pass daily videos are often not uploaded until 2am, so sleep is at a premium. Dependable phone reception can also be scarce in small French towns internet access can construct or break your day, tells Kirby.

Orica-Scott has a well-earned reputation for being the most media-friendly team in the peloton. This is partly the work of proprietor Ryan, the Jayco caravans millionaire, who has often quipped that Orica-Scott are in the business of entertainment. It is also a by-product of being registered in Australia, where professional cycling lacks the mainstream popularity it enjoys in Europe, and necessitated by commercial imperatives. We do not make money in any other way, explains Kirby, so we need to help our sponsors.

While the communications director insists she would never prioritise press access at the expense of high performance objectives, it can be a difficult balance. During the Tour de France, Orica-Scott are being filmed for a forthcoming series on Amazon Prime. No other team would commit to that, tells Kirby. The cameras are everywhere, even at times traditionally considered sacred by riders: on the bus and at meals.

After injured forced West Australian Luke Durbridge to withdraw from the Tour, Kirby faced a dilemma. Amazon wanted to film Durbo straight away, she tells. It was an uncomfortable moment, but I decided that as he had withdraw there were no longer any high performance considerations. Orica-Scotts transparency has won them fans and backstage pass now has a cult following. Many of us were initially quite confronted by the intrusion, says Wilson, who rode for Orica-Scott in its first year before becoming a sports director. But then it only became part of the team.

Orica-Scott
Orica-Scott mechanic Andrzej Pozak cleans bikes during a rest day. Photo: Vaz Juchima

Once the bus arrived at the finish township Serre Chevalier, Atxa prepares for the riders return. Orica-Scotts transport has its own infamy in France, after it caused chaos by becoming wedged under a Corsican finishing line in 2013. When an inflatable distance marker collapsed on team member Adam Yates last year, Tour boss Christian Prudhomme allegedly joked: Now we are even. With no overhanging metal gantry to navigate, Atxa stimulates post-race food recovery shakes, rice, pasta and museli and cleans the onboard showers. His colleagues fire up a satellite television to watch the stage.

This is our dream

2.07 pm, Team Car

Professional cycling may be a rich sport Orica-Scotts annual budget outstrips A $23 m but fund cannot buy a decent television signal in the mountains. People imagine we have all sorts of fancy technology to follow the race, suggests Wilson, driver of the second team automobile. But often we just have our own eyes.

Each silver Renault has a dashboard-mounted screen, which, signal permitting, would ordinarily depict the live race feed. But in Wilsons vehicle, the television is locked on old French drama and a remote control is nowhere to be found. Race and team radio, a WhatsApp group and eye sight are guiding Orica-Scott through this stage.

The convoy snaking behind the race is a place of barely-organised chaos. Teams, medics, media, police and race organisers liberally construe road rules as they jostle for the best posture. While convoy order is officially dictated by each squads general category standing, cars move back and forth to service their riders, so minor accidents are platitude. As if to emphasise the phase, a UAE Team Emirates vehicle rear-ends Wilson.

But road rage does not inhibit an admirable sense of collegiality, both in the convoy and among the peloton. Team Sunweb sports director Luke Roberts asks Orica-Scott to mind several riders, and he subsequently refunds the prefer. Teams regularly offer food and water to opponent riders, while the peloton performs pass-the-parcel with bottles.

After constructing the breakaway pursuant to Whites instructions, Chaves cracks on the first uncategorised climbing. I am done, he gasps through the car window. While the ever-cheerful Colombian battles on valiantly, he struggles to keep pace and eventually drops back. Following strong Grand Tour results last season, Chaves was seen as a potential amber jersey candidate, but trauma troubles and a personal misfortune midway through the Tour have taken their toll. While the diminutive climber can be regularly heard encouraging downtrodden team-mates this is our dreaming, he reminds them by week three it voices more mantra than conviction.

Although tempers often flare in professional cycling, during stage 17 there is a sense that the teams are in this together; the mountains are enemy enough. One early casualty is green jersey wearer Marcel Kittel, who recede after being unable to shake the after-effects of a crash. His premature exit is welcome news for Sunwebs Michael Matthews, who takes the sprint classification leading. Notwithstanding their frustration for Kittel, Matthews elevation is recognise warmly in the Orica-Scott car; Bling rode for the Australian attire until December.

The brief distraction is soon forgotten when the race reaches Col du Tlgraphe, different categories one ascent which precedes the days toughest chore: the feared Col du Galibier. Chaves early deviation from the breakaway has caused difficulties for Orica-Scott, and Yates is soon riding without support in the general category group. Despite regular words of encouragement from White over the radio, Yates loses contact with Froome and company. You are right there, exclaims his sports director, but the Englishman cannot recover the distance. Worryingly for Yates, white jersey rival Louis Meintjes remains with Froome.

It could have been a disaster

5:03 pm, Team Car

At the other aim of the race, 39 -year-old Hayman pouts. He is in a gruppetto 30 minutes behind the leaders, and concern is growing about the time cut riders must finish within a certain percentage of the wins day. The domestique has become a fan favourite since winning ParisRoubaix last year, and there are Australian flags aplenty on Galibiers switchbacks. Hayman you are a God, yells one spectator, eliciting a brief smile from the pained rider.

As Wilsons car nurses Hayman up the last climbing, its passengers frantically seek updates on Yates. With no reception and the radio now out of range, the fate of Orica-Scotts leader is unclear. One fan asks through the window, who won? Wilson sighs: You tell us. After cresting the mountain, a bellow eventually arrives. Yates finished 14 th , 90 seconds behind Meintjes. While Orica-Scott retain the white jersey, Yatess lead has been nearly halved.

Orica-Scott
Orica-Scott rider Simon Yates on stage 17. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/ Reuters

For only the second time this Tour, White defers his debrief until the following morning. With Orica-Scotts eight riders in a state of exhaustion, the sports director decides to leave the evening free. Yates, Hayman, Chaves and their team-mates head for hour-long massages, dinner and an early night.

There is no rest for the support staff though. Mechanics wash motorcycles, soigneurs clean cars and Kirby prepares a press release. Despite the tumultuous day, White puts on a brave face. Yatesy rode very smart on that last climb, he tells. If Simon went too deep trying to stay with the lead group, it could have been a disaster.

Ultimately, what can a coach-and-four do when the riders are half way up a mound ?

11:32 am Thursday, Team Bus

Orica-Scotts bus does not pull into the stage 18 start town until late morning, but several staff member have already been at work for hours. Danish cook Nicki Strobel woke at sunrise to prepare breakfast, a spread of fresh bread, omelettes, porridge, fruit and juice. The gourmet restaurant-trained chef is also responsible for mid-race snacks; Nutella treats were popular on Wednesday and are again tucked into feed bags.

The mood in the debrief is surprisingly upbeat. Despite Yatess time losses, White is impressed by the maturity he demonstrated. The sports director canvases his riders, asking each for their positives and negatives from the stage. Hayman, who finished last, quips I didnt find much. The session is conversational, the riders discussing the stage, and at times disagreeing with their colleagues. England rugby head coach-and-four Eddie Jones, on board as a guest of White, is impressed by their involvement. It is good to see the cyclists taking responsibility for their performances, he says afterwards. Ultimately, what can a coach-and-four do when the riders are half way up a mound?

White has the final word. We are not here through luck, the 43 -year-old repeats. With that, the stage is forgotten and attention turnings to the day ahead: 179.5 kilometres from Brianonto the infamous Col dIzoard. It is the privilege of the Izoard to recognise the champion, a Tour de France race director once wrote. Despite Wednesdays travails, Orica-Scott are up for the challenge.

Kieran Pender is following the Tour de France with the purposes of Orica-Scott .

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Kelly Slater: shattering bones at J-Bay ‘like smashing foot with a big hammer’

The perils of surfing were again in evidence at Jefferys Bay in South Africa on Monday when the 11 -time world champion, Kelly Slater, sustained a badly broken foot

The perils of surfing were again in evidence in South Africa on Monday when the 11 -time world champion, Kelly Slater, sustained a badly broken foot in between rounds at the World Surf Leagues Corona Open J-Bay.

Slater was free surfing at Boneyards when he pulled out of a barrel and was struck by his committee, transgressing two metatarsal bones in his right foot. The trauma is expected to sideline him for six weeks, ruling him out of contention at Jeffreys Bay and the next stop of the tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

Slater took to Instagram to reveal the extent of the injury and post an x-ray of his shattered foot. Have you ever folded your entire foot backwards? he wrote. Kinda like smashing my foot with a big hammer as hard as I can. Sorta feels like Im giving birth out of my foot right now. He added that he expected to have to undergo surgery on his foot.

You ever folded your entire foot backwards? If you try it sometime, this is what it might look like. I pulled into a barrel this morning and the whitewash bounced the board back into my foot as I hit the closeout, taking all the pressure into the metatarsals. Kinda like smashing my foot with a big hammer as hard as I can. Sorta feels like I’m giving birth out of my foot right now! I’m guessing surgery and 6 week holiday is in order. Not looking forward to 30 hour flight home before surgery though. Ouch! It sucks but so many people deal with such horrible things around this world everyday that a broken foot is pretty minor in the scheme of things. Sometimes a bad thing is a good thing. I’ll construct the best use of my time off. #ThatsGonnaLeaveAMark #INeedElephantTranquilizers

A post shared by Kelly Slater (@ kellyslater) on Jul 17, 2017 at 5:53 am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Slater had appeared in good form in beating Julian Wilson and Kanoa Igarashi in the opening round, to win through directly to round three. But it was Filipe Toledo who stole the show on his return from a forbid for attempting to storm the magistrates tower in Rio, laying down the benchmark with a 9.63 ride followed by a perfect 10 to find off Igarashi in the second round.

The Brazilian was supposed to meet Slater next, but will now progression from the third round without having to take to the water.

Australias Wilson secured his safe passage from the second round with victory over countryman Josh Kerr while Owen Wright beat Ethan Ewing to boost the number of Australians in the third round.

It feels nice to get going and get that round two out of the route, Wright said. It was a scrappy heat but it played out to my advantage. I felt like it was going to be a slow one so I knew I needed to get going. When you dont get the best wave of the heat its tough to come back.

J-Bay title holder Mick Fanning, who famously survived an altogether different kind of peril in the South African water two years ago, is one of that number, and faces another Brazilian, Caio Ibelli.

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Sponsors dragged into pay dispute as Australian players pursue rival deals

Cricket Australias corporate partners have joined the ranks of aggrieved parties as a result of the cricket pay dispute

Cricket Australias corporate partners have joined the ranks of aggrieved parties as a result of the cricket pay disagreement. Key sponsors KFC and Toyota are among a number of commercial backers left exposed by the failure of administrators and players to come to a speedy resolution, while fiscal asset manager Magellan has baulked at signing on as naming rights sponsor for upcoming Test summertimes until a new pay bargain is signed.

According to a Daily Telegraph report, Big Bash League naming rights sponsors KFC, who throw between$ 3m and$ 4m into Cricket Australias coffers each year, are among a number of top tier sponsors currently wary of the capacities of uncontracted players to sign endorsement are dealing here with corporate rivals. Had a new memorandum of understanding( MoU) been negotiated by the June 30 deadline, KFC and others would have been protected from such exposure to ambush marketing.

The dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association is unfortunate and one we hope will be resolved amicably as soon as is practicable for the benefit of the game, a KFC spokesperson told The Daily Telegraph.

In what could prove the first of many similar deals in weeks to come, Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc has signed a sponsorship contract with an Audi dealership in Western Sydney an agreement that will not please Cricket Australias automotive category sponsors Toyota. It is expected that several other players will sign third party commercial deals in the absence of Cricket Australia contracts.

Two weeks ago Magellan emerged as the astonish challenger to take on the Test series naming rights sponsorship vacated by Commonwealth Bank Australia( CBA ), who decided to redirect their budget to backing womens cricket but the asset management company is considered unlikely to ink a deal until the pay dispute is resolved.

That leaves Cricket Australia without a sponsor for the upcoming Test and one-day international summers, after Carlton and United Breweries( CUB) aimed its sponsorship bargain for the latter. The Australian estimated that CBA had paid in the region of $50 m for its four-year sponsorship of Test cricket, while longtime backer CUB kicked in approximately $65 m over five years. The current marketplace rate on the Test deal is estimated to fall in the region of$ 6-8m per season. No clear competitors have emerged to take on the one-day international and Twenty2 0 international deals.

According to an ESPNCricinfo report, prior to the 30 June expiry of the MoU Australian players were warned by CA squad performance administrator Pat Howard that they faced six-month prohibits for participating in unsanctioned matches, and that they were not to sign sponsorship deals that conflicted with CAs commercial partnerships. News of Starcs Audi deal indicates that key players are willing to defy CAs demands until a new pay bargain is signed.

In addition to the scramble for major sponsors, CA is facing serious hurdles in its attempt to sign a lucrative Tv rights deal. At hours in the last 18 months they had hoped this sum would push the$ 1bn mark for a five-year agreement, but the financial difficulties of Big Bash League broadcaster Ten and a flatlining commercial Tv scenery have added unwelcome commercial pressure on CA.

Most pressing of all for Australian administrators is the looming spectre of a cancelled Ashes tour. Last week, the ECB confirmed in a statement to ESPNCricinfothat unless CA and the players association reached a new agreement, England would not travel to Australia for the pavilion series. CA reacted swiftly, saying they are 100% confident that the Ashes will go ahead.

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‘He’s dreaming’: Nick Kyrgios responds to John McEnroe’s coaching suggestion

Nick Kyrgios has a short response for John McEnroe, who lately discussed the intriguing possibility of a part-time coaching role with him

Nick Kyrgios has a short response for John McEnroe, who recently discussed the intriguing possibility of a part-time coaching role with him. McEnroe has been a fierce critic of the mercurial Kyrgios at times, questioning his mental toughness, but he has also been a big supporter of his talent.

Commentating at the French Open, McEnroe used to say, if he were to take any part-time coaching job: The guy that would make the most sense on paper would be Nick Kyrgios because we are two head cases. He did add: But mentally we are a bit wacky.

Asked about that prospect ahead of this weeks Queens Club tournament in London, Kyrgios was less than impressed. Hes dreaming, Kyrgios snapped.

At No2 0 in the world, Kyrgios has been usurped by fellow young handguns Alex Zverev and Dominic Thiem in the race for a spot the worlds top 10. Twenty-year-old German Zverev, 23 -year-old Austrian Thiem and Kyrgios, 22, are widely viewed as potential next hotshots of the sport, with Zverev stamping his credentials by beating Novak Djokovic in last months Italian Open final.

However, Kyrgios denies feeling any inferiority as he heads towards Wimbledon next month. Ive never lost to him so I dont look at it and think it should have been me, Kyrgios said of Zverev.

Hes a great player and does everything right. Hes very professional. His consistency seems to be pretty good. Hes playing deep through tournaments. Hes so young and has amazing potential and is going to be argue for grand slams. But has he made the quarter-final of a grand slam? No. Ive made two.

Kyrgioss brilliance and on-court antics build him a box office draw in world tennis, with Queens Club tournament opting him to world No1 Andy Murray to front the competitions main draw on Saturday. But for all their capabilities, the Canberran admits retaining focus is still a challenge.

I am not thinking about top five[ ranking] at the moment, he said. I am just trying to get through every day, trying to play and set as much effort in as I can. Because I know when I start thinking ahead, how much hour I have ahead, objectives and stuff, Ill start losing motive and wont try.

One player Kyrgios believes can become a top-1 0 player is compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis, on the comeback trail after injury wiped out his 2016 season and fell him from 65 to 993 in the world. The 21 -year-old South Australian has been handed a wildcard for Queens where hell play Milos Raonic first up.

Hitting with him today, his level is so high, Kyrgios said. As soon as he gets his body right and as soon as he gets some more luck, hell be right up there with Zverev and Thiem. If hes healthy hell produce. Look at what he did against[ Kei] Nishikori at the French Open. He took him to four, nearly five situateds in only his second match back.

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