Latest – The New Zealand combination of Michael Venus and Erin Routliffe have won through to the quarterfinals of the mixed doubles at the Australian Open.
Michael Venus Photo: Photosport
The pair beat Tim Puetz of Germany and Alexa Guarachi of Chile 6-3, 7-5 in their second round match.
They’ll take on the fifth seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Kristina Mladenovic of France in the quarter-finals.
Venus and Puetz play doubles together and are through to the quarterfinals in Melbourne.
They play the Australian wildcard pairing of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis tonight.
Afridi named cricketer of the year
Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Afridi has been named men’s Cricketer of the Year, while Indian opener Smriti Mandhana has won the women’s award.
Afridi combined with team mates Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan to help his country dominate the annual awards announced by the ICC.
England captain Joe Root won the Test Player of the Year honours to prevent a sweep of the men’s awards by Pakistan.
Pakistan captain Babar was adjudged One-Day Cricketer of the Year while his deputy Rizwan grabbed the T20 award.
A fourth Pakistan cricketer, Fatima Sana, won the Emerging Women’s Cricketer of the year award.
In the other women’s categories, South Africa’s Lizelle Lee took the one-day honours, while England’s Tammy Beaumont bagged the T20 award.
South African Marais Erasmus was Umpire of the Year.
Anthony Joshua may step aside to allow unification bout
British boxer Anthony Joshua is in talks to step aside from his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk so the Ukrainian can fight Tyson Fury in an undisputed heavyweight bout.
Fury’s promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren have been pushing for Dillian Whyte to agree terms while simultaneously speaking to Joshua’s team about stepping aside so Fury can fight Usyk next.
An agreement for either fight is expected to be reached this week when the Fury v Whyte purse bids will take place.
Whyte, the mandatory challenger to Fury’s WBC belt, is adamant he deserves more than a 20% cut of the fight revenue, the split ordered by the WBC, and purse bids for the fight have been postponed three times while talks continue.
Team Fury have become frustrated with the delays having already pencilled in Fury to fight on 26 March in Cardiff, and the offer to Joshua to step aside could pressure Whyte into agreeing terms.
Should purse bids take place, rival promoters will be able to bid to stage Fury v Whyte.
The WBC has a history of delaying mandatory challenger fights if a major bout is agreed – and a fight between Fury and Usyk for the undisputed title would certainly meet that criterion.
Brendan Taylor received money for spot-fixing
Zimbabwe batsman Brendan Taylor is facing a ban from the International Cricket Council after admitting he received a $15,000 “deposit” for spot-fixing, though he said he was blackmailed and never went through with the arrangement.
Taylor said he was coerced into accepting the money from an Indian businessman in October 2019 and that it took him four months to report the incident to the ICC anti-corruption unit because he feared for his safety.
Taylor travelled to India to discuss the launch of a new T20 competition in Zimbabwe with the promise of $15,000 as payment.
“We had drinks and during the course of the evening, they openly offered me cocaine, which they themselves engaged in. I foolishly took the bait,” Taylor said in a statement released via Twitter.
“The following morning, the same men stormed into my hotel room and showed me a video taken of me the night before doing cocaine and told me that if I did not spot-fix at international matches for them, the video would be released to the public.”
Taylor said he was handed $15,000 as a deposit, and promised he would receive another $20,000 when the job was complete.
The 35-year-old Taylor, who played for Zimbabwe in 34 tests, 205 one-dayers and 45 T20s, retired from international cricket in September.
India needs work in the middle order
A 3-0 drubbing in South Africa is a timely reminder that India need to overhaul their approach to one-day cricket and head coach Rahul Dravid says the problem lies in how they fared in the middle overs — both with bat and ball.
Rohit Sharma Photo: PHOTOSPORT
With regular skipper Rohit Sharma among a slew of players laid low by injuries, the team led by KL Rahul were whitewashed after their four-run loss in Cape Town at the weekend.
With India also missing all-rounders Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, and Washington Sundar due to injury, Dravid said the series was an “eye-opener” and that their conservative batting was down to a lack of team balance.
“We certainly could do better in the middle overs,” the former India captain said after the ODI series, which followed their 2-1 defeat in the preceding test series.
“We understand the template, and a large part of that template is dependent on the balance of your squad.
India began the tour by winning the opening test in Centurion before suffering five consecutive defeats across two formats.
They host West Indies for three one-dayers and three Twenty20 Internationals next month.