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Sarfraz could learn from the Word Wizards of Oz | News | Sport



A good sledge needs to be heard and understood to be effective. After all, the point of uttering something witty or derogatory in the midst of competition is to distract your opponent from the job at hand.

The Australians used to be especially good at this.
Back when they were winning, that is.
Even their rugby team was sharp on the trigger. George Gregan was a menace at scrum half, which is a position that surely requires an honours degree in communications.

As the Wallabies were about to knock the heavily favoured All Blacks out of the 2003 World Cup in the semifinals, Gregan stood at a ruck looking at the men in black and mouthed “four more years, boys”, just as the camera honed in on him. It was a dagger to the hearts of the best team in the world, but one that hadn’t won the William Webb Ellis trophy since 1987.

Gregan rubbed salt in to the gaping Kiwi wounds, but cricketer Shane Warne was the true master of the immaculately timed mental morsel. He would use just enough “spice” to prick the ears of a batsman trying his best to ignore Warne’s advances. You can’t even mention the Aussie spin bowler around certain of his victims without drawing a cold sweat and a mutter about money wasted on psychologists.

‘Just put a Mars bar on a good length’

Warne was a sorcerer with the ball, but did some of his finest work with his gob. By the time he and the Aussies were done tormenting the cricket world around the turn of the century with their skill and smack talk, they had coined the term mental disintegration. Some batsmen had to find a couch and a shrink to deal with the trauma.

Former wicketkeeper Ian Healy (much like scrum halves, keepers are notorious for their sledging abilities) once engaged in a conversation about Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga, with the subject right there on the pitch. The conversation revolved around how the Australian spinners could entice the rotund left-hander out of his crease.

“Just put a Mars bar on a good length,” Healy opined. “That ought to do it.”

A textbook sledge from a master wordsmith. You can be sure Ranatunga was tempted to snipe something back, but engaging means you’ve already lost half the battle.

Of course, choice words sometimes go down the wrong way. There are iconic images of bowlers squaring up to batsmen, bats held up like machetes, with umpires-turned-boxing referees trying to maintain the peace.That’s when you know you’ve stung someone good and proper, right where it hurts.

Which brings us neatly to the matter of one Sarfraz Ahmed muttering away in Urdu on the way to a Pakistani loss against South Africa in Durban on 22 January.

Well, in Sarfaz’s case, it was a loss to one Andile Phehlukwayo. The young all-rounder had rattled the Pakistani’s timber with the ball, and then stood firm and swung his side to victory with the bat.

So it wasn’t altogether surprising that Sarfraz mentioned prayers and mothers in his rant at “the black guy”.

Let it be said that the Pakistani captain is generally an entertaining character. He is also consistent with his mini tantrums. Just the other day, he called out his bowlers on live television, because they had let the team down. His words don’t discriminate.

He has a go at everyone. He speaks from the heart and sometimes with his foot in his mouth. Clumsy, then, but probably not malicious. Sarfraz would already have been on a fine line with family and religion, but his first utterance brought race into it. That was the “uh, oh” titbit.

The art of sledging

That is not to belittle the sensitivity towards members of family being insulted. But, even in school and club matches, personal slurs are almost taken as part of the game — as readily available as reverse swing and unpredictable bounce.

These things happen, sadly. Every weekend. The kind folk on Twitter provided us with a swift Sarfraz translation, quicker even than a giggling Ramiz Raja in the Supersport commentary box. Immediately, the incident became a talking point.

Many a Penny Sparrow will tell you that race is probably not the wisest cul-de-sac to drive down in this country. It was fitting that Sarfraz went to that same Twitter space to explain himself. Social media rules the world, after all.

As the dust settles, with the South African team having already accepted his apology, there are some lessons for Sarfraz to take from this. He may want to take a leaf out of the Aussie manual of old — before their “elite honesty” stance, from a slogan on the wall of the team’s newly refurbished locker room — and try to be more subtle.

This starts with dropping a timely bomb away from prying ears. A staircase, for example, might have cameras, but there are no microphones.

Like most things in life, timing is everything. More to the point, a sledge is not a sledge unless the victim can understand it. Phehlukwayo is a well-travelled chap, having seen much of the world on international duty. He speaks or understands a few of the 11 official languages in South Africa, but Urdu is not on his (or our) list.

It’s easy to see how Sarfraz might have figured Phehlukwayo has a basic understanding of the lingo. After all, Durban has a healthy population of Pakistani businesses and there was plenty of support for the visitors in Durban.

There are also quite a few who play club cricket around the city. Heck, Phehlukwayo even shares a changing room with Imran Tahir. Despite all of this, he just hasn’t had the time to pick up another language. Which explains why he didn’t even look at Sarfraz as he ranted.

That is another issue with keepers. They never shut up during a match, so unless they literally call you out, it’s easy to dismiss their relentless yakking as background music. It’s important for aspiring sledgers to do their homework if they really want to hammer the message home.

Music for the ears

As a rule, players who pose a threat are generally the ones on the receiving end of derogatory running commentary. But you have to make sure they can hear you, understand what you’re saying and appreciate the ingenuity of your wit.

The Proteas’ Temba Bavuma received a mouthful from England’s Ben Stokes on the way to his maiden Test century. But his words fell on deaf ears because Bavuma couldn’t make out what Stokes, with his northern England accent, was saying to him.

Mars bars, hobbies, the dangers of the reverse sweep … even an observation on a player’s choice of music in getting to the crease. That would have pricked Phehlukwayo’s ears, because like most young players he likes to think he is a man of good taste. That he is hip.

Music … Sarfraz should have gone with music. Then we wouldn’t have had to go down this corridor of uncertainty. He should have gone with music. — NewFrame

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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal




People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in

worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.

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Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do




“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach




Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe




Miss Universe Andrea Meza

Miss Universe Andrea Meza





1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru



1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil





1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam



74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021




By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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