CENTURION: The Unlimited Titans have announced that they have acquired the services of Pakistan’s ace off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for the domestic Ram Slam T20 Challenge to be staged in January-February next year. The off-spinner is the No.1 ranked ODI bowler on the ICC world rankings, and holds the No.2 spot on the T20 rankings. Arguably the best slow bowler in the world in all three formats, 36-year-old Saeed is able to spin a web of destruction around most batsmen, and his command of a vast array of different deliveries has caused havoc in the batting orders of major teams. Saeed will join a host of Proteas at The Unlimited Titans as A.B. de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Morné Morkel and Albie Morkel are set to be available for a large part of the Ram Slam Challenge scheduled to be held from Jan 5 to Feb 9. “Signing Saeed is a huge achievement for The Unlimited Titans,” said Jacques Faul, chief executive of the franchise. “He is currently rated as one of the best spin bowlers in the modern game and will lead by example.” Meanwhile, veteran Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has also signed up for the Ram Slam T20 Challenge. Afridi will play for the Chevrolet Knights in the tournament. “Afridi will definitely add value to the Knights in both assets of the game, batting and bowling. Afridi will also be able to add a mentor role and share great expertise especially to the young players in the team. I believe that we have what it takes to step out as the best team in the up and coming Ram Slam T20 Challenge,” said Knights chief executive Johan van Heerden.—Agencies

screenshot2013-06-03at12According to English media reports England boss Roy Hodgson refused to apologize for letting Daniel Sturridge play for England, despite his thigh injury.

Hodgson responded to the criticism from Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers that Sturridge should have been given rest in the international break.

Rodgers was annoyed that his £12m forward played for the full 90 minutes in the friendly against Germany on November 19th and has been benched for the Merseyside derby the following weekend.

The 24-year-old player confessed he was having problem due to his thigh injury in the build-up to the 1-0 defeat at Wembley, but Hodgson is determined that he made the right decision of making him play the match.

“The good thing for me about that was that he did get out there,” Hodgson was quoted as saying.

“Dan has pulled out of a few matches with us for injury reasons. He has been unlucky with injuries.”

“It was important for me to, if you like, test his resolve a little bit. I might have been guilty of putting that resolve to the test, but I don’t apologize for it.”

“And I am delighted he did get out there, even though he maybe himself didn’t feel 100 per cent, because that means in future I will know I can trust him as an England player. He is not going to be playing when he feels like it, he is going to be playing when he’s fit to play.”

Sturridge has suffered a separate ankle injury during a training session with Liverpool last Friday which will sideline him for two months, on this Rodger said, “they are better getting injured now. In one way I am sorry he can’t play, but in another part of me thinks ‘well, better now than later’.”

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