Latest – Black Caps spinner Ajaz Patel has been named the ICC’s player of the month for December.
Patel made history in December, when he picked up 10 wickets in an innings against India at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
He became only the third player in Tests to achieve that feat after Jim Laker and Anil Kumble.
The left-arm spinner played just one Test in the month, where he picked up 14 wickets at an average of 16.07.
Patel picked up all 10 wickets in the first innings against India and in the second innings, he picked up four wickets, including that of openers Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara. Patel finished with figures of 14/225, which are the best bowling figures in a Test match in 2021.
Commenting on Patel’s performance, ICC Voting Academy member JP Duminy said: “What a historic achievement! Taking 10 wickets in an innings is a feat which needs to be celebrated. There’s no doubt that Ajaz’s performance is a milestone that will be remembered for years to come.”
Carter and Raval set up ND win
Northern Districts captain Joe Carter continued his good form in all formats this season with a match-winning Ford Trophy and List A one-day career-best hundred.
Joe Carter Photo: PHOTOSPORT
Carter scored an unbeaten 105 to help his side to an eight wicket win over Auckland at Eden Park.
Auckland was bowled out for 221 in the 50th over with Anurag Verma taking three wickets.
Carter and Jeet Raval then put on a Northern Districts record second wicket partnership against Auckland of 177 as they chased down their target in the 39th over.
Ravel made 97.
Northern are third on the table and Auckland sixth… the two sides meet again tomorrow.
Kyrgios out of Sydney tournament
Nick Kyrgios pulled out of this week’s Sydney Tennis Classic after testing positive for COVID-19, but hoped to be at the Australian Open next week “if all goes well”.
Australian Kyrgios had withdrawn from the Melbourne Summer Set ATP tournament last week due to asthma, according to the organisers, and pulled out of his clash with Italian seventh seed Fabio Fognini yesterday.
“I just want to be open and transparent with everyone, the reason I have had to pull out of Sydney is because I tested positive for COVID,” Kyrgios said on Instagram.
“I am feeling healthy at the moment with no symptoms. I wish everyone all the best and to stay safe where you can. If all goes well I will see you all at the Australian Open.”
Kyrgios, a crowd favourite at Melbourne Park, has not played since late September due to knee issues and has slipped to 114th in the rankings.
He was ruled out of contention for the Australian team for the season-opening ATP Cup in Sydney this month.
The 26-year-old has played only 15 matches in 2021, winning seven of them and heads into the year’s first Grand Slam with no tune-up matches under his belt.
Al Attiyah’s lead cut on Dakar rally
Frenchman Sebastien Loeb cut Nasser Al Attiyah’s substantial Dakar Rally lead in an eighth stage in Saudi Arabia won by Audi’s Mattias Ekstroem.
Sebastien Loeb Photo: PHOTOSPORT
Nine times world rally champion Loeb finished third for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team in the 395km stage from Al Dawadimi to Wadi Ad Dawasir to cut his Toyota rival’s lead from 45 minutes to just under 38 with four stages remaining.
Qatari Al Attiyah, chasing his fourth Dakar title, finished 11th.
Last year’s winner Stephane Peterhansel, the Frenchman who has a record 14 Dakar victories on two wheels and four but is out of contention this time, was second in the stage in a first one-two for the electric hybrid Audi.
Ekstroem’s win was also a first on the Dakar for the 43-year-old Swede, a former world rallycross and twice German Touring Car (DTM) champion, and a second for Audi after Carlos Sainz last week.
In the motorcycle category, Britain’s Sam Sunderland won the stage and regained the overall lead he had lost at the weekend.
Chen wins again
Nathan Chen won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships for a sixth consecutive year in dominating fashion to solidify his status as the gold medal favourite for next month’s Beijing Olympics.
Chen, whose sole defeat since the 2018 Pyeongchang Games came last October in the first Grand Prix event of the Olympic figure skating season, was far from perfect in his free skate as he fell twice but still did more than enough to separate himself from the pack.
The 22-year-old Chen was in first place after breaking his own national short program record with a 115.39-point performance and returned to score 212.62 points in the free skate.
When it was all done Chen had completed six quadruple jumps between the two programs to extend his reign.
No American man has enjoyed such a dominant run at the national championships since twice Olympic champion Dick Button won seven consecutive titles from 1946 to 1952.