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first_imgIN the seconds after he was struck on the neck by a ball from Jofra Archer at Lord’s, Steven Smith has revealed his very first thoughts were of the death of his teammate Phillip Hughes almost five years ago.Smith did not play in the 2014 Sheffield Shield match at the SCG when Hughes also took a blow to the neck with tragic consequences, but could not escape an immediate flashback to that eerily similar moment before he was able to rise to his feet again.“I had a few things running through my head, particularly where I got hit. Just a bit of past came up, if you know what I mean, from a few years ago,” said Smith, speaking with media after the third Test in Leeds. “That was probably the first thing I thought about.“Then I was like, ‘I’m okay here,’ and I was alright. I was a little bit sad but I was alright mentally for the rest of that afternoon.”While Smith said he had felt “pretty good” physically and returned to bat soon after passing all the initial concussion tests, he was later found to have delayed concussion, a sensation he described as similar to having drunk too much alcohol.“It wasn’t until later that evening that it hit me,” said Smith. “When the doc asked me what did it feel like I said it felt like I had six beers last night and felt a little bit under the weather, without the six beers unfortunately.That was the sort of feeling I got, that groggy feeling and that stuck around for a couple of days. Not a nice place to be in but these things happen and unfortunately missed what was a pretty amazing Test match.”After progressing through a number of tests, starting from a brisk walk and gradually working up to facing bowling from Mitchell Marsh and Michael Neser in the nets, Smith will play in Australia’s tour match in Derby, starting today, and if there is no recurrence of symptoms, he will return to the side for the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford next week. In the build-up to that he will face faster bowling from Australia’s quicks in the nets.Smith is also considering wearing a StemGuard attachment on his helmet as he tries to overcome the significant discomfort he feels when wearing the neck protector.“I’ve tried them before, and I tried them the other day when I was batting and I reckon my heart rate went up about 30 or 40 straight away,” said Smith. “I just feel claustrophobic. I compare it to being stuck in an MRI scan machine.”It is no surprise that someone who is famously obsessive about routine, repetitive movements and immaculately precise kit – he tapes his shoelaces inside his trouser legs so they can’t be seen – would be reticent to change, but he accepts that at some stage he will need to adapt.“It was different, but I think at some point they’re probably going to become mandatory so I’m going to have to get used to them,” said Smith. “And I’m sure the more I wear them, the more I practise with them, my heart rate will come down and everything will be okay.“Had I been wearing a stem guard in the game, I’m not sure that would have made a difference, the way my head sort of went back and where it hit me. Of course, you always want to have as much protection as possible and for me now it’s about trying it and trying to get used to it in the nets.”One thing Smith is adamant he won’t change is the way he faces Archer and, while he expects to face more short balls in Manchester, he suggested it may help him if England opt to test him with a short-pitched barrage.“If they’re bowling up there it means they can’t nick me off, or hit me on the pad or hit the stumps,” said Smith. “With the Dukes ball, I don’t know, that’s an interesting ploy. So we’ll see what happens.“I’m not really going to change anything. There’s been a bit of talk that he’s got the wood over me, but he hasn’t actually got me out.“He hit me on the head on a wicket that was a bit up and down at Lord’s. He actually didn’t get me out so all the other bowlers have had more success against me I daresay. I’ve faced them a bit more, but they’ve all got me out a lot more. I’m pretty comfortable with that.”(ESPN Cricinfo)last_img read more

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first_imgNigeria international Ahmed Musa scored in his Russian Premier League side CSKA Moscow 3-1 win at Ural wednesday to remain top of the league with 59 points from 28 games and move closer to reclaiming the title.CSKA are now four points clear of their closest rivals and defending champions Zenit St.Petersburg with two rounds of matches still to be played.A win at home against Krasnoder on Monday will confirm the Russian army club champions again.Ahmed Musa scored in the 70th minute to seal the victory and take the game beyond the hosts Ural, who paraded Nigeria forward Sylvester Igboun. The Jos-born star has now scored 12 goals in 28 matches.Meanwhile, Manager of English Premier League champions Leicester City, Claudio Ranieri, is believed to be pushing for Musa to switch over to his team in the summer.The Daily Mail in London reported yesterday that Leicester is ready to meet the asking price of CSKA on Musa while also looking in the direction of Algerian international and Sporting Lisbon striker, Islam Slimani.Both players are on top priority for Raniery who is going to campaign in the UEFA Champions League next term.Apart from Musa, the Italian manager is reported to have confirmed his interest in Pescara striker Gianluca Lapadula with talks said to be continuing with CSKA Moscow regarding Musa.On the other hand, Lisbon’s Slimani, who is valued at £25m, has netted 27 goals this season – sparking interest from Ranieri.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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first_imgANAHEIM — Continuing the seemingly endless struggle to get an underperforming lineup to score more runs, the Angels tried something new on Wednesday.Shohei Ohtani moved from the middle of the lineup to the No. 2 spot, his first time hitting immediately in front of Mike Trout. Andrelton Simmons, who had been hitting second, was moved down to No. 6.“We’ve talked about this possibility for a week, and I think the timing is right now to make that change,” Manager Mike Scioscia said.Scioscia has been struggling to find a consistent lineup mostly because too many of the hitters have been slumping. Ideally, the Angels want to surround Trout with hitters will set the table for him and then drive him in when he’s on base, but they’ve had trouble on both sides of Trout. Clippers, Mavericks brace for the unknown in Game 4 Ohtani does possess two of the most important skills for batting in front of Trout. He has a .358 on-base percentage, which is third best on the team. He’s also one of the fastest players on the team.The Angels did create another possible issue by pairing leadoff Kole Calhoun and Ohtani at the top of the order. They are both left-handed hitters who have struggled against left-handed pitching, which makes the Angels vulnerable to lefty relievers late in the game.PEÑA’S FUTURERelated Articles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield When they moved Trout from second to third, the idea was to get him more opportunities to hit with runners on base. It didn’t change much, mostly because Simmons stopped hitting around the time he went to the No. 2 spot.Simmons said there’s no explanation for why he would hit worse in front of Trout than he did when batting in the middle of the order. He was hitting .227 in the No. 2 spot, compared with .315 batting fifth and .346 batting sixth.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.“It may be coincidence,” Simmons said. “Maybe less luck. It’s just unfortunate sometimes. I’ll have good games here and there. I don’t know why.”Asked on Tuesday about why Simmons may have had such a dramatic difference, Scioscia said: “I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason why guys who move around aren’t as productive. I think Simba is a great fit (at No. 2).”On Wednesday, after making the switch, Scioscia said: “We feel Simba is more comfortable just being able to slash in a position with some guys on base. Hopefully Shohei in the second hole will create some offense in the middle of the lineup.” A day after Felix Peña’s deepest outing as a starter — six innings, 84 pitches — Scioscia said it’s unlikely that he’ll be pushed to what would be considered a normal starting pitcher’s limits. He’s thrown 74 to 84 pitches in all six of his starts.Peña had pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the previous two years before the Angels moved him into the rotation at Triple-A in May.“There is a lot on his plate, to take a guy that has historically gone to 40-45 pitches in a role in the bullpen, never started before (in the majors), to try to get him to 100-110 pitches is a tall order,” Scioscia said. “We’re not going to force it.UP NEXTAngels (RHP Nick Tropeano, 3-5, 4.58) vs. White Sox (RHP Dylan Covey, 4-5, 4.95), 1 p.m., Thursday, Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM)center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Mike Trout, with bat and glove, helps Angels end losing streak Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros last_img read more