ICC Champions Trophy: India wary of maverick Pakistan in high-octane final

first_imgIndia are favourites to retain the Champions Trophy on Sunday but they would probably have preferred to face different opponents than arch-rivals Pakistan in what is sure to be a highly-charged final.The neighbouring countries have moved on from years of political conflicts but emotions will run high as millions of supporters around the world watch the first major cricket final between the teams since the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup.One of the most unpredictable sides in world sport, Pakistan were the lowest-ranked side going into the tournament and produced a shambolic performance in their heavy opening defeat by India.As they have done many times before, however, Pakistan suddenly found their form with wins over top-ranked South Africa and Sri Lanka before delivering an outstanding all-round display to stun previously unbeaten hosts England in the semi-finals.India suffered a shock loss to Sri Lanka in the group stage before overwhelming Bangladesh in the semis and their captain Virat Kohli has been impressed by Pakistan’s resurgence.”The turnaround has been magnificent,” Kohli said.”Obviously, if you reach the finals you have to play some good cricket and credit to them, they’ve turned around things for themselves really well.”The belief just showed on the field the way they played together as a team and regardless of who you play in the finals, it’s always going to be challenging because once you start thinking that it’s a big game, then your mindset changes.”OUTSTANDING BATTINGIndia, who beat Pakistan by five runs in the Twenty20 final 10 years ago, have been lifted by the outstanding batting form of Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma.advertisement”What we are going to try to do is repeat the similar sort of cricket that we have played so far, knowing the strengths and weaknesses they have,” Kohli said.”I don’t think we need to look too far away from what we are doing as a group, focus on our skills and our abilities and believe in ourselves on that particular day.”Pakistan, without their leading fast bowler Mohammad Amir due to injury, strangled the usually free-scoring England batsmen on a slow wicket in Cardiff with a disciplined display of bowling and fielding.The Oval pitch should be more favourable for batsmen but India, who have beaten Pakistan in eight of their 10 World Cup and Champions Trophy meetings, will not be complacent.”We’ve seen some really surprising results and it’s been amazing for the fans to watch and for the players to be a part of,” Kohli said.”We played some really good cricket but we’re not going to take anything for granted for sure.”Pakistan’s rejuvenation has been built around the runs of opener Fakhar Zaman and the experienced Azhar Ali while Hasan Ali and Junaid Khan stepped up to compensate for the absence of Amir who is expected to be fit for the final.Their captain Sarfraz Ahmed said they had quickly forgotten the opening loss to India and simply focused on the next game in their bid to win the Champions Trophy for the first time.”After the India match, we just motivated the guys,” he said.”Don’t worry about the India match. This is gone. If we play good cricket, definitely we will win this tournament.”last_img read more

Prison tattoo and needle programs would help curb hepatitis internal memo

first_imgOTTAWA – Setting up tattoo parlours and needle-exchange programs in penitentiaries would help reduce the spread of hepatitis C, the federal prison service has told the Trudeau government.A Correctional Service memo obtained under the Access to Information Act advises Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale the proposals “warrant consideration” to round out existing and planned measures to fight hepatitis and HIV in prison.Prison tattooing and needle-exchange programs for drug users have generated intense controversy over the years and the March 2017 memo says detailed research should be carried out before embarking on a syringe needle program, in particular, “to avoid unintended and negative consequences for inmates.”In response to questions, the prison service and Goodale’s office said Monday they were exploring options “to better prevent, control and manage infectious diseases” but did not provide details about possible tattoo or needle programs.The current approach to prevent and control blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections includes screening, testing, education, substance-abuse programs and treatment.The prevalence of HIV among federal inmates decreased to 1.19 per cent in 2014 from just over two per cent in 2007, according to the memo. But it stood at six times that of the general Canadian population.Similarly, the proportion of inmates with the hepatitis C virus fell to 18.2 per cent in 2014 from 31.6 per cent in 2007. Yet the incidence was still about 23 times that of the general population.Federal prison ombudsman Ivan Zinger recently called on the Correctional Service to bring back its safe tattooing program.His annual report said tattooing in prison frequently involves sharing and reusing dirty homemade equipment — linked to higher rates of hepatitis C and HIV among inmates — and there is often no safe means of disposing of used tattoo needles.In 2005, the prison service began a pilot program involving tattoo rooms in six federal institutions, but two years later, the Conservative government of the day ended it.The memo to Goodale says an internal evaluation of the pilot indicated that it increased awareness about disease prevention and had the potential to reduce exposure to health risks. In addition, neither inmates, staff, nor volunteers reported health and safety concerns with the program.“In fact, the evaluation indicated that the majority of staff believed the initiative made the institution safer for both staff and inmates.”Safer tattooing could reduce hepatitis C virus transmission within federal prisons by 17 per cent a year, the memo says.The Correctional Service has tried to keep illicit drugs from entering prisons, but acknowledges that some still make their way into penitentiaries. Although the prison service has made bleach available, it has drawn the line at offering clean needles.A program to provide clean drug-injection needles to prisoners could reduce the spread of hepatitis C by 18 per cent a year, the memo says.In the case of both safer tattooing and needle programs, it wasn’t possible to gauge the potential effect on HIV prevalence or spread among prisoners due to the existing low HIV rates.The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network has long argued for needle-exchange programs in Canadian prisons. However, Correctional Service officials have raised concerns about syringe needles being used as weapons.The memo to Goodale recommends weighing the effect a needle program might have for workplace safety regimes, and it suggests more research be done on the effectiveness of such an initiative from both clinical and cost standpoints.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more