The idea that a Russian would someday buy an NBA team was even more preposterous. The entire country couldn’t scrape together enough rubles for that.Now Prokhorov owns the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. And, if his debut under the spotlight in New York is any indication, the American sports oligarchy will never be the same.Sure, Mark Cuban is entertaining, but what could be more fun than a 6-foot-6 self-deprecating multibillionaire who cracks jokes and doesn’t flinch at the idea of taking on the Knicks on their own turf?“I come in peace,” Prokhorov said May 19.Russians, it turns out, do have a sense of humor.Prokhorov will need it, and more, because of the tall task that awaits him. The Nets are a miserable franchise, so mired in losing that David Stern should have handed them the No. 1 draft pick instead of allowing the Ping-Pong balls to drop the way of the Washington Wizards.Prokhorov invested $200 million and a promise of many millions more with little to show for it other than membership in the NBA and a future new arena in Brooklyn. He didn’t get the No. 1 draft pick, and he doesn’t know if the many talents of LeBron James will even be up for a bid.One week into his new job, though, he’s already talking about going up against the Knicks for fans and the Lakers for championships. How he plans to turn the beleaguered Nets around isn’t quite clear, but he insists he does have a plan.“If I tell you, I’d have to kill you,” he told reporters in New York.Funny guy, this Russian whom Forbes recently ranked No. 39 among the world’s billionaires with assets of $13.8 billion. Other reports say he’s worth closer to $18 billion.Suffice it to say he is rich enough to barely blink when he lost a $53 million deposit recently on a chateau in France. Rich enough to have a $45 million yacht he barely uses because he gets seasick easily.Whether that’s enough to get LeBron may determine the viability of Prokhorov’s plan to win an NBA title within five years. Though the Nets have plenty of cap money that would have gone unused under the previous ownership, there’s a handful of other teams that can also sign James to the maximum contract.If Prokhorov’s first days of ownership are any indication, though, he may prove a hard man to turn down.He showed up at the draft lottery to personally represent the Nets, a task most NBA owners relegate to their underlings. Clearly, he intends to be the public face of the franchise, a role most owners in the league shun—except for Cuban—and he cut an imposing figure in his first real public appearance.Prokhorov began the day by having breakfast with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Nets part-owner Jay-Z, then moved on to a brunch with reporters, where he made his first move by unceremoniously dumping general manager and interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe.There will be many more moves soon, as expected when someone inherits a team that lost 70 games in a season. Most interesting, though, may be the moves Prokhorov makes that have nothing to do with the team he puts on the court.He seems to have intentions of fulfilling Stern’s goal of making the NBA an international brand all by himself, and he surely has the reach and resources to do it. The Nets may have trouble winning over die-hard Knicks fans, but imagine the fan base he could build for the team in Russia.“With exceptional international exposure no other team can reach, there will be fans of the Nets from New Jersey to Brooklyn to Moscow,” Prokhorov predicted.Stern loves this guy so much he quickly brushed off any questions about foreign ownership of an NBA team when Prokhorov came forward. Easy to see why. With him, Stern has a rock star owner with deep pockets who will spread the gospel of the NBA wherever he travels.Thirty years ago, Bird and Johnson helped save the NBA by ushering in a new era of superstardom that captured the imagination of a teenager in the Soviet Union.The task is easier for Prokhorov. He just has to save the Nets. ‘I COME IN PEACE’—New Jersey Nets new owner Mikhail Prokhorov, of Russia, speaks to reporters during a news conference, May 19 in New York. by Tim DahlbergAP Sports Columnist (AP) —Mikhail Prokhorov got a chance to meet Larry Bird the other night, though he could be forgiven if he didn’t recognize him. The Bird he knew, after all, was the young blond he saw in grainy videotapes wearing tight shorts and taking on Magic Johnson.A lot has changed in 30 years, not the least of which is the shorts.Back then, the Cold War was still raging. The U.S. and Soviet Union boycotted each other’s Olympics, and the idea that one day they might compete in sports without political overtones seemed preposterous.
KESHAWN TOWSOND is back for another year with the Brashear Bulls. BRASHEAR’S CHEERLEADERS hope to help propel their team to a City League title in 2018. ALLDERDICE won the City League football championship for the first time in 50 years last year in a victory over Brashear. Can they repeat as champs this year? (Photos by Courier photographer Will McBride)Just days after winning a city title last November, Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett was already thinking about this season. If he could repeat last season, he would win the City League Championship and all the accompanying glory once again.They even beat Brashear, a team that historically has given them problems in the City League Championship game.While the goal for the season remains the same as last year, Allderdice may have to find a new identity to reach it.“We have to replace both our running backs and receivers, so we are lacking in the skill department,” Haslett told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “But we return 315-pound Justin Salmon, Kenny Hardin and Andrew Williams on our offensive and defensive lines and 6-foot-5 quarterback Dalen Dugger.”On the other side of the spectrum, when Ed White took over as Carrick’s coach four years ago, he soon realized he faced a massive rebuilding job. Since then, White’s biggest concern hasn’t just been with wins and losses, but with fielding a full team that can compete on a weekly basis. ALLDERDICE’S CHEERLEADERS witnessed history last year, as the Dragons won their first City League title since 1967. You would be hard-pressed to find anybody who expects Carrick to make the playoffs this season. And that’s no job at Carrick. The Raiders simply have not had much success in recent years. They went 1-8 last season and only averaged one touchdown per game. The offense will be led by quarterback L.J. Orbovich and running back Tayvon Greene.At University Prep, after starting last season with a losing record, U-Prep’s coach, Louis Berry, moved his best player, running back and defensive back, Dorian Jackson, to the quarterback position. After the move, U-Prep surged, going 4-1 in City League play. It speaks to the talent level of Jackson who was primarily a rusher and defense-minded player prior to the switch.A goal for U-Prep this season is to become more disruptive on defense, a potentially difficult task with the absence of Jackson in the backfield. The outcome of U-Prep’s season may depend on how well new players step up and lead the charge offensively and defensively.“Last year’s quarterback situation was a revolving door until we moved Dorian Jackson to quarterback and we made the playoffs,” Berry told the Courier. “The kids are hungry to try to get back on that big stage.” It’s no secret senior Damon Macklin will be U-Prep’s star in 2018.SMOKIN’ JIM FRAZIERHIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALLMacklin has been in the starting lineup for the last three years and Coach Berry doesn’t plan on going away from Macklin for the sake of surprise or keeping defenses honest. In fact, Macklin will likely get even more touches than he did as an underclassman.After sharing the spotlight with Jackson for a couple of seasons, Macklin will step up as the undisputed workhorse for U-Prep in 2018, and whether the Eagles can return to the City League playoffs will rely largely on how much help they can give him and how much he needs in the first place.Macklin, a 5-foot-5, 145-pound tailback who also plays cornerback, is also a great receiver and kick-return specialist. The Eagles will be led by seniors Macklin and fullback Tyrese Wright.Former NFL coach, Chuck Knox, who was born in Sewickley, earned the nickname “Ground Chuck” for the emphasis he placed on the running game. At Westinghouse, Coach Monte Robinson offers a similar philosophy. His team runs the ball 70 percent of the time. “Ground Monte,” anyone?OK, so it doesn’t have the same ring as “Ground Chuck.” But there is no denying that Robinson prefers land travel.The Bulldogs made the playoffs the last two years and will be led by middle linebacker and running back Eryk Burgess, Dana Morris and Willie Knight.Brashear has reached the final four years in a row, winning titles in 2014 and 2015, and finished as a runner-up in 2016 and 2017. The Bulls are led by All-City defensive back Jayon Blair, Keshawn Towsond and Anthony Carrington.Perry was once known for its winning football tradition, but the program hasn’t seen those heights in recent years.Coach Rod Rutherfordwas hired last year. He was part of Perry’s prior success as a quarterback for the program 20 years ago. Under coach Gus Catanese, Rutherford helped the Commodores win City League titles in 1997 and 1998. It’s tough to establish a winning culture, but Rutherford has confidence in not only his roster, but his coaching acumen. Besides former Perry coach Catanese, Rutherford spent time at Pitt, his alma mater, as the quarterbacks coach, and at IUP as the wide receivers coach.While he appreciates his time as a college coach, coaching high school has always been his true passion. And he said he’s embracing the challenge of bringing good times back to his former high school as a head coach. Perry will be led by quarterback Jakar Tucker and tight end Nate Miles.“We have some really good players at the skill positions and if our players keep the faith, we have a chance to be good,” said Rutherford. “This game is fun when you’re winning. We got to do the little things because doing the little things right leads to victory and winning is fun.” Like us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hlFollow @NewPghCourier on Twitter https://twitter.com/NewPghCourier DAMON MACKLIN is prepped to lead University Prep to a star-studded season.
In this Sept. 7, 2017, photo provided by Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena poses for a photo. The former ISU golfer was found dead Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, at a golf course in Ames. Collin Daniel Richards, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in her death. (Luke Lu/Iowa State University via AP) Collin Daniel Richards, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Celia Barquin Arozamena, a student at Iowa State University.Barquin was found Monday morning in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Des Moines. Police were called to the golf course around 10:20 a.m. to investigate a possible missing female after golfers found a golf bag with no one around it.Officers found Barquin’s body some distance from the bag, with several stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday against Richards.A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where Richards had been living in a tent, the complaint said. Officers found Richards with several fresh scratches on his face consistent with fighting, and a deep laceration in his left hand that he tried to conceal, it said.An acquaintance of Richards told investigators that the suspect had said in recent days that he had “an urge to rape and kill a woman” while they were walking on a trail near the course, the complaint said. A second acquaintance told police that Richards arrived at his home on Monday appearing “disheveled and covered in blood, sand and water.” He bathed and left with his clothes in a backpack.Investigators later recovered two pairs of shorts with blood stains and a knife that Richards allegedly gave to two other people after the slaying, the complaint said. Those two individuals were driving Richards out of town after the slaying, but he asked them to drop him off near the camp so he could get his tent and that’s when officers arrested him, it said.Barquin was the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year. The university said the native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, was finishing her civil engineering degree this semester after exhausting her eligibility at Iowa State in 2017-2018.She was one of the most accomplished players in Cyclone golf history, the university said. In April, she became the second women’s golfer at Iowa State to earn medalist honors at a conference tournament when claiming the 2018 Big 12 Championship. She did it with a three-shot victory.Barquin, who was ranked No. 69 nationally by Golfweek, ended her career as a Cyclone with a fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance and earned All-Big 12 Team honors for the third time — the second player in Iowa State’s history to do so.She became the third Cyclone women’s golfer to compete in the U.S. Women’s Open Championship, the university said. The team announced Tuesday it was pulling out of the East & West Match Play in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be with friends and family and to grieve their loss.Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement on Twitter that she was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death” of Barquin, describing her as a “dedicated civil engineering student” and an “acclaimed golfer with a bright future.”Head women’s golf coach Christie Martens said in a release that Barquin was “loved by all her teammates and friends” and was an “outstanding representative of our school.”“We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life,” Martens said.___Foley reported from Iowa City, Iowa.___Click here for the most recent updates: https://bit.ly/2NmE3wv AMES, Iowa (AP) — A homeless man attacked and killed a top amateur golfer from Spain who was playing a round near her university campus in central Iowa, leaving her body in a pond on the course, police said Tuesday.
MIKE PELAIACOURIER STEELERS CENTRAL James Conner leaps for a TD in the Oct. 7 victory vs. the Falcons. (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook)The Steelers have one of the best quarterbacks in football with Ben Roethlisberger. It’s undeniable.They also have the best wide receiver in football, with Antonio Brown. Another fact that can’t be argued.Yet, the key to their success comes from rushing the ball with James Conner and when he returns, Le’Veon Bell and playing defense with fury.When the Black and Gold do that, they win football games. Period. And that’s what they’ll need to do again this upcoming week, Oct. 14, against the Cincinnati Bengals if they want to win the game. I don’t see it any other way.I understand that Roethlisberger can put up gaudy numbers but those numbers don’t always translate to putting up the “W.” And that’s all that he, or anyone affiliated with the Pittsburgh Steelers, wants.Before I go further, let me be clear; I’m not suggesting the Steelers turn Roethlisberger into a game manager, far from it. I’m merely suggesting the Steelers reduce his throws, control the clock by utilizing the rushing attack and get their defense going.It’s their secret formula to winning ball games.In the Steelers games this season, this is how it broke down in their two wins and one tie.Week 1 at Cleveland, tied 21-21: 159 Rushing yards, 135 rushing yards by Conner. 41 Roethlisberger throws. Seven defensive sacks.Week 3 at Tampa Bay, won 30-27: 78 rushing yards, 61 rushing yards by Conner. 38 Roethlisberger throws. Three defensive sacks.Week 5 vs. Atlanta, won 41-17: 131 rushing yards, 110 rushing yards by Conner. 29 Roethlisberger throws. Six defensive sacks.Do you see the trend? Rushing yards higher, sacks up, Roethlisberger’s attempts were more limited (the Cleveland game was a bit high on the throws, but they didn’t win, they escaped with a tie)In their two losses this season so far, here’s what happened.Week 2 vs. Kansas City, loss 42-37: 33 rushing yards, 19 rushing yards by Conner. 60 Roethlisberger throws. One defensive sack.Week 4 vs. Baltimore, loss 26-14: 19 rushing yards, 19 rushing yards by Conner. 47 Roethlisberger throws. Two defensive sacks.Do you see the trend there? Far less rushing yards, far more Roethlisberger throws and a limitation on the defensive sacks.If the Steelers plan to go into Cincinnati this week, Oct. 14, and come out victorious, which they normally do when going into Ohio, they need to follow the formula above.They’ll need to allow Conner to rush the ball around 25 times, gaining 100 yards, or more. They’ll need to keep Roethlisberger’s pass attempts to around 35, allowing him to still distribute the ball to Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, still getting close to 300 yards and a couple of TDs, but not throwing it so often that the clock doesn’t move. You may love the passing yards in today’s NFL but I don’t believe Ben needs 450 yards for this team to win. I think Roethlisberger is more effective, and more dangerous for that matter, when he has the ability to run some play-action, which, if this team effectively runs the ball, he can do.Play-action will allow Brown more opportunities and this entire offense will run more smoothly.What they’ll also need to do is get after Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton on Sunday afternoon and put him to the ground four or five times. When this Steelers defense is getting to the quarterback, they protect a weak secondary. The secondary didn’t look bad against Atlanta and when playing against guys like Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, good secondaries are made to look foolish, let alone ones that are down right bad (with the exception of Joe Haden).They’ll face a challenge in Bengals receiver AJ Green this week so once again, I believe, the best defense they can put out is one that rushes the quarterback frequently and doesn’t allow plays to extend. Keeping the ball away from AJ Green and the Bengals offense, via the pass rush as well as keeping the Steelers defense off the field through a ball control offense, is the way this team will find its way to the win column this coming Sunday and every other Sunday onwards.I believe this is the game plan that will be implemented and executed.Steelers 27, Bengals 23 Rushing the ball and defense, that’s what Pittsburgh does.
STELLAR WIND & BEHOLDER PREP FOR BC DISTAFFCAL-BRED MASOCHISTIC FIRES BULLET FOR SPRINTD’AMATO HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY SATURDAYUNUSUAL HEAT IS PENSIONED FROM STUD AT 26BREEDERS’ CUP NEXT FOR MISS SOUTHERN MISS STELLAR WIND GIRDS FOR ‘GREAT’ DISTAFF Stellar Wind, one of three champions scheduled to do battle in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita three weeks minus a day away, on Nov. 4, worked four furlongs early Friday morning in 48.40 under exercise rider Jose Contreras.The champion three-year-old filly of 2015 is slated to meet three-time Eclipse champion Beholder and undefeated two-year-old filly champion of 2015 Songbird in the $2 million Distaff, for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 1/8 miles.“It was nice and easy, just a maintenance work,” said John Sadler, who trains the daughter of Curlin for the brothers Hronis, Kosta and Peter. Stellar Wind received fractional times of 24.20 and 36.40, with a five furlong gallop out of 1:02.40.“It’s going to be a great race,” Sadler said of the Distaff, “very rare in the sense that it’s high quality with those three in it.”Richard Mandella reported Beholder doing well for the Distaff. “I didn’t let her do too much (in her four furlong work Thursday, 49 flat, breezing),” he said. “She couldn’t look better.”Songbird also worked Thursday, going five furlongs in a bullet 58.60 for Jerry Hollendorfer, who is at Keeneland this weekend.Stellar Wind will work again next Friday under regular rider Victor Espinoza.Also working Thursday was Breeders’ Cup Sprint favorite Masochistic, who drilled a half mile with regular rider Mike Smith up for Ron Ellis in a bullet 45.40, handily from the gate. It was the best of 46 at the distance for the six-year-old California-bred gelding by Sought After. SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Peter Eurton1030030%30%$197,044 Peter Miller3093330%50%$269,620 Richard Baltas2936210%38%$254,650 (Current Through Monday, Oct. 10) Jerry Hollendorfer2333213%35%$168,335 Victor Espinoza2452321%42%$670,105 Norberto Arroyo, Jr.3993523%44%$369,420 Kent Desormeaux2883329%50%$301,275 ENOLA GRAY MAKES GRASS DEBUT SATURDAYEnola Gray will make her first start on grass when she joins stablemate Long Hot Summer in Saturday’s $100,000 California Distaff Handicap for fillies and mares, three and up, at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.“It’s a short field (five entered), she’s bred for the grass, and there wasn’t really any race for her,” explained trainer Phil D’Amato. “The timing’s good for this race and then going in the ($100,000) Betty Grable at Del Mar (seven furlongs on dirt Nov. 13), so that’s kind of the reason we drew in late.”The field for the California Distaff, one in the Golden State Series for California-bred or sired horses: Desert Steel, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1, Long Hot Summer, Joe Talamo, 6-5; Enola Gray, Tyler Baze, 9-5; Out Of the Ordinary, Jamie Theriot, 12-1; and Home Journey, Mike Smith, 3-1. Tyler Baze4163615%37%$210,140 REMARKABLE SIRE UNUSUAL HEAT PENSIONED AT 26Unusual Heat, the all-time leading sire in California progeny earnings, has been pensioned from stud at 26.“It is with great emotion that we have to announce the retirement of Unusual Heat,” said Harris Auerbach, managing partner of M. Auerbach, LLC. “He’s been remarkable and even in his final season at stud in 2016 managed to get 25 of 30 bred mares in foal. It’s been an amazing run and I’m happy ‘Heat’ can now just relax and enjoy the rest of his days just being a horse.”Doug Burge, longtime President of the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association remarked, “He’s been the perennial leading sire in California for over a decade and his influence on California breeding and racing will be prevalent for years to come.”Bred by John T. Jones in Kentucky, Unusual Heat is the son of Nureyev and Danish champion mare Rossard. In 1991, he became the highest-priced horse ever sold at a Barretts yearling auction, fetching $250,000. He went on to race both in Europe and the United States under trainers Dermot Weld, Richard Mandella and Barry Abrams. Unusual Heat was a multiple listed stakes winner who finished with a record of 16-6-2-2 and career earnings of $142,605.Unusual Heat stood his first season at the late Walter Greenman’s farm in Hemet before moving to Old English Rancho in Sanger, where he spent the bulk of his early stallion career. In 2010, he moved to Harris Farms in Coalinga, spending his last six seasons at stud.The impact of Unusual Heat on California breeding and racing was far reaching. From a humble first crop of 15, Unusual Heat had 11 runners, and 10 of them won in their first race, starting a ride never been seen in the Golden State. To date, his runners have amassed $52.4 million in worldwide progeny earnings. He has produced 12 graded stakes winners, five Grade I winners, 53 overall stakes winners, 18 additional graded stakes horses, an astounding 150 earners of over $100,000 and 75 earners of over $200,000 from just 556 starters. He won six California Leading Sire Championships and is still the reigning California Conceived Leading Turf Sire with 12 straight championships (2004-2015).Unusual Heat has also produced 15 California champions, including two-time California Horse of the Year and 2011 Eclipse Award Winner Acclamation. Other notable runners include stakes winners The Usual Q.T., Lethal Heat, Unusual Suspect, Golden Doc A, Gervinho, Burns, Pretty Unusual, Lennyfromalibu, Spenditallbaby, Mensa Heat, Tucked Away, Lakerville and Lightmyfirebaby.He is represented by 2016 stakes winners Cheekaboo, Majestic Heat, Pacific Heat, Boozer and Central Heat. In 2016, Unusual Heat has had 89 runners and 47 winners and leads all California sires in California conceived North American progeny earnings.For more information about Unusual Heat, contact Harris Auerbach at email@example.com or go to www.unusualheat.com . Flavien Prat45105722%49%$911,770 Rafael Bejarano49715614%57%$720,960 Philip D’Amato2930510%28%$297,705 Mike Puype1231025%33%$97,510 Bob Baffert1736218%65%$638,255 Mark Glatt1335323%85%$139,568 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won FINISH LINES: It’s on to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf for Miss Southern Miss, impressive 2 ½-length winner of Monday’s Surfer Girl Stakes for two-year-old fillies at a mile on grass. The daughter of More Than Ready was making her turf debut. “I don’t know if I was super high on her or super hopeful,” trainer Keith Desormeaux said Friday. “We’re definitely pointing to the Breeders’ Cup. Off a performance like that, I think I’m justified. I’d been trying to get her to relax with no success on dirt. When dirt would hit her in the face she would just grab the bit and run off, but there’s no spray on the turf so she relaxed a lot better.” . . . Condolences to the family of former trainer Dominick Manzi, who died on Wednesday of a heart attack in Escondido at the age of 58. He was the son of the late trainer Joe Manzi and was his father’s assistant before going on his own. A memorial will be held at Horsemen’s Beach in Del Mar, 11 a.m., Oct. 29, according his wife, Melissa. Those wishing to donate towards his cremation can do so by going to gofundme.com., typing in dominickmanzi, and following the prompts . . . Vince DeGregory was back at Santa Anita Friday for the first time since undergoing six hours of back surgery 17 days ago. “I’m getting better and stronger each day,” the 84-year-old agent said . . . Agent Nelson Arroyo has appealed the suspension of his brother, jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr., who received a three-day ban (Oct. 16, 20 and 21) for causing interference on victorious Woot Woot in last Sunday’s first race . . . Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and John Boal, author of Broodmare Sire Rankings, will be Tom Quigley‘s guests, Saturday and Sunday, respectively, 11:20 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Tomorrow, Santa Anita hosts the undisputed party champion, Michelada Rumble 3, featuring live music by Sweet & Tender Hooligans, food trucks and a car exhibition for only $15. A $40 VIP ticket includes two drinks and much more (must be over 21 to attend). TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Doug O’Neill4557711%42%$244,788 -30-
Two years is a long hiatus from limited overs cricket and a fit-again Mohammed Shami is ready to come out all guns blazing in the upcoming Champions Trophy in England from June 1.Shami last played for India in an ODI, back in 2015 World Cup and it will be a fresh start in the 50-over cricket.”Two years is a long time to be out of ODI squad. In these two years, I have focussed on my strength and fitness. I have also worked on my weaknesses. I have got leaner. I am hopeful that I can perform well in the upcoming Champions Trophy. I want to give my best shot,” Shami said after being named in the Champions Trophy squad.Shami who plays for Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, feels that IPL games will be great match practice in the tune up to the marquee event.”IPL is a good platform for me wherein I will be getting 8-10 matches before going to the international tournament.”Delhi Daredevils captain Zaheer Khan’s presence has been of great help as his insights has helped Shami become a better bowler.”Obviously, when you speak to former players, you get valuable tips. If you speak to Zaheer, there is something or the other that emerges,” he said.Shami is hopeful that the quartet of him, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah should be able to perform as a unit.”Our attack is one of the best in the world. We need to help each other out there in the middle. We would be certainly giving our hundred per cent and the rest is luck. Looking forward to Champions Trophy,” he concluded.advertisement