Back pages: England cricket scapegoat claims, Kane out for six months, Saracens face relegation

A round up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 17 January

Moeen Ali England cricket Australia
England’s Moeen Ali bats during an Ashes Test against Australia in Melbourne
(Image credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

The finger of blame

Like most papers The Guardian devotes space on its back page to the first day’s play in the Third Test between South Africa and England, but it also gives prominence to comments made by former England star Moeen Ali to the BBC.

Under the headline ‘Blame Game’, the England all-rounder claims he has been scapegoated by his country after his miserable loss of form with both bat and ball.

“A lot of the time if we lose I feel I am one of the first guys to get the blame for it,” said Moeen, who collected four ducks in eight Test innings last year. “I found, yes, there have been days when I have not had good games but I feel sometimes it is easy to point the finger at me.”

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The 32-year didn’t have his central contract renewed in September and the Guardian says he’s yet to decide whether to make himself available for England’s one-day series with Sri Lanka in March

Kane calamity

According to the Daily Mirror, Tottenham striker Harry Kane could be out for six months with the injury he suffered on New Year’s Day worse than first suspected.

Under the headline ‘Hit for Six’, the Mirror says that Kane has had an operation on a ruptured tendon in his left hamstring. Although the op went well, Chris Wilson, one of the country’s top surgeons in this field, gave a gloomy prognosis to the paper about the England marksman.

“I would expect it to be six months before he could return to action,” he said. “If it was me [in charge of Kane’s rehab] I would say aim for getting fit for pre-season training. I am aware in Harry Kane’s case they have been saying April or May - I have to say I would be very surprised.”

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Saracens sanction

The Times leads with news that England’s dominant rugby club of the past decade, Saracens, could be relegated at the end of the season.

Fined £5m and docked 35 points last November after breaching salary cap rules, Saracens are now facing enforced relegation from the Gallagher Premiership unless they “can prove by next week they will not break the salary cap again this season”.

The Times says Saracens were given the ultimatum at a meeting of Premiership Rugby Limited [PRL] chief executives on Tuesday evening, and consequently at a squad meeting has been called by the club today in which some players could be released in a desperate attempt to trim their wage bill.

Today’s newspaper back pages

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