For those who feared for the future of finger-spin bowling, Ravichandran Ashwin’s stupendous success over the last 16 months has come as a mighty relief.While the art of off-spin has grappled with the menace of chucking, the 30-year-old Indian has risen to the top of the ICC Test bowling rankings on the back of seven Man of the Series performances. (Expectations help me reach greater heights, says Ravichandran Ashwin)Apart from skipper Virat Kohli, nobody is more important to India’s Test success on home soil and on Saturday he will unpack his bag of tricks in Mohali as the hosts attempt to lock up the five-Test series against England.All this success has come against the background of the International Cricket Council’s 2014 declaration of war on off-spinners with illegal actions. (I am 100 per cent method, 80 per cent skill and 150 per cent madness, says Ashwin)Numerous bowlers required remedial work to get back to permissible limits of bend in their elbows and the crackdown wrecked the career of Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal, one of the world’s leading spinners in the post-Muttiah Muralitharan era.Ashwin, though, has managed to fox batsmen without ever needing to bend the rules. (Ashwin does what Kapil Dev and Imran Khan couldn’t)A tall off-spinner who bowls in half-sleeves, Ashwin is a rarity in an age when many slow bowlers look to hide the extent of their elbow bend under full sleeves.Against New Zealand in September, Ashwin became the second fastest bowler to take 200 Test wickets, taking one more match than former Australia leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmet (36) to achieve the feat.advertisementIt has not always been plain-sailing for Ashwin, however, particularly outside India.OVERSEAS STRUGGLESAn opening batsman in junior cricket whose father Ravichandran was a club paceman, Ashwin transformed himself into a off-spinner and emerged from the southern city of Chennai to overtake Harbhajan Singh as India’s leading slow bowler.Two years after making his debut against West Indies in 2011, he went wicketless in both innings of the Johannesburg Test against South Africa and lost his place as number one spinner to left-armer Ravindra Jadeja when India were overseas.”The criticism that came out of that game got the better of me,” Ashwin said recently.”It told me that I wasn’t good enough and that I needed to improve. It made me raise my standards.”Returning to the nets, he made some tweaks to his action and returned to the side in England in August 2014.A slow bowler with a penchant for targeting the opposition’s best batsman, his ‘carrom’ ball – a finger-spinner delivered with the knuckle – has flummoxed the best players of spin. (Kohli thrilled with Ashwin, the new batting star)He also bowls a slider and has the ability to summon up the occasional leg-break when he feels he needs it.With his refurbished armoury, he picked up 62 wickets from nine Tests in 2015 to finish as the highest wicket-taker in the world.He is firmly on course to repeat the feat for a second year with 55 wickets in nine matches so far and three more home Tests against England to come.PACE GREATSAgainst England at Visakhapatnam, his 5-67 gave him his 22nd five-wicket haul in his 41st Test, bringing him level with pace greats Waqar Younis (87 Tests), Malcolm Marshall (81), Curtly Ambrose (98), Courtney Walsh (132).On a docile Rajkot pitch in the opening Test, Ashwin had managed just three wickets but he made some adjustments and took eight on a Visakhapatnam track that offered little spin.”I’m really hungry in terms of how much I want to achieve as a cricketer,” he said.”It’s not about any specific number. If I get on a bit of a roll, then I don’t really want to settle for anything, I just want to keep going and going and going.”The (Rajkot) wicket was easy paced and I wanted to create some sort of pace into my action, so I tried to be a little slingy and load it up differently.”Ashwin goes to Mohali with 231 Test wickets at a strike rate of 50.4 and a batting average of 34.22, good enough to warrant the title all-rounder.His success with the bat – he has four Test centuries and eight fifties – has given Kohli the luxury of playing five bowlers and Ashwin has been promoted to number six in the Indian order, ahead of wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.India are keen to prolong their stay at the top of the ICC Test rankings and with another eight Tests on home soil before April and Ashwin on fire, it would be foolhardy to bet against it.advertisement
(EDS: Adds detail)New Delhi, Apr 20 (PTI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here in connection with a money laundering case registered against him and others.Singh arrived at the agencys office here in his official car, with a covered beacon, at about 12:00 noon.Sporting his trademark Himachali topi, the CM did not interact with media persons on the spot and was seen raising his fist in the air and heard reciting some lines of a patriotic poem: “Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hain, dekhna hai zor kitna baju e qaatil mein hai.”The agency has summoned Singh in order to record his statement in this case and also to confront him with some documents it has seized and recovered in this case of disproportionate assets.The CM, last week, had also sent a communication to the agency stating his reasons for not being able to appear before it all this while and had sought a new date from it, after which the new summons were issued for today.The ED had yesterday refused to give any assurance in the Delhi High Court that it will not arrest Singh when he appears before it.The submission was made before Justice R K Gauba by the ED during the hearing of Singhs plea for quashing of the money laundering proceedings against him.The ED summons have come close on the heels of filing of a charge sheet by the CBI against Singh, his wife and others for allegedly amassing assets worth around Rs 10 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income.advertisementThe agency had summoned Singh earlier also, but then he had excused himself stating he had official commitments.The ED has already questioned his wife Pratibha and son Vikramaditya in connection with the case.It had filed a case under the anti-money laundering law against the Himachal Pradesh chief minister, his family members and others after taking cognisance of a complaint filed by the CBI in this regard in September 2015.The agency is probing allegations against Singh and his family members of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income between 2009 and 2011 when he was the Union Minister of Steel. It has also attached assets worth about Rs 14 crore in the case.The CBI charge sheet alleged that Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate by 192 per cent of his total income during his tenure as a Union minister.The final report was filed against nine persons for alleged offences punishable under section 109 (abetment) and 465 (punishment for forgery) of the IPC and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, arrayed around 225 witnesses and 442 documents.Besides the 82-year-old Congress leader and his wife Pratibha Singh, the report also arraigned Chunni Lal Chauhan, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, Lawan Kumar Roach and Ram Prakash Bhatia as accused.It also named as accused LIC agent Anand Chauhan, who is currently in judicial custody.Chauhan was arrested by the ED on July 9 last year in this money laundering case. PTI NES DV
Dick Advocaat was appointed Netherlands coach on Tuesday with the tough task of leading the struggling team to next year’s World Cup in Russia.With the Dutch national team languishing in fourth place in Group A, the Royal Dutch Football Association appointed Advocaat as coach and Ruud Gullit as his assistant for the remainder of the qualifying campaign. If they manage to get the team to Russia, they will stay in charge for the tournament, federation technical director Hans van Breukelen said.Advocaat was not present at a news conference to announce his appointment; he will remain with his current club, Fenerbahce, until the end of the Turkish league season.The 69-year-old Advocaat, who was appointed for his third stint in charge of the national team, won praise in 2015 for saving Sunderland from relegation in the Premier League and will need a similar escape to avoid the Netherlands missing their second straight major tournament after last year’s European Championship in France.The Netherlands are six points behind Group A leader France. Only the group winner is guaranteed a place at the World Cup.The vastly experienced Advocaat has previously coached Russia, Belgium and Serbia, as well as club teams including PSV Eindhoven, Glasgow Rangers, Zenit St. Petersburg and Sunderland.Gullit, a former Chelsea coach, captained the Netherlands to their only major tournament success, the 1988 European Championship.Advocaat’s predecessor, Danny Blind, was fired in March after the Dutch lost to Bulgaria in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.Van Breuken said the hunt for a replacement focused on finding somebody “who can increase discipline in the (players’) group and bring back the joy to our play.”advertisementJoy has been in short supply for the three-time World Cup runner-up since the team’s form went into free fall after reaching the semifinals of the World Cup in Brazil.Van Breukelen conceded that the search for a new coach was tough, with some possible candidates unavailable or unwilling. Everton coach Ronald Koeman and former Ajax coach Frank de Boer were both identified as possible successors shortly after Blind was fired.In the end, Advocaat was chosen despite having sparked anger among players and federation officials when he walked away from his role as Blind’s assistant last year to join Fenerbahce.Van Breukelen conceded that he was “very unhappy” when Advocaat quit last year. But he said he put that feeling aside when he chose Advocaat.”Quality comes ahead of sentiment,” Van Breukelen.It remains to be seen what the Dutch team will make of its new coach. Van Breukelen said the players he had spoken to were surprised by the choice of Advocaat and Gullit, but “they are professionals and they will get over it.”Advocaat’s first match in charge will be the team’s next World Cup qualifier, against Luxembourg on June 9 in Rotterdam. Before that match, Fred Grim will serve as caretaker coach for friendlies against Morocco and Ivory Coast.
Ben Stokes smashed a blistering century and Mark Wood bowled an excellent final over as England beat South Africa by two runs in the second one-day international in Southampton on Saturday for an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.After Stokes’s heroics with the bat had helped England score 330 for six in their 50 overs, South Africa needed 10 runs from the last 10 balls of their innings with five wickets remaining, but an excellent final over from Wood that cost just four runs sealed victory.One worry for England ahead of the looming Champions Trophy starting on Friday is that Stokes managed to bowl only three overs in the South African innings having injured his knee in the first ODI win, but he remained on the field.”Those are the sorts of games you really want to win,” England captain Eoin Morgan said at the post-match presentation at the Rose Bowl. “You learn a lot more. The game got away from us quite a lot. Woody was awesome.”The visitors won the toss and elected to field, reducing England to 80 for three in the 16th over when Joe Root (39) was run out at the non-strikers’ end.But Stokes (101 from 79 balls) put on 95 for the fourth wicket with Morgan (45) and 77 for the fifth with Jos Buttler (65 not out) before he became a maiden ODI wicket on debut for South African left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.Opener Quinton de Kock (98 from 103 balls) led the South African reply before he was caught by wicketkeeper Buttler off Moeen Ali.advertisementCaptain AB de Villiers pitched in with a fluent 52, but the innings looked to be faltering until Chris Morris (36 not out from 22 balls) joined David Miller (71 not out from 51 balls) in the 44th over.The pair added 62 in 39 balls for the sixth wicket and looked as though they had won the game when they needed seven off the final over bowled by Wood (0-48 in 10 overs).But the England seamer produced an excellent over of short-pitched slower balls and the pair could only manage four singles to see victory slip away.”I can’t be unhappy, we fought right to the end and probably had it in the bag for most of that last half hour,” De Villiers said.
Hosts Russia eased to a 2-0 win over New Zealand on Saturday in the opening match of the Confederations Cup, a tournament seen as a test for the country before it stages next year’s World Cup.Midfielder Denis Glushakov flicked the ball over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in the 31st minute as New Zealand defenders rushed back to try to clear it off the line. New Zealand’s Michael Boxall got a touch on the ball and was credited with an own goal.Scoring chances came early for Russia, playing with confidence and unexpected flair, a powerful header by defender Viktor Vasin bouncing off the inside of the post before being cleared by New Zealand’s Michael McGlinchey.Marinovic kept his team in the match early in the second half with back-to-back saves, diving to punch away a header by Dmitry Poloz before scrambling to his left to smother a rebound attempt by Aleksandr Erokhin.But weak defending allowed Russia’s Fedor Smolov to slip past the New Zealand defence and tap in a low cross by team mate Alexander Samedov in the 69th minute.World champions Germany and the champions from FIFA’s six confederations are competing in the two-week tournament that will allow Russia to test its soccer infrastructure in four of the 11 cities hosting World Cup matches.Russia, a record low 63rd in FIFA’s world rankings, face Portugal on Wednesday and New Zealand play Mexico the same day.
The Indian kabaddi team has not only won all the kabaddi World Cups but also all the tournaments in Asian Games. Both men and women kabaddi teams have become the unbeaten champions of kabaddi.Kabaddi originated in ancient India, in Tamil Nadu, and is the national sport of Bangladesh. Kabaddi got international exposure in Berlin Olympics as a demonstration sport in 1936. Today, the sport is played around the world in approximately 26 countries.It became a part of Asian Games in Beijing in 1990 and the first kabaddi World Cup was played in 2004.In the Asian Games, team India has won all the gold medals in both men’s and women’s category till now. In Asian Games 2014 held in South Korea, the Indian team defeated Iran in the finals. Another interesting fact is that both men and women Indian Kabaddi teams played against the same opponent that year — Iran — in the finals to win the title. Anup Kumar led the men’s team while Tejaswini Bai led the women’s team.The first kabaddi World Cup was held in Mumbai, where India defeated Iran, and from there the story of Indian kabaddi team’s glory began. The team went on to win all the World Cups since then. The first Women’s kabaddi World Cup was held in Patna in 2012 where India won the championship defeating Iran in the finals.In the South Asian games too, Indian team dominates the scene with only one defeat so far. In 2016 South Asian Games, Indian men’s team defeated arch rivals Pakistan 9-7 in a closely fought match whereas the women’s team hardly had to fight to defend their gold medal against Bangladesh.advertisementBoth the men and women kabaddi teams have become the unbeaten champions of kabaddi proving their supremacy over other teams. With the Kabaddi World Cup and 2018 Asian Games arriving shortly, let’s keep our fingers crossed and wish for our teams.
BCCI will soon appoint a professional manager for the Indian cricket team and will put out the advertisement for the same possibly within a week.The Committee of Administrators (CoA) is not happy with the practice of existing BCCI officials touring and giving reports which have little meaning.The roles and responsibilities of the new administrative manager will be on the lines of the Australian setup for the post and he will be appointed for two years to begin with.This is BCCI’s attempt to bring efficiency so that the managers’ reports can be taken seriously.The Team Manager, in his report of the Champions Trophy, made no mention of the rift between Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli despite Anil Kumble mentioning it in his resignation that the Indian board told him that Virat Kohli was not happy with his “style of coaching”.
Magdalena Rybarikova, who was crushed by Garbine Muguruza in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Thursday, said she was tired and nervous going into the match and had no idea how to respond to her opponent’s superb shot-making.But the 87th-ranked Slovak – who has described her Wimbledon adventure as a “fairy tale” – said she was still happy with her overall tournament performance.”If somebody told me before the tournament I’d to be in semi-final, I for sure would take it,” she said.It was nonetheless a sobering end for the 28-year-old as she was demolished 6-1 6-1 by Spaniard Muguruza in little over an hour.”I was a little bit nervous, a little bit tired also in my legs. I wanted to play better, and I could not,” she said. “I had no idea what to do a little bit on the court.””I have to say Garbine played an amazing match – I mean, I’ve never seen her play that well. She was playing very fast and every stroke was so long,” she said.”I could do almost nothing today.”It had been a dream run for Rybarikova, who was out of action for the second half of 2016 due to wrist and knee surgery. The last time a woman ranked lower reached a Wimbledon semi-final was in 2008 – China’s Zheng Jie, ranked 133.”The crowd is amazing, they have been amazing all the matches, I have enjoyed playing here so much,” she said. “I wanted to give them more, but I didn’t and I was sad for them.”advertisement
Lewis Hamilton answered his critics with a dominant British Grand Prix victory, his fourth in a row at Silverstone and fifth there in total, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said on Sunday.The triple world champion, his name booed by some and condemned by others after snubbing a Formula One promotional event in London and taking a holiday instead, led every lap from pole position to chequered flag.The Briton also set the fastest lap and stepped out of his car only one point behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the halfway stage in the season.”I think that sometimes he just needs the right impulse to extract maximum performance,” Wolff told reporters after his team’s one-two victory with Valtteri Bottas coming in second.”I think maybe that is an answer to the critics.”I still don’t understand why the British hero is being beaten up before the grand prix. It probably made him even more determined to show his fans how he can drive. And he can drive,” added the Austrian.Hamilton, who ended a run of two races off the podium thanks to problems beyond his control, told reporters separately that there had been no reason to question his preparations.”I have more poles than most,” said the Briton, who is now one off Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 68 after Saturday’s pole.”I am obviously building up the wins that I have. My performance is second to none. If you don’t know now that my preparation is mostly on point, then I guess you never will,” added the winner of 57 grands prix.No other British driver has won as many races as Hamilton, second only to seven times champion Schumacher in the record books, and only the late Jim Clark and Frenchman Alain Prost can match his five British Grand Prix wins.”I will be training hard next week in different locations, as I always do,” Hamilton said when asked if he had another holiday planned before Hungary.”I will be working and focusing all week and then I will be in the UK for at least two days, when I will be at the factory and then I will go to the race.”
A school in Uttar Pradesh is apparently teaching students the ground realities in a very literal way. Girls at the Rajkiya Balika Inter College in Noida’s sector 51 are forced to sit on the floor as the classrooms have no desks or chairs.The institution though has a sterling new building that cost several crores and became operational on July 3. Inter colleges, also known as intermediate colleges, are government-run higher secondary schools in some states such as UP, Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh.But while the students at the Noida school are made to sit on rugs, the teachers have sufficient furniture at their disposal. The report came a day after the state’s nearly four-month-old Yogi Adityanath government announced a slew of measures for education in its budget aimed at the poor and backward classes, including Rs 52.66 crore to construct hostels for students and Rs 551.28 crore to reimburse their fees.When Mail Today spoke to authorities at the Rajkiya Balika Inter College, they said “arrangement for furniture will be made soon”. The school has been constructed in Hoshiyarpur area of Noida’s sector 51 this year. The orientation process began on July 1 while classes formally commenced the following Monday.According to the authorities, discussions are on for delivery of the furniture. But till then, the students will continue to sit on the floor.There were no blackboards or whiteboards either for the first few days and teaching was done orally. However, small blackboards are now being used till proper-sized ones are supplied.”The furniture has to be provided by the government. It is delayed primarily because elections came in between and then the government changed. Also, introduction of e-tenders might have slowed down the process a little bit more,” Hem Lata, the principal, told Mail Today.advertisementShe also said authorities didn’t even provide enough rugs for girls to sit on. “We have bought a few carpets from our own funds and some were provided by local BJP worker Manmohan Chauhan,” said the principal. “Even villagers have contributed a lot.”Students say they are facing a lot of discomfort sitting on the floor all day. A lot of them complain of backaches and body pain.”When they were constructing this building for such a long time, they should also have made provisions for furniture in advance instead of waiting till the last moment,” a student said.”Also, since generators have not been installed yet, we have to sit in uncomfortable heat whenever there is a power cut,” another student said. The school also doesn’t have enough teachers. There is a requirement for 15 postgraduate teachers, but only six have been appointed.According to the principal, one of the main reasons why there is a delay in filling the vacancies is the new transfer policy of the UP government, which has sent the whole process online.ALSO READ | UP school wants students to sport Yogi-like haircut, say no to beards and shun ‘love jihad’ ALSO READ | CBSE cracks down on schools selling uniforms, books, stationery: Not commercial establishments ALSO WATCH | School under the bridge: Changing young lives at Delhi’s Yamuna Bank metro station
Making a comeback from a shoulder injury, India opener KL Rahul is “still very nervous” and his body is still “very unsure” four days before the start of the three-Test series against Sri Lanka.”I am still very nervous. The body is still very unsure and it keeps holding me back every time. That’s the biggest challenge coming back from injury,” Rahul told ‘bcci.tv’.The 25-year-old Rahul cracked a half century in the his first outing – a two-day warm-up game against Sri Lanka Board President’s XI.He said it was tough staying away from cricket for long.”I haven’t been happier ever in my life. It has been quite a tough time to be away from cricket, to be away from the thing that you love the most.”To just sit at home and watch the boys playing, it was really hard for me. It did make me a lot stronger, made me value my life, my opportunities and here I am, back in.”It feels good to be back holding the bat and hitting the ball to the boundary.”The Karnataka batsman spoke about the times at the National Cricket Academy and his rehabilitation process.”Watching the Champions Trophy and the loss in the final was heart-breaking but the way the boys played the whole tournament was really exciting. I was missing being part of the team. So, rehab basically for me is possibly the most boring thing you can ever do, most honestly.”Just wake up every morning and to do the same boring thing again and again is quite tiring and it starts to get to you. You start questioning yourself, asking yourself if you really want to do all these boring things.”advertisementRahul has been bogged down by injuries in his brief international career, and this was the first one that required a major surgery.”You know that you are physically fit and you have done everything that you can, worked really hard, you are feeling stronger, you are feeling fitter. But the mind always tells you what if it happens again, what if you have to go through the same grind for three months, what if your shoulder is not ready, what if you come back early?”There are a lot of questions, a lot of doubts and that’s the biggest challenge and fight for me. But so far, I have been doing well. I have been enjoying each day and I have been a person who takes it as it comes,” he added.
Samsung is set to launch the Galaxy Note 8 on August 23. The South Korean smartphone maker has already confirmed that Note 8 is going to be a big handset. Not only have that, a Samsung executive hinted at the coming of Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 processor. The Note 7 successor has become the talk of the town, and rumours already reveal a lot about the device. Now a new render coming from Forbes reveals that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 is going to be one massive smartphone.Note 8 is said to come in an enlarged size. Much bigger than that of the Galaxy S8 and also S8 Plus. The new render which Forbes has managed from Ghostek shows the phone from al, angles. The leaked renders reveal that the upcoming Note 8 is going to be the first premium dual rear camera found on any Samsung phone till date. To recall, this year’s flagship phones – Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus also comes with single camera setup.The render further hints that the Note 8 will see biggest changes as compared to its predecessor and also flagship phones. Earlier rumours confirmed the Galaxy S8 like display for the Note 8 as well. The new render also confirms the same yet again. The phone is expected to sport a 6.3-inch Infinity Display. This hints at a bigger display than the S8 series of phones. To recall, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 comes with 5.8-inch display, while the S8 Plus features a 6.2-inch display.Photo Credit: ForbesThe newly leaked render further reveals that the upcoming Note 8 may see a move in the positioning of the USB Type-C charging port. Further, it also shows that the fingerprint sensor placement will also be changed a bit. The fingerprint sensor is going to sit at the back side of the handset. Note 8 is further said to retain the headphone jack and will come with very minimal bezels. That’s about the new leak.advertisementIn another report, Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities reveals that Note 8’s cameras will support 3x optical zoom feature.As per the launch details, Samsung a few weeks ago announced that the Note 8 will be launching on August 23. Ahead of the official launch, the device is already up for pre-registration in Australia. This is tipped by a popular tipster – Ronald Quandt. Now that it is confirmed that the Note 8 will be coming on August 23, chances are that Samsung may bring the device to India sometime around the first week of September. The calculation is based on the strategy that Samsung has been following normally.Here’s the form to pre-register for the Samsung Galaxy #Note8 in Australia: https://t.co/R3Lrt18EJg https://t.co/qIvmFIgY6s- Roland Quandt (@rquandt) July 28, 2017The South Korean smartphone maker usually brings a new device to India after around 10 days from the official launch. The same happened with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, and the company is expected to follow the same strategy with the upcoming Note 8 as well.While on the other hand, last week, a Samsung’s top-notch executive shared the release plans for Galaxy Note 8. He probably mentions that Note 8 release will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will commence in early September, Samsung is said to release the Note 8 in select markets like — US, South Korea, and the UK. While in the second phase which is to start in October, Samsung is said to release the smartphone in other markets. This probably means that the South Korean smartphone manufacturer may bring the Galaxy Note 8 to India sometime around the month of October. However, the South Korean phone maker has not confirmed that officially yet.Also Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 to come with 3x zoom dual cameras, says Analyst
India cricketer Gautam Gambhir on Thursday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party MLA for his remarks on Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s marriage in Italy earlier this week.A BJP legislator from Guna in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday voiced his reservations over the Indian cricket team captain and the Bollywood actress opting for a foreign land as the venue of their marriage.”Virat has earned money and fame in India and he went to Italy to get married. Bhagwan Ram got married on this land, Bhagwan Krishna got married on this land and this man went to Italy to get married. He cannot be a rashtra bhakt (patriot),” said Panna Lal Shakya, BJP MLA from Guna, Madhya Pradesh.He added that Kohli cannot be an inspiration to Indians as only those who are loyal to their country and swore by it deserved to be an inspiration. He said the same about Anushka Sharma as well. Shakya was inaugurating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Skill India Centre in Guna.In an unusual jibe Shakya said that dancers of Italy became billionaires in India while Kohli took the country’s wealth out of the country.Gambhir has now come out in support of his teammate and said,” It’s an absolutely ridiculous statement. Because it is a personal opinion, it is his personal wish.”Some people try to make such statements only to grab the headlines. People, especially, the politicians should be more sensible while making a statement against anyone.”Kohli and Anushka will be hosting a grand reception in Delhi on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of superstars from the cricketing fraternity are expected to attend the reception party tonight which will be followed by another reception in Mumbai on December 26.advertisementThe most talked-about couple these days returned to India after their exotic honeymoon in the Arctic, in Rovaniemi. The power couple tied the knot in Tuscany in Italy earlier this month in an intimate ceremony.The entire Indian cricket team is expected to attend the part in Mumbai post Christmas as they are scheduled to fly to South Africa from the city on December 27. India will play a series of three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is from January 5th.
India’s record-breaking spree in international cricket continued as they registered their 14th series victory in 2017.Rohit Sharma’s side on Friday beat Sri Lanka by 88 runs to win their 14th series this year.Before this, India defeated England (ODIs and T20Is), Bangladesh (Test), Australia (Tests, ODIs), West Indies (ODIs), Sri Lanka (Tests, ODIs and T20Is), New Zealand (ODIs and T20Is) and then again Sri Lanka (Tests, ODIs and T20Is).Team India are also on a nine-series winning streak in Tests and eight (bilateral) in ODIs.And with the win against the Lankans on Friday, India now have won 36 games this year. Out of them seven of them are Tests, 21 are ODIs and eight are T20Is.In the list of most international matches won in a calendar year, India are now second and even if they won their final match of the year in Mumbai, they will still remain on the second spot.Australia lead the list with their record of 38 wins in the year 2003, under the captaincy of Ricky Ponting.India, who are currently the No. 1 side in Tests and second in ODIs, also moved up No. 2 in the T20 rankings.Not only these, India during their 260/5 in the Indore T20I, also reached another milestone in the shortest format of the game. They hit 21 maximums — the joint most by any team in an innings in T20Is. West Indies also managed to smash 21 sixes against India en route their 245/6 at Lauderhill in 2016.This score by India is also the joint highest team total in 20-over cricket with Sri Lanka’s 260/6 against Kenya in 2006.advertisementIndia’s 88-run victory against Lanka is also the second highest winning margin against them by any side in T20 cricket. The first is by 93 runs — also achieved by India during the Cuttack T20I.As of personal records, Rohit also managed to grab one more other than the joint fastest ton in T20Is. The Hitman has now smashed 64 sixes in 2017 — the most by any player for a calendar year. Rohit’s 10 sixes during his 43-ball knock was the most by any Indian batsman in a T20 innings.Rohit is the only Indian batsman to score more than one hundred in T20 Internationals. KL Rahul and Suresh Raina have one each. The Mumbaikar’s 35-ball hundred was also the fastest by an Indian batsman in any format of the game.This century of Rohit was his eighth of the current year across formats, which is the highest by him in his career so far. Only Sachin Tendulkar with nine hundreds in 1998 has hit more tons for India in a calendar year.Moving onto the bowling department, Yuzvendra Chahal, who has picked up eight wickets in this series so far, also became the third wrist spinner to pick up four wickets in an innings in T20Is. The other two are Shahid Afridi and Imran Tahir.He is also now the third highest wicket-taker in T20Is for India in a calendar year. The leggie now has 23. Ravichandran Ashwin took 23 in 2016 while Jasprit Bumrah bagged 28 in the same year as well.India will next play Sri Lanka in the last of the three T20Is on Decmeber 24 before flying off to South Africa on December 27 for the three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is there.
By Amanpreet Singh Pune, Jan 1 (PTI) Ace doubles specialist Rohan Bopanna says “it is a catch-22 situation” for him to decide whether to play US Open or the Asian Games in Jakarta later this year since the two events are clashing with each other.However the reigning French Open mixed doubles champion indicated that sacrificing a Grand Slam can be an option for him if he was assured of making the season-end finale.This year, Asian Games are scheduled to be held in Indonesia from August 18 to September 2 while the US Open is slated for August 27 to September 9. Bopanna had opted out of the last two editions of the Asian Games ?- Gunagzhou and Incheon ? as well as he chose to defend crucial ranking points in 2014 and was in London for the season-finale in 2010 as an alternative.With both Bopanna and Leander Paes both missing the Asian Games in the last two editions, it did not make much of the difference to Indias medals tally as the country won a mens doubles gold in 2010 (Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh) and a silver in 2014 (Saketh Myneni and Sanam).India also won the mixed doubles gold with Sania Mirza and Myneni finishing on top of the podium.Asked what will be his preference, Bopanna replied: “Still a very long way to go. Sometimes it all depends on how rankings are placed, are we seeded or not. Its somewhere there with the US Open. I have to make that decision later on in the year.advertisement”At the end of the day, its not only the Grand Slams we are fighting for, we are also fighting for London Masters (season-end finale),” he said on the sidelines of the Tata Open Maharashtra where he will defend his title. “Ideally, if we are doing well in the beginning of the year and we have already qualified pretty much there, then I can take that decision that I can skip a Grand Slam. I have to do either, if its the same week,” Bopanna said. Asked how important it is for him to play in such multi- disciplinary events, representing the country, Bopanna said, “Its an individual sport. Winning a medal for country is very prestigious irrespective of the event. A Grand Slam is also as big for a tennis player. Its catch-22 situation. Its not a win-win situation. I have to sacrifice one of the two.” Bopanna chose to split with Pablo Cuevas and has paired up with Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin for the 2018 season. The 37-year old from Coorg said it was not a difficult decision to make.”Edouards focus only on doubles helped me make that decision. It always makes a difference. If you want to focus on Master series events and Grand Slams its better to play with a doubles specialist. Even scheduling wise.”Like Cuevas in February was playing a lot on clay in North America and it was easier for me to play in Rotterdam or Dubai. Even getting visa for North America takes 2 or 3 weeks,” he said. Bopanna said by winning the French Open Mixed doubles title with Gabriela Dabrowski, he has achieved a personal milestone but he has his sight set on bigger things. “The focus is to win consistently the Grand Slams and Masters series and win the London finale and not just be there as top-eight. Winning big tournaments is the focus,” he said. Bopanna also revealed that he wont play with Dabrowski at the Australian Open. “I will play with Timea Babos (from Hungary). The partnership is only for Australian Open and see how it goes. Gabriela also said we should look for new partner. There were some close points which we could not finish.” Bopanna is defending a lot of points in Pune being a champion from the last edition along with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan. However, their first match is very tricky as they are up against seasoned Leander Paes and Purav Raja. Bopanna knows that they have a tough job at hand.”We have only a handful players playing at the highest level at the Grand Slams and Purav and Leander are one of them. Definitely, its going to be a tough first round for both the teams. Its going to be great match tomorrow night.” Talking about the phenomena that Indias doubles players are more successful than the singles, Bopanna said it can happen in singles too but for that to happen the country needs to host a lot of tournaments.India now have six players in top-100. Bopanna is ranked 10 in the world and is followed by Divij Sharan (42), Leander Paes (50), Purav Raja (63), Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (82) and Vishnu Vardhan (100). “If we have lot of Futures and Challengers in India, our singles players will also pick up. There are a lot of doubles players because later in their careers (after singles), they still love the sport and see if they can make a career out of it,” he said. Bopanna also insisted that even being in top-100 does not make life easy for doubles players. “You are making into the top-100 but you are not making it to all the tournaments. You have to be 30-35 (in rankings) to play a full calendar in doubles. Its a long way to go. Even to play ATP 250, its tough.advertisement”If we have tournaments in India, players will grow. We had two Challengers this year and we had two Indians becoming champions, thats the beauty of the thing,” he added. PTI AT KHS KHS
Hours after Dallas was defeated in Green Bay, the player at the center of that game’s most memorable sequence spoke for millions of other football followers than just the Cowboys and their frustrated fans.“We lost and I accept it,” wide receiver Dez Bryant tweeted, “but please change that rule.”His leaping 31-yard reception on fourth down landed at the 1 in the waning minutes, but the call was overturned by a Packers challenge and Green Bay took a 26-21 victory to the NFC championship game.Dallas had many other opportunities to win and the rule was widely deemed to be interpreted correctly, so the latest NFL controversy wasn’t about a team getting a raw deal from the refs.Rather, this was the conundrum: a spectacular catch that passed the eye test for most people watching, but failed to satisfy the league’s complex rule book. The spotlight Sunday fell on Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1:“If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”The biggest beef raised by Bryant and the Cowboys was that the ball only came loose when it hit the ground near the pylon.He had full possession as he took his stumbling steps toward the goal line, but because by definition he was considered to still be falling then that didn’t count toward completion of the catch.The rule was put in place to make such calls easier for officials on the field. The league’s vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, said that Bryant’s “football move” of stretching his arm toward the goal line was not obvious enough.“If we make this a catch, then where do we draw the line with a lot of other plays where it’s clearly incomplete by rule?” Blandino said on the NFL Network. “It can be become even more inconsistent.”Since this happened at such a pivotal point of such an important game, strict parameters will likely stay in first place on the public’s list of gripes for a while. There are worthy competitors for the most rued rule, though:— Excessive celebration.New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham’s signature crossbar slam dunk in the back of the end zone was the most recent creative act to land on the no-no list.Entertainment is what pulls so many millions of people into these games each Sunday during the season, and the NFL’s various attempts to limit on-field flamboyance following touchdowns or even sacks have triggered many a complaint. The derisive “No Fun League” nickname rose out of this eye-rolling exasperation decades ago.— Defensive pass interference.The NCAA’s punishment is 15 yards, but the NFL puts the ball at the spot of the foul, even if that happens to be inches from the end zone after a 40 or 50-yard penalty.Without replay reviews allowed in these cases and much contention about what’s allowable for down-field contact and what’s not, the pass interference flag is perhaps the most debated in the sport. So there’s no worse feeling for the offending team, or its fans, to see the opponent get first and goal with disagreement with the call in the first place.— Tackling.Everyone is for player safety, of course, and the frightening amount of post-career health problems in this violent game have prompted the league to tighten standards for pressuring the quarterback, bringing down the ball carrier and covering the receiver.With the crackdown on hard hits, especially those to and with the head, has come confusion from defensive players in recent years about what they’re allowed to do to keep the offense from beating them. Slowing by a half-step in this ultra-fast sport to make sure a tackle or a hit is legal will inevitably lead to a whiff and a long gain.There are always contrarians to the consensus, of course.NFL analyst Cris Carter, the Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver, said on ESPN radio that he’s a strong proponent of the process-of-catch rule. “It really helps clear it up,” Carter said. “Hand the ball to the referee.”Rules that might have outlived their usefulness or become unnecessarily unwieldy to most were once installed for legitimate reasons.In 2010, a few weeks after a controversial incompletion that went against Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions, a similar non-catch to Bryant’s, NFL competition committee Co-chairman Rich McKay acknowledged the difficulty of the rule.“It was made for on-field officials,” McKay said, “not as much for people watching on TV.”(DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Pro Football Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
TweetPinShare0 Shares Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios said Olympic swimming legend Dawn Fraser was a “blatant racist,” after she criticized him for giving up at Wimbledon where he lost a match in listless fashion.Frasier said should “go back to where their parents came from” if they did not set a better example to Australian youth. Kyrgios’ father is Greek while his mother is Malaysian.Although only 20 and showing potential for brilliance, Kyrios has earned the reputation of being tennis’ new bad boy with what critics call a bad temper and outlandish behavior.The former champion swimmer won four gold medals in the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics. After initially standing by her comments and denying they were racist, she later issued an “unreserved apology for any comments… which may have caused offence to my fellow Australians including Nick and his family,” Reuters reported.Kyrgios was the subject of a barrage of criticism back home for his on-court antics when he was beaten by Richard Gasquet in the fourth round of the Wimbledon championships on July 6.The 20-year-old was accused of giving up, or “tanking”, in one game, received a warning and a fine for an audible obscenity and conducted a running debate with the umpire throughout the match.After the match Fraser, 77, said, “It’s absolutely disgusting. I am so shocked to think that he went out there to play and he tanked, he did all that tanking, that’s terrible.”“They should be setting a better example for the younger generation of this country, a great country of ours. If they don’t like it, go back to where their fathers or their parents came from. We don’t need them here in this country if they act like that.”Kyrgios responded by linking to a video of Fraser’s comment on his Facebook page. “Throwing a racket, brat. Debating the rules, disrespectful. Frustrated when competing, spoilt. Showing emotion, arrogant.” “Blatant racist, Australian legend.”“Australians have a rich sporting heritage made up of individuals from a variety of different countries of origin,” she said later.“My intended message, which was not delivered as articulately as it could have been, was on a purely sporting level rather than meant as an attack on Nick’s ethnicity.“Nick’s representing Australia and I want to see him representing Australian tennis in the best possible light,” she added.Kyrgios’ defeat came after Bernard Tomic, who was born in Germany but moved to Australia with his Yugoslavian-born parents when he was three, was dumped from Australia’s Davis Cup team for launching a tirade at Tennis Australia officials after he lost at Wimbledon too.
TweetPinShare0 Shares TORONTO — While the New York Knicks credited Carmelo Anthony’s leadership, the Toronto Raptors had questions about his foot — specifically whether it was out of bounds on a pivotal play in the game.The referees instead called Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry for a foul on Lance Thomas, the recipient of Anthony’s subsequent pass with the Knicks leading by one.Thomas converted both free throws with 17.2 seconds remaining and the Knicks held on to hand the Raptors their first home loss of the season, 111-109 on Nov. 10.“When we came in we reviewed the play,” crew chief Ed Malloy said afterward. “We did see Anthony step out of bounds and should have awarded the ball to Toronto.”Anthony scored 25 points to help the Knicks to their third road win in four attempts this season — after registering just seven such wins over the entirety of last season — and was in no mood to revisit the past.“I don’t want to see it, I’m getting out of here,” he said. “Ain’t no need for me to look back and watch it, it’s over with. I don’t even know if I did it. Probably, but we’re getting out of here with the win.”While Raptors coach Dwane Casey said he saw the Knicks star step out of bounds with his own eyes, Toronto forward DeMar DeRozan, who scored a season-high 29 points in the loss, said the Raptors should still have pulled out the victory.“All night there were a lot of things we were definitely frustrated about,” he said. “We still had a chance to pull it out. I missed a free throw, and even though I missed a free throw we got the ball back and missed a layup. Just a combination of things.”Chief among them would have been Toronto’s 23.5 percent shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, compared to New York’s 47.8 percent conversion rate from the same distance, which accounted for 33 points. Thomas went 3-for-3 from 3-point range as part of the 17 points he added off the bench.“He’s another guy who adds value to what we are and he helped us win this game tonight,” coach Derek Fisher said of the backup forward, while acknowledging that his team wasn’t great on the night.“We were fortunate to get out with the win giving up 60 points in the paint and fouling as much as we did; those are areas that we’re really trying to improve in a major way.”(PAUL ATTFIELD)