Laxman, Yuvi left out
Squad for SA, Pak ODIs on June 12
Negi slips to joint 3rd
Ghei tied 6th
Indian challenge ends at World TT Championship
Sania-Chan in last four
Laxman, Yuvi left out
Dhaka, May 24
The Indians dropped Punjab pacer V. R. V. Singh while including Pawar in the shortlisted 12, retaining the option of playing either three fast bowlers or as many slow bowlers.
Should they be picked, it will mark their India debut - in either form of the game - for both Sharma and Pawar.
Explaining the rationale for keeping out seasoned campaigner Laxman and the talented Yuvraj Singh, Dravid said that there were five batsmen fighting for only three slots in the middle order.
“On this tour, after seeing the conditions, we were very keen on playing five bowlers. Laxman is fighting for one of the three slots in the middle order,” Dravid said.
“Between myself, Sachin, Sourav, Laxman and Yuvraj we are fighting for three slots, while its true that in some situations during some tours we do have four slots in the middle.
“It is unfortunate that both VVS and Yuvraj had to miss out. That’s just the way it is. It’s not an easy decision for me, it never has been. Never will be.”
Dravid said that Sharma’s chances of making a debut would depend on whether the team management decides to go for three pacers or spinners after seeing the wicket.
“We are keeping open the option of playing either the third spinner or a third quick,” the 34-year-old Bangalorean said at the match-eve media briefing.
On the reasons for retaining opener Wasim Jaffer despite his pair in the Chittagong Test, Dravid said it was decided not to change the opening combination after only one game.
Seeking to end all talks of Dinesh Karthik being a stop-gap opener, Dravid said that it did not matter whether he was a specialist or not as long as he kept scoring runs.
“He is scoring runs. It does not matter what you are. Whether you are a specialist, regular or non-regular.
“In my ten years of playing for India, the guy who has been the most consistent and got runs as an opener for us is a middle order batsman who has been converted into an opener.
“It does not matter who you are if you have the technique, guts, courage and willingness,” he said.
On whether he himself could have opened, Dravid said the team was gaining a lot with him coming at number three, and decision was also taken with an eye on the coming England tour.
“Having me in the number three position is working a lot better for the team in some of the big games, especially away from home.
“I could have done it here in this situation, but would that solve the problems for us in England? Probably not.
“I would have reverted to number three in England.”
The captain said he wanted to give opportunity to others to stake their claim.
“If he doesn’t, then somebody else will be given an opportunity. But you have to give people chances irrespective of what they are if they are showing the willingess and character to do it.”
Dravid said Kumble was fit and bowled well in the practice session.
“He is shaping up well. He bowled well in the practice session today. He got through the practice session, so that’s a very good sign.”
Dravid said the wicket at the Mirpur stadium looked firm with no grass on it and that the ball could keep lower as the match progressed.
“Compared to the earlier games, this wicket has more black soil than red soil. The wicket might spin a bit more as the game goes on.” — PTI
Dhaka, May 24
“I will not be surprised if we can draw this game, or even win it. It will be a tough work, but we are positive that we can do better in this match,” a confident Bashar said.
Bashar said the hosts would give their best and try to utilise the chances which come their way.
He said his side would draw inspiration from the opening Test at Chittagong where they did not wilt under pressure.
“We kept coming back when they pushed us. But it will be a different ball game tomorrow,” he said at the match-eve press conference.
With all the Bangladesh players fit as a fiddle, and Tushar Imran also having recovered from fever, Bashar is confident of putting up a good show.
Bashar said the team was yet to decide on the first eleven, and whether to go in with four or five bowlers.
He, however, said the inexperience of playing Tests could make things difficult for his side.
“Winning Test matches is not easy for us. We are playing after a long time. We will do our best in this match. If chances come, we will take them,” he said.
The Bangladeshi captain hoped that with the weather looking good, he was expecting full five days of cricket.
Asked about the pitch at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium, Bashar said, “we are playing the longer version of the game for the last time this season but it could have pace and bounce.”
Asked whether his side would be keen to put up a good display as it would be the last match of Dav Whatmore as their coach, Bashar said, “If we do something that pleases him, we will be very happy.” — PTI
Rain at play again
Dhaka, May 24 Rain, accompanied by a thunderstorm, hit the city with full fury this evening. There was waterlogging at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, the venue for the match, but a few hours of sunshine could make play possible on the morrow. However, there is very little chance of the match starting on time. The rains have played havoc with the series and not a single day has gone unaffected by showers. The first two ODIs had to be curtailed, while the third was a complete washout. More than 15 hours of playing time was lost in the first Test at Chittagong which petered out to a tame draw.
Rain, accompanied by a thunderstorm, hit the city with full fury this evening. There was waterlogging at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, the venue for the match, but a few hours of sunshine could make play possible on the morrow.
However, there is very little chance of the match starting on time. The rains have played havoc with the series and not a single day has gone unaffected by showers.
The first two ODIs had to be curtailed, while the third was a complete washout. More than 15 hours of playing time was lost in the first Test at Chittagong which petered out to a tame draw.
Leeds, May 24
Officials, doubtless conscious of the need to look after the long-term health of their star player, decided against bringing paceman Flintoff back for the second match of a four-Test series after he missed the drawn series opener at Lord’s with a recurrence of his longstanding left ankle problem.
A few overs in the nets at Headingley on Wednesday were all it needed for the England management to pull the plug on thoughts of Lancashire’s Flintoff appearing at arch-rivals Yorkshire’s headquarters, even though they would originally planned om giving him a two-day trial.
Without Flintoff, England opted for a four-man as opposed to their favoured five-man, attack at Lord’s and then found themselves a bowler light when Matthew Hoggard went off injured in his 11th over with a thigh problem and didn’t return.
However, Flintoff’s absence means England have been spared the potentially awkward problem of dropping either Paul Collingwood or Ian Bell, both of whom scored hundreds at Lord’s, in order to fit in the same team both returning captain and batsman Michael Vaughan, fit after a broken finger, and ‘Freddie’.
Now it looks as if Vaughan, who hasn’t played a Test for 18 months, will come in for Owais Shah.
But that still leaves England to find a replacement for Hoggard with left-arm quick Ryan Sidebottom, looking for a second Test cap six years after his first.
Like his father Arnie, who appeared during the 1985 Ashes, Sidebottom junior is a member of the one-Test wonders’ club, having played during England’s victory against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2001.
Sidebottom, now at Nottinghamshire after starting his career with Yorkshire, was largely ignored for the remainder of Duncan Fletcher’s time as England coach, but has been given a fresh chance by new coach Peter Moores having since taken 221 first-class victims at 25 apiece.
The 29-year-old, whose inclusion would add much needed variety, will now be competing for a place alongside James Anderson and Liam Plunkett, misfiring spearhead fast bowler Stephen Harmison all but assured of his place on account of his extra speed despite a wayard display at Lord’s.
England badly need at least one of their quicks to back up Monty Panesar, whose six wickets in the first Test were yet another example of his priceless ability to attack and be economical at the same time.
West Indies, who only had two days of match practice in England before the first Test, will be a better side now as they look to end a run of seven years without an away Test win against major opposition.
Their Australian coach, David Moore, is unlikely to make many changes but Fidel Edwards could liven up the attack.
“The key is our consistency and ability to back up a good performance in Test after Test,” said Moore. — AFP
Mumbai, May 24
“The squad for the three matches against South Africa (in Ireland on June 26, 29 and July 1) and the one-off match against Pakistan for Prince Charles Charity Trust (in Glasgow on July 3) will be selected at Bangalore on June 12,” BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said here today.
“We will choose the team for the Test series to follow in England later. The team would have a short conditioning camp in Bangalore before departing from Mumbai on June 19 or 20,” Shah added.
India will play a three-Test series against England with the matches scheduled at Lord’s (July 19-23), Trent Bridge (July 27-31) and The Oval (August 9-13).
This will be followed by a seven-match ODI series against the hosts from August 21 to September 8.
Shah said that because of the spate of injuries to Indian bowlers, the Board had decided to conduct a fitness cum conditioning camp for 10 to 12 bowlers at Bangalore from June 8-12.
“We have seen a few bowlers breaking down due to injuries and want to test the bowlers’ fitness through a special camp which will end on June 12 after commencing on the 8th. The players chosen for the matches in Ireland and Scotland would join them for the five-day preparatory camp,” he said. — PTI
Athens, May 24
Filippo Inzaghi scored two goals and Milan did it by the book to win European soccer’s biggest prize for the seventh time yesterday, beating Liverpool 2-1 in the Champions League final.
It was a repeat meeting of their 2005 final when Milan tossed away a 3-0 halftime lead to lose on penalties after a 3-3 draw that become one of the greatest finals in the competition’s 52-year history.
This one didn’t really get out of second gear.
Inzaghi deflected in a free kick by Andrea Pirlo in the final minute of the first half and ran clear to shoot past Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina in the 82nd. Although Dirk Kuyt’s header replied for Liverpool with a minute to go, this time there was to be no extra time and no penalty shootout.
“These are the evenings that remain with you for all your life,” Inzaghi said. “I’ve scored quite a few times in Europe but scoring in the Champions League final is something special.” “The first goal opened up the game but the second was certainly more beautiful.” That goal was set up by Kaka, who wound up as this season’s leading scorer with 10 goals.
“It is very nice to win the Champions League,” the Brazilian said. “I’m very happy because in 2005 we lost. What happened in 2005 was strange. For just six minutes we played not so good and paid for that and today we could do what we want.”
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti now has two winners medals as a coach to go with the ones he won as a Milan player in 1989 and ‘90.
“This joy has to be shared with all those close to the club, all those who have sustained us, and all the fans,” Ancelotti said.
“It was a very difficult game, much like our season. We started slowly but grew in confidence as the game went on.
“(The game) wasn’t spectacular, but Liverpool is a team that can stop you playing.” Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso said the team was finally over its loss in Istanbul.
“The defeat two years ago will stay me for a lifetime,” he said. “But this is a different story. It’s our turn to celebrate now.” Milan moved within two of Real Madrid’s all-time record of nine European Cup triumphs while Liverpool stays with five.
Milan captain Paolo Maldini, becoming the oldest non-goalkeeper to take part in a final at a month short of his 39th birthday, went up to collect his fifth winners’ medal, one short of the competition record by Real Madrid’s Francisco Gento.
“I am so proud to be part of this team,” said Clarence Seedorf, who collected his fourth Champions League winners’ medal. “We worked hard this year, a very difficult year. Hard work makes it happen.” Maldini, who scored a rare goal in the opening minute in Istanbul, made a mark as soon as the game in Athens kicked off. He made his eighth appearance in the competition’s final, tying Gento’s long-established mark dating back to 1966.
This time, Milan scored in the final minute of the half rather than the first.
Kaka went down under a challenge from Xabi Alonso outside the Liverpool area and Pirlo’s free kick brushed Inzaghi and deflected past Reina.
“I thought we started well,” Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said. “We were in control just how we like to be but when you do that you’ve got to score. They got the first goal, with a bit of luck, but it was a big lift for them.” Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, who also led Valencia to the UEFA Cup title in 2004 before moving to Anfield, said his team was unlucky to conceded Inzaghi’s deflected goal.
“We lost against a good team with top-class players,” Benitez said. “The first half we played really well but conceded a goal, a deflection, through bad luck.” But it was an amazing end to a half that had few chances, Milan goalkeeper Dida blocking a shot from Jermaine Pennant in the 10th minute and Kaka forcing Reina to make a low diving stop in the 17th.
Playing in a more attacking role than usual, Gerrard should have equalised in the 61st when Gattuso gave the ball away 25 metres from his own goal and the Liverpool captain ran clear. He didn’t get any power on his shot, however, and Dida raced off his line to make a blocking save.
Gerrard’s failure to score reflected his lack of influence on the game. Usually adept at surging through from deep positions, he had been told to support Kuyt and the plan clearly didn’t work.
The Milan midfielders were strolling around unchallenged inside the Liverpool area before Kaka’s pass put Inzaghi clear. Reina raced off his line but the striker pushed the ball to one side and then rolled it past him into an empty net to the dismay of the Liverpool fans behind the goal. — AP
Negi slips to joint 3rd
Kirishi (Russia), May 24 The loss proved costly for Negi as he slipped to joint third spot in the standings and will now have to score heavily in the remaining rounds to draw level with Nepomniachtchi who shot into sole lead following his victory. As things stand with four rounds to come, Nepomniachtchi on 5.5 points is followed by World Junior champion Zaven Andriasian of Armenia on 5 while Parimarjan is joint third on along with Armenian Avetik Grigoryan and Ukrainian Yuriy Kuzubov on 4.5 points. Playing the black side of an English opening Negi was outsmarted as Nepomniachtchi coasted to his fourth win on the trot in the event. “I made a few mistakes in the middle game that gave Nepomniachtchi some advantage,” Negi said matter-of-factly after the game.
Kirishi (Russia), May 24
The loss proved costly for Negi as he slipped to joint third spot in the standings and will now have to score heavily in the remaining rounds to draw level with Nepomniachtchi who shot into sole lead following his victory.
As things stand with four rounds to come, Nepomniachtchi on 5.5 points is followed by World Junior champion Zaven Andriasian of Armenia on 5 while Parimarjan is joint third on along with Armenian Avetik Grigoryan and Ukrainian Yuriy Kuzubov on 4.5 points.
Playing the black side of an English opening Negi was outsmarted as Nepomniachtchi coasted to his fourth win on the trot in the event.
“I made a few mistakes in the middle game that gave Nepomniachtchi some advantage,” Negi said matter-of-factly after the game. — PTI
Seoul, May 24
The Delhi professional, who has already won one title and came within a whisker of another, fired five birdies, one on front nine and four on the back.
Among other Indians in the fray, Amandeep Johl (70) was lying tied 25th while Rahil Gangjee and fellow Kolkatan SSP Chowrasia returned one-under 71 each for the tied 44th spot.
In contrast, Digvijay Singh shot a horrendous six-over 78 with one triple and one quadruple bogey, to be tied 143rd.
Ghei, who won the Pine Valley Beijing Open last month and came within one shot of a place in play-off at Macau Open last week, was four shots behind Korean Bae Sang Moon whose eight-under 64 gave him a one-shot lead. Kim Hyung Tae and Jun Tae Hyun were tied second at 65 each.
“The conditions were not too tough and I’ll keep up my game as usual. The greens are quite tricky but overall, I am enjoying the set-up here,” Ghei said.
Ghei’s first birdie of the day came on the fourth hole. Making the turn one-under, he struck back-to-back birdies on 10th and 11th before gaining two more shots on the 15th and 16th for a flawless round. — PTI
New Delhi, May 24
In mixed doubles, Soumyadeep and Mouma Das went down to Chiang Peng-Lung and Yun-Feng Lu of Chinese Taipei 4-11, 8-11, 8-11, 8-11 yesterday.
Another mixed doubles pair of Shubhajit Saha and Kumaresan Shamini lost to the Australian pair of William Henzell and Miao Miao 11-8, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10, 13-11.
It was a pathetic display from the Indian paddlers. The performance of the men’s team is particularly disappointing as they had a special training camp in Germany to prepare for the World Championship and the upcoming Commonwealth Championship in Jaipur. — PTI
Sania-Chan in last four
New Delhi, May 24 After conceding the opening set, the Indo-Taipei pair rallied to beat the unseeded pair of Sandra Kloesel and Anna Koumantou 2-6, 6-1, 10-7 in a quarterfinal clash of the WTA event. The first set was dominated by Kloesel and Koumantou, who after going down 0-2, won six games in a row to gain early advantage. The second set belonged to Sania and Chan, who won the first five games on the trot and held their serve in the seventh game to stretch the match into super tie-breaker.
New Delhi, May 24
After conceding the opening set, the Indo-Taipei pair rallied to beat the unseeded pair of Sandra Kloesel and Anna Koumantou 2-6, 6-1, 10-7 in a quarterfinal clash of the WTA event.
The first set was dominated by Kloesel and Koumantou, who after going down 0-2, won six games in a row to gain early advantage.
The second set belonged to Sania and Chan, who won the first five games on the trot and held their serve in the seventh game to stretch the match into super tie-breaker. — PTI