Kapil sacked, match fee doubled
An emotional outburst
Anderson leaves India in tatters
Beckham finally makes a splash
Eriksson back with a bang
Federer, Henin lead US Open seedings
Syria toy with Kyrgyzstan
Sports draft negates Olympic Charter: IOA
India colts lose to Argentina
Mumbai, August 21
In an apparent bid to counter the challenge posed by the Subhash Chandra-owned Essel Group, the BCCI came out with a slew of financial measures to retain its players, while making it clear that the defectors would be barred from playing for India or at the domestic level.
The decision to sack Kapil Dev, who also heads the ICL's Executive Board, was taken at the Board's Special General Meeting, which deliberated at length on the contentious ICL issue.
Addressing a crowded press conference, BCCI Treasurer N Srinivasan put up a bold face, saying that the exodus of domestic players was not a problem.
NCA vice-chairman Ajay Shirke has been appointed as the acting Chairman of the Bangalore-based National Cricket Academy and a decision on the new Chairman would be taken at BCCI's Annual General Meeting on September 28.
Srinivasan said the match fees of the Ranji Trophy players would be increased to Rs 35,000 per day and the total prize money for domestic tournament would be hiked to Rs 4.2 crore.
Ranji Trophy players currently get a match fee of Rs 16,000 per day, which means that domestic players would get Rs 19,000 more from the current season.
"In line with what was decided in the Special General Body Meeting, Kapil Dev ceases to be the NCA Chairman," Srinivasan said.
Kapil's sacking was very much on the cards as the BCCI had made it clear that those who had aligned with the rebel league would not be associated with the Board activities.
Srinivasan said the players were free to choose between the BCCI and the ICL but those who opted to play for the cash-rich league, should not expect any benefits from the Board.
The BCCI's retaliatory measures came a day after the ICL announced the initial list of 51 players.
The Special General Meeting also decided to increase the expenditure on women's cricket to Rs 7 crore. Setting up a zonal cricket academy in Kolkata and an indoor stadium in New Delhi were some of the other decisions taken at the meeting which was presided over by President Sharad Pawar.
Although the ICL has managed to lure 44 Indian first class cricketers with whopping offers of Rs 30 lakhs per year, it has not succeeded in wooing current Indian Test players or even India A players. — PTI
An emotional outburst
New Delhi, August 21 Kapil, who has joined the rebel Indian Cricket League as Executive Board Chairman, said he would do everything to prevent youngsters who have signed up with ICL from being penalised by the BCCI. "If youngsters are ignored by BCCI, I will go on hunger strike," the legendary all-rounder told Headlines Today. Kapil said he did not resign from the NCA post as he was not averse to serve cricket at any level. "(I was thinking) should I resign or they sack me and I said I am not going to say no to cricket. Why should I say no to cricket? I am not doing ethically wrong," he said. "Are they (BCCI) only for them (BCCI) or are they for India? If they are for the country, they cannot stop me. But if they are for themselves, they can stop me." Kapil said he was disappointed that the BCCI's ruthless approach in sacking him unilaterally. "I felt a little disappointed, they did not have the courage to come out, sit and talk to you. And I think if you cannot sit down across the table and talk, then this is ruthless," he said. "They did not bother to talk to me before announcing this. I think they felt it's below their dignity to talk to me. They have been doing this for the last 70 years and I'm afraid, they would continue like this," Kapil said. "But I'm not shattered or surprised. It's not as if lightning has struck me," Kapil told 'Aaj Tak' channel. The former all-rounder, who was appointed NCA Chairman last year in September, also hinted that he was prepared for the development. "This was surely not a bolt from the blue, for such a possibility was doing the rounds for quite sometime." Asked if he had expected to be shown the door like this, Kapil said, "Not me alone, the entire country expected so."
New Delhi, August 21
Kapil, who has joined the rebel Indian Cricket League as Executive Board Chairman, said he would do everything to prevent youngsters who have signed up with ICL from being penalised by the BCCI.
"If youngsters are ignored by BCCI, I will go on hunger strike," the legendary all-rounder told Headlines Today.
Kapil said he did not resign from the NCA post as he was not averse to serve cricket at any level.
"(I was thinking) should I resign or they sack me and I said I am not going to say no to cricket. Why should I say no to cricket? I am not doing ethically wrong," he said.
"Are they (BCCI) only for them (BCCI) or are they for India? If they are for the country, they cannot stop me. But if they are for themselves, they can stop me." Kapil said he was disappointed that the BCCI's ruthless approach in sacking him unilaterally.
"I felt a little disappointed, they did not have the courage to come out, sit and talk to you. And I think if you cannot sit down across the table and talk, then this is ruthless," he said.
"They did not bother to talk to me before announcing this. I think they felt it's below their dignity to talk to me. They have been doing this for the last 70 years and I'm afraid, they would continue like this," Kapil said.
"But I'm not shattered or surprised. It's not as if lightning has struck me," Kapil told 'Aaj Tak' channel.
The former all-rounder, who was appointed NCA Chairman last year in September, also hinted that he was prepared for the development.
"This was surely not a bolt from the blue, for such a possibility was doing the rounds for quite sometime."
Asked if he had expected to be shown the door like this, Kapil said, "Not me alone, the entire country expected so." — PTI
4 MP Ranji players join ICL
Indore, August 21 Besides Ali, Sachin Dholpure, T. Sudheendra, Mohnish Mishra and J .P. Yadav, who was playing for the Railway until now, have thrown in their lot with the ICL. There was a possibility of Yadav playing for Madhya Pradesh. Amay Khurasia, who was the state’s skipper for a considerable period of time, admitted, “the team will definitely suffer a loss. Dholpure, Mishra and Sudheendra are young players and have excellent opportunities to play for the state and country. They will be deprived of the pride one feels while playing that way.” However, there was no need for disappointment as it was likely that even better players would be found, he added. “Abbas took an apt decision as he did not get a chance in the national team,” said the player’s father Syed Gulrez Ali of Ranji fame.
Indore, August 21
Besides Ali, Sachin Dholpure, T. Sudheendra, Mohnish Mishra and J .P. Yadav, who was playing for the Railway until now, have thrown in their lot with the ICL. There was a possibility of Yadav playing for Madhya Pradesh.
Amay Khurasia, who was the state’s skipper for a considerable period of time, admitted, “the team will definitely suffer a loss. Dholpure, Mishra and Sudheendra are young players and have excellent opportunities to play for the state and country. They will be deprived of the pride one feels while playing that way.”
However, there was no need for disappointment as it was likely that even better players would be found, he added. “Abbas took an apt decision as he did not get a chance in the national team,” said the player’s father Syed Gulrez Ali of Ranji fame. — UNI
Anderson leaves India in tatters
Rose Bowl, August 21
Under a depressingly dark sky, England made light of being inserted by mounting 288 for two in their 50 overs in the first of seven internationals versus India.
Indeed, the mood turned happier with Indian wickets tumbling in response. After the tourists began inauspiciously with Sourav Ganguly running himself out, Gautam Gambhir drove at a ball without using his feet; and Sachin Tendulkar, who had looked in good touch, drove straight into the hands of midwicket after being kept quiet for a while and following the distraction of a bevy of topless women cavorting around the western galleries - not the cause of his dismissal, one would hope!
James Anderson, seaming the ball as the dew descended in the twilight hour, grabbed three wickets off 14 balls as the visitors slumped to 34 for four.
Against an Indian attack, which didn’t seem to have refocused after the jubilation of victory in the test series, Alastair Cook (102) and Ian Bell (126 not out) recorded maiden ODI hundreds, while danger man Kevin Pietersen rattled up an unbeaten 33 off 25 balls.
It was overcast from the very outset. Indeed, what was billed as a day/night affair almost transpired to be a night game, with floodlights in operation from the first ball.
The cloud cover, though, failed to infuse much aerial movement, which Rahul Dravid obviously expected when he decided to field. This was probably because it the too cold for swing, with neither moisture evaporating from the soil nor enough humidity in the air.
Matt Prior, under fire from a vast section of English media, including former players, for his quite atrocious work behind the stumps in the tests, retained his opening slot in the shorter format, but again failed to capitalise.
Having lofted Zaheer Khan to the sightscreen below the white canopied pavilion for six, he spooned him to midon to make his exit.
At 43 for one India undoubtedly entertained hopes of greater success. But the left-hander/right-hander combination of Cook and Bell upset the Indian bowlers’ line before dominating them.
The latter, of Warwickshire, continued from where he left off in his last outing in the tests, cutting and driving with a technical correctness, which is his hallmark. His 118-ball essay was highlighted by 10 fours and a belter of a six to the bottom of the media centre at the expense of Piyush Chawla.
Cook was slightly more circumspect, but his knock, too, emanated off no more than 126 deliveries. Typically, he clipped the ball away off his legs and founds the gaps through the covers with both feet for most of his eight boundaries.
A placid pitch posed no threat to the batsmen, whereas India looked a bowler short. Indeed, the omission of Ramesh Powar was surprising, considering the dividends India had reaped against South Africa with a line up of five specialist bowlers.
While Gambhir has demanded attention by the sheer weight of runs he’s produced on this tour, from a team perspective, it was a nervous move to resort to an extra batsmen.
It appeared to be a response to England selecting a quintet of leather merchants - with the return of Andrew Flintoff — plus an useful sixth bowler in Ravi Bopara.
Cook b RP Singh 102
Carson (California), August 21
His timing was impeccable.
Just when media interest appeared to be fading, the English midfielder revived it by scoring his first goal and notching three assists while playing major minutes in two games last week.
Beckham's first goal for the Galaxy came in a 2-0 North American SuperLiga victory over D.C. United last Wednesday, his first start for his new team.
That bending free kick led to a fresh round of next-day video replays across the USA on everything from sports highlights programs to the tabloid news shows.
"I have scored a lot of important goals in my career, big goals in my career, and this ranks among them," he said.
"I wanted to get off to a good start with the team and with the fans." Then he drew 66,237 to Giants Stadium for his first Major League Soccer start. Beckham set up two goals, but the Galaxy lost 5-4 to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
"Oh, yeah, there's tremendous pressure," Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas said.
"We're not naive to the fact that a lot of people want to see him and that there's a lot of people buying tickets specifically to see him."
The initial Beckham media interest quickly died because of a left ankle injury that relegated the former England captain to the bench for much of his first month.
He played a total of 37 minutes in two token appearances in his first eight games, disappointing fans in sellout crowds who were forced to buy tickets for multiple games just to see Beckham.
His first extended road trip drew an average of 42,211 fans to Toronto, Washington, New England and New York, although he sat out in Toronto and New England.
Beckham hopes his ankle is well enough for him to make his 97th appearance for England against Germany in London on Wednesday night.
Then he'll fly across eight time zones to try to make Thursday's night MLS game against Chivas USA in Carson.
Not only are fans buying tickets _ although just 17,223 saw his first goal in Carson _ they're also purchasing No. 23 jerseys.
Even with his injury, merchandise sales are up 700 per cent for the Galaxy this season and 300 per cent leaguewide because of Beckham, according to MLS.
However, until the most scrutinised left ankle in sports is fully healed, Beckham may continue to play in fits and starts, prompting more of the criticism that's been directed at him and the team.
"It's unfair," Galaxy midfielder Peter Vagenas said. "If it were truly up to him, and if it were medically the right thing to do, he would have been out there a long time ago."
Beckham didn't practice with the team for the first time until last week. Before then, the Galaxy had limited media access to Beckham to news conferences. The team had been vague about his ankle and his playing status. — AP
London, August 21
But it's the usual cry that goes up when the manager of a club soccer team is doing well and there is doubt about the status of the current national team manager.
If anyone else had been in charge of City and had taken the team to the top of the Premier League with victories over West Ham, Derby and - more importantly - defending champion Manchester United, then there would have been headlines calling for him to take over the England job from Steve McClaren.
But this is Eriksson. England fans had five years of the Swede before he quit a year ago after another disappointing World Cup. They know all about his tactical blunders, his bewildering team lineups and formations, his illogical substitutions, his lack of charisma.
This is the Swede who had England's most talented lineup in four decades and still couldn't get the team past the quarterfinals of two World Cups and a European Championship.
Now he's back in club management, the field where he led three clubs in three different countries to domestic league and cup doubles and also won European trophies.
Would not it be an amazing twist if he led Manchester City to its first league title triumph since 1968, while England is still waiting for its first success since 1966? Granted, it's only three games into the new season.
But Eriksson's instant success at City - which hasn't won any kind of a title since the 1976 League Cup - is something out of a storybook.
Eriksson took over on July 6. Although he was handed millions to spend by the club's new owner, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, he had to do it quickly and the Swede bought eight new players.
None of them - two Brazilians, two Bulgarians, a Swiss, a Croat, a Spaniard and an Italian - are English and none had ever played in the Premier League.
That's why it's so remarkable that this rebuilt City team stands two points clear at the top of the standings. It also has a seven-point advantage over neighbour United after Sunday's 1-0 victory.
While the euphoria shows no sign of stopping, Eriksson is not letting it get to him.
"We have a long way to go before we are a top team," he said. "We are here and we are fighting but there are a lot of things for me to work on.
"There are a lot of players here who have never played in the Premier League. They are not used to the pace and you can see it sometimes."
But he is enjoying the new atmosphere hanging around City, especially as the fans look down the standings at their neighbors at United, who have spent the last 30 or so years gloating over their nine Premier League titles, eight FA Cups and a Champions League since City last won a title. — AP
Osaka World Meet
Osaka, August 21
Gay has set the track alight this season, scorching to the leading time of 9.84 seconds and placing a big question-mark over Powell's bid for an elusive first world crown.
Powell, by contrast, has struggled with knee tendinitis and an untimely groin injury, timing 10.04secs in his final warm-up in Stockholm.
"I am unbeaten, he is unbeaten and one of us is going to lose in Osaka," said the confident Gay.
While the showdown has fans licking their lips it is an unexpected challenge for Powell, the only drug-free man in history to run 9.77 sec, who has a nasty habit of fluffing his lines on the big stage.
Powell false-started his way out of the 2003 world championships, and a year later the easy-going Jamaican disappointed everyone when he failed to get out of the blocks in the Athens Olympic final.
"It wasn't the race I expected," he said afterwards.
But Powell returned to the Olympic stadium in June 2005 to set his world-record 9.77 - a performance emulated only by Olympic and world champion Justin Gatlin, who has since failed a dope test.
Powell missed the 2005 worlds with a torn groin muscle, and flirted with disaster before winning last year's Commonwealth title by veering into a competitor's lane in the semi-finals.
Now, one year from the Beijing Olympics, the 24-year-old will be keen to lay the big-day demons to rest with the most important title of his career.
Gold for the preacher's son would be a popular outcome, with Powell seen as a beacon of fair play in a sport increasingly tainted by drug scandals.
"I'm Jamaican-born, grew up in the church and there is nothing unfair about me," he has said. — AFP
New York, August 21
Thirteen players, who have won Grand Slam titles, are among the 32 men and 32 women seeded for the last major tournament of the year. The tournament includes men’s No. 2 Rafael Nadal, the three-time French Open champion, and No. 5 Andy Roddick, who won the 2003 US Open and lost to Federer in last year’s final. Novak Djokovic is seeded No. 3, while Nikolay Davydenko, who was involved in a match that sparked an ATP betting probe this month, is No. 4, and James Blake is No. 6.
Defending champion Maria Sharapova is seeded No. 2 in the women’s section, followed by No. 3 Jelena Jankovic, No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova, and No. 5 Ana Ivanovic.
Sharapova and Kuznetsova are two of the seven Russian women who were seeded, joined by No. 6 Anna Chakvetadze, No. 7 Nadia Petrova, No. 14 Elena Dementieva, No. 15 Dinara Safina and No. 27 Vera Zvonareva. — AP
Syria toy with Kyrgyzstan
New Delhi, August 21
The Syrian domination was total and they made light of a self goal by stopper back Ali Dyeb, who slammed into his own goal while trying to clear the ball out of safety, to tie the score 1-1 early in the match and eventually defeat Kyrgyzstan convincingly.
Despite the self goal, Syria managed to lead 2-1 at half time and made the issue beyond Kyrgyzstan by slotting home two more goals on resumption.
The Syrians were quick on the uptake, fast with their passes and generally played a superior brand of soccer to come out triumphant.
Syria, who had beaten Bangaldesh 2-0 in their opening match, now share the top spot with India in the five-team round-robin league with two wins each though the hosts have seven for and none against while Syria have netted six goals and conceded one. Kyrgyzstan, who survived some anxious moments against Cambodia before coasting home 4-3 on Sunday, have scored one win and suffered one defeat with five goals in favour and three against, to somewhat cloud their chances of a place in the title round.
The Syrian game once again worked on the axis of their captain and roving forward Maher Al Sayed with able support from striker Mohammed Alzeno. Both of them combined so well that the Kyrgyzstan custodian Kashuba Valeri had a harrowing time, keeping the ball out of harm's way. Al Sayed got his just reward when he was named the man of the match.
Syria forged ahead in the seventh minute when Maher Al Sayed unleashed a carpet drive from the top of the box following a faulty clearance by Kyrgyzstan defender Samsaliev Talant, wearing jersey No 3.
As an interesting coincidence, it was Syrian defender Ali Dyeb, also wearing a No 3 jersey, who put the ball into his own goal while effecting a back clarance with custodian Mowssab Blahowss charging out, leaving the citadel untenanted.
But Syria made amends for this serious lapse when they regained their lead a minute before the half time break. Mohammed Alzeno ran down the right flank before sending a perfect cross into the box, which was headed in by forward Zyad Chaabo.
In the 17th minute of the second session, Alzeno and Chaabo almost played an encore, but for a fine reflex action by goalie Valeri who sprang on his feet to tip over the ball. The reprieve for Kyrgyzstan was short-lived as seven minutes later, Alzeno himself latched on to a pass from the right, and powered the ball home to beat the custodian all ends up.
Alzeno was the centre of action yet again seven minutes before the final hooter when he took a shot on the run from the right, which was deflected by custodian Valeri by lunging forward, but substitute Abrahiem Al Hasan ran in from nowhere to drive home the rebound.
Cambodia take on Bangaldesh on the seventh day of the action tomorrow.
New Delhi, August 21
Cautioning the Sports Ministry, IOA secretary-general Randhir Singh here said the proposed sports draft is a total negation of the Olympic Charter and will lead to the country’s isolation in the international arena.
Talking to newspersons, Randhir Singh said, “'We (IOA) are affiliated to the IOC and if IOC rules are infringed, we may be banned from IOC-recognised events.” “When Nepal government proposes to take over their national Olympic Association, I went there and told the authorities that Nepal may be banned from participating in international competitions,” he said.
“There is no point of having a regulatory body when you have the Olympic authority (IOA). If there is any problem in any affiliated federation, we will come forward and try to solve it,” said Randhir Singh, who is also secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
Regarding the proposed scrutiny of accounts of sports bodies by the government, he said, “The controller and auditor general examine our accounts. What is the problem in that?” he asked.
Calling the draft policy as “great story telling” Randhir Singh said, “We should stop all this and work together for the common good of the country.” “Ultimately, everything boils down to results, how many medals you win in international competition matters. But, we are not giving emphasis on sportspersons.” — UNI
India colts lose to Argentina
New Delhi, August 21 India started the
proceedings well, pocketing the first set 39-37, but that's all they could manage in the duel as Argentina clinched the next three sets 21-25, 22-25, 21-25 to seal the tie in their favour in one hour and five minutes. With this loss, India's registered first defeat in the tournament. For India Mandeep Singh was the best scorer with 22 points, while Argentinian Facundo Conte scored 20 points. India will take on Iran in their next match.
New Delhi, August 21
India started the proceedings well, pocketing the first set 39-37, but that's all they could manage in the duel as Argentina clinched the next three sets 21-25, 22-25, 21-25 to seal the tie in their favour in one hour and five minutes.
With this loss, India's registered first defeat in the tournament.
For India Mandeep Singh was the best scorer with 22 points, while Argentinian Facundo Conte scored 20 points.
India will take on Iran in their next match. — UNI
Shimla, August 21
The total prize money for the tournament is Rs. 90,000. The first, second and third prizes will carry a cash prize of Rs 25,000, Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000, respectively.
To attract top players, Grandmasters, international masters , women Grandmasters, women international masters and current national, Asian and world title holders in different age groups and players with international rating above 2399 have been offered free entry. — TNS