Dravid, Yuvraj in running for ICC awards
Shiv Sena plans to disrupt Mohali match
Musharraf in line of fire for Pak cricket chaos
Haryana outwit Mizoram
Patiala, Chandigarh register wins
Jyoti, Chowrasia fight for title
Pillay stars in Airlines win
Atwal breaks into top 20
Karun crowned Asian Formula Renault V6 champ
Damien Martyn fashions facile win over England
Jaipur, October 22
Martyn lit up the Divali day with an elegant 78 that helped the three-time world champions overcome an early stutter and reach the meagre target of 170 with 13.1 overs to spare at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
Martyn's graceful innings, filled with 12 fours from 91 balls, came after an insipid batting performance by England saw them bowled out for 169.
As it turned out, the much-hyped 'prelude to the Ashes' turned out to be whimper instead of a cracker.
The result gave Australia, who have never won the biennial event, the crucial two points they needed after losing the first match to the West Indies.
England, who too lost their first match against India, now have to rely on too many permutations to go through to the semifinals.
The win also helped the Aussies maintain an all-win record against their arch-rivals on Indian soil, having won the 1987 World Cup final, the only time the two teams have met here before this match.
It was the pacers, with an immaculate bowling performance, who set up the Australian win, though.
The trio of Brett Lee, Mitchel Johnson and Shane Watson demonstrated the art of hitting the deck hard to perfection while ripping apart the England line-up.
Watson claimed three wickets for 16, including the key scalp of Flintoff (4) while left-arm speedster Johnson returned figures of three for 40.
Put in, England squandered a solid opening stand provided by Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell and slumped from 83 for no loss to fold up in 45 overs.
Strauss topscored with 56 while Bell came up with a well paced 43.
However, the rest of the batsmen, with the exception of Paul Collingwood (22 not out), failed to reach double figures.
The Australian chase began on a wrong note as they found themselves precariously placed at 34 for three after losing three wickets in the space of four runs.
After slamming Sajid Mahmood for two successive fours, Adam Gilchrist seemed to lose focus following a brief stoppage when one of the light towers went out.
Coming as it did on the day of the Festival of Lights, the break was ironic.
The first ball on resumption, the left-handed opener left a gaping hole between his bat and pad for Mahmood to get one through to rattle the timber.
Mahmood then beat Ponting's bat with an outswinger and Strauss held on to the outside edge at first slip.
Watson, who had struck three fours for his 21, played all over an in-cutter from Anderson and lost his off-stump.
At this stage, Martyn took charge with his batting class and found his touch early in the innings, as the lacklustre Steve Harmison fed him in his strong areas.
Martyn collected three successive boundaries from the first three balls bowled by the 27-year-old Durham player and added two more in his next over forcing England skipper Andrew Flintoff to take the pacer out of the attack.
The Western Australian received solid support from Mike Hussey who played the role of a sheet-anchor by mixing dead defence with precise nudges during his unbeaten knock of 32.
Strauss c Gilchrist b Symonds 56
Extras (lb-3, nb-6, w-3) 12
Total (all out, 45 overs) 169
Fall of wickets: 1-83, 2-84, 3-110, 4-115, 5-125, 6-135, 7-136, 8-150, 9-151.
Bowling: Lee 9-3-25-0, Bracken 8-0-38-1, McGrath 9-1-36-2 Johnson 10-0-40-3, Watson 7-0-16-3, Symonds 2-0-11-1.
Gilchrist b Mahmood 10
Extras (b-4, lb-5, nb-5, w-6) 20
Total (4 wkts, 36.5 overs) 170
Fall of wickets: 1-30, 2-34, 3-34, 4-152
Bowling: Anderson 9-2-31-1, Mahmood 10-0-57-2, Harmison 4.5-0-45-1, Yardy 10-1-18-0, Dalrymple 3-0-10-0. — PTI
Mumbai, October 22
Dravid, winner of the Cricketer of the Year and Test Player of the Year awards in 2004, is in the running for the Captain of the Year honour while Yuvraj, scorer of 1,496 runs in the period under consideration for the awards, is in contention for the ODI Player of the Year award.
While Dravid, who was in the long list of nominees for Test and ODI Cricketer of the Year as well as Cricketer of the Year awards, compatriot Irfan Pathan was in the first list for ODI player of the Year along with Yuvraj.
Dravid has been omitted for other three awards while Pathan has been ignored for the ODI Player of the Year.
However, India is in the fray for the Spirit of Cricket award while Anjum Chopra is vying for honours in Woman Cricketer of the Year category.
Drug-tainted Asif also shortlisted
Mumbai: Young Pakistan pace bowler Mohammed Asif, under a drug cloud after having tested positive for a banned drug, was today named in the shortlist of four players for ICC’s Emerging Player of the Year award.
Asif and fellow-pacer Shoaib Akhtar had tested positive for performance enhancing drug nandrolone and were pulled out of Pakistan’s Champions Trophy squad recently.
The drug-tainted duo faces a ban up to two years under the World Anti-Doping Code, to which the ICC and its members are signatories.
ICC’s Chief Executive Malcolm Speed clarified that Asif earned the nomination, as he had not tested positive for any banned substance during the period taken into consideration — August 1, 2005 to August 8, 2006.
“Asif is eligible for the award as the period under consideration for the awards was before the doping offence. The Pakistan Cricket Board has already conducted a hearing and we have been informed that a decision will be taken on the charges by October 26,” Speed said. — PTI
London, October 22
Following their interrogation of South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs last week, the Delhi Police has requested Scotland Yard to make available video footage of South Africa’s matches during the 1999 tournament.
They have also sought details of South African captain Hansie Cronje and Indian bookie Sanjeev Chawla’s UK bank accounts and telephone records, the Sunday Times said.
“The inquiry is the first suggestion that a scandal in which a number of leading international players were banned for accepting bribes reached British soil,” the report said.
The Delhi Police is looking into matches, which they suspect of being fixed by the betting racket.
Their main concern was Pakistan’s loss to Bangladesh in a group game, but claims have been made about South Africa’s loss to Zimbabwe and a second-phase match between India and Pakistan. Zimbabwe and Bangladesh won when their opponents were already sure of qualifying. — PTI
Indore, October 22
West, chasing a victory target of 419, gave away the chase after scoring 168 for nine. Sairaj Bhautule did not bat due to an injury as West Zone were folded up with two sessions remaining.
West, who scored a meagre 180 in reply to South’s 291, were one again rattled by the South attack led by veteran spinner Anil Kumble (3-37), S. Sreesanth (2-59) P.P. Ojha (2-43) in the second innings.
Resuming at their overnight score of 60 for three, only Dheeraj Jadhav (43, 4x5) and Zaheer Khan (33) could offer some resistance to the South bowlers.
Veteran Jacob Martin (19), captain Parthiv Patel (14), Ravindra Jadeja (21) and Rajesh Pawar (21) are the other West batsmen who found the double digit. Robin Uthappa and V. Venugopala Rao took one wicket each.
Bad light rescues Central Zone<p>Gwalior: Sourav Ganguly took two late wickets but East Zone remained stranded three wickets away from a win as their four-day Duleep Trophy match ended in a draw at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium here today.
Setting a victory target of 446 runs to their rivals, East Zone bowlers bowled their heart out but bad light resulted in suspension of play and that helped Central Zone save the match with just 15.2 overs bowled today.
East Zone, thanks to their first innings lead, pocketed two points from the match.
New Delhi, October 22
“Our activists will not allow this match to take place as directed by Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. Our plans include digging the pitch,” Jai Bhagwan Goyal, Shiv Sena in-charge of north India, said.
Leaders of the Shiv Sena from Haryana, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh decided that they would not allow Pakistan to play the match scheduled in Mohali, he added.
Karachi, October 22
After two months of crisis ending in a doping scandal, some experts say that Musharraf, chief patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), should be stripped of his ability to personally appoint the chairman of the board.
The call is led by cricketer-turned-lawmaker Imran Khan, a persistent opponent of Musharraf who complains that the military ruler runs both the nation and the cricket board undemocratically.
“The country is run without a constitution and so is cricket. It is so unfortunate that the President of Pakistan appoints the head of cricket, who is not accountable,” said Imran Khan, a former star all-rounder.
Pakistan’s latest controversy erupted last week when two of its premier fast bowlers, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, were sent home from the Champions League in India after testing positive for the steroid nandrolone.
Less than two months earlier, Pakistan forfeited the fourth Test against England at The Oval after Australian umpire Darrell Hair accused the team of ball tampering and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq kept them off the field.
His replacement, Younis Khan, publicly refused to lead the team as a “dummy captain” and Mohammad Yousuf was appointed skipper. But then PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan resigned and his replacement reappointed Younis as captain.
Last week, a prominent legal expert lodged a petition with the Supreme Court to challenge, among other things at the PCB, the appointment of Nasim Ashraf — a doctor and magistrate — as the new chairman.
Ashraf “doesn’t know anything about cricket,” said Farooq Hassan, a specialist in international law and former advisor to four Pakistani Prime Ministers, including now exiled Benazir Bhutto.
Musharraf — who speaks of his love for cricket in his recent memoirs “In the line of fire” — was quoted as saying that he picked Ashraf because he was a close friend and had a “bold” personality.
The President has been the PCB patron since he overthrew Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seven years ago. Sharif had suspended the PCB’s normal constitution in July 1999, and Musharraf has since appointed four different heads of the PCB.
Musharraf has even espoused “cricket diplomacy” with rival India — although when invited to New Delhi in April 2005, he says in his memoirs, he had to curb his instinct to “jump out of my seat shouting and clapping” when star batsman Shahid Afridi hit the Indian bowlers around the park.
Cricket and politics are therefore inextricably linked in Pakistan — but they also both arouse fiery passions among millions of people and cannot be ignored by the country’s leadership. — AFP
Universities wallop Bihar
Jalandhar, October 22
In fact, they took a surprise lead in the 5th minute through a penalty-corner conversion by Ashok Rajak, whose soft push was good enough to sound the board. Universities responded to this wake-up call by equalising in the 19th minute through Kurukshetra University’s Harshpreet Singh, whose rasping reverse flick gave the goalie no chance, and taking the lead in the 34th minute (Sunder Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala).
The Bihar defenders ran out of steam after the lemon break, allowing Universities strikers to score almost at will. Captain Parminder Singh, who plays for Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, hammered in a field goal in the 37th minute. A minute later, Gurpreet Singh made it 4-1. Bihar tried to fight back through skipper Xavier Gidh’s double strike (46th, 49th), but that made the Universities forwards even more hungry for goals.
Yadwinder Singh (49th) of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Harshpreet Singh (54th), his PAU team-mate Jagjit Singh (56th, 61st), Parminder Singh (59th), and Varinder Singh (69th) of Punjabi University made hay while the sun shone. At the other end, Xavier Gidh completed a commendable hat-trick with a field goal in the 64th minute.
With this win, Universities took their points tally to four — they had held Maharashtra 3-3 on the opening day, while Bihar crashed to their second successive defeat.
In a Group C match played earlier today, Mumbai, too, got cracking in the second half to post a 5-1 victory over Madhya Pradesh. Their forwards found the MP defence line hard to penetrate in the first half.
Jayesh Jadhav gave Mumbai the lead in the 27th minute with a field goal. At half-time, the fancied team merely had a 1-0 lead, having failed to convert four penalty corners. Jasdev Singh made it 2-0 with a field goal in the 49th minute. Rajeev Thatkar (59th minute), Manish Sahi (62nd) and Shakti Thakur (69th) were the other scorers. The lone goal for MP was struck by Gulam Mohammad, who did what the Mumbaikars ironically failed to do in five attempts — convert a penalty corner.
Results of Saturday’s matches: Punjab b Bihar 8-0; Mumbai b Manipur 3-1; Karnataka b Vidarbha 2-1; Chhattisgarh b Maharashtra 2-1.
Haryana outwit Mizoram
Ludhiana, October 22
It were Mizoram who went into the lead in the sixth minute of the game when Laldumawna scored a field goal. They increased the lead in the 19th minute through M.S. Dawnglina.
Stunned by this, Haryana players who had recorded 3-1 win in their opening match on Friday against Kerala, pulled up their socks and made some forays into the Mizoram’s territory and forced a penalty corner but failed to capitalise on this chance.
Haryana earned their second penalty corner in the 21st minute and Ajit Singh converted it to reduce the margin (2-1). However, this failed to deter the gritty players from Mizoram who pumped in another goal in the 33rd minute through Lalrungheta to read it 3-1.
After changing ends, Haryana appeared a changed outfit. In the very first minute, Ajit Singh and Satish Kumar of Haryana managed to dodge past Mizoram defence and the former found custodian, Suresh on wrong foot and rolled the ball into the net to make it 2-3.
In the next minute, Satish Kumar sounded the board to level the score at 3-3. This proved to be a morale booster for the Haryana players who made repeated attacks over their rivals’ citadel. Rajiv Panchal found the target to put Haryana ahead 4-3. They added two more goals in quick succession through Ganshayam Rai (51st and 52nd minute) to consolidate the lead 6-3.
Mizoram players swarmed Haryana territory time and again, forced two penalty corners but failed to capitalise on these chances. Nevertheless, their pressure tactics bore fruits as they managed to pierce through opponents’ defence and sounded the board in 54th minute and 66th minute to go down fighting 5-6.
In the second match, Services trounced Kerala 9-0 after leading 2-0 at half time. A.K. Mazhi scored three goals (15th, 47th and 49th minute) while Elaizer Lakra too sounded the board thrice (20th, 62nd and 66th minute). Ajay Kumar contributed two goals (45th and 67th minute) and Rajesh Lakra converted a penatly corner to complete the tally.
In another match, Bengal demolished Gujarat 11-0 to begin their campaign on a rousing note. Savino Jojo scored five goals including a hat-trick. Other scorers were Anil Ekka (2), Hardip Singh, Suken Saha, Jonas Bara and Nirmal Bagra.
Patiala, Chandigarh register wins
Amritsar, October 22
Bassi pumped in two goals in a space of eight minutes with first goal coming in the 52nd minute. Sandeep Singh (junior) set the pace by scoring the goal in the 17th minute. The winners received six penalty corners in all and Amrik Singh succeeded in converting one at the fag end of the first half.
Meanwhile, Pondicherry players offered listless performance. Although they received three penalty corners yet failed to convert any.
In another match, Chandigarh thrashed Uttaranchal and scored a massive 20-0 victory over the minnows. The winners were leading 11-0 at the half time. Navdeep Singh and Amar Aiymma were the leading scorers with pumping five and four goals, respectively.
In the last match of the day, Orissa beat Hyderabad 3-1. Playing attacking hockey from the start, Orissa players pumped in three field goals. Azar Ullah scored the solitary goal for Hyderabad in the 38th minute.
Results of Saturday’s matches: Railways b Andaman and Nicobar 33-0; Chandigarh b Madhya Bharat 8-1; Orissa b Uttaranchal 2-0; Patiala 2, AP 2.
New Delhi, October 22
After one of the most exciting dramas seen on Indian soil, the game produced a three-way play-off with Randhawa, Chowrasia and Vijay Kumar all ending at 18-under for 72 holes and tying for the record total for the championship.
In the first play-off hole, Vijay Kumar played himself out as he went into the right bushes and could not find the ball. That left Randhawa and Chowrasia, who after a lot of drama parred the 18th, still in the fray.
Vijay will tie for second with the loser of the play-off, while Simon Dyson (68) was sole fourth at 17-under 271 and Mukesh Kumar (72) was tied fifth at 276 with Prom
Gaurav Ghei (73) was tied seventh with Unho Park (73) and Suk Jong Ryul (69) and amateur Chiragh Kumar (67) tied for tenth with Scott Strange (72) at nine-under. Rahil Gangjee (74) was tied 12th.
In the final regulation hole, Chowrasia was tied with Vijay Kumar, the clubhouse leader at 18-under and then had a 15-footer for birdie. But he missed. Randhawa birdied the 18th and joined in the three-way play-off.
In the play-off, Chowrasia’s second shot went to the right bushes from the middle of the fairway and he then played a brilliant shot to give himself a 12-foot chance for birdie. — PTI
Gurgaon, October 22
In a nail-biting semifinal clash, neither of the two football powerhouses in the country could open the account in the regulation time as well as the extra-time, forcing the game into the penalty shootout.
Two of Kerala’s spot kicks, by R. Rajesh and Jaseer Karnath, hit the upright while Bengal converted all four of their shots to keep up their title hopes alive.
Dipendu Biswas, Sanjeev Maria, Suman Dutta and Shyam Mondal converted for Bengal, while Lenal Thomas and N. Pradeep found the target for Kerala.
In the other semifinal encounter, Punjab defeated last year’s finalists Maharashtra 2-1 to book a berth in the final.
Punjab have made it to the title clash after two years and would be keen to go one better this time after being beaten by Kerala in the final in Delhi two years ago. The final would also provide an opportunity for Punjab to break their nearly 20-year title drought in the national championship.
Skipper Abhishek Yadav had put Maharashtra ahead in the 43rd minute when he tapped home a superb centre from the industrious Paresh Shivalkar. The goal came against the run of play, as Maharashtra was clearly the better side till then.
But Punjab responded after the break when Baldeep Singh (61st) and Parveen Kumar (68th) found the net.
Baldeep slotted the ball home after the pressure put by Punjab on the rival defence bore fruit on the hour mark and a long throw-in created confusion in the Maharashtra penalty.
The equaliser, greeted by rapturous applause from the crowd, which treated the neighbours as almost a home team, boosted the confidence of Jagir Singh’s side which mounted one offensive after another.
They deservedly took the lead in the 68th minute when a brilliant through ball from Sukhjinder was taken in his stride by Parveen who made no mistake. — PTI
Pillay stars in Airlines win
Bhaini Sahib, October 22
The star attraction of the tournament, Pillay, let his hockey stick do the talking and swept past the Rajasthani defence like a hurricane. Sameer Dad also scored two goals.
Pillay was the first to open the account when he brushed past the opponent to score a goal in the 8th minute. His second strike came in the 31st minute. Sameer hit the deck in 15th and 39th minute. Vikram Pillay scored the fifth goal.
Results of Saturday’s matches: Uttar Pradesh b Tripura 9-0; Delhi b Jammu and Kashmir 7-1; Jharkhand b Rajasthan 7-0.
Florida, October 22
The performance has further strengthened Atwal's chances of retaining his PGA card for next year. The Orlando-based Indian has a three-day total of 13-under 203 after mixing nine birdies with a lone bogey in the third round while playing at the Magnolia Course in the two-course event.
Atwal — playing his back nine first — went on a birdie firing spree as he gained five consecutive shots from 10th to 14th holes.
Making the turn at five-under, Atwal sank in another birdie on the fourth but stumbled to a bogey on the very next hole.
However, that was to be his only miss of the day as he gained three shots between sixth and ninth to make the leap on the leaderboard. — UNI
Zhuhai (China), October 22
The result left the Indian with 131 points, 24 ahead of Team New Zealand’s A1 Grand Prix lead driver Matt Halliday and Ananda Mikola in third with 98 points.
On Friday, Karun was fastest in every practice session as well as in all the four qualifying segments, showing that being out of the car for 10 weeks did not create a lot of rustiness.
Speaking afterwards, Karun said: “It’s really great to have a double pole today. It’s a big weekend with four races but at least we’re starting in front. What’s even better for the Championship is that Ananda is down in 5th and with the two extra points for pole, things are looking better for the Championship.” — PTI
Sao Paulo, October 22 Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher, in the final race of his career, showed grit and determination to go from last to fourth after a ninth-lap puncture crippled his challenge for victory. Renault retained the constructors’ championship they won last year. It was Brazilian Massa’s second career win. Briton Jenson Button was third for Honda. Schumacher, 10 points behind Alonso but with seven wins each, had needed one last victory to have any hope of an unprecedented eighth title while the Spaniard required only a single point from his last race with Renault before joining McLaren. “Thank you, thank you. Thank you for all these years, it has been a pleasure to work with you,” gasped Alonso on his car’s radio after crossing the finish line. Whatever the odds against him, Schumacher wanted to go out with his head held high and he achieved that with a stirring and memorable performance. Starting 10th on the starting grid, he carved through to sixth and had just overtaken Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella for fifth, without the cars apparently touching, when the Ferrari stepped out of line with a puncture. The 37-year-old German limped back to the pits for a new rear left tyre but the most successful driver in Formula One history was not done yet. Rejoining in 17th place, and with a heavy fuel load, he proceeded to reel off a series of fastest laps to tear back up through the ranks to where he had been before. With 16 laps to go, he was back behind Fisichella in sixth place and pushing hard. The pressure paid off eight laps from the end when Fisichella ran wide across the grass at turn one and Schumacher sped through to take fifth place with McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, his successor at Ferrari in 2007, next in his sights. He got him three laps from the end with a totally uncompromising passing move at the end of the uphill pit straight, refusing to back off as they ran wheel to wheel with the wall to his left. The safety car was deployed on the second lap for five laps after Williams’ Nico Rosberg, who had collided with Australian team mate Mark Webber, crashed heavily and left debris across the track. Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn blamed Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella for a puncture that wrecked Michael Schumacher's hopes of winning his final Formula One Grand Prix. "I don't think we could have done any better. It's just frustrating with the constructors' (standings) because we obviously had a very quick car today," he told Germany's Premiere television at the Brazilian Grand Prix. "I think Giancarlo clipped Michael's tyre as he went past him and screwed our race. So it's very unfortunate because we had by far the quickest car today." The German collected the puncture after passing Fisichella, whose Renault team retained their constructors' title, for fifth place on lap nine. Television footage was inconclusive about whether the cars actually touched.
Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher, in the final race of his career, showed grit and determination to go from last to fourth after a ninth-lap puncture crippled his challenge for victory.
Renault retained the constructors’ championship they won last year.
It was Brazilian Massa’s second career win. Briton Jenson Button was third for Honda.
Schumacher, 10 points behind Alonso but with seven wins each, had needed one last victory to have any hope of an unprecedented eighth title while the Spaniard required only a single point from his last race with Renault before joining McLaren.
“Thank you, thank you. Thank you for all these years, it has been a pleasure to work with you,” gasped Alonso on his car’s radio after crossing the finish line.
Whatever the odds against him, Schumacher wanted to go out with his head held high and he achieved that with a stirring and memorable performance.
Starting 10th on the starting grid, he carved through to sixth and had just overtaken Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella for fifth, without the cars apparently touching, when the Ferrari stepped out of line with a puncture.
The 37-year-old German limped back to the pits for a new rear left tyre but the most successful driver in Formula One history was not done yet.
Rejoining in 17th place, and with a heavy fuel load, he proceeded to reel off a series of fastest laps to tear back up through the ranks to where he had been before.
With 16 laps to go, he was back behind Fisichella in sixth place and pushing hard.
The pressure paid off eight laps from the end when Fisichella ran wide across the grass at turn one and Schumacher sped through to take fifth place with McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, his successor at Ferrari in 2007, next in his sights.
He got him three laps from the end with a totally uncompromising passing move at the end of the uphill pit straight, refusing to back off as they ran wheel to wheel with the wall to his left.
The safety car was deployed on the second lap for five laps after Williams’ Nico Rosberg, who had collided with Australian team mate Mark Webber, crashed heavily and left debris across the track.
Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn blamed Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella for a puncture that wrecked Michael Schumacher's hopes of winning his final Formula One Grand Prix.
"I don't think we could have done any better. It's just frustrating with the constructors' (standings) because we obviously had a very quick car today," he told Germany's Premiere television at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
"I think Giancarlo clipped Michael's tyre as he went past him and screwed our race. So it's very unfortunate because we had by far the quickest car today."
The German collected the puncture after passing Fisichella, whose Renault team retained their constructors' title, for fifth place on lap nine. Television footage was inconclusive about whether the cars actually touched. — Reuters
Palton Hansda shoots gold