We will stretch India: Ashraful
Asif returns to Pak squad
‘Gilly’s ball-in-glove ploy unethical’
Mirpur stadium promises run feast
Coach pleased with India’s showing
Ipoh, May 7
With two difficult matches behind them and three points in the kitty, the Indian team enjoyed a two-day break ahead of their final Group A game against Argentina on Wednesday in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament. J. Carvalho
32 women athletes shown the door
Rain washes Jeev’s hopes
Boxers return with medals
India on Mission Redemption
Dhaka, May 7
The previous tour was in 2004, when India won the two-match Test series 2-0 and the three-match one-day international series 2-1.
Rahul Dravid’s team crashed out in the first round of the World Cup in the West Indies in March and will now try to prove that it is far superior to Bangladesh.
“We are well prepared for the series. It is definitely like any other series, we are here to win,” Dravid said on arrival here.
It was the loss to Bangladesh that led to India’s exit in the Caribbean.
The Indian team, for the first time without Sachin Tendulkar when he is fit and available for selection, had a five-day conditioning camp in Kolkata from where the 15 players and the support staff left for their first tour of Bangladesh in three years.
Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have been “rested” but they will play the Test series starting May 18 along five other players: Wasim Jaffar, V.V.S. Laxman, Anil Kumble, Rajesh Pawar and Vikram Raj Vir Singh.
The ODIs will be played on May 10, 12 and 15 and the Test matches from May 18 and 25.
This will be the first tour in two years without Greg Chappell as coach.
Former India player Ravi Shastri, whose designation is ‘cricket manager’, has replaced the former Australia captain after the completion of his contract with the World Cup.
The team also has a bowling coach in Venkatesh Prasad, who has replaced Ian Frazer, and fielding coach Robin Singh (senior).
India had proved far superior in 2004 - with Man-of-the-Series Irfan Pathan bowling the team to a 2-0 win in the Test series. Pathan, a left-arm pacer, has been dropped for the current tour.
In the one-day series, Bangladesh registered their first ever win against India, but Ganguly’s side won 2-1.
The Bangladeshi team has improved since then under coach Dav Whatmore of Australia. This will be Whatmore’s final series for Bangladesh in that capacity and he would like to go out on a winning score.
The ODI series will also be the final one at home for Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar.
“This will be my last one-day series at home and I want to leave on a high. I am saying this because we don’t play any more one dayers at home this year and I don’t see myself continuing in limited overs cricket by the time the next one-day series is held in Bangladesh,” he had said recently.
Meanwhile, a tight security cordon has been thrown around the Indian cricket team which arrived here today.
Policemen lined the entire route from the Zia International Airport to the team hotel, where a large number of police personnel have been posted.
Apart from the police, Rapid Action Battalion, commandos, plain clothes detective department sleuths are also guarding the team hotel where entry has been restricted.
Arrangements have also been made to provide fool-proof security at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Mirpur, where the first two one-dayers would be played on May 10 and 12.
“We are not leaving anything to chance,” a Bangladesh Cricket Board official (BCB) said. Meanwhile, ticket sales for the first one-dayer started today. — IANS, PTI
Dhaka, May 7
“They will come hard at us as they probably lost out on a Super Eights spot because of us. But they could find themselves stretched here,” said Ashraful, a batting success at the recent World Cup.
Ashraful, in line to succeed long-serving captain Habibul Bashar, said his side could repeat their World Cup performance against India in the series beginning later this week.
“We can beat the best, we have shown that in the past, and if everything clicks we can expect something good out of this series,” said Ashraful, who will play his 100th ODI on Thursday.
The 22-year-old played a sterling knock of 87 in engineering an upset over then world’s number one-ranked team South Africa during the World Cup in Caribbean.
Ashraful made more runs than any of his team-mates in scoring 216 from nine matches at the World Cup at an average of 36.00. He tends to do well against big teams and usually has been at the forefront of the run-charge in his country’s wins against bigger Test nations such as Australia, India and South Africa.
Ashraful also felt that the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly from the one-day squad could hurt the chances of the visiting Indians.
“Definitely, the absence of Tendulkar and Ganguly is a massive handicap for them as those two can win matches on their own. But we should concentrate on our game,” Ashraful said.
Ashraful denied that being the vice-captain, he was under pressure and said he primarily focused on his batting and assisting the captain when required.
“My job remains scoring runs. It’s the captain who has to deal with pressure most of the time. I will offer any help I can to the captain and will assist him but the bottomline is that I have to bat well in the middle.”
He does not have the figures to justify his mercurial talent but when on song, he could put to rack any bowling attack in the world. He has played 33 Tests for 1,511 runs at an average of 24.37 with three hundreds and 158 being his highest.
In 99 one-dayers, he has 1,824 runs at an average of 21.97 and has hit just a solitary century.
Ashraful is expected to lead Bangladesh into the next era with Bashar deciding that the present one-day series against India would be his last.
“I want to leave on a high. I’m saying so because we don’t play any more one-dayers at home this year and I don’t see myself continuing in limited overs cricket by the time the next one-day series is held in Bangladesh.”
Bashar though wants to continue in Tests in which he has scored 2,838 runs from 42 Tests at an average of 34.60 with three centuries and 24 half-centuries. — PTI
Asif returns to Pak squad
Karachi, May 7
Younis Khan and Shoaib Akhtar were the two names conspicuous by their absence while all-rounder Fawad Alam and left-arm pacer Najaf Shah were the new faces in the team that will take on the World Cup finalists in three matches from May 18 to 22. The tournament would also see Shoaib Malik make his debut as captain.
Interestingly, team manager Talat Ali has been named as the acting coach for the series. The team’s previous coach Bob Woolmer was murdered during the World Cup in his hotel room in Kingston, Jamaica.
Inzamam-ul-Haq stepped down as captain and also quit one-day cricket following the team’s failure to go beyond the first round in the Caribbean. Younis refused to take over from Inzamam and is currently playing for Yorkshire in the English county championship.
Both Asif and Akhtar were banned for a year and two respectively following their positive dope tests before the Champions Trophy in September.
They had their ban revoked subsequently but the Pakistan Cricket Board controversially withdrew them from the World Cup squad before the team’s departure citing injury reasons.
Squad: Shoaib Malik (capt), Salman Butt, Imran Nazir, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Kamran Akmal (wk), Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Najaf Shah. — PTI
Colombo, May 7
Gilchrist, whose record-breaking 149 led Australia to their fourth title, said after that he had a squash ball in one of his gloves to give him a better grip.
“I had a squash ball in my bottom-hand to help with my grip in training and I decided in this World Cup to use it in a match,” he said.
The revelation caused uproar here, with Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Kangadaran Mathivanan saying the matter could be taken up during next month’s International Cricket Council (ICC) annual general meeting.
“We are of the opinion that it was unethical for Gilchrist to use a squash ball to give unfair advantage,” Mathivanan told AFP.
He said Sri Lanka could call on the ICC’s cricket committee for stringent application of “Law 42” on fair and unfair play to ensure only the approved protection equipment was used.
Mathivanan said Sri Lanka Cricket would discuss the issue before deciding whether to raise it in London.
Sri Lankan newspapers have carried letters from irate fans accusing the Australians of resorting to unfair tactics to win the game.
“The question now asked by most Sri Lankan fans is whether the squash ball was used as a performance enhancing device,” said The Island, a privately-owned newspaper.
Fans say the use of the ball gave Gilchrist an extra edge over Sri Lanka’s bowlers. — AFP
Dhaka, May 7
Curator Badiul Aam Khokon, busy giving final touches to the track, says the wicket would be hard and clipped of all grass.
“One-day cricket is basically a batsman’s game. Spectators want to see big scores. It will be a perfect batting track,” said Khokon.
In the past three matches, 250-plus scores have been quite common, and Khokon was looking forward to a repeat on May 10.
The stadium, with a lush green outfield, can seat around 30,00 spectators and is now undergoing a massive renovation for a big event the 2011 World Cup’s opening ceremony.
“We have temporarily stopped the renovation work because of Thursday’s match. Work will resume after that,” Khokon said.
The facility at Mirpur was originally a soccer and athletics venue, but was converted to an exclusively cricket ground around two years back keeping in mind the needs of a sport which has vastly grown in popularity over the years in this country.
“All through the year, we have different tournaments year at both academy and junior level. For this match, we have been working on the strip for the last 10 days,” he said. The stadium would also host the second match of the series on Saturday.
Dhaka: Ashoka De Silva of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh’s Enamul Huq and Nadir Shah will officiate in one-day. Shah will stand with neutral umpire De Silva in the first match at Mirpur while Huq will join him for the last two encounters in Chittagong, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have announced. Another home umpire Akhtar Uddin Shaheen will be the TV umpire for the ODI series. The two-match Test series which starts from May 18 in Chittagong will be officiated by ICC Elite panel umpires Daryl Harper and Billy Doctrove. Shah and Huq will be the TV umpires for the Test series. Roshan Mahanama will be the ICC match referee.
Dhaka: Ashoka De Silva of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh’s Enamul Huq and Nadir Shah will officiate in one-day. Shah will stand with neutral umpire De Silva in the first match at Mirpur while Huq will join him for the last two encounters in Chittagong, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have announced.
Another home umpire Akhtar Uddin Shaheen will be the TV umpire for the ODI series.
The two-match Test series which starts from May 18 in Chittagong will be officiated by ICC Elite panel umpires Daryl Harper and Billy Doctrove. Shah and Huq will be the TV umpires for the Test series. Roshan Mahanama will be the ICC match referee.
Series live on Neo Sports
New Delhi: Neo Sports will telecast live the cricket series between India and Bangladesh. The live coverage will include a pre, mid and post match show called ‘Extra Cover’, featuring young players like Rohan Gavaskar and Hrishikesh Kanitkar for the first time on international cricket broadcast, a release stated.
— PTI, UNI
New Delhi: Neo Sports will telecast live the cricket series between India and Bangladesh. The live coverage will include a pre, mid and post match show called ‘Extra Cover’, featuring young players like Rohan Gavaskar and Hrishikesh Kanitkar for the first time on international cricket broadcast, a release stated. — PTI, UNI
Ipoh, May 7
Chief coach Joaquim Carvalho was pleased as he looked back on the narrow 1-0 defeat to Australia and the 5-4 win against China over the weekend.
“I think we did fairly well in both the matches, though I would be the first to say that there is still scope for improvement. But at least, we are on the right track,” he said in a chat with PTI here today.
“We had just two international matches in Kuala Lumpur before coming to Ipoh for this tournament and took on Australia in our very first outing.
“Then we had a pressure game against China and I am happy at the way our team has performed so far. Given more time and exposure, I am sure we can build a strong team,” said Carvalho, who took over from Vasudevan Baskaran about a month back.
The former World Cup and Olympic half-back, known for his crunching tackles, Carvalho has imbibed coaching techniques from his “guru” Balkishen Singh.
Caught in a contemplative mood, Carvalho said, “To be honest, I was a bit concerned that our young team was taking on Australia in the first game.”
“The fact that a majority of our players were inexperienced at this level did play on my mind, but I remembered Balkishen’s words of ‘hit hard and hit over heads’ and it was the strategy we adopted against the Aussies. It paid off, though we were unlucky to lose the game we should have won,” Carvalho said. — PTI
Azlan Shah Cup
Ipoh, May 7
Rossi's 63rd minute strike gave Argentina 3-2 win and all but guaranteed the South Americans a spot in the semifinals.
Earlier, Rodrigo Nicolas Vila (13th and 32nd) had struck twice while China's replies came from Xian Tang Liu (25th) and Yi Song (59th).
It was Argentina's second victory in the four-team Group A following their 1-0 verdict against Australia last night.
The match was close as China twice came from behind before Rossi slammed home in the 63rd to seal the issue for Argentina.
Argentina were on the attack from the start and Vila put them ahead in the 13th minute with a reverse hit after being put through by Manuel Brunet who had broken through down the middle.
China kept their poise to equalise when Liu capped a brilliant counter-attack.
However, Argentina regained the initiative when Vila deflected home from a penalty corner as they crossed over with a 2-1 lead.
With time running out, the desperate Chinese stepped up the pressure and Song converted their fourth penalty corner to make it 2-2.
So engrossed were the Chinese in scoring another goal that they left the back open and Argentina hit back with Rossi finding the net from Augustin Esteban Corradini's pass at the end of a counter-attack.
Pak-Korea match abandoned
A half-an-hour power failure in the stadium marred play on the third day, forcing the match between Pakistan and South Korea to be abandoned when they were tied 2-2 in a Group B match. The blackout occurred in the 27th minute and when power was restored partially, both the teams refused to play. Pakistanis scored through Tariq Aziz and Imran Mohamed in the fifth and 15th minutes respectively while the South Koreans found the target through Kang Moon-Kweon and Jeong Yun-sang in the ninth and 24th minutes. The match will now be played at a time and date which will be decided by the technical delegate after a meeting both the teams. Tomorrow’s fixtures: Pakistan vs Canada; S. Korea vs Malaysia.
— PTI, UNI
A half-an-hour power failure in the stadium marred play on the third day, forcing the match between Pakistan and South Korea to be abandoned when they were tied 2-2 in a Group B match.
The blackout occurred in the 27th minute and when power was restored partially, both the teams refused to play.
Pakistanis scored through Tariq Aziz and Imran Mohamed in the fifth and 15th minutes respectively while the South Koreans found the target through Kang Moon-Kweon and Jeong Yun-sang in the ninth and 24th minutes.
The match will now be played at a time and date which will be decided by the technical delegate after a meeting both the teams.
Tomorrow’s fixtures: Pakistan vs Canada; S. Korea vs Malaysia. — PTI, UNI
32 women athletes shown the door
Dharamsala, May 7
These women players were studying in the local government girls’ senior secondary school and the government college. However, they were adopted by the SAI and provided free coaching in athletics, basketball, kabaddi, hockey and volleyball. They were also provided free meals and hostel facilities by the regional centre of the SAI.
The women players who were shown the door, while talking to The Tribune, alleged that they had been left in lurch as the school and college in which they were currently studying have no coaching facilities.
A basketball player who had played in the nationals last year said there was no coaching facility in the local women’s college. “I have to leave either the game or studies because the subjects I have taken for studying are not available along with basketball coaching facility in any of the colleges in the state,” she said.
Same is the case with most of the other players.
Another player said she would have to leave her sports for the sake of education even after playing at the national level.
Unfortunately, the authorities concerned of the local college and the school had, allegedly, refused to provide free meals and hostel facilities to these players.
The sports department of the state had also become a mute spectator to the woes of these players.
When contacted, S. S. Roy, Director of the SAI, based at Sonepat, who is in-charge of the regional sports centre here, said the players had been asked to leave as per a recent notification that ‘no body would be provided hostel and coaching facility for more than three years or after attaining the age of 20 years’.
While admitting that certain deserving players would suffer with the implementation of this decision, he said the SAI was considering reviewing this decision in special cases for international level players.
Charlotte, May 7
Steve Stricker (69) pulled his second shot into the creek at the brutal par-4 18th but salvaged a bogey to finish second at 277 yesterday. Phil Mickelson (70) snuck into a tie for third with South African Rory Sabbatini (74) at 279 when several other contenders made a mess of the difficult last hole.
Woods, 31, collected $1.134 million to move to the top of the money list and the FedEx Cup points table.
“This week I didn’t really have my best stuff, but it was good enough,” he said. “But I made a lot of putts this week, some crucial par putts from six to eight feet, which you have to make.” Woods got a little lucky with his eagle at the seventh, where his drive came within a foot of finding the lake right of the fairway.
But he took advantage of his break to hit a 7-iron to the back of the green and made his long putt. — AFP
Rain washes Jeev’s hopes
Milan, May 7 After torrential rain resulted in a waterlogged course, tournament organisers restricted the event to 54 holes. Yesterday, Jeev shot right back into contention with a seven-under 65 in the second round which catapulted him to tied seventh, but spurned a top-three finish chance today by dropping three bogeys against an equal number of birides. The first Indian to debut and make the cut at Masters, Jeev shared the 26th spot with three others with an overall card of ten-under 206.
Milan, May 7
After torrential rain resulted in a waterlogged course, tournament organisers restricted the event to 54 holes.
Yesterday, Jeev shot right back into contention with a seven-under 65 in the second round which catapulted him to tied seventh, but spurned a top-three finish chance today by dropping three bogeys against an equal number of birides.
The first Indian to debut and make the cut at Masters, Jeev shared the 26th spot with three others with an overall card of ten-under 206.
Fort Smith: Arjun Atwal produced his third successive sub-par round of the week to finish tied 38th in the $525,000 Fort Smith Classic on the Nationwide Tour on US Tour. The Orlando-based Indian played sedate golf throughout the week and finished with a four-day total of six-under 274 ended tied 38th, up from overnight 46th.At the top of the table, Jay Williamson finished the event with a bogey-free seven-under 63 to capture his first Nationwide Tour victory.
Fort Smith: Arjun Atwal produced his third successive sub-par round of the week to finish tied 38th in the $525,000 Fort Smith Classic on the Nationwide Tour on US Tour.
The Orlando-based Indian played sedate golf throughout the week and finished with a four-day total of six-under 274 ended tied 38th, up from overnight 46th.At the top of the table, Jay Williamson finished the event with a bogey-free seven-under 63 to capture his first Nationwide Tour victory. — PTI
Boston, May 7
Sampras rallied to beat Todd Martin 6-3, 5-7, 11-9 in the final.
Sampras, 35, dropped his first set of the tournament and trailed 9-6 in the first-to-10 tiebreaker before rallying. He closed the match on his serve when Martin hit a return shot long.
“I thought it was very high-level,” said Sampras, who was making his first Champions Series foray.
“I thought the tennis was the best of the whole week, at least for me anyway. Todd can still play, and the crowd enjoyed it.
“I really had fun competing again, not nearly the intensity it used to be, but it’s still competitive and you still want to win.” The pairing was a rematch of the 1994 Australian Open final, where Sampras defeated Martin 7-6, 6-4, 6-4. — AFP
New Delhi, May 7
Sunil outclassed Khalid in 28-18 in the final while Praveen went down to Sudzilowski Yan 11-21 in the other summit clash.
India had sent a five-member team for the competition, where Venkatesh (54kg) and Rakesh Kalaskar (60kg) faltered in the quarterfinal stage while Manjeet Singh (75kg) lost in the round of 16 itself.
Junior team coach Manoharan lavished praise on Sunil for his smart moves and agility.
“Sunil is doing very well. He makes smart moves and is very agile. He sure has a bright future,” said the coach after returning with the team from Poland today.
“It is hard to get gold medal everywhere but he gives his best to succeed,” he added. — PTI
Chess title for Ramesh
Patiala, May 7@@Dr Ramesh Chand Sharma won the Patiala District Chess Championship that concluded at Sai Model School here today.@@Top 10 players of the tournament have been selected to represent the district in the selection tournament for Punjab “B” tournament. The other players ranked top 10 in the tournament, besides Ramesh Chand, are: Jeet Singh, Manpreet Singh, S.P. Gupta, Vinod Sharma, Ismail Hussain, Gursimran Singh, Lovejot, Arvinder S. Walia and Yuvraj. — TNS
Sanawar school swimmers excel