Dravid unfit, Sachin to lead
Rare overseas win but where are the trophies?
Give me break, I’m not a robot, says Pietersen
Rai stripped of gold, faces life ban
No place for Sohail, Saqlain: PHF
Newport Tennis Meet
Argentina bid for record 15th Copa title
Football League from July 15
Dravid unfit, Sachin to lead
Chelmsford, July 12
Dravid, who is nursing a calf injury, pulled out on the eve of the match in order to be fully fit for the gruelling Test series beginning at the Lord's from July 19.
The Indian captain had sustained the injury during the tour opener against county champions Sussex and has not taken part in the fielding drills in the last three days. The team management, however, played down the injury, saying it was not serious.
Apart from Dravid, veteran spinner Anil Kumble, opener Gautam Gambhir and paceman Rudra Pratap Singh have also been left out from the 12 shortlisted for the match.
Sourav Ganguly, who sat out of the first warm-up match, returns to bolster the batting as India look forward to a morale-boosting performance in the match beginning tomorrow.
Both Ganguly and Tendulkar were rested from the tour opener against Sussex that saw the Indians fail to break the county team's last wicket partnership and clinch victory.
While India did finish the match on a bright note, their inability to clean up the lower order in either innings should be a cause for worry. The same can be said about the batsmen as well as they struggled against some impressive pace bowling on the final day.
The Indians are keen to play their top six batsmen here and hope that they have a good workout ahead of the first Test, beginning at Lord's from July 19.
In the bowling department, Zaheer Khan is set to come back to the playing eleven, while young Ishant Sharma will be given an opportunity to showcase his skills.
After a good opening day against Sussex, where the Indian batsmen flexed their muscles, the home team bowlers bounced back splendidly on the final day as they made life difficult for the batsmen.
With the England Lions also boasting a strong attack in Stuart Broad, Chris Tremlett and Graham Onions, the Indian batsmen should expect no favours although the wicket is likely to play true.
Warwickshire wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose, who has had an impressive season, has been given a chance ahead of Paul Nixon.
England's Test opener Andrew Strauss will be leading a promising side that also includes Owais Shah and Jonathan Trott, who were part of the one-day squad, and Ravi Bopara who is just coming back after a thigh injury ruled him out of the one-day series against the West Indies.
Strauss himself would be looking to get into the groove as he struggled with his form scoring just one half century in the Test series against West Indies.
Dropped for the one-day series, the English selectors would expect the left-handed opener to get some runs ahead of the Test series.
Teams: India (from): Rahul Dravid (captain), Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Kaarthick, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, S. Sreesanth, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ishant Sharma, Ranadeb Bose, Ramesh Powar and Gautam Gambhir.
England Lions XI: Andrew Strauss (capt), Joe Denly, Owais Shah, Jonathan Trott, Ravi Bopara, Tim Ambrose (wk), Adil Rashid, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Chris Tremlett and Graham Onions. — PTI
Rare overseas win but where are the trophies?
New Delhi, July 12 The team's winners' trophy, Sachin Tendulkar's man of the series and Yuvraj Singh's and Gautam Gambhir's man of the match medals - won after the 2-1 defeat of South Africa in a ODI series in Belfast - have all been caught up in a "backlog" of bags on their way
to India. British Airways, the airlines in which the bags were to arrive via London last week, allayed fears that the medals from Indian team's rare overseas win, have been lost. They have said the items would soon be "reunited with the respective passengers" at the earliest. "The bags are not missing, they are not lost. They have been delayed. We are bringing them back (to India) as soon as possible,"
Radhika, a British Airways spokesperson, told PTI today. "Even now the flights are arriving from the UK and some bags might have already come. We are confident of clearing the entire backlog before the end of this week," she said.
New Delhi, July 12
The team's winners' trophy, Sachin Tendulkar's man of the series and Yuvraj Singh's and Gautam Gambhir's man of the match medals - won after the 2-1 defeat of South Africa in a ODI series in Belfast - have all been caught up in a "backlog" of bags on their way to India.
British Airways, the airlines in which the bags were to arrive via London last week, allayed fears that the medals from Indian team's rare overseas win, have been lost.
They have said the items would soon be "reunited with the respective passengers" at the earliest.
"The bags are not missing, they are not lost. They have been delayed. We are bringing them back (to India) as soon as possible," Radhika, a British Airways spokesperson, told PTI today.
"Even now the flights are arriving from the UK and some bags might have already come. We are confident of clearing the entire backlog before the end of this week," she said. — PTI
Kandy, July 12
Sri Lanka, leading the series 2-0 after big victories in Colombo, then closed the day on 30-0 after most of the afternoon was washed out.
Michael Vandort closed on 25 with Upul Tharanga, playing his first game of the series after injuring his foot, on four not out.
The start of play was also delayed by rain but Sri Lanka still had time to finish off the Bangladesh innings, which had resumed on 72 for four.
Muralitharan, playing in his home town, was the chief threat, finishing with figures of six for 28 from 14.5 overs, his 59th five-wicket haul in his 113th test.
He took his career tally to 694 wickets, just 14 short of Australian leg spinner Shane Warne's world record of 708.
Bangladesh started promisingly with skipper Mohammad Ashraful (26) and Tushar Imran (17) extending their fifth-wicket stand to 34.
Left-armer Sujeewa de Silva broke through when Mahela Jayawardene held a straightforward slip catch off a loose drive from Imran.
That was soon followed by the dismissal of Ashraful, caught behind off De Silva, and the last six wickets tumbled for just 33 runs in 13.3 overs. — Reuters
Muralitharan should have had a wicket off his first delivery, Ashraful getting a reprieve after edging a wild drive, but he soon struck with a brilliant one-handed catch to dismiss Mashrafe Mortaza.
Muralitharan claimed another caught and bowled when Mohammad Rafique top-edged a slog-sweep before Shahdat Hossain and Syed Rasel were snapped up at bat-pad.
Bangladesh (1st innings)
Omar lbw Malinga 8
Nafees c De Silva
b Muralitharan 29
Bashar c P. Jayawardene
b Maharoof 18
Saleh c M. Jayawardene
b Muralitharan 0
Ashraful c P. Jayawardene
b De Silva 26
Imran c M. Jayawardene
b De Silva 17
Rahim not out 11
Mortaza c & b Muralitharan 5
Rafique c & b Muralitharan 5
Hossain c Dilshan
b Muralitharan 0
Rasel c Silva b Muralitharan 0
Extras (b-4, lb-2, w-1, nb-5) 12
Total (all out; 48.5 overs) 131
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-50, 3-61, 4-64, 5-98, 6-111, 7-118, 8-130, 9-131.
Bowling: Malinga 10-2-41-1, De Silva 12-3-29-2, Maharoof 8-4-21-1, Muralitharan 14.5-6-28-6, Dilshan 4-1-6-0.
Sri Lanka (1st innings)
Vandort not out 25
Tharanga not out 4
Extras (nb-1) 1
Total (no wkt, 8.4 overs) 30
Bowling: Mortaza 3-0-12-0, Rasel 4-0-18-0, Hossain 1.4-1-0-0.
London, July 12
“I’m not a robot. I’m going away now for a few days, which isn’t a real break, but hopefully it will help in some way before the Test series against India,” he said.
Pietersen not only lost the midas touch with the bat but also lost his top ranking to Australia’s Ricky Ponting.
The big-hitting batsman blamed tiredness for his poor form in the ODIs, in which he managed just 42 runs in the three matches.
“Right now I’m mentally fatigued, I’m just a very, very tired person,” Pietersen told BBC Radio Five Live.
Justifying the need for a long break, he recalled “I think I had about a month off when I broke my rib in Australia, which was magnificent. I felt refreshed and had a pretty sensational World Cup.”
Playing down his loss of form in the recent series, Pietersen says “At the end of the day, I’ve failed three times in a week and that’s not going to make me lose any sleep.”
“The problem would be if I kept failing and kept failing in the same way, then it was a technical flaw.” Calling for more time off to allow the top players to recover, he said “The England team is a team that never, ever stops. It’s been a long three years and I haven’t had a proper break to be honest with you. I know the issue is being discussed, not just among the players but among the England hierarchy and around the world.”
“A good four to six weeks is right for a proper break,” he asserted. — UNI
New Delhi, July 12
Rai was one of nine athletes who were guilty of dope violations during the 33rd Games. While the names of eight athletes were made public last month, Rai name was not disclosed.
IOA's Medical and Anti-Doping Commission chairman Dr Manmohan Singh today identified the ninth athlete as Rai and found him guilty consuming performance enhancing drug.
''The National Doping Control Centre Bangkok has confirmed that both 'A' and 'B' samples of Satish Rai are turned out positive for prohibited substance Stanozolol Met 1 (3'-OH-Stanozolol), Stanozolol Met 3 (4B-OH-Stanozolol),'' Dr Singh said in a statement.
The IOA also forwarded his name to Wrestling Federation of India for imposing sanction on him.
It was not the first case of dope violation by veteran Karnataka lifter Rai, who represented Andhra Pradesh in the Games.
Earlier, Rai was stripped of two gold and a silver medals at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 having tested positive for a stimulant.
The second offence means he faces a a life ban if the WFI decides to impose the most stringent sanction on him.
The 85kg category lifter, who won a gold medal in Guwahati with a record lift, faces a life ban after being found guilty by the Indian Olympic Association panel headed by the Anti-Doping Commission chairman Manmohan Singh.
IWF Secretary Balbir Singh Bhatia said a decision on Rai would be taken after consultation with the International Federation.
"Life ban is a debatable point. We will discuss the matter with the International Federation and will not do anything without seeking their advice. We do not want to take any action that may take us to court," said Bhatia.
"We will also put the matter in front of our executive committee meeting, which would be held in a couple of months' time. Until then he would not be allowed to compete. Our president is not in India and should be back in about 15 days time. Only then can we call for the meeting." — Agencies
Los Angeles, July 12
The former England captain and his pop-star wife Victoria arrive amid a swirl of publicity befitting their new Hollywood home.
But it will likely be Beckham's abilities on the pitch that determine whether his tenure here will ultimately be judged an experiment or an era in Major League Soccer's development.
In America Beckham will face a twin challenge- infusing oft-overlooked football with enough glamour to attract new fans, while playing at a level high enough to satisfy serious sports spectators.
Despite the excitement of landing all-time great Pele in the 1970s, the North American Soccer League went bankrupt.
Even so, Galaxy president and former US international Alexi Lalas believes Beckham can succeed.
"Beckham, unlike any other player, transcends all boundaries. I would argue that whether you are a housewife from Orange County or a person of Mexican heritage living in Los Angeles, you know who Beckham is," Lalas says.
Beckham, 32, is to be introduced by the Galaxy at the club's Home Depot Center facility in the south Los Angeles suburbs on Friday.
The midfielder's first game for Los Angeles will be an exhibition match against Chelsea.
When Beckham inked a five-year contract with the Galaxy in January it was widely seen as a money-making move by a player whose best days were behind him.
While he will earn a salary of $ 5.5 million, Beckham's deal could eventually be worth up to $ 250 million in profit-sharing and sponsorship deals.
Since January, however, Beckham has been recalled by England, and helped Real Madrid to claim the Spanish League title in June.
Beckham himself has said he believes he could have continued to thrive in Europe.
"I felt capable of staying for longer at Real," Beckham said. "I could have still played for three more seasons at the highest level.
"But after the club told me in January that they did not want to renew my contract, I took this decision.
Lalas has said the expected mid-season arrival of Beckham may have contributed to his side's lacklustre showing so far and Beckham himself knows there is a danger that the massive build-up may make for an inevitable let-down.
"People probably do think they're going to see me turn out, and we'll win our first game 10-0," Beckham told The Sun newspaper. "That's one thing I'm worried about.
"I'm not a player who will run past 10 players and score three or four goals. My game is about working hard and being a team player." But Beckham is already making an economic impact.
Just five of the MLS's 13 teams are expected to turn a profit this year, but the Galaxy have already seen ticket sales climb.
The increased ticket sales and sponsorship have resulted in about $ 20 million in added revenue, says Tim Leiweke, chief executive of Anschutz Entertainment Group which owns the team.
As Friday approaches, the bandwagon is picking up speed. — AFP
Karachi, July 12
The Federation is still unwilling to forgive the three stalwarts for preferring to play in professional leagues in Europe instead of their national team.
Chief selector Khawaja Zakauddin said although Pakistan was struggling to achieve good results at the moment, recalling the three seniors was not an option.
However Zakauddin, himself a former Pakistan captain, said any decision on recalling them could only be taken by the PHF president.
"The president can pardon them for their indiscipline and insensitive behaviour. He has the authority to take a decision. Until he gives an all clear, we can't consider them despite our problems," he said.
Sources within the federation say a lobby has been pushing PHF chief Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali to pardon Abbas and company and give them another chance to play for the country.
But Jamali remains adamant and has still not forgiven them.
Sohail, the game's highest goalscorer, and one of the best penalty corner specialists in history, and midfielders Waseem and Saqlain were shunned last year after they chose to play league hockey instead of representing Pakistan at the Doha Asian Games.
The three remain active on the domestic front and Sohail recently said that he wants to make a comeback in the upcoming Champions Trophy in Lahore or next year's Olympic Games in Beijing. — PTI
Newport Tennis Meet
New Delhi, July 12 The wild card Indo-Pak duo were hardly a match for South Africa’s Mooed and Frenchman Santoro, who overwhelmed them 6-0, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals of the $416,000 grass court event on Tuesday. However, the two are still in contention in the singles competition. Qureshi, who recorded his first win in a Grand Slam at Wimbledon a fortnight ago, reached his maiden ATP Tour quarterfinal after beating Nathan Healy of Australia 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 in the second round yesterday. The Pakistani sensation upstaged top seed and local favourite Mardy Fish, while Amritraj beat Serbia’s Ilia Bozoljac in the first round
New Delhi, July 12
The wild card Indo-Pak duo were hardly a match for South Africa’s Mooed and Frenchman Santoro, who overwhelmed them 6-0, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals of the $416,000 grass court event on Tuesday. However, the two are still in contention in the singles competition.
Qureshi, who recorded his first win in a Grand Slam at Wimbledon a fortnight ago, reached his maiden ATP Tour quarterfinal after beating Nathan Healy of Australia 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 in the second round yesterday.
The Pakistani sensation upstaged top seed and local favourite Mardy Fish, while Amritraj beat Serbia’s Ilia Bozoljac in the first round earlier.— PTI
Ciuad Guayana (Venezuela), July 12
On Sunday, Argentina will be bidding for a record 15th Copa America title against seven-times and reigning champions Brazil, who defeated Uruguay 5-4 on penalties on Tuesday in the first semi-final, which ended 2-2 after regular time.
Gabriel Heinze, Lionel Messi and Juan Roman Riquelme all scored as Alfio Basile’s side outgunned Mexico yesterday to book their place in Sunday’s showpiece encounter at the Jose Pachencho Romero Stadium in Maracaibo.
After Argentina had taken the lead at the stroke of halftime, Messi’s superb goal in the 61st minute doubled the lead.
He collected a pass from Carlos Tevez on the right side of the area and lofted a left-footed chip over Mexican goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.
Minutes later, Rafael Marquez fouled Tevez in the area and Riquelme converted the penalty in the 66th minute to seal the victory.
Argentina looked the most threatening in the early stages, but it was Mexico who had the first clear chance when Juan Carlos Cacho took advantage of a defensive mistake but fired over the crossbar.
Javier Zanetti responded for the South Americans, but the Internazionale midfielder shot weakly after creating an opening for himself. — AFP
Football League from July 15
Chandigarh, July 12
Punjab Football Association secretary Inder Singh informed that the first match of the league will be played between PSEB Football Club and Punjab Police Football Club on July 15 at 4.30 pm at the PSEB Sports Complex Ground in Hoshiarpur.
The League will be held on single leg league (home-and-away) basis. Each team will be playing three home matches and three away matches in the home towns of JCT-Phagwara, BSF-Jalandhar, Punjab Police-Jalandhar, JCT Academy-Phagwara, RCF-Kapurthala, PSEB-Hoshiarpur and Mahilpur Football Club-Mahilpur.
Sharapova to miss Fed Cup semis
World number two Sharapova has pulled out of the U.S. clash in Stowe, Vermont saying she was not match fit having initially agreed to make her Fed Cup debut in the hardcourt semis.
Sharapova has been suffering from a shoulder injury since April but Russian tennis officials have accused her of being selfish and questioned whether her American entourage had influenced the decision. — Reuters
Kartik’s 5-wicket haul goes in vain
Kartik, who took two wickets in the first innings, polished off the tail to return figures of five for 38 off 25.2 overs in the second innings to restrict Derbyshire to 199.
Derbyshire team, who made 340 in their first essay of the Division Two match, gained a 82-run first innings lead over the hosts by knocking them over 258.
Chasing a victory target of 282, Middlesex were dismissed for 266 as half-centuries by skipper Ed Smith (65) and Andrew Strauss (53) went in vain.
Karthik failed with the bat in both innings, managing a duck and two in both his efforts at the crease. — PTI