R P Singh, Dhoni likely to play
Dravid eyes collective glory
Money, grading upset Pakistan players
Sania-Bethanie in last eight
Beckham watches as Galaxy lose
India slip to 162nd in FIFA rankings
WFI, SAI on collision course
Rahul tied 15th
PSEB hold JCT
R P Singh, Dhoni likely to play
London, July 18
As the Indian side under Rahul Dravid applied finishing touches in a final practice session at the Mecca of world cricket, left-arm fast-medium bowler, Rudra Pratap Singh looked almost certain to share the quicker bowling responsibilities with Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth. Indeed, the pace and bounce of the Uttar Pradesh lad - if he pitches it right - could become a stiff test for the Englishmen in conditions likely to favour faster bowlers off and on.
But Anil Kumble’s nippier variety of wrist spin has the ability overcome such adversity.
It also appears Mahendra Dhoni may get the nod ahead of Yuvraj Singh, thus leaving Dinesh Karthik to concentrate on opening the innings. He and Wasim Jaffer have a crucial role to play to see off the new ball, as the only time in 14 meetings that India enjoyed a superior average than England for the 1st wicket - in 1986 - it won the Test. Since 1932, Lord’s has largely been a cremation ground for Indian cricket.
Sachin Tendulkar recent form, though, has brought a smile to Dravid’s face. The former will attempt to make amends for a lack of a test hundred at Lord’s - and batting should become easier when the sun appears and the ball loses its shine. This could be his last opportunity, as he, with the skipper, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble are most probably making their last bow at the birthplace of the game.
In the run up to the game, the Indians have mischievously signalled to the English camp that they think the hosts’ bowling will be weakened by the absence of Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison.
But the England batting, particularly Kevin Pietersen, on song will pounce on any erratic Indian use of the leather. The visitors have a modest attack and their out-cricket is noticeably unathletic; so, close catching, where they are well served by Dravid and Laxman, needs to be at its sharpest.
The BCCI have embarked on a high risk journey of locking horns with the second ranked Test unit in the world in their backyard without a head coach. Moreover, worryingly, 10 of the 16 players are on a test tour of England for the first time. The BCCI are playing with fire.
However, the Indians appear to be a relaxed lot. The fear factor among some of them created by Greg Chappell’s strictness - no bad thing - seems to have evaporated. The week ahead will reveal whether this state of comfort is a recipe for success or failure. It will be remarkable if Indian can return home with the Pataudi Trophy, donated by the Marylebone Cricket Club, founders of the game, to commemorate 75 years of India in Tests.
London, July 18
"It will be very special to win a Test series in England. We haven't done that in 21 yrs," said Dravid.
"I'm sure all of us, myself, Sachin (Tendulkar) and (VVS) Laxman would be more happy winning a series in England than anything else. Winning a Test is more important than scoring a hundred. I'm sure all of us would prefer not scoring a hundred but end up winning the Test and the series." The last time India won a series in England was way back in 1986 when Kapil Dev's team won the series 2-0.
Despite boasting of players with a wealth of experience, Dravid made it clear that, at the end of the day, it's performance not experience that matters.
"Experience really doesn't count for much, it's only performances that count for everything. You can have all the experience in the world but everyone starts from zero. What really matters is not what you have done in the past but what you do at that point of time.
"The team that performs during the course of this Test and the series is the one that's going to end up winning. Past records are meaningless when play starts tomorrow."
The Indian skipper virtually gave a thumbs-up for Mahendra Singh Dhoni to continue to keep wickets.
"Dhoni has done nothing wrong so far in his international career. Like anyone else coming on his first tour of England, his keeping and his batting will be tested under the conditions. He will only gain from experience and learn from it.
"He has got all the attributes of having a good international career. Like everyone else, he is going to have some good days and some bad days. The more opportunity and the more experience he gets in these conditions the better off he will be. He will play an important role for India in future." Predicting a "pretty closely contested and even series", Dravid described England as a good team with players in form.
At the same time, he said his batsmen were looking forward to the challenge of playing Monty Panesar.
"Monty impressed us when he came to India and he continues to improve. We are looking forward to the challenge of playing him. We have been studying some of his tapes on video; he's bowled quite impressively. He is a key component of a four-man attack. If we play him well, then we can put the pacers under pressure." — PTI
London, July 18
Right-arm medium pace bowler Hoggard sustained the injury on Tuesday and an England and Wales Cricket Board media release said he was going to have scans today afternoon.
England are already without experienced pace bowlers Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison because of injury.
Hoggard had been expected to lead a raw bowling attack, with Chris Tremlett and Stuart Broad, yet to make their debuts, in the 13-man squad. — Reuters
Karachi, July 17
According to details, some senior players have already called up the Board or selectors to voice their discontent with the criteria adopted by the board to finalise the three categories of the contracts.
The placement of Imran Nazir in the same B category as leg spinner, Danish Kaneria, the sudden promotion of young pacer Umar Gul into the top category and the decision to drop batsman Asim Kamal and include Misbah-ul-Haq has led to many critics to wonder if the rules of merit have been followed while awarding the contracts.
Board officials have defended the categorisation of the players by insisting they were finalised on the basis of rankings of these players. But that raises the question as to how Gul finds himself in the top category while Kaneria, who is Pakistan's most successful bowler in the last few years, is in B category.
Misbah has been given a contract though he has not played for Pakistan since 2003 while left hander Kamal has been dropped and instead given a retainer despite his impressive Test record.
Sources say there is no doubt that some board officials have lobbied for their favourite players in the awarding of the new contracts which have been given in three categories to 20 players - Rs 2,50,000 monthly for the A category, Rs 1,50,000 for those in the B category and Rs 100,000 for those in the last category.
The board has also awarded retainers of Rs 50,000 monthly to 20 other players.
Sources said that both Kaneria and Kamal had complained over their treatment while some of the seniors were also not happy because they were given to understand the categories would be in the range of Rs 300,000, Rs 250,000 and Rs 150,000.
"Some of the senior board officials have pushed for the promotions of Gul, Imran Nazir and Misbah-ul-Haq," one source said.
However, when contacted, chief selector, Salahuddin Ahmed made it clear that they had only recommended a list of names to the board for the contracts and than retainers but the board finalised the players who got the contracts and retainers.
Another board official said the contracts had been awarded and categorisation done also on basis of the results of the fitness tests conducted on the players in the recent conditioning camp in Abbotabad held under the supervision of Army trainers.
"Kamal did not make it because he came at the bottom of the fitness tests," he claimed.
Kamal for his part pleads that since he has not been given any chance to play since 2005 despite how can anyone decide whether he is in form or not.
The Board has also been accused of succumbing to pressure tactics from former Test player, Mohammad Illyas and giving a central contract to his son-in-law, Imran Farhat.
Illyas was banned from entering the Gaddafi stadium by the board after he threatened the selectors when they didn't select Farhat for the one-day series against Sri Lanka in April. He later went on a hunger strike outside Parliament in Islamabad against the board. — PTI
Sania-Bethanie in last eight
Cincinnati, July 18 The Indo-American pair overwhelmed its unseeded rivals 6-4, 6-0 in a first round match of the Tier 3 hard court tournament here yesterday.
Cincinnati, July 18
The Indo-American pair overwhelmed its unseeded rivals 6-4, 6-0 in a first round match of the Tier 3 hard court tournament here yesterday.
New Delhi: Prakash Amritraj beats Japanese qualifier Takahiro Terachi 6-2, 6-4 to enter the second round of $75,000 Comerica Challenger Series tournament in Aptos, California. The wild card entrant will now be up against America’s Brian Wilson, who rallied from a set down to shock tournament top seed Kristian Pless of Denmark 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the hardcourt event on Tuesday. In another Challenger Series tournament in Manchester, third seeds Rohan Bopanna and his partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan entered the quarterfinals after beating the British pair of Richard Bloomfield and Ken Skupski ye 3-6, 7-6 (3), 10-6 in the opening round of the $25,000 grasscourt event.
New Delhi: Prakash Amritraj beats Japanese qualifier Takahiro Terachi 6-2, 6-4 to enter the second round of $75,000 Comerica Challenger Series tournament in Aptos, California.
The wild card entrant will now be up against America’s Brian Wilson, who rallied from a set down to shock tournament top seed Kristian Pless of Denmark 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the hardcourt event on Tuesday.
In another Challenger Series tournament in Manchester, third seeds Rohan Bopanna and his partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan entered the quarterfinals after beating the British pair of Richard Bloomfield and Ken Skupski ye 3-6, 7-6 (3), 10-6 in the opening round of the $25,000 grasscourt event. — PTI
Carnoustie (Scotland), July 18
The Indian makes his British Open debut Thursday, courtesy of his Asian Tour's 2006 Order of Merit triumph, and one of his goals will be to improve on his US Open 36th place, which is his best finish in the four previous Majors.
Son of famed sprinter Milkha Singh, Jeev believes the Korean star's memorable triumphs in tournaments hosted by golf greats Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods over the last two months have raised expectations on the Asian brigade at the British Open.
"It's excellent for Asian golf ... what K.J. has done," Jeev told the Asian Tour website.
"If K.J. can do it, why not us? That's how I feel. He's a good player and it's a big encouragement for the rest of the guys, especially when he had come out from the Asian Tour. We should also be working hard to get there.
"Obviously, the next step is to win a major. It's a matter of a few years.
It's going to be soon that something big is going to happen from out of Asia."
After a stellar 2006 when he won four titles on the European, Asian and Japanese tours, Jeev harbours dreams of joining Choi full-time on the PGA Tour in the US. The Singh also has Major ambitions and knows he has a great opportunity to do so in Carnoustie.
"I'm always excited about the Majors. I want to treat it as any other tournament but it's tough to do that. You always try your best and that's how I will take it this week," said Singh, ranked 57th in the world.
"I'm pretty excited about being here. I'm happy to be playing in the world's oldest championship, where golf was born." — IANS
Carson (California), July 18
Francisco Fonseca scored in the 11th minute, Walter Gaitan added a goal in the 72nd and Alejandro Villalobos capped the scoring in the 89th for Tigres.
Goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo needed to make only two saves against the Galaxy in a contest which drew a sparse crowd, with only a quarter or so of the seats occupied in the 27,000-seat stadium.
David Beckham, who joined the Galaxy last Friday, is nursing a sore left ankle and it won’t be determined until later in the week whether the English star will be able to make his much-anticipated debut when the Galaxy play Chelsea on Saturday in Carson. That game already is sold out.
Clad in a Galaxy uniform and warm-up jacket, Beckham watched his new team, which is 3-5-4 heading into the All-Star break, against Tigres from a suite box with team’s general manager Alexi Lalas.
At halftime, Beckham walked along the ramp to the Stadium Club, creating a stir as he and several security men made their way through a throng of fans. Beckham patiently endured a gauntlet of picture-takers as he posed for snapshots with fans along the way, with one man grabbing his arm and holding him until a friend could take a photo.
Youngsters on the concourse below yelled, “Beckham! Beckham!” and jumped to get a better view of the international star. He grinned and gave them a thumbs-up.
Didier Drogba scored the game’s only goal on a volley in the 80th minute to give Chelsea its win over the Suwon Bluewings.
Drogba converted a perfect pass from Shaun Wright Phillips, who lobbed the ball from just inside the penalty box. Drogba, charging down the left side, got his foot up and banged the ball into net.
Suwon goalie Kim Dae-hwan, who kept his team in it, had no chance to stop Drogba’s shot from close range. — AFP
New Delhi, July 18
India, which is hosting ONGC international invitational Cup next month with an aim to move up higher in rankings, are one place above Sierra Leone in the chart which saw Copa America winners Brazil regaining top spot after six months.
For the first time since March, India moved up four places to 161st in last month's rankings but failed to hold on to it this month but rather lost two points with 72 points to its kitty now.
India are ahead of Bangladesh (172nd), Pakistan (176th) and Nepal (183rd) but below Maldives (157th) and Sri Lanka (160th).
Brazil climbed up from third place to numero uno again after beating Argentina 3-0 in the Copa final in Venezuela. — UNI
Holding of wrestling camp
Patiala, July 18
The camp, in both the greco-roman and the freestyle categories, was to be held at the NIS from July 15 in preparation for the Olympic qualifiers which are scheduled to be held at Baku (Azerbaijan) from September 17 to 23. However, all the well laid out plans of the WFI to hold the camp at the institute were virtually nullified when the SAI officials cited ‘accommodation problems’ for refusing permission for the 56 wrestlers, who were to be a part of the camp, to train at the NIS. This refusal on the part of the NIS authorities has forced the WFI president G. S. Mander to shoot off a strongly worded letter to the SAI director general in which he has expressed his displeasure over SAI’s decision.
This development has not only put the WFI in a quandary but has also left the federation secretary general Kartar Singh fuming. Kartar said, “I have repeatedly approached the SAI officials to grant me permission to hold the camp at the NIS but all I am getting is a flat refusal from the SAI teams wing.”
It is pertinent to mention here that the SAI teams wing is the competent authority for sanctioning the holding of all national camps at the NIS. A visibly upset Kartar added, “I had asked the SAI to hold the camp at the NIS because the institute has world class facilities, including sauna, gymnasium and facilities for power training. In modern wrestling power training and weight training system are of utmost importance and without these facilities, both of which are available at the NIS, Indian wrestlers can not achieve much at the international level.”
However, the executive director (academics) of the NIS, Laxman Ranawat, counters Kartar’s claims by saying “There are equally good facilities for holding the national camp at the SAI’s northern centre at Sonepat and at Aurangabad where there is also an state of the art indoor hall. Moreover, I am hard pressed to provide proper accommodation to the grapplers since there are five national camps at present going on at the institute.
Ranawat added that the executive director (teams), SAI, New Delhi, P. C. Kashyap had spoken to him about the feasibility of having the camp at the NIS. However, he added that he told Kashyap that the institute was facing severe accommodation problems due to which permission could not be granted to the WFI to hold the camp. “I can adjust the campers only if one of the five ongoing national camps is shifted to some other SAI centre,” Ranawat added.
However, this being a distinct possibility, Kartar and his wrestlers will have to bear it out at some other SAI centre if the Indian team has to prepare for the Olympic qualifiers at Baku. Meanwhile, the chief coach of the women’s squad R. S. Sangha arrived at the institute a few days ago to take charge of the proceedings but later left when he saw nothing concrete emerging out of the ongoing SAI-WFI stand off.
Rahul tied 15th
Chandigarh, July 18
He finished day one with a one-over card of 73 to be tied 15th in a competition which saw 180 golfers tee off for the 15-17 four-round title.
So strong was the competition that a margin of just four strokes divided 20 top juniors, including Rahul, after the first round.
Leading the junior pack was Austin Cody with a card of 69. Rahul was tied 15th four strokes behind.
Rahul played a steady game. He bogeyed twice (fifth and ninth). But a birdie in the sixth hole saw him finish the first nine one-over.
The Chandigarh golfer faltered as he began his return nine losing a stroke in the 10th hole. And four holes later he double-bogeyed to slip to four-over on the 14th hole.
But Rahul did not allow the world juniors to overawe him. He suddenly struck a bright patch. A string of three birdies in the last four holes saw him back in the game with a fighting first-round card of one-over 73.
The championship will continue till July 20.
Phagwara, July 18
JCT and PSEB played a goalless first half. The powermen stunned their much fancied mighty rivals JCT in the 53rd minute as Sarabjit Singh converted a spot kick to put PSEB ahead. The spot kick was awarded as JCT defender Yadvinder Singh brought down PSEB striker Amarjit inside the prohibited box.
The JCT players then reorganised their game. Their moves bore fruits in the 67th minute when they neutralised the lead. Trapping a forward pass from Rupinder, Parveen Kumar dribbled his way into the box before scoring from a close range.
JCT played their first match today. It was the second outing for PSEB who were beaten by Punjab Police in their opening fixture. — UNI
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