Lions have edge on Delhi Jets
Panchkula set for ICL carnival
India eager to wrap up series
Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik tends to his injured ankle during a training session at The Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on Thursday, on the eve of the second Test between
India and Pakistan. Pakistan trail 1-0 in the three-Test series following their six-wicket
defeat in the opening Test in New Delhi. — AFP
Dutch drub Britain
Kumble cautions team
Arafat to replace Gul
Chess World Cup
Ivana wins U-8 world chess title
7 top players get scholarships
Tough times ahead: Malik
Lions have edge on Delhi Jets
Panchkula, November 29
The real action will kick off at 6 pm under floodlights, following a sparkling inauguration ceremony, when Chandigarh Lions and Delhi Jets test the mettle of each other in the shortest version of the game at the revamped stadia.
The local team will have an edge on the Delhi team as the former have bigger names as compared to their rivals. The support of the local crowd during the match will be another advantage the home team will enjoy.
Chris Cairns, Hamish Marshall (both from New Zealand), Andrew Hall (South Africa), Imran Farhat (Pakistan) and Dinesh Mongia and Reetinder Sodhi (both from Punjab) are all capable of giving any bowler a tough time, while the pace battery includes New Zealand’s Daryl Tuffey, Ishan Malhotra, Love Ablish and Amit Uniyal along with spinners Sumit Kalia and Rajesh Sharma.
Delhi Jets, led by Sri Lankan Marvan Atapattu, will rely on strong batting line-up that includes Niall O’Brien (Ireland), Mohnish Mishra (MP), Tofeeq Umer (Pakistan), Dale Benkenstein (South Africa), Sachin Dholpure and Abbas Ali (from MP).
All rounder JP Yadav, Abid Nabi Ahanger, Abhishek Tamrakar, Shalabh Sharma and leg spinner Abhishek Sharma will try to rein in the rival batsmen. The newly laid wickets have been made keeping in mind the excitement, claimed Phill Russel, curator.
“Unlike slow pitches in the country, the pitches would produce enough bounce and the tinge of green grass will help the pacers. I promise that every contest will be very exciting, suitable to the fast game”, said Russel.
High moisture levels during the evenings will impact the course of the matches. Meanwhile, the inaugural game is slated to be a gala event with Kareena Kapoor opening performance.
Roping in Bollywood stars to attract the crowd just indicates that the organisers are sceptical about the success of their venture, said a young cricket fan.
Delhi Jets: Marvan Atapattu (S), Niall O’Brian, Mohnish Mishra, Tofeeq Umer, Abbas Ali, Paul Nixon, Dale Benkenstein, JP Yadav, Ali Murtaza, T Sudhindra, Abid Nabi Ahanger, Sachin Dholpure, Abhishek Tamrakar, Shalabh Srivastav, Abishek Sharma, Dishant Mahajan, Abhinav Bali, Raghav Sachdev.
Panchkula set for ICL carnival
Chandigarh, November 29
The winning team would be richer by $1 million, while the runners-up would pocket $0.5 million. For the other places, the prize money is: third ($3,70,000), fourth ($3,10,000), fifth ($2,50,000) and sixth ($2,10,000).
There are also cash prizes under special categories. For every win, a team would get $45,000, while the man of the match would take home $9,400.
“A surprise award is in store for the ICL’s most valuable player,” said Himanshu Modi, CEO of Essel Group, the ICL tournament’s organisers.
The announcement of these awards seems to have ended the speculation that in order to finance the ICL and other domestic cricket projects, Subhash Chandra’s Essel Sports was planning to generate around Rs 200 crore by divesting 25 per cent of its equity funds to private companies.
Though Ashish Kaul, executive vice-president, Essel Group, did not reveal the exact amount spent on the ICL, he hinted that till date around Rs 20 crore to 25 crore had been earmarked for it.
The ICL has some renowned industrial houses like Birla Finance, Spice Telecom, Manikchand, Thomas Cook, Provogue and Microsoft on its sponsors’ list. Other big names like Reliance are also expected to be roped in.
The Essel Group has proposed to invest Rs 100 crore in the ICL to start with. Although there are no official figures, it is speculated that on the lower end, a player would earn as much as Rs 30 lakh a year, irrespective of how many matches he plays.
India eager to wrap up series
Kolkata, November 29
After losing the first Test by six wickets, the visitors have been laid low by a spate of injuries ahead of the crucial game at the Eden Gardens which they need to win to keep themselves afloat in the three-match series.
While paceman Umar Gul has already been ruled out of the match, captain Shoaib Malik and temperamental fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar were doubtful starters for the game.
The Pakistan team management has decided to wait till tomorrow to decide on the playing eleven but indications are that the captain may not be fit enough to take the field. In case Malik is ruled out, Younis Khan will lead the team.
The Indians, on the other hand, have no such problems and will hope to keep the momentum going in their bid to win the Test series as well.
If the Indians manage to win the match, it will be their first series win on home soil against their traditional rivals in 28 years - the 2-0 win in 1979-80 being their last triumph.
Anil Kumble and his teammates are on a high after putting up a combined effort that shaped their emphatic six-wicket win in the Delhi Test with the skipper himself leading from the front with good performances in both the innings.
In contrast, Pakistan look a demoralised lot. In the first Test, their batting failed to come good, the fielding looked sloppy, and save 'Rawalpindi Express' Shoaib Akhtar, the bowling lacked teeth.
But what is surely giving sleepless night to the team management is the indisposition of several players. Apart from Akhtar and Malik, seamer Mohammad Sami and in-form middle order bat Misbah-ul-Haq are also unwell.
Pace spearhead Shoaib, who had to be admitted to a local hospital following a chest infection, was discharged last evening.
Malik, who sprained an ankle, continues to limp, and has been skipping practice. "The team physio will assess their condition during the day, and by the time of the team meeting this evening, we will know if they are available," said a team spokesman.
Misbah and Sami both have throat infection, but the team management was hopeful they would recover before the match.
The Indians, on the other hand, have no such fitness concerns. The hosts' batting looks rocksolid, with the presence of seasoned pros like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and V V S Laxman.
With the Eden Gardens likely to see a good spectator turnout, local hero Ganguly's adrenaline must be pumping high as this match could well be one of the last chances for the ageing warhorse to score a Test ton before his home crowd.
Ganguly, who would be playing his eighth Test at the Eden, has admitted several times in the past that the failure to crack a hundred on the ground remains one of the sore points in his otherwise glittering career.
In order not to disturb a winning combination, the Indians may choose to retain the same eleven that did duty in Delhi.
Pakistan would be heavily relying on the batting prowess of Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan, both of whom scored hundreds in the previous meeting between the two sides on this ground in 2004-05.
Indians also have happy memories of the match. Not only did they emerge victors, but two Bangaloreans also came up with superlative performances.
While Dravid reached three-figure marks in both innings, Kumble finished with a match haul of 10 wickets.
Head-to-head, the two sides have played half a dozen Test matches on the ground, with four of them petering out into draws. Pakistan won the Asian Test Championship match in 1998, while India tasted success in 2004-05.
India: Anil Kumble (c), MS Dhoni, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh, Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Kaarthick, Murali Kartik, Zaheer Khan, VVS Laxman, Munaf Patel, Yuvraj Singh.
Pakistan: Shoaib Malik (C), Younis Khan, Abdur Rehman, Danish Kaneria, Faisal Iqbal, Kamran Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Yousuf, Salman Butt, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Yasir Hameed. — PTI
Kolkata, November 29
"It affects the team when somebody of such stature retires from international cricket. But at the same time I'll say that they are a good team," Kumble said at the customary media conference on the eve of the second Test at the Eden Gardens.
Despite the six-wicket win in Delhi, the skipper said the team needed to be on the guard as the match was tighter than it seemed at the end.
"The first Test at Ferozeshah Kotla was close. And had we not picked up five early wickets on the fourth day, the match would have been closer," Kumble said.
The team wanted to carry the momentum from Kotla and ensure that "we really turn the screws earlier on," he said. "We probably missed out in the first innings in Kotla by letting them off the hook. I hope now whenever we get the opportunity to turn the screw on we will be able to do it."
"I want to ensure that we get a 2-0 lead here and seal the series. That's the way I look at the Eden Test," he said. Kumble said the visiting team held few surprises for the Indians.
"We're aware of their strengths and weaknesses. We would like to ensure that we utilise our strengths to the full. If we can stick to that, we would like to concentrate and build on our strengths," he said.
Pointing out that India had not won a home Test series against Pakistan since 1979-80, Kumble said "We now have a great opportunity to do that."
The Indian captain said all his players were fit, but refused to disclose the final XI. "We would like to take the decision later," he said.
The ace leggie did not feel that the fitness problems galore in the Pakistan camp would put India at an advantage. — PTI
Kuala Lumpur, November 29
The Dutch took the lead in the second minute. Teun de Nooijer found the net from a narrow angle after a nice run down the right.
Ronald Brouwer made it 2-0 in the 39th minute with an opportunistic goal, firing from the top of circle into the roof of the Britain goal with a reverse flick.
Just as the Britons were getting exhausted, the Dutch intensified their attack and Reckers got a cracking goal in the 51st minute with a superb reverse hit. Reckers got his second goal of the match in the 64th minute with another reverse flick.
A listless Pakistan were outplayed by last edition’s runners-up Germany 2-5 after trailing 1-3 at half-time. South Korea drew with Spain 2-2, while Australia downed hosts Malaysia 2-0. — UNI
Kolkata, November 29
“There are a couple of areas we could have done better,” Kumble said at his customary media meet on the eve of the second Test at the Eden Gardens. '
Kumble said the team had let the Pakistan batsmen off the hook after getting the initial successes.
After being five down for 83, Pakistan went on to sore 231 in their first essay. “We could have finished their first innings earlier,” he said.
“We also didn’t necessarily bat to our potential. We could have got more runs in our first innings. We built partnerships. But then wickets fell in a heap. One run out (Sachin Tendulkar) cost us a couple of quick wickets.
“This is something we need to take note of. We need to be aware of this. And we need to put the screw on earlier. I think we will be able to do it this time,” he added. — PTI
Karachi, November 29
Gul, who missed the first Test which India won by six wickets, has been ruled out of the three-match series because of a nagging back injury. Arafat, 25, last played for Pakistan in the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in September. — Reuters
Chess World Cup
Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia), Nov 29
The two had drawn the first game and the score stands tied at 11 after their two-game classical game match. They will now play two rapid games to break the tie and blitz games if the tie persists.
Third seeded Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan made an unceremonious exit from the event, losing the second game of his match against Polish Grandmaster Bartlomiej Macieja, thus going down 2-0 after his loss yesterday.
It was the only upset on the second day of the second round with most of the higher rated players performing true to expectations.
Former World Champion Ukrainian Ruslan Ponomariov equalised the scores in his match against Wang Hao of China by winning the second game. — PTI
Antalya, November 29
Ivana drew her last game against Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Abdumalik to total nine points from 11 rounds, half a point more than Azerbaijan’s Gunay Mammdzada, who had to be content with the silver.
Pint-sized Ivana was in a winning position against Zhansaya but agreed to a draw, which still gave the Indian the title.
Shalmali beat Poland’s Katarzyna Adamovicz to pocket the bronze. Prince Bajaj claimed the bronze after a draw with Mikhail Antipov. — UNI
Paris, November 29
This duo joined Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Roma and Sevilla, who have already ensured their presence in the next round, leaving eight tickets still to be claimed.
Among those sides with work to do in the final cluster of group games next month are nine-time European champions Real Madrid, who came unstuck 2-3 at Werder Bremen.
Real’s loss blew Group C wide open with any one of the four teams still in with a chance of making it to the last 16.
In contrast to the Spanish giants, Chelsea can now approach their final group phase fixture at home versus Valencia in a safe position as Group B leaders irrespective of the result on December 11 after a 4-0 stroll against Rosenborg.
Chelsea’s last meeting with the Norwegians - the drab 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge which triggered Jose Mourinho’s departure - was a distant memory as Chelsea tore apart Rosenborg’s sometime dreadful defending.
With a goal apiece from Alex and Joe Cole and a brace from Didier Drogba, Avram Grant’s side warmed up their travelling supporters who braved the freezing temperatures in Trondheim - including the hardy fan who watched the entire game shirtless.
Liverpool put themselves back in business with a 4-1 stroll over Group A leaders FC Porto at Anfield with Fernando Torres getting a double and Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch striking late.
That left Rafael Benitez’s 2005 champions needing a win against Marseille, beaten 1-2 in Istanbul by Besiktas, to ensure their place in the last 16.
In Glasgow, Celtic were on course for a 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk after the opener from the Ukrainian’s Brandao had been cancelled out by Jiri Jarosik until Massimo Dontai produced a dramatic injury-time winner. — AFP
Our Sports Reporter
The scholarship winners were world shooting champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu, 2004 Athens Olympic Games shooting silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the first Indian shooter to win a gold at the World Championship (Zagreb) in 2006 Abhinav Bindra, Commonwealth Games shooting silver medallist Anjali Bhagwat, Commonwealth Games shooting gold medallist Avneet Kaur Sidhu, the first Indian archer to qualify for the Olympics and archery World Cup gold medallist Dola Banerjee and national boxing champion and 2006 SAF Games silver medallist AL Lakra.
Except Rathore, who is preparing for the Olympics, all others were present to receive their scholarships. The Samsung Ratnas are patterned on the Olympic Solidarity Fund for supporting the training expenses of selected sportspersons for one year, from October 2007 to September 2008.
“This scholarship is great for training well for the Olympic Games, though the finance minister should look into the depreciation of the dollar to compensate us,” said trap shooter Manavjit.
Rifle shooter Abhinav said the scholarship would be a great relief for him to go for his practice in full throttle without worrying about his requirements to do well. Anjali said the scholarship would help her do well in the Olympics.
Avneet said the scholarship would help her focus on her training programme in order to realise her dream of winning an Olympic medal.
The awards were given away by Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, secretary-general Randhir Singh and Samsung West Asia president HB Lee. Lee said Samsung had earlier announced Manavjit as its Olympic brand ambassador and he had also got the torch-bearer nomination for the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay.
Kolkata, November 29 "Injuries are a regular feature for players. They can play with niggles. After all, you are playing for your country." "We have to win this Test which is very crucial for us. There is no other option before us," Malik said at the pre-match media conference when asked how his players could be motivated when even fielding 11 fit cricketers was a
problem. Seamer Mohammad Sami was also down with chest infection and skipped practice. "He is also under treatment. I hope both Sami and Shoaib will recover in time for the match," the skipper said. When a scribe drew his attention to remarks that seniors in the team were not cooperating with him, Malik said.
"Injuries are a regular feature for players. They can play with niggles. After all, you are playing for your country." "We have to win this Test which is very crucial for us. There is no other option before us," Malik said at the pre-match media conference when asked how his players could be motivated when even fielding 11 fit cricketers was a problem.
Seamer Mohammad Sami was also down with chest infection and skipped practice. "He is also under treatment. I hope both Sami and Shoaib will recover in time for the match," the skipper said.
When a scribe drew his attention to remarks that seniors in the team were not cooperating with him, Malik said. — PTI
Mumbai, November 29
Man-of-the-match Mboyo Iyomi pumped in two goals, while Khemthang Paite, Odafe Okolie and Reisangmi Vashum added to the tally. Yakubu Yusif reduced the margin for the losers.
Kolkata: Viva Kerala stunned Mohun Bagan 3-1 to register their first win in the I-League. Wisdom Abbey (two) and Baba Tunde (one) struck for the winners. Isfaq got one goal for the home team.
Margao: A late goal by substitute Milagres Gonsalves helped Salgaocar hold Mumbai’s Air India to a 1-1 draw. Air India shot into the lead in the 78th minute through Santosh Kohli, while Gonsalves equalised in the 86th minute. — UNI