Yuvraj expected to play
Fire or Retire: Team India’s new mantra
Jayawardane lauds Indian seamers
Muralitharan says he expected egg attack
Oz board veto may spoil IPL show
Bangalore Open: Venus to participate
Sprint great Greene retires
Churchill beat Viva
Sporting hold JCT
Yuvraj expected to play
Brisbane, February 4
The batsmen, many of whom have joined the team for the Twenty20 and tri-series, have not yet come to terms with the conditions Down Under and will to pull up their socks on a pacy Gabba track.
The Indians had opted to leave out the seniors like Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid for the tri-series keeping the future in mind but the move has not really paid dividends yet with the youngsters not been able to make much of an impression.
The visitors were bundled out for a paltry 74 in the Twenty20 game against Australia in Melbourne and their batting performance left much to be desired in the first match of the tri-series against the hosts before the rains came down.
Although Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma got the starts in the last match, the other players like Robin Uthappa and Manoj Tiwari were quite a disappointment.
The batting, however, will get a boost with Yuvraj Singh, who sat out of the first two games because of a knee injury, expected to come back into the team for the day-night encounter.
Tiwari will most probably sit out if Yuvraj is fit enough to take his place in the playing eleven.
India, on paper, bat way down the order which could actually improve if Yuvraj puts his hands up for selection.
Yuvraj hasn't had a hit since the Perth Test and could be rushed into the eleven. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni would like to bring Yuvraj into equation only if the weather is perfect. Or else he would afford him a few more extra days before India plays its next game in Melbourne, against Australia on February 10.
Yuvraj is the missing link in the Indian line-up as the first four batsmen are unlikely to be disturbed tomorrow.
Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma are likely to roll out again in that order and there doesn't seem to be any change either in the order of Dhoni and Robin Uthappa.
In case Yuvraj does not make it on injury count, it would be a toss up between Tiwary and Suresh Raina who hasn't got a game till now.
Astonishingly for a team which has disappointed its supporters, India doesn't appear to have too many selection worries with the bowlers and batters neatly mapped for the game tomorrow.
Similarly, Sri Lanka is also looking for extra protection in batting and would go with seven frontline batsmen. Sanath Jayasuriya, the old warhorse who got stitches on his jaw after being hit in a Hobart game, is likely to turn up against a team he has tormented for long now.
The left-hander has scored 2200 runs against India from 68 games and five of his 25 hundreds have come against the fellow team from the sub-continent.
Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga at the top, followed by Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Silva, Tillakratne Dilshan and all-rounder Chamara Kapugedera makes it a formidable batting for the island team.
The bowling is vastly experienced too with incomparable Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas getting support from the young tyros of Lasith Malinga and Ferveez Maharoof. The spin of Dilshan and Jayasuriya gives them the variety.
India: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary/Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Robin Uthappa, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan.
Sri Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene (c), Kumar Sangakkara, Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Ferveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas and Upul Tharanga.
Umpires: Steve Davis (Aus) and Rudi Koertzen (RSA). — PTI
Brisbane, February 4
"Fire or Retire" is the latest Team Indian mantra for the one-day tri-series as the young team under the pump from supporters and former cricketers, find its back against the wall.
The young team was hopelessly outclassed in the Twenty20 clash in Melbourne and even in yesterday's abandoned game where the wickets of the young Indian batsmen came cheap to Australia.
The Indians got their heads together and in a team meeting devised the latest theme to motivate themselves for matches ahead.
The theme of "Fire or Retire" apparently exhorts the team members to come down hard on Australia, meet fire with fire, and in case they are not able to do it, fall back and support the other guy doing it.
That the Indians want to be aggressive was spelt out by Yuvraj Singh ahead of the triangular series.
"We want to be aggressive, though it doesn't have to be physically aggressive or glaring at the opponent. You can be aggressive with your body language," he said.
This theme is in addition to the one they devised during the Test series where the message was almost similar to the present one.
"Three Os" was the theme during the Test series and when expanded to full, it meant "One on One". The underlying message of that theme was that each Indian cricketer was to take care of one particular Australian player and if eleven in the team were to do so, the world champions could be managed.
India proceeded to do so exactly in the Test series and the lead was taken by master blaster Sachin Tendulkar who decoded Stuart Clark who at one stage had got the Indians worried because of his accuracy and late movement, either way.
After two excellent first Tests where Clark managed eight wickets at an average of just 20 per scalp, the accurate medium-fast bowler could grab only six in the last two matches, remaining wicket-less in the final game in Adelaide.
Tendulkar prepared himself for Clark by asking Subroto Banerjee, a former Indian fast bowler now living in Sydney, to keep bowling him on or around the off-stump with the intent to leave everything go by behind the stumps.
It's noticeable that during the tour to England last year, successful to the extent that India recorded their first Test series win in 21 years in Old Blighty, India had similarly adopted a theme. The theme was "Three Ws" or "We Will Win" in full. — PTI
Brisbane, February 4
"I would be able to comment on the Indian side after four or five matches. Ishant Sharma, for example, looks interesting. But once the international batsmen know about you, how you move on that is important," stated Jayawardene at a press conference here today.
Jayawardene said the Indian pacers supported their strike bowler and skipper Anil Kumble well.
The Lankan skipper was hopeful that Murali would do well in the ongoing one-day series even though he, unlike Kumble, was not too successful in the Test series in Australia last year.
"It was because their medium-pacers bowled better than we did. We did not bowl well and our batting was not up to the scratch. It hampered Murali, besides the fact that they had four left-handers in their line-up," he pointed out.
Jayawardene said he was not looking at the finals as of now and was approaching the series match by match as both the Australians and Indians were formidable opponents.
"I prefer looking at one match at a time," he said.
"Every match is important in this triangular. Also every point is critical. So we would try to take every match very seriously. Every side is beatable. Even Australia, though favourites, can be upset," Jayawardene said. — PTI
Brisbane, February 4
Muralitharan, who on Saturday was thrown eggs by a fan in Hobart, said it was not a strange thing to happen in Australia, considering how hostile the spectators have been towards him in the past.
"When you come to Australia, you expect such incidents," said the spinner.
Murali has a history of crowd trouble in Australia, being jeered with the chants of 'no-ball' most of the time he has bowled. In the past, he has been reported twice for chucking in Australia and he once vowed never to tour this part of the world again.
But even as Murali made a half-sneering reaction to the incident, his captain Mahela Jayawardene was typically statesmanlike and laughed off the episode.
"We had a good laugh about it. A few in our team wanted Murali to have egg on his pace. Murali, if it was possible, would have picked up a stone and thrown back (at the car).
He later said there was a traffic light in front and luckily for those in the car, the light was green," said Jayawardene, amid raucous laughter at the press conference.
Jayawardene believed that crowd in Australia is as tough as the national team and it stems from their desire to win in all contests. — PTI
Sydney, February 4
According to a report in The Australian, Cricket Australia (CA) is anxious to protect its players and does not want to see contracted players in a team bearing competitors' branding.
Players need a non-objection certificate from their home board to compete in the IPL, which is backed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Up to 11 Australian and 60 internationally-contracted players signed memos of understanding with the IPL and are supposed to sign completed contracts before the BCCI meets the eight private owners who bought teams at a recent auction.
There is an outside chance, however, that all the CA-contracted players could be playing in the tournament by mid-April. They are expected to tour Pakistan then, but the tour is in doubt because of political unrest and if it is cancelled, they may be free to play.
CA was anxious to appease the BCCI during the racism clash, but it is trying to leverage its control of players to get India to establish a second-tier Indian Champions League, which was planned to include domestic teams playing for a multi-million-dollar Twenty20 prize.
The BCCI has gone quiet on the second-tier (not to be confused with the rebel India Cricket League) element of the deal, but used it initially as a carrot to lure CA into the Twenty20 hysteria.
IPL expects to be able to bid for a pool of international stars at an auction; in a few weeks, but the Federation of International Cricketers Association has instructed players not to negotiate until they see a proper contract.
The Australian players may not be available for the first two seasons, but the owners will be offered a chance to include them on a long-term contract.
The project stalled when the BCCI refused to deal with any player associations, but ironically began to move when David Ligertwood, a British lawyer and player agent who was raised in Australia, was appointed as a third party go-between for negotiations.
The Australian Cricketers Association told Sunday it was confident that acceptable contracts would be ready soon, although perhaps not in time for the cut-off date, which is Friday.
"There's still a couple of issues - I'm talking to Tim May (chief executive of FICA), who is part of this process for our players and all the other international players involved, and whilst it's not there yet, it's not too far away," ACA chief executive Paul Marsh said.
"Cricket Australia has an issue with players playing for a team that clashes with their sponsors. I'm not sure where that is all going to go - it's probably the major sticking point that we need to work through.
"We are looking to negotiate a pre-existing agreement clause, which is what we have in Australia, if a player has a deal that's arranged with a sponsor that clashes with a team sponsor, then the player can fulfil obligations to that sponsor."
Player agent Neil Maxwell, who has been intimately involved with the IPL, said Sunday that things would be sorted out soon.
"They are pressing for the players to confirm their involvement - availability might be another issue, given tours and things - by the end of next week," Maxwell said. — IANS
Bangalore, February 4
"The Bangalore Open will have them", tournament director and Secretary of the Karnataka Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) Sunder Raju told reporters here.
Austria's Sybille Bammer is another player among the top 10 who will be participating in this Tier-II event, being held here at Karnataka Lawn Tennis Courts from March 3 to 9. For the first time, as an experiment, coaches will be allowed to coach players during the matches, he said.
Thirty two players, including Serena, will vie for top honours in the tourney, which offers a total prize money of $ 600,000.
Sunder said Indian Tennis sensation Sania Mirza has not entered the Bangalore Open. On why Sania has decided against participating, he said "you guess it. I can only say she has not entered". — PTI
New Delhi, February 4
Akhil is only the third Indian boxer ever to have qualified for a second Olympics and he did that in style, winning the gold medal by beating Olympic silver medallist Thai Worapoj Pitchkoom in the final of the recently-concluded Asian qualifiers.
But the triumph and many others before it have not been of any help in getting the Rs 10 lakh promised to him by the government cleared after he won the gold medal in Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.
"Beating people inside the ring seems easier when compared to fighting this set-up. I don't know why my dues have not been cleared even though some others have got their money. It hurts ... but I guess I can't do much other than keep waiting," the 27-year-old boxer told PTI.
"My Federation has been supporting me throughout but it has been a very tough battle until now," he added.
The Haryana pugilist had also been fighting a career threatening wrist injury, that he picked up at the beginning of the last year, till recently and admits that the pain has not yet vanished completely.
"It still hurts a bit sometimes and a little more rehabilitation would be required but I am happy that at least I can box again. Last year a few doctors had declared that I would never be able to take the ring as my injury had aggravated big time," Akhil recalled.
Even at the Asian qualifiers, he carried on inside the ring with a viral fever but still managed to out-score his opponents in three successive bouts and beat an Olympic hero in the finals to be named the Best Boxer of the event, a rare feat for an Indian.
"I caught fever the day I landed there but somehow, that didn't affect my performance much. I had to be taken to a hospital but when I entered the ring, I forgot everything. I guess that's what representing your nation does to you," he said.
"My coach (GS Sandhu) kept me motivated and and that also helped me give those winning performances," he added.
The boxer, who doesn't mind doubling up as a coach for fellow juniors, will now complete his rehabilitation before heading to Kazakhstan for the second and last Asian Olympic Qualifying event, not to participate but to spar with those he might come face to face in Beijing.
"I will go there just to watch and practice. Sparring with boxers from powerhouses like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan always helps. But before that I have to complete my rehab and rest my body so that there are no niggles when I head to Beijing," he said.
"This is my best chance to get that long-dreamt Olympic medal and I want to be completely up for the challenge in August," he signed off. — PTI
Jalandhar, February 4
Railways played a fast and attacking game and went ahead in the 3rd minute with a field goal by Saba Anjum. Four minutes later, Jasjeet Kaur scored another field goal to make it 2-0. Pepsu eves opened their account through Poonam Giri. Immediately after Saba Anjum made it 3-1 for Railways.
In the 24th minute, skipper Surinder Kaur sounded the board with a cracking shot to make it 4-1 followed by another field goal in the 26th minute by Jyoti (5-1). In the 28th minute, Surinder Kaur converted a penalty stroke to make it 6-1. At half time the winners were leading 6-1.
In the second half, Railways wasted three penalty corners in the 31st, 37th and the 40th minute. In the 44th minute, Railways scored again to make it 7-1. In the 62nd minute, Poonam Giri reduced the margin for the losers by scoring their second goal.
In the 66th minute, Surinder Kaur scored a field goal (8-2) followed by another field by Saba Anjum three minutes later to end Pepsu’s misery.
In Pool C, Indian Universities ousted Delhi girls 4-1, while in a one sided match Bombay ousted Andhra Pradesh 7-0. In Pool A, the match between Karnataka and Maharashtra ended in a draw 3-3.
Today’s matches: Indian Universities v/s Bombay 11.30 am; Pepsu v/s Karnataka 1.30 pm; Andhara Pradesh v/s Delhi 3.30 pm; Indian Railways v/s Maharashtra 5.30 pm.
Beijing, February 4
"Today I'm officially announcing my retirement from the sport," he told reporters in Beijing.
"I don't think I can have that mental battle with myself coming back from injury any more. It takes a lot out of you mentally ... you start getting down and then you get depressed."
"This is Olympic year, something I wanted to do so bad. So I just decided to call it quits ... I want other people in the sport to shine."
A native of Kansas City, Greene made his breakthrough by claiming the 100 metres gold at the 1997 world championships.
In June 1999 in Athens, he ran a world record time of 9.79 seconds, carving five hundredths of a second off Donovan Bailey's three year old mark.
That same August in Seville, he became first man to win the 100m and 200m titles at a single world championships and a year later he won the Olympic 100 metres at the Sydney Games. He added another Olympic gold in the sprint relay. His world mark survived until Tim Montgomery ran 9.78 in 2002, although Montgomery was later stripped of the record after being found guilty of using banned substances.
"I've had so many highlights, my first Olympic gold medal, my first world championship gold, breaking the world record indoors and outside," Greene said.
"All of them mean something to me, something special in my heart. I just wanted to be the best I could be, I wanted to be the greatest of all time."
Tyson Gay, who matched Greene's sprint double at last year's world championships in Osaka and hopes to repeat the feat at August's Beijing Olympics, was surprised by his compatriot's retirement.
"It's a shocker to me," he told Reuters at a training event organised by his personal sponsors Adidas.
"Not having Maurice Greene around in track and field any more is just like Michael Jordan retiring from basketball, or Tiger Woods retiring.
"He's the greatest." Greene, who ran the 100 metres in less than 10 seconds a record 52 times, said he hoped the success of his career would be measured not just by the four Olympic medals and five world championship gold medals he won. — Reuters
Churchill beat Viva
Kozhikode, February 4 Leading from the front, Odafe shook the rival's citadel in the 11th minute with a well connected pass from Lalthlamuana Robert. Viva, which put up a stiff resistance in the first half, earned an equaliser through S Saleel by taking a cross from S James Singh in the 21st minute. But Odafe gave another jolt to the hosts in the 39th minute when he shot again off a pass from Reisangmi Vashum. Iyomi Mboyo increased the lead to 3-1 through a header from closer range by connecting a cross from Tockchon Naoba Singh in the 84th Minute. Odafe, was adjudged "man of the match" for his superb performance. —
Kozhikode, February 4
Leading from the front, Odafe shook the rival's citadel in the 11th minute with a well connected pass from Lalthlamuana Robert.
Viva, which put up a stiff resistance in the first half, earned an equaliser through S Saleel by taking a cross from S James Singh in the 21st minute.
But Odafe gave another jolt to the hosts in the 39th minute when he shot again off a pass from Reisangmi Vashum. Iyomi Mboyo increased the lead to 3-1 through a header from closer range by connecting a cross from Tockchon Naoba Singh in the 84th Minute. Odafe, was adjudged "man of the match" for his superb performance. — UNI
Margao, February 4
With this draw the millmen maintained their third position with 26 point from 15 outings, while Sporting increased their points tally to 17 points from equal number of outings.
It was a tale of missed chances for Sporting in both the halves.
They could have won the out right had not JCT goalkeeper Karanjit Singh brought off fine saves and rescue his team from goal damage.
Sporting started with full steam and came up with the first good move as early as in the 10th minute when Bisherwar Singh initiated a move and pass to Junior Elijah, whose shot was well saved by rival goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.
JCT in the counter attack came near scoring in the 16th minute of the first half but Baljit Singh Saini wasted an easy chance of a pass received from Eduardo Escobar.
Sporting had a golden opportunity to move ahead in the 24th minute of the first half when Micky Fernandes with solo efforts from the mid field ran down with the ball and unleashed a shot which was brilliantly saved by Karanjit Singh again.
Sporting were further frustrated a minute before the breather when Edjei Lawrence initiated a move and sent a floating cross to Harmanjot Singh Khabra, whose header too was saved by the rival goalkeeper.
After cross over JCT regrouped themselves well and could have surged ahead in the 59th minute but Edwardo's header sailed over the bar.
In the 80th minute, Sporting Mickey Fernandes made an attempt to score the winning goal but luck did not smile on him as the JCT goalkeeper Karanjit Singh brought a smart save diving to his left and rescued his team from the defeat.
Sporting Medio Mickey Ferandes was later adjudged the man of the match for his fine performance. — UNI