Tendulkar set to sit out
Sehwag decimates Chargers
Curator messed up Eden Gardens pitch: Pandove
‘Sachin will play against Kings XI’
‘ODIs need innovation’
‘IHF caught red-handed’
‘IHF functioning undemocratic’
India lose to Belgium; Olympic hopes dashed
Ritwik, Ghosal in qualifying finals
Be careful, ACU is watching: PCB tells players
Chennai, April 22
"I am not too sure whether Tendulkar will play in our match tomorrow," South African all rounder Shaun Pollock said here.
Tendulkar did not play the first match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday. His team suffered a five wicket loss in a low scoring match.
Talking to the media soon after the team's practice session here, Pollock said, "the physio of the team will have a look at Tendulkar's injury." Explaining the importance of the ace batsman's availability in the later part of the tournament he said, "we are not pushing him since it is a long tournament. He is a key player in our team's scheme of things and we do not want to rush him." Asked whether Tendulkar's absence would mean added pressure on Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya he said, "He is in a good touch and he will continue with his form. If he gets going in the initial seven overs, there will be good score on board. He knows how to handle Muthiah (Muralitharan)."
"It will be a case of marginal errors when we play Chennai team. They have very good top half. It is going to be a high scoring game," Pollock said adding his side is balanced one with a lot of all-rounders and good depth in bowling.
"We have a balanced side and we will be catching on the slog overs," he said.
"If the top order get going, we will put up a huge total on board. Our strength lies there," he said.
On his bowling. he said, "it is very important to have variations to suit the 20-20 format. In this kind of pitches, variations will yield better results than pace." — PTI
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni expressed the confidence that Chennai Super Kings, who take on Mumbai Indians tomorrow would be able to pull of another convincing win.
The match would be the second for both teams, with Super Kings gaining two points defeating Kings XI Punjab but Mumbai, without an injured captain Sachin Tendulkar, losing to Royal Challengers of Bangalore on home turf in their respective league openers.
In the post match press conference after the confident Super Kings sweated it out at the nets for the second day today, Dhoni addressing a packed media conference hall, also maintained suspense over he keeping wickets or play again as a batsman only.
Reading out the 16, he named Parthiv Patel also but when asked if he would not be keeping the wickets, he shot back "you will know tomorrow." Asked if the Super Kings would be going into the game tomorrow with the same playing XI as in the match against Kings XI Punjab, a smiling Dhoni's answer was the same:"you will know tomorrow.
Asked if he had worked out any plans to contain Sachin if he gets to play for Mumbai in what would be a crucial match for the rival, who are one match down, Dhoni said" you cannot plan much against such a player." "Let's see, a ball may keep low and Sachin may get out early it will depend on the wicket", Dhoni said in jest, indicating that his team would hope to dismiss Sachin early if the latter plays on his favourite ground here.
But it was here during the first of the three Test home series against South Africa late last month that Sachin was down with a groin injury and could not get to play till now.
"Nevertheless, we do have some plan. But it is a pleasure playing either alongside or against such great players. It is interesting playing against Sachin,” he said.
Dhoni said the Super Kings were looking for another win tomorrow.
"It is important to be consistent in the league. There are still so many matches to go", he observed.
Asked if he would bat higher up in the order so that he could get to play his normal style of taking on the rival bowlers , Dhoni said he was of the opinion that his team had international class openers like Mathew Hayden. "In ODIs, you can settle down in the early overs and then play your shots. But, in T20 cricket a batsman has to go for the bowling right away. We have class openers to do that. It would be ideal for me to bat at the position I am doing now and try to build on a good start,” he added. — UNI
Chennai Super Kingsvs Mumbai Indians 8 pm
Hyderabad, April 22
But with skipper Sehwag on fire, Delhi Daredevils overwhelmed the target in 13 overs losing just one wicket for their second victory in a row.
Sehwag's 41-ball blitzkrieg of 94 not out included 10 hits to the fence, besides six towering sixes.
Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir (12) began with a flourish and even though the left-hander perished in the fourth over, runs came thick and fast with Sehwag on song.
Sanjay Bangar bore the brunt of Sehwag's wrath in his second over, which cost the bowler 23 runs and included two sixes and as many boundaries.
Sehwag was lucky to get a reprieve on 13 when Pragyan Ojha dropped him off Chaminda Vaas in the deep and later Adam Gilchrist made a mess of an easy stumping opportunity off Ojha.
Sehwag replied by scoring 30 runs off an Andrew Symonds over that read 4,6,4,6,4,6. All along, Shikhar Dhawan (25 not out) was happy playing the second fiddle. — PTI
Gilchrist b Asif 8
Rao c Dhawan b Maharoof 14
Laxman b Mohammad Asif 2
Symonds c Karthik b Maharoof 12
Rohit c McGrath b Bhatia 66
Afridi lbw Bhatia 2
Bangar run out 8
Yadav c Gambhir b Mahesh 12
Vaas not out 12
RP Singh not out 1
Extras (lb-3, w-1, nb-1) 5
Total (8 wkts; 20 overs) 142
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-23, 3-36, 4-45 , 5-60, 6-82, 7-123, 8-129
Bowling: McGrath 4-1-22-0, Asif
Gambhir c Gilchrist b RP Singh 12
Sehwag not out 94
Dhawan not out 25
Extras (w-7, pen 5) 12
Total (1 wkt, 13 overs) 143
Fall of wicket: 1-31
Bowling: Vaas 3-0-22-0, RP Singh 3-0-27-1, Bangar 2-0-30-0, Afridi 2-0-17-0, A Symonds 2-0-35-0, Ojha 1-0-7-0.
Player of the match: Virender Sehwag.
Curator messed up Eden Gardens pitch: Pandove
Mohali, April 22
Pandove was explaining the nature of the Eden Garden pitch during the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Deccan Chargers on Sunday which turned out to be low-scoring affair inviting prompt criticism from the losing skipper V. V. S. Laxman.
Batting first, Deccan Chargers were out for paltry 110, with Andrew Symonds rescuing them with his knock of 32, the highest score from the side. Riders’ batsmen struggled to score runs but eventually overhauled the target in 19 overs losing five wickets.
Laxman said the surface was shocking for a T20 match as it behaved in a strange fashion as the bounce and the carry off the wicket were totally unpredictable and no batsman could stay at the wicket and graft runs.
“For a batsman to come good, the surface should be even, allowing him to settle down and get his eye in. Only after judging the bounce and pace of the wicket he can play comfortably,” Pandove, co-chairman , IPL technical committee, said.
“We have rushed Daljit Singh, chairman of the Pitches and Grounds Committee to Kolkata immediately to work with the local curator and ensure that a good wicket was in place before the next match at the venue,” Pandove said.
“The idea is to have a grass cover at the top. Grass binds and keeps the surface together. We have been in touch with the goings-on in Kolkata and hopefully a good wicket will be ready for the next match.
“Fortunately, we have enough time at our disposal to carry out the work,” he said. The next match at Eden Gardens between Kolkata and Mumbai is scheduled for April 29.
“In order to improve quality of wickets, we have introduced a grading system. The grading will be done keeping in view the quality of wicket and outfield, even bounce and whether a batsman can drive the ball without the fear of being hurt, the greenery of the outfield and the slope of the ground,” he said.
Pandove said Twenty20 being a batsman friendly game, the idea is to have pitches, which are conducive to stroke play. Most of the matches, barring the Kolkata match, have been high scoring affairs and enjoyed thoroughly by spectators, he added.
Response amazing: Bindra
I. S. Bindra, honorary president of the PCA attributed the low attendance in the first IPL match at Mohali on April 19 to the starting time of the match, which, he said, was not ideal. “It should not be a day match. It is unfair to the staging association,” he added.
“The next match (between Punjab and Mumbai on April 25) will be an evening affair and we are expecting a full house. Student tickets have already been sold out, while 50 per cent of the other tickets have already been lapped up,” he said.
“The starting time of the match at 8 pm is ideal for spectators which would ensure good cricket and entertainment,” he added.
Bindra said IPL was generating tremendous interest among the masses. “While venues like Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai have reported 100 per cent attendance, for Delhi and Mohali the figure has been 70 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively.
“The response from the people has surpassed our expectations. At some of the matches the viewership has been more than that of the Twenty20 World Cup final between India and Pakistan,” he said.
Bindra, who is set to take over as principal adviser to the ICC in June, was confident that the younger players were set to make their mark in the 44-day competition.
He said already players like Goel, Ojha, Dinda and Jadeja are doing well and attracting a lot of attention. There will be new Lees and Haydens by the time the competition is over, he predicted.
Bindra, a former BCCI president, said the IPL organisers were against players playing IPL matches at the cost of their international matches for their countries. “We have not yet made a formal request to the ICC for a window for IPL. We will first wait for this tournament to get over. Only then we will form an opinion when to make a formal request. We want IPL and the international cricket being played among the member countries to co-exist,” he said.
‘Sachin will play against Kings XI’
Mohali, April 22 “The feedback from the Mumbai team organisers is very encouraging. We have been assured of Tendulkar’s participation in the match,” Pandove revealed. Tendulkar has been laid low by a groin injury. The injury forced the premier Indian batsman to miss the last two Tests against South Africa as well as the Mumbai Indians opening match against Deccan Chargers on April 20. There was speculation about the extent of injury to the master batsman but Pandove said “we are 99 per cent sure” that Tendulkar will play the April 25 match at Mohali. India off-spinner and Punjab’s key player Harbhajan Singh will be Tendulkar’s deputy if Tendulkar is available and leads the side. The squad is slated to reach Mohali on April 24.
Mohali, April 22
“The feedback from the Mumbai team organisers is very encouraging. We have been assured of Tendulkar’s participation in the match,” Pandove revealed.
Tendulkar has been laid low by a groin injury. The injury forced the premier Indian batsman to miss the last two Tests against South Africa as well as the Mumbai Indians opening match against Deccan Chargers on April 20.
There was speculation about the extent of injury to the master batsman but Pandove said “we are 99 per cent sure” that Tendulkar will play the April 25 match at Mohali.
India off-spinner and Punjab’s key player Harbhajan Singh will be Tendulkar’s deputy if Tendulkar is available and leads the side. The squad is slated to reach Mohali on April 24.
Karachi, April 22
Akram said he, at times, got bored watching 50-over matches in the middle stages and there was a definite need to bring about changes in the rules to revive one-day cricket and make it more exciting and watchable.
"Twenty20 cricket is gaining popularity because it is exciting cricket and it is aimed at the younger generation who want to watch high class sport in three to four hours," Akram told PTI.
"Twenty20 cricket is good for the future of the game but at the same time it is not quality cricket. It is simply entertainment. And to protect the real competition like one-dayers or Test matches, the ICC needs to think about revolutionary rule changes." Akram said the idea of Test cricket under lights was not a bad one and could be worked out if given proper thought. — PTI
New Delhi, April 22
Taking serious note of a television sting operation exposing the cash-for-selection modus operandi of Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) secretary general K. Jothikumaran, members in both Houses demanded an inquiry into the matter and criminal proceedings against those found guilty of corruption in IHF.
Jothikumaran who held the second most powerful post in Indian hockey for 14 years, quit on Monday hours after a television channel beamed the damning evidence on his demand for Rs five lakh to facilitate a player's selection for the Azlam Shah Cup scheduled in the coming month in Kuala Lumpur.
According to the sting transcript, Jothikumaran received cash payment of Rs 2 lakh in a Delhi hotel on April 10 and 11 and was promised the balance later.
Minister of State for Home Affairs, Sriprakash Jaiswal also backed the demand for a probe into the corruption charges against IHF secretary-general.
Recommending nothing less harsh than death penalty for such malfeasence, Bahujan Samaj Party member Iliyas Azmi said, “Such people should be publicly hanged. India was once proud of this game. Our national game, hockey, is in bad shape because of these people.''
Raising the issue in Lok Sabha during zero hour, V.K. Malhotra, Deputy leader of the BJP in the House, said that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the government should initiate an inquiry into the matter and punish the corrupt.
Mohan Singh of the Samajwadi Party said that the government should bring a bill to check corruption in organsiations like the IHF.
While CPI (M) member Mohammad Salim demanded that Sports Minister make a statement on the matter, Rashtriya Janata Dal member Devendra Prasad Yadav called for effectivemeasures to check corrupt practices in sports body.
New Delhi, April 22
Aslam Sher Khan said the whole IHF had been caught red-handed through the yesterday's Jothikumaran-episode.
"For years, we have been speaking against (IHF President KPS) Gill and Jothikumaran. But Gill had described the former players as 'mourners'. With the episode involving Jothikumaran the whole IHF has been caught red-handed," Khan said.
Former coach Mir Ranjan Negi said most of the ex-hockey players had inkling about such mal-practices.
"We had to lose players like Len Aiyappa, Gagan Ajit Singh and Deepak Thakur because of the IHF administration," he alleged, adding that "the episode must have dented the morale of the players".
Another former Olympian Baljit Singh Dhillon said there had always been "an unnecessary interferrence" of officials in team selection and advocated the change in regim at
"Gill and Co have ruined the Indian hockey in last 14 years. Lone outster of Jothikumaran would not help but there has to be a complete change of regime with a former player being handed over the reins," he said. — PTI
Bangalore, April 22
The official alleged that “the IHF has not been conducting itself as a sports body and there was no democratic set-up. President K.P.S. Gill and Jothikumaran controlled everything and other office-bearers were kept under dark in almost all the matters, be it selection of the team or in any other matter concerning the functioning of the Federation”, he added.
Krishnamurthy told UNI “several times we (office bearers) raised our voice against undemocratic functioning of the IHF and urged for transparency in the Federation, but it was not heeded. No wonder, the image of the game was lowered before the people, he added.
He said the alleged involvement of Jothikumaran had tarnished the image of the game.
Alleging that only Gill and Jothikumaran were handling the entire IHF, Mr Krishnamurthy said “as long as dictatorship and lack of transparency in administration continues, it will have a snowballing effect on the federation and the hockey fraternity in the country.
He said a large number of members in the IHF were clamouring for transparency, but their efforts went in vain.
Unless IHF was made accountable and streamlined, it will be well-nigh impossible to expect an improvement in its functioning style.
He said he will not be surprised, if the IHF was dissolved, as suggested by some members in the Parliament.
Krishnamurthy said Jothikumaran should be given a fair chance to express his view point. It is time an ‘Independent Body’ be constituted to unearth the truth behind the shaddy dealings, as exposed in the sting operation, he added. — UNI
Kazan, April 22
India, ranked 12th in the World, desperately needed a win against Belgium, ranked 23rd, but that was not to be. It was again a case of missed chances, as despite dominating the 70-minute proceedings, they failed to convert the opportunities that came their way.
In fact, the Indians lost the match they had no business to lose. They outplayed their rivals and should have won by a margin of four goals but they ended up as losers.
At half time India led 2-1 India had earlier lost to Netherland Antilles 1-2. They have so far won only one match, that against Russia (3-1) on the opening day.
India were off to a disastrous start, conceding a goal in the very first minute when Charlotte de Vos caught the defence unawares and easily beat the goalkeeper to put Belgium in the lead (1-0).
The goal rattled India who went flat out for the equaliser. They forced three penalty corners in quick succession and it was in the 13th minute when Surinder Kaur converted the third penalty corner to draw parity(1-1).
Just before this equaliser, India had a great chance to score but Asunta Lakra and Jasjeet Kaur muffed the chance. Jasjeet took a shot on top of the circle but goal keeper Elizabeth Achten made a superb save.
Three minutes later, India made another breakaway attack and this time in-form Ritu Rani swept the ball home to give her side a 2-1 lead. The Belgium girls looked tired but the Indians failed to add to their goal tally. They kept on squandering the chances and paid dearly for that.
India had a slow first few minutes but were on fire for the rest of the match fully controlling the proceedings and creating chances by the minute. There was no let up in India's domination but again their forwards turned out to be poor finishers.
However, against the run of play, Belgium stunned India when they equalised through Astrid Vervaet who emerged out of nowhere to send the ball home to make it 2-2. This happened in the 46th minute.
Five minutes later, India had a great chance to surge ahead, Surinder Kaur made a quick dash into the circle and hammered the ball towards the goal but the ball missed the target by a whisker.
Two more attacks - one each by Jasjeet and Pritam were foiled by the goalkeeper and then another penalty corner went abegging.
And suddenly, once again against the tide of the game, Belgium scored to take the lead in the 58th minute which turned out to be the winner. An attack led to a shot on goal which was warded off by the goalkeeper but on the rebound Gaelle Falcke pushed it across for the reverse stick shot, then smashed it into an open goal (3-2).
After that, the Indians did every thing to restore parity but failed as Belgium beefed up their defence and foiled all the attacks. — UNI
Kuwait City, April 22
While Ritwik upset Australian Aaron Frankcomb 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 in 53-minutes, Ghosal breezed past local favourite Mohd Al-Tuwary 11-5, 11-0, 11-3 in just 29 minutes.
"I played on these courts in the Asians, so that helped me. Besides, I have been doing lot of training in Holland and India," Ritwik said after his win.
In the qualifying finals, Ritwik will take on American Julian Illingworth. On the other hand, Ghosal will be up against Englishman Daryl Selby.
"I have played Daryl twice -- in Qatar and Hong Kong - and lost despite going 2-0 up. Hopefully, I can go one better this time," said Ghosal. — PTI
Be careful, ACU is watching: PCB tells players
Karachi, April 22 A senior official of the Pakistan Cricket Board told PTI that after the ACU questioned Younis Khan, Umar Gul and Danish Kaneria about an Indian they had befriended on their last tour there, PCB had told the players to be wary. "The ACU investigations have made no headway nor have they apparently found any evidence to suggest any player violating the ICC Code of Conduct," the official said. "But since the ACU questioning revolved around an Indian national and the Indian tour we have briefed the players about what to avoid and stay away from while playing in the IPL." The official said players have been told to be very careful about the people they get acquainted with.
Karachi, April 22
A senior official of the Pakistan Cricket Board told PTI that after the ACU questioned Younis Khan, Umar Gul and Danish Kaneria about an Indian they had befriended on their last tour there, PCB had told the players to be wary.
"The ACU investigations have made no headway nor have they apparently found any evidence to suggest any player violating the ICC Code of Conduct," the official said.
"But since the ACU questioning revolved around an Indian national and the Indian tour we have briefed the players about what to avoid and stay away from while playing in the IPL." The official said players have been told to be very careful about the people they get acquainted with. — PTI
Barcelona, April 22
The first three Grand Prix so far have seen the outfit racing in the midfield and getting closer to going into Q2. In the last race in Bahrain, the team achieved its first double finish of the year and with new developments honed in a further three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya last week, the management is hoping that the upward trend will continue.
"A tenth of a second has never mattered as much as now. All the guys at the track and back at the factory are doing everything they possibly can to get every millisecond and we are now tantalisingly close to that competitive midfield group. I have every confidence and no doubt that it will come," Chairman and Managing Director Vijay Mallya said.
"We're no longer at the back and though it will get tougher here on in, it's a golden opportunity for us. No one expects miracles, but the fact that we qualified close to the top 16 and finished in the top 12 in Malaysia and Bahrain demonstrates everything is happening strongly and positively," he said.
Team principal Colin Kolles rued Giancarlo Fisichella missing out on Q2 in Bahrain by just over a tenth of a second.
He, however, expects things to change here and has already set the target for the team.
"Our targets this time out will be to reach Q2 in qualifying and to score points. We are working very hard to reach these targets and I am confident we will reach them sooner rather than later," Kolles said.
Both drivers are bracing for the weekend action and sounded upbeat about the car.
"The VJM01, for sure, seems to be moving forward with each race, and the Barcelona test confirmed this very clearly.
It has more grip overall, but especially under braking, so it is more stable and we are able to push. We've gone from a 1min 22.2 lap round in Barcelona in February to a 1min 20.7 at the test last week, which even if some is down to improved track conditions, is still a step forward," said Fisichella, who has been the guiding force behind the wheels.
"With new aero parts coming in Spain too, I am pretty sure we can carry on with this progress I enjoy the track, it is one of my favourite circuits so if we play it right, I think we have a good chance. Our closest opponents at the moment are probably Toro Rosso and Honda; we are all just outside the point scoring area and are fighting for any chance. I want to be there fighting again this year and taking advantage of anything that comes our way," said the Italian.
His younger teammate Adrian Sutil is yet to hit the straps but the German lad seemed enthused by the pace of the car.
"When we could push the race, pace was not bad. It's very close and I'm now looking to have the opportunity where I can really race with other cars. Unfortunately in the first three races, there hasn't been a chance, but if you see the race pace, compared with other cars we were really on it.
"Let's see how it is in Barcelona. We had a very good test last week where we tried out some new parts, which worked well and gave an increase in grip and stability. I think with the small steps we have made we really have a chance go into Q2 this time out," Sutil added. — PTI
New Delhi, April 22
The Indo-Australian pair defeated Argentine pair of David Nalbandian and Sebastian Prieto 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the clay court event in Monaco.
Mahesh Bhupathi and his partner Mark Knowles of Bahamas, seeded fourth, got a bye in the first round and will take on the winner of the Marcelo Melo-Andre Sa vs Richard Gasquet-Janko Tipsarevic tie in the second. — PTI