Fame & fortune have not changed Steffen
Monty exposes SA’s spin fallibility
Charlesworth seeks active role
Kumble censured for revealing selection details
Junior Asia Cup
Lankans still doubtful for IPL
Berlin, July 12
"The testing is the best thing that can happen to us," the German swimmer told Reuters a few hours after being subjected to the unpleasant scrutiny involved in providing urine and blood samples for about the 12th time this year.
"It's another chance to prove you're clean. Unfortunately we can't influence how often we're tested. But if it were up to me I'd give a sample every day. I don't have anything to hide."
Steffen, 24, set a 100 metres world record and won four gold medals at the European championships in 2006, and is one of the favourites for the freestyle sprints at the Beijing Olympics.
After toiling anonymously for years in the shadow of team mate Franziska van Almsick, Steffen has succeeded her retired friend as a major figure in German advertising.
The fame and fortune have not changed Steffen's outlook on life, however. She lives in the same one-room flat, costing 100 euros ($157) per month in rent, and survives on the 400 euro-a-month budget she has got by on since she was 16.
"I don't know what I'd spend money on even if I had the time to spend it," said Steffen, an industrial engineering student.
"I've got everything I need. The tickets to eat in the student cafeteria are three euros and I'm not really interested in going out or going shopping. So 400 euros is plenty."
Steffen grew up in Schwedt, a once-thriving industrial town in East Germany. After German unification in 1990, Schwedt and the local economy fell upon hard times. Jobs at the big refinery disappeared, unemployment rose and the population shrank.
"I shared a 10-square-metre room with my two brothers," said Steffen, who turned six a week after the Berlin Wall fell.
"So when I got my own room at the sports academy in Potsdam (age 12) it was pure luxury. Later, when things starting going better, I didn't want to change what helped me get where I was."
However, the tall swimmer with a friendly smile knew she had to change something in her life after a dismal Olympics in 2004.
In training she was one of Germany's best, sometimes beating van Almsick, but she could never replicate those times in races and disappointed herself in Athens. So she quit for a while.
"I couldn't stand swimming any more." Steffen focused on her studies and food. She gained about eight kilos during her six months away from the sport.
"I'd look forward to lunch all morning," she said. "And then I'd look forward to afternoon pies and coffee. And then dinner."
She tried to get back in the team after three months off but her coach turned her away.
Sessions with psychologist Frederike Janofsky - who had helped van Almsick - proved enlightening.
"I didn't have my head in the right place," Steffen said.
Soon afterwards, she won the four golds at the 2006 European championships and broke the 100 metres freestyle world record (53.42) held by Libby Lenton (now Trickett) of Australia.
That raised eyebrows because her time (53.30 seconds) was nearly a second faster than her previous best (54.29). A new high-tech swimsuit and concentrated tapering to peak helped but Steffen acknowledges that her time had raised questions.
"I'd have had doubts too," she said. "But the coaches pointed out Trickett and others had also made similar one-second improvements before setting records." In 2004, Lenton swam a world record 53.66 after a previous personal best of 54.64.
London, July 12
At the close South Africa were 13 without loss in their second innings after being asked to follow on. Only Ashwell Prince offered extended resistance with a patient 101 compiled in six minutes short of five hours.
Earlier Ashwell Prince and AB de Villiers took their team from 83 for four to 156 without further loss at tea after England had declared for 593. Left-hander Prince, the most assured of the batsman, stuck it out alone.
Scoreboard England first innings (dec for 8): 593 South Africa first innings Smith c Bell b Anderson 8 McKenzie b Panesar
40 Amla c Ambrose b Broad 6 Kallis c Strauss b Sidebottom 7 Prince not out 52 AB de Villiers not out 38 Extras:
(1-b, lb-2, w-2.) 5 Total: (4
wkts, 59 overs) 156 Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-28, 3-47, 4-83. Bowling: Sidebottom 15-2-31-1, Anderson, 15-5-30-1, Broad 12-2-45-1, Panesar 13-2-44-1, Collingwood 4-1-3-0.
England first innings (dec for 8): 593
South Africa first innings
Smith c Bell b Anderson 8
McKenzie b Panesar 40
Amla c Ambrose b Broad 6
Kallis c Strauss b Sidebottom 7
Prince not out 52
AB de Villiers not out 38
Extras: (1-b, lb-2, w-2.) 5
Total: (4 wkts, 59 overs) 156
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-28, 3-47, 4-83.
Bowling: Sidebottom 15-2-31-1, Anderson, 15-5-30-1, Broad 12-2-45-1, Panesar 13-2-44-1, Collingwood 4-1-3-0.
New Delhi, July 12
Clearing all speculation about his sudden decision to leave India, the 51-year-old former captain said that he would be returning to India after two weeks and had specifically gone to Australia to attend Hockey Australias inaugural Hall of Fame dinner and to address some pressing family issues.
"My role as technical advisor in India entailed me making discovery, advising and giving recommendations to Indian Hockey on the elite game. I do not believe there is much more I can do in an advisory role in India. These reports are completed and it is a time for action in India," Charlesworth told PTI in an email communication.
"If I am to have a future role in Indian hockey then it will not be in an advisory one," he added.
In a shocking development, the Australian legend, who was entrusted with the responsibility of reviving Indian hockey, suddenly left for Australia on Thursday night after putting in his papers a fortnight ago.
Charlesworth's trip to Australia triggered off intense speculation that he was was disgusted with the way the game is being run in the country.
Criticising the dissolved KPS Gill-backed Indian Hockey Federation for the state of the game, Charlesworth pointed out that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), who is at present running the game in the country, should come out with sustainable long-term plans for its development.
"The IOA have inherited a difficult task and besides the short-term matters that they are managing must try to navigate a sustainable long term pathway for the game. Unfortunately, the previous management of the game did not leave it in a healthy state," he stated.
He also hoped that on his return, he would get a clear picture about his future in the India.
"On my return to India, I believe the opportunity will exist to determine my future in India," he added. — PTI
Mumbai, July 12
BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah told PTI from Rajkot that while the captain of the team can address press conferences, he was not supposed to reveal details of selection matters.
"The captain cannot tell the media what has taken place at selection committee meetings and on selection policies. And that's the reason a letter has been sent to him by the BCCI," Shah said.
"I have been informed by (selection panel) chairman Dilip Vengsarkar that 'Mumbai Mirror', a local newspaper, has published some story about selection meeting which is attributed to you," Shah's letter to Kumble said.
"You are aware that proceedings of the selection committee are not supposed to be divulged and is certainly not meant for public discussion. As a senior player you should have restrained from (giving) such interviews," it added.
Kumble had revealed to interviewer Rajan Bala, a veteran sports journalist, that the selectors wanted Rahul Dravid to be the back-up gloveman during the Test series, after the pull-out of regular stumper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who wanted a break, which was not acceptable to him.
"Well, when I was told that Dhoni has made himself unavailable I had to ensure that the wicket keeping department was catered to. I insisted on the second wicket keeper because there was a view that we could do with one specialist," Kumble had said in the interview.
"As captain I am aware that there could be problems if the specialist were to pull a muscle or have a runny stomach on the morning of a Test.
"There was a suggestion that Rahul (Dravid) be the second wicket keeper, but I persuaded the committee to view things from Indian cricket's point of view and advantage. I contended there was nothing wrong in taking the additional specialist wicket keeper," Kumble had said.
"I know Rahul would not like to be saddled with such a responsibility. He has enough as a batsman and does not want a repeat of his wicket keeping experiences in ODIs," the Test skipper had been quoted by the interviewer of having said.
In the absence of Dhoni, the selectors have chosen Dinesh Kaarthick and Parthiv Patel as the two stumpers for doing the job in the Emerald Isle. — PTI
Hyderabad, July 12
In another Group A match, a spirited Japan toyed with Singapore 9-1. Japan, who made things difficult for hosts India Friday in the opening match, played an attacking game and pounded the Singapore defence.
Defending champions India now have six points after winning two consecutive matches and lead the group standings. Japan has three points and Malaysia and Singapore are on one point each after the second round of the group phase. Two teams from each group will move to the semi-finals. India’s last league match is against Singapore Monday.
After a lacklustre performance against Japan in the opening match Friday, it was an improved show from the title-holders, who created numerous moves to prise open the Malaysian defence. India led 2-0 in the breather with goals from Pramod Kumar and Diwakar.
Diwakar, who had been rising quickly through the ranks, was also one of India's star performers in the Azlan Shah tournament in May. The drag-flicker with his clean scoops rattled the otherwise solid Malaysia goalkeeper and captain Abdul Hakim Adnan, and showed why he is rated so highly.
Abdul was by far the best Malaysian on the turf and made some good saves to thwart the relentless Indian attack.
In the earlier match, Hiroki Shirawa, Kenta Tanaka, Kenji Kitazato (2), Hirayuki Fujiyoshi (2), Taisuke Ito, Daisuke Suzuki and Ryohei Kawai completed the tally for Japan. Singapore's consolation came from Muhammad Sabri Yuhari who converted the team's only penalty corner in the last minute of the match.— IANS
Colombo, July 12
"It is not correct to say that the crisis has been resolved and that Sri Lankan players can now go ahead to play in IPL league next year ... The matter is still at a negotiating stage by the Interim Committee and the Players' Association," a SLC top source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
He said the SLC was still awaiting a response from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on the proposal to reschedule the dates or any other alternative schedule of the tour.
The ECB announced on Wednesday the dates of two-Tests home series against Sri Lanka starting May 7, which coincides with the IPL, scheduled between April 10 and May 29, 2009. This led to some Lankan players meeting President Mahinda Rajapakse to plead either to get the tour postponed or be played after the IPL.
Yesterday, reports of SLC giving permission to players to play in the IPL instead of touring England after President Rajapakse's intervention provoked sharp criticism from
"If we don't manage this situation we could be threatening the lifeblood of all member countries. International cricket generates revenue that is essential to our survival," Lorgat had said. — PTI
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