Sania Mirza, Soderling fall
Indo-Pak frost bites Pak players
India take control
Cheema’s omission kicks up row
Maharashtra hit bull’s eye
Melbourne, January 19
Federer survived a real scare from Russia’s Igor Andreev before winning his opening match 4-6, 6-2, 7-6, 6-0 while Williams lashed out at officials after her 6-2 6-1 win over Poland’s Urszula Radwanska. Sweden’s French Open finalist Robin Soderling was the biggest name to fall on a day when eight seeds were buried and a little-known Irishman suddenly found himself in the spotlight. Indian hope Sania Mirza also could not make it to the second round as she was undone in straight sets by French Aravane Rezai 6-4 6-2.
The notion that Federer’s air of invincibility is diminishing has been one of the popular topics of conversations in the build-up to the first grand slam of 2010. The Swiss master has repeatedly dismissed the notion his motivation might be waning after he achieved his lifelong goals last year - including a first French Open crown and a record 15th grand slam title at Wimbledon - but his performance against Andreev would have done little to silence the doubters.
Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko, who has beaten both Federer and Rafa Nadal twice in the same tournament in recent months, said he believed he was now the player everybody feared. “I have more confidence,” the sixth seed said after a 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 win over Germany’s Dieter Kindlmann.
Williams hardly broke sweat as she opened her title defence with a comfortable win on the Rod Laver Arena, extending her perfect record of never losing in the first round of a slam, but saved her best shots for the post-match news conference.
Still bristling after being handed a record fine for her expletive-laden outburst at a lineswoman in New York, the American was adamant that she had been unfairly treated.
Novak Djokovic, the 2008 champion, also made an impressive start when he beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 in a clear intention for his plans over the next fortnight. Eighth seed Soderling, struggling with an elbow injury, joined first day loser Maria Sharapova in making an early exit when he lost 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to Spain’s Marcel Granollers.
“I don’t know what happened I just didn’t play well,” Soderling grumbled. “I started terrible and finished terrible.” Fabrice Santoro bid farewell to the game after his final appearance. The Frenchman retired last year but was persuaded to make one final trip to Australia to stretch his professional career that began in 1989 into a fourth decade.
“I was very happy to come back one more time here. No regrets,” he said after his 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 loss to Marin Cilic. Louk Sorensen’s days of anonymity ended in a flash after he became the first Irishman to win a match at a grand slam.
He was already the first Irishman to qualify for a grand slam in 25 years but his 6-4 3-6 6-2 6-1 win over Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun thrust him into an unfamiliar world. “I don’t know what’s going on right now,” he said. “I’ve suddenly got so many friend requests on Facebook.”
Davydenko knows he cannot expect to slip through the draw unnoticed after dismantling German qualifier Kindlmann but still entertains hopes of flying under the radar in public at least. “I am not Paris Hilton,” he said. — Reuters
Mumbai, January 19
IPL commissioner Lalit Modi conceded the biggest question facing the franchisees was the availability of the players they would buy and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Shilpa Shetty said her team did not bid for any Pakistani players simply because they were not sure about their availability.
“We were not convinced about their availability and that’s why we did not want to take any risk,” Shetty said after her team bought veteran Australian Damien Martyn for $100,000. Giving the instance of Sohail Tanvir, who played a crucial role in Rajasthan Royal’s fairytale win in the inaugural IPL, Shetty said there was no question of bidding for a player who might not be available in the tournament.
“See, every team has its own strategy. If someone is not going to be available, why bid for him,” asked the actor, who was in touch with captain Shane Warne over phone before she bought veteran Australian Damien Martyn.
Conspiracy against Pak
NEW DELHI: Snubbed all-rounder Abdul Razzaq today accused Indian Premier League of hatching a “conspiracy” against Pakistani players after none of the 11 cricketers from the nation found a buyer in today’s IPL auction in Mumbai. “I think this is a well-hatched conspiracy, which they (IPL) must have planned three-four months ago. That’s why no Pakistani players was taken today,” Razzaq told a TV channel. “I am very disappointed. They should not have done this. They first raised the issue of visa, then they asked to take the NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the Board and then wanted a NOC from government also. But they did not take any Pakistani cricketer even after getting every clearance,” Razzaq said. —
NEW DELHI: Snubbed all-rounder Abdul Razzaq today accused Indian Premier League of hatching a “conspiracy” against Pakistani players after none of the 11 cricketers from the nation found a buyer in today’s IPL auction in Mumbai. “I think this is a well-hatched conspiracy, which they (IPL) must have planned three-four months ago. That’s why no Pakistani players was taken today,” Razzaq told a TV channel.
“I am very disappointed. They should not have done this. They first raised the issue of visa, then they asked to take the NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the Board and then wanted a NOC from government also. But they did not take any Pakistani cricketer even after getting every clearance,” Razzaq said. — PTI
India’s bowlers brought their team back into the game with a fabulous effort. If the batsmen apart from the admirable Sachin Tendulkar gave the impression of being a bit casual and complacent about this Test, the bowlers led by Zaheer took no chances and bowled with great heart to get India a nominal but psychologically important lead of just one run.
Previous India - Bangladesh Tests have been dominated by India and so if Bangladesh had taken the lead then it would have been a huge morale booster for them.
Having said that the manner in which Bangladesh’s lower order fought back through Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim is a wonderful sign that this cricket mad nation is producing players who will be strong mentally as well.
It’s in the temperament stakes that teams like Australia and South Africa score over others. It is their never give up attitude that often turns matches in their favour and they never ever make the mistake of taking any opposition lightly.
India’s batsmen did that and so find themselves in this equal position in this Test match. The Bangladesh bowlers bowled well especially the skipper, Shakib and he will be the bowler that India will have to watch out for in the second innings too. He is getting the ball to turn and because he bowls such a tight line and length it is hard to get after him.
Virender Sehwag tried and perished for the second time in the match. After his dismissive comments about Bangladesh’s capabilities, his wicket will be prized more than the others in the Indian team and the Bangladesh players will take a special delight everytime he gets out. Sehwag has certainly given the impression that he is not challenged by this attack but unless he scores a century against them he will not back up his thoughts with action. If anything, it is far more difficult to score against an attack that seems to have no teeth since a casualness enters the game and all it takes for a batsman is one mistake for him to be back in the pavilion.
Those who scoff at centuries scored against so-called second raters will be surprised to see how many top batsmen don’t have those scores. So it does take a bit more than just skill to get a century or a big score and Sehwag will have to apply himself in the next Test to get that elusive century.
Knowing his propensity to go on from a century he could well hammer a big one but it will take him a lot of determination to do so. He also has said that Bangladesh cannot take 20 wickets in a Test match and by throwing his wicket away he is making it easier for the hosts to prove him wrong. With the ball turning India will have to ensure that they get at least 300 runs for Bangladesh to chase else it could well mean an extraordinary win for an ‘ordinary’ side. — PMG
India (Ist Innings)243
Bangladesh (Ist Innings) overnight 59 for 3 Ashraful c Dravid b Ishant 2, Hasan c Karthik b Sreesanth 17, Shakib c Sehwag b Zaheer 17, Mushfiqur c Sehwag b Mishra 44, Mahmudullah c Karthik b Sreesanth 69, Hossain c Yuvraj b Mishra 11, Islam c Yuvraj b Mishra 6, Rubel not out 0,
Extras (b 4, lb 1, w 1, nb 12) 18,
Total (all out; 65.2 overs) 242,
Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-58, 3-58, 4-68, 5-89, 6-98, 7-206, 8-228, 9-235,
Bowling Zaheer 20-4-54-3, Sreesanth 11-1-55-2, Ishant 13-3-47-2, Mishra 16.2-2-66-3, Yuvraj 5-1-15-0.
India (2nd innings) Gambhir not out 47, Sehwag c Raqibul b Shakib 45, Mishra not out 24, Extras (lb 5, nb 1) 6,
Total (1 wicket; 22.2 overs), 122,
Fall of wickets: 1-90,
Bowling: Islam 6-0-35-0, Hossain 5-0-13-0, Rubel 2-0-20-0, Shakib 6.2-0-28-1, Mahmudullah 2-0-12-0, Ashraful 1-0-9-0.
Cheema’s omission kicks up row
Gurdaspur, January 19
However, Kartar Singh said that Palwinder had been dropped since he refused to fight for the third-fourth place position in his weight category - super heavyweight - during the 54th senior national championship held at Bhopal in October last year. He clarified that Palwinder never followed the rules and forfeited his third-fourth place bout, a claim countered by Sukhchain who said that Palwinder had to surrender the bout as was suffering from a shoulder injury.
Sukhchain said that Palwinder had given a medical certificate in which the nature of his injury was mentioned but the WFI officials never took cognisance of the certificate. He added that there were so many grapplers who did not even take part in the Bhopal Senior Nationals, but have been included in the Sonepat camp.
In this context he reeled off the names of Anuj Kumar, Romesh Kumar and Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Susheel Kumar. Kartar Singh said, “According to rules we were to select the three top grapplers in each weight category. In his category Palwinder lost to Rajiv Tomar and to decide the third placed wrestler he was to fight against another wrestler who too had lost his semifinal bout.
However, Palwinder refused to fight and our selectors took the decision of pulling him out of the Commonwealth Games camp. Our selection process is absolutely transparent and nobody can point fingers at us.”
On his part, Sukhchain claimed that the WFI was out to destroy the career of his son. He claimed that Palwinder was selected for the World Police Games held at Montreal in November last year but the WFI refused to give permission to his son to travel to Montreal. However, this claim was again countered by Kartar who said it was not the WFI which was to give permission but the go ahead for Palwinder’s participation was to be given by the Indian Police Sports Control Board officials. Sukhchain asked the Sports Minister M.S Gill to “intervene in an attempt to save the career of India’s best known grappler.”
Maharashtra hit bull’s eye
Anandpur Sahib, January 19
In 30 metre boys individual, Sandeep of Andhra Pradesh won gold by getting 324 points, Dhananjay Pardeep Sutaar of Maharashtra stood second in 50m with 320 points whereas Baksu of Rajasthan got bronze with 317 points.
In girls section of archery, Assam topped tally by pocketing 1,497 points, second place went to Chattisgarh who also got 1497 points and Manipur remained third with 1405 points.
In individual events of 30m, Dawdey of Sikkim won gold with 298 points, Kirtan of Chattisgarh got silver with 287 points and Kurbe of Assam won bronze with 287 points.
Punjab outplayed UP in one sided semifinal. Punjab defeated UP 31-16 whereas Delhi defeated Haryana 37-28. In the girls section of kabaddi, Delhi defeated Andhra Pradesh 9-5 in first semifinal whereas in second semifinal, Haryana defeated its rival by margin of 27-24.
Punjab trounced AP in first semifinals of kho kho boys match by 15-4. Maharashtra defeated Karnataka 14-12 in second semifinals. In first semifinals of kho kho girls Punjab defeated Maharastra by 8-7 points whereas AP outplayed Gujarat by 11-3 points.
Six-week period is too short: Simons I need more time: Yousuf ‘Mixed feelings about DRS’ Kaif, Raina hit fifties Karni range best in the world: Gill Shillong Lajong win Birsa Munda Vidya Peeth win
I need more time: Yousuf
‘Mixed feelings about DRS’
Kaif, Raina hit fifties
Karni range best in the world: Gill
Shillong Lajong win
Birsa Munda Vidya Peeth win