Allrounder Dilshan leads Lanka to victory
Injured Tahir may miss India tie
Uphill task for Bangladesh against England
Graeme Swann (L) bowls during a training session in Chittagong on Thursday. — AFP
Confident West Indies take on Ireland today
No FIH recognition for IHF
ONGC, PSB, Namdhari XI win
Sahara Sports Awards on TV
By Navjot Singh Sidhu
Don’t get too deceived by India’s successes in the World Cup so far. There have been far too many easy games in the run-up to the quarter-finals, which can be very misleading, so do not get caught in the thought process that this is a true reflection of the team’s abilities.
Digging for facts is a much better exercise than jumping to conclusions.
The litmus test was when India played England. The Indian bowling was stripped naked in front of the world. That presented a true picture of the Indian team. From then till now, the bowling is like a bladeless knife without the handle. They have stung like butterflies.
A team overloaded with batsmen and a stubborn captain overlooking necessity. If you learn to live with the lame, you will yourself learn to limp. His statement on Ashwin was astonishing. Saying that Piyush Chawla needs more match practice and Ashwin was stronger mentally is strange. Ashwin’s being mentally stronger, is that a deterrent for his selection?
I have admired Dhoni and seen him as an evolving captain over the years but his present attitude does not augur well for his reputation. He was mulish when it came to Yuvraj Singh being overweight over the past one year or so and persisted with him. Now, when Chawla has become the punching bag of many who feel he doesn’t deserve a place, Dhoni is out there to prove to the world that Chawla was the best option.
If you don’t punish someone for their mistakes and allow them to repeat them, the mistakes become permissible for the sinner. Kamran Akmal is a classic case. Skipper Shahid Afridi allowed Akmal to get away with his faults and see how Pakistan had to pay the price against New Zealand.
Dhoni’s reasoning has baffled me and the entire nation. Now I know why many captains are not allowed to vote in team selection.
It is the South Africa match that will be the biggest indicator for the Indian team. India need to play one of the two - Gautam Gambhir or Virat Kohli and, with Ashwin as a certainty, consider both options -- of Suresh Raina at No. 7 or Ashish Nehra as additional seamer. Good ideas need landing gear as well as wings.
It’s too much of a gamble to upset the balance of the Indian sides. Gamblers are like toilets - broke one day, and flushed the next.
The past can predict the future. It is performing captains who have had the influence be it Clive Lloyd, Kapil Dev, Arjuna Ranatunga or Ricky Ponting. No one doubts Dhoni’s performance on the field, but is it restricted only to his batting or keeping or does it extend to choosing the players? It is choice, not chance, that determines India’s destiny in the World Cup.
You may have 40 million reasons for failure but not a single excuse.
Pallekele, March 10
Taylor was the highest scorer for Zimbabwe with 80, while Murali took three wickets, and Angelo Matthews took two for Sri Lanka.
Earlier, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga starred in a record 282-run opening stand to guide Sri Lanka to a mammoth 327 for six.
Dilshan blasted 16 fours and a six to score a 131-ball 144, while Tharanga plundered 17 fours en route to his 133 as the duo recorded the second highest partnership in World Cup history at the Pellekele stadium here.
Their 268-ball partnership is also the second highest first wicket partnership in the history of international cricket, beside being the fourth-highest stand for any wicket in one-day internationals.
The highest first wicket partnership of 286 also belongs to Tharanga, which he scored with veteran Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya against England at Leeds in 2006. Dilshan also missed the record for the highest runs in an innings by a Sri Lankan in a World Cup by a whisker as he finished one short of Aravinda de Silva's 145 against Kenya in 1996 World Cup. — PTI
b Mpofu 133
Dilshan c C’mbura b Utseya 144
Perera c C’mbura b Price 3
J’rdene c Chakabva b Mpofu 9
Sangakkara not out 11
Mathews c C’mbura
b Mpofu 0
Silva c Panyangara b Mpofu 4
Samaraweera not out 8
Extras: (b-2, lb-3, w-9, nb-1) 15
Chakabva b Murali 35
Taibu c S’kkara b Mathews 4
Utseya st S’kkara b Dilshan 4
Ervine lbw b Dilshan 17
C’mbura c Perera b Mural 6
Lamb c J’rdene b Dilshan 0
Cremer not out 14
Price c S’raweera b Perera 11
Panyangara lbw b Dilshan 0
Mpofu b Murali 1
Extras (b 2, lb 2, w 12) 16
Nagpur, March 10
Tahir sustained the injury to his left hand during his side's six-run defeat against England in Chennai on March 6.
"It was a chipped fracture. Scans have been sent back to South Africa and the period of recovery recommended is for 10 days. Imran bowled in the nets this morning and he's fine because the injury is not on the bowling hand.
"The selectors will decide when the 10-day period starts, whether it starts now or after the game against India. Imran is pretty much part of the World Cup squad," South African team manager Mohammed Moosajee told reporters here today.
The Pakistan-born 31-year-old spinner has been a revelation in the World Cup so far, taking 11 wickets in three matches, the highest by a South African in the tournament. He is behind Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, who has 15 wickets from four matches.
Asked specifically whether Tahir will play the match against India, Moosajee said, "As of now he is available for selection. It's entirely on the selectors to take a call when to give him the rest. It may be decided on the day of the match." South Africa are likely to name off-spinner Johan Botha as replacement if Tahir misses the match against India.
The Proteas' last two matches at group stage are against Ireland on March 15 and Bangladesh on March 19 while the knock-out stage begins from March 23.
Tahir made his international debut in this World Cup after qualifying to play for his adopted country through marriage in January. — PTI
Chittagong, March 10
The co-hosts, who have managed to register just one win from three matches, have very little chance of sustaining their World Cup campaign as their group consists of India, South Africa and the West Indies, besides England. Going into tomorrow's game, the Tigers would first need to recover from the debacle against the West Indies in their last match, where they were bundled out for their lowest one-day total of 58 in Dhaka last Friday, losing the match by nine wickets in the first session itself.
Even the Bangladeshi batsmen seem to have lost rhythm after their brave start to the World Cup campaign when they replied with a 283 for nine during their unsuccessful chase against India's 370 for four. And while opener Tamim Iqbal and captain Shakib Al Hasan are the only batsmen to have scored fifties in the mega-event so far, spinner Abdur Razzak has managed to claim just one wicket in three games, giving away 112 runs, left-arm spinner Shakib has taken only three and off-break bowler Naeem Islam two.
However, there is no denying that Bangladesh are a force to reckon with on the spin-friendly tracks in their own backyard, so if they are able to lift themselves before the crucial game tomorrow, they may just give England a run for their money.
In fact, the eighth-ranked ODI side are now left with little choice but to play good cricket against the English in order to not just keep their chances of qualifying in the knockout stage alive, but also to calm down millions of their fans who are angry and frustrated at their team's show.
England, on the other hand, although start as favourites on papers, are also struggling after losing their key batsman Kevin Pietersen and their reliable fast bowler Stuart Broad for the rest of the tournament due to injuries. — PTI
Confident West Indies take on Ireland today
Mohali, March 10
There is no danger of a repeat performance here at Mohali. The crowds here (the few that will come to watch the game tomorrow that is) will not be even remotely as frenzied as their Bangladeshi counterparts. And the locals won’t have any home team to root for when the men from the Caribbean Isles meet the resolute Ireland squad.
It’s a crunch game for both teams. A win could take both a step closer to the knock-out round. A slip-up could mean an early flight home.
“The team has been through all this (stone-pelting) and the players have come quite close to each other. There are no distractions for us and we are simply concentrating on the match tomorrow. We know Ireland is a team that is constantly improving and we are expecting an exciting game,” said Darren Sammy the skipper of the West Indian side.
There are no injury concerns for Sammy’s team with dashing opener Chris Gayle having recovered from a throat infection. Gayle’s powerful hitting at the top of the order will give the Windies just the fillip to launch an assault in the later overs where the likes of Keiron Pollard and the skipper himself can take over. Stylish left-hander Darren Bravo has been another player who’s looked in great touch and has shades of Brian Lara in all his mannerisms and strokes.
The West Indian bowlers are also in form having dismissed the entire Bangladesh side in less than 20 overs in their last match.
The Irish, on the other hand, have shown they can fight till the end even when lusty-hitter Kevin O’Brien does not click. After all he cannot slam a 50-ball hundred in every game, but Kevin looked in ominous touch in the nets here today. (For that matter even Gayle and Pollard looked in good nick). Ireland captain William Porterfield himself played an impressive knock against India and they have the bowlers and the fielders to restrict the opposition. But they need batsmen like Ed Joyce and Paul Stirling to contribute more.
Porterfield is hoping that pace bowler Trent Johnston (who was injured in the match against India) will be fully-fit to take part in the match tomorrow. “He has been bowling in the nets but we will take a final call on him tomorrow morning,” said the Irish skipper.
This one has all the makings of a clash of big hitters with Kevin O’Brien on one end and Gayle and Pollard on the other. The ball could get scuffed up pretty fast.
No FIH recognition for IHF
New Delhi, March 10
"The FIH continues to recognise its member, Hockey India, as the sole and exclusive national governing body for the sport of men's and women's hockey in India," FIH president Leandro Negro wrote to the IHF in response to its letter, dated February 28, 2011.
"Nothing you say in your letter requires it or persuades it to change that position. Instead, the IHF is hereby required to stop claiming (in its letter head or otherwise) that it is affiliated to the FIH because that is not true. In the event it fails to do so, all of the FIH's rights are reserved," wrote Negre in his reply to the IHF's letter.
He pointed out that the IHF had not been a member of, or otherwise affiliated to, the FIH since 2001, though the IHF claims in its letterhead that it is ‘affiliated to International Hockey Federation’. Negre said the FIH Statutes had been amended with effect from 2000 to require each member national association to be the sole governing body for both men's and women's hockey in its territory.
"The IHF did not meet that requirement -- women's hockey in India was run by a separate body, IWHF (Indian Women's Hockey Federation) -- and so the IHF ceased to be a member of the FIH," Negre noted. He added that the FIH instead recognised the Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC), which was said to unify the IHF and the IWHF.
However, in 2008, the FIH was "compelled to derecognise the IHC" when it was revealed that the IHC did not, in fact, operate as the governing body of either men's or women's hockey in India, but instead those functions continued to be carried out by the IHF and the IWHF respectively, contrary to the FIH Statutes.
ONGC, PSB, Namdhari XI win
Ludhiana, March 10
In the first match of the day, ONGC got the better of Indian Air Force (Delhi) 5-2 with Diwakar Ram scoring a hat-trick. Diwakar put ONGC ahead when he converted a penalty-corner in the 10th minute. He added another goal in the very next minute to consolidate the lead and two minutes later made 3-0 to complete his hat-trick. Just before the lemon break, international Gurwinder Chandi sounded the board to further cement the lead and immediately into the second half, Jayanta struck to complete the rout.
However, IAF managed to reduce the margin as Prabhakar and Lovpreet found the target midway through the second half, salvaging some pride.
In the second match, Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB) quelled a strong challenge from Punjab National Bank (Delhi) before emerging victorious 4-2 after leading by two goals at half-time. PSB surged ahead in the initial moments through Parminder Singh and enhanced the lead when Parminder was again on target in the 10th minute. Harbir Singh found the target in the 37th minute to increase the lead (3-0).
PNB opened their account in the 51st minute through Navdeep Singh. Five minutes later, he scored another goal (3-2). PSB's Pardeep Singh scored in the 60th minute to wrap up the issue 4-2.
The third game of the day between Namdhari XI and Delhi XI was a mis-match as the former came out triumphant unchallenged (6-0). In the last match of the day, Chandigarh XI blanked Signal Corps XI (Jalandhar) 2-0 to register their first victory. Yesterday, Chandigarh went down fighting 2-3 against PNB, Delhi.
Sahara Sports Awards on TV
Chandigarh, March 10 Hosted by actor Shahrukh Khan, the award gala had performances by popular Bollywood stars. In addition, the award gala also gave an opportunity to sportspersons to show a different side to the country. A special dance performance by Sreesanth with Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa had the audience on its feet. Acts by Sania Mirza and Shoaib Akhtar, Vijender Singh and others keep the audience in splits. The show felicitated sports talent including the medalists of the recently held Commonwealth Games. The ceremony will be telecast on Sahara One on March 13, at 7pm.
Chandigarh, March 10
Hosted by actor Shahrukh Khan, the award gala had performances by popular Bollywood stars. In addition, the award gala also gave an opportunity to sportspersons to show a different side to the country.
A special dance performance by Sreesanth with Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa had the audience on its feet. Acts by Sania Mirza and Shoaib Akhtar, Vijender Singh and others keep the audience in splits. The show felicitated sports talent including the medalists of the recently held Commonwealth Games. The ceremony will be telecast on Sahara One on March 13, at 7pm.