‘Not thinking of 100th ton’
Former players criticise Dhoni’s tactics
NADA warns athletes of banned drugs
‘Fitness of Indian pacers will be crucial in England’
Dominica draw rankles Harbhajan
NIS may get more support staff
Argentina swamp Costa Rica
London, July 12
"I'm not thinking of records. I'm just thinking of enjoying this tour. The secret to any performance is not in chasing records. I think about, 'What is the best way to enjoy the game, and how can I enhance that enjoyment factor?'" Tendulkar said.
Enjoying the game has been a key component to Tendulkar's success in the last two decades. "If I enhance the enjoyment then, naturally, the standard of play becomes higher. To me, that is more important. If I'm playing well, things can happen. I don't need to go around chasing them (records). It's a process. You construct a solid foundation and build on it," he said.
Tendulkar also rubbished thoughts of retirement. "I haven't. I am enjoying every moment. It has been fun. In fact, I am looking at how to enjoy the game more and how to improve the standard of play. It is about getting better.
Nobody knows what is going to happen tomorrow. At least today I know that I want to enjoy cricket, to enjoy the moment," he was quoted as saying by 'The Daily Telegraph'.
Tendulkar has been spending time with family here, besides training for the four-Test series. He had opted out of the Test series against the West Indies, and has preferred to leave for England early.
"When I spend time in England, it is different. I get to do certain things that I wouldn't be able to do in India: to go into the park with my children, to do whatever they want to do, whether it be a game of soccer or cricket. I enjoy the best of both. The idea is to balance life in India with life away from India, to get the best of both and to be a happy man."
Recalling the World Cup semi-final against Pakistan in Mohali, where he scored a shaky 85, Tendulkar said: "The only easy chance was where I looked to chip the ball over midwicket, and I mistimed it. The other one was deflected and went to third man." — PTI— PTI
New Delhi, July 12
The players were surprised that the Indians chose to abandon the chase when all they required was 86 runs from the 15 mandatory overs with seven wickets remaining.
Former Indian middle-order batsman and now an expert commentator Sanjay Manjrekar was pretty scathing in his attack terming the decision "very undhoni like".
He was also critical of the manner in which Rahul Dravid went about during the chase of 180 from 47 overs. "Must confess.. was shocked to see match called off with 86 needed off 90 balls with quality batsmen left...very undhoni like," Manjrekar tweeted.
"Also could not understand Dravid's strike rate of 38 when chasing a target of 180 in about 46 overs," was another comment on his micro-blogging site. About coach Duncan Fletcher defending Dhoni, Manjerakar said: "The coach has to defend his team. He hightlighted all the cricketing issues. Fair enough, but those cricketing issues and the conditions that you talked about, it would have convinced me had it been Australia, South Africa or England for that matter."
According to former India opener Aakash Chopra, India's approach was not like it should be for the No 1 Test side in the world. "Last night at 2am I asked myself a question--did we play like the #1 Test side? The answer was — No. Just a solitary attempt n den shut shop!" the Delhi lad tweeted. "Promoting Raina was a positive move to counter Bishoo but it finished with his dismissal. Am I a bit harsh? Yes, but shouldn't we all be?" Chopra questioned.
Former India stumper Syed Kirmani was however not too harsh and felt that it was a correct decision on Dhoni's part to give up on chase. "The primary objective was to win the series. If that goal is about to be achieved why take further risk and jeopardize the whole thing. A captain knows the best and it was Dhoni's call," Kirmani said.
Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop was however not the one who would buy the argument about pitch being a difficult one for chasing. "I don't think the pitch was giving that many problmes," Bishop said.
"I was very surprised. I still thought with Dhoni and Virat Kohli to come, they could have given it a bit more push. I was surprised that they closed up shop as early as they did," he said.
"(V.V.S) Laxman and (Rahul) Dravid were still there. They could have continued just working the ball around with 4-5 overs an over and then see how they went for 6-7 overs and if they needed to make a little bit more charge," he added. — PTI
Bangalore, July 12
Speaking to the athletes and the huge contingent of hockey coaching campers at the South Centre of Sports Authority of India here, Dr V Jayaraman, Senior Project Manager of NADA, said consumption of banned drugs could reduce "a sports hero to zero."
Jayaraman said there was need to increase awareness among athletes and sports persons about banned substances both by NADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency. They should be fully aware of the medication they were taking, Jayaraman said, a day after a NADA team led by him conducted raids at the SAI centre and took urine samples from the campers there for testing.
The raid was part of the countrywide crackdown on doping in sports following the recent doping scandal involving eight Indian track and field athletes.
NADA had last week conducted surprise raids at the rooms of campers and coaches at National Institute of Sports Patiala and took urine samples from the trainees there for testing. Eight track and field athletes tested positive for anabolic steroids in one of the worst doping scandals.
Jayaraman said NADA had taken 8,000 blood samples from various sports persons since 2009 and as many as 200 cases had been booked. Of these, action had been taken in 130 cases.
He said NADA would provide full support to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in setting up a testing centre.
Newly-appointed Indian Hockey coach Michael Nobbs of Australia told sportspersons that they shared a large responsibility in ensuring that their future was not adversely affected. — PTI
London, July 12
"It's a hard one to call. England are playing at home, so they have that advantage. We're a good side, a settled side, and we've been playing good cricket over the last couple of years. If we can keep our fast bowlers fit, then we'll be very competitive," Dravid said.
Zaheer Khan will spearhead the Indian attack in the much-anticipated series, with the resurgent Ishant Sharma and S Sreesanth or Praveen Kumar likely to support the left-arm seamer.
The series assumes significance as it will be a contest between the world's numero uno and number three sides in this form of the game.
The fact that India beat England in their last visit in 2007 will also weigh on the home side's mind, reckoned Dravid.
As far as key players in the opposition line-up is concerned, Dravid picked Graeme Swann and James Anderson.
"James Anderson has bowled really well. He's been the trump card. Obviously Graeme Swann is a top-class spinner. We first saw him in England bowling here last time and the boys rated him.
"He's come on leaps and bounds from then and has become one of their lead bowlers. Swann and Anderson are the key," Dravid was quoted as saying in the August issue of 'The Cricketer'.
Dravid, who averages over 65 in Tests in England, said Indian batsmen will look to be positive against Swann.
"He's an attacking bowler and that's one of the things that is different. He's not just looking to contain, he's looking to take wickets. He's not scared to toss the ball up and gets turn with good sideways spin. It will be a good contest against batsmen who are good players against spin, who will not be scared to take him on," Dravid said.
According to Dravid, the highlight of his 15-year-old illustrious career has been India's rise to become the world's best Test team.
"I'm really proud that India is the number one Test team. I've seen Indian cricket since 1996, to be part of this journey and to see India become the No. 1 Test team — not just for a short period of time because we've now been there for more than a year — it's something I'm very proud of," he said. — PTI
Roseau, July 12
"I took four but could have had six or seven. That's fate," rued Harbhajan even as the two centurions, Kirk Edwards and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, acknowledged the perennial threat the off-spinner posed on a flat track.
Chanderpaul was twice dropped by Rahul Dravid in the slips and at least thrice Edwards popped chances to which the close-in cordon reacted late. India drew the final Test after deciding to abandon what looked like an exciting chase despite having seven wickets in hand to take the series 1-0.
A little luck would have been in complete conformity with Harbhajan's rising graph on foreign pitches. Starting 2009, Harbhajan took 16 wickets from three Tests in New Zealand with the best of 6-63 in Hamilton and an average of 21.38. Last year, he had 7 for 120 at Newlands against a formidable South African batting line-up. In all, he finished with 15 wickets at 29.60 from three Tests.
For all his criticism in the Caribbean, his figures of 11 wickets at 25.36 in a seamer-dominated series isn't bad. For critics, it's his average of 37.40 plus in 44 Tests for a haul of 146 wickets on foreign pitches that proves he is only good on helpful Indian pitches. — PTI
NIS may get more support staff
Patiala, July 12
The shortage of support staff for the India campers is a major issue and thanks to the controversy, the Sports Authority of India has started paying heed to this long-pending demand of the coaches and players.
Despite the fact that the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala, is one of the best equipped sports centres in India, there still is a shortage of support staff which is affecting the training of players.
While the boxers are working with Dr Abhishek, physiotherapist Harry Verma and two masseurs, the women wrestlers have to make do with just one physiotherapist, Periwinkle Kaur, and masseur Sunita Rani.
An official attached to these camps disclosed that though the Sports Science Centre has very good facilities and often help the campers, there still is a need of permanent support staff.
“A team needs at least one each of doctor, physiotherapist, nutritionist, psychologist and masseur for attending to its needs and the Indian squads are always short of proper staff. Worse, most of them are on contractual basis which certainly affects their working,” he said.
“The federations should not only appoint all support staff in order to take care of every aspect of a sportsperson but should also regularise them so that they can get more time to understand all problems of players,” he added.
It is worth mentioning that NIS’ only dietician, S.K. Goswami, was transferred to SAI, Bangalore, in 2005 and then a junior scientific officer Lakhwinder Kaur joined the institute in 2008. Since then, she is working alone in such a big centre.
NIS Executive Director L.S. Ranawat said that SAI would appoint seven new scientific officers within a week to smoothen the working and in order to provide better facilities to the India campers.
“We had sent a request for appointing seven scientific officers after the Commonwealth Games and after a survey, SAI has now approved our demand. We will get the officers within a week,” he said.
Dope offenders should be punished: Sania
PTI adds from
Indore: Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza today expressed disappointment over seven top women track and field athletes flunking dope tests, but said that they should be handed stringent punishment if found guilty. Seven out of the eight who tested positive in one of the country's worst doping scandals were women athletes, including double Asian Games gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji, and Sania said they should not be held guilty until proven. "Being a sportsperson myself, I think any of these athletes should not be accused of doing anything wrong until proven. But if they are proven guilty, of course they should be punished," she said at a function at the Indore tennis club. Also, Sania rued that the country does not have any up coming woman player to take her place and feature in the Grand Slam events once she retires. "I don't see a great future in women's tennis in the country. After me, I don't see any other woman tennis player who can feature in big tournaments," Sania said "One day I will also retire. I am hoping that after me there emerge a woman player who can play in Grand Slam tournaments," she added. She, however, painted a better picture about the men's tennis in the country. "After Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna, now there is Somdev Devvarman, who is doing well for India in international circuit. So it's good for the country," said 24-year-old. Asked about the tennis coaches in the country, she said, "We need good coaches. We have coaches but not of that high level." Stating that there should be better sporting relationship between India and Pakistan, Sania said that the sportspersons from both the countries also want this to happen.
PTI adds from Indore: Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza today expressed disappointment over seven top women track and field athletes flunking dope tests, but said that they should be handed stringent punishment if found guilty.
Seven out of the eight who tested positive in one of the country's worst doping scandals were women athletes, including double Asian Games gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji, and Sania said they should not be held guilty until proven.
"Being a sportsperson myself, I think any of these athletes should not be accused of doing anything wrong until proven. But if they are proven guilty, of course they should be punished," she said at a function at the Indore tennis club. Also, Sania rued that the country does not have any up coming woman player to take her place and feature in the Grand Slam events once she retires. "I don't see a great future in women's tennis in the country. After me, I don't see any other woman tennis player who can feature in big tournaments,"
Sania said "One day I will also retire. I am hoping that after me there emerge a woman player who can play in Grand Slam tournaments," she added. She, however, painted a better picture about the men's tennis in the country. "After Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna, now there is Somdev Devvarman, who is doing well for India in international circuit. So it's good for the country," said 24-year-old.
Asked about the tennis coaches in the country, she said, "We need good coaches. We have coaches but not of that high level." Stating that there should be better sporting relationship between India and Pakistan, Sania said that the sportspersons from both the countries also want this to happen.
Cordoba, July 12
With Lionel Messi magnificently pulling the strings just behind the main strikers, Atletico Madrid star Aguero made the points safe with a second goal, seven minutes after the restart to take his tally at the event to a tournament-high three. Di Maria then finished off the outclassed Ticos with the third just after the hour mark as Argentina joined Group A winners Colombia, Chile, Peru and Venezuela in the quarters. — PTI
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