Not time for Sachin to walk away: Manjrekar
I’m counting the hours to play for India: Yuvi
Adversity brought out the best in me: Laxman
Recognition, job is what Girisha wants after silver
Pistorius breaks the dreamy spell
Azarenka, Ferrer win on rain-hit day
FIFA vows to support India
Not time for Sachin to walk away: Manjrekar
New Delhi, September 5
Tendulkar, 40, was bowled thrice in four innings in the just concluded India-New Zealand Test series, prompting many to announce his end as a quality batsman.
Manjrekar felt that Tendulkar still adds value to Indian batting line-up and he must be a part of the Indian side which will tour South Africa in November.
“To me, the way Tendulkar got out in his three innings against New Zealand does not suggest by any stretch of the imagination that he is finished as an international batsman,” Manjrekar wrote on espncricinfo.com.
“I will stand by what I have said all along about Tendulkar: that his run-making at the international level will stop only when he stops playing. Until then, he may not dominate as he used to but he will still be a good enough batsman to get runs at the highest level, and to add value to the Indian team, especially in Test cricket,” Manjrekar wrote.
Manjrekar argued that Tendulkar is not first batsman who is struggling with full length deliveries and the fighter in him will surely sort out this batting problem.
“I have seen with great players as they age that it’s the full delivery that seems to bother them more than short ones. Short balls land on the pitch well before full-length ones do, so their mystery is revealed to the batsman earlier.”
“Watching a ball from the point of release to almost right under your eyes is not easy to do; great batsmen do it as a matter of habit, but with age they have to remind themselves to keep doing it right through their innings,” he wrote.
“Tendulkar is not the first great ageing player who is finding the full ball a bit of a handful. Other outstanding batsmen have had the same problems — Javed Miandad and Gundappa Viswanath, and more recently Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman among them,” Manjrekar explained.
Manjrekar said Tendulkar is well aware of the difficulties that an ageing bastman has to face and soon he will find answer to it.
“Tendulkar knows that his batting discipline needs to become increasingly more rigorous with the clock ticking, and I think he lives for such challenges. This is a game he knows inside out, and he will surely find a way back from this little setback,” he said.
“There is an important reason why I think Tendulkar is still relevant in Indian Test cricket: it’s because of the fierce competitor within him. No one I have seen hates failure more than Tendulkar does, or can make the sacrifices necessary to overcome it,” he concluded. — PTI
Mumbai, September 5
“It is going to be huge moment in my life. I can’t wait for 8th (September) to come in. Everyday, I put up a status message, counting the number of days left. So two-three days, some hours to go. I can’t wait to get on the field. I can’t wait for the excitement, to get on the field and bat,” he said.
Within months of his recovery from his serious illness, Yuvraj was included in the Indian team for the World Twenty20 Championship in Sri Lanka as well as the two T20s against New Zealand, to be played at Vishakapatnam on September 8 and Chennai on September 11.
“As it is this environment that I am used to. That is something that I have been doing since the age of 15 to 17... Since I was a kid. So when that was taken back from me I was shocked,” he said. “It is like when a child gets his first Christmas gift and how he is waiting to open it, what is in store... It is like that now,” the Man of the Tournament in the 2011 World Cup stated.
However, Yuvraj was non-committal on how well he would perform in his comeback match.
“I don’t know how I will play. I don’t know if I would be making one run or 20 runs, taking a catch... taking a wicket,” he said.
“Whenever I climbed four steps I used to get breathless. When I was like this, I felt it was not going to be possible. It was tough. But I worked very hard. I practiced hard at the National Cricket Academy,” he said.
“For me, it is an achievement that I am back on field,” he added. “I don’t know how I am going to play on 8th. All I know is that to get on the field is a huge achievement for me.”
“I feel very proud of myself. I am thankful to my family, friends and people of India for showering so much love on me. With all these emotions I will go on the field,” he added. — PTI
New Delhi, September 5
The 37-year-old Laxman said he loved playing under difficult situations and adversity brought out the best in him.
“I used to love playing under tough situations when the team was under pressure. Adversities brought out the best in me. I guess it came from having to be the main batsman for Hyderabad since a young age,” he said.
“I was used to taking up more responsibility when the team was struggling. More than the technique and the skill set, I think the ability to come good in pressure situations was my biggest strength as a batsman,” Laxman, whose sudden decision to quit the game triggered speculation of a strained relationship with team captain M.S. Dhoni, said.
Laxman did not agree with the notion that he was more of an ‘artist’ than a batsman and said he always considered himself as a batsman who had to get runs for the country.
“I’ve always considered myself as a batsman who has to get runs for the country. Every individual has a different style. But your role is to get results for the team. My role was to get the runs and take the catches that came my way,” Laxman told BCCI’s official website.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of shots you play to get those runs and whether it is pleasing to the eye. All that is the by-product of what you’re trying to achieve for the team,” Laxman said.
A devoutly religious man, Laxman added: “I thank the Almighty for the talent to please the eyes of those who watch me bat. But my only aim when I went out to bat was to get runs for the team.”
Asked what role seniors like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble had played in his career, Laxman said all of them were leaders and inspired him a lot.
“All of them have inspired me and I was really privileged to share the dressing room with such top sportsmen who took a lot of pride in their performances. All of us had one common goal, which was constant progress of Indian cricket.”
“Another thing that brought all these men together was that they were all leaders. All of them have led the country at various stages and I’ve played under them,” the Hyderabadi pointed out. “Whether or not they were captaining the team, they always led from the front and thought as leaders. Simply by their actions, they inspired everyone who watched them.”
Asked to pick special qualities of his teammates, Laxman said: “Tendulkar’s balance is brilliant. He has the most balanced stance that I’ve seen. Rahul stood out for the professionalism and his temperament. Kumble had a never-say-die attitude and the fighting spirit. Sourav, for the grace and the courage to take the fight to the opposition, to protect his and his team’s pride.”
Laxman lavished praise on opener Virender Sehwag and said people mostly talk about his “unbelievable” shots but he also had a good temparament.
“It’s just unreal. Sehwag is one batsman I really love watching bat,” Laxman said. “Some of the shots that he plays are unbelievable. People mostly talk about Sehwag’s skills and the ability to hit the ball. But for me what stands out is his temperament. Irrespective of whether he’s in form or not, he sticks to his gameplan and believes in himself. Sometimes, I wondered why can’t we all play like he does?”
Laxman, who played some of his finest knocks against the Australians, said that they didn’t sledge him much as they knew that the strategy would not work.
“Honestly, they never sledged me too much. In international cricket the opposition are smart enough to know which batsmen will be affected by sledging and which won’t,” he said.
“They realised it soon enough that their ploy of distracting me wasn’t going to work. A lot of people would be surprised to hear this, but for most part of my career, I’ve not been sledged by the Australians,” he said.
Laxman said he idolised Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev while growing up and also drew a lot of inspiration from Mohammed Azharuddin.
“I had many heroes. At that time India’s two biggest match-winners were Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev and I idolised them,” Laxman said of the 1980s, when he was growing up.
“When I was 16-17, I first met Mohammad Azharuddin. He was from Hyderabad and the captain of the Indian team,” he said “I drew lot of inspiration watching him play from close quarters.”
“As a kid I watched a lot of cricket on the television and looked up to players like Sir Vivian Richards, David Gower and Greg Chappell. I really enjoyed watching them play,” Laxman said when asked to name his non-Indian favourites.
On why Hyderabad had produced so many batsmen with such magical wrists, he said playing on matting wickets was one of the reasons. “I think it’s a bit of a coincidence that people like Azharuddin, M.L. Jaisimha and myself hail from Hyderabad,” he said.
“Still, if I were to think of any reason, it would be because we played a lot on matting wickets,” Laxman added. “While batting on these wickets, you have to use your wrists more than your elbow to negotiate the bounce of the ball when pitched on good length. That’s probably a reason why we’re wristier than batsmen from other parts of the country.” — PTI
New Delhi, September 5
Girisha, who has an impairment in his left leg, sailed over a height of 1.74m in the men’s high jump F42 event in London, finishing second.
“I am very happy that finally my hard work earned result,” he said. “It is a pity that in India every sportsperson gets help but as far as para-athletes are concerned, only government takes care of us. No one takes us seriously but our hard work is no less than that of any Olympics medallist,” Girisha said over the phone from London.
Girisha is hopeful that the scenario will change for the better after his medal .
“I hope that my medal will bring a significant change in India and para-athletes will get their due recognition,” he said.
“I dedicate this medal to the disabled community in India. I hope that this will inspire them to become sportspersons,” said the 24-year-old, who hails from Hassan district in Karnataka.
He rued the fact that despite being a big nation, the Indian paralympic contingent had only 10 competitors.
“Here everyone asks us that your country is so big but there are only 10 players in your team. It is shameful. I hope that we will have a bigger contingent in Rio de Janeiro in 2016,” he said.
Still unemployed, Girisha has struggled a lot to manage his finances but now he is hoping to get a decent job in the Sports Authority of India.
“I have no source of income. My family, SAI centre Bangalore, PCI and coach (Satyanarayan) have supported me so far,” he said. “The Karnataka government had sanctioned Rs 5 lakh after my selection for the Paralympic Games. Sports minister Ajay Maken has announced to give jobs to all medalists in the SAI. I will meet him once I reach India and I hope that I would get a decent job.”
Girisha, who began his career in 2006, after competing with able-bodied athletes at the school and college level, clinched a gold medal in the second Kuwait International Open athletics meet.
London Olympics silver medallist Sushil Kumar is his role model. “Sushil won a bronze in Beijing and now a silver in London,” he said. “He is a true role model and champion. When I saw him and the Indian tri-colour in London, I thought that I should also bring laurels for my country,” said Girisha.
Asked about future plans, he said that his aim is to win a gold medal in the Rio Games.
“I could have won a gold here, but missed by a whisker. I can win gold in Rio. This year there is the World Championship in Paris and I am targeting gold there as well,” he said.
A cricket buff, Girisha has a wish to meet his idol Sachin Tendulkar.
“I grew up watching him playing. He is like god for all cricket fans and I am one of them. He is such a icon and yet so humble. I want to meet him but I don’t know when it will happen,” he said. — PTI
London, September 5
It is a view both dreamy and infinitely patronising and has, obscured what we might have imagined was the most compelling appeal of this huge festival of frequently brilliant endeavour.
Increasingly it has been impossible to ignore the danger that a certain spell might be broken.
Strange, though, that the man who has done it quite irrevocably is someone who for so long has been seen as the ultimate hero of the Paralympic movement, a competitor complete with a whole set of Olympian ideals — Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius has made a strategic retreat from his ferocious denouncement of the rules governing artificial limbs which, he contended, had given an unfair advantage to his surprise conqueror in the T44 200m final, Brazil’s Alan Fonteles Oliveira. But his apology was merely to do with the timing of his protest, that it took away attention the winner.
Undisturbed, though, was the unavoidable conclusion that Pistorius, who went to court with the winning contention that the scientifically imposed spring in his blades did not give him an unfair advantage over his Olympic opponents, has elected himself both judge and jury in the matter of how you lay down a perfectly level running track.
Who is the arbiter of the perfectly fair race? It is the self-appointed Pistorius, who has long occupied the top rank of the Paralympic reward system and, at the first suggestion that it might be under threat, has presented the Games with their first seriously uncomfortable moment. The Independent
New York, September 5
Only two of six singles matches were completed due to rain, forcing tournament officials to reschedule the remaining four for Wednesday in the hope they can finish the year's last Grand Slam on time.
However, the prospects are bleak with more showers forecast in the 'Big Apple' for the rest of the week.
Azarenka traded blows with Stosur for nearly two and a half hours on a blustery Arthur Ashe Stadium court to beat the foul weather and her opponent in a 6-1 4-6 7-6 thriller.
The world number one will play either Maria Sharapova or Marion Bartoli in Friday's semifinals and will remain atop the world rankings regardless of how much further she goes in the tournament.
“It means a lot, but it's nothing like lifting a trophy,” said Azarenka. “I definitely don't want to stop. I really want it bad.”
While the defeat was disappointing for Stosur, the big-hitting Australian was satisfied to have proved that her surprise win here last year was no fluke.
“That proves to me that I am capable of doing it,” she said. “To have another showing here at the Open like this, it for sure gives me confidence to think that maybe one day I can do it again.”
The only other match that went the distance saw Spain's David Ferrer defeat Richard Gasquet of France 7-5 7-6 6-4 in the fourth round.
The match took almost eight hours to complete as the heavens opened up and drenched Flushing Meadows. Three other men's fourth round matches were suspended in the first set.
Defending men's champion Novak Djokovic was leading Stanislas Wawrinka 2-0, while 2003 winner Andy Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, had played one point of their tibreaker. Janko Tipsarevic was 5-2 up against Philipp Kohlschreiber.
In the women's quarter-finals, Bartoli grabbed an early 4-0 lead against Sharapova, one of six former U.S. Open champions still in contention.
Azarenka, who won her first Grand Slam title at this year's Australian Open, had won her previous six matches against Stosur in straight sets and seemed to be cruising to another easy win when she romped through the opening set in just 30 minutes. But Stosur, who upset Serena Williams in last year's final, found her rhythm after an initial 75-minute delay, landing more of her booming first serves and hitting her groundstrokes deeper and with greater conviction.
The seventh-seed won the second set then recovered from a break down in the third to draw level and force a deciding tiebreak, which Azarenka won 7-5 after blowing a 4-0 lead. — Reuters
FIFA vows to support India
New Delhi, September 5
He said FIFA has made a strong commitment for the development of football in Asia and India will be a focal point of this. He reiterated the commitment made by FIFA president Joseph Sepp Blatter in Delhi a few months that India will be very much in the running to host the 2017 Under-17 World Cup.
Valcke said the bid for the event will be discussed in the FIFA executive committee meeting on September 28-29, and a final decision on the bid will be taken before the end of this year.