IPL, Sri Lankans and politics of sport
Ponting on the ball as MI start training
Dhawan to miss Sunrisers Hyderabad’s opening game
Pune Warriors sign Finch as Michael Clarke’s replacement
Scuffle breaks out in PCI meeting
Batra appointed to FIH Competitions Committee for second term
Miami catfight: Serena vs Sharapova in final
From Ali to Jordan, Daredevils’ way of inspiring players
Hardialeana rejoices over Gurinder’s success
IPL, Sri Lankans and politics of sport
Chandigarh, March 29
The ground at Chepauk had no more than the usual number of cops guarding it. At the gates, though, the police were keeping a sharp eye out for men in black shirts. Black shirts are a potent sign of protest there — black shirted men obviate the need of carrying placards and banners. The colour black, worn by 100 determined men, speaks louder than painted words. Mediapersons wearing black were asked to explain the blackness of their shirts; they were let in after the cops became convinced that these guys were harmless sports reporters.
The men in black wanted to protest against the alleged war crimes committed against the Tamil population by the Sri Lankan army in its decisive defeat of the LTTE in 2009. Their target was the lone Sri Lankan in the field, the umpire Kumar Dharmasena.
Outside the stadium, the walls bore posters made from the last photographs of the son of LTTTE supremo V Prabhakaran. The young lad, hardly a combatant, was allegedly killed by the Sri Lankan army after being captured. A documentary by Channel 4 of Britain claims there’s evidence that the boy was murdered in cold blood.
In the debate over whether sport should be allowed to become hostage to politics or international diplomacy, many commentators in the north of the country have failed to gauge the mood of the protestors in Tamil Nadu.
And sport has always been hostage to politics, dependant on relations between countries.
After the Kargil war, the cricketing ties between India and Pakistan were cancelled; when the relations between the neighbours improved, cricket was resumed. Then, after the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, India’s tour of Pakistan in 2009 was cancelled. It seemed a sensible decision — it was impossible to conceive that the two countries could sport as if nothing had happened, even as tensions mounted.
More recently, following the blasts in Hyderabad in February, an India-Pakistan hockey series was cancelled.
In the north of the country, people have found it easier to accept the break of sporting relations between India and Pakistan because the threat, real or perceived, is geographically near and immediate.
Tamil Nadu has a natural affinity for the Tamil population of Sri Lanka. The protests have become stronger now than in 2009 because compelling evidence of war crimes by the Sri Lankan army has emerged in the recent months.
There’s a case for the rest of Indian becoming more sensitive to the sentiment on ground in Tamil Nadu.
Where does it leave the IPL and the Sri Lankan players? Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan captain, says the Sri Lankan players should withdraw from the tournament. “As far as cricketers are concerned I think if they can't play in South India (Chennai) they should not play in other parts either. I personally feel if players are not welcomed in one part of India they should not be part of any IPL,” Ranatunga said.
But since IPL is a purely commercial enterprise, it’s understandable that nothing of the sort would happen.
A senior official with an IPL franchisee with important Sri Lankan players told the Tribune that ideally, all IPL games should have been moved away from Chennai. “Then we would not have been forced to play our matches there without important team members,” he said.
Mumbai, March 29
Ponting joined the team after arriving Thursday night and was present at the training session at the Wankhede Stadium.
The 38-year-old, who retired from international cricket in December last, was seen chatting with team mentor Anil Kumble, chief coach John Wright and fielding coach Jonty Rhodes.
Ponting was bought by Mumbai Indians at a base price of $400,000 during the IPL players' auction held in Chennai in February. Twelve players including - Aiden Blizzard, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Dinesh Karthik, Pragyan Ojha, Dhawal Kulkarni, Aditya Tare, Sushant Marathe, Suryakumar Yadav — attended the day's session.
“The players are coming in batches. Dwayne Smith will arrive tonight. Most of them would be here by Sunday and a few players are expected to join the team at Bangalore before the first match," a team spokesperson said.
MI begin their campaign against Royal Challengers in Bangalore on April 4. MI's first home game is scheduled for April 9 against Delhi Daredevils after their second away game against former champions Chennai Super Kings on April 6.
Zak skips nets again, keeps himself busy with sprint
Royal Challengers Bangalore pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, who on Thursday missed the team's net session, today took part in some sprinting under the watchful eyes of physio Ashish Kaushik.
Zaheer arrived at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, but did not go to the National Cricket Academy for net practice. Instead he did some running for nearly an hour, even as his teammates were busy doing catching practice at the other corner.
After sprinting for 10 minutes, Zaheer was seen resting his hands on his knees and sitting on the toes. Zaheer had sustained a calf injury during Mumbai's Ranji Trophy game against Gujarat last December and was then dropped from the Indian Test squad against England.
Meanwhile, Australian all-rounder Daniel Christian, who was part of Deccan Chargers for last three years, batted and bowled at the nets.
The RCB team focused on fielding drills. — PTI
Hyderabad, March 29
"Shikhar Dhawan at this stage will not be available for the first game. We are obviously working closely with the BCCI and the medical team with regard to his progress," Sunrisers coach Tom Moody told reporters here today.
"We are hoping that within a couple of weeks he will be available to join the team," he added.
Dhawan, who scored fastest ever century on debut in the recently-concluded Test series against Australia, had sustained an injury during the series.
Asked how many matches Dhawan is likely to miss, Moody replied: "We don't know as yet. We are hoping that he is going to have a speedy recovery."
Stating that the team has a good mix of youth and experience, the coach said that the efforts are being made to improve the bonding among them. "It (preparation for the IPL) has been going on well. Our first official training session will be this afternoon. We have had a number of meetings with players. Myself, Waqar (Younis), who is the bowling coach and our assist coach... we spent a lot of time on a individual basis," he said."For us obviously it is new. Lot of new faces we need to get familiar with. So we spent a good time getting to know the players. We had a good team evening, a good bounding session, which we will continue to do over the next week also.
"Lot of international players are scheduled to come in the next few days. We are obviously excited," Moody added. Regarding the Sri Lankan players in the team – Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera – who would not be able to play in Chennai, Moody said the issue will be dealt by the officials.
"We will let the officials deal with the delicate situation. Both the players (Sangakkara and Perera) are coming and I am sure the officials will sort out the situation in Chennai," he said.
Meanwhile, Waqar Younis, who is the bowling coach of Sunrisers, said it is going to be a big challenge for him.
"It is very exciting for me and also a big challenge. I am appearing in IPL for the first time, hopefully, with Tom and me, Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma and a lot of other players, we make a good unit and try to do well," he said.
Waqar insisted that he would not be doing anything with seasoned players like Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma but take care of the younger ones. — PTI
Pune, March 29
The Australian captain was ruled out of the entire season with a back injury.
Finch, a top-order batsman from Australia, tweeted the development and is expected to leave for India tomorrow.
Pune Warriors will be Finch's third team in the IPL, having represented Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils He was released by Delhi Daredevils in November last year and went unsold in the auction on February 3 at a base price of USD 200,000.
He represents Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League and averaged 66.40 in eight matches last season, scoring 332 runs with a highest score of 111 not out.
But he could not translate that performance for Australia, scoring 4, 7 and 1 in the three T20Is in January against Sri Lanka and the West Indies. Overall, he has scored 1699 runs in 58 domestic T20 matches at 36.14 with a strike-rate of 130.49. The Warriors will be led by Angelo Mathews this season. — PTI
Wellington, March 29
Ryder was attacked by a group of men as he left a bar in the South Island city of Christchurch early Thursday, and was rushed to hospital in a critical condition where he was placed in an induced coma. His manager Aaron Klee said Ryder was responsive on Friday and had given the thumbs-up to medical staff and members of his family who rushed to be at his bedside.
Ryder remains in an intensive care unit in a stable condition and requires help with breathing because of an injury to his lung. His mother Heather and his partner Ally thanked people around the world for sending messages of sympathy and police for arresting “people responsible for the heinous crime committed on our Jesse”.
“Jesse will be chuffed knowing how many people care and have reached out, including the huge number of cricket fans and players from around the world," they said in a statement.
“We have read many of the messages online over the past 24 hours and we are keeping them for Jesse to read when he recovers.”
Police said they had charged a 20-year-old man with assault and were also questioning a 37-year-old man.
“Two or three” people attacked Ryder as he left a bar and then resumed the assault when the injured player made his way to the car park of a fast-food outlet across the road, police said. Although Ryder has a history of alcohol-related incidents and had been drinking before he was attacked, police said alcohol was not a factor in this instance. Closed-circuit television footage showed the 28-year-old Ryder shaking hands with one of his alleged attackers moments before the assault started, according to bar owner Steve Holmes.
Holmes said after reviewing the footage that the assault was “completely unexpected”. He said Ryder, who had been drinking with his Wellington team-mates after losing a season-ending match against Canterbury, was leaving the bar when one of the attackers called out to him.
Ryder went back to talk to the man and the two appeared to chat before shaking hands, Holmes said.
After a few minutes he said the “body language changed” between the two. Ryder walked out of the bar and the man followed him, seemingly yelling after him. “There was no altercation until the cricket team left basically,” he said. Regan Harvey, who witnessed the assault and has given a statement to the police, believed Ryder was the target of an unprovoked “hate fight”.
Harvey was drinking at the bar when he heard the fight erupt. “As I walked out there were a couple of guys beating up this one guy on the ground” and one of the attackers gave “two massive kicks” into Ryder's stomach and rib cage, he said.
New Delhi, March 29
The AGM was indefinitely postponed after PCI President Sultan Ahmed informed the members that a Bangalore-based court has restrained the body from holding any meeting. Secretary Paralympic Committee of Haryana, Giriraj Singh, and Shivajee Kumar of Bihar unit protested against body's decision to defer the meeting and created ruckus.
A PCI official, who was present at the AGM, said that Giriraj had allegedly brought bouncers who manhandled J P Singh, the head of the UP Paralympic Committee. “He (J P Singh) was beaten up by the bouncers brought by Giriraj. Thankfully, he is not seriously injured,” Nitin Arya, Secretary UP body said. Ahmed had received a notice from the lawyers of PCI general secretary Rathan Singh along with a court order late last night against unlawful meetings and attempts to resolve upon certain matter in an unlawful way. “The House unanimously agreed that since the suit/case has been instituted and the members being unaware of the orders (if any) passed by the concerned court, they do not want to take any chances on the notice issued by the lawyer conveying the above referred matter,” the PCI said in a statement.
“Since the matter is sub judice, the meeting should not be conducted and to be kept in abeyance till the actual facts are being ascertained,” the statement added.
The PCI was reportedly unhappy with Rathan Singh as he had stopped discharging his duties as the general secretary for last two-three months and shut down his office in Bangalore.
Taking note of the development, the PCI, in its February 27 meeting, appointed Sathyanarayana as the secretary-in-charge replacing him. A miffed Rathan had filed a civil suite in a Bangalore court against the body.
Meanwhile, a majority of PCI members have requested the President to initiate disciplinary action against such individuals. — PTI
New Delhi, March 29
FIH President Leandro Negre thanked all the new members for their dedication towards hockey and also the outgoing committee members for their services.
“Our Committees are at the core of the FIH and the work they do is vital to the success of the FIH and international hockey. I am pleased with the new make-up of our Committees and know that all of the members will work hard to continue to move our sport forward,” said Negre. Batra thanked Negre for his appointment and said it's an honour to be part of the Competitions Committee.
“It's an honour for me to be part of the prestigious FIH Competitions Committee for the second consecutive term and it would be my endeavor to look after the interest of players and give my best efforts to promote the game of hockey at all levels,” he said. Along with the Competitions Committee, FIH President Negre also announced four other Committees, two Commissions and three Advisory panels. — PTI
Miami, March 29
Williams, ranked No. 1, will play four-time runner-up Maria Sharapova for the title on Saturday.
Williams was at her best before a near-capacity crowd for the final match on Thursday night, and she broke the tournament record for victories by a woman. She's 60-7; Steffi Graf went 59-6. Williams had struggled in her previous two matches but played almost error-free tennis in the semifinal, using her superior power to keep Radwanska pinned deep and on the run. They played for 37 minutes and 55 points before Radwanska won a game.
Radwanska, who also lost to Williams in last year's Wimbledon final, fell to 1-11 against No. 1 players.
Serena will face four-time runner-up Maria Sharapova, who has advanced to another Key Biscayne final by beating Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-1 at the Sony Open.
With a victory Saturday, the No. 3-seeded Sharapova would plug one of the few holes in her resume. She completed a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open last year but has never won Key Biscayne.
On a sunny, mild afternoon on Thursday, Sharapova won the first 10 points against the No. 22-seeded Jankovic and hardly let up from there.
Sharapova committed only 10 unforced errors from the baseline in 88 points while breaking serve six times. Third-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer battled back for a three-set victory over Austrian Jurgen Melzer (4-6, 6-3, 6-0). — AFP
New Delhi, March 29 In the team hotel, there is a designated 'Team Room', which has huge posters carrying some famous lines quoted by American basketball legend Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali to inspire the players before the home games. For example, in one of the walls, there is Jordan's quote, “Talent win games, but teamwork, intelligence, wins championship.” Hemant Dua, the marketing head of Delhi Daredevils, told PTI, “This is our way of trying to motivate the players before a big game. They would assemble in this room before a match and from there would leave for the ground.” The two stand-out quotes that have been used are that of Ali and another former NBA defender Bobby Jones. “I hated every minute of training But I said 'Don't Quit'. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as champion,” the famous Ali quote screams from one of the walls. However, one quotable quote that is difficult to get out of the head, is the one from Jones. “Competitive Sports are played mainly on a five-and-half inch court. The space between your ears.” A Daredevils official informed that they also would have motivational videos shown to the players, which can suitably charge them up before a big game. — PTI
In the team hotel, there is a designated 'Team Room', which has huge posters carrying some famous lines quoted by American basketball legend Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali to inspire the players before the home games.
For example, in one of the walls, there is Jordan's quote, “Talent win games, but teamwork, intelligence, wins championship.”
Hemant Dua, the marketing head of Delhi Daredevils, told PTI, “This is our way of trying to motivate the players before a big game. They would assemble in this room before a match and from there would leave for the ground.”
The two stand-out quotes that have been used are that of Ali and another former NBA defender Bobby Jones.
“I hated every minute of training But I said 'Don't Quit'. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as champion,” the famous Ali quote screams from one of the walls. However, one quotable quote that is difficult to get out of the head, is the one from Jones.
“Competitive Sports are played mainly on a five-and-half inch court. The space between your ears.”
A Daredevils official informed that they also would have motivational videos shown to the players, which can suitably charge them up before a big game. — PTI
Hardialeana rejoices over Gurinder’s success
Faridkot, March 28
Triumphant celebrations kicked off in uncles Sukhdev Singh Khalsa and Charanjit Singh’s house
“It's a great moment,” said Sukhdev, Gurinder’s elder uncle. Personally I don’t know much about cricket but as Gurinder and his younger brother, Harman in Australia keep telling me about every development, I was waiting for this moment,” he said.
In Hardialeana, once the family members came to know about Gurinder’s feat, phone calls started ringing and crowds gathered near their house. “Many youths in the village rejoiced their brother’s achievement, said Gursewak Singh, the village sarpanch.
Known as a good death bowler in Australian team, Gurinder Singh Sandhu is a son of Iqbal Singh Sandhu. Iqbal left for Australia about three decades back and for many years worked as a taxi driver. But once his 18-year-old son Gurinder got his recognition as a good bowler in Australia, it elevated Iqbal’s prominence in an alien land.
“His passion for cricket started when he was just 5 years of age, playing like most kids do, in the backyard with father,” said uncle Sukhdev Singh. Not only Gurinder, his 14-year-old younger brother Harman is also a very good cricketer, known for his precise and focused skills, he added.
Before going to Australia in 1980s, Iqbal Singh was an employee in Punjab State Power Corporation Limited. In Australia he joined a bank but left the job for medical reasons and started plying taxi,” younger brother Charanjit Singh said.
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