The last ride together
Sachin Tendulkar during a practice session in Mumbai on Wednesday ahead of the 2nd Test match, his last, against West Indies. — PTI
Anand salvages a draw
Anand makes a move against Carlsen during their fourth match at World Championship on Wednesday. — PTI
Sports Ministry frames Sporting Fraud Bill
Sidhu trains her gun on ‘big three’ next year
"I was shooting well in the finals, it has always been good. Till 2012, I was lagging in qualification, I concentrated on that and ended up neglecting the finals. I have worked very hard just like I was before the London Olympics." — Heena Sidhu
Time is running out for out of favour
Balaji, Yuki overcome shaky starts
The last ride together
Mumbai, November 13
The absence of Tendulkar from the cricket field will forever gnaw at the hearts of the children of the Eighties, for whom the advent of Tendulkar, the bold young strokeplayer, was the start of a lifetime’s romance. For the admirer of sport and cricket and of perfection in anything, life will go on... But life without Tendulkar won’t ever be the same.
This view could be deemed excessive, for Tendulkar’s impact on the major events in the nation’s history over the last 25 years has been negligible; but the meaning of Tendulkar the batsman and cricketer went beyond political, economic or social events. Tendulkar exemplified righteousness in strife-stricken times, emerging as a unifier of peoples across India like no one else.
Tendulkar himself is the antithesis of ‘excess’. He’s been often described as a typical middle-class Maharashtrian who abhors — no, avoids, for abhorrence is too strong an emotion to associate with him — excess of any kind. But he’s known no life other than the sporting life, and he himself is likely to be a bit overwrought during the final countdown.
Tendulkar was a battler. His best moments in cricket — Sharjah 1998, Chennai 1999 and 2001, Brisbane 2008, for instance — typified this.
It would, thus, be quite fitting if the West Indians rouse themselves too, and rise to the occasion.
The first Test was over in three days, cutting the master’s time on the field by two days. Only five days remain now, and the tourists must put up a stronger fight here. The scorecard of this match will live forever in cricket’s history; each performer should be determined to do something special here.
The West Indians have expressed their gratitude over the past few days for being chosen as the final opponents of the Indian master. They must now show greater resolve, and greater desire to bat in the middle than they did in Kolkata. A great occasion deserves a great contest.
India’s record in Tendulkar’s hometown hasn’t been great — they’ve lost four and won only two matches here in the past 13 years. The Indian batsmen average 24 runs here during this duration, their worst record in the country.
This gives rise to the hopes of a contest.
The last time India and West Indies played here, in 2011, the match was a thriller. India were chasing 243 for a victory; they finished on 242/9, the match was drawn. One more run would have got them a win, a wicket lost on the same score would have caused a tie.
Strangely, only four Indians have scored centuries here since 2000 — Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Ravichandran Ashwin and Cheteshwar Pujara. India’s last six second-innings totals here have been 142, 242/9, 100, 205, 219 and 113.
Clearly, the Mumbai track doesn’t agree with the Indian batting masters.
This could mean there would be a contest here, even if Tendulkar had a wretched time here in his last Test (against England last December), and in his last five Tests here, during which he’s got only 243 runs in nine innings.
The wicket in Mumbai is likely to provide a result.
Yes, no one is bigger than the sport, cricket is bigger than any individual, it’s a team sport... But like it or not, the spotlight will be on Tendulkar in this match. He’s been in a wretched form, and if he’s again the stellar failure of his final Test, it would surprise none.
There will be 21 other players in this match. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 39 years old and playing his 150th Test, is likely to be the star West Indian, for he’s got the old-fashioned Test tenacity. Mohammed Shami, 23 and playing his second, will be keenly watched, as will be the other Kolkata debutant, Rohit Sharma.
Tendulkar was, of course, the youngest player in two sides in his Test debut match. For his first 33 Tests, he was the youngest player in both teams. The first time a younger player appeared in a Test with him was in 1994, when Chanderpaul played in the Nagpur Test in 1994.
Tendulkar is now the oldest player in the match; he’s been the oldest player in the Indian team over the last 11 Tests, after Rahul Dravid went, leaving Indian cricketer poor.
Now Tendulkar will go, too.
Five days are all that remain, five days in which a lifetime’s emotion will be compressed.
Former India captain Bishen Singh Bedi today paid rich tributes to Sachin Tendulkar and termed the retiring batting great as “a messenger of God”. “Tendulkar is a messenger of God, who was sent to show how to play the game,” Bedi said at India Today Group's 'Salaam Sachin' conclave at a city hotel here.
Stating that Tendulkar's retirement would leave a big void in the dressing room, the spin legend said players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have learnt a lot from the champion batsman.
“They have utilised Sachin's presence. His work ethic won't change. It will be a big vacuum. I hope he keeps in touch with Indian cricket. He has many roles to play. He can guide the younger lot,” Bedi said.
Bedi said that Tendulkar didn't have good run as captain because of his shy nature.
“He was shy and withdrawn. He wouldn't have enjoyed captaincy. His middle class upbringing was a great sign for batting but to a certain extent restricted his leadership qualities,” he said.
Devote time to family now, says Kapil
Sachin Tendulkar should devote at least two years to his family without taking up any other assignment after his retirement since his family has missed out on spending happy times with him due to his long stint with the team, former captain Kapil Dev today said. “What should I suggest to him? Although he would have thought...but I would say he should now devote all his time to his family who could not be with him for 25 years when he was playing for the country. He should take care of himself, take rest and be with his family now and he should take something new only after two years,” Kapil said when he was asked about his suggestions to the batting maestro who will retire after playing his 200th Test later this week. Calling Tendulkar a “diamond”, Kapil said he wishes that the iconic cricketer gets all the happiness as he deserves it for serving the country. “Post retirement will be his golden period. I wish he gets as much happiness as he gave to all of us with his wonderful game,” he said. The former cricketer also said he would suggest Sachin to to do “charity works” as his association with noble causes will act as a booster.
Sachin Tendulkar should devote at least two years to his family without taking up any other assignment after his retirement since his family has missed out on spending happy times with him due to his long stint with the team, former captain Kapil Dev today said.
“What should I suggest to him? Although he would have thought...but I would say he should now devote all his time to his family who could not be with him for 25 years when he was playing for the country. He should take care of himself, take rest and be with his family now and he should take something new only after two years,” Kapil said when he was asked about his suggestions to the batting maestro who will retire after playing his 200th Test later this week.
Calling Tendulkar a “diamond”, Kapil said he wishes that the iconic cricketer gets all the happiness as he deserves it for serving the country. “Post retirement will be his golden period. I wish he gets as much happiness as he gave to all of us with his wonderful game,” he said.
The former cricketer also said he would suggest Sachin to to do “charity works” as his association with noble causes will act as a booster.
Sachin would have been successful in any era: Gavaskar
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar today said Sachin Tendulkar would have been successful in any era because of his sound technique and temperament and cited Sir Don Bradman's words to support his claim. “As Sir Don Bradman said a great in one era would have been a great in any era. If you look at the technique that he has got, if you look at the temperament that he has, I think he would have been successful in any era,” Gavaskar said. Gavaskar, however, refused to compare Bradman with Tendulkar. “You cannot compare two players of different eras. At best you can compare players of the same team. I don't think it is correct to compare players of two eras. It's good for an after dinner debate.” Gavaskar said the trio of Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers and Tendulkar are to cricket what Michael Jordan is to basketball, Mohammad Ali to boxing and Pele to football. “There were few men who have embellished sports and made that sport beyond the sport itself. And I think in that context you would relate football with Pele, basketball with Michael Jordan, boxing with Mohammad Ali and in cricket I would imagine there would be three. One would be Sir Don Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers and Sachin Tendulkar. They absolutely took the game to a different level,” said Gavaskar. Gavaskar feels Tendulkar's key to success was his balance, both on and off the field. “Balance on the field is in terms of cricketing balance.” And by balance off the field I mean his ability to maintain his level of concentration, his discipline off the field despite achieving so much, despite having so much pressure of expectations,” he said. — PTI
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar today said Sachin Tendulkar would have been successful in any era because of his sound technique and temperament and cited Sir Don Bradman's words to support his claim. “As Sir Don Bradman said a great in one era would have been a great in any era. If you look at the technique that he has got, if you look at the temperament that he has, I think he would have been successful in any era,” Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar, however, refused to compare Bradman with Tendulkar. “You cannot compare two players of different eras. At best you can compare players of the same team. I don't think it is correct to compare players of two eras. It's good for an after dinner debate.” Gavaskar said the trio of Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers and Tendulkar are to cricket what Michael Jordan is to basketball, Mohammad Ali to boxing and Pele to football.
“There were few men who have embellished sports and made that sport beyond the sport itself. And I think in that context you would relate football with Pele, basketball with Michael Jordan, boxing with Mohammad Ali and in cricket I would imagine there would be three. One would be Sir Don Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers and Sachin Tendulkar. They absolutely took the game to a different level,” said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar feels Tendulkar's key to success was his balance, both on and off the field. “Balance on the field is in terms of cricketing balance.”
And by balance off the field I mean his ability to maintain his level of concentration, his discipline off the field despite achieving so much, despite having so much pressure of expectations,” he said. — PTI
Mumbai, November 13
Dhoni manages to say something interesting each time he opens his mouth; today he said that at a time when everyone is trying to do something special for Tendulkar, simplicity would become more special than special.
“Everyone wants to do something special, if we can keep it simple, that itself would be special,” he said. “If someone does something simple when everyone else is trying special, that’s good. We have a few things in our mind, but I think cricket is very important first and foremost.”
Will he, as he did in Nagpur in 2008 with Sourav Ganguly, hand over captaincy to Tendulkar? Make him go into the middle to the toss tomorrow morning?
"You'll have to wait and watch over the next five days," Dhoni said, eyes twinkling. “I want you to concentrate!”
Will India lose colour when Tendulkar is gone? Will India wilt when the master departs? Will life be over for all practical purposes when Tendulkar retires?
The centrality of Tendulkar in the Indian scheme of things is carved in stone; but reputations matter little, for performance is like words written on water. It’s over with the match; form is of the essence.
Tendulkar is 40, past his prime, at the end of the road.
Did Dhoni bristle a bit when asked whether India would be prepared for life without Tendulkar, especially away from India? It’s a team sport, and Tendulkar has not been an impact player for quite some time now.
“We’ll see future in the future, whether we’re prepared or not. We’ll know that later, I can’t say what will happen outside India,” he said. “If you’re saying that a replacement for Sachin is required, no, there is no such. Neither do we have a replacement for Rahul Dravid or someone else.”
What Dhoni wants is that the new players are accepted as what they are -- not Tendulkar-2 or Dravid-3. “It's not about filling someone's shoes. Virat is Virat Kohli, not someone else,” he said. “Same way with Pujara. If you start comparing individuals with some great players, it only adds pressure on them. It’s important to understand that Pujara has a different character than the players who are gone.”
“The new players are characters in their own way, they'll make it colourful in their own way,” the captain added. “If we want the same, like how Sachin paaji was, or Sourav Ganguly, or Anil Kumble or Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman... If you want the same colours, it will be difficult. But there will be new colours and it still will be colourful.”
Shanghai, November 13
The sixth seed Indian, Saina overcame Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 21-14, 21-19 in a 39-minute opening match, while world number 12 Kashyap recorded his fourth victory over the eighth ranked Thai Boonsak Ponsana when he beat him 22-20, 21-15 in men’s singles opening round match that lasted 46 minutes.
Olympic Bronze medallist Saina relied on her net game to outclass Nozomi as she registered 19 net winners compared to 11 by the Japanese. The 23-year-old Indian will next take on China’s Sun Yu in the pre-quarterfinals.
Saina, who had beaten Nozomi in Malaysia Open earlier this year, didn’t give the Japanese any chance in the first game as she jumped to a 5-2 lead and then kept extending it to zoom ahead. In the second game, Saina enjoyed a 10-6 lead but Nozomi reeled off four points to catch up with the Indian. What ensued next was a tough battle for supremacy but it was the world number seven Indian who had the last laugh in the end.
Meanwhile, Kashyap matched his higher ranked rival with his smashes and outdid him in net play to earn a place in the second round, where he will meet Japan’s Kento Momota tomorrow. From 1-4 deficit, Kashyap turned the tables on Boonsak, opening up a slender 9-8 lead. The duo fought hard for each point till 14-14 when Boonsak moved to 16-14 and managed to keep his lead, but the Indian reeled off four straight points to pocket the first game.
In the second game, Boonsak held an early 3-0 lead but Kashyap surged ahead at 6-4. The lead changed hands till 14-14, before the Indian once again raised his game and broke free. — PTI
Chennai, November 13
With eight games still to come in the 12-game affair, the scores are tied at 2-2 and the battle is really heating up if the last two games are any indication. Anand was pushed to the wall for the first time in the match and this happened soon after he was seen pressing for a win in the third game that ended in a draw yesterday. It showed that Carlsen has got steely nerves.
The Norwegian also changed his opening with black and it turned out to be a good ploy after his Caro Kann in the first black game.
The Berlin defense became famous after Vladimir Kramnik used it successfully to beat Russian compatriot Garry Kasparov in the Braingames World Championship match in 2000 at London and since then it has found a stronghold in the elite chess circles.
Anand himself has played the opening with black successfully and he definitely had an idea up his sleeves.
However, Carlsen was the first to spring a surprise as early as on move 10 when he moved his Bishop.
While it was not a new move, it was indeed a surprise as it had been played just four times prior to this and three out of those four games were played by Jon Ludvig Hammer, trusted friend and second of Carlsen. More recently, Navara David of Czech Republic also played it successfully to get a draw with Lenier Perez Dominguez of Cuba.
Anand did not get much out of the opening and, while looking for complications, sacrificed a pawn on the queen side. Known to never avoid complications, Carlsen took the bait and it was backed by some brilliant intuition as the later part of the game revealed. — PTI
Sports Ministry frames Sporting Fraud Bill
New Delhi, November 13
The draft Bill defines sporting fraud and sporting events, and contains provisions of penalty to the offenders and deals with the issue of Jurisdiction of Courts to adjudicate the matter in situations such as if a person commits a sporting fraud, directly or indirectly, manipulates or tries to manipulate sports results, irrespective of whether the outcome is actually altered or not etc.
The maximum punishment would be imprisonment for five years, with a fine of Rs 10 lakh, or five times the economic benefits derived by the person from sporting fraud.
New Delhi, November 13
The 24-year-old unassuming girl from Patiala became the first Indian pistol shooter to clinch a gold at ISSF World Championship. Sidhu, who scored 384/400, was at the third position after completing the qualification stage and outperformed other top names in the finals.
“Before shooting the last shot, I knew I was very close. I just shot it and the last shot was sort of my signature, it was bigger than the medal,” Sidhu said today.
“I conserved a little energy in the qualification. I shot two 8s initially and was not very happy. But I know my potential and I knew I can still make up. You just have to shoot to get into the finals.” Next year will be crucial for the shooters as the World Championships, Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games are lined up one after another.
“The challenge next year is that three big matches are lined up in a span of three months. CWG, I will just do my average thing, I wish to peak in the World Championships,” Sidhu said.
“We hope to bring back medals, bring back quota places for Olympics.” The Indian shooter said she has worked on improving the qualification.
“I was shooting well in the finals, it has always been good. Till 2012, I was lagging in qualification, I concentrated on that and ended up neglecting the finals. I have worked very hard just like I was before the London Olympics,” Sidhu said.
“Earlier, my idea before entering the finals was to be very aggressive, but I have realised it is not possible to sustain that aggression for 20 shots.” Sidhu, who has taken a break from studies after completing her graduation in medicine, had a problem regarding renewal of her visa prior to flying out to Munich.
“On the 1st (November) I came to know, my visa was expiring on the 10th, the day of my event. They gave me the passport without visa and I went to the immigration office after landing in Munich and got my visa extended by 2 days. I left for Germany on the 6th,” Sidhu said.
Heena said she wept after hearing the news of cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement.
“I cried twice after hearing of his retirement. As an athlete I could relate to his experiences, his achievements.” National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) Raninder Singh called Heena’s effort the “highest possible achievement”. “As a shooting body, it is higher than an Olympic medal.
This is the highest possible achievement in the shooting world,” Raninder said.
Anjali Bhagwat, Gagan Narang and Ronjan Sodhi are the only other shooters to have won a gold medal at ISSF World Cup finals and the NRAI chief seemed pleased.
“The kind of support we have been receiving form SAI, sports ministry and training under foreign coaches and also Indian coaches, I must thank them.” — PTI
Mumbai, November 13
With the likes of Gambhir, Sehwag, Mithun Manhas and Unmukt Chand in their ranks, Delhi boasts of a top heavy batting line-up but it didn’t click against Gujarat in their last game where they could only manage a point.
Mumbai, on the other hand, have started their campaign in right earnest having registered back-to-back outright wins in away games against Haryana and Punjab. That cricket is a fickle game is proved when Gambhir and Sehwag came out for a net session at a deserted BKC complex today. A year back, no one would have bet that the star-opening pair wouldn’t feature in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell Test match.
Gambhir and especially Sehwag, who has had some lasting on-field memories with Tendulkar, will be battling to save his own career some 20 kms from the Wankhede Stadium.
For the 35-year-old Sehwag, who has scores of 7, 38, 1 and 15 in his last four first-class outings in the middle-order would like to get a big one in order to keep the national selectors interested in him as the Test team for South Africa will be decided in a few weeks’ time.
Ditto for Gambhir, who has been doing all the hard work to get out in 30s and 40s. The left-hander would like to seal his place as the third opener in the South Africa bound squad as Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay are all but certain to board the flight to Johannesburg. Delhi chief coach Sanjeev Sharma said that Sehwag wouldn’t be given any suggestion about his batting order.
“Viru would bat where he wants to. There is simply no advice for him. If he feels he can contribute in the middle order, we are happy to have him at that slot. He is too good a player to remain out of form for a long time,” said Sharma. — PTI
New Delhi, November 13
Third seed Balaji scored a 4-6 6-3 6-2 win in the second round in two hours and seven minutes to assert his supremacy over his young rival as he extended his clean head-to-head record against the Chennai boy to 4-0. By his own admission, Balaji forgot that he relies much on his net play and after losing the first set, he woke up and changed his strategy. He started coming more on net and with some smart volleys, he broke the momentum of his young opponent, who was not trying too hard and subsequently started hitting unforced errors.
To his credit, Ramkumar fought well in the first set. He broke his nemesis in the very first game and that break stayed with him, helping him pocket the first set.
A change in tactics and staying calm helped Balaji to claw his way back as he broke Ramkumar in the eighth game of the second set and comfortably brought the match to level terms.
His confidence shaken, Ramkumar dropped serve in the first game. He saved another in the third game to get on board.
After two more chances in the fifth, Ramkumar did not help his cause when he hit a forehand long on the third break chance.
Balaji was leading 4-1 that became 5-1 with an easy hold. He served out the match when Ramkumar hit a backhand wide.
Playing on court number one, top seed Yuki Bhambri was in for a surprise as he found himself facing two set points in the opening set against national championship runner-up Arjun Kadhe, but made a strong comeback for a 7-5 6-1 win in one hour and 15 minutes. — PTI
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