Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Davide Santon could have added to Roma’s injury crisis after the defender trained apart from the squad with the flu. Roma already have seven players out, but that risks becoming eight if Santon does not recover by the time they release their squad list for tomorrow’s Europa League match with Borussia Monchengladbach. Elsewhere, Cengiz Under and Henrikh Mkhitaryan continued to work away from the first team and Corriere dello Sport also considers them doubtful to face Milan this weekend. Every precaution is still being taken with Edin Dzeko, who trained on Wednesday with a protective mask.
Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala urges Inter and Milan to work with the local authorities, as a “reduced capacity Stadio Meazza would be a good solution.” The two clubs presented their ambitious plans to knock down the current Stadio Giuseppe Meazza and construct a new joint arena next to it, essentially where the car park of the stadium now stands. A vote in the local council backed plans to revamp the San Siro area of the city, but shot down attempts to eliminate the Stadio Meazza entirely. “The best solution for San Siro would be a combined solution, so a commercial space for development, but also a reduced capacity arena of use to the city,” declared Mayor Sala. “We need to understand if it is financially viable, but it would be the best thing for the city, seeing as football in Milan isn’t just Serie A, but also women’s football and youth teams. “In that sense, a reduced capacity Stadio Meazza would be a good solution. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I ask the clubs to make a serious effort to find a new life for San Siro.” This doesn’t mean Inter and Milan can’t build a whole new stadium, but the existing Stadio Meazza would need to remain in some way or another. That would force a radical rethink of the architectural plans presented so far. It’d also increase the costs, as knocking down the stadium would be in the region of €45m, whereas repurposing it would cost €200-250m. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
Juventus stopper Wojciech Szczesny is close to renewing his contract to 2024, according to Sky Sport Italia expert Gianluca Di Marzio. The former Arsenal keeper has been with Juve since signing in the summer of 2017 for €14m, following a loan spell at Roma. He signed as a back-up ‘keeper to Gigi Buffon in 2017-18, shadowing the legendary player for a season before taking his position as the veteran left for Paris Saint Germain. Szczesny has been the first choice since then, even with Buffon returning to the club this season. The Pole’s contract expires in June 2021, but Di Marzio reports that his contract will be extended to 2024. He’s made 74 appearances for Juve, and has kept 37 clean sheets. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
Apart from the F1 race, another “extraordinary” sporting event took place in the last few days but no one seems to have taken note of it. It was the constitution of a ‘high powered monitoring committee’ and a ‘marketing committee’ by a ‘proactive’ Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for the 2012 Olympics.Among the few who have fearlessly come out with their candid opinions on F1 is legendary athlete P. T. Usha. She feels that millions of rupees were shamelessly wasted on an event which is not considered a sport by many people. A huge but silent majority of Indian sports fans also feel the same, but unfortunately they are neither heard nor seen.The other event, the constitution of the two IOA committees, is actually nothing but old wine in an old bottle with a redesigned label. Here, too, the vast majority of fans are silent. It seems activities such as these are nothing but a charade in the name of preparing for the Olympics.It’s an absolute shame that a country that aspires to better its 2008 performance at the next Olympics can be so lackadaisical in preparing its athletes.With less than nine months left for the London Games to begin, the IOA continues to constitute committees, giving an impression that it is an amazingly proactive body. Its officials know fully well that they would get away with this farce, like on earlier occasions!Poor fans are now used to this fouryearly routine for the Olympics or any other big sporting event like the Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games. Over the decades, a majority of them have silently tolerated sports administrators. And there is no end in sight to this cycle.advertisementThe only ray of hope is the proposed new sports policy. It’s a legislation that broadly aims to bring in transparency and accountability in administration and selection of athletes. But some well-connected officials are hell bent on ensuring that the policy is scuttled. They are the same people whose shops, running on expired licences, would close, if the policy is executed.While grandiosely announcing the formation of the ‘monitoring committee’, Malhotra made a very clever politician- like statement. He said: “Now more sportspersons will have to share the responsibility in training and preparing the teams for international events.”Take a closer close look at the statement. It vaguely says “more sportspersons will have to”, and doesn’t guarantee anything. Make no mistake, the veteran politician has, in no way, promised that sportspersons would indeed become part of administration.Indian Olympic Association secretary general Randhir Singh.THE PEOPLE who comprise the monitoring committee have been there since time immemorial. Malhotra himself (who else?) is chairman, IOA secretary general Randhir Singh is vicechairman, K. P. Singh Deo is the convener. In addition to these, the committee has the president/ secretary of every sports federation whose athletes qualify for the Olympics and one sportsperson as an “athlete representative” from each such federation. That all top officials are hand in glove has been proven in the past by documents dug out through RTI queries, but there’s no hint that this vicious circle would stop soon.Since ambiguity is the hallmark of sports administration. Will Malhotra answer these questions (before the Olympics are over): Who will select the athletes for the monitoring committee? Will athletes be allowed to have a say in front of such an overpowering company, if they are called for meetings? Can he guarantee that athletes would be allowed to speak their minds? Assuming they do, will their suggestions be minuted and implemented for the 2012 Olympics? Malhotra doesn’t promise any of this in his statement.Malhotra, who is running the IOA only because Suresh Kalmadi is in jail due to his alleged role in financial irregularities related to the Delhi CWG, said a marketing committee has also been set up. Who all comprise this committee? Yes, you are right. They are people who have been in sports administration for decades.Someone wondered if it isn’t too early to constitute such committees? After all, there are still about nine months left for the Olympics! ===Prabhakar vs players row began last season Manoj PrabhakarThe sacking of coach Manoj Prabhakar two days before Delhi’s first Ranji Trophy was not a knee-jerk reaction. Chetan Chauhan, who holds multiple positions in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), says that the genesis of the Prabhakar- versusplayers controversy goes back to the beginning of the last season. DDCA vice- president Chauhan, also chairman of the senior selection committee and the ad- hoc sports working committee, said that the problem for Prabhakar, who has been suspended “for bad behaviour with the players and selectors”, began with the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2010.Although Chauhan didn’t specify the exact reasons, DDCA sources say that the choice of players was the main cause for the friction that eventually led to Prabhakar’s outburst. His adverse media comments on the players was made the pretext for his axing. Over the years, people have gotten away with making even stronger observations. Prabhakar, according to sources, was keen on playing pacer Vikas Tomar, but the selectors didn’t agree. They say that the former allrounder had “promised” Tomar that he would be included this season and that his outburst against some other players was an act of frustration on not getting the bowler he wanted.advertisementPrabhakar, who had told Mail Today before the controversy erupted that he was keeping an eye on some youngsters, still claims that Tomar was shaping up well in the nets for the Ranji Trophy. ===India’s feuding hockey bodies indulging in brazen foul play The WSH has added another dimension to the morass India’s hockey administration is in at present.The battle to wrest power in Indian hockey has become increasingly murky. The source of the anonymous emails containing confidential documents related to the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) that have been leaked to the media, is slowly becoming clear. All the mails are aimed at exposing the private and confidential correspondence of the IHF.IHF’s only competition in the race for attaining the status of the game’s national federation is Hockey India. So, observers say that there should be little doubt as to who is revealing the IHF’s cards by circulating its correspondence with the sports ministry, the International Hockey Federation (FIH), and other parties. Or, is there a well-disguised Hockey India mole working with the IHF, who is selectively leaking documents?These days, all the emails emanate from an ID called ‘chak de India’; earlier, it was another ID. A few days ago, this anonymous sender emailed the entire power point presentation of the IHF’s World Series Hockey (WSH). It contained, amongst other details, the financial figures of a competition that is not sanctioned by the FIH, and the cities in the fray etc. The WSH itself has added another dimension to the morass India’s hockey administration is in at present.Interestingly, the IHF doesn’t seem too worried even after the regular leaks that have been going on for over a year. At a recent meeting, apparently there was no mention of the WSH power point presentation that was leaked to the media. ===Empty stands at the Ferozeshah Kotla.The first Test between India and West Indies opened to empty stands at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Sunday. That was to be expected, especially after the seats didn’t get filled in the five venues where the ODIs against England were held recently. So, it was hardly a surprise that not many Delhi fans were willing to buy tickets for the Test. A local court had ruled that a maximum of 15,000 passes could be distributed for this match, but only about 8,000 turned up on the first day. Does it mean that even pass holders are not interested (assuming all passes have been distributed)?advertisement
In-form pacer Irfan Pathan and Praveen Kumar, who seem to have recovered from his rib injury, are expected to be picked in the squad for the three-nation One-day International (ODI) tri-series beginning on February 5.Selectors will meet on Sunday in Chennai to announce the squad for at least eight ODIs of the triangular series, in which hosts Australia and Sri Lanka will be the other competing teams, and two Twenty20 Internationals against Australia.Left-armer Pathan and Praveen, who were among the players in the “scheme of things” of the selectors for the ODIs, are currently training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).While Irfan has shown his form in the Ranji Trophy, capturing 21 wickets in four matches for Baroda before his team crashed out of the quarter- final race, Praveen injured his rib and has been undergoing rehabilitation at the NCA for a couple of weeks. Irfan staged a comeback to the Indian team in the fifth and final ODI against the West Indies at home recently, and has been at the NCA after Baroda failed to advance.Selectors Mohinder Amarnath and Raja Venkat watched them and other ODI specialists in two matches they played among themselves at the NCA on Thursday and Friday.Besides Pathan and Praveen, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel, Varun Aaron, Rahul Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan and Harbhajan Singh are also at the NCA. Yusuf (knee injury), Harbhajan Singh (lack of form), Yuvraj, who hasn’t recovered fully from non-malignant tumour and Aaron are out of contention.advertisementRaina, wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel, Manoj Tiwary, and Ravindra Jadeja are expected to make the cut. India will play four ODIs each against the hosts and Sri Lanka in the triangular series, and at least two more if India qualifies for the best-of-three finals.It remains to be seen if the selectors decide to retain Sachin Tendulkar and pacer Zaheer Khan, who has not played ODIs since April. While Zaheer got injured on the tour of England in the summer, Tendulkar has been choosing his matches.If Tendulkar opts to play his first ODI since the World Cup final on April 2, Ajinkya Rahane may have to sit. Patel looks set to get the second wicketkeeper’s position. But the selectors may also discuss the case of Madhya Pradesh’s Naman Ojha, who has scored 668 runs in Ranji Trophy this season, studded with three centuries and two half-centuries.Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli are the other batsmen.In bowling, the selectors would choose from among Zaheer, Praveen, Umesh Yadav, R Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ishant Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Pragyan Ojha.Umesh has particularly been impressive and picked up a five-wicket haul in Australian first innings in Perth on Saturday.
Indian tennis veteran Leander Paes became only the 24th player in the ATP World Tour history to win 50 doubles titles after he and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek clinched the Sony Ericsson Open, their second team trophy of the season.The 38-year-old Paes and Stepanek, who were seeded seventh, rallied to upstage second seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor 3-6 6-1 10-8 on March 31.After dropping the first set, the Australian Open champions broke Mirnyi and Nestor twice in the second set to force a match tie-break.The Indo-Czech combination trailed 1-4 before winning six straight points to surge ahead. Stepanek closed out the victory with an unreturnable volley to clinch the win in 82 minutes.”Well actually Radek came to me and said something simple on my service return (in the second set) and that changed the whole momentum of the match. I have got to give full credit to Daniel and Max, they started out amazingly, they were all over us in the first set,” a jubilant Paes said after the triumph.”Over all these years of playing, I have got to thank many partners; I have got to thank many coaches… I have to thank my father but most importantly my wonderful partner right now, Radek Stepanek,” he added.Paes, who did little celebratory jig with Stepanek after the match, collected his third straight crown at Crandon Park, having triumphed with Lukas Dlouhy in 2010 and Mahesh Bhupathi in 2011.”(It’s) really, really special. 50 tournaments takes a little doing. 600 matches takes a little bit of doing,” said Paes.advertisement”Having done a three peat here in Miami is awesome. Next year, I hope to start another one.”An equally elated Stepanek said he felt honoured to team up with Paes.”We fought through it, and we got on top of them in the second set all the way,” said Stepanek.”We (were) the more aggressive, and, I would say, creative team in the Tie-break, as well. That’s why we won. I am thankful to Lee for playing with me. It’s an honour to play with a legend,” he added.Mirnyi and Nestor finished runner-up for the second straight year, and were bidding to lift their third trophy in 2012, after successes in Brisbane and Memphis.
AIRBORNE: M.S.Dhoni’s power to finish matches with sixes has India in thrallIn Ranchi, they already have some heavy duty heroes, you know. The airport is named after Birsa Munda, a tribal freedom fighter.The town’s main road pauses at Albert Ekka Chowk, where the lance naik who won the Param Vir,AIRBORNE: M.S.Dhoni’s power to finish matches with sixes has India in thrallIn Ranchi, they already have some heavy duty heroes, you know. The airport is named after Birsa Munda, a tribal freedom fighter.The town’s main road pauses at Albert Ekka Chowk, where the lance naik who won the Param Vir Chakra stands in bronze readiness. As these are not such conflict-ridden times, inspiration is found in less lofty things. Broken windows for instance. “You see them. That’s him,” says Sambhav Diwan, final year BCom student pointing to rows of shattered glass panes on one flank of the DAV Shyamali School. It seems impossible. The building is 250 m hit from the centre of the MECON cricket ground near it. How could anyone keep targeting it, smashing one pane in three?MANIA: M.S.Dhoni’s first pitchActually, it hardly matters whether it’s one window or twenty-one. What matters is how Mahendra Singh Dhoni, for it is his handiwork that is being discussed, did it at all. Got from here to there. The school’s cricket practice area, a long patch of mud outside the MECON ground, cannot possibly be a springboard to the India blue and all that it brings. Screaming crowds, stardom, Man of the Series, even a plasma TV. Somehow, from these safe, nondescript lanes that his father Paan Singh, retired pump operator, still cycles through, a cricketer of brightness, boldness and vigour has emerged. To metropolitan India, watching open-mouthed as one-day matches are finished with sky-ripping sixes, Dhoni is the team’s new find.To the place where he came from and others like it, Dhoni has become an idea so powerful that nothing can stop it. Not even the minefield of international cricket that lies ahead of the man himself.advertisementA six year old traineeCricket’s growing foot mark across India is reflected in the fact that the ODI team that thrashed Sri Lanka featured cricketers born in Allahabad, Kothamangalam, Rae Bareilly, Vishakhpatnam, and of course, Ranchi. S.S. Rao, Dhoni’s teammate in Jharkhand’s Ranji Trophy team says, “It doesn’t matter where you come from anymore, all that counts in cricket is performance.”Ten years ago, it would have been hard to find such assurance in the unfashionable backwaters of Indian cricket. Today, the unfashionable backwaters are crucibles of ambition and Dhoni is a prototype.A chatty, engaging 24-year-old Dhoni is aware how he and others like him have made all handicaps, like the lack of good wickets or year-round nets, irrelevant. “Guys from smaller places are tougher than those from the metros,” he says. Where he grew up, there was only one turf wicket, no big ticket academy, high-profile coach or modern gymnasium. In Ranchi, progress was always just around the corner. If you really wanted to progress, you went elsewhere.Dhoni has returned again and again to the town that the young usually leave. With his 650cc Yamaha Thunderbird motorcycle, bought secondhand. To cruise around in his new Scorpio with its black tinted windows. Or to inaugurate Ranchi’s first Subway outlet and Swift dealership. Every time he steps onto the field for India, it is an invigorating homecoming. Ranchi’s celebrationsThe day her baby brother scored his first ODI century, Jayanti Gupta recalls TV reporters stormed into his home. “They stood on the bed. We didn’t see a single ball after his 50,” she says. After Dhoni’s 183, Jharkhand selector and former India under-25 Pradeep Khanna says, “it was Holi-Diwali ek saath (together)”. Every time he plays, Dhoni’s parents lock up their little flat and go elsewhere to escape the arrival of the TV vans.In cricket, only the stardom is sudden. For most, careers move slowly. When switching from goal-keeping to wicket-keeping in school, Dhoni spent a year learning to keep without playing in a single match. As an 18-year-old he played matches during his Standard XII Board examinations. Gupta would read chapters out aloud to him at night and Dhoni would appear for the paper the next day. Often a car would be waiting outside the examination hall to take him to the railway station and his next match. Dhoni spent five seasons playing domestic cricket for before he was picked for India-A. Promoted to open on a tour in Zimbabwe, he made those watching sit up, including former India players Javagal Srinath and Saba Karim. “His ability to finish off matches is exceptional,” says Karim.m.S.Dhoni’s friends’ watchHis teammates reckon that Dhoni hits the ball harder than Virender Sehwag or Sachin Tendulkar. His school games teacher Keshab Banerjee had often to assure the principal that he would do “halka” practice because the people living in nearby buildings complained about balls landing in balconies and hitting walls.Banerjee reads out an inter-school scorecard: chasing 378 in 40 overs, Dhoni scored 213 not out in 150 balls with 26 fours and seven sixes. He once sent a six into his Sanskrit teacher’s house. In the Ranji Trophy Plate semi-final against Haryana last season, the ball had to be changed eight times because it kept landing outside Chandigarh’s Sector 16 Stadium. In Bangalore earlier this year, scooterists on Cubbon Road outside Chinaswamy Stadium gave thanks for their helmets as three monster hits cleared the stadium roof and its compound and crashed onto the road.advertisementIt is even said that when he was not picked for an under-19 World Cup camp, he sent the ball sailing through a window near where a selector was sitting.Where such power comes from is not clear. Genes say some, lots of school sport, suggest others but it might just be the milk. Till he was 18, Dhoni consumed a litre of milk a day, at various meals-as breakfast, as lunch with rice or with chapatis in the evening. Yet, he is neither the “orange-haired rustic” as one paper painted him, nor the “instinctive” player he may seem.Dhoni has never been formally coached by any single cricket guru but worked with a sampling of several. He would listen politely to everything said and then, he says, “choose what I wanted to follow”.Yet his improvisational shotmaking is based on precise thinking. The scoop shot to the fast bowlers is played when the fine leg is up and bowler is trying a yorker. He advises sagely, “I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, you know. If you get it wrong you could get hit in the face because you’re leaning forward.”M.S.DhoniHe may be a small town boy but like his peers Dhoni is in sync with big-city ideas through school, TV and an alert mind. What about the city slicker hair-do? Dhoni knows about Samson from school and the circulating cliche makes him roll his eyes. It’s not about the coiffure. “Confidence is the key to my game,” he says.In the past, says Karim, through personal experience, the hinterland cricketer felt alienated and unwelcome in the Indian team due to the coldness of its seniors. Today the dressing room is a more democratic place and the playing field is finally very level.At the St Xavier’s School Ground, with its matting wicket and patchwork outfield of ankle high grass and bare mud, the Ranchi Cricket Academy is in session. This summer the coaches introduced a 10-overs-a-side format with their own rules. Three dot balls and you’re out. In the first 10 balls, two fours or a six was mandatory. “That’s the kind of player in demand today,” says coach Mohammed Wasim as one of his wards sends a six over the treeline.Coach Chanchal Bhattacharya has watched the A-Division league club teams increase from 30 to 40, within a year there will be a C Division opening up. In his camp, at least three youngsters in the first XI have stopped going to barbers.The word is spreading. In Kolkata, a mother checking her child’s Hindi homework was puzzled. In the middle of neat letters and pictures to go with them, among lotuses (ka for kamal) and rabbits (kh for khargosh) was a face framed by long hair.advertisement”What’s this?” the seven-year-old was asked. “Dh”, he replied, “For Dhoni.”
Clear as daylight: Australia have looked the bestThe world’s no. 1 golfer is black. The world’s No.1 rapper is white. Two African teams have made it into the Super Six of the cricket World Cup but South Africa is not one of them. The fastest century in Cup history came,Clear as daylight: Australia have looked the bestThe world’s no. 1 golfer is black. The world’s No.1 rapper is white. Two African teams have made it into the Super Six of the cricket World Cup but South Africa is not one of them. The fastest century in Cup history came from a man who does not have a firstclass hundred to his name. India are being quoted as 3-1 favourites, second behind Australia, to win the trophy. Without a doubt, the world – and the cricket World Cup – has gone completely cuckoo. The most popular road sign in South Africa, a country of smooth tarmac, manic drivers and gun licences, beseeches people to “arrive alive”. It is sound advice to cricket teams too; political boycotts, rain and mathematical calculations have made the difference between victory and defeat, promotion and relegation, so much so that emerging from the first-round scrum has meant a far simpler ticket to the semifinals than could have been imagined. The numbers game of “carry forward” points and day-night games where losing the toss becomes a death sentence may do more diabolical damage yet. Commentators will again be sent into a huff about how the competition has been “devalued” with the exit of the West Indies, England, South Africa and Pakistan. The resistance: A lacklustre Sri Lanka don’t pose much of a threat to Aussie dominanceIn the World Cup though, the Aussies rule – no matter what the state of the game or what the calculators decide. Every other team left may say it is taking it “one match at a time” but it cannot avoid contemplating the loudest question floating around – can the Australians be stopped? It has become South Africa’s new mission. Find – and back – anyone who can take on the dastardly Australians.The night South Africa went out of the competition, former Test opener Andrew Hudson made a declaration that the time had come to support India, “because they look like the only team that could beat Australia”. The last time Australia and India met – as cannot be forgotten – the match was over with an afternoon to spare. It is that desperate. Australia’s coach John Buchanan tried to hold off the hysteria when he told INDIA TODAY, “I don’t think everything has come together yet for us. We haven’t got the partnerships in batting we wanted or when we had the chance – and other than the India game, our bowling hasn’t worked as well as we would have liked. We’ve put down some catches…” God alive, listen to him. If this is the world’s best cricket team, then mustn’t the others be utterly lousy? Former Somerset captain and guru amongst cricket writers Peter Roebuck recommends another method the Indian batsmen would love. “Attack,” he says. “Win the first 10 overs of both innings. England had the right idea, going after Glenn McGrath but couldn’t finish the job. You cannot beat Australia from behind. You must attack a team at its strong point because it can sometimes be its weakness.”advertisementThe resistance: Stephen Fleming and his men have been impressive in snatchesOf the three frontline teams in the competition, the experts reckon India and New Zealand could push the Aussies, though the last team to actually beat Ricky Ponting’s men was Sri Lanka, six months ago in the Champions Trophy – with a combination of a slow turner at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and a chutney mix of bowling from their own slow turners. It’s the old cliche of antipodal professionalism versus oriental flair, the swashbucklers from Asia versus the demolition men from Down Under. Except there’s a minor difference. Of the three Asian teams, the large and the little one have kept faith in their natural gifts but tried to set them in the concrete of a professional foundation. The Indians worked out that 70 per cent of the England middle order’s runs came on the leg-side; so they bowled a consistent line outside the off stump, at what they called a “fourth stump”. The seamers landed it on just the right length; six out of seven batsmen from No. 3 downwards to No. 9 ended up being caught behind the wicket. It was not just a case of Ashish Nehra’s arm being hit by lightning on that day. When he took the field to defend a total against the South Africans, Sanath Jayasuriya had a Duckworth-Lewis table in his pocket while the South African camp was caught in confusion. Pakistan, forever dangerous floaters, are paying the price for standing down as world cricket marched ahead. Buchanan says the two fractious neighbours didn’t even play the same kind of cricket anymore, “Pakistan depend on their quick bowlers and hopes one or two batters will come through; India rely on their all-round ability.” New Zealand is the only team to enjoy a degree of consistent success against Australia – but that was more than 12 months ago when they won three out of four one-day internationals.advertisementSecond best: With handsome wins over England and Pakistan, Sourav Ganguly’s team appears the most likely to upset Australia at the World CupWhat they have on their side is a smart captain in Stephen Fleming who can spot the opposition’s tactical patterns like a mother spots a white lie. His magic century in the World Cup was founded on a planned assault of the South Africans by anticipating their game plan and second-guessing their bowling changes. Former South African batsman Daryll Cullinan believes it is going to be much more even at the death. “Of course, Australia are going to ask questions of themselves. It must be their worst nightmare to have their one bad day in the semi-final or the final.” South African’s former pace bowler Fanie DeVilliers is convinced that all it will take to rattle the world champions will be a good batting track and a big classy century. “It takes only one guy to do it.” This has been a tournament for pedigreed batsmen, the men who Cullinan says are definite in their feet movement and who use the crease. The crease-bound dashers and slashers have less of a chance but things might swing the other way. As a long, dry summer and a long, endless tournament wear on, the wickets are beginning to flatten out, fast bowlers’ knees are beginning to hurt and the eyes of batsmen and spinners are beginning to light up. The hunger and resolve of the teams left in the competition, their minds and their bodies, are still to be tested fully. Last year, the science magazine Nature reported a strange phenomenon taking place under the South African land mass – one magnetic patch had begun to point in a direction opposite to the rest of the earth’s magnetic field, an indication that the earth’s poles are starting to flip as they do every few million years. Up above on green and firm ground, cricket’s grand, galactic gathering could witness its oddest somersault still.
Kiefer Ravena surveys the floor during a scrimmage at the PBA Draft Combine at Gatorade Hoops Center. PBA IMAGESAfter giving it much thought, Kiefer Ravena feels that the timing is just right for him to enter the PBA.“I really thought about this with my family and a decision that really took so much time. Once I submitted my papers, I knew my future is already here,” Ravena said.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ READ: Guiao eyes Standhardinger, Ravena as NLEX’s draft pick“If ever NLEX picks me, I’m excited to be under coach Yeng. I’ve been under a fiery coach before such as coach Jamike (Jarin), and I guess that was a good practice for me. But I don’t think coach Jamike is anywhere close to how coach Yeng is,” said the 23-year-old guard.“I’m very excited and I’ve talked to coach Yeng a couple of times prior to the combine, so hopefully everything pans out. If ever I go number two, I’ll be with him in NLEX.”Ravena cleared he will give his best effort to whichever team picks him.“For us, as long as we get our foot inside the PBA, we’ll control what we can control which is how we play, and that is giving 110 percent for the team that will pick us,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges LATEST STORIES MOST READ Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Standhardinger says he will be at PBA Draft after missing combine Palace: Robredo back to ‘groping with a blind vision’ Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups One of the most sought after prospects in the game today, Ravena believes that joining the draft is the culmination of all of his work back from his days playing for Ateneo.“It’s all for this. We look forward to this day since we all started playing.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingRavena, who is projected to go second after Fil-German big man Christian Standhardinger, said he’s more than ready to play for whichever team he suits up for.But he admitted that the possibility of playing for coach Yeng Guiao at NLEX, which holds the No. 2 pick, makes him giddy.