Wednesday, April 02, 2014

India and South Africa train differently

India and South Africa teams trained hard to make sure that they are strong in all departments of the game. While Indians followed the usual rule of not meeting the media except the day before the match, South African cricketers Hashim Amla and J.P. Duminy freely talked to the journalists.
Indians often loosen up playing soccer and it gave a scare to everyone when on Tuesday evening their star batsman Yuvraj Singh was seen limping out. The entire team play soccer with bare feet following the instruction of their fitness trainer.

When asked about the enthusiasm with which Indian team plays soccer, Indian off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin remarked: “The camp is pretty upbeat in terms of having some good soccer. We’ve enjoyed ourselves. You keep playing cricket all your life so playing soccer gives you leisure time. Those are the things we’re associating with most times.”
Everyone is hoping that Singh who cracked a 43-ball 60 runs against Australia is fit and continues his form.
The South African team were into serious practice. When Amla was asked about his team meeting an inform Indian side, he said: “We have to play against whoever you get drawn in, it’s out of your hand. It’s a good opportunity for us. We have played some good cricket, won some close games and that is as hard as our team has ever been,” he said.

Does he think India is in terrific form? Amla said: “Very difficult to say before the game. Any team can win on a given day.”

Duminy was more forthright in his views: “We have been successful in the last few games but does not mean we will be successful again. We know that Indian spinners will be key components to their teams. We know it’s going to be a big challenge for us. Spinners have bowled exceptionally well against us. We want to put up a big performance against their spinners. Sort of played against them in number of times. It’s a big game. Semi-final of a World Cup, doesn’t get bigger than this ever.”
When Duminy was asked about India’s strike bowler Amit Mishra, Duminy said: “Look it’s not only me who has played against him but all the other guys have also played against him. You kind of know what to expect. He has been on top form for India in this tournament. Definitely not going to take him lightly. We will do our homework and see that our game plan is in order.”

Copyright :

Afridi blames negative mindset for loss against Windies

Afridi blames negative mindset for loss against Windies

Senior all-rounder Shahid Afridi has blamed the negative mindset of the team for Pakistan`s defeat at the hands of the West Indies in the must-win league match of the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

The defeat to the West Indies knocked Pakistan out of the tournament with former players and critics lashing out at the team for its appalling batting performance.

"It is the negative mindset of the players that brought about our downfall," Afridi told reporters after returning here from Dhaka along with coach Moin Khan and cricket consultant Zaheer Abbas.

Afridi without taking names dropped a clear hint that he was ready to accept the challenge of captaincy if given the chance.

"Look we just have to change our mindset and be fearless and positive. Ok we conceded lot of runs in the last few overs but it was still a gettable target for us but our batsman just played with the wrong attitude," Afridi insisted.

"In T20 or any other cricket you need to have a positive approach," he noted.

Afridi said there was no major problem with the team as it had some very good players who had won matches for Pakistan before against top sides.

"These same players performed well when we beat Australia so we have the right ployers but not the right attitude," he felt.

The all-rounder said he didn`t think captaincy was a major issue but changing the attitude of the players was a big one.

"Obviously one can understand the disappointment and anger of the people after the way we performed against the West Indies and we have to see where we went wrong," he said.

Asked if he would be willing to accept the captaincy, Afridi said for Pakistan cricket he was ready to take up any role or challenge.

Copyright :

Captain Alastair Cook admits England require a huge rebuild after awful winter

Alastair Cook, England

The 29-year-old is not part of the T20 squad so missed Tuesday's humiliation by Holland, but he was in charge for the mauling by Australia over the winter.

And Cook admits he and whoever is appointed new coach face a long slog to restore England to anywhere near the top of the world game.

"We don't know our best XI any more, there are a lot of places up for grabs and that makes it a very exciting time for English cricket," said Cook, who has the backing of the ECB to carry on as captain.

"You can't hide behind the five years of success we enjoyed before. We've had an incredibly tough winter and we didn't produce anywhere near the standards required.

"We've lost the core of the side - the coach and some very good senior players - and it's not going to be a quick fix. It's not going to turn again for us overnight.

"Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower started off from a similar spot to where we are now, after we were bowled out for 51 in Jamaica. This is a new era because it has to be that way," he said.

"We can't guarantee lots of great results straight away - that's not how international sport works - because we need to get those standards and skills back to where we were.

"It took two-and-a-half years of building momentum to the point where we reached No1 in the world, and it will take time to get back to that level.

Alastair Cook, Ashley Giles, England cricket

"The Test side that won three Ashes series in a row has broken up quicker than we'd all imagined, but that provides an opportunity for guys to put themselves up for selection.

"But we can still win the Ashes in 2015, of course we can. You only have to look at Australia, who were 2-0 down after two Tests here in England last summer, and they bounced back very quickly."

Apart from getting the team back on track Cook has got to get some runs to make sure he is certain of a place as opener, and not just as skipper.

He averaged just 24 in the winter's Ashes series and needs some big scores for his own peace of mind, despite having the backing of the ECB to carry on as captain.

"Sometimes the harder you try, the worse it gets, and it's how you bounce back that really defines you," he said.

"I'm looking forward to getting out in the middle, but it's a very exciting time for my family (he is due to become a dad any day soon) and that's got to come first.

"If all is well, I'll be taking guard against Cambridge University next week."

Apart from his own form Cook will be keeping a close eye on Jonathan Trott, who made his playing return for Warwickshire yesterday four months after quitting the Ashes tour with fatigue.

In a two-day friendly against Gloucestershire at Edgbaston, Trott scored just four before being caught LBW.

WEST INDIES booked a place against Sri Lanka in tomorrow's World T20 semi-final when they beat Pakistan by 84 runs yesterday.

Copyright :

ICC World T20: Injury scare for Yuvraj ahead of semi-final match against Proteas

ICC World T20: Injury scare for Yuvraj ahead of semi-final match against Proteas

Days after he regained form with a stupendous knock against Australia in the ICC World Twenty20, star Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh was seen limping towards the team bus after falling while playing football during team`s practice at the Dhaka academy.

The incident took place while the cricketers were enjoying a barefoot football session. Yuvraj slipped while running on the lush green outfield, after which he was seen walking towards the bus with a bandage wrapped around his knees.

The seriousness of the injury is yet to be known, however, from the body language of other players, it seemed nothing serious.

Yuvraj, who had struggled with his form in the first three matches, showed his class once again in the team`s fourth match against Australia, where he smashed 60 runs off just 43 balls.

India are the only unbeaten side in the ICC World T20 and they will take on South Africa in the second semi-final scheduled to be played at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur on Friday.

Copyright :

Monday, March 17, 2014

Premier League: Steven Gerrard scores two penalties as Liverpool beat Man Utd 3-0

Liverpool closed to within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea after captain Steven Gerrard scored two penalties in a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Gerrard converted from the spot in each half before missing a third penalty after Nemanja Vidic was sent off before Luis Suarez scored a late third to keep Liverpool, who have a game in hand on Chelsea, firmly in the title hunt.

Though chances were scarce during the first half, Liverpool played with a far greater intensity and tempo, and took the lead on 34 minutes.
Rafael was fortunate not to be shown a second yellow card in as many minutes after handling the ball following Suarez's clever touch and Gerrard sent David de Gea the wrong way from the penalty spot.

United briefly woke from their slumber as Wayne Rooney tested Simon Mignolet just before half-time, but Liverpool were awarded another penalty in the opening minute of the second half.

Phil Jones was penalised for a nudge on Joe Allen and, though De Gea guessed correctly on this occasion, Gerrard's precise penalty was beyond the United keeper's reach.
The Red Devils saw two penalty appeals waved away in the ensuing 10 minutes before Liverpool were awarded a third spot-kick when Daniel Sturridge went down under Vidic's challenge which resulted in a second yellow card for the United captain.

Gerrard stepped up for his hat-trick, only to strike the post, while Liverpool could have had a fourth penalty moments later when Sturridge appeared to be tripped by Michael Carrick.

Suarez was thwarted by a brilliant save by De Gea before the Uruguayan did beat the United keeper on 84 minutes with a neat finish after controlling Sturridge's mis-hit shot.

Steven Gerrard talks to Sky Sports' Rob Palmer about Liverpool's season so far ahead of their clash with Manchester Utd on Sunday.
The manner of the defeat against their arch-rivals will be even more galling for United, who now have to lift themselves for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League tie at home to Olympiakos on Wednesday.
This time last year United were 29 points ahead of Liverpool. They are now 14 behind their bitter rivals with nine matches of the season left and the 11-point gap to fourth place looks insurmountable.

United were given an early warning sign after just two minutes when Sturridge sprinted past Vidic but shot wide.

Suarez then latched onto Jon Flanagan's cutting pass and sprinted into the United box but he did not go down when Marouane Fellaini pulled his shorts.

Sturridge again got the better of Vidic and Jones with a burst of pace, but he fluffed his shot, and De Gea made his first save from Allen.

Flanagan was booked for his third foul of the game and Rafael soon joined him for a pointless sliding tackle on Gerrard.

Nemanja Vidic speaks exclusively to Geoff Shreeves about his decision to leave Man Utd and his favourite memories from his eight seasons at the club.
Moments later and Rafael handed the Reds the lead when the ball struck the Brazilian's outstretched right hand as Suarez tried to guide the ball past him.

Gerrard made no mistake from the spot, tucking the ball inside De Gea's left-hand post.

United had a strong five-minute spell before the break which involved Rooney drawing a top save from Mignolet, but just 30 seconds after the restart they imploded.

Jones clattered into the back of Allen and the referee pointed to the spot and Gerrard placed the ball to De Gea's left again.

United thought they should have had two penalties for a handball by Glen Johnson and a foul on Rooney by Martin Skrtel but referee Mark Clattenburg disagreed.

Robin van Persie, the man who won United the title last year, glanced a free header feebly wide from six yards.

A nightmare afternoon plumbed new depths when Vidic was given a second yellow card for bringing down Sturridge, although replays suggested the England striker had dived.

The only crumb of comfort for United was that Gerrard missed his hat-trick opportunity by hitting De Gea's right-hand post.

De Gea saved well from Suarez with eight minutes left but the Uruguayan did not miss moments later to complete a miserable day for United.

Copyright :

Top-seeded Wichita State headed to St. Louis — with Kansas company

Some people reacted with anger and sympathy on behalf of Wichita State as CBS revealed the Midwest Region bracket. The top-seeded Shockers appeared to receive a tough break from the selection committee, which placed some of college basketball’s biggest names in between them and a return to the Final Four.

The unbeaten Shockers reacted with excitement. Anybody who thinks this team will shrink from playing Kentucky, Kansas State, Louisville or Duke doesn’t understand this team. They want to play the big names. The biggest reaction during Sunday’s selection show came when “Kentucky” popped up as a possible opponent.

If the Shockers win their way to Arlington, Texas, for the national semifinals on April 5, they will earn it through a field that appears monumentally difficult.

“The best challenge out there is those big-name schools that you think you can’t beat,” WSU forward Cleanthony Early said. “And I feel like we can beat them, if we continue to play hard and do what we do.”

Before the Shockers can think about big names, they must fulfill the duty of the No. 1 seed and dispatch a No. 16. It’s usually easy, but they witnessed No. 16 Southern trail No. 1 Gonzaga by one point with 2:28 remaining last season in Salt Lake City. Gonzaga won 64-58, a performance which hinted at its loss to the Shockers two days later.

The Shockers (34-0) will play either Cal Poly (13-19) or Texas Southern (19-14) on Friday at Scottrade Center. Those teams meet Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio. The Shockers would face the Kansas State-Kentucky winner in the round of 32 on Sunday.

No. 1 seeds are 116-0 against the No. 16 seed.

The Scottrade Center, site of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, will be a madhouse starting Thursday with the public practices at noon. Kentucky and Kansas (in the South Region) own two of the largest fan bases in college basketball. Shocker fans started buying tickets for St. Louis at least a month ago. Kansas State adds a fourth team, with fans used to traveling, within driving distance.

While Wichita is 442 miles from St. Louis, Lexington is 334 and Manhattan is 368.

The challenge for WSU is to ignore the circus and focus on playing, first against an opponent they won’t know until Wednesday night. A year ago, the Shockers slipped relatively unnoticed into Salt Lake City — unable to fill a chartered flight with fans — as a No. 9 seed. This season, all eyes are on the nation’s lone unbeaten, some cheering and some wishing for their early demise. Before the Shockers can worry about Kentucky’s height or Kansas State’s Marcus Foster or a rematch with Louisville, it needs to win a game.

“Our bracket looks very stacked,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “Any time you’re going to play in this tournament, you really can’t think too far down the road. There will be upsets. People are going to talk about ‘You’re going to play this team or this team.’ You just need to take care of the business that is right in front of you, and that’s preparing for Texas Southern or Cal Poly.”

The Shockers excelled at taking each opponent seriously this season.

“We’ve got business to take care of and we’ve got to prepare properly,” Early said.

Grabbing one of four seeds atop a bracket adds another landmark to this historic season.

Wichita State is the Valley’s second No. 1 seed, joining 1979 Indiana State. It is WSU’s best seed in the tournament, topping a No. 5 in 2012. The Shockers are making a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance, a first for the program.

“My reaction was, very thankful,” WSU guard Ron Baker said. “You get chill bumps watching your team’s name pop up on the bracket. This year, as a one seed, it feels very special and we’ll hope to take advantage of it.”

The Shockers join a list of 45 schools to earn top seeds since the NCAA first ranked the field in 1979. North Carolina (14), Duke (12), Kentucky (11) and Kansas (10) lead the list. Since 2004, WSU, Gonzaga (2013), Memphis (2006, 2008) and Saint Joseph’s (2004) are the only schools outside the SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big 10 and Pacific-10 conferences to earn a No. 1 seed.

Preparations started immediately, thanks to the use of Internet-based video systems. The video portion of the scouting reports were done within an hour or so of the selection show. Assistant coach Steve Forbes will handle the scouting duties for Texas Southern. Greg Heiar will prepare for Cal Poly. Associate head coach Chris Jans will scout Kentucky and either Forbes or Heiar will switch to Kansas State after WSU’s first opponent is determined.

WSU will travel to St. Louis on Wednesday. Public and private practices and media sessions are scheduled for Thursday.

“Both of these teams will have our full respect,” WSU guard Fred VanVleet said. “We’ll know our opponent pretty well by tip-off.”

Reaction to the Mighty Midwest came quickly.

According to the Associated Press, four of the teams in the Midwest are among the top eight in the nation —No. 2 WSU, No. 5 Louisville, No. 7 Duke and No. 8 Michigan.

Three 2013 Final Four teams — WSU, second-seeded Michigan and fourth-seeded Louisville, the defending NCAA champion, are in the Midwest. So is Saint Louis, ranked No. 10 less than a month ago. Seventh-seeded Texas finished in a tie for third in the Big 12 and owns wins over North Carolina, Iowa State and Kansas.

WSU, Duke and Michigan are ranked in the top 11 of the RPI, according to Louisville, which has won five straight games by 10 or more points, is a favorite of Ken Pomeroy’s advanced statistics. He ranks them No. 2 nationally with its offensive and defensive efficiency both in the top 10. WSU is the only other team ranked in the top 10 of both.

The committee also hit WSU hard with its map skills.

Should WSU and Louisville advance to the Sweet 16, they meet in Indianapolis in a regional semifinal, 114 miles from Louisville and 676 from Wichita, which hardly seems like geographic protection for the region’s top seed.

“No one in that committee room had the common sense to look at the Midwest and say, this is ridiculous?” wrote Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated on Twitter.

Eric Prisbell of USA Today Tweeted: “My worst fear: Louisville a 4 with WSU a 1. Totally ridiculous. No way Louisville is a 4 seed.”

The Shockers, after two months of talk about their schedule and their worthiness as a NCAA title contender, are ready for the main event.

“Once you get to the NCAA Tournament, it seems like a whole season in itself,” Baker said. “We can put everything behind us and focus.”

Copyright :

Friday, March 14, 2014

Money may send Vince Wilfork away

The 32-year-old defensive tackle asked for his release after apparently feeling spurned by recent contract discussions, according to the NFL Network. When reached yesterday, Wilfork’s agent, Kennard McGuire, had no comment.

As surprising as it may be, the signs existed of an unhappy ending with Wilfork’s $11.6 million cap hit in 2014. Financially, the Patriots would save $8 million against the cap by granting Wilfork’s request, so the business side of it works in the team’s favor.

The final season of Wilfork’s five-year, $40 million contract included $7.5 million in base salary, a $400,000 workout bonus and $200,000 weight bonus, plus the prorated portion of his $18 million signing bonus, accounting for $3.6 million in dead money.

So, the Pats didn’t want Wilfork to account for an $11.6 million cap hit a year after tearing his Achilles, and made their attempt to tweak that margin. Because Wilfork fought so hard in 2010 for his contract, the thought of taking a pay cut after 10 years of service was likely nauseating.

It’s possible the Pats offered an extension to Wilfork to spread out the cap hit to future years, but the high probability of a team-friendly offer appeared to irk him, which became evident with yesterday’s news of his asking to be released.

Wilfork is now betting on himself. In terms of actual cash, he would have made a minimum of $7.5 million in salary in 2014, and if he’s healthy enough after surgery, he would have earned the extra $600,000 with good attendance during the team’s nine-week offseason workout program.

In terms of average annual value, defensive tackle Paul Soliai set the market this offseason by earning $6.6 million per season in his five-year, $33 million deal with the Falcons, and Wilfork’s situation isn’t conducive to that type of deal. So, it’s clear he’s going to take less money by playing elsewhere in 2014, but Wilfork is likely taking the long-term view.

If he signs a one-year, prove-it deal, Wilfork could cash in next offseason with a two- or three-year contract that could ultimately net more money than he believes he’d receive immediately with the Pats. Considering Wilfork was a first-time first-team All-Pro in his last full season before the injury, it’s understandable why he’d feel confident in himself.

Pride might also be in play.

There’s no doubt the Patriots broke from their traditional philosophy Wednesday night by signing cornerback Darrelle Revis and making him the highest-paid player on the defense, as well as the second highest-paid player in the locker room.

Wilfork might shake his head and wonder why the big deal happened so quickly with Revis, who signed five hours after getting cut by the Buccaneers, and it’s been so difficult for him to get his own money, plus others who had come before him.

That’s just a theory.

However, the combination of Wilfork’s business sense and the timing of his request make it intriguing to connect the dots.

With so much in play from each side, there are positives for Wilfork and the Patriots to stand their ground, even if that results in a divorce.

Copyright :

No Mo Black Mamba: Kobe Bryant To Miss The Rest Of NBA 2014 Season


According to Eben Gregory, The Los Angeles Lakers have ruled Kobe Bryant out for the remainder of the season after a re-examination of the veteran guard’s injured knee showed it still hasn’t healed.
Kobe has been out of the game since he fractured the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. The injury was a tough break for the Laker star after he worked so hard to come back from a tragic achilles tear suffered last season.

Bryant himself spoke about it as well. Said Kobe,
“Obviously this has been a frustrating and disappointing season, but I appreciate all the support I’ve received from the Lakers and the fans and look forward to being back and ready for the start of training camp. I don’t want to say I’ll be back at the top of my game, because everybody is going to think I’m crazy and an old player not letting go, that sort of thing, but that’s what it’s going to be. The amount of time that we’re looking at in terms of being able to get as healthy as possible and then get in shape so that you don’t come back and get hurt again, by the time that’s ready to go you’re looking at a week left in the season or whatever the case may be and it didn’t really seem worth it. You just continue to try to ramp up. Now I find myself really looking at a seven-month training program. Just doing everything I can to get my body ready and be 100 percent and I have seven months to do that. So, I feel pretty good about it.”
Said team physician Steve Lombardo.

“With Kobe’s injury still not healed, the amount of time he’d need to rehab and be ready to play, and the amount of time remaining in the season, we’ve simply run out of time for him to return. However, Kobe will have the entire offseason to heal, rehab and prepare, and we look forward to him being 100 percent for the start of next season.”

Bryant said he made his decision to sit out the rest of the way Tuesday, prior to the final evaluation.

Copyright :

Chicago Bulls’ swingman Mike Dunleavy returns with vengeance

Chicago: Mike Dunleavy shook off a cruel elbow in the second quarter that left him bloodied and bruised before returning in the third to take down Houston with a superb offensive performance.
The 33-year-old Chicago Bulls swingman needed 10 stitches at half-time to close a nasty gash over his right eye after being floored by a cruel elbow from the Rockets’ Chandler Parsons.
Rather than let it end his night, Dunleavy scored 18 of his 21 points in the third quarter to lift Chicago to a 111-87 win over Houston Thursday night at the United Centre arena.
“The doctor said I had thick skin,” said Dunleavy, who is the son of former NBA star and NBA head coach Mike Dunleavy Sr.
Parsons drove to the basket, leading with his left elbow that smashed into the face of Dunleavy. Parsons was slapped with an offensive foul on the play.
Dunleavy said he was just holding his ground and didn’t see the elbow coming. His face, though, ended up as a bloody mess. He got up off the ground and rushed to the locker room while a trainer held a towel up to try and stop the bleeding.
“No point in hanging around the court and getting blood everywhere,” said Dunleavy.
The incident took place with just under eight minutes left before halftime.
“It feels alright,” Dunleavy said. “I got hit with an elbow trying to take a charge.
“It happens. You hang around this league enough and you are going to get hit. They did a good job of stitching me up and I was able to get back in quick enough.”
Dunleavy returned to the court to start the third and came out with vengeance. He scored 10 points during Chicago’s 20-2 run to open the period that extended their lead to 70-44 halfway through the quarter.
Dunleavy went seven-of-11 from the field in the third, including three-of-four from three point range.
“The hit knocked a little sense into me, I guess,” Dunleavy said.
Joking aside, Dunleavy said besides the deep cut he also suffered a sore neck due to the whiplash motion of being hit.
“I think it inspired the team,” said Joakim Noah. “He had a huge knot on his head, looking like [Evander] Holyfield, the white version ... It was good for Duke’s street credibility.”
Noah narrowly missed a triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for Chicago, which won for the 12th time in the last 16 games. Kirk Hinrich scored 19, Carlos Boozer 18 and D.J. Augustin 13 for the Bulls.
Chicago held Houston star James Harden to a season-low tying eight points.
The Rockets have lost two consecutive contests following a five-game winning streak. It’s the first time Houston has lost back to back games since January 24-25.
Jeremy Lin paced their attack with 21 points. They also got 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks from Dwight Howard.

Copyright :

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

World T20 2014: Why we think that India cannot win the championship


The world T20 is around the corner and all the teams and fans are warming up to put up the contender ship for their respective countries. A total of 16 teams will be fighting for the title, 8 out of which would undergo a qualifying round before the main tournament starts.

The Indian team which has been on a bad run since the South African tour has a lot to worry about in the limited over format of the game. They have now lost 9 of their last 12 games, winning only two. Now the T2o format is an entirely different scenario than that of the 50 over format, but you can’t deny that the basic of the game is the same. India has not been able to give a complete team performance since the champions trophy now, and the lack of balance in the team is clearly visible. Here we take a look at the area of concern for the Indian team in the shorter format.

Now we are not talking about the IPL or any other domestic league, what we do want to put forward is that the Indian team last played a t20 international match on 10th October 2013 against the Australians, which they did manage to win due to career best figures from Yuvraj Singh. Before that India had not played another T20 in another 10 months, so for the records, they have played only one T20 international in the last 15 months. We can always argue that they get enough experience in the IPL, but we should also not forget that even the IPL was a year back

The bowling department has been one of the flaws that India has now carried for generations with themselves. We have never produced a bowler that can literally scare an opponent. Yes, there have been moments of brilliance by someone or the other and there has always been promise, but that never expands into anything. The team that is going to the T20 world cup is carrying the same bowling attack as the previous tournament. A bowling attack that has shown promise in the one day format, but T20 again is an entirely different format and we have seen again and again how the Indian bowlers crumble under pressure

The Indian middle order is far from what you can call as balanced. Yes we do have returning names like Yuvraj and Raina, who are huge when it comes to the T20 format but then even those two have not played any games at the international arena in the last 6 months or so. When it comes to cricket, practice and form matters, and these two far away from what you can call as good form, plus you also have the short ball problem with both of them. One might think that M S Dhoni would prove to be saviors as far as the middle order is concerned, but his record in T20 internationals doesn’t say much either as he is yet to score a half century in the shorter format. His strike rate also happens to be only 114.88 per 100 balls; something that is highly under achieving as far as M S Dhoni is concerned.

Another major concern is regarding the selection of the spinners, the team has management has yet not been able to decide about whom to play and whom to not. Since Ravindra Jadeja sure to play, considering his all-round performance in the recent tournaments, the team management will have to take a decision on whether to give chances to a newly sparked Amit Mishra or to maintain their Ashwin love affair, a love affair which doesn’t seem to bring about any profits when it’s required the most.

With so much to improve and so many hurdles to overcome, it seems very unlikely that the Indian team has any major chance of winning this world T20. We do believe in miracle, and one can give the example of the 2007 t20 world cup triumph as one, but a team can be one time lucky. Will luck do a favor on the Indian team for the second time? Only time will tell.

Copyright :

UAE to host first stage of 2014 IPL cricket - organisers

South Africa hosted the second IPL in 2009 when the cash-awash tournament clashed with the multi-phased election that year.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will host the first leg of this year's Indian Premier League cricket (IPL), the organisers said on Wednesday.

The lucrative Twenty20 tournament this year clashes with the parliamentary election in the world's biggest democracy.  A staggering 814 million Indians will be eligible to vote from April 7 in what would be the biggest election the world has ever seen.

Voting will be held in nine stages, staggered until May 12, and results are due to be announced on May 16.  With poll security being the government's priority, UAE would host at least 16 IPL matches from April 16-30, the Indian cricket board said in a statement without naming the venues.

Local media claimed Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah would host those matches. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has approached the interior ministry for permission to host the May 1-12 matches in states where polling would be over, but has kept Bangladesh as a standby in case the government cannot provide security.

"BCCI will abide by the decision of the authorities in this regard. If it is not possible to play in India during this period, IPL matches will be held in Bangladesh," the board said.  

The last set of matches culminating in the June 1 final would be held in India, the board said, promising to share tournament schedules soon. South Africa hosted the second IPL in 2009 when the cash-awash tournament clashed with the multi-phased election that year.

Copyright :

Phil Jackson’s fiancee Jeanie Buss - wearing New York sweatshirt - says Knicks job ‘his decision to make’

 Phil Jackson's fiance Jeanie Buss walks her and Phil's dog, Princess, outside of their beach front home in Playa Del Rey, Calif., on Wednesday, March 12, 2014.
Jeanie Buss, Phil Jackson's fiancee, sports a New York sweatshirt for a morning walk.

LOS ANGELES — As the world awaits official word on whether Phil Jackson will save the Knicks, his fiancee, Lakers president Jeanie Buss, hinted Wednesday morning that she has the answer.

While wearing a sweatshirt with NEW YORK across the front as she walked her diabetic 11-year-old Maltese in front of the Playa Del Rey home she shares with Jackson, Buss told the Daily News that while it’s “not appropriate for me to talk about that ... Of course I wouldn’t stop him. It’s his decision to make, of course.”

Jeanie Buss says she would not stop Phil Jackson from taking a front-office gig with the Knicks.
Jeanie Buss says she would not stop Phil Jackson from taking a front-office gig with the Knicks.

Asked if New York has a special place in Jackson’s heart, Buss, who is also the Lakers’ NBA Board of Governors representative, responded: "Of course! It's where he was a player. And you know, I'm there a lot for Board of Governors meetings," she said.
Buss laughed when it was suggested the sweatshirt was a sign of where Jackson was heading.

 Phil Jackson shares the beach front home (c.) in Playa Del Rey, Calif, with Jeanie Buss.
Phil Jackson shares the beach front home (c.) in Playa Del Rey, Calif, with Jeanie Buss.

Jeanie Buss out for a morning stroll with dog Princess outside of their beach front home.
Jeanie Buss out for a morning stroll with dog Princess outside of their beach front home.

One of the big questions surrounding Jackson’s decision on whether to accept the Knicks’ offer of a front office position is how much time he would be willing to spend in New York. It has been reported that Jackson might prefer a consulting role with the team that would allow him to still spend time in L.A.
As she walked back to her house from a grassy park overlooking a lagoon, Buss was asked if they would have to give up their idyllic beachside lifestyle and move to New York, Buss answered:
"Isn't it nice down here?" she said, smiling as she walked away with her dog Princess in her arms.

“It’s my favorite sweatshirt,” she said.

Copyright :

Are Broncos risking future to win now?

The Denver Broncos own the NFL’s best regular-season record in the two seasons since quarterback Peyton Manning improbably hit the market and signed with them. However, they are only 2-2 in the playoffs over that span, compared to a combined 12-3-1 for the more defensively oriented Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens. And after enduring a Super Bowl humiliation last month, there was no way the Broncos could sit by idly and hope for a different result next time. They were going to address their defense in some fashion, but could anyone have expected this? 

One day into free agency, the Broncos slammed the accelerator to the floor in a clear push to win a championship before the nearly 38-year-old Manning's career is finished. While the money Denver allocated for cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward sent a clear message on its own, the Broncos’ immediate interest in the recently released DeMarcus Ware left little doubt. The question is whether the Broncos can have it both ways. Will their win-now mentality cause them to pay a steep price later? 

Every NFL general manager would tell you successful franchises ideally build through the draft and supplement with value buys in free agency.

Copyright :

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Stars announcer Daryl 'Razor' Reaugh gives his account of Rich Peverley's collapse

Dallas Stars television color analyst Daryl "Razor" Reaugh spoke with Norm Hitzges on KTCK-AM/FM 1310/96.7 this morning to discuss last night's episode involving Rich Peverley.
Below is a transcript of his comments:

On whether he had an idea of what was going on when Peverley collapsed:

“None whatsoever in the beginning because the play was going on and then all of the sudden it was just pandemonium and chaos at the Stars bench. Things flash through your mind of what it might be. Did somebody get cut with a skate? There are time when there’s an injury or whatever and there’s a commotion on either bench and a player’s leaving the rink but this was completely different. Lindy Ruff was up and flailing his arms and trying to get the attention of both the officials and — as he said at the press conference after — a doctor. It doesn’t show on any of the video that was captured. You could sheer when you were in there just the sheer panic and the distress that was going on with our players and with our coaches with what had happened.”

On discovering that it was Rich Peverley:
“You move forward and you’re like, ‘Who is it?’ Because you know the precondition of Rich, your worst fears are there and you’re thinking, ‘That’s probably what it was.’ You can’t say it because you don’t know it yet. The most striking thing was looking at the video of the faces of the players and the coaches who just watched their teammate go essentially lifeless on their bench. Then you just shut up for a while it is what you do, and try to figure exactly what is going on without screwing it up and starting to speculate and babble. It was bizarre. I’ve never been a part of something like that.”
On after Peverley collapsed:

“Nobody could make an announcement. What announcement are you going to make anyway at that point? Our doctors, our training staff were absolute friggin’ rock stars last night. They were working on Rich 25 feet from our bench in the hallway. … You could see them pack someone from the bench and hustle down the hallway to get the paddles on him and that. As we heard after, one shot with the paddles and they brought him back like that, which was the greatest news they could have and he was conscious when he left, but it took them a long time to get that.”
On whether the heart actually stopped:

“It was surreal even after the game, that this group was loading up and marching on to St. Louis. Guys’ faces told the entire story. … My understanding is that is pretty much what happened. They gave him oxygen, gave him the paddles, brought his heart rhythm back and then took him back to the hospital.”
On the game getting postponed:

“I don’t know that you could say enough about how Lindy Ruff has handled himself done in his first season with the Dallas Stars, what he’s been doing with this group and what he did last night. Whether there were back room debates whether to go forward with the game or not … you could see the condition of the players. It was like, ‘There’s no way we’re playing.’ I think (Ruff) said that in his press conference too. The message to the league was, ‘We can’t play.’ ”

On what the doctors told Peverley when his condition was discovered in the preseason:
“I would think the message was that the risks were taken care of. Not even knowing whether this is completely to do with what he was dealing with or whether it was some other area of the heart that had failed him. … Everyone was quite confident, from what I understand, that this was being treated and he was going to be able to go on with his NFL career.”
On dealing with the whole event on the broadcast:

“The last thing on earth you want to do is end up like CNN and be giving out information and then backtracking and saying, ‘Well that actually wasn’t true.’ The message is always to just shut up until you get whatever confirmation of information you can give forth because people want to know, but at the same time you want to give them the right information. I’m not versed in how to handle these types of things. You just kind of juggle things as they’re going on. The best news of the night is that Rich was conscious and talking, because it didn’t look like that was going to be part of the equation right after that thing started at the Stars bench and you knew it was Rich Peverley.”

Copyright :

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Drummond's 30-25 wins Rising Stars Challenge

NEW ORLEANS — Andre Drummond had 30 points and a Rising Stars Challenge-record 25 rebounds, leading Team Hill to a 142-136 victory over Team Webber on Friday night.

Besides an impressive tally of dunks and rebounds, Drummond even managed to make his free throws while winning MVP honors. A 41 percent shooter during the regular season, the Detroit forward went 6 for 8, including a pair with 29 seconds left after chasing down Bradley Beal’s missed free throw to give his team a five-point lead.

Cleveland’s Dion Waiters had 31 points, mostly coming during a 1-on-1 duel with New York’s Tim Hardaway Jr. in the second half. Beal finished with 21 for Team Hill, picked by former NBA star Grant Hill.

Hardaway scored 36 points and made seven 3-pointers for fellow former Michigan star Chris Webber’s squad. Philadelphia rookie Michael Carter-Williams had 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

Portland’s Damian Lillard had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists in the victory, making him 1 for 1 during the busiest All-Star weekend ever. Last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year will take part in five events, three more on All-Star Saturday and the All-Star game on Sunday.

All-Stars such as Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Kyrie Irving watched the game, with Irving leaping to his feet at one point after watching Waiters, his Cavaliers teammate, try to take over the game with about 8 minutes to play.

Waiters had two baskets and then two 3-pointers, one of them when he stepped back after faking a move to the basket that made Hardaway lose his balance. Hardaway answered back with two 3-pointers of his own as the crowd roared.

Waiters then clinched the duel when he knocked the ball free for a rare defensive highlight in the game, nailing his second straight 3-pointer to give team Hill the lead for good at 126-124 with 2:44 left. Drummond followed with a dunk for a four-point advantage, and Team Webber could never catch up.

The game that began as a matchup of top rookies and later turned into rookies against second-year players now mixes the rosters. That’s probably a good thing, since this year’s crop of kids is so underwhelming.

Only two of the top 10 picks in the 2013 draft, which has been hindered by injuries, were invited to this game, No. 2 Oladipo and No. 9 Trey Burke.

Players were picked to play on Team Hill and Team Webber, which they wore under their numbers on the back of their jerseys.

Drummond 16 points and 10 rebounds in his first 10 minutes and shot 12 of 21 for the game.

Copyright :

2nd Test, Day 4: India vs New Zealand – Statistical highlights

2nd Test, Day 4: India vs New Zealand – Statistical highlights
Wellington: Statistical highlights on day two of the second and final cricket Test between India and New Zealand at Basin Reserve, here on Saturday.

Ajinkya Rahane (118 off 158 balls) recorded his maiden Test century, surpassing the 96 vs South Africa at Durban in December last year. He became the fifth Indian batsman to record a Test hundred at Basin Reserve, joining Gautam Gambhir (167 in 2009), Ajit Wadekar (143 in 1968), Sachin Tendulkar (113 in 1998) and Mohammad Azharuddin (103 not out in 1998).

Rahane is the fifth Indian player to post a hundred while batting at number seventh position away from home. Kapil Dev remains the only one to have registered two hundreds - 100 not out at Port of Spain in March 1983 and 129 at Port Elizabeth in December 1992.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (68) recorded his highest score in New Zealand in Tests, eclipsing the 56 not out at Wellington in April 2009. Overall he has registered three fifties in consecutive innings in New Zealand - all at Basin Reserve.

At Basin Reserve, Dhoni is averaging 88.00 - 176 in three innings, including three fifties. His sixth fifty against New Zealand is his 29th in Tests.

Rahane and Dhoni were associated in a stand of 120 - India`s highest for the seventh wicket at wellington and their second best in New Zealand, next only to the 128 between Kiran More and Sachin Tendulkar in the 1989-90 Napier Test.

Ishant Sharma (26 off 50 balls) has recorded his highest Test score outside the sub-continent besides posting his highest against New Zealand.

Dhoni completed his 3,000 runs as Indian skipper in Tests - his tally being 3037 at an average of 42.18 in 53 Tests, including five centuries and 20 fifties. Sunil Gavaskar (3449 (ave.50.72) in 47 Tests) was the first to achieve the distinction.

India (438) posted their highest total at Basin Reserve, eclipsing the 434 for seven wickets declared in April 2009.

India took a first innings lead of 246 against New Zealand - their highest in a Test match in New Zealand in the first innings. The lead is their second highest against New Zealand in the first innings in Tests behind the 376-run lead in the Nagpur Test in November 2010. The last instance when India had a first innings lead of 200 or more outside sub-continent was against New Zealand in the 2008-09 Hamilton Test.

India have accomplished a run-rate of 4.26 - their second highest outside the sub-continent when they have managed atleast 400 - their highest is 4.61 during their total of 482 off 104.3 overs against New Zealand at Auckland in February 1990.

Shikhar Dhawan (98) registered his third highest score in Tests behind the 187 on Test debut against Australia in March last year and 115 against New Zealand at Auckland in February last week.

Dhawan has amassed 213 at an average of 71.00, including a hundred - the highest by an Indian batsman in the current rubber. He has totalled 200 runs or more in a Test series forthe firt time.

Dhawan has become the fifth Indian player to be dismissed in the nervous nineties against New Zealand in New Zealand in Tests. Rusi Surti (99 at Auckland in 1968), Navjot Singh Sidhu (98 at Hamilton in 1994), W.V.Raman (96 at Christchurch in 1990) and Manoj Prabhakar (95 at Napier in 1990) had been the previous victims.

Watling has become the third New Zealand wicketkeeper to effect five dismissals in a Test innings at Basin Reserve, Wellington. He has joined Roy Harford (vs India in 1967-68) and Warren Lees (vs Sri Lanka in 1982-83).

Watling has become the first New Zealand wicketkeeper to effect five dismissals in a Test innings against India twice - Auckland and Wellington Tests in 2014. In three consecutive Tests, he has effected five dismissals or more in a Test innings - the first New Zealand wicketkeeper to do so.

With 14 dismissals in three innings in the current rubber, Watling is a New Zealand record against India in a Test series, eclipsing the 13 by Ian Smith in five innings in 1980-81. It is a New Zealand record in a two-Test series.

Rahane and Dhoni have provided the 12th instance when India`s number seven and eight have recorded half-centuries in the same Test innings.

Copyright :

Winter Olympic skiing 2014 results: Austria takes 2 medals in super-G, including gold for Anna Fenninger

Austria add two more medals to its total in the women's super-G on Saturday, including a gold takes to a brilliant run by Anna Fenninger

Austria continued its reign of dominance in Olympic super-G on Saturday. A total of 24 medals have been handed out since the event was added to the Winter Olympics in 1988, and the Austrians have now won eight of those medals after securing gold and bronze in Sochi.

Anna Fenninger took the gold with a time of 1:25.52, nosing ahead of silver medalist Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany by 0.55 seconds. Fenninger's country-mate, Nicole Hosp, was just 0.66 seconds out of first and 0.11 seconds out of silver in taking bronze.

The United States' Julia Mancuso took eighth place in the event, 1.52 seconds behind Fenninger. Mancuso, who has a bronze medal in women's super combined slalom, told NBC Olympics that she was hesitant on the course after watching several skiers struggle before her start. Seven of the first eight bibs on the course did not finish, thanks in part to soft snow.

The gold was Fenninger's first medal at this year's Olympics. She finished fourth in the women's super combined downhill. Hoefl-Riesch and Hosp both added their second medals in Sochi. Hoefl-Riesch won the super combined slalom, beating Hosp who took silver in the event.
Austria has now seven total medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Germany has 12, putting them in a tie for the second-most behind the United States and Norway.

Copyright :

Report says Miami Dolphins bullying was widespread

An investigation into the racially charged Miami Dolphins bullying scandal detailed widespread harassment in the team's locker room that extended beyond the two players at the center of the probe.

The NFL-ordered report stated there was a "pattern of harassment" committed by at least three players and extended to two linemen and an assistant trainer, all targets of vicious taunts and racist insults.

Lawyer Ted Wells released the report Friday, saying guard John Jerry and center Mike Pouncey followed Richie Incognito's lead in harassing Jonathan Martin, who left the team in October. They threatened to rape his sister, called him a long list of slurs and bullied him for not being "black enough."

In a statement emailed by a league spokesman, the NFL did not make any mention of possible punishment stemming from the case. The league only confirmed it had received the report and said it appreciated the Dolphins' cooperation. Wells said he does not intend to comment further.

Martin is biracial, Incognito is white, and Jerry and Pouncey are black.

Martin's agent Kenneth Zuckerman said his client feels "vindicated" by the report.

Incognito's attorney Mark Schamel released a statement calling Wells' report "replete with errors" and said that Martin "was never bullied by Richie Incognito or any member of the Dolphins' offensive line."

Martin, a former Stanford star, declined interview requests.

Incognito was suspended in November, but Pouncey and Jerry remained starters throughout the season.

The report mentioned but didn't identify another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer who also routinely came under attack from the trio.

The inquiry said Martin was taunted and ridiculed almost daily and that, "To a great extent, Incognito dictated the culture."

The report found no evidence the Dolphins front office or coach Joe Philbin was aware of the conduct Martin found abusive.

Copyright :

Friday, February 14, 2014

Jim Fregosi dies at 71; first star player in Angels history

Fregosi also was the manager who guided the Angels to their first AL West championship in 1979. He later managed the White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays, leading Philadelphia to the NL pennant in 1993.
Jim Fregosi
Manager Jim Fregosi after the Angels won the American League West Division Championship in 1979. (Los Angeles Times / Los Angeles Times / February 14, 2014)

Jim Fregosi, the first star player in Angels franchise history and the manager who guided them to their first American League West championship in 1979, died Friday in a Miami hospital after suffering a stroke in the Cayman Islands. He was 71.
His death was announced by the Angels, who retired his No. 11 jersey in 1988.
Fregosi, who spent the last 13 years as a highly regarded scout for the Atlanta Braves, was stricken during a Major League Baseball Players Alumni cruise last weekend. He was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Wednesday and removed from life support on Thursday.
"This is really shocking, very sad news," Atlanta General Manager Frank Wren said. "Jim was involved in every player decision we made. He had so much insight, so much understanding of players and how to put teams together.
"He was a real valuable member of the team and just a wonderful guy, one who always brightened up your day because he loved the game, he loved life."
Fregosi, who was a special assistant to Wren, received one of scouting's greatest honors, the George Genovese Lifetime Achievement Award, at the 2011 Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner in Los Angeles.
"Every scout loved him — he was a legend in the game," said Dennis Gilbert, the Chicago White Sox executive and founder of the scouts foundation. "He was a hero for scouts, a really good friend, and as a kid, he was my favorite player growing up. He was the heart and soul of those Angels clubs."
Fregosi was born in San Francisco on April 4, 1942, and was a three-sport star at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, where he was all-league in football, basketball and baseball.
Originally signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1960, he was selected by the Angels in the 1960 expansion draft and made his major league debut in September 1961, when he was 19.
Fregosi quickly established himself as one of baseball's best defensive shortstops, teaming with second baseman Bobby Knoop to form one of the game's top double-play combinations. He led the AL in double plays twice and won the 1967 Gold Glove Award.
In 11 seasons with the Angels, Fregosi hit .268 with 115 home runs and 546 runs batted in and made the All-Star team six times.
Fregosi was traded to the New York Mets in December 1971 in the famous five-player deal that brought future Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan to Anaheim.
He moved to third base because the Mets had a respected shortstop in Bud Harrelson. But he was sidelined by several injuries, including a broken thumb in 1972, and hit just .233 with five homers and 43 RBIs in 146 games in New York.
Fregosi was sold to Texas in 1973 and spent most of his five seasons with the Rangers as a backup before being traded to Pittsburgh in June 1977.
Fregosi was enjoying an off-day with teammates in Cincinnati, "eating ribs and chicken and having a beer," as he later recalled, when he got a call from then-Angels GM Buzzie Bavasi in June 1978 offering him a job as manager. Only 36 at the time, Fregosi called his wife, Jan.
"I said I hurt my arm in the game last night, and I'll be coming home," Fregosi said in 1978. "She said, 'Coming home?' I said, "Yeah, my arm is bad. I think I'll come home and probably manage the Angels.' And she said, 'Yeah, sure.' And I said, 'Yeah, I'm coming home to manage the Angels.' And she started crying."
Fregosi, who finished his playing career with a .265 average, 151 homers and 706 RBIs in 18 years, said that he got the inspiration to manage from Bill Rigney, who managed the Angels from 1961 to 1969, the first nine years of their existence. "Just talking with him about baseball, I got very interested in managing," Fregosi said.
It was clear from the beginning that Fregosi would be a favorite among players. At a news conference to announce his hiring, he was asked if he would have any team rules such as a curfew on the road.
"You know what the easiest thing is?" Fregosi responded. "If you don't have any rules, they can't break them."
The players responded, going 88-74 and winning their first division title in 1979 with stars such as Don Baylor, Rod Carew, Bobby Grich, Brian Downing, Ryan and Dave Frost. The Angels lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the AL championship series.
Fregosi, who didn't see eye-to-eye with then-Angels Owner Gene Autry, was fired during the strike-shortened 1981 season. He went on to manage the White Sox (1986-88), the Philadelphia Phillies (1991-96) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000) and led the Phillies to the National League pennant in 1993.
Fregosi had a 1,028-1,095 record in 15 years as a major league manager, including a 237-249 mark in his three seasons (1979-81) in Anaheim.
Fregosi is survived by his wife, Joni; his sons Jim Jr. and Robbie and his daughters Jennifer, Nicole and Lexy.

Copyright :