Abramovich's Chelsea confronts anti-Semitism problem

AP Updated: 27 February, 2019, 11:13 AM IST


Gathered with his Chelsea directors, Roman Abramovich stopped the football talk to raise deep concerns.

This was in November 2017, and Abramovich was alarmed by a rise in anti-Semitic incidents, particularly in Britain — and even in his own stadium. Rather than just focusing on trophies, the Premier League club's Jewish owner believed Chelsea could be a force for social change, to transform the minority of fans hurling abuse at Stamford Bridge.

"We're just sitting, talking ... and he brought up what he had noticed and what he was concerned about," Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck recalled in an interview with The Associated Press, "and of course everyone said he's someone that can do something about it."

For more than a year, Chelsea has been working with Jewish organizations to harness the power and influence of the world's biggest sport to promote a more inclusive environment at games and, more broadly, educate new generations about the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

A group from the club, including academy players, has visited the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. A Holocaust survivor, Harry Spiro , addressed the first team squad about the horrors of the Buchenwald and Theresienstadt camps.

"I thought they'd be on their iPhones," Buck recalled. "He told his story for about 45 minutes and every single player and every single coach sat there mesmerized."

Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day last month, players, including Eden Hazard, were featured in a video urging the world, "We Remember."

"They're role models," Buck said, "so we hope some of these stupid fans, and there are a few out there, realize that these are my role models."

It's a work in progress that has layers of complexity.

UEFA disciplinary officials on Thursday will decide how to punish Chelsea for anti-Semitic chants made by fans during a Europa League game in Hungary in December against Vidi. Chelsea could be forced to play a game behind closed doors without any fans.

The Chelsea fans were chanting "Yid," a derogatory term for Jewish people. What muddies complaints is the fact that fans of crosstown rival Tottenham, which has traditionally drawn a large fan base from the Jewish communities in London, call themselves the "Yid Army." For decades the Y-word has been deployed as a call to arms by Tottenham followers.

But when Chelsea fans have hurled the Y-word — particularly during games against Tottenham — there has also been hissing, mimicking Nazi gas chambers. With Chelsea hosting its London rival on Wednesday night in the Premier League, fresh warnings have been issued for fans to cut out the antisemitism that has tarnished past derbies.

"There is a particular problem with the Y-word," Buck said. "We think the use of the Y-word by Spurs supporters, or by anybody, is wrong. It's very confusing ... because UEFA thinks it's wrong and are charging our fans. ... We're trying to say there shouldn't be a ban."

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Feature Tennis

Stefanos Tsitsipas will be the one to watch in 2019

Partab Ramchand Updated: 27 February, 2019, 11:38 AM IST


  • Tsitsipas is at No 11 in the latest rankings
  • Tsitsipas is deadly serious about his game
  • He also has a big serve and comes to the net more often

It’s been a quiet start to the tennis season symbolized by the fact that there are no major changes in the ATP rankings. Novak Djokovic who won the Australian Open is predictably comfortably perched on the top and Rafael Nadal whom he defeated in the title clash at Melbourne is some distance behind him. Roger Federer has fallen to No 7 chiefly because of his fourth round loss in the Australian Open to Stefanos Tsitsipas. And this brings us to the young Greek who is right now the most talked about young player on the circuit. At 20 he is the youngest player in the top 20 in the ATP rankings. And his semifinal appearance at the Australian Open where he went down to Nadal has also marked him for greater things.

For some time now the young generation has been threatening to take over from the trio of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. At the moment they are still playing catch up with the top places in the rankings generally being occupied by the Big Three who are also having a monopoly of the Grand Slam titles. However if there is a feeling that 2019 could finally mark the transition it is largely because of players like Tsitsipas. There is little doubt that he is the leader of the GenNext of players who could take over from the top three. From being nowhere at the start of 2018 Tsitsipas ended the year ranked No 15 and not unexpectedly was named the ATP most improved player following his breakthrough season.

Obviously any further progress will be a bit slower even for this prodigiously gifted youngster but despite the intensely competitive field Tsitsipas is at No 11 in the latest rankings following his winning the Marseilles Open on Sunday. His talent and impressive record as such a tender age is not the only thing that has seen grabbing the headlines. Also attracting considerable attention is his good looks, long hair, flamboyant lifestyle and the fact that he comes from a tennis playing family. But on court Tsitsipas is deadly serious about his game which is based on being an aggressive baseliner. From the backcourt he is able to send down a stream of groundstrokes which either find their mark or are difficult to return. He also has a big serve and comes to the net more often than other typical baseline players. He has earned a lot of praise not only for his talent and all court game but also for his calm temperament which has reminded the experts of Federer, his idol. Clearly among the many challengers for the top spots Tsitsipas will be the one to watch most closely in 2019.

News F1

With Alonso watching, McLaren's Norris fastest in F1 testing

AP Updated: 27 February, 2019, 11:31 AM IST


With Fernando Alonso watching from the pits, British rookie driver Lando Norris set the fastest time in his McLaren on Tuesday to start the final week of preseason testing in Formula One.

Norris' good run came on a relatively slow day for Mercedes and Ferrari, as both teams faced reliability issues.

Norris is part of the new McLaren lineup that also includes Spaniard Carlos Sainz. They are replacing Stoffel Vandoorne and two-time world champion Alonso, who left F1 after four seasons with the English team.

It has been a promising start for McLaren in 2019, with the team producing its best preseason performance in several years. It was able to run more laps in last week's sessions than in both weeks a year ago.

It wasn't a trouble-free day for Norris, though, as he twice faced mechanical problems at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit.

"On the whole today was a good day, although we didn't get to do quite as much running as we wanted," Norris said. "We've improved the car slightly since last week, especially on the longer runs, so we're going in the right direction, which is positive. It's important that we keep doing that."

His time of 1 minute, 17.709 seconds, which came on the faster tire compound, was three tenths of a second slower than Nico Hulkenberg's lap with Renault last week, the fastest so far this season. Pierre Gasly was second fastest with Red Bull on Tuesday, ahead of Lance Stroll of Racing Point.

Sebastian Vettel was fourth with Ferrari, with teammate Charles Leclerc seventh after being kept in the garage for a long time as the team investigated a cooling problem with his car.

"This morning we did fewer laps than planned, but I'm sure we can make up for lost work in the coming days," said Leclerc, who is debuting with the team this season.

Ferrari had enjoyed a smooth first four days of testing last week, showing good pace and reliability.

Valtteri Bottas was only 11th fastest with Mercedes on Tuesday, just ahead of teammate and defending world champion Lewis Hamilton. Bottas was stuck in the garage for most of the afternoon as the team had to change a power unit because of an oil pressure problem.

"Unfortunately, after four days of flawless reliability last week, I spent most of the day waiting," Bottas said. "But I'm glad I still got to do a few laps. The team did a really good job to get the car out again. It was important to get a bit of a feel for the new aero package. My running was obviously very limited, but it seems like we've made improvements."

Mercedes tested new aerodynamic parts to try to gain some speed compared to last week's sessions. There were relatively big regulation changes to the cars' front and rear wings compared to last season, and Ferrari appeared to arrive with a slightly more efficient design last week.

Williams, which started testing later than the other teams because a delay with its 2019 car, managed to run 119 laps with rookie George Russell.

Testing will continue through Friday at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, home to the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix is on March 17.

News Cricket

Shocking! Star Proteas Pacer announces retirement from international cricket

Staff Writer Updated: 27 February, 2019, 11:18 AM IST


A lot of South African players are going the Kolpak way. And another star Proteas pacer bites the dust. Duanne Olivier, who was named the Man of the Series against Pakistan, earlier this year, has become the latest South African player to announce retirement from international cricket.

He has signed a three-year Kolpak contract with Yorkshire. The 26 years old had even made it to top 20 in the ICC Test bowler rankings. And he looked a great prospect for South Africa going forward. But, just like Kyle Abbott, Olivier is also leaving South Africa at the peak of his powers.

There is a quota system prevalent in South African cricket, whereby the target is for an average of six players of color in the first XI, which often creates insecurity among players.

He was quoted by Yorkshire website as saying, “I came over to the UK last year and thoroughly enjoyed my time playing county cricket. I have since realized I could happily base myself there for the foreseeable future.

“I was originally looking to come back as an overseas player, but when I got a long-term offer from Yorkshire as a Kolpak, I knew that signing for the club would be the best option for both myself and my family.

“I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” he added. “It’s giving up playing for my country, with no guarantees of playing international cricket again. But at the end of the day, I needed to be true to myself. I’ve only got this one chance to see where my talent can take me, and Yorkshire just felt right to me,” he added.

News Football

Rodgers quits treble-chasing Celtic, takes over at Leicester

AP Updated: 27 February, 2019, 11:16 AM IST


Brendan Rodgers gave up the opportunity to lead Celtic to a third straight treble in Scotland to take over as Leicester manager in the Premier League on Tuesday.

It secured Rodgers a first managerial post in the English top flight since getting fired by Liverpool in October 2015, a year and a half after nearly leading the team to the Premier League title.

In his two full seasons at Celtic, Rodgers swept the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup titles. Already this season, Celtic has won the League Cup, leads the league by eight points, and is into the quarterfinals of the Scottish Cup.

Celtic moved immediately to replace Rodgers by hiring Neil Lennon, the club's manager from 2010-14.

Rodgers, who succeeds Claude Puel after the Frenchman's firing on Sunday, was due at Leicester's King Power Stadium for Tuesday's league game against Brighton but won't take charge of the team until the game on Sunday at Watford.

"I'll give my life," Rodgers said, "to make the supporters proud of their club. Together, we'll be stronger and I'm looking forward to working with the players, staff and supporters to make the right steps forward."

Leicester hasn't won any of its last seven games, stretching back to Jan. 1, and has slid to within eight points of the relegation zone.

Once a team happy to just be in the top division, Leicester's expectations have altered owing to its improbable Premier League title triumph in 2016 under manager Claudio Ranieri.

Leicester has endured tragedy this season when its Thai owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, died after his helicopter crashed leaving the stadium following a game in October. Puel had to lead the club through grief in the following weeks.

But his future has been the subject of almost continuous speculation since the turn of the year, when Leicester lost to fourth-tier Newport County in the FA Cup. It has lost five of its six league games since.

Hired to replace Craig Shakespeare in October 2017 months after being released by Southampton, Puel led Leicester to a ninth-place finish last season.

"We're continuing to grow as a club," Leicester vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said, "and I am anticipating that Brendan's coaching methods, knowledge and experience can enhance our journey."

The 46-year-old Rodgers was appointed on a contract through June 2022.

News Tennis

Top-seeded Nishikori wins in Dubai; Cilic loses to Monfils

AP Updated: 27 February, 2019, 11:10 AM IST


Top-seeded Kei Nishikori eased into the second round of the Dubai Championships by beating Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-3, while No. 3 Marin Cilic was eliminated by the resurgent Gael Monfils.

Making his debut in Dubai, Nishikori saved all eight break points he faced and needed just 81 minutes to set up a meeting with qualifier Hubert Hurkacz.

All eight of Paire's break points came in the first four games, as Nishikori continually found a way to get out of trouble en route to taking a 3-1 lead.

"I think the key was the longest game at 2-1. (I was) able to get the game. I was more confident. If he broke back, anything (could have) happened," said Nishikori, who improved his record against Paire to 6-2.

Cilic, meanwhile, has still never won against Monfils, falling to 0-4 against the Frenchman after a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 loss. The 32-year-old Monfils, who is coming off his eighth career ATP tour title in Rotterdam two weeks ago, won 24 of 29 points in the final set against an inconsistent Cilic.

"I had this momentum going on his service game (in the third set)," Monfils said. "For me, it was just about putting him under pressure. Obviously it worked."

Stefanos Tsitsipas also extended his good form after winning his second ATP title in Marseille on Sunday, beating Mathew Ebden 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. He will next face Belarusian qualifier Egor Gerasimov, who edged Robin Haase 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5).

Czech veteran Tomas Berdych also advanced after a 2 ½-hour struggle against Ilya Ivashka, winning 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (4).

Other winners included American Denis Kudla, who outlasted Matteo Berrettini of Italy 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 and wild-card entry Marcos Baghdatis, who rallied to beat Mohamed Safwat 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

News Cricket

Jayasuriya banned from cricket for 2 years

AP Updated: 27 February, 2019, 10:11 AM IST


Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya was banned from cricket for two years for refusing to cooperate in an investigation of corruption in his country's cricket.

The International Cricket Council made the decision after Jayasuriya admitted to breaching two counts of its anti-corruption code.

He was charged last October with failing or refusing to cooperate, and obstructing or delaying the investigation, and said at the time he has "always conducted (himself) with integrity and transparency" in cricket.

"This conviction under the code demonstrates the importance of participants in cricket cooperating with investigations," Alex Marshall, the general manager of the ICC anti-corruption unit, said in a statement. "Compelling participants to cooperate under the code is a vital weapon in our efforts to rid our sport of corruptors. These rules are essential to maintain the integrity of our sport.

The unit has been trying to rid Sri Lanka cricket of inherent corruption for the past year, and Marshall said a recent amnesty drew 11 players and others to come forward with information.

Jayasuriya helped Sri Lanka win the Cricket World Cup in 1996, captained the team to the semifinals in 2003, and came back from retirement to help the team at age 38 reach another final in 2007.

The all-rounder played 445 one-day internationals and 110 tests before retiring for good in 2011. By then he was a member of parliament. He also became the chairman of selectors in 2013 and resigned in 2017 after a second stint.

Opinion Cricket

India's Predicted XI for the second T20I against Australia

Harshit Anand Updated: 26 February, 2019, 5:44 PM IST


The first T20I between India and Australia in Vizag turned out to be a thriller with the result of the match coming on the final ball of the game. Now, the focus shifts to the second T20I, which will be played at M Chinnaswamy stadium. It is a two-match T20I series, so the Bengaluru T20I will be a do-or-die game for India.

Here is our Predicted XI for the second T20I against Australia:

Rohit Sharma

The Indian T20I vice-captain, Rohit Sharma needs to stand up and perform for the Men in Blue. He is one of the best batsmen in the T20 format. In the last seven T20Is, however, the stylish Indian opener has scored just one fifty. He is crucial to India's hopes in the series-deciding T20I game in Bengaluru.

KL Rahul

Rahul made a terrific comeback and was the stand-out batsman in the first T20I at Vizag against Australia. He scored a free-flowing fifty and played some classical shots. Given how good he has been in T20 internationals, and the fifty he made in Vizag, India might well play him ahead of Dhawan tomorrow as well.

Virat Kohli (C)

Kohli has scored just one fifty in last 11 T20Is and just like Rohit, needs to pull his socks up in the Bengaluru T20I. Virat looked in good touch in Vizag but he needs to play a defining knock in the series-decider against Australia.

Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant was unlucky to get run-out in the last T20I. But, he can be very dangerous in the shortest format and would need to play a knock of repute if he has to boost his chances of inclusion in India's World Cup squad.

MS Dhoni (WK)

MS Dhoni is a misfit in India's T20I squad at present. With some quality youngsters making their way, even his selection in the T20I squad is surprising. It was not as if he was lacking in practice, as he would be playing all the five ODIs against Australia, so his T20I selection was baffling, to say the least. Dhoni made 29 runs off 37 deliveries in the Vizag T20I and he certainly needs to up his game, especially when it comes to power-hitting.

Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik has been fabulous as a finisher in T20 cricket. He failed in the first T20I but should be persisted with in the second game. If Dhawan makes a return, Rahul would bat at no.3 and that would disturb Kohli's batting position. If Vijay Shankar replaces Karthik, he would give overs but won't be useful lower-own the order, given he needs to work on power-hitting. That means India would be deprived of the benefit of an all-rounder. So, keeping all aspects in mind, it would be better if India plays Karthik at M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Krunal Pandya

Krunal Pandya was India's second-best bowler in the Vizag T20I. He gave away just 17 runs and picked up the crucial wicket of Ashton Turner in his quota of overs. But, he is yet to show his batting prowess for India in T20Is, which he would love to, in an important game against Australia.

Yuzvendra Chahal

Wrist-spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal shot to fame with his brilliant performances for Royal Challengers Bangalore. One of the great things about his IPL stint has been how well he bowls at a small ground like M Chinnaswamy stadium. Even his best figures in T20Is came in Bengaluru, so he would be India's trump-card in the second T20I.

Jasprit Bumrah

Bumrah ended with figures of 3/16 in the first T20I and was the force, which helped India give a tough fight in the Vizag T20I. The 25 years old will again be paramount to India's hopes.

Siddarth Kaul

Umesh Yadav was poor and one of the major reasons behind India's loss in Vizag. He clearly struggles in death overs and it would be better for India if they play Siddarth Kaul in place of Umesh Yadav.

Mayank Markande

Leg-spinner, Mayank Markande, who made a name for himself in the 2018 IPL, had an average outing in the first T20I against Australia. But, he should be given another chance. Markande is not part of India's ODI squad against Australia, so he needs to be given another game, at least to prove himself at the highest level.

Feature Cricket

MS Dhoni again faces unfair criticism

Partab Ramchand Updated: 26 February, 2019, 5:22 PM IST


Not for the first time in recent memory the knives are out for MS Dhoni. But this time he has had to share the brunt of the criticism with Umesh Yadav. Indian cricket fans are blaming the duo for the narrow defeat in the first T-20 international against Australia at Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

On the face of it the lambasting might appear to be justified. Dhoni took 37 balls to get an unbeaten 29 and a strike rate of 78 is bewildering in cricket’s shortest format where anything less than 100 is considered unacceptable. And after Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliant bowling in the 19th over – he conceded just two runs and picked up two wickets – it was largely expected that Yadav would be able to defend 14 runs. Australia’s winning run came off the last ball with No’s 8 and 9 at the crease.

On closer scrutiny the criticism against Dhoni does seem to be unfair. He walked in at 80 for three after ten overs and ideally the situation was perfect for a player of his class, skill and experience. What he could not have bargained for was the collapse which saw India slide sharply to 109 for seven in the 17th over. Dhoni was left with a long tail.

Under normal circumstances Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal should come in at No 10 and No 11. But here there were batting at No 8 and No 9. Dhoni had to take most of the strike and by keeping away his partners from the bowling had to turn down many singles that were there on offer – a tactic found acceptable by Glenn Maxwell. ``With the wicket being difficult I think it was right for him to try and farm the strike,’’ said the Australian all-rounder. It is worth mentioning that the batsmen below Dhoni in the batting order made a combined four off 17 balls.

There is no denying the fact that in his 38th year Dhoni is not the Dhoni of old but as he has shown recently he has it in him to be a great finisher whether batting first or chasing. This time however he was defeated by the presence of the extended tail.

As regards Yadav his economy rate has always been a problem in all formats of the game. He is a wicket taker who believes in bowling fast and being always on the attack. In the process he tends to be profligate and if the selectors feel that his bowling is more suited to Test cricket then he can be omitted from the limited overs squad.

In the ultimate analysis neither Dhoni nor Yadav were responsible for India’s defeat but the middle order slide and the unduly long tail.

Feature Cricket

Sri Lanka Revives Ambition on Field

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 26 February, 2019, 5:19 PM IST


There are fewer things sadder in a sport than when a team is led down by administrative muddles, political interference, nepotism and issues of corruption involving former cricketers. Given how Sri Lanka pulled a rabbit out of the hat in South Africa, their board needs to decide how it wants to take the game forward.

South Africa were in for a jolt they had not expected. From feeling relaxed in their place, realizing they could close out their assignments before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with an expected, easy series against Sri Lanka, South Africa have been left to face some hard questions, not to mention humiliation. From being the team with a sharp bowling attack and some scintillating batsmen, South Africa were reduced to an embarrassing heap, bundled up by a team they did not see coming. (To be fair, no one saw coming.) The manner in which Sri Lanka resurrected not only their fortunes in South Africa but also, rose up against all odds does not paint South Africa in the rosy colours with which they would have liked to finish their report card.

Instead the beleaguered team from the Emerald Isles shocked South Africa twice, the first time in the first Test in Kingsmead in a nail biting affair and the second time with an almost emphatic chase to finish off the second Test in under three days in Port Elizabeth. The fact that only Australia and England share the honours for having the record of beating South Africa at home only makes it worse for the hosts who now have to turn inwards and face some serious issues including the fact that their lower order collapse has been almost a given and barring the odd performance from the skipper, Faf du Plessis, and wicketkeeper-batsman, Quinton de Kock, they have shown vulnerability that betrays the gap without the likes of someone of the caliber of Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers.

Sri Lanka, it has to be remembered, were beaten resoundingly by the touring England team who revived their own ambitions after their own Houdini act at home against India who seemed to not have their homework quite done. Thereafter, Sri Lanka suffered ignominy upon ignominy on their tours of Australia and New Zealand to land in South Africa, expecting to be easy meat for the team looking to challenge the Indian team for top rank and consistency.

Instead South Africa were stunned twice, first by Sri Lanka’s enterprise to pull off a solitary wicket win against a formidable bowling attack and then by their initiative and daring to make some bold moves when reduced essentially to a ten man team. If the last wicket partnership in the Durban Test was evident of Sri Lanka’s ability to dig in, the St. Georges Park match showed Sri Lanka can turn a match on its head.

This is not to say, Sri Lanka are a regenerated team. But it does indicate that despite the chequered season that has seen so much off field brouhaha as well as on field controversies, causing changes in captaincy that created discord, and former players getting caught in the ICC’s investigation and obstruction plans, Sri Lanka’s cricket is still hungry even if their successes on their field have been rare at best. For a team that was scrapping the bottom in the event of a two tier Test championship schedule, beating a top ranked team has to be the pivotal moment when the administrators and cricketers wake up and take stock of what the team are capable of and what needs to be done to ensure that Sri Lanka are once again contenders amongst the top, even if it means some serious house cleaning.

News Cricket

Ayushmann Khurrana rates Sachin Tendulkar above Lionel Messi

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:50 PM IST


It is a common occurrence to compare athletes from same sporting discipline. However, when it comes to sporting heroes from different fields, comparison doesn’t hold relevance. A new comparison has surfaced and the players in focus are Indian batting legend and god of cricket Sachin Tendulkar and the GOAT of football world Lionel Messi.

It all started when a Twitter account with the name God had tweeted about Lionel Messi following his sensational hat-trick in Barcelona's La Liga clash against Sevilla. "I'm leaving. Messi, take over."

This tweet, however, didn't go down well with Bollywood actor Ayushman Khurrana who wrote Sachin's name in his response.

Tendulkar is considered to be the best cricketer of all time while Messi enjoys the same status in the hearts of football fanatics. The former Indian captain is the only player to score 100 international tons in his 24-year career.

News Cricket

Krunal Pandya reveals his preferred batting position

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:31 PM IST


Krunal Pandya is sure of seeing a better performance from his teammates during the upcoming T20 match against Australia. According to him, Men in Blue have not loss the momentum despite their defeat in the first match of the series. Defending 126 runs, the hosts lost the match by three wickets in the end. Krunal was brilliant with the ball and ended up picking one wicket.

"It was a great bowling effort. Everyone chipped in and we almost defended the low total. We just have to be more cautious about our batting," said Krunal.

Tomorrow is a very important game as we are 0-1 down but I would not say that we have lost momentum. We lost the other night but we are not losing consecutive games. I am sure we will do well tomorrow," he added.

When asked about his preferred batting position or if he would like to bat higher up in the order, he said:

"Honestly, I am not thinking about where I want to bat. I am just focused on what is in my hands irrespective of the situation. I want to contribute with both bat and ball."

News Cricket

AB de Villiers makes a big statement on his international return

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:28 PM IST


For the first time in their cricket history, South Africa got defeated by an Asian team at their backyard in Test cricket. We are talking about Sri Lanka's historic Test series win over South Africa. South Africa's batting has been found wanting. On the other hand, AB de Villiers has endured a purple patch and he recently won a match for his side in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

2019 Cricket World Cup is not too far away. Connect the dots now. Quite simply, the moment the Proteas start underperforming, the demand for return of De Villiers starts gaining momentum. And why not, he is such a quality player.

Even AB misses playing for his country. He was qouted as saying by Standard Sport, "Playing at the highest level alongside your friends, scoring runs for your country are things that I look back and go, ‘Ah, I miss that a little bit." But, he has moved on and has no intentions of making a magical return to the Proteas side.

He added, “I don’t miss 90 per cent of it. I’ve pretty much moved on. I’ve made peace with the fact that the World Cup will not define me. Yes, it would be nice to add that to what’s been a very enjoyable career, but I know it won’t define me as a person or cricketer.

“You can never keep everyone happy. I’ve always been a people pleaser. I’m very passionate about my country, but I’m at a stage of my life where I’ve moved on. There are people who think I should still be playing, but the international scene just became a little bit too much for me with my family and a few other things. You have to answer to yourself, look yourself in the mirror and that’s what I’ve done. The most important people to please are your family.”

News Cricket

Watch: Rohit, Bumrah, Hardik and Krunal unveil new Mumbai Indians Jersey for 2019 IPL season

Staff Writer Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:22 PM IST


Ahead of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League, Mumbai Indians have unveiled their new jersey.

In a video posted by Mumbai based franchise, Pandya brothers, Jasprit Bumrah and Rohit Sharma can be seen presenting the new kit in style.

Mumbai Indians have won the IPL title thrice while they have lifted the Champions League T20 trophy twice in their illustrious history.

The 2019 IPL will start from 23 March with the opening match being played between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Mumbai Indians squad for IPL 2019: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Kieron Pollard, Evin Lewis, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff, Barinder Singh Sran, Lasith Malinga, Yuvraj Singh, Anmolpreet Singh, Pankaj Jaswal, Rasikh Dar, Quinton de Kock and Jayant Yadav.

News Cricket

Jasprit Bumrah is obviously a class act, says Pat Cummins

Harshit Anand Updated: 26 February, 2019, 4:10 PM IST


Pat Cummins has heaped praise on Jasprit Bumrah, stating that he is a class act across formats and his pace and accuracy has made him one of the best bowlers in international cricket at the moment.

The Indian pacer was on-song in the first T20 against Australia. He picked up three wickets in the game and his last over almost led India to win before Umesh Yadav’s expensive 20th over spoiled Bumrah’s hardwork.

“He is obviously a class act. Two of the basics he does really well is that he bowls fast and he bowls accurately. Anyone who does that in world cricket will pose a real challenge for the batsmen. He has got a great slower ball, seems to have a great cricketing brain, executes his skills really well,” Cummins said.

“He has done really well in all three formats and the one to watch out for, added the Aussie speedster ahead of the second and final T20 here Wednesday.

Pat Cummins was Australia’s top performer in the Test series against India before raking in another exceptional performance against Sri Lanka.

“I haven’t seen too many memes (of myself on social media) but really happy with how my game is going at the moment. So many things have fallen into place. Playing quite consistent cricket has helped,” Cummins said.

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