News Tennis

Defending champ Anderson out of New York Open with injury

AP Updated: 8 February, 2019, 10:47 AM IST


  • Kevin Anderson has withdrawn from the New York Open because of a right elbow injury
  • Anderson, ranked fifth, was hurt during last month's Grand Slam tournament in Australia
  • He was runner-up last year at Wimbledon

Defending champion Kevin Anderson has withdrawn from the New York Open because of a right elbow injury.

Frances Tiafoe, the American who reached the Australian Open quarterfinals before falling to runner-up Rafael Nadal, was added to the field Thursday. The tournament begins Sunday.

Anderson, ranked fifth, was hurt during last month's Grand Slam tournament in Australia. He was runner-up last year at Wimbledon and says his victory on Long Island "kick-started my year in 2018 and I was very excited to return."

His withdrawal leaves American John Isner as the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 9. Anderson outlasted Isner in a marathon semifinal at Wimbledon.

Australian Alex de Minaur, last year's ATP top rookie, also pulled out of the tournament because of an injury.

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Feature Cricket

Manohar’s Morbid Declaration Slammed

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 8 February, 2019, 2:40 PM IST


  • Shashank Manohar has now declared that Test cricket is dying
  • He is actual putting up excuses even before the ICC Test Championship has gotten underway
  • Indian cricket administration finds itself in a world of turmoil

Why does it feel like what has been ailing Indian cricket for the past decade has now permeated the ranks of the International Cricket Council (ICC)? Is it perhaps because of the entities of Indian cricket administration that held posts in the same period at the sport’s highest governing body?

It is ironic that on the one hand, the greater part of the cricket world is sharing the jubilation of the West Indies in celebrating their first Test series win over England in over a decade and India have scored over Australia for a first in seven decades. On the other hand, there is Shashank Manohar who jumped ship from the malaise-ridden Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the ICC in the midst of a judicial review, who is now declaring that Test cricket is, to quote him, ‘dying’.

Euphemistic much?

It is starkly evident that either the current serving ICC Chairman is out of touch with the rest of the world or is tooting the same thing he and other Indian cricket administrators did under their regime to alter constitution and bend rules and allow nepotism and malice into the sport when eyeing the golden goose they perceived the Indian Premier League to be more than a decade ago. The IPL came about only after scuttling an eerily similar ‘rebellious’ enterprise - the Indian Cricket League (ICL)- that came into the picture following India’s unprecedented success at the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007. At the time, the BCCI through its strange bedfellows that included Manohar, N. Srinivasan who served as the Treasurer and Lalit Modi, the self-proclaimed czar of the IPL, shut down the ICL with all of their power, shunning the cricketers into a deep hole for their association.

Greed had obviously blinded them to the misappropriations they had committed and instead of taking responsibility collectively as a unit for having claimed to have served the interests of cricket without accepting a fee, they waited until the rot surfaced only to end up fighting a battle they knew they cannot win, each one throwing the other under a bus while shamelessly holding onto any semblance of power they found. Out in the open, instead of implementing the Lodha recommendations, Manohar, like Srinivasan, eyed a worldwide opportunity and promptly jumped ship.

Now it seems that instead of jumping at the opportunity of watching Test cricket enjoying an unbelievable year of attention and capitalizing on it, this even as the ICC Cricket World Cup looms, instead of rejoicing at the fact that social media has been ablaze with former Test cricketers chipping in with their two cents, the ICC Chairman, in his esteemed capacity, instead of lauding the effort and revival, is actual putting up excuses even before the ICC Test Championship has gotten underway.

If the sentiments of Manohar are reflective of the ICC’s own, perhaps they should not embark on the Test championship because it is like being shot in the foot even before taking the field. What chance does Test cricket stand when the cricket administrators who are supposed to be the custodians of the game take such a myopic, pronounced disdainful, no-hope view, plausibly dangerously, dare one say, with an eye on easy meal tickets instead of working to preserve the game?

If anything, the passionate cricket fans must now hold Manohar responsible on a larger platform. While Indian cricket administration finds itself in a world of turmoil as a result of the avaricious mess that these administrators have left behind, he must be held personally accountable for using word like ‘trying to see’ with regard to the Test championship which suggests, perhaps erroneously, that the ICC has not thought this new system through. Half-baked ideas rarely have a chance and if Test cricket is intended to die, perhaps there is a reason why enough effort is not being put in to promote it even in the new proposed avatar. It is alarming but every bit possible given that these administrators were at the helm when they pushed the IPL agenda to their own detrimental effect as well as that of Indian cricket’s perception around the world as a greedy, self-served, vested entity.

If this is the view with which he preserves the highest form of the game, perhaps it is not too much to ask Manohar to step down and ask a more deeply invested, passionate individual to take over the caretaking of the game.

Feature Cricket

Ranji Trophy no longer the monopoly of a few teams

Partab Ramchand Updated: 8 February, 2019, 2:28 PM IST


  • Several leading cricketers have spoken about how the first class game has prepared them for Test cricket
  • Pujara enjoyed a very successful season in the process leading Saurashtra to the title clash
  • Wasim Jaffer had a highly successful season

This year’s Ranji Trophy championship once again underlined the fact that the premier national competition is no longer the monopoly of a handful of teams as has been the case for so many years. In the past there was no point in looking beyond Mumbai, Delhi and Karnataka. Indeed for 28 years from the late fifties to the mid-eighties there was no fourth name on the trophy.

However over the last 30 years many new teams have inscribed their names on the trophy and these include Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Baroda, Railways, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Vidarbha. Teams that were punching bags for long are now serious challengers. The prime example of this is Kerala who entered the quarterfinals last season and made a historic semifinal entry in the just concluded tournament. The changing trend was also symbolized by the fact that heavyweight teams like Mumbai, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad did not even qualify for the quarterfinals while Karnataka were eliminated in the semifinals. Also the major surprises constituted with Uttarakhand qualifying for the knock out by topping the plate group and Delhi finishing in the cellar position in their elite group. .

All this is certainly encouraging for it is good that players from hitherto lightweight states cricket wise are shining on the big stage. And this is reflected in the national squad for over the last few years many cricketers who have represented India have come from these so called unfashionable sides.

The Ranji Trophy might have lost its glamour of the past thanks to the introduction of the IPL and various other limited overs competitions. But its importance cannot be overemphasized. Several leading cricketers have spoken about how the first class game has prepared them for Test cricket and the latest to express this view is none other than Cheteshwar Pujara. India’s prolific run getter and permanent No 3 honed his skills for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy and has emerged as one of the leading batsmen in the world renowned for his age old skills of dedication, determination and concentration and the ability build an innings.

Not unexpectedly Pujara enjoyed a very successful season in the process leading Saurashtra to the title clash which they lost after a keen duel to Vidarbha who thus retained the title they won for the first time last season. And along with Pujara another product of the old school Wasim Jaffer had a highly successful season while being a member of the title winning Vidarbha side for the second year in a row. The 40-year-old former Indian opening batsman in fact became the first in Ranji Trophy history to score over 1000 runs in a season for a second time. Jaffer is the highest run getter in the championship (nearly 12,000 runs) and the highest century maker (40) and with his vast experience has proved to be an inspiring figure for the young Vidarbha side.

News Cricket

Rohit Sharma becomes leading run-scorer in T20Is

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 February, 2019, 2:19 PM IST


  • Rohit became the leading run-getter in T20Is
  • Rohit made a blistering half-century
  • He scored 50 runs off 29 deliveries

India's stand-in skipper, Rohit Sharma surpassed Kiwi opener, Martin Guptill to become leading run-getter in T20 Internationals. The Indian opener now has 2,288 runs to his credit. Martin Guptill has 2,272 runs in the shortest format. Rohit averages 32.68 and has a strike-rate of 138.41. The right-hander has four centuries and 16 half-centuries to his credit.

Today, India are chasing 159 runs in the second T20I against New Zealand in Auckland. Rohit made a blistering half-century. He scored 50 runs off 29 deliveries with the help of three fours and four sixes. He has laid a perfect platform for India to prosper.

News Cricket

Rohit gets trolled for picking Krunal Pandya on "MI quota" but Krunal has the best response

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 February, 2019, 12:54 PM IST


India's stand-in-skipper, Rohit Sharma got brutally trolled, earlier today after he selected Krunal Pandya over chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav in team's XI for the second T20I against New Zealand in Auckland. Twitter users accused him of playing elder Pandya in the team as he represents Mumbai Indians in the IPL, which is led by Rohit Sharma.

“We are playing the same team. I know there will be a lot of talk about Krunal and Kuldeep. Kuldeep has been brilliant for us. It's just that we want to see other guys as well, especially in overseas conditions. Having one bad game doesn't say anything. We need to give them more games to understand what they have in them," explained Rohit at the toss.

Take a look at how Twitter reacted to the decision:

But Krunal Pandya responded brilliantly to shut up all his critics and proved to the world that Rohit took the right decision at the toss when he picked him in the team. Krunal Pandya ended up with figures of 3/28 in his quota of four overs. He got rid of the likes of Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, and Daryl Mitchell and was too good for the Kiwis in his first three overs though he was taken to the cleaners in his last over. Still, it was a commendable effort for a spinner to perform like that on a ground, which has small boundaries.

News Cricket

'Test cricket is dying': ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 February, 2019, 11:06 AM IST


  • International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman, Shashank Manohar feels that Test cricket is dying
  • He said, "From 10 to 5 everybody has their own job to do so it is very difficult for them to watch this game
  • ICC Test Championship will commence from 2019 with nine teams participating in it

2018 was a year in which Test cricket prospered like anything. We saw the best of the format with teams putting up a brilliant show on display. But the International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman, Shashank Manohar feels that Test cricket is dying and the upcoming Test championship might generate some interest in the format.

"We are trying to see whether the Test championship can generate interest. Because Test cricket is actually dying to be honest. So to improve the situation, we are trying ways and means. The [ICC] board directors came to a conclusion that if we start a Test championship, it would keep Test cricket alive and generate more interest in the game," Manohar said.

"From 10 to 5 everybody has their own job to do so it is very difficult for them to watch this game. T20s get over in three-and-a-half hours, like watching a movie. Therefore, it is picking up very fast," the ICC chairman added.

Manohar also shed light on the feasibility of Cricket in Olympics. He said, "We are trying to take it to the Olympics but there are certain hurdles. The bigger issue is the Olympics is held over 15 days. How do you finish a world event of cricket in fifteen days? "For that, you need cricket stadiums also. Olympics are not held only in cricket-playing countries."

News Cricket

Australia get Ricky Ponting on board for 2019 Cricket World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 February, 2019, 11:00 AM IST


  • Ponting was part of Australia's World Cup winning teams in 1999, 2003 and 2007
  • He led Australia to World Cup triumphs twice in 2003 and 2007
  • Ponting will reunite with his former teammate, Justin Langer in the coaching set-up

Triple World Cup winner and two-time World Cup-winning skipper, Ricky Ponting will join Australia’s coaching staff for the World Cup in England and Wales this year. The ICC megaevent will begin from May 30. Australia will enter the tourney as defending champions.

Australia are five-time World Cup winners but have been in disarray for quite sometime now. Cricket Australia made this big announcement today. Ponting will reunite with his former teammate, Justin Langer in the coaching set-up. Langer is Australia's head coach. Ponting has been appointed as assistant coach.

“This appointment also provides an opportunity for Graeme Hick to focus on preparation for the Ashes,” said interim Team Performance Executive General Manager Belinda Clark.

“With two major events back to back we believe it is important to focus a number of staff specifically on one event. The appointment of Ricky is a part of this overall strategy.”

The Men in Yellow are currently ranked sixth in ICC Men's ODI Team Rankings. They have been found wanting in absence of their batting heavyweights, David Warner and Steven Smith. But the good news for them is that there are high chances that both the players will be available for selection in the World Cup.

News F1

 Azerbaijan renews F1 contract through 2023

AP Updated: 8 February, 2019, 10:56 AM IST


  • The Azerbaijan street circuit was widely considered an unlikely F1 host
  • Baku renewed its contract to host the Azerbaijan Grand Prix through 2023
  • Baku's current deal was to expire next year

Baku renewed its contract to host the Azerbaijan Grand Prix through 2023, prolonging the stay of a circuit which initially struggled for acceptance in Formula One but has since become a fan favorite.

Baku's current deal was to expire next year but race organizers and F1 management signed the three-year extension, though an extension to 2025 had been possible under the old contract.

"I think that was a timeframe that made sense to both of us. We are at a period where we believe we are making exciting changes," Formula One Group executive chairman and CEO Chase Carey said, adding that a future long-term extension is possible.

"Certainly our hope is we have an agreement which goes well beyond the next five years, but as we get to that, we'll figure out how do we find the right solution for the long term, at that point in time."

The Azerbaijan street circuit was widely considered an unlikely F1 host when it held its first race in 2016 but has won popularity with fans after some unpredictable races. That included an unexpected third-place finish for Lance Stroll in 2017 and last year's fierce battle between Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, who eventually crashed into one another.

Azerbaijani organizers said the new deal was more favorable after attempts to seek a reduction in the fee they pay to host the race.

"We can already say that the new contract has been fairly significantly changed in relation to the old one," said Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan's minister of youth and sports.

That includes extra opportunities for the hosts to sell sponsorship.

"It's a commercial secret, but all this will bring us good, weighty dividends which we can see and feel," Rahimov said.

Relations between Azerbaijani officials and F1 owner Liberty Media haven't always been smooth. After Liberty took over the sport in 2017, it said it wanted to focus on what it saw as glamorous cities like Miami or Las Vegas, rather than markets like Azerbaijan with little racing tradition. However, it has since confirmed a race in Vietnam starting next year, while work is still ongoing on a deal with Miami after it failed to make the 2019 schedule.

The Azerbaijan deal is F1's first renewal this year and follows new deals for Belgium, Germany, China, Japan and Singapore over the last two years. This year's Azerbaijan GP is scheduled for April 28.

News F1

Haas changes F1 car from gray to black-and-gold for 2019

AP Updated: 8 February, 2019, 10:52 AM IST


  • Drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were present at the unveiling of the 2019 VF-19 car
  • The Haas Formula One team has changed its livery from a metallic gray to a more dynamic black-and-gold
  • Haas improved to fifth despite early crashes and setbacks

The Haas Formula One team has changed its livery from a metallic gray to a more dynamic black-and-gold for the upcoming season.

Drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were present at the unveiling of the 2019 VF-19 car and its new sponsor, pulling off the covers at the Royal Automobile Club.

The American-owned Haas team, which uses Ferrari engines, made its debut in the 2016 championship.

After finishing eighth in the 2016 and 2017 constructors' championship, Haas improved to fifth despite early crashes and setbacks involving Grosjean.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says "the year showed, sometimes sharply, that we still have areas to improve on."

Magnussen was ninth in the drivers' championship and Grosjean placed 14th.

News Football

Police confirm Sala's body recovered from plane wreckage

AP Updated: 8 February, 2019, 10:41 AM IST


  • Search teams are yet to find pilot David Ibbotson
  • Sala had just secured the biggest move of his career after signing for Cardiff
  • Agony was prolonged for Sala's family by the difficulties raising the body to the surface

More than two weeks after the plane carrying Emiliano Sala to a new career in the English Premier League crashed into the sea, police confirmed that the body recovered from the wreckage was the Argentine soccer player.

A search of the seabed of the English Channel only discovered the Piper Malibu aircraft and the agony was prolonged for Sala's family by the difficulties raising the body to the surface.

"The news is so painful," Argentine President Mauricio Macri wrote in remarks translated from Spanish on Twitter, reflecting national concerns at home over the fate of Sala. "My condolences to the family, friends and teammates of Emiliano Sala on this tough moment. We are with you."

Search teams are yet to find pilot David Ibbotson, the only other person on board the light aircraft which lost contact with traffic control near Guernsey on the evening of Jan. 21 as it flew from the French city of Nantes to the Welsh capital Cardiff. At 28, Sala had just secured the biggest move of his career after signing for Cardiff.

In the south of Wales, they grieved the player who never got to pull on the Cardiff jersey.

"We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano," Cardiff City said in a statement. "He and David will forever remain in our thoughts."

News Cricket

MSK Prasad differs from Ravi Shastri, says R Ashwin is India’s no. 1 spinner

Staff Writer Updated: 7 February, 2019, 9:24 PM IST


If Ravi Shastri is to be believed Kuldeep Yadav has raced ahead of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja when it comes to performance in overseas conditions.

In a recent interview with Cricbuzz, India coach made a statement that Kuldeep will be preferred over two senior pros whenever India play one spinner.

"He plays overseas Test cricket and he gets five wickets, so he becomes our primary overseas spinner. Going ahead, if we have to play one spinner, he is the one we will pick," Shastri told Cricbuzz.

However, in an interview with Sportstar, chief selector MSK Prasad stated that Ashwin continues to be India's no.1 spinner in Test cricket.

"Undoubtedly. There are no two ways about it. Ashwin is our No. 1 spinner and he is one of the best spinners in the world. In fact, every country we play, they always plan against Ashwin first compared to other spinners. He is our premier spinner," he said.

News Cricket

Langer sounds warning bell for players traveling to India, says team not final World Cup squad

Staff Writer Updated: 7 February, 2019, 9:20 PM IST


Australia will travel to India to play ODI matches and T20 internationals and head coach Justin Langer has clarified that the squad travelling to India is not Australia’s final World Cup team and there are still places up for grab.

Australia were recently defeated by visiting Team India in Tests and ODIs.

"Whether you are on this tour or not, there is still going to be spots up for grabs. But the World Cup is going to come up sooner than you know and guys like Steve Smith and Dave Warner are obviously going to bang very hard on the door. So there is going to be some competition there, but that’s good as there is going to be some guys that need to stay on their toes the entire time and keep playing great cricket every time we play."

In a major setback for Australia, Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the tour owing to his injury. "It’s really disappointing for him as he bowled so well in that last Test match. (It’s) disappointing for us as we would have loved to have him there, but hopefully, he will be right for that second leg against Pakistan" said Langer on his premier pacer.

News Cricket

Universe Boss Chris Gayle back in Windies ODI squad

Staff Writer Updated: 7 February, 2019, 9:18 PM IST


Chris Gayle has been named in the West Indies squad for the first two matches against England. He last played for his national team in July 2018 in a home series against Bangladesh.

The left hand batsman had made himself unavailable for national selection in order to play in the Afghanistan Premier League. He has scored 9727 runs in 284 ODI matches.

Courtney Browne, the Chairman of Selectors, has also shed light on Marlon Samuels’ unavailability.

"As we continue our Cricket World Cup preparations, the upcoming series against the top ranked ODI side is a great opportunity for us to gauge where we are as a team. This allows us to identify any areas that need addressing relating to selection and also helps the coaching staff to fine tune their game strategy," Browne said in press release.

"We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI squad for the first time. He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order. Shannon Gabriel remains very much in our World Cup plans but with a heavy workload expected in the Test series he will be considered for selection later in the ODI series," Browne added.

News Cricket

Costliest Ball Ever! Aussie bowler concedes 17 runs off 1 ball in Big Bash League – Watch

Staff Writer Updated: 7 February, 2019, 9:14 PM IST


Australian bowler Riley Meredith conceded 17 runs off one ball in a Big Bash League match between Melbourne Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes.

He was asked to bowl the first over of the chase but he ended up giving away 23 runs.

Riley bowled three no-balls and conceded 5 wides in his over and finished with figures of 1/43 in his 3 overs spell.

Here's the video:

It started when he bowled a no-ball on the fourth delivery of the over. He followed up with a wide that beat wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to the boundary, earning rivals 5 wides.

The next ball went to the boundary and was called a no-ball for height. Meredith overstepped again and Finch didn't miss out on the free hit as he wacked the delivery for another four.

Despite his over, Hobart Hurricanes were able to defend the total and clinched a 16-run win.

News Cricket

Sunil Gavaskar agrees with Ravi Shastri's view of batting Kohli at no.4 in World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 5:22 PM IST


Indian head coach, Ravi Shastri recently suggested that he is open to batting Virat Kohli at no.4 slot in 2019 Cricket World Cup that will take place in England and Wales. Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar also believes that there needs to be flexibility in India's batting cometh the World Cup.

"There needs to be flexibility. More the flexibility in the batting line-up, more beneficial to the team. Let's look at what happened in the Champions Trophy final. Rohit Sharma was dismissed by Mohammed Aamir early. When Virat Kohli came out to bat, the ball was swinging quite a bit. Pakistan were pumped up after having put 300 on the board," Gavaskar was quoted as saying by India Today.

"In such situations, an important player like Virat Kohli needs protection. He can come in at No. 4. Maybe the ball may not move that much when the No. 4 batsman walks out to the middle. Such moves can be beneficial to the team.

"Yes, according to the conditions, flexibility is needed. If not, Virat Kohli is suited to batting at No. 3. In conditions that are conducive to swing bowling, India can afford to play Virat at No. 4," he added.