Under fire Navjot Singh Sidhu has once again courted controversy when he hailed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's move to release Indian Air Force Pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. His untimely praise did not go down well with the Indian fans, who lambasted him for his remark.
Sidhu took to Twitter and wrote: “@ImranKhanPTI Every noble act makes a way for itself… your goodwill gesture is ‘a cup of joy’ for a billion people, a nation rejoices… I am overjoyed for his parents and loved ones.”
Here’s how he was ridiculed by Indian fans:
Earlier, he had defended Pakistan after Pulwama terror attack. “For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation and can you blame an individual? It (the attack) is a cowardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished”.
Virat Kohli has hailed KL Rahul for his performance in the T20 series against Australia. The right hand batsman was in top groove after making a comeback to the Indian side.
Rahul was asked to open in both the innings and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. His fifty plus score in the first game gave Men in Blue an outside chance to win the game while his aggressive knock in the second and final match of the series was laced with breathtaking strokes.
Virat is backing him to be a part of the World Cup squad.
"It augurs really well. KL, when he plays well, is operating at a different level I feel. We have seen him do that in the IPL last year and in patches over the last season we played as a team."
"It's very difficult to find a consistent player, who can play good cricketing shots and still win you games at a strike-rate of over 140 or 150. He has all the shots and has a solid game as well.
"It will be interesting to see what happens in the final World Cup squad. Definitely, he has made a strong case for himself. It's good he's in great nick and hopefully he can carry it forward."
Virat Kohli was linked up with several beauties before getting hitched to famous Bollywood actress, Anushka Sharma. Actress Tamannaah Bhatia was one of those with whom Virat was linked up. She has finally opened up on her alleged affair with the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli.
Tamannaah Bhatia said, “I think we spoke four words during the ad film, that’s it. After that, I’ve never met or spoken to Virat. But, I must say he was better than most of the actors we work with. And it was quite intimidating.”
Tamannaah and Virat had shot a television commercial back in 2012 and their link-up rumors started doing the rounds from there onwards.
Kohli married Anushka Sharma in last month of 2017. They are often spotted holidaying in exotic locations and keep sharing their lovey-dovey pictures on social media.
Murali Vijay has fallen behind in the pecking order after his ordinary batting performance in Australia. He expressed his satisfaction with the way young Indian openers have performed in his place but he insisted he isn't feeling threatened by them.
He was considered as one of India's best opening batsmen outside the sub-continent but his fortunes took a complete U-turn since India went to South Africa, which was followed by England and Australia.
Vijay was hurt after being axed from the team for the Melbourne Test as he was expecting to be part of that match.
"I expected to play the Test. In fact, I was sure I would play the Test. I had batted well in the second innings of the second Test at Perth. I felt I was only one innings away from form," Vijay told The Hindu.
He added: "I feel hurt that I am not a part a part of the Indian team. I am not disappointed. But really hurt."
"People don't know or understand me. I don't see myself competing or feeling threatened by the newcomers. Two years back, I said Prithvi Shaw would play for the country. I am happy for them.
"I have scored nearly 4000 Test runs for the country, I must be pretty good to have done that. I have made runs in difficult conditions, in England and Australia. And I came through a period when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were there. I don't feel intimidated by the competition."
Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni sustained an injury on his right forearm while taking throwdowns from support staff member Raghavendra.
He was involved in a long batting season ahead of the first ODI against Australia in Hyderabad and was taking throwdowns after facing bowlers in the nets.
One of the throws from Raghavendra kicked up and hit Dhoni on the right forearm.
Dhoni was in pain and didn’t bat after that in order to give some rest to his injured forearm.
A final call on his participation in the first ODI between India and Australia will be taken by the evening.
If he is ruled out of the first match, Rishabh Pant will don the wicketkeeping gloves.
Mumbai Indians have trolled Rohit Sharma in an epic away. The Mumbai based franchise found someone who bettered Rohit Sharma’s record score of 264 runs in one-day internationals.
Rizvi Springfield's teenager Abhinav Singh recently scored 266 runs during his side's thumping victory on Day 1 of MI Inter-School tournament.
Rohit Sharma's world record total had come against Sri Lanka in 2014. The right hand batsman started off slowly but he turned the tables after setting his eyes in. His knock was laced with 33 fours and 9 sixes and riding on his 264 runs off 173 balls, India won the game by 153 runs.
Rohit played in the first T20 against Australia but was dismissed cheaply. Men in Blue went on to lose that game. He was replaced by Shikhar Dhawan for the second game, which resulted in another defeat for the hosts.
The Indian vice-captain is now all set to take on the Aussies in the five-match ODI series.
Indian Air Force wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman is returning to his country after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan confirmed his release from their custody. He was arrested by the Pakistan Army after his jet was shot down in the neighboring country.
Abhinandan’s release order was welcomed by Indians, who thanked the government of Pakistan for their peace gesture.
Manpreet Singh Gony, who had represented Indian in ODIs, took to Twitter to show his support for the IAF pilot and requested the Pakistan army to return the Indian Air Force wing commander and take away Indian new anchors in a swap deal.
He further wrote that the army in Pakistan is free to do anything with the anchors.
“Dear Pakistani army, return Wing Commander Abhinandan and take our news anchors, pretty much all of them. Do whatever you want to do with them and more importantly never return them to us #JaiHind #AbhinandanVartaman,” Manpreet Singh Gony wrote this on twitter.
Teen sensation, Prithvi Shaw, who awed everyone with his century on debut in Rajkot against West Indies was out of action for a while after his injury in the warm-up game in Australia. But, now the youngster has returned and is looking in his pomp in the domestic cricket for Mumbai.
The right-hander smashed a 47-ball 71 to help Mumbai beat Goa by six wickets on Monday. He blasted five boundaries and seven sixes as Mumbai chased down the total of 141 runs with 10 balls to spare. But, what surprised everyone was his ridiculous one-handed six of a back of length delivery to one of the Goa's bowlers. The Virar-born batsman smacked the ball over covers for a maximum.
Check out the video:
Shaw might have played for India in Tests only but he has the game to succeed in white-ball cricket as well. He is doing well in limited-overs formats as well and is the one to keep an eye for the future.
At a time, when there is a common perception that Test cricket is under immense threat to the ever-growing popularity of T20 cricket, there have been many cricketers, who have emphasized how much they epitomize the longer format.
Superstar Virat Kohli has been at the forefront when it comes to promoting Test cricket. Most of the cricketers know how difficult it is to succeed in Tests, that's why they want to do well in the format and earn a name for themselves in the cricketing circles.
India's chinaman spinner, Kuldeep Yadav has also opened on the difficulties in Test cricket especially if you play other formats actively as well.
“It’s very difficult to switch from white-ball cricket to red-ball cricket. If you keep playing red-ball cricket, it’s easy to adjust as a spinner, but I’m regularly playing with the white ball, so when I got the chance [at Lord’s], I wasn’t prepared enough to tackle everything. For me, red-ball cricket is the biggest challenge. Everyone loves Test cricket and I’m no different,” Kuldeep told ESPNcricinfo.
He added, “It’s difficult when you’re playing abroad. At Lord’s, I can’t say the conditions weren’t up to the mark, but it was difficult. I wasn’t used to bowling with the Dukes ball, so when I returned, I worked really hard with my coach [Kapil Pandey]. I discussed what I’d done there, and from then, I started thinking about Test cricket. That has been the one thing in my mind since then.”
Australian coach, Justin Langer has named the most destructive player in the world and it's not Glenn Maxwell, Jos Buttler or David Miller, who hold the reputation of being the big hitters in white-ball cricket.
Langer named Australia's limited-overs skipper, Aaron Finch as the most destructive player. Finch is going through a rough phase at the moment.
"We just got to keep giving him plenty of care and support. We know he'll come good. There's no more destructive player in the world – we talk about 'Maxi' (Glenn Maxwell), Marcus Stoinis, a number of our players who can be so destructive – but when he's going, he is as destructive as a player as there is in white-ball cricket," said Justin Langer.
"Another important part about leadership is that he's really consistent. We haven't see any real change in his personality or his attitude around the group, so that's a real credit to him. That's why he is the captain of the team. My experience of every captain, the most important thing is they're playing really good cricket. He's got to keep his attention on that. He's got lots of support around him. Like I say, he's such a good person, he's got to be Aaron Finch, be himself. He's doing that,” Langer added.
"He's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. We'll just keep encouraging him to be himself. His runs will come, keep encouraging him to be himself and I'm sure he'll come good soon," Australian coach further added.
Rafael Nadal tumbled out of the Mexican Open, squandering three match points in a 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (6) loss to Australia's Nick Kyrgios.
The top seed also fell in the women's event, with Sloane Stephens losing to Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 6-3.
Playing his first event since losing to Novak Djokovic in late January in the Australian Open final, top-seeded Nadal dropped the first two match points on Kyrgios' serve and the last one on his own first serve.
Nadal won in Acapulco in 2005 and 2013. On Tuesday night, the second-ranked Spanish star opened play with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Mischa Zverev.
Kyrgios set up a quarterfinal match against Stan Wawrinka, a 7-6 (5), 6-4 winner over seventh-seeded Steve Johnson in the hardcourt event at The Princess Mundo Imperial.
The fourth-ranked Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open, was making her first appearance in the event since winning the 2016 title. Haddad Maia earned her first victory in seven career matches against players ranked in the top 10.
"It was just a tough match, obviously she played well," Stephens said. "A tough day. But I'm not too sad about it. I'm just going to go back and work some more, practice some more and get ready for Indian Wells."
Charles Leclerc didn't join Ferrari just to learn from four-time former champion Sebastian Vettel.
He came to beat him.
While that goal still looks lofty, the 21-year-old Leclerc impressed on Thursday when he set the fastest lap so far of this year's Formula One preseason testing in northeastern Spain. His effort of 1 minute, 16.231 seconds was only 0.05 seconds short of the record for the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit set by Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for last season's Spanish Grand Prix.
According to Leclerc, both he and his new car have more potential.
"As every team we are not flat out," said Leclerc, who replaced Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari. "The car is solid (and) I feel pretty comfortable in it. There's still a lot to learn, but it's a good start."
After showing his speed, Leclerc was 20 minutes away from completing a trouble-free session when his Ferrari came to a stop on a straightaway.
Leclerc took a seat atop of a concrete barrier while his fuming Ferrari was loaded by marshals onto a flatbed and hauled away.
His 138 laps were second to Williams rookie George Russell, who led the field with 140 laps on the day.
Leclerc's stoppage was nothing compared to the scare that Vettel had on Wednesday, when he crashed into a barrier and needed to be checked out by medical staff.
When asked if he had gotten any pointers from Vettel, Leclerc said that they their relation was far from student-teacher.
"At the end we need to work together to try and improve the car, but he also wants to beat me on the track as much as I want to beat him," Leclerc said. "So it's not like I'm going to him to try and have some tips, but I can definitely learn from him (by) looking at his data, looking at the way he works with the team. So yeah that has been very, very helpful."
Vettel will be back behind the wheel on Friday, the last chance for teams to test their cars before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 17.
Defending champion Hamilton had another mundane session, clocking the 10th-fastest time while sharing the wheel with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas said that Ferrari seemed to be a step ahead of Mercedes, which has won the title for five years in a row.
"They still seem strong, (but) as always from testing to Melbourne a lot can change," said Bottas, who had the slowest time of the 13 drivers. "We need to unlock more from the new package to be able to compete with them properly."
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has been banned for an additional Champions League game for deliberately provoking a yellow card to control the timing of a one-game suspension.
UEFA says its disciplinary panel found Ramos guilty of "clearly receiving a yellow card on purpose" against Ajax two weeks ago.
He will now also miss the first leg of the quarterfinals if Madrid advances from the round of 16.
The Spain defender was booked for a foul in the 90th minute of Madrid's 2-1 win in Amsterdam in the first leg.
That triggered a one-game ban for the second leg at home, which would have cleaned Ramos's disciplinary slate for the quarterfinals.
Ramos reportedly acknowledged his intentions in a post-game interview, then retracted it in a Twitter post.
Recently, Australia's 'hand-holding' team photo had gone viral on social media. The Australian team was posing for the customary team photograph and there Marcus Stoinis and Pat Cummins were holding hands. Not only these two but Adam Zampa also joined in with him holding onto Stonis' finger.
Maxwell disclosed the reason behind them posing like that. "Yeah it is a pretty tight group, as you can see by the photos. I think Stoin (Marcus Stoinis) and Patty (Pat Cummins) were genuinely holding hands," Maxwell explained.
"We've got 'Keithy Miller' involved now so that's good for the weirdos in the team, which is nice. We're trying to get the coach involved but I'm not sure we're going to have much success there," Maxwell added.
"It's such a tight group. To have a group of guys that are just playing so much for each other out in the field is brilliant. They're enjoying each other's success. They are really feeling every moment together and I know it just means a lot to all of us tonight," Maxwell said.
Roger Federer is two matches away from his 100th career title after beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-4 to reach the Dubai Championships semifinals.
Federer faced two set points in the tiebreaker but Fucsovics hit two forehands into the net to let the Swiss star take control. Federer then wasted an early break in the second set but broke again for a 5-4 lead before serving out the match when Fucsovics sent a forehand return wide.
"The tiebreak was tough. I'm happy I found a way to get out of that one," Federer said. "That was an exciting match, to say the least."
Federer is looking to become the second man in the professional era to reach 100 tour-level tournament titles, joining Jimmy Connors, who won 109. Seven of Federer's previous 99 triumphs have come in Dubai.
He will next face sixth-seeded Borna Coric, who beat Nikolaz Basilashvili 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (1). Coric beat Federer twice last year, including in the Halle final.
"He's really found his game," Federer said of Coric. "We've had a couple tough matches as of late."
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