News Tennis

Hamilton still full of drive as he chases 6th F1 world title

AP Updated: 23 February, 2019, 11:21 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

At the age of 34 and with five world titles, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is still showing no sign of waning motivation.

His competitive spirit was clear to see at an event for Mercedes' sponsors in Turin.

Taking part in a 'pit-stop challenge' with teammate Valtteri Bottas, where the pair had to help change a tire on an F1 car several times, Hamilton was eager to beat the Finnish driver on every occasion, despite it counting for little.

And it is that drive and determination he will take into the new season.

"I've just come off my break. I missed work. I'm a workaholic," Hamilton said at Petronas' $60 million research and technology center. "I love being at work, I like working with people. I feel that as soon as I get back to work I'm living my purpose.

"Ultimately I just love driving. I don't love testing. I just want to go racing. I don't struggle with the motivation for that."

Hamilton has won the title in four of the past five seasons and secured it by his biggest margin of 88 points last season after Sebastian Vettel's poor second half of the campaign.

However, this year could be one of the toughest yet for the British driver.

The first week of testing ended Thursday with Ferrari looking to be a step ahead of Mercedes. Vettel and Charles Leclerc — who replaced Kimi Raikkonen — were among the fastest drivers in the first week of testing in Spain, with Hamilton and Bottas unable to keep pace.

Max Verstappen is also expected to push for the title. The 21-year-old Red Bull driver finished fourth last season, above Bottas, and was only two points away from beating Raikkonen.

"I have no idea at the moment," Hamilton said when asked who would be his main rival. "I've not been looking at what they've been doing but I have to assume that they're all currently contenders, there's not just one of them and I'll find out when we get to the first couple of races.

"Probably the first four races you'll get an understanding of the true pace and the consistency of the cars and the drivers."

Verstappen and Leclerc — who is the same age — are tipped to follow Hamilton and Vettel as F1's next stars.

Leclerc earned a prestigious move to Ferrari following strong performances for unheralded Sauber in his debut F1 season and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he reminds him of Hamilton when he first came into F1 in 2007.

But while Hamilton admits certain aspects of racing are harder with age, he also believes nothing replaces experience.

"Each year, getting in shape, getting your mind into gear is still a massive challenge if not harder each year as you get older so once you get over that wall its pretty good after that," he said.

"When I first started I was just a kid, I was 22. I had all the talent that I needed, but I didn't have the experience. So it was all raw, wild adrenaline and ambition without really a particular strategy. Over the years you gain knowledge and experience and that helps solidify that foundation."

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

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix is on March 17, where Hamilton will start his bid to become only the second driver to win more than five world championships — behind only seven-time winner Michael Schumacher.

"Each year hopefully the goal is always to get better," Hamilton said. "The more competition the better, you always want to be against the best at their best because when you beat them it's more painful for them and more enjoyable for you."

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News Cricket

Should India play Pakistan in World Cup? Here’s what Kapil Dev said

Staff Writer Updated: 23 February, 2019, 2:02 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev has stated that it would be best to leave the issue of playing against Pakistan to the Indian Government.

“To play or not to play is something which does not have to be decided by people like us. It has to be decided by the government. It’s better if we don’t give an opinion and leave it to the government and concerned people. Whatever they decide will be in the interest of the nation. We’ll do what they want,” he said at an event in Pune on Friday.

His remarks have come at a time when demands to sever cricketing ties with Pakistan are growing following terror attack on CRPF security personnel which resulted in death of 42 soldiers. The BCCI had requested international cricketing community to boycott nations supporting terror activities.

They even wrote a letter to ICC briefing them about the loss of lives in Pulwama and even urged them to provide full proof security to Indian players and staff during the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales.

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News Cricket

Men in Blue are ready for World Cup - Zaheer Khan

Staff Writer Updated: 23 February, 2019, 1:59 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian speedster Zaheer Khan has stated the Indian team is ready for the showpiece event due to be played in England and Wales. Men in Blue have been performing exceptionally well in the ODI format. After defeating Australia in their backyard, team led by Virat Kohli thumped New Zealand. Prior to these two series, India had defeated South Africa but lost to England in the close fought contest. Zaheer also praised India's pace battery that has done well in the recent times.

“Playing conditions are something that comes into place when you visit the country for the first time. This lot of players we are talking about has played enough cricket to not be bothered by it. The bowlers have been familiar with different conditions and they have produced good performances too,” Zaheer was quoted as saying by Mail Today.

“Overall, I think we are ready,” the 40-year-old added.

India are currently ranked second in the ICC ODI rankings and along with England, they are being labeled as hot favorites for the World Cup title.

News Cricket

Fit again Robin Uthappa announces his comeback in style

Staff Writer Updated: 23 February, 2019, 1:46 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Robin Uthappa has recovered completely from his ankle surgery and is back in action. The right hand batsman who plays for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, has stated that he is in a good place at the moment.

Representing Saurashtra in domestic cricket, he scored a well compiled 46 against Railways on his return to cricket in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament.

He had to go under the knife to fix his ankle injury that kept him out of action for four months.

Uthappa had to go through tough rehabilitation routine at the KKR cricket academy to get back into the action.

“I am in a good place right now. Well honestly, it has been a learning curve for me – going through the injury, and then, the surgery,” Uthappa was quoted as saying by the KKR website.

“It was impeding the flexibility and movement around my ankle, and I have had it for the last three or four years.

“Immediately after the surgery, the range of movements around my ankle was almost twice as much as (it was) before the surgery even happened. So I am really happy to get it out of the way. I am happy to be back to playing cricket,” he added.

Videos Cricket

Watch: Virat Kohli responds on whether India should play Pak in WC or not?

Harshit Anand Updated: 23 February, 2019, 12:49 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The entire nation is still grieving over the loss of lives of our brave hearts in the Pulwama terror attack, in which at least 40 CPRF Jawans were martyred. The wicked attack took place on February 14 when terrorists targeted a convoy with a car bomb at Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district. They were carrying more than 350 kg of explosives.

After this terrible incident, there have been calls for boycotting Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup that commences on May 30 in England and Wales. The Men in Blue are slated to play Pakistan on June 16 in Manchester.

Indian skipper, Virat Kohli ahead of the first T20I against Australia opened up on whether India should play Pakistan in the World Cup or not. "Our sincere condolences to the families of CRPF soldiers who lost their lives in Pulwama Attack. We stand by what the nation wants to do and what the BCCI decides to do. We will go by what the govt & the Board decides, we will respect that," he said during the media conference on Saturday.

News Cricket

Shoaib Akhtar denies making any statement on India-Pakistan World Cup clash

Staff Writer Updated: 23 February, 2019, 12:31 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has denied making any statement on India-Pakistan World Cup clash. According to a News Channel, he had stated that India have the right to pull out of the World Cup tie following Pulwama attack. He took to twitter to clear his stance.

"I completely deny the false news by Indian media about my statement on Indian cricket team / World Cup 2019. I did not make any statement at all and Indian media is making it up. I condemn the loss of lives. Both countries should come to the table to resolve the issues," he tweeted.

While former cricketers such as Harbhajan Singh, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly want India to boycott the World Cup clash against Pakistan, Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar stated that India should face Pakistan and defeat them to earn two vital points.

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News Cricket

Why should we shoot ourselves in the foot by not playing PAK?: CoA chief Vinod Rai

Harshit Anand Updated: 23 February, 2019, 11:57 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

There are a lot of debates going around the Indo-Pak World Cup clash. There are a lot of people in India, who are against the Indo-Pak clash in the ICC megaevent. Players like Harbhajan Singh and Sourav Ganguly have advocated for cutting off ties with Pakistan.

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri even wrote a letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday saying the Indian cricket board “urges the cricketing community to sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates.”

But CoA chief, Vinod Rai is of the opinion that India should play Pakistan in the World Cup. “Why should we shoot ourselves in the foot by not playing? We should seek their (Pakistan) ouster and remove them from the cricketing committee,” Rai was quoted as saying by The Indian Express on Saturday.

He added, “I look at it (the letter sent to the ICC) from the point of view that we are able to isolate Pakistan. Make it a cricket apartheid for Pakistan on the terror issue. The idea is to work hand in hand with the Indian government to isolate Pakistan in the cricketing community.

“The present dispensation feels strongly about it because we reflect the sentiment of the nation. We are not a closed cricket community, we represent the nation,” he said.

News Football

FIFA bans Chelsea from signing players through next season

AP Updated: 23 February, 2019, 11:25 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Chelsea was banned from signing players until after the 2019-20 season, the latest European power punished by FIFA for flouting rules protecting young talent from premature international moves.

FIFA punished the London club owned by Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich for violations of rules regarding the protection of minors that involve 29 players, Chelsea said. FIFA rules provide specific circumstances in which clubs may sign players under 18.

Like Barcelona in 2015 and Atletico Madrid throughout 2017, Chelsea was barred from signing new players for two transfer windows, covering this summer and January 2020. Chelsea already has announced plans to appeal the ban and a fine of 600,000 Swiss francs ($600,000).

The Football Association, which has oversight of transfers in England, was fined 510,000 Swiss francs ($510,000) by FIFA and given six months to "address the situation concerning the international transfer and first registration of minors in football," FIFA said.

In some cases, players under the age of 18 spent time on trial at Chelsea but were not registered with the football authorities, people with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss specifics of the case.

Part of the FIFA case focused on players exceeding what is considered a reasonable amount of time to be considered a trialist and making return trips to Chelsea, one of the people said.

The punishment is the latest blow for Chelsea, which has dropped to sixth in the Premier League and was knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United on Monday. Abramovich, who has transformed the London club since his 2003 takeover, has been unable to travel to Britain since his visa expired at the end of last April.

International transfers involving players under 18 are prohibited unless their families had already moved to the new country for non-soccer reasons or they are close to the border of another nation. There is an exception for clubs within the European Union and European Economic Community that allows the transfer of 16- to 18-year-old players provided conditions are met on education and living conditions.

It was first reported three years ago that Burkina Faso attacker Bertrand Traore played for Chelsea's under-18 team in 2011 while still 16. Traore made only 16 appearances for Chelsea's first team before being sold to Lyon in 2017.

FIFA did not detail the specifics of the case against Chelsea, but it said the club also entered into agreements that "allowed it to influence other clubs in transfer-related matters."

Chelsea said it was initially charged over 92 players but no breach was found by FIFA in relation to 63 of them.

"The club is extremely disappointed that FIFA has not accepted the club's submissions in relation to the remaining 29 players," Chelsea said in a statement. "Chelsea FC acted in accordance with the relevant regulations and will shortly be submitting its appeal to FIFA."

The FA is challenging its fine and said it already had "raised some concerns with FIFA regarding its disciplinary processes."

"We will however continue to work with FIFA and Chelsea in a constructive manner to address the issues which are raised by this case," the FA said in a statement.

Both the FA and Chelsea could ultimately challenge any FIFA appeal ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. When Real Madrid received a similar ban in 2016, the sanction was reduced to one transfer window by CAS. But Atletico Madrid failed to cut its punishment covering two transfer windows.

Chelsea already finalized one transfer knowing the FIFA verdict was pending. Christian Pulisic was signed for 64 million euros ($73 million) in January and the 20-year-old winger from Hershey, Pennsylvania, was immediately loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the rest of this season. The German club didn't have to pay a fee.

The transfer ban does not prevent Chelsea from selling players. Winger Eden Hazard, who has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, has indicated he could look for a transfer at the end of season but he is under contract at Stamford Bridge until the end of the 2019-20 season.

Although Chelsea has a strong academy, winning the FA Youth Cup for the last five years, players struggle to graduate to the first team. Chelsea currently has 42 players out on loan to other teams.

News Wrestling

Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, Billy Gunn and others to be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame

AP Updated: 23 February, 2019, 11:19 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

WWE announced that D-Generation X members Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Saturday, April 6 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY as part of WrestleMania Week.

One of the most innovative and controversial factions in WWE history, D-Generation X was originally formed in 1997 and went on to become a pop culture phenomenon. Throughout the course of their respective careers, members of DX held nearly every major Championship in WWE and provided the WWE Universe with memorable moments both in and out of the ring.

“Being a part of DX remains one of the highlights of my career, and it is truly an honor to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame alongside my closest friends,” said Paul “Triple H” Levesque. “We now have just one question for the WWE Hall of Fame: Are You Ready!?”

Tickets for the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be available this Friday, February 22 at 12 Noon ET through all Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. All tickets are subject to service charges and facility fees.

WrestleMania 35 takes place Sunday, April 7 from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ and will stream live on WWE Network.

News Cricket

Arnab Goswami insults Sachin Tendulkar using hashtag #ShameOnAntiNationals

Staff Writer Updated: 23 February, 2019, 10:58 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indo-Pak World Cup clash has become a hot potato. The Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred, has shaken the whole nation. India is in a state of shock and anger. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad had claimed responsibility for the cowardly attack. There have been calls to boycott Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup that commences on May 30 in England and Wales.

Famous TV journalist, Arnab Goswami targeted the god of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, who is also a Bharat Ratna (highest civilian honour in India). Tendulkar had stated that India should not boycott Pakistan in the World Cup and instead defeat them there.

“India has always come up trumps against Pakistan in the World Cup. Time to beat them once again. Would personally hate to give them two points and help them in the tournament,” said Tendulkar.

“Having said that, for me, India always comes first. So whatever my country decides, I will back that decision with all my heart,” he added.

According to Janta ka Reporter, Goswami said, “I don’t believe in any Gods. Sachin Tendulkar is 100 percent wrong. Sachin Tendulkar, if he has any sense, he should realise that he should be the first person to say that don’t play with Pakistan. (Sunil) Gavaskar should be the second person to say that don’t play with Pakistan.

“These people say that we need two points. Both are damn wrong. We don’t need two points. I want revenge for my martyrs. Sachin Tendulkar can take his two points and put it in the dustbin,” he added.

Arnab Goswami also implied on his show that Sachin Tendulkar is an anti-national, which prompted panelists like Ashutosh and Sudheendra Kulkarni to walk out of the show.

“You are calling Sachin Tendulkar anti-national. You call Sunil Gavaskar anti-national. I am ashamed of you,” political analyst Sudheendra Kulkarni shouted before leaving the show.

Noted Sports Journalist, Vikrant Gupta took to Twitter to express his disappointment on the same.

 

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News Cricket

Sourav wants to run for elections or wants to become the chief minister, says Javed Miandad

Staff Writer Updated: 22 February, 2019, 11:08 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Javed Miandad has criticised BCCI for trying to forfeit the World Cup match against Pakistan and called them foolish and childish for trying to get his country out of the World Cup.

“ICC will not accept this foolish and childish move by BCCI. There is absolutely no chance of ICC listening to BCCI as its constitution allows members the right to participate in its events,” Miandad told APP.

Sourav Ganguly had called for stopping all kind of sporting relations with Pakistan.

“I think Sourav wants to run for elections in the coming days or wants to become the chief minister as it is just a publicity stunt to gain the attention of his country mates. We should not bother with India’s cowardly acts instead we must focus on improving ourselves. Pakistan has always offered India a peaceful resolution of the issues but Indians have always responded in negative.”

News Cricket

Sarfraz Ahmed expresses disappointment, says Pakistan never mixes sports with politics

Staff Writer Updated: 22 February, 2019, 11:05 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed is not happy with the turn of events between Pakistan and India after Pulwama terror attack. He has expressed his disappointment and said the World Cup game should go ahead as millions are waiting to watch this game.

“The India and Pakistan match should be played as per schedule as there are millions of people who want to watch this game. I just don’t think cricket should be targeted for political gains,” Sarfraz told the CricketPakistan.com.pk website.

“It is disappointing to see cricket being targeted after the Pulwama incident. I don’t recall Pakistan ever mixing sports with politics,” he said.

“Sports should just be taken as sports,” Sarfraz added.

Earlier, Javed Miandad has criticized BCCI for trying to forfeit the World Cup match against Pakistan and called them foolish and childish for trying to get his country out of the World Cup.

News Cricket

No opening ceremony for IPL this year, allotted money will go to families of martyrs: Vinod RaI

Staff Writer Updated: 22 February, 2019, 11:03 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League will have no regular opening ceremony this year as the Committee of Administrators (CoA) has decided to donate the allotted money to the families of martyred jawans in the recent Pulwama attacks. “There will be no IPL opening ceremony. Instead, the money will be donated to Pulwama martyrs,” he was quoted as saying by Cricket Next on Friday.

He also added that BCCI will be writing to the governing body of international cricket to inform them about the terror attack on CRPF security personnel and about their security demands for Team India during the World Cup.

"We'll write to ICC expressing our concerns about attacks that took place & that security of players, officials & everybody else must be taken care of. We're telling cricketing community that in future we must sever ties with nations from where terror emanates," Rai said.

News Cricket

God of cricket wants India to play against Pakistan in World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 22 February, 2019, 9:54 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian skipper Sachin Tendulkar has broken his silence on the issue of playing against Pakistan in the World Cup. Sachin stated he would “hate” to see India forfeit the encounter and concede two points.

“India has always come up trumps against Pakistan in the World Cup. Time to beat them once again. Would personally hate to give them two points and help them in the tournament,” said Tendulkar.

“Having said that, for me, India always comes first. So whatever my country decides, I will back that decision with all my heart,” he added.

Earlier, Sunil Gavaskar had expressed the same sentiments. “Who wins if India decide against playing Pakistan in the World Cup? And I am not even talking about the semis and the finals. Who wins? Pakistan wins because they get two points,” Gavaskar had told India Today.

“India have so far beaten Pakistan every time in a World Cup, so we are actually conceding two points when by beating Pakistan, we could make sure that they don’t advance in the competition,” he had said.

News Cricket

Sever ties with nations supporting terrorists: BCCI writes to ICC

Staff Writer Updated: 22 February, 2019, 9:51 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The governing body of Indian cricket wants cricketing nations to end tie with countries supporting terrorists. In his letter to the ICC, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri has requested top body to ensure safety of the Indian players following attack on CRPF personnel, which took 42 lives.

"This communication is being addressed to voice the BCCI's concerns and sentiments that have emerged after the recent dastardly terrorist attack which was carried out on Indian soil by a terror outfit based out of Pakistan which resulted in the death of 44 (sic) Indian security personnel," Johri wrote in the letter, a copy of which is in possession of IANS.

"In view of the aforesaid terrorist attack, BCCI fears for the safety and security of players and match officials participating in upcoming ICC events including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019," he wrote.

"Most countries from which the members of the ICC hail (including United Kingdom) have strongly condemned this terrorist attack and expressed solidarity with India. BCCI urges the cricketing community to sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates," he added.

The CEO also urged the ICC to provide full proof security cover to Indian players and officials.

"The BCCI also wishes to express its concerns over the safety and security of fans of Indian cricket at the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019."

"The BCCI trusts that the ICC and ECB will ensure that the most robust security is provided to players, match officials and fans of Indian cricket for the upcoming World Cup. The BCCI reserves all its rights and entitlements in this regard," he signed off.