Madrid's Bale faces possible 12-match ban for celebration

AP Updated: 15 February, 2019, 11:05 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Gareth Bale could face a suspension of up to 12 matches because of a gesture he made toward fans during Real Madrid's 3-1 derby win at Atletico Madrid.

The 29-year-old Bale has been reported by La Liga to the Spanish Football Federation over his celebration after scoring Real Madrid's third goal.

A statement on La Liga's official website says Bale "moves his right arm up towards his head in a signal of provocation towards the fans, creating a possibly obscene gesture by moving his other arm and striking halfway up his right arm."

That gesture is considered offensive in Spain.

The statement says Bale could be suspended for four to 12 matches if he is deemed to have intentionally provoked the crowd. However, it could also be a shorter suspension — or no ban at all if his celebration is not deemed to be provocative.

The goal was Bale's 100th for Real Madrid. He joined the Spanish club from Tottenham in 2013.

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News Cricket

Will Pucovski says mental health issues have nothing to do with his Australia non-selection

Harshit Anand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 5:10 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Kurtis Patterson's twin centuries against Sri Lanka in tour game propelled his selection over Will Pucovski in Australia's Test side against Sri Lanka. Pucovski was likely to make his Test debut against Sri Lanka but Patterson's impressive display in the warm-up game changed everything. But the Australian youngster has dismissed suggestions that his mental health issues were related to non-selection for Sri Lanka Tests.

“I don’t think it (the challenges he faced in Canberra) was anything to do with that,” Pucovski told Cricket.com.au. “A lot of people messaged me afterward (in Brisbane) as if I’d be really shattered. To a degree, I was sitting there like ‘I’m 20 years old, I’m in the Test squad – there are a lot worse situations to be in’. Obviously, it would have been amazing to play, but I was kind of just relieved to find out, either way, to be honest.”

Pucovski was recently honored with the Bradman Young Male Cricketer of the Year at the Australian Cricket Awards. He had left the Australian squad mid-way when they were taking on Sri Lanka in the home Tests due to mental health issues. But, now he is all geared up for returning back to action.

Feature Cricket

The Duality of Not Touring Pakistan

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 15 February, 2019, 5:06 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

While releasing the dates for the bilateral one day international series, Pakistan expressed disappointment over Cricket Australia’s refusal to bifurcate the series such that a part of it could be played in Pakistan soil. Do Pakistan have the right to feel aggrieved with Australia?

On the one hand, Pakistan seems to have little choice to accept that it will have to contend with having to continue playing away from their own home. On the other hand, it cannot put an embargo on the foreign cricketers who choose to come to Pakistan to play in Pakistan’s own Twenty20 tournament, the Pakistan Super League. Currently it is the only way Pakistan’s cricket public can see some of the international stars in action, even if some of these stars are either those who are making reparations or looking for one final attempt to catch the attention of their selectors back home. For Pakistan, it is only another opportunity to show not only the safety measures it has in place but also, expose the dual nature of the positions taken by cricket boards with regards to safety and security concerns of their players while their players are willing to play on Pakistan soil in individual capacity.

The Pakistan Super League has played home to players such as Steven Smith and Shane Watson and has become the only way that foreign cricketers are enticed to travel to Pakistan even though cricket boards have maintained that the players’ objections and the security reasons have stopped resumption of cricket in the country on bilateral terms. Pakistan had to step away from hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 and also, has had to resort to other venues to play hosts on its behalf, taking a toll on cricket in their own country.

After the 2009 tour of Sri Lanka where the touring team was attacked by terrorists outside the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, this after Sri Lanka stood in for India who refused to tour following the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan cricket has suffered for want of cricket in the region. Deprived of hosting duties, shunned by the rest of the world, Pakistan’s cricket loving public continue to wrestle with the reality even as the Pakistan Cricket Board has seen its coffers shrink miserably.

In that light, with a decade long isolation and forced to play in the Gulf countries as surrogate hosts as the only alternative, there was optimism expressed at the start of the year when Pakistan claimed to be in conversation with Australia to the point of hosting two or three matches on Pakistan soil and then shifting the rest to the Gulf. However, the schedule released of the tour came with the explicit suggestion that Cricket Australia did not comply with Pakistan’s request and for the moment, the status quo remains, this despite Pakistan playing host to tainted players such as Steven Smith who were using every loophole in their own home board’s one year ban for taking their cricket overseas, a fact that left many around the world baffled.

News Cricket

Sachin condemns Pulwama terror attack, offers condolences to families of martyrs

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 5:00 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sachin Tendulkar was left shocked and devastated after hearing the news of gruesome terror attack on CRPF security personnel.

He took to twitter to condemn the attack and offer condolences to the families of 40 martyrs.

"Cowardly, dastardly, meaningless...... my heart goes out to the families of those who lost their loved ones and prayers for recovery of those brave hearts in hospital. Salute to your commitment to "Service and Loyalty" @crpfindia!," Tendulkar tweeted.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli, opener Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Hardik Pandya have condemned the attack by terrorists.

"I'm shocked after hearing about the attack in Pulwama, heartfelt condolences to the martyred soldiers & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured jawaans," Virat Kohli had tweeted.

"Disturbed by the incident in #Pulwama. My thoughts are with the families and friends of our brave CRPF jawans, who laid down their lives for the country. Let's all do our bit to help the families during their dark hours and remember the soldiers in our prayers," Hardik Pandya tweeted.

“Shocked and horrified by what happened #Pulwama. The day we all celebrated love some cowards spread hatred. Thinking about the jawans and their families. India keep them in your prayers,” wrote Rohit on social media platform Twitter.

News Cricket

Moeen Ali doesn't feel the present side is the best England ODI team ever

Harshit Anand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 4:53 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

England are ranked no.1 in ICC ODI team rankings at present. They are the numero-uno with 126 rating points followed by the Men in Blue, India, who have 122 points. England have completely changed their approach and turned into an absolute dynamite side in the 50-overs format. They are red-hot favorites to lift the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

But England all-rounder, Moeen Ali feels England won't be able to stake the claim of being the best ever England ODI side if they don't quite win the World Cup.

“We can say we were the best ODI side to play for England but without a trophy, it will be difficult to say that,” Moeen said. “We have come close and we feel now is the time. We don’t feel we have to win it, it’s more ‘this is the time to win it’. We are an amazing side but we know this year is massive for us.” The World Cup will commence from May 30 in England and Wales.

Videos Cricket

Hanuma Vihari creates history in Irani Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 4:43 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Hanuma Vihari became the first player to score a century in three successive innings in Irani Cup when he completed his century on Day 4 of the ongoing match between Rest of India and current Ranji Trophy champion Vidarbha.

He had scored 114 in the first innings while his unbeaten 180 in the second innings led Rest of India to 374 for 3 before declaration. He had amassed 183 for Rest of India during last year's Irani Cup against the same team.

Hanuma Vihari also became the first batsman since Shikhar Dhawan in 2011 to hit centuries in each innings of the Irani Cup.

He was among runs in the Test series against England in their backyard while showed his class in one of the five-day matches in Australia.

News Cricket

Virat is the best player in world cricket, says Wasim Jaffer

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 4:38 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Wasim Jaffer has lauded Virat Kohli for his fitness, batting and fielding. According to legendary player, Virat is the best player in world cricket at the moment and he would love to pay to watch him bat.

"Definitely Virat Kohli! He is one of the best players in world cricket right now. The way he keeps raising the bar for himself and the example he sets with his fitness, batting or fielding makes him a role model for any young upcoming cricketer. The way he keeps creating new records and leading the team with a winning mentality, he has walked the talk by winning away from home and the way the team is playing for the past couple of years, I think he is the best player in the world at the moment," said Jaffer to indiatvnews.com.

Virat is having the best time of his career across formats. The right hand batsman won all the major ICC awards for his exceptional display in 2018. He is expected to return for the T20 and ODI series against Australia after being rested from the last two ODI matches and three T20 internationals against New Zealand.

News Cricket

Ricky Ponting keenly awaits the return of Smith and Warner

Harshit Anand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 4:05 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Smith and Warner are currently serving a 12-month ban
  • They will be able to return back to cricket from March 29 onwards
  • Ponting is looking forward to their return

Australia legend, Ricky Ponting is looking forward to the return of discarded pair of Steven Smith and David Warner to Australian colors. Both the Australian superstars, Smith and Warner are currently serving a 12-month ban, which will come to an end on March 29.

A while back, Australia's two-time World Cup winning skipper, Ponting was appointed as assistant coach for the Men in Yellow keeping in mind the World Cup that beings from May 30 in England and Wales. Australia are reigning World-Cup champions.

“I’ve spoken to both of them quite a bit during their suspensions,” Ponting told Triple M’s Rush Hour. “Over the last couple of weeks they’ve both had quite similar elbow surgeries that’s sort of going to hold them back a bit. Steve’s ended up being a little bit worse than Davey’s was.”

“I said the other day I’m looking forward to having those guys back in the side. There’s still got to be a decision made as to whether they go straight back into the team or not. Reading the tea leaves, not only do we need those level of players back in our side, but the experience as well in our one day side and Test team,” added Ponting.

News Cricket

Prithvi Shaw reveals how he felt on missing out the Australia Tests

Harshit Anand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 3:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India‘s teenage batting sensation, Prithvi Shaw is finally back to training after recovering from ankle injury, which ruled him out of India's team for the four-match Test series in Australia. He was selected in the team for Australia Tests after a dazzling start to Test cricket with a century on debut.

Shaw, however, was ruled out of the Test series after he awkwardly landed while trying to attempt a catch on the deep boundary during a warm-up game in Sydney. Under Virat Kohli's captaincy, India won the four-match series 2-1.

“I felt sad as it was a good opportunity for me to play the quality Australian bowling line-up. I was a bit upset,” Shaw said, according to the Indian Express.

“But some things aren’t in your hands. Now I am looking forward to the Mushtaq Ali tournament to find my touch and gain my confidence back,” the teen opener added.

The right-hander has been batting in the nets at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru ahead of the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament.

News Cricket

After Shane Warne, another cricket legend backs Rishabh Pant to open in ODIs

Harshit Anand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 3:11 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Rishabh Pant scored 40 and 28 in second and third T20I against NZ
  • Pant is only Indian wicket-keeper batsman to score Test tons in England and Australia
  • After Shane Warne, Sunil Gavaskar backs him to open in ODIs

The upcoming series against Australia will be India's last chance of trying out different combinations and players keeping the 2019 Cricket World Cup in mind. It is going to be a two-match T20I and five-match ODI series.

A while back, Shane Warne advocated for opening the batting with Rishabh Pant in the ODIs against Australia. Now, Indian legendary cricketer, Sunil Gavaskar has also backed Pant to open the batting for Men in Blue.

"Yes, why not. If you open with Rishabh Pant, it opens up a third option for you as well. If he does well at the top, he is someone who can also be played in the middle order," Gavaskar told India Today.

"I can't see why Rishabh Pant can't play as a batsman. He is outstanding. Maybe even open the batting with Rohit Sharma. I know Shikhar Dhawan does a great job but Rishabh Pant opening the batting with Rohit Sharma could be pretty cool too for India. Go with some of these X-factor type things and tactical battles where you surprise the opposition," he added.

Rishabh Pant has scored 696 runs in nine Test matches at an average of 49.71, and he is the only Indian wicket-keeper batsman to score Test centuries in England and Australia respectively.

News Cricket

Dinesh Karthik opens up on differences between Kohli, Dhoni, and Rohit as captain

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 2:22 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Virat Kohli is currently leading the team across the formats
  • MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma are captains of their respective sides in the IPL
  • Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni are IPL-winning skippers, which Virat isn't till now

India's seasoned wicket-keeper batsman, Dinesh Karthik has cited differences in the captaincy style of Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, and Virat Kohli. Virat Kohli is currently leading the team across the formats while the likes of MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma are captains of their respective sides in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni are IPL-winning skippers, which Virat isn't till now.

“MS is very instinctive as a skipper. He takes a lot of decisions on the field in the spur of the moment. Virat on the other hand, is very aggressive, likes to take on the opposition. He is immensely self-confident and has consistently kept raising the bar, as a batter and a leader,” Karthik was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

He also opened up on Rohit Sharma's captaincy, “And then there is Rohit. He always does his homework, is very strategic, very hands-on. Keeps going and speaking with his bowlers, has a word with the batters too. He is very thorough in his approach as a captain,” added Karthik.

News Cricket

Pulwama Attack: After "ill-timed" post, Virat Kohli finally pours in heartfelt condolences

Harshit Anand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 12:45 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The entire nation is grieving over the loss of lives of our brave hearts in the Pulwama terror attack, in which at least 42 CPRF jawans have been martyred. The death toll is still rising. The dastardly attack took place yesterday 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.

Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack. It is one of the worst terror attacks in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli was slammed on social media yesterday after he put a promotional tweet, which was considered 'ill-timed' by people at large.

Kohli, however, corrected his mistake today and sent heartfelt condolences to the martyred soldiers and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. The 30 years old tweeted, "I'm shocked after hearing about the attack in Pulwama, heartfelt condolences to the martyred soldiers & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured jawaans."

Feature Cricket

5 times MS Dhoni showed that he is a real gentleman, who puts country first

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 11:16 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni is perhaps one of the greatest Indian cricketers to have graced the field. A born leader and a winner, the veteran cricketer doesn't need new introduction. Dhoni has been one of the most celebrated cricketers in terms of both individual and team achievements. A winner of all the ICC Trophies as a skipper earlier, Dhoni continues to be an integral part of the Indian cricket team in the white-ball format. He is set to be seen in the ICC World Cup 2019 next.

Dhoni is supreme both as a cricketer and a person. He is respectable all across the cricket fraternity. His gentleman attitude and calm persona has rubbed off well among the others. A person that has been honored with many prestigious awards, Dhoni deserves a shout for all that he has achieved in his life. We all know how Dhoni made it to cricket going through all the struggles. His mentality and effort makes him stand out. Dhoni has been someone who has always been a team player and that made him a successful leader.

He helped India win the ICC World Cup 2011 and played a massive role in the finale. Besides this, he also guided India to the World T20 title in 2007 and the Champions Trophy in 2013. Winning has never been the sole motto of Dhoni's life. He has been a bigger personality than just that. He isn't someone that always wanted the trophies and the glamour. The way he conducted himself off the field highlighted his simplicity and vision as a person. He has always put his country first and led the side well.

Here we look at instances where Dhoni did things solely for the nation first.

1) The player once stated that, "You don't play for the crowd, you play for the country." That statement has been a true one and it reflects in the manner in which he carries himself. Last year he was booed in England by the fans, but Dhoni never brought all these into considerations and kept focusing on his game.

2) He once said in an interview that, his wife comes third after the nation and his parents. It isn't just that he loves his wife less, but he knows what's in the priority list for him.

3) In 2015, Dhoni's wife Sakshi gave birth to their first child. Dhoni chose not to fly back home, but he rather stayed with the Indian team in Australia to prepare for the World Cup. He had clearly said that everything else can wait as he is on national duty.

4) Fans must notice that several batsmen have flags on their helmets. But not Dhoni. Since he is the wicket-keeper, he has to keep his helmet on the ground while being behind the stumps. He doesn't want the flag to touch the grass.

5) Last year he was awarded the Padma Bhushan and he received the same wearing a uniform. He later took to Instagram and said, “An honor to get the Padma Bhushan and receiving it in Uniform increases the excitement ten folds. Thanks to all the Men and Women in Uniform and their families for the Sacrifices they make so that all of us could enjoy our Constitutional Rights. Jai Hind.”

Feature Cricket

Rishabh Pant: The most talked about young cricketer

Partab Ramchand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 11:13 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Suddenly Rishabh Pant is the most talked about young cricketer in the land and why not? He has endeared himself to all being a confident youngster who knows his way about, as a perky wicketkeeper whose incessant chatting may make the purist wince but is very much a part of today’s game. Most important his batting is refreshingly bold and vigorous. Even in the days of the T-20 game his brand of cricket stands out as he looks to get runs off every ball, either through a big hit or a quick single. Moreover he applies the same approach in Test cricket too as a strike rate of almost 74 will testify. Two centuries in cricket’s traditional format from nine matches underscores that he can play a big innings, only he doesn’t too long in compiling them. His game is of course tailor made for the shorter versions as his showing in 13 T-20s and three ODIs has confirmed.

It is taken for granted that the 21-year-old Pant is going to be a member of the World Cup squad despite the presence of MS Dhoni and probably another wicket keeper batsman in Dinesh Karthik. Of course with Dhoni around Pant’s role will be that of a specialist batsman and there is every reason to believe that he will be a success. For one thing he has already performed admirably in England last year including getting his first Test hundred. Secondly at the moment he can do no wrong and everything is coming up roses for him including equaling the world record for most dismissals in a Test – 11 against Australia at Adelaide a couple of months ago.

Not unexpectedly he has been the subject of much praise and the latest to become a Pant fan is Shane Warne. The spin legend has backed Pant not only to play as a specialist batsman in the World Cup but also feels that he could open the innings along with Rohit Sharma. ``I know Shikhar Dhawan does a great job but Pant opening the batting with Rohit could be pretty cool too for India. Go with some of these X-factor type things and tactical battles where you can surprise the opposition.’’ Warne also suggested that it would be worth trying out Pant at the top of the order for a couple of games to see how things work out and perhaps this experiment could be done against Australia.

The five ODIs and the two T-20s against Australia will be the last chance for India to try out any experiments before the World Cup and one is sure that the selectors and the team management will make use of the series to fit in the few missing pieces in the jigsaw puzzle and have a settled team for the mega event. Pant at the top of the order could be one of these experiments worth trying out.

News Football

United says Mourinho firing cost $25M, revived by Solskjaer

AP Updated: 15 February, 2019, 11:08 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The firing of Jose Mourinho cost Manchester United 19.6 million pounds ($25 million) in payoffs. The club already sees it as money well spent.

The compensation for dismissing Mourinho and his coaches was disclosed Thursday by United among "exceptional items" in the latest set of financial results, which showed record revenue.

According to a person with knowledge of the finances, Mourinho received about 15 million pounds ($19 million) to pay off the remaining 1½ years on his contract. The rest went to the six coaches. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details of the club's salaries were confidential.

Highlighting the difficulty of replacing Alex Ferguson, United has now spent 33.2 million pounds dismissing the three managers hired since he retired in 2013 after 26 trophy-laden years in charge.

When Mourinho was fired in December, United was sixth in the Premier League. Former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was brought back to Old Trafford as temporary manager and he has lifted the team back into fourth — a Champions League qualification spot.

The appointment of Solskjaer and assistant manager Mike Phelan, who worked under Ferguson at United, "has had a positive impact throughout the club," vice chairman Ed Woodward said.

"We are delighted with the improvement in the team's performances since December and we look forward to a strong finish to the (20)18-19 season."

Solskjaer only has a contract until the end of the season and is on a loan agreement with Norwegian club Molde but hopes to stay. Woodward told investors on a conference call that Solskjaer "revived" the team by opening his reign with a club-record eight straight wins and won the Premier League's manager of the month award.

Solskjaer is the first United manager to collect the accolade since Ferguson retired after winning 13 Premier League titles and the Champions League twice.

David Moyes lasted 10 months as Ferguson's successor before being fired along with his coaches at a cost of 5.2 million pounds in 2014.

Despite Louis van Gaal winning the first major trophy of the post-Ferguson era — the 2016 FA Cup — he was fired after two years primarily for failing to qualify for the lucrative Champions League. The payoffs to Van Gaal and his coaches reached 8.4 million pounds.

Mourinho, who replaced Van Gaal, had a contract through next season, but the risk of missing out on the top four led to his dismissal.

United easily will be able to cover the compensation costs on the strength of its commercial operation.

For the second quarter of the financial year — the three months to Dec. 31 — United reported revenue rising 18 percent to a record 208.6 million pounds. The club is forecasting annual revenue to be between 615 million pounds and 630 million pounds.

Because of investment in the squad, salaries rose 12 percent year-on-year to 77.9 million pounds for the quarter.