News Cricket

Men in Blue's semifinal defeat is poetic justice as they lost intentionally to England – Basit Ali

Staff Writer Updated: 12 July, 2019, 4:50 PM IST


Former Pakistan players are happy over Team India's ouster from the World Cup after losing to New Zealand in the semifinal. Former Pakistan pacer Waqar Younis took to twitter to express his happiness.

"Such a brutal game this Cricket and a great leveler...Bites you back when you are expecting the least. I learned a great lesson never abuse the game," Waqar tweeted.

Basit Ali, who had claimed that India will lose intentionally to Bangladesh to deny Pakistan spot, call India's ouster as poetic justice.

He had earlier slammed Virat Kohli's-led team stating they played pathetic cricket against England.

"Whatever anyone says, I had said before India would intentionally play badly against England and some other teams. It is poetic justice that India today has lost a match they should have won easily," said Basit.

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif, however, said that India were defeated as they were too relaxed against New Zealand.

"Once a semi-final is spread over two days it always becomes difficult for the side batting second and Henry and Boult produced some lethal balls early to get those wickets."

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News Cricket

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni can't sacrifice their reputation for match fixing - ACU chief

Staff Writer Updated: 18 September, 2019, 12:12 PM IST


Tamil Nadu Premier has been marred with allegations of match fixing and the governing body of Indian cricket is not happy with the way things are being handled in the competition. The chief of the BCCI's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) chief Ajit Singh feels small or unknown players are easy to approach.

Speaking to IANS, he said that its impossible to approach top stars like a Virat Kohli or MS Dhoni.

"If you ask me, today in cricket, a star has much more to lose than gain if he gets involved in this. Imagine a Virat Kohli or Dhoni getting into this. Things don't just move by money, it is also the reputation that counts. They can't sacrifice their reputation for such things. They are far bigger than all this.

"Even if you are talking just in financial terms, do you think they will get involved -- both in terms of the endorsement that they get because of their reputation and star power, as also the other benefits that they get.

"Betting wouldn't give them a small percentage of that money," he explained.

"These people (fixers and bookies) are looking at whatever opportunities they can get. If they can't get into any tournament, they start their own leagues. They are now moving to new countries and in the name of promoting the sport, they organize tournaments and get teams. They pretend to be working for the game.

"You can't stop someone from organizing a tournament because this is a free country. But what BCCI can do is say this is not recognized so registered players won't go. Still, some young players fall for this. Sometimes, they also get players from outside to promote the league and make them ambassadors and stuff."

Feature Cricket

Rishabh Pant should be given a lot of leeway

Partab Ramchand Updated: 18 September, 2019, 10:47 AM IST


Let’s get one thing straight. Rishabh Pant can be a match winner and on this ground alone should be persevered with. He should be given a lot of leeway and the freedom to play his fearless strokes. If on the way he will have days when he is out to a reckless shot so be it.

Swashbuckling batsmen have always faced the criticism that they have been careless in their approach, that they have not put the team’s interests first. Kris Srikkanth faced this charge in the 80s and some 20 years later Virender Sehwag too frequently came under the scanner. No one can however deny that they were game changers who could put the game beyond the opposition in a matter of minutes.

Much the same can be said of Pant. Sure, in his comparatively short career his choice of shots hasn’t always been wise. He has been accused of playing injudiciously and throwing his wicket away. But he is prodigiously gifted and such cricketers should be encouraged to play their natural, instinctive game.

In this connection the ``rap on the knuckles’’ warning from coach Ravi Shastri is timely. He made it clear that while he had faith in Pant’s talent and destructive ability he was of the view that sometimes his shot selection was unwise and he had let himself and the team down. In particular Shastri touched upon his first ball dismissal in the ODI against West Indies at Port of Spain last month when he came down the track to Fabian Allen only to miscue the lofted shot to mid-off. ``You have a target to chase and the need of the hour is some sensible cricket’’ said Shastri. That innings was Pant’s second first ball duck on the tour of the West Indies. In the first T-20 international he had top edged a slog sweep off Sunil Narine.

Skipper Virat Kohli too joined in the criticism but only suggested that he was not for Pant to change his approach and natural game but only to read the match situations better. Also adopting a conciliatory approach is the new batting coach Vikram Rathour who called for Pant to sort out his game plan without compromising on his explosive and innovative style. This can be achieved with a lot more opportunities and Pant who turns 22 next month has the right temperament to eschew needless risks and still be the kind of match winner he is with his buccaneering approach. There is a fine line between fearless and reckless and Pant has only to keep that in mind.

News Cricket

Dhawan's contribution to the game is as important as that of Rohit and Virat - Harbhajan

Staff Writer Updated: 18 September, 2019, 10:38 AM IST


Veteran Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh has praised Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan for their performance as openers of Team India. He further added that Shikhar Dhawan's contribution is as important to the Indian team as that of his fellow opening batsman and Virat Kohli. Dhawan, who had to miss most of the matches in the last edition of the World Cup, made his comeback in the series against West Indies.

He was part of the T20 and ODI sides but his contribution was not upto the mark. However, Bhajji is still backing Dhawan to come good against South Africa.

"Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are some of the finest batsmen that India has seen, and have proven to be one of India's best opening pairs. Shikhar Dhawan's contribution to the game is as important as that of Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli," Harbhajan was quoted as saying by IANS.

"Be it T20 or 50 overs, irrespective of the format, Shikhar is really good. According to me, there is no better opener than Shikhar Dhawan, along with Rohit Sharma, in any format - T20 and 50 overs. If he continues working on his fitness in the coming 2-3 years, I think he will be unstoppable," he added.

News Tennis

Roger Federer to decide soon on Tokyo Olympic plans

AP Updated: 18 September, 2019, 10:35 AM IST


Roger Federer plans to decide "in the next month or so" whether he will play at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Federer said his 2020 schedule is set through Wimbledon, which ends July 12. The week-long Olympic tournament starts July 25 and ends a few days before his 39th birthday.

"I guess I'm going to be deciding on the Olympic Games in the next few weeks, hopefully in the next month or so," he said.

Speaking ahead of the Laver Cup team competition he co-owns, Federer said he is "very excited about the prospect" of Tokyo.

"I just have to see how is the family, how is my body doing," Federer said in an interview broadcast by Swiss public television.

Federer is a four-time Olympian. He met his wife at the 2000 Sydney Games and twice carried Switzerland's flag at opening ceremonies.

"It's been such a special event for me," he said.

Federer won doubles gold with Stan Wawrinka at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and silver in singles at the 2012 London Games, played at Wimbledon. He missed the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of injury.

To play in Tokyo, Federer would likely have to get a wild-card exemption from the International Tennis Federation. He has not played the required amount of Davis Cup games to be eligible by right.

News Football

Ronaldo faces Atlético again; depleted PSG takes on Madrid

AP Updated: 18 September, 2019, 10:33 AM IST


Cristiano Ronaldo faces a familiar foe as Juventus opens its Champions League campaign at Atlético Madrid, while his former team Real Madrid visits a Paris Saint-Germain squad that will be without the attacking trio of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappé.

Ronaldo scored a hat trick in the round of 16 last season to help Juventus eliminate Atlético, a team he repeatedly thrived against when playing for its crosstown rival.

Real Madrid caught a break for its opener in Paris as Neymar won't be able to play for PSG because of a suspension and Cavani and Mbappé are injured. Madrid, meanwhile, will be able to count on Eden Hazard, the former Chelsea playmaker who made his competitive debut with the club in a Spanish league game.

"Since I arrived I felt the connection that Real Madrid has with the Champions League," Hazard said. "Being here is a dream for me and I hope to make the most of it."

Manchester City visits Shakhtar Donetsk in its quest to succeed in the European competition under Pep Guardiola, while Tottenham — last season's runner-up — travels to Greece to face Olympiakos.

Five-time European champion Bayern Munich hosts Red Star Belgrade.

News Football

Liverpool, Chelsea lose in Champions League

AP Updated: 18 September, 2019, 10:24 AM IST


On a night when Europe's biggest stars couldn't find a way to score, teenager Erling Braut Haaland made it look easy.

The 19-year-old Norwegian shone on his Champions League debut, scoring a hat trick as Salzburg beat Genk 6-2. Meanwhile, Liverpool, Barcelona and Chelsea all failed to score.

Haaland is emerging as one of European soccer's biggest talents after netting 17 goals in nine games for Salzburg this season.

He scored in the second minute against Genk and twice more before halftime, tormenting the Belgian side on the counterattack and making Salzburg look like anything but a team which last played in the Champions League in 1994.

When Haaland was substituted in the 72nd minute, it was to a standing ovation. At the final whistle, he ran back onto the pitch to more applause and hugs from teammates.


Last season ended with all-English finals in both of Europe's main club competitions. But the English are off to a poor start this season.

Liverpool's prolific front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane misfired as the European champion's title defense started with a 2-0 loss to Napoli.

Liverpool denied Napoli a place in the Champions League knockout rounds last season and the Italian side got a measure of revenge. Dries Mertens' penalty gave Napoli the lead before Fernando Llorente — who was on the Tottenham team that lost to Liverpool in last season's final — made it 2-0 in stoppage time.

Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by Valencia thanks to a volley from Rodrigo, with Ross Barkley missing a chance to equalize when he fired a penalty onto the crossbar. It was the first European test for the new-look Chelsea team under coach Frank Lampard.

Making things worse for Chelsea, midfielder Mason Mount went off with an ankle injury after a sliding tackle from Valencia's Francis Coquelin.


Even Lionel Messi couldn't lift Barcelona to a win over Borussia Dortmund.

In his first appearance of the season following a calf injury, Messi came off the bench to replace 16-year-old Ansu Fati but couldn't turn the tide in a 0-0 draw.

Instead, Barcelona's standout player was goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, who saved a penalty from Marco Reus and made several other saves to keep the game scoreless. Dortmund also struck the crossbar through substitute Julian Brandt.

Feature Cricket

Rohit Sharma’s last chance at Test cricket permanency?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 17 September, 2019, 4:45 PM IST


As hard as it may be to imagine, these must be exhilarating times for Rohit Sharma who has become the toast of the town to the point of becoming suddenly India’s first choice for the slot of the Test opener for the home series against South Africa. It was not that long ago that Rohit Sharma did not know if he was coming or going as he was left out of the home series against the West Indies and then seemingly randomly picked for the tour of Australia.

K.L. Rahul’s inconsistent performances as a Test opener eventually found its waterloo in the West Indies. With it becoming obvious that Virat Kohli needs a new cricketer in the opener’s slot in order to forge ahead, it seemed that rather than put all one’s eggs in the basket of India’s new wave of cricketers, the idea of having an experienced cricketer in the midst seemed to fortify as an idea.

It remains to be seen whether Rohit Sharma can do consistently for India what Virender Sehwag did in that opener’s role, also, as a swashbuckling batsman. Whether India will give Rohit – the skittish member of the Test cricket lot – leeway a la Virender Sehwag is, also, in question given Sharma’s chequered Test cricket journey.

Ironically it seems that while Rohit Sharma could not find a spot on the Indian team when the West Indies last toured India, he did make the tour of Australia. If there was a sense of faith about Rohit Sharma translating from a prolific limited overs cricketer into a consistent Test cricketer, it has not been particularly forthcoming even in the past year although Rohit Sharma as a viable alternative to Kohli as India’s limited overs captain floated around, particularly as India went down anti-climatically in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-final to New Zealand.

Now it would appear that whatever feuds and rifts were rumoured to be brewing between the captain and Sharma would have to take to dust as India gear up for the first home encounter since the inception of the ICC World Test Championship. Although India began their Test points tally with the series in the Caribbean, this will be their first home encounter which is perhaps why Rohit Sharma has been thrown into the mix given that this is a series against South Africa. The argument though could perhaps be made that there was no better, not to mention, opportunistic, time than now to strike when the iron is hot by blooding a younger cricketer, particularly in home conditions.

That could still happen although it would seem that playing it safe would demand Rohit was tried in the slot. By the same breath, it would then hold that while Rohit Sharma’s talents have never been in doubt, there has always been an asterix to his career as a Test cricketer. Unable to establish himself consistently enough or score prolifically as he has in the shorter formats of the game where he has double centuries to his game, Rohit Sharma has often had to wait upon unlikely opportunities to audition to play for Test cricket. It is what has kept his career hanging and perhaps even cost him the opportunity to really challenge Kohli for the captaincy.

With that being said, with Kohli in resplendent form to not feel threat to his place in the team or his position as the team’s captain any time soon, it has to be said that of the nine lives that Rohit Sharma has had with regard to reviving his Test cricket career, finding himself inducted into the team to fill up the opener’s must be seen as arguably one of the last chances to establish himself in the longest format of the sport. While it would seem that a golden opportunity has landed in his lap yet again, this time it is on Rohit Sharma to grab it and claim it for his own.

News Cricket

I think I owe Nathan Lyon a lot of beers - Jack Leach

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 4:42 PM IST


Australia would have won the third Test match of the Ashes had Nathan Lyon not missed an easy chance to run-out Jack Leach.

Ben Stokes shot went straight to the point and his partner Jack Leach was halfway down when the ball was given to Nathan Lyon. However, he fumbled the return throw and the rest is history.

Jack Leach has revealed the conversation he had with the Aussie off-spinner.

"Nathan Lyon came over and said to me 'how many beers do you owe me [for the run out]?' I think I owe him a lot. Sport is fickle and I guess you have to enjoy the good moments and not get too down about the bad moments. I have had some luck as well. Hopefully, you earn that luck through hard work, I will continue working hard.

That was an experience for me, seeing how competitive Ashes cricket is. Nothing crossed a line, and fair play to both teams for playing in a great spirit," he said.

News Cricket

David Warner thanks English fans for boos, barbs and banter

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 4:09 PM IST


David Warner, who failed miserably in the recently concluded Ashes, has thanked his fans for supporting the Australian team. He took to Instagram to post an emotional message after the end of the tour of England.

"Thanks to all of you back home who stayed up late to support us, as well as the many of you who made the trip to back us at the ovals. It means the world to us and we just hope we have given you some enjoyment," he wrote.

He also thanked the English fans for their banter during the series. The rival fans went after Warner and Steve Smith, who were returning to Test cricket after serving a ban of one year for their involvement in the ball tampering scandal.

"Thanks, too, for all the banter from the fans - it was fun. For me personally it was a tough series but my challenge now is to bounce back. I'll be doing everything I can to do just that - but first some family time!" he added.

News Cricket

If Rohit Sharma gets his game plan right, he can be a great asset to Test team - Vikram Rathour

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 3:06 PM IST


Rohit Sharma will open for Team India in the upcoming Test series against South Africa. After KL Rahul's axing, Rohit will be given another chance to cement his place in Test squad. Team India's new batting coach Vikram Rathour is backing Rohit to come good as opener in Test cricket.

“I think he is too good a player to not be playing in any team. Everybody in the side echoes this opinion. He is a wonderful opening batsman in the limited-overs format, so there is no reason why he cannot be successful in Test matches. If he gets his game plan right, he can be a great asset to the team,” Rathore told reporters ahead of the second T20I.

He will take some time to get along with the Indian players.

“The interaction with the team has been good. I have been in this profession for a long time, I have interacted with almost all the players. Nothing too tough, it will take me some time to adjust in the setup of team India but I will manage,” he added.

News Cricket

You don’t see many in Indian cricket who can bowl at 150 kmph: Klusener on Navdeep Saini

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 2:59 PM IST


Former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener, who is currently working as an assistant batting coach of South Africa, is impressed with progress of Navdeep Saini. Lance Klusener has worked with the Delhi District Cricket Association in the past and is not surprised with the rise of young fast bowler.

“I am so glad to see Navdeep Saini being recognized. You don’t see many in Indian cricket who can bowl at 150 kmph,” Klusener was as quoted by Times of India.

According to him, Navdeep is a great leaner, who is always open to learn more from current and former cricketers.

“I think he has a wonderful action which is very clean and smooth. He is superbly fit as well. But while chatting with him, I realized he is hungry to bowl at 150 clicks and above,” he added.

News Cricket

It would be great for fans to see the battle between Virat and Rabada - Quinton de Kock

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 2:42 PM IST


South Africa and India will face off in the second T20I of the three-match series in Mohali. Ahead of the match, Proteas new skipper Quinton de Kock stated that captaincy is a new stepping stone in his career.

“I am not too concerned. It is a new stepping stone in my career. It gives me extra responsibility in the team. We will see how it goes, it can affect me positively or negatively, but it is too early to say. I will try to do my best,” de Kock told reporters.

He was not happy after the first match was abandoned due to rain.

“Obviously it is a bit of negative. We would have liked to play at Dharamshala. We would like to play as many matches heading into the 20-20 World Cup next year so losing out on one game is not ideal. But it is what it is. It is now a two-match series. It would be an exciting format so we will see how things go,” he added.

Virat and Rabada are renowned for their on-field battles and De Kock expects another one in the ongoing T20 series.

“They are both good players. It is a good competition between both Virat Kohli and Kagiso Rabada. They both are aggressive in their style of play. It would be great for fans to see the battle between them both,” he said.

News Cricket

Chris Woakes bowls first no ball of Test career after 867 overs, denied wicket

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 12:46 PM IST


England defeated Australia by 135 runs in the fifth and final Ashes test at the Oval to draw the series 2-2.

It's the first time an Ashes series has ended in a draw since 1972.

Both teams had something to celebrate as Australia was later presented with the Ashes urn. Australia had already retained the urn as holder but was thwarted in its goal of a first outright series win in England in 18 years after being dismissed for 263 in its second innings deep into the evening session on Day 4.

Broad took 4-62 and spinner Jack Leach 4-49 for England. Broad became the first England bowler to take 20-plus wickets in four Ashes series — 2013, 2013-14, 2015 and 2019. Leach ended the game at 6:10 p.m. local time with two wickets — Nathan Lyon (1) and Josh Hazlewood (0) — in two balls.

Earlier, Matthew Wade and Mitchell Marsh stitched a partnership of 52 runs for the fifth wicket. This partnership would have ended had Chris Woakes not over-stepped for the first time in his Test career - which was after 867 overs.

"We were excellent this week. Having lost the toss, to play as we did was fantastic. We drove the game all the time and got there in the end," Root said. "Collectively we've shown a lot of character throughout the whole series. We were not always at our best, but we've fought really hard."

News Cricket

Virat is the best in the world at the moment, but Smith's Test records speak for itself – Ganguly

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 12:31 PM IST


A lot has been written about Virat Kohli and Steve Smith in the recent times. The former Aussie skipper has surpassed Virat Kohli to take the top spot in the ICC Test rankings for batsmen.

Smith was in exceptional form in the recently concluded Ashes where he amassed 774 runs in seven innings at an average of 110.57.

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly feels Kohli is still the best in the world while admitting that Smith has done wonders in Test cricket. He refused to compare two modern-day greats.

"These are questions not to be answered. How does it matter? It's about performance. Virat is the best in the world at the moment. So that's what makes us happy," Ganguly was quoted as saying by IANS.

"His records speak for itself... 26 Test hundreds which is a phenomenal record," he said talking about Smith.

News Cricket

Sachin and Virat lead cricket fraternity's birthday wishes for PM Narendra Modi

Staff Writer Updated: 17 September, 2019, 12:20 PM IST


India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is celebrating his 69th birthday today. As the wishes started pouring in since midnight, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and other famous cricket personalities took to Twitter to wish India’s honorable leader.

While India skipper Virat Kohli wished the Prime Minister good health and success, former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar recalled PM's vision to make India clean.

“Wishing our honourable Prime Minister, @narendramodi ji a very happy birthday. Wish you all the good health and success in your pursuit of taking our nation to greater heights. @PMOIndia,” Virat Kohli tweeted.

"Happy Birthday Hon. PM @narendramodi ji. Your vision for a healthier and cleaner India is an inspiration for all. May you always be blessed with good health in life," Sachin wrote on twitter.

Shikhar Dhawan, the left-hand batsman, also wished the Prime Minister on his 69th birthday.

"Happy Birthday to our respected and honourable Prime Minister, @narendramodi ji.. Thank you for all your efforts towards making our country greater than ever, sir," Shikhar Dhawan wrote on Twitter.

Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Kedar Jadhav extended their wishes.