Messi upset with criticism from Argentina fans

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 11:13 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Argentina star Lionel Messi admitted to being upset with constant criticism in his homeland, saying in an interview that even his 6-year-old son asks why his countrymen attack his performances for the national team.

Many Argentinans feel Messi doesn't have the same enthusiasm for international soccer that he does for his club Barcelona.

They also questioned his silence after being eliminated from last year's World Cup by France, something Messi said he wanted to forget.

"I wanted to distance myself from the team, let time go by and cool myself. It was painful to end the cycle this way," Messi told radio Club 94.7.

"Many people said I should not return (to the national team). Family, friends. My 6-year-old (asked me) 'Why do they kill you in Argentina, daddy?'"

The 31-year-old Argentina captain said he still wants to win a tournament and will keep trying with the team under coach Lionel Scaloni.

"Those that don't like me will have to stand me a little longer," Messi said, adding he had already achieved "extraordinary things" with Argentina, including "a World Cup final, two Copa America finals, and that is not easy."

The five-time Ballon D'Or winner said he doesn't need to say he loves Argentina "in every instant" because he expresses his passion for his home nation "in another way."

Messi also denied he decides who plays for the national team.

"We have heard about this 'club of friends' thing for years. They say I pick the players, the coaches. I basically manage the whole AFA (Argentina's soccer association)," he ironically said.

Messi pointed out that average Argentinians are kind with him whenever he visits the South American country.

"I get upset that people are lied to," Messi said.

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News Cricket

My 100 was not enough because of the way you batted, Sanju Samson to David Warner

Staff Writer Updated: 30 March, 2019, 2:26 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sanju Samson’s magnificent ton went in vain as David Warner's blistering knock took Sunrisers Hyderabad to win in their match against visiting Rajasthan Royals. Samson scored 102 not-out, his second-hundred of the Indian Premier League career but Warner's 69 off 37 proved to be the difference in the end as home team won the game by five wickets.

After the match, Warner interviewed Samson. “You destroyed my day. My 100 was not enough because of the way you batted. The way you started the innings we lost the game in the powerplay. We needed some 250 on the board with someone like you in the opposition. It was special,” Samson told Warner.

David Warner praised Samson for his exceptional batting. “We didn’t get off to a good start, a serious innings from Sanju and full credit to him. He came out and played really well. He allowed himself time and the wicket got better. Actually, I didn’t think it was a 200 wicket. We have played on similar wickets where if you bowl that hard length it is tough to get under. He showed us how to go about it,” said Warner.

News Cricket

Not Dhoni or Pant, Gambhir reveals the name of best wicketkeeper batsman in India

Staff Writer Updated: 30 March, 2019, 2:02 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sanju Samson played one of the finest innings of Indian Premier League at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad. Despite losing Jos Buttler, Rahane and Samson combined together to lead Rajasthan Royals to a competitive total. While Rahane scored 70, it was Samson, who earned a lot of praise for his chance less knock. He second century of the Indian Premier League came off only 52 deliveries. Gautam Gambhir was mighty impressed with Samson and heaped praise on the young batsman.

"I normally don’t like to talk about individuals in cricket. But seeing his skills I am glad to note that Sanju Samson is currently the best Wicketkeeper batsman in India. For me he should be batting number 4 in the World Cup @BCCI @rajasthanroyals @IPL @StarSportsIndia," he wrote on his Twitter handle.

Men in Blue have tried different players at the No. 4 spot but they haven't been able to finalize one till date. With Gambhir backing Rajasthan Royals' batsman Sanju Samson, it will be interesting to see whether wise men of Indian selection committee would consider him while naming World Cup squad.

Videos Cricket

Watch: Pizza delivery boy interrupts Sanju Samson's march towards hundred in Hyderabad

Staff Writer Updated: 30 March, 2019, 1:58 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sanju Samson scored an impressive hundred, becoming the first player to reach three-figure mark in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League. While he was batting on 44, he had to stop his innings, courtsey pizza delivery guy. Actually, a pizza delivery guy was walking in front of the sight screen when Samson was about to face a ball. The match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan was stopped for a moment to allow the delivery guy to get out of the way. Samson resumed his innings after that and went on to score second century of his IPL career.

Sanju Samson remained unbeaten on 102 with the help of 10 fours and 4 sixes. However, his knock went in vain as David Warner (69 off 37 balls) and Jonny Bairstow (45 off 28 balls) stitched a 110-run stand for opening wicket to lead Sunrisers' charge. Vijay Shankar’s 35 runs off just 15 balls and Rashid Khan's 15 off 8 helped their team in registering first win of the season.

News Cricket

Crease or road, you will regret, if you cross the line: Cops use 'Mankad' meme for awareness

Staff Writer Updated: 30 March, 2019, 1:51 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

R Ashwin had to face flak for mankading Jos Buttler during one of the IPL matches. However, the skipper of Kings XI Punjab was unfazed by the criticism coming his way after his controversial decision to run-out Buttler. The incident has inspired Kolkata Police, who have used Ashwin's picture on Twitter to create awareness among residents of the city. "Crease or road, you will regret, if you cross the line".

Many former cricketers including Shane Warne had questioned Ashwin's move, saying it was against the spirit of the game. This was not the first time Kolkata Police used an incident from cricket world to promote their campaign. When Cheteshwar Pujara scored a sublime hundred in Australia in December 2018, Kolkata Police combined his picture with a picture of a person wearing the seat belt while driving his car. "Defence should be like Pujara," they wrote.

News Cricket

Warner discloses what inspires him to do his best for SRH

Harshit Anand Updated: 30 March, 2019, 12:41 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Australian superstar, David Warner is back to what he does the best and that is scoring runs quickly and winning games of cricket for his side. Warner's international ban has also expired, which means he is now available for selection at the highest level too. Right now, he is playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad. The left-hander has made back-to-back fifties as well and is looking in red-hot form.

Warner revealed what inspires him to perform so consistently for the Hyderabad franchise. “One thing that inspires me is the local fans, they are amazing. We try and put on a good show. We didn’t get off to a good start, a serious innings from Sanju and full credit to him. He came out and played really well. He allowed himself time and the wicket got better. Actually I didn’t think it was a 200 wicket. We have played on similar wickets where if you bowl that hard length it is hard to bat,” he said.

Hyderabad defeated Rajasthan by five wickets and have finally opened their account in points table after they lost the first game against Kolkata Knight Riders.

News Cricket

Rashid Khan reveals he has five different variations

Harshit Anand Updated: 30 March, 2019, 12:24 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rashid Khan is one of the most successful T20 players in the world of cricket. He often plays around the world when it comes to franchise-based T20 leagues. The leg-spinner has also been highly successful in the cash-rich Indian Premiere League (IPL). He has taken 40 wickets in 33 games at an average of 21.65 with an economy of 6.66.

The Afghanistan spinner disclosed the secret behind his success in the shortest format of the game. “I have five different leg-spin variations with different actions. I just back myself with my variations and pitch it in the good length area,” said Rashid.

Rashid Khan's batting has also started coming good of late. Yesterday, he batted brilliantly and scored 15 off 8 deliveries to finish off the game for Hyderabad against Rajasthan at Rajiv Gandhi International cricket stadium.

“I am working on my batting. I need to bat well when my team needs me. My coaches — (Tom) Moody, Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) and (V.V.S.) Laxman — have always backed me and given me lot of confidence saying you can hit anywhere, just a case of backing yourself. That’s what I did.

“I think I just try my best to be positive in each game and I am working hard and believing in my own skills, so that’s what is working for me,” said the leggie.

News Football

Juventus will not risk Ronaldo against Ajax

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 11:19 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Cristiano Ronaldo will not be risked for Juventus' first match of the Champions League quarterfinals against Ajax if he is not fully fit, coach Massimiliano Allegri said.

Ronaldo injured a right thigh muscle and limped off 30 minutes into Portugal's 1-1 draw against Serbia on Monday in qualifying for the 2020 European Championship.

"He will have tests on Monday, we'll evaluate things from there," Allegri said. "There is a risk — and a lot of risk — that he will miss the match against Ajax, he knows it, too, and he knows, too, that if he is not fit then he will stay out."

Juventus travels to Ajax for the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals on April 10, then hosts the Dutch team the following week.

The 34-year-old Ronaldo told Portuguese media after Monday's international that he "should be back in one or two weeks."

"Ronaldo is fine, he started moving again yesterday a bit, but caution is needed because it's best to miss one match than the end of the season," Allegri said. "We are in a delicate phase; he will return when he is well and there will be no danger that he may have a relapse."

Ronaldo scored a hat trick against Atletico Madrid in the return leg of the last 16 as Juventus overturned a first-leg deficit.

"Juventus has the good fortune to have an in-depth squad," Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said. "Cristiano is the best player in the world, if you have him on the pitch he gives you an extra sense of security.

"That said, when you have muscle injuries you have to be very careful. For one match you risk compromising the next two months. ... It's more important to safeguard two and a half months than one match only."

Ronaldo will definitely miss Sunday's Serie A match against Empoli. Seven-time defending champion Juventus has a 15-point advantage over second-place Napoli.

News F1

Ferrari's Vettel and Leclerc top both Bahrain GP practices

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 11:08 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc gave Ferrari a much-needed boost by topping the first two practice sessions at Formula One's Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.

After Leclerc finished about 0.3 seconds ahead of Vettel in the hot afternoon sun, Vettel was then only 0.035 clear of Leclerc when temperatures dropped considerably on the desert circuit in the cooler evening session.

Vettel was more than half a second ahead of world champion Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes under the floodlights, which appears to give Ferrari some encouragement after neither driver managed to get on the podium at the season-opening Australian GP two weeks ago.

"The Ferraris have been quick from the get-go and picked up more pace from there. So it's completely different to what we've seen in Melbourne," Hamilton said. "We had some issues with the balance of the car. At the moment it looks like the Ferraris are ahead."

Leclerc is in his first season with Ferrari and placed nearly one second ahead of Valtteri Bottas — Hamilton's teammate at Mercedes — in the first practice.

"It looks like it's going to be very close between us and Ferrari," Bottas said. "They are clearly faster around here than they were in Melbourne."

News Tennis

Federer, defending champ Isner to meet in Miami Open final

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 11:05 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

For an NFL stadium, it will be a different kind of Sunday showdown: Roger Federer against John Isner.

Both won Friday and advanced to the final of the Miami Open, which moved this year to the Dolphins' complex from its longtime Key Biscayne home.

Federer dominated a semifinal battle of the ages, beating 19-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-4. Defending champion Isner also bested a Canadian teenager, 18-year-old qualifier Felix Auger-Aliassime, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4).

Both finalists give the new tournament site a thumbs-up, partly because they've done so well the past week.

"The venue is absolutely fantastic," said Isner, a big football fan. "To play in the stadium — the Super Bowl will be here next year — it's pretty amazing."

The atmosphere was lively for both matches, and each time experience triumphed. The age gap with Shapovalov was the largest of the 37-year-old Federer's career, and he used a wide array of shotmaking to take control with two early breaks.

"It was a tactical match by me," Federer said. "I'm happy I was able to play with variations."

Seeded No. 4, Federer improved to 17-2 this year. He lost in this month's Indian Wells final to Dominic Thiem and now seeks his fourth Miami Open title.

Federer is 5-2 against Isner, but they haven't played each other since 2015.

Isner, now 33, won his only ATP Masters title a year ago on Key Biscayne.

News Wrestling

Rock Icon Joan Jett to Perform at Wrestle Mania

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 11:03 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

WWE announced that Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joan Jett will perform at WrestleMania on Sunday, April 7 in front of a capacity crowd at MetLife Stadium and live on WWE Network around the world. Jett will play her hit song “Bad Reputation” as WWE Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey makes her entrance to the ring and defends her title in the women’s triple threat match vs. WWE Superstars Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.

“The Queen of Rock ‘N Roll, Joan Jett, is a music legend and icon for powerful women everywhere. Her performance at this year’s WrestleMania promises to be both exhilarating and inspiring, and we are honored to watch her join a distinct list of extraordinary performers who have lit up the WWE stage,” said Neil Lawi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, WWE Music Group.

Jett will join the likes of renowned artists such as Motörhead, Snoop Dogg, Pitbull, Kid Rock, Diddy, Machine Gun Kelly, Skylar Grey, Travis Barker, and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Run D.M.C. who have performed at WWE’s annual pop-culture extravaganza.

Joan Jett is a founding member of the Runaways, a rock band that paved the way for female artists to enter the male-dominated arena of rock music. After five albums, Jett would take her career to