News Tennis

Spain's Ferrer advances at Argentina Open

AP Updated: 13 February, 2019, 11:38 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Veteran David Ferrer of Spain advanced in the Argentina Open, beating eighth-seeded Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 7-6 (13), 6-3.

The 36-year-old Ferrer, who has been ranked as high as No. 3, has pledged to retire in May.

Also on Tuesday, fifth-seeded Joao Souza of Portugal overcame Argentina's Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 6-4.

Seventh seed Dusan Lajovic of Serbia lost to Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 7-6 (3).

Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, a finalist last year, beat local favorite Guido Andreozzi 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

Spain's Jaume Munar surprised Argentinian Federico Delbonis with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 victory.

The third Spaniard to win was Roberto Carballes Baena, who overcame Japan's Taro Daniel 6-1, 6-0.

In an all-Argentine clash, Guido Pella advanced with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Francisco Cerundolo.

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News Cricket

I take very few people seriously in life: Jasprit Bumrah

Harshit Anand Updated: 13 February, 2019, 1:46 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Bumrah has been India's best pacer across formats
  • He made his test debut in 2018 against the Proteas
  • The Indian quick doesn't pay heed to what people think

Being a professional sportsperson is an arduous task. Yes, it does bring a lot of fame and name but it also opens you up to this harsh world of critics and fanatics. Not everyone can take criticism in their stride properly. But Indian pacer, Jasprit Bumrah said he doesn't pay heed to what people think, write and say about him and his action. The top Indian pacer opened up on a variety of things in an interview with TOI.

He gleefully went on to recall the wonderful year that 2018 was for him and also how small joys mean the world to him. He said, "Debut in Cape Town, a series win in Australia – what can be more wonderful than that? Now that I look back, small things that happened between spells, between innings, how wonderfully I got to learn with each passing game. The first innings in Cape Town for instance, I bowled, learnt what kind of line was required there, what the conditions demanded. And then coming back in the second innings keeping those aspects in mind, doing what was required – that is what I cherish.”

Bumrah also revealed how he surprised the English team in the UK, last year. “The third Test in England, Trent Bridge. I had missed the first two Tests and was making a comeback and there was so much talk already – in the England camp – they’d seen some videos, there was some analysis and all they did and there were experts there who said ‘this guy has only one type of delivery’, etc.

“Some claimed I only had an away delivery for left-handers. I said fine, if this is what they’re thinking, then I have a bit of an advantage here. Because they don’t know that I have an out-swinger as well. I remember I was bowling to Keaton Jennings and I started with two away deliveries. I teased him by moving slightly over the wicket before bringing one back in slightly. It turned out to be just enough. Small joys are the best ones, said Bumrah.

Feature Cricket

West Indies played above their potential

Partab Ramchand Updated: 13 February, 2019, 12:55 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • England have subsequently slipped to No 5 following the loss in the Caribbean
  • Jason Holder was responsible for the success of Windies
  • Holder is the kind of captain who can steer the West Indies to greater deeds

So England finally pulled one back by winning the third and final Test against the West Indies by 232 runs. Call it salvaging their pride, a consolation win or a booby prize at least they did not lose the series 2-0 or 3-0 and a 2-1 defeat sounds relatively better. It still constitutes an upset result as it should when a team ranked No 3 loses to a team ranked No 8. England have subsequently slipped to No 5 following the loss in the Caribbean even as West Indies remain at No 8.

Even now when one looks at the team personnel it is hard to accept that England went down in the contest. On paper they had the stronger batting line-up, the more incisive bowling attack and vastly more experience. The difference was that they did not live upto their exalted status while the West Indians played above their potential. How much Jason Holder was responsible for their success can be gauged by the one simple fact that he was not around for the third Test due to his suspension and England emerged victorious.

There little doubt that Holder is the kind of captain who can steer the West Indies to greater deeds. He is a born leader and the main credit for the West Indian performance should go to him. Actually the West Indies are in the process of building a very good team and one can only see them go now from strength to strength. Whether it can lead to a full resurgence in West Indian cricket is a moot point but clearly the victory against England is not going to be a one off and opponents will now be wary of them.

For England disappointing as the result must be they can take the confidence of the victory in the final Test to their next big assignment – the Ashes campaign in England. They have weaknesses particularly in the batting and it was this department that let them down against the West Indies even as the bowling remain strong. England can also take heart from the fact that the last Ashes series they lost in England was way back in 2001. But Australia with Steve Smith and David Warner back will be formidable opposition. However that’s in the future. For the moment England will have mixed emotions at the end of the Test series in the Caribbean.

Feature Cricket

Why Root Should Not be Shielding Gabriel

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 13 February, 2019, 12:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • England had the upper hand for the first time in three Tests
  • Root took note of Gabriel’s passion for the game and decided not to make the matter public
  • West Indies were missing a key figure in Jason Holder

There was an incident on the field between players of opposing teams. In the spirit of bonhomie, it is perhaps right to follow the adage of what happens on the field stays on the field. Joe Root, the England captain, decided to employ the same policy when asked about his exchange with a heated Shannon Gabriel, the fast bowler in the West Indies ranks.

Already a captain down, the West Indies were missing a key figure in Jason Holder who, despite his heroics in the Test series that the hosts won in a decade, had to sit out the third Test in St. Lucia because of the penalty for slow over rate on the part of the West Indies. Perhaps the scenario where England had the upper hand for the first time in three Tests – albeit in the dead rubber of a match, Root’s dominance and century got under the skin of the fast bowler. Without their regular skipper, it could be argued that the West Indies were dangerously crossing the line when the umpires stepped in.

While it is commendable that Root took note of Gabriel’s passion for the game and decided not to make the matter public and thereby, perhaps worse, while there is a sportsman’s spirit in play at hand, what cannot be overlooked is that these sportsmen are, also, in the privileged position of being seen as role models the world over. Enjoying cult success a la movie stars and celebrities, sportspersons have an important responsibility to set an example on the field and off it.

It speaks directly to the kind of backlash India’s Hardik Pandya and Pakistan’s captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, faced for not being sensitive to issues of race and colour. In that same light, it only behooves that as public figures in the limelight and in the age of social media, players are more mindful of how they are perceived in the larger world.

Although apparently there is no direct evidence to Gabriel’s utterances, Root’s response about ‘being gay is not a bad thing’ has been seen as evidence enough. That the umpires felt the need to step in suggests that there was every danger of the matter escalating beyond control. There is a reason why the bragging comments made by Pandya on a salacious television chat show, or insensitive ones made by Sarfraz in his role as a wicket keeper behind the stumps in South Africa came under a heavy barrage of criticism. Although none of these players have been dubbed racist per se, their comments certainly allude to a lack of education in sensitivity training and although one would not attribute labels to Shannon Gabriel yet, he must be made to realize that even one off-the-cuff comment could be enough to label him with monikers he would not be too proud of.

Cricketers, like all other sportspersons around the world, inherently carry the responsibility for what they do and what they say. Even a player of the caliber of Virat Kohli, at the height of his successes and performances on the field, was not spared on social media for his shocking statements in response to fans preferring foreign cricketers. It just goes to show that the world is a more aware place, that political correctness has perhaps taken on the garb of public vigilantism in the age of social media and there is a need for cricketers to not only uphold the game but also, uphold themselves and take responsibility so they can then evolve into instruments and catalysts for change.

News F1

'Swedish invasion' set for IndyCar in 2019

AP Updated: 13 February, 2019, 11:42 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Ericsson and Rosenqvist took very different paths chasing checkered flags
  • Ericsson is just the latest driver to come to IndyCar from Formula One
  • Ericsson toiled for five years with F1's Caterham and Alfa Romeo Sauber teams

After their early years racing each other in karts, Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist took very different paths chasing checkered flags around the globe before finally landing in the United States.

Now they represent a "Swedish invasion" of IndyCar as two series rookies with vast experience and big expectations heading into the 2019 season.

"I hadn't seen Marcus is like five years. Since we started racing cars, we've never been in the same series," Rosenqvist said Tuesday at IndyCar testing at the Circuit of the Americas. "We've taken all kinds of weird roads and now we are here in the same place. It's quite fun."

They even live in the same apartment building in Indianapolis, where Ericsson and his girlfriend recently hosted Rosenqvist for a "taco Tuesday."

Not meatballs or pickled herring?

"Tacos are like the Swedish national dish," Rosenqvist laughed.

Ericsson, 28, is just the latest driver to come to IndyCar from Formula One, where seats are scarce and victories are rare if not impossible for drivers not on the top three teams. Few have made the transition better than Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi, who won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie in 2016 and finished second in the championship last season.

Ericsson toiled for five years with F1's Caterham and Alfa Romeo Sauber teams, with no wins or podiums in 97 race starts before losing his F1 seat after last season when Alfa Romeo signed former world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

Ericsson needed a new start. IndyCar, with its more competitive field, friendlier paddock and history of drivers making successful moves from F1, looked very attractive. And it had built-in appeal in Sweden with popular former drivers like Stefan Johansson and Kenny Brack, the only Swedish driver to win the Indianapolis 500, in 1999.

"I think people (in Sweden) are a little bit tired of F1. Everyone has followed Marcus's career closely and you saw what it means to be in a midfield team. You cannot win races, it's impossible," Rosenqvist said. "Marcus joining here, me joining here, with chances to win races and score podiums, I think people are really excited."

Ericsson said he quickly embraced the "open" environment of IndyCar compared to F1, from the relationships between drivers to the interaction with fans at the track.

"It's a fun series. Very open, like a family," Ericsson said. "Everyone is racing. Everyone has a chance. It feels like a series on the up."

Rosenqvist, 27, was chasing his own F1 dreams when he won the Formula 3 championship in 2015. He also raced Formula E from 2016-2018, where he won twice. It was a partial season in Indy Lights in 2016 — three wins in 10 races — that kindled the IndyCar fire for him.

"When I did Indy Lights, I told everyone that I would be back one day," Rosenqvis said. "That had been a dream of mine to drive IndyCar."

Their talent behind the wheel and the teams they joined have created expectations both will make an immediate impact.

Rosenqvist joined the powerful Chip Ganassi Racing team where teammate Scott Dixon has won five IndyCar championships, including last season. Ericsson is with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Dixon predicted this week that Rosenqvist could make an impact similar to that made by Robert Wickens in 2018, when the Canadian driver was rookie of the year with four pole positions before he was badly injured in a crash in Pocono in August.

"I'm not here to play around," Rosenqvist said. "I'm here to win and I think it's more a question of when rather than if."

News Football

Champions League: PSG inflicts Solskjaer's 1st United loss

AP Updated: 13 February, 2019, 11:29 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Old Trafford became a stage for Kylian Mbappe to shine in tandem with Angel Di Maria
  • United will be without its French playmaker in the second leg on March 6 in Paris after he received a second yellow card
  • Substitute Alexis Sanchez struggled to impose himself up front

When the reality check came for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United, it wasn't even handed out by a full-strength Paris Saint-Germain.

A 2-0 victory in the Champions League — consigning Solskjaer to the first loss 12 games under his caretaker command — was produced by PSG on Tuesday without two of the French club's fearsome forwards.

Neymar was already ruled out with a broken foot when Edinson Cavani hurt his left thigh at the weekend to join the world's most expensive player on PSG's injury list.

"They were a level above us," Solskjaer said after the first leg of the last-16 contest which saw United's record-signing Paul Pogba sent off.

Old Trafford instead became a stage for Kylian Mbappe to shine in tandem with Angel Di Maria, who relished the revenge mission on his return to his former club.

By the time Di Maria responded to the torrent of abuse by picking up a bottle of beer hurled at him and taking a sip, PSG was already leading thanks to academy graduate Presnel Kimpembe's first PSG goal in the 53rd minute.

Di Maria, who struggled in his only season at United before being offloaded to PSG in 2015, sent in the corner that Kimpembe raced into the penalty area unchecked to meet with a volley.

The second goal, on the hour, was the culmination of an electric counterattack. As Di Maria sent in a cross, Mbappe darted between center backs Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof and clipped the ball under goalkeeper David de Gea for his 23rd goal of the season.

"It was a perfect pass for Kylian," PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. "It was a nice comeback for him."

Less so, initially.

"In the first half it was a bit hard for him playing right in front of me and losing many easy balls," Tuchel said. "Maybe he was a bit nervous and a bit overused because he plays all the time for us. I'm happy he stayed confident. He's always super reliable."

Without two of its usual front three, the French league leaders commanded the midfield instead, with Marco Verratti often the orchestrator.

"It was a new system and we weren't really used to it," Mbappe said. "We had a lot of midfielders and not many forwards. We needed time to adapt."

United was forced to adapt, too, after losing Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial to injury for the second half. Substitute Alexis Sanchez struggled to impose himself up front.

"I can't do anything about Alexis Sanchez," Solskjaer said. "When he plays, he needs to find himself because we know there's a quality player there."

Solskjaer is capable of transforming the fortunes of players — just look at Pogba.

United will be without its French playmaker in the second leg on March 6 in Paris after he received a second yellow card in the 89th minute for a lunge on Dani Alves.

News Cricket

Replace Dhawan with Pant and make him open alongside Rohit, says Australian legend

Harshit Anand Updated: 13 February, 2019, 11:07 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Now, we are just a few months away from the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The hustle and bustle that usually surrounds the build-up of the ICC megaevent is already creating euphoria among the cricketing circles. Most of the cricket pundits are giving out their opinions on the kind of composition and XI that the teams should opt for in the World Cup that will be played in England and Wales.

Australian legend, Shane Warne has opined that Rishabh Pant should replace Shikhar Dhawan as Indian opener and made to bat alongside Rohit Sharma.

"There has been talk if Rishabh Pant can play in the side. I think Dhoni and Pant both can play. 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," Warne told India Today in an interview.

"It could be worth throwing Rishabh Pant at the top of the order for a couple of games and see how he goes. Maybe against Australia now [upcoming series] and experiment and see how he goes for the World Cup. Dhawan may have a role to play somewhere else. But I am really looking forward to seeing what India have because they have a lot of players who can do a lot of roles," he added.

News Cricket

England hit Windies hard, defeat home team by massive margin of 232 runs

AP Updated: 13 February, 2019, 10:30 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • England earned a consolation test win by 232 runs in four days
  • The West Indies won the series 2-1 in brilliant style
  • Chase celebrated his fifth test century and saw out the over on 102 not out off 191 balls

England earned a consolation test win by 232 runs in four days in a lost cricket series and still managed to be upstaged by the West Indies on Tuesday.

The English set the West Indies 485 and most of two days to win the third and final test, and bowled out the home side for 252 to prevent being whitewashed. The West Indies won the series 2-1 in brilliant style, and despite losing on Tuesday it finished with smiles.

England had been certain of victory since day two on Sunday when Mark Wood took 5-41 to earn a first-innings lead of 123. After making the target unreachable on Monday, captain Joe Root declared early Tuesday as soon as he was out for 122. They had a massive 484-run lead.

The West Indies knew it was never going to win. Allrounder Keemo Paul was last seen with a torn right quadricep on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance on Monday morning, and top-order batsman Darren Bravo didn't field on the third day to nurse a finger injury.

Bravo was quickly out in the middle on Tuesday and back in the pavilion just as quick after scoring a duck, as England fast bowler James Anderson reduced the home side to 10-3.

By then Roston Chase was at the crease, and showing again the grit England generally lacked in the series. He was on 78 when Alzarri Joseph went out blazing with 34 off 30 balls, and was joined by No. 10 Shannon Gabriel. Gabriel seemed not to care to help Chase reach a defiant ton, throwing his wicket away for 3 while Chase was on 98.

Then the drama went up a notch as Paul limped out to the middle to help Chase, even though he wasn't going to be running between the wickets. Paul blocked one ball and gave the strike to Chase, who achieved the hundred by cutting Joe Denly for his 12th boundary.

Chase celebrated his fifth test century and saw out the over on 102 not out off 191 balls.

Back on strike, Paul couldn't run but showed he could bat by smacking Ben Stokes for three boundaries before giving Stokes a caught and bowled and ending the test and series.

"We could have rolled over, given it up," West Indies captain Jason Holder said. Of Chase, he added, "I'm really happy he could get his hundred."

Holder was banned from the test for a slow over-rate in the three-day second test, and still finished the leading run-scorer in the series.

Root surprised when he decided to keep batting in the morning, moving from 111 to 122 in six overs when he hit a full toss from Shannon Gabriel to midwicket. Root finally declared on 361-5 and Stokes was left on 48 not out.

The West Indies was sunk by lunchtime.

Anderson removed opener John Campbell for a first-ball duck, with Moeen Ali taking a high catch at gully.

In his next over, Anderson got an edge from stand-in captain Kraigg Brathwaite to Stokes at second slip.

Bravo was next to go, nicking a lifter from Anderson to Root, and the West Indies was 10-3 and Anderson had 3-5.

Shai Hope, dropped by Jos Buttler off Stuart Broad before he scored, made only 14 before he lobbed Wood to Broad, and the West Indies was 4-31.

Meanwhile, Chase batted on, through lunch and tea. Shimron Hetmyer was run out, and Ali took three wickets. Broad bowled 14 overs and conceded only 22 without a wicket. But Chase kept his head down, frustrating England, and giving West Indies back a little pride in a losing cause.

The five-match one-day international series starts next week.

News Cricket

Cricket body charges West Indies player over anti-gay slur

Staff Writer Updated: 13 February, 2019, 10:26 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Gabriel has been charged with a breach of code of conduct
  • Charge was laid by match umpires
  • British sports minister Mims Davies praised Root

The International Cricket Council has charged West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel after he was accused by England captain Joe Root of making a homophobic comment.

In the third test in St. Lucia, Root was picked up on a broadcast feed saying to Gabriel: "Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay." The preceding comment by Gabriel could not be heard on the clip posted by British broadcaster Sky Sports.

The ICC said Tuesday that Gabriel had been charged with a breach of its code of conduct. The governing body tweeted that "the charge, which was laid by match umpires, will now be dealt with by match referee Jeff Crowe."

British sports minister Mims Davies praised Root "for doing the absolute right thing to properly call this out."

Root married Carrie Cotterell in December.

News Cricket

Fans slam Gautam Gambhir for targeting Arvind Kejriwal, call him bigot & chamcha

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 9:26 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has slammed Arvind Kejriwal and the authorities after tragic fire at hotel Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh claimed lives of 17 people. He took to Twitter after the city government announced Rs 5 lakh as compensation for families of deceased souls.

“Surely a human life is worth much more than INR 5 lakh Arvind Kejriwal. It underlines what our machinery thinks about us, d common man. Compensation is merely a bandaid on an oozing wound whereas Delhi needs surgeries and it should begin with a systemic overhaul.”

He slammed the regulators and even claimed the hotel is near Gautam Gambhir Foundation’s office and was aware about the rules and regulations being flouted for commercial interests.

This is not the first time, Gambhir has taken on Delhi Chief Minister. However, his rant didn’t go down well with Twitterati, who lambasted him for unnecessarily blaming Kejriwal instead of BJP governed MCD.

Here are some of the tweets:

News Cricket

Doppelganger Alert: KKR Shares A Picture Of Andre Russell's Lookalike

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 February, 2019, 5:32 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

After the social media found Anushka Sharma's doppelganger, a while back, now it has figured out West Indies and Kolkata Knight Riders star Andre Russell's lookalike. And no one else, it's his franchise KKR that has discovered his doppelganger

KKR took to Twitter and shared a picture of the aggressive Windies all-rounder along with his so-called lookalike - "Clubber Lang". Lang is a character which was played by Mr. T (Laurence Tureaud) in the film Rocky III.

They wrote, "Like how Clubber Lang tormented the boxing arena in the eighties, mighty @Russell12A makes 'em bowlers shiver in fear today."

Andre Russell has played 39 IPL innings and has blasted 890 runs at a blazing strike-rate of 177.29. He also has 25 wickets in the lucrative league. The Jamaican cricketer is known for his ability to hit big sixes in white-ball cricket. He is often used as a power-hitter cum finisher by the KKR franchise.

News Cricket

Ross Taylor announces his retirement plans

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 4:49 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

IPL started the trend of franchise-based T20 leagues around the world. These leagues are lucrative and one can make a big sum of money in a short period of time. But Kiwi veteran, Ross Taylor doesn't find these T20 leagues too alluring. Many players have hung up their boots from international cricket so that they can actively participate in cash-rich T20 leagues across the globe. But Taylor is not going to go that way.

“I don’t think I will retire earlier from international cricket just to go and do the T20 circuit because I love playing for New Zealand,” Taylor was quoted as saying in the Hindustan Times.

“Playing for a different franchise every month is not something that appeals to me as much as playing in front of family and friends here in New Zealand.”

The 34 years old also revealed that he has no plans of taking retirement anytime soon and has a lot of things on his mind that he wants to achieve.

The right-hander said, “The day you are satisfied is the day you need to retire. There are still things I would like to achieve. I joke a little bit that I am old because I am the oldest in this team. But I still feel young and have still got a few years to contribute to New Zealand cricket. I love playing for my country and I feel I can still get better as a player. The day I don’t feel that I will have to retire. I want to score a few more runs and wins, and give my best.”

The 90-Test-old also made clear that Test cricket is high on his priority list besides naming few things that he is keenly looking forward to in the coming times.

“Test cricket is still high on my priorities. I would like to play 100 Tests. New Zealand hasn’t played a Boxing Day Test in Australia since the 1980s, so there are quite a few things I would like to hang around for. At the same time, you don’t want to do just that and want to be playing an active role in the team. I still have a desire to go on, so no date or timeframe yet,” said Taylor.

Feature Cricket

Australia’s Choices Defy Logic...

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 12 February, 2019, 4:40 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Langer was simply biding his time before giving Saker the boot
  • Ponting has been announced as assistant coach for the ICC Cricket World Cup
  • Ricky Ponting may have to first contend with a potential conflict of interest scenario

Fuelling the speculation that Justin Langer, the current Australian coach, had wanted David Saker out of the support staff long before the latter resigned, Australia have made some bizarre appointments while being at the doorstep of the World Cup.

There was perhaps a catch to Cricket Australia announcing former captain, Ricky Ponting, as an assistant coach to Justin Langer for Australia’s campaign heading into the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England as defending champions and five time winners. Ponting is after all the Australian captain who took Australia thrice to the final and to a trophy on two occasions. It stands to merit that Australia made this decision in the interests of the team and in a timely fashion at that, going into the World Cup’s final preparations with tours against India and Pakistan.

However, there seemed to be a deliberate timing to the events because not shortly before the announcement of Ponting joining Langer as part of Australia’s support staff in time for the ICC Cricket World Cup, David Saker turned in a quiet, unceremonious resignation that ironically spoke rather loud.

That Nathan Lyon, considered Australia’s best spinner at the moment, claimed to have no knowledge about the now former bowling coach and assistant coach resigning with immediate effect, it says a lot about the manner in which Australian cricket is operating at the moment. Those with an inkling seemed to suggest that Langer was simply biding his time before giving Saker the boot. To that end, it seemed convenient that Langer spoke about being in discussion with Saker about the decision for more than six months. Was the feud with the bowlers and difference of opinion the straw that was used to break the camel’s back as it were. Is there more than what meets the eye or is this merely a case of putting two and two together and making five?

There is another corollary to Saker’s exit following what he himself admitted to being a heated debate and discussion with the bowlers as India faced Australia on the field during the Test series. Whether it was the players’ fallout or the current coach’s wishes to appoint someone else for the job and the differences coming at a rather convenient time to roll out the changes, h w does Australia explain the fact that while Ponting has been announced as assistant coach for the ICC Cricket World Cup, Saker’s replacement, Troy Cooley, has only been appointed for the limited overs tours of India and Pakistan?

Does this mean Cooley is on trial and if things go south, Australia will pick another bowling coach appointment on the brink of the World Cup or is Cooley going to be the stop gap replacement as many suggest until Langer decides the time is right for him to ring in the changes of his choice?

In the meantime, Ricky Ponting may have to first contend with a potential conflict of interest scenario given that his proximity with one of the franchises of the Indian Premier League for 2019, the newly named Delhi team, could put him at odds given that there are likely to be worries that Ponting’s position gives me an inside track on some of India’s promising players in line to make the squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup. That is something neither Delhi nor the IPL officials would have perhaps contemplated unless Ponting accepted the role with Cricket Australia after due intimation and blessing.

News Cricket

Matthew Hayden takes a pot shot at Sehwag, says never take Aussie’s for a joke

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 4:33 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virender Sehwag is known for his humor and spot on replies on social networking sites. The former Indian opener, in a new TV commercial, has turned babysitter ahead of Australia's tour of India.

The new commercial featuring Sehwag is hilarious. In an advertisement for Star Sports, he is seen with kids wearing Australian jerseys.

"Jab hum Australia gaye the, toh unhone poocha tha babysitting karoge? Humne kahaa sabke sab aajaao. Zaroor karenge."

This didn't go down well with the former Aussie cricketer Matthew Hayden, who took to twitter to register his protest.

“BeWarned Never take Aussie's for a joke Viru Boy @virendersehwag @StarSportsIndia Just remember who's baby sitting the #WorldCup trophy,” Hayden tweeted ahead of the series.

During one of the Test matches, Paine had asked Pant if he would like to babysit his kids while he is out with Mrs. Paine. After few days, when Team India went to meet the Australian Prime Minister, Pant was pictured with Paine’s wife and kids and she captioned the photo 'Best Babysitter.'

During the last Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Bharat Army even dedicated a song to Babysitter Pant.

News Cricket

Kumar Sangakkara makes a big statement on Virat Kohli’s greatness

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 4:17 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli is rewriting record books in international cricket. The Indian skipper led India to maiden Test series win in Australia and even defeated the hosts in one-day internationals. He was not finished with this and scripted Men in Blue’s triumph in one day internationals in New Zealand.

He won all the major ICC awards and was the best player across formats in 2018. Following Virat’s sublime form, Kumar Sangakkara has lauded the Indian skipper and claimed he is destined for greatness.

"Everything about Virat's game stands out. I think he is head and shoulders above anyone else in world cricket today," Sangakkara told a news channel.

"And I think going forward, he will be one of the greatest ever cricketers, if not the greatest ever," he added.

He is mighty impressed with the way Virat has amassed runs in Tests and limited overs cricket without changing his basic game.

"He has this incredible knack of scoring runs and has a very, very solid method that he believes in..." said the former Sri Lanka captain.

"If you see the tempo which he bats with, it hardly changes. He does read the situation very well.

"He is a very passionate guy, you see that in his expressions on the field... it's the overall aspect of both the person and how he has sorted his batting and his attitude."