England and India are touted to be the two favorites for the 50-overs Cricket World Cup that will commence from May 30 in England and Wales. England and India are ranked no.1 and no.2 in ICC ODI team rankings. They are playing at a level, which is far superior in comparison to other ODI sides at the moment.
Indian legend, Sunil Gavaskar has picked England over India as favorites to win the World Cup.
"The strong favourites in the World Cup tournament are England. And it is not because of the fact that it will be a home World Cup for them. But because they have changed their attitude towards ODI cricket. They had lost in the league stage in 2015 World Cup, probably against Bangladesh. But since then, the manner in which they changed their game, the way in which they picked their team, England have grown into a strong side. They have a good opening pair, they have strong middle-order batters, they also have a good all-rounder in the form of and when you play at home you also have a strong backing," Gavaskar told India Today.
"The advantage that India have is they have played in England for two consecutive years - 2017 and 2018. So the players who will be part of the World Cup squad will be aware of the conditions and hence will be able to use their experience and probably India can use the factor to lift the World Cup. But I feel the most favourites are England and then come India," Gavaskar added.
In wake of the dastardly Pulwama terror attack, the RP-SG Indian Sports Honours has been postponed. The entire nation is saddened over the loss of lives of our brave hearts in the attack in which at least 42 CPRF jawans have been martyred. The cowardly attack took place on Thursday 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.
“At this heavy moment of loss that we all find ourselves in, we would like to cancel this event that was scheduled to take place tomorrow,” said Kohli in his tweet.
“The who’s who of entertainment and sports industry were supposed to be present for the award ceremony. every partner and all the sport-stars and delegates associated with this award have been informed and communicated with stating that hosting an event was unacceptable at this moment when India is mourning the death of its jawans,” the batsman’s PR team said in a statement.
Top-seeded defending champion Dominic Thiem of Austria advanced to the Argentina Open semifinals, beating Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Thiem will face fourth-seeded home favorite Diego Schwartzman on Saturday. Schwartzman beat Spain's Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-1, 7-5.
In the other quarterfinals, third-seeded Marco Cecchinato of Italy beat Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena 7-6 (3), 6-4, and Argentina's Guido Pella topped Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-7 (3), 7-6 (9), 6-1.
WWE announced that Minute Maid Park in Houston will host the Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 26, 2020. The event will mark WWE’s debut at Minute Maid Park and the second time the Royal Rumble has been held at a baseball stadium following this year’s event at Chase Field in Phoenix which took place in front of a capacity crowd of 48,193.
Fans attending this Sunday’s Elimination Chamber event at the Toyota Center in Houston will receive an exclusive pre-sale offer to buy tickets to the Royal Rumble before the general public. Details on ticket availability will be forthcoming. Additionally, fans in attendance will have the chance to win four tickets to the 2020 Royal Rumble by taking part in a special Twitter and Instagram sweepstakes.
“We are thrilled to bring one of WWE’s biggest events of 2020 to Minute Maid Park,” said Janis Burke, CEO of the Harris County - Houston Sports Authority. “We look forward to WWE fans from around the world descending on Houston for the Royal Rumble.”
The event, which will stream live around the world on WWE Network, will feature a 30-Man Royal Rumble match, and a 30-Woman Royal Rumble match, with the winners of both matches receiving Championship opportunities at WrestleMania 36.
Manchester United could be without forwards Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial for at least two weeks.
In the 2-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday, Lingard was substituted just before halftime with a hamstring injury. Martial's groin problem saw him withdrawn before the start of the second half.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the players will be "out for two to three weeks, looking at it now."
It is a setback for United, which plays Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday before hosting Liverpool on Feb. 24.
The injuries could see Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku get more playing time. Teenage attackers Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes could also be in the frame.
Juventus warmed up for the Champions League round of 16 in the best possible way, easing to a 3-0 win over Frosinone to move 14 points clear at the top of Serie A.
The result was decided early after goals from Paulo Dybala and Leonardo Bonucci in the first 16 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo then added his league-best 19th goal as Juventus continued its seemingly unstoppable march to a record-extending eighth successive Serie A title.
"The team is growing from a physical point of view," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "We struggled a bit after the winter break but now we're ready to face this important period of the season, both in the league and in the Champions League."
Second-place Napoli hosts Torino on Sunday.
Frosinone remained next to last in the standings, but only two points from safety in a tight bottom half of the table.
Juventus plays the first leg of the round of 16 at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and Allegri was able to rest several players while also giving a run out to Bonucci and fellow defender Giorgio Chiellini, who were returning from injury.
Dybala had played just seven minutes in the past two matches but was included in the starting lineup and the Argentina international curled a shot into the top right corner from 20 yards in the sixth minute for his first league goal since Nov. 3.
"I'm happy for Paulo," Allegri said. "He had a great performance and a great goal. Forwards live for that.
"We need his work between the lines, all the more so this year that we're playing with two forwards other than him. That has limited him a bit maybe in scoring but not in his movements and his performances, he's still playing very well."
Juventus doubled its lead 10 minutes later when Bonucci bundled home the rebound after Frosinone goalkeeper Marco Sportiello made a great save of Mario Mandzukic's diving header.
Juventus then sat back and took until the 63 minute to extend its advantage as Mandzukic cut the ball back and Ronaldo fired it into the bottom right corner.
Ronaldo is Serie A's top scorer with 19 goals, three more than Atalanta's Duvan Zapata and Sampdoria's Fabio Quagliarella.
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu condemned the terror attack on CRPF convey in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on Thursday.
Around 40 security personnel were martyred in this gruesome and coward attack. However, Sidhu landed in a controversy after he urged people to not blame entire Pakistan for the attack.
“For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation and can you blame an individual?,” Sidhu was quoted as saying in Economic Times.
He went to Pakistan to attend the oath taking ceremony of Imran Khan, who was appointed as Prime Minister of the country in 2018.
“It (the attack) is a cowardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished,” the 55-year-old from Patiala added.
Dale Steyn picked up 4-48 to move joint-seventh on the list of all-time wicket-takers as South Africa led Sri Lanka by 170 runs in the first test.
Steyn was the spearhead of South Africa's attack again — as he was so often before a serious shoulder injury in 2016 sidelined him for the best part of two years — and overtook Indian great Kapil Dev in career test wickets.
Steyn was instrumental in bowling Sri Lanka out for 191 to see South Africa hold a 44-run first-innings lead in the series-opener at Kingsmead.
"After not playing for two years, I feel like it's a blessing to just be playing again. I've almost had to start over. I'm not on 430-odd wickets, I'm on 20 since breaking Shaun Pollock's record. It's nice to finish a three-Test series against Pakistan and not have someone write: 'He's an injury away from retiring.' It's nice to contribute again. Hopefully, I can continue this for longer," said an exciting Steyn.
He said that it was good to back among wickets.
"When I'm bowling 10-over spells, it shows I'm enjoying what I do. I could take the easy option, take 4 for 30 and go and stand at fine leg and tell someone else to do it. But it's fun. It's fun taking wickets. It's fun hitting guys on the head. As long as nothing serious happens."
The national selectors have announced squads for the limited overs series against Australia. Rishabh Pant, who is touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket, has been recalled to side after being axed from the ODI series against Australia and New Zealand.
Pant was given a go in the ODI series against West Indies but he failed to deliver. However, he has been impressive in the Test format.
"We have included him [Pant] considering the fact that he is a left-hander and we are going to discuss with the team management. We will try and figure the best possible batting position for Pant. With a left-hander in the side, there is an advantage of left-right combination," India's chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said.
"We want to give Pant a few ODIs before taking a final call on World Cup."
Leg-spinner Mayank Markande was included in the squad in place of Kuldeep Yadav.
"We are looking at Markande as a backup spinner. We have been grooming him though India A process and today also he picked up a five-wicket haul. So, we want to look at him and he'll be a backup spinner," Prasad said.
Rishabh Pant was recalled back for the ODI series against Australia while Dinesh Karthik was axed from the team.
The Indian selectors announced squads for the five match ODI series and tow T20 internationals. Pant has done well in whites but he still has a long way to go in ODIs.
Dinesh Karthik was lambasted for refusing to take a single during the last T20 against New Zealand, which India lost by 4 runs. Krunal Pandya, who was at the other end, was left baffled by Karthik’s decision.
The axing of Karthik didn’t go down well with cricket fanatics, who slammed the BCCI for dropping the right hand batsman.
The BCCI announced India's squad for first two ODIs and the last three ODIs separately for the five-match ODI series against Australia.
Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Siddarth Kaul have been named in India's ODI squad to take on Australia in the home series, which will be the last series for the Men in Blue to fine tune their balance and combination going forward in the World Cup. Dinesh Karthik has been dropped from India's ODI squad.
India’s squad for 1st and 2nd ODI against Australia: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MSD (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohamed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Siddharth Kaul, KL Rahul
India’s squad for remaining three ODIs: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MSD (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant
The national selectors have named the T20 squad to face Australia in the upcoming two-match T20 series. KL Rahul, Sidharth Kaul and Umesh Yadav have been recalled while Mayank Markande has been selected for the first time.
India’s squad for T20I series against Australia: Virat (Capt), Rohit (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Sidharth Kaul, Mayank Markande
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.
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.
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.
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