Huge test for Indians in Bhutia’s testimonial

first_imgIt is tipped to be the biggest-ever match to happen in the Capital. And the statement is not without reason.Not often does one get to see a four-time UEFA Champions League-winning club playing live, and that too in the farewell match of India’s favourite footballing son.So when the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here, witnesses German giants Bayern Munich take on the Bhaichung Bhutia-led Indians, emotions will certainly run high. It will be the last time that Bhutia will wear the India jersey after a 16-year international career.For a nation whose rank in the FIFA charts is not even in the top-150, facing a team consisting of superstars like Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery, would be difficult, to say the least.Prior to their Indian sojourn, Bayern thrashed Qatar side Al-Sailiya 13-0 in Doha. That fact might as well resound in the minds of the Indian players.The Bayern strike force commands reverence from even the best in European football. If the presence of Mario Gomez and Thomas Mueller is not enough, Croatian Ivica Olic is also in great form after thrashing five goals in the Qatar match.In the mid-field, Schweinsteiger is back from a collar-bone injury, alongside other stars like Ribery, Robben and Toni Kroos.Bayern skipper Lahm, a talismanic defender, can expect to have a light day with Manuel Neuer always there to avert any danger.As far as India’s starting XI goes, Bhutia is going to start with Jeje Lalpekhlua up front. In the mid-field, experienced campaigners Climax Lawrence and Clifford Miranda may partner with youngsters Reisangmi Vashum and Rocus Lamare.advertisementBut if coach Savio Medeira wants to have a defensive mid-fielder, then Rakesh Masih might just come in.The defence line-up is also more or less settled, with Gouramangi Singh and Nirmal Chhetri in the central defence. Syed Rahim Nabi and Samir Naik will be the ones to guard the flanks.One man who is almost certain to be very busy on Tuesday would be goalkeeper Karanjit Singh. The Salgaocar player has seen many a battle, but Bayern will be one of his sternest tests yet.Coach Medeira has already said that he would like to make as many substitutions as possible to get the youngsters a feel of the top level. And if he sticks to his word, national squad first-timers Adil Khan, Gurjinder Singh can get a taste of the glory.Among all these negatives, India can draw inspiration from Bhutia. If nothing else, a strong showing would make for the nicest of parting gifts.last_img read more

AITA backs Paes, wants Bhupathi to team up with him

first_imgA defiant All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Tuesday stood by its decision to pair Leander Paes with Mahesh Bhupathi for the London Olympics. Backing Paes for the London Olympics selection, AITA came out with some options after a meeting of its officials. Responding to the Union sports ministry’s queries on the controversy after Bhupathi and his current partner Rohan Bopanna refused to partner Paes citing their commitment to each other, the AITA explained that they were never assured of an entry to the Olympics as a team as claimed by the players. AITA has asked players to follow the decision of the selection committee. That effectively means there would be only one pair at Olympics and selectors felt that Paes-Bhupathi was the best pair possible. If Bhupathi does not want to play with Paes then Bopanna should play with the latter. However, if Paes agrees to pair up with a player ranked 207 or 306 in the world then Bhupathi and Bopanna could be sent as the second team. In case Bhupathi and Bopanna do not abide by the selectors, then Paes partners a junior player and both Mahesh and Bopanna might not get entry to Olympics due to disciplinary reasons. Sports Minister Ajay Maken had intervened into the matter after Bhupathi and Bopanna wrote to him seeking his help.last_img read more

In a changing South Africa, cricket World Cup promises to push boundaries of the possible

first_imgRainbow effect: Dress rehearsal in progress for the Cup’s opening nightStrung across the exit at Cape Town international airport is the full blast of South Africa’s welcome to the world. A huge banner says: “Dear Polly. We’re bringing them in. It’s up to you to send them back.” Polly, more,Rainbow effect: Dress rehearsal in progress for the Cup’s opening nightStrung across the exit at Cape Town international airport is the full blast of South Africa’s welcome to the world. A huge banner says: “Dear Polly. We’re bringing them in. It’s up to you to send them back.” Polly, more respectably known as Shaun Pollock, captain of South Africa, has been given no options.Everywhere he goes in this country of 44 million people, 52 ethnic groups, 11 official languages and a thousand discordant voices, he hears one chant. Over and over again, like a Zulu drum beat. Win the World Cup. Beat them Aussies. Them and, yes, all those other fellas who have turned up can play a bit, but wouldn’t dare crash our party. Beat them all.India would understand instantly. It is a familiar four-yearly longing born of a large, diverse country’s desperate desire to validate itself, to clamber onto a platform from where the world can see it flex its muscles, pump its fists and declare itself a champion. Then for a brief shining moment, everything – poverty, crime, corruption, disparity, old hatreds and broken friendshipsm – can be forgiven and forgotten.Sea change: A group of children prepare for the opening ceremonyLike India in 1983, South Africa has been there before with victory in the 1995 World Cup Rugby. One taste of those times is fatal because the hunger then lasts a lifetime. Pollock understands what is happening around him now, “It’s the pressure of a proud sporting nation.” The rest of the cricket world has tied itself into complex knots over match boycotts and counter-boycotts in Zimbabwe and Kenya, but nothing throws the swing off South Africa’s step.A vendor at Newlands stadium chirrups,”Watch our boys, they’re sharp, eh. Those Aussies-arrogant, arrogant.” Hours before the opening night, there are only two teams in the World Cup. Those Australians had barely touched down before they were mouthing off. Shane Warne said his team had a mental edge over the hosts and pace bowler Glenn McGrath said the defending champions would sail through six weeks undefeated.In more sanguine parts, they would have waved away all that hot air, but newspapers here are full of the opinions of psychologists on how to put the Australians under pressure. All other teams have been given as much of a chance of surviving six weeks as an ice-cube in hell.There’s a passing nod at Pakistan (described as the”Brazil of cricket”), renewed respect for the West Indians (a good bet at 20-1 odds) and some general compliments thrown the way of New Zealand’s professionalism. Begging your pardon but er … how about the bread basket of the game, the country with the richest board and the largest supporter base of all? In the words of an irreverent columnist,”India’s batting is one of the most fearsome … in parts of the world. Indian cricketers on the Durban beachfront that opened to non-whites only in 1992My trusty black book tells me not these parts.” Coming in the wake of World Cup hype that touched new levels of lunacy in India, brutal critique can often be blessed relief. Javagal Srinath, in his final World Cup, sounds more like an evangelist when he says,”Deliverance is everything.” In other words, winning the damn thing is all.The Indians are grateful to be clear of attention in their base in Durban where they have trained in anonymity, without causing a ripple, let alone the usual civil disturbance. The media access session drew a thin crowd of about 30. Sourav Ganguly (already nicknamed”Superior”) found himself at the bottom of the heap in a survey of World Cup captains by South African Sports Illustrated.He scored 21/40 across four categories: tactical ingenuity, sense of humour, media management and ability under pressure. This when the win-loss record of the No. 1 captain on that list, New Zealander Stephen Fleming, stands at 45-68. Ganguly’s is superior at 43-36. Deliverance will no doubt ultimately settle this.For cricket, this World Cup will see the hard and bouncy wickets even things out between bowlers and batsmen in the first 15 overs and the tempo of an innings may be required to be changed. But that is all in the future. At the moment, unlike the tepid 1999 World Cup in England, a country outside the subcontinent is showing it can sing modern cricket’s hallelujah chorus with great gusto.Next men in: Sachin Tendulkar (left) and Saurav Ganguly watch India play a warm-up gameSome churches will even televise games after Sunday mass with Hansie Cronje’s brother talking cricket and Christianity between innings. Cape Town’s local buses ferry volunteer workers from across the Western Cape; there’s no destination sign on the front of the bus, all it says is”Cricket”. The World Cup will be South Africa’s biggest live sporting event ever with an estimated audience of 1.4 billion people.The income from the event is estimated to reach R300 million (Rs 171 crore) without including earnings from tourism. At every turn, in airports, shops, bars, restaurants and even inside packets of potato chips, the World Cup has taken over South Africa. It threatens to swallow Polly’s Boys whole. There is, as pace bowler Allan Donald told INDIA TODAY,”no place to hide”.Veteran of three World Cup campaigns, each more heart-breaking than the previous one, Donald says,”It’s an emotional event, it can either destroy a player or lift him up.” In slow ways, this large, complex, chaotic country is changing. Today, as they jog down the Durban beachfront undisturbed, few Indian cricketers realise that men and women of their colour were not permitted in that area as recently as three months before the first Indian tour of 1992.The cricketers couldn’t care about white alienation. Jonty Rhodes is the most recognised South African athlete in the country across all population groups. As opener Gary Kirsten told INDIA TODAY, “What’s happened in these years is incredible. To walk down the street and have black people walk up and wish you luck for the World Cup … that just blows me away.”In ways beyond runs and wickets, this cricket World Cup promises to push the boundaries of the possible.advertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

3×3 hoop wars reaches finale at Taguig

first_imgBeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Six teams have made it past tough battles to make it this far and have punched their ticket in the National Finals.Due to the quirky nature of the 3×3 rules, the competition has seen its share of thrilling finishes beginning with the University of the Visayas holding off University of San Jose Recoletos 47-43 to take the Visayas Leg.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingThis was followed by another close contest in South Luzon, when the visiting Trace College managed to topple the host squad University of Nueva Caceres, 51-45.The close winning margin trend went on in the Mindanao Leg when Southern Philippines College were able to eke out a 46-44 victory over Southern City College. It was, however, a different story in North Luzon, as Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University dominated University of Luzon, 51-33.Metro Manila was the last stop for the Regional Qualifiers, with Our Lady of Fatima University defeating Colegio de San Lorenzo, 50-48.The five regional winners, along with the NCAA Champions Arellano University, are expected to give their all for one more day as they duke it out and earn the right to be called as the one, true National Champion!Witness the thrilling conclusion of the tournament on January 27, Saturday, 11:00AM at Vista Mall Taguig. Admission is FREE! You may also stream the games LIVE via social media at Facebook.com/PCCLeague.Catch all the exciting plays and highlights on television courtesy of our media partner, the FOX Sports Networks (airing schedule TBD).ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH LATEST STORIES View comments PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Napa elated as Wangs Basketball-Letran off to a good startcenter_img Be in the know and get all the latest news, schedules, and updates by visiting the league’s official website at collegiatechampionsleague.net!ADVTSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. There may be less players at once on the hardwood, but the action promises to be just as intense as we enter the final stage of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League 3×3 basketball tournament!ADVERTISEMENT MOST READlast_img read more

IPL, SRH vs KKR: Sun Risers Hyderabad face upbeat Kolkata Knight Riders

first_imgAfter a defeat to table-toppers Kings XI Punjab despite scoring more than 200 runs, Sun Risers Hyderabad now face a must-win game against Kolkata Knight Riders, who are on a high following back-to-back victories.The SunRisers have earned eight points from 10 matches and suffered successive losses against Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab on their home ground, which makes it important for them to win on Sunday to remain in contention for a berth in the playoffs.The SunRisers’ star batsmen such as Aaron Finch, David Warner and Naman Ojha have risen to the occasion in recent matches and captain Shikhar Dhawan rediscovering his form augurs well for the side.The hosts need to plug the loose ends and demonstrate their combined might to ensure a win against the Knight Riders for a place in the final four.The Knight Riders, on the other hand, are high on confidence following three back-to-back victories, including one against tabletoppers Kings XI Punjab, and would look to put it across Hyderabad to further consolidate their position.KKR have 10 points from as many matches.last_img read more

Sunrisers Hyderabad stay in hunt for play-offs with a 7-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore

first_imgA clinical performance by the Sunrisers Hyderabad top-order ensured a seven-wicket victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore which kept them in the hunt for the play-offs in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League in Hyderabad on Tuesday.Chasing a target of 161 riding on Virat Kohli’s (67) first half-century of the tournament, Sunrisers knocked off the runs in 19.4 overs as Shikhar Dhawan returned to form with a stroke-filled 50.While Shikhar started the chase in right earnest, David Warner, back in the opening slot, smashed his way to a 46-ball-59. It was skipper Darren Sammy, who smashed a six off the penultimate over by erratic Varun Aaron to decisively turn the game.Both Sunrisers and RCB have 10 points from 12 games each but Virat Kohli’s men are a place ahead at fifth with a better net run-rate.During the chase, it was Dhawan’s 39-ball innings that had seven fours and a six, while Warner hit three fours and four huge sixes. The opening duo sealed the match with an even-100 stand in 12.3 overs.It was Dhawan, who attacked from the onset with some flowing cover drives and a hooked six off Aaron.The 50 came in the last over of the powerplay as Warner took off after that.Out of his sixes, the first was a charge to Muttiah Muralitharan followed by a couple of clean hits off the half-trackers that Yuzvendra Chahal had on offer. The fourth six off Abu Nechim Ahmed was over long-off.Warner was out off a full-toss from Aaron but Naman Ojha, along with Aaron Finch and Sammy saw to it that there were no hiccups in the end.advertisementlast_img read more

What should you expect from the upcoming iPhone

first_imgMuch hyped launch of the new iPhone is around the corner and the web space is flooded with the information on the next generation smartphone, which is popularly being referred to as iPhone 6. If leaks are to be believed, iPhone 6 will appear in two different versions; one will feature 4.7 inch display and the other will version will sport a 5.5 inch display. Here’s a list of six things that you can expect from the iPhone 6. 1.    DesignIn terms of design, the new iPhone can be expected to be much slimmer with a thickness of just 7.1 mm. It may come with rounded edges and an elegant aluminum back. Instead of the capsule shaped flash light with the camera, the next generation phone is like to feature a circular flash. The device is also likely to be taller and bigger than the current version.2.    DisplayThe new iPhone will feature a curved display glass to accommodate the round edges, so it will not be curved outwards on the top. Since iPhone 6 is likely to come with a bigger display, the screen is expected to have a higher resolution other than the retina display. It is also expected to be equipped with Haptic technology that emits the minor vibrations depending upon the area of the screen that you’ve touched. While the brand had already singled out Sapphire Crystal to protect fingerprint scanner in iPhone 5S, the leaks suggest that the similar Sapphire protection is likely to be featured in iPhone 6.3.    iOS8 Operating SystemiOS8 is anticipated to foray with iPhone 6. The operating system will come integrated with a Healthkit app, which is capable of keeping a tab on fitness and health. The data accessed by Healthkit from other third party apps can be accessed by health care professionals, depending upon the access given by the user.Arguably the new OS also features a Healthbook app, which is good to track user’s vital signs including blood pressure, glucose levels and pulse rate.advertisementFrom the various sensors of iPhone, iWatch (that can be integrated with the smartphone) is capable of collecting data gathered by the Healthbook app from the various sensors in the iPhone. It won’t come as a surprise if iWatch can be also integrated with Apple Maps for navigation.4.    Improved 8 Mega Pixel cameraiPhone 6 is likely to feature an 8 MP camera with improved optical image stabilization. Other than this, the brand also possesses license of interchangeable mobile camera lens. The patent specifies a camera add-on that links to the smartphone using a physical locking component, much like DSLR lens.5.    iPen stylusThe brand supposedly has more than 200 licenses for stylus. So far it is not certain if Apple will add a stylus to the iPhone 6, yet it could show up in the iPad line-up.6.    PricingAccording to the leaks the 16 GB version of iPhone 6 will be priced at around INR 62,000 and 32 GB version for INR 70,000.last_img read more

Day 1 must have been frustrating for Virat Kohli: David Warner

first_imgDavid Warner smashed 101 runs as Australia dominated Day 1 against India at SydneyAustralian opener David Warner on Tuesday said that a good pitch coupled with India’s poor bowling and fielding helped him score his third hundred of the series and place Australia at a commanding 348 for two at stumps on day one of the fourth and final cricket Test here.Warner hit 101 and Chris Rogers made 95 as Australia put on 200 runs for the opening wicket to give the hosts a rousing start. The batsmen benefitted from some poor fielding, as Rogers was dropped on 19 by KL Rahul at second slip, while Shane Watson, too, enjoyed a life as R Ashwin let go off a chance at first slip off the penultimate ball of the day.”When you are not fielding at your best, then everything else also doesn’t go in your favour. If your tempo is upbeat from the start, you take those chances. We too have done it before, dropped a couple of chances in the slips,” Warner said after the first day’s play.”It does really set your tone from ball one, if you’re up and about that sets you. We try and thrive on that when we see that. I think their heads were down when we were 100 for no loss and that’s expected some times in the field. They didn’t get their line and length right.”Also there was no swing and sideways movement so you have to try and dry up the runs somehow. It must have been frustrating for Virat Kohli because it is tough to captain when the bowlers bowl both sides of the wicket,” he explained. Warner, however, admitted that Australia were lucky to have won the toss.advertisement”We were lucky that the coin fell our way and it was a fantastic toss to win. 348/2 is a fantastic position to be in. There was no swing or sideways movement at all, so it was quite challenging for the Indian bowlers. It’s going to be challenging for us to take 10 wickets as well. We have to dry runs up when we bowl,” Warner said.Australia have the advantage at the moment with Watson (61 not out) and captain Steven Smith (82 not out) having already added an unbeaten 144 runs for the third wicket, and Warner hopes that India do not make quick inroads on day two.”I really hope the dropped catch turns Watson’s luck around. He’s been training very hard the last couple of days and it was unfortunate that he was sick before the match. The amount of time and effort he puts into training is unbelievable. He really deserves a big one coming out tomorrow and hopefully he does get that big one.”He and Smith are doing a fantastic job at the moment and hopefully they can pile on the runs tomorrow,” he wished.Warner paid a touching tribute to his late team-mate Phillip Hughes when he was on 63, as he bent down and kissed the ground where he had fallen after being hit by a bouncer in late November. The hundred, too, was another special moment for the batsman.”It’s very special. I spoke to the guys the other day and said that I haven’t scored a hundred at home or at the MCG. I said I might as well not play those two Tests as I can’t score a run there,” Warner joked.”It’s great to get milestones and it is a hundred. I’ve done my job for the team as well as I can. The thing I’m most proud of is actually putting up a double century partnership with Rogers, our first one. We bat very well together and I think that’s the highlight today for me.”I had a tear in my eye this morning when I walked out to warm-up and I saw his family there in the stands. The hurt and the pain they’ve gone through and how much it would have hurt them to come back today – it’s just courageous for them to be here, and I applaud them for making the effort.That score (63*) is always to be at the back of my mind. I am going to pay tribute to my little mate always, whether I am going to be on 63 or 100. Every time I play here I’ll definitely be doing that,” he said.last_img read more