Friday, October 29, 2010

Bad cricket match bets turned them into thieves

Four youths, who allegedly turned to burglary after losing money in cricket betting, were arrested in south Delhi, police said on Friday.

The arrested have been identified as Anil Verma (25), the gang leader, Vikas Jain (22), Danish Ahmad (24) and Sumit Sharma (23). Jain holds a degree in computer applications.

With their arrest, five incidents of burglaries and thefts have been solved and 100 grams of gold ornaments, two laptops and Rs. 55,000 cash have been recovered.

The youths were arrested from Chirag Dilli on Wednesday, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) HGS Dhaliwal said.

Verma, the leader of the gang, had been hospitalised with a leg injury which he had sustained while jumping from the rooftop after a burglary.

"Rest of the accused persons shared the booty and after giving share to Verma were planning to flee when they were caught," Dhaliwal said.

All the arrested were neighbours and childhood friends. Since their families had limited means, they took to other ways to pay for their needs. Subsequently they started betting on cricket matches and lost a huge amount.

"They borrowed money from the local money lender at 10 per cent per month. But soon they were under huge debt. In order to come out of their debt they hatched the plan of committing thefts in the neighbourhood," Dhaliwal said.

The gang used to target flats on top floors. Jain and Sharma used to stay on the roadside while Ahmad and Verma used to enter the house through terrace after breaking open the window or door of the house from the terrace, he said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kochi IPL team gets termination notice

The Kochi team has been given one last chance at survival with the Indian Premier League (IPL) governing council unanimously deciding to issue a termination notice to it and giving it 30 days to explain why the franchise should not be terminated.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar said after the council meeting in Nagpur today, that the Kochi franchise's breach was a remedial one and not like that of the other two teams that had been disqualified - the Rajasthan Royals and the Kings XI Punjab. So, he said, it had been given a month to respond.

Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals were ousted earlier this month due to several violations of their contract with the BCCI.

The Kochi IPL team is owned by the Gaikwad family's Rendezvous Sports World Private Limited. Speaking to NDTV after the decision, Satyajit Gaikwad said, "We are thankful that they have given us enough time to tie up our differences. We had asked for a grace period of 10 days but we got 30, so I am sure we will do it at the earliest."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tendulkar Admires His Selection in All Time World XI

Recently the ESPNcricinfo has released the all time World XI team comprising of current and past legends of cricket. In fact two teams have been released by them as World XI first team and World XI second team.

The selection was purely on the basis of voting by 12 member jury. Sachin Tendulkar was the only cricketer who got a place in the World XI team among all cricketers of India.

That is really marvelous and a prestige symbol for Tendulkar and for whole India.

Tendulkar reportedly is quite amazed on his selection in the team and is still trying to come out of this sweet surprise.

He said that being a part of the team comprising of all extraordinary cricketers from around the globe is really fascinating for him.

The all time World XI declared by ESPN-cricinfo four players from Australia, three from West Indies, two from England and one from Pakistan besides Sachin Tendulkar. No players from other cricket playing countries like Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa or Bangladesh could get a place in the all time World XI team.

For Sachin Tendulkar getting selected in a team having Don Bradman is something like a ‘dream come true’ for him. Sir Don Bradman once told in a press conference that when he sees Tendulkar playing cricket, it reminded him as if he himself was playing.

Such is the similarity Sir Don Bradman finds in the playing style of Sachin Tendulkar. That statement itself is a precious and priceless award from Sir Don Bradman.

Tendulkar said he would have loved to play in real with all the players of all time World XI specifically Sir Don Bradman with whom he would have loved to bat on field, discuss the game, walk with him and have lunch together during the break.

He also would have liked to play a memorable partnership innings with Sir Vivian Richards. He further added that the great bowlers like Hobbs and Hutton would be the best company on a ground to discuss about playing on an uncovered wicket or similar ideas.

He finds it very good that during his tenure of more than two decades in cricket career, he has played in one form or the other (or has watched them playing) with around 60% of the players of all time World XI team.

Remembering his golden time with most of these players is a collection of great moments for Tendulkar. He remembers his playing county with Malcolm Marshall, playing against Viv Richards in an exhibition match, playing Lillee’s bowling in a net practice at the MRF Pace Academy and so on.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Afridi wanted Shoaib Malik, not Younis Khan

Pakistan's cricket selectors ignored suggestions from the national team's captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis by recalling former captain Younis Khan for the one-day International series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates.

The captain and coach wanted all-rounder Shoaib Malik in the team as a replacement for injured Mohammad Yousuf, but the selectors instead picked up Younis Khan on Wednesday.

Yousuf was ruled out of the limited-overs series against South Africa after he ruptured a muscle in his right leg.

A report in The News said Thursday that Afridi and Waqar had instead asked for the inclusion of discarded all-rounder Shoaib Malik in the squad for the two Twenty20 and five One-day Internationals against South Africa to be played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

" Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the national selectors did not agree with the suggestions coming from the captain and the coach, and opted to go for Younis Khan's inclusion in the team," the report said.

Interestingly, Younis, who is a Test specialist, will now have to prove his form and fitness in one-day games to be considered for next month's two-Test series against the Proteas.

According to Mohsin Khan, Pakistan's chief selector, Younis Khan has only been selected for the one-day series (he has already retired from Twenty20 internationals) and might play in the Tests if he proves his form before the series.

The report said that Afridi and Waqar were of the view that Malik could have been useful for Pakistan in the Twenty20 and one-day games because of his utility as an all-rounder.

However, the PCB decided against recalling Malik in the national team and have given him the command of a team that will represent the country in Hong Kong Sixes tournament to be played next month.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Younis Khan cleared to play for Pakistan

Pakistan's former captain Younis Khan was cleared to play for his country on Wednesday after resolving a long-running battle with the cricket board.

"Younis has given a written undertaking which was required to clear him and he will be soon be back in the team," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi said.

"Younis has got a letter of clearance," confirmed close friend, Basit Ali.

The 32-year-old batsman had been banned indefinitely on charges of violating a players' code of conduct after Pakistan's disastrous tour of Australia, which ended in February.

Six other players, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal, were also banned and fined.

Except for Yousuf, who retired, they all appealed against the sanctions.

A tribunal run by retired judge Irfan Qadir overturned the bans and halved the fines against six players. Yousuf was allowed to play on Pakistan's recent tour of England, which was mired in a separate spot-fixing scandal.

The PCB ordered Younis to apologise for statements made to the media criticising the cricket board for having taken strict steps, but the former captain refused.

Chief selector Mohsin Khan told reporters that Younis would be part of the limited over squad against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates.

After monitoring his progress, he may also be included for a Test series against South Africa, Khan said.

Experienced batsman Mohammad Yousuf has been ruled out of the limited overs due to injury.

Pakistan plays the first Twenty20 match in Abu Dhabi on October 27.

Younis last played a one-day for Pakistan in January during the tour of Australia. He played the last of his 63 Tests in Sri Lanka last year.

He led Pakistan to its World Twenty20 title in England last year. He relinquished the captaincy after falling out with teammates in November.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Clarke to play every Test, ODI and Twenty20 in next five months

Australia Test vice-captain Michael Clarke, who has put cricket first, is planning to play every single Test, ODI and Twenty20 match on Australia's agenda for the next five months.

That includes two ODIs in India, a Twenty20 against Sri Lanka in Perth on October 31, three ODIs against Sri Lanka, five Ashes Tests after a possible two Sheffield Shield games for NSW, seven ODIs and two Twenty20s against England and then a return to the subcontinent for a maximum of nine matches at the World Cup.

Clarke may be cricket's most eligible bachelor but he only has room in his life for one thing at the moment.

"I don't let anything get in the way of my cricket these days. Media commitments, sponsorship commitments, my personal life, my family, my friends, that all has to wait. If I've got training at a certain time, I've got training," FOX Sports quoted him, as saying.

Cricket Australian has rested Ricky Ponting, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson ahead of a gruelling summer, but Clarke is yet to receive any instructions from the board about having a break.

"I'm lucky that I've got so much support from family, friends, sponsors, everyone. It's like doing an interview. I'm happy to talk but it's last on the list. Once training is done, I'm fine. But preparing for our next match, every day, is what comes first," he said. (ANI)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Indian Premier League cancels two franchises

India's cricket board has cancelled two Indian Premier League franchises partly owned by leading Bollywood actresses, deepening the turmoil in the country's highest profile sports league.
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The league has attracted the world's best players and leading multinational advertisers, including Citigroup C and Vodafone but has been in tumult since the auction of two new franchises early this year led to accusations of interference in the sale by Lalit Modi, the founder and then head of the league, against a government minister.

Both men were subsequently forced to leave their jobs and last month Mr Modi was banished from all posts at the Board of Control for Cricket in India amid allegations of financial irregularities during his tenure at the league when more than USD 4bn in sponsorship, advertising, team franchise and other commercial deals were signed.

The cricket board, a non-profit trust, late Sunday announced it would cancel the franchises of the Rajasthan Royals and the Kings XI Punjab, partly controlled by actresses Shipla Shetty and Preity Zinta respectively, over ambiguities in their ownership. The Royals won the league's first tournament in 2008.

"In both these cases, the initial bid was made by one company, but the agreement with the IPL was entered into with another company," said Shashank Manohar, the board's president.

The board did not indicate why the discrepancy had become of such import since the two 10-year franchises were sold almost three years ago, but local media tied the expulsion to Mr Modi's own ouster. The board declined comment.

The board though also warned the investors who won the franchise for Kochi - whose sale in March set off the league's tumult - that they would need quickly to resolve internal disagreements over the ownership structure for the new team. The Kochi and Pune franchises sold for a combined $703m, more than the combined price paid for the original eight teams.

The latest controversy, after a string of others involving politicians, players and cricket barons, could lead some big sponsors to reconsider their affiliation with the six-week annual league tournament.

Shane Warne, the Royals' Australian skipper and a three-year veteran of the squad, expressed shock at the expulsion of his team.

"Just woke up to news that Royals and Kings out of IPL4, don't know anything yet,'' he wrote on his Twitter feed. "It's a big shock for Royals, will hopefully get to the bottom of it all. I hope the BCCI come to their senses, fingers crossed."

Based on the abbreviated made-for-TV Twenty20 format of the game, the Indian Premier League is counted as one of the proudest symbols of a modern India.

Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant industrialist and owner of the Bangalore Royal Challengers team, came out in support of the ejected teams. "This is downright ridiculous and raises serious questions on the attitude of the BCCI towards IPL franchisees," he said in a Twitter message.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

India-Australia classic lifts the shadow

Test cricket is alive and well and lets thank India and Australia. These two teams, no matter what the rankings say, or where they play, have developed an extraordinary competitive chemistry that takes the highest form of the game to the highest plane.

Uncannily, when the shadow of corruption looms darkly over the game, it seems to fall on these sides to bring light again. In 2001 they delivered one of the greatest Test series of all, after cricket's foundations had been jolted by the match-fixing scandal. The spot-fixing allegations were relatively less damaging, so suitably, they restricted themselves to one great Test this time. Notwithstanding the wretched saga of the IPL, which rumbles on, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy managed to put cricket on the front pages for the right reasons once again.

Australia aren't the team they used to be, and it will be long before they can elicit awe again, but it must not be forgotten that they came within inches, literally, of winning the first Test. The Indian batting had far more class, and their bowling more experience and nous, but despite the 2-0 margin Australia were not rolled over. Even in Bangalore, where India ended up jogging to a win, Australia weren't out of the game until the second hour of the final day.

The Mohali Test will be impossible to better, but in its own way, Bangalore produced a multi-layered and satisfying game. And most satisfyingly, it was played before stands vibrating with passion and enthusiasm. It was a largely partisan and raucous crowd, and a few of them shamed themselves by booing the Australians on the opening day, but sitting in the stands it was also easy to find those who were knowledgeable and appreciative of the unique appeal of Test cricket.

In the row ahead of us sat a gentleman who spoke of the days when the great Indian spinners, and then Sunil Gavaskar and GR Viswanath, sustained his love for the game. He had travelled from Chennai and was spending five days in a guest house in Bangalore to watch the game. He applauded the Australians and appreciated the judgement of the umpire who ruled a close lbw decision in favour of an Australian batsman, but the sight of Sachin Tendulkar brought out the child in him. His whistling was one the highlights of the day. It was piercing and energetic, but the joyousness of it was striking. It was infectious.

There were many like him, and they went home rewarded, not merely by an Indian victory or a virtuoso performance from their adored hero, but by a game that stayed alive and full of possibilities for the most part.

The worry about dwindling crowds for Test cricket is legitimate and justifiable. But it is sometimes overstated and some of the suggested remedies are based on unsound assumptions. Sections of the print media have begun to realise the folly of trying to compete with the immediacy and visceral appeal of television. The sensuous and contemplative aspects of Test cricket are what appeal to its followers. It is true that it has gained from the energy and vitality that the players have brought to it from the shorter forms, but it doesn't need to tart itself up to remain attractive.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bangalore Test chase India's 8th best

India's win on Wednesday in the second Test match against Australia is their eighth best win while chasing and their 10th overall while chasing a target of 200 or more in the fourth innings.

Interestingly, seven of the 10 wins have come after 2000 and three have come in the last three Tests. India's first win while chasing a total in excess of 200 also game against the Aussies at home way back in 1964-65. India had then chased 254 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.

And India's biggest victory while chasing still remains the 403 against West Indies that was achieved in Port-of-Spain in the 1975-76 series.

Here's a list of India's top 10 200-plus Test wins achieved while chasing:

403 vs West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1975-76

387 vs England at Chennai in 2008-09

264 vs Sri Lanka at Kandy in 2001-02

257 vs Sri Lanka at Colombo in 2010

254 vs Australia in Mumbai (Brabourne Stadium) in 1964-65

230 vs Australia at Adelaide in 2003-04

216 vs Australia at Mohali in 2010-11

207 vs Australia at Bangalore in 2010-11

203 vs Pakistan at Delhi in 2007-08

200 vs New Zealand at Dunedin in 1967-68

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spinners restrict Australia to 202 for seven

Indian spinners raised hopes of an exciting finish to the second and final cricket Test against Australia by reducing the visitors to 202 for seven after Sachin Tendulkar slammed his sixth double hundred here today.

Riding on Tendulkar’s marathon 214, India took a slender 17-run first innings as they folded for 495 at stroke of lunch in reply to Australia’s 478.

Indian tweakers Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh then bowled superbly to reduce Australia to 202 for seven at stumps on day four at M Chinnaswamy stadium.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting batted with resolve for his 72 before being trapped by paceman Zaheer Khan at the fag end of the penultimate day of the match.

Ponting was the highest-scorer for the team and struck seven boundaries and a six in his 117-ball knock.

Australia, who are seeking a series—levelling win, are leading by 185 runs with lower-order batsmen to contend a fired-up Indian bowling unit.

Mitchell Johnson (7) and Nathan Hauritz (8) will resume the Australian innings tomorrow.

Pragyan Ojha snared three batsmen while Harbhajan Singh took two wickets as Australia slumped from 94 for three to 202 for seven in the last session.

Openers Shane Watson (34) and Simon Katich (24) made a good start by adding 58 runs for the first wicket but India clawed their way back by striking thrice swiftly.

Left—armer Ojha trapped Watson to draw first blood in the 17th over while Harbhajan Singh removed Katich three balls later to rattle the Australians.

A tremendous piece of work by Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the wickets resulted in Michael Clarke’s dismissal.

A sharply turning ball from Ojha deceived Clarke to reach the gloves of Dhoni, who took the bails off with lightening speed leaving the batsman short of crease.

Earlier, India suffered a dramatic lower-order collapse after Tendulkar was bowled by debutant Peter George as the hosts lost last four wickets for just nine runs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tendulkar leads India's charge on Day 3

Sachin Tendulkar closed in on yet another double hundred, as India piled on the runs against Australia in the second Test at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Monday.

At stumps, on day three (after 122 overs), the home team had amassed 435 for five, just 43 runs adrift of Australia's first innings total.

Play was called off because of bad light for the third successive day with three overs left to be bowled.

Tendulkar was unbeaten on a superlative 191. Giving him company was captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, on 11.

Tendulkar's 319-ball knock was inclusive of 20 hits to the fence and two over it.

The Master Blaster, having become the first batsman in Test history to surpass 14,000 runs (when on 27) a day earlier, reached his 49th Test ton before lunch with a six off Nathan Hauritz. It was his first century in Bangalore in 12 years and he ensured it was an occasion to remember.

Success was certainly sweet for the legend, who missed out on a hundred in the opening Test at Mohali, getting out on 98 in the first innings.

Tendulkar didn't stop there. He closed in on a double hundred, his aggressive innings regaling a vociferous crowd that kept chanting his name throughout the day.

In the course of his innings, Tendulkar also became the contemporary batsman with the highest Test average.

Mitchell Johnson, with figures of three for 89, was the best bowler in what was otherwise a vapid Australian bowling performance.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Legend called Laxman

I love watching cricket matches only in my casual pastime and with the unending controversy over match-fixing my interest in the sport has waned further. However, I enjoyed Team India’s thrilling victory over the formidable Aussies at Mohali recently.

The twists and turns throughout the match and India’s poor show reminded me of a car driving on a bumpy road and sometimes a boat sailing smoothly in a calm sea. The match ended with the Indian team beating their fierce rivals in an unusual display of courage to fight back. VVS Laxman- the stylish stroke-maker, who made possible what looked “impossible”, once again proved that he is India’s man at the moment.

It’s not that Laxman has become important all of a sudden only after this match. He is a valuable player and has been instrumental in Team India’s victory in crucial matches in past, especially in fourth innings chases.

However, this time by steering his side to a remarkable victory despite all odds, Laxman has proved that he truly is indispensable and of the same stature as Dravid, Ganguly or even Tendulkar in the longer version of the sport.

At Mohali, he came to the crease at a time when all big names had fallen. He kept the strike rotating on his own although wickets tumbled at the other end. With brilliant support from tail-ender Ishant Sharma, Laxman not only battled severe back-pain but also single-handedly enabled his side to register a spectacular one-wicket Test victory over Australia.

When many of us doubted India’s prospect of winning against a team like Australia, it was Laxman, who kept alive our hopes that victory can still be ours even if the scorecard read 124/8 and predicted a different story.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Sachin on ICC award

Sachin Tendulkar has won his first ICC award, the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, by being named the Cricketer of the Year during the 2010 ICC Award ceremony in Bangalore. He also won the LG People's Choice Award for 2010.

Tendulkar spoke to NDTV in an exclusive interview after the ceremony. Here is the transcript.

NDTV: Well.. ICC cricketer of the year and of course people's choice also, Sachin many many congratulations. Of course it's very special coming as it does a day after the spectacular win coming from Mohali. Were you at any point nervous, like the rest of us chewing on our nails?

Sachin Tendulkar: Yes, we were actually sitting in the dressing room..I was sitting with MS, Sehwag.. Ya, I mean only three of us basically, and we had one topic going on and we didn't want to change that topic. We ran out of stories but we said no, we need to continue doing that, a bit of superstitious thing but it was fantastic victory and unbelievable what Laxman did for us and also not to forget what a tremendous character Ishant Sharma has shown.

NDTV: Sachin speaking of tremendous achievement, a huge achievement for you today, two awards, a surprise really for all of us who've followed your career that this is the first time you are actually getting the award.

Sachin Tendulkar: It's better late than never. You keep working hard for it and you know it's come in the 21st year of my international career. So, it's fantastic. As I said earlier, better late than it feels great.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Clarke to lead Australia in ODI series against India

Michael Clarke will lead a largely inexperienced Australian side in one-day series against India after regular skipper Ricky Ponting was rested as part of the team’s World Cup and Ashes plans.

Apart from Ponting, paceman Mitchell Johnson and all-rounder Shane Watson will also skip the three-match series, Cricket Australia said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Player workload management is particularly important over the course of the next seven months as we prepare a squad to defend the World Cup in India and the subcontinent and to win the Ashes back from England,” national selection panel (NSP) chairman Andrew Hilditch said in the statement.

“With that in mind, Ricky Ponting will not take part in this one-day series. The NSP has decided as part of the ongoing management of Ricky’s workload he should not take part in this series. The demands of back-to-back test matches in tough Indian conditions have been taken into consideration.”

Hilditch said it was also important to manage the workload of both Johnson and Watson who figure prominently in Australia’s World Cup scheme.

Uncapped fast bowlers James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc will join Clint McKay and Doug Bollinger in the four-man pace attack, while Callum Ferguson returned after a knee injury.

The one day series starts on October 17 in Kochi with Visakhapatnam (October 20) and Margao (October 24) hosting the other matches.

Squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Cameron White (vice captain), Doug Bollinger, Callum Ferguson, Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes, Mike Hussey, Shaun Marsh, Clint McKay, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.

Friday, October 01, 2010

India vs Australia Test Series Preview

BCCI reschedule the Australia in India tour with a 2-Test and 3-ODI series instead of the originally scheduled 7-match ODI series. They changed the schedule of the tour after, India’s team reached the Number one rank in the five-day game format.

Now India team is the current champions in the five-day game format. They did not take the light in this series against former No-1 side. India will not lose their first rank after this series as well. Indian team will continue in top spot even though they lost the test series with 0-2. If India won this series with 2-0 then their position will stronger.

Australia played more test matches than India played in last three years. The team has more wins and more losses compared to India. Australia played 33 matches, in that they won 17 matches, lost 9 matches and made draw in 7 matches in the past three years. India played 28 matches, in that they won 13 matches, lost 6 matches and made draw in 9 matches in the past three years.

In their 13 head-to-head matches both teams are won four matches each and made draw in five matches in last six years