India looks for a positive start

News4u-Sports Desk- With an aim to bury the ghosts of a disastrous tour of 2011, a new-look Indian cricket team would be eyeing a positive start to its two-and-a-half-month long tour of England.

England might be a bit low in confidence after slumping to their first Test series loss to Sri Lanka on home soil but Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday said that that his visiting side ill-affords to take them lightly in the upcoming five-match Test series.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of his side’s three-day warm-up game starting here tomorrow, Dhoni said England are still a tough side to beat.

“What you assess is how good a side the opposition is and I still think England are a fantastic side. Which means it will be a tough competition for us and they know the home conditions better than us,” Dhoni said at his first press conference after arriving in England.

Asked if it was a good time to play England who suffered 0-1 series loss against visiting Sri Lanka yesterday, Dhoni said, “No, not really.”

Unlike in 2011 when India only played one tour match before entering the Test series, this time they are playing two and arrived nearly three weeks before the first Test. The extra time, according to Dhoni, provided the inexperienced players to get acclimatised to the conditions.

“It’s a long series, five Test matches followed by five ODIs and one T20. Playing a series with five Test matches is something that’s entirely new for us. But overall I think it will be really good,” Dhoni said.
India failed to register a single win in their disastrous last tour in 2011, losing the Test series 0-4, the five-match ODI series 0-3 and also the lone T20 International.

Of the current 18-member Indian squad only Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma have played a Test match in England. But Dhoni said that some of them have played some form of cricket in England and that experience may help them.

“It’s always good to have players who have played in the scenario before. As I’ve said it’s a team that doesn’t have too many players that have played in England,” Dhoni said.

“The good thing is a lot of them have played some kind of cricket in England. There are quite a few who were part of the Champions Trophy. There are quite a few who have played in England in other leagues, not just the counties, under-age cricket, maybe the Under-19s.

“All that really helps but it will be important for those players who have not played too many games to get used to the conditions really quickly. We’re here 15 to 20 days before the first Test so that will obviously help.”


The mafia boss, Alexander Matusov

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IPL 7 : Punjab has another chance to reach Finale

News4u-Sports Desk- Buoyed by their convincing seven-wicket win over title holders Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings will take on Kings XI Punjab in their second IPL knockout game inside three days in Mumbai on Friday with swashbuckling batsman Glenn Maxwell being a major threat to their chances.

Riding on the 25-year-old Australian batsman’s incandescent 90-plus run knocks in Abu Dhabi and Cuttack in the group stage of the T20 League, Kings XI Punjab had flattened two-time champions Chennai Super Kings.

However, to achieve the feat of entering the final for the sixth time, Chennai will have to stop Maxwell, who simply tore into their bowlers, especially two key spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on the two previous occasions.

Maxwell, the third highest run-getter with 539 runs this season, smashed 95 in 43 balls in Abu Dhabi last month to help Punjab chase down a massive 206-run target set up by the Super Kings.

The Victorian was even more dominating in their subsequent clash earlier this month at Cuttack, where he hit a whirlwind 90 off just 35 balls to power Punjab to an incredible score of 231.

Ashwin was smashed for 38 runs without a wicket in just two overs by Maxwell, while Jadeja conceded 37 runs in three overs without any success.

The destruction of these two Super Kings’ bowlers by Maxwell will certainly come up for discussion by the Super Kings’ think-tank ahead of their do-or-die encounter.


Glen Maxwell

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Gambhir back; Binny, Pankaj surprise picks for England tour

News4u-Sports Desk- Veteran opener Gautam Gambhir was on Wednesday recalled while all-rounder Stuart Binny and unheralded paceman Pankaj Singh were the surprise picks in an 18-member Indian squad for the Test series against England starting in the last week of June.

Injured pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha were the notable omissions from the squad announced by the BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel after a marathon meeting of the selection panel in Mumbai.

The Sandeep Patil-led selection committee also announced the squad for a three-match ODI series against Bangladesh which would precede the tour of England.

Suresh Raina would lead the 15-member squad which would be devoid of big stars such as regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma among others.

Raina, incidentally, was not even a member of the Asia Cup held in Bangladesh prior to IPL after his indifferent form in ODIs held earlier.

Spin spearhead R Ashwin and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja have also been rested from the squad for Bangladesh which will play three ODIs in Mirpur on June 15, 17 and 19.

Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Parveez Rasool has found a place in the squad for Bangladesh which also marks the return of in-form batsman Robin Uthappa, who has been a prolific scorer in the ongoing IPL.

The Bangladesh-bound squad features new faces in Maharashtra batsman Kedar Jadhav and left-arm spinner Akshar Patel of Gujarat.

The tour of England starts from June 26 and concludes on September 7 during which the Indians will play five Tests , an equal number of ODIs and one Twenty20 International.

The left-handed Gambhir’s return to the Test squad was on expected lines after he rediscovered his form in the domestic circuit and has been in good touch in the ongoing IPL as well despite starting with three consecutive ducks.

The 32-year-old’s last Test appearance for India was way back in 2012 in the home series against England.

Rajasthan pacer Pankaj Singh, 29, has been rewarded for his consistent form in the goneby Ranji season during which he picked 45 wickets but his name was not in the reckoning for a place in the Test team.

Binny’s inclusion came as a bit of a surprise but the selectors might have considered the utility of his gentle medium pace bowling in the seaming conditions in England.

Barring Binny and Pankaj’s inclusion, there were no other surprises in the squad for England which has been packed with a host of pace bowlers to capitalise on the seamer-friendly conditions.

The side features seven pacers, led by the gangling Ishant Sharma, and just two spinners in Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Apart from adding the experienced Gambhir, the batting line-up has not been tinkered with.

Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan are the two openers, followed by Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma.

Wriddhimaan Saha has been taken on board as backup for Dhoni, who is the team’s first-choice wicketkeeper.

The selectors continued to ignore veteran Virender Sehwag, who has done his case no good by continuing to under-perform in the domestic arena.

Only three players — Dhoni, Ishant and Gambhir — of this chosen squad of 18 have the experience of playing Tests in England.

Team for Bangladesh:

Suresh Raina (C), Robin Uthappa, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Wriddhimaan Saha, Parveez Rasool, Akshar Patel, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Stuart Binny, Mohit Sharma, Amit Mishra.

Teams for England tour:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishwar Pandey, Ishant Sharma, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron, Wriddhimaan Saha, Pankaj Singh.


Gambhir back; Binny, Pankaj included in team India

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David Miller’s heroics script another win for Punjab

News4u-Sports Desk- When the two teams last met, Sandeep Sharma had dismissed Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli in the same over and set the tone for a convincing win for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).

On Friday, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were chasing rather than setting a target, but the same set of characters went through a similar routine, right down to the questionable umpiring decision that did for Kohli, in an over that sent KXIP on their way to a 32-run win that gave them sole occupancy of the top spot in the IPL table.

An innings of 66, off just 29 balls, from David Miller had powered KXIP to a total of 198.
If any team could chase it, though, it was RCB. They had been the only team to chase a 200-plus total on this ground, and they had done it against the same opponents, back in 2010 They faced a similar ask this time, and needed their top order to fire.

First ball of his second over, though, Sandeep had his man. The ball swung away from Gayle, who swung hard at it and edged to the keeper. In walked Kohli. In Dubai, he had been out second ball to a debatable lbw decision, with the ball appearing to be headed down the leg side.

This time, Sandeep dismissed him first ball, caught behind down the leg side. There was a sound as ball passed bat, but replays suggested the ball had brushed the ground just as Wriddhiman Saha scooped it up with the webbing of his right glove. RCB were 8 for 2, and 199 looked like 299.

Brief scores:
Kings XI Punjab 198-8 (D Miller 66, V Sehwag 30; Y Chahal 2-23, M Starc 2-43) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 166-9 (AB de Villiers 53, M Starc 29; Sandeep Sharma 3-25, Shivam Sharma 2-26) by 32 runs.


David Miller

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IPL2014: Bhuvi’s deadly spell gives SRH ,win over RR

News4u-Sports Desk- Sunrisers Hyderabad kept themselves in the top-four race as they crushed Rajasthan Royals by 32 runs on the back of an inspiring bowling performance in an Indian Premier League clash in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Hyderabad looked down and out after posting a modest 134 for nine but they came out all guns blazing, forcing their rivals into submission with their fiery bowling, led by young India paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/14).

Kumar provided the first breakthrough in the third ball of the RR innings and then took three wickets in the 18th over to deny the rivals any sort of comeback.

His senior pace colleague Dale Steyn (2/33) took two wickets while Karn Sharma, Moises Henriques and Irfan Pathan took a wicket apiece in a collective bowling effort to bowl out Rajasthan for 102 with one ball to spare.

The result meant that Rajasthan skipper Shane Watson’s superb hat-trick went in vain and Hyderabad moved to fifth from seventh in the points table.

It was a pathetic batting display by Hyderabad as more than the Rajasthan bowling, it was poor shot selection of the Hyderabad batsmen that let them down.

None of the SRH players, except skipper Shikhar Dhawan (33), applied himself as Watson (3/13) and Rajat Bhatia (3/23) shared six wickets between them.

It was a split hat-trick for Watson as he dismissed Dhawan in the last ball of his first over and then sent back Moises Henriques (9) and Karn Sharma (0) when he returned for his second over later in the innings.

In his last match also the burly Australian had taken three wickets in one over to trigger a KKR batting collapse.

However, Hyderabad made a match out of it with their spirited bowling effort. Both pacers and spinners bowled their hearts out in troubling the Rajasthan batsmen.

Pacers Bhuvneshwar and Steyn were disciplined with their line and length while Karn and Amit Mishra used the spin-friendly conditions to the fullest. Kumar gave a perfect start by having Ajinkya Rahane (0) out in the third ball and Steyn had Karun Nair (12) caught behind.

Karn bamboozled in-form Sanju Samson (16) with a peach of a delivery and then Henriques got the prized wicket of Watson by having the rival skipper caught behind.

Hyderabad were right back in the match and were in fact calling the shots. David Warner made it 78 for five by RR by sending back Stuart Binny on a direct hit.

Steven Smith (22) and seasoned Rajat Bhatia had a humongous task to get the team out of rut as a demoralised Rajasthan needed 54 runs off the last five overs.

Steyn dented RR hopes by dismissing Smith and Bhuvneshwar saw the back of James Faulkner and Rajat Bhatia (4) in successive balls to make the writing clear on the wall.

Brief Score:

Sunrisers Hyderabad: 134 for 9 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 33, Lokesh Rahul 18; Shane Watson 3/13, Rajat Bhatia 3/23).

Rajasthan Royals: 102 all out in 19.5 overs. (Steven Smith 22, Sanju Samson 16; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4/14, Dale Sten 2/31).


Sunrisers Hyderabad

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I train my brain even while travelling in bus: Virat Kohli

News4u-Sports Desk- Bangalore: Giving an insight into his cricketing mind, Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday said that he prepares for a match by training his brain even while travelling in a bus.

“Even when I am going to the ground in the bus, I keep thinking about the shots I am going to play and to which bowler .. Once you train your brain what to do then obviously when you go out there … You find that perfect zone,” he said in an interview to RCB`s official website.

Kohli, who holds the record for the fastest century by an Indian batsman in ODIs, said he visualises of how to play certain bowlers before the match. “I visualise a lot. I sit and think before a game. I visualise the bowlers whom I am going to face the next day or on the game day,” he said.

Talking about his strength, Kohli said controlled aggression on the field is his forte and he channelises it to perform better. “My strength is a lot of intensity on the field. My strength is aggression, but controlled-aggression now. I try to channelise that as much as I can in the things I want to do on the field,” he said.

Kohli, who is the fastest batsman in the world to score 17 hundreds in ODIs, said he does not pay much attention to the encomiums and criticism poured on him when things are going good or bad for him.

“Every time I start scoring everyone says he is in the form of his life. So, I don`t pay attention to that. It is just that even if you are not doing well, just one or two good matches can change things around for you,” he said. Kohli also said he does not think about his past and present performances, but concentrates on doing well in the next game.

“I don`t think about what I have done in the past. How well I have performed in the recent matches I played. For me it is always the next game and my focus is to do well,” he said. PTI

Virat Kohli

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India back as No 1 ranked T20 side

News4u-Sports Desk- Though India dropped two places to No 5 in the Test rankings, they have once again risen to become the No 1 ranked Twenty20 International side as the International Cricket Council (ICC) released the rankings on Thursday.

India swapped places with reigning World Twenty20 champions Sri Lanka, who slid a place to No 2.
In the past 12 months, India have lost just one T20 international – against Sri Lanka in the recent World T20 final – while Sri Lanka have lost four.

The 2013-14 results are weighted at 100% whereas the results in 2011-12 and 2012-13 are now weighted at 50%. Therefore, Sri Lanka’s strong performances in those two years now count for less.

In the other major change, the West Indies have slipped two places to No 7. This has moved Australia and New Zealand up by one position each.IANS



India back as No 1 ranked T20 side

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McCullum, Mohit Sharma lead CSK to seven-wicket IPL win over Mumbai Indians

News4u-Sports Desk- New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and India’s Mohit Sharma has led their Chennai Super Kings team to a seven-wicket victory over defending champions Mumbai Indians in the 13th match of the Pepsi Indian Premier League ( IPL) 2014 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Mumbai, which was restricted for 141 for 7, crashed to their third successive defeat in the tournament due to an unimpressive batting, bowling and fielding spell.

According to Gulf News, McCullum recorded an elegant 71 runs off 53 balls, with eight fours and two sixes, and along with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, steered the team to the target with six balls to spare while Sharma’s deadly four-wicket spell helped CSK record a thumping victory.

Mumbai Indians, despite skipper Rohit Sharma’s 52 runs off 41 balls with three boundaries and two sixes, could only muster 141 runs, the report added. (ANI)

Jubliant CSK after beating MI

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Sachin Tendulkar turns 41!

News4u-Sports Desk- Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar turned 41 on Thursday and will be celebrating his birthday in his home town in the midst of Indian Premier League action in the United Arab Emirates after being with his franchise Mumbai Indians in the initial phase of the T20 league.

Tendulkar had returned from the UAE two days ago, according to sources close to him, and is celebrating his birthday with his family and friends in the city.

This is the first birthday for the cricket great after he quit all forms of cricket in November 2013 after playing his 200th and final Test at his home ground, Wankhede Stadium, here against the West Indies.

The Indian cricket board (BCCI) had cobbled together the hastily arranged two-game series against the Caribbean islanders to give a befitting send-off to the legend. Jam-packed crowd gave Tendulkar a rousing adieu and the cricketer himself was emotional as he gave a stirring speech watched by his adoring fans in the crowd and by million others on TV after going to the middle of the pitch and paying obeisance to it in a symbolic gesture that touched the hearts of one and all. Tendulkar hung up his boots after a glittering international career that saw him amass 15,921 runs in Tests, at an average of 53.78, and 18426 runs in 463 ODIs at an average of 44.83.

He had scored 100 centuries during his international with Test matches accounting for 51 of those, the most by any batsman in the world. He was the part of 2011 World Cup winning squad captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

His 49 ODI tons is also a world record. The Bharat Ratna recipient, the first Indian sports person to get the highest civilian honour, has been seen in public on very few occasions after his retirement. However, as a sign that he’s got other interests after quitting cricket as a player, he has now got involved in the IPL-style football league promoted by MI’s owners Reliance Industries and IMG with the backing of the All India Football Federation.PTI

Sachin Tendulkar turns 41!

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Sachin greater than Bradman, comparisons still on …

News4u-Sports Desk- The jury is still out on whether Sachin Tendulkar retired a greater batsman than late Australian legend Don Bradman but a Chennai-based author claims to have found the “forensic evidence” to prove that the Indian maestro was indeed the better of the two icons.

On the eve of Tendulkar’s 41st birthday, his first after retiring from international cricket, Rudolph Lambert Fernandez has come up with a book ‘Greater Than Bradman’, which aims to prove that the Little Master is the greatest batsman of all time.

“It is not another biography of Sachin or Bradman. It is not another compilation of interviews, match anecdotes and expert essays. It is not an autobiography. It is an analysis. It is a forensic study that aims to set the record straight,” the author claims about the book.

“This is the first and only book that challenges Bradman’s rank as a batsman,” he says.

Fernandez wishes to present a copy of the book to Tendulkar’s brother Ajit, his wife Anjali and his formative coach Ramakant Achrekar.

“I am eager to present a paperback of the book to the three As, who were in many ways responsible for Sachin realising his greatness — Ajit his brother, Achrekar his coach, and Anjali his wife. This book is a celebration of Tendulkar’s greatness and what he stood for on the cricket field — there is no higher tribute,” said Fernandez.

Fernandez says the book uses illustrations from “science and martial arts” to prove Tendulkar’s greatness.

“It questions traditional measures of greatness that revolve around statistics. It offers a more honest approach that respects a batsman’s figures but places them against the backdrop of his playing environment”, he says.

“The 21st century cricket readers need a closer look at Bradman. They appear all too familiar with Sachin, having seen his every shot dissected a 100 times. They have seen his ducks, his run-outs, his many failures,” said Fernandez.

Fernandez said his book offers a whole new perspective on Tendulkar’s cricketing career.

“This book is not about Sachin being the greatest batsman in 1998 or in 2010. It is about him as the greatest batsman in cricket history,” he said.

“While the point of this book is to demonstrate Sachin’s superiority over Bradman, it would be a pity if this were to be read as scorning the similarities between them — their desire to dominate, their eagerness to excel, their genius. Thankfully these have been celebrated already by other writers,” he said.

Tendulkar’s 200 Test appearances yielded 15,921 runs at an average of 53.78, a feat so huge in magnitude that no contemporary or even a talented successor of his, looks capable of overhauling it in the near or distant future.

At the end of his ODI journey, the 40-year-old right-hander had, under his belt, a whopping 18,426 in 463 matches at an average of 44.83.

The right-hander retired as only batsman to score 100 international centuries — 51 in Tests and 49 in ODIs.

Sachin greater than Bradman, comparisons still on …

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