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  Asian Boxing Championships: Shiva Thapa, Laishram Devendro enter quarters
Posted by: mmadhankumar - Today 04:28 PM - No Replies

[Image: 396078-shiva-thapa-7.gif]

Defending champion Shiva Thapa (56kg) and previous edition's silver-medallist Laishram Devendro (49kg) notched up contrasting victories as they advanced to the quarterfinals of the Asian Boxing Championships here on Sunday.

While Shiva fought through an engrossing contest to beat Jordan's Mohammad Alwadi 3-0, Devendro out-punched China's He Junjun by a similar margin in their respective pre-quarterfinal bouts here.

But last edition's silver-medallist Mandeep Jangra (69kg) bowed out after losing 1-2 to Japan's Yasuhiro Suzuki. Devendro opened the day for India and the Commonwealth Games silver-medallist hit the attack mode from the very first second, pushing Junjun on to the backfoot with a flurry of jabs.

However, there was heartbreak for Mandeep, who went out of the competition after a close loss. The Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, faced with a much taller opponent, did well to negate the physical gap by adopting an aggressive approach but could not control the pace of the bout.

Trying hard to target his rival's torso and to nullify his straight punches, Mandeep ended up getting a warning for bending too much. The youngster, who was conferred the Arjuna award this year, paid for a few defensive lapses as well, giving Suzuki a hard-fought triumph.

In the middleweight 75kg category, second seed Vikas Krishan beat Turkmenistan's Arslanbek Achilov 3-0.

More: Asian Boxing Championships: Shiva Thapa, Laishram Devendro enter quarters; Mandeep ​Jangra bows out | Zee News

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  India - South Africa series to be known as 'Gandhi-Mandela series'
Posted by: mmadhankumar - Today 04:25 PM - Replies (1)

[Image: india_getty3108.jpg]

The BCCI and Cricket South Africa (CSA) have announced that they will title all future bilateral series between the two countries - 'The Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Series'.

The Test series between the respective countries will be played for the 'Freedom Trophy', which is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, said:"The struggle for freedom has been the common thread between our countries.

Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela liberated our nations with non-violence and non co-operation as their weapons which have inspired the world, to adopt and achieve their goals in a peaceful manner. We dedicate this trophy to Mahatma and Madiba, the guiding souls of our nations."

Secretary Anurag Thakur, said:"The Test Series has been christened as the 'Freedom Trophy'. Freedom for which Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela sacrificed their lives and thereby allowed a nation to be born free from years of bondage and suppression."

"BCCI, on behalf of every citizen of our country is able to pay tribute to these great leaders by naming the series after them and appeal to each and every citizen of our country to imbibe their ideals and follow the path advised by them," he added.

CSA President Chris Nenzani,said,"The revered names of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela leave us with a huge responsibility to live up to the legacies they have left us.

Above all else they stood for doing the right thing and persevered at great personal cost to achieve freedom for their country regardless of how long it took them.

CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat, said:"For the people of both our countries there is no greater duty than to uphold the ideals of both Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. As cricket loving people we must fight hard to win on the field of play but never forget to do battle in the spirit of these two great men.

"Naming all future bilateral series between our two countries after Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela is eternal news for our people and cricketers and I would like to thank the Nelson Mandela Foundation for their support," concluded Lorgat.


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  ICC holds 'successful' town hall meeting in USA
Posted by: nairrk - Today 09:05 AM - No Replies

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The ICC conducted a "successful" town hall meeting with stakeholders from the USA cricket community, in Chicago on Saturday. The meeting was hosted by ICC chief executive David Richardson and head of global development Tim Anderson, and was held in the aftermath of USACA's suspension at the ICC annual conference in June, to discuss the development and future of USA cricket. The meeting was attended by 85 people, with most representing approximately 100 cricket leagues across the country.

"We came to learn earlier this year that although lots of cricket was being played in the USA, and lots of passionate people were supporting the game, these efforts were largely disconnected," Richardson said. "A focus on bringing people together to share information, discuss common issues and, importantly, start talking about how exciting the future of cricket in the USA could be was therefore needed, and that's what was achieved during this meeting."

The objective of the meeting was to engage stakeholders and encourage open dialogue to come up with solutions for problems that have plagued USA cricket in recent years. The ICC had sent out a survey to select stakeholders last week to find out what areas of concern were of highest priorities for them, covering varying aspects ranging from, "junior development, women's cricket, fundraising, performance of teams," Anderson had said before the meeting.

"There remains much work to do, however, judging by the attitude of those in attendance who are keen for cricket in the USA to move forward with greater purpose, this has certainly been a very positive step in the right direction," Richardson said after the town hall meeting.

The USA local advisory group will assist the cricket community in strategic planning and development in the coming months.

ICC holds 'successful' town hall meeting in USA | Cricket | ESPN Cricinfo

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  The fastest ground staff in the world
Posted by: nairrk - Today 09:02 AM - No Replies

Sri Lanka's ground-maintenance workers use ingenuity, speed and clockwork coordination to counteract the problems posed by a home season that coincides with the monsoon

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By the truckload: Galle's ground staff uses heavy tyres to keep the covers from flying off

At one point after the 15th over on the first day of the third Test, the groundsmen on either side of the SSC square moved in. There was no rain, but they knew. In the media box with its views of the city, the construction cranes, scattered multi-storey towers, the white cupola of the town hall, and the slowly rising Lotus Tower were being obliterated by a curtain of grey.

The groundskeeping team was on standby five minutes before they made their first move. By the time the rain came, in slanting silver, the men had the pitch and the square covered. With the rain beating down fiercely, they next covered the bowlers' run-ups. In under nine minutes 80% of the field was under the large covers. The groundsmen, divided into four crews, dragging out waterproof sheets 100 feet square, were perfectly synchronised in their movements, much like an F1 pit crew. The cricket crew works over a much larger tract of land but their operation also requires speed of a relatively different scale and a sequential order of its own.

This high-speed ground-covering is a specialty of Sri Lankan cricket - brought about as a solution to having to play most of their home international cricket in what is traditionally the country's off season, when it rains - not in buckets but intermittently, like it threatened to during the Galle Test and at the P Sara, and like it eventually did after an hour on day one at the SSC. Sri Lanka play their home Tests in two batches - one lot in March and then between June and September.

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The SSC ground staff get their splash on, 2004

Anurudda Polonowita, a former national curator and head priest of Sri Lankan cricket groundsmanship, says a skewed season led to finding an innovative answer to keep the game moving. Sri Lanka shares its home season (December to March), according to Polonowita, with India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh. "No one is going to leave their home country because of TV [rights] and money. That's why they are coming to our country in their off season, in our rainy season. We have to play during that time, otherwise we won't get a fixture. We have to adjust ourselves to play these matches or you won't get the full play. So we started covering the whole pitch. We are the only country that do it."

For the last ten years or so, this logistical exercise has taken place before every big match in Sri Lanka. A few days before a game, close to 100 men are signed on as casual labour to add to the official ground-staff strength of around 15. They are then divided into four groups, each with a leader, usually an experienced groundsman. The groups undergo a simulated, timed exercise of pulling on the covers. The following morning the covers are pulled off to the count of a stopwatch. Every ground has around 10 to 15 giant rubberised canvas sheets, imported from India, each costing about LKR 800,000 (nearly US$6000). Since the 2011 World Cup, each ground in the country has its own set.

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Forty shades of grey? Time for the covers

Jayananda Warnaweera, the Southern Province cricket association secretary, general boss, curator and caretaker of the Galle International Stadium, says Sri Lankan groundskeeping drills are "unlike any other in the world". Galle's groundskeepers need the extra assistance of used truck tyres to hold down the covers when strong winds come in from the sea next door.

When asked what the tyres weigh, Chamara and Sampath look at each other. They are part of the casual labour for the first Test, earning LKR 1000 ($7.44) a day. One is a tuk-tuk driver and the other a mobile phone repairman. With a straight face comes the reply, "Thirty kilos." Whatever the weight, these are substantial tyres, well over car size. Maybe 15-20kg minimum each then?

Before the 2011 World Cup new grounds were built in Pallekele and Hambantota, with improved drainage and sprinkler systems. The country's flagship ground, the R Premadasa Stadium in Khettarama, Colombo, was raised by 3.5ft. At the ICC World T20 in 2012, ten minutes was set as the benchmark for bringing in the covers.

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Before every big match in Sri Lanka, close to 100 men are signed on as casual labour to help with the covers

This is a transformation from the early '90s, Polonowita remembers, when grounds in Sri Lanka had no rollers, and in some places the groundsmen would use lawnmowers on pitches. A former player, Polonowita is regarded as professor emeritus of Sri Lankan groundskeeping. He has a curatorship degree from the MCG and was involved in the construction of the Khettarama Stadium. In 2000, he signed on with Sri Lanka Cricket as national curator in charge of the country's grounds, and before his retirement he trained seven graduates fresh from agricultural university to work in curatorship roles at the major grounds.

"Our curators," Polonowita says of his younger successors, "do a great job because we take over the grounds only two months before a big match." The cricket grounds in Sri Lanka are used all year round for all kinds of matches - by schools, clubs, companies. P Sara, for example, he says, hosts ten to 12 matches every year, including on its prized centre pitches.

Getting a ground ready in time for a big match is "about practical experience," he says. That practical experience, along with a sense of innovation, has turned Sri Lanka's off season into its international season.

The fastest ground staff in the world | Cricket | ESPN Cricinfo

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  How simple is spotting a no-ball
Posted by: nairrk - Today 08:56 AM - No Replies

Hardly: bowling actions, and the circumstances of the job, make it difficult for the umpire to detect whether the bowler has overstepped

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Instituting the kind of electronic line-calling system tennis has in cricket would be complex

Spotting a no-ball should be the simpler of the many tasks of an umpire, right? There's a line and either part of the foot lands behind it or it doesn't. It doesn't have anything to do with assessing trajectory and swing. It's not about gauging how high the ball bounced and where it struck the pad; or whether that sound was bat on ball or bat on ground; or whether the fielder got his fingers underneath the ball. It's just a line that has either been crossed or not.

Have a look at the photographs below. They are of current international bowlers (but not from international games), taken from the point of view of the umpire. They were first shown last year, at an ICC briefing, and are published here courtesy the ICC.

Note how it is not just difficult but actually impossible to know - to any degree of certainty - whether the deliveries are legal or not in these instances. Note also that this is a still image that you can stare at as long as you want, and not a split-second blur of movement about to initiate a sequence of events 22 yards away that you really need to be observing as diligently. Note also that these are not bowlers with particularly unusual actions.

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From side-on, a no-ball is unmissable; not so from just behind the bowler, especially when you only have a fraction of a second

But because it is generally considered to be the most minionly of an umpire's many minion tasks, checking no-balls is mistakenly assumed to be an easy job. So when they go unnoticed, as a fair few did in the Ashes, there is that general bewilderment and slightly forced outraged that humans express when they feel other humans are not doing their job. What are the umpires doing? Have they stopped looking at no-balls?

They haven't. It's just that from side-on, with ultra-motion cameras and endless replays, a no-ball is unmissable. From where umpires are standing, it really isn't.

It isn't restricted to just a few bowlers either. One international umpire reckons there is at least one bowler in every side whose action makes it difficult to spot a no-ball. A couple of years ago, a spate of Mohammad Irfan transgressions went uncalled in a Test in Abu Dhabi. One umpire believes it is impossible to assess Irfan's landing with certainty. Wasim Akram, a serial no-baller, was, historically, another.

It is more difficult with the more open-chested, front-on bowlers - of which there are many - where the back leg obscures the front. Those who bowl from closer to the stumps, like Steven Finn, are also problematic. Finn lost a wicket because of a no-ball spotted retrospectively, and in absolving the umpires, admitted: "I know, from a personal point of view, that the umpire can't see my front foot when I land because of the way my hip and back knee rotate through." There are bowlers whose front foot slides forward after landing. There are others who deliver with the heel raised but behind the line.

To think, one, that they are easy to spot, and two, that umpires have stopped checking on-field is wrong. Checking the line at delivery and then looking up is a routine built into umpires from whenever they begin umpiring - it is ingrained as much as the technical habits of players are. It does not just stop, even with the safety net of technology.

[Image: 220993.jpg]
Spotting a no-ball is more difficult when the bowler is open-chested and front-on, where the back leg obscures the front

There was a reaffirmation in an ICC cricket committee meeting in May this year of the protocols of an incorrect on-field no-ball call. In wanting to minimise the effects of an incorrect call, the committee has told on-field umpires to call no-balls only when they are certain no part of the foot has landed behind the line. That is, umpires would rather not call a no-ball and have it checked, than call one and be proven wrong, because that decision can't be undone.

Would it help if they stood closer to the stumps? Umpires used to stand closer years ago, crouching down to look at the crease before straightening up to look down the pitch. But like batting, bowling and fielding, umpiring has also evolved, to become as efficient as possible. Umpires began moving back when the aim became to keeping the head as still as possible and aligned to the centre of the pitch. Instead of moving the head down to look at the crease and then moving it back up quickly, it made more sense to move back and broaden the field of vision. So only the eyes and not the entire head need move down and then up again.

In truth, there is probably not much that can be done to change the situation. In greater truth, it is hardly one of cricket's pressing issues. Instituting the kind of electronic line-calling system there is in tennis, or football's goal-line technology, would be complex: creases get blurry; there is the movement of the non-striker across the line to consider; what of the heel that is behind the line at delivery but raised? It would also be expensive. In any case, modern umpiring is a skirmish for space with technology and the ICC does not want to cede more.

From instinct, it feels as if no-balls aren't missed as often in limited-overs games, where a no-ball has greater implications. And it is worth wondering whether umpires, at some subconscious level, operate differently there. It's as likely that bowlers operate differently as well and are tighter with their run-ups than they might be in Tests.

The ICC is working on ways to speed up the time it takes for a no-ball to be checked. Till then cricket would do well to accept this as collateral for the immeasurable improvements in its broadcast; after all, it's impossible to know whether umpires are missing more no-balls than before but it is definitely the case that they - and we - are able to see more on TV.

Osman Samiuddin: How simple is spotting a no-ball? | Cricket | ESPN Cricinfo

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