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2nd Test: Australia v Pak...
Last Post: nairrk
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Underdone Sri Lanka dial ...
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Duleep Trophy Score updat...
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New Zealand PM invites In...
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Pune FC blank Churchill B...
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  Underdone Sri Lanka dial down expectations
Posted by: nairrk - Today 06:42 PM - No Replies

Somewhere in Sri Lanka Cricket's drive to justify a sudden ODI tour of India, the board enlisted the spirit of 1996 for moral assistance. "All Sri Lankan cricket fans will remember," a line in an SLC press release began, "how India and Pakistan toured Sri Lanka to show their solidarity when Australia and West indies refused to play in Sri Lanka in the 1996 Wills World Cup."

It was an ambitious manoeuvre from the board. The BCCI has not been shy to impose itself on SLC in the past two years, but here was an attempt to cast the most powerful cricket board in the world as the stranded - even pitiable - neighbour.

Things are now very different in both countries to their state 18 years ago, but at least in one measure SLC have honoured the spirit of 1996: the breakneck speed at which the board moved to volunteer Sri Lanka for the tour outstripped even the most frenzied Jayasuriya-Kaluwitharana opening stand. Less than two hours after West Indies' exit from their India tour was made official, SLC had, according to a press release, consulted all major office bearers, team management, coaching staff, selectors, and signed their side up for the series.

Rubbing on India when they need a friend is expected to pay well down the line, of course, and if SLC can manage to have the 2015 Test tour switched around to be played in Sri Lanka, this whole arrangement might even be a financial triumph for the board. But it is a move, nevertheless, that has put Sri Lanka's cricketers in a difficult place. An ODI tour of India is among the toughest assignments in cricket, and having barely had a net session since August, the team feels as if they have been yanked out from the cold, had a gun shoved in each set of hands, and shipped off to the frontlines.

Players and the new head coach have spent much of the past two weeks talking down the importance of winning on this tour. India may not be much like Australia and New Zealand, but it is a chance to put fringe players under pressure and get a gauge on their technique and mettle, Marvan Atapattu has said. Angelo Mathews, has made similar comments, but has been keen to suggest his team feels under-prepared. Sri Lanka have dialled down their expectations for this tour, but still, it must be disconcerting for professional sportsmen to approach a high-profile series knowing their chances of outright victory are not as good as they could be.

Sri Lanka have spoken of the room for individual progress on this tour, but equally, there is room for individual setbacks as well. Lacking Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath, the bowling appears brittle, as laid out by the India A batsmen, who plundered 382 from 50 overs in the practice match. Sri Lanka were clearly experimenting in that game, having used 10 bowlers and played 15 men, but they would have felt more comfortable if more wickets had been gleaned, or at least, if fewer frontline bowlers travelled at over seven runs an over.

Nuwan Kulasekara has already been short of rhythm this year, having gone his last seven ODIs without a wicket. Now suddenly the most experienced man in the attack, he is saddled with more responsibility on what might be some of the flattest international tracks he has bowled on this year. There are plenty of ODIs after this series in which players low on confidence might regain their form, but there remains the possibility that the India tour is not just unhelpful to the World Cup effort, it may even be counter-productive for some players.

There is irony in the way the series has come about. West Indies withdrew from their tour because of the players' pay dispute with their board, but were replaced by a side which has an annual standoff with their own administration, and divisions between players and officials play out often and in public.

Sri Lanka have so far managed to honour their international commitments through this internal strife partly because even top-level cricket in the country retains an amateur streak, where former players like Sanath Jayasuriya can broker immediate peace between parties, and the pride of playing for Sri Lanka retains considerable value. At each contracts loggerhead, the players have never refused to take the field - it is the board that threatens to keep them off it. To not play for Sri Lanka is viewed, on some level, as betrayal.

So as the team embarks on a tour they are not visibly thrilled about, it is this old-fashioned amateur spirit, that they must rouse again to make headway in India. Underdone, and outgunned, they must rely on effort, attitude and intelligence to stand a chance against their opposition. Maybe the board was on to something when it invoked 1996.

Underdone Sri Lanka dial down expectations | Cricket News | India v Sri Lanka | ESPN Cricinfo

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  New Zealand PM invites Indian cricket fans to 2015 World Cup
Posted by: nairrk - Today 06:36 PM - No Replies

Mumbai: With 100 days to go before the commencement of the 2015 ICC World Cup, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Friday invited Indian cricket fans to visit his country during the Feb 14-March 29 event, to be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.

Key tweeted a link that had New Zealand cricket legend Richard Hadlee inviting Indian travellers to visit their country during the mega event in an official welcome video.

Hadlee is the country's brand ambassador for the sporting extravaganza.

"The upcoming cricket World Cup 2015 to be co-hosted in New Zealand will allow visiting fans to experience the world renowned Kiwi hospitality, along with a great season of cricket."

"I would like to urge all Indian fans to come to New Zealand, and spend time in the regions during the World Cup. We are all looking forward to the colour and passion that nations will bring to this tournament on the pitch, in the stands and across regions of New Zealand," Hadlee said in the video.

The tweet is primarily aimed at reflecting the vibrant mood of the country ahead of the event and is being viewed by the hosts as an opportunity to showcase itself as one of the world’s most preferred tourism destinations.

New Zealand last co-hosted the cricketing spectacle 23 years ago, in 1992. The 2015 edition of the tournament will be hosted across seven cities of the country; Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington. One million people are expected to attend the matches and another billion are anticipated to watch it on television.

After successfully hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup, New Zealand believes a fruitful staging of cricket's biggest competitive exhibition will cement the country’s reputation for successfully hosting major sporting events.

New Zealand PM invites Indian cricket fans to 2015 World Cup | Zee News

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  Pune FC blank Churchill Brothers 3-0 in Durand Cup
Posted by: nairrk - Today 05:55 PM - No Replies

Margao: A dominant Pune FC scored a thumping 3-0 win over Churchill Brothers in a Group D quarter-final league match of the 127th Durand Cup football tournament here on Friday.

With most of the key players leaving Churchill Brothers after All India Football Federation deprived them of playing in the I-League for failing to meet the club licensing criteria, the team lacked thrust in the midfield and attack.

On the other hand, Pune FC dominated proceedings with Sueoka Ryuji leading attack as the visitors kept the pressure on the home team with repeated forays before surging ahead in the seventh minute.

Following a free kick on the right, Ryuji floated the ball into the box for Prakash Thorat whose attempt at the goal was blocked by rival defender. The deflection went to Ganesh Dhapal who slotted the ball into the net after defender Elvis Baretto failed to clear the ball to safety.

The visitors could have increased the lead midway into the first half, but Ganesh Dhanpal's shot was blocked by rival keeper Sukhwinder Singh.

Churchill Brothers, who failed to get a clear look at the goal, came with a long range effort towards the end of first half when Micky Fernandes' 20-yards shot off a Okolie Odafe pass was collected by rival keeper Amrinder Singh.

The trend continued in the second half as the visitors continued to dictate terms and increased the lead in the 51st minute when Arata Izumi, who got the ball from Anthony D'Souza, raced into the box and let go a right footer to beat keeper Sukhwinder to his left.

Substitute Thongkhoiem Haokip completed the rout when he caught the entire Churchill defence napping as he picked the ball from the centre of the rival half, sprinted down and took two of rival defenders in his stride before deftly dispatching the ball.

Pune FC blank Churchill Brothers 3-0 in Durand Cup | Zee News

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  India announce 23-member women's U-19 squad for AFC qualifiers
Posted by: nairrk - Today 05:53 PM - No Replies

New Delhi: Head coach Priya P V has named a 23-member India U-19 women's national team squad for the AFC U-19 Women's Championship China 2015 (Qualifiers) starting November 5 in Jordan.

The Indian contingent which was camping in Ahmedabad for 45 days will be travelling to Jordan via Bahrain from Mumbai on Sunday night.

India are in Group A along with hosts Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Lebanon. The girls in blue will open their account on November 5 against Uzbekistan at the Petra Stadium in Amman, the capital of Jordan. All matches will be played at the same venue.

The hosts will play India next on November 7 followed by Lebanon on November 9.


GOALKEEPERS: Tikina Samal (Odisha), Elangbam Panthoi Chanu (Manipur), Khiangte Lalhruaizeli (Mizoram)

DEFENDERS: Rachita Malik (Odisha), Ngangbam Sweety Devi (Manipur), Karam Tony Devi (Manipur), Komal Kumari (Bihar), Lalduhawmi (Mizoram), Dalima Chhibber (Delhi)

MIDFIELDERS: Yumkhaibam Hemolata Devi (Manipur), Sinulata Sahoo (Odisha), Kshetrimayum Margaret Devi (Manipur), Subburaj Muthu Selvi (Tamil Nadu), Nikhila Thumbayil (Kerala), Tanvi Singh (Delhi), Menaka Malik (Odisha), Sorokhaibam Ranjana Chanu (Manipur), Sangita Basfore (West Bengal)

FORWARDS: Sanju (Haryana), Pyari Xaxa (Odisha), Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi (Manipur), Dangmei Grace (Manipur), Velanie Fernandes (Goa).

India announce 23-member women's U-19 squad for AFC qualifiers | Zee News

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  CTL will help tennis at grassroots level: Vijay Amritraj
Posted by: nairrk - Today 05:50 PM - No Replies

Chandigarh: Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj says promoting the game at the grassroots level is one of the main aims of the Champions Tennis League (CTL).

Each of the six teams in the League will have two junior players, who will get the golden opportunity to travel, train and mingle with and get tips from top tennis players. "Most importantly two juniors on each team who would be traveling with the team and we do hope they would be inspired as I was many many years ago when I had a chance to play with some great champions at a very young age. That's what truly inspires a young boy or a girl," Amritraj said at the Logo launch of the Punjab Marshalls team.

Amritraj joined the 'Bhangra troupes' to perform the traditional Punjabi dance as he was welcomed by the team owner Gurpreet Singh. "It's been quite some time since I have been here. I was also delighted to watch my son Prakash play here many years ago," he said.

Gurpreet Singh said he has pumped in USD one million as franchise fee. Asked what was the motive in taking up the venture, his wife Kudrat said, "As a child I was always into sports. I was a gymnast, but we did not have good coaches which would have enabled us to take up our passion further. I always had a passion that we need to do something for the budding talent."

"That's when we got the opportunity and we came to know about CTL, we had a word with Amritraj and things got going and now here we are. This is like a dream come true for us."

Amritraj thanked the owners "for taking up the banner of Punjab Marshalls and literally putting Chandigarh on international tennis map".

"The region is very important for tennis development in the country. The people enjoy what they are doing. We are expecting great things from the Marshalls in the course of few weeks and years to come," he said.

Amritraj further said "the challenges we face is the ATP and the WTA calendar, which is very very full, so obviously, it is hard to get the players, but if we can expand to eight cities in fourteen days, that would be my preference. But we have to walk before we can run".

He also said that the names of sponsors, who would be on board, would be announced soon. Punjab Marshalls boast of India's No. 1 singles player Somdev Devvarman along with the tournament's highest ranked men's player David Ferrer of Spain, former great Greg Rusedski and Garbine Muguruza.

The tournament will be played from November 17-26 across India. The Marshalls will launch their campaign against Delhi on November 17.

CTL will help tennis at grassroots level: Vijay Amritraj | Zee News

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