Thursday, 31 October 2013

Mercedes can win without Brawn, says Hamilton

Abu Dhabi: Mercedes have enough strength in depth to be successful even if team principal Ross Brawn leaves at the end of the season, Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday.

Brawn`s future with the Formula One team has been the subject of renewed speculation this week, with Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda dismissing as `rubbish` reports that the principal had decided to go.

Hamilton, the 2008 champion who moved to Mercedes from McLaren at the end of last season and won in Hungary in July, told reporters at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that he would wait and see.

"We have had a great working relationship, I don`t believe any decisions have really been made just yet, but I think either way we`ve got a strong set of people in the team," said the Briton.

"I know Niki, (Mercedes motorsport head) Toto (Wolff), Ross and everyone in the team will do the utmost to make sure that whatever decision he makes...that we go into next year with a fighting chance to win the championship."

Hamilton added that his decision to join Mercedes was based on more than just Brawn, whose fame in Formula One dates from his days winning multiple championships with Michael Schumacher as Benetton and Ferrari technical director.

"Ross wasn`t the only thing that I came here for. It was a bonus to have Ross here obviously, because I knew how much experience he had and the success he had had in his previous teams," said the Briton.

"At the time he was the one that came and showed me the progress that the team was making and the direction in which they were going. But again that would be the position of any boss who would have done that."

Jwala-Ashwini loses in Bitburger Open

Jwala-Ashwini loses in Bitburger Open

 India`s women`s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa on Thursday crashed out of the Bitburger Open Grand Prix Gold after suffering a straight-game defeat against the Malaysian pair of Hui Ern Ng and Hui Lin Ng in the second round in Saarbrucken, Germany.

The Commonwealth Games gold-medallist pair lost 15-21 16-21 to the fourth seed duo of Hui Ern and Hui Lin in a 26-minute match this evening.

In men`s singles competition, Anand Pawar let go a one game advantage to lose against Ireland`s Scott Ivans 16-21 21-17 21-6 in a hard-fought contest.

It was curtains for P C Thulasi in the women`s section when the Indian lost her battle against sixth seed Sashina Vignes Waran of France 21-18 14-21 14-21 in a match that lasted 54 minutes.

Earlier, the mixed doubles pair of Ashwini and Tarun Kona matched their opponents, Sweden`s Nico Ruponen and Amanda Hogstrom, in smash and net play but eventually ran out of steam in the dying moments of the decider.

Ashwini-Kona lost 15-21 21-19 17-21 after giving the Swedish pair a run for their money.

In the opening round, the pair of Jwala-Ashwini had brushed aside the challenge of Germany`s Anika Dorr and Annika Horbach 21-14 21-11.

Afridi responsible for one-run defeat against SA: Sohail

Stunned by Pakistan’s dramatic defeat to South Africa in the first ODI in Sharjah, former captain Aamir Sohail launched a scathing attack on ‘experienced’ all-rounder Shahid Afridi, whose irresponsible shot, according to Sohail, gifted the match to the Proteas.
South Africa snatched a one-run victory in the opener of the one-day series following an embarrassing collapse by Pakistan on Wednesday.
“All our batsmen failed to deliver but it was Afridi who had an easy opportunity to win the game for Pakistan,” Sohail said in an interview with. Sohail said he failed to see the logic behind Afridi’s shot selection considering he had played so much international cricket.
“We needed 7 to 8 runs on more than 40 balls when Afridi went for the big hit and gave it in the hands of David Miller. Afridi should have realised what his responsibility was.”
Former fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz also held Afridi, a veteran of 363 ODIs, responsible for Pakistan’s defeat, adding that the all-rounder needed to be ‘rested’ now.
“It seems that only Misbah-ul-Haq is in form and the rest of the batsmen are there for nothing,” .
Former Test player and coach, Mohsin Khan advised the players to get over the shock defeat and try to win the series.

"It was plain irresponsible batting and it appeared as if there was no one in the dressing room advising the incoming batsmen what to do," he said.

Mohsin said Pakistan was still a stronger side in the one-day format than South Africa and could win the series if the players showed more mental strength and played the remaining four matches with a killer instinct.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

South Africa beat Pakistan in first one-day

South Africa staged a remarkable comeback to beat Pakistan by one run in the first day-night international in Sharjah on Wednesday, taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Pakistan bowled South Africa out for 183 and were cruising along nicely at 165-4 before losing their last six wickets for just 17 runs and were all out for 182 in 46.3 overs.
Wayne Parnell, who hit a career best 56 in South African innings, took 3-41 to anchor the South African fightback.
Saeed Ajmal took 4-30 while Shahid Afridi captured 3-37 as South Africa, who won the toss and batted, were bowled out in 49.5 overs.
For Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad scored 58 while skipper Misbah-ul Haq made 31 but the middle order collapsed.
Brief Scores: South Africa 183 in 49.5 overs (W. Parnell 56; Saeed Ajmal 4-30, Shahid Afridi 3-30), Pakistan 182 in 46.3 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 58; W.Parnell 3-41)

Sethi suspended then reinstated as PCB chairman

ISLAMABAD: The legal tussle rocking the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) took another dramatic twist on Tuesday as the interim chairman was suspended by a court order, only to be reinstated two hours later.
A judge at Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended Najam Sethi for not obeying a legal order to elect a permanent chairman for the PCB by October 18.
It was the second time in five months that the game's chief administrator in Pakistan had been thrown out on a legal challenge. But, just two hours later, an appeals bench at the same court granted a stay order on the ruling until November 4, following an application from the PCB legal team.
Tuesday's drama was the latest round in a saga that has plunged the administration of the game into turmoil since May.
Sethi was appointed in June after the IHC threw out the then-chairman Zaka Ashraf over what it called the "Dubious Process" by which he was elected.
On Tuesday, the court suspended Sethi following a petition from a cricket official in Punjab complaining he had ignored a court order to hold an election for the chairmanship by October 18.
“Sethi, by not holding elections, has disobeyed the court's order and he is suspended and all the matters relating to the board will be handled by PCB secretary,” the court said.
Justice Munir Shaikh, a former Supreme Court judge, was named chairman of the election committee and was ordered to hold a vote for chairman by the last week of November.
But, soon afterwards, a two-judge appeals bench agreed to hold the order over until Monday, when the court will look at the matter again, Told PCB legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi.
“Isbd High Court Two Member Bench has granted STAY against Single Bench Orders. I remain Chairman PCB,” Sethi tweeted.
The legal drama began after the International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body, demanded measures to end political interference in the sport.
The appointment of the PCB chairman has traditionally been in the gift of the Pakistani president in his role as patron of the board, and the practice was seen as highly politicised.
To follow ICC rules, Ashraf -- who had been appointed by then-president Asif Ali Zardari -- stood successfully for election to the job, but was struck down following a legal challenge which argued that the process had been flawed.
Former fast bowling star Waqar Younis last week called for a swift end to the legal wrangling, which he said was damaging cricket in Pakistan.

Abdul Qadir, Zaheer Abbas keen on PCB chairman's job

KARACHI: Former Test legends Abdul Qadir and Zaheer Abbas have expressed interest in the job of Pakistan Cricket Board chairman (PCB), after a court ordered elections for the post be held next month.
Cricket administration in Pakistan has been rocked by months of wrangling between the courts and the PCB after then-chairman Zaka Ashraf was thrown out in May over his “dubious” election.
The latest twist came on Tuesday when the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday briefly suspended caretaker chairman Najam Sethi and ordered elections for the post to be held by the end of November.
Zaheer Abbas, a swashbuckling batsman in the 1970s, leg-spinner Abdul Qadir and former opener Mohsin Khan have all said they are ready to run.
“I will contest the elections,” said Qadir, who took 236 wickets for Pakistan and was also a former chairman of selectors.
“I have the ability to run Pakistan cricket with honesty, know cricketing matters well and have the experience for the post.”
Former captain, manager and chief selector Abbas earlier this month said he would consider running, while Khan said he has the experience for the job.
“If I am given the honour of serving as chairman, I would certainly bring about change,” said Khan, who was replaced as coach by Dav Whatmore in March last year despite guiding Pakistan to a 3-0 clean sweep of then-world number one Test team England.
The turmoil at the PCB began after the International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body, demanded measures to end political interference in the sport.
To comply, Ashraf -- who had been appointed by then-president Asif Ali Zardari -- stood for election to the job and won, but was ousted following a legal challenge which argued that the process had been flawed.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Rafael Nadal continues to be on top of ATP rankings

Paris: Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal has maintained first place in the men`s tennis rankings issued at Monday`s start of the final week of the regular season, with 11,670 points.

According to Sport24, Nadal tops the ATP list with 11, 670 points from Serbia`s Novak Djokovic (11,120) and fellow-Spaniard David Ferrer (6,600).

Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer, Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych are qualified for the next week`s season-ending World Tour Finals in London.

With Murray sidelined with injury, three more places are up for grabs, currently occupied by Roger Federer, Stansilas Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet, the report added.

However, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Milos Ranic are also still in the frame, and others including Tommy Haas also have a mathematical chance, the report further said.

Federer only needs to win one more match to qualify for the 12th time, and all remaining berths will be decided at the Paris Masters.

Sharmila takes lead on Day 1

Sharmila takes lead on Day 1
Greater Noida: Sharmila Nicollet fired a five under-67 to lead on the opening day of the Hero Women`s Professional Golf Tour 2013, here on Tuesday.

Trailing Sharmila by a stroke was Delhi`s Vani Kapoor in the five-lakh event played at the Jaypee Greens Golf Course.

Sharmila had a brilliant round, scoring the lowest total of the day. The Bengaluru golfer`s round consisted of six birdies on the 2nd, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th holes followed by a single bogey on the 17th hole.

Vani was placed second after 18 holes with a day`s total of four under 68. Her round today consisted of five birdies on the 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th and 11th holes followed by a bogey on the 16th hole.

Amateur golfer Millie Saroha was placed third with a total of two under 70.

Chandigarh`s Saniya Sharma was fourth with even par score of 72 and Rani Sonti was fifth with a score of three over 75 after 18 holes.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Pakistan announce squad for ODI series against South Africa in UAE

Pakistan announce squad for ODI series against South Africa in UAE

The one-day career of senior batsman Younis Khan appears to be over with Pakistan's national selection committee ignoring him for the five-match series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates.

The 16-member squad announced today for the series in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah also does not include seniors like Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal who have been ignored by the selectors since after the ICC Champions Trophy in England this year.

Younis, one of Pakistan's most prolific batsmen, has also not been considered for one-day matches since he last played in the series in South Africa early this year.

"The idea is to build up a balanced side for the 2015 World Cup with emphasis on specialist players for this format," one national selector said.

He said the plan was to build and strengthen specialist Test, one-day and T20 squads since the ICC Test championship was also now confirmed.

The other players in the Test squad not retained for the one-day series include left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar who took five wickets in his debut Test and openers, Khurrum Manzoor the man of the match in the first Test with a hundred and debutant, Shaan Masood who scored 75.

Pakistan won the first Test against South Africa this week in Abu Dhabi with major contributions from these three players.

The national selectors, however, recalled all-rounder, Muhammad Hafeez for the matches from Oct 30 to Nov 11 in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai.

Hafeez was dropped recently for the Test series against the South Africans.

The ODI squad includes senior all-rounder Shahid Afridi and four left-arm pacers, Muhammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz and Sohail Tanvir.

Pakistan squad for ODI series against South Africa at UAE

Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-Ul-Haq (c), Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Sohaib Maqsood, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk).

West Indies in India 2013: Caribbean team arrives for Test and ODI series

West Indies in India 2013: Caribbean team arrives for bilateral Test and ODI series

The West Indies squad arrived in India in wee hours of Monday to play a two-match Test series that marks the farewell of batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, and also a three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against the top-ranked Indian team.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said on Twitter, "After 17 hours of flying Windies arrive in India ahead of the upcoming Test Series. They will move onto to Kolkata for warm-up and 1st Test."

After the tour of India, the West Indies will  travel to New Zealand for three Tests, five one-dayers and two T20 Internationals.

Age no barrier as Li Na hits new heights

Age no barrier as Li Na hits new heights

Istanbul: Li Na`s fine performance in getting to the final of the season-ending WTA Championships was one in the eye for those who suggested that her best was behind her.

Instead, at the age of 31, Li has not only become the first Asian to reach world number three but her game is evolving cleverly enough to hope for further triumphs in 2014.

Although Li conceded the last nine games in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 loss to Serena Williams on Sunday, there was evidence of new tactical options and growing self-confidence as she overcame Victoria Azarenka, the world number two, and then troubled the world number one in the final.

At first she downplayed her hopes and achievements, as perhaps she needed to, both for modesty`s sake and to avoid self-inflicted pressure. 

"Number three was the goal at the beginning of the year. I don`t know, lucky or happy in the last tournament, I made it," she said.

"So it`s a pretty good ending for 2013," Li added, prompting the question whether she would now aim for world number two. 
More importantly she will keep her focus to day-to-day matters, like adding to her ability to take the ball early and dictate the pattern of the rallies, like improving and mixing in more serve-volleys, and paying close attention to her schedule to avoid injury and exhaustion.

Li is also trying to access potential still contained within her and to release unused abilities. 
Her coach Carlos Rodriguez has, she says, been trying to get her to unlock herself, not get so tight inside, and to play more freely.

"I don`t know, I think maybe it`s different between Chinese and Western, because I think Western people, they like to share how you are feeling now," the woman from Wuhan said.

"For myself, if I feeling something, I never try to talk to the team. I always block (the feeling). I always feel I`m strong enough, I can fix everything.

"But this is I think a weakness. So I think the real strong person, for sure, they will speak out, because they find someone can help them to be even more stronger.

"So that`s why I was feeling terrible every time I talked to Carlos. But now I am feeling much better, because I try to open my mind a little bit to share the feeling.

"If he really want it, I can be more like Serena. Maybe he should teach me (that)," she said with a hint of the humour which has made her so popular.

Li also opened up about how differently things were done when she was training in China. 

"I always try, but sometimes (what I tried) didn`t work," she said. "I think when I was growing up, I could not show how good I am, because when I was starting to play tennis, and when I won a tournament, the coach was so tough.

"If I win a tournament and next day I was training and I made a mistake, for sure she would say, `What? You just win one tournament. Are you thinking you can win another one? Why didn`t you train harder?`

"I think she always punched me, so that`s why. I didn`t have confidence to show how good I am."

Identifying and then admitting these inhibitions will, Li hopes, be the first steps towards attitude changes and further improvements on the tennis court.

As for how to beat Serena Williams, something she has managed only once in 11 attempts -- more than five years ago -- Li was more cautious.

"I don`t think any other player gives me the same feeling," she admitted, referring to the American`s ability to overwhelm not only with sheer power but with her presence.

One remedy Li attempted during the final on Sunday against the 32-year-old American brought smiles both from her and her listeners. 

"Yeah, don`t look at her at all, you know," she said.

Li can nevertheless look at 2014 fully in the face and feel that, though she will be 32 in February, the doubters have already been proved wrong and that much is still possible.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Serena completes dominant season with WTA Championship triumph

Serena completes dominant season with WTA Championship triumph

Istanbul: Serena Williams capped off a season to remember by capturing her fourth WTA Championship title with a 2-6 6-3 6-0 win over Li Na on Sunday.

The 32-year-old American finished off a dominant year, in which she also won the French and US Opens, by scooping up her 11th title of 2013.

China`s Li, whose run to the final helped her to climb to third in the world -- thus becoming the highest-ranked Asian woman ever -- broke the Williams serve twice in the first set.

However, the world number one shifted gears in the second set to roar through 6-3.

Williams showed little signs of the fatigue she complained about a day earlier, after playing more than 80 games this season, as she flattened Li in the third set with her brutal power and on court coverage.

Imran Khan visits stadium for first time after 1992

Imran Khan visits stadium for first time after 1992

Peshawar: The who`s who of Pakistan cricket turned out for a peace match organised by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) in the city on Sunday with former captain and the PTI founder, Imran Khan making his presence at the jam packed stadium as the chief guest.

The PTI sports and culture wing, which organised the match, had already hinted that Imran might be seen on the cricket field for the first time since his retirement in 1992.

Imran watched the match from the enclosure as thousands of spectators danced and enjoyed themselves watching their favourite stars in action.

"It is a great day for Peshawar and the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Province (KPP) as thousands of people have turned out today to watch this spectacle despite the ongoing wave of terrorism in the country and province," a senior official of the party said.

KPP, which is ruled by Imran`s PTI party has been the worst hit by terrorist attacks in the last few years as it borders the tribal agencies and war torn Afghanistan, which are the hotbed of the Tehreek e Taliban and al Qaeda.

"The idea to have a series of peace matches was by Imran himself who wants the world to see that the people of this place are peace loving and want to live a normal life," Ifthikar Mian of the PTI sports and culture wing said.

The star of the match was the flamboyant allrounder, Shahid Afridi who cracked a blistering 66 from just 19 balls to lead the Pakistan Peace XI to a comfortable win against the KP Peace XI.

Vettel joins the F1 greats with fourth title

Germany's Sebastian Vettel roared into the record books as Formula One's youngest four-times world champion after winning the Indian Grand Prix for the third year in a row on Sunday.
The 26-year-old's Red Bull team also took the constructors' world championship for the fourth successive year.
The victory from pole position was Vettel's sixth in a row and completed a hat-trick in India where no other driver has won since the race, which may be making its final appearance on the calendar, made its debut in 2011.
Vettel becomes the fourth quadruple champion and only the third driver to land four titles in a row after Germany's seven-times winner Michael Schumacher and the late Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio.
He is also the only one to have won his first four consecutively.
Vettel got out, standing up on the car before crouching to kiss the front in a gesture of worship. Clambering up the wire fence, he threw his gloves into the grandstand before scaling the pitwall to embrace Horner and designer Adrian Newey.
"I am speechless and I was empty when I crossed the line. I spent ages thinking what to say, there is so much you want to say at a time like that." Vettle said.
Vettel had led Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the only man who could put his celebrations on hold, by 90 points before the start with three races remaining - worth a maximum 75 - after India. He now has 322 to Alonso's 207.
Red Bull have 470 points in the constructors' with Mercedes leapfrogging Ferrari into second place with 313.
Alonso needed to finish in the top two but his hopes evaporated at the start when he tagged the rear of Mark Webber's Red Bull and then also made contact with Jenson Button's McLaren.
The Spaniard, who had to pit for a new front wing before rejoining the race in 20th place with his strategy in tatters, finished out of the points in 11th spot.
"This is a sport, someone is better than us," he told reporters. "This year it was Sebastian and Red Bull. Next year we will try to do better."
Webber, who led for much of the early part of the race after starting on the longer-lasting medium tyre in a different strategy to Vettel, retired on lap 40 with an alternator problem.
"I still have a smile on my face, there's nothing more I could do today," said the Australian, whose team had some nervous moments after his retirement in case the same happened to Vettel.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa finished fourth, after leading for six laps when Vettel pitted at the end of lap two to switch from soft tyres to mediums, with Mexican Sergio Perez fifth for McLaren in his best result of the year.
Massa became the first driver other than Vettel, who was up to third place again by lap 13 despite his early stop and regained the lead at the halfway mark when Webber pitted, to lead a lap in India.
Tyre choices were crucial, with Pirelli advising that the softs were good for 15 laps at most and the mediums 35 although Grosjean did 46 laps on the latter.
Lewis Hamilton was sixth for Mercedes with Kimi Raikkonen, who wrestled with overheating brakes for much of the race and was overtaken by Grosjean, seventh for Lotus. The Force Indias of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil were eighth and ninth. -Reuters
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Vettel's team mate next year, handed Toro Rosso the final point.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Sloppy South Africa and Boon's call

Desperation, chemical imbalance or just plain old mischief, Faf Du Plessis has joined the ranks of the notorious few who have given the International Cricket Council (ICC) some more technicalities to ponder over while bringing shame to their country.
Before the two-Test series started South Africa stood to gain little but lose a bit more. That’s how the rankings work. If it were to win both the Tests, it would've gained just one rating point, lost as many as four ratings points if the series ended in a draw, eight points in case of a 0-1 defeat and 10 points if Pakistan won both the Tests. The old adage about “just competing” is, quite simply, very old now.
Du Plessis' moment of brilliance was perhaps borne out of a desire for his side to not lose any ground on their number-one status but it was a little surprising considering South Africa’s position in the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai was never in any doubt. In fact, the superiority had been established on the first day when Pakistan, fresh from pinning their opponents days ago, had succumbed to their characteristic recklessness.
It was shocking that Du Plessis felt the need to indulge the ball with the zip on his trousers because with Misbah-ul-Haq’s side clearly floored on day three, it seemed just a matter of time before the match would end in the favour of the Proteas. The player’s action and the purported video of another South African bowler scratching the ball has clearly taken the shine off the recent performances of Graeme Smith’s attack. If they can do it once who’s to say they haven’t done it on a few more occasions as well?
What’s more appalling than the actions of Du Plessis is the judgment of match referee David Boon, who has only fined the South African 50% of his match fee before adding: “I am also satisfied that this was not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball, and that the imposition of a fine of 50 per cent of his match fee is appropriate considering the circumstances.” That’s like the on-field umpire saying: “Well the bowler stepped over the line there but I’ll just warn him and not call a no-ball.” Boon’s “52 not out” clearly seems to have clouded his decision-making.
Perhaps the ICC knows best and has employed the right man in Boon but the fact that Saeed Ajmal was officially reprimanded for ‘celebrating’ a little bit too much after taking a wicket on the same day, risks evoking memories of the very ugly Mike Denness racism affair of 2001 in the minds of Pakistani fans.
Following is a list of major ball-tampering incidents in international cricket in the wake of South Africa being penalised five runs during the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai on Friday for attempting to alter the state of the ball:
In 1974, Bowler John Lever was accused by India of using vaseline to get unnatural shine on the ball as England dominated the away series. The tourists said the pace attack were troubled by sweat running into their eyes and stuck gauze containing vaseline on their foreheads.
In 1990, New Zealand worked on the ball with a bottle top during the third Test against Pakistan in Faisalabad, said wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Parore several years later. It made for some prodigious late swing and helped seamer Chris Pringle take an 11-wicket haul.
In 1994, caught rubbing loose soil from his pocket on to the ball during the Lord's Test against South Africa in 1994, England captain Michael Atherton said it was merely to help dry his hands. But he was fined and British newspapers hollered unsuccessfully for him to resign.
In 2000, Pakistan paceman Waqar Younis was the first player suspended for ball-tampering at a triangular one-day international series in Sri Lanka. He was found to have gouged the side of the ball with his thumb nail. He was also fined 50 % of his match fee. Moreover, Azhar Mahmood was also accused of altering the state of the ball and fined 30 % of his match fee.
In 2001, Sachin Tendulkar was suspended for one match after being accused of scuffing the seam of the ball during the second Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.
In late 2002, Shoaib Akhtar was accused of tampering with the ball during a Test match in Zimbabwe.
In 2003, Shoaib Akhtar was fined 75% of his match fee and banned for two one-day internationals for ball-tampering during Pakistan's 22-run victory over New Zealand.
In 2004, Rahul Dravid was fined 50% of his match fee, after being found guilty of ball-tampering during India's 24-run victory over Zimbabwe at Brisbane.
In 2006, Australian umpire Darrell Hair, together with colleague Billy Doctrove of West Indies, docked Pakistan five runs for ball-tampering during a controversial Test against England. Pakistan refused to take the field at The Oval and forfeited the match in protest. The row cost Hair his career as a senior international umpire.
In 2006, Shoaib Akhtar was filmed by Sky cameras flicking at the ball with his thumb during a one-day international here against England.
In 2010, England bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson were accused of deliberately standing on the ball with their spikes during a Test against South Africa. No charges were formally laid and Broad said he was just being lazy in trying to stop the ball. According to former England captain Michael Vaughan, Broad had “been stopping the ball with his boot all the way through this series.” He added: They were lucky to get away without an official reprimand, or even a ban, because there is no doubt in my mind that they were trying to change the condition of the ball.
In 2010, Stand-in Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi tried to bite the ball during the fifth ODI against Australia in Perth. The third umpire spotted him and ordered the ball to be replaced. Afridi was banned for two matches.
In 2010, Shoaib Akhtar could be seen apparently running his left thumb along the ball's seam before dropping the ball on the ground and standing on it with his spiked right boot.
In 2012, Australia seamer Peter Siddle was cleared after being accused by Sri Lanka of attempting to raise the seam during a Test.
In 2013, Former England captain Bob Willis accused his fellow countrymen of ball-tampering during the Champions Trophy but the players vehemently denied the suggestion.
In 2013, Faf du Plessis of South Africa was caught on camera rubbing the ball on a zip on the side of his trousers and subsequently fined 50% of his match fee. South Africa also became only the second team after Pakistan to be penalised five runs for ball-tampering

AITA to host three Challengers in Feb next year

AITA to host three Challengers in Feb next year

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Saturday announced to host three challenger tournaments including a USD 100000 event at Delhi in February next year.

"AITA is pleased to announce that Delhi will be hosting USD 100000 Challenger in the week of 17th Feb`2014 which is going to be the second highest Prize Money tournament in India after the Chennai Open," an AITA statement said.

AITA will also host a USD 50000 Challenger in the week of February 10, 2014 which will be hosted and organised by the Bengal Tennis Association.

In addition, Tamil Nadu Tennis Association will be hosting a USD 50000 Challenger in the week of Febuary 3 in Chennai.

In its Executive Committee meeting held last month, AITA had decided to host more challenger events for men and women in order to enable players to get ATP/WTA rankings.

"Similar views were expressed by Somdev Devvarman that India needs to have more challengers and similarly the ATP is very keen for Asia to host more challengers," it said.

AITA is also planning to conduct a USD 50000 Women`s Challenger in Delhi in March after the ATP Men`s Challenger event

I am surprised why Gopichand is quiet: Jwala

I am surprised why Gopichand is quiet: Jwala

New Delhi: Embattled shuttler Jwala Gutta on Friday said she is surprised that India`s chief badminton coach Pullela Gopichand is still silent on the proposed life ban on her by BAI for an alleged disciplinary breach.

"I am really surprised why the chief coach is quiet. Why he has nothing to say?," asked Jwala.

"Former coaches like Arif sir and Vimal sir have spoken out. Vimal sir was the coach of Banga Beats, he also came out with his statement. If they can speak out, why can`t the chief coach?

"I mean he is not just the coach of his academy but of the whole country. He can tell me that Jwala what you did is wrong but he should take a stand. Why is he not commenting?," she added.

The Delhi High Court today declined to grant stay on ongoing inquiry proceedings by a committee set up by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) against ace shuttler Jwala for alleged indiscipline.

The Hyderabadi shuttler, who is currently in Paris playing in the French Open, said the issue is affecting her performance.

"I try that such things don`t affect me but I am also a human being and it harasses me. All these are there in the back of my head, things which are happening in India," she said.

Asked if she has the support of her fellow shuttlers, Jwala said they are not openly voicing their support because they are scared of being victimised themselves.

"I understand that my fellow Indian team members cannot voice their support openly because they are scared of themselves getting victimised. I am happy Ashwini (Ponnappa) stood by me," she said.

The ICC doesn't have any guts: Shoaib Akhtar Says

DUBAI: South Africa's Faf du Plessis escaped with only a fine of 50 percent of his match fee for ball tampering during the second Test against Pakistan.
Du Plessis was seen on television Friday evening rubbing the ball on the zipper of his trouser pocket. The onfield umpires called up South Africa captain Graeme Smith, changed the ball and, in an extremely rare punishment, awarded Pakistan 5 penalty runs.
Du Plessis was spotted by TV umpire Paul Reiffel from Australia.
The onfield umpires, Ian Gould and Rod Tucker, reported the incident to match referee David Boon soon after the third day's play and du Plessis was summoned for the hearing.
“After discussions with Mr du Plessis ... this was not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball,” Boon said in a statement as he handed the fine to du Plessis before the start of day four on Saturday.
“The imposition of a fine of 50 percent of his match fee is appropriate considering the circumstances.”
But the ruling angered Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi, who said he will be contacting the International Cricket Council.
“PCB is writing a letter to the ICC, seeking explanation of inconsistency by match referee in application of ball tampering rule to Afridi vs. Faf,” Sethi tweeted.
Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi was banned for two Twenty20 internationals for a ball tampering offence during a one-day international against Australia in 2010.
Du Plessis is the first South African to be charged for ball tampering, but former Pakistan players criticized the ICC for showing leniency to South Africa's 29-year-old batsman.
“ICC can't do justice on merit, it doesn't have any guts to do so,” former Test fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said.
In 2003, Akhtar was fined 75 percent of his match fee and was also banned for two one-day internationals for ball tampering during a series in Sri Lanka in 2003.
“It's fine if he (du Plessis) got away with such a punishment, but if in the future any player is involved in rubbing the ball over a zip ... please do hand him a similar punishment and not more than that.”
Former captain Rashid Latif said du Plessis should have been banned for a longer period and captain Smith should also have been punished.
“The punishment is very lenient. I think Faf should have been banned for six months ... plus the captain of the team should be held responsible and punished,” he said. “I am surprised. ... They ban a captain on a minor offense for slow over rate but for a crime shown on television in front of the whole world, you get a punishment of only 50 percent of the match fee.”
It's only the second time in the history of Test cricket that 5 penalty runs were awarded to any team for ball tampering.
Pakistan was at the receiving end during the Oval Test in 2006, the last and only time a team was penalized five runs for ball tampering in a Test match.
Then Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq reacted strongly and decided not to continue the Test in protest. Australia umpire Darrell Hair responded by awarding the game to England, the only forfeit in the history of Test cricket.
This month, the ICC amended its laws regarding the condition of balls, saying “if a player responsible can be identified” the ball will be changed, a five-run penalty will be awarded, and the player responsible will be reported.
Vice-captain AB de Villiers defended his teammate on Saturday and said his team doesn't cheat.
“Honestly, we're not the team that scratches the ball,” de Villiers said.
“We don't cheat, it's as simple as that. I know Faffy very well, he's the last man to try anything like that.”
Pakistan's Waqar Younis was the first international player to receive a sanction for ball tampering when in 2000 he was fined 50 percent of his match fee and suspended from a one-day international. All-rounder Azhar Mahmmod is the other Pakistani who had been fined for ball tampering.
Other international players who have been handed fines, suspensions or both include India's Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar and England's Michael Atherton.

South Africa win 2nd test to level series

DUBAI: South Africa win an innings and 92-run defeat on Pakistan in the second Test on Saturday and preserved its seven-year record of not losing a test series away from home.
Asad Shafiq made 130 with 15 fours and a six while captain Misbah-ul-Haq scored 88 before part-time spinner Dean Elgar broke through and Pakistan was eventually bowled out for 326 late on the fourth day.
South Africa got a massive lead of 418 runs by compiling 517 in its first innings in reply to Pakistan's paltry 99.
Shafiq and Misbah shared a 197-run stand for the fifth wicket and thwarted South Africa for nearly the entire two sessions before the Pakistan captain played a rare lose drive and was caught in the slips just before tea. Misbah faced 218 balls and hit six fours and a six in his marathon effort. Pakistan's tailenders then fell to the spin of JP Duminy (3-67) and Imran Tahir (3-98) with 9.5 overs to go in the day's play.
Shafiq faced 320 balls during his seven-hour effort before he was the last man to go, stumped by AB de Villiers off Duminy.
No. 11 batsman Zulfiqar Babar couldn't come out to bat after damaging his right hand while fielding. South Africa lost the first Test _ also inside four days _ by seven wickets last week. But Saturday's win means the top-ranked team has not lost a Test series since losing to Sri Lanka in 2006.
Earlier, Misbah and Shafiq frustrated South Africa for nearly four hours after Pakistan resumed at 132-4.
Shafiq cut, pulled and drove with authority and reached his second Test century against the Proteas this year when he drove a wide delivery from Duminy to the cover boundary for his 11th four of the innings. He also hit a century at Cape Town in February during Pakistan's 3-0 series defeat against South Africa.
On a day when Faf du Plessis was fined 50 percent of his match fee for ball tampering, South Africa struggled to break through on the dry wicket. Captain Graeme Smith took the second new ball just before lunch but both batsmen played out the four overs from fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander without much discomfort.
Pakistan had added only nine to its overnight score when Shafiq was out leg before wicket in the fifth over of the day off Philander's sharp delivery. But Shafiq went for review, which showed the ball would have missed the leg stump.
Shafiq lofted legspinner Tahir over long off for a six in a rare show of aggression during the morning session and completed his half century off 121 balls. Misbah also consumed as many deliveries when he glanced seamer Morne Morkel to the third man boundary for his 22nd 50 in test matches.
The teams now face each in five one-day internationals, starting Wednesday.
Brief scores: Pakistan 99 (Imran Tahir 5-32) and 326 (Asad Shafiq 130, Misbah-ul Haq 88; JP Duminy 3-67; Imran Tahir 3-98) South Africa 517 (G. Smith 234, AB de Villiers 164; Saeed Ajmal 6-151)

Friday, 25 October 2013

Pakistani women cricketers banned for false sex harassment claims

KARACHI: Pakistan cricket authorities on Friday banned five women cricketers for falsely accusing their male officials of sexual harassment after an investigation ruled they lied about the allegations.
In June this year, five women cricketers from the central Multan region accused their club chairman and a team selector of demanding sexual favours in return for their selection in the regional and national teams.
The charges were initially made in a television show but Sultan Alam, chairman of Multan Cricket Club, and his selector Mohammad Javed denied the allegations.
Seema Javed, a prominent club cricketer, alleged that Alam, 70, once came to her and asked her to convince another girl to give him favours.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) set up an inquiry to look into the allegations which ruled that the five players should be banned for six months and censured Multan cricket officials.
“The inquiry committee set up to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment by five women cricketers against the management of Multan Cricket Club has recommended that all five should be banned from playing any form of cricket for six months with effect from October 23, 2013,” PCB announced in a press release.
According to the same release, when questioned by the committee, three of the five women, including Javed, “categorically denied having been sexually harassed or having seen such harassment taking place,” while the other two women declined to present their case at the inquiry.
All three who were questioned were serving one penalty or ban for various offences and that was the focus of their complaint, the release added.
The Multan District Cricket Association, which overseas cricket in the region, has also been censured and asked to keep a close watch on Multan Cricket Club and ensure that all clubs registered with them follow the regulations and disciplinary procedures of PCB, the release said.
Ayesha Ashaar, the convener of the probe committee and manager of Pakistan women's cricket, said that even after they have served the ban, “all five girls will be kept under probation for a period of one year after which the evaluation of their conduct will be made.”
Pakistani women cricketers have done well on the international level during previous few years but young girls still suffer hardships to be allowed to play in the deeply conservative Muslim nation.
The national women cricket team is governed by the PCB, which looks after all affairs relating to the game and players in the country.

South Africa penalised for ball-tampering

DUBAI: South Africa were docked five penalty runs for ball-tampering on the third day of the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai on Friday.
Television replays showed South African fielder Faf du Plessis rubbing the ball on his trousers which had a zip on them, in an apparent attempt to tamper with the ball.
Umpires Rod Tucker of Australia and England's Ian Gould called South African captain Graeme Smith, changed the ball and added five runs to Pakistan's score.
Pakistan were struggling at 62 for three with Dale Steyn about to start the 31st over when the umpires took notice of the ball and took the decision.
Under International Cricket Council (ICC) rule 42.1 on tampering, if an umpire spots a change in the condition of the ball but doesn't know who is the culprit, he will issue a first and final warning to the captain and the ball will be changed.
In case the ball is tampered with again, the bowling team will face a five-run penalty and umpires will not only change the ball again but the captain will be held responsible and reported.
But in this case the umpires saw Du Plessis rubbing the ball in an apparent move to tamper with the ball and they called Smith and docked five penalty runs.
An ICC spokesman confirmed the incident.
“As per 42.1 of the ICC playing conditions, the umpires replaced the ball and fined South Africa five penalty runs for ball tampering,” said an ICC spokesman.
Pakistan is the only other team to have been penalised with five penalty runs, during the infamous Oval Test against England in 2006.
In a sharp reaction to Australian umpire Darrell Hair's decision, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq walked off the field.
Hair then ruled that Pakistan had forfeited the match -- the only such instance in Test cricket history.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Pakistan to go all out for series win, Misbah says

DUBAI: A confident Pakistan will look to their spinners to sweep the two-match series against a depleted South Africa when the second and final Test starts in Dubai on Wednesday.
Pakistan's spin duo of Saeed Ajmal and left-armer Zulfiqar Babar shared 11 wickets between them to guide their team to a seven-wicket win in the first Test in Abu Dhabi, only their fourth win in 22 Tests against South Africa.
Even the pacemen Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan took four wickets apiece as a formidable South Africa batting slumped to 249 and 232 in the two innings, with only Hashim Amla (118) and AB de Villiers (90) showing some resistance.
Pakistan rode on a brilliant 146 by opener Khurram Manzoor -- the highest by a Pakistani batsman in a Test against South Africa -- and a responsible 100 by captain Misbah-ul Haq to post a big 442-run total.
South Africa will be hard pressed to maintain their unbeaten run in an away series since losing in Sri Lanka in 2006.
More so as Amla and Dale Steyn, respectively the world's top Test batsman and bowler, may not be available for the match. Amla has returned home for the birth of his child while Steyn is nursing a hamstring injury. Left-hander Dean Elgar is due to replace Amla while Rory Kleinveldt is likely to fill in for Steyn.
South Africa will also look at their spin option to replace left-armer Robin Peterson, who failed to get a single wicket in the first Test, with Pakistan born leg-spinner Imran Tahir. South African captain Graeme Smith expressed confidence his team can bounce back. “We haven't been in this position too often,” said Smith. “And with the standards that we set ourselves, we should have the ability to bounce back.
“The motivation is there. We are really motivated to win the next Test match. That's got to be our ultimate goal. We have to focus on making sure our plans are better.”
“We are playing the top side in the world, so our focus is on the next game,” said Misbah, aiming to add to Pakistan's only series win over South Africa way back in 2003. Misbah denied he wants a batting track in Dubai to draw the Test.
“I don't think so we have given clear indications to the groundsman. We want a result, no doubt we want to exploit our home advantage and we will do that, but we want a result,” said Misbah.
“Whenever you have negative thoughts in your mind it won't give you good results. We are positive about that, we want a result no matter whatever happens, if we win or lose, it doesn't matter.”

Pakistani Squad: Khurram Manzoor, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Umar Amin, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali, Asad Shafiq, Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood.
South Africaan Squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Thami Tsolekile.