More fitness worries for England


Injury worries continued to mount for an already stricken England as the group that practised at the M.A. Chidambaram stadium on Tuesday, ahead of the side’s must-win clash against the West Indies, did not include skipper Andrew Strauss and Graeme Swann.

Jonathan Trott clarified that Strauss, the leading run-scorer for England in the tournament, and Swann, the joint highest wicket-taker for the side in this edition, were down with a stomach bug and that a clearer picture would emerge after Wednesday’s practice session… Read More

MAC will be a stadium TNCA can be proud of


The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is approaching the knockout stage. There have been issues related to infrastructure, ticketing, security and the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).

Prof. Ratnakar Shetty, who has been in the administration of the game for 24 years (starting as a managing committee member of the Mumbai Cricket Association in 1987), was appointed as the Tournament Director by the Central Organising Committee of the ICC-CWC 2011.

In this interview to The Hindu he takes us through the role of ICC and other matters related to the event being held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh… Read More

South Africa thrashes Ireland, storms into the quarterfinals

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South Africa ensured itself a spot in the quarterfinals of the ICC World Cup with a convincing 131-run victory against Ireland in a Group B league clash at the Eden Gardens here on Tuesday.

The win lifted South Africa to eight points with a match against Bangladesh left in its league itinerary. For Ireland, this World Cup is all but over. It is left with one more game in the league phase — against the Netherlands here on Friday.. Read More

Djokovic, Ivanovic win at Indian Wells

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Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic rolled on at the BNP Paribas Open, easily winning third-round matches Tuesday while Kim Clijsters retired with a painful shoulder.

Women’s top seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark beat Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 – a victory, along with Clijsters’ departure, that ensured the Dane will retain her No. 1 world ranking.

Federer defeated 29th-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 6-0, 6-2, and Djokovic routed Ernests Gulbis 6-0, 6-1 with temperatures reaching 90 degrees in the desert… Read More

Trinamool may have its way in seat-sharing


The decision of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to withdraw from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and extend only issue-based support to the Centre on Saturday has cast a shadow over the negotiations on seat-sharing between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress for the Assembly polls in West Bengal and a speedy resolution of the logjam does not seem to be in sight.

The last time that the Congress and the Trinamool Congress reached an electoral adjustment to contest the Assembly elections in the 294 seats in West Bengal was in 2001 when the Congress had fielded 57 candidates and backed two independents and the Trinamool contested 237 seats. Read More..

Varun Gandhi weds graphics designer Yamini Roy


Varun Gandhi on Sunday tied the nuptial knot with Bengali girl Yamini Roy Chowdhury at a temple on the banks of the Ganges here. Varun (30), who was in a silk ‘kurta’ and ’dhoti’ with an orange ‘angvastram’, got married to Yamini, a graphic designer, at a ceremony in Kamakoti Temple which was presided over by Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati. The ceremony took place between 7.30 a.m. and 9.00 a.m. in the presence of a select gathering that besides Maneka included the girl’s mother Aruna Vasudev. However, no one from Sonia Gandhi’s family was present. Read More..

Congress-DMK stand-off continues


Twenty four hours after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) announced it was withdrawing its six ministers from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the Congress maintained a stony silence in public, keeping its southern ally in suspense. Some indication of the Congress’ mind will come only when the DMK’s six Ministers – including two of Cabinet rank – meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday to hand over their resignations from the government.

Meanwhile, party sources said the reason for the delay in response is because the DMK’s action has reactivated a long standing debate within the Congress on coalition politics. One section is of the view that this is a good opportunity to dump the DMK – and rid the Congress of its 2G taint. Read more..

Sehwag scintillates


Virender Sehwag was a regal sight as the Indian team trained at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Sehwag, who thumped a match-winning 175 in the World Cup’s opening tie against Bangladesh at Mirpur on Saturday, had skipped nets for two days leading to queries about a probable injury.

All speculation was finally laid to rest on Thursday as Sehwag participated in the fielding drills and then wielded the bat in the only way he knows, with unbridled aggression.

Squaring up to the spinners on the centre-wicket, Sehwag picked his spots over long-on and mid-wicket and also essayed the inside-out lofted drive over cover. Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla and R. Ashwin all provided fodder though at times Sehwag crouched low and indulged in the exaggerated forward-defensive prod.

Just across the net, Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath, now busy with their roles as the Karnataka State Cricket Association president and secretary respectively, watched the action besides having a chat with a few players like S. Sreesanth and Ashish Nehra.

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Swinging success?

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Allan Donald cuts a menacing figure even nine years after his retirement. His stride purposeful, shoulders as if concealing latent torque, Donald wipes away a single rivulet of sweat from his cheek, disturbing the butterfly-like symmetry of zinc cream on his face. In Chennai recently as New Zealand’s bowling coach, Donald, now 44, put the fear of God in batsmen in his prime. But pace, blinding or brisk, is not what he considers the key to this World Cup.

“I spoke to the boys about the ball reversing, about preparing the ball to get it swinging in the end overs. Bowling at the death, that’s where reverse swing is going to be a massive thing and a huge key for me in this World Cup. That’s where games are going to be won or lost,” he says.

No miracles

After suffering a demoralising defeat to India in a practice game at Chennai, New Zealand easily won its opening match against Kenya. But firmer tests lie ahead, and the Kiwis, coming into the premier event with three morale-sapping ODI series losses (0-4 to Bangladesh, 0-5 to India and 2-3 to Pakistan), will have to be prepared for tougher contests. Donald, the first South African to reach 300 Test wickets, joined the Kiwi camp in January, and the first thing he told his wards was not to expect miracles.

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Wasim Akram offers to help Junaid, Wahab during World Cup

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Former skipper Wasim Akram has offered his services to the Pakistan team management in the World Cup to help groom two left-arm pacers in the side — Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz.

Akram, considered to be one of the best left-arm fast bowlers in the history of cricket, has been spending time with the Pakistani players and chief coach Waqar Younis in Sri Lanka.

“Yes I have told Waqar and Shahid Afridi that I am available to help Wahab and Junaid whenever they want me because I have a lot of spare time on hand in Sri Lanka,” he told the Geo Super channel.

Akram, now a noted TV commentator and cricket expert, said so far he has not seen rookie pacer Junaid bowling but heard good things about him from the coach and captain.

“I love working with the younger bowlers especially if they are left armers. I would love to help the Pakistan team in this World Cup by working with Wahab and Junaid,” he added.

The legendary pacer said it was a wrong impression that while he had time to help out Indian bowlers, Irfan Khan and Zaheer Khan, he didn’t give time to the Pakistani youngsters.

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