Simmons, Mitchell and young NBA phenoms set for Rising Stars


first_imgNEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers MOST READ Those two guards head up a deep rookie class and might be neck-and-neck in this year’s NBA rookie of the year race in which both are worthy of winning.“I’m going to throw it out there, I like the whole Grant Hill and Jason Kidd co-rookie of the years,” Miller said. “I’ll throw that out there now because I think both are well-deserving of it.”Hill and Kidd shared the award in 1995 and might enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame together this summer.Perhaps Simmons and Mitchell will be similarly linked years from now.They will be together Friday night when the NBA’s best first- and second-year players compete in the Rising Stars in Los Angeles to kick off All-Star weekend.ADVERTISEMENT Simmons, the versatile 6-foot-10 point guard from the Philadelphia 76ers with six triple-doubles and size and statistics that call to mind a young Magic Johnson, and the high-flying Mitchell from the surging Utah Jazz will garner much of the attention. But the rosters for the game, which pits a U.S. team against the World, show just how deep the league is with young talent.There’s Simmons’ teammate Joel Embiid, who joins him on the World squad, while the U.S. has Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who helped Boston lead the East most of the season. Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma will play for the U.S., though the hometown Lakers lost out on a third player when Lonzo Ball had to pull out because of injury.Dennis Smith Jr. of Dallas, who like Mitchell will compete in the Slam Dunk contest, also will suit up for the Americans.The rest of the rosters:— U.S.: Kris Dunn (Chicago), John Collins and Taurean Prince (Atlanta) and De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento). Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon of Milwaukee was picked for the game but is injured.— World: Lauri Markkanen (Chicago), Dario Saric (Philadelphia), Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic (Sacramento), Jamal Murray (Denver), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana), Frank Ntilikina (New York) and Dillon Brooks (Memphis).The youngsters are winning games and admirers with skills well beyond their years. Clippers coach Doc Rivers raved about Simmons and Embiid — and said not to forget the second-year Saric — after his team was beaten in Philadelphia last week.“I’m still very impressed sometimes,” he said. “I’ve still (had) great first impressions.”The only guys who don’t seem impressed are the players themselves.Not Simmons, the No. 1 pick of the 2016 draft from LSU who had to sit out a year with a foot injury but expected to hit the ground running once he could play. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Simmons expressed disappointment he didn’t get the call.Be patient, rookie. Simmons will likely get his chance someday. Maybe a bunch of them.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“He’s a young player that has a bright future that is going to have a long and steady All-Star career,” Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Reggie Miller said.Same with Donovan Mitchell and a few other first-year phenoms. LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City “I mean I’m here for a reason and obviously Philly chose me for a reason, and I’ve spoken to Brett (Brown) a lot when I was hurt and he wanted me to run the team and be the point guard,” the Australian said. “So I know he trusts me and has faith in me, and for myself I know I definitely trust and believe in myself.”Same with Kuzma, even though he came into the league from Utah with far less fanfare after being taken with the No. 27 pick, which belonged to Brooklyn and was traded to the Lakers. He’s gone on to average nearly 16 points and join Hall of Famers Jerry West and Elgin Baylor as the only Lakers rookies with three straight games of 25 or more.“It’s pretty cool any time you’re mentioned with guys that are Hall of Famers or very important to this game’s history,” Kuzma said.“I kind of knew I was going to play well,” he added. “If you don’t have that confidence then you shouldn’t be playing really.”More important than just playing well, they’ve helped their teams have success. The 76ers have won five straight and look like a playoff team after a few dismal years. Utah is even hotter, winning an NBA-leading 11 in a row, and Mitchell became the first rookie to lead his team in scoring during a streak that long.The rookie leader with 19.6 points per game acknowledges getting distracted earlier this season by thinking too much about rookie of the year and paying too much attention to what his classmates were doing after not being taken until the No. 13 pick.“So I kind of shut all that out and just said I’m here to contribute to my team in any way that I can and help in any way that I can,” he said.Once he did, his game — and the Jazz — took off.The league’s rising stars will likely take off when they share the spotlight Friday night. AFP official booed out of forum Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PHcenter_img John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Garcia, Rios set for WBC welterweight title elimination bout Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH FILE- In this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons (25) drives to the basket around Miami Heat’s Goran Dragic (7) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Philadelphia. Simmons and Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, the leading rookie of the year candidates, will play together Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, when the NBA’s best first- and second-year players compete in the Rising Stars in Los Angeles to tip off All-Star weekend. (AP Photo/Michael Perez, File)Ben Simmons thought he should be an All-Star by now.Yet each time Commissioner Adam Silver needed to tab an injury replacement from the Eastern Conference, he looked in another direction, to Simmons’ disappointment.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next View commentslast_img read more

Ice tee


first_imgIf your game’s not up to the mark, snow golf offers visual relief in the stunning wintry surroundsYou probably wouldn’t think that snow golf and Rudyard Kipling have much in common. But they do. It is from the writer (bless the splendid fellow) that modern snow golf is believed to have originated, during the time he was living in Brattleboro, Vermont (US), in the 1890s.Kipling loved the outdoors especially with a club in hand. Looking to unwind in the winter, he played golf in the New England snow, painting golf balls red and placing red-coloured cups in the snow. Apparently, the legacy lives on. Vermonters still play snow golf.References to ice golf date as far back as the early 17th century. A work of the Dutch landscape painter Hendrick Avercamp shows a couple of gentlemen, with clubs, playing what looks like a cross between golf and ice hockey, on a frozen canal in Holland. This was, in fact, the traditional Dutch sport of ‘colf’.If Kipling was a keen golfer who couldn’t wait for the summer months, he’s got plenty of company. Consider the folk those who head to Uummannaq, Greenland, for the World Ice Golf Championship every year (or at least, on those years when the sea, meteorological conditions and icebergs synchronise to ‘create’ a field of golf). Snow golf is not too dissimilar to the version played on fairways and greens (or links courses). Just imagine trying to hit the ball out of the bunkers, every time. Sharpen up your sand play, and you’ll do okay in the snow as well.Once you get the hang of it, snow golf is even more fun than the regular version of the gameThe World Ice Golf Championship-first held in 1997-is the holy grail of snow golf. It is held on the planet’s northernmost (and Greenland’s only) golf course. This is, naturally, never the same ‘place’ owing to a constantly moving ice shelf. So, the nine-hole ‘course’-encircled by ‘moving’ glaciers, icebergs and spectacular ice sculptures-is laid out anew on the ice every year (a week before the snow golfers descend).Nature, in the shape of the ocean, is the chief architect of this course; with the form determined by the position of the icebergs in the inlet. Unfavourable conditions (overhead and on terra firma) have led to the abandonment of the World Ice Golf Championship on some years, although that has done little to knock the enthusiasm of the organisers. As for the course, it ‘melts’ away in May.Snow golf has outgrown its ‘adventure sport’ origins, and the World Ice meet has inspired quite a few similar tournaments. The Snow Golf Championship has been held in Argentina, in Cerro Castor, Ushuaia (regarded as the world’s southernmost city), since 2007, while Austria has played host to the Snow Golf World Championship, for amateurs, also since 2007. The surfaces of ‘whites’ can be twopaced and bumpy; putting calls for good judgment-and good fortuneThe latter is sponsored by the state of Salzburg, and has a ‘million dollar putt’ contest-the largest prize on offer in any amateur golf event-that remains unclaimed, to date! And recently (January 2011), the first European Championship in Snow Golf took place in Switzerland. Ritzy St. Moritz in Switzerland is for those who like their snow golf with more than a soupcon of glamour.Here, you’re bound to rub noses with jet-setting European royalty and celebrities. Meanwhile, Norway is fast surfacing, literally, as a Mecca for snow swingers; most of the snow golf is centred around the municipality of Hemsedal, in the south. But, really, anywhere in the tundra will do for a spot of snow golf; the terrain can be an iced up lake or even a ski resort.Uummannaq, a town in the municipality of Qaasuitsup, in Greenland’s northwest, 600 km north of the Arctic Circle, offers perfect climes for snow golf. The rules and conditions for the Ice Golf Worlds would pretty much apply to any snow golf tournament in the world (give or take a few local variations). Some things to remember?Golf clubs with steel shafts are strongly recommended since shafts made out of graphite can shatter easily in the extreme cold. Also, keep a hunk of Astroturf in your bag for you’d need it to hit your tee ball. Golf balls (fluorescent red or orange in the snow version of the game) lose elasticity in the cold, thus reducing the distance the ball flies by approximately 25 percent. And with a diameter of 20 cm, the hole (made out of aluminium) is almost twice as big as an ordinary golf ‘cup’.Of course, the ‘greens’ are no longer green. In snow golf, they become ‘whites’, and are marked by a rim of red or a small wall of snow. And because the surface can be abrasive, one can, before putting, smooth out the ‘white’ with a custom-made ‘scraper’ (an act that would invite a penalty on a regular green!). For a ball lying ‘through the white’-the equivalent of a ‘fried egg’ in the sand, though much harder to extricate-the Uummannaq rule says, “The ball may be lifted and placed within 15 cm of where it landed, without incurring a penalty”. Local rules also protect against unanticipated contingencies- like a polar bear pilfering your ball!Teeing off in sub-zero temperatures calls for plenty of layers of thermal wear, so wrap up well. Also, carry a potent pair of shades (snow blindness is a definite risk). And if you’re still having a rotten time, remember to take solace in the quiet repose of a gorgeous winter’s day. Hot coutureRecommended clothing: Breathable (Gore-Tex type) windtight warm jacket and overtrousers; A fleece jacket that’s warm, light and breathable; heatinsulating thermal underwear/long johns underneath over-trousers; sports underclothes that help draw perspiration away from the skin and allow it to evaporate; warm hat with ear flaps, gloves, scarf, potent sunglasses, strong sun block (minimum SPF: 20); footwear with thermal insulation (ordinary golf shoes are not advised in the cold) and warm socks.Equipment tip: Bring a half set of 3-, 5-, 7- and 9-irons, plus a pitching and sand wedge. You could also carry a driver and a 5-wood (or just a 3-wood) (Courtesy: http://www.greenlandguide. gl/icegolf)The writer is senior writer, Golf Digest India.advertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

Ind vs WI: India struggle in second Test


first_imgIndia’s top-order struggled against a fiery West Indies pace attack as the visitors were reduced to 44 for four at lunch on the first day of the second Test at the bouncy Kensington Oval in Bridgetown on Tuesday.West Indies pacers exploited the conditions well and took two cheap India wickets early on to reduce the visitors to eight for two after skipper Darren Sammy won the toss and elected to field.Admirable Ravi Rampaul wreaked havoc, picking up three wickets in his two spells for figures of 8-5-4-3 at the break.Opener Murali Vijay (11) and VVS Laxman weathered the storm after the early slump, adding 30 runs for the third wicket before the former was dismissed by Rampaul.A lot was expected from Virat Kohli (0) but the Delhi batsman lasted for just two balls before being sent back packing by Rampaul as India slumped further to 38-4.Laxman was batting on 23 and Suresh Raina (0) had just joined him at the crease.Runs were hard to come by for the visitors on a bouncy pitch against an occasionally hostile but always disciplined West Indian attack.Opener Abhinav Mukund could do little better than lob a catch off the handle of his bat against Rampaul in the second over of the morning.It’s the eighth straight innings that Rampaul has got an opener’s scalp in his first spell this season, discounting the two straightforward chances put down, including the costly miss of Rahul Dravid by skipper Darren Sammy in the first Test.– With PTI inputsadvertisementlast_img read more

Sachin mixes coaching and business in London


first_imgA New business venture and imparting batting tips to son Arjun are two things that Sachin Tendulkar is currently focussing on in London before he starts concentrating on the upcoming England series.The iconic batsman has been regularly visiting the Marylebone Cricket Club academy to coach his 11-year-old son Arjun and,A New business venture and imparting batting tips to son Arjun are two things that Sachin Tendulkar is currently focussing on in London before he starts concentrating on the upcoming England series.The iconic batsman has been regularly visiting the Marylebone Cricket Club academy to coach his 11-year-old son Arjun and passing on tips to other people using the indoor nets of the club.An honorary life member of the club, Tendulkar, who has been staying at a property he owns near Lord’s, has been visiting the academy for the past few days.”He (Tendulkar) has been a regular visitor at Lord’s in recent weeks,” an MCC spokesman was quoted as saying by the Sunday Telegraph.And when he is not coaching little Arjun, he is devoting time to his new business venture in Winchester.It’s about cricket-themed entertainment centres where you will be able to bat against an image of Tendulkar (or other, better international bowlers) that runs in and delivers a semi-hard ball at you; or bowl against an image of him that deals with your delivery after calculating the trajectory and rotations of the delivery.Tendulkar was accompanied by his children Arjun and Sara.Last week,Tendulkar, who was watching matches at the Wimbledon, interacted with the legendary Roger Federer.Though he has not had a single net session, Tendulkar will start training from this week for India’s four- match Test series against England.”The effect of Tendulkar’s preparation in London will be that he is in a happy frame of mind when the rest of the Indian party arrives from the West Indies, and if Tendulkar is happy, then so is the whole Indian dressing- room,” said the report.advertisementIn London, Tendulkar has been able to relax, with far fewer bodyguards than normal, the report said. The champion batsman will be aiming for his 100th international century when India take on England at Lord’s in the first Test-the 100th between the teams-and the 2,000th in the history of the game.- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

London Olympics: Focus on Gowda and Poonia as action shifts to athletics


first_imgThe blue riband athletics competition at the Olympics begins on Friday and focus will also be on the Indians as well.After the top-liners had been hit by doping controversies that took the sheen off the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games efforts, this is the time for redemption.The much-touted women’s 4×400 relay team, which was spearheaded by double-gold medalist from Guangzhou, Ashwini Akkunji, was the most prominent athlete to be hit in the scandal. So severe was the blow that all faith in Indian performances was lost among the sport’s dwindling fans.India has never won a medal in Olympic athletics, the closest being fourth places for Milkha Singh in 400m in 1960 and P T Usha in 400m hurdles for women in 1984. Other Indian finalists have been Gurbachan Singh Randhawa in 110m hurdles in 1964, Sriram Singh in 800m in 1976 and Anju Bobby George in women’s long jump in 2004.Pundits might aver that a strong showing in London might bring back some of the old faithful, but it will also raise the question: “Is this for real?”There are 14 Indians in London, the second highest after the two dozen who went to Sydney. But the most prominent of the 14 that India has sent this time will incidentally be in discus for both men and women.Vikas Gowda, trained by his father, Shiva Gowda, and Krishna Poonia, should on form get into the finals, but after that they will at best be a long shot. A top-six should be heartening enough.The US-based Gowda this year became the first Indian to win a medal in the Diamond League in New York and was among the leading athletes in the standings. His best distance of 66.28m might make him a long shot but the fact remains whether he can come up with his best at the big moment. The world champion, Robert Harting of Germany is the top contender with consistent distances of over 70 metresKrishna Poonia, who struck a historic gold at the Commonwealth Games, is capable of 64-metres plus but the question is, has she recovered fully from her injuries. Ranked in the top-10 of the world, she has to be aware that at least six to eight throwers have gone past 67 metres, while her best is under 65 metres.On the first day of athletics on Friday, shot putter Om Prakash Singh will be in action. Credited with a distance of over 20 metres, he has trained in Hungary over the past two years.Apart from men’s shot put, Friday will also see the qualification rounds of women’s triple jump, where Mayookha Johny will be in action, and women’s discus with Poonia.India also has three walkers, Gurmeet Singh, Baljinder Singh and Irfran in 20km and Bahadur Rana in 50km walk. The three in shorter distance have all achieved ‘A’ qualifying marks, while Bahadur came through with a national record in World Race Walking Cup in May.Then there is marathon runner, Ram Singh Yadav who has been training in high altitude Ooty.Tintu Luka (800m), a trainee of former Olympic finalist PT Usha, Seema Antil in discus, Renjith Maheshwary in men’s triple jump, Sudha Singh in women’s 3000m steeplechase and Sahana Kumar in women’s high jump will also be watched closely.advertisementlast_img read more

Acer Liquid Gallant launch next month


first_imgAcer is all set to launch two new smartphones, Liquid Gallant and Liquid Gallant Duo, across the world next month. The Taiwanese company will make the announcement during IFA 2012, scheduled for August 31, 2012. Acer reportedly made this announced almost a week before the new products were due to be unveiled in Berlin at consumer electronics fair IFA (August 31- September 5). The release of the Liquid Gallant Solo (single sim) and the Liquid Duo (dual sim) terminals was announced on August 21.According to reports, Acer Liquid is an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) with a 4.3-inch qHD touchscreen. It reportedly boasts of having a 1GHz processor coupled with 1GB RAM, a 5MP camera on the back, 4GB internal memory and supports microSD card with up to 32GB capacity and is powered by a 1,500mAh battery. The device also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 with EDR and 3G with HSPA.The two new devices boast of having the same specs, apart from dual or single sim capacity. Besides, the smartphones will reportedly sport an enhanced surround sound system and come pre-loaded with a SWYPE keypad.Acer is expected to add its own customisations to the Google’s operating system before the official launch. It is expected that the phone will come with Swype keyboard and Polris document viewer. The smartphone is likely to be launched in Gentle Black and Ceramic White colours.Acer’s products include desktop and laptop PCs, tablet computers , servers, storage devices, displays, smartphones and peripherals. The company, which is the fourth largest PC maker in the world, also provides e-business services to businesses, governments and consumers. With Agency inputsadvertisementlast_img read more

Unlikely friendship between Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid holds key to Team India’s future


first_imgLEADING LIGHTS: Rahul Dravid and Sourav GangulySourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid are standing in the opulent lobby of the Taj Samudra in Colombo listening to talk of the wild world of Indian cricket. The people around them are discussing the board elections in September and when the familiar name of,LEADING LIGHTS: Rahul Dravid and Sourav GangulySourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid are standing in the opulent lobby of the Taj Samudra in Colombo listening to talk of the wild world of Indian cricket. The people around them are discussing the board elections in September and when the familiar name of a prospective office-bearer is named, a sly smile crosses Ganguly’s face.”Jam, heard that? If that happens, pack your bags.” Dravid, who must have inarguably the most moronic nickname in world cricket, replies, “Why only me? You pack your bags too. Bye-bye.” Then the captain of the Indian cricket team and his vice-captain giggle at their own private joke like a pair of schoolboys.It was not merely a nicely staged bit of image-building during what’s been an endless examination of the strength and cohesiveness of the Indian team’s current decision-making unit. This after all is the tour during which Ganguly felt it necessary to have Dravid by his side to tell the travelling press pack that all was well between them, despite reports to the contrary coming from India.A few days later former board president Raj Singh Dungarpur walks up to Dravid in Kandy and tells him, within earshot of a junior teammate, to “be ready” to be captain. A coup was being not-so-subtly planned but Dungarpur got his target wrong. The captain and his deputy have formed a, partnership as unlikely as that of a trapeze artist and a mathematician.But critically, it is as strong as Rodgers & Hammerstein or (since the adventures of their team often resemble an improbable Hindi film) at least Salim-Javed. There’s no monster hit yet but it’s there somewhere in the destinies of these two cricketers whose careers have run on parallel but are also inextricably intertwined tracks. With their rapid rise to seniority in a very raw Indian side, . the Dravid-Ganguly association has grown deeper.advertisementFIGHTING BACK: A happy Indian team after beating Sri Lanka in the Kandy TestThink back to the dying moments of the home series against Australia. Harbhajan Singh hits the winning runs, Ganguly jumps off his chair in joy and then first thing, looks for his deputy and leaps into his arms.In Kandy, Dravid tells the hounded and hopelessly out-of-form Ganguly again and again, “You’re always one afternoon away from greatness.” It becomes Ganguly’s life-raft, his mantra and when the time comes to stem the storm, he has Dravid at the other end. Chasing 264 to square the series, even as the merchants of doom predict surrender, Dravid scores 75 and the Bengal left-hander his first fifty in 14 innings.They fashion another turnaround victory and the beleaguered Ganguly finds himself in the company of the disdainful Pataudi and Bishen Bedi as the only Indian captain to win three Tests away from home. If in another couple of seasons, should Ganguly and Dravid look back at Sri Lanka 2001, they may well discover that this was the tour where they came of age as leaders of what is turning out to be a brave new team.Despite the greatest respect both men have for him, the shadow of Sachin Tendulkar has been a substantial one. It has both dominated and shielded them. With Tendulkar absent due to injury, the shadow was gone and so was the shelter.They could have been blinded by the sudden light but have not. They could have let respect atrophy into over-reliance but chose another path instead. What they did was pass the old tea-bag test. People, it’s said, are like tea bags – you don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.In Sri Lanka, things were boiling. The first Test was gone inside four days and that was the time all the bad old Indian habits could have resurfaced. First to go was harmony, rapidly followed by self-belief and the seepage of that old toxin, total indifference.The team even had the excuse: in the Test series they were not only without Tendulkar but the side’s most experienced bowlers, Srinath and Kumble, and two of their most successful players of this year, V.V.S. Laxman and Ashish Nehra. Ganguly was asking travelling journalists whether they had brought their whites and manager Anand Mate, well into his fifties, was heading for the hotel gym every day.”They infused in me the kind of confidence that makes a world of difference.” Zaheer Khan”The team sees the two of them as one. It has helped bind the team.” V. Prasad”Without Sachin, we felt Dravid and Ganguly would be under pressure.” S. JayasuriyaUp 1-0, the Sri Lankans admitted that they thought they had knocked most of the fight out of India. “You would think that without Tendulkar, you had a good chance, especially after going 1-0 up and that it would put a little bit more pressure on Ganguly and Dravid,” captain Sanath Jayasuriya told INDIA TODAY. For the Indians, it is the fight back rather than the final outcome of the Test series that is more important. It has proved at least a few things: that the team has leaders who are not afraid of leading.advertisement”I don’t think you know what you can do unless the responsibility actually lands on you,” says Dravid. It has crash-landed and Ganguly and Dravid, backed by coach John Wright, have become better at picking up the pieces and assembling a coherent whole.When one-Test veteran Mohammed Kaif batted on the grassy practicewickets in Galle in a blaze of flashy shotmaking, Dravid was quick to go over to the nets and advise him that playing on seaming tracks meantbeing watchful and choosy about which ball to hit.Deep in his ownbatting gloom, Ganguly took aside pace-man Zaheer Khan and, with Dravid, sat him down before the second Test. Khan who had been caned byJayasuriya in the first Test told INDIA TODAY, “They showed the kind ofconfidence that makes a world of difference to a player just startingout. They told me that I had great ability and that no one could play me if I was doing things right. That wickets were mine to take.”Khan andVenkatesh Prasad opened the doors for the Indian win in Kandy with aburst on the third morning that wrecked the Lankans.Prasad, the only member in the side other than Ganguly and Dravid to haveplayed more than 15 Tests, is amazed and delighted at how two cricketers he has bowled to as teenagers have become the pivot around which thenational team now moves.”They have handled pressure like pros. Notpanicked and played according to the situation,” he says. “The rest ofus see them as one. We see them as being together at the top of the team and speaking in one voice. It has helped bind us.”These may seem likeminuscule things but in the high-anxiety, close-circuit fishbowl of theIndian dressing room, it is a very big signal. “We trust each other,”says Ganguly. “We know we’re not going to take each other for a ride.For a captain and vice-captain to share that understanding is huge.”They share a rapport because they share a common history. They were not the best of buddies in their early days though in the late 1980s they have often travelled together on tour as part of a crop of Indian juniors meant for bigger things.Dravid remembers being struck by Ganguly’s ability. “It was a real surprise to me that he didn’t make it earlier than he did.” Ganguly thinks the Karnataka right-hander has remained as single-minded as he was at 16.advertisement”Rahul is the same guy I first ran into in our junior years – poised, intense and very, very serious. But he has grown up into a topclass player. He is a fighter.” Sourav Ganguly”Sourav is tough, willing to listen and to learn. The best part about our elationship is we can agree to disagree.” Rahul Dravid During the 1996 England tour neither was supposed to play but first Navjot Singh Sidhu flew home after a spat with captain Azharuddin and then Sanjay Manjrekar got injured, putting the two debutants into the Lord’s Test. One got a century, the other fell five runs short.Since then they have had their best days together: whether it be an unforgettable Test debut or a world-record partnership against Sri Lanka at Taunton in the 1999 World Cup.No two batsmen have made more runs together than the 318 Ganguly and Dravid put up on what they still think of as their one perfect day. When they played for different English counties in the 2000 season – Dravid for Kent and Ganguly for Lancashire – they were on the phone and in each other’s homes whenever their schedule permitted.Now thrown together as captain and lieutenant, each thinks he knows how the other’s mind works and joint purpose has overridden individual ambition. “We both know how important it is to be part of a winning team, and how you can only do that by having everyone contribute,” says Ganguly. “You can’t do anything about injuries like the ones we’ve had,” Dravid reasons, “but how you respond is important.”Dark humour off the field during bad days dries up completely during the business on it. Their partnerships may have passages of sparkling cover drives but it is grim going. “I may crack a joke or two once in a while,” Ganguly laughs, “but Rahul doesn’t laugh at all. He’s very serious.” In Kandy, Ganguly was trying to sort out the wreckage of his batting and Dravid to haul the team home. “Keep concentrating,” they told each other. “Keep going.”They are as they seem: Dravid the elder by seven months, more prone to introspection; Ganguly remarkably resilient to criticism despite being sensitive to it and receiving it in truckloads. Dravid always conscious of what it means to be a senior, first into the team bus, trying to top the fitness charts; Ganguly being almost lord of the manor in that department, but able somehow to seize the most nervous newcomer and fire him with belief. One man reads anything he can lay his hands on, the other channel surfs as a hobby. Currently Ganguly is 30 pages into a book called The Tigers of Lanka given to him by his vice-captain. It’s about Sri Lankan politics, not its cricket team. They agree on many things – including the choice of Ajit Agarkar as a genuine prospect for India – and disagree about several. They don’t share too many common friends or indeed a work philosophy but can share ideas on the cricket field. Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid may not take similar routes to self-discovery – and the argument over which road is the better one will never end. But as of now they believe in a common destination.last_img read more

WIFA signs Rs 100-crore 10-year deal for football development in Maharashtra


first_imgWestern India Football Association (WIFA) has signed a Rs 100 crore ten-year deal with Sporting Ace, a private agency, for the development of the game across Maharashtra.”This deal will involve holistic development of football across all verticals,” WIFA secretary Souter Vaz said at a media conference. The Maharashtra governing body feels the deal would help to promote the game at the grassroots level.”Football is popular in all districts of the state and this interest needs to be channelised. This is what the partnership is capable of achieving,” Vaz said.As part of the development process, WIFA is also planning an inter-region talent hunt called Maha Yudh and has also decided to revive the 122-year-old Rovers Cup, after more than a decade, with an overall prize fund of Rs 1 crore. “WIFA will continue to make Maharashtra a force to reckon with in Indian football,” said Vaz.The Rovers Cup will be played on the artificial turf at the Cooperage in Mumbai from July 27 to August 11 next year and would involve top teams from the I-League and foreign outfits. “AIFF has agreed to the dates of Rovers. It does not clash with any other event in the calendar,” WIFA CEO and former India goalkeeper Henry Menezes said.”In the past, we had signed up partners but there was no road map. Now there is both a road map and money to execute it. I reckon Maharashtra to be among the top football playing states in the coutnry in th next 4-5 years,” Menezes added.advertisementSporting Ace MD Sagar Pol Chowdhury and directors Kingshuk Gupta and Zulfikar Mohammed said their love for football prompted them to agree to the deal. “The marketing will be done by a well known company whose identity will be known later,” he added.last_img read more

Naomi Osaka wins Australian Open for 2nd major, top ranking


first_imgGeje Eustaquio thinks he won 3rd fight vs Adriano Moraes And then, after returning to the court, Osaka turned it all around just as quickly as she had dropped 23 of 27 points. Refocusing and reasserting herself, Osaka edged Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday night to win the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title.“I felt like I didn’t want to have any regrets,” Osaka said. “I think if I didn’t regroup after the second set, then I would have looked back on this match and probably cried or something.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsOn top of that, Osaka will rise to No. 1 in the rankings.“Amazing achievement,” two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova said. “Definitely she is a great one. We’ll see what the future will bring.” LATEST STORIES Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town That allowed Kvitova to come back and make a match of it, reeling off five games in a row to take the second set and go up 1-0 in the third.At that point, Kvitova would say later, she figured it was going to keep going her way.“In the end,” she said, “it wasn’t.”After Kvitova double-faulted to offer up a break point at 1-all, Osaka converted it with a cross-court backhand winner. There was still more work to be done, of course, and some additional drama when it began raining at the changeover right before Osaka tried to serve for the match at 5-4 in the third set.This time, Osaka would not falter. She would not let this lead disappear.“I knew that Petra couldn’t keep it up for that long if Naomi could just manage those emotions,” said Osaka’s coach, Sascha Bajin, “and she did that beautifully.”Osaka was born in Japan — her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian — and she moved to New York at age 3. Now she’s based in Florida and has dual citizenship. Osaka already was the first player representing Japan — female or male — to win a Grand Slam singles title. Now she also is the first to top the WTA or ATP rankings.At 21, Osaka is the youngest No. 1 in nearly a decade; Caroline Wozniacki was 20 when she first ascended to that spot in 2010.And to think, a year ago, Osaka was ranked 72nd.What a climb. What a quick climb. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Kvitova was playing in her first Grand Slam final since winning Wimbledon in 2014 — and the first since she was stabbed in the hand by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic a little more than two years ago.Kvitova needed surgery, missed the first 4½ months of the 2017 season, including the Australian Open, and couldn’t be sure she’d ever get back to the top of tennis.“You’ve been through so much,” Osaka told Kvitova during the trophy ceremony. “I’m really honored to have played you in the final of a Grand Slam.”On a somewhat cloudy, rather comfortable evening, with only a slight breeze and the temperature around 75 degrees (25 Celsius), both women hit the ball as hard as can be. Exchanges were mostly at the baseline and filled with flat, powerful groundstrokes that barely cleared the net and made retrieving and replying as much about reflexes as anything.Here’s one measure of how even it was: Each finished with 33 winners.Points were swift and blunt; of 86 in the first set, only four lasted nine strokes or more. There was plenty of strong serving, clean hitting and good movement.It was Osaka who was the first to get ahead, tearing through the tiebreaker by grabbing five points in a row — four via winners — to go up 5-1. When Kvitova sailed a backhand wide moments later, ceding a set for the first time all tournament, Osaka pumped her fist and screamed, “Come on!”How pivotal was that moment? Kvitova had won her last 22 Grand Slam matches after winning the first set. Osaka, meanwhile, entered the day having won 59 matches anywhere after going up by a set.When Osaka broke to lead 3-2 in the second set, and then got to 5-3, the outcome seemed to be a foregone conclusion. Turned out, that wasn’t the case. Not at all.All that really matters, of course, is that Osaka righted herself in time to win. “It didn’t really take that long,” she said. “I didn’t have a choice.”___Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Naomi Osaka. APMELBOURNE, Australia — So close to victory, Naomi Osaka suddenly was letting the Australian Open final slip away. Three championship points? Gone. A sizable lead? Soon all gone, too.She was playing poorly. She yelled at herself. Slammed a ball. Tugged at her visor’s pink brim. Trudged to the locker room between sets with a towel draped over her head.ADVERTISEMENT Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusationscenter_img Osaka added the Australian Open trophy to the one she collected in a U.S. Open final last September that forever will be remembered for the way runner-up Serena Williams was docked a game after arguing with the chair umpire.Unlike that day, there was no jeering from the confused crowd. No controversy. No chaos. No sharing the spotlight.Clearly marking herself as tennis’ bright new star, Osaka is the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams picked up four straight in 2014-15.Almost didn’t happen.Osaka held three match points in the second set at 5-3, love-40 as Kvitova served. But Osaka couldn’t close it out. Instead, she completely lost her way.ADVERTISEMENT ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting MOST READ Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more