Robinho set to leave Santos for Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande

Published on: Tuesday, 30 June 2015 //
Robinho, Robinho Brazil, Brazil Robinho, Robinho Santos, Santos Robinho, Robinho Copa America, Copa America Robinho, Robinho Brazil, Brazil Robinho, Football News, Football The former Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan attacker said he was hopeful of returning to Santos in the future. (Source: AP)

Brazil forward Robinho ended his third spell at Santos on Tuesday with local media reporting he was set to join up with former Selecao coach Luiz Felipe Scolari at Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande.

The 31-year-old former Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan attacker, known for his elaborate stepovers, said he was hopeful of returning to Santos in the future after the club said they could not afford to match the offers from overseas.

“Unfortunately it will not be possible to renew my contract. But Santos FC will always be in my heart,” Robinho said in a statement.

“FC Santos will go great, because it is above any player. I will try to remain happy doing what I like best, which is play football and hopefully one day return.”

Brazil media said Robinho, who was part of the Brazil side that exited the Copa America on Thursday following a quarter-final penalty shootout defeat by Paraguay, would be joining four-times reigning Chinese champions Guangzhou.

The Chinese club appointed 2002 World Cup winning coach Scolari earlier this month after sacking Italian Fabio Cannavaro after less than half a season in charge.

Scolari has been quick to make changes and signed Brazilian midfielder Paulinho from English outfit Tottenham Hotspur on Monday for a reported fee of around $15 million.

Guangzhou, 2013 AFC Champions League winners, are not the only Chinese club to have lavished money on expensive internationals with Shanghai Shenhua paying $14.5 million to Turkish side Besiktas for Senegal international Demba Ba this week.

New Zealand hand Grant Elliott, Mitchell Santner central contracts

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Mitchell Santner, Mitchell Santner New Zealand, Mitchell Santner New Zealand, New Zealand Grant Elliott, Grant Elliott NZ, Grant Elliott New Zealand, New Zealand, New Zealand Cricket, Cricket News, Cricket The 36-year-old Elliott earned a central contract after an impressive World Cup. (Source: Reuters)

Rookie all-rounder Mitchell Santner and veteran Grant Elliott have been rewarded for their recent strong performances by being included in New Zealand’s list of centrally contracted players on Wednesday.

Santner made his debut on New Zealand’s just completed tour of England and impressed with his left arm-spin and lower-order batting in the limited-over series.

The 23-year-old, viewed as a potential successor to the retired Daniel Vettori, has been singled out for his bowling but coach Mike Hesson said he expected his talents with the bat to become more prevalent over the next 12 months.

“Mitch is a player of genuine all-round ability,” Hesson said in a New Zealand Cricket statement. “His appearance on this list is recognition of where we see his skills in all three forms of the game.

“My feeling is that well see a lot more of him with the bat, in particular, as he gains more experience.”

The 36-year-old Elliott also earned a central contract after an impressive World Cup.

He struck South Africa strike bowler Dale Steyn for a six to give the co-hosts an epic four-wicket victory with a ball to spare in their semi-final at Eden Park in March

“Grant hasn’t had a contract for a while but returns on the back of excellent recent form, including the World Cup,” Hesson added. “He’s a valuable member of our short-form sides.”

Fast-medium bowler Doug Bracewell has also been added to the list after impressing Hesson on the tour of England.

Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who has been supplanted as the top test spinner by Mark Craig, and limited-overs specialist Colin Munro dropped off the list.

A third spot on the list opened up with the retirement of swing bowler Kyle Mills after the World Cup.

The 20 players on the list are ranked according to their expected impact over all three formats in the next year, with test matches being given twice the weighting of limited overs matches.

The player at the top of the list receives the highest retainer.

Local media reported on Wednesday the player ranked at the top would receive about N$200,000 a year plus match payments. The players ranked 18-20 receive about NZ$81,000.

Central contracts list: Corey Anderson, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Grant Elliott, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson

Focused, passionate and consistent: Dilip Vengsarkar backs new Team India skipper Ajinkya Rahane

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Ajinkya Rahane, Ajinkya Rahane India, India Ajinkya Rahane, Ajinkya Rahane India captain, Dilip Vengsarkar Ajinkya Rahane, Ajinkya Rahane Dilip Vengsarkar, Cricket News, Cricket Rahane was on Monday named captain of the 15-member team that will tour Zimbabwe in July. (Source: PTI)

Former India skipper and ex-chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar on Tuesday hailed batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who was named Indian team’s captain for the Zimbabwe series, as a consistent performer who has come of age, and said he will gain valuable experience in his new role.

“It’s good news. He will gain valuable experience leading India. I think he has come of age. It’s an honour for a cricketer to lead the country. He’s been playing very well and scored runs against all opposition,” Vengsarkar said.

Rahane was on Monday named captain of the 15-member team that will tour Zimbabwe in July as Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli, among other seniors, were rested. India face the hosts in the first One-Day International (ODI) on July 10.

“He’s focused, passionate, consistent, very disciplined and is very consistent which the hallmark of a good cricketer,” said Vengsakar, who is the vice president of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and chairman of MCA’s Cricket Improvement Commitee (CIC).

He specially praised Rahane for his Lord’s Test ton against England last season.

“The hundred he made at Lord’s was brilliant. I watched that innings and rate it very high as it came when India had lost wickets. It was a crucial innings (103) from the team’s point of view as India won that game,” Vengsarkar said.

WATCH: This is what happened behind that Andy Roddick ace

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Andy-Roddick-ap-m Roddick, who retired from professional tennis in 2012, hit the fastest serve in 2004 which was 249.4 km/h. (Source: AP)

Andy Roddick, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all have their unique serves. But what is common between them is that they all hit the ball very hard. As a spectator, you are not able to see how the tennis ball faces the brunt of this brute force with your naked eye.


However, this video will show you how the tennis ball contracts in the immediate aftermath of being hit by a racket.

The slow motion video depicts how the ball almost gets swallowed up by the racket before being dispatched at 142 kmph.

Cricket-Santner, Elliott earn NZ central contracts

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WELLINGTON, July 1 (Reuters) - Rookie all-rounder Mitchell Santner and veteran Grant Elliott have been rewarded for their recent strong performances by being included in New Zealand's list of centrally contracted players on Wednesday.

Australia pacer Mitchell Starc raises doubts over day-night Tests

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Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Starc Australia, Australia Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Starc Ashes, Mitchell Starc pink ball, pink ball test, day night test, day night Test match, Ashes Mitchell Starc, Cricket News, Cricket Starc questioned the efficacy of the format, suggesting night Tests might need to be recorded separately given the vastly different conditions on offer. (Source: AP)

Australia paceman Mitchell Starc has expressed concerns about the pink ball to be used in the first day-night Test, saying it behaved “very differently” to the usual red ball and crowds might not even be able to see it.

Starc, who was named the player of the World Cup in March, also questioned the efficacy of the format as a measure of a cricketer’s career, suggesting night Tests might need to be recorded separately given the vastly different conditions on offer.

The 25-year-old left-armer was involved in a round of Sheffield Shield day-night trial matches in Australia but was not convinced by the concept.

“It doesn’t react anything like the red ball, in terms of swing and the hardness of it anyway,” he told media in England, where Australia are preparing for the Ashes.

“It goes soft pretty quickly, I didn’t see a huge amount of reverse swing in that game and I don’t think it swung from memory too much until the artificial light took over.

“It definitely reacts very, very differently to the red ball.

“The other thing as well is, personally, I couldn’t see the thing at night on the boundary. I couldn’t see the ball. So I’m not sure how the crowd are going to see it.

“I understand the pink ball has changed a lot from when it first came in for trials. It’s improved a lot, so Kookaburra has done well there.

“But time will tell if it works with the crowds and the viewership and the way that cricketers respond to it.”

The first day-night Test will be played between Australia and New Zealand on Nov. 27, the third and final match of their series, with administrators hopeful the format can translate to improved crowds and broadcast revenue.

After Tuesday’s announcement, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland insisted the ball was ready for use after years of development and testing.

Starc’s skepticism was at odds with some of his team mates, including batsman Steven Smith and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who both welcomed the initiative.

Australia Test opener Chris Rogers, however, has effectively ruled himself out of playing night Tests given his colour-blindness affects his vision of the pink ball.

“He’s not the only player out there who is going to be affected by seeing the ball,” Starc said.

“Whether you have to start a whole new set of stats for the pink ball as you do with the red and white ball — it throws up a huge number of questions and theories about where the game is going.”

Copa America semi-final: Lionel Messi the playmaker in Argentina’s 6-1 rout of Paraguay

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Lionel Messi, Lionel Messi Argentina, Argentina, Paraguay national football team, Argentina vs Paraguay, Paraguay vs Argentina, Copa America live score, Copa America live, Football News, Football Messi demonstrated his brilliant play-making abilities when he beat three defenders — poking the ball through the legs of one of them — in a remarkable run that culminated in Argentina’s fourth goal by Di Maria. (Source: AP)

Lionel Messi helped set up five goals as Argentina trounced Paraguay 6-1 in the Copa America semifinals on Tuesday, setting up a final against host Chile.

Messi assisted in first-half goals by Marcos Rojo and Javier Pastore and one of Angel Di Maria’s second-half goals. The Barcelona star also helped set up the final two goals by Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

Messi demonstrated his brilliant play-making abilities when he beat three defenders — poking the ball through the legs of one of them — in a remarkable run that culminated in Argentina’s fourth goal by Di Maria.

Striker Lucas Barrios scored the lone goal for Paraguay, which was trying to reach its second straight Copa America final after losing to Uruguay in the 2011 tournament.

In Saturday’s final, Argentina will attempt to end a 22-year title drought to give Messi his first triumph with the national team, while Chile, boosted by the home crowd and its best generation of players in years, will be going for its first South American championship.

Argentina hasn’t won a significant trophy since the 1993 Copa America, when Messi was 6 years old. The Argentines were eliminated by eventual champion Uruguay in the Copa America quarterfinals at home in 2011, and lost consecutive finals to rival Brazil in 2004 and 2007.

But Argentina has won the previous four Copa Americas played in Chile — the last in 1991. It’s also never lost to Chile in the tournament.

Argentina outplayed Paraguay during most of the match in Concepcion, controlling possession and creating scoring chances from the beginning. The team only struggled for a few minutes before halftime, but came back to crush its rivals in the second half.

Paraguay lost two key players because of injury in the first half — playmaker Derlis Gonzalez in the 26th minute and veteran striker Roque Santa Cruz in the 30th. Gonzalez was crucial in the quarterfinals against Brazil, scoring the equalizer and converting the decisive penalty in the shootout.

Rojo opened the scoring in the 15th after Messi’s free kick into the penalty area. Paraguayan defenders failed to clear the ball and Rojo easily found the net from the six-meter (yard) line.

Messi than set up Pastore’s goal in the 27th by feeding him the ball in perfect position for a low shot from the top of the area.

Paraguay pulled one closer in the 43rd when striker Lucas Barrios fired a powerful left-footed shot from just outside the area after Argentina defender Nicolas Otamendi erred by trying to move the ball forward with a long pass.

Di Maria added to Argentina’s lead just two minutes into the second half after entering the area free of any defenders and scored again five minutes later after Messi’s spectacular run past three Paraguayan defenders. Pastore received the pass from Messi, but his shot was saved by Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar, and Di Maria found the open net off the rebound.

Messi also started the play that led to the fifth goal, an 80th-minute header by Aguero after a left-side cross by Di Maria. In the sixth goal, Messi poked the ball forward to set up Higuain’s close-range shot in the 83rd.

Messi nearly scored himself with a curling free kick shot in the 39th that barely missed and also came close in the 68th with a close-range shot that was saved by Villar.

Paraguay has never beaten Argentine in 24 Copa America matches.

Cricket-World Cup's best Starc lashes Australia's day-night test

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MELBOURNE, July 1 (Reuters) - Australia paceman Mitchell Starc has expressed concerns about the pink ball to be used in the first day-night test, saying it behaved "very differently" to the usual red ball and crowds might not even be able to see it.

Rooks meet hooks, 64 squares in the middle of a ring

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Boxing, Boxing India, Chess, Chess game, Chess India, India Chess, Chessboxing, chessboxing india, india chessboxing, sports news, boxing news, chess news, sports, news 90 contestants took part in the Senior National Chess Boxing in Kolkata .

They play a round of chess then remove their thinking cap to pull on a pair of boxing gloves. They return to the chessboard and go the boxing ring again. It continues for five rounds (final is played over seven rounds) and eventually there’s a winner. Checkmate brings instant victory. So does a knockout punch. This is chessboxing in a nutshell.

Requiring special skills to be good at both and execute them simultaneously, this sport is a marriage between brain and brawn.

Over the last couple of days, Kolkata hosted the fourth senior national chessboxing championship at Salt Lake SAI.

Eight states participated and 90 contestants turned up. Andhra finished as team champions, while Bengal and Maharashtra were first and second runners-up respectively. But results perhaps were not very important. Novelty was the main attraction. About 200-odd enthusiasts who cared to be present, found the event engrossing.

For 21-year-old Dipti, chessboxing was a favourite pastime till the other day. But the young girl from Andhra is now seriously thinking about becoming a professional, after winning the gold medal in the women’s 48kg category. “I started boxing early, when I was six years old. I decided to switch to chessboxing because I found the sport very interesting. I had to learn chess and attended a school camp for 20 days before coming here. I started to train twice a day. It was difficult, given that I work in a private firm to earn my living. But I’m thinking about becoming a professional. This sport offers big possibilities,” Dipti said, speaking to The Indian Express.

Subhojit Das concurred. The Class XI student from St Joseph, New Alipore won the gold medal in the men’s 58-62kg category. He has already decided about making a career in chessboxing. “You’re constantly changing gears in this sport and that’s the real challenge. You start off with three minutes and 40 seconds of chess followed by three minutes of boxing before returning to play chess again. It’s not easy. You’re coming back to the chessboard bruised and battered and still trying to concentrate hard to make the right moves. I found it very difficult in the beginning but practise has helped me adapt,” said Subhojit.

Almost all participants were originally boxers or martial arts exponents who took to chess after becoming chessboxers. Subhojit checkmated his opponents in all three matches here. “It helps if you’re a good chess player. You’ve a head start… I’m a kickboxer but have been learning chess for the past four years.”

Subhojit’s father Montu is the founder president of the Chessboxing Organisation of India. He’s father figure to everyone who’s associated to the sport. What made him plunge into the novelty? “I was a kickboxer (4th Dan Black Belt) and yoga and meditation had always been part of my preparation. You need to calm the nerves before going into a high-combat sport. So I thought, why not bring chess and kickboxing together to combine mind and physique in the playing arena? I started in 2011. Four years down the line, I’m happy with the progress.

“The idea obviously came from Europe and the United States. Now 15 states in our country have actively taken up this sport. From India, chessboxing has gone to Iran, China and Afghanistan as well. Bangladesh, too, are showing interest,” Montu elaborated.

K Trimurtullu agreed. A boxing coach, he insisted that his favourite ward G Sujata make a switch to chessboxing after meeting Montu last year. “Sujata was very good at boxing at age-group levels. But she was not good enough for the senior level. Montu Das convinced me to send her to chessboxing. Sujata trained for two months under chess coach M Ramakrishna before the national. Now I can say I made the right decision. She did very well in Kolkata.

Also, chessboxing is growing fast and has got a bright future.” Sujata bagged the best boxer award in the fourth national.

There’s one problem though. Chessboxing is still not affiliated to Indian Olympic Association. Applications have been sent to the IOA and sports ministry, and Montu awaits a reply. The national championship, however, had good support from the sponsors. Big corporate houses extended help, close to Rs 6.5 lakh was raised. Why are the corporates so interested?

“This sport has potential. Both chess and boxing are popular and a combination makes the whole package attractive,” said Montu. A top officer from ONGC – one of the sponsors for the event – preferred caution. “Our policy tells us to support sport at national and international levels. But it’s too early to comment on chessboxing’s potential.”

Mumbai’s Sailesh Tripathi was the only Indian at the World Chessboxing in 2013. The next world championship is scheduled in 2016 and according to Montu, the number can increase to 12. Maybe his belief is not misplaced.

Chandrakant Pandit named Mumbai’s Ranji coach

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India Cricket team, mumbai cricket team, mumbai cricket, cricket mumbai, mumbai ranji team, mumbai coach, mumbai cricket coach, mumbai ranji coach, mumbai ranji team coach, ranji trophy, cricket news, cricket Chandrakant Pandit (L) has earlier been the coach of the Mumbai team for three seasons between 2002-05.

Former India wicket-keeper Chandrakant Pandit will replace Pravin Amre as the coach of the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team. The Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) headed by Dilip Vengsarkar gave the nod to Pandit’s reappointment in a meeting held at Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) office on Tuesday. Pandit has earlier been the coach of the Mumbai team for three seasons between 2002-05 and is currently looking after Kerala Cricket Association as a director.

Pandit shepherded Mumbai to the Ranji Trophy title twice and has had fruitful stints in Maharashtra and Rajasthan as well. MCA has appointed Pandit as head coach of the Mumbai team as well as the Indoor academy.”

“It always feels nice to come back home. I have been associated with Mumbai for so many years. Coaching Mumbai teams gives you different pride which is hard to explain. There were indications earlier that MCA wanted me to be their coach but when I was contacted I just couldn’t say “no,” Pandit told The Indian Express.

Mumbai has seen some severe ups and down in the past few years. Its young and inexperienced side will be challenge to work with, Pandit says adding that it’s the same set of boys whom he had worked with when they were kids.”

“I know all of them, many of them were 14,16 or 19 when I was working as director of MCA indoor academy. For me winnning is important but the more important point is to develop a team. Mumbai players know the taste of winning, they have won Ranji Trophy 40 times. We have an inexperienced group right now. But more importantly it’s a process and things will take some ti”e,” Pandit added.

Vengsarkar said that Pandit will bring a lot of experience with him and under him Mumbai has won many titles before.”

“Chandu has been around for a long time and under him we won a lot (of titles). (Pravin) Amre did extremely well last season but wasn’t keen to coach (this season). Pandit is a proven guy, excellent strategist and good in management. He was the best (choice) we had,” he said.

The CIC also discussed names of former Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni and Sameer Dighe but the committee felt Pandit was the best man for the job.

Meanwhile, Milind Rege once again has been appointed chairman of selection committee. Former India pacer Karsan Ghavri, Ravi Thaker and Nishit Shetty are the other members.

Vijender Singh needs more stamina: Gurbax Singh Sandhu

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Vijender Singh, Vijender Singh India, Vijender Singh boxing, Vijender Singh boxer, Vijender Singh height, vijender singh biography, viju, viju boxer, boxing india, india boxing, boxing coach india, boxing news, boxing Vijender Singh (L) is a Olympic bronze-medalist for India. (Source: AP)

A day after Vijender Singh turned professional, coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, who has worked with the boxer for a decade and a half, spoke about his most famous ward’s chances in his new endeavour.

On his first reaction?

We were aiming for the Rio Olympics and if he would have stayed, it would have been a record for him to play in his fourth Olympics. There was money in amateur circuit. But I guess he always wanted to be a professional.

On Vijender’s chances?

Vijender has been a sensible boxer and he knew his limitations also. He is good at straight punches and counter attacks and he is always quick to change his style. In professional boxing, he will have to work on his stamina and with fewer bouts per year with wide gaps, he needs to maintain his style and fitness. It’s not easy. You play different boxers and in different conditions and you plan for that one bout for 3-4 months in an year, unlike amateur boxing where you fight 4-5 bouts in a week.

On what it means for Indian boxing?

We have lost a great team-mate, a good boxer and a good motivator in the Indian team. In his weight category, we always had 2-3 best boxers and he would be excited to train. He understood his responsibility and that showed in 2010 Asian games when after the CWG loss, he won the gold medal.

Given population, we should have 11 home-grown players: Sunil Chhetri

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india football, india football ranking, india football news, football in india, football india, football team india, sunil chhetri, sunil chhetri isl, sunil chhetri skills, football news, football Chhetri has urged Indian scouts to spot talent at an early age.

In an ideal world, Sunil Chhetri would have wanted to avoid the prospect of inviting Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) to the national team, yet he maintains that it is the need of the hour that led to head coach Stephen Constantine’s clarion call. The Indian skipper, nonetheless, asserts that significant efforts should be made to find talented players within the country before going abroad.

“For countries with a small population like Guam, it makes sense to ask foreign residents to play. But here we have such a large population. We should be able to get 11 strong players. It’s all about finding them soon and then getting them to undergo high level training,” he says.

The example the 30-year-old mentions is his Bengaluru FC teammate Eugeneson Lyngdoh, whose impressive display for the club earned him his first national cap at the age of 28. “Finding him at that age is too late. We should have had him in the national camp set-up much earlier to get him to develop much sooner. That way he would have been an experienced player in the squad right now instead of being a newcomer,” he mentions.

Yet, while the striker has called for a stronger search for potential talent within the country, he is open to the idea of welcoming a PIO as a teammate, but only if the candidate is good enough to immediately slot in the starting 11 of the national team.

Options for attacking roles will top the priority list from PIOs, should the necessary permissions be put in place.That consideration itself is what may provide relief to India’s shortage of strikers. Since Chhetri’s emergence in the national team in 2005, to former captain Baichung Bhutia’s retirement in 2011, the pair dominated the Indian strike force. However, Chhetri now stands alone as the sole-effective representative in the forward line. Yet he claims that it’s only a matter of time before his teammates step up. “I was lucky because when I got into the team, it was a senior group with established players like Baichung, Mahesh Gawli, Renedy and Deepak Mondal among others. But here it’s a junior bunch in a transitional phase, so they will need some time,” he asserts.

Another concern in the strikers department is I-League clubs’ tendency to purchase foreign players to take up the goal-scoring responsibilities rather than rely on homegrown products. The only way for domestic prospects to cope with the international transfers then is to simply be better than their foreign counterparts. “Coaches only play the best player in each position. So you have to up your game to get there,” Chhetri adds.

The shortage of strikers, however, wasn’t the only reason for the unexpected away defeat to lowly Guam in the World Cup qualifiers. Head coach Stephen Constantine had fielded a fairly inexperienced side to face the no. 174 ranked Pacific outfit. Chhetri though quells all excuses. “We lost because we simply didn’t play to our potential. We lost against Oman too, but people still cheered for us because they knew we gave it our all. Against Guam, we didn’t play well. No matter what anyone says, whatever reasons one gives, be it traveling 14 hours or whatever else. We just didn’t play well,” he laments.

Incidentally, it was the shock defeat that compelled the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to approach the sports ministry to alter its firm stand on the eligibility of Indian-origin players for the national team.

Hockey World League: Indian eves no match for mighty Netherlands, lose 7-0

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Hockey India, India Hockey, Hockey World League, india hockey team, indian hockey team, indian womens hockey team, Hockey World League semifinal, Hockey World League 2015, India vs Netherlands, hockey news, hockey India will face Italy in the fifth to eight classification spots. (Source: FIH)

Indian eves crashed out in the quarterfinals of the Hockey World League Semifinals after they were drubbed 0-7 by world champions The Netherlands at the KHC Dragons Stadium, in Antwerp on Tuesday.

Swept away by the early onslaught in the quarterfinal contest, the Indian women’s hockey team’s defence wilted under the pace set by the Dutch girls, for whom Caia van Maasakker converted three penalty corners and Lidewij Walten scored twice.

India, ranked No 13 in the world, were no challenge for World Cup and Olympic title holders The Netherlands, whose goal was threatened only twice through two penalty corners that India forced in the second half.

In the semifinal encounter, The Netherlands will take on Australia, silver medalists at the World Cup last year, who prevailed 2-0 over minnows Italy in the quarterfinals.

India will face Italy in the fifth to eight classification spots.

The Dutch goal rampage began in the opening minute when Naomi van As dribbled along the goal-line from the right and beat Indian custodian Savita with a deft scoop.

India managed to break into the rival circle in the fourth minute, when Vandana Katariya shot diagonally into the goalkeeper, before the Dutch scored again in the ninth minute from their first penalty corner. Willemijn Bos’s drive was deflected in by Walten.

The Dutch were denied a goal on their second penalty corner in the last minute of the first quarter before Van Maasakker scored the first of her goals, with a low drag-flick into the right corner of the board in the 16th minute.

Ajinkya Rahane wants to imbibe MS Dhoni’s calmness, Virat Kohli’s controlled aggression

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Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Indian cricket team, Team India, Cricket News, Cricket, MS Dhoni India, India MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli India, India Virat Kohli, Sports News, Sports Ajinkya Rahane has played under various captains – Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. (Source: File)

Named captain for the tour of Zimbabwe, Ajinkya Rahane says he would like to take Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s calmness and Virat Kohli’s controlled aggression into the field when he wears the skipper’s hat in the upcoming limited-overs series.

Over the years, Rahane has played under various captains – Rahul Dravid, Dhoni and Kohli.

Asked what he would like to imbibe form them, Rahane said, “Firstly, playing under MS Dhoni I would observe how he would be calm on the field. He has a very peculiar and calm way of handling situations. I would like to take that quality from him. What I would like to take from Virat Kohli would be controlled aggression. You can see that quality in his batting and his captaincy.”

“And finally, Rahul bhai is someone who likes to keep things really simple on the field which I got to know while playing under him with the Rajasthan Royals.”

The 27-year-old batsman, who had led the Mumbai U-19 side in the past, though has his own ideas as far as captaincy is concerned.

“I have my own set of ideas and I know what I have to do on the field. Obviously I have others to help me out as well and I wouldn’t mind running up to them for advices. But I would like to take calmness, controlled aggression and simplicity from the three captains that I just spoke about,” Rahane was quoted as saying by ‘’.

Talking about the tour, he said, “As a captain I believe it is always important to back your players and give them confidence. I want to lead by example and be positive at all times. It is a challenge to lead a side that doesn’t have the services of the seniors, but every international tour is challenging. We take every opposition seriously and Zimbabwe is no different.”

Asked further about how he would like to lead the side, Rahane said, “As a captain you have to access the situations and conditions and analyse every opposition. We will actually get a good idea of how to strategise when we meet as a group and jot down our plan in Zimbabwe. I am just looking forward to back my instincts and back my style of leadership.

“I will be taking help from the support staff as well. I also have the experience of Harbhajan Singh in the side whose guidance will be of great help. I have tried to learn from each and every captain I have played under.

“We would like to finish on a high and we want to do well in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe have been playing well of late and put up a spirited performance in the World Cup. We will play to our potential and give our best.”

Wimbledon 2015: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal ease into Round 2

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Wimbledon 2015, Wimbledon, Wimbledon 2015 results, Wimbledon 2015 News, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Tennis News, Tennis Roger Federer, who has won 17 Grand Slam titles, is playing in his 63rd consecutive major. (Source: AP)

It looked all too easy for the champions at the All England Club.

Defending women’s champion Petra Kvitova and former men’s winners Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all won their first-round matches at Wimbledon on Tuesday in straight sets and in rapid-fire fashion.

Of the three, only Nadal lost serve and the big names imposed themselves with ease on Day 2 of the grass-court Grand Slam as London basked in warm, sunny conditions.

In keeping with Wimbledon tradition, Kvitova had the honor of playing the first match on Centre Court on the second day as the reigning women’s champion.

The second-seeded Czech wasted no time in reasserting her dominance on her favorite court, overpowering Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-0 in just 35 minutes.

Kvitova won 28 of 29 points on serve, with the only blemish coming when she double-faulted on the first point of the final game, hitting a 93 mph (150 kph) second serve just wide. She won the next four points, finishing — appropriately — with a service winner.

While Kvitova was happy to sail through so quickly, she felt bad for her parents, who were guests in the Royal Box and got to see their daughter play for barely more than half an hour.

“I have to say sorry to them,” she said, smiling. “I think they are happy anyway.”

Federer, the seven-time men’s champion, followed Kvitova on Centre Court and also made quick work of his opponent. The second-seeded Swiss needed just 68 minutes to dispatch 88th-ranked Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.

Federer, bidding to become the first man to win eight Wimbledon titles, broke five times and never faced a break point.

“I was happy I played aggressive,” he said. “I must say I’m very happy, always, to win like that.”

Federer, who has won 17 Grand Slam titles, is playing in his 63rd consecutive major.

“Somehow the streak is still alive and I’m also very proud of the fact that I never retired from a match once it started,” he said. “Those two stats I care about and hope I can keep them up for the remainder of my career.”

Nadal, the two-time champion, coasted to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil on Court 1. He hopped in the air and pumped his fist after completing the victory.

“Here the feeling in Wimbledon is so special, and playing on grass, too,” Nadal said. “So always is very emotional when you hit some good shots in this beautiful club.”

Nadal, who lost in the first round of the Wimbledon warm-up at Queen’s Club and has slipped to No. 10 in the rankings, was broken twice and was credited with fewer winners (21) than unforced errors (23) but still was never seriously troubled.

“In general, it was a very positive victory,” the Spaniard said. “Straight sets. Not bad feelings.”

Another former champion, 2013 winner Andy Murray, was playing the third match on Centre Court, facing Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.

In another one-sided women’s match, 10th-seeded Angelique Kerber swept fellow German Carina Witthoeft 6-0, 6-0 — the third “double bagel” in two days.

On Monday, both Venus Williams and Andrea Petkovic won their matches 6-0, 6-0. Those were the first double bagels at Wimbledon in six years.

Kerber said the scoreline of the 44-minute match was misleading.

“I think it was a good match for me,” she said. “Carina was playing not bad, actually. So the games (were) not like 40-0. It was very close, actually.”

Other men’s winners Tuesday included No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 22 Viktor Troicki, No. 23 Ivo Karlovic, No. 25 Andreas Seppi and No. 30 Fabio Fognini.

Jack Sock, the 13th-seeded American, was knocked out by Sam Groth of Australia, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Among the women, No. 17 Elina Svitolina and No. 20 Garbine Muguruza advanced to the second round.

Vijender Singh cannot accept another employment: Haryana Police

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Vijender Singh, Vijender Singh India, Vijender Singh pro, Vijender Singh turns pro, Vijender Turns Pro, VIjender Singh professional, Boxing News, Sports News, Sports Vijender Singh was appointed as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) by previous Bhupinder Singh Hooda government in Haryana. (Source: Twitter)

Haryana Police warned of action against Olympic bronze-medallist boxer Vijender Singh if he failed to seek permission from the state government for turning professional.

“He (Vijender) is a government servant and he cannot accept another employment. Without government’s permission, how he can accept money from other place,” Haryana Additional DGP (Administration) K K Sharma said.

“If he does so on his own, then action can be taken against him,” he further said.

Sharma said Vijender could be discharged from services if he fails to get permission from the government.

He said that Haryana Police does not have any official intimation about Vijender turning pro. Action, if any in the matter, can only be taken after there is official confirmation.

Vijender was appointed as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) by previous Bhupinder Singh Hooda government in Haryana for his outstanding record in boxing at national and international level.

Cricket-Former Proteas all-rounder Van der Merwe makes Dutch switch

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CAPE TOWN, June 30 (Reuters) - South African limited overs specialist Roelof van der Merwe has made himself available immediately to represent the Netherlands after receiving his Dutch passport.

We need to be at our best to be able to match Malaysia: Sardar Singh

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Sardar Singh, Sardar Singh India, Sardar Singh hockey, Sardar Singh captain India, Sardar Singh captain, Hockey, Hockey news, FIH World League Semi-finals, FIH World League, India vs Malaysia Indian captain Sardar Singh said Malaysia were a competitive team and not easy to get past. (Source: PTI)

Soundly thrashed by Australia in their last match, India would look to sort out their defensive woes when they take on Malaysia in their quarterfinal match of the Hockey World League Semifinals in Antwerp on Wednesday.

The Indian defenders, who let in six goals against world champions Australia in their last group match, will be again tested by the nippy Malaysians tomorrow as the knockout competition begins at the KHC Dragons Stadium.

Going into Wednesday’s quarterfinal encounter against Asian Games champions India, the Malaysians would draw confidence from their 3-2 victory in the last fixture between the two teams at the Azlan Shah Cup two months ago.

While India are looking to make this a fruitful sojourn for the young players being fielded here, Malaysia are expected to throw everything into tomorrow’s contest as it could secure them qualification for the Olympic Games.

India’s passage to the 2016 Olympics is secure after winning the Asian Games gold medal at Incheon last year, allowing them the luxury of providing exposure to several young players, but they would be eager to finish on the podium ahead of hosting the World League Finals in December.

India coach Paul van Ass is rankled by the way his wards were hustled by Australia in the last preliminary league match, in which India suffered a 2-6 drubbing.

“The way we played against Australia can be very damaging,” said coach van Ass, whose team is hampered by the absence of seasoned penalty-corner drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh, who got injured during practice matches in Antwerp.

Rupinder has not played any role in the tournament so far, but was seen training with the team during their last two matches.

Indian captain Sardar Singh said Malaysia, who had arrived here after winning SEA Games gold medal in Singapore, were a competitive team and not easy to get past.

“Malaysia are a tough side, we need to be at our best to be able to match them. We must capitalise on the chances that we get,” said Sardar, aware that Malaysia’s nippy strikers could pose a threat to India’s defence.

Sardar conceded that his team has been giving away soft penalty corners to their opponents while Rupinder’s absence has impacted on their own penalty corner conversion.

“We’ve been giving away easy penalty corners, which can hurt us. Bumpy balls are also the feature of this pitch. One needs to keep that in mind, or else you can be caught on the wrong foot,” he said.

“We’re missing Rupinder Pal Singh both in converting the penalty corners and in defending those against us,” said captain Sardar, even as the team management is cautious not to aggravate the injury by fielding Rupinder too soon.

Unlike this tournament, where injuries have also reduced the strength of the Indian teams, it was a much stronger Indian outfit that was beaten by Malaysia on their home turf at Ipoh in April.

Undaunted by India’s status as the reigning Asian Games champions, Malaysia have promised to raise the tempo as they view Wednesday’s match as their chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Three spots from each of the World League Semifinals are on offer for the Olympic Games, but even some positions outside the semifinals have a realistic chance of making it to the 2016 Olympics.

Multiple qualification routes that allocate five spots to continental tournaments can lead to dual qualification by some countries. That could allow even teams placed fifth or sixth in the World League Semifinals from making it to the Olympics.

Former Olympic and world champions Pakistan are also confronted with a tough quarterfinal fixture against Great Britain. Both are eager to seal spots in the Olympic lineup. For Pakistan, this tournament is their last chance of qualifying for the Olympics. Coach Shahnaz Sheikh said his players will throw everything into the quarterfinal.

“This one victory can take us to the Olympics,” said Shahnaz, whose wards lost the Asian Games final to India in penalty shoot-out. Three-time Olympic gold medalists, Pakistan have played at every Olympics since their first appearance in 1948. Pakistan had failed to feature among the 12 teams for the 2014 World Cup, an event that they have won more times than any other country.

In other quarterfinals, World Cup holders Australia take on Ireland, while hosts Belgium are drawn against France.

Umbrellas up at Wimbledon – to keep the sun off

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wimbledon, wimbledon 2015, Rafael Nadal, Nadal, Roger fedrer, Rafael Nadal Wimbledon, Nadal Wimbeldon, Sports News, Sports With soaring temperatures players are being advised to take an ice bath before their match. (Source: AP)

As is so often the case, the weather was the number one topic of conversation at Wimbledon on Tuesday but for once it was not the prospect of rain that brought out the umbrellas but a beating sun on what was forecast to be the hottest day of the year.

Afternoon temperatures were expected to reach 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) — considerably higher on court– and the public address announcers were busy warning fans to drink water, apply sunscreen and wear hats.

While organisers of the Australian Open would consider such temperatures to be something of a spring chill, for Wimbledon it is truly tropical.

Almost all the outside courts offer no shade at all and even the show courts are exposed to the sun’s full glare for most of the afternoon, with only the large umbrellas held by ball boys and girls during changeovers offering relief for the players.

There is a “heat rule” in place but it is about as clear as cricket’s Duckworth-Lewis system divided by Pi squared.

Firstly, for no apparent logical reason, it applies only to the women. They are allowed a 10-minute break between the second and third sets when the “heat stress index” is at or above 30.1 degrees Celsius, but only if it reaches that figure before the match starts.

The heat stress index is produced by factoring in air temperature, humidity and surface temperature.
Why it does not apply to the men’s game, where best-of-five matches are often considerably longer, nobody at Wimbledon was immediately able to explain.

The retractable roof on Centre Court was installed to keep out the rain and there are no rules in place to allow it be closed to reduce the court temperature, despite that being regular practice at the Australian Open in Melbourne where 40 degrees days are not uncommon.

Organisers will be pleased, however, with their decision to install an additional six ice baths in the locker rooms this year. Normally used for post-exercise recovery, players are being advised to have a pre-match dip ahead their matches.

With Wednesday’s temperatures expected to be even higher, Britain’s Met Office has issued a “Level Two Heat Alert” which helps healthcare services prepare to deal with a potential surge in cases of people suffering from heat-related issues.


Biggest load of bull**** I have been hearing: Ravi Shastri on Virat Kohli-MS Dhoni rift rumours

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MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Kohli Dhoni rift, Dhoni Kohli Fight, Virat Kohli India, India Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri India, India Ravi Shastri, Cricket News, Cricket Ravi Shastri said Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have utmost respect for each other. (Source: PTI)

“Biggest load of bull**** I have been hearing”, Indian cricket team’s director Ravi Shastri said, dismissing reports of a rift between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli.

Shastri said the two players have utmost respect for each other and the Indian team was “one honest bunch” who believed in playing for each other.

“It’s (rift between Dhoni and Kohli) the biggest load of bull**** I have been hearing. It’s one honest bunch who believes in playing for each other. That’s why the results you have had over the last year, 70 percent of matches won,” said Shastri.

“You ought to see the respect they have for each other. Kohli is young, flamboyant, in-your-face character. He will learn with the exposure he gets. He is only 26, let him settle into captaincy for a year or two,” he said.

Shastri spoke highly of current ODI captain Dhoni, calling him an all-time legend, who played on his own terms.

“Dhoni is an all-time legend. He is the kind of bloke who plays on his own terms. It’s best exemplified in the manner he quit Test cricket. I would have known many who would have loved to go for a 100-Test milestone,” he said.

Asked whether young players like Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have settled in the team, Shastri said their best is yet to come.

“They do carry a huge promise. All are young, in the 26- 28 age bracket. Their best is still ahead. It’s not just the figures but their style of cricket that has heartened me. They didn’t take a step back; they were in face of opposition and that warmed everyone’s heart including Australians.

“Kohli was magnificent. We lost two Tests in Australia and in both of them we aimed wins. 400 runs in each of the four Tests. And the way we stepped up in the World Cup…a good team usually makes the big tournaments count. India raised the bar every time they took the field in the showpiece event.”

Shastri also spoke about his experience with a young team, his own role in shaping their careers, the need to identify the pacers for different conditions and future of Indian cricket in the interview.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: You have had a run with the Indian team in England, Australia and now Bangladesh. As one in charge of the team for the past eight months, you have seen these boys in five Tests and some 25 ODIs. How settled is the bunch now?

A: The context here is necessary. A win at Lord’s in England. Then hammered out of sight in next three Tests. The boys literally had to pick themselves up from the shoelaces. That they did. And to have done so with the aggressive brand of cricket for eight months, including four Tests in Australia and World Cup, was heady. Even after we lost the first two ODIs in Bangladesh, all I told them was to enjoy the last game. I wanted them to remember they have had an outstanding year. That they had won against every country barring Australia on a cricket field.

Q: How about our bowling. Dhoni has been public in his disappointment with the pacers?

A: If we are to climb up the ladder, this is an area we need to pay attention. A Test is never won without 20 wickets. But it’s no panic time yet. We just need to identify bowlers for different conditions, the classic case of horses for courses. It ought not to be all-pace on the subcontinental tracks. Accuracy and skills should count more. Bowlers who fit that bill should be encouraged.

Q: A lot of Indian batsmen give credit to you for adjustment in their techniques. Do you think India still needs a head coach?

A: It’s just not me, but the entire support staff. These boys were willing to listen and make those little changes. That only comes out of trust and respect. They know what’s in the dressing room, stays there. The three in support staff— Sanjay, Arun, Sridhar—haven’t dropped from the heaven. They have been in the system for a long, long time. They have spent years on the field. They watched these boys while they were being hatched as cricketers. It’s the comfort level between the players and support staff which bodes well. My take on head coach is its’ BCCI’s call. We already have three coaches plus me. A head coach just shouldn’t fill the post but add value. Representing India shouldn’t come easy, isn’t it.

Q: And how do you see your own role within the team?

A: It’s a responsible, challenging job. Thankless too. In a sensitive country like ours, we are expected to win always. And if you don’t, be ready to receive a few kicks up your backside. My various roles in the game for the past 35 years, as a cricketer, administrator and a media professional, hold me in good stead. For the moment, I would let go on media. Can’t do two jobs in one go. But I am prepared to make that sacrifice. I have been in broadcast box for 20-plus years. Many more such seasons could be there in future. But it can all wait for the time being, barring IPL as I see no conflict (of interest) there.

Q: How do you look at the oncoming season?

A: We have a crowded season and some good cricket is coming up. Teams like Sri Lanka in their own backyard; South Africa in all conditions are tough. The boys would play the cricket as they did in the last season. The highlight was Australia where they looked to win at all times. Even in Bangladesh, we looked to force the result but could only have two days in the field. Win and win alone will again be our endeavour in coming months.

It is a happy feeling to make a comeback to ODIs: Murali Vijay

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Murali Vijay, Murali Vijay India, India Murali Vijay, Murali Vijay ODIs, Vijay India ODIs, India ODIs Vijay, India tour of Zimbabwe, India vs Zimbabwe, Ind vs Zim, Cricket News, Cricket Murali Vijay last played an ODI against Sri Lanka in 2013. (Source: AP)

Looking to grab the Zimbabwe with both hands, Indian opener Murali Vijay said that he was certainly expecting a call up in the ODI squad after putting in some effort in 32 Test appearances since 2008.

On board to tour Zimbabwe for a three ODI and two T20 match series, Vijay is part of a second string 15-member Indian squad led by Ajinkya Rahane. The Tamil Nadu opener is happy to make an ODI comeback after two years when he last played against Sri Lanka.

“It is a happy feeling to make a comeback to ODIs. I have been batting well in Tests, so I just have to grab the opportunity that has come my way. As a player I was expecting the call-up.

I was the third opener for four series, including the 2013 Champions Trophy, but could not get a game,” Vijay said.

“I have always believed in myself. It is not about competing with anybody. I always compete with myself and I look to improve as far as I can. It is not that I am going to play as a third opener and be happy. I will never be happy.

I have always wanted to be the leading batsman for Indian cricket,” he added. Sans a half-century in the 14 ODIs that he has played for India, Vijay dismisses any talk of self-doubt regarding his game.

“Never. I have been working on my game, on my basics. I have been waiting for the opportunity without rushing myself. Before, when I got the opportunities, they were stop-start. Now that I have got another opportunity, I am just happy and excited to go and express myself on the field,” Vijay said.

“I am not a guy who will give excuses, but you have got to consider the number of matches I have played on the trot. That matters a lot as a batsman. It is not an excuse. I never got a string of ODIs or series. I had to adapt to that in the past,” he added.

The 31-year-old player also played down any talk of being suited to play the longer format better than the limited overs version.

“I never see myself as seeing off a new ball. I always have the intent to play the ball. If the ball is not to be played, I leave it. It is not that I go in to bat with the intention that I have to leave these many balls. It is just that I want to play little more compact to have the upper hand against the bowler. That is my thinking,” he said.

“There are two ways to look at it: either you go aggressive or you go defensive. But all I want to do is give myself more confidence by countering an attack in a good spell in a proper way, and then I can cash in. So I am always thinking of attacking in my mind,” he said.

Wimbledon 2015 live updates blog

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Wimbledon, Wimbledon 2015, 2015 Wimbledon, Wimbledon live, live Wimbledon, Wimbledon 2015 live, live 2015 Wimbledon, 2015 Wimbledon fixtures, Wimbledon News, Wimbledon Catch all the Wimbledon 2015 action live here. (Source: AP)

The biggest Grand Slam Wimbledon enters its second day as players like Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal kick-start their tournaments. Earlier, on Monday, Novak Djokovic opened up his campaign with an easy 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over over Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. French Open winner Stan Wawrinka too made a winning start on Monday. Catch all the Wimbledon 2015 action live here.

Day 1 Report

Novak Djokovic wins easy but can’t shake off cheating row

novakdjokovicreuters2 Novak Djokovic insisted that if the media wanted to pursue their line of questioning then they should talk to Becker. (Source: Reuters)

Defending champion Novak Djokovic fears he is becoming the victim of a smear campaign after his opening Wimbledon victory on Monday was overshadowed by more allegations of cheating. READ THE FULL REPORT…. 

PHOTOS: Defending champs off to attacking start

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