Cricket-Santner retains spot in New Zealand squad for Sri Lanka

Published on: Monday, 30 November 2015 //
WELLINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Spin-bowling all-rounder Mitchell Santner has been retained in New Zealand's 12-man squad for the two-match test series against Sri Lanka after an impressive debut in the third and final test against Australia.

Cricket-New Zealand Cricket back McCullum after Cairns verdict

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WELLINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - New Zealand Cricket have promised to support Brendon McCullum after former test all-rounder Chris Cairns was acquitted of perjury in London despite evidence given against him by the Black Caps captain. Cairns had been accused of falsely claiming he had never cheated at cricket when he won 90,000 pounds ($135,531) in damages from Lalit Modi, the former boss of the Indian Premier League, in a libel action three years ago. McCullum was one of two former team ma

UPDATE 1-Cricket-Australia call up Coulter-Nile after Starc injury

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(Adds quotes, changes dateline, adds byline) By Ian Ransom ADELAIDE, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Australia called up uncapped paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile for the first test against West Indies on Tuesday as a replacement for left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc, who was ruled out of the series due to a broken foot. The 28-year-old Western Australian comes into the 12-man squad for first of three tests in the series against the Caribbean Islanders, which starts at Bellerive Oval Hobart a week on T

Cricket-Australia call up Coulter-Nile after Starc injury

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SYDNEY, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Australia called up uncapped paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile for the first test against West Indies on Tuesday as a replacement for left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc, who was ruled out of the series due to a broken foot. The 28-year-old Western Australian comes into the 12-man squad for first of three tests in the series against the Caribbean Islanders, which starts at Bellerive Oval Hobart a week on Thursday. Coulter-Nile, who has played 13 one-day international

Cricket-England wrap up T20 series with super over win v Pakistan

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Nov 30 (Reuters) - England captain Eoin Morgan hit the winning run as the tourists secured their first T20 whitewash with a thrilling super-over win against Pakistan in the third match of the series in Sharjah on Monday.

Indians fight but falter at ITF Junior Tennis Championships

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Unseeded player Siddhant Banthia took advantage of home conditions to cause the first upset of the ITF Junior Championships toppling sixth-seeded Rian Pundole 6-3, 7-5 in the opening round.

Playing at MSLTA’s School of Tennis in Mhalunge, Balewadi, where the international championship is being organised by MSLTA and PMDTA, 16-year-old Banthia broke Pundole in the 11th game and held on to his serve in the 12th game.

It was a bad day for Indians despite solid performances, as they could not register wins against foreign opponents. Anurag Nenwani scored a 7-5, 6-0 win to oust Georgian David Chelidze in the opening round and top seeded Lithuanian Robert Wrzesinski went through a tough time tackling Dev Javia before winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

Georgian Irakali Metreveli also struggled before overcoming Abhimanyu Vannemreddy 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. Fourth-seeded British player Finn Bass also struggled before humbling Vikrant Dahiya 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

In other encounters of the day, Rishi Reddy scraped past Shrey Gupta 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in perhaps which was the toughest match of the day, while Param Pun ended the challenge of qualifier Piyush Salekar 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

In the girls section, Sravya Shivani Chilakalpudi edged out Priyana Kalita 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, while Shivani Ingle outplayed Aesha Patel of USA 7-5, 6-1 to enter the second round.

In the girls’ section, top-seeded Georgina Axon of Britain, sixth-seeded Kristina Novak of Slovakia, Sing-Le Fan Chiang of Taipei and seventh seeded Milana Lysova of Kazakhstan also moved into round two without much trouble.

England beat Pakistan to win third Twenty20 in Super over finish

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England's batsman Eoin Morgan takes the wickets after the third T20 cricket match between Pakistan and England at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah. (Source: AP) England’s batsman Eoin Morgan takes the wickets after the third T20 cricket match between Pakistan and England at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah. (Source: AP)

England beat Pakistan in the third and final Twenty20 international in a thrilling Super over finish after the regulation match ended in a tie in Sharjah.

Pakistan needed three runs off the last four deliveries but managed just two to tie the match at 154-7 before a packed Sharjah stadium.

Pakistan then managed just three runs in the Super Over which England made off just four balls for a 3-0 clean sweep of the series.

England won the first match by 14 runs and the second by three — both in Dubai.

Adaptability is key while bowling on such pitches, says Javagal Srinath

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Javagal Srinath Javagal Srinath

It’s not easy at all what Morne Morkel did in Nagpur. For someone who bowls short day in day out, to adapt and change lengths was a great thing.

Adaptability is the key, of course, and that comes with experience, and Morkel is a farily experienced these days.

Morkel did two things well in the third Test. He didn’t get it too full — unless you are really natural with that length, and can get it to reverse in really late, it’s tough to be effective with that line. As in, the batsmen can just take care that his front foot doesn’t come across and play the really full ones well.

What Morkel did was that he got it on a length and that gave enough time for the ball to almost cut in late. It was more like reverse seam than reverse swing — in a manner of speaking. That extra time means the ball starts tailing in for that bit longer and the batsman now has to make precise adjustments. For someone who isn’t Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis, this is a better way to do it.

Secondly, he got the ball to reverse out more (the shiny side was kept out), and again it was good thinking. The balls will hardly carry to the slips on these tracks and so we are left with just two modes of dismissal: keeper catch and lbw. He took it out, out, out, and out, set up the batsmen to commit on that front foot, than bowled that one that comes in, cuts in late, can get him an lbw. Also he got Virat Kohli edging to the wicketkeeper.

In the second innings, Morkel employed off-cutters with the new ball. So, before the reverse swing could set in, he started using the cutters. People can go leg cutters or off – he went for the latter. The best overseas bowler with the cutters I saw was Chris Cairns. He was really really good with those cutters. Morkel wasn’t as good, but he did get the wicket of M Vijay. And again, it was something new he tried. So all the credit to him.

For Delhi Test, pass is passé

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The fourth India versus South Africa Test will disappoint the capital’s famous complimentary pass-seekers. In a first, the High Court-appointed Justice (retired) Mukul Mudgal, the observer for the Test, has asked the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) to list the names of those to whom free entry is being given via complimentary passes for the Test starting on Thursday.

In addition, DDCA officials have also been advised not to issue ‘guest passes’ to their associates and friends. It is also being proposed that requests for complimentary passes from various government departments – from which the DDCA needs to receive clearances ahead of hosting a game – be entertained only if a representative signs on a receiving letter, which clearly states the number of passes being issued.

Ravinder Manchanda, DDCA treasurer said, “We want to make the process of issuing complimentary passes as transparent as possible.”

Justice Mudgal, himself, is setting an example. “IP Singh (former deputy comptroller and auditor general) and I have paid for our tickets so that we can set a benchmark. We have declined complimentary passes. In the past, I believe, the number of complimentary passes issued has created a controversy,” Justice Mudgal said.

Of the 10,000 complimentary passes, the DDCA can issue just over 4,000 to members of the association. The rest are issued to the directors/executive committee members. Previously there has been no account of to whom these passes are issued to by executive committee members.

However, even the presence of Justice Mudgal has not deterred DDCA officials from wrangling among themselves about the number of complimentary passes each of them are entitled to.

On Sunday, one of the executive committee members proposed that the number of complimentary passes issued to each director will be based on the number of proxy votes he gathered during the previous polls of the DDCA. This proposal – which was aimed at ensuring that a majority of the complimentary passes remained in the hands of a few influential officials – did not find favour with everyone and has resulted in a split house in the executive committee.

On Monday, DDCA joint secretary (corporate affairs) Dinesh Kumar Sharma raised the issue of irregularities in the distribution of complimentary passes.

“I would wish to draw your attention to one of the most glaring scams in DDCA, which is the distribution of complimentary passes amongst the few self-serving directors in the DDCA,” Sharma wrote in a letter submitted to justice Mudgal. “In every international match held at the Feroz Shah Kotla complimentary passes are distributed by DDCA without a transparent policy.”

Cheap, affordable tickets

While trying to streamline the process of distributing passes, Justice Mudgal has also tried to ensure that day-tickets are affordable. The paying public can buy tickets from Tuesday onwards from certain Café Coffee Day outlets, the Embassy Restaurant branches at Civil Lines and Connaught Place and at kiosks at Bal Bhawan and at JP Park near the Kotla Stadium. Season tickets are priced between Rs 250 and Rs 5,000, but day-tickets can be bought at one-fifth the price, Justice Mudgal said.

India vs South Africa: Pace has its place, even on turners

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With a total of six wickets for 54 runs, paceman Morne Morkel had the second best figures for a bowler from either side — after R Ashwin (12 for 98) — in the Nagpur Test , which was dominated by spinners. (Source: AP) With a total of six wickets for 54 runs, paceman Morne Morkel had the second best figures for a bowler from either side — after R Ashwin (12 for 98) — in the Nagpur Test , which was dominated by spinners. (Source: AP)

On a vicious Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur, where spinners ruled the roost, one pacer made life difficult for the Indian batsman. Morne Morkel’s match-figures of 6/54, were the second best after Ravichandran Ashwin, the bowler who has been unplayable on a track where puffs of dust came off and the ball turned from the first over of the game.

Ahead of fourth Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, the focus once again is not on the tall fast bowler from Transvaal. The pitch, Dale Steyn’s fitness and the spinners from both side are the talking points. However, those who have watched Morkel closely feel he can again be a threat to the Indian top order. Among those who are impressed by his lion-hearted efforts in Nagpur are former India fast bowlers: Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad.

The duo, after all, know a thing or two about bowling on such unresponsive tracks for fast bowlers in India. Often the duo would toil away in the 1990s, while it would be Anil Kumble, the lead spinner, who would end up with more wickets against his name.

“It’s not easy what he did in Nagpur,” says Srinath, praising Morkel’s effort. “For someone who bowls short day in day out, to adapt and change lengths was a great thing. Adaptability is the key of course, and that comes with experience. With the new ball in the second innings, he started bowling cutters much before the reverse swing could set in,” Srinath says.

Prasad, who used to be Srinath’s new-ball partner, explains why the lanky speedster got his scalps on the slow pitch with low bounce. “Morkel bowled smartly,” Prasad said. He adds that Morkel, with his height and disconcerting length,will be a more difficult proposition than Steyn.

“I would say Morkel is more difficult to play on these pitches than Steyn. This is because Steyn pitches it up and gives you the driving length. If you cover the swing, you can play your shots. Morkel, on the other hand, is basically a back-of-a-length bowler who hits the deck. Sometimes, batsmen are caught in no-man’s land – they’re undecided about whether to go forward or stay back. Also, because of his height, Morkel extracts more bounce, making it very difficult to play him on the front foot,” he adds.

It’s easier said than done. In the fours days of cricket preceding the Nagpur Test, spinners from both teams had dominated the proceedings. All of a sudden, he was in the thick of the action, more so because of the absence of Dale Steyn — South Africa’s wrecker-in-chief during their last outing at this venue.

After getting first use of the wicket, South Africa’s premier fast bowler found it difficult to hit the straps. On the slowish wicket, he started off by bowling to his strengths — seam upright backed by good pace and just short of a good length. It was the obvious ploy for Morkel, which had fetched him dividends in his 8-year international career.

However, the sluggish track did not provide him with any assistance. In his opening spell — which consisted of four overs — he rarely looked like troubling either Murali Vijay or Shikhar Dhawan. The shorter Morkel bowled, the easier the ball would sit up, helping Vijay and Dhawan to play the horizontal shots to good effect. The rather uneventful first spell did not deter Morkel though.

The turnaround

By the time he had returned for his second spell — barely half an hour before lunch — India had already nosed ahead. A 50-run opening stand between Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan had given hosts the perfect platform. Morkel began by altering his length — bowling much fuller, and the abrasive Nagpur wicket helped him reverse the ball as early as in the 20th over. Morkel’s change in plan provided him instant results.

In the second ball of the 22nd over, Morkel bowled a fullish delivery. It moved away late, and the Tamil Nadu opener tried to work it on the on-side, but ended up getting beaten by the sharp late movement. The ball thudded onto his pads. Vijay was adjudged LBW. India were 69/2 before lunch. Getting India’s batting mainstay before lunch had brought parity.

Sensing an opening, Morkel decided to go for the kill. Post lunch, he continued bowling fuller lengths, and with one side of the ball roughed up, he tested Pujara and Kohli with the reversing deliveries.

A sharp outswinger from Morkel, brought about an edge from Ajinkya Rahane. Luckily for India, the edge would land just short of the slips. Rahane’s stay was shortlived though. India’s No.5 was anticipating yet another outswinger from Morkel. Instead, the ball darted back in off the seam, and Rahane played down the wrong line to get his stumps castled. Two overs later, India captain Kohli was undone by another Morkel outswinger. In an attempt to go for an expansive drive through the covers, Kohli ended up nicking it to the keeper. All of a sudden, from 1/69, India had slumped to 5/116 in the space of 18 overs.

A simple tweak in plans worked wonders for Morkel. The change in length had taken the Indian batsmen off guard. The 31-year-old’s three-wicket burst in the afternoon session swung the momentum back in favour of the visitors.

“That’s how you ball in these conditions. There’s no specific approach, but it is important to play with the batsman’s mind. You will always get reserve swing due to the nature of the pitches. It’s important to keep one side shiny. Different bowlers have different strategies…but the main thing is that you always have to keep the batsman guessing and be one step ahead,” Prasad added.

And Morkel was one massive stride ahead of them.

(Inputs: Shamik Chakrabarty)

Venkatesh Prasad proposes white balls at Under-19 meet

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National junior selection committee chairman Venkatesh Prasad has urged the BCCI to use white ball in the U-19 limited-overs Vinoo Mankad Trophy. This is to allow the colts to have the experience of playing white-ball cricket before coming onto the international scene.

“During the Under-19 tri-series in Kolkata, a lot of players complained about not having previous experience of playing white-ball cricket. They were playing white-ball cricket for the first time. So I’ve requested the BCCI to bring in the change,” Prasad said.

The cricket board is open to the suggestion. “Yes, he (Prasad) has made a request but this can only happen next year. We will put the matter before the tournament committee,” BCCI joint-secretary Amitabh Chaudhary said.

Meanwhile, Prasad said performances in Cooch Behar Trophy — the domestic three-day tournament for U-19 cricketers — would also be taken into account for World Cup selection.

“What I’ve seen during the tri-series, I must say I’m very impressed with the talent on offer. And Rahul Dravid being the coach, the future of Indian cricket is in safe hands. We’ve picked the squad for the U-19 tri-series in Sri Lanka but there are many talented players outside the team as well. We will obviously keep an eye on the Cooch Behar Trophy as we want to shortlist the candidates for the World Cup.”

The BCCI today announced an 18-member India U-19 squad for the Sri Lanka tri-series with England being the other team. The tournament will be played from December 2 to 21.

The squad: Ricky Bhui (captain), Rishabh Pant, Yogesh Sharma, Kanishk Seth, Amandeep Khare, Mayank Dagar, Avesh Khan, Ishan Kishan, Virat Singh, Rahul Batham, Anmolpreet Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Khaleel Ahmed, Washington Sundar, Sarfaraz Khan, Zeeshan Ansari, Subham Mavi, Himanshu Rana.

Ranji Trophy final lap: Top seven spots, fifteen contenders

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Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit with Parthiv Patel at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Monday. Mumbai will play Gujarat tomorrow. (Express Photo) Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit with Parthiv Patel at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Monday. Mumbai will play Gujarat tomorrow. (Express Photo)

Group A
Story so far: The cindrella team of the year’s progress captured in the newspaper space they have managed to secure back home. Big spread photographs, in both Assamese and English-language newspapers, have announced their march. Led by the new-ball bowlers, the Barpeta duo of Krishna Das and Arup Das – especially Krishna who has taken 42 wickets at an outstanding 11.88 average – and the former Tamil Nadu batsman KB Arun Karthik who has piled up 676 runs at 61.45, Assam have won three games.

Road ahead: They have 25 points from 7 games and can make it through to knockouts even if they lose outright, if both Vidarbha and Karnataka just take a solitary point. If those two teams win outright, Assam need to win to qualify. If they beat Bengal, they can finish on top of the table

Story so far: The defending champions have an up-and-down campaign but have managed to do just enough to stay in hunt. It was Robin Uthappa, who smashed three hundreds in a row and scored 675 runs, to pull them out their reverie, with supporting roles from Karun Nair and R Samarth, who have tallied over 400 runs this season. Shreyas Gopal has picked the most wickets (20), while R Vinay Kumar has 18.

Road ahead: With 24 points, they need at least a first-innings lead against Maharashtra to progress while a loss will knock them out of reckoning.

Story so far: They currently top the table with 25 points but have no more games in hand. They started off with grassy track or two at Feroz Shah Kotla before they hopped over to Karnail Singh stadium when they wanted designer spin tracks. They have just lost one game but have drawn four, and veered off the track in the last few games.

Road ahead: They will hope that Bengal or Assam, who are also on 25 points and are playing each other, can win outright as Delhi can then stay above the team that loses. Else, they can only wait and hope that they can scramble ahead after finishing third.

Story so far: A sedate start before they saw a mini turn-around in the last couple of weeks when they registered two outright wins and came into reckoning. Pragyan Ojha, who starred with a 11-wicket haul against Vidarbha in their first win, has been the star performer while Sudip Chatterjee and Manoj Tiwari, who was caught in an ugly fight with Gambhir, have starred with the bat.

Road ahead: With 25 points, they can get through with an outright win or even a first-innings lead but a loss will throw them into chaotic wait as they have just two outright wins.

Group B
Story so far: It’s been a memorable season for Mumbai’s young team and they have romped into the knockouts.

Road Ahead: They can take it easy against Gujarat by blooding a few more youngsters and adding to their burgeoning bench-strength. Considering that the knockouts aren’t scheduled till February, momentum will not be a real factor and they could gamble with the way they approach the match.

Story so far: Only two batsmen in the Gujarat team this season have crossed three-figures—opener Priyank Panchal has done it thrice and veteran Parthiv Patel twice—and their highest wicket-taker is Rujul Bhatt, a 29-year-old off-spinning all-rounder who’s tripled his career wickets’ tally in seven matches this year. Their start to the season was untowards—just two points from two matches—and were struggling after the fourth round with just one win.

Road Ahead: Gujarat face Mumbai, who have already qualified, and need at least the three points that come with a first innings lead but losing outright will be a risk.

Story so far: Punjab arguably played the perfect match to start their season with a thorough bashing of Railways. Four of their batsmen got centuries, while Brainder Sran and Varun Khanna snared six and eight wicket hauls to seal an innings defeat. They’ve slipped under the radar ever since with just one more win, and their biggest bugbear has been their bowlers’ inability to take wickets.

Road Ahead: Punjab’s biggest worry in their final clash against Tamil Nadu is the weather in Dindugul. They will not be safe with just a point and will need at least six to have a sureshot chance at going through.

Tamil Nadu
Story so far: They began with a narrow win against Baroda on a square-turner in Chennai, and then lost by one wicket to Mumbai on a flat one at BKC. Their top-order has been a major disappointment with none of their batsmen featuring in the top-50 run-getters this season.

Road Ahead: A bonus point win will definitely take them through, but even an outright win without it can prove to be in vain.

Uttar Pradesh
Story so far: Three of UP’s four centuries all season came in their opening match against Madhya Pradesh, which they got one point from. That they are still in the loop is a result of back-to-back wins over Andhra and Gujarat, with Praveen Kumar starring in both with the ball.

Road Ahead: Only an outright win with a bonus point against Baroda will keep them in the race.

Madhya Pradesh
Story so far: After the fifth round of matches, MP had climbed to second in the table with two back-to-back outright wins. Two consecutive losses from then on have left them reeling. Jalaj Saxena’s amazing all-round heroics—516 runs at 46.90 and 44 at 19.95 apiece—have been the sole highlight of their season.

Road Ahead: Even a bonus-point win will only give them a slight chance.

Story so far: Too often for their liking, it’s been a season of so near yet so far from Baroda, starting with their first match. Their performances have been riddled with inconsistency, and only Railways with six defeats have lost more matches than them.

Road Ahead: Only a win with a bonus point can keep their season alive.

Group C
Story so far: Ever since Ravindra Jadeja left to play for the Indian team, after helping Saurashtra win four games in a row on customised rank turners, they have fallen off a bit but they are still favourites to finish on top. Jadeja had taken 38 wickets at 10.55 and also averaged 35 with the bat. Avi Barot has 335 runs while Kamlesh Makvana has grabbed 23 wickets at 18.52

Road ahead: A first-innings lead against Jammu & Kashmir will help them finish on top and even if they lose lead, or game, they should still get through to the knockouts, courtesy their four outright wins.

Story so far: Led by the left-arm spinner Shabhaz Nadeem, who took 40 wickets at 16.40, Jharkhand won three games, and are placed third, with 24 points, in the group. The second-highest wicket-dtaking tally stands at 14 -such has been Nadeem’s contribution this season with 3 five-fors and one 10-wicket match haul. Saurabh Tiwary (462 runs in 11 innings) has done his bit with the bat.

Road ahead: They can get through if they win against Hyderabad, if the game between Kerala and Himachal Pradesh does not end in a outright result.

Story so far: Though they have won just two games, one less than Jharkhand, they are on second on the table (25 points) as they have lost just one game. Karaparambil Monish, the left-arm spinner playing his second season, has starred with 42 wickets at 19.47 with 5 five-fors and two 10-wicket match hauls. They have also managed to find one star-performer with the bat – Rohan Prem has piled up 682 runs, with three hundreds with the highest of 208.

Road so far: If they beat Himachal Pradesh they can get through they can get through to knockouts and also get promoted next year.

Himachal Pradesh
Story so far: Paras Dogra, the man Shane Warne used to call as Elvis, has had some season. He has averaged 97.28, scoring 681 runs with three notouts in 10 innings, and found great support in Nikhil Gangta (534 runs), Prashant Chopra (498), and Robin Bist (488). There hasn’t been a stand-out performer with the ball but there was enough for HP to clock in two wins and finish with 24 points.

Road ahead: With 24 points, same as Jharkhand, HP need to beat Kerala (25 points) to get through, and get promoted next year. If they lose, they will wait for the result of the game between Services, who have 20 points, and Tripura, and wait for mathematical calculations to see if they can get through.

Indian conditions toughest I have played under: Faf du Plessis

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India South Africa, South Africa India, India vs South Africa, South Africa vs India, IndvSA, SAvInd, Cricket News, Cricket Faf du Plessis’ showed some fight in the second innings of Nagpur Test and threatened put India under pressure. (Source: PTI)

Terming the Indian pitches in the ongoing Test series as the toughest he has faced in his career, South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis has said that the senior players in the visiting side need to support their younger team-mates and keep them motivated.

Some of the younger players have come under criticism for the way they have handled the conditions in India during the Test series which the home side have already clinched 2-0 with the third match beginning in Delhi on December 3.

“I’m a senior player and I’m finding it tough because the conditions dictate the way you play and your performances. It’s important for us to try and keep the younger players positive, and we’ve done that,” du Plessis said.

Like his captain Hashim Amla, du Plessis called the Indian surfaces the most difficult he has faced and cautioned against using them as a benchmark to assess their performances.

“These have been the toughest conditions that I have played under, it’s also been a challenge for the young guys coming in,” he said.

“It’s a hard task for them because they get judged by playing Test cricket in these conditions where you have found that even our experienced players have found it tough. We have to keep motivating them and to keep the spirits high,” du Plessis was quoted as saying in ‘Cricinfo’.

Not only the younger lot in the touring South African team, even du Plessis himself has never played Tests in India before and he said he looked at this outing as an education.

“The good thing about it is you can learn from this and improve your game. Even I have learnt a lot about my game in the last few matches. I’ve concentrated on my defence against spin in the first 20 balls I face,” he said.

“In South Africa, Australia and New Zealand you can take your time, even if you aren’t getting bad balls but the surface here doesn’t allow that to happen. This is a huge learning curve for us and also something we can take forward.”

Du Plessis’ intent was evident in the second innings in the Nagpur Test when, along with Amla, he ground out the highest partnership of the match and threatened to stage a rearguard action that could have put India under pressure.

None of South Africa’s other batsmen have shown that sort of application yet.

Hockey World League 2015 Final: India go down 1-3 to Netherlands, finish at bottom of group

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India Hockey, India Netherlands Hockey, Hockey World League Final, HWL Final, Hockey News, Hockey India now have two losses in three matches played in the tournament. (Source: Hockey India)

An inconsistent India lost 1-3 to the Netherlands to slump to their second defeat in the tournament and finish at the bottom of Pool B at the Hockey World League (HWL) Final on Monday.

Netherlands took the lead in the 36th minute through a penalty corner conversion by Mink van der Weerden before Mirco Pruijser (43rd) and Roel Bovendeert (54th) scored two field goals. India’s lone goal came from the sticks of Chinglensana Singh in the 47th minute.

On the eve of the match, India’s chief coach Roelant Oltmans had said that the hosts would have to do away with their inconsistent show if they want to progress in world hockey but his words hardly had any impact on his side as they produced another lacklustre performance to slump to their second loss in the eight-nation tournament

The loss meant India finished at the bottom of Pool B with just one point from three matches and will now take on Pool A toppers in the quarterfinals, starting Wednesday.

The Netherlands, meanwhile, have topped Pool B with seven points out of two wins and a draw and will play the bottom placed team of Pool A.

By virtue of this win, the Netherlands have also managed to avenge their 2-3 loss against India during the pool matches of Champions Trophy in Bhubaneshwar last year.

After a disappointing tournament opener against Argentina, India produced an inspired show to hold Olympic champions Germany to a 1-1 draw and soon after the match Oltmans called his wards to play consistent hockey.

But the coach’s words seemed to have fallen on deaf ears as the Indians were nowhere near the level they had dished out against Germany the other day.

The Indians had just 36 per cent ball possession as against their rivals’ 64. The hosts managed just eight shots at the goal while Netherlands had 18 to their credit, a grim reality about India’s inconsistent showing.

India made a couple of forays into the opposition circle in the first quarter but the strikers failed to make most of the opportunities.

India had the first scoring chance in the 11th minute when Dharamvir Singh’s cross from the right found Ramandeep Singh inside the circle but the striker’s feeble push was easily padded away by Netherlands goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann.

Four minutes later, Thierry Brinkman created Netherlands first chance but his push from goalmouth went over the bar.

In the second quarter, Netherlands had more chances than India but they somewhat failed to convert them into goals.

In the 26th minute, Valentin Verga’s reverse hit from a tight angle was off the target before Roel Bovendeert shot wide from close range after he was set up by a fine play from Niek van der Schoot and Jeroen Hertzberger.

In the final minute of the opening half, V R Raghunath’s defence-splitting diagonal slap from the midfield had no takers as it went on to hit the board as both the teams failed to break the deadlock at the halfway mark.

Three minutes into the second half, India had another opportunity but Akashdeep Singh failed to trap Manpreet Singh’s cross from the right flank.

Minutes later, Netherlands earned their first penalty corner, courtesy a dangerous play by Birendra Lakra and from the resultant chance Mink van der Weerden scored with a powerful low flick to the right of Indian custodian Sreejesh.

Four minutes later, Sreejesh made a fine save to deny Seve van Ass from top of the circle.

But Netherlands were not to be denied their second goal as they world number three side doubled their lead in the 43rd minute through a field strike by Pruisjer.

Indian defence was to be blamed for the goal as they left Pruisjer unmarked inside the box and the striker just had to slap van der Weerden’s cross past Sreejesh to make the scoreline 2-0 in the Dutchmen’s favour.

India managed to pull one back four minutes later when Chinglensana scored from the hosts’ first penalty corner with a rebound shot after Rupinder Pal Singh’s initial flick was saved by the Dutch keeper.

The goal seemed to have failed to inspire the Indians as they conceded another goal six minutes from the hooter when Bovendeert got plenty of space inside the box to whack the ball inside the Indian goal after he was set up a brilliant play by Floris van der Linden who dribbled past three defenders to set it up for his teammate.

Justice Mukul Mudgal likens organising Test match to ‘daughter’s marriage’

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Mukul Mudgal, Mukul Mudgal DDCA, DDCA Mukul Mudgal, Mudgal comission, DDCA India South Africa, Cricket News, Cricket Asked about his experience so far after having taken charge, Mukul Mudgal jokingly said: “It’s almost like my daughter’s marriage.” (Source: Express File)

Terming his maiden experience of overseeing the organisation of a Test match as an “interesting experience”, the High Court appointed observer Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal said that it felt like a “daughter’s marriage”.

However, Mudgal reserved his comments about how it felt working in the controversy-ridden DDCA.

Asked about his experience so far after having taken charge, Mudgal jokingly said: “It’s almost like my daughter’s marriage. Actually, I don’t have a daughter but I know what a girl’s parents go through before her marriage. Especially when we had very little time after the High Court order. May be, we will have some deficiencies but we will get wiser with experience.”

Asked about his experiences of working in DDCA, Mudgal’s reply was a cautious one.

“Look even if I have to give an adverse comment, I will not like to give it just now. It won’t be proper. Experience has been interesting. Beyond that I won’t say anything,” the legal luminary said.

There was a probing question from another scribe if he has received co-operation from DDCA officials, and he smiled and answered: “yes and No.”

“Around 8250 children including those who are hearing impaired and problems regarding speech will be given free tickets, free transportation (by Delhi Government), free meal, cold drink, free mineral water and fruit.”

The rates of the season tickets are Rs 250, 500, 1000, 4000, 4500, 5000 respectively. Tickets will be available from nine Cafe Coffee Day outlets across Delhi. Tickets will also be available from Embassy Restaurant at Civil Lines and Connaught Place.

However, Mudgal said that “daily tickets will be up for sale with two physical kiosks being set up at JP Park and Bal Bhavan”.

“We would be selling daily tickets in the light of the fact that Test match might not last full five days. Thank God, we are in charge of the pitch and I do not know what the nature of the pitch and have no control over it.”

Mudgal also said that he and former Deputy CAG IP Singh, who is supervising the tendering process, have bought their own tickets.

“Myself and IP Singh have refused complimentaries. We have bought our tickets. Complimentaries create a lot of controversies and we will be setting benchmark by buying our own tickets.”

As has been reported, the DDCA has done a break-even this time with in-stadia rights being sold for Rs 2.05 crore and tenders being given at much lower rates.

“We have funds for the day to day expenditures after the sale of in-stadia rights. All the tender documents have been supervised by IP Singh, whose integrity is unquestionable. After the match, I can give you comparative chart about how much we saved from tenders,” said Mudgal.

India announce U-19 squad for Sri Lanka tri series

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India U 19, U 19 India, India Under 19, Under 19 tri series, Rahul Dravid India U 19 Coach, Coach U 19 India, Cricket News, Cricket Delhi left-hander and opening batsman, Rishabh Pant (Right), who topped the chart with 282 runs from four matches, will be India’s batting mainstay. (Source: PTI)

Yogesh Sharma is the only new addition to the 18-member Indian Under-19 squad, which is scheduled to play in a tri-series in Sri Lanka from December 2 to 21.

Ricky Bhui, who led the India team on Sunday to U-19 tri-series title by beating Bangladesh in the final, would continue to captain the side in next month’s tri-series as well, also involving England.

The junior selectors have left out Pradeep Pramanik, Shubham Nayak, Izhan Sayeed from the team that won the title on Sunday.

There are three experienced players in the squad — Bhui, Sarfaraz Khan and Avesh Khan — all of whom played the last 2014 World Cup in Dubai.

Delhi left-hander and opening batsman, Rishabh Pant, who topped the chart with 282 runs from four matches, will be India’s batting mainstay.

Elegant Chennai batsman Washington Sundar will be another batsman to look out for.

Attacking batsman Sarfaraz, who struck a 59 not out from 27 balls, to be awarded the man-of-the-match in India’s win in the final will be a key player.

Lower down the order, the likes of Virat Singh, Ishan Kishan, Anmolpreet Singh and Amandeep Khare are expected to take charge.

Indore pacer Avesh will lead the pace attack, which will also have the left-arm duo of Kanishk Seth and Khaleel Ahmed along with utility seamer Shubham Mavi.

Spin department has left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar, leg-spinner Zeeshan Ansari, all-rounder Mahipal Lomror and even Washington can come in handy with his offbreaks.

The Lankan tour will be the colts’ second International assignment ahead of the U-19 World Cup, to be held in Bangladesh from January 22-February 14.

The squad: Ricky Bhui (c), Rishabh Pant, Yogesh Sharma, Kanishk Seth, Amandeep Khare, Mayank Dagar, Avesh Khan, Ishan Kishan, Virat Singh, Rahul Batham, Anmolpreet Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Syed Khaleel Ahmed, Washington Sundar, Sarfaraz Khan, Zeeshan Ansari, Shubham Mavi, Himanshu Rana.

ODI series defeat against England is an eye opener: Waqar Younis

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Waqar Younis, Waqar Younis Pakistan, Pakistan Waqar Younis, Waqar Younis Pakistan coach, Pakistan cricket, Pakistan England, England Pakistan, Cricket News, Cricket Waqar Younis called on the need for overhauling the national cricket academy in Lahore and said it should be handed over to foreign coaches.

Pakistan’s under-fire head coach Waqar Younis said that the limited overs series defeats to England in the UAE has come as a eye opener for the national team management and the Pakistan cricket board.

The former fast bowler also felt that the gap between Pakistan’s domestic cricket and international cricket had become obvious and there was a need to invest more into the game in Pakistan.

“I am startled at the standard of cricket at display and the thing that has bothered me the most is that these are our best performers, but unfortunately they were found out,” he told the “Express Tribune” newspaper in an interview in Dubai.

He also called on the need for overhauling the national cricket academy in Lahore and said it should be handed over to foreign coaches who can implement programs.

“I’ll reiterate, the PCB needs to invest in the product and the NCA is the base camp. We need foreign coaches there, even if they charge a hefty amount,” he added.

“The top domestic performers must be groomed according to international standards. If we don’t take the necessary steps, then believe me when I say this: we will plummet even further.”

Waqar also said he was baffled by the decision of senior batsman Younis Khan to announce his retirement from ODIs before the first match against England.

Younis’ inclusion in the ODI squad after a eight month gap generated much debate with the media highlighting that Waqar didn’t want him in the limited overs side.

“I sat down with Younus and asked him to pick a number from one to 11 in the batting order of his own preference and he said he wanted to bat at four. I told him that’s fine and that he will play all four matches,” Waqar said.

“Next thing we know he announced his retirement, so I’m not sure what his reasons for doing so are.”

Waqar also said the tour to England next year was very important for Pakistan cricket.

He said there was a need to study the English game to be better suited to face their opponents.

But asked about his contract which expires next April before the tour Waqar remained unclear.

“I am not sure if I’ll be around for the tour [of England] or not, but the fact is that we need rigorous preparations for the Test series.

“We need to prepare practice wickets that offer seam and bounce; perhaps we need to use English balls to fine tune. England are very good at home and would be gunning to avenge the Test defeat,” he stated.

Sourav Ganguly to feature in Masters Champions League

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Sourav Ganguly, Sourav Ganguly India captain, Sourav Ganguly runs, Sourav Ganguly India runs, Cricket News, Cricket This first edition of Masters Champions League is slated to start on January 28 next year, and will go on till February 14. (Source: PTI)

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly will be playing for the Libra Legends franchise in the Masters Champions League (MCL), the first of its kind tournament in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), aimed at giving retired cricketers a chance to take the field again.

The MCL, which will feature a total of six teams playing in the Twenty20 format, has already got the approval from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

This first edition is slated to start on January 28 next year, and will go on till February 14. The six teams will accommodate a total of 90 players (15 members per squad) which will entirely be held in different stadia across the UAE.

Confirming Ganguly’s inclusion in the team at the launch of first franchise of the league here, Libra Legends’ co-owner Pooja Jhunjhunwala promised to gift the fans quality entertainment.

“We are happy to announce Sourav Ganguly as a member of our team. We are privileged to have such a player like him in our side. We wish to give quality entertainment to the fans through this league,” the Libra Legends co-owner said here on Monday.

The league will feature only retired international players. Brain Lara, Adam Gilchrist, Wasim Akram, Virender Sehwag, and Jacques Kallis have been signed up as ‘icons’ so far.

The matches will be held across the UAE in Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium and Sharjah Cricket Stadium — destinations which have previously hosted cricket tournaments including the Indian Premier League, as well as One-Day Internationals, T20 and several Test matches.

UPDATE 1-Cricket-Cairns cleared by UK court after perjury trial "Hell"

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LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns was cleared by a London court on Monday of claims he had lied in a libel case three years ago when he said he had never been involved in cheating.

Barcelona file complaint against former Real Madrid players

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Neymar, Neymar Isco, Isco Neymar, Neymar Barcelona, Barcelona Real Madrid, Real Madrid Isco, Spanish La Liga, Football News, Football Real Madrid’s Isco lashed out in apparent frustration at Neymar in the 85th minute and was shown a straight red card during the El Clasico. (Source: Reuters)

Barcelona have filed a formal complaint against two former Real Madrid players turned pundits after they suggested Barca forward Neymar deserved the kick he received from Real midfielder Isco in this month’s La Liga ‘Clasico’.

Isco, who had come on as a substitute 10 minutes into the second half of Barca’s 4-0 win at the Bernabeu, lashed out in apparent frustration at  Neymar in the 85th minute and was shown a straight red card.

According to Barca, former Real players Manolo Sanchis and Poli Rincon “publically and repeatedly justified the aggression” on Spanish radio and the club said on Monday they had filed a complaint with a Spanish government commission that seeks to combat violence in sport.

“FC Barcelona believes these statements to be an incitement to violence and therefore ask for action from the anti-violence commission,” the club said in a statement on their website (

Spanish authorities have been seeking to crack down on violence and verbal abuse in soccer since a Deportivo La Coruna fan was killed last year in organised fighting before a La Liga game at Atletico Madrid.

Chris Cairns cleared of perjury charges by London court

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Chris Cairns, Chris Cairns New Zealand, New Zealand Chris Cairns, Chris Cairns perjury, perjury Chris Cairns, Cricket News, Cricket After a nine-week trial, the jury of seven women and five men at Southwark Crown Court in London found Chris Cairns not guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice. (Source: AP)

A British jury on Monday cleared former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns of perjury charges over match-fixing in Test cricket.

After a nine-week trial the jury of seven women and five men at Southwark Crown Court in London found Cairns, 45, not guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Charges were brought against Cairns after he sued Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi for libel in 2012 over a 2010 tweet in which the administrator accused him of match-fixing.

The allegations against Cairns resurfaced in December 2013 when the International Cricket Council confirmed it was investigating match-fixing claims involving three former New Zealand internationals.

Cairns, 45, won £90,000 ($135,000, 128,000 euros) from the libel case, but he was alleged to have lied to the court when he said he had “never, ever cheated at cricket”.

The retired all-rounder was said to have perverted the course of justice by trying to convince fellow cricketer Lou Vincent to provide a false witness statement.

Cairns’ friend and “legal adviser”, barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland, was also cleared of perverting the course of justice.

After 10 hours of deliberations the jury was directed to acquit the lawyer by Mr Justice Sweeney in light of the cricketer’s acquittal.

The pair stood to hear the verdicts with their arms crossed behind their backs, breathing audible sighs of relief as they heard they were cleared.

Cairns beamed and slapped his barrister friend on the back as they left the glass-panelled dock before joining his legal team at the back of the court.

The jury heard evidence from a host of former cricketers including Brendon McCullum and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.

Current New Zealand skipper McCullum said Cairns approached him with a “business proposition” about match fixing.

But Cairns repeatedly denied he was ever involved in match-fixing as he defended himself during the trial.

Cairns said he reacted with “horror” and “anger” when Modi accused him of match-fixing and he was “shocked” that McCullum could accuse him of trying to recruit him to fix results.

He told the court he discussed the topic of “spot-fixing” with McCullum in April 2008 in Calcutta and explained spread-betting to him because match-fixing was “topical” in India at the time.

Cairns said there was “minimal” time spent discussing match-fixing, and said it was “completely wrong” to suggest spread-betting was the equivalent to match fixing.

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