Professional wrestler King Kong Bundy dies at age 61

AP Updated: 6 March, 2019, 10:38 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

King Kong Bundy, the 6-foot-4 (193-centimeter) professional wrestler best known for facing Hulk Hogan in WrestleMania 2, has died. He was 61.

Bundy died on Monday, said promoter and longtime friend David Herro. He posted on Facebook : "Today we lost a Legend and a man I consider family." The cause of death and other details were not disclosed.

Bundy, whose real name was Christopher Pallies, was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 458-pound (208-kilogram) wrestler made his World Wrestling Federation debut in 1981.

He faced Hogan in 1986 in a steel cage match at WrestleMania 2, which Hogan won. WWE said he was one of the "greatest ... big men to lace up a set of boots."

Hogan tweeted he was "overwhelmed" by Bundy's death. "R.I.P. big man until we meet again. HH."

Bundy had guest appearances on the sitcom "Married ... with Children," in which the family on the show shared the Bundy name.

He left the WWF, which later became World Wrestling Entertainment, in the late 1980s but returned in 1994 as part of The Million Dollar Corporation, a group managed by "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase.

Bundy had been planning to appear next month at WrestleCon in New York City.

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News Cricket

Did cross my mind to ask Virat Kohli to bat at 4 during World Cup - Ravi Shastri

Staff Writer Updated: 15 December, 2019, 10:36 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India were undone in the semi-final of the World Cup because team management failed to find suitable batsman for the No.4 spot. A lot has been said and written about the costly mistakes committed by India in England and now Ravi Shastri has admitted that he thought of asking Virat to bat at the No.4 spot as Men in Blue are top-heavy.

"We lacked stability there (No. 4 at World Cup). That's why it crossed my mind many times to ask Virat to bat at 4. We were top-heavy. Just to split the top-heaviness and making someone else bat at 3. This did cross my mind. Many times because I knew in the big game that could be the most important position. So we have learned from that," he said.

Shastri is backing Iyer for the coveted No.4 spot. "The way he is batting now if he doesn't own that position, I will be very very surprised. He is 24-25 years but he has played so much first-class cricket. I think he has realised what he can do at No. 4. That's the most important thing," added Shastri.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli is a Punjabi munda and I love his discipline with fitness - Monty Panesar 

Staff Writer Updated: 15 December, 2019, 10:33 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Monty Panesar has heaped praise on Virat Kohli, who has led India successfully across formats. According to Englishman, Virat deserves all the credit for his team's success. He feels it is difficult to beat India in India.

"It's very difficult to beat Virat's team in India. And I saw in the last Test match that it was all seamers taking the wickets. Like England, seamers were bowling most of the session and spinners were bowling maybe one over before Lunch. He has really changed the dynamics of the Indian team," he said.

"I love his discipline with fitness. He is a Punjabi munda. And Punjabi people find it very difficult to get off their naan, rice, their carb-based diets and it's brilliant how he has done that. It's made the team fit as well. When I was seeing the Indian team at the World Cup I was thinking why is this team looking so fit. He is expecting that from his teammates," he added.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni's break from cricket makes sense - Ravi Shastri

Staff Writer Updated: 15 December, 2019, 10:32 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ravi Shastri, the head coach of Team India, has stated MS Dhoni's break from cricket makes sense as it would have helped him reduce the mental fatigue. The former skipper hasn't played since India's exit from the World Cup. The veteran will be seen in action during the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.

"It's sensible (the break). I like the time when he is starting to play again. I don't think he is too keen on the one-day stuff. He is finished with Test cricket. T20 is an option. It's a format that is tailor-made for him. But will his body be able to cope with the demands only he will answer," Shastri was quoted as saying by India Today.

"The rest would have done him a world of good, mentally. That mental fatigue would have gone away by now. If he decides to play, which he will because he will play the IPL, then he will start training with a very fresh mind. Then you have got to see the form," he added.

News Cricket

South Africa hires Boucher as cricket head coach

Staff Writer Updated: 15 December, 2019, 10:30 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

South Africa has hired former wicketkeeper Mark Boucher as its head coach.

Enoch Nkwe will assist Boucher as they prepare for the forthcoming test series against England. The first of a four-test series begins Dec. 26 at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

Faf Du Plessis was also confirmed as the Proteas' test captain.

The 43-year-old Boucher played 147 tests and 295 one-day internationals before retiring in 2012 due to an eye injury.

Ottis Gibson was released as head coach in August after a poor World Cup.

News Cricket

Only India can compete in Aussie conditions against this Australian Team - Michael Vaughan

Staff Writer Updated: 15 December, 2019, 10:28 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The former English skipper has time and again praised the way Aussies are playing in Australia at the moment. He feels only India have the firepower to compete with the current Aussie squad in Australia. His statement came after Australia's dominating performance in the first Test match against New Zealand. "Only 1 Team in the World can compete in Aussie conditions against this Australian Team .. that’s #India .. No other team has the tools," he wrote.

Since David Warner and Steve Smith's return to international cricket, Australia are playing fearlessly and have gone on to win Test matches against England and Pakistan.

They were clinical in the Ashes against England and the Test matches against Pakistan were one-sided. Even New Zealand have failed to test Australia in the first match of the series. The batsmen and bowlers have formed a deadly combo for the Tim Paine-led team.

News Cricket

‘He’s unreal’ – Kohli reacts to Pietersen’s post of a kid playing brilliant shots

Garima Kotroo Updated: 14 December, 2019, 10:15 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

A kid, who is still in his diapers, has amazed the Indian captain Virat Kohli on social media. Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen has recently shared a video of a toddler showing his wonderful batting skills on Instagram after which all the veteran cricketers left awestruck.

Wearing a diaper and a pair of gloves, the kid showed his impressive batting skills in the video. His nerve-wrecking cover drives and straight drives along with a classic footwork impressed everyone.

The video went viral on all the social media platforms.

While expressing his awe for the exceptional batting performance of a kid, Pietersen said: "WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Get him in your squad, @virat.kohli! Can you pick him?!?!".

In his reply to Pietersen, Kohli said, "Where's he from??? He's unreal."

The Indian skipper is not the only one who got awestruck with the brilliant shots of a kid as the South African skipper Faf du Plessis also commented , "No ways that’s crazy". While the former Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis said, "Serious talent that and not even outta nappies yet."

On the match front, Virat Kohli is currently gearing up for the three-match ODI series against West Indies starting from December 15. India are heading into the ODI series on the back of a 2-1 win against Kieron Pollard’s team in the 20-over format.

News Cricket

Coach Ricky Ponting comes out with winning formula for Delhi Capitals ahead of IPL auction

Tarun Singh Updated: 14 December, 2019, 10:14 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ahead of IPL auction, Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting met with the team management to discuss plans and strategies to build a stronger team.

The former Australian captain said that a lot of focus will be on “overseas fast bowlers” in next week’s IPL auctions as the franchise deliberated over the potential targets.

"We've had several discussions over the last few months, and have put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that we're well prepared.

"You can do all the planning in the world, but at the auction table, the unpredictable always happens."

"There's going to be a lot of focus and attention on fast bowlers, overseas ones in particular," said Ponting.

Ponting is leaving no stone unturned in shortlisting the best players to build a strong squad.

"Pat Cummins could go for big money, as could Chris Woakes. All-rounders are always interesting in my opinion. Players like Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme could all be big picks."

"Going into the auction you have to be very specific about the kind of players you need.

"For instance, we've got three openers, so we don't need to look for one. You need to identify the problem areas in your starting eleven, and essentially plug the gaps," he further added.

News Cricket

Mike Hesson thanks RCB fans for their inputs on team selection for IPL 2020

Garima Kotroo Updated: 14 December, 2019, 10:11 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

As auction process for the Indian Premier League 2020 is on the verge of taking place, fans started debating on social media platforms that who will be opted-in by their favourite franchises or who will not.

Even the fans of one of the most followed yet under-performing franchises Royal Challengers Bangalore(RCB) gave their inputs on the team selection for the upcoming edition. At this, the current director of operations of RCB, Mike Hesson came forward to praise the great efforts of fans on social media.

Hesson also thanked the RCB fans for suggesting the potential options before the auction process.

“Enjoying the @RCBTweets fans input…some have put a lot of thought in Remember: budget is 27.9 cr, competing for the same players with 7 other teams, don’t believe what any team says publicly prior to an auction, RCB aware of every match domestic/international”.

However, Virat Kohli-led team hasn’t won any IPL season so far. But the fans have supported their beloved IPL team.

News Cricket

Windies coach instructs his players to learn from Virat Kohli

Tarun Singh Updated: 14 December, 2019, 1:25 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Disappointed with West Indies’ defeat in the T20I series against India, assistant coach Roddy Estwick asked his players to learn from India skipper Virat Kohli, who is the ‘benchmark’ of hard work.

The coach wants young West Indies players to replicate Kohli’s discipline and hard work behind the scenes.

Ahead of the first ODI against ‘Men in Blue’, the coach wanted to motivate his team by setting high standards for them, as he felt the need for it because of the inexperienced Players.

However, Estwick applauded and backed Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, and Nicholas Pooran, who put a good show against the stronger Team India in the Twenty20 series.

“It’s exciting times for us when you look at guys like Hetmyer, Pooran and Hope. We have got young batsmen who are developing. But the key thing is how you prepare to work hard. You have got a benchmark in Virat Kohli. He is somebody who will be in the gym and work very hard,” The coach said ahead of the first ODI

“A lot of players can learn from him. Then, we have got a chance. Without hard work, there is no success. Hard work is boring but it can give you great success. Once they keep working and dealing with the process, they will have a chance,” he added”

Estwick hopes that the Caribbean side will bridge the gap with India in the upcoming ODIs after losing the T20 series 1-2.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni will be there at the T20 World Cup - Dwayne Bravo

Garima Kotroo Updated: 14 December, 2019, 12:13 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo feels that former Indian skipper MS Dhoni will be a part of T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia. Amid all the speculations by cricket fans about the legendary wicketkeeper-batsman, Bravo has come forward to claim that Dhoni will perform in the upcoming T20 World Cup without any doubt .

Bravo has played under the captaincy of MS Dhoni in many IPL editions. The 36-year-old was picked by the Chennai Super Kings franchise in 2011 IPL auctions. Since then, Bravo has become a crucial part of Dhoni-led team.

“Dhoni has never retired. So I think he will be there at the World T20. MS has never let things outside cricket influence and he has taught us the same and told us to never panic and trust our abilities,” said Bravo.

On the personal front, the former Windies ODI skipper has decided to come out of T20I retirement as Bravo feels that he can still contribute in the shortest format of the game.

“I feel good physically and I still have a lot to offer. I had retired because of off-field politics. But there is a change of leadership both on and off the field. So I felt that it is a good time to come back”.

Bravo had announced his retirement from all formats of international cricket in October 2018.

Feature Cricket

India vs West Indies ODIs 2019: A statistical preview

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 14 December, 2019, 12:05 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Having clinched the T20I series 2-1, India are now gearing up for the three-match ODI series, which will kick-off with the first game to be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. Under pressure having lost the second T20I badly, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and skipper Virat Kohli combined to lead India to an impressive win in the decider at Mumbai. As such, the hosts will go into the ODIs high on confidence.

Here’s a look at all the key numbers pertaining to India vs West Indies ODIs.

Head-to-Head Record

India and West Indies have faced each other in a total of 130 matches, and share an equal win-loss record. Both teams have won 62 games and lost as many. While two matches have been tied, four games produced no result. While West Indies were dominant from the ‘70s to the early ‘90s, India have been the superior team over the last two decades.

Highest and lowest team totals

India’s 418 for 5 at Indore on December 8, 2011 is the highest team total in India vs West Indies ODIs. As for West Indies, their highest total against India in ODIs is 333 for 8 at Jamshedpur on December 7, 1983.

India’s 100 all out in the Hero Cup game at Ahmedabad on November 16, 1993 is the lowest team score in India-West Indies matches. Windies’ 104 at Thiruvananthapuram on November 1, 2018 is the lowest for them against India.

Most Runs

Not surprisingly, Kohli has scored the most number of runs in India-West Indies ODIs. In 36 matches, the Indian captain has amassed 2,146 runs at an average of 76.64. For West Indies, Desmond Haynes has the most runs. He scored 1,357 runs in 36 matches at an average of 42.40.

Highest individual scores

Virender Sehwag’s blazing 219 from 149 balls at Indore on December 8, 2011 is the highest individual score in India vs West Indies one-dayers. Sehwag smashed 25 fours and seven sixes in the memorable innings. For West Indies, Haynes’ 152 not out from 126 deliveries is the highest individual score. The Windies legend hit 12 fours and six sixes in the innings played at Georgetown on March 21, 1989.

Most Hundreds

Again, Indian captain Kohli dominates the list. He has nine hundreds to his name in 36 games. Kohli’s best of 157 not out came in the memorable tied encounter at Visakhapatnam on October 24, 2018. For the Windies, Chris Gayle has the most centuries -- four. His best score against India came at Ahmedabad on November 15, 2002, when he smashed 140 from 127 balls. Courtesy Rahul Dravid’s hundred though India won the match by five wickets.

Most Wickets

West Indies legend Courtney Walsh holds the record for most wickets in India vs Windies contests. In 38 games, he picked up 44 wickets at an average of 24.15 and a strike rate of 44.7. Walsh had an amazing economy rate of 3.24.

For India, all-rounder and former captain Kapil Dev picked up most wickets. In 42 games, Dev claimed 43 wickets while averaging 28.88 at a strike rate of 47.7. He too had an impressive economy rate of 3.62.

Best bowling figures in an innings

Anil Kumble’s sensational 6 for 12 in the Hero Cup final on November 27, 1993 at Kolkata is the best bowling performance in India-West Indies ODIs. For the Windies, former pacer Patrick Patterson registered 6 for 29 in the team’s 10-run win over India at Nagpur on December 8, 1987.

Feature Cricket

Smith’s Measured Return to SA Cricket

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 14 December, 2019, 12:03 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

While Cricket South Africa are hoping that the announcement of former South African captain, Graeme Smith, as the new Acting Director of Cricket will assuage some of the drama on the last few weeks, Smith’s conditional return is evident for all to see.

After weeks of shenanigans where a dark cloud has hovered over the proceedings of Cricket South Africa, it seemed more oil was poured on the fire when it was announced that Thabang Moroe, the CSA chief executive, was being suspended but with a catch: with pay. That raised eyebrows for all and sundry and the South Africa’s cricketers association refusing to cooperate unless the entire board was dissolved.

While CSA is appearing to superficially douse the flames, even the optics of having signed on the rather doubtful Smith as the acting director of cricket is not having the appeasing effect that was expected. It might have something to do with the fact that much time has passed between Smith throwing his hat in the ring and the eventual appointment, now barely two weeks away from the first Test against England at home on Boxing Day.

It is an uphill climb for Smith and South Africa with Smith put in charge to oversee the appointments of the coach – Enoch Nkwe might have a lease of life given how late Smith has been appointed – as well as a selection panel that will pick South Africa’s team for the four Test series. The task before South Africa is no less arduous even if Smith, the man with more than 15,000 international runs and South Africa’s most successful captain to his name, has been put in charge of trying to transform South Africa’s current status as being not short of beleaguered.

South Africa’s low points this year have been too many to enumerate. Not only was the ICC Cricket World Cup in England their worst showing yet in the history of the tournament but also, South Africa found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard, being whitewashed by India by a 3-0 margin, two of the defeats being an innings margin which is never a great sign. The captaincy issue was made complicated by various statements in front of the media and it might well decide how Faf du Plessis decides his future with South African cricket. With Faf himself talking about scars from the India tour, England may be in the reckoning.

Struck by inevitable issues of Kolpak, player quota system that has reared its head and the misgivings in the board which led to the revoking of pass to five journalists in a low blow to the game as a whole, Cricket South Africa seemed to fare no better when Smith publicly denied reports that he had been appointed in the past and even stated that the ongoing negotiations had been frustrating.

In that light, it is to be remembered that Smith holds no magic wand. The fact that his appointment is only until the Indian Premier League 2020 and his title has the additional word ‘acting’ prefixed to it suggests that this is only a temporary truce, a stop gap arrangement in which Cricket South Africa attempt to shake off the serious corruption charges against them while Smith figures out if the shoe does fit.

Feature Cricket

Should be a breeze for India against West Indies in ODIs

Partab Ramchand Updated: 14 December, 2019, 12:01 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

One team is No 2 and the other No 9 in the ICC rankings. One team made it to the semifinals of this year’s World Cup, the other finished among the also rans. These two facts alone are enough to indicate that it should be a breeze for India in the three-match ODI series against the West Indies starting in Chennai on Sunday. And then when one glances at the team personnel on both sides and examines the records it would only certify this feeling.

Unlike the just concluded T-20 series wherein one could reasonably predict a close contest thanks to the format and thanks also to the fact that West Indian players are natural performers when it comes to international cricket’s shortest format one can stick his neck out boldly and predict a lop sided result this time around. Why, only a few months ago India won a three match series in the Caribbean 2 - 0 with one no-result. And in the last year or so since winning the Asia Cup in Dubai India have had an excellent record in ODIs. But for a narrow 3-2 defeat at the hands of Australia at home in March this year India have won bilateral contests against West Indies in India and have got the better of Australia and New Zealand away. Add to this the fairly impressive showing in the World Cup and it will be seen why the West Indies will have a mountain to climb. This despite a 3-0 clean sweep against Afghanistan last month but too much need not be made of this result given that the Afghans are one place below West Indies in the rankings and novices in this format.

It is not that the West Indies are a bad side. With skipper Kieron Pollard, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope and Nicholar Pooran around it is a team that can give a good account of itself against less formidable opposition but not against an Indian side that is high on confidence, are on a roll and are virtually unbeatable at home. Even a cursory glance at the squad and it can be seen that it is chock-a-block with world beaters. There is really no weakness in the batting and bowling and so long as the fielding and catching do not falter Virat Kohli and his men can steamroll even stronger opponents and this West Indies side should pose no problems. The only thing that the Indians will have to guard against is complacency.

News Cricket

Shivam Dube will become a good all-rounder - Bharat Arun

Garima Kotroo Updated: 14 December, 2019, 11:17 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The bowling coach of Indian cricket team, Bharat Arun recently showered praise on young all-rounder Shivam Dube who slammed his maiden fifty in the second T20I encounter against Windies.

The 26-year-old, who made his T20I debut in the series against Bangladesh, scored 54 runs off just 30 deliveries against Kieron Pollard’s team . Although India lost that match but Dube’s innings had a long-lasting impact on cricket fans.

Bharat Arun feels that Dube will become a good all-rounder for India as he is gaining confidence with every match.

“He is an exciting prospect and I think he is gaining in confidence from every game. Even if you look at the way he came back the way after he bowled the first over against West Indies, I think that was creditable”.

While praising Dube’s efforts for India, the bowling coach also added, “And I think he is an exciting talent for us. As he gains in confidence, he will become a good all-rounder”.

Apart from Dube, Arun also lauded Deepak Chahar’s performance in the T20Is. The 27-year-old right-arm pacer picked up six wickets against the Tigers which eventually helped the Men in Blue to win the series-decider at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur.

Feature Cricket

Yearender 2019: Cricket Today's ODI XI of 2019

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 13 December, 2019, 5:24 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The year 2019 saw England being crowned new World Cup champions, continuing the tradition of hosts winning the trophy. New Zealand finished runners-up for the second time in a row while India and defending champions Australia stumbled at the semi-final stage. Apart from England, Australia and India had a reasonable year overall while South Africa stumbled. Here’s a look at Cricket Today's ODI XI of 2019.

Openers: Jason Roy, Rohit Sharma

England’s dazzling opener Jason Roy had a fantastic year, with 845 runs in 14 games at an average of 70.41. Roy notched up three hundreds and six fifties at a strike rate of 118.18. He scored 153 in the World Cup game against Bangladesh, and went on to score hat-trick of fifties against India, New Zealand and Australia (semi-final).

Rohit Sharma joins Roy as the other opener. He amassed 1,232 runs in 25 games at an average of 53.56 and a strike rate of 88 with six centuries, five of them coming in the World Cup, three of them back-to-back. His reserved his best of 140 for mega World Cup clash against Pakistan.

Middle-order: Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Eoin Morgan (Captain)

There is no alternative to Virat Kohli at number three. The Indian captain has registered 1,288 runs to his name in 23 matches at an average of 64.40 and a strike rate of 95.90. Kohli has five ODI hundreds in the year, with his best of 123 coming against Australia at Ranchi. He registered five consecutive fifties in the World Cup, and scored back-to-back hundreds in West Indies.

New Zealand’s unlucky World Cup captain Kane Williamson also finds a place in the middle-order. In 20 matches, Williamson has 948 runs at an average of 59.25 and a strike rate of 75.35. Williamson scored consecutive hundreds in the World Cup -- 106 not out against South Africa and 148 against West Indies.

England’s World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan will captain the side. In 21 matches, the left-hander scored 791 runs at an average of 52.73 and a strike rate of 112.19. Of his two hundreds in the year, one was the smashing 148 from 71 in the World Cup clash against Afghanistan, which featured a record 17 sixes.

Wicket-keeper: Jos Buttler

England’s dashing wicket-keeper Jos Buttler takes the responsibility behind the stumps. In 20 games, he smashed 667 runs at an average of 47.64 and a strike rate of 135.56. He enthralled with 150 off 77 against West Indies at St George's, and also hit 103 from 76 against Pakistan in a losing cause in the World Cup.

All-rounder: Ben Stokes

An automatic choice following his exploits in the World Cup final. In 20 matches, Stokes accumulated 719 runs at an average of 59.91 and a strike rate of 92.53. With the ball, he chipped in with 12 wickets. In the World Cup, he made valiant 80s against Sri Lanka and Australia, and the unforgettable 84 not out in the pulsating final.

Bowlers: Chris Woakes, Trent Boult , Mohammed Shami Yuzvendra Chahal

England medium pacer emerged as an unsung hero of the team’s World Cup campaign. He claimed 29 wickets in 19 games in the year at an average of 29.79 and a strike rate of 30. His best of 5 for 54 came against Pakistan in a game at Leeds in May. Woakes claimed significant three-fors in the World Cup semi-final and final.

For the second World Cup running, Trent Boult has been among the leading wicket-takers with 17 scalps. The left-arm pacer has 38 wickets from 20 games in 2019 at an average of 23.97 and a strike rate of 30.5. His best of 5 for 21 came against India at Hamilton in January. In the World Cup, he claimed four-fors against West Indies and Australia (including a hat-trick).

Mohammed Shami has been magnificent in one-day international. Shami has dismissed 37 players in 18 matches at an average of 21.32. The Indian pacer is the second highest wicket-taker in the ongoing year. 

India’s Yuzvendra Chahal will handle the spin department. In 16 matches, he has 29 wickets to his name while averaging 28.10 at a strike rate of 29.3. Chahal’s 6 for 42 came against Australia at Melbourne at the start of the year. He had an average World Cup with 13 wickets in nine games.

12th man: Aaron Finch

Australia captain Aaron Finch narrowly missed out on the opening slot. He has 1,141 runs in 23 games at an average of 51.86 and a strike rate of 89.42.