Sharapova to return at Mallorca Open after shoulder injury

AP Updated: 11 June, 2019, 11:23 AM IST


Maria Sharapova will return to tennis at next week's Mallorca Open after being sidelined with a right shoulder injury since January.

The Mallorca Open says the former No. 1 has accepted a wild-card invitation.

The 32-year-old Sharapova hasn't played since her ailing shoulder forced her to withdraw from the St. Petersburg Open in January. In February, she underwent what she called a "small procedure" in hopes of dealing with the issue that had been causing her pain since last year.

Sharapova will be joined by 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova, who eliminated defending champion Simona Halep at the French Open and reached the semifinals.

The Mallorca Open is run by Toni Nadal, uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal.

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News Cricket

It will be a shame if Sourav Ganguly has to leave BCCI after 10 months – Gautam Gambhir

Staff Writer Updated: 13 November, 2019, 11:03 PM IST


Former Indian cricketer wants Sourav Ganguly to continue as president of the BCCI for more than 10 months. According to rules set by the Lodha Committee, Ganguly will have to go through mandatory cooling-off period after 10 months of his tenure. The law states that any office-bearer related to state association or national board can serve upto six years and thereafter it is compulsory for him/her to move away for a considerable period of time.

However, Gautam Gambhir is not a big fan of this policy and feels Sourav should continue for the betterment of Indian cricket.

“Personally speaking, I am not a big fan of the cooling-off period for office-bearers. I have said this before and I will say it again that Indian cricket needs individuals like Sourav Ganguly. They not only have minds of their own but they also have vision and ability to lead inclusive growth. Besides, he knows his weaknesses better than his strengths and knows how to work on them. It will be a shame if Dada has to leave after 10 months. At the same time, I am not suggesting to undo the fantastic work done by Lodha Committee,” Gambhir wrote in his column for the Times of India.

News Cricket

Chennai Super Kings to release Rayudu, Jadhav, Vijay and two others ahead of IPL auction 

Staff Writer Updated: 13 November, 2019, 10:31 PM IST


Chennai Super Kings have decided to release five players ahead of the proposed IPL auction in Kolkata. The franchise have been told to submit the list of released players on November 14 and the two-time IPL champions has taken a call to part ways with Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Murali Vijay, Karn Sharma and Shardul Thakur.

Rayudu, who recently took back his retirement, played a key role in Chennai Super King' title victory in 2018 but his patchy form in the last season proved to be fatal for him.

Kedar was also out of touch in the last edition and Murali Vijay was hardly used. Sharduk Thakur was expensive in his spells and Imran Tahir was preferred over Karn Sharma.

The Chennai based franchise had shelled out Rs 5 crore and Rs 2 crore for Karn Sharma and Shardul Thakur respectively.

Feature Cricket

Day-Night Tests: 5 significant records to know about

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 13 November, 2019, 4:18 PM IST


India and Bangladesh will kick-off the two-Test match series with the first game starting at Indore on November 14. However, a lot of eyes are already on the historic second Test to be played at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata from November 22, as it will be the first-ever Day-Night Test in India.

The Test will be played with an SG pink ball instead of the usually used Kookaburra ball. Also, the match with start at 1 pm and end by 8 pm, keeping the dew factor in mind at Kolkata, as the ball could get really wet after 8 pm. Meanwhile, Cricket Association of Bengal confirmed recently through a tweet that 50,000 people each will watch the Test on the first three days.

The Eden Gardens game will be the 12th Day-Night encounter in the history of Test cricket. Here’s a look at some interesting stats related to Day-Night Tests so far.

Most successful team

Australia are the most successful side in the history of Day-Night Tests till date. In fact, they have a 100 per cent record, winning five out of five Tests played under floodlights. They featured in the first-ever Day-Night Test, played at Adelaide against New Zealand from November 27-December 1, 2015, and won the contest by three wickets.

The Aussies registered two more Test wins at Adelaide -- against South Africa by seven wickets in November 2016, and versus England by 120 runs in December 2017. Australia’s two other victories in Day-Night Tests have come at Brisbane -- one against Pakistan by 39 runs in December 2016, and the other against Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs in January 2019.

Sri Lanka are second on the list of the most successful teams in Day-Night Tests, with two wins in three games. West Indies have the worst record of all, having lost three out of three.

Most runs

Azhar Ali of Pakistan has scored the most number of runs in Day-Night Test encounters. In three matches, he has amassed 456 runs, with one hundred and two fifties at an average of 91.20 . Steve Smith of Australia is the only other batsman with 400-plus runs in Day-Night Tests. He has 405 runs from four Tests, with one hundred and three fifties, and an average of 50.62.

Highest individual score

Azhar Ali also possesses the record for the highest individual score in Day-Night Tests. He made a superlative 302 not out for Pakistan against West Indies at Dubai in a Test played from October 13-17, 2016. Ali hit 23 fours and two sixes in his innings, as Pakistan won the Test by 56 runs. Alastair Cook’s 243 for England against West Indies at Birmingham in August 2017 is the next best on the list.

Most wickets

Australia’s left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc is the most successful bowler in Day-Night Tests. Across five Tests, he has claimed 26 wickets at an average of 23, with one five-wicket haul. As the overall results demonstrate, Australia have dominated Day-Night Tests. Hence, it is no surprise that another Aussie pacer, Josh Hazlewood, is second on the list having claimed 21 wickets in four Tests at an average of 22.42.

Best bowling figures in an innings

West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo has to his name the record for the best bowling figures in an innings in Day-Night Tests. He claimed 8 for 49 from 13.5 overs in Pakistan’s second innings, during the Dubai Test in October 2016. However, this was the same contest in which Azhar Ali got 302 not out in the first innings, as a result of which Bishoo’s exploits went in vain. Pat Cummins’ 6 for 23 against Sri Lanka at Brisbane in January 2019 is the next best.

News Cricket

Gilchrist accepts Harbhajan's supremacy over him, says he was one of the hardest bowlers to face

Staff Writer Updated: 13 November, 2019, 4:05 PM IST


Former Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist has accepted that Harbhajan Singh had supremacy over him and he never found life easy when the Indian off-spinner was asked to bowl against him. The former Aussie cricketer spoke about the 2001 Test series in India where Australia's 16 Test matches winning was ended. The visitors won the first Test in Mumbai and Gilchrist scored a sublime hundred in that game.

"We were five for 99, I went in there, got a hundred off 80 balls, we won in three days and I just thought, 'What have these blokes been doing for 30 years. How easy's this? And how wrong I was. We've only got to fast forward to the next Test match and I came back to reality," said Gilchrist.

However, India turned the table in the next two matches.

"As it would turn out, by the end of that series we probably needed to learn how to put a handbrake on just to get a holding pattern, rather than 'attack, attack, attack' because it doesn't always work - Harbhajan bamboozled us. He was a bit of a nemesis for me right throughout my career. I found him and Murali probably the two hardest bowlers to face," he added.

The 47-year-old further added that they changed their approach after humiliating defeat in India.

"We changed our tactics a great deal. In 2001 what we learnt was we can't just attack our way out of every situation," said Gilchrist.

"We had to learn to swallow our ego and go defensive, and that was very much part of the whole collective mindset of the group; (for example) the bowlers had to take a step back and run in with the new ball with one slip and a sweeper on the leg side," he added.

Feature Cricket

Ganguly’s Open Conflict of Interest Dare?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 13 November, 2019, 3:54 PM IST


Sourav Ganguly may be the new BCCI chief. But he is, also, something of an unconventional leader. If his captaincy of the Indian cricket team showed amply that he would risk ignominy for glory, it would appear he has not quite left the daring part of him behind, challenging one of the crucial thorns in the flesh when it came to administrators in the past.

The new Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) head was seen on social media supporting a fantasy cricket league other than the one the BCCI signed on officially for a four year deal. While most people would have probably overlooked that detail about the former Indian captain endorsing another game online, neither the fantasy league owners nor the vested interest groups within the BCCI will have ignored this relevant fact.

Knowing Ganguly as a captain who did not necessarily win the popularity vote and then backed openly some players over others to be vindicated in his choices, it seems highly unlikely that Ganguly was not aware of what he was doing when he put his endorsement online. If anything, it would seem like it was a deliberate attempt on the part of the former Cricket Association of Bengal chief not necessarily to undermine the current official fantasy league and company but rather to throw the gauntlet to the whole idea of conflict of interest which emerged as the single largest problem apart from fixing in the aftermath of the Indian Premier League scandals.

Ganguly himself has had to choose, between mentoring IPL teams and holding onto administrative roles within the Indian cricket administration after being pulled up over the conflict of interest agenda. More recently, he mocked the fact that his former team mate, Rahul Dravid, was now being hauled up for his association with India Cements who owned the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL under the same accusation. His choice of venting the angst, also, happened to the social media platform on that occasion.

With much expected of the BCCI with Ganguly stepping up as the former cricketer-cum-administrator following the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) reign for the past couple of years, it is unlikely to be a smooth transition given that Ganguly appears to be challenging the notion of conflict of interest which has turned away a few former cricketers from aspiring to key positions, in administration as well as on the field. While there is some legitimacy to the argument, if any lessons were learnt in the unraveling of the IPL saga, it was that one too many administrators at the time had misused their power and perpetuate this conflict of interest situation almost with carefree abandon.

Is Ganguly’s rebellion, albeit on a smaller scale, revolutionary? Or does it merely convey adherence to form, a la the BCCI administrators of the past who openly and rather brazenly flouted the rules to their own vested ends?

News Cricket

Bhuvneshwar Kumar trains with Team India to prove his fitness

Tarun Singh Updated: 13 November, 2019, 3:49 PM IST


Team India is missing its pace spearhead, Bhuvneshwar Kumar since he got hamstring injury during India's tour of West Indies earlier this year.

The incredibly economical bowler Bhuvneshwar was spotted participating in a ‘skill session’ with Team India ahead of the Test series against Bangladesh.

Surprised to see the injured fast bowler at the net sessions a reporter asked about his presence over there, a team source replied, “Bhuvi is here for a skill session with the team. The team management just wants him to get into the groove.”

Bhuvi also had a catching session and bowled a few deliveries, but with his bowling action, it was evident that he still has some concern as far as his hamstring was concerned.

Bhuvneshwar’s absence has impacted Team India a lot in death overs of the ODIs and T20Is.

It is expected that the duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be seen again commanding the Indian pace attack in the T20 World cup next year in Australia.

News Cricket

Out, or not-out? Sir Jadeja dismisses Hitman Sharma but the latter refuses to accept the decision

Staff Writer Updated: 13 November, 2019, 3:46 PM IST


Rohit Sharma was in sensational form in the last Test series against South Africa. The right hand batsman not only ended up scoring most runs but was declared the Man of the Series for his phenomenal display. Meanwhile, he batted against seamers and spinners ahead of the first Test between India and Bangladesh in Indore. While facing Ravindra Jadeja, he was struck on the front pad which looked out.

The Indian spinner even shouted yes to confirm that he got his man but the limited-overs vice-captain refused to accept the call and came up with a response.

“Missing leg,” said Rohit to Jadeja. The 32-year old recently led India to a 2-1 in the T20I series against Bangladesh. He even smashed an 85 off 43 balls in the 2nd T20I at Rajkot.

Team India practiced with pink ball in Indore.

"Well I hadn't played with the pink ball before. So I was given an experience to try it and I wanted to, that was my mindset behind playing with the pink ball. I think everyone else did it as well," Kohli during the pre-match press conference.

News Cricket

I have gone through a phase in my career where I had felt that it was the end of the world – Virat

Staff Writer Updated: 13 November, 2019, 2:59 PM IST


Virat Kohli was thinking of quitting after he failed to score runs against England in 2014. Speaking on the issue of mental health and Glenn Maxwell's indefinite break from cricket, the Indian skipper revealed about his struggles when he accumulated just 134 runs in the five-match Test series against England. The 31-year old was hit hard by mental health issues and was clueless regarding what to say and whom to talk about his problem.

In the press conference, ahead of the first Test between India and Bangladesh in Indore, he said, "You know when you get to the international stage, every player that's in the squad needs that communication - that ability to speak out. I think what Glenn has done is remarkable. I have gone through a phase in my career where I had felt that it was the end of the world. I just didn't know what do and what to say to anyone, How to speak, how to communicate."

“To be very honest, you (journalist) guys have a job to do. We guys have a job to do and everyone is focused on what we need to do. It is very difficult to figure out what's going on in another person's mind," added the 31-year-old Kohli.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli sounds warning bells for Team India, says pink ball is very difficult to pick up

Staff Writer Updated: 13 November, 2019, 2:37 PM IST


Virat Kohli, who was rested from the T20I series against Bangladesh, was given a first-hand experience of the pink ball when he and his teammates were made to practice with this new cherry in Indore. It was the first time Virat Kohli played with this ball and the outcome was not satisfying for the star Indian player. He was asked about his experience during the press conference after Team India's practice session and he sounded a bit defensive.

"Well I hadn't played with the pink ball before. So I was given an experience to try it and I wanted to, that was my mindset behind playing with the pink ball. I think everyone else did it as well," Kohli during the pre-match press conference.

"You need extra concentration to pick the pink ball suddenly when you are playing with the red ball, so it was to work on the reflexes as well. When you play with the red ball at net and then you arrive at the pink ball it is very difficult to pick it up, so to get into the zone was the reason behind it," he added.

He feels pink ball will swing more than the red ball and if the pitch at the Eden Gardens favors the bowlers then the fast bowlers will be among the wickets.

"The pink ball I have played yesterday, I think it swings a lot more compare to the red ball because there's extra lacquer on the ball and doesn't go away too fast and the seam holds upright quite a bit," Kohli said.

"If the pitch has enough for the bowler then the bowlers will be in the game, especially the fast bowlers," he added.

News Cricket

“First player to score 2 T20I fifties on same day?” Contestant failed to answer 7 crore question on KBC

Staff Writer Updated: 13 November, 2019, 2:21 PM IST


The ongoing season of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) has been a huge hit. The contestant have won massive amounts and as many as four participants have reached the crore mark this year. Ajeet Kumar was the most recent one to win 1 crore. Hailing from Bihar, he had the opportunity to win Rs 7 crore and become the first contestant to do so, but the last question was beyond his knowledge and he decided to leave the show with 1 crore.

The question was related to cricket but it was not easy for Ajeet.

“Who is the first cricketer to score two T20 International fifties on the same day in two different matches?" was the final question for Rs 7 crore.

Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Shahzad and Shakib Al Hasan were the four options.

The answer was Mohammad Shahzad. He scored two consecutive fifties against Oman and Ireland on a single day.

Ajeet was asked by Amitabh Bachchan to take a guess after he decided to quit the show. Even his guess was wrong but he was delighted with the amount he won during the course of the day.

News Cricket

ICC mocks Rohit while congratulating him on five-year anniversary of his world record score of 264

Staff Writer Updated: 13 November, 2019, 2:18 PM IST


The apex body of world cricket congratulated Rohit Sharma on the five-year anniversary of his world record score of 264 against Sri Lanka. However, the ICC also took a cheeky dig at Rohit, reminding India limited-overs vice-captain that he was dropped on 4 on that particular day.

Rohit Sharma went after the Lankan bowlers and smashed the highest individual score ever in one-day internationals. The right hand batsman accumulated 264 runs off 225 balls at the iconic Eden Gardens.

His knock was laced with 9 sixes and 33 fours as India posted a mammoth score of 404 for 5 in the fourth ODI.

Things could have been different in terms of overall score had Thisara Perera grabbed one of the easiest chances at third man off the bowling of Shaminda Eranga.

“On this day in 2014, Rohit Sharma went big! The Indian opener smashed 264, the highest ever ODI score. The worst part? Sri Lanka dropped him when he was on 4,” ICC tweeted.

News Cricket

‘It’s my personal thing’: Dada rejects ‘conflict of interest’ allegations for endorsing fantasy game

Tarun Singh Updated: 13 November, 2019, 1:48 PM IST


BCCI chief Ganguly doesn’t see any conflict of interest in endorsing the gaming app ‘My11Circle’ as it’s his personal choice.

Dada got entangled in yet another conflict of interest issue when he took to Twitter just before India versus Bangladesh T20I finals and wrote, “The #INDvsBAN series is on fire! The excitement continues in the 3rd match with series levelled. Will #TeamIndia keep up the winning streak or will Bangladesh bounce back? Beat my team on @My11Cirlce & Win Big. Make Your Team Now!.”

Ganguly’s Tweet raised questions because ‘Dream11’ is board’s official fantasy gaming partner and Ganguly as the board’s chief publicizing the rival ‘My11Circle’ raises huge conflict of interest.

Ganguly responded to the issue and Tweeted, “I don’t think there is any conflict in it, it’s my personal thing. Had I tweeted about Dream 11, it would have come under conflict of interest. I don’t see any conflict in that tweet.”

Both the gaming apps are platforms of fantasy cricket played online. The users get a chance to win cash prizes if they predict the best playing 11 from both teams in a particular match.

Earlier, Ganguly had faced allegations of conflict of interest for having multiple roles in Indian cricket at one time. He was advised to stick to one job only by the BCCI’s ethics officer DK Jain.

After filing his nomination for BCCI president post, Ganguly had said, “Conflict of Interest is an issue. And I am not sure whether we will get the services of the best cricketers in the system, because they will have other options to avail.”

It is believed that Ganguly may bring changes to ‘one person one post ’ rule of BCCI so that the best people can be hired by the board without an issue of ‘conflict of interest’.

Feature Cricket

Pace bowling is chief reason why India are the Kings of Test cricket

Partab Ramchand Updated: 13 November, 2019, 12:44 PM IST


With the two-Test series against Bangladesh coming up one cannot help feeling what an uphill task the visitors face in taking on India who probably never had it so good in their 87-year history. It is generally acknowledged that the greatest decade in Indian cricket history was the period 2001 – 2011 when the team basking in the sunshine of the most lustrous batting line-up in the world coupled with a balanced bowling attack notched up some of the greatest victories, including regularly winning Tests and even series abroad and rising to the No 1 spot in the ICC rankings for the first time. One reckoned that Indian cricket would never again reach such an exalted status but the current team has done even better. Again they have registered famous victories, won Tests and even series abroad and have been the No 1 ranked side for quite a while now.

Indian cricket’s traditional strength has been their batting but these days even as the batting has remained strong it is the bowling that is acknowledged to be the chief reason why India are the kings of Test cricket. And if there is one reason why the present team is even better than the one in the first decade of the new millennium it is because of the strength of the pace bowling. Indeed, Indian cricket has never had it so good in this department. Having five world class fast bowlers is an embarrassment of riches even as the rich spin tradition is in the safe hands or Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal waiting in the wings.

In the last quarter of a century in the post Kapil Dev period India had the likes of Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan as their frontline fast bowlers and they were a fairly potent force. But nothing really can compare with the scenario of today with Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav vying for a place in the playing eleven. This is clearly the best India has ever had by a distance. The balanced attack has given the Indian team an edge over any opposition anywhere. True, they have lost contests in England and South Africa but these have largely been because of batting failures even as the bowlers have performed heroically.

Yes, India have traditionally been known as a batting and spin powerhouse. Today however the presence of a formidable pace attack has made India competitive even overseas with the first series triumph in Australia last season being the ultimate proof. At home of course India are simply awesome as Bangladesh will no doubt realize very soon.

News Tennis

Thiem beats Djokovic in 3-set epic to advance at ATP Finals

AP Updated: 13 November, 2019, 10:46 AM IST


Dominic Thiem landed one too many punches even for Novak Djokovic to handle.

In a seesawing crowd pleaser that lasted nearly three hours and featured a handful of momentum shifts in the third set, Thiem outlasted Djokovic 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (5) to become the first player to advance from the group stage at the ATP Finals.

"It was maybe the best match I ever played," said Thiem, a two-time French Open runner-up. "It was a real classic and epic match which will happen from time to time at these big tournaments. It had everything — He was up; I was up. He was playing amazing points. Me, I was playing amazing points."

Djokovic twice rallied from a break down in the third set and led 4-1 in the tiebreaker, but Thiem then won five straight points — taking his total number of winners to 50 for the match — before converting his second match point.

"I don't think I have experienced too many matches like this where my opponent just goes for every single shot," Djokovic said. "I mean, he was unbelievable."

The result leaves Djokovic facing a winner-takes-all match against Roger Federer - in a highly anticipated rematch of this year's Wimbledon final - to decide who will join Thiem in the semifinals.

Federer beat Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (2), 6-3, which means he and Djokovic both have 1-1 records before meeting in their last round-robin match.

Thiem is 2-0 after wins over Federer and Djokovic, and Berrettini is out of contention at 0-2.