Xhaka stripped of Arsenal captaincy after outburst

Xhaka stripped of Arsenal captaincy after outburst

AP Updated: 6 November, 2019, 10:24 AM IST


Arsenal coach Unai Emery has stripped Granit Xhaka of the club captaincy following his recent outburst against supporters.

Emery said at a news conference that Xhaka will no longer wear the armband that was handed to him this summer after Laurent Koscielny forced a move back to France.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's Europa League game at Portuguese side Vitoria, Emery said "I was speaking with him this morning and also I decided he is not one of the captains in our group. ... He accepted my decision."

Xhaka swore and gesticulated at fans as he was jeered following his substitution in a recent 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.

The 27-year-old midfielder has since issued a statement saying that ongoing social media abuse aimed at his family played a large part in his furious reaction.

The midfielder has not played for Arsenal since and was left out of the traveling squad for Wednesday's game.

Emery said striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be his main captain instead.

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News Cricket

Taapsee Pannu to play Mithali Raj in ‘Shabaash Mithu’

Garima Kotroo Updated: 11 December, 2019, 10:46 PM IST


One of the leading actresses of Bollywood, Taapsee Pannu is all set to play another challenging role in her upcoming movie. The 32-year-old will now portray the role of Mithali Raj in the biopic ‘Shabaash Mithu’.

The shooting of the film will start from next year. Taapsee feels playing the role of a sportsperson on silver screen is not easy. However, she is prepared for the challenge.

"It is going to be difficult, I know. I watch cricket a lot but I never played the game. So, it is going to be challenging for me. Mithali has already told me that 'I'd like to see how you play the cover drive!' So, I dream of cover drives now".

Few days back, when Mithali celebrated her 37th birthday on December 3, Taapsee posted some beautiful pictures with the batswoman along with a hearth-warming caption on Instagram.

This is not the first time when Taapsee Pannu will act in a biopic film as she has been a part of biopics like Soorma and Saand ki Aankh.

News Cricket

Shreyas Iyer needs to focus more on his off-side batting - Kevin Pietersen

Garima Kotroo Updated: 11 December, 2019, 10:44 PM IST


Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen recently came forward with a suggestion for the young Indian cricketer Shreyas Iyer on his batting skills. He feels that Iyer should spend some more time in the nets and work hard on his off-side batting techniques.

"Shreyas Iyer needs to focus more on his off-side batting and he needs to spend more time on the nets, get more practice to hit at extra cover, take his left pad off and focus on hitting through the line on the off-side”.

While giving tips to the Indian batsman, Pietersen also added, “There are drills which you need to practice as a youngster and this will help him as the bowler will then eventually not bowl to him outside the off stump”

The 25-year-old right-handed batsman was last seen in action in the third and final T20I match against Bangladesh at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Maharashtra. In that encounter, Iyer played a brilliant knock of 62 runs off just 33 balls. His innings was laced with three boundaries and five sixes.

Opinion Cricket

Kolkata Test: A One Hit Wonder?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 11 December, 2019, 5:02 PM IST


As the dust settles on the hoopla surrounding India’s first day and night Test cricket, it becomes more obvious that this was an experiment, created specifically in mind that India will not be playing at home for the next year and could take the game to the opposition on their overseas tours, on and off the field.

It might be more bad news for Australia who are still seething that they did not get the opportunity to hand India their first day and night Test cricket contest and a possible advantage going into the last series that eventually went India’s way. Although there was a great deal of the right notes hit as Sourav Ganguly, the new Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief, and Virat Kohli, the Indian captain, talked about India’s forthrightness in playing day and night Test cricket, the present reality looks stark for the moment.

The hastily prepared contest under floodlights came about by pulling strings at the Bangladesh cricket board as well as with Ganguly’s connections at Eden Gardens. However, much of the fireworks seemed set for the pre hype and the peripheral events surrounding the actual match. With Bangladesh having ceded the early advantage to go down 1-0 in the series heading into Kolkata, they did not offer the slightest amount of resistance as India made short work of their less experienced neighbours.

With India having done away with the inaugural fiesta, it looks like siesta for day and night Test cricket in the forthcoming season. Such are the early indications from both, the administrative chief and the captain.

While Virat Kohli talked about day and night Test cricket being a novelty affair and the need to focus more on traditional Test cricket, Ganguly was non-committal when asked the question whether India would acquiesce on playing a day and night Test in New Zealand, the next venue for their Test cricket encounter.

Although the ICC World Test championship points do not distinguish between wins at home and wins overseas, it seems hardly likely that unless a favourable (read:lucrative) deal was struck mutually between the two cricket boards that Virat Kohli and his men would not be undertaking another day and night Test, particularly overseas while it is still not mandatory on the boards or the teams to do so.

Although some have encouraged Virat Kohli to accept the Australian captain Tim Paine’s gauntlet that India would play a day and night Test in Australia next year depending on Kohli’s mood, it would seem impractical that India would give it to something as banal as a challenge between querulous captains, not when there are points on the line and a possible final place in the ICC World Test championship at Lord’s in 2021 at stake.

With Ganguly talking about the New Zealand tour still being far away, it is becoming apparent that just as India played a strategic hand down under late last year in turning down Cricket Australia’s request to play a day and night Test as part of their tour, the Kolkata Test might have been a one off gamble, to kick off India’s initiative in the day and night Test cricket format, knowing such a possibility was still a fair distance away, particularly on home soil.

The reservations would explain why only a dozen such matches have been played internationally till date since 2015 when the first match was played between the trans Tasmanian rivals, Australia and New Zealand.

News Cricket

Aleem Dar to break Steve Bucknor’s world record for most Tests as umpire

AP Updated: 11 December, 2019, 4:53 PM IST


Aleem Dar will break the record of most tests as an umpire in the first match of the series between Australia and New Zealand starting Thursday.

The 51-year-old from Pakistan will stand in his 129th test as an on-field umpire, surpassing the previous record of Steve Bucknor.

Dar has been umpiring in tests since 2003, his first coming in the match between Bangladesh and England in Dhaka.

“This is one milestone I had never thought of when I began my umpiring career," Dar said. "It is a truly amazing feeling and a high point of my life when I take the field here in Australia, thousands of miles from where I started my international career at home in Gujranwala.”

Having officiated in 207 one-day internationals since 2000, he is only two matches short of the record in that format held by Rudi Koertzen of South Africa. He has also umpired in 46 Twenty20 internationals.

News Cricket

With Sourav at the helm, Murali Vijay is confident of his selection in Indian squad

Staff Writer Updated: 11 December, 2019, 3:49 PM IST


Former Indian opener Murali Vijay is currently representing Tamil Nadu in the ongoing Ranji Trophy. The Test veteran is out of the Indian team since last December. Time and again, he has expressed his frustration on being ignored by the national selectors despite putting in impressive performance. However, with Sourav Ganguly's arrival as BCCI's president, Murali is confident of his selection in Team India.

“With Sourav at the helm, I hope things would change. He had gone through this in his career. And he had come back strongly. He knows all about the feelings and the emotions of a cricketer in this situation,” Vijay said as quoted by Sportstar.

The former Test opener added, “I am looking forward to Sourav’s stint. He is a players’ man. He is a strong personality and hopefully, he will bring a structure to the process for cricketers to perform well.”

According to him, players like him have another chance to represent their country at the highest level.

“That’s exactly my point. I am just not talking about myself. I am talking about cricketers who have been left out, they should have a platform to make a comeback. It shouldn’t be a cut and chop job which leaves players in the wilderness. It is a hard pill to swallow when you know you can perform at the highest level but are playing a level down.” Vijay said.

He feels dropped cricketers should get a fair chance. “Brilliant to see Mayank and Rohit do well. It is great to watch Rohit bat and make a wonderful start as a Test opener. I feel they should be given a fair run. The openers that are waiting in the wings should be taken care of too.”

News Cricket

Ricky Ponting makes social media debut, uploads photos of first net session with son

Staff Writer Updated: 11 December, 2019, 3:48 PM IST


Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has made his debut on social media. The veteran is now on Twitter and he announced his arrival on social media by posting photos of a net session with his son Fletcher.

“A day of firsts; finally on social media and the first net with my son Fletcher,” wrote Ponting. He is the only player who have been a part of three fifty-over World Cup winning campaigns. Ponting was the skipper when Australia won the prestigious trophy in 2003 and 2007. He is the highest run-getter for Australia in one-day internationals and Test cricket.

He accumulated 13,378 runs in 168 Test matches at an average of 51.85. Ponting scored 13,704 runs in 374 ODIs at an average of 42.03 with 30 centuries to his name. He was one of the best batsmen of his time and it was not easy for the rival bowlers to stop him from scoring runs.

News Cricket

Prithvi Shaw hits maiden double century in Ranji Trophy

Staff Writer Updated: 11 December, 2019, 3:47 PM IST


Prithvi Shaw is scoring runs in the ongoing domestic season. After his impressive display in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he carried his exceptional form to Ranji Trophy. The young Indian batsman scored a magnificent double ton in the ongoing match against Baroda. Shaw's knock of 202 runs was lacked with 19 fours and 7 sixes. He scored a well compiled fifty in the first innings as well.

The 20-year old was banned after failing a dope test. He was accused of having prohibited substance but Shaw had denied any wrongdoing. According to him, he had a cough syrup. His explanation was accepted by the governing body of Indian cricket but he was penalized for eight months.

He is in the race to travel with Team India to New Zealand in 2020.

Prithvi Shaw was sensational on his Test debut against the Windies. He scored an attacking hundred against the helpless visitors, who were undone by his attacking brand of cricket.

News Cricket

Fan on a mission: Die-hard Dhoni fan Pranav wants '183 autographs' from former skipper

Tarun Singh Updated: 11 December, 2019, 3:46 PM IST


MS Dhoni has a huge fan following across the globe and he is the most popular sportsman in India, even when he is not playing cricket. One of his many fans, Pranav Jain of Bengaluru is on a mission of collecting 183 autographs in his kitty from his beloved Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

22-year-old Jain relates figure 183 with Dhoni’s ODI career-best score of 183* against Sri Lanka in 2005. The die-hard fan Jain has traveled across the globe to chase his idol and has already collected 153 autographs from Dhoni on bats, posters, trophies, and gloves.

Pranav Jain, who was waiting for MS Dhoni to complete his shoot at a Kolkata resort said, “Mahi bhai has promised me 183 autographs but with a rider. He has told me “Jis din tera 183 complete hoga, tujhe aur koi autograph nahi milega (The day you complete your collection of 183 autographs, you will not get any more)”. I am planning to get 10 autographs today and it will be 163.”

MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev were in Kolkata for a commercial shoot. And Jain is expecting to get at least 10 more autographs from Dhoni this time. The obsessed fan Jain feels that it will take another 1 year to complete his mission of 183 autographs from the captain cool.

In Indian cricket history, 183 is quite famous. Team India defended 183 against West Indies to lift their first World Cup Trophy in 1983. Besides Dhoni’s career-best 183*, it is also the highest score of current BCCI head Sourav Ganguly.

News Cricket

Mohammad Shami catches up with Bollywood superstar Salman Khan

Staff Writer Updated: 11 December, 2019, 3:45 PM IST


Indian pacer Mohammed Shami, who is currently a part of the T20 squad, took to his Instagram handle to post his picture with Salman Khan. He thanked the superstar for the quality time they spent together and even wished him luck for his upcoming movie Dabangg 3. "Quality time with @beingsalmankhan thank you so much bhai and good luck for DABANGG3 #india #mumbai".

Shami has been in exceptional form in Whites. He is the leading wicket-taker for India in the ongoing World Test Championship. The right-arm fast bowler played a crucial role in India’s series triumphs against South Africa and Bangladesh.

He is famous for his performance in the second innings of a Test match and his deadly spells have wrecked havoc in the ranks of rival teams.

Even Virat Kohli has acknowledged Shami’s contribution in India’s success in the traditional format of the game.

News Cricket

I have the utmost respect for Sourav Ganguly - Ravi Shastri 

Garima Kotroo Updated: 11 December, 2019, 3:43 PM IST


The head coach of Indian cricket team, Ravi Shastri recently showered the praise on the legendary cricketer Sourav Ganguly for taking over as the chief of BCCI.

The 57-year-old even lauded Ganguly’s efforts for the Indian cricket team. With this appraisal, Shastri has taken another step to reduce his differences with Sourav Ganguly.

“Ganguly took over Indian cricket at the most troubled times. You needed the faith of the people to come back. What he has done as a cricketer... I have the utmost respect, ” Shastri said in a recent interview.

While dismissing speculations of his rift with the BCCI President, Shastri added, “If people think I don't respect that, to hell with them. As far as the Sourav-Shastri game that goes, that's brilliant chaat and bhel puri for the media”.

The relationship between Shastri and Ganguly started deteriorating when the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising of Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, preferred Anil Kumble over Ravi Shastri for the position of head coach in 2016.

However, Kumble stepped down from his position in June 2017 after which Shastri got the job once again. Continuous disputes with Indian skipper Virat Kohli had forced the veteran spinner Kumble to resign from his position.

News Cricket

Mayank Agarwal likely to make ODI debut against West Indies

Garima Kotroo Updated: 11 December, 2019, 1:53 PM IST


After winning millions of hearts in the red-ball cricket with his terrific performances, Mayank Agarwal could now make his debut in One Day International format against West Indies.

The Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan has failed to recover from a knee injury and Agarwal is in line to replace him for the upcoming series.

However, the 34-year-old, was expected to recover before the ODI matches against Windies but his injury is more serious than what was apprehended.

The selection committee is planning to rope in the Test opener to fill the boots of Shikhar Dhawan in the 50-over format.

The selectors have come up with three names Prithvi Shaw, Shubhman Gill and Mayank Agarwal to replace Dhawan. Out of these three players, team management is thinking of finalizing Mayank's name considering his record in List A cricket.

Agarwal is currently playing in the ongoing Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu in Dindigul. The 28-year-old is expected to join the ODI squad in Chennai before the series opener.

The three-match ODI series between India and West Indies will start from December 15 and the first encounter will be played at M.A.Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

News Cricket

Virat and Anushka post heartfelt messages on their second anniversary

Tarun Singh Updated: 11 December, 2019, 1:01 PM IST


A successful marriage requires falling in love with each other. India’s most admired couple Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma aka Virushka are celebrating their second marriage anniversary today. They have wished each other with lovely romantic notes on social media.

"In reality there is only love and nothing else. And when god blesses you with the person who makes you realise that everyday, you have just one feeling, gratitude," Virat Kohli captioned a lovely black and white picture of their wedding on Instagram where Virat can be seen kissing on Anushka's forehead.

"To love another person is to see the face of God" -Victor Hugo The thing about love is that it's not just a feeling , it's much more than that . It's a guide , a propeller, a path to the absolute truth . And I am blessed , truly , wholly blessed, to have found it,” she wrote.

They got married on December 11, 2017 in Italy.

Virat and Anushka have a huge fan following across the globe and their fans have flooded the social media with their love and heartfelt wishes for the couple .

Virat Kohli has proved to be an ideal husband as he always supports his better half against all the odds.

Recently, when India former cricketer Farokh Engineer blamed the selectors for serving tea to Anushka Sharma and not focusing on the team’s performance during the World Cup in England, Kohli came out in support of Anushka. "You want to mention something about the selectors do that, but why join her name (Anushka) with it. She came for 1 World Cup game against Sri Lanka and the family box and the selector box was different, and there was no selector in that box. She came for 1 game with two friends. As I said, she is known, she's been successful at a very high level so when people take her name, it gets noticed.”

News Cricket

‘Happy marriage anniversary to the best couple’ - Fans wish Virushka on their big day

Garima Kotroo Updated: 11 December, 2019, 12:27 PM IST


Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma are celebrating their second marriage anniversary on December 11. They are renowned for their chemistry. While Virat never misses a chance to watch Anushka’s movies, the leading actress and better half of the Indian skipper is more often seen supporting her beau in international and IPL matches.

They got married in Italy in 2017 and are going strong in their relationship. Virat Kohli has credited Anushka for bringing stability and maturity in his life. The hot headed Virat has calm down in the last few years and Anushka has played a big part in his behavioral changes.

Virat, on the other hand, has always backed Anushka. He recently blasted trolls for targeting her. Meanwhile, fans are showering love on Virushka on the occasion of their second marriage anniversary.

News Football

English clubs on the march again in the Champions League

AP Updated: 11 December, 2019, 10:38 AM IST


The English are on the march again in the Champions League.

Liverpool and Chelsea completed a sweep of Premier League clubs into the knockout stage of the Champions League on Tuesday, a season after England had two of its representatives in the final.

Liverpool, which beat Tottenham in the title match in June to become European champion for a sixth time, toughed out a 2-0 victory at Salzburg to advance as the winner of Group E and stay on course in its defense of the trophy.

It's shaping up to be a huge second half of the season for the Reds, who are also eight points clear in the Premier League in their pursuit of a first English championship in 30 years.

Chelsea was one of the teams to qualify from Group H after a 2-1 home victory over Lille under Frank Lampard, a Champions League winner with the London team in 2012 and in his first season as its manager.

Manchester City and Tottenham, the other English clubs competing in the Champions League, advanced last month with a game to spare.

It is the third straight season where England has provided four of the 16 representatives in the knockout stage, as teams in the lucrative Premier League start to show the benefit of having the biggest broadcasting revenues in soccer and some of the world's most highly rated coaches.

Napoli was one of four other teams to advance on Tuesday — but it wasn't enough to keep Carlo Ancelotti in a job. He was fired by the Italian team a few hours after its 4-0 win over Genk which sealed second place in the group containing Liverpool.

Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Lyon also reached the last 16.

News Cricket

Pakistan hope historic home tests will help turn team's form

AP Updated: 11 December, 2019, 10:37 AM IST


Pakistan captain Azhar Ali is counting on the return of test cricket in the country after 10 years away to turn around their fortunes.

Pakistan made a pitiful start to the world test championship recently when it lost both tests by innings margins against Australia in Brisbane and Adelaide.

“We had a tough series in Australia and it’s very unfortunate the way we lost there, it was disappointing,” Azhar said on Tuesday, the day before they play Sri Lanka at Pindi Cricket Stadium.

“(But) moving forward we see this home series as an opportunity and advantage to turn things around.”

Pakistan and Sri Lanka will play two tests. Sri Lanka already has 60 points in the world test championship after it drew the series against New Zealand at home. Pakistan has yet to earn a point.

Sri Lanka was the last team to play a test in Pakistan in 2009 when terrorists attacked its team bus in Lahore. Eight people were killed in the ambush and several Sri Lanka players and officials were injured.

Zimbabwe was the first team to visit six years later for a limited-overs tour. Meanwhile, Pakistan played almost all of its home tests in the United Arab Emirates to sparse crowds.

Azhar has played 75 tests but this will be his first in Pakistan, as for all of his other 15 teammates.

“It’s a moment to rejoice, not only for the players but the whole Pakistan nation,” Azhar said.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get back on the wining track. We will try our best to fix our mistakes and improve wherever we had been lacking. We have outstanding talent in our squad, they have potential, and if we implement it results will be good.”

Pakistan has picked uncapped left-arm fast bowler Usman Shinwari in hope Pindi Stadium’s pitch will live up to its reputation as helpful to seamers. But Pakistan has history against its side, as it has lost its last three tests in Rawalpindi.

Azhar is also wary of a Sri Lanka side featuring captain Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, and former captain Angelo Matthews. Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal, who toured in 2009, had to pull out at the last minute due to dengue fever.

Sri Lanka also has an advantage of good knowledge about Pakistan from Mickey Arthur, who was hired as the Sri Lanka coach last week. Arthur coached Pakistan for three years until he was removed after the Cricket World Cup in England in July.

“Definitely, if someone is with you for so long he does have a lot of information about you,” Azhar said with a smile. “But in cricket these days we all have a lot of knowledge about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and yet players score runs ... like David Warner did against us recently.”

Karunaratne said what Arthur knew about Pakistan was invaluable.

“It’s a big advantage for us,” Karunaratne said. “Mickey ... knows everyone closely, and how the team is going to get prepared.”

Karunaratne will be playing a test for the first time, and said he was happy to be a part of Pakistan's first true home test in more than a decade.

“This is my first time in Pakistan so I am really excited," he said. “It’s a great pleasure for me.”