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 on: January 03, 2016, 07:50:44 AM 
Started by Blwe_torch - Last post by Blwe_torch
Indians eye revenge vs more favoured Afghans

OUR Special Correspondent

Stephen Constantine with India players and support staff, during a practice
session, in Thiruvananthapuram, on Saturday
New Delhi: Till a few years ago, India were regarded as the giants of South Asian football, whose domination in the SAFF Cup hardly ever raised an eyebrow. So much so, in the 2009 edition in Dhaka, India preferred to field an under-23 side and yet bagged the title with consummate ease.

Things have changed since then. In the 2013 Kathmandu meet, India were truly troubled by Bangladesh and Nepal before being beaten convincingly in the final by Afghanistan. Currently, there are two teams - Afghanistan and Maldives - who are ahead of India in the latest Fifa rankings.

There are considerable apprehensions when India play Afghanistan in the final in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, the hosts may be forced to finish runners-up for the second time on the trot. So much is the pressure that even India coach, Stephen Constantine, described the rivals as favourites.

Asked whether India are in a position to beat Afghanistan, Constantine said: "They are a very good side. We will fight from the first to the last minute. If we play our best and they don't have a good day, we can win."

But then, not everybody is impressed by what Constantine has to say. "We have an even chance of winning the match on home turf," felt former India captain IM Vijayan.

"I know that Afghanistan are packed with footballers, who play in minor leagues in Europe. But we, too, have a good combination of youth and experience. They are not unaware of how to play in the final," said Vijayan.

Vijayan was not far from the truth. In the three matches India played so far, they displayed enough skills to regain their hold in the regional meet. They scored nine goals in three matches and looked a side, who have developed a good understanding in the midfield. The premature exit of striker Robin Singh because of an injury is definitely a blow, but both Sunil Chetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua have given a good account of themselves.

In the midfield, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Rowlin Borges have remained constant source of trouble for the rivals. The only worry is the defence, which committed more than one mistake in the semi-final against Maldives.

But then, Afghanistan are certainly the most improved side in the region. From being a team, who were humbled 0-4 by India in the final in New Delhi in 2011, Afghanistan have come a long way to emerge the best in the region. In the last few years, a lot of their footballers preferred to play club football abroad because of political troubles in their country and it turned out to be the blessing in disguise.

In the group stage, Afghanistan steamrolled all oppositions but their German coach, Peter Segrt made it clear his ultimate aim was to once again take back the trophy home.

"This is what matters... The final is what matters. Nobody cares if we won all our games in the group stages. The final is what we came for and we have to win it for the people of Afghanistan," said the former Georgia under-21 coach.

Afghanistan's biggest advantage is their players look relatively fitter and stronger than the rivals. Having played in places like the US, Denmark, Germany, Bahrain and Malaysia, they have learned professionalism the hard way and would like to take a grip over the match in the early stages.

India, on the other hand, would have to play within their limitations and wait for the chances to come their way to regain the title after two years.

Kick-off: 6.30pm.


 on: January 03, 2016, 07:35:31 AM 
Started by Blwe_torch - Last post by Blwe_torch
Former shooter Fateh martyred

OUR Special Correspondent

New Delhi: The nation lost one of its foremost big bore rifle shooter-turned-coach, Fateh Singh, when he was martyred while fighting terrorists in Pathankot, on Saturday.

Subedar Singh was 51 years old and was a part of the Defence Security Core (DSC). He was posted with the Dogra regiment.

A top shooter during the 90s, Fateh Singh was a star performer during the inaugural Commonwealth Shooting Championship in New Delhi and won a gold and a silver medal in the individual events. He also won a gold in the team event.

Though not many pursued the big bore event in India since it was not an Olympic event, Fateh Singh excelled in it after joining the Army. In the Delhi Commonwealth Championship, his medals came in the 3 position and prone events.

Once he quit active shooting, Fateh Singh was involved in coaching and remained the coach of the Army team for several years. He was based at Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) in Mhow and earned his name as one of the top coaches in the country. AMU has produced some legendary shooters including double-trap star Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and pistol man Vijay Kumar. Standard pistol shooter Chandrasekhar Chaudhary, who won a silver medal in the pair event along with Samresh Jung in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, described Fateh a knowledgeable man and a great human being.

"As a coach, he was thorough and highly knowledgeable in the big bore event. He was a nice person and we all enjoyed his company. In fact, all of us, who spent time in AMU, were devastated when we received the news of his death," Chaudhary said.

Rifle shooter Joydeep Karmakar said Fateh Singh's death was a big blow to Indian shooting. "When I started my career, he was a well-known name in big bore shooting. Since we were in different events, we did not get to know each other well. But I was aware of his reputation.

"He later became coach and produced some good shooters. As a coach also, he was very famous... It is a loss for the shooting fraternity," said Joydeep, who finished fourth in the 2012 London Olympics.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) also condoled Fateh's death.

"Subedar Fateh Singh sacrificed his life while fighting for his motherland at Air Base Pathankot today during an attack of militants. Subedar Fateh Singh was a legendary big bore shooter," said NRAI in a statement.

NRAI president Raninder Singh said: "The country has lost its beloved son. May Almighty grant peace to the great soldier. The shooting fraternity prays for the departed soul and hope the Almighty gives strength to the family of this great soldier to bear with this irreparable loss," Raninder said.


 on: January 03, 2016, 07:33:47 AM 
Started by Blwe_torch - Last post by Blwe_torch
NSG Colonel, 2 others killed during mop-up at Pathankot; Saturday's toll up

Pathankot, Jan 3 (Agencies): A Lieutenant Colonel and two soldiers were reported killed in an explosion during mopping up operations on Sunday at the Pathankot Air Base, the target of a pre-dawn terror attack yesterday that led to a 15-hour gunbattle.

Officials said Lt Col E.K. Niranjan of the National Security Guard commandos, was killed when an improvised explosive device went off.

Meanwhile, officials raised the death toll in Saturday's operation to six security personnel --- five of the Defence Security Corp, and one Air Force Garud commando -- from three reported initially. The bodies of four militants had been recovered after the assault on the air base in Punjab.

The attack by gunmen disguised as soldiers came a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unscheduled visit to Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in an effort to revive talks between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

One of the Indian security members killed in the attack was Subedar Fateh Singh, who won gold and silver medals in the first Commonwealth Shooting Championships held in 1995, the National Rifle Association of India said.

Officials said the attack on the military base bore the hallmarks of previous suspected assaults by Pakistan-based militant groups, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Dozens of armed forces stood guard outside the base.

 on: January 03, 2016, 07:24:40 AM 
Started by ruchir - Last post by Blwe_torch
Excellent.....worth a read!  :icon_thumleft:

 on: December 23, 2015, 04:03:50 AM 
Started by ruchir - Last post by ruchir

Three proposals to enliven Test cricket
There's only one way the five-day game ought to go, and that's in the opposite direction of what we saw in the Delhi Test
Let's imagine a scenario in which a cricket fan is explaining what happened in the fourth Test between India and South Africa recently at the Kotla to someone from outside our charmed circle.

Cricket Fan (CF): It was Test cricket at its attritional best! The Saffers tried to play out ten hours of game time to draw the fourth Test, and their discipline was amazing.

Outsider Dude (OD): What do you mean, "draw the Test"?

CF: It's when neither side wins or loses - we call it a draw.

OD: Oh, you mean like a tie?

CF: No, no, a tie is different. It's very rare. This is just a draw - a no-result. Happens quite a lot in Test cricket.

OD: What would be the point of that? Especially after five days of play?

CF: Umm, never mind. The thing is, South Africa blocked everything the Indians threw at them. They scored at less than a run every over for over eight hours. Their grit was phenomenal.

OD: Hmm, I still don't get it. Were they trying to "draw" the match to come back strongly in the next Test?

CF: No, there is no next Test. The series was already over. India were 2-0 up before the Kotla Test even began.

OD: Wait a sec. Why play a fourth Test if by the third the series was over? You don't have a game five in the NBA finals if one team is up 4-0. Nor does Djokovic play a fourth and fifth set against Federer if he has won the first three.

CF: I don't know why we do that in cricket. The whole series has to be played even if sometimes the last or even the last two Tests are dead rubbers.

OD: So let me get this straight: South Africa played the most incredibly defensive cricket for nearly 10 hours to draw the final match in a series that they had already lost?

CF: Yes. Except, they didn't succeed. They lost the fourth Test too, and so the series ended 3-0 in India's favor.

OD: You know what? This always happens whenever we talk about cricket: I get a headache and am left even more confused about the game than before. Frankly, you guys should think about changing the name of your game to Dead Rubbers - that's the only thing you've said so far that makes any sense at all.


The last couple of weeks have thrown into relief two possible directions Test cricket can go in the future: one spells certain, if gradual, death, and the other a possible resurgence. The first was epitomised by the spectacle at the Kotla, whose sheer absurdity the imaginary conversation above tries to capture. The second is what New Zealand under Brendon McCullum showed in the first Test against Sri Lanka - blazing away at over four runs an over through the match despite losing wickets, and risking defeat with a bold declaration to ensure a result. I firmly believe it's this direction we should be moving in, and it's time to leave the business of drawing meaningless Tests behind us.

In that vein, I'd like to propose a couple of radical departures that are long overdue and have the potential to revolutionise the way Tests are played:

a) Abolish the draw, b) Eliminate the toss, and c) have a limit for how many overs each innings can last. Let's briefly discuss the two changes in turn, realising that a few more tweaks may be necessary to achieve optimal results.

First, from here on, every Test has to end in a result. The team batting last will have to chase down the target to win: if it fails to do so in the available overs, it will have lost the Test, no matter how many wickets it still has in hand. The option of playing out time to achieve a draw no longer exists - you either win or you lose. (Ties are allowed - there will be no equivalent of a Super Over or sudden death overtime to force a result. Ties are likely to be so rare that we can allow their special status to remain.)

Second, toss the toss. Eliminating the draw possibly gives too much advantage to the team winning the toss. To counter that, one of two options may be considered. Teams alternate on who gets to decide whether they are going to bat or field first. In every series, the visiting team gets to decide in the first Test, the home team gets its turn in the second Test, it's back to the visiting team for the third test, and so on. Or, better still, we recognise that most Test series are won by home teams anyway as they are more familiar with the conditions (and often stack them in their own favour) and redress that by allowing visiting teams to always get first pick on whether to bat or field, as has been proposed in English county cricket.

Third, each team can bat a maximum of 100 overs in each of its innings. All Tests will have four days of play beginning at 3pm and ending at 10pm with two 30-minute breaks in between for "tea" and "dinner". In the six hours of play, 100 overs will have to be bowled, at an average of just over 16 overs an hour. Ten more overs a day is not a big addition to the current 90-overs-a-day rule. Bowlers used to routinely bowl even more back in the day. (It's also clear that bowling teams can bowl at a rapid rate when it suits their interests: India averaged 18 overs every hour during South Africa's fourth innings at the Kotla.) Endless fiddling with field settings and a general lack of urgency are to blame for the abysmal over rates we see these days. With a minimum of 400 overs in four days of day-night cricket, the game will move along at a brisk pace.

This combination of an over-limit per innings alongside the abolition of the draw and modifying the toss has the potential to revolutionise Test cricket while retaining many elements that make it unique and special. Teams will still have to put a premium on batting sensibly, as the conditions and bowling warrant, and yet scoring runs briskly will remain important.

Taking wickets as often (and as cheaply) as possible will remain the best way to win a match. You cannot sit on a series lead by preparing batting beauties to ensure draws, and this could also relieve the tedium of dead rubbers. Home-field advantage will be neutered somewhat by alternating who gets to decide to bat or field first, or by giving that option exclusively to the visitors.

Since matches will be played mostly through the evening, live and TV audiences will likely be greater than they are currently. At the minimum, these are ideas worth considering. What we don't need more of is what happened at the Kotla: that's a relic from a bygone era now best left in the past.

Sankaran Krishna is a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, in Honolulu. @SankaranKrishna

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

 on: December 16, 2015, 10:28:02 AM 
Started by Blwe_torch - Last post by Blwe_torch
Lomu was penniless at the time of death

Jonathan Pearlman

Sydney: New Zealand's rugby players have started a trust fund to support the two sons of Jonah Lomu, one of the sport's greatest champions, after it emerged that he was almost penniless when he died last month.

Rob Nichol, from the New Zealand Rugby Players Association, said Lomu's "generosity" towards his family and those close to him had left him with little money. "There's not going to be any great windfall," Nichol told The New Zealand Herald.

"There's not great savings there. There's certainly nothing that's going to sustain any ongoing financial benefit for the family."

Lomu, 40, a spectacularly fast and powerful winger who played 63 Tests for New Zealand, died last month in Auckland after suffering from kidney problems for 20 years.

As the state of his finances emerged, fellow players set up the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust to support his boys Dhyreille, 6, and Brayley, 5, but the fund will reportedly exclude Nadene, the boys' mother and Lomu's third wife.

Nichol said Lomu may have struggled to control his finances because he became a star very young and may have felt he had to build "a facade, a wall".

He was reportedly earning as much as 400,000 a year at the peak of his career.

But Lomu's continuing health problems limited his ability to work, Nichol said, even though the public "assumed he was still on a pretty good wicket".

"We all assumed he was continuing to work and do this stuff, but when we look at it now I don't think that was the case," he said. "The Rugby World Cup [in England] presented a good opportunity but, man, that took its toll in the worst and saddest way possible.

"When you look at where he's got to financially and why he's got there, his generosity was obviously a massive part of it. He has definitely taken on obligations of others - whether it's family or others close to him, whether it's financial or other kinds of obligations - at the expense of himself, Nadene and the boys."

Lomu reportedly took on considerable debt in recent years, including loans to buy Mercedes-Benz cars with the registration plates "Nades1" and "J0nah".

He also bought an apartment from Nadene's father Mervyn Quirk for 710,000 in 2008, even though this was 314,000 more than Mr Quirk, a former bankrupt, paid for it 10 months earlier, according to a report in The New Zealand Herald.

Nichol said: "We know people are going to have a lot of questions around what has happened and what's gone on in the past. We just don't know."

Lomu's death prompted tributes from across the world and he has been remembered at numerous memorials in New Zealand.

His fearsome display as a virtually unstoppable 20-year-old at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa stunned the world, though his health problems cut short his career.

The Daily Telegraph


 on: December 14, 2015, 06:16:28 AM 
Started by Blwe_torch - Last post by Blwe_torch
Tsunami survivor Deborah Herold is world No. 4 cyclist

Jamie Alter | TNN | Dec 12, 2015, 07.46 AM IST

Deborah became the first Indian female cyclist to be ranked fourth in the world
At the Track Asia Cup, her three medals were critical to India finishing third, with 11 medals
When she was 9 years old, she spent a whole day on a tree when tsunami struck the Car Nicobar base
Deborah became the first Indian female cyclist to be ranked fourth in the world (TOI Photo)Deborah became the first Indian female cyclist to be ranked fourth in the world

Deborah Herold is no stranger to surviving the odds. When just nine years old, she spent a whole day on a tree when the tsunami struck the Car Nicobar base where her father was employed.
With her family displaced, she had to wait for the waters to recede and hope for a timely rescue. It was a horrifying experience but this tribal girl from the Andamans was made of stern stuff. She took up cycling, a sport which has few fans in this country and even fewer champions, and quickly went on to become a role model.
On Friday, Deborah, now 20, scaled another unique peak when she became the first Indian female cyclist to be ranked fourth in the world, according to the World Elite Women Ranking issued by cycling world body UCI for the 500m time trial event.
Prior to the recent Track Asia Cup held at the Indira *hi Stadium velodrome here, an event in which Deborah put in a commanding performance, she was ranked 10th. At the three-day event last month, her three medals were critical to India's cycling contingent finishing in third place, with 11 medals.
"I am happy that I am the first Indian cyclist to reach this stage, but I want to improve more. I aim to be No. 1. I would like to thank our federation and government for their continuous support. I am working hard to qualify for the Olympics now," Deborah said.
Deborah Holden's story is an inspirational one. Days of struggle followed the tsunami, and though cycling was second nature, Deborah also dreamed of a career as a long jumper. She entered a local event, having brought her cycle from Car Nicobar to the Andaman Islands, and went on to win, attracting the attention of coaches and experts. There was no looking back and a stint with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Andaman helped her make up her mind to pursue the sport.
"I just want to do well, keep our medal tally increasing," she had told TOI during the recent Track Asia Cup. "That's why we compete. I am in a very happy space right now with the team. We are working hard to keep the tempo up."
The Indian team has improved its world ranking to No. 13, making it the highest-ranked Asian country in the 500m time trial. China are ranked 15.


 on: November 29, 2015, 12:50:22 PM 
Started by Blwe_torch - Last post by Blwe_torch
Your brother took our cricket back by five years, Sachin Tendulkar told Ian Chappell

Partha Bhaduri | TNN | Nov 29, 2015, 08.44 AM IST

NEW DELHI: It was moments after Sachin Tendulkar had announced his retirement at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai two years ago.
Emotionally drained and probably also a bit relieved that it was all over, Tendulkar had a quiet moment to himself in the dressing room when in walked Virat Kohli. India's current Test skipper was clutching something in his hands, something resembling a pouch. Something obviously very precious to him.
"I want you to have this," he said, grabbing Tendulkar by the hand. "It was given to me by my father. I am giving this to you." Tendulkar saw the pouch contained some threads. Then Virat touched his feet and Tendulkar said, "Arre tujhe toh galey lagna hai (Hey, we should be hugging instead)." Virat pretended not to hear. "I will miss you," he said glassy-eyed, and walked out. Tendulkar slumped back in his seat.
Cut back a few years, to a gym in Durban, and a chance meeting with former Australian captain Ian Chappell, who had written - during a particularly low point in Tendulkar's career - that the batsman should have a look in the "mirror".
Chappell saw Tendulkar working out and said, "So this is the secret." Tendulkar was still livid. "You guys conveniently change your tone," he shot back. "Your brother (Greg, ex-India coach) created all the problem. He took Indian cricket at least five years behind."

These and other memorable vignettes of a storied career were played out - some in Sachin's own words, some shared by Boria Majumdar, co-author of Sachin's autobiography 'Playing It My Way' - at the 'Unknown Sachin Tapes' session at the Times Lit Fest on Saturday evening.
Tendulkar has been known to be painfully politically correct throughout his career but the tapes reveal an opinionated, driven cricketer deeply obsessed with his craft, one who never cut corners and never expected anybody else to. This is probably why Tendulkar still sounds bitter about his perceived failures as captain, saying, "First time I was captain I felt there wasn't enough support from the selectors."

In a particularly candid segment, he talks about the pain of the tennis elbow injury. Sometimes he would chew painkillers instead of swallowing them, in futile hope that they would work better. Once he called up his wife Anjali from the hospital and told her, "Get a video camera. You have never seen me in so much pain."

The tapes also reveal a deep dislike of Greg Chappell's ways, but the best moments from the session were rare glimpses of Tendulkar's deadpan humour. Once, cajoled by the author why he reached out to wife Anjali and no other woman, Tendulkar simply said, "She was the only one I met. I was busy playing for India."
Cricket aside, the sessions also revealed what Tendulkar considers the high point of his life, when a child suffering from cerebral palsy got up and played out three deliveries with his bat before relapsing into a vegetative state.


 on: November 21, 2015, 11:22:20 AM 
Started by Blwe_torch - Last post by Blwe_torch
i felt he was the Ruud Gullit of Rugby.... very similar approach

I think he was more like Johan Cruyff, fast,nimble and unstoppable.

but the physical presence itself was intimidating

 on: November 20, 2015, 09:46:36 AM 
Started by Blwe_torch - Last post by vincent
i felt he was the Ruud Gullit of Rugby.... very similar approach

I think he was more like Johan Cruyff, fast,nimble and unstoppable.

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