The fact that Sony has been struggling with their smartphone business as of late is an open secret. Sony has always made smartphones with strong cameras, unique industrial designs and vivid displays – but still success, especially in terms of sales has always eluded them. Here in enters the Sony Xperia XZ1 – their most accomplished smartphone to date. With the XZ1, not only has Sony delivered what seems to be a power packed phone, the company has also for once priced it reasonably and realistically.For Rs 45,000, there is a lot on offer here – a stellar camera with nifty slow motion and predictive capture tricks, the latest version of Android right out of the box, powerful specifications, IP68 dust and water resistance, Bluetooth 5.0 and even 3D image scanning. The feature list is extremely comprehensive.Dated yet svelte designWhat does it lack? A bezel-less design. Yes, the Sony Xperia XZ1 still has massive top and bottom bezels which just look a tad bit dated. I would not have minded the bezels that much if the front facing stereo speakers had been worth the sacrifice – but they are not. They are crisp and clear but are simply not loud enough. The Pixel 2 in comparison has much better stereo speakers – louder and warmer. Even the Nokia 8’s single speaker is louder.The fingerprint sensor is also not found on the front fascia but on the side mounted power button. The sensor itself is a bit patchy – it is quite fast when it works but many times I found myself having to try a second time or re-position my finger.advertisementMoving on from bezels, the design is not bad per-se. In fact it is the most refined iteration of the design Sony introduced with the Xperia Z in 2013. The old three piece construction found on the Xperia XZ and XZs has been replaced by a new metal unibody two piece setup on the XZ1 – and it looks and feels very premium.The Xperia XZ1 also feels incredibly light and compact – so much so that the first time I picked it up I severely doubted the phone’s build quality. However Sony must be lauded for constructing an extremely slim and svelte phone that feels remarkably solid in the hand. In terms of build quality, there’s not much to fault with the XZ1 – it is almost as solidly put together as the tank-like Nokia 6. And that is big praise indeed.There’s more to like about the Xperia XZ1’s design – the classy matte back, the subtle and elegant antenna lines which curve their way around the sides of the phones, the curved edges which aid in-hand feel and the exquisitely crafted power button that doubles up as a fingerprint sensor all exude class. There is no denying the fact that the XZ1 looks classy, understated and elegant. If only the bezels had gone on a slight diet and the design was a bit new.A vivid display lacking some pixelsThe 5.2-inch LCD display on board the Xperia XZ1 is extremely punchy and vivid. Sony’s proprietary technologies such as X-reality unit and TRILUMINIOUS seem to be doing their job behind the scenes. The screen is both bright enough to be used comfortably in harsh sunlight and dim enough to make use at night a breeze.Where the device falters a bit is when it comes to resolution – Full HD just doesn’t seem to cut it in today’s QuadHD world. Especially so when the Nokia 8 brings with it a pixel dense Quad HD display at just Rs 36,999. The XZ1’s screen is sharp enough for day to day use but the extra pixels are missed while watching multimedia content on Netflix or Prime Video.The highlight of the XZ1 is its camera – the 19MP rear ‘Motion Eye’ sensor to be preciseThe display also comes with HDR support and 138 per cent sRGB coverage and is covered by Gorilla Glass 5 for protection against nicks and scratches. A screen guard is still recommended though – my review unit developed two or three mild scratches and one deep gauge with a few weeks of nominal to fairly heavy use.Breezy performance, poor battery lifeThe Xperia XZ1 is intended to be a 2017 flagship and as a result comes with the powerhouse specifications associated with that tag – Qualcomm’s top of the line Snapdragon 835 processor, the Adreno 540 GPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of fast UFS internal storage which can be expanded via a microSD card.advertisementAll this is powered by a relatively tiny 2,700mAh battery which is the biggest Achilles heel of the smartphone. Nifty technologies such as Quick Charge 3.0 and Qnovo Adaptive charging are not enough to offset the simply mediocre battery life. Expect the XZ1 to give up the ghost by around 7 – 8PM at night with even a modicum of heavy use.Even with light to moderate use, the smartphone never delivered more than a day of battery life during my three week plus of usage. Use the phone very heavily and you will find yourself hunting for a charger by the evening. With the competition delivering more than a day of battery life easily, the XZ1 falls short of expectations in this department.When the phone is up and running though, performance is butter smooth. Part of the credit goes to Sony’s relatively light Android skin – which while not as minimal and fluid as stock Android is much lighter and fluid than other OEM hash jobs (cough LG cough). The XZ1 is also one of the first (if not the first smartphone in India) to ship with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.Android Oreo comes with a lot of new features such as notification dots, new and redesigned emojis, support for third party calling apps, app optimisations, notification channels in which notifications are segmented into channels such as news and sports and the new ‘Google Play Protect’ malware system.The crux of the matter is that the software is not only fast and fluid but also the latest build Google has to offer. Sony has pretty much nailed this aspect of the XZ1. Well, apart from the bloat. The XZ1 comes with many applications pre-loaded – most of which are not useful and cannot be uninstalled. Some examples include AVG Pro protection, Sony LIV and Xperia Lounge.One particularly annoying problem I faced with my Xperia XZ1 involved its antenna placement. Whenever I used to grip the phone in a way that the top two antennas got covered up (which is a pretty easy thing to do as they are on the sides), the WiFi would drop two or three bars and sometimes get disconnected entirely. Sony sent me a replacement device which also suffered from the same issue. For this first time since the iPhone 4, I had to be conscious of how I am holding a smartphone.Stellar cameraThe highlight of the XZ1 is its camera – the 19MP rear ‘Motion Eye’ sensor to be precise. Sony has refined the setup we saw on the Xperia XZs and Xperia XZ Premium and the end result is nothing short of stellar. Yes, the capability to shoot slow motion video at 960 frames per second in a smartphone is extremely cool and a remarkable feat of engineering, but that is not what makes this camera great.Nor is it the fancy predictive motion capture that starts to buffer images the moment the phone detects motion. What makes the XZ1’s rear camera so stellar is simply the fact that it shoots great quality images in almost all lighting conditions.advertisement XPreviousNextYes, auto focus is a bit wonky in low light and Sony’s auto mode still produces images that are a bit too soft sometimes but all in all, the XZ1 has the best rear camera found on a Sony smartphone to date. Images have great dynamic range, vivid colour and impressive detail. In low light, the amount of light the smartphone manages to pull in is commendable though noise does creep in.During my three week plus of usage, the Xperia XZ1’s 13MP wide-angle front sensor came to the rescue many times when the iPhones of the world simply failed to cram in all the people in one shot. The quality itself is quite good though images do tend to get a bit too oversaturated at times.Future forward tech, not terribly usefulThe Xperia XZ1 is the first smartphone in the world that has a 3D Creator that lets you capture and print images in 3D. You can scan people, objects and food. That sounds extremely fancy and to an extent it is really impressive how Sony has managed to fit such advanced technology in a smartphone. Full one hundred points for effort.The Xperia XZ1 looks classy, understated and elegantWhile the idea is extremely intriguing, the problem is that actually getting a decent 3D scan is a pretty difficult affair. Even in the best of light, you have to be really patient and meticulous in order to get a good 3D scan. If the lighting is not good or you do not follow the process exactly, expect the person’s head to look like something out of a horror movie. Getting a scan in freeform mode is even more difficult.Should you buy the Xperia XZ1?Well, there is no denying the fact that the Xperia XZ1 is the best smartphone Sony has made to date. It may not have a crazy 4K display like the Xperia XZ Premium, but it comes with fast and fluid software, a sleek and svelte design, stellar cameras and a decent, if not class leading display. The fact that it is priced reasonably and realistically at Rs 45,000 really helps the phones case.The problem is that the competition has moved on massively. And the XZ1 still feels like it is trying hard to catch up. Massive bezels, poor battery life and antenna issues do not help matters. Sony fans should definitely buy the XZ1. Others however should seriously have a good look at competition like the Nokia 8.Xperia XZ1 review7.5/10Good stuffStellar cameraSvelte designAndroid 8.0 OreoGreat performanceBad stuffPoor battery lifeAntenna issuesBezels waste of space
(Eds: Adding more information)New Delhi, Nov 29 (PTI) The Competition Competition today imposed a fine of Rs 52.24 crore on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for anti-competitive practices with respect to the Indian Premier League.Apart from directing the BCCI to “cease and desist” from unfair practices, the fair trade regulator asked it not to place blanket restriction on organisation of professional domestic cricket league by non-members.The watchdog had penalised the cricket body for the same amount in February 2013 as well, but that penalty was set aside by the appellate tribunal after an appeal by the BCCI.In its 44-page order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said the penalty of Rs 52.24 crore comes to nearly 4.48 per cent of the average of the BCCIs relevant turnover during the last three financial years.The average turnover of Rs 1,164.7 crore is for three financial years — 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. “The assessment of the Commission clearly brings out that the impugned clause in the IPL (Indian Premier League) Media Rights Agreement has been pursued by BCCI consciously to protect the commercial interest of the bidders of broadcasting rights as well as the economic interest of BCCI,” it said. In February 2013, the watchdog had slapped a fine of Rs 52.24 crore on the BCCI. Although at present, the average of the relevant turnover is slightly higher than the one which was considered by the CCI while passing the order in February 2013, the regulator said it prefers to maintain the penalty amount. For the case, the CCI considered organisation of professional domestic cricket leagues/ events in India as the relevant market.advertisementAccording to the order, BCCI being a not-for-profit organisation and its revenue being ploughed back into cricket are general features of any sports federation and the same cannot be taken as mitigating factors as proposed by the cricket body.”Similarly, the Commission does not find merit in the argument that there is no actual instance of refusal to any proposal for organisation of domestic leagues similar to IPL. “After assuming monopoly of IPL for a sustained period of ten years by excluding all potential competition, there is no reason for BCCI or anyone to expect a proposal for organisation of a similar league,” the regulator said.The regulator noted that denial of market access is one of the severe forms of abuse of dominant position.The BCCI has been directed not to put any blanket restriction on organisation of professional domestic cricket league or events by non-members.”This shall, however, not preclude BCCI from stipulating conditions while framing/ modifying relevant rules for approval or while granting specific approvals, that are necessary to serve the interest of the sport.”Such changes shall entail norms that underpin principles of non-discrimination and shall be applied in a fair, transparent and equitable manner,” the order said.Besides, the BCCI has been asked to issue appropriate clarification regarding the rules applicable for organisation of professional domestic cricket leagues/ events in India, either by members of BCCI or by third parties, as well as the parameters based on which applications can be made and would be considered.”BCCI shall take all possible measure(s) to ensure that competition is not impeded while preserving the objective of development of cricket in the country,” the CCI said. Further, the cricket body has to file a report to the CCI on compliance with these directions within 60 days.Following an appeal, erstwhile Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) had set aside the CCIs order passed in February 2013 and asked the regulator to look into the matter afresh.The tribunal had set aside the order in February 2015. Subsequently, the regulator had directed its investigation arm Director General (DG) to conduct further probe. The DG had filed its supplementary investigation report in March 2016.After taking into consideration the supplementary report and submissions by the cricket body, the CCI has passed the latest order. PTI RAM ABM
Chennai, Dec 7 (PTI) Former world chess champion Viswanathan Anand has been roped in by Poker Sports League (PSL), a premium league in the country, as its brand ambassador. The league, which commenced operations last year, recently launched its second season on a much bigger platform with multiple new additions. “Poker, like chess, is a mind sport. Proud to be associated with PSL,” Anand wrote on his Twitter handle. “In the last couple of years, we have been observing a paradigm shift in peoples mindset for poker as a sport. The zeal displayed by poker lovers has given rise to a lot of platforms,” Anand was quoted as saying in a release. “My association with PSL is an attempt to establish the fact that Poker, like the game of chess, is indeed a game of skill, which involves a lot of strategy and a defined skill set,” he said in the release. “I have played chess all my life and when I was introduced to poker I could instantly draw the parallels, which made me connect better with the game,” Anand added. “PSLs main objective is to establish poker as a mind sport in India. We are proud that Anand agreed to be our brand ambassador. Its the biggest move ever – towards changing the negative perception of poker in India, PSL co-founder Pranav Bagai said. PTI SS VS
BALTIMORE — California Chrome has run away from the competition in five consecutive victories, winning by an average of over five lengths.The Kentucky Derby winner has had it his way ever since Victor Espinoza climbed aboard back in December when the streak began.Whether they do again in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness at Pimlico on May 17 depends on a good trip, the tactics used by the chestnut colt’s nine rivals and a little luck. California Chrome is the even-money favorite against nine rivals.“When you run a 3-5 shot, you’ve got a lot more pressure on you knowing you’re going to be the favorite, but I think we can handle it,” trainer Art Sherman said.California Chrome galloped two miles in the rain on May 16. A small blister in the colt’s throat that caused him to cough a day earlier was blown out of proportion, according to Alan Sherman, Art’s son and assistant trainer.“California Chrome is fine. His throat is fine. He had a little tickle,” he said. “He is not scratching from the Preakness.”The colt had a similar blister before his Derby win. He was being treated with a glycerin throat wash.If the chestnut colt with four white feet can repeat his Derby success in the $1.5 million Preakness, he’ll set himself up for a Triple Crown try in three weeks in the Belmont Stakes.It’s been 36 years since Affirmed swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become horse racing’s 11th Triple Crown winner. “The Triple Crown means so much, but I’m old school,” Art Sherman said. “Let’s just go one race at a time.”California Chrome extended his winning streak to five with a thrilling victory in the Derby two weeks ago, when Espinoza kept him no worse than third in the 19-horse fray before accelerating in the stretch to win by 1 ¾ lengths.In the Preakness, California Chrome will break from the No. 3 post, a spot that has seen 11 winners but none since Prairie Bayou in 1993.“If he runs his race, and he’s come back good from the Kentucky Derby, he should be tough in there,” Espinoza said.Social Inclusion is the 5-1 second choice and is one of seven horses coming in fresh, having skipped the Kentucky Derby. Only two Derby horses — Ride On Curlin (seventh) and General a Rod (11th) — have returned to challenge California Chrome in the Preakness.“You need a good trip, a good setup and to have everything go your way,” said Mike Maker, who trains General a Rod. “Obviously, California Chrome is head and shoulders above everybody so far. He’s proved it, and every race, he’s continued to do so.”Other rival trainers aren’t conceding the race to California Chrome, either.Billy Gowan oversees Ride On Curlin, who has started just as many races in his young career (10) as the Derby winner. He’ll have a new jockey in Joel Rosario, who replaces Calvin Borel.“I’ve got a whole lot of respect for California Chrome,” Gowan said, “but I’d like to try him one time at the top of the stretch and see how we are.”That’s the point in the race where Espinoza has turned California Chrome loose during their winning streak. In the Preakness, the speed horses will break from the gate on the outside of California Chrome.Rivals like Social Inclusion and Ride On Curlin could try to box in the Derby winner in an attempt to put pressure on him early.“But he’s not chicken-hearted, by no means,” Sherman said. “My biggest concern is the first 70 yards leaving the gate. I don’t want him to get impeded behind horses with no place to go. All you can do is hope for a good trip.”Sherman calls California Chrome a “push-button horse,” meaning Espinoza can pretty much position the colt anywhere he wants in the race.“He doesn’t have to go to the lead, but if you ask him to run, he’ll give you a burst,” the trainer said. “The way he wins races, blows them away, blows my mind.” Still, six of the past eight Derby winners did not win the Preakness.There’s a posse of contenders that would love to extend that history.One of them is Social Inclusion, who will be making just the fourth start of his career and first since finishing third in the Wood Memorial more than a month ago. He’s trained by 85-year-old Manny Azpurua, who would become the oldest winning trainer in the 139-year history of the Preakness.Another is Ria Antonia, the first filly to run against the boys since Rachel Alexandra won in 2009. She is on a streak of her own, having lost six straight races. Borel, who rode Rachel, is aboard.And there’s Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who will try to win his sixth Preakness with Bayern, a colt disqualified for bumping in his last start in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs. Rosie Napravnik will be aboard, trying to be the first female jockey to win the race at the track where she rode her first winner in 2005.Linda Rice is trying to become the first female trainer to saddle a Preakness winner with Kid Cruz, named for New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. He’s the only colt with a win over the Pimlico track.The other challengers are Dynamic Impact, the Illinois Derby winner; Pablo Del Monte, third in the Blue Grass; and Ring Weekend, a gelding who was second in the Calder Derby last month.After heavy rain overnight May 15 and into May 16, the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high around 70 degrees, ensuring Pimlico’s dirt track will be fast.(BETH HARRIS, AP Racing Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
SEATTLE — All Jacob deGrom wanted was the opportunity to earn a spot in the New York Mets rotation.Based on his latest impressive effort, the Mets’ 3-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on July 22nd night, he’s solidly in there.“He’s always flown under the radar. Still is,” Mets Manager Terry Collins said. “This guy has numbers to match up against any rookie in the league. And you never hear his name mentioned.”DeGrom (4-5) held the Mariners to five hits and one run over his seven innings. He walked just one and struck out seven.Over his last six starts, deGrom is 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA. Even more impressive, he’s 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA over his past three, walking three and striking out 26.“I’m telling you this guy, he’s going to figure it out and he’s going to be a tough guy to deal with,” Collins said.Travis d’Arnaud drove in a run with a gift triple off Erasmo Ramirez (1-5), who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma for the start, and scored on Ruben Tejada’s soft single in the second inning to help New York end a three-game skid.Lucas Duda hit his 15th home run, a 446-foot drive off the second deck scoreboard in right field in the eighth.Jeurys Familia worked an easy eighth and Jenrry Mejia picked up the save — his 12th in 14 chances.Endy Chavez led off the bottom of the first with a single then deGrom retired the next 11 batters.After an out, DeGrom struck out Robinson Cano, the league’s second leading hitter, in a nine-pitch at-bat.“He was fouling off a lot of pitches,” deGrom said. “Then it got to 3-2 and I wanted to throw the changeup. That’s what d’Arnaud put down. That made me feel a little bit better about throwing it. It was a good one and he swung through it.“Warming up, it (changeup) was really good. With a lot of lefties in the lineup, it was a good night to have my changeup being really good,” deGrom said.Bobby Abreu opened the second with a single to left. Then d’Arnaud stroked a sinking line drive to center. James Jones tracked it awkwardly, sliding to stop it but the ball skipped past him for a RBI triple.“I didn’t extend my hand the way I should have,” Jones said. “It was early in the game and I’ll be aggressive. I felt I had a better chance sliding. That’s what my body told me.”Mariners Manager Lloyd McClendon, asked if the slide was a good gamble, said, “probably not. He’s going to make some mistakes on the aggressive side. He will learn from them and get better.”With one out in the fifth, Willie Bloomquist broke through with a single to right. Dustin Ackley then doubled into the right-center gap, scoring Bloomquist.Ackley advanced to third when Daniel Murphy’s relay to the plate sailed past the catcher but Ackley was left stranded. Ackley, who was 2 for 3, is hitting .377 in July after hitting just .214 in the first three months of the season.Ramirez went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He walked two and matched his career high with 10 strikeouts. He also hit two batters. It is his fifth straight loss. He has not won since April 1.Over his previous four starts — all no-decisions — Ramirez had a 0.90 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 16 walks.Ramirez was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before the game for his fourth stint with the big club. He likely will be sent back down after the game to make room for the July 23d starter, Taijuan Walker.Duda gave the Mets a two-run cushion with his drive off the second-deck facade on a 3-1 pitch from Tom Wilhelmsen.TweetPinShare0 Shares
It took two replacement players, including Davis Cup stalwart Lleyton Hewitt, to help restore some pride to Australian tennis.Facing a 2-0 deficit after dropping the opening singles matches on July 18, Australia came back to win its Davis Cup quarterfinal on grass in the tropical northern city of Darwin on July 19 when Sam Groth and Hewitt won their matches in the reverse singles.Hewitt clinched the quarterfinal with a stirring 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-3 win over Aleksandr Nedovyesov. He fell on to his back when Nedovyesov’s forehand went long and teammates Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis — who were both replaced in the reverse singles after losing their matches July 17 — ran onto the court to hug him before he went to the net to shake hands with his Kazakh opponent.“We didn’t have everything go our way this weekend, we had to rally,” Hewitt said. “We were playing for the boys on the side of the court and the nation, as well.”Groth and the 34-year-old Hewitt, who said he plans to retire after next January’s Australian Open, won their doubles match July 18 to keep Australia alive.Australia will now face either Britain or France in September’s semifinals. Britain leads their quarterfinal 2-1 going into the July 19 reverse singles in London.It was the first time since the Davis Cup final against the United States in 1939 that Australia has come back from a 2-0 deficit to win a tie — and it couldn’t have come at a better time.For the past two weeks, the country’s two top-ranked players — Bernard Tomic and Kyrgios — have been embroiled in controversy for their actions at Wimbledon and after the tournament.Groth replaced Kyrgios in the reverse singles after the 20-year-old was criticized for his on-court demeanor in his loss in the second singles match against Kazakhstan, as well as at Wimbledon, where he was fined nearly $10,000 for racket abuse and swearing.Australia was also playing without its highest-ranked player, No. 25-ranked Tomic, after Tennis Australia suspended him for critical comments against the national association during Wimbledon.To make matters worse, Tomic was charged with resisting arrest in Miami Beach, Florida, last week after ignoring hotel security and police requests to turn down loud music in his luxury suite.His police mug shot featured prominently in Australian newspapers this weekend, right next to stories on the Davis Cup tie.Groth opened play on July 19 by beating Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (6), before Hewitt, subbing for Kokkinakis, demonstrated the kind of enthusiasm and gung-ho nationalism he’s exhibited over his 15-year career.He’s now played 57 Davis Cup singles matches, but never clinched an Australian tie in a deciding fifth match.Hewitt, affected by a series of injuries over the past five years, might have played his last Davis Cup match for Australia if he had lost. But chances are he’ll be part of the team in the semifinals.“I’ve said some of my greatest wins have been in Davis Cup, and some of my toughest losses,” said Hewitt.A few hours earlier, Groth was feeling the same. “This is probably the most magical feeling I’ve had in tennis,” said Groth, who had 29 aces in the match. “I had to have confidence in my game, and I came through under pressure.”Kazakhstan captain Dias Doskarayev said “everything went their (Australia’s) way.”“We lost four tiebreaks,” he said. “Tiebreaks are kind of a lottery. So the tennis gods were on the Aussie side. That’s sport. That’s tennis.”Australia captain Wally Masur also took a big gamble earlier, realizing he would be criticized for replacing the No. 41-ranked Kyrgios with No. 68 Groth.“I’m either going to look silly or look like a genius,” he said.Most would now say genius. Kyrgios had said he felt mentally drained during Friday’s loss to No. 115 Nedovyesov.“That’s no different to being physically exhausted after a big month or a big match,” Masur said before Groth’s win. “It takes its toll.”“I kind of feel sorry for Nick in a way because it was almost a little bit of hysteria about some of the stuff that went on at Wimbledon. The press cycle just kind of went into overdrive.”Now, for the first time in a few weeks, the only press Australian tennis gets will likely be on the positive side.(DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
TweetPinShare0 Shares NEW ORLEANS — Abby Wambach walked off the field for the final time like a rock star — mic drop and all.It sounded as if she was ready to party like one, too.She wasn’t able to leave with a victory in her final game with the U.S. national team. China’s 1-0 victory on Dec. 17 — the U.S. team’s first home loss in more than a decade — wasn’t going to diminish the triumphant nature of Wambach’s extraordinary career.“Tonight is a celebration,” Wambach asserted. “The result, obviously, is annoying. It would be better if we had won, but the reality is I played in so many games. This result doesn’t shape or determine or define my career.”Wambach said her teammates apologized profusely to her afterward, but she told them, “There’s nothing to be sorry about. Today wasn’t about getting a result.”Wambach played into the 72nd minute, managing two threatening headers and a shot on goal from inside the penalty area before subbing out of a match for the final time.“It’s kind of symbolic; I get 70 minutes and we don’t score a goal,” Wambach said, alluding to why it’s time for her, at 35, to retire.The career scoring leader in international play — for men and women, with 184 goals— kicked off her cleats and hugged each teammate on the field before walking to the bench, smiling, to embrace her coaches and remaining teammates as the crowd chanted her name.“I love this team,” Wambach said in comments delivered on the field to fans after the game. “It has been my pleasure and my honor to represent you all, the fans, for as long as I’ve been able to. … The future is so bright. These women are going to kill it.”And she made it clear that, despite the loss, it was time to celebrate, saying, “Bourbon Street, watch out,” before dropping the microphone and walking off alone as her teammates waited behind, applauding with the rest of the crowd.China scored in the 58th minute, when forward Wang Shuang volleyed in a bounding cross from Wang Shanshan.The U.S., which won the women’s World Cup this summer, had gone 104 home games without losing since falling to Denmark in 2004.Kristine Lilly and Mia Hamm started that 3-1 loss Denmark in Philadelphia, while Wambach came in as a sub. The U.S. women had gone 91-0-13 since.The Americans nearly tied China in the 87th minute when Lindsey Horan beat goalkeeper Zhao Lina, but Horan was ruled just a step offside when she received the pass from Christen Press.That was the closest of several near misses.Horan’s header forced a diving save by Lina in the 82nd minute. In the 84th minute, Carli Lloyd’s pass sent Press into the penalty area for a hard drive from the left side. But Press, who had subbed in for Wambach, shot it right at Lina. In added time, Emily Sonnett’s header went just over the cross bar.The game wrapped up the U.S.’s nine-game “Victory Tour” in which it went 7-1-1, outscoring opponents 40-3.Wambach got her 10th start of the year in her send-off game and also was designated the captain.It was apparent from the outset that the Americans’ plan of attack was based in part on sending high crosses into the penalty area in hopes of connecting with Wambach for one of her trademark headers. She put two headers toward goal in the first 2 minutes, but both were blocked away by defenders.“We really wanted to get her a goal. She did well, had a few chances,” Lloyd said. “It’s unfortunate to lose the match but at the same time this is a celebration of Abby and what she’s done for the team and I think that’s what matters.”In the 30th minute, Wambach was able to sidestep a defender and attempt a lunging toe-poke from about 10 yards out, but couldn’t muster the power or placement to beat Lina.Some of the greats in women’s soccer were drawn to the Superdome for Wambach’s 255th game with the national team, including Hamm and Brandi Chastain, who starred on the 1999 World Cup-winning squad.A festive crowd of nearly 33,000 acknowledged Wambach at seemingly every opportunity.Official US Soccer banners lining field-level walls and covering the tunnels to the locker rooms read, “Only one Abby.” And when the teams took the field shortly before kickoff, fans along the sideline held up yellow and black cards with the same slogan.Before the starting lineups were announced, U.S. Soccer presented Wambach with a rendering of her famous, game-tying head-ball goal against Brazil in the 2011 World Cup. Just below the image was the word, “POWER.”U.S. coach Jill Ellis expressed confidence that the younger players for which Wambach paved the way will step up to fill the void as the team prepares to qualify for next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio. At the same time, she sounded certain she’d never coach another player quite like Wambach.“She does transcend soccer. It’s not just about her, the player. It’s been her, the leader; her the advocate; her, the spokesperson,” Ellis said. “What she has ahead of her is going to be remarkable. As brilliant as a soccer player as she is, she’s an even better person.”(BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer)
BOSTON (AP) — Boston fans have been patiently waiting to get their first glimpse of the new era of Celtics basketball.They finally got it, and it revealed a team with a lot of upside.Offseason trade acquisition Kyrie Irving had nine points, four rebounds and three assists, and free agent pickup Gordon Hayward added five points and five rebounds as the Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 94-82 Monday night in the preseason opener for both teams.Rookie Jayson Tatum, the third overall pick in June’s draft, finished with nine points, five rebounds and four assists. Aron Baynes added 10 points and five rebounds and three assists for Boston. The Celtics also shot 11 of 31 from the 3-point line.“We’re building a foundation,” Irving said. “We understand that a few other teams that we’re playing against, they’re starting from the bottom as well…For us, we gotta take advantage of games like this.”Dwight Howard, who was traded by Atlanta to Charlotte this summer, finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and six turnovers in his Hornets debut. Jeremy Lamb had 17 points.Irving and Hayward, the jewel pieces of an offseason reconstruction that has left only Celtics intact from last year’s roster, sat out the second half.In other games, the Washington Wizards beat the Guangzhou Long-Lions 126-96 in one of two exhibition games between NBA and international teams on Monday. In addition, the Utah Jazz beat the National Basketball League’s Sydney Kings 108-83. It is the first time an NBL team faced an NBA team on American soil.___GRIZZLIES 92, MAGIC 84Mario Chalmers had 19 points in 20 minutes, Jarell Martin added 16 points and the Grizzlies defeated the Magic in both teams preseason opener.Orlando led 65-64 late in the third quarter before the Grizzlies closed the period on an 8-0 run, which included six by Chalmers. Memphis led by as many as 10 in the final period.Jonathan Isaac led the Magic with 15 points, followed by Mario Hezonja with 12.MAGIC: Jonathon Simmons, Orlando’s biggest offseason pickup, had a couple of highlight-worthy dunks and scored nine points in his Magic preseason debut. …Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier each played 15 minutes, scoring eight points apiece.GRIZZLIES: With center Marc Gasol (sprained ankle) and forward JaMychael Green both sitting, coach David Fizdale experimented with a smaller lineup of Brandan Wright at center, Chandler Parsons at power forward, and James Ennis at small forward along with Wayne Selden and Mike Conley at the guard spots.UP NEXT: Orlando (0-1) is at Dallas on Thursday. Memphis (1-0) visits Philadelphia on Wednesday.___MAVERICKS 106, BUCKS 104Jonathan Motley hit a layup with 4.1 seconds left to lift the Mavericks to a win over the Bucks. Motley scored all nine of his points in a fourth quarter that saw the Mavericks outscore the Bucks 31-20.Dallas’ starters were pulled after one quarter of action. Harrison Barnes was 4 of 6 from the field and had nine points. Dirk Nowitzki had five points in 10 minutes of action.Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 12 points, followed by John Henson with 11 points and four rebounds.BUCKS: Rashad Vaughn finished with 20 points for Milwaukee and missed a 30-footer at the buzzer. … Greg Monroe had 12 points and seven rebounds.MAVERICKS: Nerlens Noel played 15 minutes off the bench and had five points and two steals.UP NEXT: Bucks (0-1) host Indiana on Wednesday. Dallas hosts Chicago on Wednesday.___KINGS 106, SPURS 100LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points in 16 minutes of action in the Spurs’ loss to the Kings in the preseason opener for both teams.The Spurs (0-1) played their starters for two quarters, giving the Kings a chance to showcase their young second unit. Rookie De’Aaron Fox shined in the extra playing time, scoring a game-high 16 on 7 of 8 shooting from the field.The Kings (1-0) outscored the Spurs 23-16 in the fourth quarter.SPURS: Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Rudy Gay all sat out. … Patty Mills finished with 11 points and three assists in 17 minutes off the bench.KINGS: Skal Labissiere finished with 15 points, connecting on 7 of 10 shots. Buddy Hield added 12 points and four rebounds.UP NEXT: These teams are set to meet again Friday in San Antonio.___NUGGETS 113, LAKERS 107Garry Harris scored 25 points in 21 minutes, Nikola Jokic added 16 and the Nuggets (2-0) defeated the Los Angeles Lakers.Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Lakers (0-2) with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists. Lonzo Ball finished with eight points and four assists, but also had four turnovers in his second preseason game.NUGGETS: Paul Millsap finished with 11 points, two assists, two blocks and two steals.LAKERS: Julius Randall had a solid night with 12 points and 10 rebounds in just 23 minutes.UP NEXT: Lakers host the Nuggets again on Wednesday.KYLE HIGHTOWER, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares
PARIS (AP) — After a day of police questioning centering on his former role as a top decision-maker in soccer, Michel Platini was released from custody without charge in the early hours of Wednesday and said he found the experience painful given “everything I’ve done” in the sport.Summoned Tuesday morning to testify in a French corruption investigation of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the former head of European soccer governing body UEFA said he had been expecting to be questioned only as witness, as he’d also done 18 months previously.“I arrived and was immediately taken into custody. It hurts. It hurts for everything I can think of, everything I’ve done. It hurts, it hurts. But after all, they did their job and then we tried to answer all the questions,” he said.The former star midfielder for France and Juventus said investigators quizzed him about an array of tournaments, including the 2016 European Championship, the World Cups in Russia in 2018 and in Qatar in 2022, that he had a hand in deciding where they would be played, when he presided at UEFA and served as a vice-president at world soccer governing body FIFA. The investigators also asked about French club Paris Saint-Germain, bought by Qatar in 2011.Michel Platini, right, and his lawyer William Bourdon answer reporters after Platini has been freed, outside the French police anti-corruption and financial crimes office in Nanterre, outside Paris, early Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/ Francois Mori)“It was long, but given the number of questions it could not be different,” Platini said, adding that he felt “at peace.”“I feel totally foreign to any of these matters. This is an old affair, you know it, we explained it. I have always expressed myself with full transparency in all the newspapers. That’s it, it goes on, they investigate, they search.”Also detained Tuesday for questioning and later released was Sophie Dion, a sports adviser in former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration. Claude Gueant, the former secretary general of the Elysee presidential palace under Sarkozy, was questioned as a free witness and not detained.Their involvement added a layer of political intrigue to the investigation of the hugely controversial decision to hold soccer’s showcase tournament in Qatar, a desert country so scorchingly hot in June and July that matches will be played instead in November and December.The closed-door, secret-ballot FIFA vote in 2010 that picked Qatar baffled many at the time, not least because the Persian Gulf nation has no soccer pedigree to speak of. But the gas-rich nation is pouring billions into the world’s most popular sport and has the means to finance new stadiums.Ahead of the FIFA vote, Sarkozy hosted a meeting in November 2010 that brought Platini together with Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, then the crown prince of Qatar and now its ruling emir. The following year, Qatar bought Paris Saint-Germain and started spending richly on recruiting stars, including, now, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Sarkozy, a fan, frequently attends PSG games.Michel Platini and his lawyer William Bourdon, right, answer reporters after Platini has been freed, outside the French police anti-corruption and financial crimes office in Nanterre, outside Paris, early Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/ Francois Mori)Platini’s lawyer, William Bourdon, called the day-long detention “a lot of noise for nothing” and said Platini “gave his testimony by answering as sincerely and precisely as he could, to all the questions put to him.”He added: “We do not believe in any way that Michel Platini can be considered as a suspect for anything, either yesterday or today or tomorrow. So for us, this affair is over.”French prosecutors are investigating an array of winning bids for major sports events, including the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and track and field world championships. Cascading scandals in soccer, track and field and Olympic sport have brought down dozens of officials from FIFA and other organizations over such offenses as vote-buying, kickbacks and bribery.Qatar beat the long-favored United States 14-8 when FIFA selected the host country for the 2022 World Cup.Michel Platini looks up after being freed, outside the French police anti-corruption and financial crimes office in Nanterre, outside Paris, early Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/ Francois Mori)Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who presided over the vote, has accused Platini of backing out of a secret “gentleman’s agreement” to award the tournament to the United States after meeting with Sarkozy, France’s president at the time.Platini has long insisted that the meeting did not influence his vote for Qatar less than two weeks later.“Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good,” he told the AP in 2015. But in the same interview, he also said that he “might have told” American officials earlier that he was going to vote for the United States’ bid.Blatter quoted Platini as saying ahead of the vote: “I am no longer in your picture because I have been told by the head of state that we should consider the situation of France.”___By SAMUEL PETREQUIN, JOHN LEICESTER and PATRICK HERMANSEN Associated PressMichel Platini leaves the French police anti-corruption and financial crimes office in Nanterre, outside Paris, early Wednesday, June 19, 2019. Former UEFA president Michel Platini proclaimed his innocence during police questioning Tuesday following his arrest as part of a corruption probe into the vote that gave the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. (AP Photo/ Francois Mori)Michel Platini and his lawyer William Bourdon, left, answer reporters after Platini has been freed, outside the French police anti-corruption and financial crimes office in Nanterre, outside Paris, early Wednesday, June 19, 2019. Former UEFA president Michel Platini proclaimed his innocence during police questioning Tuesday following his arrest as part of a corruption probe into the vote that gave the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. (AP Photo/ Francois Mori)TweetPinShare0 Shares
“The only thing I fear is time. I am not running after gold medals, I am running after time. And once I get that, gold medals will run after me,” Hima told Indian Express.A few days after the video of glorious win at the Finland championship went viral, Hima gave an interview to Prag News, a popular local Assamese news channel, from Finland itself.When asked her unstoppable tears post-winning, she giggled embarrassedly and said, “Automatic ahi gol (The tears had come spontaneously)”.’Dhing Express’ is what Das is called by her swelling fan club in AssamIn the lush green rice fields of a remote village called Kandhulimari in Dhing, is where the girl who made it to the 400 m womens’ finals of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Australia’s Gold Coast, trained.Strategy of Hima Das’s game:The 18-year-old Das, a pre-tournament favourite, clocked 51.46 seconds to win a gold in the women’s 400 m final race at IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland on July 12, 2018 — which triggered a wild celebration at the Indian camp.Unforgettable moments from @HimaDas8’s victory.Seeing her passionately search for the Tricolour immediately after winning and getting emotional while singing the National Anthem touched me deeply. I was extremely moved.Which Indian won’t have tears of joy seeing this! pic.twitter.com/8mG9xmEuuMNarendra Modi (@narendramodi) 14 July 2018This was though not her personal best as she had clocked 51.13 last month in Guwahti at the National Inter-State ChampionshipsRunning in lane number 4, Das was behind Romania’s Andrea Miklos at the final bend but produced a stunning burst during the final stretch to cross the finishing line well ahead of the field.advertisementShe produced her trademark burst at the final 50 mMiklos took the silver in 52.07 while Taylor Manson of USA was third in 52.28.”I am very happy to win the gold in the World Junior championships. I want to thank all the Indians back home and also those, who were here cheering me. It was very encouraging to have this kind of support,” she said after the race.Das, from Dhing village in Assam’s Nagaon distrist, now joins the illustrious company of star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won a gold in Poland in the last edition in 2016 in a world record effort.In fact, Das is the first Indian track athlete to have won a medal in the history of this competitionDas was the favourite to win gold as she is the U-20 season leader in this quarter-mile eventHer rise has been nothing less than meteoric as she took up serious running only last yearDas had earlier clocked an Indian U-20 record of 51.32 seconds to finish sixth in the Commonwealth Games 400 m final in Gold Coast in April.Since then, she has gone on to improving her timingsShe lowered the Indian U-20 record in 400 m to 51.13 seconds while winning gold in the recent National Inter State Championships in Guwahati. Hima Das (Photo courtesy: Hima Das/Facebook)India is delighted and proud of athlete Hima Das, who won a historic Gold in the 400m of World U20 Championships. Congratulations to her! This accomplishment will certainly inspire young athletes in the coming years.Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 13, 2018Other Indian women who hit the nail at the Olympics: The first Indian woman to ever win an Olympic medal was Karnam Malleswari. She won a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics in the Women’s 69 kg category in weightlifting in 2000.Mary Kom clinched a bronze medal at women’s boxing in 2012Sakshi Malik became the first Indian woman to win a bronze medal in women’s 58 kg freestyle wrestling in 2016Saina Nehwal was the first Indian to win a bronze medal at the London Olympics 2012PV Sindhu became the first ever Indian woman to win the silver medal at the Olympics in 2016Seema Punia won bronze in discus throw in 2002Also read: PV Sindhu wins India Open: Know all about India’s new badminton queenInterested in General Knowledge and Current Affairs? Click here to stay informed and know what is happening around the world with our G.K. and Current Affairs section.To get more updates on Current Affairs, send in your query by mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Indian rower Dattu Bhokanal finished sixth in the men’s single sculls competition of the 2018 Asian Games on Thursday after his boat capsized.Bhokanal, 27, got off to a good start but he lost momentum and finished sixth in the finals with a timing of 8.28.56 minutes.Liang Zhang of China clinched gold with a timing of 7.25.36 minutes while South Korea’s Dongyong Kim and Japan’s Ryuta Arakawa bagged silver and bronze respectively.SWIMMER KHADE MOVES TO MEN’S 50M BUTTERFLY FINALIndian swimmer Virdhawal Khade advanced to the men’s 50 metre butterfly swimming finals with a timing of 24.09 seconds.Khade, 26, toppped the Heat-2 charts and secured a fifth place in the final list.Anshul Kothari, however, failed to make the cut despite winning the Heat-1 with a timing of 25.45 seconds. He ended up at the 28th place in the qualification list.Finals of the event will be held later on Thursday.
Maria Sharapova fended off a spirited challenge from 39-year-old veteran Patty Schnyder to advance to the second round of US Open with a 6-2, 7-6(6) victory on Tuesday in New York.Sharapova’s was a shaky start and she struggled in the opening set with her sevice game but Schnyder failed to take advantage of Sharapova’s mistakes.Schnyder has retired from tennis in 2011 after being defeated in the first round of French Open but returned to the sport in 2015 and last week, she became the oldest women qualifier to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam at an age of 39 years and 8 months.Sharapova gifted Schnyder an early break after she made three double faults in her first service game but instead of taking full advantage of that, Schnyder herself double faulter at break point on her serve to immediately hand back the lead.With the first four service games all broken, Sharapova held for the first time to take a 3-2 lead and, having got her nose in front, found both her rhythm and serve and began dictating play from the baseline.Sealed with a …@MariaSharapova defeats a resurgent Schnyder 6-2, 7-6 in her opening round match in Louis Armstrong Stadium!https://t.co/83VapwyU8n#USOpen pic.twitter.com/LOqNKl8C1xUS Open Tennis (@usopen) August 29, 2018The 22nd seed wrapped up the first set in 40 minutes and was leading 5-1 in the second before Schnyder embarked on a remarkable rally.The Swiss started to take the pace off the ball to gain a greater degree of control and the approach paid dividends as Sharapova’s error count mounted.advertisementREAD – US Open: Federer dismantles Nishioka, Djokovic battles past FucsovicsThe Russian, who hit 22 winners but made 46 unforced errors, needed four match points to end Schnyder’s resistance as the match went to a tiebreak, eventually sealing victory with a powerful forehand winner.This was their ninth career meeting, but first in 10 years. Schnyder initially retired in 2011, but is now back on tour.KERBER BANISHES US OPEN HANGOVER WITH FIRST ROUND WINFourth seed Angelique Kerber showed that she has fully recovered from last year’s US Open hangover by disposing of Russian Margarita Gasparyan 7-6(5), 6-3 on Tuesday to reach the second round at Flushing Meadows.Champion in 2016, Kerber’s title defence ended almost before it began 12 months ago with the German suffering a 6-3, 6-1 first round shellacking by Japan’s 46th ranked Naomi Osaka..@AngeliqueKerber moves into Round 2 of the #USOpen! pic.twitter.com/xryOqUyZNHUS Open Tennis (@usopen) August 28, 2018That upset provided a sobering reminder that anything can happen at a grand slam and Kerber made sure she would not be caught with her guard down again this year as she took on a player making her US Open main draw debut.A three-time Grand Slam winner against an opponent sitting at 370 in the world rankings and making her first appearance in a major in more than two years would appear a mismatch but it was a contest Kerber approached in a business-like manner.Also read – Serena Williams registers big win on US Open return, Venus beats KuznetsovaDespite the background Gasparyan, who has a WTA Tour title on her resume, represented a potentially tricky first round opponent, returning to the circuit this season after missing 15 months recovering from a career-threatening knee injury.”This is the first time that we played against each other, and she was really hitting the balls really good, really clean,” said Kerber. “I knew that she was injured for a long time… Now she’s coming back.”If she’s playing like this in the next weeks and months, for sure, she (will) soon (be) really high in the rankings.”The Russian showed some of her potential and a fair amount of grit by battling to take Kerber to a first set tiebreak but the Wimbledon champion kept her cool on a sweltering day on Louis Armstrong Stadium court to prevail 7-5.The 23-year-old Gasparyan refused to wave the white flag and broke Kerber to open the second set, but the German broke back immediately to slowly seize control and wrap up the match.”It was really not easy out there today,” said Kerber. “I think it’s one of the hottest days that I remember here.”But at the end, when you’re out there, you just try to survive a little bit.”CAROLINE WOZNIACKI EASES INTO SECOND ROUNDAustralian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki easily reached the US Open’s second round by beating 2011 titlist Sam Stosur 6-3, 6-2.advertisement@CaroGarcia flies past Konta 6-2, 6-2…#USOpen pic.twitter.com/NtP9ESwTkeUS Open Tennis (@usopen) August 28, 2018The No. 2 Wozniacki is the highest-seeded woman left in the field after No. 1 Simona Halep lost her opening match.Wozniacki was the runner-up at Flushing Meadows in 2009 and 2014.MADISON KEYS ROLLS INTO ROUND 2Madison Keys eased into the second round of the US Open with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over 71st-ranked Pauline Parmentier of France.The 14th-seeded Keys was the runner-up to Sloane Stephens at Flushing Meadows in 2017.That was the first career Grand Slam final for Keys, who was one of four American women in the semifinals last year at the US Open.READ – US Open: Rafael Nadal through to Round 2, Stan Wawrinka upsets Grigor DimitrovEUGENIE BOUCHARD WINS FIRST US OPEN MATCH SINCE 2015Eugenie Bouchard has won a match at the US Open for the first time since 2015, the year she withdrew from the tournament after a fall left her with a concussion.Bouchard had to go through qualifying to reach the main draw and moved into the second round by beating Harmony Tan of France 6-3, 6-1.Canada’s Bouchard was the 2014 Wimbledon runner-up and reached No. 5 in the rankings. She’s now 137th.In February, she reached a settlement in her lawsuit against the US Tennis Association about her 2015 slip on a floor in the trainers’ room.She lost in the US Open’s first round in 2016 and 2017.JOHANNA KONTA KNOCKED OUTTwice a Grand Slam semifinalist, Johanna Konta can’t seem to make any headway at the majors these days.A 6-2, 6-2 loss to No. 6 seed Caroline Garcia in her opener at Flushing Meadows is Konta’s fifth consecutive exit in the first or second round at a Slam.Before that, Konta made the final four at the Australian Open in 2016 and Wimbledon last year, propelling her to No. 4 in the rankings. Now she’s 46th.”I don’t think there’s too much to really beat myself up over and analyze,” Konta said. “I mean, that’s just the way it is sometimes.”COCO VANDEWEGHE OUT OF US OPENCoCo Vandeweghe double-faulted 12 times and is gone in the first round of the US Open a year after making it all the way to the semifinals.The 24th-seeded American lost to Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-3, 7-6 (3).Vandeweghe made a total of 35 unforced errors, 16 more than Flipkens.At the 2017 US Open, Vandeweghe was one of four Americans in the semifinals.(With inputs from agencies)
Sharjah, Oct 3 (PTI) Former India seamer and bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad will be the chief coach of Nangarhar franchise in the Afghanistan Premier League starting October 5. The inaugural edition will comprise five franchise — Nangarhar Leopards, Kabul Zwanan, Paktia Panthers, Balkh Legends, Kandahar Knights. The tournament will be aired on ”DSPORT”, sports channel for Discovery Communications India. The Nangarhar team will be lead by West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell while Afghanistan”s biggest star Rashid Khan will be captaining Kabul Zwanan. Veteran Shahid Afridi will lead Paktia Panthers while star Afghan all-rounder Mohammed Nabi will be in charge of Balkh Legends. Brendon McCUllum will be leading Kandahar Knights but the biggest attraction will certainly be Chris Gayle turning up for the Balkh Legends. The likes of Mitchell McClenaghan, Mohammed Nawaz (Nangarhar), Mohammed Nawaz (Balkh) are other notable names. PTI KHS ATKATK
Krish Patel confirmed his supremacy in the National sub-junior Championship here on Saturday with a marauding 6-0, 6-1 victory over Denim Yadav in the boys’ under-16 final.Not dropping a single set throughout the tournament, Krish was a heavy favourite for the marquee clash but a fight was expected from a gifted stroke-maker Denim, who took down seed two Sushant Dabbas in the quarter-final.However, the sixth seed was on a different level altogether in the final match where his strong ferocious forehands, coupled with ease at finding winners, gave no chance to his rival on the day.Denim looked confident when he entered the court for the opening set but was handed an early setback as Krish broke his first serve.The confidence in Krish’s game was apparent as he played an aggressive game from the word go. Hitting volleys on appropriate occasions to charging Denim’s weak second serve from inside the baseline, gave no breathing room to the 15-year-old boy from Uttar Pradesh.The only gleam of a hope came for Denim after dropping 10 games on the trot which included conceding the first set 6-0 — when he secured his first point from his serve to make it 4-1.It turned out to be just an anomaly in the match as the Ahmedabad boy clinched the match by breaking Denim’s serve 6-1.”I always knew that if I beat Divesh (Gahlot who was seeded 1) in semi-finals, winning the final won’t be much of a tough ask. My strategy was to play an aggressive game and everything went accordingly to plan,” Krish told Mail Today.advertisementIn the girls’ under-16 final, Vipasha Mehra’s dream run in the competition finally came to a halt after she lost to Gargi Pawar 6-4, 6-3 in a lopsided encounter.The result came as a surprise given Vipasha’s glaring form in the tournament that included triumphing higher-ranked opponents such as Bhakti Parwani (first seed) and junior Grand Slam player Sanjana Sirimalla.Gargi played a top-notch game where she engaged in long-rally game with Vipasha who looked a pale shadow of a player that played a flawless game in the earlier rounds. The Tamil Nadu girl played some fine winners but was also flummoxed by the strong forehand returns and topspin strokes by Gargi leading to numerous unforced errors.After winning the first set 6-4, the Pune girl was cruising home for a win with a massive lead of 4-1.However, Viapsha sparked a comeback by breaking Gargi’s serve and then clinching another point to make it 4-3. But she failed to sustain the momentum as her 15-year-old compatriot continued to play a big forehand to perfection to win the set and the match.The victory would mean a lot to Gargi as her tennis career remains in dark due to family’s financial crisis after she lost her father in an accident a year and a half ago.The under-16 champions old still desires to achieve her dream of being a professional tennis player.”I always want to be a professional tennis player and that feeling got stronger after this title. Last year my form wasn’t good; now I win under-16 in my first year in the category. Couldn’t ask for more,” Gargi said.Under-14 finals too saw one-sided encounter as talented Udit Gogoi cruised past a clueless Aman Dahiya 6-1, 6-4 While, seed two Renne Singh trumped Vaishnavi Adkar 7-5, 6-2.
Sport is replete with stories of personal sacrifices in quest for being world beaters. Athletes who choose to isolate themselves from the outside world for that piece of Gold, knowing well enough that finishing on top is not guaranteed.India’s middle distance runner Manjeet Singh had gotten used to making such sacrifices despite big wins alluding him. We now know he ran the race of his life, winning the 800 meters Gold at Jakarta Asian Games.Running without medals and with no job in hand and age graph closing in on 30, Manjeet knew Asian games could be his last big crack at making sense of his career choice. He had sought permission from his family to allow himself to be shut away; even from his new born son.Asian Games 2018: Jinson Johnson not surprised with Manjit Singh’s 800m goldThe first time Manjeet saw his five-month-old son was at the Delhi international airport when he returned from Jakarta. “That was like my second gold. The first one I got in Jakarta. I was so happy,” he told India Today on the sidelines of a Skechers event.”You think about your child all the time. Every time I spoke to my family I would ask them not to make video calls otherwise I would develop a heavy heart. So I would insist on regular talk, no video calls and not too many photos,” he went on.”Family is important but when you have set out to achieve something big and you are working hard towards it and it’s right in front of you, you can’t loosen up. I had told myself the focus is Asian Games for which I had been working for three years,” he said.advertisementIn the now famous race, Manjeet made a breathtaking acceleration in the last 90 meters to go past the Qatari and Bahraini race leaders as well as compatriot Jinson Johnson, who finished second. “People still come up to me and say we can’t help seeing your race again and again. We seen it on repeat mode. My fellow athletes say they have seen it 20 times, 50 times. It feels good when people say they still watch it. It’s been two months now. It works as a great motivator,” he said.As for himself, he prefers watching and learning from the 1500 meters; one in which he finished fourth. “I watch the 1500 meters race many times where I finished fourth. To try and understand where I went wrong so that it’s not repeated. The one I won, I know went well so haven’t seen to too many times,” the 29-year-old said. Manjit Singh (middle) is now busy preparing for Asian Championships and World Championships in 2019 (Reuters Photo)Belated career success could have been because of lack of scientific training methods in early years, thinks Manjeet. “I had no knowledge about high altitude training. There was no one to guide me either. I would train in Patiala. For the Asian games I trained in Bhutan, Asia’s highest altitude area. If I had begun better training earlier, I could perhaps have got results earlier,” he said.With Asian Championships and World Championships lined up next year and 2020 being an Olympic year, Manjeet is set to embark on another training in isolation routine. “Now that I have overcome the struggle phase, my next target is the Olympics,” he said.He is willing to put in the hard yards. But knows it won’t come without personal sacrifices. “My kid knows me somewhat now. But I will only return after another five or six months. I don’t know if he will remember me or not,” he wondered.
Rishabh Pant has reached New Zealand to join the Indian cricket team ahead of the three-match T20I series against the Blackcaps, starting Wednesday. Pant, who was rested for the ODI series vs Australia and New Zealand with MS Dhoni joining the team, is back with the team after an eventful tour in Australia.Soon after reaching New Zealand, Pant was seen at the nets working on his batting skills. Pant is known for his unorthodox and outlandish shots and he was once again at it in the nets.In a video posted by BCCI, Pant can be seen trying an outrageous shot at a yorker length delivery. The ball was coming right at Pant’s feet but he read the length, adjusted himself and smacked it away.Welcome to the T20 format. What would you call this shot from @RishabPant777 #TeamIndia #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/R5QTJNFtQIBCCI (@BCCI) February 5, 2019Pant recently played two unofficial ODIs for India A against England Lions in a 5-match series and scored 73 not out in the fourth match which India A won by 6 wickets.Apart from Pant, some of the other Team India members were also seen in the nets ahead of the first T20I vs New Zealand in Wellington on Wednesday.Dinesh Karthik, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma were all gearing up for the T20I series before they go back home from a long overseas tour.While Karthik was polishing his throw as Pandya and Shankar looked on, Kuldeep was seen stretching himself.advertisementLet the T20Is begin #TeamIndia all set to take on the Kiwis for the 1st T20I tomorrow at Westpac Stadium #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/iHzeIL7390BCCI (@BCCI) February 5, 2019Dhoni and Rohit Sharma were doing what they do best – hitting the ball away.Rohit Sharma will lead India for the T20I series as Virat Kohli was rested for the T20I series and the last two ODIs against New Zealand.Squad for T20Is: Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, K Khaleel Ahmed, Shubman Gill, Vijay Shankar, Hardik PandyaAlso Read | Rishabh Pant named ICC Emerging Player of the Year after stellar 2018 seasonAlso Read | ICC’s tribute to champion babysitter and champion cricketer Rishabh Pant is going viralAlso Read | Rishabh Pant posts photo with girlfriend Isha Negi. Fans can’t keep calmAlso Read | Rishabh Pant for World Cup 2019? Sachin Tendulkar weighs in with his thoughts
International Cricket Council chairman Shashank Manohar has assured the Board of Control for Cricket in India that security will be the top priority for the governing body at the Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.The BCCI had written a letter to the ICC on Friday in which it had expressed concerns over the safety of Indian players, support staff and the fans, among other points, who will be attending the showpiece event in May.Manohar confirmed on Saturday that the ICC has received the Indian cricket board’s letter and in response to it he said that the BCCI will be shown the security plans that are going to be in place for the tournament.”I have received the BCCI’s letter. Security has, and always will be, the top priority of the ICC. When the ICC (board members) meet in Dubai on March 2, we will show the BCCI all the security plans which have been put in place for the World Cup,” Manohar was quoted as saying by Times of India.”They can satisfy themselves over the arrangements for the World Cup. Every board is entitled to do that.”Johri’s letter was mainly sent to the ICC to convey the BCCI’s message that the Indian board was against Pakistan’s participation in the tournament following the terror attacks in Pulwama last week.The BCCI in its letter, urged the cricketing community to sever ties with countries from where “terror emanates”.”The communicatoin is being addressed to voice the BCCI’s concerns and sentiments that have emerged after the recent dastardly terrorist attack which was carried out on Indian soil by a terror outfit based out of Pakistan which resulted in the death of 44 (40) Indian security personnel,” Johri wrote in the letter to ICC.advertisement”In view of the aforesaid terrorist attack, BCCI fears for the safety and security of players and match officials particiapting in upcoming ICC events including ICC Cricket World Cup,” Johri further wrote.The BCCI officials along with the members of the Committee of Administrators met in New Delhi on Friday to decide on the issue of boycotting the World Cup match against Pakistan.They came to the conclusion that the fate of India’s participation in the match will be decided after the board consults with the Indian government after a four-hour long meeting.The BCCI in the meantime, wrote a letter to the ICC urging the cricket community to sever ties with any nation from where terrorism emanates.The Indian cricket board is now looking for ways to isolate Pakistan from the sport following the terrorist attack in Pulwama on February 14 in which the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) lost 40 soldiers.Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the ghastly attack in which a bus filled with the paramilitary troops was blown up by a suicide bomber.Also Read | Virat Kohli on World Cup clash vs Pakistan: We will go by what government and BCCI decideAlso Read | BCCI writes to ICC: Sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanatesAlso Read | ICC warns BCCI: India likely to lose proposal to ban Pakistan from World CupAlso Read | Unfortunate that politics and cricket are mixing: PCB chief Ehsan Mani
Delhi Capitals will hope to keep the juggernaut rolling when they take on Rajasthan Royals in an away IPL encounter in Jaipur on Monday.Delhi have been doing better at away games rather than at their home ground but Saturday night they managed to reverse that at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground with a five-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab, helping them remain on third spot in the points table.Rajasthan Royals also won their match here on Saturday by the same margin against a formidable Mumbai Indians as Steve Smith celebrated his return at the helm with a captain’s innings.With both teams rejuvenated after their respective victories, it will be an interesting battle for one-upmanship come Monday.However, Rajasthan would be a bit more desperate than Delhi as they are languishing at the second last position in the points table with just three wins from nine outings.Where will the IPL 2019 match between RR vs DC be played?The IPL 2019 match between Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals will be played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur from 8 PM IST.Where can I watch the IPL 2019 match between RR vs DC live?The match will be shown on the Star Sports TV network and can also be streamed on hotstar.com.Where can I check the online live updates of the IPL 2019 match between RR vs DC?You can follow our coverage here – www.indiatoday.in/sports/ipl-2019 & www.indiatoday.in/sports.What are the squads for the IPL 2019 match between RR vs DC?advertisementRajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Shubham Ranjane, Ashton Turner, Steve Smith, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Liam Livingstone, Varun Aaron, Jos Buttler, Shahshank Singh, Manan Vohra, Rahul TripathiDelhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (c), Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant (WK), Colin Ingram, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Ankush Bains, Chris Morris, Sherfane Rutherford, Jalaj Saxena, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Nathu Singh, Bandaru Ayyappa, Colin Munro, Manjot Kalra.Also Read | MS Dhoni magic leaves cricket fraternity in awe: Cricket needs Dhoni to write it’s scriptsAlso Read | MS Dhoni 1st Indian to hit 200 sixes in Indian Premier League