Exclusive: International Hockey Federation president Narinder Batra slams IOA’s ‘stupid’ decision

first_imgInternational Hockey Federation (FIH) president Narinder Batra slammed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for their decision to appoint Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala life time presidents.”I don’t know what made IOA take that stupid decision yesterday. I am sorry am using the word stupid,” Batra told India Today.  (Also read: Suresh Kalmadi declines post of life president with Indian Olympic Association)Batra, who is associate vice-president of the IOA, said he would quit from his post unless this decision is reversed.Kalmadi remained the president of IOA for 15 long years before his alleged misdeeds in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games were exposed. He was forced to step down and was arrested for misappropriation of funds before he was released on bail. (Also read: Exclusive: I will sue Sports Minister Goel, says Abhay Chautala)Haryana strongman Chautala was then seen as his heir apparent and was elected as president if the IOA in 2012. His appointment resulted in IOA being suspended for 14 long months.Chautala also had to step down to pave the way for IOA’s comeback into the international Olympic fold. (Also read: Exclusive: Unfair to criticise Suresh Kalmadi, says lawyer)Chautala too is facing charges of disproportionate assets case, but he is still the man who has been running the IOA affairs from behind the scenes.There was furore immediately after India Today first broke the story. Sports Minister Vijay Goel even called the IOA’s decision “unacceptable”.After the sports ministry sent a showcause notice to the IOA, Kalmadi decided to decline the offer. However, Chautala said he would not step down and even threatened to sue Goel.advertisementBatra said he did not support the IOA’s decision and added that he was happy with Kalmadi’s call to back off. “Looking at the current situation of the BCCI, there was no need for another controversy. I am happy Kalmadi has withdrawn and hope Chautala does too.”Meanwhile, Sports Minister Vijay Goel also slammed the IOA’s decision but he said he was hopeful of corrective measures thanks to public pressure.”This is a kind of corruption in sports when two tainted officials are given backdoor entries in the IOA,” Goel told India Today.last_img read more

Australian Open: Britain’s Dan Evans downs Bernard Tomic to reach last 16

first_imgDan Evans continued his fairytale run at Melbourne Park by downing local world number 27 Bernard Tomic 7-5, 7-6(2), 7-6(3) on Friday to give Britain two men in the last 16 of the Australian Open for the first time in 16 years.The 26-year-old, who upset seventh seed Marin Cilic in the second round, prevailed at the end of a thrilling two-hour 48-minute battle in a highly-charged atmosphere on Hisense Arena to end Australia’s interest in the men’s singles draw. (Also read: Australian Open: Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka advance to 4th round)Evans refused to play on and insisted the stadium roof be closed when rain started falling on the court late in the third set but recovered his composure to win the tiebreak and set up a meeting with France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.World number one Andy Murray’s 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Sam Querrey preceded Evans’s match on the same court, ensuring a double British presence in the fourth round for the first time since Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski in 2001.last_img read more

(Repeating after correction in intro)

first_imgTata JLR leads hike in Indian demand for luxury car brandsFrom Aditi KhannaLondon, Jan 26 (PTI) The UKs car exports to India has seen a 15.8 per cent rise in 2016 largely due to Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rovers popularity among “affluent buyers” in the country, according to the latest UK automotive industry figures.India is now the eighth largest Asian market for UK car exports with JLRs Land Rover Discovery Sport, Ranger Rover Evoque, Jaguar XF, Jaguar XE and Jaguar F-Pace among the top five most popular models.The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), one of the UKs largest trade associations, said the Indian demand formed part of a wider 17-year high for British car manufacturing last year.”India is now the eighth biggest Asian market for UK car exports, with demand rising at a rapid rate as an increasing number of affluent buyers take advantage of a range of all new premium and luxury British-built cars. UK car exports to the country grew 15.8 per cent to 3,372 in 2016,” SMMT said in a statement.It also found that Indian-built car models accounted for 31,535 new car registrations in the UK, an uplift of more than 12.6 per cent on 2015.”India and the UK have a great history of collaboration in the automotive sector and it is essential we secure mutually beneficial trade relationships in the future. India is a growing market, for the moment largely for luxury vehicles. But we face high import tariffs which makes it more difficult to sell into India,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.advertisement”It remains to be seen the kind of trade deal the UK may look to agree with India post-Brexit. But meanwhile, it is very much about producing the right product for the market, which is in the premium category,” he noted.Meanwhile, as many as 1,727,471 vehicles rolled off production lines in the UK last year from some 15 manufacturers, an 8.8 per cent rise in total car production in Britain compared to 2015 and the highest output since 1999.More cars are now being exported from Britain than ever before, which the SMMT highlighted was the result of investment made over recent years in world-class production facilities, cutting-edge design and technology and one of Europes most highly skilled and productive workforces rather than any Brexit effect.Production growth in the UK was predominantly driven by overseas demand, with global appetite for British-built cars rising by 10.3 per cent to an all-time high of 1,354,216 ? a second consecutive annual record.The European Union (EU) remains by far the countrys biggest market, something that could be directly affected by the final trade deal struck as Britain exits the economic bloc.”Brexit is a significant challenge and we want our respective governments to support our industry. The last year was undoubtedly a very, very successful year for the industry but there is a lot of uncertainty with one of our biggest market, the EU,” added Hawes. PTI AK AMS SUA NSAlast_img read more

Sania Mirza eyes seventh major title in Australian Open final

first_imgSania Mirza will be bidding for her seventh major title, and first with Croatian partner Ivan Dodig, in the Australian Open mixed doubles final where the second seeds take on unseeded American Abigail Spears and Colombian Juan Sebastian Cabal on Sunday.Sania-Dodig overcame a tough one-hour-18-minute battle in the semi-final against Aussies Samantha Stosur and Sam Groth 6-4, 2-6, (10-5) on Friday. Abigail-Cabal defeated Elina Svitolina of Ukraine and Aussie Chris Guiccione 7-6 (1), 6-2 in the last four stage. (Nadal vs Federer: Dream final becomes reality in Australia)The Indo-Croatian pair will play their second Grand Slam final, having lost the French Open final to experienced pair of Leander Paes and Martina Hingis last year.It will be Sania’s second Australian Open mixed doubles final after winning in 2009 with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi. She has won three mixed doubles titles, the last being the 2014 US Open with Brazilian Bruno Soares.The 30-year-old Hyderabadi has six major titles in her kitty, three in mixed doubles and three in women’s doubles. (Serena Williams overcomes sister Venus to win record 23rd Grand Slam)The second seeded Sania-Dodig showed impressive composure to claim the semi-final. They were given a run for their money by Samantha-Groth but eventually emerged stronger from the tie.Sania committed two double faults at crucial phases of the contest. But she remained unfazed by the mistakes.”I was serving ok, just those couple of double faults. But that’s how it is. Me and Ivan are a good team, we stay positive and fight. We support each other when the chips are down,” Sania said after the match on Friday.advertisement”Our strength is our return. We just had to trust we will get a chance, and we did.”Dodig said he was under pressure in the match as the going got tough. “To be honest, I feel a bit of pressure,” said Dodig.Dodig said as he is yet to win a major title in mixed doubles he will try harder and will take cue from her partner who has greater experience in summit clashes.Dodig says he doesn’t have as many Grand Slams as her so he will be trying his best in the final that they reached on Friday.”We played the final in Paris and we lost a tough match and now we’re again in a final and now I don’t have so many Grand Slams like Sania but I have one in doubles, so I’m here trying to give my all and energy for at least one more mixed (doubles title),” he said.Dodig, 32, added he is glad to strike up a decent partnership with Sania.”I’ve really enjoyed playing with Sania. We had a good run last year here as well and now being in the final is great for us. Unfortunately, we always have to play these super tie-breaks, but it’s fun if you’re winning,” he said.last_img read more

We have plans for each Australian player, says Ajinkya Rahane

first_imgBatsman Ajinkya Rahane on Monday said the India team has plans in place for each of the Australian players in their upcoming four-Test series starting February 23 in Pune.Rahane said the hosts would look to play attacking cricket. (Steve Smith’s men weakest Australian side to tour India, says Harbhajan Singh)India and Australia have been involved in many verbal duels in the past and this time too the visiting skipper Steve Smith has made it clear that his team won’t shy away from sledging the Indians, even as his deputy David Warner has indicated that they will not sledge the in-form India captain Virat Kohli.”We don’t know if they will sledge or not. We have some plans against each of them, I can’t discuss that here, skill wise or sledging wise, there is definitely a plan. We know that Australian players play mind games. Our aim would be to dominate them in every aspect,” Rahane said. (Tendulkar vs Australia or Kohli-Australia: Which rivalry is more fun?)”We will look to play positive cricket, attacking cricket not only against the spinners but all the bowlers. Practice game and the Test match is completely different, so we have to read the condition well and play according to the situation, that would be the key,” he added.Rahane said India would look to focus on own strengths instead of losing sleep over the combinations of the opponent during the Test series.”They are coming to India and will be expecting a turning track. So yes three fast bowlers and five spinners is their combination but for us it will be important to play to our potential and not focus on their bowling attack, strategies. It is important for each team member to back our own game. (R Ashwin will be ready for me but I have my game plan: David Warner to India Today)advertisement”It will be a different wicket. We have to wait and watch. Once the first day is over, we will have an idea about how it will behave the five days,” he said.On a question about switching between different formats of the game, Rahane said: “Whatever format you play, you want to give your best for your team whether it is T20, Test or ODI. But if you are playing two or three formats it is all about how you adjust mentally. It is all about mental adjustments rather than technical adjustment.” (Australia will lose 0-3 if they play well vs India: Harbhajan Singh)Making a comeback after recovering from a finger injury, Rahane justified the faith shown in his abilities by the team management with a 133-ball 82 in the first innings against Bangladesh in the one-off Test.Asked about the innings, Rahane said: “That innings was very important for me. I was really excited about that Test match, coming back after two months and importantly I got 82, good to spend time in the middle. But it is important to start afresh here.”Australia, we all know, is a very good, experienced team. So it will be important to play to our potential, back ourselves in the middle. As a team we are playing really well and it is important to take one game at a time.” (Virat Kohli not Australia’s only threat: 4 other concerns for Steve Smith’s men)Rahane also thanked Kohli for picking him ahead of Karun Nair, who scored an unbeaten 303 against England in his third Test.”Injuries are part and parcel of the game, you don’t have control over injuries. It was really good to see Karun get 300 runs for the country and in the end we all are representing India and I would like to thank the team management and the captain for backing me in the match against Bangladesh. I am really confident at the moment playing against Australia.”For all of us it is important to play one game at a time and momentum will be the key. If we play well in the first game, we will have to carry that momentum forward,” added the 28-year-old.last_img read more

SEE PIC: Amy Jackson reading in her swimsuit is the perfect blend of beauty and brains

first_imgAmy Jackson makes sure through her Instagram account that her fans always have enough to feast their eyes on. The actor, who will be seen next in Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar-starrer 2.0, posted a picture of herself enjoying a book outdoors while sporting a swimsuit. Amy captioned the photo: “…and this is why I love night shoots. Lounging in my @monaswims suit reading a book sent all the way from L.A by courtesy of my Spirit Sister @anatanaka #TheToltecPathtoFreedom”Amy recently reported that her phone was hacked and her private photographs were leaked on the internet. She was also in the news for her link-up with actor Salman Khan. The two reportedly bonded when Amy worked in his brother Sohail Khan’s film Freaky Ali. However, she cleared the air at an event. “Who wouldn’t want to date Salman Khan? But I am single and not dating anyone,” the Action Jackson actor clarified.On the work front, Amy will be stepping into Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s shoes in the Robot sequel. She told The Times Of India, “Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is an inspiration… I have literally followed in Aishwarya’s footsteps. But our characters aren’t related.”ALSO READ: Amy Jackson’s phone hacked, personal pictures leaked onlineALSO READ: Amy Jackson rekindles relationship with ex-boyfriend?advertisementALSO WATCH: I was very nervous working with Akshay Kumar, says Amy Jacksonlast_img read more

Steve Smith on DRS controversy: I shouldn’t have done that, it was a brain fade

first_imgAustralia captain Steve Smith was involved in a big controversy on Day 4 of the second Test match against India and he later tried to justify his actions but went on to concede that he shouldn’t have done what he did on the field. (Virat Kohli warns Australia: There are certain lines which shouldn’t be crossed)CLICK TO WATCH FULL VIDEOSmith was wrapped on the pads by an Umesh Yadav delivery and umpire Nigel Llong gave him out LBW. Smith then consulted his partner at the other end, Peter Handscomb, before turning back to look at the dressing room for help with the DRS. Umpire Llong spotted that and immediately asked Smith to leave the field and denied him a review as it is against the laws of the game to consult anybody off the field for a DRS referral. (Virat Kohli furious after Steve Smith tried to cheat)According to International Cricket Council (ICC) Standard Test Match Playing Conditions for 2016-17, the umpires may decline a review if they believe the fielding captain or batsman has received any outside input.”The captain may consult with the bowler and other fielders or the two batsmen may consult with each other prior to deciding whether to request a Player Review,” the ICC conditions state.”Under no circumstances is any player permitted to query an umpire about any aspect of a decision before deciding on whether or not to request a Player Review.””If the umpires believe that the captain or batsman has received direct or indirect input emanating other than from the players on the field, then they may at their discretion decline the request for a Player Review. In particular, signals from the dressing room must not be given,” the conditions clearly state.advertisementSmith said it was a brain fade on his part and he shouldn’t have done that. (Bengaluru Test: Ashwin’s 6/41 seals sensational victory for India)”I got hit on the pad and looked down to Petey (Peter Handscomb) and he sort of said look up there (towards the dressing room), so I turned around and said what do you reckon. It was a bit of a brain fade on my behalf and I shouldn’t have done that,” Smith said at the post match press conference. (Ashwin concedes he was trying too hard after storming back to form)Smith’s counterpart, Virat Kohli, was furious when he saw what was going on in the middle and even had a word with the umpires who managed to calm him down. But Kohli went on to reveal that Australians were looking at their dressing room for help with the DRS throughout the match. Kohli and the Indian team management has even told the match referee about it. (Kohli hopes to ‘never look back’ after razing Australia in Bengaluru)Smith though clarified that it was the first time something like this has happened, “I think that’s probably the first time its happened and as I said it was a brain fade on my behalf.”Steve Smith spoke after play in Bengaluru: https://t.co/r96jJeAPfy #INDvAUS cricket.com.au Video (@CricketVideo) March 7, 2017last_img read more

Virat Kohli’s ‘no longer friends’ remark disappointing: Darren Lehmann

first_imgAustralia coach Darren Lehmann has said that he is disappointed with India captain Virat Kohli for declaring that he is no longer friends with Australian players after an aggressively-contested Test series.Australia lost 1-2 in the the four-match rubber, which was marred by constant showdowns between the players of both the sides. (Australian media continues nasty tirade against Virat Kohli)CLICK TO WATCH FULL VIDEOAt the end of it, Kohli had no qualms saying that he has been proven wrong in considering Australian players his off-field friends.Asked about Kohli’s comment in a pre-departure media interaction, Lehmann said, “Disappointing but that’s his opinion isn’t it?” (Steve Smith asks: Can we come in for a drink? Ajinkya Rahane replies: I’ll get back to you)On whether he thought that the rest of the Indian team had sentiments similar to Kohli, Lehmann replied in the negative.”No, I don’t think the Indian team (feels that), I too was very impressed with (Ajinkya) Rahane’s captaincy. I thought he was brilliant,” Lehmann said, trying to side-step the query by referring to Rahane’s stand-in captaincy during the fourth and final Test in Dharamsala. (Ajinkya Rahane should stay on as India’s Test captain: Mitchell Johnson)Kohli had missed the series-decider owing to a shoulder injury and even that had been mocked by the Australian players.Lehmann was lavish in his praise for Australia captain Steve Smith, comparing his superb batting run in the series with no less than Don Bradman. Smith finished with 499 runs in four games. (Virat Kohli blasts detractors: If someone pokes us, we won’t back down)advertisement”Smith has been brilliant, he has been unbelievable. He has been Bradman-like with the bat. I am really pleased with him and how he has brought the team as a leader,” he said.However, Lehmann was candid in admitting that the Australian team’s performance did not quite match up to India. He was nonetheless proud of the effort put in by the visitors. (Virat Kohli blasts detractors: If someone pokes us, we won’t back down)”We were disappointing in a couple of Test matches. We got so close but yet so far I suppose. We were a 100 runs short in this game. But I am proud of the lads and the effort they put in,” he said.”The way they have gone about it, it has been impressive. There are a lot of learnings for this group on this tour. They are hurting with the result at the moment but I am pleased with the effort and attitude. Smith will just get better and better. (If anyone pokes us, we won’t back down: Virat Kohli) “They have copped a lot from the Indian media. I am pleased with how they have handled it. We weren’t good enough in this series but we have got to keep learning,” he added.Meanwhile, former Australian player Mark Taylor also reacted to Kohli’s remarks. He said, “I was disappointed to hear Indian captain Virat Kohli say he would never be friends with the Aussies at the conclusion of what has been a gripping Test series for the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Cricketers play together a lot these days, both with and against each other, so you’ve got to be very careful about holding grudges and making stances like that.”He added that people like Smith and Kohli should set an example for the rest of the world when it comes to how cricket should be played.last_img read more

Two truths you should be telling

first_imgLast week, I asked Rohit Bhargava what two pieces of advice he’d give nonprofits about earning trust and inspiring action. He has a new book out called Likeonomics: The unexpected truth behind earning trust, influencing behavior and inspiring action.Here are his tips on telling the truth for good.1. Tell the truth about yourself: “Help connect donors and supporters with the REAL PEOPLE behind the work that the organization does. Nonprofits typically think in terms of showing the real people who are helped, but not the people doing the helping. The iPhone has two types of camera – the one that you point outwards and the one that you can point at yourself. We need to get better at using the second one,” he says. 2. Tell the truth about what you need: “Get better about sharing the truth behind what really matters and what really doesn’t,” he says. “For example, the Salvation Army can do a great job of getting people to donate all kinds of clothes, but during the summer they generally have more need for summer clothes, and in the winter it’s the opposite. Why not tell people that? You won’t, of course, turn down any donations. But just be making your real needs more obvious, you might encourage people to donate more.Great advice. Being truthful is hard. Bhargava says the truth is so often ugly, inconvenient, hard to see and it makes you vulnerable. But don’t be afraid of it.Look what happens when you tell it. Like when Charity: Water couldn’t quite get its 200th well to happen – live and on video. Here’s an organization turning the lens on itself, unabashedly, with flaws. It makes you love them more.last_img read more

Henry worried about Monaco’s future more than his own

first_imgUnder-fire Monaco boss Thierry Henry has insisted he is more concerned about the club’s future than rumours surrounding his coaching tenure.Struggling in Ligue 1’s relegation zone with a three-point gap from safety, Monaco also bowed out of the Coupe de France with a 3-1 loss to Metz on Tuesday.Henry only took over at his former club in October, but he has been unable to turn around their struggles this season, with the team only managing to win three of their 21 league matches. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! However, the Frenchman said any decision over his future was in the owners’ hands, with his sole focus on getting Monaco to safety.”My future? Owners would decide when they need to decide. I am more worried for Monaco’s future. I already said that,” Henry told a news conference.The referee blows for full time in Monaco.-  #ASMFCM pic.twitter.com/EtYT7Q6LTA — AS Monaco EN (@AS_Monaco_EN) January 22, 2019 “I will repeat. No need to always ask the same question, I would answer the same thing – Atletico Madrid have been relegated in the 90s with stronger players than us. [Real] Zaragoza as well more recently as you know. I could talk about all the leagues.”We are in this situation, even if it was Coupe de France and now we are out but this weekend against Dijon in Ligue 1 it’s going to be war.”Monaco face fellow Ligue 1 strugglers Dijon on Saturday and have the ability to leap over their opponents into 18th position with a victory.last_img read more

‘Only Messi & Ronaldo ahead of Mbappe now’

first_imgKylian Mbappe only sits behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the global pecking order, says Bixente Lizarazu, with the Paris Saint-Germain forward boasting the potential to be “the next genuine superstar in football”.At just 20 years of age, one of the most exciting talents on the planet has already collected two Ligue 1 titles and helped France to World Cup glory.Big things are expected of Mbappe, who continues to shine for club and country, with his name expected to figure prominently in Ballon d’Or votes of the future. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! If he does scale those heights, then he will be following in the illustrious footsteps of global icons currently turning out for Barcelona and Juventus.Lizarazu, a World Cup winner himself with France in 1998, believes Mbappe is destined for the top, telling Goal at the Bayern Youth Cup in Delhi: “Yes, I think he can be the next genuine superstar in football and I think he already is one.“He is the best young footballer in the world and after Ronaldo and Messi, there is no reason why he cannot become the best in the world.”Mbappe starred for France as Les Bleus captured a second world crown at Russia 2018 – 20 years after Lizarazu and Co had landed a first on home soil.More is expected of a golden generation which also includes the likes of Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, with Dider Deschamps having turned struggles of the recent past into a distant memory.France World CupAsked to compare the class of 2018 with that of 1998, Lizarazu said: “I think more than anything, the spirit in the two teams was the same.“Didier Deschamps brought the same spirit to the 2018 squad to the one we had during our time.“This France squad did not go for the big individual names but ones who would fit in well in the system.“Comparing both teams, I think ours was older and hence we were able to exert more control on the game.“The 2018 squad had a lot of young players and relied more on counter-attacks.“It was a fantastic achievement for France in Russia and I must say that Deschamps has done a brilliant job with the team.”While Lizarazu was a star turn at left-back for France during a previous era of dominance, it was at Bayern Munich that he enjoyed the greatest success at club level.Goretzka Bayern 2019Having taken in two spells with the German giants, he is now an ambassador for the Bundesliga outfit.The 2018-19 campaign has been a testing one for those at the Allianz Arena, but they are back in a domestic title race and readying themselves for a crunch clash with Liverpool in the Champions League.Lizarazu said of that encounter, with the first leg of a last-16 tie due to be staged at Anfield on Tuesday: “Liverpool are in amazing form in the Premier League. They were the Champions League finalists last year and they are even stronger this year.“I think this is the toughest test Bayern could get because I believe Liverpool are one of the three favourites for the title this season.“They are playing very well at the moment while Bayern are not at their best currently. They have not been playing well in the league and are second, which you know is not good enough.“So I think this will be a very exciting and difficult tie for Bayern.”last_img read more

World Cup Qualifiers: Roy Keane questions Everton over James McCarthy injuries

first_imgEverton must take responsibility for the recurring injury problems of midfielder James McCarthy, who is a doubt ahead of crucial World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales, according to Ireland assistant coach Roy Keane.McCarthy was called-up by Ireland despite not featuring for the Merseyside club this season due to a persistent knee injury and an increasingly tetchy stand-off over the fitness of the 26-year-old has developed.”James seems to be getting a lot of injuries at Everton so I don’t think we’ve anything to be worried about in terms of how much we push James,” Keane told a news conference.”The medical staff are overseeing all of it and are in contact with Everton and all their scientists. I think they’ve more scientists involved than there needs to be.Reuters Photo “I always think clubs, as much as they look at what we’re doing, they certainly have to have look at what they are doing themselves. But James seems pretty upbeat and we’re glad to have him here.”Manager Martin O’Neill said his medical staff are evaluating McCarthy’s fitness on a “day-by-day” basis ahead of Friday’s qualifier at home against Moldova.Ireland are currently in third place on 13 points in Group D, one place and one point behind Wales who occupy the playoff spot with two matches remaining.last_img read more

Coach Gian Piero Ventura apologises but doesn’t resign after Italy fail to make World Cup

first_imgThe prevailing theme for Gian Piero Ventura’s run as Italy coach was that the 69-year-old journeyman manager was in far over his head.Having never coached a major club before taking over the national team last year, Ventura covered himself in disgrace on Monday when four-time champions Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.Ventura was widely criticized for poor tactical decisions before and after Sweden’s 1-0 aggregate win over the Azzurri.After the scoreless draw in the second leg in Milan, it was a foregone conclusion he will be fired according to a contract stipulation in case of a failed qualification – unless he resigns.”I’m not resigning because I haven’t spoken with the (federation) president,” Ventura said. “We need to evaluate things. We’ll see. I’ll talk with the federation and confront the problem.”I feel I have to apologize to Italians for the result.”Ventura’s expected ouster will come in sharp contrast to his predecessor, Antonio Conte.Conte was lauded for getting the most out of Italy before the Azzurri lost on penalties to Germany in the quarterfinals of last year’s European Championship.When Conte departed for Chelsea after Euro 2016, Ventura was given the crowning job on a career that had seen him coach the likes of Pisa, Bari, and Torino.”I’ve been in football many years so I know how to accept it,” Ventura said of the failed qualification. “I’m honored to have been a part of the national team and to have worked with great champions and with others that I hope will become great.advertisement”I’m upset because tonight I understood the significance of coaching the national team.”Ventura’s attachment to two forwards he coached at Torino, Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti, and his refusal to try a three-striker formation, led him to continually leave Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne on the bench.Considered Italy’s most talented player of the moment, Insigne was inexplicably asked to come on for Marco Verratti in a central midfield position late in the opening leg against Sweden.Likewise, winger Stephan El Shaarawy was given little playing time despite a show of solid form at Roma that included a brace against Conte’s Chelsea in the Champions League.”We showed few ideas and not much in the way of tactics,” said veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who retired from the national team after the playoff.Late in the second leg, De Rossi argued with Ventura’s staff when they asked him to warm up. He later suggested he thought Insigne or someone else should enter.”If I offended anyone I’m sorry,” De Rossi said.The Azzurri elimination had been brewing for months.Italy were outclassed by Spain 3-0 in September, virtually sealing their fate of entering the playoffs. Then in five consecutive matches, Italy scored a total of three goals against Israel, Macedonia, Albania and Sweden.”Sport teaches that you win and lose as a team,” retiring captain Gianluigi Buffon said. “The coach shares in our mistakes.”Carlo Ancelotti, who was fired by Bayern Munich in September, is being mentioned as a possible replacement for Ventura.Ancelotti, who coached Juventus and AC Milan before going abroad to win titles with Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern, has the big-club resume that Ventura lacked. But it remains to be seen if he’ll be willing to coach the national team, or if he still prefers the daily activities of a club.Other options include installing a caretaker and luring back Conte, who has expressed homesickness at Chelsea, or perhaps Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri or Zenit St. Petersburg’s Roberto Mancini once the club season ends.Meanwhile, the status of Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio was also in question.Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago, who oversees all sports in the country, intimated recently that Tavecchio should resign if Italy fails to qualify.There is a precedent since Giancarlo Abete, the previous federation president, and coach Cesare Prandelli each resigned immediately after Italy was eliminated in the first round of the 2014 World Cup.Whoever takes over will have to rebuild a squad that doesn’t feature a single standout player.There is youth, though.Belotti is only 23, Insigne is 26 and Immobile is 27.At 27, the long-excluded Mario Balotelli could still have plenty to contribute if he ever matures enough.At 25, Marco Verratti still hasn’t put in a solid performance for Italy as he attempts to replace the retired Andrea Pirlo in midfield.In defense, the veteran “BBC” trio of Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci – who have a combined age of 99 – is destined to be broken up with Barzagli retiring from the national team. Younger defenders on the horizon include Daniele Rugani, Alessio Romagnoli and Mattia Caldara.advertisementIn goal, 18-year-old AC Milan starter Gianluigi Donnarumma is set to replace Buffon.last_img read more

Sergio Aguero collapses at halftime as Argentina lose to Nigeria in friendly

first_imgArgentina striker Sergio Aguero collapsed in the dressing room at halftime before they lost 4-2 to fellow World Cup qualifiers Nigeria after taking a two-goal lead in a friendly in Krasnodar, Russia on Tuesday.The Argentine Football Association (AFA) said in a statement that Aguero, who scored in the first half, was taken away for routine examinations but added: “The player is well”.His Premier League club Manchester City said the 29-year-old Aguero had been cleared by doctors to return to England as planned after he suffered what they called “a dizzy spell”.”Sergio never lost consciousness, and was taken to hospital for precautionary medical checks,” City said on their official website (www.mancity.com).Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli rested Lionel Messi following the 1-0 win over next year’s World Cup hosts Russia on Saturday and it seemed that they could cope without him.Ever Banega curled in a free kick, awarded after Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi picked the ball up outside his area, in the 28th minute and Aguero finished off a sweeping counter-attack eight minutes later.But Kelechi Iheanacho inspired Nigeria’s fightback.First, he emulated Banega by scoring from a free kick on the stroke of halftime and then set up the equaliser by pulling the ball back for Alex Iwobi to net seven minutes after the re-start.The Super Eagles took the lead two minutes after that when Brian Idowu sidefooted home from the edge of the area to finish off a counter attack.A superb goal by Iwobi completed the comeback in the 73rd minute as he collected the ball, slipped it between Javier Mascherano’s legs and fired past Agustin Marchesin.advertisementArgentina staggered through their World Cup qualifying campaign, only clinching their place at the finals with a 3-1 win in Ecuador in their final match.”It’s a difficult game to explain,” said Sampaoli. “We could have been 3-0 or 4-0 ahead in the first half and we went in with a 2-1 lead.”My biggest worry was the way the team played when we were behind. I know we are capable and have the individual talent to be able to get out of these situations and I’m worried about what happened tonight.”We played an incredible first half but we lost our way in a match which could confuse a lot of people.”Aguero will be assessed by Manchester City’s medical team ahead of this weekend’s Premier League trip to Leicester City.last_img read more

This day that year: Rahul Dravid faced his first ball in Test on June 22, 1996

first_imgRahul Dravid, one of the greatest Test batsmen in cricket’s rich history, came out to bat for the first time in international cricket on June 22, 1996. It was a big occasion for Dravid, who made his Test debut against England at Lord’s — the Mecca of Cricket — alongside Sourav Ganguly.Dravid started his debut innings at No.7 and proved his credentials with a typically gritty Test knock of 95 off 267 balls. He was also involved in a 94-run stand for the sixth wicket with centurion Ganguly (131) as the match ended in a draw. That partnership marked the start of a golden era for Indian cricket as Dravid, Ganguly, VVS Laxman along with Sachin Tendulkar took Indian cricket to new highs. (Rahul Dravid urges decisive call on MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh’s role in team)Dravid played for 16 years for India before retiring in 2012 after India’s dismal tour of Australia. He holds the record for facing most number of balls, 31,258 — 1821 more balls than Sachin Tendulkar had faced in his 24-year career — and spent 44152 minutes at the crease, most by any batsman in the history.Dravid aggregated 13288 runs from 164 Tests the help of 36 hundreds at 52.31. In ODIs, Dravid played 344 matches scoring 10889 with 12 hundreds and 83 half-centuries. (Rahul Dravid set to extend his tenure as India A, Under-19 coach)Dravid was famously known as ‘The Wall’. The exceptional batting talent not just scored runs in India but all over the world.In one of the most memorable knocks by Dravid in 2001, the Karnataka batsman joined forces with VVS Laxman to guide India to one of best Test victories in Indian cricket’s history. Dravid had a below par Test series to his standards until that innings. Following on, India were struggling to save the match tottering at 232/4 when Dravid joined an in-form Laxman at the crease. The duo put on a mammoth 376-run stand as India declared their second innings at a massive 657 for seven. Laxman had scored 281 while Dravid hit 180.advertisementChasing 394 for a win, Australia were off to a solid opening stand before Harbhajan Singh ripped apart Australian batting line-up with 6/73 to give India a historic win to level the three-match series 1-1.Some of the interesting stats from the great man’s Test career:# Dravid was involved in most number of Test victories — 15 — overseas with an astonishing batting average of 65.70.# He was the highest run-getter batting at No.3. He scored 10,524 from 219 innings at 52.88 with the help of 28 hundreds and 50 fifties.# He was involved in a record 738 partnerships in Test career.# Dravid was also part of 88 century-plus partnerships involving Sachin Tendulkar (20), VVS Laxman (12), Virender Sehwag (10) and Sourav Ganguly Ganguly(10)# With Tendulkar, he scored a record 6920 runs in 143 partnerships at 50.51, with 20 century stands.# He is also among 12 batsmen to have scored a century against all Test playing nations.(Stats courtesy: Cricinfo)last_img read more

Will the real Sunil Sethi please stand up?

first_imgFashion Week has concluded just a day ago and we are at the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) office in Okhla. It’s dusk outside, and even though its president, Sunil Sethi has spent an entire week on his feet leading the roster of fashion shows, any traces of fatigue are unnoticeable.This is the man who the fashion fraternity has come to both revere and fear. Outsiders believe he has the power to make or break a label; insiders know his ability to make and shake the entire industry. In the decade since he took over as chief of FDCI in 2008, Sethi has steered the Capital’s fashion event to become a major force, with leading designers and FROW (front row) attendees elbowing for presence as a sign of ‘having arrived’.Grand finales have got grander, street fashion has become bolder, and entire movements dedicated to textiles have been spearheaded by him, with the backing of the government.And while Sethi has helped build the name and careers of many, there is little known of him outside his status as a leading force behind India’s fashion empire, and, as a Page 3 regular. FDCI President Sunil Sethi. Photo: Bandeep Singh”In my school and college days, being fashionable meant going to a local store, picking up a few meters of fabric and getting a shirt made with whatever was in style on the big screen,” he recounts fondly.”I will not lie that I was influenced by the guru kurtas of Rajesh Khanna, and the bell-bottoms worn by Amitabh Bachchan. I did my best to get hold of faded jeans – having a pair of jeans and a wrangler jacket in school at that time was a very prized asset,” shares Sethi.advertisementThe passion for being ‘with it’ doesn’t seem to have changed, as even today he can be counted in the country’s leading lists of best dressed men. His style is a distinct brand – the silver-white hair, almost halo-like, mustache and beard, fitted trousers on his lanky frame, and blazers of every design and major brand.”When I went to college in SRCC, my favourite singers were Cat Stevens and Leonard Cohen, and I remember Stevens always sporting a beard. Since then, there has hardly been a year that I haven’t sported one myself,” he reveals.Of course, anyone who knows him will quickly clarify that there is more to Sethi than just a fashion statement. Over the years, he has built a formidable reputation of promoting Indian craft and handloom, the seeds of which were planted in 1976 when he formed an export company, Merchants India.”I did not want to get into my family business of automobile spare parts, and even though I joined because of family pressure, my heart was always set on the export market of handicraft, textile and apparel. Fresh out of college, I left for Europe, Canada and America with a 20 kilo bagful of samples and got my first order for T-shirts from Canada.” Soon, he grew as a trade exporter, supplying saris and hair extension buns to Mauritius, daris to Italy and brass handicrafts to the US.Sethi had even dabbled in hosting a fashion show in the ’70s for the modish brand Avis Jeans, with ITC Maurya hotel as the sponsor. However, his real foray into fashion didn’t happen until 24 years later, when in 2000 the India Fashion Week was set up.Sethi had by then become a major buying agent, representing international designers and stores in India like Girogio Armani Casa, with his turnover having crossed Rs 100 crore. Using these networks, he became the fashion week’s biggest buying agent, and brought international names like Selfridges of UK, Coin of Italy, Habitat of Dublin, TsUM of Russia, and Golf & Co of Israel to their shores.He confesses, “I was in awe of fashion and the designers, and I felt they enjoyed a celebrity status. But I was pleasantly surprised that they welcomed me with open arms when I approached them to showcase India at Selfridges. Till date I enjoy a trust factor with them where most are open to the initiatives I suggest, be it with private sponsors or the government.”In 2008 he was invited by the FDCI Board to become its president, but it wasn’t as smooth a ride as it appears today. He recounts, “Those were challenging years in getting the industry together, starting a men’s fashion, and launching the first couture week in the country.”Of course, the business of fashion has grown leaps and bounds since then, with help from the fraternity. The relationship between the fashion industry and government has thawed, and he has worked on numerous initiatives such as Make In India, shows with the Ministry of External Affairs, and the #IWearHandloom movement that was initiated by Minister of Textiles and I&B, Smriti Irani in August 2016. More recently, he showcased Indian carpets to French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to India.advertisementNow in his 10th year as the FDCI president, Sethi is ready to take a step back from his role and share the mantle. He states, “It does seem like a long time now, and I am waiting for smarter, brighter millennials to come up and share this responsibility forward. It is a cliché that change is constant, and anyone who knows me and my pace knows that I am always out there in the thick of action. But I have accepted change because I find it is inevitable.”Even with a very young team that makes him familiar with the changing scenario, he confesses that more perspective is needed. He elaborates, “I do need help from market experts and designers to clear my mind on whether online space is the way to go or should we stick to the fashion show module; whether more attention should be paid to the couture market as that is where designers make more money, or to the business of prêt fashion where the buyers are coming.”Personally, Sethi is ready for exciting avenues on the horizon. He reveals, “I will still be holding the hand of anyone who joins FDCI, but with more time at my disposal, I want to focus on other projects.”For instance, the I&B ministry and government of Goa recently involved him as the chief design advisor for an international film festival, and the minister of textiles gave him a project to curate a museum space on craft and textile. He has also launched a luxury eyewear brand called Indie Eye.”This is where I want use my experience, with support from the government,” he shares. With a doctorate and professorship recently awarded by two universities, he is also looking to expand his contribution in the academic field by mentoring design students.Sunil Sethi has paved the path for many along his quest for design and beauty. The future of Indian craft can only get brighter under his watch, as time will prove, once again.last_img read more

WWE: Ronda Rousey slammed through table by Stephanie McMahon on last RAW before WrestleMania

first_imgRonda Rousey was at the receiving end of a Stephanie McMahon suplex as the former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter was sent crashing through a table on te latest episode of Monday Night RAW.Rousey, on her first night as a full-time WWE Superstar, had slammed Stephanie’s husband and WWE COO Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque through a table after being involved in a stare down with the boss’s daughter.Rousey along with her Mixed Tag Team partner Kurt Angle, came face-to-face with their WrestleMania opponents and the tensions started to escalate almost immediately. The King of Kings pre-emptively blamed The Olympic Gold medallist for a potential Ronda loss.’The Baddest Woman on the Planet’ replied by demanding why Triple H signed her with “ulterior motives” as Stephanie took issue with being demanded to do anything. Angle reminded their opponents they were speaking to an Olympic medallist and a former UFC champion as Triple H reminded Angle that, despite all of Ronda’s accolades and skills, she was stepping into a world she did not yet fully understand.The trash-talking continued through a pair of questions from the WWE Universe, peaking when Stephanie implied that Rousey’s impending loss would be too much for her to handle. Moderator Jonathan Coachman seemed to cool the hostilities enough to stage a pre-match photo session, but Stephanie’s words had hit their mark, and Rousey was soon nose-to-nose with the Raw Commissioner.Triple H dispatched Angle with a microphone to the back of the head, and when “Rowdy” Ronda turned her attention to the COO, Stephanie struck, driving Ronda through the interview table she’d been sitting behind moments earlier.advertisement(With inputs from WWE)last_img read more

CWG restored Australias reputation after ball-tampering low: OC

first_imgChairman Beattie Gold Coast, Apr 15 (PTI) The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games have restored Australias global sporting reputation that had taken a hit during the recent ball-tampering scandal, Games Organising Committee Chairman Peter Beattie said today. “This has more than restored Australias global reputation. Our sportsmanship on show during the Commonwealth Games is what the essence of Australia is about – fair sport, no cheating and applauding the winners,” Beattie said during the daily media briefing here. Australias sporting culture had come in for severe criticism when Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David warner were found guilty of plotting and trying to tamper the ball in a Test match against South Africa in Cape Town. Smith and Warner were subsequently banned for a year and stripped of their leadership roles, while Bancroft was handed a nine-month suspension. This, after the three players offered tearful apologies for their actions, something that softened the backlash they were facing from the Australian fans. In fact, the incident cast a shadow on the Games too and Australian swimming team coach Jacco Verhaeren had asked his wards to be on their best behaviour. Gold Coast played the perfect host and provided smooth logistics for athletes and visitors during the Games that wind up today. PTI PM PDS PDSlast_img read more

I did the best two laps of my whole career, says Force India’s Sergio Perez

first_imgStunned Mexican Sergio Perez said he put in the best laps of his Formula One career to get Force India back on the podium on Sunday.The 28-year-old finished third in a chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix for his best finish since he occupied the same place in the inaugural race at the Baku street circuit in 2016.”I think today I did the best two laps of my whole career,” Perez declared after a roller-coaster afternoon that started when he was shunted from behind by Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkins Williams on the opening lap.That left him with a broken front wing, after hitting Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, and forced him to pit for immediate repairs.Perez was also dealt a five-second penalty for a breach of safety car conditions and yet still came from the back to beat Ferrari’s title challenger Sebastian Vettel to the lowest step of the podium thanks to safety car interludes.”The last two laps with Sebastian behind, with cold tyres, it was so difficult,” Perez said.”I was on the supersoft tyre. I had to keep a very strong rhythm, trying to keep close to (Ferrari’s Kimi) Raikkonen, to make sure that Sebastian didn’t get close enough, and in the end we did a real…I’m speechless.”Before Sunday, Force India, fourth overall last season, had scored one point and were languishing near the bottom with Williams.In one jump, thanks to Perez’s haul of 15 points, they leapt from ninth to sixth.Perez said the result was the fruit of many things coming together but he had no illusions about Force India’s true status.advertisement”I think our battle is not here, to be honest, it’s the midfield and finally we got plenty of points today with this podium, that we can close up the gap to the cars ahead, to the Renaults,” he said.”I think we were definitely the fourth-best team this weekend.”While Perez enjoyed his eighth career podium finish, French team mate Esteban Ocon retired on the opening lap after a collision with Raikkonen.”I have to say that between the two of them, at the end of the first lap I was feeling rather disappointed. I thought we were in for another difficult day,” Force India deputy principal Bob Fernley told Reuters.last_img read more

Sunil Chhetri to be recommended for Padma Shri

first_imgBy Abhishek Hore New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is set to recommend Sunil Chhetri for the countrys fourth highest civilian award — the Padma Shri — a huge recognition for the nations all-time leading goal-scorer should he get the honour. Chhetri leads the India chart with 56 goals from 97 appearances and is one of the forwards with better strike rates in world football. The AIFF said that it was considering recommending a top player for the honour without confirming the name, but sources close to the apex body said it was Chhetri, as the federation recognises the Indian captains contribution to the sport. “If there is one name in Indian football who deserves to be recommended for such a huge honour, it is undoubtedly Sunil Chhetri. The AIFF recognises Sunils contribution and has already looking at the criteria,” a well-placed source said. When contacted, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das also said that the federation has recommended Jeje Lalpekhlua and Gurpreet Singh Sandhus names for the Arjuna Awards. Asked if Chhetri is being considered by the AIFF for the Padma Shri, Das did not confirm, but, in what seemed a giveaway, lavished rich praise on the 33-year-old star striker. Padma awards are announced on the eve of Republic Day, January 26, every year. Last June, Chhetri became the fourth highest goal-scorer among active international players when he struck his 54th against the Kyrgyzstan, surpassing Englands Wayne Rooney. He was then behind USAs Clint Dempsey, Portugals Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi of Argentina.advertisement The Bengaluru FC skipper, who began his career at Mohun Bagan in 2002 as a 17-year-old, is Indias all-time highest goal-scorer in international fixtures. Besides, he is also the all-time highest goal-scorer in the domestic league among Indians. Since then, he has played for 10 clubs across five states and three countries. In 2010, he travelled to US, to play for Major League Soccer outfit Sporting Kansas City, but did not play a single match. In October 2012, he made his debut for Portuguese second-division outfit Sporting CP B, though he would make just two more appearances for them. PTI AH PM PM PMlast_img read more