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Sourav Ganguly promises Rs 60 lakh for Cyclone Aila victims

Former Team India captain Sourav Ganguly today assured West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of arranging Rs 50-60 lakh for relief to the Aila-affected people.

Ganguly went to the Writers’ Buildings and called on the Chief Minister to express his sympathy with the cyclone-hit people of the state.

After emerging out of the Chief Minister’s chamber, Ganguly told reporters that he assured him of arranging Rs 50-60 lakh for the cyclone-affected people.

He said he would contribute the money after returning from England.

He informed he would fly to London on June 05, 2009 to witness ICC Twenty20 World Cup. Ganguly had been assigned by the ESPN STAR Sports to give expert comment for two semifinals and the final match.

In reply to a question, he said he had apprised of a disputed matter to the Chief Minister regarding his proposed school at Salt Lake in the city.

The residents of CA and DA blocks of Salt Lake have been opposing construction of an English medium school on a 60-cottah land.

They said already there are two institutions Salt Lake School and Haryana Vidyamandir and the proposed six-storeyed third school- Wiffren International School of Ganguly- would cause environmental hazards and create noise pollution as the area is very congested.

Ganguly hoped the dispute would be resoved amicably.

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June 5, 2009 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-skipper Mohammad Azharuddin to contest on Congress ticket

COUNTERING AP ALLIANCE: With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in AP, Azhar’s entry will boost Cong’s confidence.

With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in AP, Azhar

Former cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin may contest the coming Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket. The Congress leadership has been in touch with him for the past few months.

With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in Andhra Pradesh, Azharuddin’s entry will boost the confidence of the Congress.

Azharuddin will be used by Congress to counter the powerful MIM influence on Muslim voters in Hyderabad.

The batsman might stand from his hometown Hyderabad. He has a huge fan-following there despite his premature exit from the world of cricket following allegations of match fixing in the late 90s.

Azhar has kept a low profile since his exit from the Indian cricket scene and runs a successful event management firm.

Speculation was rife in February last year that he may either join or campaign for the Telangana Rastra Samiti in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls. The talk was sparked by the hour-long luncheon meeting he had with TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Cricket, Elections, General, India Related, Politics, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I wasn’t comfortable with Chappell: Sehwag; Praises Sourav Ganguly

Indian opener Virender Sehwag

Greg Chappell betrayed the trust of players but Gary Kirsten, his successor as Indian cricket coach, is the “best I have ever seen”, India’s dashing opening batsman Virender Sehwag said on Monday (January 19, 2009). The former South African batting star, Kirsten “doesn’t force things on you”, Sehwag said.

Comparing the two coaches, Sehwag indicated that Chappell had tried to get him to change his batting style.

“He had his view on my front-foot play, my footwork. The thing with him (Chappell) was that whatever you shared with him, it was promptly disclosed to media and selectors. He talked and that hurt the trust. I wasn’t comfortable with him,” Sehwag said.

Calling current coach Gary Kirsten as the best coach he has ever seen, Sehwag said, “He is the best coach I have ever seen. He doesn’t force things on you. His basic premise is: you all are international cricketers and you know how to succeed and how important it is to succeed. So I won’t thrust myself on you. But whenever you need me, for practice, throwing balls, sharing ideas, worries, I am always there.”

“During Test matches, there are days when he doesn’t force you to follow you a similar routine in warm ups. If he senses a day when it can be an easy one for the lads, he allows you to do no warm ups. When an intense day is ahead, we all come together to bring that required intensity,” added Viru.

The Delhi-opener also praised former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, who encouraged him to take on the mantle of an opener in the Test side.

“Yes, Dada made me an opener in Sri Lanka, where I hit gold in the third match with that blistering century off 69 balls (against New Zealand). A lot of youngsters, including me, came to the fore under Dada,” Viru said.

Praising Dada’s captaincy skills, Sehwag said, “Remember, when he took over world cricket was reeling under the impact of match-fixing. He always backed us. For instance when I was Man of the Match against Australia early in my career, he assured me that I would play in at least next 30 one-day matches. Even when he promoted me as an opener, he told me to bat without worry as he wouldn’t touch me for the next 30-35 games.”

“When your captains back you in this manner, your confidence is sky-high. He was also an extremely aggressive captain,” he added.

Viru, however, said that his current skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is doing what Dada used to do, but just that Mahi give more space to everyone.

He said, “In many ways he is doing what Ganguly used to do. He is also aggressive. But he also knows how to be defensive if a game is to be saved. The thing with Dhoni is that he gives all of us a lot of space. He doesn’t want to control everyone.”

“The optional practice rule has really gained ground under him. Now it’s not mandatory to turn up for practice everyday. There is so much of travelling, so many matches. He knows the importance of rest and allows everyone their own recovery period,” added the opener.

Finally, commenting on his Test career revival after the Adelaide Test in Australia in 2007-08, Sehwag went on to say that the century in the Test was very special.

“Yes it is. It was a knock when I was determined to spend time at the crease. In the first two hours on the final day, I made only 27 runs in the first session. In the afternoon, Tendulkar kept telling me that we had to keep going. Or Australians could use the final 30-35 overs to chase down the target. It was very, very special,” he said.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sachin Tendulkar role model of cricket: Andrew Flintoff

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff

Sachin Tendulkar’s match-winning century knock in Chennai which he dedicated to the people of India deeply hurt by the terror attack in Mumbai has earned respect from England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff who called the master bastman a “role model” for the game.

“It is impossible not to admire him (Tendulkar) when you are out in the middle. He is a class player and a great role model for the game,” Flintoff said.

“His innings (in Chennai) was a scriptwriter’s dream. The lad from Mumbai, with everything that has happened there, scores a hundred to win and then dedicates it to everyone in the country. Thinking about it, it was probably inevitable it happened,” he was quoted as saying by ‘The Independent’. Flintoff said playing against Tendulkar brought the best out of him.

“Playing against him brings the best out of you in a lot of ways. The worrying thing for us is that he was getting better towards the end of that innings. You could see in the way he was playing he was back to his best.”

The 31-year-old Lancashire player was of the view that there is very little margin for error bowling against greats like Tendulkar and Brian Lara.  “I enjoy bowling at him, as I did at the likes of Brian
Lara. I think they bring the best out of you. Your margins for error are small, you have to bowl well to restrict them, never mind get them out.”

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

England have the bulldog spirit to hit back: Michael Vaughan

Former England captain Michael Vaughan

Former captain Michael Vaughan has backed England to bounce back from the bitter loss in  Chennai, saying that Kevin Pietersen and his men have the “bulldog spirit” to square the Test series against India in Mohali.

“One thing with the England team is we do have a ‘bulldog spirit’, a fighting spirit. We proved that in this game,” Vaughan said ahead of the second and final Test in Mohali starting December 19, 2008.

England dominated the first three days of the Chennai Test before losing the plot on the fourth day when Indian opener Virender Sehwag went on a rampage to snatch the match away from the visitors.

“It was a great game of cricket. Both teams played to an incredible standard in terms of what they’d gone through in the previous two weeks,” Vaughan was quoted as saying by ‘The Daily Telegraph’.

“The England team can be very proud of the way they played. For three-and-three-quarter days they dominated the Test and that is something which is very difficult to do in India,” he added.

Vaughan admitted that the six-wicket loss was a bitter pill to swallow, considering the way England dominated most part of the match. “The defining moment was that middle session (on day four) when we probably let the momentum sway back towards India when we could have nailed home the game.”

However, Vaughan, who is currently on a sabbatical from international cricket, said the task would be tough test of England’s mental strength. “We’ve just lost a real big game, a game that all the
lads would have expected to win on that fourth evening,” he said.

“It’s going to be a real task of mental strength. The boys are pretty drained and emotionally tired from what they’ve been through in the last few weeks. But if they win the toss, and bat, and get put runs on the board they can put India under a lot of pressure,” he added.

The right-hander, training with the England’s elite performance squad, said he is working towards his international comeback. “My mind is very refreshed and of course after such a great game of cricket I’m desperate to get out there and make decisions, play and score runs,” he said.

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tendulkar ton scripts India’s historical win

Sachin Tendulkar led the Indian run chase to take India to a famous
victory on the decisive day of the first Test against England. The
master batsman clobbered his 41st Test hundred as India won by six
wickets. The second hero on the tense day was Yuvraj Singh who proved
his Test credentials with an unbeaten 85 while Tendulkar remained
unconquered on 103.

Chasing a
daunting 387-run target, India lost only three wickets on the day as
they scripted the fourth highest successful run chase in history of
Test cricket. The final two sessions of play saw India dominate
proceedings with Tendulkar and Yuvraj batting with authority to swing
the match completely in India’s favour shortly after tea. India, who
started the second session on a poor note losing VVS Laxman, made 91
runs after lunch without any further damage and in the post tea
session, the willows of Yuvraj and Tendulkar flourished in grand style
to author India’s highest run chase in the sub-continent.

Tendulkar
was a picture of poise as he batted with effortless ease on a slow
turning track, plundering nine boundaries in his unbeaten innings. He
authored the chase, playing the sheet anchor to perfection and building
vital stands with of 42 Gautam Gambhir, of 41 with Laxman (41) and
finally an unbroken 162 one with Yuvraj. And in a fitting finish, a
nudge down the leg side took Tendulkar to his century and India home.

India
suffered a big blow after lunch when Graeme Swann had VVS Laxman caught
at short midwicket for 26. England at that stage had India under
pressure at 224-4 but Yuvraj ignored both the nerves and the words that
came his way from Andrew Flintoff to punch a determined knock that
included a huge six off Monty Panesar.

He batted
with caution, showing the temperament that was amiss in several of his
previous Test outings. But once he settled down, the southpaw displayed
the spectacular strokeplay he is capable of. His 84 came off only 131
balls that saw him hammer eight boundaries and one six.

India
started the day at 131-1, needing 256 to win on the final day at the MA
Chidambaram stadium with Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid in the
middle. But England got the perfect start with Andrew Flintoff removing
Dravid, who could add only a couple to his overnight score of two.
Dravid, who has been in dismal form throughout 2008, edged an outgoing
delivery and Matt Prior made no mistake behind the stumps.

Gambhir
reached his half-century soon after Dravid’s dismissal but he once
again fell to a poor shot. He poked at a wide delivery from James
Anderson and Paul Collingwood leaped to his right to take a neat catch.
The southpaw made 66 with seven boundaries to his name.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rahul Dravid needs a big score: Sourav Ganguly

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly says Rahul Dravid needs to get a big knock under his belt to ward off critics who have been questioning his place in the team for some time now.

“The pressure is bound to start mounting on Rahul Dravid after another below par effort and he must get a big score before the murmurings about his place in the team get louder,” Ganguly wrote in his column.

Dravid, who has been struggling with the bat ever since the last English summer, could only manage three in the first innings of the ongoing first Test against England in Chennai on Dec 11, 2008.

There was also much expected from Yuvraj Singh, who earned a recall to the Test team after an excellent performance in the ODI series, but the Chandigarh lad too disappointed scoring just 14.

“Yuvraj failed to make an impression in his comeback Test, but that was down to the supreme line and length that the English bowlers maintained against him,” Ganguly wrote.

“They used the short ball well, and also kept the spinners on, which Yuvraj does not enjoy when he starts his innings,” he added.

The classy southpaw also had a word of advice for England skipper Kevin Pietersen.

“Pietersen needs to adjust ‘mentally’ while batting in the subcontinent, as he is far too good a player to be gifting his wicket to the opposition. It’s paramount that he holds the English middle order together, especially in trying batting conditions,” Ganguly reckoned.

India’s most successful captain also wondered by India “always seem to struggle in the first Test of a new series” and hoped that a strong performance from the side was just around the corner.

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

England may return, first Test shifted to Mohali

The England cricket team is likely to return to India on December 3 to play the two Test series against India.

The first Test from December 11 to 15 has been shifted to Mohali from Ahmedabad. The second Test had been shifted to Chennai earlier itself after the terror attack on Mumbai.

The three-day practice game that was scheduled to be held in Baroda from December 5 to 7 is also likely to be played in Mohali.

England called off their seven-match ODI series with two more games to play after the terror attacks in Mumbai. The visitors were playing their fifth ODI in Cuttack on December 26 when terrorists struck India’s financial capital.

The team flew to Bangalore from where they flew back home. While some England cricketers have voiced their reservations about coming back to play in India, England skipper Kevin Pietersen has refused to be cowed down by the attacks.

December 1, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan unsafe: Dhoni, Tendulkar tell Board

The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad after the Sept. 21 bombing. The hotel was used by international cricket teams.

DOWN: The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad after the Sept. 21 bombing. The hotel was used by international cricket teams.

Top Indian cricket players, including captain M S Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, are unwilling to tour Pakistan in January because they fear for their security.

Sources tell that senior players have expressed their concern to the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). The team is scheduled to play three Tests and five ODIs from January 4 to February 19 tour in Pakistan.

Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh too have expressed their unwillingness to tour Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has assured foolproof security but the Indians believe the threat during the tour would be severe.

PCB chief Ejaz Butt is scheduled to visit India soon to try and convince the BCCI but that plea is now likely to fall on deaf ears.

It is known that the Ministry of External Affairs is unlikely to permit the Indian team to tour Pakistan.

Early November, the government refused to permit the Indian junior hockey team to tour Pakistan due to security concerns.

The Associated Press reports the International Cricket Council deferred the Champions Trophy in September after five of the eight participating teams refused to compete at the biennial tournament that is considered the second most prestigious one-day event after the World Cup.

The PCB has said it would consider playing India at a neutral venue or possibly switch series as alternatives. Pakistan is due to tour India in 2010.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India is the new Australia: Wasim Akram

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s leadership has changed the face of Indian cricket, according to Pakistan’s pace legend Wasim Akram who believes it is a matter of time before India upstages Australia as the number one team in the world.

Akram said Dhoni has completely transformed the team ever since he took over the mantle of captaincy and that Indian cricket was on the right track with a number of talented players in their ranks.

“Dhoni has changed the face of Indian cricket, there is no doubt about that. He leads from the front, he has charisma and players like him. You can’t ask for anything more,” Akram said in a telephonic interview.

“He has given the team the confidence. The players now believe that they can go and beat any team and it is this confidence that has helped India to bring about the desired results,” the former Pakistan captain said.

Akram, regarded as one of the finest left-arm speedsters with 414 Test and 502 ODI wickets to his credit in a career spanning nearly 17 years, said Dhoni had also brought about a refreshing change in his attitude and approach to matches.

“It does not matter whether Sachin Tendulkar is resting or some other players are injured, the Indians are so confident that they go out and do the job. It was not the case about six or seven years ago, India did not have that confidence,” he observed.

“If the captain leads from the front, half the job is done. That is what I like about Dhoni. He is cool, comes out with few quotes and gets the best out of his players,” Akram said.

“Leading the Chennai team in the upcoming Champions League will be a good challenge for him since there will be a lot of international teams,” he said.

Asked whether India would be able to topple Australia as the number one team in the near future, Akram said “India is the new Australia. I think they are on the right track to achieve that”.

Akram also lavished praise on India’s new pace sensation Ishant Sharma saying the Delhi youngster had improved by leaps and bounds in the last few months.

“Ishant has been a revelation. He has really improved in the last few months and I think he is a real asset to India,” Akram said about the paceman who emerged as the man-of-the-series in the recent Test series against Australia.

“After the Australian tour late last year, his length was slightly short. But he has now rectified that and was simply brilliant in the recent series against Australia. The way he bowled, it seemed he had been around in Test cricket for five years or so,” he said.

The cricketer-turned-commentator said Ishant will only get better with time but also cautioned that the youngster needed to be handled well to prolong his career.

“He (Ishant) will get quicker and better with time, there is no doubt about it. He just has to keep himself fit as fast bowling is hard work,” Akram pointed out.

He said the Indian bowling line-up looked quite balanced at the moment and the presence of an in-form Zaheer Khan has provided a lot more sting.

“Zaheer has been fantastic. He has bowled the reverse swing well, got the ball to swing in and out… he has become a complete bowler now. He really provides that cutting edge to the attack,” he said.

“India always had good spinners but I am happy to see these pacemen developing. They are winning matches for India”, Akram said.

The ex-pacer said Harbhajan Singh was capable enough to shoulder the responsibility in the spin department following the retirement of champion leg spinner Anil Kumble.

“Harbhajan is a good spinner. It is now upto him to take upon the responsibility in the spin department. I think he is capable of doing it and also has the experience”.

Akram also credited India’s rise as a cricketing nation to the planning done by the BCCI over the last few years.

“Credit must also go the BCCI for India’s rise in recent times. They have planned and implemented everything well. The results have started coming now,” he added.

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment