Tests got their mojo back: In the absence of India-Pakistan cricket, contests with Australia have acquired dramatic importance

It’s been a week since India beat Australia in the final Test at Dharamshala but the excitement still lingers. I’ve been jogging my memory ceaselessly and can’t think of many series as competitive and pulsating, climaxing in the most enthralling Indian season ever.

With 10 wins from 13 Tests (and only one defeat) against four different opponents, this has easily been India’s best performance at home. Impressive as this seems, it is the sheer quality of cricket played by Virat Kohli and Co that was riveting.

True, playing on home pitches is an advantage. But this can easily be squandered by complacency, cockiness or – especially in a long season – dwindling consistency. There is also the flip side to playing at home, often disregarded, which is the pressure of expectation. Former Australia captain Steve Waugh said somewhere recently that he always preferred overseas tours as the distractions were far lesser. Where the Indian team is concerned, pressure from fans is manifold, given the manic following for cricket.

In any case, home support and friendly pitches are no guarantee to success: In the last full home season in 2012-13, for instance, England won 2-1 after losing the first Test. Lose focus, lose series.

There were also other challenges confronting the Indian team. For instance, the entire season was played against the backdrop of the turmoil in BCCI vis-à-vis the Justice Lodha panel recommendations. To believe that players are inured from fractious off-field developments is a one-dimensional view of how sport is played. They do feel the tugs and pulls of controversies. The effort to blank such things from the mind can be daunting.

Through all this, India played with admirable focus. That talent in Indian cricket is deep and widespread – despite misgivings about how the sport is administered in the country – was evident from how even newbies and rookies rose to the occasion.

Collectively, this effort played out a superb script as the season wore on. The team enhanced its lead at the top of the ICC rankings in great style, and in the process gave Test cricket in India the kiss of life.

The challenge of winning overseas looms now, as captain Virat Kohli admitted. India’s record in away Tests over the last decade-odd is dismal but this season gave hope that things might be changing.

Players like KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav appear to have come of age in the five-day format. Yadav’s success in particular is most encouraging as India have lacked a wicket-taking fast bowler since Zaheer Khan’s heydays. Yadav, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and a fully fit Mohammed Shami make a daunting pace quartet. It is reasonable to believe too that Ashwin and Jadeja have gained from experience and will be more effective overseas now.

Essentially, though, it is about the changed mindset of players. There is a chutzpah, positivity and optimism that separate this team from any in the past. This seems derived from the personality of the captain. Kohli’s energy, passion and desire to win is infectious. He has been able to instil intensity of performance, sustained aggression and an unrelenting quest for success which works even in his absence as evidenced.

This captured the imagination of cricket fans even as opponents were vanquished. Crowds for all 13 Tests, if not quite like in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, were huge by contemporary standards. Dwindling spectatorship for Tests in recent years in India was contrasted by the phenomenal success of the Indian Premier League in the last decade. This season showed that the five-day format’s appeal is still intact.

The charm of the five-day format remains unparalleled when teams play skilfully, hard and uncompromisingly as witnessed in the series against Australia, without doubt the high point of the season.

The obvious comparison is with the 2001 series, also against Australia. India had come from behind then too to win the rubber, immortalised by the magical turnaround effected by VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Harbhajan Singh in the second Test in Kolkata. The calibre of the Australian side in 2001 was much higher of course. The Aussies were world champions then and boasted several stellar players. Steve Smith, on the other hand, led a young team with a wobbly track record and must be lauded for running India so close.

In the absence of India-Pakistan cricket ties, India’s contests with Australia have acquired an importance that is invaluable for the game, and a competitive edge that provokes bitter, high-strung contests. Inevitably, this will throw up volatile situations every now and then. But if these are managed competently by authority and players themselves, the problem can easily be defused without compromising on the intensity of cricket played.

I believe ICC match referee Chris Broad erred in not even reprimanding Smith for his self-confessed ‘brain fade’ moment in the second Test. This stoked acrimony between the two teams, fuelled further by some ill-conceived remarks from Cricket Australia and BCCI.

Happily, it all ended well. Smith was contrite in his post-series statements, accepting that he had let emotions ‘slip’ a bit in the series. Kohli, after impetuously ‘unfriending’ the Aussies, clarified that this was not directed against them all, only ‘one or two’.

The ethos of competitive sport is one-upmanship, no quarter given or asked. But this should not extend to bitter aftertaste. Grace in defeat and magnanimity in victory may be old world virtues but enhance sport, as they do life.
Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports

Source: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/tests-got-their-mojo-back-in-the-absence-of-india-pakistan-cricket-contests-with-australia-have-acquired-dramatic-importance/?utm_source=Popup&utm_medium=Old&utm_campaign=TOIHP

10 Fun Facts You Never Knew About ‘The Holiday’

Holiday prep and parties are in full swing! Between shopping, cooking, and getting ready for a seemingly unending stream of relatives, it’s necessary to find time for feel good movies, including The Holiday. The heartwarming film about two women who swap homes to escape their personal dramas over Christmas unexpectedly find love with local men, leading to funny and fuzzy feelings for everyone watching. Even if you can recite the movie word for word, here are 10 fun facts you probably didn’t know about this classic holiday flick!

1. When Kate Winslet’s character first gets to LA, her celebratory dance was completely improvised on the spot.


2. Dustin Hoffman‘s cameo was completely unplanned. After lunching near the film set, he stopped to see what the production was. Turns out he knew director, Nancy Meyers, and was asked to pop in the movie.

3. The house swapping website Amanda and Iris use is real.


4. Jack Black was hesitant to star in a rom-com, but once he found out he would be acting with Kate Winslet, he was in.


5. Kate had a real life romance with co-star Rufus Sewell, who played Jasper.


6. Cameron Diaz credits The Holiday to being her most physically trying because of all the running required of her character.


7. The Rose Cottage does not actually exist. It was built over the course of two weeks in a field by the producers.


8. Jude Law‘s favorite part of the film was working with the two young actresses who played his daughters Sophie and Olivia.


9.Lindsay Lohan said yes to star in the film trailer Cameron’s character is working on because Nancy was Lindsay’s The Parent Trap director.

10. The hilarious “boob graze” line when he and Iris are eating sushi was inspired by a real life accidental “boob graze” on Nancy by Jack Black. He apologized, but she found it so funny she wrote it into the script.

Courtesy: http://hollywood.com

Source: http://www.hollywood.com/movies/things-you-never-knew-about-the-holiday-60666297/

19 Game of Thrones Actors Who Appeared on Doctor Who

1 Iain Glen HBO/BBC Before mastering the friend zone as Jorah Mormont, Iain Glen guest starred in Doctor Who as Father Octavian in the episodes “Flesh and Stone” and “The Time of Angels”.

2 Harry Lloyd HBO/BBC Before portraying Daenerys Targaryen’s creepy older brother, Viserys, Harry Lloyd played another creepy older brother, Baines, in “The Family of Blood” and “Human Nature”.

3 Thomas Brodie-Sangster HBO/BBC Lloyd’s Game of Thrones co-star Thomas Brodie-Sangster (who plays Jojen Reed) also appeared in “The Family of Blood” and “Human Nature” as Tim Latimer.

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4 Struan Rodger HBO/BBC Struan Rodger, who played the Three-Eyed Raven at the end of season four, also provided the voice for The Face of Boe.

5 David Bradley HBO/BBC Best known for his role as Hogwarts’ caretaker, Argus Filch, David Bradley plays Walder Frey in Game of Thrones and guest starred in the Doctor Who episode “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. Bradley also portrayed the original doctor, William Hartnell, in the film “An Adventure in Space and Time”.

6 Tobias Menzies HBO/BBC Tobias Menzies, who plays Edmure Tully in Game of Thrones, also appeared in “Cold War” as Cunningham’s subordinate Lieutenant Stepashin.

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7 Liam Cunningham HBO/BBC Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos Seaworth) played submarine Captain Zhukov in the Doctor Who episode “Cold War”.

8 Mark Gatiss HBO/BBC Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss has appeared in both Game of Thrones (as Tycho Nestoris) and Doctor Who (as Lazarus in “The Lazarus Experiment”).

9 Diana Rigg HBO/BBC Dame Diana Rigg, who plays the Queen of Thornes Olenna Tyrell, appeared in the Doctor Who episode “The Crimson Horror” as Mrs. Gillyflower. Rigg is also a former Bond girl, appearing in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as James Bond’s wife, Teresa di Vincenzo.

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10 Ian Hanmore HBO/BBC Unfortunately typecast as the creepy antagonist, Ian Hanmore played both Game of Thrones’ Pyat Pree and Father Angelo in the Doctor Who episode “Tooth and Claw”.

11 Joe Dempsie HBO/BBC Years before portraying Gendry, Westeros’ premier rowboat enthusiast, Joe Demise appeared alongside David Tennant in the episode “The Doctor’s Daughter”.

12 David Verrey HBO/BBC David Verrey, who played the former High Septon, appeared as a farting alien in the two part episodes “World War Three” and “Aliens of London”.

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13 Ben Crompton HBO/BBC Ben Crompton, who plays the dolorous Edd Tollett in Game of Thrones, appeared in the Doctor Who episode “Into the Dalek”.

14 Lucian Msamati HBO/BBC Lucian Msamati, who plays the pirate Salladhor Saan in Game of Thrones, guest starred as Guido in the Doctor Who episode “The Vampires of Venice”.

15 Julian Glover HBO/BBC Julian Glover, who plays Grand Maester Pycelle in Game of Thrones, had several recurring roles in classic Who as Count Scarlioni in “City of Death” and Richard the Lionheart in “The Wheel of Fortune,” “The Knight of Jaffa,” and “The Lion”.

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16 Robert Pugh HBO/BBC Robert Pugh, who plays the repulsive Craster, also appeared in the two-part Doctor Who episodes “Cold Blood” and “The Hungry Earth”.

17 Tony Way HBO/BBC Tony Way, who played Sansa’s savior Ser Dontos, appeared as Alf in the season 8 premiere “Deep Breath”.

18 Faye Marsay HBO/BBC Faye Marsay, who plays Arya Starks’s frenemy Waif, also played Shona in the Doctor Who Christmas special “Last Christmas”.

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Courtesy: http://hollywood.com

Source: http://www.hollywood.com/tv/game-of-thrones-actors-you-forgot-were-on-doctor-who-60377284/

Happy Birthday Ajay Devgn: Five films which prove why Ajay is one of the most versatile actors of our times

Ajay Devgn is celebrating his 47th birthday today. Ajay Devgn is celebrating his 47th birthday today.

Over the years, Ajay Devgn has picked up roles with a rare incisiveness. As an actor, Ajay lent these characters his own empathy, understanding and a new dimension. He could have easily been reduced to an action hero, but he chose the other way. Ajay’s transformation from a lean, dark, angry action hero to a mature actor who could hold the viewers’ attention, is remarkable. His ability to quickly display a range of emotions remains unmatched. Be it Omkara or Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Ajay has come to define finesse and a rare sense of intelligence in his characters. As Ajay Devgn is celebrating his 47th birthday today, we revisit some of the remarkable performances in the actor’s life:

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

Ajay Devgn epitomised a loving husband in this Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s epic tale of love and betrayal – Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The film was an open invitation for Aishwarya Rai and Salman Khan to come, display their acting talent and go back home with accolades and admiration. However, it was Ajay’s portrayal of a soft-spoken, polite and honest man which won a huge wave of sympathy from the audience. The second half of the film sees him spanning various emotions – from being a grim, moody husband to an understanding companion.

Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha

Ajay Devgn plays a con in Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha who eventually falls in love with Kajol. The viewers saw Ajay’s character undergoing a change from a rookie, badass guy to someone more self-aware. Any other actor could have played this role with a slight, jarring overacting. As audience, we can relate to his internal vortex of thoughts. And he takes you off feet when he maintains a calm and composed visage even while holding a storm of emotions just beneath the surface. Ajay showed us that being romantic doesn’t always mean bursting into song and dance sequences.


Ajay Devgn’s intense acting prowess was tested in Mahesh Bhatt’s emotional drama Zakhm. This was the film which proved why Ajay wasn’t just limited to the action genre. Playing an illegit son fighting against social stereotypes to get justice to his dead mother, gave the actor enough leverage to explore his limits as a performer. And he did come out with flying colors, and a National Award for Best Actor.


Ajay Devgn portrayed Shakespeare’s titular character of Othello in this adaptation. He played a local gangster who becomes the victim of jealousy. Through this film, Ajay hardly shows his muscular power. Instead, he relies on digging out those hard, dark emotions of a lover who is burning in the love of his soulmate. His face – hard, stoic and composed, breaks into a smile every time he sees his lover. How many times do you get to see this on screen?


Ajay played a gangster in Ram Gopal Varma’s film Company. What holds your attention is the easy pace and mannerisms of Ajay in the film. Just with a flick of a cigarette, he makes you take note of his shifting mood.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/happy-birthday-ajay-devgn-five-films-which-prove-why-ajay-is-one-of-the-most-versatile-actors-of-our-times-4596235/

Kapil Dev rose in stature with one knock, says Yajurvindra Singh

Yajurvindra described how last man Kapil, who had sprayed the ball around when bowling, played an attacking knock to guide the team to a victory. (Source: Express Photo) Yajurvindra described how last man Kapil, who had sprayed the ball around when bowling, played an attacking knock to guide the team to a victory. (Source: Express Photo)

Former India Test player Yajurvindra Singh on Saturday recalled how one innings in East Africa in 1978 from the then rookie player Kapil Dev changed the perception of some top Indian players of that time about his capabilities as a cricketer.

Singh, who delivered the inaugural “Raj Singh Memorial Spirit of Cricket Lecture” at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai, mentioned the ‘Haryana Hurricane’s’ visit to East Africa as part of the Rajasthan cricket team as an additional member.

He explained how the then wet-behind-the-ears ace all rounder had convinced Raj Singh, who picked the team members, to take him on the tour as the additional member of the squad after getting the green signal from the hosts.

Yajurvindra then described how last man Kapil, who had sprayed the ball around when bowling, played an attacking knock to guide the team to a victory against the hosts and silenced the doubting Thomases in the squad.

“We had a full strength team with several Test players including “Tiger” (Pataudi). We were in deep trouble and were nine down chasing 270-odd when Kapil went to bat. “Tiger” commented to Raj Singh the manner in which he walked out to bat and expressed the doubt whether he can save the team.

“When Kapil went in (Syed) Kirmani was on three and when he finished the game to remain not out on 53 Kirmani was on 6. He told me (who was asked to be his mentor on the tour) before he went out to bat that he will play straight. He hit the first ball for a six outside the ground and into the car

park,” said Yajurvindra.

That innings made the cricketers on the tour sit up and become aware of Kapil Dev’s potential. After that day he and the others on that tour were not surprised when the Haryana star burst on the Test scene and batted the way he did, explained Yajurvindra.

The former Rajkot-born cricketer also took a pot-shot at the lack of sporting spirit exhibited by both India and Australia in the just-concluded acrimonious Test rubber.

“The spirit of the game is in danger of being given a burial and concrete action needs to be taken by the authorities,” said Yajurvindra who equalled the world record of Australia’s Greg Chappell by taking seven catches at short leg in his Test debut against England in Bangalore in ’76-77.

Recalling his feat Yajurvindra, who termed Raj Singh as his mentor, mentioned how the former BCCI and CCI president – instead of patting him – questioned him why did he drop the eighth catch that came his way.

“He was the best Indian all rounder as he was a first class cricketer (played 86 matches and took 206 wickets), a capable administrator, selector and manager,” said Yajurvindra.

He also hailed Raj Singh’s role in appointing the first physio for the Indian team in 1998 (Andrew Kokinos) as BCCI president and in making John Wright as the team’s first foreign coach, besides raising money for the victorious 1983 World Cup team by arranging a concert of “melody queen”, Lata Mangeshkar.

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Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/kapil-dev-rose-in-stature-with-one-knock-says-yajurvindra-singh-4595613/

10 Fun Facts About ‘Major League’

Paramount via Everett Collection

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since Charlie Sheen’s Ricky Vaughn emerged from the bullpen to the strains of “Wild Thing” to help the Cleveland Indians win a division title. Coming out during an era of more high minded baseball movies like Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, Major League was pure goofy fun… more interested in laughs than in the game’s potential life lessons.

For many baseball fans, an annual viewing of Major League is as much a part of spring as Opening Day. As with Caddyshack, there are fans that can quote the movie’s best lines from memory. Even if you have your own home shrine to voodoo god Jobu, here are some fun facts about the movie that you might not know:

1. Although the movie is set in Cleveland, the scenes inside the ballpark were shot at Milwaukee’s old County Stadium. Bob Uecker, who played announcer Harry Doyle, has really worked in Milwaukee since 1971 as the play-by-play man for the hometown Brewers… a fact that writer-director David S. Ward didn’t know when he cast him. He had based the casting strictly on Uecker’s work on the sitcom Mr. Belvedere and in a series of Miller Lite commercials (if you look closely, that’s the beer that Doyle is drinking in the movie).

2. Sheen really was a pitcher in high school for Santa Monica High. He now claims that he took steroids prior to doing the movie so that his fastball would be more realistic. Dennis Haysbert, who later became famous as President David Palmer on 24 and played Cuban slugger Pedro Cerrano, was a football and basketball player in high school before switching to fencing at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

3. Haysbert’s hitting as Cerrano looked real because it was. Even though he didn’t play baseball past Little League, Haysbert actually cleared the fences multiple times during filming.

4. Despite playing a speedy outfielder in the movie, Wesley Snipes was so slow that they ended up showing him running in slow motion in the film to provide the illusion of speed.

5. The original ending featured the scheming owner played by Margaret Whitton — the widow of the beloved former owner — as secretly being behind the team’s winning, with her devious threats meant to bring the boys together. When test audiences hated it, they reshot it to keep her as the bad guy.

6. Entourage‘s Jeremy Piven shot multiple scenes for the movie, playing a bench player who likes to heckle the opposing team. When they started editing, they realized that the scenes didn’t work, so they completely cut his character from the film.

7. Prior to making her film debut as Lynn Wells, the ex-girlfriend of Tom Berenger’s character, Rene Russo was known primarily as one of the top models of the ’70s. A Los Angeles native, one of Russo’s classmates growing up was sitcom-star-turned-director Ron Howard.

6. Pete Vuckovich, who plays evil Yankees first baseman Clu Haywood, was actually a star Major League pitcher who won the American League Cy Young Award in 1982. Playing largely in games with a designated hitter, Vuckovich only rarely batted during his career.

7. According to Ward, during the celebration scene at the end where Corbin Bernsen’s third baseman Roger Dorn punches Sheen for sleeping with his wife, Bernsen actually connected with the shot, leaving a welt on Sheen’s face.

8. Neil Flynn, who went on to bigger roles on television as the Janitor in Scrubs and a suburban father in The Middle, plays one of the long-suffering Cleveland fans complaining about the state of the team.

9. Flynn and Stacy Carroll, who plays Dorn’s wife who has revenge sex with Ricky, both also appeared in a short-lived TV show called Sable, which starred Russo as the girlfriend of a children’s book writer who transforms into a superhero at night.

10. The song that plays at the beginning of the movie is “Burn On” by Randy Newman. Written in 1972, it is an ode to an incident in 1969 when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught on fire due to an oil slick and other debris floating in the polluted water.

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Courtesy: http://hollywood.com

Source: http://www.hollywood.com/movies/10-fun-facts-about-major-league-60227214/

Joss Whedon in Talks to Write and Direct Batgirl Film

Joss Whedon is in talks to develop an untitled Batgirl movie, according to new reports.

Sources claim the filmmaker will write, produce, and direct a movie based on the DC Comics character, which will also feature Gotham City villains. It is unclear if Batman, who is being played by Ben Affleck in the upcoming Justice League film, will make an appearance.

Batgirl was first introduced into the DC Comics universe in 1961, as Betty Kane. In 1967 she was replaced by Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon.

The character was first portrayed on screen by Yvonne Craig in the third season of TV series Batman in 1967, and she has been voiced by Jane Webb and Tara Strong in animated films, while Rosario Dawson took on the character for The Lego Batman Movie.

Alicia Silverstone also played a version of the character in 1997’s Batman & Robin, which starred George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Uma Thurman. The Clueless star’s character, Barbara Wilson, was the niece of Batman’s loyal butler Alfred Pennyworth.

If Buffy the Vampire Slayer mastermind Joss Whedon signs on to the new Batgirl film, it will mark a big shift in the superhero movie universe – he also wrote and directed rival Marvel’s The Avengers in 2012 and sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron three years later (15). The 52-year-old is also the creator of TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a series based on the top secret organization behind The Avengers. The show, starring Clark Gregg, premiered in 2013.
Courtesy: http://hollywood.com

Source: http://www.hollywood.com/general/joss-whedon-in-talks-to-write-and-direct-batgirl-film-60682767/

Guru movie review: Ritika Singh is the star of this Venkatesh movie

Guru movie review: Venkatesh and Ritika Singh starrer is an interesting watch. Guru movie review: Venkatesh and Ritika Singh starrer is an interesting watch.

Guru starring Victory Venkatesh, Ritika Singh and Mumtaz Sorcar is directed by Sudha Kongara and produced by ynot productions. The movie is a remake of popular bilingual sports drama, Irudhi Suttru or Saala Khadoos starring R Madhavan in the lead role.

Sudha Kongara has managed to recreate the magic of the original movie with Guru, and in certain places this one is better in terms of depth to each character. The relationship of the coach Aditya Rao (Venkatesh) and Rameshwari alias Ramudu (Ritika) offers some refreshing moments. Lakshmi, Ramudu’s sister, is played by Mumtaz Sorcar, who was also seen in the original.

The antagonist, the Chief Coach of Women’s Boxing Team Dev, played by Zakir Hussain, who was also part of the original, has given a stronger performance in Guru. Though his character is not etched out well, the actor has managed to grab the attention of the audience, especially in the last 30 minutes of the film.

A few scenes do look to be exactly the same as the original. Close up shots of Ramudu, a few scenes of the song sequences, and almost all the songs. But it suits the film, and cinematographer KA Sakthivel has done a great job. In particular, the song O Sakkanoda has been shot beautifully and the climax scene has been executed beautifully.

The songs might not be a surprise for those who have heard the Tamil or Hindi version, but the visuals in combination with the lyrics still manages to make an impression. The best of them being Jingidi that is sung by Venkatesh.

Also read | I’m proud to have played my age in Guru, says Venkatesh

Zaakir’s character sure has a lot of scope for improvement, and the screenplay could have been better. It would also have been interesting if the director had tried to give us something different.

Overall, it is a good watch. It is a good sports drama with an important message. Venkatesh’s frustration with the politics in the sports committee, Ramudu’s rapport for her coach, and the dialogues are the highlights of this film. Ritika Singh did manage to steal the show, yet again. Venkatesh has managed to make this his own – gruff at places and soft at others.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/guru-movie-review-venkatesh-ritika-singh-star-rating-4593786/

WI seek parity and impetus in Trinidad’s T20 binge


WI seek parity and impetus in Trinidad’s T20 binge

Cricbuzz Staff • Last updated on Wed, 29 Mar, 2017, 08:11 PM

Shadab Khan made a sparkling start to his international career in the first T20I. © AFP

When West Indies meet Pakistan in the second Twenty20 International on Thursday (March 30), they will do so in the first of three successive T20Is between the teams at Queen’s Park Oval, enabling the venue to host as many T20Is inside four days as it has in the last eight years. And so, with the environs set to be monotonous for the rest of this four-match series, the incentive to gain early momentum on tiring pitches lends this game a climacteric context.

The first T20I at Barbados fell amply short of all the floating hype, given this is a limited-overs series between two units which connect on grounds of volatility and domestic turbulence. A seasoned West Indies unit, strengthened by Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons, proved no match for Pakistan’s reinforcement by the international debut of Shadab Khan, a stunning bargain for all the controversies from the recently-concluded Pakistan Super League. The 19-year-old legspinner registered figures of 3 for 7 to inspire a six-wicket win, allowing his side to start a long tour on an emphatic note.

West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite’s unbeaten 34 off 27 balls provided the late impetus to lift his side to 111 for 8 in the allotted 20 overs, but there were never enough runs on the board, even on the spin-conducive surface. Imad Wasim shared the new ball, conceding only 12 runs in his two-stinted spell of three overs, evidencing very early about West Indies’s lack of an unimpeded plan against the slower bowlers. Pakistan, in contrast, played out a wicket-less Sunil Narine for 22 runs in his four overs. That is one domain – perhaps the only domain, for their bowling was at par – that West Indies have to address, and urgently so.

The Trinidad pitch is set to make things easier for the hosts, though. There hasn’t been any limited-overs international cricket played in Port of Spain since July 2013, but the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) games were played on superlative batting conditions. Not only did Chris Gayle (108 off 54) and Colin Munro (100 off 65) raze unbeaten centuries at this very venue but the first innings average for the last season here stands as high as 171, too. The pitch tends to stay flat without much deterioration, with the dew playing its part, and hence teams chasing have won three out of the four CPL games played here in 2016.

A spirited bowling effort short-changed a contest pretty early in the first match, and as much as Ahmed Shehzad’s run out of Evin Lewis veers to deceive, Pakistan will aim for a higher standard in fielding. Kamran Akmal, another PSL-reaper, dropped Kieron Pollard on two runs at backward point, denying Shadab Khan his fourth wicket, when the reigning World T20 champions could have been shut down from 49 for 6 for a total far lesser than 111.

Nonetheless, Pakistan walk into this game as absolute favourites, having won their last four T20Is against the West Indies convincingly, and a win in the second T20I will hand them an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series.

When: March 30, 2016 at 10:00 PM IST (12:30 PM local time)

Where: Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad

What to expect: Forecast suggests a partly sunny and pleasant day, with temperatures expected to go as high as 32 degrees. The pitch is expected to be good for batting.

Team News:

West Indies

The hosts will expect a better batting performance. Jason Mohammed made an impression during West Indies’s recent 3-0 loss in the One-Day International series to England at home, and might replace 32-year-old Lendl Simmons in the middle order.

Playing XI (from): Samuel Badree, Carlos Brathwaite(c), Jonathan Carter, Andre Fletcher, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams


Pakistan had a commanding win the other night and are expected to go with the same eleven.

Playing XI (from): Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman, Sarfraz Ahmed(c), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Rumman Raees, Usman Khan


“We struggled with their slow bowlers, and it’s a situation where we need to counteract their slow bowlers in the middle. Those were the guys who really put the strangle on us up front.” — Jason Holder, West Indies all-rounder

“Imad [Wasim] gave us a great start, then Shadab [Khan], followed by our pacers Wahab [Riaz] and Hasan [Ali] who bowled really well. Especially Wahab, the two overs he bowled against the wind, it was quite difficult to bowl in those conditions.” — Sarfraz Ahmed, Pakistan captain

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Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports

Source: http://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/93648/wi-seek-parity-and-impetus-in-trinidads-t20-binge

LaVar Ball says son Lonzo will win more than six NBA championships

Lonzo Ball’s also talked about “trading in” and “getting away from” some of his UCLA teammates. (Getty)

LaVar Ball is back. This time, he appeared with his son, Lonzo, on Chris Broussard’s In The Zone podcast to talk about a variety of basketball topics. The duo played a game where they picked a topic out of a hat and then write the answer to the question on a whiteboard.

LaVar picked the paper asking, “Number of NBA titles Lonzo will win.”

Lonzo wrote down five. A tall order: two more than LeBron James currently has and the same number as Kobe Bryant. LaVar wrote down “more than six” a.k.a more than Michael Jordan.

“Jordan got six,” Lavar said. “You got to get seven if you’re going to be the best player in the world.”

Broussard was quick to point out that Bill Russell, an icon who played for the Boston Celtics from 1965-1969, earned 11 rings during his NBA tenure.

“Bill Russell was back then. I don’t count them back then,” Ball said.

LaVar Ball says that Lonzo Ball will win more than 6 NBA titles. Subscribe to In The Zone w/ @Chris_Broussard: https://t.co/OkBeykET82 pic.twitter.com/nXhFp6do5q — FS1 (@FS1) March 29, 2017

Courtesy: https://news.yahoo.com/health/

Source: https://news.yahoo.com/news/lavar-ball-says-that-lonzo-will-win-six-championship-rings-004044352.html