KKR’s batting needs to be top class: Gambhir

IPL 2017

KKR’s batting needs to be top class: Gambhir

Cricbuzz Staff • Last updated on Sun, 02 Apr, 2017, 09:08 PM

Gautam Gambhir came to the defense of Sunil Narine, who seems to have lost a bit of zing since remodelling his bowling action © BCCI

With the changing nature of the Eden Gardens surface, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir reckons his team’s batting has to be top class in the upcoming season of the IPL.

“From a track that used to favour spinners, it now has good deal of pace and bounce in it. With that as a background, batting has to be top-class,” Gambhir told PTI on Sunday (April 2). “The rival team fast bowlers will come hard at us and we have to be ready for that.”

The core of the batting includes him, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan. KKR even added domestic performer Ishank Jaggi to the side, but the likes of Uthappa and Suryakumar haven’t been in the best of touch. However, the biggest problem that KKR face this season is the absence of their lynchpin – Andre Russell, who has been ruled out of the season after being handed a one-year ban for violating anti-doping whereabouts regulations.

To fill the void, KKR paid a hefty sum to procure the services of Chris Woakes as a like-for-like replacement, but the English all-rounder is yet to prove his destructive prowess in Indian conditions. Gambhir believes while Russell’s absence is a big blow to the side’s balance, it is also an ideal opportunity for someone else to stand up and be counted.

“There are two ways to look at such situations in life,” Gambhir said. “Either we can see Russell’s absence as a challenge or look at it as an opportunity in bold letters. I as an individual, and KKR as a group, are looking it as an opportunity. Maybe a combination of Manish Pandey’s batting and Ankit Rajpoot’s bowling can get us what Russell did. Not only Woakes but the entire team can try to fill-in for Russell and for that you don’t necessarily need an all-rounder. May be some other pair can do this.”

KKR have depended heavily on their spin bowling in the recent seasons, but have opted to assemble one of their strongest fast-bowling attacks for the upcoming season.

“We had left-arm pacemen in Jaydev Unadkat and Pradeep Sangwan in the past and understand the value of this skill that Boult brings in. Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot and Woakes. We have all bases covered when it comes to fast bowling.”

The left-handed opener also said that Sunil Narine, who has lost a bit of his magic touch after remodelling his bowling action, could be a threat again.

“I think we start judging people a little too soon. You can’t expect a golfer, who has changed his swing to be the same force from day one on the greens. I have changed my stance (to open chested) and it’s been close to two years now and I am still settling with it. Give Sunil some time and some space and he will show you his wares again,” Gambhir said.

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

Source: http://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/93733/kkrs-batting-needs-to-be-top-class-gambhir

IPL 2017: Variety in our bowling is a good headache to have, says Yusuf Pathan

Yusuf Pathan side will miss out on Andre Russell because of an anti-dope code violation. Yusuf Pathan side will miss out on Andre Russell because of an anti-dope code violation.

Senior Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Yusuf Pathan feels that the variety in their formidable bowling attack will make it very tough for the team management to choose their preferred men in the playing XI.

“It will be a tough selection. We have a lot of variety in our bowling. There’s depth in batting, we have a lot of all-rounders. We will see how we combine as a team,” the 34-year-old Pathan told reporters on the sidelines of their training session at the Eden Gardens.

The 2012 and 2014 champions have reinforced their pace attack with the trio, who are also handy with the bat down the order, while the sizzling form of Umesh Yadav is an added bonus to the side.

Yusuf was all praise for chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who recently had an impressive Test debut against Australia.

“Kuldeep has a bright future. He made a great debut. Also Umesh has done well whole season. He’s doing well with the new ball… We have quality in (pace) bowling which we were lacking earlier,” the big-hitting batsman.

They purple-and-gold brigade will miss out on Windies bighitting all-rounder Andre Russell because of an anti-dope code violation.

“This (Russell’s absence) does not put us on backfoot. He has done well for the team. He brings an air of positivity to the changing room. We will definitely miss him. But there are other players, who will have to live up to the challenge. We are focussed on that.”

KKR begin their campaign with two away matches beginning with Gujarat Lions in Rajkot, and Pathan sees a positive side to it.

“I don’t think it’s a disadvantage. It’s good that we’re playing away. There won’t be much pressure of playing at home. Besides, we know the conditions well with 10 years into IPL. I don’t think it will make much of a difference.”

April marked the sixth anniversary of India’s World Cup triumph at the Wankhede, which came after a long gap of 28 years since 1983.

“It was a proud moment not only for me but for the whole country. We won it after a long gap of 28 years. It will always remain fresh in everyone’s memory,” he said.

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App now
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ipl-2017-10/ipl-2017-variety-in-our-bowling-is-a-good-headache-to-have-says-yusuf-pathan-4596976/

Everyone needs to fill in for Andre Russell’s absence: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir leads KKR in IPL. (Source: Express Photo) Gautam Gambhir leads KKR in IPL. (Source: Express Photo)

Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will be missing their key all-rounder Andre Russell but skipper Gautam Gambhir wants his team to treat the Jamaican’s absence as an “opportunity in bold letters” during the upcoming Indian Premier League.

The flamboyant Russell has been handed a one-year ban for violating anti-doping whereabouts regulations and KKR now have England’s Chris Woakes as a like-for-like replacement picked from the auctions.

“There are two ways to look at such situations in life. Either we can see Russell’s absence as a challenge or look at it as an opportunity in bold letters. I as an individual, and KKR as a group, are looking it as an opportunity,” Gambhir told PTI during an interview.

Asked if Woakes could fill in for Russell as a batsman, Gambhir gave an interesting answer.

“Maybe a combination of Manish Pandey’s batting and Ankit Rajput’s bowling can get us what Russell did. Not only Woakes but the entire team can try to fill-in for Russell and for that you don’t necessarily need an all-rounder. May be some other pair can do this,” said Gambhir.

The seasoned opener doesn’t believe that it helps brooding when one is a leader.

“I better be looking at glass half full,” he said.

Gambhir reckons that the core Indian group of batsmen like Manish Pandey, Surya Kumar Yadav and Robin Uthappa will have to take more responsibility on a relaid Eden track where pacers will have more advantage.

“From a track that used to favour spinners, it now has good deal of pace and bounce in it. With that as a background, batting has to be top-class. The rival team fast bowlers will come hard at us and we have to be ready for that.”

Talking about pace on Eden Gardens track, New Zealander Trent Boult’s presence would certainly add variety to KKR’s bowling season.

“We had left-arm pacemen in Jaydev Unadkat and Pradeep Sangwan in the past and understand the value of this skill that Boult brings in. Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajput and Woakes. We have all bases covered when it comes to fast bowling.”

Sunil Narine used to be a mystery spinner and strike bowler for KKR before he had to remodel his bowling action due to allegations of chucking.

But the former India ODI captain insists that Narine is still a force to reckon with despite adjusting to his new action.

“I think we start judging people a little too soon. You can’t expect a golfer, who has changed his swing to be the same force from day one on the greens. I have changed my stance (to open chested) and it’s been close to two years now and I am still settling with it. Give Sunil some time and some space and he will show you his wares again.”

On the personal front, the milestone of becoming the first franchise captain to win a hat-trick of IPL titles beckons Gambhir.

“The pressure is normal. We have to win and if we do we will create history by being the first franchisee to win IPL three times. In that sense you can say there is pressure,” he said.

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App now
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ipl-2017-10/everyone-needs-to-fill-in-for-andre-russells-absence-gautam-gambhir-4596610/

Russell Brand Still Feels ‘Very Warm’ Towards Ex-Wife Katy Perry

Russell Brand still has “very warm” feelings towards his ex-wife Katy Perry.

The 41-year-old comedian was married to Chained to the Rhythm star Katy for just 14 months, between October 2010 and December 2011, before he filed for divorce.

Both have since moved on with their lives, with Russell now father to daughter Mabel with fiancee Laura Gallacher, but that doesn’t mean the Finding Sarah Marshall star holds any grudges over the premature end to his marriage.

“I have come away from that experience and I still feel very warm towards her,” he said, during an interview on U.K. TV show John Bishop In Conversation With. “When I hear about her or see her, I think ‘Ah, there’s that person, that person in the world’.”

Speaking about the end of the marriage, Russell explained: “Katy was obviously very, very occupied and busy. I was occupied and busy but not to the same degree. The marriage didn’t last for a very long time and I think that is due to the undulating nature of fame, living in those conditions.”

Russell has been linked to his fair share of celebrities over the years, with his famous exes including Kate Moss, Geri Halliwell and Jemima Khan.

But Russell describes it as a “f***ing relief” when he met his wife-to-be Laura, because their bond was unlike anything he has experienced before.

“The bond between my partner and I is based on something that is very earthed,” Russell gushed. “We are friends, we are very good friends. When I’m talking to her, I’m very plainly chatting.

“I thank God for something normal, something real. Not something that’s going to break apart and be nothing.”

Becoming a father has also had a dramatic impact on Russell’s life, with the comedian blown away by daughter Mabel every day. Speaking about the four-month-old tot, Russell mused: “The thing that has been the most spectacular thing in my life has been the most ordinary thing: a baby came out, like all of us did, the same experience we’ve all had.”
Courtesy: http://hollywood.com

Source: http://www.hollywood.com/general/russell-brand-still-feels-very-warm-towards-ex-wife-katy-perry-60682779/

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

Russell Westbrook clinched a playoff berth with the highest-scoring triple-double ever

Try as they might, nobody in Orlando could touch Russell Westbrook on Wednesday night. (AP)

For the second straight game, the Oklahoma City Thunder trailed by double digits midway through the fourth quarter. And for the second straight game, Russell Westbrook deemed that outcome unacceptable, so he changed it, damn near singlehandedly.

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When Westbrook checked back into Wednesday’s game after his customary rest to start the fourth quarter, the Orlando Magic led the Thunder 89-79. A minute and a half later, a short hook by Magic center Nikola Vucevic pushed the lead to 14 points at 93-79. And from there, Westbrook once again absolutely took over down the stretch, scoring 19 points in the final 6:01 of the fourth to knock Orlando back on its heels and will the Thunder back into the game.

The last three of those points came after Vucevic missed the back end of a pair of free throws with 13 seconds remaining, keeping Orlando’s lead at 102-99. Westbrook grabbed the ball off the rim, raced into the frontcourt, pulled up from the “R” in Amway Center with Magic guards Terrence Ross and Elfrid Payton right in his face …

… and splashed through a 30-footer with 7.1 seconds left to knot the score at 102.

The Magic couldn’t answer on the other end, turning the ball over with just under one second to go, and a last-ditch heave by Thunder guard Victor Oladipo came up short, sending the game to overtime … where, surprise surprise, Westbrook dominated.

Westbrook assisted on an Oladipo triple 61 seconds into overtime that put Oklahoma City up for good, and then put the Magic away himself. He scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds and dropped two dimes in the five extra minutes, leading the Thunder to a 114-106 overtime win that improved the Thunder to 43-31 on the season and punched their ticket to the postseason. Oklahoma City now sits just a half-game behind the Los Angeles Clippers — who tip off later Wednesday against the Washington Wizards — in the race for the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference.

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Two nights after taking a blowtorch to the Dallas Mavericks, Westbrook authored an even more remarkable performance: 57 points on 21-for-40 shooting (6-for-15 from 3-point range, 9-for-11 at the foul line) to go with 13 rebounds, 11 assists and three steals in 42 minutes of blistering work.

That is the highest-scoring triple-double in NBA history. Westbrook now stands alone atop that particular column in the history book, after climbing over a pair of 53-point efforts — one by Wilt Chamberlain on March 18, 1968, and one by Westbrook’s leading competition in this year’s MVP race, James Harden, from New Year’s Eve 2016.

It is also just the 10th 50-point triple-double in NBA history — only Russ and Harden have ever logged multiple such games in the same season, both doing so this year — and it came in an absolutely critical situation, leading the Thunder to the biggest comeback in franchise history:

Thunder wins it!! Largest comeback win in Thunder history (21 points) pic.twitter.com/8Z5N6Du1EJ — OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) March 30, 2017

It was Westbrook’s 38th triple-double of the season, putting him just four behind the 41 that Oscar Robertson notched in the historic 1961-62 campaign that Russ has been chasing all season long. The Thunder are now 31-7 when Westbrook hits his numbers.

Westbrook was so dominant, so overwhelming, so undeniable over the final 11 minutes of game time that even the Magic fans in attendance at Amway Center just had to recognize real:

They’re chanting MVP in Orlando. #Russ #ThePeoplesChamp — OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) March 30, 2017

This was bonkers. M-V-P chants in the road building. https://t.co/FXGLjECncg — Eric Adelson (@eric_adelson) March 30, 2017

With all due respect to constituencies in Houston, San Antonio and Cleveland, it’s getting harder and harder to disagree with the chants that came down from the stands in Central Florida.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter!

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

Source: https://news.yahoo.com/news/russell-westbrook-clinched-a-playoff-berth-with-the-highest-scoring-triple-double-ever-021940166.html