SRH expect Mustafizur to join squad on April 7

IPL 2017

SRH expect Mustafizur to join squad on April 7

JAC Gladson • Last updated on Mon, 03 Apr, 2017, 07:16 AM

Mustafizur is not expected to be available for many games this season. © Getty

Slowly but surely, the Sunrisers Hyderabad are hitting their stride. Their training schedule was thrown off gear by a virus that had laid the first batch of players low, including their bowling mentor Muttiah Muralitharan. But they have recovered from that blow and it’s all systems go for the defending champions what with most of their players joining the team on Sunday (April 2).

However, Mustafizur Rahman, their bowling mainstay last season, will miss the opening match of IPL 10 against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on April 5. The Bangladeshi leftarm seamer, who confounded many batting line-ups to finish fifth in the bowling charts with 17 sticks last season, will join the team on April 7 and is likely to play only a few matches this season.

Coach Tom Moody confirmed the development. “We’re expecting him (Mustafizur) to be here on the 7th. Unless we hear differently from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), we’ll continue to expect him.

“One of the reasons why we secured both these talents (Ben Laughlin & Chris Jordan) is we knew Mustafizur is going to be available for only small portion of the tournament. We felt it was important to fill that gap and these guys have got excellent skills that enable us to have that option to be able to finish games,” he said.

The SRH coach was also confident that skipper David Warner, who with 848 runs finished No.2 in the batting charts after Virat Kohli (973), would be fresh and raring to go despite the gruelling Test series against India.

“We’ve given him (Warner) an extra couple of days in Sydney to be with his family. We recognise as a franchise that family is important and in also keeping players fresh mentally. He’s sending possible XIs for the games, so he hasn’t switched off. He’s just having a chance to recharge those batteries. Physically he’s absolutely fine. 100% fit and I think the extra couple of days the franchise has allowed him back home with his two young daughters and his wife will pay dividends as the tournament unfolds,” he said.





India Open 2017: Viktor Axelsen is the victor on men’s side

Viktor Axelsen went down on his knees, spread his arms wide and held the celebratory pose. Viktor Axelsen went down on his knees, spread his arms wide and held the celebratory pose.

After sealing the men’s final of the India Open with a brutal smash down the line, Viktor Axelsen went down on his knees, spread his arms wide and held the celebratory pose for a few seconds before greeting the match officials and his opponent, Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien-Chen. There was a sense of relief and ecstasy for the Dane as the scale of his achievement sunk in. Winning a Super Series tournament is no mean achievement but Axelsen’s victory was special because he had reached the final of this tournament in the last two editions but failed to win the match which mattered.

Two years ago he had lost to the home-boy Kidambi Srikanth and in the 2016 edition Japan’s Kento Momota got the better of him. However, at the end of last year Axelsen won the World Superseries Finals in Dubai, beating China’s Tian Houwei – a victory that was bound to give him a boost of confidence.

With top seeds Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan and Jan O Jorgensen pulling out of this edition of the India Open, Axelsen’s path to glory was easier. He defeated two Indians in the first two rounds: Ajay Jayaram and Srikanth respectively before playing out his only three-game match against Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Wei Wang in the quarters. In the semis he faced Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long, whom he defeated in less that thirty minutes.

“I don’t want to play too long. If I can make it under 30 minutes, I make it. I don’t give anything to world-class players like Chou,” he said. “I knew when I had the chance, I had to strike. I am really relieved at the moment. We play badminton to win titles. Today winning the India Open is very special to me, especially after losing two times and getting very disappointed,” he added.

Axelsen made good use of his height during the game, peppering his opponent with his steep and deep smashes. He returned Chou’s smashes, on most occasions, with ease.

Chou, never looked threatening, but tried to use the space well, leaving the Dane stranded at times. At 7-11, in favour of Axelsen in the first game, Chou unleashed a smash which forced the tall Dane to make a half-hearted dive to his right. He hurt his right knee in the process but it didn’t seem to bother him much. Axelsen pulled off the bandage seconds after it was applied and continued his onslaught, winning the first game 21-13 – winning the game point with a smash. In the next game, Axelsen was more dominant, forcing Chou to commit the errors.

“I played with good confidence and high pace as well. I was calm all the way. It was really important for me to be not driven by my emotions and I did not do that today. I am really happy at the moment,” he said.

Axelsen will take part in the Malaysia Masters next. The tournament begins on April 14, where he will play a qualifier in the first round. The big names: Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan are set to return to action at the Superseries Premier event. Axelsen will have good opportunity to test his game and temperament, which have improved a lot since last season.

“I have gotten a lot of confidence. Winning the Dubai Super Series was a huge boost for me. It gave me the calmness during the final and also the Olympics bronze medal. So yes, experience and confidence, ” he said before rushing off to catch his flight.

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App now


2011 World Cup loss to India hurt but it’s in the past now, says Mahela Jayawardene

Mahela Jayawardene scored a century against India in the final. (Source: File) Mahela Jayawardene scored a century against India in the final. (Source: File)

It was six years ago that Sri Lanka led by Kumar Sangakkara lost to Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led India in the ICC World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium here and the game’s lone centurion Mahela Jayawardene said that the defeat hurt at that time.

“I did not even remember it until I opened my Twitter account this morning. To be part of a World Cup final is always brilliant and to walk out at the Wankhede with 50,000 people screaming gives good memories,” said Jayawardene, who is now Mumbai Indians’ coach in IPL10.

“India was the better team on that day but it was six years ago and it’s in the past. A lot of things hurts in life. I have lost four (ICC tournament) finals out of five. We learn from every mishap that happens and move on with life. It hurt at that point, but after that it’s just another game,” said the stylish batsman who scored a magnificent 103 not out for a losing cause in that memorable summit clash.

Sri Lanka rode on his century to pile on an imposing 274 for six, but Dhoni led from the front with a brilliant, unbeaten 91 to guide India past the finish line to trigger wild celebrations across the length and breadth of the country on April 2, 2011.

Looking forward to his first stint at a major tournament as the head coach, Jayawardene said that MI would miss the services of a few players for the season opener against Rising Pune Supergiant in the away game on April 6.

“Mitch (Johnson) has played in the Big Bash (League) and Lasith (Malinga) is coming off after injury. We wanted him to play as much before coming here. He’s playing two T20s (Internationals against Bangladesh) which is good.”

“We play our first eight games in 16 or 18 days, which includes travelling and the experience factor does count. They have played enough cricket and preparation-wise they will be fine. We need to make sure we manage everyone (vis a vis work load) properly.”

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App now


Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre to Launch Esports Venue

Earlier this week, Hollywood’s iconic Chinese Theatre announced plans to create an immersive esports venue in the Chinese 6 Theatre complex. Scheduled to open late this summer, the new esports venue will serve as a “launch pad for a network of tournament theaters beyond Hollywood.” The venue will not only function as an MX4D Motion EFX movie theatre, but also as the “first immersive spectator theater hosting competitive eSports tournaments.”

“What we are launching is just the tip of the iceberg. We see cinema operators working together as a global network of immersive MX4D esports theaters and becoming part of the fabric of competitive gaming. We are in discussions with sponsors, esports organizations and other cinema operators to join forces with the TCL Chinese Theatre as we bring this exciting capability to the world of online and live tournament play.”

— Robert K. Laity, CEO of the TCL Chinese Theatre

Produced by MediaMation, the MX4D Motion EFX cinema seats utilizes environmental effects such as motion, odors, and humidity to fully immerse spectators in the action they watch on screen. Each MX4D theater seat comes fully equipped with “moving seats, air/water blasts, leg/neck ticklers, fog, seat/back pokers, seat rumblers, and other special effects such as smoke, snow, rain and more.” This means that the audience will be able to literally experience the cold from Mei’s Blizzard or the ground shake from Reinhardt’s Earthshatter!


FIFA reveals proposed slots for 48-team 2026 World Cup

FIFA announced its proposed slot allocation for the expanded 48-team World Cup on Thursday, including an automatic place for Oceania, 16 places for Europe – up from 13 – and a six-team inter-zonal playoff tournament for two more spots.

The proposals will be submitted to the FIFA Council at its next full meeting in Bahrain in May for a final decision, FIFA said.

Under the proposal, made by the FIFA Bureau, for the enlarged tournament beginning in 2026, Europe would get 16 direct places, Africa nine, Asia eight, South America six, CONCACAF six and Oceania one, totalling 46 teams.

The host nation would qualify automatically and its slot would be taken from the allocation of its confederation.

In the most innovative part of the proposal, the two remaining places would be decided by a six-team playoff tournament which would take place in the World Cup host nation, possibly in the November before the finals, FIFA said.

That tournament would include one team from each confederation, except UEFA, and an extra one from the continent of the host country. FIFA decided in January to increase the tournament from 32 teams to 48.

The current allocation is 13 places to Europe, five to Africa, four to Asia and South America and three to CONCACAF. Asia, South America, CONCACAF and Oceania also get a place in two inter-zonal playoffs.

The proposal shows how football has grown around the world over the last 40 years.

As recently as 1978, when the World Cup had only 16 teams, Africa and CONCACAF were given only one place each while Asia and Oceania had to share one place between them.

According to the FIFA world rankings, the top nine teams in Africa currently include Burkina Faso, who have never played at a World Cup, and Democratic Republic of Congo, who took part only once as Zaire in 1974.

CONCACAF’S top six include Panama and Haiti while St Kitts and Nevis are seventh. Asia’s top eight include Uzbekistan and Qatar while China are ninth and Syria 10th.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement that he was “satisfied” with the proposal.

“We feel that UEFA will be fairly represented with a total of 16 national associations competing in the new format of the World Cup,” he said.

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App now


ECB begins formal process of altering constitution for new T20 tournament


ECB begins formal process of altering constitution for new T20 tournament

Rob Johnston • Last updated on Wed, 29 Mar, 2017, 12:01 AM

“Our members have seen the evidence for why the new T20 proposal is the right way to reach new audiences, create new fans and fuel the future of the game,” Graves said. © Getty

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has begun the process of changing its Articles of Association on Tuesday (March 28), to allow for the introduction of a new T20 competition. The decision to change the constitution was ratified with the unanimous support of the ECB’s board and was described as a “watershed” moment for the game by the ECB chairman Colin Graves.

The ECB’s current constitution requires all 18 first class counties to be included in any competition sanctioned by the governing body. With the introduction of the new eight-team tournament, this requires changing, although the changes will make clear this applies only to the new competition and does not affect the other county competitions.

The ECB’s 41 members – the 18 first class counties, 21 non-first class counties, the MCC and the Minor Counties Association – will now have 28 days to agree to the changes. A three-quarters majority, or 31 votes, is required to enact the change and it is understood that this should be a formality. The 21 non-first class counties, led by Devon, will be voting for the measure.

“The ECB board today gave their unanimous support to trigger a formal process to change the game’s Articles of Association and allow a new T20 competition,” said Graves.

“Our members have seen the evidence for why the new T20 proposal is the right way to reach new audiences, create new fans and fuel the future of the game.

“Together, we can now take a huge opportunity to not only create a deeper engagement with those who currently follow cricket but to attract a whole new audience and ensure the sustainability of our game. This is a watershed moment for us all to make the whole game stronger.”

The ECB also announced a review of their Articles of Association more generally, covering financial regulations and expected to take six to nine months, as well as a governance review, led by deputy chairman of ECB Ian Lovett, which will include looking at the board structure and composition of ECB committees.

Also announced was a change to the Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with the ECB planning to sign MoUs with a single entity in each county rather than separate ones, as now, between first class counties, the county boards, the premier leagues and the minor counties.

“Two years ago, on becoming Chairman of the ECB, I promised members open discussion, transparency and accountability with my main objective of attracting more revenue into the game to be passed onto its stakeholders,” said Graves.

“The Articles and Governance reviews I am announcing today are very much part of delivering this vision. Good governance is critical to effective decision-making, minimising risk and protecting reputation – it’s essential for the future success of cricket.”

© Cricbuzz



Why Sindarius Thornwell’s one-man NCAA tournament run ranks among best since 2000

There are many reasons South Carolina was an afterthought heading in the 2017 NCAA tournament, but there is one main one — one broad one — that stands above the rest: The Gamecocks, by major conference standards, were frankly a bad offensive team. They scored 1.00 points per possession during SEC play, a mark that ranked 11th in a weak conference, and a mark that, at the time, was in no way deceiving. South Carolina was on the decline, too. It had scored a season-low 53 points in an SEC tournament loss to Alabama.

Then, out of nowhere, something changed, and two weeks later South Carolina is in the Final Four. That something is actually many things. But more than anything else, it is Sindarius Thornwell.

Thornwell is both the reason South Carolina has wildly exceeded expectations in the NCAA tournament and the reason there were any expectations at all. He is an inside-out defensive force and the leader of the nation’s second best defense, the reason the Gamecocks are even in the tournament. He is also the one-man wrecking crew who has driven South Carolina’s offensive resurgence in the tournament with over 100 total points in four games so far. He is a contact-seeker and a shot-maker, an attacker and a late-clock bucket-getter, and the best player left in the Final Four.

In fact, Thornwell has been so outstanding on both ends of the floor that it’s not only fair to compare him to past tournament stars, it’s necessary. Thornwell has gradually put together one of the great one-man NCAA tournament runs of the past two decades.

The standard of excellence in recent years for team-on-back rampages through round after round is Kemba Walker, who took a flawed UConn team all the way to a trophy celebration in Houston in 2011. Walker’s run has been referenced ever since, every time a player catches fire in March. Others have emulated the former Huskies star, but none have surpassed him. There’s a chance, however, that that could soon change.

Sindarius Thornwell has led South Carolina on a shocking Final Four run. (Getty) More

Whereas Walker’s recurring dominance came to feel inevitable, it’s the opposite sensation that has made Thornwell’s run so thrilling. This can’t continue … can it? is the sentiment. But Thornwell does continue — he continues to score, he continues to shut down opposing wings, and continues to impose his will on games. He continues to prove us wrong. He is relentless, and is the face of a South Carolina team that mirrors both his basketball attributes and his bulldog-like mentality.

Both feelings are similarly spectacular, and both narratives similarly compelling. The big difference, of course, is that Walker finished the job; Thornwell’s run is incomplete. Four wins can’t measure up to six wins unless the four individual performances are especially herculean. Thornwell hasn’t quite reached that point.

But what Thornwell has done so far is something nobody has done since the turn of the century. His combination of consistent scoring, all-around impact, and the carrying of a non-top-four seed to the Final Four is unparalleled over the past 17 years. Some players have had two of the three components. Others, like Steph Curry and Blake Griffin, have had one exceptional component. But no player since 2000 has taken a No. 7 seed to this stage while scoring 25 points per game and having such a sizable influence in all phases of the game.

Thornwell still needs at least one more win, and one more transcendent performance, to jump to the top of the list of great 21st century one-man tournament runs. But he’s already cracked the top 10.

Below is a look at that top 10. It’s not simply the top 10 NCAA tournament performances since 2000 — both Jay Williams and Shane Battier, for example, would probably crack that list, but because both were so influential, neither went on a “one-man run.” Same goes for Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker in 2015, Anthony Davis in 2012, Sean May in 2005, and so on. Not every great NCAA tournament run is propelled by a single protagonist. But some are:


Final Four coaches fail to crack top-10 list of highest paid

This year’s Final Four coaches have one thing in common: None is among the 10 highest-paid coaches in the NCAA tournament.

USA Today released its annual list of men’s college basketball coaches’ salaries among NCAA tournament teams Wednesday, and while the Bluegrass State duo of Rick Pitino and John Calipari tops all tournament coaches in total pay, Oregon’s Dana Altman is the highest-paid tournament coach whose team is still standing this season.

[Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball: Get in the game and join a league today]

Altman’s total pay of $2.651 million comes in at No. 11 nationally among tournament teams, leading all Final Four coaches.

Second among remaining coaches? Frank Martin, who took in $2.45 million from South Carolina this season, No. 18 overall.

North Carolina’s Roy Williams ($2,088,577) comes in at No. 24, while Gonzaga’s Mark Few ($1,629,083) is not far behind him at No. 30.

While Williams, a two-time national champion, may seem underpaid compared to his peers, it is worth noting that the Tar Heels boss, according to the report, “also has personal contracts with Nike and Learfield Sports for clothing/apparel and multi-media obligations, respectively, as well as permission from the school to receive pay for operating a camp and making speaking appearances.”

Pitino’s income of $7,769,200 was tops nationally, with rival Calipari being the only other coach to crack the $7 million barrier, at $7,435,376.

The only non-Power-5 coach cracking the top-10 is Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall, whose $3,035,500 ranks No. 8 nationally. Few, at No. 30, is the next-closest tournament coach from a school outside the Power-5 or Big East.

Coaches you can expect to move up this list come next year — assuming they make the Big Dance — include No. 34 Will Wade ($1,400,000), No. 39 Archie Miller ($1,160,390), No. 41 Brad Underwood ($1 million) and No. 45 Kevin Keatts ($521,000), as each of those coaches took Power-5 jobs after this season.

– – – – – – –

Matt Fortuna is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

Follow @Matt_Fortuna


Why counties are set to back ECB’s push for T20 league

The first season is expected to be held in three years’ time, July 2020 to be precise. The first season is expected to be held in three years’ time, July 2020 to be precise.

ENGLISH CRICKET has finally decided to join the rest of the world by bringing in their own T20 league, which could potentially be spoken in the same breath as the IPL and the Big Bash.

What is the T20 tournament that ECB are planning to launch?

The English though may have finally decided to jump aboard the money train at the last stop with plans to start their own eight-team T20 tournament with hopes of competing with the Big Bash and the IPL. The tournament will also change the ecosystem of English cricket with the teams set to be based around regions and not counties, as has been the norm there for more than a century. The first season is expected to be held in three years’ time—July 2020 to be precise—and it’ll be in the Big Bash format with all teams owned by the ECB and not let out as franchises in the IPL. There will be no auction and players will be drafted through a fixed budget for each team. The tournament is scheduled to be held during the Test season of the English summer, which could rob the event of most of the country’s elite cricketers. The final call on the tournament will depend on a mandate which has been sent to all 18 first-class counties, non first-class counties and minor counties, who will vote through a postal ballot, with the ECB requiring a minimum of 31 out of 41 votes in favour of an amendment to the constitution.

What does it mean for county cricket?

Counties have held sway over cricket in England for well over a century now. According to the ECB constitution, all 18 counties have a right to play in every domestic competition held in the country, which presently are the four-day County Championships, a one-day tournament and the T20 Blast, England’s staid answer to the IPL and Big Bash. ECB chairman Colin Graves and chief executive Tom Harrison have suggested an amendment to the constitution, however, which will allow them to hold the separate T20 extravaganza exclusive of the other competitions and be restricted to a few counties of the ECB’s choice. So all three major competitions, including the T20 Blast, will continue to go on as always with all 18 counties participating in them. In fact, plans are to leave two ‘wildcard’ picks in the draft for the new tournament with teams able to pick top-performing players from the league phase of the Blast. For the record, it was one tiny amendment to the constitution at the onset of the IPL that set off a chain of events in India nearly a decade ago that eventually led to the dissolution of the BCCI as we knew it.

Why did the ECB decide this to be the right time to jump on board the bandwagon?

Harrison and Graves have both been very vocal about the dwindling interest for cricket in England, and the need to build the support system for the sport by bringing in new audiences, especially in the youngest age category. According to reports during the meeting with the county chairmen, the ECB informed that only 2 per cent of kids called cricket their No.1 sport and even showed a presentation where school kids are shown mistaking Andrew Strauss for a football manager and Alastair Cook for someone who works at Waitrose, the present sponsors of the England Test team. Only last week, England captains Joe Root and Eoin Morgan had been asked to play brave and exciting cricket even if it meant losing on occasions as part of the ECB’s quest to introduce at least 50,000 kids in the age-group of five-to-eight “excited” in cricket this year. With the broadcast rights up for renewal in 2020, the English board are sure that having an exciting new T20 tournament will be a great bargaining tool which should help them supersede their previous fee of £75 million significantly.

How did the ECB convince the counties to come on board with their masterplan?

The counties were firstly asked to sign and thereby assign their media and broadcast rights to the ECB by March 27, which they did. In return they will be guaranteed £1.3 m a year from 2020 for a five-year period. Some reports though revealed that some of their hands had been forced, with dissenters threatened with penalties regarding the funds the board hands over to them. Though the ECB is expected to gain the necessary majority to get the go-ahead to start their T20 competition, there have been reports in England which claim that some counties aren’t happy with the fact that non first-class counties will have a say in their future, especially with a mandate with which they are pretty much writing themselves out of a potentially cash-rich tournament.

How will the new tournament boost the ECB’s profits?

Harrison was quoted in an interview last year insisting that “we’ve grown fat on revenues from India” claiming that England cricket hadn’t tried enough to reach their potential as a cricket market. According to him, the new T20 tournament, will not just add the much-needed chutzpah that has been missing from their domestic scene but also help English cricket score a whopping new broadcast deal of nearly £1.25 billion for the five-year period from 2020 to 2025, which is expected to put them in the same league as the UEFA Champions League in terms of rights.

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App now


FIFA commercial affiliates pledge full support to U-17 World Cup

The affiliates of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India will play a pivotal role in the success of the tournament. (Source: AP) The affiliates of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India will play a pivotal role in the success of the tournament. (Source: AP)

World football governing body FIFA and Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the U-17 World Cup 2017 conducted a workshop for the commercial affiliates of the tournament.

The presentation was conducted by FIFA and LOC members of the marketing delegation, who had travelled to each of the venues for a detailed inspection from March 22 to 27.

FIFA and the LOC presented the marketing programme, promotional plan and commercial strategy for the tournament.

FIFA Partners adidas, Coca Cola and Hyundai and National Supporters, Bank of Baroda and Hero MotoCorp were the commercial affiliates who attended the workshop.

The workshop was designed to maximise the participation of the sponsors involved in the event. A detailed discussion was held on all the promotional activities in the run up to the tournament and the activities and exposure possible for the brands during the actual event.

The workshop was an opportunity to emphasise the role of sponsors in promoting the event. One-on-one meetings were also conducted with each sponsor to sensitise stakeholders about the event, review how it would be organised, and discuss the promotional opportunities and other benefits available.

The participants also discussed the marketing of the host cities to tourists, given that India would be hosting its first FIFA tournament.

Tournament Director of LOC Javier Ceppi said, “With almost six months to the tournament, it is very important to get all the commercial affiliates on board. “They have expressed their full support to the event and they have some great ideas on how they will be able to take the tournament to every part of the country.”

FIFA’s Marketing Services Director, Jean-Francois Pathy said, “Thanks to the Local Organising Committee for organising an important event with FIFA and our commercial affiliates.

The affiliates of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India will play a pivotal role in the success of the tournament.

“This workshop was a milestone as we work together towards a successful kick-off on October 6, 2017.

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App now