(April + May) 2014
Sochi Olympics and India
The names adorning just about every
available spot on Indian luger Shiva Keshavan’s speedsuit are written in faint
gray letters, barely visible to those even nearby.
They are not insignificant. For the Sochi
Olympics, those names are essentially Keshavan’s flag.
India is not officially at the Sochi
Games, the nation suspended by the International Olympic Committee after it
refused to ban corruption-tainted officials from running for elections. The
suspension is expected to be lifted after new elections in the coming days, but
likely not come in time for Keshavan and two other athletes from India - both
skiers - to actually represent their country.
So instead, they will all race under the
Olympic flag in Sochi. And in an effort to find a way to represent his country
without a flag, Keshavan offered donors a chance to be listed on his uniform.
Some of those who backed his quest for the Sochi Games have their names on the
white suit that he will wear on race days.
Dipika Pallikal returns to top 10
India’s top squash player Dipika Pallikal
has returned to the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time since
The 22-year-old moved two places to be
no.10 in the latest Women’s Squash Association (WSA) rankings despite enduring a
tough start to the year.
Dipika’s improvement in the rankings can
be attributed to her performance towards the end of 2013 when she won the
$35,000 Macau Open and reached the quarterfinals of the $50,000 China Open in
The Chennai-born player, who was recently
honoured with the Padma Shri, opened her 2014 campaign at the Tournament of
Champions in New York where she lost in the qualifiers to Annie Au of Hong Kong.
Exhibition match to celebrate the
200th anniversary of Lord’s
Cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Shane
Warne lead the two teams in an exhibition match to celebrate the 200th
anniversary of Lord’s, the original Mecca of the sport.
Tendulkar lead the Marylebone Cricket Club
(MCC), the owners of the north-west London venue, while the Aussie spin
magician headlines a Rest of the World side in a 50-overs per side exhibition
match on July 5.
Tendulkar, who was presented with an MCC
Honorary Life Membership in 2010, also said that it will be a privilege to play
at the ‘home of cricket’ once again, while Warne, who took 19 wickets in four
Tests at Lord’s, said that he is sure that the match will be a lot of fun.
MCC, founded in 1787, moved to its present
site in the north-west London suburb of St John’s Wood in 1814, with the ground
owned by entrepreneur Thomas Lord - hence its name.
Although it is more than 40 years since
MCC ceased to run English cricket, it retains worldwide responsibility for the
game’s ‘Laws’, as cricket’s rules are known.
Ranji title 2014
The moment of reckoning finally dawned on
the Karnataka team after 14 long seasons. And while seizing the moment, the
Karnataka players ensured that they would not be denied their shot at glory by
completing a seven-wicket win over two-time champion Maharashtra at Rajiv Gandhi
Stadium to win the Ranji trophy for the seventh time.
With Maharashtra resuming at 272 for six,
Karnataka captain Vinay Kumar had preferred pace for most of the morning
session, clearly in no mood to give away easy runs. But it was when he brought
on 20-year-old leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal that things started happening; the
latter did not disappoint his captain, sending back Srikant Mundhe (42, 75b,
3x4), who was beginning to look dangerous, and Akshay Darekar (13) in quick
The last time Karnataka won the national
championship was in 1999 when it defeated Madhya Pradesh in the final.
Karnataka collected the winner’s purse of
Rs.2 crore and the trophy from BCCI vice-president N. Shivlal Yadav, while
runner-up Maharashtra picked Rs. 1 crore. Lokesh Rahul was named
PGTI Eagleburg Open
Defending champion Anirban Lahiri gave a
spirited charge on the final round with a card of four under 68 but Sri Lankan
golfer Mithun Perera came up with a resolute one-under 71 to win the PGTI
Eagleburg Open, his second title in two weeks.
Perera signed off with a tournament total
of 22-under 266 to register a three-shot win despite Lahiri’s brilliant show.
Local favourite Lahiri secured runner-up
position after ending up with a total of 19-under 269.
Tie-up amongst Vodafone-Star Sports
Telecom operator Vodafone and Star India
has announced a tie-up through which the broadcaster’s sports telecasts can be
viewed on mobile phones.
Kapil Dev, who led India to their first
World Cup title in 1983, wished this sort of cutting edge technology was
available when he was playing.
The former captain said it was good to see
age group cricket being televised as most of the modern day cricketers have
emerged from these competitions.
Devvarman accomplished a 6-3, 6-1 win to
lift the ONGC GAIL Delhi Open $100,000 ATP Challenger trophy in front of a
significantly large crowd at the DLTA centre court.
Devvarman’s reward for a week in which he
didn’t drop a set will be 100 ATP points and $14,400. This was his biggest
success on the Challenger Tour as his previous two titles were at Lexington
($50,000) and Izmir ($75,000).
Two ICC awards for Afghanistan
Afghanistan has taken the top prize of the
International Cricket Council Development Programme Annual Awards 2013, claiming
the best development programme as well as the award for best junior
The awards recognised Afghanistan’s
efforts in developing cricket at all levels, which is reflected in its success
in increasing participation rates, promoting the game, and qualifying to the ICC
World Twenty20 2014 and the World Cup 2015.
Afghanistan was also awarded the Best
Junior Participation Initiative following its work to introduce cricket into the
school curriculum in Afghanistan.
The 2013 winners are:
Best Overall Cricket Development
Programme - Afghanistan Cricket Board
Best Women’s Cricket Initiative -
Best Junior Participation Initiative -
Afghanistan Cricket Board
Best Cricket Promotion and Marketing
Programme - Cricket Ireland
Best Spirit of Cricket Initiative -
Argentine Cricket Association
Photo of the Year - Cricket Namibia
Volunteer of the Year - Calvin
Lifetime Service Award - William
Luwagga Kamanyi, Uganda
12th consecutive Test 50 of A.B. de
Sporting prodigy A.B. de Villiers is laden with records, even beyond his chosen
field of cricket.
By dragging a Steve Smith long-hop to the
boundary just before stumps on the first day in Port Elizabeth, the Proteas’
vice-captain reached 50 for an unprecedented 12th consecutive Test.
In doing so he took sole ownership of a
record that, following last week’s first Test, he had jointly held with Viv
Richards, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag.
De Villiers’ latest record, which
coincided with him reaching 7000 Test runs, drew praise from one of the
Australian bowlers who, again, was unable to halt his charge towards yet another
Himanshu Thakur finishes last
India’s only Olympic Alpine skier Himanshu
Thakur finished last in the men’s giant slalom in Sochi Games .
The 20-year-old from the foothills of the
Himalayas had to march behind an Olympic flag when the Games began because of a
ban on India’s Olympic Association due to the election of a corruption-tainted
official as secretary general.
The ban was lifted last week after fresh
elections, meaning India’s team of three — who entered the Sochi Games as
“independents” — can wear their country’s colours with pride.
Brendon McCullum scores triple hundred
New Zealand’s 680 for 8 declared provides
the highest ever total posted by a team in the third innings of a Test match in
the annals of Test cricket. The previous best was 671 for 4 by New Zealand
against Sri Lanka at Wellington in Jan 1991. Here are some of the other
statistical highs that New Zealand team and its players achieved during the
two-match series against India.
Brendon McCullum became the first captain
in the annals of Test cricket to score a triple hundred and a double hundred in
consecutive Tests. He made 224 at Auckland and 302 at Wellington .
McCullum aggregated 535 runs in this
series which is the record for most runs scored by a captain in a two Test
series. The previous record was 510 runs scored by Mahela Jayawardene of Sri
Lanka against South Africa in 2005 series. McCullum and Jayawardene are the only
two captains to aggregate 500 plus runs in a two Test series.
Afghanistan in current ODI Rankings
Six months after Afghanistan qualified for
its maiden appearance in the Cricket World Cup, its success story continues to
make waves and the country has now entered into the main ODI rankings table for
the first time.
Following Afghanistan’s 32-run win over
Bangladesh in the Asia Cup at Fatullah, its first against a Full Member side of
the ICC, it has met the criteria for its maiden inclusion in the main Reliance
ICC ODI Team Rankings table.
Afghanistan joins the table in 12th place
with 32 ratings points, with the opportunity to slide past 11-placed Ireland
should it win either of its two remaining Asia Cup group matches.
To gain the promotion to the main rankings
table, Afghanistan needed to either win two ODIs against Full Members, or
achieve one win in an ODI against a Full Member and also needed to have won more
than 60 per cent of qualifying matches versus other Associates.
Afghanistan immediately achieved a ranking
upon entry into the table, having played 12 ODIs since August 2010, with the
minimum requirement being eight matches.
Dominika Cibulkova beat American
Christina McHale to win the women’s final at the Mexican Open.
In the men’s final, fourth-seeded
Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria defeated South African Kevin Anderson, seeded
Under-19 World Cup
India finished fifth in the under-19
World Cup after a strong batting effort saw it beat the West Indies by 46
Afghanistan, playing in its third
World Cup, finished an impressive seventh after defeating Sri Lanka by five
Zimbabwe finished 11th in the 16-team
International Premier Tennis League
World number one Rafael Nadal is
reportedly being offered 1.1 million dollars per night to play in three of the
eight matches of the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), which
has borrowed its format from the lucrative Twenty20 tournament Indian Premier
If all goes to plan, five teams - based in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Singapore, Bangkok
and Kuala Lumpur- will send their officials to India armed with minimum budgets
of 4.4 million dollars each, to sign up a handful of players - men, women, and
champions of yesteryear - for the off-season event, scheduled to take place in
According to the Sydney Morning Herald,
Indian tennis star and ITPL‘s creator Mahesh Bhupathi may have offered the
Spaniard 1.1 million dollars per night for three of the event‘s matches, adding
that Nadal is understood to be the keenest member of the ‘Big Four‘- which also
includes Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
Somdev’s new ATP rankings
Courtesy his Delhi Open triumph, India’s
numero uno singles player Somdev Devvarman jumped 18 places to become world
number 78 in the latest ATP rankings.
He collected 100 ranking points after
beating top seed Alerksandr Nedovyesov in the final, and is set to face world
number five and 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro in the first round of
the ATP 500 Dubai Duty Free championships.
Somdev’s career best rank is 62, which he
had achieved in July 2011.
India’s number two singles player Yuki
Bhambri lost three places to end up at 146. The Delhi boy had made a shock
first-round exit at the Delhi Open. In the doubles category, Leander Paes
continued to be India’s top player at number 10. Rohan Bopanna lost a place to
end up 16th while Mahesh Bhupathi, who is set to retire this year, further
slipped to 41. Left-handed Divij Sharan was the next best at 65.
In the women’s rankings, Sania Mirza (11)
dropped out of the top-10. Mirza suffered a shock first-round exit from the
Dubai event with partner Cara Black last week.