India’s head coach Anil Kumble confirmed that the team has not asked for a rank turner for the first Test in Kanpur against New Zealand starting Thursday. He added that the focus for the long season ahead will be on cricket irrespective of the conditions.”It is the first match of the home series, I knew the first question would be about the pitch and also the last question,” said Kumble ahead of the season opener, drawing an instant laughter from the packed press conference. (Kohli on course to leapfrog Dhoni, Ganguly as India’s most successful Test captain)He rubbished the speculation that team has specifically asked for a turner.”Nobody is demanding anything. We will go into the game thinking that our spinners are better. We hope the performance we produced in the West Indies continues at home as well. Yes there will be spin and opinions will be formed after the first ball. But since I am the coach, I can’t think like that. We make our plans as the game goes on,” said Kumble.There has been a lot of pitch talk, which is usual before the start of a home series. However, Kumble, being a legendary spinner himself, is only concerned about the cricket his boys play in the home season comprising 13 Tests. (Test season at home a chance for Ravichandran Ashwin to cement his legacy)”According to me, it is a typical Kanpur wicket. It is start of the season, it has rained a lot and the surface has not been used much of late. It is looking good. Having said that, I believe that the talk should be about cricket that is played on the pitch and not the pitch. In the team meetings, we have discussed this only.advertisementWhatever wicket we get, we will adapt and play,” said Kumble in his typical no nonsense manner.KIWI SPIN ATTACKTalking about the opposition, Kumble spoke highly of the visiting New Zealand side and its spinners – Ish Sodhi, Mitchel Santer and Mark Craig.”New Zealand have always done really well. They are not just good at home, they tour really well. The fact that they have three spinners (each being different from another), yes we watched them, at least I watched the two spinners out of three in T20 World Cup where they played a significant role in the team.”Heartening to see spinners play a major role in other teams and not just the Indian team. We respect the opponents, not just in the spin department but in all departments. They have different spin variations, which you don’t see often in a foreign team.”With so much of bilateral cricket played all around the world, Kumble said there is not much of surprise element left in the game.”I don’t think there is any intrigue left. The challenge is to adapt to the conditions as quickly as possible. Equally the same for the home team as well. You playing so much cricket and it is all about adapting to the challenges that come you way.”The home team certainly has the advantage in these conditions but for a foreign team, the conditions are no longer alien. Most of the New Zealand players have played in the IPL, so they know what to expect and how to adapt,” Kumble stated.How does coach Kumble look at the long home season ahead? (India’s All-Time XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag openers in star-studded line-up)”The immediate task on hand is the focus but we are also keeping in mind the long season ahead. 13 Tests in less than six months is not easy on the players, their workloads. We will keep track of that during preparations.”You would notice as the series goes along, there will be less time spent in between matches on the cricket field. So whatever we need to address, we will only address those isses. This is like the second summer in India, just before the winter sets in. We are looking at six months but from a team’s perspective, we are focusing on this match for now,” he said.SWITCHING FORMATSSpeaking on the challenges facing a modern-day cricketer, Kumble said switching formats is not easy with so much T20 cricket being played.”It is quite challenging for the modern day cricketer to keep changing formats. Invariably, when you are playing in the shorter format, the game is always in favour of the batsmen. When it comes to Tests, irrespective of the condtions, we have seen modern day cricketers struggle after doing well initially.advertisement”For example, they were good players of seam bowling in the previous year but they struggled on a seaming track (the following season) because of what the modern day batsman encounters. (Chance for India to dethrone Pakistan as bumper Test season starts)”One good thing we have had is that we are coming off a Test series and getting into a Test series. In terms of preparation, we have spent a lot of time on how to play spinners, how to respond to playing spinners. We will only improve,” felt Kumble.The Kanpur Test will be India’s 500th Test in the format. Kumble said it was a great milestone.”For me, part of the Indian team was special and a great honour. Starting from 1932 till today, there have been great players who have contributed to this great legacy of 499 Tests. Each of them has looked to raise the bar and this team is no different. All of us should celebrate this milestone and recollect the memories provided by the former players,” Kumble said.(With PTI inputs)
TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Manchester return? Real Madrid dismiss anti-Man Utd clause claim for Diazby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid have dismissed claims have an anti-Manchester United clause in their deal for Brahim Diaz.The Spanish midfielder is leaving Manchester City for Real today in a deal rising to €20m. Diaz will sign a Madrid contract to 2025.The agreement includes a 15 per cent sell-on clause, however English media claims of an anti-United clause have been dismissed, says AS.It was suggested City had demanded a clause stating that if Diaz was sold to United, Real would pay 40 per cent of the fee to the Blues. However, this claim has been denied.Diaz will be presented to local media and fans on Monday at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Agent: Southampton will regret losing Gabbiadiniby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManolo Gabbadini’s agent says Southampton will regret losing the Italy striker.Samp have agreed to re-sign Gabbiadini on loan with a €12m obligation to buy from Southampton.“He felt good at Sampdoria and wanted to go back home,” Silvio Pagliari told Sky Sport Italia from Milan Linate airport, where he was waiting for the 27-year-old.“We wouldn’t have gone anywhere on loan. It was his will to cut the cord with Southampton, although he had a great time there.“He also discussed tactics with Sampdoria and I’m sure he’ll carve out a place in the team.“He’s a good player and, in my opinion, one of the best strikers in Italy.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Marouane Fellaini insists no Man Utd regretsby Paul Vegas14 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has no regrets over his time at Old Trafford.United’s cup double and second placed finish in 2016 the undisputed highlight of his five-and-half years at the club.Fellaini, now with Shandong Luneng, told the Daily Mail: “I played five and half years for Manchester. My first season was a transition, so I was in transition, I know I didn’t have a great season. But after that I played my games, played well and I won things.”Okay, I didn’t win the Premier League but that’s part of football. Manchester City was a strong team and was difficult to battle against them.”But I did some great games, scored some important goals, so for me I was very happy with my time in Manchester.’ Unfortunately, Old Trafford isn’t quite so cheery right now.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Danielle RochetteAPTN NewsEllen Gabriel testified Friday at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as the hearings in Quebec City wrapped up.Gabrielle, from the Mohawk community of Kanehsatake, told the commissioners that the justice system is “controlled by the perpetrators themselves.”“We saw that in Kanehsatake, we saw that at Ipperwash, we see that right across Canada and we saw that in Val d’Or where 35 Indigenous women made complaints against the Sûreté du Québec and not a single police officer found guilty,” she said.Gabriel told the commissioners that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should be used as a firstname.lastname@example.org@danfromest
In the run up to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, the Serge Ibaka story dominated the series. Ibaka injured his calf in the final game of the Thunder’s series against the Clippers and isn’t expected to return, leaving the Thunder without their starting power forward. It was clear how that might become a problem for the Thunder; Ibaka was one of the most active and effective rim defenders this season, according to the NBA’s SportVU Player Tracking. He defended an average of 9.5 shots at the rim per game (defined as any shot attempt where he was within 5 feet of both the basket and the shooter), seventh most in the league, and held opponents to 43.9 percent shooting on those attempts, sixth lowest among players who defended at least five shots at the rim per game.Without Ibaka on the floor, the Spurs partied down low Monday night, making 67 percent of their shots in the paint, 33 of 49 overall. With Ibaka healthy, the Thunder’s playoff opponents had made only 51 percent of their inside shots.Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City’s coach, decided to go small for much of Game 1, playing Kevin Durant at power forward and entirely neglecting a big lineup that had been instrumental in helping close out the Clippers. According to SportVU, the Thunder defended 34 shots at the rim Monday night, just a touch under the 35.1 they’ve been averaging in the playoffs. But far fewer of those shots were defended by front-court players — the tall guys.Thunder Defense at the RimDurant, Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson are fantastic, but their size offers less resistance at the rim than a guy nicknamed “Iblocka.” During the regular season, those three players combined to defend 6.3 shots at the rim per game. On Monday night, they defended 16. The Spurs made 12 of them.In Game 2, there may be an opportunity to play Steven Adams more minutes, but the Thunder simply don’t have the bodies to avoid these small lineups. If they can’t figure out how to assemble a better defensive structure with the players available, this series might not last long.
The Boys of Columbus face two key early-season tests that could derail their road back to New Orleans for next year’s BCS National Championship Game. OSU struggled in every road game except Minnesota in 2010. After two cupcake home games against Akron and Toledo, the Buckeyes play at Miami (Fla.) in week three. The Hurricanes played zombie football the last half of 2010 — anyone who watched Notre Dame dismantle them in the Sun Bowl could see that. The new eye of the Hurricanes, Al Golden, is a strict disciplinarian. He’ll have slackers running stadium stairs or shown the door. Come week five, the Spartans will visit Columbus. If the NCAA reduces the suspensions of Pryor, Herron, Posey, Adams and Thomas to four games, this could be their first game of the season. But if the NCAA upholds the suspensions, it’s likely Joe Bauserman, Jordan Hall, Corey Brown, Chris Fields, Andrew Norwell and Adam Bellamy will play major roles in beating Sparty, who loses veteran players on defense but returns with a strong offense. If OSU goes without the suspended five against Sparty, it might be a home underdog, which is rare for the Buckeyes. The last time this happened was against USC in 2009. The Sugar Bowl triumph feels good, but OSU might have mortgaged away another national title run in the process. “Through all adversity lies a blessing.” Solomon Thomas said that after Ohio State’s Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas on Jan. 4. In a game full of turbulence, it was fitting that five of the Shameful Six played fabulous roles in the win. But now it’s time to look to next season. By letting those players work their magic in the bowl, OSU might have cursed its 2011 national title hopes. Thomas, Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey and Mike Adams say they’ll return next season, putting OSU ahead of the Big Ten class: Michigan State will lose key players, including All-American linebacker Greg Jones; Wisconsin will lose powerhouse Scott Tolzein, winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the top senior quarterback; Iowa has to start over; and Michigan is nowhere to be found. Big Ten newcomers, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, will compete for the 2011 conference crown with quarterback Taylor Martinez. However, it’s a catch-22 for OSU: The Shameful Six were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl, but all except Jordan Whiting can’t play the first five games of next season for their part in Tattoo-gate. OSU appealed to reduce the suspensions. The Sugar Bowl win salvaged 2010 for the Buckeyes, who snapped their nine-bowl-game losing streak against the SEC, dating to 1978. By letting the suspended athletes play in the bowl, OSU might have pulled the plug on a 2011 National Championship run.
After finishing 16-16-4 last season, Ohio State’s women’s ice hockey team is scheduled to kick off its 2012-2013 campaign this Friday with a handful of veteran players in new leadership roles. The team nominated senior forward Hokey Langan to be the Buckeyes’ team captain. The Chatham, Ontario, product is seventh on OSU’s career scoring list with 105 points thanks to 46 goals and 59 assists. Buckeyes Coach Nate Handrahan said choosing Langan to be the team’s captain was a pretty simple choice. “Girls look to her for leadership and she is a very talented player, has a lot of experience, knows a lot from playing in the level she played at prior to being here with international competition,” Handrahan said. Handrahan commented on Langan’s individual strengths. “I think her hockey IQ and knowing the game, but I think she bleeds scarlet and grey and wants to win,” Handrahan said. “I think that has to be at the crux of your leadership and she is willing to do what it takes to win.” Langan said she is happy that her team chose her to be its captain and thinks the team has confidence in her. “It was an honor and one of the goals I had set freshman year,” Langan said. “I like to say I am a leader and that my teammates respect me and have faith in me to bring this team wins.” Langan attributed her strengths to her teammates and her knowledge of the game. “My teammates make me a lot better than I am myself, but I like to say that I can read the ice really well,” Langan said. “I am a good passer when I am given an opportunity.” Langan, though, won’t be the only member of the Buckeyes in a leadership role this season. Senior forwards Paige Semenza, Tina Hollowell and Minttu Tuominen will serve as the three assistant captains. Semenza, a two-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete from Pittson, Pa., severed as assistant captain last season and said her new role is about having experience. “It was definitely honoring being an assistant last year and it gave me experience that I was able to build on,” Semenza said. “Coming into my senior year, I wanted to be a leader and help my teammates.” Handrahan said Semenza’s attention to detail is what makes her a qualified leader. “Paige is a quiet worker who pays attention to all the little details in her life and that helps her on the ice,” Handrahan said. Hollowell, a native of Clinton Township, Mich., was named an Academic All-Big Ten selection and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete last season. Handrahan said Hollowell is the core of the team and inspires each player. “Tina is our heartbeat, our emotional leader, our warrior that inspires us to play well,” Handrahan said. Tuominen, a native of Espoo, Finland, is a former member of the Finnish National team and Olympic bronze medalist. Handrahan said the senior forward is an excellent leader. “Minttu is someone that has international competition and she is an Olympic medalist, obviously a talented player,” Handrahan said. Handrahan has not set any goals for the team but said he thinks the team has a good work ethic that will take them far. “I think this team can work hard and compete,” Handrahan said. “The potential for good things is there but we won’t really know until we drop the puck on Friday.” The Buckeyes will host its season opener against Lindenwood at the Ohio State Ice Rink on Friday at 7:07 p.m.
Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov (32) takes a goal kick during a game against Northwestern Oct. 20 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The teams tied, 0-0.Credit: Eric Seger / Sports editorThe Ohio State men’s soccer team is getting a break from its Big Ten schedule Wednesday, when it welcomes the Oakland Golden Grizzlies to Columbus.Oakland (5-3-5, 3-0-1) is a member of the Horizon League, but Buckeye coach John Bluem said his team would be wrong to take the small conference school lightly.“We’ve played Oakland many times before and they are a very good attacking team,” he said. “One of the things we’ll have to make sure we do is to first, (is) bounce back after (Sunday’s game). It’s a short turnaround to play again on Wednesday night. We’ll also have to make sure we respect our opponent, we can’t look at Oakland and say, ‘This is a team from a smaller conference and we should be able to win.’ Well you know, that’s not how it’s going to happen for us, we’re going to have to fight every single game as hard as we can if we want to get a result.”Oakland enters the match against the Buckeyes (2-6-5, 0-2-2) coming off a 3-0 loss to another Big Ten team, then-No. 14 Michigan State. The Grizzlies sit in second place in the conference.Defense has been crucial to The Golden Grizzlies’ success this season, as they have only allowed an average of 1.23 goals per game this year. Oakland junior forward Joey Tinnion leads the team with 14 points (six goals and two assists) in 2013.Bluem said the Buckeyes have been “riding the coattails of an incredible goalkeeper this year,” and the defense will have to remain strong in Wednesday’s match.OSU redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov said his job is to keep the team in the game at all times and that the team needs to remain focused in its upcoming matches.“It’s very important to keep the spirits of the younger guys up and make sure that they’re still checked in and focused on the season,” he said. “(The season) is still not over — everything is up for grabs. I think because we’ve been so close, the soccer gods will come through. We’ll get something eventually.”Three of OSU’s last four opponents have been ranked in the top 20 at the time it played them. Sophomore midfielder Zach Mason said confidence from playing those teams, after tying all three of them, will help the team finish the season strong.“We’re going to do what we’ve been doing (in practice),” he said. “I think we have a lot of confidence. You know, we’ll stick to the basics, stick to what we’ve been doing, we’ve been really close and I think we are right there.”Wednesday night’s game is set for 7 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The team’s next match is scheduled against Cleveland State Oct. 27, before it resumes conference play against No. 13 Penn State in Columbus Nov. 2.An earlier edition of this story noted that OSU had lost to the last three ranked teams it had played. The Buckeyes have in fact tied all three of these opponents.
Junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) throws the ball during a game against Indiana Nov. 23 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-14.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State junior quarterback Braxton Miller has made the decision to return for his senior season and not enter the 2014 NFL Draft.An OSU spokesman confirmed Thursday that Miller will return to OSU.Miller is the two-time defending Big Ten offensive player of the year and is coming off a season in which he finished in the top 10 in the conference in both rushing and passing yards per game.“I want to help this team win a Big Ten championship next year,” Miller said in a press release Thursday night. “Plus, I want to improve as a quarterback in all aspects of my game. I’m looking forward to working for another year with coach (Urban) Meyer and (offensive coordinator quarterbacks coach Tom) Herman.“And I want to graduate, so this will help get me close to my academic goal.”The quarterback is also coming off back-to-back losses, including a 40-35 defeat at the hands of Clemson in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl Jan. 3. Despite the losses, he has compiled a 28-8 record as the starting quarterback at OSU.Meyer said he is looking forward to working with the quarterback for another season.“We look forward to having Braxton Miller return to this team for his senior season,” Meyer said in the release. “He has been an extremely valuable member of our team and he is also a fine student. His desire to lead our team to a championship, to earn his degree from The Ohio State University net spring and to continue to improve as a quarterback are his motivation.”With Miller’s decision, the Buckeye offense will return five starters from a offense that finished the year third in the country in scoring offense with an average 45.5 points per game and seventh in total offense with 511.9 average yards per game.After the Orange Bowl loss, Miller said he was going to talk to coach Urban Meyer about whether or not he should turn pro.“I’ve got to think hard about it. I will talk to coach Meyer and see what he thinks,” Miller said. “He’s been through the process many times, so that’s the guy to go to. He never steers you wrong and ever since I got here, he took me under his wing and taught me a lot of things.”The Buckeyes are set to open their 2014 season with an Aug. 30 trip to Baltimore against Navy.