Saturday, April 30, 2011

Two years on, Pakistan to host first international series

LAHORE: Afghanistan’s cricket team will become the first foreign national side to play in Pakistan, two years after internationals were suspended over security fears, an official said Saturday.
International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan since March 2009, when gunmen attacked a convoy carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team in the eastern city of Lahore.“Afghanistan will send its national team to Pakistan in July and play the Pakistan ‘A’ team, and hopefully this will benefit our team,” Naseem Ullah Danish, chief executive of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, told AFP.

Danish met Pakistan Cricket Board officials in Lahore on Friday where they agreed to play a three-match one-day series, with games in Lahore, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi.Five Afghan regional teams and their under-19 string are playing their domestic matches in the Pakistani border town of Peshawar, as their main grounds are being renovated.
Danish hoped Pakistan’s second XI will also play in Afghanistan later this year. We have also invited the Pakistan ‘A’ team to Afghanistan for the inaugural match in Nangarhar where we have almost completed an international stadium,” he said.Since many Afghan players learnt their cricket in Pakistan they owe a great deal to the neighbouring country, Danish said.“Pakistan has always been helpful to us and have helped us reach this far in international cricket,” he said.
Most of the Afghan national team took up the game as refugees in Pakistani camps after Soviet troops invaded their country in 1979.Afghanistan won the Inter-Continental Cup and the International Cricket Council’s divisions five to one in the last two years, earning ICC one-day status and qualifying for the World Twenty20 held in the West Indies last year.

International teams were reluctant to tour Pakistan even before the Lahore attack, and the troubled country has since had to play its home matches at neutral venues in England and the United Arab Emirates.
The attack, which left eight people dead and wounded seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach, forced the ICC to strip Pakistan of its share of World Cup 2011 matches.
But Danish said security in Pakistan would not be an issue for his team.“Security is not an issue and by playing in Pakistan we want to send out a positive message to the world and hope that teams come to Pakistan and play here,” he said.

Pakistan super women complete series sweep in Sri Lanka

Javeria Khan capped an impressive series performance with an unbeaten 47 in the last ODI. —Photo by AFP Dawn News Updates

COLOMBO: Pakistan women wrapped up a successful tour of Sri Lanka by winning the quadrangular one-day international (ODI) series in Colombo on Friday.
Pakistan, who earlier won the quadrangular Twenty20 series, bagged the ODI series with a nine-wicket win over Ireland at the Thurstan College Ground.
Ireland, who were sent in to bat by Pakistan captain Sana Mir, failed to post a reasonable total as only of their ten batters managed to get double-figure scores and lead them to 68, all out in 22.1 overs.
Masooma Junaid was the first one to take a wicket when she dismissed Louise McCarthy in the second over. Wickets then kept falling at regular intervals as Qanita Jalil and Sana Mir joined the wicket-taker’s list.
Ireland captain Clare Shillington survived 26 balls for her 19 runs before getting out leg-before-wicket to Sadia Yousuf in the ninth over. Laura Delany was the other batswoman to get into double figures (20) but she, too, couldn’t hold the Irish innings together for too long. All Pakistani bowlers contributed to the wickets but Bisma Mahroof with her four wickets in 4.1 overs and conceded seven runs. Ireland were bundled out for 68 in the 23rd over, when Delany became Bisma’s fourth victim.
Pakistan began the chase emphatically, with in-form openers Nida Dar and Javeria Khan at the crease. Nida fell in the fourth over after scoring seven runs, but Javeria continued attacking the Irish bowlers as she hit three fours in her innings of 47 runs off 50 balls. Javeria was joined by Bisma after Nida’s dismissal and the two batters ensured their team secured the win without the loss of any more wickets, and with 9.3 overs to go.
With the victory, Pakistan also won the quadrangular series, having collected the most points in the league-based tournament. Pakistan had earlier beaten Sri Lanka by wickets while their match against Netherlands was abandoned after 20 overs due to rain. The women in green, hence, ended the tournament with two wins and one no-result while Sri Lanka beat Netherlands, lost to Pakistan and had their match against Ireland abandoned to finish with one win, one loss and one no-result. Ireland were third with a win over Netherlands, loss against Sri Lanka and the match against Pakistan abandoned. Netherlands lost two matches and had one match end in no-result.
Pakistan remained unbeaten in their seven matches in Sri Lanka, starting with a win over Sri Lanka in the first one-off ODI before the T20 series, which they also won.
Batswomen and openers Nida Dar and Javeria Khan were impressive on the tour, especially Javeria, who scored 110 runs in her three ODI innings, carrying her bat on two occasions.
Among the bowlers, Bisma Mahroof and Qanita Jalil were the top wicket-takers with six wickets each while Masooma Junaid took five wickets in the four ODI matches.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lankan players fixing matches since 1992, claims Tillakaratne

Dropping a bombshell, former Sri Lanka skipper Hashan Tillakaratne has claimed that match-fixing is common in his country since 1992 and promised to reveal names of those involved, soon. Tillakaratne, who played 83 Tests and 200 ODIs for Sri Lanka, made the sensational claim while appearing in a TV show. "I can tell this in agreement with my conscience. Match fixing is not something that started happening yesterday or today. According to my knowledge, it happened since 1992. I say this with great responsibility," Tillakaratne said. Tillakaratne, who was Sri Lanka's captain between April 2003 and March 2004, said people involved in the menace have been successful in burying the issue with money power but promised to expose them soon. "There were threats of this issue being exposed during various times. But it was pushed down by giving money to various people. If the people who were responsible for that are listening to this, I state this today with great responsibility, I will shortly reveal the names of those responsible," he said.

Lee Westwood in hunt but Rumford leads in South Korea

Lee Westwood

 Westwood hit four birdies on the front nine in at the Blackstone Golf Club

Ballantine's Championship second round leaderboard:

  • -10: B Rumford (Aus)
  • -7: S Kjeldsen (Den), MA Jimenez (Spa)
  • -6: R Davies (Wal), J Morrison (Eng), D McGrane (Ire)
  • -5: D Johnson (US), S-h Park (Kor), R Finch (Eng), N Alexander (Swe)
  • Selected others: -4: L Westwood (Eng), R Ramsey (Sco)
  • +2: I Poulter (Eng)
World number one Lee Westwood hit a four-under-par 68 to reach the halfway stage of the Ballantine's Championship, six shots off the pace.
Westwood, who needs to win in South Korea to be assured of retaining top spot, sank seven birdies but bogeyed three of the four par-three holes.
Australia's Brett Rumford leads the way after a nine-under-par 63 lifted him to 10 under for the tournament.
Ian Poulter eagled the 18th but finished two over to miss the cut.
The Englishman had started well with two birdies in his opening three holes but he bogeyed the 5th and 7th to fall back to two over par with the cut projected at one over.
He birdied the 12th, but bogeyed the 14th and dropped two more shots at the par-five 15th.
However, pars on the 16th and 17th left him needing an albatross on the par-five last to make the cut - his second shot missed the green and, although he finished with a deft chip-in to pick up two shots, the eagle was irrelevant.
Immediately after his round, Poulter tweeted: "Disgusted to miss the cut in Korea today, it's beyond pathetic, the harder I try at the minute the worse it is. This game keeps you guessing."
Westwood opened with four birdies on the front nine and carded three more as he attempted to climb up the leaderboard after a level-par first round.
Despite the three bogeys that checked his progress, the 38-year-old said: "Four under gives me a chance - six behind one and three behind second. I have a funny feeling a lot can happen on this golf course."
Westwood, who only returned to world number one after winning last week's Indonesian Masters, needs to finish at least fifth at Blackstone Golf Club in Icheon, to hold off current number two Martin Kaymer, who is not playing this week.
If Luke Donald triumphs at the PGA Tour Classic of New Orleans, where he is two shots off the lead after the first round, he will jump to number one, unless Westwood wins.
However, the day belonged to Rumford, who sank nine birdies in his bogey-free round.
"I didn't come to this week with that great form, but this is a funny game," he said. "The last two weeks I've not been playing well, I've been grinding everything out."
Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen and Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez also went on birdie sprees, collecting seven apiece, and respectively carded 66 and 67 for a share of second on seven under.
Ireland's overnight leader Damien McGrane shot a level-par 72 and is tied for fourth with Rhys Davies of Wales (68) and England's James Morrison (69).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Messi adds beauty to battle of Bernabeu

SID LOWE at Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid 0 Barcelona 2: THERE WAS fighting and faking but not much football. Not, that is, until the 88th minute when Lionel Messi scored a truly wonderful goal to give Barcelona a huge lead in this European Cup semi-final. Dashing past five players, he sprinted into the Real Madrid penalty area and slipped the ball past Iker Casillas to double the lead.
At last a moment that graced this occasion, at last a piece of skill that sat well with the two strongest clubs on the planet. All that anger finally gave way to a moment of awe.
This is a daunting task for Jose Mourinho’s side now. They must travel to the Camp Nou and score at least twice and they must do so without their coach, who will be suspended. Not only was Pepe sent off here – the fourth Real Madrid player to get a red card in four clasicos this season – so was the manager. As for Barcelona, they had the substitute goalkeeper Pinto sent off too as tempers flared. When Mourinho and Pepe departed, it was 0-0 – more evidence for the black legend the coach has constructed around his opponents.
Again, he would cite extenuating circumstances and again his side were down to 10 men against Barcelona. Whether that was the difference here will be debated for the next week and beyond. What will not is the quality of Messi’s goal – his second of a fractious night. Perhaps he was faced by a less populous defence but he still had five men to evade before he could stand before the Barcelona fans, celebrating the goal that could be the key to Barcelona to grasp the biggest prize this series has to offer.
Things had not started well for Barcelona, either, with the late withdrawal of Andress Iniesta and the tension of the pre-match press conferences. But rather than losing the plot, Guardiola may well be hailed as knowing a thing or two about mind-games himself now – even if the reality was that this game was settled elsewhere, not in the press room where Mourinho is, in the Barcelona manager’s words, the “puto amo”.
There had been pressure before the game and there was pressure from the start too – from both sides. Soon Barcelona settled into a routine of dominating possession. On the quarter-hour mark they had enjoyed 83 per cent of the ball. Except that “enjoy” might not have been the word. As Barcelona passed and passed and then passed again, Madrid simply waited, happy to forfeit the ball but not territory. And while Real Madrid felt that they had largely kept Barcelona at a safe distance, there were opportunities.
David Villa cut inside and struck a shot fractionally wide of Iker Casillas’s right-hand post on 10 minutes. And 13 minutes later, the opening period’s best chance fell to Xavi. A wonderful reverse pass from Messi found him dashing into the area but Casillas was out sharply to block the shot. Madrid’s response was largely limited to long range efforts and winning free-kicks, corners and throws, Pepe heading one harmlessly down, until Valdes was called into action right on the stroke of half time, pushing away a Ronaldo shot and having to block the offside Mesut Ozil’s follow-up.
The trouble in the tunnel at the end of the first half was not evident at the start of the second – Barcelona came out early and, in a role reversal, waited for Madrid. When they came out there had been a change – Adebayor was on and gave them a target to hit.
But it was a different target that came to the fore: Dani Alves’s knee. Pepe launched studs-first into a challenge on the right back, who crumpled on to the turf, and the referee, Wolfgang Stark, had no hesitation in taking out his red card.
Madrid felt that while a card could be justified, its colour could not. Puyol’s discussion with Mourinho suggested he might have agreed. Mourinho sarcastically clapped Alves and another red card followed – this time for the coach himself. The pitch and noise rose a notch.
Mourinho, who had pleaded for the chance to play Barcelona with 11 men, now had a narrative but not the situation he wanted. Nor, though, did Barcelona have the lead. Villa’s shot was parried by Casillas and Pedro was stretching and could not quite get into a position to head goalwards. A moment later he was withdrawn, replaced by Ibrahim Affelay. Few could have imagined the impact he would have.
Messi ran at the Madrid defence and when his progress was curtailed, smuggled the ball to Xavi, who fed the substitute on the right. He dashed past Marcelo and delivered a low ball towards the near post, where the Argentinian got ahead of his marker to nudge the ball past Casillas on the volley. This saga, though, still had a chapter remaining – and another moment from Messi, this time a magical one.
REAL MADRID: Casillas, Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Albiol, Marcelo, Alonso, Pepe, Diarra, Ozil (Adebayor 46), Ronaldo, Di Maria. Subs not used: Adan, Kaka, Benzema, Granero, Garay, Higuain. Booked: Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Adebayor.
BARCELONA: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Busquets, Puyol, Xavi, Mascherano, Keita, Pedro (Afellay 71), Messi, Villa (Roberto 90). Subs not used: Pinto, Jeffren, Milito, Fontas, Thiago. Booked: Dani Alves, Mascherano.
Referee: Wolfgang

Lee Westwood drops shots at Ballantine's Championship

 Westwood birdied the 18th, fourth and fifth before his late slip

Ballantine's Championship first round leaderboard:

  • -6: D McGrane (Ire)
  • -5: S-h Park (Kor), R Finch (Eng), F Aguilar
  • -4: R Ramsay (Sco), C Phadungsil (Tha)
  • -3: K-t Kim (Kor), C Del Moral (Sp)
  • Selected others: -2: MA Jimenez (Sp)
  • level: L Westwood (Eng)
  • +2: I Poulter (Eng)
World number one Lee Westwood had a costly finish to his opening round at the Ballantine's Championship in Icheon, South Korea.The 38-year-old, who regained his world number one spot after winning the Indonesian Masters last week, dropped three shots in his final three holes.It resulted in a level par round of 72 and left him six shots behind first-day leader, Irishman Damien McGrane.McGrane had four birdies on each nine to lead a group of three by one shot.
Westwood began his first round at the Blackstone Golf Club from the 10th tee and was progressing smoothly at three under when he took four at the 238-yard par-three seventh, finding a greenside trap after being distracted mid-swing by a camera in the gallery.Worse followed at the ninth, a 425-yard par four, when he made a six after pulling his tee shot.
Ian Poulter also started from the 10th and began in atrocious fashion with consecutive double bogeys.
The world number 17 also collected an eagle at the first before dropping a shot at the next in a 74.
Englishman Richard Finch, the world number 226 who carded a 64 in the final round to finish 10th at the recent China Open, shares second after a bogey-free 67.

The 33-year-old, who won the 2008 Irish Open, is a shot clear of Scotsman Richie Ramsay, who had a mixture of four birdies and two bogeys in six holes on his front nine.Miguel Angel Jimenez missed a three foot eagle chance and returned a 70, while Ernie Els, now ranked 15th, began quietly with a 73.

‘Doosra’ cannot be bowled legally: Holding

Mohammad Hafeez and Saeed Ajmal with their ‘doosras’ have foxed the West Indies batsmen in the series.—AFP photo Dawn News Updates

BRIDGETOWN: Pakistani spinners with their mastery over bowling ‘doosra’ have played a significant role in the team’s two easy wins against the West Indies in the current one-day series.
The spin trio of Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi have bowled 60 overs so far, picking up eight-wicket amongst them. Hafeez and Ajmal, with their ‘doosras’, have foxed the West Indies batsmen with ease and pose a major threat for the remainder of the series.
However, former West Indies fast bowling great Michael Holding has questioned the legality of the delivery.
“My belief regarding the ‘doosra’ is very clear, I don’t think it can be bowled legally,” said Holding while commentating during the second ODI in St. Lucia.
The Jamaican said his main argument over the ‘doosra’ is it cannot be bowled from the wrist alone and the use of the elbow is unavoidable.“I find it difficult to believe any human being can bowl that delivery with his wrist alone, the elbow has to be used for the power. It’s a matter of how much elbow power the bowler uses and the ICC obviously believes some bowlers use less than the 15 degrees and others don’t, as only some bowlers actions are questioned and reported,” Holding said. —Agencies

PCB reprimands Wahab, Asad for using Twitter

Asad Shafiq plays a shot past Carlton Baugh.—AFP   Dawn News Updates
ARACHI: Two members of the national team, pacer Wahab Riaz and middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq have been severely reprimanded by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for using a social networking site during the ongoing tour of the West Indies.

A PCB official confirmed that the two players were reprimanded by the team management in the West Indies for using Twitter.
According to the details, Wahab and Asad violated their central contract terms by posting tweets. “Wahab (Riaz) had even posted some pictures of the Pakistan team bus on the social networking site which have now been removed,” a PCB source said.
Under the new terms of the central contract, the PCB has strictly prohibited players from using social networking sites on tours.“Since it was their first offence they were reprimanded but if they do it again they will face heavy fines and may be suspension from some matches,” the source said.Riaz and Shafiq have been the leading performers for Pakistan so far in the series.
The PCB has included some strong clauses in the new central contracts that carry heavy fines and bans for players who violate the code that prohibits them from speaking to the media without permission, entering into endorsement contracts without permission, breaking curfew hours on tours, signing up with agents without approval of the board etc. —Agencies

Magnificent Messi gives Barca win over Real

Messi, 2nd right, reacts after scoring against Real Madrid.—AP Dawn News Updates
MADRID: Lionel Messi’s sublime double gave Barcelona a 2-0 win over Real Madrid in a tempestuous Champions League semi-final first leg which saw Real finish the game with 10 men and with coach Jose Mourinho in the stands.
Messi’s two goals settled a scrappy and tense affair at the Bernabeu and gave Barcelona a huge advantage to take back to the Nou Camp.
The Argentine met Ibrahim Afellay’s low cross from the right to steer past Iker Casillas from close range 14 minutes from time to break the deadlock.
Messi then netted a wonderful second three minutes from time when he weaved his way into the Real penalty area and slotted past Casillas to give the Catalan side a two-goal cushion to take into Tuesday’s return back in Barcelona.
Mourinho was sent off for his protestations soon after midfielder Pepe was dismissed in the 61st minute by referee Wolfgang Stark for a flying tackle on Daniel Alves.
Tempers had already flared at halftime with players and officials involved in a melee near the tunnel.Barcelona reserve goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto was sent off for his part in an unsightly fracas.A confrontation between Barca midfielder Seydou Keita and Real defender Alvaro Arbeloa as they left the pitch appeared to spark the trouble, which was quickly ended by security staff and police.
The Real fans turned the giant arena into a sea of white flags before kickoff, while several thousand Barca faithful waving Catalan banners high up in the stands tried to make themselves heard above the din.Real tore into Barca and stopped them playing in the first half of last week’s King’s Cup final but it was a different story on Wednesday as the visitors dominated possession without showing too much ambition in attack.
David Villa cut in from the right wing in the 11th minute and sent a low drive whistling past the post and Messi sent Xavi clear in the 25th but his effort was straight at Casillas.
The home side’s best effort of the first half came moments before the break when Cristiano Ronaldo tested Victor Valdes with a swerving effort the Barca keeper just managed to block.
The second half was short on the kind of attacking football Real and Barca normally produce as the visitors again controlled the ball without ever really threatening the home goal until Messi broke the deadlock and then gave Barca a huge boost for the return leg at the Nou Camp next Tuesday with his second.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

India appoints Duncan Fletcher as national team coach

Duncan Fletcher takes over from World Cup winning coach Gary Kirsten. —File photo by AP
MUMBAI: Former England cricket coach Duncan Fletcher was appointed to the high-pressure post of India coach on Wednesday, less than one month after the country won the World Cup on home soil.
India had been on the look-out to replace South African Gary Kirsten who stepped down from the role following his success in guiding the cricket-crazy nation to victory in the showpiece event.
Fletcher, a former Zimbabwean all-rounder who came to prominence as a coach when reviving the England team over several years and helping them regain the Ashes in 2005, has been awarded a two-year contract.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary N. Srinivasan made the announcement in Mumbai, naming Fletcher over other possible choices including New Zealander Stephen Fleming and Zimbabwean Andy Flower.
Fletcher, a taciturn 62-year-old, takes over one of the biggest jobs in cricket before India tour the West Indies in June followed by an important tour of England from July to September.“The contract with Fletcher is for two years. He may not join the team in the West Indies as he has some prior commitments,” Srinivasan told reporters after a BCCI meeting.
India are currently ranked number one in Test cricket, and number two in one-day internationals.
India, which also said it had increased bonus payments for each member of the World-Cup winning team to 20 million rupees from the earlier announced 10 million rupees, would retain Eric Simons as bowling coach, the BCCI said in a statement.
Fletcher, who played six one-day internationals for his country, was credited with turning around England’s fortunes in Tests under captains Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan during his eight-year stint.
After taking the reins in 1999 as England’s first foreign coach, he oversaw Test series wins over Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the West Indies.
With Vaughan, he helped England win their first Test series in South Africa in the post-apartheid era in 2005, before guiding them to the historic Ashes victory the same year, their first since 1986-87.
However he could not taste similar success in one-day internationals and resigned following England’s disappointing 2007 World Cup campaign in the Caribbean where his team failed to qualify for the semi-finals.
Vaughan said Fletcher would enjoy the challenge of working with Indian players but might struggle under the constant press attention.“Duncan will work well with all the talent,” he wrote on Twitter. “His biggest challenge will come from the media. He has never really understood how it works.”Fletcher has recently served as a consultant to South Africa and New Zealand.

Pakistan hires Indian tennis coach

It marks the first time that an Indian coach will supervise training in Pakistan. -AP File Photo
KARACHI: A senior Pakistani tennis official expressed hope Wednesday that an unprecedented move to hire a coach from the country’s arch rival India would improve play and ease political tensions.
Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) president Kalim Imam said they had clearance from the government to hire India’s Birbal Wadhera to train their senior and junior players.
“Wadhera is a renowned coach,” Imam told AFP. “We hope that he will help us groom some current players as well as some budding juniors and it will also help us develop our players besides having a good relationship with India.”
Imam said Wadhera will train at a month-long camp starting from May 10 in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
“Senior players will be trained in the first phase, then some ranking players and finally some juniors will get coaching,” said Imam.
Wadhera has said it would be an “honour” to coach across the border.
It marks the first time that an Indian coach will supervise training in Pakistan. Former Pakistan cricket captain Intikhab Alam, currently national team manager, coached the cricket team of Punjab, India between 2005-2007.
Sporting relations between India and Pakistan have been suspended since gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in 2008. New Delhi blamed the unprecedented attacks on militants based in Pakistan.
But since the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers watched last month’s cricket World Cup semi-final there have been signs of a resumption of ties.

Bookies who threatened Zulqarnain arrested in Sialkot

Zulqarnain Haider received threats during the ODI series against South Africa in UAE. – AP File Photo
SIALKOT: Police said Wednesday that arrested bookmakers had confessed to being behind death threats to former Pakistan wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider.
The 25-year-old abandoned the team in Dubai last November and fled to London, saying he had received death threats from bookies who wanted him to fix a match.
Haider said he was retiring from international cricket and applied for political asylum in Britain, but returned home on Monday after the Pakistani government gave assurances about his safety and that of his family.
“We have arrested eight bookies and some of them have revealed they were behind threats to Haider,” police official Nasir Qureshi told AFP from Sialkot.
“We have confiscated their data which has a number of international contacts and the investigation is still on.”
Qureshi said an official press conference could be called on Thursday.
“We have found a number of satellite telephones and diaries which have international contacts and we hope to get further details in the next 24 hours,” he added.
Haider last week announced that he was prepared to revoke his application for asylum and return to resume his career after meeting Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik in London.
On his return Haider said he had not yet decided on his future.
“I am happy to return and have got the kind of security promised to me. They have given me superb accommodation,” said Haider.
“There were some reasons when I left the team and went to Britain. I will spend some time with my family and haven’t decided on my playing future.”
On Monday, Malik said Haider had revealed some important details but refused to share them with the media.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said Haider had not made contact and only when he does, would a fact-finding committee take up the matter.
The committee, formed last year, found no clear motive behind Haider’s disappearance but termed him “mentally ill”.

India doubles cash reward for World Cup winning team

India's World Cup winning squad members will now receive Rs.20million each. —Photo by AFP

MUMBAI: India’s cricket chiefs on Wednesday doubled the cash bonus for each member of the World Cup winning team amid reports that the players had complained about being poorly rewarded.
“The cash incentive to the members of the World Cup winning Indian team has been increased from 10 million rupees ($225,000) per player to 20 million rupees,” the Board of Control for Cricket in India said in a statement.
India won the April 2 final, beating Sri Lanka at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium and triggering wild celebrations across the country.
But press reports said some players were unhappy about the size of their bonus.
“A player’s life is very uncertain. Who knows what will happen next?” one anonymous player told the Indian Express last week.
A string of state governments and private companies also showered the team with plots of land, luxury houses and money.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Peru, Czech Republic to go ahead with Japan friendlies

Japan has seen two of its summer international friendlies cancelled due to the tsunami disaster. —File photo by AFP Dawn News Updates
TOKYO: Peru and Czech Republic will travel to disaster-hit Japan for friendly football internationals in June after receiving reassurances over potential health risks amid the current nuclear crisis.
Last month’s deadly earthquake and tsunami left 28,000 people dead or missing in northeast Japan, also triggering a nuclear crisis at a power plant north of Tokyo.
Stadiums suffered damage while the J-League has been forced to cram a month’s worth of games into three weeks in the stifling July heat to make up the backlog of lost matches.
The Japan Football Association (JFA) told Reuters on Tuesday that electrical output would be reduced by 10 to 30 percent to reduce the strain on the national grid.
Peru and the Czechs have agreed to travel after being reassured by the JFA that the players and officials would be in no danger.
“We gave the relevant data about radiation levels and aftershocks,” JFA General Secretary Kozo Tashima told local media. “They are convinced it is safe to come.”
Asian champions Japan were scheduled to play home friendlies against Montenegro and New Zealand in late March but both teams pulled out following the disaster.
Japan will now play Peru in Niigata on June 1 and the Czechs in Yokohama on June 7, the JFA said.
Both matches will be played at night under floodlights, although the JFA said lighting away from the pitch would be dimmed or switched off to conserve energy.
Japan’s government has called on soccer and baseball, among other professional sports, to save electricity as workers battle to avoid a catastrophic meltdown at the Fukushima plant some 240 km north of Tokyo.
Japan’s national soccer team also face an embarrassing player shortage when they play as guests in July’s Copa America in Argentina.
With J-League clubs unable to release players with the season postponed following the March 11 quake and tsunami and European sides refusing to play ball, Japan could have to call up a squad made up largely of university students.

Pakistan women stutter, but beat Sri Lanka in low-scoring ODI

Nida Dar was one of the mainstay's of Pakistan's chase. —File photo by AFP Dawn News Updates
COLOMBO: After clinching the quadrangular Twenty20 series, Pakistan made a winning start to the women’s four-nation one-day series when they beat Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
Pakistan’s women’s cricket team have had an impressive tour of Sri Lanka, as they beat the hosts in a one-off ODI, then went on to lift the quadrangular Twenty20 trophy, and have now won the first match of the ODI tournament.
The opening match, which was played at Colombo’s P Sara Oval ground, was a low-scoring encounter as Sri Lanka were bundled out for 68 runs in 24.2 overs after being sent in to bat by Pakistan captain Sana Mir.
Pakistan, however, made the task difficult for themselves as they scraped to a last-ball win with two wickets in hand.
In-form opener Javeria Khan was dismissed in the third over for a duck and one-down batter Nahida Khan followed her back to the pavilion after scoring four runs, giving Sri Lanka a chance of reclaiming some pride.
Javeria’s opening partner Nida Dar, however, built a slow but steady fourth-wicket partnership with Bisma Mahroof and took Pakistan to 32-2.
When Nida fell to Eshani Kaushalya, she was replaced by Sana Mir but the captain couldn’t last long and Pakistan were reduced to 38-4.
Marina Iqbal then kept Bisma company until the latter was dismissed in the 20th over.
From there on, Pakistan’s chase was wobbly all the way to the end until the winning run was scored on the final ball of the innings.
Qanita Jalil, who has had a prolific tour so far, was among the wickets again as she removed Sri Lanka’s middle-order batters Suwini de Alwes and Lasanthi Madushani after the openers fell to Bisma Mahroof and Masooma Junaid.
Captain Mir was also impressive, with two wickets from her four overs as the hosts’ batswomen struggled to get runs on the board. Eshani Kaushalya (23) and Avanthika Mendis (13) were the only ones to get into double figures as all Pakistani bowlers contributed to the wickets tally.
In the day’s other rain-shortened match, Ireland beat the Netherlands in another close finish. Ireland made 113 runs in their 28 overs but the Dutch women couldn’t reach the low target and were bowled out for 112 runs.

Pakistan female players will not wear skirts: PBF

LAHORE: Pakistan Badminton Federation has said that its female players will not adopt the new regulations of dress code introduced by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to wear skirts as it is contrary to the principles of their religion.
The world governing body of badminton will be implementing the rule from June 1 in order “to ensure attractive presentation of badminton”.
“World Badminton should not make wearing of skirts by female players mandatory. Our religious beliefs and norms do not allow our female players to wear skirts,” said Syed Naqi Mohsin, Senior Vice President of Pakistan Badminton Federation who is also the Vice President, Badminton Asia Confederation, here on Monday.
He said that although it is stated by BWF that new regulation will not in any way discriminate against any religion or other beliefs, wearing of skirts by females will clash with religious values prevalent in Muslim countries.
“Pakistani female players have been playing in International Tournaments in trousers. They even participated in the Asian Games in the same attire as exemption was given to them in accordance with their Islamic values. The Iranian Girls used to play in trousers with a head scarf also,” he said.
“We have not been sending our female players to big tournaments like the Super Series and Grand Prix but they have participated in the Uber Cup, where this new dress regulation applies.”
He said he was sure lot of female players will willingly adapt the new regulation. However a lot of them will prefer playing in shorts but in the case of players from Islamic countries, it should not be made compulsory, he added.
The rule has also been critisiced by female badminton players in China, Indonesia and India. However, players are allowed to wear shorts underneath the skirt.

Pakistan Air Force

Pakistan Air Force

World Snooker: Mark Williams opens up lead over Allen

Williams is back to provisional world number one as he eyes a third world title
Welshman Mark Williams took a 5-3 lead over Northern Ireland's Mark Allen after a high-quality first session of their World Championship quarter-final.
The two-time champion stole the opening two frames and after an Allen break of 78 made it 2-1, Williams racked up 125.
Runs of 78 and 66 extended his lead to 5-1 but Allen responded with back-to-back centuries to cut the gap to two.
Judd Trump produced some stunning pots to open up a commanding 7-1 lead over Scotland's 2006 champion Graeme Dott.
The 21-year-old, who won his maiden ranking event at the China Open earlier this month, continued his superb form to move within six frames of the semi-finals.
He comfortably won the first two frames and after Dott - who has won all his previous Crucible quarter-finals - had opened with 52 in the third, Trump cleared to the black to pinch it.
He looked to be heading for a 4-0 mid-session lead after a break of 68 in the fourth, but Dott fought back to win it on the black.
But the youngster dominated on the resumption, further breaks of 86, 64, 58 and 55 leaving the gritty Scot with an uphill battle to salvage the match.
Meanwhile, Williams, the champion in 2000 and 2003, also looked to be heading for a big lead when he went 5-1 ahead against Allen, a semi-finalist in 2009 and quarter-finalist last year.
The Northern Irishman made a 66 break in the opener but lost it on a re-spotted black after Williams had tied the scores.
The Welshman, back to provisional world number one, also pinched the second frame after a run of 59 from Allen, who got on the board after a break of 78 in the third.
But Williams, who maintained a 95% potting success rate throughout the session, rattled in 125 to move three frames clear at the interval.
That swiftly became 5-1 but Allen showed tremendous character with breaks of of 100 and 102 to finish in style and stay in touch.
Both quarter-finals resume at 1900 BST on Tuesday. BBC Sports Updates

Monday, April 25, 2011

Imran blanks Michael Angelo Mengorio 4-0

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Imran Shahzad blanked Philippines Michael Angelo Mengorio 4-0 to surge in group F of the 27th Asian snooker championship in the Indian city of Indore on Sunday.
Playing on table two in the last session, Imran was home 77-23, 67-41, 65-27, 59-33.
Runner-up of the last Asian spectacle, Mohammad Sajjad, had humbled Iraq’s Ahmed Hassan Hadi 4-1 in group A match the other day.
Third Pakistani Shahid Aftab had a dismal start as he went down 2-4 to Afghanistan’s Mohammad Rais Senzahi on the opening day.
The latter won the battle 52-62, 64-34, 63-56, 18-74, 56-43, 66-62.
Shahid, however, recovered to send Bahrain’s Mohammad Al Sheikh packing 4-0 on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the organisers have revised the draws keeping in view lack of participants. Forty one players are now vying for honours in the annual event which concludes on April 30.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Real rout Valencia, Barca labour past Osasuna

Barcelona's player David Villa celebrates his goal against Osasuna. -Reuters Photo Dawn news updates

MADRID: A weakened Real Madrid team routed Valencia 6-3 away on Saturday while an uninspiring 2-0 win for Barcelona at home to lowly Osasuna maintained their eight-point lead at the top of La Liga.
Three days after Real’s 1-0 extra-time victory over Barca in the King’s Cup final, also at the Mestalla stadium, the Madrid side rested a number of first-team regulars but still proved too strong for their third-placed hosts Valencia.
Higuain rattled in three goals and Kaka grabbed a double after Karim Benzema had opened the scoring as Valencia were torn apart by the pace of Real’s counter-attacks.Home striker Roberto Soldado made it 5-1 after an hour and, as Real eased up, Valencia’s Jonas and Jordi Alba grabbed late goals to make the scoreline slightly more respectable.
Barca also fielded a changed side but laboured past relegation-threatened Osasuna with a first-half goal from David Villa and a late strike from substitute Lionel Messi.Pep Guardiola’s side moved a step closer to their third consecutive La Liga title and have 88 points with five games left, while Real climb to 80 and Valencia stay on 63.
Athletic Bilbao climbed to 51 points in fifth with a 2-1 derby win at home to Basque rivals Real Sociedad that came courtesy of first-half goals from Iker Muniain and Gaizka Toquero.“The victory was very important,” Barca’s Villa told Spanish television after ending an 11-match goal drought.“It was very difficult, especially the mental and physical tiredness from the other day, but it’s three points more, one game less and the eight-point lead is maintained.”
Mourinho had one eye on next Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona when he left Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Pepe on the bench but it hardly made any difference in Valencia.
IRATE FANS“We’ll keep on fighting in the league until it is mathematically impossible to win it,” Mourinho told reporters, describing his team’s performance as “spectacular”.
He added: “Let Barca win La Liga because of the points they have won rather than because we gifted it to them.“If we can end the campaign believing we are capable of winning in any stadium, against any team with any group of players we’ll have a huge amount of confidence for next season.”Benzema, who had already hit the crossbar, slotted the ball inside the near post after goalkeeper Vicente Guaita misjudged a low cross in the 23rd minute.
Argentine Higuain pounced on a defensive misunderstanding to sneak their second goal, and then set up Kaka for the third after yet another counter-attack in the 38th.Valencia’s fans were irate when an almost identical breakaway led to Kaka turning provider for Higuain just before halftime.Kaka pulled the ball back for Higuain to complete his hat-trick in the 53rd while Soldado’s nicely-taken goal, his eighth in four matches, was only a brief respite for the home side.Almost immediately, Kaka made it 6-1, nutmegging Marius Stankevicius in the area before curling the ball beyond Guaita.
Barca fielded a changed team – with Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta among those on the bench while Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol were in the stands — and lacked their usual fluidity.Jeffren broke down the left and crossed for Villa to put Barca ahead in the 24th minute.Osasuna were denied an equaliser just before the break when Victor Valdes scrambled a shot on to the post and Barca then dominated without threatening until Messi slipped home the decider at the end for his 31st of the league campaign.

Model Town FC, Sargodha University earn first wins

Sargodha University thrashed Hazara Shaheen 16-0 to record their first win of the championship. -File Photo

KARACHI: Model Town Club and Sargodha University earned their first wins in the fourth edition of National Women Football Club Championship.
Striker Khadija struck an 18th minute goal to power Model Town to a1-0 win over Lahore Fighters at MTFA Ground while Sargodha University thrashed Hazara Shaheen 16-0 in a match between the two first timers.
Earlier in Karachi, Diya FC bulldozed debutant Marta 22-0. It was Diya’s second win with a massive scoreline, having defeated TCS 11-0 in a previous match.
Afshan Altaf struck nine goals for the winners while Hajra Khan hit the back of the net eight times while Marium Laghari, Rukhsar Rafiq and Ghazal Farooq also scored.
Karachi Kickers edged past TCS with a 2-0. Both the goals were scored in the first-half through Qurat Ul Ain and Razmina.
In the Rawalpindi based group, Sargodha University recorded a 16-0 win over Abbottabad’s Hazara Shaheen. It was Sargodha’s first win who had earlier lost both their matches.
Spearhead Sidra Gul stole the show with seven goals, while Farhat came into form with five goals. Winger Muqaddas hit the target twice, while the lone goal scorers were Kulsoom and Afshan Perveen.
Meanwhile, 2007 National Champions Sports Sciences earned their second successive win by beating Lahore School of Economics 3-0 after a 6-0 win over Lums on Thursday.
Sumera Perveen, Samia, Ishrat Fatima were the scorers for the winners. LGS suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Lums. Fullback Saba Abbas opened scoring in the 32nd minute and added the second through Aroosa Ahmed in the 66th minute.
Monday’s fixtures:
Group A:
TCS v Marta (3.30 PM), Diya v Karachi Kickers (5 PM)
Group B:
LSE v Lums (3 PM), LGS v Sports Sciences (4.30 PM)
Group C:
Hazara Shaheen v YRS Rawalpindi (3.30 PM), Margala v YRS Layyah (5 PM).

Shoaib downs injured Farhan in COAS event

Farhan’s exit from the squash event now gives a chance to Yasir Butt and Nasir Iqbal. -AFP/File photo
ISLAMABAD: Farhan Mahboob, the top seed of the championship at the 9th of Chief of Army Staff Squash Championship, got retired hurt, giving a 3-0 win to Shoaib Hasan of Wapda.
Farhan’s exit from the squash event now gives chance to Yasir Butt and Nasir Iqbal, the emerging player from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to lift the championship title.

Shoaib Hasan (Punjab) bt Farhan Mahboob (Wapda) 3-0 (retired); Nasir Iqbal (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) bt Mansoor Zaman (PIA) 11-7, 11-6, 11-8; Yasir Butt (Wapda) bt Danish Atlas (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) 11-7, 11-7, 12-10; Farhan Zaman (PAF) bt Waqar Mehboob (ZTBL) 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8.

Nasir defeats Yasir to claim COAS crown

 Nasir lifted the championship with a 3-1 win against Yasir Butt. -File Photo Dawn News Updates

ISLAMABAD: Emerging squash player Nasir Iqbal with his perseverance and game skill defeated an experienced Yasir Butt in the ninth Chief of Army Staff International squash championship at the Mushaf Squash Complex on Saturday.
“It was my day. I was very confident and played as per my plan,” the youngster from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told journalists after winning his second major national title.
Nasir, 17, who also got an advantage of missing top squash players –Aamir Atlas Khan and Farhan Mehboob “is now swiftly sailing in the national squash circuit.”
Farhan made an early exit from the COAS International squash tournament mainly because he was supposed to participate in an international event while Aamir Atlas Khan is facing six months ban from the Pakistan Squash Federation.
“I am hopeful of performing the same in upcoming national events and if given a chance in international circuit, I will do my best,” said Nasir, who is currently ranked 149 in Professional Squash Association’s global ranking.
Nasir lifted the championship with a 3-1 win against Yasir Butt who lost from the youngster mainly because of stamina.
Nasir despite losing the first game 5-11 made a better comeback in the second, winning it 11-7.
He also won the last two games 11-4, 11-8, sending Yasir out of the court within 41 minutes.

Man United edge closer to title, Liverpool thrash Birmingham

Maxi Rodriguez scored a hat-trick against Birmingham. - Photo b AFP Dawn News Updates
LONDON: Manchester United maintained their six-point Premier League lead with four matches remaining after they beat Everton 1-0 with a late header by Mexico striker Javier Hernandez on Saturday.
Chelsea remained in the hunt by beating West Ham United 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, with Fernando Torres finally getting off the mark in his 14th appearance for the champions.
United, who visit Schalke 04 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, have 73 points after the striker nicknamed Chicharito, or Little Pea, ended Everton’s resistance six minutes from time at Old Trafford.
Chelsea, who left West Ham bottom of the league, are second on 67, with Arsenal, who are away to Bolton Wanderers on Sunday, on 64.
Manchester City, who visit Blackburn Rovers on Monday, are fourth on 56 with fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on 55 after they could only draw 2-2 at home with West Bromwich Albion.
Liverpool are only three points further back after thrashing Birmingham City 5-0 at Anfield, helped by a Maxi Rodriguez hat-trick.
Sunderland, who had taken just one point from their previous nine games, ended the dire run in emphatic style by beating Wigan Athletic 4-2 to ease their relegation worries.
Wolverhampton Wanderers against Fulham, Blackpool v Newcastle United and Aston Villa v Stoke City all finished 1-1.
Seventh-placed Everton were unbeaten in seven league games going into the match at Old Trafford but their record at the ground is dire, with their last win coming in 1992.
They were unable to end that drought on Saturday, although, well-organised and hard-working in defence, they kept United at arm’s length for much of a sweltering afternoon.
United, beaten in the FA Cup semi-finals by Manchester City last weekend and held 0-0 at Newcastle United on Tuesday, cranked up the pressure in the last 15 minutes and got their reward when Hernandez rose well to meet an Antonio Valencia cross and power in his point-blank header.
United have now won 16 and drawn one of their 17 home league games. Victories in their next two league matches would secure the title with two games to spare but they are unlikely to be easy – away to Arsenal and at home to Chelsea.“Today’s game was tricky. Everton are very resilient and some of their defending was fantastic,” United manager Alex Ferguson told the club’s website (“We had shots blocked near the line, some misses and the goalkeeper made two or three great saves. You say to yourself:‘It’s going to be another late one here.’ You can just smell the history of the club and so it was to be.“We took gambles, we took risks. We put Wayne Rooney in the middle of the pitch, we brought Ryan Giggs on, Michael Owen on.
We just kept going and I think we can be very pleased today.”The day’s scorching heat was replaced by a thunderstorm for the evening game at Stamford Bridge and for long periods Chelsea struggled to cope with the awkward conditions and some spirited play by their lowly London rivals.Chelsea grabbed the first goal at the end of the first half when Frank Lampard banged in a low cross from Ashley Cole.Centre back David Luiz rattled the bar with a 25-metre pile-driver before Torres came off the bench in the 76th minute and, eight minutes later, swept in his first goal for the club he joined from Liverpool for 50 million pounds ($82.81 million).
Florent Malouda rounded things off with a goal in stoppage time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Javeria steers Pakistan women to two-wicket win over Sri Lanka

Javeria Khan carried her bat to lead Pakistan's chase. - File photo Dawn News Updates

Javeria Khan’s unbeaten half-century guided Pakistan Women’s two-wicket win in the one-day international against Sri Lankan Women on Thursday.
The one-off ODI, being played at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club, was a low-scoring encounter, as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 153 runs with Sadaf Yousuf and Qanita Jalil taking three wickets each.
Javeria carried the bat and held the Pakistan chase together as wickets fell around her at regular intervals. She opened the innings with Nida Dar but was soon joined by Nahida Khan, as Nida was dismissed in the second over by Eshani Kaushalya. Nahida (5) and two-down batswoman Bismah Mahroof (7) were medium-pacer Kaushalya’s next two victims are she reduced Pakistan to 21-3 in six overs.
Captain Sana Mir then held her innings together for 43 balls as she scored 20 runs in the 41-run partnership with Javeria. She was, however, bowled out by her counterpart Shashikala Siriwardene in the 20th over. Marina Iqbal, who replaced Sana, could only survive three deliveries from Siriwardene before being given out leg-before. At this stage, Pakistan needed another 91 runs off 30 overs with five wickets in hand.
Javeria then shared a 53-run stand with Asmavia Iqbal, who scored 25 runs, to take Pakistan closer to the total. While Sri Lanka staged a late comeback to reduce Pakistan to 137-8, the visitors were anchored home by their resilient opener with 10 balls to spare.
Earlier, Qanita gave Pakkistan the perfect start when she bowled out Chamari Jayangani on the first ball of the innings. The medium-pacer then dismissed Suwini de Alwis in the third over to reduce the hosts to 8-2.
None of the middle-order batters could get into double figures as wickets continued to fall through the early overs. Captain Shashikala Siriwardene fell to left-arm medium-pacer Masooma Junaid after scoring four runs, and was soon followed by Sandamali Dolawatta and Dilani Surangika, both of whom were dismissed by left-arm spinner Sadia Yousuf.
At 48-6, the hosts’ chances of crossing the 100-run mark appeared slim when Deepika Rasangika and Eshani Kaushalya started building a partnership. The two lower-order batters were able to resurrect the Lankan innings to some extent with their 62-run partnership that came in 14 overs.
Pakistan captain Sana Mir then brought herself into the attack and managed to break the partnership in the 35th over when she had Rasangika edge a ball to wicketkeeper Batool Fatima after scoring 31 runs. Kaushalya’s 52-ball vigil also ended soon when she became Qanita’s third victim. The all-rounder top-scored for the hosts with 35 runs, which included two fours.
Sri Lanka saw a late flurry from Udeshika Pabodhani, who hit three fours in her 33-ball 19 as the hosts finished their innings on 153 runs, with one ball to spare.
The one-off ODI will be followed by a quadrangular series, which also includes Netherlands and Ireland. Pakistan play their first match of the series against Netherlands on Saturday.

Both matches of quadrangular series washed out on opening day

Pakistan made a good start to the tour with a win against Sri Lanka before the start of the series. - File photo by AFP Dawn News Updates

COLOMBO: Pakistan women’s opening match against Netherlands women was washed out by rain without a ball being bowled in Colombo on Saturday.
The second match of the women’s quadrangular series, between hosts Sri Lanka and Ireland, was also abandoned without getting underway.
The next set of matches of the series will be played on Sunday, where Pakistan will face Ireland while Sri Lanka will play Netherlands.Earlier, Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by two wickets in a one-off ODI before the start of the four-nation series.

PCB launches anti-corruption programme

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were not allowed to attend the programme.
KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has launched a programme to educate cricketers and officials on how to avoid corruption and be on their best behaviour in the sport.
“We have held lectures for all the regional teams including coaches who are part of the domestic structure and also for the national under-19 and `A` team players and support staff,” former Test captain and wicket-keeper Wasim Bari, who heads the programme, said.
The participants are given lectures on the International Cricket Council`s (ICC) anti-corruption code and the PCB code of conduct.“We are also telling them how to behave in a dressing room, how to interact with strangers and outsiders. How to avoid getting lured into corrupt practices. We are preparing them for international cricket.”
Banned trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir were not allowed to take part in the programme.“Since they [trio] have appealed against their bans the matter is technically sub judice,” said Bari. “So we can`t involve them in any programme at the moment.”The trio are serving minimum five-year bans from the ICC`s anti-corruption tribunal for their role in a spot-fixing scandal during last year`s tour to England.
The controversy sparked a major debate in Pakistan on whether the PCB was doing enough to educate the players on anti-corruption and code of conduct measures.
The PCB official said the lectures were delivered in the national Urdu language and players and officials were encouraged to take part in question-and-answer sessions.“We have also distributed a manual based on the ICC anti-corruption code and our own code of conduct in Urdu in all the regions,” he added.—Reuters

Sajjad triumphs as 27th Asian Snooker Championship begins

Muhammad Sajjad. -File photo Dawn News Update
KARACHI: Pakistan’s Muhammad Sajjad got off to an impressive start on the opening day of the 27th Asian Snooker Championship,  defeating Ahmed Hassan Hadi of Iraq 4-1 in Indore, India, on Saturday, according to a statement by the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association.
The 26-year-old from Sargodha, a two-time National Champion, dropped the third frame before carving out an easy win. After smart potting in the first frame, he compiled a superb break of 90 to show his class.
He raced to a 62-28, 91-0, 69-80, 72-12, 73-13 victory.
It is worth a mention here that Sajjad put up a brilliant display at the same event last year only to falter in the final against Issara Kachiwong of the then hosts Thailand.
Following is the schedule for Pakistani cueists: April 24: M.Shahid Aftab vs Mohammad Al Shaikh (Bahrain) Imran Shehzad vs Michaal Angelo Mengorio (Philippines) April 25: M.Shahid Aftab vs Yasin Merchant (India) Muhammad Sajjad vs Ali Naseer Al Obaidly (Qatar) Imran Shehzad vs Mubarak Al Owais (Kuwait) Muhammad Sajjad (PAK) vs Ahmed Adnan Abdullah (Jordan) April 26: Imran Shehzad vs Kamal Chawla (India) M.Shahid Aftab vs Hossain Vafeai Youri (Iran) April 27: Muhammad Sajjad vs Mohammad Al Joaker (UAE) Imran Shehzad (PAK) v/s Passakorn Suwannawat (Thai)

Female athlete goes missing in Lahore

LAHORE: A female athlete from Azad Kashmir, who reportedly came to Lahore to take part in the 43rd National Athletics Championship, which concluded at the Punjab Stadium here on Thursday, has gone missing, well informed sources told on the condition of anonymity.

The father of the athlete visited the chief minister house to get Punjab government’s help.
The chief minister house has referred the case to the director general of the Punjab Sports Board, but no clue of the missing athlete has been found yet.
The sources said the director general had inquired about the athlete from the Athletics Federation of Pakistan secretary general Khalid Mahmood and chief organiser of the annual meet, Salman Butt, who expressed their total ignorance about the arrival of the athlete in Lahore.They further said the father of the athlete had informed the director general that the cellphone of her daughter had been off for last three days.
The father also informed that he had been visiting with her daughter for different events like National Championship, which was held in Islamabad last year, and the National Games, which were organised in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, also last year.
He said the athlete represented Sindh in those events. But this time, he had not given permission to his daughter to visit Lahore for the championship but assisted by a coach she reached Lahore without informing him.It may be mentioned here that five years back a female athlete from Faisalabad had been raped by two coaches of a sensitive unit of the Athletics Federation of Pakistan in a hotel and was later strangled to death.
Since the coaches of a sensitive department were involved in the incident, the matter was hushed up.
The father of the missing athlete is still in Lahore but he is getting no satisfactory information about the whereabouts of his daughter.
An official of the Punjab Sports Authority said some notorious coaches were involved in such activities as they used to entice female athletes, especially from poor families, under the pretext of giving them employment.

West Indies opt to bat in first ODI against Pakistan

Abdur Rehman is replaced by debutant all-rounder Hammad Azam. - Photo by AFP Dawn News Updates
GROS ISLET: West Indies captain Darren Sammy opted to bat first in the opening one-day international against Pakistan on Saturday.
Pakistan replaced left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman with uncapped all-rounder Hammad Azam in the only change from the side that lost the one-off Twenty20 international against the hosts.
West Indies, meanwhile, replaced pacer Ravi Rampaul with Kirk  Edwards.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Hammad Azam, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan
West Indies: Lendl Simmons, Devon Smith, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Carlton Baugh, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Devendra Bishoo, Kirk Edwards, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell

Friday, April 22, 2011

Andrew Ference denies giving gesture

MONTREAL -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference claims he had no intention of giving the fans at Bell Centre the middle finger after he scored a goal at 9:59 of the second period Thursday night.
After the Bruins beat the Canadiens 5-4 in overtime to even the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal at two games apiece, Ference addressed the situation.
"It looks awful; I just saw it," he said of the replay. "I can assure you that's not part of my repertoire. I think my glove got caught up. I can assure you that's not part of who I am or what I ever have been. It looks awful. I admit it and I completely apologize to how it looks. I was putting my fist in the air. I'm sorry. It does look awful. I don't know what else to say."
On Friday, the NHL announced Ference was fined $2,500 "for an obscene gesture" during Game 4.
"It looks really bad," Ference said after the game. "All I can do is tell you the truth, and that's the truth. I totally agree it looks bad. I can assure you that's not who I am or ever will be. I was pumping my fist in the air. I don't score too many goals and that's about all I have in my [celebration] repertoire."
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he hadn't seen the replay of the incident.
"I didn't see it, so I can't comment," Julien said. "I've heard about it, but I haven't had a chance to talk with Andrew. If you ask me, I'm surprised because that's not Andrew at all. I'm shocked. I don't know whether it happened, or what, but I would be very surprised. That's not his style."
Montreal coach Jacques Martin said he did not see the gesture.
Prior to Ference's goal -- which cut Boston's deficit to 3-2 -- Canadiens forward Brian Gionta drilled Ference hard into the boards in the Bruins' end. Ference got to his feet, got into the play in the offensive zone and knuckled a shot past Montreal goaltender Carey Price.
"Honestly, it was rolling and I just whacked it, and 90 percent of the time it goes off the glass. I got lucky it went in," Ference said.
Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for

Projectile struck Mark Cuban in face

PORTLAND, Ore. -- An object thrown from the Rose Garden stands hit Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in the face during Thursday night's Game 3 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.ESPN News Updates
The incident occurred midway through the fourth quarter after Cuban had been interacting with the fans in the section behind the Mavericks' bench. Cuban was not injured.
"I don't know what it was, but something hit me in the face," said Cuban, who encouraged fans to boo him more by putting his hand by his ear.
Extra security was assigned to the area behind the Mavericks' bench for the remainder of the game. There were no other issues.
Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for Ben Rogers of ESPN 103.3 contributed to this report.

I don’t have temperament to play Test cricket: Afridi

Shahid Afridi watches a ball during a training session in Gros Islet, St Lucia.—AFP Dawn.News Updates
KARACHI: Pakistan’s limited overs captain Shahid Afridi has defended his decision to quit Test cricket, saying he does not have the temperament to play the traditional format of the game.
Afridi though feels that he should not have ended his Test career without completing the series against Australia in England last year.“My decision was absolutely right. I don’t think I am a Test-temperament player, hence it’s best that instead of me players more suited to Test cricket are selected,” Afridi said in an interview.
Afridi said he did not become the Pakistan Test captain by choice and was pressurised to take up the job in the interest of the team.“I didn’t want to accept, but I was under pressure to accept it. I was advised that the unit that I had built [in ODIs] should be continued in Tests too. I didn’t want to back out or let the team down. The team was going through a difficult phase and we were trying to re-build the team, hence I accepted,” he disclosed.“However, I had made it clear that if I didn’t enjoy it, I would leave. I should not have quit after that first Test, but I realised that Test cricket is not for me,” he said.
Afridi said the ODI side need to learn to utilise the batting powerplays well. “Quite a few teams have faced problems with regards to the batting powerplay. For us, when we take the batting powerplay, we start losing wickets, so then we thought it’s probably best to delay the powerplay and take it right at the end to avoid losing wickets earlier.”I do realise we have this problem. The coach and I have discussed this in detail and hopefully we will see some better results on this in the upcoming series in the West Indies,” he added.

Afridi said he was happy to play the role of a floater batsman and was focusing more on his bowling which had paid rich dividends in the World Cup where he took 21 wickets.“For the past three or four years, I have been a bowling all-rounder. I have focused a lot on my bowling in this period and it has worked well. I should use my batting according to the situation.
There should be no set position for me,” he said. The all-rounder also remained unfazed by criticism about his batting performances.“Definitely, there is criticism and I always take the criticism positively. The West Indies tour and the Zimbabwe tour are good series for me to regain my batting form. I acknowledge that recently I may not have worked as hard on my batting as I should have, but I have addressed that.”
Afridi said he enjoyed playing under Wasim Akram and also regarded Moin Khan and Inzamam-ul-Haq as good captains.“I enjoyed my cricket a lot under the captaincy of Wasim bhai and my performance was good too. Moin was also a tough cricketer and a fighting captain while Inzi was good too. So these would be my top-three, the three captains under whom I enjoyed my cricket a lot,” he stated.
When it came to naming the coach who inspired him the most, Afridi could not look past the late Bob Woolmer.Describing Woolmer as the ‘best coach’ he had played under, Afridi was full of praise of the Englishman’s ability to motivate the players. “Woolmer has to be the best coach.
His coaching style was great, so when a player wasn’t performing, Bob would sit with the player, chat with him informally, all this to ensure one’s spirits didn’t fall and the player wouldn’t get demoralised. That was a great quality in him, as players do need that,” he said. —Agencies

Bishoo spins Windies to T20 win over Pakistan

Sammy celebrates after bowling to dismiss Hafeez as Shehzad looks on.—AFP Dawn News
GROS ISLET, St.Lucia: Leg spinner Devendra Bishoo claimed four wickets as the new-look West Indies beat Pakistan by seven runs in their Twenty20 international on Thursday.
The Guyanese spinner ran through the Pakistan middle order as they fell short in their chase of West Indies’ total of 150 for seven.

West Indies picked a youthful team for the one-off game and the upcoming ODI series, having dropped experienced batsmen Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.One of the young faces, opening batsman Lendl Simmons got West Indies off to a great start with a lively 65 off 44 balls and left-hander Darren Bravo struck 42 off 33 as the Caribbean side brought up their 100 in the 13th over.But, as so often, Darren Sammy’s side failed to build on their good foundation and ended up falling short of a really strong total, with just two other players making double figures.

Pakistan lost both their openers, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez, early but Umar Akmal’s 41 from 60 balls put them in with a chance.Bishoo, who caught the eye of West Indies selectors with his performances in regional Twenty20 cricket, then showed his value in the shortest form of the game with some astute bowling.The vital breakthrough came when Sammmy made a fine catch at extra-cover off Bishoo, to dismiss skipper Shahid Afridi (12) and break up what was a potentially match winning partnership.
Sammy then ran out Mohammand Salman and when Marlon Samuels caught Umar at deep midwicket off Ravi Rampaul, Pakistan were in trouble at 109-7.

But some loose bowling and some spirited resistance from Saeed Ajmal (21 not out) at the end gave the tourists a glimmer of hope and the last pair needed 14 from the final over.Jamaican all-rounder Andre Russell kept his composure, after a no-ball with his first delivery of the over, and the West Indies had cause for celebration at the start of their home campaigns which also includes two tests with Pakistan in May and three against India in June.

Rafael Nadal beats Gael Monfils to make Barcelona semis

Sammy celebrates after bowling to dismiss Hafeez as Shehzad looks on.—AFP BBC Sports
World number one Rafael Nadal stretched his unbeaten run on clay to 32 matches as he beat Gael Monfils to reach the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open.The Spaniard, 24, powered past the French seventh seed 6-2 6-2 and remains undefeated on clay since 2009.Nadal next faces Feliciano Lopez or Ivan Dodig as he continues his quest for a sixth Barcelona title.
In the other quarter-finals, Jurgen Melzer plays David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro takes on Juan Carlos Ferrero.
"To win 6-2 6-2 is a very positive result and was much better than I expected," said Nadal. "I'm very pleased.
"I won in Monte Carlo last week and now to be in the semi-finals in Barcelona is super positive, I couldn't have started the clay season any better. Now I have to keep on working."

West Ham's Scott Parker wins Football Writers' award

Parker has scored five Premier League goals this season. BBC Sports-News Updates

West Ham midfielder Scott Parker has been voted 2011 Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers' Association.
Parker, 30, topped the poll of journalists ahead of Tottenham winger Gareth Bale, who was last week named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year.Parker's form this season earned him an international recall for England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales in March.The former Chelsea and Newcastle player will receive the award on 12 May.As well as Bale, Parker also pipped some high-profile names to the award including Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic and Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez as well as Blackpool's talismanic midfielder Charlie Adam.

Parker's award is even more impressive considering West Ham's lowly position and the poor season they have had - they head into their last five games of the campaign one off the bottom of the table.
"Parker has been so consistent this season with his performances in a West Ham team battling for Barclays Premier League survival and as such has forced himself back into the England national set-up," said FWA chairman Steve Bates, chief football writer at The People."He has been an inspirational figure for the Irons and hopefully his professionalism will be rewarded with West Ham staying up at the end of the season."
Hammers manager Avram Grant, who said he was "very positive" that Parker would still be at the club at the start of next season, applauded the decision to look beyond players involved in the title chase.
"Not every time do you need to choose someone from the top teams," he said."He did a lot for the team, he was good even in the games he played for the national team."For us he is not just a good football player, he is a good person. It is very important to be a positive person who is an example."Parker was praised by his team-mates after they responded to his impassioned half-time team-talk to come back from 3-0 down and salvage a draw away to West Brom in February. 
BBC Sport's chief football writer, Phil McNulty, added: "Parker's selection as the FWA Footballer of the Year only underlines the scale of his contribution to a West Ham team that could still be relegated - and probably would be already if it wasn't for his professionalism and performances."It's often easy to shine in a good side but Parker has carried a poor team and has been so outstanding that he has finally convinced England coach Fabio Capello of his worth. A worthy winner."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was among the first to react to the decision, saying: "It is a justifiable choice because he has had an outstanding season, until recently when he was stopped by injuries - he was very influential in the West Ham team."Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who was linked with Parker last summer, said his performances this season will make him difficult to hang onto if the Hammers are relegated.
"What he has done this year in a struggling team is great. I'm delighted for him," he said."I've always liked him. You couldn't dislike him as a guy and a player."Hopefully West Ham will stay up and he'll stay. If they don't stay up they've got a problem keeping the Footballer of the Year haven't they?"

FF announces probables for World Cup qualifiers and Palestine tour

Palestine has already played two matches of the four-match series in Pakistan. -Arif Ali/White Star
KARACHI: Pakistan Football Federation(PFF) has approved 42 players for the Pakistan national football team camp , who will feature in the 20th World Cup Qualifier and the return leg matches of the bi-lateral series with Palestine.
Nabil Aslam, a Danish footballer of Pakistani origin, who plays for Alliance Club Horsensin, is among the 42 probables and will be serving his first call to a PFF camp.
Other overseas players are Atif Bashir Qureshi, Zeeshan Rehman, Adnan Farooq Ahmed and Hassan Bashir who are also called for World Cup qualifier matches against Bangladesh which will be two legged encounters on 29 June and 3 July 2011.
Earlier, Pakistan will play two matches against Palestine at Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium, Al-Ram near Ramallah on 24 and 27 May 2011.
Goal keepers (6):
Amir Gul (NBP), Muhammad Omar (KESC), Shahid Nabi, Ghulam Nabi (KRL), Ahsan Ullah (KPT), Saqib Hanif (ZTBL)
Defenders (13):
Manzoor Ahmed (WAPDA),Alamgir Khan (Police), AhsanUllah (KRL), Muhammad Asif (WAPDA), Muhammad Shahid (KRL), Nabeel Aslam (AC Horsens, Denmark), Abdul Jabbar (PIA), Ansar Abbas (Army), Atif Bashir Qureshi(Barry Town, Wales),Kamran Khan(KRL), Muhammad Ahmed (WAPDA), Samar Ishaq(KRL),Zeeshan Rehman (Muangthong United FC, Thailand)
Midfielders (10):
Faisal Iqbal(NBP), SyedArif Hussain(WAPDA), Zia Us Salam (KRL), Muhammad Waseem (KPT), Farooq Shah (NBP), Muhammad Mujahid (PAF), Hussnain Abbas, Muhammad Adil, Mahmood Khan (KRL), Adnan Farooq Ahmed (Aboomoslem FC, Iran)
Strikers (13):
Saddam Hussain, Shakir Lashari (PIA),Jadeed Khan Pathan, Arif Mehmood(WAPDA), Rizwan Asif, Kalim Ullah, Muhammad Qasim (KRL),Muhammad bin Younus, Muhammad Riaz, Mohammad Rasool (KESC), Adam Hameed (NBP), Hassan Bashir (Hellerup IK, Denmark), Ahmad Akbar Khan.

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