The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has moved the honourable Supreme Court, seeking funds to host the final two Test matches of the series against England.BCCI councilor Kapil Sibbal moved the apex court today seeking a grant of Rs 1.33 crore for the upcoming Test matches in Mumbai (December 8-12) and Chennai (December 16-20).Supreme Court has asked Justice RM Lodha committee to respond and will have a hearing today at 3 PM.India currently lead the five-match series 2-0 after draw in Rajkot and victories in Visakhapatnam and Mohali.The Supreme Court adjourned the December 6 hearing regarding the Lodha panel recommendations and BCCI’s reluctance to accept all recommendations till December 9 as Justice TS Thakur was unwell today and could not take up any case.The Lodha Committee was appointed after the ‘conflict of interest’ issue sparked a controversy in Indian cricket.The Lodha Committee, in its first status report submitted to the apex court on September 28, had asked for the removal of the present set of BCCI of office-bearers, to be replaced by a group of independent administrators. In its third status report submitted on November 14, the committee altered the demand a bit, asking for the disqualification of office-bearers of the BCCI and all state associations, who become ineligible as per the apex court’s July 18 order, and the appointment of former Union home secretary GK Pillai as “observer”.On October 21, the top court passed an interim order asking the BCCI to “cease and desist” from disbursing funds to state associations until the association gave a written resolution that it would adopt all the recommendations approved by the court.advertisementThe court also asked BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke to meet the Lodha committee within two weeks from the date of that order and submit an”affidavit of compliance”, elaborating on the recommendations already implemented by the BCCI and what it had done to persuade the state associations to adopt the remaining recommendations. (10 times Supreme Court showed BCCI who is boss)On October 1, the board had accepted many of the “significant recommendations” of the Lodha committee. However, it excluded the important ones which have been bone of contention between the cricket body and the Lodha Panel.The recommendations, which have still not been accepted by the 30-member committee, include one-state one-vote, age limit of 70 years, cooling-off period of three years which included the tenure of the administrators, continue with the five-selectors and keeping to retaining the powers of the president and secretary as per the earlier constitution of the board.The cricket board has consistently argued that they have implemented many of the Lodha panel’s recommendations but their members have problems in implementing only some of them.
Manchester United’s recruitment under Jose Mourinho has been questioned by Paul Ince, with a centre-half storm raging on the back of previous deals for Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof.The Red Devils bolstered their defensive ranks in 2016 and 2017, with big-money transfers pushed through for international performers.Neither Bailly nor Lindelof have entirely convinced at Old Trafford, though, with the pair enduring a forgettable afternoon alongside one another during a 3-2 defeat at Brighton on Sunday. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Mourinho had been hoping to have more options at his disposal, having pursued the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire over the summer, but Ince feels he needs to shoulder more responsibility for additions that have already been made.The former United midfielder told Match of the Day 2: “He spoke about not getting the centre-halves. Has he got the players he wanted to get in?”He bought the two centre-halves and I don’t think he got them right.”[Chris] Smalling didn’t play [against Brighton], [Phil] Jones is injured. I’m not sure he’s got the right partnership.”While defensive frailties were highlighted against the Seagulls, United struggled as a collective to find fluency – with Paul Pogba questioning their attitude and preparation afterwards .Ince admits these are concerning times at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils failing to deliver on expectations.He added: “This is Manchester United. We expect better.”You’re not always going to play well as a team.”I’ve watched that game and I’m trying to work out what the tactics were.”I didn’t know how Manchester United were setting up, what their game plan was. I saw it with Brighton.”There was no cohesion, no pattern of play. What are they trying to do? What is their identity?”United will need to have answers to those questions by the time they welcome fellow top-four hopefuls Tottenham to Old Trafford next Monday .
Claudio Marchisio told Juventus supporters that he is now one of them in an open letter following his release by the Italian champions after 25 years at the club.The midfielder became a free agent after making 389 appearances for Juventus across a first-team career that began in 2006-07, and he posted an emotional tribute on social media.Marchisio, who has been linked with a move to the MLS or the Premier League but is yet to make an announcement on his future, said the club’s philosophy has shaped his life and pledged his support to Juventus regardless of his next destination. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! “It’s said that at Juventus, ‘winning isn’t important, it’s the only thing that counts’,” said the 32-year-old.”Behind this phrase, which is so loved by us fans (yes because even if it may seem impossible, I am one today), said by our President Giampiero Boniperti, lies the deepest meaning of our way of life.”When you’re a child with a dream, a child among many, you know that for [the Juve] shirt, you’ll have to be the best. Always.”I spent the last 25 years of my life imagining what I wanted to become and the dreams I wanted to achieve with Juventus, but there wasn’t a single moment during which I thought I would live a moment like this.”Marchisio, who joined Juventus aged seven and came up through the club’s youth ranks, gave no indication over where he might spend the next stage of his career.Quando ti rendi conto che quella che per 25 anni è stata la tua vita tutto d’un tratto farà parte di ciò che è stato, c’è un solo modo per continuare a vincere ed è sapere che in ogni caso non perderò nulla di tutto questo perché sarà sempre parte di me ed io ne sarò sempre parte pic.twitter.com/YVGtUFRvCT — Claudio Marchisio (@ClaMarchisio8) August 22, 2018 He recalled the challenge of playing alongside Juventus greats like Alessandro Del Piero and Gianluigi Buffon, who he aspired to emulate as an academy player.”Regardless of what my next steps will be professional or otherwise, it would be useless and wrong of me to hide that my heart and DNA have and will always have only two colours,” he said.”You work hard in the shadows of your idols forever and give the best of yourself every day for the shirt because those jerseys, once sewn on me, equate to pride, joy and responsibility.”Del Piero, [Pavel] Nedved, Buffon, [David] Trezeguet, [Mauro] Camoranesi and all the others. Because everyone knows that, to honour this shirt, you must do your bit.”This doesn’t just apply to us players but also for every single fan. Juventus win because they’re the best on and off the field.”
With half of the Champions League group stage games done and dusted, matchday four brings a clearer shape to Europe’s top competition as the best pull ahead of the rest in the race to qualify for the knockout rounds.In Group G though, it is still anybody’s guess as to who will make it into the last-16 as holders Real Madrid, Roma and CSKA Moscow all chase the top two spots.Santiago Solari – taking charge of his first Champions League game – knows that a win will keep his Los Blancos side in prime position to progress but will be wary of opponents Viktoria Plzen, who could throw themselves back into the race with a win themselves. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Defeat however and victory for Roma would see the Czech Republic outfit eliminated with two games to spare.Having fallen just short in the 2-1 return fixture a fortnight ago , Pavel Vrba’s side will hope to go one better on home turf and claim a shock win – but does the might of Madrid offer too much for them to handle? Game Viktoria Plzen vs Real Madrid Date Wednesday, November 7 Time 8:00pm BST / 3pm EST TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser. US TV channel Online stream Univision Deportes fubo TV (7-day free trial) In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport ESPN and livestreamed on BT Sport Live. UK TV channel Online stream BT Sport ESPN BT Sport Live Squads & Team News Position Viktoria Plzen players Goalkeepers Kozacik, Hruska, Svacek Defenders Hejda, Hubnik, Limbersky, Reznik, Hajek, Havel, Pernica Midfielders Prochazka, Horava, Zeman, Kopic, Petrzela, Hrosovsky, Bucha, Cermak, Ekpai Forwards Chory, Reznicek Viktoria Plzen XI: Hruska; Reznik, Hejda, Hubnik, Limbersky; Prochazka, Hrosovsky; Havel, Cermak, Kopic; Chory. Position Real Madrid players Goalkeepers Navas, Casilla,Courtois Defenders Ramos, Nacho, Odriozola, Reguilon, Javi Sanchez Midfielders Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, Llorente, Isco, Ceballos Forwards Benzema, Bale, Lucas Vazquez, Asensio, Vinicius Jr Madrid caretaker Solari takes charge of his first Champions League encounter, and has chosen Thibaut Courtois ahead of Keylor Navas in goal for Wednesday’s match.Jesus Vallejo, Dani Carvajal, Marcelo and Raphael Varane all remain sidelined, while Vinicius Junior remains on the bench and Luka Modric is also rested for the clash.Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Odriozola, Nacho, Ramos, Reguilon; Ceballos, Casemiro, Kroos; Vazquez, Benzema, Bale.Betting & Match Odds Real Madrid are 3/10 favourites to take the victory, according to B et 365 , while a draw is available at 5/1. Viktoria Plzen, meanwhile, are priced at 10/1.Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more. Match Preview With Julen Lopetegui’s tenure officially consigned to the history books following his disappointing start in charge of Real Madrid, the Champions League holders now must look to turn their season around and rediscover their form of old.Their 2-1 victory at home to Viktoria Plzen just over a fortnight ago gave them their first win in six games across all competitions but proved to be the briefest of reprieves for Lopetegui before his dismissal.Solari is the man who has been tasked with filling the position of manager on an interim basis and the 42-year-old – a member of the Madrid team who lifted the Champions League in 2002 against Bayer Leverkusen in Glasgow – will be keen to make his mark in charge.Domestic victories against Melilla and Valladolid have given him a winning start but the trip to Plzen represents his toughest test yet.Karim Benzema is likely to start up front once more, despite not having found the net for eight games for Madrid, but Solari has backed his striker to deliver, hailing him as ‘incredible’ .As for Plzen, they have only managed to muster a single point so far in Group G following a 2-2 draw against CSKA Moscow; they were subsequently drubbed 5-0 by Roma before their defeat to Los Blancos.Like Madrid, they come in on the back of a win, having claimed a 1-0 victory over Banik Ostrava to earn a measure of revenge for their defeat in the Czech Cup to the same opponents four days prior.Despite the absence of the injured defensive trio of Raphael Varane, Daniel Carvajal and Marcelo , Plzen boss Pavel Vrba remains wary of the La Liga outfit, warning his side that they have quality in spades.“Real Madrid still has a huge quality even though they miss any player,” the manager said in his pre-match press conference.“I think Madrid’s game is clear. They always want to control the game and dominate. We will aim to surprise them.”
Rafael Nadal’s preparations for the French Open continued apace as he swept past 13th-seeded Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4 Thursday to ease into the Italian Open quarterfinals and extend his winning streak to 17 matches.Fourth-seeded Nadal broke Sock’s serve twice in the second set and served out the match to set up a last-eight meeting with Dominic Thiem, who was beaten by Nadal in the Madrid Open final last week.”I am here to try my best. I know (it) is a tough tournament. I don’t have an easy draw here, a tough one,” Nadal said. “Dominic is the player that is having probably more success now on clay, no? So will be another tough battle tomorrow.”The 30-year-old Nadal has won consecutive clay-court tournaments in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. The Spaniard is aiming for an eighth title at the Foro Italico as he prepares for the French Open in less than two weeks.”I think I can play a little bit more aggressive than what I did tonight. I think I have to do it,” Nadal said. “But in general terms I am happy with the way that I played, obviously.”Thiem also beat an American but had to save two match points in a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory over Sam Querrey.Four-time champion Novak Djokovic is also safely through to the quarterfinals after beating Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4. Second-seeded Djokovic next plays Juan Martin del Potro after the Argentine ousted seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori 7-6 (4), 6-3.Djokovic seemed in full control when he went 3-1 up in the second set but allowed the Spaniard to fight back to 4-4 before going on to seal the match.advertisementBautista Agut could have gone 5-4 up in the second set after Djokovic appeared to send the ball long but the umpire said it was in. Television replays showed the ball was out.Instead it was Djokovic who broke to take a 5-4 lead and won the match when he had a forehand ruled in.Third-seeded Stan Wawrinka went out of the tournament after losing 7-6 (1), 6-4 to American John Isner, who served up 19 aces in their match.”It’s a situation for me where I’m going out there against the No. 3 player in the world. Maybe I have a little bit less to lose than he does,” Isner said. “I went out there with the belief that, if I played well and executed my game plan, that I could walk off that court with a win. That’s what happened today.”Isner grabbed the only break of the match at 3-3 in the second set before comfortably serving out the match on his first attempt after Wawrinka had saved two match points on his serve.Isner next faces another big server in sixth-seeded Marin Cilic, who dismissed ninth-seeded David Goffin 6-3, 6-4.Home favorite Fabio Fognini, who saw off top-seeded Andy Murray on Tuesday, lost 6-3, 6-3 to Alexander Zverev, who will play fifth-seeded Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals after the Canadian beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-2.In the women’s draw, Venus Williams defeated Johanna Konta 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.Konta had won her previous three meetings against Williams but the American dominated the first set. Although Konta rallied in the second, another double break in the third handed Williams victory.Williams will take on Garbine Muguruza after the 2016 French Open champion beat Julia Gorges 7-5, 6-4.”I love this tournament, and I love Rome,” Williams said. “It’s one of my favorite places on earth, so that’s one of the reasons why I have always come here.”You know, I have had a good amount of success here.”Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova is also safely through after easing past experienced clay-court player Timea Bacsinszky 6-1, 7-5. The Czech next faces eighth-seeded Elina Svitolina, who recovered to beat Mona Barthel 3-6, 6-0, 6-0.Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit, who beat top-ranked Angelique Kerber in the second round, continued her dream debut. Kontaveit beat 16th-seeded Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-1, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal against Madrid Open champion Simona Halep.”I’m just really trying to take it match by match and setting these really small goals,” the 21-year-old Kontaveit said.Sixth-seeded Halep beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.Qualifier Daria Gavrilova beat seventh-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 and Kiki Bertens won 7-6 (3), 6-1 over Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova.
Failing to arrest its slide yet again, the Indian women’s hockey team on Friday suffered its fourth straight defeat of the tour, losing 0-3 to hosts New Zealand in the penultimate contest of the five-match series in Hamilton.India made a strong start with an improvised attack, attempting shots on goal but the hosts’ defence proved too strong to break for the visitors.New Zealand found an opportunity in the 14th minute with a quick-thinking Rachael McCann who pumped the ball into the goal clinching an early 1-0 lead in the first quarter.Following three successive 4-1, 8-2 and 3-2 wins in the first three matches, New Zealand dominated Friday’s game too.Tessa Jopp fetched the hosts their second goal in the 17th minute. New Zealand earned a penalty corner which was successfully converted by Jopp.Down by two goals, the Indian strikers made strong amends and tried different variations to find a goal but they failed to break the opposition defence.In-form Rachael McCann struck her second goal of the match in the 26th minute to give New Zealand a comfortable 3-0 lead at the end of half-time.The final two quarters saw Indian goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu stay busy at the post, defending several attempts on goal by New Zealand. She made some impressive saves to keep the Black Sticks from taking further lead.The Indian defence too stitched together a well-structured strategy to ensure a goalless third and fourth quarters.While India had dominated with the ball possession (57 per cent as opposed to New Zealand’s 43 per cent) in their previous game, New Zealand came up with new tactics to deny the visitors any such advantage today.advertisementThe final quarter too saw the Indians make strong attempts on goal in their bid to make a comeback into the game but New Zealand stayed in control to win the match.
Bengaluru, May 31 (PTI) Former India cricketer VVS Laxman today backed the governments decision to not play a bilateral series against Pakistan, saying it is “beyond sport at the moment”. “I think I always enjoyed playing against Pakistan, but it is very important to respect whatever the governments decision is because it is beyond sport at the moment,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by P&G Shiksha here. On the upcoming Champions Trophy match between India and Pakistan on June 4, Laxman said Pakistan are a very good team but if India play to their potential they would win the contest in Birmingham. “I think Pakistan are a very good team and any match between India and Pakistan will be high-intensity match. The match will be played before a packed Birmingham house, but I am confident, if we play to our potential we will definitely go on to win the game,” he said. Laxman also expressed confidence of India defending the title, especially after their all-round performance in the two practice matches ahead of the Champions Trophy. “I am very confident that India would do well in the Champions Trophy and they will defend the title, especially the way they played in the last two warm-up games,” the stylish Hyderabadi batsman said. He applauded the efforts of opener Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik. “Our batsmen are in form. I am very impressed with the way Shikhar Dhawan batted in both the matches. Even Dinesh Karthik used the opportunity against Bangladesh brilliantly.” Laxman also insisted that captain Virat Kohli, Kedar Jadav and Ravindra Jadeja, were amongst runs too. The 42-year-old felt that the Indian bowlers were also outstanding. “The bowlers were outstanding in the two games. They were bowling an attacking line and length, looking to be aggressive, looking to pick up wickets,” he said. Asked about the reported souring relationship between coach Anil Kumble and Kohli, Laxman said, “This is not the platform to talk about that.” PTI BDN CM CMadvertisement
Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud has said he is unhappy with the lack of playing time he got last season, according to The Times, and with the Premier League club linked to a host of strikers across Europe the Frenchman may find himself even further down the pecking order.Giroud, who was largely used as a substitute last season, netting 12 goals but starting just 11 league games, said he planned to discuss his future with coach Arsene Wenger.”I’ll talk to the coach,” Giroud said. “I had limited playing time but, at some point, there are things I will not be satisfied with — another year with such low playing time. It will be necessary to think with my family and advisers.”I still have three years with Arsenal, so my future is for now with Arsenal. I feel good, I want to win the championship of England. Afterwards, I do not know what my near future will be.”Media reports previously linked Giroud, who signed a long-term contract extension at Arsenal in January, with French side Marseille.
From Boris Becker’s acrobatics in 1985 to Roger Federer’s languid brilliance in 2003, Wimbledon has provided the stage for many of tennis’s most formidable tyros to secure a maiden grand slam trophy.Yet since Federer clinched the first of his seven Wimbledon crowns, nobody outside of tennis’s so-called big four has had a look-in at the All England Club with the Swiss, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray sweeping all before them.A quick glance at the bookmakers’ favourites for this year’s title shows few expect tennis’s kings of the court to be dethroned any time soon.Yet with the world’s current top five all now in their thirties, perhaps this is the year for a new generation to announce their arrival. (Early attack still pays dividends at Wimbledon)Below we take a look at some of the up-and-comers who could cause an upset.Alexander Zverev (Germany)Age 20, ranked 12Zverev’s swashbuckling game has already seen him tipped as a future grand slam champion and he comes into Wimbledon with some pedigree, having won three tour titles this year.The younger brother of world number 30 Mischa, Zverev showed his grasscourt prowess by reaching the final at Halle only to lose in straight sets to Federer, who he beat at the same event last year.His season, however, has not been an unmitigated success: Days after beating Djokovic to win the Rome Masters, he crashed out of the French Open in the first round to Fernando Verdasco.Dominic Thiem (Austria)Age 23, ranked 8With his single-handed backhand, Austria’s Dominic Thiem boasts one of the best shots in men’s tennis, and another impressive claycourt season saw him emerge as the only person to beat Nadal on his beloved red dust this year.advertisementEn route to the French Open semi-finals for a second straight year, Thiem destroyed Djokovic, winning the third set 6-0 in 20 minutes, to further underline his growing stature in the game.Reuters PhotoQuestions remain, however, as to whether the claycourt specialist, who often stands deep behind the baseline to receive serve, can adapt to the slick lawns at SW19, where he has never gone past the second round.Lucas Pouille (France)Age 23, ranked 15Pouille made his mark when he ousted Nadal from last year’s U.S. Open in a pulsating four-hour, fourth-round upset.That led the now 15-times grand slam champion to remark that Pouille “could fight for the big things the next couple of years”.The Frenchman’s grasscourt pedigree looks good after he reached the quarter-finals at the All England Club last year, and he underlined his progress by claiming his second tour title of the season at the Wimbledon warmup event in Stuttgart.Nick Kyrgios (Australia)Age 22, ranked 20Nick Kyrgios’s three appearances at Wimbledon could be viewed as his fledgling career in microcosm.It is three years since he gave an early glimpse of the irresistible power at his disposal to blow then world number one Nadal off Centre Court in one of the most extraordinary upsets in the tournament’s modern history.Reuters PhotoSince then, however, his progress seems to have stuttered amid criticism of his attitude, behaviour and commitment.He faced accusations of tanking at Wimbledon in 2015 in a fourth round loss to Richard Gasquet, while his defeat to Andy Murray 12 months ago prompted John McEnroe to criticise his temperament.Borna Coric (Croatia)Age 20, ranked 42Having reached a career-high 33 in the world in 2015 Coric is one of several young players who have been tipped for great things but have found the next step tricky.He slumped to 79 in the rankings earlier this year, but then claimed his first ATP title in Marrakesh in April.Hyeon Chung (South Korea)Age 21, ranked 54Hyeon Chung has little pedigree on grass, but he is among the brightest young talents in the game. He showed a glimpse of his potential when he took Kei Nishikori to five sets in the third round of the French Open, his best grand slam performance.Reuters PhotoDenis Shapovalov (Canada)Age 18, ranked 164Wimbledon junior champion Denis Shapovalov sneaked into this year’s main draw with a wildcard, but is undoubtedly a promising talent.He beat Britain’s Kyle Edmund to reach the second round at Queen’s before pushing former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych to the limit in an enthralling three-set defeat.The Canadian made headlines earlier this year when he was disqualified for striking umpire Arnaud Gabas in the eye with a ball after hitting it aimlessly towards the crowd during a Davis Cup tie against Britain.
Australian cricketers will boycott an Australia A tour of South Africa unless Cricket Australia takes action within days to resolve a bitter pay dispute, the players’ union said Sunday.Players held an emergency meeting in Sydney on Sunday where they threatened to boycott the Australia A tour, scheduled to start on July 12. The cricketers say unless a new Memorandum of Understanding is signed by Friday, they won’t be touring South Africa.The memorandum between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association expired last Friday, leaving about 230 cricketers from Test to state levels without a contract. The two parties remain deadlocked over the issue of revenue sharing and negotiations have stalled for months.ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said a “significant breakthrough” is needed for the tour to proceed.”They don’t intend to tour, but the reality is they don’t fly out of the country until Friday,” Nicholson said. “So the players are going to go into camp as planned and hopefully we can make some progress with regards to the MoU. There would need to be a significant breakthrough on the key issue of the revenue-sharing model.”Test batsman Usman Khawaja, the Australia A captain, said boycotting the tour would be difficult.”It’s not an easy thing to do … but we are very united,” Khawaja said. “We’re still going to be training this week. Hopefully something can be resolved, but if it’s not, it’s a tough decision that sort of has to be made.”The Australia A squad was scheduled to assemble in Brisbane on Monday to begin pre-tour preparations.advertisementThe Ashes series will be at threat if the situation is not resolved before November, a point that vice-captain David Warner has made in several interviews recently. The five-test series against England is scheduled to begin Nov. 23 in Brisbane.Cricket Australia has paid the women’s World Cup squad in advance for the ongoing tournament in England.
Hello and welcome to our Live Coverage of The Money Fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in Las Vegas. (Watch Highlights – VEQTA.in)Highlights:10.36 IST: Floyd Mayweather surpasses the legendary Rocky Marciano’s with a career record of 50-0.”He’s a lot better than I thought he was.” #Mayweather on #McGregor #MayweatherMcGregor pic.twitter.com/6lhKYWB4yu- UFC (@ufc) August 27, 2017″I thought it was close. He’s very composed. Fair play to @FloydMayweather.” #ConorMcGregor @TheNotoriousMMA #MayweatherMcGregor pic.twitter.com/6fF4HpcxoC- UFC (@ufc) August 27, 201710.30 IST: Floyd Mayweather says this is his last fight.50-0. #MayweatherMcGregor pic.twitter.com/lHeybswPf1- SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 27, 201710.24 IST: THAT’S IT! Floyd beats Conor in 10 rounds by technical knockout to win the Fight of the Millennium. Mayweather stretches his career record to 50-0.#MayweatherMcGregor competitive bout so far but @FloydMayweather landing more power shots pic.twitter.com/qtU7kAdtwe- SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 27, 2017FIGHT’S OVER!! ?????? @FloydMayweather improves to 50-0 by TKO! #MayweatherMcGregor- SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 27, 201710.21 IST: Conor is starting to lose his legs now, he is completely exhausted. Floyd’s fight now10.15 IST: Eight rounds have gone by and now Mayweather is starting to assert himself in this match. McGregor clearly looks tired as he is not used to fighting for such a long time in Mixed Martial Arts.10.12 IST: Floyd is now clearly the aggressor and looks to be enjoying himself after Round 7Seeing a different #FloydMayweather in this fight #MayweatherMcGregor pic.twitter.com/TZYL6DHXXA- SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 27, 201710.09 IST: Mayweather is pressing McGregor in Round 6. The MMA fighter is now looking a bit exhaustedadvertisement10.03 IST: Mayweather gets McGregor with a left hook in the fifth round!10.01 IST: Floyd has started to attack Conor now in the fourth round. Floyd is going for body shotsSo…#Mayweather seems OK… pic.twitter.com/V0RHVqAyv3- Stadium (@WatchStadium) August 27, 20179.57 IST: End of three rounds and clearly it seems McGregor is leading Mayweather on points .@TheNotoriousMMA on the attack and looking like he belongs in there #MayweatherMcGregor- SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 27, 20179.54 IST: McGregor is still on the attack but how long can he sustain this relentless attack on Mayweather is the big question. McGregor is using his height to full effect right now9.52 IST: Conor is most likely leading in the points right now against Floyd after two roundsMcGregor 2-0 Mayweather #McGregorMayweather- Frank Buglioni (@FrankBuglioni) August 27, 20179.47 IST: McGregor is taller than Mayweather so he has the advantage of a bigger reach. Final 30 seconds of the first round and it looks even at the moment.9.45 IST: There goes the bell for hte first round. McGregor has Mayweather cornered immediately9.40 IST: Mayweather and McGregor are being introduced in the ring. McGregor will be the first to be introduced followed by MayweatherHERE COMES #CONORMCGREGOR!!!! #MayweatherMcGregor pic.twitter.com/QUX8Nq3j2o- UFC (@ufc) August 27, 2017.@FloydMayweather is back for 50. #MayweatherMcGregor pic.twitter.com/10iVvy1idl- SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 27, 20179.30 IST: The national anthems of Scotland and America are being sung right now after which both the fighters will make their way to the ring.LET’S GOOOOOOOOOO!!!#MayweatherMcGregor #FloydMayweather #ConorMcGregor pic.twitter.com/A3GVtTC63s- UFC (@ufc) August 27, 20179.25 IST: Mayweather’s fighting style is solely based on defence. He makes his opponent miss and then he capitalizes on the mistakes and fights back. He will be applying the same tactics against McGregor, who is known to be aggressive but it might work against him in this fight. Conor though, is a very powerful fighter and has a heavy punch which he will be banking on against Floyd.GLOVES. ARE. ON.#MayweatherMcGregor #ConorMcGregor pic.twitter.com/4nggbl5TOK- UFC (@ufc) August 27, 20179.18 IST: The main event is coming up next!9.18 IST: McGregor getting ready to the big event.@thenotoriousmma pic.twitter.com/Y9EJ0wofXP- Dana White (@danawhite) August 27, 20179.12 IST: Gervonta Davis is declared the winner by knockout. Francisco Fonseca fell to the floor in Round 8.The IBF Super Featherweight title though, remains vacant as Davis had failed to make weight in the 130lb division.9.10 IST: Look who’s in the house!We’ve got @MikeTyson, @OzzyOsbourne, and @KingJames in the house! #MayweatherMcGregor ?? pic.twitter.com/h9gD8XtorN- T-Mobile Arena (@TMobileArena) August 27, 20179.03 IST: At the moment Gervonta Davis is fighting Francisco Fonseca for the IBF Super Featherweight title. Round 7 is on right now.9.02 IST: “May the best man win,” says Dwayne ‘The Rock’ JohnsonPleasure doing this VO for our big fight tonight. Let’s get after it boys. May the best man win. #MayweatherVMcGregor @TheNotoriousMMA @UFC pic.twitter.com/PUWYMv2PoDadvertisement- Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) August 27, 20179.00 IST: “Thank you everyone in Las Vegas and everyone at home who ordered PPV. Thank you,” is Mayweather’s messageThank you everyone in Las Vegas and everyone at home who ordered PPV. Thank you @SHOsports and my team @MayweatherPromo. pic.twitter.com/royY4mGHkc- Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) August 27, 20178.59 IST: “I do not care about his records or achievements. It’s man vs man,” McGregor said just a few moments ago.”I do not care about his records or achievements. It’s man vs man.” @TheNotoriousMMA #MayweatherMcGregor #ConorMcGregor pic.twitter.com/EyhHjGRkXj- UFC (@ufc) August 27, 20178.57 IST: Once again let me remind you the Floyd Mayweather has a 49-0 record in professional boxing while Conor McGregor has a 21-3 record in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)8.50 IST: McGregor looks calm but god only knows how he is feeling inside. This is easily the biggest fight of his career.@TheNotoriousMMA looking fresh backstage for #MayweatherMcGregorWATCH: https://t.co/osfxYU54WG pic.twitter.com/z4B5GVye3E- SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 27, 20178.47 IST: The T-Mobile Arena is starting to fill up slowly but surely. LeBron James, Mike Tyson, Ozzy Osbourne are just some of the big names in attendance today.NBA Superstar Lebron James out here supporting #MayweatherMcGregor pic.twitter.com/EgmapjENFc- MayweatherPromotions (@MayweatherPromo) August 27, 20178.44 IST: Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor, The Money Fight: When and Where to watch8.40 IST: The Notorious is in the building and here is his first entrance at the T-Mobile Arena.@TheNotoriousMMA has arrived for #MayweatherMcGregor!WATCH NOW: https://t.co/osfxYU54WG pic.twitter.com/u6IMKHNGJm- SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) August 27, 20178.35 IST: McGregor has promised to put Mayweather on the ring floor by the fourth round. Will he live up to his promise?A beautiful skull and a beautiful belt to add to my collection of skulls and belts. pic.twitter.com/O2TuneQQtu- Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 24, 20178.25 IST: We are just a few minutes away from the Fight of the Millennium at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas where Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather will take on Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor. The fight is guaranteed to be a blockbuster as the undefeated boxer Brief Preview:Conor McGregor has been kept pretty much under wraps ever since his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. was announced, emerging occasionally to trash Mayweather only to disappear again behind the closed doors of the UFC training center.It’s not by accident. The biggest selling point of the spectacle that is Saturday night’s 154-pound fight is the unknown.Is McGregor good enough to land a big punch on Mayweather? Did he acquire enough boxing skills in just a few short months to make what should be a lopsided fight competitive?Inquiring minds want to know, and there are enough of them to make this the most watched fight in history. Some 50 million people in the U.S. alone are expected to gather with friends and family to see it all unfold.McGregor weighed in at 153 pounds Friday to 149 1/2 for Mayweather. A crowd that nearly filled the T-Mobile arena – many waving Irish flags – cheered loudly for McGregor while booing Mayweather.advertisementMcGregor’s fan base is driving this fight, united in their fervent hope that the Irish UFC champion can muscle Mayweather around the ring and deliver knockout punches to his head. Sports books in this gambling city have taken so many longshot wagers on McGregor winning by a knockout early that they will suffer their worst loss ever should it actually happen.For the flamboyant McGregor the fight is a chance to make money he couldn’t dream of in the UFC and gain a fan base outside of mixed martial arts. Estimates vary, but he could take home $100 million for a challenge of Mayweather that seemed improbable when he first started talking about it two years ago.He’s got youth on his side (he’s 29 and Mayweather is 40), and he’ll probably go in the ring much heavier than Mayweather after rehydrating following Friday’s weigh-in. He’s also got a reputation as a big puncher and the prevailing wisdom is he’ll try to maul Mayweather much like Marcos Maidana did in their 2014 fight.Other than that, everything favours Mayweather.He’s unbeaten in 49 fights as a pro and has a chance to pass Rocky Marciano on the perfect record list with win No. 50. Not only has he beaten every fighter put in front of him but he’s found ways to deal with big punchers like Miguel Cotto, Diego Corrales and Canelo Alvarez.He’s also a pure boxer with an innate ability to adapt to any fighter put in front of him.The fight is expected to match or surpass the 4.6 million pay-per-views sold for Mayweather’s 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao at $99.95 a household. Industry observers say people across the country will use the telecast as an excuse to party in tense times and 10 people could watch each pay-per-view.Tickets in the arena haven’t done nearly as well, largely because promoters wildly overestimated what people would pay to watch in person. Ringside seats were $10,000 and nosebleed tickets started at $2,500, though prices have been dropping rapidly as the fight approaches.
For all the clamour surrounding the successful return of Maria Sharapova to grand slam action at the US Open on Monday, one question lingered in the night air.Not whether Sharapova deserved the wildcard she received into the event, having served a 15-month doping ban. But rather, what does it say about the state of the women’s game that someone who has not played a grand slam match for 19 months can come back and beat the world No. 2?It is a criticism often aimed at women’s tennis, especially when contrasted with the men’s game, which has been dominated by the same four players over the past decade.”How can Roger (Federer) come back from time away and win everything?,” Patrick Mouratoglou, the coach of Serena Williams, told Reuters.”I heard a lot of this kind of criticism, because a lot of people don’t like women’s tennis, so they try to attack through any opportunities they have.”I remember when (Kim) Clijsters came back (in 2009), this is what they said.”But this is ridiculous. Those players are really exceptional. They have a different level…they have the whole package. Mentally, they are champions, so it’s not a surprise that they take back what they should be and what they deserve.”AP PhotoEight women began the U.S. Open with a chance to become world number one, an unprecedented situation which has added excitement to an already open draw.Mouratoglou said the vacuum at the top is only temporary and is caused by the absence of Williams, who is preparing to have her first child.advertisement”Anyone can win,” he said. “Clearly, there was a boss on Tour, she left and – I don’t want to say the next one because Serena’s coming back – but nobody really took the spot.”It shows it’s not only about tennis it’s a lot about handling mentally that spot, and being a boss. A lot of players have tried and they didn’t succeed.”It’s not going to stay like this for a long time, it’s an in-between period and it’s fun because there is a lot of uncertainty and I think it makes the tournament exciting.”NOT IDEALMary Carillo, a former grand slam mixed doubles champion and now a broadcaster with the Tennis Channel, said the situation was not ideal.”I’m shocked to see how many people could be number one,” she told Reuters. “I don’t think that looks good, I’m not sure that’s something to celebrate.”I don’t mind it if there’s a tight little battle when there’s maybe three people we can discuss but when there’s eight, no, I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing at all.”But Carillo agreed with Mouratoglou’s assessment.”Frankly, if (Garbine) Muguruza wins a second major this year, I don’t care what the ranking computer spits out, she had the best season of anybody.”If (Jelena) Ostapenko wins a second major, guess what, she’s had the best year of anyone, she’s had the number one year.”Mouratoglou, a presenter with Eurosport and ESPN at the U.S. Open and whose book, The Coach, charts his career, said he preferred uncertainty to formality, such as at the French Open, where Rafa Nadal has won the title 10 times.”Roland Garros is a great tournament but like we said before about soccer, it’s a game we play with 11 players against 11 players and in the end, Germany wins,” he said.”Even on the men’s side (at the U.S. Open) we don’t know who’s going to win, really. Anything can happen.”
Sam Allardyce says his ousting as England manager following an undercover newspaper sting after just a single match in charge is the biggest regret of his career.Allardyce became England manager in July 2016 and was sacked by the FA after two months for behaving “inappropriately” when footage of him talking to undercover reporters was published.Gareth Southgate replaced him as England manager and led them to the 2018 World Cup finals and Allardyce says he still struggles to get over his past.”I think about it a lot. Especially when the England games come up and I’ve just been able to watch them again recently,” Allardyce told Sky Sports.”It was a really sad moment for me, having worked so hard to get to the pinnacle in my career – you’re never going to get a job at a top club if you’re English – so to get the England job is the pinnacle of your career.”It is the greatest regret of my life in football. In terms of that disappointment, it will never leave me but there’s nothing I can do about that now, I have to move on with my life.”Allardyce helped Premier League side Crystal Palace escape relegation last campaign before resigning in May and the former West Ham United manager has ruled out taking up Scotland’s vacant managerial role.The 62-year-old believes England, who last reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2006, must maintain their fitness and overcome psychological barriers to succeed in Russia.”There are already questions about what they will be like, but at some point, an England team will need to break that cycle, that negativity, by going further than expected,” he added.advertisement”If they are all fit at the end of the season, they could have a good tournament but they have to cope with the psychological side of it because that is the big drawback for the recent England sides at tournament level.”
Bhopal, Nov 8 (PTI) As part of Black Day protests to mark the first anniversary of demonetisation, the Madhya Pradesh Congress today staged a protest here and alleged that the exercise has completely failed in its objectives.Meanwhile, the ruling BJP also observed anti-black money day across the state by holding seminars on the benefits of demonetisation.Congress workers took out a candle march to protest against demonetisation. The protest was organised across all the district headquarters of the state.While addressing a protest organised at Roshanpura Square in Bhopal, former union minister Suresh Pachouri alleged that the note-ban has badly hit the common men, traders and farmers.”It was said that the demonetisation is being done to curb black money, fake currency and control terrorism and naxalism. We ask has the black money ceased to exist or has terror activities stopped in the Kashmir valley?” he asked.MP Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Arun Yadav alleged that note-ban is the biggest scam of the century.”Note-ban was the biggest scam of the century. The country has suffered immensely due to the discontinuation of high value currency notes. People are still facing the bad impact of this decision,” he alleged.Yadav said that all the claims made by the prime minister are the bunch of lies.”All the claims of prime minister were bunch of lies and turned out to be a jumla. There have been job cuts. The BJP-led government is busy making false promises and giving lectures. After demonetisation, more jawans have died in terrorist attacks and the country has witnessed more naxal attacks. On the other hand, the GDP growth has declined,” he alleged.advertisementOn the occasion, Congress workers also released black balloons and sported black badges.The BJP observed anti-black money day in the state and held torch rallies besides holding seminars about the benefits of demonetisation.”BJP organised torch processions and organised symposiums in 833 mandals across all the districts of state,” Bhopal Member of Parliament (MP) Alok Sanjar said.Sanjar said, “This step (demonetisation) has helped crack down on black money. The country has moved on to a much cleaner, transparent and honest financial system besides the helped in curbing the terrorism and naxalism.” PTI ADU MAS NP
(Eds: Updating with more information and quotes of Gilles Simon and Kevin Anderson)By Amanpreet SinghPune, Jan 6 (PTI) Gilles Simons giant-killing spree culminated in a stupendous title win as he humbled second seed Kevin Anderson in straight sets to lift the inaugural Tata Open Maharashtra trophy, here today.The unseeded French player, ranked 89, tamed big-serving Anderson, ranked 14 in the world, 7-6(4) 6?2 in the summit clash, watched by a packed house at Balewadi Sports Complex.Simon, who was ranked six in the world at one stage in his career, had knocked out defending champion and third seed Roberto Bautista Agut before shocking top seed and world number six Marin Cilic en route the final.It is Simons first title since his win at Marseille in February 2015 and 13th overall.The remarkable ease with which Simon positioned himself to receive serves and returns, made a sight to watch. His effortless court coverage meant that Anderson was locked in long rallies more often, something which worked in favour of the French player.Anderson, the 2017 US Open finalist, struggled to execute his big serve consistently. His poor returns even on a humble service, sometimes even below 150km speed from Simon, made his job tough as unforced errors continued to flow from his racquet in the one-hour 36-minute match.”It was a great match, I dont know how I did it. To beat Anderson in the final is a great achievement for me. I managed to stay clam and play my game,” said 33-year-old Simon, who had lost to Anderson in three previous meetings.advertisement”My ranking is pretty low, I will work on that. I really had a good connection with fans. Already in the first round, they were happy for me. They loved the way I played. It helps to play your best tennis,” he said.Anderson, who has now lost 11 finals on the Tour, said what worked in Simons favour was his staying patient.”He incorporated the style, the tactics of match against Cilic. His defence was very well. I found it difficult to attack him. His first serve was coming at just 160, it just threw me off,” said the South African.”It was a disappointing for me. Partly he played very smart and partly I didnt execute my game. He was very patient today. In previous matches I was aggressive at time, today I could not do it,” said Anderson, adding that he would like to improve his record in finals and making the season-end Finale was his “big goal” for 2018.With Simon controlling the pace of the game with his superb returns, long rallies were the order of the day. The longest game in the opening set was the fourth when Simon went down 0-40 but saved four break chances after five deuce points.Anderson was serving big but Simon did not let him dominate, using his amazing retrieving skill. Points were initially long when Simon served but the South Africans serve came under pressure in the fifth when the French man attacked his rivals second serve.Two service return winners by Simon made it deuce but Anderson wriggled out of tight situation by winning consecutive points. However, he was not spared in the seventh with Simon finding an exceptional forehand winner on the second breakpoint.Despite not having a big serve, the Frenchman did not lose a single point on his serve in the sixth and eighth games and the break in between put him ahead 5-3.Anderson got a chance to get the break back when Simons backhand sailed over the baseline at 30-30 and he grabbed that with a passing backhand winner as Simon charged the net.Both the players held the next two games easily, forcing a tie-breaker.Simon trailed 1-3 in the tie-breaker but soon led 6-4 and nailed the set with a forehand winner which he produced after a sensational 39-shot rally.Anderson saved three break points in the second game of the second set but an unrelenting Simon broke his rival in the sixth and eighth to seal the win.Simon lost only three points in his four service game in the second set while Anderson continued to struggle with his errors. His misery finally ended when he hit a backhand wide to give Simon his first title win of the season. PTI AT ATK ATK
Will they or won’t they? There was a lot of conjecture about whether Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma will get married, but the couple put an end to the suspense on Monday night, by sharing pictures of their wedding along with a promise “to be bound in love forever”.Soon, photos of the various ceremonies – haldi, mehendi, engagement – as well as the wedding went viral. Now, pictures of Virat and Anushka’s post-wedding party have surfaced on the internet and the new bride is seen sporting the traditional ‘chooda’. Virat and Anushka decided to keep their big day a private affair and flew off to Italy to keep their wedding away from the prying eyes of the media. It was a close-knit affair at a picturesque property in Tuscany called Borgo Finocchieto with only select friends and family in attendance.However, in contrast to their hush-hush wedding, their reception will be grand. Virat and Anushka will host a reception in Delhi on December 21 for their family. After this, another lavish reception will be held in Mumbai on December 26, which will be attended by the biggest names from the world of Cricket and Bollywood.ALSO SEE | FULL COVERAGE: Virushka WeddingWATCH | Virat-Anushka wedding: Engagement, haldi and garland-exchange visuals
NEW YORK — The Yankees will retire former manager Joe Torre’s No. 6, leaving Derek Jeter’s No. 2 as the last single digit in New York’s pinstripes.Torre, Rich Gossage, Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill also will be honored with plaques in Monument Park, the team said.Torre managed the Yankees to World Series titles in 1996 and from 1998-00 and six AL pennants during 12 seasons as manager that ended in 2007. Currently Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for baseball operations, he is being inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame this summer.“I am incredibly humbled,” Torre said in a statement. “The Hall of Fame became possible for me because of what our players accomplished in 12 memorable years representing this historic franchise together. I hope that number 6 will stand for everything that our players achieved.”Torre’s number will be retired during a ceremony in Monument Park on Aug. 23.His number will join those of Billy Martin (1), Babe Ruth (3), Lou Gehrig (4), Joe DiMaggio (5), Mickey Mantle (7), Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey (8), Roger Maris (9), Phil Rizzuto (10), Thurman Munson (15), Whitey Ford (16), Don Mattingly (23), Elston Howard (32), Casey Stengel (37), Mariano Rivera (42), Reggie Jackson (44) and Ron Guidry (49).Jeter, the Yankees’ captain since 2003, said in February this will be his final season.Martinez’s ceremony will be June 21 as part of Old-Timers’ Day weekend followed the next day by the honors for Gossage, one of only a handful of pitchers in the Hall of Fame who primarily were relievers. O’Neill’s ceremony will be Aug. 9.The Yankees said the ceremonies are part of a recognition series that will include Bernie Williams in 2015, but they did not specify what honor Williams will receive.TweetPinShare0 Shares
NATAL, Brazil — Rock-solid defenders who constantly chase, tackle and bully their opponents have been the key to Greece tactics ever since they became European champions in 2004.A decade ago, that team conceded a miserly four goals at Euro 2004 and its successor only conceded four in qualifying to secure its place at the 2014 World Cup as Greece stayed true to its reputation for hard work and ruthless discipline at the back.That all changed when the squad arrived in Brazil.The team’s much-vaunted defense was torn apart in a 3-0 defeat by Colombia, whose display of speed and style sometimes left the Greeks standing around like statues.Greece now faces Japan in Natal on June 19 in a game that could very well put either team out of contention. Japan lost to Ivory Coast 2-1 in its opener, meaning neither team can really afford another defeat if they hope to advance out of Group C.Japan advanced to the round of 16 four years ago but lost to Paraguay on penalties. Greece has bowed out in the group stage in its previous two World Cups.For Greece, the need to rebuild its solid back line will be all the more important at a World Cup that is so far seeing crowd-pleasing flair in attack and plenty of goals: 44 in the first 14 games.Colombia scored in the fifth minute, forcing Greece out of its comfort zone right from the start and attacking with speed on the flanks. Greek frustration was reflected in two of its players drawing yellow cards in the second half.“That wasn’t what people expected,” Greece forward Andreas Samaris said. “I know what everyone expected of Greece though: that we would have 11 men behind the ball, defend, defend, defend and give everything to keep a clean sheet.“We went out to win against Colombia, and that philosophy will not change. We just hope it brings a better result for us because Japan is now a must, must-win game for us.”Like Colombia, Japan is likely to attack at speed through the Europe-based trio of Shinji Kagawa, Yuto Nagatomo and Keisuke Honda. Against Ivory Coast, Japan had the better of the first half but ultimately struggled as the game got more physical in the second half.The arrival of the Ivorians’ star striker Didier Drogba as a second-half substitute also raised his team’s performance and there was only a muted response from the Japanese.AC Milan midfielder Honda said that the team was determined to bounce back against Greece.“Nobody feels good about losing and obviously it was a shock,” Honda, who opened the scoring with a powerful first-half strike, was quoted as saying. “But it’s not a shock that we lost, the thing that shocks me is we lost because we could not play to our strengths.“We gave our opponents’ front line too much respect. Mentally we were weak but that is not a problem that can’t be fixed. A little bit more spirit can turn things around … of course we still have an opportunity to get through the group phase.”(JIM VERTUNO, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
SAN FRANCISCO — The shaggy hair, overpowering fastball and consistent dominance have been replaced by a mustache, off-speed pitches and a long stretch of mediocrity.Tim Lincecum has undergone quite a transformation since bursting on the scene as the undersized Freak who dominated bulky sluggers.Through it all, Lincecum has remained a fan favorite in San Francisco for his ability to produce memorable performances.Lincecum pitched his second no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in less than a year, allowing only one runner June 25 and leading the San Francisco Giants to a 4-0 win.“Right now I guess I can say it’s really cool,” Lincecum said. “When I get older I can reflect on that a little more and just take it in for what it’s worth. Right now I’m still kind of in the moment.”Lincecum shut down the weakest-hitting team in the majors, striking out six and walking one in a 113-pitch outing — 35 fewer than he needed last July 13 against the Padres in his first no-hitter.Lincecum retired the final 23 batters after walking Chase Headley in the second inning, relying much more on his off-speed stuff than his fastball. Though the Padres hit a few balls hard, San Francisco fielders didn’t need to make any exceptional plays to preserve Lincecum’s gem.“I’ve always been that guy who will kind of go for the strikeout,” Lincecum said. “I think my first no-hitter I had 13, so I think I was going for those a little bit more often.”“Today I tried to be a little bit more efficient and take what they were going to give me. They were giving me a lot of groundballs and a lot of pop flies, so I was just going to try to keep attacking the way that I was,” he said.The right-hander with two NL Cy Young Awards became just the second pitcher in major league history to no-hit the same team twice. Hall of Famer Addie Joss did it for Cleveland against the Chicago White Sox with a perfect game in 1908 and a no-hitter in 1910.Lincecum (6-5) threw the 16th no-hitter in Giants’ history. Just one other pitcher has thrown two for the team: Christy Mathewson for the New York Giants more than 100 years ago.“It’s hard enough to do one,” Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said. “To do two, that puts you in a little different class. I couldn’t be happier.”Lincecum joined Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay as the only pitchers with two Cy Young awards and two no-hitters. “Just to be in that company allows me a chance to pat myself on the back a little bit,” he said.Making the performance even sweeter was the fact that Lincecum got two hits of his own, becoming the first pitcher with two hits in a no-hitter since Rick Wise hit two homers for Philadelphia against Cincinnati on June 23, 1971.“Regardless of what they did, I think it’s cool I got two hits anyway because up to today I only had one and a pretty poor batting average,” Lincecum said. “I got that thing above .100 and I feel much better about it.”But Lincecum will always be known for his pitching. He arrived as a shaggy-haired phenom nicknamed the Freak in 2007 for his ability to generate tremendous velocity from his slight frame.He won NL Cy Young awards in 2008 and ’09 and helped lead the Giants to their first World Series title in San Francisco the following season.As age and wear and tear ate away at his velocity, Lincecum was forced to change his approach to pitching. It hasn’t been an easy transformation at times as he posted a losing record the past two seasons as his ERA hovered around 5.00.He was even relegated to the bullpen when the Giants won it all again in 2012, but was brought back with a $35 million, two-year deal last offseason for moments just like this.“I think it’s been a battle for him at times to make that transformation to what he is now,” Bochy said. “Sometimes less is more, and that’s what I think if anything, hopefully, he learned today.”Lincecum made quick work of the San Diego hitters in the late innings. He drew a standing ovation when he batted in the eighth, then got another ovation when he took the mound to begin the ninth.Lincecum struck out pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia to open the ninth. Pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal followed with a tapper back to Lincecum, who tossed to first for the out.Will Venable was up next and Lincecum retired him on an easy grounder to second base. Lincecum took a few steps toward first when the ball was hit, stopped to watch the play and clapped his hand into his glove when it was over.Catcher Hector Sanchez soon met Lincecum for an embrace, and the rest of the Giants joined in the celebration. “It was amazing,” Sanchez said. “Anybody wants to be part of something special like this. That’s a great feeling.”(JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shares