Argentina, Uruguay collide in South America qualifiers

first_imgArgentina’s forwards Lionel Messi (L) and Mauro Icardi talk during a training session in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires, on August 29, 2017 ahead of their FIFA World Cup qualifier football match against Uruguay. / AFP PHOTO / Juan MABROMATALuis Suarez could yet line up against Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi on Thursday as South America’s battle for 2018 World Cup places resumes with Argentina’s trip to Uruguay the pick of the fixtures.With leaders Brazil already locking up their place at next year’s tournament, attention turns to the tussle for the three remaining automatic berths on offer in the marathon 10-team qualifying tournament.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LATEST STORIES A 6-0 romp over lowly Singapore provided a further clue that Sampaoli, who favours an aggressive, attacking style, may already have begun to have an influence.Higuain axedSampaoli served notice of his determination to invigorate Argentina’s ranks by axing striker Gonzalo Higuain in favour of Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi.Icardi is expected to start at the apex of a front three with Messi and Juventus prodigy Paulo Dybala lurking just behind.Argentina’s path to Russia has been complicated by the Court of Arbtitration for Sport ruling on Tuesday that confirmed a sanction against Bolivia for fielding an ineligible player in their September 2016 0-0 draw with Chile.ADVERTISEMENT FIFA later converted that result to a 3-0 win for Chile, a ruling that means Sampaoli’s former team now have a one-point advantage over the fifth-placed Argentines.“Now we have to play catch-up to get to the World Cup,” Sampaoli said Tuesday.Uruguay meanwhile are sweating on the fitness of Barcelona star Suarez.The 30-year-old talisman was initially ruled out of the fixture through injury but has travelled back to his homeland to train with the team.Veteran coach Oscar Tabarez hinted Suarez may yet make a dramatic return on Thursday, declining to rule out the striker.“He has shown signs of recovery that have rather surprised us,” Tabarez said.If Suarez fails to win his fitness battle, Uruguay will once again turn to in-form Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani, who is the top scorer in the qualifying competition with nine goals.“It is a very, very difficult match… We will see who has the most guts for it,” said Tabarez.Elsewhere on Thursday, second-placed Colombia will aim to edge closer to qualification with an away victory over already-eliminated Venezuela.Fourth-placed Chile meanwhile host Paraguay in Santiago as they aim to remain ahead of Argentina in the qualifying positions. Colombia are second in the standings on 24 points while Uruguay and Chile occupy the other two automatic spots on 23 points.It means that fifth-placed Argentina have little margin for error as they head to Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario for the latest instalment of their historic rivalry with the Uruguayans.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutArgentina have spluttered their way through the qualifiers so far, notching only six wins in 14 games, but have shown signs of life under new coach Jorge Sampaoli.Sampaoli, who masterminded Chile’s victory at the 2015 Copa America, took control of the ‘Albiceleste’ in May, and began his reign with a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Brazil in a friendly in June. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Athletes raise millions for Texas flood disaster Read Nextcenter_img Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games View comments Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Brazil will have the luxury of being able to treat their game against Ecuador in Porto Alegre as a training exercise after securing qualification in their last outing, a 3-0 win over Paraguay in March — their eighth consecutive victory.The game may see Brazil coach Tite select Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho, who has not played for the Premier League team this season amid a transfer saga involving Barcelona. MOST READlast_img read more

Arellano, Ateneo score quick wins in PVL collegiate opener

first_imgCONTRIBUTED PHOTOArellano University and Ateneo launched their title bids for the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference with swift victories in the opening day of competition Saturday at Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup. The Lady Chiefs, the reigning NCAA champions, quickly dispatched of College of St. Benilde 25-20, 25-22, 25-17, in the first match of the conference. ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Captain Jovielyn Prado led Arellano with 14 points while Mary Anne Esguerra added 13. Regine Arocha and Necole Ebuen also gave ample support for the Lady Chiefs scoring nine apiece. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIn the second game, the Lady Eagles swooped down on Jose Rizal University in straight sets, 25-17, 25-15, 25-15. Bea De Leon had 14 points to lead Ateneo while Kat Tolentino added 11. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LATEST STORIES UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Read Nextcenter_img LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Maddie Madayag and Jules Samonte also finished in double digits with 10 points each. Ateneo employed such great defense that of the eight Lady Heavy Bomber attackers that played only four managed to score. Shola Alvarez and Karen Montojo had nine points apiece to lead JRU. ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Aces finally win, take down Beermen to end 14-game slide Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View commentslast_img read more

Time to ‘act now’ as road gets tougher for free-falling NLEX

first_img2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Although NLEX had three of its starters finish in double figures, the rest of the team either failed to carry their weight or just didn’t get much shot attempts.JR Quiñahan had 22 points to lead NLEX while Alex Mallari and Ravena had 17 and 14 points, respectively.In the surface, NLEX seems to have found out a balanced scoring route but the other two starters fired blanks in the Road Warriors’ 97-86 loss to Rain or Shine.Larry Fonacier made just one field goal on eight attempts and scored three points while Juami Tiongson went 2-of-10 for six points.“We have to be consistent as a team,” said Ravena. “I think we should look for other ways to win because we’re now in this stage where we lost four and our next four opponents aren’t pushovers.”ADVERTISEMENT John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding NLEX will next face Ginebra, Meralco, Alaska, Blackwater, and TNT with both the KaTropa and Aces in the top four of the standings as of posting time.“We have to take it day-by-day and figure out to get our momentum back, get our confidence back to play and win,” said Ravena.“Every loss is becoming a burden on our shoulders especially with the situation wherein it’s really tight in the standings, we have act quickly and act now.” MOST READ LATEST STORIES NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers ONE: Pacio wants to gauge progress against Japanese rivals Read Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises And that skid has apparently taken a toll on the young star, but Ravena maintains the positive spirit that has been displayed since he was in college.“The hole just keeps getting deeper,” said Ravena in Filipino Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “We have to be positive about this, I don’t know how, but we still have five more games and it’s only going to get tougher so personally we have to find a way to help each other out.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“We won our first two so teams probably thought that NLEX is no longer a pushover, but at the same time we got too full of ourselves… I guess there’s a tendency, that it’s human nature to relax but we have to wake up from our deep slumber.”NLEX is now languishing in the bottom of the pile with its 2-4 record being the league’s second-worst slate, just above Kia’s 1-5. NLEX’s Kiefer Ravena. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netThere’s no denying that NLEX is on a dangerous slippery slope in the PBA Philippine Cup.After the Road Warriors cruised to a 2-0 start, with rookie star Kiefer Ravena showing off his capabilities, they suddenly found themselves on a four-game losing streak.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Running event urges locals, tourists to ‘love Boracay’

first_imgSkyathon organizers during a press conference at Icon Hotel. Mark Giongco/INQUIRER.netBoracay, one of the best beaches in the world, is making headlines recently, but not because of its world-renowned powdery white sand and scenic horizon.The small island is currently in hot water 0ver a bevy of environmental woes.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:24Group urges Senate to pass bill on liquor, vape tax hike before yearend02:28Groups urge swift passage of bill on higher tax on e-cigs, liquor01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next Towns helps Wolves pull away to defeat Kings SKYathon, a longstanding beach run event, hopes to help change all that by encouraging locals and tourists to embrace responsible tourism.“Our heed or call this year is #LoveBoracay,” said Jaynalen Redondo, sales marketing head of Sky Cable, during a press conference Monday at Icon Hotel. “Previously, we said that we’re heroes of Boracay, but this year, it’s timely for us to bring back our basic call to action which is to love Boracay.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Love the beach, love the picturesque backdrop but at the same time it’s a call to everyone to love Boracay by caring for the island even in the littlest way.”The event organized by RunRio, which is on its ninth year, is set on April 21 at Epic Boracay. Registered runners can choose from 3K, 5K and 10K. Part of the proceeds will go to the coral reef rehabilitation program. LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving AFP official booed out of forum LATEST STORIEScenter_img Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. There will also be mangrove planting, which is a linkup with the DENR.Organizers said they are expecting 700 runners this year, which is about 100 more than last year’s edition, with the event open to international competitors. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa View commentslast_img read more

Power Smashers stun leaders Bali Pure, get share of second place

first_imgLakers win 9th straight, hold off Pelicans Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes ‘Coming Home For Christmas’ is the holiday movie you’ve been waiting for, here’s why The Power Smashers, for their trouble, improved to 6-4 and climbed from the fourth spot to share the second seed with Pocari Sweat.“I explained to my players, especially the locals, that this is our situation right now and if we want to enter the quarterfinals we have to work harder than before,” said Power Smashers head coach Nes Pamilar.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting“The credit goes to them because they really pushed hard so that we can win in straight sets.”Kannika Tipachot had a game-high 19 points to lead the Power Smashers while Hyapa Amporn and Jovelyn Prado added 10 points apiece. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netThe Power Smashers made quick work of league leaders Bali Pure via quick sweep, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19, in the Premier Volleyball League Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre.The Water Defenders, who were on a three-game winning streak, ran into a spirited Power Smashers squad who sent them to a 7-3 record.ADVERTISEMENT More than 5,000 measles deaths in DR Congo this year — WHO MOST READ LATEST STORIES South Korea to suspend 25% of coal plants to fight pollution LOOK: Vhong Navarro’s romantic posts spark speculations he’s marrying longtime GF Defense a priority for talented Chooks Pilipinas 3×3 Jeng Bualee led Bali Pure with 18 points.The Power Smashers exploited the Water Defenders porous ground defense, which recorded just 16 excellent digs, with 10 service aces.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games View comments Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend SEA Games: PH beats Indonesia, enters gold medal round in pololast_img read more

Bali Pure stays alive in PVL Finals, forces Game 3

first_imgHeart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Missing two chances to close the match out, the Water Defenders woke up just in time as they crawled their way back from a 9-6 deficit in Set 5 and tied the game at 10 to set up the cardiac finish.Keddy engaged in a battle on the net against the duo of Michelle Strizak and Rivers in the next sequences, before Soltones imposed her will late and found the open space to put the nail in the coffin for Bali Pure.“We’ve lost a number of games that we were behind. We’ll crawl our way back and then, we’ll lose. That was the case again, and that happened for two sets. But I’m glad that whatever happened, I’m proud because we didn’t lose like a bunch of kids,” said coach Roger Gorayeb.The Water Defenders rebounded from their tough four-set loss to Pocari Sweat in Game 1, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22, 26-24 last Saturday.Game 3 is on Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.ADVERTISEMENT WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage The three-time NCAA Most Valuable Player finished with 11 points, all of which came off attacks.Jeng Bualee pumped 20 markers, 19 coming off hits to go with a service ace, while fellow guest player Jennifer Keddy also had 20 points, 10 from kills, six blocks, and four aces for the Water Defenders.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutWith no recourse but to fight back after losing Game 1, Bali Pure started like a house on fire, dominating in the first set, 25-15, and edging a furious Pocari Sweat squad in the second set, 26-24.But the Lady Warriors didn’t go down without a fight, leaning behind the excellent showing of Krystal Rivers and Jessey de Leon in the third and fourth sets to drag the grueling two-hour match to a do-or-die Set 5. Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games What ‘missteps’? Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire Semerad’s hot shooting lifts TNT past Ginebra for 2-0 leadcenter_img View comments MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Rivers captained Pocari Sweat with 26 kills, while Strizak had 15 markers, 14 of which came from spikes.Myla Pablo got 14 points in the losing effort for the Lady Warriors.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netBali Pure lost hold of a two-set lead but recovered just in time to come away with a thrilling five-set Game 2 win over Pocari Sweat, 25-15, 26-24, 24-26, 24-26, 15-13, Tuesday in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference women’s division Finals at Philsports Arena in Pasig.Grethcel Soltones took matters into her own hands in the fifth set as she scored four kills in the decider, including the match-clinching spike to send the best-of-three series to a winner-take-all Game 3.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guidelast_img read more

Ceres whips stallion

first_imgSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. What ‘missteps’? Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Cignal coasts to No. 6 Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong It was Fernando Rodriguez’s turn to boost Ceres Negros to another convincing win in the Philippines Football League on Wednesday night.Rodriguez delivered a hat-trick as the Busmen continued their hot streak at home with a 5-1 demolition of Stallion Laguna at Panaad in Bacolod. —CEDELF P. TUPASADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend LATEST STORIES View commentslast_img read more

Filipino Kingad puts win streak on the line against Hexigetu in ONE

first_imgGilas banners young team for Jones Cup Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. ONE Championship: Kings of Destiny at Mall of Asia Arena last April 21. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFilipino wushu artist Danny Kingad is putting his unbeaten record on the line as he faces Mongol fighter Hexigetu Hexigetu in ONE Championship: Conquest of Kings in Surabaya, Indonesia.Kingad, who owns a 5-0 MMA record, 3-0 in ONE, hails from the famed Team Lakay that produced ONE Lightweight champion Eduard Folayang.ADVERTISEMENT Nikki Valdez rushes self to ER due to respiratory tract infection Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena View comments The flyweight fighter stopped two of his three opponents in the promotion with his last foe, Muhammad Aiman, the lone matchup to hear the final bell during the ONE: Kings of Destiny last April.Looking to break Kingad’s streak is Hexigetu (4-2), who will be making his debut in the Asian fighting promotion.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsReigning ONE Championship flyweight champion Kairat Akhmetov (20-0-0) will face interim champion Adriano Moraes (15-2) in a unification bout for the main event of the Surabaya card. LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

LOOK: James Harden flaunts ripped physique ahead of new season

first_imgAside from his deadly shooting stroke, Houston Rockets superstar James Harden is perhaps best known for his deceptive strength, often bullying his way to the paint and almost getting to the free throw line at will.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsDespite already leading the NBA in total attempted and made free throws last season, the crafty left-hander continues to work on this aspect of his game, as he showed off his impressive gains inside the weight room.ADVERTISEMENT “Stay the course,” Harden captioned the post, which has received a lot of commendations from netizens.Yahoo Sports notes that the 27-year-old five-time All-Star gained about 15 pounds of muscle on his frame, to ease his transition back to the wings now that play-making savant Chris Paul has joined the team.Although it’s too soon to say, Harden’s bulkier build may further improve his spectacular durability, having only missed two games during the past three seasons.  /raADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side MOST READ NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo LATEST STORIES The 2017 NBA MVP runner-up posted a shirtless photo of himself on Instagram, highlighting a noticeably more chiseled physique during a workout session in Guangzhou, China. Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelocenter_img NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles03:28Hurricane Dorian lashes South Carolina, Great Abaco Island00:59Pompeo rips into China, urges ASEAN to trust in US02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Baguio to NLEX in three-team shakeup View commentslast_img read more

World Cup 2011

first_imgPiyush ChawlaYou do not have to try very hard to listen to the buzz about Piyush Chawla’s selection for the Indian team that will play for the World Cup. After waiting for more than two years in the sidelines, when others such as fellow leg-spinner Amit Mishra and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha travelled with India’s Test and ODI teams, the 23-year-old was picked for the Cup ostensibly because captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni wanted variety in his bowling attack.While there is still some time for the first ball to be bowled in the World Cup, Chawla’s showing in the final game of the South Africa tour at Centurion, where he was picked ahead of left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra, was anything but magical and did his cause no good. It only added to the growing debate over the Uttar Pradesh leg-spinner’s inclusion in the World Cup squad.Coming on the heels of some frenetic bidding for him in the IPL auction when he was retained by Kings XI Punjab for $900,000-the same price for a certain Adam Gilchrist and a good $100,000 more than Praveen Kumar and Abhishek Nayar-Chawla’s selection has sparked a variety of emotions, ranging from applause for the selectors to consternation. All of these will combine to put extra pressure on his young shoulders when he gets to the bowling crease in any of the World Cup games.He may find it heartening that former India captains like Ajit Wadekar and Dilip Vengsarkar have welcomed his selection as one that will give Dhoni an additional bowling option. Others are hedging, and some like Bishan Singh Bedi wonder what the selectors were really thinking, calling Chawla’s inclusion in the World Cup squad baffling.advertisement”I am amazed that they preferred the leg-spinner who now bowls with a chest-on action ahead of Ojha, whose left-arm spin would have been really handy,” says Bedi, adding, “I remember watching Piyush along with Erapalli (Prasanna) at the National Cricket Academy a few years ago and thinking that this was a lad with immense potential. But somewhere down the line he seems to have lost the edge that a match-winning leg-spinner should have.””I am amazed that they preferred the leg-spinner who now bowls with a chest-on action ahead of Pragyan Ojha, whose left-arm spin would have been really handy.”BISHAN SINGH BEDI Former Indian cricketerBedi is from the school of thought which believes it would have helped to pick an extra batsman like Rohit Sharma or even Manish Pandey in the squad.”That would give the team management some insurance against batting failures,” says Bedi. “With Yuvraj Singh bowling really well and looking good to bowl eight to 10 overs himself and others like Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, I wonder if India will ever play two specialist spinners in a match. The team may end up having both R. Ashwin and Chawla in the reserves, even if Ashwin deserves to be looked at a first choice for the off-spinner’s place. If indeed, Dhoni and others in the team management believed that Chawla could make a significant contribution, they should have played him in each of the matches in South Africa so that he could get some match practice.”Chairman of selectors K. Srikkanth said that his panel factored in expectations that the pitches could be dry and spinner-friendly and Chawla was the most experienced spinner among the contenders. Dhoni is quick to rush to Chawla’s defence. “It is good to have Piyush in the side, as he provides that variety to the attack. He is one guy who can bat a bit. If we plan to play with five bowlers, he can be a handy No. 7 or No. 8 batsman,” says Dhoni.In the past two seasons, Chawla scored 1,086 runs averaging 36.20 in 23 First Class games in India and England. But the big question is: what has Chawla done in the shorter versions of the game to emerge as one of India’s most valuable fringe players? The leg-spinner has taken two wickets in three Twenty20 games for India. In the 50-over format, he has 28 wickets from 22 matches. Nothing much to write home about, his critics say.Critics of Chawla’s selection point out that Dhoni’s statement in Cape Town is a clear indication that the leg-spinner would come into the fray only if India thinks of playing five specialist bowlers. The last time Team India played with a full complement of bowlers was against Australia in the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa in 2009. So what other reason can explain Chawla’s presence in the squad? He is Dhoni’s lucky mascot, says a former India player.”The captain believes that Chawla helped by being part of the squad that won the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007. He also played in the two victorious finals against Australia in the Commonwealth Bank Series in March 2008,” he says.advertisementChawla’s selection may have baffled a few but his real challenge will begin when he gets to play a World Cup game and is given the task of rattling batsmen with his brand of leg-spin. Indeed, the ball is really in his court. After all, in his Aligarh home, he is called Paras, the stone whose touch turns everything to gold. Perhaps he can work some magic and ensure that the team realises the dreams of a billion Indians.last_img read more

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