Roma have begun working on a permanent deal for Chris Smalling after the defender’s strong start on loan from Manchester United. Smalling is already a fans’ favourite at Roma, putting a muscle problem behind him to feature in all of the Giallorossi’s last five games. Now, according to Gianluca Di Marzio and Il Tempo, sporting director Gianluca Petrachi is making plans to thrash out a permanent transfer in the coming weeks. The Englishman’s move to the Olimpico at the end of August was only a dry loan, although the Lupi paid United €3m to borrow him. Despite Roma’s chronic injury problems, he has forged a quick understanding with fellow new boy Gianluca Mancini at centre-back. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Lautaro Martinez was visibly upset after a 3-2 defeat to Borussia Dortmund. “Inter were a completely different team after the break. This cannot happen.” The Argentine is the first Inter player to score in three consecutive Champions League games since Samuel Eto’o reached four in 2010. He had opened the scoring, followed by a Matias Vecino goal, but the 2-0 lead at half-time made little difference. “We did really well in the first half, but were a completely different team in the second. Perhaps we showed a lack of maturity, as we changed entirely after the break,” Lautaro told Sky Sport Italia. “It wasn’t physical, it was a lack of concentration and the drop-off in intensity more than anything else. We were leading 2-0, we cannot lose 3-2. It cannot happen. We need to mature and grow to play at this level. “We have not lost hope of qualifying, we’ve been trailing since the start in this group, but we can do it.”
The crisis engulfing the national game was finally resolved on Monday when organisers of World Series Hockey (WSH) decided to postpone the league till after the Olympic Qualifier.The WSH, organised by Nimbus Sport on behalf of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), was scheduled to be held from December 17 to January 22, but with Hockey India (HI) scheduling a national camp during that period, a clash between the two federations was on the cards.The International Hockey Federation (FIH) recognises HI as the sole governing body for the game in the country and does not sanction the WSH.With HI making it clear that players missing the national camp will not be considered for selection, the Indian players were in a quandary as the WSH had offered them lucrative amounts.The Pakistan Hockey Federation had also asked its players to shun the WSH.However, with the league postponed till after the Qualifier, to be held in New Delhi from February 15-26, the players can now focus on ensuring that India does not miss out on the Olympics for the second consecutive edition.The WSH will now start on February 29, with the final on April 1. The decision was taken by the organisers on IHF’s request, but they claimed the players, coaches and match officials were committed to the event. IHF blamed HI for “intimidating” the players.”We are extremely saddened by the intimidation tactics adopted by HI to try and deprive Indian hockey players of an opportunity to earn a living from the sport of hockey,” IHF president RK Shetty said in a statement.advertisementHe alleged that HI changed its schedule to ensure that its camp clashed with WSH.”The original schedule for WSH was made on the basis that the national preparatory camp for the Olympic Qualifier was to start on January 24. This date was communicated by HI officials in writing to players in March.”Hi chose to reschedule the camp to December 11 with the obvious intention of disturbing the players and their preparation for WSH. This rescheduling was done after the announcement of WSH dates,” Shetty said.He said the postponement was done in the players’ interest.”With the express intent of protecting our national players from further harassment from Hockey India, IHF has requested WSH to take the high ground and adjust the dates.”For all their bravado, it is a big setback for the WSH just days before its beginning. Several international players had already landed in the country. Nimbus had said that preparations were in the final stages. It is a blow to Nimbus, especially with the Indian cricket board terminating their contract for matches in the country. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have also moved to probe alleged irregularities in their deals with the company.
With his latest study, Australian researcher Dr Nicholas Rohde has reignited an eternal debate who is a better cricketer among two of the world’s top batsmen, Sir Don Bradman or Sachin Tendulkar.As the Griffith University researcher ranked Bradman next only to Tendulkar, Headlines Today decided to take a re-look at their cricket careers and performances in international cricket.Both Bradman and Tendulkar have remained cricket fans’ ultimate fascination leading to the endless debates comparing the two legends’ statistics and their impacts on the sport. The two thespians of cricket are also the ultimate technicians and icons who redefined the game in their respective eras.One is an Indian cricketer globally renowned for his batting abilities and widely considered as one of the greatest batsmen in cricket history and the other is an Australian remarkably known as the greatest batsman of all time with a career Test batting average of 99.94, hailed as the top-most statistical achievement in any major sport.Tendulkar is the highest run scorer in Tests as well as ODIs and record holder of the most centuries in both the formats. Bradman’s 20-year playing career records are no less than a benchmark for cricket’s future generations.Both legends, though from two completely different times, have so many similar traits that it is natural to draw comparison. Once watching Tendulkar bat on TV, Bradman suddenly called out to his wife in excitement and told her how the Indian reminded of him of his own batting.Much like Bradman, Tendulkar too is five feet six inches tall and dominates the best of bowling attacks with similar ease. Yet, the best way to truly assess Bradman and Tendulkar is the comparison amid the many factors that made up their style of play.advertisementBradman’s run-scoring speed was unimaginable when he scored a whopping 452 in only 415 minutes. Some might disagree stating that the over rates in the thirties and forties were better than today. Tendulkar on the verge of 100 international centuries is considered to be a monumental achievement. But again, Bradman made 10 Test double hundreds and two triple hundreds with a total six triple and 37 double hundreds in first-class cricket in his time.On a personal front too, Tendulkar is similar to Bradman in many ways. Unfailingly courteous, modest and comfortable with his own company, still unlike Bradman, Tendulkar has maintained his popularity with team-mates as well as opponents.But it is the impact the two have had on society and their country that defines their true value. While Bradman rose to popularity in Australia particularly during the Great Depression and instantly became a symbol of hope, Tendulkar’s heroics have lent confidence and belief that would succeed in a new age India.
Divide and rule is an old colonial trait that has been ingrained into Indian cricket. In the 70s and 80s, it witnessed the North-South segregation, a subject that the press and the public speculated a lot about. But the acrimony, if any, never came out in the public domain.The BCCI has had its own share of spars with broadcasters, new cricket leagues or even the contract issues in the 80s which saw K Srikkanth, the former opening batsman and current chief selector, take over the India captaincy under duress.The MS Dhoni-Virender Sehwag public spat is one that could leave impressionable scars on Team India. The team is in transition and the younger breed entering the system will wait and watch. Some will choose to be on the buttered side of the bread and some may choose to be neutral.It is apparent that Sehwag and Gambhir will be around for a while on sheer cricketing skills. The blemishes of this incident will stay for a while, if they are not wiped away through transparent talks.If the selection of the Indian team for the Asia Cup is any yardstick to dissect the locker room screenplay, then it is palpable that the BCCI has orchestrated this script.First, there was the rationale behind rewarding the only bright spark of the tour Down Under, Virat Kohli, with the mantle of being the second-in-command. Kohli’s time to be understudy should have come by design rather than default. At the moment, he seems to be a catalyst to douse the fire in the team.advertisementSecondly, the uncanny elucidation (one of the many, I might stress) by the chairman of selectors on the disparity between Gambhir and Dhoni’s age is a hollow argument. It doesn’t take one to be an Archimedes to recognise that disproportionate ages don’t change with the passage of time or preferences of the authorities.The counsel to suggest rest for Sehwag and Zaheer is again seemingly ambiguous. The selection on the threshold of a possible three-game, undeserved, final in the CB Series highlights a few issues.The apparent backstage histrionics that surfaced from the ‘rotation’ theory didn’t help team camaraderie. The subsequent lack of restraint by the protagonists at press congregations did not helped the issue. It has highlighted the otherwise strategically acknowledged theories of ‘rotation’ and the contentious ‘youth over seniors’ debate and questioned its bona fides.Dressing room moods and a team’s character are often tested in sport .The positive mood often comes from triumphs and stunning performances. Indian cricket needs to focus on these two critical issues. The rest will sort itself out. Crevices are often evident when there is a famine. The scarcity of competitive team performances is where Indian cricket’s drought is.(The writer is a former captain of the Mumbai Ranji team)
Britney SpearsPop star Britney Spears seems to have religion on her mind. A one-time Kabbalah disciple, Spears, along with her four-month old son Sean Preston, was recently spotted at the Lord Venkateswara Temple and the Ganesha Temple in Malibu, California.Sporting a tilak, she sat through the elaborate rituals and, according,Britney SpearsPop star Britney Spears seems to have religion on her mind. A one-time Kabbalah disciple, Spears, along with her four-month old son Sean Preston, was recently spotted at the Lord Venkateswara Temple and the Ganesha Temple in Malibu, California.Sporting a tilak, she sat through the elaborate rituals and, according to temple president Nadadur Varadhan, “showed a lot of interest in Hindu religion”.First Madonna’s mehendi fixation and now Spears’ Hindu temple tales, the Indian curry just got spicier.
Dilip BobbIt’s called Jivamukti. For the uninitiated or plain ignorant, Jivamukti is yoga on speed. Started (where else?) in the US, it has just invaded Britain to the accompaniment of howls of protest from the purists. Hardly surprising since it has transformed a meditative, slow-moving exercise form into a hyped-up,Dilip BobbIt’s called Jivamukti. For the uninitiated or plain ignorant, Jivamukti is yoga on speed. Started (where else?) in the US, it has just invaded Britain to the accompaniment of howls of protest from the purists. Hardly surprising since it has transformed a meditative, slow-moving exercise form into a hyped-up “supermarket” version practised to the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. The “new, improved” yoga is an aggressive, modern avatar of the traditional form that turns it into a competitive sport.Boosted by celebrity endorsements from Sting and Uma Thurman, Jivamukti is as controversial as it is symbolic. We live in a world that is shrink-wrapped. The pace of change is now constantly in fast forward mode.Attention spans are increasingly compressed and anything, from work to sex, exercise and sport needs a new take to keep it interesting. The key agent here is the Yawn Factor, the reason why the most credible buzzword in our times has become “reinvention”. Actors and celebrities, brands and TV programmes, everyone is under pressure to reinvent itself, or themselves, and to hell with the purists. Take one-day cricket. One would imagine it’s a pretty exciting format, fulfilling its primary objective of pulling the crowds and TV revenue. Yoga on SpeedNot so. A new, shorter format is called 20/20 and the buzz it is causing will ensure its international debut pretty soon. The same goes for hockey, now reinvented as the PHL, with American-style team names, music, promos and cheerleaders. It’s not just spectator sports. A new music album features celebrated ragas and semi-classical pieces set to a jazzed up contemporary score. We’ve also just witnessed the truncated version of the ultra traditional Republic Day parade. Life in fast forward mode is today’s live reality show.Technology is the obvious victim of the accelerated need for change. It seems like yesterday when camera cell phones were ultra cool. No longer. Videophones are the must-have gizmo, till the next innovation comes along. In an age when bling is king, beating the yawn factor is becoming all-important. Which is why making a personal statement is like negotiating a minefield.What’s hot and what’s not has become a lottery. The pace of change is so dizzying it’s almost a case of blink and you’ll miss it. Most days, you wake up and look around you, at your music system, your TV, your wardrobe, car, the furniture and furnishings, even the paintings on your wall, and you invariably ask yourself one question: Are these past the Use By date?advertisement
Having found the winning touch in their last match, Kolkata Knight Riders would be hoping to maintain the momentum when they host Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League return match here on Friday.The timing could not have been better for the Knights to capitalise as the Royals are coming off a battering at the hands of Mumbai Indians in their last game.With the Knight Riders’s next match, against the Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, also scheduled at home, maintaining the winning momentum will top their agenda.Whereas Rahul Dravid’s men appear a bit tired with the hectic scheduling, the Knights are fortunate to get a day’s extra break after their win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday.It took the think-tank a bit of chopping and changing to get to the winning mode after the back-to-back losses against Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals in season five. The four changes in the line-up meant that skipper Gautam Gambhir elevated himself to his usual slot, dropping out of form Kiwi opener Brendon McCullum, a move that set the tone in their much-needed maiden victory this season. Gambhir led the way with a brisk 39-ball 64 to set up a total of 166, which eventually turned out to be a winning one. But their biggest plus point was the inclusion of veteran seamer Laxmipathy Balaji whose fired-up spell of 4-1-18-4, after Kallis took the prized-scalp of Chris Gayle, set-up the victory.”Balaji is a quality bowler and has the capability to take wickets on any pitch. Hats off to him for the way he bowled. This was the best spell that I have ever seen in a Twenty20 competition,” Gambhir said. “It feels nice to finally get a win under our belt. To be honest, it was a team effort. I am pretty happy by the performance of the boys.”KKR would hope that sports psychologist Dr Rudi Webster gives some mantra to the explosive Yusuf Pathan.Yusuf had scored 1011 for the Royals at an average of 26.6 and with a strike-rate of 161.2, to go with his 20 wickets, but is yet to notch up a fifty representing the Knight Riders.All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who was finally included in the line-up after much criticism, is yet to fire and the Bangladeshi would be keen to be in the thick of action on the slow Eden Gardens strip.It would be naive to write off the Royals, who turned it around with successive wins against Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders in the first-leg. For Dravid and Co, having experienced their first defeat in Mumbai — their first in an away match — it would be a challenge to conquer the odds outside home.The bowling would be the main concern for Rajasthan ahead of their second outing away from home. The bowlers were at the receiving end against Kieron Pollard in the teams 27-run loss to Mumbai Indians. The team would hope that the bowlers stick to the task the way they did against the same team in the first-leg while defending 164.”We have a young bowling attack, there’s a little inexperience there. But there are lessons to be learnt. we will try and keep improving,” Dravid said after their loss in Mumbai.Batting is not much of a worry though with Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah in splendid form. The duo gave Mumbai a run for money before the Englishman was castled by Lasith Malinga. In their last meeting, Rahane was out for a duck after a superb 98 against Kings XI in their campaign opener. The orthodox top-order batsman would look to open his account against the Knights.advertisement