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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Seven Runs in 1 ball, no six, no noballs

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FIFA hit by fresh corruption allegations

FIFA hit by fresh corruption allegations ZURICH: New allegations of corruption have arisen just days before FIFA executive committee members are due to vote on football's World Cup hosts in 2018 and 2022, Swiss newspaper Sonntags Zeitung reported.

The newspaper said a list of FIFA officials who have taken "millions in payments" is circulating. "There are many names from postbox companies," an anonymous Swiss resident who has seen the list told the newspaper, which explained that some FIFA executive committee members are hiding behind these companies.

The newspaper added that a well-known member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is also on the list. The fresh allegations come just a week after FIFA's fledging ethics body slapped unprecedented one to three year suspensions on two executive committee members over misconduct or bribery on November 18, sidelining them from voting.

The scandal triggered by undercover newspaper reporters revived memories of influence-peddling at world football's governing body stretching back to the 1990s. Ethics committee chief Claudio Sulser had described the affair as damaging.

Barcelona crush Real Madrid 5-0

Barcelona crush Real Madrid 5-0 MADRID: Jose Mourinho had a nightmare first Clasico as champions Barcelona crushed his Real Madrid side 5-0 at Camp Nou on Monday to go two points clear of their bitter rivals at the top of the Spanish first division.

Spanish World Cup winners Xavi and Pedro Rodriguez put Barcelona into a two-goal lead after just 17 minutes and David Villa marked his first Clasico with a brace inside two minutes (54 min, 56) before Jeffren added a late fifth as Mourinho stomached an unforgettable first defeat in charge of Real.

For Barcelona it was a fifth successive Clasico win over their arch rivals as coach Pep Guardiola maintained his 100 percent record in the fixture and exacted revenge over Mourinho, whose Inter Milan side defeated Barcelona in last season's Champions League semi-finals.

Real went into the game unbeaten and hoping for a first win at Camp Nou since December 2007.

In the fifth minute Messi surprised everyone by curling a beautiful left-footed chip onto the post with Iker Casillas well beaten.

Andres Iniesta fed a pass into the penalty area with Marcelo failing to intercept the pass and Xavi took advantage of a fortunate piece of control to prod calmly past Casillas to the delight of the home fans.

Real had the best defence in the league beforehand and this was only the seventh goal they had conceded under Mourinho.

The visitors responded with Angel di Maria forcing Victor Valdes to tip over a fierce shot but Barcelona were looking dangerous and struck again on 17 minutes through Pedro.

Villa went past Sergio Ramos by the touchline and Casillas could only fingertip his cross into the path of the inrushing Pedro who fired home.

Cristiano Ronaldo, top-scorer in the league with 14 goals, then took centre stage with his pass almost reaching Benzema only for Eric Abidal to avert the danger.

On the half hour mark Ronaldo started a melee when he pushed Barca coach Guardiola for holding the ball, earning him a yellow card, and then whistled a fine free-kick past the post of Victor Valdes.

Real brought off the ineffective Mesut Ozil at half-time with Lass Diarra replacing him but it was more of the same as Barcelona dominated.

Villa went close with his goal-bound shot blocked but on 54 minutes Messi fed the Spanish World Cup winner, who took the pass brilliantly in his stride before firing past Casillas.

A defence-splitting pass from Messi released Villa, who beat Casillas again and left Real 4-0 down before the hour mark.

Substitute Jeffren Suarez netted a fifth late on and Sergio Ramos was sent off in the final minute for a terrible foul on Messi and then shoving Carles Puyol as tempers boiled over

Wahab, Kamran, Umar, Imran also involved in spot-fixing: Mazhar

 KARACHI: Geo News Tuesday received a secret video of bookie Mazhar Majeed in which he disclosed that four more Pakistani cricketers Wahab Riaz, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal and Imran Farhat among suspended trio – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer – were involved in spot-fixing.

The video also revealed Mazhar as saying that Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Saeed Ajmal and Younis Khan are not involved in spot-fixing.

Pakistan squad named for New Zealand tour

Pakistan squad named for New Zealand tourLAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board has announced the national squad for the forthcoming tour of New Zealand here on Tuesday.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi have been retained as captains for Test and Twenty20 teams, respectively.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, veteran batsman Mohammad Yousuf and opening batsman Imran Farhat have been left out of the squad.

Kamran, who was ruled out of Pakistan's recent series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates after surgery for appendicitis, has been at the centre of match-fixing allegations.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) reportedly issued notice to him regarding Pakistan's controversial defeat against Australia in the Sydney Test in January.

But there were reports in Pakistani media suggesting Akmal, 28, had contacted the ICC regarding his selection and was told that he was cleared for selection.

Yousuf, 36, had to return home after a recurrence of a groin injury earlier this month and although he too was featuring in the domestic matches, selectors left him out. 

Also out of the team was former captain Shoaib Malik while Sohail Tanveer has made comeback in the national team..

Malik, 28, was also left out of the team against the South African series after performing poorly on the tour of England.

The PCB has said that Wahab Riaz’s includion in the team depends on his fitness.

Twenty20 squad: Shahid Afridi (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shahzad, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Tanveer Ahmed, Sohail Tanveer, Wahab Riaz.

Test squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umer, Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Umar Gul, Tanveer Ahmed, Sohail Tanveer, Wahab Riaz.

Pakistan will play three Twenty20 Internationals, two Tests and six One-day Internationals on the 45-day tour. 

The squad for ODI series will be announced later.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pakistan wins hockey gold at Asian Games

SohailAFP newin Pakistan wins hockey gold at Asian Games
Sohail Abbas scored from a penalty corner in the 26th minute to give Pakistan the lead over Malaysia. —AFP Photo

GUANGZHOU: Pakistan bagged its third gold medal of the 2010 Asian Games when it defeated Malaysia 2-0 in the final in Guangzhou, China on Thursday.
Fired-up Pakistan annexed the Asian Games men’s hockey gold medal after 20 years with the final win.
Specialist drag-flicker Sohail Abbas gave Pakistan the lead in the 28th minute when he converted from a penalty corner. Abbas slammed home the ball in the top right corner in Pakistan’s second attack of the first half.
Striker Rehan Butt then consolidated the lead three minutes into the second half when he hit a close-range goal from open play (in the 38th minute).
It was Pakistan’s eighth Asiad hockey gold, ending a drought that stretched back to Beijing in 1990, and handed them their first major title since winning the World Cup in Sydney in 1994.
Pakistan ended the year on a high after a disappointing eight-month period in which they finished a humiliating 12th out of 12 at the World Cup in March and took sixth place at the Commonwealth Games in October.
The Pakistanis kneeled in prayer after the final whistle, before lifting their Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel over their shoulders to loud applause from the stands.
Malaysia, often dubbed the sport’s perennial under-achievers, had to settle for silver in their maiden appearance in the title clash after winning the bronze medal six times.
The entire Malaysian team, barring Sikh player Baljit Singh, shaved their heads in a practice called ‘nazar’ to ward off evil spirits in the final, but failed to produce the spark that won them the semi-final against India.
Amin Rahim, whose two late goals sank India, faltered in all three penalty corners his team earned in the second half.
Malaysia had gone into the final as the only unbeaten team in the competition with four wins and a draw.
By winning the final, Pakistan has also confirmed it’s berth at the 2012 London Olympics

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Champion Vettel ready to ‘rock Berlin’

BERLIN: New world champion Sebastian Vettel will fulfil another dream on Saturday when he drives his Red Bull Formula One car down Berlin’s Fan Mile and in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
The 23-year-old, who became the youngest Formula One world champion when he picked up his fifth Grand Prix title of the season nearly two weeks ago, will drive his car — dubbed ‘Randy Mandy’ — through the German capital.
Vettel’s Red Bull team have organised the event which will see Germany’s new champion go full throttle in front of the capital city’s most famous landmark.
“When I am world champion, I want to drive my ‘Randy Mandy’ along the largest fan zone in Germany,” Vettel has said in the past.
“I will rock Berlin.” Vettel will be on a tight schedule: the planned two-hour celebrations in Berlin start at 12pm (11am GMT), but he will then fly to Dusseldorf to team up with Michael Schumacher for the Race of Champions on Saturday night.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Clarke faces fitness race before Ashes opener

 SYDNEY: Injured Australian batsman Michael Clarke is unlikely to face England in this week’s first Ashes Test unless he bats in training on Tuesday (today), captain Ricky Ponting said on Monday.
Vice-captain Clarke suffered a recurrence of a long-term lower back problem in a recent Sheffield Shield match and failed to suit up for nets on Monday in Brisbane, where the first Test begins on Thursday.
“He’s been in this situation a few times in the last couple of years, he’s had these niggly things with his back and been able to come up most times,” Ponting told reporters in Brisbane.
“If we don’t see him bat on Tuesday (today) then I think it will be hard to see him considered for the game. “It will depend on how much he is able to do on Tuesday and Wednesday but someone as important to our team as he is we’d probably wait until Thursday morning.”
Uncapped batsman Usman Khawaja was brought into the squad on Monday as cover for Clarke, who has hit 4,549 runs in 64 Tests since making his debut in 2004. “Didn’t train today, back a little stiff,” Clarke posted on his Twitter page. “Confident if I keep listening to our physio and doing the right things I will be fit for thurs.”
“As there is some doubt over Michael Clarke’s fitness for the Brisbane Test match, it was felt prudent to bring a standby player into the squad,” chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said in a news release. “We intend to give Michael as much time as possible to prove his fitness and a decision on his availability will be made in consultation with the team’s medical staff after the next two days of training.”
There was more bad news for Australia, however, when Tim Paine, the back-up to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, was discovered to have broken a finger in a Twenty20 match in Brisbane on Sunday.

Truck driver impresses Waqar

KARACHI: A 27-year-old truck driver in Abu Dhabi has impressed Pakistan cricket officials to the point that some of them are talking about calling him for training in Lahore.
Abdul Haq, a heavy-duty vehicle driver-cum-supervisor at a construction company in Abu Dhabi, rattled the stumps of Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, opener Imran Farhat and rookie wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal during a training session on the sidelines of the second and final Test against South Africa, impressing Pakistan’s coaches Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed, both former Test pacers.
Pakistan manager Intikhab Alam, a former Test captain, also praised Haq for his express pace and said that he would make efforts to invite the bowler to Lahore for proper training.
“He showed a lot of pace and was very impressive. We would try to groom him,” said Intikhab adding that Haq can improve if he gets to train at the elite National Cricket Academy in Lahore.
Haq said in an interview that he has always dreamt about playing for Pakistan. “It is my greatest desire to play for my country,” said Haq, who hails from Pakistan’s troubled tribal region of North Waziristan.
Haq, who was one of the few local bowlers requested by Pakistan to bowl at their nets session, played domestic cricket in Pakistan at the Under-19 level but was forced to move to UAE because of poverty. “I was playing cricket in Pakistan but was not making any money for my family. Now I earn about 100,000 rupees monthly here in UAE,” he said.

Ponting backs uncapped spinner Doherty

SYDNEY: Australia captain Ricky Ponting on Monday backed uncapped Xavier Doherty to best England batsman Kevin Pietersen during the Ashes series, saying the spinner was ready for the tourists’ top order.
Doherty was included in Australia’s Ashes squad over Nathan Hauritz — a decision retired spin legend Shane Warne slammed on microblogging site Twitter as “very very harsh on Hauritz” who he said “deserved first crack at poms”.
But Ponting said left-arm orthodox spinner Doherty, 28, had been impressive in recent Sheffield Shield domestic matches for Tasmania while Hauritz had “lost his action”.
“Seeing him (Doherty) up close and personal for those couple of games probably gave me a bit more of an idea of how good he was because I haven’t played much with him in the last few years,” Ponting said. “He’s a good solid character as well and I think he’ll handle the situation pretty well and I think we saw that in his first one-day international at the MCG.”
Doherty took four wickets at his ODI debut against Sri Lanka at the MCG on November 3. “I think he’ll be ready for what the English batters try and do,” Ponting said.

The Worst Ball Ever??


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shahid Afridi To Quit Test Cricket

Shahid Afridi To Quit Test CricketAfter Murali, it's time for stylish Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi to say bye to the international Test cricket, resulting in the closure of one significant chapter in the past of Test cricket in the sub-continent.
Afridi declared that he will give up both Test cricket and captaincy of Pakistan group after the second Test against Australia that begins at Headingley on Wednesday.
Afridi declared his verdict instantly after his side lost to Australia by 150 runs in the first Test at Lords.
He started his Test career versus Australia at Karachi in the year 1998.

Beware the wounded Aussies, warns Hayden

SYDNEY: Constant criticism leading up tothe Ashes may actually work in Australia’s favour, galvanising an under-pressure team against a more settled England side, former Australian opener Matthew Hayden believes.
Squirming at the fifth place in the Test rankings, Australia are a pale shadow of the dominant force they were during Hayden’s heyday.
The retirements of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist and Hayden have left a void that has proved too big to fill and the transition has proved far from smooth.
The recent 2-0 away defeat by India has not done any good to their confidence either, and some individual bad patches have prompted the media to virtually write them off for the Ashes, which start on Thursday at the Gabba.
Hayden, however, has found something positive in the disarray.
“You boys (media) have been hard on them and they will be feeling that no question,” Hayden told reporters in Brisbane on Sunday.
“But beware the wounded cricketer. You can’t hide at the Gabba. And Australia will be keen. They would have reformulated together as a unit, the speculation will be aside and it will be play on.”
Players such as Mike Hussey have struggled for runs and the slow bowling department, where rookie left-armer Xavier Doherty was preferred to Nathan Hauritz, does not look particularly ominous.
Hayden, however, was not perturbed.
“We burn when we don’t win. In our era it was almost ‘oh they’ve won again’ sort of attitude. Now it’s like we haven’t got the Ashes and we want to go and get them — that comes through immense pride and national spirit.”
The veteran of 103 Tests was also relieved to see former teammate Hussey wriggle out of a prolonged bad patch with a gritty century in Western Australia’s Sheffield Shield triumph over Victoria.
“I think it has been really good to see this week someone like Mike Hussey being under immense pressure and to bat for his career. And you know what, he came through with the goods,” he added.
“He got a good hundred under pressure. And that is going to stand him in terrific stead come the first day of the Gabba Test match.
“That’s the edge we have over England who have had a bit of a sleepier start to their tour.”
Sharing his optimism, middle order batsman Marcus North said both Hussey and paceman Mitchell Johnson, who grabbed a five-wicket haul and hit a century in the Sheffield Shield match, would be “cherry-ripe” for the first Test.
“Mitch getting a hundred and five-for and really finding some good rhythm is fantastic,” North told the Cricket Australia website.
“He’s going to be cherry-ripe for next week and obviously ‘Huss’ getting some time in the middle is fantastic as well... It’s just a bonus that these guys have performed well in this game leading into next week.”
The left-hander conceded England, who won two of their three warm-up matches and drew the other, had a perfect build-up.
“I guess they’ll be happy with where they’re at. But we’ve had some good preparation as players getting an opportunity to play some first-class cricket around the country.
“The guys have faced the red ball, used the red ball and going up to Brisbane this week we’ve got three and-a-half good days of really solid preparation and once that contest starts everything before it is irrelevant.”

Aamir falls in squash finale

 KARACHI: Pakistan’s hopes of a gold medal in squash ended when Aamir Atlas was beaten by Mohamad Azlan Iskandar of Malaysia in the final of the men’s singles squash event of the 16th Asian Games on Sunday.
World No 23 Aamir, who had stunned World No 18 Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia in the semifinal, failed to repeat the same performance against World No 15 Azlan Iskandar, conceding the title clash 0-3.
Iskandar, who resides in England, was in complete control throughout the 39-minute encounter. The Malaysian, who had ousted Saurav Ghosal of India in the semifinal, took only 15 minutes to win the first set 11-6.
Aamir started the second set well but failed to prevent the experienced rival from wining it by 11-7 in only nine minutes to take a 2-0 lead.
Iskandar clinched the third 11-6 to lift the gold for his country. The set score was 11-6, 11-7, 11-6.
This was the third silver medal for Pakistan in squash in the history of the Asian Games.
Amjad Khan won silver in 1998 Bangkok Asian Games while Mansoor Zaman bagged silver in 2002 Busan Asian Games. In 1998 Bangkok Asian Games Zarak Jehan Khan had lifted the only gold for Pakistan.
In 2006 Doha Asian Games Mansoor Zaman secured bronze while in 2002 Busan Asian Games Shahid Zaman claimed bronze for the country.
The team event will start on Monday (today), where Pakistan will lock horns with Sri Lanka in their Group A opener. Kuwait, Hong Kong and China are the other teams in Group A.
Group B carries Malaysia, Japan, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. In women’s team event Pakistan will meet Hong Kong in their Group B clash, which also contains India and China.
In volleyball, Pakistan defeated Kuwait 3-0 in their match for the 9-12 placements.
Kuwait only managed to put up a little resistance in the first set, eventually won by Pakistan 27-25. Greenshirts breezed past Kuwait to win the next two sets 25-21 and 25-21 to wrap up a fine victory.
They will now play their play-off for the ninth place on Tuesday (tomorrow).
Meanwhile, the poor show of the national shooters continued on Sunday with Aamir Iqbal finishing last of the 33 shooters in the qualification round of the men’s double trap event by scoring 110 points.
In kabaddi, the last Asian Games silver medallists Pakistan will open their campaign against Malaysia in their Group B opener on Monday (today) at the Nansha Gymnasium.
Japan and Bangladesh are the other teams in Group B while Group A carries Iran, South Korea and India.
The semifinals will be held on November 25 while the final will be on November 26.
Pakistan have so far won four medals including a gold in women’s cricket, silver medals in wushu and squash and a bronze in snooker team event.
In judo, baseball, sailing, shooting, weightlifting, tennis, football and volleyball the country has shown a disappointing performance.
Gold medallist of the Commonwealth Karate Championship Saadi Abbas will use his muscles in the karate event starting from November 24

Tanveer should have been tried in England

Pakistan cricket team’s former selectors said that pacer Tanveer Ahmed should have been given a chance in the earlier series against England following his brilliant performance in the second Test against South Africa underway in Abu Dhabi.
Tanveer’s six-wicket haul helped him become the 10th Pakistani to take five wickets in an innings on debut and was the lone bright spot for Pakistan.
“He bowled brilliantly, showing that he deserved a place in the playing eleven in the series against England and not on the bench,” former chief selector Abdul Qadir told PPI.
“The pitch is batting friendly and only top class bowlers could perform at such batsman’s paradise.”
He said that Tanveer would have played havoc on the English pitches had he been given a chance there.
“English pitches favour bowlers like Tanveer Ahmed. However, the Pakistan think-tank clearly discriminated him by giving a chance to bowlers like Mohammad Sami and Irfan,” Qadir said.
Meanwhile, another selector Salahuddin Ahmed Sallu concurred that the Kuwait-born bowler should have been a part of playing eleven in the series against England.
“He has bowled impressively against South Africans, especially taking into account the fact that it is his debut match. The pitch is certainly batting friendly and bowling in such conditions is very difficult,” Sallu said.

ICC agrees on new code for domestic cricket

The Executive Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday agreed on implementing a global Anti-Corruption Code for the sport at the domestic level.
“The Board met via teleconference on Sunday to receive an update on the progress being made by the Pakistan Cricket Board in conjunction with the ICC Pakistan Task Team (PTT), which also met earlier in the day, in implementing the key action steps required by the ICC Board to preserve the integrity of cricket,” said an ICC media release.
“The Board expressed satisfaction at the progress of the work being undertaken by the Pakistan Task Team and the PCB which has already established an Integrity Committee and appointed an Integrity Officer. The Board noted that the PCB has suitably implemented or begun to implement the ICC Executive Board’s requirements within the 30-day time period set,” it added.
The Board also agreed unanimously that members should introduce an Anti-Corruption Code for their domestic cricket which mirrors that of the ICC by 1 April 2011.
Haroon Lorgat, the ICC Chief Executive, confirmed to the Board that he had written to all ICC members on October 20 requesting members to review the adequacy their own processes and procedures to protect against the threat of corruption (domestic and international) and where necessary introduce new measures which would include a domestic anti-corruption code which mirrors the ICC code.
Lorgat added: “In helping the PCB, the ICC has prepared a template domestic Anti-Corruption Code, which incorporates in a consistent manner the same principles, offences procedures and sanctions as those set out in the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.
“It was unanimously agreed to accept a proposal from the PTT, that all ICC members, starting with full members, should implement a domestic Anti-Corruption Code in its jurisdiction on or before April 1, 2011. Where no domestic Anti-Corruption Code exists the Board agreed that the template should be incorporated as soon as possible and where an Anti-Corruption Code does exist that a review of those rules should be carried out to consider their adequacy.”
The ICC Board agreed that all members should consider the proactive steps being taken by the PCB to ensure that their own internal processes on anti-corruption issues are robust and adequate to deal with the challenges faced and these should include structures to deal with integrity issues; on-going education planning and delivery; reporting of integrity concerns in domestic cricket and the vetting of player agents.
“It would be of great benefit to all stakeholders within the game for all ICC members to adopt a domestic Anti-Corruption Code and a template will immediately be sent to all Full members. ICC has a zero-tolerance towards corruption and we will do everything we can to protect the integrity of our great sport. All members have a responsibility to demonstrate leadership and good practice in protecting the integrity of the sport at domestic and international level, said Lorgat.
The Board also noted the PTT work in progress to review and provide recommendations to support the PCB in carrying out necessary reforms to restore confidence in the administration of the game in Pakistan while they re-iterated that team selection is solely the responsibility of the PCB. PCB must therefore ensure that its selection policies are appropriate and amongst other criteria, adhere to the principles and values of international cricket.

Federer says number one Nadal will be hard to topple

Federer says number one Nadal will be hard to topple LONDON: There is hardly anything Roger Federer has not achieved in tennis over the past decade but the Swiss admits seizing back the world number one ranking from Rafael Nadal may stretch even his mercurial powers.

Federer has arrived in London for the ATP World Tour finals a distant second to the phenomenal Spaniard in the rankings and while his desire still burns as strong as ever he is not expecting a return to the top any time soon.

"Sure, it's going to be challenging," Federer told reporters from a hotel lounge overlooking the River Thames and the Houses of Parliament.

"It's going to be very difficult because Rafa is playing well and I have to defend my points in Australia and he has no points to defend here in London," added Federer, immaculate in a navy blue suit and tie.

"That's why things look very good for him over the next few months."

Federer, 29, who began the year by winning the Australian Open but subsequently lost the top ranking to Nadal just one week short of equalling the 265 weeks Pete Sampras spent as number one, has not ruled out the possibility altogether though.

"Right now the number one ranking is not something I have in my mind," said the 16-times grand slam champion.

"My goal is to play well here in London and then prepare well for next season and then hopefully, at some stage, I'll try get it back. If not I'll focus on winning tournaments because I enjoy doing that too."

Federer has won the year-ending showpiece four times and, outside the four grand slams, rates it as a priority each year.

"Right now it's about saving energy, getting ready to play the matches," he said. "I've played four of the last five weeks and my game is right where I want it to be.

"It's the ninth time for me and I know the drill. I feel like I've got one more tournament left in me. My body is not screaming for a vacation quite yet," said Federer.

"This is a huge tournament for me. It is a goal of the season to make it here. I hope I can save my best until last."

Federer is in a group with his French Open conqueror Robin Soderling, Briton Andy Murray and Spaniard David Ferrer, who he plays first on Sunday.

Ronaldo hat trick gives Real edge for Barcelona

Ronaldo hat trick gives Real edge for Barcelona MADRID: Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid will have the upper hand for the Clasico showdown at Barcelona's Camp Nou in nine days time after Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday moving them back to the Spanish first division summit a point above their bitter rivals.

Barcelona had crushed Almeria 8-0 with Lionel Messi bringing up a century of league goals for the club with a hat-trick and Ronaldo matched that feat with his own treble as Real maintained their perfect home record with a sixth win.

Ronaldo took his league season's tally to 15 with a hat-trick (30 minutes, 62, 90) as unbeaten Real made it 32 points from a possible 36 and now they hope to end a run of four successive defeats against Barcelona.

Ronaldo's 15 goals take him top of the goalscoring charts two above Messi who is on 13 after his treble helped bring up a century of goals and he is now on 101 goals with Samuel Eto'o mark of 108 goals the next target.

The 23-year-old Messi opened the scoring on 16 minutes and netted again on 36 minutes to make it 100 league goals in a Barcelona shirt in just 154 games before completing his hat-trick with a tap-in on 66 minutes.

Barcelona were 5-0 up at half-time and Messi's third goal and a brace from substitute Bojan Krkic in the second half made it 8-0 to equal the biggest away win in league history matching Barcelona's 8-0 win at Las Palmas back in 1959.

"We weren't trying to send a warning out to anyone," insisted Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. "After Real Madrid and Barcelona Almeria had the third best defence in the league before this match and that says a lot about our win."

Real could have gone behind with Spanish international striker Fernando Llorente forcing Pepe to clear off the line as early as the second minute.

The hosts dusted themselves down and Higuain showed great strength to shrug off his man and cooly finish.

Llorente then forced another fine save from Casillas and Madrid punished Bilbao for the miss with Mesut Ozil laying off for Ronaldo to side-foot in.

Llorente finally got the goal his hard work deserved firing into the roof of the net on 40 minutes to make it 2-1 at the interval with his ninth goal of the season.

Real took command in the second half and two goals in five minutes killed off the match.

Sergio Ramos scored his first goal of the season from the penalty spot on 57 minutes before Ronaldo's swerving free-kick crept thanks in part to some poor goalkeeping.

The Portuguese star converted a penalty for his hat-trick and the former Manchester United man and Messi are setting the league alight with their goals this season and come face to face on November 29 in the eagerly-anticipated Clasico.

Ronaldo has yet to win a Clasico while Messi has been part of the team that won the last four and scored in the last meeting between the two sides in April when Barcelona won 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Both teams are in European action before the Monday night showpiece with Barcelona travelling to Panathinaikos on Wednesday while Real Madrid travel to Ajax on Tuesday for their Champions League game.

Earlier Italian international striker Giuseppe Rossi scored his eighth league goal of the campaign to rescue a point for Villarreal in a 1-1 home draw with local rivals Valencia on Saturday.

Villarreal saw their 100 percent home record of five wins at El Madrigal come to an end, however, Rossi's 73rd minute volley salvaged a point and Villarreal stay three points ahead of Valencia in third but eight points behind Real. 

Aritz Aduriz had put Valencia into a 20th minute lead to give Valencia the initiative and the visitors frustrated the home side before Rossi produced a clinical volley to clinch a point. 

Valencia had defender Marius Stankevicius sent off for a second booking on 80 minutes but held on for a point and now prepare for Wednesday's Champions League home match with Bursaspor.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Salman and Amir hit out at ICC

Suspended Pakistani duo of Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir accused the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday of treating them unfairly and said it had no evidence against them regarding spot-fixing allegations. The two players have returned to Lahore from Dubai where their appeals over their provisional suspensions were rejected by the chairman of the ICC code of conduct commission, Michael Beloff, after a two-day hearing that ended on Sunday. The pair, who were suspended on September 2 by the ICC along with team mate Mohammad Asif, have been told to prepare for a full hearing of the case as they are facing serious allegations of spot fixing. “They have no evidence . . .

It’s our sole prerogative to select World Cup squad: PCB

Pakistan’s cricket chiefs on Saturday rejected the impression that they will follow International Cricket Council’s instructions while selecting the country’s provisional squad for next year’s World Cup. Following growing speculations that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had forwarded a 45-man list to the ICC for its ‘clearance’ ahead of World Cup 2011, the Board declared that all such reports were ‘incorrect’. “The PCB wishes to clarify that it is the PCB’s sole prerogative to select the squad for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup. The impression in a section of media that the PCB will submit a list of 45 players to the ICC for its sign-off is incorrect,” said a statement iss . . .

Pakistan women beat Bangladesh; win first Asiad gold

Pakistan created history Friday in crushing Bangladesh by 10 wickets to win the first-ever Asian Games women's cricket tournament. Captain Sana Mir invited Bangladesh to bat first after winning the toss and her players dismissed them for 92 runs in the allotted 20 overs, with off-spinner Nida taking four wickets for 16 runs. Nida Rashid’s brilliant all-round performance guided Pakistan to this momentous victory, as she then scored a superb unbeaten 51 to guide her team to 93-0 in 15.4 overs. Javeria Wadood hit the winning boundary and was not out 39. For Bangladesh, Salma Khatoon scored 27 and Romana made 17, while for Pakistan, Nida Rashid captured four and Sana Mir too . . .

Waqar wants separate teams for Test, ODI, T20

Waqar wants separate teams for Test, ODI, T20 Abu Dhabi: Pakistani cricket team coach Waqar Younis said that the time has come to make separate teams for Test, ODI and T20 matches. He said Pakistani team is facing crucial situation, adding that the performance of the team is not bad in current circumstances.

Talking to media in Abu Dhabi, Waqar said that the morale of team has boosted after the 1st test match against South Africa.

About the pitch of Abu Dhabi, Waqar commented that it is premature to say that how pitch will behave in the next match

China beat Japan to reach womens hockey final

GUANGZHOU: Defending champions China crossed a major hurdle towards the final of the Asian Games women's field hockey with a 3-1 win over Japan on Friday.

Zhao Yudiao scored two goals and Gao Lihua one as the Chinese girls, seeking a hat-trick of Asiad titles, joined South Korea at the top of the round-robin league with four successive wins.

Japan, silver-medallists behind China at Doha four years ago, could only manage a consolation goal through Ai Murakami after the hosts grabbed a 3-0 lead by half-time.

Japan, with three wins from four matches, must win their remaining games against Thailand and South Korea to remain in contention for Wednesday's gold medal clash.

India blanked Thailand 13-0 for their second success in four matches, captain Surinder Kaur leading the way with four goals.

Rani Kumari scored a hat-trick and Subhadra Pradhan netted two penalty corners in an Indian goal-spree that was joined by Chanchan Thokchom, Saba Anjum, Poonam Rani and Joydeep Kaur.

Thailand have lost all four matches so far.

Meanwhile, Malaysia secured their first full points in five games when they defeated Kazakhstan 4-2.

Norazlin Sumantri scored two goals, and Nadia Rahman and Fazilla Silin one each to hand Kazakhstan 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

wallpapers of Cristiano Rolando

China opens Asiad with a splash

China opens Asiad with a splash

China opens Asiad with a splash GUANGZHOU: Light beams, fireworks and water jets exploded from the banks of the Pearl River as China marked the opening of the 16th Asian Games on Friday, two years after dazzling the world with a gala opener to the Beijing Olympics.

Unlike the land-bound festivities at the Bird’s Nest stadium that featured thousands of performers moving in coordination in 2008, Asian Games organisers paid tribute to coastal Guangdong province’s seafaring heritage.

The venue on tiny Haixinsha island was configured like a sailboat for the 4 1/2-hour opening festivities designed by Chen Weiya — famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s deputy when he crafted the Beijing ceremony. The 27,000-capacity stadium stood as the cabin; four towering pillars in front of it unfurled eight video screens that doubled as sails.

The scale of the preparations for the ceremony drew parallels with the Beijing Olympics opener in 2008, which was highly acclaimed, but Guangzhou officials were eager to set the two apart.

“It’s like one is coffee and the other is tea,” Chen Weiya said.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao attended, joined by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and other dignitaries from the region.

The extravaganza heralds the most ambitious Asiad so far with some 10,000 athletes from 45 countries and territories vying for gold in 42 sports.

The Games run until November 27, with hosts China heavily favoured to top the medal table, and South Korea and Japan battling for second place.

“Remember, you are part of history right here, right now,” Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah told the athletes at the opening ceremony.

“Please show us your best performance, and show us the spirit of sportsmanship, fair play, friendship and resopect to your fellow athletes and officials.”

The ceremony kicked off with a small boy floating down from the sky on a leaf-like carriage lit in green. He poured water from a bottle, setting off giant fountains that sprayed in arcs across the stage. Four dozen water goddesses seemed to walk across the water, followed by a dozen fairies rising out of pools in the stage floor.

Performers flapping large pieces of red cloth scrambled across the stage to create the image of petals dropping on water. Other actors entered in a large sampan-like vessel, recreating a journey in rough seas, with the would-be sailors swaying on ropes and ladders amid waters represented by large flags waved by hundreds of dancers.

Classical pianist Lang Lang performed on a white grand and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” actress Zhang Ziyi sang as synchronised swimmers danced and water sprouted before them.

Performers on jet skis zoomed into the stadium and performed tricks.

In a playful segment, dozens of dancers attached to wires seemed to run across cityscapes flashed across the video screens, climbed mountains and formed formations to look like eagles flying through the sky.

In a nod to Chinese hurdling superstar Liu Xiang, who is recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury that forced him to withdraw from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the dancers formed hurdles across a track while one jumped smoothly over them.

In keeping with the night’s nautical theme, instead of walking into the stadium, the athletes arrived on boats that ferried them down the Pearl River. Brightly illuminated in bulbs of different colors, the 45 boats were decorated with Asian landmarks — including Japan’s Mount Fuji, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, Jordan’s Petra and India’s Taj Mahal. China was represented by the Temple of Heaven, the Bird’s Nest and the country’s pavilion from the recently concluded Shanghai World Expo.

During the parade, rivals North and South Korea failed to march under a reunification flag while an otherwise boisterous Chinese crowd hushed momentarily when the Japanese delegation arrived on stage in a possible sign of recent bilateral tensions.

The huge scale of the event has posed a logistical dilemma for the Chinese organisers.
Except for members of the public who won a lottery for tickets to the show, most residents of this wealthy city of 10 million watched it on TV — even though many could have enjoyed a picturesque view of the proceedings from either side of the river.

Officials locked down areas near the stadium, ordering residents within a half-mile radius to leave their homes for the night — apparently to eliminate the threat of sniper fire. However, they were asked to leave their lights on to help maintain a glittering skyline backdrop. Tickets to the ceremony went for as much as $1,025.

“It’s a shame of course,” said an elderly lady surnamed Chen near a 2.5 metre-high electrified fence. “We can’t get closer to the river to enjoy the ceremony tonight.”

As with the Beijing Olympics, organisers have been desperate to depict the Asian Games as a symbol of harmony welcomed by residents of the booming metropolis.

Flag sellers on the streets and a small army of volunteers clad in bright tracksuits reinforced the message, speaking gushingly of the Games and their excitement for the opening.

Security is a major focus, with more than 100,000 police officers on duty to keep it safe, along with hundreds of thousands of security guards and volunteers.

“As the Guangzhou Asian Games will have the most ever athletes, officials and reporters in the history of the Asian Games, the security work has been a great challenge,” a statement from the Games security panel said.

“The security panel has adopted effective and necessary measures to ensure a safe Games. We have done our best to provide a safe and favorable environment for athletes, coaches, officials and audiences.”

Gul sparks South Africa collapse in Dubai Test

Gul sparks South Africa collapse in Dubai Test

Gul sparks South Africa collapse in Dubai TestDUBAI: Paceman Umar Gul produced an inspired spell of bowling as South Africa collapsed to 365 for nine at lunch on the second day of the first test against Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

During the morning session Gul served up a spell of 3-19 off 8.3 overs as the Proteas suffered a middle-order collapse that saw them lose seven wickets for the addition of just 56 runs.

Gul maintained an excellent line just outside the off stump while he extracted just enough seam movement to trouble the batsmen as he ended the session with figures of 3-92.

Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal chipped in with a wicket while left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman claimed two wickets towards the end of the session as the Proteas threw away the advantage that they had built up on the first day.

Pakistan's performance in the field was made all the more remarkable by the fact that left-arm swing bowler Wahab Riaz was unable to bowl after picking up a side strain on the
opening day.

The Proteas, after resuming on 311-3, lost nightwatchman Paul Harris early, caught at second slip off the bowling of Gul for a duck.

Gul then produced a superb delivery, which nipped back off the seam to bowl AB de Villiers (5) through the gate, before the 26-year-old bowler trapped Ashwell Prince leg-before for one.

South Africa had slipped to 329-6 but if they hoped the end of Gul's spell would lessen the pressure on them they were to be disappointed as Rehman trapped Mark Boucher lbw before Ajmal picked up the important wicket of Jacques Kallis.

Kallis, who had added 20 runs to his overnight score of 53, edged a delivery through to keeper Adnan Akmal before Rehman bowled Johan Botha (10) with a turning delivery that clipped the top of the batsman's off stump.

Rehman went to the break with figures of 3-101.