Apr 162014
 

Sachin Tendulkar may not be a part of the Mumbai Indians squad but as an ‘icon’ he is making his presence felt at the team’s training sessions. He is even a part of dressing-room strategizing. Tendulkar sat with his ‘former teammates’ in the dugout too, along with the other coaching staff. The master batsman’s MI jersey, however, is lacking sponsors.

While all other MI jerseys worn by players are packed with sponsorship credits, Tendulkar has a plain blue jersey which only sports owner Nita Ambani’s ‘Education For All’ campaign.

No team owners in the dugout

Team owners will not be sitting in the dugout, next to it or even anywhere around it. A designated area for team owners has been created at all venues here, some distance away from the dugout occupied by players, coaches and the immediate support staff. On Wednesday evening, Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan sat next to Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak, the minister of sport and youth development in Abu Dhabi and the man responsible for the IPL coming to the UAE. Mumbai Indians team owner Nita Ambani, meanwhile, sat in a separate enclosure with her franchise officials and other supporters.

Little to smile at gala dinner

The gala dinner hosted at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi to welcome the IPL in UAE was a strictly-on-invitation, VIP affair. One just couldn’t get through without the right accreditation, thanks to strict local security. That is how the IPL wanted it to be. N Srinivasan’s affidavit in the Supreme Court made all the news in the cricket circles in UAE and the possible after-effects of it gripped all those involved here. Nobody wanted any unnecessary conversation and news emerged that the ‘opening dinner’ had turned out to be a ‘pretty boring’ one. Only the BCCI, which didn’t have to shell out a single penny thanks to the Royal Family hosting the event, had something to smile about.

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Apr 092014
 
Sachin adorns cover of Wisden Almanack

LONDON: Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who quit international cricket last year after an illustrious 24-year long career, adorned the covers of the 151st edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.The 40-year-old cricketer is the first Indian to feat…

Apr 092014
 
Sachin adorns cover of Wisden Almanack

LONDON: Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who quit international cricket last year after an illustrious 24-year long career, adorned the covers of the 151st edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.The 40-year-old cricketer is the first Indian to feat…

Mar 152014
 
Kaif seeks support from Sachin, Ganguly for his election campaign

Kaif is confident that he would receive his former teammates’ blessing in his political campaign with Congress

Kaif seeks support from Sachin, Ganguly for his election campaign (© AP)

AP

Allahabad: Former Test cricketer and Congress’ Lok Sabha candidate from Phulpur Mohommadd Kaif on Saturday said he has “received the blessings” of legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Virendar Sehwag whom he expected to help him in his campaign trail.

The cricketer-turned-politician also rued about the lack of development in Uttar Pradesh, especially in the Allahabad region while addressing a press conference Saturday, a week after getting the Congress ticket from the Phulpur constituency.

“Cricket gave me the opportunity to travel to various parts of the country.

“Whenever I toured Maharashtra or the southern states, I felt the contrast with UP in terms of development in general including lack of adequate sporting infrastructure here,” he said.

“I used to feel impelled to do something for my home state, particularly for my home town of Allahabad, which has a huge treasure trove of raw sporting talent which remains untapped for want of good coaching and training facilities.

“But, I used to be clueless as to how to do that.

“Now I feel I have a platform from which I can serve my people,” he added.

Kaif expressed confidence that he would work his way up in politics in keeping with his batting style which kept the scoreboard ticking with ones and twos despite lack of flamboyant boundaries and sixes.

He claimed that he has “received the blessings” of legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Virendar Sehwag whom he expected to help him in his campaign trail.

“I have spoken to and received the good wishes of many of my seniors like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh and Virendar Sehwag.

“They have assured me that they would be here to support me during the campaign whenever it is possible for them. I am still in the process of contacting other cricketers I have played with and they may help me in electioneering too”.

Kaif said he felt “very strongly” that “in the past 25 years, when the Congress has been out of power in the state (UP) and during the period the party has also suffered defeat after defeat from Phulpur, the state in general and the Parliamentary constituency in particular have suffered stagnation”.

He said that politics is a full time job.

“I have entered politics knowing fully well that it is a full-time job,” Kaif said and when asked whether he implied that he planned to retire from the Ranji-level cricket as well as the IPL, he said, “a decision will be taken depending upon how circumstances unfold”.

To a query about his rather short international cricketing career, the 33-year-old said, “I feel whatever I have got was by the grace of God and by virtue of the love of my fellow Allahabadis besides, of course, the support of the entire country. I feel satisfied and there is no gila-shikva (complains)”.

Fondly recalling his first meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi “who had come to Karachi to watch a match against Pakistan in which I also played”, Kaif said, “I was nevertheless surprised when I got the offer (for contesting elections).

Asked how confident he felt about his prospects given the fact that the Congress has faced defeat here in the last seven Lok Sabha elections and also the generally perceived anti-incumbency which is likely to adversely affect the party, Kaif said, “People might recall that as a cricketer I was workman-like and not flamboyant.

“I did not hit many boundaries or sixes but used to keep the scoreboard ticking with quick singles and twos. I hope to work my way up in politics as well”.

Mar 152014
 
Sachin Tendulkar better than Vivian Richards, says Martin Crowe

Admiring Sachin’s footwork and the simplicity of his game, Crowe said only Sachin can be rated above Viv Richards

Sachin Tendulkar better than Vivian Richards, says Martin Crowe (© Reuters)

Reuters

Mumbai: Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe has rated batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar higher than the West Indies legend Vivian Richards, saying that he admired the Indian veteran’s footwork and his ability to keep things simple.

“Viv was the best batsman I saw in my 14 years of playing Test cricket, along with Greg Chappell and Sunny Gavaskar. Since I have retired, I have seen someone better and that is Sachin,” Crowe said at the ESPNcricinfo awards here on Friday night.

“What I have seen is that Sachin had two things. He had footwork. While Viv Richards’ footwork lasted 15 years, Sachin went a decade longer, almost. The greatest mind along with Sir Don Bradman’s has been Sachin’s, because he kept everything so simple.

“Simplicity was the hallmark of his game and his footwork was poetry in motion and that is why he stood out against all the players and he is someone whom we would revere for a long long time,” the Kiwi great said.

Crowe said when he first saw Tendulkar in 1990, he felt it was unfair for a 16-year-old to face Richard Hadlee, one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of the game. “This 16-year-old came out and I thought how is he going to cope with the world record holder Richard Hadlee. I just thought it was unfair. Sachin didn’t have to worry about that because he nicked the first ball from Danny Morrison and got his first duck in Test cricket,” he said.

“In Napier, he scored a beautiful 88. The thing that caught my mind was his footwork. I knew that footwork was the hallmark of scoring runs. I watched this 16-year-old move his feet like I had never seen before another 16-year-old doing. He dealt with Hadlee fine and everyone else fine and it was a bit of a shame that he fell 12 short.

“I did have an inkling, just by the way he moved, that it was going to be a phenomenal Test career. I just didn’t know it was going to be over 24 years,” Crowe admitted.

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