Sports News

Federer likely to skip Davis Cup fixture against Belgium

Roger Federer

Johannesburg, Feb 14 - World number two Roger Federer is reportedly planning to skip Swizerland's Davis Cup tie to be played in March as the 17-time Grand Slam champion made no mention of it in his spring-to-summer playing schedule.

As per the schedule, Federer would play in Dubai (from February 23), the Indian Wells Masters in March (no Miami event), plus clay-court Masters 1000 events in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome before playing Roland Garros , Sport24 reported.

Federer handed Switzerland a historic first Davis Cup title after a 6-4 6-2 6-2 demolition of Richard Gasquet in the first reverse singles sealed a 3-1 victory for the visitors against France in the 2014 Davis Cup. (ANI)

Anderson backs 'world-class' Morgan post Boycott's criticism

James Anderson

London, Feb 14 - England pace spearhead James Anderson has backed out-of-form skipper Eoin Morgan to regain form, describing him as a world-class and destructive player ahead of the World Cup.

Earlier in the week, former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott had slammed misfiring skipper, calling him as a player who lacks cleverness while facing top-class bowlers of the World.

Boycott said that Morgan was not as good as he thinks.

In response, Anderson said that it was rich coming from him, adding that Morgan was a world-class player and had been for however many games he had played, the Mirror reported.

The right-arm pace bowler further said that they were just hopeful he could get some form as they had seen how destructive he could be when he was in form.

Indian team lacks genuine all-rounders: Mohinder Amarnath

Mohinder Amarnath

New Delhi - Having taken India to World Cup glory in 1983 by his all-round performance, Mohinder Amarnath feels the current side lacks "genuine" all-rounders and the bowlers are trying to bowl too quick instead of focussing on line and length.

"In one-day cricket all-rounders make a lot of Difference. And in this team I don't see any genuine all-rounders. See when we play in India or the sub-continent then the conditions are to our liking, so probably anybody can bat, so it doesn't mean you become a genuine all-rounder," Amarnath told PTI in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of a 'Royal Stag Barrel Select Perfect Strokes' event, here.

Nadal eager to witness 'incredible' carnival ahead of Rio title defence

Rafael Nadal

Johannesburg, Feb 13 - 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has said that he is eager to experience the incredible energy of Brazilian carnival before gearing up to defend his title at the Rio Open, which starts on Monday.

The Spaniard said that he really wanted to learn about the carnival in Rio as it had an incredible energy, adding that carnival was like a religion there, Sport24 reported.

Nadal, who will join a parade on Sunday with compatriot David Ferrer, further said that he was always fascinated by the carnival and was eager to see it live, the report added. (ANI)

Afridi among 8 partying Pak players fined for violating team's WC curfew

Shahid Afridi

Karachi, Feb 13 - Pakistan flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi, along with seven other teammates have been fined for violating a team curfew ahead of their much-anticipated World Cup opener against arch-rivals India on Sunday.

According to the Dawn, eight of the Pakistan players, which also included former captain Shahid Afridi and opener Ahmed Shehzad, were fined 300 Australian dollars after they came late to their Sydney hotel.

Headed by former military officer Naveed Cheema, Pakistan team management claimed that players went with their friends for dinner but came back late.

Moreover, a warning has also been issued for players as a repeat offense would pave their way for an early exit from the sport's pinnacle tournament.

American females vote Oliver Giroud hottest PL player

American females vote Oliver Giroud hottest PL player

London, Feb 12 : A large group of American females have reportedly voted French striker Oliver Giroud as the hottest player in the Premier League.

Burnely topped the overall league of attractive-ness, with the hottest team overall, and the result from women's polls also formed a Hottest Starting XI, the Mirror reported.

Giroud, Morgan Schneiderlin and Jesus Navas made the cut but the reportedly shocking inclusion was Paul Konchesky.

Giroud officially accepted his award from teammates Mathieu Debuchy and David Ospina who presented the Arsenal striker with the 'Hot or Not' Golden Mirror, the report added. (ANI)

'Struggling' Woods taking indefinite leave from golf, admits needs lot of work on game

Tiger Woods

Wellington, Feb 12 - Former world number one golfer Tiger Woods has admitted that he needs a lot of work on his game and is therefore taking an indefinite leave from the professional tour.

The 14-times major champion, who had back surgery last year, withdrew from last week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, his second start of the season, after just 11 holes because of tightness in his back.

Woods would be expected to compete next at the February 26-March 1 Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida based on his usual tournament schedule, Stuff. co. nz reported.

Ponting believes Clarke should renounce ODI captaincy post CWC

Ricky Ponting

Sydney, Feb 12 - Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting believes that Michael Clarke should step down from one-day captaincy, and hand over the premier role to Steve Smith after the conclusion of the World Cup.

The two-time World Cup winning captain said that the right time for Michael to hand over the one-day captaincy to Steven will be after the conclusion of this World Cup, adding that retiring from one-day games would also allow Michael's body regular rest and recovery periods, News. com. au reported.

Admitting that Clarke is perfect to lead Australia during World Cup, Ponting said that it would be a good time for Steven to take over the one-day job and Michael to remain as Test captain after the conclusion of World Cup.

Balotelli finally scores to earn Liverpool 3-2 win over Tottenham in PL

Mario Balotelli

London, Feb 11 - Mario Balotelli finally ended his Premier League goal drought by netting his first goal for Liverpool to edge past rivals Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 at Anfield.

Lazar Markovic put Liverpool ahead in the 15th minute before Harry Kane swiftly scored an equalizer for Spurs with his 23rd goal of an outstanding season.

Subsequently, Steven Gerrard's penalty helped the Brendon Rodgers' men restore the lead before it was leveled again by Mousa Dembele in the 61st minute for Spurs, the BBC reported.

However, striker Balotelli scored the decisive goal for Liverpool with a clinical finish from an Adam Lallana's well-worked cross.

Liverpool are seventh in the table, three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal. (ANI)

Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar voted in Greatest ODI XI of all time

Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar voted in Greatest ODI XI of all time

London, Feb 10 : Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has been voted in the greatest ODI XI of all time, along with Adam Gilchrist, Chris Gayle and Wasim Akram.

The BBC revealed the greatest ODI XI of all time after voters cast their votes over the last week and Tendulkar has been voted as one of the best opening batsman in the greatest one-day team ever.

People voted over the last week for the different components of the team from a list of players nominated by the Test Match Special team, the BBC reported.

The only criterion set was that the players must have appeared in an ODI, with World Cup performances carrying no extra weight.

Man City's Nasri sure Chelsea won't make title-losing mistakes as Kops did last year

Man City's Nasri sure Chelsea won't make title-losing mistakes as Kops did last

London, Feb 09 : Misfiring Manchester City players have been warned by their teammate Samir Nasri that current Premier League leaders Chelsea would not make the same mistakes that helped them clinch the title last season.

Saturday's dismal draw with Hull saw City fall seven points behind Chelsea in the Premier League table. Nasri admitted that his side's performance was simply not good enough.

And the French winger is also concerned that City would not benefit from a late-season collapse like the one suffered by Liverpool last term, the Daily Star reported.

Nasri said that they have to wake up and do the job now before it's too late, adding that Chelsea, with no disrespect, are not Liverpool, who can drop points, insisting that they are really solid.

I wouldn't write India off: Gary Kirsten

I wouldn't write India off: Gary Kirsten

Mumbai - India's World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten feels it would be premature to write off the defending champions and said the holders have a good chance of retaining the title with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the helm.

"They are a quality outfit and I wouldn't write them off.

They have got one of the most successful captains ever and in terms of closing off the events, let's not discount the Dhoni factor. A lot of things have changed and shifted in his life at the moment but when it comes to these events, he steps up and he is at his best," Kirsten told reporters here.

De Villiers claims Proteas will try to shun 'losers' tag and win 2015 CWC

AB De Villiers

Johannesburg, Feb 08 - South Africa cricket team captain AB De Villiers has claimed that being told not to return home as 'losers' by their country's sports minister merely reflects the passionate desire of all the people in their nation for a maiden Cricket World Cup triumph.

South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula created a stir earlier this week when he said at the team's official departure that they did not want them to be at the World Cup to add numbers and just become a bunch of losers.

De Villiers said that their country of South Africa expects a lot from their sports people, and added that they are expected to come there and win the tournament, Sport24 reported.

Pressure is on Pakistan as they haven't won against us: Rohit Sharma

Pressure is on Pakistan as they haven't won against us: Rohit Sharma

Adelaide: Star opener Rohit Sharma feels that arch-rivals Pakistan who will be "under pressure" going into the opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup as they have never won against India at the mega event.

"The pressure will be on them rather than us. They are the ones, who have not won a game against us in the World Cup.

We will try and use it to our advantage," Rohit told the mediapersons at India's Open Session, here on Saturday.

Not denying that Pakistan match will be a huge affair, Rohit wants that fans go back with happy memories and they will prepare to the best of their abilities to win the game.

Watson claims Oz squad 'really excited' to have 'experienced leader' Clarke around

Watson claims Oz squad 'really excited' to have 'experienced leader' Clarke arou

Sydney, Feb 07 : Australian swashbuckling all-rounder Shane Watson has claimed that the team is really excited to have 'experienced' Michael Clarke around, as the skipper is in a battle to meet his fitness deadline to take part in the World Cup.

It is understood that Clarke sought and received iron-clad support to continue a four-year reign as captain from Cricket Australia's hierarchy during the grim stages of his rehabilitation from hamstring surgery.

Steve Smith's spectacular impact as skipper, making three tons in as many Tests against India replacing Clarke, was followed by speculation segments of the side supported a permanent move, News. com. au reported.

Lee hoping for 'traditional' Oz pitches with 'bouncy, fast' wickets at WC

Brett Lee

Johannesburg, Feb 07 - Former Australia paceman Brett Lee is hoping that the pitches during the World Cup would be their traditional Australian pitches with real bouncy and fast wickets, and has claimed that his country's bowling is very balanced for the tournament.

Speculations are rife that the Australian pitches for the February 14-March 29 tournament might be better suited to batting after a record number of runs were scored during India's recent four-Test series Down Under.

2015 Cricket World Cup: Spectacular opening events on cards

2015 Cricket World Cup

Melbourne - Christchurch and Melbourne are set to host spectacular opening events for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 on February 12.

The Melbourne celebration will involve former and current World Cup players and legends, cultural and music performances from Jessica Mauboy, Tina Arena and Daryl and Nathaniel Braithwaite, a spectacular fireworks display and a yet to be revealed 'special moment'.

It will reflect the diversity and excitement of the 14 competing nations and include some icons in Australian entertainment, according to an ICC release.

Mumbai to host Ranji Trophy final, Eden to host semi-final

Mumbai to host Ranji Trophy final, Eden to host semi-final

Mumbai - Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium will host the final of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament next month while Kolkata and Bengaluru would conduct the two semi-finals, according to BCCI sources.

The national championship's summit clash is scheduled from March 8-12 while the semi-finals are to be held from February 27 to March 1.

Meanwhile, the BCCI has allotted the four quarter finals to Cuttack, Indore, Lahli and Jaipur, sources added. The quarter finals are slated from February 15 to 19.

The final group phase matches of the championship to spot the knock out qualifiers commenced today. PTI

Tiger Woods backs out of Farmers Open with back pain

Tiger Woods

London, Feb 06 - Former world number one Tiger Woods has backed out of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines due to back pain .

The 14-time major champion called it quit in the first round after he got to the green on his 12th hole of the day.

Woods said that his glutes kept shutting off and that caused him pain in his back, adding that he tried warming up his glutes, but it wasn't working for him, the BBC reported.

Woods was taking part in his second tournament of the season after returning from surgery on a pinched nerve, which led him to miss last year's Masters and US Open. (ANI)

Meet the Oz golfer who fired 'unbelievable' hole-in-one albatross

Meet the Oz golfer who fired 'unbelievable' hole-in-one albatross

Sydney, Feb 05 : Australian golfer Richard Green has achieved a rare feat in the history of the sport after hitting a remarkable hole-in-one albatross through a bunker at the Victorian Open, which has grabbed the attention of golf fanatics around the globe.

Green, who is ranked 193rd, has been the talk of the golfing world after footage of him firing a remarkable hole-in-one albatross on the 15th at the Victorian Open pro went viral, Fox Sports reported.

Describing the shot as 'improbable as holes-in-one get', sports writer for CBS Sport, Kyle Porter said that the only unfortunate part was that he and his group were too far away to watch it go in.

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