Sania advances into Dubai Open second round

Sania MirzaDubai, Feb 17 : Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza on Tue

Quick turnaround for Jankovic in straight-set Dubai win

Jelena JankovicDubai, UAE - Jelena Jankovic got on and off court in efficient style Tuesday, reaching the third round of the Barclays Championships over unconventional Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-2.

The Serb third seed, a finalist in 2005, needed a fast adjustment from indoor play in wintery Paris to the mid-20s Celsius of the Gulf.

Niculesco, ranked 48th, strikes the ball double-fisted off both wings in a style similar to that of Frenchman Fabrice Santoro.

Jankovic, who had a bye in the opening round, said her opponent presented problems but nothing that the former number one could not solve.

Ivanovic makes winning start for new coach in Dubai

Ivanovic makes winning start for new coach in DubaiDubai, UAE  - Ana Ivanovic got off to a winning start under new coach Craig Kardon, reaching the second round in a stroll at the Barclays Championships on Monday.

The French Open winner only teamed with the American a week or so ago in hopes of stopping her slide after winning Roland Garros but failing to back up that big win.

The Serb defeated Russian Alisa Kleybanova 7-5, 6-4 to take revenge for a third-round upset loss in the Australian Open, the last time Ivanovic played a WTA match.

Pak, Lanka players and officials briefed on new ICC Anti-Doping Code

ICC LogoDubai/Karachi, Feb. 16 : The ICC has briefed the Pakistan and Sri Lanka players, backroom staff and officials on the new ICC Anti-Doping Code (2009) which came into effect on January 1,2009.

The code has several changes from the ICC's previous anti-doping regulations, including the adoption of the International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP), made up of the leading players (according to the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings) from each of the top eight ranked ODI teams.

Israeli Peer denied visa for Dubai tennis

Shahar PeerDubai, UAE  - Israeli Shahar Peer lost her chance to make a political point as the Dubai government denied her a visa to play in the Barclays Championships starting on Sunday.

The 21-year-old ranked 48th, was to have travelled to the Gulf after a semi-final at the weekend in Pattaya, Thailand, and had been drawn to face 15th-seeded Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

But tensions in the Middle East after Israeli's bombing campaign last month of Palestinians in the region ended any hope of a former Israeli soldier being admitted to the moderate Arab emirate.

Injured Williams still hopes to play Barclays event

Serena WilliamsDubai, UAE  - World number one Serena Williams withdrew with a right knee injury before a Saturday Paris semi-final but said she hopes to be fit for next week's appearance in Dubai.

The Australian Open champion was to have faced Russian Elena Dementieva at the GDF tournament in Paris. But Williams said she felt something in her knee and withdrew as a precaution.

"I didn't feel well during the warm-up this morning, my knee hurt," said the American. "I'm extremely disappointed."

Williams said the first noticed the problem during her Friday quarter-final win over Emilie Loit.

Two Baghdad blasts kill at least 16 people

Hungary, Bulgaria and South Korea to pull out of Iraq Baghdad- Two blasts in Baghdad killed at least 16 people and wounded at least 43 more, in the most deadly of a series of attacks that rocked Iraq on Wednesday, the Dubai-based al-Arabiya satellite network reported.

The twin Baghdad blasts followed an attack in the northern city of Mosul, some 400 kilometres north of Baghdad.

ICC not to tolerate doping scandals to tarnish cricket’s image

International Cricket Council (ICC) LogoDubai, Feb. 11 : Shortly after the Indian Premier League (IPL) slapped a year long ban on Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif , the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday said that it would not tolerate doping scandals in the sport.

ICC's Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said the apex international cricket body maintains a zero tolerance on doping.

The ICC also confirmed that it had received notification about Asif's ban from IPL, and it expects other members of the Council to respect it.

Second ICC Broadcaster and Sponsor Forum ends in Dubai

ICC LogoDubai, Feb. 11 : The second annual two-day ICC Broadcaster and Sponsor Forum was held in Dubai this week.

The forum brought together all ICC's major commercial partners - ESPN STAR Sports, Reliance Mobile, LG Electronics, Pepsico, Yahoo!, Emirates Airline and Reebok - as well as the ICC's main suppliers and service providers.

The theme of the forum was partnerships and ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat told the meeting that it was incumbent on the ICC to forge successful partnerships with the commercial sector.

Media accreditation process opens for ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier

ICC LogoDubai, Feb. 10 : The accreditation process for all members of the media intending to cover the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (CWCQ) is now open.

Members of the media who wish to carry out their work at the event are urged to submit their applications before the close of business on Friday 20 February 2009 (Dubai time).

The tournament will see the world's top 12 Associate and Affiliate teams compete at nine venues in 19 days from 1 to 19 April. Three of the nine grounds - at Benoni, Potchefstroom and Centurion - are ODI-accredited venues.

Collision sets tanker on fire in Dubai port

Dubai - A gas tanker burst into flames after it collided with a container ship off the coast of Dubai on Tuesday, the Emirates News Agency WAM reported.

The ship, which the news agency identified as the "Kashmir," collided with a container ship about 5 kilometres from the Jabil Ali port, which is about 35 kilometres south-west of Dubai.

A spokesman for the Dubai ports authority DP World told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that the collision took place at 12:23 pm (0823 GMT). He said he was unable to confirm the name or the owners of either of the two ships involved.

Two crewmen were rescued from the water with light injuries, the spokesman said, and no one else was injured.

Venues and schedule confirmed for ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier

ICC LogoDubai, Feb. 10 : The ICC today confirmed the schedule for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2009 to take place from 1 to 19 April in South Africa.

With three ODI venues being used, including Willowmoore Park in Benoni and Potchefstroom for group and Super Eight matches and Centurion for the final on 19 April, the event will enjoy first-class facilities.

In total there are nine venues being used for 54 matches played over 19 days with 12 teams fighting it out for the four qualification places on offer in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

India drops to third in ODI rankings

International Cricket CouncilDubai, Feb. 9 : India has slipped back to third in the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship table following defeat in the fifth and final match of its away series against Sri Lanka.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team had moved ahead of Australia and to within four ratings points of leader South Africa when it went 4-0 up in the series but a combination of Sri Lanka's strong showing in the final ODI and Australia beating New Zealand in the third ODI of its ongoing five-match series has meant they have returned to third position.

Pakistan to play tri-series in Dubai

Karachi, Feb. 1 : Pakistan will be playing a three nation one-day international series in Dubai in April 2009.

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be the other two teams taking part in the tournament, The Nations reports.

According to the Pakistan Cricket coach Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dubai Sports City, and the proposed tri-series is a part of the same.

Commenting on the refusal of the Australian cricket team to tour Pakistan due to security concerns, Alam said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is ready to host the Kangaroos on any neutral venue also.

Dhoni reclaims top spot in Reliance Mobile ICC Player rankings

Mahendra Singh DhoniDubai, Jan. 31 : India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has reclaimed the top rank in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player rankings for ODI batsmen from the West Indies Chris Gayle.

Dhoni's 61 not out against Sri Lanka in his side's first ODI of a five-match series has enabled the 27-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman to regain his place at the head of the table. There will be ample opportunity for Dhoni to put daylight between him and the chasing pack as the rest of the series unfolds in Colombo.

Jeff Crowe referees his 100th ODI

Jeff Crowe referees his 100th ODIDubai, Jan. 31 : New Zealander Jeff Crowe of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees has reached another landmark.

Today, as Kenya hosts Zimbabwe at the Nairobi Gymkhana for the third match in a five-game series, Crowe will notch up 100 One-Day Internationals as an ICC match referee.

To mark the occasion, ICC's High Performance Manager Richard Done made a presentation to the New Zealander before the game on behalf of the ICC.

"I would like to congratulate Jeff on his achievement," said ICC Umpires' and Referees' Manager Vince van der Bijl.

Miandad may be offered “more powers” to take back resignation

Miandad may be offered “more powers” to take back resignationDubai, Jan. 29 : The resignation of the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) Director General Javed Miandad has still not been accepted by the PCB, the board's Human Resources (HR) chief Wasim Bari said.

According to The Nation, PCB chairman Ijaz Butt is expected to urge Miandad to continue on the post.

"PCB chairman Ijaz Butt, who is in Perth to attend the ICC meeting, is likely to speak to Miandad before deciding taking any decision over the resignation," Bari said.

Appeals in umpire decision review system reduced for Windies-England series

Appeals in umpire decision review system reduced for Windies-England seriesDubai, Jan. 29 : The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that the ongoing trial of the umpire decision review system will afford each side two unsuccessful reviews per innings rather than the three that have been available up to now.

An ICC media release said that the change to the playing conditions of the trial has been made after receiving initial feedback from players and match officials and will apply to the upcoming Test series between the West Indies and England.

Honey Festival to be launched in Dubai

Honey Festival to be launched in DubaiDubai - The glitzy Gulf emirate of Dubai is to launch a honey festival, allowing visitors to taste different types of honey from around the world.

According to the festival's organizers, dozens of producers from different countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Yemen and India, are presenting their products at the festival which starts Wednesday.

Visitors will be able to taste from a variety of honey samples before choosing to buy, and information is to be presented on honey's benefits, including its antibacterial properties.

Miss UK 2008 sets her heart on Bollywood

Lisa LazarusDubai, Jan 21 : Winner of Miss United Kingdom 2008 Lisa Lazarus has set her heart on Bollywood, and is even defending it from people who say that the Indian movie industry is second best to Hollywood.

Foreign actors, who set their sights on Bollywood, are said to be has-beens or Hollywood rejects, but Dubai-based Lazarus believes otherwise, and says that some people think so because they are jealous.

"I became aware of these misgivings only when I landed in India. But the way I see it, these are the thoughts of people who don''t understand Bollywood," the Gulf News quoted her as saying.