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 Premier Tier ‘A’

Colts CC claims championship

By M Naushad Amit
It will take more than a miracle for Badurelia SC to prevent Colts from taking the Premier Tier ‘A” title though a day’s play is left in the match today. Colts CC is on top of the world after getting their opponents Badureliya out for 347, in reply to the home team’s mammoth first innings score of 426 in their final round match of the Premier Tier ‘A’ inter-club tournament at Havelock Park yesterday. Badureliya were looking good when Nilushan Nonis (73) and Duncan Arnolda (62) composed a steady but threatening partnership of 134 for the sixth wicket. The visitors who were 143-5 went on powering their way when Nonis and Arnolda took them to a commanding 277-5 before being separated. Roshen Silva (2/22) and Sajeewa Weerakoon (3/101) grabbed the wickets to bundle out Badureliya and give Colts a 79-run first innings lead. With the first innings lead Colts managed to topple SSC, who maintained the regime of Premier Tier ‘A’ leader for nearly four weeks, to grab the championship in the final week of the tournament. Colts were 22-0 at close. However the match has some interest when play resumes at 9.30am today though the final outcome may remain unchanged.

Despite a heroic effort by Seekkuge Prasanna who took 8 for 59 to spin out Bloomfield for 226, Army lost their way and conceded the match to their opponents at Panagoda. Army chasing a target of 286 lost their consistency in batting and was bundled out for 155 which gave Bloomfield their fourth outright win by 102 runs with a day to spare. On the first day Bloomfield scored 161 while Army replied with 102. Prasanna took a match bag of 12 for 95 (4/36 and 8/59).

NCC only gained first innings honours as they passed Ragama CC’s total by just 3 runs at Maitland Place. NCC scored 158 in reply to Ragama’s 155 and stood solid in their second innings at the end of the day at 244-5 with Indika de Saram unbeaten on 141. Ian Daniel stroked a valuable 62. The match will continue today.

  • At Havelock Park: Colts 426 and 22-0 (5) at close (Ishan Muthalif 14n.o.)
    Badureliya 347 (82.3) (Dilshan Witharana 48, Upul Fonseka 31, TM Sampath 47, Nilushan Nonis 73, Duncan Arnolda 62, Niroshan Bandarathillake 28, Pradeep Jayaprakash 25, Rajeewa Weerasinghe 2/91, Chaminda Vaas 2/36, Sajeewa Weerakoon 3/101, Roshen Silva 2/22)

  • At Panagoda: Bloomfield 161 and 226 (51.2) (Saman Jayantha 69, Anoj Katapearachchi 44, Tharaka Gunaratne 31, Chinthaka Jayasinghe 21, Seekkuge Prasanna 8/59, Vishwa Weerakoon 2/79)
    Army 102 and 155 (42.5) (Nalaka Kaluarachchi 41, Duminda Wijewardena 35, Damith Balasuriya 16, Suraj Mohamed 3/44, Shanuka Dissanayake 3/13, Tharanga Lakshitha 3/43)

  • At Maitland Place: Ragama CC 155 and 244-5 (67) at close (Ian Daniel 62, Indika de Saram 141n.o., Tharaka Kottahewa 2/37)
    NCC 96-6 contd 158 (56.2) (Upul Chandana 33, Damith Mapa 31, Kaushalya Weeraratne 4/51, Dinesh Daminda 3/51, Dharshana Gamage 2/36).

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Bill Frindall dies at 69

BBC Test Match Special statistician and scorer Bill Frindall has died at the age of 69 after suffering from Legionnaire’s disease. Known as ‘Bearders’ and also dubbed ‘the Bearded Wonder’ by commentator Brian Johnston, Frindall was the longest serving member of the TMS team. He joined the BBC in 1966 and wrote several statistical cricket books, editing the Playfair annual since 1986.

Frindall was appointed an MBE in 2004 for his services to the sport.
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said: “He brought scoring alive. This is what Bill will always be remembered for. He brought to life this weird and wonderful world of cricket scoring that other people might find tedious and boring. He made scoring into an art form.

“He had this incredible scoring system that made every ball an event. If you referred back to something that had happened earlier in the day, he would know exactly which delivery you would be talking about. And if you had a query on a statistic, he would have the answer in seconds, his records were so meticulous. He also played the role of curmudgeon in the box, if ever we strayed too far away from talking about the cricket he would bring us back.”

Long-serving former TMS producer Peter Baxter said: “Bill was part of the family. TMS has been a family for a long time - I first set foot inside a commentary box in 1966, he was there then and he was certainly there when I retired from it in 2007. He would occupy his corner of the commentary box and woe betide anyone who tripped over and made a mess of any of his papers.”
Frindall wrote a regular column for the BBC Sport website, and latterly the TMS blog, in which he invited readers to ‘Stump the Bearded Wonder’.

A huge variety of questions on cricket statistics, records, laws of the game and a number of other more quirky incidents came in regularly from when it began on 16 May 2001 until it finished 185 editions later in January 2009. – [BBC]

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I will resign if proven guilty: Modi

NEW DELHI: Rajasthan Cricket Association President Lalit Modi today hit back at his detractors for levelling “baseless” charges against him and said he will himself resign from his post if proven guilty.

“These cases have no value at all. But there is so much kichad (mud) I want to get rid of this once and for all. I am saying take my thumb impression and send it to forensic lab. I will resign if I am proven guilty,” Modi told PTI.

Modi was referring to the FIR lodged against him into an alleged forgery case of grabbing a piece of land in Nagaur. Police registered the case against Modi under sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120 B of IPC and initiated an enquiry into the allegations.

“I have close to Rs 230 crore deal in the Indian Premier League. I don’t even charge a single penny as TA/DA. Why should I get involved in such scams,” said the IPL Chairman and Commissioner.

“The cricket establishment is with me but those who are not involved in cricket, who are not working are the ones agitating. They are all jealous people who are behind this,” he added.
Modi blamed his predecessor Kishore Rungta of trying to benefit by the change in regime in the state but said he was sure that would not happen.

“It’s the Rungta faction which is trying to use politics, the change in regime in the state to their benefit. They think they can dictate terms like this. But I am sure Mr Ashok Gehlot will understand and he won’t let that happen.

“I have worked with multiple regimes in Rajasthan and many other states but I had no problems ever,” Modi said.
Hoping to put an end to controversies and cases against him, Modi has also appointed a three-member arbitration tribunal to look into the contentious issues raised by some district associations and decide if he is fit to continue at the post.

The arbitrators comprised retired Supreme Court Chief Justice R C Lahoti, retired apex court Justices Kuldeep Singh and A R Lakshmanan.

Modi is in danger of being stripped of absolute powers he was enjoying as the RCA President as about 24 of the 32 district units, including that of secretary Subhash Joshi, handed a memorandum to Registrar of Societies.

Asked how much time the committee would take to complete its probe, Modi said “as soon as possible. There is no time limit to it. Let me clean it up once and for all. I don’t want to deal with it on day-to-day basis”.

Modi met Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh in the morning but denied that it had any political overtones.
“We have a long family association and I have been visiting him since I was a child. It had nothing to do with my cricket related cases,” he said. – [PTI]

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Angelo reaches the 1000-run milestone

Sri Lanka under 19 player and St. Peter’s batsman Angelo Perera became the second batsman to pass the 1,000 run milestone in the current schools cricket season when he clobbered an unbeaten 155 in just 103 balls which included 4 sixes and 17 fours against Maris Stella yesterday. Ananda batsman Dinesh Chandimal (1080) was the only other batsman to perform that task previously for the current season.

With this achievement Perera has got 1018 runs under his belt after 14 innings. After some rather shaky opening matches Perera stroked a valiant 157 against Kalutara Vidyalaya which was also showed signs of things to come. Immediately after that splendid innings, in their next match against Nalanda, Perera went on to hammer 239 in just 206 balls. By scoring 239 Angelo broke a 46-year-old Peterite record held previously by Tyronne le Mercier who scored 235 against St. Anthony’s, Katugastota. His 239 is also the highest ever scored by a Peterite in their 82-year history of first XI cricket. (SR)

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A night Mumbai cricket showed off

MUMBAI: There was Vijay Mallya, there was Peter Chingoka, president Zimbabwe Cricket Union, there was Rajiv Shukla, BCCI bigwig. They got to know why Mumbai is Mumbai and UP is UP in Indian cricket.

They were at an occasion, the MCA’s annual cricket awards, where Mumbai, uncharacteristically flaunted its wares. Not just its winning cricketers at Ranji, under-19 and University men’s and women’s cricket level but also its infrastructure.
Today the bride was not the 7-pitch indoor cricket hall but the lovely banquet hall of the MCA’s Recreation Centre so well crafted by Vijay Shirke.

Peter Chingoka’s prompt reaction was to salute the indoor academy and express a wish for his players to use it. Earlier in the day the Sharad Pawar-headed BCCI had assured him that India would give a leg up to Zimbabwe’s cricketers who have suffered in the political backlash. India would send its junior teams to play the senior side and get their juniors to train here.

Rajiv Shukla, who heads UP cricket, must have realised why his team is finding the last step always tough to climb.
Mumbai Cricket Association president Dilip Vengsarkar gave insights on Mumbai’s grand show. The Ranji side’s planning had been deep from June when Pravin Amre began off-season work at the academy where former coach and academy director Chandu Pandit was also available.

At the season end Vengsarkar said the work of coach Vilas Godbole and the batting of Bravish Shetty had seen the varsity side lift the Baria title. “When 9-year-old Bravish came to my academy he was smaller than the stumps. He was talented. But Raj Singh and Co. took him to CCI hailing him as the next Sachin and one didn’t hear about him for four years. I am glad he has come back with a bang.”

Sharad Pawar said it was the BCCI’s pledge to lift women’s cricket and he was hoping their international performances would improve. Charity begins at home and Pawar said he was most happy the MCA had opened its academy doors to the girls. And they had vindicated it with the University title through Apoorva Kokil’s side. The Ruparel girl said she led the way with five fifties.
Ratnakar Shetty paid tribute to Satish Samant who also vindicated his promotion from u-16 to u-19 coach. “He took the u-16 side to three finals winning last year. This year he won the u-19 title.” Shetty said the u-19’s left-arm seamer Saurav Netravalkar was getting the BCCI’s best young cricketer of the year award worth Rs one lakh at the Ceat awards next week.

Shetty also said Wasim Jaffer would get the Madhavrao Scindia trophy for the top-scorer in the Ranji trophy this season. - [PTI]

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South Africa is top of the ODI world

South Africa has gone to the top of the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship table following its 39-run victory over Australia in Perth on Saturday.

The match may have been a dead rubber as far as that series was concerned with South Africa having already won three out of the previous four matches but there was still plenty at stake and Johan Botha can now claim to be captain of the highest-ranked side in the world.

The Proteas had been three ratings points behind Ricky Ponting’s men going into the fifth and final ODI of the series but now they move ahead by a fraction of a point and top the ladder for the first time since April 2008 when they briefly wrestled number-one spot from Australia’s grasp.

But the good news for Australia is that it has an immediate opportunity to go back on top as its five-match series against New Zealand begins on Sunday. The table is so tight at the top that victory in that first ODI will send Australia right back to where it has spent the vast majority of the past seven years since the rankings were devised.

Meanwhile, India is hovering just outside the top two and is now just five ratings points behind South Africa and Australia after winning the first match of a five-ODI series in Sri Lanka. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men will be doing their best to keep the pressure on the top two with plenty of ODI cricket coming up on the horizon.

At the other end of the table, Zimbabwe has moved up one place to 10th in the rankings after winning the opening two matches of its five-ODI series in Kenya. Prosper Utseya’s team has now beaten the home side in the two games in Mombasa and so heads to Nairobi full of confidence for the remaining three.

That means Ireland slips to 11th position while Kenya loses ratings points and stays in 12th spot. However, if Kenya was to win the remaining three matches, it would move to 11th place, just one ratings point behind the Irish while Zimbabwe would fall all the way to 12th and last spot on the table. So there’s still plenty to play for in the series.

ICC ODI Championship (as of 30 January)

Rank Team Rating

1 South Africa 125
2 Australia 125
3 India 120
4 New Zealand 113
5 Pakistan 111
6 England 108
7 Sri Lanka 106
8 West Indies 91
9 Bangladesh 46
10 Zimbabwe 20
11 Ireland 19
12 Kenya 1

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Wembley to host 2011 Euro final

Wembley has been chosen to host the 2011 Champions League final.
European governing body Uefa selected the stadium ahead of Munich’s Allianz Arena and Berlin’s Olympiastadion.
The news had been expected after Uefa delayed its decision to allow the UK Government to bring in a tax exemption for players appearing in the final.

Dublin’s Lansdowne Road has been picked to host the 2011 final of the Europa League, previously the Uefa Cup, as Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium missed out.
The Gunners’ home ground was ruled out of the running because the same country cannot host both major European finals in the same year.

The Champions League final was last hosted by the UK in 2003 at Old Trafford. Wembley has not staged it since 1992 when Barcelona beat Sampdoria in the year before the competition became known as the Champions League.
Since then, the stadium has been rebuilt at a cost of over £750m.

It missed out on hosting the 2010 Champions League final after failing to provide assurances that players featuring in the final would not be taxed, but the UK Treasury agreed to relax its rules last year.
Staging the final is thought to be worth up to £30m to the economy.

“This is fantastic news for London and the UK,” said Football Association chairman Lord Triesman.
“It is acknowledgment of Wembley’s ranking alongside the very best football stadiums in the world.
“As Wembley has been chosen to host the Champions League Final this means the Emirates Stadium can’t stage the 2011 Europa League final.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Arsenal for all their valuable support during the bid process and recognise the very strong bid that they put together.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson and Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe both hailed Wembley’s success.
“It is splendid news. There is a huge sense of excitement and passion in London for sports and indeed for the ‘beautiful game’ of football,” said Johnson.

“London is delighted to have been successful in the bid to host the 2011 Final and Wembley is a suitably dramatic and superb backdrop for the event.”
Sutcliffe added: “Wembley hosting the Champions League Final in 2011 will be another highlight in a decade of fantastic sporting events to be held in Britain.

“With English clubs’ recent form in the competition we could well see one or even two teams from the Premier League featuring but I am sure that club sides from abroad will be made more than welcome if they make the final in 2011.”
The Allianz Arena - home of Bayern Munich - will stage the 2012 Champions League final and Bucharest’s National Stadium the Europa League final in that year. – [BBC]

WEMBLEY’S EUROPEAN CUP FINALS

1992 Barcelona 1-0 Sampdoria
1978 Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge
1971 Ajax 2-0 Panathinaikos
1968 Man Utd 4-1 Benfica
1963 AC Milan 2-1 Benfica

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Injury-prone Shoaib Akhtar out of Sri Lanka Tests

LAHORE, Pakistan, (AFP) Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar has been ruled out of next month’s two-match home Test series against Sri Lanka due to a knee problem, an official said Friday.

“There are loose bones in his knee which would need keyhole surgery. That will take two to three weeks’ recovery and that means he is out of the Sri Lanka Test series,” team coach Intikhab Alam told AFP.
Alam said such injuries were common for fast bowlers.

“When such an injury occurs one must not wait, and have a quick operation,” said Alam.
Akhtar, whose career has been blighted by injury and discipline problems, was dropped from the third and final one-day match against Sri Lanka earlier this month when he was not found 100 percent fit.

Then-captain Shoaib Malik questioned Akhtar’s commitment and fitness after the second match, but before the third denied he had named Akhtar in his remarks and instead said he had been talking about all 11 players on the team.
Sri Lanka return to Pakistan on February 14 to play a three-day side match and two Tests -- the final dates of which are yet to be announced.

Akhtar had operations to his both knees in early 2006, forcing him to sit out Pakistan’s tour of Sri Lanka and England that year.
The controversial bowler, 33, was this year awarded a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) contract, after playing only three Twenty20 matches in 2008.

A hamstring injury forced him to sit out all three one-day matches against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi last November.
He missed out on a contract last year because of injury and indiscipline.

In response, Akhtar publicly criticised the PCB, which imposed a five-year ban on him last April. The ban was later reduced to 18 months with a fine of seven million rupees (100,000 dollars) by the high court in Lahore.
On appeal, the court later suspended the ban but upheld the fine. A subsequent appeal is pending.

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Mushtaq to extend stay in Windies

England spin coach Mushtaq Ahmed is to extend his stay on the tour of the West Indies until midway through the four-match Test series.

The former Pakistan bowler had been scheduled to spend the 10-day warm-up period in St Kitts before departing.
But his impact on the squad, particularly the spinners, convinced the tour management to retain him.
“He’s created a really good impression with everybody on the tour,” said ECB managing director Hugh Morris.
“His experience and skill at international level has led us to the conclusion he would be valuable to have around for a longer period of time.”

England have three spin bowlers on the tour: Monty Panesar, Graeme Swann and rookie Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid.
Panesar, who has been working overtime with Mushtaq over the past week, said: “It’s been great having Mushtaq with us, and I’ve really enjoyed both his company and the way he’s been coaching us.

“For me, it has been a good experience so far - and it is great to see that he is going to be around for a few more weeks.
Panesar claimed seven wickets in a crushing victory over a St Kitts & Nevis XI earlier this week but was rested for the second warm-up match with West Indies A, which began on Thursday.

This has afforded him more one-on-one time with Mushtaq, who has 185 Test wickets to his name.
“He has been talking a lot to me about the artistry of spin bowling,” added Panesar. “Having been an international player, he knows what this is all about.”
England will also retain fielding coach Richard Halsall until after the first Test, Morris confirmed. – [BBC]

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OBSC Golden Jubilee Soccer championship

Top contenders in school soccer Zahira went down fighting to Hameed Al Husseinia by 5 goals to 4 in penalty shootouts after ending nil-all at fulltime in a nail-biting soccer semi-final in the schools category of the Old Bens Sports Club (OBSC) Golden Jubilee Soccer Championship at Kotahena yesterday. The match was evenly contested for most of the duration and though Hameed Al Husseinia did having the occasional opportunities they missed out on scoring. Zahira dished out their usual playing pattern but rarely had openings to capitalise. Hameed Al Husseinia will meet the winner of today’s semi-final between St. Benedict’s and Isipathana which is scheduled at 2.00pm at Kotahena.

In the club category semi-final, high riders Ratnam had the better of Don Bosco to beat them by 4-1 in a one-sided match which followed later on in the day. National cap Kasun Jayasuriya struck the first two goals in the first half for the winners as they lead 2-nil at half-time. Chathura Maduranga and EB Channa scored a goal each for Ratnam in the second half. Don Bosco’s solitary goal came from the boots of Philip Dalpadadu at the dying stages of the game. Ratnam will meet the winner of the semi-final between Blue Star and New Youngs which will be played at 3.45pm today. The finals of both segments are scheduled for February 7 at Kotahena. The OBSC organised the ongoing inter-club and inter-school knockout soccer tournament to mark their Golden Jubilee celebrations. (MNA)

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Dhoni reveals language woes on trips abroad

NEW DELHI: He may not fear anything on field on foreign cricket tours but off it, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni considers the “hard to understand” heavily accented English of locals the biggest challenge.

“In countries like Australia or England, people speak English in such an accent that it is very hard to understand. So, at parties when locals come to us and start talking, even if we are not getting anything, we say yeah.

“Or if I have a drink in hand, I excuse myself by saying, ‘I’ll just get a drink’ but never show up in front of that person again,” Dhoni joked in an interaction with National Security Guard (NSG) commandos in a TV programme.

His language woes have not been limited to just trips abroad, Dhoni had similar problems while playing for Chennai Super Kings during the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“I played for Chennai but didn’t know any Tamil. But people there thought that since I was part of the team, I had learnt it. So I just picked up a few words and for one and a half months that I played there, I relied on those to break the language barrier,” he said.

The wicketkeeper-batsman lauded the NSG for their heroics during the Mumbai terror strikes, during which they rescued several hostages before clearing the under-siege Taj and Oberoi Trident hotels of terrorists.
“When the attack started and I watched it on TV, my first thought was where is the NSG? I knew that once you guys step in, the victory would be ours. What you did was remarkable and I thank you for it,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni also saw the NSG training drill and played some cricket with the commandos, who took pictures of the star and shared some light-hearted moments with him.

One of them had Dhoni stumped by asking him about his marriage plans.
“Shaadi ek aisa ladoo hai ki jo khai woh pachtaye, jo na khaye who bhi pachtaye. Main kha ke pachtana chaoonga, dekhte hain (Marriage is such a ladoo, those who eat regret and those who don’t also regret. I plan to eat and then regret)... may be a year later, don’t want to wait too long otherwise I will be an old man,” he laughed. – [PTI]

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