Ricky Ponting: Best is behind me now

Ricky Ponting has revealed he agrees with former Australian captain Mark Taylor’s suggestion that his “best is behind him”.
But Ponting’s solid form on this tour of India has him believing he can still be a force.
“Well, I think what Mark had to say was that he probably didn’t think I could get any better from where I am at the moment,” Ponting said.
“It wasn’t so much about saying that I’m past it. He just thought that it was going to be hard for me to get back to my absolute best again, and that’s probably right.
“I think there is a period in every batsman’s life where they are playing at their absolute best. Even Sachin Tendulkar now, even though he scored nine hundreds last year, was probably not at his absolute best, either.
“So what Mark said may be right, but by no means do I think I can’t play at the level I want to play at. And if I can’t play at that level, then I won’t play the game anyway. I have said that for a long time.
“So I have just got to be a good, consistent contributor in the No. 3 role, and be the best captain and the leader I can be for the next few months, and we will see what effect it has on the team.”
Ponting, Mike Hussey, Simon Katich, Brad Haddin and Marcus North won’t be around for the next Ashes campaign at home, in the 2014-15 summer, and this summer may be the last series against England for some of them.
On that basis, Ponting has urged his most experienced troops to fire in one of their last hurrahs together.
“Ricky has spoken a lot to us senior guys and me as vice-captain, it’s important for all of us to lead by example,” vice-captain Michael Clarke said.
“Us senior guys have to make sure we’re all performing. The captain wants you to step up, so you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do the work, you’ve got to find a way to get out there and make runs. When things aren’t going your way, you’ve got to find a way to hang in.
“We’ve all played a fair bit of cricket by now and know what to expect. We’ve got no excuses not to perform.”
Australia’s Ashes squad will be named at Sydney Opera House on November 15. - [Herald Sun]


‘Red Bull X-Fighters’ motorcross riders in Sri Lanka

Stunt riding at Galle Face Green on November 6

By M Naushad Amit
Sri Lanka will become the second country in the Asian region to feature the thrills of the ‘Red Bull X-Fighters’. They are considered as the world’s best freestyle motorcross riders and will performe at the Galle Face Green on November 6. Four of the world’s best thrill riders Nick De Wit from South Africa, Martin Koren from Czech Republic and Belgians Jimmy Verburgh and Gilles Dejong will arrive in Sri Lanka on November 3, three days prior to the main event.
Niranjala Rodrigo, the Business Manager for Red Bull in Sri Lanka on behalf of the organisers addressing a media conference held at Galle Face Hotel on October 21 told The Nation that the Sri Lanka Government along with Ministry of Defence and Sri Lanka Army have come forward to assist the event.

“We featured the world’s best stunt rider Chris Pfeiffer last year and we at Red Bull wanted to give all the Sri Lankans something extra this year. When we proposed our arrangements to government officials they willingly came forward to assist us in organising the event. We have the fullest support from the Defence Secretary and the Sri Lanka Army as this will be a special occasion for all of us in Sri Lanka. In addition this event will further boost tourism in the country when this event goes global through the internet,” he said.

The four riders will engage in training the master class riders of Sri Lanka Army on November 3 soon after their arrival. The event scheduled in Sri Lanka will be an exhibition feature of the riders who completed the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour a few weeks ago. According to Rodrigo, roads adjoining the Galle Face Green will be closed on the day of the event as they expect a massive crowd of up to 50,000 to witness the thrills. The event will be free to all.



South Africa could ban vuvuzelas

Vuvuzelas could be banned in South African football grounds unless Kaizer Chiefs fans improve their behaviour.
At a recent cup game, supporters of the country’s most popular club threw two vuvuzelas and a cabbage onto the pitch.
Chiefs have been handed a suspended fine of US$72,130, while their chairman was ordered to make a public apology.
“Should vuvuzelas continue to be used as missiles they could be banned,” the Premier Soccer League’s prosecutor Zola Majavu said on Thursday.
Many football fans watching this year’s World Cup in South Africa on television wish that vuvuzelas had been banned, given the wasp-like drone that accompanied match commentaries.
However, thousands of supporters took vuvuzelas to games, with many visiting fans purchasing an item that came to symbolise the 2010 World Cup.
Should any Chiefs fan throw a missile onto the pitch for the rest of the season, the Johannesburg-based club must pay its fine - and could prompt a vuvuzela ban.
Chiefs were also ordered to pay costs of US$3,000 for the disciplinary hearing and told to hold a news conference to denounce spectator misbehaviour.
“We call upon (fans) to help identify rogue elements intent on causing disruption,” club chairman Kaizer Motaung told the news conference on Thursday.
“Once (they are) identified we intend to blacklist theses individuals.”
In recent years, South African fans have started taking loaves of bread and raw cabbages to games, eating them in front of television cameras to symbolise ‘eating’ their opponents.
Chiefs fans, meanwhile, have taken credit for making the noisy plastic vuvuzela trumpets a popular part of South African football culture. – [BBC]