Guardiola: ‘Atalanta took City to limit’

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: Pep Guardiola had nothing but praise for Atalanta after Manchester City’s 5-1 victory. “They have a very special way of playing football and took us to the limit.” Ruslan Malinovskyi had converted an early penalty at the Etihad, but a Sergio Aguero brace and Raheem Sterling hat-trick turned it around. “We knew that Atalanta would take us to the limit, that there would be chances at both ends constantly,” Guardiola told Sky Sport Italia in fluent Italian. “They know what to do with the ball, play very well and take you into difficult situations. It’s no coincidence they qualified for the Champions League, they have a very special way of playing football. “When we can run, we have our chances, when they can run, then they have theirs. We have one more game to qualify and hope it goes well. “This is a long process. We saw Atalanta were 3-0 up against Lazio and drew 3-3, they beat Roma 2-0 a few weeks ago. This is why I give my players a lot of credit for this victory, because it was extremely tough.”last_img read more

Maldini: ‘Milan wrong to talk targets’

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: Paolo Maldini accepts Milan “made a mistake by talking about objectives. We were banned from Europe” because they inherited a club €126m in the red. The technical director has been giving interviews with Sky Sport Italia, released throughout the weekend, shining a light on the situation at San Siro. “It’s a delicate moment, but part of the growth process. There were a lot of expectations, which is natural, but we and the club owners made a mistake by talking about objectives,” said Maldini. “We inherited a club running at a loss of €126m, had to run a zero-cost transfer strategy and were banned from Europe also because of previous owners. “If we just say that clearly, then people have a more complete idea of what we’re dealing with.” Milan accepted a ‘plea deal’ with UEFA to give up their Europa League place this season, essentially accepting Financial Fair Play punishment in order to wipe the slate clean. Maldini has been critical of both Yonghong Li, who defaulted on loan payments and led to the club being repossessed by hedge fund Elliott Management, and former President Silvio Berlusconi.last_img read more

Pakistani trio admit they took money from Majeed

first_imgFile photo of Pak cricket players (L-R) Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt in Taunton. AP/PTI PhotographMired in a spot-fixing scam, the Pakistani trio of Salman Butt, Mohammed Aamir and Mohammed Asif have told the investigators that they took money from alleged bookie Mazhar Majeed but denied any wrongdoing.The suspended trio, being grilled by Scotland Yard in London, claimed the money they took from Majeed was on account of sponsorship contracts they had signed with different commercial organisations.They insisted that they did not know that Majeed, working as an agent for them, was also a bookmaker.”The players also showed their written contracts for these sponsorship deals to the police,” Pakistan legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi told Geo TV.”The players have contested the allegation and also volunteered themselves for police investigations,” he said.According to reports, 50,000 pounds were recovered from the hotel room of Butt.The three players were suspended by the ICC after a british tabloid claimed that they were involved in spot-fixing. Rizvi also confirmed that the investigating authorities had found some currency from a player’s room during the search of the team hotel in London last weekend.”But just having currency does not mean the player is involved in criminal or illegal activities,” he contended.”They were not aware of their agent’s illegal activities.They only had a relationship of player-agent with him. They have constantly proclaimed their innocence of the charges against them,” Rizvi added.Rizvi, who was sent to London by the PCB to deal with the allegations against the players, said that until any concrete evidence was brought against the trio they were innocent.advertisement”You can’t make any player a criminal just because his agent is involved in illegal activities.”Rizvi also said that any financial dealings between the players and Majeed were the result of sponsorship and endorsement deals which were normal in such a relationship.”The money transferred to the players by Mazhar related to sponsorship and endorsement deals. The PCB has given the players the right to appoint their own agents,” he said.The players had also gone to the Kilburn police station for questioning by investigating authorities on Friday on their own and were available for more inquiries, he said.The lawyer said that there was nothing unusual in exchange of messages between the players and their agent and the media had been misreporting facts in the case and this had caused great mental stress to the players and their families.He stated there was not truth in reports that the players had been charged or their passports seized or they couldn’t move around freely.Spot-fixing not confined to Pakistan cricket: ImranPakistan’s former captain, Imran Khan fears that the menace of spot-fixing in cricket could be a much more malignant problem then it is being perceived to be after the allegations and suspension of three Pakistani players in England.Imran said in a television interview that he believed that spot-fixing/betting might be going on uninterrupted in many countries and was not just a problem confined to Pakistan cricket.Test captain, Salman Butt and new ball bowlers, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir are under suspension by the International Cricket Council after a British tabloid, the News of the World last week claimed that the players’ agent Mazhar Majeed had paid bribes to the trio to do spot-fixing in the Lord’s Test against England.Imran said that the ICC and other cricket authorities needed to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter in the world of cricket.”I still fear that there is no way to stop this problem of betting and spot fixing. How can anyone tell that something is wrong if a batsman plays a maiden over or if a bowler bowls a no-ball,” the cricketer-turned-politician said in Karachi.He pointed out that even in the present case, it was not the ICC anti-corruption and security unit that had unearthed the case, but it came to the fore because of the media.”We really don’t know the scale of this problem at the moment. There are only allegations against our players but one thing I know is that if Scotland Yard is involved then they will reach a fair conclusion,” he said.Imran said that in 1994 when the match fixing accusations first broke out in Pakistan, he had gone to the PCB office in Gaddafi stadium and told the officials to take exemplary action against the players alleged to have indulged in match-fixing.advertisement”I told them this is the time to root out this disease. I think that perhaps if at that time the board had taken decisive action we would never have seen this problem emerge again in our cricket,” he said.Imran, however, also made the point that bookmakers and betting in cricket was nothing new and had been going on for years now.”And the trail always leads to India because the real betting mafia operates out of Mumbai. I remember when we used to tour India we used to hear a lot of about how players had been approached by bookmakers to fix matches,” he said.He also recalled how in 1988 during a tournament in Sharjah, a bookie had called him up late night and informed him that four of his players had been brought by bookies and would underperform in next day’s final.”I just went out next day and warned the team I was keeping a close watch on them and if I even suspected someone had not given his best he would not only never play for Pakistan again but be put behind bars,” he said.last_img read more

Ranji: Defeat looms large over Railways after follow-on

first_imgFor once, the Railways team failed to show its trademark pluck at the Karnail Singh Stadium on Saturday as Mumbai took command of the Ranji Trophy Super League Group A match on the third day.Replying to the 39-time champions’ score of 483, Railways were forced to follow-on after being bowled out for 256 in their first innings and look to be on the brink with just eight wickets remaining in their second innings. Railways are 121 for two, still 106 in arrears.The saving grace for them could turn out to be Shivakant Shukla (in pic), who has the pedigree of batting long periods. He proved for Uttar Pradesh in the 2008-09 semifinal against Tamil Nadu with the fourth-longest innings in first-class history, scoring 178 not out in 821 minutes to take them into the final.In the latter half of Saturday’s play, Shukla showed the pitch wasn’t a minefield as it had seemed to his colleagues in the first innings, cracking seven fours and a six in his unbeaten 64. After Shreyas Khanolkar fell to part-time medium-pacer Kaustubh Pawar, Shukla put on 89 for the second wicket with Faiz Fazal (34). But the latter got a dubious caughtbehind decision from international umpire Amiesh Saheba just two balls before bad light forced stumps. Shukla will have nightwatchman Anureet Singh (0) for company when play resumes.But this sort of application was sorely lacking in most Railways batsmen in the first innings, apart from their old warhorse, Sanjay Bangar (89). Resuming at 66 for three, Bangar got some support from debutant Nitin Bhille, as Railways reached 135 in the first session. But Bhille (29) fell lbw to left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan (3/34).advertisementMahesh Rawat was stumped off the first ball of Chavan’s next over, while Dhiran Salvi (9) fell lbw to one that kept low from Dhawal Kulkarni. After lunch, Jai Prakash Yadav was given out lbw to Iqbal Abdullah, and Railways had lost four wickets for 42.Murali Kartik (48) struck some lusty blows while Bangar also cut loose to put on 42 in just 46 balls, but Bangar’s dismissal off Chavan signalled the beginning of the end.In the past, Mumbai have been hesitant to enforce the follow-on, but skipper Wasim Jaffer said this time he had had no hesitation. “We had about 40 overs today and 90-plus tomorrow, so that means we had enough time to get them out. At the beginning of the season, especially in a tough group, full points could give us an advantage. Till now we have done well, so hopefully we’ll finish the job tomorrow,” Jaffer said. Shukla said the first hour on Sunday would hold the key to survival. “The pitch has got slower but it is still good for batting. We can surely overcome the deficit, if we play well in the initial part of the day, and then see how it goes from there on,” he said.Brief scores: Mumbai 483; Railways 256 (S Bangar 89; A Chavan 3/34, R Powar 3/76) & 121 for 2 (S Shukla batting 64)last_img read more

Better prospects lure public hospitals doctors to private fold, govt at loss

first_imgAll India Institute of Medical Sciences, DelhiHe still remembers the day he had stepped inside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS): the hum and buzz, the awe-inspiring campus, the giants of the medical world busy on their rounds. The boy from Lucknow could sense it wouldn’t be a,All India Institute of Medical Sciences, DelhiHe still remembers the day he had stepped inside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS): the hum and buzz, the awe-inspiring campus, the giants of the medical world busy on their rounds. The boy from Lucknow could sense it wouldn’t be a small question of studying for a tough degree here.It did turn out to be much more – a passage into a world of excellence. But 25 years down the line, Dr Anoop Misra’s romance with AIIMS seems to have come to an end. The professor of medicine has joined Fortis Hospital, New Delhi, as head of metabolic disorders.He is not alone. As many as 75 doctors have left AIIMS since 1995, with eight quitting in just the last three months. The haemorrhage has been heavy-duty in government hospitals in general, with 41 per cent quitting the Central Health Service (CHS) between 2001 and 2005. Superspecialities-neurology, cardiology, oncology and ophthalmology- have suffered the most.THE VIRUS Doctors moving to private hospitalsWhy doctors are moving from government hospitals to the private sectorMONEY TALKS: Rs 11,000-50,000 per month is all that a public sector doctor can hope to earn in his career. In private hospitals the salaries start from Rs 25,000 per month and can go up to Rs 5-7 lakh per month, sometimes even Rs 1 crore.WORK WOES: Unhappy work conditions; overcrowding and poor hygiene, fall in quality of patient-care.DRUDGERY DAYS: Stifling workload; huge load of minor illnesses in OPDs.STOP SHORT: Career stagnation; lack of vertical mobility; salary unchanged for years; no incentive for hard work.advertisementCLOSED BOOK: Lack of transparency, especially in selections and promotions; political and bureaucratic meddling.WEAK PULSE: Little research support; inadequate funds and prohibition to private funding. “We’re worried sick about the high attrition rate of doctors from government hospitals,” says Anbumani Ramadoss, Union minister of health. But the Government has finally pulled up its socks and worked out a blueprint to stem the flow.An expert committee under former health secretary Javid A. Chowdhury was set up a few months back to probe the trend. The report, Retention of Health Manpower in Government Sector, has now been tabled. “We are in the process of implementing most of the recommendations,” adds Ramadoss.Alarm bells have started tolling. And the nation is paying attention. For the exodus hints at a more complex reality. “It indicates that something new is happening in the market that’s giving doctors the choice and option of aligning themselves wherever they want to,” says Rama Baru, who teaches at the Centre for Social Medicine in Jawaharlal Nehru University.That “something” is the entry of cash-rich corporates into the healthcare fray. India’s healthcare market is on an unprecedented high. From a Rs 94,915-crore industry in 2001, it is projected to reach Rs 2,13,790 crore by 2012. “Healthcare got the status of an industry just three years ago,” points out Dr Narottam Puri, popular sports commentator and executive director in medical services with Max Healthcare.”There’s a lot of poaching going on. But these are market forces that you’ve no control over.”Dr Naresh Trehan, Executive Director, Escorts Hospitals Ask Sandeep Sinha of Frost & Sullivan. “The private hand in healthcare is not new, but the entry of big corporates is. In the past two years, around 12 of them have entered this sector,” tracks the healthcare analyst.Many of these are top players in financial services, insurance or pharma, with the wherewithal to mobilise huge resources globally. A Frost & Sullivan study predicts that around 50 corporate hospitals are slated to take off in the next three years in India.And with it all has started a nationwide “poaching” of human resource. “There’s a lot of poaching going on,” endorses Dr Naresh Trehan, executive director, Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre. Not only are people moving out of government hospitals, corporates are hunting from each other, too. “But these are market forces that you have no control over. You cannot legislate to stop this. It’s a free country, after all,” says Trehan.DON’T GO, DOC Recommendations of the committee set up by the Government on how to retain talentUNPLUG CAREERS: Retain talent by removing bottlenecks to vertical mobility. Float new posts and give promotions.LEARN AND EARN: Award special allowances for books, educational materials and science meets.GROW AND GLOW: Allow medical education on latest drugs and practices and new trends.SHARE THE PIE: Share consultancy fees among participants as a research incentive.REWARD RESEARCH: Grant incentives for every paper which is cited internationally.advertisementGET RICH QUICK: Open up evening OPDs on shared benefit basis.OLD IS GOLD: Increase retirement age-between 62 and 65.WIDEN THE CHOICE: Float six new AIIMS-like referral institutes.GOLDEN HANDCUFF: Deter departure from public sector by making a bank guarantee mandatory. The new government report is working precisely on this premise: how to get the best out of both the systems. The private sector has certainly revolutionised the quality of care, mentions Ramadoss. It generates foreign exchange and boosts indirect employment, too. “But India has the cheapest treatment and medicine in the world. And I don’t want the prices to go up,” he adds.Along with their fancy buildings, well-appointed surroundings and state-of-the-art equipment, the corporate sector needs eminent doctors. It’s hardly a wonder that AIIMS and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), with their star-studded faculty, should be the favourite hunting grounds.”They need brand names to pull in patients. And, of course, the best are here,” says Mayank Sharma, senior financial adviser, AIIMS. And as in the case of most branded products, people are willing to pay up. According to The 2005 Indian Medical Market Report, a middle-level manager with a family of four spends up to Rs 11,750 a year on healthcare now, compared to Rs 1,981 in the late 1980s.But campuses are seething under the collar. “Students are pretty upset,” says Jaseena, a final-year MBBS student at AIIMS. But new opportunities have opened up for students, too. “A medical degree is more lucrative than an MBA now,” says Pramod Maheshwari, head of Careerpoint coaching centre in Kota, Rajasthan. The first priority for most students is a private hospital today.The new market forces have spawned new values, believes Trehan. “The aspirations of doctors and their families are changing,” he posits, “people who were happy at one time serving, learning and training now have avenues opened up around them by private healthcare. They can now move over to greener pastures.”And green it is. “There’s no comparison between the sort of money the corporate sector is willing to shell out and what a public institution can offer,” Sinha points out. If the entry-level salary stands at Rs 11,000 at AIIMS and PGIMER, in the private sector it goes up to Rs 25,000 per month. A professorial pay-packet of Rs 50,000 easily translates into Rs 5-7 lakh a month in the corporate sector. There are rumours of doctors even drawing Rs 1 crore a month.”The Government has been very badly hit, but we are trying to stem the flow.”Anbumani Ramadoss, Union Minister of Health But it’s not just money. “It is absolutely wrong to say that after 25 years of dedicated service, teaching and research, others and I have left AIIMS for money,” says Dr Misra with quiet conviction. Several others have hinted at myriad problems that plague government hospitals. Ophthalmic surgeon Dr Subrata Guha Thakurta, who along with a group of expatriate doctors set up the West Bank Hospital near Kolkata, puts it bluntly: “It’s not just the money. Everyone looks for better prospects. A place where they can put in their best and get recognised. Nobody likes to feel that one cannot shape one’s life the way one wants to.”advertisementDoctors are piqued at the lack of vertical mobility. An assistant professor entering at a salary slab (basic) of Rs 11,000-plus in AIIMS or PGIMER has to wait four years to become an associate professor (up to Rs 18,000-plus). For 75 per cent, another four years lead up to the post of an additional professor (up to Rs 20,000-plus). Nearly 50 per cent slog it out for another seven years to become a professor (up to Rs 22,000-plus). The situation is worse at the CHS. The career graphs of doctors are virtually blocked at the Rs 14,300-18,300 slab, with people waiting for 12 years or more for the next hike.57% THE RATE OF ATTRITION OF TRAINED MEDICAL MANPOWER FROM THECENTRAL HEALTH SERVICE, PGIMER AND AIIMS BETWEEN 2001 AND 200595% DOCTORS IN CENTRAL HEALTH SERVICES WHO IDENTIFY ATTRACTIVEFINANCIAL PACKAGES AS THE MAIN REASON FOR QUITTING15 YEARS IT TAKES A JUNIOR DOCTOR TO GRADUATE TO THE PROFESSORLEVEL IN AIIMS, PGIMER OR OTHER GOVERNMENT TEACHING HOSPITALSIn contrast, corporate entities have deep pockets. Compensation packages are five to ten times more and vertical mobility depends on the assessment of one’s performance. “We have 20 different scales, with fixed and variable pay,” says Dr Puri. But doctors have to conform to market-driven parameters. The field, reputation and capital generation capacity of a doctor have to tally with the “needs” of the corporate. “We have to consider the returns we’ll get by investing in a doctor,” he adds.”Government should reduce the cost of healthcare by encouraging private enterprise.”Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya “The public system is stagnating,” claims Dr Vikas Kohli, paediatric car-diologist with Apollo Hospitals, “New talent and innovations are not allowed to come up.” Not surprisingly, when the Chowdhury Committee invited faculty members to air their views, a Pandora’s Box of pet peeves opened up: stifling patient-load and work conditions, poor salaries, career bottlenecks, meagre research incentives and meddling seniors and bureaucrats. There was a swill of vitriol on the lack of international exposure, too.Meanwhile, the private sector has been surging ahead. “It’s far superior in quality of care,” asserts Dr Suresh Advani, oncologist with the S.L. Raheja Hospital, Mumbai. Dr S. Joshi, cardiac surgeon with Breach Candy and Jaslok in Mumbai, says, “They get the latest equipment.” Dr Alexander Thomas, orthopaedic surgeon from CMC Vellore believes, “For a patient, the waiting time matters the most. The private sector is way superior in this.”What’s the road ahead? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently launched a health initiative, urging public-private partnership. Trehan thinks that’s the next stage. Ramadoss, too, hints at a future when government doctors, like B-school faculty, will be able to invite private money. A new dispensation, to be sure. Especially for a nation that has redefined its idea of success, status and good life, but has been slow in coming to terms with the changing aspirations of its doctors. Medics, it seems, will have the last laugh.- with Aditi Pai in Mumbai and Steven Jacob in BangaloreTHE AIIMS SYNDROME What the Doctor didn’t OrderA professor of pharmacology at AIIMS, Dr Y.K. Gupta had taken a break for two years to join the Indian Toxicology Research Centre in Lucknow as its director. When he was due to return, he was assailed with offers from the private sector. “It was a tough call,” smiles the soft-spoken man, “They were offering wonderful packages-anything between Rs 5 lakh and 10 lakh a month.” Market forces are obviously at work at AIIMS-the jewel in India’s healthcare crown. From polite drawing rooms to confused campuses, the question doing the rounds is: why are doctors leaving AIIMS? For, many of those who have quit recently are eminent names.But AIIMS is hardly perturbed. Figures don’t always tell the whole story, some point out. “If people are leaving, others are coming in,” points out Dr G.K. Rath, head of radiation oncology. Others consider the “exodus” to be a healthy sign. “I’ll be happy if one-fifth of our people left every year,” says Dr Surya Bhan, head of orthopaedics, “they’ll carry our values and ethics with them.” Still others believe AIIMS will continue to remain AIIMS. “Take research,” says Dr T.P. Singh, head of biophysics, “It’s as strong as ever. We publish more than 50 per cent of all medical research from India.”But the rising exodus is too real to be ignored. “It’s certainly a warning signal. That something may not be quite right with the system,” cautions Rama Baru, professor at the Centre for Social Medicine in JNU, who had conducted a study in 2003-04 among 80-odd AIIMS doctors. “Higher salaries, minimal administrative interference, availability of high technology and lighter patient load were mentioned as some of the most important reasons for moving over to private hospitals,” she adds.From the Nehruvian vision to liberalisation, if India has been on the long road, so has AIIMS. The new government endeavours will, one hopes, add a new chapter to India’s ‘ideal public institution’-one that still values non-profit ethics, equity, teamwork and dedication towards research in a fast-changing, profiteering world.last_img read more

Dhoni-less India to take on Sri Lanka in ODI tri-series

first_imgAdversity is firing at the Indian team from all directions. And the Men in Blue are fast running out of ammunition.While they hit a purple patch, albeit briefly, in the middle of the tri-series by winning two games in a row and tying one, the Indians have stumbled and now take on a resurgent Sri Lanka in the eighth match of the tri-series knowing well that a slip now could send them into a freefall.Sri Lanka beat Australia with a bonus point on Friday and Australia meted out the same treatment to the Indians on Sunday here. With India the only team without a bonus win, things are getting a bit too close for comfort for the world champions.Sri Lanka have seven points from four games and India 10 from five. Tuesday’s day-night encounter at the ‘Gabba, therefore assumes bigger proportions.But before all that, both teams would be keeping one eye on the weather report as thunderstorms and heavy rain have been predicted in the afternoon and late evening. In case both teams end up splitting the points, the race to the final would be a dramatic one.Nonetheless, the sub-continental teams can only prepare their 100-over plans and India would be a lot more worried.Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stands suspended for the match after the team took 4 hours to bowl its 50 overs on Sunday, its second such over-rate offence in 12 months. With Virender Sehwag expected to just about make a comeback from a back spasm and Sachin Tendulkar looking doubtful after receiving a blow to the head by a Brett Lee bouncer, the Indians are on shaky ground.The Sri Lankan fans here are having a good time watching their side giving the more fancied opponents a run for their money. And after mauling Australia in a rain-affected game at Sydney, the islanders will be raring to have a go at India.The buzz has settled in Brisbane after Sunday’s marquee match, but both sides know this series is alive as performances on the day have varied in the extremes.India will be contemplating changes in the bowling attack as the four-pacer strategy didn’t work in helpful conditions against the Aussies on Sunday. There is a case for R Ashwin to be brought back into the attack and the team management will have to decide which of Irfan Pathan and Umesh Yadav warrant a place in the eleven.Dhoni didn’t bowl spinner Ravindra Jadeja at all against Australia despite being behind the over-rate, but that shouldn’t be the case against the Lankans. Sehwag looks likely to lead the side in the absence of Dhoni and will have Parthiv Patel as his wicket-keeper. Sri Lanka have risen steadily. Captain Mahela Jayawardene has been inspirational and young Dinesh Chandimal, with 188 runs from four games, looks like he belongs to the big stage. On the bowling front, Lasith Malinga has picked the most wickets, six, but it’s Thisara Perera, with five wickets from three games, who has been the most incisive.The wicket should again suit seamers and with a forecast of cloudy and windy conditions, batting would be tough, if the weather gods permit play at all.advertisementlast_img read more

Sharad Pawar defeats RS Mahendra to become BCCI chief, signals end of Jagmohan Dalmiya era

first_imgVICTOR: Sharad PawarThe genteel ladies of Kolkata, clad in their best winter silks, probably thought they had hit upon the mother of all bargains. They had come looking for a diamond jewellery show and run into crowds, lights, cameras and noise. Each bewildered woman was escorted away to a hall,VICTOR: Sharad PawarThe genteel ladies of Kolkata, clad in their best winter silks, probably thought they had hit upon the mother of all bargains. They had come looking for a diamond jewellery show and run into crowds, lights, cameras and noise. Each bewildered woman was escorted away to a hall next door where the minor exhibits were on display. What they had accidentaly stumbled into was the entrance to a circus like no other. The assembled throng was waiting for the arrival of a new ring master. The BCCI’s much delayed and cantankerous 2005 annual election was coming to a close.When Sharad Pawar was voted BCCI president he did more than ascend the highest office in Indian cricket. The Union minister for agriculture literally prised power out of the iron fist of Jagmohan Dalmiya, who had controlled Indian sport’s richest body for well over a decade. Pawar’s takeover was headline news not only because the man himself is a national figure. The BCCI is worth approximately Rs 200 crore today and as a business, Indian cricket is estimated to be worth Rs 1,000 crore a year. Whoever heads the BCCI has total control of one of India’s two major entertainment industries, cinema being the other.It had taken a Union cabinet minister, the combined political force of the country’s national ruling party, a Supreme Court decision, a former election commissioner, 10 lawyers and 16 court cases to force change in one of the most loosely-formed but tightly-guarded of sporting fortresses.Pawar’s coup, begun at the 2004 Board election, is now complete. After holding every major office in the BCCI which ruled him out of the election process, Dalmiya could not contemplate the idea of giving it all away. This desire to play remote control was his undoing. In 2004, Dalmiya voted four times to enable his man, Ranbir Singh Mahendra, to become president by the margin of a single vote against Pawar.A year later, when the numbers appeared stacked against him, Dalmiya chose adjournments and legal loopholes to put off the election and delay the inevitable for two more months. Finally, when it could be delayed no longer, his rivals, led by the formidable Pawar, came to his town with allies, aides and lawyers.One worker from the Pawar camp said, “We had been working from the day we lost the 2004 election but had stepped it up in the last two months.” The numbers were already in place. “Eventually, Saheb is a politician,” said one official of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) where Pawar has been president for four years, “they know where to put pressure from, whom to talk to.” advertisementVANQUISHED: Jagmohan DalmiyaOn the morning of the election, even before the votes were cast, Dalmiya and his allies knew their result. The final scoreline 20-11 was a wash-out and Dalmiya left the meeting, according to some, “definitely disturbed”. Once the kingpin, Dalmiya now belongs to an insignificant minority in Indian cricket. Raj Singh Dungarpur, all drama always, declared, “The evil empire has ended.”The talk now is of transformation and transparency. According to Mehmood Abdi, lawyer for the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) the BCCI is witnessing a “generational change”. Pawar, 65, may well raise a skeptical eyebrow though some BCCI bastions have already fallen.Industrialist Lalit Modi, a major player on Pawar’s team, has taken the RCA away from the Rungta clan through legal acumen and political support. Modi said, “Within a year I see the BCCI having a professional set-up run by a CEO and a team of executives. We won’t be a one-man show.” Modi is projected as the young, ambitious face of the BCCI who’s already knocked heads with the old guard like Dungarpur. He found his way onto the BCCI’s most influential decision-making body, the working committee, by using an old ploy: getting nominated as a vice-president from another zone.So the complete “Modification” of the BCCI is not yet upon us. Pawar’s own promises are to Indian cricket administration what a tearaway fast bowler is to the national team-half-necessity, half-fantasy. Better infrastructure, a centralised HQ, a CEO and perhaps even something on the lines of the Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) Pawar set up as MCA chief, which has cricketers taking decisions on the game. The patriarch is very much a hands-off boss who according to Ratnakar Shetty, MCA treasurer, spends “quality time” on cricket.The only questions that the MCA managing committee can ask the CIC pertain to finances required for cricketing activities. This clear demarcation of power took some getting used to but things run now smoothly. In the new regime, Shetty, who was acting executive secretary in BCCI’s Mumbai office, is tipped to be the Board’s first CEO.In an interview to INDIA TODAY , Pawar said that he would use the truncated first term to formalise the BCCI’s electoral rules. The rules do exist but are so ambiguous that whenever a competitor came close, Dalmiya could throw up smokescreens. It took a series of court orders obtained by the young Turk lawyers in Pawar’s camp to cleared up the fog. On election day, procedures were virtually water-tight. Former chief election commissioner T.S. Krishnamurthy, the Supreme Court-appointed observer, told the voters in the plainest possible language. “Please don’t give me election lessons,” he said, “I’ve conducted far bigger elections than this.” It was a long way off from when complete strangers would walk into elections waving papers authorising them to vote instead of cricket officials sitting in the meetings.Pawar’s victory brings an end not just to the Dalmiya era but also an unsettled 14 months for Indian cricket. It began when Dalmiya stepped down as president in 2004, but continued to run the Board by proxy. Mahendra could do no business in the first four months as the election results were challenged in court.advertisementSomeone forgot to book hotel rooms for the Indian team. Others made sure that the visiting Australians were given a wicket that suited them more than the Indians, a compliment that was repaid in full when the Indian players returned to Kolkata without the city’s own Sourav Ganguly for a recent one-day match.The result in Pawar’s favour has ended this cycle of action and reaction, suit and counter-suit. The day after the election Pawar dropped by Dalmiya’s home for a tete-a-tete. Murmurs suggest that the meeting went well. When two old foxes get together, chickens in even the most distance coops have good reason to start sweating.last_img read more

FCBESCOLA sets up its first Indian centre in Gurgaon

first_imgthe National Capital Region will soon get a dash of Blaugrana football as FCBESCOLA, official football school of Barcelona, is setting up its first Indian centre in Heritage School, Gurgaon, by year-end.The school, which has tied up with an Indian sports management company – Conscient Football, is planning to expand to other cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Goa.”We had organised a couple of camps last year. We will set up a school and it will take some time for the results to show. We are aware that some other clubs had come here and took many initiatives, but didn’t deliver the way they had promised. But we are here for the long haul and aim to spread Barcelona’s philosophy among the young footballers,” said Xevi Mercia, director of FCBESCOLA said in New Delhi on Wednesday.The players will be in the age group of 6-14. Antonia Claveria, who has been appointed as the coach of the project, said he would try to teach the club’s tikitaka style of football to the kids.”I was here for the inaugural camp in December last year and the response was very good. Irrespective of the ground quality and other issues, I will try my best to ensure the kids get the basic skills right and emerge as quality footballers,” he said.last_img read more

Afghanistan Cricket Federation becomes a member of the Asian Cricket Council

first_imgForward shot: Allah Dad Noorie (bearded)If anyone asks Allah Dad Noorie, executive vice-president of the Afghanistan Cricket Federation (AFC), about cricket in his country, he usually starts with an anecdote.”Kilgit used to be our national sport,” he says. “It is played with two teams. You hit a ball and then,Forward shot: Allah Dad Noorie (bearded)If anyone asks Allah Dad Noorie, executive vice-president of the Afghanistan Cricket Federation (AFC), about cricket in his country, he usually starts with an anecdote.”Kilgit used to be our national sport,” he says. “It is played with two teams. You hit a ball and then run back and forth – a Mughal version of cricket.”Recently Noorie and some AFC members came to India to drum up support for the game. They met BCCI officials and Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, who has even agreed to organise two exhibition matches with Afghanistan’s national team (yes, they do have one) as fundraisers.But the bonus? Last month the AFC became a member of the Asian Cricket Council. That’s starting out on the right foot.last_img read more

Portland’s CJ McCollum joins the 50-point club

first_img“She’s a soldier,” he said. “She’s going to have some wine with me.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum reacts after making a three-point basket against the Chicago Bulls during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. McCollum scored 28 points in the first quarter. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)PORTLAND, Ore. — A smile crossed CJ McCollum’s face in the fourth quarter as he sat on the bench and the hometown crowd chanted “We Want CJ!”McCollum had already collected a milestone 50 points in the game against the Chicago Bulls. The crowd wanted more.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ “A lot of the elite players score 50 points, that’s just the way it is,” McCollum said. “It shows you are a really unique scorer and have a lot of abilities.”McCollum sat in the fourth quarter for obvious reasons: The game was already a rout, and risking injury in a blowout was foolhardy. Sportsmanship comes into play, too.“At that point it was a 20-, 21-point lead? You don’t want no bad karma,” said teammate Damian Lillard, who holds the franchise record with a 59-point game last season. “I was thinking about that last year when I was in Miami, I had 49, and there was a couple seconds left and something happened where I could have gone over 50, and I was like, I’d rather take 49 the right way than go out there and force 50 and something bad happens.”But even so, some of his teammates wished the show could go on.“I wanted to see him score more,” Shabazz Napier said. “That’s just me being selfish, though.”ADVERTISEMENT ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte LATEST STORIES SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Do we want to be champions or GROs? – Sotto PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim McCollum’s feat came a day after James Harden had 60 in a triple-double that led the Rockets over the Orlando Magic, 114-107.It also helped the Blazers (29-22) to their fourth straight overall victory (the first four-game winning streak of the season) and eighth straight win at home. Portland rests in sixth place in the Western Conference and appears poised to make a second-half push for playoff position.It was clear McCollum was on his game from the start. He scored a franchise-record 28 points in the first quarter alone — besting Lillard’s previous record by a basket — including four 3-pointers. It was the most points scored in a quarter in the league this season.He punctuated the first half with a dunk, finishing the half with 32 points as the Blazers went into the break with a 67-44 lead.“Once he hit a couple of those tough ones, I was like, I mean I recognize that feeling and I saw the rhythm that he was playing with. At that point, it was just my job to make sure he got the ball in his hands as many times as possible,” Lillard said.After he sat down at the end of the third quarter, McCollum smiled when the crowd chanted his name.“I was thinking, I hope I don’t have to go back in,” McCollum said. “That means we’re not playing the way we should be playing. There was a lot of love tonight, and I appreciate it.”McCollum joined an elite group of 50-point Blazers: Lillard, Damon Stoudamire, Brandon Roy, Andre Miller, Clyde Drexler and Geoff Petrie.But what made it most special for McCollum was one face in the crowd. McCollum’s 92-year-old great aunt was visiting Portland for the first time and was at the game.He planned to celebrate with her afterward. For McCollum, 50 points was enough.The Blazers guard’s final tally in the 124-108 victory over the Bulls on Wednesday night was a career high. So were his 18 field goals.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingMcCollum also became just the second NBA player in history to score 50 or more points in less than 30 minutes , joining Golden State’s Klay Thompson. Overall, he’s the sixth player to hit the milestone this season.He acknowledged afterward that reaching the 50-point plateau was special. And indeed when he left the Moda Center, he had the game ball tucked under his arm. Lakers rookie Ball to miss at least two more games View commentslast_img read more