Strauss will be judged a great England captain only if he wins Ashes Down Under: Flintoff

London, Aug.23 (ANI): Andrew Strauss will be judged a great England captain only if he wins the Ashes Down Under this winter, feels former cricketer Andrew Flintoff.

“If you look at Straussy”s record, there”s no doubt he”s taken England on and the side has done well. But ultimately he”ll be judged on what happens this winter, especially after what happened in 2006 when the side didn”t perform,” The Sun quoted Flintoff, as saying.

“So far, you cannot fault him. He has a very good relationship with Andy Flower, they seem to be talking all the time. That”s crucial,” 32-year-old Flintoff added.

He also rubbished Australian captain Ricky Ponting’s view that England could face another whitewash.

“I think Ponting is mistaken. Look how the two sides are shaping up and England are doing well. At the moment, they”re reliant on Graeme Swann, who has done phenomenally well, and Jimmy Anderson. In Australia, you have to work harder for your wickets,” Flintoff said. (ANI)

Arjun Atwal becomes first Indian to win US PGA Tour title at Wyndham Championship

London, Aug 23 (ANI): Ace golfer Arjun Atwal has created history by becoming the first Indian to clinch a US PGA Tour title with a one-stroke victory at North Carolina”s Wyndham Championship.

The 37-year-old golfer from Calcutta, who started the final round with a three-stroke lead, returned a steady three-under 67 to clinch the title by a stroke with a total of 20-under 260.

On Monday, he became the first qualifier to earn a victory in 24 years. He defeated David Toms by a stroke.

He parred the final hole for a round of 67 and a 20-under-par total as he avoided a play-off with nearest rival David Toms.

“That was huge, I was really nervous over that last putt. My heart rate was probably 150,” BBC Sports quoted Atwal, as saying.

His advantage was gradually eroded, and, at one stage, he shared the lead with six other players.

Atwal, though, birdied the 16th to regain the lead, and as he teed off at the 18th, Toms, who had birdied three of his last four holes for a 64, was alone in second and hoping for a slip-up.

The Indian has got the 918,000 dollars top prize and a two-year Tour exemption.

“I”m pretty sure it”s going to be huge back home,” Atwal added. (ANI)

India loses to Sri Lanka by eight wickets in Dambulla

Dambulla, Aug 22 (ANI): Team India suffered its biggest One-Day International defeat in terms of balls remaining, as Sri Lanka cruised into the final of the tri-series Micromax Cup with a resounding eight wicket victory in the 5th ODI here on Sunday.

Till date, India”s biggest defeat in terms of balls remaining was 174 against Australia at Sydney in 1981. India had scored 63 and Australia responded with 64 for one in that match.

Playing first, Team India could score a paltry 103 runs in 33.4 overs. It was their third lowest total against the Sri Lankans.

The 21-year-old Perera (5/28) ripped through the Indian middle order with a fine exhibition of swing bowling.

The Sri Lankans rattled up the required runs of 104 in just 15.1 overs and gaine a bonus point and moved into the final.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (35) and Mahela Jayawardene (33) virtually toyed with the Indian bowlers as they plundered runs at will to set up the chase brilliantly.

The hosts completed their league matches with 11 points.

Meanwhile, Team India will have to now win its last match against New Zealand on Wednesday to secure a berth in the final.

India have five points while New Zealand have seven points in the ongoing tri-series tournament. (ANI)

Adebayor up for Premier League challenge

London, Aug 22(ANI): Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor has admitted that he faces a fight to be in the club’s starting line up for Monday’s Premier League game against Liverpool.

Adebayor was left out of Roberto Mancini’s starting line-up for last week’s opening game against Tottenham Hotspur, following the arrival of Italian Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli arrived from Inter Milan in a 24 million pound move last week

“I don’t want to look too far into the future. Who knows, by January maybe the manager will tell me to leave, or maybe I will ask to leave,” News of The World quoted Adebayor, as saying.

“This is football and I have learned many things playing this game. I was a little bit upset at being on the bench at Spurs, but I had a chat with Mancini which was good.”

“Managers can change. Today they love you then you think you are going to be moving. You have to adapt,” he added.

The 26-year-old further believes that his near-death experience at the Africa Cup of Nations in January has made him more difficult to manage.

Adebayor was almost killed when the Togo team bus was shot at by Angolan separatists just days before the tournament.

“I have the chance to be alive when I could have been dead after what happened at the Cup of Nations. This can make me a bit awkward as I know what I want now and my priority is always going to be my family,” Adebayor said. (ANI)

Jackie Chan wants ‘wushu’ to be officially recognised at Olympic games

Beijing, Aug 22 (ANI): While Beijing is scheduled to host the Sportaccord Combat Games 2010 just a few weeks from now, international kungfu film star Jackie Chan, has expressed his hope that wushu or Chinese style martial arts, would be given the recognition as an official event at the Olympic Games soon.

“I love wushu a lot and I would love to see them included in future Olympic Games,” China Daily quoted Chan, as saying.

“Chinese wushu involves so many forms and styles of fighting and has so many different schools. This makes it difficult for wushu to make an unified impression to international audiences,” he added.

Other Asian martial arts that have already become official Olympic sports include Japanese judo in 1964 and Korean taekwondo in 2000.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) currently recognizes Chinese wushu and Japanese karate as sports, but neither is an official or a demonstration sport at the Games.

During the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic, the IOC allowed China to organize an international wushu event, but it was unofficial and not considered a demonstration sport. (ANI)

Timing not good for CA’s ‘split innings’ one-day format trial: ACA chief

Sydney, Aug 22(ANI): Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) Chief Executive Paul Marsh has said that the new ‘split innings’ one-day format in the domestic tournament would affect the national team’s preparations for the 2011 World Cup.

“The timing of it is not good. It raises the question of how the players will be rated when the selectors are picking the World Cup squad,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Marsh, as saying.

“I’ve told CA that they’ve gone about this completely the wrong way – they haven’t brought the players into the process properly. They are the ones who play the game. They’re adamant that radical format changes are not the highest priority for the one-day game,” he added.

He further said that the new format would adversely affect middle-order batsmen.

“Batsmen like Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey built their one-day careers on keeping their heads and building innings. For that type of player, it’s a totally different game,” Marsh said.

The new format will divide innings into two blocks, the first of 20 overs and the second of 25 overs, with fielding restrictions for the first five overs.

Bowlers will be able to bowl a maximum of 12 overs rather than the usual 10, and fast bowlers will be permitted to bowl two bouncers an over rather than one. (ANI)

Ferdinand asks football fans to support England’s World Cup bid

London, Aug 22 (ANI): To gather support for England’s bid to host the World Cup in 2018, Rio Ferdinand told football fans that the World Cup will benefit all areas of society, should it come to this country in eight years’ time.

The team’s official charity has pledged a donation to the first International Centre for Disability Football, one of the projects at the centre of the bid’s legacy plans, the Daily Express reports.

The donation for the disability centre will come from the Team England Footballers’ Charity, which uses players’ match fees to make donations.

Ferdinand is close to a return after a knee injury wrecked his World Cup hopes on the eve of the tournament this summer.

“A World Cup in this country is a seriously exciting prospect so I am very keen to do whatever I can to help.

“I am fortunate to be in a position where I can commit to working with charity projects and I’ve seen first-hand the power that football can have in helping people,” he said.

“Being awarded the privilege of hosting the World Cup will help support football, social and human development projects more than a World Cup anywhere else,” Ferdinand said.

“I will be doing what I can to support our bid between now and the end of the year and I would encourage everyone to do the same,” he added. (ANI)

England will struggle against ‘better’ Oz side in home conditions, says Salman Butt

London, Aug 22(ANI): Pakistan skipper Salman Butt reckons that England’s bowlers would struggle in Australia’s ‘generally less swing friendly conditions’ during the Ashes Down Under.

The message came after the Pakistan team edged past England with a four-wicket victory in the third Test at The Oval.

“If this is the England bowling in Australian conditions then they will find it hard,” The Independent quoted Butt, as saying.

“I think the conditions here have favoured England. But anywhere else you play then obviously the Australian team has the edge because the nature of their cricket is to attack teams, and the only way to beat them is to counterattack,” he added.

The 25-year-old further predicted a tough time for Andrew Strauss’ men, saying that the Australians would put in a much better performance in their home conditions.

“I’ve still some time to spend here in England, but I think my little experience says that the Aussies are a much better side in their home conditions than they were over here in the Ashes because the ball comes on and it doesn’t swing as much,” Butt said.

England will take on Australia in the Ashes series in November, where they have not won a Test series since 1986/87.

The first of the five match series will be held at The Gabba in Brisbane from November 25 to 29.

It will be followed by Tests in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

Two Twenty20 clashes and a seven-match one-day series have also been scheduled between Australia and England. (ANI)

Zardari, Gilani shower praise on Pak team for Test win against England

Lahore, Aug.22 (ANI): Showering praise on the national team for its spirited four wicket win against England in the third Test at The Oval, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt have urged the players to continue their good show.

In their separate messages, both Zardari and Gilani congratulated the team for the victory and wished them good luck to continue playing with the same spirit in future.

Butt lauded skipper Salman Butt for leading the team from the front while describing the victory as a team effort.

“The whole team displayed tremendous character and professionalism to carve out a deserved victory,” the PCB chief said.

Butt also praised Mohammad Yousuf for putting up a balanced performance, and said the experienced batsman showed his class and experience, which proved to be an invaluable asset to the team.

The PCB is also likely to announce cash awards for the winning team on Monday, The Daily Times reports. (ANI)

Sangakkara not guilty of breaching code of conduct: ICC

Dubai, Aug 21 (ANI): Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has been found not guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct during his side’s ODI against New Zealand in Dambulla on Friday.

Sangakkara was charged with a Level 2 offence, contrary to clause 2.2.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players or Team Officials, which relates to “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play”.

The offence related to an exchange with New Zealand’s off-spinner Nathan McCallum in the 26th over of Sri Lanka’s innings. While turning for the second run, Sangakkara collided with the bowler who had his back towards the batsman.

Alan Hurst of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees, explaining his decision, said: “I looked at video footage of the incident from various angles and considered the detailed evidence of the umpires. I found that video evidence that was put forward by the player provided reasonable doubt as to whether the contact was deliberate”. (ANI)

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