Dec 31, 2010

ICC reject Australian umpire Steve Davis drink claim

Steve Davis
WORLD cricket bosses have denied a report that Australian umpire Steve Davis was seen drunk in Durban.

Vincent van der Bijl, head of the International Cricket Council's referees panel, said he was aware of the story, but ICC media spokesman Colin Gibson insisted no complaint had been made against Davis.

"The CSA (South African board) hasn't told the ICC anything," Gibson said.

"It's all nonsense."

A report in a South African newspaper claimed South African players were considering lodging a complaint against Davis, who they allegedly saw "in a drunken condition" at a hotel where the teams and officials were staying, before the opening day of the second Test between South Africa and India.

Afrikaan daily newspaper Beeld quoted sources from the team saying they had frequently seen Davis at a Durban bar and he was also seen stumbling into another hotel in the early hours during the first Test, at Centurion.

Davis, 58, who has stood in 31 Tests, made two blunders on the last two days of the second Test. Both went against the home side. India won by 87 runs to level the three-match series 1-1.

THE event likely to rock international cricket during the next two weeks will take place half a world away from the fifth Test at the SCG.

Doha, the capital of Qatar, will be the location for the hearing into spot-fixing allegations against Pakistanis Mohammad Aamer, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif.

The trio has been provisionally suspended since a News of the World sting in August found that Aamer and Asif bowled deliberate no-balls on the instructions of skipper Butt during the fourth Test against England at Lord's.

Aamer, 18, is believed to be ready to give evidence against Butt, Asif and other Pakistani players.

Lawyers for Butt and Asif have suggested they have information that could implicate some of the world's top cricketers in betting scandals.

Dec 29, 2010

Laird looks forward to masters

Finishing dead last at an event is no cause for celebration, but for Scottish golfer Martin Laird, September's US Tour Championship was still special.

Just being among the 30-strong elite field in Atlanta (not even Tiger Woods managed it) meant that Laird had qualified for a debut at golf's most glamorous tournament - The Masters at Augusta next April.
Martin Laird
His first appearance among the azaleas and dogwood will come at the age of 28 and that alone tells you this has been no meteoric rise like that of Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer or Matteo Manassero.

But Laird has done enough in the last two seasons to suggest he could be one of the stars of 2011.

The Glaswegian, still relatively unknown on this side of the Atlantic after going to college in the States and staying there, began last year 268th in the world but has made it all the way into the top 50.

He has also become the first Scottish winner on the US Tour since Sandy Lyle at the 1988 Masters - and there could so easily have been two more victories this season.

Matt Kuchar came up with a wondrous shot to beat him in sudden death at the first of the FedEx Cup play-offs - Laird had three-putted the last - and then in the defence of his Las Vegas title Jonathan Byrd produced a hole-in-one no less at the fourth play-off hole.

"I'm not a goal-setter. My goal is just to get better every year and I feel like I've done that," Laird said.

"The only thing I have felt has been holding me back has been my putting and since I started working with Dave Stockton Jnr it's been good.

"I feel like if I keep that up and keep my ball-striking where it was or even get it a little better I know I can move way up the world rankings and start challenging in majors and things.

"You look at guys like Kaymer and (Graeme) McDowell winning, it gives you motivation to be up there with them."

Just as US Open champion McDowell did, he really blossomed as a player in his college days - Colorado in his case - but while the Northern Irishman then won only his fourth European Tour event, it was a long time before Laird's professional career had lift-off.

"My first year on the Nationwide Tour (2005) I played terribly and lost my card," he recalls.

In 19 starts he had only one top-25 finish and six missed cuts in his last seven tournaments left him with earnings for the year of less than $19,000 (£11,500).

On his return to the circuit in 2007, however, he won over a quarter of a million dollars and on graduating to the main Tour the money alone has been an indicator of his progress - more than $850,000 two years ago, $1.3million last season and $2.1million this.

The better Laird does in the US, the more chance there is of him adding to his rare appearances in Europe so far, especially once Ryder Cup qualifying begins in September.

His European Tour debut did not come until last year's Scottish Open. He came 10th after starting with a 65, but has already bettered that with a fifth place at October's Dunhill Links Championship.

In the Open though he has made two early exits, crashing out of St Andrews this summer with a nightmare second-round 83, and desperately wants to improve on that at Sandwich in July.

The Dunhill was a big confidence-booster in that regard.

"I think I was paying the Old Course a little too much respect at the Open. I wanted to come back and almost prove to myself that I can play links golf because my record was not very good.

"I definitely can control any ball flight a little better now and that's something that's good going forward."

Augusta is the ultimate examination of that and in April Laird finally has the chance to take that test.
Read More>>

Dec 28, 2010

Court reduces Rajasthan Royals bank guarantee

Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals don't seem interested in just coming back into the Indian Premier League (IPL) fold, but they want to come back with the proverbial bang. Perhaps that is the reason they went back to the court and requested through their counsel Janak Dwarkadas that the bank guarantee be reduced from $20.83m.

The Bombay High Court on Monday allowed Royals to deposit $7.8m as guarantee with an additional security deposit of $2.83m, reducing the overall guarantee by almost half. The BCCI has given its consent for the same. Royals had insisted that the bank guarantee should be reduced because the guarantee provided for the 2011 IPL could be used as a rolling guarantee for the following year too.

Earlier, the high court had permitted RR to take part in IPL 4 and directed them to pay a $20.83m bank guarantee, as argued by the BCCI counsel.

Royals are now allowed to participate in the player auctions scheduled for January 8 and 9 and in fact are now being kept in the loop by the BCCI as far as all internal communication of IPL - between the board and the franchisees - are concerned.

Meanwhile, the board has released the money - to the tune of Rs 35 crore - that was due to the franchise. In turn, the franchise says they've also almost finished the process of paying pending player dues.

"We had already begun paying the players from our own pockets but now, after the BCCI money has come in, we've settled it all," says Raghu Iyer, the chief marketing officer of the franchise.

Whether or not Kings XI Punjab intends to do something similar is not known as yet.

Dec 21, 2010

Mat Rogers' golf course mishap

golf course
Luckily, the incident occurred in the pursuit of a good cause and no one was hurt.

The vehicle in question was the golf buggy transporting Mat Rogers, his son and a friend around the golf course at Links Hope Island on the Gold Coast, as they took part in Rogers' Celebrity Golf Classic to raise funds for their charity, 4ASD Kids.

And the only damage was to Rogers' pride as he surveyed the upturned cart, marooned in a bunker.

Rogers and his wife Chloe Maxwell were hoping to raise more than $300,000 across the weekend for 4ASD Kids, which is dedicated to supporting children with autism spectrum disorders, so they can receive the treatment that will give them the best chance of a normal life.

There were celebrities galore at the charity weekend, and they were digging deep into their pockets. But it wasn't all smooth sailing for the Maxwells, who were constantly battling with the weather at Sanctuary Cove.

Newsreader Sandra Sully was back again for the event, which coincided with her family's Christmas celebration.

"I was meant to start my holidays a couple of days earlier but Oprah was in town," she said.

"It's a shame about the weather. I call my partner the rainman because when I bring him to Queensland it rains."

Australia's Next Top Model judge Charlotte Dawson flew in for the event and showcased her singing talent when she belted out some Guns N' Roses at the Quiksilver Beach party, while Matthew Johns, accompanied by his wife Trish, had a "dance-off" with the kids.

Comedian Corinne Grant was another special guest as were former NRL footballer Gorden Tallis and Titans Greg Bird, Scott Prince and William Zillman.

Dec 17, 2010

STORY OF THE YEAR: Tiger's tale

Tiger Woods' humbling return to the public eye, from his televised confession to a winless season on the golf course, was voted the sports story of the year by members of The Associated Press.

Tiger woods
The fallout from Woods’ admission of infidelity edged a very different sort of story: The New Orleans Saints winning their first Super Bowl championship, giving an emotional boost to their hurricane-ravaged city.

It was late 2009 when Woods' pristine image unraveled after he crashed his SUV into a tree outside his home, unleashing salacious revelations of extramarital affairs. The story was a late addition to last year’s voting and wound up fifth.

But the twists and turns weren't over for Woods. Many more developments were still to unfold in 2010.

There were 176 ballots submitted from U.S. news organizations that make up the AP's membership. The voters were asked to rank the top 10 sports stories of the year, with the first-place story getting 10 points, the second-place story receiving nine points, and so on.

The Woods saga received 1,316 points, with the Saints' title getting 1,215 and the NBA free agency frenzy coming in third with 1,085.

Major League Baseball's ongoing travails with performance-enhancing drugs was the top story last year.

Here are 2010's top 10 stories:


Woods returned to public view with a 13½-minute statement in February, then came back to golf at the Masters in April with a fourth-place finish. That would be one of his few highlights on the course - Woods went winless on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career and lost his No. 1 ranking for the first time in years. In August, he and Elin Nordegren divorced.


New Orleans residents loved their Saints for not abandoning the city after Hurricane Katrina, but it was hard to imagine the team bringing much joy on the field after 42 mostly losing seasons. Then Drew Brees and Co. upset the mighty Indianapolis Colts in their first Super Bowl, to the delight of French Quarter revelers and fans nationwide who adopted the Saints.


NBA fans were captivated by the mystery of where MVP LeBron James and other marquee free agents would land. Few would have guessed that three of them would sign with the same team: the Miami Heat, who became basketball’s Evil Empire by adding James from Cleveland and Chris Bosh from Toronto to Dwyane Wade.


A World Cup of firsts ended gloriously for Spain and for Africa. South Africa hosted the continent’s first World Cup without the pitfalls many predicted. And the Spaniards brought home the first World Cup title to the soccer-mad country with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in extra time.


The Giants hadn’t won the World Series since they moved to San Francisco in 1958 - and since 1954 overall. This didn’t seem to be the year to end the drought when they barely squeaked into the playoffs. But with dominant pitching and clutch hitting, they beat the Texas Rangers in five games.


New posters distributed to teams before the season warned of concussions’ dangers in much harsher language than before. Another sign of how big the issue had become: increased reporting of concussions by players. Midseason, the NFL cracked down on helmet hits with huge fines and threatened suspensions.


The NASCAR driver extended his record with his fifth straight Sprint Cup title. Perhaps most impressively, he did it despite not being in top form all season. Johnson became the first driver in the Chase’s seven-year history to overcome a points deficit in the finale.


This comeback was nothing like last year’s magical run to the NFC title game for the 41-year-old quarterback. His Minnesota Vikings struggled badly, and the NFL launched an investigation into whether he sent lewd photos of himself to a Jets employee. After voting began, his record streak of 297 starts ended.


The Huskies’ women’s basketball team extended their record winning streak to 78 games with a second straight national championship in April, becoming the first team to post consecutive unbeaten seasons. And Connecticut is a powerhouse again this season.


The Wizard of Westwood died June 4 at the age of 99. John Wooden coached UCLA’s men’s basketball team to 10 NCAA championships, including seven in a row from 1967-73 and an 88-game winning streak.
Read More>>

Dec 14, 2010

Pakistan women's football team outplays Maldives 2-1

Pakistan women's football team
Pakistan women's football players outplayed Maldives 2-1 in the opening match of SAFF Women's Football Championship at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Mehwish scored the opening goal in 45th minute plus Malaika doubled the lead in the 89th minute beginning a penalty kick.

8 teams are participating in the event. Pakistan will now play its 2nd match against Nepal on December 16 and 3rd match against Afghanistan on December 18.

Dec 13, 2010

Tendulkar's 200 in Time magazine's Top Ten Sports moment

Sachin tendulkar
Iconic Indian batsman Tendulkar’s record-breaking one-day International double century has found a place in Time magazine’s 'Top Ten Sports Moment of the year.

"Confident sports milestones appear simply unreachable: In cricket, it's the one-day double-hundred: no man had still produced 200 runs for his team during a one-day international match," 'Time' said.

In February, however, India's Tendulkar, the maximum run scorer of all-time, hit the magic milestone against a powerful South African squad.

Sachin smacked 3 'sixes' - the cricket equal of a home run during his epic performance, and the build up to 200 was exciting.

"When he reached 199, the home crowd in Gwalior waved Indian flags, and roared, knowing they were about to witness history. The little Tendulkar, dubbed 'The Little Master,' slapped a single past the South African fielders. The world’s 1.5 billion cricket fans had a second they’d never forget," it said.

Dec 9, 2010

South Africa golf ace among Laureus nominees

South Africa golf ace
Oosthuizen has been built in the World Breakthrough of the Year category where he is competing with German soccer star Thomas Muller and French sprinter Christophe Lemaitre.

Also included are the England T20 Cricket team, who won their 1st global trophy in limited- overs cricket this year against Australia, the current World Cup and Champions Trophy winners.

South Africa's Oosthuizen made a name for himself across the globe after winning the British Open Championship at St Andrews in July, which was his 1st Major win.

In March 2010, he won his 1st European Tour event at the Open de Andalucia de Golf. He also won the 2010 Masters Par 3 Contest.

Oosthuizen's early career was supported financially for 3 years by Ernie Els's foundation.

In other awards, 50-year-old Merlene Ottey of Slovenia has been nominated for the World Comeback of the Year award. The former Jamaican sprinter became the oldest woman still to compete in the European championship in Barcelona this year.

Fellow athlete Tyson Gay is also chosen for the same award. Sportsman of the Year nominees includes Lionel Messi, Rafael Nadal, Sebastian Vettel, Sachin and Diego Forlan.

Spain is tipped to win the World Team of the Year award after their historic win of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Italian soccer giants Inter Milan, who became the 1st winners of the Serie A, Italian Coppa Cup and European Champions League in one year, is chosen for the same award.

Dec 8, 2010

PCB stop five players to leave country

Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Younus Khan,Razzaq and Umar Gul
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has refused 5 of top cricketers the permission to leave country in a offer to make sure their presence in the camp for the upcoming New Zealand.

5 top cricketers, as well as the country's T20 skipper Afridi, fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, smashing all-rounder Razzaq, former captain Younus Khan, and fast bowler Umar Gul were due to leave for Malaysia for the shooting of an advertisement.

Sources informed The Sports meet that stopping the players, the PCB told the players to make sure their presence in the cricket camp for the New Zealand tour which start from December 8th, 2010.

But, later the PCB establishment denied any such incident saying that none of the players asked the PCB for permission to leave country for an advertisement shooting.

Cricket fans are totally aware of the topsy-turvy nature of the PCB chief, Ijaz Butt, who generally backs out of his stance with or without any reason.

Pakistan are due to start their New Zealand tour from December 26 with the first T20 International and will play a total of three T20 International matches, two Test matches, and 6 One Day Internationals.

Earlier, Pakistan was to play 5 ODIs and 3 Test matches but for a improved preparation of the ICC World Cup 2011, both cricket boards decided to include an additional ODI at the cost of a Test match.

Dec 7, 2010

No Pakistani players in IPL 4 auctions

Pakistani players
No Pakistani players will be included in the 4th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

According to sources, the IPL main council has decided to keep Pakistani players away from the auctions for IPL 4.

The decision has been taken keeping in mind the continuing problem into match-fixing allegations by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sources added.

3 Pakistani players- Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were charged under Article 2 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code on September 2, and have been temporarily suspended since then.

More recently, a secretly filmed video showed supposed bookmaker Mazhar Majeed boasting of relations with 4 other Pakistani cricketers- Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz and Imran Farhat.

It is noteworthy that no Pakistani players were included in to the last version of IPL as well.

Dec 6, 2010

Gibbs book tell all about the intrigues in cricket

Herschelle Gibbs
It is quite revealing and attractive, and grips the imagination with its juicy details. The reader gets a usually unfiltered view of Herschelle Gibbs take on life or rather his "Live life to the max" mantra.

Instead of couching chapter in safe-sounding euphemisms, Gibbs gets directly to the point while giving reader an inside edge into the interesting life of one of the most gifted batsmen of his generation.

Exploits of drinking, drugs and orgies are well-documented and there's also a confirmation of a suspected clique of senior players, understood to be controlling the Proteas team.

There's also the real fact behind media stories, most of which ensured Gibbs never stayed far from controversy.

The messy divorce from ex-wife Tenielle, his run-ins with the authorities, the "Monkey" racial slur, match-fixing scandal, and being dropped from the Proteas team for alcohol abuse are all fleshed out at this time in this potential bestseller. No doubt this book puts an end to any hopes Gibbs might yet have of playing for South Africa again.

Aware of the backlash this book would solicit he nonetheless writes from the heart, chronicling how his go-large-or-go-home attitude frequently landed him in trouble, the bizarre dropped catch in the 1999 World Cup and his stint in rehab.

The attractive part of a 16-year-old Gibbs breaking into the Western Province's A-team and on to the worldwide stage is overshadowed by the juicy detail. How does one skip the "2 beds, 2 cricketers and 3 women" part of the book, for the dilemma Gibbs was faced with when choosing between cricket, rugby and football back at Bishops College?

But there can be no missing some of the most cricketing moments Gibbs has provided over the years.

From his 1999 maiden Test century against New Zealand in Christchurch, the phenomenal 438 win more than the old enemy, Australia, in an ODI at the Wanderers to the record-setting Six sixes at the 2007 World Cup.

This book offers the reader a chance to reassess things one consideration one had known about Gibbs and his Proteas career.

Dec 2, 2010

Cameron and Beckham arrive for last presentation offer

Cameron and Beckham
Fifa, world football's leading body, announce which bids have won the correct to stage the 2018 and 2022 World Cups later today.

Netherlands-Belgium, England, Russia and Spain-Portugal are vying for the 2018 tournament - Australia, the United States, Japan, South Korea and Qatar for 2022. The bid teams for England have arrived to make their final presentation to try and safe the 2018 World Cup.

Speaking in Zurich, David Cameron commended David Beckham and Prince William for their efforts ahead of the appearance.