Jan 24, 2011

Hedwall edges Ko in NSW Open

One of the most exciting prospects in professional golf has confirmed her promise with a victory in her very first event as a professional. Sweden's 21 year old Caroline Hedwall was the beneficiary of a two shot swing at the final hole of the Bing Lee Samsung New South Wales Women's Open at the Oatlands Golf Club in Sydney, winning the event by one shot over the stunning 13 year old New Zealander Lydia Ko.

Hedwall birdied the final hole from 15 feet and watched as Ko three putted for bogey. The 13 year old would have become the youngest player to win an event on any of the major tours in women's golf but clearly her time will come.

Hedwall completed a fine amateur career in collegiate golf last year, her time in the US culminating in a victory at the NCAA Championship. She was unable to earn full status on the LPGA Tour but she blitzed the field at the Ladies European Tour qualifying and appears to have a great career ahead of her.

Korean born Ko is now based in Auckland and is a New Zealand citizen. She continues to confound the golfing world with her exploits at such a young age and must surely go on to follow in the footsteps of the many other Koreans who play with such success on the world stage.

Defending champion Stephanie Na did well in her attempt to win the event for the third time finishing alone in third position one shot ahead of Sarah Kemp, Katherine Hull, Kristie Smith and American Ryan O'Toole. Na earns the second prize-money because of Ko's amateur status.

The ALPG Tour now moves to Canberra for this week's Actew AGL Royal Canberra Classic

Jan 21, 2011

India to promote golf tourism

Kumari Selja
Minister of Culture and HUPA Kumari Selja on Friday said that tourism ministry is making efforts to promote golf as a niche tourism product and also position India, as a preferred golfing destination in the region.

In her inaugural address at a workshop to promote Golf Tourism here, Selja said: "This would not only showcase its beautiful golf courses but also the diverse tourism attractions that we have for any tourist."

"This will enable the government to break the October to March Syndrome that affects India Tourism particularly in the case of foreign tourist arrivals," she added.

She further said India has several golf courses of international standard. Further, golf events held in India also attract domestic and international tourists.

"With international tourists expected to grow in the next few years, it is important that India has the right product to meet the need of the visitors," she added.

She said that according to golf experts 52 per cent of traveling golfers are likely to take two or more golfing holidays in a year and they spend on an average, 33 per cent more on their holidays as compared to regular holiday makers.

"It is stated that 70-78 per cent golfers would be prepared to visit a new golfing destination and this community represents the wealthiest 50 per cent of all golfers," she added.

The objective of this workshop is to evolve a road map for formulating strategies for development and promotion of golf tourism in India.

During this workshop the participants comprising golf clubs, corporate, travel trade representatives, professional golfers, golf event managers, would discuss and propose suggestions which will guide the Ministry of Tourism in its future course of action to position India as a leading golf destination in the region. (ANI)

Jan 19, 2011

Fleming dismisses reports to coach India after WC

Stephen Fleming
Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming has dismissed reports about him succeeding Gary Kirsten as the coach of the Indian team after the World Cup in the sub-continent.

The 'New Zealand Herald' quoted Fleming as saying that coaching isn't an important part of his life at the moment.

Rumours were rife that the IPL team Chennai Super Kings (CSK) coach would take over the reins of the national team from Kirsten once the South African's contract expires after the quadrennial event.

Fleming, a veteran of 111 Tests and 280 ODIs, said that cricket is only important for him two to three months a year when he's looking after the CSK in the IPL.

He said he is enjoying his career in business and has made a commitment to spending more time with his family.

Jan 12, 2011

Southee searching for greater consistency

Tim Southee
Tim Southee had his feet up and his fingers crossed today, hoping for a Basin Reserve pitch with signs of life as New Zealand attempt to square the two-test cricket series against Pakistan here.

New Zealand's pace attack were in a well-earned rest mode as they recharge the batteries, but the batsmen were getting a desperately needed work out in the nets ahead of the second test, which starts on Saturday.

The bowlers could not be faulted in the embarrassing 10-wicket defeat in the first test at Hamilton; they toiled on a lifeless Seddon Park surface and bowled Pakistan out for 367, a worthy achievement in tough conditions.

The pitch was more akin to something you would see in Pakistan than a traditional New Zealand wicket, which would hold more pace and bounce, and Southee was hoping for something closer to the norm here on Saturday.

"There obviously wasn't a lot in it for the seam bowlers in Hamilton, but here it's usually a good cricket wicket with a bit of bounce and carry in it," he said.

The 22-year-old from Whangarei was one of the few who could be satisfied with his three days at the office in Hamilton, scoring 56 at No 9 in the first innings and bowling consistently well largely without luck in taking two for 82 from 32 overs in Pakistan's first dig.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori was moved to label it Southee's best performance from his 12 tests, and he wasn't going to argue with the skipper despite better returns, such as his career-best five for 55 on debut against England at Napier three years ago, and four-wicket hauls against Australia in Brisbane and Hamilton.

"Personally I probably felt better in the last game, those others were bowler- friendly conditions and I managed to pick up a few wickets. You had to work for your wickets (in Hamilton)."

But there is always room for improvement.

Collectively, the bowlers were disappointed to let a couple of partnerships get away, most notably the fifth-wicket stand of 149 between Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq. Southee today talked of the need to keep the foot on the throat.

He knows he has a track record of failing to back up after a good showing and he's desperate to find greater consistency at test level, which is crucial to improving his unflattering record of 31 wickets and 43.16.

"I think in the past I don't have a great record for backing up after a good performance, so hopefully that can turn around," Southee said.

"I'm a big rhythm bowler and when it's feeling good it generally comes out pretty good, so hopefully I can pick up a few more wickets along the way."

It is not just consistency from test to test that Southee is striving for. He feels he has a weakness in that he often comes back for spells and bowls a soft over first up, which something he is working on, along with his batting.

Touted as the next Chris Cairns in some quarters after his stunning 77 not out against England on debut, Southee failed to deliver on his talent with the bat after that, at least until last week.

Batting is just another facet of his game he has been determined to improve, both under previous coach Mark Greatbatch and new coach John Wright.

"I don't want to be sitting here in six or seven years' time and still batting 10 or 11," he said.

"It's something I've been working on but as I said it was only one test. Hopefully I can continue the bit of form I showed.
"It's a work in progress, it's not going to happen overnight."

Jan 11, 2011

The snub to Sourav Ganguly in the IPL players auction shocked his former team Kolkata Knight Riders' bowling coach Wasim Akram, who said he expected any of the other franchise to pick the ex-India captain for his "experience and leadership qualities".
Sourav Ganguly
In a major embarrassment for Ganguly, he was not picked by his home team Kolkata Knight Riders or any of the other franchises after two rounds of bidding last week.

"Ganguly is a dear friend of mine. I thought he would be picked up by some franchise for his experience and leadership qualities. But it was a big surprise when he was totally ignored," Akram told 'Mobile ESPN' from Karachi, hinting that KKR never had plans to hire the Prince of Kolkata.

If the snub to Ganguly shocked Akram, the former Pakistan skipper was more surprised when there were no takers for dashing West Indian batsman Chris Gayle.

"I just can't believe it. Gayle is a game-changer but probably never fit the scheme of things for many teams. Maybe, teams think that Gayle does not help youngsters in the side," said Akram.

Akram believes KKR have made a gamble by buying injury-plagued Australian tearaway pacer Brett Lee in the IPL auction last weekend.

"Lee is part of Australia's World Cup plans. He is playing Twenty20 in the KFC Big Bash. But there is certainly a risk involved with him or any other fast bowler for that matter. He might have been out of action for a year and a half but he is now fit and hungry. He is surely a threat to any opposition and he is a kind of gamble that any franchise would love to take," he said.

Akram said it was bull's eye for KKR when Yusuf Pathan was bagged for $2.1 million.

"KKR definitely had a plan to catch top marquee Indian players. But I think they had planned for one and got two. Both (Gautam) Gambhir and Yusuf are match-winners. Gambhir is a good mix of calmness and aggression. Yusuf, on the other hand, is a useful bowler and a very good fielder," Akram said.

Jan 3, 2011

Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab furnish bank guarantee to BCCI

Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab furnish
Indian Premier League franchises, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, on Monday filed separate affidavits in the Bombay High Court affirming they had complied with the condition of furnishing bank guarantees to the Cricket Board.

The High court had earlier stayed the termination of contract of Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals with BCCI. However, in case of Kings XI the dispute would be referred to a new arbitrator as former Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna had recused himself from the case.

While staying the termination of contracts of these two IPL franchises, the court had asked them to furnish bank guarantees to BCCI for making up losses that the Board and its players might suffer in case the arbitrator's award goes against them.

Kings XI was asked to furnish bank guarantee of $18 million for the players which it might pick up in the IPL January 8-9 player auction in Bangalore, and of $3.5 million for the BCCI.

Rajasthan Royals were asked to submit $2.83 million as guarantee to the BCCI for the contract and $18 million as bank guarantee for the players.

Both informed the High Court on Monday that this had been complied with.

BCCI had terminated the contracts of the two IPL franchises, alleging that they had breached the agreement by changing its shareholding pattern without its consent.

The aggrieved parties moved the High Court which allowed them to solve the dispute through arbitration.

In case of Kings XI, the High Court recorded statement of their lawyer that the shareholding pattern of owners - Preity Zinta and industrialist Ness Wadia - would not change and shares would not be sold without the permission of the court or arbitrator.

In the matter of Rajasthan Royals, the arbitrator had stayed the termination of its contract by BCCI and later the High Court had upheld the decision.
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