Cheteshwar Pujara had waited for this moment for a long time. He had dreamt it over and over again his entire cricketing life. In 2010, he had even come close to it, but had fallen short by 28 runs.However, on Thursday in Hyderabad, Pujara was determined to fulfill his destiny. This time, he did not miss. He completed his maiden century on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand. The three-figure mark — attained only in his fourth Test and sixth innings — is a justification of his hard work and the faith shown in him by the entire cricket fraternity.Some years ago, the question would be asked: Was anyone good enough to replace Rahul Dravid in the Indian team? The answer or argument, more often than not, would reach its conclusion with Pujara, an unassuming 24-year-old from the sun-battered, dusty plains of Saurashtra.By 2008, Pujara had emerged as a run-making machine on the domestic circuit. Here was a batsman born to play Test cricket, technically sound and temperamentally gifted, immune to the rising Twenty20 phenomenon.Pujara reached the heights of his mastery in domestic cricket when he hammered three triple-centuries in just one month, an almost unheard of feat. Even though only one of those knocks came in first class matches, the signs were increasingly clear: this batsman was special, he was brimming with potential, and primed for the challenge of international cricket.Pujara’s domestic record speaks for itself. In 64 first class games, he’s scored more than 4,500 runs at an average of nearly 54. His 14 centuries and 21 fifties clearly indicate that he makes chances count and scores big, a invaluable asset in any form of cricket.Although limited overs cricket is not his forte, Pujara, similar to Dravid, has adapted well to the format. His List A statistics boast of six century and an average of more than 50.It’s a fact that Pujara doesn’t have Yuvraj Singh’s swagger and Virat Kohli’s flashy swing of the bat. But his footwork is exquisite and his repertoire of shots wider than any of his contemporaries. If ever there is a time to pick a batsman to save the Indian team from doom, Pujara would be the overwhelming choice.advertisement
Saurav GhosalTop seed Saurav Ghosal lost to Abdullah Al Muzayen of Kuwait 2-3 in the men’s singles final of the squash event and had to settle for a silver medal, India’s first in the discipline at Asian Games, at the Yeorumul Squash Courts here on Tuesday.Coming into the tie, the 28-year-old was the odds-on favourite to win the first gold for India in the racquet sport at the Asiad and that belief was only strengthened after he won the first two games.But in one of the biggest shocks of the Incheon Games, Ghosal, ranked No.16 in the world, lost the next three games to hand the Kuwaiti a 10-12, 2-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-9 win in an hour and 15 minutes.Ghosal had done the hard bit of beating the two-time former Games champion and top-10 player Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia in straight sets to move into the final.The Kuwaiti player was hardly given a chance against the marauding Indian. Ghosal duly obliged by taking the first game 12-10 in 21 minutes – the longest game of the match.In the second game, Ghosal blitzed his opponent 11-2 in just six minutes and it seemed the Indian would canter to the gold medal.But the second game thrashing seemed to awaken Al Muzayen from his slumber and the Kuwaiti hit back by edging Ghosal 14-12.It still looked as if it was only a matter of time before the Indian would dispose off his opponent but the lower-ranked Kuwaiti only got stronger to tie the match 2-2 by winning the fourth game 11-8 in 12 minutes.advertisementIn the decider, Ghosal led 6-4 but Al Muzayen again refused to give up and came back brilliantly to take a 10-7 lead and finally wrapped the match 11-9 to take gold.
Chelsea hero Essien: Very difficult for Hazard to resist Real Madridby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea hero Michael Essien admits Eden Hazard is likely to be tempted by Real Madrid.The Blues value their prized asset in excess of £150m but Essien has hinted that his old team-mate might want to test himself in La Liga.Essien told the Daily Express: “Hazard is one of the best players in the world.“He’s been playing in the Premier League very well and looks fantastic at the moment.“The interest of Real Madrid, I only hear from people in the media.“But I mean when Real Madrid come calling… every player would love to play for them.“He’s happy at Chelsea though and hopefully we can keep him.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Andy Carroll in line for second Newcastle debutby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveAndy Carroll is in line for a second Newcastle United debut against Brighton tomorrow.Carroll hasn’t played since February towards the end of an injury-plagued six years at West Ham, and underwent surgery to address a long-standing ankle problem in April.However, the striker, who returned to Newcastle on a free transfer in August, is now closing in on a return to first team football after impressing in training. Newcastle boss Steve Bruce said: “As long as he comes through today (Friday) OK – touch wood, he’ll come through today OK – but yes, he will be involved, which is good news for all of us.”At the top end of the pitch, him and Allan Saint-Maximin as well, we have been a little bit short – and Dwight Gayle is another one – so we have had limited options up top, but certainly the return of Andy and Allan give us something which obviously can only benefit us.”
STILLWATER, OK – OCTOBER 29: The Texas Longhorns run onto the field before a game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys October 29, 2005 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)Last weekend against Kansas, Texas honored safety Freddie Steinmark, subject of the upcoming film My All-American, by wearing 1969 throwback uniforms.Texas wearing throwback uniforms as tribute to Freddie Steinmark. (via @Uniformswag) pic.twitter.com/YVnQnacZN0— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 8, 2015Texas is a program with a classic look that rarely veers from what works, but most were probably okay with these clean-looking throwbacks. When asked about other alternate uniforms that some teams go to, defensive coordinator Vance Bedford went on a long rant about traditional powers in college football, that many fans who don’t like wild uniforms will appreciate.Asked Texas DC Vance Bedford about alternate unis today. His 600-word answer addressed a whole lot more. pic.twitter.com/q2mdv5UVkp— Max Olson (@max_olson) November 11, 2015We don’t think Bedford will be looking for a job at Oregon any time soon.
APTN National NewsEnergy giant Enbridge has just been hit with another legal blow in their bid to build the Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia coast.The B.C. Supreme Court has just ruled that they failed in their duty to properly consult with Coastal First Nations.APTN’s Tina House has this story.
While Penn State is more affably known as “Linebacker U,” OSU seems to produce All-Americans annually at the position. Last season, OSU had to replace all-everything linebacker James Laurinaitis and longtime starter Marcus Freeman. They didn’t miss a beat, however, as Brian Rolle and Austin Spitler were productive in their starting roles. With Spitler gone, the Buckeyes are looking for a replacement to match his production. “We’re going to play the best three linebackers,” said Luke Fickell, linebacker coach.“We’ve got a couple of older guys in Homan and Rolle who have played a lot but we’re really looking to see what the young guys can do.” OSU has several young players eager to fill the void, but it looks like it could finally be Etienne Sabino’s time. Sabino, a blue-chip prospect from Florida, might have been the most-heralded recruit in the 2008 class other than Terrelle Pryor. His size, speed and athleticism made him arguably one of the top linebacker prospects in the country. Some expected Sabino to have an immediate impact, while others looked for him to be a starter last season when OSU replaced two seniors. It wasn’t Sabino’s extraordinary physical gifts that were holding him back, Fickell said. “You just see him a little more confident, a little bit more of a reacting guy and attacking,” Fickell said. “In the past, he has been a cerebral guy who wants to know everything and sometimes in this sport you can’t know everything. You just have to fly and attack and react on the run.” “Sometimes we try to study guys and how they learn, and those kind of guys who want more info just take that extra year to process it,” Fickell said, “but when they are ready to go, they’ll be good to go usually.” Rolle said that he has always known Sabino had extraordinary talent, but at times played too mechanically or like a robot, which held him back. He said Sabino is doing a good job of playing more naturally and is preparing to make his presence known. “He’s such a young kid,” Fickell said. “I know he is going to be a junior, but he is only 19 years old, and you would like to have some more time with him. He is really coming along and I think this is his best spring so far.” Behind the likely starters of Homan, Rolle and Sabino, the Buckeyes are still trying to find the right players who will be able to contribute. Andrew Sweat was another highly touted recruit from 2008 who should be ready to get playing time come September. Right now, however, Sweat is still working his way back from ACL surgery. “Andrew is a guy [who thinks he is ready to roll],” Fickell said. “He is only five-and-a-half months out of ACL surgery and he is the guy we are expecting a lot from. If he was in there it would be interesting to see who our best three guys were. He is probably a month away but he thinks he is ready to go, and the other day he jumped in there and went full go.” Fickell said he would like to have as many as nine guys at linebacker who could take turns playing, and stressed the importance of having more capable players than just the three starters. Along with Sweat, younger players such as Storm Klein, Dorian Bell, Jonathan Newsome and incoming recruits Scott McVey and Jamel Turner could add depth. “You would like to have six guys who can play,” Fickell said. “Would I be comfortable with some of those freshman guys on the field right now? Probably not real comfortable, but how will we know until we do it? With the jersey scrimmage and the spring game and fall camp, that is when we can really get to evaluate and see what they can do.” If there is one position the Ohio State Buckeyes are known for, it could very well be linebacker.
For a 12th consecutive year, the Ohio State football team is heading to a bowl game. In Luke Fickell’s final game as head coach, OSU will take on the University of Florida in the Gator Bowl Jan. 2. Here’s a look at what the Buckeyes can expect in Jacksonville, Fla. What will new OSU head coach Urban Meyer’s role be in helping prepare OSU for the Gator Bowl? Meyer said Dec. 11 that he would not travel with the Buckeyes to Florida, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t helping prepare the team before it departed. During a Dec. 4 conference call, Fickell was vague about whether Meyer would help the Buckeyes prepare for Florida, saying he would continue to focus on the coaches currently leading OSU. “I couldn’t tell you exactly how the whole situation is going to work,” Fickell said. “I don’t know that I would sit there and explain it to anybody other than our team and coaches anyway.” Fickell didn’t dismiss the idea that Meyer would assist the OSU players and the current coaches, so one might think it is likely he’ll have some level of input on the game plan. After all, Meyer recruited the majority of the players on Florida’s roster and is barely a year removed from coaching his former team. One could argue that no person outside of Florida’s current staff knows the Gators better than Meyer. What Florida players could pose a threat to OSU’s defense? The Florida offense has averaged 25.6 points per game this season which is ranked 71st nationally. Quarterback John Brantley came into Florida as a highly touted recruit and was expected to replace former Gator legend Tim Tebow, but has struggled at times moving into the offense. He’s thrown 1,912 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions on the season. The strength of the UF offensive attack is its speedy running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. Both backs are under 5 feet 9 inches, but it’s the running backs’ agility and speed that make them a threat. The Gators try to get the ball to Rainey and Demps on the edge and aren’t afraid to utilize the two in the passing game. Between the two of them, they have combined for 1,329 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. OSU defensive coordinator Jim Heacock said he’s very aware of Florida’s fast running back tandem. “They have speed in the backfield,” Heacock said. “They changed to a pro-style offense this year and I think it’s been good for them. I think they have a little more power and they are a little more physical.” Can the Buckeyes keep up with Florida’s speed? When Meyer was head coach at Florida, the Gators developed a reputation for speed. It gave Florida a multitude of options on offense and a swarming mentality on defense. OSU witnessed the danger of Florida’s speed first hand in 2007, when the Gators beat the Buckeyes, 41-14, in the BCS National Championship Game. Will Muschamp took over as Florida’s head coach and switched the offense to more of a pro-style attack, but many of the speedy players Meyer recruited are still on the roster. “You hope we can keep up with their speed,” Heacock said. “You never know until you get out in the game and see how we’re playing. I think we have the potential when we are moving fast and playing fast that we can match up. A lot of it has to do with attitude and the approach you take to the game.” But, the Buckeye players believe they have enough speed of their own to matchup with the Gators. “I think we match up (to Florida’s speed) pretty well,” freshman linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “People may overlook us just because we’re in the Big Ten and they don’t think we are fast. But I think we have just as much speed.” Can the Buckeyes put a happy ending on the turbulent year? The OSU football team has been through a lot this season on and off the field. Scandals, suspensions and six losses have made this year one that many Buckeye fans would like to forget. For the first time since 2004, OSU won’t be playing in a BCS bowl, but the Buckeye players still say they have a lot to play for. “It would mean a lot to win this game,” senior linebacker Tyler Moeller said. “You always want to finish on top. It would give the team great morale heading into next year. And for me personally, and especially the seniors, it would be great to go out with a win in the last game.” Expect the Buckeyes to do just that. A Buckeye defense that’s almost back to full health and maturing freshman quarterback Braxton Miller will lead the Buckeyes to a close victory over the Gators. Final score prediction: OSU 31, Florida 27
Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe has hailed Mourinho as an “amazing human being” and disclosed how the former United manager called to support him after the death of Bradley Lowery.Defoe was close with Bradley Lowery while he was playing for Sunderland last year and the six-year-old battled with neuroblastoma.Lowery died in July 2017 after a lengthy battle with the rare form of cancer.“Not many people know this – I remember going through my stuff with Bradley and he (Jose) called me out of the blue,” Defoe told Sky Sports after Mourinho’s sacking by Manchester United on Tuesday.“He said ‘how are you? How’s Bradley’s family?’ I was quite taken aback and really surprised.“Away from football, he’s an amazing human being. I wish him well for the future.Mourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.“If I’m totally honest, I’ve been a little bit surprised with some of the negativity that’s surrounded his name. Not just now but for the whole season, and maybe even last season.“I’m one of those people – and it doesn’t matter what sport it is – I always appreciate greatness. I think he’s one of the greats.“He’s a legend and at the end of the day, some things just don’t work out. As players, you go to clubs and it just doesn’t work out.“Looking forward, maybe he’ll take a break and we’ll see what happens. But I’m sure he won’t be short of options.”