Virat Kohli is celebrating his 30th birthday today and wishes are starting to pour in from all quarters for the Indian cricket team captain.Kohli is a leader, on the field and off it. The youth icon does not only push and inspire his teammates but millions of others who consider him to be their hero.Kohli has been in phenomenal form for the last few years now and has been on a record-breaking spree since taking over the captain’s role from MS Dhoni in all formats.Kohli’s exploits on the field have been well documented as well as the multitudes of records he has broken and set over the course of his now-illustrious career.But what about the man beneath the helmet, the son who shoulders the dreams of a billion, the leader of India’s rise to the top of the cricketing ladder?The journey started way back in December 2006, when a young 18-year-old boy from Uttam Nagar walked out to bat for his Ranji Trophy team, Delhi, hours after his father passed away.Delhi were playing Karnataka and he was batting on 40 overnight. Most of his teammates did not expect him to come to the ground after the loss of his father, but Kohli has always been a thorough professional. He walked out and scored 90 to save Delhi from a follow-on.Kohli scores runs for fun these days. He recently became the first Indian batsman to smash three successive hundred in one day internationals when he hit 107 against West Indies in the recently concluded series.advertisementDuring the series, he also broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record of becoming the fastest to complete 10,000 runs in the format. The India skipper blazed his way to 10,000 runs from only 205 innings.Kohli became the 13th overall and fifth Indian after Sachin Tendulkar (18426), Sourav Ganguly (11221) and Rahul Dravid (10768) to join the elite club.In fact, the modern great completed 1000 runs in a calendar year six times (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017 and 2018). This year, he became the quickest to score 1000 ODI runs in a calendar year as he managed the feat in just 11 innings and surpassed the record held jointly by him and Hashim Amla with 15.Kohli now also has 150-plus scores in ODIs four times.In Tests too, Kohli broke a plethora of records in 2018. He scored 286 in three Tests in South Africa, he then amassed 593 runs in England and signed off with 184 in the two-match series against West Indies at home.Kohli, in only 10 matches in 2018, aggregated 1063 runs and will play three most Tests in Australia in December.King Kohli also completed 2000 runs in Twenty20 Internationals this year becoming the fastest to achieve the feat.Kohli has come a long way now — from leading the country’s U-19 team to World Cup glory back in 2008 to leading India’s charge in dominating the world of cricket in all forms of the game.As the captain of the team, he leads by example and his obsession with fitness is no secret. He spends hours at the gym, watches what he eats and expects his men to do the same.He has a huge following on social media with most of his posts showing him sweating it out at the gym, which strikes a chord with the youth of the country. He is well aware of his influence on the youth of the country and that he is closely followed not only by the media but millions who profess him their hero.
Month: November 2019
Barcelona have signed defender Jeison Murillo on a six-month loan from fellow La Liga side Valencia, the Spanish champions said on Thursday.”FC Barcelona and Valencia CF have reached an agreement for the transfer of Jeison Murillo for the remainder of the 2018/19 season. The agreement includes a purchase option worth 25 million euros ($21.8 million),” Barca said in a statement.Barca’s defence has been left short due to France centre back Samuel Umtiti needing treatment on his knee and Thomas Vermaelen, whose Nou Camp career has been blighted by injury, being ruled out for at least a month with a calf problem.Murillo, 26, moved from Colombia to Italy aged 18 to play for Udinese, later joining Spain’s Granada before moving to Inter Milan in 2015.He joined Valencia on loan in 2017, making a permanent move in August for a reported 12 million euros, but has made only three appearances in all competitions this season.The defender has been capped 27 times for Colombia, but was not selected for the 2018 World Cup.
Online streaming website Netflix has announced its first Indian sports documentary Cricket Fever: Mumbai Indians , which will premiere on March 1.The docu-series, produced by Conde Nast Entertainment, will follow the Mumbai Indians on the road through the course of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) season as they sought to defend their 2017 IPL crown, read a statement.The series documents the unseen action, both on and off the field, starting with the 2018 IPL auction, when the entire team was re-organised, and closes with the end of their IPL campaign. It charts the emotional arc of the team, including the intense pressure the team faces.Netflix shared the poster of the series and captioned it, “Sleepless nights? Nervous nail biting? Screaming at your screen? If you’ve experienced any or all of these symptoms you might have Cricket Fever, premieres 1st March.”Sleepless nights? Nervous nail biting? Screaming at your screen?If you’ve experienced any or all of these symptoms you might have Cricket Fever, premieres 1st March. pic.twitter.com/Ujl1tq6Els Netflix India (@NetflixIndia) February 5, 2019The series maps the emotional arc of the team, including the intense pressure the team faces, as they are representing the Maximum City and have expectations from millions of Mumbai citizens.It documents highly personal journeys of the young and talented team, led by captain Rohit Sharma, owners Nita and Akash Ambani as well as the brilliance of their coach – Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene.(With inputs from IANS)Also read | Netflix announces Selection Day Season 2. Sachin Tendulkar eager to know what happens nextAlso read | Netflix’s Sex Education renewed for Season 2advertisement
Seven years into his retirement and former Test stalwart Rahul Dravid is still making silent and important contribution for India, shaping the next generation of cricketers who will form the core of the team.For a significant part of his 16-year Test career, Dravid was the bulwark in India’s star-studded batting lineup that also included Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S Laxman.A classical batsman who built his game around a near-impregnable defence and an over-my-dead-body attitude, ‘The Wall’ was a purist’s delight even though team mates often eclipsed his best efforts.His 95 in his very first Test innings was overshadowed by fellow debutant Ganguly’s century in the 1996 match at Lord’s. Three years later, Dravid hit 145 in a World Cup match against Sri Lanka but once again Ganguly’s 183 was the talking point.Dravid’s 180 in the 2001 Kolkata Test was crucial to India’s stunning victory against Australia but still ended up being second fiddle to Laxman’s epic 281.Having quit international cricket with more than 24,000 runs against his name, Dravid has since taken charge of India’s under-19 and A teams, overseeing the seamless transition of youngsters into the senior side.Among his wards, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shah and Hanuma Vihari have taken to Test cricket like duck to water, all-rounder Vijay Shankar is staking World Cup claims, while Shubhman Gill broke into the ODI team in New Zealand.”He’s been a great mentor for us,” Agarwal, who impressed on his maiden tour in Australia, told Reuters.”We can always walk up to him, speak to him about our batting, about our thought process, the way we approach an innings or if there’s any technical difficulty.”advertisementShoehorned into the Indian side midway through the Test series following an opening crisis, Agarwal impressed immediately with two 75-plus knocks in three innings.The 28-year-old said Dravid helped him understand how to manage mental energy in the long format.”We had a few chats about my game and he figured that part out,” Agarwal added.”He said ‘to do well in Test cricket, you need to manage your mental energy because you are up and about for all five days’. That’s something we spoke about.”Also we figured out things we can control in the middle and focus on doing them.”Lokesh Rahul is another beneficiary of Dravid’s deep understanding of the game – accumulated over 164 Tests and 344 ODIs – and batsmanship in particular.Rahul, 26, was in crisis after a slump in form was followed by a brief suspension for inappropriate comments on a television chat show.Sent home midway through the Test series in Australia, Rahul joined the A team under Dravid and found his mojo back in the five matches against England Lions.He has since looked his free-flowing self in the two Twenty20 matches against Australia, scoring 50 and 47, a turnaround he credited to the time he spent with Dravid.”Fortunately, I got to play some India A games and some games where the pressure was a little less, so that I can focus on my skill and my technique,” Rahul said last week.”I spent a lot of time with Rahul Dravid, working on my game and chatting about cricket. He helped me a lot in the games I played for India A.”Also Read | Dravid effect: Like India, Pakistan wants former cricketers for coaching juniorsAlso Read | India one of the favourites, hope they peak at right time, says Rahul Dravid
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Dinesh Karthik’s leadership skills and own form will be keenly observed when his team takes on Rajasthan Royals in a must-win Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter for both outfits, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.Karthik has a tally of 117 runs after 10 matches with only one 50. The World Cup call up has also failed to inspire the stumper-batsman who chose to go on a break to Mumbai after KKR’s fifth successive defeat at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad on the road.There have been talks about Karthik being removed as skipper even after head coach Jacques Kallis has put his weight behind the 33-year-old. The decision to send their best power hitter Andre Russell as low as No. 7 in the last few matches have only escalated the matter.Besides Karthik, vice-captain Robin Uthappa has been struggling with his own issues. While he has managed to score more runs than Karthik, 220 to be exact in nine matches but his strike rate of 119.56 has been a real cause of concern for the two-time champions.Uthappa wasted a lot of deliveries, which proved to be costly in their last home game against KKR. KKR fell 10 short of the 214-run target. He was dropped in their last game and so was Kuldeep Yadav who has failed to shine this season going for a lot of runs and failing to deceive the batsmen.In their remaining four games, KKR have to win all of them to qualify for the play-offs.advertisementComing to the visitors, Royals, placed seventh in the points and in need to win their remaining four matches in order to have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs, will be boosted by Ajinkya Rahane’s form. The India test specialist, removed from captaincy as Steve Smith took over, scored a magnificent hundred in their last game against Delhi Capitals.Royals lost the game but Rahane’s show was encouraging to say the least. Royals will be without Jos Buttler once again but for the last time will get the services of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, the latter being their key bowler along with spinneer Shreyas Gopal.Archer and Stokes will join the England squad for World Cup preparation with the deadline being April 26. Archer is not part of the 15-member contingent but has made it to the England limited-overs’ squad for the Pakistan ODI series.KKR, though, will draw confidence from their first leg meeting with Royals, where the two-time champions recorded a facile eight-wicket victory.Where will the IPL 2019 match between KKR vs RR be played?The IPL 2019 match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals will be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata from 8 PM IST.Where can I watch the IPL 2019 match between KKR vs RR live?The match will be shown on the Star Sports TV network and can also be streamed on hotstar.com.Where can I check the online live updates of the IPL 2019 match between KKR vs RR?You can follow our coverage here – www.indiatoday.in/sports/ipl-2019 & www.indiatoday.in/sports.What are the squads for the IPL 2019 match between KKR vs RR?Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (Captain), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Joe Denly, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa (wicket-keeper), Harry Gurney, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, K.C. Cariappa, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Shrikant Mundhe, Nikhil Naik, Anrich Nortje, Prithvi Raj, Prasidh Krishna.Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S. Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith (Captain), Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror, Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Shashank Singh, Liam Livingstone, Shubham Rajane, Manan Vohra, Ashton Turner, Riyan ParagAlso Read | IPL 2019: KKR still have a healthy dressing room, says Carlos Brathwaite
Senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will be tuning up for the inaugural World Test Championship against West Indies by playing in English County for Nottinghamshire.”Yes, Ashwin will be playing for the Notts this season. The CoA had already made it clear that any centrally contracted cricketer will have automatic rights to play County cricket if that player gets an offer. Ashwin’s deal is almost final and only the CEO needs to sign his NoC,” a senior BCCI functionary privy to the development told PTI on conditions of anonymity.After Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane inked a deal with Hampshire, it is the turn of Ashwin to play six division 1 County games for the Nottinghamshire side that also has England’s premier fast bowler Stuart Broad in their ranks.This will be Ashwin’s second stint in English County, having played four games for Worcestershire during the 2017 season.It was a fruitful season back then for the 32 year old, who got 20 scalps in four games and also scored 214 runs.The BCCI has been in touch with the various county sides as they want their top long form specialists to play county cricket every season during June and July.As of now, Rahane, Ashwin and Cheteshwar Pujara (with Yorkshire on three year contract) are certain to play the county games.Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma may also feature in a few games if things fall in place.As far as the youngsters are concerned, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari and Mayank Agarwal will be with the India A side in the West Indies as a part of the shadow tour before the senior squad embarks on its journey.advertisementWorld Test Championship will begin soon after the ICC World Cup with the Ashes in England starting the event, while the Windies tour India, and New Zealand hosts Sri Lanka — both in July.Also Read | Yuvraj Singh considering retirement, may seek BCCI permission to play private T20 leaguesAlso Read | World Cup 2019: 5 pacers likely to make a huge impact in EnglandAlso See
As the Indian cricket team set out for Southampton for their first World Cup 2019 match against South Africa on June 5, head coach Ravi Shastri slipped into nostalgia and reflected on his past days.During the bus journey to Southampton, Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal utilised the time to interview members of the Indian support staff for the popular segment Chahal TV on the BCCI website.When Chahal asked Shastri about their journey to the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground, the head coach went down memory lane to recall the days when he played the County cricket.”This is my home journey. 20 years ago, I used to be on this road 4 days a week when I played for Glamorgan. So, when I travel through this road, I am being carried away to the older days,” Ravi Shastri said, adding specifically that though those were the bygone days but he hasn’t aged any since then.”I am still young,” the 57-year-old Ravi Shastri said.DO NOT MISS: Chahal TV gets up, close and personal with the entire #TeamIndia support staff. Get a sneak peek into the Behind the Scenes Heroes – by @RajalArora @yuzi_chahalFull Video here https://t.co/fAS01z2rcL pic.twitter.com/XwC1BcyqHvBCCI (@BCCI) May 30, 2019Ravi Shastri played for Glamorgan County Cricket Club, whose home ground is the Sofia Gardens, between 1987 and 1991.The 2019 World Cup went underway Thursday with England taking on South Africa in the opener. Red hot favourites India will begin their World Cup campaign on June 5 in the 8th match of the tournament.advertisementIn 2015, India had reached the semifinals, where they lost to eventual champions Australia.Also Read | World Cup 2019: Eoin Morgan 1st England cricketer to play 200 ODIsAlso Read | World Cup 2019: Malala Yousafzai takes light-hearted jibe at India duo after 60-second challengeAlso See
Immediately after their unbeaten run at the Cricket World Cup was ended by Pakistan, New Zealand’s players were joking and laughing in their changing room.It wasn’t that they took Pakistan lightly or failed to give their best effort. Far from it.It was just time to enjoy the gratification of going down swinging, to accept that a better team beat them on an overcast Wednesday in Birmingham, to cop it on the chin, and look forward to the next assignment.”A bit of a blip,” was how allrounder Jimmy Neesham described New Zealand’s first defeat in seven group matches.”We’re not the type of team that takes losses really hard,” Neesham added. “We’ll have a couple of beers as a team and kind of talk about how that game went, and then we’ll pretty much park it, and we’ll hit our scouting in the morning pretty fresh.”The scouting report on Saturday’s opponent at Lord’s will have been impressive.Australia is on top of everything.The Australians lead the standings, one point above the Kiwis.They are the first and only team to have nailed down a semifinals berth. To join the defending champions in the playoff stage, the Kiwis need one point from their last two group games. (Accuweather screengrab)Australian paceman Mitchell Starc leads the wicket-takers list with 19, three more than anyone else. His usual new-ball partner Pat Cummins has 11. The Kiwis’ best is Lockie Ferguson with 15. Of the five bowlers to take 5-wicket hauls at the tournament, two are Australian: Starc and Jason Behrendorff, whose combined left-arm pace and guile blew away England on Tuesday at Lord’s, and stripped the home side of the No. 1 ranking in one-day international cricket.advertisementThe bowlers have successfully defended 307, 334, 381, and 285 in their last four matches, all but one after being sent in to bat first. (Accuweather screengrab)David Warner leads the run-scorers list with 500, only four more than his opening partner and Australia captain Aaron Finch. They are averaging 91 as a pair.They have scored five fifties each, including two centuries each.The best Kiwi is also their captain, Kane Williamson, who has 414 runs including two centuries.In stark contrast to Warner and Finch and the great platforms they are providing, New Zealand’s openers have become brittle.After batting through to beat Sri Lanka in the opening match, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro have deteriorated. In the following matches, No. 3 batsman Williamson has been forced to come in with the new ball still practically new: Bangladesh (sixth over), Afghanistan (first over), South Africa (third over), West Indies (first over), and Pakistan (second over).Also Read | Australia vs New Zealand: Dream11 Playing 11, Captain and Vice-Captain Prediction for World Cup 2019 Match 37Also Read | Don’t want to tempt fate: Finch not keen on resting Starc or Cummins vs NZ
England won their maiden World Cup title as New Zealand suffered heartbreak after having playing one of the most thrilling matches ever in World Cup.Cricket World Cup’s official twitter account was constantly sending tweets with pictures of different cricketers and fans with funny caption after England’s World Cup win.However, one such tweet from Cricket World Cup’s official twitter account invited the wrath of fans from all corners of the world.They tweeted a picture of Sachin Tendulkar with Ben Stokes and captioned it,The greatest cricketer of all time – and Sachin Tendulkar #CWC19Final with a wink emoji.Ben Stokes’s sheer brilliance with the willow has certainly earned him a place in the history of England Cricket as one of the greatest all-rounders of the country. Stokes was named player-of-the-match for his World Cup final heroics as he smashed an unbeaten 84 to steer England’s chase of 242 against the Black Caps.However, fans accused Cricket World Cup’s official twitter account to be biased and raised questions on comparing Ben Stokes with a legendary cricketer like Sachin Tendulkar.Sachin Tendulkar, in his career that lasted 24 years, amassed 34,357 runs. Sachin also holds the record for scoring the highest number of runs in a single edition of the World Cup – 673 in 11 matches in 2003. He is also the only player to score more than 30,000 runs in all forms of international cricket. Sachin also holds the record for highest number of centuries in both Tests (51) and ODIs (49) and he is the only man to score 100 centuries in international cricket.advertisementHere are some of the tweets:Do you even know WHO IS THE GOD OF CRICKET??Zuheeb (@iam_freakk) July 14, 2019Shame on you … Sachin is incomparable… he is a legend …. you people could achieve anything but attitude kahan se laogePriyanka sharma (@Aadishakti_101) July 15, 2019Yes, someone who couldnt even achieve 20% is a All time great for you? What else to expect from Pakistani Handler.Haven’t compared bowling….. pic.twitter.com/XjaxlsfwaKHarshal (Indian) (@HarshalMagar3) July 15, 2019Admin i am coming : pic.twitter.com/eKI0IiMRdnJitesh Rochlani (@jiteshrochlani) July 14, 2019Agree, because Sachin isn’t a cricketer but God of cricket.EngiNerd. (@mainbhiengineer) July 15, 2019Also See:
Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is returning to Kolkata Knight Riders but this time in a coaching role after being signed by the IPL side as assistant coach, a media report has claimed.McCullum, who retired from all forms of competitive cricket recently, will also take over as the head coach of the Caribbean Premier League side Trinbago Knight Riders, according to ESPNcricinfo.Interestingly, he will replace Simon Katich in both the sides. With KKR, he will be associated as assistant coach and at Trinbago Knight Riders he will replace the Australian as head coach.The dasher from Canterbury had retired from all forms of international cricket in 2016 but continued to ply his trade in various T20 leagues across the globe.The former Black Caps skipper has played 101 Test matches for New Zealand and scored 6453 runs with a high score of 302. He featured in 260 ODIs and amassed 6083 runs with a strike rate of 96.37.KKR had announced that they were parting ways with Jacques Kallis, their head coach, and Katich.McCullum’s association with KKR goes back to the maiden season when he set the stage on fire with a blistering 158-run unbeaten knock in the first ever match of IPL.He was an integral part of the KKR squad for five seasons and also led them in the 2009 edition.The right-hand batsman had hinted at trying his hand at coaching in his retirement statement.”The next chapter, in both media and coaching will challenge me further,” he said.Also Read | NADA will test cricketers whenever and wherever they want: Sports secretaryAlso Read | Ravindra Jadeja mimics Virat Kohli’s batting stance, Rohit Sharma guesses correctly in Heads Up ChallengeAlso See:advertisement
MLS MLS Review: Schweinsteiger lifts Chicago, Orlando thrashed Dejan Kalinic Last updated 2 years ago 13:19 9/3/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Eric Bolte MLS Chicago Fire New England v Orlando City Dallas v New York RB Montreal Impact v Chicago Fire LA Galaxy v Colorado Rapids New England New York RB Colorado Rapids Montreal Impact LA Galaxy Orlando City Dallas A goal from the German helped the Fire edge past the Montreal Impact in MLS action Bastian Schweinsteiger lifted the Chicago Fire to a much-needed MLS win, while Orlando City was thrashed on Saturday.Schweinsteiger side-footed in a Matt Polster cutback in the 59th minute to help the Fire to a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo.Deian Boldor had been sent off for Montreal just after halftime, and Chicago made the most of the numerical advantage. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina The win saw the Fire end a four-match losing run, and they sit third in the Eastern Conference.. @MattPolster delivers, @Bschweinsteiger finishes. #MTLvCHI #cf97 pic.twitter.com/60q2SS2sre — Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) September 3, 2017 Orlando has also been in bad form and it continued as the side was crushed 4-0 by the New England Revolution.Kei Kamara scored a hat trick and Teal Bunbury sealed New England’s win, as Orlando’s winless league run was extended to eight matches.Cobra Kei! #NERevs pic.twitter.com/HASkvvtu88 — NewEnglandRevolution (@NERevolution) September 2, 2017 Jose Aja was sent off in the 80th minute for Orlando, which was trailing 2-0 at the time.New England is eighth in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando has fallen to 10th.Elsewhere, a 10-man Dallas held the New York Red Bulls to a 2-2 draw and the LA Galaxy ended a 10-match winless league run by beating the Colorado Rapids 3-0.
Lionel Messi Too risky to play Messi and Dybala together for Argentina – Sampaoli Sacha Pisani Last updated 2 years ago 14:54 10/5/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(27) Getty Images Lionel Messi Argentina WC Qualification South America World Cup Paulo Dybala With the country’s hopes of reaching Russia 2018 on the edge of a knife, the coach will not take risks with the attacking duo Jorge Sampaoli said it is too risky to pair Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala together in the starting XI as Argentina fight desperately to qualify for next year’s World Cup.Argentina welcome fourth-placed Peru to Buenos Aires on Thursday, with Sampaoli’s men clinging to fifth place in the CONMEBOL standings, which would only be enough for a play-off berth.Argentina win to nil v Peru 17/20 Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. With so much to play for at La Bombonera, head coach Sampaoli said he is reluctant to name five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi and Dybala in the same line-up, given their lack of playing time together.”As there is no time to work the Dybala-Messi relationship, we should go to something more concrete,” said Sampaoli, who is convinced Argentina will qualify for the showpiece in Russia.Dybala, who has starred for Juventus this season with 12 goals in all competitions, previously admitted it was difficult playing with Barcelona icon Messi as the pair occupy similar positions.On Dybala’s comments, Sampaoli added: “I don’t see what Dybala said as something bad. He said that he was happy to play with Messi, but he just did not find his place.”Leo needs to move in the field normally as he does with his club,” Sampaoli continued. “To invent a position or to structure him, that would be crazy.”When we use the 4-2-3-1 formation, he is even further forward, always near the box. Being away from the box puts our best player far from the scoring positions and that is what he does best in his club.”It is my job to make him understand that he is vital in the finishing, in the last third of the pitch.”
… we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on LinkedIn The poker player Phil Ivey has lost his court bid to recover £7.7m ( $10.2m) of winnings from a London casino.The 40-year-old American has been fighting to recover the sum since successfully playing a version of baccarat known as Punto Banco at Crockfords Club in Mayfair in 2012.The hearing at the supreme court considered whether dishonesty was a necessary element of the offence of cheating.Ivey had challenged a 2016 majority decision in the court of appeal dismissing his case against Genting Casinos UK, which owns Crockfords. Genting said a technique he used, called edge-sorting, was not a legitimate strategy, while Ivey maintained that he won fairly.Five justices unanimously upheld the majority decision of the court of appeal, which dismissed his case on the basis that being knowingly dishonest was not a necessary element of “cheating”.After the game in question, Ivey was told the money would be wired to him in Las Vegas, but it never arrived, although his stake of £1m was returned.Genting said the technique of edge-sorting used by Ivey, which involves identifying small differences in the pattern on the reverse of playing cards and exploiting that information to increase the chances of winning, was not a legitimate strategy.Ivey did not personally touch any cards, but persuaded the croupier to rotate the most valuable cards by intimating that he was superstitious.In the court of appeal, Lady Justice Arden said the Gambling Act 2005 provided that someone may cheat “without dishonesty or intention to deceive: depending on the circumstances it may be enough that he simply interferes with the process of the game”.There was no doubt, she added, that the actions of Ivey and another gambler, Cheung Yin Sun, interfered with the process by which Crockfords played the game of Punto Banco with Ivey. Stephen Parkinson, head of criminal litigation at Kingsley Napley, the law firm that represented Crockfords, said: “This is one of the most significant decisions in criminal law in a generation. The concept of dishonesty is central to a whole range of offences, including fraud.“For 35 years, juries have been told that defendants will only be guilty if the conduct complained of was dishonest by the standards of ordinary, reasonable and honest people, and also that they must have realised that ordinary, honest people would regard their behaviour as dishonest. “The supreme court has now said that this second limb of the test does not represent the law and that directions based upon it ought no longer to be given by the courts.” Law (US) Share on Pinterest Share via Email Reuse this content Gambling Share on Messenger Since you’re here… Share on Facebook Share on Twitter UK supreme court Topics news Share on WhatsApp Support The Guardian Poker
EnglandBidding for a third successive title, they are the team to beat having lost only once in 23 Tests under Eddie Jones. They often relied on their bench last season to compensate for slow starts, winning last year for the most part without being imperious. Injuries and suspensions have disrupted them again and, while they have the greatest strength in depth of any side in the tournament, Jones has yet to see the leadership qualities in his youngest recruits that would make him consider moving on such as Dylan Hartley and Mike Brown. England thrive on quick ball but they continue to be cursed by the absence of their gainline breaker, Billy Vunipola and there were times in 2017, even against Samoa, when they were slow to react when a plan unravelled. This is the year, with New Zealand at Twickenham in November, when England need to move beyond the merely good and it should be Jones’s toughest Six Nations with Scotland resurgent at Murrayfield and France at least talking a good game again. Steff Evans is one of 10 Scarlets in the Wales squad. Photograph: Evans/Huw Evans/Rex/Shutterstock Share on LinkedIn Pinterest Facebook Six Nations predictions: England and Ireland may be heading for decider Twitter ItalyIf Conor O’Shea could bottle his verve and enthusiasm and decant it to his players before matches, Italy would be defending the title. Scotland’s rise has left them exposed at the bottom but there are stirrings at club level where Treviso and Zebre have made strides this season and in Italy’s Under-20s. O’Shea points to a number of young players breaking through, especially in the back row, but for this campaign they will remain reliant on Sergio Parisse, their warrior captain. Expect a few tactical surprises but no side is more reliant on its coaches than Italy, who struggle to cope with the unexpected. At least now they are looking up not just because they are below the rest.• This is an extract taken from our weekly rugby union email, the Breakdown. To subscribe, just visit this page and follow the instructions, or sign up below. Six Nations … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Topics The Breakdown Rémi Lamerat (R) scores against Ireland for France last year. They will need a repeat performance in Saturday’s Six Nations opener. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images ScotlandThe last champions of the Five Nations in 1999 have never been more fancied since having developed a rousing style of play that camouflages a lack of grunt. They will have a patched-up front five in Cardiff and will not want the game to get bogged down by set pieces. For all their improvement last year – a 100% home record in the Six Nations, a double over Australia and a narrow defeat by the All Blacks – they conceded 60 points at Twickenham and lost to Fiji. Saturday will be Gregor Townsend’s first real test since taking over from Vern Cotter: there is a swirl of expectation around Scotland but they have not won an opening Six Nations match away from Murrayfield in nine attempts (they have done so only twice at home) and their overall record on the road is dire – six wins in 45 matches, four in Rome. History weighs against them but, with five Glasgow players in their back division, they will run for the future. Victory in Cardiff would set them up.FranceLes Bleus have had the blues for too long. If the lugubrious features of their new head coach, Jacques Brunel, at the Six Nations launch did not suggest a return to joie de vivre, there is normally an uplift in effort when there is a change at the top. France need more than toil and sweat but one Six Nations record that has survived their slump this decade is that they have never lost their opening match at home. Their home record in the championship under Guy Novès was not as shabby as it had been in the four preceding years, one defeat in five, but the victories were all by slender margins with France not looking the fittest. Brunel has invested in youth to erase the past but the power supply will remain turned on. This French revolution looks like being a slow burner. Twitter IrelandIreland’s academy system, especially Leinster’s, continues to mine players, but their head coach, Joe Schmidt, is not one to be turned by one or two performances. He believes in the tried and proven and does not regard the Six Nations as a laboratory. He will rely on experience in the opening game against France in Paris, almost venturing into the unknown with Les Bleus changing coaches between World Cups for the first time. If Ireland are to overhaul England, they will need to improve their recent away record with their only win in the last two tournaments coming in Rome. They have not won at Twickenham, where they finish their campaign with a potential title decider against the champions, since 2010. While Scotland live off their wits, England are becoming more adept in broken play and Wales are looking to cultivate the Scarlets’ open style, Ireland’s system is more rigid, based on territory and possession. They throttle opponents and in Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray have the game’s leading pair of half-backs, but the reins may need to be loosened on the road with referees under orders to let games flow. Pinterest Dylan Hartley is still a vital asset for Eddie Jones while he waits for younger players to develop leadership qualities. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images Rugby union Six Nations 2018 Twitter Support The Guardian Facebook Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Pinterest WalesAll the teams have injury problems but Wales have been hit the hardest with six of their Lions in New Zealand missing at least the start of the tournament, including the half-backs. Warren Gatland has called on 10 Scarlets for the opening match against Scotland but it will not be a trip back to the 1990s when Wales twice summoned the coaches of the most successful club at the time only to find that Test rugby was something else entirely. The familiarity in key areas, half-back, midfield and front row, will partly offset the impact of so many enforced changes – only six of this weekend’s lineup started in the final match of last year’s Six Nations. Wales will not be gung-ho against opponents who thrive on chaos, no more than the Scarlets were against Toulon when they qualified for the last eight of the Champions Cup. With a Frenchman refereeing, they will look to exploit their expected advantage up front, with Scotland missing eight front-rows, and wear them down. With trips to Twickenham – Wales have not beaten England in the Six Nations since 2013 – and Ireland to follow, the first game is all about winning, not thrilling. Reuse this content Since you’re here… Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Facebook Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter features Read more
The promise came shortly after Mo Farah had crashed into the steepest of walls, limbs screaming and pride shredded from the loneliest of trudges towards the finish of the 2014 London marathon. “I will be back,” he insisted. “I want to know that I can run a great marathon as well as achieve medals on the track.”On Sunday, the most successful British athlete of all time intends to make good on that pledge. While Farah recently turned 35, there is a growing confidence in his camp that his fledgling career as a road-runner can soar to unexpected heights.His first goal is Steve Jones’s British marathon record of 2hr 7min 13sec, which has stood for 33 years. However, if the weather gods are kinder than forecast, Farah will also aim to better the European record of 2:05:48. This week, he boldly predicted he could run 2:04 or 2:03 in the future, which would lift him into the marathon stratosphere. Such talk would have seemed impossible when Farah was struggling home in eighth in 2014, teeth fixed in grim rictis as he crossed the line in a modest 2:08:21. “It was horrible from 17 miles out,” he said. “We went under a bridge and I remember thinking this is hard. I was gritting my teeth and felt so wet and heavy – and the further I went the heavier I felt. Everyone talks about hitting the wall. I felt like I did that day.”So what has changed? As Farah points out, retiring from the track last September has allowed him to focus fully on the marathon. A new coach, Gary Lough – who guided his wife, Paula Radcliffe, to the world marathon record – has freshened up training and without the pressure of being the biggest beast on the track he feels a weight off his shoulders. “I needed to get that excitement back too,” he said. “It was the right time for a new challenge.”Three months’ hard training at 10,000ft in Ethiopia has also done wonders for Farah’s confidence. Some of his long runs are said to have been hugely impressive with his training partners needing to sub in and out after failing to keep pace, and – contrary to expectations – he got on well with Lough.Yet there were a few dicey moments. One day he was 17 miles into a run with his training partner Abdihakem Abdirahman when a pair of wild dogs started hunting them down. “All we could hear was a noise – cha-cha-cha – of them pounding on the road,” said Farah. “I looked back and there were two dogs, who were so close. They were coming for my skinny legs.” Read more Farah after finishing the 2014 London Marathon in eighth place. Photograph: Paul Harding/Action Images London Marathon … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Mo Farah Athletics Share on Messenger Paula Radcliffe predicts marathon classic and sees threat to her record Share on Pinterest Mo Farah tainted by Salazar link, says British marathon record holder Pinterest Twitter Topics features Since you’re here… Support The Guardian What happened next would hardly have met Barbara Woodhouse’s approval. But out of fear and necessity, Farah and Abdirahman started hurling rocks at the dogs until they retreated.The Guardian also understands there were times when Farah and his team were told to stay in his camp at the Yaya Athletics Village, about 30 minutes north of Addis Ababa, because of the ethnic tensions inside Ethiopia.On another occasion, one drug tester was so inexperienced he kept failing to find a suitable vein to take blood from one of Farah’s running partners, leaving him sore the next day.However, while training has gone well it would still be a surprise if Farah made the podium given he finds himself facing one of the toughest fields ever assembled in London.The warm favourite is Eliud Kipchoge, the Olympic champion and holder of the fastest time over 26.2 miles (2:00:25) – although as it was achieved in a Nike-sponsored race where, among other things, pacemakers were subbed in and out, it does not count as an official world record.It is understood that Kipchoge was intending to ask for pacemakers to get to halfway in 61 minutes, giving him every opportunity to go under Dennis Kimetto’s IAAF-approved record of 2:02:57. However, the weather may scupper those plans.The Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second fastest man in history over 26.2 miles, is also said to be in great form while last September another Ethiopian, Guye Adola, recorded the fastest debut in a marathon when he ran 2:03:46 behind Kipchoge in Berlin. Given their pedigree it will surely be sensible for Farah – who is thought to reach halfway in around 61:45 – to let them go and attempt to pick one or two of them off later in the race.Whatever happens, Farah deserves credit for throwing himself into the marathon deep end. Retirement must have crossed his mind. It would have let him spend more time with his twin loves – family and football – and avoid the persistent questions about his relationship with his former coach Alberto Salazar and his friendship with the controversial Somali Jama Aden – both are under investigation by anti-doping authorities.Instead, he is back testing himself again, ready to learn from what happened four years ago. “In his mind this is his first serious attempt at the marathon,” Radcliffe said. “He maybe underestimated it a bit in 2014. This time he has come in really serious about what he wants to achieve.” Share via Email Share on Facebook Reuse this content Read more Share on WhatsApp Yet the marathon is different: the standard higher, the need for pain tolerance greater. On the track Farah was also able to perform a startling act of mesmerism – while his opponents knew and feared his devastating kick, they appeared powerless to prevent championship races dawdling along, lap after lap, until Farah devoured them at the finish. Over 26.2 miles those old spells will not work.There are some who question whether Farah, who had the capacity to run 3min 28.81sec over 1500m – a time surpassed by 10 athletes – can really also run a marathon time for the ages and history pages. If he can, the plaudits and, inevitably, the suspicions, will grow in tandem.But that will not bother Farah. On Sunday he will be back on familiar turf, close to the scene of his glorious London 5,000m and 10,000m triumphs, hoping to recreate the magic of six years ago.So how will he do? The former 10,000m world record holder Dave Bedford, who was responsible for putting together this year’s elite field, probably knows more than most, yet even he is unsure. “There is more at stake for Mo this time,” he said. “That’s the reality of it. He is a quality athlete, but none of us, frankly, have an idea what will happen.”That, surely, makes what lies ahead even more intriguing and alluring. Share on LinkedIn Facebook Share on Twitter
World Cup Quiz time. How many players have played in consecutive World Cup finals? The Italians did it in 1934 and 1938; Brazil did in 1958 and 1962 – and then in 1998 and 2002; the Netherlands lost the 1974 and 1978 finals; Maradona captained Argentina in the 1986 and 1990 finals; and West Germany went one better by contesting three successive finals between 1982 and 1990. A few players have graced consecutive finals but only one has done it while representing two different countries: Luis Monti, who starred for Argentina in the first World Cup final in 1930 and then won it for Italy four years later – all while dealing with various threats on his safety.Monti was born in Buenos Aires in May 1901 and began his career with local side Atlético Huracán, winning his first championship in his only season at the club before stopping off briefly with Boca Juniors on his way to signing for San Lorenzo, the club where he would make his name. Although rugged and robust when seeking the ball, Monti was also technically astute when in possession. His dynamism across the pitch inspired his nickname, Doble Ancho – meaning Double Wide, in recognition of the space he covered for his team. As a deep-lying playmaker, he shielded his defence and then sparked attacks for his team-mates.Monti won three league titles with San Lorenzo – in 1923, 1924 and 1927 – and earned a call-up to the national team in time to win the South America Championship in 1927. He also picked up a silver medal at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, scoring his team’s only goal in the final as they lost out to neighbours Uruguay. Twitter Monti joined Juventus in 1931 and helped the club win four straight Scudetti. During his nine-year career in Turin, he played more than 200 games, scoring 20 goals from defensive midfield and even graduation to the role of captain. But Monti had not just been brought to Italy to win trophies in Turin. He was there to help Italy win the World Cup on home soil in 1934. And so, when Italy kicked off the tournament on 27 May 1934 with a 7-1 win against USA at the now-defunct Stadio Nazionale PNF – named in honour of Mussolini’s Partito Nazionale Fascista – Monti was in the team. That same day Argentina, his former team, were knocked out of the tournament by Sweden in Bologna.Italy’s victory over USA set up a quarter-final against Spain, which finished 1-1 and had to be replayed the next day. The first fixture had been robust in the extreme, with the referee particularly lenient on the home side. When Spain came out for the second fixture, they were missing seven of their first-choice players – including the famous goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora. Tempers hadn’t cooled in the previous 24 hours and three Spain players had to leave the field injured as Italy won a snarling encounter thanks to a goal from legendary forward Giuseppe Meazza. Just when it looked like defeat was inevitable, Raimundo Orsi fired home for Italy in the 81st minute to bring the crowd, and Mussolini, to their feet. Orsi, another former Argentina international who had played alongside Monti at the 1928 Olympics, took the final into extra time. The momentum was now with the home team. Angelo Schiavio became Italy’s hero when he drove the ball past Frantisek Planicka from a narrow angle to score the winner.At full-time, the Azzurri were not just presented with the Jules Rimet Trophy, but with a particularly large cup Mussolini had commissioned as he considered the Fifa award much too small to reflect the glory of the winners. Mussolini was much warmer in victory. “After the match, by decision of Il Duce,” recalled Monti. “We were allowed to ask whatever we wanted: women, money, jewels, cars, house. We were the privileged human beings of Italy.”Monti had written his name into the record books for his unique achievement. Not only had he won the World Cup for his adopted country but he was the only footballer to have played in World Cup finals for two different countries. It’s difficult see how that will ever change. So, if you are ever asked that quiz question, you know the story of Luis Monti.• This article is from These Football Times• Follow These Football Times and Gary Thacker on Twitter Share on LinkedIn The Argentina team that lost the 1930 World Cup final to Uruguay. Photograph: Bob Thomas/Popperfoto/Getty Images Share on WhatsApp Pinterest Read more Arrigo Sacchi and Italian football’s ethical dilemma about foreign players Read more Pinterest Argentina Facebook Twitter Guardian Sport Network Twitter The Italy team pose before the 1934 World Cup final in Rome. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images Neutral’s choice: who are rest of the world supporting at the World Cup? The day before the final a telegram reportedly arrived at the Italian team’s hotel, addressed to both manager Vittorio Pozzo and the players. “Good luck tomorrow,” it read. “Win. If not so, crash.” The telegram was signed by Mussolini and few doubted the implications of its final word. It was already the biggest game of their lives and now the pressure on the players had been ratcheted up even further.The problem was that no one had told the Czechs their role in this final. They were meant to be the weaker of the two semi-finalists – an Italian referee had been put in charge of their semi-final against Hitler’s Germany supposedly to ensure they made it to the final – but they started well and the game was still goalless at half-time.At the interval, another less than subtle message from Mussolini was delivered to Pozzo to read out to his team. Monti later pointed out the strange irony of the threats he received during each of his World Cup finals. “My grandfather often told us he had to play two World Cup finals under threat,” said Lorena. “He used to say that in 1930, in Uruguay, they wanted to hurt him if he won. In Italy, four years later, they wanted to hurt him if he lost.”The dictator’s prompting did little to improve matters in the second half and it was no surprise when Antonin Puc gave Czechoslovakia a 1-0 lead with just 19 minutes to play. The Czechs should have sealed the game but Jirií Sobotka missed an open goal and Frantisek Svoboda struck the upright. Their squandered chances would prove costly. Share on Twitter Facebook Italy Share on Messenger features Pinterest World Cup 2018 Facebook Share on Facebook Enrique Guaita scores Italy’s controversial winner against Austria in the semi-final in 1934. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images Share on Pinterest Share via Email Topics Regardless of the bumps and bruises, Italy had secured a place in the semi-finals against Hugo Meisl’s great Austria side. Nicknamed Das Wunderteam, they played a neat passing game that would influence the development of Total Football. If Italy were to overcome their extravagantly talented neighbours, they would need to silence Matthias Sindelar, Austria’s centre-forward, captain and inspirational leader. Monti was the man for the job.Austria’s silky style of football was compromised by the heavy rain that fell inside the San Siro but the way Monti nullified Sindelar’s threat helped Italy finish off the job. Austria had plenty of possession but, with Sindelar restrained, there was a lack of bite to their attacks and Italy were able to win the game by a single, controversial, goal. In the 19th minute, Meazza crashed into the Austria goalkeeper and jarred the ball loose from his grasp. It rolled against the post and Enrique Guaita – another player born in Argentina – stabbed it home.Swedish referee Ivan Eklind was criticised for favouring the Italians, not least for their goal. Unsurprisingly, it did him little harm. He was also selected to officiate in the final, where Italy would face Czechoslovakia at the Stadio Nazionale PNF in Rome. By the time Uruguay hosted the inaugural World Cup finals in 1930, Monti was one of the best defensive players in South America. Argentina began their tournament with a 1-0 win against France, with Monti scoring the only goal of the game – Argentina’s first at a World Cup finals. Two more wins in their group – a 6-3 thrashing of Mexico and a 3-1 victory over Chile – took Argentina into the last four. Monti scored the opening goal in the semi-final in a 6-1 win over USA to set up a final against Uruguay, who had beaten Yugoslavia 6-1 in the other semi-final.Before the final in Montevideo, there were rumours that Monti had picked up an injury. He had one of his rare mediocre games in the showpiece at the Estadio Centenario as Argentina threw away a 2-1 lead at half time to lose 4-2. Many years later, Lorena Monti suggested her grandfather’s performance was affected by more than injury: “At half-time, when Argentina were leading 2-1, they said that if Argentina didn’t lose, they would kill my grandmother and my aunt.” Monti also told his granddaughter that other Argentina players had received veiled threats, but nothing as specific as the one delivered to him.In the end, Uruguay lifted the trophy, Monti’s family were safe and he returned to San Lorenzo to continue his career. But a visit from two Italians was about to change his life and legacy forever. The story goes that Monti’s visitors told him he would shortly receive an offer from an Italian club and, if he accepted, his monthly wage would climb to $5,000 and he would be given a house and a car. Apparently the person promoting the deal was none other than Benito Mussolini.The next World Cup was to be held in Italy and the dictator was intent on raising the nation to the forefront of the world powers. Monti’s ancestors were from Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy and he had been chosen as the next piece of the jigsaw for the national side. When the offer landed, it was not from Lazio, the team Mussolini supported, but Juventus. Tempted by the lure of the lira, Monti moved to Turin and became an Italian citizen. He had played 16 times for Argentina, scoring five goals, but his future appearances on the international stage would be for the Azzurri. Reuse this content
Share on Messenger Laura Geitz: a leader of women and inspiration to her ‘sisters’ Support The Guardian … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Plaudits for Madi Robinson as second Diamonds netball star retires features Since you’re here… Read more Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Super Netball “A changing of the guard always happens over time, not in one selection. For this generation, that change began when Steph Wood was named, when Kate Moloney got a look-in, when Emily Mannix was picked when Sharni wasn’t there,” she says.“Blooding of youth happens over a period, so it’s too simplistic to say older players are just being dropped in favour of youth or that this is a knee-jerk reaction to say, losing at the Commonwealth Games.”“The biggest thing that comes to mind is that we’re used to seeing these type of retirements off the back of a cycle, but we’re right at the peak of it now, with the World Cup in England next year.“I’m not sure if historically we’ve seen such big retirements leading into a World Cup year. I think that’s where fans are a bit perplexed and shocked about what’s going on, with so much experience exiting at once.“None of us know what the communication is between the coach and players who think their time might be up, if things are just accepted, but in my opinion, Laura (Geitz) and Madi (Robinson) are still good enough to be in the Australian team,” Gaudion says.Gaudion is “massively shocked” by Layton’s decision.“I am convinced her 30-year-old body could go on, but that absolute super-stardom she’s carried, that burden … we don’t know what that’s taken out of her, physically, mentally and emotionally,” she says.“The kid’s emotionally exhausted, she can’t have given any more. There’s obviously lots of contributing factors at play. I do think there will be people out there questioning whether Collingwood was the best place for her.”And while the sky feels a little darker for netball fans everywhere, Gaudion is confident a new constellation of young stars will take their turn to shine. Starting last Monday, three of the sport’s biggest names – Laura Geitz, Madi Robinson and Susan Pettitt – announced their international retirements in successive days, ahead of the new Diamonds squad being named on Sunday.And on Wednesday, the most incandescent of them all, 30-year-old Sharni Layton, international netball’s only true cult figure, shocked everyone by revealing she’ll walk away from all forms of the game at the end of this Super Netball season, in just over a month.The decision by Layton, who debuted for Australia in 2011 and went on to become one of the best defenders in the world and the “face of netball”, knocked the wind out of many. Reuse this content Share on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest Australia sport Share on Facebook Brash, borderline deafening on-court and candid off it, Layton was a desperately-needed breath of fresh air for netball – at a time when it was running out of it.In her 14-year career, Layton’s uncompromising playing style, “this is who I am” attitude, approachability away from the court and even her less-than-perfect elocution made her infinitely likeable and a marketer’s dream. She was also a prodigious talent.The 188cm defender wore the green and gold 46 times, won Commonwealth gold in Glasgow in 2014, world championships in 2011 and 2015, two domestic league championships with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, international player of the year in 2016 and 2017 and a swag of other personal accolades.“Sharns”, as she’s affectionately known, has been the salt and pepper of netball for at least half a decade; in everything.Last year, she took a leave of absence from netball, citing exhaustion, but later revealed a mental health battle. She wasn’t picked for this year’s Commonwealth Games, but returned to the game for club side, Collingwood, this season.On Sunday, Layton wasn’t named in national coach Lisa Alexander’s 17-strong squad for the upcoming Quad Series and Constellation Cup, but she hadn’t made herself available.Now, it’s all over for Layton and teammates Geitz, Robinson and Pettitt – who combined have played 249 Tests.Netball pundit Sue Gaudion says the flurry of high-profile retirements is more complex than a simple “changing of the guard”. Diamonds Read more Topics Share via Email Netball
Share on Twitter “As soon as you go on air you’re opening yourself up to scrutiny, and especially if you work for the BBC,” says Chapman. “That’s fine – people have a right to a say because they pay for it. But the talk around our World Cup coverage was incessant, and that’s because of social media.”Tweets and Facebook posts passing judgment on football pundits is nothing new but the noise reaches a frenzy during a World Cup and, as Chapman adds, is hardly helped by journalists and commentators comparing those from the BBC with those from ITV. “It’s bizarre,” he remarks, which leads to an amusingly awkward moment as I remind Chapman that I wrote an article during the recent tournament comparing the BBC’s pundits with ITV’s.Once the laughter around the kitchen table has died down I make clear that I generally admire all pundits and find most of the criticism directed towards them to be unfair. Chapman agrees and it is at this point the host of Match of the Day 2 shows a level of warmth towards his colleagues that is as endearing as it is genuine.“I’m not looking at this from the point of view of what people say about me; when it’s about me, I couldn’t care less,” he says. “What’s happened is I’ve become incredibly protective of the people I work with.“The assumption that a pundit is ‘lazy’ or ‘hasn’t done their research’ not only does them a disservice but presumes the production staff haven’t put the effort in to make sure that person knows what they are doing. Behind every broadcast there is a hard-working team who go above and beyond.” A warm afternoon in south Manchester and Mark Chapman is in relaxed mood. In a few hours he will be back on BBC Radio 5 Live, presenting a show on England’s latest Test collapse, but for now he is sat in the kitchen of his family home with a mug of coffee in hand, ready to embark on a conversation that has been two months in the making.It was in late June that I contacted Chapman to ask for help with something I was writing at the time. Chapman being Chapman, he did his best to be of assistance and, during our conversation, made a comment in regards to being in Russia on World Cup-hosting duties for the BBC that grabbed the attention. “The level of scrutiny is exhausting. I’ve never known anything like it.” We agreed to discuss this in more detail when he returned home and so, with coffees poured, that is what occurred on a quiet, late summer’s day. Twitter Share on Messenger Soccer Pinterest Share on WhatsApp interviews Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Alan Shearer tells Match of the Day 2 presenter Mark Chapman that Tottenham’s players do not “deserve more money” because they “haven’t won anything” following comments by Spurs defender Danny Rose in August 2017. Photograph: BBC Sport Facebook Topics To illustrate his point Chapman shows me the binder of notes given to every member of the BBC’s World Cup team prior to them travelling to Russia. Known as “the Bible” it contains a detailed rundown on all 32 competing nations and is impressively comprehensive.“It was put together by seven people and probably took them a year to complete,” says Chapman. “And they will have watched every team on multiple occasions.“Four years ago [fellow BBC presenter] Dan Walker tweeted a picture of the Bible for the World Cup in Brazil and someone replied: ‘What a waste of money, why can’t you all do your own research?’ We can’t win.”Chapman’s defence is a strong one but I put to him that some pundits are undeniably worse than others, with one in particular, whose name I scribble on a piece of paper and hand across the table, the worst of the lot.He looks at the name, pauses and concedes that not all pundits are great at their job but insists there are none who leave him thinking “you are dreadful”. He also believes it has got to the stage where those who talk about football get more criticism than those who play it. As he puts it: “Some people think they talk too much; some people think they don’t talk enough. Some people think they’re too serious; some people think they joke around. Some people think they’re biased; some people think they don’t back their former clubs enough.”What, then, does Chapman feel are the principal duties of a pundit? “To inform, entertain and give an opinion,” he replies. “They don’t always have to do highbrow analysis or be controversial – there’s a balance to be found.“Over the course of a season on Match of the Day 2, let’s say, I would be disappointed and surprised if a team isn’t praised and criticised, and that includes Manchester City last season. That’s proof of the balance pundits provide.” Twitter Alan Shearer Share on Pinterest Revealed: why Match of the Day is biased against [insert your club’s name here] | Marina Hyde BBC Pinterest Read more The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Reuse this content Facebook Share via Email “Like most pundits Alan takes the criticism in his stride, but it can be hard. I remember he did some analysis on Arsenal for Match of the Day 2 last season and the way the desk is built there is a shelf where you can put your phone. As I went to the next game, he picked his phone up from there and said: ‘I’ll just see how much abuse my wife and daughter are getting’ because they’d got loads after he’d done something on Arsenal the week before. Is that where we are with pundits? It’s very weird.”Next summer it will be 20 years since Chapman joined Radio 1 as a sports presenter, moving to 5 Live in 2010 where the 44-year-old father of three has established himself as one of the finest broadcasters in the country, bringing a relaxed manner and pitch-perfect questioning to a range of sports, including rugby league and golf.“Sitting behind a microphone feels like the most natural thing in the world to me,” says Chapman, who is currently also studying for a master’s in sporting directorships, “and for me there is no greater buzz than doing Saturday afternoons on 5 Live. You know when you say ‘It’s five o’clock, you’re listening to 5 Live and this is Sports Report’ you’ve got two million-plus people, all coming back from the football or whatever, listening. I still get goosebumps.“I feel a great sense of responsibility for every show I do. Sports Report is 70 years old so, Christ, there are some names that have gone before me and I don’t want to be the guy who kills it off. I want to make sure whoever follows has something to work with.”A sense of professional responsibility, and pride, pours out of Chapman, and no more so than when the conversation returns to pundits. “As a presenter, and I’m sure Kelly [Cates], Dave Jones, Pougers [Mark Pougatch] … would say the same, our job is to get the best out of the pundits. They drive the show and I genuinely think most of them do a great job. And if people think they don’t that’s down to everyone who works on that show, the presenter especially. I’m supposed to be the one who knows what he’s doing and they’re in my environment.“I remember playing in [former defender] Terry Skiverton’s testimonial game at Yeovil a few years back and I was in central defence alongside Michael Duberry. Honest to God, Duberry talked me through the entire game, it was unbelievable. I look at myself as the Michael Duberry of broadcasting.” Arguably no one offers balance better than Alan Shearer who, more than a decade on from his first punditry appearance for the BBC, has developed into an assured voice on both Match of the Days as well as the broadcaster’s live coverage. Yet even he finds himself a regular target for criticism, with “bland” the most frequent insult thrown at the former England captain.“Alan probably did sit on the fence when he started but that was because he thought he would be going into management, so he didn’t want to go on telly and slag off people he may have ended up working with,” Chapman says. “Anybody criticising Alan is really judging him on his first few years of punditry. To suggest he isn’t nailing it now is ridiculous.” Mark Chapman of BBC Radio 5 Live commentating on the course during the final round of the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images Two decades on from joining the BBC, Mark Chapman has become the voice of Sports Report and developed a reputation for being one of the finest, most versatile broadcasters in the country. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/Guardian
Topics Australia sport Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Read more Melissa Barbieri (@Bubs_11)I am heart broken over this….I want to know what happened to them. How can we make it up to them?Fly them to Perth @tpignata9 🙏 please someone 💔 https://t.co/6QcQtdwC85May 12, 2019 Share via Email Football Federation Australia is investigating after a fan was ejected from Sunday’s A-League semi-final at Sydney’s Jubilee Oval amid accusations of heavy-handed policing which left the man’s daughter, who has special needs, “traumatised”.Rory Carroll, a Sydney FC supporter, said he was trying to take his daughter, who has Down’s syndrome, to the disabled toilet when he was told by security staff he could not do so as it was in a restricted zone.A number of police officers were called to attend the scene and Carroll, who said he had not been drinking because he was driving on the evening of the game, can he heard on a video taken by another crowd member questioning the decision not to let him and his daughter through.“The disabled toilets, because my daughter needs it, are right there and they won’t let me take my daughter through,” he said. “That’s what this is all about. You guys want to kick me out because he said so [as he points at security] and I can’t take my disabled daughter five metres.”Carroll and his family can then be seen being escorted from the stand by several police officers (witnesses claim there were up to 10) to a chorus of boos from the crowd. A-League Share on Twitter news Tom Miles (@TomMile43729676)10 Uniformed Police and 4 security guards evict a father who wanted to take his disabled daughter to the closest toilet. @ALeague @9NewsSyd @SydneyFC #SYDvMVC #BigBlue #ALeague pic.twitter.com/MdXZSCv2RqMay 12, 2019 Sydney Australian police and policing Disability FFA issued a statement on Monday afternoon to confirm there had been dialogue with Carroll following the incident, and that it was continuing to review the matter, having received multiple stadium security incident reports.“There are conflicting accounts and a potential misunderstanding of the circumstances that led to the eviction,” the FFA statement read. “FFA will seek further discussion with stadium management and police to seek clarity around the level of response used to evict a single person. FFA continues to work with all parties, including the fan, to resolve the matter.”FFA board member Remo Nogarotto indicated he backed action on what he said is a longstanding issue of the treatment of football fans. “My position on the deliberate profiling of football fans is on the public record but this goes well beyond the pale,” Nogarotto tweeted. “Our game needs to escalate this politically and demand policing in line with other sports.”Carroll said he and his family had been excited to attend the game against Melbourne Victory, which Sydney FC won 6-1, but the experience soured their evening and even prompted him to consider his future attendance at A-League games.“My daughter had not stopped talking about [the game] and got dressed into her SFC gear,” he tweeted. “Unfortunately that’s not how our night ended. I had to console crying girls, and put up with multiple police cars monitoring my movements as we exited the stadium.” Share on Messenger Share on Pinterest Reuse this content Police Sydney FC hand Melbourne Victory record A-League Big Blue belting Share on WhatsApp New South Wales New South Wales police confirmed the incident and said the man was ejected because he refused to cooperate with their requests, but denied the police response was over zealous.“A reasonable amount of police to ensure they can do their job safely and effectively would be within those numbers,” Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton said on Monday afternoon. “I wouldn’t describe it as heavy handed or over the top.”Walton said Carroll wanted to access the grandstand because “there was a greater variety of beer available than there was in the outer grandstand area where he was seated”. That information, Walton said, came from a written “security record” provided to him by security staff at the ground.But Carroll denied he had been drinking on Monday night, as he took his responsibility as a designated driver seriously. “I needed to go and check the same toilet that my daughter uses for it’s cleanliness,” he said.