Hardik Pandya Will Do Great Things For Indian Cricket: Kieron Pollard

first_imgMumbai: Kieron Pollard on Wednesday heaped praise on his Mumbai Indians (MI) teammate Hardik Pandya, saying the fellow all-rounder has the potential to do ‘great things’ for India.“He is a small guy but hits (the ball) a long way. If he continues to practice well and evolve as a cricketer, you can see him doing great things, not just for Mumbai Indians, but also for India,” Pollard said about Pandya on the eve of MI’s Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).Pandya, who has so far amassed 355 runs in 12 IPL games this season, scored a blistering 91 off 34 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens in MI’s last game on Sunday.“He’s not practising differently. It is all about believing in his ability. Obviously the situations he has been in, he had no choice but to go and hit and he has shown his powergame as well, so it’s good for him. Even when he came onto the scene, if you remember, he finished off a couple of games for Mumbai (Indians) with his big hits.“It is matter of him having the confidence because he is one of those guys who is free-spirited and will just go out and try to use his youthful exuberance to make an impact on the game,” Pollard explained.“I am sure that even if there is something technical that he has worked on, he wouldn’t want to put that out in the media. If he is working on his game, he does it in private. He wants you guys to see the results of his hard work,” he added.Pollard also said that David Warner’s absence will help MI when they take on SRH in a bid to secure a spot in the playoffs.“It’s an advantage, obviously. David (Warner) is a world-class player. He has shown what he can do. He was an integral part of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s campaign. So, as an opponent, we feel good that he is not there. But having said that, I am sure they have a lot of world-class talent in their armoury to back it up.“There is (Martin) Guptill who has done fantastically well in the international level. Yes, they have lost Warner, but we are not going to take them lightly,” Kieron Pollard said. (IANS)last_img read more

Missing March Madness: How Kentucky served up an enormous Elite Eight win over Duke in ’98

first_imgIt was tied with 1:16 left and Duke had the ball, but that opportunity was wasted on another unwarranted shot, this time from freshman William Avery. It was not the last mistake Avery would make. When Kentucky ran a high-ball screen, with Padgett setting the pick to free up Turner, freshman center Elton Brand handled it perfectly, sliding to his right and containing the ball. Turner had nowhere to go. He had somewhere to pass, though, because Avery chose to chase the ball and leave Padgett open.The perfect play call from Tubby Smith left open the ideal player to take that shot. Padgett drained the 3-pointer, and the comeback was complete.Final score: Kentucky 86, Duke 84 No matter how one is covering March Madness, it’s impossible not to miss a lot. But sometimes you just goof up and do it to yourself.In 1998, as a favor to my wife, I thought I could get away with taping the last of the four NCAA Tournament Elite Eight games and watching on delay. It’s how I watch a lot of the basketball, since it allows me to see more basketball. But I can’t find out the score, or it’s ruined for me. And this time, I found out the score from a most unexpected source.MISSING MARCH MADNESS: Playing out full schedule, scores for 2020 NCAA TournamentNo. 1 Duke vs. No. 2 Kentucky, South Region, 1998Why I missed it: I was working for the Cincinnati Enquirer then, doing columns for Sporting News on the side. I covered North Carolina’s East Region victory over Connecticut on Saturday, flew back home and watched Stanford become the third team in the Final Four with a narrow victory over Rhode Island. Kentucky-Duke was huge, but I owed my wife a dinner after months of being away. I was fine with setting the VCR to tape the game and planning to watch it when we got back. My mistake? We chose to dine at deSha’s, which has a location in Cincinnati — but also one in Lexington. I didn’t make the connection. When the Wildcats stormed from 17 points down to win, the waitress came to the table and started talking with great excitement about what happened. Totally ruined it for me.What I missed: A regional final featuring 11 future NBA players and 11 future NCAA champions (the nine from Kentucky, plus Shane Battier of 2001 Duke and Mike Chappell, who transferred to play for Michigan State in 2000). Also, one of the tournament history’s many great comebacks.Date: March 22, 1998Site: Tropicana Field, St. PetersburgRules at the time: 35-second clock, 3-point line set at 19 feet, 9 inches; no “no-charge zone”Coaches: Tubby Smith (Kentucky); Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)Announcers: Jim Nantz, voice of the tournament since 1991, and Billy Packer, a Final Four analyst for more than three decadesThere was so much talent on the floor that neither team could figure out a way to stop the other — which made it a fabulously entertaining game. For the first 30 minutes, though, Kentucky had way more trouble defending Duke.There was a point early in the game when Packer caught a glimpse of the future, citing how Duke had adopted some of the principles of the European drive-and-kick game. The Devils weren’t alone in that — Charlie Spoonhour had done it at Saint Louis in 1994-95 with Erwin Claggett, Scott Highmark and H Waldman — but it was rare in the college game then. It became the primary offensive approach for the 2001 Duke championship team, and eventually became one of the most important elements of the worldwide game.The Blue Devils made three extended runs in that time: first, to build a 31-20 lead at 9:15 of the first half on a travel by UK’s Jeff Sheppard and then a Roshown McLeod baseline turnaround away from a double-team; then, to a 49-39 halftime lead on a Chappell right-corner 3-pointer, off a beautiful drive-and-kick from Chris Carrawell; and then to a 71-54 advantage, when the Blue Devils grabbed three consecutive offensive rebounds, one of which was a tip-in by Carrawell.And then it all fell apart.Kentucky took off on a 16-1 run that included a 3-pointer by wing Heshimu Evans, another by power forward Scott Padgett, a fastbreak and-1 by point guard Wayne Turner and then a four-point possession that developed when McLeod was caught fighting through a screen with a high elbow. That was an intentional foul, and Sheppard made the two free throws, followed by Turner splitting the middle for a floater. Duke’s lead was down to 72-70, and all the confidence had shifted to Kentucky’s side.The Devils recovered when Battier drew a foul and made two free throws and Trajan Langdon hit a pullup jumper for a 79-75 lead. There was a chance to extend that after Evans committed a turnover. But Langdon attempted a terrible shot that served as a warning of what was to come from the Devils; Turner halved the lead with a 14-foot pullup in transition.Then came another dubious shot choice, this one from McLeod. Like Langdon’s fallaway drive to the left, he let go of the ball with four UK defenders within 2 feet of him.Packer was appalled by Duke’s shot selection.MORE: Arizona vs. Kentucky, 1997 — 7 things you didn’t know about epic NCAA title gameThat was followed by what might have been the biggest play of Kentucky’s championship season. Honestly, it was generated by a Turner shot that was nearly as wild as any of Duke’s: a drive to the right and a baseline pullup that was closely guarded. But as McLeod jumped to grab the rebound with both hands, seemingly uncontested, Evans fought off a block-out by Battier, surged from underneath the goal and swatted it directly out of McLeod’s hands, back toward the perimeter, to the waiting arms of senior guard Cameron Mills. To that point, Mills had not attempted a single shot. He had not made a basket in the tournament.He didn’t hesitate. He fired from beyond the top of the key, and that 3-point attempt flew directly through the goal. Kentucky had the lead at 80-79.last_img read more

Rafael Benitez admits it will be ‘difficult’ to recruit in January

first_imgRafael Benitez has dampened any expectations Newcastle could be busy in the January transfer window, saying it will prove “difficult” to improve his squad.Newcastle have been linked with a number of stars including Atlanta United striker Miguel Almiron. Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury 2 no dice Latest Premier League News The Magpies are out of the relegation zone but it’s set to be a difficult season for them Man United transfer news live: Haaland ‘wants a change’, two players off in January Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City Benitez’s plans suffered a setback during the international break when defender Paul Dummett suffered a calf injury playing for Wales against Denmark, ruling him out of the trip to Turf Moor and possibly beyond.But he is not short of options, especially at the back with the imminent return of Florian Lejeune likely to give him additional strength for the pivotal Christmas period.Lejeune has been ruled out with a serious knee injury since July but is making faster than expected progress and has begun to take part in some training sessions at the club’s Benton base.“Lejeune is still not available but he has been doing a full training session with the team so he is getting closer,” added Benitez. huge blow Newcastle travel to Burnley on Monday night having won their last two games Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card REVEALED shining Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT “It is important for any manager to have competition in each position, so when you have a player like him who did so well last season, it means the other players are competing for the place will give everything.”Benitez has a trio of further injury concerns ahead of the Burnley game, with skipper Jamaal Lascelles (shoulder) and Jonjo Shelvey and Yoshinori Muto (both calf) facing further tests over the weekend. Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars gameday cracker Two straight wins have eased the pressure on Benitez ahead of Monday’s Premier League trip to Burnley and he might have to continue relying on his current squad to haul themselves further to safety.Benitez said: “It’s January so it’s quite difficult – it’s not a question of much (money), it’s a question of how to find the right player.“It’s quite a difficult window because the top-class players normally are playing in the Champions League and with top teams, so it’s very difficult for them to change.“We don’t have too many options so we have to keep working hard and if we find the right player then we have to start talking about that.” Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won REVEALED deals tense 2last_img read more