Ronaldo, Modric Rested For King's Cup Game At Sevilla
- BARCELONA : Real Madrid have rested Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric for Thursday's King's Cup last 16, second leg at Sevilla but captain Sergio Ramos is back after injury, the club said on Wednesday. With Real winning last week's first leg 3-0, coach Zinedine Zidane's priority looks to have turned to Sunday's La Liga game back at Sevilla, which could have a huge impact on their bid to claim their first title in five years. The Andalusian club are second in the standings, trailing Real by four points although they have played a game more.
- Real midfielders Lucas Vazquez and Mateo Kovacic have also returned to the squad alongside Ramos although James Rodriguez, scorer of two of the three goals in the first leg, has been left out after sustaining a slight calf injury. Zidane unveiled his squad list after giving his pre-game news conference, where he said Real would not relax in the second leg despite their heavy advantage.
- "We know it's another game and it's going to be hard because Sevilla are going to do everything they can to win the game and we're expecting it to be difficult. We're prepared for that and it (the first leg result) won't change anything," he said. "What Sevilla are doing at the moment is phenomenal. They are a really strong team with quality players.
- Both games are vital to us, it's a big week for us." Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli said his side would attempt to turn the tie around on Wednesday but added that his priority was Sunday's league match. "We're going to try and put in a performance that would allow us to dream of the possibility of a comeback but the reality is that's going to be very complicated," said the Argentine coach. "For us Sunday's game is like a final. We want to cut the gap with them and that game is where we will be able to say: 'Here we are and we're going to fight for this league title'. "Winning would take us to within a point of a leader everyone thought was unreachable."
Did Ousted BCCI Secretary Try To Scare Off England From Tour?
- MUMBAI : Just days after the Supreme Court asked BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke to cease and desist office, making him ineligible to continue as an office-bearer of the cricket board, the Pune-based administrator called up the president of the England Cricket Board (ECB), Giles Clarke, ostensibly to inform him about "problems" over hosting the one-day and Twenty20 series. This was confirmed to TOI on Wednesday evening by sources in the Justice Lodha Committee, who added that a worried Clarke wrote an email to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, asking if the England cricket team would be looked after by the BCCI on the tour in the usual fashion. The email from Clarke reads as follows: "I have received calls from Mr Shirke who I understand is no longer the honorary secretary of BCCI.
- Can you please confirm to me that the England team will continue to be looked after by the BCCI in the usual fashion, with proper security, player daily allowance payments, hotel bills covered and the like, with transport organised at all times? Obviously it is entirely a matter for BCCI where matches are played, but please advise soonest that the schedule will be adhered to, or any changes." In reply, Johri assured Clarke that the team would be looked after well, the series would go ahead as planned, and that the fixtures for the series had already been drawn up. When contacted, Clarke refused to confirm or deny receiving the call and sending the email. Johri too refused to speak on the matter.
- Apart from becoming ineligible as a BCCI office-bearer, Shirke also cannot continue as MCA president, having exceeded the nine-year cap on tenure as mandated by the apex court. When asked to clarify if he had indeed made the call to Clarke - asking him to be wary of sending the team to India Shirke only said that there were forces at work trying to damage his reputation. "They can say whatever they want. It's nothing but a bunch of lies," he said. The ex-president of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) instead added that despite having "stepped aside" from his post, he was helping the association conduct the One-day International in Pune as smoothly as possible. "I am doing it because I have always wanted to work for the game.
- We have witnessed a record collection in gate money for the game," he said. In the middle of all this development, the MCA nominated Shirke's name to represent the association in all BCCI meetings. Despite being ineligible under the new rules and regulations, Shirke will still be able to attend all BCCI meetings. All of this is happening at a time when ex-BCCI president Anurag Thakur, also in the dock for asking ICC to write a letter to BCCI stating government interference, is facing a charge of contempt and perjury in the apex court. Shirke, post the email from Clarke, could be in serious trouble too.
3 Eminent Alumni Fund Innovation Centre At IIT-Madras
- CHENNAI : IIT, Madras on Wednesday unveiled its centre for innovation and entrepreneurship which will pave the way for more teaching, research, product development and policy-making initiatives. Named the `Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre' (GDC) after three of its wellknown alumni, it has an initial funding of $1 million from Infosys vice-chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan and venture capitalists Desh Deshpande and Jaishree Deshpande. From seeding new courses in the realm of innovation and entrepreneurship to enabling interdisciplinary collaborations, the centre is projected to become a go-to place for students with ideas and projects.
- While the institute already has a functioning Centre for Innovation which looks into student research and innovation and an incubation cell that facilitates startups, the GDC was started to give way for a broader ground of innovation allied activities and finding solutions for current issues. The traditional approach involves a faculty member finalising a research proposal and running around for government funding, leading to a protracted process, said IIT-M director Bhaskar Ramamurthi.
- "This centre would instead focus on building an adaptable or marketable idea, more than just facilitating financial support. By doing this, the centre will look to impact all domains fundamental to the research, training, product engineering and policy-making," he said. Healthcare, renewable energy , environment and education are the big areas currently to define solutions, said Desh Deshpande.
China Likely To Pressure Vietnam Leader To Stop Missile Deal With India
- BEIJING : Vietnam leader Nguyen Phu Trong, who arrives in Beijing on Thursday, will be under pressure to call off reported negotiations with India for purchase of a missile system, sources said. The Indian media has reported that Hanoi is in discussion with Indian authorities to purchase the Akash surface-to-air missile system from New Delhi. China, which has emerged as a major arms seller, is reluctant to allow another Asian nation to enter into competition, sources said. This is one reason why Beijing has been objecting to India's entry into Nuclear Suppliers' Group, which has the potential of enlarging India's nuclear industry. The focus of Nguyen's talks with Chinese leaders is regional security ahead of the Donald Trump presidency in the United States, which has caused a lot of strain in Beijing. Any move to buy military equipment from India would make Beijing very nervous, sources said.
- "If the Indian government genuinely treats its enhancement of military relations with Vietnam as a strategic arrangement or even revenge against Beijing, it will only create disturbances in the region and China will hardly sit with its arms crossed," Global Times, the organ of the Chinese Communist Party, said in a commentary on Wednesday. On the face of it, China does not mind military ties between Vietnam and India, it said. "Yet such ties should be built for the sake of peace and stability in the region, rather than stirring up troubles or anxiety for others," the paper said betraying the concerns in Beijing. India provided Vietnam a credit line of $500 million for buying military equipment during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Hanoi in September last year. India is already training the Vietnam Navy personnel in operating the Russian-origin Kilo-class submarine. The government has also asked BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the BrahMos missiles, to accelerate sales to a list of five countries topped by Vietnam.
- The Beijing-based paper did not mention the fact that China has been arming Pakistan, which has no other reason to accumulate arms other than planning to use against India, with sophisticated military equipment. But it rapped countries who feel comfortable about dealing with India. "Due to geopolitical factors, some nations have been cozying up to India over the years, which to a large extent contributed to India's fruitful development," it said. "New Delhi understands that the best strategy for itself is to continue its collaboration with all parties, instead of picking a side and turning hostile to one another. Otherwise, it might not only turn others' troubles to its own puzzles, but also suffer enormous losses of development opportunities," the commentary said hoping to dissuade India from signing up Hanoi on the missile deal. Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee will meet Chinese president Xi Jinping and other leaders during his four-day visit to China. He is also expected to discuss the South China Sea dispute.
- Vietnam is one of the half a dozen countries disputing Chinese claims to much of the South China Sea islands. "In the past two months, tensions have ratcheted up in the Asia-Pacific region and around the globe, and this will deeply influence the relations between Vietnam and China, the US, and the Southeast Asian nation," Zhuang Guotu, dean of the School for Southeast Asian Studies at Xiamen University told the local media. "So in this trip, Nguyen is expected to ascertain the actual situation of China and find a way of developing bilateral relations that both sides can accept," he said.
Chennai Smash Table-Toppers Awadhe Warriors 4-3
- BENGALURU : Parupalli Kashyap and the mixed doubles pair of Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock helped Chennai Smashers get past Awadhe Warriors 4-3 in a Premier Badminton League here on Wednesday. Both Awadhe and Chennai have already qualified for the semifinals. However, Awadhe finished as table-toppers with 21 points and Chennai remained in third position with 17 points, behind Mumbai Rockets with 19 points. It was the Adcock couple, who brought Chennai back by levelling the tie with a 11-4, 11-9 win in the second match against Bodlin Isara and Prajakta Sawant. Taking advantage of the mixed doubles pair's victory, Parupalli Kashyap won the trump match 11-7, 5-11, 11-7, which put Chennai ahead of Awadhe 3-1. Kashyap took 6-5 lead into the first break after Aditya Joshi gave a tough fight, but the Chennai player hogged the limelight by clinching the first game, rather convincingly.
- Joshi roared back by impressing one and all with a 6-1 lead in the second break. Kashyap fought back, making it 4-6, but could not build the tempo and lost to Joshi, who smashed down the line to hog the game point of the third match. In the decider, there was some awesome badminton from Joshi and Kashyap, but the Awadhe shuttler went into the break leading 6-5. Kashyap's vicious smashes helped Chennai shuttler make it 8-6 and eventually the Hyderabad lad pulled off a thrilling win over Joshi. Down 0-1 in the tie, Chennai mixed doubles pair brought the team on par with their rival 1-1, after two matches. The couple defeated Awadhe's counterparts - Isara and Sawant, who made her PBL debut. The pair won the first game as it was a cake walk, but had to fight back in the second game with Awadhe pair giving them a nagging time.
- In the super match, P V Sindhu straightaway dominated the proceedings, treating her opponent with powerful jump smash to make it 4-2. She then executed two tantalising drop shots to go into the break leading 6-2 against Rituparna Das. Sindhu won the opening game 11-4 easily. Sindu started off the proceedings by winning four points on a trot in the second game. Sindhu then made it 9-4 against Ritupurna by her deceptive drop shot and pocketed the match, giving Chennai an unassailable 4-1 lead in the tie. In the first match of the tie, Wong Wing Ki Vincent began the campaign for Awadhe on a high note by clinching the first match 6-11, 11-9, 12-10 against Chennai's Tanongsak Saesomboonsak.
- After conceding the first game, Vincent bounced back by going into the break leading 6-5 in a close encounter. He was leading 3-0, but Tanongsak brought it to 9-9, but his double fault gave a chance to Vincent to clinch the game, thus pushing the match into the decider. Keeping his cool in the decider, Vincent pulled off a blinder after Tanongsak had raced past him to 6-5 lead in the third break, restraining Chennai to get to a rollicking start in their quest to end second on the points-table. In the inconsequential trump match, Kido Markis and V Shem Goh of Awadhe Warrior defeated Mads Pieler and B Sumeeth Reddy of Chennai 12-10, 11-8.