The resurgence of Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL after a tumultuous start to the Indian leg and an equally abysmal period in the Arab Emirates prior to that has been nothing less than spectacular. With the spinners turning it in their favor and Gautam Gambhir discovering form, it has been a promising comeback from the Knights. One of the foremost reasons behind these 4 consecutive wins has been the consistency of another man who has been striking gold ever since he began to open the batting for the Kolkata franchise.
The current IPL season has been a revelation for Robin Uthappa, who had done very little to impress the selectors in the last 5 years. Now given the opportunity of opening the batting with Gambhir, Uthappa seems determined to flick, cut and drive his way towards the Indian dressing room.
His smart exhibition of intelligent batsmanship and prudent shot selection has impressed all and sundry. His calm demeanor has been evident in the way he has handled pressure. In spite of wickets tumbling at the other end, Uthappa hasn’t compromised with his consistency and has almost always abided by the verified technicalities of the game, thereby offering very sparse chances to the opponents to claim his wicket.
The right-hander from Coorg had been one of the finest exponents of limited aggression during his tenure with the national team. However, as rough patches continued to haunt his career on an alarmingly frequent basis, he found himself ousted from the team in 2008 even before having debuted in Tests.
For the next few years Uthappa lagged behind while the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina consolidated their places in the Indian team. The appetite for returning to the field in national colors persuaded him to hire a personal coach and work on his technique.
He worked on his fitness, embraced various alterations in his initial movements and footwork and ensured a constructive influence of former India batsman Pravin Amre. The latter’s advice revitalized his aggressive approach and aided his renaissance in the domestic circuit.
During the Ranji Trophy, he managed to accumulate 374 runs in five matches regardless of recurring hamstring injuries as his state team went on to win the title. In the Vijay Hazare Trophy, he remained uniformly fluent while scoring 536 runs in eight matches and steering Karnataka to a historic domestic double.
He appears to have carried that form into the IPL as he continues to score effortlessly, flicking and driving on both the flanks even on slow and low wickets like Cuttack. In 11 matches so far, Uthappa has already garnered 422 runs at a remarkable average of 38.36 and is the leading run-scorer in the tournament behind Glenn Maxwell and Dwayne Smith. He has scored three half-centuries in the current season with the highest of 80 off 52 balls against Mumbai Indians and certainly looks well set for more.
Initially, KKR had opted for the tried-and-tested combination of Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir at the top, thereby relegating Uthappa to the middle and lower middle order. However, a succession of pathetic performances by the apparently shallow batting order urged the Knights to assess their resources, the consequence of which promoted Uthappa to the top order.
The meticulously calculated maneuver earned rich dividends as the Gambhir-Uthappa pair put on four consecutive 50-run stands that allowed KKR back into the reckoning for a spot in the play-offs. Even when Gambhir failed to light the sparks, Uthappa continued to hold up the other end time and again.
An unruffled disposition and a penchant for scoring off the leg finds him ideally suited for the opener’s slot. Wristy surgical drives may elude him, but Uthappa’s precision and technical excellence makes him an artist of the finest caliber. While his masterful execution makes cricket look simple and elegant, it’s his temperament that defines his game.
It may appear premature to conclude, but Robin Uthappa may well be on route to script a mesmerizing comeback in national colors. With opening woes continuing to haunt the Indian team, Uthappa may be the man to offer the selectors much-needed respite. What remains to be seen is whether the timing of his peaking has been as immaculate and rewarding as that of his on-field strokes.
source: http://www.sportskeeda.com / SportsKeeda / Home> Opinion> Cricket> IPL / Ishan Sen – Cricket Analyst (Senior Correspondent) / May 19th, 2014
Kaliyanda team — winners of Thathanda Hockey Tournament.
Kaliyanda team has won the Thathanda Hockey Tournament by defeating Palanganda team by 2-0 goals at the finals played at Junior College Grounds here yesterday.
The winning team got a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh and the trophy and the runners-up received a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 and a trophy.
It may be recalled that Kaliyanda team had won the Pandanda Cup at the inaugural Kodava Hockey Namme in 1997.
The finals began with both the teams playing briskly but Biddappa of Kaliyanda team scored the first goal at the 10th minute itself.
In the second-half at the 23rd minute, Biddappa again second a goal to take the tally to 2-0 and Palanganda team could not fight back despite getting seven penalty corners.
Inanda Lala Aiyanna and Anjaparavanda Karyappa were the referees for the Tournament.
source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Star of Mysore / Home> Sports News / May 19th, 2014
May 22nd, 2014Sports
Indian Army’s BC Tilak, who hails from Coorg, won the men’s title for Indian athletes while finishing 12th overall in a time of 30 minutes, 26 seconds. Anish Thapa (30:38) from Meghalaya and Nitendra Singh Rawat (30:47) from Uttarakhand finished second and third respectively.
In the women’s section, Swati Gadhave (37:22), Jayashree Boragee (37:35) and Supriya Patil (37:46) finished in that order among the Indians. National camper Sini Ajit Markose finished fourth.
Results (top-10): Men: 1. BC Tilak (30:26), 2. Anish Thapa (30:38), 3. Nitendra Singh Rawat (30:47), 4. Arjun Pradhan (31:05), 5. VL Dangi (31:17), 6. Soji Mathew (31:20), 7. Ajay Bir Singh (31:24), 8. Belliappa AB (31:32), 9. Yogendra Kumar (31:43), 10. Bahadur Singh Dhoni (31:46).
Women: 1. Swati Gadhave (37:22), 2. Jayashree Boragee (37:35), 3. Supriya Patil (37:46), 4. Sini Ajit Markose (37:53), 5. Kiran Sahdev (37:54), 6. Pooja Ramesh Varde (38:14), 7. Neelam Rajput (38:31), 8. Minaxi Patil (38:39), 9. Rohini Raut (38:57), 10. Monika Raut (39:01).
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> Sports> More Sports> Athletics / TNN / May 18th, 2014
Kolkata Knight Riders’ Robin Uthappa starred as Mumbai Indians’ hopes of defending their Indian Premier League title received another blow.
With only four matches remaining, Mumbai languish second from bottom in the table, four points adrift of the top-four spot that would see them qualify for the play-offs and a chance to retain the crown they won 12 months ago.
Occupying that fourth spot are their opponents on Wednesday, who were grateful to a sublime 80 from opening batsman Uthappa as they eased to a victory target of 142 with six wickets and eight balls to spare.
After winning the toss in Cuttack, Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir opted to field and he was rewarded early on when Chidhambaram Gautam was caught at cover off the bowling of Morne Morkel (2-35) for eight in the third over.
Lendl Simmons (12) followed soon afterwards, bowled after aiming an ugly swipe at Shakib Al Hasan.
The Bangladeshi went on to record figures of 1-21 from his four overs as he and spin partner Sunil Narine kept the Mumbai total in check.
Narine was even more economical, taking 1-18 from his four, including the prize scalp of Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma.
Rohit, badly dropped at long on by Yusuf Pathan when on 11, played patiently for his 51 from 45 balls, before attempting an unorthodox paddle shot against the West Indian and seeing the ball crash into his stumps.
Uthappa and Gambhir got the reply off to a strong start, looking untroubled in reaching a stand of 50 before the skipper chopped a Harbhajan Singh delivery onto his stumps to depart for 14.
Harbhajan also accounted for Manish Pandey (14) in the same manner on his way to taking 2-22, but by then the hosts were looking in control at 96-2 with almost six overs remaining and Uthappa well-set on 64.
In the next over, the wicketkeeper-batsman took the game further away from Mumbai, driving Simmons for consecutive sixes over the off side, before the West Indian had the final say, cleaning up Uthappa as he looked for another expansive stroke.
It did little to disrupt Kolkata’s charge to victory, Pathan pulling Lasith Malinga (1-30) to the fence to finish 20 not out and seal a comfortable win for the Knight Riders, while Mumbai’s hopes of play-off qualification are looking increasingly in danger.
source: http://www.sportal.co.nz / Sportal / Home> Cricket / by Sportal / May 15th, 2014
The team will also feature sprinter H M Jyothi, and high jumper Sahana Kumari.
The squad: Men: 100M: Sanjay V, Sonith Menden. 200M: Sajjin V, Sanjay V. 400M: Sachin JP, Sajjin V, Jayaprakash Shetty. 800M: Ranjan Kariappa. 1500M: Ranjan Kariappa, Girish Ramachandran. 110M hurdles: MK Sumanth, Srikanth Madyastha. 400M hurdles: Jagadish, Prashanth Kumar. High jump: Harshith S, Chetan B, Suprith Raj. Pole vault: P Balakrishna. Long jump: Arshad, Rositto Sax. Triple jump: Karthik. 4x400M relay: Sajjin, Sachin, Jayaprakash Shetty, Jagadish, Prashanth Kumar (reserve).
Women: 100M: Jyothi HM. 200M: Jyothi HM, Poovamma MR. 400M: Poovamma MR, Ashwini Akkunji, Vijayakumari. 800M: Sini A Markose, Mahalakshmi. 1500M: Sini A Markose. 100M hurdles: Meghana Shetty, Pragna Prakash. 400M hurdles: Arpitha. High jump: Sahana Kumari. Long jump: Aishwarya GM, Pragna Prakash. Triple jump: Joyline M Lobo. Heptathlon: Sahana Kumari, Varsha Shivashankar. 4x400M relay: Poovamma MR, Ashwini Akkunji, Vijayakumari, Arpitha, Sini A Markose. Coach: BP Aiyappa; Manager: Lakshmana M.
source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Sports / DHNS – Bangalore, May 13th, 2014
Robin Uthappa talks to Taus Rizvi about changes in his batting and his efforts to make comeback into national side
With scores of 47, 65, 47 you are back among runs in IPL…
Great to be opening. Frankly speaking, I deliver the best when when I open. Day in and day out, I have been working on my batting and my technique. I feel a lot more confident, sure about my skills and ability. I know, I will be able perform my role as an opening batsman. That is what is most important. Once you set good a foundation, you can build on from there. I am confident about playing well. Happy to repose faith having got an opportunity to open the innings.
Clearly, you were unhappy batting in the middle-order…
I am an opener. Opening the batting is what I do and is my bread and butter. It is here where I am comfortable the most.
Was it difficult to adjust after playing in the middle-order?
I wouldn’t say it’s difficult but it’s a challenge of a different kind. I played in the middle-orderin the last two IPLs. It was quite new for me, but had to do it since the team had asked me to.
How is it opening the innings with Gautam Gambhir in Kolkata Knight Riders?
Gauti and I go way back opening for India. We were competing for the same same spot with Sachin, Ganguly, Sehwag. We share a healthy relationship. I enjoy opening with a lefty as it unsettles the bowlers and gives opportunity to score. The left-right combination is always good.
You have changed your style of batting. Earlier, you would deal only in sixes and boundaries and now you have adopted a cautious approach. What prompted the change.
I am still aggressive but I don’t need to go hammer tongs when I can played good cricketing shots and still score runs. I think in the last couple of years, I have cleaned up my technique and learnt to respect the ball, bowlers and the wickets on merit. Play true to the merit and that is when you get the best chance to score. I am aware about the fields, what the bowlers are bowling. I keep it simple now and there is no need to panic. I do what I need to do for the team and that’s the approach which you can say is a lot more calmer.
You have a different stance now. What other technical changes have you made to your batting?
I have changed quite a lot actually. About the stance — two or three different set ups in technique for (different) bowling and pitches. I have been taking some time. That is one of the reason I am feeling confident and sure of the all work and the hours I have put in. I feel strongly about my skills — batting, shot selection and mindset. Have gone into a lot of details — changed my feet position, initial movements depending on the bounce on the wicket.
You have been working with Pravin Amre. What has been his role in the new ‘Robin Uthappa’?
Choosing to work with Amre sir was my best decision. He is someone who practically helped me change my game, from where it used to be to where it is now. I am very grateful to him. He has worked hard with me and has been patient. I know him since my days with the junior Indian team. There is a certain comfort level which I don’t share with anyone else. As his pupil, I have complete faith and trust in him. He gave me things on the platter and asked me to pick whatever I like the most, which is what I have done.
You are 28 and have been wanting to make a comeback to the Indian team. How far is that destination?
Frankly, I think with the talent I used to have, I played maximum to the potential. But now, I have cleaned up my technique. Today, I feel it is the start of my journey and there is no specific destination. The destination will be when I am done (with cricket) but I am far from done as I am in the best shape of my life, being skillfull, I have to continue working hard. Right now, I am happy enjoying my game putting in hard work. There are no ulterior reasons for playing cricket but I am enjoying and loving it more.
source: http://www.dnaindia.com/ DNA / Home> Sport / Place:Mumbai, Agency:DNA / Sunday – May 11th, 2014
Top woman shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa and Grandmaster Tania Sachdev participated in the ‘Wings for Life’ World Marathon competition, that was flagged off from Sonepat, Haryana, on Sunday.
For both Ashwini and Tania, it was their first tryst with a marathon and both seemed excited to be a part of a very noble cause. The proceeds from the event will go to the ‘Wings for Life’ a foundation that carried out research to find a cure for spinal cord related injuries.
“It’s an amazing feeling to take part in the marathon. I don’t know how long I will be running but it will be a unique experience for me. I had been so busy with my playing schedule that I have never been able to find time to participate in any marathon events earlier. I hope it’s a memorable first for me,” said Ashwini, who recently claimed the women’s doubles bronze in the Asian Badminton Championship pairing up with Jwala Gutta.
On the achievement, Ashwini said, “It came at the right time for us. It will be a great confidence booster for me and Jwala ahead of the CWG.”
source: http://www.asianage.com / The Asian Age / Home> Sports> Other Sports / by Age Correspondent / May 05th, 2014
One week in the city she loves and Joshna Chinappa feels rejuvenated. Spending time in Chennai is always special for her. The IPL flavour has hit the country but not her. Joshna prefers to stay away from the idiot box and trains at a doubles camp in the city. One week is up, the bags are packed and she is off to England to get more training ahead of the British Open which starts on May 14.
In between all this hustle, she takes time out to share her experiences. Forty minutes, a gruelling match and a victory, that’s how long it took for Joshna to bag her ninth WSA tour title at the Country Club of Virginia. The World No 21, seeded second, upset former world champion and top seed Rachael Grinham to win the Richmond Open recently.
The win was all the more memorable as it was Joshna’s first win against the Australian in six meetings and came just a week after she lost to the same opponent in Texas. “I have moved past that win,” she says. “I have lost to Rachael many times before. It was good to finally beat her in a final.”
So what’s different this time around? “I was a lot more relaxed and did not take any pressure. I didn’t make specific changes. Just played the way I wanted to. Staying calm was the key. The plan was to keep the ball tight, for she is a very crafty player and has had a good season,” Joshna adds.
A household name of squash in India, it’s been a dream run for the Coorgi this year. She broke into the top-20, won two WSA titles and is looking to add many more to her kitty. “It has been one of my best seasons so far. I hope to move further up the rankings. It’s only May and there are seven more months to go. I hope to take this good form further.”
Considering that the Commonwealth and Asian Games are just around the corner, her form is encouraging. “A medal depends on how well you play on that day. But I feel I have a good chance of winning in the individual category and a much higher chance of bagging a medal in doubles at the Commonwealth Games.”
Three years ago, she injured her knee and had to take a break for almost 10 months. Her ranking dipped to 71. But Joshna isn’t one to give up and soon after, she was back doing what she loves the most.
“I definitely wanted to play again. Never thought of quitting but I also didn’t think I would make it to the top 20. In the beginning, it was tough as I could not even walk properly. So I moved to Mumbai to start afresh. Everything was new there. I worked with an Egyptian trainer and he is one of the reasons I play squash today,” she recalls.
It was worth all the pain as she made a phenomenal comeback which included winning more national championships, a much-awaited title in Chennai, WSA crowns and being honoured with the Arjuna Award. “Winning in Chennai was special because though I am a Coorgi, I am a squash player because of this city. That was a great way to make a comeback,” she says.
On promoting the sport, she said, “We need more tournaments in India so that top players come here. That’s how squash will grow in India. The sport is most focussed in Chennai, that’s why we have many players emerging from the city. It should be the same throughout the country,” she adds. For now, it’s over to England.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Sport / by Krithika Gopalkrishnan – Chennai / May 05th, 2014
When Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the local boy, wasn’t sure of what to expect from the surface ahead of Chennai Super King’s clash against Kolkata Knight Riders at the JSCA International Stadium on Friday night (May 2), it would be hard to think of many who got their prediction right.
In that sense, the toss was vital. But as the rain came down shortly after the spin of the coin, Kolkata may have thought it was, perhaps, a good toss to lose.
Chennai posted 148 courtesy Brendon McCullum’s 56 and a late blitz by Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in their stipulated 17 overs, and Kolkata blazed away to 35 off the first four overs. But losing the wickets of Jacques Kallis, Manish Pandey and Shakib Al Hasan in the space of five deliveries to a succession of poor strokes meant even a spirited effort by Robin Uthappa and a late burst by Yusuf Pathan went in vain.
That meant Kolkata slumped to their fourth loss in six matches to slide further down in a crowded mid-table in the Pepsi IPL 2014 standings. The 34-run defeat also severely dented their net run-rate, taking it into the negatives.
“When you are chasing a score as big as that in 17 overs, you need to carry the momentum through. But losing wickets in bunches didn’t help our cause and took the game away from us,” said Uthappa soon after the match. “I thought we were left chasing far too many in the last four overs. With the ball, our best bowlers did well, but I thought we could have pulled it back a bit.”
Play began an hour and 40 minutes late. The steady pitter-patter of rain meant the outfield was slightly greasy despite the best efforts of the ground staff, which is why Gautam Gambhir’s decision to operate with his spinners for the first six overs came as a surprise. But Uthappa, who spent considerable time at the wicket in his sparkling 47, backed his captain’s call.
“The wicket was dry and was definitely turning. If you saw balls that were bowled slowly, there was a lot of grip and turn,” he reasoned. “Even later on, when there was dew, (Ravindra) Jadeja got the ball to spin sharply and took four wickets. It was definitely a spin-friendly wicket, but there was also lot of bounce, which made it good for batting. We just kept losing wickets.”
As the discussion drifted towards his own form, Uthappa was forthright in his preference to open the batting, and felt it added an extra dimension to his game.
Up until Friday, Uthappa looked off colour while batting lower down the order. It wasn’t as if he was in poor form, but the growing pressure to up the scoring rate and damage the limitation, at times, meant he had to take his chances, which didn’t come off.
“Opening is what I feel comfortable with… I know how to approach and read the game while batting at the top,” he opined. “Setting a foundation is like second nature to me. I’ve been in good form and when I’m opening, I feel I have complete control over my game. In that sense, middle order challenges you a lot more. But then I’m happy to do whatever the team wants from me, whether it’s batting at No. 6 or No. 7. It is important to be flexible in T20 cricket and I’ve grown to understand that.”
Despite the loss, Uthappa chose to look at the positives. Up until the game against Chennai, Yusuf tallied 14 runs in three innings. He was also left out of the side for one game, but upon being brought back, he finally struck form with a valiant 29-ball 41, which included four towering sixes. While it didn’t make a difference to the end result, Uthappa acknowledged Yusuf’s efforts and his importance to the remaining matches.
“I think in T20s, it is important to back your instincts. We need to give ourselves a chance and I thought that is where Yusuf did well for us today. He ate up a few balls at the start, but made up nicely in the end,” said Uthappa. “It’s good to see him get his form back. Tournament-wise, it is important to peak at the right time. We’ve seen positive signs of that happening.
“In a tournament like this, you have to always be ready to experience close games. In the six games, we have played a few close ones. Against RCB, we were in no position to win, but we stole the game. Then unfortunately we couldn’t pull it off against Rajasthan Royals in the Super Over. But then, you can’t be emotional about it. As a unit, there is a healthy vibe and I am sure we will bounce back.”
source: http://www.wisdenindia.com / Wisden India / Home> News Flash / by Wisden India Staff / Rachi – May 03rd, 2014
Chinappa finally managed a win against Grinham…
Joshna Chinappa ended a career-long losing run against Rachael Grinham, beating her 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 in the final to win the inaugural Richmond Open. She is not all happy though, as the fact that the sport isn’t growing in the country makes her sad.
Eyeing her first major title, Dipika Pallikal slipped in the final hurdle, losing 7-11, 11-5, 7-11 in the final against Nour El Sherbini in the Texas Open. In Egypt, Sourav Ghosal gave World No. 1 Gregory Gaultier a scare before eventually succumbing 11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8 in an opening round contest in the Professional Squash Association World Series event.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sports / by A.S. Ganesh / May 02nd, 2014
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