View comments “We overwhelmed them with our size,” Cone said after a 105-92 ripping of the Fuel Masters that gave the Kings a fifth straight win and allowed them to stay in the upper half of the elimination round bracket at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Wednesday night.“It’s the strength that we have, which nobody else has,” Cone added after Ginebra rose to 5-1 and tied idle Meralco, as both are now within a win of advancing to the quarterfinals. “I guess if we will win this tournament, it will be because of our size.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutGinebra came out of the halftime break a very different team, breaking free from a 53-50 game to eventually deal the Fuel Masters a seventh straight loss in a 2-7 card.“San Miguel (Beer) has great size with June Mar (Fajardo),” Cone pointed out. “But we will have to take advantage of our size. It’s the same thing I had with Purefoods with (Marc) Pingris and Joe (Devance), only this time, we are really big.” Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Read Next WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Walker did finish with 33 points, but was 10-for-26 from the field in almost 43 minutes as the TNT perimeter defense forced him to a 1-for-6 clip from three-point range.Meanwhile, with Sept. 1 declared a holiday, the PBA extended the deadline of Draft aspirants based abroad or with foreign lineage until the end of office hours on Monday, Sept. 4. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:11’Not just basketball’: Circumcisions, pageants at Philippine courts01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Tim Cone had Barangay Ginebra using the very weapon on Phoenix Petroleum which the Gin Kings hope to ride to repeat as PBA Governors’ Cup champs.ADVERTISEMENT Japeth Aguilar had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and the 7-foot Greg Slaughter scattered 14 that went with 11 boards as the Kings humiliated the Fuel Masters in the rebounding battle, 76-47.In the first game, TNT KaTropa routed Blackwater, 117-96, to snap the Elite’s franchise-best winning run at three games.“I think they just caught us on a good day,” TNT coach Nash Racela said.Blackwater is now 0-9 against TNT all-time, and the Texters made the Elite look so bad as they built leads of as many as 27 points.TNT bottled up Blackwater’s inspiration, Henry Walker, no end and forced the NBA veteran into a sour shooting night. In dropping to 3-4, Blackwater lost for the first time in four games with Walker around.ADVERTISEMENT Mayweather-McGregor a ‘shameless cash grab’ LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC
“As an import, I’m not satisfied,” Pingris said in Filipino after Star suffered a 98-74 beatdown in Game 2 Tuesday night.Acox is known for his rebounding and that’s also the primary reason why Star opted to replace the prolific scorer Malcolm Hill.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHe is posting 14 boards a game in the semis. But with the situation that his team is in, he needs to do more than that if the Hotshots would keep their season alive in Game 3 on Thursday.On the other hand, Allen Durham is playing like the reigning Best Import and is showing why he’s tipped to win the award again. Stalzer returns to PSL, jumps ship from Foton to Petron BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City MOST READ LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Read Next PBA IMAGESVeteran Star forward Marc Pingris wants to see more production from import Kris Acox, who has been subpar in the Hotshots’ semifinals series against the Meralco Bolts.Through two games, Acox only has had little to show on offense, averaging just 8 points on 35% shooting from the field.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients “It’s going to be hard [to win in Game 3] but we’re going to try. It’s really going to be tough.” Durham has been nothing short but menacing, averaging 22 points, 24 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the semis.But the Hotshots’ woes aren’t just due to Acox’s poor play.Pingris said the locals should also step up.In Game 2, Star only had two players in double-digit scoring with Mark Barroca tallying 16 points. The other was Mon Abundo, the third-string point guard, who got extended playing time with Paul Lee nursing a left knee injury.“We also need to help him (Acox). It shouldn’t be just all him. The locals also need to help out,” said Pingris, who also has his fair share of struggles in the series, averaging 4.5 points and 5.5 rebounds.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES View comments
John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding PBA IMAGESANTIPOLO — On a night where almost every San Miguel player struggled to buy a basket, Chico Lanete emerged as the lone offensive bright spot for the Beermen on Sunday.Inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this conference, the 38-year-old guard was the latest Beermen to step up to the plate, drilling four treys to help his crew hack out a hard-fought 77-76 victory over Magnolia.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Read Next AFP official booed out of forum “I just repaid the trust coach gave me so that I can bring that to our next game,” Lanete, the Zamboanga native, said in Filipino after finishing with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists, and four steals.Lanete influence in the game in a big way, capping his performance with a clutch triple from the left wing with 1:31 remaining that gave San Miguel a 73-71 lead to hold off Magnolia.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutDespite shooting 31 percent from the field, the Beermen were able to pull off the close win to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup standings at 6-1.READ: Beermen regain top spot, halt Hotshots’ run LATEST STORIES Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH MOST READ Beermen regain top spot, halt Hotshots’ 5-game run Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Chico is a veteran and we had the right timing to insert him after that timeout,” said SMB coach Leo Austria, who expected nothing less from the 11-year PBA veteran given his wealth of experience.Lanete, however, said that he’s just trying his best to live up to Austria’s expectations as the Beermen try to stay afloat with their star guard Alex Cabagnot still recovering from plantar fasciitis.“Alex is really a big help for our team. I’m just making the most of the opportunity given to me,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance01:46US defense chief agrees it’s time to take another look at defense pact with PH01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises
Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games “We have to be ready and we have to prepare hard.”Austria is aware of the challenge they are about to face in seeking the franchise’s second Grand Slam since 1989. He believes that the wheeling and dealing among the teams in the off-season was done with his Beermen in the crosshairs.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“There are so many teams that built up their rosters,” said Austria, whose squad will parade the stocky Wendell McKines for the final conference starting July 19.A dynasty has certainly been established with the Beermen’s Game 6 series-clinching win over TNT KaTropa. It was San Miguel’s 24th title overall and the Beermen’s fifth in the last eight conferences—all under Austria. Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend View comments Castro says TNT’s young players will learn a lot from finals loss LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ MOST READ China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena “Nice that you said that,” Austria said in jest. “[My contract] is expiring at the end of the season.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Coach Leo Austria and Finals MVP Alex Cabagnot celebrate on center court —AUGUST DELA CRUZThe euphoria has certainly died down a bit, and with less than three weeks before the last PBA jewel is put up for grabs, San Miguel Beer will have its work cut out.“It (Grand Slam) is in the minds of so many people,” coach Leo Austria said on Sunday night after the Beermen lined themselves up for a shot at a Triple Crown sweep, just the sixth in the pro league’s 42-year history.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. What ‘missteps’?
How fitting.Kvitova was a bit overwhelmed by the whole scene as she returned to the site of her two Grand Slam titles, a little more than six months after being cut by a knife-wielding intruder at her home in the Czech Republic. Still unable to clench her hand for celebratory fist pumps or grip her racket fully, Kvitova came back to the All England Club and beat Johanna Larsson 6-3, 6-4.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsAll five fingers on the lefty’s racket-swinging hand were injured in the late December attack. At the time, Kvitova was told there was a possibility she might not play tennis again.Scars on that hand serve as a reminder of what happened, and she thinks the cream that she often rubs on her hands during changeovers — something she’s long done, even before the stabbing — might help her improve her grip strength. LATEST STORIES Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend She acknowledged dealing with some jitters at the outset against Larsson, a Swede who is ranked 53rd. That might have led to three early double-faults.But Kvitova quickly found her game and was on her way. And she noticed that the crowd, clearly familiar with what she went through not that long ago, cheered even more loudly than usual for her.She’s popular among British bookmakers, too: Some have made her the favorite to take home the trophy in two weeks’ time.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong MOST READ View comments Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Nikki Valdez rushes self to ER due to respiratory tract infection LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Suns sign draft pick Josh Jackson, guard Mike James Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova celebrates after winning her Women’s Singles Match against Sweden’s Johanna Larsson, on the opening day at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London Monday, July 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)LONDON — The surgeon who repaired Petra Kvitova’s left hand was in the Centre Court stands to watch her win in Wimbledon’s first round on Monday.“It was very nice that he sat in the box for my match. It was a special one,” Kvitova said. “I’m really glad that he took the invitation. He came with his wife to support me here.”ADVERTISEMENT She first returned to practice a little before the French Open, then began her competitive comeback in Paris in late May. A tournament title came next, on grass courts at Birmingham, England, in June.Those were both important milestones, to be sure.It was still a thrill to play once again at Wimbledon, where she won the championship in 2011 and 2014.“It was beautiful to be back on the court, playing my game, on the beautiful Centre Court, of course,” the 11th-seeded Kvitova said. “I couldn’t wish (for) more.”After winning Birmingham, she pulled out of a tuneup tournament at Eastbourne, citing an abdominal injury she thinks was a result of having the unwanted time off to begin the season.ADVERTISEMENT
Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Cody Allen, right, is congratulated by catcher Yan Gomes after the Indians defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 in a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)CLEVELAND — The crowd of 30,459 stood and cheered as Cody Allen fanned Trey Mancini for the final out.Make it 17 in a row for the Cleveland Indians.ADVERTISEMENT Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Baltimore rookie Gabriel Ynoa (1-1), making his first start of the season, allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings. The Orioles were three games out in the wild-card race entering play.Giovanny Urshela’s third-inning double tied it at 1. Carlos Santana scored on Bruce’s single past a drawn-in infield, and then added an RBI double in the fifth.Lindor hit his 28th homer in the seventh.The Indians nearly pulled off two spectacular defensive plays in the first. Urshela, playing second base for the first time in the majors, made a diving stop behind the bag of Manny Machado’s ground ball. Throwing from his back, Urshela nearly got Machado at first.Machado took third on Adam Jones’ single. Mancini hustled down the line to beat a strong throw from shortstop Lindor, who ranged behind second for his grounder.The Indians went 11-0 on a road trip that ended Thursday. Cleveland extended the streak with a 5-0 win Friday in the opener of a 10-game homestand.ROLLING ALONGCleveland slugger Edwin Encarnacion singled in the seventh and has reached base via a hit or walk in 32 consecutive games.FOR STARTERSOrioles right fielder Austin Hays made his first big league start, batting ninth and going 0 for 2. A third-round pick in the 2016 draft, Hays hit .329 with 32 homers and 95 RBIs before his promotion from Double-A Bowie. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side NEXT MAN UPCleveland’s winning streak has come with a pair of 2017 All-Stars on the disabled list — ace reliever Andrew Miller (right knee tendinitis) and left fielder Michael Brantley (sprained right ankle). Second baseman Jason Kipnis (strained right hamstring) is also on the DL.“I remember there was a day in here a while back and I said something about this could be our time to shine,” manager Terry Francona said. “Guys get chances that maybe wouldn’t of before.”TRAINER’S ROOMIndians: 2B Jose Ramirez (sore wrist) missed his third straight game. He hit seven homers and drove in nine runs during the team’s unbeaten road trip.UP NEXTBaltimore right-hander Jeremy Hellickson makes his eighth start since being acquired from Philadelphia on July 28. He is 2-3 with a 6.87 ERA with the Orioles. Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer seeks to extend his career-long winning streak to nine games. He is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in four career starts against Baltimore.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side LATEST STORIES Francisco Lindor homered and Allen finished off another impressive performance for Cleveland’s bullpen, helping the Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 on Saturday for their 17th straight victory.“It’s one of crazy those things where you’re just playing good baseball,” said Allen, who earned his 25th save. “We’re not really thinking about it as much as you guys are.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingCleveland’s franchise-record streak is the longest in the majors since Oakland won 20 straight in 2002. The longest streak in baseball history belongs to the New York Giants, who had a 26-game run in 1916, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Giants’ streak included a tie, which doesn’t count as a game in baseball.Jay Bruce’s fourth-inning single put the Indians ahead to stay, and Josh Tomlin (9-9) pitched into the sixth to win his fifth consecutive decision. View comments Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul “It’s kind of weird, but it’s also a lot of fun,” Tomlin said.The Indians haven’t lost since Aug. 23. They have outscored their opponents 118-30 during the streak, but their latest win was a close one.The Orioles jumped in front on Mancini’s infield hit in the first. It was the first time since Cleveland’s last loss that the Indians didn’t score first.Tomlin was pulled after Tim Beckham’s 20th homer leading off the sixth. Five relievers then combined for four innings of one-hit ball.“They’re a heck of a team, man,” Beckham said. “They have everything they need to win ballgames. You just give it your all and don’t waste any at-bats because you can’t afford to.”ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Messi nets 3, Dembele debuts as Barcelona routs Espanyol
Five-time champion Viswanathan Anand had to be content with a second place finish following a draw with Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia in the 13th and final round of 73rd Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands.Viswanathan AnandThe World Champion could draw a big consolation from the fact that he would be the number one ranked player all over again as the results here proved that he will be overtaking world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the next rating list.Hikaru Nakamura of United States won the title after drawing his final round game with Wang Hao of China.Nakamura tallied 9 points in all, a half point more than Anand in this category-20 super tournament between 14-players.The American not only performed way beyond his rating of 2751 but also finished ahead of the world’s top four ranked players.Anand got the better position with his black pieces but could not find a breakthrough AS Nepomniachtchi simply got an impregnable position in the endgame arising out of a Sicilian defense game.The Indian ace settled for a draw in 37 moves.”Disappointing,” Anand said after the final results were out.”When I reached a plus-four score (Four wins and rest draws), I felt I was well on my way to a final victory but Hikaru just kept winning, picking up six points in a row, which was quite amazing.”But I’m not unhappy; it’s difficult to be unhappy with a plus-four score. It’s a pity I didn’t manage to win the tournament but I think I performed above my rating, which isn’t bad at all,” the World Champion said.advertisementThe third place was shared by Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian of Armenia who both scored 8 points apiece. The last round of the tournament turned out to be a damp with all the games ending in draws for the first time in the event this year.- With PTI inputs
The ICC on Monday confirmed its decision to relocate the venue for the India versus England World Cup match, which had been originally scheduled for Eden Gardens in Kolkata on 27 February. It will now take place in Bangalore on the same date. M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.The match was earlier moved from Eden Gardens after the International Council of Cricket (ICC) deemed it unfit to host the clash.On the basis of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recommendation, the ICC has confirmed that the match will now take place at in Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium.The ICC has also outlined a schedule of works that need to be carried out at Eden Gardens before taking final decision on the other three matches — Ireland-South Africa (March 15), Ireland-Holland (March 18) and Kenya-Zimbabwe (March 20) — scheduled in the city.An ICC press release quoting ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said, “This decision now clarifies and gives us certainty over the fixture.”An inspection team will now visit Kolkata on February 7 to assess the progress in line with the latest schedule.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday said they will badly miss “street-smart” Praveen Kumar in the upcoming World Cup as the pacer has been ruled out of cricket’s showpiece event due to an elbow injury.Praveen, who has been a vital cog in India’s ODI scheme of things for a little over three years and was certain in India’s seam attack in the World Cup, was ruled out on Monday after failing to recover from an elbow injury which he sustained during the South Africa tour.”It is very unfortunate that Praveen had to miss the World Cup. He featured consistently in the ODIs for us. He is a street-smart cricketer and he will miss him a lot,” Dhoni said during a pre-tournament press conference in Bangalore.”But you can’t really restrict injuries from happening to players,” he added.Without mentioning the names, he also indicated that Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar all have recovered from their injuries and will be totally fit by the time India play their tournament-opener against Bangladesh in Dhaka on February 19.”A few players are suffering from slight niggles, which is always there but nothing serious. Hopefully, nothing major happens to any player,” the skipper said.The World Cup has come in for its share of criticism from some quarters for its length which spans around 45 days, but Dhoni reiterated that a perfect scheduling is always difficult to churn out and the rest period between matches will help the players to recover from their niggles.advertisement”As I have said earlier it is very difficult to form a perfect schedule and format. A tournament schedule will be either too long or too short but I am quite happy with the schedule. It will give us time to recover from small niggles,” he insisted.Dhoni also reiterated that pressure for his side is added responsibility and will not be a deterrent in their World Cup quest after 28 long years.”It (pressure) is an added responsibility. Whenever you play for India there is always pressure. But the good thing is that we have a very experienced team. Most of the guys have been there for 5-7 years and know how to handle pressure. We have some talented youngsters who can change the course of any game,” he said.Asked about the heavy burden of responsibility on his own shoulders in the tournament, the wicket-keeper batsman said, “I have been doing it for the last four-and-a-half, five years.”He refused to give importance to the fact that the World Cup is being held at home after 15 years and said the event is just any other tournament for the Indian team.”There is a lot of hype and expectation around the World Cup. But every series we have played so far there is always lot of expectation. Expectations will always be there but we need to consider it just as a big tournament,” Dhoni said.The Indian skipper said to taste success in the World Cup what India need is right strategies and not worry about other factors. Sachin TendulkarAsked whether the team had special feeling for the tournament, which expectedly is coach Gary Kirsten’s last assignment with the Indian cricket team and also swansong World Cup for batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, the skipper replied in the negative.”Feel is the same irrespective of what is the position. We are concentrating on our preparation rather than thinking about other things. We are quite good at distracting ourselves from all issues,” Dhoni said.He also said that as of now all the 12 countries have equal chances but as the tournament progresses the sub-continent teams will have an edge because of the climatic conditions.”It is cooler now but as we come to the middle of the tournament it will be hotter,” he added.With four formidable and three not-so-strong teams featuring in both the pools, many are of the view that the real excitement and competitiveness in the World Cup will start only from the quarterfinals but the India captain feels otherwise.”For us the World Cup will start from game one and not quarter-finals. Many are saying that group matches will be boring but these small (teams) surprised in the 2007 World Cup. So wait and watch what they can do,” Dhoni said.Asked about potential threat for India, he refused to pinpoint any country and said all the teams will approach tournament with a positive frame of mind.”All the teams are dangerous. As a team it is always better to back your strength. I think most of the teams will go with a strong bowling attack,” Dhoni said.advertisementTerming himself a big fan of ODI cricket, Dhoni said powerplay is a thing to watch out for in the World Cup.”I am a big fan of 50-over cricket. It is a mix of Test cricket and T20. You see glimpses of both Test and T20 in ODIs. I love ODIs but it doesn’t mean I don’t like Test or T20.”With PTI inputs
While many players from Test-playing nations yearn to make a single appearance at the World Cup, it is his sheer grit, talent and determination that has seen Kenya’s Steve Tikolo represent the associate country in as many as four World Cups.It was his astute captaincy that saw him lead the African country to the semi-finals of the 2003 edition but Tikolo feels it was the management of the game in the country that took its eye off the ball when Kenya were on their way up the cricketing ladder.”The management let us down after our performance in the 2003 World Cup. While most teams would use the platform to take the leap into the next level and try to get Test status, we remained an associate nation. We failed to capitalise on the big break and internal politics broke the team down,” Tikolo said.”It was evident in the 2004 Champions Trophy and that was the reason I quit captaincy and led the players’ strike against the management. While others teams have grown from strength to strength, we went down over the years,” he said.While his return to international cricket from retirement hints at the lack of talented youngsters coming up, Tikolo believes financial constraints have also played a part.”There is definitely a lack of talent at the grassroots level but that has more to do with financial limitations more than anything else. If we had the financial backing like may be the Indian team has had over the years, I am sure more players would come into the fold. At present not too many people are keen to play cricket in Kenya,” he said.Being the only player to have played in each one of Kenya’s 23 matches in the World Cup, Tikolo will definitely be under pressure, but he doesn’t want to get bogged down.”I have been there and seen it all so I know what to do. Pressure of performing is something I have become used to. It doesn’t really affect me. I will just use all my experience to bring out the best in me and hope that I can help the team put up a good performance,” the 39-year-old said.Commenting on the youngsters to watch out for, Tikolo said: “We have three really talented players. While spinner Shem Ngoche will be shouldering the bowling responsibilities – especially with the sub-continent wickets helping the slow bowlers – Tanmay Mishra and Alex Obanda are promising batsmen,” he said.Tikolo feels the team has had a good preparatory camp in Dubai and the warmup matches in Sri Lanka will definitely stand them in good stead.”We had a very good time in Dubai and the facilities at the ICC academy there was top-class. Further, acclimatisation has been taken proper care of by the ICC as they arranged two warm-up games for us. Although we didn’t win our matches, we got a feel of the wickets in the sub-continent,” he said.”Also, the trip to India in early January helped us immensely as many of our guys got a feel of sub-continent conditions for the first time.”advertisement