South African judge will hear Ganguly ban dispute

Dispute over the six-match ban on Ganguly over his team’s repeated slow over rates

A South African judge has been appointed to hear a dispute over a ban on Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, the International Cricket Council announced on Tuesday.

Justice Albie Sachs will be the sole member of an ICC disputes resolution committee to hear the dispute over the six-match ban on Ganguly over his team’s repeated slow over rates, according to an ICC statement.

Ganguly was penalised by match referee Chris Broad during a one-day series against Pakistan at home in April, a decision upheld by the ICC’s appeals commissioner Michael Beloff.

But the Indian board asked the ICC for arbitration, citing flaws in the process by which the charge and the appeal were heard.

Ganguly, who sat out the last two games of that series, will have to miss four matches of a tri-series against the West Indies and hosts Sri Lanka starting on July 30 if the ban is not overturned.

The skipper was banned after his team took 30 extra minutes to bowl the stipulated 50 overs in two successive games.

In November last year, Ganguly was banned for two Tests for a similar offence, but his appeal against match referee Clive Lloyd’s decision was upheld by another ICC commissioner, Tim Castle.

Justice Sachs would decide on the format and timeframe for the hearing and his decision would be final, the ICC statement said.…

Stewart wins third race of the year at New Hampshire

Once again, the 34-year-old Stewart climbed the fence. Since Loudon isn’t Daytona, when he reached the top of the fence, he couldn’t just climb into the flag stand. This time he had to clamber over and onto the stairs leading to the stand, where he grabbed the checkered flag, waved it, pumped his fists and acted in general like a kid half his age. And a crowd of 100,000 at New Hampshire International Speedway roared its approval.

“Yes,” said Stewart, “it wore me out climbing up on the fence again. And, yes, I’m still too old and still too fat to be doing it. I’m going to have to hire a trainer because I do plan on winning some more races this year. So I’m not going to not do that that. I’m going to have to get a trainer so I feel better after I get up there.”

After starting 13th, he picked up seven positions in the first 20 laps and reached first place by lap 51. By race’s end, those behind Stewart were mainly left scratching their heads.

“They’ve run into something as of late,” said runner-up Kurt Busch. “He’s on a roll, and it’s hard to beat a guy when he’s in that zone.”

“Tony Stewart has won three of the last four,” said his teammate, and third-place finisher, Bobby Labonte, “but, trust me, it’s not easy.”

Once Again He Raises Himself

The race wasn’t completely without close competition. After all, there were the early laps when Stewart’s Chevrolet hadn’t reached the front yet. And late in the race, he actually seemed mortal for a few laps at the end of caution periods.

From lap 240 through 246, Stewart and Kurt Busch squared off in a breathtaking duel. The brothers Busch – Stewart jokingly called them Kyle “Shrub” and Kurt “Bigger Busch” afterward – double-teamed him and when Stewart pulled low to mute Kyle Busch’s run, Kurt leapfrogged from third all the way to first.

“It was as good as I thought,” Stewart said of his car. “This thing was awesome from the start. As soon we got to the front, I knew we had a great car, but you don’t know what they’re showing.”

The win was his second on this track and 22nd of Stewart’s career. He also won in Sonoma, Calif., and Daytona, and has posted finishes of second and fifth in his last five starts.

“We feel like we’re on top of the world,” crew chief Greg Zipadelli said.

Stewart began a run of dominance after passing Ryan Newman on the 51st lap. But Kurt Busch, trying to become the only driver to win three times on the track after sweeping the races last year, got by with 60 laps to go.

Zipadelli was asked whether he thought Stewart had taken too much out of his car.
“He just told me to relax, that he’d get back up there,” Zipadelli said.

Stewart did just that, reclaiming the lead after he and Kurt Busch banged twice five laps later. But he said he wasn’t as dominant late in the race because the other teams began adjusting and closing the gap.

The most defining moment of the race came when Stewart moved from fourth to second on lap 68 by passing Rusty Wallace on the outside and cutting inside Kyle Busch just a few hundred feet later.

Race leader Scott Wimmer nearly became Stewart’s third conquest of the lap. Wimmer barely kept the lead at the line, then Stewart went by less than a half-lap later.

His Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet led 232 of 300 laps and beat the Ford of Kurt Busch by 0.851 seconds on The Magic Mile. It was the eighth top-10 finish in the last 11 races for Stewart, third in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings.

Asked why he’s on such a roll, in victory lane, Stewart said, “Who cares? I’m just happy that we got it right now, to be honest. Hopefully, it will carry through to the Chase. We’ve got an awesome shot at winning this championship, and every one of these guys in the Home Depot uniforms behind me knows it.”

“I’ve got a lot of confidence,” said Stewart. “That’s because we’re not at a deficit anymore. We deserve now to be put in the category of the Roush and Hendrick teams.”

Kyle Busch came home fourth and Greg Biffle was fifth. Rounding out the top-10 were Kasey Kahne, Newman, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth.

The next event on the Nextel Cup schedule is the July 24 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race begins at 1:40 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by TNT.…

Michael Schumacher says championship is still achievable

Michael Schumacher insists the title race is anything but over but confessed the gap to the leading two manufacturers is still too wide.

The Ferrari ace was forced to settle for third place after watching championship leader Fernando Alonso disappear into the distance and eventually cross the line over a minute ahead of his F2005.

“We are quick enough to be in with a shout of victory, and this is obvious,” he said. “The gap to Alonso is wider than we would have liked and even Kimi’s form was striking,” admitted the seven-times world champion.

“Still, we have to be pleased with third place as the race could have gone worse. After the times we set on Friday and Saturday, I thought that we really were in with a chance of victory”.

The reigning champion believed that some improvements have been made. Qualifying, which had been one of Ferrari’s biggest concerns, saw much improved times on those from the previous races.

“Now we have to try to obtain good results and be competitive at every stage of the weekend,” he said. “We have already improved and there is no reason why we cannot continue to do so. The important thing is to persevere and believe in ourselves. We have to stay as calm as we have been until now and concentrate on the work to be done.”

Despite the odds, the German was not about to concede his championship crown just yet. “Firstly, the second half of the season begins now and logic dictates that the gap is still bridgeable. Secondly, I am a realist and as such am a lover of mathematics; there is still the probability of winning.

“Formula 1 is such a changeable sport that it would be foolish to give up on the title. We are not so foolish. As I have said, we have to focus on getting back to the top. We will be trying to do this at Silverstone this weekend”.

Out of the Ashes: The Remarkable Rise and Rise of the Afghanistan cricket team

Cool Runnings meets Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland in an inspiring and feel-good story of bravery

and sporting success from a country so widely known for war and extremism. This is the true story of the Afghanistan cricket team and their extraordinary attempt to join the world’s elite cricketing nations. That this devastated nation should be able to field a cricket team at all, let alone one as successful as this, is an unbelievable achievement. Seven years ago, in a country which does not have a real cricket pitch even today, there was no national team. But a group of young Afghan men, exiled by war, learnt to play in the smashed concrete of refugee camps, and have risen from obscurity to the groomed grass pitches of international cricket.

With unlimited access, Tim Albone travelled alongside the team for the two years, charting the players’ progress from refugees in Pakistan to the brink of international sporting stardom. Far from being bogged down in cricket jargon, this tale of a gang of dedicated, charismatic, occasionally exasperating young men seeking triumph out of disaster is one that will move and inspire everyone.

 

 

Buy Now at Amazon …

Australia beat England in the decider

Ausralia v/s England

Ausralia lead by 2-1

Cavalier Adam Gilchrist shows his batting abilities in the final

Australia won the deciding one-day international against England by eight wickets at The Oval here Tuesday to take the three-match series 2-1.

Set 229 to win, the world champions cruised to their target with more than 15 overs to spare.

Adam Gilchrist, scoring his first one-day international hundred in over a year, finished on 121 not out and Damien Martyn was unbeaten on 24.

Gilchrist faced just 101 balls with two sixes and 17 fours.

A cavalier Adam Gilchrist century and a return to bowling form from Jason Gillespie helped Australia to a comfortable victory in the third and final Natwest Challenge match at The Oval yesterday. Chasing England’s modest 228 the tourists passed the victory mark with eight wickets in hand and more than 15 overs to spare.

Australia won the series 2-1, completing a clean sweep of both one-day international tournaments after an embarrassing start to the tour that included losses to county side Somerset and international minnows Bangladesh. As at Lord’s, however, the Australians were back to their intimidating best and prevented England from obtaining any foothold in the match.

Adam Gilchrist was named man of the match for his 121 not out, made from just 101 deliveries and including 17 punishing fours and two sixes. Ricky Ponting, who made 43 and added 94 for the second wicket with Gilchrist, was awarded man of the series honours.

The extended one-day carnival now winds up and attention moves to the first Test match, commencing next Thursday at Lord’s. Their domination of England in the last two matches of the Natwest Challenge will be a big fillip for the tourists, who have a three-day tour match at Leicestershire before the Ashes campaign begins.

At The Oval, Ricky Ponting again called correctly and elected to bowl, a critical factor given the impact of the toss so far in this series and the newly-introduced ‘supersub’ rules. England nominated Vikram Solanki as their supersub, while Australia – with Matthew Hayden fit and playing – demoted Simon Katich to that role.

The Australian bowlers were again miserly and restricted England to 7/228, a score that was below par on a flat and lifeless Oval deck.

McGrath and Lee tied down England’s top order, their pressure inviting excessive caution, error and poor shot selection. Trescothick utilised a dozen balls without scoring before Lee tempted him to slash and top-edge to Kasprowicz at third-man. At the other end McGrath pinned down the English batsmen with four impeccable maidens. His fifth over was equally frugal and should have produced a wicket after Michael Vaughan lofted to Gillespie at fine leg, however the South Australian’s abysmal tour seemed to continue as he grassed a straight-forward chance.

McGrath was livid but the error didn’t cost Australia greatly, Vaughan (15 from 30) falling victim to an accurate throw from Ricky Ponting. Four overs later Strauss, after showing glimpses of good form, edged Kasprowicz through to Gilchrist, leaving England treacherously placed at 3/61 from 16.3 overs. Kasprowicz added to their woes by removing Flintoff, again caught behind, just 13 runs later.

The rescue mission yet again fell to Kevin Pietersen and Collingwood. They started in similar vein to recent comebacks, but the introduction of Gillespie was the telling factor. With Pietersen more watchful than usual, Gillespie maintained a more difficult line and length and was able to restrict both boundary balls and opportunities for singles. His improvement paid off when Collingwood squirted a full delivery to cover to give Gillespie just his second one-day wicket against England on this tour, an event openly celebrated as his colleagues rushed to congratulate him.

Pietersen lost his next partner, Geraint Jones, very quickly to leave the home side tottering on disaster at 6/93, before Michael Vaughan made a telling decision – he called in supersub batsman Solanki and cast opening bowler Simon Jones into spectatordom. It was a move that helped England secure a respectable target but at the significant cost of a key bowler.

With Pietersen batting intelligently and utilising a controlled mix of aggression, and Solanki batting solidly, English pushed through to a more admirable 6/186 before a clever Gillespie slower ball found its way through Pietersen’s defence. He departed with 74 runs to his name, from 84 deliveries and with eight fours and two sixes, the last an amazing flat-batted swat from a Gillespie bouncer that Pietersen had actually charged at.

Solanki passed his half-century and with help from an adventurous Ashley Giles, England went through to 7/228 at the luncheon break. It was below the average one-day international score of 237 at The Oval, though it was much closer than it could have been.

Gillespie finished with 3/44 from his ten overs, figures that reflect his improvement in technique and direction, while Kasprowicz bowled well to return 2/46. Lee and McGrath enjoyed less success in terms of wickets but were equally miserly.

The home team’s own new-ball attack was unable to mimic the frugality of the Australian bowlers, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden keen to disrupt their line and rhythm from the outset.

Gilchrist was particularly fierce on anything full, driving with relish at Gough and Harmison. He struck three consecutive boundaries from the Yorkshireman’s second over, prompting Vaughan to replace him at the bowling crease with Flintoff. The following over from Harmison, however, was treated with even more disdain, yielding 16 runs, all in boundaries.

The pair added 91 before the first loss, as Gough returned and invited Hayden (31 from 47 balls) to wave outside off stump. He edged through to Geraint Jones, registering yet another score that was not a success but not quite a failure. Gough’s second set of two overs was almost as expensive as his first, however, and his days as an England player must be all but numbered. In retrospect it was a poor decision to retain Gough and sub out Simon Jones.

Ponting joined Gilchrist at the crease and the two saw the score through to 1/185 in better than even time, before Ponting advanced to Giles and edged onto his pad, Jones nabbing the rebound and stumping the Australian captain (43 from 44 balls).

Damien Martyn joined Gilchrist and the pair seemed keen to end the game as quickly as possible, Martyn being particularly severe on Steve Harmison, who conceded 81 from 9.5 overs. Hopefully for England this won’t dent his confidence leading into the Ashes.

Victory came from the penultimate ball of the 35th over, a Martyn pull shot for four from a Harmison no-ball. Australia had eight wickets in hand including that of supersub Katich who had replaced McGrath at the start of the innings, though this was academic.

It was a masterful performance by Australia in both its Natwest Challenge wins, but also a relief, something apparent in the unusually vigorous celebrations of Gilchrist after he reached his century and also in Ponting’s expression post-match.…