Apr 292016
Smith backs Cricket Australia campaign for day-night Test

SYDNEY: Cricket Australia has bolstered its campaign to host a day-night Test against South Africa later this year by publishing an interview with captain Steve Smith in which he backed the proposed fixture. South Africa’s players balked at an invitation to play a day-night match in Adelaide in November after discussions with Australian players including Smith, Proteas skipper AB de Villiers said this week. Smith, however, said his team would be happy to play a day-nighter against South Africa at the famous South Australian venue, as well as the fixture already scheduled to be played under lights at the Gabba against Pakistan in December. “I’m surprised that he named me,” Smith was quoted as saying from India on the Cricket Australia (CA) website. “The feedback we gave them was that Adelaide is the best place to play it, in our opinion. “We’re playing one in Brisbane now, but Adelaide is the best place to play it and I think it could work there. “I don’t know where they’ve got their ideas from,” he added. “If they wanted to play one we’d be happy to.” The Australian Cricketers’ Association, however, said on Friday that feedback it had received from the players indicated they would “prefer to only play one day-night Test in 2016/17”. “Pink ball Tests are a fundamentally different game to traditional red ball Test matches,” chief executive Alistair Nicholson said in a statement. “We continue to be concerned about the durability and visibility of the pink ball, both the [Read More…]

Apr 282016
Russia tops WADA?s 2014 doping blacklist

Russia was the leading doping offender in global sport during 2014, followed by Italy and India, the World Anti-Doping Agency said on Wednesday. Russia, whose participation in the Rio Olympics’ athletics programme is in doubt due to a doping scandal, accounted for 148 of the 1,693 failed tests recorded, according to WADA’s 2014 Anti-Doping Rule Violations Report. Italy (123), India (96), Belgium (91), France (91), Turkey (73), Australia (49), China (49), Brazil (46) and South Korea (43) rounded out the top 10 spots on the list that illustrates doping offenses committed in global sport. The total number of failed tests globally fell 13 percent from the 1,953 recorded in the previous year. Athletics and bodybuilding had the most violations with 248 and 225, respectively, followed by cycling, weightlifting, powerlifting, football, wrestling, boxing, rugby union and aquatics. The WADA report marks the final year of statistics under the 2009 World Anti-Doping Code. The 2015 report, which will be issued in 2017, will reflect results of current anti-doping efforts under the 2015 Code. Russia, second behind the United States in the athletics medal table at the 2012 Olympics, is banned from all athletics after an independent WADA commission revealed widespread state-sponsored doping. The country now has to convince the IAAF that it has made enough progress in reforming its anti-doping operation to be re-instated to the sport in time for the August 5-21 Rio Olympics. (Photo: Reuters/File) Click for detailed story

Apr 282016
New Zealand confirm Williamson as skipper

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed on Thursday that top-order batsman Kane Williamson will take over the captaincy in all three formats of the game following the retirement of Brendon McCullum. The 25-year-old had been expected to succeed McCullum having already led the side in one-day internationals when the former captain was rested or injured, and at the recent World T20 tournament in India. He will become New Zealand’s 29th Test captain when Mike Hesson’s side tour Zimbabwe and South Africa in July-August. “Kane has been a leader within the team for a long time now and already shown himself to be an extremely capable captain,” NZC Chief Executive David White said in a statement. “He’s respected by his peers and the wider cricket community for his professional approach both on and off the field, and has a superb cricket brain. “His drive to see the team succeed and his passion for the game are what you look for in a leader. He’s ready for the role and will only continue to grow,” added White. McCullum retired in February following the Test series against Australia after four years in charge, during which time the team made their first World Cup final and became more competitive in the longest form of the game. “It’s certainly an honour,” said Williamson. “I’ve really enjoyed my time spent as captain and believe this team can achieve a lot. “I’m lucky to have a number of experienced players around me for support and will certainly [Read More…]

Apr 272016
Venues ready, but many challenges remain for Rio Games

SAO PAULO: Brazil has long been known as a country that can throw a great party as long as the guests do not mind a location that still has the builders in it. With 100 days to go before the Olympic Games begin in Rio de Janeiro, the nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation: The venues are ready, but the host does not appear to be. With the country’s president fighting impeachment and the economy on track for its worst recession in more than a century, Brazilians are both angry and distracted. “People are paying no attention” to the Olympics, said longtime Rio resident Julia Michaels, who chronicles the city through her Rio Real blog. “No one is talking about it at all because there are so many other things to talk about.” When Rio de Janeiro won the right to host the Games in 2009, Brazil was the darling of the developing world. Its economy had grown briskly for most of the decade, 30 million people had been lifted from poverty and the nation was assuming a prominent role in world affairs. Since then, a collapse in commodities prices has dragged down the economy, and President Dilma Rousseff faces the prospect of being suspended from office next month on charges of budgetary fraud. The twin meltdowns in politics and the economy have consumed Brazil, and the Olympics have all but disappeared from the front pages and TV news. In a nation where [Read More…]

Apr 272016
Australia eye South Africa great Donald as bowling coach: report

MELBOURNE: South Africa fast bowling great Allan Donald will join Australia as bowling coach for their tour of Sri Lanka this year, local media reported on Wednesday. The 49-year-old, who took 330 Test wickets at an outstanding average of 22.25, could then stay on as part of the top-ranked test nation’s coaching team for series against Pakistan and South Africa in the coming home summer, News Ltd media said. Cricket Australia declined to comment on the report but a team spokeswoman said the governing body hoped to have the coaching set-up for Sri Lanka settled within a “week or so”. Craig McDermott, who helped guide Australia to victory in last year’s World Cup and a 5-0 whitewash of England in the last Ashes series on home soil, stepped down as bowling coach after the World T20 in India. Donald, nicknamed ‘White Lightning’ during a 72-Test career from 1992-2002, stepped down as bowling coach of South Africa a year ago, after four years mentoring the Proteas’ feared pace battery of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel. After Australia’s two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in July and August, Donald was expected to remain in the post for a one-day series in South Africa, News said. Darren Lehmann remains Australia’s head coach across the three formats but the make-up of his staff remains unsettled. Batting coach Michael Di Venuto departed last month to take up a post with England county side Surrey, with former Test batsman Greg Blewett stepping in temporarily. Justin [Read More…]

Apr 272016
Publish my drug test results, says Nadal

Rafa Nadal has asked the International Tennis Federation to publish the results of his drug tests following an accusation of doping by a former French cabinet minister. The 14-times grand slam champion said on Monday he was suing Roselyne Bachelot, a former health, sports and social affairs minister, after she alleged the Spaniard had failed a drugs test. The Spaniard wrote to the ITF asking his drug test results to be made public, British media have reported. “It can’t be free any more in our tennis world to speak and to accuse without evidence,” media reports quoted the 29-year-old as saying. “Please make all my information public, please make public my biological passport and my complete history of anti-doping controls and tests. “From now on I ask you to communicate when I am tested, and the results, as soon as they are ready from your labs.” Nadal has never failed a drug test. The ITF declined Nadal’s request but said the player was free to publish them himself. “Mr Nadal… has access to his anti-doping records through WADA’s ADAMS database and is free to make them available,” the governing body said in a statement. “The accuracy of any such release would be verified by the ITF.” Failed drug tests in elite tennis are rare but doping has been in the spotlight since former women’s world number one Maria Sharapova announced last month she had returned a positive test for banned substance meldonium. (Photo: Reuters/File) Click for detailed story

Apr 272016
Consumer VR and Smart Home Customization Steps into Spotlight at China International Furniture Fair

GUANGZHOU, China, April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The 37th China International Furniture Fair (Guangzhou) successfully concluded in March with a record breaking number of 3,868 exhibitors and 168,881 visitors during the 8-day event. At CIFF (Guangzhou) 2016, Landbond released its “fitting room” for furniture which allows customers to “try on” the furniture in their own home using the VR headset. http://photos.prnasia.com/prnvar/20160427/0861603878-a The 2016 CIFF (Guangzhou) hosted at China Import and Export Fair Complex and Poly World Trade Centre Expo with the theme of “smart and customization” exhibited the latest products and designs brought by internationally renowned furniture brands from China, the U.S., Singapore, Italy and more. As virtual reality wades into the consumer market, furniture companies are also actively seeking ways to incorporate VR technology to build future dream homes. Landbond hosted a press conference and released the first VRHome experience system, a “fitting room” for furniture that enables customers to use the VR headset to “try on” furniture in their own home before making the purchase. In addition to smart home and office products like all-in-one audio & visual integrated living room furniture, smart mattresses that can record and track sleep patterns, and electronic office desks that adjust in height, new models featuring technologies like robotic arms, 3D printing, automatic spray painting and smart sensor control were also presented to the public. Paul Dotta, senior vice president of China retail at Ashley Furniture China, remarked that every year CIFF (Guangzhou) helps the company establish good cooperation relations. Paul Dotta, senior VP of China retail at Ashley [Read More…]

Apr 272016
China pivotal to Pakistan’s foreign policy: Maleeha Lodhi

CAMBRIDGE: Pakistan's relationship with China is strategic, historic, trouble-free and pivotal to the country's foreign policy, Ambassador to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi said during a talk at Harvard University here on Tuesday. Speaking at a programme called the “Future of Diplomacy” at the Kennedy School of Government, Lodhi set out Pakistan's regional and global agenda and emphasised that this reflected national priorities and Islamabad's role as a "critical state" in international affairs. The national priorities she listed included economic revival, defeating terrorism and elimination of violent extremism in and around Pakistan, preservation of the country’s strategic capability and building regional peace and stability. The latter, she explained, required an end to the conflict in Afghanistan, and normalisation of Pakistan-India relations on a durable basis. She also named regional economic cooperation and connectivity as another key priority. This, she said, is being pursued through various trans-regional projects, which aim to enhance prospects of growth and development. She cited the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the most ambitious and potentially game changing example of regional economic cooperation. Editorial: CPEC transparency Expounding on the Pakistan-China relationship, the envoy said the strategic evolution of this relationship has given the Sino-Pak partnership added significance at a time of a fundamental change in the global balance of power brought about by China's rise as a global economic powerhouse. In recent years, she said, bilateral ties have broadened and diversified from the traditional focus on defence and military cooperation towards a greater economic and investment [Read More…]

Apr 272016

NEW DELHI: Cricketing great Jacques Kallis has said he is “embarrassed” to be South African after the government banned four sports federations from bidding for international tournaments for failing to pick enough black players. South Africa’s sports minister announced Monday he would veto any bid by the cricket, rugby, netball and athletics bodies to host multinational events as they had missed racial “transformation targets” designed to redress apartheid era inequalities. South Africa bans rugby, cricket from bidding for major tournaments While more than 90 percent of South Africans are black, they remain in a minority in the starting line-up for many national teams — most notably rugby and cricket — more than two decades after the end of whites-only rule. But Kallis, who is himself white, criticised the government for what he regarded as meddling in sport in a Tweet posted while he was coaching in India. “So sad that I find myself embarrassed to call myself a South African so often these days #no place for politics in sport,” said Kallis, who is currently coaching the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League. South Africa players against day-night test @News24 So sad that i find myself embarrassed to call myself a South African so often these days #no place for politics in sport — Jacques Kallis (@jacqueskallis75) April 25, 2016 The government’s veto, which will be reviewed in a year’s time, should not immediately affect South African cricket as the right to host a major tournament is not currently [Read More…]

Apr 272016
Indian authorities impose curfew in Srinagar before JKLF leader's funeral

SRINAGAR: Indian authorities have imposed a curfew and other restrictions in India-held Kashmir's Srinagar in order to prevent people offering funeral prayers in absentia for deceased Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) supreme head Amanullah Khan, Radio Pakistan reported. A heavy contingent of Indian troops and police officials have been deployed in Srinagar to stop people from reaching the Lal Chowk area where the funeral prayers are scheduled to be held this afternoon. All entry points to Lal Chowk have been sealed. Indian police arrested JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik after raiding his house in Srinagar's Maisuma area and held him at Rajbagh police station. Amanullah Khan died on Tuesday at the age of 85 from a chronic pulmonary disease. Khan was admitted to a health facility in Rawalpindi a week ago, and died at 8:30am. His death marked an end to his untiring and robust struggle for the reunification of Jammu and Kashmir and its emergence as a sovereign country. Click for detailed story

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