Kolkata: India Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi said the preparatory camp for the qualifier against Italy will start here on January 23.
Speaking at the start of the third Premjit Lall Invitational Tennis tournament on Thursday, Bhupathi said he is undecided about whether India will field five or six players for the tie which will be the gateway to a Davis Cup in a new format, one which takes home advantage out of the equation.
Unlike Jaidip Mukerjea, who was Bhupathi’s Davis Cup captain and critical of the new format earlier, Bhupathi said he has no comment on this.
“It is what it is. It doesn’t matter what I or anyone thinks. As a Davis Cup captain, I will play by the rules. That said, it is a pleasure to be back in Kolkata where I made my Davis Cup debut (in 1995 against Hong Kong),” said Bhupathi.
“It is sad that Kolkata hasn’t hosted a Davis Cup in all this while (after the Asia-Oceania tie against New Zealand in 2003) but with Somdev (Devvarman) becoming India’s No.1 player, grass was not an option. But with the kind of players we have now, grass gives us the best option,” said Bhupathi.
Doing away with five sets in Davis Cup rubbers is good when India play a team like Italy whose top player Fabio Fognini is world No. 13, said Bhupathi. “We played China in three sets and against such a team, three-setters don’t help.”
Asked whether he felt India was conspicuous by its absence on the WTA Tour, Bhupathi, who was instrumental in getting one to the country, said: “When you trying to promote a sport, you need someone as a face. If badminton is on it’s way up, it is because Saina (Nehwal) was followed by (PV) Sindhu and then (Parupalli) Kashyap. We did it to help Sania (Mirza) go up the rankings. I am sure when the time is right, India will be on the Tour again.”
For all the mushrooming of private leagues, India has one ATP Tour event in Pune. There are 14 WTA Tour events in Asia but none in India.
South Africa will learn from defeat:du Plessis
PORT ELIZABETH: South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has said that his side will learn from their defeat to Pakistan in the first One-day International at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
The Proteas were given a timely reminder of how much work lies ahead before the Cricket World Cup in May as they lost by five wickets.
Hashim Amla’s 27th ODI century and debutant Rassie van der Dussen’s 93 was not enough for the Proteas, who lost only two wickets in scoring 266 runs after winning the toss.
The experienced Mohammad Hafeez’s 71 and opener Imam-ul-Haq’s 86 steered the tourists to their first win of their away series after they were well-beaten in all three Test matches.
Du Plessis felt that his team were short of where they should have been.
“The two guys [Amla and van der Dussen] batted really well, but perhaps there were 10 or 15 runs that we could have pushed a little harder for,” he said after the opening fixture of the five-match series. “Pakistan bowled better than us over fifty overs here. And then they batted really well [too], you have to give credit where it’s due. Some great learnings for us, and we know where we can get better,” said the South African captain.
“An in-form Hashim Amla is great for us. Rassie played beautifully, he had intent right through his innings. We need to adapt. You’re not going to always get conditions for the fast bowlers,” du Plessis added.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed also credited his batsmen for their first win of the tour. “The batting was very responsible,” a relieved Sarfraz said. “In the middle overs, Shadab [Khan] was great, as well as Imad [Wasim]. And the way our fast bowlers bowled was very good. And then the way Imam and Hafeez controlled the match in the run chase was simply outstanding.”
Man-of-the-match Hafeez remarked the South Africa total was below par. “It’s a team effort,” the veteran right-hander said. “It was not a par score on this track, so we were confident chasing it. To be very honest, we were very sure as a team we should chase this one. The start given by Fakhar [Zaman] and Imam was brilliant, Babar [Azam] gave us momentum.”
With this win, Pakistan maintained their unbeaten record at St George’s Park. They have now won three out of the four matches they have played at the venue, with one match ending without result.The second game, also a day/nighter, takes place at Kingsmead in Durban on Tuesday.
Cricket a special part of my life but not the priority: Kohli
Mumbai :Indian skipper Virat Kohli has established himself as one of the world’s greatest batsmen in the modern-day cricket. Known for his committment and hardwork on the field, Kohli has been breaking records constantly and it seems that there is no turning back for the 30-year-old.
Having enjoyed a record-breaking 2018 year, Kohli continued his good form in this year as well as he not only achieved several individual records but also guided India to historic twin victories in Australia.
Kohli, the world’s no.1 Test and ODI batsman, guided India through a historic tour of Australia, during which the side clinched the Test and ODI series by 2-1 and settled with a 1-1 draw in the T20I series.
However, the swashbuckling batsman stated on his official app that though cricket is an important part of his life, his family still remains his biggest priority.
“Eight years down the line the priority would be my family, priority would be myself, Anushka and our family only by then. So that would be the priority for us. And cricket would obviously a part of my life always but I feel that family should be a priority at all times because nothing is bigger than life. Cricket is a part of life and nothing should be bigger than life. I know people will take things a bit too seriously that if you don’t say cricket is your life then you are not committed enough, I don’t believe in all that. If I am committed to talking right now about something, I am committed to this,” Kohli said.
He further went on to say,”But the larger picture always has to be life because whatever happens you come back home and whatever may happen in your life, you always come back home. So I think, the priority will be family, should be family and cricket will always be a very special part of my life but it is not the most important thing in life, it is the way I see it. But I think eight years down the line I will be totally focused towards my family.”
During India’s tour to Australia, Kohli added many records to his tally.
By smashing his 39th One-Day International century during India’s six-wicket win over Australia in the second match at the Adelaide Oval, Kohli became the second cricketer with most hundreds overseas. With 22 tons to his name now, the Indian skipper surpassed Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara who both have 21 centuries in their tally.
En route to his blistering knock, he also became the 11th highest run-scorer in the history of ODI cricket.With a total of 10,385 ODI runs in his tally, Kohli has went past Sri Lanka’s Tilakratne Dilashan (10,290 runs).
He has now brought up a total of 64 international hundreds to become the third batsman with most international centuries, overtaking former Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara (63).
MU star set to join Ronaldo at JuventusSports
London: Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian is set to move to Serie A giants Juventus on a six-month loan deal till the end of the 2018-19 season. The loan move will end Darmian’s misery at the Old Trafford as the full-back has struggled to leave a mark since moving in from Italian side Torino in 2015. The 29-year-old has just made 91 appearances in three and a half years for the Red Devils and have just played six matches this season.
According to GOAL, the loan move will cost Juventus 3 million Pounds, but the Old Lady will secure Darmian’s signing in the summer for free as his contract is set to expire after the end of this season. The signing of Darmian will allow Leonardo Spinazzola to move to Bologna from Juventus. Darmian featured for the Red Devils in their 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League, but it seems like that will be the right-back’s final game in the red jersey.
Darmian has played for AC Milan and Palermo and has 36 appearances for Italy to his name. Juventus would be bolstering their defense with Darmian’s signing and will expect that the full-back gives tough competition to their present options at the club.
Meanwhile, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed on Friday that the Red Devils won’t be making any signings in the ongoing January transfer window and will go to the remaining matches with the present squad. For United’s full-back options, Solksjaer has the likes of Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Ashley Young and will hope that the levels remain the same since his takeover from Jose Mourinho, who was sacked following Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to arch-rivals Liverpool in the December Premier League match.
Manchester United are currently sixth in the league table with 44 points to their name after the completion of 23rd game-week in the Premier League 2018-19.