Mumbai: Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar was hopeful that the upcoming inaugural edition of the T20 Mumbai League will benefit the youngsters.
“I firmly believe that something like this (T20 League) was needed for Mumbai cricket. Mumbai cricket has always led Indian cricket and the numbers are biggest proof. I feel happy to be part of this league,” Tendulkar, who is the League Ambassador said at an event here.
“Mumbai have won Ranji Trophy for 41 years, you’ve got terrific history. I still remember as a kid at Shivaji Park – Kamath Memorial club – Paddy sir (Padmakar Shivalkar) would come and bowl to me. He was possibly thrice my age at that time but he would bowl to me. Such things happen in Mumbai.
“It would be nice if youngsters are playing alongside some big names in Mumbai cricket. They will get to learn and that is something that I am looking forward to,” added Tendulkar.
Apart from Tendulkar, Mumbai had produced plethora of international cricketers like Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Chandrakant Pandit, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Pravin Amre, Vinod Kambli to Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer and pacer Shardul Thakur.
The legendary batsman also said if one flourishes at leagues like this, then it can take them to greater heights.
“When we talk about league cricket, my cricket started at Shivaji Park and then slowly graduated to good gymkhanas on the Marine Drive, and then you go bit further, there are big stadiums also, so it gradually progressed,” he said.
“So for any youngster in Mumbai, you need not be playing (with) the season ball. As a kid I started playing cricket with tennis ball and we found our own ways of playing in the limited time, but from there every aspiring kid needs to have a platform to express his talent. This league is going to provide that opportunity,” he added.
The T20 Mumbai League will be conducted by Probability Sports Private Limited, a consortium of Probability Sports and Wizcraft, with the sanction and approval of the Mumbai Cricket Association from March 11 to 21 at the iconic Wankhede stadium.
Tendulkar also recalled the fact that there were many cricketers from Mumbai who could not make it to the national level as there were no spot available.
“I remember there are so many names in Mumbai cricket who should have played for India but at that given moment, there wasn’t a spot available for them.
“But they were really really good and would have gone on to play for India. Similarly, so many club cricketers would have gone on to play Ranji but they couldn’t do that,” he said.
“I think today by playing these leagues, even if you don’t go and play Ranji Trophy, you can still look after your family. And that is the most important thing for any individual.
“If you can look after your family, make them feel financially secure and be the backbone of family, it is the greatest feeling anyone can get.”
He also admitted that when the Indian Premier League (IPL) started, nobody thought that it would become so big.
“It will be fantastic for youngsters specially because I can speak from my example with IPL. When IPL started nobody thought where it is today it will get there. But it is not just one-way traffic,” Tendulkar said.
Ganguly backs Dhawan to shine at ICC World Cup
Mumbai:There is not a bowler in the world that can stop Shikhar Dhawan when the opener is in determined mood and the left-hander will be crucial to India
s hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.
Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitals
seven-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in Fridays Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at Eden Gardens, much to the delight of Ganguly, an advisor to the Capitals.
Captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma are India`s batting mainstays in one-day cricket but Ganguly puts Dhawan, who has 16 centuries from 128 ODIs with a 93-plus strike rate, in the same league.
“The three best players in one-day cricket — Dhawan, Rohit, Virat,” Ganguly told the IPL website. “When he (Dhawan) gets set and gets in he`s unstoppable.
“All I expect from him is determination. When he is determined, no bowler in the world can stop him.”
Dhawan`s second fifty of this IPL season, which catapulted Delhi into the top four, augurs well for India ahead of the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.
Along with opening partner Rohit, the onus will be on Dhawan to give India strong starts in the tournament and the southpaw has performed well on English soil.
man of the series in their triumphant 2013 Champions Trophy campaign, Dhawan was also the tournament`s leading scorer four years later when India lost in the final to Pakistan.
“If he gets set, he takes the game away. This is how he plays for India,” Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup, later told reporters. “He`s a class act.”
Two-time champions India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.
Olympique Lyon’s Champions League spot under threat after Nantes defeat
London: Olympique Lyonnais` Champions League qualifying hopes were hit as they were beaten 2-1 at Nantes in Ligue 1.
Third-placed Lyon, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, were undone by Anthony Limbombe
s late free-kick after Martin Terrier had cancelled out Kalifa Coulibalys opener for Nantes.
Lyon are on 56 points with six games left, six ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne, who play their game in hand at home against Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.
It was Lyon`s third straight defeat in all competitions after they were knocked out of the French Cup semi-finals by Stade Rennes and lost at home to lowly Dijon in the league last weekend.
The result leaves an even bigger question mark over coach Bruno Genesio`s future, with the club set to make a decision on whether to extend his contract at the end of the season.
With Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Marcelo on the bench, Lyon got off to a bad start.
Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 11th minute after collecting a though ball from Majeed Waris.
Lyon were shaken by the hosts but weathered the storm and equalised one minute before the interval when Terrier curled a fine shot into the back of the net to finish off a counter-attack.
Limbombe earned Nantes victory seven minutes from fulltime with an inch-perfect free-kick, lifting the Canaries up to 15th in the table on 34 points.
Defender Gomez sign two-year contract extension in East Bengal
Mumbai: East Bengal fans will heave a huge sigh of relief after their star defender Borja Gomes decided to sign a contract extension with the club and not follow Jobby Justin to go out. The Kolkata-based club is in the process of becoming a part of the ISL next season with I-League’s future looking bleak.
East Bengal came agonizingly close to lift the I-League title yet again this season before Chennai City FC eventually won it as the Kolkata club finished second.And with I-League looking to either get dissolved or set to get demoted to the second division, it was important for East Bengal to finish high on the table.
However, that wasn’t enough for the club to retain their star striker Jobby Justin, who signed a pre-contract with two-time ISL champions ATK just after the I-League ended and the Super Cup was in its quarter-final stage. But, the club was quick to react after that setback and on Friday handed a two-year contract extension to Spanish defender Borja Gomez.
“East Bengal FC are pleased to announce the renewal of contract with Borja Gomez Perez for the next two seasons,” the club said in a statement.
“According to him, this is the best team and ‘fans are the best in India’,” the statement added.
The Madrid-born La-Liga star, who is nick-named as the ‘Senapati’, was one of the key members for the club last season and has been a motivator for the team both on and off the field. Gomez has previously played for Granada CF, Real Oviedo, Hercules CF, Real Murcia and more before East Bengal had signed him from UD Sanse in January last year.
East Bengal has already announced their bid for ISL in a board meeting and are currently waiting for the terms to get financially acceptable.