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It’s South Africa’s wicket, they should be ready to play: Team India

Monitor News Bureau





Johannesburg :Making clear India’s stand, team manager Sunil Subramanian on Friday said the Wanderers wicket was prepared by South Africa and not by them so the hosts must be prepared to resume the game, which was halted on the third day owing to a dangerous pitch.
Play was stopped late in the final session with South Africa placed 17 for one in their 241-chase, on Day 3 of the third and final Test in Johannesburg.
Asked if India would be willing to continue with the game after repairs had been made to the pitch, he replied: “It could be unfair to one of the sides. We had not asked for this wicket. This is South Africa’s wicket. We have come and played here. There is nothing for us to be upset about.”
“We have the bowling arsenal to give it back. As I said, it’s not a wicket we prepared. When they come to our country, we prepare the wickets and they should be prepared to play,” he added.
Revealing what transpired during the day, Subramanian said,”The match referee (Andy Pycroft) called me during tea time and said ‘just in case if the wicket were to get dangerous (unfit for play) then captains would be consulted to take the game forward.”
“We held the view that the wicket has been the same for both teams for all three days. And today is the day when the least wickets fell and the strike rates were the highest. We would like to continue to play,” he added.
When asked if the match referee had deemed the pitch too dangerous to play, the manager replied in the negative.
“No. He said in case if the new ball were to be taken — and the new ball was around 25 overs away at that time — it might behave dangerously. Play was called off because the ball that hit Dean Elgar on the helmet. Subsequently the captains were called. Both captains, the match referee and the umpires had a meeting. Play was called off because of that delivery (to Elgar),” he said.
Elgar was hit three times, twice by Bumrah in one over before play was suspended. The ball that hit him on the helmet was actually a short ball and not a length ball that just reared off.
“That’s the view we held too. There has been exaggerated bounce on this wicket but the ball to Elgar was not the one that cut alarmingly. This is what has been happening the last three days. So there was nothing new,” Subramanian said.
“Umpires are the final judges on the fitness of the ground. Regardless of the captain’s views, they take the final call. Of course both the captains will come forward with their views but the final decision lies with the umpires,” he added.



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 Indias hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.

Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitalsseven-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.

Named 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.

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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 Limbombes 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.

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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.

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