New Delhi: Nearly half the Indian cricket team has been left in the lurch without a bat advertiser, as the world's largest sportswear firm Nike has pulled out of sponsorship for them. It has been learnt that the Oregon-based sportswear firm has not renewed contracts with Indian cricketers such as Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Most of its other bat assets — including Manish Pandey, Axar Patel and Umesh Yadav — were seen using plain bats during the ODI series against New Zealand. The bat of Kedar Jadhav, another Nike protege, was sporting the manufacturer's label. Sponsoring cricket bats is an expensive marketing exercise in India. Companies cough up Rs 7-10 crore per year to put their logos on willows of top players, such as Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. And, Nike India has been struggling with losses that have accumulated to over Rs 500 crore in 2014-15. A Nike India spokesperson did not reply to an e-mailed questionnaire sent by TOI, while sources in the cricket equipment manufacturing fraternity said it has been around two years since any of the top bat makers in Meerut have got orders from Nike for new bats. While Nike remains one of the biggest spenders in cricket, paying around Rs 60 crore a year to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to sponsor the Indian cricket team's official kit, it has shut around 30% of its stores in the country to cut cost.
Posted by RP on 31 October
Kuantan (Malaysia): Favourites India prevailed 3-2 over arch-rivals Pakistan to reclaim the Asian Champions Trophy hockey, presenting a perfect Diwali gift to the nation on Sunday. Goals from Rupinder Pal Singh (18th minute), Yousuf Affan (23rd) and Nikkin Thimmaiah (51st) helped India surmount the challenge from Pakistan, who rallied from two goals behind through strikes by Muhammad Aleem Bilal (26th) and Ali Shaan (38th) in the title clash of the fourth edition of tournament. This was the first time the teams were meeting in the final of a continental tournament since India dethroned Pakistan as the Asian Games champions in Incheon, South Korea in 2014. India had won the inaugural edition of the Asian Champions Trophy by defeating Pakistan in the final in 2011. Pakistan reversed the result in the title contest the next year and went on to retain it in 2013 by defeating Japan in the final. World No. 6 India went into the title contest at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium without ace custodian PR Sreejesh, who was rested due to pulled hamstring and Akash Chikte took the position under the bar. India scored the first goal in the 18th minute on their second penalty corner as Rupinder sent a rasping drag-flick into the left side of the net. This was the 11 penalty corner conversion in the tournament by Rupinder, the highest goal-scorer in the tournament by a big margin. In the 23rd minute, Ramandeep Singh’s cross was deflected in by Yousuf Affan into the boards to put India 2-0 up. Under pressure, Pakistan responded by forcing their first penalty corner, which was converted by Muhammad Aleem Bilal in the 26th minute. Bilal sounded the boards with a low drag-flick that beat the goalkeeper. Pakistan defence had no trouble in warding away India's attempts to send long diagonal balls into the circle and capitalised on a lapse by the Indian defence to draw 2-2 parity in the 38th minute. Ali Shan wasted no time in slapping the ball that had got deflected to him inside the scoring zone. India wrested the lead back in the 51st minute as seasoned Indian midfielder Sardar Singh gave a through pass to Thimmaiah, who beat Pakistan custodian Fareed Ahmed with a diagonal flick that ended inside the right goal-post.
Ahmedabad: India fought off a tough challenge from Iran to win their third consecutive Kabaddi World Cup here on Saturday. In perhaps the most exciting match of this World Cup, the Indians overturned a first-half deficit with a superb second-half performance to win 38-29. India have thus won all the three Kabaddi World Cups held so far. They have beaten Iran in the finals of all the three editions.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India on Friday froze all of BCCI’s financial transactions. The Supreme Court said that no money is to be provided by the BCCI to the state associations, even for match purposes, unless the Cricket Board decides to agree on implementing the Lodha reforms. The Supreme Court decided to freeze all transactions between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and all the state boards across the country. The Apex Court also asked the Lodha panel to appoint an independent auditor to verify the BCCI’s accounts. It has also directed to limit the amount of any financial transaction by the BCCI. The Supreme Court asked BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Secretary to comply with the decision and file an affidavit within a period of 2 weeks regarding the implementation of the Lodha panel. Representing the BCCI, senior lawyer Kapil Sibal in the Supreme Court, had previously alleged the panel lead by Justice RM Lodha of trying to control and run the cricketing board. Sibal also said that there had been issues on one state-one vote policy and were also against taking away the votes from the founder clubs. The senior lawyer has also complained that the Lodha panel, in an attempt to run the cricketing body had issued order beyond the purview of the apex court’s judgement. Countering BCCI, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium said that by breaching the implementation of Lodha panel’s recommendations, the cricketing board has made itself liable of civil and criminal contempt action.
Dubai: Despite a fighting hundred by Darren Bravo, Pakistan pulled off a tension-packed 56-run victory against West Indies in the first day-night Test here on Monday. Bravo kept Pakistan's victory bid on hold during his resistance-filled 410-minute long 116 and it needed leg-spinner Yasir Shah to make a stunning two-handed catch to end his innings. West Indies were finally bowled for 289 with just 12 over left in the match. Bravo lingered on his haunches at the crease for a minute before trudging back to the pavilion, disappointed at his dismissal after bringing so close a draw or an upset win. Bravo's eighth Test hundred spiced with ten boundaries and a six had brought West Indies within 83 runs of victory and 27 overs to bat for a draw after they were set a daunting 346 runs to win. Left-armer Mohammad Nawaz trapped Devendra Bishoo while Miguel Cummins and last man Shannon Gabriel were run out to spark a celebration amongst Pakistan players. Paceman Mohammad Amir finished with 3-63 and Shah took 2-113. The match was a good advertisement for Test cricket as it had a triple hundred (302 not out) by Azhar Ali, 8-49 by leg-spinner Bishoo and two fighting knocks by Bravo. This was Test cricket's second ever day-night Test played with a pink ball after Australia and New Zealand featured in the first at Adelaide in November last year. The win is more memorable for Pakistan as the match marked their 400th Test since they began the five-day format in 1952. Bravo first added 77 for the fifth wicket with Roston Chase (35) and then another 69 for the seventh with skipper Jason Holder who made 40 not out. Pakistan had taken the second new ball with West Indies 224-6 and Bravo needing four for hundred. Bravo smashed an uppish drive off Amir's first ball to backward point boundary to complete his magnificent hundred after 329-minutes of defiance. Bravo and Holder took the West Indies within 100 of victory in 41 overs after they reached dinner at 232-6. Chase, famous for his 137 not out at Jamaica which helped West Indies draw a Test against India in July this year, gave full support to Bravo as the duo frustrated Pakistan. Pakistan's hopes rested on Shah who was not at his best despite the good turn on offer. He finally got his first wicket when he bowled Chase from across his feet. Paceman Wahab Riaz then dismissed Shane Dowrich for nought to leave West Indies at 194-6. West Indies had resumed at 95-2 and were instantly in trouble when Amir had Samuels caught behind for four with the first ball of the day. Jermaine Blackwood (15) helped Bravo take the total to 116 when left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz trapped him leg-before, a decision Pakistan only got on referral. Pakistan did not get what was expected from Shah in the first session as he bowled faster rather than giving flight to the ball. The remaining two Tests will be played in Abu Dhabi (October 21-25) and Sharjah (October 30-November 3).
Mumbai: Sri Sri Ayurveda, promoted by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation, has brought on board badminton player PV Sindhu as a brand ambassador for its Ojasvita range, kicking off the association with a new malt flavour in the marketplace. Sindhu’s engagement with Ojasvita will be for two years and Sindhu is expected to do everything that a regular brand endorser does, says Tej Katpitia, chief marketing officer of Sri Sri Ayurveda. This will include not only appearing in advertisements for the brand, but also promoting the product on the ground during special events and occasions. While Katpitia did not indicate the size of the deal, brand experts peg it at Rs 1.5-2 crore for two years. Sindhu’s asking price is estimated to be Rs 75 lakh-1 crore per endorsement per year, putting the Ojastivita endorsement in that bracket, experts said. This may, however, not be the end of the road for Sri Sri as far as celebrity endorsements go. In fact, it may only be the start. “We are not ruling out the possibility of more endorsements in the future depending on our marketing and product plans. At this stage, however, this is the association that we have with Sindhu. Ojasvita is a line of health food drinks from us and we wanted a face that could convey this effectively. Sindhu is an upcoming sportsperson and the fit we felt was perfect. She will able to communicate how effective this product is to the masses,” says Katpitia.
Indore: Ravichandran Ashwin claimed six New Zealand wickets in the first innings of the 3rd Test here on Monday giving yet another example of why he is rated as the best off-spinner in the world currently. By the time the third day ended, Ashwin had completed his 20th five-wicket haul to finish with 6/81 as New Zealand crumbled to 299 all-out, handing India a big 258-run first innings lead. When the stumps were drawn, India had added 18/0, extending their lead to 276 runs although they lost opener Gautam Gambhir who retired after injuring his right shoulder. Ashwin extended Ross Taylor's (0) wretched run of the tour. Playing for the turn, he ended up playing inside the line to edge a catch towards the first slip. Much was expected from Martin Guptill and he was delivering but was unlucky to be run out backing up after BJ Watling's straight drive deflected towards the stumps at the non-strikers end as Ashwin just about managed to get his fingers onto the ball. He scored 72. Luke Ronchi edged was also caught by Rahane at first slip off Ashwin for a duck. From 118/0, the Kiwi ship had sunk to 148/5. James Neesham and Watling attempted a resurrection and succeeded in pushing the score past 200 runs but then Ravindra Jadeja got into the act, ending the latter's 48-ball resistance. Neesham though went on to complete his fourth Test fifty but was a victim of a dubious lbw decision that ended his fluent 71-run knock which gave Ashwin his another five-wicket haul in Tests. And then he polished off the tail with the run out of Patel, in a similar manner to Guptill's and finally added the sixth with the scalp of Trent Boult with India deciding against enforcing the follow-on. Brief scores: India 18/0 and 557/5d lead New Zealand 299 (Guptill 72, Neehsam 71; Ashwin 6/81) by 276 runs.
Indore: India took strong hold of the third Test here against New Zealand after declaring their first innings at 557/5. India captain Virat Kohli scored a double century, his second in Tests and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane scored 188 runs to help India reach the massive total in the first innings. Kohli became the first India captain to score two double centuries in Test cricket. The two batsmen shared a 365-run stand for the fourth wicket, which is the fifth highest for any wicket for India. Kohli was finally dismissed when Jeetan Patel trapped him in front of the wickets for 211. Rahane was caught behind off Boult. Rohit Sharma scored his fifth half-century of the series before Kohli decided to declare. New Zealand survived the nine overs and were 28/0 at stumps.
Hyderabad: Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the corporate entity of Vizag Steel has roped in badminton champion and Rio silver medalist PV Sindhu as its brand ambassador. R Ramakrishnan, Director and Co-founder Baseline Ventures, said the deal will see Vizag Steel become the major partner of the athlete. The company will have its brand logo on Sindhu's playing jersey in international and domestic tournaments under the aegis of Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Badminton Association of India. Sindhu, currently amongst the top 10 ranked players in the world is the first Indian female athlete to win an Olympic silver medal at Rio. She is also the first athlete to win back-to-back medals at the World Badminton Championships. The endorsement is one of the many for Sindhu post her Olympics exploits. Speaking on the association, Sindhu said this is one of the many major brand associations that she had signed post Olympics. "Badminton calendar has expanded with at least three major international events happening every month and it is important to choose the right events to improve rankings and also avoid fatigue. An association from a trusted brand certainly helps me concentrate on my game and relieves me of all the off-court concerns," she said. P Madhusudan, CMD, RINL said, both Sindhu and Vizag Steel are priceless assets of India and this bond will make them famous far and wide and do the country proud.
Kolkata: New Zealand batting imploded in the final one hour of play on the fourth day of the second Test against India at Eden Gardens here to give India a comfortable 178-run win and in turn an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three Test series. The spin of Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin, in combination with the reverse swing of Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took out the last six New Zealand wickets for a meager 56 runs. The win is India's ninth series win over New Zealand on home soil and it puts India back on top as the No. 1 ICC Test team. The only fight shown was by Tom Latham (74), and once he went, it was just a matter of time before India winded things up. With this victory, India have reclaimed the No 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings. Points gained from victories in the Kanpur and Kolkata Tests saw Virat Kohli's team move past Pakistan and back to the top spot, which it had briefly held onto in August. India will hold onto the numero uno spot when the ICC announces its updated ratings, irrespective of how the Indore Test pans out. India had moved back to No 1 during the Test matches in the West Indies, but slipped down to second following the conclusion of the drawn Pakistan v England series. Going into the India v New Zealand series, Kohli's team was one point behind Pakistan. By beating New Zealand in their 500th Test match, India moved to Kolkata needing to win to reclaim the top spot in the ICC rankings. Pakistan are now at second place, followed by Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Over the next month, each Test team is involved in a series. Pakistan host West Indies for three Tests in the UAE starting October 13; England play two matches in Bangladesh this month; Sri Lanka play two in Zimbabwe, also in October; and the three-Test Australia v South Africa series starts November 7. After New Zealand leave, England arrive in India for a series featuring five Test matches starting November 9. The third India v New Zealand Test match starts on Friday in Indore. Brief scores: India (316 and 263) beat New Zealand (204 and 197) by 178 runs.