One of the 5 e-mailed pictures, purportedly of videographer Basavraj with sex workers, sent to Hockey India by an anonymous source.A committee of Hockey India (HI) on Wednesday began a probe into allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct made by a woman player against coach M.K. Kaushik and other team officials.Kaushik would not be part of the women’s team heading for the Asia Cup. A team videographer, whose photos with sex workers has emerged, has been suspended until the probe is over.Hockey India acting president Vidya Stokes promised an impartial probe into the allegations.”There is nothing to hide. We will separately listen to the player as well as Kaushik. We will do a thorough inquiry as the truth must come out,” Stokes said.Stokes and other representatives of Hockey India met in Delhi to look into the allegations.Stokes said Kaushik had requested to be kept out of the team until his name was cleared. “The assistant coach will lead the team for the Asia Cup. The players are fully equipped and ready for the tournament,” she said.Indian hockey hit a new low on Tuesday after a member of the women’s team sent a written complaint alleging that Kaushik had asked for sexual favours and used vulgar language during the team’s recent Canada and China tours. There was more controversy as photos of the team’s videographer with sex workers emerged.Hockey India general secretary Narinder Batra told Headlines Today that the versions of Kaushik, the player as well as the videographer would be heard. “Stokes will also talk to all the other players for complaints, if any,” he said.advertisementThe allegations against Kaushik have shocked the hockey fraternity as he is seen as a man with an impeccable record.Former men’s hockey captain M.D. Shahid told Headlines Today that he was shocked by the allegations against Kaushik. “I have played with him and have great respect for him. A full inquiry should be done and anyone found guilty punished,” he said.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday defended his woefully out-of-form batsmen, saying he team just needs one individual spark of brilliance for the entire line-up to click in the must-win tri-series match against New Zealand.”You want one batsman to play a big innings in all games, whichever the batsman may be, especially on these kind of wickets. It can be termed as individual brilliance because you have one batsman batting through and the others batting around him,” Dhoni said in a pre-match press conference.”It’s more about the mindset because in one-day cricket you’re so used to going after and hitting the bowlers right from the first delivery. It’s not only in the sub-continent, throughout the world you see wickets are a lot flatter now, especially for the one-dayers,” he explained.”If you talk about the batting collapses, it’s happened twice in three games. But if it is said that this is the batting strength of our side, I won’t agree with that. One thing we can’t deny is that we have had two batting failures and we have to rectify the problem, get on the wicket and try to score some runs,” he added.Dhoni said the key to success on the pitches here is to play steadily for at least 20 overs before cutting loose.”To give respect to the bowlers for the first 10 overs, and the next 40 overs is yours. This is one of those venues where you have to prolong the respect for bowlers by another 10 overs. If you don’t lose too many wickets for 20 overs, then you can really dictate the bowlers and can have your own game plan set after that,” he said.advertisementThe crushing previous defeats to New Zealand (by 200 runs) and Sri Lankan (by eight wickets) have been hard to take, admitted Dhoni but insisted that the team can recover.”As a team, we are disappointed about it. But if you see, all the matches have been one-sided, which suggests if you lose too many wickets early, there is a big batting collapse.We have seen it happen throughout the tournament,” he said.”The batsmen are trying to work out their plans as to what needs to be done. They are not getting out to rash shots. They are trying to battle through and there are times when you can’t do that. That’s what happened in the last two games when we had batting collapses. So at the end of the day, when you are in the middle, you just have to find a way as to how you can get the runs because the pressure keeps on mounting,” he added.On the dreadful form of Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja, Dhoni said the duo may be struggling right now but both of them have proved themselves to be match-winners in the past.”You have to see the strength. What kind of stability one brings into the side. Especially, if you see Ravindra Jadeja, if you see his bowling performance in the past one and half years, he had quite a few bad games in between but overall, a majority of games he has bowled really well.”His batting has dipped down but if he can contribute with the bat, he is the option with whom we can play with five bowlers. He is literally our fifth bowler who has done well for us unless you can find an all-rounder who can bowl 10 overs for us,” he explained.”Rohit, I think, it’s a tricky situation for him. Always in and out of the side. There’s a pressure when you are always in and out of the side. He was unfortunate to get out once when he didn’t get the umpire’s decision in his favour. So two innings, I don’t really think is good enough to decide whether a player is good or not. But of course, he is working hard. We are just hoping he comes up and scores some big runs,” he added.On former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram criticism that the youngsters in the team are too spoilt and soft, Dhoni said the he wasn’t aware of such comments but just a couple of bad performances should not invite such remarks.”I don’t know what Wasim Akram said. For me, what’s important is how the team is shaping up. if you talk about the team being soft, they have done really well in adverse and difficult conditions. Whether it’s in Australia or the Twenty20 World Cup or some of the other tournaments where we were not at our best,” he pointed out.advertisement”Even in the Asia Cup, we did well with the youngsters.So I don’t think you should be clever enough to make a statement based on three or four games. It’s the overall picture that you set. I think the guys are courageous enough to go through any conditions or situations thrown at them.”We are on the backfoot right now, with the conditions maybe. But these are the boys who will ultimately be part of the Indian cricket team now or sometime later,” he added.Asked whether India would consider going in with seven batsmen to strengthen the fragile-looking line-up, Dhoni said packing more willow-wielders was no guarantee for huge scores.”That’s definitely one of the options but again you have to see whether in these conditions we can bowl well with the part-timers because if we let them score to many runs, it becomes difficult to chase. At the same time, it may be difficult to contain them if they are chasing.”We have to strike a balance but if the team feels the need to have additional specialist batsman and we can play around with the part-timers, we can look at that. But as I say, it’s more like a gamble and you have balance the positives and the negatives of having an individual in the side,” he said.
File photo of Pakistan Cricketer Yasir Hameed leaving for Pakistan High Commission in London.Disowning the startling match-fixing accusations he has made against his Pakistan teammates, opener Yasir Hameed has claimed that he was tricked into giving the statements and later blackmailed to stand by them.Hameed, in a video released by British tabloid The News of the World, is shown accusing his teammates of fixing almost “every match” Pakistan has played.But the batsman denied giving any such interview to the tabloid and said the undercover reporter who spoke to him posing as a sponsorship agent sent him intimidating text messages to stick to the comments shown in the video released on Sunday.Hameed was summoned to the Pakistan High Commission in England for a meeting with High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan in London on Sunday.After the meeting, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi released a statement on behalf of Hameed.In the statement, Hameed said that he was offered money and even blackmailed to stand by the remarks attributed to him in the video which he claims was shot without his knowledge.”I would like to respond to comments attributed to me by the News of the World today. I wish to stress I have never been approached by the NOTW and neither did I approach anyone connected with the News of the World to disclose any allegations concerning the Pakistan cricket team or any other players,” Hameed said in his statement.Hameed claimed that he was having dinner with a friend at the Holiday Inn Nottingham on the evening of Monday August 30 and was approached by a man who introduced himself as Abid Khan and offered to arrange a sponsorship deal for him (Yasir) with ETIHAD Airways.advertisement”I have now seen a photograph of the so called Abid Khan and have discovered that he is Mazhar Mahmood (NOTW’s undercover reporter).”Naturally I was interested in what he had to say and we began a conversation. He offered me at least 50,000 pounds for the deal, which was for 6″x3″ ETIHAD sticker at the back of the cricket bat plus TV and billboard advertisements in the UAE,” he said.”He also asked me for names of 4 more players who may be interested in a similar deal I thought of Umar Gul, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam,” Hameed added. “I also called Umar Gul during this conversation to tell him about this potential contract deal and he agreed that I should continue with the negotiations,” Hameed said.”Then Abid Khan started asking about the current match fixing allegations and as I saw him as a friend and a potential agent, I naively started to answer his questions. He asked me about the match fixing allegations against the current three Pakistani players and if I had any further knowledge. As far as I can recall I only told him whatever I had already read in the newspapers about this matter,” Hameed stated.Hameed said two days after the meeting, he began receiving text messages telling him that the conversation between him and Abid had been taped.”It seems that Abid had a hidden camera which I was totally unaware of.”I then left the hotel with my friend and came back to where I was staying. Two days later Abid then called me and offered me 25,000 pounds to give a statement against the 3 current players under investigation, which I immediately refused and put the phone down.”I neither called nor answered any calls from Abid after this conversation. When News of the World released my conversation, which Abid Khan recorded without me knowing about it, I was contacted by the media in Pakistan to confirm if I gave the statement to the NOTW, I denied categorically as explained above that this was not the case. Subsequently, I received a text message from Abid Khan from his number 07860109876, which I found to be intimidating as reflected in his message reproduced below,” Hameed said.Hameed said the message that he received stated, “Incidentally you are in video drinking wine and saying all the quotes attributed to you. Denying it is just stupid as we will be releasing the video to TV. Better that you stand up and speak the truth.”However, neither Hameed nor Rizvi explained why the player did not report his meeting with Abid Khan aka Mazhar Mahmood earlier to the team management.
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Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday took a swipe at the Wankhede Stadium pitch, calling it one of the “flattest wickets” that he has come across.”Frankly, I really don’t know what happened. It started to turn in the morning [on Saturday]. Till yesterday, everything was fine. It was among the flattest of wickets – and I’m seriously saying, not joking. Most of us thought it’ll be a draw but it turned into a close game,” he told reporters after the third Test ended in a thrilling draw.India won the series 2-0, and Dhoni insisted that his team maintained pressure on the West Indies in this game.”The first hour really suggested us as to what happens. The course of the match was designed by the batsman. It was very important to get wickets in the first half and we were able to do that in the first hour. That really changed the game for us,” he said.”We were able to put pressure on the opposition batsmen. We tried to create bit of panic and I think most of the time we were able to put pressure on them. That was one of the main reasons we were successful in the first session.”Dhoni pointed out that India losing wickets regularly in the second innings prevented partnerships being built. “We kept losing wickets at the wrong time. It was quite easy to stay on the wicket but difficult to score runs. A few of us thought if we can rotate and look for those singles, it’ll become a bit easy. But it was a good game of cricket at the end of the day,” he said.advertisementWest Indies captain Darren Sammy admitted that a defeat would have been shattering for his team.”All sorts of things were going through my mind, going down to the end. At one point, the tied Test came in mind. But I was speaking to Kirk Edwards – win or draw, win or draw, we can’t lose this,” he said. “It shows once you believe, there’s a possibility of achieving that. The way we batted, it would have been heartbreaking to lose that game.”Sammy said his was aim was to go for a win.”We were definitely looking for a win, playing a higher rung team, we would have got some [ICC ranking] points. The guys didn’t bat well, but bowlers did well. Devendra Bishoo, on one leg, bowled 50 overs. Marlon Samuels bowling 30 overs? Rampaul, Fidel. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bowl. A bowler down, we really showed a lot of fight. That’s a positive from this series: the way we kept our heads up when we were down,” he said.
Not very familiar with sports as a child, former All England champion and one of the most decorated Indian sportspersons P Gopi Chand still struggles to explain how he took to badminton.Busy imparting his knowledge of the sport to young shuttlers, Gopi Chand was in the Capital on Saturday to promote his biography The World Beneath His Feat, which recounts the story of his career.”Badminton happened to me over a period of years and I never actually thought how I took to the sport. Honestly, I didn’t know much about sports but enjoyed playing badminton. Gradually it became a very important part of my life,” Gopi told Mail Today.Penned by Sanjay Sharma and Shachi Sharma, the biography doesn’t reveal much about his coaching career which too has flourished with time.While Gopi has a number of achievements to his name, having not won an Olympic medal remains an unfulfilled dream for the shuttler.”I am happy with whatever I have achieved although an Olympic medal is something that I would have loved to have,” said Gopi.Without doubt, the All England Championship in 2001 remains closest to his heart although he does admit that there are a number of other achievements as well that makes him happy even today.”Being crowned the All England Champion was certainly the biggest achievement for me as a player. But there are other title victories as well which remain very close to my heart.”There was a phase when I was really doing well and my rankings reached to fourth in the world. The Commonwealth Games gold and the final of the Thomas Cup in 1999 make me feel very proud.”advertisementAfter retiring as a player, Gopi’s love for the game saw him come up with a badminton academy where he trains aspiring shuttlers whenever he gets time from his national duties as the chief coach.His association with India’s top-ranked player Saina Nehwal is well known and her emergence has been closely monitored by Gopi.”Certainly, the profile of the game has improved than what it was when I used to play and we have some very promising players coming up.”PV Sindhu is definitely one of the stars to watch out for. Besides, P Kashyap, Ajay Jayaram and Guru Saidutt have already showed what they have in store. The future of badminton in India is surely very bright,” he felt.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Paramjeet Samota of Railways continued his winning streak as he overpowered Rambol of Madhya Pradesh to storm into the semi-finals in super heavyweight category at the 58th Senior Men’s National Boxing Championship in Chennai on Thursday. Samota will face Fateh Singh of Jharkhand in the semi-finals. In the 49kg category, 2009 Asian Championship silver medallist Services boxer Nanao Singh thrashed P Raghvan of Tamil Nadu 14-5 in quarter-final.
Ford Motor Co on Wednesday unveiled its new global sports utility vehicle (SUV) EcoSport and said it will invest $ 142 million (about Rs 784 crore) in its Chennai plant to facilitate manufacturing of the model for the domestic and export markets.”The EcoSport is the second of eight new global models that Ford plans to launch in India by the mid of this decade. We are packaging together new engine technology, quality and safety aimed at attracting a new generation of consumers in India and other global markets,” Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer (CEO), Ford Motor Company, said.The company had launched New Ford Fiesta as its first global product portfolio for India.”Asia-Pacific in general and India in particular are very important markets for us. The global market is still robust and we expect about five per cent growth consecutively in the next two years. The Asia- Pacific market has slowed down a little bit but there is tremendous growth potential,” Mulally added.The company said that it was just a preview of the car ahead of the Auto Expo and the company’s wholly-owned arm, Ford India, will roll out the product in the market later this year.The EcoSport is based on the B-segment Fiesta platform. While the company has not disclosed the details of the product, saying it will be shared at the time of market launch, it said the EcoSport will be powered by a one-litre EcoBoost engine that has power of 120 HP and emits less than 140 gr/ km of CO2, which brings it on par with rivals’ conventional 1.6-litre petrol engines, the company said.advertisementAccording to Michael Boneha, president and managing director, Ford India, “We are investing $ 142 million in Chennai to produce that vehicle. This is part of our strategy to increasing our worldwide sales by nearly 50 per cent to take our annual global sales to eight million vehicles by 2015.”Boneha added that of this figure, 60 to 70 per cent sales are expected to come from the Asia-Pacific and Africa region. The all-new EcoSport will make its global debut in India and will be sold in 100 markets around the world.”The vehicle will expand Ford’s presence in Brazil, India, ASEAN markets and others to be announced at a later time, with world-class technology and quality, sharing the new B- class platform which is expected to sell more than two million units by mid-decade,” the company later said in a statement.
India suffered few anxious moments before emerging victorious 4-2 against Poland and sealed their spot in the final of the men’s hockey Olympic qualifier with a 100 per cent winning record on Friday.The hosts’ fifth consecutive win also paved the way for France’s entry into the title clash on Sunday.Sandeep Singh added another brace to his goal tally while fellow drag-flicker VR Raghunath and Shivendra Singh also found the target.Poland needed a draw against India in order to qualify for final after France held Canada to a 1-1 draw earlier in the day at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.The Poles fought bravely and their goalkeeper Mariusz Chyla was the star performer for them.India’s matches have got tougher and tougher as the tournament has progressed and they will have a few things to work on before the all-important final, the winner of which will book a ticket to the London Olympics.For the first time in the qualifier, India went behind in the 13th minute when Tomasz Dutkiewicz took advantage of a clever dummy on their first penalty corner to beat rival skipper Bharat Chetri in goal.India had dominated proceedings till then with the action, more or less, concentrated in the Polish half. But the forward line of Shivendra Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi and Tushar Khandker were guilty of poor finishing. The Poles were dangerous on counter- attacks and the Indian defence was put under pressure on a few occasions.India’s first three penalty corners also did not bear fruit before Sandeep found the top left corner on the 26th minute.As always, India started the second half with a blitzkrieg but found it difficult to beat the Polish defence.India had to wait almost till the hour mark to take the lead when Sarvanjit Singh’s hit into the circle was deflected by Shivendra. But the lead was shortlived as Miroslaw Juszczak’s unstoppable drag- flick made it 2-2.With France’s fortunes also dependent on the last round-robin match, Raghunath put India ahead once again when he converted team’s eighth penalty corner with five minutes left.The Poles did not lose heart but Sandeep added the finishing touches to the game with another deadly flick in the last action of the game.Chief coach Michael Nobbs was not happy with the team’s finishing.”Our movement and intensity was excellent. The forwards got into good positions, but the finishing was not up to the mark,” the Australian said.Nobbs was effusive in his praise for the Polish goalkeeper. “He is one of the best in the world. We had 44 circle penetrations and 14 shots, but he stood tall,” he said. India beat France 6-2 earlier in the competition, but Nobbs expects a tighter match on Sunday.”It is a grand final. It won’t be the same as the earlier matches. We will analyse the French team tomorrow,” he added.advertisement
After the arduous tour of Australia, fast bowler Umesh Yadav was given a ‘rest’ from the Asia Cup in Bangladesh in order for him to recuperate from the grind of nearly three months.Nearly 20 days of rest later, the Vidarbha pacer was presented with an opportunity to play for Central Zone in the Deodhar Trophy one-dayers and Umesh, after consulting coach Subroto Banerjee, decided to get some bowling under his belt before joining the Delhi Daredevils camp for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season.On Sunday, Central lost to North Zone in the semifinals in Dharamsala in a high-scoring match and Umesh returned unflattering figures of 10 overs, one for 68. It was Delhi pacer Parvinder Awana who scalped six wickets in the game, but Umesh was pleased to have played two matches in ‘mild’ conditions before the IPL.”Once I was picked for the Deodhar match, I was asked if I could play. I consulted my coach (Subroto Banerjee) and I felt that I needed to play at least a couple of games. I felt I had got enough rest after the Australia tour and needed some match practice,” Umesh told Mail Today on Sunday.”The climate in Dharamsala and Chandigarh was easy on the body. The wicket was good and the weather was pleasant. Now I will be preparing for the camp ahead of the IPL.” His coach Banerjee said that it was good that Umesh got to play in Dharamsala and not in the steamy conditions of Dhaka.advertisement”When we had a chat about playing in the Deodhar Trophy, I told him it was better for him. As you don’t have to put in so much effort, as one would have to in an international game, it would be easier on his body,” the former India pacer told Mail Today .”Fatigue is always there. But one shouldn’t rest too much. As long as you are fit, it’s fine.” Assessing the 24-year-old’s performance in Australia, Banerjee said the spell in the second innings of the first Test in Melbourne shall remain etched in his mind.”On the eve of that innings, he promised me that he would wreak havoc. And that is exactly what he did (picking four wickets). It was one hostile spell,” he said.But the coach was also aware of the propensity of the pacer to leak runs almost every time he bowls.”That’s an area we are working on. He has this tendency of bowling attacking lines, but in some matches he has leaked a lot of runs. Consistency in length is very crucial and we will be working on that. But overall, he has shaped up well. He is attacking all the time and even the captain (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) said that he wanted Umesh to not worry about runs but go for wickets.”The form and fitness of Umesh is very crucial for Indian pace bowling prospects as Zaheer Khan doesn’t look like the force he once was, Ishant Sharma’s fitness remains a mystery and Varun Aaron is still struggling with a back email@example.com