Sports Centre

A round-up of the best, the brightest and the bunk in sporting action worldwide

Pawar gifts Ganguly a ticket to Pak

All speculation about Sourav Ganguly’s future was set to rest when the Indian cricket board named the former Indian skipper in the 16-member squad for the Pakistan tour commencing early in January. “Sourav has experience and lots of runs behind him. If you see the recent record and statistics, he hasn’t done well, but we needed his experience on this tour. We wanted to give youngsters a chance on the Sri Lanka tour,” cricket board selection committee chairman Kiran More said. But just being in the 16-member team doesn’t guarantee playing. According to sources, “all-rounder” Sourav’s only chance of making it to the playing XI is if he opens the innings with Virender Sehwag.

Nike pays Rs 196 cr to bag cricket sponsorship

Nike will be the apparel sponsor for India for the next five years. The company has won the bid ahead of Adidas and Reebok and Slazenger. BCCI Vice-President Lalit Modi said the contract is for the period January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2010. “With this, BCCI has become the world’s most valued brand in team sponsorship,” Modi said.Under the deal, the sports apparel firm will pay BCCI Rs 196.6 crores for the next five years for ODIs and Tests.Nike will have its logo on the non-leading arms of the Indian cricketers. It also has the right to create Team India merchandising. Licensing of merchandise would see branded goods being made available for sale through retail outlets and departmental stores.

Shuttler of Indian origin makes waves in Britain

A young British badminton player of Indian origin, Rajiv Ouseph, is making waves after winning the European Junior championship the first by an English player in two decades.
Rajiv, 19, son of Joe and Asha Ouseph from Kerala, is aiming to emulate the Olympic success of another Asian sports star, Amir Khan, who won a boxing silver medal at the last Olympics. Rajiv now has the London 2012 Olympics in his sights, and hopes to make it to the British team by then. To this end, he has undergone six-week training under former Indian badminton star Prakash Padukone at Bangalore recently. “It’s a dream. I’m 19 now, so I’ll be 26 and hopefully at my peak when the Olympics come to London. Having them in the country has encouraged me to train that bit harder. “If I were to make the British team it would make my mum and dad so proud. And that would mean so much to me because everything I’ve achieved so far I owe to them,” the Evening Standard quoted him as saying.

600 golfers race for 40 Asian Tour cards

A record 600 golfers have entered the race for just 40 qualifying places on the Asian Tour next year, where $23 million in prize-money is up for grabs. Qualifying for the 2006 season will be played over two stages in Malaysia in January. The Asian Tour has an unprecedented 32 events on its calendar next year with more prize-money on offer than ever before. Among the outstanding graduates from the 2005 Qualifying School were Andrew Buckle of Australia and India’s Shiv Kapur who both stamped their mark on the game with a string of impressive achievements. Kapur enjoyed a tremendous season, coming close to his first top flight win when he narrowly lost in a playoff at the International Open in Thailand. He went on to lift the season-ending Volvo Masters title, banking $242,101 in his maiden season.

Karthikeyan tests for team Williams
Narain Karthikeyan pressed his claims to be Williams’s reserve driver next season by testing for the Formula One team in Spain. The Chennai driver, who raced for Jordan this year but has failed to find a place for 2006 with what is now the Midland team, set the fifth fastest time of the day at the southern Jerez circuit. Williams said he did 49 laps with a best time of one minute 20.291 seconds, faster than German rookie Nico Rosberg who has secured the team’s second race drive alongside Australian Mark Webber.
Williams technical director Sam Michael did not comment on Karthikeyan’s performance, saying only the Indian had “spent time familiarising himself with the car, carrying out long runs, systems checks and calibration work”.

I want to come back: Hockey coach
Gerhard Rach, India’s first foreign hockey coach, is desperate for a comeback. Almost a year after an unceremonious sack, the German’s target is the Premier Hockey League. Excerpts from an interview. On PHL and its foreign advisors: Of course, I am very interested in coaching a PHL team. Also it will be easy for me to get European players, especially from Germany, to play in PHL. Then, they won’t need a highly-paid technical director like Maurits Hendrik. Instead of wasting money on a technical advisor they should spend it on technical equipment for the national side. Is he trying to return to India: I spoke to IHF chief Mr (KPS) Gill on Tuesday but this has nothing to do with the PHL job. I was asking him if there is a chance to return as national coach.


January 2006

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