2009 Lahore terror attack taught me about my character: Kumar Sangakkara

News Network
February 14, 2020

London, Feb 14: Former Sri Lanka skipper and current Marylebone Cricket Club's president Kumar Sangakkara has said that the 2009 Lahore terror attack taught him about his own character and values.

His remarks came as MCC arrived in Pakistan to play T20I matches against Lahore Qalandars. This will mark his first return to the Gaddafi Stadium, where a shocking atrocity took place when the Sri Lankan bus was attacked by terrorists.

The Sri Lankan team was on their way to Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium for a Test match with Pakistan in 2009 when terrorists from the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) fired indiscriminately at their bus. The attack left eight people dead and injured seven Sri Lankan players and staff.

Ever since the incident, no cricket team toured Pakistan to play a cricket series, however, the landscape changed last year as Sri Lanka paid a visit to the country to play a series across formats. After that, even Bangladesh toured Pakistan and now there are talks of South Africa going to the country to play a series.

"I don't think I need any flashbacks, because I remember that day and those moments so very clearly. It's not something I relive or wallow in. But it's an experience you should never forget, because it gives you perspective in terms of life and sport, and you learn a lot about your own values and characters, and those of others," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Sangakkara as saying.

"I have no reservations about talking about it, it's not something that upsets me, but these sorts of experiences can only strengthen you. Today I consider myself very fortunate to be able to come back here to Lahore, and at the same time remember the sacrifice of all those who lost their lives that day," he added.

Sangakkara said that every human has his own way of dealing with such adversity.

"I think everyone deals with it in their own personal way. But at the same time, what really unites us is that you face adversity and you face challenges, and you have to get past it, and you've got to do that successfully. It's about moving forwards and upwards and being part of cricket. Being Sri Lankan you learn those lessons quite well, because, throughout our civil war, cricket was a unique vibe," Sangakkara said.

"We speak about the attack at various times. We even have a laugh about it, in terms of what we went through because it helps sometimes to look at it with a bit of humour, even though there was a tragic loss of life, and other serious injuries within that incident," he added.

MCC in the weeklong tour will take on Lahore Qalandars in a T20 match at the Gaddafi Stadium later today.

Kumar Sangakkara will lead the MCC's twelve-man squad for the tour, which includes Ravi Bopara, Roelof van der Merwe, Ross Whiteley among others.

Fixtures for the upcoming tour are as follows:

MCC vs Lahore Qalandars, T20I, Gaddafi Stadium, February 14

MCC vs Pakistan Shaheens, ODI, Aitchison College, February 16

MCC vs Northern, Aitchison College, T20I, February 17

MCC vs Multan Sultans, Aitchison College, T20I, February 19.

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News Network
September 17,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 17: Sportradar, the world's leading supplier of sports integrity solutions and sports data products, has signed an agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to support its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) in monitoring and safeguarding the integrity of matches during the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season.

As part of the agreement, all matches in IPL 2020 will be monitored by Sportradar's Integrity Services to detect betting irregularities. Sportradar will also provide a risk assessment to the BCCI driven by intelligence and data-driven insights, and furthermore the BCCI will be able to call upon Sportradar's Intelligence and Investigation Services during the term of the partnership, if required.

"It is an honor to partner with the BCCI for the 2020 IPL season. As the global leader in sporting integrity, we hope to provide our expertise and help protect the tournament against integrity-related issues. We know that the BCCI takes integrity seriously, and we look forward to working alongside them throughout the tournament and providing our support to their integrity program," Sportradar Integrity Services' Managing Director Andreas Krannich said in a statement.

The IPL 2020 will be played from September 19-November 10 in the UAE across three venues --Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.

Dubai will host to 24 games, 20 matches will be hosted by Abu Dhabi while Sharjah will hold 12 games. The opening match between the finalists of the 2019 edition will be played in Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

There will be a total of 10 doubleheaders in this edition of the tournament. The evening matches will be played at 7:30 PM IST while the afternoon matches are due to start at 3:30 PM IST.

The 13th edition of the league will start from September 19, with CSK locking horns with Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener.

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News Network
September 23,2020

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Sharjah, Sept 23: Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir has slammed Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper, MS Dhoni, for coming to bat at number seven when the side was chasing 217 against Rajasthan Royals.

His remarks came after CSK's 16-run loss against Rajasthan Royals by 16 runs in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Dhoni came out to bat in the 14th over of the innings with CSK at 114/5. The side still needed 103 runs for the win at that time and many pundits and experts have said that Dhoni should have come in earlier. Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad had come in front of Dhoni to bat against Rajasthan.

"I was a bit surprised, to be honest. MS Dhoni batting at No. 7? And sending Gaikwad before him, Sam Curran before him. Makes no sense to me. In fact, you should be leading from the front. And this is not what you call leading from the front. Batting at number seven when you're chasing what 217? The game was over. Faf was probably the lone warrior," ESPNCricinfo quoted Gambhir as saying.

"Yes, you can talk about MS Dhoni's last over when he hit three sixes, but it was of no use, to be honest. It was just all personal runs. See, if someone else would have done this, some other captain had batted number seven, he would have got a lot of flak. It is MS Dhoni - probably why people don't talk about it. When you don't have Suresh Raina, you're making people believe that Sam Curran is better than you. You're making people believe that Ruturaj Gaikwad, Curran, Kedar Jadhav, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, all these guys, are better than you," he added.

Dhoni found going a little tough initially as he was able to score just nine runs off his first twelve balls, but in the final over as CSK needed 38 to win, Dhoni was able to smash 20 runs, including three sixes.

"There is nothing wrong if you end up getting out early, at least start leading from the front, trying to inspire the team as well. What you did in the last over, probably if you'd done that coming in at No. 4 or 5, alongside Faf, you could have made a game out of it. But probably there was no such intent to make a game out of it," said Gambhir.

"I thought that after the first six overs, they had literally given up on the game. And probably MS was trying to get back into that match rhythm of batting till the end and get some runs under his belt so he can actually play these kind of innings in the coming games. You've got to be in the present, try and win each game possible. I thought there was no intent to win the game and they were never there in the chase. You can talk about Faf's innings, but Faf initially was struggling big time. So I thought it was an absolute miscalculation, probably not the right captaincy as well. This is not how you ask someone like MS to lead the side," he added.

For CSK, Faf du Plessis top-scored after playing a knock of 72 from just 37 balls. The MS Dhoni-led side posted 200 in the end, but they still lost the match by 16 runs.

Earlier, Sanju Samson had played a knock of 74 runs from just 32 balls to take Rajasthan Royals' total to 216/7 in the allotted twenty overs. Skipper Steve Smith also registered 69 runs.

The game-changing moment had come in the final over of Rajasthan's innings as Jofra Archer smashed CSK's Lungi Ngidi for 30 runs.

CSK will next take on Delhi Capitals on September 25 while Rajasthan will face Kings XI Punjab on September 27.

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Agencies
September 14,2020

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New York, Sept 14: A U.S. Open unlike any other finished unlike any other with an unprecedented fifth-set tiebreaker as Dominic Thiem became the first man in 71 years to win the final after dropping the opening two sets.

So close to defeat in a nearly empty Arthur Ashe Stadium fans were banned because of the coronavirus pandemic Thiem slowly but surely turned things around against a faltering Alexander Zverev and pulled out a 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory at Flushing Meadows for his first Grand Slam title.

The match ended with both men fighting leg cramps and, clearly, nerves.

Somehow, said Thiem, a 27-year-old from Austria, the belief today was stronger than the body, and I'm super happy about that.

When a backhand from Zverev landed wide on the third championship point, a weary Thiem dropped to his back way behind the baseline and covered his face with his hands.

When he arose, he was met by Zverev, who walked around the net to clasp hands, then embrace his friend and foe, two sights rarely seen in this era of social distancing.

Thiem then rested his head on the shoulder of the taller Zverev, who himself came within two points of what would have been his first major triumph.

I wish we could have two winners today, Thiem said. I think we both deserved it.

He is the first man to win the American Grand Slam tournament after trailing 2-0 in sets in the final since Pancho Gonzalez did it against Ted Schroeder in 1949 at an event then known as the U.S. Championships and held in Forest Hills.

The event never had been settled by a fifth-set tiebreaker; no major tournament ever had until Novak Djokovic edged Roger Federer that way at Wimbledon in 2019.

I was a few games away, a few points away," said Zverev, who was trying to give Germany its first male Grand Slam champion since Boris Becker in the 1990s.

I'm 23 years old. I don't think it's my last chance. Zverev choked up when he mentioned that his parents hadn't been able to travel to New York because they tested positive for COVID-19, although he said they are now healthy.

As Thiem stepped forward to pose for pictures with his shiny new bit of hardware, Zverev remained a few feet behind, one hand clutching his less-impressive silver tray, the other hand on a hip.

The proceedings took 4 hours, 2 minutes. And to think: After just 1 1/2 hours, Zverev was up by two sets and a break in the third at 2-1.

The match turned when he broke me for the first time in the third set, Zverev said.

He started playing much better, and I started playing much worse. Zverev, of all people, should have known what might have seemed like an impossible hill to climb for Thiem was, indeed, achievable. After all, in Thursday's semifinals, it was Zverev who trailed 2-0 in sets against Pablo Carre o Busta before coming back to win.

Thiem began the day 0-3 in Grand Slam finals, but always faced a member of the Big Three of men's tennis in those others. This time, he was the favorite and came out jittery, but eventually worked his way out of that, while Zverev went from cool and confident to passive and pushed around.

The fifth set was just as back-and-forth as the other four, the mistakes rising with the tension and the history in the offing.

Thiem broke in the opening game when Zverev shanked a pair of forehands. Zverev broke right back and pierced the silence with a rare cry of Come on! when Thiem double-faulted.

Then it was Zverev's turn to nose ahead, breaking for a 5-3 lead when Thiem sent a down-the-line backhand wide and leaned over, gasping for air.

But with a chance to serve out the biggest win of his nascent career, Zverev faltered, getting broken right back when he pushed a volley into the net.

That began a three-game run for Thiem, who broke to lead 6-5, earning his own chance to serve for it when Zverev netted a backhand, followed by a long forehand.

After having a trainer check on his right leg during the ensuing changeover, Thiem couldn't seal the deal, either, and on they went to the tiebreaker. Zverev double-faulted twice and offered up one second serve at 68 mph, about half the speed he's capable of.

While this was the No. 7-ranked Zverev's first Slam final, this was the first one the No. 3-ranked Thiem was supposed to win, following losses to 12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2018 and 2019, then to eight-time Australian Open champion Djokovic at Melbourne Park this February back before the pandemic upended the world and put tennis on a five-month hiatus.

Instead of wild applause and loud shouts greeting great exchanges, the soundtrack Sunday mainly came from outside the largest court in tennis, courtesy of roaring airplanes, rumbling trains, revving car engines, honking horns and wailing sirens.

There was the occasional polite applause from the dozens of tournament workers allowed in the stands and, deep into the match, yells from the players' entourages.

But the louder crowd noise heard by TV viewers was fake, added by the broadcaster.

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