Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Claudio Ranieri marked his Sampdoria debut with a birthday stalemate against Roma, but the Giallorossi suffered yet more injuries. Click here for the full match report. OR Follow all the action as it happens from today’s SIX Serie A games and give your views on the LIVEBLOG.
Juventus have left Cristiano Ronaldo out of their squad to face Lecce tomorrow, but Mattia De Sciglio and Danilo are included. Ronaldo has been rested for the trip to Lecce, but De Sciglio and Danilo have been passed fit after several weeks out with muscle injuries. Young forwards Marco Olivieri and Han Kwang-song have been promoted from the Under-23 squad, but Douglas Costa is still not ready to return. The pair’s inclusion comes despite Mario Mandzukic being fit and available, although the striker has been cut completely by Coach Maurizio Sarri. Juve squad to face Lecce: Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Buffon; De Sciglio, De Ligt, Alex Sandro, Danilo, Bonucci, Rugani, Demiral; Pjanic, Khedira, Matuidi, Emre Can, Rabiot, Bentancur; Dybala, Cuadrado, Higuain, Bernardeschi, Olivieri, Han Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
It was Tintin mania writ large. Fans were out on the streets, some sporting Tintin caps, some in the trademark quaff of the world’s most famous boy reporter. There was even someone strutting around in a Captain Haddock costume. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, the animated,It was Tintin mania writ large. Fans were out on the streets, some sporting Tintin caps, some in the trademark quaff of the world’s most famous boy reporter. There was even someone strutting around in a Captain Haddock costume. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, the animated 3D adaptation of the Belgian comic book hero, premiered on October 21 at the UGC De Brouckere theatre in Brussels, the city of his creator Herge’s birth. India Today’s Associate Copy Editor Narender Saini caught up with the movie’s director, Steven Spielberg, over two days in Brussels and Paris. Excerpts:Q. When did the idea of making a Tintin movie first catch your fancy?A. In the 1980s. But we lacked the technology then. I found it only in the Noughties and immediately reacquired the movie rights. On an intuition, I approached Weta, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson’s company. I asked them to show me how Snowy, Tintin’s faithful companion, would look like. It took them three months before the results came in. I went to my screening room and turned on the projector. And there was Snowy. Their digital dog was brilliant. We were on!Q. The movie releases in India on November 11, a full six weeks before its US release. Any special reason?A. America doesn’t know Tintin. We are positioning it as an original movie based on a good story. We want Americans to discover Tintin the same way they discovered Indiana Jones, ET, Star Wars or films like Avatar.advertisementQ. Do you think you did justice in terms of animation and live action?A. Yes. The characters breathe life, they possess a sense of humour and all the emotions we do because they were performed by real people. But I am not patting myself on the back. All credit goes to Weta and the actual animators.Q. Does technology obscure the story in your latest offering?A. Technology made things easy but is not most important. If you do not have a great idea, you cannot make a great movie based only on technology.Q. Did you ever meet Herge, Tintin’s creator?A. I had spoken to him over the phone sometime in 1983. I told him what a huge fan I am of his art, and his stories, and he raved about Raiders of the Lost Ark, which had come out in 1981. I told him that I wanted to adapt his book into a movie. Herge said, “You are the only director I feel who can do justice to my book.” He asked if I could come next week. I was shooting the next Indiana Jones instalment that time in London. We agreed to meet in three weeks. He died two weeks later.Q. Who is your favourite character in the Tintin series?A. Captain Haddock. Because he is funny, larger-than-life, and his worldview is a little clouded over. The best thing about him is his profanity. Herge customised it for him.Q. You and Peter Jackson are planning a Tintin trilogy?A. If the film achieves a level of success that we think warrants further adventures of Tintin, Peter and I would love to do it.Q. Besides the Reliance Enter-tainment tie-up, what other Indian collaborations do you have?A. I don’t. My financier, Reliance Entertainment, is making movies possible for my DreamWorks Studios now.
First it was Rahul Dravid, then it was VVS Laxman’s turn to follow suit with a ton. Just when you were beginning to think that a deceleration was on the cards skipper MS Dhoni jumped in the fray with a century against his name. Score | PhotosWith the ‘Big 3’ belting their names in the record books with massive centuries against their names and the scoreboard swelling to 631/7 dec, chances that the ton an average Indian cricket fan has been waiting for seven months might not come to past at Eden – the Mecca of Indian cricket.Chances are that the touring West Indies side, who were trailing by 597 runs with 8 wickets remaining in the 1st innings when bad light forced an early end, may be forced to follow-on putting Sachin Tendulkar’s plans for his 100th ton on hold.India started the day on 346/5 with VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh at the crease. While Laxman continued to bat at ease, busy chasing his 17th Test hundred, Yuvraj Singh paid the price for inappropriate strokes.Trying to play across the line to opposition skipper Darren Sammy will always invite trouble and that’s what happened on Tuesday, Yuvraj got trapped leg before on a paltry 25.That was the first of the two wickets to fall from the Indian camp on the day as Laxman and Dhoni, playing like they were possessed, chased down every ball that was thrown to them.Singles came aplenty and so did the doubles and boundaries. Besides skipper Dhoni made sure that were those ‘spectator-friendly’ shots that took the aerial route past the fence.advertisementSoon Laxman played his trade mark shot off Sammy, the ball sailed past the boundary, the scanty crowd rose up in applause and the man was out there raising his bat to a 100 against his name – his 17th Tests.Bad light and slight drizzle brought in its share of drama as an early lunch was called with India on a cosy 433/6.If the first session belonged to Laxman, the second was clearly Dhoni’s.He battered, bashed and pounded and even used his trademark helicopter shot to the entertainment of the sparse crowd and within minutes the India total raced past 500.But Dhoni continued and within a matter of minutes his double digit figure had turned to three, giving him his fifth Test ton. At tea India were a massive 613/6.Breaks usually don’t go down too well with the batsmen and Tuesday proved to be no different. Minutes into the final session a Kemar Roach ball broke their 224-run partnership.The India skipper wanted to cut a short ball, but a thick edged was nicely taken by keeper Carlton Baugh and the Dhoni was seen walking back with 144 on board even as the India score read 620/7.With the captain back in the pavilion deceleration wasn’t far. Precisely 11 balls later India declared with the scoreboard reading 631/7 with Laxman remaining unbeaten on 176.West Indies 1st inningsAlready reeling under pressure, the Windies started off poorly losing their opener Adrian Barath in the second over of the innings.The 87-mile an hour cherry off paceman Umesh Yadav took the edge of Barath’s bat and Virender Sehwag did the rest in the slips cordon. He could only manage to score one as the visitors lost their first wicket on three.Offie R Ashwin scalped the other opener Kraigg Brathwaite (17) and the Windies were down 30/2. The visitors could have been in major trouble if it had not been for bad light that forced early stumps.At close on Day 2, West Indes were trailing by 597 runs with eight wickets in hand.
The 11th Auto Expo kicked off at Pragati Maidan in the national capital on Thursday. With a line up of 50 brand new launches, concept cars and celebrity tie-ins Auto Expo 2012 is all about shiny metal and carbon. It is already the second biggest auto show in Asia and this year it threatens to jump the kerb again.Some Day 1 launchesLate on the Indian car scene, Nissan has been trying to make up for lost time. On the opening day the company used brand ambassador Ranbir Kapoor to unveil its multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) Evalia.A rather conservative looking MPV, given the time it has taken for Nissan to bring this one in, nothing particularly futuristic or concept-like about it. It is a nice, robust seven-seater that will begin production later in 2012 and compete with offerings from Toyota and others.Completing its fluidic design philosophy, Hyundai wrapped up the global launch of its new Sonata on Day 1 of Auto Expo 2012. Sonata is already being pitched as a best in segment vehicle. Hyundai suggests that the car’s design was inspired by the effect that gravity would have on an orchid. That would pretty much explain the flowing lines on this beautiful big sedan.Suzuki India took the covers off two new entry-level two-wheelers – 110cc motorcycle Hayate and 125cc scooter Swish – this season. Hayate would be available for India’s mass market from April. Swish is a value-packed scooter aimed at first time owners, especially young adults and newlyweds.Never far behind, Yamaha kept its word about getting into the Indian scooter market. On display at the expo is Yamaha’s new scooter concept, the Yamaha Ray. Clearly designed for the woman rider, the scooter sits pretty and is easy on the eye. There were a lot of women who mobbed the Yamaha stand, but apparently it had more to do with the company’s brand ambassador John Abraham than the sprightly scooter itself.advertisementFollowing a pretty healthy 2011, leading motorcycle maker Harley Davidson rolled out FXDB Street Bob and FXDC Super Glide Custom at the Delhi show. Street Bob is a dyed-in-the-wool bobber styled motorcycle and happens to be the first 1,600cc motorcycle to be priced under Rs 10 lakh, which is a hardcore value proposition. These happen to be Harley’s cheapest offerings in India so far and bookings for both are already open.Bigger is better”Bigger is better” is the latest mantra for global automakers aggressively targeting India’s underdeveloped sports utility vehicle (SUV) market. And, Auto Expo 2012 is undoubtedly the season of compact SUVs. Carmakers have unveiled over a dozen new rugged, full-powered SUVs at the auto expo this year.Maruti Suzuki’s compact SUV hybrid concept XA Alpha arrives with a bang when virtually every competitor is revving up to put out smaller and more compact SUVs. The XA Alpha, said to be a pretty much a fourth-generation Jimny, is just four-metre long. Incidentally, the XA Alpha is an open market research concept. Maruti Suzuki would decide its fate based on public response at the expo.Ushering in the season of serious machismo, Mahindra has brought it Rexton, a premium SUV from the recently acquired Korean SsangYong badge. With some pretty robust off-road capabilities, the Rexton will be Mahindra’s big splash in the full-blown premium SUV market and will find a cosy place among competition from the big off-road boys in the country.Hyundai Motor too has launched its new concept van Hexa Space targeting the urban customers. It packs in eight passengers and all the seats are shaped hexagonally to create optimum space utilisation. But the manufacturers say it was not yet certain when it would hit Indian Markets.America’s second-largest automaker Ford too unveiled a compact SUV EcoSport. Showcasing EcoSport at the auto show, Ford hopes to boost its presence in Asia’s second-fastest growing major economy. EcoSport features a one litre three-cylinder direct-injected EcoBoost engine making it an environment friendly proposition.
Chief selector K. Srikkanth has apologised for the first time for the team’s dismal performance in the last few series and admitted that it is a transitional phase in Indian cricket.”I take responsibility as chief selector for what has happened. I accept the blame. I say sorry to the Indian public for doing badly. But we will bounce back ,” Srikkanth said in Aaj Tak’s Seedhi Baat programme.However, the former opening batsman said it was time to look to the future.”We have to look forward rather than crib about things that went wrong. Why cry over spilt milk?””I don’t believe in giving excuses. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t,” he said.Srikkanth believed that India was going through a cricketing recession.”This is a stressful period for Indian cricket, and the best way to emerge from this stress is to go through it. Look at Australia, England, West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka – all cricketing nations have gone down in the dumps but have emerged stronger. You can’t be on top all the time. It’s a cycle and all cricketing teams go through it,” he said.India has suffered back-toback 0-4 whitewashes in England and Australia during Srikkanth’s tenure.One of the bright spots in recent times has been the emergence of Virat Kohli and the chief selector lauded his mental strength.”Virat is willing to take responsibility in a crisis situation. He is a fighter. That shows his character,” he said.Srikkanth denied that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is over-burdened with leading the team in all three formats.He also refused to be drawn on issues regarding the rift between Dhoni and Virender Sehwag.Srikkanth also believed that Sachin Tendulkar should continue playing for as long as he wants.”Sachin is doing a great job, leave him alone! Leave the decision of retiring to Sachin – he knows what to do and what not to do. He has achieved a humanly impossible target,” he signed off.advertisement
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Piyush Chawla has been a part of Kings XI Punjab since the first season and the team’s sluggish start has hardly helped the leggie’s cause. The 23-year-old was part of the World Cup winning squad but he has failed to make an impact in the international arena.He is however upbeat about a turnaround in both his and his IPL team’s fortunes and reckons Pune Warriors batsman Robin Uthappa is the most dangerous batsman in the Indian Premier League after Chris Gayle.”The start has not been good but there are enough games left for us to mount a comeback. Every team will go through a phase where they will lose some matches and it’s bound to happen in a league of this nature,” he said.He also rates Uthappa as the most dangerous batsman in the league after Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Gayle.”Robin is an impact batsman and can destroy any bowling line-up on his day. I think after Chris Gayle, he is the one who can alter the game’s complexion.”Being a leg-break bowler in T20s is not an easy task as players are always in an aggressive mode and there is also very less scope for trying out variations.But Piyush says he never allows those batterings to shake his confidence and he takes it in his stride.”Every game is a new one and as bowlers, especially in a format like IPL, bowlers will go for runs. The crowd loves to see big hits and it’s an important component of the game. But I always try to innovate with my bowling and am trying to come up with a new delivery that will bamboozle batsman,” said Piyush, who idolises Shane Warne and Anil Kumble.advertisementYuvraj Singh was his first captain for Kings XI Punjab and Piyush wants him to be a part of the Kings XI set up again.”If Yuvraj is available for the next season, we should have him in our team next time around.”His presence in the side lifts the spirits of the team when the chips are down and he inspires his teammates to give their best on the field. I want him to make a comeback as soon as possible,” he signed off.
Less than 10 days into the grand event, it is being said that the 2003 cricket World Cup has already found its player of the tournament. Robert Mugabe. The controversial president of Zimbabwe and patron of its cricket board ruled the early stages of the Cup more than any pyjama-clad,Less than 10 days into the grand event, it is being said that the 2003 cricket World Cup has already found its player of the tournament. Robert Mugabe. The controversial president of Zimbabwe and patron of its cricket board ruled the early stages of the Cup more than any pyjama-clad superstar. Till now no World Cup has been so conflict-riddenThe ICC may have battened down the hatches against the tidal wave of ambush marketing but Mugabe’s politics ambushed attention and the eighth World Cup like no cheeky advertising campaign ever could.The Cup is churning – in chaos that never ends, every day bringing fresh controversy, every phone call a portent of fresh scandal, new disaster. The cricket is lost in space, far away somewhere. Instead of spotlighting genius, cricket’s World Cup has run straight into dictators, substance-abusers, political activists, suspected racists and a bunch of dithering Englishmen in Africa.No Cup has been so conflict-ridden. It is no wonder even the Christian Science magazine and the Jewish Chronicle have devoted pages to the Cup – after all every scourge of the modern world seems to be upon it. Shane Warne and his Chamber of SecretsROPE A DOPE: Warne’s explanation didn’t find too many sympathisers even in AustraliaWhen it comes to modern-day scourges, Warne has worked his way through them all, one at a time. Bookiegate, a scandal over a tawdry phone call, trying to conceal his failure in a very public anti-smoking campaign and the man responsible for international cricket’s first positive dope test. For one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the century, it was not a fall from grace but rather one of his regular visits to the halls of infamy. Cricket suspected more than just one man’s folly, specially as Australia are only one of three countries with drug codes in cricket and annoyingly self-righteous when it comes to the bad practice of others.CUP SIDELIGHTS HUNKOMANIA: A World Hunk XI picked by female readers of The Star included (in order) Wasim Akram, Stephen Fleming, Alok Kapali, Makhaya Ntini, Corey Collymore, Craig White, Zaheer Khan, Brett Lee, Dravid, Chris Cairns and Tendulkar.BAGGAGE MAN: The Indian team is accompanied by an entertaining baggage man, Achmat. The Indians were startled by his informality and irreverence, but were soon seen exchanging the traditional South African greeting of “Howz it, brother?”SPEED GUN: It’s official. The time available to batsmen to react to a ball being bowled at him by, say, Brett Lee (below) is 400 milliseconds. An Australian invention, Silicon Coach, that can measure any activity is currently being used at the “elite” level in Australia Tim Noakes, a member of the World Cup Appeals Committee on Drugs and professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town, asks, “Warne’s said on record that he has not taken a performance-enhancing substance.advertisementBut why then did he need to take a diuretic? If he was using it to get fitter and stronger and to recover from an injury then that’s clearly a violation and Australians must ask who prescribed it to him.” The possible explanations are two: that a diuretic was part of his medical requirements (not the case as it is a treatment for high blood pressure and Warne has not sought a medical exemption for that condition) or that any nutritional supplements he may have taken was contaminated by the diuretics that showed up in his test. Warne’s statement that he took a fluid tablet before his comeback game on January 23 has also been questioned. Writing in The Melbourne Age, Peter Brukner, associate professor at the Centre for Sports Medicine Research and Education at Melbourne University, said, “One would have thought that the last thing an athlete would want to do on a hot day is to dehydrate himself… it has been shown that dehydration leads to impaired performance.” Diuretics are on the IOC’s list of banned drugs because they can be used as weight-loss tablets that help boxers, rowers and weightlifters achieve required weight levels quickly and because they can act as masking agents for anabolic steroids, used to speed up an athlete’s recovery from injury. Warne, whose other newsworthy act in South Africa was to make an unsubtle beeline to chat up the statuesque woman who led the Australians out at the opening ceremony in front of 25,000 people, slipped again- except this time it showed.Nasser Hussain and the Philosophers’ StonesHIT WICKET: Hussain (right) with coach Duncan FletcherSticks and stones may have broken protesters’ bones in Mugabe’s Harare but thousands of words flying around England’s besieged cricket team and its refusal to play in Zimbabwe have hurt them too.Captain Nasser Hussain was caught between weeping young players and a cricket board that didn’t want to give up the cake, but couldn’t be bothered to make a trip to the bakers in a slightly rough neighbourhood with an armed escort. Public understanding turned against Hussain & Co once Henry Olonga and Andy Flower decided to wear black bands in Zimbabwe’s first match to mourn the “death of democracy”. Olonga, the first black man to represent Zimbabwe, and Flower, the most accomplished cricketer from his country, made a rare political gesture in cricket, one an ICC insider called “powerful and brave”. advertisementA notice put out by Mugabe’s Zanu PF partyNot the words being used to describe Englishmen. The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) took its opportunism to the brink: it tried to get the ICC to cancel its opening match in Harare without making a formal declaration that it would not go, a legal ploy which sought to limit damage claims.South Africa’s board president Percy Sonn, a lawyer himself, thundered, “There has been a huge disrespect shown to our ability to host a tournament, despite the fact we have spent millions of rands on meeting their concerns.” Sonn declared that South Africa and Zimbabwe would stage a counter-boycott of their tours of England. It was an unsafe country where recently a stash of poisoned gas had been found, and where subway trains would regularly “crash into walls”. The ECB’s new chairman, David Morgan, didn’t meet with Sonn for days after he arrived and didn’t attend the opening ceremony in Cape Town despite the fact that he was invited and in town. MAIN MAN: The onus of preserving and destroying is back with TendulkarInstead England have been shown a documentary film about the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe to help them make up their minds. England’s Plan B is to get the match moved or to share points should Zimbabwe refuse to play away from home.Should the ICC,which has played tough so far, concede points at this stage, there will be an uproar that will once again unite the African and Asian lobbies in world cricket because when Australia and the West Indies refused to visit Sri Lanka in 1996 due to security concerns, they readily forfeited points. To make an exception for England would lead to a long aftershock of chaos.Tendulkar and the Batting Order of the PhoenixHYPED REALITY The average runs scored by India’s much-vaunted batsmen in the 10 innings up to the Holland match.15.3-Tendulkar14.7-Ganguly33.5-Sehwag19.4-Dravid29.5-Yuvraj8.7-KaifIf there is chaos, can India be far behind? Like the legendary phoenix, the Indian batting order is rumoured to have the capacity to rise from the ashes.Now with only six wins in their last 15 matches (including the match against Holland), the ashes are threatening to go cold in South Africa with little chance of glorious resurrection. A Dutch team made up of special-education teachers, university students, lawyers, real-estate agents and cigar salesmen – including a player by the completely unreal name of Jan Feiko Kloppenburg – left cricket’s gazillionaires red-faced after their first game.advertisementThe Dutch may have been as keen to procure a signed Sachin Tendulkar shirt as they were to get his wicket but captain Roland Lefebvre was brassy enough to suggest that the world’s best batsman had “looked tame” in his first 50-plus score in eight innings. Tendulkar had an eerily quiet run-up to the Cup due to a combination of injury and unsettled form. The question of where he would bat is part of the Indian team’s official secrets act, the epicentre for a dozen conspiracy theories.When Tendulkar walked out to open against Holland – a turnaround choice made by Sourav Ganguly – the dam burst: the maestro was at the top of the order to stop the growing growl in the media about how his genius was wasted down in the middle or perhaps it was a gesture to placate a disgruntled superstar pushed off the centrestage by that audacious arriviste Virender Sehwag. A member of the Indian touring party said, “If we want to win this World Cup, we need Sachin to have a good tournament. We need him to be where he is most comfortable, and there we need him to play like the best batsman in the world.” Tendulkar will open in more innings than was previously expected in the group stage.The onus of stepping up to the plate – not merely with the slash-and-burn tactics of lesser mortals like Sehwag but with the composite gifts of creator, preserver and destroyer – is back on Tendulkar again. The World Cup has begun but the players have yet to take centrestage for their deeds on the field. As the campaigns around South Africa 2003 have kept repeating – it’s time.