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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Discarded Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik plays local cricket in India

Discarded Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik plays local cricket in India – Cricket news

Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, who is struggling to make a comeback in the national team, has been seen playing local cricket in the Indian city of New Delhi.
The flamboyant all-rounder is in India these days after marrying Indian tennis star Sania Mirza. Malik has also represented Delhi Daredevils in the inaugural edition of the lucrative Indian Premier League.
While playing a local Twenty20 game for the Turf Cricket Academy Pitampura, the Pakistani all-rounder played an instrumental role in his team’s comprehensive victory. Malik smashed an unbeaten innings of 123 runs from just 57 balls with the help of 6 fours and 10 sixes.
“I haven’t held the bat for almost 25 days now, have been busy with some other commitments so it felt good to score some runs. It’s a nice experience, especially with the kind of competitiveness you have in club cricket here,” Malik said.
Malik opted to participate in the game when he and his wife reached New Delhi for attending a function. The all-rounder borrowed the bat from one of his teammates and smacked a fantastic knock. At the end of the game, the host player gifted the same bat to Malik for pleasant memories of the contest.
“Match practice is the best and back home in Pakistan; it’s difficult to gather net bowlers for practice, even at the academy. Good bowlers are usually busy playing matches and it had been quite some time I spent in Delhi, and whenever friend call me,  I come and play,” the Sialkot-born cricketer added.
Malik has served Pakistan in 192 One Day Internationals in which he scored 5,188 runs at an average of 34.35. The all-rounder has an exceptional record against India, as he has an average of over 50 in 33 games against them.
When asked about Pak-India cricketing ties, the blistering batsman described that politics had stopped the dialogue progress between the two countries but through cricket, the two neighbours can get together once again.
Malik further spelled out that he was not upset or frustrated for not being selected for the national team. He vowed that he would give his one hundred percent whenever he is given a chance to represent the country.

ICC laments senior Indian players decision to skip West Indies tour







The International Cricket Council (ICC) has lamented rumours that star Indian players, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Virendar Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, and, Zaheer Khan would miss their upcoming series against West Indies, as a means to give themselves a rest before their series against Australia and England.

According to reports, many senior players of the Indian cricket team have requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to grant them permission to skip the West Indies tournament starting on June 4, 2011. This tour includes three Tests and five One Day Internationals (ODIs) and one Twenty20 game

The players added that they have been playing two months consecutively. First it was the ICC World Cup 2011, which concluded with the victory of Men in Blue. Currently it is the Indian Premier League (IPL).

There was only a six day gap between the World Cup and the IPL, which has exhausted the players. Hence they need a break from such a hectic schedule because they cannot afford to play another series after the end of IPL Twenty20 league on May 28, 2011.

Although Indian players have submitted their request to the BCCI, the ICC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Haroon Lorgat has said that it would be harmful for Indian cricketers to skip the Windies tour.

Lorgat stated, “I think it affects the brand of cricket. Everybody wants to see a full strength side. Same applies to the IPL and any of the FTP (Future Tour Program) commitments. Because of the volume of cricket, every individual player has to be managed”.

While talking to the media, Lorgat said that the permission can be granted to a couple of players who need rest. However, all the crucial cricketers appealing for a skip from the tour would not be appropriate, he added.

Lorgat said, “One or two stars, asking for a rest is okay. If five or six stars do not want to go to West Indies, then I think, it's not an appropriate fulfilment of what has been committed to the FTP".

The ICC boss Haroon Lorgat said that the ICC Future Tours Programme does not take into account the domestic events of any country and the Indian Premier League is no exception.

He said that it is possible that in future, other boards ask for similar favours if the ICC grants a designated space to the IPL. He said that although the BCCI had not requested such a window, the cricket's governing body was not going to accommodate it if it asked.

Darren Sammy disappointed with West Indies in St. Lucia, Shahid Afridi aims to seal series in Barbados



Darren Sammy disappointed with West Indies in St. Lucia as Shahid Afridi aims to seal series in Barbados



The West Indian and Pakistani captains were obviously in different moods after the second match of the five-match One Day International (ODI) series between the two teams.

The match played at Gros Islet in St.Lucia was won comfortably by the visitors, who have now taken a 2-0 lead in the series, the West Indians were ordinary with the bat and insipid with the ball, as the Men in Green cantered home to a 7-wicket win on a good batting track.

Sammy, who has been under fire from cricketing pundits in the region, stated that his team needs to improve their performance by leaps and bounds if they are to compete and make a comeback in the series. He thinks that the batsmen have let the team down in the first two games, as they failed to make good use of batting conditions scoring 221 and 220 runs only in the two innings.

He also felt that the bowlers failed to tighten their grip around the batsmen despite a low score on the board. He added that a major blip in the performance is needed if the West Indians are to fight back and make things tough for the Pakistan team.

"We could have tried to squeeze their batsmen more and when we batted we got a good start, but did not capitalize on it", Sammy said. "We weren't rolled over today. We kept ourselves in the match right to the finish. There were moments when things could have gone either way, but we didn't make it happen. We have to find a way to win those tight situations. We have to win in Barbados to stay alive in the series, so we have to grab our chances".

On the other hand, the Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi is happy with the performance of his team in the first two games. He praised the "discipline" shown by his side and added that his team has a specific plan for the second match and fortunately they succeeded in sticking to it and reaped the rewards with a comfortable win.

Afridi feels that it was a complete team effort that helped his side and if the boys continued to play with the same purpose and commitment they were set to pocket the series in the third ODI that is to be played in Barbados.

"We made a plan at our team meeting and our guys stuck to it and that was good", Afridi said. "I think our bowlers are doing a great job, and the fielding has improved because it is a very important area for us. Our batting has shown responsibility and we hope to maintain this discipline right throughout the series".

The man known as BOOM BOOM for his big hitting ability added that the team has reaped rewards of the hard work that they put in the World Cup and during the training camp set prior to the tour of West Indies.

Another encouraging thing for Afridi is the performance of his opening batsmen, Ahmed Shehzad, who posted his second century of the year and his career to take the team through to the victory target.

Shehzad was under intense pressure after an ordinary World Cup but repaid the faith shown in him by the selection panel and Afridi himself, who requested the selectors to include him in the team for the tour, as he had faith in his abilities with the bat.

The third ODI would be played on 27th April in Kensington Oval, Barbados.

Malinga grateful to IPL for his cricket comeback








The charismatic Sri Lankan fast bowler, Lasith Malinga, felt disappointed by his country’ s board when he was not looked after well and did not get treatment after his knee injury, which could have finished his career.

Malinga claims that it was only because of the Indian Premier League (IPL) he was able to come back to the cricket fields again.

He sustained an injury in early 2008, which kept him out of the game, and, he was unable to play for Sri Lanka until August, 2009 and he pretended that could have been the end of his career.

He appeared in the IPL in 2009, got back his confidence by gaining rhythm and was able to grab 18 wickets representing Mumbai Indians. His performance brought him back in the limelight and he was selected to represent his country again.

"Because of the IPL I got a chance to come back to the national team", he said at a media conference in Colombo. "After the injury nobody looked after me and I was not offered a contract. The 2008 interim committee did not care for my well-being. But thanks to the IPL I didn't lose anything but I improved my cricket a lot. I'm saddened the way I was treated but not disappointed".

Malinga has announced his retirement from Test cricket and will be concentrating on the shorter versions of the game for IPL and his country. Earlier, Sri Lanka’s cricket board had asked all their players participating in the IPL to report back in preparation with the forthcoming tour of England.

Quite a few players left back as Malinga continued playing in IPL and informed the Board that he will be available for One Day Internationals (ODI) and T20 matches.

He reiterated that he was fit enough to play Test cricket but it will take a long time to recover if he suffers an injury again, while it is easy to recover if he gets an injury in an ODI or T20 match.

"My doctors in Australia had said that mine was a rare type of injury and that I would not be able to play again. But thanks to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's private physician, Dr Eliyantha White, who treated me, I was able to play for the national team again.

Malinga responded to undue criticism going on in the news that he was declining to play for Sri Lanka, as there was more money involved in IPL. He stressed that the retirement from Test has nothing to do with money, as he wants to concentrate on shorter phases of cricket and don’t want to grab an injury again, which can put him away from the game forever.

He has taken 101 wickets in Test cricket, 127 in ODIs and 35 in T20 cricket, while representing his country and he is only the third player to pocket 100 wickets for Sri Lanka in Test cricket after Muttiah Muralitharan (800) wickets and Chaminda Vaas, who has grabbed 355 wickets.

Malinga commented that it was a matter of great honour to play for his country and he anticipates a dedicated performance in the 2012 T20 World Cup and the ICC World Cup 2015.

Pakistani bookies 'admit' threats to Haider






Pakistani police said Wednesday that arrested bookmakers have confessed to being behind death threats to former national wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider.

The 25-year-old abandoned the team in Dubai last November and fled to London, saying he had received death threats from bookies who wanted him to fix a match.

Haider said he was retiring from international cricket and applied for political asylum in Britain, but returned home on Monday after the Pakistani government gave assurances about his safety and that of his family.

"We have arrested eight bookies and some of them have revealed they were behind threats to Haider," police official Nasir Qureshi told AFP from the town of Sialkot, 120 miles (190 kilometres) southeast of the capital Islamabad.

"We have confiscated their data which has a number of international contacts and the investigation is still on."

Qureshi said an official press conference could be called on Thursday.

"We have found a number of satellite telephones and diaries which have international contacts and we hope to get further details in the next 24 hours," he added.

Haider last week announced that he was prepared to revoke his application for asylum and return to resume his career after meeting Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik in London.

On his return Haider said he had not yet decided on his future.

"I am happy to return and have got the kind of security promised to me. They have given me superb accommodation," said Haider.

"There were some reasons when I left the team and went to Britain. I will spend some time with my family and haven't decided on my playing future."

On Monday, Malik said Haider had revealed some important details but refused to share them with the media.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said Haider had not made contact and only when he does, would a fact-finding committee take up the matter.

The committee, formed last year, found no clear motive behind Haider's disappearance but termed him "mentally ill".

Jacob Martin arrested on charges of human-trafficking in New Delhi








Former Indian batsman, Jacob Martin, was arrested in Delhi on Tuesday, 26th of April on charges of running an illegal immigration racket.

Charges of being involved in human-trafficking were registered against him at the Indira Gandhi International Airport police station back in 2003. In the application, the former Indian Railways batsman was alleged to have taken young Indian citizens to UK for playing cricket in exchange for money.

Martin’s illegal racket surfaced after an Indian citizen named Nimesh Kumar with a fake passport revealed that Martin and his associates had arranged a tour of England for him for a sum of Rs 7 lakh.

Kumar, who was later deported to India by the Britain authorities, also alleged that the main beneficiary of the racket was Martin.

Deputy Commissioner of Police R.A. Sanjeev, told reporters at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, that the former cricketer was arrested from the trans-Yamuna area of New Delhi.

"Martin formed a bogus team - 'Ajwa Sports Club' - and identified himself as a playing member", he added further.

Martin made his One Day International (ODI) debut on 11 September, 1999 against West Indies and went on to play 10 ODIs for India compiling 158 runs at an average of 22.57. In India’s domestic circuit, the right-handed batsman represented Railways and Baroda.

Despite leaving international cricket in October 2001, Martin continued playing domestic cricket until December 2009.

According to reports, the 38-year old, who is a native of Gujarat, was repetitively asked to cooperate with the probe panel but he refused.

Earlier, Martin’s bail before arrest petition was rejected by the Supreme Court suggesting he surrender. Reward money of Rs 25000 was also announced by the Delhi police for anyone, who would provide information about his whereabouts.

He was presented before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM), Rajesh Kumar Goyal in the Dwarka court and was later sentenced to eight days of police custody.

Board of Cricket Control India refuses to cut down franchise fee for Pune and Kochi







The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) working committee on Wednesday has refused to cut down the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises fee for the two new teams, Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Pune Warriors.

Earlier, both the teams had forwarded their requests on the basis that the BCCI did not follow the terms in the Invitation to Tender with respect to the number of matches to be played in the ongoing IPL tournament.

The two debutants had already paid 75 percent of the annual installment of the total fee and wanted waive off the remaining amount.

Kochi and Pune Warriors explained that as per their contract, each team was supposed to play 18 matches at home and away but the BCCI had now reduced the matches to 14. As a result, the total numbers of matches were trimmed from 94 to 74, in a bid to lessen the work load on the players. Sahara bought Pune for US$370 million, while Kochi were purchased for US$333 million.

Pune, under the captaincy of World Cup winning star, Yuvraj Singh, started the tournament with a bang, as they earned two consecutive wins in the opening matches against Kings XI Punjab and Kochi. While in the next three matches, they lost their form and faced three successive defeats. On the other side, Kochi, who are being led by Sri Lankan, Mahela Jayawardene, did not have a stable start but later developed their form and earned three successive wins over Mumbai Indians, KKR and Chennai Super Kings. They are currently placed above Pune Warriors with three wins out of their six matches played.

Media reports also revealed that the committee did not have any discussion on the issue of resting senior players for the West Indies tour after a long, hectic schedule. The Indian captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, also opposed the tough schedule.

India will leave for the West Indies tour in June, which includes a Twenty20, five ODIs and three Tests while the ongoing IPL season, which started on April 8, will end on May 28.

PCB warns Wahab Riaz and Asad Shafiq for logging on to Twitter






The Pakistan Cricket board (PCB) has issued warnings to two of their players, fast bowler Wahab Riaz and batsman Asad Shafiq for logging on to the social networking website ‘Twitter’ during the ongoing tour of the Caribbean.

A PCB source stated; "Wahab (Riaz) had even posted some pictures of the Pakistan team bus on the social networking site which have now been removed."

According to the PCB, Shafiq has also infringed the rules set up by the board, getting involved in Twitter activities.

The team management has rebuked both players for infringing their central contracts which strictly prohibit such actions.

As per the new conditions of the central contract, Pakistani players can’t use social networking sites on tours.

"Since it was their first offence they were reprimanded but if they do it again they will face heavy fines and may be suspension from some matches," the source added.

Riaz and Shafiq have cemented their place in the team, performing exceptionally well since they joined the national side.

Riaz has been right on the money, reversing the old ball and generating toes breaking yorkers, he has performed as the main attack bowler for Pakistan in the absence of Umar Gul.

Wahab produced a magical spell against India in the semi final of the ICC World Cup. He bagged his first International five-wicket haul in the match, dismissing Sehwag, Kohli, Yuvraj, Zaheer Khan and Indian skipper, Dhoni.

Shafiq on the other hand has been technically sound with his batting, he has given strength to the Pakistani middle order which was left brittle in the absence of Mohammad Yousaf and Younis Khan.

However, the PCB has tightened the noose, not compromising on disciplinary grounds even if it involves influential players.

The board has introduced some strict clauses in the new central contracts, the players are not allowed to speak to the press without prior permission of the team management. Moreover, they have to get approval of the board before signing up with agents.

Blink and you'll miss it

Shoaib hits a hundred

Shoaib Akhtar: speed king
Shoaib Akhtar: speed king
2001
Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar became the first man to break the 100mph barrier when he was clocked bowling to Craig McMillan at 100.04 mph (161kph) during a one-day international against New Zealand in Lahore. The record remained unofficial - the ICC refused to sanction it as it did not have a standard measuring tool. The previous fastest recorded speed was 99.8mph by Australia's Jeff Thomson in 1975, although that did not take place during a match.
1993
With Wasim and Waqar in their prime, Pakistan had gone to the Caribbean in 1992-93 optimistic that they could add the unofficial Test championship to their official one-day crown. Instead they were blown away 0-2, a defeat that was sealed with a ten-wicket defeat in Barbados on this day. Pakistan won the toss and fielded, but with Phil Simmons blasting 87 off 90 balls and Desmond Haynes sedately compiling his second consecutive century, the visitors were never really in the game. For them, the only bright spot was an outstanding unbeaten 92 from Basit Ali, who was playing in only his second Test. This was West Indies' 12th win in a row at their Bridgetown fortress, a run that England would end dramatically a year later.
1908
Birth of the man who dismissed the great Andy Sandham with his first ball in first-class cricket. Red-headed seamer Bill Copson, a coal miner before he turned his hand to cricket, took 160 wickets in 1936 and was a key part of Derbyshire's first and only County Championship title that year. His three Test appearances came either side of the Second World War, and he took nine wickets on his debut, against West Indies at Lord's in 1939. Copson later became an umpire; he died in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, in 1971.
1966
Times were hard for Australian legspinners in the 1990s, such was Shane Warne's pre-eminence. Victoria's Peter McIntyre, who was born today, might have played a lot more than two Tests had he emerged in a different time or a different place. He made his debut in England's surprise Adelaide victory in 1994-95, and with Warne injured he was brought back for the one-off Test in India two years later. McIntyre did dismiss Sachin Tendulkar for 10, but with another legspinner - Stuart MacGill - starting to make his mark, it was the last chance he got.
1875
An England captain is born. Frederick Fane took over in Australia in 1907-08, when Arthur Jones was injured, and also led England in his last two Test appearances, in South Africa two years later. Fane was a good-looking front-foot player whose one Test century came in Johannesburg in 1905-06, a match that England nonetheless lost comfortably. He was also Jack Hobbs' opening partner in Hobbs' first Test, in Melbourne in 1907-08. In that match Fane top-scored in the second innings as England squeaked home by one wicket. He also represented Essex with distinction for 20 years, and scored close to 20,000 first-class runs.
1996
There are many ways to go to a maiden Test hundred: Michael Vaughan did it with overthrows, Andrew Flintoff with a top-edge over the wicketkeeper. But in the second Test between West Indies and New Zealand in Antigua, Robert Samuels did it in a manner that all schoolboys dream of, with a towering six down the ground off Dipak Patel. It was as good as it got for Samuels - this was the only century of his six-Test career.
Other birthdays
1936 Khalid Wazir (Pakistan)
1946 John Maclean (Australia)
1973 Jeremy Snape (England)

Cricket fraternity welcomes Fletcher''s appointment

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan said Fletcher''s biggest challenge during the job with the Indian team will come from the media. "His biggest challenge will come from the media. He has never really understood how it works," Vaughan said. "Duncan fletcher appointed India coach on a 2 yr deal.Great coach who will work well with (India captain Mahendra Singh) Dhoni (and) all the talent," Vaughan, who led the side during Fletcher''s tenure as England coach, added. Former Australian cricketer Michael Bevan welcomed the appointment and said the Zimbabwean should carry forward the legacy left behind by Kirsten. "I don''t really know about Fletcher''s strengths but he was instrumental in turning around the fortunes of England side though. I wish him all the success in future. The new coach will need to carry the gains forward," Bevan said. Former Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore said it will be the results which will count in the end. "It is purely a BCCI decision. They must have put in a lot of effort, thought and knowledge into the decision and at the end the result will be what everyone will look at," Whatmore who led Sri Lanka to the World Cup title in 1996, said. After quitting England''s coaching job, Fletcher worked with the South African team as a batting consultant in 2008 and most recently this year before the World Cup. He joined New Zealand in a similar role during their tour of India last year.

WWE Video: Chris Jericho discusses his "Dancing with the Stars" elimination on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live"

WWE star Chris Jericho appeared on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Tuesday just hours after he was eliminated from "Dancing with the Stars. You can watch the full episode of the show at Youtube.com/watch?v=eiuDq2S1eE0.

Powell's POV: Jericho was joined by his partner Cheryl Burke. He was identified as a WWE star when he was introduced, and he spoke about how the wrestlers (yes, Vince, he used the word) went from joking about him being on the show to being supportive and excited. I don't want to spoil it, but Jericho also delivered a chairshot at one point. A brief, but fun interview.

"DWTS" says goodbye to WWE star Chris Jericho

"Dancing With The Stars" said goodbye to WWE superstar Chris Jericho Tuesday after a not-so-well received dance number with partner Cheryl Burke. The wrestler/musician graciously accepted his elimination, admitting that his tango rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" wasn't his best.
clearpxl The pair scored a 22, two points lower than "Karate Kid" star Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff even after the latter's stumble.
But even after he was kicked out, Jericho only had positive things to say about his time on the show.
He joked, "It's actually good timing that I got eliminated because I have to fly over to England for the royal wedding, you know, so it was going to affect rehearsal."
"But actually, let's be honest, it wasn't my best dance and at this point in the competition, you have to be at your best every week or this is what happens. But I'd like to say I'm proud of all the dances we did, and I'm proud to show that a WWE guy and a rock 'n roll singer can go this far and do this."
He also commended Burke for being a "great performer," adding, "She has become a friend for life."
Next up for the 40-year-old wrestling champ? He said he will return to being a father to his kids, whom he hasn't seen in four weeks. "It's time for Chris Jericho the Dancer to step aside and Chris Jericho the Daddy to come back."
Only six celebs remain to vie for the highly coveted disco ball trophy: Kirstie Alley, Chelsea Kane, Romeo, Hines Ward, Kendra Wilkinson, and Macchio.

CHAIR SHOTS: Analyzing the post-WWE Draft Raw roster

While Monday night's draft on Raw really only saw six people trade spots, another 22 switched in Tuesday's WWE Supplemental Draft. Now that I've had some time to digest the rosters, I'm fairly happy with how things worked out.
On Raw, there really is no clear No. 2 babyface to John Cena with Randy Orton gone to Smackdown and Triple H and Undertaker currently off television as special attraction wrestlers. John Morrison, by virtue of his spot in the WWE Championship match on Sunday, is a likely contender, along with veterans Rey Mysterio and Big Show.
However, Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne, who seem next in the pecking order, have a greater chance than ever of breaking through that glass ceiling. There isn't much behind them on the babyface side. Take Big Show out of their way too, as he's currently in a tag team with Kane, meaning the door is wide open for them as singles competitors.
Santino sticks around in his comedy role, while jobber-to-the-stars types Chris Masters, JTG and Vladamir Kozlov round out the roster. Goldust and DH Smith also remain, though the golden one is injured and Smith hasn't even been making the Superstars cut as of late.
On the heel side, it's clear that WWE wanted a strong roster of heels to work with Cena, who I think will be regaining the WWE Championship, if not this Sunday then May 22 at Over the Limit.
The Miz and CM Punk are joined by up-and-comer Alberto Del Rio, who could bring the World Championship to Raw with him after Sunday, at the top of the card. It's not clear if Ricardo Rodriguez and Brodus Clay will be coming with him. I think Rodriguez will move to Raw, but Clay sticks on Smackdown.
Recent reports hint that Punk is unhappy with his contract and might not be around much longer, meaning there could be some room at the top for someone for a mid-carder.
Supplemental picks Jack Swagger and Drew McIntyre bolster a really strong mid-card that already includes former World Champion Dolph Ziggler and newly christened heel R-Truth. These guys, combined with Morrison, Mysterio, Kingston and Bourne should make the middle of Raw a lot of fun to watch over the next year. Almost any of them can contribute on a main event level as well.
Tyler Reks is an X-Factor. Will he be just another jobber-to-the-stars or could he be a contributing member to the already stacked mid-card?
Raw desperately needs to acquire a mid-card championship, however, with Sheamus taking the United States title to Smackdown when he was the last pick of the supplemental draft. Something tells me he'll drop the title to a recently acquired Raw star at Extreme Rules on Sunday.
As for the rest of the heels, the New Nexus seems to clutter things up a bit, with only Mason Ryan seeming to get TV time as of late. He could be a real difference maker depending on how fast he develops.
Could tag team wrestling get a boost with Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins back on the same roster? The two excelled in the indies as the Major Bros. and are former WWE tag champs as part of La Familia a few years back. Putting them together seems like the only way to get them both on TV. What would become, then, of Ryder's current partner, Primo? Who cares.
Draft picks Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix to Raw give the Bellas a couple new challengers for Brie's (or is it Nikki's?) Divas Championship. Current top Diva Eve Torres stuck around too, meaning I'll get to see her and Kelly on TV at the same time. Someone get the difibrulator ready.
Gail Kim rounds out the faces, and Maryse and Melina stuck around for the heels. All three are former Divas or Women's Champions, so they can be plugged in at any time.
Both Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler stuck around on Raw, although I expect one of them to be gone or in a different role before long. My guess is Cole gets moved into a manager role, likely for his trainer Jack Swagger. He could also begin a stable of heels - his Cole Mine - which could also include The Miz, who no longer has a corner man with Alex Riley going to Smackdown.

Tiger tennis keeps rolling with 5-2 win

The Ripon High School tennis team used a slightly altered lineup to pick up its fifth victory of the season, a 5-2 match win over Oshkosh Lourdes last week Thursday.
   Ripon’s Marshall Bauman was moved from doubles to singles for the first time, as he filled the No. 4 singles position. Bauman scored, but eventually succumbed to his opponent 1-6, 1-6.
   The other Tiger loss was No. 1 singles player Ryan Long, who after losing his first game 3-6 had to withdraw due to nagging back problems.
   No. 3 singles player Lincoln Wurtz picked up a win after being moved up from the No. 4 singles position. Wurtz won his match 6-4, 6-1.

WMU Gears Up for MAC Men's Tennis Tournament

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Western Michigan University will host the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Men's Tennis Championship, scheduled for April 28-30 at Sorensen Courts (outdoor) and West Hills Athletic Club (indoor) in Kalamazoo.  The tournament will feature the six-team league for MAC Tennis, with the top two seeds receiving first-round byes.
The 2011 MAC Championship is set to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 28, when No. 3 seed Buffalo takes on No. 6 seed Chicago State, and will be followed with a 2 p.m. clash between No. 4 seed Ball State and No. 5 seed Northern Illinois.  The winners of those matches will face No. 1 seed Western Michigan and No. 2 seed Toledo, respectively, on Friday.
Live stats will be available for all five matches over the course of the weekend.

Thursday, April 28, 2011
10:00 a.m. - Match 1 -- Buffalo No. 3 vs. Chicago State No. 6
2:00 p.m. - Match 2 -- Ball State No. 4 vs. Northern Illinois No. 5
Friday, April 29, 2011
10:00 a.m. - Match 1 -- BSU No. 4/NIU No. 5 Winner vs. Western Michigan No. 1
2:00 p.m. - Match 2 -- Buffalo No. 3/Chicago St. No. 6 Winner vs. Toledo No. 2
Saturday, April 30, 2011
1:00 p.m. - MAC Championship Match

Orange Set To Charge Red Storm In BIG EAST Tournament First Round

With less than 24 hours until the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament kicks off in South Bend, Ind., the Orange is preparing to take on conference foe St. John's in first round action. The match is slated for a 9 a.m. start at Courtney Tennis Center. After winning its final three regular season matches, Syracuse is looking to peak at the right time and play its best tennis this week.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – With less than 24 hours until the 2011 BIG EAST Tournament kicks off in South Bend, Ind., the Orange is preparing to take on conference foe St. John's in first round action. The match is slated for a 9 a.m. start at Courtney Tennis Center. After winning its final three regular season matches, Syracuse is looking to peak at the right time and play its best tennis this week.

The Syracuse tennis team finished the regular season with an overall record of 16-6, including an 8-1 mark in BIG EAST Conference play. The Orange constructed its second consecutive undefeated season on its home court, extending its win streak at Drumlins Tennis Center to 23 straight victories. SU's streak dates back to Feb. 22, 2009, when Syracuse lost a 4-3 match to Iowa State.

The Orange will compete on the road for the remainder of the season. SU has gone 6-6 this season away from the friendly confines of Drumlins, but the BIG EAST Tournament will provide an opportunity for SU to wipe its slate clean and compete for its first conference title since 1985.

A Look At St. John's
The Orange took on St. John’s earlier this season, emerging with a perfect 7-0 victory. The Red Storm will enter the matchup with a record of 9-9 overall and 4-2 in conference action.

Syracuse In The BIG EAST Tournament
In the 2010 BIG EAST Tournament, SU defeated Marquette, 4-3, before coming up short to eventual champion Notre Dame in the second round. Since head coach Luke Jensen took over at the helm of the program, the Orange's success at the conference tournament as continued to grow. In 2008 and '09, SU tied for seventh place and improved that mark in 2010, finishing in a tie for third. Syracuse has captured three BIG EAST Championships in program history in 1982, 1984 and 1985.

Orange In National Rankings
Syracuse boasts the only ranked players in the first round matchup in the No. 55 doubles pair of junior Emily Harman and freshman Maddie Kobelt. The duo has a record of 17-3 when teaming up at the No. 1 doubles spot this season. Harman and Kobelt has also excelled in singles play Harman is 14-6, playing at the No. 1 singles position for the latter half of the season, while Kobelt is 16-6, at both the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.

Jensen Approaching Another Coaching Milestone
Head Coach Luke Jensen owns a 74-39 overall record. A win against the Red Storm would propel him to the 75-win milestone as SU's head coach.

TENNIS: ERRANI TO FACE BRIANTI IN BARCELONA QUARTER-FINALS

(AGI) Barcelona - Two Italian players, Alberta Brianti and Sara Errani will face each other at the "Barcelona Ladies Open" tennis quarter-finals on the red clay courts in the Catalan capital. Brianti, who has just come from her first professional victory in Fez, Morocco, has just beaten the American player Varvara Lepchenko, 6-0, 5-7, 6-2. Another Italian, Roberta Vinci, seeded 6 and a finalist at Barcelona last year, is also in the quarter-finals having beaten the Khazak player Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-1, 6-4. The World Tennis Association purse for the open is $220,000.

UF women's tennis team holds No. 2 rankings

The Florida women’s tennis team remained at the No. 2 position in this week’s Campbell/ITA NCAA Division I Rankings, while six Gators appeared in the singles rankings and six different doubles teams earned a spot on the national chart.
Florida (25-1) has been either the No. 1 or No. 2-ranked team all 15 weeks this season, alternating with current-No. 1 Stanford.
Individually, all six members of the team in the current singles lineup earned a spot in this week’s national chart, with Allie Will at No. 8, Lauren Embree at No. 16, Joanna Mather at No. 38, Olivia Janowicz at No. 52, Alex Cercone at No. 53 and Sofie Oyen at No. 88.
In doubles the Gator pair of Cercone and Will jumped to a career-high No. 3, while the team of Oyen and Will is No. 8, Caroline Hitimana and Mather is No. 38, Embree and Oyen is No. 48, Embree and Mather is No. 64 and Cercone and Janowicz is No. 84.
Florida has concluded its regular season and next awaits word on its NCAA First Round opponent. The NCAA 64-team field will be announced on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and will be webcast on NCAA.com. The Gators won the Southeastern Conference Tournament and secured the league’s automatic berth. First-round matches are scheduled to be played on 16 different campus sites (also announced during the selection show) on either May 13 or May 14, with the second round played the following day.
The rankings will be updated again Monday and then not again until the final release on May 30 following the NCAA Team, Singles and Doubles Championships.

NCAA upholds penalties against ex-Ball State coach Kathy Bull

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA says penalties against former Ball State tennis coach Kathy Bull will stand.
Last year, the Ball State women’s tennis program was placed on probation for three years for violations under Bull’s watch. The case centered on tryouts, recruiting inducements and unethical conduct. The NCAA Committee on Infractions put limits on Bull’s contact with players.
Bull said she was denied a fair hearing and claimed the violations were secondary rather than major. The Infractions Appeals Committee disagreed and denied her appeal Wednesday.
Bull coached the Cardinals for 20 seasons before being fired in October 2009.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Big Ten tournament action begins Thursday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium

<b>Billy Bertha leads the Badgers with a 16-6 doubles record paired with Marek Michalicka.</b>

Billy Bertha leads the Badgers with a 16-6 doubles record paired with Marek Michalicka.
MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin will host the 2011 Big Ten Conference Men's Tennis Tournament Thursday through Sunday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. All 11 Big Ten schools will participate in the four-day tournament, and the tournament winner will be the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA championship.

“The Big Ten is becoming one of the strongest men’s tennis conferences in the country,” head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. “To be able to come out and host the Big Ten Tournament and showcase our venue and the University of Wisconsin is just going to be an exciting time for us. I know the players are looking forward to it, too.”

The Big Ten announced seeding at the conclusion of the regular season Sunday night. Conference champion Ohio State took the No. 1 seed after the Buckeyes closed the regular season with a 10-0 record in Big Ten play and a 27-2 mark overall. Meanwhile, host Wisconsin (11-12, 5-5 Big Ten) received the No. 6 seed.

The top five seeds receive a bye to the second round, while the bottom six seeds play Thursday for the right to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round.

Action kicks off at 9 a.m. (CT) Thursday with No. 8 seed Michigan State (17-8, 3-7) taking on No. 9 seed Northwestern (11-13, 2-8).

The sixth-seeded Badgers take on No. 11 seed Penn State (10-17, 0-10) in the second opening-round match on Thursday. The teams take the court at 11:30 a.m. Thursday’s final opening round match pits No. 7 seed Purdue (12-12, 3-7) against No. 10 Iowa (8-12, 2-8) at 2:30 p.m.

The top three seeds, No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Indiana (22-6, 9-1) and No. 3 Minnesota (17-4, 8-2), await the winners of Thursday’s matches. Friday also features a quarterfinal match between No. 4 Illinois (15-9, 7-3) and No. 5 Michigan (13-9, 6-4).

The third-seeded Gophers will take on the winner of the Wisconsin–Penn State match in the second round, while the second-seeded Hoosiers will face either Purdue or Iowa. The top-seeded Buckeyes await the winner of Michigan State and Northwestern.

Friday’s quarterfinal matches, set for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., will take place at two sites, Nielsen Tennis Stadium and the Cole Hall Courts. Weather permitting, all matches, except two of Friday’s quarterfinal matches, will be held outdoors at Nielsen. Friday’s matches will be split between Nielsen and the Cole courts, which are both located on the UW campus approximately six blocks apart.

Saturday will showcase the tournament semifinals at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday’s championship match is scheduled for noon.

The Big Ten Network will broadcast the tournament championship on tape delay on Saturday, May 7 at 5 p.m.

Live scoring for all tournament matches will be available at UWBadgers.com, and admission to the 2011 Big Ten Men's Tennis Tournament is free. Complete information on the 2011 Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament is available at UWBadgers.com’s Big Ten Tournament Central page.

Nine Big Ten teams are ranked in the latest Campbell/ITA College Tennis Division I Polls announced April 26, led by No. 3 Ohio State, No. 18 Illinois, No. 19 Minnesota, No. 26 Indiana and No. 28 Michigan in the top 30, while No. 50 Michigan State, No. 66 Purdue, No. 69 Iowa and No. 71 Wisconsin are also among the nation’s top teams.

Pakistan hires Indian tennis coach

A senior Pakistani tennis official expressed hope on Wednesday that an unprecedented move to hire a coach from the country's arch rival India would improve play and ease political tensions.
Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) president Kalim Imam said they had clearance from the government to hire India's Birbal Wadhera to train their senior and junior players.
"Wadhera is a renowned coach," Imam said. "We hope that he will help us groom some current players as well as some budding juniors and it will also help us develop our players besides having a good relationship with India."
Imam said Wadhera will train at a month-long camp starting from May 10 in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
"Senior players will be trained in the first phase, then some ranking players and finally some juniors will get coaching," said Imam.
Wadhera has said it would be an "honour" to coach across the border.
It marks the first time that an Indian coach will supervise training in Pakistan. Former Pakistan cricket captain Intikhab Alam, currently national team manager, coached the cricket team of Punjab, India between 2005-2007.
Sporting relations between India and Pakistan have been suspended since Islamist gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in 2008. New Delhi blamed the unprecedented attacks on militants based in Pakistan.
But since the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers watched last month's cricket World Cup semifinal there have been signs of a resumption of ties.


Is Tennis Icon Serena Williams Sets Up Music Career?

"Serena Williams"
The American World No.1, Serena Williams, was born on September 26th, 1981 and started off her tennis career in September 1995 and has won 13 grand slam titles in her career with two Olympic gold medals is starting a new career in her life.
According to various sources, Serena Williams, the World No.10, is presently recording rap songs, a signal that she is going to start-up a new music career in her life. According to reports, she is presently working with Bryant McKinnie, the NFL player, who possesses a recording company.
The tennis star is signed to Minnesota Vikings OT Bryant McKinnie’s label- athletes still have record labels?
Serena was out of tennis, since last July 7, 2010 after she has won the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament. After her victory in Wimbledon, she has been injured in freak accident at a restaurant in Germany and was undergoing treatment for her foot and later she was again hospitalized, due to blood clots found in her lungs.
The former World No.1, who was out of tennis from the past eight months, still continues her ranking in the top-10 and yet there is no-conformation about her return to the court.
Both the Williams sister, who were out of tennis have not given any confirmation about their return. However, they might be back on court very soon.
Stay tuned for more updates about what Serena does in the future?

Truro city's rapid rise up football pyramid continues

For the fifth time in six years, Truro City have finished a league season by winning promotion.
On Monday, nearly 1,700 fans packed into Treyew Road to watch City beat Weymouth 3-2, before the players were presented with the Zamaretto Premier Division trophy.
In winning the title and promotion, Truro became the first Cornish team to reach the heights of Conference football.
The likes of Woking, Havant & Waterlooville and Boreham Wood will all be travelling to the south west to turn out at Treyew Road next season.
Truro's journey up through the leagues began in the 2005/06 season when they finished second in the South Western League.
Continue reading the main story
I'm not afraid to admit it - I've been looking at the grounds for next season and Woking looks nice
Jake Ash Truro City
Promotion into the Western Leagues followed, from where Southern League football quickly became a reality.
Managers have come and gone during the White Tigers' rise, with both Dave Leonard and Sean McCarthy enjoying successful spells at the club, the latter guiding Truro to the Southern Premier League.
But it is the current incumbent, former Plymouth Argyle defender Lee Hodges, who is winning the admiration of players, supporters and officials alike.
"Lee is a very special man," chairman and owner Kevin Heaney told BBC Cornwall. "He was born to be a manager. He is a top man, and he'll go on to be a great manager."
Hodges was appointed to the top job in March 2010, replacing ex-Yeovil Town boss Steve Thompson, whose tenure only last 18 games.
"I'm still learning, I am going along the way," Hodges said. "It's my first full season in charge and I'm a Championship-winning manager.
"It still hasn't settled in yet, when I sit back in the next few weeks I'll be chuffed to bits."
Even though Truro City are backed by multi-millionaire businessman Heaney, the make-up of the squad has hardly changed during their ascent.
Captain Jake Ash has been with the club for every one of their five promotions.
He said: "I'm not afraid to admit it - I've been looking at the grounds for next season and Woking looks nice."
As for a sixth promotion, the facilities at Treyew Road will prevent that for now, but with council-backed plans for a 'Stadium for Cornwall', the club could soon be on the up once again.
Heaney said: "Treyew Road will meet the standards for the Conference South, however it wouldn't be enough for the Blue Square Bet Premier - we would need a stadium for that to happen."

5 at 10: NFL Draft, free agents, and NBA playoffs

The 5-at-10 is happy to join you on NFL Draft eve from the newly remodeled "7-Up Stinks Studios" here in scenic Hamilton County. Let's get to it.
Here we go...
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    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Media Center in Dallas on Friday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Media Center in Dallas on Friday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
The 5-at-10 loves the draft
The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this.
And this draft has the 5-at-10 flat-out giddy. Seriously.
One of the best things about the draft in general is the unknown — the intrigue of which teams will pick which players and who will be left when your team picks, whether it's at No. 8, No. 18 or No. 108. Do you try to trade up? Do you wait and see? Do you take one of the few players at one position early because there are more players at that other position of need later? Add to that, what we discussed with Dr. B (he's a doctor after all) earlier this week on SportTalk that with the lockout, teams are under even more pressure to make picks that will stick, and this draft is flush with intrigue.
The unknown is everywhere — and we're dealing with college football stars, guys we feel like we've known for a long time. It's almost a molecular clash of known and unknown — or as noted physicist/father-turned-negotiator Sir Cecil Newton and/or fictional sport agent Jerry Maguire might say, "Show me 'da money."
So it goes. Mock drafts are everywhere — ours will be in Thursday's TFP — and the unknowns (and the smokescreens) are changing by the hour.
Plus, there are always guys that zoom up and down draft boards at the 11th hour. There is talk that as many as six quarterbacks may go in the first round (if that's the case, the flurry of trades late Thursday night for teams moving back into the first round will by dizzying). We'll discuss the QBs a little more tomorrow.
There are whispers about a couple of defensive players with questionable off-the-field issues moving up and down. Here are three:
Jimmy Smith, cornerback, Colorado: Uber-athletic and big-time size (he's 6-foot-2 and 211 pounds) has been soaring up draft boards this week. He was a second-round option because of shaky fundamentals and some off-the-field stuff last week; now there is talk the Lions may take him at No. 13 overall;
Marvin Austin, defensive tackle, UNC: Great physical numbers (he's 6-2, 310 pounds and runs a 4.84 40). If he had entered the draft last season, he would likely have been a top-15 pick. He was suspended for all of 2010 for Agent-Gate, and now he's going to be a second-round steal for someone. Although, he's being mentioned late in round one and may move higher;
Da'Quan Bowers, defensive end, Clemson: Less than three months ago, Bowers was at the top of the board — as in the No. 1 overall pick. Worries about a knee injury and an inconsistent motor have dropped the Clemson All-American, who had 15.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss last year (read those stats again, please). There is talk that he may fall into the 20s of round one, and something tells us that if say a Tampa Bay gets Bowers at No. 20, the Bucs will have the steal of the draft in three years.
Well, the second-biggest steal behind whichever team gets Patrick Peterson.
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    Staff Photo by Patrick Smith Florida defensive back Janoris Jenkins intercepts a Tennessee pass in the final seconds of the first half of Saturday's game at Neyland Stadium. Florida led 20-0 at halftime.
Even more love for the draft
Before we get to looking at the PATCO Speedline (as named by Chas9) Draft Challenge, the 5-at-10 had an inspired jolt of good news this morning.
The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this.
Well, the draft starts Thursday — you know this, too — and in some ways the 5-at-10 was already thinking about the next few months without draft discussions.
Then it occurred to us that the NFL supplemental draft this summer will have more big names than normal.
Janoris Jenkins, the All-SEC cornerback that was dismissed from Florida's program this week, likely will be in the supplemental draft. So could any number of the Ohio State players, depending on how the OSU situation with Jim Tressel shakes down. (Here's how the 5-at-10 would handle the OSU situation — Tressel, bye-bye; call Urban Meyer, if he wants it great, if not, call Chris Peterson and start going down the list. The next coach, however, will tell everyone involved in Tattoo-Gate, "Thanks for your efforts and your sacrifice for the Buckeyes. You are welcomed to stay on scholarship and finish your degree, but your playing career here in Columbus is finished." Time to move on.)
That means there could be a few guys in the supplemental draft that are worth drafting. Jenkins is a player, the OSU receiver and running back will be NFL guys, and Terrelle Pryor could be a big-time NFL tight end.
We've got to get going, so we'll update the PATCO Speedline (as named by Chas9) Draft Challenge entries later in the comments.
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    Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (92) is shown during an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Worst free agent signing in football history?
When motivated, Albert Haynesworth was a football wrecking crew. He represented the rarest of commodities in the modern-day NFL — he demanded that opponents account for him on every play, and more times than not he demanded a double-team. His last year with the Titans, he was one of the three best defensive players on the planet.
Then he headed to D.C., and what has followed can be classified as the worst free-agent signing in NFL history.
On Tuesday, Haynesworth was was charged with misdemeanor sexual abuse. He allegedly fondled the breast of his server in a restaurant in a Washington hotel. The off-the-field issues only compound Haynesworth's disastrous time in the nation's capitol.
Washington gave Haynesworth a seven-year, $100-million contract that reportedly was to pay Albert $32 million in the first 13 months. The Redskins got 16 solo tackles in eight games from Haynesworth (he either did not play or did not record stats in the other eight games). So quick math tells us that Big Al got $2 million for each tackle and $4 million for each game in which he made a statistical contribution. Uh, that's good work if you can get it, huh?
Haynesworth's contract will now be inshrined with the deals signed by former Rockies/Marlins/Braves et al. pitcher Mike Hampton and former Hawks/Magic center Jon Koncak in the GM Hall of Shame as the worst contracts in sports history.
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    Dwight Howard del Magic de Orlando se coloca para tirar a la canasta frente a Josh Smith de los Hawks de Atlanta en el segundo medio del juego 5 de la serie de la primera ronda de playoffs entre ambos equipos el martes 26 de abril de 2011 en Orlando, Florida. (AP Foto/John Raoux)
Playoffs back on track
If we were the gambling type, the "7-Up Stinks Studio" would have gotten a new flat screen thanks to the predictable stink bomb that the Hawks trotted out in Orlando on Tuesday. That was the classic, "We're up 3-1, we're going to go back home for Game 6, let's just have a little fun...." 25-point whipping last night.
The scary thing about that though, is if the Magic roll into the ATL and force Game 7, well, all bets are off — especially if the game comes down to coaches. Stan Van Gundy will coach circles around Larry Drew. Yes, each has movie star looks — SVG the look of a guy that could be on a cable channel such as HBO or the Showtime after midnight; Drew looks more than a little like Charles 'Honi' Coles, the fellow that was in "Dirty Dancin'" and "Cotton Club" and even had a part in "Rocky II."
Here's saying if the Hawks don't seal it in the ATL, then things do not look good.
Sidenote: Same goes for the Memphis Grizz, who head to San Antonio for Game 6 with a 3-1 lead. Here's believing the Spurs unload a lopsided win and then the pressure shifts to a Game 6 back in Memphis, that really is a Game 7 for the Grizz.
Sidenote 2: EC, looks like David Stern can breath again with the Lakers grabbing control of their series and the Bulls dismissing the Pacers. The thought of the Lakers and Spurs getting bounced in Round 1 probably had Stern looking like a young Kevin Bacon at the end of "Animal House" — "Remain calm! All is well!"
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    Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger (33) goes up for a layup against Chicago Bulls forwards Luol Deng (9) and Carlos Boozer (5) during the first quarter in Game 5 of a first-round NBA playoffs basketball series, Tuesday, April 26, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
This and that
— One more quick NBA note: Apparently, Pacers forward Danny Granger called Bulls super-gnat Joakim Noah a "coward." Noah has become the biggest instigator/trouble-maker/irritator/energy player since Dennis Rodman swapped a uniform for a wedding dress. Proving yet again, that the NBA is back to being entertaining. (Oh, yeah. Labor unrest in July. Thanks for the downer.)
— Raise your hand if your ready for the Braves to come back off Pacific Coast Highway time. Seriously, the 5-at-10 can only share the stats this morning — the Braves beat the Padres 8-2; Jair Jurrjens went the distance; David Ross hit two homers; Chipper Jones (affectionately known as L-Dub around the "7-Up Stinks Studio") had two hits and two RBIs. Want another great stat? Ross, the Braves back-up catcher, has a better at-bats-per-homer ratio (19.6) than former Braves sluggers Dale Murphy (20.0) and Ron Gant (20.1). Thank you Elias Sports Bureau, you guys do the Lord's work.
Until tomorrow.

NCAA's new outlook may add to Jim Tressel's punishment

Jim Tressel might have walked into the NCAA's cross hairs at an inopportune time, when college athletics is roiling over a succession of high-profile infractions cases and the new NCAA president is striking a get-tough tone.
"There's no question that the light is much brighter," former NCAA infractions committee chairman Tom Yeager says as Ohio State and the NCAA work through a case involving the illicit sale of memorabilia by Buckeyes football players and a decision by Tressel, their coach, to keep his knowledge of the violations from school and NCAA officials.
The NCAA detailed its charges in an eight-page notice released by the school Monday. It raised questions about Tressel's "honesty and integrity." Ohio State, which faces institutional sanctions related to the use of players rendered technically ineligible by the violations, has until July 5 to respond. The NCAA has tentatively set a hearing for mid-August.
The case — involving major-college football's fifth-winningest program and its second-winningest active coach, behind only Joe Paterno— is being cast as a test of NCAA resolve and an opportunity to give future offenders pause. In Houston before basketball's Final Four less than four weeks ago, President Mark Emmert pledged to address integrity issues and said, if necessary, the NCAA would act to stiffen penalties "in a way that provides some sort of constructive fear."
Yeager and other officials caution against viewing the Ohio State outcome as symbolic, however. While Emmert can beef up the NCAA's enforcement staff and encourage it to be more aggressive in rooting out wrongdoing, the Committee on Infractions operates independently in weighing evidence and precedent, handing down verdicts and meting out punishment.
In the case of Tressel and Ohio State, says Yeager, the commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association, "I can tell you the committee is going to be looking at it in the context of other head football coaches who've been involved in similar-type things and what the outcome was there."
The panel handled a similarly high-profile case a year ago, hitting Southern California's marquee football program with stiff sanctions, including a two-year bowl ban.
"I don't know that they were necessarily trying to send a message," says Oklahoma law professor David Swank, another former infractions committee chairman. "What you had was very serious violations (revolving around illicit extra benefits that a San Diego businessman and former marketing agent provided Reggie Bush and his family). … The committee looks at it and says, 'In light of the seriousness of the violations, what it the appropriate penalty?' "
Tressel has agreed to a five-game suspension at the start of next season, but an NCAA finding that he engaged in unethical conduct could lead the infractions committee to extend that. Ohio State might have to vacate regular-season wins in which quarterback Terrelle Pryor and other implicated players took part.
It will take more than coming down hard on the Buckeyes to impress some.
"I would only think there's a turnaround in NCAA attitudes when this case and the next five cases end up with sanctions," says Nathan Tublitz, a biology professor who heads Oregon's university senate and is a former chairman of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, a watchdog consortium of faculty senates.
"It's such a high-profile school and such a high-profile case and it seems open and shut … it's obvious there'll have to be consequences. My worry is, with other schools that aren't so high-profile and where it may not be so open and shut, that instead of drawing the line and sticking to it, the NCAA will back off."

Royal Bank to sponsor another PGA Tour golf event?

Harbourtown - Site of another RBC golf event?
 The  PGA Tour's Heritage golf tournament played at the beloved Harbour Town course in South Carolina, is without a sponsor and according to reports won't be played next year unless someone coughs up a few million dollars to support the event.
One of those companies being hit up by the PGA Tour is Canada's Royal Bank, already the sponsor of the RBC Canadian Open. RBC also sponsors the PGA of America, making it a "patron" of the Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship, and has its name on the bags and shirts of the likes of Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, Mike Weir, Stephen Ames and Luke Donald. In all, RBC likely spends more than $15-million on golf marketing.
Will it take on another property?
Jim Little, the bank's chief brand officer, says it has been asked to look at the Heritage tournament by the PGA Tour, but there is no news beyond that.
"There's nothing to report," he said in an e-mail.
His comment comes despite reports from Hilton Head that RBC was poised to sign a 4-year deal to sponsor the tournament. RBC has significant retail banking operations in the area, so it would make sense on that level. The event would cost an estimated $8-million to sponsor.
One thing is clear -- there are a number of political forces rallying to save the tournament:
A full-court press of state leaders, including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, were ready to help find a way for the tournament to continue.
"We'll find someone," said Duane Parrish, head of the state's Parks, Recreation and Tourism department. "This is too great of a price value for an organization to entertain, to get the exposure."
Even South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier put in a pitch for the state's PGA event.
"We're hoping the tournament stays here, a sponsor will show up so the PGA can keep this tournament here," he said.
Wilmot said his organization will push forward with usual post-event meetings with an eye to next year. There also will be a meeting with the PGA Tour about prospects for next year. Wilmot didn't want the focus of this year's tournament to be the event's future.

World Champion Nicol Cruises Into Quarter Finals

GEORGE TOWN, April 27 (Bernama) -- Malaysian squash sensation and current women's world No. 1 Datuk Nicol David cruised into the quarter finals of the 16th Asian Individual Squash Championship after beating Jerryca Teo of Singapore at the Nicol David International Squash Centre in Bukit Dumbar, here Wednesday.

Nicol, who received a first round bye, beat Jerryca 11-2, 11-6 and 11-4 in the second round to set up a quarter-final date with Chan Ho-Ling of Hong Kong.

The 27-year-old Penangite, who took 25 minutes to down her opponent in straight sets, said she was glad to win her first game at the squash centre that was named after her.

"It's always great to win the first matches of a tournament and I am happy to get through to the quarter finals," she said when met after her match here.

The five-time world champion said she would be more focused in Thursday's match as it will be a tougher encounter against Chan who had earlier defeated Eun Tschan Ahn (KOR) 11-4, 6-11, 11-7 and 11-1 in 38 minutes.

Also through to the quarter-finals were Low Wee Wern, Delia Odette Arnold and Siti Munirah Jusoh.

Wee Wern, ranked world number 13, was simply too good for her team-mate Zulhijjah Azan, winning 4-11, 7-11 and 6-11 in just 25 minutes to face Siti Munirah who had defeated Liu Tsz-Ling of Hong Kong 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 12-10.

In the men's category, top-seed Ong Beng Hee was pushed all the way by team-mate Kamran Khan who ranked 82 in the world, before winning 12-10, 11-8 and 11-9 in 55 minutes to march into the quarter-finals.

Beng Hee, hunting for his fifth title in the Asian Individual Squash championships, will next face another Malaysian Elvinn Keo Jinn Chung, who beat Dick Lau Siu-Wai of Hong Kong 11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 6-11 and 11-9 in a thrilling match which ended in an hour and 16 minutes.

Also through to the quarter-finals was Mohd Nafiizwan Mohd Adnan, who defeated Waqas Mehboob of Pakistan 11-1, 11-6 and 11-6 in 24 minutes and will meet team-mate Muhd Asyraf Azan Thursday.

Muhd Asyraf earlier put up an energetic display to outclass Leo Au Chun-Ming of Hong Kong 11-9, 8-11, 11-2 and 11-5 in 44 minutes.

Creighton Bluejays Basketball Bahamas Trip Set

Advancing to the finals of the CBI Tournament gave the Creighton Bluejays a few extra weeks to practice and build chemistry entering next basketball season. And beginning in August, the Jays will have another opportunity to gel.
Creighton will head to the Bahamas August 12-16 for exhibition games against a series of local opponents. White & Blue Review has confirmed the dates and schedule for the Summer of Thunder exhibition season in Nassau. The Bluejays and Louisville Cardinals will take on teams from the Bahamas Basketball Federation August 8-16, with Creighton’s games coming in the second half of that schedule. Game dates/times below (subtract one hour for Central time):

St. Mary Central Zephyrs part ways with girls' basketball coach Jeff Chew

St. Mary Central High School has decided to part ways with arguably its most successful coach the past 17 seasons.
The school announced on Tuesday that Jeff Chew, the head girls' basketball coach, will no longer be the head coach at SMC.
"I want to acknowledge coach Chew's service to St. Mary Central High School," SMC athletic director Mike Heideman said in a press release. "Jeff served as varsity girls' basketball coach for nearly two decades and is an important figure in SMC's rich basketball history. He has accomplished much during his time at SMC and we want to acknowledge and thank him for his dedication to the Zephyr program."
The decision by SMC to part ways surprised Chew.
"I went in for my yearly evaluation and they just decided that they were going in a different direction," Chew said. "I said 'Uh, OK' and got up and left. So it was a total surprise to me."
Chew, 56, compiled a 293-117 record over 17 seasons, including a WIAA Division 4 state championship in 2009 and a runner-up finish in 2008. His teams secured numerous conference titles and the Zephyrs program is viewed as one of the top small-school programs in the state.
The Zephyrs also won a WISAA state title but have experienced some tough times the past two seasons. SMC finished 4-19 in 2009-10 after losing the bulk of its state championship players to graduation. This past season, the Zephyrs were 7-19 and struggled through a trying Olympian Conference season, only to catch fire in the playoffs. St. Mary Central reached the sectional finals before losing to eventual Division 5 state champion Wausau Newman.
St. Mary Central averaged 19 wins a season during the first 15 years under Chew.
According to Chew, his coaching staff will also not return next season. That group of assistants is a big reason why the program was so successful, he said.
"They've been outstanding and I appreciate their dedication throughout the years," Chew said. "Two of them have been with me since we started 17 years ago. We haven't had a lot of turnover of coaches. Once people get in our program, they've done a good job and stayed. I really appreciate that."

Fenton HOF to honor 1946 boys basketball team

Tigers advanced to the state title contest

The beginning of what was and still is Fenton’s greatest varsity basketball team didn’t start on a basketball court.

Rather, the team’s greatness started in a barn.

“We began playing in the fifth grade at the Howes’ barn,” said 1946 Fenton varsity basketball player Vince Harrison. “(Teammates George and Jim Howe’s) grandfather cleared the barn, put up two baskets and we used to live up there. It drew guys from all over. We had some great games there. It was great competition, but it was great camaraderie. We were brothers.”

Those indoor barn games developed those middle-schoolers into the Fenton Tigers’ only varsity boys basketball team  to ever make it to a state championship game. That barn was the making of Fenton’s 1946 squad.


 And, now the team will earn the ultimate honor — induction into the Fenton Area Public Schools Educational Foundation Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame. They will join Bob Bruder, Bill Hajec, Ken Wegener Sr., Scott Pushman and Julie Roberts Decker, along with veteran inductee Don Herman. Jim Pushman, Karen Pushman and Mike Pushman are also being honored as honorary members, for their involvement with Cobra wrestling.

That barn proved to be Fenton’s feeder program in an era when feeder programs didn’t exist.

“Did you ever hear of kids at that time having feeder programs,” Harrison said. “(Fenton coach and fellow Hall of Famer) Ivan (Williams) was brilliant. He saw the potential of this team as early as the sixth-grade and by the seventh- and eighth-grade had us playing at halftime of the varsity games.”

They made up a strong team immediately, but by their junior season they were making waves around the state. The team went 17-0 before losing in the Class B state quarterfinals to St. Stanisalus. Before that contest the Tigers had scored 808 points in their 17 contests. But that season only created anticipation for the 1945-46 season.

And, the team began that season with a boom, defeating Swartz Creek 102-17, marking the first time in Fenton history and in the Flint area a team scored more than 100 points.

Led by All-State honorable mention players forward Harrison, center Bob Torrey and guard Howe, the Tigers usually dominated their foes, averaging twice the number of points of their foes. If there was a team that challenged Fenton, it seemed to be Davison. Davison lost to Fenton twice during the season. The first time came by a 35-32 margin during the regular season, putting Fenton in first place by themselves in the Genesee County Class B League for good. The Tigers ended a perfect 14-0 regular season, defeating Lansing Tech 36-24.

In state tourney action, Fenton faced Davison in the district finals one more time, edging the Cardinals 33-30 in the district final. In that game, Harrison scored 11 points, while Bob Torrey had 10.

The Tigers won their second straight regional title by defeating Birmingham Groves 39-29. Torrey paced Fenton with 12 points. Then, in the quarterfinals, they defeated Roseville 56-30, with John Howe netting a game-high 17 points.

The semifinal against Alma was a 26-25 thriller. Fenton trailed 18-12 at the half but a Howe bucket late in the game put the Tigers up. Alma had one more chance, but missed the shot and Fenton rebounded, killing the rest of the clock.

In the state championship game against St. Joseph, the Tigers led 16-13 at the half, but were outscored 20-10 in the second half. The Tigers suffered through a 10-minute period without scoring.

“We did so well,” said Harrison, who also is a member of the Hall of Fame as an individual.

“We went 20-0 and the prior year went 17-0 until we got beat. I have nothing I regret. I am so thankful for everything we got. It was such a bunch of wonderful guys. It was just a great time.”

And now the team has at least one more great time to celebrate — being added to Fenton’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Gabe Olaseni picks Iowa hoops

The Iowa men's basketball team picked up its second recruit in a week when center Gabe Olaseni committed on Tuesday.
Olaseni, a 6-10, 220-pound native of London, averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last year as he helped lead Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) to a National Association of Christian Athletes national title. The Rivals.com three-star recruit used his 7-2 wingspan to swat 4.2 shots per game and was named an All-American by the association.
"The first thing you see is his incredible length and athleticism," Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said in a teleconference. "He's also got a pretty solid skill set — I think he'll get better, [and] he'll get stronger. We're really excited about him … he can definitely affect our team and fits perfectly with our style of play."
Olaseni chose Iowa over Oklahoma, and McCaffery said he wasn't 100 percent sure Olaseni would wear Black and Gold until this past weekend.
Olaseni's presence gives McCaffery some much-needed size and depth in the paint. Longtime center Jarryd Cole graduated, and prior to Olaseni's commitment, the frontcourt was either small or inexperienced — or both. Olaseni becomes the tallest player on the Iowa roster, and McCaffery said he's looking forward to the options he now has in the post.
"We look at this from a lot of different ways," he said. "We have Melsahn Basabe, who will be much better next year [after] being spectacular last year. We've got Andrew Brommer and Devon Archie as seniors, both 6-9 and 240 [pounds]. We've got Aaron White and Zach McCabe, both with different skill sets that are two big guys.
"Now we add Gabe Olaseni, who's a 6-10 lower-block shot-blocker with a 7-2 wingspan. We've got a lot of flexibility as far as how we're going to go and replace Jarryd Cole."
ESPN.com's scouting report said Olaseni can contribute immediately on defense.
"His athletic ability, length, and rebounding along with him being a shot blocking presence is something special," ESPN.com said. "It is safe to say that his defense is ahead of his offense at this stage, but he can finish with angles and clear paths to the rim."
Olaseni joins White (Strongsville [Ohio] High), Josh Oglesby (Cedar Rapids Washington), and Anthony Hubbard (Frederick Community College [Maryland]) as McCaffery's 2011 recruiting class.
The coach, who recently completed his first year in charge of the Hawkeyes, still has one scholarship available.

Kentucky No. 1 in college basketball attendance, Louisville No. 3

LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the 15th time in 16 seasons, the University of Kentucky men's basketball team led the NCAA in attendance in 2010-11.
The Wildcats' average home crowd at Rupp Arena was 23,603. UK's total home attendance was 354,046.
Syracuse, with an average crowd of 22,312, was second, followed by the University of Louisville (21,832), North Carolina (19,144) and Tennessee (18,952).
It marks the 23rd time in the 35-year history of Rupp Arena that Kentucky has had the top attendance figure.
Nationally, 25.1 million attended Division I men’s games in 2010-11, an average of 5,025 per game.
The Big Ten led all conferences in average attendance at 12,826. The Big East (11,323) was second, followed by the Southeastern Conference (11,187).
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