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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Aamir Khan is a very big fan of Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal

He played cricket like a professional in his blockbuster film Lagaan (2001), but Aamir Khan’s interest doesn’t only lie in the gentleman’s game. As badminton ace Saina Nehwal readies to go for the kill at the World Championships next week, the 21-year-old is looking forward to some encouraging words from an unusual fan — Aamir Khan.
The actor, in fact, has been regularly cheering for Saina and makes it a point to send her congratulatory messages before and after each game. “It’s very kind of him,” says Saina, adding that the 3 Idiots (2009) star follows sports very closely. “He not only keeps a tab on my events, but also encourages me. He sends me messages saying, ‘All the best. May you win the tournament’ before I go for competitions. Similarly, he messages me whenever I win a tournament. And it feels good because, after all, he is a big star.”

The Hyderabad resident, who is currently ranked No. 6 in the world, also made it a point to reciprocate. “After Delhi Belly became a hit, I sent him a congratulatory message. Since Aamir does things so perfectly, he gets all the success,” says Saina, adding that she hasn’t got a message from Aamir for World Championships as yet.

Of late, grapevine has been rife that Telugu filmmakers are chasing her for a film role. Is there any truth to that? “I’m happy and busy with one profession — badminton. Plus, I’m doing well for the country through it, so I would rather focus on that,” says the player, who is an ardent film buff and always carries DVDs with her on tours.

But she did mention that she would like to work with Rajinikanth? “My first priority is my game; and why only Rajinikanth? I’d love to work with Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir too. All of them are legends,” she smiles.

Lastly, ask Saina if she in touch with friend Deepika Padukone and she says, “Deepika is very clued in to badminton since she has also played the sport.” Besides being badminton legend Prakash Padukone’s daughter, not many know that the young actor has also played the game at state level. “Earlier, Deepika and I would keep in touch very regularly. Since she is a busy Bollywood star now, it’s difficult. But she’s a good friend.”

‘I am completely injury-free now’
Saina, who has played several tournaments with a bandaged ankle over the past few months, has also grappled with a ligament injury. But she says she is “absolutely fine” now. “It (ankle) has healed and I don’t feel any discomfort,” says the player, adding that she has worked hard on her fitness over the past few months. So is she finally thinking of the ultimate medal? “The Olympics is still far away (2012). There will be many tournaments before that including the Super Series. But of course, an Olympic gold is the ultimate dream,” she smiles.

Union's Billy Hunter Would Bet NBA Lockout Will Take Out Entire Season

by Tom Ziller
If he had to bet on it, National Basketball Players Association director Billy Hunter told attendees at a law conference in Baltimore Wednesday that he'd wager the NBA lockout would cost the league the entire 2011-12 season, reports Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun (via PBT).
This type of rhetoric isn't new to lockouts or Hunter; as early as a year ago, Hunter publicly stated that he believed there would be a painful, long lockout. But the NBA has never canceled an entire season due to a labor impasse. In 1998-99, the league lost 32 games and All-Star Weekend due to a lockout by NBA owners.
The NBA locked out its players on July 1, and the sides have held just one bargaining session in the 34 days since. That session, held on Monday, yielded no progress according to representatives from each side. The next day, the NBA sued the union to block decertification and threatened to void all existing player contracts if a dissolution of the union were successful. The NBPA has considered following the path of the NFL players' union and decertifying as a union in order to file anti-trust litigation against the league.

Cameron White is working to help restore Australia's cricket reputation

AUSTRALIA Twenty20 captain Cameron White believes success in Sri Lanka will be just the first step in restoring the country's battered cricketing reputation.
White and his charges begin the action in earnest tomorrow night with the first of two Twenty20 matches at Kandy's Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
But he feels after Australia's slump to being the fifth-ranked Test nation in the world and the disappointing World Cup quarter-final exit, it will take more than just one good tour to have teams fearing a clash with Australia again.
"If Australia was to win a Test series, that could be the start of something that was a good Test run I guess," White said.
"(But) I'm not sure whether you can get aura or something like that back in just one match or one series."
White's primary concern is coming out on top over a strong Sri Lanka side in the two T20 matches that start the tour.
"What we have done over the past few days is have some very good training sessions," the Victorian said.
"Before we left Australia we got some good match-situation practice in, so I think by the time Saturday comes around, we've got two days in Kandy, and I think we'll be very well prepared for not only the two Twenty20 games but the series ahead."
White's opposite number Tillakaratne Dilshan, who will also lead the hosts in the five one-day matches and three Tests, is also keen to get the series off to a successful start.
"This is a very good challenge for us playing against a great team like Australia," Dilshan said. "As a team . . . we are ready for this series. We have to play good cricket."
The groundsman is certainly expecting his pitch to deliver some "good" cricket.
The stadium in Kandy is a new venue, having only been opened in 2009 and hosted its first international match when Sri Lanka and the West Indies played a Test match there in December.
Only three one-day matches have been played at the venue, all at this year's World Cup, with Sri Lanka only involved in one of those fixtures.
But national curator of pitches, Anuruddha Polonnowita expects the strip to be an even one for both teams. "Three pitches are being rolled and prepared for the occasion," Polonnowita told Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror newspaper yesterday.
"It is going to be a good wicket and should provide good cricket."