India Versus New Zealand – Preview

New Zealand’s tour of India marks the beginning of a crucial home stretch for the Men in Blue. Apart from the plethora of limited overs action, the Indian fans will get to see their side play 13 Test matches spread against the Black Caps, the Barmy Army, Bangladesh and the Aussies. This period gains added significance as it might play a stellar role in the kind of legacy Virat Kohli leaves behind as a Test skipper. He has shown a lot of promise so far in his short tenure and the pressure will be on him to guide his side to convincing series victories.
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The first test against the Kiwis will be played at the Green Park in Kanpur. The pitch, as usual, has hogged the limelight prior to the start of the game. After the debacles in Australia and England, India has focused more on producing rank turners. The expected outcome of this decision was that the touring sides will feel completely out of depth and crumble like a cookie. What went unexpected was the amount of chinks in the armor of our own batsmen against quality spin bowling. England used this to their advantage en-route a historic series win in 2012. Other teams have also exploited this weakness in the Indian batting and so, it was not surprising when Anil Kumble, the current Indian coach, dismissed claims that the home team had demanded rank turners.
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Irrespective, it is clear as daylight that spin will be India’s weapon of choice against their opponents. Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra form an extremely potent attack and they will be expected to deliver a significant portion of the goods. Though Ishant will miss the first test, the fast bowling corner looks well-knit with Shami, Bhuvi and Umesh to choose from. Lokesh Rahul’s scintillating exploits over the last 6 months mean that he will most likely replace Shikhar Dhawan at the top. Pujara will look to rediscover his old self through the course of this home swing and Saha will want to continue with his impressive lower order contributions. Vijay, Kohli and most importantly, Ajinkya Rahane will be the batting main stays and the hosts will look up to these 3 to help post big totals. India go into the match as the favorites but they will need to hit top gear instantaneously as even a tiny blip might prove costly.
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The Kiwis are coming off a 204 run loss to the Proteas at Centurion. Kane Williamson knows that his boys will have to punch way above their weights to beat India in their own backyard. He himself will be feeling a lot of heat as most of the team’s run scoring hopes revolve around him and Ross Taylor. There is also this exciting rivalry between Kohli and Williamson. Arguably the 2 best batsmen of their generation, each will be looking to pull one over the other both as a batsman and as a leader. New Zealand are expected to play all 3 spinners – Ish Sodhi, Mark Craig and Mitchell Santner. They will be hoping to expose India’s recent frailties against the turning ball. Williamson will look to attack the Men in Blue from the word go and gain the upper hand as quickly as possible because he knows how hard it’ll be for his side to fight back if they fall behind in these alien conditions.

Indian Super League’s Third Season is Going to Be Challenging Says Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly, former Indian cricket captain and co-owner of the Atletico De Kolkata, looks on during the launch of the football team for the Indian Super League (ISL) in Kolkata on September 28, 2014. Ganguly, with three other city based corporate honchos, has Spanish League leaders Atletico Madrid as one of the key partners for the Kolkata franchise of the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu SARKAR        (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

One thing about the third season of the ISL (Indian Super League) is that it is going to be challenging. According to Sourav Ganguly, teams have started to select the right players, and this has indefinitely raised the standards, making the current edition more competitive. And he felt that his team is going to be tougher to beat when compared to the previous season.

The co-owner of the ISL side Atletico de Kolkata, he feels that teams of the India’s most famous football tournament have just evolved. They have learned to be better and started tweaking their strategies to gain maximum success in the matches and competition. So, there is a huge chance that this season of the football tournament is going to be deadly and quite competitive.

Attracting Attention of Football Fans

No doubt, Ganguly feels that the tournament has attracted and caught the attention of people. During the semi-finals where Chennai clashed with Kolkata (which was in 2015 at Kolkata), the stadium was jam packed with about 75000 attendees. These two months is going to be great and will be having outstanding football matches and the best teams are going to clash with each other where the exception one will emerge as the victor.

Speaking to the ISL media portal, the Prince of Calcutta openly clarified his opinion about the tournament and said that it had become one of the fourth most watched and attended football tournament in the world.

When asked about his team Kolkata and their gaming strategy, Ganguly said that they were a good side and last year they showed how much tough as a team they are. Compared to the first season, they were better and with each passing season, they have toughened up and become stronger.

Initially, they won the first season but unluckily lost in the semis of the second season. When asked why he felt that the third season is going to be tough, Ganguly said that recruiting pattern of the teams had undergone a massive change. This time, the recruitment standard has been raised because of the ISL’s popularity and presences of more international players.

Plus this time, the season is going to be more entertaining and competitive as all the teams are getting better. Of course, the first year will always be the first year and slowly as the seasons and years pass by one starts to learn and pick the correct and experienced players.

So, that is the reason why the ISL’s standard is high this time. The message the former Indian team national cricket captain told to the fans of his Bengal franchise was to come and see the football matches. Last two seasons the Bengal team were exceptionally good and this year it is going to be awesome.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Interest in Mohun Bagan

When asked what Ganguly felt about SRK’s plan to take over Mohun Bagan, he said that it was great. Yes, it is true that SRK is one of the interested parties for taking over Mohun Bagan, and no doubt the interest is because Mohan Bagan is a great club. Also, anything that Shah Rukh Khan associates, it will be the best.

Zidane Has a New Fan – James Rodriguez

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Even though for months there was uncertainty concerning James’ future, still the Colombian is at his ease in the Madrid team and that too under the rule of the French icon. As per James, the Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is one of his favorite football players and his idol. Just after making the goal scoring return to the starting line-up of the European championship, James felt that there was no another football player as great as Zidane in the world.

Madrid team ended the game with a fine knock of leading 2-0 against the Espanyol. Currently, Madrid has reached the record –equaling of 16 La Lig wins in succession. At either side of the half-time, both Karim Benzema and James scored at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat. This made light of the superstar forward Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo who are sitting out in the contest.

Zidane – A Great Manager

Under Zidane’s mentorship, James had struggled a lot to be a part of the first-team. However, he informed the press that he has great respect for the coach and hold him in high regard. He informed to public as well as to the press that Real Madrid is his dream and Zidane is his favorite idol.

And he hoped that this would last for a longer time or till his lifetime. He also stated that he and his family are quite happy at Madrid, and he is comfortable with the team. Furthermore, he will fight tooth and nail to be on the team forever. Plus he denied that he had a bad time. Just because he doesn’t speak to the public, it doesn’t mean that he has a bad relationship with everyone.

As a team, each player is united and supports each another. Right from the day one, everyone helped James and encouraged him to win more games. Also, the entire team is motivated to beat records and gain more trophies. Plus James is aware that there is great importance for the decision of a coach and his coach Zidane takes decision for the betterment of the team, not just thinking about goals and assists.

The wonderful solo strikes that James played helped Madrid during the first half of the stoppage time of the match. They were initially struggling to place their authority right in the beginning of the game. He added that they were quite behind in the first half. However, they gathered themselves and soon the goals came pouring in.

Zidane Praises James

Previously, in the month of April, Zidane has praised James and told openly that he is quite committed to Real Madrid. Even though he always finds himself on the beach of Real Madrid, he played exceptionally for Colombia and did a match-winning feat for the international duty. Even though he is struggling to have a permanent place in the Real Madrid team, still Zidane feels that the commitment and excellent practice he shows is commendable.

After assisting Colombia over the record back-to-back wins during the World Cup qualifying match, he openly admitted that he feels comfortable with the extensive support provided by his team and staffs.

Wenger Confirms The Unavailability of Ramsey

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Soccer fans might feel disappointed with the latest news regarding Aaron Ramsey. There were speculations that he might be sidelined and the gossip news turned out to be a reality. Arsene Wenger, the manager of Arsenal club has confirmed that midfielder Ramsey will not be making his return to the team.

Clearly, the manager has stated that the Aaron Ramsey will not be getting the chance to make a comeback to the team’s action. Also, he will not be featured against Chelsea or Nottingham Forest in the next two games of the club.

Setback Due To Injuries

Clearly, the Wales international is one of the major and prominent members of the Gunner team. However, over the recent seasons and matches, he has been struggling with various injuries. This has simply prevented the chance for him to build a momentum. Just when things were going in Ramsey’s favor, he ended by being sidelined.

After being a part and the dominant force in the epic run of Wales’ in the semi-finals of the Euro 2016 that occurred in France this summer, he immediately went back to the club. And there he ended up getting injured.

Road to Recovery

Of course, there is a silver lining in the cloud, as the former Cardiff City star is on his way to recovery. Plus, his team members, coach, and manager along with the fans feel that he can be back into action, maybe within this week or another. But there is no chance of him being in the playing team for the heated London derby with the Chelsea, which is bound to occur at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger informed in the official website of the club that Ramsey is still out and there is no chance for him to be ready for this weekend. Also, in his absence, Theo Walcott is going to get the opportunity to be in the playing squad. In the recent weeks for the Gunners, he seemed to feel like a capable operator. But the Welshman’s industry wants and still prefers Wenger at the right flank when he returns and becomes available.

This seems to be a great new. The defense of Arsenal has become a bit stronger with the presences of the senior and fit player who have been added to the squad. Carl Jenkinson who is on the verge of return is concentrating on his training and will be the replacement for Ramsey. Wenger even confirmed that Jenkinson is improving a lot but still needs to make more improvement regarding training.

Of course, the lack of the presences of big names like Aaron Ramsey might seem like a huge task for the team to fulfill. Even though Ramsey had wanted to be featured before the Chelsea tie, however, the weekend ended up a bit stretchy for the Welshman.

The Wales bosses feel that without Ramsey it might be a tough task, still, various talented and experienced team players can show their true spirits and talent on why they are considered as one of the formidable teams.

Klopp’s Magic Ensures Conte’s Bright Start Come To An End

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Chelsea was unbeaten prior to this match, and was favorites for the tie at their home ground. But the faithful of Stamford Bridge were in for a shock as a stunning performance by the visitors along with a dominating first-half of the match led to the victory of Liverpool against their rivals, Chelsea with a score of 2-1.

Dejan Lovren, making a return to the first team after an eye injury opened the scoring for the Reds, courtesy of a clinical finish from a Philippe Coutinho cross to make it 1-0.Liverpool started to dominate possession and had full control over the match, after their goal. Liverpool’s domination reaped results when their captain, Jordan Henderson shot them 2-0 up on the night with a vicious strike from 25 yards in the 36th minute. The fine effort of Henderson pumped their manger Jurgen Klopp, who later accepted his admiration of the goal. The 2 goal lead for the visitors resulted in a quite Stamford Bridge till the half time. Chelsea was missing their skipper, John Terry through an ankle injury and his replacement, David Luiz, recently acquired from Paris-Saint Germain got his first start for Chelsea in his second stint with the London based club. Luiz had a decent game, but Chelsea missed their commander in chief at the back.

Chelsea came out as a different team after the break. They pulled a goal back on the hour mark, through Diego Costa, who was very quiet in the first half. But after his goal Costa was a constant threat in front of the goal, and threatened to blow Liverpool’s lead. Chelsea’s manager Antonio Conte ringed in three changes just 10 minutes before the allocated 90 minutes of play, but they were unable to inspire Chelsea for a fight back. Somehow Liverpool held on. They defended well, and in the end went back to Merseyside with all three points. Liverpool now has a cent percent record against all London clubs this season, with convincing wins over Arsenal and Tottenham followed by Friday’s result. They also inflicted the first defeat of Antonio Conte’s era in Chelsea. Liverpool jumped to fourth place in the league standings, courtesy their win, while Chelsea dropped to third place, with goal difference being the factor separating them from second placed Everton. But further changes to the league table are expected with the remaining nine fixtures scheduled to take place during the weekend.

In the end, after the referee’s whistle, Jurgen Klopp was seen jumping, head locking and hugging his Liverpool players after their overwhelming performance against Chelsea which has already set a benchmark for the entire season. It was a professional display from Liverpool, and a victory for which they had to work hard.  It’s too early in the season, but going by what we saw on Friday night, don’t write Liverpool off this season, because they are showing signs of the Klopp magic we saw at Dortmund. For Chelsea, it was a great loss at their home ground and a devastating end of the match for their club head coach who had his first defeat since the time he took charge of the team.