Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:48NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Then Irving was in the spotlight again as the centerpiece of a league-shaking trade that sent him to the rival Boston Celtics in exchange for a package that included Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder.Now detached from the partnership he created with LeBron James, Irving enters the 2017-18 season as one jewel of the Celtics’ offseason overhaul, along with Gordon Hayward, who signed as a free agent.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutOnly four players remain from Boston’s roster from a year ago, when it outfought Cleveland for the East’s top seed, only to fall to the Cavs in five games in the Eastern Conference finals.Along with Al Horford, the Celtics have a brand new “Big Three” as they continue their pursuit of the Cavs. While Irving maintains his departure from Cleveland wasn’t about James, he now has exactly what he says he wanted: the leadership role in building a championship team. LATEST STORIES Still, he downplayed the idea that this season is more important than any other during his six-year career.“Every moment in my life is pretty important,” Irving said. “I wouldn’t say that it’s the most important. I would say it’s probably the most interesting.”Here are some things to watch for with the Celtics this season:EARLY REMATCHOne of the byproducts of the deal that brought in Irving was that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had to part with Thomas, who had become not only a two-time All-Star, but the team’s emotional leader as well.A hip injury he suffered in the playoffs won’t allow Thomas to be on the floor when his new Cavaliers team hosts the Celtics in both team’s season opener on Oct. 17.But it will make for an interesting on-court reunion for Irving and James.REUNITEDADVERTISEMENT When Hayward entered free agency, Boston was thought to be high on the list to land him because of his previous association with coach Brad Stevens.Stevens was Hayward’s college coach at Butler, and the pair came within a missed last-second shot by Hayward of winning a national championship.While Hayward said the ultimate decision to leave Utah for Boston was basketball-driven, he said the connection he had with Stevens was a factor.“I always had a dream to play in the NBA, but he was the first person to tell me that I could get there some day,” Hayward said.After growing into a first-time All-Star with the Jazz, he now will have the chance to play a key role again in a “position-less” system that promises to utilize Hayward’s skills as a scorer and passer.TRIMMER SMARTGuard Marcus Smart will look a little different on the court this season after shedding 20 pounds in theoffseason.He said he struggled with back pain during the latter part of last season at 240 pounds and made it a priority to change his diet and slim down.One thing that won’t change, Smart said, is how he plays the game. His physique has changed, along with many of the players around him. But the goals are the same, even has he prepares to take on a new role as one the Celtics’ veterans. Smart, Horford, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown are the only returning players from last year’s roster.“Marcus is a critical part of our team,” Stevens said. “I think ultimately we want our identity to be a team that gets better every day. And I think his mindset, his competitive spirit, his toughness, his will — all of those things make teams better.” Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, left, and Gordon Hayward look on from the bench during the first quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Boston, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)BOSTON — Kyrie Irving turned the NBA world upside down multiple times this summer.It happened the first time after news leaked out that he had asked the Cleveland Cavaliers front office to trade him from the team he helped lead to a championship in 2016.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ View comments UP ends slump, sends UST reeling to eighth straight loss Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients
Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 This is one hot World Series — the Houston Astros, fresh off a Game 7 victory over the Yankees, taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers, well rested after a postseason romp.Could be real steamy, too. It’s supposed to be almost 100 degrees at Dodger Stadium for the opener Tuesday night, maybe the hottest temperature ever at a World Series game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAt least the familiar October chill that makes players and fans shiver shouldn’t be an issue outdoors in sun-baked California or under the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park.Not that young stars Cody Bellinger and Carlos Correa would mind, nor would old pros Carlos Beltran and Chase Utley, nor top starters Dallas Keuchel and Yu Darvish.Because a chance to win a ring doesn’t come very often — these teams that have already played more than 700 games against each other over the years already know that. View comments Astros beat Yankees, reach World Series MOST READ In fact, a World Series prize is the one piece of hardware missing from the trophy case from the Lone Star State. Texas teams have won the Super Bowl and championships in the NBA, NHL, college football and men’s and women’s basketball, but never in baseball.Under the leadership of executive Nolan Ryan, the Texas Rangers came within one strike in 2011 before losing to St. Louis. The Ryan Express, who once pitched a no-hitter for Houston against the Dodgers, is currently an Astros exec.The Astros posted 101 wins this year — not since Baltimore (108) and Cincinnati (102) in 1970 has the World Series matched teams who reached triple-digits.These teams last met in 2015, when the Astros swept a three-game series at home. But they’d seen a lot of each other in the past.Overall, the Dodgers are 388-323 vs. the Astros. Houston debuted as the Colt .45s as a National League expansion team in 1962 and eventually moved to the AL in 2013.That first year in the AL, the young Astros got pounded and lost 111 times. But with smart drafts and player development, Houston emerged as a power. Manager A.J. Hinch’s club capped its rise by beating Boston in the AL Division Series, then stopping the Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the ALCS.The Dodgers, with a major league-high $226 million payroll, won their fifth straight NL West title this year, then 7-1 in the playoffs against the Diamondbacks and Cubs under manager Dave Roberts.The result? Their first pennant since 1988 — the year Kershaw was born. Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion LATEST STORIES Trump attends World Series baseball game in Washington DC PLAY LIST 01:04Trump attends World Series baseball game in Washington DC00:50Trending Articles02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games The Astros have never won the crown. They’re playing for a whole region, with the Houston Strong patches on their uniforms representing an area hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.The Dodgers haven’t been in the World Series since 1988, when Kirk Gibson’s bat, Orel Hershiser’s arm and Tommy Lasorda’s moves outdid Oakland for the crown.Now with Lakers great Magic Johnson as a part-owner, this LA team that led the majors with 104 wins is hoping to bring back the glory days that began in Brooklyn.“I just want to win a World Series,” Kershaw said after the Dodgers dethroned the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series. “I know more than anybody how hard it is to get there. So, I’m definitely not taking this one for granted.”Said mercurial outfielder Yasiel Puig: “The trophy’s coming soon.”The Astros, the major leagues’ highest-scoring team this year, have never even won a World Series game. They only time they made it this far was 2005, when a club that included Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte got swept by the White Sox.ADVERTISEMENT The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after beating the Chicago Cubs to advance to the World Series. APBig-time aces Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander. Playoff boppers Jose Altuve and Justin Turner.A pair of 100-win teams for the first time in nearly a half-century. Hollywood Walk of Fame vs. Texans who wear the star. A little extra Magic, plus Nolan back in the fast lane.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Read Next Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP
QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Locals will take center stage once again as the PBA opens with the Philippine Cup, set to tip off on December 17.Import-spiced conferences, meanwhile, will continue with height limits for the reinforcements already set — 6-foot-10 for the Commissioner’s Cup and 6-foot-5 for the Governors Cup.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSan Miguel reigned in the first two conferences last season, but their bid to be the sixth team to complete a Grand Slam feat was foiled when Barangay Ginebra successfully defended its throne in the season-ending tournament.All three conferences will have a single round-robin elimination phase, with the top eight teams progressing to the playoffs. LATEST STORIES The format for this season’s All-Star Game has not yet to be agreed on, but the Board expressed its satisfaction of how the public embraced the midseason celebration.Last year, the PBA scrapped the traditional North versus South format and instead, pitted Gilas Pilipinas against superstars from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao in three separate games. Derrick Pumaren unsure of return to UE Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 PBA IMAGESComing off another banner year, the PBA will still adopt the same three-conference format for the upcoming 43rd season.The Board of Governors resolved the issue in the last board meeting in Manila before team representatives flew to Los Angeles for the annual planning sessions.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next The all-Filipino and Commissioner’s Cups will see the top two squads gaining a twice-to-beat advantage against the bottom two in the quarterfinals, while the four middle teams face off in a best-of-three series.Meanwhile, the top four teams in the Governors’ Cup will have twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs.Also, the 2018 PBA All-Star Game will once again be a three-leg event just like the previous year.The Luzon leg will be in Batangas, Davao will be the stage in Mindanao while the Visayas tilt is still up for bidding.“The members of the PBA board were all happy with the turnout of each game, thus, they want another Luzon-Visayas-Mindanao series,” said PBA director for external affairs Willie Marcial.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments
Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games PLAY LIST 01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Read Next CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA MOST READ LATEST STORIES Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netIn the middle of a loud Smart Araneta Coliseum during the second game in the Finals between San Beda and Lyceum, Robert Bolick and CJ Perez shared a quiet moment.Perez left the game with 36 seconds left, just before San Beda celebrated its 92-82 title-clincher, but Bolick stopped him on the way to the Lyceum bench to share some words.ADVERTISEMENT View comments ONE launches reality search for next MMA superstar in Asia “I told him ‘good job, you made it tough on me,’” said Bolick in Filipino Thursday as San Beda won its 21st seniors basketball title. “I told him ‘you know what, you did a good job, you’re the guy who came in and made an 18-0 sweep.’”“Last year, they never did it and they were very low in the standings.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutLyceum finished the Season 93 eliminations with a perfect 18-0 record after Season 92’s ninth place finish where it went 6-12 without Perez, who was still serving his residency at the school.“This year, just one guy, he changed the culture of Lyceum,” said Bolick who finished with 18 points, five rebounds, and six assists in Game 2. “I said to him ‘keep your head up because there’s nothing to be ashamed of.’” Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Bolick said it’s just unfortunate that Lyceum still hasn’t got the championship experience that could’ve saved them in crunch time.As for San Beda, championship experience is practically running through its DNA.Bolick gave the Red Lions an 89-82 lead with 50.9 seconds left with a cold-blooded triple with Lyceum’s Mike Nzesseu rising up to challenge him.“I think the only advantage we have was our Finals experience, we know how to compose, and we know how to finish games in crunch time,” said Bolick. “I’m pretty sure next year, CJ will be working hard.”ADVERTISEMENT QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort
Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Carlos said Mexico City was the only place he could’ve made such a statement.“At that time, for me, there was no other vehicle than the Olympic Games,” he recalled. “I felt like the humanitarian issues at that time, as well as the humanitarian issues of today, are more compelling to me than an Olympic medal. I love the Olympics and I love sports, but I love a just cause for humanity even greater.”It is a sentiment shared by NFL players.The killing of mostly unarmed black men by mostly white police officers sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, which has again drawn black athletes into the national conversation on race . The sideline protests in the NFL — started in August 2016 by Kaepernick — have been the most prominent display of players’ engagement, though black athletes in baseball and basketball have also had smaller displays of activism.Because sports are such a prominent aspect of American life, they remain an effective way to bring attention to issues of racial injustice.“This is our inheritance,” said Howard Bryant, senior writer at ESPN and author of the forthcoming book “The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism.”“You’re not allowed to check out,” Bryant said. “This is going to continue until the United States respects the black brain more than the black body. Then sports can go back to what it was supposed to be — just a game.”Media — and social media in particular — has helped in recruiting athletes to the cause, explained Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson, whose online civil rights organization has joined with athletes in addressing systemic racism and mobilized its membership to boycott the NFL and its corporate sponsors.Such stands have often come at a cost, even for today’s players, who are far more prominent and wealthy than their predecessors. Like players who spoke out before them, they have been met with violence and vitriol, described as unpatriotic, ungrateful and disrespectful.“The public is used to black guys selling sneakers and making jump shots,” said Bryant. “Do white people want to hear what black people have to say? No, they don’t. Does it need to be said? Yes.” AFP official booed out of forum “The whole purpose of the demonstrations is to get (fans’) attention,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said in an interview with The Associated Press. “These are the people that ignore the fact that people are being shot dead in the street. They’ve found ways to ignore it.”For weeks, some NFL players, most of them African-American, knelt silently on the sidelines as the national anthem played before kickoff. Their goal: to raise awareness about disparities in policing in communities of color, and about persistent, systemic racism in America.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIt was a new approach to an age-old problem.“It’s because of what happens to him that others know they have to toe the line,” said New York University historian Jeffrey Sammons. “They can’t be seen as defiant or opponents of the system . They know they can’t succeed without living up to expectations and being humble, unassuming and supportive of the established order.” Then came along Muhammad Ali, who was not one to toe the line.Ali was the most visible and influential athlete of his generation when he protested the Vietnam War as racially unjust by refusing to be drafted in 1967, a move that cost him his livelihood, derailing his fighting career for years.Ali’s actions influenced others. Basketball player Abdul-Jabbar boycotted the 1968 Summer Olympics. At the same games, held in Mexico City, American track athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos held raised fists covered in black leather gloves as the national anthem played after winning gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter race.Abdul-Jabbar, who at 70 represents a bridge between Ali and Kaepernick, went on to a storied NBA career, but Smith and Carlos returned home to the threat of having their medals taken, and faced difficulty finding coaching jobs.“It was an international stage that was being used to promote how unified and wonderful the world is, but black Americans at that point were still in a very tough struggle to obtain their rights, both human and political,” Abdul-Jabbar said of the 1968 games. “The fact that (Smith and Carlos) used an international platform to speak for people who usually don’t have any power to be heard made it all the more significant.”ADVERTISEMENT Mayweather drops another hint at MMA fight Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games PLAY LIST 01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City LATEST STORIES MOST READ NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Read Next Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Abdul-Jabbar agreed, tying Ali’s fate to Kaepernick’s as two athletes who sacrificed their livelihoods at the height of their careers for a greater cause.“Anybody that knows anything about football will tell you that he is a talented athlete and should be on somebody’s team,” Abdul-Jabbar, author of “Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court,” said of Kaepernick. “I think he’s being blackballed.”But with the cost are also benefits. Using the universal language of sports as a platform to discuss race reveals racism and galvanizes support to end it, Robinson said.“Part of why people are paying attention is because of exactly who they are,” he said. “Throughout time, it has been the people with reputations and something to lose whose risk-taking has helped result in change.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding FILE – In this Feb. 25, 1966 file photo, While Illinois Athletic Commission listened, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali speaks, in Chicago. Ali had criticized his imminent army draft. (AP Photo/File)This year’s NFL season featured two of America’s pastimes: football and race, with pre-game protests dividing fans along color lines and making Sunday afternoons among the most segregated hours in the country.While some fans would prefer players stick to sports, many black athletes have chosen a different path by protesting, making people uncomfortable.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises
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After accusing organising committee (OC) chief Suresh Kalmadi and his aide Lalit Bhanot of creating hindrances in the probe, the investigating agencies now claim that some crucial documents which could throw light on the deals related to Commonwealth Games (CWG) have gone missing.Sources told Headlines Today that the contractual obligations and authorisation files related to the Queen’s Baton Relay are not available. They said that Gen Raj Kadiyan was bypassed on arrangements for the relay.The probe agencies fear that the absent documents could have either been destroyed or hidden.The revelation came during a series of searches carried out by a team of 20-30 sleuths at the OC office and its secretary general Lalit Bhanot’s residence in November. In order to get a grip on the investigation process, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) would approach sports ministry for the removal of Kalmadi and Bhanot.CBI Director A.P. Singh had earlier this month written to Union Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekar urging the immediate removal of Kalmadi and Bhanot from their posts in the OC.It was earlier reported in September that a crucial file containing information on Mahendroo’s record of service and details of his trips to the UK for the baton relay had gone missing from the OC office.A number of agencies — Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI — are on the look out to nail the perpetrators who indulged in irregularities during the mega sporting event held in October 2010.advertisementThe CBI has so far filed three FIRs in connection with the alleged irregularities in CWG and searched the residences of OC director general V.K. Verma and Bhanot on November 30.While one case is related to a Rs 107-crore deal struck with a Swiss score keeping firm, the agency had registered two other FIRs for the contracting of AM Films for the Baton Relay ceremonies by the OC in London.The CBI had arrested OC’s joint director general T.S. Darbari and deputy director general Sanjay Mohindroo for their alleged complicity in these deals.
The new-look Wankhede Stadium was formally inaugurated in Mumbai on Sunday. However, it is still uncertain whether or not the stadium will be allowed to host World Cup matches.The venue is yet to receive a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department with the chief fire officer saying they will not issue the NOC unless they are fully satisfied.The stadium recently failed a fire inspection, raising concerns that it may not be ready in time for the World Cup matches.One of the main concerns raised by the fire department was the lack of access to fire brigades to all parts of the stadium. Wankhede Stadium is scheduled to host three World Cup matches including the final on April 2.ICC president and Mumbai Cricket Association chief Sharad Pawar, who formally inaugurated the stadium, refused to comment on the issue.
Former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi.There is more trouble for the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee. The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered an FIR in the Games consultants’ case. Headlines Today had reported how Suresh Kalmadi-led OC had appointed 35 consultants including Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who had been paid hefty amounts for consultancy and other services but they hardly did any work. The CBI is now investigating how much money was spent by the CWC OC on these consultants, who were also given high profile designations in addition to huge sums of money. Raids in overlay contracts’ case Meanwhile, the CBI continued its crackdown on the overlay contracts given out for CWG projects. On Thursday morning, it carried out raids at twenty places, including fifteen in Delhi, two in Mumbai and one in Kolkata. This comes after the registration of three new cases in connection with the renovation of Shivaji and Talkatora stadia for the October 2010 Games. Among those the CBI raided were NDMC chief architect S.S. Gupta and offices of Raja Aederi, consultants who had the contracts for renovation of CWG stadia.
S Sreesanth and Ricky PontingAction ManAfter he made it to the World Cup squad, S. Sreesanth tweeted, “No drama only action.” By action, he perhaps meant verbal duels on the field. What else could explain his altercation with Ricky Ponting during the warm-up game at Bangalore? Having beaten Ponting on a few occasions, Sreesanth went up to him to say a few words and the Australian skipper gave it back. We prefer a five-wicket haul to this drama.AB de VilliersNo ShrinkingTest wicket-keeper Mark Boucher says the South African ODI team should be unpredictable, the Pakistan way. But one-day keeper AB de Villiers is not amused. “Who said that? Oh it’s Boucher. We don’t want to be branded unpredictable. We have our own style of play,” he said in Chennai. He is also not happy with the team seeking the help of psychologist Henning Gericke. “We don’t need more psychologists. There is no worry about failing under pressure. The past is past.” So no more choking? We will wait for a big match.MS DhoniHome RunAfter complaining about the pitch in Bangalore, M.S. Dhoni threw all thoughts of playing according to the situation out of the window in India’s warm-up match against New Zealand at the Chepauk stadium in Chennai. He smashed a 64-ball 108 to crush the Kiwis by 117 runs. The Indian skipper, who plays for the IPL team Chennai Super Kings, seemingly got pumped up by the support of his 35,000 “home” crowd who cheered every run scored by him.advertisementRizwan CheemaClose CallTouted as one of the probable winners of the World Cup 2011, England escaped a humiliating defeat by just 16 runs in their warm-up match against Canada at Fatullah in Bangladesh. Their experiment with Kevin Pietersen as an opener also bombed as the batsman negotiated 49 balls for his 24. “I will look to play my normal game. It’s not a pinch-hitting role,” he said after the match. For Canada, Rizwan Cheema’s 93 went in vain as the lowest-ranked team came tantalisingly close to victory.