Napoli have announced their squad to face Milan in Serie A tomorrow, with Allan back in but Arkadiusz Milik out. Allan missed the 0-0 draw with Genoa before the international break, having been an alleged leader in Napoli’s rebellion against President Aurelio De Laurentiis. However, the midfielder returns on the day it is claimed by Corriere dello Sport that he apologised to Vice-President and Aurelio’s son Edoardo. On the other hand, the Partenopei are without any recognised left-backs as Mario Rui and Faouzi Ghoulam are unavailable, while Milik needs more time to recover from an abdominal problem. Napoli squad to face Milan: Meret, Ospina, Karnezis; Koulibaly, Manolas, Luperto, Di Lorenzo, Hysaj, Maksimovic; Zielinksi, Fabian, Allan, Gaetano, Elmas, Younes; Lozano, Llorente, Mertens, Insigne, Callejon Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
The qualifiers are over and all eyes are now on the final day of F1 action at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida. Before the action starts, here is a look at the drivers who are headed for Grand Prix glory.Sebastian VettelIt is difficult to look beyond the two-time world champion, who starts in pole position for the 13th time out of 17 races this season.Vettel’s dominance has been reminiscent of Michael Schumacher’s glory years with Ferrari, with the Red Bull car being superior to all their rivals’. The combination has already wrapped up the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, but their hunger for success just doesn’t diminish.At the technically demanding Buddh International Circuit, Red Bull-Renault’s strength in aerodynamics should stand them in good stead. Sebastian Vettel has been consistently quick through the practice and qualifying sessions, and has showcased his smooth driving style, which is necessary at this circuit because of its dusty nature.A marginal mistake can cost a driver valuable seconds if he slips off the racing line, and Vettel has the edge over his competitors in that department as well.The only thing that could stop him from winning the race, apart from luck, is the fact that both Red Bull and Vettel have expressed a desire to concentrate their efforts on helping teammate Mark Webber clinch second place in the championship.Jenson ButtonBut for Vettel, this Briton could easily have been the driver of the season for a few of his storming drives. He has won three races – in Canada, Hungary and Japan – and has an equal number of second and third places as well.advertisementThe race in Canada proved beyond doubt that Jenson Button’s championship win in 2009 was not all down to the then-dominant Brawn GP car he drove. Button had to make five pitstops, got run into by his McLaren teammate Hamilton, sustained a puncture, served a drivethrough penalty, made 26 on-track passes and then overtook Vettel on the last lap to win the longest race in history.Since then, especially during races at the quicker circuits like Spa (Belgium), Monza (Italy) and Suzuka (Japan), he has looked the likeliest man to cut through the field, and has done so with his smooth-as-silk driving style, which helps conserve tyres for longer stints too.He said on Thursday that he likes the look of the Buddh International Circuit, which promises multiple overtaking opportunities in every lap, unlike some of its other modern counterparts.Expect Button, who starts fourth, to pounce on the Red Bulls at the first opportunity. He might even create the opportunity himself, like he did by putting pressure on Vettel in Canada.Mark WebberThe Australian veteran says he wouldn’t accept any help from his team in gunning for second place in the drivers’ championship. That speaks volumes about the man who has played second fiddle to Vettel this season, after having come close to the title in 2010 but lost out to Vettel.Despite having a similar car to the world champion, Mark Webber just has two second places and seven third placed-finishes this year. He has a total of 209 points from 16 races, and is 13 points behind McLaren’s Button, who is second on the table.In India, though, Webber has been a strong presence in all the sessions. Though still seemingly lacking the outright pace of a Vettel or a Hamilton, he has been consistently improving his lap times, resulting in a third place in Saturday’s session. A grid penalty to Hamilton has shot him to the front row, though on the ‘dirty’ or nonracing line side of the track.If he can overcome that on the run down to the first corner and leapfrog Vettel, the race could well be sewn up.Fernando AlonsoLet’s face it – this Spaniard isn’t the force he once was, when he was defeating big names like Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen to the world title in 2005 and 2006.Yet, for some, he remains the most naturally gifted driver in the world, whose two-year-old alliance with the most famous team in the world, Ferrari, hasn’t yet borne fruit.Alonso Fernado won the British Grand Prix in the middle of the year and finished second and third three times each this season. He lies 10 points behind Button in the battle for second place in the drivers’ championship, and needs just a bit more out of his scarlet car.Perhaps it was pushing hard that made him suffer a blown engine in the first practice session in Greater Noida on Friday, though the pace of the Ferraris has been better here than at other circuits in the recent past. Teammate Felipe Massa did top the second practice session, but one issue for the famous Prancing Horses is the seemingly low ride-height of their cars, which is causing the front wing to scrape along the undulating circuit.advertisementAlonso remains one of the fastest drivers off the grid in Formula One, and with the track being very wide in places, it could provide him the ideal opportunity to revert to his aggressive driving style and win the battle fair and square. If only his Ferrari holds up.Lewis HamiltonIf it hadn’t been for a moment on Friday, when he seemed to ignore yellow flags and set his fastest lap time during practice, Briton Lewis Hamilton wouldn’t have been in this section. Instead, a three-place grid penalty has pushed him down from second to fifth for the start in Sunday’s race.But for the F1 ‘bad boy’, it has just been that sort of season. Hardly a race has gone by where he hasn’t been under the stewards’ scanner, mostly for his over-the-top aggression which has led to crashes involving other drivers.It’s not as though Hamilton isn’t capable of driving in a sane manner while going blindingly fast. He proved that in Korea where he stayed subdued, but ended up with the first non-Red Bull pole position of the season and a drive to second place, losing a spot to Vettel. There is also the added emotional low of his break-up with singer Nicole Scherzinger, and Hamilton would be keen to put all that behind him and focus on the track.Expect the 2008 world champion to be a factor in the eventual outcome of the race.
Never mind the frivolous crowd, the winter chill and the tiresome walk. On a sunny Monday morning, Anurag Sahney, 29, a Gurgaon-based private sector executive, had figured out just the perfect way to begin his week.Wangling a business-hour pass from a friend, he bunked office, pulled out his bright red,Never mind the frivolous crowd, the winter chill and the tiresome walk. On a sunny Monday morning, Anurag Sahney, 29, a Gurgaon-based private sector executive, had figured out just the perfect way to begin his week.Wangling a business-hour pass from a friend, he bunked office, pulled out his bright red Alto and braved the peak-hour city traffic to head straight to the 8th Auto Expo at Pragati Maidan, Delhi to check out the beauties. “Both the two-legged and the four-wheeled ones,” he says.Amid blaring music and live performances, Sahney had a blast drooling over Skoda’s latest Yeti, updating himself on car gizmos and the latest technologies and promising himself an Octavia in the next two years. Aspirations that even big global automobile companies are beginning to take note of.The countdown has begun. And the just concluded Auto Expo is just a sneak preview. For car freaks, 2006 holds out exciting, though expensive, launch line-up. At least 25 new models are expected to make their debut in India this year.The list includes the priciest, the fanciest and the latest-from Aston Martin to the Ferrari F430, Chevrolet Aveo to Fiat Idea and Honda Civic to Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia. Rs 1 CRORE PLUSFerrari F430FERRARI F430 From the expensive and exclusive class of Ferrari, this is the cheapest oneENGINE: 4.3-LITRE V8 PETROL POWER: 490 BHP TORQUE: 47.4 KGM LIKELY PRICE: Rs 1.1 CROREAston Martin V8 VantageASTON MARTIN V8 VANTAGE To be launched soon in India the V8 Vantage is Aston’s Porsche 911 rivalENGINE: 4.3-LITRE V8 PETROL POWER: 380 BHP TORQUE: 41.75 KGM LIKELY PRICE: Rs 1 CRORE Lamborghini GallardoLAMBORGHINI GALLARDOLess outrageous and smaller than the Murcielago. But just as lethal a vehicleENGINE: 5-LITRE V10 PETROL POWER: 493 BHP TORQUE: 52 KGM LIKELY PRICE: Rs 1.5 CRORELamborghini MurcielagoLAMBORGHINI MURCIELAGOOutrageously powerful car with scissor action doors. 100 kph in sub 3-secondsENGINE: 6-LITRE V12 PETROL POWER: 572 BHP TORQUE: 66.3 KGM LIKELY PRICE: Rs 2.5 CROREThe biannual Auto Expo saw 1,000 exhibitors (300 from overseas), an impressive visitor turnout of over 9 lakh, an estimated 60 foreign delegations and business deals worth over $150 million, all new records.advertisementAnd this, despite the dropouts by four major car manufacturers: General Motors, Toyota, Hyundai Motors and Daimler Chrysler. “Besides unprecedented visitors’ interest, the 2006 Auto Expo also set a record in generating business deals for companies,” says Dilip Chenoy, director general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers Association (SIAM).Companies unveiled the best, brought in the latest and announced ambitious plans for the Indian market. Honda paraded its hybrid sedan Insight, Suzuki flexed its muscles with the top-of-the-line single seater Formula Hayabusa racing car, Volkswagen group company Audi rolled out its luxury sedan A4 and the homegrown Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) showcased its concept Scorpio hybrid variant.”This expo has beefed up its profile. Many companies used it to show off their concept vehicles and not just their launch line-up,” says Pawan Goenka, president, automotive division, M&M. The company participated for the first time since 2000.SIAM estimates that the $32-billion (Rs 1,44,000 crore) automobile industry will invest close to Rs 25,000 crore in the next three to five years to set up new plants, almost treble passenger vehicles capacity to three million and see export growth. Auto components export, nudging $2-billion (Rs 9,000 crore) mark, is expected to surge to $20 billion (Rs 90,000 crore) by 2015.With upbeat companies and enormous growth potential, if India’s best ever six-day Auto Expo beat the ongoing big daddy, the two-week Detroit Auto Show, on any count it was the tone, tenor and the mood.Rs 50 Lakh – 1 Crore CarsClick here to EnlargeClearly, despite the low volumes- India’s one-million vs US’ 17 million cars every year-for global car manufacturers, India will gain prominence not for its volumes but its enormous growth potential. Just when the big mature markets like the US, Europe and Japan are logging flat sales, India is one of the few markets alongside China that holds promise.”We are riding a wave. When everything is a valley, you look like a mountain,” says V. Sumantran, an auto industry veteran. So much so that some prominent European design houses decided to give the ongoing Detroit show a miss and come to India.This interest is good news for Indian consumers and the automobile industry. And a lot of action on the Indian roads will henceforth be shaped by this premise. Here are some of the key trends that will be wooing the customer and driving the industry in the future:Drive the world’s latestAuto Expo is just the trailer. Going forward, Indian customers will increasingly get wooed by contemporary vehicles launched by MNCs from their global stable. Simultaneous global launch of vehicles has already begun to happen-Ford Fiesta and Maruti Suzuki’s Swift saw its global launch happening here. Bill Ford, the chairman and CEO, Ford Motor, said on his recent trip to India: “The market (India) is critical to our plans for building a Ford Motor company for 21st century.”Jagdish Khattar”With India emerging as a small car hub, buyers will get the best and the latest” Jagdish Khattar, Managing Director, Maruti Udyog LtdOther car manufacturers endorse Ford’s statement. Over the last one year, new global car companies who had earlier shied away from India have announced their India plans. From the top-of-the-line Bentley, Porsche BMW, Nissan to Renault and Citroen, there’s hardly a global major who isn’t considering an India launch. advertisementSays Jurgen Klaschka, head of product marketing (A4/S4), Audi: “Volumes are small but the Indian market is growing fast.” The premium car market has trebled in the last three years. “We have big expectations from this market,” he adds.If new players are getting excited, the old ones are ramping up their product portfolio to cater to a growing customer segment. From General Motors, Ford Motors to now even Honda, car companies who debuted in the Indian car market as premium segment players are steadily moving down the price band. Some companies like Ford (Ikon) are allocating resources to work on India specific models.Rs 21 – 50 Lakh CarsClick here to EnlargeMost multinationals realise their biggest handicap in the Indian market: not being able to address the extremely price sensitive segment of compact cars which comprise over 70 per cent of passenger car sales in India. “Despite enormous interest, the cutthroat competition and price sensitivity has been a entry barrier for car MNCs,” says Hormazd Sorabjee, editor, Autocar India. This has primarily been the reason why companies like Toyota, Honda, General Motors have all talked about entering the small car segment but few have done so. This also explains the launch line-up for 2006 where, barring GM’s Aveo, there is virtually no new launch in this segment.As a result, most of them are trying to woo consumers with their high-end cars creating new niches from crossovers, multi-utility vehicles, premium hatchbacks, among others.Upgraded your car? Now refresh its lookFor the fickle, impulsive, young car buyers who lay huge premium on exclusivity and style, companies have the answer: churn model line-up and launch multiple variants.Rajive Saharia”Young, discerning, upgrading car buyers have completely redefined our outlook on India” Rajive Saharia, GM Marketing, Honda Siel LtdBut car life is just too long for young customers to sustain their excitement. So get a new look with exciting sunroof, colourful spoilers, a new set of bumpers, whacky car sticker or stylish spinners on the wheels.If technology is what matters then get a cellphone edge. With up to Rs 20,000 one-time cost and a monthly expenditure of Rs 300 you can install a security system that will help identify the car’s physical location, switch on/off its engine, regulate usage of AC, lock/unlock the vehicle.From high-end R&D companies like Micro Technologies to simple car sticker firms, they are doing all they can to excite car owners and help them upgrade their cars. “Indian R&D firms are moving up the value chain and soon should be able to churn out affordable and relevant tech-products for cars in India,” says P. Sekhar, chairman, Micro Technologies. The company has already got an order of 4,00,000 cellphone-enabled security kits from both domestic as well overseas customers.Even small add-ons are in big demand. Autopsyche, founded by US-returned young entrepreneur Arush Vohra, can give your car a complete makeover-from performance upgrade to a brand new look, and it could cost you Rs 1 lakh to Rs 15 lakh. With a presence in Delhi and Bangalore, he already has close to 20 clients and hopes to get at least 50 this year.Rs 8 – 10 and 11 – 20 Lakh CarsClick here to EnlargeSpotting a growing market many companies like NTF and Webasto, who have been catering to car manufacturers, are foraying into the retail market. NTF promises to make Suzuki Swift doors open like gull wings for Rs 56,000 give car bumpers a brand new look for Rs 37,000. advertisementNow, with a design centre and a tie-up with 200 dealers, it plans to cater to individual customers. “The response from customers has been overwhelming,” says Rajat Jain, AGM, NTF India.The company received over 1,000 serious enquiries a day at the Auto Expo.Webasto, which supplies to companies like Daimler Chrysler, offers a range of car sunroofs, including a fancy fabric folding half sunroof, ranging from Rs 9,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh.Neowheels is selling spinners that rotate when the car is stationery and they come for a cool Rs 36,000. Says Dilip Chhabria of DC Design: “The demand for customising cars is growing. They are not just the very rich and famous in big cities, even those from Kolhapur want to get it done.”All this is understandable because the average age of car buyers has come down from 40 to 32 years in the last 10 years whereas average period of car ownership has come down from five to three years since 2000. “And mind you the younger they are, the more adventurous they get,” says Anang Dev Jena, head, Synovate Motoresearch India.Driving comfort and horsepower will remain key factors even as exclusivity, latest technology, styling and look and feel of the product gain importance. Customisation of cars will become important for car buyers in India. The youth-focused bike market may show the way where minor changes in style, look or simply an innovative paint has given a new lease of life to bikes like Hero Honda’s Passion.The future of Brand India carsThe days of alliances and joint ventures are back it seems. Tatas are getting into an alliance with Fiat Motors under which Tatas will sell Fiat cars from March while Fiat will give Tata access to technology and marketing support services overseas. Mahindra & Mahindra has set up a joint venture with the global major Renault. The company has also got into an equity partnerships with Gaz in Russia and DRB HiCom in Malaysia.V. Sumantran”It’s not market size but growth potential that’s drawing auto MNCs to India.” V. Sumantran, Former Executive Director, Tata MotorsFor car buyers this will be good news. It will expand the product offerings in the Indian market. Companies like Fiat Motors with great cars in their stable but poor sales network and shaky future, will piggyback Tata Motor’s reach and help multiply choices for Indian customers.But didn’t we hear about these joint ventures in the 1990s? Unfortunately, most of them fell apart as MNCs muscled their way into the Indian market buying out their Indian partners.Rs 7 Lakh CarsClick here to EnlargeSo what’s driving the latest alliance? For Indian auto majors these alliances serve twin purpose-exploring new markets through their network and beef up their limited product offering in the Indian market by sourcing cars from the global majors.For MNCs, India is small yet a promising future market that they no longer want to ignore. So companies with limited resources or facing financial stress are taking the alliance route to get a toehold in the Indian market.The basis of alliances have also changed. Says Pawan Goenka, president, automotive division, M&M: “Things have changed.” The last time M&M had a joint venture with Ford, it was just an investor. Today, it also has the management control. “We are an equal partner, smaller but not necessarily weaker,” says Goenka.Pawan Goenka”Indians have always been big on customisation. It will only grow in future.” Pawan Goenka, President, Automotive Division, M&MThe growing ambitions of Indian companies like Tatas and M&M far beyond the Indian borders, and rising interest of MNCs in the Indian market is currently fuelling the joint venture frenzy. But this time it is not mere opportunism driving these JVs. Indian companies, well aware of their strengths, confident about their role are tying up with global majors. “Our USP is low cost,” says Goenka.Indian automobile companies are well aware that globally there are price sensitive markets like South Africa, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and in future may be even China where the low-cost USP will hold good and make their products relevant.Homegrown companies will continue to be relevant as long as they can guard their turf in future. But industry veterans warn that “Indian companies are at crossroads. They can either go the Korean way and get big or just fizzle out”. By focusing on churning out price-competitive yet contemporary cars Korean auto major Hyundai Motors has muscled its way into the most competitive US market. Tie-ups are sustainable as long as the core of the company does not get dependent on overseas help. Wait and watch.Going beyond petrolDespite the fuel price difference between diesel and petrol, India largely remains a petrol market as far as passenger vehicles are concerned, with only 16 per cent diesel vehicles at present. But that may change soon.More than ever before carmakers are now betting on non-petrol vehicles. At the Auto Expo, hybrids, though still at the concept stage, made a debut at the Honda and M&M pavilions.New Technology For Your CarClick here to EnlargeMaruti showcased factory-fitted LPG-run Omni and Swift. Diesel is getting a thumbs up from manufacturers, including Hyundai, and now Ford, Maruti and Tata Motors are launching cars with efficient CRDi engines.The reasons vary: surging petrol prices and the growing price gap between petrol-diesel. But companies making available contemporary CRDi engines are also catalysing the shift. Experts expect diesel cars and nonpetrol vehicles to grow to 30 per cent of the total in the next couple of years.Hybrids may still be years away. Showcasing hybrids at the Auto Expo was just a brand-building and flaunting exercise for the companies who have seen the hybrids creating a buzz in the mature international markets.”Indian consumers aren’t yet thinking of environment. But if pushed by companies and mandated by the government, environment-friendly fuels may gain popularity,” says Arindam Bhattacharya, vice-president and director, Boston Consulting Group India.For the present, the exciting line-up for 2006 gives Indian consumers global options, from high-end sports cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin, to luxury line-up and highly rated sedans like Honda’s Civic. Get ready for the ride of your life.
Cricket MarketingClick here to EnlargeTrust Sourav Ganguly to sit still, remain silent, and yet cause a stir. On the Pakistan tour, Ganguly was seen at the Bage-e-Jinnah ground in Lahore swathed in layers against the cold with his head covered by a voluminous cap bearing three unmistakable white stripes.Ganguly, who,Cricket MarketingClick here to EnlargeTrust Sourav Ganguly to sit still, remain silent, and yet cause a stir. On the Pakistan tour, Ganguly was seen at the Bage-e-Jinnah ground in Lahore swathed in layers against the cold with his head covered by a voluminous cap bearing three unmistakable white stripes.Ganguly, who has no personal sports apparel sponsor, was wearing an Adidas cap despite the fact that the team’s official kit sponsor is Nike.In the brash new world of a marketing-savvy BCCI, this definitely qualified as a don’t-do-it moment. For those on the outside, it was worth an irreverent giggle. On the inside, no one was smiling. In the Sharad Pawar-run BCCI, the pairing of the Nike jacket and Adidas cap falls somewhere between sacrilege, purgatory and perdition.The arrival of Pawar and his allies to the high office in the BCCI came with a blaring of trumpets-about transparency, accountability and change-though it would be fair to say that the sound that threatens to drown all others at the moment is the ringing of the cash registers.In a marketing blitz first revealed a week before Christmas and which will take final shape at the onset of summer, the BCCI hopes to make Indian cricket a commercial entity with an average income of Rs 850 crore per year over the next four years.The Board’s marketing committee has drawn up an ambitious plan that gets its inspiration from the United States’ sporting franchises like Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association.If the BCCI’s new marketing plan can be summarised in a single sentence, it is: to split the product-Indian cricket- down to its smallest marketable unit (SMU). The SMUs promise, and some say threaten, to change the vocabulary of cricket marketing in India. Broadcast rights no longer mean TV rights, the game’s single obsessive corporate issue for over 18 months.advertisementBroadcast now includes cable and terrestrial television, Internet (audio/video) and mobile telephony. To the BCCI, the latest wave in cellular technology, the 3G (Third Generation) mobile phone is not just a new revenue stream, it has the makings of a torrent. In SMU-speak, the humble phrase “radio rights” is split into AM, FM and Web.POSTER BOYS: The Indian team steps out in its new training gear in LahoreThe failure to maximise the financial potential of Indian cricket is being projected as one of the biggest lapses of the Board under Jagmohan Dalmiya. BCCI Vice-President and marketing committee member Shashank Manohar says, “That is for everyone to see and decide.”The new brooms are determined to redress this imbalance with speed, force and no little noise. One insider laughs, “You can show the incompetence of the previous regime over a period of time-these guys are trying to do it in one month.”A few weeks after the elections, Air Sahara retained the team’s sponsorship while Nike became the official kit sponsor and was given the merchandising rights. Marketing committee member and former Board chief I.S. Bindra reveals that Cricket Australia has 61 items of official merchandise. The replica shirt is the tip of the iceberg and player dolls are a cinch.The BCCI media contracts process is into its final stretch this weekend with the rights expected to be awarded by the time England begin their tour of India at the end of February. The title sponsorship of matches at home for the next four years will be up for sale after April.The last bundle of the BCCI’s wares, its official partnerships with airlines, hotels, insurance, beverage, energy drink and cellular companies, will take the longest to finalise.The award of television rights though will be watched most closely. Manohar says pointedly, “We don’t favour anybody and we do not disqualify anybody as the previous group did.” The tenders will allow all kinds of bidders: channels and other media companies.Kunal Dasgupta, CEO, Sony Entertainment Television, says, “It is a bit of a convoluted situation, which could bring in people who don’t have platforms like TV channels do. It could lead to implementation problems. A speculative situation like this one can go both ways. It is not clear what they might want to do.”The BCCI knows which way it is heading: to eventually run its own TV channel and control the picture going out to the world. The BCCI’s decision to produce its own feed (and hire its own commentators) is a return to its practice in the mid-1990s when Dalmiya and Bindra were best buddies and the Board sold cricket rights to Doordarshan for the first time to change the face of Indian cricket.advertisementTen Sports Vice-President Peter Hutton says taking over production “allows the Board to say that domestic cricket will definitely be televised while no broadcaster wants to spend on domestic cricket with little hope of return.”With so many SMUs up for the taking, there exists the possibility of overcrowding of logos on the landscape and a blurring or dilution of the brand that has paid for exclusivity. The BCCI’s long-time sponsors are not worried.According to Hero Honda’s official spokesperson, there is no worry about the dilution of brands. He says,”There are strict guidelines on these, laid down by the International Cricket Council. For a corporate, the more important thing is that the BCCI is run well and professionally, rather than who runs it.”Lokesh Sharma of Twentyfirst Century Media, an old player in the Indian cricket marketing, says, “It is a good idea to market specific categories but the BCCI needs to be careful that the rights don’t overlap.” The most obvious example is rights for cable TV and Internet video feed in a territory like the US where a single cable brings in the TV and the Net.Sourav Ganguly goes against the norm with his choice of headgearTicklish issues like where the official kit begins and ends are yet to be resolved.The players are already coughing a little politely. When they landed in Pakistan, the team was told by the BCCI that they had to wear trousers with the Nike logo as part of their official kit. Usually, players sport their own sponsors’ logo on their trousers.Similarly, it is believed there is a plan to impose a term pertaining to the kit sponsorship which states that the players’ bat stickers (individually sponsored) cannot sport a logo belonging to a Nike competitor. Jeet Banerjee of cricket marketing firm Gameplan says, “The BCCI’s initiatives will earn revenues and benefit players, but in cases where the players’ rights are involved, the BCCI needs to clarify the details of its deals.”More than earning, Indian cricket should watch its spending. Bindra, president of the Punjab Cricket Association, says his state has the ideal cricket development model to be replicated in the country and that the Board was now ideally placed to plough the money back into the grassroots.Indian cricket, rich and not afraid to flaunt it, has already flexed its muscle in the West. An internal debate must now begin where it seeks to balance its SMUs with its LCDs (lowest common denominators).The urge to wring out the greatest financial benefit should not end up squeezing out Indian cricket’s most loyal stakeholders, the people in the cheap seats.
With the London Olympics just round the corner, there is still suspense over India’s choice for the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is yet to take a call on who will be the flag-bearer and a number of names are doing the rounds with medal winners from previous Olympic Games being the frontrunners.Beijing Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra leads the race. The IOA officials have made it clear that so far, Bindra has not ruled out his participation at the opening ceremony, but they are still not sure whether the ace marksman will accept the honour.Beijing Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra.Bindra’s 10m air rifle event is scheduled for two days after the opening ceremony on July 27, which does give him ample time to practice for his title defence. “Abhinav Bindra is surely the best choice that we have but we also need to see if he is ready to take the job,” said Ajitpal Singh, who is the chef de mission for the Indian contingent.Besides Bindra, there are just three other athletes in the current Indian contingent who have won medals at the Olympics. Boxer Vijender Kumar and wrestler Sushil Kumar won bronze medals at the Beijing Games four years ago, while Leander Paes also won a bronze at the Atlanta Olympics.”Olympic medallists will definitely be the first choice and Abhinav is therefore the frontrunner. We will see how things unfold and then we have other medal winners like Vijender, Sushil and Paes,” he added.advertisementPaes has already had the honour of leading the Indian contingent during the opening ceremony of 2000 Sydney Olympics.The first-round bouts for the 75kg category in boxing are scheduled for July 28 and 29. However, the draw on the opening day of the Games will reveal whether Vijender competes on July 28 or 29.But waiting for the draw might not be a wise decision and the IOA will most probably announce the flag-bearer in the next few days.Sushil also stands a fair chance but the four-member Indian wrestling contingent will be in the final leg of their training programme in Belarus when the opening ceremony stars in London.The wrestling competition starts in August and the wrestlers have decided to train in Belarus and are scheduled to arrive in London on August 2 or 3.”It’s an honour to be the flagbearer and an athlete can always come for the opening ceremony and go back for training,” said IOA secretary general Randhir Singh.With all the issues surrounding the flag-bearer’s choice, Bindra stands a better chance than others and it will all depend on how the IOA and the Abhinav Bindra athletes deal with it.
PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Top-seeded Muruguza retires with cramps, out of Brisbane LATEST STORIES ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims MOST READ Relations between the Koreas have plunged as North Korea under Kim expanded its weapons programs amid a hard-line stance by Moon’s conservative predecessors. Last year, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles as part of its push to possess a nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the United States. The North was subsequently hit with toughened U.N. sanctions, and Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump exchanged warlike rhetoric and crude personal insults against each other.Possible inter-Korean talks could provide a temporary thaw in strained inter-Korean ties, but could also weaken U.S.-led international pressure on the North. After the Olympics, inter-Korean ties could become frosty again because North Korea has made it clear that it has no intention of accepting international calls for nuclear disarmament and instead wants to bolster its weapons arsenal in the face of what it calls increasing U.S. threats.In his address Monday, Kim said the United States should be aware that his country’s nuclear forces are now a reality, not a threat. He said he has a “nuclear button” on his office desk, warning that “the whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike.”He called for improved ties and a relaxation of military tensions with South Korea, saying the Winter Olympics could showcase the status of the Korean nation. But Kim still said South Korea must stop annual military exercises with the United States, which he calls an invasion rehearsal against the North.The New Year’s address is an annual event in North Korea and is watched closely for indications of the direction and priorities Kim may adopt in the year ahead.ADVERTISEMENT Kim’s overture was welcome news for a South Korean government led by liberal President Moon Jae-in, who favors dialogue to ease the North’s nuclear threats and wants to use the Olympics as a chance to improve inter-Korean ties.Moon’s unification minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, proposed in a nationally televised news conference that the two Koreas meet Jan. 9 at the shared border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic cooperation and how to improve overall ties.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingEarlier Tuesday, Moon spoke of Kim’s positive response to earlier South Korean dialogue overtures and ordered officials to study how to restore talks with North Korea and get the North to participate in the Olympics.North Korea hasn’t immediately reacted. But if there are talks, they would be the first formal dialogue between the Koreas since December 2015. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives South Koreans watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s speech, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. The letters read on top left, “Kim Jong Un delivers New Year’s speech.” Kim said Monday the United States should be aware that his country’s nuclear forces are now a reality, not a threat. But he also struck a conciliatory tone in his New Year’s address, wishing success for the Winter Olympics set to begin in the South in February and suggesting the North may send a delegation to participate. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea on Tuesday offered high-level talks with rival North Korea to find ways to cooperate on next month’s Winter Olympics in the South. Seoul’s quick proposal after a rare rapprochement overture from Pyongyang a day earlier offers the possibility of better ties after a year that saw a nuclear standoff increase fear of war on the Korean Peninsula.In a closely watched New Year’s address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Monday he’s willing to send a delegation to the Olympics, though he also repeated nuclear threats against the United States. Analysts say Kim may be trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its ally Washington as a way to ease international isolation and sanctions against North Korea.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais View comments
PBA IMAGESJose Rizal University unveiled its new look roster with a rousing 96-67 win over Mila’s Lechon in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.Veterans Jeckster Apinan, Ervin Grospe, and Paolo Pontejos steadied the ship for the Heavy Bombers to give head coach Gio Lasquety his first win as a head coach.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims MOST READ LATEST STORIES NCAA volleyball: San Sebastian claims third spot, drops Letran in three ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments The Scores:JRU 96 — Apinan 20, Grospe 16, Pontejos 14, Esguerra 9, Dela Virgen 9, Tayongtong 8, Ramos 4, Mendoza 4, Bordon 4, Yu 3, Mvogo 3, Silvarez 2, Sawat 0, De Guzman 0.MILA’S LECHON 67 — Gabo 14, Estrella 13, Acibar 9, Sarangay 7, Iñigo 5, Parala 5, Derige 4, Delfinado 4, Deles 2, Crisostomo 2, Herradura 2, Luz 0, Bellosillo 0, Montuano 0.Quarters: 18-22, 39-29, 68-50, 96-67.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games “It feels good. It feels better that I was the one guiding them on the floor. I’m thankful that the players responded and we were able to execute our defense,” said the 24-year-old mentor, who is now the youngest head coach in D-League history.Apinan unleashed 16 of his 20 points in the second half pullaway, to go with 14 rebounds, Grospe scattered 16 markers, and Pontejos got 14 points, six boards, and four assists to lead the charge for JRU.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingThe Heavy Bombers blanked the Mighty Roasters in the second quarter, limiting the latter to just seven points as they took the 39-29 lead and cruised to the 29-point decimation.Leo Gabo paced Mila’s Lechon with 14 points, three rebounds, and two assists, while Andoy Estrella had 13. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’
Judiciary Committee set to take over Trump impeachment probe ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid LATEST STORIES BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Reyes explained that Castro’s exclusion from the roster is due to the star guard’s health.“As you know, Jayson twisted his ankle in their games against Phoenix and Ginebra and as of yesterday (Tuesday), he tried to go hard in practice and he’s still not there at all,” said Reyes, who went live on Sports5’s Facebook page for the announcement.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“So we decided that it’s not worth the risk sp jayson is going to sit out together with Jio (Jalalon), who is also feeling some slight pain in his leg so we decided to just play the guys who are not experiencing any nagging injuries at this point.”Gilas will be led by naturalized big man Andray Blatche and June Mar Fajardo against Australia. MOST READ Joining Blatche and Fajardo are Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, Matthew Wright, Roger Pogoy, Allein Maliksi, Gabe Norwood, Carl Cruz, Abu Tratter, Japeth Aguilar and Calvin Abueva.Abueva made the team despite begin dropped from consideration a month ago after missing the team’s first three practices to start the year.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte Rhanzelle Yong solid in debut for Zark’s-Lyceum Photo from Fiba.comThe Philippines will have to make do without one of its best players in Jayson Castro in its duel against heavyweight Australia on Thursday in the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes on Wednesday announced the final lineup for the upcoming game, which did not include Castro.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View comments