As the announcement for the third season of the International Premier Tennis League is made in Hyderabad this afternoon, it is interesting to note that the organisers, Mahesh Bhupathi and the Indian Franchise, the Indian Aces, have decided to do away with a second city in India in Bangalore as a result of demonetisation. Unlike the first two years, the plan was to hold two legs in India and details were being chalked out accordingly. Mahesh even visited Bangalore twice in October to finalise things including the venue and other logistics.However, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on November 8, it has impacted normal life in the country and there are apprehensions if the public will buy tickets and support the tournament that they would have done in normal circumstances. (Also read: Exclusive: Virender Sehwag lauds Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move)With cash spends at an all time low, the organisers can hardly be faulted. As a result it turned into a toss up between Hyderabad and Bangalore with Hyderabad eventually being picked as the Indian venue for season three. “It was always a plan to take the league to other Indian cities so that the tennis fan can enjoy watching the best stars in action. The first two years we went with Delhi. This year the plan was to stage it in Hyderabad and Bangalore. However, we aren’t sure if in the current climate doing two cities was pragmatic. Hence we have decided to stick to Hyderabad”, says Bhupathi.advertisementPhilippines, which is in the throes of serious political turmoil this year, will also not be staging the IPTL. “We will host it in three nations this year- Singapore, Japan and India All going well we will go back to the five city format in 2017”, he says. (Also read: Demonetisation is the greatest move in Indian political history: Virat Kohli)For fans in Hyderabad, however, it will be a bonanza between December 9-11, when the best tennis stars from across the world descend on the city. Roger Federer, arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, will be back to playing for the Aces, perhaps the last time in his career. Chances are Serena Williams will also play in India giving the fans much to cheer about. Others who are likely to play in India include Eugene Bouchard, Agnie Radwanska besides our very own Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna.It will be interesting to see if the public, in the coming weeks, does take to spending on IPTL at these times of uncertainty. What will also be of interest to see is what the organizers do regarding ticket prices? Will they lower the prices and make tickets more accessible for that seems to be the only solution under the circumstances.
Chris Froome put on a near-perfect performance to claim his fourth Tour de France and move within one title of cycling’s greatest on Sunday as Team Sky tightened their grip on the classic race.The Briton suffered a few hiccups but was always in control over the three-week race thanks to his excellent team mates who sheltered him when it mattered, leaving the lanky rider to make the difference in the time trials.Sky, who have the biggest budget of the peloton, have now snatched five of the last six titles and came within a whisker of placing two riders on the podium as Spain’s Mikel Landa missed out on the top three by one second, according to provisional timings.Froome is now one title behind Belgian Eddy Merckx, Spain’s Miguel Indurain and French duo Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault.He is the first to win three consecutive titles since Indurain, who prevailed from 1991-95. The disgraced Lance Armstrong’s seven titles since then have been erased from the record book.
After her side’s journey ended a whisker away from winning the ICC Women’s World Cup title, Indian fast bowler Jhulan Goswami has called on her team to shake off the loss and look ahead to working on bettering themselves.Under the heartbreak of a final defeat of nine runs at the hands of hosts England at the Lord’s, India was able to reflect on one of the biggest moments in its women’s cricket history, a Lord’s showcase few had expected it to reach.That was a path hard to take notice of in the heat of the moment when coming so close to victory, but Goswami is hopeful this could be the start of something very special.Indeed, India was the only team to beat England en-route to the hosts’ third title in three attempts at home, but while the individual performances were there, the task is now to follow it up with more and more team displays heading into future tournaments.”The important thing is that nobody from the first day thought we would be a finalist,” Goswami said.”We performed and started to believe in ourselves after that match, and in each given day everybody tried to contribute, as a team we believed that if we did well we could do it our way.”We tried to contribute from all of us from the beginning. At this moment we must enjoy this journey, the whole team must enjoy the way we played, unfortunately this one was not to go our way.advertisement”In the games we’ve had people perform, individually, but when it comes to a group there are things that we can work on.”Experience doesn’t come much greater than that of Goswami, the highest wicket-taker in women’s ODIs with 195 dismissals to her name.Her Lord’s outing also took her to 36 in world cups – the joint third highest – while her three for 23 threatened to take the game away from the host and favourite England when they made 228 for eight.In the end, it proved just a shade too much of a tally to chase, though it didn’t stop her boasting a plethora of memories from her second, match-changing spell in front of 25,000 fans at Lord’s.”We didn’t get any early breakthrough and there wasn’t much pace in the wicket, so for me it was about bowling a tight line and length.”I tried to bowl in the right areas and not give them much room, they were using the crease and shuffling towards off stump, so we wanted to try and get them to play straight.”Sometimes plans work, sometimes they don’t, but they came at the right time to break that partnership.”Whenever a team requires it, I try to contribute from my side – my best bowling figures are the ones where England win the match,” she added.