Lahore: Veteran Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez on Monday said India did not show intent during their 2019 World Cup game against England and he was let down as a cricket fan. In the match at Birmingham, India were comprehensively beaten by 31 runs after failing to chase England’s score of 337/7 last year. Pakistan missed out on a semifinal berth as a result of that game and crashed out of the tournament. England all-rounder Ben Stokes recently said he was a bit surprised with the way in which the Indian players looked to plan the chase. And while many former Pakistan cricketers looked to use that statement to prove their point that India lost the game to keep Pakistan from qualifying for the knockout stages, Hafeez has said that there was no intent to play with spirit. “Ask any cricket fan, everyone will say intent to play with spirit was not there. I don’t know about the results and who went out because of that. We played good cricket and we were out because of our small mistakes. So I can’t blame any result for that,” Hafeez, who was part of the 2019 World Cup, told reporters during a video conference facilitated by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). “But as a fan if I see the match, I did not see the match winning intent. I felt bad for the sport. The encounter factor was missing where both teams were playing to win. The mistakes we made, we failed to tick a few boxes in the 2019 World Cup. But as a fan, that is my opinion about that game,” added the 39-year old who has been named in the 29-member Pakistan squad for three Tests and as many T20Is against England to be played in August-September. IANS
The ball rotates peculiarly — a product of the barrage of back-and-forth hits it’s endured. Both players transfix their eyes on the object in motion, calculating where the ball is going and what they are going to do with it next. Finally, with one sweeping blow, the ball is sent back over the net, clipping a corner of the table before it shoots off into the distance.Ph.D. student Amitabha Ghosh and sophomore Akhilesh Kajaria stand across from each other grinning, consumed only momentarily by their thoughts on the previous point’s result. A warm acknowledgement of the shot is given, the score is announced and play resumes as if it had never stopped.Intense focus · Former Indian national team member graduate student Subal Mehta is part of the team’s competitive squad, T-Cubed. – Amaresh Sundaram Kuppuswamy | Daily TrojanOn this night — just like any other practice evening — the two battle for every point in the match, focusing constantly on improving both their skills and techniques that will be needed come tournament time. While their focus is unwavering, they enjoy every minute of it.Ghosh and Kajaria are standing on the gym floor on the north end of USC’s PED building. The two competitors are ping pong players — members of the Ping Pong Posse, a table tennis club at USC that, despite its youth, has found continued success since its humble beginnings.Evolution of a teamIn 2002, then-USC students Adam Bobrow and Angad Singh formed a small ping pong club consisting of 10 members — the Ping Pong Posse. The club only had one table to practice on, which, in addition to all its other equipment, was paid for primarily by the club members themselves.Despite the club’s lack of equipment, it eventually grew and improved. The Ping Pong Posse started a competitive team, T-Cubed, which, behind Bobrow’s leadership, placed well in the tournaments it entered. With success came a steady increase in both numbers and national recognition.Then, in 2004, the team caught a break. The Ping Pong Posse caught the eye of table tennis company Killerspin, who was impressed enough with the team’s play and dynamic image to offer the club a sponsorship — making the Ping Pong Posse the only collegiate club in the nation to receive a corporate sponsorship.Now able to practice with proper equipment, T-Cubed made the national tournament three years in a row from 2005-2007, including a third-place finish in 2005.With the backing of Killerspin and the efforts of its members, the Ping Pong Posse has now grown to more than 50 active players, and more annual sign-ups than any club at USC.According to junior Charles Hu, president of the Ping Pong Posse, none of this was possible without Bobrow’s efforts and enthusiasm.“[Bobrow] is, without a doubt, the most passionate person about ping pong you will ever meet,” Hu said. “He treats [the club] like a job, and he gets on my ass when I’m lazy. He really made the club as big as it is today.”Bobrow, who graduated from USC in 2003 with a degree in theatre, has since found success in the entertainment industry, taking a role in the movie Ping Pong Playa as well as providing several video game voiceovers. He even starred in the YouTube sensation “Excessive Ping Pong Celebration,” created by the Ping Pong Posse, which has more than 10 million views.Hitting their strideThis season, T-Cubed has four varsity players on its roster: Ghosh and Kajaria, graduate student Subal Mehta and senior Mikhail Kazantsev.Kazantsev is a former member of the US men’s national team and champion at both the under-22 and under-18 levels. Mehta is a former India men’s national team member and 20-time champion of his region.As determined by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association, which scores players on a scale from 0 (novice) to more than 3,000 (world-class competitor), the two have rankings of 2,365 and 2,199, respectively. These rankings place them among the nation’s collegiate elite.The experience of the varsity team has translated into success for T-Cubed. The group recently swept the first leg of the Southern California regionals, defeating UCSD 4-0 and UCLA 3-1 to take first place. The second leg, held this spring, will determine which team from Southern California advances to the national tournament in Wisconsin in April.Additionally, T-Cubed hopes to send some of its members to the Associations of College Unions International tournament, where they can compete on an individual level.“I really hope to play in the national tournament next year,” Ghosh said. “I hope, as the Ping Pong Posse, we can really put our name out there.”Relishing the experienceDespite the dominance of the varsity team, the club’s members maintain that the focus of the Ping Pong Posse is on all its members.A large part of that experience is beyond simply playing ping pong, as members of the club recently stepped in as extras for the movies Balls of Fury and Ping Pong Playa, and even squared off against Jason Alexander and Lauren Conrad at celebrity tournaments.“I really want people to know that Ping Pong Posse isn’t just a regular ping pong club,” Hu said. “We do so much other stuff.”Another draw of the Ping Pong Posse is its diversity and range of talent. Regular members consist of undergraduate and graduate students of all rankings, international students, Ph.D. students, professors and even celebrities — Adoni Maropis, an actor on the show 24, practices with the Posse every Wednesday.“We have a really diverse [group],” Hu added. “It really sets us apart.”And considering all that it has accomplished in seven short years, you can rest assured that this is one posse that won’t cease to entertain.
“We will decide tomorrow. For the last week we have been unsure whether he will be able to play, but he has trained two or three times and made a good impression. We will see,” said Valverde at a press conference on Monday.The Barcelona coach refused to say whether 16-year-old Ansu Fati, who became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer earlier this month, would break another record by becoming the youngest ever Champions League debutant on Tuesday.“If he plays, then it will not be because of the record,” said the coach.Valverde said that his team were looking to put the past behind them after their dramatic semi-final defeat to eventual winners Liverpool in last season’s Champions League.“If you have one bad day, you can be knocked out of this competition. We lost just one match last season, but it was a decisive match,” he said, adding that Barcelona wanted to go further this year than they had in the past two seasons.Yet Marc Ter Stegen, Barcelona’s German keeper, who played under current Dortmund coach Lucien Favre at Borussia Moenchengladbach earlier in his career, warned that Dortmund would provide a tough first test.“Lucien Favre is one of the best coaches I have ever worked under, and he will have thought of a way to hurt us,” said the German.“It is always difficult to come here, and we always struggled here with ‘Gladbach, but we will try to win and get a good start to the competition.”“It is a spectacular stadium and the supporters are always crazy, but we will try not to be influenced by that.”Barcelona have conceded six goals in four games this season and are yet to win away from home.“We are conceding a lot of goals at the moment, we have to accept that and try to improve,” Ter Stegen“Some of the mistakes we are making are easy to correct.”0Shares0000(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Ernesto Valverde said that Barcelona were looking to put last season’s Champions League disappointment behind them this year © AFP / SASCHA SCHUERMANNBERLIN, Germany, Sep 16 – Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said Monday that Lionel Messi could make his comeback against Borussia Dortmund as the Catalan giants launch a fresh assault on the Champions League title in Germany on Tuesday evening.Messi, who has missed the beginning of the season with a calf injury, was named in Barcelona’s squad for Tuesday’s Champions League opener, though it remains unclear whether the Argentinian will play.