Test captaincy is challenging but things will get easier with time: Sarfraz Ahmed

first_imgDays after being assigned the job of leading Pakistan cricket team in all the three formats, Sarfraz Ahmed has insisted that although Test captaincy is quite challenging, things will get better with time.At a reception held at the Prime Minister’s residence in honour of Pakistan’s Champions Trophy victory, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan announced that he had offered the role of Test captaincy to Sarfraz, who had accepted it.Sarfraz, who was already leading the Pakistan in T20I and ODI formats, was rewarded with the country’s Test captaincy after he led the national team to an elusive Champions Trophy title in England.”Test captaincy is a challenge but things will get easier with time,” the Dawn quoted Sarfraz as saying.While speaking at a gathering held in his honour at Karachi Press Club on Thursday, Sarfraz also said that if the international teams could play in England despite all the issues then they should also visit Pakistan to play cricket”Pakistan cricket has lost a lot owing to an absence of international cricket, and it is time for international teams to recognise us. We have not played cricket at home for the past nine years,” he said.Sarfraz further insisted that despite home-like conditions in UAE, playing at home is a completely different experience.Meanwhile, the wicketkeeper-batsman also admitted that it would be difficult to fill in the void left by former skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and experienced batsman Younis Khan.”It would be difficult to replace Misbah and Younis,” Ahmed said while also expressing hope that batsmen like Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, and Asad Shafiq would step up for the team.advertisementSarfraz took over the T20I captaincy from all-rounder Shahid Afridi after the 2016 World T20 and became ODI captain when Azhar Ali resigned in February this year.It would be the first time in five years that Pakistan would be led by a single man across formats.Sarfraz’s Test captaincy debut will be against Sri Lanka in the UAE, which will comprise three Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is starting October 19.last_img read more

Micromax Canvas Infinity review: Pocket-friendly in more ways than one

first_imgJust like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6, the Canvas Infinity phone from home grown brand Micromax, also has an unusually tall screen and an unusual screen aspect ratio of 18:9. Just like the Galaxy S8 and the G6, the Canvas Infinity phone from Micromax, also has been designed to offer more screen in a pint-sized form factor. Unlike the Galaxy S8 and the G6, however, the Canvas Infinity phone from Micromax, costs just Rs 9,999.There’s no denying that Galaxy S8 and the G6 represent the future of all smartphones: a future wherein all smartphones will be continuous sheets of glass with no physical buttons whatsoever. They’ll be high-on specs with exceptionally good cameras. They’ll be the complete package.Having said that, there’s an inherent problem with uber-cool futuristic technology. It is also expensive. While the Galaxy S8 costs around Rs 60,000 the G6 is available for around Rs 40,000: which means that they are still largely inaccessible for a significant chunk of the audience.”The next year will see innovation on screens, be it the bezel less phones, curved screens, sharper resolutions etc. As more visual data is consumed on phones, users will demand screens to be improved and brands will follow,” Rahul Sharma who is co-founder, Micromax Informatics Ltd. explained to me not long ago. “And Micromax would want to get their first, as far as massification of the technology is concerned. Hence, the Canvas Infinity.”Design and build qualityThe USP of the Canvas Infinity is its unusual display that boasts of an aspect ratio of 18:9 as opposed to a regular 16:9. The unusual 18:9 aspect ratio makes phones longer than wider and is harbinger of edge-to-edge screen design that in turn leads to more real estate on a compact form factor. The Canvas Infinity, likewise, is a 5.7-inch phone, something that would make you believe — going by its specs — that it would be a huge phone. Only it isn’t.advertisementMicromax, just like Samsung and LG, has shaved off the top and bottom bezels, as well as the side bezels, stretching the screen on all sides so it occupies a much smaller footprint than a regular 5.7-inch phone. Also the phone comes with subtle curves on the back that seemingly melts into the front that has 2.5D (curved) glass. This further enhances ergonomics and usability of the phone with one hand. The idea, just like it is in the case of the Galaxy S8 and the G6, is to offer more screen in a pint-sized phone and to make every inch of that screen count. The Canvas Infinity, for your reference, offers the same 83 per cent screen-to-body ratio as the Galaxy S8.The Canvas Infinity may look like an engineering marvel from the front, but, its rear is a whole different story altogether. I’ll go as far as to say it’s a missed opportunity because Micromax had a good thing going for itself: the Canvas Infinity with its edge-to-edge screen could easily have gone on to become the most beautiful phones at under Rs 10,000. It is, but, only from the front. The rear, on the other hand, is generic at best. It adds to the crowd, and brings nothing new to the table. On the plus side, the rear panel — which is essentially plastic with a metallic finish — is removable and so is the battery inside. Two different slots for two different (micro) SIM cards and a separate slot for micro-SD card expansion also lie underneath.DisplayMoving on, the Canvas Infinity comes with a 1440×720 pixel (HD) resolution and an IPS screen that gets really bright, but viewing angles could have been better. Although colours on-board are mostly accurate, the phone’s large screen is best enjoyed while viewing straight up. Tilt the phone and there’s definite colour shifting, mostly towards the warmer end of the spectrum. The Canvas Infinity, although it is a phone designed from grounds-up for multimedia consumption looks like it has been designed more for individual consumption than sharing it with your group.This is one area where the Canvas Infinity doesn’t match up to the high-standard set by the more expensive Android phones. In fact, it’s not best in class even in its own price segment.The Canvas Infinity, likewise, is a 5.7-inch phone, something that would make you believe — going by its specs — that it would be a huge phone. Only it isn’tIt is still, pretty much, the only phone in and around its price segment that offers an edge-to-edge screen for all-round immersive viewing experience though. And for that, Micromax definitely deserves a warm applause. In order to make full use of the Canvas Infinity’s 18:9 screen you’ll need content that supports the Canvas Infinity’s native 18:9 aspect ratio. Videos that don’t support the Canvas Infinity’s native 18:9 aspect ratio will play fine, but, with letter-boxing (black bars on either side) of the screen. The phone does give you a stretch to fit option, but, the all-round experience would, at the end of the day, depend on the quality and resolution of videos at hand. The same is true for games as well. Web pages work fine though. In fact, the Canvas Infinity with its long screen is best suited for web-scrolling, jotting down notes and browsing social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.advertisementSoftwareThe Canvas Infinity runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat software and will be up-gradable to the just announced Android Oreo in the days to come, according to the company. Software-wise the phone does pack in more of iOS than Android, but, then that’s the case with a majority of OEMs these days. Micromax has itself toiled with stock Android in the past, and it would have been nicer had the company stuck with stock Android in the Canvas Infinity but that’s not to say that it is lacking or anything as far as all-round experience is concerned.The software — Micromax seemingly doesn’t have a name for it — as mentioned above is heavily inspired from iOS. As usual, you get a springboard of apps and widgets spanning multiple home screens with no app drawer as in stock Android. The drop down notification panel is divided into two sections: incoming notifications and quick settings toggles. Swiping down from anywhere on the home screen brings out universal search, that lets you quickly browse through your apps, contacts, messages and calendar events. The phone supports Android Nougat’s split-screen multitasking and recent apps have a card-based view much like how it is in the iPhone.It’s good to –finally — see Micromax cutting down on bloat or unwanted apps and you can tell it helps in the longer run. Also, Micromax has been — for the most part — able to well-optimise the software so everything runs well unless of course you’re testing its limits. The company has also tried to offer a few customisation options via a personalisation app, and a quick shortcut to a few apps and services via its own dedicated app center. Both these apps can’t be uninstalled.Performance and battery lifeThe Canvas Infinity is powered by an entry-level 1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor coupled with Adreno 308 GPU and 3GB of RAM. The phone comes with 32GB of internal storage which is further expandable by up to 128GB via a dedicated micro-SD card slot. The dual-SIM phone supports 4G LTE, VoLTE and USB OTG.The Canvas Infinity with a Snapdragon 425 may not inspire the same level of confidence as a certain Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 with a Snapdragon 625, but, that’s beside the point. Simply because Micromax isn’t gunning for raw power here, but, all-round experience.advertisementMicromax seems to be selling complete smartphone experiences with the Canvas Infinity, and as far as smartphone experiences are concerned, the Canvas Infinity seems to be right on trackThe Snapdragon 425 may be an entry-level chipset, but it should get the job done for most users. It may not be as powerful (and as power efficient) as the Snapdragon 625 inside the Redmi Note 4 but it’s certainly no slouch either. It should do just fine as long as you’re aware of its limitations.The Canvas Infinity — during my usage of the device — was quick and responsive in every sense of the word. There were no immediate visible lags or stutter while navigating between home screens and/or multitasking in my review unit. Remember, its speed and multitasking prowess are being compared with phones in this price range. The phone does have a tendency to slow down or stutter when you have too many apps running simultaneously in the background, something that isn’t very surprising if you take into account the hardware that is inside it. One of the first things to do, then, is to ensure you’re not treating the Canvas Infinity as a multitasking beast. Because it is not.Basic games like Candy Crush and Subway Surfers are handled well by the phone, but GPU-intensive games like Asphalt 8: Airborne are prone to occasional lags and frame rate drops even at low graphical settings especially when being played for longer periods. The phone, also, has a tendency to get warm during extended usage.The mono speaker on-board the Canvas Infinity is average at best. It gets loud but there is often some digitisation observed at peak volume. Also, it’s rear placement means sound is muffled when the phone is kept with the back facing down. Voice quality during calls made with the Canvas Infinity was excellent.The Micromax Canvas Infinity is backed by a 2,900mAh battery which is user replaceable. Moderate to extreme usage saw us cross the one whole day barrier with ease, while toning down further should get most users one and a half days out of the phone. Extreme usage scenarios got us close to 12 hours on the Canvas Infinity, which isn’t bad at all. A lot of this, of course, stems from the phone’s entry-level spec-sheet.CameraMoving on to cameras, the Canvas Infinity sports a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.0 aperture and a 16-megapixel selfie shooter on the front that comes with its own dedicated bokeh selfie mode that automatically blurs the background for fancy portrait selfies.The autofocus on the rear camera works well for usual shots in normal to good lighting conditions. It is not very fast, but locks in accurately most of the time and brings out sharp outlines in photos. Though in macro shots, you do get to see some focus hunting and you need to adjust it with touch to focus. There is minimal shutter lag and the photos appear for preview as soon as you click it.As for image quality, the Canvas Infinity captures some good-looking photos in good light with good amount of detail and mostly spot-on colours. But, zooming into these photos — more often than not — gives out the real picture. It isn’t that good. Noise is quite evident and resolved detail missing. The phone, for the lack of a better word, has a rather hit or miss camera in good light. Still, it should suffice for most budget-conscious buyers. It is a pretty disappointing camera phone in tricky and low light though. XPreviousNextThe front-facing selfie camera is, meanwhile, a sight for soar eyes in its price segment. The phone gives you plenty of resolution in photos — with good detail and mostly spot-on colours — and that real-time bokeh selfie is a pretty neat feature, if not downright amazing.Should you buy it?The Canvas Infinity may not boast of similar outstanding screen specs — also its hardware may not be in the same league — as that of the Galaxy S8 (or the G6), but, that’s besides the point. The point is Micromax has been able to somehow get hold of the Galaxy S8 and the G6’s USP feature — the Infinity screen/Full Vision display — and put it inside a ridiculously more mainstream package, and as far as multimedia experiences are concerned, it’s not that it is lacking or anything.Surely, it could have done better with a 1080p screen, or with better viewing angles, or with a dedicated colour correction mode, but, at Rs 9,999 you’re more likely to not miss any of these features when you realize what the Canvas Infinity brings to the table: Samsung Galaxy S8-like experiences at dirt cheap price. If that wasn’t enough, the company will offer repair or replace services in 24 hours, should something go wrong with your purchased unit, it has confirmed.Micromax seems to be selling complete smartphone experiences with the Canvas Infinity, and as far as smartphone experiences are concerned, the Canvas Infinity seems to be right on track. It may not be the most powerful phone, it may not have the best in class camera, it may not have the best in class software, it may not have the biggest battery, but, when it comes to bringing the edge-to-edge screens to masses, the Canvas Infinity is definitely up there. It is also the first to get there. You can say that LG’s recently launched Q6 is also a very competitive option, but, also it costs close to Rs 15,000.The Canvas Infinity may not be perfect, but, it should start a trend and push companies to strive for more. More for less.But then again, if you’re someone who is not an early adopter of next-gen technology, the Canvas Infinity may come around as a pretty weak package and it is. There are more powerful phones at around Rs 10,000 now. There are better camera phones at around Rs 10,000 now. There are phones with better screens, and better software, and bigger batteries at around Rs 10,000. The Canvas Infinity, I dare say, will be just another good-looking piece of infinite gimmickry for you. At a pocket-friendly price, that is.Also Read: Micromax Canvas Infinity set to launch in India today, expected to be priced close to Rs 20,000Micromax Infinity6.5/10Good stuffBezel-less screen for cheapSelfie camera with potentialRemovable batteryBad stuff720p screenEntry-level chipsetRear camera could be betterlast_img read more

Bernard Tomic in ‘tough place’, offered support by Tennis Australia

first_imgAustralian tennis player Bernard Tomic, who was once mooted as a rising star of the sport, has been offered “health and well-being” support at a time when the career of the struggling tennis star is at the crossroads.The 25-year-old’s disastrous year, which was topped by his defeat against French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert at the Vienna Open last week, saw him slump to the 145th in the rankings.As a result of the forgettable season, Tomic would not have enough points to qualify directly for the first major of the season i.e Australian Open.Tomic, who had admitted that he was “bored” and not always giving 100 percent in his recent season, is now reliant on being handed a wildcard for his home Grand Slam in January.And the Tennis Australia has decided to offer help to Tomic, with tournament director Craig Tiley saying that the sport was doing what it could to help him, but admitted he had not responded to their offers.”We have reached out to Bernie from a health and well-being point of view and it’s up to him to respond.We have been reaching out to him … he is in a tough place right now. His ranking has dropped and he is struggling – we have all seen it,” Sport24 quoted Tomic, as saying.”Our job as a federation is to make sure we have a team of people there to support beyond tennis and that is where we are at. He did not detail what assistance had been offered, but said “our athlete department has a group of people that support athletes that need help,” he added.advertisementEarlier this year, Tomic had said that he had no love for the game, saying that it is just a job and he felt “trapped”.last_img read more

South Africa vs India: We let ourselves down with the bat, says Virat Kohli

first_imgAfter suffering a 72-run defeat in a low-scoring match at Newlands, India skipper Virat Kohli rued his side’s batting collapse and said “we let ourselves down with the bat”.India were bundled out for 209 and 135 in the two innings with only Hardik Pandya playing a face-saving knock of 93 off 95 balls in the first innings.Indian pacers, however, did well to deny South African batsmen to take control of the match as their impressive bowling performance gave visitors a very good chance to seal their maiden victory in Cape Town.The victory target in the series opener was 208 one run less than what India had scored in their first innings. But India surrendered despite the fact that South Africa were playing a bowler less having lost Dale Steyn to heel injury on the second day. Steyn has been ruled out of the entire series and is expected to be on the sidelines for up to six weeks.Kohli said the failure of his side to build partnerships was ultimately the difference between defeat and what would have been a sweet victory in such unfamiliar conditions.”It was a wicket where things were happening every day and we let ourselves down with the bat. We wanted one big partnership to get the job done, which we failed to do,” Kohli said at the post match press conference.But it was the batsmen who were at fault in both the innings and Kohli has now urged his batsmen to show a more positive mindset to combat the South Africa bowling attack.advertisementThe match was effectively over in three days with Sunday washed out as 18 wickets fell in 64 overs on day four on a seamer-friendly Cape Town wicket.Set 208 for victory, India were bowled out for 135 in under 43 overs with South African seamer Vernon Philander collecting career-best figures of 6-42.”The pitch was outstanding. I really like the type of wicket this was,” Kohli told reporters. “It was great for Test cricket and we got a result within four days having lost a day.”It was not one-sided, both teams were in it at different stages. As a team, we really enjoyed being part of this Test match and so did South Africa.”Kohli suggested that with tracks that are likely to have even more bounce and pace to come in Pretoria and Johannesburg for the rest of the series, his batsmen needed to find a way to transfer the pressure on to the South African bowlers.”The mindset matters when you’re travelling away from home on pitches which challenge you. You need to be positive in defence and when you’re leaving also. You need to grab scoring opportunities.”We need to think about taking the attack to the South African bowlers more. That is something for all the batsmen, starting at the very top.”They (South Africa) force you to play good cricket in every over that you play against them, which I think is a good credit to their bowling attack. As batters we need to step up.”The second Test in Pretoria starts on Saturday.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

Lionel Messi and me didn’t want Neymar to leave FC Barcelona, says Luis Suarez

first_imgUruguayan international striker Luis Suarez has asserted FC Barcelona was the best place for Brazilian star Neymar and he tried his best to convince him to stay at the club.Neymar was sold to French football club Paris Saint-Germain from FC Barcelona on a world-record fee of $263 million earlier this summer.”We miss Ney (Neymar) a lot on the pitch, but more off it, because he was special, he’s said it. We had a lot of fun. He transmits happiness and joy all of the time. He was important for us,” the 30-year-old said.”He’s playing for another team now but I don’t hold it against him, the opposite. I tried to convince him to stay because I think here’s the best place for him, but it’s a decision he had to take,” Suarez added.Suarez, who has scored 88 goals from 105 appearances for Barcelona also said he along with Messi tried to guide Neymar to take the best decision for himself.”(Messi and I) tried to do what would benefit the team. But we never said ‘Don’t go because you won’t be happy,” the Barcelona striker said.”We said we didn’t want him to go, but that he was free to do what he wanted. Because of the friendship we have, it was painful that he left,” Suarez added.last_img read more

The Fall Of The Celtics, Lakers

first_imgOne of the most heralded rivalries in all of sports, and certainly the most storied in the NBA, is that of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.The Celtics have won a record 17 NBA titles, the Lakers are just one behind. At 33 championships between them, these two franchises have claimed a staggering 50% of all the titles in league history.Their head-to-head rivalry began in 1959, when the Celtics beat the Lakers to win their first of an astonishing eight straight titles, and ten of eleven.  It was the “Bill Russell era,” aptly named that in honor of the team’s starting center and possibly the most tenacious player of all time.  Russell’s star-studded supporting cast, all coached by the legendary Arnold “Red” Auerbach, included Bob Cousy, Sam and KC Jones, John “Hondo” Havlicek, and Tommy Heinsohn.By 1972, the Lakers had moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles (though they kept the evidently-Minnesotan team name), Lew Alcindor had changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the prolific sky-hooking center left the Milwaukee Bucks for Tinseltown. That’s the year the Lakers won their first of 16 titles, and never looked back.The 1980s – considered by many the last of the NBA’s glory days – featured the incredible Larry Bird-Magic Johnson rivarly, saw the two teams capture an astonishing share of NBA finals slots (Lakers 8, Celtics 6), with the Lakers taking it all five times, the Celtics three.In head-to-head finals matchups, the Celts won 9 out of 12.To look at their records now, one would think they haven’t played against each other since Larry and Magic were still playing. But it was a mere four years ago when these two teams were kings of their respective conferences, having met in a thriller of a series in 2010: the Celtics led 3 games to 2, the Lakers had to win the last two games to win it all – and they did, edging the Celtics in the seventh and deciding game by a mere four points.That’s not going to happen this year. With 20 games left as of this writing, the teams are an identical 21-41, meaning they would need to win 20 of their next 20 games, just to break even. Oh – that’s not going to happen, either – not by a longshot.Their common destination – hoping for a high lottery pick and watching the playoffs from home – did not arise from similar roads taken. For the Celtics, it’s been a conscious effort to rebuild. They shed their aging talent for young, athletic players with an upside (i.e., nowhere to go but up) and boatloads of future draft picks, so as to avoid repeating their lost couple of decades between the time Larry Bird retired and the new Big Three (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen) converged.The Lakers, though, made it to Slumsville in a peculiar manner of many trials and many errors. Last year they assembled what looked like an all-star team that could give the vaunted Miami Heat a run for their money, but barely landed a playoff spot and were summarily dismissed in the first round without winning a single game. This year, there won’t even be that.It will be the first time in 20 years, and the second time – EVER – that both the Celtics and the Lakers miss the playoffs.But you can bet that before you know it, they’ll be facing each other in the NBA finals once again – adding new chapters to their fabled feud. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Cardinals’ Bowles New Jets Coach

first_imgNEW YORK — Todd Bowles is coming home and taking over as the New York Jets’ head coach.The Jets hired the Arizona Cardinals Defensive Coordinator Jan. 14 to replace Rex Ryan, who was fired, along with General Manager John Idzik, on Dec. 29 after six seasons.Bowles, 51, was highly sought after leading Arizona’s aggressive-style defense the last two seasons. This will be his first full-time head coaching job at any level after serving as Miami’s interim coach for the final three games in 2011.“It’s an honor and privilege to coach the Jets,” Bowles said in a statement. “I can’t help but be humbled by the chance to coach this team. I am going to do everything I can to build a consistent winner.”It is a homecoming of sorts for Bowles, who is a native of Elizabeth, New Jersey. He also served as the Jets’ defensive backs coach under Al Groh during the 2000 season.Bowles beat out five other candidates, including Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and former Buffalo coach Doug Marrone, who interviewed with owner Woody Johnson and consultants Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf, both of whom Bowles has ties to.Bowles had a second interview Tuesday with Johnson, Casserly and Wolf — along with newly hired General Manager Mike Maccagnan — and impressed the Jets enough to move forward.New York canceled a scheduled interview with Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott that was set for Jan. 14. Bowles also called off a second meeting that was scheduled for Jan. 14 with the Atlanta Falcons for their head coaching vacancy.“He is a hard-working and dedicated leader who has garnered the respect of players and coaches,” Johnson said. “I am confident that Todd and Mike Maccagnan are the right combination to lead this team.”Bowles becomes the fifth black head coach currently in the NFL, joining Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis, Tampa Bay’s Lovie Smith and Detroit’s Jim Caldwell.He also is the Jets’ sixth straight defensive-focused head coach and fifth since Johnson took over the Jets in 2000, joining Ryan, Eric Mangini, Herm Edwards, Groh and Bill Parcells.With the Jets, Bowles will inherit a solid defensive front seven with rising star defensive linemen in Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. The secondary, however, needs a major overhaul.Along with Maccagnan, who was hired Jan. 13, Bowles will try to help the Jets bounce back from four straight seasons out of the playoffs. The franchise is also starving for a Super Bowl appearance, something it hasn’t had since 1969.“When we first met, it was immediately clear how sincere and very real he is,” Maccagnan said. “While he appreciates the need for discipline, players love playing for him and I believe he has outstanding qualities to help make the Jets a competitive, winning team.”Several key decisions will need to be made in the next several weeks, including assembling a staff and figuring out the quarterback position.A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that former Dallas and Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey will be Bowles’ offensive coordinator. Gailey was out of football the last two seasons after being fired as the Bills’ coach after the 2012 season.The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Jets have not announced Gailey’s hiring.Bowles brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience with him to New York. He played college football and was a team captain for current Cardinals coach Bruce Arians at Temple.He was signed by Washington as an undrafted free agent in 1986, but worked his way to a major role with Joe Gibbs’ Redskins — including starting at free safety against Denver in the 1988 Super Bowl. Bowles played eight NFL seasons, including two stints with Washington while Casserly was in the Redskins’ front office, sandwiched around one season (1991) with San Francisco.Bowles was hired by Green Bay after his playing career, working in the Packers’ player personnel department from 1995-96 — when Wolf was the GM.He then made several stops as a coach at the college and pro levels, first as the defensive coordinator at Morehouse College and then Grambling State — both under former Washington teammate Doug Williams — and as an assistant with the Jets, Cleveland and Dallas, under then-coach Parcells, whom he considers a mentor.He was hired as the Dolphins’ Assistant Head Coach and Secondary Coach from 2008-11. He went 2-1 as the team’s interim head coach at the end of the 2011 season after Tony Sparano was fired.Bowles went to Philadelphia in 2012 as the Eagles’ secondary coach, but was elevated to defensive coordinator when the team dismissed Juan Castillo. After that season, Bowles was hired as Arizona’s defensive coordinator and firmly established himself as one of the league’s up-and-coming assistants.“We’re sorry as hell to lose him,” Arians said, “but we all knew this day was coming, especially with the job he did here the last two years.”___(DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

LeBron, Cavs Rip Knicks, 98-86

first_imgCLEVELAND — The jersey was too tight and so was the score. LeBron James took care of both.James scored 23 points and did some quick tailoring on Cleveland’s body-hugging, sleeved uniforms, Mo Williams added 22 and the Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 96-86 over the New York Knicks on Nov. 4.James made a 3-pointer and dunked off a nice pass from Williams while scoring 11 in the fourth quarter, when the Cavs outscored the Knicks 26-17.Tristan Thompson grabbed 13 rebounds and Kevin Love had 12 for Cleveland, which hasn’t lost since opening night in Chicago. The Cavs didn’t have their same ball movement, and they fell behind 15 in the first quarter before finding their groove in the second half, outscoring New York 58-40.Frustrated with his shot in the first half, an irritated James ripped the sleeves on Cleveland’s new, black jerseys. The four-time MVP, who has complained in the past that the retro-looking tops are too snug on his arms and shoulders, tore his jersey in the midst of a 4-of-11 shooting performance in the opening 24 minutes.“I was just frustrated with myself,” he said. “I was just off rhythm and the jersey is the only thing I can go to. I couldn’t do nothing to my face. I couldn’t make a bucket so I had to take it out on something.”Carmelo Anthony scored 17 and rookie Kristaps Porzingis 13 for the Knicks, who were even at 75-all in the fourth when James went to work.Cleveland’s star capped a 12-4 spurt with a 3-pointer — just his second this season — to give Cleveland an 87-79 lead with 4:01 remaining. Later, he blasted down the lane and thundered home his dunk off a great look from Williams.“They put the ball in his hands and let him make plays,” Anthony said of James. “You got to make adjustments to that.”James, who earlier this week became the youngest player in league history to reach 25,000 points, had an off-night from the field, going just 9 of 23.The jersey might have had something to do with it.James has never liked the sleeved tops, introduced by the NBA as an alternate look two seasons ago. Following a loss to San Antonio in 2014 when he was with Miami, James said the uniforms are restrictive, making it difficult to shoot.The Cavaliers will be required to wear this jersey three to six times this season. James was asked if he’d wear sleeves again.“If the fans love them, I love them,” he said, giving a diplomatic answer. “If our fans love the uniforms, I’ll wear them for 48 (minutes). I’m so used to the sleeveless cutoffs, the tank top. I’ve been playing in tank tops all my life.”(TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Isles Slip Past Blue Jackets, 3-2

first_imgCOLUMBUS, Ohio — Skating the length of the ice with the puck on a 2-on-none breakaway, Josh Bailey decided to let Kyle Okposo have the glory of getting the winning goal.Okposo got his second goal of the game on a drop pass from Bailey at 2:16 of overtime to lift the New York Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 12.“Just happy to see that one go in,” Bailey said of Okposo’s eighth. “I didn’t want to just take an end to end breakaway knowing Okie was there.”Apparently Bailey was too busy to hear Okposo’s instructions.“I was yelling at him to just take it but I was prepared for it,” he said. “In that situation sometimes you drop it but it worked out. I just tried to make the goalie bite.”Frans Nielsen also scored and Jaroslav Halak had 28 saves as New York improved to 7-0-2 in its last nine games.Brandon Saad and Cam Atkinson had goals for Columbus, which has one win in its last seven (1-3-3). The Blue Jackets had a potential winning goal in the final minute of regulation overturned by a video review.Even with the Islanders’ strong record of late, coach Jack Capuano wasn’t pleased after the game. He thought his team provided Columbus with energy.“If you look at the chances we gave them it came from mismanaging the puck,” Capuano said. “I’m disappointed, our decision making has to be better. I understand we have some skill guys but sometimes they want to make the sexy play and that’s not the right play to make. You’ve got to take what’s available to you.”Curtis McElhinney finished with 16 saves while making a second consecutive start since Sergei Bobrovksy suffered a strained groin late on Dec. 8 against the visiting Kings. Bobrovksy is expected to be on the shelf for three weeks.In overtime, Bailey and Okposo broke in alone. Approaching the crease, Bailey left it for Okposo, who made a forehand to backhand move then tucked the puck past McElhinney for his eighth.Columbus mounted a charge the second half of the game. Atkinson made it 2-apiece at 8:20 on a long slap shot for his ninth and third in the third period the last two games.The Blue Jackets then thought they won it with 48 seconds remaining, but the goal was overturned in the league’s video review room. It was ruled Boone Jenner used a “distinct kicking motion” to convert a rushing Saad’s centering pass.“It went of my stick and I just kind of lost it with the goalie and everything,” Jenner said. “Replay showed I guess there was a kicking motion. I can’t do anything about it now.”In a blurry sequence in the crease it appeared the pass hit Jenner’s stick then maybe hit his skate or even trickled in off the stick of defenseman Travis Hamonic.“I’m happy we came back to get one (point),” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “But we’ve got try and figure out getting that extra point in these types of games if we’re going to get from underneath the water.”Okposo made it 1-0 with 4:39 remaining in the first period. He stole a bad breakout pass toward the middle of the ice by Gregory Campbell then quickly snapped a shot over McElhinney’s glove.Saad tied it at 5:08 of the second period when Jenner’s spinning centering pass deflected off his skate past Halak. The goal was Saad’s 10th ending an 11-game drought, one short of tying his career long skid.The Islanders responded just 57 seconds later on the power play with Nielsen scoring his 12th. At the top of the crease he controlled a bouncing puck and squibbed a weak, low shot by McElhinney’s outstreched arm and David Savard on his knees at the goal line.“I think that we’ve done a pretty good job of getting a couple points when we haven’t been at our best,” Okposo said. “We’ve just got to find a way to get back to that level because we know we can’t sustain this.”(ROBERT DENHARD)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Ripped shirts, a punctured ball and no goals in 0-0 draw

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares LILLE, France (AP). There were several ripped shirts and even a burst ball during France’s 0-0 draw with Switzerland on Sunday at the European Championship.The scoreless result was good enough for both teams, with the host French taking first place in Group A and the Swiss moving on to the round of 16 in second place.France twice hit the crossbar as it again squandered numerous chances, but the torn Switzerland shirts and the ball being ripped apart during a challenge will likely end up being the most memorable moments of the match at Stade Pierre Mauroy.“It means there was a lot of fight on the pitch,” Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer said. “For us and for the country it’s important to be in the last 16.”Switzerland midfielder Admir Mehmedi’s shirt was torn in the first half, forcing him to the sidelines for a backup. Teammate Granit Xhaka then had his ripped once in each half, and teen striker Breel Embolo also slightly tore the back of his in the first half.“If a shirt is pulled, they can come apart,” Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said. “There were four (ripped) tonight. When you pull shirts they do actually break.”France coach Deschamps preferred to turn his attention to the rough state of the pitch, which cut up in places.“It was better than the pitch we saw at Marseille (against Albania) but it’s annoying,” he said. “I don’t know who is responsible, but we are only in the group stage of the competition and having such a pitch is not a good thing.”Then there was an issue with the official Adidas “Beau Jeu” ball.As France pushed for a goal in the second half, forward Antoine Griezmann was dribbling when Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami stepped in to tackle. The two converged on the ball and it burst, with Behrami picking up the deflated leather and showing it to Slovenian referee Damir Skomina.Just like in its previous games against Romania and Albania, France failed to turn pressure into goals.“Everyone hopes we play better, the players do and so do I,” Deschamps said. “I’m not blind, I know we can do better — but a new competition starts for us on Sunday.”Even with a new ball to strike, France’s shots lacked conviction, and Griezmann held his head in his hands when he placed his strike too close to Sommer after swapping passes with striker Andre-Pierre Gignac and bursting into the area.Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili, center, fights for the ball with Yohan Cabaye, left, during the Euro 2016 Group A soccer match between Switzerland and France at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve d’Ascq, near Lille, France, Sunday, June 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)There was a hint of bad luck, too.Paul Pogba hit the crossbar in the first half with a swerving shot from 25 meters and substitute Dimitri Payet did the same in the 75th minute with a superb volley following a surging run down the right and cross to the back post from midfielder Moussa Sissoko.Pogba also went close twice early in the first half, drawing smart saves from Sommer.“Paul really was the driving force during the first half,” Deschamps said. “He was the heart and soul.”The Swiss threatened mainly on the break, using the 19-year-old Embolo’s pace, but France looked more likely to score as Payet shot just wide from outside the penalty area late on.In the other Group A match, Albania beat Romania 1-0 and finished in third place with three points.Thanks to Pogba, it seemed like France’s midfield dominance might make the difference in the first half, but good situations were wasted.Shortly after France center half Laurent Koscielny failed to direct his header on target following a flurry of corners, the defender then had to block Embolo’s slanting shot in the 30th minute following a rare Swiss foray.France’s main threat in the second half was Sissoko, who made another powerful run and then fed the ball to Gignac, whose 53rd-minute shot was easily saved by Sommer. He had also scuffed a first-half chance after Griezmann had set him up near the penalty spot.French fans chanted for Payet.But having scored an 89th-minute winner against Romania in a 2-1 win and an injury-time strike in the 2-0 win against Albania, he could not repeat it this time.last_img read more