Competitive edge will not be lost

first_imgThere is great anticipation that international cricket will resume soon and with it some unusual changes.  The most talked-about, of course, is the strong possibility of the sport being played in front of empty stands as a consequence of the ongoing covid – 19 pandemic. That notion has sparked several debates one in particular, questions whether the competitive rivalry of the sport will be stripped away because of the absence of live fans. But former test seamer Reon King is contesting that view, revealing to Stabroek Sport that the game’s top professionals will embrace their roles.Reon King “I don’t think the quality of the sport will be diminished because of the absence of fans,” King, who played 69 international matches, said. “Test cricket is played by well-paid professionals and their skill levels are good enough to execute on the day… the only thing is players will have to get used to not having that extra energy of having the fans around.” King reminded that during the initial stages of a player’s career, there were no fans and as such, they have to readapt to what he considered, will be the new norm.  “Some people obviously would feed off the crowd. I think most sportsmen appreciate the interactions with crowds; it gives you that extra boost but with what we are going through at the moment, this [playing in empty stadiums] will be the new normal for now and it’s just something we will have to get used to until things return to normal,” the Guyanese, who took 129 international wickets, noted. Ben StokesKing, who plied his trade on the international scene during the late 90s into the 2000s, said the road ahead is going to be an interesting one since some players respond to the reaction of crowds differently. Some players he said enjoyed heckles from those in the stands and responded with “in your face” performances while others buckled under pressure. The mental side of players, he contended, will be tested in an unusual way.  A few current international stars supported King’s views. “Think about it, we are walking out to represent our country, three lions on our chest and there is a game that we are supposed to win. So whether it is in front of nobody or like we are used to in front of a full crowd, I don’t think it’s going to take that competitive side away,” Ben Stokes told BBC Radio 5 Live when asked whether the element of competitiveness will be lost even if action unfolds before empty stadiums. India captain Virat Kohli – one who feeds off the hype around ram-packed stadiums – according to a cricket Australia article, admitted that the “magical” atmosphere will be missing if the cricket season resumes in empty stadiums. “I honestly don’t know how everyone is going to take that because we all are used to playing in front of so many passionate fans,” Kohli said on Star Sports.“Things will still go on, but I doubt that one will feel that magic happening inside because of the atmosphere that was created.”The experiment of having fan-less international action happened in March between Australia and New Zealand. Players from both sides conceded that it took some time to adjust to the absence of crowd noise.“It was certainly weird,” Pat Cummins said. “Probably in some ways just felt a lot more relaxed than an international game normally,” he added. The West Indies men’s team is scheduled to tour England in July. The tour is yet to be confirmed but one of the considerations touted is playing behind closed doors at “bio-secure” venues like Manchester, Southampton, and Headingley which boast hotels on location. Australia and India are also exploring a similar option.last_img read more

NBA Roundup: Spurs, Cavaliers advance

first_imgONE LAST RING—Tim Duncan, right, has 5 NBA Championship Rings, and he is seeking that sixth ring this season. Zach Randolph is defending him. (AP Photo)Los Angeles (AP)—San Antonio and Cleveland punched their tickets to the second round with the Spurs sweeping past the depleted Memphis Grizzlies and the Cavaliers doing likewise to the brash Detroit Pistons.The Spurs eliminated the Grizzlies in four games with a 116-95 triumph in Memphis, becoming the first team to reach the second round. They overpowered a Grizzlies team beset by injuries—most notably to Spanish big man Marc Gasol.The Spurs were followed several hours later by the Cleveland Cavaliers who got a 31-point performance by Kyrie Irving to beat the young Pistons team 100-98 in game four.“They are like a machine,” said Memphis forwardZach Randolph of the Spurs.In the other Western Conference contest, the Golden State Warriors used a big third quarter to beat the Houston Rockets 121-94 and take a commanding 3-1 series lead despite an abbreviated appearance by reigning most valuable player Stephen Curry.last_img read more

What Ernesto Valverde can do to stop Vinicius Junior

first_img Sergi Roberto jugó de interior derecho el miércoles If Arthur comes back in, Barca will have more possession and give Vinicius less chances to run at the defence. Another form of limiting the Brazilian’s participation is keeping the ball more. He needs the ball a lot for what he’s best at. 01/03/2019 Madrid did damage too because Reguilon, Kroos and Vinicius thrived on that side of the pitch. The game will worry Valverde ahead of the second Clasico. Las opciones de Valverde para frenar a Vinicius The good thing about using him would be making Vinicius work harder in defence. Roberto being put there would have a domino effect, with Barca looking for a new right interior midfielder. @didacpeyret In this sense Gerard Pique is important, because he is on that side and can help keep Vinicius quiet. Vinicius’s game against Barcelona on Wednesday was impressive. At just 18 he was capable of leading a Madrid team in the Clasico and the semi-finals of the cup. He did not score but he produced Madrid’s best moments, leaving the aroma of a special player. IN SPORT.ES The right-back was exposed one-on-one multiple times. Vinicius tried again and again to beat him and managed it, Barca found no solutions. That would be Ivan Rakitic, back in his natural position – with Valverde reverting to a 4-3-3. One option would be to play Roberto there, but he is not exactly a defensive specialist. Dídac Peyret In any case, Madrid are likely to have superiority on that side. Because Leo Messi starts there but doesn’t take part in the defensive effort. Now even doubling up – with Sergi Roberto helping – was sufficient. Barca suffered and, above all, Nelson Semedo did. Despite his aggressive marking he was beaten many times by the Brazilian, especially over the first few metres. Upd. on 04/03/2019 at 12:57 CETlast_img read more