Dhoni backs Kohli, says team needs preparation time for tough tours

We play so much cricket that we do not get much preparation time when we go overseas: Dhoni

Senior India player Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday backed captain Virat Kohlion the issue of cramped scheduling and said that the team needs time to get used to the conditions in tours like South Africa.

Dhoni, who is not in the Test side but will be in the ODI team in the upcoming South Africa tour, however, said that as an international cricketer it was a challenge one has to face.

“It is absolutely right, because we play so much cricket that we do not get much preparation time when we go overseas to play. But as an international cricketer, this is also a challenge,” Dhoni said here.

“It takes some time to get used to, but if you see this team, there are many cricketers who have played overseas and it helps a lot. If they get six to eight or 10 days, it is good, but whatever time they get, I think they will do well,” he said in response to a question about Kohli’s statement.

The former India captain was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a match played at Kunzer cricket ground, 35km from Srinagar, in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Dhoni was the chief guest at the finals of Chinar Cricket Premier League, organised by Srinagar-based Chinar Corps of the Army.

“This time when the (Test) team leaves for South Africa, they will only get some time to prepare before playing the matches. The ODI team after that will also want to try to get seven to eight days because the conditions are different there, there is more bounce,” he said.

Asked whether there should be a bilateral series between India and Pakistan, Dhoni said it should be best left to the government.

He said when it comes to a cricket match between the arch-rivals, it becomes much more than sports. (more)


VIP treatment: Woman blasts minister as flight delay makes her miss funeral

Watch: Woman doctor lashes out at Union Minister Alphons over flight delay

Imphal (Manipur), Nov 22 (ANI): A ruckus was created at Imphal Airport after a woman doctor lashed out at Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Alphons Kannanthanam, after her flight got delay due to VVIP arrival schedule at the airport. The woman shouted at Alphons saying she had to attend to a critical patient but got late because of the delay.

Union minister K J Alphons was confronted by an enraged woman passenger at the Imphal airport over the delay in her Kolkata-bound flight she was taking to rush to Patna to attend a funeral of her relative.

Alphons on Wednesday said he was not responsible for the delay of the flight due to VVIP security protocol after a video footage of the passenger identified as a lady doctor arguing and directing her ire at him on seeing the minister at the Imphal airport went viral.

The video of the incident that happened on Tuesday showed the woman complaining to Alphons about the flight being delayed due to VIP movement.

Alphons, who is Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, had come to Imphal to attend the Northeast Development summit which was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday. President Kovind’s aircraft was due to land in Imphal around the time of departure of the Kolkata-bound aircraft.

“I have to reach Patna. The body is waiting, otherwise the body will decay. I am a doctor, I know that. The body is still at home,” the woman can be heard pleading with Alphons, who tries to soothe her anger. She was also heard asking Alphons to give in writing what time her flight would take off.

The woman was booked on an IndiGo flight from Imphal to Kolkata from where she had to take a connecting flight to Patna.

On her repeated insistence to give her in writing as to what time the flight would depart, the minister is heard saying he does not have the authority to do so. (more)

Chennai rains: 4 dead, schools shut for 2nd day as more downpour expected

Over the next few days, moderate to heavy rains will continue to lash Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu

Chennai and coastal parts of Tamil Nadu have received heavy rains for a third day in a row. Until now, four people have reportedly died across the state due to heavy rainfall.

The state administration has decided to keep the schools shut in several parts of the state.

In the past 24 hours, areas near Chengalpattu have received 100 mm rainfall, with most places receiving an average of 40 mm rainfall in the city.

While the rain stopped on Wednesday morning for a few hours before resuming, suburbs of Chennai faced water stagnation. Also, some local rivers and bridges were also flooded.

On Tuesday, a woman died in Cuddalore, 190 km from Chennai, after a wall of her home collapsed, taking the total death toll to four.

TV footage showed rainwater beginning to enter houses in Krishna Nagar and Lakshmipuram at Mudichur in Chennai after two days of rain. Mudichur was also one of the areas worst affected by the 2015 floods. Residents of Varadarajapuram were moving out with their belongings as water from the Adyar flooded these areas.

At Thiruvanchery, water from the Selaiyur lake was flowing over open land and roads to reach the Madambakkam lake, instead of a proper channel.

The administration announced that schools in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Nagapattinam, Tiruvallur and seven taluks of Cuddalore would remain shut for one more day since the MET department has forecast more rains for the city.

Overnight rain that lasted till 5:30 am today, was recorded up to 4 cm. (more)

Fadnavis says Army to build Elphinstone station footover bridge, sparks row

The foot overbridges will be built on Elphinstone Road of Western Railway, and Currey Road and Ambivali stations of the Central Railway

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday said the Army would build three footover bridges including the one at Elphinstone railway station where a stampede killed 23 people in September, sparking a political slugfest over soldiers being used in civil works.

The foot overbridges (FOBs) will be built on Elphinstone Station of Western Railway, and Currey Road and Ambivali stations of the Central Railway on the congested Mumbai suburban network.

“Given the Army engineers’ expertise, they will construct the three foot overbridges by January 31. The Army has been very helpful to not just us but the society at large and I am very thankful to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for this huge help to bring ease in Mumbaikars’ life,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the media.

Sitharaman said: “The Indian Army has always been steadfast in the provision of aid for disaster relief issues. This is the first time when we are actually Army to help us in what essentially could be called civil work in the financial capital city of the country.”A

Goyal said work on the bridges was expected to begin within 15 days, and in a later tweet, said it will be done by January 31, 2018.

Western Railway Divisional Railway Manager Mukul Jain had told IANS that the Elphinstone Road bridge will be a new one, independent of the one being planned and constructed by the railways, and be be located towards the Parel side at the northern end of the Elphinstone Road station.A

He said an Army team will identify the spot, submit its design and plans to the railways before proceeding with the work, adding that is the first time such a civilian contract would be handled by the Army. (more)

Kohli snatches ICC top spot from A B de Villiers, surpasses Sachin’s points

Kohli scored 263 runs in the series and has reached 889 points, which is the best ever by an India batsman


Indian captain Virat Kohli on Monday returned to the top of the ICC ODI rankings for batsmen after logging career-high rating points, going past the iconic Sachin Tendulkar in the process.

Kohli has moved back to the top within 10 days of losing it to South Africa batsman AB de Villiers after the rankings were updated following India’s 2-1 home series win over against New Zealand.

The 28-year-old Delhi batsman, who scored 263 runs in the series, has reached 889 points, which is the best ever by an India batsman.

“The previous highest points tally of 887 was managed by Sachin Tendulkar in 1998 and by Kohli earlier this year,” the ICC said in a statement.

India opener Rohit Sharma’s 174 runs in the series has seen him reach a career-high rating of 799 points, even though he remains in seventh position.

Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has risen one place to 11th in the latest rankings.

The list for bowlers continues to be led by Pakistan pace bowler Hasan Ali while India fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has reached a career-best third after finishing with six wickets in the series against New Zealand. (more)

Amid Doklam standoff, India-China trade war looms: Chinese media

The article said that China ‘could easily retaliate’ with restrictions on Indian products

A trade war seems to be looming between India and China after New Delhi imposed anti-dumping duties on 93 Chinese products amidst a military standoff in Doklam area, two state media reports here said on.

An article in The Global Times, part of the ruling Communist Party’s publication group, urged Chinese firms to “reconsider the risks” of investing in India and warned New Delhi to be “prepared for the possible consequences for its ill-considered action.”

The article said that China “could easily retaliate” with restrictions on Indian products, but added that it “doesn’t make much economic sense” for the country.

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It cited figures from the Indian embassy in China to show that Indian exports fell by 12.3 per cent year-on-year to $11.75 billion while India’s imports from China rose by 2 per cent to $59 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $47 billion.

According to the Indian Commerce Ministry, the trade deficit with China last year mounted to over $52 billion when the bilateral trade stood at $70 billion.

“A trade war between China and India seems to be looming after the latter moved last Wednesday to impose anti-dumping duties on 93 products from China,” the report said.

“If India really starts a trade war with China, of course China’s economic interests will be hurt, but there will also be consequences for India,” it said.

The report on trade comes as India and China have been locked in a tense military standoff in Doklam in the Sikkim sector. Read more

Qatar offers visa-free entry to India, 79 other nations amid Gulf crisis

Energy-rich Qatar’s economy took a hit since Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain moved to isolate it

Qatar announced on Wednesday it was scrapping visa requirements for visitors from 80 countries as it weathers a boycott by four Arab states and gears up to host the World Cup in 2022.

Under the new policy announced by Qatar Airways and authorities, citizens of 33 mostly European countries can enter without a visa for 90 days in single or multiple trips during a 180-day period.

Americans, Britons, Canadians and citizens of 44 other countries can enter visa-free for an initial 30 days on single or multiple trips, and can extend that for a further 30 days.

Energy-rich Qatar’s economy has taken a hit since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain moved to isolate it two months ago over allegations it supports extremists.

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The quartet of Arab nations is particularly irked by Qatar’s ties with Iran and its support of Islamist opposition groups. Qatar denies it backs terror groups and says the allegations against Doha are politically motivated.

The four countries cut diplomatic and transport links with Qatar in June, and barred Qatar from using their airspace and shipping lanes.

In a related development, the UAE and Bahrain today sought to clarify a statement made the day before by the International Civil Aviation Organization, which said both countries had agreed to open up some of their airspace, including new “temporary or contingency” routes, for Qatar Airways.

The two, in statements carried on the UAE’s and Bahrain’s state-run news agencies, said that they had not agreed to open up their airspace in full to Qatari flights but to only allow Qatari aircraft to use their airspace located above international waters.