Saturday, October 4, 2008
Its festive time in India, specially in West Bengal. And the festive will be more jubilant as Sourav Ganguly, India’s most successful captain has at last been selected ahead of Mohd. Kaif for the upcoming test series against Australia. There was some speculation going on throughout the day about the fate of the Indian captain. But the selectors showed belief in the old war-horse and finally he has been picked out as a member of the team India.
It was almost expected that The Prince of Calcutta would call it quits if he had not been picked up for the first two Tests. He had been omitted from the Rest of India squad for the Irani trophy. However, the youngsters who were given a chance did not make much of an impact. Cricket fans round the country draw their conclusions on what fate the Iron Man of Indian cricket deserves. Internal sources in the BCCI have revealed that the selectors might offer Ganguly a chance to make an honorable exit after 12 years of breathtaking batting.
It was an English summer in the glorious year of 1996 when a wide eyed 24 year old from the eastern Indian city of Kolkata strode into the hallowed premises of the Lord's to face up to an English attack, brimming with confidence. By the time, Ganguly was done, he walked back to rapturous applause, having torn the attack to shreds and rattling off a century on debut. He followed it up with another one in Trent Bridge. That had marked the beginning of a golden era for Indian batting. Five years down the line, Ganguly was to take charge as India's skipper after the Sachin Tendulkar led side returned bruised and battered from Australia. The changes were immediate. The team rallied around their leader, played for him and looked up to a man who had been through it all. The man had a mission. Ganguly led India to two Champions Trophy finals, the World Cup finals, thrashed Australian 2-1 at home, drew a four Test series in Australia and all along his bat blazed like a gun loaded to boom.
Now the time has come for him when he should call for the retirement as he is loosing his fitness day by day. He should make use of this opportunity given to him to take an honorable exit from the international cricket to make position for the youngsters.
Schoolboy Reuben Noble-Lazarus has claimed the record as the Football League's youngest ever player after the Barnsley striker came off the bench at Ipswich last night, aged just 15 years and 45 days.
His manager Simon Davey said the youngster, who was back at school today, was too young to be paid.
When Noble-Lazarus was signalled to join the action at the Portman Road ground, in his side's 3-0 defeat, he beat the previous record - shared by two players - by 113 days.
Booked: Reuben Noble-Lazarus became the youngest football league player on his debut for Barnsley at Ipswich last night
The previous mark was set by Bradford Park Avenue's Albert Geldard in 1929 and was equalled by Wrexham's Ken Roberts.
Roberts was aged 15 years and 158 days when he first played in the League in 1951.
Davey joked that Noble-Lazarus would receive a ham sandwich and a piece of pizza for his efforts.
'He has only trained a couple of times with the first team but they have taken him under their wing,' the manager said.
On the ball: Noble-Lazarus attends Newsome High School in Huddersfield
Wearing a No 31 shirt, he came on as a substitute in the 84th minute at Portman Road.
Davey said that the speedy Noble-Lazarus, who attends school in Huddersfield, would not be allowed to get ahead of himself.
'I think if they're good enough, they're old enough,' said Davey.
'I have kept an eye on him over the last two years and have tried to integrate him as quickly as I could into the first team.
Too young to be paid: Noble-Lazarus 'will get a ham sandwich and pizza'
Noble-Lazarus is 15 years and 45 days
'He is a confident lad but he is still only 15. He is a talent and we need to nurture him in the right way.'
Noble-Lazarus's player profile on Barnsley's official website contains scant
information on the player.
'I was academy manager two years ago and I gave him a start in the under-18s,' said Davey.
'He did well when he came on. He didn't give the ball away.
'He scored a hat-trick for the youth team against Sheffield United on Saturday.
'We need to look after him. He has got to be dipped in and perhaps dipped back out.
We've arranged with his school that we can get him out for two days a week so he can train with us.'
Millwall's Moses Ashikodi was the youngest player to make his Football League début in the last 20 years. He played in 2003, aged 15 years and 240 days.
Matthew Etherington, now a fixture the Premier League side West Ham, was 15 years and 262 days when he made his League début for Peterborough in 1997.
10 YOUNGEST FOOTBALL LEAGUE PLAYERS
1 Reuben Noble-Lazarus (Barnsley) 15 years 45 days
2 Ken Roberts (Wrexham) 15 years 158 days
3 Albert Geldard (Bradford PA) 15 years 158 days
4 Ronnie Dix (Bristol R) 15 years173 days
5 Derek Forster (Sunderland) 15 years 185 days
6 Alick Jeffrey (Doncaster R) 15 years 229 days
7 Moses Ashikodi (Millwall) 15 years 240 days
8 Tony Geidmintis (Workington) 15 years 247 days
9 Danis Salman (Brentford) 15 years 248 days
10 Paul Walker (Brentford) 15 years 248 days
he New York Giants and wide receiver Plaxico Burress reached an agreement Friday to cut the financial penalty levied against him in half but keep Burress' one-game suspension.
Originally, Burress was to be penalized $235,294 for two weeks, but the settlement cuts that fine in half.
Late Thursday night, the National Football League and the NFLPA signed off on the agreement. Burress will return to the team on Monday, Oct. 6.
Burress was suspended last Wednesday for missing a Monday team meeting and being unreachable by phone. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who appealed the initial suspension to the players association, has said Burress was dealing with important family matters.
Sal Paolantonio covers the NFL for ESPN.
The Pedowitz Gambling Report was released by the NBA today. Named for it’s author Lawrence B. Pedowitz, the report covers the league’s anti-gambling rules, policies, procedures, and its officiating program. Pedowitz, a former U.S. Attorney, was appointed by the NBA to review and make recommendations on these matters in the wake of the indictment and guilty plea of former referee, Tim Donaghy. Following a 14-month investigation, the 133-page report has been released, and reflects the recommendations and other findings by Pedowitz and his colleagues.
The Press Release from the NBA summarizes the reported findings:
· He found no evidence that any NBA referee other than Mr. Donaghy bet
on NBA games or leaked confidential NBA information to gamblers, and no
evidence that phone calls between referee Scott Foster and Donaghy were
attributable to criminal activity.
· He found no evidence that any referee miscalled a game to favor a
particular team or player, or that the League has asked referees to call
games to favor particular teams or players.
· He found no evidence to support specific allegations of game
manipulation or misconduct made by Mr. Donaghy and his attorney in June
2008, including allegations regarding a 2005 playoff series between the
Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets and a 2002 playoff series between
the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings.
· He found that a number of referees engaged in forms of gambling other
than betting on NBA games, in violation of League rules. The League
previously decided not to discipline referees for these violations.
So it sounds like everything is above board, nothing bad happened, move along. I guess it is a good thing they brought in a professional for this.
Pedowitz continued with some recommendations for the future, in other words, these things are currently broken :
· Strengthening the NBA’s anti-gambling rules, particularly with respect to the disclosure of confidential information.
· Improving the enforcement of these rules and creating a “culture of compliance” among all league and team employees, including through the reorganization of the management of the referee program and the creation of an anonymous hotline for gambling information.
· Increasing the league’s monitoring of games for suspicious activity.
· Increasing the league’s efforts to eliminate the perception of referee bias, including by making more information publicly available about the referee program and increasing access to the referees by fans and media.
The NBA is full of CHEATers
No evidence? You have to be kidding me. As Steve Czaben said on his blog, “This story, is NOT dead. Not by a long shot. Because if you think ONLY Tim Donaghy was involved, then I have some real estate to sell you.” Of course others were involved, of course referees miscalled games to favor players and teams, and of course Donaghy manipulated the playoffs, they just won’t admit it.
Let us just look at some facts that this report must have ignored, Pregame.com reports the following :
The first 15 games of the 2006-07 season refereed by Tim Donaghy that had big enough betting to move the point spread by at least 1.5 points were UNDEFEATED against Las Vegas - meaning that the big-money gamblers won 15 of 15 times on his games. The odds of that happening randomly are 32,768 to 1.
Donaghy called Foster 134 times from October 2006 through April 2007. The investigation was satisfied with the reason behind the calls being friendship between the men, even though - according to Fox Sports - the calls “stopped abruptly” when Donaghy is believed to have stopped gambling.
During the 2006-07 period under investigation, TEN games refereed by Scott Foster had lopsided enough betting on one team to move the point spread by at least 2 points; those ten teams were UNDEFEATED against Vegas - meaning that the big-money gamblers won a perfect 10 of 10 times on Foster’s games; the odds of that happening randomly are greater than 1000 to 1 against!
So the honorable Mr. Pedowitz releases this previously known nugget about referees engaging in other forms of gambling, to try to keep us happy? Its not enough. Your investigation was a sham, and nobody is buying it.
Does anyone else notice that David Stern pictured above bears a striking resemblance to the Iraqi Information Minister? “There are no cheating infidels in the NBA. Never!”
So what do you think? Do you agree with the report, or do you agree with Chester that the league is fixed and full of CHEATing?