sports world

The sports wrap: 'I have game plan ready for R Ashwin,' says David Warner, and other top stories

BCCI withdraw Yusuf Pathan's NOC to play in Hong Kong T20 league; Sunil Chhetri became India’s all-time highest goal-scorer in league football.

The big story: ‘It’s going to be a great battle for both of us’

With wickets once again expected to offer turn, one of Australia’s major focal points will be the India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The visitors will look towards in-form batsman David Warner to lead the way, and the 30-year-old looks to be on top of things, claiming to have a “game plan ready” to counter the tweaker’s threat, PTI reported.

“I have to respect a player like Ashwin. He thinks like a batsman and I have to be disciplined against him,” Warner was quoted as saying. “I have a game plan for him - I have to bat against his strength. He is going to be ready for me and we both have to adopt to the situation. It’s going to be a great battle for the both of us. I have to bide my time,” he added.

Asked to comment on India skipper Virat Kohli’s explosive form, Warner was effusive in his praise for the young captain.

“Virat Kohli is in the form of the decade. He is a fantastic player and a great sport. He is exceptional in all formats and he is taking the entire country on a journey,” Warner said.

“He wants the country to ride with him. Virat is frank and he calls spade a spade. Joe Root, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis and Kohli thrive on responsibility. These young players are unstoppable. Virat is a great example of scoring big tons,” Warner added.

Other top stories

Cricket

  • Even as Australia’s skipper Steve Smith gave his team the license to sledge Virat Kohli & Co, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has said he would rather keep his mouth shut while dealing with the India skipper in the upcoming four-match Test series beginning February 23 at Pune. “I’m probably not going to say a thing to him,” news.com.au quoted Maxwell as saying in Mumbai. He (Kohli) is up and down with sledging. I suppose if you strike a chord with him or something gets him agitated to play a big shot, blokes are more likely to go for it.” 
  • Defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad will host runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening fixture of the 10th edition of Indian Premier League on April 5. The final will also be held at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on May 21.
  • India Under-19 rode on back of a fine century by 18-year-old Daryl Sunder Ferrario as they declared at 431/8 on day three of their four-day game against England Under-19 at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground in Nagpur on Wednesday.
  • India women romped to their fifth straight win in the Women’s World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday, beating South Africa by 49 runs in a low-scoring contest at the P Sara Oval.
  • Just days after granting all-rounder Yusuf Pathan a No Objection Certificate to play a Twenty20 Tournament in Hong Kong, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has done a U-turn, Indian Express reported.
  • The Pakistan Super League is likely to give franchises an option to draft new players if international players choose to opt out of the March 5 final in Lahore due to security reasons, Hindustan Times reported. “On February 22 we will do a new draft. We will put a formula in front of all the franchises and foreign players to let us know who will play the final in Lahore and who will not come,” PSL chairman Najam Sethi said on a Pakistan TV channel.
  • South African players and English players are likely to skip the IPL 2017 during the first week of May owing to the bilateral series between the two sides and the Champions Trophy preparations, which starts from June 1 in England.

Football

  • Sunil Chhetri surpassed Bhaichung Bhutia tally of 89 goals to become India’s all-time highest goal-scorer in league football as Bengaluru FC drew 1-1 with Aizawl FC in the I-League on Wednesday. Meanwhile, East Bengal were held to a 1-1 draw by Shillong Lajong.
  • Barcelona were dismantled 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the first-leg of the round-of-16 clash of the Champions League at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday. Angel di Maria scored a brace while Edison Cavani and Julian Draxler scored one goal apiece in the dominating show that saw Barcelona almost knocked out of the competition.
  • Kostas Mitroglou’s strike gave Benfica a 1-0 win in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Borussia Dortmund. The Germans will host the second leg on March 8, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
  • Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus broke a metatarsal in Monday’s 2-0 Premier League win at Bournemouth. The striker is likely to miss the rest of the season.

Athletics

  • Sprinting legend Usain Bolt stated that he has no regrets over announcing his decision to retire from the sport later in the year, “I’ve just done everything I wanted to do in the sport,” Bolt was quoted as saying after winning the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award in Monaco.

Chess

  • India International Master Padmini Rout held eighth seed Chinese GM Zhao Xue to a draw in the first game of the second round of World Women’s Chess Championship on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Dronavalli Harika also registered a draw against Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan.

Table Tennis

  • Harmeet Desai and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan entered the main draw of the ITTF World Tour India Open on Wednesday.

Hockey

  • Dabang Mumbai rode on skipper Florian Fuchs’ last-minute field goal to eke out a close 3-2 win over Delhi Waveriders and seal their place in the semifinals of the Hockey India League on Wednesday.
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From catching Goan dances in Lisbon to sampling langar in Munich

A guide to the surprising Indian connect in Lisbon and Munich.

For several decades, a trip to Europe simply meant a visit to London, Paris and the Alps of Switzerland. Indians today, though, are looking beyond the tried and tested destinations and making an attempt to explore the rest of Europe as well. A more integrated global economy, moreover, has resulted in a more widespread Indian diaspora. Indeed, if you know where to look, you’ll find traces of Indian culture even in some unlikely cities. Lisbon and Munich are good cities to include in your European sojourn as they both offer compelling reasons to visit, thanks to a vibrant cultural life. Here’s a guide to everything Indian at Lisbon and Munich, when you wish to take a break from all the sight-seeing and bar crawling you’re likely to indulge in.

Lisbon

Lisbon is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Western Europe. On its streets, the ancient and the modern co-exist in effortless harmony. This shows in the fact that the patron saint day festivities every June make way for a summer that celebrates the arts with rock, jazz and fado concerts, theatre performances and art exhibitions taking place around the city. Every two years, Lisbon also hosts the largest Rock festival in the world, Rock in Rio Lisboa, that sees a staggering footfall.

The cultural life of the city has seen a revival of sorts under the current Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. Costa is of Indian origin, and like many other Indian-origin citizens prominent in Portugal’s political, business and entertainment scenes, he exemplifies Lisbon’s deep Indian connect. Starting from Vasco Da Gama’s voyage to India, Lisbon’s historic connection to Goa is well-documented. Its traces can be still be seen on the streets of both to this day.

While the Indian population in Lisbon is largely integrated with the local population, a few diaspora groups are trying to keep their cultural roots alive. Casa de Goa, formed in the ‘90s, is an association of people of Goans, Damanese and Diuese origins residing in Lisbon. Ekvat (literally meaning ‘roots’ in Konkani) is their art and culture arm that aims to preserve Goan heritage in Portugal. Through all of its almost 30-year-long existence, Ekvat has been presenting traditional Goan dance and music performances in Portugal and internationally.

Be sure to visit the Champlimaud Centre for the Unknown, hailed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, which was designed by the critically-acclaimed Goan architect Charles Correa. If you pay attention, you can find ancient Indian influences, like cut-out windows and stand-alone pillars. The National Museum of Ancient Art also has on display a collection of intricately-crafted traditional Goan jewellery. At LOSTIn - Esplanada Bar, half of the people can be found lounging about in kurtas and Indian shawls. There’s also a mural of Bal Krishna and a traditional Rajasthani-style door to complete the desi picture. But it’s not just the cultural landmarks that reflect this connection. The integration of Goans in Lisbon is so deep that most households tend to have Goa-inspired textiles and furniture as a part of their home decor, and most families have adapted Goan curries in their cuisine. In the past two decades, the city has seen a surge in the number of non-Goan Indians as well. North Indian delicacies, for example, are readily available and can be found on Zomato, which has a presence in the city.

If you wish to avoid the crowds of the peak tourist season, you can even consider a visit to Lisbon during winter. To plan your trip, check out your travel options here.

Munich

Munich’s biggest draw remains the Oktoberfest – the world’s largest beer festival for which millions of people from around the world converge in this historic city. Apart from the flowing Oktoberfest beer, it also offers a great way to get acquainted with the Bavarian folk culture and sample their traditional foods such as Sauerkraut (red cabbage) and Weißwurst (a white sausage).

If you plan to make the most of the Oktoberfest, along with the Bavarian hospitality you also have access to the services of the Indian diaspora settled in Munich. Though the Indian community in Munich is smaller than in other major European destinations, it does offer enough of a desi connect to satisfy your needs. The ISKCON temple at Munich observes all major rituals and welcomes everyone to their Sunday feasts. It’s not unusual to find Germans, dressed in saris and dhotis, engrossed in the bhajans. The Art of Living centre offers yoga and meditation programmes and discourses on various spiritual topics. The atmosphere at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Sabha is similarly said to be peaceful and accommodating of people of all faiths. They even organise guided tours for the benefit of the non-Sikhs who are curious to learn more about the religion. Their langar is not to be missed.

There are more options that’ll help make your stay more comfortable. Some Indian grocery stores in the city stock all kinds of Indian spices and condiments. In some, like Asien Bazar, you can even bargain in Hindi! Once or twice a month, Indian film screenings do take place in the cinema halls, but the best way to catch up on developments in Indian cinema is to rent video cassettes and VCDs. Kohinoor sells a wide range of Bollywood VCDs, whereas Kumaras Asean Trades sells Tamil cassettes. The local population of Munich, and indeed most Germans too, are largely enamoured by Bollywood. Workshops on Bollywood dance are quite popular, as are Bollywood-themed events like DJ nights and dance parties.

The most attractive time to visit is during the Oktoberfest, but if you can brave the weather, Munich during Christmas is also a sight to behold. You can book your tickets here.

Thanks to the efforts of the Indian diaspora abroad, even lesser-known European destinations offer a satisfying desi connect to the proud Indian traveller. Lufthansa, which offers connectivity to Lisbon and Munich, caters to its Indian flyers’ priorities and understands how proud they are of their culture. In all its India-bound flights and flights departing from India, flyers can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options, making the airline More Indian than You Think. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalised by Lufthansa to the extent that they now offer a definitive Indian flying experience.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.