sports world

The sports wrap: Sania Mirza-Barbora Strycova enter Qatar Open quarter-finals, and other top stories

Decision on Arsene Wenger's future at Arsenal to be taken at end of season; Mohammad Kaif appointed assistant coach of Gujarat Lions.

The big story: Mirza-Strycova breeze past Atawo-Xu

Sania Mirza and her doubles partner Barbora Strycova powered their way past USA’s Raquel Atawo and China’s Yifan Xu on Thursday to enter the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open. The Mirza-Strycova duo beat their opponents 6-2, 6-4.

In the last-eight stage, the Indo-Czech duo will face Canada’s Gabiela Dabrowski and Darija Jurak of Croatia, who laboured past defeating Elina Vesnina and Katerina Bondarenko through a tie-break. Both sets of players won a set each.

Other top stories

Cricket

  • Indian pacer Varun Aaron, who has returned from injury after a three-and-a-half month layoff stated that he won’t back out of bowling fast, “As far as I am concerned there is no question of compromising on pace. Till the time I am playing cricket, I will be only bowling fast,” the 27-year-old was quoted as saying by PTI.
  • Former India batsman Mohammad Kaif has been appointed the assistant coach of Indian Premier League side Gujarat Lions for the upcoming Indian Premier League season.
  • In the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, Manjo Tiwari and 19-year-old Virat Singh’s unbeaten half centuries helped East Zone upset a star-studded North Zone by eight wickets.  
  • The International Cricket Council on Thursday announced that West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels’ bowling action has been found to be legal following remedial work and reassessment. 
  • Afghanistan stunned Zimbabwe by 12 runs via Duckworth/Lewis method at Harare in the first One-day International between the two teams. Zimbabwe were 99/4 chasing 216.  
  • India A’s skipper for the practice game against Australia, Hardik Pandya, sent out a warning to the visitors, stating that his team would treat the four-day match in Mumbai like a competitive fixture, “We are not treating it as a practice game, it’s an opportunity for all of us to do something amazing and get recognised in the selectors eyes,” Pandya was quoted as saying by PTI. 
  • The ICC Chief Executive David Richardson has revealed that the Emirates Panel of Umpires’ usage of the Decision Review System has helped them attain an accuracy rate of 98.5%.
  • Senior Maharashtra Cricket Association member Madhav Ranade wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India objecting to the local body’s decision to splurge on felicitating past cricketers. The stay of the district representatives are also discussed in MCA’s itinerary during the first India-Australia Test in Pune.

Football

  • Acclaimed English referee Mark Clattenburg has quit the English Premier League to take up a role in Saudi Arabia, ESPN reported.
  • Embattled Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s fate will be decided at the end of the season, BBC reported.
  • Arsenal were demolished 5-1 by Bayern Munich in their round-of-16 Champions League clash at the Allianz Arena on Thursday.
  • Real Madrid came from a goal down to beat Napoli 3-1 in the first-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Thursday. Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Casemiro ensured an easy Real win in the end.
  • Spain and Barcelona veteran Xavi Hernandez hailed Paris Saint-Germain’s performance against the five-time European Champions, calling their 4-0 win ‘the best in their history’. The 38-year-old singled out PSG Marco Veratti for praise.
  • With Barca and their star man Lionel Messi stuck in contract negotiations, teammate Javier Mascherano thought that the 29-year-old was “bigger than Barcelona”. 
  • Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho stated that progressin the Europa League and FA Cup could create “many problems” for his side, as they fight for a Champions League place for next season. United are also in the final of the League Cup, where they face Southampton.

Tennis

  • India’s Sania Mirza, who was summoned in connection with an alleged case of non-payment of Service Tax, has hit back at claims of evasion, denying the allegations.   
  • Rohan Bopanna and Tomas Berdych have lost 3-6, 4-6 to Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers in the second round of the Rotterdam Open 
  • India will host Uzbekistan in April at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association at Bengaluru for their next Asia Oceania group I Davis Cup tie.  

Golf

  • India’s Aditi Ashok endured a torrid start in the first round of the Women’s Australian Open on Thursday, finishing at one-over 74 which included dropping three bogeys in a row in the last four holes.
  • Veteran Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh closed with two birdies in last two holes for a two-under par 70 round and was tied 43rd to make a modest start at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 on Thursday.

Boxing

  • India’s Vijender Singh, after successfully defending the WBO Asia Pacific title, will be gunning for a second belt when he faces WBO Oriental middleweight champion Zulpikar Maimaitiali of China in Mumbai on April 1  

Chess

  • Padmini Rout drew with Zhao Xue of China while the experienced Dronavalli Harika also split point with Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan in the second round of the World women’s chess championship. The Indian duo will now play in tiebreak games against their opponents to progress to the last 16. Harika won her tiebreak in round one against Bangladesh’s Shamima Akter Liza.  

Table Tennis

  • India’s Sharath Kamal and Harmeet Desai won their opening round matches in contrasting styles to enter the pre-quarterfinals while second seed Vladimir Samsonov suffered a shock defeat to crash out of the competition in ITTF World Tour India Open on Thursday, PTI reported.

Hockey

  • Uttar Pradesh Wizards beat Ranchi Rays 4-0 to jump into third place in the points table of the Hockey India League on Thursday.

Badminton

  • India were handed a 1-4 drubbing by Korea in their second and final round robin league tie but still advanced to the quarterfinals from Group D at the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships on Thursday.
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As India turns 70, London School of Economics asks some provocative questions

Is India ready to become a global superpower?

Meaningful changes have always been driven by the right, but inconvenient questions. As India completes 70 years of its sovereign journey, we could do two things – celebrate, pay our token tributes and move on, or take the time to reflect and assess if our course needs correction. The ‘India @ 70: LSE India Summit’, the annual flagship summit of the LSE (London School of Economics) South Asia Centre, is posing some fundamental but complex questions that define our future direction as a nation. Through an honest debate – built on new research, applied knowledge and ground realities – with an eclectic mix of thought leaders and industry stalwarts, this summit hopes to create a thought-provoking discourse.

From how relevant (or irrelevant) is our constitutional framework, to how we can beat the global one-upmanship games, from how sincere are business houses in their social responsibility endeavours to why water is so crucial to our very existence as a strong nation, these are some crucial questions that the event will throw up and face head-on, even as it commemorates the 70th anniversary of India’s independence.

Is it time to re-look at constitution and citizenship in India?

The Constitution of India is fundamental to the country’s identity as a democratic power. But notwithstanding its historical authority, is it perhaps time to examine its relevance? The Constitution was drafted at a time when independent India was still a young entity. So granting overwhelming powers to the government may have helped during the early years. But in the current times, they may prove to be more discriminatory than egalitarian. Our constitution borrowed laws from other countries and continues to retain them, while the origin countries have updated them since then. So, do we need a complete overhaul of the constitution? An expert panel led by Dr Mukulika Banerjee of LSE, including political and economic commentator S Gurumurthy, Madhav Khosla of Columbia University, Niraja Gopal Jayal of JNU, Chintan Chandrachud the author of the book Balanced Constitutionalism and sociologist, legal researcher and Director of Council for Social Development Kalpana Kannabiran will seek answers to this.

Is CSR simply forced philanthropy?

While India pioneered the mandatory minimum CSR spend, has it succeeded in driving impact? Corporate social responsibility has many dynamics at play. Are CSR initiatives mere tokenism for compliance? Despite government guidelines and directives, are CSR activities well-thought out initiatives, which are monitored and measured for impact? The CSR stipulations have also spawned the proliferation of ambiguous NGOs. The session, ‘Does forced philanthropy work – CSR in India?” will raise these questions of intent, ethics and integrity. It will be moderated by Professor Harry Barkema and have industry veterans such as Mukund Rajan (Chairman, Tata Council for Community Initiatives), Onkar S Kanwar (Chairman and CEO, Apollo Tyres), Anu Aga (former Chairman, Thermax) and Rahul Bajaj (Chairman, Bajaj Group) on the panel.

Can India punch above its weight to be considered on par with other super-powers?

At 70, can India mobilize its strengths and galvanize into the role of a serious power player on the global stage? The question is related to the whole new perception of India as a dominant power in South Asia rather than as a Third World country, enabled by our foreign policies, defense strategies and a buoyant economy. The country’s status abroad is key in its emergence as a heavyweight but the foreign service officers’ cadre no longer draws top talent. Is India equipped right for its aspirations? The ‘India Abroad: From Third World to Regional Power’ panel will explore India’s foreign policy with Ashley Tellis, Meera Shankar (Former Foreign Secretary), Kanwal Sibal (Former Foreign Secretary), Jayant Prasad and Rakesh Sood.

Are we under-estimating how critical water is in India’s race ahead?

At no other time has water as a natural resource assumed such a big significance. Studies estimate that by 2025 the country will become ‘water–stressed’. While water has been the bone of contention between states and controlling access to water, a source for political power, has water security received the due attention in economic policies and development plans? Relevant to the central issue of water security is also the issue of ‘virtual water’. Virtual water corresponds to the water content (used) in goods and services, bulk of which is in food grains. Through food grain exports, India is a large virtual net exporter of water. In 2014-15, just through export of rice, India exported 10 trillion litres of virtual water. With India’s water security looking grim, are we making the right economic choices? Acclaimed author and academic from the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, Amita Bavisar will moderate the session ‘Does India need virtual water?’

Delve into this rich confluence of ideas and more at the ‘India @ 70: LSE India Summit’, presented by Apollo Tyres in association with the British Council and organized by Teamworks Arts during March 29-31, 2017 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. To catch ‘India @ 70’ live online, register here.

At the venue, you could also visit the Partition Museum. Dedicated to the memory of one of the most conflict-ridden chapters in our country’s history, the museum will exhibit a unique archive of rare photographs, letters, press reports and audio recordings from The Partition Museum, Amritsar.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Teamwork Arts and not by the Scroll editorial team.