Sports Diary

48-Team World Cup Proposal Gets Thumbs Up At FIFA Meeting

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said a proposal to expand the World Cup finals to 48 teams, with 16 groups of three teams, received enthusiastic backing at a meeting of national federations. That model was put forward for discussion by FIFA as it considers expansion of the World Cup from 2026 onward. A select meeting of national federations from Asia, Europe and Oceania met with Infantino, and welcomed a change from the current eight-group, 32-team event.

“They are very supportive of expanding; everyone, unanimously — all those who were here,” Infantino said adding, “The big, big, big majority is in favor of the 48 teams with the 16 groups of three.” Under that format, top two teams from each of the 16 groups would advance into knockout stages, eliminating the existing problem of some group games in which one or both teams had nothing to play for.

Australian David Warner Rivals Sachin Tendulkar’s 1998 Ton Feast

Seven ODI centuries for David Warner in 2016 – the joint second-highest in a calendar year. Only Sachin Tendulkar, who hit nine in 1998, has more. Sourav Ganguly also scored seven centuries in 2000. However, both Tendulkar and Ganguly played more than 30 innings, compared to Warner who has only played 23 innings. This is Australia’s last ODI of the year.

59.09 percent of Australia’s runs scored by Warner in this innings — 156 out of 264 — the second highest for Australia. The highest is 60.73 percent, by Damien Martyn (116* out of 191) against New Zealand in Auckland in 2000. Warner’s 58.44 percent in October in Cape Town, where he made 173 out of 296, is third on the list. Australia’s total of 264 is the second lowest to include a 150-plus score, behind India’s 261 against New Zealand in 1999, when Ganguly made an unbeaten 153.

Novak Djokovic Confirms Split With Coach Boris Becker

World number two Novak Djokovic confirmed on Tuesday he has split from his coach Boris Becker after three years working together. “Boris Becker and I have jointly decided to end our cooperation,” Djokovic, who won this year’s Australian and French Open titles, wrote on his official Facebook page. The Serb has won 12 Grand Slam titles in his career — six while working with Germany’s Becker — twice in Australia (2015, 2016) and Wimbledon (2014, 2015) and the French (2016) and US Open (2016) once.

“The goals we set when we started working together have been completely fulfilled, and I want to thank him for the cooperation, teamwork, dedication and commitment,” said the 29-year-old Djokovic. Becker, now 49, reacted on Twitter by posting a photo of himself and Djokovic celebrating this year’s French Open title, saying: “Thank U ! We had the time of our life …#teamdjokovic.”

PV Sindhu Achieves Career-Best Rank of 7, Saina Back in Top-10

Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu jumped two places to achieve her career-best ranking of seven in the world while Saina Nehwal was also back in the top 10 in the latest BWF World Ranking. Sindhu, who clinched the China Open and then reached the finals at the Hong Open, has 68,699 ranking points. She will carry India hopes at the Dubai Super Series Final, a prestigious tournament she qualified for the first time.

Former World No.1 Saina, who is on a comeback trail after recovering from a serious injury, improved a spot after slipping five places to 11th place last week. K Srikanth, who is out of action since undergoing an injury, slipped a place to World No. 13, while Hong Kong Finalist Sameer Verma jumped 13 places to be World No. 30. Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy slipped a place to World No. 23rd.

Passport Lapse Costs Mukesh Kumar Lucrative Hong Kong Spot

Veteran Mukesh Kumar has blown the chance to tee up alongside Masters champion Danny Willett, Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose and US Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed — because his passport has expired. India’s 51-year-old Kumar secured his maiden Asian Tour victory at the weekend’s $400,000 Panasonic Open India by one stroke and became the circuit’s oldest winner in the process.

It was the biggest win of his 32-year professional career and gave him entry to the star-studded $2 million Hong Kong Open, co-sanctioned by the European Tour, which begins on Thursday — but he can’t travel. “I am not able to go because my passport has expired and it will not be renewed in time to get things in order for the Hong Kong event,” Kumar told. But Kumar insisted he would be happy to spend some quality time with his family.

India’s Palpreet Singh Included In 2016 NBA D-League Draft

Palpreet Singh, winner of National Finals of ACG-NBA Jump, India’s first national basketball talent search program, was selected 11th in the fourth Round of the NBA D-League Draft held in New York. The 21-year old was drafted by the Long Island Nets, affiliate team of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. The 6ft 9in hoopster, who has been training at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan, said he had trained hard and was confident of getting picked by a D League team in the draft.

“I am happy with the efforts I have put in and I will continue to work hard with Long Island Nets as this is just the beginning.” Palpreet, who impressed NBA champion Brian Shaw in the national finals of the 2016 ACG NBA Jump program held in February, was part of the 2016 NBA D-League National Tryouts held on August 14 in New York.