"That's All An Eyewash": Ravichandran Ashwin Tears Apart Critics Of Indian Batting, Pitches

"That's All An Eyewash": Ravichandran Ashwin Tears Apart Critics Of Indian Batting, Pitches

File image of Ravichandran Ashwin

India’s rare ODI series loss at home, their first in four years, has led to wide-spread doubts over the Rohit Sharma-led team’s preparedness for the ODI World Cup at home later this year. India lost the series against Australia 2-1 despite winning the first ODI. India have not won an ICC Trophy since 2013, and the series loss to Australia has started murmurs regarding on whether India’s approach is right or not. Commenting on India’s batting approach, star India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made some interesting points.

“You should be brave on these slow pitches. I don’t have any doubt about this whatsoever. In fact, what was India’s strongest forte? Slow pitches and spin it to win it. Somewhere down the line, there was spin, there was a puff of dust. See even yesterday we saw puff of dust coming from the surface. Why did you not complain and give poor rating then?” Ravichandran Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.

“The pitch had puff of dust and yet Australia scored 269, right? And India almost chased it down. So, that’s all an eyewash. These type of conditions are India’s greatest conditions. We should play more games like these. In fact, India is not playing in these type of conditions. In IPL and other ODIs, we play on 340-350 types of surfaces. Let’s take the example of KL Rahul. He was in pristine form. On a slightly better pitch, his shot would not have gone for a six, but for a 12. On that pitch, it hung.

“Leading into the World Cup, if we play on these pitches and get a hand of the surfaces, India will be an unbeatable side.”

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Lakers 'still not finished' after finally hitting .500

Lakers 'still not finished' after finally hitting .500

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers116-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday brought their record to .500 for the first time all season, needing 74 games to get even after a 2-10 start.

“Now it’s time, instead of constantly facing a deficit, we get to try to create a surplus, create a cushion between the wins and losses,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “So the guys are excited about that.”

At 37-37, the Lakers reached .500 for the first time as a franchise in more than 400 days, dating back to Jan. 25, 2022, when the team was 24-24.

The last NBA team to reach .500 this late in the season was the 2003-04 Miami Heat, which took 78 games to get there, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The 1988-89 Washington Bullets also took 74 games and the 1983-84 Phoenix Suns didn’t get to .500 until Game No. 82.

“Big accomplishment but we’re still not finished,” said Dennis Schroder, who started in place of D’Angelo Russell (sore right hip) and finished with 21 points and six assists.

Lakers guard Lonnie Walker IV scored 20 points off the bench after only playing 12 minutes in L.A.’s past seven games, including five DNPs.

“He’s the guy who won us the game, it’s that simple,” Schroder said of Walker. “Everybody thanked him for that tonight. This is his win.”

The win was L.A.’s third in a row and gave the Lakers the same record as the Western Conference’s No. 7-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves. L.A. is No. 8, however, because the Wolves own the tiebreaker by leading the season series 2-0 with only one more matchup remaining.

“We got to .500, now it’s time to get on the other side and can have more wins than losses,” said Anthony Davis, who led L.A. with 37 points and 15 rebounds. “So it starts Sunday. We got an opportunity to be a game above .500 against a good Bulls team.”

Hosting Chicago will be the last of L.A.’s current five-game homestand before going on the road for a four-game trip through Chicago, Minnesota, Houston and Utah.

“We just have to approach these upcoming games, these last eight, like we’ve been doing since the deadline: Each game is its own entity,” Ham said. “We can’t worry about going 6-2 or 7-1 or 5-3. We just have to approach each game and dive and pour all of ourselves into each particular game. So we’ll continue to carry on as such.”

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Sam Houston's Hooten to coach New Mexico St.

Sam Houston's Hooten to coach New Mexico St.

New Mexico State‘s basketball program ended its coaching search Friday, officially announcing the hire of Sam Houston State’s Jason Hooten.

The Aggies zeroed in on Hooten earlier in the week, sources said, and were able to close the deal despite Sam Houston’s attempts to keep him from its intraconference rival.

“I believe Coach Hooten is a tremendous fit for New Mexico State,” athletic director Mario Moccia said. “Throughout his coaching career, he has demonstrated an ability to build hard-nosed, defensive-minded teams. Importantly, his programs are always modeled on character and integrity.”

Hooten joins the Aggies after 13 seasons at Sam Houston State, where he racked up six 20-win seasons and at least 18 wins in each of the last 10 seasons. He guided the Bearkats to the Southland regular-season championship in 2019 and also landed the top seed in this season’s WAC tournament.

Prior to becoming Sam Houston’s head coach, Hooten was an assistant coach with the Bearkats for six seasons.

With Hooten’s hire, New Mexico State is hoping to turn the page from an ugly season that left a cloud over the Aggies’ program. They canceled their season in February after hazing accusations against three players. A police report cited three players for false imprisonment, harassment and counts of criminal sexual contact against a teammate.

Three months earlier, a New Mexico State player, Mike Peake, shot and killed a New Mexico student in what police have called self-defense. Multiple investigations have been launched to determine whether coaches and staff members cooperated with police and were forthcoming with evidence following the shooting.

Hooten replaces Greg Heiar, who was fired shortly after the season’s cancellation in February.

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Cody Rhodes defeats former tag champion as The Bloodline members look on

Cody Rhodes defeats former tag champion as The Bloodline members look on

Cody Rhodes defeated Ludwig Kaiser on WWE SmackDown as Bloodline members Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa looked on.

Cody Rhodes has been on an incredible run ever since he returned to WWE last year. Despite spending months on the shelf due to an injury, he returned at the Royal Rumble and won the Royal Rumble match, putting him on a collision course with Roman Reigns.

Cody is known for being a fighting wrestler and isn’t afraid to shy away from any challenge. Hence, when Kaiser challenged him on SmackDown Lowdown last week, Cody agreed and the match was set for this week.

Both men did put on a decent match. Paul Heyman came out at the start of the match, which seemed to throw Cody off his game a bit. If that wasn’t enough to distract Rhodes, Solo Sikoa also came out midway through the match.

Despite the distraction, Cody Rhodes was able to put Kaiser away with Cross Rhodes.

Following the match, Paul Heyman went inside the ring and criticized WWE announcer Samantha’s ring-announcing skills. The Special Counsel announced Rhodes as the winner in his trademark fashion.

He then announced that Cody will face Solo Sikoa next week on RAW. Rhodes further reiterated that Solo was not ready and he continued to say that Roman Reigns will find out at WrestleMania that he is not ready as well.

The rivalry between Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes has been getting more interesting at WrestleMania. It will be interesting to see if Rhodes will be able to dethrone the Tribal Chief at WrestleMania.

What do you make of Rhodes’ message to Roman Reigns? Sound off in the comments section.

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Best moments from the Wizards’ defensive ‘title belt’ award this season

Best moments from the Wizards’ defensive ‘title belt’ award this season

Wes Unseld Jr. arrived from Denver ahead of last season to man the helm in Washington. He had a reputation as a defensive-minded coach.

Now, as the Wizards’ regular season draws to a close, the team has embraced a new season-long tradition that stems from the pride of putting up a great defensive effort: the passing of the ‘Defensive Player of the Game’ title belt.

They’re not the only team with a game-by-game tradition given to players with excellent effort, though. Just down the hall at Capital One Arena, the Washington Capitals have a similar custom in which they gift the player of the game with a rope — a tradition that stems from the saying that every player needs their “hands on the rope” to earn victories. The Arlington County, Virginia fire department gifted the Caps the now iconic custom yellow rope, so the team’s embrace of first responders in the area has been an extra source of pride.

With just a few games remaining as the Wizards continue to vie for a spot in the play-in tournament, the title belt has seen its fair share of viral moments. From WWE star Bobby Lashley introducing the tradition to first-year Wizards attaining the hardware, here are the best moments from the DPOG title belt thus far in 2022-23:

Bobby Lashley upgrades the belt

What better way to inject a new culture into an NBA team’s locker room than have an eight-time world champion introduce a brand-new title belt? Bobby Lashley did just that before the Wizards had a massive victory over the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 28, calling the belt the “crème de la crème of titles.”


Beal earns first DPOG belt of the season

Washington’s first win once the title belt was introduced came in early November, as an upset road victory over the Philadelphia 76ers catapulted five Wizards victories in their next seven games. Of course it had to be Bradley Beal, Washington’s franchise player, to earn the first belt of the season.

First belt for a first-year Wizard

Monte Morris arrived this past summer as part of a trade with the Denver Nuggets. He’s been a critical piece of Unseld’s rotation as the starting point guard, so his getting the belt after a nine-point victory over Utah in November was a nice welcome gift for all the new arrivals on the team.

KP has fun with Delon

Kristaps Porzingis, apart from being an extremely productive center, is also a funny guy. After the Wizards beat the Suns on Dec. 28 (the same night Bobby Lashley introduced the new belt), Porzingis knew immediately that Delon Wright was going to win the DPOG belt. He still asked fellow center Taj Gibson for advice, though, and in the postgame huddle revealed, “The committee got together, talked about it, and we’re giving it to Delon Wright.”

Best friends Deni and KP make an informed choice

The bromance between Deni Avdija and Kristaps Porzingis has been well-documented. They chopped it up after the Wizards beat the Pacers on Feb. 11, including a back-and-fourth that included Porzingis saying the young forward “averages six fouls a game.” The pair, with some help from Anthony Gill, gave the belt to Daniel Gafford for his work down low.

Gill gets the bling

Anthony Gill has widely been described as one of the best teammates many Wizards players have ever had. His constant encouragement and high motor make him a popular presence in the locker room, so the team was ecstatic to see him named Defensive Player of the Game after a 14-point victory over Charlotte.

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March Madness 2023: Alabama upset by San Diego State, No. 1 overall seed Crimson Tide knocked out in Sweet 16

March Madness 2023: Alabama upset by San Diego State, No. 1 overall seed Crimson Tide knocked out in Sweet 16

The championship drought for No. 1 overall seeds in the men’s NCAA Tournament will extend another year after No. 5 seed San Diego State in a Sweet 16 stunner sent top-seeded Alabama packing in a 71-64 upset Friday night. The Crimson Tide became the ninth No. 1 overall seed to fail to win the title in the last nine tournaments, extending the title-less streak that began in 2014.

San Diego State stood tall and took mighty Alabama’s punches throughout the game and delivered haymakers when necessary to pull off the upset. After trailing by as many as nine points midway through the second half after a flurry from the Crimson Tide, SDSU strung together a 42-16 over the games final 11 minutes as it made big shots on offense and iced Alabama on the other end to capture a win.

Alabama was scarcely tested in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament with 21 and 22 point wins over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Maryland, respectively. Facing a top-five defensive unit in San Diego State, the Crimson Tide struggled to make shots from distance and were out-toughed by the MWC juggernaut down the stretch. Its 64 points were the third-fewest in a game all season helped (or hurt, rather) by a dreadful 3-of-27 showing from 3-point range.

“Just with gutty defensive rebounding,” SDSU coach Brian Dutcher said postgame on TBS about how his team gutted it out. “We played the right way, we came out with a win.”

All season long, Alabama has gone mostly as its star freshman, Brandon Miller, has gone, and that was again the case in the South Regionals semifinals — to its demise. Miller had one of his worst outings of the season against SDSU, finishing with just nine points on 3-of-19 shooting and failing to capture any sort of shooting rhythm for most of the game.

San Diego State leading scorer Matt Bradley also struggled on the other side of things but the Aztecs got a huge performance from transfer guard Darrion Trammell, a former star at Seattle, who led the game in scoring with 21 points and came alive in the second half. As it has done all season, SDSU also leaned on its defense down the stretch to force Alabama’s typically-efficient offense into making tough (and often bad) decisions and contested shots. SDSU held Alabama without a field goal in its last four attempts and to just 16 points in the final 11 minutes.

“They built a lead, we took a timeout right around the 12-minute mark. Then Darrion came out of the timeout and hit a 3 and a 2 and he kind of changed the momentum,” said Dutcher. “I just tell our guys ‘nothing is going to be easy.’ The key to confidence is being fearless, and I thought we were fearless tonight.”

1. School history

San Diego State became the first Mountain West school to advance to the Elite Eight while earning its first-ever Elite Eight berth in the process with its win over the Crimson Tide. That was just a checkpoint and not the destination, though, as Dutcher seemed to explain after the game. 

“We recruit, and we say our goal is to win a national championship,” he said. “We can’t act surprised when we have an opportunity to advance to the Final Four. That’s what we tell ’em when we recruit ’em. We celebrate it but we don’t over-celebrate.”

2. Alabama struggles in Sweet 16 continue

Alabama’s Elite Eight drought has reached 19 years with its loss to San Diego State and moved the program to a woeful 1-9 all-time in Sweet 16 games, the worst record in NCAA Tournament history. Under coach Nate Oats, Alabama has twice appeared in the Sweet 16 in the last three seasons and twice failed to make it to the Elite Eight; its 2021 loss to UCLA came by a 10-point margin in overtime.

“We had an unbelievable year,” Oats said. “San Diego State’s a really good team. When you get to the Sweet 16, all the teams are really good.”

Alabama’s struggles were at least partly owing to the struggles of its star as Miller finished with 16 misses on 19 shot attempts for a total of nine points, his third-fewest in a game all season.

3. Darrion Trammell takes over

Brian Dutcher said after the second-round win over Furman that his San Diego State team could go from good to great if it could consistently make shots. His Aztecs, led by Darrion Trammell, did exactly that against Alabama to prove his point.

San Diego State’s defense was probably the reason it eventually won the game, but if not for Trammell’s emergence as a scorer, it might not still be dancing. He finished with 21 big points including 12 in the second half where he accounted for half the team’s 3-pointers over the final 20 minutes of play.

“Throughout the whole week, I’ve been prepping for them,” said Trammell. “I knew what kind of coverage they were in, as far as ball screens. At this point in the year you have to have that confidence that you can make those shots that you’ve been working on.”

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