Mushtaq Ali: Impressive Punjab knocks out defending champion Karnataka, TN beat HP


Punjab knocked defending champions Karnataka out from the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with their bowlers setting up a comfortable nine-wicket win in the first quarter-final, here on Tuesday.

In the second quarter-final, Tamil Nadu defeated Himachal Pradesh by five wickets to seal their semi-final spot.

Punjab first dismissed Karnataka for meagre 87 and then overhauled the target in 12.4 overs in what turned out to be a lopsided contest at the Sardar Patel stadium.

Pacers Siddharth Kaul (3/15) and Sandeep Sharma (2/17) ran through the Karnataka top-order after they were sent in to bat.

Karnataka was reeling at 26 for three, after openers Karun Nair (12) and Devdutt Padikkal (11) fell cheaply.

Pavan Deshpande (0) was dismissed off his second ball, as Mayank Markande took a diving catch.

Kaul dismissed both Padikkal and Deshpande in the fourth over.

It soon became 26 for four, as young left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh (2/16) dismissed B R Sharath (2), who was caught in the slip cordon.

All-rounder Shreyas Gopal (13), who has often come to Karnataka’s rescue too could not convert his start as he edged to wicket-keeper Prabhsimran Singh off pacer Ramandeep Singh (2/22) as Karnataka lost its half side for 51.

Ramandeep got his second wicket when he sent back J Suchith (8) to leave Karnataka at 72 for six.

Leggie Mayank Markande (1/12) then got into the act as he cleaned up a well-set Anirudh Joshi (27). Punjab continued their dominance over their opposition and ran through their lower order.

In reply, Punjab lost opener Abhishek Sharma (4) early but Prabhsimran Singh (49 not out off 37 balls) and Mandeep Singh (35 not out) ensured that the chase was walk in the park with their 85-run unbeaten stand for the second wicket.

Prabhsimran, who took on the listless Karnataka attack, fittingly finished the game with a six.

In the evening game, put into bat, Tamil Nadu first restricted Himachal Pradesh to 135/9 and then rode on Baba Aparajith’s unbeaten 52 to overhaul the target in 17.5 overs.

Tamil Nadu kept on taking wickets at regular intervals as they did not allow opposition batsmen to settle down.

HP skipper Rishi Dhawan top-scored with an unbeaten 35 off 26 balls. Opener Abhimanyu Rana (28) and one-down Nitin Sharma (26) failed to convert their starts.

For TN, right-arm pacer Sonu Yadav (3/14) did bulk of the damage and was ably supported by Sandeep Warrior (2/32), R Sai Kishore (1/27) and M Mohammed (1/18).

While chasing, Tamil Nadu lost openers Narayan Jagadeesan (7), C Hari Nishanth (17) and Arun Karthik (0) early and were 25 for 3 at one stage.

Tamil Nadu were in a spot of bother when they slipped to 66 for 5 but Aparajith, who struck three fours and two sixes, and Shahrukh Khan (40 not out off 19 balls; 5×4, 2×6) conjured an unbeaten 75-run match-winning sixth wicket stand to take the side home.

Brief Scores:

Karnataka 87 all out (Aniruddha Joshi 27, Shreyas Gopal 13; Siddharth Kaul 3/15, Arshdeep Singh 2/16) lost to Punjab 89/1 (Prabhsimran Singh 49 not out, Mandeep Singh 35 not out; A Mithun 1/11) by 9 wickets.

Himachal Pradesh 135/9 (Rishi Dhawan 35 not out, Abhimanyu Rana 28; Sonu Yadav 3/14, Sandeep Warrior 2/32) lost to Tamil Nadu 141/5 (B Aparajith 52 not out, Shahrukh Khan 40 not out; Vaibhav Arora 3/30) by 5 wickets.

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Super League news: Stevie Ward retires due to concussion, Leeds Rhinos, Head knocks


Leeds Rhinos captain Stevie Ward has been forced to retire at the age of 27 due to concussions, saying he cannot put his health at any further risk.

The rugby league loose forward, a two-time Grand Final winner with the Rhinos, has called on the sport to become more proactive in how it protects players to avoid another generation from becoming “guinea pigs” in research.

Ward says he suffers on a daily basis with symptoms caused by the concussions, which occurred on January 19 and February 2 last year.

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Opinion | Maybe Congress Needs More People From the College of Hard Knocks


For now, it seems to matter little that Republicans have offered little by way of policy to restore the dignity of work. They’ve tapped into a gusher of resentment, and they seem delighted to channel it, irrespective of where, or if, they got their diplomas. Ted Cruz, quite arguably the Senate’s most insolent snob — he wouldn’t sit in a study group at Harvard Law with anyone who hadn’t graduated from Princeton, Yale or Harvard — was ready to argue on Trump’s behalf to overturn the 2020 election results, should the disgraceful Texas attorney general’s case have reached the Supreme Court.

Which raises a provocative question. Given that Trumpism has found purchase among graduates of Harvard Law, would it make any difference if Congress better reflected the United States and had more members without college degrees? Would it meaningfully alter policy at all?

It would likely depend on where they came from. I keep thinking of what Rep. Al Green, Democrat of Texas, told me. His father was a mechanic’s assistant in the segregated South. The white men he worked for cruelly called him “The Secretary” because he could neither read nor write. “So if my father had been elected? You’d have a different Congress,” Green said. “But if it’d been the people who he served — the mechanics who gave him a pejorative moniker? We’d probably have the Congress we have now.”

It’s hard to say whether more socioeconomic diversity would guarantee differences in policy or efficiency. But it could do something more subtle: Rebuild public trust.

“There are people who look at Congress and see the political class as a closed system,” Carnes told me. “My guess is that if Congress looked more like people do as a whole, the cynical view — Oh, they’re all in their ivory tower, they don’t care about us — would get less oxygen.”

When I spoke to Representative Troy Balderson, a Republican from Ohio, he agreed, adding that if more members of Congress didn’t have four-year college degrees, it would erode some stigma associated with not having one.

“When I talk to high school kids and say, ‘I didn’t finish my degree,’ their faces light up,” he told me. Balderson tried college and loved it, but knew he wasn’t cut out for it. He eventually moved back to his hometown to run his family car dealership. Students tend to find his story emboldening. The mere mention of four-year college sets off panic in many of them; they’ve been stereotyped before they even grow up, out of the game before it even starts. “If you don’t have a college degree,” he explains, “you’re a has-been.” Then they look at him and see larger possibilities. That they can be someone’s voice. “You can become a member of Congress.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

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Tim Tszyu knocks out Bowyn Morgan in round one, aims for world title


Asked when he is ready to fight for a world title, Tszyu said: “Next. That’s it. I’m done with Australia. I want the Mexicans, the Americans, the top-level boys.”

“I’m getting more mature. I just turned 26, I haven’t even reached my peak, I’ve got another three or four years before I reach me peak,” he said.

“That’s why I want the best experience, to fight the best fighters right now.

“This was a world title eliminator for me, there’s only two names on the hit list for me now – Castano and Texeira … my managers have a plan for me.”

Tim Tszyu made short work of Bowyn Morgan.Credit:Getty

Indeed they do. Tszyu’s manager Glen Jennings helped pilot his famous father, Kostya, to the apex of the sport. Jennings now has similar ambitions for the new face of Australian boxing.

“Based on his performance, as of [Thursday morning] for breakfast [promoter] Matt Rose and I will sit down,” Jennings said.

“We’ve already got the parameters of what we need to do for this world title fight. It’s just a matter of the pieces falling into place early January.

“Whether it be end of March or early April, we want to do it here in Australia.

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“There’s a lot of interest worldwide in what we’re doing in Australia. This young fella has broken a record; he’s the only fighter in the world who has had two major stadium fights.

“The world is watching.

“The world knows that Tim Tszyu is ready for the world stage. We’ll be negotiating and starting to get ready for that as of [Thursday].”

A win against Castano, and the WBO super-welterweight world title that comes with it, could be just the beginning. Jennings is already eyeing off a potential showdown with Jermell Charlo, the unified light-middleweight world champion who holds the WBC, WBA, IBF and Ring magazine titles.

“The exciting thing about his division is that if he wins this next title, one fight after that and it could be unification,” Jennings said.

“These guys carry all the belts, Charlo has got the lot. The long vision for us is if he can knock over Castano or Texeira, we will be knocking on a certain door.

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“He’s not a kid who sits around and waits.

“For me, I have absolutely no problem with going after the big prize now. He’s ready, he’s done his apprenticeship, he’s arrived.”

For now, Tszyu can reflect on an incredible performance against Morgan that has justified all the hard work.

“I worked on a lot of power in this camp and you can see my physical shape, I’m getting bigger and stronger,” Tszyu said. “It paid off.

“I wanted that one, stinging shot that puts opponents into a dazzle. That’s what happened.”

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Anthony Joshua knocks out rival Kubrat Pulev to retain heavyweight titles | UK News


Anthony Joshua has retained his heavyweight titles after knocking out Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round of their match.

Bookies’ favourite Joshua had put his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight championship belts on the line against Pulev, an IBF mandatory challenger, as they fought in their world heavyweight title bout at Wembley Arena.

The British fighter lasted nine rounds with the Bulgarian before landing him a huge right hand to KO his rival.

Image:
Kubrat Pulevis is knocked to the floor in the ninth round

Joshua quickly left the ring afterwards to embrace former boxing star Floyd Mayweather at the ringside.

Ahead of the match, former boxing star Mayweather called Joshua a “hell of a fighter and a gentleman”.

The Watford-born star, 31, walked out to The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army as the 1,000 fans in the arena belted out his name.

In the first round, both men were cagey at first, with Joshua the first to throw a punch before Pulev responded with a jab.

Things heated up in the third round and Pulev found himself in trouble, eventually being floored by Joshua.

But the Bulgarian was soon hitting back fiercely and holding his ground.

However, it was not enough to overcome Joshua, who landed four uppercuts before sending Pulev toppling to the floor.

As the Bulgarian rose to his feet, his rival unleashed a knockout blow.

Speaking after his win, Joshua told reporters: “I hope everyone was satisfied tonight.

“For me, I stuck to what I know best, boxing. You ask the crowd what they want to see!”

The rivals fought in Wembley Arena, London
Image:
The rivals fought in Wembley Arena, London

It was Joshua’s first fight in the UK for two years and it sets the stage for him to face fellow British boxing champion Tyson Fury in a fight planned for 2021.

Britain’s heavyweight rivals hold all the world boxing titles after Fury claimed the WBC belt with a stoppage win over Deontay Wilde in Las Vegas.

The pair have agreed to a heavyweight showdown in what is likely to be billed as the biggest fight in British boxing history.

Coincidentally, Tyson’s Fury first cousin Hughie Fury, who is also a heavyweight, won his fight earlier in the night by unanimous decision.



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Boxing: Joshua knocks out Pulev to retain heavyweight titles



Boxing – Heavyweight World Title Fight – Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev – The SSE Arena, London, Britain – December 12, 2020 Anthony Joshua in action against Kubrat Pulev Pool via REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

December 13, 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua knocked out Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev near the end of the ninth round to retain his IBF, WBO and WBA belts at Wembley Arena on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Briton was close to winning when he floored Pulev in the third round after a sweet right hand but the challenger recovered to test the home favourite in front of a limited crowd of 1,000.

Pulev, 39, remained dangerous, without causing Joshua many anxious moments, but there was no escape in the ninth.

Joshua landed a clubbing right upper-cut which sent Pulev to the canvas. The Bulgarian got back to his feet but Joshua connected with another huge right hand to end the contest.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)





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Will Pucovski head knocks spark concern


“He is in good spirits and has been communicating and interacting regularly with teammates and staff.

“Will will remain with the Australia A squad in Sydney where we will continue to monitor his progress.”

Will Pucovski in the nets before the Australia A game against the Indians this week.Credit:Ben Rushton

Brukner, who was the Australian team’s full-time doctor from 2012 to 2017 and has also been head medico for AFL teams Melbourne and Collingwood and Liverpool in football’s Premier League, has been struck by Pucovski’s apparent susceptibility to being concussed.

“Nine concussions by the age of 22 has got to be a concern,” said Brukner, now professor of sports medicine at Latrobe University.

“You’re always concerned when people have multiple concussions and seemingly he’s one of these guys that it doesn’t need much to set him off with a concussion. Some people you’ve got to really have a pretty significant whack to get a concussion but basically it seems every time he hits his head or is hit on the head he develops these concussion symptoms, which happens in some people.

“The concern is that with each concussion maybe less force is required. It’s a little bit easier, if you like, to develop a concussion. That’s one concern and the other is the great unknown: is there any accumulated damage from recurrent concussions [in cricket]? The science is not clear on that really.

Peter Brukner speaks to Australian batsman Matt Renshaw during a series against Pakistan in 2017.

Peter Brukner speaks to Australian batsman Matt Renshaw during a series against Pakistan in 2017.Credit:Getty Images

“If you were a park cricketer, you’d say ‘retire mate’. But it’s his livelihood and his career. It’s a tough one.”

CA’s concussion and head trauma policy does not specify a set number of days that a player must sit out after a significant head knock, instead stating they must not start staged physical activity for 24 hours, and in the case of uncertainty, a qualified medical officer must adopt a conservative approach to their return to play.

However, Brukner, who was national team doctor when Chris Rogers retired hurt with delayed concussion during an Ashes Test at Lord’s in 2015, said while medicos would rightfully be cautious when it came to Pucovski, he could still play in Adelaide if he had recovered from symptoms five days out from the Test, even though his history was a worry.

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“How many more is too many? There is no magic number. It’s really difficult,” he said. “But certainly in the short term you want to be completely recovered, then get back into some general exercise, gradually increase some exercise, then you get in the nets, then you obviously have to get through some sort of net sessions before you play.

“By [Thursday] or Friday he’d want to be pretty much feeling normal then slowly get back into it. If he’s still got symptoms on the weekend then he’s in trouble.”

Australia vice-captain Pat Cummins said on Wednesday Pucovski could not be in better hands.

“The good thing is he’s been through it and he knows how to come back,” Cummins said. “Hopefully he’ll get through it.”

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Ilia Topuria knocks out Damon Jackson, Hermansson vs Vettori, video


UFC fans weren’t impressed with what they saw during the opening fight on the preliminary card in Las Vegas.

Thankfully things turned around in the second and the delight was brought back to the viewers.

Watch UFC Fight Night: Hermansson v Vettori Live with ESPN on Kayo, Sunday from 10AM. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly

After a dour and slow paced fight to open proceedings, fans were gifted a brutal showing when Ilia Topuria displayed his heavy hands in a brutal clinic.

Topuria went to work early on the body of his opponent, Damon Jackson, and the end was in sight after one potent combination.

A right hand uppercut opened up the guard of Jackson and Topuria took advantage of the invitation and landed a devastating left hand to the body which crumpled Jackson.

Three more hooks from Topuria was all it took before the referee stepped in and brought the fight to an end.

‘THESE MEN LOOK TERRIBLE’

Fans were less than impressed with the showing put forth in the opening fight between Jake Collier and Gian Villante which went the three round distance.

Both fighters have only recently made the move up to heavyweight and the change showed as they were both sucking in big mouthfuls of air as the fight went on.

Those watching on couldn’t help but question if either man had done any form of cardio in the lead up to the fight which Collier won via unanimous decision.

Main Card

Jack Hermansson vs Marvin Vettori

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Jamahal Hill

Gabriel Benitez vs. Justin Jaynes

Roman Dolidze vs. John Allan Arte

Matt Wiman vs. Jordan Leavitt

Preliminary Card

Louis Smolka def. Jose Alberto Quinonez via TKO (strikes), round 2

Ilia Topuria def. Damon Jackson via KO – round 1, 2:38

Jake Collier def. Gian Villante via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)



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Opportunity knocks for telcos with Telstra split


The long-awaited breaking up of Telstra could be an enormous boon for the telecoms industry if real autonomy is allowed, writes Paul Budde.

FOR DECADES, we have basically been conditioned to look at the telecoms market based on the regulatory arrangements that exist around it.

The Postmaster-General’s Department (PMG) which became Telecom Australia was a state-owned business that had the monopoly on all telecoms services and was mainly paid for by taxpayers. 

The market was opened in the early 1990s and slowly more competition and less government ownership were introduced. Nevertheless, it remained a highly regulated business and Telecom Australia remained by far the largest player in the market, based on the vertically integrated structure of the company — it controlled infrastructure, wholesale, retail and services. After privatisation in 1997, it still held on to 65 to 70 per cent of the market.

In the 00s, further changes happened when the government-owned company National Broadband Network (NBN) was given a broadband wholesale monopoly. The original plan was sound — to leapfrog old technologies and provide the country with a first-class digital infrastructure based in fibre-to-the-home infrastructure (FTTH).

However, party politicking got in the way and a second-rate technology – mainly based on re-utilising old infrastructure technologies – was provided. Suddenly Australia started to fall behind internationally in relation to good quality broadband services. The country dropped from about 20th position in 2005 to about 60th position currently.

The arrival of the NBN put enormous pressure on Telstra. On one hand, many of its traditional services are now provided by digital companies, free of charge. But now, also, the NBN company has become the infrastructure provider for the national network. Telstra can no longer charge what it wants for its services as it is dependant on (high) wholesale charges from NBN Co.

It is within this context that we need to look at the recently announced restructuring of Telstra. The focus for companies such as Telstra – this is something that applies to all national telecoms providers around the world – is shifting from the value they can create from their services to the value they can create from their infrastructure assets. 

All digital companies depend on telecoms infrastructure to deliver their services, be it search, video, advertising, shopping and all other services. Governments depend on them for the delivery of e-health, education and economic development, to name just a few. At a time of high geopolitical tension, telecoms infrastructure has become even more critical national infrastructure.

Telstra has recently launched two new infrastructure companies: InfraCo Fixed and InfraCo Towers (as separate from their core services activities company, ServeCo). In theory, this means that these companies can now independently pursue new business opportunities and sell access to Telstra infrastructure to other parties such as Optus, TPG/Vodafone and many other Retail Service Providers and corporates.

On the other hand, again theoretically, Telstra ServeCo can independently buy its infrastructure service requirements from other parties. If that level of independence will be allowed, then this is indeed a truly transformative development. It will break through the decades-old artificial monopolistic structures that have governed the industry.

This is of course not to say that the market will be totally unregulated, far from it. The national digital infrastructure is of such massive national importance that regulations will always be needed and perhaps even strengthened in the wake of the geopolitical crisis that we are facing.

However, beyond that, this could be an enormous game-changer for the telecoms industry, if indeed that level of independence will be provided by the Telstra Group holding company.

Telcos are key to smart city success

I have been advocating for a breakup of the company for more than 20 years, so it is interesting that finally, Telstra sees the value of it. Obviously, Telstra has another strategy beyond this break-up. It wants to position itself for the opportunity to buy the NBN company, once the Government decides to privatise the state-based broadband wholesale monopoly.

When this happens, the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will most certainly become involved to avoid going back to yet another monopoly. So it remains uncertain how positive this will be for Telstra if they do succeed in buying the NBN.

But on the more positive side, below are a few examples of the mix and match infrastructure strategies that potentially could be developed. This could open the market for more innovation and more competition.

You could have a fibre-to-the-street network connecting 5G towers. If that infrastructure is provided in a structurally separate way, a range of independent retail service providers could provide their retail access services over such infrastructure combinations.

The 5G answer to the second-rate NBN

It could also provide a breakthrough in sharing infrastructure rather than overbuilding infrastructure — both in fixed and mobile networks. In relation to the latter with 5G, thousands of new towers will have to be erected around the country and it does not make economic sense to have three networks, as well as many private companies, overbuilding all of that infrastructure.

In regional areas – where there is only one mobile provider – we could now see other mobile operators be allowed Telstra towers to provide access to their services.

Of course, there will be scepticism among Telstra’s competitors, so we will need to wait for details to see if Telstra will indeed be able to offer interesting infrastructure products and services. If that is the case, then we will see a significant shape-up of the market.

Paul Budde is an Independent Australia columnist and managing director of Paul Budde Consulting, an independent telecommunications research and consultancy organisation. You can follow Paul on Twitter @PaulBudde.

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Boyd Cordner’s replacement in NSW Blues squad is no stranger to head knocks


“I’ve been unfortunate, I guess, where I’ve had a couple of bad ones that get spoken about,” Yeo told The Sun-Herald. “The Taumalolo one wasn’t great. The Michael Jennings one wasn’t great either.

“But I’ve played seven years of first grade and had three bad [concussions].

Isaah Yeo trains with the Blues on the Central Coast on Saturday.Credit:NRL Photos

“Make no mistake, you don’t want any head knocks. I saw a specialist, the findings are sent to the NRL and you go through them. Every one I’ve had I’ve only missed a week after it.

“People have said they’ve had lasting affects for weeks, but I’ve been fine in that regard. The position I play and the number of runs and tackles I make each week, I’ve been lucky I haven’t had many.”

Yeo was naturally disappointed for Cordner but also glad his health had been made the top priority by all involved.

Yeo, a 26-year-old Dubbo junior, was excited when Fittler declared there would be a couple of debutants for Origin II, but had a nervous wait until his name was finally read out in the No.17 jersey. Parramatta’s Nathan Brown will also make his debut off the bench.

“I was just hoping to make the 21-man squad because the boys who weren’t last week ended up getting a touch up at the captain’s run, and I didn’t want to be a part of that again,” Yeo said.

“I’m very excited. I messaged my family and partner straight away and they were over the moon.

“If everything goes to plan and there are no injuries on an edge, I’ll go into the middle at some point.”

Yeo was one of the many excellent players at the foot of the mountains this season. Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was so determined to start him in the middle he shifted James Fisher-Harris into the front row. Yeo comes off contract at the end of next year, but the Panthers have made his signature a priority with many at the club viewing him as the next captain.

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‘”I’ll worry about [contracts] once the camp is done,” Yeo said.

When pressed on the captaincy race with Nathan Cleary, he said: “We’ve got Nathan in camp. In club land he was the best player in the comp and that [leadership] was one area he’s really grown. We’re lucky we have number of candidates there.”

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