Ince slams Man Utd handing England trio new contractsby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United captain Paul Ince has slammed the new contracts handed to three players.Ince questioned the decision to hand new deals to Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard, insisting there are too many players at the club who ‘aren’t fit to wear the shirt.'”When players like Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard are getting long-term contracts, it shows how backward they are going,” Ince told Paddy Power.“Give them two or three-year contracts to keep them hungry, but don’t spoil them when they aren’t good enough for the club anyway.”He continued: “A resounding issue at the club is that there are far too many players who aren’t fit to wear the shirt. Something has got to give.“I’m not one to call for Jose Mourinho’s head, but something urgently needs to change. The board need to decide whether they’re going to pay him off or give him more money for players.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Southampton midfielder Ward-Prowse: We must regroup during international breakby Paul Vegas14 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse says they need to regroup during this international break.Saints lost their third top-flight game in a row on Sunday when they were comfortably beaten 4-1 by Chelsea at St Mary’s. Ward-Prowse said: “I think certainly it will be a case of having a look at ourselves individually and collectively.“First of all, we need to see what we ourselves as individuals need to do and change to bring to the table.“We’ve got a good period of time to work on a few things during the international break, so it will be a good time to work on them.“I think we all, individually, need to be better.“We’ve had an OK start to the season with a few good results here and there, but we need to be consistently better.“We want to start taking points off the big teams and we need to get that belief and drive back to do it again.”
New Delhi: The GST profiteering investigation arm has found leading FMCG firm P&G India guilty of not passing on GST rate cut benefits to the tune of about Rs 250 crore by a corresponding reduction in prices.Based on a complaint filed before the standing committee, the Directorate General of Anti profiteering (DGAP) investigated the books of accounts of P&G India pre and post November 15, 2017, and concluded that the consumer goods manufacturer has not lowered prices of certain of its products despite cut in GST rate to 18 per cent from 28 per cent. “The DGAP report has concluded profiteering worth Rs 250 crore by P&G. The National Anti Profiteering Authority will pass a final order on the quantum of profiteering after hearing the company’s views,” an official said.
Beijing: Pakistan’s relationship with India remains the “only problem” for peace and stability in the region, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said and expressed hope of establishing a “civilised relationship” with New Delhi after the Lok Sabha elections are over. Unless there is peace and stability in region, economic prosperity is difficult for Pakistan, and that is what right now the Pakistan government is working on, Khan who is in China to take part in the 2nd Belt and Road Forum, (BRF) said while addressing China International Cultural Communication Centre here on Friday. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report Khan said Pakistan hopes that the political solution in Afghanistan will succeed and the war-ravaged country attains stability. “Whatever happens in Afghanistan affects the Pakistan’s bordering areas. So we are working for a peaceful region. We have decent relationship with Iran and we are trying to strengthen them,” he was quoted as saying by state-run APP news agency. “The only problem right now is our relationship with India. But we are hoping that after the Indian elections, we will again hope to have a civilized relationship with India too,” he said. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protests Since his arrival here on April 25 to take part in the BRF meeting which concluded on Saturday, the Cricketer-turned-politician refrained from speaking on India-Pakistan ties which in the last two months have experienced severe strains following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack carried out by the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e Mohammed which killed 40 CRPF personnel. His emphasis during the visit appears to be firming up more projects for the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of China’s ambitious trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature global infrastructure policy. First announced in 2013, the project promises to build ports, roads and railways to revive the ancient Silk Road and create new trade corridors linking China to Asia, Africa and Europe. The BRF forum aims to showcase the progress of the BRI since it began in 2013. The CPEC is opposed by India as it is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). In his address at the roundtable meeting of the BRF forum presided by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Khan termed the CPEC as a transformational project which would play an important role in boosting connectivity between the Gwadar Port in Pakistan and Xinjiang region of China. He also underscored the importance of greater connectivity among the BRI participating countries and proposed four specific areas for particular focus, including digital connectivity, mobility of labour, cultural connectivity and sharing best practices in knowledge and innovation. To advance these proposals, among other things, Khan also suggested setting up of BRI Tourism Corridor to improve labour skills and mobility and creating multi-lingual digital platforms. He also mooted cooperation among the BRI countries for poverty alleviation and campaign against corruption. In his speech at the cultural centre, Khan said the BRI had come as a blessing for Pakistan. “Belt and Road Initiative has given us an opportunity to catch up with other nations. CPEC has provided an opportunity for Pakistan to attract investment not just from China, which is the fastest growing economy in the world now. So obviously, China is a main home from where we hope to invite investors,” he said. Khan also met Managing Director of International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing and reportedly discussed the bailout package. Pakistan is currently undergoing a severe balance of payment crisis, despite large infusion of investments from China, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The meeting reviewed the relationship between Pakistan and the IMF. Khan identified the areas of reform and initiatives being undertaken by his government to stabilise the economy, control inflation and achieve fiscal balance, the APP report said. The two leaders agreed on the importance of the IMF programme and to work towards an agreement for which a fund’s delegation is coming to Islamabad. The two sides agreed on the need for a social safety net for the vulnerable groups of the society.
Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s visit to Thiruvananthapuram and meeting with his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday has triggered widespread speculation in political circles that the Federal Front concept mooted by the former was all set to take shape, post the Lok Sabha results on May 23. Chandrashekhar Rao, who had a one-on-one meeting with Vijayan on the emerging political scenario, will also call on DMK president M K Stalin on May 13. With just two phases of the Lok Sabha elections remaining, the timing of Chandrashekhar Rao’s move indicates that the Federal Front could emerge as the front-runner to form the government at the Centre. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe Chief Minister, who has been pushing hard for a non-BJP, non-Congress political alternative to take over the reins of the country, has all along been saying that neither national party would be in a position to form the government at the Centre after May 23. Strong and like-minded regional parties that are seeking infusion of true federalism at the Centre unlike the NDA and UPA would come to power, Chandrashekhar Rao had repeatedly said during the election campaign. Even as the Chief Minister stepped up his efforts to forge the Federal Front, leaders of various political parties took note of the development, and described Chandrashekhar Rao as a person who understood the political pulse. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadKarnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy spoke with him and inquired about his two-State tour and also discussed the current political scenario. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia said the developments in South India indicated that Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s chances of forming a government for a second time were fading fast, and that Chandrashekhar Rao ‘understands the pulse of politics’. Earlier last year, Chandrashekhar Rao flew down to Kolkata to meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. After the meeting, he said a beginning was made to bring together like-minded group of political leaders aimed at a real federal front for the country. Later, he met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, MK Stalin in Chennai and former PM H D Deve Gowda as well as his son and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in April last year.
New Delhi: Infrastructure major Larsen and Toubro (L&T) on Friday acquired 13,440 shares of Mindtree from the open market, as per a regulatory filing. Earlier this month, L&T had purchased around 20 per cent stake of V G Siddhartha and Cafe Coffee Day in Mindtree through a block deal for about Rs 3,210 crore, and has since topped that up with share purchases from the open market. “Larsen and Toubro Ltd has acquired 13,440 equity shares (with a face value of Rs 10 each) of Mindtree Ltd on May 16, 2019,” a Mindtree filing said. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra After the latest transaction, L&T’s shareholding in Mindtree stands at 26.48 per cent. The latest stock purchase was made at Rs 979.98 apiece. On Thursday, L&T had acquired 8.86 lakh shares of Mindtree from the open market. In all, the infrastructure major is eyeing up to 66 per cent stake in Mindtree for around Rs 10,800 crore — marking the country’s first-ever hostile takeover bid in the information technology industry. L&T had proposed to buy additional stake in Mindtree through an open offer that was slated to begin on May 14 and close on May 27. However, the open offer seems to have been postponed as the engineering major is yet to get nod from the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Reports suggest that the offer could be delayed by a fortnight. Shares of Mindtree ended at Rs 981.80 apiece on the BSE on Friday, 0.16 per cent higher than the previous closing.
On these lists you’ll find all the old standbys but probably some surprises, too. Kyle Lowry’s performance last year put him the 97th percentile, well within the mark we’d expect to find for the best player on a championship-caliber team. The Toronto Raptors team around him just wasn’t up to that level.You’ll also notice that four members of the San Antonio Spurs appear on these lists, while just one member of the Miami Heat does: LeBron James. The Heat were something of an outlier last season as Dwyane Wade, the team’s second-best player, had an SPM that placed him in the 82nd percentile, more than a standard deviation less than the average second-best player on finals teams. In fact the average SPM percentile rank of the Heat’s three best players last season — James, Wade and Mario Chalmers — was just 82. On only six of the 40 finals teams in this sample did the three players have a lower average mark. By comparison, the average SPM percentile rank of the Spurs’ three best players last season was 92nd.Which brings us to the 2004 Pistons, the championship team often acknowledged as lacking a transcendent star. But this perception is a misconception. No players on the team were dominant individual scorers, sure, but the Pistons’ best players performed at levels of elite stardom. Their three best players that season — Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups — had SPM marks that placed them in the 95th, 95th and 92nd percentiles, respectively. In fact, the average of the trio’s SPM percentiles that season ranks higher than that of all but five of the 40 teams in this sample. The 2004 Pistons may have been starless in terms of the subjective ways we define the term, but by objective measures of performance, they had as much star power as nearly any championship-caliber team of the last 20 years.This should bring hope to teams like the Warriors, Grizzlies, Raptors and Wizards. We may not see Andrew Bogut, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry or John Wall as the kind of stars who can help lead a team to the finals. But each has been at or near that level of production in the past. If the teams around them can provide the necessary support, the fact that they aren’t dominating scorers or sneaker-selling heroes won’t stop them from winning championships. You need stars to win championships. It’s one of the oldest pieces of NBA conventional wisdom, and every year it’s validated as another star leads his team to the title. So far this year the Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards may hold some of the top spots in each conference while seemingly lacking the celestial requirements for championship contention. But at some point they’ll be overtaken by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs or Los Angeles Clippers.It’s an idea that gains more credence every time an NBA analyst trots it out. Bill Simmons asks, “Can you win an NBA Championship if Carmelo Anthony is your best player?” Jeff Caplan wonders if a team “lacking a legit superstar” like the Grizzlies or the Indiana Pacers can really win it all. NBA.com roundtables lead off with questions like, “Can a team win it all nowadays without an MVP-type superstar?” The starless 2004 Detroit Pistons are often acknowledged as the exception that proves the rule.What we do know for sure is that it takes an elite team performance to win a championship, and elite teams are usually (but not always) driven by elite players. The problem is that there is no objective definition of what makes somebody a suitable enough star to win championships. Dwyane Wade didn’t have the experience to lead his team to a title … until he did just that in the 2006 NBA Finals. After his playoff struggles in 2006 and 2007, Dirk Nowitzki clearly couldn’t help his team break through … until he did in the 2011 finals. Often we don’t recognize the players who meet our imagined championship threshold until the second before they cross it.But the data — the data holds some answers. We can use it to look at the rosters of teams that made the finals and better understand just how good their best players were. Using Statistical Plus-Minus — an estimated measure of a player’s value in points per 100 possessions relative to the league average — I looked at where each finals player ranked, relative to the league, in the season his team made the finals.The table at left covers the past 20 seasons and shows the average, minimum and maximum SPM percentile for the first, second and third-best players on finals teams.That bottom row is not the fabled 2004 Pistons. It’s the 1999 New York Knicks, who made their way to the finals as an eight seed during the lockout-shortened season. Only two other finals teams over the past 20 seasons had their best player rank below the 90th percentile in SPM — the 2010 Boston Celtics and the 2000 Indiana Pacers.So the best teams are indeed almost always driven by the best players. But who are those players? Let’s use last season as an example. The table below shows SPM percentile ranks from 2013-14. The table is color-coded, separating the players into two groups: those who are within one standard deviation of the average for the best players on NBA Finals teams for the 1994-95 through 2013-14 seasons, and those who just missed the cut.1Percentile ranks are for players who played at least 115 minutes, a pool of about 200 players per season.
It may be long overdue, but it appears that the NFL has finally learned to stop worrying and love the two-point conversion. Or at least that’s the leaguewide trend through four weeks in 2018.Three full seasons have passed since the league moved its extra-point distance to the 15-yard-line, making kickers boot the ball 33 yards for a PAT instead of the old, nearly automatic 20-yard distance. But head coaches seem to be embracing the trade-off between kicking and going for two more than ever this season. After they eschewed the extra point 14 times on Sunday, coaches have now gone for it after 11.8 percent of their touchdowns so far,1Through Sunday’s games. which (according to Pro-Football-Reference.com) is the highest rate for the first four weeks of any NFL season since the 1970 AFL merger.That continues a trend that has been generally building since that 2015 rule change, and it reverses a slight downturn from 2017: Perhaps this is partly a knee-jerk reaction to the special-teams carnage on display in Week 2, when NFL kickers missed 19 total kicks between field goals and extra points. (Although it should be noted that, on the whole, kickers have made 95.3 percent of their extra-point tries this season, which is right in line with the past couple years — and an improvement over their 94.4 percent mark from 2015, the first year at the new distance.)But maybe a better explanation is the fact that two-point conversions are working really, really well so far this year. When teams go for two, they’ve gotten into the end zone 63.2 percent of the time, which easily tops the success rates from any other season since 2006.2The first season of ESPN’s detailed play-by-play data. Remember that if the baseline accuracy rate for a regular extra-point is roughly 95 percent, a two-point conversion needs to succeed only 47.5 percent of the time to break even. So at 63 percent, the decision to go for two practically becomes a no-brainer!Of course, sustaining that 63 percent conversion rate will be pretty much impossible going forward. Prior to 2018, the league hadn’t even cracked 50 percent in any season since 2012. But the way in which teams are finding the end zone on conversions might offer some path toward sustainability. Two-point passes are being converted at a rate of 56 percent, up from their post-2005 average of 45 percent. And an even bigger leap has happened on runs, albeit in a small sample of 11 plays: 82 percent of two-point rushing attempts have found paydirt this year, way up from the historical average of 54 percent.Statheads have been saying for years that running in short-yardage situations is more effective than passing, and teams across the league have been proving that decisively this season, whether lined up on the 2-yard line after a touchdown or just in the course of regular play. In what Football Outsiders defines as “power” situations — third or fourth down, with 2 or fewer yards to go — runners are picking up the first down (or touchdown) 75 percent of the time this year, 6 percentage points more than their previous high going back to 2006. And although they haven’t figured into many two-point conversions yet in 2018,3Dallas’s Dak Prescott is the only QB to try a two-point run this year. quarterbacks are driving much of that short-yardage success, picking up the first down more than 96 percent of the time when rushing in power situations this season. (Some teams, like the Saints with Taysom Hill, are employing certain QBs as rushing specialists, which could add intrigue to conversion tries down the line.)Throw in gadget plays like Cleveland’s co-opted “Philly Special” during the Browns’ Week 3 win over the Jets, and teams may be only scratching the surface of their potential on two-point conversions early this season. After a few years of tinkering under the new rules — and perhaps a newfound willingness to accept perceived risks, following the influence of aggressive play-callers such as the Eagles’ Doug Pederson — coaches are finally starting to see the benefits that a second point after a TD can bring. Who knows? Maybe it won’t be long before we have to retrain ourselves to count in increments of eight, not seven, while doing the mental math of football.Check out our latest NFL predictions.
Senior center Ashley Adams (33) takes a shot during a game against Michigan State Jan. 26 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 82-68.Credit: Kaily Cunningham / Multimedia editorAlthough the Ohio State women’s basketball team lost its last game, the Buckeyes are still standing tall.The roller coaster ride that has been the team’s 2013-14 season is set to make its next stop in West Lafayette, Ind., to take on the No. 25 Purdue Boilermakers (15-7, 5-5) Thursday.The Buckeyes (14-11, 4-5) are coming off of a loss against Wisconsin Sunday, a game from which coach Kevin McGuff said he would like to move forward.“We just have to get back to practice,” McGuff said Wednesday. “That is our formula. We practice well, prepare well, we will play well. Hopefully, we can do that.”Despite the poor performance against the Badgers, OSU is still projected to be one of the “last four in” to the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament according to ESPN’s Bracketology.With a road game against a ranked team looming, McGuff said he does not like to put too much emphasis on projections or a particular game.“I do not ever look at that stuff until we are done playing,” McGuff said concerning the ESPN projections. “What happens when you start saying ‘This is a huge game because…’ then you get to the next game and it is not as big.”OSU redshirt-junior guard Amy Scullion said the win against the Boilermakers in their first meeting was a result of consistent offense and inspired defense.“We played well, we played hard, we made shots,” Scullion said. “That is a big thing for us. When our offense is clicking, it seems like our defense is a lot better.”Fellow Buckeye, junior guard Raven Ferguson, who has led the Buckeyes in scoring three out of the last four games, said the problem for OSU has been a lack of focus.“We need to focus on the finish and finish plays,” Ferguson said. “We just need to play harder as a team.”The Boilermakers will likely be without their leading scorer, redshirt-senior guard KK Houser, who tore her ACL in a loss at Michigan State Sunday. Houser scored a game-high 26 points on 9-20 shooting in Purdue’s loss to OSU Jan. 2.“(Purdue is) going to try and win for her,” McGuff said about Houser’s injury. “I think you will see an incredibly inspired effort (from Purdue) Thursday night.”The Boilermakers rely heavily on their three point shooting ability, as they shoot 38.7 percent from beyond the arc, good for second in the Big Ten. McGuff said he will stress the importance of defending the arc to his team.“They shoot it great,” McGuff said. “They can really light people up from the three point line. We are going to have our hands full defensively. We will need a great effort on that end of the floor.”Although the Boilermakers shoot well from deep, they are not a very big team, and roster lists their tallest player as redshirt-junior center Camille Redmon who stands at 6 feet 4 inches.The Buckeyes seem to excel against smaller teams as they blew out an Illinois team, 90-64, Jan. 30 whose tallest player stands at 6 feet 3 inches.OSU senior center Ashley Adams and redshirt-freshman center Lisa Blair both stand taller than 6 feet 5 inches.“I think that when we play smaller teams, we get our post players involved early and that kind of builds confidence for the team,” Scullion said. “Those are easy buckets for us and I think we build off of that.”The Buckeyes are set to tip off with the Boilermakers Thursday at 7 p.m.
Watford managed to beat Newcastle United 2-1 at home and Javi Gracia insisted that especially the first-half performance was great and his team deserved the win for their amazing effort at the home stadium.The Spanish coach claimed that his team had enough chances to kill the game before the half-time whistle as they missed a penalty as well – but they were leading just 2-0 and the Magpies were close to equalizíng the game.The Watford manager spoke about this tough win as he said, according to Chronicle Live:Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…“We played better in the first half. We could have killed the game and missed a penalty.”“After that, Newcastle played better and created chances to draw the game but we were a bit luckier than in the last games, where we didn’t have it. I’m very pleased to achieve the objective and I am proud of my players.”“Many times we have lost points [late on] and this was an important game. We needed the points and the players showed a good attitude, character and desire, and for that, I’m very happy.”