Tag Archives: reflexes

Manny Pacquiao: Ricky Hatton comeback is a mistake

Pacquiao on Hatton's return: I respect Ricky but he's making a big mistake



13:42 GMT, 21 November 2012

Ricky Hatton is making a big mistake returning to the ring this Saturday. That is the verdict of Manny Pacquiao, the man whose knockout blow consigned the two-weight world champion into retirement three years ago.

The Hitman makes his big comeback this Saturday against Ukraine's former WBA welterweight king Vyacheslav Senchenko in front of a sell-out crowd at Manchester Arena.

But Pacquaio, who brutally defeated Hatton inside two rounds at the MGM Grand in May 2009, thinks the 34-year-old should have stayed away from the ring for good and insisted it is not something he will ever do once he walks away.

Comeback: Ricky Hatton undergoes his final preparations with his trainer Bob Shannon before Saturday's big return

Comeback: Ricky Hatton undergoes his final preparations with his trainer Bob Shannon before Saturday's big return

'I do not think it is a good idea to come back once a fighter has retired. It’s not something I plan on doing,' said Pacquaio, quoted in the Daily Express.

'I know how hard it is to get back into good boxing shape after being out of the training camp for only three or four months.'

Pacquiao is preparing for his first fight since controversially losing his WBO welterweight title to Timothy Bradley last June with a fourth fight against rival Juan Manuel Marquez next month in Las Vegas.

Blow: Manny Pacquiao destroyed Hatton inside two rounds in May 2009

Down and out: Manny Pacquiao destroyed Hatton inside two rounds in May 2009 (celebrating, below)

Down and out: Pacquiao celebrates his win over Hatton in May 2009

Despite voicing his concerns over Hatton's return, the Filipino legend insisted he respects the Manchester fighter's decision.

'I cannot imagine what it is like after a number of years,' Pacquaio added.

'It’s not just the conditioning, it’s the reflexes, legs, mental conditioning, and so much more.

'But this is Ricky’s decision to make and I respect him for it.'

Crunch test: Hatton will collide with Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena

Crunch test: Hatton will collide with Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena

Sachin Tendulkar scores hundred ahead of England series

Timely ton gets Tendulkar in the groove heading into England series

Lawrence Booth


13:05 GMT, 2 November 2012



13:05 GMT, 2 November 2012

If there really is a gap between Sachin Tendulkar’s bat and front pad, it wasn’t immediately obvious at the Wankhede on Friday.

Of all the questions currently swirling around India’s Test batting line-up – and there are several – the state of Tendulkar’s reflexes is, as they say, right up there.

Everyone has a different take on the likely date of his retirement: some say he will go after the second Test against England here in Mumbai, his home town; others reckon he’ll wait until the end of the series; a few scoff at the idea that he’ll do anything other than impersonate Ol’ Man River. This is, after all, his fourth decade as an international cricketer and all-Indian phenomenon.

Back in the groove: Tendulkar was in action at the Wankhede on Friday

Back in the groove: Tendulkar was in action at the Wankhede on Friday

One wag suggested his dream was to bat in a Test match with his son Arjun. Arjun is 13.

But whenever Doomsday arrives, there is general agreement about the fact that he could do with some runs. He was bowled three times out of three during India’s most recent home Test series by New Zealand’s seamers – who are handy, but not devastating – then endured a horrible Champions Trophy with Mumbai Indians in South Africa.

Cricketers who have been operating since the 1980s are allowed the occasional dip in form. But Tendulkar is now 39, the age at which most cricketers are ex-cricketers. And he is, well, Tendulkar.

So when he walked out to bat at 1.19pm local time for Mumbai against Railways on the first day of the new Ranji Trophy season – India’s first-class competition – it’s fair to say that there was more than the usual interest.

Legend: Tendulkar is idolised in India

Legend: Tendulkar is idolised in India

The clues that his Mumbai side had won the toss came at the stadium gates, where spectators queued in the treacherous hope of a couple of early wickets for the Railways bowlers.

In the event, they had to wait nearly four hours for the star attraction, including a tantalising moment 10 minutes before lunch when Mumbai’s second wicket fell, and out walked… Rohit Sharma. Taking it easy in his first Ranji game for three years, Tendulkar had decided to go in at No 5.

Then, nearly 40 minutes after the break, Sharma was run out chancing a quick single, and the thousand or so spectators concentrated almost exclusively in the Vijay Merchant Pavilion rose to acclaim a player they have evidently not tired of watching.

Tendulkar rotated his neck, widened his eyes to take in the light, jogged on the spot, brushed away a couple of blemishes on the pitch – real or imagined – and calmly defended his first ball, from left-arm spinner Murali Kartik.

Still going strong: Tendulkar is set to face England at the ripe old age of 39

Still going strong: Tendulkar is set to face England at the ripe old age of 39

Only Tendulkar could have earned a round of applause for such mundanity. Perhaps it was borne of relief. Yet it turned out there was little reason to be worried.

As well as scoring an unfeasible amount of runs for India, Tendulkar has husbanded an impressive first-class record for Mumbai: 3,865 runs before Friday at an average of 89, with 16 hundreds.

And soon he was off again, tucking his sixth ball, from left-arm seamer Hardik Rathod, off his hip for two, pinching a quick single here and there in the V, then crashing Anureet Singh’s right-arm seam through point for his first boundary. It had taken him 39 minutes – and the crowd evidently thought it was worth the wait.

After that – and a fortuitous Chinese cut to the fine-leg fence off Rathod – Tendulkar started to play his shots against the Railways spinners, lofting Ashish Yadav’s slow left-armers over mid-on for four, then easing a full-toss down the ground next ball for four more.

Easy does it: There was an air of inevitability about Tendulkar's ton

Easy does it: There was an air of inevitability about Tendulkar's ton

Easy does it: There was an air of inevitability about Tendulkar's ton

Shortly before tea, he got into position for the slog-sweep, and deposited Shivkant Shukla over long-on for six. At the break, he had 40 from 58 balls, and was beginning to look the part.

What followed in the final session was writ through with a strange inevitability. Warming to his theme, Tendulkar took 21 off an over from Yadav, and was soon completing his 79th first-class hundred – and his first since January 2011.

By the time he cut Rathod to second slip, he had made 137 from 136 balls, with 21 fours and three sixes.

England will expect to pose more of a threat to his future than the Railways bowlers, but this was about more than massaging his Ranji Trophy numbers. Tendulkar may just be at that point in his career where he needs to feel bat on ball just to silence the voices within. This will do nicely.

Martin Keown: Premier League bootroom and Joe Hart is on top of the world

Premier League bootroom and brave Hart is on top of the world



21:48 GMT, 5 October 2012

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart looks inspired at the moment.

His match-saving per formance against Borussia Dortmund proved that once again he is up there with the best in the world.

From a technical point of view, he has tremendous reach and reflexes and he is fantastic in one-on-one situations, coming out of his goal at a rate of knots. He is so brave too.

One of the best: Manchester City keeper Joe Hart

One of the best: Manchester City keeper Joe Hart

But it is his maturity that sets him above others. After the defeat by Real Madrid last month, where he was culpable for the third goal, Hart was criticised by his manager Roberto Mancini for speaking his mind.

But he was taking responsibility and Mancini should be proud of that.

Your goalkeeper shouldn't be happy conceding goals. It's not been easy for Hart with every game feeling like a cup final for City, such is the difficulty of their Champions League group.

There has also been disruption in front of him with central defenders chopping and changing. As a keeper, you get used to the strengths and weaknesses of your centre backs and adapt your game accordingly, so it can't be easy for him at the moment.

What I also like about Hart is that he shows controlled aggression when it comes to shouting at his defenders – he's not a ranter and raver but he lets them know when they have made mistakes.

Everyone has their own style. David Seaman went quiet and used to blame himself if a goal was scored but with Neville Southall, you never looked at him when the ball went in the net because he was very vocal and would look to blame defenders.

Hart is the best England keeper we've had since Seaman. He's won the Premier League, the FA Cup and he's building a winning mentality.

He is well ahead of the game at just 25 years old and being at a successful club will only fast-track him to greatness. He is at a club where he will be continually challenged.

talking tactics
Louder, Laudrup

It is not easy following in the footsteps of a popular manager, so I sympathise with Michael Laudrup, who has taken over from Brendan Rodgers at Swansea. He's gone four Premier League games without a win now and that concerns me.

It is also hard to work out what style of manager Laudrup is as he never looks animated on the touchline.

He doesn't look happy and it's as if he's trying hard to keep his anger in check. When you are not playing well, it is often helpful to have the manager offering encouragement from the sidelines.

You need it. We'll have to see if he becomes more animated in the coming weeks.

Shaw shot

England manager Roy Hodgson is not blessed with an abundance of centre halves, so it makes sense to have called up Stoke's Ryan Shawcross.

He uses his body incredibly well, levering his opponent away from the ball without giving away a foul. He's mastered the art of denying the attacker space.

And if he's good enough against top opposition in the Premier League each week, he should be good enough for international selection. It's now up to him to prove that. It is healthy to have a look at someone new. People were sceptical about Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka but they have blossomed.

Shawcross must now do the same.


match column one

match column two