LATEST STORIES Jason Day of Australia, talks during a news conference at the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Quail Hollow Club Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jason Day’s swagger — and his motivation — have returned.“I’m hungry again — and I’m looking forward to trying to beat these guys,” Day said Wednesday on the eve of the 99th PGA Championship.ADVERTISEMENT K-pop star Jung Joon-young convicted of gang rape, spycam crimes That pressure, along with his mother’s lung cancer surgery in March, led to a rough start to the 2017 season. He tearfully pulled out of the Match Play Championship six holes in, too distraught to play, to join her ahead of the surgery.“It was difficult for me to be on the golf course and even think about actually playing at the time,” Day said.On the course, his driving deteriorated and his normally reliable short game eluded him. In short, he felt like his game plateaued.“You’re not panicking or anything, you’re just wondering why,” Day said. “You’re up at night thinking about, ‘OK, what do I need to do to get back to that winning room?’”If Day does get back to No. 1, he’s vowed to handle things differently. In some ways, he’s already done that.He didn’t arrive in Charlotte until Tuesday night and checked in to the tournament on Wednesday morning so he could spend more time at home in Ohio away from distractions.Day refuses to call this a lost season.Sure, he’s finished out of contention at the Masters (tied for 22nd), the U.S. Open (cut) and the British Open (tied for 27th), but he believes his putting and driving are coming back.And he harkens back to 2014 when he finished the year strong, which served as a springboard for two incredible seasons.“I want to win again,” Day said. “So I’m excited about that.” Day is in the midst of what he called a “very poor season” with only two top 10 finishes and no wins in 15 starts. But the world’s former No. 1 player feels like he’s about to turn the corner after finishing tied for 24th last week at Bridgestone.He’s also drawing confidence from his past success at the PGA Championship, winning at Whistling Straits in 2015 and finishing second last year to Jimmy Walker at Baltusrol. His renewed confidence may not be good news for the rest of the field this week. Jordan Spieth is aiming for a career grand slam.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I’m motivated now,” said Day, who withdrew from a tournament in March to be with his cancer-stricken mother.His best finish this year is second at the AT&T Byron Nelson, where he lost a playoff to Billy Horschel. Prosecutor: Tiger Woods to plead guilty to reckless driving Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Day entered the season as the top-ranked player but has since dropped to No. 7 — something that he says “annoys and motivates me at the same time.”He made it clear his goal is to get back on top — and anticipates that will start with a strong performance this week at Quail Hollow.The 29-year-old Australian said his passion waned late last season after getting “burned out.” Looking back, Day felt like he spread himself too thin trying to fulfill obligations and spending less time practicing and relaxing.“I was trying to do too many things,” he said.By the time the end of last year rolled around, Day said he was exhausted after spending nearly a full year as the top-ranked player.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next
Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez rued the little things that went wrong in San Beda’s 107-105 loss to Lyceum in double overtime in its last game in the NCAA Season 93 elimination round.Only a free throw separated victory and defeat for the Red Lions, who missed out of a chance thwart the Pirates’ historic sweep bid and keep the regular Final Four format.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next LATEST STORIES Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP MOST READ Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Perez grateful for immense trust from ‘hero’ Robinson Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf PLAY LIST 01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games “We have a good chance of winning that game but in the end, it just boiled down to one free throw,” he said, citing Robert Bolick’s split from the free throw line in the last 1.5 seconds of the first overtime period which could have decided the game.“It boiled down to easy layups, misses, and they got defensive rebounds, and then we fouled. It’s just little things that hopefully we can learn and look forward for the next round.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Pirates completed the record-setting 18-0 finish while snapping defending champions’ 15-game winning streak and forcing them to play in the stepladder semifinals without a twice-to-beat advantage despite their no. 2 record.Still, the multi-titled mentor was glad with how the Red Lions fought against the Pirates, noting that hope is still not lost in their title retention quest despite missing out on the Final 4 bonus. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president View comments Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa “We nearly won the game but we didn’t finish it. I just told the players that even though we lost this game, we still have another chance of getting into the Finals,” he said. “We just lost twice-to-beat advantage (because of the stepladder semis). We’re just on a bye and waiting for a knockout match. We just made life hard for us, but at least we showed that we can beat Lyceum.”But Fernandez warned San Beda that as much as the players want to get back at Lyceum in the big stage, it has to focus on the task at hand which is the stepladder semifinals.“Our main goal right now is not to look for LPU. Our focus is on the semifinals and who we’re gonna play next because until now, we still don’t who are opponent is in the stepladder,” he said. “Let’s forget LPU first. Let’s manage that semifinals win. Right now, we’re staying focused on what we have to do and focus on the next game.”ADVERTISEMENT BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight
What ‘missteps’? World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire The old ninth hole is now No. 8, and the Bye Hole is now No. 9. The 135-yard par-3 is what the makers of Erin Hills consider their answer to one of the world’s most picturesque golf holes — the short, downhill seventh at Pebble Beach.“We didn’t have the ocean, so we put in erosion bunkers,” said writer/architect Ron Whitten, who helped design Erin Hills.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThey also designed a rolling, multi-sectioned green that, in places, is near-impossible to hold, along with a tee box on an exposed, wind-swept hill.As is the case at Pebble Beach, where the seventh measures 109 yards, on most days the shot requires nothing more than a pitching wedge. But where No. 7 at Pebble Beach ranked as the third-easiest hole at the 2010 U.S. Open, No. 9 at Erin Hills is designed to cause more trouble than that. “Guys are going to get a little upset with that if the ball hits the middle of the green and it rolls all the way off the green and maybe 10 yards down into a chipping area,” Steve Stricker said. “I think at some point that may need to get a little softened.”Rain might do that, but during summer in Wisconsin, rain almost always means wind, too, and picking a club while playing downhill with a helping or crossing wind will be hard.Osborn said he expects more players than not to end up short of the green, in part because the bunkers that guard the back are tougher — filled with uneven lies, uneven distribution of sand and little dimples of scrub and turf that protrude into the traps themselves.All part of the plan.“You could have a side-hill lie, a lie that might be in one of those little fingers where you can’t even get the club on the ball,” Whitten said. “You might have a lie where you can’t take the club back. You might have to turn sideways or turn backward.“But if you were in the water, it’d be even worse.”No. 9 offers the most extreme example of the architects’ philosophy across the course: Use the natural form of the land to turn bunkers back into hazards.“They shouldn’t be so cushy and consistent and uniform from hole to hole,” Whitten said.The bunkering will increase the degree of difficulty on what is already the longest layout in U.S. Open history, at 7,741 yards.And yet, it’s the shortest hole that could give these players the biggest fits. Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Johnson hopes timing is right for another US Open title “Not super long,” Noren said, “but it’s probably one of the hardest greens I’ve ever seen.” View comments WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken “Honestly, there are a couple spots where you just do not want to be,” said Garrett Osborn, a onetime regular on the Web.com Tour who qualified for his first U.S. Open this year.No. 9 has been described — and we’ll keep it just to the printable things — as the shortest par-5 in golf, the hole with the scariest second shot at Erin Hills (if you miss the green on the first) and, as Alex Noren of Sweden said, “a hole where there’s no way you can just hit a decent shot to get on there, you have to hit a super-good shot to have a chance.”During his practice round Wednesday, Noren tried to simulate what happens if the shot is not “super good.”He randomly dropped a ball in one of the seven bunkers that surround the severely pitched green. He stepped in, leaned down and took a mighty hack. The ball stayed in. He leaned down again and got it out on the second try, then walked to the ball, picked it up, looked at it and threw it toward the stands. The ball had an inch-long gash just above the Callaway logo from his first failed attempt.Not that avoiding the bunkers guarantees success. The middle of the putting surface pitches severely right and funnels downhill into a tightly mowed collection area that can leave a tricky flop shot for a second.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. The ninth hole is seen during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament Wednesday at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin. APERIN, Wisconsin — One of the many quirks at Erin Hills is what was originally called the Bye Hole — a devilish, downhill par-3 positioned between the old ninth and No. 10. It was initially built to be just for fun and wasn’t supposed to count on the official scorecard.By the end of the U.S. Open, a lot of these players might wish the course architects had kept it that way.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ
TNT’s Danny Seigle blocks San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo in Game 3 of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netGrand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer is off to what coach Leo Austria said was its best conference start after a championship.The Beermen hope to keep Austria smiling when they slug it out with TNT KaTropa, the very same side they ripped last conference, as the two traditional powerhouses part ways in the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.ADVERTISEMENT Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet LATEST STORIES FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy, who will see action for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia, and Troy Rosario, who will be suiting up in the Southeast Asian Games, are all going to play for the Texters to be in full force.June Mar Fajardo, meanwhile, will continue to lead the Beermen as he can still come up with a dominant conference and hopefully salvage a fourth straight MVP.Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra shoots for a second straight win when the Gin Kings tangle with winless KIA Picanto in the 4:15 p.m. contest.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Pirates sail to best start National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and both the Beermen and the Texters will be picking up the intensity as they clash for the first time since San Miguel posted a 4-2 ripping in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals just more than a month back.After a 118-93 win over shorthanded Blackwater last week, Austria was able to say something he never had a chance to after five championships in less than three seasons as coach of the Beermen.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“I think this is our best start (coming off a championship),” Austria said after the win off Blackwater. “I’m so proud of my players (because) despite the long break, they were very sharp.”There is a lot riding on how the Beermen perform—and finish—in this conference as the league’s sixth Triple Crown sweep is well within reach. It will also be the second Grand Slam for the franchise, if ever, and with a solid local core and management support, everyone’s expecting them to go all the way. View comments
Photo By Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLAPU-LAPU CITY — Amelia Watkinson didn’t deny that her below par showing last year haunted her going to the 2017 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines.After finishing sixth in a tough field last year, the Kiwi triathlete bid her time to atone for her poor performance as she sought to have a better outing this time out.ADVERTISEMENT NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Rain or Shine set to trade Jeff Chan to Phoenix LATEST STORIES National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress “Last year was a bit of an A-race. It wasn’t really my day. I struggled little bit, a little bit sick, and nervous,” she reflected.Fortunately for Watkinson, her third time in the country was indeed a charm as she made up for that forgettable performance and more.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsThe 26-year-old came out hot off the gates as she established an early lead against her fellow female pros in the swim course before further extending the gap in the bike and run tracks to win at Shangri-La Mactan here.Topping the list in her category, it’s just the comeuppance Watkinson was looking for as she finally won her first race this year. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “You always take something from the bad races, so it’s not a hindrance to come back and try to be better than last year,” she said.It was quite an impressive showing for Watkinson, who clocked in almost six full minutes ahead of her closest competitor Jacqueline Thistleton.“You always strive for the podium, definitely. I’ve had a bit of a slow start to the year so I wasn’t quite sure if my fitness can hold it up,” she said. “But as I’ve said, I was pretty upset about my sixth place finish and I try to learn from it and this year, I’m always motivated to win. Winning is pretty special because not everybody gets to win.”ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo MOST READ
Rohan Bopanna let slip a famous win out of his hands as he squandered three match points to lose the marathon first singles to world number 27 Thomaz Bellucci on the opening day of the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie, in Chennai on Friday.Coming into the tie after his amazing run at the US Open, Bopanna almost had the match in his pocket but nerves got the better of him as he lost 7-6 (2) 6-7 (7) 5-7 6-4 10-8 after slogging for four-and-a-half hours.With Bopanna’s defeat, India have conceded a 1-0 lead and now Somdev Devvarman will have to win the second singles against Ricardo Melo to save the day for the hosts.Bellucci, who struggled with his first serve throughout, braved cramps and turned it around amazingly for Brazil, justifying his top-30 rank and also saving himself from an embarrassing defeat against a player, who is ranked 479.With a comfortable 5-2 lead in the final set, Bopanna had three match points in game eight but squandered all as the big moment overwhelmed him.Bopanna was egged on by his teammates and little crowd in attendance but never recovered from the setback and dropped his serve in the next game.His confidence, with which he dominated his superior ranked early on, gradually waned away and another break of serve in the 17th game ended all his hopes.Before that Bopanna was comfortably placed to win the second set tie-break as he was up 5-2 but allowed Bellucci to make a comeback and lost the set.At the start, Bopanna used his lethal serve and big strokes quite effectively and was also aided by some erratic shot-making by lean-built Bellucci.Left-handed Bellucci was erratic with his serve and paid a big price, as it had a bearing on the outcome of the first set.Bopanna, mostly playing from the baseline and approaching the net occasionally, did not concede much points on his serve which was too hot to handle for the Brazilian.Bopanna created two break opportunities in the first set — second and sixth games — but could not convert any as he tried too hard, looking over-anxious on those big points.Bellucci got into the groove gradually but there was hardly a long rally as both the players fetched points with their serve game.With no player able to garner a break, the first set was stretched to a tie break in which the Indian shot to a comfortable 5-1 lead when Bellucci committed two double faults. Those were unpardonable errors and Bopanna latched on the opportunity to take lead.The second set could not have started in a better way for Bopanna as he cashed in on the second breakpoint to get the first break of the match.However, a string of unforced errors by Bopanna gave Bellucci a chance to break back and the Brazilian accepted the offer gleefully.Bopanna, down 4-5, saved a set-point in the 10th game but failed to convert any of the three chances in the next game, forcing another tie-break to break the deadlock.It was a seesaw tie-break as Bopanna was all over Bellucci with a comfortable 5-2 lead but the Brazilian turned it around amazingly by saving three set points and went on to win it, bringing the match to level terms.Having made a comeback, Bellucci grew in confidence and got a mini-break by breaking Bopanna in the first game of the third set and held his serve in the next.Two silly mistakes almost cost Belluci the set when he failed to put ball in an open court on his first set-point and then fumbled on an attempted drop shot.Another unforced error handed Bopanna the crucial break, making the scoreline 5-5 but the Indian dropped the next game to trail again.Having escaped the turnaround, Bellucci wrapped up the set on his serve to take a 2-1 lead.Another feeble attempt by Bellucci to play a drop shot handed Bopanna all important breakpoint in the 10th game in the fourth set and the Indian hit a stunning backhand winner to make it two-set all.Bopanna rode on a double break to create a 4-1 lead in the decisive set but still ended on the wrong side of the result.advertisement
Roger Federer threw in his entry for shot of the tournament as he slamdunked Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka to reach the French Open quarterfinals with another razzle-dazzle display on Sunday.His 6- 3, 6- 2, 7- 5 victory meant he set a new men’s record of 28 consecutive last eight appearances at Grand Slams, beating Jimmy Connors’ mark of 27.Novak Djokovic also made it to the last eight with a 6- 4, 6- 4, 6- 2 win over France’s Richard Gasquet. Second seed Djokovic will now face unseeded Italian Fabio Fognini for a place in the semi- finals.Unstoppable Novak Djokovic powered into the quarter-finals when he ended Richard Gasquet’s hopes of an upset in front of his home crowd with a 6- 4, 6- 4, 6- 2 victory. The win was Djokovic’s 41st straight victory since the start of the year, putting him one behind John McEnroe’s record.Gasquet, the 13th seed, was on the backfoot from the start when he lost his opening service game before failing to convert three break points of his own in one game.The Serbian, covering every area of the court with his remarkable stamina, took the initiative at 4- 3 in the second set and Gasquet’s double fault let him in again in the third before a backhand passing shot put the second seed even further clear.Also on Sunday, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova knocked out the highest seeded player remaining in the women’s draw, defeating No. 3 Vera Zvonareva 7- 6 ( 4), 2- 6, 6- 2 to earn a spot in the quarterfinals.Defending champion Italy’s Francesca Schiavone overcame Serbian Jelena Jankovic 6- 3, 2- 6, 6- 4 to advance into the last eight, as did Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, who progressed when Argentina’s Gisela Dulko retired early in the second set.advertisement2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 6- 7 (6), 6- 3, 6- 2.The last time Federer failed to reach the quarterfinals at a major was at the 2004 French Open, when he was the top- seeded player but lost to Gustavo Kuerten in the third round.”Twenty-eight quarter-finals in a row, that’s great,” Federer said. ” But that’s another opportunity for me to go one step further.” Federer again dominated with his serve. He was broken once early in the third set, but broke back twice to remain one of the four players to have won every match in straight sets.”I was playing with the wind against me, and it was a bad game because all of a sudden there was more wind, and I had the feeling that I was playing against the wind and not against Stan,” Federer said.Fabio Fognini also reached the quarter-finals, the first Italian to advance that far at Roland Garros since 1995. The unseeded Fognini overcame a cramping left leg and five match points to defeat Albert Montanes of Spain 4- 6, 6- 4, 3- 6, 6- 3, 11- 9.Vera Zvonareva returns to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova during the fourth round of the French Open on Sunday. APThe third-seeded Zvonareva followed No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 2 Kim Clijsters out of the tournament after losing to Pavlyuchenkova, at 19 the youngest player still in the tournament. Wozniacki and Clijsters both lost in the third round. No. 4 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus is now the highest seeded player left.It is only the third time that none of the top three seeded women has reached the quarter- finals at a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968, and the first time at the French Open.- With Agency inputs
Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif is not a part of Dhoom 3.Rumours about the 26-year-old actress being a part of the hit franchise has been doing the rounds but production house Yashraj films has denied that Kaif will join Aamir Khan in the movie.Kaif is currently busy for her role in the upcoming Ek The Tiger, which is set to go on floors soon.The third instalment of the action thriller film will see Aamir Khan donning the hat of the “smart villain” for the first time.The first and the second part had John Abraham and Hrithik Roshan sporting the role of the “cool headed and intelligent” thieves respectively.Dhoom had Esha Deol and Dhoom 2 had Aishwarya Rai in the female lead.
Two days after his much-awaited comeback match was washed out due to persistent rain, the focus is back on Yuvraj Singh as he looks to resume his innings in international cricket with the second Twenty20 game between India and New Zealand here on Tuesday.The first T20 in Visakhapatnam was called off without a ball being bowled, leaving the thousands who had thronged the stadium to watch Yuvraj’s much-anticipated return from a successful battle against a rare germ cell cancer, disappointed as rain had the final say. This time Yuvraj would be hoping for a rain-free comeback.Yuvraj was diagnosed with the ailment between his lungs within months of winning the Man of the Tournament award in the 2011 World Cup.His career looked in jeopardy when the diagnosis was first revealed but the flamboyant all-rounder fought back after undergoing three cycles of chemotherapy in USA.After a satisfactory rehabilation programme at the NCA, the 30-year-old left-hander will be donning the Team India jersey for the first time post-treatment, and he will surely look to make a statement at the MA Chidambaram stadium.His last International appearance was the Kolkata Test against the West Indies in November last year, while it was more than a year ago when he last played a T20 (against South Africa on January 9, 2011).Besides Yuvraj, the match will also mark Harbhajan Singh’s return to the squad after a long layoff. The off-spinner had gone out of favour after being blanked 0-4 in the disastrous England tour in July-August last year.advertisementHowever, with his immediate challenger Ravichandran Ashwin in great form, having taken wickets by the bagful in recent times, chances of Harbhajan being included in the playing XI does not look too bright.It will be interesting to see if the think-tank goes for an all-offspin attack.The brief two-match series assumes significance as it is being looked upon as the start of India’s countdown for the World Twenty20 that will get underway in Sri Lanka on September 18.And with the first match being washed out, the Men in Blue will look to utilise tomorrow’s encounter to the fullest, though inclement weather can play spoilsport again.The visitors may hold an edge statistically having won all their three T20 ties against India, but the hosts will still start as favourites after their 2-0 sweep in the Test series.While Yuvraj and Harbhajan’s presence have added to their strengths, India’s mainstay in batting in recent months has undoubtedly been Virat Kohli.The youngster from Delhi has been going through a purple patch of sorts, having scored runs in every format of the game and against almost every opposition.The hosts also have, in the ranks, Suresh Raina, who have always excelled in this format. Having played here in four out of the last five editions of the Indian Premier League, the Chennai Super Kings knows the conditions like back of his hand.Add to it the explosive opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, and the batting line-up looks formidable.Sehwag has not been in the best of form of late, but one can never take him lightly.Last but not the least is the calm influence of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of the hardest hitters in world cricket.In the middle-order Rohit Sharma will have to prove his worth soon enough or the struggling batsman might end up losing his spot to the talented Manoj Tiwary, who has been waiting in the wings.As far as bowling is concerned, Ashwin will be the man to look out for as he flummoxed the Kiwis by picking up 18 wickets in the Test series. The local boy would be keen to continue the dream run in front of his home crowd.The resurgence of seamer Irfan Pathan in the last ODI series in Sri Lanka is another positive for India.Also returing to side, after being on the sidelines for more than three and a half years, will be pacer Laxmipathy Balaji.The unassuming bowler paved the way for his comeback with a tidy performance for IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders, and he will certainly look to make an impression if he gets a look-in alongside spearhead Zaheer Khan.On the other hand, New Zealand have been struggling for a while now, having lost three consecutive Test series (against South Africa, West Indies and India).The Black Caps will look to experienced campaigners such as Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills — the three have joined the side for the T20s — for a turnaround in their fortunes ahead of the World T20.advertisementCaptain Ross Taylor, who struck a counter-attacking century in the Test series, and big-hitting opener Brendon McCullum will have to shoulder the batting responsibilty.The ones mentioned above have the experience of playing in these conditions thanks to their IPL stints.The visitors will also expect handy contributions from pacers Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee and James Franklin.Teams (from):India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Laxmipathy Balaji, Ashok Dinda, Piyush Chawla and Manoj TiwaryNew Zealand: Ross Taylor (c), Brendon McCullum (wk), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram, Doug Bracewell, Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Nathan McCullum, Ronnie Hira, Kyle Mills and BJ Watling.Match starts at 7 pm (IST).