Harbhajan’s mom at bat
Spin bowler Harbhajan Singh’s mother has filed a legal notice against a liquor company for running an advertisement in which India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni ridicules her son, local media reported yesterday. Dhoni, promoting a UB Group brand in the commercial, mocks teammate Harbhajan’s catchphrase from another advertisement promoting a rival product. The spoof also shows a Harbhajan lookalike being slapped, something many feel was not in good taste. Harbhajan’s mother Avtar Kaur has asked the company to apologize through newspapers and television channels and to withdraw the advertisement within three days of receiving the legal notice. However, UB Group chief Vijay Mallya has ruled out withdrawing the commercial, the Times of India newspaper reported. “It was not meant to attack Harbhajan Singh personally. It was just a spoof between two brands,” Mallya, who is also the head of Formula One team Force India, told the newspaper. “There are several TV programs that spoof our politicians. What will happen if all of them start sending legal notices?”
Dhoni bat hits six figures
The cricket bat used by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to hit a match--winning six in the World Cup final has fetched a staggering ￡100,000 (US$160,500) at an auction, media reported yesterday. The auction was held in London on Monday to raise funds for his charitable foundation that was launched in India last year, the Press Trust of India news agency said. The India captain, who scored an unbeaten 79-ball 91 with the bat in his team’s six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the final in Mumbai in April, sealed the match when he smashed seamer Nuwan Kulasekara for six.
Given signs with Villa
Aston Villa on Monday announced the signing of experienced Irish goalkeeper Shay Given on a five-year contract from Premier League rivals Manchester City. The 35-year-old, who arrived for an undisclosed fee, is Villa coach Alex McLeish’s first signing since he succeeded Gerard Houllier at the end of last season. “Aston Villa is a huge club and I’m really excited to be joining,” Given told the Villa Web site. “It’s a new challenge and I’m eager to embrace it.” Given joined City from Newcastle United for ￡7 million (US$11.2m) in 2009, but has spent much of his time on the bench after City coach Roberto Mancini decided to make England international Joe Hart his first-choice goalkeeper. The Irishman, his country’s most capped player with 113 appearances, will replace American goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who left Villa for Tottenham Hotspur last month after three years at the Midlands club.
Final sparks Twitter frenzy
Twitter users fired off a record number of tweets per second at the final whistle of Japan’s thrilling upset win over the US in the women’s World Cup final. The San Francisco-based real-time blogging service said Twitter users sent 7,196 tweets per second after Japan defeated the US in a penalty shootout. Twitter, in a statement on its @TwitterGlobalPR feed, said another soccer match was next in terms of the highest number of tweets per second ever sent: Brazil’s shock loss to Paraguay in the Copa America. Twitter users sent 7,166 tweets per second at the conclusion of that match. Twitter’s previous record was the 6,939 tweets per second sent on January 1 this year as the New Year arrived in Tokyo.
STANDINGS: The Uni-President Lions’ victory pushed the CTBC Brothers to first place after they won their third straight game, beating the Fubon Guardians 6-3 The big bats of the Uni-President Lions were on fire in the CPBL yesterday as they crushed the Rakuten Monkeys 21-5 in Taoyuan, with outfielder Lin An-ko driving in seven runs on five hits and two homers. The result enabled the CTBC Brothers to take the No. 1 spot after they beat the Fubon Guardians 6-3. It was a highlight reel for the Taiwanese-Argentinian star Lin, who drilled two homers amid a heated home-run race between himself, now on 16 for the season, and Lions teammate Su Chih-chieh, who is on 18. Lin performed outstandingly, collecting five hits at six at-bats to drive
GERMAN LEADER: Liverpool’s 19th English title, one behind Manchester United’s record of 20, owes much to the transformational impact of coach Juergen Klopp Liverpool on Thursday ended a 30-year wait for the English title as they were crowned Premier League champions, triggering jubilant scenes as fans ignored social distancing measures to celebrate uproariously. Juergen Klopp’s men sealed a 19th league title with a record seven games remaining after Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat of second-placed Manchester City left the defending champions an unbridgeable 23 points adrift. Liverpool’s first English title since 1989-1990 — delayed by the COVID-19 suspension — earns them their maiden trophy in the Premier League, which was introduced in 1992-1993 and has been won 13 times by their archrivals Manchester United. Klopp was in tears
WOLFSBURG BEATEN: Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored from a penalty, his 34th league goal this season, finishing as the top Bundesliga scorer for the fifth time Werder Bremen gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga by thrashing Cologne 6-1 to grab a playoff place on the last day of the season, while champions Bayern Munich routed VfL Wolfsburg before lifting the trophy on Saturday. Japan striker Yuya Osako scored twice as Bremen stole the lifeline of the relegation/promotion playoff place from Fortuna Duesseldorf, who lost 3-0 against Union Berlin and were relegated with SC Paderborn, finishing one point behind Bremen. “We put in a great performance under pressure, but we are aware that we haven’t achieved anything — in the relegation playoff, the emotions will be
Alexis Lafreniere was supposed to walk on stage on Friday night in Montreal as the top pick in the NHL draft. After the COVID-19 pandemic paused the hockey season and postponed that possibility, Lafreniere was supposed to find out Friday night where he would be going when the league held its draft lottery. Instead, he must wait a little bit longer. Chaos reigned at the NHL draft lottery, with the No. 1 pick still up for grabs in a second lottery drawing among the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round of the playoffs — if play resumes. “We all knew