Hong Kong and Pakistan win Asian Squash Teams

Pakistan and Hong Kong China emerged winners of the men’s and women’s team events at the Asian squash championships on Saturday. Pakistan snuffed out Malaysia’s hopes of a title defence in two matches while Hong Kong China brushed aside India’s feeble opposition with a similar scoreline.

In the women’s event, India was outplayed by a resurgent Hong Kong China, a team the host had beaten in the league stage. Anaka Alankamony fought gallantly against Joey Chan, splitting the first two games and racing to 7-3 in the third. From then, Chan won six successive points to reach 9-7 and closed the game 11-9. A 9-3 lead in the fourth game was too much for her opponent to surmount as Chan sealed it 11-7. Joshna Chinappa (WISPA rank 31) experienced a 25-minute pasting at the hands of World. No. 18 Rebecca Chiu in the second match. Read more of this post

Squash catches ’em young!

There is innocence toddling in every inch of the ICL Squash Academy, now replete with the gentle bustle and bubbly chirps of 32 tots, who have enrolled for the summer camp.
Some might bloom, some might wither, but they have all made their first gentle strides into the world of squash.
For a whole lot of them, this is their first taste of squash. Neither as popular as cricket nor as glamorous as tennis, squash might not have swayed their fancy.
So the first shot of the course was to get them acquainted with the game. Chief coach Cyrus Poncha’s lecture on basic strokes in squash,which was followed by a video footage of the same, featuring SRFI consultant coach Major Maniam and World No. 1 player Nicol David. “Later, we demonstrated the shots on the court,” explained Poncha.
Read more of this post

Graham Ford nominated as India’s cricket coach

Graham Ford has been nominated as the next Indian cricket coach. He was had taken over from Bob Woolmer as the coach of the South African team from 1999 to 2002, guiding them to 8 Test series wins out of 11 (only loss against the Aussies) . Update: Ford has decided to stay back at Kent and not take up the assignment

Ricky Ponting thanks coach for success

Ricky Ponting: “It’s not easy to make a very good team still strive to better itself and while a fair credit is due to players, much of it should go to John Buchanan. He has really pushed us into trying to better ourselves and that would be one of his long-standing legacy.”

Buchanan has been the coach at the time when Australia have dominated world cricket. Click here to hear an earlier interview

Cricket coaches

Most of the teams will have a new coach shortly. I have listed the existing World Cup coaches and their future plans
Australia – John Buchanan, announced retirement
Bangladesh – Dav Whatmore, wont renew contract
India – Greg Chappell, resigned
England – Duncan Fletcher, resigned
Ireland – Adrian Birrell, wont renew contract
West Indies – Bennett King, resigned
Sri Lanka – Tom Moody, ???
Pakistan – Bob Woolmer, RIP
New Zealand – John Bracewell, undicided on renewing contract
Netherlands – Peter Cantrell, resigned
Canada – Andy Pick, resigned

The Week article on budding juniors

In another part of Chennai, three young girls are busy on the court at the ICL Squash Academy. One of them has a board examination the next day and the other two have homework to finish, but the thwack of the racquet has pulled them to the court for an hour. A tired lot they might be, but these youngsters have a clear focus on why they are sweating it out. They are all in the sport to win, and win big. “When you start is an important factor in sport,” says national squash coach Cyrus Poncha. “It gives you an edge over competitors.”

One of his students at the academy, Anaka Alankamony, is realising the benefits of starting early. Though she started with tennis, she shifted to squash during a summer camp and bagged major titles recently. Cyrus foresees Anaka playing with experts like Saurav Ghoshal. “Anaka is a fighter, very determined in the court,” says Cyrus. That determination saw her finish third in the British Junior Squash Open at Sheffield in January. Squash has always been tagged as elitist, but players call it cost-effective. Being an indoor sport, it can be played round the year and is not affected by climatic changes. “Racquet and shoes together might cost about Rs 5,000. But, one cannot guarantee longevity of the racquet as it can get damaged if it hits the wall,” says Cyrus.

The logistics has worked out perfectly well in Anaka’s case. A student of class eight, she spends most of her pocket money and time on squash. “I practice for at least an hour every day,” she says. Staying in Chennai is a big advantage for her and other squash enthusiasts like Harita Omprakash, 16, and Aprajitha Balamurukan, 14. “Chennai is the hub of squash infrastructure,” says N. Ramachandran, secretary-general, Squash Racquet Federation of India. “Tamil Nadu is undoubtedly first in the national squash scene. Youngsters keen to master squash come here because of the infrastructure.”
Click here to read the complete article

BCCI Working Committee press release

Full text of the press release issued by the BCCI following its Working Committee meeting on April 7, 2007.

1. With a view to strengthening domestic cricket, efforts will be made to ensure that all Test / ODI Cricketers play Irani, Duleep, Challenger and some Ranji Trophy Matches.

2. Every Association will be directed to prepare fast and lively wickets for domestic tournaments.

3. The BCCI will do away with home and away rotation and allot venues for Irani Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, Ranji Trophy semi-finals and finals and one-day all-India knockout.

4. It was decided that all affiliated units should start their own state academies by April 2009. These academies would be linked to the National Cricket Academy for the purpose of uniformity in coaching.

5. It was decided to scrap the present zonal representation in the senior and junior selection committees. BCCI will appoint selectors on a full time basis based upon the eligibility criteria which would include stature as a player, selection experience etc. They will be remunerated suitably and appointed for a two-year term. The BCCI will take steps to propose necessary amendments to the Constitution to give effect to the above decision.

6. Regular and frequent Under-19 and India A tours to Australia / England / New Zealand / South Africa / West Indies will be undertaken.

7. The Working Committee has directed the Selection Committee to send a young team to Bangladesh under an experienced captain. The selection committee, after discussions has appointed Rahul Dravid as captain for India’s tour to Bangladesh, Ireland and England.

8. BCCI will appoint a permanent manager for the Indian team for a two-year term. The Board will also appoint a permanent Media Manager for a two- year term. Read more of this post

Bob Woolmer R.I.P

Bob Woolmer was one of world cricket’s most recognisable characters and authority. Following a successful England playing career of nineteen tests and six one-day internationals, Bob turned to coaching and arguably became the most successful international player-turned-coach. After success at county cricket, Woolmer’s international coaching career started in South Africa where he moulded a group of young players – all of whom were new to international cricket – into one of the best teams in world cricket at the time.

A pioneer in modern coaching methods, including the use of computer technology to analyse his opponents as well as hone his own player’s skills. Coaching was based on a simple premise: the more enjoyable he could make the game, the better his players would respond. Creative and adventurous and no two practice sessions were alike when Woolmer was in charge. Read more of this post

SRFI coaching schedule 2007

15-31 Jan Asian Juniors Camp, Chennai
2-3 Mar   Level 1 Coaching Course, Chennai (Part 1)
9-11 Mar   Level 1 Coaching Course, Chennai (Part 2)
12-19 May Coaching Clinic, Mumbai
16-17 Jul   Referees Clinic, Chennai
1-11 Aug   ASF Level 1 Coaching Course, Kolkata
3-5 Aug   Coaching & Referees Clinic
TBC Aug   Coaching Clinic, Hyderabad
12-16 Sep Coaching Clinic, Jaipur
28-30 Sep Referees Clinic, Kanpur
TBC Oct    Referees Clinic, Delhi
TBC Oct   Coaching Clinic, Delhi
4-5 Dec   Referees Clinic, Chennai
TBC Dec   Asian Coaching Conference

India wins Bronze at Asian Juniors, Hong Kong

The Indian boys recovered from being a match down to defeat hosts Hong Kong 2-1 and win the bronze medal on the final day at the Asian Junior Squash Championships. Sandeep Jangra first on court, fought hard to over come a 2 game deficit to level the scores but was unable to win the fifth against Hong Kong’s #1 Leo Au. Parth Sharma leveled the tie with his game of accurate lengths and precision finishing defeating Fung Ji Yang convincingly. Naresh Kumar playing the decider for India kept his cool to play outstanding attacking squash to defeat Chan Kai Chi in straight sets. 

The Indian team performed marginally better than the last Asian Junior Championships held at India in 2005 where we finished fourth. “In the semi finals if we could have pulled off the match against higher ranked Malaysia against whom we fought well; it would have been wonderful, nevertheless winning the bronze is a great achievement” said National Coach Cyrus Poncha. Consultant Coach Maj Maniam said “Our boys have been working very hard for the past 2 years; they have learnt what it takes to be a professional squash player. I am confident and convinced that in the next two years they will be performing well on the PSA tour.

This is the last junior team championship for all the boys, Sandeep turns 19 years later this month, followed by Naresh later this year and Parth and Harry early next year.” “We have really trained very hard at the ICL Academy for this event and the fruits of our labour equated to a worthy bronze at this championship said Harinder and Parth in unison.”Earlier in the individual event both Ravi Dixit and Ramit Tandon gave a good account of themselves which certainly augurs well for the future of junior squash in India.

Sandeep Jangra lost to Leo Au 9-3, 9-0, 5-9, 5-9, 9-0
Parth Sharma bt Fung Ji Yang 9-5 9-0 9-4
Naresh Kumar bt Chan Kai Chi 9-3, 9-5, 10-8