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Second straight runner-up finish for Prajnesh following final defeat in Orlando | Tennis News

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ORLANDO: Early breaks pegging him back in both the sets, Prajnesh Gunneswaran ended runner-up at the Orlando Open, losing the summit clash of the ATP Challenger event to American Brandon Nakashima on Sunday.
Prajnesh did not have the required power in his strokes to hurt the American, losing 3-6, 4-6 in the USD 52,080 hard court tournament.
The Indian left-hander could convert none of the eight break chances that came his way in an hour and 28 minute contest.
It is Prajnesh’s second straight runner-up finish. He had reached the final at the Cary Challenger last week.
The result will help Prajnesh move up to 128 from 137. He has already locked the India number one rank with his Orlando show.
Serving at 2-3, 30-all, Prajnesh buried a forehand to the net to be down a break point but saved it with an ace.
Another forehand error by Prajnesh gave Nakaksima another chance but the Indian saved that too with a well set-up winner.
However, Nakashima’s strong ground-strokes brought him another chance and this time Prajnesh could not save, sending a backhand over the baseline.
An easy hold put the American ahead 5-2. He returned to serve out the set without any fuss.
In the third game of the second set, Prajnesh dropped serve and squandered two break chances in the next game to let 19-year-old Nakashima run away with his maiden Challenger level singles trophy.


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Pro Volleyball League: Baseline Ventures wins arbitration, Volleyball Federation asked to pay Rs 4 crore

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MUMBAI: Sports marketing firm Baseline Ventures, which organised the first season of the Pro Volleyball League in February 2019, has won the wrongful termination case against the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI).

Justice (Retd) K Kannan, the Madras high court-appointed arbitrator, has awarded Rs 4 crore plus interest as damages and legal fees to Baseline Ventures in its dispute against VFI for the ‘wrongful termination’ of the 10-year contract for Pro Volleyball League.

VFI had terminated the agreement with Baseline Venture on November 18th, 2019, alleging financial irregularities and manipulation by the firm.

After almost 10 months of arbitration, Kannan ruled against VFI stating that there was no ground to terminate Baseline’s contract, and moreover, the federation did not follow due process to terminate the contract.

The arbitrator has also dismissed all allegations made by VFI against Baseline pertaining to the breach of contract.

In its order, a copy of which was accessed by ET, the arbitrator noted that if VFI had the players interest in mind and wanted to foster the sport as a popular entertainment, it ought to have known that closing all options and terminating the agreement was too big a price to pay.

“In the light of my finding that the respondent’s (VFI) termination of contract was not justified, the claim for damages estimated based on initial projections is not tenable. The respondent killed the goose that laid golden eggs,” Kannan said while dismissing the counter claim of Rs 14.93 crore made by the VFI against Baseline Ventures.

“This judgement is a total vindication of the fact that the VFI had absolutely no grounds to terminate the contract after a successful season,” said Joy Bhattacharjya, VP at Baseline Ventures, who led the first edition of the league as its CEO. “It’s important that they are held accountable not just to us, but to all the volleyball players and coaches who were the most impacted by their wilful actions. This is a victory for fair play in Indian sport.”

The arbitrator has also asked Baseline Ventures to hand over the IPR of the Pro Volleyball League to VFI.

Tuhin Mishra, co-founder and MD, Baseline Ventures, said, “When we started legal proceedings, we had the option of whether we wanted our rights to conduct and market the league reinstated apart from the damages which we were looking at.”

However, he added that given the “capricious nature” of VFI’s actions over the past year, the company had absolutely no confidence that this nature of event would not happen again considering the “blatant display of malafide intent” on the federation’s part.

“So we voluntarily gave up the option of reinstatement of our rights even before the proceedings. We are happy to hand over the logo rights to VFI, we just want our damages to be paid before any commercial agreements are executed by VFI,” Mishra said.

VFI had cited a report by one of the big four audit and consulting firms, which it claimed corroborated the manipulations of the accounts by Baseline and VFI had used that report supposedly to terminate the agreement with Baseline.

However, the firm in question later backtracked and forwarded an application to the arbitrator to eschew the report on the ground that it was meant to be confidential by the terms of their engagement by the respondent (VFI).

There had been a disclaimer that it was not meant to be an auditor’s report and they had only examined whatever documents were presented by the respondent and it’s views did not have any legal standing.

The firm had not even consulted Baseline while verifying the documents which VFI had given them.

Based on an earlier judgement, VFI had to pay up Rs 2.25 crore to Baseline, which was received by the company in February 2020.



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Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma set to miss Australia Test series | Cricket News

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(This story originally appeared in on Nov 24, 2020)

It may be the end of the road for Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma where the tour of Australia is concerned. Neither of them, as things stand, are likely to make it to the Indian squad to take part in the Test series in December-January.
Mirror has learnt that the two will not be able to recover in time for the four-Test series from December 17 to January 19 in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The two have been undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore for different periods and the report is learnt to be not so encouraging.
A meeting of the experts of the NCA is understood to have taken place recently when the fitness status of the duo was discussed and then informally conveyed to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), national selectors and the team-management. A formal communication is expected soon.
So, when Ravi Shastri said the duo need to board the flight in 3-4 days to be able to participate in the Tests, he may have given it away.
“He (Rohit) was never going to play the white-ball series, they were just looking to see how long he needed the rest, because you can’t afford to be resting for too long. If you need to play in the Test series or any red-ball cricket, you’ve got to be on the flight in the next three or four days. If you aren’t, then it’s going to be tough.
“It’s a similar case (Ishant’s injury) to Rohit. You don’t really know how quickly he’ll be available to fly out. Like I said, if anyone has to play in the Test series, he has to be on the flight in the next four or five days. Otherwise, it’s very difficult,” Shastri told ABC Sports.
The team management is believed to have made it clear that the duo should be sent only if they are fully fit – that is after they’ve achieved the desired fitness levels required for international duty as opposed to that in the IPL, which Rohit played recently.
Besides, they also factored in the 14-day quarantine which means full confinement in Australia. The Indian players, having travelled from the IPL bubble to Australia, are being allowed to practise during quarantine. The same privilege may not be extended to Rohit and Ishant.
Chief selector Sunil Joshi did not respond to a message from this paper.


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A-League: ‘A-League has stagnated’: Footballers leaving Australia for India | Football News

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NEW DELHI: An influx of footballers to India from Australia has highlighted changing fortunes as the Indian Super League flourishes and the A-League hits lean times during the coronavirus pandemic.
Just two Australians played in the Indian Super League (ISL) last year, but 10 were among the 11 teams when the competition got under way in a bio-secure “bubble” in Goa last week.
Non-Australian A-League players have also made the move, including English striker Adam Le Fondre — last season’s second highest goal-scorer, with Sydney FC — along with German defender Matti Steinman and Aaron Holloway from Wales.
Much of the change is down to money, with the A-League salary cap expected to drop by up to 30 percent next season following a fall in broadcasting revenue.
It has made the ISL, which previously attracted a smattering of fading stars, a more attractive proposition for Australia-based players.
One of the players to head to India is Australian defender Dylan Fox, 26, who left the Central Coast Mariners in September to join Northeast United in Guwahati.
“With all the uncertainty around the A-League at the moment, it was a good opportunity to head overseas and test myself in Asia,” Fox told AFP.
“The A-League has stagnated in the last couple of years anyway and the other boys probably feel the same.”
The ISL has in six years outstripped the older I-League to become India’s premier football competition. FC Goa will next year become the first Indian team to play in the Asian Champions League.
Meanwhile the A-League, established in 2005, suffered a drop in revenues when broadcaster Fox Sports cancelled its contract during the coronavirus shutdown, before striking a reportedly cheaper deal.
It has helped give the ISL a sizeable Australian presence, alongside its numerous Spaniards and Brazilians and smattering of Brits, including former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor.
Australian get-togethers, however, will be off-limits as players are confined to their team hotels in the Goa “bubble”.
“It will be great to see all these familiar faces on the pitch at least,” said Fox.
India’s interest in Australians is also driven by a requirement that each team signs a player from the Asian Football Confederation.
“For Indian clubs when looking at AFC nations, there seems to be a preference for A-League players,” said agent Baljit Singh Rihal of Inventive Sports, which specialises in the ISL.
“Players from Iran and Uzbekistan are also willing to come to India but it is harder for clubs to find information and stats on these players, whereas the A-league is open in this regard and has all the records available.
“Indian clubs know what they are going to get in Australia. It is a known market.”
There are other reasons too. Former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler left his position as head coach of Brisbane Roar in June. After taking over at East Bengal four months later, Fowler quickly signed three players from the A-League.
Defender Erik Paartalu, the longest-serving Australian in India and now into his fourth season with Bengaluru FC, has received plenty of phone calls.
“India provides more stability and things in Australia are a little uncertain,” Paartalu said.
“It is definitely more money than the A-League — not astronomically more but if boys are being told they will only get 70 percent of their salary then they will want to recoup what they are not getting.
“Now you are seeing players coming who would not have come in the past.”
Paartalu has told his compatriots that Indian teams treat foreign players well, with none of the payment issues that can occur elsewhere in Asia.
He said Australian players also provide value for money.
“We integrate well and lend a hand to try and get involved. Maybe there is a connection that comes from cricket and it helps that we speak English,” he said.
“We work hard, keep fit, don’t complain too much and are team players.”
There could be a lot riding on the Australian contingent this season. If the majority perform well, then there may be more opportunities in the future as Indian football grows.
Fox’s contract is just for one season, but it could be a turning point for the 26-year-old.
“I will see what happens as this is a big step in my career and I want to make the most of this opportunity,” he said.


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