Barcelona immune to Russian winter: Fabregas

Lionel Messi_1.jpg.crop_display.jpg

The freezing Russian winter and a plastic pitch will not hold Barcelona back when they seek vital Champions League points against Spartak Moscow Tuesday, midfielder Cesc Fabregas said.

Sub-zero temperatures are predicted for the game, while the artificial turf at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium has played its part in many upset wins, such as when England blamed the surface for their 1-2 defeat by Russia in 2007.

"No problems will occur with the climate and the artificial pitch because we have all played during our careers in the heat and in the cold, on natural and artificial surfaces," Fabregas said Monday.

"We'll have to watch the bounce of the ball during training and see how to run on this pitch. But I think we shouldn't worry a lot. You have to concentrate on the game from the opening minutes, that's the main thing."

Barcelona are able to qualify for the knockout stages with a win, while the Russians need all three points to stay in the competition.

Two late Lionel Messi goals gave Barcelona a 3-2 win over Spartak at the Camp Nou in September after the Russians led with 20 minutes remaining.

Spartak will be without forward Artem Dzyuba and midfielder Aiden McGeady, both injured, while first-choice goalkeeper Andriy Dikan is set to return from a shoulder problem that has kept him out of action since late September.

Barcelona miss forward Alexis Sanchez, who is injured.Test Rankings: Pujara and Ojha on the charge

Pujara and Ojha on the charge

Dubai: There has been a significant shake-up in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings after the conclusion of the Ahmedabad, Galle and Mirpur Tests, while the second Test between Australia and South Africa, starting in Adelaide on Thursday, may lead to changes at the top of the batting and bowling tables.

India defeated England by nine wickets in Ahmedabad, with Cheteshwar Pujara picking up the man of the match award. Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by 10 wickets in Galle, with Rangana Herath collecting the player of the match award, and Kieran Powell was adjudged man of the match in Mirpur where the West Indies overpowered Bangladesh by 77 runs.

Herath has achieved a career-best rating of 828 points on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers following his match figures of 11 for 108, while Pujara and Powell have earned career-best rankings to storm up the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen.

Pujara has rocketed 35 places to 24th position after scoring an unbeaten 206, while Powell has been rewarded for becoming the first West Indian to score two centuries in a Test against Bangladesh and eighth overall with a jump of 19 places which has put him in 51stspot.

But Pujara and Powell are not the only batsmen to make upward movements in latest rankings which were released on Monday evening.

England captain Alastair Cook, who scored a gutsy 176 in his side’s second innings, has returned to the top 10 by rising four places to seventh, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has jumped six places to 13th position after scoring a classy 91 in the first innings, Matt Prior has become the fifth England batsman inside the top 20 after achieving a career-best ranking of 18th, Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews’ contribution of 79 runs in a 156-run sixth wicket partnership with Jayawardene has given him a career-best ranking of 28th, New Zealand’s Daniel Flynn’s contributions of 53 and 20 has allowed him to improve his ranking by five places and he is now in 63rdposition, Denesh Ramdin’s third career century for the West Indies has vaulted him seven places to 68th position while Bangladesh’s Nasir Hossain’s effort of 96 and 21 has lifted him from 85th spot to 69th position.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who scored 203 not out, has not improved his ranking but has gained 27 ratings points which has put him just one rating point behind fourth-ranked Australia captain Michael Clarke, whereas Virender Sehwag is now in 22nd position after gaining one place following his 23rd Test century.

India’s left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha leads the bowlers’ charge.

The 26-year-old, who recorded match figures of 77.2-24-165-9, has broken into the top five for the first time in his career after jumping nine places in the bowler rankings, New Zealand’s Tim Southee has moved up 10 places to 30th after his first innings performance of four for 46, Ravi Rampaul’s five wickets for the West Indies has lifted him eight places to 33rd spot while Bangladesh’s debutant Sohag Gazi has entered the rankings in 51st position after match figures of 70.2-9-219-9.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Jacques Kallis will enter the Adelaide Test against Australia as the number-one ranked Test all-rounder, while team-mates Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander will have opportunities to top the batting and bowling tables, respectively.

Kallis has regained the number-one ranking after Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan conceded 21 ratings points and slipped one place to second position after scoring 91 runs and taking two wickets against West Indies. Also losing ground is England’s Stuart Broad, who has dropped behind New Zealand’s fourth-ranked Daniel Vettori.

While Kallis will be eyeing to cement his number-one spot in the Adelaide Test, Amla will be aiming to leapfrog Sri Lanka’s number-one ranked Kumar Sangakkara, and Philander will have his new ball partner and number-one ranked Dale Steyn firmly within his sights.

Amla, who is already enjoying his career-best rating, trails Sangakkara by just four ratings points and a good performance with the bat will mean that he will become one of the very few batsmen to top both the Test and ODI batting tables at the same time.

Philander is 19 ratings points behind Steyn, who has been holding the number-one spot since July 2009. Philander has played a total of 11 Tests, in which he has taken 63 wickets. As such, he is still in the qualification period for bowlers as a bowler qualifies for a full rating when he reaches 100 Test wickets.

This means Philander could potentially overtake number one Steyn, depending on how both the bowlers perform in Adelaide.

Post new comment

<form action="/comment/reply/204096" accept-charset="UTF-8" method="post" id="comment-form"> <div><div class="form-item" id="edit-name-wrapper"> <label for="edit-name">Your name: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="60" name="name" id="edit-name" size="30" value="Reader" class="form-text required" /> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-mail-wrapper"> <label for="edit-mail">E-Mail Address: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="64" name="mail" id="edit-mail" size="30" value="" class="form-text required" /> <div class="description">The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.</div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-comment-wrapper"> <label for="edit-comment">Comment: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <textarea cols="60" rows="15" name="comment" id="edit-comment" class="form-textarea resizable required"></textarea> </div> <fieldset class=" collapsible collapsed"><legend>Input format</legend><div class="form-item" id="edit-format-1-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-1"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-1" name="format" value="1" class="form-radio" /> Filtered HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Allowed HTML tags: &lt;a&gt; &lt;em&gt; &lt;strong&gt; &lt;cite&gt; &lt;code&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;ol&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;dl&gt; &lt;dt&gt; &lt;dd&gt;</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-format-2-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-2"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-2" name="format" value="2" checked="checked" class="form-radio" /> Full HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> </fieldset> <input type="hidden" name="form_build_id" id="form-9b6c9ab9c7c06ff2b5d3d6389f155d40" value="form-9b6c9ab9c7c06ff2b5d3d6389f155d40" /> <input type="hidden" name="form_id" id="edit-comment-form" value="comment_form" /> <fieldset class="captcha"><legend>CAPTCHA</legend><div class="description">This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.</div><input type="hidden" name="captcha_sid" id="edit-captcha-sid" value="80398826" /> <input type="hidden" name="captcha_response" id="edit-captcha-response" value="NLPCaptcha" /> <div class="form-item"> <div id="nlpcaptcha_ajax_api_container"><script type="text/javascript"> var NLPOptions = {key:'c4823cf77a2526b0fba265e2af75c1b5'};</script><script type="text/javascript" src="" ></script></div> </div> </fieldset> <span class="btn-left"><span class="btn-right"><input type="submit" name="op" id="edit-submit" value="Save" class="form-submit" /></span></span> </div></form>

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.