Pune, Rajkot get nod NEW DELHI, India (AP): The western cities of Pune and Rajkot will provide the franchises to fill in for the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League over the next two years. The Board of Control for Cricket in India said the new teams will be temporary replacements after the Super Kings and Royals were suspended this year by a Supreme Court-appointed committee over corruption and spot-fixing. New Rising Consortium-owned Pune and mobile phone manufacturer Intex-owned Rajkot were selected in a reverse-bidding process in which bidders were asked to discount their annual revenue share of US$6 million. New Rising gave up that revenue entirely and also committed to pay US$2.4 million per year to the BCCI. Intex will pay US$1.5 million per year. McCullum stands by evidence DUNEDIN, New Zealand (AP): New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum says he stands by the evidence he gave at the perjury trial of former teammate Chris Cairns, although Cairns’ acquittal has raised questions over whether he was believed by a jury in London. McCullum was the prosecution’s leading witness in the trial of Cairns, the former New Zealand allrounder who was alleged to have lied in a libel action against Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, who accused him of involvement in match-fixing. In evidence, McCullum said he was approached by Cairns in 2008 and encouraged to become involved in match-fixing. Cairns’ legal team sought to discredit McCullum’s evidence by pointing out he took three years to report the alleged approach, then changed elements of his story on later occasions. On the eve New Zealand’s first Test against Sri Lanka in Dunedin, McCullum faced the media yesterday for the first time since Cairns’ acquittal. Few questions at the conference related to the Test match; instead, McCullum was quizzed on his evidence and the fallout from the Cairns trial. Swansea sack Monk SWANSEA, Wales (AP): Swansea has fired manager Garry Monk after nearly two years in charge, following a dip in form that has seen the team win just one of their last eleven Premier League games. Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins says he made the decision because of “a drop of performance levels and run of results over the last three months.” Jenkins says “when you take into account the excellent campaign we had last season when we broke all club records in the Premier League, nobody foresaw the position we would be in at this moment in time.” Monk was with the club for more than 11 years, first as a defender and then manager since February 2014 when he replaced Michael Laudrup. Barcelona aiming for third Club World Cup title TOKYO, Japan (AP): Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez spearhead Barcelona’s attempt to win a third Club World Cup title when the European champions arrive in Japan next week. Luis Enrique’s squad will play their first game on December 17 in Yokohama, just five days after hosting Deportivo La Coruna in the Spanish league. The tournament begins on Thursday in Yokohama. Barcelona and Copa Libertadores winners River Plate are favourites to reach the December 20 final. Barcelona won the tournament in 2009 and 2011 and the Spanish league leaders are clear favourites to continue Europe’s domination. The tournament, which features the top clubs from FIFA’s six continental confederations plus the champion of the host country, returns to Japan for the first time since 2012. It was hosted in Morocco the previous two years.
GEELONG, Australia (CMC): West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite is hoping to continue his good form when he faces the rampaging Australians in the second Test of the ongoing series starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day. The 23-year-old made a boundary-studded 94 in the second innings of the first Test as the Windies lost at Hobart. It was a stand-out innings as he fell just short of what would have been a fifth Test century in the space of 18 months. He is looking to build on that and notch three figures when the two teams line up for the historic second Test at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. “Playing in Australia is a dream come true. As a little boy growing up in Barbados, and when I went to Combermere School, you heard a lot about cricket and the huge significance of the Boxing Day Test match. Now I have the opportunity to play in the event. It is something I’m really looking forward to,” he said. “I’ve heard it’s a magnificent stadium and a lot about the history, and especially the West Indies’ rich history there as well. For me, this is one of the ‘big’ Test matches.” With West Indies sliding to defeat in Hobart, the right-handed Brathwaite launched an assault on Australia’s bowlers, hammering 13 fours and a six in a cameo 122-ball knock. Only bright spot The innings was the only bright spot for the tourists as they were dismissed for 148 to lose by an innings and 212 runs. “I played well in the second innings in Hobart and I felt I hit the ball really well. It’s all about getting a start here in Australia,” Brathwaite explained. “You have to give yourself a chance. You have to graft and dig in. I didn’t get a ‘start’ in the first innings, so I was determined to get a big score in the second innings. “I managed to get myself in and went on and played my shots. I was quite happy to get a score. I still want to keep working hard. It’s still about going out there and getting a start and going on.” Brathwaite’s four Test centuries have come in contrasting conditions. His maiden century was 129 against New Zealand in Trinidad in June 2014, followed by a career-best 212 against Bangladesh in St Vincent three months later. He then gathered a dogged 106 against South Africa in the Boxing Day Test last year while his fourth was 116 against England in Grenada in April. Despite the heavy loss in Hobart, Brathwaite said the mood in the camp remained upbeat as they prepared to face a Victoria XI at the Simonds Stadium in a two-day warm-up match tomorrow and Sunday. “We’ve had two sessions thus far, and the team spirit is quite good, and we just have to keep going from strength to strength,” Brathwaite said.
KINGSTON: Reigning All Jamaica and Caribbean men’s singles squash champion, Chris Binnie, has inked a sponsorship deal with Stoneleigh Coffee Roasters Company and will promote its Blue Mountain Coffee products in the international market. Under the three-year agreement, the top national and regional player will assume the role of brand ambassador for Stoneleigh Coffee, and will be featured in the company’s sales and marketing efforts overseas. Binnie will actively promote Stoneleigh’s products in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, among other places, as he travels to compete on the Professional Squash Association tour. The sponsorship comes as the high-flying player capped a banner year, which saw him win his sixth All Jamaica title in July and a record-breaking sixth Caribbean Championship in August. In addition, Binnie won his second international professional tournament in October and was ranked among the world’s top 100 squash players in November. A GRATEFUL BINNIE As he aims to move up to the top 75 by May 2016, Binnie expressed gratitude for the sponsorship, which will help to defray the expenses associated with competing on the professional circuit, including travel and accommodation costs, as well as coaching fees. “I am thrilled to have been chosen as a brand ambassador for Stoneleigh Coffee because I am proud to promote the best Jamaican brands in the international arena, and the sponsorship will go a far way in helping me to achieve my goals as a player,” said Binnie. In welcoming the player to his new role, Stephen Shirley, director, Stoneleigh Coffee Roasters Limited, said: “Our sponsorship deal with Chris is a win-win situation because we are bolstering the career of a top-performing Jamaican athlete, and we’re also getting a solid ambassador to promote our brands and products in international markets.”