Time for the Sun to shine on Hyderabad in the IPL

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Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson will be looking to lead his team to glory. (AFP)
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Updated 22 March 2019
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Time for the Sun to shine on Hyderabad in the IPL

  • Can MS Dhoni lead the Super Kings to another IPL title?
  • Who are the players to watch out for?

LONDON: The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League gets underway today with the usual razzmatazz, stacks of cash — in cricketing terms at least, pure conspicuous consumption — on display. This is the form of leather on willow that is as close to pure Americana as you are going to find.
As much as $15 million was shelled out at this year’s auction on 60 players. You only have to look at the riches the players are now earning to realize why every big-hitting batsman or wily bowler wants a piece of the IPL. Varun Chakravarthy went for $1.2 million, a millionaire overnight having not even played for his country.
Once again the Chennai Super Kings are the team to beat. Under MS Dhoni the powerhouses have won three titles — a record they share with the Mumbai Indians.
Here we give you the lowdown on cricket’s brashest format and take a peek into our crystal ball to tell you what we think is going to happen.

DELHI CAPITALS (8th last year)

Have only made the last four three times, finished rock bottom last year and decided something had to change. So they changed their name from the Daredevils to the Capitals, the new name as prosaic as their past cricket. They have added Shikhar Dhawan for power at the top of the order and to compliment the decent bowling attack of Trent Boult and Kagiso Rabada.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: The only way is up but will finish outside the top four.

RAJASTHAN ROYALS (4th)

The winners of the first IPL they have made the last four three times since. A look at their batting line-up — Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Ajinkya Rahane — will always trouble the opposition bowlers and with Jofra Archer and Jaydev Unadkat in the attack will always take wickets. Can they back up their impressive team sheet with equally impressive results?
ARAB NEWS SAYS: Will reach the last four but will miss the departing Stokes and Buttler who leave for a pre-World Cup training camp.

KINGS PUNJAB (7th)

An impressive spin attack of Ravi Ashwin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Chakravarthy will once again prove that T20, once thought to be the graveyard for slow bowlers, is a game built just for them. They will look for West Indies legend Chris Gayle to find his big-hitting range early on to give them the totals to defend.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: Could prove to be the surprise package if, and it is a big if, their big names fire. We think they will just miss out on the last four.

Will Chris Gayle fire again this season? (AFP)

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE (6th)

One look at their batting line-up is enough to give any bowler the dreaded yips. Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers could have their very own “who is the greatest short-form batsman of all-time” competition. The addition of Marcus Stoinis will give the side more balance and a chance of winning their first title.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: A side with Kohli and De Villiers cannot go three years without a top-four finish.

MUMBAI INDIANS (5th)

The Manchester United of the IPL, they have won three titles and with Rohit Sharma as captain, and a settled side — Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah just three of the retained stars — will always be a danger. But they finished outside the top four last year and perhaps miss a bit of fire power in the batting department.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: Another year outside the top four.

Virat Kohli is dangerous no matter what the format. (AFP) 

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS (3)

Last year’s top-four finish was a surprise and there is the sense they will struggle to match that this time around. With Windies stars Carlos Brathwaite and Andre Russell in the side and spin king Sunil Narine they will always have a chance but it is perhaps expecting too much to repeat last season’s surge to the semis.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: They will not be able to repeat last year’s heroics and will finish in sixth.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS (Champions)

The team to beat, they have kept most of their title-winning side from last year and still have MS Dhoni — will he ever retire? — at the helm. It is hard to make a case for them not reaching the final, harder still not making the last four. If there is one possible worry is it that they have not strengthened much over the winter.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: In the last four.

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD (2nd)

Will still be smarting from their heavy defeat in the final at the hands of Chennai last year. They look to have the strongest batting line-up with Kane Williamson, Martin Guptil, Jonny Bairstow and David Warner to share the big-hitting responsibilities and with spinner of the moment Rashid Khan they will always be able to take wickets.
ARAB NEWS SAYS: Champions


The meaning of eSports

Updated 1 min 2 sec ago
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The meaning of eSports

JEDDAH: Are eSports really a part of the sport world?

There has been a huge debate on the topic, but today the answer from many industry experts, sports organizations and dictionaries is yes.

The Euro Sports charter under the Council of Europe provides the following definition: “All forms of physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, (are) aimed at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels.” If we look at every aspect of the definition, we find that eSports fit. Some might argue that the phrases “physical activity” and “aimed at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being” exclude eSports. Yet on the contrary those terms prove that they are indeed sports.

Stamina

The text clearly states all forms of physical activity and not only extreme physical activity. For any eSports player to compete, they would need a very high level of stamina, just like any motor or air sport athlete. To reach and win world class or even national level competitions, they would need to build staggering levels of stamina.

As far as the phrase “aimed at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being” goes: We look at sporting activities such as darts, golf, and snooker. All of these sports do not have physical fitness as their end goal, but to excel at them an athlete has to, to some degree, ensure that they are physically fit. Additionally, there is no argument around the necessity of mental well-being needed for eSports athletes to be title contenders.

Just like any sport there are those who would make a career out of it.

In Saudi Arabia we have the FIFA  eWorld Cup 2018 champion Mosaad Al-Dossary. He is the latest addition to the multitude of world champions to emerge from the Kingdom in recent years.

“The world as we know it is changing at a fast pace, faster than some of us can keep up with,” Al-Dossary said. “We live in an extraordinary age of connectivity, that is digitally enabled. Every day we are introduced to new concepts that some might reject at first but end up changing the entire way we exist or view life.’’

“No one knew how much the iPod or Instagram would affect our lives when they were first introduced. Even the careers that people now live off could have not been thought off 10 or 15 years ago. After all, as recently as 2008 almost no one knew what a ‘social media manager’ was. Less than 15 years ago no one even knew what a ‘search engine optimization manager’ did.”

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia was one of the early supporters of eSports thanks to the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), which gives tremendous support to such athletes. It has sponsored multiple teams in global tournaments such as ISFE and FIFA eNations Cup.

It has also organized a professional eSports league for FIFA and is working on including other games.

For more information on gaming, and eSports in Saudi Arabia, visit SAFEIS website: https://www.safeis.sa/, subscribe to the YouTube channel, follow on Twitter: @SAFEISKSA , and on Instagram: SAFEIS.KSA