1 Reports – Jamie Vardy set for a two-week absence with injury Jamie Vardy is set for up to a fortnight out through injury, according to reports.BBC Radio Leicester said on Sunday that the 28-year-old – one of the stars of the season – is to have minor groin surgery and will sit out for one to two weeks.There has been no comment from Leicester, who need Vardy’s goals to maintain their title challenge.The England international has netted 15 Premier League goals this season, including a record run of scoring in 11 consecutive games, although he has just one in his last six.Leicester’s form has dipped slightly too, failing to score in a run of three games that has yielded two points.They host Tottenham in the FA Cup next weekend.
Sergio Ramos has described Jordi Alba as one of the world’s best full-backs as he continues to be overlooked by new Spain head coach Luis Enrique.One surprising element of Enrique’s tenure following his post-World Cup appointment is his treatment of left-back Alba, a player he worked with at Barcelona.Alba is yet to be called up by the 48-year-old, despite previously being a key member of Spain’s defence. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! The Barcelona defender has been an ever-present for his club this season and is still very much their first choice left-back option.Despite this, Enrique has opted to look at other options since taking charge of his country, with Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, Valencia’s Jose Gaya and Wolves’ Jonny Castro all chosen ahead of him for Spain’s latest international fixtures.Captain Ramos believes that, by leaving Alba out, the Spain coach is ignoring one of the world’s best.”Myself and Jordi Alba have played many years together, he is one of the best in the world, as shown by his performances and statistics,” he said.”But then the coach is the one doing the line-up. For our [the players’] part, he will always be well received.”Ramos is expected to start in his hometown of Seville on Monday when Spain host England in the Nations League.Enrique’s side have won their opening two fixtures of the newly founded tournament and know that a win against England would see them qualify for next June’s Nations League finals as group winners.Their opening fixture of the tournament saw them beat Monday’s opponents 2-1 at Wembley last month, with goals from Saul Niguez and Rodrigo Moreno ensuring them victory after going behind early on.They followed that up with an excellent 6-0 victory over World Cup finalists Croatia before beating Wales 4-1 in their most recent friendly on Thursday.
New Delhi: The athletes reacted with anger but the officialdom chose to weigh its words before responding to Indian Olympic Association chief Narinder Batra’s assertion that the Commonwealth Games is a waste of time and the country should consider a permanent pullout. Batra, while speaking at an event in Bengaluru on Tuesday, said the level of competition at the CWG is not particularly high and that India should consider a pullout to improve its own standards. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuThe statement has context as Batra had earlier called for an Indian boycott of the 2022 CWG in Birmingham over the axing of shooting from the Games program due to logistical issues. Shooting has been a major contributor to India’s CWG tally and the nation stands second, with 134 medals, in the overall count won from the sport. “It is not acceptable,” said one of India’s currently most successful table tennis players G Sathiyan, who claimed two silvers and a bronze in the 2018 edition in Gold Coast. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersThe shooting fraternity chose to sidestep queries on Batra’s comment but others were upfront. Boxing star Vijender Singh, who is the first and only male pugilist with an Olympic medal to his credit, said Batra’s statement is heartbreaking as it undermines athletes’ hard work. “It is heartbreaking. By this logic, India should not send teams to invitational tournaments either because the level of competition is not like the Olympics or the world championship even there,” said the boxer who has two silver and a bronze from the three CWGs he competed in. “Why belittle the athletes’ achievements? And in any case, CWG has strong boxing nations such as England and Ireland in fray,” he added. The 2014 Glasgow CWG gold-medallist shuttler Parupalli Kashyap also differed with Batra, who also heads the International Hockey Federation (FIH). “It is ridiculous to think of boycotting the Commonwealth Games. I don’t think the standard is low. I didn’t have it easy when I beat all these players during the 2010 edition (when he won bronze) and the 2014 Games,” he recalled. “It is not like we are winning all the gold medals. Even in badminton, there are teams like Malaysia, England who are tough,” he added. In fact, 2010 CWG gold-medallist discus thrower Krishna Poonia said the Commonwealth competition in athletics is stiffer than the Asian Games, which is generally perceived to be tougher by the sporting fraternity. “For athletics, CWG is world-class, the competition is of higher level than the Asian Games,” she said. A top official from the national federation of a prominent Olympic sport asked if Batra would deem the competition good enough if shooting is brought back. “Someone should ask him will the CWG regain significance if shooting is accepted back on the roster. May be he will have a different view to offer,” the official said. “Why deride the athletes who have worked hard for their medals at CWG because you are unhappy about the exclusion of one sport? CWG won’t die if India pulls out,” he added. Two-time CWG gold-medallist weightlifter Sathish Sivalingam said a medal at the Games provides job security to a lot of athletes and that shouldn’t be taken away. “I am completely against the pullout. The Commonwealth Games are a big event for us. Medal-winning performances in the CWG bring a lot of incentives like jobs and money etc. So for us, this competition is important,” he said. Former India hockey captain Zafar Iqbal, who was part of the 1980 Olympic gold medal-winning team, was surprised by Batra’s comment. “That’s a ridiculous statement coming from a man who is holding numerous important positions in national as well as international sports federations,” he said. “Commonwealth Games is the biggest competition after Olympics in terms of participation of countries. 72 countries took part in the last Commonwealth Games. And if you talk about hockey, all top nations like Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain are there,” he added. A more guarded response came from the Wrestling federation. The sport contributes massively to India’s medal tally at CWGs and its President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said the grapplers are eager to continue at the quadrennial showpiece. “The general view of the wrestling fraternity is that the athletes want to compete, whatever the tournament is,” he said.