It was an unusual stance for former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar in the Rajya Sabha today. But, then politics is a different ball-game altogether. And, Sachin Tendulkar is not accustomed to the kind of ‘sledging’ that happens in both Houses of Parliament.Hugely criticised for his non-appearance in Parliament, Sachin Tendulkar was supposed to make his debut as a speaker in the Rajya Sabha but he was stumped by the Opposition led by the Congress MPs, who created a ruckus in the House.Sachin Tendulkar today wanted to initiate a debate on right to play and future of sports in India. But, he was not allowed to speak. The Congress members, instead, wanted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tender apology for his Pakistan comment during Gujarat election campaign.Several Congress members got up raising slogans such as “Desh ko gumrah karna band karo’ (stop misleading the nation) and seeking an apology from Modi.The master blaster stood perplexed in the Rajya Sabha waiting for the din to subside. But, the Congress MPs were unrelenting. Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu’s repeated requests and chiding yielded no results.Finally after ten minutes the House was adjourned for the second time and Sachin Tendulkar returned without opening his account in the Rajya Sabha.Reacting to the development Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan angrily hit out at the Congress members saying, “He (SachinTendulkar) has earned name for India at the world stage. It is a matter of shame that he was not allowed to speak even when everyone knew it was on today’s agenda. Are only politicians allowed to speak?”advertisementThe Congress leaders were not be cowed down. “Does Bharat Ratna give you licence to speak (in Parliament),” senior party member Renuka Chowdhary was reported as saying. Reuka Chowdhary is a Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh.Thereafter followed a barrage of comments on camera and social media, with Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan wrote on Twitter, “It’s a sad day in the history of Rajya Sabha Proceedings that the Greatest Cricketer of all time & a Bharat Ratna Awardee @sachin_rt was not allowed to share his views on a completely apolitical subject as sports by the members of the same Congress Party who brought him here.”It’s a sad day in the history of Rajya Sabha Proceedings that the Greatest Cricketer of all time & a Bharat Ratna Awardee @sachin_rt was not allowed to share his views on a completely apolitical subject as sports by the members of the same Congress Party who brought him here.- Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) December 21, 2017Interestingly, Sachin Tendulkar was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in April 2012 by the Congress-led UPA government. He has been criticised for not attending the proceedings of the House.According to a report, till April this year, Sachin Tendulkar had attended only 23 of 348 days that the Rajya Sabhe sat since he became a member of the House. His attendance was only better than that of actor Rekha, who is also a nominated Rajya Sabha MP. She had attended the proceedings on only 18 days.
London, Nov 16 (AFP) Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have backed a new men’s team competition just a day after the Serbian raised concerns over the timing of the event, which will take place shortly after the revamped Davis Cup.The ATP Cup, announced by the ATP and Tennis Australia on Thursday during the ATP Finals in London, will be played from 2020 across three Australian cities over 10 days in the lead-up to the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, which starts in January.It will offer USD15 million (13.25 million euros) in prize money and up to 750 ATP Rankings points to the winners.”I like that it’s owned by ATP, by the players, and that we have ranking points, and it’s going to be the best way to kickstart the season,” said world number one Djokovic.”More than 90 percent of the time we’re playing as individuals and we don’t have too many team events.” Federer was upbeat about the new event and said the Davis Cup would not suffer.”Clearly if the World Team Cup is going to be held, players will want to play that first week of the year, so you would think it’s going to be exciting,” the Swiss said after reaching the last four of the ATP Finals in London.”The Davis Cup has incredibly rich history. You would think the players are going to play that. From that standpoint, I think there’s not that much change, per se, or more tournaments on the calendar. It just happens that there’s more team events, which I think the players are happy about.”advertisementThe comments from Djokovic, who is president of the ATP player council, were in sharp contrast to views he voiced the previous day, when he said having two similar team tournaments so close together would not be sustainable, also expressing concerns over the length of the tennis season.”I think in the next two years we’ll have both events happening in a very similar format if not the same, six weeks apart,” he said.”I honestly don’t think it’s good for the sport… It will happen that we will have two average events.” – Davis Cup fears -===================A revamped Davis Cup tournament will take place from November 2019, bringing together 18 nations in one place for a week at the end of the season.The Davis Cup is run by the ITF, the governing body of world tennis, while the ATP, which runs the men’s Tour, will stage the ATP Cup.Earlier this week, world number five Alexander Zverev said almost all the top players would skip the Davis Cup.”The Davis Cup has some serious issues to think about, I think,” he said.”One of them is the dates. I think the dates are very important and I think none of the top players will play, except Rafa (Rafael Nadal) because it’s in Spain. I’m very, very sure that a lot of top players will not play. We’ll see how it goes.”The format of the ATP Cup will see nations split into six groups, with eight teams emerging from the round-robin stage to compete in the knockout phase.There will be up to five players in each team, with ties comprising two singles matches and one doubles match. (AFP) APAAPA