Martinez shocked by relegation

first_img It was always going to be a big ask for Wigan to lift themselves for such a huge game just 72 hours after their glorious Wembley victory over Manchester City, where anything other than all three points would have seen them join Reading and QPR in the npower Championship, and so it proved. “I know from the outside you could see it was possible but I never thought for a second it would happen,” said the Spaniard, who has been linked with the Everton job following the announcement of David Moyes’ switch to Manchester United. “I was confident this team could win the last two games. It is difficult to describe the feelings. It comes as a shock.” Roberto Martinez never really believed FA Cup winners Wigan would be relegated until the Latics’ eight-year stay in the Barclays Premier League finally came to an end with a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal. Press Associationcenter_img Lukas Podolski nodded the Gunners in front on 11 minutes, but Shaun Maloney gave the visitors hope when he crashed home a free-kick on the stroke of half-time. However, three goals in the space of 10 minutes just after the hour from Theo Walcott, Podolski and Aaron Ramsey meant there was to be no fairytale ending for Martinez’s men, despite another brave crack at the great escape. Martinez added: “I don’t think you get many managers saying they are proud of their players when they get relegated, but we don’t deserve to be in the bottom three. You will never see a better group of players than these in the way they play and represent the club. “The FA Cup is an achievement we will never lose as a club. It is our first silverware, but it is a real shame it happens in the same season as relegation. You don’t normally get teams good enough to win the cup going down – that is why it is difficult to take. “When you walk into the dressing room after this match it is heartbreaking. But we haven’t been good enough in the defensive area and that is why we have been relegated.” Martinez, however, insisted the Lancashire club, whose rise to the top flight was bankrolled by chairman Dave Whelan, would be in a strong position to make a swift return. “It is not one of those moments to be too sad – it is the opposite,” he said. “To have eight years at this level is incredible. We have beaten every top club and financially we are in a strong position. As a Wigan fan it is a time to be proud of what we have achieved.” last_img read more

IPL not ideal yardstick, but little choice for India selectors

first_imgBy Sudipto GangulyMUMBAI, India (Reuters) – India captain Virat Kohli does not want performance at the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) to determine team composition for this year’s World Cup but selectors have little choice after a series of candidates failed to nail down the number four slot.Twice 50-over champions India have an otherwise settled batting line-up with a formidable top order consisting of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli himself.The selectors, however, continue to fret over who should walk out to bat after the fall of the second wicket during the May 30-July 14 showpiece tournament in England and Wales.Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu have all been trialled for the number four spot and found wanting.With the ongoing IPL the only form of cricket left before Kohli’s team embark on their World Cup campaign, the selectors may be forced to consider the form of the players in the T20 tournament before picking the squad ahead of the April 23 deadline.“They have maintained that they won’t look at IPL but it’s going to be very hard,” former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar told Reuters in a recent interview.“There are some borderline cases, like if they are looking at Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu and Vijay Shankar or a Manish Pandey or an Ajinkya Rahane. So all these people are there and thereabouts.“And if somebody has a great IPL season, it will be hard to ignore him, but they (selectors) should not actually get too carried away with what happens in the IPL.”Rayudu, 33, emerged as the most likely choice to fill the void but scores of 13, 18 and two in the first three matches of the recent home series against world champions Australia hurt his cause.Pressure is only mounting on the selectors with Rayudu, who plays for IPL champions Chennai Super Kings, scoring 28, five, one and zero in the first four matches of the tournament.Manjrekar felt India were back to square one with no more ODIs scheduled before the World Cup in England and Wales, where the team will be looking to add to their 1983 and 2011 triumphs.India’s limited-overs vice-captain Rohit believes inputs from Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri should determine the selection of the final 15.“With their inputs, the selectors will keep an eye on what is happening with those guys during the IPL,” Rohit, who leads the Mumbai Indians side in the IPL, told reporters at the launch of website on Thursday.“Although I feel IPL shouldn’t be the criterion for team selection. We have played enough international matches to see where each individual stands.“You can’t select a 50-overs format team based on a 20-overs franchise competition. IPL is a different ball game. It’s franchise cricket.“Yes, form matters a lot. But in this last four years we have played enough ODI matches, we have played enough T20 internationals. So that should be enough to understand that these are the players we want.”last_img read more