The Sports Matrix: Thursday 20 October 2011

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The Independent Online

Crouch relishes being written off

Peter Crouch admits he welcomes criticism over his play. “People will write me off and I come back and get goals for England,” the striker said. “That is something I have had my entire career. It is not going to change. I will always have to ‘prove myself’.” MORE

IPL chief: We want to save Test format

Rajeev Shukla, chairman of the Indian Premier League, has insisted Test cricket remains a priority. “We need to promote all three forms of the game,” he said. “We are not thinking only from the position of money. The effect IPL is having is our concern.” MORE

French determined to upset apple cart

France centre Maxime Mermoz feels criticism of his side will only inspire their efforts in Sunday’s final. “The important thing is we respect ourselves,” he said. “Sometimes it is possible to use criticism to your advantage.” MORE

Leicester close on play-off place

First-half goals from David Nugent and Jermaine Beckford helped Leicester City return to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Watford. Sven Goran Eriksson’s side moved up to ninth in the table with the win, one point from the play-off zone. MORE

Finn is hoping for series turnaround

Steve Finn retains hope that England can reverse a 2-0 deficit in their five-match ODI series in India. “We were in the same position against Sri Lanka,” he said ahead of today’s third game. “There’s belief in the camp that we’re going to come back.” MORE

Chelsea coast to Genk victory

Chelsea sauntered to a 5-0 win over Genk to cement their place at the top of Group E. Raul Meireles opened the scoring from 30 yards before Fernando Torres scored twice and Branislav Ivanovic headed the fourth. Salomon Kalou added a fifth after the break. MORE

Butt denies taking Amir under wing

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt yesterday rejected suggestions that he had “controlled” Mohammad Amir and helped ensure he bowled no-balls in a Test against England at Lord’s last year. Butt is standing trial at Southwark Crown Court. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

In a little more than 72 hours, the France coach Marc Lièvremont may have stunned the rugby world. He may have moved from the low ground of controversy to the uplands of pure legend. MORE

Ramsey sweet as Welshman hits late winner for Arsenal

An injury-time goal by Aaron Ramsey helped Arsenal beat Marseilles 1-0 at Stade Vélodrome to give Arsène Wenger’s side control of Group F. The visitors came into the game struggling for form domestically but unbeaten in Europe and were the better side in a poor first half. Robin van Persie had a header cleared off the line before both he and Theo Walcott went close as a disappointing Marseilles side struggled to fashion any clear-cut chances. Ramsey replaced Russian Andrei Arshavin with 12 minutes left and the midfielder proved the match-winner as he swept home from just inside the area. Wenger’s side now top the group on seven points ahead of the visit of Marseilles in 12 days’ time. MORE

Leverkusen on course to qualify

Two goals in three minutes helped Bayer Leverkusen open up a four-point gap over Valencia with a 2-1 win over the Spaniards. They now sit second behind Chelsea. In Arsenal’s group, Olympiakos beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 to record their first group-stage victory.

Hill happy to keep his options open

British Superbike champion Tommy Hill is considering his options after his thrilling title victory. “Some options in World Superbikes are available – I’d like to get back to world level. But I don’t rule out British Superbikes; it just keeps getting bigger.” MORE