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‘Always going to be difficult without sixth bowler’

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Always going to be difficult without sixth bowler

India skipper Virat Kohli lamented the lack of a sixth bowling option as India conceded 374 runs, before succumbing to a 66-run defeat to Australia in the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

“Unfortunately, Hardik is not fit enough to bowl, and we don’t have other allround options to pick from either, someone like Stoinis or Maxwell,” said Kohli.

Except for Mohammed Shami, none of the bowlers could keep the run rate below six with spinner Yuzvendra Chahal going for 89 runs in 10 overs and picking just one wicket.

India had no one as a back-up bowler to take the load off Chahal had a bad day.

In contrast, for Australia both Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis could chip in to finish the fifth bowler’s quota. Both shared 13 overs. Stoinis could have bowled more but for his injury.

Kohli said that there was no other option for batsmen except to go after the bowling.

“From the batting point of view, we had a chat briefly now. All the batsmen committed to it which is why you saw us playing with intent. I think we gave ourselves the best chance. Hardik’s innings was the best example of that. As a batting unit we committed nicely to positive cricket and we are going to do that in the future as well,” he said.

Pandya, who made 96 off 76 deliveries, too said that the team missed a sixth bowler. “It was always going to be difficult without a sixth bowler (with the regular bowlers going for runs). The sixth bowler’s role is more to give cushion to someone from among the regular bowlers who is having a bad day. Maybe, we’ll have to find someone who has played for India and groom him. Maybe, we should look into Pandya family,” said the batsman, who hit seven fours and four sixes in his 90-run innings.

India skipper Virat Kohli hit out at his team for not getting into 50-over format rhythm for the ongoing three-match series despite getting enough time to practice in Australia during the quarantine period.

India betrayed lack of 50-over format match practice on the field, especially after midway through Australia’s innings, as they succumbed to a 66-run defeat after conceding 374 runs to the hosts in the first One-day International at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday. They dropped catches and conceded runs through misfielding to allow Aussies to get to biggest total against India in ODIs. The Indian players, who finished the Indian Premier League in UAE on November 10, had arrived much ahead of the start of this series against Australia as they had to undergo a 14-day quarantine. However, they were allowed regular match practice during the quarantine period thanks to permission given by the New South Wales state government.

Kohli said that there were no excuses for the loss. He added that the body language wasn’t great after 25 overs.

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Indian fans’ loyalty is based on players they follow: LaLiga India head

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): In what comes as an interesting observation, LaLiga India head Jose Antonio Cachaza has said loyalty of Indian fans when it comes to the game of football is based on individuals and not the national teams or clubs.
In an interaction with ANI, Jose gave his take on how India looks at football and how the outlook is starting to change with the onset of the Indian Super League (ISL). The LaLiga India head also said there are two ways to look at the perspective of the Indian fans.
“Players come and go, they age and retire. Lionel Messi is 34, we need to look ahead. India in particular looks at football through stars, not so much with clubs. It is a good way to come to the club, as a fan, I love many players, but in the end, the fun is when you follow a club or national team because football is a team sport. Players come and go, leagues and competitions stay and get renovated constantly,” Cachaza told ANI.
The ongoing LaLiga season has provided thrills to fans and it has seen a sudden charge of Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid is currently at the top of the standings with 59 points from 25 matches while Sevilla is at the fourth spot.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are at the second and third spot respectively and both teams are fighting hard to win the LaLiga 2020-21 season.
“It has to be just another step. First of all, it has been a difficult situation for everybody, for LaLiga, for any other sports league. It is probably not the best year for our top teams, but the good side of that is it has given opportunities to other teams like Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. Both Atletico and Sevilla, they not only have names but they are playing beautiful football as well,” said the LaLiga India head.
“We cannot rely on the success of one club in one season. It has to be long-term work. The biggest challenge of LaLiga not this year, but the previous years has been the unpredictability that was there back in the day. Now, anyone can win or upset anyone and that is good for any competition,” he added.
When asked whether LaLiga clubs could look to develop projects in India to further strengthen their brand image, Cachaza said: “What I can say we are working with a number of LaLiga clubs who want to develop projects in India. They can be tying up with clubs in ISL or I-League. But also, another way is to tie up for trying to develop school projects in India.
“You have the sample of Barcelona or LaLiga schools, I cannot say it’s striving now, it was striving before the pandemic and I am pretty sure that it will strive after the pandemic. Many Spanish clubs are looking at that, they know developing projects would help them in increasing their brand profile here,” he signed off. (ANI)

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Bajrang Punia becomes World No. 1 after bagging gold in Rome

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Ace Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia has regained the number one spot in the rankings after clinching a second successive gold medal at the Matteo Pallicone Ranking Series.
Punia defeated Mongolia’s Tulga Tumur Ochir 2-2 by criteria in the 65kg freestyle event final in Rome on Sunday. He rallied to win after getting a two-pointer in the last 30 seconds of the bout.
The 27-year-old, who was playing his first international competition since the COVID-19 pandemic, made full use of the tournament before the much-awaited Tokyo Olympics.
Punia was placed second in the rankings before the start of the tournament and is now placed at the numero uno spot in the 65kg category with 14 points.
Last year, the Indian grappler had defeated USA’s Jordan Oliver in the final to clinch the gold medal at the tournament.
Punia had earned a quota for the Tokyo Games in September 2019 after winning a bronze medal at the World Championships. The prestigious quadrennial event is set to take place from July 23-August 8 this year. The Games were scheduled to take place last year but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (ANI)

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Women’s T20 Champions Cup to be played in 2027 and 2031: ICC

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Dubai [UAE], March 8 (ANI): On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday announced the expansion of women’s cricket events post the 2023 cycle.
More teams will compete in both the Women’s World Cup and the Women’s T20 World Cup from 2026 onwards as part of the ICC’s long-term commitment to growing the game globally and in a sustainable fashion, ICC stated in a media release.
The revised formats will give more teams the chance to compete on the global stage and importantly provides members with a window to grow the game domestically to challenge internationally as the changes take place.
Two 50-over World Cups will be played in 2025 and 2029 while four T20 World Cups have been scheduled for 2024, 2026, 2028, and 2030.
The sport’s governing body has also announced the advent of a new tournament, called Women’s T20 Champions Cup and it will be played in 2027 and 2031.
Manu Sawhney, ICC Chief Executive said, “We have a clear focus and commitment to an ambitious long-term growth plan for the women’s game. We have been building momentum around the women’s game for the last four years investing in global broadcast coverage and marketing to drive fan engagement.
“The results speak for themselves with the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 attracting record numbers, 1.1 billion video views, making it the most-watched women’s cricket event of all time and having 86,174 fans attending the final at the MCG, a record attendance for a women’s cricket event.
“This decision to expand our women’s events builds on these foundations and allows us to give more member countries greater opportunities to compete on a global stage. This means that more teams will also get the opportunity to compete in the qualification pathways for the respective ICC events over the coming years. I am sure these initiatives will go a long way in helping us achieve our strategic goal of continuing to build strength and depth in the women’s game,” he added.
In 2020, the Women’s T20 World Cup final was contested between Australia and India in front of a record audience at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). More than 80,000 people turned up to watch Australia lift the title. (ANI)

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Real Madrid will fight until the end for LaLiga title: Zidane

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Madrid [Spain], March 8 (ANI): After playing out a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has not given up on the LaLiga title hopes, saying that the side would “fight until the end”.
Karim Benzema struck late in the second half to cancel out Luis Suarez’s early opener, ensuring the spoils were shared in El Derbi at Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday.
“The objective is this, to continue. We know there is a lot left [but] we are going to fight until the end. Everything can always change. We are doing things well, we can improve. It is what we are going to do,” Goal.com quoted Zidane as saying.
“I am very proud of all my players. We are in the same boat and we are going to fight to the end,” he added.
Madrid were perhaps unlucky to not pull level earlier after they were turned down for a penalty call against Felipe, with the Atletico man appearing to handle the ball with his forearm and elbow.
Zidane, however, declined to criticise the decision in his post-match press conference, stating: “I don’t mess around [with the referee], his job is difficult. He made that decision to watch the play and not whistle, and we respect him. That’s it. We know it’s complicated. We can’t get into that. We have to respect that. It will not change.”
Real Madrid are at the third spot with 54 points in 26 games, five points shy from front-runner Atletico Madrid, who have played one game less. (ANI)

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Marcus Rashford to undergo scans on ankle after win at City

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Manchester [UK], March 8 (ANI): Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that striker Marcus Rashford will have a scan on his injured ankle after he was forced off during a derby win against Manchester City in their recent clash in the Premier League.
Solskjaer confirmed after their 2-0 win on Sunday that Rashford had picked up an ankle knock after sprinting back to make a vital tackle as City broke forward, as per the official United website.
The forward had to leave the field after 73 minutes and was replaced by Mason Greenwood midway through the second half.
“It is one of them. It was a great recovery run, a recovery sprint, he saved maybe a goal, so he sacrificed himself for the team,” Solskjaer told club media.
“It is something with his ankle I think. I am not a doctor but hopefully, it is not too bad. We will have to scan him in the morning,” he added.
The Reds were already without Edinson Cavani, who had to come off during United’s final training session before the derby on Saturday.
With 54 points, United are placed at the second spot in the Premier League standings and will next take on AC Milan in the first leg of the Round of 16 clash in the Europa League. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Visitors sweating over Archer’s availability in T20I series

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 8 (ANI): England pacer Jofra Archer is a doubtful starter for the T20I series against India after suffering a recurrence of an elbow problem.
Archer had missed the fourth and final Test against India in Ahmedabad due to an elbow problem. England head coach Chris Silverwood has now said that the side’s medical team will monitor the situation and a decision would be taken accordingly.
“Jofra’s elbow did flare up a little bit and the medical staff are managing that at the moment. Obviously, we’ll monitor his progress. The medical staff are talking about how we deal with this long term,” Silverwood said during a virtual press conference.
“He’s trained today (Sunday) with the white-ball squad. We’ll be monitoring his situation but he got through training today,” he added.
Archer had also missed the second Test of the four-match series against India due to the same elbow issue.
When asked about the workload management of Archer, Silverwood replied: “I’ll be guided by the medics. We’ll see where we end up with him. I want Jofra to be fit for all forms of cricket. I want him to have a long, successful Test career. Could we limit the number of overs he bowls? It’s not something I would go out and predict but we’ll find out in the course of time.”
“The important thing for me at the moment is that Jofra gets every resource we can provide to make sure he does have a long and successful Test career. I’m not sure surgery has come up yet. I’ll be guided by the medics on that. I wouldn’t say I’m concerned, no,” he added.
India and England would be locking in the five-match T20I series, beginning Friday. The Virat Kohli-led India qualified for the World Test Championship (WTC) final after winning the Test series against England.
India won the fourth Test by an innings and 25 runs to win the four-match series 3-1. (ANI)

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