Melbourne [Australia], February 8 (ANI): Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic on Monday sailed into the second round of the Australian Open after beating France’s Jeremy Chardy in the first round clash.
The world number one ignited his title defence with a 6-3 6-1 6-2 masterclass over Chardy in the match which lasted 91 minutes.
The top seed, seeking an unprecedented ninth title at Melbourne Park, looked in ominous form to book a second-round match-up with American Frances Tiafoe.
“It’s an ongoing love affair between me and the Rod Laver Arena. Hopefully I can have many great matches this year with this type of performance. Obviously, I wanted to start of well, first match, night session,” the Australian Open website quoted Djokovic as saying.
“It’s very special to be back on one of the most special courts around the world. It’s my most successful court, every time I step on this court I re-live these memories,” he added.
Earlier in the day, US Open champion Dominic Thiem cruised to the second round of the tournament after beating Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin in the first round clash.
World number three fought hard in the first set and finally won the set in a tie-breaker. Thiem outclassed Kukushkin in a three-set clash 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-3 that lasted for two hours and 42 minutes.
Thiem will next play either German Dominik Keopfer or Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien in the second round.
Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams have also progressed to the second round after winning their respective first-round matches. (ANI)
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NZC allows crowds for T20I double-header in Wellington
Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Friday announced that spectators will be allowed to attend the weekend’s T20I double-header at Sky Stadium after the relaxation in Wellington’s Alert Level status.
The fifth and final T20I between New Zealand and Australia and the final T20I of the three-match series between New Zealand women (White Ferns) and England women will also be played in Wellington on Sunday.
Earlier, both the fixtures were shifted from the Bay Oval to Wellington and were set to be played behind closed doors.
The second T20I between New Zealand women and England women is being played at Sky Stadium while the fourth T20I between New Zealand men and Australia men will start later in the day.
Kane Williamson-led side currently leads the series 2-1, having won the first two games by 53 and 4 runs respectively.
However, the Aaron Finch-led side was able to keep the series alive as they registered a convincing 64-run win in the third T20I played on Wednesday at the Westpac Stadium here.
On Thursday, New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner was tested negative for COVID-19 and will be available for selection for the fourth T20I against Australia.
Santner was ruled out of the third T20I after he woke up with a head-cold. He was put under self-isolation as a precautionary measure while awaiting the results of a COVID test. Adam Milne was added as his cover for the third T20I.
“Team update| BLACKCAPS all-rounder Mitchell Santner has returned a negative COVID test this afternoon. He is feeling better and available for selection for T20 four against Australia at Sky Stadium on Friday night,” New Zealand Cricket informed in a tweet on Thursday.
Santner had returned with the figures of 4/31 in the second T20I played at the University Oval in Dunedin. (ANI)
Would like to be known as someone who created a legacy: Bavuma after taking captaincy role
Johannesburg [South Africa], March 5 (ANI): After becoming South Africa’s limited-overs skipper, batsman Temba Bavuma wants to show his potential at the helm and create a legacy for himself.
On Thursday, Bavuma was named as the country’s first black African cricket captain while Dean Elgar was given the captaincy of Test cricket.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) said Bavuma will lead the Proteas in the 2021 and 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cups as well as the ICC Men’s World Cup in 2023. Elgar will take over the reins into the next cycle of the ICC World Test Championship.
“I understand the deeply rooted significance of it all. In being the first black African (cricket) captain in our country – you don’t have to look too far in our history and our political situation in our country – so I can completely understand why people in our country would celebrate it for what it is,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Bavuma as saying.
“I’d be lying if I said it does not make me think of where everything started for me, and how I’ve been able to go through a journey and get to this point. But combined with being known as the first black African captain, I’d also like to be known as someone who led the team very well and created a legacy for himself,” he added.
However, the captaincy role is a surprise to Bavuma but it is a no-brainer for him.
“I was offered the position as captain and it came to me as a surprise, but it was a no-brainer. I don’t think a lot of people would turn down this type of honour and privilege,” he said.
“Obviously there’s anxiety about not knowing what to expect but a lot of comfort comes from the fact that I know my players and the people who have entrusted me with the decision, I draw a lot of confidence from that because those are people of stature,” the skipper added. (ANI)
Mohammad Abbas signs two-month deal with Hampshire for County Championship
Hampshire [UK], March 5 (ANI): Hampshire on Thursday announced the signing of Pakistan pacer Mohammad Abbas for the first two months of the County Championship season.
Abbas has quickly become one of the world’s best Test bowlers since making his international debut in 2017, with 84 wickets to his name at an exceptional average of 22.80 in just 23 appearances. He currently holds the third-best bowling average of all active international bowlers, behind only Jasprit Bumrah and Pat Cummins, and sits 12th in the ICC Test Bowling Rankings.
After impressing Pakistan’s national selectors through sustained domestic success in 2015 and 2016, Abbas burst onto the international scene four years ago, claiming his maiden Test wicket two deliveries into his debut against West Indies, before going on to record his first five-wicket haul in just his third Test appearance.
“I’m really pleased to be joining Hampshire and I can’t wait to join up with the team this summer,” Abbas said in a statement.
Abbas is no stranger to English domestic cricket too having showcased his ability throughout two seasons at Leicestershire in 2018 and 2019. Leading the Foxes’ attack, he returned 79 wickets at an average of just 20.67 – including five five-wicket hauls – in 19 County Championship fixtures with the side.
“We are really excited about the arrival of Mohammad Abbas. He is a bowler of the highest quality and to secure him for an early-season Championship stint is a huge boost to the squad. He joins Kyle Abbott as our second overseas signing and we are hopeful that they form a formidable pairing in early season conditions,” said Giles White, Director Of Cricket. (ANI)
POLLARD HITS 6 SIXES IN AN OVER, WELCOMED BY YUVRAJ AND GIBBS INTO THE CLUB
ANTIGUA: West Indies limited-overs format skipper Kieron Pollard on Thursday became the third batsman in the history of international cricket to hit six 6s in an over.
He achieved the feat in the first T20I of the three-match series against Sri Lanka here at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. With these six 6s, Pollard has joined the likes of Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh in the elusive list.
Pollard hit Sri Lanka’s Akila Dananjaya for six 6s in the sixth over of the innings as the hosts’ Windies were chasing a target of 132 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.
The right-handed batsman hit the first ball over the long-on fence, the second ball was dispatched straight down the ground while the third was hit to the long-off fence.
Former cricketers Yuvraj Singh and Herschelle Gibbs on Thursday, took to the microblogging platform Twitter, and welcomed all-rounder Kieron Pollard to the 6 sixes club.
VERY POOR BATTING FROM ENGLAND: FORMER ENGLAND SKIPPER VAUGHAN
AHMEDABAD: Former England skipper Michael Vaughan on Tuesday, Former England skipper Michael Vaughan on Thursday criticised the English team for not batting to their potential in the ongoing fourth Test against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
England skipper Joe Root won the toss and opted to bat first, but the batters failed to make the most and lost wickets quickly in the first session of play. Vaughan, who has been quite vocal in his criticism of the pitches used in the series, called this pitch “perfect” and blamed England batters for failing to score runs.
Taking to Twitter Vaughan wrote, “England’s batting so far worse than any of the last few Tests … This Pitch is a perfect surface to get a big first innings score … No spin … Ball coming onto the Bat … Very poor Batting so far … #INDvENG.”
Elgar to lead Proteas in Tests, Bavuma in limited-overs format
Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Thursday announced the appointments of Temba Bavuma and Dean Elgar as captains of the Proteas men’s team in the limited-overs and Test format respectively.
CSA said Bavuma will lead the Proteas in the 2021 and 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cups as well as the ICC Men’s World Cup in 2023. Elgar will take over the reins into the next cycle of the ICC World Test Championship. CSA’s Director of Cricket (DoC), Graeme Smith, in a statement, said: “We are grateful to Quinton for the work he has put in as captain of the team in the limited-overs formats and are indebted to him for stepping up while the National Selection Panel continued its search for the Test captain. We expect him to still play an integral role in the team’s leadership group.
“We as CSA are pleased with the appointments of Temba and Dean and believe that we have the men who will lead the Proteas back to their winning ways of old. The pair bring the required stability in both leadership and form to turn the ship in the direction that will eventually bring trophies back to the cabinets.”
Praising Bavuma, Smith said the player has shown consistency on the field in all formats, solidifying his place as a leader. Smith is also confident that Elgar will bring the same grit and determination to his captaincy as he has brought to his many performances on the field over many years.
“Temba has been a strong and influential voice in the team in recent times and has shown consistency on the field in all formats, solidifying his place as a leader. He also has the trust and backing of the players and coaches around him. We are excited to have him lead the Proteas in the upcoming T20 World Cups as well as the 2023 World Cup in India. He will also be the Test team’s vice-captain, working closely with Dean to ensure continuity and stability in the squad,” Smith said.
“Dean has made no secret of his Test captaincy ambitions over the years and we are pleased to have a leader who is ready, willing and able to step up to the massive task of turning our Test cricket fortunes around,” Smith added.
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