New Delhi [India], March 22 (ANI): India striker Sunil Chhetri rues the fact that he won’t be able to be a part of the forthcoming international friendlies owing to medical reasons. But Chhetri can’t hide his excitement at the Blue Tigers getting a chance to play against exceptionally strong opponents like Oman and UAE in the March FIFA window.
Chhetri who has 72 international goals to his name says that the Indian team needs to make the most of the chance of getting back to international football and he also feels one shouldn’t go around labelling the youngsters with tags that end up becoming burdens.
“Most definitely. To lose out on international football for an entire year was such a big disappointment. But these are unprecedented times and they aren’t in our control. So, we have little to complain about. That said — I am both excited and grateful about the two friendlies which the Blue Tigers will play this month — and against some quality opposition which only betters the anticipation. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be a part of it,” AIFF’s official website quoted Chhetri as saying.
“It pleases me more than I can tell. I’ve always been on about how we need to better ourselves in Asia and that can happen only when we come up against top opponents. Oman and UAE most certainly fit that bill. When I first heard of the possible opponents, I was extremely excited even though it was just a possibility! I hope we, as a team, make the most of this chance, give a good account of ourselves, and most importantly, learn from the experience,” he added.
Further talking about the growth of Indian football, Chhetri said: “Like I said — these are unprecedented times, but despite the circumstances, the fact that we have managed to get so much football in, is commendable. We (Bengaluru FC) were in a bio-bubble for five months and trust me, it was difficult. You can only imagine how difficult it must have been to put together the ISL, the I-League, and every other competition. There are countries where football has come to a complete standstill. So to be able to keep it going is something we should all be grateful for.”
Talking about the recently-concluded Indian Super League, Chhetri said: “It’s definitely been an ISL season for the youngsters. There were no illusions about how tough and competitive the season would be — and to see so many unheralded names step up and consistently perform well for their teams was very encouraging. What is critical though is that we don’t go around labelling the youngsters with tags that end up becoming burdens. There is a lot of promise and I am certain we will do well to harness it.”
India’s senior side is preparing for upcoming international friendlies against Oman and the UAE. While the match against Oman is scheduled for March 25, the match against the UAE is slated for March 29. (ANI)
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WILL STAY LIVERPOOL MANAGER AS LONG AS PEOPLE LET ME DO THAT: KLOPP
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would not be walking away from the club despite his reservations over its involvement in the controversial European Super League.
A group of 12 European clubs on Monday confirmed their plans to launch a new European Super League. Among these 12, six belong to the Premier League. Liverpool, who played out a 1-1 draw in the Premier League against Leeds United on Monday were subjected to boos by the fans ahead of this particular fixture.
“I don’t feel that. I am 20 years in football, and a lot of times owners made decisions without asking me, and I deal with it. I don’t want to be involved in these things, I don’t understand them. I’m a football person. It’s not about letting me down. I’m here as a football coach and manager, and I will do that as long as people let me do that. I heard today that I will resign or whatever,” Goal.com quoted Klopp as saying.
“If times get even tougher, that makes me even more sticky that I will stay here. I feel responsible for the team, responsible for the club, and for the relationship we have with our fans. It’s a very tough time, but I will try to help to sort it somehow,” he added. Klopp said: “I am at the club six years, around about. I know our owners, they are serious people, reasonable people. They care about us. But they never had to explain these kinds of decisions to me or ask me for permission. That’s the situation. I speak a lot to them, but I was not involved at all in the process. I got the information yesterday.”
With ANI inputs
Babar Azam eyes fastest to 2,000 T20I runs record
Pakistan captain Babar Azam will aim to become the fastest to score 2,000 T20I runs when his side takes on Zimbabwe in the three-match T20I series commencing from Wednesday at the Harare Sports Club.
Babar needs 60 more runs to break Virat Kohli’s record of fastest to 2,000 T20I runs, which the Indian captain achieved in 56 innings.Babar who has scored 1,940 runs at 48.50 in 49 innings, will be eyeing to achieve the feat in the first T20I against Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
The right-handed Lahore-born batsman is in sublime form these days, as he struck his maiden T20I hundred in Pakistan’s nine-wicket win over South Africa in the third T20I at SuperSport Park on April 14. He was also awarded the player-of-the-series award for his 210 runs at 52.50 in the four-match series.
Babar’s captaincy has been on a constant improvement since last year’s series against Bangladesh. Pakistan has won four T20I series (Bangladesh 2-0, Zimbabwe 3-0, and South Africa 2-1 at home and 3-1 away against South Africa) besides the 1-1 series draw against England and they are yet to lose a single T20I series.
On the ICC T20I rankings, Pakistan has gained two points after the series win against South Africa and has consolidated their fourth position with 262 points.
ARCHER DEEPIKA KUMARI LEARNING MIND CONTROL TO BREAK OLYMPIC JINX
India’s top woman archer Deepika Kumari is busy working on the mental side of her game in her effort to break the country’s medal jinx in the sport at the Olympics.
Deepika has won the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold at the age of 15, and has finished on the podium five times in seven appearances at the Archery World Cup Final, besides collecting several other international medals, but she faltered at the Olympics.
“The upcoming Olympics will be different for me. I’m learning how to control my thoughts. At the same time, I’m performing better,” she told World Archery ahead of the first stage of the World Cup in Guatemala City.
“Archery is all about your mind and thoughts. We have to know how to handle pressure. How to control the brain. My mind control, my thought control. That’s the key in archery and sports,” Deepika said.
In her first appearance at London 2012, Deepika exited in the first round of both individual and team events. Four years later at Rio, Deepika made a last-16 exit in the individual section, and lost to Russia in the team quarter-finals.
This time Deepika will be the lone entry from India at the Tokyo Olympics if the archers fail to grab the team quota at the World Cup Stage 3 in Paris.
The tournament, however, will not feature defending champions Korea. Traditionally dominant in the women events at the Olympics, Korea has confirmed that it would not participate in the Archery World Cups in 2021.
“If they participated, there would be a little more competition, but it doesn’t matter for me. It’s their decision if they want to play or don’t want to play… I want to play,” Deepika said.
CHENNAI AIM TO KEEP WINNING MOMENTUM AGAINST KOLKATA
Hyderabad gearing up to record their first win in this season against Punjab.
NEW DELHI: Chennai Super Kings (CSK), on a high after vanquishing Rajasthan Royals in the last match, would look to extend its winning streak when it takes on Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai on Wednesday. CSK had a bad start to the season, losing to Delhi Capitals by seven wickets in a one-sided affair. But since then, CSK has come on its own, with M.S. Dhoni making the most of his resources.
While Deepak Chahar helped CSK win against Punjab Kings, Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja’s spin web decimated the Royals. Sam Curran too is in good form, making impact both with the bat and ball. Be it his 15-ball 34 against in a losing cause to Delhi Capitals, or his bowling in the Powerplay, Curran is giving Dhoni many options. CSK will start as overwhelming favourites against KKR, which after its emphatic start against Sunrisers Hyderabad, has slipped to the fifth spot with defeats to Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
And in both the defeats, the Morgan-led team had the upper hands but could not capitalise on their starts. Head coach Brendon McCullum has already hinted at making some changes after KKR’s 38-run defeat to RCB.
As for CSK, opener Ruturaj Gaikwad is in a terrible form with scores and it remains to be seen whether he is given a longer rope by Dhoni.
In the second match Sunrisers Hyderabad, battered after suffering three successive defeats, will take on Punjab Kings, which is a tad better than SRH with win out of three games. Chasing has been a problem for Sunrisers. They have been hit hard by the lack of depth in their playing XI and below-par Indian bench strength. Warner and Rashid Khan are certainties in the foreign players’ slots, but the absence of Kane Williamson has been badly felt. Going by Wridhhiman Saha’s poor form, Jonny Bairstow is the frontrunner for the wicket-keeper’s position. SRH have been hit hard by the poor show of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T. Natarajan. Rashid has been economical but didn’t look menacing so far.
TEAM ANALYSISPUNJAB KINGS VS SUNRISERS HYDERABAD Punjab Kings (1 win & 2 losses)
• Top 4 batsmen—K.L. Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle & Deepak Hooda
• Shahrukh is a good middle order batsman
• Arshdeep Singh seems to be a good strike bowler
• Bowlers are not performing up to their potential
• Batting collapse against CSKSUNRISERS HYDERABAD (All three lost)
• Good opening pair of David Warner & Jonny Bairstow
• Good bowling unit of Rashid, Mujeeb and Khaleel
• Main strike bowler Bhuvneshwar was expensive in the last match
• Middle and lower-middle batsmen are not doing well
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS VS CHENNAI SUPER KINGSKKR (1 win, 2 losses)Strength
• Nitish Rana is in good touch
• Harbhajan Singh is good in power-play
• Players are not able to turn a good start into a big score
• Bowling is in-consistentCSK (2 wins & 1 lose)
• Moeen Ali and Sam Curran are in good form
• Ravindra Jadeja is in good touch
• Raina & Rayudu were good in the middle overs
• Deep batting order
• Dhoni is out of touch so far
• Flop show of opener Ruturaj Gaikwad
• No genuine pacer
FIFA CHIEF ‘STRONGLY DISAPPROVES’ CREATION OF EUROPEAN SUPER LEAGUE
MONTREUX: FIFA president Gianni Infantino “strongly disapproved” the formation of the European Super League and has alerted the 12 teams to be ready for “consequences”.
His comments come after a group of 12 European clubs on Monday confirmed their plans to launch a new European Super League. Among these 12, six belong to the Premier League—Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea.
“At FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove the creation of a Super League which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA,” goal.com quoted Infantino as saying at the UEFA Congress.
Infantino said the game of football might lose a lot in a bid for “short-term financial gain” for some people. “There is a lot to throw away for maybe a short-term financial gain of some. People need to think very carefully. They need to reflect and they need to assume responsibility,” said the FIFA president. “If some elect to go their own way, then they must live with the consequences of their choice. They are responsible for their choice. Concretely, this means either you are in or you are out. You cannot be half in or half out,” he added.
The European Super League has been met with severe backlash ever since reports started doing rounds in the media. Despite this, the 12 clubs have given confirmation. On Monday, FIFA had expressed its disapproval for the proposed league. “FIFA stands firm in favour of solidarity in football and an equitable redistribution model which can help develop football as a sport, particularly at global level, since the development of global football is the primary mission of FIFA,” FIFA had said in an official statement.
Mishra, Dhawan help Delhi beat Mumbai in low-scoring match
Amit Mishra picked four wickets as SC restricted MI to 137/9 and then chased down the target with five balls to spare.
Delhi Capitals recorded a six-wicket win over Mumbai Indians in a low-scoring Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday evening wherein leg-spinner Amit Mishra spun a web before Shikhar Dhawan and Steve Smith played significant.
Mishra picked four wickets as Delhi Capitals first restricted Mumbai Indians to 137/9 and then chased down the target with five balls to spare. Delhi needed 15 runs in the last two overs and Shimron Hetmyer and Lalit Yadav ensured the side didn’t falter towards the end. Moreover, Jasprit Bumrah’s two no-balls in the penultimate over made the job easier for the batsmen.
Chasing 138, Delhi had suffered an early jolt as Jayant Yadav dismissed Prithvi Shaw in the second over. Dhawan (45) and Smith (33) stitched a 53-run stand for the second wicket but at a sluggish rate.
Pollard ended the partnership in the 10th over to reduce Delhi Capitals to 64/2. However, Dhawan continued scoring at a brisk rate and built a 36-run stand with Lalit the winning team scored 100 before the completion of the 15th over.
Rahul Chahar removed Dhawan to ignite a glimmer of hope with Delhi needing 38 runs in the last five overs. But the Capitals got over the line and registered their third win of the ongoing IPL.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav launched a counter-attack and steered Mumbai Indians to 55/1 at the end of the powerplay after Quinton de Kock departed in the third over.
Rohit and Suryakumar slowly found their rhythm but Avesh Khan triggered a middle-order collapse by removing ‘SKY’ in the seventh over.
After Suryakumar’s dismissal, Mishra removed Rohit, Hardik, and Pollard. Lalit too joined the party as he dismissed Krunal Pandya. Mumbai Indians lost five wickets in less than five overs.
Ishan Kishan and Jayant Yadav revived the Mumbai Indians innings but Mishra again struck removing the wicket-keeper batsman as the Rohit-led side posted a 138-run target.Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 137/9 (Rohit Sharma 44, Ishan Kishan 26; Amit Mishra 4-26); Delhi Capitals 138/4 (Shikhar Dhawan 45, Steven Smith 33; Kieron Pollard 1-9)
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