CHENNAI PITCH WAS DIFFICULT BUT NOT DANGEROUS - The Daily Guardian
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CHENNAI PITCH WAS DIFFICULT BUT NOT DANGEROUS

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I do not understand why there is such hue and cry about the Chennai pitch. Did the England and Wales Cricket Board not prepare the pitch according to their team’s strength? They are preparing their pitches to suit their bowlers. Australia and South Africa also do the same thing. But here it is more important to focus on your game than to complain about pitches.

The Chennai pitch was difficult for the batsmen but not dangerous. The same type of pitches is seen in different parts of India. The truth is that on the pitch of the first cricket Test, there were a lot of runs. Many wickets also fell. The truth is that the Indian bowling disappointed us there. We didn’t bowl really well. But such comments are usually made after facing defeat. These comments are obvious because England lost in the second Test. While writing all this I could not justify this pitch completely but the truth is that such pitches are being made.

You will remember that the ICC also intervened about the pitch in the Test against South Africa in Kanpur in 2008. That pitch was really dangerous. It was really difficult to bat on that, whereas in the first cricket Test, the pitch was flat on the first two days. If our bowlers had bowled well there, England could not have scored so high. Secondly, the choice of our bowlers was also not correct. I was not worried when Shahbaz Nadeem was included in the first Test. He bowled well in the Ranchi Test against South Africa but it was not at all justified to include Washington Sundar with his batting prowess, especially when the second off-spinner R. Ashwin was already in the team. The leg spinner should have been included.

It has now been decided that the team management does not trust Kuldeep Yadav. It was great to see Ravichandran Ashwin’s batting. His batting made me feel as if he is proving to his captain that he is not a number eight batsman. After all, why is he even driven down the batting order after a debutant Akshar Patel? Not only this, he wanted to tell through his performance that he can also score a century after taking five wickets in the first innings—which also proves that it is not such a bad pitch, not one which cannot be batted on.

The writer is a former Indian cricket player. He played 35 Tests and 59 ODI matches, and is a cricket expert currently.

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WOMEN’S T20 CHAMPIONS CUP TO BE PLAYED IN 2027 AND 2031: ICC

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DUBAI: 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.

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HOPE AXAR, ASHWIN HAVE LEFT SOME WICKETS FOR IPL : PONTING

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MUMBAI: Former Australian skipper and Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting on Monday teased all-rounder Axar Patel and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who starred for India in the recent Test series against England.

Axar and Ashwin together picked 59 wickets against England in the four-match Test series which India won 3-1. While Axar became the joint highest wicket-taker in a debut Test series for India, Ashwin finished with 32 scalps, the most by any bowlers in the series.

Ponting is hoping that the spin duo has some wickets left to take in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season. Ponting also wishes to see Pant replicating his heroics in the cash-rich league slated to begin from April 9.

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Manchester City win shows what a great team we are: Victor Lindelof

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NEW DELHI: Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof said the victory over Manchester City shows “what a great team we are” and wants his side to keep working hard.

Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw gave Manchester United a 2-0 victory against Manchester City on Sunday which ended the leaders’ 15-match winning run in the Premier League. “We are always confident going into every game. We know we can beat every team. It’s a very tough away game to play against a really good team. It shows what a great team we are and what we can do on the pitch. We need to keep working hard and hopefully, we can get some more wins,” the club’s official website quoted Lindelof as saying.

During the match, Manchester United got off to a flying start and took the lead thanks to a second-minute penalty from Fernandes, awarded after Gabriel Jesus had fouled Anthony Martial. Manchester City threatened after the break but Manchester United defended well to maintain their lead.

Shaw doubled Manchester United’s lead in the 50th minute and with this, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sealed a 2-0 win in the match.

Praising the team’s performance, Lindelof said it was a “deserved” win for the team.

“Yeah obviously we are so pleased with the performance. We defended really well as a team, not just the back four. I think we defended well, right down from Anto [Anthony Martial] to Deano [Dean Henderson]. Everyone put in the effort that was needed and we got a clean sheet and three points, so everyone was happy,” he said.

“They didn’t create a lot of chances. We defended really good and you always have to stay focused because you know they can create chances from anything. Like I said, I’m very happy and it’s a very deserved win for us,” Lindelof added.

Manchester City remains at the top of the Premier League table with 65 points while Manchester United are now second on the table with 54 points.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played down the talks regarding the late Premier League title push after his team defeated Manchester City.

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Djokovic breaks Federer’s ATP record

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LONDON: Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has broken Roger Federer’s record of being at the top of the ATP Rankings for the maximum number of weeks.

With the start of this week, Djokovic has extended his stay at the top spot for 311 weeks and as a result, the record of Federer has been broken. “The record is broken! @DjokerNole now holds the record for most weeks at No. 1 in the @fedex ATP Rankings,” the official handle of ATP Tour tweeted.

Federer had held on to the record for being at the number one spot for most weeks as he stayed at the pole position for a total of 310 weeks.

The 33-year-old Djokovic had risen to the top of the ATP Rankings for the first time in July 2011.

Djokovic had ended 2020 at the number one spot in the rankings and this was the sixth time that the Serbian finished the year at the pole position.

Earlier this year, Djokovic had won the Australian Open for the ninth time.

On February 21, Djokovic defeated Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in the finals of the Australian Open 2021 at the Rod Laver Arena to clinch his 9th Australian title.

This was also the 18th Grand Slam win for the Serbian player.

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STRENGTH OF SOCIETY IS THE STRENGTH OF WOMEN: KOHLI

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On the occasion of International Women’s Day, India skipper Virat Kohli on Monday said the strength of a society is the strength of women.

Taking to Twitter, Kohli wrote, “Happy Women’s Day to all the amazing women of the world. The strength of a society is the strength of women.” India Test team vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane wrote, “I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many strong women in my life, thank you for your all unending support. Wishing all the wonderful women a very Happy Women’s Day!”

India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja also shared his thoughts and wrote: “May we know them. May we raise them. May we be them. Here’s to all the wonderful & strong women around the world, I bow my head in respect and solidarity with all of you out there. #InternationalWomensDay.”

Each year on March 8, International Women’s Day is observed in order to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day commemorates women, who despite various challenges posed by society have proven their mettle in every sphere across the world.

On the cricketing side, Team India on Saturday roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) following an emphatic 3-1 series win over England.

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TRANSCENDING ODDS AND STEREOTYPES: INDIAN WOMEN IN ELITE SPORTS

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NEW DELHI: Every year on March 8, to commemorate resilience and sturdy spirit of women, International Women’s day is celebrated. The day is also celebrated to make efforts aiming to facilitate women empowerment, and it reflects from the fact that the theme of the year 2021 is ‘Women in leadership achieving an equal future in Covid-19 world’.

Despite the lingering subjugation imposed upon them by society, women have been participating in competitive sports for centuries. However, for the first time, it was in XXI Commonwealth games that sports events were held on the basis of complete gender equality, and equal number of events for men and women were fixed.

Physiological differences do not limit women. The positive effects of an active lifestyle and sports pursuits benefit men and women similarly. Women’s participation was encouraged in both sports and in administration at international Olympics committee to decrease demographic gap between men and women playing sports, and pursuing other activities under the banner.

As far as accomplishments of Indian sportswomen are concerned, they are not less in number. India has just 26 medals in its diversified Olympic history—between 1928 (Amsterdam) and 2016 (Rio), and five of the 26 medals have come from women. Karnam Malleshwari was the first to win an Olympic medal and in 2016, PV Sindhu became the first ever Indian shuttler to win Olympics silver medal. At London Olympics 2012, Saina Nehwal became the first Indian to win an Olympic bronze.

In the 2014 Asian Games, Indian women players pushed the men on the back foot and claimed about half of the total medals. Moreover, Indian sportswomen brought laurels to the country when they won a plenty of medals at 2018 Commonwealth Games (13 gold, 11 silver, and 7 bronze medals).

In 2016 at the Rio Olympic Games, the percentage of women participating was higher than ever, 45 percent of the total competitors being women. That’s more than double the figure from 1976 past four decades ago.

Five women players, including the mountaineers, so far, have been awarded the Padma Bhushan. Bachendri Pal was the first to climb Everest. And Mary Kom was the first Indian ever to win an international medal in boxing and first Indian boxer to win an Olympics medal. Sania Mirza, in 2005, became the first Indian to win a woman’s double title at the US Open title.

P.V. Sindhu won a silver medal in the women’s singles event at the 2016 Rio Olympics. From global championships, Sindhu has five medals in her bag: two bronze, two silver, and one gold. Indian women have been making the country proud, and are rising above the horizons every passing day.

The writer is a former Associate Professor, Delhi University. Views are his personal.

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