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‘Clinching WTC akin to winning World Cup’

‘Winning the WTC is equal to winning the World Cup. We are all focusing on that, having said that, the focus right now is to play the fourth Test against England,’ says Rahane as India gear up for the Ahmedabad match today.

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India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday echoed pacer Ishant Sharma’s emotions and said winning the World Test Championship (WTC) would be similar to winning the World Cup.

India currently has a 2-1 lead in the ongoing four-match series against England and if the hosts manage to win or draw the final Test, they would secure their berth in the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC). “Absolutely, Ishant was spot on in what he said. Winning the WTC is equal to winning the World Cup. We are all focusing on that, having said that, the focus right now is to play the fourth Test against England. Ishant was completely right,” said Rahane while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

In the ongoing series against England, Rahane has managed to score just 85 runs and his highest score of 67 came in the second Test at Chepauk. India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the pink-ball Test. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that did not turn and skidded through from the spinners.

“When you play on spinning tracks, you have to play the line and you know that. In India, we haven’t played so many games in the last two-three years. When you play on that spinning and seaming wickets, it’s all about playing the line, when the ball is spinning too much, you do not have to think about it, you just have to play the line, if you miss the ball, you miss the ball. Backing your defence and ability on seaming and spinning wicket is something we follow,” said Rahane.

Earlier, pacer Ishant Sharma had said that the WTC is like a World Cup for him and if India goes on to win the Test championship, then it would be a similar feeling to winning the World Cup.

“I am just focused on how to win this series and qualify for the finals of the WTC. I just play one format, WTC is like a World Cup for me, if we play the finals and then we go on to win, the feeling would be the same as winning the World Cup or the Champions Trophy,” said Ishant during a virtual press conference ahead of the third Test against England.

“The wicket would be similar to the third Test and also the second Test what we played in Chennai. The wicket would be similar, yes the pink ball made the difference, it was coming much quicker off the wicket as compared to the red ball. That was an adjustment we had to make but as I said the wicket would be a lot similar to the last two Test matches,” Rahane said.

A day after training in the nets, the Indian cricket team on Tuesday shifted focus to fielding to ensure utmost sharpness in the upcoming fourth and final Test against England, having taken a 2-1 lead in the series.

The hosts are leading the series 2-1 and the fourth Test of the series will commence on Thursday.

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WILL TREAT EVERY GAME AS FINAL AND GIVE MY 100%, SAYS SUNRISERS SPINNER RASHID KHAN

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Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) spinner Rashid Khan has said the side will be treating every game in the UAE-leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 as their final match. SRH is languishing at the bottom of the points table and the side will have to battle it out to make it to the top four.

Rashid is also working on his batting skills to give SRH an edge lower down the order. “From one and a half years, I have been working on my batting as last 15-25 runs are very crucial for the side. So just trying my best to do different things, haven’t practised a lot of shots in the nets but I’m just focusing on having the right mindset,” said Rashid in the video. “Definitely looking forward to the rest of the season, yeah we didn’t have the ideal start in the first half of the tournament but looking forward to finish up well and treat every game as a final and give my 100 per cent,” he added.

Wickets in the UAE are said to assist the spinner, speaking about the same, Rashid said, “We have played enough games in UAE’s conditions and just need to find out the good areas on the wicket.”

All-rounder Jason Holder and the side’s new signing Sherfane Rutherford on Friday arrived in UAE ahead of the resumption of the 14th edition of the IPL.The 14th season, which was postponed in May this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume on Sunday in Dubai with a blockbuster clash between Chennai Super Kings and defending champions Mumbai Indians.After the CSK-MI clash, the action will then shift to Abu Dhabi where KKR will square off against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Sharjah will host its first game on September 24 when Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Chennai Super Kings. In all, 13 matches will be held in Dubai, 10 in Sharjah, and 8 in Abu Dhabi.

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AUSTRALIA WITHDRAW FROM JUNIOR HOCKEY WORLD CUPS

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The Kookaburras (Australian men’s hockey team) and Hockeyroos (Australian women’s hockey team) will not compete in the next edition of the FIH Pro League, with Hockey Australia (HA) also confirming non-attendance at various other FIH events over the coming months on Friday.

Australia and New Zealand will not take part in season 3 of the FIH Pro League as a result of Covid related government travel restrictions and uncertainty in both nations. According to Hockey Austalia, all participating countries and the FIH Pro League Council agreed it was untenable for international teams to travel to Australia and New Zealand, as well as for Australian and New Zealand teams to play overseas and return without having to quarantine.

“Based on risk assessment and current Australian government health advice, Hockey Australia is not considering overseas hockey-related trips at this time,” said Hockey Austalia acting CEO, Michael Johnston.

“The decision on our absence from the FIH Pro League was a collective one agreed on by all nations based primarily on other countries’ difficulty or inability to travel into Australia and New Zealand.

“In Australia it is apparent the easing of international travel restrictions is still a way off and none of the competing countries wanted to enter the next Pro League season without a level of assuredness,” Johnston added.

Hockey Australia said it remains committed to the Hockeyroos competing at the FIH women’s hockey World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands from July 1-17 next year.

The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos will also be part of the Australian Commonwealth Games team that will head to Birmingham in England between July 28 and August 8 2022.

With Covid causing ongoing challenges and risks with travel and subsequent quarantine, Hockey Australia has also withdrawn teams from the following tournaments:

-FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup India 2021 (November/December)- FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021 (December)

– FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup Belgium 2022 (February)

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THERE WAS NO PRESSURE ON KOHLI, IT’S ALL ABOUT WORKLOAD: MADAN LAL ON T20 CAPTAINCY

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Former India all-rounder Madan Lal on Friday said India skipper Virat Kohli was not under pressure to step down from T20I captaincy and appreciated his decision. While speaking on Virat Kohli quitting T20I captaincy, he said: “There was no such pressure on him and I appreciate his decision. Today cricketers are playing all three formats of the game and Kohli is also captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and seeing the workload he is currently at the peak of his career which is good for himself and the team.”

When asked about Sachin Tendulkar quitting the captaincy under pressure, Madan Lal said, “Kohli has not quit the captaincy as he has built a team and taken Indian team to number one Test ranking team so it’s not about quitting. It’s all about workload and there is pressure on everyone and you have to deal with that.”

Talking about ODI and Test match captaincy, Lal said there should be no changes in both formats. Talking about Rohit Sharma leading the T20 side, he said till now Rohit has done captaincy for Mumbai Indians and has done well in other matches. “We are lucky we have another captain coming in and we are grooming them and captain also learns from grooming and Kohli has not left T20 and Rohit will benefit from the output Kohli gives him.”

Madan Lal feels at present Rohit Sharma is the right candidate for T20 captaincy and the next skipper could be KL Rahul. On Rahul being made T20 captain, Lal was against it and said Rohit is already there and there should be no overlap and it will spoil the team and Rahul can be made vice-captain.

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NEW ZEALAND JUST KILLED PAKISTAN CRICKET: SHOAIB

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Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar on Friday came down heavily on New Zealand for abandoning their tour of Pakistan and said the team just killed Pakistan cricket.

Taking to Twitter, Akhtar wrote: “NZ just killed Pakistan cricket.” He went on to add: “Following points for New Zealand to remember: 9 Pakistanis were killed in the Christchurch attack. Pakistan stood strong with New Zealand. Pakistan toured New Zealand in the worst of Covid circumstances regardless of the crude treatment by NZ authorities on that tour.

“This was just an unverified threat, it could have been discussed. Prime Minister Imran Khan personally spoke to his NZ counterpart and assured but it was still refused. Pakistan has safely hosted South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe & PSL.”

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Friday before Blackcaps announced that they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan. Imran Khan assured Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) still decided to return home after the NZ government security alert.

New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. The side was to play Pakistan on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.

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EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED ON THE ‘ABRUPT POSTPONEMENT’ OF THE SERIES, SAYS BABAR AZAM

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam on Friday expressed disappointment after New Zealand cricket announced they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan due to New Zealand government security alert.

“Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan Cricket Fans. I’ve full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be!” Babar Azam tweeted. “Such a shame for Pakistan Cricket .. These late call offs will damage the game hugely financially .. Hopefully security issues can be resolved to allow cricket to be played again in Pakistan .. !!” wrote former England captain Michael Vaughan on his twitter handle.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Friday before Blackcaps announced that they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan.

Imran Khan assured Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) still decided to return home after the NZ government security alert.

New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. The side was to play Pakistan on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.

“Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same.

“The Pakistan Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team,” Pakistan Cricket Board stated in a statement.

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New Zealand abandon Pak tour after security alert

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The Blackcaps have abandoned their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) informed on Friday.The side was to play Pakistan on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.

New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. “However, following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour,” NZC said in a statement.

NZC chief executive David White said it was simply not possible to continue with the tour given the advice he was receiving. “I understand this will be a blow for the PCB, who have been wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount and we believe this is the only responsible option,” he said. NZC said arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed White’s sentiments.

“We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision. The players are in good hands; they’re safe — and everyone’s acting in their best interests,” he said.

NZC said it will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Friday before Blackcaps announced that they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan.

Imran Khan assured Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) still decided to return home after the NZ government security alert.

“Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same. The Pakistan Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team,” Pakistan Cricket Board stated in a statement.“The security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay here,” PCB added.

PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. “However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal,” said PCB.

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