In the last week, three important developments related to the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 have raised several questions. These questions are directly connected with Covid-19. The first is Suresh Raina’s statement in which the cricketer raised a question over bio-bubble set up, saying that he was not feeling comfortable with this set up for IPL players. The second is seven players having withdrawn from the 13th edition of IPL T20 cricket tournament due to Covid-19 scare. And the third is the UAE’s government strictness in view of a spike in Covid-19 cases in Abu Dhabi, which is leading to several problems making the situation unfavorable for the IPL.
The BCCI directed the franchise owners to follow the government guidelines more strictly. Can the BCCI be absolved of its responsibility after asking the franchises to follow the safety norms? Can the high-profile players of the IPL expected to follow the guidelines strictly? The situation in the UAE is that Suresh Raina was seen flouting the guidelines of social distancing by not wearing a mask along with his colleagues of Chennai Super Kings. That’s not all. Fast bowler Deepak Chahar, who has tested positive for Covid-19, has tweeted saying: “All have been tested negative bro two times and we don’t wear mask with family (CSK).” Deepak has tweeted this in reply to his brother Rahul’s tweet in which the latter had asked after seeing a picture: “Where is your mask bro? Social distancing?”
Now the question arises if the teams such as Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals can go to the UAE wearing PPE kits and follow the Covid-19 norms strictly there, why can’t other teams do like that? There, of course, are no high-profile players in Rajasthan Royals, but there are high-profile players in Mumbai Indians such as Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya. CSK team members’ picture which was clicked on the plane itself speaks volumes about flouting the social distancing norms. Around 12 support staff members of this team tested positive for Covid-19 and this raises questions on how the IPL tournament is being organised. What action will the BCCI or the organisers take against the players or the teams for flouting the safety norms? Is it possible practically? Nothing has been made clear about whether the team will follow the concurrent substitute rule if a player is found to be corona positive during the match. This issue has been raised by NCA director Rahul Dravid earlier. The bigger issue is whether the BCCI should appoint such personnel who would ensure strict observance of the corona norms by the players and there should be provisions to send the players to quarantine, who do not follow the corona guidelines.
When Wimbledon can be stopped for the first time after World War II, and ICC T-20 World Cup and Olympics can be postponed for a year, then why are league tournaments like IPL and CPL being organised where safety norms cannot be followed strictly. In fact, the England team has played series against West Indies, Ireland and Pakistan, and it is now playing matches against Australia and everything is fine there. So, in view of this, it has been presumed that everything will be okay with other tournaments also.
Actually, all the matches that were played in England after lockdown were bilateral series, where it was possible to ensure strict observance of all the norms. But it becomes challenging to ensure the same observance of rules and norms in the tournament where eight teams are playing and where franchine owners have invested huge amounts of money.
In a significant development, England’s pacer Chris Woakes and opening batsman Jason Roy have opted out of Delhi Capitals. Similarly, Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh have withdrawn from Chennai Super Kings, and England’s pace bowler Harry Gurney has opted out of KKR. Likewise, Australia’s fast bowler Ken Richardson and Sri Lankan’s speedster Lasith Malinga have withdrawn from RCB and Mumbai Indians respectively. The number of players leaving the tournament can go up as well. In the same manner, three key West Indian players had withdrawn their names when the team had left for England. Several of Pakistan’s players had also been found to be corona positive before the team’s departure for England. The message is that the conditions are not favourable for an ideal cricket. The precaution like ban on use of saliva and closed-door matches is no longer significant now. Another reality is that local administration in Dubai and Abu Dhabi has not yet given any assurance to the BCCI that they will relax their rules for the IPL players. The Covid-19 test has been made mandatory there. The IPL fixtures could not be released on time because at one point of time the IPL Governing Council was seriously considering to call off the Abu Dhabi leg of the IPL.
However, this is cricket’s fight against corona. Everybody is ready to enjoy the cricket. Let’s hope that a good solution to all the problems will be there in days to come. And, the cricket-lovers will have an opportunity to see a high-level game.
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HARYANA DECIDES TO NAME PARAGLIDING CLUB AFTER MILKHA SINGH
In memory of the Flying Sikh, Milkha Singh, who passed away recently, the Haryana Government announced to form a paragliding club in Morni. Regarding the same, Chief Minister Manohar Lal, while addressing a press conference, said that the state government has decided to form a paragliding club in memory of Milkha Singh The youth from the neighbouring areas will be trained for paragliding in this club. He said that Morni would prove to be a very suitable place for paragliding. This will increase employment in the surrounding villages and also increase the revenue of the state.
He said that a tourism information centre and Yatri Niwas would be set up in Panchkula, and five buses to be deployed for Panchkula Darshan. The Chief Minister said that nine one-day trekking routes have also been prepared for adventure sports activities. Soon after finalizing the arrangements for nighstay, two-day trekking routes will also be finalized. The Chief Minister also said that the use of hot air balloons would be started in Pinjore. With this citizens will not only visit Pinjore Garden but also Morni, Lake and other places of Panchkula.
He also said that the hot air balloon facility was available only at 5 or 6 places across the country. With the start of this facility in Pinjore, this area will be a leader in the field of tourism. Along with experiencing the adventure sports activities, the Chief Minister encouraged the youth and expressed his commitment towards developing Panchkula in the fields of culture medicine, wildlife, etc. The Chief Minister reviewed paragliding, hot air balloon, parasailing, power motor, e-hydrofoil, jet scooter, boating, etc., and also rode the jet scooter himself. Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria, Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Sh. Gian Chand Gupta, Haryana Tourism Minister, Kanwar Pal, Minister of State for Sports, Sandeep Singh, Panchkula Mayor, Kulbhushan Goyal were also present on this occasion.
He said that people have to travel far away to Manali, etc. for adventure sports activities. By starting such activities in the Morni Hills area amidst the Shivalik hills, people will not only get an opportunity to experience these adventurous activities, but this will also lead to the economic development of the surrounding area. He said that the region has been culturally rich and has a very ancient geographical and social history. Besides, Kalka to Kalesar is being developed as a tourist route. Rs. 49 crore has been received from the Centre for the development of Nada Saheb and Mansa Devi pilgrimage sites.
SPORTS MINISTRY SPENT RS 1,169 CRORE ON ATHLETES AFTER RIO OLYMPICS
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) has spent Rs 1169.65 crore on Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian athletes post the Rio Games in 2016. In the last five years, MYAS approved Annual Calendar for Training and Competition (ACTC) budget towards national coaching camps (Senior and Junior), overseas training camps (Senior and Junior), remuneration for coaches and support staff, domestic competition (Senior and Junior), equipment and consumables, coach, referee and technical official development as well as administrative support MYAS has also extended support to individual athletes with their training and competition under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) when that is not provided for in ACTC.According to the Sports Ministry, Rs 1091.52 crore were allocated for the National Sports Federation (NSFs) of 18 Olympic disciplines and Paralympic Committee from 2016-2021.
“While Rs 78.13 crore were sanctioned under TOPS for 18 Olympic disciplines and Paralympic Sports from 2016-2021. Rs 44.41 crore was TOPS’ funding for 32 Olympic bound athletes in seven disciplines since 2016,” read a document accessed by ANI. Currently, the TOPS core scheme has 124 individual athletes plus the men’s and women’s hockey teams (18 players each). As many as 160 athletes are part of the core group and a further 259 are in the Development Group, preparing for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games. Moreover, the vaccination programme for India’s Olympic Games-bound athletes and officials, including overseas staff, was carried out seamlessly both in India and overseas.
Meanwhile, for the Tokyo Olympics preparation, a team of 15 qualified shooters is currently training in Zagreb. Also, comprehensive training for one qualified weightlifter in St. Louis, USA is under progress under the guidance of world-renowned trainer Or. Horschig. Last week, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju launched the Central Athlete Injury Management System (CAIMS), a first-of-its-kind initiative by the ministry, for streamlining the sports medicine and rehabilitation support offered to the athletes. CAIMS aims to provide the best sports injury management support nearest to the athlete’s geographical location. It will help to standardise appropriate injury treatment protocol for athletes across the country. CAIMS will start with support for athletes who are a part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) development group expected to participate in 2024 Olympics and beyond.
Currently, the TOPS core scheme has 124 individual athletes plus the men’s and women’s hockey teams (18 players each). As many as 160 athletes are part of the core group and a further 259 are in the Development Group, preparing for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games.
NEYMAR SHINES AS BRAZIL THRASH PERU 4-0 TO REACH QUARTERS
Neymar and Alex Sandro scored for Brazil as they beat Peru on Thursday night to attain a comfortable 4-0 win in the 2021 Copa America clash here at Nilton Santos Stadium. Sandro’s first-half volley separated both sides during the half-time mark. Brazil’s captain Neymar then doubled the lead of the team at the 68th-minute mark as he sent the 20-yard pass from Fred into the far corner.
One minute from the time, Everton Ribeiro scored his first-ever goal for the Selecao as he interchanged with Neymar in midfield before driving into the penalty area and sliding to get on the end of Richarlison’s cross — converting his chance high into the roof of the net giving Gallese no chance. A great save on Firmino then allowed Richarlison to put home the rebound in the injury time to make it 4-0 for Brazil.
Peru did very little for their part during their whole match as their struggle to transition between defence and attack persisted in the second half, as Carrillo and Cueva were unable to have any impact. This is Selecao’s ninth win in a row and sixth clean sheet on the bounce as they continue to look favourites for this competition. Neymar scored his 68th goal in the match, taking him one past Ronaldo on Brazil’s all-time goalscoring chart. The PSG forward now needs just nine goals to go level with all-time scoring leader Pele, who holds the record with 77 strikes for the Selecao. Peru is in action next on June 20 against Colombia, who will also be Brazil’s next opponent — three days later on June 23.
WITH EYE ON DEFENDING US OPEN TITLE, DOMINIC THIEM PULLS OUT OF TOKYO OLYMPICS
World No. 4 Dominic Thiem will not compete in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, the Austrian tennis star has confirmed.“Hi everybody, I have some sad news to share with you all. After talking with my team and analysing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics,” Thiem said in a statement on Twitter. Thiem doesn’t feel “ready” to play his best game in Tokyo. The tennis star said his goal is to give his best at Wimbledon and defend his US Open title.
“For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher. However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don’t feel ready to play my best in Tokyo,” Thiem said“These last two weeks I have been training hard – and I’m starting to improve my conditioning and concentration little by little. My goal is to work hard in the coming weeks, give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title.”“I wish the entire Austrian team travelling to Tokyo all the best. I am young and I hope to be able to play for Austria at the Olympics in Paris 2024. See you all soon,” he added. Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal has also decided to skip this year’s Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The 13-time French Open champion said his goal is to prolong his career and to compete at the highest level of the sport. Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 and the Games will run up to August 8 this year. The event was slated to be held last year, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
11 Olympic debutants included as Hockey India names men’s squad for Tokyo 2020
Hockey India on Friday announced the 16-member men’s squad for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. With as many as 11 Olympic debutants in the squad, the Indian team is fuelled with a fresh approach basis intense training and preparation at the ongoing national camp being held at SAI Centre Bengaluru. Continuing with their third stint goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and midfielder Manpreet Singh will bring in critical experience to the team alongside other Olympic veterans Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, and Surender Kumar.
After missing the previous Olympics in 2016 due to a major knee injury, Birendra Lakra gets a befitting opportunity to be part of the squad for Tokyo 2020. Speaking on the team selection, chief coach Graham Reid said, “It has not been an easy process to make the final selection of 16 players as there is a lot of quality and ambition in this group of players. The performance levels of all the athletes are at an optimum level and more importantly they work well together.
“They know what it means to represent the country at the Olympics. We are now focussed on training with the same intensity and our goal is to put forward our best performance as a collective unit in Tokyo,” he added.
Additionally, joining the team are Amit Rohidas, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit and debutant forwards, Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay. Congratulating the selected squad, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said, “The Indian men’s hockey team has a rich legacy of Olympic performances to follow, and I feel this time, more than ever the team is in a position to revisit its glory days to emerge as a top medal contender.”
“The recent performance against Olympic champions Argentina at the FIH Pro League shows they are headed in the right direction. I wish them all the best,” he added. Indian hockey team has won 11 Olympic Medals which includes 8 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals. However, it has been 41 years since the Indian team last won an Olympic medal and therefore the current Indian team is determined to change the course of history in Tokyo.
The current team has won the 2016 and 2018 Asian Champions Trophy, 2017 Asia Cup Gold and 2019 World Series as well over the last few years. As a part of Olympics preparations, the men’s team travelled to Europe and Argentina as part of their preparations. Having put up a good show against teams like Germany, Great Britain and reigning Olympic Champions Argentina on the tours, the World No.4 side is pumped up for the Tokyo Olympics.
Squad: Goalkeeper: PR Sreejesh; Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Birendra Lakra; Midfielders: Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit; Forwards: Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh.
96-RUN KNOCK AGAINST ENGLAND WILL GIVE ME A LOT OF CONFIDENCE: SHAFALI VERMA
India opener Shafali Verma, who hit a gutsy 96 against England on Thursday, feels the knock will give her a lot of confidence in the upcoming games. Shafali said the team backed her to play the natural game and that’s the reason she was able to play a valiant knock on her Test debut. “The team management backed me to play my natural game and that’s why I was able to score. Obviously, if a batter gets out in 90s it feels bad but this 96-run knock will give me a lot of confidence in the coming games and I will try to convert it to a hundred,” said Shafali during a virtual press conference.
India openers Smriti Mandhana and 17-year-old Shafali scripted a stunning opening stand. The duo first brought up the 100-run stand and then registered India Women’s highest opening stand in Tests. “I don’t count my age and always think of supporting my team with the bat and give my best for the team,” she said. “I and Smriti talked about building the partnership and supported each other by playing the natural game. Our plan was to stay on the crease and hit the loose balls,” Shafali said while replying to a query from ANI. Shafali also revealed the secret behind her big-hitting abilities. “My father awarded me and my brother with 10-15 Rs on hitting big shots and I practised a lot of six-hitting. I have learned that patience and fitness are important in Test cricket,” said Shafali.
“I learn from every series I play. Like in my Test debut I have worked hard on my fitness and game and it feels nice to contribute to the team’s total,” she added. England finished day two on top with five wickets in the final session despite a solid opening stand by the Indian openers. The visitors went to stumps at 187/5 with Harmanpreet Kaur and Deepti Sharma unbeaten on four and zero respectively. India were right on track to register a mammoth total but England struck late to snatch the driver’s seat as the visitors lost four wickets in last half an hour. Punam Raut, skipper Mithali Raj, and Shikha Pandey all went cheaply as India wobbled at the end before the close of day’s play.
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