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Cricket can wait, saving lives is priority: Kaif

All sports are contact sports; resuming cricket will be a tough call for BCCI and ICC post the lockdown, says former cricketer.

Vineet Malhotra

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Kaif
Cricket can wait, saving lives is priority: Kaif

Former Indian cricketer and fielding sensation Mohammad Kaif feels we need to heal from this pandemic first and then restart cricket. He spoke to The Daily Guardian.

Q: How has the lockdown experience been for you?

A: I have been enjoying the time with my family. I was not able to give time to my family since I got married. Now the kids are loving the time I am spending with them. My son is 8 years old and daughter is 3, so they have their parents available 24×7 with them. It has been great for them.

Q: It’s a tough time for all of us. And for sports too. IPL was supposed to happen now. Are you missing that buzz?

A: Yes, we miss it. We want to keep busy and active. No one can control the situation. But no one wants to compromise safety and health. I was playing the road safety legend tournament with Sachin and all my teammates. Suddenly, this pandemic came. You cannot do much. Saving life is first priority. Lockdown is extended and it’s a serious situation. We all want to see IPL and the players. But this is a serious situation. But we need to stay at home. I see my old videos and watch them online. But the situation is unfortunate. Saving lives is priority.

Q: How is technology helping in these times? And what is its role in dealing with the pandemic?

A: Technology is playing a huge role. But now we can still talk to our parents and see them digitally. Smartphones are helping to keep us busy and one feels less depressed. Twenty years ago, this was not possible. Now, thanks to technology we can keep in touch with our loved ones.

Q: For a cricketer, fitness and net practice are important. When the world comes back to normal, cricketers can get rusty.

A: Cricketers must keep fit and active. Training is different. These are tough times. Mind and body training are essential. The players will find it tough to get the rhythm back.

Q: How has India done in tackling Covid-19 cases and the situation?

A: India has done fairly well. I congratulate the people and the Government of India. But the battle is not over. A five-week lockdown has helped a lot. All celebrities, role models, politicians have done well. The corona warriors have done well. We need to break the chain of the virus.

Q: Can we resume the sports soon and with what changes?

A: It’s difficult to predict right now. Things are changing rapidly these days. It’s a deadly virus. Saving lives is the priority. They might change rules and social distancing could come into picture. All sports are contact sports. It will be a tough call for BCCI and ICC. The spectators can be avoided from being called to an event.

Q: Staying home is not common to sportspersons. How is the family seeing this?

A: I can say for my family. They are loving the time that we have. We experience different things. As a cricketer and a human being, we learn to adapt. I am sure that in future things will move on, but we need to take precautions. Technology is helping a lot. People have been doing well to maintain discipline.

Q: How to handle a fitness regimen in these times?

A: You need to find time to keep fit. I work a lot on body fitness. I work at home with the family. Bodyweight training, functional training is going on. Eating habits must be maintained, and under check. You can definitely go for yoga.

Q: Any new skills that you have picked up in cooking?

A: Well, I am not the excellent cook around. I don’t cook much, but help the family. Probably make some coffee, do the dishes. I take care of the physical activity post cooking. Cooking probably is not my cup of tea. I help with sweeping, mopping and keep myself busy. My son is studying about the solar system, so I am learning about that these days.

Q: Are things going to change dramatically in the days to come once the pandemic is over and lockdown is lifted? About everything that we do and would there be a new normal?

A: No, it won’t be the same again. We need to take precautions. Carry face masks. Social distancing is mandatory. It will take time to get back to normal. It might take a bit longer. And we need to learn to adapt to the situation. And India has been a good example of this.

Q: What is your opinion of tweaking Test cricket and the pink ball Test cricket?

A: There should be more Test matches. And there should be more experiments. Best top four teams should play more Test matches. India vs Australia, India vs England and India vs South Africa were good matches, I did not miss a single ball. Players are aggressive now. Bowling is at a different level. Bumrah, Shami, Hardik, Umesh, Ishant are doing very well. Good teams should be playing more.

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Happy with performance at Asian Championships: Mirabai Chanu

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Mirabai Chanu said she is happy with her performance in the Asian Weighlifting Championships after she set a new world record in Clean and Jerk as she lifted 119 kg in the competition to cross the old mark of 118 kg.

She also created a new national record as she lifted a total of 205 kg (86 kg snatch + 119 kg Clean and Jerk) which also won her the bronze medal at the showpiece event.

The wrestler said in a tweet, “I am happy with my performance at the Asian Championship 2021. Thank you everyone for your love and support. I will continue to work hard and improve myself.”

Earlier in the day, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju congratulated her for the achievement. “In her first international competition in more than a year, @mirabai_chanu makes a new national record of 205 kgs at the Asian Championships and won bronze medal. Her perfect clean and jerk lift of 119 kg is a new world record! Target Olympic Podium Mirabai!” he tweeted.

The weightlifter replied to the minister and thanked him for providing the best facilities and support. “Thank you so much @KirenRijiju for providing us best facilities and all kind of support,” Mirabai replied on Rijiju’s tweet.

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I MISS WINNING TROPHIES, UNITED NEED TO WIN SOMETHING: POGBA

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Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has said that he misses winning trophies and it is about time that his side manages to win something.

United has not won a major title since they prevailed in the 2017 Europa League final under Jose Mourinho. Current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is yet to see any kind of substantial success under his reign.

“Personally, I miss it a lot and feel like I miss something. We have to win something. I just want to win something; I don’t like to play and not win. I’m a bad loser, I will always be a bad loser, so every time I play, I want to win. Personally, we want it very bad. I think we are getting closer and closer; there is improvement I would say,” Pogba told Sky Sports, as reported by Goal.com.

“When I say improvement, this club has such big goals and objectives we want to achieve and that is to win and to have a trophy to hold. That is what we want and that will be the big step,” he added.

Further talking about United’s chances to win a title, Pogba said: “I’m happy, we’re there, we’re close. We’re still in the Europa League, we still have something to play for.” He added, “We have the league still, as long as Manchester City don’t have the trophy we’re going to keep working and playing. We still have a chance to win something this year so, why not.”

United is currently at the second place in the Premier League standings, 11 points behind table-toppers Manchester City.

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KINGS AND ROYALS ALL SET FOR BIG CLASH

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Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are gearing up to meet at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Monday. Both sides, with one win and a defeat each would like to win this match to get momentum early in the IPL 2021.

The start of the season did not bore fruit for either of the sides as the Delhi Capitals mauled the Super Kings before the latter gave quite a similar treatment to the Punjab Kings.

CSK defeated the Punjab Kings comfortably, riding on Deepak Chahar’s brilliant bowling, reducing K.L. Rahul’s side to 26/5 by the seventh over. They kept a tight leash over the Punjab batsmen, with Jadeja and Moeen Ali running through their overs in no time.

As for RR, which after losing dramatically against Punjab by one run in the first match, came back strongly to beat Delhi Capitals, thanks to a terrific bowling performance. Their three left-arm pacers troubled the DC batsmen, with Unadkat finishing with excellent figures of 3/15 in his four overs. They survived a Rishabh Pant onslaught to restrict the Capitals to 147/8.

CSK, led by old warhorse Dhoni, has seen resurgence of its fortunes by the presence of Suresh Raina, who has given the much-needed batting balance to the side in the middle. Also, the presence of the likes of Jadeja has given the side an edge, with Jadeja showing his skills as batsman, bowler as well as a fielder par excellence. Also, the bowling of Deepak Chahar has been a highlight this season.

While a conscious effort has been visible in the approach of Raina, Faf du Plessis, and Moeen Ali across CSK’s two games thus far, the same has been missing in Ruturaj Gaikwad, who was the highlight of the last edition of the IPL.

As for the Royals, they started their campaign with a dramatic last-ball defeat against Punjab Kings, despite skipper Sanju Samson’s destructive 63-ball 119. The next match, the side lost Ben Stokes to an injury but David Miller rose to the occasion to guide the team to victory. The presence of Jos Buttler also gives the side an advantage. A lot for the Royals, however, will be on the skipper, Sanju Samson, who has been in blistering form so far.CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

STRENGTH

• Deepak Chahar took 4 wickets against Kings

• Sam Curran and Moeen Ali proved to be good all-rounders

• Ravindra Jadeja has been quite economical as a bowler

WEAKNESSES

• Flop show of Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad

• Shardul Thakur has failed to restrict runs

• Dhoni should come up in the batting orderRAJASTHAN ROYALS

STRENGTH

• Fast bowling of Jaidev Unadkat, Mustafizur Rahman & Chetan Sakaria

• Sanju Samson’s power hitting

• Chris Morris and David Millers batting

WEAKNESSES

• Flop show by openers

• Spin bowling is a main concern

• Rahul Tewatia is yet to fire

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Indian boxers continue their ruthless run

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Extending splendid run, Indian boxers put up a phenomenal performance on yet another glorious day at the AIBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships after as many as country’s five pugilists made their way into the quarter-finals on the fifth day of the competition in Kielce, Poland.

Asian Junior Champion Biswamitra Chongtham led the Indian pugilists’ onslaught in the men’s section as he outclassed Khosroshahi Parvizi 5-0 to enter the 49 kg quarter-finals. Manipuri pugilist Biswamitra, who was impressive in the trials where he defeated Khelo India gold medallist, looked in complete control against the Irish boxer as he carried on with the momentum before finishing the bout in his favour. Besides Biswamitra, Ankit Narwal also secured a place in the last-8 alongside Uttar Pradesh boxer Vishal Gupta (91kg) and Sachin (56kg), who hails from Bhiwani, Haryana.

Asian Youth silver medallist Haryana’s Ankit defeated Polish boxer Oliwier Zamojski with a 4-1 split decision. However, Vishal and Sachin comfortably registered identical 5-0 victories against Croatia’s Borna Loncaric and Jose Valdez of Columbia respectively.

Meanwhile, in the women’s section, Gitika (48kg), who came into the match beating European Champion Diana Ermakova, continued her impressive form as she notched up a flawless 5-0 triumph against Kazakhstani boxer Arailym Marat to progress into the last-8 stage.

However, Nisha Gurjar (64kg) was the lone Indian who could not progress on Day 5 as she suffered a 1-4 loss against Latvia’s Beatrise Rozentale in the pre-quarters.

The sixth day of the prestigious event, where India has fielded a strong 20-member team, will witness nine Indians in action. Appearing in the quarter-finals, five women—Poonam (57kg), Alfiya Pathan (+81kg), Khushi (81kg), Gitika (48kg), and Vinka (60kg)—will look to make their way into the semi-finals and assure country medals. While Akash Gorkha (60kg), Manish (75kg), Sumit (69kg) and Vinit (81kg) will be seen playing in the men’s pre-quarterfinals stage. WITH ANI INPUTS

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Maxwell, de Villiers hand RCB 38-run win over KKR

KKR’s Andre Russell did make a quickfire 31, but in the end, RCB managed to hold on to record their third victory in a row this season.

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Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers’ knocks of 78 and 76 runs, respectively, followed by a spirited bowling performance, helped Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) defeat Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 38 runs on Sunday here at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

Andre Russell did make a quickfire 31, but in the end, RCB managed to hold on to record their third victory in a row this season. This is the first time that RCB has managed to win their first three games in an IPL season.

Chasing 205, KKR got off to a flier as Shubman Gill scored 21 runs off just nine balls, but in trying to look for another big shot, Gill lost his wicket to Kyle Jamieson in the second over of the innings. Rahul Tripathi then joined Nitish Rana in the middle and the duo put on 34 runs for the second wicket, but in looking for a maximum, Tripathi (25) ended up losing his wicket to Shubman Gill in the sixth over, reducing KKR to 57/2.

In the very next over, Yuzvendra Chahal managed to send Rana (18) back to the pavilion and KKR was left in a spot of bother at 66/3. KKR fell further into a slump as Dinesh Karthik (2) failed to impress with the bat and ended up losing his wicket to Chahal. Eoin Morgan played a 29-run knock from 23 balls, but his innings was cut short by Harshal Patel with KKR still needing 91 more runs for the win.

Andre Russell came out to bat next and he even hit Yuzvendra Chahal for 19 runs in the 17th over and as a result, KKR needed 59 runs for the win from the final three overs. Shakib Al Hasan (26) and Pat Cummins (6) lost their wickets to Jamieson in the 18th over and it all boiled down to Russell. In the end, the task proved too much and KKR ended up stumbling to a 38-run loss

Earlier, RCB might have been 9/2 in the second over, but Maxwell and de Villiers’ knocks of 78 and 76 ensured that the side posts a total of 204/4 in the allotted twenty overs. Along with Maxwell and de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal and Kyle Jamieson also played knocks of 25 and 11 respectively. For KKR, Varun Chakravarthy returned with two wickets.

Opting to bat first, RCB got off to a bad start as the side lost wickets of Virat Kohli (5) and Rajat Patidar (1) in the second over of the innings. Varun Chakravarthy provided the first two breakthroughs to KKR. Maxwell then joined Padikkal in the crease and the duo revived the innings for RCB.

Padikkal played a second fiddle while Maxwell took on the mantle of being the aggressor. The right-handed Maxwell hammered KKR bowlers all around the park and he was looking set to take RCB’s score beyond the 180-run mark. Prasidh Krishna finally provided the much-needed breakthrough to KKR as he dismissed Padikkal (25) in the 12th over, ending the 86-run third-wicket partnership and reducing RCB to 95/3.

De Villiers then joined Maxwell in the middle and the duo further accelerated the innings, not giving KKR bowlers any sort of respite. Maxwell (78) finally departed in the 17th over as Pat Cummins bounced him out. However, the Proteas batsman carried on with the momentum and in the end, RCB posted a total of more than the 200-run mark.

BRIEF SCORES: RCB 204/4 (Glenn Maxwell 78, Ab de Villiers 76*, Varun Chakravarthy 2-39) vs KKR 166/8 (Andre Russell 31, Eoin Morgan 29, Kyle Jamieson 3-41).

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Happy to inform that I have tested Covid-19 negative: Harmanpreet

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India women’s T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur on Friday announced that she has recovered from coronavirus and urged everyone to take all precautions amid the pandemic.

Harmanpreet had tested positive for Covid-19 last month and was under home quarantine. Having tested negative, the cricketer has made an appeal to everyone to follow all necessary protocols to fight the pandemic. “Happy to inform you all that I have tested -ve & I’m feeling better. My only message to y’all is to take care & be extra careful. The virus is real & it’s dangerous. Follow all the protocols set up by the authorities. Wishing strength to the ones who are in the middle of the fight,” she tweeted.

Harmanpreet was last seen on the cricket pitch in the five-match ODI series against South Africa, in which India lost 4-1. In the five-match series, the right-handed batter went on to score 160 runs with her best score of 54 coming in the fourth ODI of the five-match series in Lucknow.

In the fifth and final ODI, Harmanpreet had suffered a hip-flexor injury and as a result, she did not play the three-match T20Is against South Africa. India lost the three-match T20I series against South Africa 2-1 and the hosts were able to win just the final game of the three-match T20I series. In the absence of Harmanpreet, Smriti Mandhana had led the Indian women’s team in the T20I series.

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