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Delhi Capitals is absolutely balanced with experienced spin attack: Kaif

Mohammad Kaif, former Indian batsman and Delhi Capitals’ fielding coach, talks to The Daily Guardian about the preparations and chances of his team in IPL 2020

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Q. What is currently annoying the players more — Covid-19 or the pressing heat of the UAE?

A. Well, it is really very hot, especially during the day. Weather is dry and the sun is very harsh. However, during the evenings, heat does not bother much.

Q. How was your experience, from the quarantine to the nets?

A. This is an unprecedented and very difficult situation. Nobody is used to this routine. You have to follow the whole protocol, you cannot go out of the hotel room — just to the ground. Masks are worn, trackers are put on to maintain social distancing. Even after following the whole protocol, whenever we are on the ground, our all effort is focused on the game.

Q. How do you see the infantry of Delhi Capitals? Do you feel the team is ready for the challenge?

A. Yes, this time the team is absolutely balanced. We have also done a dozen practice sessions here in here in Dubai, the players who did not get a chance to play amid the pandemic, all of them are apparently back in the rhythm. Some new faces have also come into the team, giving the team a lot of experience. Ajinkya Rahane, R. Ashwin, Stoinis, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi — the team is in fine equilibrium.

Q. The team has got a deadly arsenal of the left-handers, are they in good touch?

A. Absolutely, I and Ricky Ponting were surprised that the players, despite playing after a long time, are in good touch, you see the way they were hitting the ball in the nets, it is surprising. Shikhar Dhawan, who played very well last year, is also ready. Rishab Pant is in a good rhythm. We have got a lot of efficacious options.

Q. What are your views regarding the role of Rishabh Pant in the team? After the retirement of M.S. Dhoni, people have myriad expectations from him…

A. His role is fixed, he has to finish. The number at which he will play is not finalised yet but we are expecting him to play at least ten to twelve overs and score efficiently. Rishabh Pant is a promising player with tremendous capability. He also won important matches for the team last year.

Q. Considering the conditions, spinners will play a crucial part in the game this year. How prepared is the battery of the spinners for the IPL?

A. Yes, the role of spinners has always been considered important, we have a quality spinner like Amit Mishra who is in a good rhythm; he also performed well last time. Moreover, we have Ashwin, Lamichhane and Sandeep too. It would be difficult for us to decide who will play and who won’t because all of them are looking in good form.

Q. What do you think about Sandeep? He has played many T20 leagues.

A. He plays league matches all over the world and he has a lot of ability. He is young and inspiring. However, right now he is not in the UAE, he is playing CPL. He will join us soon.

Q. Recently, Ashwin and Ponting were all over the news over mankading. What do you think of it?

A. Yes, all of us know about the discussion. However, to cut it short, Ashwin has got numerous variations and he keeps on press- ing and challenging the batsman. It is not easy to hit him. He makes
it difficult for the batsman to play the shots. He is very talented and is in a good form and we are hop- ing that he would scalp many wickets using his tactics and the variation.

Q. Do you think Ricky Ponting would be looking at Ashwin as a trump-card?

A. Yes, Ashwin has a lot of experience, he can bowl in the power play, he can bowl in the middle and he can bowl in the death. And we are very excited that Ashwin is in our team. His inclusion in the squad has given us an upper hand.

Q. And there is Akshar Patel in your team who is a very good left-arm spinner. Do you feel that this time you have the best spin attack?

A. Yes, of course, if we talk about the experience, then we have all the spinners who are experienced. Everyone has an experience of at least four years. Ashwin, Akshar Patel, and Amit Mishra have been playing IPL for a long time, and have also played for India, and they know about their role in the team. We have an experienced spin attack.





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Williamson, Taylor help Kiwis clinch world Test title

New Zealand defeat India by eight wickets to clinch the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, on Wednesday.

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Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor played unbeaten knocks off 52 and 47 respectively as New Zealand defeated India by eight wickets to clinch the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship (WTC) here at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton on Wednesday. A complete effort on the Reserve Day saw New Zealand edging India in a final which had its ebbs and flows in the first innings. The Kiwis made full use of the slender 32-run lead and the Kane Williamson-led side bundled out India cheaply in the second innings to get a target of just 139. The batsmen did not relent and in the end, the side walked away with a comfortable victory. Requiring 139 to win, New Zealand openers Latham and Conway batted till the tea break, ensuring that their side did not lose any wicket before the interval. In the final session, New Zealand required 120 runs to win from 45 overs. After the tea break, Latham (9) was sent back to the pavilion by Ravichandran Ashwin. The left-handed batter stepped out of his crease to go for a big shot, but he ended up missing the ball and as a result, he was stumped, and the first-wicket partnership of 33 runs came to an end. Soon after, Ashwin had Conway (19) adjudged leg before wicket, and New Zealand was reduced to 44/2 and the side still required 95 runs for the win. Ross Taylor then joined Williamson in the middle and the duo helped New Zealand to retrieve their innings. Both batsmen mixed caution with aggression and in the end, the duo guided New Zealand to an eight-wicket victory. Earlier, Tim Southee scalped four wickets as India was bundled out for 170 in the second innings on the Reserve Day. The inspired show with the ball ensured that New Zealand would need to score 139 runs in a minimum of 53 overs to win the title. Rishabh Pant top-scored for India as he played a knock of 41 runs, but he hardly found any company as none of the top-order batsmen managed to spend time in the middle. It was ultimately left on the likes of Ravindra Jadeja (16 off 49 balls) to give him company as India lost the wickets of Virat Kohli (13), Cheteshwar Pujara (15), and Ajinkya Rahane (15) in the first session itself. Right from the first session, the Kiwi bowlers brought out their A-game. It was all about discipline and patience for the New Zealand bowlers as they kept attacking the channel outside the off-stump with the occasional bouncers to rough the batsmen up. Kohli played an unfamiliar shot and what followed is hard to explain. A mixture of good deliveries and soft dismissals resulted in India being bundled out without showing much fight. Experienced players like Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujard were not able to show any resistance and it was ultimately too much to ask of from the lower order. Resuming the second session at 130/5, Pant and Jadeja managed to add 12 more runs to the total before Jadeja’s (16) stint at the crease came to an end as he was sent packing by Neil Wagner. The left-armer angled one across the channel, and Jadeja poked at the delivery, handing an easy catch to BJ Watling behind the stumps. Ravichandran Ashwin joined Pant in the middle and the duo managed to add 14 more runs to the total, but this partnership too came to an end in the 70th over as Pant (41) gifted his wicket to Trent Boult. Pant decided to step out and lofted the ball in the air. It was a casual end to what had been a fighting knock till then. Even though he did miss quite a few balls, he was looking to apply himself till Boult got the better of him. Henry Nicholls took a stunner to send Pant back as it was the beginning of the end of the India essay. In the very same over, Ashwin (7) was dismissed by Boult, and India was reduced to 156/8. Mohammed Shami did manage to add 13 valuable runs to the total, but in the end, it was all about waiting for the innings to end. Kyle Jamieson returned with two wickets while Boult picked three. Not to forget Wagner’s lion-hearted effort even though he had only one wicket to show for his efforts. In the first innings, a similar story unfolded as India suffered a collapse and the side was bowled out for 217. New Zealand was reduced to 192/7 at one stage in their innings but the lower-order came to the rescue and the Kiwis managed to take a lead of 32 runs. Brief Scores: India 217 and 170 (Rishabh Pant 41; Tim Southee 4-48); New Zealand 249 and 140/2 (Ross Taylor 47*, Kane Williamson 52*, Ravichandran Ashwin 2-17).

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ENGLAND, CROATIA CRUISE INTO LAST 16

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GLASGOW [SCOTLAND]

Croatia and England on Tuesday (local time) cruised into the round of 16 stage from Group D in the ongoing Euro 2020.England edged the Czech Republic 1-0 at Wembley while Croatia outclassed Scotland by 3-1 at Hampden Park. With this win, England topped the group by seven points from three games while Croatia clinched the second spot in Group D with 4 points. The Czech Republic will join them in the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams. In the match between England and the Czech Republic, the sole goal came early in the first half, when Grealish on the left side of the penalty area, lifted the ball to the back post, where Sterling headed in for his second goal of Euro 2020 and broke the deadlock.

Meanwhile, in the match between Croatia and Scotland, the former took the lead early from Nikola Vlasic’s opener but Callum McGregor cancelled that lead soon to give the hosts hope heading into half-time. As the match reached one hour mark, a moment of magic from Luka Modric saw visitors restoring their lead and denying another historic feat from Steve Clarke’s men to reach the last 16 of the first major tournament that Scotland qualified in 23-years. 13 minutes from time, Ivan Perisic’s header gave Scotland a final blow as the World Cup runners-up pipped the Czech Republic to second place in Group D behind England.

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ENGLAND WOMEN ANNOUNCE ODI SQUAD FOR INDIA SERIES

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LONDON

England Women have announced a 16-member squad for the upcoming ODI series against India. Sophia Dunkley is included and could make her ODI debut when the series gets underway at Bristol on Sunday. Freya Davies and Sarah Glenn, who returned to their regional teams during the Test match, are back in the squad. The only player not to be included from the Test squad who played against India at Bristol is Georgia Elwiss, who has not played an ODI match for England since 2019.“We’re looking forward to playing ODI cricket again after a hugely enjoyable and hard-fought Test match,” head coach Lisa Keightley stated in an official release by England and Wales Cricket Board. “The competition for places across all formats is growing every time we meet to select a squad. The options available to us are the strongest we’ve had since I’ve been in the role and we feel this group gives us a great opportunity for success in the ODI element of the series. “There’s no space on this occasion for Danni Wyatt and Georgia Elwiss, and while I know they’re both disappointed to miss out, it’s important that they’re given the opportunity to play cricket at a regional level ahead of the Vitality IT20 series. We have to balance the needs of the squad and the need of the individual and we’ll always be keen to get people playing competitive cricket where we can.

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ANY DECISION ADVERSELY AFFECTING INDIAN ATHLETES IS NOT ACCEPTABLE, SAYS RIJIJU

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NEW DELHI

Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday said any decision that affects Indian athletes will not be acceptable ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. His remarks came as new regulations were put in place by the Japanese government pertaining to entry conditions to Japan affecting 11 countries including India ahead of the Games. “Any decision that adversely affects Indian athletes is not acceptable to us. There should be no discrimination in any form,” Rijiju said to a question from ANI.

Rijiju will also release India’s anthem for Tokyo 2020 Games on Wednesday and the theme is named ‘Cheer for India.’ On the occasion of International Olympic Day, Rijiju also extended his best wishes to all the Olympians of India.“Today there is a program to see off our Olympic team at Nehru Stadium with all covid protocol intact. I will launch the Olympic anthem as well. On Olympic day, I want to extend my best wishes to all Olympians, the Indian Olympic team,” he added.Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter and wrote: “In a few weeks, @Tokyo2020 begins. Wishing the very best to our contingent, which consists of our finest athletes. In the run up to the games, here is an interesting quiz on MyGov. I urge you all, specially my young friends to take part.”

In a letter to athletes and other stakeholders on Friday, the Tokyo 2020 organisers announced that there would be an additional set of rules for athletes, officials, and journalists travelling to Tokyo from 11 countries, including India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom, due to the “presence of COVID-19 variants which present a higher level of risk.” An Olympic Mission Cell has been set up in the Embassy of India in Tokyo, as a single-window node to provide logistic support to the Indian contingent bound for Tokyo Games. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has decided to depute maximum additional support staff such as coaches, doctors, physiotherapists, to optimise the performance of the athletes in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

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Wishing the very best to our contingent for Tokyo Olympics, says PM Modi

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NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has wished the Olympic-bound Indian contingent the very best for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 on Wednesday.“In a few weeks, @Tokyo2020 begins. Wishing the very best to our contingent, which consists of our finest athletes. In the run up to the games, here is an interesting quiz on MyGov. I urge you all, specially my young friends to take part,” PM Modi tweeted while attaching the link of the quiz. Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju was also quick to thank PM Modi as he tweeted, “Thank you PM @narendramodi ji for your wishes for our athletes on #OlympicDay. With just 30 days to go for @Tokyo2020, it’s time to start cheering – India, India! In the run-up to the games, here is an interesting quiz on MyGov. Do participate!”Earlier on the occasion of International Olympic Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paid tributes to all the Olympians who represented India.

The International Olympics Day is observed on June 23 every year to celebrate sports and health. This occasion celebrates the founding of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the Sorbonne, Paris, on 23 June 1894, where Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games. The day aims at promoting sports and spreads the message of making sports an integral part of life.Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 and 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.

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OLYMPIC GAMES: IMPACT OF PANDEMIC ON TOURISM

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One of the utmost indexes of the effects of the Olympic Games is its impact on tourism. The sports tourism implication for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Olympic Games and all involved are enormous. Olympics have lengthy and rich history on tourism. In 1990 Barcelona had 118 hotels. By 1992, this capacity had risen slightly to 148 hotels. Moreover, by 2002 these figure increased drastically to 223. In 2001 tourism in Barcelona, Spain, rose to 7.6%, whereas worldwide tourism fell by 1.3%.

In 1992 Olympic Games have been referred to as the “Communication Games” and not only in term of symbolic culture and tourism aspects, but also for the significant role played by television rights in their funding. The 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, saw all of the 10C countries participating for the first time since Munich 1972. The 1964 Olympic Games were among the best organized and the best executed in the history of the Games. When Tokyo first hosted the Olympic Games in 1964, it was seen as an emerging nation recovering from World War II and reinvent the wheel as a powerful economic powerhouse.

Sports Tourism sector which is one of the largest revenues generating sporting industry of host nation and Olympic Games has suffered huge losses- the business of Tourism and an economic downturn. The Olympic Games is not only a sporting spectacle, there is massive money riding on it also. The Olympic Games were initially expected to be a huge tourist draw but health concerns have banned foreign spectators.

In 2019 Japan hosted 31.9 million foreign tourists, who spend approximately $44 billion. The ongoing deadly Covid-19 Pandemic has tested the sporting worldwide like never before and especially postponed Tokyo Olympics.

The Olympics is scheduled to start in Tokyo on July 24. Hardest hit are hotels and restaurants, transportation, infrastructure and consumer retail firms. A worldwide Covid-19 outbreak could scupper the Olympics in Tokyo. In this case the Covid-19 virus, can derail its usual efficiency. Unity in Diversity is one of the core concepts of the Tokyo Olympics.

The tourism economic implications for the 10C, Tokyo Games and all involved are enormous. Tourist need to follow Covid appropriate behavior at all times. Tokyo is under a state of emergency and no decision has yet been taken on whether any local spectators would be allowed to attend the mega Olympic sports festival.

The Writer is an Associate Professor of DU and is a consultant with Limca book of Records.

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