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ENGLAND PLANS TO BE CAUTIOUS AGAINST ‘EXTRAORDINARY’ PANT

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AHMEDABAD: England captain Joe Root praised “extremely talented” Rishabh Pant and said the India wicket-keeper batsman plays “extraordinary shots”.

Pant has been in great form recently and with his fearless batting, the player can turn around the outcome of a match. Aware of the threat Pant poses, Root said his side will have to capitalise on the chance they will get in the match to have the youngster dismissed. “He (Pant) is a fine player and plays some extraordinary shots. He makes it very difficult for some bowlers to bowl at him. But more than anything, (it is on us as to) can we keep him quiet and can we make it difficult for him to really take us on and find ways of either getting him off the strike or get him out. Rishabh is extremely talented and he has got a great game but he will give you a chance and we just got to be ready to take that when it comes,” Root said during the virtual press conference on Tuesday.

India had defeated England by 317 runs in the second Test and now both teams are getting ready to battle it out in the day-night Test at the newly-built Motera Stadium.

Lately, England has opted to keep either James Anderson or Stuart Broad in the playing XI.

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What Pant did for India in last two months, no one would ever do that in lifetime: Shastri

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 7 (ANI): After the success over England in the Test series, India head coach Ravi Shastri on Sunday gave special mention to wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and said nobody can match what he has done in the last two months in even their entire lifetime.
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.
Pant had scored runs in the Australia tour and then he scored a century and two half-centuries in the homes series against England. His work behind the stumps was also improved and he showed great reflexes with the gloves on.
“At 21, I had similar success, so I can relate to what these guys have done. Yes, after IPL Pant came with a lot of baggage. He has trained harder than anyone. The results are not just for him to see but for the whole world to see,” Shastri said in a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“When you have a naturally brilliant match-winner of his ability playing to the potential there is no greater sight for cricket. I think in the last two months what he has done for India, no one would ever do that in a lifetime. His keeping was outstanding,” he added.
Virat Kohli’s men, who defeated England in the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, will now face New Zealand in the WTC final slated to be played from June 18 to 22, with June 23 as the reserve day at the iconic Lord’s Stadium in London.
India will now lock horns with England in the five-match T20I series at the Narendra Modi Stadium starting from March 12. (ANI)

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Sharad Pawar reveals how Tendulkar suggested Dhoni’s name to lead Team India

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 7 (ANI): Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and former BCCI president Sharad Pawar on Sunday revealed how Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar suggested Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s name for India’s leadership way back in 2007.
While addressing a public meeting on Sundar, Pawar revealed how Rahul Dravid wanted to leave captaincy in 2007 and a new candidate had to be found out for leading the national team. Pawar served as the BCCI president for a period of three years from 2005 to 2008.
“I remember India had gone to England in 2007. At that time, Rahul Dravid was the captain. I was there in England then and Dravid came to meet me. He told me how he no longer wanted to lead India. He told me how the captaincy was affecting his batting. He told me that he should be relieved from the captaincy. I then asked Sachin Tendulkar to lead the side, but he refused the role,” said Pawar during a public meeting.
“I told Sachin that if both of you and Dravid do not want to lead the side, how will we go about things? Then Sachin told me that we have one more player in the country who could lead the side and his name is none other than MS Dhoni. After that, we gave the leadership to Dhoni,” he added.
In 2007, under Dravid’s leadership, India was knocked out of the 50-over World Cup in the group stages and the side was subjected to severe criticism. In the same year, Dhoni was named as skipper for the T20 World Cup and later on, he went on to lead the country in both ODIs and Tests.
It was under Dhoni’s leadership that India lifted the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 after having led India to triumph in the ICC World T20 in its maiden edition of the tournament held in 2007 in South Africa.
With India winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 in England, Dhoni became the first and is still the only captain to date to have won all three ICC Trophies.
Unarguably the quickest man behind the wicket, Dhoni has 195 international stumpings, the most by any wicket-keeper. Dhoni played 350 ODIs with his highest score being 183 against Sri Lanka.
Also referred to as ‘Captain Cool’, Dhoni is known for his calmness and exquisite captaincy on the field. He was also known for his knack of opting for reviews and many have jokingly remarked to change the ‘Decision-Review System’s’ name to ‘Dhoni-Review System’.
In December 2014, he announced his retirement from Tests and gave a chance to the likes of Wriddhiman Saha. Dhoni called time on his Test career after playing 90 Tests, managing to score 4,876 runs at an average of 38.09.
Last year, Dhoni announced his retirement from both ODIs and T20s, marking an end to his 16-year long international career. (ANI)

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Shastri happy to see memes on him bring smile to hundreds

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 7 (ANI): India head coach Ravi Shastri on Sunday addressed the memes which are constantly made on him and he said that it is all a ‘good banter’ and he is not bothered by such stuff.
For meme creators, Shastri has been a favourite as there has been a lot of content on social media regarding the Indian coach’s love for a drink. The netizens are also quick to pound on Shastri whenever the team loses a match.
“I would say it’s banter all the way. They do it to have fun, it’s at my expense, but okay, have a laugh yaar. How does it matter? If I drink nimbu paani (lemon water) or I have milk honey, you enjoy your drink yaar, at my expense na, when you post that kind of memes, how many people have a laugh? so many get happy, you enjoy that stuff. As long as the team does well,” said Shastri during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“So much cricket is played. It all revolves around performance, if you do well, you will get the accolades. If you don’t, you would be criticised,” he added.
When asked about his growth as a coach, Shastri said: “When I got this role, I did not know what would be the end tale in this. I have learnt so much in the last six years, I have not experienced this in the last 35 years. Man management is of utmost importance and it is also a key as to how you understand human behaviour and how different individuals react. How someone reacts to failure and success when you need to talk to someone. This is a big group, to understand the mindset and make it work as a cohesive unit, you need to be able to understand mindsets.”
“It is not easy, in our country, players come from different states and backgrounds. It took me time to understand all this but I was always clear. People forget the role Virat Kohli has played. If me and Virat were not aligned in terms of mindset then nothing would have happened. Virat was on the same page as me, he wanted professionalism, work ethics and high fitness standards. He wanted energy that was positive and channelised towards playing cricket. No excuses, win or lose, take ownership if you messed up rather than pointing fingers. This team does not give excuses. It’s not about I, it’s about WE. Everyone worked together. I see team spirit there, I have not seen anything like this in the last seven years,” he added.
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.
Virat Kohli’s men, who defeated England in the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, will now face New Zealand in the WTC final slated to be played from June 18 to 22, with June 23 as the reserve day at the iconic Lord’s Stadium in London. (ANI)

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IPL 2021 to begin from April 9, MI to play RCB in opener

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 7 (ANI): The IPL Governing Council on Sunday announced the schedule for Indian Premier League 2021 to be held in India across six venues from April 9.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Chennai in the tournament opener.
“After nearly two years, the IPL extravaganza will return home with Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata hosting the marquee event,” the BCCI said in a statement on Sunday.
The final of the 14th edition of the tournament will be played on May 30 at Narendra Modi Stadium. Playoffs will also be played at the same venue.
“The World’s Largest Cricket Stadium – Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the Playoffs as well as the final on 30th May, 2021 which promises to be a visual spectacle. The newly-built stadium that hosted India’s second pink-ball fixture at home with great grandeur will host its first-ever IPL,” the release read.

The BCCI said that this IPL will be played “behind closed doors to begin with and a call on allowing spectators will be taken at a later stage of the tournament”.
“The fixtures of the tournament have been mapped in a way that every team will travel only three times during the league stage, thus reducing commute and minimising risk,” it added.
Each team is set to play at four venues during the league stage. Out of the 56 league matches, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru will host 10 matches each while Ahmedabad and Delhi will host 8 matches each.
One of the highlights of this edition of the IPL will be the fact that all matches will be played at neutral venues, no team will play at their home venue. All teams will play at 4 out of 6 venues during the league stage.
There will be a total of 11 doubleheaders where 6 teams will play three afternoon matches and two teams will play two afternoon matches. The afternoon games are slated for a 3:30 PM IST start while the evening games will have a 7:30 PM IST start.
“After hosting the tournament safely and successfully in the UAE last year with all safety protocols in place, the BCCI is confident of hosting the IPL at home with health and safety of players and all people involved being paramount,” the release concluded. (ANI)

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Sundar has more natural ability than I ever had, says Shastri

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 7 (ANI): India head coach Ravi Shastri on Sunday said that all-rounder Washington Sundar has more natural ability than he ever did during his playing career.
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. Virat Kohli’s men, who defeated England in the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, will now face New Zealand in the WTC final slated to be played from June 18 to 22, with June 23 as the reserve day at the iconic Lord’s Stadium in London.
Sundar had played an unbeaten knock of 96 runs in the first innings as the hosts went on to take a lead of 160 runs in the fourth Test. 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.
“Washington Sundar has far more natural ability than I had. I think he should be batting in top-four for his state, there is no question about that. I think he should be batting in the top four, he is good enough and he belongs there. At the same time, if he can focus on his bowling, India would have a very good number six in the future. Somebody who could get you a 60-70 and then bowl for you. That was my role at number six, and I think he can do the same role and even better,” said Shastri during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“Sundar has unbelievable composure and temperament. For someone, who was an opening batsman during the U-19 days but to see that kind of body langugage, unfazed by the best bowlers in the world during the toughest situations, as in Brisbane and Chennai. It was unreal, this innings in the fourth Test is even better than Brisbane because you are playing at home and you have a World Championship on the line. 50 adrift from the opposition and you are batting with Pant, yes you have Axar to come in next but your objective is to get closer to 205.
“These youngsters are not thinking of that, they are playing normal and fearless cricket. They are playing free cricket, and then they went on to get 360,” he added.
When asked about how the fielding of India improved after the first Test against England, Shastri said: “Fielding coach is outstanding, I do not need to have a word with him. We have been in a bubble for the last five months, we have played eight Tests. In my time, probably you would play these many Tests in a year. In 70 days, they played eight Tests living in a bubble. Oppositions were England and Australia, mental fatigue would be there and you would drop catches.”
“We were not the only team that dropped catches, Australia dropped as many catches as us, if not more. The fact is when we had to take those catches to win Test matches. We did, that’s all I want to remember, nothing else. Our fielding coach (R Sridhar) is the best in the world, understated and he is an Indian, he is one of the best,” he added.
India finished as the number one team with 72.2 percentage points in the WTC points table, the factor that determined the final placings rather than total points won, following a change to the points system owing to the Covid-19 disruption.
The Black Caps were the first team to ensure a place in the final with 70 percentage points. Australia finished third with 69.2 percentage points while England ended with 61.4 percentage points at the fourth position.
The Black Caps had qualified for the WTC final following the postponement of the Test series between South Africa and Australia. In November last year, the ICC had confirmed that the WTC points system would be amended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)

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Odisha gears up to host 1st Hockey India Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021

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New Delhi [India], March 7 (ANI): The Department of Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha and Naval Tata Hockey Academy Odisha are getting prepared to host the 1st Hockey India Junior and Sub Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 from March 17 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
The 1st Hockey India Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 will be held from March 17 to 26 while the 1st Hockey India Sub Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 will be organized from March 17 to 25.
The Kalinga Hockey Stadium has hosted several big international competitions such as the Hockey Men’s World Cup in 2018 and the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in 2019. Therefore, it will be a fantastic opportunity for the players competing in the 1st Hockey India Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 and 1st Hockey India Sub Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 to showcase their talent in a historic stadium.
The 1st Hockey India Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 will have six days of pool matches followed by quarterfinals on March 23. The semi-finals and the final will take place on March 25 and 26 respectively. A total of 15 teams will be part of the tournament.
The 1st Hockey India Sub Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 will have six days of pool matches followed by semifinals on March 24 with 3rd/ 4th place and final will take place on March 25. A total of 10 teams will be part of the tournament.
Principal Secretary, Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha, Vishal K. Dev, IAS said, “We are very excited to host the 1st Hockey India Junior and Sub Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021, here at the Kalinga Stadium. The competition will provide a brilliant platform to the academy players to test their skills and evolve into better hockey players.”
He added, “We have put in place guidelines to ensure the safety of all the persons involved in both the competitions.”
Along with following the Hockey India SOPs, all the persons involved in the 1st Hockey India Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 and 1st Hockey India Sub Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 will also strictly follow the guidelines by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government of Odisha and all athletes and officials will need to have the Aaroya Setu app on their devices. They must also follow physical distancing measures at all locations, except athletes on the field. The Department of Sports & Youth Services, Government of Odisha and Naval Tata Hockey Academy Odisha will also appoint Hygiene Officers who will be present at the venue to monitor the participants’ well-being during both the competitions. (ANI)

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