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FOOTBALL TO RESUME IN NEW DELHI AFTER A LONG UNPRECEDENTED PHASE

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After the long and excruciating halt, football is finally set to kick off again on the turfs of the national capital, New Delhi. Shaji Prabhakaran, president, Football Delhi, said that it was important to resume football activities following all Covid-19 protocols and safety measures.

While expressing his elation, Prabhakaran said, “It would be a celebration time when we resume our activities on the pitch as players, more than anyone else will be the happiest lot to be back on the pitch with excitement, energy, fun, and performance”.

He urged everyone to come together and make a new beginning by encouraging children to play football everywhere and create new opportunities for the growth of football in the capital city.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdowns, Football Delhi had suspended all its activities on March 15, 2020, and exactly after a year, local competitions will be resuming in Delhi following covid-19 protocols.

Football Delhi in its Executive Committee meeting decided to start the competitions from 15th March with Senior Division League in order to meet the deadline for nominating clubs from Delhi to the National 2nd Division League.

Women’s league will kick off from 25th March, followed by Corporate Futsal League in April.

Moreover, the season 2021-22 will kick start in June 2021 with a Delhi Cup, a knock-out competition, open to all affiliated clubs of the Association followed by C-Division League.

Executive Committee also decided to hold selection trials for Sub-Junior Girls (Under-15) Delhi State Team from 20th February in order to start the preparation for National Sub-Junior Championship as girls from this competition will be scouted to be part of India U17 Women’s team which would play in FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup 2022, India.

Shaji Prabhakaran further stated that “We have to look ahead with great anticipation, activities for all age group, starting May 2021. All of us wish never to encounter a similar unprecedented phase in football and life which kept all stakeholders away from their passion and favourite sport for this long.”

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IPL: Delhi Capitals announce JSW Group as principal sponsor for upcoming season

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Delhi Capitals on Friday announced JSW Group as the team’s principal sponsor for the years 2021-2023.
Through this association, the JSW insignia will be sported on the front of the team’s jersey and complemented by in-stadia branding of the diverse JSW product portfolio during the tournament.
Speaking on the association, Kiran Kumar Grandhi, Chairman and Co-Owner, Delhi Capitals said, “I am delighted that we continue to deepen our association with the JSW Group. We share the same ethos and philosophy, and that makes our franchise one of the most formidable brands in the IPL. I am confident that this association will be a fruitful one for our team.”
“IPL continues to attract the world’s best talent from the sport, making it a globally respected and aspirational brand, attracting a number of national brands with a global recall value,” said Parth Jindal, Co-Owner, Delhi Capitals.
With a minimum committed association for three years, the JSW Group also continues to raise its brand value by empowering and partnering with sports properties in India.
The JSW Group first came on board as the team’s principal sponsor in 2020.
“Cricket and cricketers are a part of India’s DNA. And as principal sponsors of the Delhi Capitals, we are able to add this talented cricketing squad to our JSW family. A community that includes an employee base of over 67,000 employees and a network of over 10 lakh dealers and retailers,” said Jindal
Speaking on the development, Vinod Bisht, Director and Interim CEO, Delhi Capitals, said, “We are a young team that has grown remarkably over the last few seasons. I am confident that this association will be a successful one that will help both brands, Delhi Capitals and JSW, to grow tremendously.”
Delhi Capitals had finished runners-up in the last edition of IPL played behind closed-doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). (ANI)

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Felt ecstatic after beating reigning Olympic champion: Deepak Kumar

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Boxer Deepak Kumar returned home with a silver medal after reaching the finals of the Strandja Memorial Tournament, but the pugilist isn’t too excited. The boxer says that no one remembers a silver medal and now he has set his sights on winning a gold medal going into the future.
The biggest win for Deepak came in the semi-finals of the tournament as he stunned the reigning Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov in the men’s 52 kg bout.
In an interaction with ANI, Deepak spoke about his experience of playing in the tournament and how he would like to qualify for the Olympics – in the future — even though he finds himself in the same weight category as that of Amit Panghal.
“The experience of playing in the Strandja Memorial Tournament was very good. The semi-final bout I had with the Olympic champion was nice, I felt ecstatic after winning that particular bout. The gold medal is a gold medal, everyone remembers who won the gold medal. People forget who played nicely in the tournament. I will always feel that I missed on winning a gold medal,” Deepak said.
“In the final, I did not have a good first round, so the decision of the final bout got affected by that,” he added.
Deepak, who hails from Hisar, Haryana, started boxing at the age of just 11. However, in 2009, due to financial constraints, he was forced to leave boxing as he couldn’t afford the expenses of diet and training. His coach Rajesh Sheoran then helped him to return to the ring. Deepak had won a gold medal in the 2018 Senior National Boxing Championships and he also bagged a silver at the 2019 Asian Boxing Championships. He had also returned with a gold medal from the 2019 Makran Cup.
“I started boxing in 2008 then I left the sport in 2009 for some seven-eight months. In 2010, I played for Haryana in State Championships where I was able to win a medal. In 2012, I became a state champion. After that, the federation got banned and the competitions were not taking place. At that moment, I got a bit scared as to what might happen. I started thinking as to whether I will achieve something in boxing,” said the 23-year-old.
“My chachaji (uncle) had knowledge about the game and he has a friend circle who knew about this sport. My chachaji was not able to make it big in boxing as he did not get the desired guidance, so he made me aware of the sport and he told me about the benefits of boxing. He gave me the passion for this sport,” he added.
When asked about his weight category and how he sees himself being in the same category as Panghal, Deepak replied: “Amit Panghal has already qualified for Olympics. I will do my best going into the future, if I do well, I will get a chance going ahead.”
“Strandja Tournament was taking place after one year and hence, I was always determined to do well. I now want to work on my shortcomings and I am determined to do well in the tournaments which I will be participating in going forward,” he added. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Visitors on top after dismissing Pujara, Kohli, Rahane (Lunch)

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): England bowlers led the fightback for the visitors in the opening session of the second day of the fourth Test between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday. If getting Cheteshwar Pujara (17) and Virat Kohli (0) early in the day wasnt enough, the Englishmen finished the session with the important wicket of Ajinkya Rahane (27).
At the Lunch break, India’s score read 80/4 – still trailing the visitors by 125 runs with six wickets in the bag. While Rohit Sharma (32) has looked solid at one end, he will need the likes of Rishabh Pant and the lower middle-order to stand ground with him in the second session. For the visitors, James Anderson picked Rahane on the brink of the lunch to hand England the upper hand, but the prized scalp of Kohli was picked by Ben Stokes.
Going into the morning session with the score on 24/1 and with Rohit and Pujara at the crease, the hosts would have liked to get closer to the visitors’ total without losing a wicket. But it wasnt to be as Jack Leach struck first to send back Pujara, leg before. While it was a close call, the umpire was spot on as the ball hit the pad first.
In walked Kohli and with the scoring rate on the slower side, one expected the captain to bring on the attack with Rohit. But Stokes had other ideas as he got the India skipper to produce a nothing shot to a ball that got big on him and ended up giving keeper Foakes an easy catch. With the score on 41/3, the Englishmen realised they had walked right back into the game.
But Rahane and Rohit defied the visitors for a while as they tried to build the innings and stitched a 39-run partnership. But just when it looked like the duo would take India to lunch and start afresh after the break, Anderson sent back Rahane.
Brief Scores: England 205; India 80/4 (Rohit Sharma 32*; James Anderson 2-7) (ANI)

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Ferguson eyeing Test cricket return with T20I series against Bangladesh

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson is eyeing Test cricket return with the upcoming T20I series against Bangladesh.
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead is hopeful that Ferguson will be available for the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh.
Ferguson has been out of action since December last year, when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture following the T20I series against West Indies. During the series against Windies, Ferguson had claimed his career-best figures of 5 for 21.
“I’ve always talked very highly of Test cricket and want to play it. Certainly, my closest focus is to get back on the park and play, it’s been enjoyable watching the Test boys and stoked they made the final which is going to be super exciting,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Ferguson as saying.
“Think the best thing for me and the team is to get back playing a decent amount of cricket, get that loading behind me, then I certainly want to be in the mix for selection for the UK trip but that’s a couple of months down the line so we’ll cross that bridge later on,” he added.
Before returning to the field against Bangladesh, the speedster believes he has some boxes to tick.
“That’s the aim, it’s a bit of a process so can’t make the call right now. Certainly, there’s some boxes to tick, but definitely, the way things have been tracking it’s been going really well that’s certainly the goal,” Ferguson said.
Despite the amount of T20 on the calendar this season, which now includes a stint in the T20 Blast with Yorkshire, and concludes with the World Cup in India during October, Ferguson is not making it is sole focus although acknowledges Test cricket presents different challenges.
“Certainly to play in the Test Championship would be very special as well…but at the same time have to focus on what’s coming up and make sure I’m ready to go,” he said. “The Test demands are much higher than T20 in terms of loading, so from that point of view it takes some time to build up. Give your body a chance to adjust to playing a lot of cricket then you can make a decision,” he said.
New Zealand is currently involved in a five-match T20I series against Australia which ends on March 7. After that, the Black Caps will first play three ODIs against Bangladesh from March 20 to 26 and then three T20Is from March 28 to April 1. (ANI)

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Barcelona defender Pique out with right knee injury, likely to miss PSG clash

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Barcelona [Spain], March 5 (ANI): Barcelona defender Gerard Pique will spend another stint on the sidelines as he sustained “a sprain in the internal lateral ligament of his right knee”.
World Cup winner suffered the blow in the team’s 3-0 win over Sevilla in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Pique scored a goal in the second-half stoppage time before Martin Braithwaite netted the final goal of the match to hand comprehensive victory.

Barca said in a statement on their official website: “The medical assessment and tests performed this morning have shown that first-team player Gerard Pique has a sprain in the internal lateral ligament of his right knee. He is therefore unavailable and the evolution of the injury will determine when he returns.”
“The Barca centre-back was a starter and played the 120 minutes in the superb win against Sevilla, as well as being one of the great protagonists of the night, leading the heroic comeback with a goal in added time that allowed Barca to force extra-time. As for this season, Pique has played a total of 15 games in which he has scored two goals,” it added.
Injury struggles have become familiar for the 34-year-old this season, with knee complaints plaguing his 2020-21 campaign.
Pique was forced onto the sidelines in November 2020 with a knee problem and missed the best part of three months. He sat out 24 games as Ronald Koeman’s side struggled to find the consistency required to compete for major honours.
Barcelona will next take on Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 of the Champions League on March 11. (ANI)

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NZC allows crowds for T20I double-header in Wellington

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Friday announced that spectators will be allowed to attend the weekend’s T20I double-header at Sky Stadium after the relaxation in Wellington’s Alert Level status.
The fifth and final T20I between New Zealand and Australia and the final T20I of the three-match series between New Zealand women (White Ferns) and England women will also be played in Wellington on Sunday.
Earlier, both the fixtures were shifted from the Bay Oval to Wellington and were set to be played behind closed doors.
The second T20I between New Zealand women and England women is being played at Sky Stadium while the fourth T20I between New Zealand men and Australia men will start later in the day.
Kane Williamson-led side currently leads the series 2-1, having won the first two games by 53 and 4 runs respectively.
However, the Aaron Finch-led side was able to keep the series alive as they registered a convincing 64-run win in the third T20I played on Wednesday at the Westpac Stadium here.
On Thursday, New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner was tested negative for COVID-19 and will be available for selection for the fourth T20I against Australia.
Santner was ruled out of the third T20I after he woke up with a head-cold. He was put under self-isolation as a precautionary measure while awaiting the results of a COVID test. Adam Milne was added as his cover for the third T20I.
“Team update| BLACKCAPS all-rounder Mitchell Santner has returned a negative COVID test this afternoon. He is feeling better and available for selection for T20 four against Australia at Sky Stadium on Friday night,” New Zealand Cricket informed in a tweet on Thursday.
Santner had returned with the figures of 4/31 in the second T20I played at the University Oval in Dunedin. (ANI)

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