Kho Kho is a sport that many of us must have played in our childhood— the popular Indian tag game which was invented during the ancient period in Maharashtra.
The traditional Indian game is now gaining popularity among the youngsters in the country and its experienced player Sarika Kale being honoured with Arjuna Award this year gave an impetus to the community.
Recently, the Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) and Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) organised a first-ever scientific High-Performance national camp for its players. The country’s top Kho Kho players for close to four weeks sharpened their physical abilities and explored various facets of the fitness required to excel in the sport with the help of sports science-based knowledge and technologies.
After the rigorous training of the players under expert eyes, the camp also witnessed the KKFI’s 2021 Super League Kho Kho Tournament from February 12-15 at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, which proved to be a super hit among Kho Kho lovers.
The 138 players were divided into ten teams (eight for men and two for women) as the tournament showcased matches with the new playing rules of the upcoming Ultimate Kho Kho which aims to re-brand the game of Kho Kho as never before with its fast and pacey new avatar.
“During the scientific camp, we focused on improving overall fitness and physical abilities of players with required guidance given to corrected techniques and acquiring technology-based skillset. And through this Super League, we aimed to evaluate the standard and level of each player in the actual match situations. The experts are now scientifically analysing all the data and will create an evaluation and performance grade for each player and we will continue to monitor and course correct the players in the coming days till we have a pool of perfect world-class players created over six-seven months,” KKFI President Sudhanshu Mittal said.
The camp has seen players being monitored and analysed based on the findings and parameters ranging from sports physiotherapy, biomechanics, biokinetics, sports performance analysis, posture corrections, and balance analysis of players to make them less injury-prone was brought into action.
“The players have made impressive progress with all the analysis and guidance. They have also trained to get used to the new format of Kho Kho that we are intended to introduce in the league. During the Super League we have captured their moves through multi cameras to see how the game is coming to life as a TV product,” Ultimate Kho Kho CEO Tenzing Niyogi said.
In the Super League Kho Kho Tournament, Pahadi Billas lifted the trophy with a convincing six points win in the thrilling final against the Panthers. The winners and runners-up team in the men’s event received 2 lakh and 1.50 lakh prize money respectively.
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Stokes was swearing at me, so Kohli intervened: Siraj
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): On a wicket where the Indian spinners bowled beautifully, pacer Mohammed Siraj picked the important wickets of England skipper Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow on the opening day of the fourth Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday.
While Siraj was impressive with the ball, he was also involved in a verbal duel with England all-rounder Ben Stokes which also saw skipper Virat Kohli getting involved. Speaking after the end of the day’s play, Siraj said that Stokes was swearing at him and Kohli handled it well.
“He (Stokes) was swearing at me, so Virat intervened and handled that well,” Siraj said.
Tempers flared in the first session on Day One as Kohli and Stokes clashed in the middle with umpire Nitin Menon having to intervene. The chat between Kohli and Stokes heated up at the end of the 13th over.
The Indian skipper was visibly unhappy with something Stokes said to Siraj and as a result, he decided to have a lengthy chat with the England all-rounder.
After the final ball of the 12th over, Stokes came down the wicket and he had a word with Siraj. Kohli was not happy with the turn of events and decided to take it up with Stokes. In the end, on-field official Menon had to intervene to separate Kohli and Stokes.
In the very next over, Siraj was also seen in an aggressive mood and he had a go at Stokes.
India bundled out England for 205 and then reached 24/1 at Stumps on Day One.
Commenting on his bowling effort, Siraj said: “We planned to bowl patiently and keep bowling at the same spot. Virat bhai told me that we have only two fast bowlers so we will keep rotating, and we will be well-rested. When I started bowling from the Reliance end, there was a little extra bounce and good movement from that end after I switched.”
“When I played in Australia or when I play here, I will put my effort on every ball otherwise it’ll affect the team, and it’ll release the pressure. I just want to bowl every ball giving my 100 per cent,” he added. (ANI)
Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Rohit, Pujara hold fort after Axar, Ashwin show
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara showed great application as India ended the opening day of the fourth and final Test against England in the driver’s seat despite losing opener Shubman Gill at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday. 11 wickets fell on the day as England was bundled out for 205 after skipper Joe Root won the toss and decided to bat first.
At stumps, India’s score read 24/1 with Rohit (8*) and Pujara (15*) at the crease — trailing the visitors by 181 runs in the first innings.
After a disappointing show with the bat, England got off to a flying start with the ball as James Anderson struck with the third ball of the innings. The pace spearhead trapped Gill (0) in front of the stumps as India lost a wicket with no run on the board.
But Rohit and Pujara ensured that was the end of the visitors’ joy on the day as they played out the remaining 11.3 overs without losing any wicket.
Earlier, Axar once again hogged the limelight with his four-wicket haul while Ravichandran Ashwin scalped three as England was bundled out for 205. While it was Mohammed Siraj who picked the all-important wicket of Root in the first session, Ashwin broke the deadlock in the third session as he dismissed Ollie Pope.
Pope’s wicket sparked a collapse from which England couldn’t really recover. The visitors went down from 166/5 to 205 all out within 14.3 overs, losing half of their side for 39 runs as Axar struck twice in one over. Ashwin dismissed Pope a few minutes into the third session. Pope got unlucky as the inside edge hit the back pad and popped to short-leg fielder Shubman Gill.
India’s senior off-spinner then dismissed Ben Foakes in the 66th over to reduce the visitors to 170/7. Minutes later Axar dismissed Daniel Lawrence and Dominic Bess to leave England reeling at 189/9. It looked as the visiting side would get bundled out soon, but Jack Leach and James Anderson took England over the 200-run mark.
Earlier, electing to bat first, England openers Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley saw off the first five overs bowled by the Indian pacers — Ishant Sharma and Siraj, who has come into the side in place of Jasprit Bumrah. However, the introduction of Axar in the sixth over brought immediate reward for the hosts as the spinner clean-bowled Sibley (2), reducing England to 10/1.
The 27-year-old struck again in his second over as he had Crawley (9) caught at mid-off. The right-handed batsman tried to go over the top to create more pressure on the bowler, but ended up mistiming the ball and handed a simple catch to Siraj. Immediately after the first drinks break, England skipper Root (5) was trapped in front by Siraj and the visitors got reduced to 30/3 in the 13th over. The visitors ended the opening session on 74/3.
Brief Scores: England 205 (Ben Stokes 55; Axar Patel 4-68, Ravichandran Ashwin 3-47); India 24/1 (Cheteshwar Pujara 15*; James Anderson 1-0) (ANI)
ECB appoints Cindy Butts as Chair of Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket
London [UK], March 4 (ANI): England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday announced the appointment of Cindy Butts as the chair of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, which will examine issues relating to race and equity in the game.
“The Board of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has taken a significant step toward ensuring cricket is a game for everyone with the appointment of Cindy Butts to establish and chair the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, which will examine issues relating to race and equity in the game,” ECB said in a statement.
ECB said Butts has “extensive experience” in senior roles spanning governance, inclusion and equity across the justice/policing sectors and Government. Her current roles include serving as a lay member of the House of Lords Conduct Committee, a lay member of the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and as Panel Chair for the Judicial Appointments Commission.
She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Kick It Out, the organisation for equality and inclusion in English football. Previously, she held roles as the Deputy Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority and as a Commissioner at the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
As Chair, Butts will work with the ECB Board to finalise the terms of reference for the Commission. She will lead the process to appoint a number of independent Commissioners who will bring further diversity of thought, background and experience to the Commission, providing constructive input and challenge to the ECB and the wider game.
The Commission, whose formation was announced in November 2020, will independently gather and assess the evidence of inequalities and discrimination of all forms within cricket and identify the actions the ECB will need to take to tackle these issues. It is known as the Commission for Equity in Cricket, in recognition that different groups of people face different access issues or barriers. The Commission will act with complete independence, examining any evidence it deems relevant and making the recommendations it considers necessary.
The Board’s engagement with the Commission will be led by the ECB’s Senior Independent Director, Brenda Trenowden, who is driving the Board’s work in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion.
Ian Watmore, Chair of the ECB, in a statement, said: “The creation of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket is an important step in our ambition to make cricket a game for everyone. Cindy is extremely well-qualified to lead this work and will bring empathy, rigour and practical experience to the deliberations and recommendations of the Commission.”
Butts said: “I’m excited to be bringing together my lifelong love of cricket with my passion for equity and inclusion, to lead this work for the ECB. Over the coming months we will be looking to hear from a wide range of people who share a love of cricket, whether as spectators, players, coaches or administrators both present and past… I am committed to ensuring that cricket has a bright future in this country.” (ANI)
Champions League: Liverpool, RB Leipzig to play second-leg tie in Budapest
Liverpool [UK], March 4 (ANI): Liverpool on Thursday announced that the club’s Champions League last-16 second-leg match against RB Leipzig will be played in Budapest.
Puskas Arena in the Hungarian capital will host the fixture, the same venue where the teams contested the first-leg on February 17.
“Liverpool can confirm the Champions League last-16, second-leg tie with RB Leipzig will be played in Budapest,” Liverpool said in a statement.
The Premier League side said that the COVID-19 regulations in Germany have prevented Leipzig from traveling to the United Kingdom to play the match at Anfield as planned. The Reds, who hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, will be classed as the ‘home’ club for the game.
RB Leipzig also made an announcement in this regard. “The second leg of our @ChampionsLeague last 16 tie against @LFC will also take place at the Puskas Arena in Budapest,” the German club tweeted.
The match between Liverpool and RB Leipzig will be played on March 11 (local time). (ANI)
Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Axar, Ashwin shine to bundle out visitors for 205
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): All-rounder Axar Patel once again hogged the limelight with his four-wicket haul while Ravichandran Ashwin scalped three as England were bundled out for 205 on the first day of the fourth and final Test against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday.
While it was Mohammed Siraj who picked the all-important wicket of Joe Root in the first session, Ravichandran Ashwin broke the deadlock in the third session as he dismissed Ollie Pope. Pope’s wicket sparked a collapse from which England couldn’t really recover. The visitors went down from 166/5 to 205 all out within 14.3 overs, losing half of their side for 39 runs as Axar struck twice in one over.
Ashwin dismissed Pope a few minutes into the third session. Pope got unlucky as the inside edge hit the back pad and popped to short-leg fielder Shubman Gill.
India’s senior off-spinner then dismissed Ben Foakes in the 66th over to reduce the visitors to 170/7. Minutes later Axar dismissed Daniel Lawrence and Dominic Bess to leave England reeling at 189/9.
It looked as the visiting side would get bundled out soon, but Jack Leach and James Anderson took England over the 200-run mark for the first time since their marathon total of 578 in the opening Test in Chennai. But Ashwin ended Leach’s stint shortly after England went past the 200-run mark to pick his third scalp of the innings.
In the second session, Pope and Dan Lawrence took England to tea at 144/5. The English batsmen showed grit and determination but the hosts managed to take two wickets post-lunch to stay on top. The likes of Bairstow and Stokes showed fight and did not succumb to the constant pressure from the Indian bowlers. But Bairstow and Stokes both fell against the run of play and the duo of Pope and Lawrence then showed that they are here to compete and make the hosts bowling attack earn their wickets. Earlier, in the first session, the hosts made a quick start, reducing England to 30/3.
Brief Scores: England 205 (Ben Stokes 55; Axar Patel 4-68, Ravichandran Ashwin 3-47) vs India (ANI)
Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Archer not playing due to ongoing right elbow issue, says ECB
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday said that Jofra Archer was not included in the playing XI for the fourth Test against India due to the pacer’s ongoing elbow issue.
“Jofra Archer is not playing in this Test match due to his ongoing right elbow issue. The ECB medical team will provide an update in due course,” ECB said in a media statement.
In the fourth and final Test against India, England made two changes to their lineup as they brought in Dominic Bess and Dan Lawrence in place of Stuart Broad and Archer.
ECB also said that Ben Stokes has had an upset stomach. “Ben Stokes has had an upset stomach, the same issue that has affected other members (in) the touring party. It is not expected to keep him off the field,” the statement read.
England performed better with the bat in the fourth Test, compared to the third Test, in which they were beaten by India within two days. However, India is still looking in control of the match as they ended the visitors’ first innings on 205. Having won the toss and batted first, the visitors failed to ride home the advantage even as quite a few in the top-order did the hard yards, but failed to convert the starts into a big score.
Stokes was the highest run-getter from the team, scoring 55, followed by Dan Lawrence (46). (ANI)
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