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Guardiola happy with Man City squad but ‘would love’ to have a player like Messi or Ronaldo

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Manchester [UK], February 15 (ANI): Despite expressing satisfaction with his current squad, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he does not have a player like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo and would love to have someone who can score four goals in every single game.
“We don’t have players who can win the game by himself – we don’t have a Messi, a Cristiano, [Kylian] Mbappe or Neymar. We have to do it as a team. I’ll be honest, I would love to have a player who scores every single game four goals and runs like these players run, I would love it,” Goal.com quoted Guardiola as saying.
“[But] I wouldn’t change any player that we have right now today, in this season. All of them. That’s why many times I praised our captain Fernandinho, like how he helps on and off the pitch to stick together in the bad moments. The big teams, the big players show it in the bad moments, in the good moments everyone is easy to play, and we had the bad moments this season,” he added.
On Saturday, Manchester City earned a 16th successive win in all competitions after an impressive 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium. Guardiola’s team currently atop the Premier League table with 53 points, seven points ahead of the second-placed Manchester United.
Manchester City will next play against Everton in the Premier League on February 18. (ANI)

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Pant was told he’s got to lose a bit of weight and work hard on his keeping and he has responded: Shastri

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): India head coach Ravi Shastri heaped praise on wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and called him a magnificent talent as he displayed great performance throughout the series with both bat and wicket-keeping gloves.
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 played a knock of 101 runs in the first innings which Shastri termed as the best counter-attacking innings he has ever seen in India.
“Pant has been simply magnificent. We were hard on him. Nothing comes easy. He was told in no uncertain terms that he has got to respect the game a little more. He’s got to lose a bit of weight and work hard on his keeping. We know the talent he has and he has responded. He has worked like hell for the last few months and the results are here to see. Yesterday’s innings was the best counter-attacking innings I have seen in India,” Shastri said in the post-match presentation.
Shastri further talked about the first innings partnerships which Pant had with Rohit Sharma and Washington Sundar.
“It was a two-phase innings. He built a partnership with Rohit playing against his nature — to do that is not easy — and to turn it on after 50. Keeping has been magnificent and Washi was outstanding too,” he said.
It was a no-show from the English batsmen once again as they looked completely clueless after walking into the middle in the post-lunch session with the score on 6/0. Dan Lawrence (50) was the only player who had some answer to the duo of Ashwin and Axar as none of the other batsmen seemed to have the technical acumen to dig in, barring skipper Joe Root (30).
But once Ashwin sent back Root, it was all about delaying the humiliation for the English batsmen. Ashwin picking up Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck only added to England’s misery. (ANI)

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Not at all disappointed to miss my maiden Test ton: Sundar

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Ahmedabad [Gujarat], March 6 (ANI): Bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar, who played a pivotal role in India’s emphatic innings win in the fourth Test against England, doesn’t regret missing out on what would have been a well-deserved maiden hundred for him.
Sundar was left stranded on 96 as India got dismissed for 365 in their first innings on the third day of the Test match here at the Narendra Modi Stadium. “To win my first series at home is amazing and feels great. I am not at all disappointed to miss the hundred. The 100 will come when it’s the right time for me. I am happy to contribute to the team,” said Sundar after the completion of the match.
The off-spinner played three matches in the Test series against England in which he scored 181 runs, besides picking two wickets. The 21-year-old, in his debut game in Australia, had also scored valuable 82 runs in the series decided at The Gabba, besides scalping four wickets, thus helping India win the Border-Gavaskar series 2-1.
He further said that the pitch was very good to bat on and all it required was a bit of application from the batters.
“To be honest, the pitch was very good to bat on. Credit to (James) Anderson, (Ben) Stokes for getting assistance on this surface, they bowled really well. The wicket is still good to bat on. If you apply yourself you can score,” Sundar said.
With the win, Virat Kohli’s men also qualified for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final where they will face New Zealand at the Lord’s from June 18 to 22. (ANI)

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Axar Patel equals Dilip Doshi’s record for most wickets for India in debut Test series

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): India all-rounder Axar Patel registered yet another five-wicket haul to become the joint highest wicket-taker in a debut Test series against England here at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday.
Axar missed the first Test but took a five-wicket haul in the second innings of the second Test. The left-arm spinner then spun a web and bagged two five hauls in the third Test.
With a five-for in the second innings of the fourth Test, Axar equalled Dilip Doshi’s record of most wickets (27) in a debut Test series for India. While Doshi had taken the 27 wickets in six matches, Axar achieved the feat in just three games.
Axar along with Ravichandran Ashwin spun a web as the hosts won the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs.
While Ashwin picked his 30th five-wicket haul during the course of the England innings on Saturday, Axar picked his fourth as India stormed into the final of the World Test Championship after sealing the series 3-1 on the third day of the Test.
He might not have impressed with his batting but Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane was spot on with his low catches. If Axar and Ashwin starred with the ball, it was a masterclass display of slip catching by Rahane.
With this win, Team India roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC).
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. (ANI)

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Concerned about all sportsmen, but Olympic-bound athletes to get vaccinated first: Rijiju

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By Nitin Srivastava
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Saturday once again echoed the sentiments that Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes will be given priority for the coronavirus vaccine followed by other athletes.
“We will take care of our elite athletes thereafter all the junior athletes will be taken care of. But the focus is on Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes, they will be given priority because safety is utmost important. If any player gets infected at this point in time it will really spoil their chances of competing in the Olympics because if you are infected then you have to follow the quarantine and take medication then your dream is over so that’s why the athletes welfare is our priority,” Rijiju told ANI.
Earlier, Rijiju had said that Tokyo Olympic-bound athletes will get the coronavirus jab after the vaccination of the COVID warriors.
“When the vaccination starts for others — after Covid warriors — we want to give it to our players first especially the Olympic-bound athletes. First of all, we have to ensure that Covid warriors get the vaccine because they are the ones who protect society. Then the next turn will come to the athletes, we come at the last. Our athletes are in the forefront,” Rijiju had said.
When asked whether BCCI communicated for the vaccination, the minister said, “We are talking about all the sports and all the players but Olympic players will remain our priority because that’s time-bound communication we have with every sports federation I can not just talk about one federation. Every federation is part of the fraternity and we are concerned about all the players. We have to abide by all the methodology being adopted by the health ministry.”
Rijiju further spoke about Sunday’s Delhi marathon and said, “This marathon is special because it’s Olympic qualifier also players will set their own timing standards. It is basically the Olympic test tomorrow, runners are very confident and I hope that they will perform well.” (ANI)

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India qualifies for WTC final, to face New Zealand at Lord’s in June

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Ahmedabad [Gujarat], March 6 (ANI): 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.
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.
“That victory against England means India finish the league phase of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship with a fine view from the top of the table,” read a tweet on the official Twitter handle of the International Cricket Council.
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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Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Ashwin and Axar bowl hosts to innings win, seal series 3-1

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): Criticised by former English cricketers for spinning a web over the England batsmen on a rank turner in the third Test of the series, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel shut them with a top-class display on a regular Indian wicket in the fourth Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on as the hosts won by an innings and 25 runs.
While Ashwin picked his 30th five-wicket haul during the course of the England innings on Saturday, Axar picked his fourth as India stormed into the final of the World Test Championship after sealing the series 3-1 on the third day of the Test.
He might not have impressed with his batting but Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane was spot on with his low catches. If Axar and Ashwin starred with the ball, it was a masterclass display of slip catching by Rahane.
It was a no-show from the English batsmen once again as they looked completely clueless after walking into the middle in the post-lunch session with the score on 6/0.
Dan Lawrence (50) was the only player who had some answer to the duo of Ashwin and Axar as none of the other batsmen seemed to have the technical acumen to dig in, barring skipper Joe Root (30).
But once Ashwin sent back Root, it was all about delaying the humiliation for the English batsmen. Ashwin picking up Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck only added to England’s misery.
All-rounder Ben Stokes, who had scored a gritty half-century in the first innings, came in with a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, but he could manage just 2 before Axar had his number.
Earlier, resuming the third day on 294/7, India managed to pick a substantial 160-run lead as they scored 365. Rishabh Pant (101) and Washington Sundar (96 not out) were the top scorers while Rohit Sharma and Axar made useful contributions of 49 and 43 each.
Brief Scores: England 205 and 135 (Daniel Lawrence 50, Ravichandran Ashwin 5-47, Axar Patel 5-48); India 365 (Rishabh Pant 101, Washington Sundar 96*) (ANI)

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