I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING WELL IN COMMONWEALTH GAMES AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: SRIKANTH KIDAMBI - The Daily Guardian
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I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING WELL IN COMMONWEALTH GAMES AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: SRIKANTH KIDAMBI

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Kidambi Srikanth.

It’s been 72 years of waiting, but India has finally won the Thomas Cup. It is a pathbreaking moment, not just in badminton but in the entire sports journey of India. So we have with us the man who is a crucial part of this triumph and is someone who has made all of India proud.

Q. We have to begin with this, Srikanth. How are you feeling? It’s been a 72-year wait.

A. See, first of all, I’m very happy and also the fact that I usually take at least a day to understand what has happened. For any individual tournament that I want and this being a team event, I think it will take a little longer than usual and it didn’t really hit me how big this is and how big this is going to be. So it is that it’ll take a while for me to sink it in.

Q. Not just did we win, but we defeated the favourite Indonesian 3-0. That speaks a lot about you, huh, about the character of you boys. You know, what motivated you and the boys when you got to the final?

A. See, I believe that even before we arrived in Thailand, we told each other that we had to do well; that we had to work as a team and that we had to really back each other up; that we had to really push each other to do well. If the player was not playing, he was bare in the dugout from the beginning till the end, cheering for all the players. Everyone really contributed in their own way; it’s a team victory.

Q. Defeating Jonathan Christie in straight states is an achievement in itself. How did you tackle this challenge of playing against the world number eight?

A. The last time I played in my last term was in a strike set, but it was a very close call. First set and then the second set. I was leading in both the sets, but then I couldn’t really finish the match. I just thought I needed to be more consistent in those crucial moments, as well as be more focused and play in accordance with the strategy. It was a very close two sets and I am extremely happy that I was able to get those crucial points.

Q. What is your message to the Indians who poured in wishes for you and were backing you with all their hearts yesterday?

A. First of all, I would like to really thank everyone. They’ve been very cheerful. I was getting a lot of messages from the quarterfinals. All of them have been really very supportive. There were a lot of people praying for our win. So I believe that this victory belongs not just to the ten people, the ten players, the ten coaches, or the ten support staff, but to every Indian citizen and I would really like to thank everyone for being so supportive.

Q. What has been the role of the entire coaching staff and the current generation of badminton players? This is it, you know, it really inspires all of us.

A. I know the coaches here, they’ve been very supportive, and then we also have very experienced coaches, physios, and managers. They were all really excited to do well for the country. They were all very excited from day one; they were all pumped up. It’s nice to have such a great coaching team and then also the support staff, so they were all really very helpful. They were taking care of all of us really well from the beginning.

Q. Sixth, you played six games in the Thomas Cup and one in all six. Is this the best of Kidambi Srikanth that will be written in the history books for our young kids?

A. Maybe the best, but uh, I think there’ll be a better version of me in the future.

Q. What is your message to the federation and the sports ministry after this win because the honourable announced honours for the entire team yesterday?

A. Our Prime Minister called us immediately after our match. It was a great feeling to talk to him. He actually followed all our matches, so he exactly knew each player’s performance and how they did throughout the tournament. So it feels really nice that the Prime Minister of India has called to congratulate all of us on our win. It’s so nice to be recognized, and again, big thanks to our sports minister for really recognising the effort that all of us have put in. We are getting all the messages. All the wishes, all the prayers, everything came through. So I’m just very happy. I can’t really explain it. I’m short of words.

Q. What is it that you focused on before the Thomas Cup that worked brilliantly in your favour?

A. I think the one thing we did differently as a team is that we told each other that we would work, travel together, go out for lunch, dinner, breakfast, or whatever as a team. We travel as a team and then we have regular team meetings. It’s just us players, not the coaches or anyone else, just us players. We’ll have meetings before and after matches. I think that really bonded all of us, and we as a team wanted to win this tournament more than any other team. I think it really showed on the court.

Q. Is this an appropriate tribute to our great speed Prakash Padukone, as well as your coach and other badminton greats?

A. I think they’ve done exceptionally well as players and now as coaches, so their contribution to badminton is a lot. We are still very young, and I think we still have a lot of time and we can still achieve a lot more. I don’t think we can really compare that to their contribution to badminton.

Q. You guys are set to play another tournament in Thailand now, so how were the quick celebrations before you set for the battle again?

A. All of us went out for a team dinner yesterday, like last night, and then we just kind of got to spend some time with each other. Now really enjoy the moment and then talk about the experiences of playing the first Thomas Cup final. All of us will travel. We’ll keep travelling together. You know, even though if it’s not for team events, it’ll be for individual events, all of us will keep traveling.

Q. What is next for Srikanth in badminton? is the team eyeing after this?

A. The next big tournament that we have this year is the Commonwealth Games, and then there is the World Championships after that. I am really looking forward to playing well in both these events. The Asian games got postponed, so there are only commonwealth games and world championships this year. I’m really looking forward to playing well even in those tournaments.

Q. Finally, Srikanth, and this is purely as a fan, I would like to ask, how does it feel to be the GOAT of Indian badminton?

A. Yes, it feels nice; it just feels happy.[Laughter]

Q. You have travelled the world in recent tournaments, Thailand and Singapore, so do you miss home?

A. I obviously do, you know, and also because I have been travelling a lot in the last six to eight months, now I do miss home a lot and especially the cuisine in late summer.

Q. We spoke to your father right away and the proud father, Mr. Krishna, has this to say… (byte of KVS) How would you react to this?

A. I think even in this team there are a lot of youngsters, so it’s definitely going to get better for Indian badminton from here. I feel you know if all these youngsters are very promising, if all these youngsters really work hard, I am sure there’ll be many more Thomas cups and many more world champions.

Q. Is this a new era that is emerging?

A. I think this will inspire many more kids to take up badminton and too many players who are already playing to really believe in themselves. We all know what 83 World Cup has done to cricket, so this one could also do something like that to badminton.

Q. Your message to the young badminton player?

A. I would like to say only one thing: if they really have the passion, if they’re really willing to work hard, give their hundred percent effort, they can definitely do well and win more tournaments. We now have the infrastructure and have the support from the government. It’s just about the players. It’s for them now to really work hard and if they can really work hard, they will definitely see success.

Q. We end this with a personal question. How has your journey been to this?

A. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. I was playing well when I got injured. I had to come back then. The tournament didn’t really happen. Then I couldn’t really get into the Olympics. I really had to again forget all of that and then continue working hard. Then suddenly, the world championships happened, and yeah, there were a lot of ups and downs, but that is what every player will have to go through and I’m just happy that at the moment I am really feeling confident.

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Winners and Losers from the 2022 NBA Draft

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Everybody knew who the top three players selected in the 2022 NBA Draft would be, but the Vegas Odds were clearly unsure on the exact order of how it would shake out. Jabari Smith was the huge favorite on the odds to be taken #1 in the weeks and even days leading up to the draft, but the Magic pulled a slight shocker by taking Duke’s Paolo Banchero in the top spot.

7-footer Chet Holmgren went #2 to Oklahoma City while Smith slipped all the way down to #3. That trio will forever be linked in their NBA journey in much the same way Greg Oden / Kevin Durant and Marvin Bagley III / Luka Doncic are so we will see how that plays out. Let’s take a look at some of the other way-too-early winners and losers from the 2022 NBA Draft.

Winners: Houston Rockets

Houston found themselves in a lot of 139-132 style defeats last season meaning they can score – but also couldn’t stop anybody. That defense should improve immediately with the lengthy 6’10” Smith coming to them at #3 but Rafael Stone wasn’t done there adding LSU forward Tari Eason at #17 following his breakout season.

Houston already has a budding superstar in last year’s #2 pick Jalen Green, and Kevin Porter, Jr. has shown some upside in the backcourt as well. Houston moved from #26 to #29 on draft night (picking up two future second-round picks in the process) and was still able to grab TyTy Washington out of Kentucky.

Losers: Sacramento Kings

Most people conceded that the 2022 draft really didn’t start until Sacramento’s #4 pick. There were rumors all month that the Kings could possibly trade the pick for an established veteran like John Collins, Julius Randle, or Malcolm Brogdon, Jr. – or they could just sit still and take the next best prospect, Jaden Ivey.

In true Kings fashion, they did none of the above, instead of going with Keegan Murray out of Iowa. The Kings may have felt they take guards too often, and Ivey publicly stated he wasn’t a  fan of heading to Sacramento but either way this pick will be scrutinized for years to come.

Winners: Detroit Pistons

Sacramento’s loss is Detroit’s gain as they were able to pick up Ivey with the #5 selection. The former Purdue guard is no sure thing, but he has drawn some light comparisons to Ja Morant. Plus a backcourt of last year’s #1 pick Cade Cunningham and Ivey should draw fans to Little Caesars Arena. Detroit was also able to add former #1 rated high school prospect, Jalen Duren, at #13.

Losers (This Year) : New York Knicks

The Knicks didn’t do anything to get better this year despite having the #11 pick, essentially trading out of that spot by selecting Ousmane Dieng for the Thunder. In return, though they got three first-rounddraft picks for next season, were also able to get rid of Kemba Walker’s contract in another three-team deal, and picked up Travis Keels out of Duke at #42. Fans aren’t going to be happy now but will be a year from now (after another likely down year, however).

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Attacking attitude of bowlers required to win the fifth test

Saba Karim

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The last test match played in Birmingham is very important for Team India or let’s say it will be a big challenge as Indian players are playing test match in England after a long time. By the way, this is only the remaining Test of the last series where Team India was successful in taking a 2-1 lead. Team India’s top order needs to get the good practice before this Test match to be held from July 1. If these batsmen play to their full potential, then I am sure that Team India’s playing XI will also be very strong.

By the way, Team India does not have much time. The ongoing practice match against Leicestershire can also play a big role. The sooner the team decides on its eleven players, the better it will be for it because, if we talk about England, this team is currently playing a three-match Test series against New Zealand. In such a situation, they are well prepared before the match against India, so it is expected from Team India that by practising as much as possible, they get rid of their basic shortcomings because in the first match on the tour of England, usually Asian teams have to face lot of problems. These problems with hard practise can be solved.

It is quite possible that Team India will field five bowlers in the playing XI for this match. These five bowlers should be attacking bowlers who can take wickets on the first day or in the first innings itself. In this sense, as a spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin could be a good option for India before Ravindra Jadeja, as he has variation and good grip along with being a finger spinner. He played against New Zealand in India.

In the last series he played, he bowled well. The team will have to take a very smart decision in the selection of spin bowlers. This move could prove to be decisive for the team.

The writer has been a national selector apart from being a former player of Team India.

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1983 WORLD CUP CREATED HISTORY, IT WAS A TEAM EFFORT: MADAN LAL

The Daily Guardian spoke to the renowned Indian legendary cricketer Madan Lal. He was a member of the 1983 Cricket World Cup winning Indian squad.

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On the esteemed anniversary of the historic 1983 World Cup, the Indian cricket fans have all eyes and ears for candid talks with the players, talk shows, in nut shell infotainment full on with a motive to keep readers excited and enticed The Daily Guardian spoke to the renowned Indian legendary cricketer Madan Lal. He was Indian cricketer from 1974 to 1987 and Indian national cricket coach. He was a member of the 1983 Cricket World Cup winning Indian squad. 

Q. Sir, what is more important IPL or World Cup?

A. No definitely you can’t compare IPL with the World Cup. It’s a world cup because that is for the country this is a different cricket all together IPL is 20-20 match and world cup is 50 over match. It’s a World Cup therefore much bigger than IPL.

Q. In 83 Hardy Sandhu the Punjabi pop singer and actor played your character in the film. What do you think did he reach closer enough to live your character?

A. Hardy Sandhu has done a very good job overall and as you know you cannot emulate the person entirely. Out of ten he can get 8 marks as he has done a great job and the other thing was he was a cricketer before and he took the coaching from me in NCA. So, that’s why it wasn’t difficult for him to catch my action.

Q. Do you think the scene was recreated well where Hardy Sandhu aka Madan Lal is requesting Ranveer Singh aka the Captain Kapil Dev for the next over to oust Desmond Haynes and then Viv Richards. Would you like to share the incident which created history, the decision that made history?

A. It’s not only about Viv Richards wicket. World cup has created the history, it was a team effort. Not only Madan Lal or any other player you name should get the credit. Kapil Dev, Mohindar Amarnath or Sunil Gavaskar or Srikanth or so believe in Sandip Patil but they are all contributors for the win but yes I asked for the over and Kapil Dev gave me the over and after then it was a history. 

Q. 1983 the first World Cup of India though the flick has been made but we would like to listen to the stories from the man himself who turned out to be the highest impact bowler of 1983.

A. Well, when you have been given the role and you have to do it. You will try your best and if something good happens and things go ur way. In English conditions it becomes a little bit easy as the ball comes and moves around, you can get the wicket as well. So this thing happened with us. Also you know the ball was moving, the condition was different and I got the important wicket in the beginning of the inning. So that’s the reason I thing you can say the impact but definitely I must say that’s the team effort.  

Q. Indian fans profoundly call you us Maddad Laal. Also is that only reason that you have often extricated Indian team from the tricky situations or in general life also you give Maddad to all?

A. No I give maddad to all. It’s my job to help other people like that’s my nature you know in cricket I always use to look for opportunity to contribute for the team to win the game that’s what I do. So you know sometimes you click and sometimes you don’t but still in crucial stages in crunch matches I have done well. So that’s the reason they called me Maddad Lal.

Q. Your most memorable match other than 83 and why?

A. Yeah I played test match in Bombay where I got 5-23 that was one of the best match I had played so any match which you win for the country that’s anyhow always going to be memorable match. 

Q. Your bonding with the winning squad of 83?

A. Yeah! definitely we have what’s app group and we share our ups and down or horrible days and all these things and we are still in touch with most of the players.

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ENGLAND SWEEP ODI SERIES AGAINST NETHERLANDS

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Top knocks by Jason Roy and Jos Buttler powered England to a eight-wicket win as they also clean swept the three-match ODI series against Netherlands on Wednesday.

An unbeaten ton by Roy and an unbeaten knock of 86 runs by Buttler helped England chase the target of 245 runs in just 30.1 overs and at a loss of only two wickets, here at the VRA Cricket Ground, Amstelveen. With this win, England white-washed the three-match ODI series with a lead of 3-0. Put to bat first, Netherlands had a pathetic start to their innings as they lost the wicket of the opener, Vikramjit Singh, in the fifth over, with only 16 runs on the board. The batter was caught by Dawid Malan on David Willey’s delivery. Tom Cooper joined hands with opener Max ODowd and the duo anchored the innings for some time. Cooper scored 33 runs off 37 balls before being caught by Liam Livingstone on Brydon Carse’s delivery in the 18th over, leaving the team’s total at 88/2. Max ODowd also departed in the 25th over, after claiming his half-century off 69 balls.

Bas de Leede and skipper Scott Edwards came to the crease and changed the momentum of the game. The duo stitched an 84-run partnership and gave Netherlands a strong hand. But it was England, who had the last laugh as Brydon Carse struck against and dismissed de Leede in 40th over after scoring 56 runs off 78 balls.

Teja Nidamanuru came to the crease but could not stand for long as he was stumped by Buttler on Adil Rashid’s delivery. In the very next over by Willey, Logan van Beek also departed without scoring a single run and left Netherlands struggling at 216/6. In the 47th over, Tim Pringle was run out by Malan and departed after scoring only 6 runs. In the next over, Aryan Dutt fell prey to Willey’s spell and went back without opening his account.

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INDIA U-17 WOMEN’S TEAM LOSE TO ITALY

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India U-17 women’s team suffered a 0-7 defeat against Italy in Grandisco D’lsonzo in the Female Football Tournament on Wednesday. India started off the match just like the way Thomas Dennerby would have wanted, by trying to press the opposition high up the pitch and trying to bring out mistakes from them.

Tackles were flying in from both sides and Italy were awarded a free kick in the 4th minute. Beatrice curled the free-kick but she narrowly missed the target. Italy almost took the lead in the 10th minute as Dragoni was one-vs-one against Indian goalkeeper Monalisa but the latter stretched and produced a wonderful save to deny the Italian. However, India’s resistance would be broken soon as just one minute later, Maria Rossi put the ball into the back of the net.

In the 22nd minute, Monalisa was again called into action by Dragoni, but the former again parried the ball out for a corner. India came the closest to scoring at the half-hour mark when Anita tried a long-range effort to catch the Italian defence off-guard but her shot missed the target by a whisker.

The floodgates would open after that though as Anna Longobardi and Giulla Dragoni scored in the 31st and 33rd minutes, respectively, to give the Italians some much-needed cushion. In the 36th minute, Kajol went for the spectacular but she too missed the target by a whisker. The Young Tigresses trailed the Italians by a 0-3 margin at the half-time break. Italy picked up right from where they left off in the first half as Manuela Sciabica scored in the 48th minute. A couple of quick-fire goals followed after that as well and within 15 minutes of the second half, Italy had extended their lead to six goals. Thomas Dennerby made some changes in the 60th minute as Neha, Rejiya, Babina and Pinku came on for Nitu, Lynda, Kajol and Shelja, respectively. Marta Zambomi scored the final goal of the game in the 67th minute as she stretched Italy’s lead to 7 goals.

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Rodrigues, Yadav help India defeat Lanka by 34 runs

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Two wicket haul of Radha Yadav was backed by Jemimah Rodrigues’s unbeaten 36 powered visitors to a 34-run win over Sri Lanka in the first T20I here at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla on Thursday. It was a poor day for Sri Lanka’s batting unit as they could not do a lot with the bat on a difficult surface and despite their bowlers dominated the proceedings in the first T20I restricting India to 138/6 in their 20 overs. With this win, India take the series lead with a comprehensive win over Sri Lanka in the three-match T20I series. Vistors were great and did not allow partnerships to prosper for long. For Sri Lanka, Kavisha Dilhari smashed unbeaten 46 runs and was the top scorer for the team. For India, Radha Yadav bagged crucial two wickets while Pooja Vastrakar, Shafali Verma and Deepti Sharma scalped one wicket each.

Chasing 139, Sri Lanka got off to a bad start as they lost their opener Vishmi Gunaratne with one run onboard. This big breakthrough for the Indian team was delivered by Deepti SharmA: Harshitha Madavi then came to bat on the crease and tried to anchor the innings with skipper Chamari Athapaththu.

The Sri Lanka skipper batted aggressively and in the fifth over she smashed back-to-back two fours against Radha Yadav’s delivery. In the seventh, over of the innings, Athapaththu fell prey to Radha Yadav’s brilliant delivery as she tried to go for a four but was caught by Rajeshwari Gayakwad after scoring 16 runs in 19 balls.

Kavisha Dilhari then came to bat. In the same seventh over Yadav strike again and dismissed Madavi, who scored just 10 runs in 17 deliveries. Right-handed batter Nilakshi de Silva then came to bat and joined hands with Dilhari to keep the team’s momentum going. Dilhari and de Silva played cautiously to make sure they don’t lose any more wickets. After the 10 overs, the Sri Lanka team’s score reads 41/3. After the 11 overs hosts needed 93 runs in 54 balls. In the 13th over of the innings, Pooja Vastrakar gave her team a big breakthrough as she dismissed de Silva with Sri Lanks’s score of 54/4 on board.

After the wickets of de Silva, Ama Kanchana then came to the crease. The 14th over of the innings saw Shafali Verma deliver a brilliant spell only conceding 3 runs. At this point of the match, Sri Lanka batters struggled to even take a single run as Indian bowlers were too cheap in the matter conceding runs.

Ama Kanchana later fell prey to Verma’s delivery after scoring 11 runs in 10 balls. Anushka Sanjeewani then came to bat but at that point, it was impossible for the hosts to pull off the remaining 51 runs in 10 balls.

In the last over hosts tried to fight back and smashed two fours, but it was no use. Renuka Singh did not allow Lanka batters to gather many runs in the 20th and restricted them to 104/5 after 20 overs of play. Earlier, Put to bat first, India got off to a poor start, losing opener Smriti Mandhana (1) and Sabbhineni Meghana (0) in two consecutive balls of pacer Oshadi Ranasinghe’s fourth over. SL captain Chamari Athapaththu took two great catches in both the dismissals.

Following both the dismissals, it was in hands of opener Shafali Verma and captain Harmanpreet Kaur to rebuild things for IndiA: At the end of six overs, India stood at 32/2 with Harmanpreet Kaur (10*) and Shafali Verma (18*)

Shafali looked in great touch, smashing four boundaries. She was dismissed by the captain Athapaththu for 31 off 31 balls, after being caught by Nilakshi de Silva at long-on.

At the end of 10 overs, India was at 58/3, with Harmanpreet Kaur (22*) and Jemimah Rodrigues (1*). Soon, captain Kaur was dismissed leg before wicket for 22 by spinner Inoka Ranaweera, sinking India to 58/4. Afterwards, Rodrigues and Richa Ghosh, the wicketkeeper-batter had to rebuild. But the 23-run stand came to an abrupt end after Ranaweera dismissed him with assistance from the safe hands of Anushka Sanjeewani for 11. With this, half of the Indian team was back in the hut for 81.

At the end of 15 overs, the Indian team stood at 85/5, with Pooja Vastrakar (3*) and Jemimah Rodrigues (12*). The duo had a short 25-run partnership, which ended with the dismissal of Vastrakar for 14 after she was bowled by RanaweerA: Jemimah Rodrigues was standing tall all this while, keeping one end steady. India ended their innings at 138/6, with Rodrigues (36*) and Deepti Sharma (17*) Inoka Ranaweera was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka, taking 3/30. Oshadi Ranasinghe also took two wickets while Athapaththu got one.

BRIEF SCORES: India 138/6 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 36*, Shafali Verma 31, Inoka Ranaweera 3/30) vs Sri Lanka (Kavisha Dilhari 46*, Chamari Athapaththu 16; Radha Yadav 2-22).

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