I faced very little racism due to my background: Nasser Hussain - The Daily Guardian
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I faced very little racism due to my background: Nasser Hussain

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Former England captain Nasser Hussain has said that he was lucky enough to have been brought up as a white-ish middle class in a multi-racial society and play his cricket in a multi-cultural club like Essex that ensured that he experienced very little racism. “I encountered very little racism at Essex. 

Growing up as a young boy in Ilford having been born in India and having a surname of Hussain and a first name of Nasser I did encounter some name-calling due to ignorance,” Hussain told PakPassion.net “I was lucky enough to play at a club like Essex where we had a middleorder of Nadeem Shahid, Saleem Malik and myself.” “We had a very multi-cultural county in the south of our county at Ilford where I grew up with my dad and his cricket school where we had a British West Indian net, British Indian net and a British Pakistani net and we would all take the mickey out of each other when India were playing Pakistan, or England were losing to the West Indies.” “It was great banter and it was fun,” he said. Hussain said he was fortunate enough to have come from a white-ish middle-class, privileged background. 

“I grew up in that multi-cultural environment and I was very fortunate. But I understand that I was a white-ish middle-class, public school educated boy so I can’t put myself in the shoes of some of the British Asians that are growing up in certain parts of the UK,” he said. Hussain also said that Pakistan batting mainstay Babar Azam has the potential to end up as one of the greats. “Babar has what it takes to become one of the greats. In white-ball cricket he is up there with the best of them.

 He is up near the top of the rankings in T20Is, and in fifty over cricket he is exceptional too,” Hussain pointed out. “He did okay in the Test series against England bearing in mind England is not an easy place to come and play Test cricket.” “He just needs that consistency in Test cricket to be up there with the likes of Virat Kohli.” “Babar’s done that for six to nine months so far. He just needs to be consistent for a longer period of time.” Hussain concluded

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Swiss Open: Srikanth crashes out after losing against Axelsen in semi-final

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Basel [Switzerland], March 6 (ANI): Ace India shuttler Kidambi Srikanth on Saturday crashed out of the Swiss Open after losing against World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the semi-final.
Denmark’s Axelsen outclassed Srikanth 21-13, 21-19 in 41 minutes to proceed to the final of the tournament.
Srikanth failed to get momentum in the first game and struggled to keep the shuttle on the court. In the second game, the Indian player tried to make a comeback but it was denied by the in-form Axelsen as he bagged the close-fought game 21-19.
Earlier in the day, PV Sindhu progressed to the final of the Swiss Open after registering a straight games win over Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in the semi-final.
Rio Olympics silver medalist clinched the clash 22-20, 21-10 that lasted for 43 minutes. The World No. 2 faced a tough fight in the first game as it went neck-to-neck till Sindhu finally bagged it at 22-20.
But the Indian shuttler showed her class in the second game and did not give any margin and dominated the match. Sindhu will now face either Olympic champion Carolina Marin or Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong for a shot at the Swiss Open title clash on Sunday.
Later in the day, the men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will play against Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in the semi-final. (ANI)

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Want to leave my own legacy, going through happiest phase in my career: Ashwin

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Saturday said that he wants to leave his own legacy and also revealed that he is going through one of the happiest phases in his 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.
Ashwin finished the four-match series against England with a tally of 32 wickets and he picked up his eighth Man of the Series award. This is the most number of times that an Indian cricketer has been awarded the Man of the Series accolade.
“Harbhajan Singh is a fantastic bowler, he has achieved what he has achieved. I mean, there is a lot that I have learnt from him. This is a no-brainer, I have told this in the past also. I wasn’t even an off-spinner when Bhajji paa started playing for the Indian team. I was a batsman who could bowl a bit. He has been an inspiration because of the 2001 series against Australia. That is a famous series for India,” said Ashwin during a virtual press conference on Saturday.
“I never imagined in 2001 that I would go on to become an off-spinner, never mind, taking these wickets. I am so happy that you are putting me on the same page as him. I had the fortune of playing alongside Bhajju paa when I came into the team, later I was fortunate enough to play with Anil Kumble being the coach. I am trying to leave my own legacy, that’s about it,” he added.
Further elaborating on his growth as a cricketer, Ashwin said: “My growth as a cricketer is a direct synonym to the person that I am. I want to keep on growing every single game, I want to keep evolving and I want to improve. That is something that is second nature to me and that is directly proportional to the kind of cricketer I am. I will continue to do that for the rest of my life, whatever I do in my life, I want to be the best I can be.
“This is one of the series where I was fortunate enough to stay in the moment a lot. It is one of the happiest phases of my career, I am just enjoying it. Bio-bubbles I have also managed to enjoy. I never thought I would be able to spend this much time with every teammate of mine. Sometimes when you are going through situations, for me, to know some of these teammates was not possible for me before this bio-bubble because you are constantly in the phase of trying to get the right result. I am able to cherish the moments now and I am able to know the players I am sharing the space with. It’s basically the joy that is being expressed out there.”
Talking about how the support staff has been empathetic towards players in this bio-bubble environment, Ashwin said: “We had to deal with what was presented to us then and there in Australia. Sometimes, these hotels can be really claustrophobic, you do not get fresh air also and in Australia, there was a situation where you did not have window panes opening as well. For 14 days or 20-25 days to stay without that, it can be quite taxing. Communication was not easy when you are on tours, you go back and forth, waiting for an answer.
“In certain things, it takes two-three days’ time to get an answer. It is not easy, many times the team management has to resolve and look at what’s best for players in arranging simple things, but these things we need to be fighting for in these conditions. Even the smaller things, the team management needs to look after,” he added. (ANI)

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Ishant called WTC the World Cup final for himself, it makes absolute sense: Ashwin

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Saturday said that he is really happy for pacer Ishant Sharma after India managed to reach the final of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC).
Earlier, Ishant had labelled WTC as ‘World Cup’ and he even added that winning the Test Championship would mean the world to him. 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.
“Reaching WTC final is a result of the kind of effort we have put in the last ten years now. The WTC was announced and we have fought really hard. We have played six-seven series, we have literally got most of the points, we lost about three Tests in the entire circle. Surprisingly enough, we had to go into this series and garner points to get to the finals. That is how it was positioned, with a lot of last-minute changes due to Covid-19. For a lot of players in our dressing room, it means a lot,” said Ashwin during a virtual press conference on Saturday.
“Some of them have not even played in cricket World Cups, it will mean like a CWC to most of them. I am so happy for someone like Ishant Sharma who got selected in the 2015 CWC and he could not play because he was ruled out due to injury last minute. For someone like him, to get to the WTC final will mean the world. I read somewhere he called WTC the World Cup final for himself, it makes absolute sense and I am so happy for him,” he added.
Earlier, pacer Ishant Sharma had said that the WTC is like a World Cup for him and if India goes on to win the Test championship, then it would be a similar feeling to winning the World Cup.
“I am just focused on how to win this series and qualify for the finals of the WTC. I just play one format, WTC is like a World Cup for me, if we play the finals and then we go on to win, the feeling would be the same as winning the World Cup or the Champions Trophy,” said Ishant during a virtual press conference ahead of the third Test against England. (ANI)

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The way Rishabh bats makes it difficult for the bowlers to build pressure: Root

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): England skipper Joe Root feels the 113-run partnership between Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar turned out to be the reason behind the visitors’ loss in the fourth and final Test against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday.
After bundling England out for 205, India found themselves in trouble when they were reduced to 146/6. But Pant and Washington Sundar stitched a century stand for the side and rebuilt the hosts’ innings.
The swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman single-handedly put India in command on the second day before Washington scored an unbeaten 96 on Saturday. Root was in awe of Pant’s brave batting, who reversed swept James Anderson for a boundary. The English skipper heaped praise on the wicket-keeper batsman’s astonishing skill of keeping bowlers at bay.
“It was disappointing, I will give credit to India as again they out-skilled us, they have definitely out-skilled us. They bowled really well and batted well too. We have to try and find out ways to be better in similar conditions in the future,” said Root during the virtual press conference.
“It was a frustrating way to finish the game. We were very much in the hunt and credit to Washington and Rishab for that outstanding partnership made it very difficult for us. The way he (Rishabh) bats makes it difficult for the bowlers to build pressure on him. It requires skills to pull off reverse sweep in a Test and it was very brave of him,” he added.
Root admitted that England failed to capitalise on the moments while India managed to exploit the chances whenever the hosts were being served with the one.
“I do think there were periods in the game where India managed to grab the opportunities they had and generally in low scoring Test matches that is a difference. Look at this game India was 100 out for five wickets and Rishabh walked out and made that opportunity count for some wonderful moments,” said Root.
“He (Rishabh) is such a difficult player to keep quiet. We came across some brilliant batting at that stage. So I do think that their experience in these conditions probably just outplayed us and was the difference and a big difference in fact in this series,” he added.
Axar Patel along with Ravichandran Ashwin spun a web as the hosts won the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs. With this win, Team India roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC). (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Sundar quite a ‘special batsman’, not surprised with his performances, says Ashwin

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): Seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Saturday said that it is surprising to see people not recognise the batting talent of bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar.
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.
“It is quite surprising because Washington bowled in some of the IPL franchises and he shot with them because of his bowling in the powerplay. It’s quite surprising that people don’t recognise that he grew up as a batsman all his life who could bowl. I am not surprised at all because I have batted with him. He works hard on his batting and we have discussions around how he should look to bowl more often. He loves his batting and he is quite a special batsman, I am not surprised at all,” said Ashwin while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference.
When asked about whether being in a bio-bubble makes the series win against England more special, Ashwin replied: “Nobody wants to leave the Indian team, right? You want to be here and play as much as you can. Somewhere I feel, the life inside the bio-bubble is not easy at all. You have to work on your mental spirits and you constantly need to keep on motivating yourselves. I think the last eight months have been hard but team spirit, the sort of bonding we have had because of this bio-bubble is something I have not experienced in the last decade of cricket I have played.
“It has been special, understanding the people and the opportunity for someone to understand you as a person in the common lounge we share, it has been quite special. Some of those comebacks we have made is not a surprise. Looking forward to going back home because you want to see your kids and wife, it has been quite a special ride,” he added.
When asked about Rohit Sharma’s growth as an opening batsman, Ashwin said: “I do not even understand this question of me seeing the evolvement of Rohit Sharma. It is quite funny honestly when I hear this question. My history with Rohit goes a long way back, he has always been a special batsman. It is not a surprise that you are putting Rohit on the same lines as Sehwag. Nobody is surprised that Rohit Sharma is doing what he is doing. He is a special cricketer, I just hope he goes on to win a World Cup for India.”
Answering whether the win in the fourth Test shut the pitch critics up, Ashwin replied: “This series win is a testament to the fact that this is a very good Indian cricket team, that is all I would like to say. The criticism around the pitch, all that, the other day, Sunny sir was saying something that makes complete sense. Only because you are giving attention to people who are making a mockery of cricket, I think we are encouraging them to do more and more stuff.”
“I would like to see one day when there is a lot of grass on the pitch somewhere else in the world, our Indian commentators talking about it and then putting an Instagram post, I would like to see that and how the global media reacts to that, then we will know, who is at fault,” he added. (ANI)

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Swiss Open: PV Sindhu reaches final with win over Mia Blichfeldt

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Basel [Switzerland], March 6 (ANI): Ace India shuttler PV Sindhu on Saturday progressed to the final of the Swiss Open after registering a straight games win over Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in the semi-final.
Rio Olympics silver medalist clinched the clash 22-20, 21-10 that lasted for 43 minutes. The World No. 2 faced a tough fight in the first game as it went neck-to-neck till Sindhu finally bagged it at 22-20.
But the Indian shuttler showed her class in the second game and did not give a margin for error for his opponent to dominate the match.
Sindhu will now face either Olympic champion Carolina Marin or Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong for a shot at the Swiss Open title clash on Sunday.
Later in the day, the men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will play against Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in the semi-final. (ANI)

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