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I miss wearing the blue jersey: Chahal

Ace leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal talks to The Daily Guardian about his lockdown routine, closed door games, and how he yearns to play for India.

Aishvarya Jain & Uday Pratap Singh

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Cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal

Q. How has the lockdown been for you so far? Has anything changed?

A. I have never stayed this long in my house. In the beginning, it was problematic but now I have adopted the routine. I wake up and train at the gym at 6 in the morning. Later, I spend some time with my family, and then, in the evening I sleep for some time. After waking up, I play PUBG. I also like to binge on web-series platforms.

Q. How is your fitness routine shaping up?

A. Earlier, I used to wake up for the entire night and hit the gym in the morning, and then after having my breakfast, I would finally go to bed. However, I have changed that routine — I am now going to bed early in the night so that I can hit the gym at 6 in the morning; I train for two hours. Since outdoor activities are restricted, to keep myself fit, I use a treadmill in the evening.

Q. Cricket might resume soon, how ready are you?

A. It’s not in our hands, and we don’t really know when cricket will resume. Nowadays, I am watching my older videos, comparing them with each other to figure out where I have to improve. I think this is helping me mentally as well.

 Q. Do you think games without an audience will affect the performance of the players, especially in the energy-charged tournaments like IPL?

A. Whenever we play domestic tournaments there are hardly any people watching us. However, when it comes to IPL, the fans are in abundance. It is so noisy at times that the players have to scream at each other to converse. If games are held with empty stands, we will miss that feeling. However, it is a good move, considering the threat the novel coronavirus poses at people’s lives

Q. What are the ways that you are staying mentally strong and focused amidst these pressing times?

 A. I don’t think about the situations which are not in my hands, it perpetuates negativity in your mind. Whenever I play a cricket match, I think about that game rather than my prospects so that I can focus on the match and deliver my best. I don’t think about whether I’d be selected on the next tour or whether my form would prevail? Moreover, I have resumed playing chess to stay more focused.

Q. What inspired you to start Chahal TV and become a journalist to interview your teammates?

A. Journalists are into serious things; however, Chahal TV focuses more on the questions aiming to reveal the other side of the cricketers. The fun aspect, you see? To my surprise, the Indian cricket team media manager suggested that I continue it as people like it a lot. I think people like the videos because they are very brief and entertaining.

Q. What is that one new skill you have acquired during the lockdown?

A. Since my childhood, I loved to dance. We all can dance but it’s very difficult to go by the book — the technicalities, the rhythm, and the body language. Hence, I am learning it online. Moreover, my culinary escapades are worth a mention. I am learning to cook from my mother and sister; however, I must confess that I am too bad.

Q. What’s the one thing you will do after lockdown ends?

A. I will straightaway take a ball and go to the ground. I am missing that a lot. That is where my life belongs. I have a ball right now but cannot deliver it, it is dejecting. I desperately miss the pride of wearing the blue jersey for Team India.

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Olympics: Deepika Kumari bows out after losing to top-seed An San

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Star Indian archer Deepika Kumari bowed out of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics after losing to South Korea’s An San in the women’s individual quarter-finals here at Yumenoshima Park on Friday.

Top seed San defeated world number one Deepika in an absolutely dominating fashion 6-0 to march into the semi-finals of the individual event. 20-year-old San is aiming for her third gold medal at Tokyo after finishing top of the podium in the mixed team event and the women’s recurve team event. Korean An San had a brilliant start to the first round as she aimed at three 10s while Deepika shot 7-10-10. San carried that momentum in the second round and clinically shot 9-10-7 to which Indian responded with 10-7-7.

The dominance of the South Korean continued in the third set as she gathered 26 as opposed to 24 of Deepika. Match ended in less than six minutes. With this San will either face USA’s Mackenzie Brown or Mexico’s Alejandra Valencia in the last four.

Earlier in the day, Deepika defeated Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) Ksenia Perova to progress into the quarter-finals (6-5) in the 1/8 Eliminations round in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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YUZVENDRA CHAHAL AND GOWTHAM TEST POSITIVE IN SRI LANKA

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Three days after Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19, it has come to light that spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and K. Gowtham have also tested positive for the virus in Sri Lanka.

Sources in the know of developments confirmed that the duo have tested positive for COVID-19. “Unfortunately, they have tested positive. They were close contacts of Krunal and were already away from the rest of the squad in the team hotel,” the source said. Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and eight Indian players — Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Manish Pandey, Ishan Kishan, and K Gowtham were identified as close contacts.

Being close contacts of Krunal, they were staying away from the rest of the team and didn’t participate in the last two T20Is after Krunal’s test came positive.

Meanwhile, Wanindu Hasaranga’s four-wicket haul and Dhananjaya de Silva’s unbeaten 23-run knock helped Sri Lanka defeat India by seven wickets in the third and final T20I. With this win, Sri Lanka won the series 2-1.Sri Lanka won the T20I series while India had earlier won the ODI series.

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TOKYO OLYMPICS: NUMBER ONE SEED DJOKOVIC BOWS OUT, LOSES TO ZVEREV

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Number one seed Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic on Friday was knocked out of the men’s singles event in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics after losing the semi-final clash. Germany’s Alexander Zverev defeated Djokovic 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the men’s singles event.

As a result of this loss, Djokovic would not be able to achieve the Golden Slam (all four Grand Slams and Olympic gold) in the same year. Djokovic had brought out his A-game to the court in the first set, and he ended up winning it 6-1. However, disappointment followed for the Serbian as he lost two back-to-back sets and as a result, he bowed out of the tournament.

Djokovic had won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year and now he would look to win the US Open, beginning August this year. Earlier, top seeds Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka were also knocked out of the Olympics.

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INDIA WOMEN’S HOCKEY TEAM BEAT IRELAND 1-0, KEEP QF HOPES ALIVE

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The Indian women’s hockey team defeated Ireland 1-0 here at the Oi Hockey Stadium North Pitch on Friday. As a result, India’s hopes of making it to the quarter-finals of the women’s hockey event remain intact.

Earlier, the Rani Rampal-led side had suffered defeats in its first three group-stage games. The first quarter between India and Ireland saw no goals and after the end of the first 15 minutes, the scoreline remained 0-0.

A similar story was on the offer in the second quarter and at the halftime mark, the scoreline remained the same and it was Rani Rampal’s side that was feeling the pressure going into the third quarter. The third quarter also saw no goals, however, Navneet Kaur finally broke the deadlock in the fourth quarter and she gave India a lead with three minutes left to play. In the end, India managed to hang on to the advantage to score a 1-0 victory.

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INDIA MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM FIRE ALL CYLINDERS, DEFEAT JAPAN 5-3

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A resilient Indian hockey team came firing on all cylinders to thrash Japan 5-3 in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics on Friday. This was India’s fourth win of the ongoing quadrennial event. The Men In Blue will next be in action in the quarter-finals of the mega event. Japan might have scored three goals but the Indian boys made sure the Men in Blue were in the lead throughout the game and dominated proceedings.

Just two minutes before the end of the third quarter, India earned their second Penalty Corner only to miss the net. But the Indians were in the lead (3-2) with one quarter to go. Both teams got off to a cautious start but the Manpreet Singh-led side broke the shackles and netted the first goal in the 13th minute.

Gurjant Singh then scored early in the second quarter as India doubled the lead over Japan. However, Japan came back with a goal as Tanaka opened the team’s account.

In the third quarter, Kota Watanabe scored an equaliser but Shamsher Singh again put India on top as he scored a goal in the 34th minute. At the end of the third essay, India led 3-2 with a thrilling final quarter on cards. In the final quarter, Nilakanta Sharma doubled India’s lead after a desperate attempt from both sides to find the net.

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TOKYO OLYMPICS: SINDHU DEFEATS YAMAGUCHI, GETS INTO SEMIS

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India shuttler P.V. Sindhu stormed into the semi-finals of the women’s singles event after defeating Japan’s number four seed Akane Yamaguchi in the quarterfinals here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 1 on Friday. Sindhu defeated Yamaguchi 21-13, 22-20. The quarterfinal clash between Sindhu and Yamaguchi lasted for 56 minutes.

The first game was more close than the scoreline suggested and Sindhu had to bring out the best in her to win it 21-13. The scoreline in the first game might not indicate how closely it was fought, but Yamaguchi made her fight for every point. The star Indian shuttler was just one more game away from progressing to the semi-finals.

Yamaguchi made Sindhu toil hard in the second game, and for every point, the Indian shuttler had to be at her best. In the end, the number six seed Sindhu ended up winning the match in straight games.

In the second game of the quarter-final, there was a 54-shot rally between Sindhu and Yamaguchi and it lasted for one minute and two seconds. On Thursday, Sindhu had defeated Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in the Round of 16 match of women’s individual event in the Tokyo Olympics here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 3. Sindhu defeated Blichfeldt 21-15, 21-13 in just 41 minutes to cruise into the quarter-finals.

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