Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 20 (ANI): India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara on Saturday said that the pitch used for the second Test at Chennai was not at all “dangerous” and it was just a matter of the wicket offering some turn.
The four-match series currently stands level at 1-1 and now both teams will lock horns in a pink-ball Test, beginning February 24 at the Motera Stadium.
The second Test pitch led to some sort of criticism from former players like Michael Vaughan and Mark Waugh and the duo termed the pitch as “sub-standard”.
“Sometimes you know when you are playing on a turning track, you find it difficult but at the same time, it was not a dangerous pitch at all. When the ball spins you know people find it difficult to score runs, especially the overseas teams. When we go overseas and we play on seaming tracks, the game finishes in three or four days. We still have to play on such wickets where there is a lot of grass or seam movement,” said Pujara replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Saturday.
“In turning tracks, one cannot define how much the ball can spin. It is a very thin line in that way. I do not think it was a bad pitch, it always becomes difficult in the second innings, this is how it is. When we play in Australia, there are cracks on day four and five, it is a little dangerous, the oddball hits the crack and it might take off. As a team I do not think we had any issues, once opposition teams start playing more on these pitches, they will be fine,” he added.
Asked about the pitch for the upcoming day-night Test, he said it is an important game to qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship.
“We have played just one day-night game in India and it was with the SG ball. Domestic games which I have played were with the kookaburra ball. To be honest, it is difficult to predict whether you can keep the grass cover. It is an important game for us to qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship, we will try to focus on the game,” he said.
“Even I have played so many Tests, but with the pink ball, I also don’t have much experience. I do not think experience matters a lot when you are playing the one-off game with the pink-ball in a series. As we keep playing more, we will get used to it. It is just Test cricket, we will have to play normal cricket. As a team, we have certain goals as a batting and bowling unit, we will stick to them. The next two Tests are very important for us, we will like to stick to our game plans,” he added.
Pujara said Motera Stadium is a beautiful stadium.
“It is a new stadium and pitch. Once we play more games here, we will get to know about the pitch. It is a beautiful stadium, we all are enjoying it here. We had a gym session yesterday and we had a net session today. I played in Ahmedabad in 2012, I have fond memories of playing against England here. We are looking forward to this Test,” he said.
India had achieved an emphatic 317-run win against England in the second Test of the ongoing four-match series. As a result, the series stands level at 1-1 and Virat Kohli-led side has also reached the second spot in World Test Championship (WTC) standings.
India remains in contention to make the final of the ICC World Test Championship. The victory in Chennai on Tuesday has lifted India to the second position with 69.7 percentage points on the points table but they cannot afford to lose another match as they need to win 2-1 or 3-1 to qualify for the final of the maiden edition of the championship.
England, who led the table after winning the opening Test, has slipped to the fourth spot with 67.0 percentage points. They can still qualify, but for that, they must win both remaining matches of the series against India. (ANI)
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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)
Mission Olympic Cell approves Kushagra’s 3-month training with Kelsheimer in USA
New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): The Mission Olympic Cell has approved a three-month training-cum-competition trip in the USA for swimmer Kushagra Rawat who is a part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (Development group).
During his three-month stint in the USA, he will train with Dave Kelsheimer who was the assistant open water swimming coach for the 2016 USA Olympic swimming team. He will also be participating in competitions in the USA to achieve the Olympic A cut for direct qualification.
Rawat, in a statement, said: “I trained under this coach in 2020 when I was in Australia. Some of the swimmers whom I trained with, have already achieved the Olympic A cut. I know the coach and his training patterns, which will be beneficial.”
The freestyle swimmer has already made the Olympic B cut in three events, 400m, 800m and 1500m. He is confident that with his stint in the USA, he will achieve an Olympic A cut. He was last week in Bengaluru training under renowned international sports scientist Genadijus Sokolovas, who was on a visit supported by TOPS.
On his stint with Sokolovas, Rawat said: “I learnt a lot about swimming techniques. After all the analysis, I am more aware of myself.”
Kelsheimer is currently the head coach of Team Santa Monica, California and was the USA swimming coach at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships. He has trained a number of Olympians including Jordan Wilimovsky who finished fourth in the 1500 metres and fifth in the 10000 metres open-water marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Secretary-General, Swimming Federation of India, Monal Chokshi has welcomed the decision to allow Rawat to train abroad saying: “We are very glad that Kushagra Rawat’s proposal to train in USA with one of the leading coaches has been approved under the TOPS scheme. Kushagra is aiming for the A qualification standard for Tokyo 2020 having achieved the B qualification in 3 individual events. He is one of the top 5 Indian swimmers in contention for the upcoming Olympics along with Srihari Nataraj and Sajan Prakash who have already achieved the B standard.”
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has written to the Ministry of External Affairs to expedite the visa process so that there is no delay in him travelling to the USA. (ANI)
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