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Ind vs Eng: ‘Would love to credit’ Vikram Rathour for my batting, says Ashwin

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 15 (ANI): After scoring his fifth Test century and lifting his side to the respectable total in the second innings, India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin credited batting coach Vikram Rathour for his success on the spin-heavy wicket and said “would love to credit him” for recent knocks in the red-ball cricket.
Ashwin was the show-stopper for India on the third day as he played a knock of 106 runs and then bagged a crucial wicket of opener Rory Burns (25). The hosts were bowled out for 286 in the final session of the day and set a target of 482 runs against visitors to take the 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
At stumps on day three, England’s score read 53/3 with skipper Joe Root and Dan Lawrence still unbeaten on two and 19 runs respectively. Visitors still require 429 runs to win the game.
“I will sleep well through the night, that is all that I am thinking. Even after the last Test, we spoke about how we are going to counter Leach and probably bring sweep to the game. Last time, I was sweeping, I was 19 years old, I hit a bit of sweep shots well today. I am thankful the plan has paid off. Sort of had a very good day. I can’t say it’s been happening in the last three days, I have been practicisng with Vikram Rathore (batting coach), I would love to credit him with how my batting has come through over the last four- five matches,” Ashwin told host broadcaster after the conclusion of play.
Ashwin further talked about how he got to his century while batting with tailenders.
“I don’t know when the next Test is going to be here, but I am pleased. In the past, he’s (Ishant) been with me when I got hundreds at home and once Siraj came, I knew how to approach. I was thrilled for his batting and told him to go through the line of the ball. It was amazing to see how excited he was when I got my hundred. I don’t know what the team is feeling like but I am sure they are thrilled. I can’t thank the crowd enough, they have been very supportive,” he added.
Openers Dom Sibley (3) and Rory Burns (25) failed to provide a solid stand for the visitors and were picked by Patel and Ashwin respectively.
After losing openers early, England sent Jack Leach as nightwatchman but that move also did not work for the visitors. Leach was sent back to the pavilion on a single ball duck by Patel. Root and Lawrence played cautiously and made sure that the side did not suffer any hiccup on the day.
In the final session, 31.5 overs were bowled as both the teams together scored 118 runs with a loss of five wickets. (ANI)

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Looking forward to scouting new players from IWL: Maymol Rocky

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Women’s football action in India is all set to get underway at the national level as the Indian Women’s League (IWL) is set to start. The 2020-21 edition will take place in Odisha. Indian women’s national team head coach Maymol Rocky expressed her delight that the league is being organised despite the operational challenges thrown by the COVID pandemic.
After the successful organisation of the ISL, I-League, and the I-League Qualifiers in Goa and Kolkata, it is now Odisha’s turn to play host to domestic footballing action.
“I was thrilled to hear that we will have the IWL this season, despite the ongoing pandemic. It is great to see that the federation has taken the steps to arrange the league in a manner that is safe for the players and officials who will be involved in it,” the official website of All India Football Federation quoted Maymol as saying.
While things happening in and around the beautiful game may be a little different this time, the focus for Maymol remains the same — scouting new talent from the league.
“Many top players have come out of the IWL in the past few years, and I intend to make sure that the trend continues this time as well. I am looking forward to watching all the matches, and finding new players for the senior national team,” she said.
The Indian women’s team has been in camp in Goa since December and has also travelled to Turkey to play three matches — all under the stringent COVID-safety protocols.
“We had a lot of safety protocols in place during our camp in Goa, and it was extremely hard to implement them and even harder to follow them ourselves. Having done that, I can now appreciate the difficulty in implementing the same for all the teams competing in the league. I really must thank the Odisha Government for stepping up to support Women’s Football at a time like this,” she stated. (ANI)

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IPL: Delhi Capitals announce JSW Group as principal sponsor for upcoming season

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Delhi Capitals on Friday announced JSW Group as the team’s principal sponsor for the years 2021-2023.
Through this association, the JSW insignia will be sported on the front of the team’s jersey and complemented by in-stadia branding of the diverse JSW product portfolio during the tournament.
Speaking on the association, Kiran Kumar Grandhi, Chairman and Co-Owner, Delhi Capitals said, “I am delighted that we continue to deepen our association with the JSW Group. We share the same ethos and philosophy, and that makes our franchise one of the most formidable brands in the IPL. I am confident that this association will be a fruitful one for our team.”
“IPL continues to attract the world’s best talent from the sport, making it a globally respected and aspirational brand, attracting a number of national brands with a global recall value,” said Parth Jindal, Co-Owner, Delhi Capitals.
With a minimum committed association for three years, the JSW Group also continues to raise its brand value by empowering and partnering with sports properties in India.
The JSW Group first came on board as the team’s principal sponsor in 2020.
“Cricket and cricketers are a part of India’s DNA. And as principal sponsors of the Delhi Capitals, we are able to add this talented cricketing squad to our JSW family. A community that includes an employee base of over 67,000 employees and a network of over 10 lakh dealers and retailers,” said Jindal
Speaking on the development, Vinod Bisht, Director and Interim CEO, Delhi Capitals, said, “We are a young team that has grown remarkably over the last few seasons. I am confident that this association will be a successful one that will help both brands, Delhi Capitals and JSW, to grow tremendously.”
Delhi Capitals had finished runners-up in the last edition of IPL played behind closed-doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). (ANI)

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Felt ecstatic after beating reigning Olympic champion: Deepak Kumar

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Boxer Deepak Kumar returned home with a silver medal after reaching the finals of the Strandja Memorial Tournament, but the pugilist isn’t too excited. The boxer says that no one remembers a silver medal and now he has set his sights on winning a gold medal going into the future.
The biggest win for Deepak came in the semi-finals of the tournament as he stunned the reigning Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov in the men’s 52 kg bout.
In an interaction with ANI, Deepak spoke about his experience of playing in the tournament and how he would like to qualify for the Olympics – in the future — even though he finds himself in the same weight category as that of Amit Panghal.
“The experience of playing in the Strandja Memorial Tournament was very good. The semi-final bout I had with the Olympic champion was nice, I felt ecstatic after winning that particular bout. The gold medal is a gold medal, everyone remembers who won the gold medal. People forget who played nicely in the tournament. I will always feel that I missed on winning a gold medal,” Deepak said.
“In the final, I did not have a good first round, so the decision of the final bout got affected by that,” he added.
Deepak, who hails from Hisar, Haryana, started boxing at the age of just 11. However, in 2009, due to financial constraints, he was forced to leave boxing as he couldn’t afford the expenses of diet and training. His coach Rajesh Sheoran then helped him to return to the ring. Deepak had won a gold medal in the 2018 Senior National Boxing Championships and he also bagged a silver at the 2019 Asian Boxing Championships. He had also returned with a gold medal from the 2019 Makran Cup.
“I started boxing in 2008 then I left the sport in 2009 for some seven-eight months. In 2010, I played for Haryana in State Championships where I was able to win a medal. In 2012, I became a state champion. After that, the federation got banned and the competitions were not taking place. At that moment, I got a bit scared as to what might happen. I started thinking as to whether I will achieve something in boxing,” said the 23-year-old.
“My chachaji (uncle) had knowledge about the game and he has a friend circle who knew about this sport. My chachaji was not able to make it big in boxing as he did not get the desired guidance, so he made me aware of the sport and he told me about the benefits of boxing. He gave me the passion for this sport,” he added.
When asked about his weight category and how he sees himself being in the same category as Panghal, Deepak replied: “Amit Panghal has already qualified for Olympics. I will do my best going into the future, if I do well, I will get a chance going ahead.”
“Strandja Tournament was taking place after one year and hence, I was always determined to do well. I now want to work on my shortcomings and I am determined to do well in the tournaments which I will be participating in going forward,” he added. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Visitors on top after dismissing Pujara, Kohli, Rahane (Lunch)

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): England bowlers led the fightback for the visitors in the opening session of the second day of the fourth Test between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday. If getting Cheteshwar Pujara (17) and Virat Kohli (0) early in the day wasnt enough, the Englishmen finished the session with the important wicket of Ajinkya Rahane (27).
At the Lunch break, India’s score read 80/4 – still trailing the visitors by 125 runs with six wickets in the bag. While Rohit Sharma (32) has looked solid at one end, he will need the likes of Rishabh Pant and the lower middle-order to stand ground with him in the second session. For the visitors, James Anderson picked Rahane on the brink of the lunch to hand England the upper hand, but the prized scalp of Kohli was picked by Ben Stokes.
Going into the morning session with the score on 24/1 and with Rohit and Pujara at the crease, the hosts would have liked to get closer to the visitors’ total without losing a wicket. But it wasnt to be as Jack Leach struck first to send back Pujara, leg before. While it was a close call, the umpire was spot on as the ball hit the pad first.
In walked Kohli and with the scoring rate on the slower side, one expected the captain to bring on the attack with Rohit. But Stokes had other ideas as he got the India skipper to produce a nothing shot to a ball that got big on him and ended up giving keeper Foakes an easy catch. With the score on 41/3, the Englishmen realised they had walked right back into the game.
But Rahane and Rohit defied the visitors for a while as they tried to build the innings and stitched a 39-run partnership. But just when it looked like the duo would take India to lunch and start afresh after the break, Anderson sent back Rahane.
Brief Scores: England 205; India 80/4 (Rohit Sharma 32*; James Anderson 2-7) (ANI)

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Ferguson eyeing Test cricket return with T20I series against Bangladesh

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson is eyeing Test cricket return with the upcoming T20I series against Bangladesh.
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead is hopeful that Ferguson will be available for the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh.
Ferguson has been out of action since December last year, when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture following the T20I series against West Indies. During the series against Windies, Ferguson had claimed his career-best figures of 5 for 21.
“I’ve always talked very highly of Test cricket and want to play it. Certainly, my closest focus is to get back on the park and play, it’s been enjoyable watching the Test boys and stoked they made the final which is going to be super exciting,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Ferguson as saying.
“Think the best thing for me and the team is to get back playing a decent amount of cricket, get that loading behind me, then I certainly want to be in the mix for selection for the UK trip but that’s a couple of months down the line so we’ll cross that bridge later on,” he added.
Before returning to the field against Bangladesh, the speedster believes he has some boxes to tick.
“That’s the aim, it’s a bit of a process so can’t make the call right now. Certainly, there’s some boxes to tick, but definitely, the way things have been tracking it’s been going really well that’s certainly the goal,” Ferguson said.
Despite the amount of T20 on the calendar this season, which now includes a stint in the T20 Blast with Yorkshire, and concludes with the World Cup in India during October, Ferguson is not making it is sole focus although acknowledges Test cricket presents different challenges.
“Certainly to play in the Test Championship would be very special as well…but at the same time have to focus on what’s coming up and make sure I’m ready to go,” he said. “The Test demands are much higher than T20 in terms of loading, so from that point of view it takes some time to build up. Give your body a chance to adjust to playing a lot of cricket then you can make a decision,” he said.
New Zealand is currently involved in a five-match T20I series against Australia which ends on March 7. After that, the Black Caps will first play three ODIs against Bangladesh from March 20 to 26 and then three T20Is from March 28 to April 1. (ANI)

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Barcelona defender Pique out with right knee injury, likely to miss PSG clash

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Barcelona [Spain], March 5 (ANI): Barcelona defender Gerard Pique will spend another stint on the sidelines as he sustained “a sprain in the internal lateral ligament of his right knee”.
World Cup winner suffered the blow in the team’s 3-0 win over Sevilla in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Pique scored a goal in the second-half stoppage time before Martin Braithwaite netted the final goal of the match to hand comprehensive victory.

Barca said in a statement on their official website: “The medical assessment and tests performed this morning have shown that first-team player Gerard Pique has a sprain in the internal lateral ligament of his right knee. He is therefore unavailable and the evolution of the injury will determine when he returns.”
“The Barca centre-back was a starter and played the 120 minutes in the superb win against Sevilla, as well as being one of the great protagonists of the night, leading the heroic comeback with a goal in added time that allowed Barca to force extra-time. As for this season, Pique has played a total of 15 games in which he has scored two goals,” it added.
Injury struggles have become familiar for the 34-year-old this season, with knee complaints plaguing his 2020-21 campaign.
Pique was forced onto the sidelines in November 2020 with a knee problem and missed the best part of three months. He sat out 24 games as Ronald Koeman’s side struggled to find the consistency required to compete for major honours.
Barcelona will next take on Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 of the Champions League on March 11. (ANI)

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