INDIA TOPS THE MEDAL TALLY AT THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED ISSF JUNIOR WORLD SHOOTING CHAMPIONSHIP - The Daily Guardian
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INDIA TOPS THE MEDAL TALLY AT THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED ISSF JUNIOR WORLD SHOOTING CHAMPIONSHIP

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Ever since 2004 Athens Olympics, Indian shooters have always been prospects for a Medal at the world’s elite sports event. For a country that is identified as the obesity and diabetic capital of the world, there has been little to rejoice beyond the colonial sport of cricketing adventures. The Tokyo Olympics served as oxygen for the medal starved sports lovers in India.

While there was a wave of celebration as Neeraj Chopra brought home India’s first Olympic Gold Medal in athletics with an astounding Javelin throw on 7th August. The celebrations continued with the Silver medals in the women’s 49 kg weightlifting courtesy Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and grappler Ravi Kumar Dahiya in the men’s freestyle 57 kg. Ace shuttler P. V. Sindhu, pugilist Lovlina Borgohain in the Women’s welterweight, wrestler Bajrang Punia and the scintillating performance from the Men’s Hockey team helped India bag 4 Bronze medals in Tokyo.

This was undoubtedly the most successful outing that any Indian contingent ever had in an extremely long time. But there was an uncanny sense of disappointment from the shooters who came back not only empty handed, but far below their own individual standards. The 15 member strong contingent boasted of some stellar shooters who were expected to win big at the world’s biggest sporting stage. In Tokyo, Saurabh Chaudhary was the lone Indian shooter to reach a final which seemed a step further backwards than Rio 2016 where out of a squad of 12, two managed to reach the final rounds of the quadrennial games in Brazil.

Manu Bhaker’s first Olympics did unsettle the nerves of the young 19 year old who had struck gold in multiple ISSF World cups, Doha Asian Championships and the Commonwealth games in Gold Coast. Apart from Equipment malfunctioning, her performance in the latter rounds slipped as her scores dipped as the competition progressed. Bhaker is definitely a shooter in the making and will carry the weight of the entire nation as a stronger and more fierce competitor as she ages with the right mix of experience and maturity.

The question many of the country’s sports lovers wonder is that can anyone take India’s mantle as high as the legendary shooters like Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Vijay Kumar? Well thankfully, the signs seem to be positive and reassuring. The best part of the sport is that these legends have also given time and effort to invest in the next generation of shooters. While they are being groomed by the National Rifle Association of India, the Government and iconic shooters like Dronacharya Jaspal Rana taking the responsibility of nurturing the next generation of shooters who aspire to emulate the heroics of their heroes.

It was heartwarming to see the Indian Tricolour fly high at the recently concluded ISSF Junior World Shooting Champions that were held in Lima, Peru last month. India topped the medal tally with 43 medals of which 17 were Gold, 16 Silver and 10 were Bronze. Their nearest rival the United States of America were distant second place winners with only 21 medals in their kitty which included 7 Golds, 8 Silvers and 6 Bronze medals. Italy with 10 medals finished third. For the Indian team, of the total 43 medals won, 26 medals were claimed by Pistol shooters while 9 came from Shotgun and 8 Medals were won by Rifle shooters.

Manu Bhaker struck Gold in the 10m Air Pistol with a score of 241.3 points. Her confidence and nerves needed a boost after her spell at the Tokyo Olympics. She bagged five medals in Lima which include four golds and a bronze. However, the surprise package came in the form of Naamya Kapoor, a 14 year old wonder girl from Delhi, who stole the thunder from her senior rivals as she won Gold in the 25m Pistol event. Camille Jedrzejewski of France settled for Silver while Manu took the Bronze for India.

India clean sweeped the Individual Men’s 25m Standard Pistol with Vijayveer Sidhu, Udhayveer Sidhu and Harsh Gupta claiming the top three medals. The Women’s Individual 25m Standard Pistol event had a similar result with Rhythm Sangwan winning the Gold, Niveditha Veloor Nair the Silver and Naamya Kapoor bagging the Bronze. India continued to dominate in the 50m Pistol event by claiming top three sports with a commendable show from Shikha Narwal, Esha Singh and Navdeep Kaur.

Every championship has its share of nail-biting finishes and the Men’s Individual 50m Pistol event went to the wire. While India once again swept all the medals, the element of surprise was that the top three were tied with identical scores of 549 and had to be separated by the count of inner 10s and/or the best last series. Arjun Singh Cheema was adjudged as the Winner, Shaurya Sarin was awarded the Silver, while Ajinkya Chavan settled for the Bronze. The overall performances from these young shooters needs a worthy applause. Ace shooter and renowned coach Jaspal Rana is of the opinion that these young shooters and their parents should still be patient and take their game ahead with caution.

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Pakistan reach 188/2 before rain washes out Day 2

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Azhar Ali reached his 34th career fifty as only 38 balls’ play was possible on the second day of the second Test in which Pakistan added 27 runs to their overnight score to reach 188 for two against Bangladesh on Sunday.

After there was no play in the first session, play resumed following an early lunch and Pakistan began confidently and convincingly before rain halted play after 6.2 overs. Shortly before rain ended the second day’s play, Azhar Ali hit back to back boundaries off Ebadot Hossain to complete his 34th 50 in his 91st Test. When day’s play was finally called off, Azhar was batting on 52 after beginning the day at 36.

Babar Azam, who was 60 overnight in Pakistan’s 161 for two, started impressively with a boundary off the first ball of the day and was still at the crease on 71 with eight fours and a six.

The two batters have so far added 118 runs for the unfinished third-wicket partnership.Brief Scores: Pakistan 188/2 (Babar Azam 71* Azhar Ali 52*; Taijul Islam 2-49) v Bangladesh

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VAUGHAN BACKS CUMMINS TO EXCEL AS AUSTRALIA TEST SKIPPER

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Former England skipper Michael Vaughan feels fast bowler Pat Cummins will be able to lead Australia in the longest format despite the pacer’s workload. Cummins was last week named Australian men’s Test cricket team captain following the announcement of Tim Paine taking an indefinite break from all cricket. Vaughan though admitted that he isn’t in the favour of fast bowlers being the captain of the side but backed “high class player” Cummins to do the job for Australia.

“Never been one to think Quick Bowlers can be Captains. The workload the reason why it’s more difficult but I do think @patcummins30 looks the type of person who could make it work .. Very calm personality & obviously high class player so it should work .. #Ashes,” Vaughan tweeted.

Cummins on Sunday revealed the playing XI for the upcoming first Ashes Test, beginning Wednesday at the Gabba. Travis Head will bat at number five while Mitchell Starc has also found a place in the bowling attack.

On the other hand, England skipper Joe Root opted to not disclose the playing XI three days ahead of the game. “We’ve got all the options on the table but we’re not going to name a team just yet. We’ll have to see the forecast and how that pitch changes over the next couple of days,” cricket.com.au quoted Root as saying.

Australia XI: Marcus Harris, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

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UPCOMING ASHES WILL DEFINE MY CAPTAINCY, SAYS ROOT

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England skipper Joe Root on Sunday admitted that the upcoming Ashes will define his captaincy. England and Australia will lock horns in five-match Ashes, beginning Wednesday at the Gabba. “Absolutely it is (on the line), you look at how hard it has been for English captains and English teams over the years. It’s been something that doesn’t happen very often,” Sydney Morning Herald quoted Root as saying.

“Of course it will define my captaincy, I’m not naive enough to think that it won’t. But what a great opportunity. I can’t wait for the series to get going,” he added. Further talking about the series, the England captain said: “You look at some of the players, some of the individuals, some of the performances guys have put in… the senior guys have done it time and time again.”

“The junior guys have shown glimpses of what they can do and their potential. What better stage to really grab a series and make an announcement on the international stage. I’m an Ashes player and I want to live in the history of this great rivalry. That carrot is there for everyone,” he added.

Australia captain Pat Cummins on Sunday revealed the playing XI for the upcoming first Ashes Test, beginning Wednesday at the Gabba. Travis Head will bat at number five while Mitchell Starc has also found a place in the bowling attack.

Earlier, Tim Paine had stepped down as the Australia captain after a sexting scandal and Cummins was appointed as the new leader. Steve Smith will don the hat of vice-captain.Australia XI: Marcus Harris, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

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Something every bowler dreams of: Ashwin lauds Ajaz Patel’s feat

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India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Sunday lauded New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel for becoming just the third bowler in the history of the game to pick all ten wickets in a single Test innings.

Ajaz had achieved the feat on Day 2 of the ongoing Wankhede Test between India and New Zealand. “It’s a stuff of dreams. Someone who’s born in Mumbai, went to New Zealand, migrated, made a living out there, like a typical middle-class family, comes back to Mumbai, gets his wickets and not just 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, he’s got all the 10 in an innings. It’s something every bowler dreams of. I watched Anil Kumble pick up those 10 wickets at the Feroz Shah Kotla. In fact, I remember going to Bangalore, the umpire who did umpiring from Anil Kumble’s end was Mr Jayaprakash,” Ashwin told host broadcaster Star Sports before the start of Day 3.

“He had a visiting card with all the ten dismissals. I remember that very clearly while I was at the NCA. I don’t know if Anil Chaudhary can put up a visiting card like that but surely Ajaz Patel can do that. I am very pleased for him, very happy,” he added. Mohammed Siraj scalped three wickets while Ravichandran Ashwin registered four wickets as New Zealand was bundled out for 62 after Ajaz Patel had taken all ten wickets to dismiss India for 325 in the first innings.

“Wankhede is one pitch where the ball can turn and you can get a few good deliveries but if you have the idea and you’re set, it’s a place where stopping the runs of a batter can be incredibly hard. It’s a lightning outfield, it’s got bounce, the margin of error as a spinner is very less,” said Ashwin.

“Having played cricket on red soil surfaces from childhood, I understand how it works and I thought he (Mayank) got his tempo right. He played his shots, put the bowlers under pressure, batted beautifully. He was waiting for those runs and a team man like Mayank getting those runs is a pleasing sight,” he added.

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AJAZ RECORDS BEST BOWLING FIGURES AGAINST INDIA IN TEST

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New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel recorded the best figures against India in the history of Test cricket on Sunday. The Kiwi spinner achieved this feat in the ongoing second Test here at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Sunday, where he recorded the figures of 14-225. In the first innings, he became the third bowler in the history of the game to pick all ten wickets in a single Test innings. Coming to the match, India declared the innings after racing the score of 267/7 on Day 3 and gave the target of 540 to the kiwis.

Resuming at 142/2 post lunch Shubman Gill kept the scoreboard moving along with skipper Virat Kohli and the duo took India’s total beyond the 150-run mark. The duo hardly faced any difficulty in facing the Kiwi spinners Rachin Ravindra and William Somerville reaching the fifty-run partnership. Kohli-Gill took India’s lead beyond 450-run mark. Gill once again failed to make a big score after getting set as he was caught in short extra-cover by Tom Latham of Rachin Ravindra’s bowling. The first wicket was bagged by a Kiwi bowler in the match apart from Ajaz Patel.

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Hosts dominate Kiwis, need five wickets for series win

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Team India dominated Day 3 of the second Test against New Zealand as the hosts now required five wickets for the series win here at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Sunday.New Zealand batters Daryl Mitchell and Henry Nicholls were the only positive for the visitors on Day 3 as Kiwis score read 140/5 at the end of Day 3 of the ongoing second Test against India. Resuming the third session at 13/1, Ravichandran Ashwin struck again as he scalped two wickets and sent back Will Young (20) and Ross Taylor (6) in the 15th and 17th over respectively.

Following two big dismissals, Mitchell (60) and Nicholls (36*) kept the scoreboard moving for the visitors but Indian bowlers had other plans in store and spinner Axar Patel showed Mitchell the way to the dugout. Later, Tom Blundell also departed without opening his account.

At the end of Day 3, the Kiwis score was 140/5 with Nicholls and Rachin Ravindra (2) standing unbeaten at the crease. The visitors still need to cross a huge mountain of 400 runs in order to win the game.

Earlier, India declared the innings at 276/7 setting New Zealand a target of 540 when Ajaz Patel dismissed Jayant Yadav out caught and bowled picking up his 4th wicket of the innings and 14th wicket of the match.

The left-arm spinner finished with figures of 14-225 the best bowling figure in Test matches against India and the 2nd best bowling figure by a New Zealander after Sir Richard Hadlee who took 15 wickets conceding 123 runs against Australia in Brisbane in 1985.Kiwis once again did not get a good start as Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Tom Latham leg before wicket for just 6 with only 13 runs on the board.

Brief Scores: India 325 and 276/4 decl (Mayank Agarwal 62, Cheteshwar Pujara 47, Shubman Gill 47; Ajaz Patel 4-106); New Zealand 62 and 140/5 (Daryl Mitchell 60, Henry Nicholls 36*, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/27).

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