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Indian junior women’s Hockey core probable group resume training at SAI

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New Delhi [India], February 16 (ANI): After a successful tour of Chile, the Indian junior women’s Core Group has returned to SAI Centre, Bengaluru to resume their preparations for the all-important junior women’s Asia Cup and FIH Junior World Cup (Women) scheduled for December this year.
The 37-member Junior Core Group reported in SAI Centre, Bengaluru on February 10 and have completed the mandatory quarantine period.
“Having completed the mandatory quarantine period, we are now geared up to begin our preparations for the Junior Women’s Asia Cup. I believe all the players are well-rested and are feeling fresh mentally and physically,” said Erik Wonink, Coach, Indian Junior Women’s Hockey Team in an official statement.
The Junior India women’s team led by Suman Devi Thoudam registered wins against Chile’s senior and junior teams last month and returned home unbeaten. The feat, Wonink believes is a big confidence-booster for the young squad.
“I am delighted with the way the players applied themselves despite being away from the action for a year. There were plenty of positives from the Chile tour and we need to continue to push in the right direction in the months ahead,” said Wonink.
“We have a challenging year with the Junior Women’s Asia Cup and the FIH Junior World Cup (Women) coming up. The success in Chile has definitely boosted the morale of these young players and it also brought about good exposure for those who have not had the experience of playing too many international matches,” he added.
The Junior Women’s Core Probables list includes goalkeepers Rashanpreet Kaur, Kushboo, and F Ramenmawii while the defenders in the squad are Mahima Choudhary, Priyanka, Simran Singh, Marina Lalramnghaki, Gagandeep Kaur, Ishika Chaudhary, Jotika Kalsi, Sumita, Akshata Dhekale, Usha, Parneet Kaur, and captain Suman Devi Thoudam.
The midfielders in the list include Baljeet Kaur, Mariana Kujur, Kirandeep Kaur, Prabhleen Kaur, Preeti, Ajmina Kujur, Vaishnavi Phalke, Kavita Bagdi, Amandeep Kaur and Sushma Kumari. The forwards are Mumtaz Khan, Beauty Dungdung, Gurmail Kaur, Deepika, Lalrindiki, Jiwan Kishori Toppo, Rutuja Pisal, Sangita Kumari, Yogita Bora, Annu, Chetna and Reet. The National Camp is scheduled to conclude on April 5. (ANI)

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AGAR SCALPS SIX AS AUSSIES THRASH BLACKCAPS IN 3RD T20I

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Skipper Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell smashed half centuries before Ashton Agar spun a web over the Kiwi batsmen to steer Australia to a 64-run win over New Zealand in the third T20I on Wednesday.

New Zealand was 109/3 at one stage, but Agar wreaked havoc and picked six wickets to bundle out the hosts for 144. Agar turned the game in Australia’s favour with three wickets in the 13th over. New Zealand now lead the five-match series 2-1. For James Neesham it was an unforgettable night as he not only went wicketless, but also leaked runs at an economy rate of 15. The all-rounder was also dismissed for a golden duck despite coming in the game on the back of a stellar performance in the second T20I.

Chasing a mammoth 209, New Zealand got off to a bad start as they lost opener Tim Seifert in the second over. Debutant Riley Meredith conceded a six and a four in his first over, but took a wicket off the last ball.

New Zealand seemed well on track as the hosts ended the powerplay with 59 runs on board. In the ninth over, Adam Zampa got the wicket of the dangerous Guptill.

Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips then played risk-free cricket to ensure the hosts didn’t suffer any more hiccups during the chase. Just when their partnership started flourishing,

Brief Scores: Australia 208/4 (Glenn Maxwell 70, Aaron Finch 69; Ish Sodhi 2-32); New Zealand 144 (Martin Guptill 43, Devon Conway 38; Ashton Agar 6-30)

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AFTER EXCRUCIATING STRUGGLES, SIMRAN BAHADUR FINALLY GETS HER DREAM CALL

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Medium pacer and southpaw batsman Simran Dil Bahadur has received a dream call to represent India’s National Women Cricket Team in the upcoming T20I series against South Africa. The series will commence from 20 March, and Simran is deeply immersed in her preparations.

Talking to The Sunday Guardian about this opportunity, Simran said, “I was selected in the last IPL but could not find a berth in the playing eleven.”

“Now again, I am working hard,” Simran continued, “to find my place in the forthcoming T-20 series against South Africa.”

Simran is a natural out-swing bowler but can move the ball in both directions. Moreover, she is a sturdy option for middle-order batting. Simran, who scored two fifties in the domestic matches last year, is pretty confident about finding her place in the playing eleven.

“If allowed to play in the main squad, I am sure I would perform well in 3 match series,” the all-rounder said. “Representing the country would be a great moment for me,”

The 21-year-old cricketer has closely been following the Indian Pacer Ishant Sharma who has also played in the Rohtak Road Cricket Club and was groomed well under the guidance of Cricket Coach Sharvan Kumar.

Shravan Kumar told The Daily Guardian that Simran is a consistent hardworker, has good stamina, and her fitness and agility give her an upper hand to stand out and outperform in the fielding department.

“When she came to me for the first time,” Kumar said, “Simran was going to take up a private job, but at my behest, she made changed her mind and started working hard to realise her dream,”

“Simran is a genuine all-rounder. I firmly believe that with her capability and skill-set, she can make a permanent place in the National Team,” the coach said.

Simran has already played against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the under-23 side for India. “But now with her inclusion in the senior team,” Kumar expresses, “it seems that it has increased my lifespan.”

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We never crib about the pitches we play on, says skipper Kohli

Speaking about the recent debate over the Ahmedabad pitch, Virat Kohli iterated that spinning tracks do become a talking point quite often and that there is not much noise when a match finishes inside three days on a seaming track.

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Virat Kohli

India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday said that he would not be giving any explanations on all the outside noise regarding the conditions on offer as he and his team play to win. He went on to add that for him, it was about the batsmen failing to put on a good show in the third Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

“I do not understand why the cricket ball and pitch are brought into focus this often, it was about the batsmen not being skilled enough on that pitch to play properly. It was a bizarre display of batting from both teams. I have played this game long enough to understand what happens on the field. I would love if people ask me the question about home advantage when we are on a tour of Australia and England, not when you have seen two turning tracks,” said Kohli during a virtual press conference on Thursday. “I would like to ask a question? You play to win or you play to take the game five days and have some entertainment? We play to win, we don’t play that everyone scores runs. We play to win, people should enjoy when India wins, it should not matter in how many days the match is finishing. In the previous games, runs have been scored, you cannot criticise based on one game. Unfortunately, we do not want to give any explanation, so this question is not relevant to me, our focus is to win.”

When asked whether he supports rotation policy in the longest format of the game, Kohli said: “I think any format can be right for rotation, no human being can go through these many games, everyone needs to have a window to have a break, especially with the bubble format and the systems you have to follow in the bubble, it is pretty hard to stay excited about small things. Outside of that, it depends on how you stand mentally and physically, mental fatigue can be a big factor, these things are important and this is where our bench strength becomes important.

Kohli agreed that spinning tracks do become a talking point quite often and he added that there is not much noise when a match finishes inside three days on a seaming track.

India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the third Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that did not turn and skidded through from the spinners. But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen. “I totally believe that. There is always too much noise and conversation about spinning tracks. I am sure if our media is in a space to contradict those views or present those views which say it is unfair to criticise just spinning tracks then I think it will be a balanced conversation. The unfortunate part is that everyone plays along with that narrative and they keeping making it news till the time it is relevant,” said Kohli while replying to a query during a virtual press conference.

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Swiss Open: Sindhu marches into second round after win over Yigit

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Basel [Switzerland], March 3 (ANI): Indian shuttler PV Sindhu got off to a winning start in the Swiss Open as she defeated Neslihan Yigit of Turkey here on Wednesday.
Sindhu secured a 21-16, 21-19 win over Yigit in the match to progress to the second round. She started off brilliantly in the first game, taking a 10-5 lead but her opponent managed to end the lead, with scores reading 11-11.
Sindhu then again took a lead and then maintained it throughout, winning the first game 21-16. In the second game, Yigit gave a tough competition to Sindhu but the latter held her nerves and went on to win the game.
Earlier in the day, the Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty started their campaign on a high as they outclassed Scottish pair Christopher Grimley and Matthew Grimley in the first round of the Swiss Open.
Rankiredddy and Chirag won the hard-fought first set 21-18 but went down in the second essay as the Scottish pair fired an array of shots to diffuse the Indian attack.
The Indian pair in the third set took a lead early and then maintained a gap throughout the set to clinch the match comfortably 21-18, 19-21, 21-16.
Also, Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth defeated compatriot Sameer Verma in the first round of the ongoing Swiss Open here on Wednesday. Srikanth secured an 18-21, 21-18, 21-11 win over Verma to progress to the next round of the tournament.
However, HS Prannoy crashed out of the tournament after losing to Dutch badminton player Mark Caljouw 21-19, 9-21, 21-17. (ANI)

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PSL 6: PCB to offer players and officials COVID-19 vaccine shots

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Karachi [Pakistan], March 3 (ANI): Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday said it has decided to offer coronavirus vaccine doses to all participants of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 6.
“Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to offer SARS-Coronavirus Vaccine doses to all participants of the Pakistan Super League 6, becoming the first cricket board to use the vaccine that produces protection against the Covid-19 virus,” PCB said in a statement.
“The decision has been made in the line with the PCB’s duty of care policy and to ensure all participants of the league remain safe and healthy during the event, which concludes on 22 March,” it added.
PCB said the vaccine doses will be administered on Thursday and will be offered to all those inside the bio-secure bubble. However, it will solely be the players’ and officials’ decision if they want to get the vaccine shots, the board said.
PCB said it has been in discussions with the federal and provincial government officials, highlighting the national cricket teams’ international engagements and commitments as well as the significance, reputation, integrity and credibility of the PSL 6.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan, in a statement, said: “The PCB takes health, safety and wellbeing of its players and officials very seriously. In line with our duty of care policy, we have acquired a small allocation of SARS-Coronavirus Vaccine, which will be offered to all those inside the bio-secure environment created for the Pakistan Super League 6.
“The players and officials will be under no obligation to have the vaccine. The vaccinations will be administered on Thursday morning by qualified health workers, strictly in line with government protocols. While we live in these challenging times, the vaccine has been sourced to provide an added level of protection and comfort for players and all personnel inside the bubble. We will continue to operate responsibly in our duty to those involved in the tournament.”
England wicket-keeper batsman Tom Banton is one of the two overseas players who tested positive for coronavirus after Australia leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed contracted COVID-19 in the ongoing season of the PSL.
Since Monday and apart from the rapid tests, a total of 244 PCR tests were conducted which resulted in three positive tests. These individuals, including two foreign players and a local player support personnel, were quarantined on a separate floor of the team hotel.
Banton revealed on Wednesday that he tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday and is now in isolation. “Thanks a lot for all the messages and well wishes. Unfortunately, I received a positive Covid-19 test yesterday and I am now isolating and following the PSL protocols,” Banton said in a statement on Twitter.
“Fortunately I am feeling OK so far and I have been well looked after by the PCB and Quetta Gladiators. Thanks for the support, look after yourselves and stay safe,” he added. (ANI)

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Pollard backs senior players to get Windies back into winning habit

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St John’s [Antigua], March 3 (ANI): West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard feels the side needs to strike a perfect balance between the young players and experienced lads in order to get back to winning ways.
Windies and Sri Lanka will lock horns with each other in a three-match T20I series which gets underway from Wednesday (local time). The star all-rounder said the time has come that West Indies starts winning games on a regular basis.
The hosts are the defending champions of World T20 and but since their victory, in the mega event, the West Indies have just clinched 16 out of 50 T20Is.
“You look at some of the younger guys that have gotten the opportunities when we started off around 2019, and it has not really produced the results on a consistent basis,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Pollard as saying.
“As a team we need to start winning cricket matches, win series. Because we can go down the line of saying ‘we need to blood this talent, blood this talent’, but some of you same guys will start talking about the results as well,” he further said.
“So we have to strike that balance [between youth and experience], we have to start winning T20 matches, we are the defending champions, and we have to get back into the habit of winning. And if that means getting a couple of senior guys in to start that process, so be it,” Pollard added.
Star batsman Chris Gayle and pacer Fidel Edwards will return to play for West Indies in the T20I series. Gayle will return to play for the first time in two years for the hosts while Edwards will take the field for West Indies after nine years.
“These guys continue to perform despite their age. And one that thing that has been said throughout is that once you show that you can perform at the highest level, such as franchise cricket from the T20 point of view, the opportunity is still there,” said Pollard.
After the T20I series, West Indies will shift focus towards the 50-over format. The first ODI between Sri Lanka and West Indies will be played on March 10. (ANI)

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