IPL auction is done, time for everyone to focus on colour ‘blue’: Rohit Sharma - The Daily Guardian
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IPL auction is done, time for everyone to focus on colour ‘blue’: Rohit Sharma

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India white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma on Tuesday said that the Indian Premier League (IPL) mega auction is over and the focus of everyone on his side should be on the colour ‘blue’ and the mission should be to do best for the country.

India and West Indies will lock horns in three T20Is beginning Wednesday and the focus will be on the brand of cricket India play, having witnessed disappointment in T20 World Cup 2021. The Men in Blue also need to develop a core nucleus that will play for them in the T20 World Cup 2022, Australia. “It was understood that guys will go through ups and downs, some emotional feeling within themselves on which team they will play for in the IPL. But that was done the day before yesterday, we had a great meeting with everyone and we asked them to focus on the colour blue for the next two weeks. Whatever has happened has happened, for the next two weeks, they have to focus on playing for India, nothing else,” said Rohit during a virtual press conference.

“That is something we spoke of and all these guys are professionals, you can expect once they wear India colours, it is all about India, nothing else matters,” he added.

Rohit’s franchise Mumbai Indians picked up Ishan Kishan for Rs 15.25 crore in the mega auction. However, the India white-ball skipper stressed that right now the focus remains on playing for the country. “There is no consideration of IPL here honestly. We are not looking at where will players bat for their franchise in the IPL, we are looking at where they will bat for Team India, as simple as that. We will be focusing on this, these guys do different roles for their franchises, what we need from them here is important. IPL will happen later, we will take care of it them,” said Rohit.

“This is the time for us to do things and guys have been spoken to on what we are expecting out of them. Whether it is bowler or batter, the clarity has been given to them and it is up to them on how they want to adapt,” he added.

India white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma on Tuesday said that Virat Kohli knows how to handle pressure and everything will fall into place as the right-handed batter is in a very good mindset. “I think it will start with you guys (media). If you guys can keep quiet for a while, then Virat Kohli will be fine and everything will be taken care of. He is in a great mental space, and he has been part of international cricket for more than a decade, when someone has spent such a long time in international cricket, they know to handle pressure situations. I think it all starts from you guys, if you can keep it quiet for a bit, everything will fall in place,” said Rohit during a virtual press conference.

Replying to an ANI query on whether the Men in Blue would look to give games to everyone in the squad, Rohit said: “Yeah, the idea is to identify the players who are going to play the World Cup, try and give them game time. There are a lot of players who are injured, come the World Cup, I do not know who is going to be fit, so we just have to get everyone ready for any situation. “We have a very packed schedule and injuries are bound to happen, it is important that we give guys who are going to fill those roles, enough gametime. It is important that we use this series and the next series that will follow after this, to our good potential and see whoever are likely to have, what they can offer us,” he added.

Talking about Hardik Pandya who is not a part of the squad for the West Indies series, the white-ball skipper said: “Hardik Pandya is an important player, he brings three skills to the table. We have not had a discussion on whether he can play as pure batter or not. It is about everyone being available. Since the T20 World Cup, we have had injuries. The important thing is to get everyone available, once they are available, we will look at the second step.”

“The door is open for everyone, we do not make decisions quickly, we want to go with the right combination because, in Australia, you will get different conditions. You will require different skillsets there, we want to prepare accordingly and we want to cover all the bases,” he added.

India squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Surya Kumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Bishnoi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Mohd. Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda.

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ARCHERY WC: INDIAN MEN’S COMPOUND TEAM ENTER FINAL

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The Indian men’s compound team stunned the team from South Korea to reach the final at the Archery World Cup 2022 stage 2 in Gwangju on Wednesday.

The South Korean team looked on track for the top spot during early matchplay but their hopes were denied by the Indian trio of Abhishek Verma, Aman Saini and Rajat Chauhan in a tight semifinal decided by a tiebreak. They had already let India overcome a two-point deficit in the fourth end of regulation and then put down a 26 in the shoot-off, easily bested by India’s 29.

South Korea then returned to form for the bronze medal match, where the local heroes soundly ousted Denmark, 238-229. The Indian women’s compound team comprising Avneet Kaur, Muskan Kirar and Priya Gurjar, meanwhile, secured a bronze. Up against Turkey in the bronze medal playoff, the Indian trio overturned a late deficit to win a thriller 232-231 to claim a podium spot.

Indian men’s team will face France in Saturday’s final in what will be a replay of the gold medal match from the Stage 1 World Cup from last month. India won the contest 232-230 at the Turkey meet.

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Anderson, Broad back as England announce Test squad against NZ

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England have announced a 13-member squad for the first two Tests of their upcoming ICC World Test Championship assignment at home against New Zealand, starting June 2.

Yorkshire batter Harry Brook and Durham seamer Matthew Potts have been called up for the first time. Brook has been the standout batsman in Division one of the County Championship. The 23-year-old, who made his England T20 debut in January in the Caribbean, has scored 758 runs at an average of 151.60, including three centuries and four half-centuries for the white rose county during the summer campaign.

Twenty-three-year-old Potts has been in impressive form in the County Championship. He is the season’s leading bowler, with 35 wickets and four five-wicket hauls, including his most recent return of seven for 40 in Durham’s win over Glamorgan.

The veteran pace duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who had been left out of the previous squad travelling to West Indies, made a return to England’s Test side for the three-match series against the reigning World Test Championship winners.

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PAULO DYBALA GIVES HEARTFELT FAREWELL MESSAGE TO JUVENTUS FANS

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Paulo Dybala on Tuesday night gave a heartfelt farewell message to Juventus supporters in an emotional video on his social media accounts.

Dybala played his last match for Juve against Lazio on Monday. At 77 minutes in the match, after seven seasons for the Bianconeri, Paulo Dybala waved the Allianz Stadium goodbye. The number 10 made his way around the ground as he received the lap of honour. “I came here at 21, as the number I was carrying on my shoulders at that time. In these years, I have grown up as a footballer and as a man,” he said in a video posted on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

“They were wonderful years, full of joy, of work, goals and wins. Not always has it gone as we hoped or as we deserved. But we never gave up. Thanks to this team I have really figured out important goals. Here I found special team-mates and I always felt loved by fans, by people, by children and I will never forget this.”

“During this period, my responsibilities have grown and I have always tried to face them in the best way. We were together for seven years. Seven years of beautiful moments. And even some tough moments.”

“Our paths are parting today but I will always carry all of you with me in my heart. Because you gave me so much love, so much respect. I hope to have given you some ‘joya’. Thank you all,” he added.

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HEARTBREAK FOR KKR AS DE KOCK, MOHSIN SEAL LAST-BALL THRILLER FOR LSG

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A blistering century by Quinton de Kock and an attacking half-century by KL Rahul saw Lucknow Super Giants defeat Kolkata Knight Riders in a nerve-wracking IPL 2022 match by 2 runs at the Dr DY Patil Stadium here on Wednesday.

With this loss, KKR are out of IPL 2022 playoffs contention with 12 points against their name after all 14 league matches played. Lucknow climbed to the second spot with 18 points with its victory in the high-scoring match that had spectators on the edge of their seats. Lucknow Super Giants’ opening pair smashed several records as they remained unbeaten at the end of 20 overs with 210 runs on board. The duo scored the highest opening stand in IPL history. Quinton de Kock remained unbeaten with a swashbuckling 140.

KKR showed a lot of heart and courage in their chase as they clocked 208 runs after the 20 overs, just 3 runs short of the target. Shreyas Iyer smashed 50 while Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh played quick knocks of 42 and 40 respectively. For LSG, Moshin Khan and Marcus Stoinis scalped three wickets each.

Chasing 211, KKR had a decent start as their batters played aggressively to post 60 runs after the powerplay with the loss of two wickets.

Opener Venkatesh Iyer was the first to go back to the pavilion after Quinton De Kock took an absolute blinder of a catch off Mohsin Khan in the first over of the KKR’s innings.

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EPL: LIVERPOOL BEAT SOUTHAMPTON

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Liverpool made sure this thrilling Premier League title race will go to the final day after the Reds came from behind to seal a crucial 2-1 victory at Southampton on Tuesday night.

Knowing that defeat at St. Mary’s would lead to Manchester City being crowned 2021/22 champions, a Liverpool side showing nine changes from the team that won the FA Cup final on Saturday, went behind to a stunning Nathan Redmond goal. But they responded with goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip to set up a grandstand finale to the season.

The race for the title is out of Liverpool’s hands, however, as City are one point ahead going into their last match at home to Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa.

If City match Liverpool’s result against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield, they will become Premier League champions for the sixth time. But should City draw or lose and Liverpool win, the Reds will take the title for the second time in three years.

If City lose and Liverpool draw and both sides end up on the same number of points, the only way the title will return to Anfield is if there is a massive swing in goal difference.

The focus in the Premier League now turns to Thursday.

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Women’s World Boxing Championships: Nikhat Zareen storms into final

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Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen punched her way into the final with a sensational win while Manisha and debutant Parveen ended their campaigns with bronze medals after defeats in the semi-finals at the 12th edition of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Exhibiting a skilful display, Nizamabad (Telangana)-born boxer, Nikhat pulled off a comprehensive 5-0 win against Brazil’s Caroline De Almeida in the 52kg semi-final. On the other hand, Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) gave their all but ended up with 0-5 and 1-4 defeats against the 2020 Olympic Games bronze medallist Italy’s Irma Testa and Ireland’s Amy Broadhurst respectively.

Playing her only second World Championships, Nikhat will take a shot at gold on Thursday when she squares off against Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas in the fly weight final. Jutamas stunned the two-time World Championships medallist experienced Kazakh boxer Zhaina Shekerbekova 4-1 in the semi-final.

In the first Indian bout for the day, Nikhat started off cautiously but soon shifted the gears and went into all out offensive, unleashing a flurry of punches. Her Brazilian opponent struggled to keep pace with a technically superior 25-year-old Indian, who looked in a commanding position after the first two rounds.

Having taken a lead, the former junior youth world champion, Nikhat didn’t let the momentum slip in the final round as she moved around the ring, maintaining distance and also hit some timely punches before securing a dominating victory.

However, in the feather weight category, Manisha tried her best but found it tough to cope with her strong rival from Italy, who fought aggressively and did not give the Indian many chances.

Parveen too faced a tough challenge from the Irish boxer in a more physical bout. The Haryana youngster, despite losing the first round, recovered well and made an impressive comeback.

However, the 2019 European Championships bronze medallists Broadhurst took charge in the final round and clinched the intensely-fought match in her favour, ending the Indian’s dream run on debut at the prestigious event, which has been witnessing exciting action in the presence of 310 boxers of 73 countries from across the world.

This year’s tournament also marks the 20th anniversary of the Women’s World Championships.

In the last edition of the tournament, held in Russia in 2019, Indian boxers clinched one silver and three bronze medals. India have won 36 medals, including nine gold, eight silver and 19 bronze, in the 11 editions of the tournament so far–the third highest after Russia (60) and China (50).

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