Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 23 (ANI): Ishant Sharma will be playing his 100th Test when India take on England in the third Test at the Motera Stadium from Wednesday. And his teammates congratulated the fast bowler for reaching the milestone and reminisced the memories they have shared with the premier pacer.
If India skipper Virat Kohli recalled the early memories of Ishant and their friendship, opening batsman Rohit Sharma termed the pacer as the one on whom the team banks on during tough times.
“I remember a tall lanky guy coming to the nets and trials. He pitched the ball in right areas and caused a lot of trouble to the batsmen and the selectors were immediately impressed,” said Kohli in the video posted on BCCI’s official website.
“He then started playing for the state team from that season onwards and we have been room partners since then. And we have been close friends ever since we started playing together. So Ishant playing 100 Tests is equally a happy moment for me. I wish him all the best,” he added.
“Big big congratulations on making it to the 100 Test match. It’s never easy for any cricketer. He has seen some tough times as well on the field but he has never given up. The Hall Mark of his entire career put into one shell this what is Ishant Sharma all about. He has reached a stage that we rely on him,” said Rohit.
Cheteshwar Pujara recalled a time when Ishant was left frustrated after India’s premier Test batsman was given not out on the pacer’s bowling in a match.
“Whenever Ishant is around, the dressing room atmosphere is always lively. He likes to talk with people around him. I have played against him many times and he has got me out once or twice. There were times when I wasn’t given out and he was frustrated,” said Pujara.
Ishant had made his Test debut under the leadership of Rahul Dravid and he has bowled some memorable spells like the one against England at Lord’s in 2014 as he finished with figures of 7-74. During his first Australia tour in 2007-08, Ishant bowled a famous spell to Ricky Ponting.
Seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said Ishant deserved to play 100 Tests while recalling the times when the pacer troubled the former Australia skipper.
“My first memory of Ishant has been the dismissal of Ricky Ponting. The way he was running with the big inswingers. All those fast bowlers who are watching must realise that Ishant is one of the most hard-working cricketers and has made himself eligible to get to this point in the era of T20Is. If there is one person who deserves this feat, he is Ishant Sharma,” Ashwin said.
Pacer Umesh Yadav said Ishant has always been a senior bowler for him. “As a fast bowler, he has always been a senor bowler for me. The way he has worked on his fitness is a huge achievement as a fast bowler. I congratulate him for his 100th Test,” said Umesh.
Although it will be his 100th Test, Ishant’s focus remains on helping the team win when both India and England lock horns in the pink-ball game on Wednesday.
“If your career is 14 years long and you are still playing, you cannot name just one highlight. It is difficult to pinpoint just one highlight, every sportsperson has the graph going up and down,” said Ishant during a virtual press conference on Monday.
“I cannot say about that one thing that took my graph or brought it down. Obviously, it feels great to be playing 100 Tests, I learn a lot from Zaheer Khan, I learnt from his work ethic. I have told everyone playing in the team that if you keep on working on your fitness, the rewards will come,” he added. (ANI)
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Had to dig deep to find water: Shastri on WTC final qualification
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 7 (ANI): India head coach Ravi Shastri on Sunday said that his side had to dig deep in order to qualify for the World Test Championship (WTC) final as the rules were changed midway due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Team India on Saturday roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) following an emphatic 3-1 series win over England.
Virat Kohli’s men, who defeated England in the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, will now face New Zealand in the WTC final slated to be played from June 18 to 22, with June 23 as the reserve day at the iconic Lord’s Stadium in London.
“I am not worried about the next WTC cycle, I am thinking of the first cycle. If you ask me about the problems in the first cycle, please do not shift the goalpost. I am sitting at home during Covid-19, right in the month of October-November. You have got more points than any other team in the world. 360 at that time, suddenly, a week later without playing any cricket, there is a rule that comes stating that the points would be decided on the percentage system and go from number one to three. Fine, that’s because of countries not wanting to travel, all acceptable and fine.
“I want to understand the logic behind this, what is the way forward for me? I have to go to Australia, sitting comfortably at the top spot, leading by 60-70 points. They say you have to go to Australia, you have to beat Australia. How many teams in the last ten years can say with guarantee that we will beat Australia? The reason I am saying this, you are sitting at the top of the table, percentage system, you have to go to Australia and beat Australia. If you do not beat Australia, you come back home and beat England 4-0, you get close to 500 points and you still do not qualify. We have had to dig deep, we have had to go down every hole that is needed to find water. Do not ask me about the next cycle, first, let’s finish this cycle,” he added.
Speaking about the big squads that were picked because of Covid-19 and quarantine protocols, Shastri said: “This is the most positive thing to come out of this bubble because of the bubble, you had to go with large squads. Because of the bubbles and quarantine rules, you had to go with 25-30 players. As a result, you had to dig deep and pick your best 30 players and as luck would have it, we had no choice to play every member. You found out who is good and who is not. It is a good headache to have and it is something that has worked well. If you said Natarajan would play a Test match, you would have said no way. Even Washington Sundar, you would have said no way. These are things you would not imagine but circumstances make it happen. I am glad the youngsters who got the opportunity cracked it open.”
India finished as the number one team with 72.2 percentage points in the WTC points table, the factor that determined the final placings rather than total points won, following a change to the points system owing to the Covid-19 disruption.
The Black Caps were the first team to ensure a place in the final with 70 percentage points. Australia finished third with 69.2 percentage points while England ended with 61.4 percentage points at the fourth position.
The Black Caps had qualified for the WTC final following the postponement of the Test series between South Africa and Australia. In November last year, the ICC had confirmed that the WTC points system would be amended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)
Test squad members Thirimanne, De Silva and 3 others leave for West Indies
Colombo [Sri Lanka], March 7 (ANI): Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) informed that Test squad members Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Roshen Silva, Vishwa Fernando and Lasith Embuldeniya have left for the West Indies on Saturday night.
“Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Roshen Silva, Vishwa Fernando and Lasith Embuldeniya left for Caribbean last night. The players from part of the squad, which will play the test series vs West Indies. #WIvSL,” SLC tweeted.
On Saturday, SLC announced the 17-member squad for the two-match Test series against West Indies starting from March 21 and named Dimuth Karunaratne as skipper.
“The National Cricket Selectors have chosen the following squad to play the 02 Match Test Series vs West Indies. The squad was approved by the Minister of Youth and Sports Honorable Namal Rajapaksa,” the SLC had said in an official statement.
Earlier, Sri Lanka all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, who had missed the flight to West Indies due to an issue related to securing his visa, will now travel on Sunday to join his teammates.
Shanaka, who was named in the ‘White Ball Squad’ for West Indies series, did not travel with the team due to a visa issue he confronted, pursuant to the loss of his previous passport, which had a valid visa for the USA stamped on it.
Sri Lanka Cricket on Friday said that the all-rounder will now travel to West Indies via France and is expected to join the national team during the ODI segment of the tour.
Sri Lanka and West Indies are currently locking horns in the T20I series. West Indies defeated Sri Lanka in the first T20I on Wednesday (local time) but the visitors made a comeback displaying an all-round performance in the second T20I on Friday (local time). Both teams would now lock horns in the third and final T20I on Sunday.
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.
Sri Lanka squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Dasun Shanaka, Pathum Nissanka, Oshada Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Roshen Silva, Dhananjaya De Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ramesh Mendis, Vishwa Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Asitha Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Embuldeniya. (ANI)
‘Will take it to my grave’: Moriba after scoring first senior goal for Barca
Navarre [Spain], March 7 (ANI): After scoring his maiden goal for Barcelona, midfielder Ilaix Moriba said he “will take it to his grave”.
Moriba scored in Barca’s 2-0 victory over Osasuna at the El Sadar Stadium on Sunday. The win moved Ronald Koeman’s side to within two points of leaders Atletico Madrid, who take on their city rivals Real.
The 18-year-old collected Lionel Messi’s pass on the edge of the area before cutting on his left foot and curling a wonderful effort into the top corner, doubling Barca’s advantage after Jordi Alba’s first-half strike.
“Leo gave me a good pass and I don’t know how I cut and shot with the left, and thank God it went in. I will never forget this and I will take it to my grave. There’s competition for places but it doesn’t matter if you are young or not. If you play well you’re in the team,” Moriba told Barca TV.
“The older players help us, give us advice, Leo tells me to get in the area as often as I can and get in positions to shoot. I want to dedicate this goal to my father and La Masia, where I have learned a lot from,” he added.
Moriba also insisted that Barcelona had not given up on the title, despite leaders Atletico having two games in hand.
“La Liga isn’t over for us. We will fight till the end. That is the DNA they taught us at La Masia,” the midfielder said.
Barcelona will next take on Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 of the Champions League on March 11. (ANI)
IND W v SA W, 1st ODI: Mithali top-scores as hosts post 177/9
Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 7 (ANI): Mithali Raj top-scored with a knock of 50 runs as India posted a score of 177/9 in the allotted fifty overs against South Africa in the first ODI of the five-match series on Sunday here at the Ekana Cricket Stadium.
Put in to bat first, India got off to a bad start as the side lost its first two wickets with just 18 runs on the board. Smriti Mandhana (14) and Jemimah Rodrigues (1) both failed to leave a mark and the hosts were put on the backfoot.
Punam Raut (10) also failed to stay at the crease for a long time and this brought Mithali and Harmanpreet Kaur to the middle in the 14th over of the innings.
Mithali and Harmanpreet put on 62 runs for the fourth wicket and the partnership saw Harmanpreet scoring runs at a brisk pace. When India started to gain an upper hand, Sune Luus dismissed Harmanpreet (40) in the 26th over, reducing India to 102/4.
Deepti Sharma then joined Mithali in the middle and both batters started rebuilding the innings for the hosts. The ODI skipper Mithali brought up her 54th ODI fifty in the 38th over of the innings and India was looking to post a target in access of 225.
But as soon as Mithali (50) got to her fifty, she was sent back to the pavilion by Shabnim Ismail in the 38th over of the innings and this brought an end to the 52-run stand between Mithali and Deepti. Soon after Deepti (27) was also dismissed and this reduced India to 155/6.
The lower-order of India was not able to provide much resistance and as a result, the hosts were able to post just a total of more than the 175-run mark in the allotted fifty overs.
Brief Scores: India Women 177/9 (Mithali Raj 50, Harmanpreet Kaur 40, Shabnim Ismail 3-28). (ANI)
Liverpool will never sacrifice Premier League for UCL, says Klopp
Liverpool [UK], March 7 (ANI): Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on Sunday said that his side would not ever sacrifice Premier League for attaining more success in the UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool is currently at the seventh spot in Premier League standings and the side is four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
However, the Reds are in good shape in the Champions League, having defeated RB Leipzig 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match.
“I can’t think about winning the Champions League now as we have to go through this difficult round. This week we play these three games, late in the season, with two days in between, Thursday, Sunday and Wednesday, and it is tough. We see who we can field on Sunday and then who can play on Wednesday but it is not that we gave up on the Premier League, that will never happen,” Goal.com quoted Klopp as saying.
“There is no game we can play and lose and people say, ‘Ah … look at the line-up.’ Liverpool is too big, too many people are interested. We don’t play behind closed doors really without cameras, it is in front of our people and we feel the responsibility that in each game we have to give our absolute everything to win it. If that doesn’t happen then people will think, ‘that’s not enough’. We don’t change our attitude,” he added.
It is safe to say that Liverpool would not be able to defend their Premier League title this season as the side finds itself 22 points behind table-toppers Manchester City.
Klopp’s men will end the season without any domestic silverware as they have already been eliminated from the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
Liverpool will next take on Fulham in the Premier League later today. (ANI)
Harmanpreet Kaur becomes 5th Indian woman to play 100 ODIs
Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 7 (ANI): Indian women’s team batter Harmanpreet Kaur on Sunday achieved another milestone of playing 100 ODI for the side. He became the fifth player to do so as he took the field in the ongoing ODI match against South Africa here in Lucknow.
The vice-captain joined Mithali Raj (210), Jhulan Goswami (183), Anjum Chopra (127) and Amita Sharma (116) in the elite list of players who have played 100 or more ODIs.
Indian women’s team vice-captain Harmanpreet played a knock of 40 runs studded with six fours. Before the match, she scored 2372 runs in the 50-over format till date at 34.88 with three hundreds and 11 half-centuries.
South Africa women won the toss and elected to field first.
India Women (Playing XI): Punam Raut, Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj(c), Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma(w), Jhulan Goswami, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Monica Patel, Poonam Yadav.
South Africa Women (Playing XI): Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty(w), Lizelle Lee, Mignon du Preez, Sune Luus(c), Marizanne Kapp, Nadine de Klerk, Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Lara Goodall, Nonkululeko Mlaba.
On Saturday, India women’s ODI skipper Mithali Raj had said that she would like to give every youngster in the side a game in the upcoming five-match ODI series against South Africa for a perfect build-up ahead of the Women’s World Cup in 2022.
“Definitely, yes because it’s a five-match ODI series and we have some young players in the side. As the captain, I would like to give them opportunities to show their talent and yes we are looking at giving the youngsters an opportunity in this five-match ODI series,” Mithali had said while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Saturday.
“This series is very important, we will see the composition of the team. Everybody is coming after a long gap, this series is very important as we have young players and it is the right platform to give them opportunities. It is also about ensuring that the core players get enough game time to develop that rhythm and take it from there,” she had added.
When asked about Shafali Verma’s omission from the ODI squad, Mithali replied: “She definitely is in the scheme of things, she is on the radar. We need to have a little bit of patience and we will see her very soon.” (ANI)
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