Vasco (Goa) [India], February 8 (ANI): After settling with a goalless draw against Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Sunday, NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) interim coach Khalid Jamil said that he is happy with one point and added that three points would have made him happier.
Hyderabad moved to third on goal difference, NEUFC climbed above FC Goa to fourth. The Gaurs, however, have a game in hand and will face leaders Mumbai City FC on Monday.
No one was able to find the breakthrough in the first half with defences of both sides standing tall. Despite hogging possession, Hyderabad registered just one shot on target against NEUFC in the first half — their lowest against any opposition this season, highlighting their inefficiency in the final third. Meanwhile, NEUFC eventually grew into the game and fashioned better opportunities as the first half drew to a close.
“We were always thinking about a positive result – three points. We tried, we got many chances. And talking about the team, it is a good performance, we played with a good team. They also did a good job. So I am happy to get one point but we would be happier to get three points,” Jamil said after the game.
The second half proved to be drab, with neither team able to register a single shot on target.
The best chance of the half came during the 85th minute after substitute VP Suhair won NEUFC a free-kick. Gallego fired a teasing cross towards the far post and picked out Lambot but the defender blazed his header over the bar.
Deshorn Brown was introduced in the game in the 66th minute. Jamil revealed that the decision was made keeping in mind the three stitches Brown has in his leg.
“Deshorn Brown has an injury. His leg has three stitches from previous matches. And we have Sylla also. He is also a good player, a good striker, so we thought of playing Brown in the second half,” he said. (ANI)
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Kohli thanks fans after becoming first cricketer to reach 100 million followers on Instagram
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): After hitting the 100 million followers mark on Instagram, India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday thanked the fans for making the journey beautiful.
Kohli shared a clip on Instagram which starts off reading “milestone reached together” and a montage of Kohli’s pictures and videos pops us on the screen.
“You have made this journey beautiful. Feeling blessed and grateful for all the love. Thank you 100 million #instafam,” Kohli wrote as the caption.
On Monday, Kohli added another feather to his illustrious cap as he became the first cricketer to hit 100 million followers on photo and video sharing social networking platform Instagram.
The Indian skipper joined Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker Neymar, Argentine forward Lionel Messi, Hollywood actor and former pro-wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, American singer-songwriter Beyonce, and Ariana Grande in the 100 million club.
Kohli is also the fourth most followed sportsperson on Instagram. Ronaldo tops the list (sportsperson) with 266 million followers while Messi is second on the list with 187 million followers on the Facebook-owned platform.
Kohli, who holds the top spot in ICC’s ODI batting rankings, made his debut in the format in August 2008. The Indian skipper has scored 12,040 runs in 251 ODIs at an average of 59.31. Kohli has represented India in 90 Tests, scoring 7,490 runs with the highest of 254*.
In T20I cricket, he has played 85 matches, piling 2,928 runs at a strike rate of 138.43.
The Indian skipper is currently gearing up for the fourth and final Test against England which gets underway on Thursday. The hosts are leaving no stone unturned to prepare for the upcoming fixture at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
In the ongoing series, Rohit, Axar Patel, and Ravichandran Ashwin have been the standout performers and now in the fourth Test, skipper Kohli would look to come to the party and end his century-drought.
Kohli had last scored a century way back in 2019 in a day-night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens.
If India manages to win or draw the final Test against England, then the side will qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC) and the side would take on New Zealand in the summit clash at the Lord’s Cricket Ground from June 18-22. (ANI)
IPL GC to take final call on venues: BCCI official
By Nitin Srivastava
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Indian Premier League’s (IPL) governing council is monitoring the situation of Covid-19 in Mumbai and the body would be soon deciding how to go about conducting the 14th edition of the premier T20 tournament.
A source in the know of developments revealed that nothing has been decided as of now regarding the venues for this year’s edition and it has also come to light that the BCCI would be seeking assurance from the state governments before letting them host IPL matches this year.
“As if now it’s all speculation whether it’s Punjab or Hyderabad. We will soon have IPL GC in which we will decide what needs to be done and how the IPL needs to be conducted this year, as of now nothing has been decided yet. BCCI will seek assurances from state governments before allowing them to host the matches,” a source within the BCCI told ANI.
“Whether it can be held in a state while elections are taking place and when talking about Punjab, BCCI needs concrete assurance from authorities that no unwanted incident will take place when the matches happen there,” the source added.
When talking about Mumbai being an IPL venue or not, the source said: “We are keeping a close watch on Mumbai also because of Covid cases.”
On Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said that he was surprised to see Mohali not being chosen as one of the IPL venues and he also asked the BCCI to reconsider their decision.
Speaking on Amarinder Singh’s appeal, the source within the BCCI said: “We will discuss everything in the governing council meeting.” (ANI)
ICC to take up CSA’s formal complaint if Australia qualify for WTC final
Sydney [Australia], March 3 (ANI): Even if England manage to defeat India in the fourth and final Test, Australia might not qualify for the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
If England wins the last Test against India, then Australia was to qualify for the WTC final. But, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is now looking to bring forward Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) formal complaint against Cricket Australia (CA) should the latter qualify for the WTC final, reported Sydney Morning Herald.
Earlier this year, Australia postponed its three Tests tour of South Africa due to the Covid-19 pandemic and as a result, CSA lodged a formal complaint with the ICC, seeking financial compensation and deduction in WTC points for Australia.
As per a report in Sydney Morning Herald, if the ICC decides to deduct points from Australia then the side would be eliminated from the WTC even if England was to win the final Test against India. Cricket Australia has been given the time until the end of this week to meet the deadline set by the ICC to inform whether the matter can be resolved through good faith negotiations.
If that is not the case, then the matter would be transferred from the dispute committee of the ICC and it would be given to an independent panel and they would be deciding whether Cricket Australia was within its right to postpone the series in South Africa.
The independent panel may also decide to award full 120 points for the postponed three Tests to South Africa and if this happens, it would ensure that Australia finishes below India even if Virat Kohli’s team is beaten by England in the fourth and final Test.
On the other hand, the panel may also decide to give CSA and Cricket Australia the opportunity to find an alternative date for the series before the current FTP finishes in April 2023. (ANI)
Swiss Open: Rankireddy, Ponnappa outclass second-seeded Indonesian pair to progress to 2nd round
Basel [Switzerland], March 3 (ANI): Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa started their campaign on a high as they outclassed second-seeded Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja in the first round of the Swiss Open 2021 on Tuesday.
Rankiredddy and Ponnappa defeated the World no. 8 pair in straight games 21-18, 21-10 in the encounter that lasted for 38 minutes. Indian pair will now proceed to the second round of the tournament.
The first game saw a high competition between both sides but the Indian pair stood up strong in the closing of the set to claim the game with 21-18.
It was the one-way in the second game as Rankireddy and Ponnappa did not give any chance to the Indonesian pair to make comeback in the match.
In the other clash of the day, Indian mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy were ousted by third-seeded pair of Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith of England 21-18, 21-15 in 39 minutes.
Later in the day, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap will start their campaign in the tournament. (ANI)
‘Uncomfortable situation’: Guardiola on Bartomeu’s arrest
Manchester [UK], March 3 (ANI): Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has labelled former Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu’s arrest as an “uncomfortable situation.”
After spending a night in jail, Bartomeu on Tuesday was provisionally released.
Guardiola is regarded as one of Barcelona’s best-ever players and managers. He played for the club until 2001 and then he returned as a manager of Barcelona B in 2007 before taking the reigns of the senior team. Guardiola won three La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns as manager of Barcelona before leaving the club in 2012.
“It’s an uncomfortable situation but I hope it will finish well. He’s already innocent until the court proves he is guilty,” Goal.com quoted Guardiola as saying.
“I’m concerned that in one week we’ll have a new president. It’s a difficult situation in Barcelona but the new man needs to have the courage to lead in the next years. As many people as possible can vote and lead the best club in the world. I’m pretty sure they’ll come back stronger. The new president has to lead with confidence and get the fans together and that will make them the club they are. I’m looking forward to the election and, hopefully, the president will be okay,” he added.
As per the report, Bartomeu was provisionally released, with the 58-year-old invoking his right not to testify. The news of the former members of the club’s board being taken into custody following a raid on offices by regional police officers was broken by Cadena SER.
Bartomeu was arrested in a case related to ‘Barcagate’ at Camp Nou. Chief Executive Officer of the club, Oscar Grau, a former adviser to the presidency Jaume Masferrer, and head legal counsel Roman Gomez Ponti were also arrested.
According to the report, Bartomeu’s administration has been accused of paying PR company I3 to oversee online work for the club and it is alleged that I3 was paid to clear up Bartomeu’s image.
Also, Barcelona on Monday released a statement saying that the club offered their full collaboration to the legal and police authorities to help make clear facts that are subject to investigation.
“Regarding the entry and search by the Catalan Police force this morning at the Camp Nou offices by order of the Instructing Court number 13 in Barcelona, which is in charge of the case relating to the contacting of monitoring services on social networks, FC Barcelona have offered up their full collaboration to the legal and police authorities to help make clear facts which are subject to investigation,” Barcelona had said in a statement.
“The information and documentation requested by the judicial police force relate strictly to the facts relative to this case. FC Barcelona expresses its utmost respect for the judicial process in place and for the principle of presumed innocence for the people affected within the remit of this investigation,” it had added.
Bartomeu had stepped down from his position as Barcelona President in October last year. Also, the entire board had stepped down from their posts. (ANI)
Ind vs Eng: Drawing series against hosts would be one of my greatest achievements, says Root
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 3 (ANI): Ahead of the crucial fourth Test against India, England Test captain Joe Root has said that if his side manages to draw the ongoing series then it would be one of his greatest achievements as a captain.
The four-match series is currently being led by India 2-1 and the hosts just need to win or draw the final Test to qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC).
On the other hand, England is out of WTC’s final contention, and they would be playing just to end the four-match series 2-2. If England wins the last Test, then Australia would qualify for the WTC finals.
“You look at India’s record at home in recent times and it’s incredible. So, for us to come away with a drawn series would be a really good achievement, especially off the back of the last two games. We’ve had two challenging weeks but that doesn’t define us as a team. We need to look at this as a real opportunity to do something special. It would be a brilliant achievement to leave here two-all. It would be a monumental effort from this group of players. So there are loads to play for,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Root as saying.
“It would certainly be up there with my greatest achievements as captain. The progress we’ve made over the last couple of years has been really pleasing, especially away from home. If we end up winning this game it’d be four wins out of six Tests on this tour. It would be a phenomenal achievement from the players to have found a way in some very foreign and difficult conditions. So it’s a great motivator for us as a side and I’d be extremely proud of everyone involved if we managed to do that,” he added.
India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the third Test at the same venue. 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.
Root also ended up taking a fifer in the first innings of the third Test and he returned with the figures of 5-8. However, England went in with just Lack Leach as a frontline spinner and now the England skipper says that Dom Bess is also in contention for the fourth and final Test.
“If the pitch looks anything like the last one, he’ll (Bess) be licking his lips at the opportunity. He is certainly in contention for selection. He is a very skillful young player that is very ambitious and will be desperate to make his mark. You look at the side for the last match: we got that wrong in terms of the way we selected the team; we read the pitch wrong. We looked at the conditions and how the ball had behaved and the previous pink-ball Test in India and we got it wrong. We didn’t envisage it to spin as much,” said Root.
“If the pitch is anything like the last one, of course, Dom would be a fantastic option. His skill levels are far above mine. He will be very much looking forward to bowling on it. We’re definitely expecting this pitch to spin. That’s been a big part of our focus in training so we’re as prepared as we can be going into this game,” he added. (ANI)
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