ISL 7: Pride at stake for Odisha as they look to end Kerala's playoff hopes - The Daily Guardian
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ISL 7: Pride at stake for Odisha as they look to end Kerala’s playoff hopes

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Goa [India], February 10 (ANI): With their hopes of qualifying for the Indian Super League (ISL) playoffs all but over, all that Odisha can fight for now is pride. The bottom-placed side has been on a six-match winless run now, having won only one game all season, which came against Kerala Blasters. And they will be keen to repeat that feat when they face the same opponents at the Fatorda Stadium, here on Thursday.
While Odisha will be battling for pride, Kerala placed 10th, will try and reach as close as they can to a top-four spot. Odisha interim coach Gerald Peyton is aware that Kerala will be fighting for all that they have but he will take confidence from their record against the southern outfit. In their three meetings so far, Kerala has never beaten Odisha.
“I think they’ve got some good players. Tactically, we know how they play and will match them in every area. They play a 4-4-2 and we are going to play the same way. We are going to make it difficult for them and I think we can do the double over them,” he said.
Like their opponents on Thursday, Kerala have also been struggling. They are winless in four games and have conceded the most goals this season (27). Odisha lie a close second on that table, having conceded 25 goals. The defensive issues faced by both teams are visible from the fact that Odisha has faced the maximum number of shots on target while Kerala have faced the second-most.
Kerala has put in some encouraging displays in their last few games but has been unable to hold on to whatever advantage they’ve managed to gain. In their last two games against ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC, Kerala suffered defeats despite opening the scoring. They have now dropped 16 points from winning positions this season.
Making it to the playoffs appears an uphill task but coach Kibu Vicuna hasn’t given up hope. “Our objective is to get 12 points (from our remaining four matches) but we will take it step-by-step,” he said. “Tomorrow is an opportunity to get the points and be closer to the teams that have better chances of qualifying for the playoffs.” (ANI)

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I accidentally became a cricketer, living my dream, says Ashwin

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India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed that his planning before a game goes to a “different level” and he watches a lot of footage before a match to leave no stone unturned with regard to his preparations.

Ashwin also revealed that during the Australia tour, before the Adelaide Test, he watched footage for eight straight hours and watching all these videos have helped him have a better understanding of the game and even before bowling the ball, he kind of understands what shot the batsman is going to play. “In Australia, before the Adelaide Test, I watched footage for eight straight hours. Planning for me goes to a different level. I do not know why I started doing it but it’s just that I do not want to leave any stone unturned. I used to watch a lot of footage even before but I think the understanding of the game has gone one notch higher,” Ashwin told India fielding coach R Sridhar in a video posted on BCCI’s website.

“What happened during the lockdown was that I was watching a lot of cricket from the past, like Sachin’s (Tendulkar) hundred at Chepauk and all kinds of stuff on Youtube. And I started picking up fine queues and think why haven’t I picked all these things and figured all these things and it just struck me. After that, I started watching footage differently and once I started watching, it became fun because I am able to pick batsmen like what they are doing and even before I bowl the ball, I kind of understand what kind of shot they are going to play,” he added.

Riding on brilliant spells of spin bowling from Axar and Ashwin, India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the pink-ball Test here at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday to go 2-1 up in the four-match series.

During the match, Ashwin reached a major milestone of 400 Test wickets. Reflecting on the same, he said: “Initial feeling? It was quite empty to be honest because we were under immense pressure today. We only got a 30-run lead and the game was in the balance. I was in the moment, and only after we took the DRS, I realised the 400-wicket feat. After they flashed the 400 wickets on the board, the entire stadium was up and everyone was clapping. I cannot put my finger and say (exactly) how I feel.”

Ashwin said he is a cricket lover who actually went on to become a cricketer. “I accidentally became a cricketer. I am a cricket lover who actually went on to become a cricketer. I am living my dream here. I never imagined I will wear the Indian jersey and play.,” he said.

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Aaron Finch is a blazing gun: Kane Richardson

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Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson has voiced his support to skipper Aaron Finch, who has witnessed a slump in form during the recent outings in the shortest format of the game.

Finch scored a paltry 12 during Australia’s chase of a mammoth total on Thursday in the second T20I against New Zealand. The visiting skipper has been going through a lean patch and had scored one in the first T20I on Monday. The Australian skipper has just scored 495 runs at an average of 17.06 in his last 29 T20 outings across the Indian Premier League (IPL), Big Bash League (BBL), and international cricket.

But Richardson is optimistic of Finch returning to form as he feels the Australian skipper is just one game away from unleashing his true potential.

“What he’s done before, he’s come out of these things. Everyone goes through this at some point. He’ll work it out. He’s a gun. I’m sure his mental strength will get him through this,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Richardson as saying.aron

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Pressure is what brings the best out of Kohli

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Virat Kohli

I am not a firm believer of team motivation, nevertheless, I believe in getting the team ready! When I say this I mean confidence of a team to play great cricket in the field.

Whether you are focused on your individual goals, or responsible for keeping your team on tracks, you have plenty of inspiration to be gained from sporting greats.

When you are a recipient of numerous accolades like Padmashri, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna award, etc. I’m sure that one would be burdened by the anxiety to enrich the performance every passing day.

Virat Kohli is one such young player who has all these burdens on his shoulders, when he or his team performs. The pressure flows from myriad sources— both indoor (from the team and the board) and outdoors (from fans, media, family, and friends).

It’s said pressure brings out the best out of Virat Kohli, but what about his own blood pressure? Virat ended 2020 without a single century across all the formats, his last ton coming from Edens in 2019.

When he fell in love to Anushka Sharma and decided to tie the knot in 2017, he knew their married life will be closely followed and observed by many over-enthusiastic, self-styled custodians of society masquerading as fans. That is an innate source of a pressure in itself.

I remember Anil Kumble once played against West Indies with a broken Jaw, Sachin played against Pakistan with a back injury, Gilchrist was given not out and yet he walked back to the stands in 2003 WC, and Virat congratulated Mohammad Amir for his wonderful spell in the Asian cup — looking at these incidents, I still believe that it’s a gentleman’s game.

One of the biggest disadvantages of the Indian cricket is the name and fame that comes across with it. It’s easy for someone to get carried away with so much of an attention at an early age.Thats why we see so many cricketers loosing out even after a promising start. If cricketers in India can keep all this aside and concentrate on the game of cricket, the media attention and continuous scrutiny of the game and players won’t matter much. Virat has withstood all the test of time and has proved his mettle for India.

Right from 2008 U-19 Kuala Lumpur to the fastest run maker in ODI till date, his journey has been wonderful. I guess, we need to give him a break, and all the credit he deserves, so that he can once again outshine his contemporaries. Empathy is a much needed emotion in sports. I should congratulate him for being one of the biggest performers in cricket, and also being a father.

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DOPING IN SPORTS: THE USE AND ABUSE OF GROWTH HORMONE

Dr Saranjeet Singh

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A 16-year-old footballer registered with a Premier League club has been banned for nine months for possession of a banned substance. It was alleged the player possessed and used the hormone somatropin. Somatropin is a growth hormone that is banned at all times in sport under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. His suspension will conclude on 7 May.

What is Somatropin?

Growth hormone (GH) or somatotropin, also known as human growth hormones (hGH or HGH). It is produced by a tiny endocrine gland found in brain called the pituitary glandThe pituitary puts out GH in bursts; levels rise following exercise, trauma, and sleep. Under normal conditions, more GH is produced at night than during the day.

Growth hormone (GH) stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration in humans and other animals. It is thus important in human development. GH also stimulates production of IGF-1 (Insulin like Growth Factor – 1) and increases the concentration of glucose and free fatty acids.

A recombinant form of hGH called somatropin is used as a prescription drug to treat children’s growth disorders and adult growth hormone deficiency

The Use and Abuse of Growth Hormone in Sports

The use of growth hormone to improve athletic performance has recently received worldwide attention. This practice is banned by most professional sports leagues and associations including International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). However a wide range of athletes, including those from baseball, cycling and track and field have been implicated in or confessed to illicit growth hormone use.

Its misuse has been suspected in sport because of its anabolic properties. Athletes and bodybuilders claim that hGH increases lean body mass and decreases the fat mass. The use of hGH in sport today is not only based on its anabolic properties, but also on its effect on carbohydrate and fat metabolism. The rationale appears to come from studies in adults with GH deficiency, where GH replacement has been shown to alter body composition so that lean tissue mass is increased and fat mass is decreased, to enhance aerobic and resistance performance, to increase cardiac output, to enhance thermal adaptation during exertion, to increase collagen synthesis, and to modify intermediary metabolism.

Growth Hormone in Sport: What Athletes should know

There are many reported side effects from the use of growth hormone, including irritation at the injection site, increased blood pressure in the brain, damage to the retina and vision in people with diabetes, damage to the growth plates in the femur in pediatric patients, faster progression of scoliosis in people who have this condition, hypothyroidism, pancreatitis, swelling or stiffness in the arms and legs, and generalized pain. Long-term, the use of growth hormone may cause the body to stop producing its own, or to down regulate the growth hormone pathways.

This case of a 16 years old boy demonstrates that the anti-doping rules apply to all athletes, regardless of age, and serves as an important reminder of the serious consequences that can apply if those rules are broken. If you are responsible for a young athlete, you should take a proactive approach to ensure their participation in clean sport and help to protect them from the risks of doping.

The Writer is a fitness & Sports medicine specialist

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English batting was dreadful: Pietersen

‘I hope there are some England batters waking up this morning and being honest with themselves, by acknowledging their batting was dreadful on that wicket! I have heard Virat and Rohit say theirs was,’ Pietersen tweeted.

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England’s defeat in the pink-ball Test inside two days might have raised questions on the quality of pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium by former cricketers, but Kevin Pietersen has indirectly rubbished all the criticism and wants the English batsmen to realise from their mistakes.

England were 74/2 at one stage in the day-night Test after winning the toss but Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin spun a web over hosts in both essays to hand India a comprehensive 10 wicket win. Former skipper Pietersen wants England batsmen to acknowledge the poor display with the bat rather than questioning the quality of the wicket. After the win, India skipper Virat Kohli and batsman Rohit Sharma had said that most batsmen from both teams got out off straight balls and it was not a case of pitch misbehaving a lot. Pietersen on Friday cited Rohit and Kohli’s example and called out on England batsmen to be at least honest with themselves and not to blame anyone else for the defeat.

“I hope there are some England batters waking up this morning and being honest with themselves at least, by acknowledging their batting was dreadful on that wicket?! I’ve heard Virat & Rohit say theirs was!” Pietersen tweeted.

Speaking after the game, Rohit said: “Pitch didn’t do anything, honestly speaking, if I can recollect, most of the batsmen got out on straighter deliveries. We also as a batting unit, made a lot of mistakes while batting. We also did not bat well in the first innings, the pitch did not have demons, there is nothing like that,” Rohit said during the virtual press conference on Thursday.

Even skipper Kohli was vocal about the dreadful batting display from the two teams. Kohli said the quality of batting was to be blamed as most of the batsmen got out to balls that didn’t turn.

Meanwhile, England is out of the race for a place in the final of the ICC World Test Championship.

England has dropped to 64.1 percentage points on the points table, which is now led by India with 71 percentage points. New Zealand is assured of a place in the final with 70 percentage points.

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ISL 7: NEUFC march onto playoffs with best-ever league finish

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Panaji (Goa) [India], February 26 (ANI): NorthEast United sealed their playoff berth following their 2-0 win over Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan, on Friday.
Having extended their unbeaten run to nine games, Coach Khalid Jamil also created history by becoming the first Indian manager to have managed three or more league games and still steered his team to the playoffs.
Needing just a point to qualify for their second-ever playoffs, the Highlanders showed no signs of stopping as they attacked from the first whistle. They gained an advantage in the first session through goals from Suhair Vadakkepeedika (34′) and Lalengmawia (45′).
Coach Khalid Jamil fielded an unchanged XI from their previous game while Kerala Blasters had just one change with Sandeep Singh preferred over Subha Ghosh.
The Highlanders fashioned a great opportunity soon after the start. Luis Machado sent in a delivery into the box, which was headed out straight back to him. His cross from the right found Dylan Fox but he shot wide.
On the other end, it was Kerala who missed getting ahead in the game. Bakary Kone managed to evade his marker and to get to the end of a Jessel Carneiro corner, but his header missed the target.
Though NorthEast was clearly the better side in the first session, KBFC did have their chances. But the Highlanders’ defense stood strong. Then, in the 34th minute, NorthEast took the lead.
Khassa Camara slipped in a through ball which Kone failed to deal with. Suhair Vadakkepeedika got on to the ball and got past Sandeep Singh, before rounding off an advancing Albino Gomes, to put his side ahead.
Jamil’s men increased their lead just before the breather through an astonishing Lalengmawia strike. Fox set up Lalengmawia, whose well-struck long-ranger bounced off the underside of the bar into the net. Jamil’s ecstatic look at the touchline showed just how good the goal was.
KBFC had a better start to the second session. They created chances through Rahul KP and Gary Hooper, but a finish eluded them. At the other end, Gomes was forced into a fine save when Machado showed his brilliance and on entering the box, tried his luck at goal.
Then Deshorn Brown, missed a great opportunity, striking the crossbar. Despite their chances, NEUFC just couldn’t get their third. Their best chance came when Federico Gallego played a weighted pass to Brown, who managed to evade Gomes. However, his shot from a tight angle found the side netting. (ANI)

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