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Kohli and Rahane are as different as chalk and cheese: David Warner

Australian team may change their strategy with respect to engaging with the Indian players on the field depending upon who is leading them, says ace Oz batsman

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Australia will be facing two different captains during their upcoming Test series against India at home and they may change their approach with respect to engaging with their opponents accordingly, according batsman David Warner.

With regular skipper Virat Kohli opting to play just the first Test of the four matches so as to return to India for the birth of his child, Ajinkya Rahane is most likely to lead the side in the remainder of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

“Obviously with Virat missing, and well done to him to go home and be by his partner’s side for the birth of his first child. He’s a great guy, Jinks (Rahane). He’s calm and very measured in his approach. He’s got a very good cricket brain,” Warner was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo on Monday.

The left-handed batsman indicated that Australia may change their strategy with respect to engaging with the Indian players on the field depending upon who is leading them.

“When you take Virat out of there, I don’t want to say this the wrong way, but he’s obviously passionate, aggressive, he plays with that fight when you’re out there. Jinks is calm, collected, measured. It’s like chalk and cheese with two of them two and as a player to try and engage him on the field, as we’re talking about engaging, and getting into that contest as players, we obviously got to think about how to do that especially with Ajinkya as captain,” said the 34-year-old.

“The great thing from India’s perspective is that you’ve got three if not four very good players who could captain the team at any time. With him, he’ll bring a calm and measured approach with his nature,” he added.

Before the Test series, Australia and India will compete in three ODIs and as many T20Is beginning this Friday.

India without captain Virat Kohli in Tests will be akin to Australia without Steve Smith and David Warner, according to former Australia fast bowler Geoff Lawson.

India will be missing Kohli in upcoming Test series in Australia as the 32-year-old right hander will return home for the birth of his child after the first Test.

“India without Virat Kohli will be like Australia without Smith and Warner. It’s not just the runs he makes, but the way he lifts the psyche of the whole group,” Lawson wrote in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald.

With 7,240 runs at an average of 53.62, Kohli is the highest run scorer in the Indian squad for the Tests and is ranked in the ICC rankings for the longest format of the game behind Smith.

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Thailand Open: Mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj, Ashwini lose in semi-final

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Bangkok [Thailand], January 23 (ANI): Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa have been ousted from the Thailand Open after losing in the semifinal on Saturday.
Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai cruised to the final after beating Rankireddy and Ponnappa 22-20, 18-21, 21-12 in the encounter that lasted about an hour.
After losing the hard-fought first game, the Indian pair came out all guns blazing to claim the second game despite the strong challenge from the opponents.
In the final game of the encounter, both the teams gave their all in an effort to march to the summit clash, but the Indian duo failed to outclass the local pair. The Thai pair went to the mid-game break with a two-point advantage and continued their dominance in the rest of the match and won the game 21-12.
Rankireddy and Ponnappa were the only Indian players left in the competition after others failed to win their respective matches in the competition.
Earlier in the day, Satwiksairaj and his men’s doubles partner Chirag Shetty lost in the semi-final.
Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik defused the Indian attack in two straight sets 21-18, 21-18 to sail into the finals of the showpiece event. Satwiksairaj and Chirag were defeated by eight-seeded Malaysian pair despite their valiant effort in the semi-final clash. (ANI)

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SAI modifies SOPs partially to ensure athletes returning from competitions can continue training

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New Delhi [Delhi], January 23 (ANI): The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is coming up with various proactive measures in order to ensure that there is no drop in intensity of Olympic-bound athletes.
As a part of these measures, SAI has proactively amended the quarantine regulations for those returning to its centres from various competitions. In partial modification of the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) issued on September 11 and December 3, the SAI has ensured that athletes returning to national camps and other training centres are able to continue training without compromising safety.
In a statement, SAI said that “the measure has been introduced to ensure that athletes are able to maintain continuity in their training programme. The athlete will be able to resume his or her training routine, except that he or she will be kept away from athletes who remained in the bio-bubble for the first seven days and until he or she returns a negative RT-PCR test.”
With six months left for the Tokyo Olympic Games and with domestic and international competition resuming, athletes have or will begin competing in various disciplines to either gain qualification for the Olympic Games or secure competitive exposure.
Asking them to quarantine themselves for seven days each time they return to base from competition would adversely affect their training as they seek to maintain their periodisation cycle. SAI has also told the heads of all its training facilities that athletes returning from various competitions should be housed in a separate hostel or block of hostels till their RT-PCR test is negative at the end of seven days so that athletes do not come into contact with those who remained in the bio-bubble.
The heads of all SAI centres and the coaches have been instructed to draw up a proper schedule so that athletes returning from the competition can use the field of play, gym and sports science facilities to ensure continuity of training, but without compromising the safety of those athletes who remained in the respective centres.
Similarly, all centres have been advised to make separate dining arrangements for athletes returning from competition till their RT-PCR test report becomes available. In places where it is not possible to create a separate dining area, they will make a detailed schedule to prevent the mingling of such persons with those who stayed back in the camp. (ANI)

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ISL 7: Looking for a spark, Bengaluru face struggling Odisha

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Margao (Goa) [India], January 23 (ANI): Bengaluru FC find themselves in a tough spot in the Indian Super League (ISL). The team has lost five of their last six games. After the exit of Carles Cuadrat, interim coach Naushad Moosa has not been able to turn things around. On Sunday though, he has the chance to spark a recovery when they face ISL’s bottom-dwellers Odisha FC at the Fatorda Stadium.
“A win gives us three points and it will push us higher in the table. Just a matter of winning one game. Just that one win is very important for us. The dynamics will change entirely,” Moosa said in an ISL release.
Bengaluru is in the seventh spot, a position the team is not too familiar with, but still has a chance to progress into the knockout phase.
“Of course, the (position on the) points table is something we are not used to. They know the importance of each match now. We are being positive. Apart from the top two, all are very close. We have to keep fighting,” added Moosa, who stressed on the importance of not conceding easy goals if they are to make it to the playoffs.
Bengaluru had a good game against Kerala but the result wasn’t in their favour. However, Moosa believes that his side can win against Odisha, if they take their chances.
Meanwhile, Odisha has won just one match so far, and coach Stuart Baxter would be aiming to register his second win in the competition. But the Englishman believes his side will have to defend strongly and play their best in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“We had chances to beat bigger clubs like ATKMB but to do that against anybody — not just Bengaluru — we have to defend well, take our chances and play our own game. If we do that with quality, I think we have shown that we can run everybody close,” Baxter said. (ANI)

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SL vs Eng: Pietersen shares Dravid’s email to help Sibley, Crawley tackle spin

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London [UK], January 23 (ANI): As England openers Dom Sibley and Zack Crawley continue to struggle against Sri Lanka’s spinners, former England skipper Kevin Pietersen on Saturday shared an email sent by Rahul Dravid to him as he felt it might help both batters tackle spin.
Sibley (0) and Crawley (5) were once again dismissed by Lasith Embuldeniya in the first innings of the ongoing second Test on Saturday. This is the third time in a row that both batters were sent back to the pavilion by Embuldeniya.
“Hey @englandcricket, print this and give it to Sibley & Crawley. They can call me to discuss it at length if they want,” Pietersen tweeted.

Before sharing the email sent by Dravid, Pietersen had earlier tweeted: “Crawley & Sibley need to go find the email that Dravid sent me about playing spin. Changed my game.”
During his playing career, there came a patch when Pietersen was struggling against spinners and the batsman opted to reach out to Dravid for some advice.
Dravid had then sent Pietersen a lengthy email describing how he can get the better of spinners. Pietersen had also described the whole incident in his book titled “KP: The Autobiography”.
In his letter, Dravid had advised Pietersen to try picking up the bowler’s length out of their hands in the nets. He also asked the English batsman to bat without pads against Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar in the nets, in order to help him to reach the length of the ball.
Sri Lanka spinner Lasith Embuldeniya made early inroads into the England innings on day two of the ongoing second Test, but skipper Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow ensured the visitors stayed on track at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday. At stumps, England’s score reads 98/2, trailing the hosts by 283 runs, with Root (67*) and Bairstow (24*) at the crease.
Earlier, England had bundled out Sri Lanka for 381 with James Anderson recording his best bowling figures in Asia — 6/40. (ANI)

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SL vs Eng, 2nd Test: Root, Bairstow grind it out after Embuldeniya’s twin strikes

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Galle [Sri Lanka], January 23 (ANI): Sri Lanka spinner Lasith Embuldeniya made early inroads into the England innings on day two of the ongoing second Test, but skipper Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow ensured the visitors stayed on track at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday.
At stumps, England’s score reads 98/2, trailing the hosts by 283 runs, with Root (67*) and Bairstow (24*) at the crease. This after openers Dominic Sibley (0) and Zack Crawley (5) were once again trapped early by Embuldeniya.
After bundling out Sri Lanka for 381, England would have been looking to get off to a steady start, but Root and Bairstow had to bring forward a cautious approach to ensure that they kept the visitors in the game. Their unbeaten 93-run partnership came as a huge relief after they were stranded on 2/5 at one stage.
But the day belonged to James Anderson as the pacer combined with Mark Wood to bring an end to Sri Lanka’s innings on 381. Resuming day two on 229/4, hosts Sri Lanka got off to a bad start as overnight centurion Angelo Mathews (110) was sent back to the pavilion by Anderson. Soon after, Ramesh Mendis was dismissed for a duck by Mark Wood, reducing Sri Lanka to 243/6.
Niroshan Dickwella then found support in Dilruwan Perera and the duo mixed caution with aggression to take the hosts to a position of safety. Both batsmen ensured that Sri Lanka did not lose more wickets before the lunch break, taking the score to 313/6 with Dickwella and Perera batting on 78 and 21 respectively.
In the second session, Anderson took two wickets quite early as he dismissed Niroshan Dickwella (92) and Suranga Lakmal (0). With Dickwella’s wicket, Anderson registered his 30th five-wicket haul in Test cricket. He is now the second pace bowler after Richard Hadlee to have picked 30 fifers in Test cricket.
In the end, Perera added some crucial runs to the hosts’ total and he went on play a knock of 67 runs. While Anderson picked six wickets, Wood took four wickets while Dom Bess and Jack Leach went wicketless — the first time a spinner has not taken a single wicket in an innings of a Test at Galle.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 381 (Angelo Mathews 110; James Anderson 6-40); England 98/2 (Joe Root 67*; Lasith Embuldeniya 2-33). (ANI)

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ISL 7: Coyle looking at playoff spot as Hyderabad clash looms

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Panaji (Goa) [India], January 23 (ANI): The business end of the Indian Super League (ISL) beckons, and after 12 games, Jamshedpur finds themselves in a precarious position. Three defeats on the spin have seen them drop to eighth on the table. And when they face Hyderabad FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Sunday, they will be desperately seeking a turnaround as they set their sights on qualifying for their first-ever playoffs.
In Owen Coyle, Jamshedpur has a coach who knows what it takes to get there. The Englishman masterminded Chennaiyin’s fairytale run last season after taking charge midway, guiding them from the bottom of the table to the final. And despite dropping points in recent games, Coyle believes Jamshedpur is in a better position this time to make the top four compared to the position he found himself with the two-time ISL winners last season.
“We have eight games to go to fight for those playoff spots,” said Coyle. “And if anybody knows the challenge of doing that, it’s myself, since I was down there at the bottom last year (with Chennaiyin) before we set out on a tremendous run. Jamshedpur is in a better position than I was with Chennaiyin last year. So we are more than capable of making up the deficit to get there. What we have to do is get back to our very best.”
To do that, Jamshedpur has bolstered the squad in the transfer window with the additions of forwards Seiminlen Doungel (loan) and Farukh Choudhary, both of whom could feature on Sunday.
Compared to their opponents, Hyderabad has been in good form, unbeaten in their previous four games. And one area they will be looking to capitalise on is Jamshedpur’s stuttering defense that has conceded eight goals in their last three games. Previously, Coyle’s side had just conceded nine goals in as many matches.
But they are up against a side they have never managed to beat in their three meetings so far, allowing Jamshedpur to be optimistic about their chances as well. And Hyderabad coach Manuel Marquez is expecting a difficult game for both sides. (ANI)

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