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Man City’s UCL tie against Monchengladbach moved to Budapest

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Manchester [UK], February 9 (ANI): The UEFA has confirmed that Manchester City’s Champions League fixture against Borussia Monchengladbach will now be played in Budapest.
The fixture was originally slated to be played in Germany, but coronavirus protocols from the German government had casted doubt whether the game could go ahead in Monchengladbach.
“UEFA can confirm that the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City will now take place at the Puskas Arena in Budapest. The date of the match (February 24, 2021) and kick-off time will remain the same,” the UEFA said in an official statement.
“UEFA would like to thank Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City for their close cooperation and support, as well as the Hungarian Football Federation for their assistance and agreeing to host the match in question,” it added.
Current travel restrictions in Germany mean that teams from the United Kingdom are currently not permitted to enter the country. These restrictions are in place due to COVID-19 and right now, only the citizens of Germany can enter the country from other countries where variants of the virus have been detected.
Germany’s travel ban on foreigners connected to new variants of COVID-19 is due to end on February 17, reported Goal.com.
However, the UEFA wanted clarity and as a result, Manchester City’s clash against Monchengladbach was moved to Budapest.
The second leg between City and Monchengladbach is slated to take place at the Etihad Stadium on March 16. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Visitors on top after dismissing Pujara, Kohli, Rahane (Lunch)

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): England bowlers led the fightback for the visitors in the opening session of the second day of the fourth Test between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday. If getting Cheteshwar Pujara (17) and Virat Kohli (0) early in the day wasnt enough, the Englishmen finished the session with the important wicket of Ajinkya Rahane (27).
At the Lunch break, India’s score read 80/4 – still trailing the visitors by 125 runs with six wickets in the bag. While Rohit Sharma (32) has looked solid at one end, he will need the likes of Rishabh Pant and the lower middle-order to stand ground with him in the second session. For the visitors, James Anderson picked Rahane on the brink of the lunch to hand England the upper hand, but the prized scalp of Kohli was picked by Ben Stokes.
Going into the morning session with the score on 24/1 and with Rohit and Pujara at the crease, the hosts would have liked to get closer to the visitors’ total without losing a wicket. But it wasnt to be as Jack Leach struck first to send back Pujara, leg before. While it was a close call, the umpire was spot on as the ball hit the pad first.
In walked Kohli and with the scoring rate on the slower side, one expected the captain to bring on the attack with Rohit. But Stokes had other ideas as he got the India skipper to produce a nothing shot to a ball that got big on him and ended up giving keeper Foakes an easy catch. With the score on 41/3, the Englishmen realised they had walked right back into the game.
But Rahane and Rohit defied the visitors for a while as they tried to build the innings and stitched a 39-run partnership. But just when it looked like the duo would take India to lunch and start afresh after the break, Anderson sent back Rahane.
Brief Scores: England 205; India 80/4 (Rohit Sharma 32*; James Anderson 2-7) (ANI)

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Ferguson eyeing Test cricket return with T20I series against Bangladesh

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson is eyeing Test cricket return with the upcoming T20I series against Bangladesh.
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead is hopeful that Ferguson will be available for the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh.
Ferguson has been out of action since December last year, when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture following the T20I series against West Indies. During the series against Windies, Ferguson had claimed his career-best figures of 5 for 21.
“I’ve always talked very highly of Test cricket and want to play it. Certainly, my closest focus is to get back on the park and play, it’s been enjoyable watching the Test boys and stoked they made the final which is going to be super exciting,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Ferguson as saying.
“Think the best thing for me and the team is to get back playing a decent amount of cricket, get that loading behind me, then I certainly want to be in the mix for selection for the UK trip but that’s a couple of months down the line so we’ll cross that bridge later on,” he added.
Before returning to the field against Bangladesh, the speedster believes he has some boxes to tick.
“That’s the aim, it’s a bit of a process so can’t make the call right now. Certainly, there’s some boxes to tick, but definitely, the way things have been tracking it’s been going really well that’s certainly the goal,” Ferguson said.
Despite the amount of T20 on the calendar this season, which now includes a stint in the T20 Blast with Yorkshire, and concludes with the World Cup in India during October, Ferguson is not making it is sole focus although acknowledges Test cricket presents different challenges.
“Certainly to play in the Test Championship would be very special as well…but at the same time have to focus on what’s coming up and make sure I’m ready to go,” he said. “The Test demands are much higher than T20 in terms of loading, so from that point of view it takes some time to build up. Give your body a chance to adjust to playing a lot of cricket then you can make a decision,” he said.
New Zealand is currently involved in a five-match T20I series against Australia which ends on March 7. After that, the Black Caps will first play three ODIs against Bangladesh from March 20 to 26 and then three T20Is from March 28 to April 1. (ANI)

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Barcelona defender Pique out with right knee injury, likely to miss PSG clash

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Barcelona [Spain], March 5 (ANI): Barcelona defender Gerard Pique will spend another stint on the sidelines as he sustained “a sprain in the internal lateral ligament of his right knee”.
World Cup winner suffered the blow in the team’s 3-0 win over Sevilla in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Pique scored a goal in the second-half stoppage time before Martin Braithwaite netted the final goal of the match to hand comprehensive victory.

Barca said in a statement on their official website: “The medical assessment and tests performed this morning have shown that first-team player Gerard Pique has a sprain in the internal lateral ligament of his right knee. He is therefore unavailable and the evolution of the injury will determine when he returns.”
“The Barca centre-back was a starter and played the 120 minutes in the superb win against Sevilla, as well as being one of the great protagonists of the night, leading the heroic comeback with a goal in added time that allowed Barca to force extra-time. As for this season, Pique has played a total of 15 games in which he has scored two goals,” it added.
Injury struggles have become familiar for the 34-year-old this season, with knee complaints plaguing his 2020-21 campaign.
Pique was forced onto the sidelines in November 2020 with a knee problem and missed the best part of three months. He sat out 24 games as Ronald Koeman’s side struggled to find the consistency required to compete for major honours.
Barcelona will next take on Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 of the Champions League on March 11. (ANI)

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NZC allows crowds for T20I double-header in Wellington

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Friday announced that spectators will be allowed to attend the weekend’s T20I double-header at Sky Stadium after the relaxation in Wellington’s Alert Level status.
The fifth and final T20I between New Zealand and Australia and the final T20I of the three-match series between New Zealand women (White Ferns) and England women will also be played in Wellington on Sunday.
Earlier, both the fixtures were shifted from the Bay Oval to Wellington and were set to be played behind closed doors.
The second T20I between New Zealand women and England women is being played at Sky Stadium while the fourth T20I between New Zealand men and Australia men will start later in the day.
Kane Williamson-led side currently leads the series 2-1, having won the first two games by 53 and 4 runs respectively.
However, the Aaron Finch-led side was able to keep the series alive as they registered a convincing 64-run win in the third T20I played on Wednesday at the Westpac Stadium here.
On Thursday, New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner was tested negative for COVID-19 and will be available for selection for the fourth T20I against Australia.
Santner was ruled out of the third T20I after he woke up with a head-cold. He was put under self-isolation as a precautionary measure while awaiting the results of a COVID test. Adam Milne was added as his cover for the third T20I.
“Team update| BLACKCAPS all-rounder Mitchell Santner has returned a negative COVID test this afternoon. He is feeling better and available for selection for T20 four against Australia at Sky Stadium on Friday night,” New Zealand Cricket informed in a tweet on Thursday.
Santner had returned with the figures of 4/31 in the second T20I played at the University Oval in Dunedin. (ANI)

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Would like to be known as someone who created a legacy: Bavuma after taking captaincy role

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Johannesburg [South Africa], March 5 (ANI): After becoming South Africa’s limited-overs skipper, batsman Temba Bavuma wants to show his potential at the helm and create a legacy for himself.
On Thursday, Bavuma was named as the country’s first black African cricket captain while Dean Elgar was given the captaincy of Test cricket.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) said Bavuma will lead the Proteas in the 2021 and 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cups as well as the ICC Men’s World Cup in 2023. Elgar will take over the reins into the next cycle of the ICC World Test Championship.

“I understand the deeply rooted significance of it all. In being the first black African (cricket) captain in our country – you don’t have to look too far in our history and our political situation in our country – so I can completely understand why people in our country would celebrate it for what it is,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Bavuma as saying.
“I’d be lying if I said it does not make me think of where everything started for me, and how I’ve been able to go through a journey and get to this point. But combined with being known as the first black African captain, I’d also like to be known as someone who led the team very well and created a legacy for himself,” he added.
However, the captaincy role is a surprise to Bavuma but it is a no-brainer for him.
“I was offered the position as captain and it came to me as a surprise, but it was a no-brainer. I don’t think a lot of people would turn down this type of honour and privilege,” he said.
“Obviously there’s anxiety about not knowing what to expect but a lot of comfort comes from the fact that I know my players and the people who have entrusted me with the decision, I draw a lot of confidence from that because those are people of stature,” the skipper added. (ANI)

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Mohammad Abbas signs two-month deal with Hampshire for County Championship

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Hampshire [UK], March 5 (ANI): Hampshire on Thursday announced the signing of Pakistan pacer Mohammad Abbas for the first two months of the County Championship season.
Abbas has quickly become one of the world’s best Test bowlers since making his international debut in 2017, with 84 wickets to his name at an exceptional average of 22.80 in just 23 appearances. He currently holds the third-best bowling average of all active international bowlers, behind only Jasprit Bumrah and Pat Cummins, and sits 12th in the ICC Test Bowling Rankings.
After impressing Pakistan’s national selectors through sustained domestic success in 2015 and 2016, Abbas burst onto the international scene four years ago, claiming his maiden Test wicket two deliveries into his debut against West Indies, before going on to record his first five-wicket haul in just his third Test appearance.
“I’m really pleased to be joining Hampshire and I can’t wait to join up with the team this summer,” Abbas said in a statement.
Abbas is no stranger to English domestic cricket too having showcased his ability throughout two seasons at Leicestershire in 2018 and 2019. Leading the Foxes’ attack, he returned 79 wickets at an average of just 20.67 – including five five-wicket hauls – in 19 County Championship fixtures with the side.
“We are really excited about the arrival of Mohammad Abbas. He is a bowler of the highest quality and to secure him for an early-season Championship stint is a huge boost to the squad. He joins Kyle Abbott as our second overseas signing and we are hopeful that they form a formidable pairing in early season conditions,” said Giles White, Director Of Cricket. (ANI)

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