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MI not just an IPL club, but a finishing school, feel Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar

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By Baidurjo Bhose
New Delhi [India], February 23 (ANI): Five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians has over the years proved that it is one of the most successful clubs in world cricket. While the team definitely boasts of some world-class performers like Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard among others, what makes the club stand out is its vision and keenness to back raw talent and turn them into finished products.
A look at the 2020 edition of the IPL itself bears testimony to the fact that the team management relied not just on international performers like Pollard or Quinton de Kock or Trent Boult, but also on the likes of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav.
While Ishan finished with 516 runs from 14 games – the most for MI in the last edition – Suryakumar picked 480 runs from 16 games. In fact, his calm and composed nature saw former cricketers calling for his inclusion in the team for the limited-overs series against Australia.
Even though Suryakumar missed the bus for the Australia tour, both him and Ishan are a part of the Indian team for the England T20Is. The twin call-up has once again showed that the MI franchise is more a finishing school which believes in creating the perfect bench strength for the national team.
Speaking to ANI, Ishan threw light on his journey with MI. “What I have gained in the last three years at Mumbai Indians will always remain with me as the bedrock of my cricket. Difficult for me to break it down into details, but it was more of the mentorship I would reckon from the coaches, captain and Zaheer Sir, which really helped me; and my conversations with Akash Sir, he always shown faith in me.”
“When I came to Mumbai Indians, I was still someone trying to figure out the transition from being a U-19 cricketer to making it to the other side as a professional. To be honest here, the management at Mumbai Indians brought a lot of discipline in me, at times pushed me hard, and yet allowed me to express myself freely. Now when I look back, I feel this is the best that has ever happened to my game and to me personally,” he smiled.
Echoing the sentiments, Suryakumar threw light on the vision that the MI unit has and how it helps youngsters to rise through the ranks.
“I would say Mumbai Indians is as an institution. The entire set up, the system and process is a notch higher when it comes to Mumbai Indians. They have clear vision, and that’s what has helped me in my process and the progression I needed to become a better cricketer,” he told ANI.
While Ishan and Suryakumar have hogged the limelight since their national call-up, the MI team management has been working overtime with these guys for the last few years.
The reason behind Mumbai Indians’ consistent success over the years is the management’s focus on creating a robust network of scouting system which identifies raw talent and nurtures them into professional cricketers.
Suryakumar is a classic example of how Mumbai Indians identified his style of playing, created a position for him in the team where he is able to showcase his potential and backed him all through. Ishan is another case study how Mumbai Indians saw his potential early on. He was quite raw when he came to the MI camp. But the scouts and management were clear of his capabilities.
Even though the likes of Hardik and Bumrah are now international performers, they too were picked up early by MI. In recent years, Mumbai Indians have expanded their scouting programme internationally and the purchase of young South Africa cricketer Marco Jansen once again showcases MI’s belief in investing in the youth.
The MI family has always maintained that they are not looking at immediate success and wish to create a long-lasting impact. In fact, owner Akash Ambani mentioned this after Jansen was picked at the auction.
“He (Marco) is a name we have been tracking for two years. We have an international scouting programme in place, like the Indian scouting programme. What Marco brings to the table is that he is relatively young, 6.8 ft, a left arm fast bowler who can swing the new ball and can bat at No.8. Now am sure with Mahela (Jayawardene), Zak (Zaheer Khan) and all the support staff we will be able to unearth the potential,” he said.
He also backed the call to bring in youngsters like Arjun Tendulkar and Yudhvir Charak. “We believe that we have the environment to help individuals reach their potential. It’s very important that his (Arjun) process and progression happens just as any other young cricketer,” he pointed. (ANI)

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BARCA DEFENDER GERARD PIQUE OUT WITH RIGHT KNEE INJURY

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GERARD PIQUE

MADRID: 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.

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INDIA IS GETTING CLOSER TO THE TOP TEAMS IN WORLD: COACH MARIJNE

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MUMBAI: The Indian women’s hockey team chief coach Sjoerd Marjine feels the side is getting closer to operating at the same level as the top teams in the world.

The World No. 9 Indian team battled well against the World No. 3 Germany team, but went down 0-5, 0-1, 0-2 and 1-2 in the four matches of the tour, which was held from February 27 to March 4 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Marijne and his team will now head to SAI Centre, Bengaluru for a month-long National Coaching camp. The Indian women’s hockey team returned to action against Argentina earlier this year, where they were praised for their resilience on the tour. Marijne was happy with how his side competed against Germany as well.

“We have played against two different styles of teams and who are among the top three teams in the world. The tours helped us to understand their tactics and also to see what the benchmark needs to be to beat these teams,” said Marijne in a Hockey India release.

“Although the results were not in our favour, we are getting closer to them. Germany is a very well-organised team with a very good structure and it’s not easy to create chances against them. We were able to create enough possibilities to score in every match, but we didn’t finish well. This is something we need to work on in the next following months. We did test them in parts and have some homework to do,” he added.

Despite going down 0-5 in the first match of the tour, Rani and her side picked themselves up in the next three games. There were occasions where Germany struggled to break the Indian defence down, which impressed Marijne.

“We played that match (first match of the tour) pretty well, but every opportunity was converted into a goal by Germany. That match was a benchmark for the next following matches. I think we did well on the tour, but you have to keep looking at the bigger picture and not only focus on the results of this tour,” said the coach.

Marijne has asked his team not to be disheartened by the results in Germany as he feels fortunes can change during the Tokyo Olympics.

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TIM SOUTHEE REPRIMANDED FOR BREACHING ICC CODE OF CONDUCT

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Tim Southee

WELLINGTON: New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee has been reprimanded for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the third T20I against Australia in Wellington.

Southee was found to have breached Article 2.8 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Player and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “showing dissent at an Umpire’s decision during an International Match.” In addition to this, one demerit point has been added to the disciplinary record of Southee, for whom it was the first offence in a 24-month period.

The incident occurred in the first over of the match on Wednesday, when Southee shouted at the umpire in a disrespectful manner after a leg-before review taken against Australia opener Aaron Finch was declared an umpire’s call and given not out.

Southee admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Jeff Crowe of the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees.

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FINCH & COMPANY STUN NEW ZEALAND IN SERIES DECIDER

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WELLINGTON: Skipper Aaron Finch smashed 79 off 55 balls before the bowlers put on an all-round show to help Australia seal a comfortable 50-run win over New Zealand in the fourth T20I on Friday.

It was a clinical performance from Australia in a must-win match as they bowled out New Zealand for 106 to set up a series decider on Sunday. While Finch led from the front and took Australia to a competitive 156/6 almost single-handedly, it was an all-round performance from the visitors’ bowlers as Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson and Glenn Maxwell all picked wickets.

Chasing a decent 157, New Zealand suffered an early jolt as Agar removed the in-form Martin Guptill in the fifth over with just 21 runs on board.

Wickets kept falling at regular intervals as New Zealand struggled to get a partnership going. Tim Seifert, skipper Kane Williamson, and Glenn Phillips all went cheaply as hosts scored just 41 runs in the first 10 overs.

It seemed like New Zealand was never really interested in the chase as they lost James Neesham and Mitchell Santner in the next two overs. With seven down for 64 runs, the chase was almost over as New Zealand required more than 90 runs in the last six.

Brief Scores: Australia 156/6 (Aaron Finch 79*; Ish Sodhi 3-32); New Zealand 106 (Kyle Jamieson 30; Kane Richardson 3-19)

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RISHABH PANT SHOWS HIS CLASS ONCE AGAIN

Kiran More

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While India’s ace batsmen Kohli, Pujara and Rahane were crumbling before the English bowling attack, Rishabh Pant came out and scored a flamboyant hundred, which not only gave hosts the confidence, but also snatched reins from the visitors.

Initially avoiding playing attacking shots, Rishabh Pant understood the importance of his wicket very well and bided his time and once he started scoring runs, he did not look back. This inning was a brilliant spectacle of aggression and patience.

The England captain took a new ball after 80 overs but energized Pant kept toppling the opposition with class— a reverse sweep against legendary Anderson is an apt example where Pant triumphed with wit and ease. When Anderson made his debut in international cricket, Pant was only five years old.

Rishabh Pant, whose timely ton helped the hosts to cross the 200 run mark, has scored more than 500 runs in this calendar year. Pant today proved that a player who believes in his own shots, showing aggression with his bat when needed, can do wonders for the team. Pant showed the way for Team India, and they are on the road to win the series 3–1. Even the 50-runs lead would have been sufficient on this pitch, but I think India can take this lead to around 125.

Washington Sundar also batted well. If England wants to come back, one of their batsmen has to make at least a century and the rest of the batsmen will also have to bat well. If this does not happen, Team India might win the match by the evening of the third day.

Nevertheless, the decisions of the England team management have been strange. In this match, not including one fast bowler has proved costly on the visitors. On this wicket, Virat Kohli is losing his wicket on rising ball and Rohit on a moving ball, and it is beyond understanding why England did not to play a fast bowler in the team. If the fast bowler had been included, England could likely have been in a good position in this match.

The author has played 49 Tests & 94 ODIs as a wicketkeeper-batsman for Team India.

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PANT WILL BE ALL-TIME GREAT IN YEARS TO COME: GANGULY

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AHMEDABAD: India looked in a tough situation after losing early wickets on day two of the fourth Test against England, but wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant put the hosts back in the driver’s seat with this brilliant century.

Praising Pant for his “unbelievable” knock, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly said that the player will be an “all-time great in all formats” in the years to come. “How good is he? Unbelievable..what a knock under pressure…not the first time and won’t be the last time..will be an all time great in all formats in the years to come.keep batting in this aggressive manner .thats why will be match winner and special..@bcci @RishabhPant17,” Ganguly tweeted.

Reverse sweeping James Anderson to pick a boundary on the second day of a Test match perfectly summed up Pant’s belligerent knock at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday.

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