Motera Stadium gears up to host India's second home pink-ball Test - The Daily Guardian
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Motera Stadium gears up to host India’s second home pink-ball Test

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New Delhi [India], February 22 (ANI): Surpassing Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Motera has become the largest cricket stadium in the world. Located in Sabarmati, Ahmedabad, the Motera Stadium will be inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday as the ground gets ready for the third Test match between India and England, starting on Wednesday.
“The stadium will be inaugurated on Thursday by President Ram Nath Kovind in the special presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. There will be a festive atmosphere in the entire country including Gujarat,” Press Information Bureau (PIB) said in a release.
The Sardar Patel Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad is spread over 63 acres, with a seating capacity of 1.10 lakh people. Currently, Melbourne is the largest cricket stadium in the world. It can accommodate 90,000 people simultaneously. After the ‘Statue of Unity’ i.e. the world’s largest statue of Sardar Patel built in Gujarat, now the state is going to set the new record of housing the world’s largest stadium in cricket.
Built at an estimated cost of Rs 800 crore, the beauty of this stadium is incredible. The stadium is constructed by the Larsen & Turbo (L&T) company, which also built the Statue of Unity in a very short span of 5 years, it added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Dream Project of the largest stadium in Motera has 76 corporate boxes, Olympic level swimming pool, indoor academy, four dressing rooms for athletes, food courts and GCA club house.
A total of 11 clay pitches of six red and five black soil have been prepared in the stadium. It is the first stadium to use both coloured clay for main and practice pitches. In the event of rain, the pitch can be dried in only 30 minutes.
The state-of-the-art LED floodlights will not warm up the atmosphere and will provide comfort to the spectators as well as the cricketers. An innovative feature of this stadium is that the 360-degree podium concourse at a height of 9 meters simplifies the movement of spectators, as well as provides a uniform view to the spectators from any stand.
The corporate boxes that are designed have a seating capacity of 25 each. Huge dressing rooms have been created for both teams. Separate state-of-the-art gyms have also been set up. A special lounge has been built near the players and VIP entrance. The autographed bat collection of players from the teams of IPL and World Cup matches played so far in the Autograph Gallery at the stadium is the center of attraction. The “Hall of Fame”, featuring photographs of world-renowned cricketers, catches the eyeballs of the spectators.
When the old stadium was demolished in 2016, the Motera Stadium had a capacity of 54,000 spectators. The foundation stone of the new cricket stadium was laid by the Gujarat Cricket Association in January 2018 for the construction of a new and state-of-the-art and fully equipped stadium. Completed in a short span of two years, this stadium is becoming another feather in the cap of Gujarat. (ANI)

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Agar scalps six as Australia thrash New Zealand in 3rd T20I

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 3 (ANI): Skipper Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell smashed half centuries before Ashton Agar spun a web over the Kiwi batsmen to steer Australia to a 64-run win over New Zealand in the third T20I on Wednesday.
New Zealand was 109/3 at one stage, but Agar wreaked havoc and picked six wickets to bundle out the hosts for 144. Agar turned the game in Australia’s favour with three wickets in the 13th over. New Zealand now lead the five-match series 2-1.
For James Neesham it was an unforgettable night as he not only went wicketless, but also leaked runs at an economy rate of 15. The all-rounder was also dismissed for a golden duck despite coming in the game on the back of a stellar performance in the second T20I.
Chasing a mammoth 209, New Zealand got off to a bad start as they lost opener Tim Seifert in the second over. Debutant Riley Meredith conceded a six and a four in his first over, but took a wicket off the last ball.
Martin Guptill continued from where he left the other night but Meredith again stole the show when he dismissed skipper Kane Williamson in his second over.
However, New Zealand seemed well on track as the hosts ended the powerplay with 59 runs on board. In the ninth over, Adam Zampa got the wicket of the dangerous Guptill.
Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips then played risk-free cricket to ensure the hosts didn’t suffer any more hiccups during the chase. Just when their partnership started flourishing, Agar put Australia in control by dismissing both batsmen in the same over.
The left-arm spinner then dismissed Neesham for a golden duck to end New Zealand’s hopes of winning the game. Agar kept accounting for wickets to record best figures as New Zealand folded for 144.
Earlier, Australia had posted 208/4 from their 20 overs courtesy half-centuries from Finch and Maxwell, and a quickfire 43 from Josh Philippe
If Maxwell smashed 28 runs off a Neesham over, it was a welcome return to form for skipper Finch as had faced the wrath of former cricketers in the last few weeks.
Brief Scores: Australia 208/4 (Glenn Maxwell 70, Aaron Finch 69; Ish Sodhi 2-32); New Zealand 144 (Martin Guptill 43, Devon Conway 38; Ashton Agar 6-30) (ANI)

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For teams like us, it is just a distraction when you start thinking of WTC: Kohli

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 3 (ANI): Ahead of the fourth and final Test of the series against England, India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday said the World Test Championship (WTC) is a distraction for them as the team is already motivated enough to play Test cricket or any form of the game.
The fourth Test is decisive for the hosts as it would take them to the WTC final. India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the third Test and took the 2-1 lead in the series.
India only need to draw the final Test against Joe Root’s men in order to seal a spot in the WTC final. Axar, playing in just his second Test, scalped 11 wickets in the day-night Test to spin a web over the Englishmen.
“To be brutally honest it (WTC) might work for teams that are not motivated enough to play Test cricket. Teams like us who are motivated to play Test cricket and want to win Test matches and keep the Indian cricket team at the top of the world in Test cricket we have no issues whatsoever whether it is WTC or not,” Kohli said in a virtual press conference.
“I think for teams like us, it is just a distraction when you start thinking of WTC. Eventually, it is only a game of cricket. World Cup final, semifinal anything you take it is the game of cricket at the end of the day. And if you are not motivated to play a normal game of cricket and extra motivated to play a game of cricket which has some incentive to it for me, as an individual that is unacceptable. We as a team have never played with that mindset. For us any game is important, we are going to go for result whenever an opportunity presents itself that’s why people want to watch us as a team now,” he added.
When asked if spinner Kuldeep Yadav has fallen down in the pecking order, the skipper replied: “There is no issue with skill, there is no issue with headspace. His game is absolutely precise, bowling better than he has ever bowled before. We need to make sure that we cover all facets of the game, we have our strongest balanced squad on the park. See if Jadeja is playing and you are talking about the third spinner then Kuldeep comes into the picture way more because of Jadeja’s experience with the bat and the number of times he has done the job for the team. Right now, we are going in with Ashwin. Washi is playing, Axar is playing. Washi has scored few runs so yes they can contribute with the bat, but it is not same experience as Jadeja.
“So, the combination becomes very different when Jadeja comes. You can play Kuldeep who is primarily a wrist spinning bowler but it’s all about the combinations. He will always be in consideration to play whatever game is in front of us purely because of his skill with the ball,” he added.
The fourth Test of the series will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium from Thursday. (ANI)

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NRAI to discuss Sports Code, banned shooters in General Body meeting

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By Nitin Srivastava
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) will discuss the Sports Code and also the banned shooters in its general body meeting, scheduled to take place on Friday.
“It’s a very important meeting because we are going to discuss some important issues… The agenda is to discuss Sports Code. We want to have a detailed discussion over the Sports Code as it is important to understand the aspects. As of now, I can say that Sports Code is the main topic of this meeting. Apart from Sports Code, there will be a discussion on banned shooters as well,” a source in the association told ANI.
Last month, NRAI President Raninder Singh had said that he would be persuading the General Body of the National Federation to stay the decision taken by the Governing Body to ban certain shooters from the next Nationals for disciplinary reasons.
Invoking powers vested on him as President, Raninder, in a statement, had said: “It has always been our endeavor to act in the best interests of our sport and our shooters. As such, no one is as pained as us when at times severe action is needed to be taken on anyone belonging to the shooting fraternity, most of all, on our dear shooters.
“I received several requests from the parents and the affected shooters themselves on the recent decision taken by the Governing Body. As such I have decided to refer the decision to the General Body, scheduled to meet early next month, and persuade them to not implement the said decision. However, this will certainly be a one-off, and any such disciplinary breach, will not be tolerated in the future,” he had added.
The Governing Body of the NRAI had banned as many as 15 shooters from taking part in the next Nationals, for breach of discipline. They are: Sriharsha R. Devaraddi, Keshav Sharma, Vikram Singh Bhati, Imroz Ahmed, Pratyush Aman Barik, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, Tarun Kumar Dahiya, Meenal Yadav, Tejpreet Kaur Oberoi, Dilpreet Singh, Rajeev Ranjan, Visnu Shivraj Pandian, Krishan Kumar, Jyothi H Sannakki, and Ishank Ahuja. (ANI)

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Mary Kom appointed as chairperson of AIBA champions and veterans committee

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Lausanne [Switzerland], March 3 (ANI): Six-time world champion pugilist Mary Kom has been appointed as the chairperson of the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) champions and veterans committee.
“With great pleasure I inform you that you have been selected to serve as the chairperson of the AIBA Champions and Veteran Committee following the mail vote by the board of directors of AIBA,” AIBA President Umar Kremlev said in a letter to the 2012 Olympic bronze-medallist.
“I am confident with your vast knowledge and experience you will make a valuable contribution to the success of this important committee,” he added.
The committee, formed in December last year, “consists of most respected worldwide boxing veterans and champions who have achieved significant results and who are ready to share their experience.”
Mary Kom thanked AIBA president and said she will give her best at the position.
Taking to Twitter, Mary Kom wrote, “Thank you so much @Kremlev_U @AIBA_Boxing President and all boxing family for giving me the new assignment. I will give my best and put my voice for the upliftments of @AIBA_Boxing @BFI_official @Media_SAI.”
Mary Kom and Amit Panghal are part of 12 Indian boxers who would need just one win to secure a medal at the Boxam International Tournament in Spain after they drew themselves in the quarter-finals.
The draw for the event was unveiled on Tuesday and it would see six-time world champion Mary Kom clash against Italy’s Giordana Sorrentino in the 51kg category of the tournament. (ANI)

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ICC T20I Rankings: KL Rahul firm at second spot, Kohli moves to sixth

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Dubai [UAE], March 3 (ANI): New Zealand left-hander Devon Conway and opener Martin Guptill may have missed out on centuries in the first two T20Is of their home series against Australia, but the duo made significant gains in the latest ICC men’s T20I rankings. India batsman KL Rahul has retained his second spot in the batsmen rankings while skipper Virat Kohli has moved one spot to attain the sixth spot.
Conway’s 99 not out in the Christchurch opener has helped him gain 46 spots and reach 17th position after just eight matches while Guptill, who has reached as high as second in the past, has gained three slots to reach 11th position after his knock of 97 in Dunedin.
In what is a chance for both sides to prepare for this year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in India, New Zealand took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series and had some other fine performances too that resulted in significant gains for their players.
Glenn Philips and Jimmy Neesham have moved up in the list for batsmen while Tim Southee (up to one place to sixth), Mitchell Santner (up to two places to seventh), Ish Sodhi (up to three places to 11th), and Trent Boult (up 24 places to 49th) have progressed in the bowlers’ list.
For Australia, Marcus Stoinis’s knock of 78 in the second match sees him gain 77 places to reach 110th position. Matthew Wade (up from 132nd to 118th) among batsmen and Jhye Richardson (re-entered at 115th) among bowlers are the others to gain from the mid-series update as per the new system which sees a weekly update for all women’s player rankings on Tuesday and those for men on Wednesday. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Not here to offer explanation, we play to win, says Kohli

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 3 (ANI): India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday said that he would not be giving any explanations on all the outside noise regarding the conditions on offer as he and his team play to win. He went on to add that for him, it was about the batsmen failing to put on a good show in the third Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
“I do not understand why the cricket ball and pitch are brought into focus this often, it was about the batsmen not being skilled enough on that pitch to play properly. It was a bizarre display of batting from both teams. I have played this game long enough to understand what happens on the field. I would love if people ask me the question about home advantage when we are on a tour of Australia and England, not when you have seen two turning tracks,” said Kohli during a virtual press conference on Thursday.
“I would like to ask a question? You play to win or you play to take the game five days and have some entertainment? We play to win, we don’t play that everyone scores runs. We play to win, people should enjoy when India wins, it should not matter in how many days the match is finishing. In the previous games, runs have been scored, you cannot criticise based on one game. Unfortunately, we do not want to give any explanation, so this question is not relevant to me, our focus is to win.”
Commenting on the social media milestones, Kohli said: “Hitting 100 million followers mark is no motivation to me, I am not bothered about these things. The only thing that inspires me is how can I be a better person and cricketer, I just want to improve myself.”
When asked whether he supports rotation policy in the longest format of the game, Kohli said: “I think any format can be right for rotation, no human being can go through these many games, everyone needs to have a window to have a break, especially with the bubble format and the systems you have to follow in the bubble, it is pretty hard to stay excited about small things. Outside of that, it depends on how you stand mentally and physically, mental fatigue can be a big factor, these things are important and this is where our bench strength becomes important.
“If the guys are hungry and they are brave to take the opportunities, then you can rotate easily. We have a clear roadmap where we need to go in the next four-five years, we have a clear plan that we need to follow.”
Talking about how Cheteshwar Pujara is the lynchpin of this Indian Test team, Kohli passionately said: “Pujara himself knows the things he needs to improve on. The fact of the matter is that four years ago, he was criticised for not scoring away from home, he was only a home track bully, now he is performing for you all over the world, now a couple of innings he has struggled where everyone has done the same barring Rohit.
“Ash (Ashwin) played well, Jinx (Rahane) got a fifty, I got a couple of 50s, it has not been easy. If you now start criticising his game at home, I do not think it would be fair and I will say it again and again, along with Jinx, he is our most important Test batsman. He is a very responsible guy, I am sure he will keep solidifying his game,” he added.
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 final of the World Test Championship (WTC). (ANI)

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