NOW IT IS THE TIME TO PICK UP TROPHY: DC COACH PONTING - The Daily Guardian
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NOW IT IS THE TIME TO PICK UP TROPHY: DC COACH PONTING

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Delhi Capitals (DC) have got enough firepower to win their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) title if the players address a few areas well and play their best game in the final against four-time champions Mumbai Indians (MI) here on Tuesday, DC head coach Ricky Ponting said on Monday.

“We’ve got enough firepower [to beat MI]. If they will be sitting back and thinking if there’s a team they wouldn’t want to play, it’ll be us. But it’s about us — it’s about how we turn up, how we play, as simple as that,” Ponting said.

“We’ve been long way from our best in the games we’ve played against Mumbai so far, and once we sit down today and try to address some of the areas that we haven’t played well against them — our powerplay batting, our death bowling — if we rectify those things and play somewhere near our best then absolutely I’ve got no doubt that we’ll win,” said the former Australia captain.

Ponting admitted that it had been a bit of topsy-turvy tournament for his team.

“I had pretty high expectations coming here. I knew we had put a really good squad of players together. We had a great start, but things got a little bit shaky towards the back-end. But the boys have managed to play two really good games out of their last three, and hopefully we can play our best game in the final,” he said optimistically.

“Looking back, yeah it’s been a good season, but we still haven’t won anything yet — and that’s what we are here for — we are here to win the IPL, and we’ll give it our best shot,” he said.

Delhi Capitals, in their previous avatar reached the semi-finals in the first two editions of the IPL, in 2008 and 2009, besides finishing third in third in 2012. Then, as Delhi Capitals, they finished third, again, last year.

“Once we sit down today, we will try to address some of the areas that we have not played well against them in the past. Another thing with Mumbai is that they have played a pretty fearless brand of cricket, certainly with the way they batted.”

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Ind vs Eng: Chris Woakes flies home from Test tour

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 27 (ANI): All-rounder Chris Woakes will not be available for selection in the playing XI for the fourth and final Test between England and India as he has left the tour for his pre-planned break.
According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, Woakes left England’s bio-secure bubble on Thursday to fly back home.
The 31-year-old cricketer named in England squad for South Africa, Sri Lanka, and India series but wasn’t picked in the playing XI in any of the tours.
Jos Buttler played the first Test and then he was back home while all-rounder Moeen Ali did the same after playing the second game.
Earlier Jonny Bairstow was rested for the first two Tests while premier pacer James Anderson missed the second game even after England emerged victorious in the opening game.
This is all a part of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) rotation policy. And now Woakes has returned home to be with his wife two young daughters.
In the third Test, India defeated England within two days to seal the pink-ball game quite comprehensively. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that didn’t turn and skidded through from the spinners.
England head coach Chris Silverwood on Friday said that his side expected the pitch in the third Test against India to hold on a little longer than it did at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
“First and foremost, it’s just a follow-up from what Joe Root said yesterday, he got 5/8 yesterday but at the same time, whatever the pitch did or it didn’t do, India ultimately played better than us on that surface, probably they pushed us to the extremes which our players haven’t experienced before,” said Silverwood in a virtual press conference on Friday.
Meanwhile, England, who are now 2-1 down in the four-match series, are 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.
India needs to either win or draw the last Test to stay ahead of Australia, who are in third place with 69.2 percentage points. (ANI)

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Tiger Woods in ‘good spirits’ after successful follow-up procedures

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Los Angeles [USA], February 27 (ANI): Golf legend Tiger Woods, who was involved in a single-car accident, is recovering after receiving additional procedures at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Woods had suffered significant orthopaedic injuries to his right lower extremity but the golf superstar is now in “good spirits” after the treatment.
“Tiger has moved to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and received follow-up procedures on his injuries this morning. The procedures were successful, and he is now recovering and in good spirits,” a statement read from Tiger Woods Twitter account.
“Tiger and his family want to thank you all for the wonderful support and messages they have received over the past few days. We will not have any further updates at this time. Thank you for your continued privacy,” it added.

Earlier this week, in a statement released on Woods’ Twitter account, Anish Mahajan, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Interim CEO at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, informed about the extent of injuries suffered by the golfer.
“Woods suffered significant orthopaedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by Orthopaedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center. Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia,” the statement quoted Mahajan as saying.
“Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins. Trauma to the muscle and soft-tissue of the leg required surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling,” it added.
Woods was injured after the car he was driving met with an accident in Los Angeles County on Tuesday. (ANI)

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Chris Gayle, Fidel Edwards recalled to West Indies’ T20I squad for Sri Lanka series

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St John’s [Antigua], February 27 (ANI): Star batsman Chris Gayle will return to play for West Indies for the first time in two years while pacer Fidel Edwards has been included in the squad after nine years.
Edwards, who last played an international game in 2012, and Gayle were named in the West Indies squad for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka.
Off-spinner Kevin Sinclair earned his first West Indies selection and left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein gets his first T20I call-up after being named in the squad.
“As we build towards the defence of the T20 World Cup, the opportunity is being taken to determine our best team and squad as we go forward,” Cricket West Indies (CWI) lead selector Roger Harper said in an official statement.
“Chris Gayle has performed very well in recent tournaments and the selection panel thinks that he can still add great value to our team. Fidel Edwards has been selected to give the bowling the potent firepower needed,” he added.
West Indies also named the ODI squad for the Sri Lanka series and Test skipper Jason Holder has been included in both white-ball segments. The three T20I matches will be played on March 3, 5 and 7 at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua, while the ODI series will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, Antigua on March 10, 12, and 14.
“Jason Holder has shown his all-round value in this format in recent times and after missing a few series he will add depth and experience to the squad. Akeal Hosein performed very well in Bangladesh [ODI Series] and had excellent stats in the CPL so this is an opportunity to see how he equips himself in this format,” said Harper.
“Kevin Sinclair grabbed our attention in the Super50 Cup back in 2019 and has been consistently economical in the last CPL and the current CG Insurance Super50. He will provide an off-spinning option for the team,” he added.
All-rounder Andre Russell is still recovering from contracting COVID-19 earlier this month, and despite testing negative over a week ago was ruled out of the T20Is by the CWI Medical Panel whilst he completes his “return to play” protocols.
Fast bowlers Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas, along with batsman Shimron Hetmyer, and all-rounder Roston Chase all failed to reach the minimum fitness standard in time for selection consideration. They will all remain in Antigua after the CGI Insurance Super50 Cup to work on their fitness and conditioning. (ANI)

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PSL 6: Sherfane Rutherford, Wahab Riaz shine as Peshawar Zalmi beat Quetta Gladiators by 3 wickets

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Karachi [Pakistan], February 27 (ANI): Late onslaught from Sherfane Rutherford and Wahab Riaz guided Peshawar Zalmi to a thrilling three-wicket win over Quetta Gladiators in the PSL 6 on Friday.
Chasing a huge 199 to win, Zalmi found themselves struggling at 145 for five in 15.5 overs and required 54 from 25 balls when Wahab joined Rutherford.
Both batsmen took bowlers to the cleaners and collected 44 runs in the next three overs to bring down the equation to only six required off the last over.
Mohammad Hasnain got Wahab (20 off 8) on the first ball of the last over but bowled a wide full toss away from the keeper which cost the team five runs, and eventually, Rutherford played the winning shot hand Zalmi their second win of the season with three balls spare.
Rutherford remained unbeaten on 36 off 18 balls, which included one four and four towering sixes.
Zalmi’s run chase got off to a wobbly start as they lost experienced Kamran Akmal (3 off 8) and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (4 off 4) in the first four overs for 27.
It was Haider Ali’s sizzling half-century that helped Zalmi stage a comeback and set the platform for his team to surmount the mammoth total. The 20-year-old smashed 50 off 29.
Undeterred by the fall of wickets, Haider timed his first ball for a four behind point and smashed his third for a gigantic six down the ground off Hasnain’s full-toss.
He accumulated 17 runs off Usman Shinwari in the 13th over, dispatching the left-arm pacer for a boundary through cover and a six over deep long-on before an inside edge of his bat went for four.
The youngsters spanked as many as five fours and two sixes and received the desired support from opener Imam-ul-Haq from the other end as the pair knitted a crucial 51-run partnership.
Imam was bowled by leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood for 41 off 30 balls. His innings included four fours and a six.
Haider, then, was joined by experienced Shoaib Malik with the side still required another 120 runs from 64 balls.
Haider brought up his second half century of his HBL PSL career off 28 balls and was caught off Dale Steyn on the next. Steyn, playing his first match of the season, took two wickets for 44 in four overs.
Following Zalmi captain Wahab’s decision to field, the crowd at the National Stadium was treated with sumptuous stroke play by Gladiators’ captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who scored his fourth HBL PSL half-century, and young hard-hitting batsman Azam Khan after they accumulated runs at seven an over in the batting powerplay.
Openers Cameron Delport (2 off 5) and Saim Ayub (21 off 19) were back in the pavilion in the seventh over with 48 runs on the board.
Faf du Plessis, who has come in as a partial replacement for Chris Gayle, was joined by Sarfaraz, who smashed 12 fours and a six in his impressive 40-ball 81, and the pair contributed 40 runs for the third wicket, before du Plessis fell to his former teammate Wahab for 37. The former South Africa captain struck four fours and a six in his 26-ball innings.
Azam Khan, coming to bat at number five, smashed bowlers all around the dial and struck a 105-run stand for the fourth wicket with his captain. Azam scored 47 off 26 balls, hitting six fours and two sixes – one of them landing on the roof of the stadium.
Saqib Mahmood was the pick of the bowlers for Peshawar Zalmi, taking three for 34. Gladiators have played three matches in the ongoing season and are yet to open their account.
Brief Scores: Quetta Gladiators 198/7 (Sarfaraz Ahmed 81, Azam Khan 47; Saqib Mahmood 3-34); Peshawar Zalmi 202/7 (Haider Ali 50, Imam-ul-Haq 41; Dale Steyn 2-44) (ANI)

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Karnataka State Cricket Association reached its pinnacle under Vinay Kumar’s leadership: Jaffer

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New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): Former India Test batsman Wasim Jaffer hailed pacer Vinay Kumar for taking Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) to new heights under his leadership.
Vinay on Friday announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. Jaffer congratulated the fast bowler on a “wonderful career”. The former Indian cricketer also highlighted Vinay’s ability to challenge the technique of the batsmen.
“KSCA reached its pinnacle under your leadership, winning the ‘treble’ twice! A determined cricketer and a bowler who always challenged the technique of batsmen. And your energy on the field was infectious. Congratulations on a wonderful career and best wishes for future Vinay!” Jaffer tweeted.
While announcing his retirement, Vinay Kumar had tweeted: “Today “Davangere Express” after running for 25 years and passing so many stations of cricketing life, has finally arrived at a station called “retirement”.
“With a lot of mixed emotions, I Vinay Kumar R hereby announce my retirement from international and first-class cricket. It is not an easy decision to make, however, there comes a time in every sportsperson’s life where one has to call it a day.”
Vinay Kumar played for India in all three formats of the game. In his career, he played 1 Test, 31 ODIs, and 9 T20Is for the country, managing to take 49 wickets across all formats of the game.
His best figures in his international career came in the ODI format where he returned with the figures of 4/30 against England in Delhi in 2011.
Vinay Kumar played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Kochi Tuskers Kerela in the Indian Premier League. He also led Karnataka to two consecutive Ranji Trophy titles in 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
In November 2018, he had played his 100th match in the Ranji Trophy. In 2019, he had moved from Karnataka to Puducherry, ahead of the Ranji Trophy season. (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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