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Pandemic taught us value of family, health: Amit Mishra

Every sportsman is missing playing their sport but lockdown rules must be followed, the ace spinner tells The Daily Guardian.

Vineet Malhotra

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Amit Mishra
Pandemic taught us value of family, health: Amit Mishra

Amit Mishra, Indian spin wizard and IPL sensation, talks to The Daily Guardian about life during lockdown. Excerpts:

Q: Tell us what have you been doing during this lockdown?

A: For the last 20 years I have been working and travelling. So, for the first two weeks of the lockdown I did not know what to do, but slowly realised how this has given me more time with my family, with whom I hardly spend any time because of my hectic work schedule. I am feeling really good. A lot of positivity has come out of my time spent with my family.

Q: When you were playing cricket, home sickness was a big contention for all cricketers. Living out of a suitcase became a part and parcel of your life. Are you missing cricket now?

A: I am still playing and any sportsman misses their family when they play. But right now, it has been more than six months so I am sure every sportsman is missing playing their sport. There is a requirement to follow the rules as well. Staying at home is paramount to kill the virus. I urge everyone to stay at home.

Q: You still have a lot of cricket left in you. Have you been feeling desperation sitting at home to get back to the nets and practise?

A: It is very true, for every cricketer it is important to play at the nets and with one’s opponents. The more matches you play, the better you get. Hopefully, we get to play soon when all of this is over. No doubt, I am missing cricket. But we must keep our families safe and stay at home. Slowly we shall go back to our normal lives and I hope it happens soon. You will see us playing cricket soon.

Q: What are you doing to stay fit during this lockdown?

A: The most important part to stay fit and maintain a good body is to fix one’s food habits. Staying in this lockdown has made me realise how important it is to maintain a healthy diet. Fifty per cent of what you eat is the input that comes out. I have stopped carbs and sweets, which has helped me a lot. My body is feeling very light, and if one concentrates on eating healthy, they get better results too.

Q: You are the first cricketer in IPL history with three hat-tricks. Do you see your videos on YouTube?

A: I do watch myself on the Internet; who doesn’t? I generally watch myself before playing a match or have an interesting session of cricket. I like to see what I did right and what I did wrong. I try and reinforce the right aspects I pick up from my videos. There are so many cricketers today like Shane Warne whose videos I watch and try and learn from their style, which suits my style as well. I then practise at the nets as much as I can.

Q: The Australian cricket board has said when the Covid-19 scare dies down, Test cricket should be resumed. They have also said that when a situation such as this occurs, it’s cricket and the fans watching cricket who get out of routine and look forward to watching it as much as they can.

A: I support this statement wholeheartedly that cricket has got people together. It has united people—not now, but for a very long time. It’s a game loved by many. Right now, the problem is the virus, which is spreading rapidly. Covid does not discriminate between the rich and the poor, and can be caught by anyone. We should know enough about the virus and how to keep away and safe from it as well. The symptoms of Covid are very hard to track as well. Not that I am saying cricket should not happen, all I am saying is health is paramount and we should tackle that first. If one gets it, one can give it to 50 people, which is very scary.

Q: I have asked you enough about cricket, let us now shift our focus towards Covid. Do you think compared to the other countries in the world India has done a good job of handling the crisis and controlling the spread of Covid-19?

A: I am very proud of India. The lockdown started at the right moment and was strict. It was a very well thought of step, which worked. Because of the lockdown we have been able to contain the virus and are doing very well. Our population is huge and controlling a virus like this is hard but we managed. I would like to compliment Prime Minister Narendra Modi for doing such a good job and more than anything else I would like to thank and commend every Indian in this fight together. We will overcome this soon and things will go back to normal.

Q: On a lighter note, during the lockdown what is the new skill that you picked up?

A: I have learnt how to make tea during this lockdown, I love tea and need it in the morning. I wake up and make my own tea now. I dust the house also. I never liked reading books or even newspaper. Now I have started and I am enjoying it and give it half an hour.

Q: To keep the tradition and culture of Test cricket alive, many experiments are being done. You are playing under the light, you are playing with a pink ball. Is this necessary according to you to keep the game’s purest form alive?

A: You are right, Test cricket for me is the biggest priority as one gets tested as a cricketer. Sometimes what happens is that we try and change things at times to give it a new twist to entertain people. At the end of the day, it’s about the viewers and they too need to see changes to keep the game interesting for them. Some changes are important and what has been done until now is fine, but no more.

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Roger Federer confirms his participation in French Open

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Swiss tennis maestro Roger Federer has confirmed that he would be participating in this year’s French Open.

Taking to Twitter, Federer wrote: “Hi everyone! Happy to let you know that I will play Geneva and Paris. Until then I will use the time to train. Can’t wait to play in Switzerland again.” Earlier this month, the French Open organisers had informed that in agreement with the French public authorities and the governing bodies of international tennis, the French Tennis Federation made the responsible decision to postpone the 2021 Roland-Garros tournament by one week, which will now be held from May 24 to June 13.

In his latest speech on March 31, the French President announced that a schedule to progressively get cultural and sporting events back up and running would be set up from mid-May onwards, subject to the improvement of the health situation.

“Using this as their starting point, the FFT worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the relevant government services on potential scenarios for organising Roland-Garros, while taking the international sporting calendar into account,” read a statement from organisers. ANI INPUTS

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RESURGENT MUMBAI GEARING UP TO TAKE ON IN-FORM DELHI

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Defending champion Mumbai Indians (MI) are all set for the big battle as they take on in-form Delhi Capitals (DC) at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday.

MI will need to address their middle-order woes if they are to go for a third consecutive win. Delhi, fresh after beating Punjab Kings by six wickets at the Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, have recorded back-to-back victories by defending low totals.

MI skipper Rohit Sharma has got starts and he would be keen to convert it into a big one and so would be Quinton de Kock. The team has a stellar lineup with the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and his brother Krunal—each of them can decimate the opponents on their day. Sadly, for MI, they are yet to fire on all cylinders. No wonder, after the last game, Rohit had conceded that his team “can bat a little better in the middle overs”.

The MI bowlers, led by pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, have been splendid in the last two games when they successfully defended low scores of 150 and 152 respectively. Strike bowlers Bumrah (3 wickets) and New Zealander Trent Boult (6 wickets) have been exceptional at the death. As for leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, he has grabbed seven wickets in last two games.

Meanwhile, for Delhi Capitals, the biggest positive has been the form of Shikhar Dhawan, who is the leading scorer so far in the tournament with 186 runs. Dhawan and young Prithvi Shaw form a strong opening combination, but the Mumbaikar needs to convert his starts into big scores.

Delhi opted for Australian Steve Smith on Sunday but, as they are next playing on the slow Chepauk track, they might go back to Ajinkya Rahane, who is looking better suited for such tracks.

Skipper Rishabh Pant has the ability to take any attack to the cleaners. The Delhi team also possesses a quality all-rounder in Marcus Stoinis. Their pace attack is led by South African Kagiso Rabada and Chris Woakes—the two have been impressive so far. They also have strong spin options, from R. Ashwin to Amit Mishra.

Delhi Capitals opener Shikha Dhawan feels that his team will face a mental challenge when the two teams lock horns at the Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.TEAM ANALYSIS

DELHI CAPITALS 

STRENGTHS

• Shikhar Dhawan & Prithvi Shaw in good touch

• Stoinis & Lalit Yadav good in a cameo role

• In Iast match R. Ashwin was economical

• Avesh Khan is a new sensation

WEAKNESSES

• Main strike bowler Kagiso Rabada is expensive

• Chris Woakes and Lukman Meriwala were expensive in the last match

MUMBAI INDIANS

STRENGTHS

• Trent Boult & Jasprit Bumrah are effective

• Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, a good wicket taking bowler

WEAKNESSES

• Third seamer not performing well

• Overall batting is not performing up to their potential

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Premier League’s top six clubs confirm launch of European Super League

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A group of 12 European clubs on Monday confirmed their plans to launch a new European Super League. Among these 12, six belong to Premier League—Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

This European Super League has been met with severe backlash ever since reports started doing rounds in the media. Despite this, the 12 clubs have now confirmed the formation and format for the new competition.

A joint statement released by the 12 clubs said: “Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its founding clubs. AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as founding clubs. It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.”

“Going forward, the founding clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole. The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model. Further, for a number of years, the founding clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.”

In a statement, all these 12 clubs also confirmed the format for this new league. “20 participating clubs with 15 founding clubs and a qualifying mechanism for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season. Midweek fixtures with all participating clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues, preserving the traditional domestic match calendar which remains at the heart of the club game,” the 12 clubs said in an official statement.

“An August start with clubs participating in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals. Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions. A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue,” it added.

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Moeen and Jadeja spin a web around Royals

Spirited batting and bowling performances lead Chennai Super Kings to a 45-run victory over Rajasthan Royals at Wankhede Stadium.Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja shared five wickets between them to dismantle Rajasthan Royals as Chennai Super Kings registered a 45-run victory here at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.

A spirited batting performance by Chennai guided them to a total of 188/9 in their allotted 20 overs. In reply, Rajasthan only managed to post 143/9 despite getting a decent start. Chasing 189, openers Manan Vohra and Buttler provided a 30-run stand for the first wicket before pacer Sam Curran picked the former in the fourth over. Vohra departed after scoring 14 runs.

Skipper Sanju Samson (1) failed to leave his mark on the scoreboard and lost his wicket cheaply in the final over of the powerplay. It was again Curran who took the wicket of Samson and brought Rajasthan under pressure. Shivam Dube joined Buttler in middle and the duo stitched a 42-run partnership for third wicket. In the 12th over, Ravindra Jadeja sent both the batsmen back to the pavilion.

First, he picked well-set Buttler, who played a knock of 49 off 35 balls including two sixes and five fours, and then on the last ball of the over he grabbed Dube (17). Dube was caught in front of the wickets. However, the all-rounder reviewed the decision but the on-field umpire›s decision stayed firm. The trouble did not end for Rajasthan after losing two wickets in quick succession as Moeen Ali bagged new batsman David Miller (2) in the next over.

Fiery Moeen was again brought into the attack. In the 15th over, England all-rounder dismissed Riyan Parag (3) and last-match hero Chris Morris on a duck. CSK totally took control of the game as they dragged Rajasthan from 87/3 to 95/7 in no time.

Rahul Tewatia kept the fighting spirit alive but failed to put his side over the line. He played a knock of 20 runs. Jaydev Unadkat too contributed with the bat and scored 24 runs. For CSK, Moeen returned with the figures of 3-7 from his three overs while Jadeja and Curran bagged two scalps each.

Earlier, Faf du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu scored at a firing rate before Dwayne Bravo›s 20 runs off 8 balls came handy in the death overs as CSK posted 188/9 in their allotted 20 overs.

Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, CSK was right on track for a big score before Chetan Sakariya dismissed both Suresh Raina and Rayudu in his third over.

Sakariya in the 14th over broke CSK’s momentum and came back to dismiss skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Most CSK batsmen got a move on but weren’t able to convert it in a big score. In the final four overs, CSK scored 55 runs despite losing four wickets.

Put in to bat first, CSK got off to a decent start before it was undone by Mustafizur Rahman, who dismissed opening batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad in the fourth over.

But Faf du Plessis continued his onslaught as he pulled off two back-to-back scoops for boundaries. The South Africa batsman then sliced a six over long-off before smashing another four as he took on Jaydev Unadkat in the fifth over.

Chris Morris ended Du Plessis› stint before completion of the powerplay to reduce CSK to 45/2. Moeen Ali continued from he left the other night as he whacked the ball right from the word go. However, Rahul Tewatia dismissed the England all-rounder in the 10th over against run of play as CSK lost the third wicket at the score of 78. In the 11th and 12th over, CSK got a move on as Suresh Raina and Ambati Ambati Rayudu clubbed 30 off 12 balls. However, Rajasthan Royals again made a comeback as Chetan Sakariya dismissed both the batsmen in the same over to reduce CSK to 125/5.

The next few overs saw CSK scoring at sluggish rate.Dhoni tried to free his arms by smashing two boundaries but wasn’t able to middle the next ball. In the end, Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo’s contribution helped CSK get over the 180-run mark.

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Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja shared five wickets between them to dismantle Rajasthan Royals as Chennai Super Kings registered a 45-run victory here at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.

A spirited batting performance by Chennai guided them to a total of 188/9 in their allotted 20 overs. In reply, Rajasthan only managed to post 143/9 despite getting a decent start. Chasing 189, openers Manan Vohra and Buttler provided a 30-run stand for the first wicket before pacer Sam Curran picked the former in the fourth over. Vohra departed after scoring 14 runs.

Skipper Sanju Samson (1) failed to leave his mark on the scoreboard and lost his wicket cheaply in the final over of the powerplay. It was again Curran who took the wicket of Samson and brought Rajasthan under pressure. Shivam Dube joined Buttler in middle and the duo stitched a 42-run partnership for third wicket. In the 12th over, Ravindra Jadeja sent both the batsmen back to the pavilion.

First, he picked well-set Buttler, who played a knock of 49 off 35 balls including two sixes and five fours, and then on the last ball of the over he grabbed Dube (17). Dube was caught in front of the wickets. However, the all-rounder reviewed the decision but the on-field umpire›s decision stayed firm. The trouble did not end for Rajasthan after losing two wickets in quick succession as Moeen Ali bagged new batsman David Miller (2) in the next over.

Fiery Moeen was again brought into the attack. In the 15th over, England all-rounder dismissed Riyan Parag (3) and last-match hero Chris Morris on a duck. CSK totally took control of the game as they dragged Rajasthan from 87/3 to 95/7 in no time.

Rahul Tewatia kept the fighting spirit alive but failed to put his side over the line. He played a knock of 20 runs. Jaydev Unadkat too contributed with the bat and scored 24 runs. For CSK, Moeen returned with the figures of 3-7 from his three overs while Jadeja and Curran bagged two scalps each.

Earlier, Faf du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu scored at a firing rate before Dwayne Bravo›s 20 runs off 8 balls came handy in the death overs as CSK posted 188/9 in their allotted 20 overs.

Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, CSK was right on track for a big score before Chetan Sakariya dismissed both Suresh Raina and Rayudu in his third over.

Sakariya in the 14th over broke CSK’s momentum and came back to dismiss skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Most CSK batsmen got a move on but weren’t able to convert it in a big score. In the final four overs, CSK scored 55 runs despite losing four wickets.

Put in to bat first, CSK got off to a decent start before it was undone by Mustafizur Rahman, who dismissed opening batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad in the fourth over.

But Faf du Plessis continued his onslaught as he pulled off two back-to-back scoops for boundaries. The South Africa batsman then sliced a six over long-off before smashing another four as he took on Jaydev Unadkat in the fifth over.

Chris Morris ended Du Plessis› stint before completion of the powerplay to reduce CSK to 45/2. Moeen Ali continued from he left the other night as he whacked the ball right from the word go. However, Rahul Tewatia dismissed the England all-rounder in the 10th over against run of play as CSK lost the third wicket at the score of 78. In the 11th and 12th over, CSK got a move on as Suresh Raina and Ambati Ambati Rayudu clubbed 30 off 12 balls. However, Rajasthan Royals again made a comeback as Chetan Sakariya dismissed both the batsmen in the same over to reduce CSK to 125/5.

The next few overs saw CSK scoring at sluggish rate.Dhoni tried to free his arms by smashing two boundaries but wasn’t able to middle the next ball. In the end, Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo’s contribution helped CSK get over the 180-run mark.

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Happy with performance at Asian Championships: Mirabai Chanu

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Mirabai Chanu said she is happy with her performance in the Asian Weighlifting Championships after she set a new world record in Clean and Jerk as she lifted 119 kg in the competition to cross the old mark of 118 kg.

She also created a new national record as she lifted a total of 205 kg (86 kg snatch + 119 kg Clean and Jerk) which also won her the bronze medal at the showpiece event.

The wrestler said in a tweet, “I am happy with my performance at the Asian Championship 2021. Thank you everyone for your love and support. I will continue to work hard and improve myself.”

Earlier in the day, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju congratulated her for the achievement. “In her first international competition in more than a year, @mirabai_chanu makes a new national record of 205 kgs at the Asian Championships and won bronze medal. Her perfect clean and jerk lift of 119 kg is a new world record! Target Olympic Podium Mirabai!” he tweeted.

The weightlifter replied to the minister and thanked him for providing the best facilities and support. “Thank you so much @KirenRijiju for providing us best facilities and all kind of support,” Mirabai replied on Rijiju’s tweet.

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I MISS WINNING TROPHIES, UNITED NEED TO WIN SOMETHING: POGBA

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Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has said that he misses winning trophies and it is about time that his side manages to win something.

United has not won a major title since they prevailed in the 2017 Europa League final under Jose Mourinho. Current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is yet to see any kind of substantial success under his reign.

“Personally, I miss it a lot and feel like I miss something. We have to win something. I just want to win something; I don’t like to play and not win. I’m a bad loser, I will always be a bad loser, so every time I play, I want to win. Personally, we want it very bad. I think we are getting closer and closer; there is improvement I would say,” Pogba told Sky Sports, as reported by Goal.com.

“When I say improvement, this club has such big goals and objectives we want to achieve and that is to win and to have a trophy to hold. That is what we want and that will be the big step,” he added.

Further talking about United’s chances to win a title, Pogba said: “I’m happy, we’re there, we’re close. We’re still in the Europa League, we still have something to play for.” He added, “We have the league still, as long as Manchester City don’t have the trophy we’re going to keep working and playing. We still have a chance to win something this year so, why not.”

United is currently at the second place in the Premier League standings, 11 points behind table-toppers Manchester City.

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