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Rain forces England, Broad to wait for another day for milestone

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English Bowler Stuart Broad.

Owing to the incessant showers, Day 4 of the third Test between England and West Indies had to be called off at Old Trafford here on Monday.

 Stuart Broad, the prolific English bowler, is one wicket away from completing 500 wickets in his Test career. As English Goliaths stand on the precipice of victory, the rain hinders their spree, as well as forcing Broad to wait for another day to achieve his 500-wicket haul and join his colleague Anderson who has already achieved the feat in 2017.

 Broad’s fiery spells ensured the hosts decimated the visitig team completely.

As both the teams eye for the thrilling victory and clinching the series, the draw will mean the visiting side retaining the title of the Wisden Trophy.

Brief Scores: England 369 & 226/2d (Burns 90, Root 68*; Holder 1/24) vs West Indies 197 & 10/2 (Hope 4*; Broad 2/8)

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NEERAJ CHOPRA ‘THANKFUL’ AFTER PVSM, PADMA SHRI; PROUD FEELING FOR PRAMOD BHAGAT

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Neeraj Chopra on Tuesday said he will continue to try to perform his best for India after the government announced that the javelin thrower will be conferred with Padma Shri this year.

He will also be awarded Param Vashistha Seva Medal. The awards were announced on the eve of 73rd Republic Day. “I am very happy. Got to know about PVSM and Padma Shri, thankful for all your wishes and support. I am here for my morning training. Will continue to do hard work in the future. I will try to perform best for my country,” Neeraj Chopra said in a video posted on Twitter.

“Congratulations also to all those who have won awards,” he added. Neeraj is currently amid his off-season training at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Centre in California, USA. He is currently preparing for the 2022 World Athletics Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in the prestigious training centre. The Tokyo Paralympics champions shuttler Pramod Bhagat and javelin thrower Sumit Antil will also be awarded Padma Shri.

“Proud feeling and great experience to be honoured with Padma Shri award. This will help me get more laurels for our country. Thank you,” Pramod Bhagat said. Devendra Jhajharia will be conferred with the Padma Bhushan. Ace Indian javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia is a two-time Paralympics gold medallist (Athens 2004, Rio 2016) and one-time silver medallist (Tokyo 2020). In 2012, he was the first Paralympian to be honoured with Padma Shri. The gold and bronze medallist at Tokyo Paralympics Avani Lekhara will be also honoured with Padma Shri.

Vandana Kataria who was part of the Indian women’s hockey team which finished fourth in the Tokyo Olympics will also be conferred with the Padma Shri award. Padma Shri will also be conferred on Brahmanand Sankhwalkar who is a former Indian footballer and a captain. He played as a goalkeeper in the team. Sankaranarayana Menon Chundayil, and Faisal Ali Dar, a former international martial arts champion are among others who will be conferred with the Padma Shri.

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Rohit clears fitness test, to lead India in series against WI

Rohit Sharma had missed the Test and ODI series against South Africa due to injury and went to the NCA for rehabilitation.

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India white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma on Wednesday cleared his fitness test and as a result, he will be available to lead the side in the upcoming white-ball series against West Indies, beginning February 6.

Sources in the know of developments confirmed to ANI that Rohit has indeed passed his fitness test held at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). “Yes, Rohit has cleared his fitness test and he will be leading the side in the upcoming series against West Indies,” source said.

Earlier, Rohit Sharma had missed the Test and ODI series against South Africa due to a hamstring injury and he went to the NCA for rehabilitation. The selection committee is set to meet on Wednesday afternoon to deliberate on the squad for the series against West Indies.

“Jasprit Bumrah is all but set to be rested as his workload management is important looking at the international calendar. He featured in all Tests and ODIs against South Africa, so it is important we give him a break,” the source added.

India and West Indies will lock horns in three ODIs and three T20Is. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday had announced a change in venues for the upcoming West Indies’ Tour of India. The three ODIs will now be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad and three T20Is will be held at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

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France to join Men’s FIH Hockey Pro League

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The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Tuesday announced that France will join the third edition of the Men’s FIH Hockey Pro League.

After Canada eventually pulled out due to COVID-related issues, FIH had contacted the next best teams, according to the FIH World Rankings, to invite one of them to replace Canada.

France will also host the Paris 2024 Olympics

France have accepted the invitation and, as the highest-ranked team having done so, will join the global home-and-away league – ‘Hockey at its Best’ – for this season.

As communicated earlier, France’s participation in the FIH Hockey Pro League is planned for this third edition only. Indeed, Australia and New Zealand, who are not playing the current season due to COVID-related international travel constraints, are expected to come back for the fourth edition (2022-2023). The French team will play their first match on 8 February against India, in Potchefstroom (South Africa). The full match schedule of the third edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League is available.

France have qualified for the next FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup, which will be played in January 2023 in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela (India). The French Men’s Junior team recently claimed the bronze medal at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021, with France captain Timothee Clement crowned Best Player of the Tournament.

France will also host the Paris 2024 Olympic events in 2 years’ time.

“It is great news that France are joining the FIH Hockey Pro League for the current season. As hosts of the next Olympic Games, being part of such a top-flight competition involving the best teams in the world can only be a positive move for the French team as well as for the growth of hockey in the country”, commented FIH CEO Thierry Weil.

The first FIH Hockey Pro League matches of the year will involve the Women’s teams of China and India. They will take place on 31 January and 1 February in Muscat, Oman, where both teams are currently playing the Women’s Asia Cup 2022.

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TEAM INDIA NEEDS WICKET-TAKING BOWLERS

Saba Karim

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It will take some time for Rahul Dravid and the coaching staff to get Team India out of the current situation. In the first ODI, we should have restricted the South African batsmen within 250. The wicket was slow and the ball remained low. After that the Indian batsmen, who was looking to score well, collapsed and we lost. That is, we failed to bat after bowling.

With this defeat it is too early to say anything about KL Rahul’s captaincy. As captain, he has captained ODIs for the first time. They should be given time. Well, he definitely needs to pay special attention to his batting. If runs are scored with his bat, then he will have confidence which will come in handy under his captaincy.

Team India needs wicket-taking bowlers at this time. South African batsmen made their job easy by playing sweep and reverse sweep against Indian spinners. Bhuvneshwar and Shardul also did not prove to be wicket-takers. Now the time has come that the bowlers who are present in the current team should be given a chance. It makes no sense to keep feeding old bowlers in the name of experience. Now is the time to find Bumrah’s partner. In spin bowling, Ashwin and Chahal were probably playing together for the first time. It will definitely make a difference after the return of Ravindra Jadeja, who gives the team a real balance. Today, the strike rate of the bowlers should be considered more than the economy. Deepak Chahar can be given further opportunity, who can also bat well.

And there needs to be stability in the middle order. For how long the team will depend on the top order. The middle order players have to understand that they also fulfill their responsibility. There should be unity in the performance. The responsibility of finishing the match will also have to be taken. The truth is that the team had not yet recovered from the loss of two Tests that many problems emerged with the team in ODIs as well. I hope team India players will soon see the spirit of unity and victory.

The writer is a former wicket-keeper batsman and a selector of Team India

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DON’T KNOW WHAT COMMUNICATION HAPPENED BETWEEN KOHLI, GANGULY: SHASTRI

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Former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri said that one’s captaincy should not be judged by the number of ICC titles won, rather it should be on how the cricketer played and whether it was with integrity.

Shastri’s comments come two weeks after Virat Kohli stepped down as India’s Test skipper. Last year, Kohli stepped down as the T20I captain and then he was removed as ODI captain as the selectors wanted just one white-ball captain. “Many players have not won the World Cup, Sourav Ganguly has not won it, Rahul Dravid has not won it, Anil Kumble has not won it, Laxman has not won it. Even Rohit Sharma has not won it but it does not mean they are bad players. You go and play, there are just World Cup-winning captains — MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev. Sachin Tendulkar took six World Cups to lift his first title,” Shastri told ANI in an exclusive interview.

“It is not a question that you are judged by the World Cup, at the end of the day, you are judged on how you play, whether you play the game with integrity. That is how you judge the players at the end of the day,” he added. BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and Kohli gave different versions on how the ODI captaincy was taken away from Kohli. Ganguly had also said that he had asked Kohli to not leave the T20I captaincy, but the 33-year-old said that nothing like that was conveyed to him. “I do not know what communication happened between both parties (Sourav Ganguly and Virat Kohli). I have not spoken to them, when I get the chance to talk to them, then I can speak to give my viewpoint. When you have half-knowledge, then you should be quiet. When you have full knowledge, then you should be speak,” said Shastri. When asked whether Rohit Sharma is fit enough to be the next Test captain, Shastri said: “I have not watched cricket for three months, when I see the cricket then I can give my judgment. If I have not seen then I will not give my verdict.” In his note while announcing his decision to step down as Test captain, Virat had thanked Ravi Shastri and MS Dhoni for their continuous support.

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AUSTRALIAN SELECTORS ‘WELL DOWN THE TRACK’ TO FINALIZE TEST SQUAD

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No Australia player has indicated they want to opt-out of touring Pakistan with selectors “well down the track” to finalizing a Test squad, despite uncertainty about the resumption of the Sheffield Shield season.

National selector George Bailey said on Tuesday that he believed security plans were “very, very robust and very, very thorough” after multiple briefings for what would be the first Australian tour of the country since Mark Taylor’s men visited in 1998.

“I believe the boards are still working through some of the minor details around that tour, so once that gets the formal tick of approval then we’ll announce the squad post that, but we’re reasonably well down the track,” Bailey told reporters, as per cricket.com.au.

The Test squad will largely pick itself following the successful 4-0 drubbing of England in this summer’s Ashes series, with the emergence of Scott Boland as a reliable workhorse allowing selectors to rest Jhye Richardson.

The historic Test series is scheduled to begin on March 3 in Karachi.

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