India should embrace split-captaincy and put Rohit Sharma in charge of their T20 squad, several former cricketers said after the opener led Mumbai Indians to a fifth Indian Premier League (IPL) title on Tuesday.
Virat Kohli leads India across formats, while Rohit usually deputises for him in limited-overs cricket.
Rohit topscored with a fluent 68 as Mumbai crushed Delhi Capitals in the final to cement their position as the IPL’s most successful team.
Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are yet to win an IPL title in 13 seasons, were eliminated in the playoffs.
“If Rohit Sharma doesn’t become India captain, it’s their loss, not Rohit’s,” former test opener Gautam Gambhir told the ESPNcricinfo website.
“Rohit has won five IPL titles, he is the most successful captain in the history of the tournament.
“It would be a shame if he is not made the white-ball captain after this. Because there’s nothing more Rohit Sharma can do.”
Gambhir, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles, said Rohit was a significantly better captain than Kohli in these formats.
“Why can’t you have split captaincy? It’s not a bad idea.”
“I’m not suggesting Kohli is a terribly bad captain but both got the same platform and you can judge who’s better. For me, Rohit Sharma stands out as leader.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan felt delegating T20 captaincy to Rohit would help reduce Kohli’s workload.
“I honestly believe that the Indian team will be better off in Twenty20 cricket being led by Rohit Sharma,” Vaughan told Cricbuzz website, citing split-captaincy examples in England and Australia.
“Virat Kohli is superhuman. Giving away one aspect of his captaincy will free him up to be the 50-overs leader and the test match leader.”
Former India opener Virender Sehwag also described Rohit as “the best captain in the format” on Twitter. Veteran Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batsman AB de Villiers was all praise for Mumbai Indians (MI) after the latter won a record-extending fifth Indian Premier League title.
MI beat Delhi Capitals (DC) by five wickets to win a second consecutive IPL title at the Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday.
“Well done @mipaltan! Without a doubt the best team this year,” de Villiers tweeted on Tuesday after MI’s win.
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Indian fans’ loyalty is based on players they follow: LaLiga India head
New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): In what comes as an interesting observation, LaLiga India head Jose Antonio Cachaza has said loyalty of Indian fans when it comes to the game of football is based on individuals and not the national teams or clubs.
In an interaction with ANI, Jose gave his take on how India looks at football and how the outlook is starting to change with the onset of the Indian Super League (ISL). The LaLiga India head also said there are two ways to look at the perspective of the Indian fans.
“Players come and go, they age and retire. Lionel Messi is 34, we need to look ahead. India in particular looks at football through stars, not so much with clubs. It is a good way to come to the club, as a fan, I love many players, but in the end, the fun is when you follow a club or national team because football is a team sport. Players come and go, leagues and competitions stay and get renovated constantly,” Cachaza told ANI.
The ongoing LaLiga season has provided thrills to fans and it has seen a sudden charge of Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid is currently at the top of the standings with 59 points from 25 matches while Sevilla is at the fourth spot.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are at the second and third spot respectively and both teams are fighting hard to win the LaLiga 2020-21 season.
“It has to be just another step. First of all, it has been a difficult situation for everybody, for LaLiga, for any other sports league. It is probably not the best year for our top teams, but the good side of that is it has given opportunities to other teams like Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. Both Atletico and Sevilla, they not only have names but they are playing beautiful football as well,” said the LaLiga India head.
“We cannot rely on the success of one club in one season. It has to be long-term work. The biggest challenge of LaLiga not this year, but the previous years has been the unpredictability that was there back in the day. Now, anyone can win or upset anyone and that is good for any competition,” he added.
When asked whether LaLiga clubs could look to develop projects in India to further strengthen their brand image, Cachaza said: “What I can say we are working with a number of LaLiga clubs who want to develop projects in India. They can be tying up with clubs in ISL or I-League. But also, another way is to tie up for trying to develop school projects in India.
“You have the sample of Barcelona or LaLiga schools, I cannot say it’s striving now, it was striving before the pandemic and I am pretty sure that it will strive after the pandemic. Many Spanish clubs are looking at that, they know developing projects would help them in increasing their brand profile here,” he signed off. (ANI)
Bajrang Punia becomes World No. 1 after bagging gold in Rome
New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Ace Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia has regained the number one spot in the rankings after clinching a second successive gold medal at the Matteo Pallicone Ranking Series.
Punia defeated Mongolia’s Tulga Tumur Ochir 2-2 by criteria in the 65kg freestyle event final in Rome on Sunday. He rallied to win after getting a two-pointer in the last 30 seconds of the bout.
The 27-year-old, who was playing his first international competition since the COVID-19 pandemic, made full use of the tournament before the much-awaited Tokyo Olympics.
Punia was placed second in the rankings before the start of the tournament and is now placed at the numero uno spot in the 65kg category with 14 points.
Last year, the Indian grappler had defeated USA’s Jordan Oliver in the final to clinch the gold medal at the tournament.
Punia had earned a quota for the Tokyo Games in September 2019 after winning a bronze medal at the World Championships. The prestigious quadrennial event is set to take place from July 23-August 8 this year. The Games were scheduled to take place last year but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (ANI)
Women’s T20 Champions Cup to be played in 2027 and 2031: ICC
Dubai [UAE], March 8 (ANI): On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday announced the expansion of women’s cricket events post the 2023 cycle.
More teams will compete in both the Women’s World Cup and the Women’s T20 World Cup from 2026 onwards as part of the ICC’s long-term commitment to growing the game globally and in a sustainable fashion, ICC stated in a media release.
The revised formats will give more teams the chance to compete on the global stage and importantly provides members with a window to grow the game domestically to challenge internationally as the changes take place.
Two 50-over World Cups will be played in 2025 and 2029 while four T20 World Cups have been scheduled for 2024, 2026, 2028, and 2030.
The sport’s governing body has also announced the advent of a new tournament, called Women’s T20 Champions Cup and it will be played in 2027 and 2031.
Manu Sawhney, ICC Chief Executive said, “We have a clear focus and commitment to an ambitious long-term growth plan for the women’s game. We have been building momentum around the women’s game for the last four years investing in global broadcast coverage and marketing to drive fan engagement.
“The results speak for themselves with the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 attracting record numbers, 1.1 billion video views, making it the most-watched women’s cricket event of all time and having 86,174 fans attending the final at the MCG, a record attendance for a women’s cricket event.
“This decision to expand our women’s events builds on these foundations and allows us to give more member countries greater opportunities to compete on a global stage. This means that more teams will also get the opportunity to compete in the qualification pathways for the respective ICC events over the coming years. I am sure these initiatives will go a long way in helping us achieve our strategic goal of continuing to build strength and depth in the women’s game,” he added.
In 2020, the Women’s T20 World Cup final was contested between Australia and India in front of a record audience at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). More than 80,000 people turned up to watch Australia lift the title. (ANI)
Real Madrid will fight until the end for LaLiga title: Zidane
Madrid [Spain], March 8 (ANI): After playing out a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has not given up on the LaLiga title hopes, saying that the side would “fight until the end”.
Karim Benzema struck late in the second half to cancel out Luis Suarez’s early opener, ensuring the spoils were shared in El Derbi at Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday.
“The objective is this, to continue. We know there is a lot left [but] we are going to fight until the end. Everything can always change. We are doing things well, we can improve. It is what we are going to do,” Goal.com quoted Zidane as saying.
“I am very proud of all my players. We are in the same boat and we are going to fight to the end,” he added.
Madrid were perhaps unlucky to not pull level earlier after they were turned down for a penalty call against Felipe, with the Atletico man appearing to handle the ball with his forearm and elbow.
Zidane, however, declined to criticise the decision in his post-match press conference, stating: “I don’t mess around [with the referee], his job is difficult. He made that decision to watch the play and not whistle, and we respect him. That’s it. We know it’s complicated. We can’t get into that. We have to respect that. It will not change.”
Real Madrid are at the third spot with 54 points in 26 games, five points shy from front-runner Atletico Madrid, who have played one game less. (ANI)
Marcus Rashford to undergo scans on ankle after win at City
Manchester [UK], March 8 (ANI): Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that striker Marcus Rashford will have a scan on his injured ankle after he was forced off during a derby win against Manchester City in their recent clash in the Premier League.
Solskjaer confirmed after their 2-0 win on Sunday that Rashford had picked up an ankle knock after sprinting back to make a vital tackle as City broke forward, as per the official United website.
The forward had to leave the field after 73 minutes and was replaced by Mason Greenwood midway through the second half.
“It is one of them. It was a great recovery run, a recovery sprint, he saved maybe a goal, so he sacrificed himself for the team,” Solskjaer told club media.
“It is something with his ankle I think. I am not a doctor but hopefully, it is not too bad. We will have to scan him in the morning,” he added.
The Reds were already without Edinson Cavani, who had to come off during United’s final training session before the derby on Saturday.
With 54 points, United are placed at the second spot in the Premier League standings and will next take on AC Milan in the first leg of the Round of 16 clash in the Europa League. (ANI)
Ind vs Eng: Visitors sweating over Archer’s availability in T20I series
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 8 (ANI): England pacer Jofra Archer is a doubtful starter for the T20I series against India after suffering a recurrence of an elbow problem.
Archer had missed the fourth and final Test against India in Ahmedabad due to an elbow problem. England head coach Chris Silverwood has now said that the side’s medical team will monitor the situation and a decision would be taken accordingly.
“Jofra’s elbow did flare up a little bit and the medical staff are managing that at the moment. Obviously, we’ll monitor his progress. The medical staff are talking about how we deal with this long term,” Silverwood said during a virtual press conference.
“He’s trained today (Sunday) with the white-ball squad. We’ll be monitoring his situation but he got through training today,” he added.
Archer had also missed the second Test of the four-match series against India due to the same elbow issue.
When asked about the workload management of Archer, Silverwood replied: “I’ll be guided by the medics. We’ll see where we end up with him. I want Jofra to be fit for all forms of cricket. I want him to have a long, successful Test career. Could we limit the number of overs he bowls? It’s not something I would go out and predict but we’ll find out in the course of time.”
“The important thing for me at the moment is that Jofra gets every resource we can provide to make sure he does have a long and successful Test career. I’m not sure surgery has come up yet. I’ll be guided by the medics on that. I wouldn’t say I’m concerned, no,” he added.
India and England would be locking in the five-match T20I series, beginning Friday. The Virat Kohli-led India qualified for the World Test Championship (WTC) final after winning the Test series against England.
India won the fourth Test by an innings and 25 runs to win the four-match series 3-1. (ANI)
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