Root apologises to Moeen for saying all-rounder chose to head back home - The Daily Guardian
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Root apologises to Moeen for saying all-rounder chose to head back home

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 17 (ANI): England Test skipper Joe Root has apologised to Moeen Ali for his comments made during a press conference after the visitors stumbled to a 317-run defeat against India in the second Test.
England’s squad was named for the third and fourth Test after the result of the second Test, and it was revealed that Moeen will head back home. However, in a press conference after the conclusion of the Test, Root ended up saying that the all-rounder chose to go back home with two Tests still remaining against India.
“Moeen has chosen to go home. It’s obviously been a very tricky tour for him. As mentioned at the start, if players feel like they need to get out of the bubble, then that’s been an option. With Moeen it wasn’t more asking if he wanted to stay, it was a decision he had chosen,” Root had said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
However, as per a report in ESPNcricinfo, Moeen was always slated to return home after the first two Tests against India and this is all a part of ECB’s rotation policy. This rotation policy has already seen Buttler going back home after the first Test. Jonny Bairstow also missed the first two Tests against India as per the rotation policy.
Root’s comments caused quite a stir on social media, in which fans started to criticise Moeen for heading back home with the Test series hanging in the balance.
Seeing how his comments were received, Root went up to Moeen in the team hotel and he offered his apology. Moeen has also accepted this apology rendered by Root and he will be heading back home on a good note, reported ESPNCricinfo.
Moeen played the second Test of the ongoing series against India. He managed to take eight wickets in the match and scored 43 runs in the second innings.
The visitors stumbled to a 317-run loss in the second Test, and the series is levelled at 1-1.
The off-spinner had tested positive for COVID-19 when England toured Sri Lanka in January and he did not play any Tests there. He also did not feature in the first Test against India.
India and England will now lock horns in the third Test, which will be a day-night contest, set to begin on February 24 at the Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad. (ANI)

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KOHLI HAS INSTILLED A STURDY BELIEF IN TEAM, SAYS WAUGH

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Steve Waugh

MUMBAI: Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh feels India captain Virat Kohli’s “new attitude” has instilled in his team the habit of taking on every hurdle and then getting over it rather than being intimidating by the opposite team.

Waugh made these comments on his latest documentary “Capturing Cricket: Steve Waugh in India” which captures the very essence and undying love for the game in India. In the documentary, Waugh recollected his initial perception of India. “Landing in Bombay or Mumbai, as it is now, was a total culture shock, there were just people everywhere, there were cars and bikes and animals and rats and cats running along the footpath and it was just like, where am I? I am in a different world which was just a total shock and a bombardment of the senses,” Waugh said in the documentary on discovery+.

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SHARDUL HITS 92 AS MUMBAI BEAT HIMACHAL BY 200 RUNS

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Fast bowler Shardul Thakur put on a batting master-class to smash 92 runs off 57 balls — also his maiden half-century in List A cricket — in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy against Himachal Pradesh on Monday as Mumbai registered a comprehensive 200-run win.

Opening batsmen Yashasvi Jaiswal, Prithvi Shaw, and skipper Shreyas Iyer all were back in the hut inside four overs. With in-form batsmen not living up to the expectations, Shardul, who came into bat when Mumbai was 148/5, creamed six sixes and as many fours to steer his side to 321/9 in the allotted 50 overs. Shardul, who has been named in the T20I squad for the England series, hit his half-century in 39 balls and then unleashed the beast within. The pacer smashed 42 runs in his last 17 balls to power Mumbai to 321.

Suryakumar Yadav and Aditya Tare also smashed their respective half-centuries to help Mumbai go past the 300-run mark. Suryakumar recently earned his maiden call-up to the national squad and since then hasn’t left a stone unturned in proving his mettle.

Mumbai thrashed Himachal Pradesh by 200 runs to continue their unbeaten streak in the ongoing tournament. Shams Mulani picked three while Prashant Solanki scalped four wickets to wrap up an easy win for Mumbai.

Last week, Shreyas smashed 11 fours and three sixes on his way to a 103-ball 116 to power Mumbai to a total of 317 in the allotted 50 overs.

Following his not-so-good outing in Australia, Shreyas ensured he made the most of the Vijay Hazare games to get into the groove ahead of the T20I series against England.

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KOHLI & COMPANY SWEAT IT OUT IN NETS AHEAD OF FINAL TEST

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The Indian cricket team is preparing intensively for the fourth and final Test against England and leaving no stone unturned at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday shared a video on Twitter to give a glimpse of players sweating it out in the nets. In the video, India skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane can be seen batting in the nets while Rohit Sharm can be seen having a chat with head coach Ravi Shastri. The players also worked on their fielding skills, making sure the team is well-prepared in all the departments when they face the English side in the final game of the series.

In the ongoing series, Rohit, Axar Patel, and Ravichandran Ashwin have been the standout performers and now in the fourth Test, skipper Kohli would look to come to the party and end his century-drought.

Kohli had last scored a century way back in 2019 in a day-night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens.

If India manage to win or draw the final Test against England, then the side will qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC) and the side would take on New Zealand in the summit clash.

India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the pink-ball Test. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that did not turn and skidded through from the spinners.

But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen. After the match, Rohit had clarified that he did not think the pitch had any demons. Even Kohli was vocal about the dreadful batting display from the two teams. The hosts are leading the series 2-1 and the fourth Test of the series will commence on Thursday.

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TEAM INDIA SET TO PLAY TWO INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES IN MARCH

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With the Indian Men’s National Team all set to return to international football in March, the Blue Tigers expressed their delight over the two matches being scheduled in Dubai against Oman on March 25, and UAE on March 29 respectively.

“It’s a brilliant piece of news not just for us players but for Indian Football overall that we will be playing again at the International arena,” Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu said.

“With International sports having shut down owing to the pandemic situation, I am aware as to how difficult it is to arrange matches under the current scenario. I need to thank the All India Football Federation and the coaching staff for arranging this,” he added, “Both the matches are against very tough oppositions whom we would love to play against, and test ourselves.”

Central defender Sandesh Jhingan dubbed the forthcoming two matches as “massive.”

“It’s great news which the entire nation was waiting for. It’s massive for the fans, and for us players as well as we haven’t played an international match in the last one and half years. Thanks to the AIFF for arranging this,” Jhingan stressed.

“It’s important for us to get back into the system of Igor Stimac, start training and improving. Crucial games are coming up in June which would be followed by the Qualifiers of the Asian Cup China 2023. The camp in March is just extra days to train and improve together as a team. I am extremely happy,” he averred.

Gurpreet also mentioned that as the players would be coming straight out of their club commitments in the Hero Indian Super League, it would be a “big boost.”

“The two Friendlies happening straight after the Hero Indian Super League will be a big boost. Most of the boys will be in momentum and heading straight to the National camp. That’s what the players always love – to have that continuity heading into International Football. We are all looking forward to the boys going out and giving their best.”

As part of the preparation for the two matches against Oman and UAE in March, the National Team Tigers will assemble in a preparatory camp in Dubai from March 15 onwards.

The two friendlies come on the back of the U-16 Boy’s National Team having travelled to UAE in February 2021, and the Women’s National Team’s tour to Turkey where they played matches against Serbia, Russia, and Ukraine.

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All this moaning, groaning about the pitch has to stop: Sir Vivian Richards

On English cricketers slamming the Ahmedabad wicket, the West Indian legend feels that batters need to prepare themselves for these conditions rather than complaining about the spinning conditions.

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Amid debate over the third Test pitch, West Indies great Vivian Richards slammed England for complaining about the spinning wicket and added that he wants to see a similar track in the final Test of the series.

India had managed to defeat England within two days in the pink-ball Test. 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. But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen. India batsman Rohit Sharma clarified that he did not think the pitch had any demons. Even skipper Virat Kohli was vocal about the dreadful batting display from the two teams. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also echoed the sentiments.

Further, Richards also feels that batters need to prepare themselves for these conditions rather than complaining about the spinning conditions.

“I’ve been asked questions recently about the Test match that was played in India… the second and third Test match against England. And I am a little confused about the question really because there seems to be a lot of moaning and groaning about the wicket that they were playing on. I just felt that the ones who are moaning, in my opinion, should realise that there are times that you’re going to get a seaming track, a ball that is basically jumping off a good length and everyone thinks that’s a problem for batters,” Richards said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

“But now you’ve seen the other side, and this is why I think it was given the name Test match cricket, because of the test of the mind and will and everything else that goes with it when you’re competing. And the complaints have been that the wicket is spinning too much and all that sorts of stuff. This is another side of the arc guys. People seem to forget that if you’re going to India, you should expect that. You are going to spin land.“Rather than the moaning and groaning, especially just recently how quickly that Test match was over. It gives England an opportunity and a chance to assess things, to believe that for some reason the wicket that they’re going to encounter in the fourth Test is going to be the same. If I was India or I had anything to do with the preparations of the wicket, I would bring in very much the same,” Richards added.

One of the living legends of the game Richards went on to praise the Indian side and said England should come out of their comfort zone and they have to face the spin.

“Ever since that first Test match, England were in their comfort zone. They have now been taken out of their comfort zone at present and they have got to find ways and means to cope with what they are going to encounter. Spin in all part of the game, this is what a Test match brings.,” he said.

“I just believe all the moaning and groaning has got to stop and just see the classical side of things in terms of the Indian armoury. And from where I’m sitting, it’s good to see,” the West Indian signed off.

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Qatar Open: Sania Mirza makes winning return to WTA circuit

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Doha [Qatar], March 2 (ANI): Indian tennis star Sania Mirza made a winning return to the WTA circuit as she along with her partner Andreja Klepac of Slovenia progressed to the quarterfinals of the Qatar Total Open.
The pair of Mirza and Klepac defeated Ukranian’s pair of Nadiia Kichenok and Lyudmyla Kichenok 6-4 6-7(5) 10-5 in the opening round.
This match was Sania Mirza’s first in 12 months time and co-incidentally, this Qatar Open was the last tournament she played last year when all competitions were put to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In January this year, Mirza had revealed that she contracted coronavirus at the beginning of this year.
She also revealed that staying away from her two-year-old child was the toughest thing she faced after testing positive for Covid-19. She also said that the virus is no joke and everyone should take every precaution possible.
Last year, Sania Mirza brought home the country’s first-ever Fed Cup Heart Award in Asia/Oceania category after getting more than 10,000 votes out of the total 16,985 votes cast for 2020’s three regional Group I nominees.
Last year, Sania’s return to Fed Cup action for the first time since 2016 saw India book their place in the Fed Cup Play-offs.
Reflecting on the achievement, Sania had said she wants to dedicate the award to the entire country and pledged to donate the prize money to Telangana Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to aid the fight against coronavirus. (ANI)

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