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Should embrace how good Rishabh is rather than seeing negatives: Ashwin

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 16 (ANI): Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Tuesday said that the country should embrace how good Rishabh Pant actually is rather than seeing negatives in his game.
Ashwin’s remarks came as India achieved an emphatic 317-run win against England in the second Test of the ongoing four-match series. As a result, the series stands levelled at 1-1 and Virat Kohli-led side has also reached the second spot in World Test Championship (WTC) standings.
Pant scored an unbeaten 58 in the first innings of the second Test, however, he impressed many with his wicket-keeping skills. The youngster kept really well to the spinners and he even took amazing catches along with a few remarkable stumpings. Ashwin also highlighted how Cameron Green was built up during the Australia series even though his returns in the series weren’t that great.
“Okay, I did not think that I would say this but let me say this now. About two months back, there was a cricketer called Cameron Green, who made his debut for Australia. Even before he made his debut, everybody said that he was the “next big thing”. I think he got 150 runs in the entire series against us and didn’t get a wicket, but how much he was built up in Australia made me reflect on how we as a community treat our cricketers. It gave me a massive perspective. They play for the country and at times, it feels you know that we are searching as to what’s wrong with them,” Ashwin said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
“Rishabh Pant is an excellent cricketer and there are many excellent cricketers in the country. Pant was always going to be a good cricketer and he was always going to improve. Only if we back them in such a way that we want them to improve, they will improve faster. If we are going to find loopholes and faults, the cricketers are going to take that much longer. I think it’s more of a mindset issue for us and we should embrace how good a cricketer he is. We tend to see a lot of negatives. If we see a lot more positives, we will see a lot more champion cricketers,” he added.
The pitch used in the second Test has been a subject of severe criticism and greats like Michael Vaughan and Mark Waugh have stated as to how it was not a “Test standard” wicket. However, Ashwin said that everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is not a big deal.
“Look, it is us who are getting bothered by all this. I mean everybody is entitled to an opinion, whoever is giving their opinion are totally well within their rights to give their opinion. It is us who are reading into it and seeing if it is working or not so we as a cricketing fraternity or as a country, dealing with such sort of accusations, need to get a little better,” said Ashwin.
“We must just hold pride in saying how we are playing good cricket. Test matches are played over time. I am completely fine with how the English cricket experts have their opinions, because we will also have our opinions reserved when we tour abroad but we don’t complain or crib, we just get on with it. I have never seen any of our greats be it our coach Ravi Shastri or Sunil Gavaskar, they have been on lots of tours, but I have never seen them talk about pitches having a lot of grass or all those things,” he added.
Further elaborating on his point, Ashwin said: “I think it’s more of mentality, when people come out with such opinions we should respect them but I think we should be able to magnanimously deflect then away from what they are saying.”
Ashwin took an eight-wicket haul in the second Test, along with his 106-run knock in the second innings as India registered an emphatic 317-run win here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday. In the second innings, the visitors were bowled out for 164 as debutant Axar Patel took his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
India remains in contention to make the final of the ICC World Test Championship after completing an impressive victory over England in the second Test to draw level in the four-match series.
The victory in Chennai on Tuesday has lifted India to the second position with 69.7 percentage points on the points table but they cannot afford to lose another match as they need to win 2-1 or 3-1 to qualify for the final of the maiden edition of the championship.
England, who led the table after winning the opening Test, has slipped to the fourth spot with 67.0 percentage points. They can still qualify, but for that, they must win both remaining matches of the series against India. (ANI)

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NZ vs Aus: Not easy to lead side when you’re not scoring runs, admits Finch

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 4 (ANI): Australia limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch has admitted that it is not easy leading a team for a player when he is going through bad form.
Finch finally returned to form as he played a match-winning knock of 69 runs off just 44 balls in the third T20I against New Zealand and with this win, Australia gained their first win of the five-match series.
“It was just nice to get a few runs, it’s been a while. I was just short of runs. It’s never easy when you’re trying to lead the side and you’re not performing as well as you would like personally. But you always put the team first. I felt as though my captaincy has been pretty good throughout this period as well, right through the Big Bash,” cricket.com.au quoted Finch as saying.
Before the knock against New Zealand in the third T20I, Finch had just registered 495 runs at an average of 17.06 in his previous 29 T20 innings across both domestic and international cricket.
Finch also said that he evaluated his mental approach rather than making changes in his technique during his form slump.
“I obviously would have loved to have got some more but I was never doubting that I would never get runs again. T20 can be a brutal game at the best of times so just having the ability to take a step game and reassess my own game and go out there with as clear a mind as you can. When you’re searching for a score sometimes you can forget the absolute basics, you get a bit fixated on the end result and not what’s right in front of you at the time,” said Finch.
“At times it was a little bit of wanting so desperately to get some runs that you forget to watch the ball. As soon as you don’t … one percent can be enough in this game to have you off and you’re out. So it was just trusting my process that, for the past 10 years, has been pretty solid and has given me a great foundation to bounce back from,” he added.
Australia and New Zealand will now lock horns in the fourth T20I of the five-match series on Friday. The series is currently led by the Kiwis as they have a 2-1 lead.
The visitors had gained a comprehensive 64-run win in the third T20I to register their first victory in the series. (ANI)

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Premier League: United’s title contention derails further after draw against Crystal Palace

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London [UK], March 4 (ANI): Manchester United’s Premier League title contention took a further hit on Wednesday (local time) after the side had to settle for a goalless draw against Crystal Palace at the Selhurst Park Stadium.
United is now at the second spot in the standings with 51 points from 27 matches and the side is 14 points behind table-toppers Manchester City.
Manchester City, on the other hand, is on a winning spree as Pep Guardiola’s side has registered 21 straight wins across all competitions this season.
In the match between Crystal Palace and United, both teams struggled to get many shots on target. United just made one shot on target while Crystal Palace had two on target.
The ball possession was dominated by United as they held on to the ball for 63 per cent of the match, but it did not reap any rewards for the visitors.
United also had six corners in the match, but none of them became into a perfect set-piece for them and in the end, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had to settle for a goalless draw.
United will next take on Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday. (ANI)

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WI vs SL, 1st T20I: Pollard carnage as hosts register four-wicket win

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St John’s [Antigua], March 4 (ANI): Kieron Pollard’s six 6s in an over stole the show as West Indies registered a comprehensive four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first T20I of the three-match series on Thursday here at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
With this win, the hosts have gained a 1-0 lead in the series. Both the teams would now lock horns in the second T20I, beginning Friday.
Chasing 132, the hosts got off to a blazing start as the openers Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons put on 52 runs in the very first three overs. However, Sri Lanka staged an emphatic comeback as spinner Akila Dananjaya took a hat-trick in the fourth over to send back Lewis (28), Chris Gayle (0), and Nicholas Pooran (0).
Simmons also departed soon after and West Indies was reduced to 62/4 in the fifth over. However, skipper Pollard provided real entertainment in the sixth over as he dispatched Dananjaya for six 6s in over and the hosts’ score read 98/4 after the conclusion of the sixth over.
Pollard departed after playing a knock of 38 off just 11 balls, but in the end, Jason Holder (29) and Dwayne Bravo (4) guided Windies to a four-wicket win with 41 balls to spare.
Earlier, a spirited bowling performance by the hosts helped them restrict Sri Lanka to 131/9 in the allotted twenty overs.
Niroshan Dickwella (33) and Pathum Nissanka (39) were the only Sri Lanka batters to get a score above 30+ and the visitors were hampered by not many batsmen getting in and taking the scoreboard forward.
Every Windies bowler deployed by Pollard got among the wickets and Obed McCoy returned with the figures of 2-25 from his four overs.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 131/9 (Pathum Nissanka 39, Niroshan Dickwella 33, Obed McCoy 2-25); West Indies 134/6 (Kieron Pollard 38, Jason Holder 29*, Akila Dananjaya 3-62). (ANI)

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Pollard becomes third batsman to hit six 6s in an over in international cricket

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St John’s [Antigua], March 4 (ANI): West Indies limited-overs format skipper Kieron Pollard on Thursday became the third batsman in the history of international cricket to hit six 6s in an over.
He achieved the feat in the first T20I of the three-match series against Sri Lanka here at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.
With these six 6s, Pollard has joined the likes of Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh in the elusive list.
Pollard hit Sri Lanka’s Akila Dananjaya for six 6s in the sixth over of the innings as the hosts’ Windies were chasing a target of 132 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.
The right-handed batsman hit the first ball over the long-on fence, the second ball was dispatched straight down the ground while the third was hit to the long-off fence.
Continuing the carnage, Pollard dispatched the fourth ball to the mid-wicket boundary, the fifth ball was once again hit down the ground and the final ball of the over was hit to mid-wicket.
After hitting the final ball of the over into the stands, Pollard bowed down to acknowledge the roaring reception he was receiving from his team-mates.
Pollard is now the second batsman after Yuvraj to achieve this feat in the shortest format. Yuvraj had hit 6 sixes in an over during the 2007 World Cup against England.
While Gibbs achieved the feat against the Netherlands during the 50-over World Cup in 2007. (ANI)

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SEAT BROKEN BY GLENN MAXWELL’S SIX TO BE AUCTIONED FOR CHARITY

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WELLINGTON: Australia star batsman Glenn Maxwell’s whirlwind 31-ball 70 not only tore apart the Kiwis bowling attack in the third T20I, but also one of his sixes broke a seat in the stands as he smashed 28 runs off a James Neesham over.

After a string of low scores, Maxwell entered demolition mode in the third T20I and launched two mammoth sixes in the 17th over. One of those two sixes was hit with sheer power and ended up breaking a seat at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

The seat which Maxwell destroyed during his sensational knock against New Zealand will be put up for auction. After the game, Maxwell signed the seat so it can be auctioned off for charity.

Riding on skipper Aaron Finch, Maxwell and Ashton Agar’s performances, Australia bounced back in the series with a comfortable win over New Zealand.

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AHEAD OF THE FOURTH TEST ENGLAND PLAYERS FALL SICK

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AHMEDABAD: Ahead of the fourth test, England’s campaign against India has been disrupted by a sickness bug that has swept through the camp.

A sudden rise in temperature here has affected the visitors with a few members, including assistant coach Paul Collingwood, reportedly suffering from diarrhoea.

England captain Joe Root confirmed that a bug has hit the camp without confirming what it was or how many were affected. “There’s been a little bit of stuff flying around. We’ll keep monitoring it. To be honest, I don’t know exactly who’s been affected badly at this stage but it’s just really important we try and give everyone the best chance of being available for selection ahead of this game,” Root told British media.

India captain Virat Kohli, however, confirmed that India players are fit and fine with none of the players contracting any ailment.

“There are no health concerns or health issues. Everyone is fit and fine. Probably, (England players) would have been caught by a change in weather. It has been pretty hot over the last couple of days. It was pretty pleasant the first few days,” Kohli said.

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