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Smith and Finch hit tons as Aussies beat India in 1st ODI

Hardik Pandya’s career-best effort fails to compensate for a forgettable bowling effort as Team India loses by 66 runs against Australia in the tour opener.

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Smith and Finch hit tons as Aussies beat India in 1st ODI 1

Steve Smith and Aaron Finch led the way with centuries as Australia opened their home summer with a one-day victory over India by 66 runs on Friday in the first men’s international played in front of a crowd since March.

The capacity of the Sydney Cricket Ground was reduced by 50% because of social distancing rules but a crowd of 17,821, mostly backing the tourists, were treated to some fireworks from the home batsmen in the afternoon sun.

Finch scored 114 in an opening stand of 156 with David Warner (69) to lay a platform before his predecessor as captain Smith smashed 105 off 66 balls to drive Australia to 374 for six — their highest total against India.

India, who were forced to spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival in Australia, always looked like struggling to chase down the third highest tally they had conceded in any one-dayer.

Hardik Pandya thumped four sixes in a bright 90 to give them hope but the innings petered out after his fifth-wicket partnership of 128 with opener Shikhar Dhawan (74) was broken and India limped to 308-8 in their 50 overs.

“I’ve been searching for something for a couple of months but a few days ago something just clicked,” Smith said of his batting. “It was nice to contribute to a good win.”

The teams lined up in a “Barefoot Circle” in recognition of indigenous Australians before the match and moments of silence remembered Dean Jones, who died last month, and Phillip Hughes, who suffered a fatal injury at the ground exactly six years ago.

There was another short pause early in the Australia innings when two environmental protesters ran on the field but Finch and Warner were soon back pillaging runs again.

Spinner Adam Zampa (4-54) redeemed himself with ball in hand after dropping Kohli in the deep when the India captain was on one, but his was only one of a string of misfields from both sides.

Paceman Mohammed Shami was the pick of India’s bowlers (3-59) and skittled Smith with a full toss in the final over of the innings.

Josh Hazlewood (3-55) stalled a blistering start to India’s innings by removing Mayank Agarwal and then dismissed Virat Kohli (21) and Shreyas Iyer in the 10th over.

India play two more one-dayers in Sydney and Canberra before a three-match Twenty20 series and four tests around the new year.

“I think we had enough preparation so no excuses,” said Kohli. “The key to keeping the batsmen in check is picking up wickets and we couldn’t do that.

REUTERS

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PSL 6: Sherfane Rutherford, Wahab Riaz shine as Peshawar Zalmi beat Quetta Gladiators by 3 wickets

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Karachi [Pakistan], February 27 (ANI): Late onslaught from Sherfane Rutherford and Wahab Riaz guided Peshawar Zalmi to a thrilling three-wicket win over Quetta Gladiators in the PSL 6 on Friday.
Chasing a huge 199 to win, Zalmi found themselves struggling at 145 for five in 15.5 overs and required 54 from 25 balls when Wahab joined Rutherford.
Both batsmen took bowlers to the cleaners and collected 44 runs in the next three overs to bring down the equation to only six required off the last over.
Mohammad Hasnain got Wahab (20 off 8) on the first ball of the last over but bowled a wide full toss away from the keeper which cost the team five runs, and eventually, Rutherford played the winning shot hand Zalmi their second win of the season with three balls spare.
Rutherford remained unbeaten on 36 off 18 balls, which included one four and four towering sixes.
Zalmi’s run chase got off to a wobbly start as they lost experienced Kamran Akmal (3 off 8) and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (4 off 4) in the first four overs for 27.
It was Haider Ali’s sizzling half-century that helped Zalmi stage a comeback and set the platform for his team to surmount the mammoth total. The 20-year-old smashed 50 off 29.
Undeterred by the fall of wickets, Haider timed his first ball for a four behind point and smashed his third for a gigantic six down the ground off Hasnain’s full-toss.
He accumulated 17 runs off Usman Shinwari in the 13th over, dispatching the left-arm pacer for a boundary through cover and a six over deep long-on before an inside edge of his bat went for four.
The youngsters spanked as many as five fours and two sixes and received the desired support from opener Imam-ul-Haq from the other end as the pair knitted a crucial 51-run partnership.
Imam was bowled by leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood for 41 off 30 balls. His innings included four fours and a six.
Haider, then, was joined by experienced Shoaib Malik with the side still required another 120 runs from 64 balls.
Haider brought up his second half century of his HBL PSL career off 28 balls and was caught off Dale Steyn on the next. Steyn, playing his first match of the season, took two wickets for 44 in four overs.
Following Zalmi captain Wahab’s decision to field, the crowd at the National Stadium was treated with sumptuous stroke play by Gladiators’ captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who scored his fourth HBL PSL half-century, and young hard-hitting batsman Azam Khan after they accumulated runs at seven an over in the batting powerplay.
Openers Cameron Delport (2 off 5) and Saim Ayub (21 off 19) were back in the pavilion in the seventh over with 48 runs on the board.
Faf du Plessis, who has come in as a partial replacement for Chris Gayle, was joined by Sarfaraz, who smashed 12 fours and a six in his impressive 40-ball 81, and the pair contributed 40 runs for the third wicket, before du Plessis fell to his former teammate Wahab for 37. The former South Africa captain struck four fours and a six in his 26-ball innings.
Azam Khan, coming to bat at number five, smashed bowlers all around the dial and struck a 105-run stand for the fourth wicket with his captain. Azam scored 47 off 26 balls, hitting six fours and two sixes – one of them landing on the roof of the stadium.
Saqib Mahmood was the pick of the bowlers for Peshawar Zalmi, taking three for 34. Gladiators have played three matches in the ongoing season and are yet to open their account.
Brief Scores: Quetta Gladiators 198/7 (Sarfaraz Ahmed 81, Azam Khan 47; Saqib Mahmood 3-34); Peshawar Zalmi 202/7 (Haider Ali 50, Imam-ul-Haq 41; Dale Steyn 2-44) (ANI)

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Karnataka State Cricket Association reached its pinnacle under Vinay Kumar’s leadership: Jaffer

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New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): Former India Test batsman Wasim Jaffer hailed pacer Vinay Kumar for taking Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) to new heights under his leadership.
Vinay on Friday announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. Jaffer congratulated the fast bowler on a “wonderful career”. The former Indian cricketer also highlighted Vinay’s ability to challenge the technique of the batsmen.
“KSCA reached its pinnacle under your leadership, winning the ‘treble’ twice! A determined cricketer and a bowler who always challenged the technique of batsmen. And your energy on the field was infectious. Congratulations on a wonderful career and best wishes for future Vinay!” Jaffer tweeted.
While announcing his retirement, Vinay Kumar had tweeted: “Today “Davangere Express” after running for 25 years and passing so many stations of cricketing life, has finally arrived at a station called “retirement”.
“With a lot of mixed emotions, I Vinay Kumar R hereby announce my retirement from international and first-class cricket. It is not an easy decision to make, however, there comes a time in every sportsperson’s life where one has to call it a day.”
Vinay Kumar played for India in all three formats of the game. In his career, he played 1 Test, 31 ODIs, and 9 T20Is for the country, managing to take 49 wickets across all formats of the game.
His best figures in his international career came in the ODI format where he returned with the figures of 4/30 against England in Delhi in 2011.
Vinay Kumar played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Kochi Tuskers Kerela in the Indian Premier League. He also led Karnataka to two consecutive Ranji Trophy titles in 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
In November 2018, he had played his 100th match in the Ranji Trophy. In 2019, he had moved from Karnataka to Puducherry, ahead of the Ranji Trophy season. (ANI)

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I accidentally became a cricketer, living my dream, says Ashwin

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India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed that his planning before a game goes to a “different level” and he watches a lot of footage before a match to leave no stone unturned with regard to his preparations.

Ashwin also revealed that during the Australia tour, before the Adelaide Test, he watched footage for eight straight hours and watching all these videos have helped him have a better understanding of the game and even before bowling the ball, he kind of understands what shot the batsman is going to play. “In Australia, before the Adelaide Test, I watched footage for eight straight hours. Planning for me goes to a different level. I do not know why I started doing it but it’s just that I do not want to leave any stone unturned. I used to watch a lot of footage even before but I think the understanding of the game has gone one notch higher,” Ashwin told India fielding coach R Sridhar in a video posted on BCCI’s website.

“What happened during the lockdown was that I was watching a lot of cricket from the past, like Sachin’s (Tendulkar) hundred at Chepauk and all kinds of stuff on Youtube. And I started picking up fine queues and think why haven’t I picked all these things and figured all these things and it just struck me. After that, I started watching footage differently and once I started watching, it became fun because I am able to pick batsmen like what they are doing and even before I bowl the ball, I kind of understand what kind of shot they are going to play,” he added.

Riding on brilliant spells of spin bowling from Axar and Ashwin, India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the pink-ball Test here at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday to go 2-1 up in the four-match series.

During the match, Ashwin reached a major milestone of 400 Test wickets. Reflecting on the same, he said: “Initial feeling? It was quite empty to be honest because we were under immense pressure today. We only got a 30-run lead and the game was in the balance. I was in the moment, and only after we took the DRS, I realised the 400-wicket feat. After they flashed the 400 wickets on the board, the entire stadium was up and everyone was clapping. I cannot put my finger and say (exactly) how I feel.”

Ashwin said he is a cricket lover who actually went on to become a cricketer. “I accidentally became a cricketer. I am a cricket lover who actually went on to become a cricketer. I am living my dream here. I never imagined I will wear the Indian jersey and play.,” he said.

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Aaron Finch is a blazing gun: Kane Richardson

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Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson has voiced his support to skipper Aaron Finch, who has witnessed a slump in form during the recent outings in the shortest format of the game.

Finch scored a paltry 12 during Australia’s chase of a mammoth total on Thursday in the second T20I against New Zealand. The visiting skipper has been going through a lean patch and had scored one in the first T20I on Monday. The Australian skipper has just scored 495 runs at an average of 17.06 in his last 29 T20 outings across the Indian Premier League (IPL), Big Bash League (BBL), and international cricket.

But Richardson is optimistic of Finch returning to form as he feels the Australian skipper is just one game away from unleashing his true potential.

“What he’s done before, he’s come out of these things. Everyone goes through this at some point. He’ll work it out. He’s a gun. I’m sure his mental strength will get him through this,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Richardson as saying.aron

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Pressure is what brings the best out of Kohli

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Virat Kohli

I am not a firm believer of team motivation, nevertheless, I believe in getting the team ready! When I say this I mean confidence of a team to play great cricket in the field.

Whether you are focused on your individual goals, or responsible for keeping your team on tracks, you have plenty of inspiration to be gained from sporting greats.

When you are a recipient of numerous accolades like Padmashri, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna award, etc. I’m sure that one would be burdened by the anxiety to enrich the performance every passing day.

Virat Kohli is one such young player who has all these burdens on his shoulders, when he or his team performs. The pressure flows from myriad sources— both indoor (from the team and the board) and outdoors (from fans, media, family, and friends).

It’s said pressure brings out the best out of Virat Kohli, but what about his own blood pressure? Virat ended 2020 without a single century across all the formats, his last ton coming from Edens in 2019.

When he fell in love to Anushka Sharma and decided to tie the knot in 2017, he knew their married life will be closely followed and observed by many over-enthusiastic, self-styled custodians of society masquerading as fans. That is an innate source of a pressure in itself.

I remember Anil Kumble once played against West Indies with a broken Jaw, Sachin played against Pakistan with a back injury, Gilchrist was given not out and yet he walked back to the stands in 2003 WC, and Virat congratulated Mohammad Amir for his wonderful spell in the Asian cup — looking at these incidents, I still believe that it’s a gentleman’s game.

One of the biggest disadvantages of the Indian cricket is the name and fame that comes across with it. It’s easy for someone to get carried away with so much of an attention at an early age.Thats why we see so many cricketers loosing out even after a promising start. If cricketers in India can keep all this aside and concentrate on the game of cricket, the media attention and continuous scrutiny of the game and players won’t matter much. Virat has withstood all the test of time and has proved his mettle for India.

Right from 2008 U-19 Kuala Lumpur to the fastest run maker in ODI till date, his journey has been wonderful. I guess, we need to give him a break, and all the credit he deserves, so that he can once again outshine his contemporaries. Empathy is a much needed emotion in sports. I should congratulate him for being one of the biggest performers in cricket, and also being a father.

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DOPING IN SPORTS: THE USE AND ABUSE OF GROWTH HORMONE

Dr Saranjeet Singh

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A 16-year-old footballer registered with a Premier League club has been banned for nine months for possession of a banned substance. It was alleged the player possessed and used the hormone somatropin. Somatropin is a growth hormone that is banned at all times in sport under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. His suspension will conclude on 7 May.

What is Somatropin?

Growth hormone (GH) or somatotropin, also known as human growth hormones (hGH or HGH). It is produced by a tiny endocrine gland found in brain called the pituitary glandThe pituitary puts out GH in bursts; levels rise following exercise, trauma, and sleep. Under normal conditions, more GH is produced at night than during the day.

Growth hormone (GH) stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration in humans and other animals. It is thus important in human development. GH also stimulates production of IGF-1 (Insulin like Growth Factor – 1) and increases the concentration of glucose and free fatty acids.

A recombinant form of hGH called somatropin is used as a prescription drug to treat children’s growth disorders and adult growth hormone deficiency

The Use and Abuse of Growth Hormone in Sports

The use of growth hormone to improve athletic performance has recently received worldwide attention. This practice is banned by most professional sports leagues and associations including International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). However a wide range of athletes, including those from baseball, cycling and track and field have been implicated in or confessed to illicit growth hormone use.

Its misuse has been suspected in sport because of its anabolic properties. Athletes and bodybuilders claim that hGH increases lean body mass and decreases the fat mass. The use of hGH in sport today is not only based on its anabolic properties, but also on its effect on carbohydrate and fat metabolism. The rationale appears to come from studies in adults with GH deficiency, where GH replacement has been shown to alter body composition so that lean tissue mass is increased and fat mass is decreased, to enhance aerobic and resistance performance, to increase cardiac output, to enhance thermal adaptation during exertion, to increase collagen synthesis, and to modify intermediary metabolism.

Growth Hormone in Sport: What Athletes should know

There are many reported side effects from the use of growth hormone, including irritation at the injection site, increased blood pressure in the brain, damage to the retina and vision in people with diabetes, damage to the growth plates in the femur in pediatric patients, faster progression of scoliosis in people who have this condition, hypothyroidism, pancreatitis, swelling or stiffness in the arms and legs, and generalized pain. Long-term, the use of growth hormone may cause the body to stop producing its own, or to down regulate the growth hormone pathways.

This case of a 16 years old boy demonstrates that the anti-doping rules apply to all athletes, regardless of age, and serves as an important reminder of the serious consequences that can apply if those rules are broken. If you are responsible for a young athlete, you should take a proactive approach to ensure their participation in clean sport and help to protect them from the risks of doping.

The Writer is a fitness & Sports medicine specialist

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