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Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga announces retirement from international cricket

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Colombo [Sri Lanka], February 23 (ANI): Sri Lanka batsman Upul Tharanga on Tuesday announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, ending a 15-year long career.
Tharanga last played for Sri Lanka in an ODI against South Africa in March 2019. He appeared in 31 matches in the longest format of the game scoring 1754 runs and amassed 407 runs in 26 T20Is.
“As the good old saying goes, ‘All good things must come to an end’. I believe it is time for me to bid farewell to my International Cricket Career after over 15 years of giving the game my all. I leave behind a road traveled with fond memories and great friendships,” Tharanga said in a statement.
“I am thankful to Sri Lanka Cricket for always having faith and the trust vested in me. I am grateful to the many Cricket Loving Fans, friends and my family for standing by me during my highest of highs and even at my lowest points in my career,” he added.
In a letter sent to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Tharanga thanked SLC for the support and the guidance rendered to him during his cricketing career.
He also thanked the coaches, players, administrators, management, and the support staff of the SLC.
“Upul Tharanga has done a tremendous service as a player to Sri Lanka Cricket during his long career and has been an integral part of the national team during its many achievements,” said Ashley De Silva, CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Since he made his international debut in an ODI against West Indies in Dambulla in 2005, Tharanga played 292 matches across formats, amassing 9,112 international runs, including 18 tons. Tharanga finishes his career as Sri Lanka’s fifth-highest centurion in ODI history. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: You have to premeditate reverse-flicks, says Pant

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): Rishabh Pant single-handedly put India in command on the second day of the fourth Test against England with his third century in Test cricket. Having started cautiously, Pant took the English bowlers to the cleaners in the final session to take the game away from the visitors at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Speaking at the end of the day’s action, Pant told the host broadcasters that his initial plan was to observe how the wicket was playing and build a partnership with opener Rohit Sharma.
“The plan was just to build a partnership when I joined Rohit, that was the only thing on my mind. I was thinking I would assess the pitch and then play my shots. If the bowlers are bowling well respect it and take the singles, and that was on my mind,” he said.
Commenting on his style of play, Pant said: “I like to play the situation and I just see the ball and react — that’s the USP (unique selling point) of my game. The team plan was to get to 206, past the England total, and then get as many runs as possible after that.”
His reverse sweep off James Anderson summed up his knock on Friday and throwing light on it, Pant said: “You have to premeditate reverse-flicks, but if luck is going your way you can take the odd chance. I get the license most of the time, but I have to assess the situation and take the game head on. I like to make the team win and if the crowd is entertained by that, I’m happy.”
At stumps, India’s score read 294/7 with Washington Sundar (60) and Axar Patel (11) at the crease — leading the visitors by 89 runs in the first innings. India scored 141 runs in 32 overs in the final session of the second day. (ANI)

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Jamal Musiala signs new long-term contract with Bayern Munich

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Munich [Germany], March 5 (ANI): Bayern Munich on Friday announced that Jamal Musiala has signed a new contract, committing his future to the club until 2026.
“FC Bayern have handed Jamal Musiala a professional contract until 2026,” the club said in a statement.
The 18-year-old attacker joined the German record champions’ U17 team from Chelsea in summer 2019 and has made rapid progress since then.
Musiala has made 27 appearances for the first team to date, scoring four goals. In the 4-1 win in the Champions League round of 16 first-leg at Lazio last week, he became Bayern’s youngest goalscorer in the competition. He was already listed as the German record champions’ youngest-ever Bundesliga player after featuring in the 3-1 win against SC Freiburg in June.
After putting pen to paper on a new contract, Musiala said he is playing with the best players in the world.
“I’m really pleased to have signed my first professional contract at FC Bayern. I just feel very good at the club and in the team, I’m playing with the best players in the world and I can learn from them every day in training,” the club’s official website quoted Musiala as saying.
“Hansi Flick, Hasan Salihamidzic and Marco Neppe along with the whole club have believed in me and given me the chance very early on. I just want to repay that faith with good performances, keep getting better and win a lot more titles with FC Bayern. My aim is to become an important player for this club,” he added. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: It’s ‘pretty daunting’ the way Pant scores, says Jeetan Patel

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): As Rishabh Pant brought his team back in the game with his enthralling century, England’s spin bowling coach Jeetan Patel said it is “pretty daunting” to see the way the India wicket-keeper batsman scores.
“The game is still quite in the balance, I believe. But I think Rishabh Pant and Washinton Sundar’s partnership is huge… He certainly came out and looked to play shots bit more aggressively and it came off from him. When a guy strikes as well as he has been in this series, it is pretty daunting to have him come at 7 (6) and score the way he does,” Patel said while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Friday.
Reverse sweeping James Anderson to pick a boundary on the second day of a Test match perfectly summed up Pant’s (101) belligerent knock at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday. The swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman single-handedly put India in command on the second day of the fourth Test against England with his third century in Test cricket.
With wickets tumbling around him, Pant took 82 balls to reach his first fifty runs. But the next 50 came off just 33 balls as he decided to send the English bowlers on a leather hunt. The second new ball turned to be a blessing in disguise for the batsman as the ball started coming onto the bat beautifully and Pant was more than happy to bring out the unorthodox shots from the kitty.
Patel said England players gave their 100 percent on the day and that’s why they are a bit “annoyed” with how the things panned out. India were reduced to 146/6 but from there on, Pant and Sundar rebuilt the hosts’ first innings.
“I think the players are very tired. The wicket started off really well and I think it started to flatten out in the middle session and by the end of the day, it started to go the other way. I think the guys put up a lot of efforts, probably 100 per cent of what they got. So, they are a bit tired and maybe a bit annoyed about how the afternoon went because we were in a good position,” Patel said. (ANI)

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ISL 7: NorthEast Utd bank on magic run against ATKMB in first leg of playoffs

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Bambolim (Goa) [India], March 5 (ANI): NorthEast United FC has been on a fairy tale run in the seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). Defying all odds, they have silenced critics, who had written them off after their mid-season slump.
But then came Khalid Jamil, who produced a stunning turnaround to lead them to just their second playoffs. Jamil has remained unbeaten in the nine games, recording six wins and three draws.
He now looks to carry on with that momentum when his team clashes against ATK Mohun Bagan at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim, on Saturday. The coach believes all credit must go to his players.
“All the players have worked very hard. Because of them, we have reached here. I never think about the nine matches. It’s about right from the first game. The boys have worked hard and I am very proud to be their coach,” Jamil said in an ISL release.
The match will be between the two sides with similar approaches. Both teams will be set up in a compact way to make it difficult for the opposition
Every time the Highlanders have taken a lead, they have been impossible to beat. They took the lead on 13 occasions this season and won eight, shared points in the rest. Bagan work on similar lines. Having taken the lead 14 times, ATKMB has won 12 and drawn 2. Jamil is aware of the importance of scoring first.
“We are going to play against a good team. ATK Mohun Bagan are a good side. Defensively strong and their attack is strong too. We have to be very careful as the first match is very important. It will be the toughest game of the league. So we will have to prepare well and we will have to be strong,” Jamil said.
NorthEast can look at history for encouragement. Bagan coach Antonio Habas is winless in 3 first-leg ISL semifinals, losing 2 and drawing 1.
“It’s an advantage but we are thinking about tomorrow. It’s our first game we have to be careful,” added Jamil.
For ATK Mohun Bagan, the last three games cost them the League Winners Shield. However, the club is still in the contest for the ISL crown and will hope to redeem their season by lifting the title.
“NorthEast United have had a good ISL season. It’s a very difficult team because they have good players in defence, central midfield and good players in attack. They also had good performances and give 100 per cent on the pitch,” said Habas. (ANI)

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Pant ‘more than ready’ to fill void created post Dhoni’s retirement, feels Rohit

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): India opener Rohit Sharma feels wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant is “more than ready” to fill the void created after former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s retirement.
Considered one of the greatest finishers in modern-day cricket, Dhoni was also the master tactician behind the stumps and after Pant’s heroics on the second day of the fourth Test, Rohit feels Pant is ready to follow the footsteps of the former captain.
The swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman single-handedly put India in command on the second day of the fourth Test against England with his third century in Test cricket.
On being asked if Pant was ready to fill the void created by Dhoni’s retirement, Rohit in the virtual press conference replied,” He seems to be doing a job for us, so he’s more than ready I guess!”
Having started cautiously, Pant took the English bowlers to the cleaners in the final session to take the game away from the visitors and put the hosts in the driver’s seat.
Rohit defended Pant’s approach in Test cricket saying that the wicket-keeper batsman has his own style of batting and one must back him. The opening batsman also revealed the team has given the license to Pant to play his natural game.
“Pant has his own style of batting. Of course, there have been messages from the team management on how he needs to approach the game but you know he seems to be batting in his own style which seems to be fine,” said Rohit on Friday.
“He is getting the job done and that’s more important for us and you saw in this innings as well. The first half of his innings he was quite respectful and then once we got to 200 he just wanted to take on the bowlers,” he further said.
“You need those kinds of players in your team who are not afraid to take on the bowlers and who are ready to grab the chances with both hands. You should have a mix of players in your squad,” Rohit added.
With wickets tumbling around him, Pant took 82 balls to reach his first fifty runs. But the next 50 came off just 33 balls as he decided to send the English bowlers on a leather hunt.
Rohit explained how Pant’s style of hitting has put India on top after being four down with 80 runs on board in the morning.
“Pant is courageous enough to take chances. There will be times when he will play shots and get out but I don’t want anyone to get upset. As he is the kind of player who will play like that and get the job done for the team. Like today we were on backfoot and suddenly within a span of one hour we were in the drivers’ seat,” said Rohit.
“You need players like Pant and management completely understands this and we are ready to take those chances with him and he has been given that freedom to go on and express himself,” he added. (ANI)

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Pant will be an all-time great in all formats in years to come: Ganguly

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): India looked in a tough situation after losing early wickets on day two of the fourth Test against England, but wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant put the hosts back in the driver’s seat with this brilliant century.
Praising Pant for his “unbelievable” knock, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly said that the player will be an “all-time great in all formats” in the years to come.
“How good is he? Unbelievable..what a knock under pressure…not the first time and won’t be the last time..will be an all time great in all formats in the years to come.keep batting in this aggressive manner .thats why will be match winner and special..@bcci @RishabhPant17,” Ganguly tweeted.
Reverse sweeping James Anderson to pick a boundary on the second day of a Test match perfectly summed up Pant’s belligerent knock at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday.
The swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman single-handedly put India in command on the second day of the fourth Test with his third century in Test cricket. Having started cautiously, Pant took the English bowlers to the cleaners in the final session to take the game away from the visitors and put the hosts on top.
India opener Rohit Sharma on Friday labelled Pant’s 101-run knock as the finest he has seen from the wicketkeeper-batsman so far in the longest format of the game.
“In my opinion, it was probably his (Pant) finest knock. It came under pressure as well, we were not in a good position when he came out to bat. We saw few sides of Rishabh Pant’s knock today. He was cautious at the beginning and then he actually flourished like we know Rishabh can. He put the team into a good position, when we came inside during the tea break, the message to both Rishabh and Washington Sundar was that we need to get to England’s score and then try to press from there.
“Then, Rishabh played his natural game, which is absolutely fine and a lot of courage he showed in the middle and it was fantastic,” said Rohit while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Friday.
At stumps, India’s score read 294/7 with Washington Sundar (60) and Axar Patel (11) at the crease — leading the visitors by 89 runs in the first innings. India scored 141 runs in 32 overs in the final session of the second day. (ANI)

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