Q: First of all, tell me what you have been doing during the lockdown and how has this phase been for you?
A: See, it has been frustrating and there is no doubt about it. I have never spent so much time at home. For the past 20 years, I don’t think any cricketer or anyone would have done it. But while staying at home has been frustrating, it also has been a blessing in disguise for me. I would not get time to spend with my daughter and now I am spending time with my family. I have started reliving my hobby of cooking, which I used to love and now that I have got time, I am doing it. I have been training hard to stay fit. I almost spend 2.5-3 hours training at home. So, yes it has been a bit frustrating, but when you don’t have a choice you try to find a way and that is what sports have taught all of us. It has taught us that you need to find a way with whatever you have and that is what we have been trying to do.
Q: Parthiv, let’s also talk about this pandemic. In fact, after Maharashtra, Gujarat is extremely ravaged by Covid-19. How do you think the country and the states in particular have responded to this virus?
A: The situation in Gujarat has become worse since last week. We can see the numbers growing fast. I am sure that our government is trying its best to stop this pandemic, but I think it is our responsibility too. We should stay at home. As we say in cricket, you cannot win a game only by a batsman scoring a century, you need someone to take wickets also. So, it is not only the government’s responsibility but also ours. I know this period is getting stretched but the more we stay at home, the more we will help the government and the virus will be gone quickly.
Q: This is one question that I ask all sportspersons: you can go to your gym, you can watch your diet, but for a cricketer, going to the nets, playing on the ground, is absolutely sacrosanct, and that is not happening. What is going to happen when cricket resumes?
A: That is a big question. What best we can do is visualise… try to hit the ball in a smaller area and try to ensure that our coordination is there, but as you rightly said, once the lockdown opens it is not going to be easy for any athlete or any sportsman to get back to the skill levels they possess. So, certainly, a lot of hard work will be required. We would have been playing IPL by now, but yes, a lot of over-timing would be required to get back on track.
Q: Since you spoke of the IPL, you have been a part of six different teams in IPL. You have also played under a number of captains. Who has been your favourite and why?
A: When we talk about IPL, I have played under M.S. Dhoni for three years. He is someone who is highly regarded. He allows everyone to be their true self. He gives everyone space to express themselves on the ground and this is his biggest quality. He succeeded in making sure that the atmosphere of the team stays on the same level, whether it is a win or a loss. So, I think this is his biggest quality. To answer your question, of all the captains I liked playing under was Dhoni. I also liked playing under Mahela Jayawardene. He has been the captain of the Sri Lankan team for so many years and he has also been successful.
Q: You have played in South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia… As a cricketer, which of these countries you found the opposition to be the hardest?
A: When I went to Australia in 2003-04, that was the probably the strongest Australian team of that era. Circumstances were different from now. When we went in 2003-04, wickets had bounce, pace. To me, I think, Australian conditions and the crowd…you know when you are not doing well, they keep reminding you that you are down and out. So, I think Australia has been the toughest place and team to play.
Q: Sports fans are desperate for some cricket. If cricket is to resume, which format according to you should be started at this point in time?
A: Actually, you know I am in a position that even if you allow me to go on exile I will go. Any format which is viable for everyone should get started. But I think at this point in time, we need more entertainment. In fact, everyone needs entertainment and there is not a better entertainment than the T20 format.
Q: Have you picked up any new skills in the recent past, in these times?
A: I have been trying my hand in commentary. I had a few commentary sessions with stars during the World Cup and even in the home series in West Indies. I had done an online course on media and broadcasting. So, I am trying to use this time to learn something about media and broadcasting. I see my future in that post-retirement, so I am trying to pick it up. And yes, I am also cooking every day. I have learned to cook Thai food.
Q: We know the world is changing, and by the time this pandemic is gone everything is going to be up for a change. How do you see cricket changing once this is over?
A: I think the real battle will start once everything is lifted. I believe everyone will have to be strong mentally because there will be a lot of decisions that will need to be taken. I am not worried about cricket as much as the economy and related things. My advice to everyone is to stay healthy mentally so that we can make the right decisions.
Q: Last question before we let you go. What has been your favourite memory of the brilliant cricketing career that you had?
A: There are a couple of memories. Beating Pakistan in Pakistan for the first time in a Test series. The 2017 IPL finals when we won by one run. In the domestic front, winning the Ranji Trophy, I think that is a very big achievement for a team like Gujarat. So, these are the three best memories that will stay with me for long.
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Happy with performance at Asian Championships: Mirabai Chanu
Mirabai Chanu said she is happy with her performance in the Asian Weighlifting Championships after she set a new world record in Clean and Jerk as she lifted 119 kg in the competition to cross the old mark of 118 kg.
She also created a new national record as she lifted a total of 205 kg (86 kg snatch + 119 kg Clean and Jerk) which also won her the bronze medal at the showpiece event.
The wrestler said in a tweet, “I am happy with my performance at the Asian Championship 2021. Thank you everyone for your love and support. I will continue to work hard and improve myself.”
Earlier in the day, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju congratulated her for the achievement. “In her first international competition in more than a year, @mirabai_chanu makes a new national record of 205 kgs at the Asian Championships and won bronze medal. Her perfect clean and jerk lift of 119 kg is a new world record! Target Olympic Podium Mirabai!” he tweeted.
The weightlifter replied to the minister and thanked him for providing the best facilities and support. “Thank you so much @KirenRijiju for providing us best facilities and all kind of support,” Mirabai replied on Rijiju’s tweet.
I MISS WINNING TROPHIES, UNITED NEED TO WIN SOMETHING: POGBA
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has said that he misses winning trophies and it is about time that his side manages to win something.
United has not won a major title since they prevailed in the 2017 Europa League final under Jose Mourinho. Current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is yet to see any kind of substantial success under his reign.
“Personally, I miss it a lot and feel like I miss something. We have to win something. I just want to win something; I don’t like to play and not win. I’m a bad loser, I will always be a bad loser, so every time I play, I want to win. Personally, we want it very bad. I think we are getting closer and closer; there is improvement I would say,” Pogba told Sky Sports, as reported by Goal.com.
“When I say improvement, this club has such big goals and objectives we want to achieve and that is to win and to have a trophy to hold. That is what we want and that will be the big step,” he added.
Further talking about United’s chances to win a title, Pogba said: “I’m happy, we’re there, we’re close. We’re still in the Europa League, we still have something to play for.” He added, “We have the league still, as long as Manchester City don’t have the trophy we’re going to keep working and playing. We still have a chance to win something this year so, why not.”
United is currently at the second place in the Premier League standings, 11 points behind table-toppers Manchester City.
KINGS AND ROYALS ALL SET FOR BIG CLASH
Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are gearing up to meet at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Monday. Both sides, with one win and a defeat each would like to win this match to get momentum early in the IPL 2021.
The start of the season did not bore fruit for either of the sides as the Delhi Capitals mauled the Super Kings before the latter gave quite a similar treatment to the Punjab Kings.
CSK defeated the Punjab Kings comfortably, riding on Deepak Chahar’s brilliant bowling, reducing K.L. Rahul’s side to 26/5 by the seventh over. They kept a tight leash over the Punjab batsmen, with Jadeja and Moeen Ali running through their overs in no time.
As for RR, which after losing dramatically against Punjab by one run in the first match, came back strongly to beat Delhi Capitals, thanks to a terrific bowling performance. Their three left-arm pacers troubled the DC batsmen, with Unadkat finishing with excellent figures of 3/15 in his four overs. They survived a Rishabh Pant onslaught to restrict the Capitals to 147/8.
CSK, led by old warhorse Dhoni, has seen resurgence of its fortunes by the presence of Suresh Raina, who has given the much-needed batting balance to the side in the middle. Also, the presence of the likes of Jadeja has given the side an edge, with Jadeja showing his skills as batsman, bowler as well as a fielder par excellence. Also, the bowling of Deepak Chahar has been a highlight this season.
While a conscious effort has been visible in the approach of Raina, Faf du Plessis, and Moeen Ali across CSK’s two games thus far, the same has been missing in Ruturaj Gaikwad, who was the highlight of the last edition of the IPL.
As for the Royals, they started their campaign with a dramatic last-ball defeat against Punjab Kings, despite skipper Sanju Samson’s destructive 63-ball 119. The next match, the side lost Ben Stokes to an injury but David Miller rose to the occasion to guide the team to victory. The presence of Jos Buttler also gives the side an advantage. A lot for the Royals, however, will be on the skipper, Sanju Samson, who has been in blistering form so far.CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
• Deepak Chahar took 4 wickets against Kings
• Sam Curran and Moeen Ali proved to be good all-rounders
• Ravindra Jadeja has been quite economical as a bowler
• Flop show of Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad
• Shardul Thakur has failed to restrict runs
• Dhoni should come up in the batting orderRAJASTHAN ROYALS
• Fast bowling of Jaidev Unadkat, Mustafizur Rahman & Chetan Sakaria
• Sanju Samson’s power hitting
• Chris Morris and David Millers batting
• Flop show by openers
• Spin bowling is a main concern
• Rahul Tewatia is yet to fire
Indian boxers continue their ruthless run
Extending splendid run, Indian boxers put up a phenomenal performance on yet another glorious day at the AIBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships after as many as country’s five pugilists made their way into the quarter-finals on the fifth day of the competition in Kielce, Poland.
Asian Junior Champion Biswamitra Chongtham led the Indian pugilists’ onslaught in the men’s section as he outclassed Khosroshahi Parvizi 5-0 to enter the 49 kg quarter-finals. Manipuri pugilist Biswamitra, who was impressive in the trials where he defeated Khelo India gold medallist, looked in complete control against the Irish boxer as he carried on with the momentum before finishing the bout in his favour. Besides Biswamitra, Ankit Narwal also secured a place in the last-8 alongside Uttar Pradesh boxer Vishal Gupta (91kg) and Sachin (56kg), who hails from Bhiwani, Haryana.
Asian Youth silver medallist Haryana’s Ankit defeated Polish boxer Oliwier Zamojski with a 4-1 split decision. However, Vishal and Sachin comfortably registered identical 5-0 victories against Croatia’s Borna Loncaric and Jose Valdez of Columbia respectively.
Meanwhile, in the women’s section, Gitika (48kg), who came into the match beating European Champion Diana Ermakova, continued her impressive form as she notched up a flawless 5-0 triumph against Kazakhstani boxer Arailym Marat to progress into the last-8 stage.
However, Nisha Gurjar (64kg) was the lone Indian who could not progress on Day 5 as she suffered a 1-4 loss against Latvia’s Beatrise Rozentale in the pre-quarters.
The sixth day of the prestigious event, where India has fielded a strong 20-member team, will witness nine Indians in action. Appearing in the quarter-finals, five women—Poonam (57kg), Alfiya Pathan (+81kg), Khushi (81kg), Gitika (48kg), and Vinka (60kg)—will look to make their way into the semi-finals and assure country medals. While Akash Gorkha (60kg), Manish (75kg), Sumit (69kg) and Vinit (81kg) will be seen playing in the men’s pre-quarterfinals stage. WITH ANI INPUTS
Maxwell, de Villiers hand RCB 38-run win over KKR
KKR’s Andre Russell did make a quickfire 31, but in the end, RCB managed to hold on to record their third victory in a row this season.
Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers’ knocks of 78 and 76 runs, respectively, followed by a spirited bowling performance, helped Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) defeat Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 38 runs on Sunday here at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
Andre Russell did make a quickfire 31, but in the end, RCB managed to hold on to record their third victory in a row this season. This is the first time that RCB has managed to win their first three games in an IPL season.
Chasing 205, KKR got off to a flier as Shubman Gill scored 21 runs off just nine balls, but in trying to look for another big shot, Gill lost his wicket to Kyle Jamieson in the second over of the innings. Rahul Tripathi then joined Nitish Rana in the middle and the duo put on 34 runs for the second wicket, but in looking for a maximum, Tripathi (25) ended up losing his wicket to Shubman Gill in the sixth over, reducing KKR to 57/2.
In the very next over, Yuzvendra Chahal managed to send Rana (18) back to the pavilion and KKR was left in a spot of bother at 66/3. KKR fell further into a slump as Dinesh Karthik (2) failed to impress with the bat and ended up losing his wicket to Chahal. Eoin Morgan played a 29-run knock from 23 balls, but his innings was cut short by Harshal Patel with KKR still needing 91 more runs for the win.
Andre Russell came out to bat next and he even hit Yuzvendra Chahal for 19 runs in the 17th over and as a result, KKR needed 59 runs for the win from the final three overs. Shakib Al Hasan (26) and Pat Cummins (6) lost their wickets to Jamieson in the 18th over and it all boiled down to Russell. In the end, the task proved too much and KKR ended up stumbling to a 38-run loss
Earlier, RCB might have been 9/2 in the second over, but Maxwell and de Villiers’ knocks of 78 and 76 ensured that the side posts a total of 204/4 in the allotted twenty overs. Along with Maxwell and de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal and Kyle Jamieson also played knocks of 25 and 11 respectively. For KKR, Varun Chakravarthy returned with two wickets.
Opting to bat first, RCB got off to a bad start as the side lost wickets of Virat Kohli (5) and Rajat Patidar (1) in the second over of the innings. Varun Chakravarthy provided the first two breakthroughs to KKR. Maxwell then joined Padikkal in the crease and the duo revived the innings for RCB.
Padikkal played a second fiddle while Maxwell took on the mantle of being the aggressor. The right-handed Maxwell hammered KKR bowlers all around the park and he was looking set to take RCB’s score beyond the 180-run mark. Prasidh Krishna finally provided the much-needed breakthrough to KKR as he dismissed Padikkal (25) in the 12th over, ending the 86-run third-wicket partnership and reducing RCB to 95/3.
De Villiers then joined Maxwell in the middle and the duo further accelerated the innings, not giving KKR bowlers any sort of respite. Maxwell (78) finally departed in the 17th over as Pat Cummins bounced him out. However, the Proteas batsman carried on with the momentum and in the end, RCB posted a total of more than the 200-run mark.
BRIEF SCORES: RCB 204/4 (Glenn Maxwell 78, Ab de Villiers 76*, Varun Chakravarthy 2-39) vs KKR 166/8 (Andre Russell 31, Eoin Morgan 29, Kyle Jamieson 3-41).
Happy to inform that I have tested Covid-19 negative: Harmanpreet
India women’s T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur on Friday announced that she has recovered from coronavirus and urged everyone to take all precautions amid the pandemic.
Harmanpreet had tested positive for Covid-19 last month and was under home quarantine. Having tested negative, the cricketer has made an appeal to everyone to follow all necessary protocols to fight the pandemic. “Happy to inform you all that I have tested -ve & I’m feeling better. My only message to y’all is to take care & be extra careful. The virus is real & it’s dangerous. Follow all the protocols set up by the authorities. Wishing strength to the ones who are in the middle of the fight,” she tweeted.
Harmanpreet was last seen on the cricket pitch in the five-match ODI series against South Africa, in which India lost 4-1. In the five-match series, the right-handed batter went on to score 160 runs with her best score of 54 coming in the fourth ODI of the five-match series in Lucknow.
In the fifth and final ODI, Harmanpreet had suffered a hip-flexor injury and as a result, she did not play the three-match T20Is against South Africa. India lost the three-match T20I series against South Africa 2-1 and the hosts were able to win just the final game of the three-match T20I series. In the absence of Harmanpreet, Smriti Mandhana had led the Indian women’s team in the T20I series.
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