New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): Former cricketer Ashish Nehra said that India should be careful when facing England’s pacers as they have the ability to do “big damage”.
“Yes, all three fast bowlers (James Anderson, Jofra Archer & Stuart Broad). You just named two really experienced fast bowlers. One, according to me, the most skilful bowler going around right now – Jofra Archer. These three guys, plus you have Chris Woakes; Olly Stone was looking good, then you have guys like Mark Wood who is back. So, there’s no shortage of pace battery, when it comes to the England team,” Nehra said on Star Sports show CRICKET CONNECTED.
“But the main question is, yes, the Pink Ball swings also under lights. What kind of a wicket there will be? If the wicket is useful for fast bowling or the wicket is conducive for fast bowling, then these guys can do big damage, but that only time will tell. The kind of talent they have, if there’s anything in the wicket, they will be really good. Even if there’s not too much help from the wicket, we have seen what James Anderson can do (in the first Test). Stuart Broad can bowl really long spells and trouble the batsman. He didn’t have that good a Test match, the first one which he played, but overall, there’s no shortage of talent, firepower when it comes to fast bowling. So, India should be careful, even on a wicket which might not be useful or helpful for fast bowling,” he added.
High on confidence after thrashing England in the second Test in Chennai, the Virat Kohli-led Indian team will look to keep the winning momentum going when they take the field in the pink-ball Test, set to begin on Wednesday. A win will take them one step closer to a spot in the final of the maiden World Test Championship.
India pacer Ishant Sharma will achieve a major milestone of 100 Tests when he will take the field for the third game against England.
Analysing Ishant’s performance, Nehra said: “Not only any Indian fast bowler, but any fast bowler playing 100 Test matches is a big achievement. When people talk about Ishant Sharma’s length, yes, he has altered his length, which is very important in Test cricket. Plus, he is the same old Ishant Sharma, the ball is coming into right-handers, which is really important for him, bowling around the stumps.”
“Earlier, he used to bowl only over the stumps, but still the ball was not going away nicely against left-handers or you can say when right-handers are batting coming in nicely. From the last 18 to 24 months, even around the stumps, forget over the stumps, the ball is going away nicely to the left-handed batsmen. This shows that he is thinking about his game, looking to add new things, and the results have gone in his favour. It’s a great thing for India,” he added.
India needs to win the ongoing series by at least a margin of 2-1 to make the finals of the WTC, but if the side loses another game, Kohli and boys are out of the WTC contention. On the other hand, England has to win both the remaining matches to qualify for the WTC finals and if the series ends in a 1-1 or 2-2 draw, then Australia would make the finals of the WTC. (ANI)
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IND W v SA W: 10 per cent capacity of stadium to be opened for spectators, says UPCA
Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 5 (ANI): The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) on Friday announced that the 10 per cent capacity of Ekana Stadium will be opened for spectators for the upcoming India women’s series against South Africa.
India and South Africa will lock horns in a five-match ODI series before they face each other in three T20Is. The ODI series will begin from March 7 while the T20I series will be played from March 20 at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
“Keeping in view the COVID-19 situation and permission of the local administration only 10 per cent capacity of Ekana Stadium will be opened for spectators to watch the game. In order to promote women cricket, the Association has kept lower denomination ticket rates of Rs. 200/- and Rs. 400/- on sale through Paytm,” the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association said in a statement.
The All-India women’s selection committee on Saturday announced the squads for the ODI and T20I series against South Africa.
Ekta Bisht, Anuja Patil, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia, and Shikha Pandey aren’t part of the squad while C. Pratyusha, Yastika Bhatia, Ayushi Soni, Swetha Verma, Monica Patel, and Simran Dil Bahadur have earned their maiden call-ups.
Veteran cricketer Mithali Raj will lead India in the ODIs while star batter Harmanpreet Kaur will captain the hosts in the T20I series against South Africa.
India Women’s ODI squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), D. Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Swetha Verma (wicket-keeper), Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C. Prathyusha, Monica Patel.
India Women’s T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Nuzhat Parveen (wicket-keeper), Ayushi Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Mansi Joshi, Monica Patel, C. Prathyusha, Simran Dil Bahadur. (ANI)
India’s athletics coach Nikolai Snesarev dies
New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Friday condoled the sudden demise of noted distance running coach Nikolai Snesarev in the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports in Patiala.
“The 72-year-old Belarussian national died with his boots on, having overseen his wards’ training this morning,” AFI said in a statement.
AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla led the outpouring of grief in the athletics community. “We are stunned by the news that coach Nikolai was found dead in his room today. He returned to India only a few days ago, having agreed to train steeplechaser Avinash Sable for the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” he said in a statement. “We will cherish his long association with Indian athletics and will miss him.”
Sumariwalla said India was fortunate to have benefit from Nikolai Snesarev’s rich experience over a number of years. “He was a hard-taskmaster and one who developed his own training routines for his athletes. He was highly respected in the international circles and we were privileged that he shared a wonderful relationship with India,” he said.
Having first come to India in 2005, Nikolai Snesarev coached 10,000m runners Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut to a 1-2 finish in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou and Steeplechaser Sudha Singh to gold. It was the first time that Indian women won medals in the 25-lap race.
Later that year, he suggested to Lalita Babar to shift to Steeplechase. And, thanks to his sustained efforts, she became the first Indian athlete to reach a track final in the Olympic Games since PT Usha in 1984 when she made it to the Steeplechase final in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He trained a number of Indian distance runners to attain peak performance.
“As someone who believed in research, he showed us the way with his pioneering efforts towards improving the endurance and speed of his athletes. He insisted that athletes never touch any medicines while training with him, imposing a blanket ban on all kinds of medication, even prescribed ones,” Sumariwalla said. (ANI)
Neeraj Chopra sets new target for himself after breaking national record
New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): After breaking a national record, Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has a new target in mind, which is to throw over 90m.
Neeraj warmed the hearts of Indian athletics fans with a national record throw of 88.08m on his return to the competitive fray after more than a year in the Indian Grand Prix III at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports here on Friday. His best throw was a centimetre better than the record he set in the Asian Games in Jakarta on August 27, 2018.
Each of his four legal throws were better than the 81.63m that Shivpal Singh managed with his fifth attempt on a day when the wind added to the challenge of the throwers.
“I want to throw over 90,” Neeraj said when asked if he has a target set for himself during a virtual press conference.
Neeraj also expressed elation over breaking the national record. “It’s a good feeling to break a national record,” he said. The athlete also said: “It’s is always good to improve and I am happy with the achievement. I had a good release in that throw.”
Owing to injuries and coronavirus pandemic, Neeraj did not compete for a long time. Therefore, the athlete is also delighted over making a return.
Talking about the difficulties he faced during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, Neeraj said: “It was difficult when there was a lockdown. However, things started to get a bit normal after the lockdown was lifted.”
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) Adille Sumariwalla also attended the virtual conference and said it is important to have good bench strength. He said having a group of good athletes is beneficial for the players as they help each other improve as well as push each other to do even better. (ANI)
Swiss Open: Satwiksairaj-Ashwini, Ajay Jayaram crash out from tournament
Basel [Switzerland], March 5 (ANI): Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa’s fine run in the ongoing Swiss Open came to a disappointing end after a defeat in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Satwiksairaj and Ashwini showed top-notch fighting spirit before going down to World No 13 and No 5 pair -Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing of Malaysia in three sets 17-21, 21-16, 18-21.
Satwiksairaj and Ashwini had staged the comeback after being losing the first set but the Malaysian duo diffused the Indian attack to seal a place in the semi-finals.
In the singles match, Ajay Jayaram’s fine run at the Swiss Open Super 300 came to an end with the defeat against Thai badminton player Kunlavut Vitidsarn.
The shuttler from Thailand thrashed the India badminton player in two straight sets 21-9, 21-6. Ajay had displayed some sensational performances in the ongoing showpiece event but wasn’t able to recreate the show on Friday.
Earlier, ace Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap had a disappointing start as they crashed out of the Swiss Open in the first round on Wednesday.
Olympic medalist Nehwal lost in a tough-fought clash against Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan 16-21, 21-17, 21-23 that lasted for 58 minutes, while Nehwal’s husband Kashyap lost to lower-ranked Pablo Abian of Spain 15-21, 10-21 in straight games. (ANI)
Sri Lanka’s Dasun Shanaka cleared to travel to West Indies, will join team during ODI series
Colombo [Sri Lanka], March 5 (ANI): Sri Lanka all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, who miss the flight to West Indies due to an issue related to securing his visa, will now travel on Sunday to join his teammates.
Shanaka, who was named in the ‘White Ball Squad’ for West Indies series, did not travel with the team due to a visa issue he confronted, pursuant to the loss of his previous passport, which had a valid visa for the USA stamped on it.
Sri Lanka Cricket on Friday said that the all-rounder will now travel to West Indies via France and is expected to join the national team during the ODI segment of the tour.
“Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to announce that Dasun Shanaka will travel to West Indies on Sunday, 07th March 2021,” the SLC said in an official statement.
Meanwhile, West Indies defeated Sri Lanka in the first T20I on Wednesday (local time). Kieron Pollard’s six 6s in an over stole the show the hosts registered a comprehensive four-wicket victory.
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).
But Pollard hit Dananjaya for six 6s in the sixth over to gain the upper hand. He 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.
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 on Friday (local time).
After the T20I series, West Indies will shift focus towards the 50-over format. The first ODI between Sri Lanka and West Indies will be played on March 10. (ANI)
David de Gea to miss match against Man City, confirms Solskjaer
Manchester [UK], March 5 (ANI): Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Friday confirmed that David de Gea will be missing the team’s upcoming match against Manchester City.
Earlier in the day, De Gea took to Twitter to announce that his girlfriend Edurne has given birth to their daughter. De Gea had also missed the club’s previous game. Dean Henderson will be playing in place of De Gea in Sunday’s Manchester derby.
“It’s a fantastic day for David, of course. When you become a dad it’s possibly the best feeling you can have. Those who are lucky enough to have had that feeling know exactly what David is going through now. We’ll give him the time he needs before he comes back,” the club’s official website quoted Solskjaer as saying.
“He asked to go home and in the old world it’s a day and you go and you’re ready again. With the pandemic and the quarantines, it’s a different world. Still, we felt when David wanted to be there to support his girlfriend that’s not even a decision to make. Dean [Henderson] came in and played well and he’s ready. I’ll give David the time he needs of course,” he added.
Manchester United are currently placed in the second spot on the Premier League table with 51 points, 14 points behind table-toppers Manchester City. (ANI)
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