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Vijay Hazare Trophy: Pradeep Sangwan to lead Delhi in tournament

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New Delhi [India], February 12 (ANI): Pradeep Sangwan will lead Delhi in the upcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021, Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) announced on Friday.
DDCA has named a 22-member squad that also features Shikhar Dhawan, Nitish Rana, and Unmukt Chand. The association, in a statement, said the players were selected following a Sr. Selection Committee meeting which took place on Friday. The meeting was attended by Ashu Dani (Chairman), Mohan Chaturvedi (Selector), Chetnya Nanda (Selector), Pradeep Sangwan (Captain), Rajkumar Sharma (Coach), and Atul Wassan (Member CAC-DDCA), DDCA said.
Delhi squad: Pradeep Sangwan (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Manjot Kalra, Dhruv Shorey, Kshitiz Sharma, Nitish Rana, Himmat Singh (v.c), Unmukt Chand, Jonty Sidhu, Lalit Yadav, Siddhant Sharma, Anuj Rawat (wk), Lakshay Thareja (wk), Hiten Dalal, Kunwar Bidhuri, Vaibhav Kandpal, Simarjeet Singh, Shivank Vashisth, Shivam Sharma, Vision Panchal, Kulwant Khejroliya, Tejas Baroka.
DDCA also said that the team will leave for Jaipur on February 13. The Vijay Hazare Trophy will kick off from February 20 and the teams are required to assemble in their host cities a week before the tournament begins.
The sides will then undergo COVID-19 testing procedures and quarantine in accordance with the state regulatory authorities and the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) standard operating procedure (SOP).
The tournament will be held across six venues in Surat, Indore, Bangalore, Jaipur, Kolkata, and Tamil Nadu. Teams have been divided into five Elite groups and one Plate group. Team Saurashtra is in Elite Group E and shall play matches at Kolkata.
“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will start the Vijay Hazare Trophy from February 20th 2021.onwards. The teams are required to assemble in their respective host cities on February 13 and will be needed to undergo COVID-19 testing procedures and quarantine in accordance with the state regulatory authorities and the BCCI Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),” BCCI Secretary Jay Shah had said in his letter to all affiliated units of the body.
The quarter-finals will be played on March 8 and 9, while the semi-finals will take place on March 11. The final match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy is scheduled for March 14. (ANI)

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The Northeast7s Football Tour to start on April 19 in Goa

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Panaji (Goa) [India], February 26 (ANI): The Northeast7s Football Tour, Goa’ 2021 is scheduled to start on April 19, 2021, at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim.
The event is the brainchild of Jessica Snock, who beholds the title of ‘Mrs. United Nations Universe 2019’ and proudly represents India as the Ambassador of the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces Council – UNPKFC.
Like many of the Northeast Indians, she too has a strong passion for the ‘beautiful game’ of football, something that’s common to Goa as well. Last year in August 2020 Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lauded sportspersons who have represented India. He also confirmed that the government is making numerous efforts to popularise sports and support sporting talent in India which can be witnessed through his initiatives like Khelo India and Fit India.
With India being awarded the opportunity of being the host nation for the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Jessica Snock is confident that she is heading in the right direction as she proudly presents the concept of the ‘Northeast7s Football Tour, Goa’ 2021 with the following mission: To enlighten the country about the Northeast region through football, art, and culture, promoting sports tourism and creating a fine example of unity in diversity’.
‘The Northeast7s Football Tour, Goa’ 2021 aims at being an annual event. This is one of Jessica’s endeavours and is set to have its inaugural inception this year. This tournament will help in detecting grassroots-level talent along with a healthy dose of entertainment. With the Minister of State, Ministry of Youth affairs and sports, Kiren Rijiju, and Chief Minister of Goa, Dr Pramod Sawant publicly endorsing the launch of this tournament, this endeavour is already off to a great start.
The Northeast has always been a hub of football in the country. The region has produced some of the finest players to have graced Indian football. Bhaichung Bhutia, Renedy Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, the list of household names goes on. Not to forget, the Indian national team’s first captain, Dr. T Ao was from one of the Seven Sister States, Nagaland. He led India during the 1948 London Olympics held after a gap of 14 years due to the Second World War.
The tournament is scheduled to be played amongst 28 teams. Each team will consist of a minimum of 10 players and a maximum of 12 players. Teams are encouraged to register with one coach, one manager, and one physio onboard. Competing categories of men’s, women’s, and veterans will battle it out amongst 55 matches spread across 3 days of adrenaline-fuelled football alongside 2 grassroots exhibition matches from local teams.
The tournament will be played in a seven-a-side format and each game will be played on a full-sized football field split in two with two games being played simultaneously on each half. There will be 2 halves of 15 minutes each with an immediate side switch at half-time. (ANI)

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Your contribution will always be remembered: KL Rahul to Vinay Kumar

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 26 (ANI): As Vinay Kumar R announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, India batsman KL Rahul congratulated the pacer, saying that his contribution will always be remembered.
“From leading Karnataka to trophies, to backing youngsters, and playing a vital role in shaping their career. I will always have a huge amount of respect for the way you played the game. Your contribution will always be remembered. Wishing you the best for your future endeavours,” KL Rahul tweeted.
Opening batsman Mayank Agarwal also took to Twitter to congratulate Vinay Kumar on his career.
“Congratulations @Vinay_Kumar_R on a wonderful career. Been an inspiration to many and created some terrific memories. Wishing you the very best ahead,” Agarwal 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.
The 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.
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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Sevilla Sporting Director feels Messi will stay at Barcelona

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Sevilla FC Sporting Director Monchi on Friday said that he feels that Lionel Messi will “come to some sort of agreement” with Barcelona and will continue with the club.
Last year, Messi and Barcelona had a fallout after the striker had expressed his desire to leave the club. However, in the end, the Argentine stayed with the club as he did not want to settle matters in court.
But since then, there has been a lot of speculations regarding his future and he has been linked to various clubs, including Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and Manchester City.
“I think Messi is very important for the Spanish league, but I also think that the Spanish league has got the capacity to continue and be a competitive and interesting league despite the fact that Messi or other players will leave. As far as the question of whether Messi is going to stay or not, I am not 100 percent sure about that. But I think at the end of the day, this is my personal opinion, I think he will come to some sort of agreement and I think Messi will stay at Barcelona, this is my personal opinion,” Monchi said during a virtual press conference.
Sevilla suffered a 3-2 defeat against Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. Commenting on the same, Monchi said his team should forget about the first leg match and go into the second leg thinking that they need to win the game by two goals.
“I think we should forget the first leg and go to Dortmund, thinking it is just one match and we got to win it by two goals. We will consider it as a single match and it will start as 1-0 and we have to score two goals to win,” he said.
However, there is time for the second leg match and currently, Sevilla is gearing up for the match against Barcelona in the LaLiga, set to take place on Saturday.
“When you play against Barcelona, everyone is a threat because they are all very good players. If you are not playing at your 100 percent, Barcelona could win the match at any moment. We are talking about very top-level players. So, in matches like these, you have to be 100 percent in both, attacking and defending,” Monchi said.
Catch LaLiga action Live on Facebook Watch. (ANI)

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Strandja Memorial Tournament: Deepak stuns Olympic champion to enter final

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Indian boxer Deepak Kumar produced a scintillating performance to cause a major upset at the 72nd Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria as he defeated the reigning Olympic champion Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov in the men’s 52kg semi-final bout on Friday.
Showing great composure in the ring, the Asian Championship silver medallist Deepak produced one of the best performances of his career to clinch a thumping 4-1 win against the more fancied Zoirov, who had earlier clinched the 2019 World Championship title beating star Indian boxer Amit Panghal.
With this sensational victory, Deepak has secured a place in the final and will aim to clinch the gold medal.
Later on Friday, Naveen Boora will be seen in action during his 69kg last-four bout against Asian Games gold medallist Bobo-Usmon Baturov.
Earlier, Deepak had stormed into the men’s 52kg semi-finals with a dominating 5-0 win against local boy Darislav Vasilev on the fourth day in Sofia, Bulgaria.
With this win, Deepak became the second Indian after Naveen Boora (69kg) to seal a spot in the semi-finals of the on-going tournament and also assured a second medal for the country.
Meanwhile, Indian women boxers Jyoti Gulia (51kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg) suffered 5-0 defeats in their quarter-final bouts.
Gulia lost to Romanian boxer Lacramioara Perijoc, Kachari also went down against the world championship bronze medallist Naomi Graham of USA. Manjeet Singh also lost his +91kg quarter-final bout against Armenia’s Gurgen Hovhannisyan. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Expected pitch to hold on a little longer than it did, says Silverwood

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 26 (ANI): England head coach Chris Silverwood on Friday said that his side expected the pitch in the third Test against India to hold on a little longer than it did at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
India had managed to defeat England within two days in the pink-ball Test. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that didn’t turn and skidded through from the spinners.
“First and foremost, it’s just a follow-up from what Joe Root said yesterday, he got 5/8 yesterday but at the same time, whatever the pitch did or it didn’t do, India ultimately played better than us on that surface, probably they pushed us to the extremes which our players haven’t experienced before,” said Silverwood in a virtual press conference on Friday.
When asked about whether England would be talking to the ICC about the pitch used in the third Test, Silverwood replied: “Listen, we will be talking about certain things behind the scenes. But at the same time, we were really disappointed that we lost with three days of cricket left. We are where we are, from my point of view, it’s about heading into the next game and coming out fighting.”
“We have spoken to Javagal (match referee), but it was not about the pitch. I think Joe and I need to have discussions about it really and see where we go from there. We have to accept that we need to get better on these pitches. You look at the first innings, we had an opportunity to score runs and make the best use of the pitch,” he added.
England had opted to go in with just one spinner — Jack Leach — in the third Test. Root, who is normally a part-timer, picked his maiden fifer and Silverwood cited this performance to say that the visitors did not make a mistake in team selection.
“Joe Root got 5/8 so the second spinner did fine for us. We did expect the wicket to hold up a little longer than it did. Looking back in history in pink-ball Tests, the ball swung for us, Jimmy and all got movement during practice. With the experience we had and having two of our bowlers in the top ten in the rankings, we felt with this pink ball, it would have been an opportunity for seamers to make an impact for us.
“It’s not that we did not think about it, there was logic, we had a look at the stats and how we can use pink ball the best. Root works very hard on his bowling, I am always saying to him that he always under bowls himself. But Joe being Joe, he had to do it this time and he got 5/8,” Silverwood said.
When asked about what type of pitch he would like in the fourth Test, Silverwood said: “I would like the pitch in the fourth Test to be a fit flatter, it would suit our gameplan. Yeah, I would like it to be flatter, but we will see what the wicket looks like in the coming days and we will take it from there really.”
After both teams failed to shine in their first innings, England was bowled out for 81 in the second essay, setting India a target of just 49. The hosts chased down the total with ten wickets in hand to go 2-1 up in the series. There has been a lot of debate around the pitch once again, but India batsman Rohit Sharma clarified that he did not think the pitch had any demons.
Even skipper Virat Kohli was vocal about the dreadful batting display from the two teams. Kohli said the quality of batting was to be blamed as most of the batsmen got out to balls that didn’t turn. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 3rd Test: Cook says pitch was ‘so hard’ to bat on

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Former England skipper Alastair Cook said that the pitch for the third Test between India and England was hard to bat on and while many balls went straight, others were “turning miles”.
The third Test between India and England finished within two days as the hosts registered a 10-wicket win. Many former players had criticised the pitch, but Virat Kohli had stressed that the quality of batting was to be blamed for as both teams failed to score big runs.
However, Cook begged to differ from the Indian skipper. “We saw a stat that says this pitch has spun more than any other pitch in India. There’s been so many other balls that have gone straight on as well. So that means when it is turning, it is turning miles. When you see the highlights and the ball skidding on you, we don’t see the build-up: when the exact same ball is spinning miles,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Cook as saying on Channel 4.
“Virat Kohli’s come out and defended the wicket almost as if it’s a BCCI thing — it cannot possibly be the wicket. Yet it was so hard to bat on that today. So hard. Take the wicket out and blame the batsmen? We’ve got Virat Kohli, Joe Root, we have some great players of spin. Yes, we’ve got some people who have got to learn to play spin better, but we have got great players of spin also struggling. To me, it’d be great to have that game with the red ball to see the difference when the ball is skidding on. Today trying to play properly, it was nigh-on impossible,” he added.
Agreeing with Cook, former skipper Andrew Strauss said Kohli was looking after the groundsmen to a certain degree.
“Look at Joe Root for a moment. We know he is a great player of spin. He is in great form as well. What did he get — 19 today? Might have been out two or three times en route to getting that score. And by the way, that’s day two of a Test match. To say the pitch has no fault to play, I totally agree with Cooky. Kohli’s looking after the groundsmen there to a certain degree,” he said.
Both Strauss and Cook are experts for Channel 4 — the India-England series broadcaster in the UK.
During the third Test, spinners dominated the game. Axar Patel finished with 11 wickets in the game (six in the first innings and five in the second). Senior partner R Ashwin wasn’t to be left too far behind as he picked four wickets to finish with 7 in the game.
Moreover, during India’s first innings, James Anderson and Stuart Broad failed to scalp even a single wicket, whereas, skipper Joe Root picked five wickets in the innings. (ANI)

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