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Waugh tells Aussies to avoid sledging Kohli

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Steve Waugh

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh believes Virat Kohli’s form with the bat play a crucial role in India’s defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the Aussies should refrain from sledging him as it could motivate the India skipper to do well.

“Sledging is not going to worry Virat Kohli, it doesn’t work against the great players and you’re better off leaving those guys alone. I think any extra motivation will make them dig in more and get more runs. So you’re better off not saying much to him,” Waugh said in a video posted on ESPNcricinfo.

The two teams will face each other in the four-Test series to be played Down Under in December-January.

Virat Kohli

India, under Kohli in the 2018/19 series, became the first Asian side to beat Australia in a Test series in their own den. The series featured stellar performances from batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant and Kohli and the fast bowling battery featuring Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

However, the Australian team would be much stronger this time around compared to the last series as they would have Steve Smith and David Warner, who both had missed the last Test series against India as they were serving their bans for involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

“He (Kohli) is a world-class player. He would want to be the batsman of the series. Last time, he and Smith came up against each other in India, Smith really dominated with three hundreds and Kohli didn’t get many,” Waugh said.

“That would be at the back of his mind that last time he was outscored by Steve Smith. So, he will want to score lot of runs and if he does, India will have a great chance of winning,” he added.

In 2016-17 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Smith was the leading run-scorer as he had amassed 499 runs in four Tests. Kohli had a quiet series as he managed just 46 runs in the three Test matches he played.

However, in 2018-19 when India registered the historic series win Down Under, the Indian skipper scored 283 runs in the four Test matches.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli has said that it was initially tough to adjust but the players have adapted to playing in front of empty stands.

“It felt really weird stepping on to the field without any fans. The excitement was sky high, then you reach the stadium and it goes flat because we haven’t played in empty stadia for longest time ever. But it is amazing how human beings adapt so quickly,” said Kohli, also India captain, while speaking on Star Sports.

Kohli’s teammate and batsman AB de Villiers had earlier in the interview said the same thing adding that the experience was different from last year.

Kohli added that they started to feel the excitement as the tournament progressed.

India will begin the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17. It will be followed by Tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).

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ISL 7: Goa hold Hyderabad to enter playoffs, set new unbeaten record

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Panaji (Goa) [India], February 28 (ANI): All FC Goa needed to progress to the playoffs was a draw. That they achieved with an efficient performance as they held Hyderabad FC (HFC) to a goalless draw at the Fatorda Stadium here on Sunday, setting a new Indian Super League (ISL) record for the longest unbeaten run in the process.
A brilliant defensive performance from Ivan Gonzalez and some crucial saves from Dheeraj Singh was enough for the Gaurs to get the point they needed. They were lucky not to concede late in the game and a good show from Hyderabad was not enough to stop Juan Ferrando’s men from qualifying for their fourth consecutive semifinals and extending their unbeaten run to 13 games.
Hyderabad is still unbeaten in 2021 and extended their unbeaten run to 12 games, but they had to settle for fifth on the table.
Playing without their main players was always going to be difficult for Hyderabad. They missed the services of their regular scorer Aridane Santana (fourth yellow) upfront and Chinglensana Singh (red card) in defence. But the Nizams were up for the challenge and were able to match their opponents.
HFC made it difficult for Goa with incessant pressing all over the pitch and had a few chances in the opening minutes. What they lacked was the poacher’s instincts in the final third.
Goa, as usual, dominated possession and passing but they could not convert it into chances. The first half had zero shots on target as neither goalkeeper was called into action much.
Both sides have scored more goals in the second session and Goa rang in an early warning when Alberto Noguera set Redeem Tlang free on the left. The winger covered some distance and crossed to Alexander Jesuraj, who was late to react.
With HFC trying to get the required goal to progress, tempers flared along with the pressure as Edu Bedia, Tlang and Joao Victor went into the referee’s books within a span of nine minutes.
Hyderabad had their best opportunity in the 84th minute. Victor chipped in a delightful ball into the box from outside the box. Joel Chianese and Liston Colaco, both of whom made runs in behind, failed to head in from close range.
After being withdrawn, Lluis Sastre was shown a red for throwing a bottle at the Goa bench. Noguera also received a yellow and will miss the first leg of the playoffs.
Hyderabad nearly took the lead in the injury time but Gonzalez came with a crucial interception to deny Liston Colaco from scoring a simple tap-in. Later, Adil Khan almost scored an own goal but an alert Dheeraj pulled off a stunning save to send his team into the playoffs. (ANI)

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Hyderabad capable of conducting IPL as per BCCI directives, says Azhar

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New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): Former India skipper and current president of Hyderabad Cricket Association, Mohammed Azharuddin on Sunday said that Hyderabad is capable of conducting the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year in a bio-secure bubble.
“I strongly support the appeal by @ktrtrs. Hyderabad is absolutely capable of handling and conducting @IPL as per @BCCI’s directives and preparing a bio-secure bubble,” Azharuddin tweeted.
Earlier in the day, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) working president KT Rama Rao made an appeal to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and IPL office bearers to include Hyderabad as one of the venues for the upcoming edition of the league.
“Open appeal to @BCCI and @IPL office bearers to include Hyderabad as one of the venues for upcoming IPL season. Our effective COVID containment measures are reflected in our low number of cases among all metro cities in India & we assure you of all support from the Govt,” Rao said in a tweet.
Progressing from the initial idea of hosting the 2021 edition of the IPL in one city, the BCCI is exploring the option of playing the league across four to five cities. While the logistical part will need further discussion, the idea has been floated and is being discussed by the senior officials of the board.
Earlier, speaking to ANI, a BCCI official in the know of developments had said the idea has indeed been discussed and while it is still early days, the 14th edition of the league could well be played in more than one city if things go as per plan.
“We are exploring the possibility of conducting the IPL at more venues than originally planned. The intent is to take it to more fans as the situation is moving towards normalcy. The feasibility of the bio-secure bubble and logistics will of course be crucial to determine the venues finally. It is a fluid situation and the health of the participants is our primary concern,” the official had said.
Some of the cities that have been discussed are Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Hyderabad among others. While the tournament is still some time away, franchises too are open to the idea of having the league in more than one city as that will help to stay flexible with an eye on the COVID-19 situation.
“With multiple cities, obviously there will be individual bubbles. While we want fans from different cities to enjoy the games, the safety of the players and those involved in the league will be a priority,” the BCCI official had said. (ANI)

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Indian women’s hockey side display spirit in losing effort against Germany

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Dusseldorf [Germany], February 28 (ANI): Indian women’s hockey team battled hard but went down 1-0 to world number three Germany in the second match of the four-match series here in Dusseldorf on Sunday.
Amelie Wortmann (24′) scored the only goal of the game as the Germans held on to their slender lead to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
Coach Sjoerd Marijne made three changes to the side that lost 5-0 on Saturday. Just like the tournament opener, the hosts tried to make early inroads and earned a penalty corner just three minutes into the game.
India goalkeeper Rajani, though, held firm to thwart Germany’s efforts. The Indian defence grew into the game and were solid at the back to keep the score goalless after the first quarter.
However, midfielder Amelie Wortmann put her side in the lead six minutes before the end of the second quarter. The Indian side responded quickly, earning a penalty corner just three minutes after going behind, but were unable to breach past the German backline.
The Germans had the chance to double their lead early into the third quarter after being awarded another penalty corner, but yet again, the resolute Indian defence kept them at bay.
The Indian side continued to frustrate the Germans, this time in the fourth quarter, as they kept out a penalty corner for the third time in the match. But Germany protected their lead to earn a hard-fought win.
India will now take on Germany in their third match on Tuesday, March 2. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Hosts sweat it out in nets ahead of fourth Test

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 28 (ANI): Ahead of the upcoming fourth Test against England, Virat Kohli-led India on Sunday had a grind in the nets and everyone was seen having a hit in the middle.
Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) official handle tweeted the photos from the training session and captioned the post as: “#TeamIndia members gearing up for the fourth and final Test against England.”
In the ongoing series, Rohit Sharma, Axar Patel, and Ravichandran Ashwin have been the standout performers and now in the fourth Test, skipper Kohli would look to come to the party and end his century-drought.
Kohli had last scored a century way back in 2019 in a day-night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens.
If India manages to win or draw the final Test against England, then the side would qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC) and the side would take on New Zealand in the summit clash.
On the other hand, England is now out of the WTC final contention after losing the third Test against India.
India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets 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 did not turn and skidded through from the spinners.
But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen. 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. (ANI)

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SLC appoint Tom Moody as Director of Cricket

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Colombo [Sri Lanka], February 28 (ANI): Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Sunday confirmed the appointment of former Australia all-rounder, Tom Moody, as the new Director of Cricket.
Moody’s appointment came after recommendations made by the Technical Advisory Committee of the SLC to revamp Sri Lanka’s Cricket operations.
“Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to announce the appointment of Mr. Tom Moody as the ‘Director of Cricket,’ effective from March 1, 2021. His appointment comes following recommendations made by the Technical Advisory Committee of the SLC to revamp Sri Lanka’s Cricket operations,” official handle of SLC tweeted.
Moody has previously worked as the coach of Sri Lanka for a period of two years and under his tenure, Sri Lanka managed to reach the finals of the 2007 50-over World Cup in West Indies.
Earlier, Moody has also served as the coach of SunRisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He will also be SunRisers’ Director of Cricket this year. (ANI)

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14-member Indian boxing team leave for Boxam Tournament in Spain

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New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI) A 14-member strong Indian boxing team on Sunday left for Castellon, Spain to participate in the upcoming Boxam International Boxing Tournament scheduled from March 1 to 7.
A six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Manish Kaushik (63kg) are key highlights as the duo set to make a return in the ring for the first time since the Asian Olympic Qualifiers held in Jordan in March last year.
The highly-cm will consist of eight men and six women players including nine Olympic qualified as well as other top Indian boxers.
Young boxer Jasmine, who was highly-impressive during the camp, is also accompanying the boxers during her maiden senior tour. She will participate in the women’s 57kg category. (ANI)

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