Indian Davis Cup team captain Rohit Rajpal has said that the Indian team’s camp has started from Thursday. All the players are in good shape and all are fit. It is our endeavor that these players get a good practice on the grass court of Delhi Gymkhana. These players have been participating in Maharashtra Open in Pune and Bengaluru Open and a tournament in Adelaide in the past and after that they have reached here via Dubai. Although they did not get a chance to play on grass in all these events, but now this camp is like the last preparation before the exam. The Indian team has to play the Davis Cup Group 1 play off match against Denmark on March 4 and 5.
Rohit himself has also been a Davis Cup player. He said that in the camp organised in Delhi, the players would get a good opportunity to test their preparations. These days we are practicing on the court of Delhi Gymkhana. We are trying to get accustomed to the conditions. This will also give us a sense of how the grass court is behaving out here and what kind of strategy we have to prepare accordingly.
Denmark’s top player Holger Rune withdrew from this tie recently. In this regard, Rohit said that he is the highest ranked player in both the teams but it is not appropriate to take a sigh of relief because of his non-participation. Such thinking is also not right for a player. This is a negative thinking. We would try our hundred per cent to win even in his presence and I am sure our teammates also will not let us down. However, despite this, we are not taking Denmark’s challenge lightly. He has in his team the best doubles player Friedrich Nielsen, who won the doubles title of Wimbledon many years ago. Obviously he is a great player on the grass court.
His ability to play on the grass is amazing and I believe that this time we can see a lot of competition in doubles as our Rohan Bopanna is also second to none. Given Nielsen’s ability to play on the grass, it is possible that he may be fielded in not just doubles but also singles, which will be very challenging.
Rohit says that today very few tournaments take place around the world on grass. Apart from Wimbledon, only three-four tournaments around the world are now on the grass. The captain and coach of any host team has the right to decide on which surface they want to play keeping in mind the interests of the team. We have grown up playing on the grass. Our strategy was to give our players a chance to participate in as many tournaments as possible before the Davis Cup, to keep them in good shape, and then to make the most of the conditions at the camp. Despite all this, I agree that we have a tough match against Denmark but India is the favourite because we will get the advantage of our conditions and surface.
The last two years have been very challenging because of covid. Regarding this, Rohit Rajpal said that during this time everyone’s ranking also went down. Our players didn’t get a chance to play tournaments even though there were still some tournaments going on in Europe during that time. This lack of practice proved costly for us against Finland. Secondly, even luck did not favour us.
Regarding the match against Croatia, he said that Croatia is a three-time champion team. I am glad that our players gave them a tough challenge. Even Ram kumar Ramanathan had two set points but we were unlucky that we lost that tie. Rohit said that we learned a big lesson from India’s defeat in those two matches. We will try not to repeat those mistakes this time.
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AUSSIE CRICKET LEGEND ANDREW SYMONDS DIES IN CAR CRASH
Legendary Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds, aged 46, died in a car accident on Hervey Range Road near the Alice River Bridge in Queensland, Australia when his car left the road and rolled, a Queensland police statement said on Saturday night.
This is yet another tragic blow to Australian cricket. Symonds is the third Australian cricket legend to suddenly pass away this year following the tragic deaths of Shane Warne and Rod Marsh in March. Many are left heartbroken with tweets pouring in expressing shock over Symonds’ death. Australian cricket coach and former cricketer Jason Neil Gillespie expressed shock over the news of Symonds death. “Horrendous news to wake up to,” he tweeted, adding, “Utterly devastated. We are all gonna miss you mate.” Former teammate and Fox Cricket colleague Adam Gilchrist wrote, “This really hurts.”
According to reports by Senior cricket journalist Robert Craddock, the Aussie all-rounder was killed about 50kms outside Townsville on Saturday night.
As per a Queensland police statement, Symonds was in a single-car crash at about 10:30 pm.
Following the information of the accident, paramedics arrived at the scene but could not revive the former Australian cricketer. Symonds was the only person in the car. Symonds played 26 Tests for Australia and was an integral part of Australia’s white-ball sides that dominated the world between 1999 and 2007.
In playing retirement, both Warne and Symonds were valued members of Fox Cricket’s commentary team.
WRIDDHIMAN SAHA’S 67 POWERS GT TO SEVEN-WICKET WIN OVER CSK
Wriddhiman Saha smashed the third fifty of the ongoing season (67*) to power Gujarat Titans to a seven-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings here at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. It was not a memorable day for Chennai Super Kings on the field as the side sunk to their ninth defeat of the season and were outplayed by the Titans in all departments. With this win, GT maintains their top spot run in the points tally, having gathered 20 points. On the other hand, CSK is at the ninth position in the table with only eight points.
Chasing 134, Gujarat Titans got off a great start, with opener Wriddhiman Saha attacking the Super Kings bowlers aggressively, smashing the pacer Mukesh Choudhary for 12 runs in the first over itself. Saha spared no one in his early overs onslaught, though Choudhary ended up getting the worst of it. Gill from the other end stayed slow from the other end. While Saha kept piling runs at one end, attacking the likes of pacer Simarjeet Singh and spinner Mitchell Santner in a calculating way, even Gill started to show some aggression in the sixth over, smashing Santner for two consecutive fours.
At the end of the powerplay, GT were right on track, sitting at a healthy 53/0 with Saha (37*) and Gill (15*) having laid a solid foundation for the chase.
With CSK in need of a breakthrough and to restrict the run flow, Sri Lankan medium-pacer Matheesha Pathirana gave the side just that. The IPL debutant struck at his first ball itself, trapping Gill leg-before-wicket for 18 off 17, breaking the 59-run first-wicket stand between the duo.
This brought Aussie southpaw Matthew Wade to the crease, who smashed the debutant for two stylish boundaries, with one being a beautiful flick over backward square leg. The duo started building the innings for the Titans once again, with some consistent strike rotation. By the end of 10 overs, GT stood at a commanding 81/1 with Saha (43*) and Wade (18*).
In the 12th over of the game, spinner Moeen Ali broke the budding 31-run stand between Saha and Wade, dismissing the latter for 15-ball 20 with help from Shivam Dube, who took a great catch. This brought captain Hardik Pandya to the crease, who got off the mark by smashing a four with a sweep over deep midwicket. He was eventually trapped by Pathirana for just 7, with Dube catching from mid-off, reducing GT to 100/3.
Saha eventually brought his third fifty of the season, his 11th overall in the league. He was joined by David Miller on the crease. Both started to rotate strike, with a responsibility to take the Titans over the line without any more fall of wickets. Eventually, the equation was down to 7 in the final two overs. This proved to be a cakewalk for GT as Saha sealed a seven-wicket win for his side with a four at the first ball of the final over by Pathirana. Saha (67*) and Miller (15*) finished off things for GT and gave their side their tenth win of the season.
Matheesha Pathirana was the pick of the bowlers for CSK with 2/24. Moeen Ali also picked one wicket for CSK. Earlier, Gujarat Titans restricted Chennai Super Kings to 133/5 in the match No. 62 of the ongoing Indian Premier League 2022 here at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. Ruturaj Gaikwad top-scored for CSK with 53 runs while N Jagadeesan remained unbeaten on 39. Rashid Khan, Alzarri Joseph, and Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore bagged one wicket each while Mohammed Shami picked two for GT.
Sports fraternity hails Indian badminton team for winning Thomas Cup
Sports fraternity on Sunday sent words of praise and extended congratulations to the Indian badminton team for winning the first-ever Thomas Cup trophy in Thailand.
Indian badminton team created history on Sunday as they lifted the Thomas Cup trophy for the very first time. In what was India’s first-ever appearance in the tournament finale, they defeated the record 14-time champions Indonesia in the Thomas Cup 2022 final at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand by 3-0 to lift the coveted trophy.
The star of India’s semi-final victory HS Prannoy took to Twitter to thank PM Narendra Modi for calling the whole team and wrote: “I am really honoured and thankful to our honourable Prime Minister Modiji @PMOIndia for calling and talking with me and the whole team and congratulating us for winning the Badminton World Cup ( Thomas cup) Really appreciate your great and continuous support.”
The legendary former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar congratulated the team and in a tweet said, “Historic moment for all Indians! What a day for Indian Badminton. Congratulations to the whole team on winning our maiden #ThomasCup title.”
Indian cricketer Virat Kohli also extended his congratulation message to the Indian Badminton team. “A historic achievement and a massive moment for Indian badminton. Congratulations Team India on winning the Thomas Cup,” he tweeted. Badminton ace Saina Nehwal also tweeted “ Congratulations TEAM INDIA Men’s Team for winning the THOMAS CUP Title … Great win #ThomasUberCup2022@srikidambi @lakshya_sen @satwiksairaj @Shettychirag04 @PRANNOYHSPRI.”
Olympic medallist Abhinav Bindra wrote on Twitter, “What a historic day! An incredible achievement by an incredible Team India to win the #ThomasCup for the first time ever!! Bounced back from tough situations on numerous occasions to win Gold. Kudos to all the players and coaches. Champions, all of you!”
Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir took Twitter and wrote,” History made. Welcome to India #Thomascup! Phenomenal! Jai Hind.” Indian Football skipper Sunil Chhetri wrote: “What a moment for Indian sport – we are Thomas Cup champions for the first-ever time, and we beat the best to make it happen. Congrats to the players and staff. Some things take time, but don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done.”
Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh congratulated the Indian Badminton team in his tweet and wrote: “Created history and in style! Congratulations @srikidambi @lakshya_sen @satwiksairaj @Shettychirag04 @PRANNOYHSPRI on bringing the Thomas Cup home. Proud of you champs #ThomasCup2022.”
Indian cricketer Ajinkya Rahane wrote on his Twitter: “Congratulations Team India for winning the Thomas Cup! This has been a journey that you all can be very proud of.”
No Indian team has previously reached the final of the Thomas and Uber Cup in its 70-plus year history.
Indian men reached the Thomas Cup semi-finals in 1952, 1955 and 1979 while the women’s team made it to the Uber Cup top-four in 2014 and 2016.
PM calls up badminton champions, lauds their win
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi interacted on phone with the Indian Badminton team players who have scored historic win at the Thomas Cup, today.
Prime Minister congratulated the team and said that sports analyst will have to count this as India’s finest sporting win. He said that he was especially happy to see that the team did not lose any round.
The Prime Minister asked the players at what stage did they feel that they are going to win. Kidambi Srikanth informed him that after the quarter final, the team’s determination to see it to the end became very strong. He also told the Prime Minister that team spirit helped and every player gave his 100 percent. The Prime Minister said that the coaches also deserve all the appreciation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Lakshya Sen that he will have to give him ‘Bal Mithai’ from Almora. The ace shuttler hails from the Devbhoomi of Uttarakhand. Prime Minister noted that Lakshaya is third generation player. Lakshya Sen informed that his father was present during the tournament. He also echoed Shrikant and said that after quarter finals, belief in victory became even more concrete. HS Prannoy also said that winning quarter final was very important. After winning that, it became clear that Indian team was in position to take on any team. He said that team support resulted in defeating strong teams like Malaysia. The Prime Minister also congratulated Satviksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty for their victories. PM Modi broke into Marathi with Chirag Shetty who informed him that nothing tops becoming world champion that too from India. “You all have achieved such a momentous feat. Entire team deserves kudos”. He invited them to his residence along with their coaches, on their return to India as he wished to talk to them and listen to their experiences.
Prime Minister asked for the victorious team’s message for the budding athletes and young children who are taking up sports like Badminton, Table Tennis or swimming. Srikanth spoke for the team and said that today, there is excellent support for sports in India. Due to efforts of Sports Authority of India, Government, sports federations and at elite level- Target Olympics Podium Scheme TOPS, the sportspersons are feeling very well supported. If this continues, we think, India will see many more champions. He told the young children who are taking up sports of their choice that if they can give their 100 per cent then there is great support for them in India in the sports field. There are good coaches and infrastructure, if they are committed, they can do well at the international level. “If they can work with 100 per cent dedication, they will definitely succeed,” said Kidambi Srikanth.
The PM conveyed his regards and appreciation for the parents of the players as it is a challenging task to encourage children for sports and stay with them till the end. The PM joined them in their jubilation and chanting of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ at the end of the call.
Odisha gears up for hockey Men’s World Cup in 2023
As Odisha gears up to host consecutive Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 to 29 next year, a wave of excitement can be seen among the children of the Sundergarh district.
The Sundergarh district is regarded as the ‘cradle of hockey’, as this is not only a sport but also a way of life here. The district has produced many international players starting from Dilip Tirkey, Lazarus Barla, Amit Rohidas, Deep Grace Ekka and many more. Boys and girls of the Sundergarh district have been enthusiastic about playing hockey and they are even getting full support from their families.
“Children over here are extremely passionate about hockey. It has happened since India got the medal in Olympics last year. Apart from these children, the parents are also excited about their children playing hockey,” local coach, Damo Kishan told ANI.
“We are extremely grateful to our CM Naveen Patnaik for his efforts to promote the sport in the state. It’s the second time that Odisha will be hosting the World Cup and it’s a really proud moment for us,” he added. Regarding the construction of constructing India’s largest hockey stadium, Birsa Munda International in Rourkela, the coach said that he is really pleased and thankful to government for their never-ending support. Meanwhile, the children also expressed their gratefulness to the Chief Minister and their coach for guiding them.
“I have been playing hockey for two years now. Earlier, I used to see boys going out and playing and that inspired me to play. Seeing me, other girls of our neighbourhood also stepped out of their homes and started playing,” said 15-year old, Arati Sahoo.
ANYTHING BELOW 130 IS DIFFICULT TO DEFEND: DHONI AFTER LOSS TO MI
After getting bundled out at 97 and later losing the clash by five wickets against Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni admitted that any target below 130 runs is difficult to defend.
The crucial partnership between Tilak Varma and Hrithik Shokeen and a quick unbeaten 16 by Tim David helped Mumbai Indians register a third win against Chennai Super Kings here at Wankhede Stadium on Thursday. “Irrespective of how the wicket is, anything below 130 is difficult to defend, but what I asked the bowlers was to show a lot of character and forget about the result. Both the young fast bowlers bowled really well and I feel a game like this really helps them in believing in themselves that irrespective of the conditions, whenever we start we need to have the same kind of attitude and that’s what is needed in the shortest format,” said Dhoni in a post-match presentation.
“We have gone through periods where we never really had that extraordinary bench of fast bowlers. Also, fast bowlers, they take their time to mature if you are lucky you get somebody who can feature in all formats in six months’ time and that is what IPL is doing and it is an opportunity for a lot of them. They bowl a bit courageous now which is very important in a format like this. And some players take their time before executing their plans better. The fast bowlers to have both of them really well is a big positive, and also we will have two more fast bowlers coming into the next season, also we have a few more up the sleeves, just want to give ample time for them to prepare.” he added.
Despite posting a small total, CSK showed some true character with the ball as Mukesh Choudhary scalped three wickets while Simarjeet Singh and Moeen Ali took one wicket each.
“It’s the first few deliveries which is important when you are batting in that kind of pressure, so it was a chance of survival. Once they are past those first few deliveries, they can be themselves. It didn’t pay off today but I think they bowled really well. A bit of application was needed from our side, and a few of the batters got out on good deliveries, hopefully, they are learning with each and every game,” said Dhoni.
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