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When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record

Ace bodybuilder Gaurav Taneja talks on the art of bodybuilding, the malaise of doping, and of course his feelings after shattering former Pakistan cricketer Shoab Akhtar’s YouTube record.



Gaurav Taneja sets a world record by scoring a million subscribers in a day. Shoaib Akhtar had taken 28 days to do the same.

He would never have dreamt of the one day when he would break the record of former Pakistani bowler Shoaib Akhtar. We are not talking about any other cricketer but a YouTuber, Gaurav Taneja, who set a world record by scoring a million subscribers in a day and one lakh subscribers in just 40 minutes. Shoaib Akhtar took 28 days to do the same. Excerpts of an interview with the ace bodybuilder:

Q. B.Tech from IIT, then pilot, then Vlogar and thereafter a bodybuilder—how did you feel when you broke Shoaib Akhtar’s record?

A. Literally, top of the world… Initially, I could not believe it. Dedication and determination are the only factors behind my success.

Q. Tell us about your bodybuilding mantra?

A. Nowadays, I do bodybuilding for the sake of fitness. I just want to motivate the youth to take up this sport, but I have stopped competing on the stage. Anyway, there is a strict routine of four to five weeks before any competition. Nowadays, I am associated with more people and that has also increased my responsibilities.

Q. How did the pandemic affect this sport?

A. After ten days of lockdown in March, Mr India Championship was scheduled to be held. Players from remote areas across the country were to take part as well. There were many players among them who spent three to three-and-a-half lakh rupees on their fitness to prepare themselves for the championship. Some of them even took loans, championship prize money being the main attraction for the players. Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the sport, shattered many dreams.

 Q. You mentioned in one of your vlogs that you kept a heater in the hostel room during your studies at IIT Kharagpur, on which you used to heat eggs. Wasn’t the buffet diet of hostel enough for you?

A. There is a difference between the fit body of a common man and the body of a bodybuilder. You will, unlike Maruti, put higher quantities of fuel in a Ferrari. Different bodies have different dietary requirements. Bodybuilding requires more diet.

Q. What tips will you give to a common man regarding his diet?

 A. Eat home-made food. Do not cook the vegetables too much. That destroys the nutritional values. Those who are vegetarians can take cheese, food supplements, and protein scoops but, it is important to note that exercise is very important; otherwise, you will put on unnecessary weight.

Q. There are many federations of bodybuilding in the country. All of them claim authenticity. Which one should a young player trust?

A. This is the problem that youth face. There is always a confusion about which federation is real and which one is fake. The prize money helps a lot to differentiate between a genuine and a fake one. For example, where there is prize money of Rs 3 lakh, the group is usually genuine. Whereas in many similar competitions, the prize money does not exceed Rs 30 thousand.

Q. With food supplements, there is a prevalent adulteration in the market, what is your take on that?

A. It is all about buying supplements from a genuine place. If you consume adulterated supplements, your body undergoes harm, and that is usually irreversible. So it is better to be careful to choose from the right place.

Q. Does the sport of bodybuilding often involve doping?

A. Everyone cannot become a dancer or singer. Similarly, not everyone can become a bodybuilder. If you are not good at cricket, then maybe you are good at cycling. One whose body is made for bodybuilding can get results in two months after working. You cannot accuse a hard-working bodybuilder of doping, it is wrong.

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India remain hosts of 2021 T20 World Cup

The format of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will remain as it was for 2020, says ICC.

Aishvarya Jain



The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided that India will host the T20 World Cup in 2021 while Australia, which was to host the event this year in October-November, will now host the 2022 edition. India will also host the 50-over World Cup in 2023.

 The ICC confirmed that the Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 that was postponed due to Covid-19 will be held in Australia in 2022. India will host the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 as planned. In other developments, ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand has been postponed until FebruaryMarch 2022 because of the impact the pandemic has had on cricket globally.

 The decisions were taken by the IBC (the commercial subsidiary of the ICC) following an extensive contingency planning exercise which has taken into account the health, cricket, and commercial impact of COVID-19 around the world.

ICC Acting Chairman Imran Khwaja said: “Over the last few months as we have considered how we return to staging global events, our number one priority has been to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in ICC events. The decisions the Board has taken today are in the best interests of the sport, our partners, and importantly our fans. I’d like to thank our partners at the BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket New Zealand as well as the Australian and New Zealand governments for their continued support and commitment to a safe return to ICC events.”

ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said: “We now have absolute clarity on the future of ICC events enabling all of our Members to focus on the rescheduling of lost international and domestic cricket. We will now proceed as planned with the Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in India and host the 2022 edition in Australia. We have decided to move the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup to give players from every competing nation, the best opportunity to be ready for the world’s biggest stage and there is still a global qualifier to complete to decide the final three teams.”

 The format of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will remain as it was for 2020 and all teams that qualified for the event will now participate in India in 2021. A new qualification process will be run for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. The format of the postponed ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup will remain as it was for 2021.

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Pak pacers’ talent to watch out for against England




It has been proved beyond doubt that England has a world class bowling attack at present. We have seen the strongest bowling attack of England against the West Indies. Now it will be there for us to see in the current series against Pakistan. The pacer Jofra Archer has infused fresh energy and edge in the fast bowling line-up in English team.

You can understand the strength of a team whose two bowlers have together taken over 1000 wickets. Stuart Broad and James Anderson have tremendous bowling skill. Why I am more impressed with Anderson is that he displays high level of energy and enthusiasm despite growing age. At the same time, Broad joined one of cricket’s most exclusive clubs by taking his 500th Test wicket in the series against West Indies and proved that he is emerging stronger and more skillful with the passage of time.

At present, India, England and Australia are the teams which have superb and powerful bowling line-up. Any single bowler of these teams has capacity to take the team to victory on his own. It is not fair to assess any bowler on the basis of his performance in One Day and T-20 matches. In these formats, bowlers have to throw balls cleverly with improvisation. While in the Test matches only we can check the real ability and mental strength of a bowler. This is because bowlers have to deliver several spells in a single day only in Test matches. It is quite possible that one spell is good and other spells are not on good line and length. A bowler can be brought into attack to break a partnership which has reached 150 runs. In such a situation, the bowling strategy will have to be absolutely different. Apart from Anderson, Broad and Jofra Archer, England showcase fast bowlers like Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and Mark Wood whom the team put into attack at the right time. England have tremendous bench strength of fast bowlers. Even sometimes Broad is sometimes sent out of the Team for one Test. England lost the match after Broad was kept out. The loss and profit of keeping a player out can be known only after the match result. England’s come-back in the remaining two matches of the series against West Indies was a good spectacle.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, the team has fast bowlers like Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Sohail Khan. Shaheen and Naseem are the new and extremely young players. All they are quite talented players.

Pakistan team management has expressed faith in Shaheen, Naseem and Abbas for Old Trafford. They have done spellbinding bowling and impressed the management a lot. The talent can be noticed at the very start of the career. The need of the hour is to translate that talent into good performance. Fast bowling has been given importance in Pakistan. When I had bowled out five Pakistan players in the Sialkot Test, the team had tremendous talent even then. What was quite encouraging in Pakistan was that whenever any new pacer joined the team the established senior bowlers used to encourage and help him. Imran Khan promoted and helped Wasim Akram and then Waqar Yunis. Similarly, Aqib Javed also got help from Akram. The problem today is that there are no fast bowlers in Pakistan like Imran, Akram, Waqar or Aqib Javed. If there were bowlers of their level it would be quite helpful and beneficial for Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah. With this in view, it is challenging for Pakistan to maintain the pace bowling attack like before. However, what makes me happy is that Waqar Yunis is bowling coach of Pakistan. He has been given the responsibility to ensure that Pakistan pace bowling attack does not lose its sheen. Definitely, we will be able to see good result in future.

The writer is a former Indian fast bowler.

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Yasir Shah’s 4 wickets give Pakistan a lead of 244 runs



Pakistan hold a lead of 244 with one wicket in hand at the end of what was a breathless day of Test cricket at Old Trafford on Friday.

England’s bowlers managed to bring the hosts back into the game towards the end of the final session of Day 4 after their own batsmen were found wanting against a clinical performance from the Pakistani bowlers.

Pakistan’s batsmen looked to keep a good flow of runs going but England kept chipping away at the visitors’ batting lineup. It however looked like Pakistan could manage a lead of over 300 runs in during the fifth wicket partnership between Asad Shafiq and Mohammad Rizwan.

Shafiq was finally dismissed when Dom Sibley managed a direct hit from covers while the batsmen went for a quick single. Replays showed that Shafiq was not even in the frame when the ball hit the stumps.

The flow of runs however continued when Shadab Khan came to the crease and Root finally had to resort to calling on Ben Stokes who managed to whizz the ball past Rizwan’s outside edge with the first delivery he bowled.

Broad then set up Shadab with consecutive shortpitched deliveries before sending in a full one that crashed into the batsman’s knee roll. While the umpire did not raise his finger, England reviewed and the replays showed that the ball would have taken the leg stump.

 It left Yasir Shah to fetch as many runs as he could with the wobbly tail that Pakistan possess. Stokes struck again with the wicket of Shaheen Afridi and that delivery was also the last of the day.

 It was the spinners Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan who closed off the England innings. While Shadab picked two, Yasir led the team off after England were dismissed on 219 with a four-wicket haul. Yasir will now be back on the field on Day 4 with Pakistan’s no.11 Mohammad Abbas, batting on 12 off 15 balls.

Brief Scores: Pakistan: 326 and 137/8 (Asad Shafiq 29, Mohammad Rizwan; Chris Woakes 2/11) vs England: 219 all out (Ollie Pope 62, Jos Buttler 38; Yasir Shah 4/66)

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Footballer’s wife takes to the sky to rescue Indians stranded abroad



The nation is currently witnessing an unprecedented situation. The pandemic has left no stone unturned whilst numerous frontline workers across different fields are fighting to contain the virus and keep people safe. One among such warriors is Commander Pushpanjali Potsangbam, an Air India pilot, who has been flying to different nations to rescue stranded Indian nationals and bringing them home.

Potsangbam’s husband— former Indian soccer captain and central defender Gouramangi Singh—currently at his residence in Manipur, feels “immensely proud” at his wife responding to the “nation’s call”.

“I have played football for India for so many years. Wearing that jersey and singing the National Anthem – it’s a feeling of pride, you cannot put it into words. I am sure it must be the same feeling for her,” said Gouramangi.

 “We’re happy to do our part. I have done it through football which is something I have loved since my childhood. Now my wife is doing it through her profession. It’s her passion. There are sacrifices that we made and are still making now. Nevertheless, in the end, it’s a proud feeling.”

“One of the positives of the lockdown period was that most of us, footballers, got to spend time with their families. We generally stay out and travel a lot and our families make a lot of sacrifices for us.”

Throughout the lockdown, the Air India crew has flown to different cities in foreign countries to get the necessary medicines, kits, and other supplies. Now, they have been flying to places like Auckland, Cairo, Dublin and Lagos— that essentially are “offline” stations for them.

 “They do not make it seem like a big deal, but from our talks, I have come to know how much work goes into flying into places that they don’t regularly fly to,” Gouramangi, former AIFF Player of the Year, said.

“The crew goes through a lot of stress and anxiety during their flights as they keep themselves isolated from their families till the third test comes negative— the first one is one done after 5 days of arrival into the base. To do that once or twice is fine but they live through that week after week for the safety of their loved ones.”

 The 34-year-old player admitted that the situation can get “worrying” at times but stated the importance of looking at the brighter side of things.

“It is not an ideal scenario. I would be lying if I say that I am not concerned or worried but it is an unprecedented situation and you can either remain upset or you can look at the positives. Thanks to the technology, we stay in touch through video calls, communicate regularly, and keep a positive outlook,” he added.

Gouramangi also lauded the unwavering efforts of the frontline workers— all of whom have been fighting hard day in day out to keep citizens safe.

 “From the armed forces who protect our borders to the frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, police personnel, airline staff— so many people are sacrificing their precious lives for our sake. We should not overlook the efforts they are putting in right now for the country and countrymen. We must follow the regulations laid down by the government and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe,” Gouramangi expressed.

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Top tennis stars withdraw from US open



World No.5 Elina Svitolina and No.7 Kiki Bertens on Friday became the latest tennis stars to pull out of this year’s US Open citing COVID-19 concerns. Earlier, World No.1 Ashleigh Barty too had withdrawn from the Grand Slam in New York.

The US Open is currently scheduled to be held from August 31 with the Cincinnati Open being held at the Flushing Meadows before that from August 22. However, due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country, tennis stars have been apprehensive about participating in the tournament.  Svitolina took to social media to announce her decision and her Twitter post read: “Considering all the aspects, I have decided not to play the US Open 2020. I want to thank the USTA, organizers and the WTA for giving the players a chance to play and the fans a chance to watch this great event. ”I understand and respect all the efforts they are putting to make it happen in a safe environment, but I still don’t feel comfortable to travel to the US without putting my team and myself at high risk,” she added.

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BCCI issues SOPs to franchises for IPL 2020

Breach of any bio-secure environment protocols by players and team support staff will be punishable under the IPL Code of Conduct Rules.

Aishvarya Jain



With Indian Premier League 2020, scheduled to be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 10, the BCCI has issued some stringent Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) drafted by the board and shared with franchises.

A 16-page document accessed by The Daily Guardian has in detail guidelines to ensure the safety and health of all players and stakeholders involved during the tournament. According to the SOP, “The Bio-Secure Environment means only essential staff will be on site and no members of the public will be allowed. Therefore there will be more vacant areas at the stadium and hence the dressing room does not have to remain within the traditional area.”

 The SOP also states, “The health and safety of all players and staff is paramount and these set of preventive measures are planned in order to minimise the risk of entry and transmission of Covid-19 infection within the cricketing setup. The guidelines will evolve depending on changes in the COVID-19 situation and latest guidelines issued by the local Government. The Bio-Secure Environment measures will be in place throughout the IPL 2020 season and cover the following environments Hotels, Training sessions, Matches and Transportation.”

 Further, within the Bio-Secure Environment, a zoning principle will be applied to further reduce interactions and hence reduce the risks of cross infection. The stadium Bio-Secure Environment will be divided into the following zones: Zone 1 – Players and Match Official Area (PMOA) and Field of Play (FOP); Zone 2 – Inner Zone – All operational areas within the stadium complex; Zone 3 – Outer Zone – The area outside the stadium complex but within the boundary walls.

Breach of any Bio-Secure Environment protocols by players and team support staff will be punishable under the IPL Code of Conduct Rules.

The guidelines also state that franchises are not allowed to leave before 20 August, and have been advised to use chartered planes to get the players to the UAE, if possible. All Indian players and team support staff must undergo two Covid-19 PCR tests, 24 hours apart, in the week before assembling in the franchises’ city of choice. And once in UAE all support staff and players will have to be tested three times in the span of 6 days. They will have to remain under quarantine for this period in their hotel rooms. And once all three tests turn negative they are allowed into the bio-secure environments for regular training and practice. Franchises will also have to appoint their team doctors who’d be in charge of ensuring that all medical guidelines are followed.

The SOP also states that all “franchise teams will be put up in different hotels.” “Team members must be allotted rooms in a separate wing of the hotel that has a separate centralised air conditioning (AC) unit than the rest of the hotel. As per the guideline’s teams will be required to order food in individual rooms and avoid use of common dining areas “to prevent cross infection and coming in contact with other hotel guests.”

 The SOP also states that franchises might install “Scalene Hypercharge Corona Canon (Shycocan), a device that has the ability to neutralise 99.9% of the coronavirus that might be floating in the air in closed spaces”.

Each IPL team will be given an electronic team sheet which will be handed over before each IPL game. BCCI has also directed the franchises to do team meetings virtually. This means while staying in the same hotel, physical contact will be minimized between the players. All team meetings will be conducted virtually. The other recommendations are mostly those which ICC has already stated in its SOP published earlier, including the ban on saliva to shine the ball.

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