Will never forget this day: Axar Patel relishes Test cricket debut - The Daily Guardian
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Will never forget this day: Axar Patel relishes Test cricket debut

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 13 (ANI): India all-rounder Axar Patel, who made his debut in Test cricket on Saturday, said he will never forget the date (February 13, 2021) for the rest of his life.
In the ongoing second Test against England, India made three changes to their playing XI. Skipper Virat Kohli handed a debut Test cap to Axar. The all-rounder had missed out on the series opener due to pain in his left knee.
Axar, who made an unbeaten five runs on the opening day of the second Test, feels privileged to represent India in the longest format of the game. The all-rounder also thanked his fans for the support and good wishes.
“13/2/21 A day I will never forget for the rest of my life – feel privileged to represent my country in Test cricket. Thank you all for the support and good wishes. @BCCI,” Axar tweeted.
India ended day one of the second Test at 300/6 with Rishabh Pant and debutant Axar unbeaten on 33 and five runs respectively. The hosts looked in control after Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane’s knock but lost control as three wickets fell in the final hour of the play.
Rohit feels 350 runs on board will be a good first innings total looking at turning nature of the pitch.
“I feel 350 would be a good total on this wicket and we have four wickets left. So we will hope Pant and Axar play long innings. Try and make as many runs as possible as we know this wicket will start turning a lot from the second and third day as we can see the rough patches,” said Rohit in the virtual press conference after the end of the day’s play on Saturday.
Three Indian wickets in the final hour of play tipped the opening day of the second Test slightly in favour of England after Rohit’s sensational knock had set up the India innings on Saturday. (ANI)

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Road Safety World Series: Dilshan propels Sri Lanka Legends to 9-wicket win over South Africa Legends

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Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], March 8 (ANI): Sri Lanka Legends captain Tillakaratne Dilshan delivered an all-round performance to guide his team to a nine-wicket win over South Africa Legends in the Road Safety World Series T20 here on Monday.
Dilshan slammed an unbeaten half-century off 40 balls including seven fours after his economical bowling of 1/11 from four overs, helping Sri Lanka beat South Africa Legends.
Chasing a 90-run target, Dilshan and Upul Tharanga (27, 31b, 5×4) added 69 runs that saw Sri Lanka achieve the target with 40 balls to spare. Sri Lanka, with three wins and one defeat from four matches, are now behind India Legends with 12 points.
Earlier, Sri Lanka Legends, who opted to field first, put up a brilliant show with the ball as they bundled South Africa out for 89 in 18.5 overs. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, seamer Nuwan Kulasekara and Sanath Jayasuriya took two wickets each. However, it was Herath and Dilshan’s choking line that hurt South Africa the most.
South Africa’s No.3 Andrew Puttick turned out to be the highest scorer with a 46-ball 39 that included four boundaries.
The South Africans never looked settled from the beginning as they lost their first wicket on the very first ball of the match after a bad call between openers Loots Bosman and Alviro Petersen (0) which cost them a run out (of Peterson) in captain Dilshan’s over.
Kulasekara rubbed in more salt by castling Petersen’s partner Bosman stumps for a second duck. In dire need of a partnership, South Africa couldn’t get it as wickets kept falling on one end even as Puttick held the fort from the other.
The only major stand was 31 runs for the fourth wicket between Puttick and Zander de Bruyn (15) before Herath got the latter leg before wicket.
Once Puttick was gone, thanks to Jayasuriya, it was almost over for South Africa. Even captain Jonty Rhodes (2) failed to put up a show and got out to Dilshan edging one to wicket-keeper Upul Tharanga. South Africans eventually were back in the dug-out at the score of 89.
Brief scores: South Africa Legends 89 (Puttick 39; Kulasekara 2/13, Herath 2/11, Jayasuriya 2/25); Sri Lanka Legends 92/1 (Dilshan 50*, Tharanga 27*). (ANI)

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IOC EB decides further provisional measures against NOC of Belarus

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Lausanne [Switzerland], March 8 (ANI): The International Olympic Council (IOC) on Monday decided not to recognise the election of Viktor Lukashenko as the new President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Belarus.
IOC, in its statement, said that the NOC of Belarus had not appropriately protected the Belarusian athletes from political discrimination within the NOC, their member federations, or the sports movement.
“Further to the IOC Executive Board decision of 7 December 2020 in relation to the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Belarus, the IOC has been informed that the quadrennial Elective General Assembly of the NOC took place on 26 February 2021. The IOC notes that the NOC Statutes were updated in line with the usual standards of good governance,” IOC said.
IOC said specific provisions were expressly included to ensure better protection of the athletes’ rights and preserve the athletes from any discrimination or undue pressure. It also included to strengthen the autonomy of the NOC by ensuring in particular that the elected members of the NOC Executive Board no longer simultaneously occupy any governmental position; better reflect gender equality within the NOC Executive Board; and introduce limitations on the number of terms and a maximum age limit for the elected members of the NOC Executive Board.
“However, the IOC also noted with great disappointment that the NOC had failed to fully address the first item of the IOC EB decision of 7 December 2020 that the previous leadership of the NOC of Belarus had not appropriately protected the Belarusian athletes from political discrimination within the NOC, their member federations or the sports movement,” IOC said.
The following are the provisional measures that IOC EB adopted on Monday:
1. To not recognise the election of Viktor Lukashenko as the new President of the NOC of Belarus and the election of Dmitry Baskov as a member of the NOC Executive Board and maintain their exclusion from all IOC events and activities, including the Olympic Games. The IOC will liaise with the NOC and the other members of the newly elected Executive Board through the NOC Secretary-General.
2. To maintain the other provisional measures taken by the IOC Executive Board on 7 December 2020, as follows:
– Suspend all financial payments to the NOC of Belarus, with the exception of payments related to the athletes’ scholarships and the preparations of the Belarusian team for, and their participation in, the Olympic Games.
– Request the relevant International Federations to make sure that all eligible Belarusian athletes can take part in qualification events for the upcoming Olympic Games without any political discrimination.
– Suspend any discussions with the NOC of Belarus regarding the hosting of future IOC events.
– Request all constituents of the Olympic Movement to respect these measures in the interest of protecting Belarusian athletes’ rights and the reputation of the Olympic Movement.
3. To request the NOC of Belarus and its member federations to ensure that there is no political discrimination in the participation of the Belarusian athletes in qualification events, and in the final selection of the team of the NOC of Belarus, for all Olympic Games.
4. To not invite or grant any accreditation to any senior Government official from the Republic of Belarus for the Olympic Games.
The statement further read that the IOC Executive Board will continue to monitor the situation, and reserves the right to consider any further action or to remove any of these provisional measures, depending on the evolution of the situation. (ANI)

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ISL 7: Mumbai City FC win battle of nerves to pip Goa to historic final

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Bambolim (Goa) [India], March 8 (ANI): Two hundred and ten minutes of football over two legs, yet there was no winner to head into the final between Mumbai City FC and FC Goa.
Such was the battle, that it came down to ISL’s first-ever sudden death in a penalty shootout to decide the first finalist of season seven. And it turned out to be Mumbai City FC who had the last laugh as they edged FC Goa on penalties 6-5 at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim.
One of the highlights of the thriller was when both coaches sprung a surprise as they decided to substitute their goalkeepers with the contest heading into the penalty shootout. Goa brought on Naveen Kumar while Mumbai raised some eyebrows when they decided to field Phurba Lachenpa in place of skipper and one of the best goalkeepers of the season Amrinder Singh.
But, as it turned out to be, the Sikkimese gloveman survived the battle of nerves, helping the Islanders book a place in the final for the first time.
With all to fight for in the second leg, this contest was always going down to the wire. FC Goa remained in the ascendance with Mumbai failing to register a single shot on target in the entire game. The opening half proved to be a cagey affair with neither side able to assert their dominance.
The best chance of the game arrived in the 27th minute, for Goa but Mumbai’s backline stood tall. Alberto Noguera beat his marker and made his way into the box before firing a shot at a goal that was parried away by Mumbai keeper Amrinder Singh. The ball eventually fell in the path of Redeem Tlang whose first-time effort was blocked by Amey Ranawade.
Despite failing to test Goa keeper Dheeraj Singh, Mumbai missed an opportunity to open the scoring during the closing stages of the first half after winning a free-kick in a dangerous position. Ahmed Jahouh found Hugo Boumous outside the box, who blazed his effort over the crossbar.

Goa made one change at the break with Ishan Pandita coming on for Redeem Tlang and the substitution sparked energy in their attack as the Gaurs were clearly the better side in the second half.

They created a big chance just minutes after the restart. Alexander Jesuraj received Saviour Gama’s cutback and fired a shot that seemed to be heading to the net but Amrinder made a crucial fingertip save to push the ball towards the post, out for a corner.

Amrinder soon made another clever save to deny Goa. After Adil Khan blocked Adam Le Fondre’s effort, Goa launched a quick counter-attack and Jesuraj drilled a low cross inside the box for Pandita whose diving header was kept out by the Mumbai custodian.
Goa kept pushing for a winner and could’ve ended the contest in injury time, had it not been for James Donachie missing a gilt-edged opportunity. Edu Bedia aimed his free-kick at the far post but the defender failed to connect, missing the ball by inches.
In extra added time, Mumbai were lucky not to concede after an error. Pandita pounced on a poor backpass from Hernan Santana but Amrinder snuffed out the danger in time.
The shootout initially looked to be headed Mumbai’s way after Goa missed their first two penalties. But Mumbai then missed a couple, restoring parity. Finally, after Glan Martins had missed his kick, Rowllin Borges stepped to drive home the winning penalty and sent his team to the final. (ANI)

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Wayne Parnell joins Northamptonshire for 2021 season

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Northamptonshire [UK], March 8 (ANI): Northamptonshire County Cricket Club on Monday announced the signing of South African pacer Wayne Parnell for the entire 2021 season.
Parnell will be available in all three formats as an overseas player for County Championship, Vitality Blast, and Royal London Cup.
“I am delighted to be joining Northants for the 2021 season across all formats. I love county cricket and I hope I can contribute to the club being successful on all fronts,” Parnell said in an official statement.
Steelbacks Skipper Josh Cobb felt Parnell will be a great asset to the Club.
“Looking at our attack we’ve got a lot of bases covered now with pace, spin, control and now he gives us a left-arm option as well so when you’re looking at matchups, I feel we’ve got everything we need,” Cobb said.
Having played at the highest level in both red and white-ball cricket, Parnell has scored more than 6000 career runs and is approaching 700 career wickets across all formats.
Wayne Parnell joins Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi as the Steelbacks’ two overseas players in the Vitality Blast and Skipper Josh Cobb believes having both available for all 14 games is an important factor.
“With the way international cricket is at the minute it can be hard to get players who are available for big chunks of the competition. So to have two overseas players for 14 games each is huge because you can build some momentum up and hopefully get on a run towards the backend of the group and really attack the finals,” said Cobb. (ANI)

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Indian Men’s Hockey team remain undefeated, beat Great Britain in last match of the Europe Tour

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Antwerp [Belgium], March 8 (ANI): Indian Men’s Hockey Team ended their Tour of Europe with a splendid 3-2 win against Great Britain here on Monday. Harmanpreet Singh’s goal in the very first minute and two goals by Mandeep Singh in the 28th and 59th minute helped India remain undefeated on the tour. For Great Britain, James Gall (20′) and striker Adam Forsyth (55′) scored.
In their previous match, India’s Simranjeet Singh had scored a late goal to hold Great Britain to a 1-1 draw and against Germany, the PR Sreejesh-led side had secured a 6-1 win and a 1-1 draw in the first and second match respectively.
In today’s match, India started off aggressively and earned themselves a PC in the very first minute of the game. The opportunity was duly converted by India’s Vice Skipper Harmanpreet Singh to give his side an early lead. Though Great Britain replied to the setback with a structured attack that helped them make a foray into the striking circle, a goal was denied by the alert Indian goalkeeper Krishan B Pathak. The early advantage helped the Indian Men maintain pressure on their opponents, ending the first quarter with a 1-0 lead.
Great Britain drew parity in the 20th minute through midfielder James Gall’s field goal. The much-needed equaliser helped his team gain the right momentum. Putting India under pressure, GB earned themselves a PC, but their attempt was derailed by a brilliant save by India Skipper PR Sreejesh. India’s moment to regain the lead came in the 28th minute when forward Mandeep Singh successfully converted the PC on a rebound.
Ahead by a goal, India rallied to extend the lead further with an aggressive attack in the third quarter. Though they fetched a PC in the early minute of that quarter and even made as many as five circle entries, they were denied each time. India’s defence, however, remained resolute as they held on to the 2-1 lead.
Though India dominated the proceedings at the start of the fourth quarter, a quick turnaround saw Great Britain grabbing the opportunity as Alan Forsyth scored an equalizer in the 55th minute. The last few minutes was a battle of nerves as both teams lived up to the billing, but it was Mandeep who rose to the occasion as his late strike helped India cap off their first assignment of 2021 with a 3-2 win against Great Britain. (ANI)

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If CSK miss playoffs, I’ll likely be available for New Zealand Test: Sam Curran

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 8 (ANI): England’s Sam Curran feels there is still a long way to go before the Test series against Kiwis but the all-rounder admitted that if Chennai Super Kings (CSK) fails to qualify for the playoffs in upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), he will likely be available for the New Zealand series.
The IPL Governing Council on Sunday announced the schedule for IPL 2021 to be held in India across six venues from April 9. England are scheduled to play a two-match Test series against New Zealand, starting June 2.
“Yesterday only the IPL dates came out. Any time there are England games in the summer you do want to play in them. You’ll have to see how the IPL tournament pans out. I guess if you miss the qualification then most likely you’ll be available for those Tests,” said Curran in a virtual press conference.
“If you’re in the final it might be a bit different. No one really knows how it will gonna pan out. Those New Zealand Tests have come into the calendar recently and there’s a lot of Test cricket,” he added.
India and England will face each other in the first T20I on Friday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
“It is a World Cup year so there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on us doing really well, especially being in India now the World Cup is going to be here as well in October time, so that’s really exciting for us as players,” said Curran.
On Sunday, England coach Chris Silverwood said that England players will be available for the whole of the IPL.
“We have not looked at selection for the Test matches yet. For me, playing for your country is a big thing. It is always difficult to change anything. So, they will be staying for the whole IPL as it stands at the moment,” Silverwood said during a virtual press conference.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Chennai in the tournament opener.
The final of the 14th edition of the tournament will be played on May 30 at Narendra Modi Stadium. Playoffs will also be played at the same venue. (ANI)

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