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  1. Following the partition of British India in 1947, Pakistan and India have struggled consistently to see eye to eye. From cross-border tensions to varied political stands of their respective governments, the two neighbouring countries have developed one of the fiercest rivalries on the planet. And, there has been no respite in recent times either. Whether it was the 2008 Mumbai attacks or the dastardly Pulwama attacks last year, India and Pakistan almost came to the brink of war with subsequent air-strikes and aerial combats between the neighbouring countries in 2019. The intervening months only deepened the perennial enmity and the standoff between India and Pakistan continues. The tumultuous relations between the two nations have further transcended across sports. Owing to the severed bilateral ties, both India and Pakistan continue to deny their respective sports teams from visiting each other for numerous tournaments. But, India finds itself in a peculiar situation after an 'unofficial' team reportedly reached Pakistan for the upcoming Kabaddi World Cup. #KabbadiWC starts today Captains with trophy pic.twitter.com/6BKE7UcW4T â Kabaddi World Cup (@KabaddiWorldCup) February 9, 2020 According to media reports, the Punjab Kabaddi Association (PKA) has allegedly sent nearly 60 kabaddi players to Pakistan, the host nation for this year's edition of the World Cup that began on 9th February. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, on 10th February, clarified that no permission was sought to send kabaddi players to Pakistan for the coveted tournament. Tejinder Singh Midukheda, vice-president of Punjab Kabaddi Association revealed that the association had received an invitation from the Pakistan Kabaddi Federation for the competition. "These players have gone to play the Kabaddi match in their individual capacity. The permission was not required as they were not representing the country" Midukheda was quoted as saying by India Today. ????? ???? ???? ?? 2020 pic.twitter.com/860JN6Obnv â Kabaddi World Cup (@KabaddiWorldCup) February 6, 2020 Interestingly, the posters of Pakistan's Kabaddi World Cup shows India among the 10 participating nations. Moreover, the team, comprised of Amritpal Singh Ninni, Amritpal Singh, Arshdeep Singh, Gurlal Ghanaur, Kuldeep Singh, Malwinder Singh, Navjot Singh, Tarinder Singh, Vinay, Ravi Parkas and Deepak, which won its opening game against Germany on 10th February was seen donning the jersey that had the word 'India' inscribed on it. India beat Germany by 62/28 in Kabaddi World Cup here in Punjab stadium Lahore #IndvGer #KabaddiWC2020 pic.twitter.com/PkcsG3EGsl â Kabaddi World Cup (@KabaddiWorldCup) February 10, 2020 The Pakistan federation has also demanded an investigation into why the unauthorised players from India were being treated as the official Indian team. The latest developments further suggest that Pakistan Amateur Circle Kabaddi Federation (PACKF) has adjusted Indian players in the teams other participating nations like Australia, England and Canada. Team India enjoying stay at Lahore #KabaddiWorldCup pic.twitter.com/UOs3JHFj9G â Indian Kabaddi Team (@KabaddiIndia) February 10, 2020 Muhammad Sarwar, PACKF secretary-general, told TOI on the phone that Indian passport holders have been included in these teams who had initially travelled to Pakistan for the World Cup with only a handful of players. On the other hand, Justice SP Garg (retired), administrator of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), has denied giving permission to any team to go to Pakistan for the tournament. Team India doing March Past at the opening ceremony of Kabbadi Worldcup 2020#KabaddiWorldCup pic.twitter.com/5ATvElOa0i â Indian Kabaddi Team (@KabaddiIndia) February 9, 2020 âNo permission was ever granted by AKFI to any team to go to Pakistan and play any kabaddi match there. We came to know about it only after information was sought. AKFI does not support any such activity. Legal action may be taken,â Garg said in a statement. âWe had got the invitation for this event last year. Players have played in such tournaments individually and on their own.â Harpreet Singh Baba, coach of the team India #KabaddiWC2020 â Indian Kabaddi Team (@KabaddiIndia) February 10, 2020 Harpreet Singh Baba, coach of the alleged Indian kabaddi team, told Indian Express: "Each of us had applied for visa individually and the team was named India since the tournament is called the World Cup. If there was any objection from the Ministry of External Affairs, sports Ministry, Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) or Punjab Kabaddi Federation, they should have stopped us from coming here. We have come here on a valid visa. Most of these players have played across the world as individuals in various events". First ever #KabaddiWorldCup which begin in #Pakistan on Sunday came into controversy after Amateur Kabaddi Federation if India denied to have sent any Indian Kabaddi team to Pakistan to participate in the event. Sarvar Bhatt General Secretary from Pakistan also raised finger.1/3 pic.twitter.com/G9oHAT5za1 â Ravinder Singh Robin ?????? ???? ??????????? ???? (@rsrobin1) February 9, 2020 The first-ever Kabaddi World Cup hosted by Pakistan has a prize money of one crore (Pakistan rupees). The tournament kicked off at Punjab Stadium in Lahore on 9th February. The matches will also be played on 12th, 13th and 14th February in Faisalabad and Gujarat. The all-important Kabaddi World Cup final will take place on 16th February in Lahore. View the full article
  2. Even since the ICC U19 World Cup final between India and Bangladesh, so much has happened in the past couple of days that we actually donât know how to feel about either of the sides. Bangladesh lift the ICC U19 World Cup trophy for the first time!#U19CWC | #INDvBAN | #FutureStars pic.twitter.com/h9Ol7Btdha â Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) February 9, 2020 Yes there was a lot of sledging during the game, heated arguments took place on the pitch and players from both teams used some NSFW words which is kind of shocking and unfortunate to hear, considering that these players are the future of the game and will be considered to be role models for the generations to come. However, a lot of good also came out of the clash. We got to know about the heart-touching story of Bangladeshi skipper Akbar Ali who lost his sister while he was away representing his country and how it spurred the wicket-keeper batsman to play a captainâs knock to bring home their first-ever U19 World Cup trophy. And we also learnt to appreciate our very own Wasim Jaffer who, as the batting coach of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)âs performance academy in Mirpur in 2019, played a key role in converting players like Ali and Shahdat Hossain into world-class batsmen. And now, the official Twitter handle of Cricket World Cup has uploaded a video in which the members of the Bangladeshi team went out of their way to pick up trash off the field while taking their victory lap. TRUE CHAMPIONS Bangladesh players, during their victory lap, pick up and move aside the litter thrown onto the field! Classy. #U19CWC | #FutureStars pic.twitter.com/JJV17MbDZK â Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) February 10, 2020 Watching the young cricketers losing out on their time to celebrate the win only to leave the ground a cleaner place, got the Twitter world talking about the Young Tigers: True champions.....itâs a shame,the Indians could learn a thing or two from the Bangladeshi team....well played Bangladeshi you give a India a dam good hiding 𤣠â Khalid (@Khal1212) February 10, 2020Huge respect for these lads. Not only the will to win personified but gracious & courteous too â peter hollman (@hollers63) February 10, 2020Seriously i was surprised to see this, those are just kids â Muhammad Junaidðµð° (@TheJunaidz) February 10, 2020Best in class example - keep it up Tigers.. â Zillur Rahman (@ZillurMunna71) February 10, 2020well done Bangladesh u19 team u win both fight with bat and with hand love from pakistan god bless all of u â Malikaliraza (@Malikal92701079) February 10, 2020While the match did not end on a good note this gesture by Team Bangladesh was clearly a masterstroke, which surely helped them get quite a lot of fans even after the tournament. View the full article
  3. In a cricket-crazy nation like India, if great Sachin Tendulkar is worshipped as a god, then MS Dhoni is no less than a demigod himself. Amongst noticeable cricketers over the years, Dhoni will always be remembered as one of the key contributors to Indian cricket. While his astute leadership and cricketing skills took India to new heights, his calm and composed demeanor continues to make him a fan-favourite. Such has been his popularity that even when he hasn't featured in national colours for over six months, Dhoni continues to garner public interest and remains a topic of great discussion amongst cricket pundits and fans. The Jharkhand cricketer hasn't played for India since their ouster from the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales. With the Indian selectors already looking beyond Dhoni and, therefore, grooming young Rishabh Pant as his potential successor, speculations have been rife over the former's fall from grace with the national team. But, it was the decision of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to deny him a central contract for the 2019-20 season that is now being labeled as the final nail in the coffin for Dhoni's illustrious career. © Reuters But, despite missing out on a central contract, Dhoni still has a chance to earn his place in the Indian team for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. If the 38-year-old intends to keep himself in fray for the ICC spectacle in October, he will need to put up a good show in domestic cricket and the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). While cricketers and coaches close to Dhoni have remained tight-lipped on MSD's future, Team India's head coach Ravi Shastri has reiterated the importance of the IPL 2020 on the former Indian captain's career. He also revealed that Dhoni has been dead honest when it comes to playing for India so there is no way that he will impose himself on the national team. âExactly what I wanted to ask you. There is IPL coming. Uske baad tum dekho. Everyone will know. He will know, selectors will know, the captain will know seeing him, and more important than anything else, he will know. What I'm trying to tell the people is he is the last person to impose himself on anything. You know him. I know him,â Shastri said in an interview with Sportstar. © Reuters âFor years, you know that he's been dead honest when it comes to things of that sort, like when he gave up Test cricket. There was nothing of 100 Tests because he is not the guy who will impose on himself. I don't know if he started practicing as yet or not, but I'm sure if he's keen on the IPL, everything will come out now and he will be ready. For all you know, he may start the IPL, if he doesnât feel good heâll say âThank you very muchâ,â Shastri added. On the cricketing front, while Virat Kohli & co produced a brilliant performance to beat New Zealand by six wickets in the first T20I at Eden Park, Dhoni has been seen training with the Ranchi Ranji Trophy team lately. More recently, Dhoni was seen having a gala time at an event at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) stadium in Ranchi where he even tried to whistle with onion spring leaves. View the full article
  4. Arguably one of the most successful captains in Indian cricket's rich history, Sourav Ganguly carved his own niche in the gentleman's game on the back of a brutally honest approach. Unlike MS Dhoni, whose tenure as Indian captain rarely saw him expressing himself on the field, Ganguly was not the one to mince words or hide his emotions after an emphatic win. Even when he called time on his career, Ganguly didn't change his approach. Often seen in the commentary box, the former Indian captain's honest take and game analysis continued to make him one of the most respected voices in cricket. And, even as he became the new president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), his approach remains the same. Ever since taking up the role of the BCCI chief last October, Ganguly has been looked upon as the agent of change for Indian cricket. The former Indian captain has already taken key decisions and continues to contribute towards Indian cricket in his new role. But, while he might have taken up more responsibility lately, Ganguly still manages to let off some steam whenever he gets an opportunity. © Reuters For a cricketer who helped the Indian team scale new heights in international cricket, Ganguly was equally aided by the presence of some proven match-winners in his team. During his captaincy stint, the core of the Indian team was formed by the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and himself. Thus, it was quite obvious to see the comparisons of Ganguly the captain and Ganguly the BCCI chief cropping up lately. After finishing three months as the president of the Indian cricket board, the 47-year-old was recently asked about the Tendulkar, Dravid and Kumble of his new BCCI team. And, his answer won everyone over. âSare hai (Everyone is there), Jay (Shah) is there, Arun (Dhumal) is there, we all work together. Itâs very difficult to say who is Tendulkar, Dravid or Kumble. We are very good friends and we all come from different backgrounds. Arun runs a school, Jay has his own business and I have a cricket background,â Ganguly told ABP News. © Reuters Alongside Ganguly's appointment as chief, while Jay Shah was handed the role of a BCCI secretary, Arun Dhumal was roped in to carry out the chores as BCCI treasurer last October. The fourth member of Ganguly's team is Jayesh George who was recruited as the joint secretary of BCCI. âAll of us think along the same line. And our main aim is to bring back cricket administration which was not in good shape for the last 3 years. There have been a few changes in these three months and we will keep on working like this for the improvement of Indian cricket. We are playing well on the field and we want to keep doing well off the field too,â Ganguly added. View the full article
  5. While the Indian cricket team were in the middle of a great run during World Cup 2019 before the disappointing loss to Kane Williamson and the New Zealand side, one of their biggest and most heart-warming highlight came during Indiaâs match against Bangladesh at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham. The cameraman caught one of the most excited fans at the venue, a 87-year-old Charulata Patel, who was seen cheering for the Men in Blue whenever Rohit Sharma walked down the pitch to slam a six or one of Jasprit Bumrahâs yorkers gave the Bangladeshis a tough time at the crease. Well done camera man you have captured the amazing spirit this videos shows that age is just a number and She proves it with her enthusiasmð#INDvBAN #hitman pic.twitter.com/2FhCXFQydk â Shubham Prajapati (@Shubham_RSS_) July 2, 2019 "I love this Indian team and all the players are like my kids," she said after the match. Came to be known as âCricket Grandma,â her energy and the passion for the game and that for Virat Kohliâs team was so pure that both the skipper and deputy in-charge, Rohit Sharma had to come out of the dressing room and spend some quality time with her after winning the ODI clash. Kohli even put out a tweet sharing how incredible it was to meet the superfan: Also would like to thank all our fans for all the love & support & especially Charulata Patel ji. She's 87 and probably one of the most passionate & dedicated fans I've ever seen. Age is just a number, passion takes you leaps & bounds. With her blessings, on to the next one. ðð¼ð pic.twitter.com/XHII8zw1F2 â Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) July 2, 2019 âAlso would like to thank all our fans for all the love & support & especially Charulata Patel ji. She's 87 and probably one of the most passionate & dedicated fans I've ever seen. Age is just a number, passion takes you leaps & bounds. With her blessings, on to the next one,â wrote the cricketer. But earlier this week, her grandchildren shared the heartbreaking news that their grandmother was no more. â"It is with a heavy heart that I inform you, our beautiful grandmother took her final breath on 13/01 at 5.30pm. She was such a sweet little lady, it's true 'small things come in small packages' our Dadi was a delight, she was/is truly extraordinary. She was our world. I want to thank you all for making her feel special last year, she loved the attention,â they wrote on an Instagram post. âA big thank you to @virat.kohli you made her feel extra special, meeting you and @rohitsharma45 was the best day of her life (she told us this on multiple occasions). May Lord Shiva bless her atman always, please all say a prayer.â The official BCCI Twitter handle extended the teamâs condolences towards the familyâs loss. #TeamIndia's Superfan Charulata Patel ji will always remain in our hearts and her passion for the game will keep motivating us. May her soul rest in peace pic.twitter.com/WUTQPWCpJR â BCCI (@BCCI) January 16, 2020 The fans of the Indian cricket team also offered their best wishes. MUST WATCH | What happened when 87-year old Mrs. #CharulataPatel met @ImRo45 & @imVkohli? ðððð(BCCI) #RIPCharulataPatel (Source: BCCI)pic.twitter.com/1WuaEBadxr â ð®ð³Gurkanwal Singhð®ð³ (@RealGurkanwal) January 16, 2020 The day she won billion of hearts..RIP pic.twitter.com/vOCqz2nc29 â Satyam Singh (@MyFreakyTweets) January 16, 2020 We have not won world cup in England but we found super fan in 2019 which all indians fulfilled more than world cup by seeing her love on https://t.co/OZsTWLWYbG in peace bamma ððððð â SaiSachin Baddela (@SaisachinB) January 16, 2020 Rest In Peace Matajiâ you inspired a billion hearts through your love for your mother land and game of cricket. @imVkohli â Suresh (@Suresh76945364) January 16, 2020 View the full article
  6. During the 44th over of Indiaâs innings in the first ODI in Mumbai, Rishabh Pant suffered a head concussion following a Pat Cummins bouncer which struck the batsman right in the helmet and also caused him to lose his wicket. While Pant was immediately rushed for medical assistance, the wicket-keeping gloves were handed over to KL Rahul. It was later confirmed that Pant was kept under observation and will not be travelling with the team for the second ODI in Rajkot. Update: Rishabh Pant has got a concussion after being hit on his helmet while batting. KL Rahul is keeping wickets in his absence. Pant is under observation at the moment. #TeamIndia #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/JkVElMacQc â BCCI (@BCCI) January 14, 2020 Now where does that leave the Men in Blue as far as roster selection and batting order are concerned? If this situation would have presented itself last month, the answer to this question might have been a lot more than it seems to be now. Back then, an out of form Shikhar Dhawan suffered a big knee injury and was out of action for multiple series. All that while, it was Rahul who opened the innings with Rohit Sharma and he was doing a phenomenal job. We all believed that this top-form Rahul was the end of Dhawanâs time with the team and that the southpaw was going to be dropped soon. But in the last two T20Is against Sri Lanka and the first Australia ODI, a healed Dhawan has looked like his old self - confident and very capable of playing under immense pressure. In addition, the left-right combination of Dhawan and Sharma at the top would definitely help India during the upcoming ICC Menâs T20 World Cup. View this post on InstagramFIFTY! A hard-fought half-century for @shikhardofficial off 66 deliveries. This is his 28th in ODIs. #INDvAUSA post shared by (@indiancricketteam) So what happens to Rahul? The Mangalore-born has proven himself to be a more than capable wicket-keeper during the Indian Premier League and other domestic tournaments such as the Vijay Hazare Trophy, and his batting speaks for itself. During the Mumbai match on Tuesday, he showed that he does a significantly better job in following the ball from behind the stumps than Pant. His assessment of the trajectory of the ball during David Warnerâs LBW on a Shardul Thakur appeal also helped Kohli save the DRS, something Pant has been specifically bad at, granted the sample size is small. If Dhawan and Sharma are fixed as openers, that leaves Rahul with the third and fourth spot, based on how flexible Virat Kohli is. Even though Kohli has said that he isnât all that worried about playing on either of the spots, Indian veteran VVS Laxman decoded why Kohli at 4 wouldnât work. âI donât see this working. Sachin Tendulkar was the best player the world had ever seen. But he never relished batting at number four.â Laxman said. âYou want your best batsman to play maximum number of deliveries and set the game up and finish the game for the team, especially against quality attack. One cannot afford to experiment against this Australian bowling line-up," he said. âYouâve got someone like Virat Kohli that has played 230-odd one-day matches and 180 of those have been at No.3 and he has scored almost 10,000 runs at that particular position," he added. With Shreyas Iyer sliding to five, Rahul is left with the cursed number four spot, which isnât the best of news for either the player or the team. In his six-year ODI career, Rahul has played a total of four innings at two-down and has only made 52 runs with the highest score of 26, according to HowsSTAT. Even amidst the crisis that Team India has found itself to be in, what is certain is that KL Rahul is a far superior batsman than Rishabh Pant. He has the shots, the experience and the patience to make it through a challenging innings that the 22-year-old clearly lacks. Pantâs time away from the field could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the team as this gives them the opportunity to explore a new and improved Rahul at the number four spot of doom. Will he be the one to lift the curse? View the full article
  7. Deepika Padukone's 'Chhapaak' team test acid sale in India with social experimentDeepika Padukone’s freshly-released film Chhapaak holds a powerful social message throwing light on a pertinent issue widespread in India. Evidencing the intensity and the severity of the problem, the 34-year-old actor along with the Chhapaak team headed out to do a social experiment that showed how the accessibility of acid in the markets is what fails to eradicate the issue at hand. In a video shared by the Padmaavat actor, the team members and the starlet head to the markets to check the sales and find a majority of shopkeepers handing bottles of acid without asking for any valid proof of identification. Some of the members were able to get their hands on highly-concentrated acid without showing their ID which the Supreme Court’s guidelines demand. By the end of the clip, Deepika revealed that the entire experiment resulted in the team buying 24 bottles of acid regardless of the guidelines by the SC that were made to add barriers to its easy availability.
  8. An aggressive seamer who banks on his ability to swing the ball away by hitting the pitch hard, Shardul Thakur continues to rise through the ranks and seems to be well on his way to becoming a vital cog in the Indian bowling unit. The right-arm bowler had already proved his worth playing under MS Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) which, in turn, earned him a national call-up in 2017. But, ever since his national debut, Thakur has evolved significantly, working on his pace and adding key variations to his armoury, to become more effective and efficient in limited-overs cricket. His reinvented vigour and improved skillset saw him producing one of the most memorable performances of his career on 10th January. © Twitter/@BCCI During the third and decisive Twenty20 International (T20I) between India and Sri Lanka, Thakur's all-round performance played a key role in Virat Kohli & Co's 78-run victory and, in turn, a 2-0 series win. Known for his fiery seam bowling, Thakur won everyone over for his blitzkrieg with the willow, batting lower down the order. After a brilliant start, India lost its way in the middle, losing six wickets for 57 runs including the key dismissals of Kohli and KL Rahul. Coming out to bat, with India desperately needing some acceleration to their scoring rate, Thakur hammered Lasith Malinga for a massive six only on his second delivery of the match. © Twitter/@BCCI In the final over, Thakur continued to display his batting might, smashing Lahiru Kumara for a six and four on successive deliveries before Manish Pandey scored another boundary to ensure the Lankan seamer ended up conceding 19 runs. While Pandey did play his part with his 18-ball 31, it was Thakur's eight-ball 22 that powered India to a mammoth total of 201 runs. Following his eye-catching batting performance, Thakur went on to impress everyone with his bowling show. Extracting early swing from the white ball, Thakur got the better of Avishka Fernando in his very first over to hand India the second breakthrough. In the 14th over, Thakur struck again to send Dasun Shanaka back into the hut. Meet Mr. Man of the Match!#ShardulThakur ðððððð#INDvSL #SLvIND #INDvsSL #SLvsIND pic.twitter.com/EcMvSFmaEC — BlueCap ð®ð³ (@IndianzCricket) January 10, 2020 For someone who took three wickets at the expense of 23 runs in the 2nd T20I, Thakur carried on his ominous form to score an eight-ball 22 and record impressive bowling figures of 2-19 to rightly deserve the 'Man of the Match' award. And, the Mumbai cricketer was quite understandably ecstatic to do good for his team. © Twitter/@BCCI "I believe I have the ability (to bat) and recently I've been practising well. The idea is that if I can contribute runs at No.8 it'll be good for the team,” Thakur said after the match. Talking about his bowling, Thakur said: “I can bowl good outswingers, so initially the idea is to swing the ball. If you swing the ball in any conditions, you can get wickets”. Given his recent performance, especially his clinical show in the recently-concluded T20I series against the Lankans, Thakur is surely making the right kind of noises to garner the attention of Indian selectors who will find it pretty hard to overlook the 28-year-old before finalising the Team India squad for the all-important ICC World T20, slated to begin from 18th October in Australia. View the full article
  9. U-19 head coach Ijaz Ahmed. Photo: ReutersPakistan's U-19 head coach Ijaz Ahmed believes that his side carries more passion than India, which could prove the difference when the two young sides face each other in the World Cup, which is to begin on January 17 in South Africa. "India have a very good cricket system and it is organised but I know that we have more passion than them when we play against each other. That is why we beat them in the semi-finals of the recent Asian Emerging Nations Cup," Ijaz is quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India. "Even in the past, we defeated India because of our greater passion and this time, too, I know that the passion of our players will prevail over them, although they have a very strong outfit," he added. Read more: U-19 captain Rohail Nazir confident ahead of departure for World Cup When asked whether India will have an upper hand, having played a four-nation tournament in South Africa, the head coach disagreed. "Our players have also trained hard in Lahore and we have played around 11 matches. We will also reach South Africa nine days before the World Cup and we have some practice games so I think our preparations are also very good for the tournament," he said. Read more: Misbah, Waqar offer parting advice to World Cup-bound U-19 team The coach did not express any disappointment or bitterness at being deprived of teenage pacer Naseem Shah. "There was no controversy at all. The way we now see things is that you can't expect an MBA to sit in BA exams. That is how we look at Naseem Shah. He has made the grade for Pakistan and now he should be performing for the senior team," said the head coach. Instead, he backed several more of his charges, including captain Rohail Nazir, to eventually graduate to the senior team. "We have a couple of exciting young talents in the ranks. I expect Rohail and Haider to play for the senior team in two to three year's time ... they are that good," he said.
  10. During the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, under the tutelage of coach Rahul Dravid, a youngster stood out in the tournament and grabbed everyone's attention on the back of his brilliant batting skills. Slamming a match-winning hundred and three fifties, Shubman Gill amassed 221 runs to be rightly adjudged the 'Player of the Tournament'. Following his masterclass in India's successful campaign in the U-19 World Cup, young Gill revealed how he looked up to Virat Kohli and learnt the tools of the trade after watching his batting videos for countless hours. Since then, pundits and fans have been busy drooling over the similarities between the two batsmen. Just like Kohli, Gill is a right-handed batsman who boasts of almost every single shot that has been found in the Indian captain's armoury over the years. Both the cricketers love batting at the No. 3 position. And, just like Kohli, Gill has been shattering one record after another in domestic cricket. © BCCL There is so much potential on display by young Gill that he is now been looked upon as a future star who could be a key ingredient to India's success in international cricket in the years to come. But, Gill, in his bid to replicate the success of Kohli, appears to be making the same mistake his idol made early in his career: losing his patience and eventually his cool. For a youngster who has enjoyed the limelight for his clinical batting display in recent times, Gill produced a rare moment of madness during Punjab's ongoing Ranji Trophy clash against Delhi at the IS Bindra stadium in Chandigarh. Generally known for his calm and composed demeanour, Gill didn't just lose his cool but also reportedly ended up abusing the on-field umpire on 3rd January. Huge controversy here in Mohali. Shubman Gill was given caught behind but he is not moving anywhere. And the decision has been overturned — Pratyush Raj (@pratyush_RajTOI) January 3, 2020 According to a TOI journalist, who is believed to be have witnessed the turn of events at the stadium, narrated the whole incident in a series of tweets. The scribe claimed that Gill was ruled out by on-field umpire Mohammed Rafi (who was making his umpiring debut), but rather than walking off the field, the youngster stood his ground and looked unimpressed with the decision. The umpire was Mohammed Rafi not Paschim Pathak. Sorry for the inconvenience. https://t.co/zKz4X0XTSs — Pratyush Raj (@pratyush_RajTOI) January 3, 2020 In his tweets, the journalist also quoted Delhi captain Nitish Rana as saying: "Gill walked down to umpire Rafi and abused him". Following which, the umpire, after consultation with other on-field umpire Paschim Pathak, overturned his decision to further extend Gill's stay at the crease. Delhi camp is fuming. They are not bowling. — Pratyush Raj (@pratyush_RajTOI) January 3, 2020 Delhi team is walking off the ground. — Pratyush Raj (@pratyush_RajTOI) January 3, 2020 Irked by Gill's unwarranted intervention to overturn umpire's decision, Delhi skipper Rana and his teammates decided to walk off the field in protest of the turn of events. The play was halted for a while before the match referee's intervention saw the cricketers returning to the field. The match has been re-started after the intervention of match referee. — Pratyush Raj (@pratyush_RajTOI) January 3, 2020 Punjab opener Gill, once again, returned to the crease but couldn't make the most of the opportunity before falling prey to Simarjeet Singh who got him caught behind the stumps by wicket-keeper Anuj Rawat for a mere 23 runs. A quickfire knock of 65 runs by Gurkeerat Singh saw Punjab posting 127/3 at lunch, but Gill's theatrics on the field undeniably earned him flak on social media. The young gun is one of the most promising talents in the country and, still, has a long way to go when it comes to carrying the baton for India in national colours in international cricket. And, for someone who idolises Kohli, Gill should take a leaf out of the Indian captain's playbook and work on his temperament to avoid such incidents. All his potential and talent wouldn't mean anything if Gill is not able to respect the game and show some maturity - something Kohli has mastered in the latter part of his career. View the full article
  11. Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls missed a second day of training due to viral infections. Photo: PhotosportNew Zealand sweated on the fitness of batting kingpin and captain Kane Williamson Thursday after he and Henry Nicholls missed a second day of training ahead of the final Test against Australia. Both are battling viral infections as they race to recover for the clash in Sydney, where the visitors are desperate to salvage some pride after being thrashed in the first two Tests. Spinner Mitchell Santner is also unwell and did not practice on Thursday, with batsman Glenn Phillips making a late dash to Sydney Thursday evening as cover. "It's up in the air at the moment — a couple of boys are a little bit crook unfortunately," said opener Tom Latham, filling in for Williamson in his pre-match press conference. "They're having today off, as well as yesterday, so fingers crossed they'll be right to go tomorrow. "It's gone around the team a little bit which obviously isn't ideal, but fingers crossed, they're resting up and hopefully they'll wake up tomorrow morning and be good to go." If they are not fit, it will leave New Zealand with big problems. Jeet Raval is the only specialist batsman waiting in the wings, but he has been out of form and was dropped for the last Test in Melbourne. Read more: New Zealand look to salvage pride in smoky Sydney They also have bowlers Todd Astle, Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry and Will Somerville on standby. Coach Gary Stead stressed Phillips' inclusion was precautionary and they were still hopeful all players would be fit. "We're still hopeful Henry and Kane will pull through and we will give them every chance to prove their fitness," he said. "Glenn has been in terrific form this season and has good versatility with where he can bat and the roles he can play." Latham said it would take a lot for Williamson to miss a Test. "He's obviously a great leader amongst this group and he's passionate about this group," he said. "If there's any chance of him paying, even if it's a small chance, he'll certainly be playing." New Zealand need all the help they can get with the opening two Tests at Perth and Melbourne ending in heavy defeats inside four days. Australia captain Tim Paine has made clear his team has no intention of easing up despite the series being won, after winning all four of this season's home Tests within four days.
  12. Ah, the National Cricket Academy (NCA), the place which was supposed to be a gold mine of world-class cricketers who'd help India dominate international cricket for decades to come. Located in Bengaluru's Chinnaswamy Stadium, the NCA was the brainchild of the former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Raj Singh Dungarpur and was established in the year 2000. The BCCI signed massive contracts with other cricketing boards such as Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board to bring some of the best coaches and staff members onboard with the hopes of realising Dungarpur's dreams. But ever since its inception, the NCA has been looked at as nothing more than a rehabilitation centre for national players. With time, the Academy's image plummeted even further as cases of corruption began to surface. The latest hit that the institution's reputation took was when these so called “best doctors” in the business failed to diagnose Indian bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar's sports hernia and cleared him to play. Bhuvneshwar Kumar's injury puts a question mark over specialists team at NCA Bhuvneshwar Kumar was recently diagnosed with a hernia in Mumbai after he complained of discomfort post the two T20Is against West Indies. The fast-medium bowler has been rule... https://t.co/9Aguf9KHf2 pic.twitter.com/uFhZh1Xkk2 — HAFEEZ PARDESI (@VOICE_2U) December 14, 2019 Kumar, who was clearly not healthy enough to return to the field, suffered a relapsed hernia during India's T20I match against the West Indies at Wankhede, Mumbai on December 11, 2019 and now is unsure of his return to the game anytime soon. Injured cricketers like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah have said "no" to seek medical attention at the NCA and preferred spending lakhs more to get treatment in London. Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya had refused to go to NCA: Sources https://t.co/rWs0wzsmCp — TOI Sports News (@TOISportsNews) December 14, 2019 Even though the Indian cricket board decided to improve the academy's name by appointing former Indian batting legend Rahul Dravid as its Head but even 'The Wall' couldn't bring about any radical changes. Well, that was until Sourav Ganguly became the new BCCI President. After Ganguly traveled to Bengaluru to have a discussion with Dravid in October, the power-duo has finally decided to team up once again and revive the NCA and make it the treasure chest it was always supposed to be. Sourav Ganguly - BCCI President Rahul Dravid - Head of the Cricket at NCA, Bengaluru Indian Cricket is in Safe hands now. pic.twitter.com/xUpoXuRVkF — Satyam Singh (@MyFreakyTweets) October 15, 2019 "The BCCI will consult a London-based clinic, Fortius, for setting up its medical panel," a top BCCI official told PTI. They have also decided to hire a social media expert to bring forward constant update on the on-goings inside the facility. Data analyst, another role that has become more and more important with the evolution of the sport, will also be appointed to keep a check on the cricketers' progress. They have also decided to hire a fast bowling coach who will be entrusted with the inception of a fast bowling program. A nutrition expert will also be brought onboard for forming personalised diet plans for the athletes under training. Ganguly and Dravid have expressed their hopes of revamping the NCA within the next 18 months. While things like introducing a medical panel and the inclusion of technology and opening a new Instagram account for the NCA don't sound like revolutionising ideas right now, they will continue to work in favour of the improvement of its reputation and bring about greater transparency in what goes on behind the closed walls of Chinnaswamy Stadium. View the full article
  13. The series between Monterrey and Club America was in a deadlock as the second leg of the Liga MX Championship final ended 2-1 in America's advantage. As the penalty shootouts began, a quiet Antonio Mohamed could be seen holding onto his rosary beads tightly with his head bowed in prayer. But when Leonel Vangioni, who plays left back for Mohamed's team, put the ball in the nets, the manager instantly broke down in tears. While he had won his club their fifth title, there were emotions more valuable than just the joy of winning a tournament at play here. It was the feeling of contentment. © Twitter In 2006, Antonio lost his nine-year-old son Farid in Germany when an overtaking car collided with theirs. Antonio was also on the verge of losing his leg. Farid's loss hit the Argentine hard. His wife and he decided to have no more kids and his marriage eventually broke. The only fragment of his son's memories that kept him going was a couple of promises that he had made to his boy more than 13 years ago. First, he promised to go back to Huracan and help them retain their top-division spot and second, he swore to win a title with Monterrey, Farid's favourite team in the world. © Twitter The second of the two promises was fulfilled on Monday. The past few years have been testing for "El Turco". A failed attempt to make it big in Spain and an unexpectedly disappointing time with Huracan back at home nearly broke him. Call it divine intervention or just good luck, but the timing of Mohamed getting back with Monterrey was perfect. The team's supportive response to the kind of changes the newly reacquired manager brought to the dressing room and even though it took the Rayados a couple of years to look like the team they were capable of, they finally broke free and won the title. Antonio had spent the morning of the championship finals day at the Basilica of Our Lady of Gaudalupe, north of Mexico City. He was praying for his son, his team and himself. Clearly his prayers were answered as the euphoric manager cheered on with both his hands up and a gold medal hanging around his neck. View the full article
  14. With the New Year almost around the corner, everyone appears to be in a festive mood, trying to make the most of the last days of 2019. Sportspersons, too, seem to be enjoying themselves as they continue to share posts wishing their fans on social media. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmasð. May this Christmas bring lots of happiness to our hearts ♥ and homesð . I hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends. ðâ pic.twitter.com/2mquflBDlv — Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) December 25, 2019 On Christmas, we saw Sachin Tendulkar wishing everyone a Merry X-mas by posting a photo of himself in the company of Santa Claus and a well decorated Christmas tree. Then, there was Virat Kohli who took it a notch further by dressing up as Santa himself and distributing gifts to young kids. But while everyone was posting Christmas wishes, Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik did the same in his own unusual way. The right-hander used a picture from the T20I encounter between India and Pakistan that was played on 25th December, 2012 - a clash that Pakistan eventually won by five wickets. Merry Christmas dosto ðð¼ and a very happy 25th December ð¥ pic.twitter.com/imtosyKgJU — Shoaib Malik ðµð° (@realshoaibmalik) December 25, 2019 Taking to Twitter, the all-rounder shared a photo of himself where he was seen clenching his fist after guiding Pakistan to victory with MS Dhoni in the background. "Merry Christmas dosto and a very happy 25th December," he captioned the photo. The Indo-Pak encounter in 2012 saw the likes of Gautam Gambhir (43) and Ajinkya Rahane (42) helping India post a total of 133 runs as Umar Gul, who took three wickets, led the destruction of Indian batting lineup for his side. In reply, Pakistan chased down the mediocre total with two balls to spare - all thanks to Malik who slammed an unbeaten 57. While the match remains a memorable moment for every Pakistani cricket fan, Malik's decision to use Christmas as a way to take a dig at Dhoni and Team India didn't really go down well with the Indian fans. My dear Pakkistanð Do You remember this one pic.twitter.com/s50dXhqax1 — Rohit Selva Rfc (@imselvaofficial) December 25, 2019 https://t.co/dMIftSOXDy — Unemployed Marwadi ð®ð³ (@Muaaaahrwadi) December 26, 2019 ð थà¥à¤ à¤à¤° à¤à¤¾à¤à¤¤à¤¾ हà¥à¤ ð pic.twitter.com/g6QCFUpkiW — Prabhat Mishra (@Prabhat0409) December 26, 2019 Same 2 you pic.twitter.com/KfzGQJO9Xy — Simran Randhawa (@Randhawa36_) December 25, 2019 Same 2 u Shoaib...Remember on field or off field it's only us who rules ð...#MerryChrismas pic.twitter.com/CiA6aCTwXz — mayank mehta (@mayankm94847123) December 25, 2019 #MerryChristmasEve Bhai ðððð pic.twitter.com/pTlhAs188W — Krishna (@iamsai94) December 25, 2019 Merry Christmas â¤ï¸â¤ï¸ pic.twitter.com/Q7zT1nnIPB — Sniperrr_Sirviâ (@im_Indra07) December 25, 2019 Yeh toh Dec 25 ki incident nahi ..magar usse zyadha valuable hai . Bas yaad dilane ka Mann kiya malik Saab . pic.twitter.com/lVE3DkvCBm — Kumaran Kumanan (@KumaranKumanan) December 25, 2019 ð If this is the way of wishing festivals thn can't remember how many such win matches against pak pics dhoni have to share on festivals — jugnu (@jugnu0026) December 25, 2019 Aise agar Indian cricketers festivals celebrate Karne lage to har festival me hi Pakistan ki li jayegi ð — Akshay Sharma (@Kohlify) December 25, 2019 Merry Christmas bhai pic.twitter.com/Ixw1zhNSJ0 — à®à®à®¯à¯ (@ajay_offcl) December 25, 2019 View the full article
  15. When it comes to PUBG Mobile's eSports scene in India, "Team SouL" is probably the only name that comes to your mind. But recently, some of the old and popular names in the team left the group and joined a new eSports name. Three of Team SouL's old members Scout, Ronak and Owais left the old group to join one of the most popular names in the esports scene, Team Fnatic. Team Fnatic just entered the PUBG Mobile scene after the growing popularity of the title. Team Fnatic, for those of you who don't know, is an esports giant who already has some world renowned players across different games. Their PUBG Mobile Indian team includes five players - Tanmay "Scout" Singh, Paritosh Sharma, Harpreeth Singh "Ronak" Janjuha, and Mohammed Owais "Owais" Lakhani. View this post on InstagramWE DID IT! Our first championship in PUBG, in India, and we couldnt be prouder of the team. We are you Indian PUBG Mobile All Star Champions 2020. Incredible work by @ig_ronakop @paritosh_plays @scout_pubg @owais_op @ash__pubg @pratik_mehra28 @sangwan_pubg 2020 is our year, so much more to come from Fnatic in india! #ALWAYSFNATICA post shared by (@fnatic) The Indian Fnatic team recently took part in its first tournament in Hyderabad for a cash prize of Rs 20 Lakh. Called the PUBG Mobile All Stars 2019, the tournament witnessed 16 PUBG Mobile teams battle against each other. Team Fnatic had the top spot from the beginning, so it's safe to say that we're not surprised by the result. Overall, they managed to get two "Chicken Dinners" out of the 9 matches they played. They managed to get 46 kills in total and put up a score of 138 on the board. In the end, they walked home with Rs 20 lakh cash prize. The two runner up teams also won Rs 8 lakh and 5 lakh respectively. © Fnatic Instagram Team SouL's main man Naman Mathur aka MortaL isn't actively participating in esports games anymore. He announced that he's staying away from the esports scene to focus on streaming on YouTube and simply enjoying the game for what it is. We wish the new members of Fnatic all the best for all the future games coming their way. View the full article
  16. The environment we live in definitely needs some form of aggressive intervention. And by that I mean some heavy-duty preventives that can ease up the corruption that has made a patterned stronghold around certain practices that are environmentally hazardous. And that is why the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) has recruited women to protect the world's natural heritage along Africa's Zambezi river and they're doing a phenomenal job of it. © Environews Twitter The group is called Akashinga, which means 'Brave Ones'. It's a privately funded and highly trained, vegan group of local women who come from rather disadvantaged backgrounds, who are assigned to protect the natural habitat of the lower Zambezi ecosystem. The organisation aims to hire and train about 2,000 women who will protect about 30 million acres of African wild lands by 2030. Imagine having a fully armed anti-poaching team full of women. Now that's something no one thought of before and something that will probably change the way the world looks at women and their role in society. Akashinga was founded in 2017, by an Australian Special Operations soldier, Damien Mander, as a part of his efforts to completely end poaching all across the jungles of Africa. The team is fully armed and is giving tactical and arms and ammunition training before they're given arms to fight the poachers. © Environews Twitter “Many current western solutions to conserve wilderness areas continue to struggle across the African continent, hampered by ongoing corruption, nepotism and a lack of partnership with local communities,” Mander told a popular environmental publication in an interview. "We saw that an alternative and highly innovative approach was needed, a response that worked with, rather than against, the local population for the long-term benefit of both their own communities and nature,” he added. Most forest reserves in Africa, especially the Lower Zambeni ecosystem, are areas with large tracts of land, which are usually used for trophy hunting and are not a part of the wildlife preserve. But even so, the animals from the protected area wander off into the areas where trophy hunting is common and fall prey to hunters. But the Akashinga represents an alternative for conserving wildlife in these parts by following the technique of big game management. “You cannot sustain an ongoing offensive against the local population as a means of conservation. The long-term solution depends on winning the hearts and minds of the community,” Mandar told the BBC in an interview. © Environews Twitter After the death of Cecil the lion in 2015, by a dentist from the USA, Walter Palmer, it leaves the big question of whether or not morals and ethics in hunting are sustainable in the long term. In all probability, if hunting isn't put an end to, it will be difficult to save these areas which are vulnerable homelands to a lot of species residing there. Mander realised the importance of being a vegan while fighting poaching. He even hired people who were ready to accept veganism, leaning towards the belief that it would be hypocritical to fight for animals and come back and eat more animals. “I don't miss meat at all, when I go home for leave and people try to feed me meat, I can't eat it because my stomach hurts if I do, and I tell people no, don't give me meat, I am vegan,” - An Akahinga ranger, Vimbai Kumire, told a popular publication in an interview. © Environews Twitter Other than turning vegan, the training for these women is hardcore. Well, it really has to be, since they're fighting criminals in the wild! The women are pushed hard and go beyond their threshold to endure what the actual reality can be in the wild. “Thirty-six women started our training, modelled on our special-forces training, and we pushed them hard, much harder than any training we do with men — we put them through hell,” Mander told a popular publication in an interview. He also revealed that out of the 36 women, only three gave up the training because it was too intense for them. Even though anti-poaching rules and laws are a bit sluggish around the world and not just in Africa, we need vigilant teams such as the Akashinga to monitor the most heinous crimes against animals. We're programmed to fight for our kind and our species but when we go beyond that and fight for animals, we go beyond our own selfish reasoning to help a species that we can't communicate with. © International Anti Paoching Foundation What Mander is doing in Africa is remarkable, especially with the inclusion of women and such anti-poaching squads should be set up all around the world, where forest lands along with their ecosystems are in grave danger. With inputs from Enviro News, World News. View the full article
  17. Arguably one of the strongest sides in the world, the Indian cricket team witnessed pretty much everything this year. Virat Kohli and his men tasted success on some occasions and suffered heartbreaks on other. But, barring a couple of patchy months in the middle of the year, there is nothing the Indian cricket team or their fans wouldn't be proud of. The Indian team won seven of the eight Tests they played this year, with one of them ending in a draw. There were 19 One-Day International (ODI) wins in 28 matches, and nine Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) victories out of 16 clashes. Kohli-led India also reached the semifinals of the ICC World Cup where they eventually suffered a heart-breaking exit at the hands of New Zealand. While the Men in Blue earned their success by playing as a unit, there are numerous heroes across multiple series who stepped up and aided their side in dire situations. While the Indian batsmen are generally credited with the team's success, this year also saw some brilliant performances from the bowlers who rose to the occasion by pulling off some unbelievable hat-tricks. Here's a look at the Indian bowling sensations who made the ball do the talking by claiming hat-tricks this year: 1. Jasprit Bumrah © Reuters Arguably one of the vital cogs in India's bowling set-up, Jasprit Bumrah might have struggled with his lower back stress in the past few months, but the right-arm seamer has had his fair share of glory this year. The Indian bowling spearhead is currently the no. 1 bowler in the ICC ODI rankings. His bowling genius was in full display on August 31, when he dismissed Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks and Roston Chase on consecutive deliveries during the 2nd Test between India and West Indies in Jamaica. In the process, Bumrah became only the third Indian bowler to take a hat-trick in Test cricket. 2. Mohammed Shami © Reuters Another key figure in India's pace battery, Mohammed Shami found himself battling family woes and weight issues at the start of the year. But, overcoming those problems, Shami has fared really well in what has arguably been his sensational comeback to the Indian cricket team. However, it wasn't that easy. Shami was consistently overlooked by the Indian team management at the ICC World Cup earlier this year. But, after patiently watching from the sidelines for three games, Shami made the opportunity count when he was roped in for the group game against Afghanistan. On June 22, the Indian seamer dismissed Mohammad Nabi, Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman on consecutive deliveries to become only the second Indian after Chetan Sharma to take a hat-trick in World Cups. 3. Deepak Chahar © Reuters A classical swing bowler who backs his bowling skills with a clever mind, Deepak Chahar has slowly, but gradually established himself as a viable option for India in the shortest version of the game. But, his most-impactful and brightest moment came on November 10, when he skittled Bangladesh out with a bowling performance to remember. During the 3rd T20I in Nagpur, the 27-year-old helped his side to a 30-run win and became the first Indian bowler to claim a hat-trick in T20Is. He eventually ended his spell (3.2 overs) with impressive figures of 6-7 and went past Ajantha Mendis (6-8 in 2012) to register the best bowling figures in the history of T20Is. 4. Kuldeep Yadav © Reuters For someone who has established himself as one of India's premier spinners, Kuldeep Yadav struggled with consistency as his performance dropped significantly since the Indian Premier League (IPL) which was also in full display during the ICC World Cup earlier this year. But, after enduring what proved to be frustrating 10 months, the Indian chinaman redeemed himself with a fine performance. The 25-year-old delivered a match-winning spell on December 18 to help India level the three-match ODI series 1-1 against West Indies. He dismissed Shai Hope, Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph on consecutive deliveries in the 33rd over of the Windies run-chase to bag his second hat-trick in international cricket. While his figures of 3-52 helped India in registering an emphatic 107-run win, Kuldeep's clinical bowling display saw him joining the likes of Lasith Malinga, Wasim Akram, Chaminda Vaas, Saqlain Mushtaq and Trent Boult in the elite list of bowlers who have picked up more than one hat-tricks in ODI cricket. View the full article
  18. LAS VEGAS: Four-time Olympic gold medallist Kosuke Kitajima will head a new Tokyo-based International Swimming League team that will join the fledgling series in 2020. The Tokyo club, which has yet to be named, was unveiled on Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the ISL capped its inaugural season with a glitzy finale at the Mandalay Bay event center. The Japanese outfit and a new club in Toronto will expand the ISL´s number of teams to 10 for the 2020-2021 season. "I´m very happy to be given this chance to be part of a big opportunity for swimming in general," said Kitajima, who said he felt a little left out when he wasn´t approached before the start of the first season. After watching the two-day final, he said he was impressed not only by the energy of the event but also by the smiles of the swimmers themselves. "I hope that a lot of Japanese swimmers will be able to participate in this ISL next season," said Kitajima, who retired in 2016 after a groundbreaking Olympic career that included double breaststroke golds in the 2004 and 2008 Games. ISL, brainchild of Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Grigorishin, launched in October with eight teams: Aqua Centurions, Energy Standard, Iron and London Roar in Europe and Cali Condors, DC Trident, LA Current and NY Breakers in the United States. Daiya Seto became the first Japanese swimmer to test the ISL waters when he made his debut for Energy Standard at Las Vegas, where he roared to a short course world record of 3:54.81 in winning the 400m individual medley on Friday. Regardless of where they are based, the teams draw talent from around the globe, with ISL rosters in the first season featuring more than 100 Olympians. That included swimmers who garnered a total of 41 gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. While the ISL is not under the umbrella of swimming´s international governing body FINA and the Olympic movement, Grigorshin said it was fitting to add a Japanese team in 2020 -- when the Tokyo Olympics will make the city the focus of world sport. "The International Swimming League must be a truly global one but our development needs to be sustainable, so we are delighted that we are able to announce that one of our two new clubs for next season will be in Tokyo -- the global capital of sport in 2020," he said in a statement. - Swim dream now real - After an inaugural season that featured seven matches -- including the top four teams in the points standings competing in the finale -- officials announced a 27-match 2020-21 campaign to run from September through April and including regular season, playoffs and the Grand Final. Further details on the schedule are to be announced early next year but ISL executive Andrea Di Nino said the series would take a break in December, to accommodate the FINA short course world championships in Abu Dhabi, and another one in March, when some countries will hold trials for the 2021 long course world championships. The expanded season, with the 10 teams divided into two groups -- a Euro-Asia group and an American group -- will see the ISL deliver on it´s promise to make swimming "a new sport," Di Nino said. "What 10 weeks ago was probably a dream for us, now is a reality," he said. But there´s room for change, with potential format and rule tweaks on the table based on feedback from swimmers and coaches. Salary caps and prize money will rise, Di Nino said, saying that was a must since swimmers will be racing in more events. "We need to put always the swimmer on the top," he said.
  19. Pakistani cricketer Sana Mir has been named captain of the "Wisden’s women’s team of the decade" on Saturday, making her the only Pakistani to feature in the list. Sana, who has played 120 matches and taken 151 wickets from them, was named captain by a panel comprising Yas Rana, Adam Collins, Isabelle Westbury and Raf Nicholson. Regarding Sana, Westbury said,"She comes into the Stafanie Taylor mould of somebody that’s had to really carry their team over a period." Katherine Brunt, Sarah Taylor and Charlotte Edwards were selected from England while Australia's Elyse Perry also made the list. Two women from the Australian cricket team made the list--Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning. Earlier this year, Sana had equalled the world record for the most number of wickets by an off-spinner when she took her 146th wicket.
  20. Arguably one of the most destructive openers in international cricket, Rohit Sharma has the ability to put some of the best bowlers in the sport to shame. His wide array of strokes often sees him cutting a sorry figure for the opposition bowling unit while giving Team India a flying start at the top. His artistry with the willow was recently in full display as India coasted to a 67-run triumph over West Indies in the 3rd Twenty20 International (T20I) at the Wankhede stadium. The right-hander slammed a breathtaking 34-ball 71 including six fours and five sixes to help India post an imposing total of 240 runs. Here he is...𤩠The new #LaLiga Brand Ambassador in India, Rohit Sharma! ð®ð³ðâ½â¨ Welcome, @ImRo45! ð¤ð pic.twitter.com/ecMsRb9rzS — LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) December 12, 2019 Following his blitzkrieg, which allowed India to secure a 2-1 series win, Rohit, once again, thronged social media after he was appointed by La Liga as their brand ambassador from India. The Mumbai cricketer has become the first individual from the country to be appointed as the ambassador of the popular Spanish football league. Hola India/España, as you guys know, football has always held a special place in my heart so this association is so special to me. And to be named the ambassador for the La Liga is so humbling. So excited for this partnership @LaLigaEN pic.twitter.com/prZFFSeHdV — Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) December 12, 2019 An ardent Real Madrid fan, the 'Hitman' revealed that football has always held a special place in his heart and he feels special by La Liga's gesture to appoint him as their brand ambassador. "Hola India/España, as you guys know, football has always held a special place in my heart so this association is so special to me. And to be named the ambassador for the La Liga is so humbling. So excited for this partnership @LaLigaEN," he wrote on Twitter. During the La Liga event in Mumbai, Rohit was asked to reveal the best footballer in the Indian cricket team. "I think MS Dhoni is the best footballer in our team," Rohit was quoted saying by India Today. The opening batsman also revealed that he prefers playing in a midfield role in warm-up football matches between Indian players. © Twitter "The captain decides who plays where. I love playing as a midfielder during warm-up matches because that's the most challenging spot. Football is played as a warm-up because it brings us together as a team makes our body active," Rohit added. Those who know Dhoni or perhaps have seen his biopic would know that football is nothing new to the former Indian captain. For someone who had started out as a goalkeeper in his school football team, Dhoni was turned into a wicket-keeper by his childhood coach after their cricket team's main keeper had pulled out due to exams. View the full article
  21. Pakistan tennis team on Tuesday qualified for the finals of the South Asian Games (SAG) after defeating Bhutan in the semi-finals.Bhutan were routed by Pakistan 3-0 as Abid and Muzammil Murtaza got the better of their opponents in both singles and...
  22. Normally, when a cricketer moves away from the game on an “indefinite sabbatical”, people don't fret too much over him and the athlete eventually fades away from the headlines in a couple of months. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not just another cricketer. He has been one of the greatest to have led the Bleed Blue Army. His athleticism, even at 38 years of age, is manifolds better than that of international cricketers 10 years younger than him; his unique ways of making things work out for Team India, his ability to stay calm under extremely crucial moments in big games and his skills as a wicket-keeper batsman make him a once-in-a-generation player. Everything he does off the field, his love and respect for the Indian Army, his donations and selfless work for the betterment of the society make him an exceptional human being off the field as well. Everything that Dhoni does feels great. GOD can't be everywhere so he made Mahendra Singh Dhoni https://t.co/hdvcSctdvz — Prachi Das (@PrachiNotDesai) October 19, 2019 However, there is nobody, not even Mahi, that's bigger than the game. Ever since the former skipper moved away from his roles as a Man in Blue after the disappointing exit from ICC World Cup 2019, the world has been puzzled about his return to the game and what exactly is going on in the mysterious mind of 'Captain Cool'. And when he extended his leave from the Indian dressing room in November, it only infuriated the fans of Indian cricket even more. Finally, last week, Dhoni made a comment about his future. He said, “January tak mat poocho (don't ask me till January),” moving his comeback date forward by another two months. "Okay bye, Don't ask me till January" ð This is how Dhoni responded when reporter questioned about his future plans at yesterday's event. ðâ¤ï¸ pic.twitter.com/XT1uB8D7Tt — DHONIsm™ â¤ï¸ (@DHONIism) November 28, 2019 Just like in a relationship, it might be too late for Dhoni to comeback and the Indian cricket team might already have moved on with someone younger like Rishabh Pant or Wriddhiman Saha. On Friday, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly spoke to the Indian media on his thoughts of Dhoni's timeline to return and whether he will be a part of the T20 World Cup or not. Dada simply said, “Please ask MS Dhoni.” In response, he said, "Please ask #MSDhoni." The former skipper recently said that till January he won't answer questions on his cricketing future. #Dhoni has been out of action since India's semifinal exit from #WC2019.#sauravganguly — newsblunt (@newsbluntmedia) December 1, 2019 "There is clarity, but certain things cannot be said on public platform. There is absolute clarity on MS Dhoni and you'll find out in time," Ganguly said. Maybe the "clarity" only suggests that Dhoni's breakup with Team India is going to be as anti-climactic as it gets. Given his quiet and noiseless nature, this could be the way the former skipper wanted to move away from the game, maybe forever this time. View the full article
  23. LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Saturday that Chief Justice Khosa did not criticise the government's legal team in the order issued by the court in the General Bajwa extension case. The prime minister was addressing a signing ceremony...
  24. July 19, 2015 was the day when Sanju Samson had his solitary chance of wearing that blue jersey and represent the Indian cricket team in an international match. During that away series, Ajinkya Rahane was the opener and the captain of the Men in Blue in limited-overs cricket, and Robin Uthappa was the wicket-keeper and the Indian cricket team was in the middle of one of those experimental sessions where they were giving new players a shot to make it to the main roster. And while the then 21-year-old Samson did not make one of those blistering debuts in the shortest format of the game, judging his performance as a cricket based on just one match seemed completely unfair. View this post on Instagram Keep pushing your limits and keep lifting your standards ðªð½ð...... @madshark ð #manastrong ðð¼ ð¸credits @lalu_alex_photography_ A post shared by Sanju Samson (@imsanjusamson) on Jul 31, 2019 at 10:11pm PDT But that's how it went for the young athlete who got lost in the plethora of young and talented cricketers that the Indian cricket team had at their disposal. “With time and experience I have come to realise that I need to have a very clear head and a balanced state of mind under such circumstances,” Samson tells MensXP. Domestic cricket on the other hand was where he truly made a mark. Samson was made the captain of the Kerala team during the 2015-16 Ranji season and made the record for becoming the youngest skipper of a Ranji Trophy side. He was also named the captain of the Board President's XI side and went on to score a massive ton against Sri Lanka in 2017. The same year, Ranji Trophy saw the talented batsman take it to the next level. With 627 runs in just seven matches, he became the leading run-scorer for his team. View this post on Instagram Timing the ball from the middle of the bat is something I LOVE ðâ¤ï¸#throwback A post shared by Sanju Samson (@imsanjusamson) on Feb 14, 2019 at 10:49pm PST The Indian Premier League turned out to be the platform that brought him into mainstream media and helped him catch the eyes of the more casual fans of the game; people who didn't follow domestic cricket that religiously. His run with the Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils not only evolved him into an above average batsman but also a really good wicket-keeper. But somehow the stars didn't align for the Kerala-born cricketer to make it to the international team again after his 2015 unpleasing debut in Harare, Zimbabwe. “I am barely 25 years old right now but my career feels like a rollercoaster for me,” he says while looking back at how unbelievably unfortunate his career has been. “Throughout my career, I have been going down and coming back up. In the past four to five months, I feel like I have been on that roller coaster yet again.” View this post on Instagram Work harder and harder & become stronger and stronger ðªð½ð #stronger&stronger #samson A post shared by Sanju Samson (@imsanjusamson) on Nov 27, 2019 at 8:36pm PST With players like Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, both of whom Samson literally grew up playing the game of cricket with during his teenage days were chosen ahead of him and established a long-term space for themselves in the squad, thanks to timely performances and a little bit of luck. “Nowadays in cricket, 80 to 90 percent of the things are out of control for the players. I believe that whatever it is that you have control over, like your fitness and skills, you need to try and excel at them. Just keep your head down, be humble and keep working hard,” says the wicket-keeper batsman. Waiting for so many years with so much hope in his heart but getting disappointed every single year after someone else was promoted to the main roster, it had to have a mental impact on the cricketer, right? “You need to find happiness during these times. You won't be able to stay happy if you care too much about what people say or think about you and that's what I have been working hard on for the last few months. I love my game, I love to be a cricketer and I just focus on becoming a good player regardless of media or social media has to say about me, it's that simple,” he says. View this post on Instagram Practice time.....ð Watch the ball,,hit the ball...!! âºï¸ðð¼ #Stronger&stronger #cricket #firstlove #happy A post shared by Sanju Samson (@imsanjusamson) on Oct 28, 2019 at 8:56pm PDT But self-motivation has to do a lot with Samson's relentless efforts to get that Team India cap. “My motivation has been to understand my purpose in life. I want to be in a place where I am able to help people around me. I come from Kerala where people are struggling to make it big, especially in sports. I feel I have a bigger purpose and I want to make others reach wherever it is that they want to reach and I think that's what keeps me motivated,” says the young but clearly wise cricketer. But times are changing for the Samson as well now. After Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan went down with an injury in his knee while playing for Delhi against Maharashtra in a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy tournament, the selectors finally made that call, the one he was waiting for so eagerly all these years. But does replacing Dhawan come with some sort of added pressure? “Pressure is always there when you enter the field to play the game. I am just happy that I got a place in the Indian cricket team and I just want to focus on the time to prepare for the matches against West Indies,” he said. View this post on Instagram Grateful to god and my parents for allowing me to do what I love the most and learn what it takes to be a sportsman...ðð¼âºï¸ #nationalsportsday #tb from my U19 days A post shared by Sanju Samson (@imsanjusamson) on Aug 29, 2019 at 1:30am PDT While Samson's journey to return to the national team took a lot more time that the cricketer had hoped for, it brought along so much more experience and wisdom along the way. It has made him a better player and a better leader which will not make him more important of an asset for the team but also for himself to meet the challenges that are ahead of him in the future. View the full article
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