Rishabh Pant’s Name May Be In History Books Forever: Sehwag

Former India opener Virender Sehwag claimed that if wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant completes 100 appearances in Test cricket, his name will be written forever in the history books. Pant came into prominence due to his exploits in T20 cricket.

But of late, he has been a force to reckon with in Test cricket, amassing 1920 runs in 30 matches at an average of 40.85, including four centuries and nine half-centuries. In India’s last Test assignment, a two-match home series against Sri Lanka in March, Pant, 24, made 185 runs at a strike rate of 120.12, including a 28-ball fifty, the fastest by an Indian batter, on the second day of pink-ball Test at Bengaluru.

“If he goes on to play 100-plus Tests, his name would be etched in the history books forever. Only 11 Indian cricketers have achieved this feat, and everyone can recall those 11 names,” said Sehwag in an upcoming episode of Home of Heroes show on Sports18, to be aired at 7pm on Friday.

Sehwag himself had been one of the most destructive players to feature in Test cricket, compiling 8586 runs, averaging 49.34 at an astonishing strike rate of 82.23 apart from 8273 in ODIs at 35.05 with a strike rate of 104.33.

It wasn’t surprising that Sehwag still feels that Test cricket will remain the ultimate format of the game in the future despite the T20 format turning out to be more popular and lucrative. “In my humble opinion, Test cricket is the ultimate cricket. Why does Virat Kohli emphasise so much on playing Tests? He knows that if he plays 100-150 or even 200 Tests, he will be immortalised in the record books.”

Sehwag is also remembered for his penchant for hitting boundaries on the first ball, which he did so five times during the victorious 2011 World Cup campaign. Asked about it, Sehwag remarked, “Many, including (Sachin) Tendulkar, told me that I planned to hit the first ball to the fence. But I never did. I would be prepared to hit the first ball thinking it would more often be a loosener or a warm-up delivery.” (IANS)

16-Year Old Grandmaster Praggnanandhaa Wins Reykjavik Open Chess

R Pragganandhaa, the young Indian chess grandmaster, won the famous Reykjavik Open chess tournament with 7.5 points last week. The 16-year-old defeated compatriot Dommaraju Gukesh in the final round to claim the title. He earned 13.2 elo points for his outstanding performance. Pragganandhaa, Pragg as he is fondly called, finished the 7.5 points from nine rounds, finishing half-point ahead of four players — Max Warmerdam of the Netherlands, Mads Andersen of Denmark, Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson of Sweden and American Abhimanyu Mishra, the world’s youngest GM, all of whom finished with 7.0 points.

Pragg had a few months back caused a sensation when he defeated World No 1 and reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen in a rapid game. On Tuesday, the 16-year-old topped the field comprising 245 players — most of them youngsters like him as the organizers had given a 50% discount on the entry fee for players 16 and under.

Praggnanandhaa entered the final round on Tuesday sharing the lead with Warmerdam and Andersen at 6.5 points. The two players from Scandinavian countries played out a 16-move draw on the top board, opening up a chance for the Indian GM from Chennai to win the last round and claim the title.

Pragg did just that even though his position in the game against Gukesh deteriorated as they reached the middle game. However, Pragg held on and then eventually reached a winning position thanks to back-to-back blunders by Gukesh. He bagged three points in that game and claimed the title outright.

Shane Warne: Cricket Legend From Australia Dies At 52

Legendary Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, has died of a suspected heart attack aged 52.

Warne took 708 Test wickets, the second most of all time, in 145 matches across a stellar 15-year international career.

He had been found unresponsive in his villa on the Thai island of Koh Samui on Friday, said his management company.

“It is with great sadness we advise that Shane Keith Warne passed away of a suspected heart attack,” it added.

“Despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived.

“The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Warne’s family will be offered a state funeral for him.

Warne helped Australia win the 1999 50-over World Cup and claimed 293 dismissals in 194 one-day internationals between 1993 and 2005.

In 2000, he was named one of the five Wisden cricketers of the century, alongside Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs and Sir Viv Richards.

He retired from international cricket in 2007 following Australia’s 5-0 Ashes clean sweep of England at home.

Warne also retired from first-class and List A cricket later that year, ending a seven-year spell with Hampshire, who he had captained since 2004.

He continued to play Twenty20 franchise cricket until retiring from all formats in 2013.

Warne worked regularly as a commentator and pundit, as well as holding coaching roles at T20 franchises.

He is survived by his three children with former wife Simone Callahan.

His death comes on the same day as legendary former Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh, who died aged 74 of a heart attack, and was announced shortly after the close of play on day one of Australia’s first Test in Pakistan.

Warne’s mastery of leg-spin – a style of bowling that declined during the 1970s and 1980s when fast bowlers dominated – revolutionised cricket.

His magnificent control and canny variations bewildered even the greatest batters of his generation.

Only Sri Lankan off-spinning great Muttiah Muralitharan, with 800 dismissals, has taken more Test wickets than Warne.

He was also a fine slip fielder and capable lower-order batter, scoring 3,154 runs at an average of 17.32 and is the only batter in Test history to surpass 3,000 runs without making a century – falling for 99 twice, against New Zealand in 2001 and against England in 2005.

Warne was a larger-than-life figure whose fame transcended cricket and his sense of fun inspired successive generations of fans.

“Shane was a once-in-a-century cricketer and his achievements will stand for all time,” said Australia men’s Test captain Pat Cummins.

“So many of us in the playing group grew up idolising him and fell in love with this great sport as a result.”

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley added: “Shane was one of the most talented and charismatic cricketers we have ever witnessed.

“He loved cricket, had an extraordinarily astute understanding of the game and his influence and legacy will last for as long as it is played.

“We are in a state of complete shock at his sudden passing and our thoughts are with his family, his many friends and the legion of fans from all over the world who loved and admired Warnie for his unbelievable bowling skills, his humour, warmth and engaging personality.”

Ashes dominance

Warne holds the record for the most Ashes wickets in history, with 195 dismissals in 36 Tests.

He made his Test debut against India in 1992 after only seven first-class matches for his native Victoria, but announced himself on the world stage in astonishing style in the 1993 Ashes in England.

With his first ball of the series, Warne bowled England batter Mike Gatting with a stunning delivery that pitched outside leg stump and clipped the top of off stump.

It became widely known as the ‘ball of the century’.

That was the first of six Ashes victories in a row involving Warne, until the run was ended by England’s famous 2-1 win in 2005, despite the leg-spinner taking a staggering 40 wickets in that series.

Warne gained revenge in 2006-07 when Australia won 5-0 and retired on the same day as long-time team-mates Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer.

World Cup and domestic honors

Warne was a key part of Australia’s run to the 1996 World Cup final, where they were beaten by Sri Lanka.

He became vice-captain under Steve Waugh and starred in the 1999 World Cup triumph, being named man of the match after taking 4-33 in the final against Pakistan.

However, he was sent home the day before the 2003 tournament started after testing positive for a banned diuretic and served a one-year ban from the sport.

Australia would go on to win the 2003 World Cup by beating India.

Warne led Australia 11 times in ODIs but never captained the Test team, with batter Ricky Ponting replacing Waugh.

Warne captained Hampshire for four seasons during a spell with the county from 2000 to 2007, and they named a stand after him at their Ageas Bowl ground in 2012.

Under Warne, Hampshire won the one-day Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy in 2005 – although he was unable to play in the Lord’s final which was in the middle of the 2005 Ashes – and narrowly missed out on a County Championship title the same year.

He played his entire domestic career in Australia for Victoria.

He also played for Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League and Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, also coaching the latter.

In last year’s inaugural Hundred he coached London Spirit.

‘One of cricket’s great characters’

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew

Shane Warne wasn’t just one of the greatest spin bowlers in the game’s history – he was also one of cricket’s great characters.

His partnership with seamer Glenn McGrath made Australia virtually invincible in the 1990s.

In terms of a wrist-spinner’s repertoire, Warne perfected the art completely, spinning the ball vast distances and always with a touch of theatre.

He took that character with him into the commentary box and beyond cricket. He featured regularly on the world poker circuit, and while brushes with the authorities were also a feature of his life, his contribution to cricket will never be forgotten.

‘He was the greatest showman’ – tributes flood in for Warne

Former England captain Sir Andrew Strauss: “I’m utterly shocked and saddened. Shane Warne was cricket’s greatest star and he was a guy who, I suppose, you felt the rules of life didn’t apply to him. To hear about his untimely demise is genuinely shocking and I know the whole cricket world is in a great deal of mourning.”

Strauss added: “He was the greatest showman. There were other great cricketers when you look at their records would potentially equal Shane’s or maybe better it. But there was no greater star in cricket than Shane Warne, certainly in the time I have been around. You felt every time you were on the pitch against him it was his show. You were just a small part of his show.

“He used that to his advantage in terms of getting you out. He had such charisma and such passion for the game that it was infectious. If you were lucky enough to spend time with him off the pitch it was always a privilege. A man of great generosity of spirit, great passion for the game and a man who is going to be sorely missed.”

England captain Joe Root: “Really shocked and really sad to hear such a legend of the game passed so suddenly.

“We had just started the game and it filtered through the dressing room. It’s been quite a quiet dressing room off the back of it. It’s hit everyone quite hard if I’m being brutally honest.

“My experiences of Shane were of someone who absolutely loved the game of cricket. He was always a joy to be around, he gave so much energy to the sport. As a kid growing up he was a massive idol of mine and someone you wanted to emulate. The way he could win a game on his own, his skill levels were incredible.

“I’d have been 14 when the 2005 Ashes was on, in many ways that series was a massive influence on my career.”

Former England captain Mike Gatting: “It’s been devastating really, unbelievable. When you think he’s just 52 and he’s been an absolute legend in the game. I don’t use that word lightly either. It’s been unreal. We’ve lost a great cricketer and a great guy.

“The figures talk for themselves but he was inspirational to many, many young children. Certainly if you look at county cricket now, where he played himself for Hampshire.

“He inspired a lot of kids to take up spin bowling. The way he approached the game, he was knowledgeable, he loved the game. He was dedicated to the game but he also had a bit of fun as well.”

Rohit Sharma Is Country’s “Number 1 Cricketer:” Chetan Sharma Says

After naming Rohit Sharma as the Test captain for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka, Chetan Sharma, Team India chief selector, said on Friday that the right-handed batter is the “number one cricketer” in the country.

After naming Rohit Sharma as the Test captain for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka, Chetan Sharma, the Chairman of All-India Senior-Selection Committee on Friday said that the right-handed batter is the number one cricketer in the country. Rohit Sharma was appointed as the new Test captain of the Indian men’s team while veterans Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were dropped from the Sri Lanka series. “As far as Rohit Sharma is concerned, he is the number one cricketer of our country, he is playing all three formats of the game. The important thing is how we manage Rohit, cricketers manage their bodies. From time to time we will be in discussion with Rohit. If such a big cricketer is leading the country, we as selection committee want to groom further captains, and grooming them under Rohit will be tremendous,” said Chetan Sharma during a virtual press conference.

“It is hard to predict what problems can arise in the future, Rohit is fit and fine right now. We will give rest to every cricketer of ours, we want to give them proper rest. A body requires rest, we will see how things pan out and we will decide how will be getting the rest,” he added.

Further talking about Rohit being named Test captain, Chetan said: “Rohit was a clear choice of ours, we are very happy with naming him as captain. We will groom future captains under him, let’s hope everything goes right and if things pan out how we want them to, it will be really good.”

“If Rohit keeps leading for a long time, then it would be really good for us. But no one can predict it, as long as Rohit is available and fit, he will be the Test captain. When he wants to rest, we will give him the rest,” he added.

Washington Sundar and KL Rahul are ruled out of Sri Lanka T20 and Test series unless they recover early, said Chetan Sharma, Chairman, All India Senior-Selection Committee. Ravichandran Ashwin is subject to fitness as well. Axar Patel is still recovering in rehab and might get fit by 2nd Test match said, Chetan Sharma.

Earlier this week, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a new schedule for India’s upcoming home series against Sri Lanka. The tour was supposed to start with the two-match Test, but now will begin with T20Is, with the first match being played at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow on February 24. The second and third T20Is will take place in Dharamsala on February 26 and 27.

Following the T20I series, the teams will play two Tests, which form a part of the 2021-23 ICC World Test Championship cycle. Mohali will host the first Test from March 4 to 8, while the second Test will be played in Bengaluru from March 12 to 16. The first Test will be former captain Virat Kohli’s 100th Test match, while the second Test will be a day/night affair.

India’s Test squad for SL series:Rohit Sharma (C), Mayank Agarwal, Priyank Panchal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, KS Bharat, Ravichandran Ashwin (fitness), Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep, Jasprit Bumrah, Shami, Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Sourabh Kumar.

Virat Kohli Breaks Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI World Record

Former India skipper Virat Kohli returned with yet another poor figure with the bat in the opening ODI match of the three-match series against West Indies on Sunday, yet he managed to smash another of Sachin Tendulkar’s world record.

With back-to-back boundaries during the 14th over of India’s chase of 177 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Kohli became the second cricketer in ODI history to score 5000 runs in India, joining the legendary Sachin (6976 runs) in the elusive list, while also becoming the fourth batter overall to reach the milestone in a single country. The two others include former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who amassed 5521 runs in Australia, and Jacques Kallis, who scored 5186 runs in South Africa.

Reaching the mark in his 96th ODI innings, Kohli surpassed Sachin to become the fastest batsman to score 5000 ODI runs in a single country. The former Indian batter had achieved the feat in his 121st innings, during the match against West Indies in 2007.

Two deliveries later, Kohli failed to control the pull shot against a shorter delivery from Joseph as he top edged the delivery to the fielder at fine leg. He walked back scoring just 8 off 4.

Earlier that same over, in the first delivery, Joseph had got rid of India’s new ODI skipper Rohit Sharma, dismissing him for 60 and ending an impressive opening stand of 84 runs alongside the young Ishan Kishan.

India had won the toss and opted to bowl first against West Indies who were folded for 177 in 43.5 overs with all-rounder Jason Holder top-scoring for the visitors with his 11th half-century score.

Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers with his 4 for 49, which is now his third-best ODI figure. Washington Sundar picked three while the pace duo of Mohammed Siraj and Prasidh Krishna picked three between themselves.

24th Winter Olympics Games Under Way In Beijing

The 24th edition of the Winter Olympics is officially under way after the Olympic cauldron was lit in a restrained opening ceremony in Beijing.

Almost 3,000 athletes from 91 nations will compete across the Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been criticised for awarding the Games to China because of the country’s alleged human rights abuses.

IOC president Thomas Bach said one of the missions of the Games was to “unite humankind in all our diversity”.

The Olympic torch was placed into the centre of a giant snowflake, which was then illuminated to become the cauldron.

The snowflake is made up of placards with the names of the 91 nations competing in Beijing.

Speaking during the ceremony, Bach addressed “all political authorities across the globe” during his speech, asking them to “give peace a chance”.

“In our fragile world, where division, conflict and mistrust are on the rise, we show the world: yes, it is possible to be fierce rivals, while at the same time living peacefully and respectfully together,”

Beijing is the first city to host both a summer and winter edition of an Olympic Games, with the opening ceremony held in the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium that was built for the 2008 Games.

Just as in Tokyo six months ago, there were no paying spectators, friends or family present in the stands, although there were diplomats and team members applauding the athletes on.

Representatives of 56 ethnic groups from across China relayed the national flag into the stadium to begin the opening ceremony.

The Olympic rings themselves emerged from a frozen block of ice, with athletes entering the arena underneath them.

Curler Eve Muirhead and alpine skier Dave Ryding, both competing in their fourth Winter Olympics, carried the Great Britain flag into the stadium.

Bach told the athletes: “You will show how the world would look like, if we all respect the same rules and each other.

“Over the next two weeks you will compete with each other for the highest prize. At the same time, you will live peacefully together under one roof in the Olympic Village.

“There, there will be no discrimination for any reason whatsoever. ”

Why are the Games controversial?

A number of countries declared a diplomatic boycott of the Games, including the United Kingdom, with no ministers or officials attending the opening ceremony.

The Beijing government is accused of committing atrocities against the Uyghur Muslim population in the northwest province of Xinjiang, with the World Uyghur Congress describing the Games as “a genocide Olympics”.

There have been reports that, as well as interning Uyghurs in camps, China has been forcibly mass sterilising Uyghur women to suppress the population.

China has consistently denied allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, insisting camps were not detention camps, but “vocational educational and training centres”, while the IOC says it must “remain neutral on all global political issues”.

There has also been widespread concern over the safety of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai after she made accusations of sexual assault against a top government official. Bach will meet face-to-face with Peng during the Games.

Russian president Vladimir Putin was in attendance at the opening ceremony, having met with China’s President Xi Jinping earlier in the day.

Cricket Legend Sunil Gavaskar To Address AAPI’s 40th AAPI Convention In San Antonio, TX

San Antonio, TX: February 7th, 2022: “Legendary Cricket Star Sunil Gavaskar, well known around the world as an inspirational speaker, philanthropist, and the chairman of H2H Foundation will be a keynote speaker during the 40th Annual Convention of AAPI to be held in San Antonio, TX from June 23rd to 26th, 2022,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula announced here.

Confirming his presence at the Convention, “The Little Master” Sunil Gavaskar told AAPI members who are part of the “greatest profession in the world,” and said, “It’s a unique honor to be part of the important AAPI convention in Texas. I am looking forward to meeting you all in Texas.” Mr. Gavaskar referred to his association with the “Heart to Heart Foundation” and how the Foundation is touching many hearts around the world.

According to Dr. Jayesh Shah, Chair of the Convention 2022, “While the theme for the historic convention is ‘Physician, heal thyself,’ especially when there are growing signs of burnout among physicians, by offering positive remedial resources as part of a first-ever Wellness Program being offered to participants, the special and unique once in a lifetime interactive session with the Cricket legend will allow the AAPI delegates to listen firsthand to the stories of his glorious cricket days, and the stories that tug at the hearts of the audience.”

“During A Meet & Greet Luncheon event with Sunil Gavaskar, recipient of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards for his contributions to Indian cricket will inspire the hearts and souls of AAPI delegates by telling us how India remains the world capital for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), with 300,000 children born each year,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI said.

Without medical/surgical care, over 25% of children die before their 1st birthday, contributing to over 10% of the Infant Mortality Rate and resulting in 250+ children dying every day; many more die in infancy or the preschool ages. Only a small fraction of children with CHD can afford the cardiac surgery, which can cost over $100,000 in the United States.

With frugal innovations in CHD care H2H Foundation has reduced the average cost of an open-heart surgery to only $2000$  per patient, which would otherwise be $75,000 to $125,000 in the United States and $5,000 to $9,000 in India. Gavaskar has personally sponsored 34 surgeries to match his 34 test centuries. The legendary cricket master is touring the United States to raise awareness and funds to support the cause.

Heart to Heart (H2H) Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of children born with CHD, by providing FREE pediatric cardiac surgeries in collaboration with the group of Sai Sanjeevini Hospitals in India. Since February 2014, these hospitals have also been providing primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare exclusively to children with CHD and over 10,000 surgeries have been performed free of cost. 10,000 is also the number of innings played by Gavaskar. Additionally, for every test century, he has scored he has personally funded the same number of surgeries.

Dr. Kusum Punjaabi, Chair of AAPI BOT said, “At AAPI, the largest ethnic medical association in the nation, we are proud, we have been able to serve every 7th patient in the country. We serve in large cities, smaller towns and rural areas, sharing our skills, knowledge, compassion and expertise and caring for millions of people.”

“A huge thank you to all of the doctors, physicians, and other healthcare professionals for your dedication and commitment to service during this uncertain time,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI said. “This is a unique opportunity for All of us, the front-line physicians who are putting our lives at risk to save the lives of others,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said. “Thank you for fighting selflessly against this virus and helping keep everyone healthy and safe,” Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI added

Organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic medical organization in the country, representing the interests of over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, the historic 40th Annual Convention will offer a valuable platform for physicians and healthcare thought leaders from across the country and globally to convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of ideas on medical advances, and will help develop health policy agendas and recommend legislative priorities in the coming years.

The convention will be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX located on the RiverWalk. This world-class facility will afford an intimate setting that will facilitate our ability to convey cutting-edge research and CME, promote business relationships, and display ethnic items. Vendor satisfaction and comfort are our top priorities, added Dr. Shah.

A dedicated Convention Committee Team led by Dr. Jayesh Shah including Mr. Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention; Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Convention Treasurer; Dr. Vijay Koli, Past President of AAPI & Convention Advisor; Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Convention Advisor; Dr. Rajeev Suri, President of TIPS & Co-Chair of the Convention, Dr. Shankar Sanka, Co-Chair of the Convention; Dr. Hetal Nayak, Co-Chair of the Convention; Kiran Cheruku, Co-Chair of the Convention; and Chief Operating Officers, Mr.  Reddy Yeluru and Me. Ram Joolukuntla, are working hard for the past several months to make the Convention truly historic.

Some of the major themes at the convention include: Yoga and Meditation practices, Welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, A Personal Reflexology Session, Take home wellness routine, Ailment based yoga therapy sessions, Workshop on Spiritual well-being, Book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine, as well as an unique opportunity to visit first of its kind in San Antonio, Aum Ashram as part of the Wellness session.

Esteemed yoga gurus and experts, who are planned to share their wisdom and leading the Wellness Sessions include: Paramguru Sharatha Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and Dr. Param Dedhia.

Besides Lifestyle medicine and wellness, There is an outstanding lineup of CME speakers to provide AAPI members education in all areas of medicine.

While encouraging AAPI members to register for the Convention, Dr. Gotimukula urged them to “Come, engage in a freewheeling conversation with the cricket legend where he will share interesting anecdotes and inspiring experiences. Interact with Sunil Gavaskar and tap into his wealth of wisdom on leadership, career, and life and take away insights on how to learn, lead, and live. Each delegate can get to take away cricket bats and other memorabilia signed by Gavaskar as souvenirs of a memorable event if you sponsor a child for congenital heart surgery!  For more information, please visit: www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

Rafael Nadal Beats Daniil Medvedev From Two Sets Down In Melbourne Epic

Rafael Nadal won a record 21st Grand Slam men’s title in the most stunning fashion, fighting back from two sets down to beat Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in a classic Australian Open final.

Backed by a loud Melbourne crowd, sixth seed Nadal rallied to win 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 on Rod Laver Arena.

US Open champion Medvedev was going for his second successive major title.

Medvedev, 25, was in command before Nadal showed all of his renowned grit and fight to earn an extraordinary win.

The 35-year-old Spaniard has been at the centre of some of the sport’s most incredible triumphs – but this surely goes down as the most amazing Grand Slam victory of his illustrious career.

Nadal’s achievement comes only a few months after he thought he would never be able to return to the tour because of a foot injury.

In the absence of the deported Novak Djokovic and the injured Roger Federer in Melbourne, Nadal has moved one ahead of his great rivals in the race to finish with most major men’s singles titles.

It is the left-hander’s second Australian Open title and comes 13 years after his only previous success.

“Without a doubt it is one of the most emotional wins of my career,” Nadal, who had also previously lost four Australian Open finals, said after the trophy presentation.

Nadal’s emotional celebrations after adversity

Chronic pain in Nadal’s left foot restricted him to only one tournament in the final seven months of 2021, while a bout of coronavirus in mid-December also left him “very sick with fever”.

Those setbacks meant the Australian Open was just his second competitive event in five months, having won a warm-up tournament at Melbourne Park earlier in January.

Nadal sealed victory against Medvedev after five hours 24 minutes – and at 01:11 local time in Melbourne – when the second seed could not return a net volley on the first of the Spaniard’s three match points.

Dropping his racquet to the floor, Nadal stood motionless with his hands on hips as his jaw dropped. After a warm embrace with Medvedev, he walked towards his support team and exploded with emotion.

A triple first-pump was followed by a drop to his knees, his hands covering his face as he looked up to the sky.

Nadal slowly walked over to his players’ box, hugging Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley, on his way to embrace his father Sebastian.

The intensity of his celebration illustrated the euphoria Nadal felt after the obstacles he had overcome – on the night and in the recent months – to win.

Previously in his career, Nadal had only won three matches from two sets down and the most recent of those came at Wimbledon in 2007 against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny.

Victory came at the end of the second longest Grand Slam final in history, just 30 minutes short of the 2012 final at Melbourne Park when Nadal lost to Djokovic.

So much had he given to his record-breaking achievement that during the trophy presentation, Nadal was brought a chair so he could sit down rather than stand.

“I’m physically destroyed,” Nadal said in his post-match news conference.

Medvedev’s irritation at the pro-Nadal support

At two sets up, Medvedev had looked well on course to back up his victory in New York with another triumph at Melbourne Park.

Nadal lacked fluency with his groundstrokes in the first set, particularly on the backhand side, and Medvedev took five games in a row to seal it, Nadal dumping another backhand into the net, the Spanish left-hander’s 16th unforced error against just five from his opponent.

The younger man’s dominance was also illustrated by his winning 31 of the total points compared to 17 by Nadal.

With all the statistics in favour of Medvedev, the second set unexpectedly turned Nadal’s way at 2-1.

Nadal ended a 40-shot rally with an angled backhand winner, setting up break points for the first time in the match, and an unforced error from Medvedev handed over the game.

Suddenly Nadal had a spring in his step – and had the crowd getting noisier too – as he moved 4-1 ahead.

Three successive breaks of serve soon followed, a run that ended with a dramatic ninth game that stunned the Laver crowd.

It included a set point for Nadal, five break points for Medvedev and the game being halted when a protester jumped on to court before being dragged away by security.

The set eventually went to a tie-break which Medvedev finished the stronger and it appeared doubtful Nadal, already looking tired and sweating a lot, could fight back.

Another pivotal moment came in the sixth game of the third set when Nadal, facing going two sets and a break down, fought off three break points.

Both men continued to hold serve until the ninth game when Nadal, whose indomitable spirit began to grow, pounced.

Medvedev, perhaps as a result of the finishing line coming into view, lost clarity of thought when he tried to prod over a volley and instead hit it into the net.

That brought raucous cheers from the crowd and Medvedev responded with a sarcastic clap of his racquet.

The Spaniard broke and served out the set to love, sending the pro-Nadal crowd into further raptures.

A tense fourth set featured 15 break points, with Nadal taking two of his 10 opportunities to tee up a decider.

Medvedev continued to be irritated by the support being given to Nadal, and the frequent noise during his service points, prompting umpire John Blom to repeatedly ask for calm.

Nadal now looked the man with the mental resilience needed to see the job through.

He broke for 3-2 but then wobbled when he served for the match at 5-4, only to break straight back to lead 6-5 and serve out victory at the second attempt.

In his on-court speech, Medvedev thanked his team, and joked: “I’m sure my wife is watching back home but I think the TV will be broken now.”

Medvedev, who lost last year’s final to Djokovic, was aiming to become the first man in the Open era to win his second Grand Slam title at the next major event after his maiden triumph.

He was the highest seed men’s player in Djokovic’s absence.

“If we talk about tennis, I’m not that disappointed,” Medvedev said.

“It was a huge match, for sure, and there were some small points, small details, that I could have done better if I wanted to win. But that’s tennis. That’s life.

“Rafa played unreal and raised his level. I mean, two sets to love up, I wanted just to go for him, go for more.

“He was really strong, the way he played for four hours, I was even surprised.” (BBC)

Smriti Mandhana Wins ICC Women’s Cricketer Of The Year

The 25-year-old is only the second player, after Australian allrounder Ellyse Perry, to win the highest individual distinction in the women’s overall category of the annual ICC awards more than once. She was also named in the ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year.

Mandhana, who was named ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year and ODI Cricketer of the Year in 2018, pipped fellow opening batters Tammy Beaumont of England, Lizelle Lee (South Africa) and Gaby Lewis (Ireland) to the the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy. Jhulan Goswami, who won the same award in 2007, is the only other Indian woman to ever win an ICC annual award.

The stats: In 2021, since India’s return to cricket on March 7 following a 364-day gap from the international scene — primarily because of the pandemic — Mandhana scored 855 runs in 22 international matches across three series, at an average of 38.86, posting a century and five fifties.

Mandhana was named the Player of the Match for her maiden Test hundred — 127 during India’s maiden women’s day-night Test, which they drew against Australia at Gold Coast.

Pakistan left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi was named the ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year. He was awarded the Sir Garfield Sobers Award for taking 78 wickets across formats in 36 internationals at an average of 22.20 in 2021.

Her 15-ball 29 and fifty in the T20I series went in vain though as India fell short in both the matches and lost the series 2-1.
The Southpaw was in good touch in the series against Australia, starting with the ODI series where she scored 86 in the second ODI.

She compiled a brilliant century in the only Test (the first of her career), and was awarded the Player of the Match. She scored her second T20I fifty of the year in the final T20I, though India fell short and lost the series 2-0.

Mandhana made India’s first-ever pink-ball Test even more memorable by smashing her maiden century in the longest format.

Virat Kohli Steps Down As India’s Cricket Test Team Captain

Virat Kohli has stepped down as captain of India men’s Test team.  The 33-year-old, who stopped leading India’s limited-overs sides last year, had led the Test side since 2015.  He captained India in a record-breaking 68 Tests, winning 40 matches – the fourth best record of any Test captain in history.

“It’s been seven years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance every day to take the team in the right direction,” Kohli said on social media. “I’ve done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test captain of India, it’s now.”

He has played in 99 Tests in total, averaging 50.39 in the longer format, with 27 centuries. In 2021 Kohli led India to the final of the inaugural World Test Championship, losing to New Zealand in Southampton.

The signs were there. Virat Kohli was becoming extremely frustrated with captaincy. The manner in which he kicked the air and blew up after Dean Elgar won a review on day three of the decider here indicated he was running out of patience.

If he had a vision then behaving badly on the field of play was not a part of it. A day after India lost the series 2-1 to South Africa, Kohli resigned as the Test captain in a long tweet, here on Saturday, Jan. 15th.

The Delhi batsman, who took over captaincy in a rather dramatic fashion when M.S. Dhoni shocked everyone by stepping down as skipper after the Melbourne Test against Australia in 2014, formed a lasting relationship with coach Ravi Shastri.

High and low

His greatest achievement as captain was in leading India to its first ever Test series triumph in Australia. Passionate about Tests, the failure to beat South Africa in a Test series on this tour would go down among his greatest disappointments.

“There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief,” he added on Twitter.  “I have always believed in giving my 120% in everything I do, and if I can’t do that, I know it’s not the right thing to do.  I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team.”

During his stint as captain, Kohli did not see eye-to-eye with Anil Kumble, which led to the legend being forced out as coach. Kohli also did not lead India to a title triumph in any ICC competition. Being removed as the ODI captain hurt Kohli. And his verbal duel with the BCCI did not help matters either.

The writing was on the wall. Rohit Sharma will be a natural successor to Kohli.

Kohli said in his tweet, “It has been 7 years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I’ve done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test captain of India, it is now. There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey: but never had there been a lack of effort or a lack of belief.”

Thanks Shastri & Co.

He thanked “Ravi Bhai and the support group who were the engine behind this vehicle that moved up in Test Cricket consistently. You all have played a massive role in bringing this vision to life. Lastly, a big thank you to M.S. Dhoni who believed in me as captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian cricket forward.”

Kohli’s major wins as captain included victory over Australia in 2018-19 – India’s first series win down under and one that Kohli at the time described as the “proudest” moment of his career.

He also captained India to a 2-1 away series lead over England last summer, before the final Test at Old Trafford was called off due to Covid-19. It has now been rescheduled for Edgbaston this July. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) congratulated Kohli and said he had taken the team to “unprecedented heights”.

Kohli paid tribute to his team-mates including MS Dhoni, who he took over from as Test captain. “I want to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity to lead my country for such a long period of time and most importantly to all the team-mates who bought into the vision I had for the team from day one and never gave up in any situation,” he wrote.  “You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful.”

USA Set For Historic Cricket Series Against ICC Full Member Ireland

For the first time since September 2019, USA are set to host an international cricket match when they face ICC Full-Member Nation Ireland in the inaugural T20I at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground here on December 22.

The series involves two T20Is, followed by three One-day Internationals and will conclude on December 30. The preparations haven’t gone as planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the practice games getting cancelled and both teams training individually on the centre wicket.

Ireland have had to make many changes to their squad after several of their members — including Barry McCarthy, George Dockrell, Harry Tector and Gareth Delany — tested COVID-positive ahead of the limited-overs series. They will join the team after 10-day isolation.

With several uncertainties, Josh Little cut short his Lankan Premier League stint to join the Ireland squad here. For the USA, Karima Gore, Jaskaran Malhotra and Aaron Jones have been ruled out after being named in the initial squads. To cover for the absentees, four players have received their maiden national call-up, three of whom are U-19 players.

Ritwik Behera has been named in both the ODI and T20I squads, while Yasir Mohammed and Ali Sheikh have been called up for the T20I squad along with Ryan Scott. Rusty Theron too will be unavailable due to a groin injury.

All the games will be played at Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground here.

Squads:

Ireland T20I: Andrew Balbirnie (c), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Shane Getkate, Josh Little, Barry McCarthy, William McClintock, Neil Rock, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White, Craig Young.

Ireland ODI: Andrew Balbirnie (c), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, William Porterfield, Neil Rock, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White, Craig Young.

USA T20I: Monank Patel (c), Ali Khan, Ali Sheikh, Gajanand Singh, Jasdeep Singh, Marty Kain, Nisarg Patel, Ritwik Behera, Ryan Scott, Saurabh Netravalkar, Steven Taylor, Sushant Modani, Vatsal Vaghela, Xavier Marshall, Yasir Mohammed.

USA ODI: Monank Patel (c), Aaron Jones, Ali Khan, Gajanand Singh, Jasdeep Singh, Jaskaran Malhotra, Marty Kain, Nisarg Patel, Nosthush Kenjige, Rahul Jariwala, Ritwik Behera, Saurabh Netravalkar, Steven Taylor, Sushant Modani, Vatsal Vaghela, Xavier Marshall.

Anahat Singh Wins Jr Squash Open In US

Indian teenager Anahat Singh scripted history by winning the U-15 girls category of the prestigious Junior US Open Squash tournament in Philadelphia last week. The 13-year-old girl from Delhi overcame powerhouse Egypt’s Jayda Marei in the final match 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5 played at the Arlen Spectre Centre.

According to information received here, Anahat won the title in the Under-15 category, beating Jayda Marei from Egypt 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5. Earlier, in the semifinals, she had beaten US national champion Dixon Hill 11-8, 11-9, 11-5.

More than 850 squash junior players, representing 41 countries, participated in the World’s largest junior individuals squash tournament.

Aditya Birla Fashion To Buy Exclusive Rights To Reebok In India

India’s Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) said on Tuesday it would buy exclusive rights to sell global sportswear brand Reebok’s products both online and offline in the Indian market. Shares of ABFRL jumped 4.6% to 279 rupees after the announcement.

The deal will be effective once the global ownership of the Reebok brand is transferred from Adidas to Authentic Brands Group under a 2.1 billion euros ($2.37 billion) acquisition announced in August.

Major Indian fashion retailers have gone on a shopping spree for big brands this year, aiming to strengthen their positions in one of the country’s fastest growing segments. ABFRL picked up a 51% stake in luxury wedding wear brand Sabyasachi, while rival Reliance Industries Ltd’s retail unit bought 52% of designer label Ritu Kumar.

ABFRL said the transaction also includes buying certain assets of Reebok India Company, including inventory, current assets and liabilities. It added that the long-term licensing deal gave it exclusive rights to sell Reebok products in India and other Southeast Asian countries.

The company expects to spend around 750 million rupees ($9.88 million) to 1 billion rupees ($13.17 million) to buy Reebok’s inventory and other current assets and liabilities.

ABFRL operates more than 3,000 stores in India and is the exclusive retailer for Forever 21, American Eagle Outfitters and Ralph Lauren branded clothes, among others, in the country.

US Boycotts China’s Winter Olympics

No Biden Administration officials will attend China’s Winter Olympics in February, the White House announced Monday, in a rebuke to Beijing over China’s use of forced labor and concentration camps to suppress a Muslim ethnic minority in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang.

“U.S. diplomatic or official representations would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday. “We simply can’t do that.”

The diplomatic boycott is an escalation of President Joe Biden’s criticism of China’s treatment of its Uyghur citizens in a pattern of abuses that a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum November report said may amount to genocide.

Biden’s boycott only applies to U.S. government officials and won’t affect U.S. athletes planning to compete in the games.

President Biden met virtually with China’s President Xi Jinping on Nov. 15. The two did not discuss the Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to start on Feb. 4, Psaki said, but Biden did raise “concerns” about China’s actions in Xinjiang, according to the White House’s official description of the meeting.\

Since the meeting, China’s government has come under harsh criticism for its treatment of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, a three-time Olympian, who largely disappeared from public view after accusing a former senior Chinese leader of sexual assault.

China’s government said earlier on Monday it would take “countermeasures” if the Biden Administration announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games. “If the U.S. side is bent on going its way, China will take firm countermeasures,” Zhao Lijian, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters on Monday.

For decades, China’s government has tried to forcibly assimilate Uyghurs in Xinjiang through prohibitions on expressions of religion and culture, and a pattern of abuses such as forced sterilization, forced labor, torture, sexual violence, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum report.

Biden’s Presidential campaign described China’s treatment of Uyghurs as “genocide” in August 2020. The Trump administration agreed. On Jan. 19, outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that China’s “genocide is ongoing and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state.”

Ajaz Patel Of New Zealand Makes Record By Claiming 10 Wickets In Innings

New Zealand’s Mumbai-born spinner Ajaz Patel has claimed all 10 wickets in the second Test against India, becoming only the third bowler in cricket history to achieve the feat. The left-arm spinner added six wickets to the four he took on day one to finish with 10-119 as India were bowled out for 325 in Mumbai on Saturday, December 4th.

The 33-year-old Patel, whose parents emigrated to New Zealand in 1996, joined England off-spinner Jim Laker (in 1956 against Australia) and India leg-spinner Anil Kumble (in 1999 against Pakistan) in picking up all wickets in an innings.

During the Test in Mumbai last weekend, New Zealand were bowled out for 62 in reply, before India closed day two on 69-0 – a lead of 332. The two-match series is level at 0-0 after India came within one wicket of forcing victory in the opening Test.

Mumbai-born Patel bowled 47.5 overs – more than twice as many as any other bowler – and his milestone moment came when India’s Mohammed Siraj edged an attempted sweep to Rachin Ravindra.

Patel’s performance will likely be in a losing cause, given New Zealand’s collapse with the bat. Siraj removed Will Young, Tom Latham, and Ross Taylor in the space of seven balls on his way to figures of 3-19, before the last seven wickets fell to spin as Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 4-8.

AAPI Joins Rock & Roll Marathon In San Antonio, Creating Awareness On Healthy Living

The Covid pandemic has impacted all aspects of human life as never been before. The past two years have been challenging to everyone, particularly to those who are assigned with the responsibility of caring for the sick, even as hundreds of Millions are affected by the big pandemic.

Physicians and other health professionals on the front lines of COVID-19 care have experienced so many unknowns during the pandemic. They’ve also put their own health and the well-being of their families on the line to provide care.

At this critical juncture in human history, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) the largest ethnic medical organization in the country, representing the interests of over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, is focusing on themes such as how to take care of self and find satisfaction and happiness in the challenging situations they are in, while serving hundreds of patients everyday of their dedicated and noble profession, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said.

In preparation for the upcoming 40th annual convention from June 23-26, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas with the timely theme that focusses on “Heal The Healers” and to create awareness among the public on the need for Healthy Lifestyle, AAPI Convention Team led by Dr. Jayesh Shah joined an “Rock and Roll Marathon” on Sunday, December 5th, 2021 in san Antonio, TX.

AAPI’s participation at the Marathon was inspired and sponsored by the Botla Foundation, which provided a great kick start to AAPI’s wellness theme, pointed to the Six Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine: 1. Healthy Diet; 2. Being active; 3. Restorative sleep; 4. Managing stress; 5. Have social and supportive connections; and,  6. Avoiding abusive drugs and habits.

Planning for joining the Rock and Roll Marathon started over three months ago, says Dr. Jayesh Shah, Chair of AAPI Convention 2022. Botla Foundation committed a donation of $25,000, However, in order to encourage Doctors to run, the Foundation initially put a caveat that they would donate $250 for every person who signs up for the half marathon. “This novel way of sponsorship did encourage many Indian doctors and other community members to register and participate in this unique marathon,” added Dr. Jayesh Shah. “We were lucky to have Dr. Akil Tahir to join us as the Chief Ambassador for the run. His presence also inspired all of us to join for this noble cause. His message of running with heart touched all of us.”

Dozens of Doctors and community leaders joined the Rock and Roll Marathon, which had attracted over 18,000 participants from around the nation, and made this an inspiring experience for all. Dr. Ravi Botla, while thanking and congratulating all the participants at the Marathon, said, “Running with you all is an amazing experience. Several friends made their personal bests today. Hope to continue to do some physical activity (running/walking/cycling) to improve our health. On behalf of all our runners yesterday and today, Botla Foundation will donate $25,000 to AAPI, irrespective of the number of participants. We should be proud of this accomplishment. Thank you Anupama and Jayesh to provide this opportunity.”

The Botla Charitable Family Foundation is a non-profit established in 2014 by Dr. Ravi and Vijaya Botla with the intention to give to charitable causes that highlight Indian culture and traditions as well as promote health and wellness in our community.

“After a hiatus of 5 years from long distance running, I am thrilled to announce that I completed running the half marathon in San Antonio on a PLANT BASED DIET!” Dr. Akil Taher said. “I ran to support the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) under the leadership of Dr. Anupama Gotimukula ad Dr. Jayesh Shah. AAPI has done some phenomenal charity work here in the US and India. Also a big thank you to the Botla family for their inspirational support to AAPI,” he added.

“That is why in keeping with AAPI’s 2022 Convention theme of “Heal the Healers,” this idea of having these healers finally put their health first by participating in the San Antonio Rock n Roll Half Marathon came to life,” Vijaya Botla said. “There was great enthusiasm from our local Indian doctors and a wonderful camaraderie was formed. Weekly meetups and training commenced. We were blessed that Dr. Akil Taher, from Atlanta, Georgia joining our group and was able to pass on his words of wisdom to us through his book “Open Heart” and by even coming to do the race with us in San Antonio on December 5, 2021.”

To run my first half-marathon with my Idol, Dr. Taher. He is a living proof of the power of ‘Whole Foods Plant Based’ Diet and Physical Exercise in not just recovering from a major surgery but healing from within for a better and stronger health than before. His presenceat the Marathon inspired us to sign up for the event and support AAPI in promoting ‘health & fitness’ in our community,” stated Dr.  Bhoja R. Katipally.

Several participants at the Marathon had weekly runs at trails to prepare for the run. The team also got the expertise of Pradeep, who had recently finished Chicago marathon as the coach. He taught the participants the dynamic exercises before the run and static exercises after the run. Dr Bhoja Reddy did a book signing event on Saturday, the day before the run. Dr.Taher contributed all the money from the book sale to AAPI.

While congratulating all the participants, organizers and sponsors, Dr. Gotimukula said, “I want to extend a few words of my appreciation to all the wonderful hearts from AAPI who participated in the Marathon.

The donor, Dr. Ravi Botla did his first full Marathon. There are several in the group who did their first half marathon including Dr. Jayesh Shah! We thank the Botla Foundation who inspired us! We ran with a good heart to support AAPI. Nothing is impossible if we have the motivation inside us!!” For more details on AAPI and the 40th convention, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

 

Australia Win 1st T20 World Cup in Dubai

Australia beat their Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand by 8 wickets to lift their first T20 World Cup on Sunday, November 14th in Dubai by chasing down the 173-run target set by the Kiwis with 7 balls to spare. Put into bat first, New Zealand struggled early on, managing to score just 57 runs for the loss of one wicket in the first 10 overs before the Kiwi captain Kane Williamson grabbed the bull by the horns and stepped on the gas, scoring a quickfire 85 off 48 balls to lead the team to 172 for the loss of 4 wickets.

Australia, who won the toss, began the run chase at a blistering pace with opener David Warner scoring 53 off 38 deliveries, enabling his team to be at 82 for the loss of 1 wicket at the halfway stage. Injury ravaged Mitchell Marsh, who top scored for his team with a 77 not out off 50 deliveries also achieved a personal milestone for himself by becoming the first Aussie to score 600 runs in T20Is in 2021.

While for the Kiwis, it was yet another heartbreak against the Kangaroos in a World Cup final — they lost to the Aussies in the 2015 World Cup ODI final — they did have a consolation in Williamson becoming the highest scoring captain in a T20 World Cup final, beating the record of former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara. Williamson in fact singled out Mitchell Starc for special treatment, who went for 60 runs in his 4 overs, including 19 runs off the 11th over of the innings, including surviving a chance off a dropped catch by Josh Hazlewood.

It was New Zealand’s third white-ball World Cup final in six years, a superb achievement particularly when coupled with their victory in the World Test Championship earlier this year, but all three have been lost. “You sign up to play the game, and you win or you lose. These are things that can happen on any day,” their captain, Kane Williamson, said.

Through a combination of good bowling and a tough pitch, New Zealand was restricted for runs, also losing the wicket of opening batsmen Daryl Mitchell for just 11.

The turning point for New Zealand came when captain Williamson bwas dropped by fast bowler Josh Hazlewood on the boundary.

At that point, he had scored 21 runs off 21 balls. After that, he exploded, reaching a 32-ball 50 and also hitting Mitchell Starc for 22 runs off a single over.

However, in what proved to be a big over for Australia, Hazlewood claimed the wickets of Glenn Phillips and Williamson — after a remarkable innings of 85 runs off of 48 balls.

“If you look at the campaign as a whole, and the type of cricket we have been able to play, I can say we are very proud of our efforts through this period of time. You get to a final and anything can happen. We turned up and played some really good cricket, and it wasn’t quite enough.”

The winner of T20 World Cup 2021, Australia, will get Rs 11.9 crore. Additionally, the Aussies will also receive Rs 1.2 crore for winning four Super 12 matches. All in all, Finch’s side will receive Rs 13.1 crore.

Coming to New Zealand, the runner-up team will receive a prize money of Rs 5.95 crore. Since the Kiwis also won four of their five Super 12 matches, they also get Rs 1.2 crore. So, the Blackcaps will get richer by Rs 7.15 crore.

This was the first-ever T20 World Cup final for New Zealand, while Australia had played only one final before, in 2010 when it lost to England. Warner was named the Man of Tournament for his wonderful figure of 289 runs in the ICC event.

Celebrating Pak’s Cricket Win Against India Comes Under India’s Anti-Terror Law

Two days after Pakistan beat India for the first time in a World Cup match, many, mostly students, face police action for “cheering” Pakistan’s win. Besides the UAPA charges invoked against medical students in Srinagar, three engineering students have been rusticated from their Agra college and a private school teacher who was expelled.

Kashmiri medical students who allegedly celebrated the Pakistan cricket team’s win over Team India at the ongoing World T20 Cup will be charged under the anti-terror law UAPA. The students will also be listed as overground workers of anti-India organisations in police records, which will deny them government-funded benefits in future, TOI reports.

Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir are investigating students and staff at two medical colleges under a harsh anti-terror law for celebrating India’s loss to archrival Pakistan in a T20 World Cup cricket game, officials said Tuesday.

Police said some students and staff at the government-run colleges cheered and shouted pro-Pakistan slogans during the match Sunday night, calling it “anti-national” activity.

Pakistan crushed India by 10 wickets for its first-ever victory against its archrival in a T20 World Cup game in Dubai. Minutes after Pakistan won the match, hundreds of people in Kashmir danced in the streets, lit firecrackers and chanted “Long live Pakistan” while seeking the end of India’s rule over the disputed region.

The celebrations came as India’s powerful home minister, Amit Shah, was visiting the region for the first time since New Delhi in 2019 stripped Kashmir of its semi-autonomy, scrapped its statehood and removed inherited protections on land and jobs, further fueling tensions in the region.

Love of cricket, a legacy of Britain’s long colonial role of South Asia, is one of the few things that unites Pakistan and India despite their long history of animosity that has fueled three wars since the subcontinent’s partition in 1947, including two over control of Kashmir, which is divided between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

The fracas over Sunday’s match shows how easily passions can be inflamed in predominantly Muslim Kashmir, where anti-India sentiment runs deep. Rebels have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence or its merger with Pakistan since 1989.

An amended anti-terror law allows police to detain people for six months without producing any evidence A police spokesman said authorities on Monday registered preliminary investigations at two police stations in the city of Srinagar under the anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Police said the suspects were yet to be identified and officers were using videos of the celebrations on social media in an attempt to name them.

The anti-terror law was amended in 2019 to allow the government to designate individuals as terrorists. Police can detain people for six months without producing any evidence, and the accused can subsequently be imprisoned for up to seven years. Rights activists have called the law draconian.

Over a dozen Kashmiri students were attacked in India’s northern Punjab state for celebrating Pakistan’s victory, news reports said.

India describes the armed rebellion in the portion of Kashmir it controls as a Pakistan proxy war and state-sponsored terrorism. Most Muslim Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle.

The region is one of the most heavily militarized in the world. Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict

T20 World Cup Group To Be Held In Middle East

The seventh edition of the ICC T20 Men’s T20 World Cup is finally upon us and it will take place in UAE and Oman in a total of 4 venues — Muscat, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.

The World Cup is being co-hosted by Oman and UAE after original hosts India were forced to take the ICC event to the Middle East due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The seventh World Cup begins with a double-header at the 3,000-seat venue outside Muscat.

The group stage of the tournament begins on Sunday with Papua New Guinea taking on Oman in the 3.30 PM IST slot while Bangladesh takes on Scotland in the 7.30 PM IST slot.

From October 23, the Super 12 round will start, and this will end on November 8. The knock-out round of the T20 World Cup 2021 will start on November 10 and the final of the tournament is set to take place on November 14.

The top two teams in each group of the Super12 stage progress to the semi-finals, with the final set to be played in Dubai on 14 November. India kick off their T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 24.

The eight teams in the first round of qualifying are chasing four places in the Super 12 round-robin stage.

England, Australia, South Africa, defending champions West Indies, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan will be waiting with all matches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

The top four then progress to the semi-finals before the final in Dubai on 14 November.

There is plenty at stake. A place in the next round guarantees a spot in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.

There is also a financial incentive. Teams exiting at the first hurdle take home a modest $40,000.

The eventual champions pocket a $1.6 million winner’s CASH PRIZE. 

For the first time in T20 World Cup history, DRS has been made available. Like is the case with T20Is, each team will have a maximum of two unsuccessful reviews per innings.

Here’s all you need to know about the group stage matches:

Schedule:

Oman vs Papua New Guinea– Sunday, October 17 – 3.30 PM

Bangladesh vs Scotland – Sunday, October 17 – 7.30 PM

Ireland vs Netherlands – Monday, October 18 – 3.30 PM

Sri Lanka vs Namibia – Monday, October 18 – 7.30 PM

Scotland vs Papua New Guinea – Tuesday, October 19 – 3.30 PM

Bangladesh vs Oman – Tuesday, October 19 – 7.30 PM

Namibia vs Netherlands – Wednesday, October 20 – 3.30 PM

Sri Lanka vs Ireland – Wednesday, October 20 – 7.30 PM

Bangladesh vs Papua New Guinea – Thursday, October 21 – 3.30 PM

Oman vs Scotland – Thursday, October 21 – 7.30 PM

Namibia vs Ireland – Friday, October 22 – 3.30 PM

Sri Lanka vs Netherlands – Friday, October 22 – 7.30 PM

Pakistan have won their last 10 Twenty20 internationals in the UAE and captain Babar Azam claimed Saturday that run will give his men the edge over India next weekend. “Definitely we have played a lot of cricket in the UAE,” Babar said Saturday when asked about his team’s dismal 0-5 record against India in T20 World Cup clashes. “These conditions suit us and we know how to play here.”

Youth Winning Big At US Open Tournament 2021

One year after the US Open Tournament was held behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US Open made its triumphant return to the sporting scene, bringing spectators at full capacity and creating countless iconic moments that will forever be embedded in the fabric of US Open lore. One of the most prestigious in the sports arena held in New York during the weekend of September 11th, created history in every possible way.

The 2021 US Open women’s singles final represented the culmination of one of the most memorable fortnights of women’s tennis in recent memory, maybe in history. And when all was said and done, it was Emma Raducanu, from virtually out of nowhere, with a ranking of 150 and playing in just her second Grand Slam main draw, who brought it home.

Raducanu endeared herself to the New York faithful as she went on an improbable run for the ages. There was a fairy tale air to her stunning success. She was gracious, she was intelligent; thoughtful and keen to soak up and appreciate the moment with just the right mix of reverence and rebelliousness. In the end, Raducanu made legions of tennis fans stop and appreciate more than just her tennis. They reveled in the genuine joy that she exuded in her moment of triumph, as she lay on her back, hands covering her eyes as the Arthur Ashe Stadium cacophony washed over her in waves. And they were in awe of her composure and ability to beat back the pressure as she powered her way to an iconic NY moment that will be forever cherished.

Opposite her was the Nineteen-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada, who came in the spotlight at the U.S. Open in New York. She didn’t get the title, but boy did 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez win hearts and minds at this year’s US Open. The Canadian left her heart and soul on the court, and threw her iconic fist in the air with verve as she reeled off improbable victories over top-notch talents, one after the other to reach the final. Forged from grit, fire, determination, self-belief, Fernandez was a magnetic attraction for her rapidly growing fanbaseーas she caught fire, we got inspired. And the super southpaw saved her most special moment for last. Even heartbroken in defeat after losing in the final, Fernandez made a stirring tribute to the city of New York on 9/11 that will never be forgotten.

Fernandez, the daughter of an Ecuadorian father and Filipino-Canadian mother, told ESPN she credits her dad for inspiration. He’s been coaching her since she was 6 years old.  “Today he told me to go out there, have fun, fight for every ball, fight for every point,” she said.  “Today’s your first quarterfinals, don’t make it your last. Don’t make it your last match over here. Fight for your dream.”

A stunning coming of age that has been three years in the making occurred in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, September 12th as Russia’s Daniil Medvedev capped off the tournament by winning his first Grand Slam title two years after he had won over New York with his grit and swagger during his run to the 2019 final, which ended in a five-set loss to Rafael Nadal.

It feels like we are just at the start of an enduring relationship between Medvedev and the US Open. New York loves a winner, and Medvedev is proving to be just thatーhas now won 18 of his last 20 matches at the Open. Sunday’s feel-good Medvedev moment was colored nicely by the warm reception the crowd gave to Novak Djokovic. Though the Serb fell at the last hurdle in his Grand Slam quest, he was warmly applauded for his efforts, and the three-time champion, moved to tears, told the crowd that he had never felt so good in New York.

Setting the tone for teenagers on week one was a player with a streamlined game and a lust for battle the likes of which we have not seen from a teenager at the US Open in many years. Carlos Alcaraz didn’t come to New York to dip his toes into the shallow water, he came for a deep dive. Total immersion, self-believe an uncompromised lust for battle. It showed in the third round when the Spaniard toppled No.3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in a hotly contested battle in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The kid whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and they backed him with fervor in the Round of 16 as he defeated Peter Gojowczyk to become the youngest men’s singles quarterfinalist in US Open history.

“Tonight even though I have not won the match my heart is filled with joy because you made me feel very special,” Djokovic said as the crowd erupted. “You guys touched my soulーI’ve never felt like this in New York.”

Midwest Cc Club Team Win At UCL & E Chicago Gold Cup Tournament

Chicago IL: United Cricket League and Entertainment Gold cup tournament held Midwest Cc club team settle for a spectacular win against the Cougars on Monday September 06, 2021 at Skokie Sports Park, 3459 Oakton St, Skokie, IL.

 UCL & E Chicago gold cup this tournament played for 3 days at Skokie and Camera Park yesterday 2 matches was played semi-final and final and we finish final match yesterday at Skokie Sports Park first semi-final was played by cougars v/s Dee park it was hard job for both teams and second semi-final Midwest Cc club v/s yeh/ cheez and final match was played by Midwest Cc club v/s Cougars and Midwest Cc club win the final match and kamran syed win man of the series and Man of the match syed Kabir and best bowler salman khan and best batman syed kamran and in final match and also we gave trophy and cash prize.

Skokie Mayor and pramod C Shah Skokie Trustee and also Skokie commissioner and directors also came and also 1 minutes silent for Covid 19 and MC was Norman khan,and syead Mustaq Hussain gave speech and thanks for people’s a d Adil Azeem Khan thanks for all guest and also for salman khan family and Babar family and Midwest Cc 2 owner also came Mr sandip and Dr Hyder and also I thanks for Mr Navid and Mr Raja razak and Mr Dev and syed Iqbal UCL Director and Sufiyan Dukaanwala UCL Manager and Mr Isaac and Mohammed Rafi and Mohammed Afroz and Mohammed Yunus and also thanks for Aiyas patel and javid patel a d sayed Aishan and chirag patel and moin Babar and also Norman khan and Daniel and syed shabir and also for emperor Mr Anwar, Mr Shabbir Patel, Abdul roof a d Mr Mahdi, Ameen, Mr Hasim and also sponsors, Pepsi, Little Caesar, Devon Discount Pharmacy, AV Stones, and also thanks for Pakistani player Mohammed Asif and Mr Adam Westindies international player and Mr Bharat international player of India and under 19 international player and Fahad Babar USA

 

India Wins Record 19 Medals At Tokyo Paralympics 2020

For India, like the Olympics last month, the Tokyo Paralympics ended with a gold medal that added glitter to its best-ever showing. With 19 medals overall, India finished 24th on the medals tally. However, there is more to the para-leap of a nation that had a grand total of just 12 medals before Tokyo: a harder push by the government, timely hand-holding by private players, mushrooming of exclusive arenas and incentives, and most significantly, a level playing field for para and able-bodied athletes.

The tally also included eight silver and six bronze medals but most importantly, it was a performance during which history was scripted almost everyday with the contingent living up to the ‘Spirit in Motion’ motto of the Games.
  1. Avani Lakhera, Shooting (Gold and Bronze)

The 19-year-old Lekhara became the first Indian woman to win a Games gold (10m air rifle) and later added a bronze in 50m rifle 3 positions to ensure that her name would now be part of every India-centric Paralympic quiz.  It was an inspiring show by the teenager who was paralysed waist down after being injured in a car accident in 2012. And to think of it, all her father had hoped to achieve by taking her to the shooting range was for Lekhara to get over the anger she had internalised after the accident which left her wheelchair-bound.

  1. Sumit Antil, Javelin Thrower, Gold

Nearly half (8) of India’s haul this time came from the track-and-field arena with javelin thrower Sumit Antil shining the brightest with a gold en route which he shattered his own world record five times over. Antil was pursuing a career in wrestling, as his family wanted, before a bike accident led to the amputation of his left leg, changing the course of his life forever.

  1. Manish Narwal, Shooting, Gold

Another shooting star rose on the horizon with Manish Narwal, all of 19, already a world champion and now a Paralympic champion as well. Narwal’s right hand is impaired and he originally wanted to be a footballer but fate had other plans for the Lionel Messi fan.

  1. Pramod Bhagat, Badminton, Gold

Bhagat won the Men’s Singles SL3 event badminton gold medal match against Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell at the Tokyo Paralympics on Saturday. This is India’s first medal in badminton at the Paralympics Games. Bhagat was 8 points behind in the second game before making a comeback and wrapping up the match 21-14, 21-17. The 33-year-old Bhagat from Bhubaneswar also remains in contention for a bronze medal in mixed doubles SL3-SU5 class. Bhagat and his partner Palak Kohli will square off against Japanese pair of Daisuke Fujihara and Akiko Sugino in the bronze medal play off on Sunday.

  1. Krishna Nagar, Badminton, Gold

Krishna Nagar won the second Para-Badminton gold for India on Sunday as he beat Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai 21-17, 16-21, 21-17 in the men’s singles SH6 final. He becomes the first-ever SH6 gold medallist in the history of the Indian Paralympics. This is India’s nineteenth medal and the fifth gold in the event. It was a tight contest right from the start between Nagar and Man Kai Chu. In the first game, Kai Chu headed into the mid-game interval with a slender lead but Nagar came back well to win the first game 21-17. In the second game, the Hong Kong player built a lead and it seemed like Nagar’s game dropped a bit in the first half of the second game. Chu Man Kai continued with his momentum and came back strongly and eventually won the game 21-16.

  1. Bhavinaben Patel, Table Tennis, Silver

Indian table tennis player Bhavinaben Patel signed off with a historic silver medal in her maiden Paralympic Games after going down 0-3 to world number one Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the women’s singles class 4 final on August 29. The 34-year-old Patel’s impressive run at the Games ended with a 7-11 5-11 6-11 loss to Zhou, a two-time gold medalist, in the women’s singles summit clash which lasted 19 minutes.

  1. Nishad Kumar, High Jump, Silver

India’s Nishad Kumar clinched a silver medal in the men’s high jump T47 event in the Tokyo Paralympics with an Asian record effort on Sunday. Kumar cleared 2.06m to win the silver and set an Asian record. American Dallas Wise was also awarded a silver as he and Kumar cleared the same height of 2.06m.Another American, Roderick Townsend won the gold with a world record jump of 2.15m.

  1. Yogesh Kathuniya, Discus Thrower, Silver

The Indian Paralympic discus throw athlete, who represented India this year, won a silver medal in the men’s discus throw F56 event. He suffers from Guillain Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, and was confined to a wheelchair in 2006. However, he started to walk after his mother gave him physiotherapy. He started in para sports in 2017 while studying at Delhi’s Kirori Mal College.

  1. Devendra Jhajharia, Javelin Thrower, Silver

Two-time gold-winning javelin throw veteran Devendra Jhajharia clinched a stupendous third Paralympic medal, a silver this time. The F46 classification is for athletes with arm deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement in arms, with athletes competing in a standing position. The 40-year-old Jhajahria, already India’s greatest Paralympian after winning gold medals in the 2004 and 2016 Games, pulled off a new personal best throw of 64.35m for the silver. Jhajahria, who lost his left hand after accidentally touching an electric wire while climbing a tree at the age of eight, bettered his own earlier world record (63.97m) but gold winner Sri Lankan Dinesh Priyan Herath Mudiyanselage (67.79m), who set a new world record, was too good for the entire field.

  1. Mariyappan Thangavelu, Long Jump, Silver

India’s Mariyappan Thangavelu won silver in the men’s high jump finalin Class T42. Mariyappan Thangavelu clinched silver after leaping the mark of 1.86m. This is his second medal at the Games, having already won a gold in Rio 2016. Mariyappan and USA’s Sam Grewe soon completed the 1.86m mark on their third attempt as Sharad had to be satisfied with a bronze after seeing three red flags.

  1. Singhraj Adhana, Shooter, Silver and Bronze

Singhraj clinched the Silver medal in the P4 – Mixed 50m Pistol SH1 final on Saturday. He grabbed his second medal of the Tokyo Paralympics with 216.7 points. National Anthem was played when the Singhraj and Manish Narwal were being awarded the medals. Singhraj said he was delighted to see India’s national flag flying high during the national anthem. Earlier this week, Singhraj clinched a bronze medal in the P1 men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1 final.

  1. Praveen Kumar, High Jump, Silver

Praveen Kumar clinched the silver medal in the men’s high jump T64 event of the Paralympics, taking the country’s haul to 11 in the ongoing Games. The 18-year-old Kumar, competing in his debut Paralympics, set a new Asian record with a 2.07m jump to finish behind Great Britain’s Jonathan Broom-Edwards, who notched up his season’s best of 2.10m for the gold.

  1. Suhas Yathiraj, Badminton, Silver

India’s Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj ended his campaign with a historic silver after going down fighting against top seed Lucas Mazur of France in the men’s singles SL4 class final at the Tokyo Paralympics on Sunday. The 38-year-old Noida district magistrate, who has an impairment in one of his ankles, led 11-10 at the decider, but just couldn’t dial down the aggression, getting carried away in the big points. Lucas Mazur kept his calm and raced to win decider 21-15. The left-handed angles and end-game poise helped as the Frenchman claimed gold.

  1. Sunder Singh Gurjar, Javelin Throw, Bronze

Sundar Singh Gurjar also chipped in with a bronze, finishing behind Jhajharia in the men’s javelin throw F46 final. The 25-year-old Gurjar, who lost his left hand in 2015 after a metal sheet fell on him at his friend’s house, was third with a best effort of 64.01m. The Jaipur-based Gurjar had won gold in the 2017 and 2019 World Para Athletics Championships. He had also won a silver in the 2018 Jakarta Para Asian Games. Earlier, discus thrower Kathuniya clinched a silver medal in the men’s F56 event.

  1. Sharad Kumar, High jump, Bronze

Sharad Kumar won bronze in the men’s high jump final at the National Stadium in Tokyo in Class T42. Sharad Kumar grabbed bronze after scaling his season best mark of 1.83m. Muzaffarpur’s Sharad became Bihar’s first-ever Paralympic medallist after he won a bronze medal in the F42 category of men’s high jump in the Tokyo Para Games.

  1. Harvinder Singh, Archery, Bronze

Harvinder Singh notched up India’s first ever archery medal in the Paralympics, holding his nerves to down Kim Min Su of Korea in a thrilling shoot-off for the men’s individual recurve bronze in the Paralympic Games. World No.23 Singh was the first athlete from India to win a gold medal at a major para competition in the 2018 Asian Games. An economics scholar from the Punjabi University, Patiala, Singh collected three shoot-off wins on the day starting with his triumphs in the opening rounds.

  1. Manoj Sarkar, Badminton, Bronze

Manoj Sarkar won the bronze medal after beating Daisuke Fujihara 22-20, 21-13 in the men’s singles SL3 event at the Tokyo Paralympics on Saturday. The 31-year-old won in straight games, sealing a 22-20 21-13 win on Saturday. Sarkar crashed to an 8-21 10-21 defeat in the semifinals against Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell, but bounced back strongly to coast past Fujihara. Sarkar won the first game in 22 minutes and the second in 19 minutes.

Virat Kohli Wins Max In SENA Countries After Triumph At The Oval

India captain Virat Kohli achieved a remarkable milestone on Monday. As India defeated England in the fourth Test by 157 runs at The Oval, he became the Asian captain with most number of wins (6) in SENA countries. He is already the most successful Indian Test captain, having surpassed MS Dhoni in 2019. Over the course of his captaincy career, Kohli has recorded three Test wins in the UK, two in Australia and one in South Africa. Former Pakistan captains Javed Miadad and Wasim Akram had won four matches each in SENA countries.

India defeated England by 157 runs in the fourth Test at The Oval to take an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the five-match series. England began the final day at 77/0, needing 291 runs to win. Openers Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns got to their fifties but once they were dismissed, it was all downhill for England. In the second session, England lost four wickets for six runs en route to losing 6 for just 62 runs. Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja, two wickets each, were the wreckers-in-chief in that afternoon session, cleaning up England’s middle-order with a fuss. At the end, it was Umesh Yadav’s three-for that cleaned up England’s tail and sealed a famous win for India. Amidst all this, let’s not forget Shardul Thakur’s brace, which included the all-important scalps of Burns and Joe Root.

Over the course of his captaincy career, Kohli has recorded three Test wins in the UK, two in Australia and one in South Africa. Kohli now also holds the record of most Test win by an Asian captain in and against England. With the victory at The Oval on Sunday, Kohli surpassed the likes of Imran Khan, Javed Miadad, Kapil Dev, Misbah-ul-Haq and Wasim Akram to achieve this feat.

Asian Captains with most Test wins in and against England
Virat Kohli 3
Imran Khan 2
Javed Miadad 2
Kapil Dev 2
Misbah-ul-Haq 2
Wasim Akram 2

England Beat India By An Innings And 76 Runs To Level The Series

Joe Root held back and allowed Ollie Robinson to lead England off with a souvenir stump in his left hand, cap in the other, to lap up the acclaim of Headingley after a startling victory by an innings and 76 runs. Root had just made history, becoming England’s most successful Test captain with 27 wins, overtaking his boyhood hero Michael Vaughan, but he recognised he should step back for this was a victory set up by his bowlers. Robinson deserved his moment. “Sensational throughout the whole game,” was Root’s snap verdict moments after levelling the series and it was hard to disagree despite his own brilliant century strengthening England’s grip. Root was relieved though. It is six months since he levelled Vaughan’s record and this result stopped a seven match winless streak.

Robinson took five for 65 including four for 25 from an eight-over spell with the second new ball in the morning that destroyed India’s resilience, ensured the match was over 10 minutes before lunch and left Yorkshire having to fork out 50 per cent refunds. The ECB will be happy. This was all over in 112 balls. Surely someone can market that as a new version of Test cricket. How the mood had changed from Monday when the teams were netting at Headingley and Root learned he had lost another bowler – Mark Wood – and admitted he had to remind himself he was living his boyhood dream as England captain while coming to terms with the Lord’s defeat.

“When I was 10 years old I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do.” In truth, the break refreshed England, gave them time to regroup and remind themselves India’s batting had looked vulnerable in both Tests. They took advantage of good bowling conditions on day one, dismissing India for 78 and played on Virat Kohli’s hubris when he opted to bat first, ignoring 20 years of results at Headingley. Robinson admitted afterwards he had only learned to bowl the wobble seam delivery that served him well here by speaking to James Anderson in the week leading up to the Test. He is clearly a remarkably quick learner for he has taken to Test cricket like a natural, with 23 wickets at 17 in his four matches to date, with seven for 81 here.

He has endured the ups and downs already after his suspension for racist tweets but proved his maturity by focussing completely on his bowling despite the storm around him. He must have enjoyed his man-of-the-match award at Headingley which he left under a dark cloud as a youngster when Yorkshire despaired at his lack of professionalism. Members of the India squad were in the nets while the post-match presentation was taking place and Kohli was going through his interviews. He knows his middle order is in deep trouble, himself included. Cheteshwar Puajra made 91 but did not add to his overnight total and Kohli nicked off again playing in the channel outside off stump, where he averages 7.25 in this series.

India collapsed from 215 for three at the start of play to 278 all out in 18.3 overs with only Ravindra Jadeja scoring more than six runs on Saturday.   Robinson and Anderson looked as if they were sore on Friday night, both leaving the field for treatment as India rallied. But with the new ball due in their hand, they were refreshed and started with three maidens to crank up the pressure. Robinson, for the second time in the innings, worked his way through an eight-over spell and this time it was hot, the sun beating down for the first time in the match. He struck first from the Kirkstall Lane End, angling the ball into Pujara who shouldered arms and was struck on the pads. It was given not out, but England reviewed and Root leapt in the air, punching his fists towards the packed out Emerald Stand when it was given out, the relief obvious given Pujara’s stickability. Robinson (left) celebrates taking the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara after review Credit:PA. On 46, Kohli turned and walked when he was given out off the outside edge but partner Ajkinkya Rahane called him back to review. It was wise. Kohli had clipped his pad and was not out.

But it did not matter. Kohli reached fifty, drove Robinson for four but next ball fiddled at a wobble seam delivery which bounced, held its line and took the outside edge with Root pouching a good catch at first slip. Kohli, head bowed, walked off slowly. He had fallen into the trap again. Joe Root wheels away after claiming the catch to dismiss Virat Kohli Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Anderson will need to produce a book as thick as Wisden to record all his records and he added another one when Rahane dangled the bat and edged behind, another India batsmen playing at a ball he should have left. It was Anderson’s 400th Test wicket in England. Only Muttiah Muralitharan had taken 400 wickets in one country before. More importantly to Anderson, it was his first second-innings wicket of the summer and now England could realistically look forward to the afternoon off. Rishabh Pant has no defence to speak of in these situations, the ball seaming and swinging just enough to challenge the edge. He is batting a place too high, especially in England, and it has to be rectified. He charged down to two of his seven balls and it was never going to last. He chased a wide ball and edged Robinson to third slip for one.

Robinson thought he had his fifth wicket when Mohammed Shami was given lbw playing across the line, but it was going over the top of leg stump on review. Root cleverly turned to Moeen Ali, who has a hold over Shami, and bowled him with his second ball, a perfect offbreak that spun between bat and pad. Root gave Robinson one more over, desperately wanting him to take a fifth wicket. Ishant Sharma obliged, propping forward to edge behind for two. There would be no tailend resistance this time,  England homing in on the offstump relentlessly. Robinson deserved his break after nearly 90 minutes of bowling, stepping aside for Craig Overton to wrap up a decent Test return with the final two wickets, striking twice in three balls to remove Jadeja for 30 and last man Mohammed Siraj, both caught off the edge. Surrey, always canny commercial operators, announced straightaway there are tickets available for all five days of the fourth Test. Be quick, grab a seat. This series is brilliantly set up by two

Ten overs into the morning, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli have already both been dismissed. The second new ball is swinging and seaming; James Anderson and Ollie Robinson are bowling with immaculate control. Batting in Test cricket in England is seldom so challenging.   To Rishabh Pant there is only one response: charge. And so when he receives his first delivery from Anderson, Pant shuffles down the wicket. To his second ball, he does the same, and steers a single into the on side. From his third ball, against Robinson, Pant again advances, only this time with palpable intent, and attempts to smear him through the on side for a boundary. His bat only connects with air.  It seems the acme of recklessness; you can almost sense the tut-tutting as Pant moves up the pitch. The idea of Pant’s impetuosity obscures the rationale to what Pant is doing: by advancing, he hopes to negate seam movement.

In Test cricket, there exists a curious hierarchy of dismissal. A batsman dismissed defending is sparred opprobrium; one who is removed attacking is vilified, even if he scored more runs. For a top-order batsmen to be dismissed attacking early on in an innings is seen as not merely a cricketing fallibility but a moral one: evidence of a lack of character, a dearth of judgement and sheer arrogance. There is an alternative view. Part of the rich tapestry of Test cricket is that it is a game for all sorts; there is no one set way to approach an innings, as the brilliant, contrasting partnerships shared by Pujara and Pant during India’s victory in Australia last winter attest.  Pant’s propensity to attack is rooted in the simple belief that this is the best way for him to score runs. The rationale is two-fold. Firstly, Pant has an extraordinary array of attacking shots; when he last encountered Anderson with the second new ball, in Ahmedabad in March, Pant reverse-scooped him for four. Secondly, Pant resembles a man who does not trust his defence in English conditions. What can look like bravado is also a mask for insecurity.  Perversely, Pant’s dismissal also provides some vindication for his method. After his first three balls, he returns to a slightly more conventional approach to batting against the moving ball in England. He bats a little outside his crease, but does not advanced further towards the ball as the ball is bowled. And, rather than attempt to swish against the line, instead Pant reverts to defence.

From his fourth ball with this more conventional approach, Pant pokes forward at a delivery pushed across him from Robinson. It is angled across Pant at a line that he could have left alone; instead, his circumspect prod only steers the ball into the slips. All that reverting to orthodoxy has done is get Pant dismissed. There are very legitimate qualms with Pant’s approach in the second innings at Headingley: trying to hoick his third ball, when Anderson and Robinson seemed to be nearing the end of their spells, hardly gave himself the best chance. Pant’s real problem, though, was less of method than the durability of his defence. In seven Tests in England, he has been dismissed defending every 27 balls, compared to 49 balls for all batsmen in the top six in this time.  So when he defends the ball in England, Pant is almost twice as likely to be dismissed as the average top-order batsman. Seen through this light, Pant’s embrace of attacking is not so much a deliberate choice as a reflection of a lack of alternatives.

None of this obscures that Pant is an extraordinary cricketer. Aged 23, he averages 40, and has hit Test centuries in England, Australia and India. In consecutive weeks in Australia in January, India needed over 300 in the final innings; Pant responded with 97 and 89*, two innings of remarkable audacity and self-belief, to help India clinch a draw and a win and seal their heist in Australia. But against the seaming and swinging ball, Pant’s method has been altogether less robust: he now averages just 22.6 in seven Tests in England, and floundered in New Zealand too. For all the temptations to castigate his approach, Pant’s bigger problem is simply his porous defence – and the white heat of a five-match Test series is no time to change a player’s technique. And so perhaps India would be wiser to hope that, with a little fortune, a phenomenal talent can trust in his method and score runs in his own unique way.

(Courtesy: The Independent)

In UCL T20 Night Tournament Cricket Match, Anjuman Defeat Deccan Heroes

Cricket League and Entertainment held its Night Tournament Closing Ceremony was on August 23, 2021 Monday at Skokie Sports Park, IL. 12 teams that participated are Anjuman, Chicago Indians, Cougars, Mavericks, American Eagles, Deccan Heroes, Deepark, Rogers park, Gujju boys, Hawks, Kimball 11, and Maharishi CC. The two teams that played in the final are Anjuman and Deccan Heroes. Anjuman won the toss and the Captain, Ayaz Patel decided to bat first. Deccan Heroe captain Jibran led the team very well. Anjuman scored 206 runs and Deccan Heroes scored 115 runs. Anjuman won the final. Man of the Match was Ayaz Patel, and Man of the Series was Gul Khan.

The chief Guests included Masood Chik, former cricketer of Pakistan, Pramod Shah: Skokie Village Clerk , Jim McCarthy: Skokie Caucus Party Chairman, Susan Aberman: Skokie Park Board President, Mike Reid: Skokie Park Board Vice President. Mike Shah: Skokie Planning Commissioner, Robert DeLeonardis: Sports park supervisor, Syed Mustaq Hussain: main advisor, and Syed Sikander: advisor. Other guests were Mohammed Afroz, Mohammed Anwar, Faheem Shehzad, Abdul Faheem, Mohammed Rafi, Sidiq Khan, Mohammed Yunus, Mukhram Mehmood, Ayaz Patel, Sufuyian Dukanwala, Syed Ehsan, and everyone who attended. The empires were Syed Shabbir, and Hanif Lala. UCL&E would like to thank their sponsors which includes Pepsi, PPG, Devon Discount Pharmacy, Sabri Nahari, NP Jewelers, Free Covid Care, AV Stone, Patel Brothers, Air Tour, Shalimar Banquet Hall, Little Ceaser pizza, Noble Services, Lyca Mobile, and Okay Auto Repair.

There was also media coverage by TV Asia, Hi India, Asian Media USA, Crickcom, and Crickclub. The President of United Cricket League and Entertainment, Adil Azeem Khan would like to thank everyone and encourage teams to participate in the Gold Cup Tournament during Labor Day weekend.

Anju Bobby George Says, Shaili Can Break Her National Record

Shaili, 17, won the silver medal at the World U20 Championships in Nairobi with a jump of 6.59 metres (wind assisted), finishing behind European junior champion Maja Askag of Sweden by one centimeter last week. Her previous best was 6.48 metres, but a wind speed of 2.2 metres per second means her best jump on Sunday won’t be entered in the record books though she finished second. Anju Bobby George, the 2003 World Championship bronze medallist, is certain about Shaili Singh breaking her long-standing national record of 6.83 metres.

The 17-year-old from Jhansi, who trains in Bengaluru, has the potential to win an Olympic medal, Anju believes. “She can improve on the national record. Our main target for Shaili is to help her finish on the podium at the Olympic Games, which is the most valuable thing. If our trainee can win a medal, I will consider it as my own,” Anju says. Anju set the national record at the 2004 Athens Olympics where she finished fifth. Shali is mentored by Anju and coached by her husband Robert Bobby George, a high-performance coach with the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Shaili came under Robert’s wings when she was 14, much earlier than Anju who was about 20 when Robert started coaching her. Getting formal coaching early meant Shaili didn’t pick up any technical flaws which are difficult to correct as one grows older. “I was able to achieve whatever I could because of Robert. I had a taped leg and only one kidney. So if you look at it, Shaili has great potential,” Anju adds. A young Shaili could have gone unnoticed at a junior championship nearly four years ago if not for Robert looking beyond the medallists.

Elaine Thompson-Herah Is Second Fastest Runner In Women’s 100m History

Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah ran the second fastest women’s 100m of all time at the Eugene Diamond League. The Jamaican, who retained her 100m-200m title double in Tokyo, clocked a new world lead of 10.54 seconds. Only American Florence Griffith-Joyner has run faster, when she set her world record of 10.49 secs in 1988. Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith finished third in the 200m as she continues her return from the hamstring injury that blighted her Olympic campaign.

The race was won by Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji, with American Gabrielle Thomas finishing 0.08 secs ahead of world champion Asher-Smith. In the 100m, Thompson-Herah’s Jamaican compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson were second and third respectively in a repeat of the Tokyo podium American Sha’Carri Richardson, who missed the Olympics because of a one-month suspension after testing positive for marijuana, finished last. “It was a great return back to the sport,” the 21-year-old said. “I wanted to be able to come and perform. Having the month off, dealing with all I had to deal with, I’m not upset with myself at all. “This is one race, I’m not done. You know what I’m capable of. Count me out if you want to, because I’m here to stay.”

Earlier this season, Fraser-Pryce ran 10.63 secs to become the second fastest woman in history behind Griffith-Joyner, only to see her time usurped by 29-year-old Thompson-Herah with 10.61 secs as she retained her Olympic title in Tokyo. Records tumbled in all corners of the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, with Olympic medallists continuing their fine form back on the Diamond League tour. Tokyo bronze medallist Andre de Grasse won the men’s 100m in 9.74 secs, with Americans Fred Kerley – the Olympic silver medal winner – and Ronnie Baker crossing the line in second and third.

In the men’s 200m, American Olympic bronze medallist Noah Lyles set a new meeting record and world lead of 19.52 secs. Athing Mu followed up her women’s 800m gold in Tokyo with victory in the non-Diamond League event in Eugene, setting a new world lead of one minute 55.04 secs in a race that saw Britain’s Olympic silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson place fifth and Jemma Reekie eighth. Norway’s Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen was victorious over one mile in a new world leading time of three minutes 47.24 secs, while two-time Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya won the 1500m, with Laura Muir, who won silver in Tokyo, only managing 12th.

Olympic silver medallist Dalilah Muhammad set a new meeting record of 52.77 secs in the 400m hurdles, while Kenya’s Norah Jeruto won the women’s 3,000m steeplechase and Uganda’s 5,000m gold medallist Joshua Cheptegei set a new two-mile world lead of eight minutes 9.55 secs. In the field events, Olympic pole vault champion Katie Nageotte, also of the US, won with a jump of 4.82m, again finishing ahead of Tokyo silver medallist Holly Bradshaw. Portugal’s triple jump Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo continued his winning form at Hayward Field, while Ukraine’s Iryna Gerashchenko, fourth in Tokyo, won the women’s high jump. Two-time Olympic shot put champion Ryan Crouser of the US set a new Diamond League record of 23.15m. Elsewhere, Elliot Giles finished fourth in the men’s 800m – won by Canada’s Marco Arop – while British team-mate Oliver Dustin slipped down into seventh after leading into the final straight.

After 4 Decades, India Wins A Hockey Medal At Olympics

Ending the long drought, India’s hockey team has come home with an Olympic medal in 2021. The dreams of billions of hockey fans came true when India bagged a historic bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics, beating Germany 5-4 in an edge-of-the-seat thriller to claim its first medal in 41 years that will hopefully revive the sport’s fortunes in a country that is considered the spiritual home of the game on August 5th. India last won an Olympic medal in 1980 — a gold in Moscow. The Olympic men’s field hockey is the country’s first medal in that sport since 1980 – a decade before any of the current players were even born.

Manpreet Singh’s fought back brilliantly from a two-goal deficit (1-3) to score four goals in four minutes just around half-time for a sensational victory that would remind fans of the glory days when the Indians were a force to reckon with in world hockey.

India unleashed a four-goal blitz in four minutes as they came roaring back after being pinned down 1-3 by the Germans who started aggressively and created good pressure by going full press from the start itself.

But the Indians took control of the midfield, capitalized on the gaps created by the hard-pressing Germans, and counter-attacked brilliantly, cutting the German defense to shreds in those four minutes that left the opponents shocked. Till that time, it looked like Tobias Hauke’s side had taken control of the match as they opened the scoring in the second minute of their first attack and then scored twice within a minute as they took control of the proceedings with a 3-1 lead.

But the Indians were not done yet. They scored two goals of their own in the 27th and 29th minute through Hardik and Harmanpreet Singh, the latter powering a brilliant drag-flick into the German goal, capitalising on swift counter-attacks. The score was 3-3 at half-time and both teams had a lot to play for.

The Indians continued with the momentum in the third quarter and a minute after the restart, earned a penalty stroke when Mandeep Singh was brought down by Oruz in the shooting circle. Rupinderpal Singh’s push had too much power for German goalkeeper Alexander Stadler, who guessed the direction but could not get down fast enough to stop it.

India made things more difficult for Germany when Simranjeet Singh was on target again in the 34th minute after he was set up by Gurjant Singh, who made a good run to the goal-line and sent a minus ball inside the circle.

The Germans pulled one goal back with Windfeder converting a penalty corner in the 48th minute and India survived some anxious moments when Germany earned a penalty corner in the dying minutes of the match. PR Sreejesh, who has stood like a rock throughout the match pulling off many saves, blocked Windfeder’s attempt and the Indians jumped in celebration as the clock ran out.

Simranjeet Singh (17th, 34th) scored a brace of goals while Hardik Singh (27th min), Harmanpreet Singh (29th min), and Rupinderpal Singh (31st min) scored a goal apiece for India while for Germany Timur Cruz (2nd min), Niklas Wellen (24th min), Benedict Furk (25th min) and Lukas Windfeder (48th min) were on target. Sreejesh, ecstatic after winning the bronze medal in his third Olympics, climbed on to the top of the goal post to celebrate as his teammates ran around the ground, hugging and congratulating each other. As his teammates cried with joy, India’s goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh scrambled atop his goalposts, his padded legs dangling, and stretched his arms wide, pumping two fists in the air.

But even bigger history might still be made Friday, when India’s field hockey women — who’ve never won any Olympic medal — compete for their own bronze.  On Friday morning local time, India’s women faced, fighting brilliantly against Britain. The Indian women shocked undefeated Australia in the quarterfinals, but they lost to Argentina in the semifinals. It was the Indian women’s first-ever appearance in a semifinal match.

The Indian men’s hockey team has received a total funding of Rs 50 crore in the five years since 2016. The team that finished eighth in Rio de Janeiro Olympics after losing to Belgium in the quarter-finals, has received Rs 50 crore as part of Annual Calendar for Training and Competitions’ (ACTC) funding.

Besides this, the team received Rs 16.80 lakh under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), the Sports Authority of India informed. Thus the total government contribution in their preparation for the last five years comes to Rs. 50,19,80,000 (Rs 50.2 crore).

The team, which was stuck at Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Bengaluru centre for the entire duration of the nationwide lockdown in 2020, has mostly trained at home last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant travel restrictions. Besides the above mentioned funding, the team also received visa assistance for various international competitions and foreign training trips. It was worth all the investment India has done for the hockey game, which used to be one of the most popular sports in India.

It was India’s fourth medal in the Tokyo Olympics after one silver and three bronze. Weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu won the (silver medal while shuttler PV Sindhu and boxer Lovlina Borghain claimed the other two bronze medals.

India has won more Olympic medals in field hockey than any other sport. But prior to Tokyo, its 11 hockey medals were all won by men, and all before 1980 – until now. On August 5th, the Indian team overcame four decades of disappointments as it captured a well-deserved bronze medal to take India’s tally in Olympic Games hockey competitions to 12 medals — eight gold, one silver and three bronze, surpassing Germany, with whom they were tied at 11 (4 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze).

The curse has been broken.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted moments after India won the hockey medal in Tokyo: “Historic! A day that will be etched in the memory of every Indian.”

Neeraj Chopra Makes India Proud By Winning Gold For India In Tokyo Olympics

“It feels unbelievable. It is the first time India has won a gold in athletics, so I feel very good. We have just one gold here in other sports,” Neeraj Chopra said after winning the historic gold at the Olympics in Tokyo. Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal, flinging the javelin a staggering 87.58m to top the charts in Tokyo.

Neeraj Chopra didn’t even give it a second glance. The moment he released the javelin, he was so sure it would at least be his personal best that he turned to his coaches, and lifted his arms to celebrate. However, it wasn’t his personal best. The throw, which travelled 87.58 m, made him an Olympic champion.

The young Haryanvi boy has vaulted himself into history books as well as the consciousness of a medal-starved nation. It would go down, to date, as the most historic of medals in India’s Olympic history. Perhaps, the most historic in the nation’s sporting history. The gold, a historic first for the country in track and field, the second for an individual ever and the first since Abhinav Bindra’s in 2008, would also ensure India’s richest-ever tally (seven).

Much before he won the country’s first-ever track and field medal, they used to call Neeraj the village headman in Khandra, near Panipat in Haryana. What started as a joke turned out prophetic. The Asian and Commonwealth golds in 2018, was a turning point in Neeraj’s life in terms of fame and recognition. But the 23-year-old has always remained oblivious to the trappings of stardom. The prize money and sponsorship deals post-2018 helped him fulfil some long-standing desires but they still remain grounded.

Despite his superstar status, Khandra, a village close to Panipat in Haryana, still calls him sarpanch. In close to a decade, the Chopras have climbed up the social ladder with such speed that they are the new benchmark of this village. Along with Neeraj’s once modest home getting repaired, refurbished and growing in height, the new admissions at the javelin academy at the local school has increased. The Olympic medal is expected to see an army of young boys with dreams reaching out for the javelin.

Although Neeraj Chopra’s javelin gold made sure India will leave Tokyo with a record medal haul — with one gold, two silver and four bronzes —  that’s just one more than last time. However, what is history-making is that never ever, since the Dhyan Chand era, has India dominated an Olympics discipline the way 23-year-old Neeraj Chopra did on Saturday. For India, Tokyo 2020’s biggest takeaway came on Saturday – the gold in a mainstream mass-sport.

Wrestler Dahiya Wins Silver Medal In 57kg Freestyle Wrestling

Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya fought a brave bout but could not overcome the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) Zavur Uguev in the final of the men’s freestyle 57kg at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday. The 23-year-old Indian had to settle for a silver medal as the ROC wrestler won the bout 7-4 on points.

Dahiya, who had reached the final by beating Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan with a last-minute fall in the semifinal, found Uguev, a two-time world champion, too strong and too determined to win the gold. The Russian won early points and then defended strongly, without giving Dahiya many chances.

Dahiya won India’s second silver medal in Olympic wrestling after Sushil Kumar who won in 66kg freestyle in the London Olympics in 2012. India has won five medals, including two silver, at the Tokyo Olympics so far.

This was two-time Asian champion Dahiya’s second straight loss to Zavur  Uguev, a two-time world champion, in as many meetings. The two met in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Championships in Nur Sultan and the Indian wrestler lost in the final seconds of the bout in a closely fought contest.

Dahiya, who hails from Nahri village in Sonipat district of Haryana, was initially trained by Asian Games gold-medalist Sat pal Singh at the Chatrasal Stadium in north Delhi. Old-timers at the stadium would recall ‘ow Dahiya’s father Rakesh Dahiya, a small farmer, would travel every day from their village to the stadium to deliver fresh milk and fruits, which were part of the’ wrestler’s diet, for more than a decade. Those visits proved successful as Dahiya made his father proud on Thursday by winning the silver medal.

At the Makuhari Messe hall, Dahiya began the final cautiously as he was aw’re of Uguev’s strength and tried to assess how ready his opponent was before launching his attack. However, Uguev was strong in his defense and turned the tables on the Indian, and claimed two points.

With the bench encouraging Dahiya, a bronze-medalist in the World Championships, and gold medalist in the Asian Championships, to match th’ ROC wrestler’s pace, the Indian grappler dipped further to find a hold and turn Uguev around for his first takedown.

But Uguev was quick to turn around and return the favour as they headed into the break with the reigning world champion leading 4-2. Though Uguev seemed visibly tired in the second period, he didn’t allow Ravi Dahiya a clear opening to make a move. Ravi himself was quite tired but made a last-ditch effort.

With the clock running down, the Indian wrestler went for the kill and scored two points. But Uguev was quick to counter-attack and bagged three points to win the bout.  (IANS)

India’s Women’s Hockey Team Lost, But Creates History

The chief coach of the Indian women’s hockey team, Sjoerd Marijne, said his team may not have won a medal at Tokyo 2020 but his players did achieve something bigger as they inspired the country to dream of success at the Olympics.

India went down 4-3 to Great Britain in a closely-fought bronze medal playoff on August 6th despite fighting back from a two-goal deficit. The team led 3-2 at half-time but the British came back strongly in the second half and denied them a historic medal in only their third appearance in the Olympics since women’s hockey made its debut in 1980 at Moscow.

The Indian team stunned everyone by making it to the semifinal by beating mighty Australia, world No. 2, in the quarterfinal after scrapping through the preliminary round, and though they went down to Argentina in the semis and Great Britain, the team came up with a fighting display in all its matches and had more than a billion lauding the effort.

Asked what was his message to the team after the defeat, Marijne told the media he told them he was proud of their performance. “The first emotion is about losing… yeah you want to win but, really, I feel proud. Pride. I’m proud of the girls, how they again showed their fight and skills. Normally when (the) Indian women’s team are 2-0 down, it always becomes 3-0, 4-0… but now they kept fighting. We came back in the match, we were even one-up,” Marijne was quoted as saying by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

He said the girls should be proud that they achieved something bigger than a medal.

“And I said to the girls, ‘Listen, I can’t take away your tears. No words will help for that. We didn’t win the medal, but I think we achieved something bigger, and it’s inspiring a country and make the country proud (sic).’ And I’ve shown many messages of people who were saying that, and I think the world has seen another Indian team, and I’m really proud of that,” Marijne added. (IANS)

The Woman Who Has Won Most Olympic Medals In History

Allyson Felix cemented her place as the greatest American track and field athlete of all time Saturday morning. The 35-year-old track star won her 11th Olympic medal on Saturday morning, surpassing the American record of 10 medals in track and field set by Carl Lewis in 1996. Only Paavo Nurmi of Finland, who won 12 medals during his career as a long-distance runner, holds more.

The U.S. women’s 4x400m relay team of Kendall Ellis, Lyann Irby, Wadeline Jonathas, and Kaylin Whitney won the qualifying heat in 3.20.86 on Thursday.  The U.S. subbed all four runners for the final, putting together an all-star team of runners, each of whom had already won individual medals in Tokyo.

Lewis warmly congratulated her in a post on Twitter. “35 never looked so good,” he said. “What an amazing career and inspiration.” “I think people thought I was a long shot for me to even be on the U.S. team. And then, you know, I wasn’t a pick for the medals. But, you know, just give me a shot,” Felix said with a smile.

Earlier, she had won a bronze medal last week in the 400 meters at the Tokyo Olympics. This was Felix’s fifth Olympics and her 10th medal. She first competed in Athens in 2004 and has medaled in every Summer Games since then.

“This one is very different, and it’s very special. And it just took a lot to get here,” Felix said after the race. Felix’s time Friday of 49.46 is the second-fastest of her career, according to USA Track and Field. Her medal Friday means Felix now exceeded the record set by Jamaican athlete Merlene Ottey.

“No matter what it feels is stacked against you, you go out with character and integrity, you give your all, and that’s all anybody else can ask of you, and you’re proud with that,” Felix said.

Marcell Jacobs Is The Fastest Man Winning Men’s 100 Meter Title Elaine Thompson-Herah Is The Fastest Woman In The World

Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica has been crowned officially the fastest woman in the world — again — after winning the 100 meters at the Tokyo Games in Olympic record time. She was the defending gold medalist in this event.

“I knew I had it in me, but obviously, I’ve had my ups and downs with injuries,” she said Saturday, referring to a persistent ailment in 2018 and 2019. “I’ve been keeping faith all this time. It is amazing.”

Marcell Jacobs of Italy is the surprise victor of the fastest track race at the Tokyo Olympics, the men’s 100 meter. Jacobs beat his personal best time and put his star solidly on the map in the blazing fast race. He was not well-known in the track world before today, making it to the semi-finals of this event in the 2019 World Athletics Championships. After his victory, he gleefully hugged his teammate, high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi.

The other medalists also broke their personal records. The U.S.’s Fred Kerley, a 26-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, took silver with a time of 9.84, four hundredths of a second behind Jacobs. Canada’s Andre de Grasse won bronze.

Legendary retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has owned this event, winning gold in the 2008 Beijing Games, the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. U.S. sprinter Ronnie Baker, 27, came back from a hamstring injury that kept him out of competition for much of 2019. He placed fifth in the final.

Fraser-Pryce, who won the event at the Olympics in Beijing and London, came into the event trying to become the first woman to win three gold medals at this distance. The 34-year-old clocked the fastest time in the heats to qualify for the final, with a time quicker than her gold medal races.

But Thompson-Herah took control of the final race right off the blocks and straight through the finish line. At the end, she screamed in joy and jumped up and down before collapsing on the track. “I couldn’t find the words. I screamed so loud because I was so happy,” she said.

It was a sweep for Jamaica, with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce taking silver and Shericka Jackson taking bronze. About a minute after the race finished, the other Jamaican medalists came over and gave her a quick pat on the back.

Besides Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce, just two other women have won two golds in this event — Wyomia Tyus, who competed for the U.S. in the 1960s, and Gail Devers, a U.S. athlete who won her golds in the 1990s. U.S. runner Teahna Daniels, 24, ran a personal best time to make it into the race. She placed seventh.

PV Sindhu Makes History By Winning Medal At Tokyo Olympics

Badminton star Pusarla Venkata (PV) Sindhu scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to collect two medals at the Olympics after defeating China’s He Bingjiao 21-13, 21-15 in the bronze medal match on Sunday, August 1st. The Indian athlete won a Bronze Medal against China in Tokyo this year, and became the only Indian woman to win 2 medals at the Olympics.

Sindhu, who won India’s historic silver at Rio Olympics in 2016, lost the semi-finals to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying on Saturday but defeated China’s He Bing Jiao the next day to secure the third spot at the podium.

 

With this win, Sindhu becomes the second Indian after Sushil Kumar to win two individual Olympic medals. She had won a silver in the last Olympics in Rio after losing in the final to Carolina Marin.

Sindhu didn’t drop a single game at this year’s Olympics in the five matches that she won and her ten match wins at the Olympics are the most for an Indian badminton player. Saina Nehwal, who won bronze at the London Olympics in 2012 and the only other Indian badminton player to medal at the Olympics, is second with nine.

This is India’s third medal at this Olympics. Mirabai Chanu had earlier won a bronze in weightlifting, while Lovlina Borgohain is also assured of a medal in boxing after reaching the semifinals. India had won two medals at the previous Olympics in Rio. This is also the first time that three Indian women have medaled at a single edition of the Olympics.

Sindhu began earning global recognition for India when she entered the international circuit in 2009 at age 14, winning bronze at the 2009 Sub-Junior Asian Badminton Championships and then silver at the 2010 Iran Fajr International Badminton Challenge.

Over the years, Sindhu has been winning multiple medals in different international tournaments, including the Asian Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and the World Championships.

Sindhu became the first Indian to win the historic gold medal at the World Championships in 2019. It was Sindhu’s fifth World Championships medal.

Sindhu has also become the most marketable female athlete in India, earning lucrative sponsorship deals over the years. She placed 7th in Forbes’ Highest-Paid Female Athletes List in 2018 and 13th in 2019.

Indian Parliament Hails Olympic Medallist Mirabai Chanu

Both the Houses of Indian Parliament have  congratulated Olympic silver medallistSaikhomMirabaiChanu. Parliament hailed the performance of the athlete. Indian weightlifter MirabaiChanu bagged a historic silver medal in the women’s 49kg weightlifting at the Tokyo.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said: “I am extremely happy to inform you that MirabaiChanu won a silver medal in the Olympics. I congratulate her on behalf of the House and myself. I hope that other athletes will also perform well in their respective games and bring laurels for the country.” Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu lauded MirabaiChanu’s achievement of securing a silver medal in the weightlifting event in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. Indian Weightlifter MirabaiChanu created history as she opened India’s medal tally.

“With her spectacular performance, Mirabai not only opened medal tally for the country in this Olympics but also ended a long wait of 21years. An epitome of hard work, grit, and determination, I’m sure that Chanu’s achievement will not only boost the morale of the Indian spokesperson taking part in the Olympic games but also inspire our budding sportsperson to emulate her achievement and improve upon their performances,” Naidu said.

MirabaiChanu scripted history as she won silver in the weightlifting event in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics on Saturday. Chanu won the silver medal in the Women’s 49kg category and finished the event with a total lift of 202 kg. The weightlifter started the competition by lifting 84kg in her first attempt during the snatch event. On the other hand, her competitor, Jourdan Delacruz of the USA lifted 83kg in her first attempt. However, MirabaiChanu in her second attempt stepped up her ante and lifted 87kg while Delacruz in her second attempt lifted 86kg.

On July 26, MirabaiChanu in a video posted on her official Twitter handle, said, “Yesterday, I won a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, and therefore, I wish to dedicate this to all the citizens of India and am also thankful to the entire nation for their prayers and good wishes. It is because of them that I could win a medal. I wish to thank them all. Jai Hind!”.

Two 13-Year-Old Skateboarders Are Stars Of Japan Olympics

Japan’s MomijiNishiya, 13, made history on Monday when she took home the first women’s street skateboarding Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Standing next to her on the Olympic podium was Rayssa Leal from Brazil, also 13, who earned silver in the event. Japanese skater Funa Nakayama, 16, took bronze. Nishiya’s win comes one day after 22-year-old Japanese skater YutoHorigome won gold in the men’s event, and it cements Japan’s status as a skateboarding powerhouse. The women’s skateboarding final was a huge moment for these Games—as some of the Olympics’ youngest competitors offered up impressive tricks and brutal wipeouts on an international stage.

Half of the skaters in the finals lineup were under 18, and in Tokyo’s scorching heat, they were determined to land their best tricks. They managed to fill the mostly empty skatepark with joy as hip-hop thumped in the background. The skaters were generous with hugs and applause after impressive runs. MargielynDidal of the Philippines gave Japan’s Aori Nishimura fist pumps. Nakayama and Nishiya chatted with each other while waiting for their turns. Leal would sometimes skate near the spectator area, where the press and athletes were sitting to celebrate her high scores.

The few spectators at the Ariake Urban Sports Park witnessed some big surprises on Monday. World No. 1-ranked Pamela Rosa, 22, was seen as Brazil’s most likely medal hopeful, but she didn’t even make it to the final. Nishimura, 19, the No. 3-ranked female street skateboarder after claiming a world title in June at the Street Skateboarding World Championships, came in eighth after falling several times.

After winning gold, Nishiya was asked what she wanted to tell young skaters. “Skateboarding is fun and interesting, I hope everyone can give it a try,” she told TIME. And this young field is already offering powerful inspiration for a new generation of skaters. Outside of Ariake Urban Sports Park, 9-year-old Keito Ota and 8-year-old Ayane Nakamura were eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of the newly minted Japanese medalists. The two friends had started skateboarding about a year ago and arrived at the park wearing Team Japan skateboarding shirts. Every time a bus left the venue, they would press themselves against the metal fences holding pieces of paper that said “Thank you for your hard work” and “Congratulations on your gold medal.”

Ota said he was already a fan of Horigome as well as Nishimura. But now he’s adding Nishiya and Nakayama to his list of favorite skateboarders. “I am their fan now,” Ota said as he slid around on his skateboard. In August, Ota will enter his first competition at a local skateboarding student cup. Nishiya, 13 years and 330 days, is Japan’s youngest ever gold medalist, and one of the youngest in Olympics history. That record, though, goes to American diver Marjorie Gestring, who took the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Games at the age of 13 years and 267 days. Leal, age 13 years and 203 days, would have set a new record had she finished first.

Japan’s big wins in the first two skateboarding events should hopefully change the nation’s perception about skateboarders and further cultivate its skating culture. Many Japanese still view skateboarding negatively. A “skating-banned” sign hangs just outside the Olympic skating venue in Tokyo. Skateboarders across Japan are likely to have another big moment when the women’s park skateboarding event takes place Aug. 4. Japan’s Misugu Okamoto and Sakura Yosozumi, the world’s two top-ranked female park skaters, are strong contenders. KokonaHiraki, Japan’s youngest Olympian who landed solid attempts at a Dew Tour event in May, could rewrite history at 12 years old. As for Nishiya, who always gets rewards from her mother after competitions, told reporters she now just looks forward to getting yakiniku, Japanese-style grilled meat.

Argentina 1-0 Victory Over Brazil In Copa America Final

Taking home Argentina’s first major title since 1993, Lionel Messi and the Argentinian national soccer team celebrated their long awaited victory when Argentinian player Ángel Di Marían scored the first and final point in the Copa América Final Saturday night. Starting only for the second time in the Copa, Ángel Di Marían delivered the finishing shot in the 22nd minute, sending the ball over Brazil’s goalkeeper, Enderson, landing directly in the back of Brazil’s net.

Argentina’s win was especially meaningful for captain Lionel Messi, 34, who is largely considered one of the best soccer players globally, with many previously won titles and honors with his Spanish club team, Barcelona. Even with all these accomplishments, he was unable to secure a single international trophy with his home team.

Beginning from the 2014 World Cup, Messi and Argentina consecutively lost three international championships. The repeated failures have had Messi retire from the national team more than once. But despite the critics after the defeats in three Copa finals and one World Cup final with Argentina, Messi had returned each time to chase that ultimate victory.

Standing in the same stadium 7 years ago where Messi and Argentina sustained arguably one of their largest defeats against Germany in the World Cup final, they finally stood victorious at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

“I was close many times,” Messi said after the match, according to The Associated Press. “It’s crazy. I can’t explain how happy I feel. I’ve been sad many times [with Argentina after tournaments] but I knew it would happen and there’s no better moment. This team deserved it,” he added.

Although the Argentinian team was unable to celebrate their win with their fans in person due to COVID-19 transmission fears, soccer enthusiasts all over the world were seen rejoicing over the 28-year long wait for victory.

Italy Crowned 2020 European Champions Against England In A 3-2 Penalty Shootout

The noise and energy from the Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday shook the world. English fans repopularized the 1996 song “Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home)”, landing its spot at the top of the British music charts, while Italian fans were seen waving flags and dancing in the streets from Italy all the way to Brooklyn, New York.

The Italian national team had won the 2020 men’s European soccer championship against England, crushing the hopes of England bringing home their first major title in over half a century, since the 1966 World Cup. This win also marks Italy’s first victorious Euro championship since 1968, after 3 failed attempts in the finals over the last two decades. The 90 minute match had the scores tied at 1-1, with England leading the first half of the game in behalf of an early goal from Luke Shaw. This lead was lost in the 67th minute when Italy’s Leonardo Bonucci managed to score the crucial goal, which resulted in 30 minutes of extended time, before Italy claimed victory during a penalty shootout, ending with three goals compared to England’s two.

With the help from goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma, 22, Italy managed to avoid England’s rising 19 year old star, Bukayo Saka, from scoring, ultimately leading to Italy’s win. This final save by Donnarumma justified his earning of player of the tournament award, which was notably the first time a goalie has received the title. Italy’s astonishing accomplishment on Sunday further proved the team’s formidable talents, as this victory marked their 34th consecutive win.

For English fans, the entire day was filled with overwhelming emotions, alternating between hope and disbelief. Many left the stadium into the London rain devastated and disappointed, believing that they would finally bring victory home. With Italian fans celebrating the outcome of Sunday’s game, the phrase “It’s coming to Rome!” has taken the world by storm.

Samir Banerjee Wins Wimbledon Boys’ Singles Title

Indian American Samir Banerjee from New Jersey has won the boys’ singles title, beating Viktor Lilov 7-5, 6-3 in an all-American final at the Wimbledon championships on July 11. Banerjee, who reached the final by beating France’s Sascha Gueymard Wayenburg in the semi-finals, is the first American junior champion at Wimbledon since Reilly Opelka in 2015, and 12th overall.

Banerjee, Lilov traded serves in the first set in the clash of two 17-year-olds before the Indian American won two consecutive games from 5-5 to take the set. In the second set, Banerjee broke his opponent’s serve in the sixth game and went on to win it 6-3, completing his triumph in one hour and 21 minutes, when Lilov made a backhand error. Banerjee is committed to playing for Columbia University in the fall and draws inspiration from several players who took the college tennis route to success before.

“Growing up, I think college was always in the picture, I was going to use tennis to get to college. Obviously trying to play at the highest level I could and then go to college and maybe after college try to go pro. I think I didn’t really expect this,” he told the Wimbledon official website after his semi-final victory.

“I’m really happy with my commitment to Columbia, the coaches there I’m really buying into their vision. I think it’s a really good stepping stone. Obviously, with Indian parents, they definitely want me to go to college and not just skip the whole…and just go right to pros. And I think it would be a good character-building kind of thing, because I’m not sure if I’m fully ready to just fully go pro yet, so as of right now, I’m still probably going to go to college,” he had said. The 17-year-old right-hander from New Jersey beat Wayenburg 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2 in two minutes short of two hours in their semi-final encounter.

It was superb performance from Banerjee, who is 19th in the ITF junior rankings as of July 5, 2021, as he sent down seven aces as compared to three by Wayenburg, and earned 67% points on first serve compared to 57% by his French rival. Banerjee, who started playing tennis at the age of six, made 27 unforced errors as compared to 33 by Wayenburg, who struggled with his serve and sent down 11 double faults. Banerjee had just four double faults. And what was impressive was that Banerjee, who is from Basking Ridge in New Jersey, could produce such a performance on Court No. 1, one of the show courts at the All-England Club.

“It was crazy, that’s definitely the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of. And I think I had the crowd support for the most part, so that was an amazing experience, and then to win on top of that is something I’ll remember forever,” Banerjee told the official website. Legendary Indian tennis player Vijay Amritraj congratulated Banerjee. “Wonderful win for Indian American 17 yr old Samir Bannerjee in the boys singles at Wimbledon 2021. Wish him well for a great future,” the 67-year old who reached singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon and US Open tweeted.

Banerjee’s father Kunal was born in Assam, and his mother Usha was brought up in Andhra Pradesh before both migrated to the USA in the mid-1980s and got married there. The youngster, reportedly, will take a break from the tour to enroll for a degree in either economics or political science at the Columbia University in the coming months. While Banerjee’s victory is a testament to the system that US Tennis Association has put in place, India has been struggling to field a worthy contender at junior Grand Slams for some time now. Due to the lack of a robust domestic circuit and not having enough competitions at home to earn world ranking points, India has been struggling to create the next crop of youngsters.

Yuki Bhambri was the last Indian to win a junior singles title when he triumphed at the Australian Open in 2009 while Sumit Nagal won the Wimbledon boys’ doubles event in 2015 with Vietnam’s Ly Hoang Nam. Ramanathan Krishnan was the first Indian to win a junior major when he won the 1954 Junior Wimbledon championship. His son Ramesh Krishnan won the 1970 junior Wimbledon and junior French Open titles while Leander Paes won the 1990 junior Wimbledon and junior US Open. Paes was also a runner-up at the junior Australian Open.

Has Virat Kohli Captained Most Matches In History Of Cricket

ViratKohli is currently one of the best players in world cricket. However, more than just his contribution as a batsman, Kohli has been leading the Indian Cricket Team in all three formats since 2017. In 2014, Kohli was handed over the Test reigns as India captain after MS Dhoni announced his retirement midway through India’s tour of Australia in 2014/15. While ViratKohli didn’t taste success during his maiden Test series as captain, he has had a brilliant captaincy record thereafter in the past few years.

In 2017, Kohli was named the full-time India captain after he was handed over the captaincy in the limited-overs format too. While Kohli is still due to winning any major ICC trophy, his Test record as captain speaks volumes of his leadership and India’s consistency in the longest form of the game. Under Kohli’s captaincy, India won its maiden Test series in Australia in 2018/19 after touring down under since 1948. It was under Kohli’s leadership that India was crowned as the No.1 Test team in the ICC Rankings for a continuous period of 42 months from October 2016 till early March 2020.

Despite being India’s most successful Test captain ever, experts have often looked at ViratKohli with the corner of their eyes. The lack of an ICC trophy in Kohli’s cabinet is perhaps one of the main reasons behind the criticism the India captain has faced. India’s recent loss to New Zealand in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand only makes matters worse for Kohli as the call for change in captaincy has started gaining steam once again. Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar had his say on the matter.

Bangar, who worked with Kohli till the 2019 World Cup, put his weight firmly behind the Indian captain. Bangar said Kohli would end up captaining more than any other cricketer in the history of the game. “If as leaders, you have the opportunity to actually dictate the way the culture of the team is and the outcomes that the team derives, then, in that case, all of them (nominees) were in quest of excellence. So is Virat, I do not doubt that he’ll end up being probably captaining more than any other captain in the history of the game,” Bangar said in Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Live.’

At the age of 22 years, Kohli became the youngest player to captain an IPL side. In IPL 2011, in the absence of Daniel Vettori, Kohli captained RCB for three matches to holds the record for youngest captain in IPL history. Under Kohli, India has been the most consistent Test side over the past 5 years.Kohli has led India to victory in all the 11 Test series at home since taking over and has won in West Indies, Sri Lanka, and twice in Australia.

While Dhoni won 27 Test matches as captain and lost 18 in his 60 games in charge, Kohli is also India’s most successful Test captain with 36 wins and 14 losses.Kohli is also the longest-serving Test captain for any Asian country with Sri Lanka’s ArjunaRanatunga and Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq behind him as they captained their respective teams in 56 Test matches each.

Kohli, who has led India 95 matches across formats, has the highest win percentage among Indian captains. His win percentage of 70.43 is way more than second-best Dhoni’s 59.52. Kohli holds the record for most Test matches as captain for India. ViratKohli played his 61st Test match as Captain in the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand. He surpassed MS Dhoni’s tally of 60 Tests as India Captain.

With 36 wins in Test matches, Kohli is the most successful Indian Test captain. He’s followed by MS Dhoni, and SouravGanguly with 27 and 22 Test wins respectively as India captains. Virat Kohli now has the most Test wins at home for India. India’s victory in the Pink-Ball Test against England was Kohli’s 22nd Test win at home. Kohli went past MS Dhoni’s tally of 21 Test wins at home as India skipper. Kohli has scored most Test centuries for India as captain. With 20 centuries since being Indian Test skipper, Kohli is only behind Graeme Smith (25) with most Test hundreds as captain.

Kohli has scored seven double centuries in his Test career. Coincidentally, all of his Test double tons have come during his tenure as captain. This also puts him first on the list of most double centuries for any Test captain. Kohli also holds the record for scoring most Test runs for India as captain. In 61 Tests so far, Virat has scored 5449 runs at an average of 57.97 including a highest score of 254* against South Africa.

ViratKohli has led India in 65 ODI wins as captain. He’s the fourth most successful ODI Indian captain after the likes of MS Dhoni, SouravGanguly, and M Azharuddin. Virat has the second most runs as Indian ODI skipper (5320 runs) after MS Dhoni. Dhoni registered a tally of 6641 runs ODI runs in 200 matches as captain for India. He has scored the most number of ODI centuries by an Indian captain. Kohli is only behind Ricky Ponting, who scored 22 centuries during his tenure as captain of Australia.

Kohli has scored the most T20I runs by an Indian skipper. With 1421 T20I runs, Virat is ranked fourth among captains with the most runs in T20Is. He is the second most successful T20I captain of India with 27 wins. MS Dhoni has secured the most T20I wins (42) as Indian captain. Kohli also holds the record for scoring the quickest 1000 T20I runs as captain. He took a mere 30 innings to claim the milestone, which happens to be an inning quicker than South Africa’s Faf du Plessis.

Only Indian skipper to win T20I bilateral series in all SENA  nations. Under him, India won 5-0 in New Zealand in 2020, 2-1 in Australia 2020, 2-1 in England in 2018, and 2-1 in South Africa in 2018. With 27 T20I wins, Kohli is ranked fourth among most T20I wins as Captain. He’s only behind Asghar Afghan, MS Dhoni, and Eoin Morgan among T20I captains.

9 Of 11 US Spelling Bee Finalists Are Of Indian Origin

Nine Indian American kids proficiently advanced through all virtual rounds, while only two American kids made it to the US Spelling Bee annual contest. The 11 spellers will compete for the champion title during the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals on July 8.

Nine of the 11 finalists for this year’s US Spelling Bee contest are Indian-Americans, reflecting the dominance young kids from the small ethnic community have had on this prestigious and high-pressure endurance test for more than a decade now. The 11 spellers, of which nine are Indian-Americans, will compete for the champion title during the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals on July 8, a statement said on Monday. The Indian American children made it to the 2021 Finalists after advancing the tough three levels of competition hosted virtually: The Preliminaries on June 12, the Quarterfinals on June 15, and the Semifinals on June 27. The national finalists, aged 9 to 15, come from at least 50 US states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe, according to US broadcasters.

As many as 209 spellers competed on a national level, of those the 9 Indian American children qualified for semifinals held on June 27 Sunday from 7 to 11 pm on ESPN America for the championship trophy.  During the in-person finals, the Bee will have the option of activating a spell-off if needed. The spell-off would be activated in the closing minutes of the competition if a champion has not yet been declared in a traditional, one-person, one-word round, it said. “We are honored to introduce our 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finalists. Round after round, this group of spellers proved their mettle, and we look forward to seeing them show off their knowledge and hard work as they square off against the dictionary on the national stage,” said Dr J Michael Durnil, executive director of the Bee.

“Congratulations to all of this year’s 209 national qualifiers – they’ve persevered over a year that has been challenging in many ways, and our team is proud to have witnessed their journey,” he said. The National Bee is a high-profile, high-pressure endurance test as much as a nerd spelling match and spellers spend months preparing for it. The final rounds of this year’s contest will be hosted in person at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, and will be broadcast live in prime time on ESPN2.

The 11 finalists are Roy Seligman, 12, from Nassau, The Bahamas; BhavanaMadini, 13, from New York; SreethanGajula, 14, from Charlotte, North Carolina; Ashrita Gandhari, 14, from Leesburg, Virginia; Avani Joshi, 13, from Illinois; Zaila Avant-garde, 14, from New Orleans; VivinshaVeduru, 10, from Texas; DhroovBharatia, 12, from Dallas; Vihaan Sibal, 12, from Texas; AkshainieKamma, 13, from Texas and Chaitra Thummala, 12, from San Francisco. Over the past 20 years, Indian-Americans have been dominating the Spelling Bee contest even though they comprise only about 1 per cent of the US population.

In 2016, the Scripps National Spelling Bee was won by Indian American kids, NiharJanga, aged 11, from Texas, and JairamHathwar, aged 13, from New York. In 2017, the national spelling bee finals were bagged by AksharaPaimagam of Randolph Middle School of Indian origin. Meanwhile, the 2015 annual spelling bee contest was won by Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar, both Indian American students, while Vanya’s older sister Kavya has won the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2009.

The other Indian kids to win the popular contest are AnsunSujoe and SriramHathwar in the year 2014, Arvind Mahankali in 2013, SnigdhaNandipati in 2012, Sukanya Roy in 2011 and AnamikaVeeramani in 2010. The Indian American Children have been qualifying for the US national spelling bee contest leaving their American friends behind with chances of more than 80 percent of them even winning, for the past several years. Interestingly, these Indian origin children comprise less than 1% of the total American school’s population. The Bee was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronaviruspandemic. But there were eight co-champions in 2019, seven of whom were Indian-Americans, bringing the total number of Indian-American champions since 1999 to 26.

The show will also be broadcast LIVE prime time on ESPN2 at 8 pm ET. Those with no cable subscription can watch it on FuboTV, or Hulu streaming service, and Sling. One could also tune into the updates on the spellers’ official Instagram, or Twitter handle.

List of the 11 finalists for the  US Spelling Bee contest 2021:

  1. Roy Seligman, 12, from Nassau, The Bahamas
  2. BhavanaMadini, 13, from New York
  3. SreethanGajula, 14, from Charlotte, North Carolina
  4. Ashrita Gandhari, 14, from Leesburg, Virginia
  5. Avani Joshi, 13, from Illinois
  6. Zaila Avant-garde, 14, from New Orleans
  7. VivinshaVeduru, 10, from Texas
  8. DhroovBharatia, 12, from Dallas
  9. Vihaan Sibal, 12, from Texas
  10. AkshainieKamma, 13, from Texas

Chaitra Thummala, 12, from San Francisco

Abhimanyu Mishra From New Jersey Is Youngest Ever Chess Grandmaster

After months of uncertainty induced by the pandemic, together with a cash-crunch travelling around the world in these difficult times, Indian-origin American Abhimanyu Mishra has become the youngest-ever chess Grandmaster in the world. Mishra, who is from New Jersey, broke Sergey Karjakin’srecord of 12 years and seven months in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday, June 30th at the age of 12 years, four months and 25 days old. At the Vezerkepzo GM Mix tournament, Mishra defeated grandmaster Leon Mendonca in the thrilling ninth round to earn his third and final norm having earned his first two over the previous two months.

He had already topped the required 2500 Elo rating mark in June, paving the way for him to better the previous record — which had stood for 19 years — by approximately 66 days. To become a grandmaster in chess, a player must achieve three grandmaster norms — an award given for a high level of performance in a chess tournament — as well as achieving an 2500 Elo rating given out by the FédérationInternationale des Échecs (FIDE), the rankings that govern international chess competition. Three years ago, India’s R Praggnanandhaa had almost surpassed him, but missed the opportunity by a whisker. As did many assaults on the 19-year-old record until Abhimanyu’s moment.

But Abhimanyu, after becoming the world’s youngest International Master last year, chased his dream and achieved the feat at the Vezerkepzo GM Mix in Budapest, a tournament organised just to give him one final shot at the title, as several chess players stayed back due to travel restrictions. Abhimanyu has been in the Hungarian capital since April, in pursuit of the record. He had attained the first and second GM norms in April and May, but the third had seemed elusive with time catching up and fewer tournaments in the horizon. He had to wait till mid-July for another shot at the record, but for this tournament.

Those were angsty days for those around him. Like for GM MageshChandran, one of his coaches at the Kings and Queens Academy in New Jersey, where he polished his game as a quiet but eager child. “We don’t interact on a regular basis, but I keep a regular tab on him, follow each of his games and sometimes chip in with some advice whenever he is here. The sooner the better it would be for him and us. Once he comes back, we hope to catch up,” Chandran had told this paper last month.

Abhimanyu was just two-and-a-half-years old when his father Hemant, who works in data management, introduced him to chess. By five, he was beating his father and competing in local tournaments, where he started defeating players as old as his father. Another coach Arun Prasad remembers another incident. “He was just nine when he was pitted against a veteran 70-year-old opponent. He beat him in no time. I thought I was watching history in the making. I soon realisedhe’s not normal – in a great way. He remembers everything he sees. He remembers moves from games in 2014 and 2015. His mind absorbs everything.”

Abhimanyu’s fame began to spread and he started travelling when he was barely seven, the age at which he became the youngest national champion before becoming the youngest National Master in the US at the age of nine. However, without corporate sponsorships, his family had to dig deep into their pockets. “Whatever people spend on college tuition, we have already invested that in chess,” Hemant once told New Jersey Post. He has a gofund page, where they have raised close to USD 16,000 for their trip to Hungary.

But they are slowly reaping the fruits of their labour, as Abhimanyu is not just breaking records and accumulating ELO points at a rapid pace, but beating seasoned Grandmaster en route. At Charlotte Springs in the US in March, he defeated Vladimir Belous, rated 2521, in just 19 moves. Later, in the first tournament in Budapest, he outwitted top seed Vojtech Plat in convincing fashion, playing an all-out attacking game. “He can be aggressive as well as defensive, is quite fast and thinks on the feet,” says Magesh.

The family is understandably elated, and relieved. “Abhimanyu has worked hard all these years for this. He and his father have been in Budapest for the last three months as Abhimanyu wanted to compete in the chess circuit there to earn the remaining GM norms and becoming the youngest GM in the world is the result of his passion. It has been tough for the family as my husband and Abhimanyu are mostly travelling while I stay with my younger daughter, but this reward is bigger than anything,” Abhimanyu’s mother Swati Sharma said from New Jersey.

Though intense in front of the board, with large brooding eyes carefully working patterns, Abhimanyu is not an out-and-out chess buff. In fact, his sporing idol is swimmer Michael Phelps (his hero in chess is Garry Kasparov), wants to acquire a black belt in karate when he grows older, and plays a lot of video games (Brawl Stars is his favourite) with friends. But as of now, his eyes are firmly trained on the 64-square board.

Abhimanyu is in an elite group. Of the five previous youngest Grandmasters — from Tigran Petrosian (23) to Boris Spassky (18), then Bobby Fischer (15), JuditPolgar (15) and Karjakin—all but Karjakin went on to become world champions, which indicates that the 12-year-old’s journey has just begun, and the youngest GM record is just another milestone in his path. Inputs Nitin Sharma He posted a message of celebration on Twitter, saying: “Finally checkmated the biggest opponent (ongoing pandemic) which stopped me for 14 months. Thanks everybody for all your love and support. Looking forward for World cup.” Breaking records is something Mishra has become accustomed to.  When he was just seven, he became the United States Chess Federation’s youngest Expert.

Cricket Stars, Ashwin And Mithali Raj Recommended For Khel Ratna Award 2021

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to recommend the names of spinner R Ashwin and women’s cricket team skipper Mithali Raj for this year’s Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honor. According to ANI, KL Rahul, JaspritBumrah and ShikharDhawan’s names will be forwarded for the Arjuna Award. The 34-year-old right arm off-breaker, Ashvinhas represented India in 79 Tests, 111 ODIs, and 46 T20Is so far since his debut in 2010.

Mithali became the only woman cricketer to have an international career spanning more than 22 years. The 38-year-old legend had made her debut on June 26, 1999. Only Sachin Tendulkar (22 years 91 days) has a longer career than Mithali Raj across men’s and women’s cricket. No other cricketer has been active in international cricket for as long as 22 years.

Besides, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has recommended footballer Sunil Chhetri and the Odisha government nominated ace sprinter Dutee Chand for the Khel Ratna Award. Apart from Dutee, the Odisha government also sent five other recommendations to the sports ministry. Rohit Sharma was among five recipients who were awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for 2020. He was the fourth cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, and ViratKohli to be honoured with the award last year.

T20 World Cup Planned From October 17-November 14

This year’s T20 World Cup, which has been moved to the UAE and Oman from India due to the COVID-10 pandemic, will be played from October 17 to November 14, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Tuesday. The ICC statement came a day after BCCI intimated the governing body that the event can be moved out of India. “The BCCI will remain the hosts of the event, which will now be held in Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground, from 17 October to 14 November 2021,” the ICC stated.

The first round of the tournament, comprising the eight qualifying teams, will now be split between Oman and UAE. Four of these teams will then progress to the Super 12s round where they’ll join the eight automatic qualifiers. The upcoming edition will be the first men’s T20 World Cup played since 2016, when West Indies beat England in the final in India. The eight teams competing in the preliminary stage are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, Namibia, Oman and Papua New Guinea, before the play-off stage and the Final on November 14.

“Our priority is to deliver the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 safely, in full and in its current window,” said acting ICC CEO Geoff Allardice. “…the decision gives us the certainty we need to stage the event in a country that is a proven international host of multi-team events in a bio-secure environment. “We will work closely with the BCCI, the Emirates Cricket Board and Oman Cricket to ensure fans can enjoy a wonderful celebration of cricket.”

BCCI president SouravGanguly added: “We would have been happier hosting it in India but considering the uncertainty due to the COVID-19 situation and the importance of a world championship, the BCCI will now continue to host this tournament in UAE and Oman.”

Will Japan Cancel 2021 Summer Olympics?

With a little over a month until the start of the Tokyo Olympics, the possibility of a cancellation looms large over the Games.As Japan battles a fourth wave of coronavirus infections and a state of emergency in Tokyo and other prefectures remains in place until the end of the month, there is mounting pressure from health experts, business leaders and the Japanese public to call off the Games.

The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, an organization of about 6,000 doctors in Tokyo, penned a letter calling for a cancellation, while a petition which garnered 350,000 signatures in nine days in support of a cancellation has been submitted to organizers.Also, the CEO of leading Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten said that holding the Games amid the pandemic amounts to a “suicide mission” — among the strongest opposition so far voiced by a business leader. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has remained adamant that the Olympics, already postponed by a year amid the pandemic, will be able to get underway on July 23.

Organizers have released a playbook, the final version of which is expected next month, outlining a series of countermeasures that they say will ensure the Games can take place in a safe and secure way, even as thousands of athletes from around the world descend on Tokyo.The games, which are scheduled to take place in Tokyo and other parts of Japan from July 23 to Aug. 8, were already postponed for a year due to the coronavirus. Now, they may be pushed back again, or canceled altogether, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise, not just in Japan, but also across southeast and east Asia.Things could still change. And there are important financial, political, and institutional factors at play, as well as historical precedent: The games have only ever been canceled in wartime. Here’s what we know so far.

Who runs the Olympics?

The Olympic Games are a partnership between four main players:

  1. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which oversees the Olympic movement and directs funds to organizing bodies.
  2. The National Olympic Committees (NOC), of which there are 206. They select the athletes that will attend the Olympics, nominate host cities, and promote the Olympics at home.
  3. The Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOG), which are formed by the host country’s NOC to organize and run the Olympics. OCOGs report to the IOC.
  4. The host country and host city, which pay for the bids and finance new infrastructure and public services like extra security and border control officers.

According to the host city contract, only the IOC can cancel the games. Clause 66 gives five reasons for which the Olympics could be canceled. The most relevant one states that the IOC can terminate the contract if it has “reasonable grounds to believe” that “the safety of participants in the Games would be seriously threatened or jeopardized” by attending.

As difficult a decision as this is for IOC and Japanese officials, the people who could suffer the most are the athletes caught in the middle. While much remains up in the air, one thing is certain, says Benz: “It’s a situation unlike any the international Olympic family has found itself in the modern era.”

Saina, SrikathDo Not Qualify For Olympics in Japan

Olympic medallistSainaNehwal and Kidambi Srikanth’s hopes of making it to this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games ended on Friday as badminton’s global governing body said that no more qualifying tournaments would be played due to the Covid-19 pandemic.“The Badminton World Federation (BWF) can confirm no further tournaments will be played inside the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifying window. As such, while the qualification period officially closes 15 June 2021 as per the Revised Tokyo 2020 Qualification System, the current Race To Tokyo rankings list will not change,” the world body said.

Four Indians — PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, SatwiksairajRankireddy, and Chirag Shetty — have qualified for the July-August Olympics in Tokyo. Olympic silver medallist Sindhu and 2019 World Championships bronze medallistPraneeth will represent India in women’s and men’s singles while Rankireddy and Shetty have qualified for the men’s doubles event.While Srikanth and Saina were the closest to qualifying among the Indians, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy too had an outside of chance of making it to the Olympics in women’s doubles.

Players had to be ranked inside the top 16 of the singles rankings in the Race to Tokyo standings and the top eight of the doubles rankings to achieve qualification. Saina is ranked 22nd while Srikanth is 20th. Ashwini and Sikki are ranked 26th. Sindhu, who won gold at the 2019 World Championships, is ranked seventh while Praneeth is 13th.Both Saina, India’s first Olympic medallist in badminton, and Srikanth, who became world No.1 in 2017, are ageing and might find it difficult to appear in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Three years from now, the competition too could become tougher.

Saina is 31 while Srikanth is 28. Srikanth may still pose a challenge for a spot in the 2024 Olympics, by which time he would be 31. On the other hand, Tokyo might have been the last chance for Saina to challenge for a second Olympics medal as she would be 35 by 2024.Their chances of making it to the Olympics were significantly depleted by postponement of a number of tournaments that served as qualifiers, most notably the Indian Open, the Malaysian Open, and the Singapore Open, in March and April.

The three tournaments were the last in the qualification calendar and were all deferred amid a deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India. “The Olympic qualification process is in effect closed as there are no additional opportunities for players to earn points,” said BWF secretary general Thomas Lund.“However, we still need to receive confirmations from National Olympic Committees and Member Associations, followed by any possible reallocations, and this will take a number of weeks to complete,” he said.Invitations will be sent shortly, with final participation lists and seedings to be published at the conclusion of this process, the BWF said. (IANS)

Kohli Named Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack’s ODI Player Of The Decade

India captain Virat Kohli has been named the One Day International cricketer of the decade for the 2010s in the 2021 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. Kohli is one of five cricketers who have been named for each decade from 1971 to 2021. He was part of the team that won the 2011 World Cup at the start of the decade and went on to establish himself as one of the leading batsmen in all formats of the game, particularly in ODIs.

He scored more than 11,000 runs in the ten-year stretch, averaging over 60 and scoring 42 centuries.

Sri Lanka spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan was named the ODI Cricketer of the 2000s. He helped Sri Lanka make the World Cup final in 2011 and claimed 335 wickets in the decade, more than any other bowler has in a single decade.

Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar and legendary former all-rounder Kapil Dev have been named for the 1990s and 1980s. Tendulkar scored nine ODI hundreds in 1998 alone, more than any other batsman in a single calendar year ever has.

Kapil, meanwhile, claimed more wickets than any other in the 1980’s, and scored at the highest strike-rate of any batsman with more than 1000 runs. He also famously led India to a stunning win in the 1983 World Cup against the all-conquering West Indies.

West Indies batting great Viv Richards was named the ODI cricketer of the year for the 1970’s, which was the first decade of the format. Richards fuelled West Indies’ dominance in the first decade of the format, scoring a century in the final of the 1970 World Cup to help them win the trophy. (IANS)

Babar Azam Surpasses Virat Kohli To Become No.1 ODI Batsman

Babar Azam rose to the top after he became the second-highest run-scorer in the recently concluded three-match ODI series against South Africa. The right-hander scored 228 runs with the highest score of 103.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam became the number one ODI batsman in ICC ODI rankings on Wednesday. Babar surpassed his Virat Kohli at the top of the rankings table with 865 points. Kohli now comes second in the list with 857 points and Babar now leads the Indian captain by eight points, the ICC said in a statement. Rohit Sharma is third on the list with 825 points to his name.

Kohli was the number one ranked ODI batsman from August 2017 to April 2021, counting to 1,258 days. Babar, a star of the Under-19 World Cups in 2010 and 2012 and who has been playing ODIs since 2015, rose to the numero uno position after he became the second-highest run-scorer in the recently concluded three-match ODI series against South Africa. The right-hander scored 228 runs with the highest score of 103.

By ending Kohli’s 1,258 day-supremacy, which adds up to over three years, Babar has emulated compatriots Zaheer Abbas (1983-84), Javed Miandad (1988-89), and Mohammad Yousuf (2003) as the number one ODI batsman.

In Tests, Babar has attained a best of the fifth position and is currently ranked sixth while in T20Is he is third but has been number one in the past.

Another Pakistani batsman, who has hogged attention, is Pakistan’s justify-hander Fakhar Zaman. He also climbed to his career-best seventh place thanks to a stunning series against South Africa. He hit two centuries including a 193-run knock to end with a tally of 302 runs in the series.

justify-arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi (up four places to a career-best 11th) and justify-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz (up 29 places to 96th) have progressed, thanks to their three-wicket hauls in the match.

Kohli’s deputy, Rohit Sharma has maintained his second spot with 825 points ahead of New Zealand’s Ross Taylor. No other Indian features in the latest top 10 batting chart.

Among bowlers, Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah has held on to his fourth position behind top-ranked Trent Boult of New Zealand, Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Ur Rahman and another Kiwi pacer Matt Henry. Ravichandran Ashwin is the lone Indian to find a place in the top 10 all-rounders’ list at the number nine spot. Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan leads the pack ahead of injured England all-rounder Ben Stokes and Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi.

Mithali Raj, 1st Woman Cricketer To Complete 7,000 ODI Runs

Mithali Raj reached the 7,000-run milestone in her 213th match, which was the fourth ODI of the ongoing five-match series against South Africa. Veteran batter Mithali Raj on Sunday added another feather to her cap by becoming the first player to complete 7,000 runs in women’s ODI cricket.

The Indian skipper reached the 7,000-run milestone in her 213th match, which was the fourth ODI of the ongoing five-match series against South Africa.

“Magnificent Mithali! #TeamIndia ODI skipper becomes the first woman cricketer to score 7000 ODI runs. What a performer she has been!” the BCCI tweeted.

The 38-year-old, who made her international debut in 1999, was also the first player to score 6,000 runs in women’s ODIs. England’s Charlotte Edwards, who retired from international cricket in 2016, is second the list of leading run scorers with 5,992.

Mitahli scored a 71-ball 45 before being dismissed by medium pacer Tumi Sekhukhune in the 38th over of the fourth ODI. She hit four boundaries during her stay in the middle.

On Friday, during the third match, Mithali had become the first Indian player and only the second internationally to complete 10,000 runs across all formats.

India Beat England, Book Spot In WTC Final

India booked their berth in the World Test Championship final by beating England by an innings and 25 runs on the third day of the fourth and final Test at Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday last week. After resuming the third day on 294/7, India were guided to a total of 365 by the eighth-wicket partnership between Washington Sundar (96*) and Axar Patel. Trailing by 160 runs, England sent out their openers just before the lunch break. But spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (5/47) and Axar Patel (5/48) dominated the rest of the two sessions. The visitors were bowled out for 135 with Daniel Lawrence top-scoring with a fifty.

The pitch on this occasion was blameless. A beleaguered England were pummeled in the series finale fourth Test on Saturday by home strong India in just three days.

India’s 3-1 series victory seals their berth in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final, where they will meet New Zealand in June at Lord’s. After a surprising first Test defeat against a confident England fresh off a romp in Sri Lanka, India turned it around with comprehensive victories in the next two Tests albeit controversially due to rank turning pitches that heavily favored them.

Perhaps a battered England’s confidence was already shot, but India proved they were a class above at home with an innings and 25 runs thrashing in Ahmedabad to win their 13th straight home series stretching eight years.

It’s hard to see anyone beating them at home. Much like four years ago against Australia, India were stunned in the series opener before wearing down their opponents in unforgiving conditions for tourists.

Playing India on their terrain has become simply the toughest challenge in Test cricket. Once travelling to the Caribbean was an impossible task with the West Indies undefeated for 22 years then Down Under became a graveyard site for tourists with Australia unblemished from 1993-2008.

Those two teams are clearly the measuring stick for Test greatness over the last 50 years. Can India join them? The signs are looking rather ominous for the rest of the cricket world. India’s momentous series victory in Australia in January will perhaps be remembered as their harbinger moment.

India’s dominance of world cricket has felt inevitable given their sheer population, fanaticism to the sport and its governing body’s deep pockets and undeniable influence. Even though they have won ODI and T20 World Cups, India has never dominated Test cricket because they’ve struggled abroad, particularly in Australia and England.

This current India team, however, is building something formidable. The batting has become less reliant on talisman Virat Kohli – who didn’t even play the bulk of the Australia series – and developed a strong backbone down the order to frustrate opponents reminiscent of those mighty Australia teams.

Rishabh Pant, man-of-the match in the fourth Test for another audacious, game-changing century, is simply Adam Gilchrist 2.0. He’s changed the course of matches multiple times in just the past couple of months, but he has the extra safety valve knowing there is assistance beneath him. No longer do India fall away with the tail with Ravichandran Ashwin and breakout stars Washington Sundar and Axar Patel extremely capable at the crease.

India actually looked in trouble in the fourth Test with their wobbly top order struggling before the now familiar rescue act from Pant et al. Sundar agonizingly missed out on a maiden ton finishing 96 not out after sharing in a century stand with Patel.

There is scary depth now in India’s batting, which allowed them to paper over the sub-par performances batting stars of Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahanae.

Left-armer Patel was mesmerizing with the ball as he and Ashwin snared all of England’s second innings wickets through masterful spin bowling, which deceived the ashen-faced batters through canniness and supreme skill rather than overt assistance from the pitch.

They were barely needed in these conditions, but India has a battery of high-quality quicks to ensure they should be extremely competitive overseas – as they showed in Australia.

It’s a pivotal year for India’s bid for Test supremacy. Things have started extremely promising for Kohli’s men – and make no doubt India’s captain is revving his charges knowing he has the chance to aRe-dedication Celebration of Ghosh-Dastidar Family-Established 15th Cent Sri Bishnu Temple in Barisal District, Bangladesh Axar Patel has started his Test career in incredible fashion.

India faces New Zealand for the fight of the first ever WTC crown. This convoluted championship – designed to rejuvenate the slumping Test format –  is hardly an egalitarian system. For example, bitter rivals India and Pakistan can never play each other – except in a final – due to political squabbles. And the Covid-19 pandemic meant a truncated WTC, yet the two best teams are probably there and deserve their place.

India will be challenged in seaming conditions and were famously bundled out of the 2019 World Cup semi-finals by the plucky Kiwis. New Zealand also easily beat India at home 12 months ago, so the WTC final is probably an even money bet.

India will then play five Tests against England in the U.K. – a site of humiliation for them having lost seven of 10 tests in 2014 and 2018. If India really want to be an all-time great team, they need to end their U.K. hex and beat this flawed England team.

England’s bid for a truly memorable Test upset fell apart after such a bright start but to even win one match in India is probably a decent result for them. Their much-critiqued rotation policy will be further under the microscope and they seemingly erred at the selection table. But like all challenges since Andrew Strauss’ famed team in 2012-13 – a series triumph that continues to grow in mystique – India simply had all the answers at home.

It’s easy to cast ahead and envision India dominating the decade much like West Indies in the ‘80s and 2000s Australia.  But before we start getting into big picture narratives, India will have to twice take care of business in the U.K.

Renaming World’s Largest Cricket Stadium After PM Modi, Elicits Criticism

India renamed the world’s largest cricket stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday last week, a move that drew criticism from many. The name change to the Narendra Modi Stadium was unveiled at the 132,000-seat venue formerly known as Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, in the western state of Gujarat, where India are playing England in the third match of a four-game test series.

The site on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, Modi’s political home town in the state of Gujarat, was recently rebuilt as the world’s largest cricket venue with capacity for 110,000 spectators. Modi has sought to use a slate of signature projects — such as building the world’s tallest statue and remaking India’s parliament — to project himself as the country’s most transformative and powerful prime minister in decades.

“It’s quite stunning,” said Ronojoy Sen, a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore and author of a book on the history of sport in India. He argued that “the symbolism — the largest, the biggest, the best — being built in Ahmedabad” was central to Modi’s political brand. “This is the first time in my memory at least that a living Indian [prime minister] has named a stadium after themselves,” he added. The stadium was previously named after Sardar Patel, a leading figure in the independence movement and one of Modi’s political heroes.

“World’s largest stadium dedicated to the world’s largest personality!,” Priti Gandhi, a BJP spokeswoman, said in a tweet. Others said the decision reflected a cult of personality surrounding Modi. “The people of Gujarat will not bear this insult to Sardar Patel,” said Hardik Patel, president of the opposition Congress party in the state.

Sardar Patel was India’s first interior minister, long revered for his tough approach on national issues. Authorities have named the larger complex surrounding the stadium after him. Dedicating sports stadiums to former prime ministers is common in India, but renaming such a high-profile venue for a sitting leader is rare.

Many of India’s public institutions and projects have been named after members of the Congress’ Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that governed India for decades and which Modi’s party long criticized as the dominance of one family.

“Both the BJP and Congress are busy perpetuating political branding,” Sanjay Jha, a former Congress official and political commentator, said. Archit Khare, a 29-year-old student at the game, said: “I don’t know why it has been changed. Sardar Patel is more iconic. Sardar Patel was the iron man of India, it should have remained.”

Gaurav Pandhi, who runs social media for the opposition Congress party, called it the “heights of narcissism . . . Megalomaniac!” Modi served as chief minister of Gujarat before his ascent to the premiership in 2014. The newly rebuilt stadium hosted Donald Trump when he visited India last year, but its debut as a cricket venue was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The name change was revealed only a couple of hours before the start of the third test match on England’s tour of India. The ground was at half capacity on Wednesday, hosting about 50,000 fans, thanks to a precipitous nationwide drop in Covid-19 infections.

Ashwin Among Top Three Cricketers As Indians Make Rapid Gains In ICC Test Rankings

Ravichandran Ashwin, who became the fastest Indian bowler to 400 Test wickets in the third Test against England, climbed four spots to break into the top three of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings for bowlers on Sunday. Ashwin picked up seven wickets in the Ahmedabad Test that saw him go to the third spot, two points adrift of second placed Neil Wagner.

India cricketers Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, and Rohit Sharma made significant gains in the ICC Test rankings thanks to their brilliant performances in the ongoing series against England.

Ashwin, who became the second fastest to claim 400 Test wickets in the day-night fixture, broke into the top three after jumping four places thanks to his remarkable consistency.

Ashwin’s spin-bowling partner and Player of the Match in the pink-ball Test Axar Patel also made solid gains. Left-arm spinner Patel’s 11-wicket match haul has helped him gain 30 slots to reach 38th position.

Opener Rohit Sharma touched his career-best eighth position with a six-place jump after his impressive sh in the low-scoring third Test in Ahmedabad. Rohit top-scored in the first innings with 66 and remained unbeaten on 25 in the second to move ahead of compatriot Cheteshwar Pujara among others. His rating points aggregate is 742, 20 more than his best of 722 in October 2019 when he was ranked 10th.

India’s opening batsman Rohit Sharma, who was the highest scorer in the Ahmedabad Test, attained a career-best ranking of 8th among batsmen.

Rohit is now the third Indian batsman along with Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara in the top 10. Kane Williamson remains the top-ranked batsman in the longest format of the game while Australian pacer Pat Cummins is still the No.1-ranked Test bowler.

Axar Patel, playing just his second Test, picked up five-wicket hauls in both innings of the Ahmedabad Test — a match haul of 11 wickets — and he leapfrogged 30 spots to take 38th position in bowlers’ rankings.

James Anderson, who went wicketless in the third Test against India, lost three places and slipped to sixth place.  Moreover, Jasprit Bumrah and Stuart Broad, who didn’t get to bowl much on a surface that assisted spinners, dropped one place each. The third Test between India and England was a low-scoring encounter that ended inside two days.

Day Two saw 17 wickets tumble with India winning the match by 10 wickets to take 2-1 series lead in the four-match series. The fourth and final Test will be played in Ahmedabad from March

Karthik Murugan, A Ninth-Grader Develops Chess Guidebook To Teach Beginners

Chess enthusiast Karthik Murugan, a ninth-grade student at Downingtown East High School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, recently released a book entitled, ‘Legal Attack: Chess – An Intellectual Board War.’ The book is designed to aid novices in learning and mastering puzzles needed to win games and boost chess ratings, according to a press release.

The book contains 30 powerful chess tactics, each with 10 puzzles for readers to practice and solve. Organized from simple to complex, the puzzles allow readers to gradually move through the most important aspects of the game, review common tactics, mates and traps, and advance their technique.

Moving from the simple to more complex, the puzzles hope to allow readers to gradually move through the most important aspects of the game, review common tactics, mates and traps, and advance their technique. Murugan, who began playing chess in 2014, was inspired to write ‘Legal Attack’ after struggling to find a chess guide that was both tailored toward beginners and expansive in scope.

“I have read hundreds of chess books,” Murugan is quoted saying in the press release. “Not many books are out there that are crisp enough to inspire a beginner or a moderate player and advise them of the powerful techniques needed to win the games. Chess is all about attacking and defending. It’s a war, and you need to win.”

According to his bio, Murugan’s peak United States Chess Federation (USCF) rating is approximately 1,700, and he has played 800 games in 170 USCF-rated tournaments.

He is also a two-time Greater Mid-Atlantic Elementary Champion and a two-time Pennsylvania State Scholastic Bughouse Champion. He also won the 2017 US Open National Elementary Chess Championship.

Karthik Murugan is a ninth-grade student at Downingtown East High School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. He has been playing chess since 2014 and now teaches kids and promotes chess in the local area. His peak United States Chess Federation (USCF) rating is approximately 1700, and he has played 800 games in 170 USCF-rated tournaments. He surpassed 1000 in his first 20 tournaments. Notably, Karthik is a two-time Greater Mid-Atlantic Elementary Champion and a two-time Pennsylvania State Scholastic Bughouse Champion. He also won the 2017 US Open National Elementary Chess Championship. To learn more about Murugan, please visit karthikmurugan.com.

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India’s Rank In World Test Championship Table After Win Over England

India’s Rishabh Pant stumps-out England’s Moeen Ali during the 4th day of the second cricket test match between India and England, at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai.(PTI)

The race to reach the final of the World Test Championship is heating up England, India and Australia vie for a chance to play New Zealand at Lord’s. The inaugural WTC will hold its final from June 18 to 22, with June 23 acting as a reserve day.

New Zealand have already qualified for the final after Australia’s pullout from the tour of South Africa. India and England are engaged in a battle to reach the summit clash while Australia’s chances hinges on the results of the Anthony de Mello Trophy.

The resounding 317-run win over England in the second Test on Tuesday propelled India to second in the World Test Championship standings issued by the ICC.

 

After the series-levelling win at Chepuak, India have 69.7 percentage of points (PCT) and 460 aggregate points, behind New Zealand who have already qualified for the WTC final to be held at the Lord’s June. New Zealand have 70.0 PCT and 420 points. India, who had lost the first Test by 227 runs at the same venue, need to win one more and at least draw another to make it to the WTC final.

Ravichandran Ashwin Breaks Unique Over 100-Year-Old Record Against England

Ravichandran Ashwin, with his dismissal of England opener Rory Burns, became the first spinner in more than 100 years to get a wicket off the first ball of an innings. As India keep fighting against England on the fourth day of the first Test at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Monday, veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin achieved a feat to be proud of.

After Joe Root won the toss, he led his team from the front with a mighty double hundred on his 100th Test. England posted a mammoth 578 in their first essay and in reply, India got dismissed for 337-all out on Monday despite Washington Sundar’s brave 85 not out.

During the visitors’ second innings, India enjoyed a perfect start courtesy of an opening ball dismissal by Ashwin. With his dismissal of Rory Burns, the Tamil Nadu-born bowler became the first spinner in more than 100 years to get a wicket off the first ball of an innings.

Before the 34-year-old, former South African cricketer Bert Vogler achieved the feat in 1907. The first spinner ever to pick up a wicket off the first ball of an innings was former England bowler Bobby Peel in 1888.

Earlier in the first innings, Ashwin had claimed 3/146 including the wickets of Burns, Ollie Pope and James Anderson. He also bowled the longest in an innings of a Test match for India, bowling a total of 55.1 overs.

Most overs in an innings by Ashwin:

53.1 vs England, Chennai (2020/21*)
53.0 vs Australia, Adelaide (2011/12)
52.5 vs Australia, Adelaide (2018/19)
52.3 vs England, Kolkata (2012/13)
52.1 vs West Indies, Mumbai (2011/12)

During his earlier spell, Ashwin also bowled the first-ever no-ball of his Test career. The off-spinner had gone more than 20,600 balls before overstepping in Test cricket.

On the other hand, fellow India spinner Sundar also marked a record during his impressive start to his Test career. The 21-year-old, during his unbeaten 85-run knock, joined an elite list of Team India batsmen with 50-plus scores in debut innings both home and away.

Scoring 50+ in debut innings both home and away (India)

Rusi Modi
Surinder Amarnath
Arun Lal
Sourav Ganguly
Suresh Raina
Hardik Pandya
Mayank Agarwal
Washington Sundar

In their second innings, England have already lost five wickets as Ashwin leads the numbers with three wickets — Burns, Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes. Refusing to enforce the follow-on, the visitors were 1/1 in two overs at lunch.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wins Super Bowl Finals Convincingly Beating Kansas City Chiefs 31-9

Tom Brady has done it yet again. The quarterback won his record seventh Super Bowl and the first with his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady and the Bucs beat the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in what was a home game for the Bucs, played in Tampa, Fla on Sunday, Feb 7th.

Super Bowl 55 capped a difficult and challenging year for the NFL. The coronavirus led to postponements, teams sometimes playing with depleted rosters and many games hosted in mostly empty stadiums.

Brady, the oldest ever to play in a Super Bowl at age 43, showed his experience in the first half, leading the Buccaneers to three touchdowns — including two passes to his favorite postseason target Rob Gronkowski (and setting another record in the process: it was the 13th and 14th touchdowns for a QB-pass catcher tandem in the playoffs). Brady ended the first half with a 71-yard drive in the waning seconds to go up 21-6 at the break.

Tampa Bay’s defense stymied Kansas City and quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the first half. Mahomes, who had been slowed by a toe injury two weeks ago, seemed to shake off the pain but didn’t show his usual brilliance. The Chiefs made mistakes on both sides of the ball and were penalized eight times for 95 yards. In the last two postseasons, Kansas City faced deficits of at least 9 points and won each of them. The Chiefs were looking to become the first team since the Patriots in the 2003 and 2004 seasons to win back-to-back NFL championships.

KC QB Patrick Mahomes struggled for most of the game. Tampa Bay’s defense swarmed him leading to sacks, hurries and knockdowns during Super Bowl 55.

Kansas City started the second half with its biggest yardage gain of the game when running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire dashed 26 yards. But the K.C. offense could only capitalize with a field goal. The Buccaneers answered on the next drive with yet another touchdown as Leonard Fournette scampered 27-yards for the Bucs first rushing touchdown to extend their lead to 28-9. After a Patrick Mahomes interception, Tampa Bay marched down the field to score yet again, a 52-yard field goal by Ryan Succop, to extend the lead to 31-9. That would be all the scoring of Super Bowl LV and in one of the bigger surprises, the Chiefs did not score a touchdown.

This Super Bowl was marked by a number of firsts: it was the first time that a team got to play in its home stadium. Down Judge Sarah Thomas was the first woman to officiate in the NFL championship. And, for the first time in his ten Super Bowls, Brady led his team to a touchdown in the first quarter.

The coronavirus left its mark too. Stadium capacity was reduced to just 25,000 fans in attendance (including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who received free tickets from the NFL). On television, the stadium looked even fuller because 30,000 cardboard cutouts filled the empty seats with pictures of smiling people who paid $100 for the honor.

Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady tossed three touchdowns in the first half of Super Bowl 55. It was Brady’s seventh Super Bowl victory and his first with the Bucs.

It was a record 10th Super Bowl appearance for Brady. He played in nine for the New England Patriots (winning six, a record) in his 20 seasons with New England. This was Brady’s first year with the Bucs and he led his new team to only their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Brady also was named as the Super Bowl MVP — for the fifth time, extending his record.

And good news for Bucs fans: During the post-game celebration Brady said simply, “I’ll be back.” The Buccaneers Super Bowl win is yet another crowning achievement for the Tampa region in the past year. The Lightning won the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup. The Rays played in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. And now the Bucs winning the NFL championship in their home stadium caps a stellar run for the region now known as Champa Bay.

(Picture: KSTP TV)

Two Decades Apart, India Do The Unexpected Against Aussies

India vs Australia: What helped India win this series? There could be many logical answers and yet there could be no answer to it at all. It wasn’t meant to happen, such things don’t happen at all. The rarity of such this accomplishment is what makes it surreal and overwhelming. Perhaps like a deus ex machina, that enters a play at the last moment and solves all the problems.

Indian players pose with the winning trophy after defeating Australia by three wickets on the final day of the fourth cricket test match at the Gabba, Brisbane, Australia, (PTI) 

The year was 1999 and there was a lot of anticipation in everyone about what lay ahead. It was the end of a century and the beginning of another. In India, it was a time of great change. ‘Growth’ was the buzz word in every walk of life.

But Indian cricket, on the pitch, was stuck in mediocrity, despite having the biggest star the sport had seen till then in its ranks. Sachin Tendulkar was already reaching stratospheric heights with his batsmanship and had earned praise from the greatest batsman ever, Sir Donald Bradman, after his exploits against the Australians in the unforgettable summer of 1998.

ALSO READ: Ajinkya’s Unbreakables or the myth of regeneration

He was the diminutive ‘giant’ in a team that was still a mixed bag of sorts. When he led this team to Australia in the December of 1999 for a three-match Test series, in what was his second coming as captain of the side, there was fear in the hearts of Indian cricket fans and prayers on their lips.

Australia were the reigning world champions of ODI cricket and were an even greater force in Test cricket. To speak in footballing terms, they were the ‘Brazil’ of cricket in terms of dominance.

As was feared, India’s campaign came unstuck and ended in a 0-3 debacle. Tendulkar stood tall in the ruins, along with a certain VVS Laxman, but it didn’t matter much, as the team’s morale had touched its nadir. That defeat followed by a home series loss in years, against South Africa, meant Tendulkar gave up captaincy for good to concentrate on his batting.

It was an hour of crisis off the pitch too with the match-fixing scandal exploding and spinning out of control. India needed a leader, not just of a cricket team but of men and they found one in Sourav Ganguly. The Bengal cricketer had the elegance and charm of a prince in his batting, but he combined that with the tenacity of a street fighter as captain of the team.

(Picture: Yahoo News)

MS Dhoni Will Captain ICC Men’s ODI, T20I Teams Of The Decade, Kohli To Lead Tests

The T20I side is comprised of four players from India, two from Australia, two West Indies and one each from Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Afghanistan. The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the Men’s T20I and ODI teams of the decade on Sunday and named former India captain MS Dhoni as the leader of both sides.
The T20I side is comprised of four players from India, two from Australia, two West Indies and one each from Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Afghanistan.
Current Indian captain Virat Kohli, pacer Jasprit Bumrah and Rohit Sharma are the other Indians in the T20I team. Former South African skipper AB de Villiers and Universe Boss – Chris Gayle are also included in the line-up.
ICC’s T20I Team of the Decade: Rohit Sharma, Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, MS Dhoni (c), Kieron Pollard, Rashid Khan, Jasprit Bumrah, and Lasith Malinga.

 

The ICC’s ODI team of the decade led by Dhoni includes star Indian batsmen Rohit and Virat. In the team, David Warner and Rohit have been picked as openers while former South Africa cricketer AB De Villiers is picked as a middle-order batsman. Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan and England’s Ben Stokes are the two all-rounders in the team.
The pace attack includes Australian bowler Micthell Starc, New Zealand’s Trent Boult, and Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga.
ICC’s ODI Team of the Decade: Rohit Sharma, David Warner, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Shakib Al Hasan, MS Dhoni (c), Ben Stokes, Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult, Imran Tahir and Lasith Malinga.

Suyash Mehta Is NBA’s First Full-Time Indian-Origin Referee

In an official announcement made by the The National Basketball Association (NBA) League of the US, Suyash Mehta was one of three referees, promoted to full-time NBA staff officials,
“We are pleased to welcome Simone [Jelks], Suyash and Andy [Nagy] to our full-time staff,” said Monty McCutchen, NBA Senior Vice President, Head of Referee Development and Training. “They have demonstrated through the growth and the quality of their performance, they warrant working NBA games on a regular basis.”
In the past, Mehta has officiated G League and Summer League games. Last season, he was named to the NBA’s officiating staff for the first time. He had refereed in 13 games and was one of six to be named under the title of ‘non-staff officials’.
Mehta, whose parents are from India, also has coaching experience at various collegiate levels including the Atlantic 10, Big South, Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, NCAA Division III and junior college officiating experience.
Mehta officiated five seasons in the NBA G League. During the 2019 20 NBA season, he refereed 13 regular-season NBA games as a “non-staff official”.
Mehta — whose parents are from India and moved to the US in the 1980s — also has coaching experience at various collegiate levels including the Atlantic 10, Big South, Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, NCAA Division III and junior college officiating experience.
Suyash Mehta also had coaching experience at collegiate level which includes various teams like Atlantic 10, Big South, Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, NCAA Division III and junior colleges. Therefore, Mehta has always been positive about making it big in the sport, either by being a coach or as a match referee. 
“They have demonstrated through the growth and the quality of their performance, they warrant working NBA games on a regular basis,” McCutchen added. Jelks joins Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling, Ashley Moyer-Gleich, Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder as full-time female officials for the 2020-21 season.

Soccer Legend Diego Maradona Dies at 60

World Cup-winner Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60 at his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires following a heart attack. Matias Morla, Maradona’s longtime agent, confirmed the news to Efe news agency. Maradona’s spokesman, Sebastian Sanchi, said he died Wednesday of a heart attack two weeks after being released from a hospital in Buenos Aires following brain surgery.

To win the World Cup is the ultimate accolade for any player and occasionally, every four years, one rises above the rest; at Mexico ’86 that man would be Diego Maradona who almost single-handedly lead his side to the summit of world football.

The achievement was made all the greater following the agony of the World Cup of 1982 in which the then World Champions were eliminated in the second group stage while their star player was sent off for lashing out after some pretty brutal treatment at the hands of his Italian Markers. Diego Maradona lifted Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986.

A statement from the Argentina Football Association read: “The Argentine Football Association, through its President Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest pain at the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You’ll always be in our hearts.”

Argentina President Alberto Fernandez also confirmed three days of national mourning following the news. Fernandez posted a photograph of himself on Twitter hugging Maradona with the message: “You took us to the highest place in the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all. Thanks for existing, Diego. We are going to miss you the rest of our lives.”

The Argentine Professional Soccer League announced that the current First Division tournament will change its name to honor Maradona. In a statement, the league said: “To remember the unforgettable captain of the Argentine national team, the Copa de la Liga Profesional will be renamed to Copa Diego Armando Maradona”

One of the most famous moments in the history of the sport, the “Hand of God” goal, came when the diminutive Maradona punched the ball into England’s net during the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals.

Ahead of his 60th birthday in October, Maradona told France Football magazine that it was his dream to “score another goal against the English, this time with the right hand.” Maradona also captivated fans around the world over a two-decade career with a bewitching style of play that was all his own.

Although his reputation was tarnished by his addictions and an ill-fated spell in charge of the national team, he remained idolised in football-mad Argentina as the “Pibe de Oro” or “Golden Boy.”

The No. 10 he wore on his jersey became synonymous with him, as it also had with Pele, the Brazilian great with whom Maradona was regularly paired as the best of all time. Maradona had recently battled health issues and underwent emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma several weeks ago.

The retired Brazilian star mourned the death of Maradona in a brief statement provided to Reuters by a representative. “Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above,” he said.

CONMEBOL, the South American Football Confederation on Wednesday announced that it would reschedule the Copa Libertadores match between Maradona’s former club in Argentina, Boca Juniors, and Internacional. The match will now be played on Dec. 2.

Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi was among hundreds of players to send messages remembering Maradona as well as condolences to his family. Lakers great Kobe Bryant, who died in January of this year, was once interviewed by a Spanish-language TV station, and told reporters that Maradona was his idol. “I love Maradona. When I was young in Italy, I used to always watch Maradona when he played for Napoli,” the NBA great, who spent seven years of his childhood in Italy, had said.

Pope Francis, who is from Argentina and a known supporter of San Lorenzo, also mourned Maradona’s passing. “The pope was informed about the death of Diego Maradona, he recalls the times he met him in these past years with affection, and he is remembering him in his prayers, as he did in the past days when he was informed about his condition,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

Born in 1960, Maradona captained Argentina to World Cup 1986 glory as well as reaching the final in 1990. At the height of his club career, at Napoli from 1984 to 1991, he helped the side win its only two Italian league titles. There were also notable lows, such as when he was kicked out of the 1994 World Cup after being found guilty of doping.

Napoli said on Wednesday the death was a “devastating blow” for both the city and the club. “We are in mourning,” club spokesman Nicola Lombardo said. “We feel like a boxer who has been knocked out. We are in shock.”

“Everyone is waiting for words from us. But what words could be possible for pain as strong as that we are currently experiencing? Now is the time for tears. Later, it will be words,” the club posted on its Twitter account.

“It is a very sad day for the football world,” Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino said in a statement. “Today, a legend of our sport has left us. One who made us dream and excited fans across the planet. For the next set of fixtures, we will remember him with a special initiative.”

Bold, fast and utterly unpredictable, Maradona was a master of attack, juggling the ball easily from one foot to the other as he raced upfield. Dodging and weaving with his low center of gravity, he shrugged off countless rivals and often scored with a devastating left foot, his most powerful weapon. “Everything he was thinking in his head, he made it happen with his feet,” said Salvatore Bagni, who played with Maradona at Italian club Napoli.

A ballooning waistline slowed Maradona’s explosive speed later in his career and by 1991 he was snared in his first doping scandal when he admitted to a cocaine habit that haunted him until he retired in 1997, at 37.

Since ending his playing career in 1997, the ex-Napoli, Barcelona and Boca Juniors star battled a series of health issues. He was admitted to hospital in January 2019 with internal bleeding in the stomach. He also fell ill at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he was filmed passing out in an executive box at the Argentina-Nigeria game.

In 2004, he was hospitalised with severe heart and respiratory problems related to a long battle with drug addiction. He had undergone two gastric bypass operations to control his weight and received treatment for alcohol abuse. Maradona was again hospitalized in early 2007 for acute hepatitis that his doctor blamed on excessive drinking and eating.

He made an unlikely return to the national team in 2008 when he was appointed Argentina coach, but after a quarterfinal exit at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he was ousted — ultimately picking up another coaching job with the United Arab Emirates club Al Wasl.

“To see him play was pure bliss, true stardom,” teammate Carlos Beltran said. Maradona played from 1976-81 for first division club Argentinos Juniors, then went to Boca Juniors for a year before heading to Barcelona for a world-record $8 million.

No other player, not even Pele in 1958, had dominated a World Cup the way Maradona did at Mexico ’86, scoring five and creating just as many for his team and the fact he did it in such style in an era of ultra-defensive tactics and heavy-handed defending made the achievement even more impressive. He has left a lasting legacy of billions of soccer fans around the world.