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Wednesday,23-June-2021

International

5-0 whitewash on mind as India take on New Zealand in final T20I

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Indian-captain-Virat-Kohli

A 5-0 whitewash will be on the mind when Virat Kohli and his boys take on New Zealand in the final T20I at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Sunday. For the hosts, it will be all about playing for pride after they lost the third and fourth T20I in the Super Over, having dominated majority of the game in both the encounters.

India skipper Kohli has often spoken about the need to keep the winning momentum going when it comes to the shortest format of the game and that is exactly what his team has been doing against the Kiwis in this 5-match series.

While Mohammed Shami stole the show in the third T20I with a brilliant last over – defending the nine runs that the Kiwis needed with Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor at the crease – it was Shardul Thakur who stole the show in Friday’s encounter, defending just seven runs and picking two wickets.

The Kiwis clearly choked under pressure as they lost as many as four wickets in the 20th over in Wellington. More importantly, stand-in skipper Tim Southee once again failed to defend New Zealand’s score in the Super Over after failing against the might of Rohit Sharma in the third T20I.

The biggest positive for the Indian from the game was how the team fought it out and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat despite resting senior campaigners Rohit Sharma, Shami and Ravindra Jadeja. In fact, Kohli had made it clear after sealing the series in Seddon Park that he would try the reserves in the last two games with an eye on the World T20 in Australia at the end of the year.

And even after Friday’s win, he praised the efforts of the three youngsters in Sanju Samson, Navdeep Saini and Washington Sundar. “I thought Sanju was fearless. This was his chance to take things away. I think Washy has played a lot, and Saini rushed the batsmen,” he said after the game.

While India’s young guns stood up to the challenge, the Kiwis will want their experienced campaigners to come good and ensure that they don’t hand India a series whitewash. In Williamson’s absence, Colin Munro and Tim Seifert did a great job, but someone like Ross Taylor needed to bring in his experience and finish the game for the hosts with just seven needed in the final over.

Moreover, Southee’s form with the ball will be a big cause of concern for the hosts and they will want him to make amends for the two poor outings in the Super Overs of the third and fourth game. With the series already in India’s bag, it will be a case of avoiding a humiliating 5-0 loss for the hosts even as Kohli and his boys will once again look to hit the fifth gear from the word go.

Hopefully for the Kiwis, regular skipper Kane Williamson will be fit to take the field in the final T20I as the team clearly missed his experience in the fourth game on Friday.

Squads: India: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul (wk), Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Bruce, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Hamish Bennett, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner

International

Kevin Pietersen to back England players if they want to pull out of Ashes series

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Kevin Pietersen.

Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen has come out in support of his country’s cricketers on the prospect of them not being able to take their families to Australia during the long Ashes tour later this year.

The English cricket team travels to Australia in November and plays the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane from December 8. However, they may not be accompanied by their families due to the Covid-19 protocols in Australia.

The South Africa-born Pietersen, who played over 100 Tests for England and scored more than 8,000 runs, tweeted on Tuesday that, “Any ENG player that pulls out of this Ashes, if they seriously can’t see their families for FOUR MONTHS, has my full backing. Families are the most important part of a players make up. And even more so in the current climate! FOUR MONTHS with no family on Ashes Tour?”

England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler too had expressed his reservations on Tuesday, saying, “That (bringing back Ashes) would be a huge challenge, especially when you are accustomed to being able to take your family.”

“A lot of the guys have young families, so I am sure they would find that tough. Hopefully, a positive solution can be found,” the 30-year-old was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk.

England wind up the Ashes on January 18 in Perth. Prior to that, the likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, among others, who play limited-overs cricket too, will also be representing England on the tours of Pakistan, Bangladesh as well as the T20 World Cup.

This will mean a long time in quarantine and an almost five-month stay away from their families.

Cricket Australia has reportedly requested the Australian government to allow English cricketers’ families to travel with them.

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Former West Indies skipper Daren Sammy becomes CWI board member

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Daren-Sammy

Former West Indies skipper, Daren Sammy has become a member of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Board of Directors, following his appointment as an independent non-member director by the CWI Board.

With over 14 years of international cricket experience, Sammy led the West Indies to back-to-back ICC T20 World Cup titles in 2012 and 2016.

The 37-year-old is the first international cricketer from his native Saint Lucia where the national stadium has been named in his honour.

Sammy is an awardee of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II, and a Goodwill Ambassador for St. Lucia. He is also the current head coach of Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League and a Cricket Consultant for the St. Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

“Sammy’s appointment to the CWI Board of Directors is in keeping with two of the fundamental principles which have guided CWI’s improvement strategy for the past two years — increased utilisation of regional technical expertise and the implementation of a Cricket First Policy. It is expected that Mr. Sammy’s appointment will add a fresh and more youthful perspective, as well as a high level of updated cricket know-how to enhance the existing expertise in the CWI Board room,” said a CWI statement on Tuesday.

“It is an honour to be appointed as a CWI director; this is another great opportunity for me to give my best to West Indies cricket in a new way, off the field. All my local, regional and international experiences have prepared me to make a significant ongoing impact in West Indies cricket. I am excited and thankful for the chance to serve and look forward to giving back to the sport and region that I love so much,” said Sammy.

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Tokyo 2020: PM Narendra Modi wishes very best to Indian contingent

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Narendra-Modi

On the occasion of Olympic Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday extended his wishes to the Indian contingent taking part in Tokyo Olympics, beginning July 23.

The Games were slated to be held last year but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister also conveyed the pride the nation feels for those who have represented India in the Olympics over the years, and invited youngsters across the country to take part in MyGov Olympic quiz.

Taking to Twitter, the Prime Minister said: “Today, on Olympic Day, I appreciate all those who have represented India in various Olympics over the years. Our nation is proud of their contributions to sports and their efforts towards motivating other athletes.

“In a few weeks, @Tokyo2020 begins. Wishing the very best to our contingent, which consists of our finest athletes. In the run up to the games, here is an interesting quiz on MyGov. I urge you all, especially my young friends to take part.”

The quiz aims to create awareness amongst the people in the country about the Olympics and Indian participation before the start of quadrennial event.

“The quiz will be based on the past and current Olympics and athletes wherein questions will be asked with multiple options and the user must select the correct option. On successful completion of each activity, each participant will be awarded with an e-certificate marking their participation. Some lucky winners will also get a chance to meet their favourite Olympian,” said a statement.

The international Olympics Day is observed on June 23 every year to celebrate sports and health. This occasion celebrates the founding of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the Sorbonne, Paris, on June 23, 1894, where Pierre de Coubertine revived the Olympic Games.

The day aims at promotion sports and spreads the message of making sports an integral part of life.

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