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Advantage to have a skipper like Kohli who wants you to go all in: Shubman Gill

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Shubman Gill might be 20 but Indias limited-overs deputy Rohit Sharma has already tagged him the “future”. In fact, even skipper Virat Kohli felt he wasnt 10 per cent of what Gill is when he saw him at the nets as a 19-year-old. These are big names in world cricket and when they have such compliments to give, it can add to the pressure of expectations. But not for Gill.

Speaking to IANS, Gill threw light on Rohit’s affection, Kohli’s advice, looking forward to playing the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League and how this unforeseen break due to the coronavirus pandemic means players will have to work on the mental aspect of the game when they return to the training ground.

Replying to Gill on his birthday message, Rohit recently wrote “Thanks Future.” So does that add to the pressure? Considering that pundits already feel that Gill has it in him to take world cricket by storm. The Punjab batsman says for him, he just feels good to be complimented.

“Yes, it always feels good when someone like Rohit Sharma says that. I don’t feel any added pressure because that’s how I am. I don’t feel any pressure when one compliments me or if someone is critical,” he said.

Gill is young and likes to express himself on the field and luckily for him, he has a captain in Kohli who wants his boys to go out and be their natural selves. The youngster believes it is indeed an advantage to have a leader who let’s players express themselves freely.

“Yes, it’s definitely an advantage when your captain wants you to go all in and there is no pressure. You won’t feel that there is one per cent of your game that would be left when you are on the field so it’s always good for the young players when the captain backs you,” he smiled.

Asked if he has taken the opportunity to discuss batting with the run-machine, Gill said: “I have interacted with him a couple of times. He just tells me to keep doing stuff that I am already doing and to have consistency on the field. Consistency is an important factor.”

From on the field to off it, the cricketing world has come to a standstill due to the pandemic. So is Gill looking forward to getting back on the ground in the IPL? The Kolkata Knight Riders batsman says he cannot wait.

“Yes, that’s one more reason I am looking forward to playing the IPL (lockdown and suspension of cricketing action). But I think this time all the players would be more motivated than ever because it was a long break and coming back from the break everyone would want to make an impression.

“Also, earlier when we used to come to the IPL, there was a lot of cricket going on before that. But this time, players would be fresh and keen to get on with it,” he pointed.

So how difficult has the lockdown period been as an athlete who is used to spending maximum time on the pitch? Gill says it has been unusual, but he has used the time period to work on his fitness.

“This lockdown period has definitely been a bit unusual for any athlete. But the way I see it personally is, it is a very good opportunity for me to work on my body and to work on myself because when we are playing and we are in this season, we really don’t get that much time to work on our body so for me it was a very good time to work on myself,” he said.

But has the cricketing rhythm suffered? “Yes, it kind of broke the whole rhythm but it’s going to be the same for everyone. Once cricket returns, we have to put twice as much time to get back to the whole rhythm. To get back the touch, it’s going to take some time,” he explained.

Asked to elaborate a bit on the aspects that will need focus once he returns to the training ground, the right-handed batter said it will be a mental adaptability game for sure.

“We have to put in some quality time on the field, especially during the practice sessions and net sessions. Once that happens for me it’s always more of a mental thing than a physical thing because I think the body reacts to the brain and reacts to the way we are thinking,” he signed off.

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Eighth season of Pro Kabaddi League to begin from December 22 in Bengaluru

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The organisers of the Pro Kabaddi League announced on Wednesday that the eighth edition of the league will be held here from December 22. It also said that the entire season will be conducted without the presence of spectators for the matches.

Mashal Sports, the organisers of the league, have scheduled triple headers on the first four days. The season will kick-start with U Mumba facing Bengaluru Bulls. The second match will be the league’s ‘Southern Derby’ as Telugu Titans lock horns with Tamil Thalaivas while UP Yoddha will be squaring off against the defending champions Bengal Warriors in the last match of the opening day.

The triple-headers will be only-Saturday affairs throughout the whole duration of the league, starting at 7:30pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm respectively. The schedule of the first half of season 8 has come while the organisers say that the second half of the league’s schedule will come in mid-January next year.

Keeping the health and safety of players in mind amid COVID times, the organisers have converted the entire venue at Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Centre into an integrated and secure bio-bubble.

All 12 teams will be staying and playing at the same venue in order to follow and adhering to the safety protocols set by the authorities.

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Laxman finally agrees to head NCA: Sources

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has managed to convince former cricketer VVS Laxman to head the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, sources said.

After Rahul Dravid took over the post of Indian team’s head coach, there were reports that Laxman might be appointed as a new head of NCA.

However, later it was said that the former batter “is uninterested”. But now he is ready to take the charge after the BCCI officials held a meeting with him in Dubai.

“There were some issues and it has been sorted out. The board wanted him to take the reponsibility and he is the right man to come in place of Dravid,” sources said.

It is also learnt that Laxman has also agreed to leave the lucrative commentary career for the NCA.

“Laxman is currently mentor of IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad, apart from being a commentator and cricket analyst. And he will leave it all for NCA now.”

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Everyone had written us off; we are here to rectify that: Finch

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Australian captain Aaron Finch has conceded that not winning the ICC T20 World Cup title so far has been a sore point with the Kangaroos and the final against New Zealand later on Sunday is the “best opportunity to rectify that”.

The closest Australia came to winning the T20 World Cup was during the 2010 edition held in the West Indies, where they lost to England by seven wickets.

“It’s one that’s eluded us in the past, and the fact that we are here in the final gives us the best opportunity to rectify that. Yeah, I think it will be a great game against New Zealand. They are a great side and they have been in all the finals over the last six years. Looking forward to it,” said Finch ahead of the title clash.

Finch added that despite critics writing his team off, the way the players had gone about their business was heartening.

“Everyone had written us off but we had a lot of confidence within. We’re really confident the way that we were preparing, the way that our strategy was coming together. Yeah, I think it hasn’t defied expectation. I think we came here with a really clear plan to win the tournament, and we still feel as though we’ve got the squad to do that.

“Well, I think the spirit among the team… and that’s been really impressive the way we’ve gone about our business. Everyone has prepared really well. Everyone has had a really defining match or match-defining performance at some point. The guys are really up and about for the final,” said Finch.

Finch added that batting stalwart Steve Smith’s form wasn’t a concern despite the fact that the former skipper has been unimpressive so far in the tournament, and the team management has drawn flak for persisting with him.

“No, not concerned one bit about his (Smith) form. He’s a world-class player and he’s someone in big games has showed how valuable he is. He’s been hitting the ball as well as I’ve seen for a long time, so no, no concerns there whatsoever.”

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