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Wednesday,01-December-2021

National

Choice should be between Mayank Agarwal and Rahul: Deep Dasgupta

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Former India cricketer Deep Dasgupta has said that if the situation arises where the team has to look at a replacement for the injured opener Shubman Gill ahead of the five-Test series against England, the choice should be between Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul.

While the Indian cricket team in England is fretting over the fitness of Gill who is doubtful for the first Test that begins in Nottingham on August 4 and speculation is building on whether India will send a back-up, the Indian cricket board is yet to come out with an official statement on the status of the batsman’s injury.

As of now, the only information available is that Gill has a leg injury. There is no information on what the injury is and in which leg.

Dasgupta, cricketer-turned commentator, said that Agarwal should be the first choice as opener as he is better suited to English conditions and has a better defensive technique than Rahul.

“There are two straightforward options — Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul. My vote goes for Mayank Agarwal because, yes, he did have two or three bad performances but overall, I think his Test career has been really impressive — in India and especially overseas.

“For KL Rahul, see, he has opened or played in the top order throughout his life whether it’s for Karnataka or India in red-ball or white-ball cricket,” said Dasgupta on his YouTube channel on Saturday.

“But the way he (Rahul) has been playing white-ball cricket, his technique has changed a bit, he’s become more attacking. His attacking technique has improved but his defensive technique… he hasn’t paid that much attention to it. That’s why I feel that KL Rahul, as far as red-ball cricket is concerned, is a very good middle-order option.”

Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer too has said recently that Agarwal was his choice to replace Gill if the situation arises.

Agarwal had scored two double centuries, against South Africa and Bangladesh, in 2019 on way to surpassing Sir Don Bradman on the list of fastest to score two double Test tons.

“It will be a very big opportunity for Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul with Mayank being my first preference. He has had an excellent career so far. He was dropped after two poor outings in Australia but I am sure he will be looking forward to this opportunity,” Jaffer had said.

National

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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