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Courier company will return money to the chess players: Kiren Rijiju




Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Saturday said he was upset at the news of Indian chess team members having to pay customs duty to get their FIDE Online Olympiad gold medals.

In a tweet Rijiju said, “I’m very upset with this news. My office has already reached out to the athletes. It was a case of misunderstanding between customs and courier company. The issue has been resolved. The company has acknowledged the slip-up and will return the money to the athlete Srinath Narayanan.”

India and Russia shared the gold as they were declared joint winners of the FIDE Online Olympiad.

The victorious Indian chess team consisted of Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (captain), Viswanathan Anand, Pentala Harikrishna, Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, Aravindh Chithambaram, Nihal Sarin, R Praggnanandhaa, R Vaishali, Bhakti Kulkarni, Divya Deshmukh, Vantika Agarwal and Srinath Narayanan.

Team’s non-playing captain Grandmaster (GM) Srinath Narayanan had told IANS that he had paid customs duty for the 12 medals to DHL and received the medals.

Narayanan also told IANS that he had given a letter to DHL addressed to the Customs Department, Bengaluru, mentioning what the medals were.

Normally, customs duty is exempted for Indian sportspersons returning from overseas after winning medals in international sporting events.

Neither the DHL Express India Ltd nor the non-playing captain of the Indian chess team that won the FIDE Online Olympiad gold medal claimed any exemption from customs duty for the medals received from Russia, the Commissioner of Customs (Airport), Chennai I, had told IANS.

“The Bill of Entry was filled on November 28 by DHL Express India Ltd on behalf of (Grandmaster) Srinath Narayanan, the non-playing captain of the Indian chess team, in Chennai Customs (Courier Import) for the clearance of 12 medals for Online Chess Olympiad coming from Korshunov Maxim Alexandrovich, Russia,” the Commissioner of Customs clarified to IANS.

According to the official, the Bill of Entry was presented to the Customs assessing officer for assessment on November 30 by DHL and the same day it was assessed and the goods were cleared on the basis of the facts presented in the Bill of Entry.

“While filling the Bill of Entry, the DHL neither claimed any notification benefit, nor did it approach the Assistant Commissioner of Customs, Courier, by mail or personally for claiming exemption as provided in the notification no. 41/2017-Cus dated June 30, 2017,” he said.

The official also said the invoice claimed that the import was for personal use and Srinath Narayanan had not given any declaration/letter for claiming the notification exemption benefit.

“The shipment was filed on merit rate of duty which comes to Rs 5,533. Accordingly, the Bill of Entry was assessed on November 30 and was cleared on the same day,” the Commissioner of Customs clarified.

“The Indian team comprised 13 members, including me. Today I got 12 medals and paid customs duty of Rs 6,300 for all the medals. I paid the courier company DHL which had already paid the duty,” Narayanan had told IANS on Wednesday.

According to Narayanan, GM Pentala Harikrishna got his medal last month as he lives outside India.


BCCI wants Dravid to be India’s chief coach; sources say Rahul’s ‘agreed but…!’





 Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid has agreed to coach the national side after the ICC T20 World Cup but there are a couple of issues which he wants to be sorted out before joining, said a BCCI official.

Earlier, there were reports that Dravid would be the interim coach for the upcoming home series against New Zealand.

However, the BCCI official has now confirmed that “Rahul has agreed to coach the Indian team till 2023 World Cup”.

The official told IANS that BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah had a meeting with Dravid on the side-lines of the IPL final on Friday evening and they managed to convince him.

“There are a couple of issues which Dravid wants to settle with the BCCI and hopefully that will be done,” he added.

Asked what are the “issues”, the official said, “Like, Dravid wants to have new support staff… changing the entire old one. And a couple of other things. I am sure everything will be sorted out. Because BCCI wants Dravid to lead the charge.”

It is learnt that former Mumbai pacer Paras Mhambrey may take over from Bharat Arun as the bowling coach.

Sources further said that Dravid had suggested Australian Tom Moody’s name for the coach’s job, but the Board didn’t show too much interest.

The 48-year-old Dravid has been in charge of the India A and U-19 set-up for the past six years. He currently heads the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

“He will resign from there and take over the charge (of Team India),” sources added.

Dravid had recently coached a second-string Indian team to a tour of Sri Lanka even as the national senior team was playing concurrently in England.

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Dhoni is still non-committal on playing IPL next season





 Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni did not commit to playing another season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the team from Tamil Nadu though he did say that he was not done with the World’s richest T20 tournament.

Though Dhoni maintained that whether he continues to play or not depends on the decisions the BCCI takes regarding player retention when two more teams join the league next year, the 40-year-old said he has not left any legacy behind as of yet.

“Still I haven’t left behind….” he signed off during the prize distribution ceremony after CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs to lift their fourth IPL title.

“Again I’ve said it before, it depends on BCCI. With two new teams coming in. We have to decide what is good for CSK. It’s not about me being there in top-three or four. It’s about making a strong core to ensure the franchise doesn’t suffer. The core group, we have to have a hard look to see who can contribute for the next 10 years,” said Dhoni on Friday.

CSK set up a big target and then defended it successfully, keeping their nerves even when Kolkata Knight Riders openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer and given KKR a great start by putting on 91 runs for the first wicket. There was no panic in CSK ranks and the players went about performing their roles as things just fell in place.

Dhoni said they don’t plan or strategise too much before the game and the net sessions are more of one-on-one sessions.

“Frankly no chats, we don’t talk a lot [meetings]. It’s more one-on-one, our practice sessions are meeting sessions. The moment you get into a team room, it brings about different pressure. Our practice sessions hav” been good,” Dhoni said, adding that the chat sessions don’t last more than 29 minutes as that’s the attention span for a normal person.

About his team’s performance, Dhoni said that they shuffled players around after the first half and that paid for them. “Coming to CSK, we shuffled players. We had match winners coming game after game and doing really well. Every final is special, if you look at stats, we may say we’re the most consistent team to lose the final too. I feel it’s important to come back strong, especially in the knockouts,” Dhoni added.

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IPL 2021: Extremely grateful, feels amazing to be part of CSK, says Uthappa




Chennai Super Kings. (Photo: Twitter/@ChennaiIPL)

After Chennai Super Kings (CSK) won their fourth IPL trophy, star batsman Robin Uthappa on Friday said that he is extremely grateful and it feels amazing to be part of MS Dhoni-led side, especially how last year went for them.

CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the IPL 2021 final and lifted their fourth IPL title. CSK had earlier won three IPL titles in 2010, 2011, and 2018.

“Extremely grateful, it feels amazing to be part of this side, especially how last year went for us. It was a very lean season for us last year and so it was important for us to come back and play as well as we could and be really grateful that we have been able to,” said Robin Uthappa after the win.

“I just want to come in and contribute to the team’s success,” he added.

Talking about the environment in the CSK group, the stylish batsman said that there is a lot of clarity.

“They create a very secure environment within the group and there’s a lot of clarity and communication within the support staff and the players and that really helps in building a secure group,” said Uthappa, who performed well with the bat for CSK in the last two matches.

“I believe it’s your players who are not playing in the eleven that really create the atmosphere within the group and they make sure that they look after the players who are not playing in the eleven and I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways of our success in IPL,” he added.

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