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Dutee Chand gears up for World Relays as Indian team sets sight on Tokyo




Dutee Chand, national record holder in women’s 100 metres, will stay in quarantine for a week as well as train in isolation as she shifts her training base to Patiala’s National Institute of Sports from Bhubaneswar to prepare for next month’s World Relays.

The 25-year-old Odisha sprinter is one of the key runners in national women’s 4x100m relay squad shortlisted for next month’s World Relays, an Olympic qualification competition, in Poland.

To practice baton exchange and train with other members of the team, Dutee had reached Patiala from Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

Last week, in the wake of spike in Covid-19 cases, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) issued fresh guidelines to avoid spread of contagious virus in SAI campuses across the country.

It is mandatory for outstation athletes to furnish RT-PCR negative reports issued not before 72 hours and stay in quarantine for a minimum of one week in a SAI campus before training in a group with other athletes, say SAI guidelines.

“We have to stay indoors for a week. But we can go out to train at a particular time of the day. Since we are in quarantine for six-seven days we can’t train on the main synthetic track and do collective training with other sprinters,” Dutee’s coach N. Ramesh told IANS from Patiala.

During the quarantine period Dutee can’t use the main gymnasium hall, said the coach.

“We can’t go to the dining hall. The meals are being served in the room. We will train on a grassy ground that is far off from the main track used by other athletes for training,” added the coach.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has shortlisted six top sprinters including newly-crowned 100m national champion S Dhanalakshmi.

“Since top two runners in the team have sub-11.50 seconds time for 100m, we stand a good chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics,” explains AFI president Adille Sumariwalla.

Since Hima Das’s recurring back injury restrict her to compete in the longer sprint, she is also selected for the 4x100m relay.

Das was part of the Jakarta Asian Games silver-medal winning team in 400 metres.

Himashree Roy, Archana Suseendran and AT Daneshwari are the other sprinters selected by AFI for the 4x100m squad.


Rishabh Pant gets first jab of Covid-19 vaccine




Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant said that he has got his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. Pant urged people to get the vaccine whenever they are eligible.

“Got my first jab today. When you are eligible, please step up and get the vaccine. The sooner we do it, the sooner we can beat this Virus,” Pant tweeted with a photo of him getting the vaccine.

Earlier Indian captain Virat Kohli and fast bowlers Deepak Chahar and Siddharth Kaul also said that they had got their first jabs.

Pant was captain of Delhi Capitals for the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) following an impressive season with the Indian team in which he played integral roles in their Test series wins away from home against Australia and at home against England.

He was announced as DC’s captain prior to the season after regular skipper Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to injury.

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Sometimes miss Dhoni’s guidance: Kuldeep Yadav



Kuldeep Yadav

Spinner Kuldeep Yadav has admitted that he misses the guidance he used to get from MS Dhoni when the latter kept wickets. Kuldeep has seen his international appearances nosedive since the end of 2019, which was also the year that Dhoni played his last match for India.

“Sometimes I miss that guidance because he (Mahi) has great experience. He used to guide us behind the wicket, kept screaming. We miss his experience. Rishabh is there now, the more he plays, the more input he will give in the future. I always felt every bowler needs a partner who can respond from the other end,” Yadav told The Indian Express.

Yadav has played seven ODIs in 2020 and 2021, as compared to 23 in 2019 alone. Dhoni played his last game for India in their semi-final defeat to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup on July 10 before eventually retiring from international cricket on August 15, 2020.

“When Mahibhai was there, I and (Yuzvendra) Chahal were playing. Ever since Mahi bhai left, Chahal and I haven’t played together. I played only a handful of games after Mahibhai left. I must have played ten-odd games. I had even taken a hat-trick. If you look at the performance as a whole, it will look pretty decent but if one breaks it up then my performance sometimes can look not up to the mark. One has to also look at the opposition we are playing against,” said Yadav.

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India should play both Jadeja and Ashwin in WTC final: Pragyan Ojha




Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin should both be playing in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand for their prowess with the bat as much as their ability to take wickets, said Pragyan Ojha.

Ojha said that with India having no fast-bowling all-rounder in the squad, Jadeja in particular gives them an extra option in the batting order.

“They should play, both of them. Because both can bat, both have the experience of bowling on any track. The biggest plus point is Jadeja can bat up the order. The way he is performing. Mind you if you look at his domestic record, he’s got three triple hundreds.

I think he can bat long and Ashwin has got international hundreds also. I feel if there’s a little chance where you can play both the spinners, you should play. They have enough experience to win you games on any wicket,” Ojha told Sports Today.

“Overall, it’s a fantastic team. Even I was following Hanuma Vihari. Very thoughtful of him to go and play some county cricket. You know you get acclimatised to the conditions. That’s very important,” he added.

Jadeja will be making his comeback to the Test team after being sidelined in the second Test against Australia due to a finger injury. The injury forced him to miss the four-Test series at home against England but he hit the ground running for Chennai Super Kings in the 2021 Indian Premier League.

Ashwin, on the other hand, has experienced a resurgence with the bat in recent matches, helping India to a draw in the third Test against Australia by fending off 128 balls and finishing unbeaten on 39. He then scored 106 against England in the second Test in Chennai in February.

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