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England captain Root named ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year for 2021

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England captain Joe Root on Monday has been named as the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year for 2021. Root beat stiff competition from New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson, Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne and India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to clinch the award.

“I am incredibly proud to have received the award for ICC men’s Test player of the year. Very proud to be in the same breadth with many wonderful players around the world. It means a lot to get this award. I I would like to say a massive thank you to my family, team-mates and coaches for all the support we had throughout the year,” said Root, who is the second England player to win the award after Sir Alastair Cook in 2011.

The magnitude of Root’s sublime form in 2021 can be summed up by one simple stat — he has become only the third player in history to aggregate over 1700 runs in Test cricket in a calendar year. Only Mohammad Yousuf and Sir Vivian Richards stand ahead of him. Though England won just four of 15 Tests in 2021, including losing the Ashes in Australia and series against India and New Zealand, Root stood tall and a class apart in his side’s batting order.

Be it in Asia or conditions at home and against different bowling attacks, Root conquered all with some outstanding knocks. His double centuries in Galle against Sri Lanka, and against India in Chennai followed by an unbeaten 180 against the same opposition at the Lord’s were some of the finest innings witnessed in the modern era, and will be spoken of highly for a long time.

Root chipped in with the ball as well, taking 14 wickets, including a five-for in the pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad. In his own words, Root picked out the Chennai Test against India as one of his most memorable performances in 2021.

“If there was one hundred that really sticks out, it would probably be the one against India in Chennai, the first Test of the series which was also my hundredth game. That is something which will live long in my memory. Hopefully a lot more to come in this year.”

In that match, Root’s 218 in the first Test of the four-match series against India in Chennai was a masterclass in batting. He swatted away a quality bowling attack, both pace and spin, with ease. This continued his form from the series in Sri Lanka, where he was again in sensational touch.

Batting for 377 deliveries, the Indian bowling had no answers to the Root conundrum, as he set up a 227-run victory for the visitors. This was also a sign of things to come for the remainder of the year, as the England skipper played knock after knock of the highest calibre, irrespective of what the opposition bowled.

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Thomas Cup: All the players have gone crazy, slept with medals around their necks, says HS Prannoy

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When they left Indian shores for the Thomas and Uber Cup finals in Bangkok, none of the Indian men’s team players had expected that they would win their maiden title.

They had expected to win a medal, probably bronze. But a gold medal was beyond their imagination, and that is the reason why the players went to bed late on Sunday night with medals still around their necks.

“We never thought we will win the Thomas Cup; we were thinking that we had a good chance of winning a medal but this is beyond our dreams,” said HS Prannoy, who won two tie-deciding third singles matches in the quarterfinals and semifinals to propel the Indian team into the final against Indonesia.

“All the players have gone crazy since the win against Indonesia in the final. We had a huge celebratory dinner, spoke to friends and family and just enjoyed ourselves. Most of us slept Sunday night with medals around our necks, It’s such a beautiful medal,” said Prannoy during an online interaction with select journalists from Bangkok.

The 29-year-old from Kerala said, though they ran onto the court for wild celebrations after Kidambi Srikanth defeated Jonatan Christie in the second singles to seal India’s 3-0 victory against Indonesia, the feeling and importance of the achievement only sunk in early on Monday morning.

“It’s only sinking in now that what an achievement we have had. It will definitely be an inspiration for the next generation of badminton players in the country. They will think that if these guys can win the Thomas Cup, we also can,” Prannoy said.

Prannoy said it was a very crucial week and an unbelievable experience for him and the nine other players that are part of the Indian men’s team because they have not seen this level of bonding between the players.

“All of us will never forget this week in our lives. I have played in team competitions earlier also and have known all these players on the circuit, but this entire week was totally different. Everyone was supporting each other, encouraging and guiding each other. It was a great experience,” said Prannoy.

Prannoy is scheduled to participate in the Thailand Open this week in Bangkok and will return to India after May 21. Just like all other players, he wants to share this joy personally with his family and friends. But before that, there is the unfinished business of the Thailand Open. Expect some more fireworks from the Indian players in Bangkok this week.

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Sarthak Chavan achieves historic podium finish at Thailand Talent Cup

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Honda Racing India rider Sarthak Chavan has created history by securing a podium finish at Thailand Talent Cup (TTC) 2022 Round 2 at Chang International Circuit, here.

This marks the first time in the racing history of Honda Racing India that an Indian rider has achieved this remarkable feat.

Showcasing his riding skills, the 15-year-old lad from Pune meticulously maneuvered his way in race 2 of the round to reach top 5 after his 12th position start on the grid. Giving a tough fight to the competition even under wet conditions, Sarthak boldly took on the finest of Asian riders and finished the race in third place with just 0.583 seconds behind the race leader.

“I am very happy with my performance in this round as I was able to give my maximum on the track. With learnings from the last round and training with my mentors, I achieved 3rd place on the podium. This win has boosted my confidence and I will continue to fight hard to bring more laurels for the country,” Sarthak said in a release issued by his racing company on Wednesday.

Sarthak’s teammate Kavin Quintal (16-year-old) too showed the might of a confident young Indian rider in the race. Starting 15th on the grid of 16 riders, the Chennai boy made a good start and overtook 5 riders in lap 1 itself. From there till the end of race 2, Kavin persevered through the stiff competition and closed at 9th position with the total time of 29:50.642.

The combined effort of the two riders helped the team gain 32 points. The Honda Racing India team entered the second round of Thailand Talent Cup 2022 with a total of 13 points. After securing 12th & 15th place on the grid in qualifying race of round 2, Sarthak Chavan and Kavin Quintal showed aggression in race 1 and climbed up to finish at 9th and 13th position respectively.

With this, Sarthak added 6 points and Kavin 4 points to his kitty. With the end of round 2 of Thailand Talent Cup 2022, Sarthak Chavan now holds a total of 35 points while his teammate Kavin Quintal has 10 points in his kitty.

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Rudrankksh and Abhinav, make it 1-2 for India in men’s 10m air rifle at Suhl Junior World Cup

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India made it a 1-2 in the men’s 10m air rifle competition of the ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany, after Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil won gold and Abhinav Shaw silver in a tight title-decider going 17-13 in the former’s favour.

The Indian duo shot consistently well throughout Wednesday morning, first crossing the eight-man final stage elimination hurdle and then putting up a show in the gold-medal matchup.

Earlier on Tuesday, day one of competitions, Rudrankksh had also topped the qualification stage with 627.5 points, leading three Indians into the top-eight stage. Paarth Makhija accompanied the duo, holding on to his fifth position in qualifying in the end classifications.

But Wednesday morning belonged to Rudrankksh who dominated all three stages of the competition over two days of shooting. In the final, it was Abhinav who started the stronger in the early stages, going up 4-2 after the first three shots.

Rudrankksh recovered quickly though, and went past his countryman, keeping his nose ahead till the very end to seal victory. Germnay’s Nils Palberg won bronze.

In Junior women’s 10m air rifle, Ramita of India, after topping qualification on Tuesday with a solid 630.5, also topped the final stage elimination with a score of 261.0. However, she settled for silver in the end, going down 8-16 to France’s Oceanne Muller, the reigning junior world champion and Tokyo Olympics finalist, in the gold medal match.

India are presently topping the medals tally as well with one gold and two silver medals.

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