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Thursday,29-July-2021

National

Enjoyed bowling leg-spin when I saw the ball turning more: Yuzvendra Chahal

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India's-Yuzvendra-Chahal

The way Shane Warne got Mike Gatting out in the 1993 Ashes series is every leg-spinner’s dream delivery, says India’s Yuzvendra Chahal.

On June 4, 1993 during his first Ashes tour to England, Warne got Gatting out with the ball which is touted as the ‘ball of the century’.

During the first Test in Manchester, Warne flighted the delivery which pitched well outside the leg stump. Gatting offered his bat, and the ball ended up fizzing past it to hit the off stump.

“I started watching videos of Shane Warne sir, and that’s where I realised what leg-spin is. He was my idol, and I wanted to be like him, bowl like him. You know, his name was all over the headlines and newspapers. I used to enjoy the way he used to trap the batsman. One class that he had was about controlling the drift, so that’s what I learnt by watching his videos all the time,” said Chahal.

“I used to watch all his videos, and especially, the way he bowled Mike Gatting, which is every leg-spinner’s dream delivery, made me feel that even I should get a batsman out like that once. And, I guess that came true during the New Zealand tour when I took Martin Guptill’s wicket. I think that was my special delivery,” he added.

The 30-year-old, who has played 54 ODIs and 45 T20Is till now, also shared how he switched over to leg-spin from medium-pace bowling on his dad’s advice.

“In the beginning, in school, I used to bowl medium-pace. Later, dad said that medium pacers need a proper body, and it also involves more risks of injury. Later, I don’t know what came over me, and I started bowling leg-spin. We used to play with a tennis ball in our neighbourhood lanes, and back then I used to bowl medium-pace, and when get tired I used to switch to off-spin or leg-spin,” said Chahal.

“I realised that the ball was turning more in leg-spin, which would make things difficult for the batsmen, so this made me enjoy bowling leg-spin more. I think dad made me realise it. And, I feel one should also spend more time on what you enjoy, whether you want to be a medium-pacer or a leg-spinner. You have to understand it that you are capable of,” he added.

The leg-spinner also revealed how his interest in the game grew and how a match in the local tournament led him to the dream about donning the Blue Indian jersey.

“When I gradually realised the emotion behind it, I began playing cricket in our neighbourhood, which I think everyone has. With dad, it was like, whenever his lawyer colleagues arrange matches, I would go, and do the umpiring for them. You know, I loved to be on the ground, and that’s how my interest grew. The seniors would pick me up. They would take me to the (cricket) ground with them. They would train and give me a free hand to do what I wanted. So, that’s how I started playing,” said Chahal.

“During Pataudi Trophy, which is a senior tournament played in Haryana, I was just 10-year-old back then, the match was in Sirsa, and there were just 11 of us, including me. The remaining player couldn’t make it on time due to a flat tyre, so my coach asked me to play the match. I was the only 10-year-old among those senior players. I took three wickets in the match, and after that, I was selected for the U-14 team. From there, I realised that I’ve made a proper beginning in cricket, and now I can focus on it. After that, I did the U-17 NCA, which was my first Indian camp. Whatever I learned during those two months helped me a lot in my first-class cricket. I realised when a senior player told me that if I stay focused, I get to play for India. So, from that moment, I was like it’s okay even if I get to play a single match, but I must don that blue jersey once,” he added.

The leg-spinner further said that he wants to share his experiences through FrontRow online classes.

“I can even share my sources which we never had. Since I am a leg spinner, I would like to show all my four variations from all angles, two kinds of googlies which have been successful against left-handed batsmen. I also want to teach you the angle at which I bowl,” said Chahal.

The leg-spinner is not part of the India Test squad currently participating in a four-match series in Australia.

National

Focus on Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav’s departure to England

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Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav’s departure from Sri Lanka to join the Indian Test squad in England may be delayed after they were sent into isolation for being in close contact with Krunal Pandya, who has tested positive for Covid-19 in the island nation.

The two were expected to leave immediately after the culmination of the white ball series in Sri Lanka. The series ends after Thursday night’s third T20I.

“They will travel to England when the formalities are completed,” an official told IANS.

The Indian Test squad in England has already seen three of the players being ruled out. While opener Subman Gill withdrew due to leg injury and has since returned home, off-spin bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar has hurt his finger, and pace bowler Avesh Khan, who was among the standby players, has suffered fracture his left thumb.

As a result, the selectors have pushed Abhimanyu Easwaran into the main squad and have also called up Shaw and Yadav.

The Test series begins on August 4 in Nottingham.

The second Test will be played on August 12-16 at Lord’s, London, the third Test on August 25-29 in Leeds, the fourth Test between September 2 and 6 at the Oval, London, and the fifth and final Test in Manchester from September 10 to 14.

The Indian team had lost the World Test Championship final to New Zealand last month.

After a three-week break, the Indian players moved to Durham for a warm-up match and training.

The team will travel to Nottingham on August 1.

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National

PV Sindhu makes it to knockout round with win over Hong Kong’s Cheung

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Rio Olympics silver-medallist in badminton, India’s PV Sindhu entered the women’s singles Round of 16 at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Wednesday, overcoming world No. 34 Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong 21-9, 21-16 in her final Group J tie.

Sindhu’s better court coverage and her use of the angles was the key to her victory against the 28-year old Cheung, who lost her sixth consecutive career match to the tall Indian shuttler.

The sixth-seeded Sindhu raced to an 11-5 lead as Cheung fruitlessly tried to push the 26-year old Indian deep into the corners of the forehand backcourt, ending up pushing the shuttles long.

Sindhu, giving almost nothing in the forecourt with superb net play, soon wrapped up the first game 21-9.

Cheung fought back in the second game, moving Sindhu to the far backhand corner and taking to a 7-6 lead. But as the rallies grew longer, Sindhu’s power came to her rescue on several times.

But Cheung’s relentless onslaught kept her neck-and-neck with the Sindhu, who sent a few shuttles wide in trying to end long rallies.

Cheung’s deception continued to keep her in the match, but Sindhu played an superb down-the-line smash from almost the edge of the backhand corner to make it 15-14.

That charged up the Indian to move decisively ahead as she raised the intensity of her game to quickly set up six match points. Sindhu converted on the third, stepping into the net to smash her way to the top of her group and into the knockouts.

Sindhu had defeated Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel 21-7, 21-10 in her opening group match on July 25.

India’s B Sai Praneeth will take on Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in his final Group D men’s singles match later today. Praneeth is out of contention for the knockouts, having lost to Israel’s Misha Zilberman in straight games in his first group match.

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Nandu Natekar, India’s first overseas badminton champion passes away

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Indian badminton icon Nandu Natekar passed away in Pune on Wednesday. Natekar, who was the first Indian badminton player to win an international event back in 1956, was 88.

The six-time national singles champion made his India debut at the age of 20 and successfully shouldered the responsibility of leading India’s challenge in the Thomas Cup men’s team championship for more than a decade from 1951-1963.

Born in Sangli, Maharashtra, in 1933, Natekar dabbled with playing tennis and even reached the junior nationals final against the legendary Ramanathan Krishnan before deciding to focus on his badminton career.

Recipient of the first Arjuna Award in 1961, Natekar was a touch artist who would mesmerise his opponents with his deceptive skills and stroke perfection. He created history for Indian badminton when he clinched the Selangor International crown in Kuala Lumpur in 1956. He and Meena Shah had bagged the mixed doubles crown at Kings Cup International in Bangkok in 1962 and a year later he also won the singles title against all odds at the same event.

The legendary shuttler also won multiple men’s doubles and mixed-doubles national titles during his career spanning 15 years and reached the quarterfinals in his only All England appearance in 1954.

“One of the towering icons of Indian badminton, Nandu Natekar leaves behind a rich legacy that we shall cherish forever. Six-time national champion and first Indian to win an international title in 1956, he shall be remembered fondly for his drives, drops and smashes,” Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

“It’s very sad to hear about the demise of Nandu Natekar. He gave Indians a belief that we also can win titles overseas with his win in Kuala Lumpur. Indian badminton will always be grateful for his contribution. The entire badminton community is with his family in this hour of grief and loss,” BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania said.

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