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Wednesday,08-December-2021

National

Hardik hasn’t bowled a single ball yet: Rohit Sharma

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Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma shed light on all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s fitness saying that “he hasn’t bowled a single ball yet”, raising doubts on whether he would retain his place in the Indian squad for the ICC T20 World Cup beginning in a week’s time.

Pandya batted against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday, scoring 10 runs off eight deliveries before he was sent packing by Jason Holder. The all-rounder did strike an unbeaten 30-ball 40 in Mumbai Indians’ six-wicket win over Punjab Kings on September 28 to break the five-time champions’ losing streak, but it’s his bowling fitness which is causing concern ahead of the mega-event.

After missing the first two matches in the second leg of the tournament in the UAE, Pandya has featured for Mumbai as a pure batsman. The all-rounder hadn’t bowled in the first leg of the tournament in India as well.

“Look, in terms of his bowling, he hasn’t bowled yet. So the physios, trainer and the medical team are working on his bowling. As of now, all I know is that he hasn’t bowled a single bowl (ball) yet but we wanted to take one game at a time and see where he stands. You saw he didn’t bowl today (Friday against SRH) as well, but he is getting better day by day. So, in the next week or so he might be able to bowl,” said Sharma in the post-match press conference.

“The doctor, physio will be able to give an update on that. As far as his batting is concerned, he will be a little disappointed but we know the quality of him. He is a quality player and there is no doubt about that and he has come back from tough situations before as well. Personally, for him he will not be happy with his batting but again the team has confidence in his ability. I personally have confidence in his ability. So yes, he is progressing.

“When you look at him, he is getting better every time he goes on to the field. He looks better and better. But again, a player like him is probably just one innings away from getting back and getting back to his own natural way. We have seen it in the past. He has done it before as well. If I have to put everything together, I am personally very confident of his ability. We have seen it in the past and there is no doubt that he will be a valuable asset.”

India have already named their squad for the T20 World Cup, which begins on October 17. While announcing the squad, chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma had said Pandya was fully fit and he would be able to bowl his quota of overs at the World Cup.

Ever since his back surgery, Hardik has been given the freedom to choose which match he wants to bowl in. The underlying reason is usually that his workload needs to be managed.

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Women’s football nationals: Railways beat Mizoram to enter Final

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Railways beat Mizoram 6-5 on penalties after they remained locked 1-1 at the end of extra time in the first semifinals of the Women’s National Football Championship (NFC) at the EMS Corporation Stadium here on Tuesday.

After a goalless first half, Railways went ahead through Mamta on the 70th minute, but Lalnunsiami, better known as Siami, pulled one back in injury time to take the match into extra time. With the scores level after 120 minutes, Railways eventually snatched the win by a 6-5 margin on penalties.

Both teams started with a safety-first approach to assess the opponent’s first. In the 36th minute, Thansangi of Mizoram missed a brilliant chance from a close-range free-kick but was fouled at the end.

Although both teams created equal goal-scoring opportunities, neither proved to be clinical in front of the goal and at the halfway point, both teams went into the tunnel on level pegging with the scoreline reading 0-0.

It was a box-to-box affair after the changeover, as both teams tried to breach the opponent’s goal more than once but eventually las’ season’s runners-up Railways took the lead midway through the second half. It was M’mta (70′) who opened the scorebook for Railways, giving them the lead. It was a beautiful run by Tara, who quickly passed the ball to Mamta as she chipped it into the goal.

Since then, it was all Railways as they launched attack after attack, penetrating the opponent’s defense. They dominated the exchanges and fostered goal-scoring opportunities but lack of accuracy in front of goal saw a switch in momentum.

Just when the referee was about to blow the final whistle towards the end of injury time, Mizoram made a stunning comeba’k via Siami’s solo goal which lead the match into extra time.

Both the sides tried and failed to make much headway in the 30 minutes of extra time, and the match headed into penalty shootout after 120 minutes of play.

Railways eventually emerged victorious in the shootout, after Grace Lalrampari and Vanlalhmangahzuali missed for Mizoram, while Suprava Samal was the only one to miss for Railways, thus the latter won the shootout by a 6-5 margin.

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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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VVS-Laxman

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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