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Having Dravid is amazing as there is a sense of relaxation, says Rohit Sharma

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Having Rahul Dravid as the head coach is the most “amazing” thing to have happened to Team India, said white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma, adding that there “has been a sense of relaxation” ever since the legend took over the reins.

Sharma was recently promoted from being T20I captain to full-time white-ball skipper, replacing Virat Kohli as the ODI captain, and the stylish batter is excited about the “huge responsibility” entrusted on him by the Indian cricket board.

“Working with Rahul bhai, it was three-odd games (T20I series vs New Zealand) but it was fantastic. We have seen how he has played his cricket, hard and tough. There has been a sense of relaxation as well, because it is important to keep the atmosphere light and cheerful when you are doing the job on the field, which is so demanding,” said Sharma in a video shared by bcci.tv.

Sharma said that a demanding sport like cricket needs a relaxed atmosphere, which the former cricketer has provided.

“You need to have the atmosphere where people can relax and chill around. It’s been a little while but I have had so many interactions with him in the past about the game, my personal game with him. It’s good to have him on board and will be a very fruitful one for the future,” said Sharma, who will be leaving for South Africa this week with the team for a three-Test and ODI series.

Sharma reckoned that his journey of being a white-ball captain will be ‘exciting’. He also stressed on his relationship with his predecessor, Kohli, saying that he has enjoyed ‘each and every moment’ in playing together and will continue to do so.

“I am deeply honoured and grateful for the opportunity. It’s a huge responsibility and very happy about it. Looking forward to lead India in white-ball cricket, going to be an exciting journey. I have had limited opportunities to lead Team India but whenever I have got an opportunity, I have tried to keep it very simple, tried to keep one thing in common, which is clear communication to players,” said Sharma.

“I have tried making sure that they understand their roles, because that is what it is all about, understanding that role and going out there and performing that role. Because, for us, coach and captain, it is important that we have clear communication and that is what I want to do, making sure people do understand why they have been picked in the team,” added Sharma.

Sharma was all praise for Kohli and his relationship with him in the team. “He has kept the team in a situation when there is no looking back. Those five years that he led the team, he led from the front every time, we stepped on to the park, and there was clear grit and determination to win every game… that was the message to the entire squad. We have had a great time playing under him (Kohli) and I have played a lot of cricket with him, I have enjoyed each and every moment, I will still continue to do that.”

Sharma knows that the challenge for the Indian team is to claim an ICC trophy, something which has eluded them since 2013.

“There are lot of things that we need to do right before we think of end result. The last ICC trophy (Champions Trophy), we won was in 2013. Since then, we haven’t won. But I don’t see anything wrong that we did after that Champions Trophy. We played well and performed as a team but just that we couldn’t get that extra inch that we always look forward to.

“That can happen as international cricket is very demanding but that’s the challenge as we are all professionals. My message to the team will be to focus on process and not to think about the end goal.

“(A) lot of World Cups are coming and India will be eyeing to do well in (a) lot of them. Our focus is on winning the championship but there is a process that we need to follow as a group. If you need to win the championship, there are lot of other things that you first need to take care of then focus on the end goal.”

The 34-year-old believes that emerging strong from tough scenarios will be his focus point as the white-ball captain.

“How you come out of tough challenges is very important. I think, in the past we have been put in those situations before, where we have been 10/3 or 15/2 or something like that, we failed to recover. Something that we need to keep in mind moving forward, it’s one of the areas. There are other areas we need to keep improving as a team because getting better as a team doesn’t stop. We have to keep looking to do better at different departments every time we play a game.”

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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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