With exactly two years to go, Hockey India and the Odisha government are gearing up to host the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup. In 2023, India will host the competition for a record fourth time since its inception in 1971. The tournament is slated to be held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 to 29, 2023.
When India hosted the 14th edition of the World Cup in 2018, all the matches of the competition were held at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar, but two venues will be utilised for the 2023 event.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, on December 24 last year, announced a new world-class stadium to be constructed in Rourkela city which would be the biggest stadium for hockey in the country with a sitting capacity of 20,000.
The stadium is set to have all the modern facilities and will offer a unique experience to players and the fans during the 2023 World Cup. The work to develop synthetic hockey turf in each of the 17 blocks of Sundargarh district has already begun.
“It will be a challenge and an opportunity for us to organize the 2023 World Cup in two venues – Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. Since the World Cup in 2018 was held at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar, most of the arrangements are in place in Bhubaneswar, while a new world-class Hockey stadium is being built in Rourkela,” said Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Odisha Tusharkanti Behera.
“World-class infrastructure at both venues will enable Odisha to once again deliver a successful and memorable tournament and leave behind a valuable and lasting legacy,” he added.
The 2023 World Cup being hosted in India holds great significance since the country will be completing 75 years of independence that year.
The host federation Hockey India did not want to miss out on the opportunity to showcase the growth of the sport in the country in this landmark year and give the country another reason to celebrate 75 years of independence.
Speaking on the preparations for the World Cup, Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam said: “It’s an absolute honour for us to host the Men’s Hockey World Cups back-to-back. After hosting a successful World Cup in 2018, we are going to ensure that the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup in 2023 will have even better facilities for the players and the fans. It’s very exciting to note that we are exactly two years away from the 2023 World Cup.”
Irresponsible shot: Sunil Gavaskar on Rohit, who limps off the field
India got another injury scare when opening batsman Rohit Sharma was seen limping immediately after holing out to long on just before tea on the second day of the fourth and final Test at the Gabba on Saturday.
It appeared to be either hamstring or a calf strain.
Rohit had got off to a flying start, hitting six fours during his 74-ball stay at the crease for 44 runs. Three of his boundaries came off Pat Cummins.
However, just when he looked like he would get to his half-century, the right-handed batsman was dismissed off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.
Former India captain and opening batsman Sunil Gavaskar criticised the shot, calling it irresponsible.
“That’s an unbelievable and irresponsible shot from Rohit Sharma. You’ve just hit a boundary a couple of deliveries earlier, why would you play that? You’re a senior player, there’s no excuse for this. Absolutely no excuse for this shot. An unnecessary wicket gifted away, what a waste of wicket. This is Test match cricket. You have a start. You have to convert it into a big hundred,” Sunil Gavaskar said on Channel 7.
There is a possibility that Rohit was suffering from some pain and therefore played the big, irresponsible shot.
That shot gets me runs, I will keep playing it: Rohit Sharma on his dismissal
Rohit Sharma, who was criticised by Sunil Gavaskar for throwing his wicket away with an ‘irresponsible shot’ on the second day of the fourth and final Test, said he will continue playing that type of shot as it has got him plenty of runs.
Rohit had got off to a flying start, racing to 44 off 74 deliveries in India’s first innings, but then holed out to long on just before tea.
The dismissal prompted former India opener Sunil Gavaskar to say, “That’s an unbelievable and irresponsible shot from Rohit Sharma.”
However, Sharma said that the shot is his bread and butter stroke and often helps put pressure back on the opposition bowlers.
“It is the shot that I played very well in the past. It is something that I really back myself to do all the time. That is the kind of role that I play in this team. Yes, when it looks like that, it looks bad but that is something I don’t really think too much about. My focus has always been that once I am in, I obviously want to make it count, make it big,” said Rohit after the end of the day’s play.
He added that he was disappointed with his dismissal but added that he will keep playing them.
“There is a process which is to make sure that once I am in I should keep the pressure on the bowling unit of the opposition. Sometimes you get out, sometimes you hit it over the ropes. Yeah, it was unfortunate and a very sad dismissal at the end. Again as I said those are my shots and I will keep playing them,” added Rohit.
“They don’t bowl anything that is easy. It was something I was thinking about while batting while I was not playing. It really worked in the first half of the batting when they were bowling with the new ball. Getting closer to new ball, making sure I leave anything outside off-stump and then once I am in I play some shots. Because that is what you want. You want to score runs at the end of the day and try and see how they react. It worked until I got out.”
Hardik Pandya’ father dies of heart attack
India all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya lost their father, Himanshu, on Saturday morning. The senior Pandya suffered a heart attack. He was 71.
Krunal, who is leading Baroda in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament, had to leave the bio-bubble in Vadodara created for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, to be with the family and perform the last rites, the Baroda Cricket Association confirmed to IANS.
India captain Virat Kohli took to twitter to offer condolences.
“Heartbroken to hear about the demise of Hardik and Krunal’s dad. Spoke to him a couple of times, looked a joyful and full of life person. May his soul rest in peace. Stay strong you two,” wrote Kohli on twitter.
Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan, who had also captained Baroda, also tweeted his condolences.
“Remember meeting uncle for the first time at motibagh. He was so keen for his sons to play good cricket. My condolences to You and family. May god give you strength to pass through this difficult time @krunalpandya24 @hardikpandya7,” wrote Pathan.
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