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Thursday,26-November-2020

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I didn’t realise I had effect on people’s daily lives: The Undertaker

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Wrestling legend The Undertaker, who is all set to bid adieu to the arena, is proud of his career which spanned over three decades and feels he couldn’t have asked for more in terms of accomplishments and love he received from the fans.

“I have wrestled all over the world. I have wrestled against almost every wrestler of my generation. When I look back at my career, I have experienced so much and was able to do so much that I can easily look back and say that I haven’t missed anything, be it a match against a wrestler or anything,” The Undertaker told IANS in an interview.

“After 30 years of career in wrestling, there’s not a whole life that I didn’t get to accomplish. I am very proud of my career. It’s very humbling to know that you have an effect on people and their everyday lives. When you are wrestling, you are into the zone and don’t realise the effect you are having on the lives of people. Sometimes, you give them hope, sometimes you give them the courage to do something during their difficult times,” he pointed out.

The Undertaker, whose real name is Mark Calaway, had made his WWE debut at Survivor Series on November 22, 1990.

Ever since making his debut with Brother Love, The Undertaker participated in some of the greatest matches in history against Hall of Famers such as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley.

The 55-year-old’s last match in WWE was at WrestleMania 36 when he and AJ Styles fought in a Boneyard match in April in which The Deadman had emerged victorious.

When asked about what he will miss the most about WWE post his retirement, The Undertaker said: “The hardest part for me would be not to hear that music, the light going out and the reception from the fans whenever I entered the ring. That’s something I am going to miss the most because that has been something which has sustained me for so long.”

If he were not The Undertaker, Calaway said he would’ve wanted to play the character of Rick Flair in WWE. “It would be very tough not to be Rick Flair. He was the epitome of success, a world champion. I always felt that Rick Flair’s character was so over the top which actually he is not. He is the bar which guys of my generation measured themselves with.”

During his illustrious career, The Undertaker had multiple WWE Championship reigns and held an unmatched and astounding undefeated streak at WrestleMania that lasted 21 years.

However, one thing which he wishes he had was an extended program with AJ Styles, his last opponent in WrestleMania.

“Although I am proud of the Boneyard match, I wished I could have a “traditional” kind of match with AJ Styles in a wrestling ring. I told him on several occasions: ‘Man, I wish you could’ve been here 10-15 years earlier’.”

“I love the way he works and what he does in the ring. I have called him the modern-day Shawn Michaels. I would have really loved to have an extended program with AJ Styles,” he said.

The wrestling legend believes the current WWE misses the storytelling part, something which, according to him, is the root of what wrestlers are supposed to do.

“Storytelling is the root to what we do. It is something which I tell the young talent who are unbelievably fit, but what we do is storytelling and that’s the most important thing in my opinion,” he said.

“It is not about the wrestling moves, it’s about the moves that help us tell our story. That’s what captivates and keeps people interested. To me, it starts and finishes with a story,” he added.

When asked about his plans after retirement, he said: “I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out yet. When I look back, I am still amazed that I have been there for 30 plus years with wrestling.”

“I don’t think I am not going to be a part of the WWE.

“One of the things that really interests me a lot is paying it forward, working with the talent that is coming up and trying to give them something of my insights and something from my experience. I think there’s a lot of what I did, aspects to storytelling, which is missing in today’s games. So, I think that’s where I can be an asset for the next generation guys,” he added.

The wrestling legend also plans to meet in person his fans a bit more often now that he will not be as busy with the fights.

“Although I may not be in the ring very often, I will still be around.”

The Undertaker will be returning to the WWE this weekend at Survivor Series, as part of his final farewell which airs in India on November 23 at 5.30 a.m. on Sony Network.

International

Australia vs India: Ishant, Rohit’s absence in Tests no concern to us, says Justin Langer

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Justin-Langer

Australia head coach Justin Langer has said that the likely absence of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma from the first two Tests of the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy will have no bearing on the hosts’ psyche and the frequent limited-overs match-ups between the two sides in recent times will eventually help them in facing the Indian challenge.

“Not our business, we have got our challenges. We will come together as a group for the first time on the morning of the game. It is up to India what they do and who they choose as we have zero control over things. One thing I have learnt through Covid-19 is that if you get caught up with things you can’t control, you literally go crazy. They can pick whoever they want but we have our own challenges so who they pick (as replacements), we’ll go ahead and face them,” said Langer while responding to a question from IANS on whether the absence of Ishant and Rohit from the first two Tests will affect the Australians.

Both Rohit and Ishant are undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy and there have been reports that the duo might miss the first half of the Test series as they will recover late and will have to undergo hard quarantine upon arrival in Australia which will make it impossible for them to play the first two matches to be played at the Adelaide Oval (December 17-21) and Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26-30).

Langer added that since both the sides have played each other frequently in limited-overs cricket in recent times, it has helped Australia batsmen have a measure of the Indian bowling. This is apart from the IPL experience, he says.

“We know that (Jasprit) Bumrah is world-class, with (Mohammed) Shami (that is a) really good opening combination. Our guys have seen fair bit of them through the IPL, through the last couple of summers, we’ve played 14 ODIs and it is seven-all. Our guys have seen a lot of each other. That is what I love about the contests. How teams are growing, we have played a bit against each other. We have great respect for their spinners, for Bumrah, Shami, their other bowlers, like (Navdeep) Saini. Our guys know they will be on their toes against the Indian bowling attack. They are working hard, they’ve seen a bit and they’ll be ready for it,” said Langer.

Before the Test series, Australia and India will compete in three ODIs and as many T20Is starting Friday. The matches will be broadcast live on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels.

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Australia vs India: Ricky Ponting’s arms ‘falling off’ while giving throwdowns to Smith

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Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who coached Delhi Capitals to the final of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) a fortnight ago, is busy giving throwdowns to Steve Smith as, unlike the Indian team, there is no throwdown specialist within the Australian team.

“That is where we have to help each other. I had been a batting coach 10 years ago, for 2-3 years then, it is a really tough job. Sadly, in these times, we don’t have Graeme Hick with us. In the past we had Michael di Venuto with the team (both to help batting). It (helping the batsmen) is a big role. I know Ricky Ponting, his arms have fallen off from throwing to Steve Smith over the last 10 days or so,” Australia head coach Justin Langer, who is taking care of the players who had not been to the IPL and are training at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) ahead of the all-format series against India, said on Wednesday.

Those returning from IPL, like Smith, David Warner and Ponting, are lodged at Sydney Olympic Park and training separately.

“I always had a joke with Punter (Ponting) over the last few months, how it is to throw to Steve Smith. Our boys love to hit balls, they only get better. That is part of our job. We have to keep preparing our boys as best as possible and we have to do that, whether it is through throwdown specialists. Time will tell. (But) we have got a pretty good system,” added Langer.

Unlike the Australian team, the entire Indian team in Sydney is located at one place, the Sydney Olympic Park. They stay in touch with each other during practice. The two Aussie groups will assemble only on the day of the match.

“We are working hard. Warner, Smith, Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) are facing (Pat) Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Dan Sams and Andrew Tye. At the SCG, against (Michael) Starc, Michael Nesser, Sean Abbott are helping the players who are here (not been to IPL). The Australia A bowlers are also keeping their loads up at SCG. The boys will be ready,” said Langer.

The Australia head coach further said that despite their top bowlers having played a bit of cricket in recent times, they are looking to field them in all the Test matches and not thinking of resting them.

“I say that with great respect to others, I hope not (that Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood don’t play and rest) because our bowlers, those three guys, if they are fit and healthy and firing, they will play all Tests. That is how it is going to be. About the old saying that it is harder to get out of the team than it is to get into team I said two years back when I got the job. That’s what we want,” Langer said.

“It is great to see competition building in domestic cricket. We are going to hope we are bowling well, they are fit and healthy – we have three first peak bowlers. But who knows (if something happens to them). Through these last 8-9 months of Covid, we have had to be agile and take on challenges. Guys we have brought in now (as back-ups) are (also) good, seasoned cricketers,” he added.

India and Australia will begin the much-anticipated clash with the three-match ODI series starting Friday.

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Cricket Australia confirms charity partners for 2020-21 season

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Cricket Australia. (Photo: Twitter/@CAComms)

Cricket Australia has confirmed the 2020-21 Cricket Cares program, naming its official charity partners across matches for the season ahead which includes Day 5 gold coin donations during the upcoming Test series against India.

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation, McGrath Foundation, Movember and Taverners Australia will align to fixtures across the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) Finals and the men’s international calendar.

The fixtures will provide each charity partner with an opportunity to raise awareness for their respective areas, along with the opportunity to fundraise.

The 2019-20 season resulted in $3.15 million raised for the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund through The Big Appeal, along with more than $780,000 being raised for various bushfire relief organisations. The Cricket Cares program also raised $1.69 million for its charity partners last season, Cricket Australia said in a media release.

Day 5 gold coin donations will continue this year after being permanently introduced in 2018-19, the last time India toured Australia, with all proceeds of entry to the ground going to the nominated charity partner.

Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s Interim CEO said, “We’re proud to continue our long-standing partnerships with the McGrath Foundation, Movember, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation and Taverners Australia,” Hockley said.

“As a sporting organisation, we believe we have a responsibility to raise awareness about these important causes, and in doing so raise much needed funds to help make a difference in the community. Having a presence at matches allows our charity partners to connect with fans and educate them about the life-changing work they do. We are grateful to the cricket community for supporting their fundraising efforts,” he added.

Australia are slated to face India in three ODIs, three T20Is and four Test matches beginning Friday in Sydney.

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