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Tuesday,02-March-2021

International

ICC introduces ‘ICC Player of the Month’ awards

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday announced the introduction of the ‘ICC Player of the Month’ awards to recognise and celebrate the best performances of both male and female cricketers across all forms of international cricket throughout the year.

In a media release, ICC stated that an independent ICC voting academy comprising former players, broadcasters, and journalists from around the world, will team up with fans to vote for the ICC men’s and women’s player of the month respectively.

Youngsters such as Mohammed Siraj (India), Washington Sundar (India), T. Natarajan (India), Rishabh Pant (India), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (Afghanistan) to established players such as Ravichandran Ashwin (India), Joe Root (England), Steve Smith (Australia), Marizanne Kapp (South Africa), Nadine de Klerk (South Africa), Nida Dar (Pakistan) will be among the candidates for the month of January.

“The ICC Player of the Month is a great way to connect with fans of the sport and celebrate performances of their favourite players through the year. It gives us all an opportunity to acknowledge world class performances on the field by male and female cricketers and they have been in abundance throughout January,” Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager – Cricket, said.

The nomination and voting process:

The three nominees for each of the categories will be determined by the ICC Awards nominations committee based on on-field performances and overall achievements during the period of that month (the first to the last day of each calendar month.)

This shortlist is then voted for by the independent ICC voting academy and fans around the world.

The voting academy will submit their votes by email and will retain a 90 per cent share of the vote. Subsequently, on the 1st day of each month, fans registered with the ICC will be able to submit votes via the ICC website and will have a 10 per cent share of the vote. Winners will be announced every second Monday of the month on the ICC’s digital channels.

International

Novak Djokovic equals Roger Federer for most weeks as world no. 1

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Novak Djokovic has tied Roger Federer’s all-time record for the most weeks at the top of the men’s tennis rankings.

Djokovic on Monday entered his 310th week at the top of the ATP rankings. The 33-year-old Serbian reclaimed the top spot from Spain’s Rafael Nadal in February 2020.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion grabbed his ninth Australian Open title last month, which ensured he will surpass Federer’s record next week.

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have dominated men’s singles tennis, particularly the Grand Slams, for nearly two decades.

From the 2003 Wimbledon to the 2021 Australian Open, the three players have won 58 out of 70 Grand Slams. They won 18 consecutive slams from the 2005 French Open to Wimbledon in 2009, and 13 consecutive slams from the 2017 Australian Open to the 2020 Australian Open.

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Never going to turn down playing for West Indies: Chris Gayle

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Veteran batsman Chris Gayle has said that he is not going to turn down anything pertaining to West Indies cricket after he left the Pakistan Super League (PSL) to play in the upcoming three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka which starts on March 4.

Gayle, who was part of the T20 World Cup winning squads in 2012 and 2016, said he has set his eyes on winning the trophy a third time this year.

“When I got the call and they asked if I’m willing and interested, I said: ‘Yes, I want to play for West Indies’. That’s where my heart is. I’m never going to turn down anything pertaining to West Indies cricket at this particular time. So I came back from Pakistan to be a part of the set-up leading into the World Cup so we can have a unity within the group, and then hopefully we can win this T20 trophy,” Gayle is quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

Gayle had said that he would be retiring from ODI cricket after the 2019 World Cup but he later backtracked on that after the end of the tournament. He admitted that his initial plan was to concentrate on franchise cricket.

“I thought about actually walking away from the game and then people said: ‘No, don’t do it, don’t do it. Stay and play as long as possible.’ So I decided I’m actually going to continue playing. I wasn’t actually thinking down this road. I was like, I’m going to play franchise cricket, entertaining people as much as possible, and whatever is left to offer within the game from Chris Gayle, I want to exploit around the world,” said Gayle.

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Mary Kom and Amit Panghal one win away from medal in Spain

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Six-time world champion Mary Kom (51 kg) and World Championship silver medallist Amit Panghal (52 kg) are both one win away from securing a medal at the Boxam International Tournament in Castellon, Spain after they were drawn in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Mary faces Italian Giordana Sorrentino in her opening bout on Wednesday while Panghal will be up against local favourite Gabriel Escobar in his quarterfinal clash. Both pugilists got byes in their respective first round bouts.

Meanwhile, Vikas Krishan (69 kg) also got a bye in the first round and will fight Italy’s Vincenzo Mangiacapre. Ashish Kumar (75 kg), and Sumit Sangwan (81 kg) are also drawn in the quarter-finals because of the lesser entries in their weight classes. Satish (+91 kg), the first super heavyweight from the country to qualify for the Olympics, is also drawn in the quarterfinals of his weight category.

Among women, Jasmine and Manisha are drawn in the 57 kg quarterfinals after getting first round byes. Simranjit Kaur (60 kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg) and Pooja Rani (75 kg), all of whom have qualified for the Olympics, will also be competing in the quarterfinal stage on Wednesday.

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