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Imran Tahir backs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, calls him an inspiration




At a time when M.S. Dhoni is drawing a lot of flak for his on field behaviour with the umpires during an IPL game, his Chennai Super Kings teammate Imran Tahir backs the under-fire captain, saying he is a great leader, human being and an inspiration.

“He has been a great leader and a great human being. He is always there to help,” Tahir said at the state launch of MS Dhoni Cricket Academy.

“That’s what motivates me to join the academy to help the kids. I learn from him and he is a great inspiration,” said the 40-year-old South African leg-spinner.

Dhoni was fined 50 per cent of his match fee after the former India captain lost his cool and rushed into the field to confront Indian umpire Ulhas Gandhe after he flip-flopped on a no ball on Thursday night during CSK’s encounter with Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur.

Former cricketers came down heavily on India’s two-time World Cup winning captain, saying Dhoni’s act set a wrong precedent.

Asked if Dhoni is setting the right example for the budding cricketers, some of whom will also be part of this academy, Tahir refused to comment.

“No answer, I am really sorry for that.”

Tahir was also effusive in praise for fast rising India chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, saying he rates the 24-year very highly.

“I rate him very highly. He is a very good spinner and is doing really well in world cricket.”

About South Africa’s chances in the World Cup starting May 30, Tahir said he is hopeful of a positive outcome.

“I am going to back my team to do well, obviously.”

The MS Dhoni academy has a total of 17 branches in India, Singapore and Dubai.

This will be 17th branch, located in Salt Lake area of the city. There will be second branch coming up soon in Basirhat, a municipality in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, the organisers said.

The trials are currently underway in the age category of 7-19.

“The focus of the academy will be on mental toughness and not only honing cricketing skills which has always been Dhoni’s forte,” said head coach of the academy Satrajit Lahiri, a former Ranji Trophy player.

“We are going to sponsor underprivileged children too,” he added.

“All their academies are based in small towns keeping in mind Dhoni’s background coming from Ranchi.”

Tahir was quizzed how will he find time for the academy keeping in mind his international and other commitments throughout the year.

“Even though I have not announced myself globally as part of the academy, after the World Cup I am free. Even if I have to come to India or go to any place to help the academy, I am free to come,” he said.

“I always try to help the youngsters whenever I can. Wherever I go to play I try to guide the kids.”


Naveen Boora confirms India’s 1st medal at Strandja Memorial boxing tourney




India’s Naveen Boora reached the semi-finals in the 69 kg weight category on the fourth day of the 72nd Strandja Memorial boxing tournament, thus becoming the first boxer from the country to be assured of a medal in this year’s competition.

The 2019 national champion outpunched Brazil’s Eravio Edson 5-0, thus assuring himself of at least a bronze medal.

Meanwhile, Manjeet Singh (+91kg), who is playing his first senior international tournament, notched up an easy 4-0 win against Irish boxer Gytis Lisinskas to progress into the quarter-finals. The Haryana boxer will face Armenian Gurgen Hovhannisyan in the last-8 match later on Thursday.

Jyoti Gulia (51kg), Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg) and Deepak Kumar (52kg) are the other Indians who will play their quarter-final bouts on Thursday. The 2017 Youth World Champion Gulia, who stunned two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay in the last round, will be up against Romanian boxer Lacramioara Perijoc while Baghyabati will face stiff challenge from world championship bronze medallist Naomi Graham of the US. Asian Championship silver medallist Deepak will play against Bulgaria’s Darislav Vasilev.

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Prithvi Shaw becomes 8th Indian to score double ton in 50-over cricket




Prithvi Shaw on Thursday became the eighth Indian player to score a double century in 50-over cricket. Shaw reached his 200 in just 142 balls playing for Mumbai against Puducherry in the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. He smashed as many as 27 fours and four sixes on his way to the landmark.

Shaw’s Mumbai team mate and opening partner Yashasvi Jaiswal was the last Indian to score a double hundred in 50-over cricket. Jaiswal had scored 203 against Jharkhand during the 2019 Vijay Hazare Trophy in October 2019.

Shaw, who was dropped from the Indian team after scoring a duck and four runs during the first Test against Australia in December, has now scored two centuries in three innings in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He previously scored an unbeaten 105 against Delhi in Mumbai’s first match of the tournament.

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Ishant Sharma felicitated by President Ram Nath Kovind, Shah on 100th Test




Fast bowler Ishant Sharma was on Wednesday felicitated by President Ram Nath Kovind and Home Minister Amit Shah ahead of his 100th Test match. Sharma is only the second Indian fast bowler after former captain Kapil Dev to play 100 Test matches.

Sharma received a commemorative plate from President Kovind and a special cap from Shah before the start of the third Test against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera, Gujarat. Shah and Kovind were present for the inauguration of the stadium which is hosting a Test match for the first time in eight years and is hosting its first international cricket match since extensive renovation made it the largest stadium in the world for the sport.

Sharma, 32, started his 100th Test by providing India the breakthrough in the form of England opener Dom Sibley in the third over of the match.

Earlier, India captain Virat Kohli hailed Sharma for managing to play 100 Tests. “Playing 100 Tests as a fast bowler is no mean feat and playing especially in our conditions, things can get so difficult. But he kept working hard. He is very hard working and is very honest about his abilities, about what he can do and what he can bring to the table,” Kohli said.

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