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Friday,03-December-2021

International

IND vs NZ: Iyer kisses maiden Test cap after receiving it from Gavaskar

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 Ahead of the start of India’s first Test against New Zealand at the Green Park Stadium, there was a moment to cherish for Shreyas Iyer. Iyer, the middle-order batter, became the 303rd Test cricketer for India. Though his debut was confirmed on Wednesday by captain Ajinkya Rahane, Iyer was handed his maiden Test cap by legendary cricketer and fellow Mumbaikar, Sunil Gavaskar.

In a video uploaded by the BCCI on its social media handles, Gavaskar addressed Iyer as Rahane, head coach Rahul Dravid and the rest of the Indian team members looked on and then applauded Iyer for receiving his Test cap from Gavaskar. Upon receiving the Test cap, Iyer kissed the cap and wore it on his head. After the cap presentation ceremony was done, Iyer got hugs from all members in the Indian team.

“A moment to cherish for @ShreyasIyer15 as he receives his #TeamIndia Test cap from Sunil Gavaskar — one of the best to have ever graced the game,” read the caption of the video from BCCI.

Iyer had got his first Test call-up in 2017 when he was brought in as a replacement for the injured Virat Kohli ahead of the fourth Test against Australia in Dharamshala but didn’t get into the playing eleven.

In first-class cricket, Iyer has scored 4592 runs in 54 matches at an average of 52.18, including 12 centuries and 23 half-centuries.

In the 2015/16 Ranji Trophy, Iyer scored 1321 runs in 18 innings at an astonishing average of 73.38 in leading Mumbai to their 41st trophy. His highest score in first-class cricket came in a tour match against Australia at the Brabourne Stadium in February 2017, making an unbeaten 202 off 210 balls, laced with 27 fours and seven s’xes. Iyer’s last red-ball appearance came in 2019 during the Irani Cup match between the Rest of India and Vidarbha at Nagpur.

International

IND v NZ, 2nd Test: India reach 111/3 at tea on Day 1

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 India were 111/3 at tea on a truncated opening day of the second Test against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday.

Opener Mayank Agarwal was batting on 52 while Shreyas Iyer was not out on 7 as the hosts lost their way after a good start.

Ajaz Patel claimed all three wickets in the space of 15 balls as India slumped from 80/1 in the 28th over to 80/3 at the end of the 30th over.

Brief scores: India 111/3 in 37 overs (Mayank Agarwal batting 52, Shubman Gill 44; Ajaz Patel 3/30) vsNew Zealand.

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ATP backs WTA, asks China to come clean on tennis player Peng Shuai’s wellbeing

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The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has thrown its weight behind the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), expressing concern over the well-being of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who disappeared from public view for three weeks after accusing a top Chinese government official of sexual assault.

WTA chief Steve Simon recently said that he has “serious doubts” that Peng was “free, safe and not subject to intimidation”. He also announced suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong, with immediate effect till the country investigates in a full, fair and transparent manner the allegation of sexual assault made against a former senior politician by the 35-year-old doubles player.

Late on Thursday, the ATP, the body which governs men’s international tennis, said, “the situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious”.

ATP chairman, Andrea Gaudenzi, issued a statement, saying, “The situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns within and beyond our sport. The response to those concerns has so far fallen short. We again urge for a line of open direct communication between the player and the WTA in order to establish a clearer picture of her situation.

“We know that sport can have a positive influence on society and generally believe that having a global presence gives us the best chance of creating opportunity and making an impact,” said Gaudenzi.

“We will continue to consult with our members and monitor any developments as this issue evolves.”

WTA administration and players have been in total support of Peng Shuai ever since screenshots of her social media post were shared on Twitter and the WTA has regularly demanded verifiable proof from Chinese government that Peng Shuai is “free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation”.

Chinese authorities have released videos of her at a restaurant and also arranged for a video call with senior officials of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but WTA is not convinced, thus resulting in the suspension of all its tournaments in China.

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Finally, Test cricket returns to Wankhede and Mumbai is loving it

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Office-goers walking through the ‘D Lane’ in Churchgate area of Mumbai on Friday morning were surprised when a group of people started blowing conch shells, waving India flags and chanting ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ as a bus convoy entered the lane on way to the Wankhede Stadium.

They would have been expecting some activity considering that a Test match was scheduled at the Wankhede, but the reception accorded to the convoy must have come as a surprise to many.

While such enthusiasm was a little unexpected but it was not completely out of place as Mumbai is hosting a Test match after nearly five years, and the small crowd that had gathered since early morning, could not control its emotions as the buses ferrying the Indian team made it to the stadium.

The India versus England game in 2016 was the last time a Test match was played at the Wankhede, and with other cricketing activity not possible because of the suspension of sports activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it meant there was a little more enthusiasm among the faithful.

A small group waited patiently for the gates to open so that they could get into the stadium. Hosts Mumbai Cricket Association is allowed to sell only 8000 tickets as the government has authorised only 25 per cent stadium capacity to be filled. With Mumbai police making elaborate arrangements for the Test, Covid protocols are being followed strictly with officials ensuring that people follow the rules.

Though the sparse crowd’s enthusiasm was dampened a bit as the start of the match was delayed due to wet patches on the ground because of the rains, it waited patiently, waving the Indian flags as the players came out for warm-up and light practice.

The crowd erupted in a loud cheer as the New Zealand players, followed by the Indian openers, walked into the field. And the cheers grew louder as Shubman Gill struck two consecutive boundaries off Kyle Jamieson in the second over, with the typical Mumbai chant of “Sachin, Sachin” reaching a crescendo.

More people are expected to come in the next few days as things get interesting.

The last Test played at Wankhede was against England in which skipper Kohli had scored a majestic 235, while Jayant Yadav has smashed a century.

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