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India cannot be a perennial ‘nearly there’ team; make Harmanpreet leader of the pack



Another World Cup, another loss. If not in the final, then in the semis. On this occasion, without reaching the semis!

The analysis of the situation is a must for remedial action. Was it poor play? Was it a lack of skill? Was it a lack of intent or poor decision-making, or poor execution, above all?

I would say it was a lack of skill and intent from game one onwards. Against Pakistan, when India batted first, the batting display was absolutely bizarre. To get the ball off the square was a challenge for India batters, until Pooja Vastrakar and Sneh Rana decided to play some positive cricket.

The challenge continued until a better display came against the West Indies. It was bad decision-making as well. To bat second against New Zealand and the continuous underutilisation of bowling resources was glaring right through the tournament.

In the must-win game against South Africa, for Mithali Raj to not use Harmanpreet Kaur for the two remaining overs of her quota was baffling. A bowler who had brought the team success by breaking two partnerships when all others struggled to find the correct length to bowl on left one wondering why she was not getting to bowl again. Then, to get a seamer when the Indian spinners were dominating indicated poor decision-making and changed the run of play at a crucial juncture.

Decision-making is an art, not a science. Apart from game sense, one needs guts and a strong bone in the body to make an informed decision.

The leadership role usually comes with a shelf like. It can be extended depending upon the good and positive developments around (individually and collectively). The management, over a decade and a half, backed Mithali’s leadership along with her individual batting skills. Her successor Harmanpreet Kaur, who is already India’s T20 captain, is the captain in waiting across formats.

With a positive intent, aggression and a fresh perspective, her accession to the role is a natural progression.

A match-winner par excellence, who delivers the goods when thrown with the most difficult of challenges, she has repeatedly emerged as a leader who you want to take charge of your side when you go into a challenging contest.

Whenever the team has looked in dire straits, she has provided that hope and spark. If history is too far then one can look at the most recent matches. A player who has been pushed down the batting order to accommodate others and not thrown the ball at all until the team ran out of options, she still led the way with her fielding skills to bring the team back into the contest against South Africa.

The aggression, the hunger to succeed, the in-your-face attitude might be the spark that the India women require in bringing about a seismic shift. Let’s look at making the present better first before a possible future. A dangling present cannot be the base for a strong future.

Temperament and leadership skills are exhibited in the field of play and Harmanpreet has been the identified leader of this pack. By putting the cart before the horse again might leave a legacy of poor decision-making in the women’s game.

There is no doubting that India has the talent pool and depth required to raise their game a notch or two. They have all it takes to win the big battles. But for that they need to change their approach. They can’t be happy remaining the good losers, the perennial ‘nearly there’ team. The Indian women need to capture the big moments, come out winners in top events.

Mithali Raj is a quality player; period! A career of two decades should not be pushed away because of a collective team’s failure. It is important for her to bat along to guide the present lot in the capacity of a senior player. Indian cricket has invested in her and Jhulan Goswami; time to utilise it while they remain in that dressing room.


‘I’m happy here’: Cristiano Ronaldo pledges to continue at Al Nassr in Saudi Pro League




Portugese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed to continue at Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia despite walking away empty handed in this season. The 38-year-old has earmarked the tournament to be among the top five in the world.

Ronaldo, who signed a two and a half year contract with Al Nassr, scored 14 goals in 16 games in the season, with his side standing second behind Al Ittihad in the Saudi Pro league. However, there were speculations about how long will he stay as reports of swap deal with Saudi-owned Newcastle United emerged, who have now qualified for next season’s Champions league.

In an official Saudi Pro League interview, the star footballer revealed:

“I’m happy here, I want to continue here, I will continue here. And in my opinion, if they continue to do the work that they want to do here, for the next five years, I think the Saudi league can be a top five league in the world. I expected to win something this year, but we didn’t, but next year I’m really positive, but next year I’m really positive and confident that things will change and we go in a better way.”

Cristiano Ronaldo suggests he is still adjusting to strange training timings in Saudi Arabia:

Ronaldo also revealed how contrasting the training timings in Europe and Saudi Arabia are, elaborating:

“In Europe, we train more in the morning, but here we train in the afternoon or evening and in Ramadan, we train at 10 at night. So this is strange but as I tell you, these situations are part of an experience, memories. I like to live these moments because you learn with these things.”

With 837 goals in 512 games, Ronaldo is the combined highest goal scorer in history.

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Lionel Messi to leave PSG at the end of the season, confirms club manager Christophe Galtier




Paris Saint Germain superstar Lionel Messi will leave the club at the end of the current season, manager Christophe Galtier confirmed on Thursday. Messi made 74 appearances for PSG in which he scored 32 goals and made 35 assists. In Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain has played 37 matches out of which they have won 27, lost six and drew four.

PSG had acquired Messi’s services two years ago in a record transfer deal after he left FC Barcelona in 2021.

Messi, who’s contract with PSG ends this season, is now being linked with with a move to Saudi Arabia while talk of a return to the Nou Camp has picked up in Spain in recent weeks.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner will play his final match for PSG against Clermont Foot on Saturday.

“I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football,” Galtier said on Thursday. “This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes, and I hope that he will receive the warmest of welcomes.”

Messi’s envious record

In the Spanish La Liga football competition, Lionel Messi has scored 474 goals in 520 matches. In the French Ligue 1, Messi has scored 22 goals in 57 matches.

The 35-year-old while playing for Football Club Barcelona has scored 672 goals in 778 games. While playing for Paris Saint-Germain he has scored 32 goals in 74 matches.

No plan to bring Messi back: Barca president

FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta recently said that the club has re-established good relationships with Argentine legend Lionel Messi, but it would not pay any price to bring him back to the Camp Nou Stadium.

“I have spoken with Leo to somehow redirect the situation that occurred when I had to put the institution ahead of everything, including him, the best player in the world,” said Laporta in a Monday morning TV show.

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Mark Zuckerberg strikes gold against jiu jitsu fighters, posts pictures on Instagram




In the past, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has appeared helpless in front of the US Congress where he has been slapped by fines, and fired 11,000 vulnerable employees after being hit by falling revenues. But outside the business arena where Meta is facing tough competition from TikTok and other rivals, Zuckerberg is a huge mixed martial arts fan.

Contrary to setbacks in the tech sector, the Facebook founder has tasted victory in jiu jitsu.

Striking gold, but in a different arena

  • The billionaire who has trained with UFC fighters, posted pictures after winning jiu jitsu matches for the first time.
  • The billionaire who tried his hand at martial arts, revealed that he won a gold medal in the Gi categroy and a silver medal in the No-GI category.
  • His post on Instagram received comments from UFC featherweight and bantamweight category champions, as well as jiu jitsu hall of fame member Bernardo Faria.

Competitive or short tempered?

  • The entrepreneur turned sportsperson, who also enjoys surfing, was seen getting into a heated argument after losing a contest during the tournament in California as well.
  • On the work front, Zuckerberg’s firm Meta also surprised the markets by bouncing back with strong earnings, after struggling with loss of ad revenue.
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