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Indian women’s football team bow out of Olympic Qualifiers




The Indian women’s football team bowed out of the Olympic Qualifiers after being held 3-3 by hosts Myanmar at the Mandalar Thiri Stadium here on Tuesday.

Despite finishing on level points with Myanmar (7 points from 3 matches) in Group A, India failed to progress to an inferior goal difference of +4, in comparison to Myanmar’s +8.

Sandhiya had given the Indian women an early lead in the 10th minute but a hat-trick from Win Tun for Myanmar (17th, 21th, 72th) held India as Sanju’s 32nd minute strike and Ratanbala Devi’s 64th minute goal couldn’t help gather the visitors three points.

Sanju came close to giving India the lead as early as the 2nd minute when her shot from close range, off a Dangmei Grace cross, went out for a corner.

The women had to wait eight minutes more before surging into the lead. In the 10th minute, Ratanbala burst out on the right flank, and released a low cross for Sandhiya Ranganathan, who made no mistake to finish from inside the box giving India the lead.

The lead, however, was short-lived as Myanmar scored two goals in five minutes. First, in the 17th minute, Win Tun’s header from inside the box equalised the deficit for the opponents.

Four minutes later, Myanmar took the lead from the spot. Goalkeeper Linthoi Devi dived to her right to save the penalty, but Win Tun lurching around scored off the rebound to make it 2-1 for the hosts.

Myanmar goalkeeper May Nwe fluffed her lines and made a howler of a clearance that fell to Ratanbala Devi, who chested it down for Sanju. Making little mistake, Sanju buried her chance in the back of the net to level proceedings in the 32nd minute as both teams headed to the interval at 2-2.

In the second half, Myanmar dominated the opening minutes, and the Indian defence had to shut the opponents with some astute defending.

In the 64th minute, Ratanbala Devi turned the tide for India. The midfielder cut into the box from the right flank and unfurled a curling shot which crashed into the back of the Myanmar net leaving the opponent custodian dumbfounded, giving India the lead as the scoreline read 3-2.

Eight minutes later, Win Tun completed her hat-trick, finishing from close range to equalize Myanmar’s deficit.

India could have sealed the fate in the 76th minute when Sanju ran clear of the defensive mix, but the Myanmar custodian made a good reflex save from close range to tip her shot over the bar.

A minute later, Dangmei Grace burst through but this time the custodian put her body on the line to shield the ball.

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Hoping Pakistan won’t settle for a draw in England, says Shoaib Akhtar




Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar has urged the team to not settle for a draw but go for victory in their upcoming series against England.

Pakistan will take on England in a series involving three Tests and as many T20Is in August and September, after the completion of West Indies’ three-Test series against the ‘The Three Lions’ starting July 8.

Akhtar has advised the Pakistan team to go into the series with a positive frame of mind and belief that they can beat the mighty England team in their own backyard.

“I want to see players’ (COVID-19) test negative but want their mindset to be positive. Pakistan needs to play really good cricket,” Akhtar said in a video uploaded on his YouTube channel.

“There is no cricket going on across the world and Pakistan will get to play against England. Before that West Indies is playing against them.

“I hope the team is able to assess the situation better in England and come up with a solid team combination,” he added.

Akhtar also trained his guns towards former Pakistani batsmen and said they faltered many-a-times in England when they could have gone on to win matches. He also urged Azhar Ali’s troops to go for the win and not settle for a draw.

“I pray to god that Pakistan won’t try to just draw the series there. In the past, we could have won many games in England but I feel the mindset of the batsmen just wasn’t there,” Akhtar said.

“I just hope they come up with a good combination out of the squad that have travelled to England,” the former Pakistani speedster added.

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CWI chief Ricky Skerritt says Simmons’ job safe despite attending funeral



Cricket West Indies (CWI) President Ricky Skerritt has come to the aid of head coach Phil Simmons after the latter came under scrutiny for going out of the bio-secure bubble to attend a funeral recently.

Simmons was heavily criticised by Conde Riley, who heads the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), and he had said that the head coach’s actions endangered the lives of the players in his side who are currently in England for the three-Test series.

After Riley had asked for Simmons to be sacked, Skerritt allayed any such fears and said his job is safe and he remains the best man to lead the team.

“I want to assure West Indies cricket fans that Phil Simmons still has the full backing of CWI, no matter what has been said,” Skerritt said during a video conference as per Sky Sports.

“When all is said and done, Phil’s job is not in any way threatened by that letter. He went through a very vigorous recruitment process nine months ago and was the best man we could have found for the job. He’s still the best man,” he added.

Simmons had taken permission from CWI for attending the funeral and the board had allowed him to do so but that didn’t stop Riley from calling for his head.

“I am being bombarded by concerned parents and members of the BCA. This behaviour is inconsiderate and reckless,” Riley was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“It endangers the lives of those 25 young men in the UK and in fact the entire management team and cannot be tolerated.

“The English press will have a feast on his judgement and I suggest we act swiftly.”

Simmons is currently under mandatory self-isolation as he came out of the bio-secure bubble put in place by the authorities for the safety of everyone involved in the Test series starting July 8 at the Ageas Bowl.

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Manohar must evaluate damage done to BCCI during his tenure, says Niranjan Shah



Former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah has said that Shashank Manohar stepping down as ICC Chairman was rather obvious and he must now look back and evaluate what he did during his time at the helm.

“Shashank Manohar stepping down as Chairman of ICC was rather obvious. Shashankji must be having mixed feelings from what could have been done for the promotion of cricket at international level and what was done to cricket of India during his tenure.

“In the relaxed phase now he may evaluate his tenure as Chairman of ICC and also as of BCCI that has been the platform. He may appraise what damage was done to Indian cricket and BCCI during his tenure; forgetting that cricket and cricket fans of India have given utmost popularity to the game; and also how much revenue and fame cricket of India has brought to the world of cricket,” he said.

Shah further stated: “BCCI went through much turmoil in last couple of years. And ICC during these years took undue advantage to damage cricket of India and BCCI in all possible manner. However, I am fully confident that present strong and worthy leaderships of BCCI shall have strong, beneficial and constructive representation and initiatives at ICC.”

Reacting to the turn of events, former BCCI Treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry told IANS that the development is purely on account of the increasing clout of the BCCI at the ICC and the apprehension that Atlas might shrug.

The ICC in its statement on Wednesday said: “ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar has stepped down after two, two-year tenures at its helm. The ICC Board met today and agreed that Deputy Chairman Imran Khwaja will assume the responsibilities of the Chairperson until a successor is elected.

“The process for the Chairperson election is expected to be approved by the ICC Board within the next week.”

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