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India’s 2018-19 series triumph star Cheteshwar Pujara takes guard




A lot hinges on batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara, who was the star of India’s historic Test series triumph in 2018-19, during the forthcoming Test series in Australia.

The right-handed No.3 batsman, who amassed 521 runs with three centuries and earned the Man-of-the-Series award in 2018-19, got down to batting at the nets for a long session on Thursday to prepare for the Border-Gavaskar series that India are seeking to defend.

Pujara faced net bowlers, who are travelling with the Indian team, as well as regular India bowlers like R Ashwin.
A video posted by the BCCI showed him using the backfoot to good effect as also leaving the deliveries outside the off-stump which had been his forte in the previous series Down Under.

“The wait is over. @cheteshwar1 is back in the nets and is back to doing what he loves the most. Bowlers be prepared for a long workout. #TeamIndia,” said a tweet from the BCCI on Thursday.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the entire contingent has gone to Australia together. It means that even Test specialists like Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant have got over a month to practice in Australia and get accustomed to the conditions and pitches.

Pujara, unlike the other Test specialists mentioned, was not part of any IPL team and played no competitive cricket. He last played a competitive game, in early March, the Ranji Trophy final which his team Saurashtra won on first innings. Pujara had scored 66 off 237 deliveries in the first innings, batting at No. 6. He was not needed in the second innings.

On Wednesday, the Board had posted a video of Test wicketkeeper Wirddhiman Saha batting at the nets. Saha had suffered a couple of hamstring injuries in the Indian Premier League which forced the Board to put him under observation.

Although there had been no word on his fitness, the BCCI tweeted a video of the 36-year-old cricketer playing shots off deliveries hurled at him by the team support staff using the side-arm.


Andhra Pradesh CM condoles Milkha Singh’s demise




Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy on Saturday expressed his grief over the demise of Milkha Singh, former Indian track and field sprinter.

“Milkha Singh has been an inspiration to many young athletes and will continue to remain so,” said Reddy about Singh, who was popularly known as the ‘Flying Sikh’.

The Chief Minister recalled that Singh took India to Olympic glory with his achievements as a track and field star.

Reddy conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family members.

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Farhan Akhtar mourns Milkha Singh’s death: You represented a dream




Actor Farhan Akhtar, who played Milkha Singh in the film “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, has mourned the death of the legendary Indian athlete, who passed away aged 91 after a long battle with Covid-19.

Farhan posted a picture on Instagram posing with Milkha, who was popularly known as the ‘Flying Sikh’.

The actor penned a note saying that he refuses to accept that Milkha Singh is no more.

Farhan wrote: “Dearest Milkha ji, A part of me is still refusing to accept that you are no more. Maybe it’s the stubborn side I inherited from you.. the side that when it sets it’s mind on something, just never gives up.

“And the truth is that you will always be alive. Because you were more than a large hearted, loving, warm, down to earth man. You represented an idea. You represented a dream. You represented (to use your own words) how hard work, honesty and determination can lift a person off his knees and get him to touch the sky. “

Farhan said that the legendary athlete touched everyone’s lives.

“For those who knew you as a father and a friend, it was a blessing. For those who didn’t, your story was a constant source of inspiration and a reminder of humility in success. I love you with all my heart,” he concluded.

Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, biographical sports drama is based on the life of Milkha Singh.

Milkha Singh passed away in a local hospital in Chandigarh at 11.30 p.m. on Friday, read a statement from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), where he was being treated for Covid-related complications.

He is survived by a son, ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, and three daughters.

Six days ago, on June 13, Milkha’s wife Nirmal passed away.

A former India volleyball captain, she was 85, and she, too, was affected by Covid and related complications.

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India should have had a fast-bowling all-rounder in playing XI: Amit Mishra




Veteran leg-spinner and a member of the Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Capitals, Amit Mishra feels that while the India playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand “looks great”, a fast-bowling all-rounder could have further strengthened the side.

The first day of the WTC final at Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Friday was washed out because of rain and players would be hoping to get back to action later on Saturday.

“The playing XI looks great. We have Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, two excellent spinners who can also contribute with the bat. Ashwin and Jadeja’s batting skills will help India a lot. I think India could have named a fast-bowling all-rounder in the playing XI, someone who could have bowled six-seven overs when the regular pacers are tired and the ball is swinging,” Mishra told JK 24×7 news.

Noting that the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand had an advantage in this department, Mishra, who has played 22 Tests and taken 76 wickets, said, “I think it would have been better if India included a fast-bowling all-rounder. New Zealand have a fast-bowling all-rounder in their squad, so this is the one advantage that the Blackcaps have.”

Indian are fielding two spinners — Ashwin and Jadeja — and the pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in the WTC final.

Mishra also said that India’s batting was stronger than its bowling.

“I think India’s batting line-up is stronger than the bowling unit. If you consider the all-rounders, we bat very deep. Only the three fast bowlers do not bat. So, I feel the batting is stronger.”

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