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Friday,25-September-2020

National

IPL 13: Delhi have firepower to go all the way, says Axar Patel

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Axar-Patel

After having a decent Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign last year, all-rounder Axar Patel is set to make a mark for Delhi Capitals in the upcoming season starting on September 19 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The 26-year-old player, who is slowly adapting to the new normal of cricket, spoke about the challenges of the new rules in the game and the IPL bio-bubble.

“Obviously, with no crowd, we’ll feel empty. Then, the saliva ban is going to make a big difference for the bowlers. During initial practice sessions, I was being conscious of not using saliva or sweat on the ball. So, these are the challenges that we will have to be wary of.

“Nevertheless, the positive thing is that at least we will have action-packed cricket after a long time, which is a good thing for not only us, but also for India. Everyone will enjoy the game with a different frame of mind which will be really exciting,” he said.

Axar is trying hard to comply with the Covid protocols. “We are feeling a little bad that we can’t enjoy the matches with our friends. After every two days, tests are being conducted. We can’t go out anywhere and we can’t sit for more than 15 minutes in anyone’s room, so these things are challenging, but slowly we are getting used to it,” he added.

Speaking on how he is preparing for the first match against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, Patel said: “First of all, it feels really good to be back playing on the ground after being off from cricket for a long time due to lockdown. Since we are in the tournament week, it feels really good and the boys are in a positive mind frame.

“I feel I am practicing with a positive mindset. I have ticked all the boxes in bowling, batting and fielding, so I think I have prepared well enough.”

Commenting on the squad, which consists of a few experienced players in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane, the all-rounder said the team can become champions this year.

“With the new changes, I think the squad looks good. With fast bowlers, spinners and all-rounders, we have covered all the bases and I think we can become champions this time. Everyone looks positive in the nets and we all are in good shape.”

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KXIP vs RCB: We have our plans for Kohli & Co, says Anil Kumble

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Anil-Kumble

Kings XI Punjab had lost their opening Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 encounter against Delhi Capitals by the slimmest of margins.

Against DC, Kings XI rode on Mayank Agarwal’s blistering 60-ball 89 to approach the 158-run target on Sunday. While other batsmen failed to leave an impact, it was Mayank who single-handedly propelled Kings XI and very nearly sealed a win. However, just when the KL Rahul-led side was on the brink of a win, needing just one off three deliveries, they ended up losing two wickets and eventually the contest slipped into the Super Over. Later, in the Super Over, Kagiso Rabada ensured the night belonged to the Delhi side.

Kings XI head coach Anil Kumble, however, feels there were a lot of positives to take from the defeat and all the team needs to do is make sure they rectify the mistakes committed against Delhi Capitals when they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday evening.

“RCB has a very strong batting lineup with Virat (Kohli), AB (de Villiers) and Aaron Finch, (all) very experienced as well. Young (Devdutt) Padikkal batted really well for them in the last game. But we have our plans,” Kumble said in a video posted on the official Twitter handle of Kings XI.

“I think we have the ability to put it across, so it all depends on the day who plays well. Our preparations over the last one month has been really good and we are very positive after the Delhi Capitals game as to what we need to do and what are the corrections that we need to make,” he added.

Kings XI and RCB have faced each other 24 times in the IPL so far and both sides have won 12 games each. However, the Kohli-led side would enter the game – to be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium – a lot more confident considering they won their previous game against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).

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Team India fitness levels behind others, Virat Kohli tells PM

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Modi with Kohli.

Virat Kohli, captain of the Indian cricket team, on Thursday admitted that while the fitness standards of the side has improved, they are still behind when compared with other teams in the world.

While interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Fit India Dialogue, Kohli spoke about the importance of fitness and proper diet to deal with the fast-paced nature of the world.

During the online session, PM Modi, among other things, inquired Kohli about the Yo-Yo test and whether the Indian skipper is also required to be part of the exercise.

“Sir, the test (Yo-yo) is very important considering the fitness point of view. When you’re looking at the global fitness levels and standards, our team’s level is still below that of the other teams. However, we are looking to take that higher, it’s a basic requirement,” Kohli said.

“T20Is and ODIs get over in a day. However, when you’re talking about a Test match, we have to play five days, play one full day, get back and return refreshed for the next day’s play. Considering this, the fitness benchmark is very important,” he added.

The Indian skipper further said he always takes the initiative and runs first for the test. “There is a condition, if I fail the test, I will also not be available for selection. I think this system and culture need to be set.

“Overall, the fitness level of the team is important. Our fast bowlers, who are the best in the world right now, are now able to give their full effort even on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th days. We always had the skill, but in crucial moments, our performances used to dip. The opposition team used to win.

“These days, due to our fitness, we are able to capitalise on the crucial moments of the game. The results are coming because of this. This benchmark is very important for elite sportsmen,” he added.

In a candid moment during their conversation, the prime minister also questioned the India captain whether Delhi’s Chhole Bhature business is suffering, considering Kohli – who has now turned into a vegan — has been staying away from his favourite street food.

In response, Kohli broke into laughter and said during his growing days, he was eating bad and trying out a lot of street food but the demands of the sport helped him understand the importance of staying fit.

“We were discussing a few minutes back, our native diet, the food from our region, I have noticed we have not had any health issues with it. From my own experience, I have seen my grandmother, she is very healthy. She eats simple home-cooked food. When I was growing up, I used to eat a lot of street food. Whenever I used to go play, I used to eat outside a lot. From a health point of view, I realised it wasn’t good,” the 31-year-old said

“Physical fitness and diet, focusing on these things brought about the changes in me. Just like our sport, our lives have also gotten faster and demanding. If we are not keeping up with it then we will be left behind,” he added.

Kohli is currently leading Royal Challengers Bangalore in the United Arab Emirates in their quest for their maiden title in the Indian Premier League.

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Honoured to be part of PM Modi’s Fit India Dialogue: Virat Kohli

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Virat-Kohli

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli has stated that he is honoured to be part of the Fit India Dialogue — being organised to celebrate the first anniversary of the Fit India Movement — where he will be interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with other renowned fitness influencers on Thursday.

“I am honoured to be a part of our Honourable Prime Minister’s Fit India Dialogue where you can watch me talk about fitness and more,” said Kohli on his official Twitter handle.

The influencers who will share their thoughts on fitness and health include Kohli, Milind Soman, Paralympian gold medalist Devendra Jhajharia, nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar, Afshan Ashiq – a woman footballer from Jammu and Kashmir who now trains other girls in football, Swami Shivadhyanam Saraswati – an alumni of IIT and MIT who will be representing the Bihar School of Yoga and Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal’s Mukul Kanitkar, who is renowned for his research for National Resurgence and is a educationist, among others. Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju will also be present at the event.

Soman, who is one of the biggest fitness influencers and a winner of the Ironman competition, said that he’s keen to share his fitness mantra with the whole country through the Fit India Dialogue. “I have been a proponent of doing simple things and therefore, in the presence of our Prime Minister, I will speak on simple ways to be healthy and fit at any age,” he said.

There will be plenty of anecdotes and tips shared by the participants on their own fitness journey during the online event.

The Fit India Movement envisioned by the prime minister and launched by him on August 29, 2019, has seen a collective participation of more than 3.5 crore Indians in various events, with more than 2.5 crore participants in the Fit India Freedom Run that was launched on August 15, 2019, with a digital footprint of 30 crore people.

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