Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Dinesh Karthik conceded that the road might be full of obstacles keeping in mind the difficult times due to the Covid-19 pandemic where the players have mostly spent their time confined to home.
KKR on Friday confirmed that their contingent of Indian players and support staff have arrived in Abu Dhabi, and well settled at a plush hotel.
The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will start from September 19 in the UAE.
“This IPL will be different. What has happened in the world has pained us deeply and it is surely a challenge to play cricket. But we understand that when we play the game, we bring happiness to our fans,” veteran wicketkeeper batsman Karthik said in a statement posted on kkr.in.
“Yes, there will be a bio bubble. Yes, we haven’t played or trained extensively for the last few months. Yes, the road ahead may be full of obstacles. But we promise to give it all,” said Karthik.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav added: “Initially, it was very tough to adjust when the lockdown was imposed, because we were unable to practice outdoors. But I am completely ready now. In fact, I will be happy if there is a match in the next 7 days! I can’t wait to get back in action.”
Shubman Gill was equally pumped to get back on the field.
“I think we all are really desperate (to play) because for a long time, we were in our houses and we have only been prepping mentally. We all are really excited. I’m very excited to go out there and express myself,” he said.
Indian pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna stressed on how important the next few weeks were going to be for them to get back in the groove for the season.
“It won’t be an easy year. Playing cricket after being locked up in the house for over 5 months is going to be quite a different experience. The players will have to be inside a bio bubble throughout the tournament which means they can’t step out beyond designated zones, nor they can come in touch with outsiders. Even as friends, we have to maintain distance. No hugging, no high fives,” said Prasidh.
“The last four-five months at home have really taught me how important cricket is for me,” Warrier pointed out.
Mavi echoed his thoughts and said, “No one has played cricket for the last 5 months. I haven’t played the sport for a year now. But I am ready for the IPL and can’t wait to play for KKR again.”
Nagarkoti, who missed 2018 and 2019 seasons due to injuries, was raring to go.
“I’ve waited for this moment for the past two years. Now that I’ll get to play, I’m very excited,” he said.
KKR has roped in Srikanth Narayanaswamy as the team physician. He, along with Kamlesh Jain, our Head physio, and Chris Donaldson, the strength & conditioning coach, will be looking after the squad.
PKL 8: Patna Pirates beat Puneri Paltan 38-26
Raider Sachin scored 10 points as three-time champions Patna Pirates defeated Puneri Paltan 38-26 in Match 17 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, on Tuesday. Sachin scored a Super 10 (10 points) and was ably supported by Patna’s defensive trio of Sunil (4 points), Mohammadreza Chiyaneh (3 points), and Sajin C (3 points). The lack of a quality raider despite promising performances from youngsters will be a cause of concern for the Puneri Paltan who succumbed to their second loss in three matches.
All eyes were once again on Pune’s Rahul Chaudhari but the showman, despite starting the match, was substituted for young Mohit Goyat by coach Anup Kumar in the first half. The trio of raiders including Aslam Inamdar and Pankaj Mohite caused problems for the Patna defence while at the other end Prashant Kumar Rai and Sachin were equally effective.
Patna were facing the risk of an all-out with six minutes left to half-time, but their defender Sajin C completed a Super Tackle to turn the momentum. The three-time champions got lucky later when Monu Goyat entered the lobby without contact, in a do-or-die raid only to be followed by three Pune defenders who had been deceived by his actions. The first half ended 14-14 with Pune having just two men on the mat.
Pune coach Anup Kumar clearly expected from his set of raiders and brought in Shubham Shelke for Pankaj Mohite in the second half. But Patna kept fighting back, thanks to the largely confident tackles from the likes of Mohammadreza Chiyaneh and Sajin. With 10 minutes remaining, Patna had a four-point lead and that was extended a’ Pune’s plan to play on the Do-or-Die raid backfired. Sachin scored two points in the crucial raid for Patna to inspire another ALL OUT in the 13th minute and open a 10-point lead.
Patna maintained the momentum and though Sunil and Vishal Bharadwaj picked up yellow cards in the final minutes as the match became intense the three-time champions ensured there was no late comeback by Pune and clinched an important win.
PKL 8: Bengal Warriors beat Gujarat Giants
Bengal Warriors defeated Gujarat Giants 31-28 on Day 3 of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 held at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, here on Friday. This was Bengal Warriors’ second win in as many matches while Gujarat Gaints have one win and one loss. The Warriors have 10 points the same as Dabang Delhi but are placed second on a lower points-difference while Gujarat have six points.
Bengal Warriors started well and established a slender lead (16-11) against Gujarat Giants at half-time. They maintained their advantage despite the valiant efforts of the Gujarat Giants, managed to register a narrow victory.
Maninder Singh was the top scorer for Bengal Warriors with eight points while Esmaeil Nabibakhsh contributed four points.
Bengal Warriors won 18 raid points as against 19 by Gujarat Giants. But it was in defence that they scored, claiming 10 points as against eight by their rivals. They bagged two all-outs as against none by the Giants.
Rakesh Narwal was the top scorer for Gujarat Giants with 12 points while Rakesh Sungroya contributed four points.
Rishabh Pant appointed as Uttarakhand’s brand ambassador
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday announced that Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been appointed as the brand ambassador of the state.
Taking to Twitter, the Chief Minister said that Pant will encourage the youngsters to take up sports.
“One of the best cricket players of India, the idol of youth and son of Uttarakhand, Rishabh Pant has been appointed as “State Brand Ambassador” by our government with the aim of encouraging the youth of the state towards sports and public health,” tweeted Dhami in Hindi, along with the video.
In the video, CM Dhami can be seen interacting with Rishabh and asking about his well-being.
The attacking batter also thanked the Chief Minister for the opportunity, saying that he will try his best to motivate people towards fitness.
“Thank you @pushkardhami sir for giving me the opportunity to be the Brand Ambassador of promoting Sports and General Health among the people of Uttarakhand. I’ll do my best to spread this message and feeling happy that you are taking these steps towards a fitter India,” tweeted Pant.
“Coming from a small town of Roorkee, I am confident that the people here have the ability to make the country proud in various fields of life,” he added.
The 24-year Pant, who was rested for the New Zealand Tests, is currently in Johannesburg, South Africa as the Indian Team is all set to face Proteas in the three-match Test series, starting December 26.
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