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IPL 2022: My father didn’t eat for 2-3 days when I was injured, recalls Kolkata Knight Riders’ Rinku Singh

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Rinku Singh, Kolkata Knight Riders’ sensational batter, is a remarkable story that has a huge dose of hardships, rejection, dejection and heart-break and eventually success.

In between, his story also involves injury scares and a three-month suspension by the BCCI in 2019 for playing in a T20 tournament in Abu Dhabi.

Rinku survived all those setbacks, scored a pile of runs for Uttar Pradesh at the domestic level and slowly and steadily achieved success.

The left-hander said that the last five years of his career have been challenging, but he didn’t lose self-belief during his injury times. The batter from Aligarh said that his father didn’t eat for 2-3 days when he heard about his injury.

“I wasn’t happy staying away from cricket for so long. My father didn’t eat for 2-3 days. I told him it’s just an injury and it’s part of cricket. I’m the sole breadwinner of my life and when such things happen, it is bound to be worrisome,” Singh said on a video uploaded on KKR’s official Facebook page.

“Those 5 years were really tough for me. After the first year, when I was picked for KKR and I got a chance to play, I couldn’t perform well. Still, KKR trusted me a lot and they retained me for the next couple of seasons,” he added.

Born on October 12, 1997 in Aligarh, Rinku was picked by Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in 2017 but failed to get a chance. He was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2018 auction for Rs 80 lakh. He remained with KKR till 2021 when he was ruled out of IPL due to a knee injury and was later replaced by Gurkeerat Singh Mann.

Though he did not get a chance to play, his superb work ethics, friendly nature and desire to contribute to the team in any manner endeared him to the franchise and KKR again bought him in February this year for IPL 2022.

“I trained hard the way my body language is. The team never thought I was down. Last year was quite tough for me as I got a knee injury during the Vijay Hazare Trophy while running a double. The moment I fell, I thought of the IPL. They told me I needed an operation and would require 6-7 months to recover.

“I was a bit sad, but I knew I would recover quickly as I had a lot of self-belief,” the southpaw added.

International

England beat Germany after extra time to win UEFA women’s Euro

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England beat Germany 2-1 after extra time in a packed Wembley Stadium in London, bringing home the trophy of the UEFA women’s Euro for the first time.

Germany suffered a heavy blow minutes ahead of the final on Sunday evening as their captain Alex Popp had to pull out after picking up an injury during the warm-up.

The 31-year-old forward had scored in all five previous matches in this tournament and scored twice in Germany’s 2-1 win against France in Wednesday’s semifinal, reports Xinhua. England, reaching the Euro’s final for the third time, couldn’t break the deadlock until Ella Toone came off the bench to score the opener in the 62nd minute.

But midfielder Lina Magull helped Germany equalise in the 79th minute.

The 1-1 scoreline was held until the 110th minute while substitute Chloe Kelly prodded in her first goal for the England team.

“What we’ve done is incredible. I knew we had England behind us- we saw that coming to the stadium,” said England head coach Sarina Wiegman in front of 87,192 fans in Wembley.

“But the whole tournament we’ve had so much support from our fans. I’m so proud of the team.”

The 52-year-old Dutchwoman, who also guided the Netherlands to win the women’s Euro trophy in 2017, is the first coach to lead two different teams to the title.

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National

Ravi Shastri calls for reduction in number of T20Is played to counter scheduling issues

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Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has called for a reduction in the number of T20Is played to counter the raging issue of scheduling in international cricket. The month of July 2022 has seen the issue of hectic scheduling in cricket and prioritisation of franchise T20 leagues being reignited.

South Africa chose to pull out of a three-match ODI series against Australia in January 2023 to ensure their players would be available for the upcoming new domestic T20 competition in the country.

Earlier this week, England’s Test skipper and all-rounder Ben Stokes announced his retirement from ODI cricket after the first match against South Africa at the age of 31, citing the “unsustainable” workload by playing in all three formats.

With speculations coming that the upcoming Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the 2023-27 cycle will have more of T20I action, Shastri, currently in United Kingdom as a member of the Sky Sports commentary team, feels that bilateral T20Is should be reduced by a huge amount to free up the hectic international calendar.

“I would be a little careful of the number of bilateral splits, especially in T20 cricket. There’s a lot of franchise cricket which can be encouraged, whichever country it’s in – India, West Indies, or Pakistan. You play less bilaterals and then you get together for the World Cups. So, the emphasis on ICC World Cup events becomes paramount. Then people look forward to them,” said Shastri in an episode of the Vaughany and Tuffers podcast.

Shastri, a former India all-rounder and member of the 1983 Cricket World Cup winning team, further asked for creation of two divisions in Test cricket in a bid to safeguard the future of the longest format of the game.

“I think two tiers are needed, otherwise Test cricket will die in 10 years time. You need six teams at the top, and then six teams in the second and then you qualify. And those top six play against each other more often because of the corridor you open up by having less bilateral T20 cricket and just franchise cricket. That’s the way all formats of the game can survive.”

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International

Pakistan Cricket Board wants ICC to form strategy on growth of franchise T20 leagues

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Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Saturday that it has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to form a strategy on controlling the growth of lucrative franchise T20 leagues with rising concerns about its impact on the international cricket calendar.

Earlier this week, South Africa pulled out of a three-match bilateral ODI against Australia in January as it clashes with their new domestic T20 competition, the third time they will be attempting to have a successful franchise T20 League.

The next cycle of the Future Tours Programme (FTP), for 2024-31, which shows the schedule of teams playing bilateral series against each other and at what venues, is set to be confirmed in the upcoming week during the annual conference of the ICC at Birmingham.

“Growth of franchise cricket is impacting the already crammed international cricket calendar. The PCB is concerned about this development and wants the ICC to formulate a strategy on this issue,” said PCB Chief Executive Faisal Hasnain in a statement.

“We have sent a proposal to the ICC, which they have added to their meeting agenda. Two other boards have also conveyed their apprehensions to the ICC on this matter and urged the ICC to create a working group to debate on the expansion of franchise-based T20 leagues,” added Hasnain.

Talking about the confirmation of the FTP, in the context of Pakistan recently starting to host international cricket at home, Hasnain remarked, “Finalising the Future Tours Programme (FTP) is very important for us.

“This will give us certainty about which teams will be visiting us and which countries we will be touring. 80 per cent of the FTP has already been agreed upon and the remaining 20 per cent will be completed in the upcoming meeting.”

The upcoming ICC Annual Conference in Birmingham also marks the first time the meeting will happen after a Covid-19 pandemic caused a stoppage. “The annual conference presents a unique opportunity for networking with representatives of the world cricket.

“We are planning several initiatives that involve fellow members and meetings have already been set up on the sidelines with other boards to collectively enhance our common interest,” concluded Hasnain.

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