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IPL 2023: Rohit is a fantastic player and leader, looking forward to interacting with him, says coach Boucher

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 Appointed as new head coach of five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians, Mark Boucher is looking forward to the upcoming season and interacting with skipper Rohit Sharma, the most successful captain in IPL.

Ahead of his first season in charge, former South Africa coach Mark Boucher spoke to MumbaiIndians.com on his equation with the team captain Rohit Sharma, the pressure of expectations and the MI Paltan.

Mark Boucher highlighted the similarities between him and captain Rohit Sharma and said he is looking forward to speaking to the skipper in detail.

“Rohit is a fantastic player and leader. I have played against him before. I think we have got 1-2 things in common, he likes conservation so I think that it will be an interesting chat with him as well. I am really looking forward to just sitting down with him and having a chat about many things. There are certain ways that I coach and I think we will have many interesting conversations,” he was quoted as saying by Mumbai Indians in a release on Thursday.

Boucher, on his previous visits to India, was thrilled to see the MI Paltan, and the #OneFamily ethos and is looking forward to speaking with Mahela Jayewardene, Global Head of Performance to understand the #OneFamily culture.

“I have seen #OneFamily signs all over and that for me is very interesting as well. I will sit down with Mahela at some stage and he will tell me what it’s all about. But yeah, I have seen it from the outside and looks like it’s quite an exciting little project that was put together. Looking forward to becoming one of those family members as well.” said Boucher.

Boucher has had a long and illustrious career with the Proteas as a player and coach. Now with his stint at MI, he believes that at the helm of affairs at the five-time champions and one of the most successful sporting franchises in world sports, expectations will be high and he is looking forward to the challenge.

He further added, “Yes, there are always expectations. It is one of the best franchises in world sports. And with that comes a lot of responsibility. So, I am a quiet guy who is driven by results, I am very result-oriented as well. So, I know that I have got to perform and the players have to perform as well. I am really looking forward to that challenge.”

Boucher assured the fans that the team will play a good brand of cricket. Mumbai Indians had a poor season in IPL 2022 as they finished towards the bottom of the table.

“I think the fans are always important and especially with the IPL, Mumbai Indians fans they’ve been very successful. Hopefully, we can bring the trophy but, there’s one thing that we will do, we will have fun and play a good brand of cricket.”, Boucher commented.

Also, Mumbai holds a special place for the former South African star as it was the first place in India that he visited during his U-19 days and thus the buzz around the city.

“I’ve always really enjoyed Mumbai. It is the first place that I ever went to when I came to India on the Under-19 tour and I was amazed by the buzz and hype around Mumbai. I’m sure when I get back there I’ll feel the same sort of space as well.” said Boucher.

Boucher’s first major task with Mumbai Indians would be steering them through the IPL Auction that will be held in Kochi on Friday with 405 cricketers all set to go under the hammer.

National

National Rally Championship: Aishwarya Pissay to go for her 6th straight title

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Nashik: Aishwarya Pissay, the only FIM World Cupper from India, is all set for the final round of the FMSCI National Rally Championship (INRC-2w) 2022 and will be chasing her sixth straight national title when action resumes after a gap of over two months with the Rally of Nashik.

The Bengaluru racing star is the favourite in the sixth and final round of GodSpeed Racing’s MRF MoGrip FMSCI National Racing Championship – 2W 2022 here on Sunday.

Aishwarya is the 2019 FIM Bajas World Cup champion in the Ladies’ class, and after her brief stint in the ‘Big Boss Kannada’ back in November, returns to the circuit to do what she loves the most – biking.

The Petronas TVS Racing factory rider had won the fifth round in Pune to set up a grand finale.

Later, the final round here was put off.

The multiple-National title holder, Aishwarya Pissay is leading the championship table in her class, despite missing a round earlier, and is raring to defend her title once again. She has put in over a month’s training on her reliable TVS TR 200R, including on-tarmac sessions, and is ready for the final hurrah.

Supported by Petronas TVS Racing, Aishwarya, won the first round in Chikkamagaluru by a mile after which the 27-year-old missed the second round. Pissay then came back strongly to reclaim the title lead with splendid victories in the next three rounds in Coimbatore, Bengaluru, and Pune respectively.

“I am eagerly waiting to get back into competitive racing. The terrain will be broken tarmac and very technical. I have trained hard during this long break on my much-accomplished TVS TR 200R which is based on the TVS Apache RTR 200. I thoroughly enjoyed riding the motorcycle, all thanks to which I am going strong into the last race of the season. I will be giving my 100 per cent to win one more National title,” the talented Bengaluru rider was quoted as saying in a release on Saturday.

The MRF Rally of Nashik will have a 17.5 km Special Stage (SS) run thrice from Nandgaon Kolikharwal, all in the forward direction, for a combined competitive distance of over 52.5 km, mostly broken tarmac. Along with a transport section of about 70 km, the total rally distance will be 122.5 km. The ceremonial flag-off from Amboli Holiday Home, Opp Amboli Dam, Tal Trimbakeshwar will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday while the Special stages will be held on Sunday.

The six-round MRF MoGrip FMSCI National Rally Championship for two-wheelers (INRC-2w) 2022 is one of the 12 Nationals conducted in various motorsports disciplines by FMSCI.

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Ravi Bishnoi will become someone like Rashid Khan, says Suresh Raina

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Former India cricketer Suresh Raina thinks that young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who is with Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has the potential to become like prolific Afghanistan leggie Rashid Khan in future.

“If you see all the big bowlers who have earned their stripes in Test cricket, I think Bishnoi with his character and way of delivering the ball, will become someone like Rashid Khan,” he said on a new episode of ‘Legends Lounge’ available on JioCinema.

Former India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha thinks left-handed batter Tilak Varma, who had a breakout IPL 2022 with Mumbai Indians, is a special talent.

“He’s from Hyderabad. I have seen his development since he was a kid. I am talking about him in U-15 and U-16 cricket and how hard he works. His schedule involves going to the ground at 6 AM and coming home at 6 PM. He only takes a 30-45-minute lunch break. He is thoroughly dedicated.”

Ex-India left-arm pacer R.P. Singh picked left-handed opening batter Yashasvi Jaiswal, who plays for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, as a potential gen-next batsman.

“If you look at his batting in the domestic circuit, you can tell there is something different about him. His game-reading sense, his batting technique, or his know-how of how to end a match. The good thing about him is that even if he makes 50, he is looking ahead at his 100.”

Former India wicketkeeper-batter Parthiv Patel wanted to name Varma for his choice of batter as well considering he has seen him bloom in the IPL for Mumbai Indians, but decided to talk about Delhi Capitals’ batter Prithvi Shaw and Gujarat Titans’ bowler Yash Dayal.

“The way (Shaw) has been batting in domestic games, we can see he plays well.”

“Questions have been raised about his fitness and if he overcomes all these doubts, I think he has an incredible future ahead of him. My choice for bowler is Yash Dayal. Good bowler. If there was a standout bowler last year, I think everyone could see it was Yash Dayal.”

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International

Australian Open: Sania Mirza bids adieu to Grand Slam career as runner-up in Melbourne

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 India tennis star Sania Mirza on Friday wrapped up her legendary Grand slam career as Australian Open mixed doubles runner-up. The Indian ace and partner Rohan Bopanna lost to the all-Brazilian pair Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos in the mixed doubles final here at Melbourne Park.

Sania and Bopanna were beaten 7-6(2), 6-2 by Brazilians Stefani and Matos, who were playing in their first-ever Grand Slam final.

In her final major, the 36-year-old Sania admitted her emotions almost boiled over after the Indians stunned third seeds and reigning Wimbledon champions Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski in the semifinals. There was no holding them back after her final match at Melbourne Park, 22 years after she first teamed with Bopanna.

Interestingly, Sania claimed her first major in 2009 at Melbourne Park, when she paired up with Mahesh Bhupathi. And she ended her illustrious Grand Slam career here.

Melbourne Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Indian star. After his maiden triumph in 2009. Seven years later, in 2016, she paired up with Swiss star Martina Hingis and claimed the women’s doubles title as the top seed.

Outside Australia, she earned four other Grand Slam titles: 2015 Wimbledon and 2015 US Open women’s doubles with Hingis, 2012 Roland Garros mixed doubles with Bhupathi and 2014 US Open mixed doubles with Bruno Soares.

“The journey of my professional career started in Melbourne� in 2005 when I played Serena Williams in the third round as an 18-year-old,” an emotional Sania said.

“That was scarily enough 18 years ago and I’ve had the privilege to come back here again and again and win some titles here. Rod Laver Arena has really been special in my life� To play the final, obviously, we couldn’t get over the line, but there’s no better place and no better person to finish my Grand Slam career with.”

“I never thought I’d be able to play in front of my child in a Grand Slam final, so it’s truly special for me to have my four-year-old here and my parents here, Rohan’s wife here,” she added.

Bopanna was looking to add a second Grand Slam mixed doubles title after his 2017 Roland Garros victory. Despite coming up short, he paid tribute to his compatriot and friend.

“It’s truly special for me to play with Sania,” he said. “Our first mixed doubles together was when she was 14 years old and we happened to win the title.

“Today we get to play the last match here on Rod Laver Arena. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the title, but thank you so much for your time, for Indian tennis, for inspiring each and everyone.”

Stefani and Matos are the first all-Brazilian team to win a major after ending Sania and Rohan Bopanna’s farewell appearance together in the Australian Open mixed doubles final.

“Rohan and Sania� I know how many people you’ve inspired,” Stefani said. “Like Brazil, like India, this means so much to our countries. It inspires the kids, it inspires the next generations.”

The six-time Grand Slam champion, Sania, earlier this month announced that she will retire from professional tennis after the Dubai Tennis Championships, a WTA 1000 event, which begins on February 19.

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