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Tuesday,02-March-2021

International

Jack Leach extends stay with Somerset until 2024

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England spinner Jack Leach has extended his contract with Somerset County Cricket Club by two years.

The 29-year-old’s current contract was due to expire at the end of 2022 but he has signed a two-year extension which will see him play for the club until at least the end of the 2024 season.

“I am very excited to have signed an extension with Somerset. It is a proud day for me and my family,” said Leach in a statement.

“I would like to thank Andy Hurry, Jason Kerr, all the coaches, the staff and my teammates for their support. I would also like to thank the Members and fans. I would like to send my best to them at this difficult time and say how much we miss you. We can’t wait to have you back. I am very excited about what we can achieve as a group. There is a good feeling around the boys, and I can’t wait for the season to start,” he added.

Leach, who recently excelled in England’s Test series win over Sri Lanka, had successfully progressed through the Somerset Age Group Pathway before making his debut for the County against South Africa in 2012.

Since that day, the left armer has gone on to take over 240 wickets for the club, and his consistently outstanding performances for Somerset have seen him receive recognition at international level.

Leach now has 44 Test wickets from 12 matches at an average of 30.50.

“To put it in simple terms, Jack Leach is an outstanding cricketer. Not only is he a bowler of the very highest calibre, he is also exactly the kind of character you want in your team environment,” Somerset Director of Cricket Andy Hurry said.

“Jack has had to overcome a number of hurdles during the last few years and on every occasion he has come back stronger and better. He sets a great example, and I am delighted that we will continue to see him representing the club that means so much to him,” he added.

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International

Novak Djokovic equals Roger Federer for most weeks as world no. 1

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Novak Djokovic has tied Roger Federer’s all-time record for the most weeks at the top of the men’s tennis rankings.

Djokovic on Monday entered his 310th week at the top of the ATP rankings. The 33-year-old Serbian reclaimed the top spot from Spain’s Rafael Nadal in February 2020.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion grabbed his ninth Australian Open title last month, which ensured he will surpass Federer’s record next week.

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have dominated men’s singles tennis, particularly the Grand Slams, for nearly two decades.

From the 2003 Wimbledon to the 2021 Australian Open, the three players have won 58 out of 70 Grand Slams. They won 18 consecutive slams from the 2005 French Open to Wimbledon in 2009, and 13 consecutive slams from the 2017 Australian Open to the 2020 Australian Open.

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International

Never going to turn down playing for West Indies: Chris Gayle

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Veteran batsman Chris Gayle has said that he is not going to turn down anything pertaining to West Indies cricket after he left the Pakistan Super League (PSL) to play in the upcoming three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka which starts on March 4.

Gayle, who was part of the T20 World Cup winning squads in 2012 and 2016, said he has set his eyes on winning the trophy a third time this year.

“When I got the call and they asked if I’m willing and interested, I said: ‘Yes, I want to play for West Indies’. That’s where my heart is. I’m never going to turn down anything pertaining to West Indies cricket at this particular time. So I came back from Pakistan to be a part of the set-up leading into the World Cup so we can have a unity within the group, and then hopefully we can win this T20 trophy,” Gayle is quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

Gayle had said that he would be retiring from ODI cricket after the 2019 World Cup but he later backtracked on that after the end of the tournament. He admitted that his initial plan was to concentrate on franchise cricket.

“I thought about actually walking away from the game and then people said: ‘No, don’t do it, don’t do it. Stay and play as long as possible.’ So I decided I’m actually going to continue playing. I wasn’t actually thinking down this road. I was like, I’m going to play franchise cricket, entertaining people as much as possible, and whatever is left to offer within the game from Chris Gayle, I want to exploit around the world,” said Gayle.

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Mary Kom and Amit Panghal one win away from medal in Spain

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Six-time world champion Mary Kom (51 kg) and World Championship silver medallist Amit Panghal (52 kg) are both one win away from securing a medal at the Boxam International Tournament in Castellon, Spain after they were drawn in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Mary faces Italian Giordana Sorrentino in her opening bout on Wednesday while Panghal will be up against local favourite Gabriel Escobar in his quarterfinal clash. Both pugilists got byes in their respective first round bouts.

Meanwhile, Vikas Krishan (69 kg) also got a bye in the first round and will fight Italy’s Vincenzo Mangiacapre. Ashish Kumar (75 kg), and Sumit Sangwan (81 kg) are also drawn in the quarter-finals because of the lesser entries in their weight classes. Satish (+91 kg), the first super heavyweight from the country to qualify for the Olympics, is also drawn in the quarterfinals of his weight category.

Among women, Jasmine and Manisha are drawn in the 57 kg quarterfinals after getting first round byes. Simranjit Kaur (60 kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg) and Pooja Rani (75 kg), all of whom have qualified for the Olympics, will also be competing in the quarterfinal stage on Wednesday.

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