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Monday,17-May-2021

National

Lack of home advantage will make IPL 2021 competitive: Virat Kohli

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Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday said this year’s Indian Premier League will be competitive just like the one last year in UAE since teams won’t be having any home advantage for the second edition in succession.

“There is nothing quite like playing at the Chinnaswamy Stadium (RCB’s home ground in Bengaluru) in front of your home crowd. I understand and agree with that. Obviously, the fans are going to miss watching us play — such is the time that we in right now,” said Kohli on the eve of his franchise’s season-opener against Mumbai Indians.

“But the good thing is that we are back in India and one more positive thing about this edition like last year is that there is no home advantage. Everyone is playing at neutral venues and the strength of your squad really comes to the fore. This is precisely why last IPL was competitive and until about the last 3-4 games, everyone was in the reckoning to qualify [for the playoffs] which I think is great for the tournament. The viewership went through the roof which I expect to be the case this time around as well. The [2021] tournament is going to be competitive,” added Kohli, who is also the India skipper.

Kohli said that RCB are one of the strongest sides at this edition and hopes his side will do well.

“Having done well last year, in such a competitive scenario, as a side we are confident that we are the strongest squad this time around. This time we are also going to have a great season. It is something we are all looking forward to being part of. Just playing in set venues with four teams that is going to be nullify the home advantage every team used to have and we will really have some competitive excitement,” he added.

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Rishabh Pant gets first jab of Covid-19 vaccine

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Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant said that he has got his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. Pant urged people to get the vaccine whenever they are eligible.

“Got my first jab today. When you are eligible, please step up and get the vaccine. The sooner we do it, the sooner we can beat this Virus,” Pant tweeted with a photo of him getting the vaccine.

Earlier Indian captain Virat Kohli and fast bowlers Deepak Chahar and Siddharth Kaul also said that they had got their first jabs.

Pant was captain of Delhi Capitals for the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) following an impressive season with the Indian team in which he played integral roles in their Test series wins away from home against Australia and at home against England.

He was announced as DC’s captain prior to the season after regular skipper Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to injury.

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National

Sometimes miss Dhoni’s guidance: Kuldeep Yadav

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Kuldeep Yadav

Spinner Kuldeep Yadav has admitted that he misses the guidance he used to get from MS Dhoni when the latter kept wickets. Kuldeep has seen his international appearances nosedive since the end of 2019, which was also the year that Dhoni played his last match for India.

“Sometimes I miss that guidance because he (Mahi) has great experience. He used to guide us behind the wicket, kept screaming. We miss his experience. Rishabh is there now, the more he plays, the more input he will give in the future. I always felt every bowler needs a partner who can respond from the other end,” Yadav told The Indian Express.

Yadav has played seven ODIs in 2020 and 2021, as compared to 23 in 2019 alone. Dhoni played his last game for India in their semi-final defeat to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup on July 10 before eventually retiring from international cricket on August 15, 2020.

“When Mahibhai was there, I and (Yuzvendra) Chahal were playing. Ever since Mahi bhai left, Chahal and I haven’t played together. I played only a handful of games after Mahibhai left. I must have played ten-odd games. I had even taken a hat-trick. If you look at the performance as a whole, it will look pretty decent but if one breaks it up then my performance sometimes can look not up to the mark. One has to also look at the opposition we are playing against,” said Yadav.

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India should play both Jadeja and Ashwin in WTC final: Pragyan Ojha

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Pragyan-Ojha

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin should both be playing in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand for their prowess with the bat as much as their ability to take wickets, said Pragyan Ojha.

Ojha said that with India having no fast-bowling all-rounder in the squad, Jadeja in particular gives them an extra option in the batting order.

“They should play, both of them. Because both can bat, both have the experience of bowling on any track. The biggest plus point is Jadeja can bat up the order. The way he is performing. Mind you if you look at his domestic record, he’s got three triple hundreds.

I think he can bat long and Ashwin has got international hundreds also. I feel if there’s a little chance where you can play both the spinners, you should play. They have enough experience to win you games on any wicket,” Ojha told Sports Today.

“Overall, it’s a fantastic team. Even I was following Hanuma Vihari. Very thoughtful of him to go and play some county cricket. You know you get acclimatised to the conditions. That’s very important,” he added.

Jadeja will be making his comeback to the Test team after being sidelined in the second Test against Australia due to a finger injury. The injury forced him to miss the four-Test series at home against England but he hit the ground running for Chennai Super Kings in the 2021 Indian Premier League.

Ashwin, on the other hand, has experienced a resurgence with the bat in recent matches, helping India to a draw in the third Test against Australia by fending off 128 balls and finishing unbeaten on 39. He then scored 106 against England in the second Test in Chennai in February.

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