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Wednesday,01-December-2021

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Love playing Test cricket, you need to put in extra effort there: Rishabh Pant

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Young India wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant on Friday said he loves playing Test cricket and it is the real deal where you are challenged over five days.

Before cricket was stopped due to coronavirus, Pant had lost his place in the team in white-ball cricket to K.L. Rahul during India’s tour of New Zealand.

Pant’s inconsistencies cost him as the Indian team management handed over the wicketkeeping gloves to Rahul. But the 22-year old was picked ahead of veteran stumper Wriddhiman Saha in the two Tests which India lost 0-2 in New Zealand.

“I love playing Tests. You can give yourself time. Mostly you can test yourself in Test cricket. When I was playing four-day first-class games, I had heard it is the real test but when I played five-day cricket…it was like you need to put in that extra effort,” Pant said during an Instagram Live chat session with his Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Delhi Capitals’ official handle.

Speaking about his days of struggle, Roorkee-born Pant said he used to take a bus at 2 o’clock in the night to travel all the way to Delhi for practice.

“They (Uttarakhand) did not have a cricket team at that point. So I used to take bus at 2 a.m. in the night. That time it used to take 6 hours by road. It was difficult during winters as it was too cold. There was fog also. It’s been a good journey (as I look back). At the end of the day, you have to work hard to achieve your goal,” said Pant who has played 13 Tests, 16 ODIs and 28 T20Is so far.

Pant added that seniors in the team like M.S. Dhoni, skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan help him a lot along with former star Yuvraj Singh and veteran Suresh Raina.

On his idol and legendary Australia wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist, Pant said: “Over a period of time I have realised that you have to learn from your idol but you don’t have to copy him. You learn things which you like and can implement in life and cricket. You need to have your own identity.”

Pant was roped in by Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) for Rs 1.9 crore in 2016. He came to life in 2018 where the big-hitting batsman scored the most runs for Delhi in one season in the IPL.

“That was a life-changing season for me. I needed that breakthrough which everyone needs,” he said. Pant added that the Delhi team, who are still to win an IPL title, always talk about breaking the duck.

“The core group always thinks of winning IPL for Delhi. We qualified for the knockouts last time and came third.”

Pant also added that Delhi Capitals coach and Australian legend Ricky Ponting always tells him to play his natural game. “He gives me a free hand. He says do whatever you want to do.”

On advice from current BCCI President Sourav Ganguly who was the DC team mentor last time, Pant said: “You need to give yourself some time and then you can do whatever you want to do. He always wanted me to do well. He told me a few things and I tried them also. It helped.”

National

Eighth season of Pro Kabaddi League to begin from December 22 in Bengaluru

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The organisers of the Pro Kabaddi League announced on Wednesday that the eighth edition of the league will be held here from December 22. It also said that the entire season will be conducted without the presence of spectators for the matches.

Mashal Sports, the organisers of the league, have scheduled triple headers on the first four days. The season will kick-start with U Mumba facing Bengaluru Bulls. The second match will be the league’s ‘Southern Derby’ as Telugu Titans lock horns with Tamil Thalaivas while UP Yoddha will be squaring off against the defending champions Bengal Warriors in the last match of the opening day.

The triple-headers will be only-Saturday affairs throughout the whole duration of the league, starting at 7:30pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm respectively. The schedule of the first half of season 8 has come while the organisers say that the second half of the league’s schedule will come in mid-January next year.

Keeping the health and safety of players in mind amid COVID times, the organisers have converted the entire venue at Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Centre into an integrated and secure bio-bubble.

All 12 teams will be staying and playing at the same venue in order to follow and adhering to the safety protocols set by the authorities.

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National

Laxman finally agrees to head NCA: Sources

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has managed to convince former cricketer VVS Laxman to head the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, sources said.

After Rahul Dravid took over the post of Indian team’s head coach, there were reports that Laxman might be appointed as a new head of NCA.

However, later it was said that the former batter “is uninterested”. But now he is ready to take the charge after the BCCI officials held a meeting with him in Dubai.

“There were some issues and it has been sorted out. The board wanted him to take the reponsibility and he is the right man to come in place of Dravid,” sources said.

It is also learnt that Laxman has also agreed to leave the lucrative commentary career for the NCA.

“Laxman is currently mentor of IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad, apart from being a commentator and cricket analyst. And he will leave it all for NCA now.”

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Everyone had written us off; we are here to rectify that: Finch

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Australian captain Aaron Finch has conceded that not winning the ICC T20 World Cup title so far has been a sore point with the Kangaroos and the final against New Zealand later on Sunday is the “best opportunity to rectify that”.

The closest Australia came to winning the T20 World Cup was during the 2010 edition held in the West Indies, where they lost to England by seven wickets.

“It’s one that’s eluded us in the past, and the fact that we are here in the final gives us the best opportunity to rectify that. Yeah, I think it will be a great game against New Zealand. They are a great side and they have been in all the finals over the last six years. Looking forward to it,” said Finch ahead of the title clash.

Finch added that despite critics writing his team off, the way the players had gone about their business was heartening.

“Everyone had written us off but we had a lot of confidence within. We’re really confident the way that we were preparing, the way that our strategy was coming together. Yeah, I think it hasn’t defied expectation. I think we came here with a really clear plan to win the tournament, and we still feel as though we’ve got the squad to do that.

“Well, I think the spirit among the team… and that’s been really impressive the way we’ve gone about our business. Everyone has prepared really well. Everyone has had a really defining match or match-defining performance at some point. The guys are really up and about for the final,” said Finch.

Finch added that batting stalwart Steve Smith’s form wasn’t a concern despite the fact that the former skipper has been unimpressive so far in the tournament, and the team management has drawn flak for persisting with him.

“No, not concerned one bit about his (Smith) form. He’s a world-class player and he’s someone in big games has showed how valuable he is. He’s been hitting the ball as well as I’ve seen for a long time, so no, no concerns there whatsoever.”

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