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Monday,27-June-2022

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Moeen reveals the struggles in his cricket journey, says it gives him goosebumps even today

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Chennai Super Kings all-rounder Moeen Ali has revealed the struggles he had to go through in his cricketing journey, saying that the mere thought of the tough road he traversed gives him “goosebumps” today.

Following an extremely successful IPL 2021 season with CSK, where he played a key role in the Chennai franchise clinching its fourth title in the UAE, the England player, who quit Test cricket to prolong his white-ball career, has had a patchy IPL 2022.

As the IPL 2022 season ended prematurely for the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side, Moeen reflected on the struggles he faced in his formative years and how determination and passion for the sport helped him overcome the hurdles.

He revealed that his family didn’t even have one Pound on some days to make ends meet, forcing them to survive on sandwiches or cucumber.

“My dad had a huge passion for the game… him and as well as the twin brothers. Between the families, there were five of us, so my cousins played, I played my younger brother played. I just remember I was eight years old (when) I started playing with my brothers in the park, and I could feel that they were also getting better. So, then I took a trial when I was 19, and it was the first time that I ever played with a hard ball and stuff,” the 34-year-old all-rounder said on CSK TV.

“That was the start and I was soon playing county cricket at a young age, doing well and loving the game. It was football, cricket, football, cricket. Cricket was my dad’s passion and we just carried on,” added Moeen.

Moeen said that his father had to juggle between his work as a psychiatric nurse and taking the children for county games, adding that sometimes he could not afford petrol, and occasionally food.

“At first, we were not very well off… we did not have a lot of money. My dad worked as a psychiatric nurse, which means you have to see people struggle mentally and stuff in the hospital. But at the same time, he had to take me and my brothers for county games, trials and training. He could not afford petrol; he could not afford sometimes, food. It was very difficult. Sometimes all three of us had a game the same day, a county game which was really unfortunate. We had one car, a terrible car between two families and so once the petrol and everything is done, we had just one pound left for the whole day. We had to get bread, sometimes cucumber and sandwich.

“That is the struggle… and it wasn’t just my dad and uncle. It was my mum and aunt, them getting the clothes ready, making sure everything was on time. It was always a rush. Very, very difficult times, but the best times,” added Moeen.

“That was one of the many, many stories where financially we really struggled. My uncle and dad turned up selling chickens just to provide for the next game. I didn’t even have my own pads at one point of time… I had to use my dad’s friend’s son’s pads for trials. So, very difficult but amazing days. I became professional very early and things got better and better.”

On the cricket field, Moeen rose quickly, first starting as a seam-bowling all-rounder before taking to off-spin on the insistence of a coach. Back issues while bowling seam played a part in the decision.

“For me it was just the normal thing to play every day. I didn’t know what it was to be a professional. I just thought this is life, I am playing every day, and my dad said, from 13 to 15, give me two years of your life. After school, we train, and we go outside in the park. Do whatever it takes. And after that, you do whatever you want. And that was the mindset that got me training everyday.

“Our area where we were living, it was a very rough area, fighting and all. But I just wanted to play cricket. We were adamant we were going to make it and that is something that came from my dad, just try better than everybody. Not in an arrogant way, but just work harder than everybody else. Just thinking about it now makes me get goosebumps because you think where you come from and it is a great reminder for myself about my own humble background,” added Moeen.

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India U-17 girls go down to Chile 1-3

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 The India U-17 women’s team suffered a 1-3 loss to Chile U-17 in a friendly game at the Aquileia, Italy.

The match started on Friday night at a relatively slow pace compared to the previous game against Italy. The first real chance came in the 10th minute when Naketa took a free-kick from long range but her shot missed the target. India were struck with a blow right after that as Chile scored in the 11th minute via Katerine Ramos.

India tried to bounce back from the setback, and on the 15th minute mark, Shubhangi crossed the ball and Lynda was able to take a shot but it was saved by the Chilean goalkeeper. Chile though secured a two-goal lead in the 19th minute, when Danlela whipped in a cross and Maitte put the ball into the back of the net with a header.

India did not give up though and kept attacking. In the 21st minute, Lynda attempted a shot from Astam’s cross but the former missed the target by a whisker. The pace of the game slowed down a bit after Chile’s second goal.

In the 26th minute, Chile’s Yennifer Pasten got injured and had to be substituted as Ambar Rolino came in for her. Chile got a corner in the 34th minute which was easily cleared by the Indian defence. India went into the break with a mountain to climb in the second half.

India started the second half on the front foot as Anita made a run down the right and took a shot but it was collected by the goalkeeper. Chile also kept attacking, this time through Ambar in the 43rd minute as her dangerous free-kick was cleared by the Indian defenders.

Coach Thomas Dennerby made a double substitution in the 51st minute as Kajol and Nitu Linda came on for Lynda Kom and Babina. This change had an immediate impact as India scored on the 55th minute mark. A cross from Neha landed at the feet of Kajol who tucked the ball away into the back of the net from a header.

However, India’s hopes came crashing down when Ambar scored the third goal for Chile and restored their two-goal advantage in the 67th minute.

India: Monalisha Devi, Naketa, Astam Oraon (Captain), Neha (Misha 68′), Lynda Kom (Kajol 51′), Anita Kumari (Sudha 78′), Purnima Kumari, Shubhangi Singh, Pinku Devi (Shelia 68′), Babina Devi (Nitu Linda 51′), Kajal (Rejiya 78′).

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Aussie skipper Finch overwhelmed by response from Sri Lankan fans during fifth ODI

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Australia white-ball skipper Aaron Finch has been overwhelmed by the response his team has received during the limited-over series, comprising three T20I and five ODIs, which concluded at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Friday night.

While Australia won the T20I series 2-1, Sri Lanka clinched the ODI series 3-2. The limited-overs series will now be followed by a two-Test series beginning at Galle on June 29.

Speaking about the hardships the Sri Lankans have faced over the last few months in the wake of a severe economic crisis, Finch said, “We’re very grateful that we’ve been able to tour here. We know the difficulties that Sri Lanka has faced in recent times. Hopefully over these eight white-ball games we’ve been able to provide some joy to people in the country.”

Despite the recent problems faced by the country, including long hours of power cuts, the Sri Lanka team showed the world their extraordinary spirit, winning their first series at home against Australia in 30 years.

Finch, the captain of the side on its first tour of the country since 2016, added that the support provided by the people of the island nation was “second to none”.

Thousands of people in Australia’s traditional colours descended on the R. Premadasa Stadium for the final ODI in a show of solidarity for the visiting team, and Finch said it was simply wonderful.

“It was outstanding, the Sri Lankan people are wonderful people. The support that they provide is second to none. They are great cricket supporters, it’s not just constant noise; they ride the emotions of the game. When Sri Lanka are up and about, that’s as loud as anywhere you’ll visit in the world,” Finch was quoted as saying by ICC.

In a video shared by cricket.com.au, Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell said, “That was pretty extraordinary. I was just saying to the boys that was one of the most special feelings. Being able to walk around the ground and have a foreign country cheer for you.

“A lot of times when Australia tours we are generally the enemy and there’s not too many Australian fans in the stands. But to have the support and fans that are here at the moment is truly extraordinary.

“Everyone’s wearing yellow. They’ve got all the Australian flags all over the place. It’s extremely special and it’s a credit to everyone that’s been able to get out here. It’s been such a tough time obviously for the locals. For them to come out and support us, hopefully, both teams can entertain them and they’ve had a really good time during the one-day series.”

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Maxwell banking on ability to tackle good spin bowling in tough conditions after Test recall

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On the verge of making his first Test appearance after almost five years, Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell is banking upon his ability to tackle good spin bowling in tough Sri Lanka conditions ahead of the series opener at Galle on Wednesday.

Maxwell last played a Test match against Bangladesh in 2017 at Chattogram, the same year where he got his only Test century against India in Ranchi and was rushed to the squad in Johannesburg amid the ball-tampering saga in 2018. With left-handed batter Travis Head recovering from a hamstring injury, Maxwell was handed a return to the Test squad for the two-match series against Sri Lanka.

“I think I bring a lot of experience in these sorts of conditions and being able to tackle good spin bowling in tough conditions. It’s something I pride myself on, having quick feet and being able to find a way through adversity in tough conditions. Looking back to 2017, being able to get a Test hundred in India is something I’m extremely proud and to be one of only a couple of people in the last decade to do that is something I’m hoping holds me in good stead for this as well.”

“My game plan probably isn’t going to change a whole lot, probably just going to be a little more time consuming, being able to spend more time at the wicket, without any run-rate pressure on and I’m certainly looking forward to that opportunity to bat long periods of time,” Maxwell was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo after the end of ODI series.

The surprise return to the Test side also means that Maxwell might get a new Baggy Green as his original one has deteriorated and hadn’t been in his kit bag before leaving for Sri Lanka. “I didn’t want to be presumptuous and it turns out I’m glad I didn’t bring it because it’s completely disintegrated. So I’m going to have to get a new one for this Test tour. I’ll look like a first-gamer out there.”

“My last Test was a win in Bangladesh and (the cap) is full of all sorts of different things. It’s stayed in the little bag that we get. I took it out last year and had a look at it and it was deteriorating, thought that’s not a good sign. My wife took it out yesterday and said ‘I don’t think I can bring this’, it looked terrible, so think when I get home I’ll see if I can get it fixed up but it’s not looking great at the moment.”

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