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Monday,02-August-2021

International

MS Dhoni No.1 wicketkeeper-batsman we have ever seen, says Ben Dunk

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Australia cricketer Ben Dunk believes former India captain MS Dhoni is “probably the number one wicketkeeper-batsman” the world cricket has even seen.

“I think MS Dhoni is probably the number one wicketkeeper-batsman that we have ever seen. The way that he has played over a long period of time is amazing. His legacy and record and everything speak for himself,” Dunk, who has played five T20Is for Australia, said.

“He has got ice that runs through his veins, he takes the game to a place where it’s almost unwinnable and seems to somehow win them all the time. If I could play 5 or 10 percent as good as MS, I would be very happy,” he added.

Dunk, who will turn up for Qalandars in the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament beginning Thursday, said he is looking forward to playing with former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi.

“Shahid Afridi is an amazing cricketer and he’ll have an amazing legacy. I have grown up watching Shahid Afridi. He just keeps going and going. And he’s still playing cricket as well as he ever has. I am really looking forward to him. I have watched him for a long period, so I am looking forward to seeing him up close and watch how he goes about it,” said the 33-year-old.

Dunk added that he was also looking forward to playing with English players Chris Jordan and Tom Banton.

“Chris Jordan is a wonderful bowler, who has played all over the world and he has taken the most wickets in T20Is for England so I am looking forward to playing with him. Tom Banton is a young guy, who is making his mark on the game. We have got a host of players, who have performed well in T20 cricket,” said Dunk.

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Pakistan’s Azam Khan ruled out of two T20Is against West Indies

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Pakistan batsman Azam Khan has been ruled out of the second and third T20Is against West Indies after sustaining a head injury in a training session.

“A neurosurgeon has recommended an observation period of 24 hours. He will then be reassessed on Monday. His availability for the final T20I will depend on the reassessment done on Monday,” said a statement by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday.
Azam, son of the former Pakistan cricketer Moin Khan, made his international debut in the T2I series against England. The 22-year-old had modest scores of five not out and one in two matches before being dropped for the decider at Old Trafford.

In the ongoing series, he didn’t get a chance to bat in the opening T20I at Barbados against West Indies as the nine-over affair was called off due to rain.

The last three T20Is between Pakistan and West Indies will be played in Guyana from July 31 to August 3. The T20I series will be followed by two Tests starting August 12 and 20 in Kingston, Jamaica.

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Olympics: Boxer Amit Panghal crashes out

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Boxer Amit Panghal, the world No. 1 in men’s 52kg, crashed out of the Tokyo Olympics, losing to Yuberjen Herney Martinez Rivas of Colombia in a Round-of-16 bout on Saturday.

Panghal, India’s biggest hope in this section, lost 4-1 (rpt 4-1) on points, starting the day on a disappointing note for boxing after the high of Lovlina Borgohain reaching the semifinals and assuring a medal for the country.

Panghal, the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist, had drawn a tough opponent in Martinez Rivas, the silver medallist at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The 25-year-old Indian from Haryana started off well and won the first round. Starting with an open stance and moving around the ring, Panghal made Martinez Rivas come for him and make him work for his points.

Panghal counter-attacked on all possible occasions and landed some good combinations, winning a split decision 4-1 in his favour.

But Panghal changed his tactics inexplicably in the second round and became too defensive, maybe hoping to make Martinez Rivas work hard for points so as to tire down the Colombian.

Martinez Rivas won the second round, getting 10 points from all five judges.

Panghal, whose fitness looked suspect, looked totally exhausted and could not do much in the third and final round as he tried to go after his rival in the last 30 seconds but that was too late and too little as the judges had by that time seen Martinez Rivas attacking a lot in the right through the round.

Martinez Rivas bagged 10 points from all five judges and one judge gave Panghal eight points while others gave him nine each.

Panghal’s defensive approach — whether it was by design or due to lack of fitness — in the second round undid all his efforts of the last five years.

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Isuru Udana announces retirement from international cricket

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Sri Lankan all-rounder Isuru Udana has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect on Saturday. The reason behind his abrupt departure from international cricket was not known.

The 33-year-old had recently featured in the limited-overs series against India. He played in the first ODI followed by the first two T20Is but had no wickets against his name.

“I believe the time has come for me to make way for the next generation of players. It is with immense pride and passion, and unfathomable commitment that I have represented and served my country,” said Udana in a press release by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

Udana made his debut for Sri Lanka in the 2009 T20 World Cup where he took two wickets against Australia. In 21 ODIs and 34 T20Is for Sri Lanka, the left-arm pacer took 18 and 27 wickets at an average of 52.78 and 33.89 respectively.

As a batsman, he scored 237 ODI and 256 T20I runs at an average of 16.92 and 18.28 with highest scores of 78 and 84 respectively.

Udana was known mostly for his variety and changes of pace with the white ball, especially on slower pitches. He was capable of moving the ball off the seam and possessed a repertoire of slower deliveries, including the back-of-the-hand delivery.

He was also the only Sri Lankan player to feature in the 2020 edition of the IPL, representing Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). In RCB’s run to the play-offs, Udana took eight wickets in 10 matches at an average of 35.25 with an economy rate of 9.75.

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