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Monday,10-August-2020

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MS Dhoni turns 39: Forget the sunset, relive the sun-kissed memories MSD has given a billion hearts

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Sourav Ganguly is widely credited with changing the face of Indian cricket. While that is a proven fact, the reason why Sachin Tendulkar refers to Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the greatest skipper he played under and the reason for Virat Kohli calling him ‘My Captain’ is because this person from Ranchi took Ganguly’s learnings and combined it with his own knowledge and rewrote the history books.

On Tuesday, Dhoni added a few more white hair to his beard and his fans added another candle to the cake as the nation celebrated his 39th birthday. At this age, cricketers are usually thinking about moving on from the game, try their hands at commentary or earning their coaching badges. But Dhoni is a bit different, just like how his career turned out to be. He is helping his critics earn their bread by constantly speculating over his future with the national team.

The reason why talking about Dhoni’s future is futile is because there is no one in this world who can guess what’s going on inside the calm head of his. Remember that Australia tour of 2014, when he hung up his Test boots mid-way through the series and handed over the armband of Kohli? Similarly, it was a sudden mail at ( p.m. from BCCI in 2017 to announce that he has stepped down as limited-overs captain.

So, it’s not about the role for him but the feeling of what is best for Indian cricket that keeps him going. And that feeling might still be burning inside his heart and could be that he is still hanging around the ODI and T20I teams because he knows Kohli may still need him behind the stumps if the youngsters are not able to fill his boots going into the next T20 World Cup which now looks to be the one which will be played in India in 2021.

Dinesh Karthik has been tried, Rishabh Pant has been given a long rope and now K.L. Rahul has been working on his keeping skills as the Indian team looks to move on from the Dhoni era. There have been contenders for the hotseat but the full package that teammates and fans are accustomed to behind the stumps still seems to be missing.

Due to his leadership skills it’s easy to forget that Dhoni is also one of the few batsmen in the world to have scaled Mount 10k in ODIs — no mean feat for someone who played the role of a finisher all his life. But more than his runs, Dhoni’s tactical acumen is what Kohli needs. Runs, Kohli knows that he can score bucket loads himself, but the masterplans that MSD used to devise for the bowlers for certain batsmen, you just can’t put a price on that. After all, you cannot buy experience in the market.

When Dhoni indeed walks into the sunset, it won’t be a festival-like goodbye that’s for sure. He will just walk away as if he wasn’t there at all. But the legacy that he will leave behind will be a gargantuan task for anyone to replicate or even follow.

He won’t be remembered for handing over the last over to Joginder Sharma in a T20 World Cup final. He won’t be remembered for his World Cup-winning six off Nuwan Kulasekara. He won’t be remembered for jumping in ecstasy after leading the team to the prestigious white jacket in England in the Champions Trophy. He will be simply remembered as a young bloke who broke into the team as a 23-year-old and gave a lifetime of memories, including the now-famous helicopter shot, to more than a billion people to cherish for the rest of their lives. Happy Birthay Our Captain.

National

K.L. Rahul wants Hardik’s son to become fast bowling all-rounder

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India batsman K.L. Rahul has suggested that his teammate Hardik Pandya’s newborn son should become a fast bowling all-rounder like his father. Hardik’s brother and fellow all-rounder Krunal Pandya posted a boomerang of him holding the baby on his Instagram handle.

Rahul wrote in the comments: “Please tell him to become a fast bowling all rounder (folded hands)”.

Hardik and Natasa Stankovic, who had got engaged earlier this year, were blessed with a baby boy in late July.

Hardik announced the news in a Twitter post which read: “We are blessed with our baby boy.” It was posted with the picture of the baby’s hand. The delivery happened in Vadodara.

The duo had earlier announced in May that they were expecting a third member in their family. Fast forward a couple of months and they shared the good news with their fans and followers on social media, with the photo of their newly-born child.

Wishes poured in from all quarters for the couple with the likes of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and others from the cricketing fraternity expressing their best wishes. “Many congratulations to the proud new parents! May the little one tiptoe with love into your hearts & stay there forever!” wrote Tendulkar on his Twitter handle.

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National Hockey Camp: Skipper Manpreet, 4 others test COVID-19 positive

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India’s men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Jaskaran Singh, Varun Kumar and Krishan Pathak have tested COVID-19 positive after reporting to the national hockey camp in Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) in Bengaluru along with the team.

All four tested negative in the rapid test, SAI said but Manpreet and Surender began to display some COVID-19 symptoms later because of which they along with other ten athletes who had travelled together were given the Quantitative RT-PCR test on Thursday.

SAI made it mandatory for all athletes, who reported back to the camp to take a rapid COVID-19 test upon arrival.

SAI also said that the test results have still not been handed over to them and it is the state government that has informed them about it. “Test results to the SAI authorities and few test results are still awaited,” it said.

All athletes, including Manpreet, who reported to camp were undergoing quarantine as per the Health Ministry Guidelines and as a precautionary measure were kept in isolation.

The quarantined athletes did not interact with other athletes who were already present at the camp. The SOP of the state government and of SAI is being followed strictly across the campus.

“I am self quarantined on the SAI campus and I am very happy with the way SAI authorities have handled the situation,” said Manpreet. “I am very happy that they made the testing of athletes mandatory. That proactive step helped in identifying the problem right in time. I am doing fine and hope to recover very soon.”

SAI had previously stated that the men’s and women’s national hockey camp were to restart at the Bengaluru campus on August 4.

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It’s almost time: Jasprit Bumrah shares excitement ahead of IPL 13

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Jasprit Bumrah cannot wait for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to kickstart, and the Indian ace pacer took to social media on Thursday to share his excitement.

The BCCI will be organising the IPL at three UAE venues — Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah — from September 19 to November 10 after it was postponed from March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s almost time,” said Bumrah in a tweet with a photo of him celebrating after taking a wicket in a Mumbai Indians jersey. Bumrah had played a crucial role in Mumbai’s record fourth title win in IPL last season.

On Wednesday, India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane had also expressed his excitement for IPL 2020.

Rahane was traded by Rajasthan Royals to Delhi Capitals in November last year. “New beginnings for me in the @ipl this year. Looking forward to the season,” Rahane said in an Instagram post along with a photo of him batting.

Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to suspend the partnership with title sponsors Vivo for IPL 13. This development came after the IPL Governing Council had on Sunday decided to retain the company as title sponsors.

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