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Wednesday,01-December-2021

National

My commitment is to keep my game up to date and relevant: Pardeep Narwal

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Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) star raider Pardeep Narwal said that his responsibility has been to be up to date and relevant in the game. Ahead of the PKL auctions, Narwal has been released by Patna Pirates, his team for the last five seasons.

“I believe every day is a new learning day, and there is always scope of improvement. I have continuously evolved my techniques and skills, and that is something I continue to do. How differently can I raid? How can I keep the opponent defenders on their toes? How competitive can I get — these are the things I have always looked for answers to. My commitment is to keep my game up to date and relevant,” said Narwal in an interview with IANS.

The eighth season of the Pro Kabaddi League will return in December after a long break enforced by COVID-19. Though Patna Pirates can get him back by using the Final Bid Match card, Narwal is excited about being in the auctions.

“It has been a great stint with the Patna Pirates, and I have learned a lot under the guidance of the coach and management. I am looking forward to the auction, and positive that I will return in Season 8 with the same enthusiasm and excitement”

Narwal, the two-time MVP, has been touted to trigger a fierce war for the highest bid ever in the auction. With so much pressure on him, Narwal speaks about how he keeps his calm on the mat.

“A raider needs to have a good presence of mind and quick thinking. When I step in to raid, I am always calm. Getting paranoid never helps me. My concentration is to make sure I use the right skill and techniques against the defender and come back safe into my half-court.”

The lockdown due to the virus caused problems for many people. But Narwal ensured he maintained his fitness and kept the motivation high in times of uncertainty.

“My training consisted of strength training, high jumps, running, and meditation. Despite the pandemic, I made sure to exercise daily and maintain my fitness. At home, we tend to eat and not exercise. I made it a point to exercise daily at least for an hour. As a kabaddi player, fitness is extremely important to make sure our body is agile and receives correct nutrition.

“Motivation has always been to continue playing kabaddi, for which I needed to always stay fit. Pro Kabaddi League is returning, and I am looking forward to getting back on the mat. The training, exercising and all the hard work will be seen on the mat very soon.”

Known for his ‘dubki’ move, where the raider ducks low to evade defenders, Narwal says he will bring the famous move to the mat. “I try to ‘dubki’ daily. You will soon see me ‘dubki’ on the mat.”

With sporting events happening in bio-bubbles, Narwal feels blessed about playing the sport in a safe environment. Asked about his target for the season, Narwal said, “PKL returning with Season 8 is a benchmark for all indoor sports and leagues. I am blessed to have this platform where I get to showcase my talent and play kabaddi. My goal is to continue to play the sport I have always loved and try new skills and techniques. I am currently at 1160 raid points. I am looking forward to break my own record this season.”

The Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar will air the PKL Season 8 auctions live on August 30 at 6:30 pm.

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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