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Wednesday,04-August-2021

National

My job is to take a backseat and help Virat as captain: Ajinkya Rahane

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India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who led India to win in two of the last three Tests against Australia in India’s landmark series win Down Under, says he is happy to take a backseat and contribute as vice-captain by offering suggestions when asked by skipper Virat Kohli.

Kohli, who missed the last three Tests in Australia for the birth of his child, will lead India in the first Test against England that begins on February 5.

“My job is to take a backseat and try and help Virat as captain. There are too many things on captain’s mind so as a vice-captain, you have to visualise situations, think about what can happen in the game and if captain asks you for suggestion then you should be ready. My job is really easy. I take a backseat. Whenever he asks me about certain things, I go and tell him. For me, I generally take a backseat whenever he is the captain,” said Rahane while speaking to the media on Wednesday.

“Virat is the captain. He left from Australia for family reasons that is why I became the captain. Originally Virat is the captain and I am the vice-captain. So I am really happy that he is back with us. Which is really positive. As a team we are trying to play as a unit and together as well as to our strengths.”

The 32-year-old Rahane, who scored an impressive century at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to help India win the second and roar back in the series following the capitulation in the first Test, will have to move back to No. 5 from the No. 4 slot where he batted in place of Kohli in Australia.

He admitted that a bit of adjustment is needed to move back to No. 5.

“Little bit of adjustment is needed. But I have been batting well,” he said.

“It is all about what team requires in that particular situation and bat accordingly. For me, it is all about contribution to the team other than thinking about my own performances or own outcome. I will give my 100 per cent in whatever the team requires in that situation.”

Rahane said he feels good despite being pushed down to No. 5 but added that Kohli’s return is a positive sign for India.

“Virat is back which is a really positive sign for us. He has been batting really well. His record has been great.”

Bollywood

What A Shot! Farah Khan on what’s it like directing M.S. Dhoni

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Choreographer-filmmaker Farah Khan recently directed Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a commercial.

Sharing her experience, Farah told IANS: “This is the first time I was meeting him. I can’t tell you how wonderful he is! He is an extremely down to earth person. We had to change his clothes five times during the shoot and he did not complain.”

Recalling Dhoni’s behaviour on the set, she further said: “Within five minutes we were chatting like we know each other for a long time! He also came to my van to have food. It was a pleasure working with him. What a lovely human being he is!”

Just a few days ago, Farah had taken to social media to shower praises on Dhoni after having directed him for the advertisement. Taking to Instagram, she wrote: “Directed @mahi7781 for an ad today .. What an amazing guy.. so punctual, so down to earth, took pics with everyone frm clients to spotboys with a smile..im a fan.”

On the work front, Farah is all set to apper as the judge on the new television programme ‘Zee Comedy Show’, which will air from July 31 on Zee TV.

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National

They have to keep improving and getting better: Rahul Dravid

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Indian head coach Rahul Dravid has said that he was not disappointed by the performance of the young batsmen in the T20I series against Sri Lanka. He believed that the youngsters have to keep getting better in future.

In Thursday’s decider at the R Premadasa Stadium, India managed to get just 81 in the first innings. Sri Lanka chased 82 with seven wickets in hand.

“I’m not disappointed. They are young batters; they have to keep improving and getting better. The Sri Lankan team’s bowling attack is their international bowling attack. They’re missing a few batsmen because of various reasons, but this is a top-quality attack. So, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on these performances, reflect on these conditions, and maybe come up with some slightly better strategies,” said Dravid in the post-match press conference.

Apart from skipper Shikhar Dhawan, India had just four batsmen for the last two T20Is in Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson and Nitish Rana. Among the four, Samson had the most experience with just seven T20Is.

“Let’s be fair, you don’t get these sorts of conditions very often in T20 cricket. But when you do, I think you need to have a response. You need to be able to play slightly better. They’re all youngsters, we just need to have patience with them, give them more opportunities so that they can develop and grow,” felt Dravid.

He added, “This was a really young team. All of us have had our struggles playing quality bowling, whether it’s spin or pace. Early on in our careers, we’ve all had those struggles and we’ve all had to fight our way through that. None of us have been perfect when we started, whether it’s my generation or any generation for that matter. It needs experience.”

He also pointed out the conditions which are different for the youngsters than him in the playing years, saying that there is a lot to learn about playing on challenging pitches.

“Maybe the one thing that’s slightly different is that when I was starting or was growing up, the pitches in domestic cricket tended to turn a little bit more and spun a bit more. To be honest, some of them were under-prepared. But I don’t think the talent is missing, either in spin bowling or in the batting. We just need a little bit more experience in being able to figure out a few more different kinds of shots when we’re challenged with these kinds of pitches. We just need to figure out a couple of more options. It was tough batting for them (Sri Lankans) as well.”

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National

Focus on Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav’s departure to England

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Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav’s departure from Sri Lanka to join the Indian Test squad in England may be delayed after they were sent into isolation for being in close contact with Krunal Pandya, who has tested positive for Covid-19 in the island nation.

The two were expected to leave immediately after the culmination of the white ball series in Sri Lanka. The series ends after Thursday night’s third T20I.

“They will travel to England when the formalities are completed,” an official told IANS.

The Indian Test squad in England has already seen three of the players being ruled out. While opener Subman Gill withdrew due to leg injury and has since returned home, off-spin bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar has hurt his finger, and pace bowler Avesh Khan, who was among the standby players, has suffered fracture his left thumb.

As a result, the selectors have pushed Abhimanyu Easwaran into the main squad and have also called up Shaw and Yadav.

The Test series begins on August 4 in Nottingham.

The second Test will be played on August 12-16 at Lord’s, London, the third Test on August 25-29 in Leeds, the fourth Test between September 2 and 6 at the Oval, London, and the fifth and final Test in Manchester from September 10 to 14.

The Indian team had lost the World Test Championship final to New Zealand last month.

After a three-week break, the Indian players moved to Durham for a warm-up match and training.

The team will travel to Nottingham on August 1.

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