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Wednesday,08-December-2021

National

Pro Kabaddi League returns as auction scheduled from Aug 29-31

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Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) announced on Friday the player retentions under three categories: ‘Elite Retained Players’, ‘Retained Young Players’ and ‘New Young Players’ ahead of the player auctions for the eighth season. The league is making a return after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, 59 players were retained across the three categories with 22 in the ‘Elite players category’, six in the ‘Retained players category’ and 31 in the ‘New Young Players category’.

The 12 teams will begin to assemble their squads for the eighth season slated to take place in December. The non-retained players including all squad players from PKL Seasons 6 and 7 will go under the hammer at the mega auctions in Mumbai from August 29 to 31.

Defending champions Bengal Warriors have retained their captain Maninder Singh along with one of the main heroes of the final of the seventh season, Mohammed Esmaeil Nabibaksh.

Top points scorer of the seventh season, Pawan Kumar Sehrawat has been retained by Bengaluru Bulls for a second consecutive season. The MVP of the seventh season, Naveen Kumar, has been retained by Dabang Delhi K.C. under the ‘Retained Young Players’ category.

Experienced players like Fazel Atrachali (U Mumba), Parvesh Bhainswal & Sunil Kumar (Gujarat Giants), Vikash Khandola (Haryana Steelers), and Nitesh Kumar (U.P. Yoddha) have been retained by their respective teams.

Fan favourites like Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates), Deepak Hooda (Jaipur Pink Panthers), Rahul Chaudhari (Tamil Thalaivas), Siddharth Desai (Telugu Titans), and Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls) will be part of the auction pool.

The 12 teams have in total released 161 players with Bengal Warriors (16 out of 20) and Telugu Titans (15 out of 18) dropping most of their members.

Patna Pirates are the most successful team in the league, winning thrice and are the only team to have defended their title twice. Apart from defending champions Bengal Warriors, Jaipur Pink Panthers, U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls have also won the tournament once.

The Category A domestic players auction will be shown live on August 30 on Star Sports and Disney+ Hotstar, who are the official broadcaster and OTT partner of the Pro Kabaddi League.

National

Women’s football nationals: Railways beat Mizoram to enter Final

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Railways beat Mizoram 6-5 on penalties after they remained locked 1-1 at the end of extra time in the first semifinals of the Women’s National Football Championship (NFC) at the EMS Corporation Stadium here on Tuesday.

After a goalless first half, Railways went ahead through Mamta on the 70th minute, but Lalnunsiami, better known as Siami, pulled one back in injury time to take the match into extra time. With the scores level after 120 minutes, Railways eventually snatched the win by a 6-5 margin on penalties.

Both teams started with a safety-first approach to assess the opponent’s first. In the 36th minute, Thansangi of Mizoram missed a brilliant chance from a close-range free-kick but was fouled at the end.

Although both teams created equal goal-scoring opportunities, neither proved to be clinical in front of the goal and at the halfway point, both teams went into the tunnel on level pegging with the scoreline reading 0-0.

It was a box-to-box affair after the changeover, as both teams tried to breach the opponent’s goal more than once but eventually las’ season’s runners-up Railways took the lead midway through the second half. It was M’mta (70′) who opened the scorebook for Railways, giving them the lead. It was a beautiful run by Tara, who quickly passed the ball to Mamta as she chipped it into the goal.

Since then, it was all Railways as they launched attack after attack, penetrating the opponent’s defense. They dominated the exchanges and fostered goal-scoring opportunities but lack of accuracy in front of goal saw a switch in momentum.

Just when the referee was about to blow the final whistle towards the end of injury time, Mizoram made a stunning comeba’k via Siami’s solo goal which lead the match into extra time.

Both the sides tried and failed to make much headway in the 30 minutes of extra time, and the match headed into penalty shootout after 120 minutes of play.

Railways eventually emerged victorious in the shootout, after Grace Lalrampari and Vanlalhmangahzuali missed for Mizoram, while Suprava Samal was the only one to miss for Railways, thus the latter won the shootout by a 6-5 margin.

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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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Laxman finally agrees to head NCA: Sources

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VVS-Laxman

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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