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Friday,25-September-2020

International

Racism exists but we have to stop it: Neymar

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Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker Neymar has said he could not leave the field without responding to Alvaro Gonzalez after claiming the officials ignored his accusations of racism against the Marseille defender.

Neymar was one of five players sent off on Sunday as Marseille clinched their first victory against PSG in nine years after Andre Villas Boas’ side beat PSG 1-0 in a game which will be remembered for aggressive fouls and a late brawl.

The Brazilian was sent off for slapping Gonzalez in injury-time, who he accused of racism as he left the field and also on social media following the match.

In a lengthy post on Instagram, Neymar has now said he “acted like a fool” to earn a red card but said that it is important that those in power reflect on the role of racism in sport.

“Yesterday I revolted. I was punished with red because I wanted to hit someone who offended me,” Neymar said.

“I thought I could not leave without doing something because I realised that those in charge would not do anything, did not notice or ignored the fact. During the game, I wanted to answer as always: playing football. The facts showed that I did not succeed. I revolted…

“In our sport, aggressions, insults, swearing are part of the game, of the dispute. You can’t be affectionate. I understand this guy partly, all is part of the game, but racism and intolerance are unacceptable.

“I am black, son of black, grandson and great-grandson of black also. I am proud and do not see myself as different from anyone. Yesterday, I wanted those in charge of the game (referees, assistants) to position themselves impartially and to understand that there is no longer such a place for a prejudiced attitude.

“Reflecting and seeing all the manifestation of what happened, I am saddened by the feeling of hatred that we can provoke when, in the heat of the moment, we snap.

“Should I have ignored it? I don’t know yet… Today, with a cool head, I say yes, but in due course, my companions and I asked the referees for help and we were ignored. That’s the point!

“We who are involved in entertainment need to reflect. An action led to a reaction and got where it did. I accept my punishment because I should have followed the path of clean football. I hope, on the other hand, that the offender will also be punished.

“Racism exists. It exists, but we have to stop it. No more. Enough!

“The guy was a fool. I also acted like a fool for letting me get involved in that… I still have the privilege of keeping my head up today, but we all need to reflect that not all black and white people are in the same condition.

“The damage from the confrontation can be disastrous to both sides. Whether you are black or white, I don’t want to and we shouldn’t mix subjects. Skin colour we don’t choose. Before God, we are all equal.

“Now, yesterday, I lost in the game and I lacked wisdom. Being in the centre of this situation or ignoring a racist act will not help. I know. But pacifying this ‘anti-racism’ movement is our obligation so that the less privileged will naturally receive their defence.

“We will meet again and it will be my way: playing football. Stay in peace! Stay in Peace! You know what you said… I know what I did. More love to the world.”

However, Gonzalez has denied Neymar’s allegations. “There is no place for racism. A clean career and with many team-mates and friends on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes you have to learn how to lose and accept it on the field. Incredible three points today, Allez l’OM thank you family,” he wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, PSG also threw their support behind Neymar. In a statement on Monday, PSG urged the French league’s governing body (LFP) to investigate the matter.

“Paris St Germain strongly supports Neymar Jr who reported being subjected to racist abuse by an opposing player,” the club said.

“The club restates that there is no place for racism in society, in football or in our lives and calls on everyone to speak out against all forms of racism throughout the world.

“Paris St Germain looks forward to the LFP’s Disciplinary Commission to investigate and ascertain the facts, and the club remains at the LFP’s disposal for any assistance required,” it added.

PSG have lost each of their first two Ligue 1 matches and will face Metz on Wednesday.

International

Was a pretty rusty day: KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik

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Dinesh-Karthik

After Kolkata Knight Riders lost their opening IPL encounter against Mumbai Indians by 49 runs here on Wednesday, skipper Dinesh Karthik said that rustiness was the reason behind the defeat.

“I think we had areas to do well with bat and ball. I think it was a pretty rusty day to be honest, I don’t want to get too analytical about it but it’s ok the boys realise where they could have done better,” said Karthik on Star Sports at the end of the match.

The match was played in hot and humid conditions in Abu Dhabi which was a change for a number of key foreign players in the KKR squad like Andre Russell, Pat Cummins and Eoin Morgan.

“Couple of guys — (Pat) Cummins and (Eoin) Morgan — just finished their quarantine today. It is hard — playing in the heat and getting used to the conditions. Don’t want to be too analytical, the boys put in a good effort. I haven’t had the conversation about that (regarding tweaking the top order) with Baz (coach Brendon McCullum), will let you know by the next game,” said Karthik.

KKR next face Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.

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It was all about being ruthless: MI skipper Rohit Sharma

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Rohit-Sharma

Rohit Sharma, on Wednesday, returned to his usual, elegant self with a masterful innings to lead Mumbai Indians to a 49-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Rohit scored 80 off 54 as MI scored 195/5. In reply, KKR managed to score 146/9.

Interestingly, this marked MI’s first ever victory in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), having lost all of their matches in 2014 when a part of the group stage was played in the UAE.

“It was only two players from the 2014 squad. It was all about how we executed our plans today, we never let it go. We were in good position throughout the game but it was all about being ruthless, getting as many (runs) as possible. We knew the wicket was good and dew was coming down,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony in which he was declared Player of the Match.

As the KKR bowlers fumbled with their line and length and gave Rohit short deliveries, the MI captain replied with his trade mark pull shots to deposit the ball over the boundary.

“I back myself to play (the pull shots), love playing it and practiced it quite a bit. Pretty glad it came out well, they were all good (laughs), can’t pick one. I haven’t played a lot of cricket in the last six months time and was looking to spend some time in the middle; it didn’t come out well in the first innings but glad to have done it tonight,” he said.

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On this day: India, under Dhoni, beat Pakistan to win inaugural World T20

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Team-India

It was on this day in 2007 when Team India, led by MS Dhoni, won the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup, defeating Pakistan in a pulsating summit clash which kept the fans, both in the stadium as well as those across television sets, on the edge of their seats till the very last moment.

With one wicket in hand, Pakistan needed six runs from the final four balls at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Joginder Sharma, who was probably bowling the over of his life, was under immense pressure after giving away seven runs of the first two balls.

Misbah-ul-Haq was at the crease along with Mohammed Asif and all the players in the Pakistani dug-out were on their feet, waiting for Misbah to score the winning shot and celebrate what would have been one of their biggest wins at the international stage.

Amid all the nervousness, Joginder has a long chat with Dhoni who comes all the way down from the wicketkeeper’s end to soothe the medium-pacer.

He takes a deep breath, takes off from his run-up, and bowls a slower delivery outside the off stump. Misbah goes for the scoop shot over short fine-leg. The ball goes straight up in the air and S. Sreesanth takes the catch, a moment because of which his name got etched in the record books.

Thirteen years have passed but still the images of Dhoni lifting the World T20 trophy alongwith his teammates is as fresh as it can get in the memories of cricket fans across the country.

“I will remember this special day till my last breath. It changed the Indian cricket in terms of what followed the next http year. It was a complete team effort through out the tournament,” tweeted Irfan Pathan on Thursday while remembering that day.

India’s journey to the World T20 title was nothing short of a fairytale. A relatively young team, led by a long-haired Dhoni, made it’s way into the last-four riding on famous wins over the likes of South Africa and England who had more T20 experience and were counted among tournament favourites.

And after beating hot favourites Australia in the semifinals, the Men in Blue entered the summit clash with a belief they could achieve something special and leave behind the poor performance in the 50-over World Cup where they had to crash out of the tournament in the initial stages in the West Indies.

After opting to bat, Gautam Gambhir, who had been one of India’s top performers in the tournament, scored 75 runs as Dhoni’s side were limited to 157/5 in their stipulated quota of 20 overs in the finale. The other Indian batsmen fell cheaply and only Rohit Sharma managed to hit some good runs as he made 30 not out.

Yuvraj Singh, the hero from the epic semi-final match against Australia, found it tough to get going and was dismissed for just 14. Skipper Dhoni too departed cheaply for just 6.

During the chase, Pakistan suffered an early blow when Mohammad Hafeez was dismissed in the first over, and Kamran Akmal fell for a duck soon afterwards. The hopes were all but dashed for Shoaib Malik-led side when they lost their skipper and Shahid Afridi. However, Misbah played a blinder of an innings to take his team almost across the finishing line until he went for the scoop down the short fine leg and made Pakistan short of winning the title by just five runs.

Thirteen years have passed since that memorable day and Team India are still in search for their second World T20 title, something which Virat Kohli and boys would desperately want to achieve in the next two years when two flagship T20 tournaments take place.

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