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Wednesday,08-December-2021

National

Rishabh Pant wasn’t even aware Smith removed his guard: Vikram Rathour

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Vikram-Rathour

India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant wasn’t even aware that Steve Smith was removing his guard from the batting crease on the final day of the drawn third Test against Australia in Sydney, said India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour on Thursday.

Rathour said that the Indian team didn’t know about the incident and got to know about it only after it was picked up by the media.

“We didn’t even know about the incident. It was only after the game and after the media picked it up that we noticed it. As a batsman, Rishabh wasn’t even aware of it. I wouldn’t like to comment on it because it hardly mattered. He was not even aware of it,” said Rathour ahead of the fourth and final Test against Australia beginning Friday at The Gabba.

The former India opening batsman said that Smith’s form has not ruffled the Indians, who are sticking to the plan they have prepared against them.

“We all know that he is a good player. Our bowlers have been working on specific plans against him and against all the other batters of the Australian team. They have worked so far. But in the last game, he scored some runs. But we still back our plans whatever the bowlers have been discussing among themselves. They still back the plans to get him out,” he added.

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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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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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