His figures of 3/12 from four overs turned the game in Rajasthan Royals’ favour and spinner Shreyas Gopal feels just extra fortunate that those three wickets were none other than Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli, star batsman AB de Villiers and young sensation Shimron Hetmyer.
Speaking after the game, Gopal said: “I still say I’m fortunate and lucky to get such big wickets. As a youngster, it’s not going to come everyday and it’s one of my biggest moments. I was more fortunate that our plans worked today.”
Gopal said that the pressure created in the powerplay helped the spinner as the RCB batsmen looked to attack him to get the scoreboard moving.
“We created a lot of pressure in the first six overs. They didn’t get 65-70. They had to make runs off me, I had better chance of taking wickets. Just went on gut feeling, nothing planned as such. It’s good to have few different balls up your sleeves and be able to execute. We (wrist spinners) get to spin the ball both sides and that’s probably an advantage. It’s about bowling better areas and sticking to plans,” he said.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane was all praise for his young teammate. “Our thinking was, dew would come into effect. His (Shreyas Gopal) record against Virat and AB — we all know,” he said.
Rahane felt that while Gopal was a standout performer, the other players also did a good job. “Overall, it was a great team effort. After 3-4 overs, we came to know that the wicket was slow. All the bowlers chipped in really well. That’s what we wanted to do. We played good cricket in the last three matches. Today, it was about giving more than 100 per cent,” he said.
While Gopal snatched the limelight with his quality effort with the ball, Rahane also praised Rahul Tripathi (34* off 23 balls) for playing a mature knock to take RR home. “I think the way he (Tripathi) batted with (Steve) Smith and (Ben) Stokes, it was incredible,” he said.
Fitness & mental clarity will be key in this year’s IPL, feels Suresh Raina
Veteran India and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman Suresh Raina feels fitness and clarity of thought will be the key when players take the field to participate in the 13th edition of of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which will be played in the UAE.
The BCCI will be organising the league at three venues — Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah — from September 19 to November 10 after it was postponed from March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This IPL, it would be very interesting to see how players are thinking, you are playing in different circumstances, you have a lot of protocols from ICC and at the same time, you are going through tests every two-three weeks, so I would say coming out from all those tests, you need to be clear with your head on what you are going to do on the field because at the end of the day when you are playing a sport, you need to enjoy your game,” Raina said on Wednesday during a webinar interaction on the sidelines of the launch of WTF fantasy gaming app.
“Then you can come out of the ground as a happy soul. So I believe, all tests will be done before the IPL and we will be in a good frame of mind because we all are sitting at home from last five months. I’m looking forward to this,” added the 33-year old who along with India women’s team T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur are the brand ambassadors for WTF fantasy gaming app.
Raina, the second highest run-getter in IPL history, also opined the wickets in Dubai would be like the ones in Chennai.
“There (wickets in Dubai) could be Chennai wickets. In this pandemic, a lot of challenges have happened (for the players) and fitness is the key,” he said.
“Luckily, we are going early in the UAE, so I think, right now there is humidity in Dubai, the weather is 40 degrees Celsius, sandstorm is there, but the best thing in Dubai is that you don’t have logistical problems, it is 45 minutes from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, you go from there to Sharjah, it’s 40 minutes,” said Raina who was part of the 2011 World Cup-winning team.
The left-handed batsman also said during this long break due to the pandemic, he got time to reflect on the time he spent on the field and analyse his performances over the years.
“We have not had such a long break. You look back at your old innings. You reflect on what you were thinking at that time and try to analyse. So when I hit the greens now, I feel we will enjoy a lot this time,” Raina said.
Banking on mental strength & fitness to do well, says Harmanpreet Kaur
A long break can create doubts in your mind, but India’s T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur is banking on her mental strength and physical activity during the lockdown period to fire in the Women’s T20 Challenger games which will take place during the playoffs of the IPL in the UAE. The team has not played since the T20 World Cup final in March.
“When there is a long break and after that however good touch you are in, you start doubting yourself,” Harmanpreet said on Wednesday during a webinar interaction on the sidelines of the launch of WTF fantasy gaming app. Harmanpreet and veteran India batsman Suresh Raina are the brand ambassadors.
“Mental strength helps here and if you are mentally strong, it’s a long break. But I am not going to give up. Initially, I might have fear of injury but we have the advantage of working on our strength while at home. Those things are going to help us on the field. But physically we have tried to keep ourselves fit during this lockdown,” said the 31-year old.
Harmanpreet added that she is excited to play in the UAE for the first time.
“Yes definitely, I’m excited because this is our first tour to Dubai and we haven’t played there before. I had questions like how would the wickets be there, as a batter we need to think about these things. We need to play on our strength because if you don’t play to your strengths, then your natural game doesn’t come out.
“It is a very good idea to see the ball and play. Everybody has to remain clean on this idea and I hope that we grab the opportunity that we get. I hope we play good cricket in the four games that we will get and entertain everybody,” she said.
Phased restart of training at SAI NCOEs from Oct 1, says kiren Rijiju
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday said that the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) National Centres of Excellence (NCOE) across the country will be opened in a “phased manner” starting on October 1.
In a review meeting held by the ministry and SAI, Rijiju also said that the re-opening of the NCOEs will be done only in accordance to the COVID-19 situation in the respective state.
Athletes who will be initially allowed for training apart from the elite athletes who are in the mix for the Tokyo Olympics would be juniors who have been shortlisted in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Junior scheme.
Additionally, it has also been decided that the funds extended to all SAI NCOEs will be enhanced.
“Funds will be provided to upgrade existing infrastructure and equipment or procure new ones, as per the need of athletes. We are ready to provide all support needed to ensure that athletes in India have the best facilities at par with the world,” said Rijiju.
It has also been decided to increase awareness workshops held at the NCOEs including workshops on sexual harassment act with aim to make athletes aware of sexual harassment issues and about the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and motivate them to speak up against any form of harassment.
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