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Tuesday,17-May-2022
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SA v IND: Supporting Kohli is something I am looking forward to, says Dravid

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India head coach Rahul Dravid has praised Test captain Virat Kohli, saying that he has had great success wherever he has played.

He added that Kohli is one of those cricketers who is keen on evolving and keeps pushing himself. On his third tour of South Africa, Kohli will be itching to lead the Indian team to their maiden series win in the country when the three-match Test series begins from Sunday at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

“I was there when Virat Kohli made his debut. I was there when he played his first Test match and I batted with him in that particular game. It is actually phenomenal, 10 years later, to see how he has grown as a cricketer and as a person, just the kind of performances he has had for India in the last 10 years.

“The match-winning performances he has given with the bat and the way he has led the team, the successes he had and it has been terrific,” said Dravid in a video uploaded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on their website.

“In a lot of ways, he has driven a culture of fitness and energy and ambition among the team, which has been fascinating to watch from the outside. Now just coming into the environment and being a part of it and supporting him is something I am looking forward to. He has always improved, constantly got better and is one of those players who just keeps evolving and keeps pushing himself.

“He has had great success wherever he has played,” added Dravid.

Dravid believes that having a lot of options in the Test squad is great for the growth of Indian cricket.

“With the kind of options that we have, in spite of players getting injured, we seem to have quite a few options for people who can come in, step in and perform at the international level. It is a great sign for Indian cricket and great position to be in. Sometimes, there are challenging decisions to make and difficult ones as well.

“But it is a good position to be in and it’s great to have that depth, especially in the amount of cricket that we are playing. The more we build and grow on that depth, it gives us an opportunity to be competitive irrespective of the eleven we play in a match. It is also a little bit about good communication and being clear with people about why they are playing and why they have been left out in a particular situation.”

The 48-year-old, who took over from Ravi Shastri in November this year, has described his time at the helm as ‘hectic and exciting’. “It was about getting to know the boys and studying them as early part of my coaching job has to be observing about how things are going and see what they are doing. Not necessarily trying to come in and trying to change too much straightaway. But just doing things in my own way and also getting to know rest of the support staff as it is quite new.

“Getting them to understand that how the boys function in this environment. I have had quite a lot of personal relationships with lot of them. So, that hasn’t been difficult and have felt very welcomed. Really enjoyed my time so far. It’s been good, it’s been hectic. We have played a lot of games in the two months I have been here and travelled a bit as well. So, it’s been bit hectic but exciting all the same.”

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Thomas Cup: All the players have gone crazy, slept with medals around their necks, says HS Prannoy

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When they left Indian shores for the Thomas and Uber Cup finals in Bangkok, none of the Indian men’s team players had expected that they would win their maiden title.

They had expected to win a medal, probably bronze. But a gold medal was beyond their imagination, and that is the reason why the players went to bed late on Sunday night with medals still around their necks.

“We never thought we will win the Thomas Cup; we were thinking that we had a good chance of winning a medal but this is beyond our dreams,” said HS Prannoy, who won two tie-deciding third singles matches in the quarterfinals and semifinals to propel the Indian team into the final against Indonesia.

“All the players have gone crazy since the win against Indonesia in the final. We had a huge celebratory dinner, spoke to friends and family and just enjoyed ourselves. Most of us slept Sunday night with medals around our necks, It’s such a beautiful medal,” said Prannoy during an online interaction with select journalists from Bangkok.

The 29-year-old from Kerala said, though they ran onto the court for wild celebrations after Kidambi Srikanth defeated Jonatan Christie in the second singles to seal India’s 3-0 victory against Indonesia, the feeling and importance of the achievement only sunk in early on Monday morning.

“It’s only sinking in now that what an achievement we have had. It will definitely be an inspiration for the next generation of badminton players in the country. They will think that if these guys can win the Thomas Cup, we also can,” Prannoy said.

Prannoy said it was a very crucial week and an unbelievable experience for him and the nine other players that are part of the Indian men’s team because they have not seen this level of bonding between the players.

“All of us will never forget this week in our lives. I have played in team competitions earlier also and have known all these players on the circuit, but this entire week was totally different. Everyone was supporting each other, encouraging and guiding each other. It was a great experience,” said Prannoy.

Prannoy is scheduled to participate in the Thailand Open this week in Bangkok and will return to India after May 21. Just like all other players, he wants to share this joy personally with his family and friends. But before that, there is the unfinished business of the Thailand Open. Expect some more fireworks from the Indian players in Bangkok this week.

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Sarthak Chavan achieves historic podium finish at Thailand Talent Cup

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Honda Racing India rider Sarthak Chavan has created history by securing a podium finish at Thailand Talent Cup (TTC) 2022 Round 2 at Chang International Circuit, here.

This marks the first time in the racing history of Honda Racing India that an Indian rider has achieved this remarkable feat.

Showcasing his riding skills, the 15-year-old lad from Pune meticulously maneuvered his way in race 2 of the round to reach top 5 after his 12th position start on the grid. Giving a tough fight to the competition even under wet conditions, Sarthak boldly took on the finest of Asian riders and finished the race in third place with just 0.583 seconds behind the race leader.

“I am very happy with my performance in this round as I was able to give my maximum on the track. With learnings from the last round and training with my mentors, I achieved 3rd place on the podium. This win has boosted my confidence and I will continue to fight hard to bring more laurels for the country,” Sarthak said in a release issued by his racing company on Wednesday.

Sarthak’s teammate Kavin Quintal (16-year-old) too showed the might of a confident young Indian rider in the race. Starting 15th on the grid of 16 riders, the Chennai boy made a good start and overtook 5 riders in lap 1 itself. From there till the end of race 2, Kavin persevered through the stiff competition and closed at 9th position with the total time of 29:50.642.

The combined effort of the two riders helped the team gain 32 points. The Honda Racing India team entered the second round of Thailand Talent Cup 2022 with a total of 13 points. After securing 12th & 15th place on the grid in qualifying race of round 2, Sarthak Chavan and Kavin Quintal showed aggression in race 1 and climbed up to finish at 9th and 13th position respectively.

With this, Sarthak added 6 points and Kavin 4 points to his kitty. With the end of round 2 of Thailand Talent Cup 2022, Sarthak Chavan now holds a total of 35 points while his teammate Kavin Quintal has 10 points in his kitty.

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Rudrankksh and Abhinav, make it 1-2 for India in men’s 10m air rifle at Suhl Junior World Cup

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India made it a 1-2 in the men’s 10m air rifle competition of the ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany, after Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil won gold and Abhinav Shaw silver in a tight title-decider going 17-13 in the former’s favour.

The Indian duo shot consistently well throughout Wednesday morning, first crossing the eight-man final stage elimination hurdle and then putting up a show in the gold-medal matchup.

Earlier on Tuesday, day one of competitions, Rudrankksh had also topped the qualification stage with 627.5 points, leading three Indians into the top-eight stage. Paarth Makhija accompanied the duo, holding on to his fifth position in qualifying in the end classifications.

But Wednesday morning belonged to Rudrankksh who dominated all three stages of the competition over two days of shooting. In the final, it was Abhinav who started the stronger in the early stages, going up 4-2 after the first three shots.

Rudrankksh recovered quickly though, and went past his countryman, keeping his nose ahead till the very end to seal victory. Germnay’s Nils Palberg won bronze.

In Junior women’s 10m air rifle, Ramita of India, after topping qualification on Tuesday with a solid 630.5, also topped the final stage elimination with a score of 261.0. However, she settled for silver in the end, going down 8-16 to France’s Oceanne Muller, the reigning junior world champion and Tokyo Olympics finalist, in the gold medal match.

India are presently topping the medals tally as well with one gold and two silver medals.

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