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Sunday,16-May-2021

National

Second half of the knock was my best in IPL: Sanju Samson

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Sanju Samson wanted to keep the coin from the toss as a souvenir since Monday’s match against Punjab Kings was his captaincy debut. However, the match referee did not allow him to do so. All that the new Rajasthan Royals (RR) skipper would be able to carry are memories of seven big sixes and 12 boundaries that helped him get to a century on his IPL captaincy debut.

“The coin looked great so I pocketed it and asked the referee if I can have it. But he said no,” said Samson after scoring 119 off 63 balls in his team’s IPL opener. RR lost to Punjab Kings by four runs.

Samson, who replaced Steve Smith (now with Delhi Capitals) at the helm of the franchise, played a calculated innings as he overcame the early loss of a couple of wickets and built his innings well.

“The second part of my innings was my best IPL performance. I took my time and respected the bowlers, whereas in the first part I was not timing it very well. I took the singles and got into a rhythm and then I started to play my shots in the second half. I enjoy my shots, but I return to the present after playing them,” said Samson, who was given the man-of-the-match award as his knock upstaged the knock of his opposite number, KL Rahul who had hit 91 off 50 balls.

“When I am in the zone, and watching the ball well, the sixes come out naturally, and in that process I tend to lose my wickets also. Happy to play that way no matter what,” added the Kerala batsman who was dropped from the India white-ball teams after a lacklustre show in Australia.

“My mind was playing, not body,” Samson explained further.

“I don’t have words to explain my feelings. Would have loved to finish it off for my team. I don’t think I could have done better than that. I thought I timed it well for a six but unfortunately couldn’t clear the man in the deep,” he said of the last ball that he tried to hit for a six but couldn’t manage it as he holed out.

National

Rishabh Pant gets first jab of Covid-19 vaccine

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Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant said that he has got his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. Pant urged people to get the vaccine whenever they are eligible.

“Got my first jab today. When you are eligible, please step up and get the vaccine. The sooner we do it, the sooner we can beat this Virus,” Pant tweeted with a photo of him getting the vaccine.

Earlier Indian captain Virat Kohli and fast bowlers Deepak Chahar and Siddharth Kaul also said that they had got their first jabs.

Pant was captain of Delhi Capitals for the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) following an impressive season with the Indian team in which he played integral roles in their Test series wins away from home against Australia and at home against England.

He was announced as DC’s captain prior to the season after regular skipper Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to injury.

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National

Sometimes miss Dhoni’s guidance: Kuldeep Yadav

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Kuldeep Yadav

Spinner Kuldeep Yadav has admitted that he misses the guidance he used to get from MS Dhoni when the latter kept wickets. Kuldeep has seen his international appearances nosedive since the end of 2019, which was also the year that Dhoni played his last match for India.

“Sometimes I miss that guidance because he (Mahi) has great experience. He used to guide us behind the wicket, kept screaming. We miss his experience. Rishabh is there now, the more he plays, the more input he will give in the future. I always felt every bowler needs a partner who can respond from the other end,” Yadav told The Indian Express.

Yadav has played seven ODIs in 2020 and 2021, as compared to 23 in 2019 alone. Dhoni played his last game for India in their semi-final defeat to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup on July 10 before eventually retiring from international cricket on August 15, 2020.

“When Mahibhai was there, I and (Yuzvendra) Chahal were playing. Ever since Mahi bhai left, Chahal and I haven’t played together. I played only a handful of games after Mahibhai left. I must have played ten-odd games. I had even taken a hat-trick. If you look at the performance as a whole, it will look pretty decent but if one breaks it up then my performance sometimes can look not up to the mark. One has to also look at the opposition we are playing against,” said Yadav.

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India should play both Jadeja and Ashwin in WTC final: Pragyan Ojha

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Pragyan-Ojha

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin should both be playing in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand for their prowess with the bat as much as their ability to take wickets, said Pragyan Ojha.

Ojha said that with India having no fast-bowling all-rounder in the squad, Jadeja in particular gives them an extra option in the batting order.

“They should play, both of them. Because both can bat, both have the experience of bowling on any track. The biggest plus point is Jadeja can bat up the order. The way he is performing. Mind you if you look at his domestic record, he’s got three triple hundreds.

I think he can bat long and Ashwin has got international hundreds also. I feel if there’s a little chance where you can play both the spinners, you should play. They have enough experience to win you games on any wicket,” Ojha told Sports Today.

“Overall, it’s a fantastic team. Even I was following Hanuma Vihari. Very thoughtful of him to go and play some county cricket. You know you get acclimatised to the conditions. That’s very important,” he added.

Jadeja will be making his comeback to the Test team after being sidelined in the second Test against Australia due to a finger injury. The injury forced him to miss the four-Test series at home against England but he hit the ground running for Chennai Super Kings in the 2021 Indian Premier League.

Ashwin, on the other hand, has experienced a resurgence with the bat in recent matches, helping India to a draw in the third Test against Australia by fending off 128 balls and finishing unbeaten on 39. He then scored 106 against England in the second Test in Chennai in February.

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