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Saturday,19-June-2021

National

Shikhar Dhawan could lead India in Sri Lanka white-ball series

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Opener Shikhar Dhawan could lead an India side for the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka in July as the Indian cricket board looks to form a white-ball squad in the absence of top players who will be busy in England for Test matches at the time.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Prithvi Shaw, Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan could be in the white-ball squad that is likely to play three One-day Internationals and three T20 Internationals at a single venue in the island nation from July 13.

While plans for the tour have not been thrashed out yet and there has been no official announcement, it is natural that some of the players who have performed in limited overs cricket for India and in the IPL recently will be picked.

Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, who both did well for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, and also in the white-ball series against England at home, could be in the squad.

Among youngsters who have burst onto the scene through IPL, spinner Rahul Chahar and left-arm pace bowler Chetan Sakariya could find a place in the Indian team. Rahul’s cousin Deepak Chahar could also make the cut.

Sakariya impressed for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL edition this time, picking seven wickets in seven matches.

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Karnataka opener Devdutt Padikkal is likely to be one of the three openers India will travel with besides Dhawan and Shaw.

While four of the five national selectors contacted by IANS haven’t responded yet to queries on the team, Dhawan looks to be the best bet to captain the India team in Sri Lanka due to his experience and also the fact that he has led his state side, Delhi, in domestic cricket, including Ranji Trophy.

The 35-year-old has played 34 Test matches, 142 ODIs and 65 T20 Internationals.

Dhawan was also the leading run-getter in the IPL 2021 edition, aggregating 380 runs in eight matches at an average of 54.38 for Delhi Capitals.

He and Shaw formed a solid opening pair for Delhi Capitals, who were on top of the points table before the tournament was postponed.

Dhawan was deputy to Rohit Sharma during the 2018 Nidahas Trophy that India won despite the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) resting key players.

Some of the youngsters who featured in the Nidahas Trophy T20 tournament are now an integral part of the Test side that is travelling to England.

Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, KL Rahul and Shardul Thakur, who were part of the India T20 squad for Nidahas Trophy, are now part of the India Test side with Rohit.

A 20-member India side under Virat Kohli will be travelling to England soon for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and a five-Test series against England.

National

Andhra Pradesh CM condoles Milkha Singh’s demise

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy on Saturday expressed his grief over the demise of Milkha Singh, former Indian track and field sprinter.

“Milkha Singh has been an inspiration to many young athletes and will continue to remain so,” said Reddy about Singh, who was popularly known as the ‘Flying Sikh’.

The Chief Minister recalled that Singh took India to Olympic glory with his achievements as a track and field star.

Reddy conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family members.

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Bollywood

Farhan Akhtar mourns Milkha Singh’s death: You represented a dream

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Actor Farhan Akhtar, who played Milkha Singh in the film “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, has mourned the death of the legendary Indian athlete, who passed away aged 91 after a long battle with Covid-19.

Farhan posted a picture on Instagram posing with Milkha, who was popularly known as the ‘Flying Sikh’.

The actor penned a note saying that he refuses to accept that Milkha Singh is no more.

Farhan wrote: “Dearest Milkha ji, A part of me is still refusing to accept that you are no more. Maybe it’s the stubborn side I inherited from you.. the side that when it sets it’s mind on something, just never gives up.

“And the truth is that you will always be alive. Because you were more than a large hearted, loving, warm, down to earth man. You represented an idea. You represented a dream. You represented (to use your own words) how hard work, honesty and determination can lift a person off his knees and get him to touch the sky. “

Farhan said that the legendary athlete touched everyone’s lives.

“For those who knew you as a father and a friend, it was a blessing. For those who didn’t, your story was a constant source of inspiration and a reminder of humility in success. I love you with all my heart,” he concluded.

Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, biographical sports drama is based on the life of Milkha Singh.

Milkha Singh passed away in a local hospital in Chandigarh at 11.30 p.m. on Friday, read a statement from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), where he was being treated for Covid-related complications.

He is survived by a son, ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, and three daughters.

Six days ago, on June 13, Milkha’s wife Nirmal passed away.

A former India volleyball captain, she was 85, and she, too, was affected by Covid and related complications.

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National

India should have had a fast-bowling all-rounder in playing XI: Amit Mishra

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Veteran leg-spinner and a member of the Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Capitals, Amit Mishra feels that while the India playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand “looks great”, a fast-bowling all-rounder could have further strengthened the side.

The first day of the WTC final at Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Friday was washed out because of rain and players would be hoping to get back to action later on Saturday.

“The playing XI looks great. We have Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, two excellent spinners who can also contribute with the bat. Ashwin and Jadeja’s batting skills will help India a lot. I think India could have named a fast-bowling all-rounder in the playing XI, someone who could have bowled six-seven overs when the regular pacers are tired and the ball is swinging,” Mishra told JK 24×7 news.

Noting that the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand had an advantage in this department, Mishra, who has played 22 Tests and taken 76 wickets, said, “I think it would have been better if India included a fast-bowling all-rounder. New Zealand have a fast-bowling all-rounder in their squad, so this is the one advantage that the Blackcaps have.”

Indian are fielding two spinners — Ashwin and Jadeja — and the pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in the WTC final.

Mishra also said that India’s batting was stronger than its bowling.

“I think India’s batting line-up is stronger than the bowling unit. If you consider the all-rounders, we bat very deep. Only the three fast bowlers do not bat. So, I feel the batting is stronger.”

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