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Monday,01-March-2021

National

Shikhar Dhawan: Team goal more important than first T20 ton

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 He may have missed out on his maiden T20 century by three runs, but the sportsman that he is Shikhar Dhawan was all smiles when Colin Ingram hit a six to take Delhi Capitals home against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. While team advisor Sourav Ganguly called him a class act, the opener said that the team always comes before personal goals.

“I knew it could be my first T20 hundred but the team goal is more important, hence I took that single rather than taking a huge risk,” he smiled.

Comparing the wicket at the Eden Gardens to the one back home at the Feroze Shah Kotla, Dhawan said: “It’s totally opposite here compared to Delhi. I was telling Dinesh (Karthik) the same thing. It’s a good wicket to bat on. Good for the bowlers as well as the batsmen, makes it interesting. In Delhi we have to adapt ourselves, hence we got to have that skill.”

While Dhawan generally looks to settle down into the innings, he started aggressively from the word go at the Eden Gardens and the opener said that he enjoyed batting on the wicket which suited stroke play.

“I really enjoyed in the first six overs but I knew I had to stay till the last. I was getting the right thoughts and I had to take the game deep,” he said.

While he shared a match-winning partnership with Rishabh Pant, the latter once again lost his wicket at the end as he looked to finish the game with sixes. But Dhawan backed the youngster. “Rishabh is such a big hitter he can always hit it out of the park,” he said.

National

Mumbai Indians announce partnership with DHL

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Mumbai-Indians

Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians (MI) on Monday announced its partnership with DHL Express. The international express service provider has joined MI as a principal sponsor and official logistics partner ahead of the 2021 season of the IPL.

This is DHL Express’s first cricket sponsorship. It has previously been involved with Rugby Sevens Series, ESL One, MotoGP and Formula 1 along with being involved with Premier League giants Manchester United.

“We are delighted to partner with global brand DHL Express. The combination of DHL Express’ international market network, and Mumbai Indians’ global fan following, brings in a unique dimension to our partner association programme, allowing both brands to leverage its vast consumer interface,” said an MI spokesperson.

“Globally, DHL supports some of the world’s largest and most popular sports formats — from football to rugby, Formula One and even e-sports. Today marks our foray into another crowd favourite, T20 Cricket. Cricket is a game that is well-loved and followed with ardent devotion in India, and many nations across the world. It, therefore, gives me great pleasure to come on board as a Principal Sponsor and Official Logistics Partner for Mumbai Indians,” said DHL Express India Senior VP and MD RS Subramanian.

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Not many can bowl straight balls on spinners’ track like Axar: Dhiraj Parsana

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Axar-Patel

Dhiraj Parsana, former India left-arm spinner and the long-time curator at the Motera stadium here, remembers a young Axar Patel as someone who had a beautiful high-arm action when the youngster would visit Motera for camps and age-group cricket tournaments.

But with time and to adapt to limited-overs cricket, Patel has switched his bowling style to round-arm and that has held him in good stead in Test cricket as well, said the 73-year-old Parsana who is now living a retired life here.

Patel took 11 wickets for 70 runs in the third Test to help India win by 10 wickets and take a 2-1 lead in the series. He has taken three successive five-wicket hauls.

“He is different (from what we were or others have been). Axar is playing in the times of T20 and 50-over matches. He has played all three formats. But I remember when he started at Motera and used to come for trials and to play junior cricket for Gujarat. Back then, he had a beautiful action and despite his height he had a high-arm action. Now he is just coming a little bit side-arm which has helped him. He is a very intelligent bowler. Because of his height he cannot flight the ball too much since the bats are very good and the balls can go out of the boundary line (if he gives too much flight),” recalls Parsana, who played two Test matches and represented Saurashtra, Gujarat and Railways in 93 first-class matches.

He also served as the BCCI’s chief curator (West Zone) between 1997 and 2018 and chief curator in Ahmedabad from 1982 to 2018.

“There are not many bowlers, who can bowl straight balls on a turning track like him. The arm ball, that he bowls so well, is a left-arm spinner’s weapon. When you bowl an arm-ball you make the batsman play on the back-foot. It comes all of a sudden. So he has a great chance of getting bowled or lbw decisions and that is how he got them,” adds Parsana.

“He has to get the side-arm action because he is a very tall fellow, (close to) six feet. So if he goes as when he started as a junior with the ball he could go very high. But now when he delivers the ball, he has to go low down. Most of the bowlers are bowling flat (nowadays),” said Parsana who is happy that someone from Gujarat has made it to the India team.

Gujarat, as a Ranji team, hadn’t produced too many Test cricketers. Parsana was the last one to play for India before Parthiv Patel made his debut in 2002, 22 years after the former left-arm spinner played the last of his two Tests. Parsana though feels that he got his chance when he was past his prime but was fortunate to get a chance ahead of many others due to his all-round ability.

“I was very happy someone from Gujarat got an opportunity (in Tests). He (Axar) is in the right time, right place. He has got a really bright future,” adds Parsana.

“Axar knew those (England) guys were struggling and going for the spinning ball. So he trapped them with the arm ball that went straight. It was great and intelligent bowling,” he added.

“Axar is a fine all-rounder, very intelligent. He has come through the ranks, playing age group cricket. He was a very consistent bowler and batsman. I think he deserves the opportunity. The competition nowadays is much tougher than it was in my days. There are many fighting for a place — Jadeja, Nadeem etc. It is very tough in the professional arena.”

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SunRisers Hyderabad’s David Warner looking ahead to IPL 2021

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SunRisers Hyderabad’s David Warner is already looking forward to the next edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and leading the franchise again, even though the dates of the T20 tournament are yet to be announced.

“One of my things to do is lead this unbelievable franchise @sunrisershyd the entire team from fans, Owners, staff, players and ground staff. We have always had an amazing bunch of people be apart [sic] of the franchise and I am looking forward to the coming season. #orangearmy #cricket #india,” he wrote on Instagram.

Warner, 34, captained SunRisers to the IPL title in 2016, when his team defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight runs in the final played in Bengaluru.

A hard-hitting Australian opening batsman, Warner was laid low by a groin injury during the recent series against India in Australia. He is planning to return to action on March 4 in a domestic match.

“Just to clarify a comment I made on commentary last night, that “My Groin”will need on going treatment and will have an annoying pain for at least 6-9 months. I am returning to play for NSW on the 4th March 2021 [sic],” Warner tweeted on February 23.

Warner has played 86 Tests, 128 ODIs, and 81 T20 Internationals.

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