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Show intensity even in practice: Virat Kohli to Maxwell & Co

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Royal-Challengers-Bangalore

Ahead of their opening match of the Indian Premier League 2021 season on Friday, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli gave a pep talk to his teammates, asking the new recruits to show intensity on the field even during practice sessions.

Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson and Daniel Christian are among the eight players that the Bengaluru franchise bought this season. Sachin Baby, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Rajat Patidar, Suyash Prabhudessai and K.S. Bharat are the others to join RCB this year.

“To all the new guys who have joined RCB — welcome to this amazing group of guys. As you know from the guys that have played here in the past, the atmosphere and the energy throughout the season will be amazing,” Kohli is seen telling his team members in a video posted by RCB on its Twitter handle.

“The only thing I expect from the guys is to make the most of the time spent of the field, whether it is practice sessions. Needless to mention, I expect guys to show intensity. That’s the way we have always played and that will not change,” Kohli added.

Kohli then touched on last year’s performance when they qualified for the playoffs of the eight-team tournament.

“Last year was a great step in the right direction for us and I feel like our squad is even stronger this year. I expect good things to happen again,” Kohli added.

“The focus [last year] was to make the most of the time we had, especially in our practice sessions. There was no mucking around, there was no wasting time. We were professionals in what we wanted to do and had a lot of fun as well through the season.”

“If we all believe together, we can do some really specials things this season. All of us should look forward to it. I certainly look forward to it. So let’s get off to a good start boys.”

“I am backing you, the management is backing you. Players who have been selected, we believe they are going to contribute to the culture that RCB has, and to the plans that we’re going to execute on the field,” the RCB captain said.

National

Eighth season of Pro Kabaddi League to begin from December 22 in Bengaluru

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The organisers of the Pro Kabaddi League announced on Wednesday that the eighth edition of the league will be held here from December 22. It also said that the entire season will be conducted without the presence of spectators for the matches.

Mashal Sports, the organisers of the league, have scheduled triple headers on the first four days. The season will kick-start with U Mumba facing Bengaluru Bulls. The second match will be the league’s ‘Southern Derby’ as Telugu Titans lock horns with Tamil Thalaivas while UP Yoddha will be squaring off against the defending champions Bengal Warriors in the last match of the opening day.

The triple-headers will be only-Saturday affairs throughout the whole duration of the league, starting at 7:30pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm respectively. The schedule of the first half of season 8 has come while the organisers say that the second half of the league’s schedule will come in mid-January next year.

Keeping the health and safety of players in mind amid COVID times, the organisers have converted the entire venue at Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Centre into an integrated and secure bio-bubble.

All 12 teams will be staying and playing at the same venue in order to follow and adhering to the safety protocols set by the authorities.

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National

Laxman finally agrees to head NCA: Sources

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VVS-Laxman

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has managed to convince former cricketer VVS Laxman to head the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, sources said.

After Rahul Dravid took over the post of Indian team’s head coach, there were reports that Laxman might be appointed as a new head of NCA.

However, later it was said that the former batter “is uninterested”. But now he is ready to take the charge after the BCCI officials held a meeting with him in Dubai.

“There were some issues and it has been sorted out. The board wanted him to take the reponsibility and he is the right man to come in place of Dravid,” sources said.

It is also learnt that Laxman has also agreed to leave the lucrative commentary career for the NCA.

“Laxman is currently mentor of IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad, apart from being a commentator and cricket analyst. And he will leave it all for NCA now.”

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National

Everyone had written us off; we are here to rectify that: Finch

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Australian captain Aaron Finch has conceded that not winning the ICC T20 World Cup title so far has been a sore point with the Kangaroos and the final against New Zealand later on Sunday is the “best opportunity to rectify that”.

The closest Australia came to winning the T20 World Cup was during the 2010 edition held in the West Indies, where they lost to England by seven wickets.

“It’s one that’s eluded us in the past, and the fact that we are here in the final gives us the best opportunity to rectify that. Yeah, I think it will be a great game against New Zealand. They are a great side and they have been in all the finals over the last six years. Looking forward to it,” said Finch ahead of the title clash.

Finch added that despite critics writing his team off, the way the players had gone about their business was heartening.

“Everyone had written us off but we had a lot of confidence within. We’re really confident the way that we were preparing, the way that our strategy was coming together. Yeah, I think it hasn’t defied expectation. I think we came here with a really clear plan to win the tournament, and we still feel as though we’ve got the squad to do that.

“Well, I think the spirit among the team… and that’s been really impressive the way we’ve gone about our business. Everyone has prepared really well. Everyone has had a really defining match or match-defining performance at some point. The guys are really up and about for the final,” said Finch.

Finch added that batting stalwart Steve Smith’s form wasn’t a concern despite the fact that the former skipper has been unimpressive so far in the tournament, and the team management has drawn flak for persisting with him.

“No, not concerned one bit about his (Smith) form. He’s a world-class player and he’s someone in big games has showed how valuable he is. He’s been hitting the ball as well as I’ve seen for a long time, so no, no concerns there whatsoever.”

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