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Tuesday,13-April-2021

National

Sunil Gavaskar felicitated on 50th anniversary of his Test debut

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Legendary former India opening batsman and captain Sunil Gavaskar was felicitated on the 50th anniversary of his Test debut, here on Saturday.

The Gujarat Cricket Association was presented him with a specially crafted India cap while a banner was unfurled at the newly-constructed Narendra Modi Stadium here in Motera.

The event happened during the lunch break in front of a sparse crowd that gave Gavaskar a loud cheer on the third day of the fourth and final Test between India and England.

Gavaskar made his debut 50 years ago, on March 6, against West Indies in Port-of-Spain and scored 65 in the first innings and 67 not out in the second as India won the Test by seven wickets. In fact, he had bowled before he could bat on his debut as he sent down one over.

Gavaskar also became the first player to get to 10,000 Test runs, and he attained that feat here in Ahmedabad 34 years ago. That happened on March 7, which falls on Sunday.

He finished with 10,122 runs and retired from Test cricket 16 years after his debut.

Interestingly, while the debate in the ongoing series has been on pitches and batsmen’s inability to play spin bowling, Gavaskar’s last Test back in 1987 against Pakistan was a masterclass against spin bowling on a wicket that had broken and was supporting spin bowling in a big way. He scored a brilliant 96.

Gavaskar has been doing media work since his retirement, including TV and radio commentary.

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.

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Bat fearlessly like Hooda: KL Rahul to teammates

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A relieved Punjab Kings skipper K.L. Rahul called on his batsmen to bat fearlessly just like Deepak Hooda after his team managed to see off a resilient Rajasthan Royals led by Sanju Samson.

Rahul, who himself made 91 off 50 deliveries, breathed a sigh of relief after Samson’s 119 failed to get RR past the finish line.

“Deepak Hooda’s innings was amazing. That’s the kind of batting we want to see as a team. We want to bat fearlessly and take down bowlers. We have a lot of power in our line-up but we have been slightly tentative. It is important for us to bat fearlessly. It is great to see boys trying to understand what we expect,” said Rahul after the match. Hooda made 64 off 28 balls, his knock helping the team put up a big 221-run total.

While he praised his batsmen he did add that the bowlers were a bit inconsistent with their lengths and needed to pull up their socks.

“Heart rate was high but I didn’t stop believing. We knew a couple of wickets would bring us back. Till the first 10-11 overs, we bowled well. It was close because we dropped a few sitters, including me. We batted really well and bowled well in patches. We weren’t consistent with the lengths but the bowlers will learn,” he added.

“It’s a young team, some new boys, the boys are talented and skillful, so we need to back them.”

Rahul acknowledged his opposite number saying it is always hard to bowl against him.

“When you’re bowling against Sanju, it’s difficult,” he added.

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Neuberg conducting Covid-19 tests for IPL teams

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Neuberg Diagnostics Private Limited, India’s fourth largest pathology player, is conducting Covid-19 RT-PCR test for all the Indian Premier League (IPL) teams.

As per the guidelines, all the players, management team, broadcasting crew, state and central cricket committee member, groundskeepers, hotel staff, and the event management team are being tested. The tests are conducted at various hotels where the teams are stationed in the bio bubble and at the stadiums for the other staff members at a regular interval.

The screening of teams has already started in Mumbai and Chennai, where the initial matches are scheduled to be played. Earlier, Neuberg Diagnostics had conducted screening during the IPL auction in Chennai as well.

“For the smooth functioning of IPL 2021, we are happy to undertake testing for all team members on the ground and help them curtail the spread of the virus,” said Aishwarya Vasudevan, group chief operating, Neuberg Diagnostics Private Limited.

Neuberg will be conducting tests in all IPL venues Viz: Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Kolkata.

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