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Team India fitness levels behind others, Virat Kohli tells PM



Modi with Kohli.

Virat Kohli, captain of the Indian cricket team, on Thursday admitted that while the fitness standards of the side has improved, they are still behind when compared with other teams in the world.

While interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Fit India Dialogue, Kohli spoke about the importance of fitness and proper diet to deal with the fast-paced nature of the world.

During the online session, PM Modi, among other things, inquired Kohli about the Yo-Yo test and whether the Indian skipper is also required to be part of the exercise.

“Sir, the test (Yo-yo) is very important considering the fitness point of view. When you’re looking at the global fitness levels and standards, our team’s level is still below that of the other teams. However, we are looking to take that higher, it’s a basic requirement,” Kohli said.

“T20Is and ODIs get over in a day. However, when you’re talking about a Test match, we have to play five days, play one full day, get back and return refreshed for the next day’s play. Considering this, the fitness benchmark is very important,” he added.

The Indian skipper further said he always takes the initiative and runs first for the test. “There is a condition, if I fail the test, I will also not be available for selection. I think this system and culture need to be set.

“Overall, the fitness level of the team is important. Our fast bowlers, who are the best in the world right now, are now able to give their full effort even on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th days. We always had the skill, but in crucial moments, our performances used to dip. The opposition team used to win.

“These days, due to our fitness, we are able to capitalise on the crucial moments of the game. The results are coming because of this. This benchmark is very important for elite sportsmen,” he added.

In a candid moment during their conversation, the prime minister also questioned the India captain whether Delhi’s Chhole Bhature business is suffering, considering Kohli – who has now turned into a vegan — has been staying away from his favourite street food.

In response, Kohli broke into laughter and said during his growing days, he was eating bad and trying out a lot of street food but the demands of the sport helped him understand the importance of staying fit.

“We were discussing a few minutes back, our native diet, the food from our region, I have noticed we have not had any health issues with it. From my own experience, I have seen my grandmother, she is very healthy. She eats simple home-cooked food. When I was growing up, I used to eat a lot of street food. Whenever I used to go play, I used to eat outside a lot. From a health point of view, I realised it wasn’t good,” the 31-year-old said

“Physical fitness and diet, focusing on these things brought about the changes in me. Just like our sport, our lives have also gotten faster and demanding. If we are not keeping up with it then we will be left behind,” he added.

Kohli is currently leading Royal Challengers Bangalore in the United Arab Emirates in their quest for their maiden title in the Indian Premier League.


Delhi Capitals win toss, elect to bowl




Delhi Capitals won the toss and elected to bowl in their Indian Premier League match against Kolkata Knight Riders here on Saturday.

Spinner Sunil Narine, whose bowling action has been cleared by the IPL Suspect Bowling Action Committee, was included in the KKR playing XI for the first time since his last game on October 10.

Pace bowler Kamlesh Nagarkoti too was brought in while spinner Kuldeep Yadav and batsman Tom Banton were left out by the Kolkata franchise.

For Delhi Capitals, Anrich Nortje has returned while Ajinkya Rahane has replaced Prithvi Shaw.


Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer (Capt), Rishabh Pant (WK), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Tushar Deshpande, Anrich Nortje.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (Capt), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy.

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IPL: CSK struggle to find the right combination




Chennai Super Kings have been struggling to find the perfect combination this season, team coach Stephen Fleming admitted after the Chennai franchise suffered their heaviest defeat on Friday by losing to Mumbai Indians by 10 wickets.

The M.S. Dhoni-led team, desperately looking for a win to stay in contention for a play-offs spot, decided to ring in changes for Friday’s match including sending an out-of-touch and inexperienced Ruturaj Gaikwad to open against the potent new ball attack of Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah.

“Our opening pair has been a bit mixed. The reason why Gaikwad is there is because of (Imran) Tahir. We’ve got a problem there, because our spin bowling has been a little bit ineffective. When you have one of the world’s best spinners, you are keen to introduce him,” said Fleming pointing to the troubles the franchise has faced in fielding South African Imran Tahir as one of its four overseas players.

CSK’s batting has struggled with not much depth in Indian talent. This has forced CSK to put Sam Curran, Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis in the top three, leaving one overseas spot to be fought among all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, paceman Josh Hazlewood, leg-spinner Imran Tahir and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner.

Bravo, because of his all-round skill-sets, was the obvious option in the early phase. When he got injured, CSK brought in Hazlewood to strengthen their relatively weak pace attack.

On Friday, CSK decided to drop Watson to introduce Tahir which meant that Gaikwad had to be pushed in to open the innings.

“The advice to Gaikwad was to find his feet. (But) we had a bad batting day. Sums up the entire tournament. Everything we tried, it has been exact opposite of it. Today was a great example of it.”

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Delhi Capitals looking to put campaign back on track against KKR




Table-toppers Delhi Capitals (DC) will aim to return on the winning path when they face fourth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 42nd match of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Saturday.

After a five-wicket defeat against King XI Punjab (KXIP) in their last match, Delhi will expect their batters to raise the bar as barring Shikhar Dhawan, all others have faltered.

It was Dhawan’s second consecutive ton which had single-handedly propelled DC to a fighting total against KXIP before their bowlers failed to defend the target.

Young Prithvi Shah’s last four outings include two ducks while captain Shreyas Iyer has struggled to regain his form with the bat he showed in much of the first half of the league stage since sustaining a side-strain.

Rishabh Pant had made a comeback from injury in the previous game but the dashing stumper is yet to regain his momentum with the bat.

In the bowling department, in-form pacer Kagiso Rabada will once again try to put the KKR batsmen in trouble along with his South African compatriot Anrich Nortze, who missed the last match against KXIP but is likely to make a return against KKR.

Axar Patel and ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will once again look to use the conditions effectively to get the breakthroughs in the middle overs.

On the other hand, despite sitting at the fourth spot, KKR’s advancement to the playoffs is uncertain and the Eoin Morgan-led side now needs to forget the heart-breaking loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Wednesday.

KKR had an embarrassing outing against RCB, being restricted to a paltry 84 despite batting for 20 overs. While Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi will have to provide an ideal start, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik and Morgan need to convert the starts they have got in recent games.

Andre Russell missed the last game due to an injury and the team would be hoping the explosive Caribbean all-rounder gets back into the scheme of things soon. Along with his batting fireworks, Russell is capable of getting wickets at crucial junctures.

New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson has, undoubtedly, strengthened KKR’s bowling but the others – Pat Cummins and Prasidh Krishna – need to hand an equal support to the Kiwi.

Meanwhile, Kuldeep Yadav and Varun Chakravarthy will look after the spin attack on a track that has assisted the spinners in the recent past.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (Captain), Shubman Gill, NitishRana, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Andre Russell, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Tom Banton, Siddhesh Lad, KamleshNagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrior, Shivam Mavi, Rinku Singh, Chris Green, M Siddharth and Nikhil Naik.

Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Kagiso Rabada, Marcus Stoinis, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey (wicketkeeper), Mohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Tushar Deshpande, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Harshal Patel, Keemo Paul, Anrich Nortje, Daniel Sams

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