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Team India’s win over Australia highly inspirational for youth: Narendra Modi




Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday again lauded the stellar performance of the Indian cricket team which registered a remarkable Test series win over Australia Down Under, saying the victory is highly inspirational for the youth of the country.

Addressing the 18th Convocation of Tezpur University, Assam via video conferencing, the Prime Minister said the team, despite facing a number of challenges, overpowered the Australia team with their talent and temperament.

“Indian team faced a lot of challenges in the recent tour of Australia. They suffered crushing defeat yet recovered equally fast and won the next match. The players showed determination despite injuries. They took the challenge head on and looked for fresh solutions instead of getting frustrated by difficult conditions,” Modi said.

“There were inexperienced players but their morale was high and they grabbed the opportunity given to them. They overpowered a better team with their talent and temperament,” he added.

The Indian team, after facing an embarrassing loss in the first Test in Adelaide where they were bowled out for their lowest Test score of 36, came back strongly in the next three matches to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy in an emphatic manner. The series saw Indian team register their first win at the Gabba in Brisbane – a venue where Australia last suffered a defeat in 1988.

The prime minister stressed that the stellar performance of our players is important not just from the point of view of the sports field.

First, we should have faith and confidence in our ability; second, a positive mindset begets positive results. Third and most important lesson, said Modi, is – if one is facing two options, one safe and the other is an option of a difficult victory, one must surely explore the option of victory.

“There is no harm in occasional failure and one should not refrain from taking the risks. We need to be proactive and fearless,” he said.

“If we overcome the fear of failure and unnecessary pressure, we will emerge fearless. This new India, confident and dedicated to goals, is evident not only in the cricket field, all of you are part of this picture,” Modi added.

Earlier, after the three-wicket win in the last Test on Tuesday, Modi had congratulated the Ajinkya Rahane-led side and tweeted: “We are all overjoyed at the success of the Indian cricket team in Australia. Their remarkable energy and passion was visible throughout. So was their stellar intent, remarkable grit and determination. Congratulations to the team! Best wishes for your future endeavours.”


Jadeja now wondering what happened to his thumb: Sunil Gavaskar




All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja may not be able to just walk into the Indian Test squad considering how his replacement Axar Patel has performed in his first two games, said former captain Sunil Gavaskar.

Gavaskar joked that Jadeja might be wondering why it is taking so long for his dislocated thumb to heal.

“Jadeja is now wondering what happened to his thumb. He is asking the doctor why his dislocated thumb has taken so long to recover. He got hit on the 10th of January and it is now end of February, for a dislocated thumb to take that long,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.

Jadeja was ruled out of the Indian squad for the Test series against England due to the broken thumb that he sustained during India’s third Test against Australia in Sydney in January.

He was also not named in the squad for the upcoming five-match T20I series against England which will be played from March 12.

In his absence, Axar Patel made his debut in the longest format of the game in the second Test in Chennai and ended up taking seven wickets. He then took 11 wickets in the second Test that was played at the Narendra Modi Stadium, his home ground in domestic cricket, in Ahmedabad.

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Ravi Shastri receives first dose of Covid vaccine




India head coach Ravi Shastri on Tuesday said that he received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Shastri, 58, got vaccinated in here, where he is with the Indian team for the Test series against England.

“Got the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Thank you to the amazing medical professionals & scientists for empowering India Flag of India against the pandemic Extremely impressed with the professionalism shown by Kantaben & her team at Apollo, Ahmedabad in dealing with COVID-19 vaccination,” Shastri tweeted on Tuesday along with an image of him getting the jab.

India’s vaccination drive entered its third phase on Monday in which coverage was expanded to include individuals aged above 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities.

It is yet to be confirmed if the rest of the Indian team got vaccinated as well.

India faces England in the fourth and final Test of the series at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera from March 4. The hosts lead the series 2-1 after their 10-wicket win over England in Motera in the third Test which concluded in just two days.

The result ended England’s chances of qualifying for the World Test Championship final which is slated to be held at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London from June 18. India, meanwhile, need to avoid defeat in the fourth Test to qualify for the final for which New Zealand have already qualified.

The Test series will be followed by a five-match T20I series that will be held at the same venue from March 12.

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Ravichandran Ashwin wants to be the best, compete against the best: V.V.S. Laxman




Ravichandran Ashwin works out the weaknesses of batsmen and plans his deliveries accordingly which is why he is so difficult to face, said former India batsman V.V.S. Laxman.

“I think he’s a very intelligent person. When you’re playing at the highest level, then it’s not only about your skill, it’s about your preparation, your planning and execution is so critical,” Laxman said on Star Sports.

“He works out what are the weaknesses of the batsman. He plans those dismissals and that’s why I think he is reinventing himself. We saw recently in the Australia series how he troubled, someone as great as Steve Smith and that’s another thing that makes Ashwin or any champion player special, that he wants to be the best and compete against the best,” he further said.

Ashwin, 34, has been in stellar form since India’s Test calendar restarted with their tour of Australia. He played a crucial role with both bat and ball as India won the series 2-1, which included them becoming the first team since 1988 to beat Australia in a Test match at the Gabba in Brisbane.

In the series against England, Ashwin took eight wickets in the second Test and scored a century and then went on to take seven wickets in the third which India won by 10 wickets inside two days. In the process, Ashwin also became the fastest Indian, and only the fourth overall from the country, to take 400 wickets in Test cricket.

“78 Test matches for 400 Test wickets. Let the naysayers be, he’s been absolute phenomenal with the craft that he has displayed over a period of time and as he’s growing as a bowler he’s picking a lot of wickets,” said former batsman Akash Chopra.

“I feel that he’s an absolute rockstar. He’s one of the biggest match winners India has ever produced, of course Anil Kumble will still remain at no. 1,” he further said.

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