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Thank you for inspiring me, Bhajji pa… I took up off-spin only after seeing you: Ashwin



India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has thanked Harbhajan Singh for inspiring him to bowl off-spin, saying that he picked up the ball only after seeing Bhajji’s “wonderful spell” against Australia in 2001.

Ashwin on Monday moved past Harbhajan’s tally of 417 wickets, becoming India’s third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket at 419 on the final day of the opening Test against New Zealand at the Green Park here, which ended in a thrilling draw.

The 35-year-old had equalled Harbhajan’s tally of 417 wickets on November 28 after he dismissed Will Young on Day 4. Ashwin dismissed Tom Latham in the second innings of New Zealand to go past Harbhajan’s tally of 417 wickets in Tests.

“It’s a wonderful milestone. Harbhajan Singh, when he was bowling that wonderful spell against Australia in 2001, I never thought I would even be an off-spinner on that particular day. But inspired by him, I picked up the ball to bowl off-spin and here I am. Thank you for inspiring me Bhajji pa,” Ashwin said in a video shared by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday.

Ashwin is now behind Anil Kumble (619) and Kapil Dev (434) in India’s all-time list of highest Test wicket-takers.

Ashwin is the fourth Indian bowler to take more than 400 wickets. Monday’s achievement made him the 13th highest wicket-taker in Tests of all time, moving past Pakistan’s Wasim Akram (414). He is the third-highest wicket-taker in Tests among active cricketers, after English pace duo Stuart Broad and James Anderson, who have 524 and 632 wickets respectively.

Ashwin, who made his Test debut in November 2011 against the West Indies in New Delhi, has claimed his wickets at a strike rate of 52.4 and an average of 24.5.

Recollecting an incident during the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Shreyas Iyer who lit up Green Park with the bat, scoring a century and half century on debut, said that Ashwin had approached him at Wankhede then seeking his advice on the wind direction.

“In the second year of the IPL, I was the ball boy and Ashwin came to me asking ‘arre ek minute idhar aana, yeh hawa kaun se direction se aate hai, zara bata do (please come here for a minute and guide me in which direction the wind is blowing)’. So, I was very confident. I had played too many matches at the Wankhede at that point in time. I told him, ‘idhar se aata hai, idhar se… the sea is in this direction (The wind will flow in this direction as the sea is in this direction)’. So, the wind will come from that direction only,” recalled Iyer.

Ashwin also congratulated Iyer for becoming the first Indian to score a century and half-century on Test debut, saying, “Congratulation to you (Iyer) for becoming the first Indian to score a hundred and a half-century on Test debut. Looking forward to (you) scoring a hundred and taking the honours as well (in the second Test).”

Despite the achievement, Iyer is not a sure-shot selection for the second Test, given that Virat Kohli will return as skipper in Mumbai.


‘I’m happy here’: Cristiano Ronaldo pledges to continue at Al Nassr in Saudi Pro League




Portugese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed to continue at Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia despite walking away empty handed in this season. The 38-year-old has earmarked the tournament to be among the top five in the world.

Ronaldo, who signed a two and a half year contract with Al Nassr, scored 14 goals in 16 games in the season, with his side standing second behind Al Ittihad in the Saudi Pro league. However, there were speculations about how long will he stay as reports of swap deal with Saudi-owned Newcastle United emerged, who have now qualified for next season’s Champions league.

In an official Saudi Pro League interview, the star footballer revealed:

“I’m happy here, I want to continue here, I will continue here. And in my opinion, if they continue to do the work that they want to do here, for the next five years, I think the Saudi league can be a top five league in the world. I expected to win something this year, but we didn’t, but next year I’m really positive, but next year I’m really positive and confident that things will change and we go in a better way.”

Cristiano Ronaldo suggests he is still adjusting to strange training timings in Saudi Arabia:

Ronaldo also revealed how contrasting the training timings in Europe and Saudi Arabia are, elaborating:

“In Europe, we train more in the morning, but here we train in the afternoon or evening and in Ramadan, we train at 10 at night. So this is strange but as I tell you, these situations are part of an experience, memories. I like to live these moments because you learn with these things.”

With 837 goals in 512 games, Ronaldo is the combined highest goal scorer in history.

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Lionel Messi to leave PSG at the end of the season, confirms club manager Christophe Galtier




Paris Saint Germain superstar Lionel Messi will leave the club at the end of the current season, manager Christophe Galtier confirmed on Thursday. Messi made 74 appearances for PSG in which he scored 32 goals and made 35 assists. In Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain has played 37 matches out of which they have won 27, lost six and drew four.

PSG had acquired Messi’s services two years ago in a record transfer deal after he left FC Barcelona in 2021.

Messi, who’s contract with PSG ends this season, is now being linked with with a move to Saudi Arabia while talk of a return to the Nou Camp has picked up in Spain in recent weeks.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner will play his final match for PSG against Clermont Foot on Saturday.

“I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football,” Galtier said on Thursday. “This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes, and I hope that he will receive the warmest of welcomes.”

Messi’s envious record

In the Spanish La Liga football competition, Lionel Messi has scored 474 goals in 520 matches. In the French Ligue 1, Messi has scored 22 goals in 57 matches.

The 35-year-old while playing for Football Club Barcelona has scored 672 goals in 778 games. While playing for Paris Saint-Germain he has scored 32 goals in 74 matches.

No plan to bring Messi back: Barca president

FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta recently said that the club has re-established good relationships with Argentine legend Lionel Messi, but it would not pay any price to bring him back to the Camp Nou Stadium.

“I have spoken with Leo to somehow redirect the situation that occurred when I had to put the institution ahead of everything, including him, the best player in the world,” said Laporta in a Monday morning TV show.

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Mark Zuckerberg strikes gold against jiu jitsu fighters, posts pictures on Instagram




In the past, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has appeared helpless in front of the US Congress where he has been slapped by fines, and fired 11,000 vulnerable employees after being hit by falling revenues. But outside the business arena where Meta is facing tough competition from TikTok and other rivals, Zuckerberg is a huge mixed martial arts fan.

Contrary to setbacks in the tech sector, the Facebook founder has tasted victory in jiu jitsu.

Striking gold, but in a different arena

  • The billionaire who has trained with UFC fighters, posted pictures after winning jiu jitsu matches for the first time.
  • The billionaire who tried his hand at martial arts, revealed that he won a gold medal in the Gi categroy and a silver medal in the No-GI category.
  • His post on Instagram received comments from UFC featherweight and bantamweight category champions, as well as jiu jitsu hall of fame member Bernardo Faria.

Competitive or short tempered?

  • The entrepreneur turned sportsperson, who also enjoys surfing, was seen getting into a heated argument after losing a contest during the tournament in California as well.
  • On the work front, Zuckerberg’s firm Meta also surprised the markets by bouncing back with strong earnings, after struggling with loss of ad revenue.
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