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Time is ripe for Ravichandran Ashwin to make first appearance of series: Dinesh Karthik

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Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik believes that the time is ripe for off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to make his first appearance of the ongoing Test series at The Oval. Ashwin’s last outing at The Oval came in July while playing for Surrey in the County Championship. He had 1/99 and 6/27 in the match against Somerset.

“I believe the time is ripe for Ravichandran Ashwin to make his first appearance of the series. Traditionally, The Oval has thrown up some of the flattest pitches in England, and it has been no different this season. Three of Surrey’s five matches at home in the County Championship have ended indecisively, and ten hundreds have been registered in those games,” wrote Karthik in his column for The Telegraph on Wednesday.

“If I was Virat Kohli, I’d like to bring a new dimension into play in this crucial Test. As Ashwin has shown in his storied career, he hasn’t necessarily relied on assistance from the surface to make an impact,” added Karthik.

The 36-year-old explained the advantage Ashwin will bring if he plays in the fourth Test on Thursday.

“England have two left-handers in their top three and three in the top seven. The off-spinner’s record against lefties is second to none, and he is more than handy against the right-handers, who he tests with the knuckle ball and the floater that he has mastered through hours of diligent practice away from the harsh spotlight of the international game.

“In Australia, Ashwin got excellent drift with the Kookaburra ball, getting it to curl away from the right-hander in the air and break back on pitching. That’s how he had Steve Smith caught at leg-slip in the second Test in Melbourne. He is equally comfortable switching to around the stumps and getting the ball to go away with the angle, a trick that netted him the prized scalps of Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, Australia’s two best batsmen.”

Karthik also talked about Ashwin’s speciality with the ball and how Kohli can use him with the new ball.

“One of Ashwin’s specialties is that he lets the ball hang in the air; because he has big fingers, he imparts a lot of revs, which makes him particularly venomous whilst bowling to the lefties.”

Karthik added that Ravindra Jadeja needs to contribute more with the ball and that Ashwin is capable of chipping in with the bat.

International

Australian Open: Sania Mirza bids adieu to Grand Slam career as runner-up in Melbourne

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 India tennis star Sania Mirza on Friday wrapped up her legendary Grand slam career as Australian Open mixed doubles runner-up. The Indian ace and partner Rohan Bopanna lost to the all-Brazilian pair Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos in the mixed doubles final here at Melbourne Park.

Sania and Bopanna were beaten 7-6(2), 6-2 by Brazilians Stefani and Matos, who were playing in their first-ever Grand Slam final.

In her final major, the 36-year-old Sania admitted her emotions almost boiled over after the Indians stunned third seeds and reigning Wimbledon champions Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski in the semifinals. There was no holding them back after her final match at Melbourne Park, 22 years after she first teamed with Bopanna.

Interestingly, Sania claimed her first major in 2009 at Melbourne Park, when she paired up with Mahesh Bhupathi. And she ended her illustrious Grand Slam career here.

Melbourne Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Indian star. After his maiden triumph in 2009. Seven years later, in 2016, she paired up with Swiss star Martina Hingis and claimed the women’s doubles title as the top seed.

Outside Australia, she earned four other Grand Slam titles: 2015 Wimbledon and 2015 US Open women’s doubles with Hingis, 2012 Roland Garros mixed doubles with Bhupathi and 2014 US Open mixed doubles with Bruno Soares.

“The journey of my professional career started in Melbourne� in 2005 when I played Serena Williams in the third round as an 18-year-old,” an emotional Sania said.

“That was scarily enough 18 years ago and I’ve had the privilege to come back here again and again and win some titles here. Rod Laver Arena has really been special in my life� To play the final, obviously, we couldn’t get over the line, but there’s no better place and no better person to finish my Grand Slam career with.”

“I never thought I’d be able to play in front of my child in a Grand Slam final, so it’s truly special for me to have my four-year-old here and my parents here, Rohan’s wife here,” she added.

Bopanna was looking to add a second Grand Slam mixed doubles title after his 2017 Roland Garros victory. Despite coming up short, he paid tribute to his compatriot and friend.

“It’s truly special for me to play with Sania,” he said. “Our first mixed doubles together was when she was 14 years old and we happened to win the title.

“Today we get to play the last match here on Rod Laver Arena. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the title, but thank you so much for your time, for Indian tennis, for inspiring each and everyone.”

Stefani and Matos are the first all-Brazilian team to win a major after ending Sania and Rohan Bopanna’s farewell appearance together in the Australian Open mixed doubles final.

“Rohan and Sania� I know how many people you’ve inspired,” Stefani said. “Like Brazil, like India, this means so much to our countries. It inspires the kids, it inspires the next generations.”

The six-time Grand Slam champion, Sania, earlier this month announced that she will retire from professional tennis after the Dubai Tennis Championships, a WTA 1000 event, which begins on February 19.

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National

AAP moves SC seeking time-bound mayoral polls in Delhi, barring aldermen from voting

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The Aam Aadmi Party has moved the Supreme Court over the repeated adjournments of mayoral polls in Delhi.

In its suit, the AAP has demanded time-bound urgent mayoral elections and has also sought the prohibition on voting by aldermen as per law.

“People of Delhi gave majority to the Aam Aadmi Party in the MCD but BJP is not allowing us to form a government in the MCD. Aam Aadmi Party has moved the Supreme Court through its Leader of the House and Mayor candidate (Shelly Oberoi). We have placed two major demands in the Supreme Court, the first is to elect the Mayor in a time-bound manner and form the government in the MCD. Second, as aldermen do not have the right to vote under Article 243R of the Constitution and Section 3 of the DMC Act, they should be prohibited from casting votes,” said AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj.

Noting that the BJP’s MCD tenure ended in March 2022 itself, he said that “they have no moral right to capture and illegally control the MCD for so long”.

The MCD was put under the Central government on the pretext of unification and delimitation works, he said.

“Now the people of Delhi have given a majority to the Aam Aadmi Party in the MCD and elected 134 councillors of the AAP. Despite that, the BJP is not allowing the Aam Aadmi Party government to be formed in the MCD due to its conspiracy and dirty politics. Despite many efforts, they are not allowing the election of the Mayor and the formation of the government to take place,” he said.

“The court should complete this process as soon as possible. Because the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Central Government will not allow to complete this process. The Aldermen, in principle and in law, are unelected nominees and do not have the right to vote under Article 243R of the Constitution and Section 3 of the DMC Act. But the BJP wants to get them to vote by committing hooliganism. The Supreme Court should also give strict orders in this matter to the Central Government and the administration of MCD in this regard.”

The Mayoral election was first scheduled for January 6, but the House was adjourned following scuffle between the councillors of the BJP and the AAP. Then a session was convened on January 24 to elect the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and members of the Standing Committee.

However, after all the 250 newly-elected MCD councillors and 10 nominated members (aldermen) took their oath, the House was again adjourned until the next date after a ruckus created by the councillors of AAP and BJP.

The results of the MCD elections were declared on December 7, wherein out of the 250 seats, the AAP got majority by winning 134 seats, followed by BJP (104), Congress (nine) and Independents (three).

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National

BCCI, PCB likely to clash over calendar at ACC board meeting

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 The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its counterpart Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are likely to have a fiery exchange during the Asian Cricket Council’s emergency board meeting on February 4, a report said on Monday.

According to the report, the point of contention for the two parties is BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s announcement on the ACC’s calendar for 2023, which the PCB alleges was made “unilaterally” without consulting them. Jay Shah is also president of ACC.

The PCB has sought an emergency ACC Board meeting, which PCB chairman Najam Sethi announced will take place next month, ESPNCricinfo said in a report on Monday.

“For some time there hasn’t been any ACC Board meeting and there were a lot of decisions being made and one of them we have challenged,” Sethi said in a press conference. “Now the good news is that we managed to convince them to have their Board meeting and I will be attending it.”

The point of contention between the two boards is the Asia Cup 2023 which is scheduled to be held in Pakistan in September. The event was thrown into uncertainty after Shah announced that the tournament should be moved to a neutral venue as India could not travel to Pakistan to participate.

Ramiz Raja, who was the PCB chief at that time, objected to it and said Pakistan will not travel to India for the ODI World Cup later this year.

With Sethi returning to the helm of PCB last month, he has taken up the issue and sought a meeting of the ACC Board to discuss the matter.

“We have to look at what we can do but we can’t [fight] another case, but I can say that that case wasn’t handled properly and I think we didn’t give a good fight. But eventually, even judges said that if you look through the microscope this case is in favour of Pakistan but if you see this case with a telescope this is going in India’s favour. So in nutshell, with all the nitty-gritty it’s Pakistan’s case, but then their stance was that it’s the [Indian] government which isn’t allowing us [to tour Pakistan],” Sethi was quoted as saying in the report.

The two sides are expected to discuss the matter in the February 4 meeting.

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