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Tuesday,02-March-2021

International

Virat Kohli and Rohit maintain top 2 spots in ICC ODI rankings

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Ace Indian batsmen Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have maintained their top two spots in the latest ICC ODI rankings for batters while fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has stuck to his third spot in the bowlers’ list.

Kohli scored two half-centuries in the three-match ODI series against Australia which India lost 1-2 last year in December. Sharma, who missed the ODI series against the Aaron Finch-led side owing to a hamstring injury, remains at number two, five points ahead of Pakistan’s Babar Azam.

In the list of all-rounders, Ravindra Jadeja has moved down by a spot and is currently at number eight.

In the ICC ODI rankings which got updated on Wednesday, Ireland all-rounder Paul Stirling and Bangladesh spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz made notable gains after some fine performances in the ICC World Cup Super League.

Stirling has gained eight slots to reach 20th place after scoring 285 runs against Afghanistan which included centuries in the second and third matches. The valiant effort in the ODI series in Abu Dhabi, that his team lost 0-3, has taken him to the top of the run aggregate in the championship with 441 runs in six matches.

Stirling also scored 135 runs in his side’s preceding series against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which was not part of the Super League and which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Off-spinner Mehidy was the most successful bowler in the series against the West Indies which his side swept 3-0 and his effort reflects in the latest update to the ODI rankings. Mehidy has progressed nine spots to take fourth position after grabbing seven wickets including a haul of four for 25 in the second ODI that won him the player of the match award.

India’s next ODI series is against England which begins on March 23 in Pune.

International

Novak Djokovic equals Roger Federer for most weeks as world no. 1

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Novak Djokovic has tied Roger Federer’s all-time record for the most weeks at the top of the men’s tennis rankings.

Djokovic on Monday entered his 310th week at the top of the ATP rankings. The 33-year-old Serbian reclaimed the top spot from Spain’s Rafael Nadal in February 2020.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion grabbed his ninth Australian Open title last month, which ensured he will surpass Federer’s record next week.

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have dominated men’s singles tennis, particularly the Grand Slams, for nearly two decades.

From the 2003 Wimbledon to the 2021 Australian Open, the three players have won 58 out of 70 Grand Slams. They won 18 consecutive slams from the 2005 French Open to Wimbledon in 2009, and 13 consecutive slams from the 2017 Australian Open to the 2020 Australian Open.

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Never going to turn down playing for West Indies: Chris Gayle

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Veteran batsman Chris Gayle has said that he is not going to turn down anything pertaining to West Indies cricket after he left the Pakistan Super League (PSL) to play in the upcoming three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka which starts on March 4.

Gayle, who was part of the T20 World Cup winning squads in 2012 and 2016, said he has set his eyes on winning the trophy a third time this year.

“When I got the call and they asked if I’m willing and interested, I said: ‘Yes, I want to play for West Indies’. That’s where my heart is. I’m never going to turn down anything pertaining to West Indies cricket at this particular time. So I came back from Pakistan to be a part of the set-up leading into the World Cup so we can have a unity within the group, and then hopefully we can win this T20 trophy,” Gayle is quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

Gayle had said that he would be retiring from ODI cricket after the 2019 World Cup but he later backtracked on that after the end of the tournament. He admitted that his initial plan was to concentrate on franchise cricket.

“I thought about actually walking away from the game and then people said: ‘No, don’t do it, don’t do it. Stay and play as long as possible.’ So I decided I’m actually going to continue playing. I wasn’t actually thinking down this road. I was like, I’m going to play franchise cricket, entertaining people as much as possible, and whatever is left to offer within the game from Chris Gayle, I want to exploit around the world,” said Gayle.

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Mary Kom and Amit Panghal one win away from medal in Spain

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Six-time world champion Mary Kom (51 kg) and World Championship silver medallist Amit Panghal (52 kg) are both one win away from securing a medal at the Boxam International Tournament in Castellon, Spain after they were drawn in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Mary faces Italian Giordana Sorrentino in her opening bout on Wednesday while Panghal will be up against local favourite Gabriel Escobar in his quarterfinal clash. Both pugilists got byes in their respective first round bouts.

Meanwhile, Vikas Krishan (69 kg) also got a bye in the first round and will fight Italy’s Vincenzo Mangiacapre. Ashish Kumar (75 kg), and Sumit Sangwan (81 kg) are also drawn in the quarter-finals because of the lesser entries in their weight classes. Satish (+91 kg), the first super heavyweight from the country to qualify for the Olympics, is also drawn in the quarterfinals of his weight category.

Among women, Jasmine and Manisha are drawn in the 57 kg quarterfinals after getting first round byes. Simranjit Kaur (60 kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg) and Pooja Rani (75 kg), all of whom have qualified for the Olympics, will also be competing in the quarterfinal stage on Wednesday.

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