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Wednesday,23-June-2021

International

Was unedifying to watch IPL when people were dying: Nasser Hussain

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It was “distasteful” and “unpleasant” watching the Indian Premier League (IPL) taking place amid a raging second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India, said former England captain Nasser Hussain.

“It has been unedifying at times watching this tournament when people are dying just up the road from there (the venues). I won’t criticise the players, but it had to be called off,” Hussain wrote in the Daily Mail.

The IPL was called off on Tuesday after several players and members of staff in teams returned positive Covid-19 results in Ahmedabad and New Delhi. Hussain said that the tournament should have been held in the United Arab Emirates, like it was last year.

“The mistake was made in having the tournament in India in the first place. Six months ago they held an IPL in the United Arab Emirates and it went brilliantly. Covid rates were low and no bubbles were compromised. They could have returned there,” he said.

“Yes, it is easy to say that with hindsight. And India clearly did feel they were through the worst of the virus when they decided to stage this year’s competition.”

Hussain said that the players would have been aware of what was going on in the country and there was no choice but to call of the tournament after the positive cases.

“There was no option other than to call off the Indian Premier League. Not after the bio-secure bubbles had been breached in so many places. Enough was enough. This has become far bigger than a game of cricket,” he said.

“The players are not stupid nor insensitive. They would have been fully aware of what has been going on in India. They would have seen on their TVs people pleading for hospital beds and oxygen. They would have seen unused ambulances waiting outside cricket grounds and wondered whether it was right for them to carry on playing. And they would have been uncomfortable,” said Hussain.

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Kevin Pietersen to back England players if they want to pull out of Ashes series

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Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen has come out in support of his country’s cricketers on the prospect of them not being able to take their families to Australia during the long Ashes tour later this year.

The English cricket team travels to Australia in November and plays the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane from December 8. However, they may not be accompanied by their families due to the Covid-19 protocols in Australia.

The South Africa-born Pietersen, who played over 100 Tests for England and scored more than 8,000 runs, tweeted on Tuesday that, “Any ENG player that pulls out of this Ashes, if they seriously can’t see their families for FOUR MONTHS, has my full backing. Families are the most important part of a players make up. And even more so in the current climate! FOUR MONTHS with no family on Ashes Tour?”

England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler too had expressed his reservations on Tuesday, saying, “That (bringing back Ashes) would be a huge challenge, especially when you are accustomed to being able to take your family.”

“A lot of the guys have young families, so I am sure they would find that tough. Hopefully, a positive solution can be found,” the 30-year-old was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk.

England wind up the Ashes on January 18 in Perth. Prior to that, the likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, among others, who play limited-overs cricket too, will also be representing England on the tours of Pakistan, Bangladesh as well as the T20 World Cup.

This will mean a long time in quarantine and an almost five-month stay away from their families.

Cricket Australia has reportedly requested the Australian government to allow English cricketers’ families to travel with them.

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Former West Indies skipper Daren Sammy becomes CWI board member

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Former West Indies skipper, Daren Sammy has become a member of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Board of Directors, following his appointment as an independent non-member director by the CWI Board.

With over 14 years of international cricket experience, Sammy led the West Indies to back-to-back ICC T20 World Cup titles in 2012 and 2016.

The 37-year-old is the first international cricketer from his native Saint Lucia where the national stadium has been named in his honour.

Sammy is an awardee of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II, and a Goodwill Ambassador for St. Lucia. He is also the current head coach of Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League and a Cricket Consultant for the St. Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

“Sammy’s appointment to the CWI Board of Directors is in keeping with two of the fundamental principles which have guided CWI’s improvement strategy for the past two years — increased utilisation of regional technical expertise and the implementation of a Cricket First Policy. It is expected that Mr. Sammy’s appointment will add a fresh and more youthful perspective, as well as a high level of updated cricket know-how to enhance the existing expertise in the CWI Board room,” said a CWI statement on Tuesday.

“It is an honour to be appointed as a CWI director; this is another great opportunity for me to give my best to West Indies cricket in a new way, off the field. All my local, regional and international experiences have prepared me to make a significant ongoing impact in West Indies cricket. I am excited and thankful for the chance to serve and look forward to giving back to the sport and region that I love so much,” said Sammy.

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Tokyo 2020: PM Narendra Modi wishes very best to Indian contingent

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On the occasion of Olympic Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday extended his wishes to the Indian contingent taking part in Tokyo Olympics, beginning July 23.

The Games were slated to be held last year but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister also conveyed the pride the nation feels for those who have represented India in the Olympics over the years, and invited youngsters across the country to take part in MyGov Olympic quiz.

Taking to Twitter, the Prime Minister said: “Today, on Olympic Day, I appreciate all those who have represented India in various Olympics over the years. Our nation is proud of their contributions to sports and their efforts towards motivating other athletes.

“In a few weeks, @Tokyo2020 begins. Wishing the very best to our contingent, which consists of our finest athletes. In the run up to the games, here is an interesting quiz on MyGov. I urge you all, especially my young friends to take part.”

The quiz aims to create awareness amongst the people in the country about the Olympics and Indian participation before the start of quadrennial event.

“The quiz will be based on the past and current Olympics and athletes wherein questions will be asked with multiple options and the user must select the correct option. On successful completion of each activity, each participant will be awarded with an e-certificate marking their participation. Some lucky winners will also get a chance to meet their favourite Olympian,” said a statement.

The international Olympics Day is observed on June 23 every year to celebrate sports and health. This occasion celebrates the founding of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the Sorbonne, Paris, on June 23, 1894, where Pierre de Coubertine revived the Olympic Games.

The day aims at promotion sports and spreads the message of making sports an integral part of life.

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