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Monday,17-May-2021

National

We’re back on track in terms of fitness & speed, says Gurinder Singh

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Manpreet-Singh

Defender Gurinder Singh feels the Indian men’s hockey team is moving in the right direction and is slowly attaining the levels they want to achieve in their preparation for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Since returning to the national coaching camp in August after a six-week break, the core group has been working towards achieving their previous form and match-fitness.

“We have slowly been gaining the levels we want to achieve after a long layoff during the lockdown months. I feel increasing the intensity of the sessions in the month of October and continuing the momentum in November has helped put us back on track especially in terms of fitness and speed,” said Gurinder.

Gurinder, however, did admit that training in a bubble has made the players learn new ways to de-load and hit the refresh button before the start of every week’s grind.

“In normal times, we would go to the city, explore new places to dine and unwind. These outings would serve as ideal way to hit the refresh button before the start of another hectic week.”

“Now, as we live in a bubble, we have had to find new ways to relax, unwind and recharge. While some of us listen to music, watch movies or read books, some of us have been exploring the various facilities in SAI, trying different sport, perhaps playing a form of volleyball, football or even cricket, keeping all SOP guidelines in mind. The coaches and support staff play golf sometimes on weekends and some of us have wanted to try our hand at golf too,” added Gurinder, who was part of the India colts team that lifted the Junior Men’s World Cup in 2016.

Over the years, the defender has shown promise and maturity in his game and he vies to keep at it.

“This is an important year for all of us and I am committed to executing my role as expected by the team and the chief coach. I am happy to have received opportunities in important tournaments that have helped me develop as a player. I am hopeful in the lead up to the Olympics next year, I will be able to prove my mettle to secure a place in the Indian team for Tokyo. That is the ultimate dream for any player,” Gurinder said.

National

Rishabh Pant gets first jab of Covid-19 vaccine

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Rishabh-Pant

Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant said that he has got his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. Pant urged people to get the vaccine whenever they are eligible.

“Got my first jab today. When you are eligible, please step up and get the vaccine. The sooner we do it, the sooner we can beat this Virus,” Pant tweeted with a photo of him getting the vaccine.

Earlier Indian captain Virat Kohli and fast bowlers Deepak Chahar and Siddharth Kaul also said that they had got their first jabs.

Pant was captain of Delhi Capitals for the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) following an impressive season with the Indian team in which he played integral roles in their Test series wins away from home against Australia and at home against England.

He was announced as DC’s captain prior to the season after regular skipper Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to injury.

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National

Sometimes miss Dhoni’s guidance: Kuldeep Yadav

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Kuldeep Yadav

Spinner Kuldeep Yadav has admitted that he misses the guidance he used to get from MS Dhoni when the latter kept wickets. Kuldeep has seen his international appearances nosedive since the end of 2019, which was also the year that Dhoni played his last match for India.

“Sometimes I miss that guidance because he (Mahi) has great experience. He used to guide us behind the wicket, kept screaming. We miss his experience. Rishabh is there now, the more he plays, the more input he will give in the future. I always felt every bowler needs a partner who can respond from the other end,” Yadav told The Indian Express.

Yadav has played seven ODIs in 2020 and 2021, as compared to 23 in 2019 alone. Dhoni played his last game for India in their semi-final defeat to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup on July 10 before eventually retiring from international cricket on August 15, 2020.

“When Mahibhai was there, I and (Yuzvendra) Chahal were playing. Ever since Mahi bhai left, Chahal and I haven’t played together. I played only a handful of games after Mahibhai left. I must have played ten-odd games. I had even taken a hat-trick. If you look at the performance as a whole, it will look pretty decent but if one breaks it up then my performance sometimes can look not up to the mark. One has to also look at the opposition we are playing against,” said Yadav.

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National

India should play both Jadeja and Ashwin in WTC final: Pragyan Ojha

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Pragyan-Ojha

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin should both be playing in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand for their prowess with the bat as much as their ability to take wickets, said Pragyan Ojha.

Ojha said that with India having no fast-bowling all-rounder in the squad, Jadeja in particular gives them an extra option in the batting order.

“They should play, both of them. Because both can bat, both have the experience of bowling on any track. The biggest plus point is Jadeja can bat up the order. The way he is performing. Mind you if you look at his domestic record, he’s got three triple hundreds.

I think he can bat long and Ashwin has got international hundreds also. I feel if there’s a little chance where you can play both the spinners, you should play. They have enough experience to win you games on any wicket,” Ojha told Sports Today.

“Overall, it’s a fantastic team. Even I was following Hanuma Vihari. Very thoughtful of him to go and play some county cricket. You know you get acclimatised to the conditions. That’s very important,” he added.

Jadeja will be making his comeback to the Test team after being sidelined in the second Test against Australia due to a finger injury. The injury forced him to miss the four-Test series at home against England but he hit the ground running for Chennai Super Kings in the 2021 Indian Premier League.

Ashwin, on the other hand, has experienced a resurgence with the bat in recent matches, helping India to a draw in the third Test against Australia by fending off 128 balls and finishing unbeaten on 39. He then scored 106 against England in the second Test in Chennai in February.

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