WTC final: Lack of match practice, past losses no worry, says Virat Kohli
Captain Virat Kohli on Tuesday dismissed views that New Zealand would have advantage over India in World Test Championship (WTC) final, saying that his team was not bothered by lack of Test match practice which their opponents would get in the two-Test series against host England.
The WTC final will be played from June 18-22 in Southampton.
“In the past, we have landed in places three days prior in proper schedule and have had a hell of a series. It is all in the head. It is not the first time we are playing in England. We all know what the conditions are like. We don’t have any issues with even if we have four practice sessions heading into the game,” he said.
The Indian squad, which departs for England early on Thursday morning, will also play a five-Test series against England in August-September, after the WTC final. Prior to the WTC final they will do quarantine with no match practice.
Kohli said it is important to take field in the right frame of mind and not be worried by conditions or experience.
“Even if you are used to conditions but don’t enter the field in right frame of mind, you are going to nick that first ball and find it tough to take wickets. We are absolutely sure what we can do as a team and we all have played in England before this as well. Everyone has had experience of playing in England,” he said.
Asked if the conditions will benefit New Zealand, where there is swing and seam and where India lost a Test series 0-2 in 2020, Kohli said the squad is boarding the flight knowing it is on equal terms with the Kiwis.
“Conditions are as potent for New Zealand as they are for us. Australian conditions should have favoured Australia but we beat them twice in two series. It is how you look at the situation,” he said.
“If you want us to board the flight from here feeling that New Zealand have the edge then there is no point in taking that flight. We are going to board that flight knowing that we are on equal terms and whichever team performs well session by session and hour by hour will win the Test,” he added.
Kohli said he wants to enjoy the WTC final and not take any pressure of past losses in crunch games of ICC tournaments in England.
“We don’t want to take pressure. If we start thinking about it (the losses in 2017 Champions Trophy final at The Oval and 2019 World Cup semi-final at Old Trafford), we won’t be able to perform. We want to enjoy the final without any pressure.”
Will stand with wrestlers till justice is not delivered: Cong
Hours after Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur called the wrestlers for a meeting, the Congress on Wednesday took swipe at the BJP government for remaining silent on the harassment of the players, and said that the grand old party “will stand with the daughters till the time justice is not delivered”.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda, when asked about the Union Sports Minister calling wrestlers for a meeting, said, “Congress will support the daughters till justice is not delivered to them. It is unfortunate that the government is treating the daughters with step motherly treatment as the wrestlers have to knock on the Supreme Court doors for registering an FIR.”
Hooda said that it’s been one and half months and the government and the Delhi Police have not made any arrest.
“Isn’t it the first case where the accused have not been arrested. In such an FIR with serious charges, it is the first example that no arrest has been done as one BJP MP is named as an accused. What kind of example the government is setting. What kind of standard they are laying?”
The Rajya Sabha MP said that the government remained silent when the wrestlers went to immerse their medals in the Ganga in Haridwar.
“Why was the sports Minister silent and no one from the government issued any statement urging them to stop their act of immersing their medals? And even selective leaks are being made in the media to harm their protest,” he said.
“Whatever stand our daughters take after the meeting we will listen to that and will ensure that we stand with them for justice,” he added.
His remarks came after Thakur on Wednesday invited the wrestlers for a meeting to have discussion.
Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia at Minister Anurag Thakur’s residence for talks
Protesting wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik arrived at the residence of Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur on Wednesday.
Sakshi came along with her husband Satyawart Kadian, an Arjuna awardee. Olympian Vinesh Phogat was missing though her husband Somveer Rathi was seen entering the minister’s residence.
The protesting wrestlers have been invited by the government for the second time days after they met Home Minister Amit Shah.
In January, too, the wrestlers met Anurag Thakur at his residence and called off their protest after a committee was formed. At that time, former wrestler and BJP leader Babita Phogat played the mediator’s role.
Earlier, talking to Wednesday, Sakshi Malik said, “We will keep everything open. We won’t take any decision behind closed doors. We will discuss the proposal given by the government with our seniors and supporters and only when everyone gives their consent that the proposal is fine, then will we agree.”
Protesting wrestlers to discard their medals in Ganga river today at 6pm, sit on hunger strike at India Gate
The protesting wrestlers demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh over sexual allegations have threatened to discard their coveted medals in Ganga river in Haridwar on Tuesday at 6 pm. Their announcement came as the Delhi Police cleared all the signs of the wrestlers’ month-long protest.
The likes of Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Poghat, and Satyawart Kadian have been protesting for over a month, asking for Brij Bhushan Singh’s arrest over sexual allegations of female athletes, including a minor. On May 28th, all the wrestlers suffered ill treatment from the police officials as they were dragged relentlessly, prompting an outrage among social media users over the behaviour towards the athletes.
On the same day, the police officials entered the wrestlers’ tents at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to destroy them. Sakshi Malik, an Olympic Bronze medalist and one of the protestors condemned it by posting a clip on Twitter. She wrote on Twitter, stating ‘After arresting all the wrestlers and old people, the cops have started to destroy our march. Our things have been started lifting. What kind of hooliganism is this?’
Hence, Malik, on Tuesday, issued a lengthy statement on Twitter in Hindi, announcing to dispose of their medals in Ganga river. ‘These medals are our lives, our souls. There would be no reason to live after throwing them in the Ganga today. So, we will stage a hunger strike until death at India Gate after that.’
While Malik has an Olympic bronze medal won in 2016, wrestler Vinesh Poghat has two commonwealth golds, one Asian Games gold medal. She was also crowned Asian Champion in 2021 and won the World Championships Bronze in 2021. Meanwhile, Bajrang Punia won a bronze in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. He also went on to win bronze in 2013, silver in 2018, and bronze in 2019.
Police officials blocked the wrestlers’ march towards the parliament on Sunday:
On the day of the new Parliament building’s opening, the protest produced devastating images as Delhi Police cracked down on them in the middle of their march.
Hundreds of police officers and paramilitary people obstructed the wrestlers’ protest march as they attempted to progress towards the new Parliament House. A violent altercation between wrestlers and police officers occurred as the demonstrators attempted to break through the security perimeter.
Leading members of the opposition, such as Rahul Gandhi of the Congress, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi, and Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, have criticised the central government for staying mum over Brij Bhushan Singh.
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