Indian men’s cricket team coach Ravi Shastri on Wednesday called for a best-of-three final instead of a one-off match to decide the World Test Championship (WTC) winner, ahead of the final against New Zealand beginning on June 18 in Southampton.
“Ideally, in the long run if they want to pursue with the Test championship, a best-of-three final would be ideal — a three-match final as culmination of two and a half years of cricket around the globe. Best of three would have been ideal,” said Shastri in a media interaction on the eve of the team’s departure for England.
India skipper Virat Kohli, on the other hand, said that the WTC final still holds a lot of value despite being one-off since it is first of its kind and is the culmination of last few years of hard work.
“It holds a lot of value, this being the first of its kind and in the toughest format. All of us take a lot of pride in playing Test cricket and the way we have progressed as a side. It (WTC final) is an example of what Test cricket means to us,” said Kohli.
“So all of us who have been part of the Test side for many years, this is like an accumulation of all the hard work for not just the duration of [two years of] WTC but of the last five-six years since the time we started coming up the ranks and building as a side. We are just very, very happy to have the opportunity to play the final,” added the India No. 4 Test batsman.
Shastri, a former India captain, called it the biggest match India will play, if not the biggest ever.
“See, it is the first time. When you look at that and the magnitude it will be played at, I think this is the biggest if not the biggest ever. It is the toughest form of the game which tests you. It has not happened over three days or three months. It has happened over two years where teams have played each other around the world and earned their stripes,” he said.
The 59-year-old former all-rounder said the current Indian team’s development hasn’t happened overnight. He pointed out that the team has learned how to win from difficult positions.
“The guys have earned their stripes. This is not a team that has suddenly blossomed overnight. Like Virat said, five-six years of being No. 1 and when you start being on top, playing cricket at the highest level and competing against the best, you have the ability to pull yourself out of tough situations,” added Shastri.
“As you have seen time and time again. Not just Australia. In last two years, there have been many times when this side has pulled itself off from big problems and gone on to win series. [Playing the] final is a great victory for the boys really,” said the former player who coached India to two successive Test series wins in Australia, in 2018-19 and 2020-21.
PKL 8: Patna Pirates beat Puneri Paltan 38-26
Raider Sachin scored 10 points as three-time champions Patna Pirates defeated Puneri Paltan 38-26 in Match 17 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, on Tuesday. Sachin scored a Super 10 (10 points) and was ably supported by Patna’s defensive trio of Sunil (4 points), Mohammadreza Chiyaneh (3 points), and Sajin C (3 points). The lack of a quality raider despite promising performances from youngsters will be a cause of concern for the Puneri Paltan who succumbed to their second loss in three matches.
All eyes were once again on Pune’s Rahul Chaudhari but the showman, despite starting the match, was substituted for young Mohit Goyat by coach Anup Kumar in the first half. The trio of raiders including Aslam Inamdar and Pankaj Mohite caused problems for the Patna defence while at the other end Prashant Kumar Rai and Sachin were equally effective.
Patna were facing the risk of an all-out with six minutes left to half-time, but their defender Sajin C completed a Super Tackle to turn the momentum. The three-time champions got lucky later when Monu Goyat entered the lobby without contact, in a do-or-die raid only to be followed by three Pune defenders who had been deceived by his actions. The first half ended 14-14 with Pune having just two men on the mat.
Pune coach Anup Kumar clearly expected from his set of raiders and brought in Shubham Shelke for Pankaj Mohite in the second half. But Patna kept fighting back, thanks to the largely confident tackles from the likes of Mohammadreza Chiyaneh and Sajin. With 10 minutes remaining, Patna had a four-point lead and that was extended a’ Pune’s plan to play on the Do-or-Die raid backfired. Sachin scored two points in the crucial raid for Patna to inspire another ALL OUT in the 13th minute and open a 10-point lead.
Patna maintained the momentum and though Sunil and Vishal Bharadwaj picked up yellow cards in the final minutes as the match became intense the three-time champions ensured there was no late comeback by Pune and clinched an important win.
PKL 8: Bengal Warriors beat Gujarat Giants
Bengal Warriors defeated Gujarat Giants 31-28 on Day 3 of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 held at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, here on Friday. This was Bengal Warriors’ second win in as many matches while Gujarat Gaints have one win and one loss. The Warriors have 10 points the same as Dabang Delhi but are placed second on a lower points-difference while Gujarat have six points.
Bengal Warriors started well and established a slender lead (16-11) against Gujarat Giants at half-time. They maintained their advantage despite the valiant efforts of the Gujarat Giants, managed to register a narrow victory.
Maninder Singh was the top scorer for Bengal Warriors with eight points while Esmaeil Nabibakhsh contributed four points.
Bengal Warriors won 18 raid points as against 19 by Gujarat Giants. But it was in defence that they scored, claiming 10 points as against eight by their rivals. They bagged two all-outs as against none by the Giants.
Rakesh Narwal was the top scorer for Gujarat Giants with 12 points while Rakesh Sungroya contributed four points.
Rishabh Pant appointed as Uttarakhand’s brand ambassador
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday announced that Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been appointed as the brand ambassador of the state.
Taking to Twitter, the Chief Minister said that Pant will encourage the youngsters to take up sports.
“One of the best cricket players of India, the idol of youth and son of Uttarakhand, Rishabh Pant has been appointed as “State Brand Ambassador” by our government with the aim of encouraging the youth of the state towards sports and public health,” tweeted Dhami in Hindi, along with the video.
In the video, CM Dhami can be seen interacting with Rishabh and asking about his well-being.
The attacking batter also thanked the Chief Minister for the opportunity, saying that he will try his best to motivate people towards fitness.
“Thank you @pushkardhami sir for giving me the opportunity to be the Brand Ambassador of promoting Sports and General Health among the people of Uttarakhand. I’ll do my best to spread this message and feeling happy that you are taking these steps towards a fitter India,” tweeted Pant.
“Coming from a small town of Roorkee, I am confident that the people here have the ability to make the country proud in various fields of life,” he added.
The 24-year Pant, who was rested for the New Zealand Tests, is currently in Johannesburg, South Africa as the Indian Team is all set to face Proteas in the three-match Test series, starting December 26.
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