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Monday,27-September-2021

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‘Zero clarity’ on Rohit Sharma’s fitness: Sanjay Manjrekar

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There is “zero clarity” on the fitness issue of Rohit Sharma — an automatic starter in the Indian team in all formats of the game — who was controversially dropped initially from all three Indian squads without explanation, says cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.

Sharma, was, however, later added in the Test team by the national selectors for the four-match series, to be played between December 17 and January 19, after the issue snowballed into a major controversy. He has, however, been “rested” from the ODI and T20 series.

Sharma is said to have a hamstring injury, but so far the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been silent on the nature of his injury even as it has explained for the other injured players.

“There’s zero clarity on the issue of Rohit Sharma’s fitness. I am sure there must a stand of BCCI and similarly that of Rohit. And when people don’t get information then speculation arise. So, I absolutely have no clarity whatsoever what’s going on there,” Manjrekar said while speaking on Pakistani YouTube channel CricCast.

Interestingly, Sharma, who apparently had a hamstring injury, turned out for Mumbai Indians (MI) franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL) recently even as he was ignored by the national selection committee. Sharma led MI to the IPL title on Tuesday. The BCCI has given no reason for Sharma’s axing while India coach Ravi Shastri, and former India captains Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag, and Gautam Gambhir got involved in the controversy as they reacted to the selectors’ decision.

The 32-year-old was first not included in any of the three squads for the Australia tour due to a hamstring injury. However, later on, he featured in the playoffs of the just-concluded Indian Premier League where he led Mumbai Indians to their fifth title.

On Monday, while granting paternity leave to skipper Virat Kohli — he will return to India after the first Test — the BCCI named Rohit in the Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

The Indian players left the United Arab Emirates for Australia on Wednesday. But Sharma wasn’t part of it; he would joined the team only before the Test series.

Manjrekar also felt that four-five players, including Suryakumar Yadav, who was not included in any of the three squads, would get a chance to play during the long tour Down Under due to maybe injuries or other reasons.

“When a team is announced for a big tour, like the one of Australia where the Indian team will be there for almost three-four months, we think that is the squad that will be playing. However, as we are talking, slowly and slowly we will get to see that, by the end of the tour, many of the players who are there in India, they would have played in Australia,” said the former India batsman.

“I have no doubt that Rohit Sharma will be playing when he gets fit. Suryakumar Yadav will also get a chance somewhere on the tour as is often happens that some injuries take place and replacements are called. I think four-five players who have not been selected for the tour due to fitness or some other issues, they will be playing in the upcoming tour,” he felt.

Yadav was one of the shining stars for MI, scoring 480 runs for the five-time champions. However, despite his great form, he failed to find favour with the national selectors.

The Australian tour is scheduled to commence with the three ODIs at the Sydney Cricket Ground (November 27, 29) and Manuka Oval, Canberra (December 2). That will be followed by the three-match T20I series at Manuka Oval, Canberra (December 4) and the SCG (December 6, 8).

India will begin the defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17. It will be followed by Tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26), the SCG (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).

Kohli will be available for the limited-overs leg as well as the first Test after which he will return to India for the birth of his first baby with wife Anushka Sharma.

The Indian players, wearing new PPE kits and masks, left for Australia on Wednesday night for Sydney where they will be undergoing quarantine.

National

IPL 2021: Shami and Bishnoi script narrow five-run win for Punjab

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Mohammed Shami and Ravi Bishnoi shared five wickets between themselves to script a narrow five-run win for Punjab Kings over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their IPL 2021 match in Sharjah on Saturday. Chasing 126, Hyderabad were restricted to 120/7 despite an unbeaten 47 by Jason Holder threatening to take the match away from Punjab.

Hyderabad had a horror start as David Warner (2) was dismissed on the third ball of the chase. On a short and outside off delivery from Shami, Warner nicked behind to keeper KL Rahul. Shami had his second wicket of the match when captain Kane Williamson (1) chopped on to his leg-stump while going for the drive.

Shami was brilliant in the power-play, conceding only five runs for big scalps of Warner and Williamson. Hyderabad scored only one boundary in their power-play score of 20, the lowest in the season. It is also their lowest-ever score in the first six overs in the history of IPL.

Hyderabad’s troubles increased as Manish Pandey (13) was bowled through the gate by a googly from Ravi Bishnoi in the eighth over. Five overs later, Bishnoi had his second scalp of the match with Kedar Jadhav (12) getting a bottom edge to the stumps. Four balls later, Bishnoi had his third wicket with Abdul Samad (1) slicing to short third man.

Jason Holder smacked a six in Bishnoi’s final over hitting back-to-back sixes off Ellis put Hyderabad’s chase on track. Wriddhiman Saha (31) was run-out after a terrible mix-up on the first ball post second strategic timeout. Holder smashed another six in Shami’s final over to make equation easy.

Arshdeep Singh got Rashid Khan to top-edge a pull for a return catch to his right in the 19th over. With 17 needed off final over, Holder cracked a six off Ellis on the second ball. With seven needed off the final ball, Ellis kept his calm in giving a single run off a slower full toss to help Punjab emerge victorious.

Brief scores: Punjab Kings 125/7 in 20 overs (Aiden Markram 27, KL Rahul 21, Jason Holder 3/19, Abdul Samad 1/9) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (Jason Holder 47 not out, Wriddhiman Saha 31, Ravi Bishnoi 3/24, Mohammed Shami 2/14) by five runs.

Brief Scores: Punjab Kings 125/7 in 20 overs (Aiden Markram 27, KL Rahul 21; Jason Holder 3/19, Abdul Samad 1/9) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 120/7 in 20 overs (
Jason Holder 47 not out, Wriddhiman Saha 31; Ravi Bishnoi 3/24, Mohd Shami 2/14) by 5 runs.

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Six arrested from Goa for IPL betting

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 Six persons, five belonging to Nagpur in Maharashtra and one Rajasthan, were arrested on Friday for allegedly running an IPL betting racket in the port town of Vasco, Goa police said.

Police have seized two laptops, mobile phones, television sets and other betting paraphernalia from the persons arrested.

“We acted on a tip-off that accused persons were accepting bets from a rented premise in the Vaddem area of Vasco,” a Goa Police spokesperson said.

The arrested persons have been booked under the relevant sections of the Public Gambling Act.

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IPL 2021: Iyer, Tripathi and bowlers help Kolkata thrash Mumbai by seven wickets

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An emphatic batting performance by Venkatesh Iyer and Rahul Tripathi coupled with a comeback effort from bowlers helped Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Mumbai Indians by seven wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Thursday. Chasing 156, Kolkata reached the target with 29 balls to spare.

With this win, Kolkata have now registered two out of two wins in their UAE leg of the tournament and are now at fourth place in the points table with eight points from nine matches.

Kolkata were off to a flier with Venkatesh Iyer smacking Trent Boult for a six over deep square leg. He then smacked Adam Milne for a six followed by two fours in the second over. With seven boundaries hit in less than three overs, Kolkata were on a rampage, making chances of comeback difficult for Mumbai.

It needed an off-cutter from Jasprit Bumrah which got Gill (13) to chop onto his stumps, ending the opening partnership at 40. Gill’s dismissal caused Iyer and Rahul Tripathi to tread cautiously. But after the completion of power-play at 63/1, Iyer danced down the pitch to hit Krunal Pandya for a clean six over deep mid-wicket. Rahul Chahar was taken for eleven in his opening over as Iyer and Tripathi took a boundary each off him.

Tripathi smacked a six over long-on before sweeping between long-on and deep mid-wicket for a boundary off Krunal. Tripathi, put down on 43 by Chahar, reached his half-century with a leading edge on scoop going over third man for six. He followed it up with a boundary slogged through mid-wicket off Bumrah.

Iyer, after reaching his fifty in 25 balls, saw his blitzkrieg end at 55 with his stumps disturbed by a slower delivery from Bumrah. Tripathi was undeterred by Iyer’s dismissal and continued to whack Chahar, slog-sweeping over deep mid-wicket followed by an edge which Kishan tried to stop but touched the rope with his leg.

Though Eoin Morgan (7) fell cheaply to become Bumrah’s third scalp of the match, Tripathi and Nitish Rana knocked off the remaining runs, with the latter reverse scoring the winning boundary by sweeping Chahar to seal a famous win.

Earlier, after being put to bat first, Mumbai got off to a flying start with the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock putting 78 runs for the first wicket. But once Sharma fell on 33, the runs started to dry up for Mumbai.

After 75/1 in ten overs, Kolkata kept picking up wickets at regular intervals. Krishna, after conceding 16 in his opening over, came back to dismiss Suryakumar Yadav (5) edging behind to keeper Dinesh Karthik. De Kock went slow in middle overs but managed to reach his half-century in 37 balls. But the pressure of going big forced de Kock (55) to hoick a slower ball off Krishna straight to mid-wicket.

Ishan Kishan (14) pulled Andre Russell for a six over fine leg. But in a bid to go big, Kishan again went for the pull off Ferguson, only for top-edge to be caught by Russell running from long-on.

Kieron Pollard smacked Krishna for a pull over deep mid-wicket before bottom edge on another pull ran through fine leg in the 18th over which went for 18 runs, including a no-ball and two wides. Pollard’s attempt to apply finishing touches ended in a run-out by a throw from Morgan at cover in Ferguson’s final over.

One brought two for Kolkata as Krunal Pandya (12) mistimed to long-on. Ferguson’s final over went for just six runs as Kolkata conceded 75 runs for five wickets in the last ten overs, ensuring that Mumbai were kept to a score of 155.

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 155/6 in 20 overs (Quinton de Kock 55, Rohit Sharma 33, Lockie Ferguson 2/27, Prasidh Krishna 2/43) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 159/3 in 15.1 overs (Rahul Tripathi 74 not out, Venkatesh Iyer 55, Jasprit Bumrah 3/43) by seven wickets.

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