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2024 Olympics: Palak bags 20th Paris quota place for India in shooting

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2024 Olympics: Palak bags 20th Paris quota place for India in shooting

New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) Reigning Asian Games champion Palak bagged India’s 20th Paris Olympic quota place in shooting, winning bronze in the women’s 10m air pistol at the ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship Rifle/Pistol in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday.

The teenager overcame a wobbly start in the 24-shot final, displaying nerves of steel to climb steadily up the leaderboard and eventually end with 217.6, bowing out after the 22nd shot. Armenia’s Elmira Karapetyan won gold, while Thai teenager Kamonlak Saencha won silver and the second available quota place.

Palak and Sainyam had qualified for the eight-woman final on Saturday. Save Karpetyan, who had already booked her quota in earlier competitions, all other finalists could claim the available quotas.

Both Indians had a start to forget, but came back admirably under pressure as Saencha and the experienced Veronika Major of Hungary threatened to pull away from the field in the early stages with some sublime shooting. Saencha’s 10.9 for her 13th was a case in point.

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Palak and Sainyam were both struggling to get above fifth, but eliminations proved a disaster for Major as Palak and Sainyam too, to an extent, got stronger. Ahead of the 19th, Palak took a 0.6 lead over Major with Sainyam exiting in fifth.

The Hungarian could not hit the 10-ring as the Indian did once and sealed the quota place. Karpetyan (240.7) clinched it in the final shot as Saencha (240.5) crumbled with an 8.6.

–IANS

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The only way Shoaib Bashir will get better is by bowling, says Naseer Hussain

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The only way Shoaib Bashir will get better is by bowling, says Naseer Hussain

The only way Shoaib Bashir will get better is by bowling, says Naseer Hussain

Nottingham, July 20 (IANS) Former captain Nasser Hussain said England’s young off-spinner Shoaib Bashir is still learning on the job as he has to realise teams will come after him in Test cricket, adding that he dealt very well with it during day two of second game against West Indies at Trent Bridge.

Bashir was one of the few positives for England with the ball on day two when he took out Mikyle Lewis and Kirk McKenzie to get his first couple of scalps on home soil in Test cricket, but conceded 100 runs in 23 overs as Kavem Lodge led West Indies’ fightback with a brilliant 120 not out.

“Bashir has to realise that sides are going to come after him and he coped with that pretty well. For example, he got hit for a boundary from a bit of a hack from Louis and dismissed him next ball. Stokes will know that the only way England’s first-choice spinner is going to get better is by bowling.”

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“What they’re looking for him to do is to get over spin and some drop on the ball, looking to go past the outside edge of left-handers’ bats and hit off stump when bowling to right-handers,” wrote Hussain in his column for Daily Mail on Saturday.

He also observed how Bashir made changes to his lines and lengths. “Before lunch on Friday, he bowled a bit too straight. In contrast to someone like Joe Root, who is more round arm, Bashir releases the ball right up at the horizontal and so the ball can keep going down leg side on the angle.”

“Post-lunch, he changed that, bowling a little bit more outside off, slower, with more flight, inviting more modes of dismissal. Bowling straight, you might get a caught round the corner or a catch in the deep like his first wicket when excellent work from Harry Brook got rid of Mikyle Louis.”

Hussain further urged Bashir to learn from former spinner Graeme Swann’s Test career, which peaked when he was past 30. “This was a decent start to Shoaib Bashir’s home Test career, but because of his age and lack of experience there is much to learn for a player identified as a component of next year’s Ashes attack.”

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“Bashir was always going to be looked after by England captain Ben Stokes and even when he went for some boundaries, he was kept on, bringing back memories of the emotional intelligence Stokes showed towards Tom Hartley in India earlier this year.”

“One thing you must remember about Bashir is that he is 20 and as a spinner, you’re probably not peaking in international cricket until you hit 30. For a Test spinner, very rarely does a pitch turn first innings, maybe off the damp occasionally, but then second time round it suddenly starts to turn and everyone says ‘over to you’.”

“It can be a hard lesson, but Swann is a good example to Bashir, because when he started his career with Northamptonshire, he could rely on deceiving the batter off the pitch. Only when he moved to the less spin-friendly ground here at Trent Bridge was he forced to deceive the batter in the air.”

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“Moving to Nottinghamshire made Swann an international bowler and Bashir will have to develop the same art in readiness for touring Australia in 16 month’s time. That’s how Nathan Lyon gets his wickets, and yesterday Bashir began shaping his learning curve,” he concluded.

–IANS

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Legacy of Rohit, Virat will be remembered for generations, says Arshdeep Singh

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Legacy of Rohit, Virat will be remembered for generations, says Arshdeep Singh

Legacy of Rohit, Virat will be remembered for generations, says Arshdeep Singh

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) India pacer Arshdeep Singh feels that the legacy left behind by Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli’s T20I retirements will be remembered for generations. The duo ended their shortest format career with a T20 World Cup title win against South Africa in Barbados last month.

Arsdeep, who was part of the T20 World Cup-winning team, said their contributions in the batting department have always been an inspiration for cricketers across the world.

“Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have left an indelible mark on T20I cricket. Their contributions have been immense, and their legacy will be remembered for generations. Rohit bhai’s explosive batting at the top and his sharp captaincy have set new benchmarks in the format. Virat bhai, with his consistent performances and relentless pursuit of excellence, has been a role model for cricketers around the world,” Arshdeep told IANS.

“Their passion, dedication, and ability to perform under pressure have inspired many young cricketers, including myself. They have shown us what it takes to succeed at the highest level, and their records speak for themselves. Although they may not be playing T20Is anymore, their influence and impact on the game will continue to guide and motivate us,” he added.

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Arshdeep is among the players who made their white-ball debut under Rohit’s captaincy and played all their international cricket under his leadership. The 25-year-old lauded the opening batter for his tactical prowess and called him “bowler’s captain”, who gives freedom to his bowlers to express themselves on the field.

“Playing under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy has been an incredible experience. Rohit bhai is definitely fully a bowler’s captain. He allows every bowler full freedom of executing what they want to do on the field. He has a unique way of keeping the dressing room atmosphere light and positive, which really helps in high-pressure situations,” the pacer said.

“What I like the most about his leadership is his calm demeanour on the field. He always backs his players, giving us the confidence to play our natural game. His strategic thinking and the way he read the game are truly inspiring, and I have learned a lot from him about handling different match scenarios,” he added.

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After being rested for the Zimbabwe T20Is, Arshdeep will travel to Sri Lanka to play in three T20Is and as many ODIs, starting on July 27.

–IANS

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Hobart Hurricanes skipper Nathan Ellis eyes historic BBL title glory

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Hobart Hurricanes skipper Nathan Ellis eyes historic BBL title glory

Hobart Hurricanes skipper Nathan Ellis eyes historic BBL title glory

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Hobart Hurricanes captain Nathan Ellis has boldly declared that his team is poised to capture their first BBL title in the upcoming season 2024.

As one of only two clubs yet to lift the men’s Big Bash League trophy in the competition’s 13-year history, Ellis believes the Hurricanes are ready to overcome past disappointments and make a serious run for the championship in BBL 14.

“That has been a bit of a talking point for the Hurricanes in the last few years, we’ve built a squad now that should be winning,” Ellis said to cricket.com.au following the release of the BBL 14 schedule last week.

“I’m really excited at the prospect of getting the first BBL trophy for the Hurricanes. It’s something that I think is very attainable for us and it should be a goal,” he added.

After finishing fifth last season and missing the finals in BBL 12 with a sixth-place finish, the Hurricanes have made strategic moves to strengthen their squad. The signing of England’s T20 World Cup star Chris Jordan for the next two seasons under the league’s new multi-year contracting option for overseas players is a significant boost. Additionally, the team has bolstered its local talent pool by adding batter Charlie Wakim and re-signing Mac Wright and fast bowler Iain Carlisle.

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One player Ellis is particularly excited about is fellow paceman Riley Meredith, whom he predicts will have a standout season. Meredith has been in top form, showcasing his skills in England’s T20 Blast competition for Somerset, where he has claimed 13 wickets in 10 games. His stellar performance included a career-best 4-12 to help Somerset dismantle Middlesex for 78 at Lord’s.

Ellis praised Meredith’s progress, saying, “He’s getting that durability factor back, which is something he’s been working towards over a couple of years. He’s doing really well and bowling really fast. Hopefully, we have him for 10 games this year. He’s one that I’ve earmarked to have a big summer.”

Ellis also emphasised the importance of retaining Chris Jordan, not just for his on-field prowess but for his leadership and experience off the field. “I put an emphasis not only on his on-field performance, but I really love what he brought off the field. He comes with a wealth of knowledge and a lot of experience, but also an eagerness to help not only the younger guys, but guys like myself or ‘Wadey’ (Matthew Wade).”

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Off the field, the Hurricanes have been buoyed by the potential development of a new stadium in Hobart, which could be ready in five years as part of the Tasmania Devils’ introduction as the 19th AFL team. Cricket Tasmania chair David Boon has expressed excitement over the prospect, noting that the proposed 23,000-capacity stadium with a fixed transparent roof could host both daytime and floodlit matches, including the possibility of indoor Test cricket.

Ellis, who is set to join the London Spirit in The Hundred starting July 23, is focused on the immediate future. “Who knows where I’ll be in five years, hopefully I get to play there, it’s a really exciting prospect for sport in Tasmania. But for me, I love Bellerive Oval, so I’m excited to be playing our first game there this season on December 21 against Perth Scorchers.”

The Hurricanes will kick off their BBL 14 campaign against Melbourne Renegades in Geelong on December 19, followed by their first home game against the Scorchers on December 21.

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–IANS

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Facing criticism and tough times are part of a cricketer's journey: Arshdeep Singh

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Facing criticism and tough times are part of a cricketer's journey: Arshdeep Singh

Facing criticism and tough times are part of a cricketer's journey: Arshdeep Singh

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) T20 World Cup winning Indian team star pacer Arshdeep Singh, 25, believes that facing criticism and tough times is part of a cricketer’s journey.

The left-arm fast bowler, Arshdeep played a vital role in India’s T20 World Cup triumph recently. He was India’s highest wicket-taker (17) in the T20 World Cup.

His journey was not easy though, as in the 2022 Asia Cup, he was brutally slammed on social media for his drop catch against Pakistan. Even when Arshdeep was picked in the squad for the 2024 World Cup, many expressed their dissatisfaction.

However, he silenced his critics with unplayable “in-swings” to unsettle the opponent sides in the 2024 mega sporting spectacle.

During the tough time, Arshdeep did not lose hope and kept his mind focused.

Speaking to IANS exclusively, the young cricketer shared his past experience and also lavished praise on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Excerpts from the interview:

IANS: It was a brilliant T20 World Cup for you, your bowling was appreciated by several legendary cricketers. How satisfied are you with your performance?

Arshdeep: Thank you for the kind words. It was indeed a memorable T20 World Cup for me, and I feel grateful for the appreciation from legendary cricketers. Personally, I am satisfied with my performance, but I always strive to improve and contribute more to the team’s success. Each match taught me valuable lessons, and I am eager to build on this experience moving forward. There’s always room for growth, and I am focused on refining my skills to perform even better in the coming future.

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IANS: Previously following unfavorable results, in one match, you were not treated well by fans, faced a lot of criticism. How tough was that time? And now you are a hero, how as a cricketer you keep your head calm and focused?

Arshdeep: Facing criticism and tough times is part of a cricketer’s journey. You have to learn how to be level headed when you are playing for your country at such a level regardless of the situation, be it good or bad. Since, fans love the game so much that it’s in their full right to have as many opinions as they’d like. The feelings run strong in our country especially when it comes to cricket. However, it was indeed a challenging phase, but it taught me resilience and the importance of staying focused on my game. During those times, I leaned on my support system, my family, coaches, and teammates, who helped me stay grounded and motivated.

Maintaining a calm and focused mindset is crucial. It is about learning from setbacks, staying positive, and giving my best in every opportunity that comes my way.

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IANS: Your experience of playing under Rohit Sharma? What do you like the most about his leadership?

Arshdeep: Playing under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy has been an incredible experience. Rohit bhai is definitely fully a bowler’s captain. He allows every bowler full freedom of executing what they want to do on the field. He has a unique way of keeping the dressing room atmosphere light and positive, which really helps in high-pressure situations. What I like the most about his leadership is his calm demeanor on the field. He always backs his players, giving us the confidence to play our natural game. His strategic thinking and the way he read the game are truly inspiring, and I have learned a lot from him about handling different match scenarios.

IANS: Now that Rohit and Virat Kohli are not in the T20I format, your thoughts on their legacy?

Arshdeep: Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have left an indelible mark on T20I cricket. Their contributions have been immense, and their legacy will be remembered for generations. Rohit bhai’s explosive batting at the top and his sharp captaincy have set new benchmarks in the format. Virat bhai, with his consistent performances and relentless pursuit of excellence, has been a role model for cricketers around the world.

Their passion, dedication, and ability to perform under pressure have inspired many young cricketers, including myself. They have shown us what it takes to succeed at the highest level, and their records speak for themselves. Although they may not be playing T20Is anymore, their influence and impact on the game will continue to guide and motivate us.

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IANS: How did the family support helped you during tough times?

Arshdeep: Family support during tough times is invaluable. My family has always been my pillar of strength, providing unwavering support and encouragement through all the ups and downs. Their belief in me keeps me grounded and motivated, especially when things get challenging. Knowing that they are always there, cheering me on, gives me the confidence to keep pushing forward. At the end of the day, nothing comes above the family bond and their love. Family is definitely all that you’ve got.

IANS: For cricketers, all matches are important, but which one was your most favorite?

Arshdeep: For cricketers, every match is important, but my most favourite has to be the recent World Cup final. Winning the trophy was an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere, the intensity, and the sheer joy of lifting the cup with my teammates made it incredibly special. It is a moment I’ll cherish forever, knowing we made our country proud on such a grand stage.

–IANS

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'It was brutal': Kavem Hodge on facing fierce bowling spell from Wood

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'It was brutal': Kavem Hodge on facing fierce bowling spell from Wood

'It was brutal': Kavem Hodge on facing fierce bowling spell from Wood

Nottingham, July 20 (IANS) The West Indies staged a remarkable fightback after a century from Kavem Hodge and a crucial 175-run partnership with Alick Athanaze in the second Test against England. This effort saw the West Indies mounting a strong reply of 351 for 5 at the end of Day 2 to England’s imposing first-innings total of 416.

Responding to the challenge set by their skipper, Kraigg Brathwaite, who had called for an improved batting performance, Hodge and Athanaze rose to the occasion with grit and determination. Reflecting on their partnership at the end of the day, Hodge highlighted their long-standing synergy, developed while playing for the same franchise back home.

“We always bat good together, play for the same franchise back home, we’ve had a lot of big partnerships. He’s more aggressive than I am, I’m more of an accumulator, so I tend to go under the radar and go about my business quietly. Always good to spend time with him at the wicket,” Hodge said after the end of Day 2 play.

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Playing in only his fourth Test match, Hodge was thrilled to achieve his maiden Test hundred. “It’s a dream come true, you play the game as a youngster, that’s something that you want to do, especially at the highest level – in England against England. I’m really happy and satisfied about it, especially also the position of the team, it’s always good to help the team’s cause,” he shared, beaming with pride.

The highlight of Hodge’s innings was his fierce battle against England’s speedster Mark Wood, who relentlessly delivered bouncers at high speed. At one point, a bouncer struck Athanaze on the back of the helmet, causing concern for Hodge. “I flinched. I thought I was going to get hit before him but it didn’t happen like that. But kudos to him that he bounced back well and was able to stand his ground and push on further.”

Reflecting on the intensity of the day, Hodge recounted a humorous exchange with Wood during his spell. “It was brutal. It’s not every day you rock up and you face someone that’s bowling more than 90mph every single ball. There was one point, I made a joke to him, I said: ‘Hey, I have a wife and kids at home.’ But I think that made the century a lot more satisfying. Test cricket is brutal, it’s challenging, it’s mentally draining. To experience that, facing guys like Mark Wood, it was tough but it was satisfying.”

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–IANS

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