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Disheartening to see each of your acts is an attempt to sideline me: IOA chief PT Usha writes to executive council members

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New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) IOA president PT Usha on Monday wrote a strongly-worded letter to the executive council members of the association, giving response to the “unjust termination letter to Captain Ajay Kumar Narang (Retd)”.

“I write with reference to the termination letter received by Captain Ajay Kumar Narang (Retd) via e-mail dated 04.03.2024 and termination letter dated 11.03.2024 (hereinafter referred to as “Termination Letters”) and the notice dated 02.04.2024 posted at various places at the IOA Bhawan (collectively called “Termination Documents”), the letter read, a copy of which is with IANS.

“It is disheartening to see that we are still not able to work as a team and each of your acts is an attempt to sideline me. It is brought to your notice that Captain Ajay Kumar Narang (Retd) was appointed as my Executive Assistant (“EA”) vide an appointment letter dated 07.06.2023 which was signed by me. As the President’s EA, Captain Ajay Kumar Narang (Retd) was to report to me alone and attend all correspondence/travel/appointments/ meetings etc., of the President, IOA. Thus, it naturally falls that his extension and/or termination would be based on my recommendation and not on the whims and fancies of anybody else, including the Executive Council who have absolutely no knowledge of the work done by him.”

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The legendary athlete further wrote that, “I take note that you in the Termination Letters have made reference to clause 10 of his appointment letter signed by me. Please note that I, as the President of IOA very well form a part of the IOA who has the rights envisaged therein. Moreover, it was your sacrosanct duty to consult me and seek my opinion on Captain Ajay Kumar Narang’s (Retd) performance, having no idea whatsoever as to the same.”

“In view of the above, the members who have signed the Termination Documents have erred in issuing the same in excess of the powers granted to them. Thus, the Termination Documents are an absolute nullity. In any case, I am currently satisfied with the work done by Captain Ajay Kumar Narang (Retd) and do not find any reason to terminate his services.

“Further, I am left with no option but to remind you all that the day-to-day administrative functions including hiring and firing of staff IS NOT THE job of the Executive Council. As the Executive Council, we should be using our powers and rights for much more important aspects of taking the IOA to heights. Furthermore, the Sr. Vice President/ Vice President may take over duties and responsibilities of the President ONLY in the cases of the President’s absence. Thus, it is requested to all Executive Council members to not act in excess of the powers and responsibilities granted by the IOA Constitution and thereby being in direct violation of the provisions therein. I yet again implore you to start working as a team for the betterment of the athletes and the Olympic Movement in India.”

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“In conclusion, I reiterate that the services of Captain Ajay Kumar Narang (Retd) have been good and thus, there is no cause for terminating his services. In any case, the appointment of the Executive Assistant to the President is not within the jurisdiction of the Executive Council and thus, the termination is non est and bad in law.”

It is hereby directed to the IOA staff to remove any copies of the “notice dated 02.04.2024 posted within the IOA Bhawan. Further, the IOA staff is instructed to follow guidance and directives from my office via my Executive Assistant”, the letter read.

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: 'Thank God we at last beat Australia', says Naib after Afghanistan’s epic triumph

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Kingstown, June 23 (IANS) Pace all-rounder Gulbadin Naib, who took the Player-of-the-Match award in Afghanistan’s historic 21-run win over Australia in the Super Eights stage of 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup, said he was elated and relieved over his side finally beating their much-fancied opponents in international cricket.

At the Arnos Vale Stadium, Naib became the game-changer for Afghanistan though his spell of 4-20, where he bowled his four overs without any interruption. He took out Marcus Stoinis and Tim David, before getting the all-important wicket of Glenn Maxwell for 59 in the 14th over to end Australia’s hopes of winning the game.

The result means Afghanistan are still in the race to enter the semi-finals, and opens up Group 1 incredibly. The epic win also is very sweet for Afghanistan, who dealt with two heartbreaks previously while facing Australia in World Cups.

In the 2022 T20 World Cup, Afghanistan fell short of beating Australia by just one runs and in the 2023 ODI World Cup, their hopes of a win were dashed by a cramping and one-legged Maxwell making an unbeaten 200.

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“Thank god we at last beat Australia. It’s a great achievement for our cricket in Afghanistan. If you look at history of our cricket, it is not much. Last ten years, we achieved a lot of goals. This is a big achievement.

“We played very good cricket and in the first round we beat New Zealand. Then (to beat) Australia is not easy. They are a world champion team and it is a big achievement for our cricket. We can carry this to the next level. Our journey starts now. We are very lucky to have such a staff and management,” said Naib after the match.

Naib also paid gratitude to captain Rashid Khan for trusting his bowling skills again in a crucial juncture of the game. “We were waiting (for this win) for a long time. It’s a great moment not just for me but for my nation and my people.

“(It is a) big achievement for our cricket. I have no words to say but thanks to the fans for supporting our career and cricket journey. It’s a great teamwork, we worked hard for the last two months and the result is in front of you.”

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Rashid was also glad that Afghanistan got third time lucky in beating Australia in World Cups, which he described as a great feeling and hoped for their loyal fans back home to be proud of the side.

“It’s a massive win for us as a team and as a nation. In the World Cup, beating champions is a great feeling. It’s something we missed in last two years – in 2023 World Cup and also in 2022 in Australia where we lacked some runs.

“It is so much important for us home and for everyone and all over the world where Afghans are there. They were badly missing this win. I am sure they would be proud of this and would have enjoyed the game. It is just the beginning for us, big game next and we have all the chances of making the semis.”

In the batting, Afghanistan were propelled by Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran putting on an opening stand of 118 runs, before crumbling in the fag end of their innings to end up on 148/6, as Pat Cummins took another hat-trick.

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Rashid felt Afghanistan having the services of eight bowlers made things easy for them to bowl out Australia for 127 in 19.2 overs.

“The thought was although we didn’t finish as well as we would have liked to, but this is how this wicket is. The more important thing was that the opening partnership gave us the best start. That let us get to a total we had in mind.

“We all watched two games before, and on this wicket anything 130-plus we said we were capable of defending. We keep calm and have that belief. The beauty of this team is having too many allrounders gives you options. As a captain, it makes it easy,” he said

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: Afghanistan's all-round display seals first ever win over Australia

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Kingstown (St Vincent), June 23 (IANS) Riding on Gulbadin Naib’s four-wicket haul after Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran’s opening stand of 118, Afghanistan stunned Australia by 21 runs in the T20 World Cup Super Eight match on Sunday (as per IST) here at Arnos Vale Ground, securing their first-ever win over the cricketing powerhouse.

Afghanistan’s win brought an end to Australia’s impressive unbeaten run at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Now, both teams are neck-and-neck in the race to join India in the next phase of the tournament.

Australia’s skipper Mitchell Marsh won the toss and opted to field first, a decision that may well have proven fatal. Gurbaz and Zadran’s opening stand of 118 off 95 balls took Afghanistan to 148/6 in 20 overs.

In defense of 148, Gulbadin (4-20) and Naveen-ul-haq (3-20) wreaked havoc on Australia’s chase and bundled them out for 127 in 19.2 overs to seal their first-ever win over mighty Australia.

The Afghans executed their plan perfectly from the start, with the openers Gurbaaz and Zadran staying patient and precise during the Powerplay. With a mix of dots and boundaries, they avoided losing wickets. Six boundaries helped them reach 40/0 in the first six overs. By the mid-point, Afghanistan was 64 for no loss.

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On a pitch favouring spinners, Agar and Adam Zampa were attacked during the middle overs. Zampa’s expensive 13th over included two boundaries, a misfield, a close LBW shout, and a missed stumping by Matthew Wade.

Gurbaz reached his 50 in the 15th over and then Zadran did the same five balls later. Marcus Stoinis delivered Australia’s long-awaited breakthrough scalp when he removed Gurbaaz in the 16th over, breaking the deadly-looking 118-run partnership and turning the tide.

Then, Zampa took two wickets in the next over, including the crucial dismissal of Zadran, quickly leaving Afghanistan three down. The 18th over also favoured Australia, with Pat Cummins conceding just four runs and taking the wicket of Rashid Khan.

After achieving an unlikely hat-trick against Bangladesh, Cummins pulled off a second consecutive hat-trick after dismissing Karim Janat and Gulbadin in the 19th over finishing with figures of 3-28.

The Aussies dropped several catches and leaked runs, making their defense costly and leaving much work for their batting. In a fierce battle, Afghanistan posted a par score of 148/6 in 20 overs, reports ICC.

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Chasing 149, Australia suffered an early blow with Naveen dismissing opener Travis Head on the third delivery. He then did it again in his second over, removing Mitchell Marsh with a slower ball, piling pressure on Australia. Then, Glenn Maxwell came to the crease and hit two calming boundaries in the fifth over, but David Warner’s wicket gave Afghanistan the upper hand. By the end of the Powerplay, Australia was struggling at 33/3.

Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis pushed Australia to 70/3 halfway through the innings. Stoinis fell for 11 off 17 just after drinks, followed by Tim David (2 off 4) also departing cheaply. However, Maxwell’s six in the 13th over brought up his fifty off 35 balls.

Just as Afghanistan lost marginal hope, Gulbadin stepped up to the plate and tempted Maxwell into one outside the off stump, which was superbly snatched by Noor Ahmad behind point. It was all on the hat-trick hero Cummins as Wade’s dismissal left Australia at 108/7, requiring 41 runs off 29 balls.

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However, Cummins couldn’t replicate his form, missing the ball and putting Australia in a tougher position with three overs remaining and needing 36 runs.

Afghanistan’s exceptional fielding turned every opportunity into a wicket, making a crucial impact. Zampa’s dismissal marked Australia’s all-out for 127, falling 22 runs short of victory. This historic win marked Afghanistan’s first-ever triumph over Australia, a memorable moment for the team.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 148/6 in 20 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 60, Ibrahim Zadran 51; Pat Cummins 3/-28) beat Australia 127 in 19.2 overs (Glenn Maxwell 59; Gulbadin Naib 4-19) by 21 runs.

-IANS

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Cummins becomes first player to claim two consecutive hat-tricks in T20 World Cup

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Kingstown (St Vincent), June 23 (IANS) Australia pacer Pat Cummins created history on Sunday (as per IST) when he became the first player to register a hat-trick in consecutive Men’s T20 World Cup matches.

The Aussie achieved the feat against Afghanistan when he had skipper Rashid Khan (17.6 over), Karim Janat (19.1 over) and Gulbadin Naib (19.2 over) dismissed with three consecutive deliveries across his two overs.

It was just the eighth time that a bowler has completed a hat-trick at a Men’s T20 World Cup and the first time a player has achieved the feat on multiple occasions, reports ICC.

Cummins is already a member of an illustrious group of seven players to have taken a hat-trick at a Men’s T20 World Cup, with Brett Lee (2007), Curtis Campher (2021), Wanindu Hasaranga (2021), Kagiso Rabada (2021), Karthik Meiyappan (2022) and Josh Little (2022) the other bowlers to have done so previously.

On Friday, he registered a hat-trick across two overs against Bangladesh on Thursday, becoming the second Australian after Brett Lee to claim a hat-trick in the T20 World Cup.

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–IANS

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Euro 2024: Tielemans, De Bruyne power Belgium to 2-0 win over Romania

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Cologne (Germany), June 23 (IANS) Youri Tielemans and skipper Kevin De Bruyne helped Belgium beat Romania 2-0 in the Euro 2024 Group E match late on Saturday night.

After Belgium’s win, all four teams in Group E sit on three points.

Belgium began in an emphatic fashion by scoring within two minutes in Cologne. In a frenetic start, the ball broke for Romelu Lukaku and when he received it back from Jeremy Doku, he teed up Tielemans to rifle low and hard past Florin Nita at 73 seconds, the third fastest goal in EURO history, tournament reports.

Romania responded straight away, Radu Dragusin climbing highest to force a fine save from Koen Casteels. Doku and Lukaku continued to combine as the latter turned but saw his shot deflected wide.

A typically driving run from De Bruyne then gave Dodi Lukebakio the chance to test Nita, the keeper saving at full stretch before batting away another Doku shot.

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Romania remained determined, finishing the half strong and pressing forward after the break. Valentin Mihaila nearly scored but missed the target. De Bruyne, increasingly influential, combined frequently with Lukaku and came close twice. Casteels saved Belgium by denying Dennis Man when he broke through.

It proved to be a huge save and the keeper then turned provider by clearing long, with De Bruyne anticipating a slight flick-on and stretching out to guide in the second. Romania continued to push but Belgium saw out the final moments to get their campaign up and running.

“After the first game, I wasn’t concerned. I don’t think we played badly per se. Obviously, we made some mistakes but we created chances, even if we couldn’t find the back of the net. We played well during the game and I think we deserved the win, so I’m happy. What’s important is that we’re creating chances and those situations,” said Belgium captain De Bruyne.

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–IANS

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T20 World Cup: South Africa's Miller reprimanded for showing dissent at umpire's decision

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St Lucia, June 23 (IANS) South Africa player David Miller has been handed an official reprimand for showing dissent towards an umpire’s decision during a Super Eight stage Group 2 match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 against England at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in St Lucia on Friday.

Miller was pulled up for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct after the match officials made a complaint with the match referee. Miller was found to have breached Article 2.8 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “showing dissent at an Umpire’s decision during an International Match.”

In addition to this, one demerit point has been added to Miller’s disciplinary record, for whom it was the first offence in 24 months, the ICC informed in a release on Saturday.

The incident occurred in the 19th over of South Africa’s innings. Miller played a full toss from Sam Curran and expected it to be called a ‘no ball’ for height. When it was not declared a ‘no ball’, he showed dissent at the umpire’s decision by signaling to review the decision when it could not have been reviewed.

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Miller admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Jeff Crowe of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees, so there was no need for a formal hearing.

On-field umpires Chris Brown and Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, third umpire Joel Wilson and fourth umpire Chris Gaffaney levelled the charge.

Level 1 breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand, a maximum penalty of 50 percent of a player’s match fee, and one or two demerit points.

–IANS

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