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Dube, Jaiswal, Samson back; Khaleel comes in for rested Mukesh as India opt to bat first vs Zimbabwe

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Dube, Jaiswal, Samson back; Khaleel comes in for rested Mukesh as India opt to bat first vs Zimbabwe

Harare, July 10 (IANS) Shivam Dube, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson have slotted back into India’s playing eleven, while Khaleel Ahmed comes in for a rested Mukesh Kumar as captain Shubman Gill won the toss and elected to bat first in the third T20I against Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.

Dube, Jaiswal and Samson had missed first two T20Is due to being a part of the T20 World Cup winning Indian team which flew directly to New Delhi from Bridgetown, Barbados, as hurricane Beryl disrupted their travel plans.

The five-match T20I series between India and Zimbabwe is currently tied at 1-1. With the quartet of Dube, Jaiswal, Samson and Khaleel replace Riyan Parag, B Sai Sudharsan, Dhruv Jurel and Mukesh, respectively, in the playing eleven.

“Hopefully the moisture will help us. We have got the World Cup winners back in the team. We have got a pretty balanced side. Deep batting with the power-hitters coming in,” said Gill after winning the toss.

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Zimbabwe skipper Sikandar Raza said pacer Richard Ngarava is declared fit and replaces Luke Jongwe, while Innocent Kaia is not fit and Tadiwanashe Marumani comes into the playing eleven in place of him.

“We were going to bowl first either way. The surface isn’t as moist as the first, not very flat. Will see the seamers coming into the contest, and expect some slow turn. Hopefully, the boys have learnt a few lessons from the second game. We need to back our bowlers and keep them to as low a total as possible,” he said.

Playing XIs

India: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Abhishek Sharma, Shubman Gill (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson (wicketkeeper), Shivam Dube, Rinku Singh, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan and Khaleel Ahmed

Zimbabwe: Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wessly Madhevere, Brian Bennett, Dion Myers, Sikandar Raza (captain), Johnathan Campbell, Clive Madande (wicketkeeper), Wellington Masakadza, Richard Ngarava, Blessing Muzarabani and Tendai Chatara

–IANS

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Jamshedpur FC sign Spanish midfielder Javier Hernandez ahead of ISL season

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Jamshedpur FC sign Spanish midfielder Javier Hernandez ahead of ISL season

Jamshedpur FC sign Spanish midfielder Javier Hernandez ahead of ISL season

Jamshedpur, July 25 (IANS) Jamshedpur FC have bolstered their firepower with the signing of Spanish midfielder Javier Hernandez on Thursday. The 35-year-old midfielder brings a wealth of experience in Indian football boasting creative playmaking capabilities and attacking gameplay that will strengthen the midfield.

Hernandez’s trophy cabinet has been enriched by his Indian adventure. His notable titles include the Indian Super League championship with ATK Mohun Bagan in 2019-20, the Durand Cup in 2022, and runners-up finish in ISL 2022-23 with Bengaluru FC.

The midfielder’s Indian odyssey has spanned five years, with notable stints at Bengaluru FC, Odisha FC, and ATK Mohun Bagan, resulting in 21 goals and 17 assists in the Indian Super League. His stint at Bengaluru FC from 2022-24 was especially memorable for him as the team won the 2022 Durand Cup and finished as runners-up in the 2022-23 Indian Super League playoffs.

Hernandez was thrilled with the move to Jamshedpur FC and said, “I’m delighted to join Jamshedpur FC, a move that heralds an exciting new chapter in my Indian football journey. I’m deeply grateful for the trust the club and Head Coach Khalid Jamil placed in me, and I’m eager to reciprocate that faith with my performances.

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“I firmly believe I have a significant contribution to make to the team, and I’m committed to giving my all in every step I take for the club. Having experienced the electric atmosphere at the Furnace before, I’m thrilled to now play for the passionate fans of Jharkhand and make them proud with my efforts,” he said.

Hernandez’s Indian football journey began with ATK Mohun Bagan, where he made his mark from 2019 to 2021. Notably, he played a pivotal role in the team’s triumph in the 2019-20 ISL season, scoring twice in the final against Chennaiyin FC at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda. His goals contributed to a resounding 3-1 victory, crowning ATK Mohun Bagan as champions.

Hernandez then moved to Odisha FC for the 2021-22 season, where he consistently impressed. He featured in 19 out of 20 league games, netting six goals and providing five assists throughout the campaign. His performances showcased his skill and dedication, making him a valuable asset to the Juggernauts.

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Head coach, Khalid Jamil lauded the midfielder as he said, “Javier Hernandez brings unparalleled experience to our team, and it’s essential we utilize his expertise effectively. His familiarity with Indian football is a significant advantage. We need attacking experience and Javi’s presence fills that gap perfectly. His exemplary behaviour on and off the field makes him an ideal role model for our young Indian players. This season is crucial for him, and I’m confident he’ll rise to the occasion.”

Hernandez will don the jersey number 10 and will soon join the team.

–IANS

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Abhinav Bindra carries Paris Olympic Flame ahead of opening ceremony

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Abhinav Bindra carries Paris Olympic Flame ahead of opening ceremony

Abhinav Bindra carries Paris Olympic Flame ahead of opening ceremony

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Beijing Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra feels honoured to carry the 2024 Paris Olympic flame and said he is humbled to be part of the sporting pinnacle.

Bindra, who made history by simultaneously being the world and Olympic champion for the men’s 10-metre air rifle event, joined the Paris 2024 Torch Relay event on Wednesday and was thrilled to hold the spirit of the Games. The former shooter became the first Indian athlete to win a first-ever individual gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“Carrying the Olympic flame yesterday in the Paris 2024 Torch Relay was an honour beyond words. The spirit of the Games lives in each of us, and I am humbled to be part of this incredible journey. Let’s continue to inspire, dream, and achieve together! #Paris2024,” Bindra posted on ‘X.’

The Paris Olympics will take place from July 26 to August 11, with 117 athletes from India representing the country in the mega quadrennial event. Some of the biggest names from the Indian contingent include two-time medallist shuttler PV Sindhu, who will be the country’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremony alongside table tennis veteran Sharath Kamal on Friday.

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–IANS

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Paris Olympics: Sumit Nagal to face France's Corentin Moutet in men's singles first round

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Paris Olympics: Sumit Nagal to face France's Corentin Moutet in men's singles first round

Paris Olympics: Sumit Nagal to face France's Corentin Moutet in men's singles first round

Paris, July 25 (IANS) Indian tennis star Sumit Nagal is set for a challenging start at the Paris Olympics as he faces local hope Corentin Moutet in the first round of the men’s singles event on the clay courts of Roland Garros here. In the men’s doubles, India’s seasoned pair of Rohan Bopanna and N. Sriram Balaji are also up for a tough opening round, facing the French team of Fabien Reboul and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

It could be a tough encounter for Nagal as his 25-year-old opponent had reached the fourth round in front of his home crowd at the French Open. He took a set off World No.1 Jannik Sinner before ending his campaign in the fourth round. But what will gives Nagal hope is that they share a 2-2 head-to-head record.

The release of the draw on Thursday also revealed that the two legends of the game Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who have faced each other 59 times in their illustrious careers, could meet as early as the second round.

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Djokovic, the top seed after World No.1 Jannik Sinner pulled out with an injury, begins his campaign against Australian Matthew Ebden, known in India as Bopanna’s partner when they won the Australian Open earlier this year. The unseeded Nadal, on the other hand, will play his first match against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics.

Two-time Olympic singles gold medallist Andy Murray of Great Britain has withdrawn from the singles competition but will still participate in the doubles event alongside compatriot Daniel Evans.

Second seed Carlos Alcaraz of Spain will play his first match against Lebanon’s Hady Habib. The winner of this match will face either Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor or Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the second round, promising further thrilling encounters.

In the women’s draw, top seed Iga Swiatek of Poland will return to her favourite venue to face Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania. Team USA’s flag-bearer in the Opening Ceremony, Coco Gauff will play Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) in the first round.

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–IANS

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Two chess teams denied chance to compete in TN state event

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Two chess teams denied chance to compete in TN state event

Two chess teams denied chance to compete in TN state event

Chennai, July 25 (IANS) Eight young chess players, a pregnant lady and their coach will be hauling the All India Chess Federation (AICF), its affiliate the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association (TNSCA) and the latter’s affiliate Tirunelveli District Chess Development Association (TDCDA) to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for their monopolistic and anti-player action.

The CCI in 2018 had fined AICF a sum of Rs.6.92 lakh and also stopped its anti-player actions. The AICF is silent on the payment of penalty to CCI.

“Eight young students and I were part of two teams – Peculiar Pawns Tirunelveli A and Peculiar Pawns Tirunelveli B- wanting to play in the 30th Tamil Nadu State Team Championship 2024. However the TDCDA Secretary B.Paulkumar refused to give his permission for the teams at the last moment,” Pon Perumal S, CEO and Founder Peculiar PawnS Chess Academy, Tirunelveli told IANS

Perumal said the official reason for TDCDA’s refusal to give its nod is that the teams had players from other districts.

“The real reason could be that the TDCDA got upset as I am organising a private chess tournament in August this year,” Perumal alleged.

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“As per rules, with a proper `no objection certificate’ from their home district chess association, a player can play for a team from another district. In addition, the entry forms for all the teams should be routed through the respective district associations. Teams that have the permission of the district chess association will only be allowed to participate in the tournament,” Perumal said.

Perumal said entry fees of Rs.3,000 per team were paid to the tournament organisers for two teams through the Signinchess.com along with the player names on July 18, 2024.

The last date for the entries was July 20, 2024 and the tournament start date was July 24, 2024.

He had also sent the player details to TDCDA seeking its recommendation to represent the Tirunelveli District and marked a copy to Dharmapuri District Chess Association and the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association.

Soon after paying the fees, Perumal issued the prospectus for the tournament to be organised by him in Tirunelveli.

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“It is a private tournament. Soon after I issued the prospectus, the TDCDA Secretary Paulkumar informed the Dharmapuri District Chess Association that the Peculiar Pawns Tirunelveli A and B teams are not recommended as they have players from other districts,” Perumal said.

“Earlier, the team championship organisers had uploaded our team details on www.chess-results.com, including the board order. Later, our teams were removed from the portal,” Perumal said.

When contacted, P. Rajasekaran, joint secretary, Dharmapuri District Chess Association told IANS, “The details of Peculiar Pawns two teams were uploaded on www.chess-results.com based on their mails sent to us as well as the details fed while paying the entry fee. We had over 120 team entries and it was difficult to check each and every entry.”

Rajasekaran said on the receipt of mail from Paulkumar, saying that the two Peculiar Pawns teams were not recommended by the TDCDA, their details were removed from www.chess-results.com.

According to Rajasekaran, several other district chess associations had permitted teams with other district players to play in the tournament and it is only the TDCDA that has denied the chance to two such teams.

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However, this is not the first time that TDCDA’s Paulkumar is at the centre of the controversy.

Last year, three players – M Karunakaran, 68, V Palanikumar, 58, and Merryston David Scanny, 48- were not allowed to play in the Tirunelveli District Selection tournament at the last moment.

The reason? According to Scanny, Paulkumar did not allow them to play as they had played in a private tournament in Tenkasi district earlier.

In 2019, Paulkumar had barred then 11-year-old Karthik Rahul from playing in a tournament midway on the grounds that he had played in a private tournament

However, no action has been taken by AICF or the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association on these issues, despite complaints being lodged with it.

Going by the past events, Perumal may be right in his surmise that his teams were refused permission as he had announced organising a private chess tournament.

Paulkumar was not available for comments when contacted by IANS.

–IANS

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Women’s Asia Cup: Semi-finals is a very important thing for us, says Shafali Verma

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Women’s Asia Cup: Semi-finals is a very important thing for us, says Shafali Verma

Women’s Asia Cup: Semi-finals is a very important thing for us, says Shafali Verma

Dambulla, July 25 (IANS) Ahead of India facing Bangladesh in the first semi-final of 2024 Women’s Asia Cup, big-hitting opener Shafali Verma said the defending champions do realise that the knockout clash is a very important thing for them.

So far in the tournament, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led India have been unbeaten – defeating Pakistan by seven wickets, winning by 78 runs against UAE and beating Nepal by 82 runs to top Group A.

“Really happy with the way we all have gelled up with each other and are winning the matches. The semi-finals is a very important thing for us. Today, we all have come up for practice and hopefully, we will do our best thing to do good tomorrow,” said Shafali in the pre-match press conference.

With 158 runs, Shafali has been the second highest run-scorer in the tournament so far in an Indian batting line-up which has seen Harmanpreet, Smriti Mandhana and Richa Ghosh come good with the bat. She feels the lower-order batters like Deepti Sharma and Pooja Vastrakar are capable off pulling off big hits if needed.

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“We just back ourselves and as a batting unit, we are backing our strengths. The bowlers are doing a great job, but day by day, we have to keep improving ourselves. Every day, they (lower-order batters) are batting in the nets. Whenever they get a chance, I hope they get to hit sixes.”

Shafali signed off by saying India are putting in the hard yards to be better at fielding, an aspect which has been lukewarm for them in the Asia Cup. “We are working hard on our fielding. So, we will look to tick mark all the things – batting, bowling and fielding – and contribute for the best things in the semi-finals.”

Squads

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Richa Ghosh (wk), Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Renuka Singh Thakur, Dayalan Hemalatha, Uma Chetry (wk), Asha Sobhana, Radha Yadav, Tanuja Kanwer, Sajana Sajeevan.

Bangladesh: Nigar Sultana Joty (captain & wk), Shorna Akter, Nahida Akter, Murshida Khatun, Shorifa Khatun, Ritu Moni, Rubya Haider Jhelik, Sultana Khatun, Jahanara Alam, Dilara Akter, Ishma Tanjim, Rabeya Khan, Rumana Ahmed, Marufa Akter, Sabikun Nahar Jesmin.

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–IANS

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