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Eoin Morgan back Rishabh Pant to take wicketkeeper-batter slot in India’s squad for T20 WC

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Eoin Morgan back Rishabh Pant to take wicketkeeper-batter slot in India’s squad for T20 WC

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) One of the main selection questions for India ahead of the men’s T20 World Cup squad selection possibly at the end of this month is choosing the right candidate for the wicketkeeper-batter slot.

There are plenty of contenders for that slot, comprising Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, Sanju Samson, Jitesh Sharma and Dhruv Jurel. Eoin Morgan, England’s 2019 Men’s ODI World Cup winning captain, has backed Pant to be the preferred choice for the wicketkeeper-batter slot in the Indian team for T20 World Cup.

“It would be Rishabh Pant, because of the player that he is. I don’t see him being hampered in any way after coming back from that car crash. For me, he’s a very destructive player and is also left-handed. A left-hander in that middle-order role which he can play will also add a huge amount of pressure as opposed to the generic right-handers,” said Morgan, an IPL expert, in a virtual interaction organised by digital broadcasters JioCinema.

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Pant made a return to competitive cricket action through Delhi Capitals’ first game against Punjab Kings at Mullanpur on March 23, nearly 15 months after suffering various injuries, including reconstruction of right knee ligaments, in a life-threatening car crash in December 2022.

Pant’s scores in IPL 2024 for DC so far have been 18, 28, 51, 55 and 1, coming at an average of 30.60 and strike-rate of 154.54. He’s shown signs of coming back to his prime best with the bat and gloves, taking four catches while effecting a stumping in the competition. In 66 T20Is for India, Pant has made 987 runs, including three half-centuries, at an average of 22.43 and strike-rate of 126.37.

Right after IPL 2024 ends on May 26, everyone’s focus will shift immediately to Men’s T20 World Cup, hosted by USA and the West Indies from June 1-29. India will be entering the tournament with an aim to add their second T20 World Cup title after winning the inaugural edition in 2007.

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But India’s recent record in T20 World Cups hasn’t been encouraging – failing to make the semi-finals in 2021 and being handed a ten-wicket thrashing by eventual champions England in the semi-finals of 2022 edition.

Morgan, who won 2010 T20 World Cup title with England, believes India’s biggest challenge will be to quickly adapt to conditions on offer in USA and West Indies when they kickstart their campaign against Ireland at the Nassau County Stadium in Eisenhower Park, New York on June 5.

“In terms of the upcoming T20 World Cup, I see India’s biggest challenge being adapting to conditions. They will be playing Ireland and Pakistan (plus USA) in New York, on a pitch that we don’t know what it’s going to be like. It will be a new stadium, which should be a brilliant and excellent venue.”

“But they will be playing on a pitch of which we have no previous information about. For me, that can cause issues because one of the hardest thing that comes in winning away from home is always about how you play conditions. In T20s especially, it can be difficult. So, the tournament slowly moves collectively down to the Caribbean islands.”

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“But if you would ask me about the tournament and the template on how you wish to win as a team, be clear in your roles and how you want to achieve things will help you in taking confidence to the next stage of the competition. So, their biggest challenge will be adapting to conditions in USA and West Indies,” he concluded.

–IANS

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U.S. at risk of losing Winter Olympics if it probes Chinese swimmers, says Dick Pound

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U.S. at risk of losing Winter Olympics if it probes Chinese swimmers, says Dick Pound

U.S. at risk of losing Winter Olympics if it probes Chinese swimmers, says Dick Pound

Lausanne (Switzerland), July 18 (IANS) There is a possibility that the United States may lose the Olympics if its law enforcement agencies go too far in the investigation of the alleged doping case of Chinese swimmers, according to former senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound.

Pound, who is also the World Anti-Doping Agency’s founding president, told an international news agency that The Rodchenkov Act the U.S. is using to investigate the contamination case of 23 Chinese swimmers is non-compliant with the world anti-doping code.

Any country not compliant with the code is not allowed to compete in or stage international sporting events. The Rodchenkov Act gives the United States broad extraterritorial jurisdiction to any international sporting competitions, either participated by American athletes or having financial connections to the United States, Xinhua said on Wednesday quoting the report.

“I guess that one of the steps that WADA is going to take at this point is to turn this particular issue over to the compliance review committee.

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“Which I suspect, if or when there’s a hearing on it, they will declare the U.S. non-compliant. It would mean they could not host the Olympics,” Pound was quoted by Reuters.

Pound said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) might consider delaying the confirmation of Salt Lake City as host of the 2034 Winter Olympics.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) has voiced its support for WADA while expressing concerns about the safety of its officials. The U.S. Department of Justice, probing WADA’s handling of the case, has summoned the executive director of World Aquatics, Brent Nowicki, to testify in the case.

A review by Swiss independent prosecutor Eric Cottier looking into WADA’s handling of the case has reached the conclusion that WADA was not “biased” and had no irregularities while the audit by World Aquatics reached similar conclusions that there was no mismanagement or cover-up.

–IANS

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ATP Tour: Zverev shakes off pain during Hamburg win over Jesper de Jong

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ATP Tour: Zverev shakes off pain during Hamburg win over Jesper de Jong

ATP Tour: Zverev shakes off pain during Hamburg win over Jesper de Jong

Hamburg (Germany), July 17 (IANS) While he continues to manage pain in his left knee resulting from a nasty fall at Wimbledon, Germany’s Alexander Zverev enjoyed a comfortable first-round win at the Hamburg Open, defeating Jesper de Jong in straight sets here on Wednesday.

The World No. 4, who overextended his knee during a slip and fell in a third-round win over Cameron Norrie at the grass-court major, dropped just seven points on his first serve and did not face a break point in a 6-2, 6-2 win over Jesper de Jong.

“I was still unsure this morning if I was going to play or not and during the warm-up, I was in quite a lot of pain,” said Zverev, who has a bone oedema and tear in the capsule of his knee.

“But somehow when I step on this court it disappears a little bit when the adrenaline gets going,” he was quoted as saying by the ATP Tour in a report on Wednesday.

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“I have an injury where I know where I stand, and it will take time to heal. It won’t heal in the next few days, it will take weeks and it’s up to me if I am going to play like that or not,” he said.

Making a successful transition from his fourth-round run at Wimbledon to the clay on home soil in Germany, the defending champion collected his 41st match win of the season and improved to 12-1 in first-round outings this season.

–IANS

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Sub-Jr Men, Women North Zone Hockey: Haryana prevail over Uttarakhand 2-1 on Day 3

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Sub-Jr Men, Women North Zone Hockey: Haryana prevail over Uttarakhand 2-1 on Day 3

Sub-Jr Men, Women North Zone Hockey: Haryana prevail over Uttarakhand 2-1 on Day 3

Jhansi (U.P), July 17 (IANS) Hockey Haryana defeated Hockey Uttarakhand in a preliminary group match in the men’s section on the third day of the 2nd Hockey India Sub-junior Men & Women North Zone Championship 2024 here on Wednesday.

Hockey Haryana took on Hockey Uttarakhand in the first match of the day and won 2-1. The goal scorers for Hockey Haryana were Sachin (5’) and Tushar (56’), while Sarthak Mahar (35’) scored for Hockey Uttarakhand.

Sachin broke the deadlock in the fifth minute of the game with a fine field goal, putting Hockey Uttarakhand on the back foot.

However, they struck back through their captain, Sarthak Mahar, with a well-taken penalty corner in the 35th minute. Going into halftime, the score was tied at 1-1.

Hockey Haryana took the lead again through Tushar (56’) with just four minutes remaining in the game. Hockey Haryana were awarded a penalty corner, and Tushar found the back of the net, ensuring Hockey Haryana secured the winning points.

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Meanwhile, in the last match of the Men’s category played on Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh Hockey beat Hockey Punjab by 9-1. For Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Shahrukh Ali (3’, 20’), Kushwaha Ketan (15’, 38’, 43’), Ankit Patel (27’), Rahul Yadav (50’, 59’) and Shubhankar Sonkar (56’), got on the scoresheet, while for Hockey Punjab, Jashanpreet Singh (10’) was the lone scorer.

–IANS

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Golf: Vidhatri takes a one-shot lead over three others in 9th Leg of Women's Tour

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Golf: Vidhatri takes a one-shot lead over three others in 9th Leg of Women's Tour

Golf: Vidhatri takes a one-shot lead over three others in 9th Leg of Women's Tour

Hosur (TN), July 17 (IANS) Vidhatri Urs, who finished in the Top-3 in her first two starts as a professional on the Women’s Pro Golf Tour, led the field by one shot after the first round in the ninth leg of the Tour at the par-71 Clover Greens course here on Wednesday. Playing in her only third event as a professional, though she has won on the Hero WPGT earlier as an amateur, Vidhatri carded a fine 3-under 68.

Vidhatri, who had five birdies against two bogeys, leads by one shot over a trio of players, Sneha Singh, the 2023 Order of Merit winner, promising amateur Saanvi Somu, and another emerging young star, Karishma Govind. They all shot 2-under 69 each.

Vidhatri, who has been knocking on the door of a win as a professional, birdied the third but dropped shots on the next two holes and turned in 1-over. On the back nine, Vidhatri birdied the 10th, 12th, 15th, and 17th and had no bogeys as she carded 3-under 68.

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Sneha had an eagle on Par-3 ninth and three other birdies against one bogey and one double bogey. Saanvi Somu had a steady 69 with three birdies against one bogey. Mannat Brar was 4-under through 15 holes, but a bogey on the 16th and a double on the 17th pulled her back.

Shweta Mansingh had a good start with three birdies in the first five holes, but she also dropped shots on the second and the fifth. Then bogeys on Par-5 ninth and 10th took her over par, but a late birdie on the Par-4 15th hole brought her back in red figures at 1-under 70.

Agrima Manral had 10 pars in a row before two birdies on the 11th and 13th and then had bogeys on the 16th and the 18th.

Emphasising the depth in Indian women’s golf, another amateur Mannat Brar was tied with the seasoned Gaurika Bishnoi in fifth place at 1-under 70, as six players shot under par on the first day at the Par-71 Clover Greens at Hosur. Anvitha Narender, winner of the eighth leg, Shweta Mansingh, and Agrima Manral were tied for seventh at even par rounds of 71.

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Five others, Hitaashee Bakshi, Amandeep Drall, Rhea Purvi Saravanan, Jahaanvie Walia, and amateur Anuradha Chaudhuri were tied for 10th with scores of 1-over 72 each. The entire field finished in single-digit scores.

–IANS

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Paris Olympics: How an injury helped Jyothi Yarraji get stronger and confident for the Games

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Paris Olympics: How an injury helped Jyothi Yarraji get stronger and confident for the Games

Paris Olympics: How an injury helped Jyothi Yarraji get stronger and confident for the Games

Mumbai, July 17 (IANS) There is success at the end of adversity for all those hard-working people who have a positive attitude. Indian hurdler Jyothi Yarraji found a silver lining in troubled times when she suffered an injury in May, just a couple of months before the Olympic Games in Paris.

Jyothi was left a bit scared when she suffered a hip flexor injury while competing in Finland in May but the 24-year-old National Record holder in women’s 100m hurdles, maintained a positive attitude and worked hard in the gym, working on her upper body, even though she could not walk and run.

As a result, says coach James Hillier, Jyothi is now stronger and better prepared for the Olympics than she was earlier, the injury actually coming out to be a blessing in disguise for the athlete supported by Reliance Foundation.

“Yeah, it’s an interesting situation because it was effectively five weeks from the injury to when she raced at the Inter-state (National Inter-State Athletics Championship in Panchkula, Haryana). And Jyothi did just one session before that, effectively one run over hurdles. So, after one practice session before the competition, she still ran 13.06 seconds, which is phenomenal. So, actually, she’s gained confidence after the injury. I believe she’s more confident now than had she not had the injury,” Hillier said during an interaction organised by Reliance Foundation.

Hillier discussed in detail the impact the injury break had on her preparations and how it steeled her resolve to continue working on her strength and become better.

“She never stopped training (despite the injury). So, the only day she didn’t train was the next day when she couldn’t physically walk. After that, she was in the gym. She was straight in the gym. She was doing upper body, she was doing everything that she could do. So, what we did is we just changed the focus of training. She was in the gym five hours a day doing strength training, postural training, coordination training, proprioception training, all this sort of stuff.

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“Now, she’s come back from the injury, and she’s now fitter, faster, stronger than she would have been had she not got injured. I’m absolutely convinced of it. What she’s been doing in training here has been phenomenal.

“Her posture now, the position she’s hitting are so good because she’s had five weeks of strength training. So, okay, she wasn’t doing hurdle training at that time, but she didn’t need to do hurdle training. She’s already fit for that. So, the opportunity for us to change the focus of training has actually, I believe, delivered us a better athlete and a better, better-prepared athlete for the Olympic Games.

Hillier said Jyothi has learned a lot from that injury and how it has helped her use adversity to build for success.

“So, this injury has been part of her journey and has actually been a really, really positive thing, not a negative thing. So, yeah, and kudos to Jyothi, because her mindset during this has been so professional. She accepted the injury very, very quickly, and she went straight into focus, focusing on the training that we gave her. And she was extremely positive, extremely dedicated, and, you know, the things that she’s learned from this injury will make her a stronger person and a stronger athlete in this Olympic Games,” said Hillier on Wednesday.

Hillier said Jyothi has emerged better and stronger from the injury. He said this would help her perform better at the Olympics.

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“I believe she’s a better and stronger person for this injury. Everybody that’s at the Olympics will have issues, right? Everybody’s going to be dealing with stuff. So this is part of an athlete’s life, you know, this is how it goes. But, yeah, I believe now she’s stronger than she’s ever been, in the mind, in the body, and the injury is part of the preparation, and it’s weirdly been a good thing. So, yeah, let’s see how it all goes,” said the coach about her ward with whom he has been working since 2018.

On her part, Jyothi said the injury was one of the numerous disappointments she has faced in the last few years. She said keeping a positive mindset helped her overcome that difficult period and emerge stronger.

“There are a lot of disappointing moments. There is one in every situation we face. Whenever I face some challenges, whenever I hit some hurdles or I break the record, still it’s not considered or I can’t do what I want in the race all the time. I used to just tell myself that ‘we are humans. It’s okay. Just keep focusing. Don’t lose yourself. And you have a bright future’. The things, everything, positivity, whatever I can tell to myself and I go forward and do the things just I said to myself.

“I really got a little scared because it’s really ahead of the Olympics, it’s not a good time to occur. The injuries, we can’t change. Nobody accepted it this time. Everyone else is training, but we won’t be able to do what we want to do. So, the time I just cry and we see that. So I don’t do that. I always go to the gym if I have pain in the flexor. I just worked on my upper body and I work on my calves and work for my harmonies, hamstrings, and I did meditation, breathing exercises, and worked on my concentration,” said Jyothi about how she worked her way through the injury setback,” she said.

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Jyothi, the Asian Championship, Asian Games, and Summer University Games medallist, said she worked step by step in the gym, building on strength and making the most of the opportunity. Asked how she managed to keep a positive attitude during this testing period and the various others she faced over the years, Jyothi said her first reaction to problems and adversity is to cry herself out and get into repairing the problem and improving herself.

“If anything goes wrong, I will cry. Then I will remove my pain and start again. That’s it. But the thing is, this is my job, right? This is what I love to do. So I have to accept the minus points and try to go forward. I don’t have any options. I don’t have any second option. This is what it is, it is a do-or-die situation. If I’m not working on improving myself, then I won’t be able to do it in my whole future. I have to push now. If I’m not pushing now, I’m breaking my hopes and my career and my capabilities, unable to be what I want to be in the future,” said Jyothi, who is currently training in Poland. She will be participating in an event this weekend before reaching Paris on July 29.

–IANS

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