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Forging relationships and handling transitions among Gautam Gambhir’s challenges as India coach

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Forging relationships and handling transitions among Gautam Gambhir’s challenges as India coach

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) With Gautam Gambhir assuming the role of head coach, he inherits a formidable India men’s team that recently secured victory in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 and made notable runners-up appearances in the 2023 ODI World Cup and World Test Championship. As he embarks on his stint until 2027, Gambhir faces a multitude of challenges.

The first challenge Gambhir faces is to find his footing and build camaraderie in a dressing room with players he was previously teammates with -– like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli among others. Rajat Bhatia, the former all-rounder for Delhi and Kolkata Knight Riders, believes Gambhir’s ability to support players and everyone associated with the team will be advantageous for him.

“He backs not only the players but also the coaching staff. That is one of the reasons why KKR won –- they had a good side and there is no doubt about that. Chandrakant Pandit and Abhishek Nayar are very good coaches and they already were doing their part in a very decent manner.”

“But I think Gautam Gambhir was one of the missing links which they required. He’s the kind of guy who normally can make decisions and back his own team. Before the start of IPL 2024, I predicted that he is going to make Sunil Narine open again because that is the same formula he used in 2014. So, he believes one of the formulas applied before can give him a correct answer, and that is what he is going to apply again and again,” says Bhatia to IANS.

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Gambhir’s route to becoming the head coach of the Indian team has involved taking on mentorship roles in the IPL, despite lacking substantial coaching experience beforehand. This was also the case for Ravi Shastri and Anil Kumble when they were appointed to the top job in the Indian team.

Under Gambhir’s mentorship, Lucknow Super Giants entered playoffs in consecutive seasons. He then switched to mentoring Kolkata Knight Riders — the team he led to two IPL titles — and got them the trophy in May.

Though Bhatia admits to being a little bit concerned about Gambhir’s lack of coaching roles beyond being the mentor of LSG and KKR respectively, at the same time, he feels the two-time World Cup winner can switch seamlessly from a mentor to head coach.

“Now, a different name is being given to this kind of job. If you normally see, a mentor and coach are very similar now. You just need your staff – like a batting coach or an assistant coach. Already you get so much of staff and it would be right to call that he is a mentor plus coach of the Indian cricket team now.”

“He’s a guy who has already played for India for so many years and has really performed well in the two white-ball World Cup finals. I always feel he can make an optimistic transition to coaching, as it’s not like he is not having any kind of experience before.”

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“He did this mentorship for two IPL teams. Just a few months back, KKR became an IPL champion. So, he’s in a positive frame of mind in going into the Indian team as a coach. It will definitely help him; so, let’s hope for the best, that’s what I can say.”

Gambhir’s tenure will also involve managing the transition between different formats of the game for the Indian team. The retirements of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Ravindra Jadeja mark the initiation of the transition in T20Is.

The Test setup underwent incremental changes after the series against the West Indies last year, and there are plans for more substantial transitions post the World Test Championship final in 2025. India’s ODI side will also undergo a transition once the 2025 Champions Trophy concludes.

Besides the transitions, Gambhir will also need to juggle the workload of several crucial players and effectively prepare for the five-match Test tours of Australia (later this year) and England (next year).

“He has to take these challenges head-on because we just won a T20 World Cup when Rahul Dravid was there. So, definitely, it is going to be a challenge for him to maintain that kind of standard and that is the most difficult part.”

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“You can become a champion, but to stay like a champion is much more difficult, like how West Indies and Australia ruled international cricket. So, it is going to be a challenge for him to keep that standard on,” adds Bhatia.

There have been reports suggesting Abhishek Nayar, R. Vinay Kumar, Lakshmipathy Balaji, and Ryan ten Doeschate are in consideration for joining Gambhir’s support staff, something which doesn’t surprise Bhatia.

“There are many things that Gautam Gambhir would like to have. Like, he believes in his own people. He has that kind of trust in those guys and he will bring them into the system.”

“I am not too sure who all can get in, as BCCI will have theirs’ and his say too. But if he wants his own people into the system, then why not, because that’s what you want, right? That’s one reason why they have got a guy who normally believes in his system and theories,” stated Bhatia.

It remains to be seen how Gambhir will handle the various challenges as he begins a new chapter with the Indian team, this time as the head coach. How he overcomes these challenges during his tenure will heavily influence the future triumphs and destiny of the Indian team.

–IANS

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Jr Women, Men West Zone Hockey: Chhattisgarh defeat Madhya Pradesh 9-0

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Jr Women, Men West Zone Hockey: Chhattisgarh defeat Madhya Pradesh 9-0

Jr Women, Men West Zone Hockey: Chhattisgarh defeat Madhya Pradesh 9-0

Rajnandgaon (Chhattisgarh), July 23 (IANS) Chhattisgarh defeated Hockey Madhya Pradesh 9-0 in the women’s match on the third day of the 2nd Hockey India Junior Women and Men West Zone Championship 2024 here on Tuesday.

In the only match of the day, Sneha Patel (14’) gave Hockey Madhya Pradesh the lead towards the end of the first quarter before captain Palak Gupta (17’, 32’, 47’) and Chanu Khaidem Shileima (18’, 52’, 53’) both scored hattricks as Hockey Madhya Pradesh were well ahead in the contest.

Kajal (54’) and Krishna Sharma (59’) also chipped in with a goal each for Hockey Madhya Pradesh.

–IANS

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Sub-jr Men, Women West Zone Hockey: M.P, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh win on Day 1

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Sub-jr Men, Women West Zone Hockey: M.P, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh win on Day 1

Sub-jr Men, Women West Zone Hockey: M.P, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh win on Day 1

Surat, July 23 (IANS) Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh scored comprehensive victories in their respective matches in the women’s category, while Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra won in the men’s category on the opening day of the 2nd Hockey India Sub-junior Men & Women West Zone Championship 2024 here on Tuesday.

Hockey Madhya Pradesh began the Zonal Championship with a 13-0 victory against Goans Hockey in the Women’s category at Veer Narmad South Gujarat University Hockey Ground. The goal-scorers for Madhya Pradesh were Sajeda Begum (3’, 25’, 37’), Bhabar Keshar (5’), Captain Tanvi (19’, 21’, 23’, 34’, 52’), Hirva Purohit (22’), Ekta Jakhodiya (23’), Aqsa Khan (47’), and Geethasri Nammi (53’).

In the second match, Maharashtra registered a 4-2 win against Rajasthan in the women’s category. Rawat Anvi (10’, 53’) opened the account for Maharashtra but a quick brace from Lamoria Salini (19’, 25’) turned the table in Rajasthan’s favour.

Hockey Maharashtra fought back through goals from captain Yashasvi Prakash Kubde (25’, 44’) and Rawat Anvi to secure a comeback victory.

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Chhattisgarh Hockey defeated Hockey Gujarat 14-1 in the women’s category in the third match of the day. Naina (5’, 10’, 38’), Shyamlee Ray (8’, 40’), Dubee Rawat (24’, 46’, 53’, 56’), Sidar Madhu (26’, 44’, 50’), and Maurya Priyanshi (48’, 60’) got on the scoresheet for Chhattisgarh Hockey while Captain Ghadge Komal (9’) scored the lone goal for Hockey Gujarat.

The men’s category commenced with Chhattisgarh beating Goans Hockey 11-1. Sahu Piyush Kumar (24’, 37’, 39’, 45’, 46’, 49’, 55’) led the goalscoring efforts for Chhattisgarh. He was joined on the scoresheet by Avi Manikpuri (27’, 36’), Kujur Pritam (27’), and Om Kumar Yadav (42’). Gaonkar Ansh Ankush (59’) managed to score a consolation goal for Goans Hockey towards the end of the match.

The last match of the day saw Maharashtra defeat Rajasthan 3-1 in the men’s category. Vijkape Dnyaneshkumar (7’, 38’) and Thakur Siddharth Sachin (60’) scored for Maharashtra while the only goal for Rajasthan was scored by captain Amit Singh (13’).

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–IANS

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Women's Asia Cup: Harmanpreet, Pooja rested as India opt to bat first against Nepal

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Women's Asia Cup: Harmanpreet, Pooja rested as India opt to bat first against Nepal

Women's Asia Cup: Harmanpreet, Pooja rested as India opt to bat first against Nepal

Dambulla, July 23 (IANS) India stand-in captain Smriti Mandhana won the toss and opted to bat first against Nepal in a Group A match of the Women’s Asia Cup here on Tuesday. India have rested regular skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and pacer Pooja Vastrakar for the encounter. S. Sajana and Arundhati Reddy come in for the duo in India’s playing 11.

“We’d like to bat first today. In the last few years, T20 cricket has changed. It’s a collective effort, we’ve looked to take on whatever is in our range. The outfields are quick, the tracks are flat, and sometimes even 200 isn’t enough. We’ll look to trust our process and look to bat. 180 will be great, it’s about playing one ball at a time. Harman and Pooja are resting,” Mandhana said at the toss.

On the other hand, Nepal captain Indu Barma confirmed two changes in her team.

“We are ready for both. We have some youngsters who are keen to get into the contest. We are ready for every challenge; we look to give our 100%. We have two changes,” she said.

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Playing XIs:

India Women: Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana(c), Dayalan Hemalatha, Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh(w), Deepti Sharma, S Sajana, Radha Yadav, Tanuja Kanwar, Renuka Thakur Singh, Arundhati Reddy.

Nepal Women: Samjhana Khadka, Sita Rana Magar, Kabita Kunwar, Indu Barma (c), Dolly Bhatta, Rubina Chhetry, Puja Mahato, Kabita Joshi, Kajal Shrestha(w), Sabnam Rai, Bindu Rawal.

–IANS

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Paris Olympics: 'We are confident about our chances', says archer Deepika Kumari

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Paris Olympics: 'We are confident about our chances', says archer Deepika Kumari

Paris Olympics: 'We are confident about our chances', says archer Deepika Kumari

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) India’s ace archer Deepika Kumari is confident of the team’s chances in the Paris Olympics. She said clear communication in tough situations will benefit them in the quadrennial event. Indian archers will compete in all five medal events in Paris: men’s and women’s teams, individual, and mixed categories.

The women’s team boasts exceptional talent including the 2022 Asian Games bronze medallists Ankita Bhakat and Bhajan Kaur, apart from Deepika.

“The strength of any team lies in its communication and combination. It’s essential to support each other in various situations. We talk a lot and discuss how to handle different scenarios. Clear communication, especially in tough situations, is a huge strength for us. We are confident about our chances at the Olympics,” Deepika said on JioCinema’s ‘The Dreamers’.

Bhakat, who is fulfilling a lifelong dream of competing in the Olympics, expressed her confidence in the team’s progress.

“Since I started archery, I have always dreamt of playing in the Olympics. Now, that dream is coming true. In past World Cups, we rarely played podium matches, but this time it’s different. We learned from our early setbacks and improved significantly. Our performance has been consistently better in each competition, and I believe we will perform well at the Olympics,” Bhakat stated.

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She emphasised the importance of self-belief, adding, “I know what level of performance I’m capable of. When I give my 100%, the medal will surely follow.”

Bhajan echoed Bhakat’s sentiments, stressing on the importance of continuous improvement and giving their best effort. “My performance at the second World Cup was much better than the first one, so I started feeling victorious about my progress since the first World Cup,” said Kaur.

“Whenever we go for a tournament, we focus on giving our best, no matter the magnitude of the tournament. Our aim is to leave no stones unturned for the Olympics as well and we are confident that we will return from Paris with a medal.”

Bhakat also pointed out the invaluable experience of having a veteran like Deepika Kumari in the team. “It’s a great advantage that Deepika is going to the Olympics for the fourth time. She understands the challenges we might face in Paris,” she explained.

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Bhajan added, “Deepika’s experience, along with Ankita’s, is our biggest strength. They help us understand and rectify any issues in our game. Our ability to communicate and support each other is crucial.”

Deepika, one of India’s most decorated archers, has been a beacon of excellence in the sport. The former World No.1 archer has won medals in World Cups, Asian Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships, and the Asian Games.

–IANS

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Head coach Gambhir takes charge as Indian players hit the ground in Pallekele

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Head coach Gambhir takes charge as Indian players hit the ground in Pallekele

Head coach Gambhir takes charge as Indian players hit the ground in Pallekele

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) Newly-appointed head coach Gautam Gambhir has taken official charge of the Indian team as the players assembled in Pallekele on Tuesday for the first training session in Sri Lanka ahead of the limited-overs series. Suryakumar Yadav-led Indian team reached Pallekele on Monday for the upcoming three-match T20I series, followed by three ODIs. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shared a video of India’s first practice session in Pallekele on their official X account.

“Head Coach Gautam Gambhir Takes Charge!” BCCI captioned the post.

In the video, Gambhir was seen watching players closely and giving some valuable batting tips to wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson.

Before leaving for the island nation, Gambhir addressed his first press conference with chief selector Ajit Agarkar, who revealed the reason behind the appointment of Suryakumar as the T20I captain over all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

“He is one of the deserving candidates. He is one of the best T20 batters in the world. We wanted a captain who was likely to play all the games. We will see how he will do,” Agarkar told the reporters.

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“As far as Hardik is concerned, he is still a very important player. And that’s what we want him to be. Fitness has been a challenge for him over the last few years…Then it becomes difficult for the coach or selectors. I think Surya has the necessary qualities to succeed as a captain,” he added.

The first T20I between India and Sri Lanka will be played in Pallekele on Saturday.

India T20I Squad: Suryakumar Yadav (C), Ꮪhubman Gill (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rinku Singh, Riyan Parag, Rishabh Pant (WK), Sanju Samson (WK), Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohd. Siraj.

–IANS

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