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'I don't think it's sunk in yet': Atkinson on debut Test burst of 7-45 at Lord's

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'I don't think it's sunk in yet': Atkinson on debut Test burst of 7-45 at Lord's

Lord’s, July 11 (IANS) England pacer Gus Atkinson wreaked havoc in his Test debut against West Indies at Lord’s as he returned with the figures of 7-45 to bowl out visitors for 121 on the opening day of the match.

On James Anderson’s farewell international match, Atkinson displayed commendable skills in his bowling and kept the Windies batters at bay. The 26-year-old pacer was amazed with his performance and said it was beyond what he could dream of.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I was looking up at the board seeing my figures and just thinking, ‘Wow.’ A very special day,” Atkinson reflected after the day’s play. “I was a bit nervous this morning. I woke up and all I could think about was the day ahead. I was a bit emotional this morning and then having my family there for my cap presentation – if you could have asked me what I wanted from my day that was pretty close to the top. It was pretty cool. Just to take a five-for is amazing, more than I could have dreamed of.

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On a sluggish Day 1 pitch, Atkinson was called into the assault after the West Indies appeared to have sailed beyond the early turbulent waters, reaching 34 for no loss. Visiting captain Kraigg Brathwaite inside-edged Atkinson’s second delivery to the leg-stump. He had bowled three overs and grabbed two wickets before conceding his first run.

Atkinson admitted to being nervous during his first over and recalled his father’s advice to “relax”.

“I was trying to keep as level as possible. My dad was saying, ‘It’s the biggest day of your life.’ I was like ‘Relax! Relax – try not to think like that.’ I was a bit nervous to start with but once the first few overs were bowled I was pretty calm,” he reflected.

Atkinson relied on his ability to bowl fast cross-seam deliveries. He combined this by exploiting the Lord’s slope to good effect, as seen by left-handers Kirk McKenzie and Alick Athanaze getting thick edges to the slip cordon.

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“My stock ball is that scrambled seam, it felt like today, bowling with the slope, bowling from the Pavilion End, that was my most dangerous ball,” Atkinson said.

“I was targeting fourth stump and trying to run it down the hill and with the left-handers, I was trying to push it across them with the odd in-swinger. I felt like that was the best way I could get the wickets. The seam was probably a bit more scrambled than I’d like but that is something I can work on. I feel like I can bowl quicker and hit the pitch harder when I bowl scrambled seam and it’s worked pretty well for me in the past.”

Antinkon’s second spell produced more fireworks as he took three wickets on fours balls in his ninth over, dismantling West Indies’ middle order. During the process, he also joined the growing list of England players including Tom Hartley, Josh Tongue, Rehan Ahmed, and Will Jacks, who have taken a five-for on their Test debut under Ben Stokes’ captaincy.

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Atkinson continued his stunning run by taking two more wickets in his 11th over to wrap up his debut Test performance with seven scalps.

“The focus was on Jimmy so it was nice to go under the radar a bit and just focus on performing as best as I could,” Atkinson said. “To be out there alongside Jimmy in his final test was incredible, being in the Long Room, Jimmy leading us on the pitch was a pretty surreal moment.

“I’ve played a few white ball games here. It was special, I’ve always felt like I would bowl quite well here with the red ball so to be able to come out and get the opportunity in the first Test of the summer is great, and thankfully it went well,” the pacer added.

–IANS

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Maharaja Trophy KSCA T20: Mayank, Devdutt, Karun among retained players ahead of auction

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Maharaja Trophy KSCA T20: Mayank, Devdutt, Karun among retained players ahead of auction

Maharaja Trophy KSCA T20: Mayank, Devdutt, Karun among retained players ahead of auction

Bengaluru, July 20 (IANS) Senior players Mayank Agarwal, Devdutt Padikkal, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Abhinav Manohar, and Vyshak Vijaykumar were among the stars retained by the franchises for the Maharaja Trophy KSCA T20 Season 3 ahead of the auction, scheduled later this month.

The tournament, scheduled for August 15 to September 1 at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, will see defending champions Hubli Tigers, runners-up Mysore Warriors, Gulbarga Mystics, Bengaluru Blasters, Mangaluru Dragons, and Shivamogga Lions vying for the title.

Each franchise exercised their right to retain four players from their previous season’s squad, ahead of the player auction which is scheduled for July 25.

Hubli Tigers retained the services of skipper Manish Pandey, who returns from a championship season with the Kolkata Knight Riders, wicketkeeper Shrijith KL and the young all-rounder, Manvanth Kumar.

Ace medium pacer, Vidwath Kaverappa will also return to lead the Hubli Tigers’ bowling attack. Notably, Manish Pandey and Shrijith KL were amongst the top five run-scorers in the previous season while Manvanth Kumar was the leading wicket-taker.

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Last year’s runners-up, Mysore Warriors prioritised a strong top order with the retention of last season’s top scorer and captain Karun Nair, the explosive CA Karthik, and the prodigious S.U Karthik. The hard-hitting all-rounder Manoj Bhandage will also feature for the Mysore Warriors yet again.

While the southpaw Devdutt Paddikal was forced to miss Gulbarga Mystics’ previous campaign due to an injury, he returns to strengthen the Mystics batting unit this season. The Royal Challengers Bengaluru pacer Vyshak Vijaykumar has also been retained along with batters Smaran Ravi and Aneesh KV.

The Shivamogga Lions retained Abhinav Manohar who was also the most expensive player in last year‘s auction with a price tag of 15 lakh. Furthermore, Nihal Ullal and Shivraj also return to provide the Lions with a formidable batting lineup. The experienced medium pacer Vasuki Koushik has also been retained by the Shivamogga Lions.

The Mangaluru Dragons will see the return of top-order batter, Nikin Jose, who missed out on a majority of the previous season due to NCA commitments. Rohan Patil, Siddharth KV and Paras Gurbax Arya complete their list of retentions.

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While the Bengaluru Blasters had a lukewarm season last year, their retentions include the experienced opener, Mayank Agarwal, Suraj Ahuja, all-rounder Shubhang Hegde and Mohsin Khan.

B.K. Sampath Kumar, Commissioner of the Maharaja Trophy and vice-president of KSCA, expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming season, he said, “We are eagerly anticipating another exciting season of the Maharaja Trophy. Player retention is a significant part of our franchise model, introduced last year. This continuity allows each team to build a strong culture and identity while retaining some of their key players.”

The tournament will be broadcast on Star Sports 2, StarSports Kannada and streamed on FanCode.

–IANS

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Paris Olympics: India's archery coach to return home over denial of accreditation

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Paris Olympics: India's archery coach to return home over denial of accreditation

Paris Olympics: India's archery coach to return home over denial of accreditation

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) India’s archery squad will be in the spotlight at the Paris Olympics as it aims to bring the country’s maiden medal in the sport at the Games. However, according to reports, the preparations have hit a roadblock as the squad’s Korean chief coach Baek Woong Ki has been denied accreditation to the tournament which means he will return to India with his flight being booked for Saturday evening.

“I have been preparing with the goal of helping India win a medal for the first time at the Paris Olympics. However, I believe that appointing a foreign coach but excluding (me) from the Olympic Games archery team is a big mistake by the IOA and a decision that does not follow the original plan and goals,” he was qu.

The Archery coach is highly regarded worldwide and was the head coach of the South Korean contingent that won a gold medal at the event in the 2012 London Olympics. Upon the latest events, Woong Ki is said to be highly upset with him even stating “I do not want to continue anymore. I just want to go back to South Korea.”

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“Paris Olympics is India’s best chance to win a medal in archery. It is very unfortunate that I cannot be with the team right now. I can only send messages to the team and I have told them what they should be doing during the tournament. I hope the Indian archers win a medal at the Olympics. We have been training hard to win a medal but at a very important stage (the Olympics), I am not appointed coach,” added Woong Ki.

–IANS

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Paris Olympics Countdown: After Rio, Tokyo debacle, shooters aim for bull's eye in France

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Paris Olympics Countdown: After Rio, Tokyo debacle, shooters aim for bull's eye in France

Paris Olympics Countdown: After Rio, Tokyo debacle, shooters aim for bull's eye in France

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) India’s 21-member shooting squad is the second largest after athletics in the upcoming Paris Olympics. It is also India’s largest-ever shooting contingent in the history of the Games, surpassing the previous best of 15 from Tokyo. As the number of shooters has increased in the squad, the expectations from them have also multiplied many folds after firing blanks and returning empty-handed from the last two Olympics despite putting up a record number of players.

In fact, India’s last Olympic medal(s) in the sport came in the 2012 London Olympics when Vijay Kumar shot a silver in men’s 25m rapid fire pistol and Gagan Narang claimed a bronze medal in men’s 10m air rifle. Narang is currently in Paris as India’s Chef-de-Mission.

India’s first Olympic medal in shooting was bagged by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore when he claimed silver in men’s double trap in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Since then the country has clinched three more medals in the sport including Abhinav Bindra’s gold in men’s 10m air rifle in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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This time, India may expect a better result in shooting and hope to continue the medal-winning trend which has been on hold since the last two Games. One main reason for optimism is that the shooters have undergone extensive training and participated in many competitions, winning medals and setting records. According to Suma Shirur, head coach of the rifle team, the shooters have also worked on the mental aspect of the game through simulation and mental warm-up.

India have earned a record 21 quota places for the quadrennial showpiece event. Manu Bhaker will be the only shooter to participate in more than one individual event — the women’s 10m air pistol and the women’s 25m pistol. It will be her second Olympics after making her debut in the Games in Tokyo.

Along with eight individual rifle and pistol events offering a possible 16 medal opportunities, India will have a record six starts in the four individual shotgun events. Five mixed teams, two each for rifle and pistol and one for shotgun, will also be competed in by India.

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Apart from Manu, India’s Olympic shooting team for Paris 2024 includes returning rifle shooters Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Anjum Moudgil, and Elavenil Valarivan, alongside 11 debutants.

Sift Kaur Samra, the 50m rifle 3 positions gold medalist at the recent Asian Games, and 19-year-old Esha Singh, who won four medals at the Hangzhou Asian Games, joined the team. The pistol team features Manu, Esha Singh, and Rhythm Sangwan.

Notable omissions include Rudrankksh Patil, Divyansh Singh Panwar, and Ashi Chouksey. The 10m air pistol team includes Asian Games champions Sarabjot Singh and Arjun Singh Cheema.

The shotgun squad, announced after the ISSF World Cup in June, features Anant Jeet Singh Naruka (men’s skeet), Maheshwari Chauhan and Raiza Dhillon (women’s skeet), Prithviraj Tondaiman (men’s trap), Rajeshwari Kumari and Shreyashi Singh (women’s trap). Shreyasi Singh joined after a quota swap approved by the ISSF, replacing two-time Olympian Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Bhowneesh Mendiratta, who earned India’s first Paris 2024 quota.

The squad boasts a great mix of experience and young talents vying for the coveted podium finish in the French capital.

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India have so far won four medals in shooting in the Olympics — one gold, two silver and one bronze. It is to be seen whether they will add any more to this.

India shooting team for Paris Olympics:

Rifle

Men’s 10m air rifle: Sandeep Singh, Arjun Babuta

Women’s 10m air rifle: Elavenil Valarivan, Ramita Jindal

Women’s 50m rifle 3 positions: Sift Kaur Samra, Anjum Moudgil

Men’s 50m rifle 3 positions: Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Swapnil Kusale

10m air rifle mixed team: Sandeep Singh/Elavenil Valarivan, Arjun Babuta/Ramita Jindal

Pistol

Men’s 10m air pistol: Sarabjot Singh, Arjun Cheema

Women’s 10m air pistol: Manu Bhaker, Rhythm Sangwan

Men’s 25m rapid fire pistol: Anish Bhanwala, Vijayveer Sidhu

Women’s 25m pistol: Manu Bhaker, Esha Singh

10m air pistol mixed team: Sarabjot Singh/Manu Bhaker, Arjun Singh Cheema/Rhythm Sangwan

Shotgun

Men’s trap: Prithviraj Tondaiman

Women’s trap: Rajeshwari Kumari, Shreyasi Singh

Men’s skeet: Anantjeet Singh Naruka

Women’s skeet: Maheshwari Chauhan, Raiza Dhillon

Skeet mixed team: Anantjeet Singh Naruka/Maheshwari Chauhan

–IANS

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LPL 2024: ‘Consistency’ is key, says Falcons' captain Hasaranga ahead of Qualifier 2 against Kings

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LPL 2024: ‘Consistency’ is key, says Falcons' captain Hasaranga ahead of Qualifier 2 against Kings

LPL 2024: ‘Consistency’ is key, says Falcons' captain Hasaranga ahead of Qualifier 2 against Kings

Colombo, July 20 (IANS) Kandy Falcons’ captain Wanindu Hasaranga has spoken about the friendly atmosphere within the team as his side prepares to take on Jaffna Kings in Qualifier 2 of the Lanka Premier League 2024. Last year, Kandy Falcons won three successive playoff games — Eliminator, Qualifier 2, and Final — to seal the LPL trophy. This year, they have made a winning start to the Playoffs again, beating Colombo Strikers in the Eliminator.

Ahead of Qualifier 2, skipper Hasaranga asked for consistency from his players. “As players and as a team, we have to be consistent. We need to have consistency to win the tournament. Anyone can win matches, but to win tournaments, you need experience, confidence, and consistency. That is the main thing,” Hasaranga said.

Hasaranga said that having won three Playoff games on the trot in LPL 2023, the Kandy Falcons had confidence in the ranks that they could do it again. In fact, this season, defending champions Kandy Falcons needed to win their last league game by a big margin to give themselves a chance of making the Playoffs on a better net run rate. They did exactly that, with a 54-run win over Dambulla Sixers.

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In the Eliminator, Hasaranga praised his bowlers for keeping the target to a manageable 160 a performance that Hasaranga credited to his bowling attack, “Credit goes to the bowlers, they took the wickets and restricted them.”

“We have a great bunch of players. Our overseas players are very friendly. Some of them have been with us for two years, so they are very friendly with the staff and the local players are also getting experience from them. Some of our local players are also experienced and they pass on that to the younger players. So it is a great team,” Hasaranga said after taking 2-21 in the Eliminator victory.

Kandy Falcons will take on Jaffna Kings in Qualifier 2 at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

–IANS

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Paris Olympics: 'The mood is certainly upbeat', Gagan Narang on Indian contingent

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Paris Olympics: 'The mood is certainly upbeat', Gagan Narang on Indian contingent

Paris Olympics: 'The mood is certainly upbeat', Gagan Narang on Indian contingent

Paris, July 20 (IANS) As the first teams arrived in the Olympic Village, India’s Chef-De-Mission Gagan Narang expressed that the contingent is upbeat and eager to begin their campaign.

“I arrived here in Paris on Thursday night and have taken stock of the arrangements inside the Games Village for the Indian contingent. Archery and Rowing were the first Indian teams to arrive on Friday and have comfortably checked-in. The athletes are slowing settling in and are exploring the Village,” stated the 2012 London Olympics Bronze Medallist.

He further stated the mood is that of excitement and anticipation. “The mood is certainly upbeat. We have the Indian Men’s Hockey Team arriving on Saturday. Surely, I am reminded of my hay days at the Olympics as an athlete. While there is a lot of excitement, athletes will also want to get some game time on the competition arenas. We want to make sure the athletes’ have everything they need ahead of the start of their respective events,” added Narang.

The decorated Indian shooter who is also the recipient of the prestigious Khel Ratna Award and the Padma Shri award expressed gratitude to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for appointing him as the Chef-de-Mission for the Paris Olympics.

“It is a matter of great honour for me to travel with the Indian contingent as the Chef-de-Mission for Paris Olympics. I express my heartfelt gratitude for considering me for the role, and giving me a chance to once again serve my country on the sports’ biggest stage,” he said.

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The four-time Olympian vouched to serve the best interests of the Indian contingent, as the spokesperson, mentor, supporter, and cheerleader, before and during the Paris Olympics. Narang further added that he understands the responsibilities on his shoulders and will hope to motivate the athletes.

“As an athlete myself, I fully understand the requirements of elite athletes at the world’s greatest sporting extravaganza. I will work strenuously to motivate and inspire the Indian contingent, while also safeguarding their priorities to perform their optimum. I am delighted to have the opportunity to play the role of the primary liaison between our athletes, the organizing committees, and other relevant stakeholders during the Games and will ensure a smooth and efficient process,” he said.

A total of 117 athletes will be competing from India across 20 disciplines at the Paris Olympics. Narang praised the strong Indian contingent and expressed delight in having several medal contenders in each sport.

“It is a matter of great pride for me to see the growing number of medal contenders in the Indian contingent. Each and every athlete in our contingent is capable of not only being on-par against the best athletes of the world, but can also surpass them and bring laurels to the nation. Having a strong contingent puts India on the hot seat as we gear up for Paris,” he said.

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Narang also highlighted the support from various stakeholders to ensure Indian athletes have the best facilities to perform to their potential.

“There has been unprecedented coordination between all the stakeholders particularly Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS), Sports Authority of India (SAI), the National Sports Federations (NSFs) and the IOA. Everyone is synced up with the personal coaches and the various support staff traveling with the athletes to ensure everything is aligned and there are no last-minute shortcomings. Efforts have been made to accommodate requests from federations and players put in time before the deadlines to accommodate necessary personal coaches and support staff,” emphasised Narang.

He further acknowledged the fully-equipped medical team that is part of the Indian contingent who will be working round-the-clock during the Games and Narang also congratulated the efforts behind the India House.

“The India House is truly home away from home. I commend the efforts of Reliance Foundation and IOA to reflect India’s culture and legacy of commemorating 100 years of the country’s participation in the Olympics. I also thank the sponsors for supporting the endeavours of IOA.”

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“I would also like to express my gratitude to the medical team traveling with the contingent. They play a very crucial role in India’s campaign and I am happy to note that they are full-equipped to handle any kind of medical emergency,” he added.

Narang further expressed hopes that the Indian athletes have a good time at the Paris Olympics, and offered his best wishes to the contingent. “I feel elated to see all corners of our nation joining hands to support Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi sir’s vision of developing our country into a sporting powerhouse.”

“Having competed at the Olympics in the past, I am aware of the pressure that an athlete faces on such a big platform. I hope all athletes are able to also enjoy their time in Paris as competing at the Olympics is the biggest honour for a sportsperson, and it is important create memories. I wish them the best for the upcoming Games and I am confident we will surpass our record from Tokyo Olympics,” he signed off.

–IANS

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