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IPL 2024: 'Last year itself, Mahi bhai hinted me about captaincy…', says Gaikwad after becoming CSK skipper

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New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) Chennai Super Kings (CSK) newly appointed captain Ruturaj Gaikwad admitted that M S Dhoni himself has given him the hint of captaincy transition during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, saying “be ready for something big.”

However, the hint came true just a day before the CSK opener against Royal Challengers Bengaluru at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday, the five-time IPL winner sprung a surprise by naming right-handed opener Gaikwad as their new captain for the IPL 2024 season.

“Last year itself, Mahi bhai had hinted about captaincy at some point of time,” Gaikwad told IPLT20.com. “He just hinted that, ‘be ready, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you’. When we came into the camp, he involved me in some of the match simulations.”

Prior to the start of the IPL, Dhoni shared a cryptic post on Facebook which read “Can’t wait for the new season and the new ‘role’. Stay tuned!”, leaving his fans in awe. His post was however taken as a promotional campaign toward the broadcasters where he performed a dual role in the IPL promo ad.

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“I remember him posting about a new role on social media and everybody was pointing towards me and asking me, ‘are you the next captain?’. I was like, ‘maybe it meant something else for social media’. But back of the mind, it was there. He came and said, ‘I’ve decided this and this’, but definitely now that I’m here, I’m looking forward to this,” Gaikwad said.

He further recalled his first meeting as captain, where he met his former CSK opening partner Faf du Plessis, who now captains RCB, Gaikwad said, “I just met Faf at the (captains’) meeting and he said, ‘who would’ve thought a few years down the line, you are playing and leading RCB and me sharing the stage with you at the toss’,” Gaikwad recalled. “A lot to look forward to. It (opening game) is one of the most exciting first-day games to look forward to,” he added.

CSK secured the services of Gaikwad at the IPL 2019 player auction and since then he hasn’t disappointed with the bat. The team had gambled on Gaikwad as a player for the future in the IPL 2020 season using him as an anchoring opener who could attack when necessary.

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Making his IPL debut, CSK gave Gaikwad six matches, and he went on to score 204 runs with an impressive average of 51.00.

Gaikwad amassed an incredible 635 runs for champion CSK in 2021 as he left a big impression on Indian cricket fans, claiming the Orange Cap for scoring the most runs in the tournament.

At the end of the 2021 season, Gaikwad scored 70 against Delhi Capitals in the qualifier and combined with Faf du Plessis for 61 in the final, leading CSK to 192, which proved to be ample.

“It feels great for two reasons,” Gaikwad said of his new role. “To be part of this wonderful franchise right from when my IPL journey started and then to be trusted by MS Dhoni for a leadership role speaks a lot. The challenge lies ahead and I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ve got to know how the franchise works throughout the year, got to know their mantra, the reasons behind their success, what kind of things the franchise goes through, what Mahi bhai or the support staff do. I wouldn’t like to change a single bit of it,” he concluded.

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–IANS

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Yuvraj Singh was son Abhishek’s idol while growing up: Rajkumar Sharma

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Sunrisers Hyderabad batter Abhishek Sharma dazzled the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) with his ability to clear all sides of the park as he hammered 484 runs in 16 innings with a strike rate of 204.02.

In an exclusive conversation with IANS, Rajkumar Sharma, Abhishek’s father and childhood coach talked about the impact that players like Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Dravid have had on the young gun’s career.

“I feel very good when world-class players like Yuvraj Singh train young kids then there could not be anything better than that. Yuvi has had a huge impact on his career, he worked really hard and used to make him train all day and night,” Rajkumar Sharma told IANS.

“He used to consider Yuvraj as his idol and used to say ‘Mai Yuvi paaji ke tarah batting karunga’ (I want to bat like Yuvraj Singh). He used to watch his videos and once they started training together even Yuvi himself said ki ‘mujhe aise lag raha hai mai khud batting karraha hun’ (It seems like I am batting) and then he and his entire team used to train him, Yuvi used to himself stand and watch him bat,” he added.

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The left-handed opener made a solid statement throughout the course of the 2024 season of the IPL. He scored at a blistering strike rate of 204.22 during the season and put on some absolutely blistering knocks alongside Travis Head.

Rajkumar went on to talk about how talented and gifted his son was and how his talent lead him to meet some of the biggest names in cricket who all ultimately helped him shine at the brightest stage.

“I used to get good bowlers and he used to hit sixes and even clear the ball out of the stadium. Everyone used to be shocked that a kid hits long sixes. And I used to tell everyone he was gifted. When he got older he went to professional coaches and top players and I thanked them for this result. He met Yuvraj Singh, Rahul Dravid and Brian Lara and started traveling the country and playing well.”

–IANS

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Norway Chess: Vaishali beats Humpy; Praggnanandhaa loses to Ding Liren in Armageddon

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Stavanger, May 29 (IANS) The Second round of the Norway Chess saw all three classical games ending up in a draw once again as Magnus Carlsen, Alireza Firouzja and Ding Liren won with white in the subsequent Armageddon games to grab 1.5 points each.

India’s prodigy Praggnanandhaa R, who went with a 2-0 head-to-head lead against world champion Ding Liren, played out his first classical draw in the round of the Norway Chess 2024 main event as the Chinese GM then emerged victorious in the Armageddon tie-breaker.

In the highly anticipated pairing of the day, Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura played out closely contested classical game that ended in a draw. Carlsen, demonstrating his exceptional skill under pressure, managed to secure a crucial victory, adding to his impressive Armageddon record and taking the lead of 3 points in tournament standings.

Meanwhile, Alireza Firouzja and Fabiano Caruana also drew their classical game after a complex struggle. Firouzja’s abilities in speed chess shone through in the Armageddon game as he bagged crucial 1.5 points.

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In the women’s event, Vaishali R defeated fellow Indian Koneru Humpy to register her first classical win in the Norway Chess women’s tournament. Despite Humpy’s slight advantage in the opening, a critical blunder under time pressure allowed Vaishali to claim victory and claimed her first-ever win against India’s number one female player and became India’s number two female player on the live rating list.

The other two classical matches between Lei Tingjie and Pia Cramling along with Ju Wenjun and Anna Muzychuk ended up in hard-fought draws. The Chinese duo of Wenjun and Tingjie emerged victorious in their respective Armageddon games.

–IANS

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NBA: Doncic & Irving take the blame for Mavericks 100-105 loss against Timberwolves

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Dallas, May 28 (IANS) Luka Doncic’s triple-double couldn’t prevent the Dallas Mavericks from falling 100-105 to the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Doncic struggled from the field (7-21) and shared the team-worst minus-13 rating with teammate P.J. Washington despite scoring 28 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists.

“I think that game is on me, I just didn’t give enough energy,” said a dejected Doncic post-game to reporters.

Kyrie Irving also had a forgettable night, scoring just 16 points on inefficient shooting (6-18) with four turnovers. Both stars acknowledged their role in ending the Mavericks’ five-game winning streak. Doncic shouldered the blame for the loss, while Irving regretted his sloppy play in the first quarter that set a negative tone.

“He’s not alone in this, I expect him to say something like that, especially knowing how much he cares and how much he wants to win and how much he wants to lead our group. So I expect nothing less. I think you heard me, too, just say that it’s on me. That’s what you’re supposed to hear from your leaders of your team,” said Kyrie.

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“It’s not on them, it’s on us as a team. We are a unit. We go out there, and we play together, we win together, we lose together. It’s not on one person. I know that they’re the leaders of the team, that head of the snake, but we got their back through thick and through thin,” said Derrick Jones Jr.

Minnesota adjusted their defensive strategy, switching Jaden McDaniels to Irving and Anthony Edwards to Doncic. This marked the first time all playoffs that both Mavs stars shot below 35% from the field. Doncic, who struggled against Edwards’ defense (5-15), wouldn’t comment on the impact of the matchup, instead praising Edwards’ all-around performance (29 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists).

The series now heads to Minnesota for a pivotal Game 5, with the Mavericks still holding a commanding 3-1 lead.

–IANS

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CABI announces top 30 women blind cricketers for selection trials at Bhubaneshwar

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Bengaluru, May 29 (IANS) Cricket Association for the Blind in India(CABI) and Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled announced the top 30 women blind cricketers of India for the selection trials to be held in Bhubaneshwar from June 6 to 10.

The top 30 players were selected based on their performance in the last two years’ national tournaments. The players will compete to find their place in the top spot to represent the country. The selection committee of CABI will then select a 17-member squad with 3 reserved players to represent the country for the year 2024-25.

The 30 players have been playing national tournaments for the last 4 years and the women’s national for the blind has provided an opportunity to the players to find ways to exhibit their cricketing talents. CABI has been working throughout India to promote cricket for the blind women to empower and transform them by building an inclusive society through cricket for the blind.

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Commenting on the selection trials chairman of CABI Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar said “The continuous hard work of CABI and all the state boards have helped in creating this platform for the blind women to represent the country through cricket for the blind. We formed the women’s team in 2023 and we have found a lot of success through last year’s performance in the IBSA World Games by securing the gold beating Australia by 9 wickets and winning the first ever international bilateral series in India against Nepal by 4-1 lead.”

The 5-day selection trials will be held at IIG Sports Academy KT Global School Khordha Bhubaneshwar and each player will be evaluated based on their performances during the selection trials. CABI has appointed 4 observers who will submit the report to CABI selection committee and then the committee will announce the 17-member squad with the additional 3 reserved players for the year 2024 to represent the country in the upcoming events.

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“The top 30 players come from 11 states of India and this is an opportunity for the players to learn from each other which helps each individual to find better exposure through cricket for the Blind. Cricket for the Blind is a positive transformative tool to empower and transform these cricketers to be powerful individuals to inspire the millions across the globe.” said Buse Gowda, president of CABI.

Top 30 women cricketers selected for the selection trials:

1. Varsha U – Karnataka

2. Valasanaini Ravanni – Andhra Pradesh

3. Simu Das -Rajasthan

4. Padmini Tudu – Odisha

5. Killaka Sandhya – Andhra Pradesh

6. Priya – Madhya Pradesh

7. Saloni – Rajasthan

8. J Chandrakala – Andhra Pradesh

9. Jamuna Rani Tudu – Odisha

10. Nandni Kalam: Madhya Pradesh

11. Sandra Davis Karimalikkal – Kerala

12. Basanti Hansda – Odisha

13. Simranjeet Kaur – Rajasthan

14. Sunita Sarathe – Madhya Pradesh

15. Pritiben Desai – Gujarat

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16. Mainka – Delhi

17. Bimla Sandil – Jharkhand

18. Rachana Jena – Odisha

19. Noori – Delhi

20. Deepika T C – Karnataka

21. Sushma Patel – Madhya Pradesh

22. M. Satyavathi – Andhra Pradesh

23. Phula Saren – Odisha

24. Jhili Birua – Odisha

25. Ganga Sambhaji Kadam – Maharashtra

26. Geetha Mahato – Jharkhand

27. Kavya N R – Karnataka

28. Muni Purty – Odisha

29. Pratima Ghosh – West Bengal

30. Ramya Chodipilli – Andhra Pradesh

–IANS

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T2O World Cup: Indian team opts for ground session ahead of practice match at New York

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New York, May 29 (IANS) The Indian men’s cricket team ahead of the T20 World Cup had their first ground session, here on Wednesday.

Soham Desai, strength & conditioning coach led the Indin team’s light running session with some fun activities. However, the team opted out of any cricket practices as they chose to adapt to the timing zone of the USA.

“We didn’t have any practice session today as the motive of the ground session was to make the body adapt to the timing zones. The key thing playing in away condition is to prepare your body and be mentally prepared for the challenges, so that is what we are developing for now,” said Soham Desai to BCCI.

Skipper Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and traveling substitutes Shubman Gill and Khaleel Ahmed were involved in the activity.

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India is set to play their lone warm-up game against Bangladesh at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on June 1. Their Men’s T20 World Cup campaign begins on June 5 against Group A opponents Ireland in New York, followed by a highly-anticipated clash against Pakistan on June 9

India will then face co-hosts USA on June 12 in New York, before going to Florida to take on Canada on June 15 to wrap up their Group A league matches. India were the inaugural winners of the Men’s T20 World Cup in 2007 and are aiming to claim the silverware for just the second time through the upcoming tournament.

–IANS

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