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IPL 2024: MI not thinking where they will eventually finish as they gear up for KKR, says Romario Shepherd

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IPL 2024: MI not thinking where they will eventually finish as they gear up for KKR, says Romario Shepherd

Mumbai, May 2 (IANS) Languishing at the penultimate spot in the points table with six points from 10 games, Mumbai Indians can expect to reach 14 points at the most if they win their remaining four games. Many feel that may not be enough for the five-time champions to seal a place in the playoffs.

However, Mumbai Indians’ West Indies batter Romario Shepherd said they are thinking about how many points they will end up with eventually and their focus is only on winning every game.

Mumbai will play three of their last four matches at Fortress Wankhede starting with a clash against Kolkata Knight Riders here on Friday. KKR are currently in the second spot in the points table with 12 points from nine matches. They have been in great form and in a strong position to reach the playoffs.

But Shepherd said the team’s current position is not a matter of concern for them when MI take on KKR.

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“Well, you know, we have to play to win and that’s the way we play KKR, to win each game. So, it doesn’t matter how many points we can get to, we’re going to play each game and try to win as big as possible. And if there is an opportunity, you know, that’s the only way we can actually get opportunities if we win the games,” said Shepherd in the pre-match press conference at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

Shepherd had made a sensational debut for Mumbai Indians in their first home match against Delhi Capitals on April 7, hammering four sixes and two fours in the final over off South African pacer Anrich Nortje to collect 32 runs. The burly Guyanese all-rounder ended up scoring 39 runs from 10 balls. However, since then he has not had many chances and got to bat in only four innings of five matches, scoring 56 runs in all at a sensational strike rate of 280.00.

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However, Shepherd said the reason he did not get many chances was that his performance was not up to par and hoped that he would get more opportunities in the remaining four matches.

“Well, if my performance has been up to par, I wouldn’t be out of the team and stuff like that. But you know, hopefully, I can contribute again with bat or ball to our next win. But as of now, you know, I have to just wait and see whenever I get that opportunity again and hopefully contribute to the team because, you know, we need some wins to get out from the bottom of the table,” he added.

Shepherd admitted that expectations are high for him following the six-ball 32 feat against Delhi Capitals. Shepherd also agreed that 250-260 runs have become the new par score in IPL 2024 and said the IPL has lived up to its reputation of being a tough tournament.

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–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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Ten Hag confirms Man Utd interest in De Ligt despite Lenny Yoro signing

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Ten Hag confirms Man Utd interest in De Ligt despite Lenny Yoro signing

Ten Hag confirms Man Utd interest in De Ligt despite Lenny Yoro signing

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Manchester United’s 2023/24 season was one of the worst the club has had in the Premier League era. The side’s inability to score goals whilst injuries stretching their defenders out seeing them concede far too often but all that might change next season.

Just months ago Ten Hag seemed to be on his way out of the club but an amazing performance in the 2024 FA Cup Final against Manchester City saw him regain the trust of the club and the fans. The trust can be seen in the way the Red Devils have moved so far this window having already confirmed the signings of young sensations Joshu Zirkzee and Lenny Yoro and showing no signs of slowing down with the head coach confirming the side’s interest in the Bayern Munich defender.

“It remains to be seen whether De Ligt will come. I know Matthijs well and I will not deny that. I wanted to sign him two years ago but at that time he was already very far along to join Bayern Munich but believe it or not, his name did not come from me in the process [at United],” Ten Hag told Dutch AD outlet Sportwereld.

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Manchester United were the frontrunners for De Ligt’s signature early in the transfer window with reports suggesting that the Dutch defender had agreed to joining Ten Hag’s side. All that may have changed when a late attempt by the Old Trafford based side saw them snatch Lenny Yoro from Real Madrid’s grasp.

Current reports indicate that although United are interested in signing another fullback to team up with Lautaro Martinez, a move for De Ligt may be complicated given they want to sell before bringing anyone else on board to create space. Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah and Everton talent Jarrad Branthwaite are also being considered as options.

–IANS

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My family has been my pillar of strength during challenging phase: Arshdeep Singh

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My family has been my pillar of strength during challenging phase: Arshdeep Singh

My family has been my pillar of strength during challenging phase: Arshdeep Singh

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) World Cup winner Arshdeep Singh is no stranger to adversity and criticism. Many critics and fans alike had questioned his ability to prove vital at big occasions ahead of the T20 World Cup. The 25-year-old had consistently been a joy to watch in the IPL but had yet to make his mark on the international stage.

In an exclusive conversation with IANS, T20 World Cup winner Arshdeep Singh talked about how criticism taught him ‘resilience’ and how family support is ‘invaluable’ during one’s journey.

“Family support during tough times is invaluable. My family has always been my pillar of strength, providing unwavering support and encouragement through all the ups and downs. Their belief in me keeps me grounded and motivated, especially when things get challenging. Knowing that they are always there, cheering me on, gives me the confidence to keep pushing forward. At the end of the day, nothing comes above the family bond and their love. Family is definitely all that you’ve got,” told Singh.

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Arshdeep Singh was fantastic throughout the course of the T20 World Cup winning campaign. The 25-year old managed to take 17 scalps during the tournament, a feat which saw him finish as the joint-highest wicket taker alongside Afghanistan’s Fazhal Farooqi.

Perhaps his greatest contribution came during the final when India were in a sticky position having to defend 20 runs off the final two overs. Singh’s penultimate over saw only four runs being leaked giving Vice captain Hardik the perfect platform in the final over.

“During those times, I leaned on my support system, my family, coaches, and teammates, who helped me stay grounded and motivated. Maintaining a calm and focused mindset is crucial. It is about learning from setbacks, staying positive, and giving my best in every opportunity that comes my way,” added the left arm pacer.

Arshdeep has 79 wickets at an average of 18.40 in 52 Twenty20 Internationals, with the best figures being 5/37. He is all set to travel with the Indian squad to play three Twenty20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals in Sri Lanka for a white balls eries scheduled to begin on July 27.

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–IANS

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