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IPL 2024: 'Whole world wants to see Dhoni bat for five overs and not the last two overs', says Raina

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New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) Former India batter Suresh Raina wants ex-Chennai Super Kings skipper M S Dhoni to bat higher in the order in the IPL 2024 adding that the whole world wants to see the iconic wicketkeeper-batter bat longer and “not the last two overs”.

Ahead of the tournament opener against Royal Bangaluru (RCB), Dhoni on Thursday Dhoni has handed over Chennai Super Kings’ captaincy to Ruturaj Gaikwad.

Speaking on JioCinema, Raina expressed his expectations from Dhoni in the IPL 2024, stating that this will be a big IPL for Dhoni as he will not be captaining the side but would hope CSK will uphold their championship mindset this season too.

“The best thing is that he’s looking fit. He looks to be in good form and is batting well. But, I would want to see him bat higher in the order. The whole world wants to see him bat for five overs and not the last two overs. When he comes to the crease, he’ll take some time to settle down and you’ll see his helicopter sixes after that.

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“He went through an operation, he will not be captaining, so this will be a big IPL for him. He would be hoping that CSK can maintain a champion’s mindset. That will happen when Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shivam Dube and Daryl Mitchell set the tone. So, they have to tick a lot of boxes,” said Raina.

When asked whether RCB can beat CSK in Chepauk, where the yellow army won 45 of the 64 matches they played, Raina said, “I think RCB have the team to beat CSK. Also, whichever team plays against CSK will say that Ruturaj is now the captain, not Dhoni, so there’s the psychological factor as well. The heat of Chennai has a different feeling, but the Dhoni wave is different. So, a lot will depend on Ruturaj’s body language.

For RCB, Virat Kohli will return to competitive cricket after a two-month break. He has played only two T20 games – against Afghanistan in January – since the previous IPL.

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The 37-year-old further said that he thinks Virat open the innings with Faf du Plessis, adding that “They have batsmen below them who can strike the ball well. On a wicket like this, we’ll see him run a lot of singles. His form will be very important in the context of the T20 World Cup because the wickets in the West Indies are slow.

Raina further said, He (Virat) won’t be short on motivation especially after Smriti Mandhana and her team have lifted the WPL trophy!”

On Virat’s coming back to competitive cricket after two months, former wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel added. “When the stage is big, Kohli delivers. His intensity is so high that he does not need to look for motivation. He has almost 1,000 runs against CSK in the IPL, and he has batted at different positions.

“So, I think he’ll open and score his runs. But what will matter is the strike rate that he maintains. That’s from the point of view of the T20 World Cup. Because in the Indian team we have Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal opening the innings. Will Kohli bat for India as an opener or at No. 3 is a question that has to be answered.”

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The opening match between CSK and RCB will start at 8 pm on Friday at M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

–IANS

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Olympic pole vault champion Braz to miss Paris Games after failing dope test

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Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), May 29 (IANS) Olympic pole vault champion Thiago Braz will miss the Paris Olympic Games after breaching anti-doping regulations, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has announced.

The 30-year-old Brazilian was provisionally suspended last July after he was found to have traces of the performance-enhancing drug ostarine glucuronide in his urine following a routine test, the AIU said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the AIU said Braz had violated world athletics doping rules related to “metabolites or markers”, reports Xinhua.

It issued him with a 16-month suspension, backdated to the start of the provisional ban, meaning he will only be free to compete again in November.

The Paris 2024 Olympics will be held from July 26 to August 11.

Braz argued that he had inadvertently consumed the substance through sports supplements given to him by his nutritionist.

Ostarine is used to enhance muscle growth and athletic performance.

Braz won gold at the Rio Games in 2016 and took bronze in Tokyo five years later. He also claimed the silver medal at the World Indoor Championships in 2022 and holds the indoor and outdoor Brazilian pole vault records.

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–IANS

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IOC reacts sharply as IBA says it will award prize money to Olympic medallists

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Lausanne (Switzerland), May 29 (IANS) The International Boxing Association (IBA) on Wednesday announced that it will award prize money to pugilists who will win medals in the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, the move getting a sharp reaction from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IBA, which is supported by Russian state-owned gas corporation Gazprom and has been thrown out of the Olympics by the IOC and its recognition withdrawn alleging lack of transparency in its funding, said it would follow the example of World Athletics, the global governing body of track and field competitions, in awarding prize money to medal winners in Paris.

While World Athletics announced that it will pay $50,000 to gold medallists, but nothing to the minor medallists at this year’s Paris Olympic Games, the IBA went a step further and said it will pay bonuses to gold, silver and bronze medallists from a total budget of $3.1 million.

Reacting to the IBA announcement, the IOC said it was “unclear where the money is coming from”.

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“This total lack of financial transparency was exactly one of the reasons why the IOC withdrew its recognition of the IBA. The IBA was not prepared to transparently explain the sources of its financing or to explain its full financial dependency, at the time, on a single state-owned company, Gazprom,” the IOC said in a statement released by Christian Klaue, its Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director.

The IBA is not involved in conducting boxing competitions in Tokyo and will not be allowed to do so in Paris either.

“Due to the suspension and the subsequent withdrawal of recognition by the IOC in 2023, the IBA had no involvement in either the qualification for or the organisation of the boxing tournament of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and is not involved for Paris 2024, either. The qualifications and the Olympic tournaments were and are being organised by boxing units set up by the IOC, to protect the athletes, the National Boxing Federations and their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs),” the IOC statement said.

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The IOC once again reiterated that boxing was not part of the sports programme for the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 2028 and said the sport can be back on the roster only if it is organised by a “credible, well-governed International Federation”.

It also said that if any national federations follow the IBA, its boxers will not be able to participate in the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

“It is therefore already clear that any boxer whose National Federation adheres to the IBA will not be able to participate in the Olympic Games LA28. The respective NOC will have to exclude such a National Boxing Federation from its membership,” said the IOC statement.

The IBA is currently fighting a case against IOC in the International Court of Arbitration (CAS), the decision of which will make things clear for the next Olympic Games.

–IANS

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Top 30 women blind cricketers called for selection trials at Bhubaneshwar

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Bengaluru, May 29 (IANS) The Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) have 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 of 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 three reserve players to represent the country for the year 2024-25.

The 30 players have been playing national-level tournaments for the last four years and the women’s national for the blind has provided an opportunity for the players to find ways to exhibit their cricketing talents.

CABI has been working throughout India to promote cricket for 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 the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) Dr. 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,” he said.

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 performance during the selection trials.

CABI has appointed four observers who will submit the report to the 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, the CABI informed in a release on Wednesday.

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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 Mr Buse Gowda, President of, the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI).

–IANS

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Champions League: Dortmund enjoying underdog role ahead of final with Real

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Berlin (Germany), May 29 (IANS) Ahead of the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid this Saturday, an unprecedented rush made Borussia Dortmund’s media room burst at the seams.

Well, over 20 TV crews and an uncountable number of media representatives gathered in the container-like facilities for an international media day on the edge of the club’s training compound in the city’s northeastern suburb of Brackel to report on the final underdogs’ preparations.

“Wow, I have never seen it that packed here,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic with a smile. “That’s what we wanted. We desperately wanted that do-or-die game.”

The team and their coach seem to be enjoying their role as outsiders, having to face Europe’s record tournament winner, with 14 trophies, reports Xinhua.

“If there is one team that has proved everything is possible, it’s us,” Terzic stated, fringed by optimism after his outfit’s surprising journey through a so-called group of death containing Newcastle, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, followed by knockout stage victories over PSV Eindhoven, Atletico Madrid and PSG once again.

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“We can do it again,” the 41-year-old Dortmund coach said. “It’s our goal to win the trophy, and therefore we have to beat the undisputed Champions League champion.”

Since the Bundesliga season ended, Dortmund have been busy keeping daily routines alive. Regular training sessions, analyzing lessons, a friendly match against the under-23 youth team tactically mirroring Real Madrid and penalty training have dominated the past few days.

“The outside world might see Real as the favourite and the sure winner. But it is not easy to play us,” said Dortmund captain Emre Can.

While 25,000 ticket-holding Dortmund fans are happy to travel to London, the club and local authorities are busy setting up public viewing zones in Dortmund for up to 40,000 more.

“Everyone is eager to turn things for the better remembering the 2013 final, which we narrowly lost against Bayern,” sporting director Sebastian Kehl said, calling the 2-1 defeat in the “German final” 11 years ago a motivation booster for this season’s final.

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Kehl suggested approaching the final with easiness, cheekiness, and nonchalance while the newly promoted CEO Lars Ricken, who scored in the 1997 final against Juventus, said that the team can create unforgettable moments as “a title like that stays forever.”

“It feels good. After all, we have nothing to lose,” German international and defender Nico Schlotterbeck said, adding: “The pressure is resting on other shoulders.”

–IANS

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French Open: Sofia Kenin upsets Garica to reach third round

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Paris, May 29 (IANS) Former French Open runner-up Sofia Kenin continued her resurgence with a straight sets upset of No.21 seed Caroline Garcia to reach the third round in women’s singles for the fourth time.

The 56th-ranked American had a disastrous start to 2024, winning just one of her first 11 matches. But on Wednesday, Kenin, who found her groove in style in Rome, upsetting Ons Jabeur en route to the third round, romped to a 6-3, 6-3 victory in 1 hour and 25 minutes on a rain-interrupted day in the French capital.

On Court Philippe-Chatrier, Kenin delivered another cool-headed tactical performance to take out the French No.1, her third win in as many meetings with Garcia. Indeed, Kenin has yet to drop a set in their rivalry so far.

Garcia fell to her fourth consecutive second-round exit at Roland Garros, and the 11th time she has lost before the third round in 14 appearances to date. Only three home players remain in the draw: Varvara Gracheva, Diane Parry and Chloe Paquet.

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In the pivotal fifth game of the first set, Kenin chased down a full-blast Garcia smash to land a lob precisely in the corner of the home player’s court. Garcia ended that rally, and the next, with wild forehand errors to drop serve for the first time.

Kenin will next face either No.9 seed and 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko or Clara Tauson as she bids to make the second week of a major for the first time since Roland Garros 2021.

–IANS

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