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T20 WC: Skipper Rohit specifically sought four spinners in the 15-member squad (Ld)

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Mumbai, May 2 (IANS) The reason the national selection committee has picked four spinners to represent India in the third successive ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is that skipper Rohit Sharma has specifically asked for a combination of four spinners and three pacers even though the team would be playing on pitches in the USA and Caribbean that are expected to help pacers more than spinners.

For the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup played in Oman and UAE, India picked Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy and Ravindra Jadeja in their 15-member squad. In the next edition held in Australia in 2022, India went in with Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Hooda and Axar Patel.

For the 2024 edition, the Indian squad includes two left-hand orthodox spinners Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and a left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is the fourth spinner in the squad. The 2024 edition of the T20 World Cup will be played from June 1 to 29.

The selection of four spinners for an event to be held in the United States and Caribbean where the pitches are more suited for pace had left many experts baffled. The three pacers in the Indian squad are Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Siraj with Hardik Pandya expected to be available as the fourth pacer.

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But on Thursday, Rohit Sharma said he had a specific technical reason and theory for seeking four spinners in the squad and said he would reveal his reasons closer to the tournament.

“We discussed about a lot, whether to have an offspinner or not. But unfortunately, you know, Washi (Washington Sundra) hasn’t played a lot of cricket lately, and hasn’t been getting an opportunity and it was then between Ash and Axar, it was like that. We thought it was having two left-arm spinners who are actually playing and doing well and Ashwin hasn’t played the format lately as well for a long time,” said Rohit.

“Axar is in real good form since 50-over World Cup when he played that five-match series against Australia. He was the man of the series if I’m not wrong, so he has been bowling well. He has been bowling well in the format. He’s done well for India. We considered all of it and that left-handed option, if we have to send someone in the middle to do something different. And of course, a very experienced player has been playing for a long time now,” he added, explaining the rationale behind selecting Axar Patel.

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“Hopefully the captain can roll his arm over,” said Agarkar.

Asked about Hardik Pandya being picked up despite going through an indifferent form in the ongoing IPL, Agarkar said they did not find any better option for him. He said Hardik’s form was never an issue for them as they gave more weightage to the fact that he returned from a break and played all matches for Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2024 so far. He said fitness was the major issue for them when considering Pandya and Rishabh Pant and not form. Pant has made an impressive return to the IPL after missing action for nearly 15 months because of a life-threatening accident in December 2022.

Asked about allrounders Hardik Pandya and Shivam Dube going into the T20 World Cup without a lot of bowling behind them, Rohit said they are experienced players and expects them to do what they have been doing in IPL.

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“Expect them to do what they are doing in IPL. Unfortunately, Shivam hasn’t bowled a single over in IPL. But he is a seasoned cricketer who bowls a lot of overs in red-ball cricket, so he knows how to bowl. It’s just that when he plays the T20 format, it’s just about a little bit of skills coming into the picture. The bowlers with some kind of skill set have good chances of having success in this format. So honestly we’ll be expecting, if we need Shivam to bowl a few overs, he will be bowling a few overs. And the same with Hardik as well. He’s been bowling regularly in IPL whenever it’s been required. Like Ajit said, he’s played all the games. So fitness wise there’s no issue. So yeah, I mean all-rounders are supposed to do that — bat, bowl, field, take some catches. And then we’ve got two spinner-allrounders as well who are quality as well. We’ll be looking forward to having contributions from all these four guys. Not just these four guys, to be honest, all of us,” said Rohit Sharma.

–IANS

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Ratnagiri Jets thump Nashik Titans to defend MPL crown

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Pune, June 23 (IANS) Ratnagiri Jets thumped Eagle Nashik Titans by 24 runs to defend their Maharashtra Premier League (MPL) title at the MCA International Stadium.

The first innings saw a below-par score of 160 and it looked like an easy task for the Titans but a clinical bowling performance won the Ratnagiri Jets their second title in a row.

In 2023, they were declared winners after their final against PBG Kolhapur Tuskers was abandoned due to inclement weather.

“We are very happy to able to achieve this historic feat of winning the MPL twice in a row. Everyone has really played their part well and taken responsibility that has steered the Ratnagiri Jets to victory. We have consistently played good cricket and winning this trophy again feels great,” said Azim Kazi, Captain, Ratnagiri Jets

Left-arm spinners choked Nashik with Satyajeet Bachhav’s (4-1-31-4), also winning the purple cap with 26 wickets. He found a formidable bowling partner in fellow left-arm spinner Kunal Thorat (4-0-19-2) as Ratnagiri overpowered Nashik.

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Three of Bachhav’s four scalps – Kaushal Tambe, Atharva Kale, and Mukesh Chaudhary – were bowled while Ranjit Nikam (3, 6b) holed out to Divyang Hinganekar. From the other end, Thorat dismissed Arshin Kulkarni and dangerous Dhanraj Shinde (3, 6b) to leave Nashik tottering 79 for 7.

At the end of the power play, Nashik were 31 for 2. India U-19 star Arshin Kulkarni (9, 13b, 1×4), who was struggling with an injury and former India U-19 player Kaushal Tambe (9, 17b, 2x4s) could not rotate the strike nor could they clear the ropes and paid the price for it.

Earlier, a 44-run partnership for the fifth wicket between two youngsters – Kiran Chormale (35, 23b, 3x4s, 2×6) and Abhishek Pawar (28, 22b, 3x6s) helped Ratnagiri recover from 56 for 4.

Former KKR player Nikhil Naik (36, 25b, 3x4s, 1×6) once again played a cameo to guide Ratnagiri to 160 for 8, a score which in turn proved more than enough.

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“We are so proud of what this team has achieved. History has repeated itself and it is testament to the plans set in motion over the year, long before the tournament started. This result is a true reflection of the hard work, dedication and the sheer superior grassroot Maharashtra talent that will shape the future of cricket not only in the state but the country and the world.

“We will continue to invest in building the grassroots and producing many cricketing superstars in the future,” Rajan Navani, Owner, Ratnagiri Jets said.

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: What changes Afghanistan's epic win over Australia brings to SF scenarios

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Kingstown, June 23 (IANS) Afghanistan’s epic 21-run victory against Australia has thrown Group 1 of Super Eight stage of the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup wide open. With just four games left in closing out Super Eights stage of the tournament, IANS looks at what teams need to do to be in contention to enter the semifinals.

In Group 1, India are seated on top of the table with four points and net run rate of 2.425, which makes them prime contenders to enter the semifinals. A win against Australia at St Lucia on Monday will help India retain top spot in Group 1.

But a loss, especially heavier, could see them being overtaken by Australia and even by Afghanistan if they win with a huge margin over Bangladesh at St Vincent. If India do qualify for the semis they will play their semifinal game in Guyana on June 27.

For Australia, things are dire after being at two points and their net run rate going down to +0.223 after a shock defeat to Afghanistan. A win against India will likely see Australia qualify for the semi-finals, while a loss to the Rohit Sharmaled side will leave a chance for either Afghanistan or Bangladesh to qualify for the semifinals.

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Meanwhile, Afghanistan can qualify for the semifinals with another win against Bangladesh in their final Super Eights match. Their task can become easier if India beat Australia earlier in the day, which will help them know by what margin they need to beat Bangladesh to claim their semifinals spot.

Despite defeats to India and Australia, Bangladesh are also in the mix and need to win by at least 30 runs to sneak ahead of Afghanistan and would require for Australia to lose heavily to India if they are to enter the semifinals.

In Group 2, things are still interesting ahead of the business end of Super Eights. South Africa, unbeaten in the competition so far, need to win big against tournament co-hosts West Indies to ensure they top their group and setup a semifinal clash with the second-placed side in Group 1.

West Indies need to defeat South Africa to reach the semifinals. If they lose, they would have to rely on USA defeating England at Barbados and ensure their net run rate doesn’t suffer a huge dent.

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Defending champions England need a victory over the USA in their final Super Eight contest to reach the semifinals, coupled with a South Africa win over West Indies. Even if a washout happens in Barbados, England would need for South Africa to emerge victorious.

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: Viv Richards presents best fielding medal to SKY after India beat Bangladesh

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North Sound (Antigua), June 23 (IANS) After India’s 50-run win over Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup Super Eight match, West Indies great Sir Vivian Richards presented the fielder of the match medal to Suryakumar Yadav.

Suryakumar despite the windy conditions in Antigua took a running catch to dismiss Litton Das.

Team India’s fielding coach T Dilip announced that the award will be presented by the West Indies great, after whom the Vivian Richards Stadium is named.

“Today we have a true legend, whose name is synonymours with fearless play and unmatched charizma on the field. The game0changer in every sense, who showed that in every sense; what it means striving for greatness. Its none other than Sir Vivian Richards,” said Dilip in the video shared by BCCI on social media.

After presenting Suryakumar best fielder medal, Richards said, “I can only say that if they guys in Maroon doesn’t get it done, I will be back in your room,” he laughed.

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Richards also hailed Rishabh Pant for his comeback after the accident and said, “Pant its great to see you back man after what you have been through. We would have missed the great talent and exactly what you have to offer in the future.”

The Windies great concluded with hailing the India’s performance in the tournament so far.

–IANS

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Euros and Copa America fever spreads in football-mad pockets of cricket-crazy India

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) The Euro 2024 and Copa America are both underway as the hype and excitement to watch, the biggest stars of world football representing their respective countries, has already begun to spread throughout India like wildfire.

A country that has historically adopted cricket as its main sport is not that far behind in football when it comes to passion. Fans are regularly seen at screenings in hotspots in various major cities while repping their favourite team’s jersey. Here’s a deeper dive into the rooted fixations that fans from all over the country have for their favourite players.

“In Kolkata, people are traditionally more of a FIFA World Cup and South American football fans. People are majorly neutral about European nations unless it’s Brazil, Argentina, or other South American powerhouses,” told a passionate football lover from Kolkata to IANS.

If one has to look for football fans in our country, then one would have to look no further than Kolkata, the city that breathes football. The fans went on to talk about the love the people have because of their roots and historical connection to such countries.

“With that said, there are parts of Kolkata where people are mad about England because of the colonial regime. There is a place called Bow Barracks where Anglo-Indians support the English, Dutch, and Scots because of their European roots. If you look on the outskirts of Kolkata, you will find your actual goldmine in Euro Football.

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“There is a place called Chandannagar in Hooghly district, the locals support France because the locality was under French rule until the independence of India. The Churches, Chapels, and a French diaspora help it to boost the French connections there,” added the die-hard Mohun Bagan supporter.

In previous editions of the Euros, Copa Americas, and the World Cups, social media has heavily highlighted the unreal passion that is on display by fans from Kerala. The 40-foot cutouts of Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar went viral not just in India but across the globe as FIFA also applauded the dedication and passion of the home fans.

“Here in Kerala, the fan bases for European teams are quite fragmented. This contrasts with the Copa America, where there’s a clear and intense rivalry between fans of Brazil and Argentina. That being said, Spain’s national team has significant support in Kerala, particularly due to their era of dominance and the magical style of play characterised by players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and David Villa.

“Their brand of technical, possession-based football (tiki-taka) has created a lasting affection for the team. I would say that the love for La Liga, especially for teams like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona has contributed to the support for the Spanish national side. The Portugal team also enjoys a massive following among the mallu youth, mainly because of their love for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been the poster boy for the Portuguese side for quite a few years,” a football fan hailing from Kerala told IANS.

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When it comes to recent times, the focal point of the sports events in the country has slowly transitioned from places like Kolkata and Mumbai to Ahmedabad. The city is filled with passionate football fans and one spoke fondly about the love that the city has for Ronaldo.

“I remember back in the day, we used to have a CR7 club in Ahmedabad. And I vividly remember how they took to the streets after Portugal won in 2016. 2021 was the year of COVID but I can guarantee you this year, places like TopSpin (club) will be packed especially when Portugal play. And given this is Ronaldo’s last Euros, who knows if he goes on to win it then the underground community of CR7 lovers will definitely have a little stroll past the Sabarmati Riverfront at night,” a Real Madrid fan and resident of Ahmedabad told IANS.

Messi and Ronaldo have been the epicentre of world football for the past two decades. The ongoing Euros have been a stepping stone that has displayed amazing talent from youngsters in the likes of Yamine Lamal and Jamal Musiala. One particular fan discussed his bond with the hosts of the 2024 Euros and how he watches the games despite being away from his home as he is currently studying in Punjab.

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“I have been a huge admirer of German football since 2010, and watching them go from Schweinsteiger and Muller to now Musiala and Wirtz has been nothing short of a crazy experience. The good part is that I am not alone, people here in Punjab are mad about football too. The excitement during the Euros is very visible here, with match screenings being set up in every possible corner of the town. It felt like an occasion during the 2022 World Cup when artists came to perform on screenings before the semifinals or the final, and I expect nothing less during the Euros.

“The local grounds are booked to capacity with a screen set up right in the middle of the ground, which makes sure the vibes are immaculate, and I expect nothing less. The arrangements plus the ample space in front of it make it the place to be during a match. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that it is very similar to the famous Boxpark in London,” said the admirer of German football to IANS.

Indian football fans over the years have grown accustomed to foreign fans trolling and questioning their dedication to international football but despite having to watch matches at ungodly hours and living in a country where cricket dominates all sporting discussions, the footballing fraternity has built a strong and unbreakable community to express their love for the beautiful game.

–IANS

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Football: Euro and Copa America fever spreads like wildfire through cricket crazy India

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) The Euro 2024 and Copa America are both underway as the hype and excitement to watch, the biggest stars of world football representing their respective countries, has already begun to spread throughout India like wildfire.

A country that has historically adopted cricket as its main sport is not that far behind in football when it comes to passion. Fans are regularly seen at screenings in hotspots in various major cities while repping their favourite team’s jersey. Here’s a deeper dive into the rooted fixations that fans from all over the country have for their favourite players.

“In Kolkata, people are traditionally more of a FIFA World Cup and South American football fans. People are majorly neutral about European nations unless it’s Brazil, Argentina, or other South American powerhouses,” told a passionate football lover from Kolkata to IANS.

If one has to look for football fans in our country, then one would have to look no further than Kolkata, the city that breathes football. The fans went on to talk about the love the people have because of their roots and historical connection to such countries.

“With that said, there are parts of Kolkata where people are mad about England because of the colonial regime. There is a place called Bow Barracks where Anglo-Indians support the English, Dutch, and Scots because of their European roots. If you look on the outskirts of Kolkata, you will find your actual goldmine in Euro Football.

ALSO READ:  Golf: In-form Gaurika, Hitaashee are ready for battle in the 8th Leg of WPGT

“There is a place called Chandannagar in Hooghly district, the locals support France because the locality was under French rule until the independence of India. The Churches, Chapels, and a French diaspora help it to boost the French connections there,” added the die-hard Mohun Bagan supporter.

In previous editions of the Euros, Copa Americas, and the World Cups, social media has heavily highlighted the unreal passion that is on display by fans from Kerala. The 40-foot cutouts of Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar went viral not just in India but across the globe as FIFA also applauded the dedication and passion of the home fans.

“Here in Kerala, the fan bases for European teams are quite fragmented. This contrasts with the Copa America, where there’s a clear and intense rivalry between fans of Brazil and Argentina. That being said, Spain’s national team has significant support in Kerala, particularly due to their era of dominance and the magical style of play characterised by players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and David Villa.

“Their brand of technical, possession-based football (tiki-taka) has created a lasting affection for the team. I would say that the love for La Liga, especially for teams like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona has contributed to the support for the Spanish national side. The Portugal team also enjoys a massive following among the mallu youth, mainly because of their love for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been the poster boy for the Portuguese side for quite a few years,” a football fan hailing from Kerala told IANS.

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When it comes to recent times, the focal point of the sports events in the country has slowly transitioned from places like Kolkata and Mumbai to Ahmedabad. The city is filled with passionate football fans and one spoke fondly about the love that the city has for Ronaldo.

“I remember back in the day, we used to have a CR7 club in Ahmedabad. And I vividly remember how they took to the streets after Portugal won in 2016. 2021 was the year of COVID but I can guarantee you this year, places like TopSpin (club) will be packed especially when Portugal play. And given this is Ronaldo’s last Euros, who knows if he goes on to win it then the underground community of CR7 lovers will definitely have a little stroll past the Sabarmati Riverfront at night,” a Real Madrid fan and resident of Ahmedabad told IANS.

Messi and Ronaldo have been the epicentre of world football for the past two decades. The ongoing Euros have been a stepping stone that has displayed amazing talent from youngsters in the likes of Yamine Lamal and Jamal Musiala. One particular fan discussed his bond with the hosts of the 2024 Euros and how he watches the games despite being away from his home as he is currently studying in Punjab.

ALSO READ:  Messi scores on return from injury for Inter Miami

“I have been a huge admirer of German football since 2010, and watching them go from Schweinsteiger and Muller to now Musiala and Wirtz has been nothing short of a crazy experience. The good part is that I am not alone, people here in Punjab are mad about football too. The excitement during the Euros is very visible here, with match screenings being set up in every possible corner of the town. It felt like an occasion during the 2022 World Cup when artists came to perform on screenings before the semifinals or the final, and I expect nothing less during the Euros.

“The local grounds are booked to capacity with a screen set up right in the middle of the ground, which makes sure the vibes are immaculate, and I expect nothing less. The arrangements plus the ample space in front of it make it the place to be during a match. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that it is very similar to the famous Boxpark in London,” said the admirer of German football to IANS.

Indian football fans over the years have grown accustomed to foreign fans trolling and questioning their dedication to international football but despite having to watch matches at ungodly hours and living in a country where cricket dominates all sporting discussions, the footballing fraternity has built a strong and unbreakable community to express their love for the beautiful game.

–IANS

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