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'You have no sense of reality': Erik Ten Hag gives ruthless response to criticism

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Following Manchester United’s worst finish in the league, manager Erik Ten Hag has come out speaking against the criticism that he has received the criticism since becoming the boss at one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“Manchester United won the league for the last time in 2013, 11 years ago. But still, they expect us to win every game while competing at the top. This club is not ready for that,” said Ten Hag to Dutch football magazine Voetbal International.

Recent reports suggest that the board has already decided to relieve the Dutch manager of his duties despite whatever result plays out in their FA Cup final encounter against Manchester City on Saturday.

“We were supposed to start building something and we made the first steps last year, but then you find out how big this club is and that nobody is ever satisfied. Within the club people were satisfied, but outside the club, there was noise saying I won only the Carabao Cup, lost the FA Cup Final, and became 3rd. Well, then you have no sense of reality. Other clubs had a much better squad,” he added.

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Ten Hag joined Old Trafford from Dutch giants Ajax and led the club to a third-place finish at the Carabao Cup, and the FA Cup final against Manchester City in his first season, before drastically falling off in his second season with the club having finished fourth in their Champions League group and finishing eighth in the Premier League, their worst ever finish in the competition.

–IANS

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Women's Asia Cup: Harmanpreet, Pooja rested as India opt to bat first against Nepal

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Women's Asia Cup: Harmanpreet, Pooja rested as India opt to bat first against Nepal

Women's Asia Cup: Harmanpreet, Pooja rested as India opt to bat first against Nepal

Dambulla, July 23 (IANS) India stand-in captain Smriti Mandhana won the toss and opted to bat first against Nepal in a Group A match of the Women’s Asia Cup here on Tuesday. India have rested regular skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and pacer Pooja Vastrakar for the encounter. S. Sajana and Arundhati Reddy come in for the duo in India’s playing 11.

“We’d like to bat first today. In the last few years, T20 cricket has changed. It’s a collective effort, we’ve looked to take on whatever is in our range. The outfields are quick, the tracks are flat, and sometimes even 200 isn’t enough. We’ll look to trust our process and look to bat. 180 will be great, it’s about playing one ball at a time. Harman and Pooja are resting,” Mandhana said at the toss.

On the other hand, Nepal captain Indu Barma confirmed two changes in her team.

“We are ready for both. We have some youngsters who are keen to get into the contest. We are ready for every challenge; we look to give our 100%. We have two changes,” she said.

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Playing XIs:

India Women: Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana(c), Dayalan Hemalatha, Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh(w), Deepti Sharma, S Sajana, Radha Yadav, Tanuja Kanwar, Renuka Thakur Singh, Arundhati Reddy.

Nepal Women: Samjhana Khadka, Sita Rana Magar, Kabita Kunwar, Indu Barma (c), Dolly Bhatta, Rubina Chhetry, Puja Mahato, Kabita Joshi, Kajal Shrestha(w), Sabnam Rai, Bindu Rawal.

–IANS

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Paris Olympics: 'We are confident about our chances', says archer Deepika Kumari

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Paris Olympics: 'We are confident about our chances', says archer Deepika Kumari

Paris Olympics: 'We are confident about our chances', says archer Deepika Kumari

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) India’s ace archer Deepika Kumari is confident of the team’s chances in the Paris Olympics. She said clear communication in tough situations will benefit them in the quadrennial event. Indian archers will compete in all five medal events in Paris: men’s and women’s teams, individual, and mixed categories.

The women’s team boasts exceptional talent including the 2022 Asian Games bronze medallists Ankita Bhakat and Bhajan Kaur, apart from Deepika.

“The strength of any team lies in its communication and combination. It’s essential to support each other in various situations. We talk a lot and discuss how to handle different scenarios. Clear communication, especially in tough situations, is a huge strength for us. We are confident about our chances at the Olympics,” Deepika said on JioCinema’s ‘The Dreamers’.

Bhakat, who is fulfilling a lifelong dream of competing in the Olympics, expressed her confidence in the team’s progress.

“Since I started archery, I have always dreamt of playing in the Olympics. Now, that dream is coming true. In past World Cups, we rarely played podium matches, but this time it’s different. We learned from our early setbacks and improved significantly. Our performance has been consistently better in each competition, and I believe we will perform well at the Olympics,” Bhakat stated.

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She emphasised the importance of self-belief, adding, “I know what level of performance I’m capable of. When I give my 100%, the medal will surely follow.”

Bhajan echoed Bhakat’s sentiments, stressing on the importance of continuous improvement and giving their best effort. “My performance at the second World Cup was much better than the first one, so I started feeling victorious about my progress since the first World Cup,” said Kaur.

“Whenever we go for a tournament, we focus on giving our best, no matter the magnitude of the tournament. Our aim is to leave no stones unturned for the Olympics as well and we are confident that we will return from Paris with a medal.”

Bhakat also pointed out the invaluable experience of having a veteran like Deepika Kumari in the team. “It’s a great advantage that Deepika is going to the Olympics for the fourth time. She understands the challenges we might face in Paris,” she explained.

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Bhajan added, “Deepika’s experience, along with Ankita’s, is our biggest strength. They help us understand and rectify any issues in our game. Our ability to communicate and support each other is crucial.”

Deepika, one of India’s most decorated archers, has been a beacon of excellence in the sport. The former World No.1 archer has won medals in World Cups, Asian Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships, and the Asian Games.

–IANS

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Head coach Gambhir takes charge as Indian players hit the ground in Pallekele

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Head coach Gambhir takes charge as Indian players hit the ground in Pallekele

Head coach Gambhir takes charge as Indian players hit the ground in Pallekele

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) Newly-appointed head coach Gautam Gambhir has taken official charge of the Indian team as the players assembled in Pallekele on Tuesday for the first training session in Sri Lanka ahead of the limited-overs series. Suryakumar Yadav-led Indian team reached Pallekele on Monday for the upcoming three-match T20I series, followed by three ODIs. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shared a video of India’s first practice session in Pallekele on their official X account.

“Head Coach Gautam Gambhir Takes Charge!” BCCI captioned the post.

In the video, Gambhir was seen watching players closely and giving some valuable batting tips to wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson.

Before leaving for the island nation, Gambhir addressed his first press conference with chief selector Ajit Agarkar, who revealed the reason behind the appointment of Suryakumar as the T20I captain over all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

“He is one of the deserving candidates. He is one of the best T20 batters in the world. We wanted a captain who was likely to play all the games. We will see how he will do,” Agarkar told the reporters.

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“As far as Hardik is concerned, he is still a very important player. And that’s what we want him to be. Fitness has been a challenge for him over the last few years…Then it becomes difficult for the coach or selectors. I think Surya has the necessary qualities to succeed as a captain,” he added.

The first T20I between India and Sri Lanka will be played in Pallekele on Saturday.

India T20I Squad: Suryakumar Yadav (C), Ꮪhubman Gill (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rinku Singh, Riyan Parag, Rishabh Pant (WK), Sanju Samson (WK), Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohd. Siraj.

–IANS

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Women’s Asia Cup: Pakistan inch closer to semis spot with 10-wicket win over UAE

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Women’s Asia Cup: Pakistan inch closer to semis spot with 10-wicket win over UAE

Women’s Asia Cup: Pakistan inch closer to semis spot with 10-wicket win over UAE

Dambulla, July 23 (IANS) Pakistan Women’s completed a dominating ten-wicket victory over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) side to proceed closer to the semifinals of the Women’s Asia Cup at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.

This was the first-ever ten-wicket victory for any team in the history of the Women’s Asia Cup.

The Pakistani spinners took full advantage of the conditions in the subcontinent and turned the game away from the UAE batters in the first innings of the game taking seven of the eight wickets that fell. Despite a valiant 40-run knock by opening batter Theertha Satish, the wicketkeeper-batter was heavily let down by her teammates with the second-highest scorer being skipper Esha Oza who scored 16 runs.

Sadia Iqbal, Nashra Sandhu and Tuba Hassan all contributed with two wickets each to their name and restricted their Middle Eastern opponents to just 103 runs setting up a comfortable chase.

Pakistan-W opening batters Gull Feroza and Muneeba Ali once again did not put up a foot wrong as the opening pair took their partnership to cross the 100-run milestone for a second consecutive game. Feroza scored the grunt of the runs with 62* and was supported well by Ali 37* to claim the ten-wicket victory.

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Pakistan has virtually qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament. Their progression will only be confirmed after the India-W vs Nepal-W game late in the evening on Tuesday, however, it is highly unlikely that they miss out given their superior run rate compared to the Nepal side.

“I talked to the batting unit regarding batting intent. Against India, we didn’t execute the plans well. But we got down about the plans with batting. Sometimes it’s a plan, sometimes it’s about giving the others chances [on being introduced late into the attack],” said Pakistan-W captain Nida Dar in the post-game interview.

“Every game is a learning experience. When you have such a short tournament, it’s important you put your best foot [forward]… Assessing the pitch, 140 or 150 would have been a great score. We created the opportunities; it was about grabbing them. It’s a great experience. Our team has grown quite a bit. We’ve only grown,” added UAE captain Oza.

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Brief score:

United Arab Emirates 103/8 in 20 overs (Theertha Satish 40, Sadia Iqbal 2-11, Tuba Hassan 2-17) lost to Pakistan 107/0 in 14.1 overs (Gull Feroza 62 not out, Muneeba Ali 37 not out) by 10 wickets.

–IANS

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FIFPRO, European Leagues to file joint complaint against FIFA over ‘unsustainable’ match calendar

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FIFPRO, European Leagues to file joint complaint against FIFA over ‘unsustainable’ match calendar

FIFPRO, European Leagues to file joint complaint against FIFA over ‘unsustainable’ match calendar

Brussels, July 23 (IANS) FIFPRO Europe and European Leagues have released a joint statement stating their intentions to file a complaint with the European Commission against FIFA over the match calendar.

“The international match calendar is now beyond saturation and has become unsustainable for national leagues and a risk for the health of players. FIFA’s decisions over the last years have repeatedly favoured its own competitions and commercial interests, neglected its responsibilities as a governing body, and harmed the economic interests of national leagues and the welfare of players,” read the joint statement posted on X.

Due to the ever-changing dynamic world of football, the new UEFA Champions League format and the new FIFA Club World Cup will heavily affect all players involved. Besides the domestic duties, the number of matches in the new UCL format will increase from 125 to 189. Each team will play a minimum of eight games instead of six and a maximum of 17.

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“Legal action is now the only responsible step for European leagues and player unions to protect football, its ecosystem and its workforce from FIFA’s unilateral decisions. The complaint will explain that FIFA’s conduct infringes EU competition law and notably constitutes an abuse of dominance,” the statement further added.

To add to that the usual list of participants at the FIFA Club World Cup has also increased adding to the team’s already congested fixture list. Adding international duties to the current calendar puts the players at serious risk with the number of ACL injuries already having seen an increase in both the men’s and women’s game during the 2023-24 season.

“FIFA holds a dual role as both the global regulator of football and a competition organiser. This creates a conflict of interest, which, consistent with the recent case law of the EU Courts, requires FIFA to exercise its regulatory functions in a way that is transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate. FIFA’s conduct in respect of the international match calendar falls well short of these requirements,” concluded the statement.

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–IANS

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