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BAI assured of all help from the sports minister to conduct India Open | Badminton News

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HYDERABAD: India Open badminton tournament will be the first international tournament to be hosted by India after the pandemic struck with New Delhi set to host the BWF Super-500 event between March 30 and April 4.
With the Covid-19 protocols in place, there were doubts whether India would come forward to host this event.
However, when the officials of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) met sports minister Kiren Rijiju, the latter assured all possible help to conduct the event.
Incidentally, this would be the qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. It is only after 2012 that India got a chance to host a qualifying event for the Olympics.
But to host this tournament, India should relax a few of its Covid-19 norms.
BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania told TOI that the minister has responded positively. “I have explained in our letter of request to the honourable sports minister the importance of India Open as this will be an Olympic qualifier where top shuttlers from the world will be keen to participate only if the quarantine rules are relaxed. As per the current international norms a 72-hour prior test and Covid negative certification are made mandatory instead of 14 days of institutional quarantine,” Singhania said, adding that the minister had assured him all the support.
“We had a very fruitful discussion with sports minister Kiren Rijiju. He has assured all support and a prompt look to resolve the matter. We are all committed to bringing back the badminton action,” he added.
PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are more or less assured of qualifying for the Olympics. However, the hopes of Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal are hanging by a thread.
Even other shuttlers like Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy want to try till the end. A home tournament will do a world of good for the confidence of these shuttlers, who are battling against the odds.


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Behind the heroes of Gabba heist stands ‘The Wall’ – Rahul Dravid | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: Moments after India registered a historic win over Australia at The Gabba on Tuesday, former India skipper Rahul Dravid started trending on Twitter. While most in India were aware of the cricketers winning the series against Australia, only a few die-hard cricket fanatics knew why Dravid’s name started dominating the ‘trending list’.
Rishabh Pant, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar were the unsung heroes of India’s emphatic series-clinching win at Australia’s fortress – The Gabba. Until a week ago, nobody could have believed that these names would emerge as the match-winners. Except for one man, perhaps Dravid.
The current National Cricket Academy (NCA) head was perhaps the only man who always believed in the humongous talent pool of budding cricketers in India. After all, he has worked closely with all of these boys as the India A and U-19 coach.

Interestingly, he was the one who had started the chain wherein a player needed to first play for India A before winning a national call-up. The result is there for all to see. The likes of Siraj have gained exponentially on such A tours.

Before the decider in Brisbane, the Australian bowling attack had a combined 1,013 wickets whereas the Indian XI had a meagre 13 wickets to their credit (including two of Rohit Sharma’s).
Despite the odds against them, the young brigade helped India retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy and snatched the win from the jaws of a formidable Australia outfit, the home team’s first loss at their den in 32 years and two months.

Famously hailed as ‘The Wall’ Dravid needs no introduction. His heroics and records on the field are stuff of cricketing folklore. He retired from international cricket with an illustrious record of 24,208 runs, including 48 centuries, and is the only player in the history of cricket to be involved in two 300-plus ODI partnerships.

These credentials are enough for any retired cricketer to score a plushy comfortable job. But the former Indian skipper chose the road less taken. He decided to coach the junior sides (India Under-19 and India A). Around the end of his international career, he was already in a captain-cum-coach role with Rajasthan Royals.
Under his coaching, the U-19 team was runners-up at the 2016 World Cup and emerged victorious at the 2018 World Cup. However, it’s not the record books that are the driving force for India’s Mr. Dependable. The 2016 WC saw players like Pant emerge while the 2018 edition saw India’s new heartthrob Shubman Gill rise in stature.

Gill’s unbeaten 102 against arch-rivals Pakistan in the semi-final was the first time when the world took note of the opener. On Tuesday, he stamped his authority even on the international stage with a match-winning 91.
Going against the traditional approach, Dravid fuelled in new refreshing energy and mindset in young players. It was no longer about winning or losing matches. There was a new sheriff in town, and the rules of the game had to change!
Every player was to play an equal number of matches beyond which they were encouraged to play domestic first-class cricket. Coach Dravid kept the boys on their toes and believed in giving more chances to newcomers. He had once said if he continued keeping wickets because it was convenient, India would have never got MS Dhoni!

In the Dravid era, the players were consistently put under challenging situations, some would say their preparation was at par with India’s senior squad. Be it Pakistan or Bangladesh, the scale of preparation remained as rigorous.
The motive was clear. The former skipper wasn’t grooming the players to score fast runs, scalp wickets, and move on. He was strengthening the foundation of the sport in the country, creating a stronger base that was to make Indian cricket richer in the years to come.
The seeds he sowed bloomed into a jubilant triumph for India Down Under. After Virat Kohli left as his wife Anushka Sharma was expecting their first child, the bruised and battered Indian outfit fell into the lap of Ajinkya Rahane. With an exception of Chesteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravinder Jadeja, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah, prima facie most of the players were inexperienced and raw.
Nobody in their right mind would have placed a bet on India’s chances of retaining the trophy let alone win the series against an Aussie outfit which had a dangerous line-up of world-class players.
But the young brigade had paid attention when coach Dravid taught them: “There are opportunities to learn, and memories to make.”
The last time a visiting team emerged victorious at the Gabba was back in November 1988 when the mighty West Indian outfit led by Viv Richards crushed Allan Border’s Australia by 9 wickets. 32 years and two months later, Rahane’s injury-ravaged young team endured every pain, bruise, racial abuse and created history which they, perhaps, never set out for.
In hindsight, Dravid’s conscious effort to not focus on individuals and mould the potential of each person in his squad has seen young players compete with any world-class player when the situation calls for it.
India’s 2020-21 tour of Australia is a classic example of it. In the absence of phenomenal players such as Jadeja, Vihari, Ashwin, Bumrah due to injuries, the youngsters channelled their fiery passion under immense pressure. They could have easily focussed on ensuring a draw, but the youngsters ensured that they would not call it a day till the last man stood.
This tour has given the world a glimpse of the depth in the national squad thanks to the efforts of the ever-humble Dravid, who understands the importance of putting players consistently under difficult situations while they are in junior teams. It is to the credit of the frequency of ‘A tours’ India went on in the last few years, that made all the difference in the decider at the Brisbane Cricket Ground.
Like the coach himself had once said, “Experience is not playing more matches, the experience is learning from the matches you play. You can play 30 matches and if you don’t learn anything, it’s like playing the same match 30 times.”
He understands the importance of honing the players while they are young. He is not just churning out good cricketers, but perhaps better people who can withstand any adversity which may come their way. And one doesn’t have to look beyond Gabba to understand that!
Dravid’s selfless service for the nation would be inscribed in golden words in the history of Indian cricket. He is, undoubtedly, the best finishing school a budding cricketer could go to!


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Lasith Malinga decides to retire from franchise cricket

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MUMBAI: One of the greatest bowling sensations of IPL and for Mumbai Indians, Lasith Malinga has decided to retire from franchise cricket. The Sri Lankan speedster informed his decision to the Mumbai Indians management earlier this month, making himself unavailable for the champion side’s retention wish list.

Mumbai Indians management respects Lasith Malinga’s decision and hence he is not part of the club’s 18-member retention squad announced on Wednesday.

Akash Ambani, owner, Mumbai Indians said in a statement, “Lasith Malinga has been at the core of Mumbai Indians for 12 years. We respect his decision, even though I would have liked him to be part of our bowling attack for another five years.”

“Malinga is an MI legend. His contributions to Mumbai Indians’ journey are invaluable. We will miss the Wankhede chant for him, but he will always be in the heart of all MI fans. At Mumbai Indians, Malinga will always be a part of the MI family and we hope we can continue to lean on his experience in a non-playing capacity in the future.”

On his decision, Malinga said, “After discussing with family, I think now is the right time to retire from all franchise cricket. The Pandemic situation and the restrictions on travel will make it difficult for me given my personal circumstances to participate fully in franchise cricket for the next year and therefore it is best to make this decision now. I have discussed the same with Mumbai Indians management in recent days as they prepare for the upcoming auction and they have been very supportive and understanding. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ambani family, everyone at the Mumbai Indians franchise and all our fans for the wonderful 12 years.

“Mumbai Indians has treated me like family, supporting me 100 per cent in every situation both on and off the field, and always giving me the confidence and the freedom to play my natural game whenever I walked onto the field. I have collected so many happy memories that I cherish and I am very grateful to have played for so long for the best franchise in world cricket. I would like to wish Nita Ambani, coach Mahela (Jayawardene), Akash (Ambani) and the MI family all the best for the upcoming season,” he added.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians on Wednesday retained their core-group and released seven players including Malinga, Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson for the 2021 edition of the IPL.

Record five-time IPL title holders now have 18 players in their squad with seven spots open which can be filled in the mini-auction. MI can pick as many as four overseas players for the next season. Mumbai has backed their core players which enabled them to lift the IPL trophy in back-to-back seasons.

Retained players: Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (WK), Chris Lynn, Anmolpreet Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Aditya Tare (WK), Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin Khan.

Released players: Lasith Malinga, Mitch McClenaghan, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sherfane Rutherford, Prince Balwant Rai, Digvijay Deshmukh.



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IPL Retention 2021: KXIP release Maxwell, Cottrell ahead of mini auction | Cricket News

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CHANDIGARH: Keeping the core squad intact, Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday released Australian power-hitter Glenn Maxwell and West Indian pacer Sheldon Cottrell, while retaining the overseas trio of Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and Chris Jordan, ahead of the mini-IPL auction in February.
Elaborating on the franchise’s decision, KXIP head coach Anil Kumble said, “The plan was to keep the core of the team, and make sure the players who were part of the team last season will continue this year as well. We believe that this group along with whoever we pick at the auctions to fill those gaps will be able to turn things around for Kings XI Punjab.”

The list sees the bulk of the core team retained as last season’s with KL Rahul set to get a longer rope as skipper of the side. Rahul’s opening partner Mayank Agarwal have also been retained while the side decided to part ways with Karun Nair.
On the bowling front, seasoned seamers Mohammed Shami and Chris Jordan, alongside spinners Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin have also been retained. A few of India’s domestic talents like Prabhsimran Singh, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel and Darshan Nalkande will also be seen plying their trade for KXIP in the 2021 edition.
The team management have retained 13 Indian players for the 2021 IPL season, including the likes of Mandeep Singh and Sarfaraz Khan, both of whom will be playing their third season for the franchise this year.

The minimum squad size in the IPL needs to be 18 and a maximum of 25 with no more than eight overseas players. Kings XI Punjab currently have 16 players in their setup, with only three overseas players. The team management will now be expected to bring in more players when the auction is held in February, 2021.
Retained players: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Prabhsimran Singh, Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan, Darshan Nalkande, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel
Released players: Glenn Maxwell, Karun Nair, Hardus Viljoen, Jagadeesha Suchith, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Sheldon Cottrell, Jimmy Neesham, Krishnappa Gowtham, Tajinder Singh



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