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Virat Kohli’s return will create big hole, Ind-Oz series’ fate lies on selection choices: Chappell

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The legendary Ian Chappell believes that Virat Kohli‘s departure after the first India-Australia Test next month will leave a “big hole” in the visiting line-up, creating a selection dilemma which could ultimately decide which way the series goes. Kohli will return home after the first Test in Adelaide from December 17 to 21, to welcome his first child. The 77-year-old Chappell feels the situation provides a perfect opportunity for young Indian batters to show their skills.

“This creates both a big hole in the Indian batting order and an opportunity for one of their talented young players to make a name for himself,” Chappell wrote in a column for ESPNcricinfo.com. “What was already shaping up as an exciting tussle now has the added stimulus of crucial selection decisions. The result could well come down to who is the bravest set of selectors.”

Stressing on the importance of making correct selection choices, Chappell voted in favour of Will Pucovski over an off-colour Joe Burns to be David Warner’s partner at Australia’s opening slot. He differed with Australia coach Justin Langer, who has backed Burns. Chappell said selection should always be made on the basis of current form.

“I was flummoxed by the Australian coach‘s summation of the choice between incumbent Joe Burns and rising star Will Pucovski for the job of David Warner’s opening partner. “You shouldn’t overestimate the value of the partnership. Burns’ contributions last summer equated to an aggregate of 256 runs at an average of 32 with two half-centuries. That is the performance of a below-average Test player,” the former Australia skipper said.

“Pucovski has taken a sledgehammer to the entryway by making six centuries at Shield level, three of them doubles; two of those double-hundreds came this season,” he added. Chappell feels India will have an edge over the hosts in terms of preparation in the COVID-19 times. “This summer’s chaotic, pandemic-plagued Australian cricket schedule may just benefit India in their quest to repeat last tour’s series victory.

“India’s enforced period of lockdown – with training allowed – will provide the team more time to acclimatise in Australian conditions than the rushed pre-Test schedule that touring teams normally experience,” he said. The additional training time while being in quarantine here will help the visitors in acclimatising with the Australian conditions, Chappell said.

If the Indian selectors have done their job properly, the batsmen currently enduring the Sydney lockdown training will become re-acquainted with the requirements needed on bouncy pitches rather than being confused by the experience.”

India’s tour Down Under starts with three ODIs here on November 27 followed by as many T20 Internationals and the much-awaited four-match Test series. The Indians are currently undergoing a two-week quarantine period after arriving here on November 13, but Kohli and his men have been allowed to train by the New South Wales government while being in isolation.



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India international archers denied participation in Olympic selection trials for failure to produce Covid-19 negative report | More sports News

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NEW DELHI: The first day of archery selection trials in Jamshedpur on Tuesday had its fair share of drama when five international archers, all from Assam, were stopped from appearing for trials after they failed to produce a Covid-19 negative RT-PCR report to the organisers, which was a mandatory requirement to participate in the event.
Archers Sanjay Boro, Dhaniram Basumatary, Mukesh Boro, Promila Daimary and Sonali Basumatary weren’t allowed to take the field for trials in the absence of RT-PCR report.
The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), as spelt out by the Archery Association of India (AAI) before the trials, required all participants to undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing at their respective home cities and carry the negative report obtained not more than 48 hours before arriving in Jamshedpur.
Since these men and women recurve archers arrived straight for the trials on Tuesday morning without the Covid-19 negative report, the organisers refused them entry to the field and told them to leave.
Similarly, the organisers had booked a nearby hotel for the participants to stay, but there was no provision for them to get tested for Covid-19. The organisers had allowed participants to check-in at the hotel from Monday onwards, but surprisingly only the temperature checks were done and no arrangements were made for the testing at the hotel itself.
The three-day trials from November 24-26 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex will see four men and four women recurve archers being picked for the ongoing Tokyo Olympic preparatory national camp at the ASI Pune.
The AAI had released the list of 40 men and 18 women archers who were eligible to take part in the trials. The trials are being conducted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
The selected archers will join the core group of eight men and eight women archers, who are already part of the ongoing camp in Pune. Some of the leading archers like Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai, Jayanta Talukdar, Deepika Kumari and L. Bombayla Devi, among others, are part of the camp.


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Man who provided Dhoni first turf pitch to play in Ranchi dead | Off the field News

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NEW DELHI: Deval Sahay, a mentor of cricket icon Mahendra Singh Dhoni and credited with preparing the first turf pitches in Ranchi, passed away in the early hours of Tuesday in a hospital following multi-organ failure, mainly issues related to lungs.
Sahay was 73, and is survived by his wife Meena, daughter Priyanka, and son Abhinav Akash Sahay.
His funeral took place at 2.30 pm on Tuesday in Ranchi, and was attended by present and former players along with officials of the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA), the Ranchi District Cricket Association (RDCA), Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL), and Metallurgical and Engineering Consultants (India) Limited (MECON).
Sahay, an electrical engineer, had worked at all three companies. After serving MECON as chief engineer, he joined CMPDIL as General Manager, and then switched to CCL as Director (Personnel), from where he retired.
Sahay, whose first name was Deobrat but was popularly known as Deval, was admitted to Jagannath Hospital due to lung and breathing problems; besides, he had Parkinson’s too. Then, when he contracted Coronavirus in Jagannath Hospital he was shifted to Medica Speciality Hospital. He was discharged on October 9.
“After spending about 10 days at home, he was again admitted to Medica after he developed complications. And today at around 3 am he passed away,” Abhinav Sahay told IANS from Ranchi. Priyanka, who lives in America, is in Ranchi these days.
Sahay was instrumental in preparing first turf pitches in Ranchi, first at MECON – where Dhoni’s father also worked — and then at CCL.
While he was at CCL, Sahay hired a young Dhoni on stipend in 1997-98, after he had registered with the Research and Development (SAIL), and provided him the first opportunity to play on turf pitches.
Sahay’s character has been portrayed in Dhoni’s biographical film, ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’.
Adil Hussain, a former Bihar Ranji captain and under whom Dhoni played for CCL on stipend, said he was probably the closest to Sahay.
“He treated me like a son, and he was like my guardian. He was a true sports administrator. I never saw him enjoying his [top] positions; rather, he always worked for players, be it preparing turf pitches or something else. The reason he thought of preparing turf pitches was because he observed that Ranchi cricketers weren’t able to go far, like playing in Ranji Trophy or represent the state. Due to the absence of turf pitches in Ranchi, our players weren’t able to perform when they would play on the turf pitches elsewhere,” Hussain told IANS.
Hussain, who played 24 Ranji Trophy matches between 1987-88 and 1995-96, pointed out that when the layout of a small stadium was being made in the MECON employees’ colony in Ranchi, Sahay ensured turf pitches were prepared there on which Ranji Trophy matches were played later.
“The result was that every year three-four Ranchi-based players were picked in the Bihar Ranji team [before Jharkhand was formed in November 2000], and one of them is legendary Dhoni. He also hired players on stipend for MECON, and later for CCL. His contribution to Ranchi is unparalleled and unmatched,” he said.
Sahay would enter various Ranchi-based teams in the Sheesh Mahal Tournament, an annual summer fixture played in Lucknow. That also provided varied exposure to players and that benefitted them immensely.
Former Ranchi cricket secretary Sunil Singh said that Sahay was made for cricket and was always available for it.
“Even while holding big posts, he was always present on the field. His biggest contribution was the appointment/job that he provided to cricketers in whichever company/department he worked with. His other major contribution was developing infrastructure at a time when cricket was played on matting wickets in Ranchi. He developed turf pitches, and provided those to players like Dhoni to play on. He, in fact, made a big contribution to the entire [Bihar/Jharkhand] state, not just in Ranchi,” Singh told IANS.
When Sahay was the working president of the Ranchi district association, for about 10 years, he was chairman of the selection committee as well. “I was the association secretary [from 1995-2013] and convenor of the selection committee, and Dhoni was first selected for the district in 1997 during his chairmanship. Deval da was a cricket institution in himself,” said Singh, who was also district convenor at the JSCA.


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ISL: Anirudh Thapa’s Indian feat in Chennaiyin FC’s winning start | Football News

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Chennaiyin FC have always shown confidence in their Indian youngsters. And, at Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Tuesday, that confidence reaped dividends in a 2-1 winning start against Jamshedpur FC where 22-year-old Anirudh Thapa scored the first goal by an Indian player, and the fastest so far, of the Indian Super League season.
The 52nd second strike was the mastermind of Rafael Crivellaro coupled with the quick run and cross from the wings by Esmael Goncalves to Player-of-the-Match Thapa who was at the right place in the box to guide it past Jamshedpur FC keeper TP Rehenesh.
It was just the beginning of an open encounter with Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur searching for an equaliser and his former wards in Chennaiyin looking for the second. Brazilian Crivellaro kept creating chances and finding the gaps for Csaba Lzaslo’s Chennaiyin, whose defenders kept foiling the optimistic attacks from JFC.
In the end-to-end early action, Peter Hartley missed on his first ISL goal and the equaliser in the 7th minute with a misdirected header to a perfect Jackichand cross with only CFC keeper Vishal Keith to beat.
The story repeated at the other end with, first Goncalves in the 10th and then Thapa on the 20th minute failing to take advantage of the defensive errors by JFC and the dream chances created by Crivellano.
The scoreline finally changed in the 26th minute in favour of Chennaiyin. Isaac Vanmalsawma’ soft foul on Thapa inside the box earned Lzaslo’s team a penalty and Bissau-Guinean Gonclaves made no mistake in sending Rehenesh the wrong way and putting the ball in.
While the high line of defence from JFC kept hurting the team, there was optimism in attack with Jackichand, who had the most successful assists last season, carrying his form from the last edition.
The young playmaker’s effort was finally converted by none other than last season’s Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis with the perfect header to an inch-perfect cross in the 37th minute.
While Chennaiyin remained the more dominant team in an attacking encounter and confidently countered whenever JFC attacked, another goal stayed elusive to them. There was, however, no way JFC could deny CFC a winning start and the full three points.


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