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Sports

Smiles are back: Officials promise land to hockey star Jyoti Chhetri to build house

THE SMILES do not leave the faces of India’s hockey striker Jyoti Chhetri, her parents and brother. Along with joy, there’s an overwhelming sense of relief. On the day The Indian Express reported that Jyoti, who was part of the national team participating in the FIH League here, has been fighting to avert demolition of her house in Panposh, Rourkela, local government officials Tuesday visited the family and assured them of help. Taking a sympathetic view of the situation, the officials promised them a plot of land where they can build a new house. Separately, the Odisha government announced a cash prize of Rs 12.5 lakh for Jyoti and other players from the state who won laurels at the recently concluded Hockey 5s World Cup, Asian Games and Asian Champions Trophy. “This morning, some peop...
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Chelsea all at sea: Ponderous Pochettino, misfiring stars despite £1 billion in transfers and clueless American owner

Mauricio Pochettino was on a rambling roll after Chelsea’s loss to Wolves last week. His stream of thought went like this: “To be focused on playing football, you need to be free in your mind. You can’t be affected because of the stock market in New York or Tokyo, or the weather in I don’t know where because the farms cannot grow the cereals. That is why I keep my hair like this. It’s because I do not suffer for things that I am not in charge of. I only suffer for sport, for football, to try to improve the players, to give them good things. A good platform to win games. If there is no rain at my farm, I cannot grow the crops. You kill the business of my family on the farm and they need money. That is stress. With that, you can lose your hair. But I cannot lose my hair because the oppone...
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In U-19 cricketers’ journey to WC final, meet those who laid ground for them

The flight from Mumbai to South Africa for India’s Under-19 cricketers was long and tiring. The trek to the final, where they will meet Australia on Sunday in a repeat of the senior men’s World Cup final, was also tough. Their real journey, though, was several years in the making. Many of these young cricketers left the comforts of their hometown, and the warmth of their relatives and friends, so that they could realise their cricketing dreams. Uday Saharan, the captain, was only 12 when he shifted from his home in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district to Punjab’s Fazilka district, 80 km away, so that he could get better training facilities. Vice captain Saumy Pandey and his parents moved from Bharatpur in Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi district to a rented accommodation in Rewa, 40 km away, so t...
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Why it’s not wise to write-off Novak Djokovic

Stadiums are kangaroo courts, infamous for their hasty judgments. Sports fans are instant opinion-makers. They are also the judge and jury. So, last weekend at the Australian Open, after his loss to 22-year-old Jannik Sinner in the semifinal, the verdict on Novak Djokovic was diligently passed. The greatest ever tennis player was past his prime at 36; the 20-something Gen-Next had finally caught up and it was curtains for the Djokovic era.The undisputed World No.1 would call the face-off with Sinner his “worst Grand Slam match ever.” Statistics too indicated so. The man known to play a flawless percentage game had 54 unforced errors. One of the best returners in the history of the sport didn’t have a single break point on Sinner’s serve. It was the darkest day of Djokovic’s sparkling ca...
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Nozomi Okuhara’s nightmare in India: Long wait at airport, fleeced by cabbie, 4-hour-long wait time in hotel lobby

Former World champion and Olympic medallist, Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara has narrated her allegedly nightmarish experience when she arrived in India for the Odisha Open badminton Super 100, including an anxious time during the stopover in Delhi and trouble checking into a hotel in Cuttack.This follows certain ‘problems’ foreign players posted about, at tournaments in Lucknow and Guwahati the last two weeks. Okuhara, a former World No.1, posted about the problems she had in hailing a cab at Delhi airport and having to wait for more than four hours to check into a Cuttack hotel, on fansnet.jp. “The full story of harsh travel in India. I was prepared for it, but due to a series of problems, it was a physically and mentally demanding journey. I think I can survive somehow with the help of (PV) S...
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WPL sets moneyball rolling for women’s game: Crore-plus for 2 uncapped players

When pace bowling all-rounder Kashvee Gautam, 20, finished her training in Chandigarh and picked her phone, she saw at least 100 missed calls. Sensing she had been picked up in the Women’s Premier League (WPL) auction, she dialled her father Dinesh who told her that she was bagged by Gujarat Giants for Rs 2 crore — the highest a women cricketer who is yet to represent the country has ever got.Kashvee’s earnings are more than that of the present India captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who was roped in by Mumbai Indians for Rs 1.80 crore in the first season last year. Senior Indian player Smriti Mandhana, with Rs 3.40 crore, is the WPL’s highest earner. Hard-hitting opener Vrinda Dinesh, 22, too, was at the nets with the Karnataka Under-23 team that was participating in a BCCI age-group tournamen...
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Squash: For 15-year old prodigy Anahat Singh, a journey of passion and perspective

Spotlight has come early in Anahat Singh’s life. At an age where almost anyone would still be trying to figure out what they want their careers to be, the 15-year old Anahat has a path in front of her. But along with that, she has perspective too.At the Asian Games, when India played Hong Kong in the women’s team semifinal, Anahat was up against a top 50 player in the world in Lee Ka Yi with the match poised at 1-1. A win for her, unlikely as it should be on paper, would have taken India to the gold medal match. After losing two hard-fought games, Anahat put together a sensational run to save eight match points and had the momentum on her side but eventually lost. As she stepped out of the court, she sat on the bench and stared into the distance. India had won bronze, but the teenager ...
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China Masters Super 750: Satwik-Chirag fall just short in the final after nearly scripting an epic comeback

An epic comeback, by definition, requires a setback. On Sunday, in the men’s doubles final of the China Masters Super 750, India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty seemed down and out at various points in the deciding third game. World No.1 Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang led 10-3 and then 19-10. They had seven match points at 20-13. The finish line was in sight. They were bouncing around the court like Energizer bunnies.But the Indians, top seeds at the event, calmly reeled off one point after another to save six of those championship points. But in the end, they fell just short of what would have been one of the all-time great fightbacks, as Liang-Wang won the final 21-19 18-21 21-19 after a 71-minute thriller. It also brought an end to a remarkable win streak for Satwik-Chirag...
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After loss, a PM Modi pep talk in dressing room: ‘Played well, tried hard’

AFTER THE World Cup final loss on Sunday, the disappointed Indian dressing room got a surprise visitor. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after handing the winners’ trophy to Australian skipper Pat Cummins, dropped by to console and motivate captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid’s heartbroken team whose 10-game imperious World Cup march was halted in the game they comprehensively lost by six wickets. Those present at the interaction said Modi, after addressing the Indian team, sought out individual players to have a word with them. Mohammad Shami, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker and the pacer responsible for triggering a frenzy at the stadium with his deadly spell, would later tweet a picture of him resting his head on the Prime Minister’s shoulder. Of his 24 wickets in this Wor...
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The sleeper hit this World Cup: A simple, informal show from Pakistan

FOUR FORMER Pakistan captains, one of them a living legend, an endearing anchor, a rudimentary set, no complicated data-crunching, no over-philosophising analysis, no raised voices and no hero-worship.This World Cup, a no-frills, rich-in-content talk show featuring cricket’s renowned pundits from Pakistan — Wasim Akram, Moin Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik  — along with a pleasant presenter, Fakhr-e-Alam, with an entertainment background, has cut through the clutter and proved to be a sleeper hit. The Pavilion, a flagship free-streaming show of A Sports, part of Pakistan’s largest media network ARY, is fast approaching the 1000k subscriber mark with most of its hour-long video capsules securing close to one million views. Among the lakhs of Indians following the show are former India ...
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TV & digital viewership, stadium attendance at World Cup make ICC hopeful about future of ODIs

At a time when doubts are often expressed over the future of the 50-over format, the ongoing ODI World Cup in India has given the International Cricket Council (ICC) several reasons for optimism. According to the ICC’s chief commercial officer Anurag Dahiya, as of the 35th game of the tournament, the television viewership had hit 500 million and the digital numbers too had seen record numbers with the organisers expecting the overall tally to be double that of the 2019 edition. Following successive T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022, there were apprehensions ahead of this World Cup. Despite being staged in India, the usual buzz that one witnessed in 2011 was missing. There were also fears that the cricket-crazy public’s appetite for the 50-over game may have come down. But Dahiya said that...
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Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson: Rivals on the pitch, friends off it who bond over YouTube links and books

Virat Kohli is talking about human species’ larger role in the planet. Why we are here and what’s our role. Not quite Yuval Noah Harari, but with spiritualism sprinkled. In the ICC video from a couple of years ago, it takes a few seconds to sink in that he is actually talking about his friendship with Kane Williamson.“We connected on lots of things beyond cricket: how we look at life, the larger reason for everything, it was interesting to note his way of looking at life is pretty similar to mine. We bonded on that,” Kohli says. “To keep an awareness of what we actually are here as human beings, as species, a larger reason for why we are here and be at ease with ourselves. Then everything becomes opportunity and no pressure. I was amazed to know that we connected on books, the videos or...
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‘South Africa certainly have a potent attack’: Mitchell Starc before SA vs AUS World Cup semi-final

Australia is on a seven-match unbeaten streak going into the semifinals. Pat Cummins’ lineup lost its opening two games to India and South Africa but rebounded strongly to secure a semifinal spot well ahead of time. Opening batter David Warner, with 499 runs in nine games, and spinner Adam Zampa, with a tournament-leading 22 wickets, have led the turnaround. Then, allrounder Glenn Maxwell set the tournament afire with two stunning knocks. The first was against the Netherlands in Delhi, where he smacked the fastest World Cup century off only 40 balls. The second was against Afghanistan in Mumbai when Australia was down to 91/7 in a 292-run chase. Maxwell, cramping and in pain, plundered an unbeaten, stand-and-deliver 201 off 128 balls in what is widely regarded as one of the greatest ODI...
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Arsenal vs Manchester City: A season-defining game awaits

The last time Arsenal secured full three points against Manchester City, in the Premier League, the days before the Christmas of 2015, Arsene Wenger was in charge. His side were in hunt for the title, but eventually finished 10 points behind fairytale artistes Leicester City. Pep Guardiola had not yet made up his mind to descend next season at the Etihad. The game extended City’s abysmal record at the Emirates to one win in 19 bouts. Wenger, in a profusion of optimism, said this “victory could fuel the title charge.” Seven years and 15 meetings later, Arsenal are yet to taste a victory in the league against a club that is vaulting into the hall-of-famer territory, if they already have not. Until last year, when Arsenal demonstrated their title-contending prowess until crash-burning towa...
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‘Thiru…varam…putnam’, ‘Thiru…vantram…pitrum’, ‘Tarum…param…pum’: Watch South Africa cricketers struggling to say Thiruvananthapuram

The South Africa team is currently located in Thiruvananthapuram where they are scheduled to take on New Zealand in the second World Cup Warm-up match. However, a hilarious video has surfaced on social media where the men in green can be seen struggling to pronounce Thiruvananthapuram. A clip of the same was also shared by the senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday. Earlier, their first match against Afghanistan was abadoned due to the rain. The South African have arrived in Thiruvananthapuram ! But can they tell anyone where they are? pic.twitter.com/N9LnyVLVH9 — Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 1, 2023 The Proteas are taking their practice matches with utmost seriousness, according to head coach Rob Walter. “From our point of view, it’s really important to put warm-up...
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Pune prepares for World Cup: Facelift for Gahunje stadium, trophy parade

EXCITEMENT IS in the air at Maharashtra Cricket Association’s stadium in Gahunje as Pune will host ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup after a long gap of 27 years.When India faces Bangladesh on October 19, it will be the first ever world cup contest involving India played at a Pune stadium. And then there will be four more matches — Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka on October 30, New Zealand vs South Africa on November 1, England vs Netherlands on November 8 and Australia vs Bangladesh on November 12. “We have hosted 60 major events including IPL but this is a mega event. We are very excited,” said Ajinkya Joshi, Chief Operating Officer, MCA. In preparation for the matches the stadium is getting a face-lift for the first time since its opening in April 2012. “Gahunje stadium is well-maintained. But si...
Sports

Pune prepares for World Cup: Facelift for Gahunje stadium, trophy parade

EXCITEMENT IS in the air at Maharashtra Cricket Association’s stadium in Gahunje as Pune will host ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup after a long gap of 27 years.When India faces Bangladesh on October 19, it will be the first ever world cup contest involving India played at a Pune stadium. And then there will be four more matches — Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka on October 30, New Zealand vs South Africa on November 1, England vs Netherlands on November 8 and Australia vs Bangladesh on November 12. “We have hosted 60 major events including IPL but this is a mega event. We are very excited,” said Ajinkya Joshi, Chief Operating Officer, MCA. In preparation for the matches the stadium is getting a face-lift for the first time since its opening in April 2012. “Gahunje stadium is well-maintained. But si...
Sports

Hockey Rankings: India men climb to third spot, women placed 7th in latest FIH list

The Indian men’s hockey team has climbed to the third spot in the latest world rankings issued by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Monday. India (2771) are back into the top-3, after more than year since dropping out in May 2022. The elevation happened due to their undefeated run in the Asian Champions Trophy 2023 in Chennai last month. The Indians have won six and drew one of their seven matches. England (2745), who fell just short of winning the EuroHockey title with a 1-2 loss to the Netherlands in the final, are out of top three. Despite their strong run to the finals, an earlier loss in the tournament against Belgium and the loss in the final, coupled with India’s run of wins, saw England slip to fourth. Netherlands (3113) continue to lead the way with a strong defence ...
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IND vs NEP Asia Cup 2023 report card: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill star as India down game Nepal by 10 wickets

India vs Nepal Asia Cup 2023 report card: India qualified for the Super 4 stages of the Asia Cup when they defeated Nepal by 10 wickets in a rain curtailed match on Saturday. The match, which was interrupted again and again due to incessant rain, had India chase down a revised total of 145 in 23 overs due to the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method after Nepal had initially made 230 runs in the first innings. India will now go again on Sunday where they will take on arch-rivals Pakistan for the second time in the tournament after their first tie was washed out on September 2 Rohit Sharma After a shaky start in the first over by Karan KC, Rohit would soon find his feet in the rain-affected match and score an unbeaten 74 runs. Shubman Gill After a disappointing start to the tournament when he was...
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IND vs PAK Asia Cup 2023 report card: Pakistan bowlers sizzle, Indian top order fizzles as rain washes out match

India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2023 report card: The rain played spoilsport as the high voltage clash between India and Pakistan was called off on Saturday. There was a forecast of rain in this match and ultimately that came true as Pakistan did not get a chance to chase India’s set target of 266 runs. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf rained fire on the Indian batting lineup as the Men in Blue were reduced to 66/4 at one point. From there, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya rebuilt the innings and a late flurry by Jasprit Bumrah helped India post a decent total. Here’s a quick form-check of Team India after the game: Rohit Sharma (11 runs) The Indian skipper looked to have luck on his side when he was dropped in the first over of the match and got a boundary off it to boot. He wo...