Friday, January 27TRUSTED FEARLESS INTERNATIONAL & NATIONAL NEWS PORTAL

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The wicket surprised us: Pandya

India skipper Hardik Pandya said they were left “surprised” by the grip and turn the pitch offered but admitted the team paid the price for allowing New Zealand to walk away with too many runs. India suffered a 21-run loss in the opening T20I after New Zealand posted a challenging 176 for six with the last-over thrashing of Arshdeep Singh for 27 runs proving to be the game-changer. Chasing the total, India batters couldn’t negotiate the spinners as they managed 155 for 9. “No one thought this wicket would play like that, both teams got surprised but New Zealand played better cricket. The new ball was turning more than the old ball. The way it turned and bounced surprised us,” Pandya said during the post-match presentation. Suryakumar Yadav (47) and Hardik Pandya (21) had conjured up hop...
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Mental battle key as power-hitters Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka meet in Australian Open final

To quite an extent, Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka are cut from the same cloth. Both are Eastern Europeans, with a 6 ft-tall frame and big wingspan, and both have similar playing styles – based around keeping rallies short by using their natural power and clean shot-making off both wings from the baseline. Yet, where they differ vastly is their mentality and approach. Rybakina is more methodical and stoic, not showing much emotion even when she’s down, and able to rally to come back from deficits. Her celebrations are muted and disappointment is barely visible. It is an approach that has been effective in the past. She is the reigning Wimbledon champion, a fact that most – including tournament organisers who have given her assignments on the outside courts as recently as the ongoing...
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Penalty rules likely to change after Emiliano Martinez’s goalkeeping antics in World Cup: Report

The International FA Board is set to bring about new changes in its penalty rules in order to stop antics like that of Argentina shot stopper Emiliano Martinez in the World Cup final against France, the Sun reported. The IFAB is set to draft new regulations at the AGM in London in March before rewriting the laws which would look into the gamesmanships of the goalkeepers who sometimes “unfairly distract” the penalty taker through various tactics. Martinez was the one whose antics during the penalty shootouts in the World Cup grabbed limelight due to his aggressive approach. In the final against France, he made Kingsley Coman wait for a while as he talked to the referee, asking him to check the ball placement on the penalty spot. Martinez would also play mind games with Real Madrid’s Aure...
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Russian athletes could participate in Asian competitions: IOC

Russian and Belarusian athletes could participate in Asian events with the International Olympic Committee looking at options for their return to international competitions. The IOC said on Wednesday the Olympic Council of Asia had offered Russian and Belarusian athletes the chance to compete in Asia. The IOC said in a statement it “welcomed and appreciated the offer from the Olympic Council of Asia to give these (Russian and Belarusian) athletes access to Asian competitions”. That could potentially also include Olympic qualifying events, with Russian and Belarusian athletes unable to compete in Europe due to various restrictions and bans as well as opposition caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The IOC is eager to include Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals at the Paris 202...
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Gukesh D plays out draw with Magnus Carlsen in Rd 9 of Tata Steel Masters Wijk

India’s 16-year-old Grandmaster Dommaraju Gukesh, playing with black pieces, held five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen to a draw in the ninth round of the Tata Steel Masters being held in Wijk aan Zee on Tuesday. Having beaten Carlsen in an online rapid chess game last year, it was the first time the teen was facing Carlsen in over-the-board classical chess. And Carlsen, having previously lost to current leader Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan and Dutch GM Anish Giri in the tournament, was under pressure in his bid to defend his title. But Gukesh, who was coming on the back of an impressive win over Iranian Parham Maghsoodloo in the previous round, didn’t make any mistakes to give Carlsen the edge. “This game was special for me because it was my first classical game against Carls...
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India vs New Zealand: Magician’ Shardul turns match India’s way with two quick wickets

Shardul Thakur is often called a ‘Magician’. When wickets aren’t falling, or a partnership needs to be broken, skipper Rohit Sharma just throws the ball to Thakur. If the team needs some runs, Thakur will deliver with the bat too. Social media has termed him ‘Lord Shardul’ as the Mumbai player has delivered in both departments. Thakur was dropped from the home series against Sri Lanka but the selectors picked him for the three ODIs against New Zealand. His performance prompted the panel to add him as the 21st member of the core group of probables to be rotated ahead of the 50-over World Cup to be played at home. Sharma said Thakur has a knack of taking wickets at crucial times. New Zealand were sailing at one stage in the pursuit of 386 on Tuesday. At one stage, they were 184/2 in 25 o...
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Ahead of World Cup, Rohit Sharma adopting new avatar to give India quicker starts

Rohit Sharma’s 85-ball 101 during India’s 90-run victory over New Zealand on Tuesday ended a long-awaited drought of centuries, going back three years. In that time, though, his stats suggest he has made a key change to his approach at the top of the innings. With the 2023 World Cup on the horizon, the Indian captain is trying to transform himself into an aggressive opener and give India the kind of quick-fire starts that Virender Sehwag gave during the 2011 World Cup. The former opener scored 380 runs from seven games at an average of 47.50 and a blistering strike rate of 122.50 in the tournament. Prior to Tuesday, since his last 100, Rohit had been averaging 39.61 from 15 innings at a strike rate of 103.62, giving his side quick starts with the bat, going after the bowlers right from ...
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Conor McGregor denies woman’s assault allegation on yacht

Conor McGregor is under investigation in Ireland and Spain over assault allegations made by a woman who told police the UFC fighter “would have killed me” if she hadn’t jumped from his yacht last July. The unidentified woman claims McGregor kicked her in the midsection and punched her on his yacht after partying at Ocean Beach Club in Ibiza on July 16 for McGregor’s 34th birthday. She jumped from the yacht, near the island of Formentera, and was eventually picked up by a Red Cross boat, per the Majorca Daily Bulletin. “It was as if he was possessed. I knew that I had to get off the boat because I thought that he was going to kill me,” the woman told Ireland police, according to Spanish newspaper. “We have mutual friends and I have met him numerous times. I can’t believe what he did to m...
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Middle East money forcing Liverpool, Manchester United to seek new investment: Experts

Middle Eastern investment in European clubs and the collapse of a planned Super League are the main driving factors behind two of England’s most storied football teams, Liverpool and Manchester United, seeking new investors, industry experts have told Reuters. United’s owners, the American Glazer family, began looking at new investment or a potential sale last year, with British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s company INEOS entering the bidding process. Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group also said they would “consider new shareholders”, with the Anfield club struggling to qualify for the lucrative Champions League next season. United and Liverpool are the two most successful teams in English football but have won only one league title each in the past decade. Lisa Neirotti, the Director...
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Poland to appoint former Portugal manager Santos as coach: Reports

Poland will appoint former Portugal manager Fernando Santos as their new coach, Polish media reported on Monday. The 68-year-old Santos, whose Portugal contract was terminated in December after their World Cup quarter-final exit to Morocco, was photographed at Warsaw airport on Monday. Polish FA (PZPN) president Cezary Kulesza said on Sunday that the new national team manager will be presented on Tuesday. There has been no official announcement but Polish Minister of Sport and Tourism Kamil Bortniczuk has congratulated Kulesza and the FA on the appointment. “Santos is a coach with a very good CV (Greece and Portugal since 2010, and previously top Portuguese and Greek clubs), successes (European Championship), experience in working with great stars, led by @Cristiano,” he tweeted on Mond...
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Watch: Rashid Khan takes 500 T20 wickets in SA20 match against Pretoria Capitals

Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan completed a total of 500 T20 wickets in the SA20 match between MI Cape Town and Pretoria Capitals. Cape Town skipper Rashid completed the milestone by taking the wicket of Cylde Fortuin. He is the second-ever player to achieve this feat, with only Dwayne Bravo (614) before him. In the match, Rashid took 3 wickets for just 16 runs as his team restricted the Capitals to 182/8 in 20 overs. Last year, Rashid was named as the Afghanistan T20I captain by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), replacing Mohammad Nabi, who stepped down as captain in November, after Afghanistan’s elimination from the T20 World Cup. This will be Rashid’s second stint as captain. The moment he reached 500 wickets 💙#MICTvPC #MICapeTown #OneFamily @rashidkhan_19 pic.twitter.com/MzWTMdq...
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Sacking the coach wouldn’t help Indian hockey, it hasn’t in the past

Indian hockey has been here before: At a juncture where it has to choose between stability and chaos. In the last decade alone, they’ve been at this crossroads multiple times: once, after the triumphant 2014 Asian Games campaign, then following an average Rio Olympics, and later, with a sub-par 2018 World Cup. Each time, it shot itself in the foot, opting for disruption by sacking the coach and setting into motion a sequence of events that ensured the team never moved forward. One hopes they won’t go down the same route this time. For, coach Graham Reid has not just ensured India’s return to the Olympic podium after four decades, but also injected a dose of stability that Indian hockey had been craving for. India bow out of the #HWC2023 after losing to New Zealand in penalty shootouts ...
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IND vs NZ 3rd ODI: The Chahal conundrum

“Aaj Chahal TV pe koi player nahi aayenge, aaj hum aapko survey karwayenge dressing room ka” Like an energetic vlogger, Indian leg spinner Yuzvedra Chahal holds a mic and makes a touring video of the Indian dressing room at Raipur. From being the first-choice leg-spinner in the limited-overs set up, he has been warming the bench of late. And the question on everyone’s lips is why is the team management utilising his services more with the mic than with the ball lately. Chahal flew to the T20 World Cup hoping that bigger grounds in Australia will favour suit his bowling only for the team management not field the leg-spinner in any of the games. Even as other teams preferred wrist-spinners, Chahal warmed the bench the entire tournament. He played in New Zealand, and in the three T20Is and...
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Everton sack manager Lampard: Reports

Everton have sacked manager Frank Lampard, British media reported on Monday, after a poor run of form that has left the Premier League club in a relegation battle. Lampard’s last game in charge was Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at West Ham United, which kept them second-bottom of the table on 15 points after 20 games, two points below the safety zone. The Merseyside team had been struggling under the former England international, having last won a league game in October when they beat Crystal Palace 3-0 at home. Lampard was appointed by Everton in January 2022 after he managed Chelsea from 2019-2021 and Derby County in the second tier in 2018-19. The 44-year-old was sacked as Chelsea manager in January 2021, having returned to the west London club where he holds the goalscoring record. He took ...
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Preparatory camp ahead of Australia Test series, says Rahul Dravid

The Indian team will undergo a preparatory camp before the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, but no player in the squad will be released to play Ranji Trophy ahead of the contest against the visiting Australians. It has been quite some time since the team had a camp before a series, owing to the packed cricketing calendar over the past few years. The Test players won’t be having any red-ball match practice before the first Test against Australia in Nagpur starting February 9, head coach Rahul Dravid informed on the eve of the third One-Day International against New Zealand at Indore’s Holkar Stadium. Dravid was asked whether there was any thought of releasing some players for the Ranji Trophy as the series against the Kiwis had already been secured. The Ranji quarter-finals are schedule...
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First priority is to get 100 percent fit: Jadeja

Star India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who is making a return to competitive cricket after close to six months, on Monday said his first priority is to get “100 percent” match fit ahead of the crucial Test series against Australia. “I am feeling good to be back on the field. Very excited. Hopefully it will come good as a team and as an individual also,” Jadeja, who will lead Saurashtra in their final Ranji Trophy Group B league match against Tamil Nadu beginning here on Tuesday, told reporters. “…See my first priority is to get on the field and be fit…100 per cent fit. Once I am 100 per cent fit, I will work more on my skills, whether it is batting or bowling. Now, my first priority is fitness…” Jadeja had to undergo a knee surgery last year after playing for India last in August. He s...
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‘Never forget that these commentators are loyal to their country’: Sunil Gavaskar cautions media amid speculations around 2023 WC squad

Batting legend and current commentator Sunil Gavaskar cautioned Indian media not to take the opinions of the foreign commentators regarding who should be selected in the India squad for the upcoming 50-over World Cup 2023. Sunil Gavaskar in his column for Mid-Day wrote, “Hopefully, our media won’t be going to overseas commentators asking who should be picked for India. Never forget that these commentators are loyal to their country and may actually suggest names that may not be what India needs.” India’s squad for the ICC #CWC19 announced: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MSD (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd Shami — BCCI (@BCCI) Apri...
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Eddie Nketiah gives Arsenal 3-2 win over Manchester United

Eddie Nketiah kept Arsenal’s Premier League title challenge on track with two goals as the Gunners beat Manchester United 3-2 in a pulsating game at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Nketiah netted the winner in injury time with a back-heeled flick-on after a shot from Martin Odegaard to secure a crucial victory that keeps Arsenal five points ahead of Manchester City with a game in hand. United is the only team to have beaten Arsenal in the league this season and looked set to deal Mikel Arteta’s team another blow when Lisandro Martinez equalized in the 59th minute. Eddie Nketiah's last-minute winner sends Arsenal five points clear at the top 🔥#ARSMUN pic.twitter.com/70Cq0Edave — Premier League (@premierleague) January 22, 2023 But Arsenal was finally rewarded for a period of relentless ...
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Hockey World Cup: Poor penalty corner conversion – just five goals from 26 – cost India dear

Captain Harmanpreet Singh had a go at the left post of Dominic Dixon. Amit Rohidas went for power. They even tried variations, aiming for a deflection at the far post. But nothing worked for India. Coach Graham Reid was asked what had changed between the team that finished on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics a year-and-a-half ago and the one that suffered an agonising defeat via penalty shootouts to New Zealand in the playoff for a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals. Reid was perhaps too shaken, too disappointed to analyse the causes. But he did point out one area – the penalty corners. At the Tokyo Games, India converted 10 out of the 31 corners they’d earned, recording a par conversion rate of one in three attempts. At the ongoing World Cup, they could score just five goals from 26 p...
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Hockey World Cup: New Zealand end India’s home party

They collapsed on their knees, faces buried in their hands, eyes red and moist. The silence in the stands, a disbelieving hush that engulfed the Kalinga stadium, and the dejected shake of the head. “Mood off kar dia,” bemoaned one fan donning an Indian jersey. “Zara iss dil ka toh sochte.” Indian hockey’s history is littered with severe heartaches, each one more painful than the other. This one will linger for a while, though. For it brings a team that was flying above the clouds after winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics crashing down to earth. Those moments of unimaginable high under a crisp Tokyo sun now feel a world away from the lows on a breezy, nervy – and ultimately heartbreaking – night in Bhubaneswar. The gloom in the Indian dugout and the stands was an unsettling re...