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Bumrah to receive Polly Umrigar award

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Mumbai: India’s pace sensation Jasprit Bumrah will receive the prestigious Polly Umrigar Award (2018-19) for being the best international cricketer at the BCCI Annual Awards, scheduled to be held here later on Sunday in Mumbai.

Currently ranked as the world no.1 ODI bowler, Bumrah had made his Test debut during India’s tour of South Africa in January 2018.

He has scalped a five-wicket haul in South Africa, England, Australia and the West Indies to become the first and only Asian bowler to reach the milestone.

The 26-year-old has 62 wickets to his name in the longest format of the game while 103 scalps from 58 ODIs.

On the other hand, leg-spinner Poonam Yadav, who had recently received the Arjuna Award, will be given the best international cricketer (women) award.

Meanwhile, former India captains Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Anjum Chopra, the first Indian to play 100 Women ODIs, will be presented with Col CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award and the BCCI Lifetime Achievement Award for Women respectively.

Also, Cheteshwar Pujara will be awarded with the Dilip Sardesai award for being the highest run-getter in Tests during the 2018-19 period. Pujara had amassed 677 runs from eight Tests, averaging 52.07.

India Test opener Mayank Agarwal, who hogged the limelight for consecutive good scores in the recent past, will be bestowed with the award for best international debut in the men’s category while Shafali Verma will receive the award in the women’s category.

In nine Tests, Mayank had scored 872 runs, averaging 67.07 with three centuries and and as may half-centuries. Shafali on the other hand had accumulated 222 runs from nine T20Is.

Speaking on the award, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said: “The BCCI Awards is our way of recognizing the finest on-field performances right from the age group to senior level and also honour our legends. It will be a special evening in Mumbai as we will also have the 7th MAK Pataudi lecture and I am delighted to inform that it will be Virender Sehwag, who will address the gathering.”

Jay Shah, Hon. Secretary, BCCI said: “The BCCI Awards are an important feature in India’s cricketing calendar, a mélange of aspiration and inspiration. We wanted to make it bigger and better and have introduced four new categories – highest run-getter and wicket-takers in WODIs and best international debut men and women – from this year. A total of 25 awards will be presented.”

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Australia suspends Olympic bid amid COVID-19 recovery

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Sydney, May 25 (IANS) Australia’s Queensland has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently as the state government focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the bid process had been paused, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s just on hold. I wouldn’t read too much into that,” Palaszczuk told reporters last weekend.

“We’re focused absolutely on the economic recovery at the moment.”

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it fully supported the Queensland government’s position in placing the Brisbane 2032 candidature on hold.

AOC President John Coates said in a recent statement that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, allowing governments to focus on dealing with COVID-19.

Coates said he’d proposed to OCLG members that the meetings would not proceed while all three levels of governments dealt with the pandemic.

He also told the AOC Annual General Meeting on May 9 that discussions with the IOC on the candidature would resume when appropriate.

“We all understand there are pressing issues of public health and community wellbeing for governments to address,” Coates said.

“The candidature will have its role to play in terms of jobs and growth in the Queensland economy once we have seen our way through the current crisis.”

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‘Hockey has lost its brightest star’: Balbir Singh Sr passes away

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Hockey India has expressed condolences on the sad demise of legendary player Balbir Singh Sr who breathed his last on Monday morning in Mohali. The triple Olympic Champion and World Cup-winning team manager had been battling for life since May 8 when he was hospitalised.

“Today, we have not only lost our greatest hockey legend but we have also lost ‘our guiding light’. While his achievements in post-independent era have been well-documented, Balbir Sr remained the greatest fan of the sport and was always there when we needed his advice. Hockey has lost its brightest star and everyone at Hockey India is pained by this news,” said Hockey India President Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad.

He further said: “Balbir Singh Sr’s exemplary achievements, his passion for the sport, his life as an icon of the game will remain an example for generations to come. On behalf of the federation, I express my deepest condolences to his family.”

He was the most decorated athlete in Indian sports history with Olympic medals in 1948, 1952 and 1956 Summer Games. He coached the Indian team which won the bronze medal at the 1971 World Cup and was manager of the Indian team that won the gold medal at the 1975 World Cup.

He had scored five goals in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Under his captaincy, India scored 38 goals and conceded none on its way to the gold medal in 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Beating England 4-0 in their own backyard during the final of the 1948 Olympic Games as an independent nation was Balbir Sr’s ‘greatest moment’.

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Former Pak batsman Taufeeq Umar tests positive for COVID-19

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New Delhi, Former Pakistan opener Taufeeq Umar tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Umar featured in 44 Tests and 12 ODIs, amassing 2,963 and 504 runs respectively for Pakistan.

He played his last international match in 2014, a Test against New Zealand in Dubai.

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