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Captain’s call on follow-on, depends on bowlers’ recovery: Ashwin

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India Vs South Africa

Pune, Oct 12 : Ravichandran Ashwin said that captain Virat Kohli will decide about whether India will enforce the follow-on or not after the third day of the second Test between India and South Africa in Pune on Saturday. South Africa were dismissed for 275 on Day 3, thus handing India a lead of 326.

“I haven’t thought about the follow-on,” Ashwin told reporters at the end of the day’s play at the MCA stadium when asked about his opinion on it. “The captain will decide overnight what we should do. It also depends upon how the bowlers recover tomorrow.”

Ashwin was all praise for Wriddiman Saha. Saha had a productive day behind the stumps, taking a brilliant catch off Umesh Yadav to dismiss Theunis de Bruyne and playing an important role in successfully overturning a caught behind appeal off Temba Bavuma that did not go India’s way.

“It’s a no-brainer to say Saha is one of the best (wicketkeepers) going around. I hardly saw him miss anything today even from the rough. It shows how good a keeper he is and what good set of hands he has got. He’s got a great composure too and you can’t really rule him out with the bat. He has made some really good contributions so he is a great wicketkeeper to have for us,” he told reporters.

Ashwin said that this pitch was quite similar to the one that was on offer in Visakhapatnam for the first Test. “Generally the scorecard tells you the story and one of the biggest problems with this South African team is that they bat till no.11 so you have to bowl at them like you bowl at a top order batsman. It was hard work but you expect to bowl out a team in 100-odd overs,” he said.

India would have got a much bigger lead on Day 3 had it not been for some late resistance from Vernon Philander (44 n.o.) and Keshav Maharaj (72). The pair added 109 runs for the ninth wicket and have possibly saved South Africa from suffering an innings defeat. Ashwin took four wickets, including those of Maharaj and South African skipper Faf du Plessis (64). The 33-year-old said that the pair batted pretty well and that he was too happy to be bowling again to be frustrated by the pair.

“I don’t get frustrated. I’m happy to be bowling again and whoever bats against me I am happy to keep bowling at him. It’s a good pitch, Philander batted beautifully. His technique towards spin and fast bowling was quite good. He played with soft hands and I think the myth of tailenders is just overstated. Nowadays nobody is really a mug with a bat. Even in our team everybody bats till number 11,” he said.

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Cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla’s bail plea dismissed

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New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) A Delhi court on Saturday dismissed the bail application moved by cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla, who was recently extradited to India for his alleged involvement in match-fixing racket.

Metropolitan Magistrate Navneet Budhiraja dismissed the application after hearing the arguments put forth by both the defence and the prosecution.

Chawla is one of the main accused in the match-fixing scandal that also involved former South Africa captain late Hansie Cronje. He had allegedly conspired with the latter to fix matches during South Africa’s tour to India in 2000.

Chawala, who was extradited to India from the UK in February, sought bail on the grounds that there is a threat of contracting coronavirus inside the “unhygienic” Tihar Jail.

“The conditions in the jail are not hygienic and there is a threat of coronavirus there and therefore, in view of the eminent threat of epidemic coronavirus in the jail as well, the applicant prays that he be released on bail,” the bail application stated.

He also claimed to have received life threats from various persons and said that the jail inmates made extortion demands from him.

The bookie further added that he has never been involved in any criminal case and was falsely implicated in the matter on vague allegations.


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Diamond League suspends 3 more track meets due to COVID-19

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Stockholm, March 28 The Diamond League has postponed three of its athletic meetings scheduled in May in the wake of ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Following the postponement of early-season events in Qatar and China last week, the series has decided to also suspend meetings in Stockholm (scheduled for May 24), Naples/Rome (May 28) and Rabat (May 31).

“The decision was made in close consultation with all the relevant parties. The dynamic global spread of the COVID-19 disease, the travel restrictions expected to be in force for some time and above all concerns over athlete safety have made it impossible to stage the competitions as planned,” the Diamond League said in a statement.

The first six events of the year have been called off and only the Shanghai meet has been given a new date.

The Diamond League also said that the “meeting organizers, the Wanda Diamond League and World Athletics remain committed to delivering a structured extensive season in 2020.”

The entire sporting calendar has come to a grinding halt because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far claimed more than 27,000 lives across the world.

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Turkish boxers test positive after Tokyo qualifier, IOC draws flak

The Boxing Road to Tokyo competition at the Copper Box was cancelled after three days because of the pandemic.

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Istanbul, March 26: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been labelled “irresponsible” after the Turkish Boxing Federation revealed two fighters and a coach who took part in a Tokyo 2020 qualifying event in London earlier this month had since tested positive for COVID-19.

Turkish Boxing Federation president Eyup Gozgec told BBC Sport that organisers failed to take the outbreak seriously enough and “didn’t care”.

He added: “I just want to know, when the whole world was on high alert, why they hosted this event?

“We didn’t see any hygienic standards there. There were no preventative measures.”

The Boxing Road to Tokyo competition at the Copper Box was cancelled after three days because of the pandemic.

In a letter sent to the board members of the European Boxing Confederation (EUBC), and accessed by the BBC, Gozgec wrote: “Two of our athletes (and a coach) have tested positive for (Covid-19) after returning to Turkey from London. All of them are in treatment now and thankfully are in good condition.

“This is the disastrous result of the irresponsibility of the IOC Boxing Task Force.”

Gozgec added that he now plans to write to all European boxing associations asking if any of their teams at the event have since tested positive.

“The organisers were irresponsible, and I think they didn’t realise the severity of the issue so they just didn’t care,” he said.

“They just didn’t take this outbreak seriously and they didn’t care about it. They did no tests for us. They just told us to go. They dropped us at the airport and that was it.”

He added: “They knew they were going to have to cancel — why go with it? The health of our athletes and staff is our priority.”

Organisers said they had taken all precautions and that no teams had reported symptoms at the event.

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