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Didn’t demand to be included in South Africa World Cup squad: de Villiers

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AB de Villiers

New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers has denied that he made any demand to be included in the national squad for the ICC World Cup in England and Wales.

de Villiers, who retired from international cricket in May 2018, said that he had been asked at the time if he would be available if South Africa needed him for the World Cup. He had said that he would be and had repeated the same during a private conversation with Proteas captain Faf du Plessis during the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League.

“Faf and I have been friends since we were at school together and two days before the World Cup squad was announced, I contacted him for a chat,” de Villiers said in a statement the screenshots of which were posted on his social media handles.

“I had been in decent form during the Indian Premier League and casually repeated what I had said when asked a year earlier, that I was available if required… but only if required. I made absolutely no demand at all. I certainly did not try to force my way into the World Cup squad on the eve of the tournament, and did not expect to be included. There was no burning issue from my side, and no sense of injustice,” he said.

The controversy arose after it was revealed that de Villiers had allegedly demanded to be included in the South Africa squad just after their defeat to India in the World Cup. The Proteas had a dismal tournament in England and Wales as they crashed out of the group stage with just three victories in nine outings.

de Villiers came in for criticism after the story broke and while the 35-year-old clarified that he had not demanded anything from du Plessis or the South African team management, he held no grudge against anyone for leaking the story.

“Out of the blue, on the evening after the Proteas lost to India, suffering a third successive World Cup defeat, elements of our private conversation were disclosed to the media, and distorted to cast me in the worst possible light. The story was not leaked by me, or anybody associated with me, or by Faf. Maybe someone wanted to deflect criticism. I don’t know,” he revealed.

“As a result, I was unfairly described as arrogant, selfish and indecisive, but with all humility, my conscience is clear. I retired for honest reasons and, when asked if I could be available for the World Cup, I agreed to keep the door open. In the event, understandably, the team moved on. No problem. I am not angry with anybody,” de Villiers said.

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Madrid Masters tennis tournament cancelled: organisers

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Madrid Masters tennis

The Madrid Open that was scheduled to take place from Sept. 12-20 has been cancelled due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Spanish Capital, Organisers said on Thursday.

“As an act of responsibility in view of the current situation caused by COVID-19 and having thoroughly evaluated the circumstance that the pandemic continues to generate… it has been decided that 2020 Muta Madrid Open will not take place this year,” organisers said in a satatement.

The tounament, which was to feature both men’s and women’s draws, was seen as an important event for players to prepare for the Frech Open which begins on Sept. 27.

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BCCI issues SOP; players must sign consent form before resuming training

BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

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New Delhi, Aug 2 : The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to the state associations for the resumption of cricket. While these will help the state bodies restart cricketing activities, all players will have to sign consent forms before getting back to training.

In the 100-page SOP, accessed by IANS, the BCCI has touched on principles while returning to training, ground and practice facilities preparation with an eye on the pandemic, gymnasium protocols, physiotherapy and medical protocols as well as protocols to manage a suspected COVID-19 case.

It also has the consent form where the players have to acknowledge that there is risk associated with resuming training and that the player has been informed about the protocols in place and the precautions taken by the association.

The player also needs to acknowledge that the association can’t guarantee complete elimination of risk despite taking necessary precautions and that the player is willing to resume training.

With an eye on the whole situation with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, the BCCI has shared its views with the state bodies with regards to resumption of cricket.

“The BCCI as the governing body for the sport of cricket in India is responsible for ensuring that appropriate protocols are put in place to protect the health and safety of players, staff and all stakeholders. Covid-19, an infectious disease primarily affecting the lungs, poses a serious threat to the health of individuals as is evident from its spread to almost all countries around the world with more than 17.5 million infections and over 0.6 million deaths as on 1st August 2020. As the world grapples with Covid-19, cricketing activity has come to a standstill and players confined to the four walls within their homes.

“It is said that cricket is a religion in India and the fanfare and fervor that cricket commands are far greater than any other sport or event in the country. Besides, it also helps generate tremendous revenue and employs players and staff across 38 State teams, both in the men and women category. BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

“However, the BCCI is concerned about the high infectivity rate of SARS CoV-2 and in the interest of health and safety of all players, staff and stakeholders, the BCCI would not like to compromise on the preventive measures by resuming too soon,” the SOP read.

“The purpose of these protocols is to ensure the safe resumption of cricket activities and the below guidelines may be amended from time to time as may be required depending on the existing Covid-19 situation in the country and the guidelines issued by the Government of India at appropriate times. These guidelines have been prepared by the BCCI Medical Team.

“All BCCI affiliated State Cricket Associations will adhere to these guidelines and take additional measures as may be necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection. Approvals must also be sought from local administration and health authorities before commencing any cricket activity. The health and safety of players, staff and stakeholders will be the sole responsibility of respective State Cricket Associations.”

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Thank you all for the lovely wishes for our baby boy: Hardik Pandya

After Hardik revealed to the world that he had become a father, wishes poured for him from all quarters. His Instagram post had read: “We are blessed with our baby boy.” It was posted with the picture of the baby’s hand.

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baby boy Hardik Pandya

New Delhi, Aug 2 : India all-rounder Hardik Pandya on Sunday expressed his gratitude to everyone who wished him and his family after the birth of his first child.

Hardik had earlier announced on his social media handle on Thursday that he and Natasa Stankovic were blessed with a baby boy.

Hardik thanked everyone for their wishes and wrote on his Twitter handle: “Thank you all for the lovely wishes for our baby boy. It meansAa lot to us.”

After Hardik revealed to the world that he had become a father, wishes poured for him from all quarters. His Instagram post had read: “We are blessed with our baby boy.” It was posted with the picture of the baby’s hand.

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar wrote on his Twitter handle:”Many congratulations to the proud new parents! May the little one tiptoe with love into your hearts & stay there forever!”

India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane also sent his wishes via Twitter and his post read: “Congratulations to you both!!”

“Many congratulations to you both, have a great time being a parent. God bless the lil Champ,” said batsman Suresh Raina.

“Congratulations Brotherman @hardikpandya7,” said spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

Apart from the players, Hardik’s Indian Premier League (IPL) team Mumbai Indians (MI) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also sent their wishes on Twitter.

“Welcome to #OneFamily Congratulations, @hardikpandya7 and Natasa,” tweeted MI.

“Congratulations to the couple and a warm welcome to Pandya Jr.,” said the BCCI on their Twitter handle.

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