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End of road for Dhoni or another finishing act on cards?

Kohli knows how important Dhoni is for the team in their bid to win the T20 World Cup slated to be held in Australia.

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New Delhi, Jan 16 : Ever since the culmination of the 2019 World Cup, the one million dollar question that has been doing rounds in Indian cricket is about the fate of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Will he retire from international cricket?

When on Thursday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) excluded Dhoni’s name from its list of centrally contracted male cricketers for 2019-20 season.

It added more fuel to that fire: Will MSD retire?

Dhoni’s omission might be a possible indicator that his days as India cricketer are numbered.

The Ranchi stumper took a sabbatical in the aftermath of India’s World Cup exit where they suffered a crushing defeat against New Zealand in the semi-finals.

Thereafter he hasn’t been considered for selection and chief selector M.S.K. Prasad has also stated that the team was “moving on” from one of the greats of the game to have ever played for India.

Late last year, Dhoni hinted that he would not reveal his plans until January 2020.

While Dhoni has remained tight-lipped about his future, Head Coach Ravi Shastri, in an interview with IANS, left open a small chance of Captain Cool’s participation in this year’s T20 World Cup, though it would be subject to his performance in the IPL this year and other selection dynamics.

Fans might feel that Dhoni’s omission from BCCI contracts is a possible sign that the legendary World Cup-winning captain is now looking forward to a future sans Team India.

There are two reasons for fans not to speculate. One: BCCI President Sourav Ganguly’s insistence on the fact that each and every individual cricketer will get due respect.

“You know champions don’t finish quickly. I don’t know what’s in his mind and what he thinks about his career. So we will deal with that you know,” Ganguly had said after taking over as the board president.

“He is one of the greats of the game and India is proud to have MS Dhoni over a period of time. If you even sit down and take a note of what he has done, you say, ‘Wow, MS Dhoni’.

“Till I am around, everybody will be respected and that doesn’t change,” he added.

If this doesn’t indicate about Dhoni donning the Blue jersey again, then Thursday’s assertion by BCCI hours after the contract list was made public — wherein they said that central contracts have nothing to do with his future — only show that the doors of the Indian team for the two-time World Cup winning captain are still open.

“Let’s get the facts right. A contract isn’t the ultimate authority on whether you can play for the country or not. Regular players are given a contract and to be honest, Dhoni hasn’t played for the national team since the 2019 World Cup. So, he wasn’t named in the contract,” a BCCI official told IANS.

“If someone sees this as the end of the road or some hint from the selectors, it isn’t the case. He can still perform and get back into the national team if he wants and that includes playing for India in the World T20. The central contract honestly has no relation to Dhoni’s India future. In the past also you have had players without a contract playing for the country and you will see that in the future as well. Assuming things doesn’t help,” the official explained.

Another important thing which goes in Dhoni’s favour is the support he gets from current India captain Virat Kohli.

“He is one of the greats of the game and India is proud to have MS Dhoni over a period of time. If you even sit down and take a note of what he has done, you say, ‘Wow, MS Dhoni’,” Kohli had said about Dhoni prior to 2019 World Cup.

“You look at what he’s done for the country, no one can (gift) him that space, he deserves it.”

Kohli knows how important Dhoni is for the team in their bid to win the T20 World Cup slated to be held in Australia.

Dhoni, who made his debut against Bangladesh under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy in 2004, has turned up for the country till now in 350 ODIs, 90 Tests and 98 T20Is while affecting a staggering 829 dismissals behind the stumps.

And even though one cannot say with certainty what goes on in Dhoni’s mind — whether he plans to hang his boots or wishes to once again see Team India lift an ICC trophy, — cricket fans not just in India but across the world will hope ‘Captain Cool’ finishes off his career “in style”, just the way he has done on numerous occasions throughout his stellar career.

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India’s Q3 GDP expected to inch-up above 4.5%

India Ratings and Research gave a forecast of 4.7 per cent for Q3 GDP.

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slowdown in global economic growth

New Delhi, Feb 27 : India’s third quarter 2019-20 GDP growth rate is expected to inch up on the back of rising inflation, along with a modest uptick in the momentum of services and industry.

Several economists polled by IANS said that GDP growth rate is seen in the range of 4.6-4.8 per cent for the third quarter from 4.5 per cent reported for the second quarter of the current fiscal.

Various indicators like air passenger traffic, railways’ freight revenue and commercial vehicles’ sales have shown improvement in Q3FY20 against weak performance in Q2FY20.

The macro-economic data point of the national income and the GDP will be released on Friday.

“We expect the GDP Q3 number to be 4.8 per cent. Since no major improvement was observed among leading indicators, market expectations remain subdued,” said Karan Mehrishi, Lead Economist at Acuite Ratings and Research.

“Generally, Q3 is one of the strongest quarters in a financial year because the inclusion of festive seasons sales and kharif harvest-driven rural consumption, this time, however, nothing noteworthy is foreseen.”

Besides, he pointed out that capacity utilisation levels have also fallen.

“Fresh capex looks unlikely and investments will be moderate driven by the public sector. We are however mindful of the inflation trajectory moving forward,” Mehrishi said.

India Ratings and Research gave a forecast of 4.7 per cent for Q3 GDP.

Edelweiss Securities’ Economist Madhavi Arora said: “We expect a marginal shallow pick up in 3Q, amid still-sluggish corporate earnings and weak industrial sector.”

“While government spending has been a respite for the services sector, its’ contribution to growth will also decline marginally. We expect 3Q GDP to print around 4.6-4.7 per cent.”

Meanwhile, ICRA expects the GDP and the gross value added (GVA) growth at basic prices to rise mildly to 4.7 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively, in Q3FY20, from 4.5 per cent and 4.3 per cent, respectively, in Q2FY20.

“Some industrial and service sectors displayed a pickup in YoY volume growth in Q3FY20 relative to the previous quarter, while the output of kharif crops displayed a mixed trend,” its principal economist Aditi Nayar said.

“Lower raw material costs, high growth of the government’s non-interest revenue expenditure and the stable profitability metrics revealed by the earnings of some banks would provide a cushion to the pace of economic growth,” she said.

However, the extent and duration of coronavirus outbreak would test the sustainability of the nascent upturn in growth in the ongoing quarter.

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Cannabis use rises among the elderly, finds study

Women, and individuals who were married, had a college degree, or had higher income also significantly increased their cannabis use.

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Cannabis

New Delhi, Feb 26 : Cannabis use continues to increase in popularity among adults of 65 years of age and older in the United States, according to a new study.

Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study from NYU Grossman School of Medicine estimates that cannabis use in adults aged 65 and older increased from 2.4 percent to 4.2 percent in the United States — a significant increase of 75 percent — between 2015 and 2018.

With the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes in many states in the US, medical professionals are studying its use in treating a number of chronic health conditions. Since 1996, 31 states have legalized medical marijuana, while 11 states and Washington DC have legalized recreational use.

The survey categorized cannabis use by asking whether marijuana, hashish, pot, grass, or hash oil was either smoked or ingested.

Researchers observed trends in prevalence of past-year cannabis use, broken down by sociodemographic background, chronic disease, healthcare utilization, and other substance use among adults age 65 and older, in the United States, between 2015 and 2018.

Certain subsets of this population saw an even higher rise in prevalence. For example, researchers estimated that past-year use more than doubled by older adults with diabetes, among those who have received mental health treatment, and those reporting past-year alcohol use.

Women, and individuals who were married, had a college degree, or had higher income also significantly increased their cannabis use.

Researchers say they next plan to acquire more detailed information about how medical marijuana affects older populations, its risks and side effects.

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Ground Zero: A dangerous mix of politics and police inaction?

Eyewitness say when the pro and anti-CAA protesters clashed, the police remained a mute spectator.

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Maujpur anti CAA Violence

New Delhi, Feb 24 : After all, the sudden quiet at Shaheen Bagh, on the boil for over two months, was deeply deceptive, if you look at the way how the protest — for and against the new citizenship law — spilled out to north-east of Delhi, with the police yet again failing to read the situation.

Many locals say the violence at Maujpur-Jafrabad in north-east Delhi erupted soon after BJP leader Kapil Mishra took out a march on Sunday in support of the Controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as well as against the anti-CAA women protesters who had blocked the road at Jafrabad metro station.

The police stepped in when Kapil Mishra addressed the crowd, sources said. He was flanked by the Deputy Commissioner of Police clad in full riot gear. Some people cite a video clip that shows the BJP leader giving an “ultimatum” to the police, saying “he will come back after the visiting US President leaves India”.

“But the DCP did not act,” said a local resident.

Stone-pelting soon started on the crowd protesting against CAA at Jafrabad.

But how does Kapil Mishra get into the picture? The Karawal Nagar (another north-east Delhi locality) politician was in the AAm AAdmi Party and had switched to the BJP just days before the Delhi polls. He contested from Karawal Nagar, but lost.

A few days back, scores of Jafrabad residents had let it be known that on Saturday (February 22), they would start a march to Rajghat. They were responding to an appeal by Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad who had called for ‘Bharat bandh’ on Sunday. On saturday, the women protesters were stopped midway, but soon they were at Jafrabad Metro station, blocking the road and the metro station.

Eyewitness say when the pro and anti-CAA protesters clashed, the police remained a mute spectator.

The situation turned uglier: On Monday the violence reached the lanes and by-lanes of some localities where passers-by were beaten up if they did not tell their names to aggressive groups of men.

Many pictures and videos of violence have gone viral where unidentified people have been seen brandishing guns as policemen look on. A head constable, Ratan Lal, lost his life on Monday after being hit by rioters.

The violence has spread to Chand Bagh, Khureji in east Delhi and Hauz Rani in south Delhi and fear stalks the roads. Yet no one knows how it all started and when and how it will end.

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