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Have taken fitness to next level during break: Hardik Pandya

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New Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS) India’s premier all-rounder Hardik Pandya had been given a break for the West Indies series after the gruels of the World Cup. While one would think that he would look to switch off and enjoy life off the field, Pandya’s love for the game actually saw him train twice a day for the last month and also fly down to Baroda to work on his skills as it was raining in Mumbai.

Speaking to IANS, on the sidelines of another gruelling session, Pandya spoke on the challenges ahead with the series against the Proteas, working on his fitness, managing his workload as an all-rounder, being the X-factor in this Indian team and his love for tattoos.

He loves the gentleman’s game and reveals that even though he enjoyed time off the field, he also took time to work on his game and fitness. After all, Pandya has in the past had some issues with the back and doesn’t want any repeat.

“It was important for me (the break) as the IPL was long and then the World Cup followed and I had a good run in both the tournaments. So, I was looking to give it my best and that required my body to take some rest as precaution is better than cure and that is when the call was taken by the team management that I come back fully fit for the South Africa series.

“Neither the team management nor I wish that I get injured. The rest has helped me a lot and my fitness has gone to the next level. I started doing pilates and that has helped me a lot. This isn’t something very usual between cricketers. So, that is why I wanted to see how it works and it has worked really well. This last one month, I trained twice a day. It was important that I try something new to improve my back. It was important for me and my game to take this break,” he explained.

Asked about the sudden trip to Baroda, Pandya said: “It was raining in Mumbai so I decided in two hours flat that I will go back home and prepare for the series against South Africa.”

While a fresh series starts with South Africa, exiting the World Cup at the semi-final stage is something that did bother Pandya just like the rest of the boys. But for the all-rounder, it is all about looking forward and getting the next one – World T20 in 2020.

“It was difficult and we all felt the same pain, but life moves on. I would have been more upset if we as a team hadn’t done justice to our performance. I think as a team we played as champions and except for those 30 minutes, I thought we played outstandingly and everyone was contributing and looking to excel. It is just how it is at the knockout stage. We have kind of moved on and we want to focus on the next World Cup (WT20) and win that,” he said.

Asked if he has any specific goals going into the series against South Africa, Pandya said he believes in magic.

“To be honest, I don’t keep goals because I let something out of the box happen. I just focus on preparing well and focus on the areas I wish to work on. I think that magical things do happen. So, I let my game speak and go with the situation. You never know when my team is down and I might stand up and do something special. I focus on that. South Africa is a good team and a good series will give us momentum in T20s,” he smiled.

Being an all-rounder isn’t easy and Pandya says that managing the workload becomes all the more important as one has to focus equally on batting and bowling.

“It is a little difficult because the thing I do as a batsman is then replicated as a bowler. So, I bowl the same amount of balls that a bowler bowls and then I bat for as long as a batsman will to help keep my game on point. That is why it is important for me to be super fit and that I am improving my fitness all the time. It has not been easy till now and I have to manage my workload at all times,” he said.

But then, coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli call him the X-factor in this team of youngsters. How does that feel?

“When someone like your captain and coach backs you, the confidence increases and you look to express yourself and that brings out the best in you. I have always made sure that I understand the situation and then enjoy myself. Enjoying the game decreases the pressure. I have confidence in myself so there is no question of pressure.

“The captain and coach expect me to do well and that gives me confidence because that means I have done something nice in my short career. It is always important to go out and enjoy yourself because at the end of the day it is a sport and I love the sport,” he explained.

There is something about Pandya and his return to cricket. Every time he has walked back to the cricket ground, he has made people sit up and take note. Asked to reveal the secret, Pandya laughs it off and says that his job is to excel every time he takes the field.

“Me and my team were talking about the same thing and to be honest I just love to prepare and give it my all. Whenever I have come back, I have come back strongly and I feel that my work ethics have helped. When it comes to my game, I let my performance do the talking. I wish to improve every series that I play in. I look at not just my game, but also my fitness. It is an instinct that I wish to do well every time I take the field,” he said.

A conversation with one of the world’s best all-rounder is incomplete without discussing his tattoos and Pandya says they all have a message.

“I like tattoos and for me all of them mean something. I don’t get a tattoo just because I have to. Whenever I have got some message for myself, I get a tattoo. It always has a message or explanation behind it. You don’t have time when you are playing, so I get them done when am resting,” he signed off.

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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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