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India-Pakistan clash in spotlight at Asia Cup

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Dubai, Sep 14: The spotlight will on the India-Pakistan rivalry when the six-nation Asia Cup cricket tournament begins here on Saturday.

India under the leadership of stand-in captain Rohit Sharma will be the favourites along with Pakistan. The two traditional rivals have been grouped together in Group A.

India are the most successful team in the Asia Cup, having won six of the 13 editions of the tournament. But this time it will be an uphill task for the Indian players as they will miss the services of regular skipper Virat Kohli.

But on the pitches of Dubai where the spinners will get turn, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav should be a handful. Kedar Jadhav who is also making his comeback to the side could also support the spinning duo if the situation demands.

Pakistan, meanwhile, have won the tournament twice. The first time in 2000, when they beat Sri Lanka in the final, and then in 2012.

Fakhar Zaman with his disciplined batting is capable of turning a match with the support of Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, and Sarfraz Ahmed.

Shadab Khan will be leading the spin department, while Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi will take care of the pace department.

Apart from India and Pakistan, Hong Kong were also clubbed with the two Asian giants. They were previously the part of the Asia cup and will hope to do better than in 2004 and 2008. Batsmen Anshuman Rath will be on spotlight as he played 16 limited overs games and scored with an average of 52.57.

Group B includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In the opening match, Bangladesh will face Sri Lanka. Both teams are struggling with the injuries of their key players.

Bangladesh have three injured players –Tamim Iqbal, Nazmul Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan –while Danushka Gunathilaka and Dinesh Chandimal were out from Sri Lanka squad but return of veteran pacer Lasith Malinga included some spark in the Sri Lankan squad.

The third team which is grouped with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is Afghanistan. Last time they played Asia Cup is in 2014 where they crashed out in the group stages however, they registered their first Asia Cup victory, defeating Bangladesh.

Afghanistan’s improvement in the international circuit has increased over the years. With spinning star Rashid Khan in the squad along with Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan’s bowling line-up will be a test for the others teams in the group.

IANS

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Great Learning ropes in Virat Kohli as brand ambassador

Earlier this month, Great Learning had announced a collaboration with Northwestern University School of Professional Studies in the US to launch online ‘Master of Science in Data Science Programme’ in India.

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Virat Kohli

New Delhi, Sep 14 : Ed-tech company Great Learning on Monday announced the appointment of Virat Kohli, as its brand ambassador.

The captain of the Indian cricket team, who also topped a recent ranking of India’s most powerful celebrities, will now be the face of the Great Learning brand, the company said.

He will lead the brand’s latest ‘Power Ahead’ campaign, which underlines the importance of lifelong learning and showcases how high-quality learning at the right time can help professionals and students power ahead in their career.

“Kohli is the obvious choice to be our brand ambassador because he best embodies the great learning ethos of excellence and continuous learning,” Mohan Lakhamraju, Founder and CEO, Great Learning, said in a statement.

“We are looking forward to this association with Kohli through which we wish to spread the message that now, through the high quality online learning offered by Great Learning, anyone can grow and succeed,” Lakhamraju added.

The company is also launching a multi-film campaign with Kohli during the upcoming Dream 11 IPL, where the brand is Associate Sponsor on Disney + Hotstar.

The films showcase Kohli reflecting on the brands philosophy of continuous learning being a necessity for sustained career growth, something he embodies only too well in his game.

“Great Learning is a leader in the professional learning space and has built a reputation for delivering high quality education and career transformations,” said Kohli.

“I also share the same passion for excellence that Great Learning does and am excited about our association,” Kohli added.

Earlier this month, Great Learning had announced a collaboration with Northwestern University School of Professional Studies in the US to launch online ‘Master of Science in Data Science Programme’ in India.

The fully online, 18-months-long Master’s programme offers an opportunity to earn a world-class master’s degree from a global top-30 ranked university for graduates and working professionals in the country.

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Naomi Osaka beats Victoria Azarenka to win US Open

The victory is Osaka’s third Grand Slam singles title.

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Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka returned to the fore in women’s tennis by coming back to defeat Victoria Azarenka and win her second United States Open on Saturday.

Osaka’s 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory capped a run of powerful play and political activism in New York. She wore seven different masks with different names for each of her matches to honor Black victims of violence. She walked on court Saturday with a mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed in Cleveland by a white police officer in 2014.

Osaka’s victory on Saturday came in radically different conditions than her first title run in New York in 2018.

In that final, she defeated Serena Williams in a tumultuous straight-set match that turned ugly when Williams clashed in Arthur Ashe Stadium with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who called three code-of-conduct violations against Williams.

The crowd, unclear on the rules and upset at the treatment of Williams, booed during the awards ceremony, leaving Osaka in tears shortly after her first Grand Slam singles title.

But Ashe Stadium was nearly empty on Saturday, as it has been throughout this unusual U.S. Open where fans were not permitted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The crowd, unclear on the rules and upset at the treatment of Williams, booed during the awards ceremony, leaving Osaka in tears shortly after her first Grand Slam singles title.

But Ashe Stadium was nearly empty on Saturday, as it has been throughout this unusual U.S. Open where fans were not permitted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Shocked, devastated: IOC, UWW react to Navid Afkari’s execution

The International Olympic Committee and amateur wrestling’s governing body United World Wrestling (UWW) on Saturday reacted to the execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari.

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Navid Afkari

Geneva: While IOC said that it was “shocked” by the development, the UWW said that the news has left the “entire wrestling community” mourning.

Provincial prosecutor general Kazem Mousavi was quoted as saying by Iran’s state television’s website that 27-year-old Afkari was executed in a prison in the southern city of Shiraz on Saturday. Afkari had been found guilty of “voluntary homicide” for murdering a man during the anti-government protests in 2018.

“United World Wrestling has learned that the scheduled execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari took place this morning in Iran,” said UWW in its statement.

“It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind the scene work of United World Wrestling and the National Iranian Wrestling Federation, the IOC together with the NOC of Iran did not achieve our goal. The news is devastating and the entire wrestling community mourns his death,” it added.

Earlier, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it is “shocked” by the development.

“In letters, Thomas Bach, the IOC President, had made direct personal appeals to the Supreme Leader and to the President of Iran this week and asked for mercy for Navid Afkari, while respecting the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” it said in its statement.

“It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind-the-scenes work of the IOC, together with the NOC of Iran, United World Wrestling and the National Iranian Wrestling Federation, did not achieve our goal. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Navid Afkari,” it added.

The IOC did not specify if it is planning to take action against Iran on the matter.

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