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India was too dependent on Tendulkar in the 90s, says Manjrekar

The 54-year-old also said that Tendulkar’s greatness came to the fore at that time because his failure with the bat was rare.

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Sanjay Manjrekar

New Delhi, May 18 : Cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar believes the Indian team during the 1990s was too much dependent on Sachin Tendulkar who went on to become one of the best batsmen ever to have graced the sport.

Tendulkar made his international debut in 1989 against Pakistan and represented India in 664 matches, scoring over 34,000 runs.

“Sachin Tendulkar the batsman made his debut in 89. In just about a year, he got an 80 in New Zealand, he got his first hundred in England and by 91/92, the world was looking at him as a world class player. The age was always a factor, just 17 years old. And the way he was dominating quality attacks. For us in the team, there was no doubt that this guy was in a different league,” Manjrekar said on Sunday while speaking to Ravichandran Ashwin in ‘Reminisence with Ash’ show on Instagram.

“Unfortunately, by 96/97, the team was really too dependent on Tendulkar. Because, you know, he was damn consistent. And he was India’s first batsman who was able to dominate and hit good balls for runs.

“Until then, India was about defensive batting and putting the bad balls away, like Sunil Gavaskar. A couple of sessions of giving respect to the bowler and then, you know, as they tire out, you get a loose ball and you score off it. Sachin would hit a good ball from a quality bowler on the up for four,” he added.

The 54-year-old also said that Tendulkar’s greatness came to the fore at that time because his failure with the bat was rare.

“Sachin’s greatness at that time was that his failures were so rare and right through his career. That is a hallmark of a great batsman. Sachin getting out was a very rare thing,” Manjrekar told Ashwin while discussing India’s semi-final defeat to Sri Lanka in 1996 World Cup.

Manjrekar, who is now a renowned broadcaster, also said that cricketers on the field are sensitive and hence are unable to ignore the criticism made by the commentators.

“Players are sensitive. I used to be sensitive. When Dilip Vengsarkar criticized me in his column, I slipped a note under his door, trying to counter all his observations. So I don’t hold it against players when they react. When Sachin Tendulkar reacted to a column I had written as well, I kept quiet,” Manjrekar said.

The former India batsman further said that players should not consider commentators as important and instead focus on their performances. “The best way for players to deal with people like us is to look at us as garnish. We are unimportant. They are the players, their performances are all that matter. Nobody is going to be dropped because Manjrekar said so.”

During the chat session, Ashwin asked Manjrekar: “Is there a possibility that you sometimes see cricketers with a critical eye because of what you expected of yourself as a cricketer and you now want to be the Sachin Tendulkar of broadcasting?”

In reply, Manjrekar said: “If I did something wrong, it’s because I tried too hard. I try to stay true, there is no agenda (against any player).”

“I know my boundaries. That’s why I’m still around. Otherwise I would have been finished as a commentator five years ago. But Indian fan following is unique. They love somebody so much that they don’t want someone like me finding flaws with him,” he added.

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Two HI employees diagnosed with COVID-19, office to remain shut

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Hockey India’s office will remain shut for two weeks after two of its staff tested positive for the coronavirus. 29 out of 31 employees were tested and apart from the two that tested positive, two more tested inconclusive and will be tested again.

“The two inconclusive are being retested again on Sunday (May) 31st at 11am,” International Hockey Federation (FIH) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra said in a statement.

While one of the employees is from the accounts department, the other is a junior field officer, Batra further informed. Amongst the two inconclusive tests, one is a joint director and the other is a dispatch clerk.

“All 25 found negative have gone into home quarantine for 14 days to work from home,” said Batra. “The two found positive are also in strict home quarantine under medical monitoring. The two inconclusive are also in home quarantine under medical monitoring.”

Batra said that Hockey India President Mushtaq Ahmad informed him of the offices remaining shut for 14 days.

Batra further urged all National Sports Federations and State Olympic Associations to get their employees tested for the deadly virus “without any further delay.”

“This will help in giving confidence to us and all our stakeholders including our athletes,” he said.

More than 1.7 lakh confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported so far in India while close to 5000 people have lost their lives.

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Virat Kohli only Indian in Forbes top 100 highest-paid athletes

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Virat Kohli

New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Virat Kohli, captain of the Indian cricket team, remained the only Indian and sole cricketer to feature in the top 100 of highest-paid athletes of 2020 put forward by Forbes magazine.

With an estimated total earning of $26 million ($24m from endorsements and $2m from salary/winnings), Kohli has made a jump of more than 30 places from 2019 and is at the 66th spot in the list. In 2019 too, the ace batsman was the only Indian to feature in top 100 (at 100th place) with estimated earnings of $25 million.

Meanwhile, Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer became the first from the sport to top Forbes’ list of highest paid athletes. With an estimated $106.3 million earned over the past 12 months, the Swiss maestro edged out Portuguese football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from the top spot.

The three athletes immediately below Federer are all football players with Ronaldo on second with estimated earnings of $105 million. Ronaldo’s arch rival Lionel Messi is third with an estimated $104 million while Brazil’s Neymar comes fourth with $95.5 million.

NBA stars came next in the list with Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James earning $88.2 million, Golden State Warriors all-star Stephen Curry with $74.4 million, Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant with an estimated $63.9 million.

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka is the highest paid female athlete with $37.4 million. She however comes only 29th in the overall rankings. US tennis great Serena Williams comes 33rd with $36 million.

The factors that went into Forbes’ calculation were athletes’ revenue, including prize money, salaries, contract bonuses, endorsements, royalties, and appearance fees from June 1, 2019, until June 1, 2020.

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Australia suspends Olympic bid amid COVID-19 recovery

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Sydney, May 25 (IANS) Australia’s Queensland has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently as the state government focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the bid process had been paused, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s just on hold. I wouldn’t read too much into that,” Palaszczuk told reporters last weekend.

“We’re focused absolutely on the economic recovery at the moment.”

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it fully supported the Queensland government’s position in placing the Brisbane 2032 candidature on hold.

AOC President John Coates said in a recent statement that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, allowing governments to focus on dealing with COVID-19.

Coates said he’d proposed to OCLG members that the meetings would not proceed while all three levels of governments dealt with the pandemic.

He also told the AOC Annual General Meeting on May 9 that discussions with the IOC on the candidature would resume when appropriate.

“We all understand there are pressing issues of public health and community wellbeing for governments to address,” Coates said.

“The candidature will have its role to play in terms of jobs and growth in the Queensland economy once we have seen our way through the current crisis.”

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