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Kiwis looking to keep calm ahead of mega final

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Kane Williamson New Zealand

London, July 13 (IANS) The euphoria around the final of the World Cup cannot be missed, but for New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, it is about keeping the basics right and playing the match against England at Lords on Sunday as just another game in the tournament.

“Yes, any game that you play in, you deal with different distractions and, naturally, in a World Cup final it brings other distractions. There’s a lot more people here today and perhaps that may be one.

“There are a whole bunch of other things where all different thoughts can go through your mind, but certainly where Gary (Stead) and myself and all the group come from, it’s about keeping your feet on the ground and looking to play the sort of cricket you want to play to give yourself the best chance regardless of whether it’s a semifinal, a round-robin game or, fortunately enough now, a final.

“At the end of the day, it is still a cricket match, where both teams are looking to go out and implement their plans as best they can to give themselves the best chance,” Williamson said on the eve of the final.

England’s opening partnerships between Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow have been a pain for the opposition teams in the World Cup and Williamson noted that the team is pretty much aware of the same.

“Yeah, those two have been fantastic throughout this whole competition and prior to that as well. And I think we have mentioned before, there are a number of other parts to perhaps playing in a World Cup final. But there is a huge amount of respect for the match-winners that they have within their side, obviously the top of the order and throughout.

“But the focus for us is very much about the cricket that we want to play and the performance we want to put on the board and if we do that, we have seen throughout this competition that anybody can beat anybody,” he pointed out.

New Zealand had lost in the final against Australia in the 2015 World Cup. When asked if anything had changed personally since then, Williamson said: “Four years ago, how did I feel? Yeah, I don’t know, it’s just very different. We have a very different group, a slightly different vibe and ethos and how we operate. At the same time, there’s real commitment which is a really positive thing and it has held us in good stead up to this point. So the focus for us is on the cricket that we want to play and we want to be proud of the performance that we put on the board.”

But Williamson clearly doesn’t wish to be caught up by emotions and the effect results have on individuals. “I try not to get too caught up in the results and hopefully not too emotional about just the outcome and maybe look at it with a bit more reason and where we perhaps could have improved and where some things that were out of our control had an impact on the game and then try and move on from that as quickly as possible.

“So there’s always more to the picture than just the end point and that is the focus for us as a team. It’s actually putting our efforts into the moment and how we want to operate as a group. It may well be very different to other sides and how they operate, which is fine, but we trust in it.

“It is important that we look forward to tomorrow and treat the final with huge amount of respect, because it’s not very often that you get the opportunity to be in a World Cup final. We are very much focussed on what we need to try and achieve,” Williamson explained.

The wicket wears a green look, but Williamson is not perturbed. “Perhaps encouraging to seam bowlers on both sides. But we don’t know what the wicket has in store, there’s still a bit of time between now and the start of play and I haven’t had a close look at the wicket just yet, because we have just arrived.

“Usually, it’s a fairly fair surface. The guys need to adapt quickly to it, like any other surface that we have seen in the World Cup,” he said.

Adapting has been the key with the teams in this event, but the Kiwis have done it really well. In fact, Williamson is very proud of the way his boys have time and again risen to the occasion.

“Yeah, it is a challenge. Most teams having played here before expected scores to be a lot higher than what we have seen, but the reality is that they have been quite tough surfaces and there have been surfaces that have aged throughout. So trying to make those adjustments is really important.

“In the last game, I think both the sides looked at the surface and thought it was a really good one, and thought perhaps 300 and something was what was going to be at play, but after 15 overs or so, they must have been thinking ‘this is really quite difficult and 300 looks like a long, long way away’. So if we are able to achieve something a little bit more realistic on that surface, it gives you every chance to win matches.

“And we have done it on a number of occasions, but we will have to be good at doing that tomorrow. Surfaces at times have been hard to read, especially with the pre-emptive ideas with which most teams come into the World Cup. So, yeah, tomorrow is a new challenge for us and we will need to make those adjustments quickly,” 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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