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Kohli, Rohit need support from middle order: Srikkanth



Krishnamachari Srikkanth

Birmingham, July 1 (IANS) Former India opener Krishnamachari Srikkanth feels skipper Virat Kohli and opener Rohit Sharma need support from the middle order for the team to come good in the remaining matches of the World Cup after they lost to England by 31 runs in a marquee clash on Sunday.

Hosts England handed India their first defeat in the World Cup to boost their own semifinal prospects.

Chasing a stiff 338 for victory, India got off to a good start with opener Rohit scoring 102 and Kohli notching up his fifth consecutive half-century. Kohli and vice-captain Rohit shared a 138-run stand for the second wicket.

But after the pair got out, India could never match the climbing run rate in the final overs and kept losing wickets at key intervals to end their chase at 306/5.

“There are still some problems for India to fix, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are the main run-getters at the moment and they need some support,” Srikkanth wrote in his column for the International Ccricket Council.

“India are still going to qualify for the semifinals, it is just a question of when and in what position in the top four,” he added.

Srikanth (59) also praised pacers Jasprit Bumrah (1/44) and Mohammed Shami (5/69) and said: “Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami were both superb with the ball as well, but the spinners had an off-day, these things can happen.”

Batting first, England opener Jonny Bairstow smashed a belligerent 111 and Jason Roy returned from a hamstring injury to feature in the tournament’s highest opening stand. Later, Ben Stokes (79) too played a brilliant knock to help England get close to the 350 -run mark.

With the ball, Liam Plunkett (3/55) came good and the move to bring him back in place of all-rounder Moeen Ali clicked.

“Ben Stokes did a fantastic job at the death to add more runs to the total and Liam Plunkett was fantastic with the ball in those middle overs. I don’t think England will be leaving Plunkett out again in this tournament, he performs such an important job for them.

“But while Stokes and Plunkett were impressive, the real difference between the two sides was undoubtedly the way Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow went after the spin of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal,” Srikkanth said.

“Roy’s return is clearly absolutely vital to this England team, not just for the runs he scores but in the way he sets an aggressive tone from the off for the rest of the batsmen to follow,” Srikkanth added.

“This is a very important win for England, they are in a do or die situation and to win this emphatically against such a strong India side will get them a massive confidence boost before they play New Zealand in their last game,” he said.

Srikkanth, who was an integral part of India’s 1983 World Cup winning team, further said that it was never going to be easy for India chasing the big total.

“For India, a chase of 338 was never an easy task, even if it was quite a flat wicket at Edgbaston. It could have been even higher if not for the mastery of Bumrah in his final five overs. But when (Rohit) Sharma and Kohli were going along nicely in the middle, they gave England a proper scare.

“Even when Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant, who I thought did very well in his first-ever World Cup game, were in that partnership the game was still in the balance,” said Srikanth, praising Pant who made his World Cup debut and scored 32 off 29 balls.

“There’s no need to panic, every team including Australia have lost at least one game at this tournament. India will bounce back and get their semi-final spot,” he concluded.


My eyes fixed firmly on Women’s World Cup trophy: Mithali Raj

The right-handed bastwoman, one of India’s most successful female cricketer, has so far scored 6888 runs in 209 ODIs, 663 runs in 10 Tests and 2364 runs in 89 T20Is.




Mithali Raj

New Delhi, Aug 8 : Veteran India batter Mithali Raj has said that she is “definitely looking” at the ICC Women’s World Cup, which has been postponed to 2022 and has added that her eyes are firmly fixed on the trophy.

On Friday, the International Cricket Council decided to postpone the World Cup, originally slated to be held in New Zealand in 2021, until February-March 2022 because of the impact the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whilst this is never great news to wake up to. I can understand the reasons why given the lack of cricket in some countries. I just hope those players who were planning to retire after the World Cup can hold on for one year…right Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Rachael Haynes,” cricketer-turned-commentator Lisa Sthalekar tweeted following ICC’s decision to postpone Women’s World Cup.

To this, Mithali replied: “Oh absolutely, my eyes are fixed firmly on the trophy. With all niggles recovered, mind and body fresh and stronger than before, I am definitely looking at World Cup 2022.”

Mithali had led the Indian eves to the final of the showpiece event in 2017 where they had to face a heart-wrenching defeat against England in the summit clash at the iconic Lord’s.

The right-handed bastwoman, one of India’s most successful female cricketer, has so far scored 6888 runs in 209 ODIs, 663 runs in 10 Tests and 2364 runs in 89 T20Is.

The 37-year-old has already retired from T20 cricket and now aspires to win India their maiden World Cup for which she will now have to wait at least until 2022.

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Madrid Masters tennis tournament cancelled: organisers




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.





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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