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Manpreet to lead Indian hockey team at CWG, no place for Sardar



Dhaka: Manpreet Singh
Dhaka: Manpreet Singh in action during the Final against Malaysia in the Hero Asia Cup 2017 at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Oct 22, 2017. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, March 13: Ace midfielder Manpreet Singh is set to lead the Indian mens hockey team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, starting April 4, while the experienced former captain Sardar Singh has been left out of the 18-member squad, announced by Hockey India on Tuesday.

The Indian team is grouped in Pool B along with Pakistan, Malaysia, Wales, England and will begin their campaign on April 7 against Pakistan.

Midfielder Chinglensana Singh Kangujam will be the vice-captain of the team.

It was under Manpreet’s leadership that the Indian team lifted the Asia Cup in 2017 followed by a bronze medal at the Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar last year.

Freeman and drag-flick expert Rupinder Pal Singh will form India’s wall of defence along with Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh and Amit Rohidas, while the goalpost will be guarded by India’s experienced goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh who made a strong comeback into the team during the New Zealand Tour where he displayed some exceptional goalkeeping abilities.

He will be backed by the 22-year-old Suraj Karkera who played a crucial part in the team’s good show in Bhubaneswar last year in his senior counterpart’s absence.

India’s midfield will see skipper Manpreet in the lead role, ably supported by the experience of Chinglensana along with young blood in Sumit and Vivek Sagar Prasad.

The Indian attack will feature a combination between experience and youth as S.V. Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh and Dilpreet Singh are all in the team.

Dilpreet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad who made their international debut during the New Zealand tour have been rewarded with this opportunity for a good show where the duo scored in important games.

Sardar’s exclusion comes on the heels of India finishing fifth under his leadership at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament. However a few eyebrows have been raised with Ramandeep Singh being dropped despite his decent show in the same tournament.

“This team has been picked keeping in mind the team’s performance in the previous tournaments since the Asia Cup 2017. We have tried out different combinations in the past events and we believe this will be the most effective combination for the Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games,” asserted Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.

He stated that the team has a winning mindset and will look to aim for the best in the quadrennial event.

“This team has been improving with every match and while we could not produce a podium finish at the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2018, it will have no influence on how we are going to play in Australia and we will be going there with a mindset to win,” said the 43-year-old Dutch coach.

In the previous two outings at the Commonwealth Games, India has finished second behind Australia.

Skipper Manpreet Singh, however, is confident of turning the tables this time.

“Our first aim is to do well in the group stage because we have some strong teams in our Pool. It’s extremely crucial to top our table and make the Semis but if we do meet Australia in the knockouts, I believe we will be up for a strong challenge,” the 25-year-old Manpreet said.


Goalkeepers: Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran, Suraj Karkera.
Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Kadangbam, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas.

Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (Captain), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (VC), Sumit, Vivek Sagar Prasad.

Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, Sunil Sowmarpet Vitalacharya.



Rajasthan Royals unveil team anthem ‘Phir Halla Bol’




Jaipur, March 19: Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team Rajasthan Royals on Sunday released this year’s team anthem “Phir Halla Bol” with a renewed spirit and exuberance.

“Our anthem has been unique in the sense that it is soaked in the flavour and colour of Rajasthan. ‘Phir Halla Bol’ is a tribute to our fans who have awaited with anticipation to see us back in the IPL,” Rajasthan Royals co-owner Manoj Badale said.

The anthem, sung by popular Rajasthani folk singer Ila Arun, was launched at Game Plan event organised by Star Sports in Jaipur.

The video of the anthem vividly portrays the emotions and the love for cricket in the region.

Last year, several IPL franchises welcomed Rajasthan Royals after it returned to the cash-rich cricket tournament after serving a two-year ban.


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Dinesh Karthik stars as India beat Bangladesh by 4 wickets in Nidahas Trophy final




Colombo, March 18: Wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik (29 runs off eight balls) played a brilliant cameo towards the end as India beat Bangladesh by four wickets in the final of the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series at the R.Premadasa Stadium here on Sunday.

Coming in the second last over with scoreboard reading 133/5, Karthik announced his arrival at the crease through two sixes and a four in first three balls which narrowed the gap between remaining balls and required runs.


The drama unfolded in the last over when India needed five runs in the last ball. Kathik slammed a flat six over extra cover to clinch the issue.

Chasing 167, skipper Rohit Sharma (56) once again led from the front with his classy knock but failed to finish off the proceedings. Middle-order batsman Manish Pandey (28) played sensible innings but was dismissed when needed the most. Then came Karthik who took India to victory.

India started off on a steady note as openers Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan (10) scored 32 runs in three overs but then Dhawan was dismissed by Shakib Al Hasan.

Suresh Raina (0), who also played a crucial role along with Rohit in the last match could not disturb his score this time as the Uttar Pradesh batsman was dismissed in the very next over by Rubel Hossain.

But incoming batsman Lokesh Rahul (24) and Rohit forged a crucial 51-run partnership before Rahul was sent packing by Hossain in the 10th over.

Just when things seemed good in the middle, Rohit departed with Nazmul Islam picking up the crucial wicket in the 14th over. His 42-balls innings was laced with four boundaries and three sixes.

Needing 69 runs in 40 balls, it was all on new two new batsmen Pandey and Vijay Shankar (17). Pandey displayed some superb shots while Shankar also supported handsomely at the other end.

But with 37 needed in last three overs, Shankar played four dot balls which mounted the pressure and as a result, Pandey, while trying for a big one, was caught by Sabbir Rahman off Mustafizur Rahman. Pandey played 27 balls and slammed three boundaries.

Experienced batsman Karthik then joined Shankar and guided India to victory.

For Bangladesh, Hossain picked up two wickets.

Earlier, top-order batsman Sabbir Rahman dragged Bangladesh out of a hole with a well paced 50-ball 77 to help his team post a fighting 166/8.

After spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (3/18) and Washington Sundar (1/20) took four wickets between them to leave their rivals reeling at 68/4 at one stage, Sabbir mixed caution with aggression to hit seven fours and four sixes before Jaydev Unadkat (2/33) took his wicket.

In the last over, Mehidy Hasan (19 not out) took 18 runs off Shardul Thakur (0/45) who had a forgettable outing.

Openers Tamim Iqbal (15) and Liton Das (11) got off to a steady start but just when they looked to step on the gas, in-form Sundar put a spanner in their works, stretching his purple patch with the ball.

Sundar bowled a slower one just outside off stump, forcing Das into a slog sweep which went straight up in the air to Raina who completed an easy catch near short fine leg.

In the next over, the dangerous Iqbal followed suit thanks to an acrobatic catch by Thakur on the very edge of the long-on boundary off Chahal’s bowling.

Chahal removed Soumya Sarkar (1) in the same over, the batsman sweeping straigh to Dhawan at square leg, as Bangladesh looked in disarray inside the Powerplay tottering at 40/3 in six overs.

At the halfway stage, Bangladesh were 68/3 with Rahman and Mushfiqur Rahim (9) trying to stem the rot.

In the very first ball of the 11th over, Chahal grabbed his third wicket as Rahim miscued a widish googly, skying the ball over backward point where Shankar took a fine diving catch running to his right. The pair added 35 runs for the fourth wicket.

Mahmudullah (21), who hit the winning six in the last do-or-die game against hosts Sri Lanka, took time to get going and along with Sabbir looked to build a partnership.

Bangladesh struggled to find the boundary with Mahmudullah breaking a four-over drought with a sublime shot between backward point and short third man off Unadkat in the 13th over.

Mahmudullah’s run out brought an end to their patient association of 36 runs for the fifth wicket but Sabbir lived up to his reputation of a promising young player by smacking Shankar for two sixes in the 17th over and Sundar for one in the previous over.

In the 18th over, Rahman showed deft skills to and place the ball behind the wicket with exploit both third man and fine leg inside the ring for consecutive boundaries.

Trying to go for one too many, Rahman’s brilliant innings came to end with Unadkat ruffling his wickets to get his first wicket.

In the same over, Unadkat castled Hossain (0) and gave away just three runs to underline his potential as a death bowler.

Brief scores: Bangladesh 166/8 in 20 overs (Sabbir Rahman 77, Yuzvendra Chahal 3/18, Jaydev Unadkat 2/33) against India: 168/6 ( Rohit Sharma 52, Dinesh Karthik 29, Rubel Hossain 2/35)


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Bangladesh’s Shakib, Nurul penalised for ICC code breach



Bangladesh reserve player Nurul Hasan argued and pointed fingers at Sri Lanka captain Thisara Perera, which led to further altercations.

Dubai, March 17: In the aftermath of Friday’s ugly final over drama between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series in Colombo, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan and reserve Nurul Hasan have both been fined 25 percent of their match fees and also received one demerit point for breaching Level 1 of the ICC code of conduct.

This was the first time either player has had one demerit point since the system came into effect in September 2016.

“Shakib was found to have breached Article 2.1.1 of the ICC code of conduct for players and player support personnel, which relates to conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game, while Nurul was found guilty of violating Article 2.1.2, which deals with conduct that brings the game into disrepute,” the ICC said in a statement.

The incident involving Shakib happened in the final over of the Bangladesh innings when he came to the edge of the boundary and gestured at his batsmen to come off the field while remonstrating against an umpiring decision.

As regards Nurul, the reserve player argued and pointed a finger at Sri Lanka captain Thisara Perera which led to unruly public behaviour after he was sent by the team on to the field of play to pass on a message to the two batsmen.

Bangladesh reserve player Nurul Hasan argued and pointed fingers at Sri Lanka captain Thisara Perera, which led to further altercations

Image result for Bangladesh-Sri Lanka match marred by controversy

On Saturday, both Shakib and Nurul pleaded guilty to the offences and accepted the sanctions proposed by ICC match referee Chris Broad and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.

Announcing his decision, Broad said: “Friday’s incidents were disappointing as you don’t want to see such player behaviour during any level of cricket. I understand that it was a tense and an edge-of-the-seat match with place in the final on the line, but the actions of the two players were unacceptable and cannot be condoned as they clearly went overboard.”

“Had the fourth umpire not stopped Shakib and the fielders remonstrating, and then the on-field umpires not intervened between Nurul and Thisara, things could have become worse,” he added.

The charges were levelled by on-field umpires Raveendra Wimalasiri and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, third umpire Ranmore Martinesz and fourth umpire Lyndon Hannibal.

Bangladesh clinched the nail-biting tie by two wickets and will take on India in the final on Sunday at the same venue.

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