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Need more practice under lights to play Day Night Tests regularly: Pujara

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Cheteshwar Pujara

Kolkata, Nov 23 : Ace batsman Cheteshwar Pujara feels that if India are to play more pink ball Tests, they need to practice more under lights.

After Day 2 of the first Day-Night Test in the country at the Eden Gardens here, India stand on the brink of a series sweep as they lead Bangladesh by 89 runs with the visitors having just four wickets in hand in the second inning.

India declared on 347/9 in reply to Bangladesh’s paltry 106. In the second inning, the tourists were 152/6 at stumps on the second day.

India were not ready to play Test cricket under lights but after Sourav Ganguly became the BCCI President, Virat Kohli and Co. agreed to play the second match in the two-Test series against Bangladesh under lights with the pink ball.

“It is a decision for the BCCI to make. But going forward, if we are going to play more pink ball games, we will have to practice more under lights and start getting used to it. It is not my call, so I can’t say much,” Pujara said at the end of the day’s play when asked about India playing pink ball Tests on the road.

Asked about practice matches before an away Day-Night affair, something which skipper Kohli wants, the ace No. 3 batsman said: “If we are playing away from home, you don’t have much time as you play only one of the four matches with the pink ball.

“You don’t want to have a practice game with the pink ball. You would rather have it with the red ball. You never play a practice game in between a series, so I don’t think it’s practical.”

Eden Gardens witnessed 60,000 spectators on Day 1 and over 40,000 on the second day, and Pujara said that it was an encouraging sight which will boost the five-day format.

“When you’re playing Test cricket and the crowd comes in, it’s always motivating. Test cricket is still alive. This is an occasion which will boost Test cricket. As a player, we do enjoy such atmosphere, especially when we are fielding. The bowlers need a lot of support,” said Pujara, who scored 55 in the first innings.

The Saurashtra batsman said that batting under lights was more difficult while the first session and the last one hour were relatively easier.

“Batting under lights was difficult when I batted yesterday. Even when I saw on TV, the first session is easier to bat as there are no lights. When there are lights, the ball starts swinging a little more. So it is a bit more challenging.

“The kind of experience we have, most of the Tests we played were under sunlight. So when it comes to playing under lights, it is challenging for the batsmen. Once the dew sets in, it again becomes easier to bat,” he said.

Coming back to the ongoing Test, Kohli scored his 27th Test hundred, a sparkling 136, and equalled former Australian great Ricky Ponting’s record of 41 international centuries as captain. With this century, Kohli’s 20th as India captain in Tests, the 31-year-old also surpassed Ponting’s tally of 19 Test tons as skipper.

“He batted really well. He has been scoring lot of runs in all the formats. It’s always good to see him score runs and he has been very consistent in all formats. I am sure that he will be pleased with the pink ball hundred,” Pujara said of his captain.

On Bangladesh players getting hit on helmets, with two of them (Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan) out with concussion already, Pujara said: “I thought light and pink ball had a role to play. As a batsman, it is not easy to pick short balls. The pace our fast bowlers have, it is not easy. Their batters haven’t even played any first class match with pink ball, so it was not easy.”

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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.

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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

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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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bcci

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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