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New coach should be demanding: Sunil Chhetri

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Sunil Chetri

New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) A new season ahead and a new coach in charge, Sunil Chhetri is an excited man these days. The undisputed leader of Indian football, who will be joining the national camp in Delhi under newly-appointed coach Igor Stimac on Monday, is looking forward to win more games for India outside the country than on home turf.

“I think the next long-term goal should be to qualify for the Asian Cup again,” Chhetri told IANS when asked about what the target of the team should be going into the new season. “That is not going to be easy because lots of things depend on the group you get, the qualifiers, the conditions… you can be unlucky also on several fronts. But that should be our target.

“And if you ask the short-term target, then because the boys are ready, we should try to win as many games as possible. We should win more games than we lose. Another target I have is to see we do well when we travel. Generally, we do well at home. Now having given a chance to play the King’s Cup and play friendly games outside the country, we should try to rectify that and win more away games,” he said.

Having achieved the target of qualifying for the Asian Cup last time, Chhetri is now confident about India dishing out a better performance in the coming season.

“Lots of young players in the team are now matured individuals that gives us hopes. Like Jeje (Lalpekhlua), Sandesh (Jhingan), Udanta (Singh), Gurpreet (Singh Sandhu), Pritam (Kotal), Thapa were youngsters four years back. Now they are all improved and experienced individuals as footballers.

“Some of them are still young in age but they know how to play international football. (Anirudh) Thapa, Subhasis (Bose) are not too old but have enough experience. Most of them have cemented their places in the national team. We are a much better team than we were before. With right guidance from the coach, we can surely do than what we did previously in the last five years,” Chhetri said.

Jeje, however, is not part of the national camp as he is currently nursing an injury.

Asked what should be his expectations from the new coach, Igor Stimac, Chhetri said: “The major thing I want from the coach is to push ourselves. Of course you will want your coach to be tactically sound and knowledgeable and a good man manager.

“But the most important thing I want as a player and a captain is that the coach should be demanding. Once you know the coach had a vision and he is good, all the players rally behind him. This coach has a great pedigree. As a player he was amazing. As a coach also he has done decently well. So we all are looking forward to working with him,” he said.

“You feel younger when you have a new coach in the camp. It is always challenging to see you have to go and prove again. He will not know who Sunil Chhetri is. For him, everyone is same. That’s a nice thing,” said the scorer of 67 international goals with a laugh.

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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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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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