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Overcast conditions on reserve day helped New Zealand bowlers: Srikanth

“I have to give great credit to Kane Williamson’s captaincy. One thing about New Zealand’s batting and bowling approach, they played to their strengths and limitations.

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Krishnamachari Srikkanth

Manchester, July 11 (IANS) Former India opener Kris Srikkanth said overcast conditions on the reserve day of the first semifinal helped New Zealand bowlers as they scripted a 18-run win over title favourites India in the World Cup here on Wednesday.

In the rain-hit semifinal played over two days, New Zealand scored 239/8 in 50 overs after opting to bat. Kane Williamson (67) and Ross Taylor (74) formed the bedrock of their innings.

In reply, India lost four top order batsmen for just 24 runs inside 10 overs before Ravindra Jadeja (77) and Dhoni (50) shared a 116-run seventh wicket stand to raise hopes for an unlikely victory. However, it wasn’t enough in the end as India fell short by 18 runs.

“I think because of the rain and the match getting spilt over to a second day, that was in my opinion one of the root causes for the defeat as far as India is concerned,” Srikanth wrote in his column for the ICC.

“The rain and the overcast conditions on the second day meant the wicket helped New Zealand more than India as it was ideal for the bowlers,” he added.

Srikkanth heaped praise on Kiwi bowlers despite a 116-run seventh-wicket stand between Dhoni and Jadeja.

“If you look at the first three wickets and ask if it was bad batting or good bowling from New Zealand, I would say it was fantastic bowling by New Zealand.

“All those first three wickets, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, were outstanding international wicket-taking deliveries and got rid of players who were in brilliant form.

“They literally finished off the backbone of the Indian side and then there was a good fightback, hats off to MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja, especially Jadeja in just his second game of the World Cup.

“He really made a fantastic fight out of it, he made it a brilliant game. He almost won the match alongside Dhoni and his all-round performance was brilliant for the entire match.

“His bowling was fantastic, great batting and great fielding, but he cannot do it on his own and unfortunately, he was left with too much to do in the end.”

Srikanth, who was part of India’s 1983 World Cup winning team, also opined that India need a young No.5 batsman, though not talking about whether Dhoni should retire or not.

“We’re still struggling to get the right middle order combination. Rishabh Pant is good but at number five we need to find someone as we’ve tried too many people there.

“We’ve tried Dinesh Karthik, we’ve tried Jadeja, we’ve tried Vijay Shankar, three guys have been tried and they’ve not proved useful so maybe we can find a good youngster for No.5.”

Srikanth also lauded Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson.

“I have to give great credit to Kane Williamson’s captaincy. One thing about New Zealand’s batting and bowling approach, they played to their strengths and limitations.

“That’s why when they were batting they didn’t play the big shots as they knew they only had their two main batsmen in Williamson and Ross Taylor, they just wanted to hang around.

“They knew if those two could stay in and they could get near 250, they could make a match out of it and they ended up winning the match and reaching the final.

“The way Williamson rotated his bowlers in particular was amazing. Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme were the weak links in the bowling but he made sure they were not too exposed.

“He rotated them around well and because of the early wickets, their limitations were not exposed. I also thought Mitchell Santner bowled brilliantly, but India gave him too much respect.”

Srikanth also felt Indian batsmen should have played more aggressively in their approach against left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who returned with impressive figures of 2/34.

“They should have played more positively against Santner. When I say positively, that doesn’t mean hitting out, it’s showing some sort of positivity against Santner, putting him under pressure.

“At that point in the innings, the run rate started slowly climbing up, and that’s what put pressure on the Indian’s towards the end. India were in control before the rain came though.”

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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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