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Ranchi Test: India bat, Shahbaz Nadeem makes debut (Toss)

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Ranchi: India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat in the third and final Test against South Africa beginning Saturday at the JSCA International Stadium Complex here.

India have made one change to their playing XI that featured in the Pune Test. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem has been handed debut and he comes into the side in place of Ishant Sharma who has been given rest.

“We’ll bat first. It looks like a good wicket. It will be hard upfront and then got slower. Like the typical Ranchi wicket. It’s a no-brainer to bat first on this one. I don’t think it’s gonna be slow but it will keep lower than Pune maybe. It should spin at a decent pace. As long as it turns with pace on the ball, we don’t mind the bounce,” said Kohli after winning the toss.

“Just one change – Ishant has been given a break. Shahbaz Nadeem makes his debut. Unfortunately, Kuldeep (Yadav) couldn’t pull up. We checked on him yesterday but he didn’t respond well enough from his shoulder niggle. Nadeem is the local boy and it’s a dream debut. We’ll have to continue to work hard and look to win sessions of cricket. That’s the only message I look to pass on.”

South Africa, on the other hand, have made three changes to their line-up apart from the two forced changes.

While Aiden Markram and Keshav Maharaj were already ruled out of the final Test, they have also excluded Vernon Philander, Theunis de Bruyn and Senuran Muthusamy. Zubayr Hamza, Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde, Lungi Ngidi and Dane Piedt come into their playing XI.

“Important toss as this looks the driest surface of the series. It’s about the first innings really and we need to put runs on the board when we bat. One forced change with Aiden (Markram). Few other changes as well. Change in the batting order. Quinton will open the batting. Hopefully he can put pressure on the Indian bowlers, like what Rohit has done for India. Heinrich Klaasen comes in as the wicket-keeper. A new spinner in George Linde makes his Test debut,” said South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis.

“Two weeks ago he was 1000 miles away from playing Test cricket but that’s how quickly things happen. Lungi Ngidi also comes in. We’ve gone in with five bowlers to take the 20 wickets and hopefully we can. Starting in India is a tough challenge and all teams that have played here will vouch for it. We did compete well in the first game but it didn’t go our way last game. We’re ready for the fight,” he added.

Playing XIs:

India: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (w), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami

South Africa: Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock, Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis (c), Temba Bavuma, Heinrich Klaasen (w), George Linde, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi

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Anand an inspiration, consistency defies logic: Wesley So

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Wesley So vs Viswanathan Anand

Kolkata, Nov 17 : Filipino-American Grandmaster Wesley So on Sunday hailed Viswanathan Anand as his inspiration, saying that he had no clue how the Indian chess legend was still going strong and was among the best in the world.

“He is an inspiration. I don’t think I could play at this level 20 years from now. It’s incredible what he is doing,” Wesley said on the sidelines of the Tata Steel Chess India event where the recently-crowned World Fischer Random Chess champion met budding chess players.

Wesley, one of the top players in the world, will be seen in action in the penultimate round of this year’s Grand Chess Tour (GCT) in Kolkata from November 22.

The 26-year-old was asked whether he thought former world champion Anand, who will turn 50 next month, could continue further.

“It’s very difficult. Fifty is quite pushing it, but we will see,” said Wesley, who recently crushed world champion Magnus Carlsen 2.5-13.5 in the first ever World Fischer Random Chess Championship final held at Carlsen’s home city Oslo.

“It still amazes me how he does it,” he said of Anand, who became the first Grandmaster from India in 1988.

“Chess players’ prime is mid 20s to mid or early 30s. So it’s clear that he is past his prime, but he is still one of the best players in the world and is in the top 10. I don’t know how he does it. He is fit and a hardworker. He is a big inspiration,” Wesley said.

He added that Anand was so intelligent that he could have been something great even if he did not become a chess player.

“He is a magnificent person and a gentleman. My family likes Vishy a lot. I have been competing with him regularly for the last five years. If he wasn’t a chess player, he would be great in something else.

“He is very intelligent. I can only imagine how good he was 20 years ago when they said he was the fastest player on the planet,” said Wesley, who lost to Anand in the fifth round of the Altibox Norway chess tournament earlier this year.

On his shock win over Carlsen, the former world number two said that it was unexpected.

“Winning the championship was unexpected. Magnus was there and I was seeded No. 4. It was a big success for me this year,” he said.

He also said that Carlsen would be itching to take revenge and it could very well be at the Tata Steel Chess India meet.

“He would want to beat me. He doesn’t like losing tournaments,” said a smiling Wesley.

Asked if World Fischer Random Chess, which is a new format, is the way forward, Wesley said, “I think every player who has played it, likes it. I haven’t heard much criticism so far.”

He also praised India for producing young Grandmasters of late.

“India has a lot of rising talent. I am very happy to be here. I met a lot of kids and it makes me happy,” Wesley said.

The world’s top 10 players will match wits during the rapid and blitz meet between November 22 and 26 in the penultimate leg of the GCT.

The iconic National Library will stage the mega event where Anand will be facing Norwegian Carlsen for the first time in India since his 2013 World Championship defeat in Chennai.

Anand battled to a creditable third place after an unbeaten nine-round blitz streak on the final day of the GCT Superbet rapid and blitz championship in Hungary.

Anand is now placed sixth with 32 points and his fate on whether he can make the GCT Finals, which carries a prize purse of $350,000 and will be held in London from November 30 to December 10, will be decided here. The top four will make the finals.

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Rajat Sharma’s resignation stayed by DDCA Ombudsman

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Rajat Sharma

New Delhi, Nov 18 : The Ombudsman of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), Justice (retd) Badar Durrez Ahmed, on Sunday refused to accept Rajat Sharma’s resignation from the position of DDCA President and also refused to let suspended Secretary Vinod Tihara to be reinstated.

The Ombudsman in his order, accesses by IANS, said that DDCA’s apex council can’t pass any order in the matter and the resignations “will be kept in abeyance”. The hearing will take place on November 27.

“All these persons who had tendered their resignations shall continue to discharge their duties in the interest of the game of cricket. No further resolution in this regard will be sought to be passed by the members of the apex council without the permission of the Ombudsman and without following proper procedure,” the order said.

The DDCA on Saturday tweeted that Rajat Sharma had tendered his resignation as DDCA President.

“News alert: @RajatSharmaLive has tendered his resignation from the post of President, DDCA with immediate effect and forwarded it to the Apex Council,” said the DDCA’s tweet.

Sharma was appointed as DDCA President in July 2018, beating World Cup winning former India cricketer Madal Lal to the post. His group had also managed to win all the 12 seats in the DDCA elections.

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India vs Bangladesh 1st Test: India win by an innings and 130 runs

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Indore Test Team India

Indore, Nov 16 : The writing was on the wall on the third morning itself and it was all about delaying the inevitable for Bangladesh as the Indian pace bowlers ran through their batting line-up once again as Virat Kohli and boys register an innings and 130-run win over the visitors in the first Test of the two-match series at the Holkar Stadium on Saturday.

While Mohammed Shami once again stole the show with figures of 4/31 (match-figures of 7/58), Umesh Yadav picked two in Bangladesh’s second essay and Ishant Sharma added two to his name. It was only poetic justice for the Indian pace bowlers that the spin-bowling duo of R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja picked just five wickets in the game, all picked by the off-spinner.

For Bangladesh, the only bright spot was Mushfiqur Rahim’s fighting knock of 64 as he delayed Bangladesh’s slide to an innings defeat on the third day. But Ashwin sent him back, ninth wicket to fall, caught brilliantly by Cheteshwar Pujara.

While the third session once again saw the Bangladesh batting flounder, it was only the second session when Mushfiqur, Liton Das and Mehidy Hasan Miraz ensured that they showed application and gritted it out in what otherwise looked like a game that would finish on the third afternoon in the post-lunch session.

The game was completely dominated by the Indian pace bowlers as they first rattled out Bangladesh for 150 in the first innings and then picked four wickets in their second innings in the first session itself on Saturday.

With India declaring on their overnight score of 493/6, it was anyway a matter of playing catch-up for the visitors and Shami ensured that he once again showed his class in the second innings of a Test match as he picked two of the four wickets that fell in the first session. While Umesh sent back the experienced Imrul Kayes (6), Ishant had Shadman Islam’s number for 6.

That was enough for Bangladesh to surrender as the middle-order failed to apply itself as Mushfiqur fought a lone battle.

The post-lunch session still seemed slightly better for Bangladesh as Mahmudullah was one of two wickets to fall in the session nicking to Rohit Sharma in the slip cordon off Shami. Rohit had earlier dropped a sitter and thus gave Mushfiqur a lifeline.

Liton Das stuck on with Mushfiqur and put up a 63-run stand for the sixth wicket. But his journey also came to a sudden end as he became the only man to fall to Ashwin in the second session, hitting it straight back to the bowler having made 35 off 39.

Mehidy however held fort with Mushfiqur as the latter crossed his half century and Bangladesh finished on 191/6 at Tea.

Brief Scores: Bangladesh 150 all out (Mushfiqur Rahim 43; Mohammmed Shami 3/27); 213 (Mushfiqur Rahim 64; Mohammed Shami 4/31, R Ashwin 3/42); India 493/6 (Mayank Agarwal 243, Cheteshwar Pujara 54; Ajinkya Rahane 86, Ravindra Jadeja 60; Abu Jayed 4/108)

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