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Rohit can help chase down unachievable targets: Bangar

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Rohit Sharma

New Delhi, Sep 14 Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar believes that Team India will be able to successfully chase down targets they haven’t achieved in the past if Rohit Sharma succeeds at the top of the order in Test cricket.

Rohit, who is a regular opener for Team India in the limited-overs format, has been included in the 15-man squad for the upcoming three-Test series against South Africa beginning October 2.

KL Rahul, who had been opening the innings for India in the last two years, has been dropped owing to his poor form. In the two-Test series against the West Indies, he managed scores of 44, 38, 13 and 6 and didn’t seem to be in any sort of form.

His last 50+ score since his 149 against England at the Oval came some 12 innings back.

His poor form opened the opportunity for Rohit, who has been for long waiting for his chance to come good in red-ball cricket as well.

“At the moment, there is no place in the settled middle order in the Test team. Opening will be a new challenge for him, since he has rarely done it in the longer formats. But the advantage is that he will get to bat against a hard ball with plenty of gaps in the field. He will also not have to wait for his turn to bat, which will save his mental energy,” Bangar told ESPNcricinfo in an interview.

“If he succeeds, his style of play will be extremely helpful to the team. It might result in being able to successfully chase down targets that we haven’t achieved in the past, like in Cape Town and Edgbaston,” he added.

Considered as one of the modern-day greats, Rohit has not been able to cement his place in the Test side. The 32-year-old has played 27 Tests so far, in which he has scored 1585 runs at an average of 39.6. The swashbuckling opener, who has three double-hundreds to his name in ODIs, has been able to hit just three centuries in red-ball cricket.

However, the upcoming series against the Proteas provides him with the opportunity to score big and permanently cement his place in Test cricket as well.

And in order to be successful for that, Bangar believes Rohit needs to maintain his unique playing style.

“The key to his success will be if he maintains his individual style of play. He has to maintain his individuality,” Bangar said.

The first Test against South Africa will be played in Visakhapatnam from October 2 before the teams travel to Pune for the second Test from October 10. The final match of the series will be played in Ranchi from October 19.

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Australia suspends Olympic bid amid COVID-19 recovery

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Sydney, May 25 (IANS) Australia’s Queensland has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently as the state government focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the bid process had been paused, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s just on hold. I wouldn’t read too much into that,” Palaszczuk told reporters last weekend.

“We’re focused absolutely on the economic recovery at the moment.”

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it fully supported the Queensland government’s position in placing the Brisbane 2032 candidature on hold.

AOC President John Coates said in a recent statement that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, allowing governments to focus on dealing with COVID-19.

Coates said he’d proposed to OCLG members that the meetings would not proceed while all three levels of governments dealt with the pandemic.

He also told the AOC Annual General Meeting on May 9 that discussions with the IOC on the candidature would resume when appropriate.

“We all understand there are pressing issues of public health and community wellbeing for governments to address,” Coates said.

“The candidature will have its role to play in terms of jobs and growth in the Queensland economy once we have seen our way through the current crisis.”

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‘Hockey has lost its brightest star’: Balbir Singh Sr passes away

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Balbir Singh Senior

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Hockey India has expressed condolences on the sad demise of legendary player Balbir Singh Sr who breathed his last on Monday morning in Mohali. The triple Olympic Champion and World Cup-winning team manager had been battling for life since May 8 when he was hospitalised.

“Today, we have not only lost our greatest hockey legend but we have also lost ‘our guiding light’. While his achievements in post-independent era have been well-documented, Balbir Sr remained the greatest fan of the sport and was always there when we needed his advice. Hockey has lost its brightest star and everyone at Hockey India is pained by this news,” said Hockey India President Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad.

He further said: “Balbir Singh Sr’s exemplary achievements, his passion for the sport, his life as an icon of the game will remain an example for generations to come. On behalf of the federation, I express my deepest condolences to his family.”

He was the most decorated athlete in Indian sports history with Olympic medals in 1948, 1952 and 1956 Summer Games. He coached the Indian team which won the bronze medal at the 1971 World Cup and was manager of the Indian team that won the gold medal at the 1975 World Cup.

He had scored five goals in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Under his captaincy, India scored 38 goals and conceded none on its way to the gold medal in 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Beating England 4-0 in their own backyard during the final of the 1948 Olympic Games as an independent nation was Balbir Sr’s ‘greatest moment’.

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Former Pak batsman Taufeeq Umar tests positive for COVID-19

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New Delhi, Former Pakistan opener Taufeeq Umar tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Umar featured in 44 Tests and 12 ODIs, amassing 2,963 and 504 runs respectively for Pakistan.

He played his last international match in 2014, a Test against New Zealand in Dubai.

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