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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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After Nikhat, Pinki questions rule tweak to accommodate Mary Kom

“What are we doing here? We have also come into the camp as national champions. I had defeated Mary Kom in the trials before 2014 Commonwealth Games. Then there’s no reason why I cannot defeat her again.

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Boxer Pinki Jangra

New Delhi, Oct 19 : Boxer Pinki Jangra has backed Nikhat Zareen’s demand for a fair trial for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and wondered why the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) was tweaking the rules and favouring six-time champion Mary Kom.

Speaking to IANS, Pinki said, “On Thursday, I came to know that Mary Kom would not be competing in the trials and will be directly sent to the qualifiers. This is not right. The same thing happened before the World Championships. We had then also raised our concerns but we were told that rules are different for different tournaments and that trials would be conducted for qualifiers.”

Mary Kom has maintained that she would go by the decision taken by the federation, which had earlier stated that only the gold and silver-winners from the world event would be given direct selection for the Olympic qualifiers.

“What are we doing here? We have also come into the camp as national champions. I had defeated Mary Kom in the trials before 2014 Commonwealth Games. Then there’s no reason why I cannot defeat her again. I know she is a legend and I have huge respect for her. But if she is a legend, then why is she not competing in trials? We will feel satisfied if she defeats us and goes to the Qualifiers.”

“We also have the same goal as qualifying for the Olympics just like Mary Kom. We also want to represent India at the world stage but for that we need an opportunity first,” she added.

Pinki, the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, further said that she has demanded a clarification from her coaches as to why the rules are being changed. “If I don’t get a clarification, I will write to the BFI. If by Monday I don’t get a response, I will personally go and meet the BFI President.”

Nikhat had written a letter to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday, demanding that she should be given a trial bout against Mary Kom before the Indian squad for next year’s Olympic qualifiers in China is decided.

Rijiju, however, steered clear of the controversy, saying he can only ask the federation to decide what is best for the nation and athletes.

This was after the BFI stated that it intends to pick Mary Kom (51kg) for the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers slated to be held in Wuhan from February 3 to 14 on the back of her recent bronze medal at the world championships in Russia.

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Rahul Gandhi Plays Cricket With Local Boys in Rewari After His Chopper Makes Emergency Landing

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday played cricket with children for a while after the helicopter he was travelling by could not land in Delhi due to bad weather

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Rahul Gandhi Playing Cricket

New Delhi, Oct 18 : Bad weather prevented Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s helicopter from landing in Delhi on Friday, party sources said. Rahul was returning from poll-bound Mahendragarh in Haryana after addressing a rally there.

The Congress clarified that Rahul Gandhi’s helicopter was forced to abort its landing in Delhi due to bad weather and not due to a technical snag.

The chopper later landed safely in Rewari from where Rahul returned by road.

The Congress leader, according to party sources, played cricket in Rewari with young boys.

Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by party general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Rahul in his rally in Mahendragarh criticised Prime Minister Modi, alleging the country has been pushed to the worst economic slowdown.

The video being widely shared on social media shows youngsters bowling to Rahul Gandhi, who attempts several shots, including cover drives.

He was later seen interacting with several children.

Rahul Gandhi finally returned to Delhi by road as his helicopter’s pilot declared the weather to be too adverse to resume the journey.

For all the latest India News, Follow India Section.

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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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