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Sania in doubles final of Hobart International

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Sania Mirza

Hobart: Former World No.1 Sania Mirza continued her dream comeback to the WTA circuit when on Friday she entered the women’s doubles final at the ongoing Hobart International.

Mirza, back from a two-year absence from the tour after having her baby, paired with Ukraine’s Nadiia Kichenok to win their semi-final clash over Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic and Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek, 7-6(3), 6-2, and move into the summit clash.

Mirza and Kichenok beat Bouzkova and Zidansek in a match that lasted one hour and 24 minutes.

The Indo-Ukranian pair had 15 break points in the match and were able to convert just four of them, but they were only broken twice in the match, to garner the straight-set victory.

The Indian star, who has three Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles and another three Grand Slam titles in mixed doubles, is now into her 62nd WTA doubles final and would be seeking her 41st title.

The 33-year-old Indian, who has spent 91 weeks as the top-ranked player in the WTA doubles rankings in her career, had not played on the WTA since a semi-final run at the 2017 China Open.

During her time away from the circuit, she gave birth to her first child, Izhaan, who has been on site in Hobart this week.

Mirza and Kichenok will now face the second-seeded Chinese pair of Zhang Shuai and Peng Shuai on Saturday.

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We were shocked by Sohail’s behaviour, says Younis on ’96 WC incident

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Waqar Younis

Lahore, July 11 : Fast bowling great Waqar Younis has said they were shocked at how Aamer Sohail behaved on the field during Pakistans 1996 World Cup quarter-final against India.

India won the tie by 39 runs in Bengaluru but Sohail, captaining the then-defending world champions, was at one point going strong as Pakistan chased 288 for victory.

With Pakistan on 109/1 in the 14th over, Sohail smacked Venkatesh Prasad through cover point for a four and then, infamously pointed his bat towards the boundary showing the bowler that is where he is going to hit him again.

But that turned out to be his final contribution in the game as Prasad uprooted his off-stump in the very next delivery, and coupled it up with a send-off of his own.

“To be very honest, we were shocked by the way he (Sohail) was behaving on the field,” Waqar said speaking on The Greatest Rivalry podcast.

“He was tonking the ball all over the park, why did he need to do that? I guess, the pressure got to him.

“He batted superbly, he was looking really good and I think he scored 55 off not many deliveries (55 off 46). And Saeed Anwar also. We lost our first wicket when Pakistan were 85-odd (84) in the first ten overs. We were cruising, and then once we lost Saeed Anwar and then Aamir Sohail straightaway, it just went wrong.”

“Inzamam-ul-Haq and Ijaz Ahmed, they went into a shell,” Waqar, a former captain, said.

“And full credit should be given to Anil Kumble, when he came in and Prasad came in for his second spell, he sort of started nipping the ball a little bit. And Pakistan got so much pressure and once we lost Ijaz and Inzamam within an over or so, it became very very difficult.

“We made quite a few mistakes in that game. Javed Miandad was there, he could have gone in at number four but we kept him at number six, there was no use because he was approaching the end of his career. We kept him for very late, he should have batted at number four. Overall, a good game for cricket and India were well-deserved winners.”

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Happy Indian cricket got Dhoni because he is unbelievable: Ganguly

Dhoni has played 90 Tests, 350 ODIs and 98 T20Is for India, amassing over 17,000 international runs.

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Sourav Ganguly

Kolkata, July 7 : Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not only one of the best finishers in world cricket, he is a destructive top-order batsman too who should bat higher up, feels former India captain and BCCI President Sourav Ganguly. Dhoni, regarded as one of India’s finest leaders, turned 39 on Tuesday. It was under Ganguly that the Ranchi wicketkeeper batsman made his debut and went on to win all ICC trophies for India, the only captain to do so.

During a chat with India Test opener Mayank Agarwal which was shared by BCCI with hashtag #DadaOpensWithMayank, Agarwal asked him: “Your word got Mahi bhai picked in the Indian team and the rest is history. Is that a myth or a reality?”

“That”s true but that”s my job isn”t it. That”s every captain”s job…pick the best and make the best team possible,” Ganguly replied.

“You go by your instincts. You go by the faith of that player that he will deliver for you.

“I”m happy that Indian cricket got Mahendra Singh Dhoni because he is unbelievable.”

“One of the great finishers in the world, said Agarwal.

“One of the great players in world cricket. Not just a finisher, I think everyone talks about the way he finishes lower down the order…he batted at No. 3 when I was captain. He got 140 against Pakistan in Vizag..I always believe that he should bat up the order because he is so destructive,” Ganguly opined.

“You know the best player in the shorter format has the ability to hit boundaries at will. You look over a period of time, the history of one-day cricket…the best players can find the fence under pressure consistently and M.S. Dhoni was one of them,” he added.

Cricket fraternity thronged social media to extend birthday wishes for Dhoni who led India to an ICC 50-over World Cup, T20 World Cup and Champions Trophy in 2013. He even led India to the number one ranking in both Test and ODI formats.

Dhoni has been on a sabbatical ever since the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup where India lost to New Zealand. It”s been almost a year that he has been away from the cricket field, yet conversations about his return or future retirement have never died out in the time since and he still remains one of the most talked about cricketers in the present era.

Dhoni has played 90 Tests, 350 ODIs and 98 T20Is for India, amassing over 17,000 international runs.

Speculations about his retirement from all forms of international cricket have been on ever since the 2019 World Cup. But Dhoni has still not made any such announcement. However, one thing is for certain, whenever he hangs his boots, it will be a day when the entire country will have tears in their eyes, just like when Sachin Tendulkar drew curtains on his 24-year-old long career in Mumbai.

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Eng vs WI: Anderson & Broad deserve to play 1st Test, says Hussain

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Nassar Hussain

London, July 6 : Former England captain Nasser Hussain feels veteran pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad deserve to be in the playing XI for the team’s first Test against West Indies starting Wednesday.

The first Test of the three-match series is scheduled to be played at Ageas Bowl, followed by two matches at the Old Trafford from July 16 and 24 respectively.

Hussain stated England are going to rotate the bowlers around, considering workload management, as they will take on Pakistan right after the conclusion of the West Indies series.

“A lot will be made of the first Test selection, but the bowlers are going to be rotated. I would start with Anderson and Broad because they deserve it. Then I”d leave (Chris) Woakes out and pick one of (Mark) Wood or (Jofra) Archer,” Hussain was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

“I”d probably go for Wood because he bowled very well in his last two Tests in South Africa, but Archer is a serious bowler so I”d have no problem with him instead,” he added.

However, according to a report in The Guardian, Broad “faces the prospect of missing a first home Test match in eight years as England give serious consideration to unleashing the dual pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood at the earliest opportunity”.

West Indies Test skipper Jason Holder had earlier warned their opponents against taking them lightly and Hussain agreed with him.

Pointing towards their potent bowling attack, Hussain stated they will pose a big threat to the high-profile England line-up in the forthcoming series.

“They are a threat, especially the bowling. With Shannon Gabriel alongside Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph and Holder (left), nobody is going to get easy runs,” Hussain said.

“But the batting looks flimsy with no Darren Bravo or Shimron Hetmyer. Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite will have to repeat their Headingley form of last time.

“England are very difficult to beat at home and West Indies haven”t won here for a long time, so I”m going for an England win — but you”d be a fool to write off West Indies because they thrive on being written off.”

West Indies had famously beaten England during the previous series between the two sides that was played in the Carribbean Islands. A draw in the series would be enough for them to retain the Wisden trophy.

–IANS

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