Will always regret missing hundred on Test debut but will get one next time: Teenage cricketer Shafali Verma
Bristol, Jun 18 She would "always regret" missing the hundred in a memorable Test debut but India's teenage batting sensation Shafali Verma says her 96-run knock in the ongoing one-off game against England has also given her confidence to aim higher the next time.
Announcing her Test arrival in style, the 17-year-old lived up to her reputation and notched the highest score by an Indian woman cricketer on Test debut with a calculative and stroke-filled 152-ball 96 on Thursday.
She smashed 13 fours and two sixes during her 152-ball stay but her attempt to reach the century with a maximum proved costly as she mistimed a Kate Cross delivery which was caught by Anya Shrubsole.
"It's always natural to feel bad to miss out on a hundred (on debut). I will always regret it, but this innings will give me a lot of confidence in the coming matches. I hope to convert it to a hundred the next time," the Indian opener said in the virtual post-match media conference here.
The Haryana girl later took to Twitter to thank everyone for the support and backing.
"I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your kind words of support and for your wishes. It would not be possible to respond to each message individually. I am proud to be a part of this team and such wonderfully supportive teammates and support staff," she posted.
"I know my father, my family, my Association, my team and academy will miss those 4+ runs more than me but I will make it up to them on other occasions. They have all been a huge support!" During her knock, Verma shattered the record of Chanderkanta Kaul, who had scored 75 on her Test debut against New Zealand at Nelson in 1995.
"Whenever I go to play in a big match or series, I always stay confident, I never count my age. I just think about how to support my team and contribute in the best possible way," she said.
Verma also stitched 167 runs with her senior opening partner Smriti Mandhana (78).
The duo's effort was India's highest opening partnership, going past the 153-run mark stand between Gargi Banerji and Sandhya Agarwal against Australia in Mumbai in 1984.
Asked about her bonding with Mandhana, Verma said: "We always back each other and understand each other. She always lends great support to me and guides me, it helps me a lot." "We just played our natural game, hit the loose deliveries and kept on supporting each other. It's about holding on to the crease," she added.
The top-ranked T20I batter in the ICC women's rankings curbed her natural instincts against the English new ball bowlers Katherine Brunt and Shrubsole.
"The strategy was to spend some time in the middle. Initially we got a few loose deliveries including some full toss ones.
"We could not convert them into boundaries as the focus was to play straight and stay on so we were laughing about it. It felt good to build this innings, showed respect to the bowlers." Asked about her preparation leading up to the Test debut, she said: "I always learn from every series. Like for this debut Test, I worked on choosing the right ball as well as on fitness. It feels very good to contribute to the team." Thanking the senior members of the team, she said: "Seniors always back me up and don't put any pressure on me.
"It helped me play with a free mind and do well. They just asked me to play my natural game and that helped me in scoring this. From this series, I've learned to be patient.
"It's very important to be patient as a batter. Also, I have learnt how important fitness is in these two days." Aggression comes naturally to Verma, who boasts of a 148-plus strike-rate in the shortest format.
"Growing up, my father would tell me and my brother that whoever hits more sixes will get Rs 10 or 15. If I'm doing well now it's all because of my hard work and choosing the (right) balls." News source PTI
AI will enable players to get quality training, reduce injury risk and help reach their true potential - Arminder Thind, Founder of StanceBeam
Sports technology has crossed leaps and bounds as you may have read in the cricket news since the last few years, giving a significant competitive advantage to its adopters. It gives new data and insights about player performance, monitor training sessions, compare progress and much more to break previously established limits and add a whole new dimension to the world of sports.
In an exclusive interview with SPOGO, Mr. Arminder Thind, Founder of StanceBeam speaks about the role of AI and its benefits, StanceBeam striker, raising the standards of sport through technology, implementing feedback from end users and his vision for the future of innovations in sport.
Q 1) As a founder of StanceBeam, what led you to foresee the future of sports being driven by technology? What is your aim and vision for this company?
Working in the sports-tech space for over 6 years and being sports players ourselves, we experience few key challenges - lack of curriculum based and data driven coaching leading to untapped player potential. Limited availability of trained coaches so their time is spread very thin for players and the problem aggravates more for non urban players. We continue to hear stories of players travelling hundreds of kilometers to get access to coaches and training facilities or even worse, a lot of talent never get a chance to show talent and excel in sports. Our VISION is to empower players globally to play sports, stay fit and achieve their true potential by breaking the barrier of physical places to train and the right coaches to train with.
Q 2) How is Artificial Intelligence changing the face of sports? What are its benefits for the sporting industry?
As of today, we have multiple start-ups like StanceBeam working on ground breaking ideas in sport-tech space, from fan engagement to player performance improvement and injury prevention. StanceBeam is specifically leveraging AI in conjunction with IoT devices to gather data to attempt to optimize training and performance of the players. With so much innovation happening in this space, there are very healthy signs of adoption of sports-tech at consumer level, though it’s currently at an early adoption stage.
Q 3) What sort of data does StanceBeam striker provide that will turn a regular bat into a smart tech device? How will it benefit the players and coaches?
The StanceBeam Striker is the most accurate Cricket Bat sensor and is designed to fit on top of any Cricket bat which turns it into a Smart Bat. StanceBeam app seamlessly connects with StanceBeam Striker to provide you real-time feedback and give players a view of their game never seen before. Smart Video Capture capability of the StanceBeam app allows automatically to record 4 seconds of video per bat swing, Tag it with the players every shot and overlay swing metrics. The Stancebeam measures a unique set of metrics in real-time – with each swing of a cricket bat – including Power Analysis, Shot Efficiency, Max Bat Speed, Speed at Impact, Bat Angles, and Directions. StanceBeam app also produces a summary session, highlights and insights for each session and players can compare their progress over time, share stats/videos with their coaches for further feedback and improvements. To build a better player - we need to build a better coach. Providing key information traditionally only available to elite coaches in a controlled lab situation can now be used anywhere and be tracked in real time, or remotely - working around the modern cricketing world - where players will be away from the home base for months at a time. StanceBeam App allows coaches to manage multiple players within the app. Coaches can also create a big impact on players' improvements by giving data driven feedback using Mobile Video Analysis, Audio and Text Notes, Session Rating, and assign Video drills.
Q 4) How is StanceBeam bringing its technological innovations in the hands of aspiring cricketers? Do you believe it will significantly raise the standard of sports in our country?
The StanceBeam device made in India is available in multiple countries including India as well as e-commerce channels like Amazon. Kookaburra, a leading Cricket Brand, is our distribution partner for key global markets. Being a new category product and cricket being such a traditional sport, changing players and coaches' mindset about a data driven approach for better performance is not easy. So we have been working with progressive coaches, academies and associations across India to enable access to our technological innovation to the cricket players. We are glad that now we have a good number of players and coaches across the globe who have used our technology and seen a positive impact on their training regime and overall performance – 1 million plus cricket shots have been recorded on StanceBeam so far and counting. We have kids in India training with coaches in Australia on our platform. We’re breaking the access barrier, especially for players from small towns. Throughout COVID-19 pandemic, we have many players who were able to stay in touch with coaches and continue their training regime.
Q 5) How is StanceBeam incorporating feedback from players and coaches to constantly make improvements to its services for a more useful and better experience to end users?
At the heart of what we have done is focus on the player - building an experience that can help them with their game - both in the nets and on the pitch. By focusing on what’s important - seamless integration, meaningful data and feedback with technology that isn’t intrusive - we are delivering what will help refine the next generation of players. Through our research and development, design and implementation, software and hardware - we have been focused on creating the most accurate and interactive experience for our customers - allowing for no compromise in terms of accuracy, interactivity and uniqueness to create an experience not only relevant for cricket - but in answering the demands of our customer. What we have developed could only have come from seamless customer integration and feedback. Other than 10,000 plus players and 500 coaches on the platform which continue to inspire us to do more for them, we are fortunate to have Shikhar Dhawan as mentor and regular user of StanceBeam and share his feedback to make it more useful for players. Since everyone in the StanceBeam team are passionate sports players and fans, we spend considerable time with coaches and working in academies so we stay on ground to understand our customers’ requirements/feedback and solve their real problems.
Q 6) What do you envision in the future use of AI in sports? What sort of technological innovations can we expect and how do you think it will revolutionize the sports industry?
AI which is humanised and has a real human perspective will be a game changer. It will allow actionable insights on player performance and injury risks and let coaches/players make more informed decisions. Just as an example, StanceBeam generates an abundance of data via Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, video and audio during player session captures. However, the data by itself does not provide any value unless we can turn data into actionable, contextualized information. Artificial Intelligence provides us the tools and framework to perform real time data analysis and actionable insights with complete automation. AI will enable players more quality training time and manage load to reduce injury risks.
I never count my age, I'm always confident: Cricketer Shafali Verma
Bristol, Jun 17 Teenage sensation Shafali Verma, who registered the highest score by an Indian woman cricketer on Test debut here on Thursday, said she never thinks about her age and always prefers to adopt a confident approach while playing a big match or a series.
The 17-year-old achieved the feat on day two of their one-off Test against England Women. She shattered the record of Chanderkanta Kaul, who had scored 75 on her Test debut against New Zealand at Nelson in 1995.
"Whenever I go to play in a big match or series, I always stay confident. I never count my age," Verma, who missed a well-deserved century when she was holed out in the deep for 96 off Kate Cross, said in the virtual post-match media conference.
Verma started off in a defensive manner and then went on to her usual aggressive self as she hit a six off Nat Sciver with remarkable ease.
"I just think about how to support my team and contribute in the best possible way," she said.
Verma and her senior partner Smriti Mandhana also achieved another milestone by recording India’s highest opening partnership of 167 by going past the 153-run mark stand between Gargi Banerji and Sandhya Agarwal against Australia in Mumbai in 1984.
Asked about her bonding with Mandhana, Verma said: "We always back each other and understand each other. She always lends great support to me and guides me, it helps me a lot." "We were only discussing about building the partnership and staying on the crease, so that the team will get more support.
"We just played our natural game, hit the loose deliveries and kept on supporting each other. It's about holding on to the crease," she added.
Verma's dismissal triggered a collapse for India as they lost five wickets for 16 runs to stare at follow-on, finishing day two at 187 for 5 in reply to England's mammoth 396 for 9 declared. News source PTI
Bristol, Jun 17 Shafali Verma's audacity and Smriti Mandhana's flair mixed well in a record-breaking partnership but their phenomenal effort was ruined by a dramatic batting collapse on the second day of India Women's one-off Test against England Women, here on Thursday.
England ended up posting the highest-ever total against India after they declared their first innings at 396 for nine but the visiting team openers gave the hosts a befitting reply with a 167-run stand.
Verma punished the English bowlers with her range of strokes in a breathtaking 94-run innings while left-handed Mandhana was all grace in her 78-run knock. However, from a strong 167 for none, India lost five wickets for the addition of just 16 runs before ending the day at 187 for five.
India are still trailing England by 209 runs with Harmanpreet Kaur and Deepti Sharma (0) at the crease.
Once the Indian openers were dismissed, the other batters seemed to be at sea against England spinners.
Home skipper Heather Knight, who scored 95 in England innings, triggered the collapse by dismissing Punam Raut (2) and Shikha Pandey (0).
Skipper Mithali Raj was trapped by left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone as the hosts turned the tide in their favour in the last session.
Before the collapse, Verma and Mandhana forged a 167-run stand, India's highest for the first wicket, surpassing previous-best of 153-run partnership between Gargi Banerji and Sandhya Agarwal against Australia in Mumbai in 1984.
The 17-year-old Verma was making her debut but she batted like a fearless veteran. She missed out on a hundred but her knock was the highest individual score by an Indian on Test debut.
She surpassed Chanderkanta Kaul's 75 against New Zealand way back in 1995.
Verma's 94 came off 152 balls with 13 fours and two sixes while left-handed Mandhana's knock was laced with 14 exquisite boundaries. Verma was her usual aggressive self as she cut and pulled in her own inimitable style. She not only presented the straight bat for defence with grace, she also hit a six off Nat Sciver with remarkable ease.
Mandhana was cautious yet fluent. She got her first boundary when she punched one off Sciver in the cover region. When she got the opportunity, Mandhana did not hesitate to pull. Her elegant drives were a delight to watch.
Cross missed a chance to dismiss Mandhana (when on 23) when she dropped the left-hander in her follow through.
Earlier, the England Women were propelled by debutant Sophia Dunkley who hit a resolute unbeaten 74 and raised two crucial partnerships with tail-enders after England resumed their innings at the overnight score of 269 for six.
Dunkley first added 56 runs for the eighth wicket with Sophie Ecclestone (17) and then forged a 70-run stand with Anya Shrubsole (47).
England declared their innings when Shrubsole was bowled by Sneh Rana, who ended up as India's best bowler with a four-wicket haul.
In the morning session, England lost overnight batter Katherine Brunt, who was trapped by veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami in the 12th ball of the day.
With that wicket, at 38 years and 204 days, Goswami became the oldest India player to get a Test wicket since Sachin Tendulkar in his penultimate Test. She also became the oldest India pacer to get a Test wicket since Lala Amarnath in 1952.
It remained a short-lived joy for the Indians as Dunkley and Ecclestone dug their heels in to test the patience of the visitors.
Dunkley stood out with her footwork and strokes on the off-side while Ecclestone was comfortable on both front and back-foot.
Dunkley completed after maiden Test fifty soon after getting an umpire's decision overturned. She was adjudged leg before off the bowling of Rana when she was on 46.
She got to her fifty with a couple off Rana. News source PTI
We were more determined after change in World Test Championship point system: Indian skipper Virat Kohli
Southampton, Jun 17 India skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday said his team became more hungry and determined after the points system of the inaugural World Test Championship was changed midway due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The game's governing body ICC had changed the qualification criteria for the World Test Championship from maximum points earned to percentage points earned from the matches contested after many scheduled series were cancelled due to the global health crisis.
"... that gave us more determination and more clarity as to where we want to go and what we want to achieve, so looking back now, probably was a good thing that happened," Kohli said during the virtual press conference on eve of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand.
"There was no room for complacency, if we had qualified earlier maybe we would have relaxed a little-bit.
"But the situation allowed us to be more hungry and be more determined and know exactly what was going on at that moment and use that as a fueling bracket and motivation to keep moving forward regardless of whatever was going on in the outside." India secured a historic 2-1 win over Australia in Australia and then claimed 3-1 victory against England at home in a four-Test series to seal their place in the final.
"Was it supposed to be a topsy-turvy ride to be honest?," the India captain asked.
"When you are sitting at home and the rules change suddenly, you get confused as to what happened, without anyone's control we did not miss or choose to miss any series through the course of this World Test Championship apart from the scheduling that wasn't done at all.
"We pretty much played everything that was presented to us and ya in our minds we had qualified way before things got complicated anyway." So what changes would Kohli like to see in the World Test Championship cycle? "Firstly, not for the rules to change overnight," replied the 32-year-old Delhi-born batsman.
"That will be helpful if there is more clarity around what's happening and which direction we are heading into. Also, for teams who haven't played the series for some reason, to have some kind of ruling as to what happens after." Kohli said the WTC has been a "very positive step in the right direction." "...because you understand every series you are playing and competing for something and there is no room for complacency, there is no room for just playing out an easy draw.
"If you can go for the points, you will. It is a step in the right direction for Test cricket." News source PTI
No surprises in India's playing eleven for World Test Championship final, Ishant Sharma preferred over Mohammed Siraj
Southampton, Jun 17 India on Thursday went for tried and tested players, preferring veteran Ishant Sharma over Mohammed Siraj in the playing eleven for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand.
On expected lines, the team picked two specialist spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin, who are also more than handy with the bat.
The three pacers are Ishant, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, leaving no space for the impressive Siraj. Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will bat at number six.
The match will begin on Friday at the Ageas Bowl.
India's Playing XI: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami. News source PTI
New Zealand cricketer Kane Williamson says place in World Test Championship final testament to team's growth over two years
Southampton, Jun 17 New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson on Thursday said a place in the World Test Championship final against India is a testament to the team's growth over the past two years but he is not reading too much into the favourites tag given to his side.
Williamson's team is arguably the strongest side that New Zealand have ever had and the skipper said the WTC final will be about building on the good work that they have done over the past 24 months.
"There's been a lot of growth over a period of time so many challenges along the way every day but the team has bought into it and tried to move past those with a good attitude," Williamson said on the eve of the final.
"There is lot of hard work done over a long period of time to find ourselves here in the first final (of WTC).
"It's exciting but for us it's just focusing on continuing that growth and trying to keep committing to the parts of our game that give us the best chance and that's where I know the guys will be focusing on. We are trying to look at the long game and try and improve all the time." New Zealand, who are usually seen as the underdogs going into a big event, have been touted as favourites for the WTC final beginning on Friday. However, Williamson doesn't see it that way.
"Firstly, we are really looking forward to the match, it's been quite a long time coming...In terms of (being) favourites, these tags that come about. We are much more concerned with the cricket that we want to play and also very realistic we know that India are an incredibly strong side all around the world...
"...they are rightly so recognized as the best team, you have these rankings and they take slightly different shape every-day. But, we know that the challenge is very very strong against this Indian side." New Zealand go into the game with a high of winning their first series in England in 22 years. They made six changes to their playing eleven for the second Test and still won comfortably.
They are now spoilt of choice in the pace department and that is one of the reasons why the playing eleven has not been decided yet.
"Yeah there a number of guys that are playing well. Look, seam bowlers have been contributing really well. There is some depth there in that department, which is very important to our team, so there'll be some tricky but good conversations to have in finalizing the eleven." Williamson said playing a one-off final at a neutral venue is "unique" and WTC has given Test cricket that much-needed "extra" context.
"Both teams have prepared as well as they could. It is a one off game and in cricket anything can happen," said one of the world's best batsmen.
Asked if WTC has been a success, he said: "I think we certainly did see it getting closer towards the crunch end with teams having to work out what they would need to achieve for a place in the final.
"We did see a lot of exciting Tests where teams were doing everything they could to get across the line, some sporting declarations. I remember watching few Tests over the course of the two years. They were very exciting to watch and WTC does provide that extra context to the format and is a step in the right direction." On his elbow injury that forced him to miss the second Test against England, Williamson added: "My elbow has improved with the help of an injection few days ago. I am still managing but all in all it is showing signs of improvement which is good." News source PTI
Selection in Bayern's world squad (U-19) is a dream-come-true moment: Indian footballer Shubho Paul
Chennai, Jun 17 Young Indian footballer Shubho Paul on Thursday said being selected in FC Bayern's world squad (Under-19) is a dream-come-true moment for him and he is keen to learn the popular club's style of play.
"I am at a loss for words. I had never thought about it. It was my dream to be associated with a team like Bayern Munich. A dream come true for me...," he said at a virtual media interaction on his official selection in FC Bayern World Squad.
"I like the FC Bayern Munich way of playing. I want to learn the aspects of that style of play from the club's coaches," he added.
However, Paul who was to travel to Mexico where the squad of 15 was to train for some time before flying to Germany, would not be doing so now owing to the COVID-19 pandemic induced restrictions.
According to Bayern Munich officials, including Klaus Augenthaler, head coach of the FC Bayern World Squad (Under-19), Paul won't be able to travel to Mexico but would remain in touch with the club's coaches.
"He can't travel to Mexico because of the COVID situation. We will stay in touch with him. In August, we hope he can travel to Munich. We hope we can see him face to face and train with him. The club will support him," Augenthaler, a FC Bayern legend and World Cup winner, said.
He praised the 17-year old Indian. Asked what they saw in Paul which made the club rope him in, Augenthaler said "Definitely, we saw the quality he has. He is talented. The thing is he should not put himself under pressure. He has to learn a lot." Paul, who is the captain of I-League team Sudeva FC, was picked by the German giants after a process wherein players from around the world were selected and the list was narrowed down to 64, to 35 and finally to 15.
The world squad (U-19) will play matches against local teams, including the FC Bayern Under-19 side.
Meanwhile, Matthias Brosamer, head of sports in China, Japan and Korea of FC Bayern, said the club was making efforts to develop football in India and the selection of Paul in the Under-19 world squad was a step in that direction.
"We are aiming to find the right partner to develop football in India. Of course, Shubho (Paul) is the first step. We are looking forward to developing talents here. We are also here to learn from every country... every country is different in football," he added.
Paul has been at Sudeva FC since he was 12 and the club officials including Anuj Gupta, president and co-founder and Vijay Hakari, vice-president and co-founder, praised the youngster and his single-minded focus which had brought him to this level. News source PTI
One game over five days isn't going to reflect how we are as team: Indian cricketer Virat Kohli
Southampton, Jun 17 India captain Virat Kohli on Thursday asserted that one Test match is not a "true reflection" of his team even if it happens to be the World Test Championship final against New Zealand here and he is treating it as "just another" game.
For the Indian captain and his team, the WTC final is like their Test debuts as young players trying to come up the ranks.
"One game over five days. It's not going to reflect anything and those who understand the game know and also what has gone over the period of last four to five years," Kohli said on the eve of the big final against the Black Caps.
"If we win, cricket will not stop and if we lose also, cricket won't stop. We are playing in quest of excellence and understand who we are as a team," the eloquent Indian captain added.
He was not forthcoming when a question on team combination was posed based on a previous answer that the team would select a composition "with all bases covered" regardless of the weather forecast of rain on opening day.
"... A team with enough batting depth and bowling resources," he said when asked if he would factor in the rain and overcast conditions.
He was also dismissive when asked if this was the biggest cricketing event of his illustrious career.
"No," pat came the reply.
"This is just another Test match. All these things (WTC final) look good from the outside. One game can't become a do-or-die game. It's a great moment but cricket goes on just like life goes on." "The occasion needs to be enjoyed and no more important than the first Test that we all played as young players trying to rise through the ranks.
"We need to have belief in our abilities and keep things simple. It's a contest between bat and ball." News source PTI
England Women declare 1st innings at 396/9 in one-off Test against India
Bristol, Jun 17 England Women declared their first innings at 396 for nine against India Women on the second day of the one-off Test here on Thursday.
Resuming at the overnight score of 269 for six, England lost Katherine Brunt (8) and Sophie Ecclestone (17) in the morning session but Sophia Dunkley continued to frustrate the visitors, remaining unbeaten on 74.
England added 127 runs to their overnight score.
Dunkley and Anya Shrubsole (47) shared valuable 70 runs for the ninth wicket.
Debutant off-spinner Sneh Rana was the pick of the bowlers for India with figures of 4/131, while Deepti Sharma (3/65) too impressed with the ball.
India are playing their first Test in nearly seven years.
Brief Scores: England Women: 396/9 decl in 121.2 overs. (H Knight 95, Sophia Dunkley 74 not out, Tammy Beaumont 66; Sneh Rana 4/131, Deepti Sharma 3/65). News source PTI
Indian Olympic Association ropes in MPL as principal sponsor for Tokyo Games, inks one-and-a-half year deal
New Delhi, Jun 17 The Indian Olympic Association on Thursday roped in mobile gaming platform, MPL Sports Foundation as the principal sponsor of the country's contingent for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and next year's Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
According to the IOA, the association with MPL is for one-and-a-half years and will end on December 31 next year.
"We are delighted to inform you that the IOA has entered a sponsorship agreement with MPL Sports Foundation as the Principal Sponsor covering the Tokyo Olympic Games, 2022 Asian Games & Commonwealth Games," IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta said in a joint statement.
The statement further read that according to the terms and conditions of the sponsorship deal, MPL will pay a total of Rs eight crore to IOA.
"...and in addition to this sports kit for the 2022 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games Indian contingent will also be supplied by them," it said.
The IOA also said that diary giant, Amul has agreed to be a sponsor for the Tokyo Games to be held from July 23 to August 8.
"Amul, who has supported us in the previous games also, has come forward to support IOA for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Amul's sponsorship is for Rs 1.00 Crore for a period till 31st December, 2021," the IOA top officials said.
"We are hopeful of bringing such more good news in the coming weeks as the talks are going on with some more sponsors." IOA inked the deals days after dropping Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning as the Indian team's official kit sponsor for the Tokyo Olympics and stating that the country''s athletes will wear unbranded apparel during the Games. News source PTI
In seaming conditions, it's ideal to bat first and soak in pressure: Former Indian batsman Sourav Ganguly
New Delhi, Jun 17 Up against the "best New Zealand" side of the past 35 years, India should opt to bat first even if the conditions are overcast as that is what has worked best for the side during overseas tours, feels BCCI President and former captain Sourav Ganguly.
The decorated former batsman is hopeful that Virat Kohli's men will bring the World Test Championship trophy home but it won't be easy considering the quality and depth of the Kane Williamson-led Blackcaps.
"If you dig into the record books and see India's best overseas performances (save 2021 Australia), we have always won matches when we have batted first. It's about a choice whether you want to face the pressure first up in adverse conditions or wait for the fourth innings," Ganguly told 'Aaj Tak'.
"Look at Leeds in 2002 or 2018 South Africa, we batted first in bowling friendly conditions, soaked in the initial pressure, put runs on the board and that's how won those games.
"Even Mark Taylor or Steve Waugh's Australian teams rarely fielded even in seaming conditions. May be occasionally when the wicket used to be damp," said Ganguly.
He didn't forget to mention that it will be a big responsibility for Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill to blunt the new ball attack of New Zealand and then England in subsequent Test engagement.
"Rohit and Shubman will need to give a good start. They have to at least bat 20 overs which will help Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant to work on the foundation laid by them." He was all praise for the New Zealand team especially for having won a Test match against England without Williamson and Tim Southee.
"This is the best New Zealand team in last 30-35 years. They have beaten England in England. They will be high on confidence. India won't have it easy as they are playing good cricket," he said.
"It's not just about the win but also about how solid they looked as a team. They won without Williamson, Southee and Jamieson. That's why it was more satisfying and worth its weight in gold.
"I liked the new guy Will Young. He played a good knock in birmingham against Stuart Broad and James Anderson. India will take some time to settle having not played a lot of games but it will be good contest." News source PTI
Indian Super League team Kerala Blasters FC appoint Ivan Vukomanovic as new Head Coach
Kochi: In latest football news, the Indian Super League Club, Kerala Blasters FC has today announced the appointment of Ivan Vukomanovic as the club’s new Head Coach ahead of the 2021/22 ISL season. Ivan has a wide experience of coaching in the top divisions of Belgium, Slovakia and Cyprus and will be the first Serbian to manage KBFC.
The 43-year-old Vukomanovic started his coaching career at Belgian club Standard Liege in the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach, before his promotion in the subsequent term. Under his mentorship, the team secured qualification in the UEFA Europa league group stages two years successively.
During this term, Vukomanovic played a major role in molding Belgian internationals like Mitchy Batshuayi and Laurent Cimon, amongst many others. He has since managed SK Slovan Bratislava in the Slovak Super Liga and won the Slovakia National Cup with them. He was last in charge of Apollon Limassol in the Cypriot First Division.
Ivan had a long and successful 15 years of career as a professional football player before his coaching career. A former defender who could also play in defensive midfield, Vukomanovic enjoyed stints with major French club FC Bordeaux , FC Koln in Germany, Royal Antwerp in Belgium, Dynamo Moscow in Russia as well as Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.
Karolis Skinkys, Sporting Director, said: “I would like to congratulate Ivan on joining Kerala Blasters FC. It was a long process to choose the right candidate for the important head coach position. I think Ivan is the right fit for this big challenge and responsibility, someone who can handle the pressure here. I see his passion for the game, deep football knowledge and clear principles about football. I like his way of thinking and I believe that Ivan will be able to implement his football ideas in Kerala Blasters. We are looking forward to working in the same direction to help Kerala Blasters grow “
Commenting on his appointment, Ivan Vukomanovic added: “From my first contact with the club’s directors, the feeling was positive. They have a professional approach about their vision, which gave me a very good feeling. After seeing the army of fans and support KBFC has, I didn’t hesitate a second. Immediately I knew that I wanted to become a member of the KBFC family, and I am very glad it happened. I hope we will all work together to make everyone who loves this beautiful club happy and proud. Yennum Yellow!”
Ivan’s coaching team will also feature Belgian assistant coach Patrik Van Kets, who has 18 years of experience as a professional footballing coach. Having been associated as an assistant coach at multiple clubs in France and Belgium, Patrick has a keen eye and ability to nurture and grow young talent. With the Blasters having roped in multiple young talents ahead of ISL 8, the club will be hoping to bank on the experience and knowledge of Patrick to guide these young guns.
KBFC conducted an individual training camp after the conclusion of last season to help its players improve their fitness and skills during the off-season. As the preseason planning and preparations are already underway, the training camp is also expected to start soon with Ivan expected to land in India in the coming weeks.
Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics
In the latest tennis news, Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics after making the decision in consultation with his team due to an inadequate recuperation period after a physically and mentally demanding Roland Garros.
The 35 year old Spaniard announced his decision on Twitter to not participate in two of the biggest and most anticipated tennis events of the year. He said, “Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It’s never an easy decision to make but after listening to my body and discussing it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.”
“The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition.”
“The fact that there has only been 2 weeks between RG (Roland Garros) and Wimbledon, didn’t make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season. They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused on looking at the mid and long term,” said Rafa.
“Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles. I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular.The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a Sports person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live. I personally had the chance to live 3 of them and had the honor to be the flag bearer for my country,” he concluded.
The world number 3 has won 20 Grand Slams in his career so far and will have to wait a little longer to increase that tally. Last week, Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2 and stopped the Spaniard from winning his 14th French Open title.