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Sri Lanka cricket tour a waste for India

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By Yajurvindra Singh

The idea of India sending two teams, one to England to play the Test series there and the other to Sri Lanka for limited-overs series was actually demeaning to the very essence of a national side.

One can debate on the fact that India can make two international level cricket teams. If so, one wonders as to why India has not won a single major tournament in the last six years. The quantity is surely there for one to see, however, it is the skill and quality of a player at the top level that makes the difference.

Performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) is a good indicator to unearth talented cricketers, but international cricket is an entirely different ball game.

The tour of Sri Lanka, involving three ODIs and equal number of T20Is, has been a waste for India. The whole exercise was a goodwill gesture by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to help Sri Lankan cricket board which is struggling financially. One appreciates being nice to one’s neighbor and to assist them in their hour of need, but one has to realise that national pride and prestige is at stake.

Apart from this, points are accumulated for qualifying for World Cup tournaments and so generosity may not be the best option.

The Sri Lankan side has been at the bottom of the heap of the Test playing countries and therefore for beating them, one felt, a full strength Indian side was not necessary.

India may have won the ODI series but had to face a defeat in the last game. In cricket, one never takes one’s opponent lightly and India in doing so lost valuable points by losing a match. The Indian team had five players making their debut. Although, it was a golden opportunity for the youngsters, their performance against a relatively weak Sri Lankan side would not be an ideal indicator of their ability against top cricket sides.

Sri Lanka look like a team in complete disarray and the small wins against India have given them a ray of hope for their future.

Rahul Dravid, the coach of the Indian side to Sri Lanka, during the press conference insisted that his squad will play to win all the matches and that it will not be possible to give everyone an opportunity to play on such a short tour. He too fell victim to the system by making changes. One felt that he failed to understand that this was not an India A side but an India senior side and that every match is important as it goes down in cricket history. A defeat will be documented for years to come. Furthermore, the successful players who were benched for no fault of theirs could have established themselves as certainties especially in such a competitive scenario.

The T20 series between India and Sri Lanka had to be completed despite the Covid infection of Krunal Pandya and the quarantine requirements of a few other players.

This is precisely why Indian cricket looks good with plenty of options. But the Indian team management is unable to finalize ideal combinations. The ODI World Cup was a good example of it. The middle-order batting turned out to be India’s Achilles’ heel and that was because India kept changing their players during the run-up to the tournament. In the T20 World Cup in October this year, India are hoping to get their best combination in place from the initial IPL matches in the UAE. India need to be cautious that a Sri Lankan pandemic and quarantine situation does not arise in England. The BCCI needs to ensure that replacements are on call, if required, at short notice.

One dreads to think of an Indian side with fringe players being inducted to make their Test eleven. England would then have a field day and garner as many points as they can towards the World Test Championship.

After all England are far ahead of Sri Lanka in rankings and a team that India cannot afford take lightly.

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You will see me in yellow but not sure as player, says Dhoni on playing for CSK in 2022

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Dubai, Oct 7: Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni on Thursday said that fans will see him in ‘yellow in IPL 2022, but he doesn’t know if he will be part of the franchise as a player or in some other role.

Dhoni, who has been CSK’s captain since the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008, highlighted that there is a ‘lot of uncertainty’ because of the two new teams coming in and the mega auction, next year.

“Well, you can see me in yellow next year. But whether I will be playing for CSK? There are a lot of uncertainties around it for a simple reason that we have two new teams coming up. We don’t know the retention policy. We don’t know how many foreigners, Indian players we can retain, the money cap that every player will be cutting from the kitty,” said 40-year-old at the toss ahead of CSK’s match against Punjab Kings in Dubai.

“So there are a lot of uncertainties. Unless the rules are in place you can’t really decide that. So we will wait for it to happen and hopefully it will be good for everyone,” he added.

The former India captain also mentioned that it has been difficult to maintain fitness this season due to back to back matches in the UAE leg of the 2021 IPL.

“It’s tough to maintain fitness. Once the IPL was postponed, it meant there will be back-to-back games (whenever the tournament resumes). We had that sort of a stretch but, looks good, no concern with fitness,” said Dhoni.

Dhoni, who has led CSK to three IPL titles, earlier indicated that he will be playing his farewell game in Chennai.

The 40-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman in an event celebrating 75 years of India Cements, earlier had said that he hopes to play his last IPL match in Chennai.

“When it comes to farewell, you can still come and see me play for CSK and that can be my farewell game. So, you will still get that opportunity to bid me farewell. Hopefully, we will come to Chennai and play my last game over there and we can meet the fans there,” Dhoni said while interacting with fans during the virtual event on Tuesday.

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Du Plessis’ fifty takes CSK to 134/6 against Punjab Kings

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Dubai, Oct 7: A hard-earned fifty by Faf du Plessis (76 off 55) took Chennai Super Kings to 134/6 against Punjab Kings in the 53rd match of the IPL 2021 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, here on Thursday.

Put in to bat first, CSK were off to a poor start as they lost the wickets of Ruturaj Gaikwad (12) and Moeen Ali (0) inside the powerplay.

Arshdeep Singh provided Punjab Kings the first breakthrough as he dismissed Gaikwad. The in-form opener tried to take on the short-pitch delivery bowled by Arshdeep but got a top edge and Shahrukh Khan completed the catch. Faf du Plessis was then joined by Moeen Ali, who didn’t trouble scorers and was dismissed for a duck.

Du Plessis looked in fine touch and hit back-to-back boundaries. But, he didn’t get the required support from the other end as Robin Uthappa (2), Ambati Rayudu (4) got out cheaply. Both Uthappa and Rayudu were dismissed by Chris Jordan, who is playing this game in place of Nicholas Pooran.

MS Dhoni, who came to bat next, hit a few boundaries before getting playing-on to his stumps a googly bowled by Ravi Bishnoi, leaving CSK struggling at 61-5 after 11.6 overs. From there on, Du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja batted sensibly and rebuilt the CSK innings.

The Proteas cricketer took calculated risks and completed his fifth fifty of IPL 2021 in 46 balls and kept Chennai Super Kings alive in the match. Jadeja, on the other hand, gave him the much-needed support by rotating the strike regularly.

In the final overs, Du Plessis batted freely and hit a few lusty boundaries to give impetus to CSK innings. His fine innings came to an end for 76 in the last over of the innings and he added 67 runs for the sixth wicket with Jadeja.

In the last few balls, Dwayne Bravo hit a four and helped CSK post a total of 134-6 in 20 overs.

Brief scores:
Chennai Super Kings Innings – 134-6 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis (76 off 55, Chris Jordan 2/20, Arshdeep Singh 2/35) against Punjab Kings

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Sports gears of Olympians in highest demand in auctioning

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New Delhi: Sports gears of Olympians have received the highest bids with just one day left for the e-auction of the Prime Minister’s mementos to end, historical items and religious artefacts seem to have drawn more interest. The javelin used by Neeraj Chopra, which brought him the gold medal, received the highest bid of Rs 10 crore on the opening day, it was later cancelled on the suspicion that it could be a fake bid.

The auction opened on September 17 and since then all eyes are focusing on the sporting gear of Olympians and Paralympians. Weeks later, a javelin used by a Paralympic gold medallist remains at the top with a bid of Rs 1,00,50,000. However, till now it has received only two bids, according to the latest bid details on the PM”s memento’s site https://pmmementos.gov.in/.

In comparison, a metal mace whose base price was Rs 2,500 has received 54 bids, with the highest at Rs 5 lakh. The javelin used by Paralympic gold medallist Sumit Antil, with a base price of Rs 1 crore, received a bid of Rs 1,00,05,000 from one bidder, while a wooden model of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya saw 24 bids come in. The mandir’s base value was Rs 2,50,000.

A badminton racquet autographed by Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games gold medallist Krishna Nagar received a highest bid of Rs 80.15 lakh but there were only three bidders who showed interest in it. On the other hand, a small metallic figurine showing Lord Rama, Hanuman, Laxman and Goddess Sita, titled Bhagwan Ram Parivar, received 44 bids,

With the highest being Rs 1.35 lakh. Its base price was only Rs 10,000. Apart from religious items, a large-scale three-dimensional replica model of a DRDO tank placed inside a glass box has received 23 bids, with the highest being Rs 5 lakh. Its base price was Rs 75,000.

Another item, a memento of the Pune metro line with a sculpture of Chattrapati Shivajji on a horse and the metro line within the cityscape, received 24 bids, with the highest being Rs 43,000, while its base price was only Rs 3,000.

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