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SAAF Championships: India will play a result-oriented style, says coach Stimac

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Male (Maldives), Oct 2: With their opponents in the first match Bangladesh and another contender Nepal starting their campaigns with a win in the SAFF Championship in the Maldives, pressure is on India to start their campaign on a winning note and maintain their chances of finishing in the top two in the five-team league and reach the final of the competition.

Bangladesh started their campaign on Friday with a solitary goal victory against Sri Lanka while Nepal defeated hosts and 2018 champions Maldives on the opening day of the competition being held under Covid-19 regulations. It was a revenge of sorts for Nepal as they had lost to the Maldives in the semi-finals in the 2018 edition. Maldives went on to beat India 2-1 in the final to win their second SAAF Championships title.

So, a couple of days before their opening match, Indian National Team Head Coach Igor Stimac stated that the Blue Tigers’won’t be approaching with any specific set plan for the SAFF Championship.

“We will be playing a style which will bring us re”ults,” he said during a virtual press conference on Saturday.

Referring to the two matches played on the inaugural day, Stimac said, “There was one counter-attack by Nepal in their match against the Maldives, and they won the game despite the Maldives being the better side. We don’t know what each game will bring to us on the plate. We will adapt to everything that is throw” at us.”

He said the team management is keeping the players ready for the challenges that will be thrown by the opponents in each match.

“We are trying to provide all necessary information to our players about our opposition and motivate ourselves. We came here four days before the tournament, and we have trained on artificial and natural grass. We are taking good care of the players, and explaining to them the possible”situations,” Stimac informed.

“The players know what I’m expecting from them, and what their duties are. So I’m very confident and excited about this tournament and I really expect to enjoy this tournament and not to have any nervousness. We are determined to represent India in a good manner and deliver what is expected from us on the pitch.”

Though their two main opponents got off to good starts, the mood in the Indian camp is upbeat and “jolly”, said talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri.

“The mood in the camp is upbeat. There is a lot of familiarity in the squad, and we gel well. The youngsters push us to the limits. Everyone is jolly and we want to put our best foot forward, and do well.”

Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu feels the level of competition in the SAFF region has “def”nitely improved”.

“We saw Nepal play the Maldives, and they have definitely improved. The level of the competition has become better, and teams are aware of how to exploit an opponent’s weakness. We have to respect every te”m, and give our best.”

Stimac explained that India are missing not just defender Sandesh Jhingan, but also Rowllin Borges, and Ashqique Kuruniyan, all of whom are under rehab at the moment.

“It’s not just Sandesh alone whom we are missing. Borges has been absent for a while for the National Team, and even Ashique. But we just cannot think of that at the moment. We wish them a fast recovery and expect them to jo”n us as soon as poss”ble,” Stimac expressed.

“But we have other players here, and we need to have enough capacity to cover all the positions. Sandesh was a leader, very vocal, and he held the team together. But we need to replace him together as a team, making an e”fort throughout 90 minutes,” the coach explai”ed.

Chettri admitted that “the team needs”to improve in a lot of areas.”

“If we’re talking solely about the two games which we played against Nepal, we have to improve in a lot of areas. And that has already been talked and conveyed to us by our Head coach, and the whole coaching system,” he quipped.

“We know we could have done better in Nepal as players. And this is just me talking as a player. And whatever things that we had to work on were conveyed to us right after the game. And also now, with every passing day, we realised that every other team who probably are in the same region are also improving – which means that if we play against them, we cannot afford to be 90 percent. Not just against Nepal, but in a game against any one of them. That is one of the biggest learnings that we have learned playing Nepal in Nepal.”

“And hopefully, we will take it in our stride. Taking that forward to this tournament, we realise that there will not be a single easy game for us.”

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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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