Coronavirus: Kumar Sangakkara in self-quarantine after returning from UK

News Network
March 23, 2020

Colombo, Mar 23: Sri Lankan batting great Kumar Sangakkara has said he is currently in self-quarantine, following his government's guidelines for those recently returning from Europe, which has now become the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The authorities are concerned over people returning from the most-affected COVID-19 countries in Europe not registering with the police and practising isolation.

"I have no symptoms or anything like that, but I'm following government guidelines," Sangakkara told News First.

"I arrived from London over a week ago and the first thing was there was a news bulletin saying that anyone who had travelled from within March 1 to 15 should register themselves with the police and undergo self-quarantine. I registered myself with the police."

The former captain said this even as the government confirmed there have been at least three cases of recent returnees attempting to hide the novel coronavirus symptoms from authorities.

Both Sangakkara and his former teammate Mahela Jayawardene have been active on social media, urging Sri Lankans to avoid panic and to exercise proper social distancing, as the country went into curfew on Friday evening.

Sri Lanka has so far reported more than 80 active COVID-19 positive cases in the country.

Across the world, the number of infected has crossed three lakh besides a death toll of more than 14,000 people.

Meanwhile, former Australia pacer Jason Gillespie has also gone into a two-week isolation after returning from the United Kingdom.

Gillespie, who is the head coach at Sussex, had been in Cape Town with the team for a pre-season tour, which was cut short as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Agencies
September 14,2020

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New York, Sept 14: A U.S. Open unlike any other finished unlike any other with an unprecedented fifth-set tiebreaker as Dominic Thiem became the first man in 71 years to win the final after dropping the opening two sets.

So close to defeat in a nearly empty Arthur Ashe Stadium fans were banned because of the coronavirus pandemic Thiem slowly but surely turned things around against a faltering Alexander Zverev and pulled out a 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory at Flushing Meadows for his first Grand Slam title.

The match ended with both men fighting leg cramps and, clearly, nerves.

Somehow, said Thiem, a 27-year-old from Austria, the belief today was stronger than the body, and I'm super happy about that.

When a backhand from Zverev landed wide on the third championship point, a weary Thiem dropped to his back way behind the baseline and covered his face with his hands.

When he arose, he was met by Zverev, who walked around the net to clasp hands, then embrace his friend and foe, two sights rarely seen in this era of social distancing.

Thiem then rested his head on the shoulder of the taller Zverev, who himself came within two points of what would have been his first major triumph.

I wish we could have two winners today, Thiem said. I think we both deserved it.

He is the first man to win the American Grand Slam tournament after trailing 2-0 in sets in the final since Pancho Gonzalez did it against Ted Schroeder in 1949 at an event then known as the U.S. Championships and held in Forest Hills.

The event never had been settled by a fifth-set tiebreaker; no major tournament ever had until Novak Djokovic edged Roger Federer that way at Wimbledon in 2019.

I was a few games away, a few points away," said Zverev, who was trying to give Germany its first male Grand Slam champion since Boris Becker in the 1990s.

I'm 23 years old. I don't think it's my last chance. Zverev choked up when he mentioned that his parents hadn't been able to travel to New York because they tested positive for COVID-19, although he said they are now healthy.

As Thiem stepped forward to pose for pictures with his shiny new bit of hardware, Zverev remained a few feet behind, one hand clutching his less-impressive silver tray, the other hand on a hip.

The proceedings took 4 hours, 2 minutes. And to think: After just 1 1/2 hours, Zverev was up by two sets and a break in the third at 2-1.

The match turned when he broke me for the first time in the third set, Zverev said.

He started playing much better, and I started playing much worse. Zverev, of all people, should have known what might have seemed like an impossible hill to climb for Thiem was, indeed, achievable. After all, in Thursday's semifinals, it was Zverev who trailed 2-0 in sets against Pablo Carre o Busta before coming back to win.

Thiem began the day 0-3 in Grand Slam finals, but always faced a member of the Big Three of men's tennis in those others. This time, he was the favorite and came out jittery, but eventually worked his way out of that, while Zverev went from cool and confident to passive and pushed around.

The fifth set was just as back-and-forth as the other four, the mistakes rising with the tension and the history in the offing.

Thiem broke in the opening game when Zverev shanked a pair of forehands. Zverev broke right back and pierced the silence with a rare cry of Come on! when Thiem double-faulted.

Then it was Zverev's turn to nose ahead, breaking for a 5-3 lead when Thiem sent a down-the-line backhand wide and leaned over, gasping for air.

But with a chance to serve out the biggest win of his nascent career, Zverev faltered, getting broken right back when he pushed a volley into the net.

That began a three-game run for Thiem, who broke to lead 6-5, earning his own chance to serve for it when Zverev netted a backhand, followed by a long forehand.

After having a trainer check on his right leg during the ensuing changeover, Thiem couldn't seal the deal, either, and on they went to the tiebreaker. Zverev double-faulted twice and offered up one second serve at 68 mph, about half the speed he's capable of.

While this was the No. 7-ranked Zverev's first Slam final, this was the first one the No. 3-ranked Thiem was supposed to win, following losses to 12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2018 and 2019, then to eight-time Australian Open champion Djokovic at Melbourne Park this February back before the pandemic upended the world and put tennis on a five-month hiatus.

Instead of wild applause and loud shouts greeting great exchanges, the soundtrack Sunday mainly came from outside the largest court in tennis, courtesy of roaring airplanes, rumbling trains, revving car engines, honking horns and wailing sirens.

There was the occasional polite applause from the dozens of tournament workers allowed in the stands and, deep into the match, yells from the players' entourages.

But the louder crowd noise heard by TV viewers was fake, added by the broadcaster.

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Agencies
September 19,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 19: Ahead of the much-anticipated clash against Chennai Super Kings in the opening game of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be played on Saturday evening at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma has said that he enjoys playing against the MS Dhoni-led side but is never "overawed" by them.

The two most successful teams in the IPL have faced each other 28 times with MI holding an edge over CSK as they have won 17 games and lost 11.

"Playing against CSK is always fun, we enjoy that battle. But when we play the game, it is just another opposition for us and that is how we want to move forward and not get overawed by the opposition," Rohit said in a video posted by Mumbai Indians on their official Twitter handle.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya feels it is a clash between the two most loved teams of the tournament.

"It has become a game which people look forward to. MI and CSK are the two franchises that are most loved by the fans and that's how it (clash) has become special," said Hardik.

"I don't now, we all will get our A-game out when we are playing against CSK and I wish we always do that," he added.

In their last meeting in the 2019 IPL final, Mumbai Indians had won the match by one run to clinch the title for a record fourth time.

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News Network
September 24,2020

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Abu Dhabi,  Sept 24: Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Dinesh Karthik finds it extremely "unfair" that his premier pacer Pat Cummins is being criticised after just one bad performance that too when he played straight after completing his quarantine.

All eyes were on Cummins, this edition's highest paid overseas recruit and he was taken apart by Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma as he went for 49 runs in 3 overs during KKR's 49-run IPL defeat on Wednesday.

"It is very unfair to judge him (Cummins) right now. He is just off quarantine, (it is) at 3.30/4.00 PM when he got permission to come and play the match itself. We are just happy to have him and I don't think this is a game where we need to judge him at all," Karthik said at the post-match press conference. The KKR skipper termed Cummins as a champion bowler who will eventually come good.

"Just the fact that he is a world champion bowler, from whatever I have heard and seen he is one of the best going around in the world. I trust him and I'm sure, he will come good," said Karthik. Karthik also had a word of praise for young Shivam Mavi, who returned with figures of 2/32, with wickets of Rohit and Quinton de Kock.

"Upfront he (Mavi) was very good. The poor guy missed out due to an injury last year and he is looking forward to this competition and he is shaping up well and that's a good sign for KKR," he added. While someone like Andre Russell once again batted down the order at No 6, Karthik defended the decision, saying that it was more to do with keeping a left-right combination going.

"I think it is a strategy because it is done universally only simply because it is not easy for a bowler to bowl consistently to left-hander and a right-hander (and) even if they get their line a little wrong, it could go for runs. Because we have the advantage of doing that, sometimes we tend to do that," he said. Karthik said his side didn't execute the slower deliveries well enough in these conditions.

"Some didn't execute slower balls) that well because it was a little shorter and that is why the square boundaries came into play a lot more." For Mumbai Indians, Suryakumar Yadav, who came in at No 3 was one of the architects of MI's victory with 47 off 28 balls, said that he won't mind opening the innings if required.

"That is the team management's call. I have loved opening for Mumbai Indians in the last two years and whenever they give me that opportunity, I would love to do that".

While the ground dimensions are different, it didn't change their gameplan insisted Surya. "Yes, the boundaries are big but I don't think there was any drastic change in his batting, he just kept things very-very simple, played his natural game, what he is known for and the result is there in front of you," sais the MI batsman.

"We were actually keeping things pretty simple, we were just backing ourselves and we knew we had played one game here and what strokes are to be executed on this ground, so we just stuck to our plan and it went out really well,” he explained.

Jasprit Bumrah had a rare off-day against CSK, but he bounced back in style and Surya termed the India pace-spearhead as the "best bowler in the world." "His rhythm, his work ethics and his discipline during the training sessions is unbelievable as I have been seeing in the last few days. He came back stronger and he will keep getting stronger as the game progresses," he added.

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