Kohli comeback, Sri Lanka surprise…: 5 talking points from 6-nation Asia Cup

News Network
September 12, 2022

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Dasun Shanaka's Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 23 runs in Dubai on Sunday to clinch their sixth Asia Cup. Here we look at five things learned from the six-nation tournament, which was a precursor for next month's T20 World Cup in Australia.

Pundits gave Sri Lanka little chance of making the Super Four after an embarrassingly one-sided opening defeat against Afghanistan, but five successive wins took them to Asia Cup glory.

Sri Lanka beat favourites India in the Super Four and then got past Pakistan twice to give the young team confidence going into the T20 World Cup in Australia, where they will have to progress through a qualifying round.

But Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who hit an unbeaten 71 in the final, said he believed a rejuvenated Sri Lanka could ride the momentum of their Asia Cup triumph and go all the way in the T20 showpiece.

Pakistan's bowling attack was without the injured pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi but another Shah, teenager Naseem, rose to the occasion.

The 19-year-old's express pace saw him take seven wickets in five matches and he was also a match-winner with the bat -- his two last-over sixes in the thrilling win over Afghanistan took his team into the final.

Shah signed off the Asia Cup in typical fashion by taking a wicket in the first over in Sunday's final, spectacularly uprooting Kusal Mendis's off stump after Pakistan captain Babar Azam had won the toss and opted to bowl.

Virat Kohli was dropped on nought by Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman from the second ball he faced in the Asia Cup and the former India captain took full advantage of the reprieve.

Kohli went on to score 276 tournament runs at an average of 92, with his 122 not out against Afghanistan becoming his first century for India in any format since November 2019. It was also his first three-figure score in a Twenty20 international.

Kohli's extended batting slump had become a major talking point, but after taking a month's break from cricket before the Asia Cup he returned refreshed to silence the chatter.

Kohil struck two fifties as well in his five tournament innings and his Asia Cup total was only surpassed by Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan, whose 55 in the final nudged him in front with 281 runs from six matches.

Mohammad Nabi's team showed their white-ball credentials by bundling out eventual champions Sri Lanka for 105 in the opening match, which Afghanistan won by eight wickets with nearly 10 overs to spare.

Afghanistan then hammered Bangladesh and in the Super Four gave Pakistan a mighty scare before going down by one wicket in the final over of an ill-tempered clash.

Most of the team learnt their cricket in refugee camps in Pakistan and they have made giant strides since getting Test status in 2017.

Nabi predicted they will "come back stronger" for the T20 World Cup where Afghanistan will be looking to upset the established cricket powers.

All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan returned as captain after he bowed to a Bangladesh Cricket Board ultimatum to scrap a deal with a betting site.

But his presence made little difference to Bangladesh's woeful T20 record as they failed to make it to the Super Four after losing group matches to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Shakib returned figures of 1-13 with his left-arm spin against Afghanistan and then made 24 in the Sri Lanka defeat, Bangladesh's 15th T20 loss in their last matches, but insisted his team had a "plan in place" to improve. 
 

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News Network
September 29,2022

Kasaragod, Sep 29: A plus one student was allegedly ragged by his seniors at a bus stop nearby a government higher secondary school in Kumbla in this north Kerala district.

A purported video of the incident, in which the boy could be seen surrounded by some other boys who were forcing him to ride an imaginary motorbike, surfaced on social media the other day, following which General Education Minister V Sivankutty ordered a probe.

In the short video, some senior students could be seen even abusing and threatening the boy that he would be beaten up if he was not ready to obey him.

The Regional Deputy Director (RDD) under the department in Kannur has been directed to conduct an investigation and submit a report in this regard, the Minister’s office said on Thursday.

When contacted, Kumbla police confirmed that they received a complaint from the school principal regarding the incident.

Sources said as it is a non-cognizable office, a court order was mandatory to register a case.

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News Network
September 27,2022

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Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 27: Kerala's ruling CPI(M) on Tuesday said imposing a ban on an extremist organisation or a communal force would not put an end to its activities and if such a step has to be taken then RSS should be the first one to be banned.

CPI (M) state secretary M V Govindan's statement came amidst reports that the Centre was planning to include the Popular Front of India (PFI) in the list of terror outfits.

His statement also comes a day after BJP chief J P Nadda alleged that Kerala was now a "hotspot" of terrorism and fringe elements and life was not safe in the southern state.

"If an organisation has to be banned, then it has to be RSS. It is the main organisation carrying out communal activities. Will it be banned? Banning an extremist organisation will not address the problem. RSS has been banned in the past. The CPI has been banned. "Banning an organisation will not end it or its ideology. They would only come back with a new name or identity. We need to create awareness against such groups and take legal action against them when they commit any illegality," he told reporters.

The CPI (M) leader was referring to the ban on CPI in 1950 and the bans on RSS in pre and post-independence India. Govindan further said that RSS, BJP and the Sangh Parivar are presently seeking the ban on PFI.

"So if communal forces are to be banned, RSS will have to be the first one. But that is not going to happen in the present political scenario in the country," he added.

The CPI(M) state secretary further said that when two communal forces confront each other, they make each other stronger and "that is what is going on now" be it RSS or a minority communal group.

He also answered in the negative when asked whether the Left front joined hands with such organisations to win elections in local body polls.

PFI, whose hundreds of leaders were recently arrested and its offices raided across the country, had called a hartal in Kerala on September 23 during which its activists had allegedly engaged in widespread violence resulting in damage to buses, public property and even attacks on the general public.

Regarding what happened on September 23, Govindan said that while the government and the Left party were not against hartals, as everyone has the right to protest, it was not in favour of violence and destruction of property in the name of agitations.

"The Chief Minister has said strict action would be taken against those who engaged in violence during the hartal. Damaging buses, attacking passengers and destruction of public property is what happened in the name of hartal."

"Strict action will be taken against those involved," he said.

On Monday too, Govindan had said banning extremist organisations will not end their activities.

He had alleged that both majority and minority communal outfits were targeting the ruling Left in the state.

Govindan's statement had come amid growing demand for enforcing a ban on PFI following last week's raids and arrest of the outfit leaders by multi-agency teams, spearheaded by NIA, at 93 locations in 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.

Kerala, where the PFI has some strong pockets, accounted for the maximum number of 22 arrests.

The arrests were made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and police forces of the states concerned.

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News Network
September 19,2022

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Kolkata, Sept 19: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she doesn't believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is behind the alleged excesses of central agencies in the state and blamed a section of the BJP leaders for misusing them to serve their interests.

Banerjee, who was speaking on a resolution in the Assembly against the “excesses” of the central probe agencies, urged the Prime Minister to ensure that the agenda of the union government and the interests of his party do not get mixed up.

The BJP opposed the resolution which was later passed by the Assembly.

"The present union government is behaving in a dictatorial way. This resolution is not against anyone in particular, but against the biased functioning of the central agencies," Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, said.

Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said such a "resolution against the CBI and ED" is against the rules and regulations of the Assembly.

The resolution was passed through division, with 189 voting in favour of it and 69 against.

Central agencies such as CBI and ED are probing into several cases in the state, in which senior TMC leaders are accused. 

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