PCA secretary asks Yuvraj Singh to come out of retirement

News Network
August 15, 2020

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Mohali, Aug 15: Puneet Bali, the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) secretary, has requested former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh to come out of retirement.

Bali has urged Yuvraj to play in the upcoming domestic season for the state and he is now awaiting a response from the former India all-rounder, ESPNCricinfo reported.

"These boys were all undergoing sessions with our physios and trainers to prepare for the season. Yuvraj initiated sessions with these boys while he was in Chandigarh. Over the last couple of seasons, we have lost players to other states, many of our players to Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh and Himachal. So, we felt a player of Yuvraj's experience and calibre could lend a lot of value and inspire the youngsters," ESPNCricinfo quoted Bali as saying.

"The request I made was for him to consider playing all formats. But if he comes back and says he is available only for limited-overs cricket, for some reason, that will be fine too. I am looking forward to hearing from him soon. But as such, he is been working hard with the boys," he said.

Over the last few years, Punjab has lost a number of its main players such as Manan Vohra and Barinder Sran, who qualified to play for Chandigarh as locals.

However, coming back from retirement may not be easy for Yuvraj as he has played in overseas leagues as Global T20 Canada and Abu Dhabi T10 league.

As per protocols, BCCI only gives NOCs for foreign leagues once the player announces retirement from Indian cricket.

The PCA is also set to offer state contracts to their players and they are likely to come into force from October 1.

On June 10 last year, Yuvraj had announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. The stylish left-handed batsman called time on his career after having almost 20 years of experience in international cricket.

The Chandigarh-born cricketer has marvelled the crowd across the world with his gravity-defying fielding abilities and effortless power-hitting.

With a career spanning over 304 ODIs, 58 T20Is and 40 Tests, Yuvraj cemented his place as a player who could win matches for his side either through his electric fielding, smart bowling or fierce batting.

Big events brought out the best in him -- be it his international cricket entry at 2000 ICC Champions Trophy, the mindblowing batting at inaugural 2007 World Twenty20 or the all-round performance at 2011 World Cup.

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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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News Network
September 17,2020

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Dubai, Sept 17: India captain Virat Kohli maintained the top rank in the ICC ODI rankings for batsmen while Englishman Jonny Bairstow broke into the top-10 following a string of good performances against Australia in the just concluded white ball series.

Kohli (871 points) and his deputy Rohit Sharma (855 points, ranked two) are out of action for some time due to Covid-19 forced break but they have kept intact their positions.

Bairstow topped the series aggregate with 196 runs after his 126-ball 112 in the final match to re-enter the top 10.

The previous best for the 30-year-old Yorkshire player was ninth position in October 2018. He is now within 23 points of his career-best rating points of 777.

Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey after their hundreds in a series-winning cause also made gains in the ranking charts.

Maxwell has gained five places to take joint 26th position along with Paul Stirling of Ireland after scoring 186 runs in the series, while Carey comes in next after his total of 152 runs elevated him 11 places to a career-best 28th position.

England all-rounder Chris Woakes is a major gainer in the rankings for bowlers, advancing three places to a career-best fourth position after finishing with six wickets in the series. New Zealand's Trent Boult and India's Jasprit Bumrah are current occupying the top two slots.

Woakes is also second in the list of all-rounders after also notching 89 runs in the series. His compatriot Ben Stokes is among those he has overtaken to reach within 20 points of Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi. Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has returned to the top 10 for the first time in nearly two years, his player of the match performance of 3/34 in the first match the highlight of a four-wicket tally. He has moved up from 15th to eighth position.

Five-time World champions Australia collected 20 points from their first series of the Super League, introduced to add context to bilateral ODI series.

The top seven teams from the Super League and hosts India book direct spots for the 2023 World Cup. England lead the points table but are the only team to have played two series, winning 2-1 at home against Ireland early on in the championship. India manage to hold onto their second position.

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News Network
September 23,2020

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Sharjah, Sept 23: Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir has slammed Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper, MS Dhoni, for coming to bat at number seven when the side was chasing 217 against Rajasthan Royals.

His remarks came after CSK's 16-run loss against Rajasthan Royals by 16 runs in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Dhoni came out to bat in the 14th over of the innings with CSK at 114/5. The side still needed 103 runs for the win at that time and many pundits and experts have said that Dhoni should have come in earlier. Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad had come in front of Dhoni to bat against Rajasthan.

"I was a bit surprised, to be honest. MS Dhoni batting at No. 7? And sending Gaikwad before him, Sam Curran before him. Makes no sense to me. In fact, you should be leading from the front. And this is not what you call leading from the front. Batting at number seven when you're chasing what 217? The game was over. Faf was probably the lone warrior," ESPNCricinfo quoted Gambhir as saying.

"Yes, you can talk about MS Dhoni's last over when he hit three sixes, but it was of no use, to be honest. It was just all personal runs. See, if someone else would have done this, some other captain had batted number seven, he would have got a lot of flak. It is MS Dhoni - probably why people don't talk about it. When you don't have Suresh Raina, you're making people believe that Sam Curran is better than you. You're making people believe that Ruturaj Gaikwad, Curran, Kedar Jadhav, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, all these guys, are better than you," he added.

Dhoni found going a little tough initially as he was able to score just nine runs off his first twelve balls, but in the final over as CSK needed 38 to win, Dhoni was able to smash 20 runs, including three sixes.

"There is nothing wrong if you end up getting out early, at least start leading from the front, trying to inspire the team as well. What you did in the last over, probably if you'd done that coming in at No. 4 or 5, alongside Faf, you could have made a game out of it. But probably there was no such intent to make a game out of it," said Gambhir.

"I thought that after the first six overs, they had literally given up on the game. And probably MS was trying to get back into that match rhythm of batting till the end and get some runs under his belt so he can actually play these kind of innings in the coming games. You've got to be in the present, try and win each game possible. I thought there was no intent to win the game and they were never there in the chase. You can talk about Faf's innings, but Faf initially was struggling big time. So I thought it was an absolute miscalculation, probably not the right captaincy as well. This is not how you ask someone like MS to lead the side," he added.

For CSK, Faf du Plessis top-scored after playing a knock of 72 from just 37 balls. The MS Dhoni-led side posted 200 in the end, but they still lost the match by 16 runs.

Earlier, Sanju Samson had played a knock of 74 runs from just 32 balls to take Rajasthan Royals' total to 216/7 in the allotted twenty overs. Skipper Steve Smith also registered 69 runs.

The game-changing moment had come in the final over of Rajasthan's innings as Jofra Archer smashed CSK's Lungi Ngidi for 30 runs.

CSK will next take on Delhi Capitals on September 25 while Rajasthan will face Kings XI Punjab on September 27.

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