'Your character stood out for me': Kohli to Mayank Agarwal

Agencies
July 28, 2020

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New Delhi, Jul 28: 'Your character stood out for me than the number of runs you scored," said India skipper Virat Kohli while explaining his decision to give opening Mayank Agarwal a Test debut in the 2018-19 Australia series.

Mayank Agarwal had made his Test debut against Australia in the third Test of the four-match series.

Playing the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Agarwal managed to register a half-century in his very first innings in the longest format.

"I had seen you play for RCB, even then you played international bowlers with conviction and you would take them on. You were performing in first-class matches in a dominating way. That is something always stood out with you, I would say your character stood out for me than the number of runs. I knew you would be fearless without having any baggage," Kohli told Mayank Agarwal in a video posted on the official website of BCCI.

In the longest format of the game, Agarwal has managed to score 974 runs from 11 matches at an average of 57.29 with three centuries as an opening batsman.

The Indian skipper also explained as to what makes him notice in a player and added that it is important that guys in the team look to face new challenges and emerge triumphantly.

"For me, the biggest marker is how a person approaches the game, so for example when you opened and we made Vihari open with you. The first opportunity we presented Vihari to open the batting, he said yes to it and that matters me to the most," Kohli said.

"I opened in my first series for India, I said yes to this opportunity and things worked out fine for me. So, a guy who wants to get into tough situations will come out either holding his head high or learning from his mistakes," he added.

Kohli and Mayank would soon be seen in action for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab respectively in the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting from September 19 in the UAE.

The comparisons between Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar keep on growing and many have picked the current Indian skipper to break the records set by Tendulkar.

Tendulkar called time on his career after registering 100 international centuries, while Kohli currently has 70 centuries across all formats.

At present, Kohli is ranked at the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings while he is in the second place in Tests rankings. Kohli has so far played 86 Tests, scoring 7,240 runs with 27 centuries at an average of 53.62.

His knock of 254 against South Africa at Pune in 2019 remains his highest Test score to date. When it comes to ODIs, the current Indian skipper has played 248 matches and has 43 centuries.

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News Network
September 17,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 17: Sportradar, the world's leading supplier of sports integrity solutions and sports data products, has signed an agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to support its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) in monitoring and safeguarding the integrity of matches during the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season.

As part of the agreement, all matches in IPL 2020 will be monitored by Sportradar's Integrity Services to detect betting irregularities. Sportradar will also provide a risk assessment to the BCCI driven by intelligence and data-driven insights, and furthermore the BCCI will be able to call upon Sportradar's Intelligence and Investigation Services during the term of the partnership, if required.

"It is an honor to partner with the BCCI for the 2020 IPL season. As the global leader in sporting integrity, we hope to provide our expertise and help protect the tournament against integrity-related issues. We know that the BCCI takes integrity seriously, and we look forward to working alongside them throughout the tournament and providing our support to their integrity program," Sportradar Integrity Services' Managing Director Andreas Krannich said in a statement.

The IPL 2020 will be played from September 19-November 10 in the UAE across three venues --Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.

Dubai will host to 24 games, 20 matches will be hosted by Abu Dhabi while Sharjah will hold 12 games. The opening match between the finalists of the 2019 edition will be played in Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

There will be a total of 10 doubleheaders in this edition of the tournament. The evening matches will be played at 7:30 PM IST while the afternoon matches are due to start at 3:30 PM IST.

The 13th edition of the league will start from September 19, with CSK locking horns with Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener.

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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 21,2020

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Dubai, Sept 21: Kagiso Rabada once again proved to be the 'King of Super Over' after Marcus Stoinis' star turn with both bat and ball ensured a thrilling Super Over win for Delhi Capitals in an IPL encounter against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.

It was Stoinis whose late assault saw Delhi reach 157 for 8 in 20 overs with his 53 off 21 balls and 57 in the last three did the trick.

In reply, KXIP were looking down the barrel with half of the side back in the pavilion before Mayank Agarwal's 89 off 60 balls took them to 157 before Stoinis came back to strike a double blow in the final two balls to set up a Super Over finish.

Both the teams ended with a score of 157 for eight and when it spilled to a Super Over, South African pacer Rabada conceded only two runs and took two wickets off successive balls to tilt in the favor of Delhi Capitals.

Rabada had pulled off a stunning Super Over even the last year against Kolkata Knight Riders and like Andre Russell, this time it was Nicholas Pooran, who got a lethal yorker.

It was difficult for Shami to defend two runs.

Earlier, Shami's exceptional fast bowling spell had put the Capitals on the mat as they had not crossed the 100-run mark even after 16 overs but Stoinis' whirlwind knock lifted the Delhi side to 157 for eight.

The Capitals, sent in to bat, scored 57 runs in the last 18 balls with Stoinis punishing the bowlers with seven fours and three sixes.

Punjab badly missed a good death bowler.

Stoinis' timely and gritty batting ensured that the repair work done by skipper Shreyas Iyer (39) and Rishabh Pant (31) did not go waste.

The severe bashing demoralised Punjab batting line up, which fell apart in no time. However, Mayank Agarwal emerged an unlikely batting hero, bringing Punjab back from no where.

He, though, was dismissed when only one run was needed off the last ball of the innings but Chris Jordan could not score the final run, giving Stoinis his wicket and the match was tied.

In Punjba's chase skipper KL Rahul (21) was first to go and then India spinner R Ashwin sent back Karun Nair (1) and Nicholas Pooran (0) in space of five balls. It, though, did not end well for Ashwin, whose needless dive in the last ball to stop a single resulted in a freak shoulder injury.

Ashwin landed on his left arm. Writhing in pain, Ashwin's jersey became a temporary sling as he left the field.

True to his reputation, Agarwal held the one end but Punjab needed Glenn Maxwell to fire, which did not happen as he could add only one run to his and team's total.

Half the batsmen back in the pavilion and no big-hitting batsman left in the lineup, Agarwal's heroic batting kept the game alive. He hit seven fours and four sixes.

Earlier, the pitch had a tinge of grass, the ball was swinging and pacer Shami relished the bowling on a helpful track. His wicket-taking and run-choking act served the Punjab side well.

It was a pitch that required patience from the batsmen but reckless shots was how Delhi Capitals began after being invited to bat, with Prithvi Shaw (5) paying the price for his extravagance and Shimron Hetmyer (7) failing to check his shot.

Shikhar Dhawan (0) was run out to a horrible mix-up and the scoreboard was not a pleasant sight for the Delhi side at 13 for 3.

However, skipper Shreyas Iyer (39) and Rishabh Pant (31) respected the conditions to raise the 73-run stand for the fourth wicket while Stoinis' knock towards the end put Capitals in a psychologically advantageous position.

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