Thursday, February 22, 2018
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Pujara’s IPL loss is India’s gainCheteshwar Pujara feels the perception that he can’t score quickly enough has kept him out of IPL for the last few seasons. file photo

Pujara’s IPL loss is India’s gain

I’ll be playing English county cricket, this will help India in Tests: Pujara22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

NEW DELHI:Cheteshwar Pujara, the foremost Test batting specialist among the current generation of Indian players, will be starting his “homework“ for India’s tour of England in April even as the rest of his teammates will crisscross the country playing the cash-rich IPL.

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New Delhi, February 21

Cheteshwar Pujara, the foremost Test batting specialist among the current generation of Indian players, will be starting his “homework“ for India’s tour of England in April even as the rest of his teammates will crisscross the country playing the cash-rich IPL.

Pujara will be turning out for English county heavyweights Yorkshire in Division 1. Pujara believes that his county stint would help him prepare for India’s five-match Test series against England, to be played in August-September.

“I am looking forward to the county season as we will be playing Test matches in August,“ Pujara said. “I was with Yorkshire in 2015 when we won the County Championship. It’s a fantastic team with a good bunch of professionals, which helps me become a better cricketer.“

Pujara said that from the Indian team’s perspective, the most beneficial aspect of his Yorkshire stint would be that he would be batting at venues on which India would play Tests. This would give him an idea about the pitches and conditions.

“Look, playing at Headingley (Leeds) in early English summer with temperatures around 4-6°C will test any batsman’s technique and temperament,“ Pujara said. “Even scoring a 50 is tough. By the time India’s tour starts, it will be a bit more pleasant.“

“Now, playing Division 1 has its advantages. I will be playing against Middlesex (Lord’s in London), Warwickshire (Birmingham) and Surrey (Oval in London) in away games, where India will play Test matches. So I will get a fair idea about the pitches and conditions,“ Pujara explained.

Same basics

For Pujara, there is not much to change technique-wise if the tour of South Africa is compared with the tour of England.

“The basics will remain the same but the primary criteria of doing well is respecting the conditions,“ he said. “Technically, it’s more or less same.“

“I use lighter bats when playing overseas. Also, the kind of fight we put up in South Africa augurs well for us in England. Maybe we could have batted a bit better (in South Africa) but we were in with a chance in all games,“ said Pujara.

Tough for tourists

The 30-year-old, who has played 57 matches in the longest format, agreed that none of the top Test teams is travelling well. “England’s performance in the Ashes will tell you that all top teams are struggling a fair bit in overseas conditions,“ Pujara said.

As the discussion veered towards playing spinners, Pujara agreed that the Indian team will be well-equipped to play Moeen Ali, who had tormented them when India toured England in 2014, taking 19 wickets.

“Obviously, we will be better prepared but that doesn’t mean we can take Moeen or any other English bowler lightly. The best part is we have a fair idea about their core bowling unit,“ said Pujara.

Wristy variation

Talking about the South African batsmen not reading the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav during the recent ODI series, Pujara said: “It will be difficult if you can’t pick up the variation from wrists. If you can’t differentiate Chahal’s googly from his flippers, then there’s trouble. You have to have an understanding which way the ball would turn.“

No IPL deal

Pujara has not got an IPL deal during the past few seasons and he admits that it has got a lot to do with “public perceptions“.

“Perception, I would say, has played a major role,“ Pujara said. “If you check my performance in List A (average of 58 plus over 88 games) and T20s (strike rate of 105.18 in 58 games), I still have a lot to offer in shorter formats. I am not at all worried as I know my opportunity would come at some point of time.“

Would county stint have helped others too?

Chandigarh: Cheteshwar Pujara says that playing in the English county cricket would help him prepare for the Test series against England. It also means that if the other India batsmen/bowlers were playing in the English county cricket, they would be better prepared to take on England in the five-Test series later this year. Also, if Pujara had been picked up by an IPL team, he would not have had the opportunity to prepare better to represent the country. This is the club-country conflict — playing T20 cricket for a club is helpful (monetarily) for a player, but it is not in the interests of the national Test team. Pujara has hoped that he would get a chance to play in the IPL in the future. In the opportunities that he’s got to play in the IPL, he did not impress the team management enough. — PTI

Australia win tri-series, rise to the top in T20Is

Australia win tri-series, rise to the top in T20Is

22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

AUCKLAND: Australia cruised to a 19-run victory in a rain-affected T20 tri-series final with New Zealand today to claim the world No. 1 ranking in the shortest form of the game for the first time.

South Africa clinch 2nd T20I, series levelled

22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

CENTURION: South Africa defeated India by six wickets in the second T20I to level the three-match series 1-1 here today. India rode on Manish Pandey's 79 off 48 balls and and MS Dhoni (52* off 28 balls) to post 188/4.

Zagitova smashes record, Bjoergen makes history

Zagitova smashes record, Bjoergen makes history

22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

PYEONGCHANG:The 15-year-old Alina Zagitova stole the show in figure skating today as American skier Lindsey Vonn took bronze in her final Olympic downhill and Norway’s Marit Bjoergen became the most successful athlete in Winter Games history.

Trickless Swaney just like Eddie the Eagle: IOC

22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

PYEONGCHANG:Freestyle skier Elizabeth Swaney was compared to Eddie the Eagle today as an Olympics official defended her trickless performance in the halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

End of Chelsea hoodoochampions league

End of Chelsea hoodoo

22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

LONDON:Barcelona’s Lionel Messi had to wait 12 years and endure a goal drought of eight games against Chelsea but he finally broke his duck in Tuesday’s 1-1 Champions League Last 16, first leg draw.

Lee Chong Wei admits being approached by match-fixer

Lee Chong Wei admits being approached by match-fixer

22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Chong Wei has revealed he once rejected an offer by a match-fixer and said he was “ashamed” two fellow Malaysian badminton players were under investigation over alleged fixing, a report said today.

harbhajan memorial

Baddon boys win school final

22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

CHANDIGARH:Football Academy, Baddon, defeated Football Academy, Mahilpur, by a solitary goal to win the final (school category) of the 56th Principal Harbhajan Singh Memorial All-India Football Tournament at Sri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Mahilpur.

‘Almost died after giving birth’

‘Almost died after giving birth’

22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

LOS ANGELES: Serena Williams “almost died” after giving birth to her daughter last September, the former women’s world No. 1 tennis player wrote in a column for CNN that was published on Tuesday.

Leicester to pay fine to settle Financial Fair Play dispute

22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

LONDON: Leicester City will pay $4.3 million to settle a dispute with the English Football League (EFL) over the club’s financial results for the 2013-14 season.

Briefly

Karnataka, Maharashtra in Vijay Hazare semis

22 Feb 2018 | 2:00 AM

NEW DELHI: Mayank Agarwal’s dream run in domestic cricket continued as his power-packed 140 off only 111 balls helped Karnataka to a crushing 103-run victory over Hyderabad in the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here today.

Pandey, Dhoni fifties guide India to 188/4

Pandey, Dhoni fifties guide India to 188/4

21 Feb 2018 | 11:37 PM

CENTURION: Manish Pandey and Mahendra Singh Dhoni slammed quickfire half-centuries to guide India to a challenging 188 for four against South Africa in the second Twenty20 International, here today.

Badminton ace Lee was approached by match-fixer: Report

Badminton ace Lee was approached by match-fixer: Report

21 Feb 2018 | 12:13 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Chong Wei has revealed he once rejected an offer by a match-fixer and said he was “ashamed” two fellow Malaysian badminton players were under investigation over alleged fixing, a report said on Wednesday.

Serena Williams says terrifying health scare almost killed her

Serena Williams says terrifying health scare almost killed her

21 Feb 2018 | 12:04 PM

LOS ANGELES: Serena Williams says she lives in fear of blood clots, a condition that surfaced during a harrowing postnatal ordeal in September when she almost died giving birth to her first child.

Double delight on the cards

Double delight on the cards

21 Feb 2018 | 2:13 AM

CENTURION:A ruthless Indian team has only complacency to guard against while a deflated South Africa would be fighting another battle for survival when the two sides clash in the series-deciding second T20I here tomorrow.

... And so  does the  Indian women’s team

... And so does the Indian women’s team

21 Feb 2018 | 2:13 AM

CENTURION:The Indian women’s cricket team would be aiming for a quick recovery from the setback it suffered in the last match when it takes on South Africa in the fourth T20 International here tomorrow.

Cool Runnings all over again: Jamaican women make debut

Cool Runnings all over again: Jamaican women make debut

21 Feb 2018 | 2:13 AM

PYEONGCHANG:The Jamaican women’s bobsleigh team made their Winter Olympics debut on Tuesday, thirty years after the country’s first appearance at the Games in Calgary.

Gokulam give Minerva wake-up call

Gokulam give Minerva wake-up call

21 Feb 2018 | 2:13 AM

PANCHKULA:A brilliant back-flip volley strike by Henry Kisekka, after a rebound off the goal-bar, in the 76th minute helped Gokulam Kerala FC dampen Minerva Punjab FC’s hope of winning today to close in on the I-League title.

Revolver concern in the stadium

Revolver concern in the stadium

21 Feb 2018 | 2:13 AM

PANCHKULA:The spectators present at the ground were curious and concerned when a man armed with a revolver was spotted roaming in the stadium during the match.

Dabulian, a success story

Dabulian, a success story

21 Feb 2018 | 2:13 AM

SULTANPUR LODHI:For Arjuna Award-winning basketball player Sajjan Singh Cheema, it’s payback time.

Mourinho sweating over United injury woesChampions League

Mourinho sweating over United injury woes

21 Feb 2018 | 2:13 AM

MANCHESTER:Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is hopeful that some of his key players will recover in time for Wednesday’s Champions League Last-16 first leg tie at Sevilla.

Man City ousted by Wigan in FA Cup shock

21 Feb 2018 | 2:13 AM

LONDON:Manchester City were sensationally knocked out of the FA Cup by third-tier Wigan Athletic who beat the 10-man Premier League leaders 1-0 in a stunning fifth round upset with a late goal by their talisman Will Grigg.

BRIFFLY

ODI rankings: Kohli attains rare landmark, surpasses Lara

21 Feb 2018 | 2:13 AM

DUBAI: India skipper Virat Kohli achieved a rare feat on Tuesday when he crossed the 900-point mark concurrently in Tests and ODIs in the latest ICC ODI Rankings.

Gokulam continue giant-killing act, shock Minerva 1-0

Gokulam continue giant-killing act, shock Minerva 1-0

20 Feb 2018 | 6:47 PM

PANCHKULA: Giant-killers Gokulam Kerala FC continued their winning run as they notched up a stunning 1-0 victory over frontrunners Minerva Punjab in their own backyard, as the I-League title race took another interesting turn today.

Blazer and trouser to replace saree for Indian women athletes at CWG

Blazer and trouser to replace saree for Indian women athletes at CWG

20 Feb 2018 | 6:03 PM

NEW DELHI: Breaking away from tradition, the women athletes of the Indian contingent will wear blazers and trousers instead of sarees at the opening ceremony of the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

I would like to become No. 1 this year, says Sindhu

I would like to become No. 1 this year, says Sindhu

20 Feb 2018 | 5:45 PM

MUMBAI: Terming 2018 “as a big year”, top Indian shuttler PV Sindhu on Tuesday said she wants to become the world number one by the end of it after narrowly missing out of the numero uno status last season.

Sanath Kumar: A journeyman coach with a ‘Midas Touch’

Sanath Kumar: A journeyman coach with a ‘Midas Touch’

20 Feb 2018 | 5:33 PM

NEW DELHI: There are two worlds in Indian cricket and they are mutually exclusive. The first is the one where the Virat Kohlis, Rohit Sharmas, Ravi Shastris and the IPL exist amid insane fan following, eye popping money, life in fast lane and everything that one aspires.

Kohli crosses 900-point mark in both Tests and ODIs

Kohli crosses 900-point mark in both Tests and ODIs

20 Feb 2018 | 4:33 PM

DUBAI: India captain Virat Kohli became only the second batsman in the history of the game to cross the 900-point mark concurrently in Tests and ODIs, while pacer Jasprit Bumrah grabbed the joint-top position among bowlers in the latest ICC ODI player rankings on Tuesday.

Ashish hits comeback trail, ready for World Cup

Ashish hits comeback trail, ready for World Cup

20 Feb 2018 | 2:38 AM

NEW DELHI:Coach Manoj Rana spots a break in the morning routine.

Messi aims to break Chelsea jinxChampions league

Messi aims to break Chelsea jinx

20 Feb 2018 | 2:38 AM

LONDON:As unlikely as it sounds, Lionel Messi is still waiting to score his first goal against Chelsea after drawing a blank in eight previous Champions League matches.

Anderson beats Querrey in New York final

20 Feb 2018 | 2:38 AM

New York: South African Kevin Anderson put aside memories of his disappointing US Open final when he dominated a third-set tiebreak to win the New York Open with a 4-6 6-3 7-6(1) victory over American Sam Querrey.

Khalsa College blank DAV 5-0

20 Feb 2018 | 2:38 AM

CHANDIGARH:Sri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Mahilpur, outclassed DAV College, Hoshiarpur, 5-0 in the All-India Principal Harbhajan Singh Memorial Football Tournament at Sri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Mahilpur.

Real, Atletico win

Real, Atletico win

20 Feb 2018 | 2:38 AM

BARCELONA:Real Madrid mounted a stirring second-half comeback helped by Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos to win 5-3 at Real Betis in a thrilling La Liga game, demonstrating their awesome power in attack as well as their vulnerabilities.

Briefly

Three-putts derail Lahiri, Bubba ends title drought

20 Feb 2018 | 2:38 AM

A series of three-putts came in the way of a strong final round for Anirban Lahiri, who slipped to tied 26th on the final day of the Genesis Open golf tournament.

Cricket can break the ice between India and Pakistan, says Afridi

Cricket can break the ice between India and Pakistan, says Afridi

20 Feb 2018 | 2:38 AM

KARACHI:Referring to the suspension of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan, former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has said that sports should be used to end tensions between the two neighbouring countries, not as another tool of politics.

‘African nations warming up to winter sports’

‘African nations warming up to winter sports’

20 Feb 2018 | 2:38 AM

PYEONGCHANG:Togo’s trailblazing cross-country skier Mathilde-Amivi Petitjean is glad she is no longer the “new kid on the block” at the Winter Olympics and says the record number of African countries competing in Pyeongchang proves the continent is warming to sports on snow and ice.

Sparring on Twitter, Ashwin punches Gibbs below the belt

Sparring on Twitter, Ashwin punches Gibbs below the belt

20 Feb 2018 | 2:38 AM

NEW DELHI:Ravichandran Ashwin and Herschelle Gibbs had a sharp spat on Twitter, with the provoked Indian going as far as taking a match-fixing jibe at the former South African batsman.

Rise and rise of Bhuvneshwar

Rise and rise of Bhuvneshwar

20 Feb 2018 | 2:38 AM

JOHANNESBURG:The way India have turned things around after losing the first Two Tests in South Africa is remarkable.

Tired, disheartened Gokulam concede edge to Minerva

Tired, disheartened Gokulam concede edge to Minerva

20 Feb 2018 | 2:39 AM

PANCHKULA:Minerva FC, just a couple of wins away from securing their first I-League title, would look forward to taking the home advantage when they face eighth-placed Gokulam Kerala FC at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium here tomorrow.

Inaugural Super Cup’s final round from March 31-April 22: AIFF

Inaugural Super Cup’s final round from March 31-April 22: AIFF

19 Feb 2018 | 6:49 PM

NEW DELHI: The inaugural Super Cup’s final round will be held from March 31 to April 22, but a consensus on the number of foreigners will be arrived at after another round of discussion with stakeholders, the All India Football Federation said on Monday.

Ashwin, Gibbs involved in Twitter spat

Ashwin, Gibbs involved in Twitter spat

19 Feb 2018 | 5:43 PM

NEW DELHI: Ravichandran Ashwin and Herschelle Gibbs were on Monday involved in a Twitter spat, in which the India off-spinner could not stop himself from taking a match-fixing jibe at the former South African batsman.

Title aspirant Minerva hope to return to winning ways against Gokulam

Title aspirant Minerva hope to return to winning ways against Gokulam

19 Feb 2018 | 5:36 PM

PANCHKULA: Minerva Punjab FC would look to return to winning ways when they take on seventh-placed Gokulam Kerala FC here tomorrow, if they desire to get closer to their maiden Hero I-League title.

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