स्पोर्ट्स

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After a terrific win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last match, Rajasthan Royals faced a thumping defeat at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders at home. Chasing 161, KKR went over the line by 7 wickets to grab second win on the trot. Talking about his team’s performance,Ajinkya Rahane during the post-match presentation admitted that it was his side’s fielding efforts that put them on the backfoot.

“I thought we were 15-20 runs short. In T20 it’s always not about scoring 180. In this format, fielding is a crucial part. We let ourselves down in fielding. Very disappointing. Game 1 on this pitch and it had very good bounce. Today, the ball was keeping low. But no complaints. I got a good start and it was my responsibility to carry on. We thought 175-180 would have been good on this wicket.,” Rahane said.

Karthik won the toss and elected to bowl but Rahane said that it does not make too much difference in a game.  He said that it was the lack of intensity from his players that let them down. On playing the same eleven, Rahane said that it was important to back his players.

“Doesn’t make too much difference. I believe in playing good cricket. The intensity has to be up to the mark. Our intensity was a little bit down today. It wasn’t there. I wanted to keep backing my players. T20 is all about backing your players. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Boys are doing really well. I just wanted to stick to the same combination,” Rahane said.

Rajasthan Royals will next play Chennai Super Kings in Pune on Friday while Kolkata Knight Riders will be up against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali.

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Personal insults were at the root of a row between Australia’s David Warner and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock during the tea break of the fourth day of the first Test, their captains said.

The incident is in the hands of match referee Jeff Crowe, with no immediate clarity about when a decision could be expected.

CCTV footage showed Warner apparently turning on De Kock as the players walked up a narrow staircase leading to the dressing rooms at the start of the interval here in a match won by Australia.

“What was said and done during that interval was regrettable on both sides,” said Australian captain Steve Smith.

“Quinton got personal and evoked an emotional response from Davey. Those things are not on from both sides. Getting personal on the field is crossing the line in my opinion.”

Smith’s version was disputed by South African manager Mohammed Moosajee, who blamed Warner.

“There were words said out on the field. If you are saying something you’ve got to take it and that’s the opinion of Quinton. Let the investigations begin and let the match officials decide,” said Moosajee.

South African captain Faf du Plessis said the umpires needed to ensure proper behaviour on the field.

“From what I’ve heard there was a lot of personal stuff being said, to and from. Who started it, I don’t know. If it was happening on the field it should have been nipped in the bud. The fact that it spilled over after the field shouldn’t have happened.”

Very chirpy

The CCTV footage shows Warner being restrained by teammates Usman Khawaja and Nathan Lyon before being persuaded to go into the dressing room by Smith.

Du Plessis said he had been aware of the incident.

“I heard the commotion and went outside and just asked David to go into his dressing room. It needs to stay on the field when you are chirping each other. There need to be boundaries on that.”

Smith acknowledged his players were “certainly very chirpy on the field”.

But he said that as far as he aware his players had not got personal with De Kock.

Smith said he hoped the remaining three Tests would be played in the right spirit but added: “We play our best cricket when we’re aggressive, when we’re in the fight together and hunting as a pack as one. We’re working for each other and backing our mates up in the field. That’s part of being an Australian.”

He said there had been “regrettable incidents from both parties” but hoped for better behaviour in the next three Tests.

“I’m not going to say nothing will ever happen again but as far as I’m concerned we’ve just got to try and play within the spirit of the game.”

Du Plessis said he expected aggression from the opposition when he played against Australia.

“I’m certainly not sitting here complaining about it. I was disappointed to see the way it unfolded yesterday but I expect a tough series and I look forward to the battle.”

According to Du Plessis, De Kock was unaffected by the incident.

“Quinny’s fine. I don’t think you get a reaction from him most of the time. When you look at him now it’s like nothing happened.”

Meanwhile, Australian off-spinner Lyon was charged with conduct contrary to the spirit of the game after he dropped the ball next to AB de Villiers after completing a run-out of South Africa’s star batsman, an incident captured on television.

Lyon was expected to be fined or penalised with a demerit point for what is classified as a level one offence.

He was said to have apologised to De Villiers and the pair were seen shaking hands while the teams warmed up today.

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India captain Virat Kohli described his team’s 73-run win in the 5th ODI against South Africa as a “complete performance”. The win enabled India to take a winning 4-1 lead in the six-match series, their first success in seven bilateral or multi-team series in South Africa. Kohli, however, vowed no let ups in the final ODI of the series. “We want to win 5-1 but there might be a scenario to give a few (other) guys a chance.” Kohli said with the series won using only 12 of India’s 17-man squad. “It’s a wonderful feeling to have created some history. The guys really got stuck in, with the bat and the ball and in the field as well.” Kohli said praising the effort of his team.

Rohit Sharma ended a personal South African hoodoo and set up a series win for India. The Mumbai batsman’s 115 was his first major innings in three tours of South Africa.

South Africa‘s chances of overhauling India’s 274 for seven plummeted when they lost their first three wickets inside the first 13 overs. Hardik Pandya struck crucial blows by dismissing JP Duminy and AB de Villiers.

Hashim Amla played a measured innings of 71 and shared partnerships of 62 with David Miller and 39 with Heinrich Klaasen. He was run out by a direct hit from Pandya, effectively ending the home team’s hopes.

Indian wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were effective on a slow pitch, taking four and two wickets respectively.

Rohit’s 17th one-day international century ended a run of low scores in South Africa. In 19 previous innings across both Tests and one-day internationals, his previous highest score was 47 and he had scored only 249 runs at an average of 13.11.

He said he had ensured that he stayed in a good frame of mind despite not making big scores.

“I have been enjoying South Africa. It’s a good place to play cricket. I knew I didn’t have to change a lot and the runs would come,” he said.

With the series won, using only 12 of India’s 17-man squad, Kohli said: “We want to win 5-1 but there might be a scenario to give a few (other) guys a chance.”

Although he was the mainstay of the innings, Sharma was at least partially complicit in two run-outs, both of which happened after he sent his batting partner back.

The first run-out accounted for captain Kohli, who made 36 — his lowest score of the series — in a second wicket stand of 105 with Rohit. Kohli called Sharma through for a risky single, then could not beat JP Duminy’s direct hit at the bowler’s end.

Ajinkya Rahane was the second run-out victim, playing a ball to mid-on and almost reaching the other end of the pitch before realizing Sharma was refusing a run.

Rohit hit 11 fours and four sixes in his 126-ball innings but should have been caught on 96 when Tabraiz Shamsi dropped a straightforward offering at third man off Kagiso Rabada.

Rohit’s 17th one-day international century ended a run of low scores in South Africa. In 19 previous innings across both Tests and one-day internationals, his previous highest score was 47 and he had scored only 249 runs at an average of 13.11.

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Former India captain Sourav Ganguly believes that Virat Kohli can be clubbed in the same pedigree as the famed batting quarter of Sachin Tendulkar,Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag. Kohli has been at the forefront of the Indian team’s revival following two straight losses in the Test series, starting with scores of 54 and 41 on a treacherous Wanderers wicket in the final Test which India won, followed by innings of 112, 46* and 160* to help India gain a 3-0 lead in the best-of-six-ODI contest.

In his column for TOI, Ganguly highlighted Kohli’s energy and intensity in every innings as remarkable. “It has been a superb performance from India. To see them 3-0 up in a six-match ODI series in South Africa, especially after losing the Test series, speaks volumes of the character shown by Virat Kohli and his boys,” wrote Ganguly, who played 311 ODIs and 113 Tests. “I have been fortunate enough to play with and against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Ricky Ponting, and Brian Lara, and this man is right up there with all of them. What stands out for me is not just his amazing control and his ability to adjust but also the energy and intensity he brings to his batting in each and every innings.”

“To get to 34 ODI centuries so quickly in his career is just out of the world. The fact that no other Indian batsman has touched a three-figure mark so far on this tour and only one South African has got a century shows what quality of batsmanship Kohli has displayed on this trip. And we still have a while to go!,” he added.

Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 ICC World Cup in South Africa, also heaped praise on the wrist-spinning pair of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who like Kohli have had a profound impact for India. “What has been equally commendable is the way Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have bowled. To get 21 out of 30 wickets [sic: 28] in three matches says much, not just about the number but also about the psychological effect the spin duo is having on the South African batting line-up. What is even more satisfying is that this performance has come on pitches that have not offered much turn,” he wrote.

 “The dismissal of South Africa captain, Aiden Markram, was a perfect example of the fact that the Proteas are not watching the revolution of the ball and lost the mental battle against the two spinners. One couldn’t help but notice the smile on Kuldeep’s face when he went pass the bat of Andile Phehlukwayo in the later stages of the game.”
AB de Villiers has not featured in the series on account of a finger injury, but reports indicate that he will return for the must-win fourth ODI on Saturday in Johannesburg. According to Ganguly, de Villiers needs to emulate his Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate Kohli if the hosts have any chance of preventing India from wrapping up their first ODI series win on South African soil this weekend.

“There are three more games left in the series and the good news for South Africa is that AB de Villiers will be back, but his mere presence will not help the fortunes of his side. He has to do a Kohli for his team to turn its fortunes around. The South Africans have had some selection issues which have surprised many. Morne Morkel being left out on Wednesday raised some eyebrows, and he is a must in the next three games for them,” wrote Ganguly. “Also, if Khaya Zondo and Phehlukwayo have to play for South Africa, they will have to raise their game more than what has been on display till now in the series. One has to deserve a place in an international side and at present that is not happening for them.”

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“MASS PARTICIPATION” and “promotion of excellence in sports” — these are the twin objectives of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports behind the first Khelo India School Games (KISG), which began here on January 31. But last week, the 42-kg freestyle wrestling event for boys saw just three entries, ensuring a podium finish for all of them.

In most other weight categories too — both boys’ and girls’ wrestling — there were only about 8-12 participants. The boys’ 46-kg freestyle wrestling fared the best, with 16 participants.

While KISG and the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) blamed each other for the low turnout, former School Games Federation of India (SGFI) president Satpal Singh said, “Khelo India is a very good scheme… To get the best results, it should be conducted responsibly… It ensures the future of a player, but we need to ensure that the player receives his money and there is no misuse.”

Each discipline at the nine-day event has a designated talent-hunt committee, which has been assigned the responsibility of picking the top two sportspersons who will each be entitled to a Rs 5-lakh annual scholarship for eight years.

Khelo India CEO Sandeep Pradhan said the 42-kg boys’ event was reduced to a three-way race for gold, silver and bronze since the WFI didn’t have time to hold fresh national championships.

“WFI held the national championships in March 2017. They sent us the list of participants, but closer to our event, many of the wrestlers had moved up in weight. Since WFI did not have time to conduct fresh nationals, the category suffered,” he said.

Asked why most of the other weight categories too had less than 12 wrestlers, Pradhan added: “Both SGFI and WFI told us that these are new weight categories introduced by the international federation, so sending wrestlers in those categories would be difficult.”

The WFI, in turn, blamed the KISG, saying it didn’t allow participation of wrestlers approved by them. “WFI had sent the names of 136 wrestlers, but about 100 could not participate because KISG said we had delayed the list,” said WFI secretary general V N Prasood.

On January 31, the first day of the event, many grapplers were turned away from the venue since their names didn’t figure in the official KISG list of participants.

Confusion over the last date for entries and lack of communication between KISG and WFI are seen as the primary reasons for the depleted wrestling draws.

Initially, the first of its kind mega sports event for under-17 school students was scheduled to be held last December. But it got pushed back due to Delhi’s high pollution levels during winter.

“With the change in dates, we had to change the list too. The old list would have had overage players. According to the international wrestling rules, the turn of a year results in the age of registered players increasing. We were following the same rule here, but the KISG organising committee doesn’t want to follow them. They wanted us to send the old list,” said the WFI official.

Prasood alleged lack of experience on the part of KISG officials. “They decided to set the last date of submission as January 15, 2018. Who is John Chandy (Khelo India COO) and what does he know about sports? They have hired daily wagers to run these Games. We are sending national medallists to Khelo India and they are saying we will not take them because their names were not submitted before the last date,” he said.

Former SGFI president Satpal Singh said the issue should be probed in detail, to avoid a repeat in the future. “Sometimes, wrestlers move up weight categories or exceed the age limit. I am not sure why there were only three wrestlers in a category. I can tell you only after inquiring,” he said.

ओपिनियन

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Four Professors of IIT-Kanpur got a reprieve from the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday when it stayed action against them in connection with harassment...

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