Indian shuttlers Varun Kapur and Samiya Imad Farooqui, along with four other Indians, have attained top-10 spots in the recently announced junior world rankings by Badminton World Federation (BWF).
Starting 2021 on a high, Varun moved four places ahead in the men's rankings while Samiya took a six-spot jump as the youngsters achieved their career-best junior rankings and became world number 2.
Varun had a great run last year as he picked his sixth junior title when he won the XII Portuguese International 2020 in November. While the 17-year-old Hyderabadi, a U-15 Asian Badminton Championship winner, Samiya has been one of the consistent performers at the junior circuit.
"It's great to see many junior shuttlers doing so well. We currently have 10 Indians in the top-20 and the juniors have shown a lot of promise. This ranking will work as a desired boost for each of them and surely motivate them to work harder as it has been tough year for Covid-19 affected sporting world and badminton is trying to make a comeback after almost a year's break," Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a statement.
Earlier BWF had frozen the world junior rankings as of March 17, 2020, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with the recommencement of some international junior tournaments, BWF stated that they have decided to add subsequent international junior tournament results to the world junior rankings without deducting points from previous weeks thereby creating a rolling ranking until such time as the world junior rankings can be fully unfrozen.
The BWF rankings released earlier this week, especially in the women singles category, saw Indian domination with three more shuttlers-Tasnim Mir (4), Treesa Jolly (8) and Aditi Bhatt (10)-earning themselves a place in the top-10.
In the women's doubles category, Tressa (8), Tanisha Crasto (9) and Aditi (9) are among the Indians who are placed inside top-10.
"BAI executive council meeting and AGM is scheduled for January 30 in Delhi. We will be finalising the detailed plan on how the domestic tournaments as well as the key junior tournaments that BAI plans to send its players this year. We will also be discussing the future plans related to coaching and training for junior shuttlers," said BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania.
The sports ministry has approved the appointment of Belarussian coach Nikolai Snesarev as the middle and long-distance coach of the Indian athletics team.
Snesarev has been appointed till the end of September, a period which will coincide with the Tokyo Olympics re-scheduled to take place in July-August, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) informed on Friday.
The 72-year-old has been associated with Indian athletics since his first engagement in 2005 and has coached a number of other Indian athletes like Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut.
He will be coaching 3000m steeplechaser Avinash Sable, who has already qualified for the Olympics, and other middle and long-distance runners, as they aim to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adille Sumariwalla hopes the appointment of Snesarev will further improve the performances of Indian middle and long-distance runners.
"Avinash Sable wants to train with Nikolai again and we hope this will help him improve further," Sumariwalla said.
"Nikolai has had a good record with India and years of experience with our middle and long-distance runners. He has helped athletes like Lalita Babar who finished in top 10 in steeplechase at the 2016 Olympic Games. He has good results with Sudha Singh as well as Avinash Sable who trained with him initially," he added.
Sri Lankan medium-fast bowler Isuru Udana believes India skipper Virat Kohli is the best batsman in white-ball cricket at the moment.
"I think the best batsman in whit-ball cricket is Virat Kohli, best bower I'll go for Mitchell Starc and I like Ravindra Jadeja an all-rounder," said Udana.
The Sri Lankan will be turning up for Bangla Tigers in the upcoming season of the Abu Dhabi T10. He will be up against Gayle when his side faces Team Abu Dhabi in the tournament beginning January 28 at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Udana believes it's very important to execute one's plans against the 'Universe Boss'.
"Whenever you have to face the 'Universe Boss', you have to execute your plans very well so I am just thinking about my plans and I want to execute them well."
The 32-year-old further expressed that he is looking forward to playing with Andre Fletcher in the Abu Dhabi T10.
"We have a good team. I am waiting to play alongside Andre Fletcher (West Indies). I have seen him perform well in the Big Bash League. There are a lot of good players in the other teams as well and this is going to be a great tournament for all of us."
It has not been an easy time for any sportsperson since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year. Udana said that one has to be back one's strength during this difficult period.
"It's not easy to do our gym and running sessions during a pandemic since we can't go out every now and then. I think during this time, one has to believe in oneself and back one's strength. That's the main thing. The best advice I would like to give to upcoming players is that they should try to enjoy the game. And the other advice I can give is that they should try to execute their plans well," said Udana.
India's Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have each dropped down by a spot to number three and seven respectively while Cheteshwar Pujara has made a jump of two places to occupy the eighth place in the latest ICC Test rankings for batsmen.
Pujara played knocks of 50 and 77 in the drawn third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Rahane, on the other hand, scored 22 and 4 at the SCG. Kohli, was not part of the India XI as he had returned to India where he welcomed his baby girl with wife Anushka Sharma on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant's scores of 36 and 97 have also helped him gain 19 places to reach 26th position. Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin too have gained after their fighting knocks, as has Shubman Gill.
Prolific Australian batsman Steve Smith has leapfrogged Kohli to second position after scores of 131 and 81 in the Sydney Test.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson sits at the top with 919 rating points, the highest-ever attained by a Black Caps batsman.
In the list of bowlers, Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah have both gone down and currently occupy the ninth and tenth positions respectively. The rankings, currently topped by Pat Cummins, has seen Josh Hazlewood gain three places to reach fifth position with four wickets in the third Test against India.
The fourth and final Test between Australia and India will begin from Friday in Brisbane.
Left-handed India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja on Tuesday informed that he has undergone surgery after suffering a blow on his thumb during the third Test against Australia played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
"Out of action for a while, surgery completed. But will soon return with a bang," Jadeja tweeted.
Jadeja has already been ruled out of the fourth and final Test against Australia which begins Friday at The Gabba in Brisbane.
"Jadeja suffered a blow to his left thumb while batting on Day 3 of the third Border-Gavaskar Test that concluded on Monday (in Sydney). He later went for scans and the results have shown that he has dislocated his thumb," said a statement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday evening.
"Jadeja will not be available for the fourth and final Test against Australia to be held in Brisbane from January 15-19 at the Gabba," it added.
The 32-year-old had scalped four wickets in Australia's first innings and scored 28 not out in Sydney. He did not bowl in the second innings and was not required to bat a second time around as the third Test ended in a draw.
"The all-rounder will now consult a hand specialist in Sydney before he returns to India. He will then head to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for further management of his injury," said the BCCI.
The four-Test series is currently tied at 1-1 after the completion of first three matches.
Sydney, Jan 11 (IANS) Contrasting half-centuries from Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara, followed by an exemplary display of grit and determination by Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin helped India draw the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Chasing a mammoth target of 407, India reached 334/5 after batting for 131 overs before both the teams decided to shake hands on the final day of the Test match. Vihari, who batted with a sore hamstring throughout the course of his innings, showed great resilience and remained unbeaten on 23 after facing 161 deliveries. He was supported brilliantly by Ashwin who also suffered a lot of blows on his body but didn't throw away his wicket and remained not on 39 from 128 deliveries.
Earlier, Pant and Pujara shared a 148-run partnership for the fifth wicket after the visitors lost skipper Ajinkya Rahane (4) very early in the day. The duo scored runs at a brisk pace and in fact, not only put India in a position to draw the Test, but also gave the visitors an unlikely hope of an improbable win.
But Pant -- after scoring 97 runs off just 118 balls with the help of 12 fours and three sixes -- got out against Nathan Lyon in the second session and provided Australia an opening. The game tilted further in Australia's way when Pujara -- who scored his second half-century of the match during his 77-run knock -- got out bowled, courtesy a peach of a delivery by Josh Hazlewood.
However, it was then that Vihari and Ashwin came into their own and first helped India end the second session at 280/5 on the final day.
The experienced pair continued to show great character during the final session as well and survived some nervy moments during the course of their unbeaten 62-run partnership which saw the team end the match in a historic draw. Both the batters batted for more than three hours each during the course of their innings and declined Australia with an opportunity to go 2-1 up in the ongoing four-Test series.
Openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill also made notable contributions in the second innings by scoring 52 and 31 runs respectively and helped India gain some confidence as they began their chase of the gigantic target on Day Four.
Australia had posted 338 in their first innings and then bowled out India for 244, thus attaining a 94-run lead. The hosts declared their second innings at 312/6, setting a 407-run target.
Australia had won the first Test by eight wickets in Adelaide while India registered a stunning comeback in Melbourne, winning the Boxing Day Test by eight wickets.
The series, currently tied at 1-1, will now be decided in the final Test beginning Friday at The Gabba in Brisbane.
Brief scores: Australia 338 & 312/6 dec vs India 244 & 334/5 (Rishabh Pant 97, Cheteshwar Pujara 77, Hanuma Vihari 23*, Ravichandran Ashwin 39*; Josh Hazlewood 2/39)
Australia on Sunday declared their second innings at 312/6 at Tea on Day Four, thus setting a 407-run target for India in the ongoing third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Umpires called the end of the second session after Cameron Green, who scored 84, got out after being caught behind by substitute wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha against Jasprit Bumrah. Green shared a 104-run partnership off just 116 balls with skipper Tim Paine who remained unbeaten at 39.
Earlier, resuming the session at 182/4, Steve Smith and Green collected runs at a brisk pace and scored boundaries at will, thus adding pressure on the Indian bowlers. Smith (81) was the first wicket to fall in the session as he got out lbw against off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the third time in the series.
Paine, who came in next, started off slowly but once he got his eyes set, he punished the Indian bowlers and alongside Green, hit the ball to all parts of the ground. Green, in particular, was highly impressive as he scored his maiden half-century. The hosts were also helped by poor fielding by the Indian players who dropped plenty of catches.
After reaching the milestone, the all-rounder unleashed and scored four sixes before getting out and bringing an end to his 132-ball inning.
For India, Ashwin and Navdeep Saini picked two wickets apiece while Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah scalped one wicket each.
Apart from Green and Smith, Marnus Labuschagne also contributed with valuable 73 in their second innings.
Australia had made 338 in the first innings and bowled India out for 244 in theirs.
Brief scores: Aus 338 and 312/6 declared (Cameron Green 84, Steve Smith 81; Navdeep Saini 2/54)
Australia took charge of the third Test on the third day at the Sydney Cricket Ground as they first secured a 94-run lead in the first innings by bowling out India for 244 runs and then going to stumps at 103/2 to stretch their overall lead to 197 runs.
Steve Smith was unbeaten on 29 while Marnus Labuschagne was 47 not out at the draw of stumps.
The Indian team, which witnessed Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja not take field in Australia's second innings due to injury, had earlier folded for 244 in their first innings.
Resuming at 96 for two, the Indians lost their last eight wickets for 148 runs in the first two sessions as the Aussies bowled extremely accurately on a placid surface.
Pace bowler Pat Cummins was the wrecker-in-chief taking four for 29.
India though had lost just two wickets in the first session and managed to score 84 runs in that pre-lunch period as Cheteshwar Pujara (50) and Pant (36) looked to resurrect the innings following the early loss of skipper Ajinkya Rahane (22) and Hanuma Vihari (4).
But post-lunch, they succumbed to the new ball as the Aussie pace duo Josh Hazlewood and Cummins kept an immaculate line and length.
Cummins was the first to get under India's skin as he hit Pant on his elbow. The left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman seemed to have got rattled after that and went for an expansive drive off Hazlewood only to edge it to first slip.
Pujara was the next to fall, in the next over, as he nicked a back-of-the-length delivery from Cummins to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
That opened up the tail. R. Ashwin and Navdeep Saini followed soon after and so did Jasprit Bumrah.
India had lost four wickets for 15 runs to lose track -- from 195/4 they were reduced to 210/8.
The last wicket between Ravindra Jadeja (28 not out) and Mohammed Siraj added 28 runs with Jadeja doing bulk of the scoring. Jadeja was hit on his left thumb from a Mitchell Starc delivery.
As many as three batsmen were run out -- Vihari, Ashwin and Bumrah.
For Australia, while Cummins took four wickets, Hazlewood took 2/43 and Starc 1/61.
Australia 338 and 103/2 (M Labuschagne batting 47, S Smith batting 29, R Ashwin 1/28) vs India 244 (S Gill 50, C Pujara 50, R Pant 36, R Jadeja 28 not out, P Cummins 4/29, J Hazlewood 2/43)
Veteran West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has stated that he would "love" to see T10 format of cricket in the Olympics.
"I would absolutely love to see T10 within the Olympics. It would be something huge for the sport from a general point of view. I also think T10 can be (held) within the United States also since it's a big platform," said Gayle while speaking from his home in Jamaica.
"I think most people don't recognise the States for cricket, but T10 is very much suitable to be held within USA, and I believe it can help generate bigger revenues as well," he added.
Gayle will be playing for Team Abu Dhabi in the upcoming edition of the Abu Dhabi T10 league slated to take place from January 28 to February 6.
"First of all, I want to say that it's good to be back. I've missed the past two seasons, so it's good to be back within T10. There are lots of talented players who will be on show, with the likes of Kieron Pollard and the other international players. So I'm definitely looking forward to be back with Team Abu Dhabi. South Africa's Chris Morris is also in my team, and I've played with him before, so it's good to be back playing with him and the boys again," he added.
Speaking about his experience of playing in the T10 league, the 'Universe Boss 'said, "The first time I played T10 it was really exciting, fun and swashbuckling. I really liked it because it was just powerhouse hitting from ball one, and all the guys enjoyed it."
"We had a good time as well, so like I said, being back and playing in Abu Dhabi now, it is a better wicket to bat on now, so more runs can be scored. I think that happened last year as well in Abu Dhabi - the scoring percentage rate is certainly higher now, so it's good luck to the bowlers," he added.
Sydney, Jan 6 (IANS) Australian batsmen are being encouraged to go after the Indian spinners with whatever shots they feel comfortable with including sweeps and reverse sweeps in the remaining two Test matches of the ongoing four-match series.
The Aussies have struggled to get going against the Indian spin attack in the first two Tests, especially against Ravichandran Ashwin who has picked 10 wickets so far and has most importantly got the better of prolific Australia batter Steve Smith.
"We have just spoken about the mindset. We have actually got some decent plans. It is just a matter of going out and having the courage to execute them. So if you are the guy who wants to execute them and hit over the top or if you are the guy who wants to sweep and reverse sweep the spinners when they are bowling then we have been just encouraging guys to do that," said Australia skipper Tim Paine on the eve of the third Test match beginning Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The addition of David Warner will definitely provide the team with the edge. Warner had spoken the other day about the batsmen, especially openers, not being able to take the game on. Paine admitted that they have allowed the Indian bowlers to dictate terms to them.
"Taking the game on and play the way you want to play (has been our advice to batsmen). I think at times we have just let them dictate to us little bit, let them build pressure and then with pressure you lose wickets at times. So it is about being really clear on your plans and about having the courage to execute it and do it your way," said the Australia captain.
He also said that ideally they would want to target the newcomers in the bowling line-up, especially Mohammed Siraj and whoever replaces Umesh Yadav in the third Test and ensure that they tire out both Jasprit Bumrah and Ashwin by making them bowl a lot of overs. But he added that it easier said than done because India have good reserves.
"Ideally, we might want (Bumrah and Ashwin) bowling a lot of overs and scoring a lot runs against the Indians but what we have seen again with the Indian batters is that they have got depth around their squad...Same with their attack we have seen them do well. The guys who have come in, we played against them in Australia A games and we know the skills they have got. We certainly can't take any of them lightly..."
"But yeah, huge key is to get a lot of overs into Bumrah and Ahswin and if we can do that then obviously we are scoring more runs and we are making younger guys bowl a bit more. That is the key regardless who we are playing against," said Paine ahead of the third Test which will be telecast live on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels.
The series is currently tied at 1-1 with Australia winning the first Test in Adelaide while India registering a win in the second in Melbourne.
Captain Kane Williamson's purple patch with the bat continued on Tuesday as he scored yet another double century to put New Zealand on the ascendency in the ongoing second and final Test against Pakistan at the Hagley Oval.
Williamson's 238, along with 157 from Henry Nicholls and unbeaten 102 from Daryl Mitchell, helped the Black Caps declare their first innings on 659/6 in reply to Pakistan's 297 compiled on the first day of the Test match.
Resuming the third day at 286/3, the hosts swelled up their lead as Williamson and Nicholls shared a mammoth 369-run partnership for the fourth wicket, during the course of which Williamson scored his fourth double ton while Nicholls reached his seventh hundred.
However, the cherry on the top was the maiden Test hundred from Mitchell as he helped New Zealand take a 362-run lead.
After a superlative batting performance, New Zealand bowlers then came out hungry and preyed upon opener Shan Masood, who went for a duck after facing 25 deliveries. Right-arm fast bowler Kyle Jamieson accounted for his wicket and looked fierce in the couple of overs that he bowled before Stumps were called with Pakistan 8/1 on the scoreboard.
Abid Ali and Mohammad Abbas remained unbeaten at 7 and 1 respectively as the visitors still trail by 354 runs.
Brief scores: Pakistan 297 and 8/1 at Stumps on Day Three (Abid Ali 7*, Mohammad Abbas 1*; Kyle Jamieson 1/1), trail by 354 runs, New Zealand 659/6 dec (Kane Williamson 238, Henry Nicholls 157; Mohammad Abbas 2/98).