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Cricketer Sandeep Warrier ‘Extremely Happy’ To Bask In Roller-Skater Wife Aarathy’s Asian Games Glory



Sandeep Warrier has seen better half Aarathy Kasturi Raj’s struggles over the years and as her biggest strength and pillar of support, couldn’t be more proud seeing the acclaimed roller skating ace win her first Asian Games medal, a team bronze in 3000m relay in Hangzhou. Warrier, a nippy fast medium bowler, who plays for Tamil Nadu in domestic cricket, has played IPL and also luckily got to play a T20 International during the COVID-19 hit tour of Sri Lanka in 2021, where he had gone as a net bowler.

(Asian Games 2023 Medals Tally | Asian Games 2023 Full Schedule)

“I’m extremely proud of her. I’m really happy that she finally made it. I’ve seen her struggle in the last six-seven years but she has not given up and kept at it,” Warrier told PTI from Chennai.

The 29-year-old Aarathy, who took up roller-skating at a five, won her first Asian Games medal in second appearance. This was India’s first-ever medal in the speed- skating discipline.

Roller sports made its debut in the Asian Games in 2010 when Anup Kumar Yama bagged bronze in men’s single free skating event before combining with Avani Panchal to finish third in the pairs skating event.

Also a doctor by profession, Aarathy, who is now pursuing PG in clinical embryology, could have given up roller-skating after a disappointing seventh place finish at Asian Games 2018.

The uncertainty over the Asian Games that was delayed by a year because of the pandemic also had upset plans of many. And, Aarathy also endured a difficult time sustaining multiple cuts and bruises on her head in the sport which is very prone to injuries.

But she kept at it in pursuit of an Asian Games medal.

“I know the effort she has put in the last couple of years. I’ve seen it in in front of my own eyes, how she was dedicated and kept the whole focus was on this medal. I don’t remember when she last took a break in two-three years’,” Sandeep added.

“I’ve not seen her complain about anything. After the Games is delayed, most lose focus and intensity. But I’ve not seen that happen with her. There has been no drop in intensity and she would train for more than seven hours everyday “She was behind this Asian Games all this while. I was thinking she would win in the individual as well for the effort she has put in the last two years,” he said.

On Saturday, Aarathy finished fifth in the women’s speed skating 10000m point-elimination race which was an improvement of two places on her last Asian Games effort in 2018.

Daughter of a Chennai-based businessman father C Kasturi Raj and gynaecologist mother Mala Raj, Aarathy took to skating at the age of seven as her parents were keen that she takes up some form of sport.

“It just happened for her. Her parents were adamant that she should join some sport and she tried out swimming, badminton and tennis but skating was something that clicked for her. I guess the speed of skating just thrills her,” said the pacer.

But the medium-pacer said if the “love for speed” was not the common connect and it clicked for them instantly after they first met during a function in 2016.

Their story is that of a “skater-got-bowled’ — the name of their Instagram page — after they “clicked” instantly when Warrier, a Ranji Trophy cricketer then, went for an event in a college in Chennai.

“I met her in 2016 when I was there for an event in her college. She was the sports head of that college. That’s how I met her,” Warrier who got married to Aarathy in 2019, fondly recollects.

“It just happened for us. I was just lucky enough to meet her that day. The time we spent together then just clicked for us,” Warrier, who made his IPL debut in 2019 season for KKR, added.

“She’s very hardworking. It was quite hectic for her but she had the passion. She will train in morning, go to her college and then again go for training. Skating has been pure passion for her. She loves to skate which has kept her going I would say,” he said.

“I know what she has gone through in the last few years. More than struggle, I would say the dedication she has put in past one and half years made it for her.” “We don’t talk about each other’s sports. Basically we talk a lot about training and our diets, but not about each other’s sport.” Even for couples who pursue professional sports, it becomes important to give each other space as and when needed.

“We give each other space. She likes to be in her own space with her skating and I also like to be in my own space in cricket. She started following cricket recently, but not very much into cricket. But I follow her races a lot and accompany her to all National events,” he added.

The Kerala cricketer, who is now employed with India Cements, has also moved his base to Chennai and joined Tamil Nadu four seasons ago.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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India vs Sri Lanka Squad 4 Takeaways: Hardik Pandya Snubbed From Leadership Group, Big Stars Ignored And More




With India’s squad for Gautam Gambhir‘s first series as India head coach getting announced, major changes have already started taking place. Gambhir’s influence and voice in the selection process is evident. Suryakumar Yadav – once Gambhir’s vice-captain at Kolkata Knight Riders – has been named as the captain of the T20I squad, ahead of 2024 T20 World Cup vice-captain Hardik Pandya. Jasprit Bumrah will be given an extended rest, while Shreyas Iyer returns to the ODI setup despite not having a BCCI central contract. Here are four key takeaways by NDTV Sports from the India squad for the Sri Lanka tour:

1. Hardik Pandya not part of leadership group

Whilst Gambhir’s faith in Suryakumar Yadav is not a surprise, what is alarming is the complete omission of Hardik Pandya from any sort of captaincy role. Instead, it is India’s captain in the Zimbabwe tour, Shubman Gill, who has been named vice-captain in both the ODIs and T20Is.

One can only speculate the real reason behind Hardik’s downfall on the captaincy pecking order. Is it Hardik’s disastrous Mumbai Indians stint? Or is it the fact that Hardik’s injury-prone nature means he may not always be a part of the squad? It could also be that Gambhir is firmly looking towards the future, aiming to prepare Gill as India’s next captain in all formats from now itself.

2. Shubman Gill’s Big Promotion

Gambhir seems to have his eyes set firmly on the 2027 World Cup, and it seems like Shubman Gill is his vote as the nation’s future captain in all formats. Gill has been named as the vice-captain in both the T20I and the ODI squads, ahead of Hardik Pandya no less. With Rohit being 37 and Suryakumar 33, Gambhir is looking to mould a future captain right from the start.

3. Abhishek Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Ruturaj Gaikwad left out of T20I squad

Despite Kuldeep’s starring role in India’s 2024 T20 World Cup victory – where he picked up 10 wickets in just five games – he has been left out of the T20I squad. The reason behind this could be to manage Kuldeep’s workload, as he still continues to feature in the ODI squad.

Gambhir has also worked in close quarters with Ravi Bishnoi in the past at Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), and may trust him as India’s lead spinner in T20Is.

Gaikwad has also been left out, despite a fine T20I series against Zimbabwe. He has been left out from both squads, with the likes of Riyan Parag favoured over him.

Abhishek Sharma scored a ton against Zimbabwe but he has also been dropped from the Sri Lanka tour, while off-colour Riyan Parag has been picked for both T20Is and ODIs.

4. Gambhir backs his KKR boys

KKR stars Shreyas Iyer, Harshit Rana (ODIs) and Rinku Singh (T20Is) are all part of Gambhir’s first India squad. Much like Suryakumar, Gambhir’s faith in Shreyas Iyer also does not come as a surprise, after he guided KKR to a third IPL title in 2024. Harshit Rana had an excellent campaign, and could be utilised as a handy lower-order batsman as well in the ODI format.

Here the India squads for Sri Lanka tour –

T20I Squad: Suryakumar Yadav (C), Shubman Gill (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rinku Singh, Riyan Parag, Rishabh Pant (WK), Sanju Samson (WK), Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohd. Siraj. 

ODI Squad: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill (VC), Virat Kohli, KL Rahul (WK), Rishabh Pant (WK), Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Washington Sundar, Arshdeep Singh, Riyan Parag, Axar Patel, Khaleel Ahmed, Harshit Rana.

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Hardik Pandya And Wife Natasa Stankovic “Mutually Part Ways”, To Co-Parent Son Agastya




File photo of Hardik Pandya and Natasa Stankovic© Instagram

India star cricketer Hardik Pandya in an Instagram post on Thursday announced that he and wife Natasa Stankovic have ‘mutually parted ways’. For the last few months there were rumours that the celebrity couple were headed for a divorce, and with Thursday’s announcement it has been officially confirmed. Hardik Pandya has been a crucial player for the Indian cricket team over the past few years  

More update to followe

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India vs Pakistan: Players To Watch Out For In Upcoming Women’s Asia Cup Clash




The first day of the 2024 Women’s Asia Cup on July 19 will see the big clash between India and Pakistan at the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium. India come in as the defending champions and have won the tournament seven times.

They also have an 11-3 lead over Pakistan in women’s T20I meetings. On the other hand, Pakistan enter the event after an inconsistent run of results in their bilateral commitments but have the confidence to upstage India, as they did in the 2022 edition of the tournament at Sylhet in Bangladesh.

We look at the players to watch out for in the upcoming big clash between India and Pakistan, which will be streamed live on Disney Hotstar for eager fans in India:

1. Smriti Mandhana

The India vice-captain comes into the tournament on the back of a scintillating performance across formats in the recent home series against South Africa. Scores of 117, 136 and 90 in India’s 3-0 ODI sweep at Bengaluru fetched her Player of the Series Award. It was followed by the left-handed opener making 149 in the lone Test and scores of 46 and 54 not out in the two T20Is at Chennai. With Shafali Verma in good form too, expect Smriti to bat for long and take India to a winning position.

2. Renuka Singh Thakur

The fast-bowler, who won the ICC Emerging Player of the Year Award in 2022, is tipped to lead the Indian fast-bowling challenge in the Asia Cup. Her excellent performance of 3-18 in the T20I series opener against Bangladesh, along with her previous excellent performances against Australia and England, is still very much fresh in the minds of fans.

3. Deepti Sharma

The off-spin all-rounder boasts of a staggering achievement -– the first Indian woman to score 1000 runs and take 100 wickets in women’s T20Is. Her ability to control the run flow and deceive batters with flight, turn, and loop will be a major challenge for Pakistan’s middle order. The last time India won the Asia Cup, Deepti had bagged the Player of the Series Award for picking 13 scalps, the most by any bowler in the competition. Deepti’s left-handed batting adds another weapon to her arsenal, making her a truly valuable player in the Indian line-up.

4. Shreyanka Patil

The young all-rounder from Bengaluru is an off-spinner and can maintain tight lines, which also her become the WPL 2024 leading wicket-taker with 13 scalps. Having quickly risen through the domestic ranks, Patil’s potential to pick up crucial wickets, along with her handy batting and fielding skills, makes her a complete package to watch in this high-stakes game.

5. Nida Dar

The Pakistan skipper brings experience and versatility to the bowling attack through her crafty off-spin bowling. This year, Nida became the highest wicket-taker in women’s T20Is during Pakistan’s second game against England in Northampton. Her sharp off-spin deliveries and power-hitting abilities make her a true all-rounder for Pakistan, something that India has experienced in the past during their last Asia Cup meeting in Sylhet.

6. Sidra Amin

The right-handed batter has been on a good run with the bat this year — she has 205 runs from eight innings for T20Is in Pakistan this year. She and Muneeba Ali have been the lynchpins of Pakistan’s batting order and a lot depends on them when they face a strong Indian bowling line-up.

7. Omaima Sohail

The right-handed top-order batter, who also bowls off-spin, last played for Pakistan on their tour of New Zealand and is now back in the national team for the Asia Cup, where she would be itching to make a big statement against India, after going through the grind in domestic tournaments.

8. Syeda Aroob Shah

The leg-spin all-rounder came back into the national set-up for the first time since Pakistan’s series against South Africa last year. Aroob made her international debut in 2019 as a 15-year-old, quickly garnering attention for her skill and composure on the field. With an ability to deceive batters and provide crucial breakthroughs, she can come in handy if Pakistan field her on Friday against India.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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