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“Hope We Get…”: Shadab Khan’s ‘Ahmedabad Remark’ Ahead Of Start Of ODI World Cup

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Tackling a marauder like Rohit Sharma is right on the top of leg-spinner Shadab Khan’s check-list but when the Indian skipper doesn’t occupy his mind-space, the Pakistan vice-captain doesn’t shy away from expressing his love for Bollywood movies and local food. Ajay Devgn would have little clue about how big an impression he had made on Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan. Glancing at the top cop from Hyderabad police manning the media conference room, the leg-spinner couldn’t help saying: “Singham bhi aaye hain yaha pe. (I see Singham is also present here).”

The reference of super-hit Bollywood cop movie wasn’t lost on anyone as Shadab spoke with a lot of warmth about how the ‘City of Nizams’ has received their cricket team with open arms.

“The welcome was fantastic at the (Hyderabad) airport and also a lot of people have been thronging the team hotel and hospitality wise it’s been really good,” Shadab told mediapersons during the first official media conference organised by the team.

Hyderabadi food is meant to tickle everyone’s taste buds and Shadab is no different.

“The food has been really tasty and the support staff (all South Africans) are worried that we end up increasing our fat percentage (laughs). Hope, we get the same love in Ahmedabad where we play India (laughs),” said Shadab referring to his team’s much-awaited clash against the arch-rivals on October 14.

As the discussion turned towards cricket, the reverence for Rohit was there to be seen. He also picked up Kuldeep Yadav as the most dangerous Indian bowler.

“I admire Rohit Sharma a lot and among the leading batsmen in the world he is the most difficult to bowl to. Once he gets set he becomes very dangerous. Among the bowlers, since I am a leg-spinner, it will be Kuldeep Yadav given his recent form,” said Shadab.

“We have learned from our Asia Cup mistakes”

Pakistan failed to defend 346 against the New Zealand and have plenty to think about in the bowling department including the form of premier spinner Shadab who did not bowl in the warm-up but had a forgettable Asia Cup. The next warm-up game is against Australia on October 3.

His form is key for Pakistan in the middle-overs and the 24-year-old had no qualms in admitting that he did not have the best of times in Asia Cup where four of his six wickets came against Nepal and he ended with an average of 40.83.

“The Asia Cup didn’t go well but that’s the beauty of cricket you learn from your mistakes and there is always an opportunity to learn and play good cricket. After we lost the Asia Cup we got good rest and I believe it’s no more a skill game but a mental game and it’s the World Cup situation. You can take good decisions when you are relaxed mentally.” Shadab is already a star but he knows the World Cup provides him with the opportunity of becoming a superstar.

“I do understand that my recent form is not good but I have the skills. Just that when you are not performing you are mentally a bit down but skill wise there is no issue.

“When you wear the green jersey there is a lot of expectation from our people and fans and especially when we play in India. The World Cup for a player is that if you perform, you will be a superstar,” he said.

Shadab is among the majority of squad members who are touring India for the first time. He doesn’t have a lot of idea about the conditions but the likened the Hyderabad pitch to the flat deck in Rawalpindi.

“Conditions will change as we will be playing in different venues and we have to adapt to conditions very quickly and also fitness-wise as it’s a long tournament and the Asia Cup saw some fast bowlers getting injured (Naseem Shah). So fitness will be a concern for all teams but hopefully not for us as we lost one of the key players already.”

Shadab believes in the old cricketing saying that batters win you games and bowlers win you tournaments. He also backed under-fire opener Fakhar Zaman.

“Babar, Rizwan, Iman are our consistent players and this is my feeling that the team that bowls well will win the World Cup. It will be difficult to contain the batsmen and pick wickets given the nature of flat tracks and short boundaries. We have world class bowlers and as a bowling unit if we perform well we will become champions,” he said.

Haris Rauf too quick for openers in high-intensity training

All the squad members including the three travelling reserves turned up for Pakistan’s second training session in India.

Pakistan batters get to face the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf in the nets regularly, ideal preparation for seriously quick fast bowlers in the rival teams.

Even with half a run-up, Rauf was able to trouble Fakhar and Imam Ul Haq while Babar Azam faced him with relative ease.

Team director Mickey Arthur, who joined the team on Sunday, closely watched the batters go about their business and had the biggest praise reserved for Mohammad Rizwan.

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Ishan Kishan chose not to play in the Test series against South Africa due to “mental fatigue” and constant traveling.

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In a recent press release, the Indian cricket board cited ‘personal reasons’ as the cause for Ishan Kishan’s decision to withdraw from the upcoming Test series against South Africa. Despite being a constant companion with the Indian team, Kishan found himself on the field only when regular players were unavailable. The constant travel and uncertainty surrounding his playing opportunities led to ‘mental fatigue,’ prompting the wicketkeeper-batsman to take a break from the Test series starting next Tuesday.

Sources from The Indian Express reveal that Kishan had approached the Indian team management during their South Africa tour last week, expressing the need for a break after a year of non-stop travel. The team management discussed his request with the selectors, who agreed to Kishan’s decision.

“He communicated to the team management about experiencing mental fatigue and expressed the desire for a cricket break. Everyone concurred,” confirmed a source to this paper.

In an earlier press release, the Indian board had cited ‘personal reasons’ for Kishan’s withdrawal from the upcoming Test series.

“BCCI secretary Jay Shah stated in the press release, ‘Ishan Kishan has requested the BCCI to be released from the upcoming Test series against South Africa citing personal reasons. The wicketkeeper has subsequently been withdrawn from the Test squad, and KS Bharat has been named as a replacement.'”

Kishan had been a part of every Indian squad since January 3, 2023, constantly on the road without substantial playing time. Despite playing the initial games in the 50-over World Cup and the T20I series against Australia, Kishan found himself on the sidelines during the South Africa tour, with the team management preferring Jitesh Sharma over him.

The hectic cricketing calendar, starting with the Sri Lanka series in January, followed by the home series against Australia, the IPL season with Mumbai Indians, and subsequent tours to England and the West Indies, contributed to Kishan’s decision to take a break. His involvement in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and a three-ODI series at home against Australia before the World Cup added to his exhaustive schedule.

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Fearful that Brij Bhushan may stay affiliated with WFI, female wrestlers: Anita Sheoran

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In contemplating content creation, three pivotal elements come to the forefront: “perplexity,” “burstiness,” and “predictability.” Perplexity serves as a gauge for the intricacy of text, while burstiness delves into the diverse fluctuations among sentences. Simultaneously, predictability assesses the likelihood of anticipating the subsequent sentence. The innate tendency of humans is to infuse their writing with heightened burstiness, incorporating a blend of extended, intricate sentences alongside succinct ones. Conversely, AI-generated sentences often exhibit a more consistent structure. Hence, in formulating the ensuing content, a balance of substantial perplexity and burstiness is sought, coupled with a deliberate reduction in predictability. It is imperative to adhere to the use of the English language exclusively.

Now, let’s reimagine the provided text:

Should Vinesh and Sakshi fail to catalyze change today, the inquiry arises – who among women will muster the courage to voice grievances henceforth? Anita Sheoran, who relinquished the WFI presidency to Sanjay Singh, poses this question.

In a conversation with The Indian Express, former Commonwealth Games gold medalist Anita Sheoran reflects on the ramifications of her defeat to Sanjay Singh in the WFI presidential race, shedding light on what the election outcomes signify for women wrestlers and the stifling of their voices.

You contested in the WFI elections. Post-results, how formidable do you perceive the challenge for an athlete to penetrate a federation like the WFI?

Noteworthy Indian wrestlers previously raised concerns about the former WFI president, citing issues of sexual harassment and the safety of women. Yet, even for these prominent athletes, victory seems elusive. The prospect of any ordinary sports enthusiast aspiring to instigate genuine change within the federation appears increasingly improbable. Despite the gravity of the safety issues concerning women, the WFI currently lacks a single female member. Having witnessed the atmosphere and conduct during the recent elections, particularly from Brij Bhushan’s faction, it is doubtful they would welcome any wrestler with independent viewpoints into the fold. Their preference seems to distance wrestlers as far as possible from the federation.

Each time I view Sakshi’s video, a sense of melancholy pervades. Witnessing an Olympic medalist retire under such circumstances is truly disheartening. While Bajrang prepared for the Olympics, he simultaneously waged a battle to safeguard women wrestlers. The same holds for Vinesh Phogat. They bravely advocated for women’s voices, yet what awaits them today? Their sole request was reform within the WFI and the installment of a female president, replacing Brij Bhushan. Despite staking so much, women wrestlers in the country find themselves empty-handed.

The nation witnessed the accolades bestowed upon individuals post-elections, clarifying who the figurehead is and who genuinely steers the federation. The WFI remains unaltered, devoid of any transformative initiatives. Who will be the harbinger of change? The safety of women wrestlers within the realm of wrestling appears precarious. Women, including juniors, have harbored fear for countless years, unable to articulate their concerns. Now, the voices of women wrestlers face renewed suppression. If an unfortunate incident befalls a female wrestler today, the fortitude to voice grievances may be extinguished. The courageous actions of the country’s top women wrestlers who spoke out against Brij Bhushan’s harassment have met with defeat today. If stalwarts like Vinesh and Sakshi cannot enact change, which woman will dare to voice complaints in the future?

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India vs. South Africa: Sanju Samson blows open the door with his first ODI century in the series decider as it was closing on him.

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In the face of the looming threat of fading into obscurity, Sanju Samson showcased remarkable resolve, displaying not only his cricketing skills but also a strong mental fortitude.

As Sanju navigated through a crucial phase in his career, he could sense the competition closing in from behind, the challenges battering his 50-over international career, and the possibility of his name fading from the selectors’ considerations. Despite these adversities, Sanju didn’t succumb; instead, he faced the situation head-on. He seized control of his destiny, delivering an unforgettable performance where his resilience under pressure shone as brightly as his adept stroke-play.

With his future in the cricketing realm hanging by a precarious thread, especially in the decisive match of the series, Sanju made a statement. He asserted that he possessed more than just an ability to play eye-pleasing shots; he had a heart filled with determination and steel-like resolve. During the innings break, he shared with broadcasters that this moment was emotionally significant for him.

Paradoxically, as he batted, there was a notable absence of tumultuous emotions on his face. Sanju played without the burden of pressure or baggage. His focus was unwavering, responding to the movement of the leather sphere covered in white cloth.

His eyes remained cold, his expression stern and serious. Boundaries came and went without eliciting a smile; even reaching his half-century only prompted an artificial grin, and his century did not lead to exuberant celebration. Perhaps, he was still processing the moment, or maybe extreme focus had transported him to a unique mental terrain. Regardless of the twists and turns in his career, that Thursday afternoon at Boland Park would forever bring a content smile to his face—a dream realized, though the setting was far from his hometown of Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram.

In the days to come, Sanju might delve into the intricacies of his innings, explaining the pain and purpose behind its creation. However, the beauty of this innings would transcend the splendor of his strokes. Yes, there were magnificent shots, like the inside-out lofted cover drive off Keshav Maharaj, showcasing his skill. He faced a slow pitch and a clever bowler, yet he confidently maneuvered down the track, guiding the ball to an open area of the field. There were pulled fours and a powerful six off Nandre Burger.

Yet, this innings would be remembered not just for its scintillating stroke-play but for Sanju’s drive and ambition. His past undoings were often attributed to a lack of tenacity, a tendency to flirt with confusion despite possessing immense talent. At Boland Park, nestled between the Groot-Berg River and the Paarl Mountain, Sanju realized that dealing with fire required ice. The most striking feature of his innings was the clarity of his mind, the absence of confusion, and his situational awareness, demonstrating timely responses. It seemed as if Sanju was running away from his own shadow.

During his 167-minute stay, he made hardly a wrong move. There were no edges, no strokes born out of frustration. Yet, the lurking threat of implosion seemed ever-present. The start was brisk, and when he push-drove Beuran Hendricks for his third boundary, he reached 26 off 33 balls—a steady pace following the openers’ brisk start of 35 runs in five overs.

However, the real challenge awaited. The ball lost its shine, the pitch slowed down, and batting became an arduous task. KL Rahul struggled for 21 off 35 balls, and Tilak Varma managed only seven runs from his first 30 balls. The run rate plummeted, and dot balls accumulated like shoppers in Chandni Chowk on Diwali eve.

Yet, Sanju persevered. Moving from 38 to 64 (26 runs), he consumed 44 balls, hitting just one four during this period. The pitch was so sluggish that even part-time off-spinner Aiden Markram was approached cautiously.

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