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Asian Games 2023: India On Course For Best Ever Squash Show After Saurav Ghosal Reaches Men’s Singles Final

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India’s Saurav Ghosal outclassed Henry Leung of Hong Kong in the men’s singles semifinals to remain firmly on course for a second gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games on Wednesday. Having played his part in the men’s team triumph, the world number 19 from India was far too good for the 52-ranked Henry and completed a dominating 11-2, 11-2, 11-6 victory in 33 minutes. India could end up with an unprecedented three gold medals from the squash courts with the mixed doubles duo of Dipika Pallikal and Harinderpal Sandhu also reaching the title clash, to be played on Thursday. Second seed Ghosal will meet top seed Eain Yow Ng in the final on Thursday. The Indian had beaten his Malaysian rival in four games in the team semifinals.

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

Having missed a golden chance to step on the top of the singles podium in 2014, the 37-year-Ghosal will be determined to end his sixth and probably last Asian Games on a high.

Though his Hong Kong opponent was much younger, Ghosal was superior on both tactical and physical side of the game.

Henry could do little about the boasts (shot that hits the side wall before hitting the front wall) that Ghosal would unleash out of nowhere to end the point in his favour.

His deft drop shots on the right side of the front wall also helped him gain a big lead in the first game.

In the second game, he complemented his boasts with drop shots on the left side of the front wall. Ghosal converted his first game point from 10-1 when his Hong Kong opponent hit his backhand on the tin.

With Henry leading 3-1 in the third game, a comeback looked likely but Ghosal was quick to cut the tiny lead before gaining an 8-5 advantage with a perfect placed boast. Ghosal’s forehand drop on the right was not retrieved by Henry, handing the Indian a convincing win.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Indian pairing of Dipika and Harinderpal won 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 against Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yi and Wong Chi Him to make the final.

However, it was heartbreak for the second Indian pair of Abhay Singh and Anahat Singh as they lost to Aifa Binti Azman and Mohammad Syafiq Bin Mohd Kamal of Malaysia 11-8, 2-11, 9-11 in the other mixed doubles semi-final.

In a match that saw Anahat colliding with Azman, the Indians won the first game quite comfortably but lost their way in the second before the Malaysians emerged winners in the decisive tie, ensuring that it won’t be an all-India final in the mixed event.

Dipika, who is playing her last Asian Games, and Harinder lost the opening game of their semifinal to Yi and Him, but staged a remarkable comeback to claim the next two games after 38 minutes of intense squash.

While the Indians took just nine minutes to win the second game thanks to Harinder and Dipika’s excellent court coverage, the third game lasted 15 minutes as the pair from Hong Kong looked to stretch the decider.

Even as the Indians advanced to the final, there was a moment of concern for the team when the ball struck Harinder in the face after a shot from Lee.

“It’s good to have won. Every round is important. I feel like everyone has come prepared. We knew that we had to stick to our plan, play to the best of our ability and just forget about the results. The results will come,” Dipika said.

(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 Coach Application Deadline Ends: No Top Foreign Names Apply, VVS Laxman Not Interested, Gautam Gambhir…

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File image of former Indian cricket team star Gautam Gambhir© AFP




The deadline for applying for the post of Indian men’s cricket team chief coach ended on Monday but both the BCCI and the top name in its wishlist, Gautam Gambhir chose to keep mum on the development. After guiding Kolkata Knight Riders to their third IPL trophy on Sunday, it is but natural that Gambhir’s name is getting more momentum. While both interested parties haven’t said anything on record, the BCCI, it seems, doesn’t have too many quality options available at the moment.

It is understood that no notable foreign name has applied for the post, especially after BCCI secretary Jay Shah made it clear that the Board is looking at someone who has risen through the ranks and knows the domestic structure.

It could be safely said that the BCCI’s primary target was VVS Laxman, the National Cricket Academy head, but the stylish Hyderabadi seems not interested in a full time position which requires him to available for 10 months a year.

“The deadline is fine, but the BCCI brass wouldn’t mind taking some more time before reaching a decision. Right now, the team will be busy with World T20 for the better part of the month of June. After that seniors will be rested from tours of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe where any of the NCA-based senior coaches can accompany the team. So what’s the hurry,” a BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Also, KKR principal owner Shah Rukh Khan shares a deep bond with Gambhir and it is not easy to leave an IPL team which has been a part of identity for the former India opener.

There’s another aspect that needs to be look into seriously — what senior India players, currently in New York, feel on whether Gambhir can indeed be Rahul Dravid‘s replacement. 

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

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Rafael Nadal Knocked Out of French Open Round 1 By Fourth Seed Alexander Zverev

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14-time champion Rafael Nadal knocked out of 2024 French Open Round 1 by fourth seed Alexander Zverev

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‘One Format May…’: Mitchell Starc Hints ODI Retirement After IPL 2024 Triumph

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Australia fast-bowler Mitchell Starc hinted on his ODI retirement after lifting the IPL trophy with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). The left-arm pacer said with a long wait before the next one-day World Cup, he might shift focus to more franchise cricket around the world. Starc’s return to the IPL has been nothing short of spectacular, culminating in a title win with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). After years of prioritising international cricket, Starc’s decision to rejoin the cash-rich league paid off, and he now contemplates altering his cricketing commitments, potentially stepping away from ODIs.

Starc, who had largely stayed away from the IPL during his peak years to focus on his national duties and manage his workload, revealed his thoughts on this shift at a press conference following KKR’s emphatic win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL 2024 final by eight wickets. KKR secured their third IPL title, with Starc playing a pivotal role.

“The last nine years, I’ve prioritised Australian cricket. I have given myself a chance to give my body a break and spend some time away from cricket with my wife as well, so that’s certainly been where my head’s been for the last nine years,” Starc said at a press conference.

“Moving forward… look, I am certainly closer to the end of my career than the start. One format may drop off. There is long time before the next one-day World Cup and whether that format continues for me or not… it may open doors for more franchise cricket.”

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season,” he said. “It’s been great, it leads into the World Cup, that’s the other side of the benefit of being here against some amazing players in an amazing tournament. It’s a great lead-up to a World Cup.

“Next year – I don’t know the schedule exactly – but I’ve enjoyed it, I look forward to being back next year and hopefully be seen in purple and gold [KKR’s colours] again.”

Starc’s consideration of dropping ODIs from his cricketing calendar could mean more appearances in franchise cricket, including the IPL. Despite being the most expensive player in IPL auction history, fetched for Rs. 24.75 crore by KKR, Starc had a tough start to the season. He conceded 100 runs in his first two games without taking a wicket, but his performance dramatically improved as the tournament progressed.

Starc’s match-winning figures of 3-34 and 2-14 in Qualifier 1 and the final, respectively, against SRH showcased his ability to perform under pressure. His efforts were instrumental in KKR’s dominant campaign, ending with a resounding victory in the final.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season,” Starc said. “It’s been great, it leads into the World Cup, that’s the other side of the benefit of being here against some amazing players in an amazing tournament. It’s a great lead-up to a World Cup. Next year – I don’t know the schedule exactly – but I’ve enjoyed it, I look forward to being back next year and hopefully be seen in purple and gold (KKR’s colours) again,” he said.

“I’ve played a lot of cricket, so I know how to manage myself. I haven’t played a lot of T20 cricket in the last few years, so for me, it was trying to find that rhythm of [the] T20 format, and trying to stay ahead of batters,” Starc concluded.

–IANS

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