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HS Prannoy Battles His Way To Asian Games Medal, PV Sindhu Bows Out In Quarterfinals



A valiant HS Prannoy battled his way to the semifinals, becoming only the first Indian in 41 years to win a badminton medal in men’s singles at the Asian Games but it was curtains for PV Sindhu in women’s singles on Thursday. Playing with a taping on his lower back and a belt under his shirt, Prannoy battled severe back spasm to dish out a performance for the ages, outshining Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia 21-16 21-23 22-20 in the quarterfinals to assure India a second badminton medal at the ongoing Games. India had won a silver in men’s team championships last Sunday.

“I think it was a really tough one out there. I think Lee is always a tough opponent. It was a very physical match today for me,” Prannoy said after the match.

“I’m not at all in a condition where I could say I’m 80 per cent right. But I think to pull off something like this, I would give a lot of credit to myself. I think the will to fight was always there. So I think that paid off.” After fighting his way through a marathon 78 minute contest, the 31-year-old from Kerala fell on the court in disbelief. He then removed his shirt, fist-pumped and ran into the arms of chief coach Pullela Gopichand.

Prannoy thus ended India’s long wait for a men’s singles medal at the Asian Games with Syed Modi winning the first — a bronze — at the 1982 edition in New Delhi.

The world championships bronze medallist was ruled out of team championships final due to the back injury as India went down 2-3 to China to settle for a silver.

“It is affecting me. But that’s how sport is. You can’t be 100 per cent every day. But you have to learn to pull off matches even when you’re 60 or 70 per cent. I think today was one of those days when I had to do that,” he said.

While it was ecstacy for Prannoy, Sindhu had to endure the pain of returning without a medal for the first time in nine years after she lost 16-21 12-21 to world No.5 Chinese He Bingjiao in 47 minutes to bow out of the competition.

Prannoy displayed his mental fortitude as he rallied his way from a 5-11 deficit to grab the opening game and then had two match points in the second only to see it slip away.

But Prannoy quickly wiped the slate clean and once again fought his way back in the decider, saved two match points with his booming smashes and deceptions to register a great victory.

Prannoy had beaten Lee, a former All England Champion, at the Badminton Asia Championships in Dubai but he didn’t have a good start.

However, the Indian managed to erase a six-point deficit at the break to grab four game points with Lee faltering with his length and going long and wide. He converted at the first chance.

Prannoy used his drops and deceptions to vary the pace of the rallies and lead 7-4 before taking a two point lead at interval. Lee fought his way to a 15-13 lead before the Indian regained his lead with three successive points and soon stood just two points away from a win at 20-18.

However, a couple of net cords went the Malaysian’s way as Lee drew level and earned a game point at 22-21. He took the match to the decider after Prannoy found the net.

Prannoy lagged 2-4 early in the third game. He then tried to prolong the rallies with deep tosses but he lacked the finishing, often hitting the net or wide as Lee lead 7-4.

However, he once again scripted a recovery to claw back at 8-8 before Lee committed few unforced errors as the Indian lead 11-10 at the break.

A perfect net shot after a long rally took Prannoy to 13-10. Two deep smashes on both sides took him to 15-13. But Lee kept breathing down his neck and made it 16-16.

Struggling with his back, Prannoy then called for a medical time out for applying magic spray.

On resumption, Lee stepped up the pace and unleashed a body smash and another smash on Prannoy’s backhand to pull away.

A long rally ensued at 18-19 as Lee came up with a smash to gain two match points. Prannoy then sent two accurate cross hits to make it 20-20. He then gained one match point and converted with another precise smash.

Earlier in the day, two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu, who had won bronze and silver medals respectively in 2014 Incheon and 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, couldn’t produced the goods against Bingjiao, whom she had defeated to win the bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.

The first game started on a even keel between the two players as both shared points till six-all before Bingjiao took a 9-5 lead.

Sindhu struggled with her court coverage as Bingjiao made the Indian run the entire court and sealed the points with accurate placements and smashes to seal the first game easily in 23 minutes.

Her struggle continued in the next game as Bingjiao took a 5-1 lead.

The star Indian shuttler’s returns were short and Bingjiao made no mistake in closing out the points with pinpoint smashes.

Sindhu showed some fight initially in the second game to close the gap at 8-9 with four straight points before the Chinese’s took control of the game and raced to 12-8 lead.

Sindhu was nowhere to be seen thereafter and looked to have surrendered as Bingjiao closed out the game and match in quick time.

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

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Asked About Replacing Ravindra Jadeja In T20Is, India Star Gives Honest Reply




Following the T20I retirements of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja, the Indian cricket team has already began its hunt to replace the important pillars of Indian cricket. Kohli, Rohit and Jadeja have been part of the Indian set up across formats for more than a decade. However, the trio won’t be available in the shortest formats of the game after bidding adieu after the T20 World Cup final last month. While finding replacements for Kohli and Rohit may be an improbable task, the void left by Jadeja could be an even bigger headache for India, considering that the veteran was equally dependable with both bat and ball.

While Axar Patel is likely to fulfill that role, Washington Sundar is another contender to replace Jadeja, not literally. Currently on the tour of Zimbabwe, Sundar was quizzed whether he is ready to seal the spot in the absence of Jadeja. 

To this, Sundar said: “I need to do well where I am good at and what I am capable of, especially with my preparation. I need to give my 100 per cent every single day. That’s something that I have not compromised on.”

“It (preparing well) keeps me in the present and obviously I am very confident as well (about his skills). It’s a great opportunity for me to play for India, and I am blessed with it. I need to keep my job consistently and keep preparing and keep getting better. That way everything will be taken care of,” he added.

Sundar returned figures of 3/15 as India defeated Zimbabwe to go 2-1 up in the five-match series in Harare. 

Recapping the match, India opted to bat first. A fine 67-run partnership between Yashasvi Jaiswal (36 in 27 balls, with four boundaries and two sixes) and skipper Shubman kickstarted things for India. Later Shubman (66 in 49 balls, with seven fours and three sixes) had a 72-run partnership with Ruturaj Gaikwad (49 in 28 balls, with four boundaries and three sixes). India scored 182/4 in their 20 overs.

In the run-chase of 183 runs, India had Zimbabwe struggling at 39/5. Later, a 77-run partnership between Dion Myers (65* in 49 balls, with seven fours and a six) and Clive Madande (37 in 26 balls, with two fours and two sixes) gave Zimbabwe’s innings a new lease of life. However, Indian bowlers bounced back on time to keep Zimbabwe at 159/6 at the end of their 20 overs.

(With ANI Inputs)

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Ex-Pakistan Bowling Coach To Join Gautam Gambhir’s Support Staff? Report Reveals BCCI’s Response




Gautam Gambhir has asked the BCCI to also consider Morne Morkel as bowling coach.© KKR/X

After appointing Gautam Gambhir as head coach of the Indian team, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is now lining up its option to decide the remaining support staff. Over the past few days, several names have been linked to the bowling coach position, including Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji and R Vinay Kumar. While a final decision has yet to be made, Cricbuzz has now reported that Gambhir has asked the BCCI to also consider former South Africa Morne Morkel for the job.

The report also claimed that BCCI has already held talks with Morkel, who played who played 86 Tests, 117 ODIs, and 44 T20Is for the Proteas. Morkel was Pakistan’s bowling coach during the ODI World Cup last year in India, but resigned from his post before his contract expired.

Both Gambhir and Morkel were part of Andy Flower‘s support staff at the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) for two seasons. While Gambhir left LSG to join KKR as mentor, Morkel decided to stay at LSG under new head coach Justin Langer.

Gambhir was the captain of KKR when Morkel joined the franchise in 2014. The former India opener has always been a big fan of Morkel, who he often described as the “fiercest bowler he had ever faced”.

“While a final decision has yet to be made, it appears that the BCCI may reach a conclusion soon. One of the considerations is Morkel’s young family and the extensive travel required for the India job. He lives in the plush Seaforth suburb in northern Sydney with his wife Roz Kelly, a sports presenter on Channel 9. The couple have two children,” the report stated.

If BCCI and Morkel manage to find an agreement, the former South African pacer will replace Paras Mhambrey, who was part of Rahul Dravid‘s support staff for the past three years.

If the reports are to be believed, Morkel could join former KKR teammate Ryan ten Doeschate and Nayar in Gambhir’s support staff.

The BCCI is keen on retaining fielding T Dilip from the outgoing Dravid regime.

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Ben Stokes Makes History, Becomes 3rd Player Ever To Achieve Sensational Feat




England all-rounder Ben Stokes on Thursday joined the company of West Indies great Garry Sobers and South Africa’s legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis to become the third player and first England player to secure a double of 6,000-plus runs and 200-plus wickets in Test cricket. Stokes accomplished this feat against West Indies in the first Test of the three-match series at Lord’s. Dismissing batter Kirk McKenzie in his first over, Stokes got his 200th Test wicket. In 103 Tests, he has taken 200 wickets so far. Also with the bat, he has scored 6,320 runs at an average of 35.30, with 13 centuries and 31 fifties. His best score is 258.

Meanwhile, Sobers has (8,032 runs and 235 wickets in 93 Tests) and Kallis has (13,289 runs and 292 wickets in 166 Tests).

Also, he is the sixth overall and first-ever England player to secure a double of 10,000 runs and 300 wickets in international cricket. In 260 international matches, Stokes has scored 10,368 runs at an average of 35.75, with 18 centuries and 56 fifties, with the best score of 258. He also has completed his 300 wickets in international cricket.

West Indies all-rounder Carl Hooper, Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya, Kallis, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan are other players to have scored 10,000 runs and taken 300 or more wickets in Tests.

Coming to the match, England won the toss and elected to field first. West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals and never really got a breather. Mikyle Louis (27 in 58 balls), Kavem Hodge (24 in 48 balls) and Alick Athanaze (23 in 56 balls) did the bulk of scoring as Windies was skittled out for 121 runs in 41.4 overs.

In their first innings, England gained a 250-run lead and they were bundled out for 371 runs, with half-centuries coming from Zak Crawley (76 in 89 balls), debutant wicketkeeper-batter Jamie Smith (70 in 119 balls), Joe Root (68 in 114 balls), Ollie Pope (57 in 74 balls) and Harry Brook (50 in 64 balls).

Jayden Seales (4/77) was the pick of the bowlers for West Indies. Jason Holder and Gudakesh Motie also took two wickets.


West Indies (Playing XI): Kraigg Brathwaite(c), Mikyle Louis, Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge, Joshua Da Silva(w), Jason Holder, Gudakesh Motie, Alzarri Joseph, Shamar Joseph, Jayden Seales

England (Playing XI): Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes(c), Jamie Smith(w), Chris Woakes, Gus Atkinson, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson.

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

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