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‘Favourites’ England wary of New Zealand might in World Cup final

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Englad and New Zealand are eyeing their maiden World Cup title.

New Delhi: Playing in front of home crowd and familiarity with the conditions make England the favourites to win the World Cup for the first time when they take on New Zealand at the Lord’s on Sunday.

However, the hosts cannot afford to be complacent, as the spirited Kiwis will go out all guns blazing to lay their hands on the coveted title for the first since the inception of the showpiece event in 1975.

On the eve of the final, a look at both the teams as the world waits with baited breath to usher in a first time winner.

New Zealand

Strength: The Kiwis will once again look up to their in-form skipper Kane Williamson to do the bulwark with the bat. With 548 runs in 8 innings, Williamson is the fifth highest run-getter in the ongoing World Cup and will surely look to build on his consistent form.

New Zealand’s biggest strength is their fiery pace bowling line-up led by Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult, who have picked up 18 and 17 wickets, respectively, in the tournament so far.

Weakness: New Zealand’s batting is their weakness. Besides Williamson, none of the other batsmen have scored consistently. They also have a habit of choking under pressure.

Opportunity: Riding on their pace bowling battery and Williamson’s imperious batting repertoire, New Zealand can dream of winning their first World Cup provided the others join the party.

Threat: Kiwis’ ability to handle pressure at the biggest stage in world cricket will be tested. Also, the team lacks experience as it comprises many players who are playing in the World Cup for the first time.

England

Strength: England’s opening pair of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy have wreaked havoc and they can take the game away from the opposition in a matter of 20 overs.

England’s bowling with the effervescent Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood also seem potent. Ben Stokes has been brilliant so far and the all-rounder will look to bring his best to the table in the crucial clash.

Weakness: England have failed to gun down big totals and their defeats in the group stages are testimony to that. They have shown signs of crumbling under pressure.

Opportunity: This is England’s best chance to win the World Cup and that too, at home. They have a dream team and blossom in almost every department.

Threat: The burden of expectations can lead to their downfall. Keeping a cool head and not getting carried away will be a challenge.

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Tendulkar expects good innings from Ganguly as BCCI President

Press Trust of India

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sachin- ganguly

Mumbai: Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar is expecting Sourav Ganguly to play his role as BCCI President as passionately as he played the game during his extremely successful career.

Ganguly, who is the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal, is set to be elected unopposed BCCI President on October 23 at the Board’s Annual General Meeting.

“The way he played his cricket, the way he has gone out and served the nation, I have no doubt that he will serve (as BCCI President) in same capacity and in the same manner, with same passion and same focus. That is what I know of him,” Tendulkar, said.

Tendulkar was speaking at the launch of Road Safety World Series league, where he will lead the India team which will also feature Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan RP Singh and Ajit Agarkar.

“I will practice and all these cricketers are geared up. We shot a film yesterday, so everyone is charged up and it is a good feeling to be back on the field again after a long time but as I said earlier also, whenever you walk on the field the feeling is different,” Tendulkar, brand ambassador of the league, said.

The League will be played from February next year, to promote road safety.

“Something that we will look to relive our rivalries on the field and as you must have picked, we are good friends off the field we might be pushing each other on field and competing really hard but off the field we are good friends and that is what matters,” added Tendulkar, the highest run-getter in Tests and ODIs.

Asked how is looking forward to the Sachin-Sachin chant, Tendulkar said, “I had said that would reverberate as long as I breathe so here is another opportunity for me to experience that again. During IPL they (fans) have been kind enough to acknowledge and appreciate whenever I have walked on the field. They have shown their affection, and that is what I have prayed that this love and affection should continue as long as I breathe.”

Tendulkar also spoke on the importance of road safety and stressed that individuals should be disciplined.

“This (League) is a great platform for all of us cricketers and whoever associated with this tournament to spread this message that lives cannot be lost because of indiscipline and carelessness. We have to follow rules.”

Sehwag seemed excited to open with Tendulkar again and face the likes of former Australian pacer Brett Lee.

Other players who will be part of the League include former West Indies great Brian Lara, South African Jonty Rhodes and Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan.

League Commissioner and legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar also spoke on importance of road safety.

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“Frustrated” Markram punches object, injures wrist to be ruled out of 3rd Test

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Aiden

Ranchi: A “frustrated” South African batsman Aiden Markram was on Thursday ruled out of the third and final Test against India, having sustained a wrist injury after punching a solid object.

As per Cricket South Africa’s media release, “The injury took place following the opener’s dismissal in the second innings of the match. In a moment of frustration with his own performance, he lashed out at a solid object, resulting in his injury.”

South Africa have already conceded the series having suffered two heavy defeats in Visakhapatnam and Pune.

Markram has had a mixed tour of India. While he scored two hundreds in the practice games, he couldn’t carry forward his form into the Test series. After scoring 5 and 39 in the first Test, he was dismissed for a pair in the second.

“Standard Bank Proteas batsman Aiden Markram has been ruled out of the third and final Freedom Series Test match after sustaining an injury to his right wrist during the second match in Pune,” Cricket South Africa said in a release.

Team doctor Hashendra Ramjee said, “A CT scan of Aiden Markram’s wrist showed a fracture involving the wrist bones. The medical team has, therefore, ruled him out of the next Test match against India. Arrangements have been made for him to see a specialist on his return to South Africa for further management of the injury.”

Markram left for South Africa on Thursday morning. The team management hasn’t called up any replacement. The third Test starts here on Saturday.

A disappointed Markram admitted he has let his team down and said, “It’s sad to be going home on this note and I completely understand what I’ve done wrong and take full accountability for it.

“It’s unacceptable in a Proteas environment and to let the team down is what hurts me the most. I’ve learned a lot from this and the other players I’m sure, have learned from it as well.

“We understand in sport that emotions run high and sometimes the frustration gets the better of you as it did for me, but like I said, it’s no excuse.

“I’ve taken full responsibility for it, I have apologised to the team and hopefully I can make it up to them and the people of South Africa soon.”

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Dravid supervises training of aspiring cricketers from 16 countries at NCA

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Rahul Dravid

New Delhi: National Cricket Academy (NCA) Director Rahul Dravid is supervising a training programme of boys and girls from 16 Commonwealth countries, organised by the BCCI in conjunction with external affairs and sports ministries.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London on April 19, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will organise training for boys and girls under the age of 16, giving them an opportunity to train with some of the best cricketers in India at the NCA.

They are currently hosting participants (18 boys & 17 girls) from Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Malaysia, Singapore, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji and Tanzania.

The one-month long camp organised from Oct 1-30 is being conducted at the NCA in Bengaluru, where some of the best coaches in the country are coaching the trainees under the supervision of Rahul Dravid, Head Cricket NCA.

“A customised training program has been made for each participant. The challenge has been to assess each of these Under 16 aged cricketers coming from varied backgrounds and countries, establishing their level of cricketing competence, designing appropriate programs and then delivering them,” a BCCI said in a release.

“Language and cultural barriers have been overcome, with the passion for cricket which all of the trainees have in ample measure.”

Participants have also been provided with hotel accommodation, cricket kits, nutrition, strength and conditioning facilities and allowances to ensure their stay is comfortable and fruitful.

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