Hyderabad FC deserve to be on top: Kerala Blasters FC’s Ivan Vukomanovic

Panaji (Goa) [India]: Kerala Blasters FC coach Ivan Vukomanovic believes his side is in the middle of a process and is happy with the progress his players have made as they prepare for Hyderabad FC in match 55 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco da Gama on Sunday.
Kerala Blasters FC are fifth in the league table with 14 points in nine matches. They have three wins, five draws, and a loss. KBFC are only two points away from moving back into the top four. “Well, we have to praise them [Hyderabad FC] because they are working consistently for the second year in a row. They are not top of the table by coincidence, they deserve to be there. They have had a strategy and now it’s showing good results. Nothing happens overnight in football. When you work consistently it gives you results. They are doing a great job,” said Ivan Vukomanovic in a pre-match press conference, as per the ISL website.
“Like all teams, you have your strengths and weaknesses. We are trying to find the balance this season. It means we are trying not to concede many goals and at the same time get composed and organized in our playing style. We are in the middle of a process and I am glad with the way we are progressing,” he added.
Talking about getting new recruits in the January transfer window, the head coach said that the management is looking for some ‘interesting options’.
“Yes, our management is in talks with interesting options. From our perspective, sometimes things don’t go how we want them to. If it’s feasible to bring a player who wants to play for us and brings something extra to the team then we would try to get that player,” said the head coach.

Dravid has brought lot of calm and balance in dressing room, says KL Rahul

Centurion [South Africa]: Indian opening batter KL Rahul on Thursday said head coach Rahul Dravid has brought a lot of balance within the side and players want to learn as much as they can from the former skipper.
KL Rahul, who scored a century in the first Test against South Africa, said Dravid had made the visitors work hard in the nets before the game. “You want to sit with a great player like Rahul Dravid, you want to learn as much as possible from him for so many years,” Rahul said in the post-match press conference after the win in the first Test.
“You talk about the art of batting, we are very lucky to have a guy like him in the dressing room, he has brought a lot of calm and balance in the dressing room. He focuses more preparation, he has made us work hard in the training and in the nets,” he added.
India clinched their first Test match in Centurion as they defeated South Africa by 113 runs on the final day of the game on Thursday.
“It’s a super super special year for Team India. The kind of achievements that we have gotten this year has been truly special and I think it will go down as one of the greatest years in Indian cricket history, especially Test cricket,” said Rahul.
“The victory is a result of hard work and discipline. We have worked really hard as a team for a few years, and we are slowly starting to see results. Yes, the dressing room atmosphere is amazing at the moment. It is a great Test victory,” he added.
The Indian opener termed the win over South Africa as complete team performance.
“No Asian team has come here and won in Centurion and kind of work we have put in, in the last two weeks leading up to this Test match,” said Rahul.
“We worked really hard as a team and we had a lot of fun at training and at practice.
To go out there in the first game of the series and put up a performance like that which is a complete team performance, gives us a lot of confidence,” he added.
India and South Africa will next lock horns in the second Test in Johannesburg from Monday.

Need everyone’s contribution to win against South Africa, not just Virat or Pujara’s, says Dravid

Centurion [South Africa]: Indian men’s cricket team head coach Rahul Dravid on Saturday said that every player’s contribution to the team will be needed to win the Test series against South Africa.
The Indian team will lock horns against South Africa in the ‘Boxing Day Test match as the three-match Test series kick starts in Centurion. “One of the things that we talk with the group about is that these kinds of series are won by great teamwork, where everyone needs to play their part. You can’t just rely on Kohli or Pujara or one-two person,” said Rahul Dravid during a virtual press conference today.
“If you want to be successful, then you need contributions from everyone. Hopefully, let’s see everything comes together and we get to see some amazing performances,” he added.
Regarding the team’s Playing XI, Dravid said that he doesn’t want to reveal his side to the opposition before the main day.
“In terms of our Playing XI, I think we are very clear within our group of what kind of team it is going to be leading into the Boxing Day Test match but from the batting perspective, I would like to see what the opposition is scoring and what their team is and what they are playing. We don’t see the need to inform our opposition about our Playing XI and we will be doing that tomorrow morning at the toss,” said Rahul Dravid.
The Test series between India and South Africa will form part of the new cycle of the ICC World Test Championship. The updated schedule is as follows: First Test will take place from December 26-30 at the SuperSport Park, Centurion; Second Test will take place from January 3-7, 2022, at the Wanderers, Johannesburg; Third Test will take place from January 11-15, 2022, at the Newlands, Cape Town.

Kohli has put Team India in situation where there is no looking back, says Rohit Sharma

New Delhi [India]: Rohit Sharma, India’s new white-ball skipper lavished praise on Virat Kohli for leading the team from the front.
Rohit was named India’s new ODI skipper last week and he takes the reins from Kohli as India gear up for the South Africa series. “He’s (Kohli) put the team in the situation where there is no looking back. Those five years that he has led the team led from the front every time we stepped onto the park. And yeah! there was a clear grit and determination to win every game that was the message to the entire squad,” Rohit said in an interview posted on the BCCI website
“We had a great time playing under him obviously we played I played a lot of cricket under him and enjoyed every moment and I will still continue to do that,” he added.
Rohit said Team India will be looking forward to improving as a side going forward.
“We need to keep getting better as a team and keep getting better as an individual that will be the focus of not just me but the entire squad moving forward. That is what we will be looking forward to do is getting better and make sure how we can get better as a team,” said Rohit.
Rohit Sharma, who has captained India 32 times to date, said he was “deeply honoured” to lead the side.
“I’m deeply honoured and grateful for the opportunity. It’s a huge responsibility. I’m absolutely happy about it. I look forward to leading team India in white ball cricket. It’s going to be an exciting journey, something that I’m looking forward to,” said Rohit.
“Whenever I’ve gotten an opportunity I’ve tried to keep it very simple, tried to keep one thing in common which is clear communication to the players, making sure that they understand their role,” he added.
The Indian limited-overs skipper will make sure there is “clear communication” between the players.
“For us, the coach-captain, it’s important to make sure that we have clear communication and clear understanding of a player’s role,” said Rohit.
“That is something that I will be looking forward to doing, making sure that people do understand what they’ve been picked for in the team, what they have to do as an individual,” he signed off.

Young guys performing gives us options, helps us become stronger, says Head Coach Dravid

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: Team India head coach Rahul Dravid on Monday said that the youngsters performing is a good sign for his side and it will help the Virat Kohli-led outfit become much stronger.
Mayank Agarwal’s heroics with the bat and Jayant Yadav’s four-wicket haul in the second innings helped India defeat New Zealand by 372 runs in the second Test. “I think it was good to finish the series as winners, came close in Kanpur, not able to get that last wicket, had to work hard here. This result seems one-sided, but right through the series, we were made to work hard. There have been phases where we were behind and had to fight back, credit to the team. Great to see the boys stepping up and taking their opportunities,” Dravid told host broadcaster Star Sports after the game ended.
“Yes, we were missing a few senior players. Credit to the guys who came in, Jayant had a difficult day yesterday, but learnt from it today. Mayank, Shreyas, Siraj, who doesn’t get a lot of opportunities. Axar, great to see his development with the bat in addition to what he can do with the ball,” he added.
With this win, India sealed the two-match series 1-0 and now Virat Kohli’s side will head to South Africa for three Tests and three ODIs, beginning December 26.
“It gives us a lot of options as well, helps us become a stronger side. We knew we had a lot of time, didn’t think much of the follow-on, also a lot of young batters in the side, so wanted to give them a chance to bat in conditions like these. Knew we may be in such situations in the future where we may have to force the pace in tough conditions. So it was a great opportunity and the luxury of time to be able to do it. Was great to help in the development of our players,” said Dravid.
“It’s a good situation to be in, we’ve had injuries in the lead-up, so we need to manage our players physically and mentally, it’s going to be a large part of my challenge, challenge too for the selectors and the leadership group. It’s a good selection headache to have, see young boys perform well. There’s a great desire to do well and everyone’s pushing each other. I hope we have more headaches to have, as long as we have clear communication and we explain to the players why, don’t see it to be a problem,” he added.

Man City coach Pep Guardiola set for toughest part of season

Manchester [UK]: Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola believes the next period of the season will be the toughest.
With seven matches between Sunday and New Year’s Day, starting with Tuesday’s Champions League game in Germany against RB Leipzig, Guardiola says many things can happen at this crucial stage. “There are many games to come and it’s the toughest part of the season. We’ll try to continue at this level and this rhythm,” he said as per the club’s official website.
“Everyone is back, it doesn’t matter who plays, we are consistent and winning games but in football, everything can go down in one second. I’m more than pleased with what the guys have done in this tough period and now comes the toughest one for the number of games, weather, injuries. We keep going with this rhythm and try to play well,” the City boss added.
On Saturday, Bernardo Silva scored twice as Manchester City beat Watford 3-1 for a fifth successive victory that moved them top of the Premier League table for the first time this season.
The City has leapfrog Chelsea and Liverpool on 35 points, one clear of the Reds. But a third straight defeat leaves Watford 17th on 13 points, three above the bottom three.

Dravid’s experience will help team, says Pujara

Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : India batter Cheteshwar Pujara feels new head coach Rahul Dravid’s rich experience in the longer format will definitely help the Test side grow as a team.
After securing a thumping T20I series win over New Zealand, India under the coaching of Dravid will face New Zealand in the two-match Test series which gets underway from Thursday. Dravid, who has played 164 Tests for India, will offer a great amount of guidance to the young guns, according to Pujara.
“After the WTC we all were hurt but we came back strongly in England and we played very good cricket. Now the team is back together, confident and new coach Rahul bhai is there,” said Pujara in the virtual press conference.
“That will help most of the players, especially the young players, who have worked with Rahul bhai during the Under-19 and India A series.
“And even someone like us, who are experienced players. I have played with Rahul bhai and worked with Rahul bhai during the A series. All of us are looking for his guidance. The amount of experience he has as a player and coach that will help the team,” he added.
Pujara isn’t concerned about the New Zealand pace attack having already weathered the storm in 2017.
“We have our strategies prepared against Neil Wagner and we have also played him in 2017, so we know how he bowls in Indian conditions so we will plan accordingly,” said Pujara.
The India batter is a key cog in the batting wheel of the Indian team but has failed to score a Test ton in recent times.

“I have been scoring runs, the 50s, 80s or 90s. I’ve not scored a ton but I am not worried about it as long as I keep batting well and contributing to the team’s total. My focus is giving best for the team,” he signed off. 

Need to be realistic, not easy for NZ to play series three days after WC final, says Rahul Dravid

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India]: Team India head coach Rahul Dravid on Sunday said that he is happy with his side’s performance in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand but also have to be realistic about the victory.
Rohit Sharma’s 56-run knock followed by Axar Patel’s three-wicket haul helped India defeat New Zealand by 73 runs in the third and final T20I here at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. “It was a really good series win. Everyone played really well right through the series. It feels good, nice to start well. We are also quite realistic. We have to keep our feet on the ground and be a bit realistic about this win. Not easy for NZ to play a World Cup final and then to turn up three days later to play three games in six days, was never going to be easy for them. Nice from our perspective but we have to learn from this series and move forward,” said Dravid in a post-match presentation.
“It’s a long journey ahead over the next 10 months and we’ll have our share of ups and downs. It’s been really good to see some of the young guys come through. We have given the opportunity to some of the boys who haven’t played a lot of cricket over the last few months. We have seen some of the skills available to us and we have to keep building on those skills as we go forward,” he added.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma played a knock of 56 runs as India posted 184/7. In the final three overs, the Men in Blue managed to add 36 more runs, taking the score past the 180-run mark. Deepak Chahar played a cameo of 21 runs off just 8 balls as India posted more than a competitive total on the board.
With this win, India won the three-match series 3-0 and now both teams will square off in two-match Test series, beginning Thursday in Kanpur.

Dravid won’t leave much to chance: Ashwin

Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India] India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has said that it is too early for him to comment on Rahul Dravid’s coaching style, but he is sure that the head coach will be big on preparation and process.
Rahul Dravid’s coaching stint got off to a winning start as Rohit Sharma-led India defeated New Zealand by five wickets in the first T20I. “It’s too early for me to comment on Rahul Dravid’s coaching style, we need to give him breathing space. He’s put the hard yards in through the U-19 level etc. He won’t leave much to chance, and he’ll be all about preparation and process, so that we can bring the happiness back into the Indian dressing room,” Ashwin told host broadcaster Star Sports after the first T20I ended.
Suryakumar Yadav (62) and Rohit (48) starred with the bat as India chased down 165 to defeat New Zealand by five wickets in the first T20I of the three-match series here at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
Earlier, Martin Guptill and Mark Chapman played knocks of 70 and 63 respectively as New Zealand posted a total of 164/6. For India, Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned with two wickets each.
“The slower you bowled, there was more purchase you got on this pitch. If you hit the seam and tossed it up, it did do things like Santner showed in the second innings. It’s tricky in T20s, you can’t miss your lengths and you don’t know when to toss it up but here it did help to give it some air. It was a slightly under-par score and we thought 170-180 would be par. We thought we would cruise home around the 15th over, but that’s T20 cricket for you,” said Ashwin.
“I bowled the first over in the powerplay, and figuring out the pace to bowl is important and it took me some time to figure that out. It’s about varying to pace and knowing when to vary it. It’s important to take each of the 24 balls as an event, and look at each ball in isolation and as an opporunity. You might have to play catch-up, but the batsman is trying to play catch-up and trying to play you too, so you can’t get intimidated,” he added.
With this win, India gained a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, with the second game set to be played on Friday.

Virat will only strengthen the team

aipur (Rajasthan) [India] : India T20I skipper Rohit Sharma on Tuesday said Virat Kohli remains an important player for the Men in Blue and his role would not change in the shortest format of the game.
India and New Zealand will be squaring off in a three-match T20I series, beginning Wednesday in Jaipur. This is the first assignment in charge for head coach Dravid and full-time T20I skipper Rohit. “It is very simple. Virat Kohli’s role won’t change and it will be the same as what he has done in the past. He will keep on doing what he has been doing for the team for so many years. He is a very important player for the team. Whenever he plays, he creates an impact. He always leaves his mark on the match,” Rohit said during a virtual press conference.
“Everyone has a different role in the team. And those keep on changing based on whether you are batting first or chasing so based on that, roles will keep on changing. Everyone is open to that and I’m sure when Virat comes back, it will only strengthen the team. The wealth of experience he has and the kind of batsman he is, will only add value to our squad,” he added.
Talking about the importance of workload management, Rohit said: “Workload management is important, we play a lot of matches, it is important to monitor the body. Our players are not machines, they cannot turn up to the stadium each and every day. They need to get some time off, freshness is needed.”
“We have given players rest for this T20I series, players are getting rest for the Test series. We want our players to be mentally fresh for the challenge ahead. We have to monitor it for every series,” he added.

Gerrard named Villa manager

London [UK]: Aston Villa Football Club on Thursday announced the appointment of Steven Gerrard as the new head coach.
Gerrard guided Glasgow Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title last season, finishing the campaign undefeated in the league. The 41-year-old has attracted many admirers in the game for his work in transforming the fortunes of the Glasgow giants while also implementing an attractive, attacking style of football.
Gerrard, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Liverpool and England, joined Rangers in 2018 following a spell as an Academy Coach at Liverpool.
Steven Gerrard in an official release said: “Aston Villa is a club with a rich history and tradition in English football and I am immensely proud to become its new Head Coach.”
“In my conversations with Nassef, Wes and the rest of the Board, it was apparent how ambitious their plans are for the club and I am looking forward to helping them achieve their aims,” he added.
Further talking about his appointment, Gerrard said: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everybody associated with Glasgow Rangers for giving me the opportunity to manage such an iconic football club. Helping them secure a record-breaking 55th league title will always hold a special place in my heart. I would like to wish the players, staff and supporters the very best for the future.”

Kerala eye maiden win

Aqaba [Jordan] : India’s Gokulam Kerala FC will be eyeing their first victory while Shahrdari Sirjan of Iran will bid to stay perfect when the two sides meet in the AFC Women’s Club Championship 2021 at the Aqaba Development Corporate Stadium on Wednesday.
Gokulam Kerala suffered a 1-2 defeat against Jordan’s Amman Club on Matchday One, while Shahrdari Sirjan cruised to victory with a similar scoreline over Uzbekistan’s FC Bunyodkor. Gokulam Kerala enjoyed a good start against Amman, taking a first-half lead on the counter-attack courtesy of Elshaddai Acheampong’s fine strike. However, a switch in formation for Amman made all the difference as Gokulam conceded twice in the second half, with strikes from Maysa Jbarah and Samia Ouni paving the way for the come from behind victory for the Jordanians.
“In the first game against Amman, we couldn’t convert some of our chances and that cost us dearly in the game,” said Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Priya PV, as per AIFF.
“Amman played very well on the flanks and that is something we will work on in the next match. We will not change our style of play and will stick to our attacking football. We’re still in this and we will aim for the three points,” the coach added.
It was a different scenario, however, for Shahrdari Sirjan who raced off the blocks against Bunyodkor to open their account in the sixth minute through Roghayeh Jalal Nasab before Zahra Alizadeh scored with a wonderful lob in the second half with Dildora Nozimova scoring a consolation.

Sanjay Bangar: New RCB Coach

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India] : Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Tuesday announced the appointment of Sanjay Bangar as the new head coach of the Indian Premier League (IPL) side.
Mike Hesson, Director of Cricket Operations, RCB in a video posted by the IPL side on YouTube announced Bangar’s name as the head coach of the team for the next two years. In February, Royal Challengers Bangalore appointed Sanjay Bangar as the batting consultant ahead of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 and now the former cricketer is promoted as the head coach of the team. “Our work has already begun in terms of auction strategy. I would like to assure each of the RCB fans that we are committed to building a strong squad and we are committed to fulfilling the long-cherished dream of winning an IPL trophy,” Bangar said.
Notably, in August, Simon Katich stepped down as head coach of the IPL side due to personal reasons. Then, as part of the RCB’s business continuity plan, Mike Hesson took the reins of the team and discharged the duties of head coach in the UAE leg of the 2021 season.
Bangar comes with a vast experience of having coached the national team and also IPL teams in the past.

Newcastle Gets New Coach

London [UK]: Premier League club Newcastle United appointed Eddie Howe as the club’s new head coach on a contract until summer 2024.
The 43-year-old arrives on Tyneside having left AFC Bournemouth last summer, ending a long affiliation with the Cherries as a successful player and manager. As well as amassing more than 300 senior appearances for the south coast side as a player, he also has the distinction of managing AFC Bournemouth through all four tiers of English football, culminating in five years in the Premier League between 2015 and 2020.
“It is a great honour to become head coach of a club with the stature and history of Newcastle United. It is a very proud day for me and my family. This is a wonderful opportunity, but there is also a lot of work ahead of us and I am eager to get onto the training ground to start working with the players,” said Eddie Howe in a statement.
“I would like to thank the club’s owners for this opportunity and thank the club’s supporters for the incredible welcome they have already given me. I am very excited to begin our journey together,” he added.
Newcastle United co-owner, Amanda Staveley said, “We have been incredibly impressed by Eddie through what has been a rigorous recruitment process. As well as his obvious achievements with AFC Bournemouth, where he had a transformational impact, he is a passionate and dynamic coach who has clear ideas about taking this team and club forward.”

“Kohli has been a great ambassador”

Dubai [UAE]: After the curtain came down on his four-year stint coaching India, Ravi Shastri said Virat Kohli has been one of the great ambassadors for the game, especially in red-ball cricket.
Fresh from seeing his men finish their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 campaign with a nine-wicket win over Namibia, the outgoing coach – who was first involved with the squad as a director in 2014 – praised his team’s all-conquering past despite a disappointing end to their time in the UAE. When asked about the Indian team having each other’s back, Shastri in the virtual press conference on Monday said: “We actively worked towards it. We wanted trust in that dressing room. That’s the only way you can get each other’s back. We needed communication. We wanted no finger pointing at each other. We needed the word I to be thrown into the dustbin and the word we coming in. And we created a culture that had to be obeyed and followed.”
“With Virat leading the way, he’s been one of the great ambassadors for the games, especially when you look at red ball cricket, the way he’s embraced it. And it’s allowed other players on the team to follow suit. You’ve got to give credit where it’s due.”
“So it’s a team culture, which was impressed upon the team to follow, and they followed it to the hilt. They played fearless cricket round the globe,” he added.
Ravi Shastri also said that everything including bilateral series and tournaments is important for him. He said: “For me, everything is important. If you’re playing a big tournament, a big series, you play to win. So it’s not happened this time, but it will happen another time for this team. They’re far too talented not to get something going or get something and a big trophy in the hands soon, just like they did if Australia twice. Up in England now, the way they played white ball cricket in bilateral series. So somewhere down the line, things should go their way. The rub of the grain should go their way.”
New Zealand’s victory over Afghanistan on Sunday secured the Black Caps’ progression and ended India’s hopes of making the semi-finals before Monday’s clash against Namibia but they remained resolutely professional in their performance against the Eagles.
Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin took three wickets apiece to limit Namibia to 132 for eight before half-centuries from openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul helped their side cruise home, not only sending Shastri off with a win but also Virat Kohli in his final game as T20 captain.

“Messi texted me good luck”

Barcelona [Spain]: Barcelona new manager Xavi Hernandez on Monday said that he received a good luck text from Argentine striker Lionel Messi, but the club cannot think about the players that are no longer there at Camp Nou.
Xavi was appointed as the club’s head coach on Friday and he will look to turn around the fortunes of Barcelona in La Liga and Champions League. “Messi, Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldinho, of course, but they are not here. Messi is a great friend, he texted me good luck. But we cannot think about the players that are not here. I am really excited, I am back at home. We are in a tough situation economically and not in our best sporting moment. But we are Barca and we are the best club in the world,” quoted Xavi as saying.
“I was really emotional to see all the fans today and we have to give them back good football, work seriously and with our values. I have really clear ideas, we are not in our best moment but we want to play good football and get results, he added.
Messi had left Barcelona earlier this year and he joined Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
Xavi also said that he will be a positive sign if the fans start comparing him to Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola.
“If they compare me to Guardiola then it’s something very positive, he’s the best manager in the world,” said Xavi.
“I understand the pressure, I’m at the best club in the world. Expectations are great, we have to work hard to win many trophies,” he added.
Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman as head coach of Barcelona after terminating his contract at Al Sadd.

Rahul Dravid is new Head Coach

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: The Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sulakshana Naik and RP Singh on Wednesday unanimously appointed Rahul Dravid as the head coach of Team India (Senior Men).
The former India captain will take charge from the upcoming home series against New Zealand. The BCCI had invited applications for the said position on October 26 to appoint Mr Ravi Shastri’s successor, whose term gets over after the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup.
The Board congratulates Shastri (former Team Director & Head Coach), B. Arun (Bowling Coach), R. Sridhar (Fielding Coach) and Vikram Rathour (Batting Coach) on a successful tenure. Under Shastri, the Indian Cricket Team adopted a bold and fearless approach and performed creditably both in-home and away conditions. India climbed to the top position in the Test format and made it to the final of the inaugural World Test Championship in England.
India became the first Asian team to win a Test series in Australia (2018-19) and followed it with another series win in 2020-21. India were also the first team to win all 5 T20Is in a bilateral series when it blanked New Zealand 5-0. Under Shastri and his team’s guidance, India won all their seven Test series at home.
Sourav Ganguly, President, BCCI in a release said: “The BCCI welcomes Rahul Dravid as the Head Coach of India’s senior men team. Rahul has had an illustrious playing career and is one of the greats of the game. He has also served Indian cricket as Head of National Cricket Academy (NCA) with distinction. Rahul’s effort at the NCA has nurtured several young cricketing talents who have gone on to represent the country at the international stage. I am hopeful that his new stint will take Indian cricket to new heights.”
Jay Shah, Honorary Secretary, BCCI said: “There is no better person than Rahul Dravid and I am delighted to see him being appointed as the Head Coach of the Indian Cricket Team. With two World Cups scheduled to take place in the next two years, it is important to have a seamless transition, and the former India captain is the right man for the job. Having provided the much-needed direction to NCA and overseen the progression of the boys at India U-19 and India A level, we believe this is also a natural progression for him as a coach. I have no doubt that under him, the Indian team will dominate in all formats. The Board will soon make appointments of other coaching staff, who will support the Head Coach in jointly achieving our targets.”
Rahul Dravid, Head Coach, Team India said: “It is an absolute honour to be appointed as the new Head Coach of the Indian Cricket Team and I am really looking forward to this role. Under Mr Shastri, the team has done very well, and I hope to work with the team to take this forward. Having worked closely with most of the boys either at NCA, U19 and India A setup, I know they have the passion and desire to improve every day. There are some marquee multi-team events in the next two years, and I look forward to working with the players and the support staff to achieve our potential.”

Antonio Conte vows to deliver ‘attractive’ football with Tottenham Hotspur

London [UK]: Newly-appointed Tottenham Hotspur FC head coach Antonio Conte has vowed to bring consistency to the Primer League side by playing “good and attractive” football.
On Tuesday, the north London side announced the appointment of Antonio Conte as the head coach on a contract until the summer of 2023, with an option to extend. In his first interview since being appointed, Conte told Spurs TV: “My coaching philosophy is very simple – to play good and attractive football for our fans. To have a stable team, not up and down.”
“I think the fans deserve to have a competitive team with a will to fight. I will do everything to deserve their support. This type of situation pushes you and increases the desire to work and to do something important for the fans of this club. This is a great opportunity, an honour to become the manager,” he added.
Conte has won titles in Serie A, including a hat-trick of Scudettos with Juventus, the Premier League with Chelsea and also managed Italy, leading the Azzurri to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
In his most recent stint, he guided Inter Milan to their first title in 11 years in 2020/21, ending Juventus’ run of nine successive Scudettos.

Rahul Dravid set to take over as Team India coach after T20 World Cup

New Delhi [India]: In what comes as the biggest positive for Indian cricket in recent times, former India skipper Rahul Dravid has agreed to take over as the head coach of the national team. The development took place on the sidelines of the final of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League on Friday night.
Speaking to ANI, sources in the know of developments confirmed that the NCA head is ready to take over as the national team coach. “Dravid has agreed and it cannot get better. The other positions will now be looked into while Vikram stays as the batting coach. The Indian team is in a state of transition with youngsters coming in and they have all worked with Dravid and it will be all the more easier for Indian cricket to continue on its path to become world beaters on the pitch,” the source said.
Dravid was always the preferred choice for the BCCI but it looks like it took Secretary Jay Shah and President Sourav Ganguly to sit down and talk with the former captain before he agreed to wear the cap full-time after travelling to Sri Lanka with the team for the limited-overs series recently during the main team’s tour of England.
“Jay and Sourav spoke to him and it was about Dravid being convinced because it does need a lot of time as you need to be on the go constantly. But things went well and Dravid has always kept the interest of the Indian cricket on the top so it made things easier as the team would do well to have someone like him guiding the boys,” the source said.
Current coach Ravi Shastri’s contract ends with the T20 World Cup that gets underway on Sunday. The BCCI is hosting the tournament in Oman and UAE. India will open its T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai. After the upcoming T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli will also be stepping down as the side’s captain in the shortest format.

Messi was ‘tyrant’ during training, says Barca coach Ronald Koeman

Barcelona [Spain]: Barca coach Ronald Koeman has said Lionel Messi was like “a tyrant” during training at Barcelona.
The Argentina star raised the bar at the Camp Nou club as he developed into one of the greatest to ever play the game before departing to join Paris Saint-Germain this year. “Lionel Messi has obscured everything. He was so good and he won,” Koeman told Voetbal International, as reported by
“Of course he had good players around him, but he made the difference. Everyone seems better than they are because of him. This is not a criticism, but an observation,” said the Barcelona coach.
Koeman, who worked with the Argentina star for a year before Messi left the club for Paris Saint-Germain said, “I knew how good he is, but it’s still nice to see it up close every day. Everything you would like to teach a football player, in recognising situations, in taking the ball under pressure, in ball speed, in finishing; with Messi everything is a 10 Not normal, not normal!
“When we did a finishing practice during training, there were sometimes players who started to hit easy balls, a bit of fooling around. But with Messi everything was: boom, boom, boom, boom. Never frills, everything functional. And always wanted to win everything.”
Messi left Barcelona and ended his 20-year relationship with the club after it could not keep the Argentine due to financial difficulties.
Remembering his time training the Argentine, Koeman said, “We always play a rondo before training. If the ball goes around 20 times, then the players in the middle must have an extra turn. If that happens three times in a row, the players will form two lines and the two who were in the middle then walk through and get taps on their heads and such.”
“I asked Messi if it had happened to him once. ‘Yes, once,’ he said. In all those years. With him, the older players never lost an exercise against the young. It happened once and Messi was seriously angry about that for a week. Really, a tyrant,” he added.

Shastri intends to step down as coach after T20 WC, says ‘never overstay your welcome’

London [UK]: Team India head coach Ravi Shastri intends to step down from his role after the T20 World Cup as in an interview with The Guardian, he said that he has achieved everything there was and he does not want to overstay his welcome.
“I believe so because I’ve achieved all I wanted. Five years as No 1 in Test cricket, to win in Australia twice, to win in England. I spoke to Michael Atherton earlier this summer and said: ‘For me, this is the ultimate – to beat Australia in Australia and win in England in Covid times.’ We lead England 2-1 and the way we played at Lord’s and the Oval was special,” The Guardian quoted Shastri as saying. “We’ve also beaten every country in the world in their own backyard in white-ball cricket. If we win the T20 World Cup that will be the icing on the cake. There is nothing more. I believe one thing – never overstay your welcome. And I would say that, in terms of what I wanted to get out of the side, I’ve over-achieved. To beat Australia away and to lead the series in England in a Covid year? It is the most satisfying moment of my four decades in cricket,” he added.
Shastri also said that there should be less international bilateral T20 cricket to ease scheduling pressures on the players.
“I would like to see less and less bilateral T20 cricket. Look at football. You have the Premier League, the Spanish league, the Italian league, the German league. They all come together for the Champions League. There are few bilateral football friendlies now. The national teams only play for the World Cup or World Cup qualifying and other major tournaments like the European Championships, Copa America and the Africa Cup of Nations. I think that’s the way T20 cricket should go. Spread the game in different countries, and take it to the Olympics. But cut down on those bilateral games and give time for the players to rest, recuperate and play Test cricket,” said Shastri.
“They (Team India players) all believe the same. There is enough franchised cricket. That is working. But what is the point of bilateral? In my seven years with this Indian team, I don’t remember one white-ball game. If you win a World Cup final you will remember it and that’s the only thing left for me as a coach. Otherwise, you bloody cleaned up everything across the globe. I don’t remember a single white-ball game. Test matches? I remember every ball. Everything. But the volume is too much. We beat Australia 3-0 in the T20 series. We beat New Zealand 5-0 in New Zealand. Who cares? But beating Australia in two-Test series in Australia? Winning Tests in England? I remember that,” he added.
With Ravi Shastri’s tenure as India coach ending with the upcoming T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman, talks have started in the BCCI corridor on the road ahead. And as fate would have it, former coach Anil Kumble looks like he could be back in the hot seat.
Speaking to ANI, sources in the know of developments said while it is no secret that Kumble did a good job in his first stint, it will also depend on the former skipper agreeing to come on board a second time before such a move sees the light of the day.
“While the process will once again be a transparent one, it is no secret that Kumble did a good job with the team. What led to the differences four years back doesn’t concern anyone now as everyone has moved ahead. While he would definitely be a good option, it needs to be seen whether he himself agrees to come on board a second time. So his nod would also matter. But yes, he is definitely someone who can take the team forward,” the source had said.

Kohli will be more determined, focused to win the T20 World Cup, says childhood coach Rajkumar

New Delhi [India]: India skipper Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma feels the 32-year-old cricketer will be more “determined and focused” to win the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Kohli on Thursday announced that he would step down as the T20I skipper of the national side after the T20 World Cup slated to be played in the UAE in October-November this year. Rajkumar said the new skipper will bring new ideas and Kohli will help him just like MS Dhoni used to assist the India captain.
“New captain will bring new ideas and new strategies, so it will interesting to see who is named as the skipper. Just like what Dhoni did, Virat too will like to play the same role and help the new captain,” Rajkumar told ANI.
“He will be more determined and focused to win the T20 World Cup as he will want to leave India’s T20I captaincy on a high.
“It is a thoughtful decision, he had discussed with me also about this. Captaining in three formats does put a player under pressure and hence he decided to step down from T20I captaincy,” said Rajkumar
Rajkumar said he feels it’s the right decision at the right time.
“We were discussing about it as it is a big issue, I was sure about it. Virat loves the Test format and he will want to lead India in the Test format for a longer period and ODI too hence he decided to step down from T20I captaincy to ease off the pressure,” he said.
The India skipper said he arrived at his decision after discussing with head coach Ravi Shastri and opening batsman Rohit Sharma.
Kohli will continue to be available for selection for the T20 format post the upcoming ICC event in 2021, which is hosted by the BCCI in UAE and Oman.
Kohli has captained India in 45 T20Is with the side winning 27 out of those. India only lost 14 T20Is under Kohli captaincy while two games were tied and two matches had no results.

Matthew Hayden and Vernon Philander join Pakistan’s coaching staff ahead of ICC T20 WC

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Former Australia batsman Matthew Hayden and former South Africa seamer Vernon Philander have joined Pakistan’s coaching staff ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE.
The newly-elected PCB chairman Ramiz Raja on Monday announced that the duo has been appointed as Pakistan’s men’s cricket team coaches. Ramiz cited the aggression and quality of the players as defining reasons for their hiring. “Matthew Hayden is Australian, and has experience of winning World Cups and was a great player himself,” Ramiz said, as per “It might be very beneficial to have an Australian occupying the dressing room. And Pakistan, of course, can win the World Cup, they just need to improve their performances an extra 10 per cent. Vernon Philander I know very well, and he understands bowling, and has a great record against Australia.”
It was not immediately clear what specific roles the two former cricketers would play in the Pakistan team. Ramiz did also confirm that there would be a head coach appointed alongside them, but did not yet reveal the identity.
Earlier, former Pakistan skipper and 1992 World Cup-winning player Ramiz Raja was elected unanimously and unopposed as the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) 36th Chairman for a three-year term. Ramiz Raja was elected in a Special Meeting presided over by the PCB election commissioner, Justice (retd) Sheikh Azmat Saeed.
Ramiz Raja, along with Asad Ali Khan, was nominated by the PCB Patron, Prime Minister Imran Khan, on the PCB Board of Governors on August 27 for a three-year term, where they joined Aasim Wajid Jawad, Alia Zafar, Arif Saeed, Javed Kurieshi (all independent members) and Wasim Khan (PCB Chief Executive).

Taapsee Pannu Praises Her ‘Shabaash Mithu’ Coach On Teachers’ Day

Actor Taapsee Pannu finds her coach Nooshin Al Khadeer an important pillar behind her journey in the film ‘Shabaash Mithu’.

Written by Priya Aven, ‘Shabaash Mithu’ revolves around the life of Indian women’s ODI cricket team captain, Mithali Dorai Raj. On the occasion of Teachers’ Day on Sunday, Taapsee took out a moment to pay tribute to Nooshin, who gave former cricket training.

“Behind every fearless player, there is a fearless coach! Thank you Nooshin for bringing out the best in me! Happy Teachers Day,” she wrote on Instagram Story.
Alongside the note, Taapsee posted a video featuring images of Nooshin and Taapsee from the latter’s training session.

Apart from ‘Shabaash Mithu’, Taapsee will also be seen in ‘Looop Lapeta’, ‘Haseen Dillruba’, ‘Rashmi Rocket’, ‘Blurr’, and the sci-fi thriller titled ‘Dobaaraa’ directed by Anurag Kashyap.

Angad Bedi Mourns Demise Of Legendary Coach Vasoo Paranjape

Actor Angad Bedi is deeply saddened after the demise of legendary coach Vasoo Paranjape.

Taking to Instagram, Angad penned an emotional post in the memory of Vasoo Paranjape. “RIP Vasu sir… You will be missed great man !! Your voice shall never leave me…My condolences to the family,” he wrote.
Alongside the note, Angad posted a picture of the late coach.

Vasoo Paranjape passed away on Monday at his residence in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. He is survived by his son Jatin, a former Mumbai batter, who also played four ODIs, reported ESPNcricinfo.
Vasoo Paranjape mentored the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar and Rohit Sharma.

Tokyo Paralympics: Break in training for a week means you start from zero, says archery coach Kuldeep

New Delhi [India]: The COVID-19 pandemic halted the sporting action across the world on numerous occasions in the last couple of years and India’s para archery coach Kuldeep Vedwan was quick to point how the breaks between the practice could possibly nullify all the efforts of the archers.
Harvinder Singh and Vivek Chikara will represent India in men’s recurve individual while Rakesh Kumar and Shyam Sundar Swami will lock horns in men’s compound individual. Also, Jyoti Baliyan will feature in women’s compound individual events in the Tokyo Paralympics. The Indian coach maintained since the archers are continually training in the camp organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) they are in the groove for the Tokyo Paralympics.
“I want to thank Sports Authority of India (SAI) and our federation as during COVID also our camp was organised. And if there were breaks between, our athletes practised on the ground because when we stop practising even for one week, the break actually takes us a month back. If you don’t practice even for a week, you have to again start from zero. This also works psychologically and affects the athletes on the mental and physical levels,” said Vedwan while replying to a query from ANI.
Archer Harvinder shed light on the athletes’ training routine at the SAI centre where they have been practising hard for about eight months.
“We are practising here and our training is going on nicely at SAI Sonepat for the last ten months. We start the day with yoga and breathing exercises and the train respectively,” said Harvinder.
When ANI asked how the recent performances will have an impact on the final showdown, Harvinder said: “After June (2019) championship, we got more than two years for practice and that experience will be helpful, I also won a gold medal in Para Asian and worked on my weakness.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the para-athletes on Tuesday and coach Kuldeep said interaction with the PM has boosted the players’ morale.
“Rakesh and Jyoti have performed well recently. We felt really nice when PM Modi spoke to our athletes. This is the first time we are seeing that a Prime Minister is directly talking to athletes,” said Kuldeep.
“Our archers will perform well and you can see there is a different type of wave in athletics after Neeraj Chopra won gold in the Olympics. He has broken every barrier and I hope our athletes will also bring a medal,” he added.
Deputy Chef de Mission (CDM) Arhan Bagati while giving some insights about life in the Games Village said: “There are some cases and rules are strict, mask wearing is a must and we have to update regularly about our whereabouts. We need to give saliva samples every day and if we deviate, we can be suspended.”
A total of 54 para-athletes from across nine sports disciplines will be featuring in the showpiece event. This is India’s biggest ever contingent to the Paralympic Games.

IPL: Mike Hesson steps in as RCB head coach, Hasaranga replaces Zampa

Bengaluru [Karnataka]: Ahead of the resumption of Season 14 of the IPL, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) announced changes to the squad as the team gears up for the action in the UAE this September.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) head coach Simon Katich has stepped down as head coach of the IPL side due to personal reasons and as part of the team’s business continuity plan Mike Hesson will step in and discharge the duties of Head Coach for this season, in addition to his existing role of Director of Cricket Operations, RCB. Speaking about the resumption of the IPL 2021, Rajesh Menon, Vice President and Head, Royal
Challengers Bangalore, in a virtual press briefing, said, “As the season resumes in the UAE, it’s going to be an exciting chapter ahead. Simon Katich has decided to step down as the head coach of RCB, we would like to thank Katich for his work during his time at Royal Challengers and wish him success in the future. In the interim, Mike Hesson will step in and discharge the duties of the head coach until the end of the current season, in addition to his existing role of Director of Cricket.”
Rajesh Menon also announced that Sri Lankan all-rounder Wanidu Hasaranga will be part of RCB for the second leg of IPL 2021 in UAE. He replaces Adam Zampa. Hasaranga was the player of the series in the recently concluded Sri Lanka-India T20I series taking 7 wickets in 3 matches at an economy rate of 5.58.
Another Sri Lankan, Dushmantha Chameera confirmed his place in the Banglore side. The fast bowler replaces Daniel Sams. Tim David who is no stranger to the T20 format replaced Finn Allen at RCB for the remainder of the season. After tasting success in T20 leagues around the world, hard-hitting batsman and handy bowler, Tim David will now test his skills in IPL.
The Indian players, support staff and the team management will be assembling in Bengaluru on Saturday following which the team will undergo 7 days of quarantine and will undergo Covid tests for 3 days during the period. The team will then depart via a chartered flight from Bangalore on August 29. The other international players and staff will assemble in the UAE starting August 29 onwards. There will be another 6 days of quarantine in the UAE.
Royal Challengers Bangalore resume Season 14 of the IPL on September 20 as they square off
against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Afghanistan appoint Shaun Tait as bowling coach

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Former Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait on Monday was appointed Afghanistan national team’s bowling coach with immediate effect.
“During his prime, Tait was one of history’s fastest bowlers clocking an extreme pace of 160 kph,” the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) said in an official statement. He was part of the Australian squad that triumphed in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, taking 23 wickets in the tournament. He was also part of the Australian squad which ended second in the 2010 ICC T20 World Cup.
Overall, Tait played 35 ODIs, 21 T20Is, and three Tests for Australia taking 62, 28, and five wickets in each format respectively.
Tait is a level-two certified coach from Cricket Australia and has coached various domestic and some international franchise teams including Melbourne Renegades in BBL.

Indian Railways launches Vistadome coach on Mumbai-Pune route

The Indian Railways on Saturday launched a Vistadome coach service on the Mumbai-Pune Deccan Express Special train, which ran full house. Sharing photos of the new coach on his Twitter handle, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal wrote: “A Panoramic View of the Western Ghats: Wide window panes and glass rooftops of the first ever Vistadome Coach in Pune-Mumbai Deccan Express provide passengers with a unhindered, unique and unforgettable travel experience. Come, experience the Western Ghats as never before!.”

Railway Ministry officials said that the Mumbai-Pune Deccan Express Special train started its first run with LHB rake and Vistadome coach on Saturday. An official added that first trip on the Vistadome coach from Mumbai to Pune was a sellout. The Vistadome coach has big glass windows, glass roof, observation lounge along with rotatable seats that allow the passengers to enjoy the beautiful locations during the journey through the Western Ghats.

The official said that the passengers were eager to enjoy unhindered views of the valleys and waterfalls enroute, adding that the experience is similar to travelling in a Vistadome coach on the Mumbai-Goa route. At present, the Vistadome coach service is operational in the Mumbai-Madgaon Jan Shadabdi Special train.

Now passengers on the Mumbai-Pune route can also enjoy the scenic beauty and experience being with nature while passing near the Matheran hill (near Neral), Songir hill (near Palasdhari), Ulhas river (near Jambrung), Ulhas valley, areas of Khandala, Lonavala etc., as well as the waterfalls and tunnels on the South East Ghat section.

The Railways had launched the newly-designed Vistadome coaches last year. The official said that the Vistadome tourist coach has a larger viewing area, including a glass roof, with 44 seats for the passengers that can be rotated up to 180 degrees. The coach also has a Wi-Fi-based passenger information system. The official said that for the first time, the Vistadome coach has been built on the LHB platform, which is more safe.

Pointing out the stand-out features of the new Vistadome coaches, the official said that they are equipped with air-spring suspension in secondary stage for better ride comfort, large glass windows and glass roof that boast electrically controlled opalescence, a transparent roof for the passengers to get a panoramic view of their journey, and an observatory lounge with a larger window at one end.

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