The members of the Indian ODI team will have a break of a maximum of four days post the three-match series against England in Pune before entering the bubble for this season’s IPL. According to the standard operating procedures (SOP) released by the Indian cricket board (BCCI), players who are part of the ongoing series will not have to serve mandatory seven-day quarantine if they move in to the franchise bubble directly from the bubble of the Indian team. “After conclusion of the India-England series, the players are moved directly to the franchise team hotel either in the team bus or on a chartered flight. The BCCI chief medical officer (CMO) must be satisfied with the arrangements,” says the SOP. The series against England ends on March 28. Majority of players who have been in a tough bubble since last August may opt for a break and go back to their homes before the 50-day tournament gets underway. With the IPL starting on April 9, the players will have to get inside the bubble latest by April 2. IPL franchises can start pre-season camps with seven-day hard quarantine. However, the BCCI is still awaiting the government nod to make vaccines available for elite athletes.
Sharath, Manika seal mixed berth for Oly
India’s Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra had their task cut out against World No. 5 South Korean pair of Sangsu Lee and Jihee Jeon in the mixed doubles finals of the Asian Olympic qualifiers in Doha on Saturday. Ranked No. 18 in the world, the Indian pair came up with a stunning come-from-behind 4-2 win (8-11, 6-11, 11-5,11-6,13-11,11-8) to seal a Tokyo berth. With this being the last chance for Sharath and Manika to seal their places in the mixed doubles draw, it was important to start well. But the Korean pair cruised to a 2-0 lead after winning the first two games11-8,11-6.The match turned on its head in the third when Sharath and Manika opened up a decisive 9-2 lead and sealed the game 11-5. The fourth game saw both pairs pocketing a majority of points on their opponents’ serves. India got a 7-3 lead and closed out the game11-6. The fifth game had India calling the shots early on.
Sindhu crashes out
PV Sindhu crashed out of the All England Championships with a 17-21, 9-21 loss to Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand in the semifinals last week. A day after her brilliant show against Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, which she won 16-21, 21-16, 21-19, Sindhu struggled against Pornpawee. Perhaps, the tiring one hour, 16 minute encounter against Yamaguchi earlier took its toll on Sindhu.
Pornpawee will face Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the final. Sindhu started well, but at 6-9 in the first game, she misjudged a couple of line calls and allowed Pornpawee to move ahead 11-6. The Indian soon cut the deficit to 15-16, but could not hold on and lost both the sets. “I have to learn from my mistakes and take the positives. I don’t have a tournament for another month so I have time to prepare and come back stronger,” Sindhu added.
SA players to miss Pak T20 series
None of the players contracted in the Indian Premier League will play for South Africa in a Twenty20 international series against Pakistan, Cricket South Africa said. Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, David Miller and Anrich Nortje will play for their country in three ODIs against Pakistan but will miss a four-match T20 series in order to play in the IPL. Former captain Faf du Plessis, who also has an IPL deal, was not included in either squad. This is in accordance with an agreement between CSA and the Indian cricket board.
Four Indian shooters test Covid positive
The ISSF shooting World Cup in New Delhi faced another Covid-19 scare last week when five shooters, including four from India, tested positive for the virus, putting a question mark over the conduct of the event at the Karni Singh Shooting Range (KSSR). Among the four Indian shooters, two are from the men’s pistol team event, while the other two participate in the rapid fire discipline. While the pistol shooters returned positive just hours before their qualification rounds scheduled on Saturday afternoon, the rapid fire marksmen were found to be Covid-19 positive late in the evening. The pistol shooters have been shifted to a Faridabad hospital near to the range. The international shooter, who is from South America, has also been put into isolation at the hospital. The rapid fire shooters will be subjected to another round of RT-PCR testing