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Pujara and Pacers stood out:Tendulkar

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Mumbai: Man of the series in India’s maiden Test series triumph in Australia, Cheteshwar Pujara has won many fans including Sachin Tendulkar. The ‘Master Blaster’ praised Pujara for defying the Aussie bowlers and setting the platform for the middle-order batsmen.

Pujara was dropped for the first Test in England earlier this year and there were questions about his future. But the No. 3 batsman put behind some disappointments to amass 521 runs against Australia.

“Pujara has been really outstanding. The number of statements made on Pujara, which ideally weren’t in his favour, kind of undermined his contribution. The bowlers have also done exceedingly well,” Tendulkar said.

 

“I think somewhere Pujara has been instrumental in laying that solid foundation on which there were a number of guys who went out and got runs. But if I have to pin-point one guy then Pujara stands out along with the fast bowlers,” he added.

Tendulkar was also impressed with the brand of cricket produced by Virat Kohli & Co. in the four-Test series. “It was Fantastic. The brand of cricket that India has been able to produce Down Under has been magnificent,” added Tendulkar

Indian pacers led by Jasprit Bumrah bowled with aggression to unsettle the Aussies. Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma also bowled exceedingly well. Umesh Yadav got just one game and Bhuvneshwar Kumar warmed the bench. The pace attack had done well in South Africa and England also and Tendulkar felt the Indian bowling attack has proved that it is capable of delivering in all conditions across the world.

“I can comfortably say that we are a competitive attack in any part of the world, on any surface. We are ready to go and play anywhere in the world and be extremely competitive. Spinners also chipped in at various occasions. What you want is also your fast bowlers to bowl those hostile spells in patches and that has happened more frequently, it was not just about the new ball game, it was also to do with the old ball and how consistently one can bowl in 140 plus and that is something, which is pleasing to the eye,” he said.

Sachin believed the emergence of current crop of fast bowlers is due to their talent besides easy accessibility to any information. “I feel, we have got quality fast bowlers, at the same time, it is not just to do with your diet and accessibility to various information, but also the guys are talented, they are really (talented),” he said. He also hoped that the 2-1 result in Australia would inspire the younger generation.

“Hopefully, there are many journeys which have started already. You need these kinds of results to inspire them,” he said.


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Women’s football team better than men’s, says Chhetri

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New Delhi: The FIFA ranking says so and India football captain Sunil Chhetri too has no qualms in conceding that the national women’s team is better than the men’s side. The men’s team is currently ranked 103rd out of 211 countries, after being in the top-100 last year. The women’s side is currently 62nd out of 152 nations.

Chhetri, the poster boy of Indian football with second-most goals among active international players, praised the national women’s team for its fifth consecutive SAFF title win. “Extremely proud of all of you. I have always maintained that the women’s team is much better than the men,” Chhetri said.

The women’s team will feature in Round 2 of the Olympics qualifiers, which kick off in Mandalay in Myanmar on April 3.

 
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I will be first one to hang my boots when time comes: Yuvraj on retirement

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Mumbai: Yuvraj Singh’s cricketing future has been a topic of discussion for some years now but the player said he would be the first one to bid adieu when he felt that his time is up.

Out of national team’s scheme of things for good, Yuvraj has had a poor track record in the IPL but started on a bright note with a half-century for his latest franchise Mumbai Indians.

“When the time comes, I will be the first one to hang my boots,” Yuvraj told the media after MI’s 37-run defeat against Delhi Capitals in the IPL opener.

 

However, India’s 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup hero did admit that at times he felt indecisive about carrying on.

“The last two years, have been up and down (for me). And I could not decide on what to do,” said the 37-year-old.

Yuvraj said when on introspection, he found that he is still enjoying the game just as he did as an U-16 cricketer not thinking about national team selection.

“The main thing for me was why I played the game when I started off. I played the game because I enjoyed playing cricket. When I enjoyed playing cricket, I was not playing for India. I was playing for U-14s and U-16s. So till the time, I enjoy playing cricket, I am going to play.”

The veteran left-hander spoke to Sachin Tendulkar, who could relate with his situation as to how he felt when he was at the business end of his career.

“I have been speaking to Sachin (Tendulkar) as well and he has gone through that time when he was 37-38-39 (and how he felt). Talking to him makes things easier for me. And I am just playing because I enjoy playing cricket pretty much,” he signed off.

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Zidane is the right man for the Real Madrid job : Mourinho

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London: Jose Mourinho has said that he believes Zinedine Zidane is the right man for the Real Madrid managerial position.

Zidane was re-appointed as Madrid’s head coach earlier this month, just 10 months after he had resigned from the same position.

After Solari’s dismissal, many tipped Mourinho to return to the Santiago Bernabeu after he had been sacked as Manchester United boss in December.

 

Mourinho was Madrid’s manager from 2010 to 2013, but the Blancos instead opted to bring back three-time Champions League winner Zidane.

And Mourinho himself has now said that the Blancos made the right call, adding that the Frenchman is just getting started in his managerial career despite what he has already achieved.

“I do not think we can talk about a career for him yet,” Mourinho said of Zidane on Canal Plus.

“But in a very short time, he did what no one had done before, that is winning three consecutive Champions Leagues”.

“Now he is starting a new step in his career. He has to build a team, he has to make choices, buy players, sell them. He has to train them, give them his philosophy of play.

“I think he’s probably the best person for this club.”

Mourinho has not been shy about his desire to return to club management, and said this week he has already turned down a number of job offers.

The Portuguese said that he’s growing more eager to return every day.

“Day after day, I miss training. I’m not going to hide it,” Mourinho said.

“There’s something going on in my head, winning a fifth league and a new Champions League with a third club.”

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