sports world

The sports wrap: Won't experiment with team combination, says Virat Kohli, and other top stories

Gujarat beat Mumbai by five wickets to clinch their maiden Ranji Trophy title.

The big story: ‘Yuvraj brought in to ease burden on Dhoni’

India’s new limited-overs skipper Virat Kohli set down the marker ahead of the One-day International series, which begins on January 15. Kohli stated his side will not be experimenting much with team selection with the 2017 Champions Trophy within touching distance.

“We are taking these three games as knockout games in our own heads because we need to prepare for Champions Trophy and we need to be in the right kind of frame because the tournament is like that - it is very competitive and very quick. So we need to be at our best from game one of the series,” Kohli said.

“So, we are not taking these games as trial games. So these three games become all the more crucial. We are not going to be experimenting much with any things. We are going to find the right combinations from game one and then stick to it till the Champions Trophy,” he added.

Kohli also shed light over the logic of recalling Yuvraj Singh back into the squad after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“Experience is something we have discussed before picking Yuvi because we cannot leave so much burden on MS (Dhoni) alone in the middle order. I am willing to take up responsibility up the order, but there needs to be one more guy with him (Dhoni) down the order in case the top order doesn’t fire,” Kohli said.

Other top stories

Cricket

  • Gujarat beat 41-time champions Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy final to lift India’s premier domestic competition for the first time. Gujarat skipper led the chase of 312 admirably, scoring a fluent 143 as his team romped home with five wickets to spare in Indore.
  • India and Saurashtra batsman Cheteshwar Pujara will lead the Rest of India squad in the Irani Cup. Squad: Abhinav Mukund, Akhil Herwadkar, Pujara (c), Karun Nair, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha, Kuldeep Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem, Pankaj Singh, K Vignesh, Siddarth Kaul, Shardul Thakur, Akshay Wakhare, Ishan Kishan, Prashant Chopra.
  • Former India skipper Mohammed Azharuddin’s nomination for being the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association has been rejected
  • New Zealand fought back in the first Test against Bangladesh on day three at Wellington on the back of Tom Latham’s battling hundred. Latham was unbeaten on 119 at the close of play with the Kiwis at 292/3, still a mammoth 303 runs behind the visitors’ total.
  • Sri Lanka have been asked to follow-on in the third Test against South Africa after getting shot out for a lowly 131 on day three. Things didn’t start well for the Lankans in the second innings either with opener Kaushal Silva departing for a first-ball duck. Angelo Mathews’ side were 13/1 at Lunch, and are behind the Proteas by 282 runs.

Football

  • In the I-League, DSK Shivajians will host giants East Bengal but all eyes will be on the South Indian derby, which sees reigning champions Bengaluru FC hosts newcomers Chennai City FC.
  • After a reported bust-up with coach Antonio Conte, Chelsea striker Diego Costa has set his sights on a big-money move to China, reported The Guardian. The report stated that the Spaniard’s agent Jorge Mendes is in China to broker a deal. Costa has been dropped from the Chelsea matchday squad to face Leicester City.
  • Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho sang his midfielder Paul Pogba’s praises, calling him captaincy material. The Portuguese said that the French midfielder has the “charisma, talent and ambition” to wear the armband.
  • Indian Super League club FC Goa sacked manager Zico, who has managed the club since the inception of the tournament. Despite finishing runners-up in 2015, the Gaurs finished at the bottom of the pile in the previous season.
  • Pere Gratacos, FC Barcelona’s director of institutional relations has been given the boot by the Spanish champions after opining that five-time Ballon D’or winner Lionel Messi would not be as good without his supporting cast, “Leo is one of the most important people in the team, but it’s not just about him. He would not be as good without [Andres] Iniesta, Neymar and company, but Messi is the best,” Gratacos said.

Boxing

  • India women boxers were in fine form in the Nations Cup in Serbia. Former World Championships silver-medalist Sarjubala Devi entered the summit event. Priyanaka Chaudhary, Pooja and Seema Poonia have also reached the final in their respective weight categories.  

Tennis

  • India’s Yuki Bhambri failed to qualify for the main draw in the Australian Open, losing to USA’s Ernesto Escobedo 7-6(2) 2-6 4-6 in the final round of qualifiers  

Wrestling

  • Indian wrestler Narsingh Yadav, who was slapped with a four-year ban before the start of the Rio Olympics, recorded his statement before the Central Bureau of Investigation. Yadav alleged that another wrestler mixed narcotics and banned substances in his meals and drinks, reported ANI.
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London then and now – As experienced by Indians

While much has changed, the timeless quality of the city endures.

“I found the spirit of the city matching the Bombay spirit. Like Bombay, the city never sleeps and there was no particular time when you couldn’t wander about the town freely and enjoy the local atmosphere”, says CV Manian, a PhD student in Manchester in the ‘80s, who made a trip to London often. London as a city has a timeless quality. The seamless blend of period architecture and steel skyscrapers acts as the metaphor for a city where much has changed, but a lot hasn’t.

The famed Brit ‘stiff upper lip, for example, finds ample validation from those who visited London decades ago. “The people were minding their business, but never showed indifference to a foreigner. They were private in their own way and kept to themselves.” Manian recollects. Aditya Dash remembers an enduring anecdote from his grandmother’s visit to London. “There is the famous family story where she was held up at Heathrow airport. She was carrying zarda (or something like that) for my grandfather and customs wanted to figure out if it was contraband or not.”

However, the city always housed contrasting cultures. During the ‘Swinging ‘60s’ - seen as a precursor to the hippie movement - Shyla Puri’s family had just migrated to London. Her grandfather still remembers the simmering anti-war, pro-peace sentiment. He himself got involved with the hippie movement in small ways. “He would often talk with the youth about what it means to be happy and how you could achieve peace. He wouldn’t go all out, but he would join in on peace parades and attend public talks. Everything was ‘groovy’ he says,” Shyla shares.

‘Groovy’ quite accurately describes the decade that boosted music, art and fashion in a city which was till then known for its post-World-War austerities. S Mohan, a young trainee in London in the ‘60s, reminisces, “The rage was The Beatles of course, and those were also the days of Harry Belafonte and Ella Fitzgerald.” The likes of The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd were inspiring a cultural revolution in the city. Shyla’s grandfather even remembers London turning punk in the ‘80s, “People walking around with leather jackets, bright-colored hair, mohawks…It was something he would marvel at but did not join in,” Shyla says.

But Shyla, a second-generation Londoner, did join in in the revival of the punk culture in the 21st century. Her Instagram picture of a poster at the AfroPunk Fest 2016 best represents her London, she emphatically insists. The AfroPunk movement is trying to make the Punk culture more racially inclusive and diverse. “My London is multicultural, with an abundance of accents. It’s open, it’s alive,” Shyla says. The tolerance and openness of London is best showcased in the famous Christmas lights at Carnaby Street, a street that has always been popular among members of London’s alternate cultures.

Christmas lights at Carnaby Street (Source: Roger Green on Wikimedia Commons)
Christmas lights at Carnaby Street (Source: Roger Green on Wikimedia Commons)

“London is always buzzing with activity. There are always free talks, poetry slams and festivals. A lot of museums are free. London culture, London art, London creativity are kept alive this way. And of course, with the smartphones navigating is easy,” Shyla adds. And she’s onto something. Manian similarly describes his ‘80s rendezvous with London’s culture, “The art museums and places of interest were very illustrative and helpful. I could tour around the place with a road map and the Tube was very convenient.” Mohan, with his wife, too made the most of London’s cultural offerings. “We went to see ‘Swan Lake’ at the Royal Opera House and ‘The Mousetrap’ by Agatha Christie. As an overseas graduate apprentice, I also had the pleasure to visit the House of Lords and take tea on the terrace.”

For the casual stroller along London’s streets today, the city would indeed look quite different from what it would’ve to their grandparents. Soho - once a poor suburb known for its crime and sex industry - is today a fashionable district of upmarket eateries and fashion stores. Most of the big British high street brands have been replaced by large international stores and the London skyline too has changed, with The Shard being the latest and the most impressive addition. In fact, Shyla is quite positive that her grandfather would not recognise most of the city anymore.

Shyla, though, isn’t complaining. She assures that alternate cultures are very much alive in the city. “I’ve seen some underground LGBT clubs, drag clubs, comedy clubs, after midnight dance-offs and empty-warehouse-converted parties. There’s a space for everybody.” London’s cosmopolitan nature remains a huge point of attraction for Indian visitors even today. Aditya is especially impressed by the culinary diversity of London and swears that, “some of the best chicken tikka rolls I have had in my life were in London.” “An array of accents flood the streets. These are the people who make London...LONDON,” says Shyla.

It’s clear that London has changed a lot, but not really all that much. Another aspect of Indians’ London experience that has remained consistent over the past decades is the connectivity of British Airways. With a presence in India for over 90 years, British Airways has been helping generations of Indians discover ‘their London’, just like in this video.

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For more information on special offers on flights to London and other destinations in the UK, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.