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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