Sports en Mon Jan 11 16:09:00 IST 2021 virat-kohli-becomes-first-indian-to-cross-100-million-followers-on-instagram <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>India men’s cricket team captain Virat Kohli became the first Indian to cross 100 million followers on Instagram on Monday. He is now the fourth-most followed sportsperson on the platform.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 32-year-old is also the first cricketer in the world to reach the landmark.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The International Cricket Council (ICC) took to Twitter to welcome Kohli into the ‘100 million club’.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Virat Kohli - the first cricket star to hit 100 million followers on Instagram,” ICC wrote along with a picture of Kohli “entering” the an elite club that also features Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, PSG forward Neymar, Hollywood actor Dwayne Johnson, singers Beyonce and Ariana Grande.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After Kohli, actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas is the most followed Indian on Instagram with over 60 million followers. Kohli had earlier become the first Asian to reach 75 million followers on Instagram.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ronaldo is the most followed individual on Instagram with over 266 million followers, followed by Grande who has 224 million followers. Johnson, who is also a former WWE star, has 220 million followers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kohli is currently leading the national cricket team as they prepare for the final Test of the four-match series against England in Ahmedabad starting on Thursday. India defeated England in the third Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera by 10 wickets within two days to take a 2-1 lead.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kohli also became the most successful Indian captain on home soil, overtaking his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India need to at least win or draw the last match against England to qualify for the World Test Championship final.</p> Tue Mar 02 11:40:30 IST 2021 police-enter-barcelonas-stadium-as-part-of-search-operation-in-barcagate-case <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Spanish police detained several people after raiding Barcelona's stadium on Monday in a search and seizure operation.</p> <p>The operation was related to last year's Barcagate, in which club officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who were critical of the club and then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.<br> </p> <p>Police said detentions were made but did not say who or how many people were taken into custody.<br> </p> <p>The club said authorities were at the team's headquarters but did not provide any more detail.</p> <p>Spanish media said Bartomeu and other former club officials were among those detained.</p> <p>A text message sent to Bartomeu was not immediately answered.</p> <p>The detentions come less than a week before presidential elections are to be held at the club.<br> </p> <p>One of the three presidential candidates, Joan Laporta, told Lleida Radio that what happened on Monday was a consequence of the bad management by the previous administration.&nbsp;</p> <p>He said the news of Bartomeu's reported detention was shocking and not good" for the club, but noted that the former president deserved the presumption of innocence.</p> <p>Court officials said a judge ordered the search and seize operation but the detentions had been made at the discretion of the police agents involved. Authorities said the operation was being carried out by the police's financial crimes department.<br> </p> <p>Barcelona had denied accusations that it hired and overpaid a company to make negative comments about its own players and opponents on social media in order to boost the image of senior club officials.</p> <p>The company was accused of using fake social media accounts to discredit opposition figures when they expressed views that went against the club. Some of the figures supposedly included players such Lionel Messi and Gerard Piqu, as well as former coach Pep Guardiola.</p> <p>The club later released an independent audit report showing that there was no wrongdoing.<br> </p> <p>Bartomeu and his board of directors resigned last year amid fallout from the controversy surrounding Messi. The club has been mired in political turmoil and debt prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.<br> </p> <p>The club has been managed by a caretaker board since Bartomeu left in October while facing a no-confidence motion supported by thousands of club members furious at the team's poor performances and the club's financial situation.<br> </p> <p>The club's struggles began to surface after the team's embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League last season, which was the first without a title for the Spanish club since 2007-08.&nbsp;<br> </p> Mon Mar 01 22:28:01 IST 2021 pep-guardiola-congratulates-mumbai-city-for-topping-isl-says-he-is-very-happy <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Famed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Monday described sister club Mumbai City FC's feat of topping the Indian Super League points table and booking a spot in the AFC Champions League (ACL) as "an incredible achievement".<br> </p> <p>On Sunday, Mumbai City beat ATK Mohun Bagan 2-0 in the final league encounter of the ongoing ISL to win the League Winners Shield and book a place in the coveted ACL for the next season.<br> </p> <p>"Congratulations to everyone. Incredible achievement. Big achievement for City Football Group. Congratulations to everyone, manager Lobera. Very happy," tweeted Guardiola.<br> </p> <p>Mumbai City FC, coached by Sergio Lobera, is one of the eight clubs worldwide whose majority stakes are owned by City Football Group (CFG). Manchester City, a top side in the English Premier League, is the flagship club of the CFG.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>In 2019, Mumbai City sold 65 per cent of its stake to CFG whose majority stakeholders are Abu Dhabi United Group.<br> </p> Mon Mar 01 21:42:41 IST 2021 indian-team-trains-for-final-test-top-guns-go-full-throttle-at-nets <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Big guns Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane went full throttle at the nets as the Indian cricket on Monday trained in earnest for the upcoming fourth and final Test against England.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The fourth Test starts in Ahmedabad on Thursday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Captain Kohli, his deputy Rahane and senior opener Rohit were seen batting at the nets in a video posted by the BCCI on Twitter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The three senior players drove, pulled and flicked against the fast bowlers and spinners at the Narendra Modi Stadium.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Head coach Ravi Shastri was seen interacting with Rohit and Kohli before the two star batsmen sat together for a discussion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who bagged 11 wickets in India's thumping win in the pink ball third Test at the same venue, was seen rolling his arms over at the nets against some of the world's best batsmen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They were also seen fielding with Rahane, standing next to Rohit in the second slip position, taking a one-handed diving catch to his right.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Kohli-led Indian team lost the first Test in Chennai by 227 runs, but bounced back with a 317-run hammering of the visitors in the second Test.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the previous match, India shot out England for 112 and 81 to wrap up the Test inside two days on a challenging Motera track.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Indian team had a full-fledged practice session here on Sunday as well.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Leading 2-1 in the series, India will be without top pacer Jasprit Bumrah in the final Test as he has been released from the squad.</p> Mon Mar 01 18:26:39 IST 2021 bajrang-punia-leaves-social-media-to-focus-on-tokyo-olympics <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia on Monday announced his decision to stop using all his social media accounts in order to focus on his preparations for the Tokyo Olympics happening later this year. He added that he will return to using social media only after the Olympic Games were over.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He also asked his followers to shower him with their love and support.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Mein apne sabhi social media handles ko aaj se band kar raha hu. Ab Olympic ke baad aap sabhi se mulaakaat hogi ... ummeed karta hu aap apna pyaar banaye rakhenge ..... jai Hind (I will be holding off all activity on my social media handles from today. I will meet you all after the Olympics. I’m hoping that you will keep showering me with your love),” Bajrang tweeted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bajrang will compete in the 65-kg freestyle category. He earned a quota for the Tokyo Olympics in September 2019 after winning a bronze medal at the World Championships. The 27-year-old last took part in a competitive international event in February 2020 at the Asian Senior Championships in New Delhi before all sporting activities were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Tokyo Olympics, which was scheduled to be staged last year, was postponed by a year and will open on July 23. The nationwide Olympic torch relay is due to begin on March 25.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju had said that he is highly optimistic about India’s chances in the quadrennial event, adding that the contingent will make the country proud.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Tokyo Olympics got postponed by one year, but the dates are the same. Because of COVID, the precautionary measures and protocols need to be regulated, every country is preparing for the Olympics. Tokyo Olympics would go ahead, there is no doubt about it. Olympics will go ahead and India will do well too,” Rijiju had said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The sports minister also said that Olympics-bound athletes will be vaccinated before the event once COVID-19 warriors are vaccinated.</p> Mon Mar 01 18:00:55 IST 2021 moaning-and-groaning-over-pitches-must-stop-viv-richards-on-india-england-test <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As the debate over the pitch conditions in the third Test between India and England rages on, West Indies legend Vivian Richards has offered his opinion on the matter by saying that “moaning and groaning” over the track has to stop.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He further said that those lamenting over the pitch must see “the classical side of things in terms of the Indian armoury”. India had won the third Test in the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad by 10 wickets, wrapping up the match within two days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I just believe all the moaning and groaning has got to stop and just see the classical side of things in terms of the Indian armoury,” Richards said, adding that from where he is sitting, “it’s good to see”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Richard posted a video on his Facebook page, in which he is says that he has received questions about the second and third Test matches between India and England.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“…I am a little confused about the question really because there seems to be a lot of moaning and groaning about the wicket that they were playing on,” the 68-year-old is seen saying.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I just felt that the ones who are moaning, in my opinion, should realise that there are times that you’re going to get a seaming track, a ball that is basically jumping off a good length and everyone thinks that’s a problem for batters. There are times batters sometimes cope with that,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Several former players criticised the Motera pitch, in which spinners were able to excel, but batsmen struggled to make a mark, and got out cheaply. India spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin took 11 and 7 wickets respectively in the match while England’s Joe Root took his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Indian cricketers, including captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ashwin, reiterated that both teams lacked when it came to batting with intent and blaming the pitch was unnecessary.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Richards echoed the same sentiments and said that batsmen need to prepare for such conditions rather than complain about the wicket spinning too much.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“…the complaints have been that the wicket is spinning too much and all that sorts of stuff. This is another side of the arc guys,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“People seem to forget that if you’re going to India, you should expect that. You are going to spin land. You should basically prepare yourself to know what you’re going to encounter rather than the moaning and groaning, especially just recently how quickly that Test match was over.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“It gives England an opportunity and a chance to assess things, to believe that for some reason the wicket that they’re going to encounter in the fourth Test is going to be the same,” he said, adding that England need to come out of their comfort zone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The West Indies great also praised the Indian bowlers for their performance in the past few years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Spin in all part of the game, this is what a Test match brings. The Indian pacers have been brilliant over the past few years in terms of substance, wicket-taking ability and stuff like that.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He further advised England to “get dirty” and find ways to cope with their next encounter against India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Now that you’re in India, you are going to encounter things and have got to find a way. You’re going to get dirty. There is nothing in the rule book that says I’ve got to score my runs in pretty, classical ways,” he said.</p> Mon Mar 01 15:21:45 IST 2021 rohit-sharma-wonders-about-pitch-for-fourth-test-in-sassy-instagram-post <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad where India and England played the third Test has been a topic of heated discussion, with several former players criticising the track, after the hosts won the match by 10 wickets, within two days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, amid harsh criticism, India opener Rohit Sharma has an amusing take on the issue and put up a cheeky post on Instagram, wondering about the pitch in the fourth Test. The picture shows Rohit in his training gear, lying on the ground and looking deep in thought.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Wondering what would be the pitch like for 4th test,” he captioned it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rohit had earlier stated that in such a pitch and conditions, batsmen needs to show intent to score runs and not just block.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The pitch was an interesting one and odd ball was just coming in and some were taking turn. On a track like this, you need to have a clear mindset,” he had said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the third Test match, the spinners went to town on batsmen who were dismissed quite cheaply. India’s Axar Patel took two five-wicket hauls while England’s Joe Root also bagged his maiden five-wicket haul at the Motera ground. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With England losing the third match and their chance to qualify for the World Test Championship, India will look to either win or draw the upcoming Test. India now lead the four-match Test series 2-1.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The fourth Test match will begin from March 4 in Ahmedabad.</p> Mon Mar 01 12:35:40 IST 2021 nzc-shifts-matches-against-australian-men--england-women-to-well <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>New Zealand's upcoming T20 International against Australian men and their women's national team fixture against England, slated to be held in Tauranga, were on Monday moved to Wellington due to logistical reasons.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The double header—the Black Caps' final T20I against Australia and the New Zealand women's team's T20 fixture against England on Sunday—will be held behind closed doors, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The change has been forced on NZC because of logistical complications arising from the transfer of this Friday's second double-header from Auckland to Wellington,&quot; NZC said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last week, the NZC had shifted Friday's double headers from the Eden Park to Wellington, after COVID-19 alert Level 3 restrictions were imposed in Auckland, which doesn't allow any sports event to take place.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The rest of the country has been placed in Level 2 of the alert system which means that matches will have to take place behind closed doors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The current Alert Level 2 protocols in Wellington mean all three double-headers on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, will be played behind closed doors.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Tickets purchased for matches affected by Alert Level restrictions will automatically receive full refunds to the card or bank account number from which they were paid,&quot; NZC added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Mar 01 12:11:23 IST 2021 maxwell-eager-to-learn-from--pinnacle-of-the-game--kohli-at-rcb <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell is chuffed about playing alongside and learning from Virat Kohli in the upcoming IPL, calling the Indian captain &quot;the pinnacle of the game&quot; for his dominance across formats.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore bought Maxwell, who was released by Punjab Kings after an ordinary IPL in 2020, for a whopping Rs 14.25 crore at the auctions last month.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It's (RCB stint) going to be next level,&quot; Maxwell told Australian Associated Press (AAP).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;He's (Kohli) been the pinnacle of the game for a while as a multi-format player from Tests all the way to T20s.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;He's been able to adapt his game, dominate for a long period of time and deal with the Indian pressure of being their captain and their best player,&quot; Maxwell added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Indian Premier League is scheduled to start in the second week of April and the swashbuckling all-rounder hopes to pick up some leadership qualities from the Indian skipper, who will also be Maxwell's captain at RCB.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I'm looking forward to watching him go about his work, not just in games but in training, and hopefully tapping into some of the leadership stuff and try and learn off him.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 32-year-old said that he has developed a &quot;good friendship&quot; with Kohli over the years, adding that the Indian maestro backed him when he took a mental health break in 2019.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;He's been a solid backer of my stance,&quot; Maxwell said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;In a way he probably understood a lot of the things that I was going through ... a lot of expectation and pressure, which I'm sure he can relate to.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kohli, who recently opened up about his own battle with depression during a harrowing tour of England in 2014, had lauded Maxwell's decision to take a break. PTI APA AH AH 03011117</p> Mon Mar 01 11:45:08 IST 2021