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It’s a different ballgame

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first_img Anand Vasu New Delhi May 31, 2019 ISSUE DATE: June 10, 2019UPDATED: May 31, 2019 18:40 IST In the sub-continent, with far less resistance in the air, you can strike the ball early; while playing in England, you need to hold your shots back a touch and play close.The alarm bells rang early: India were not even a credible threat to New Zealand in their first warm-up match of the World Cup, and groans of there we go again’ followed swiftly.After 50-odd days of belting the ball on flat pitches under the blazing sun of the Indian PremierThe alarm bells rang early: India were not even a credible threat to New Zealand in their first warm-up match of the World Cup, and groans of there we go again’ followed swiftly.After 50-odd days of belting the ball on flat pitches under the blazing sun of the Indian Premier League, India encountered a green pitch, some canny swing and seam bowlers and once the top three had been accounted for, it began to look like a procession from the dressing room to the middle and back.Sure there are mitigating factors to consider: it was a practice game, after all, which may have been the only reason Kohli chose to bat first in those conditions. Second, even a cursory look at scores in 50-over internationals in the recent past will tell you that the surfaces are likely to be far more docile when the actual tournament begins. Even as he was leaving India, Kohli underplayed the role conditions might play: White-ball cricket, playing in England, playing an ICC tournament, the conditions are not that different, or that difficult, I’d say, compared to Test cricket, Kohli said, adding that pressure is the most important thing in the World Cup, not the conditions.As for pressure, this is likely to be India’s easiest route to the semi-finals, unless things go remarkably pear-shaped. For the first time since 1992, each team plays every other team in a round-robin league format, which means there are just two do-or-die matches in the tournament. India will know that they can afford to drop two, perhaps even three, matches in the first round and still comfortably make the final four.advertisementTeam India head coach Ravi Shastri, who played in that 1992 World Cup, struck a balance between resting easy and getting overanxious: This format is very challenging. If you look at 2015 and 2019, the gap between teams is much narrower now, said Shastri. Compare Afghanistan in 2015 with how they are now. Or Bangladesh. The good thing, though, is there are nine games (to decide the top four teams) rather than just three or four games where you have to be on the ball from the outset.If managing pressure, as captain Kohli puts it, is really what the key challenge is, then finding your groove early can release some of that pressure. What must the team do to click early on? India, it has been said and repeated often, are heavily reliant on their top three batsmenMessrs (Virat) Kohli, (Shikhar) Dhawan and (Rohit) Sharma. And the weather in England is famously fickle and the conditions are often overcast, which assist seam and swing bowling. India have an untestedif not wobblymiddle order, and if the Top Three go cheaply, the batting begins to look vulnerable.W.V. Raman, former India opener and current coach of the Indian women’s team, explains what quality batsmen do in these conditions: It’s about delaying your response just a touch, he says. When the ball is released, you’ll gauge line and length, but it helps to delay your response a fraction. If the ball does something in the air or off the seam, you can cover for it.Explaining a key difference between sub-continental and English conditions, Raman says: When there is no resistance in the air, or off the pitch, you can strike the ball early… you can play in front of your pad. But in England, where the ball wobbles a bit and can deviate even after pitching, you want to make sure the impact zone is no more than six inches from your body.Coaching manuals emphasise the importance of getting in line with the ball. Raman offers a tweak: Get your body/ leg beside the line of the ball; if you get in line, you’ll lose the leeway to play in certain areas. Should the Indian team want to look at videos to get a clearer picture, and watch men who made this adjustment well, or naturally had it as a part of their game, Raman has a few recommendations: V.V.S. Laxman, A.B. de Villiers, Mark Waugh, Mohammad Azharuddin, Virender Sehwag they could always make proper contact with the ball even if it was moving in the air or off the pitch. That is because of the way they positioned themselves and allowed their arms freedom.India’s current crop of batsmen do enjoy their freedom. If they set themselves up well, they will be good for many more runsand hopefully gift themselves an English summer to remember. ladvertisementYou’ve reached your article limitSign in to keep reading India TodaySign inSign up NOW to get:Premium content on Aaj Tak HD ChannelUnrestricted access to India Today magazine contentGet real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byPrakriti Sharma It’s a different ballgameIndia’s current crop of batsmen do enjoy their freedom. If they set themselves up well, they will be good for many more runs—and hopefully gift themselves an English summer to remember.advertisementlast_img read more

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Three killed in Batticaloa motorcycle accident

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The motorcycles caught fire as soon as they crashed. Two people were killed in the crash while another person was burnt to death.At least two others sustained injuries and were admitted to hospital. (Colombo Gazette) Three people were killed in an accident in Batticaloa involving three motorcycles.According to reports, two motorcycles with four people had crashed into another motorcycle.

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UN chief appoints head of peacekeeping mission in Mali

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed Albert Gerard Koenders of the Netherlands as the head of the recently approved United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali.Mr. Koenders will serve as Mr. Ban’s Special Representative in the country and will lead the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA), which is tasked with supporting the political process in the country, in close coordination with the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).The Mission will help the Malian authorities to implement the transitional roadmap towards the full restoration of constitutional order, democratic governance and national unity. This includes the holding of elections in July, confidence-building and facilitation of reconciliation at the national and local levels.Mr. Koenders has been the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) since October 2011. To fill Mr. Koenders’ post in Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Ban is appointing Aichatou Mindaoudou Souleymane of Niger, who has been serving as Deputy Joint Special Representative in the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).Also today, Mr. Ban announced that Haile Menkerios of South Africa will be his new Special Representative and Head of the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU). Mr. Menkerios will also continue his current assignment as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.Mr. Menkerios will replace Zachary Muburi-Muita, to whom Mr. Ban is grateful for his dedicated service with UNOAU since its establishment in 2010 and for deepening the African Union-UN strategic partnership.Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz of Brazil was also appointed today by Mr. Ban as Force Commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).Lieutenant General Santos Cruz succeeds Lieutenant General Chander Prakash Wadhwa of India, who completed his assignment on 31 March. Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated and effective service during his tenure of over two years in MONUSCO. read more

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