DLP Correspondent in New Delhi

Riding on a brilliant start, taking a 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute of the game, home team Argentina beat the Indian Women’s Hockey Team 2-0 here at Cenard, Buenos Aires. This was India’s second match with the World No. 2 ranked side after matches with the Argentina Junior Women’s and their ‘B’ teams. In the previous match, India conceded late goals resulting in a 2-3 score line favouring the home team. 

In today’s match, early pressure created by the Argentina’s forwardline helped push India on the backfoot in the very first quarter. A foot-foul by Indian defender in the striking circle, gave away a PC to the home team which was well-capitalized by the experienced squad. Silvina D’elia scored the goal, in a tactically executed PC, fetching her team a 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute of play. 

Though India didn’t let this early setback dent their spirit and worked a disciplined structure to find opportunities in the striking circle, they could not manage to breach the strong Argentinian defence to score. “If you don’t convert your opportunities, you know the other team will and that’s what happened today. Our structure was much better in this match and that’s why in the first two quarters we created good opportunities in the circle,” explained Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne about India’s performance. 

After the early jolt, Indian defence ensured an effective formation that kept the Argentinian forwardline at bay. With no goals scored in the second and third quarters by either team, the match went down to the wire with intense play being showcased in the fourth quarter of the match. It was Argentina who showed their experience as they held sway to convert opportunities. In the 54th minute, a defensive error on India’s part saw them earn a PC. Agustina Albertarrio did well to convert the goal, eventually helping her team clinch a 2-0 victory. 

“Argentina was very effective in their PCs and that was, for me, the deciding factor today. We feel we are getting closer to win, but small mistakes can make a huge difference in the match especially against a top-class team like Argentina,” stated Marijne. 

India will take on the Argentina on Saturday, 30th January at 09.30pm IST. 

Rani in action.

Indian Women’s Hockey Team went down fighting against a dominant Argentina ‘B’ in a thrilling encounter. Despite a late surge by India, the home team secured a 3-2 win. For Argentina ‘B’ goals were scored by Sol Pagela (25′), Constanza Cerundolo (38′) and Agustina Gorzelany (39′) while for India Salima Tete (6′) and Gurjit Kaur (42′) scored. 

In the first quarter, it was India who got off to a flying start winning a PC in the first minute. An intentional foul by Argentina while defending the PC led to the visiting side being awarded a penalty stroke. Unfortunately for India, the goal was saved. Without letting this missed opportunity slow their rhythm, the Indian team struck in the 6th minute through young Salima Tete who has been in good nick this tour. 

“We had a very good start to the match and though we couldn’t score off the penalty stroke, we were able to convert after a good interception in the 6th minute. In the first quarter, we were in control and kept a check on Argentina but the second quarter, they upped their game,” explained Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne. 

A slump in India’s defence in the second quarter was well-capitalized by the experienced home team. Sol Pagela’s 25th minute goal equalized the scoreline to 1-1. But the game tilted in their favour when India gave away two goals in the 38th and 39th minute. “I believe these two goals could have been stopped. We had restricted their circle entries to just 5 in this quarter but allowed them to convert twice in those five attempts. Though Gurjit scored in the following minutes to reduce the lead by one goal, we missed some good scoring opportunities thereafter. I feel we were a bit too rushed in our pursuit to convert. We must do much better to win from Argentina in the next following matches,” stated Marijne. 

Playing the Argentina Tour after covid-19 restrictions kept the Indian team out of competition for a year, the Indian Team has tested their core group in the past four matches where they secured two draws (2-2,1-1) and suffered two narrow loss (1-2 and 2-3). In their upcoming matches this week, the Indian side led by Rani will face the formidable World No.2 squad. “In the third and fourth matches, Argentina played with an experienced side that had recently won against Australia ‘A’ and this was a perfect platform for our players to adapt to their level. In these four matches, all the players in the Indian core group got a chance to show their best. In the upcoming four matches we will field our best side to see what we can create against the World No.2 team. There have been good learnings from these four matches, and I want to see how our main team performs against them,” he said. 

India will take on World No.2 Argentina on 27th January 2021 at 0400 hours IST. 

Sushma Kumari

Maintaining their unbeaten streak during the Tour of Chile, an impressive and dominating performance from the Indian Junior Women’s Hockey Team saw them defeat Chile Senior Women’s Team 2-0 in their fifth match of the overseas tour held here at the Prince of Wales Country Club on Saturday evening. The two goals for India came in the last quarter through Sangita Kumari (48′) and Sushma Kumari (56′).

It was a very open contest between the two teams during the first three quarters, with neither team managing to break the deadlock. There were chances for both the teams through open play and set pieces, but the defenses stood up tall to deny their opponents.

India looked like they were under pressure during a phase of play in the second quarter when they conceded back to back Penalty Corners, but some good defending inside the striking circle made sure the hosts couldn’t take the lead.

A similar story unfolded in the third quarter, but it was India who were on the attack, seeing a Penalty Corner execution being defended well by Chile’s Senior team in the 32nd minute. The hosts themselves had a Penalty Corner three minutes later, but again it was the defense who were successful.

What had become a tight and nervy contest by the start of the fourth quarter, it was India who drew first blood as they orchestrated a beautiful team move to open the scoring through Sangita Kumari (48′). The young Forward took her chance confidently, and maintained her goal-scoring form. Minutes later, Chile had a glorious chance to equalize through a Penalty Corner, but India’s rushers performed their task decently.

In the 56th minute, it was the visiting team’s turn to get a Penalty Corner, which proved to be the decisive moment in the match. A well executed drag-flick and a successful strike off a rebound by Sushma Kumari hit the back of the net, and extended India’s lead to two goals, which they were able to maintain for the remaining few minutes to snatch their fourth win in five matches in Chile.

The Indian Junior Women’s Hockey Team will play their sixth and last match of the Tour of Chile on Sunday evening (locally) / early Monday morning (Indian Standard Time) as they face the Chile Senior Women’s Hockey Team at 0400hrs IST.

Rajasthan Royals today announced the appointment of former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara as the Director of Cricket for the upcoming Season 14 of the Indian Premier League. Kumar will commence work with the team immediately.

Kumar, the current President of the Marylebone Cricket Club, will be responsible for overseeing the entire cricketing ecosystem of the Royal’s franchise including coaching structure, auction plans and team strategy, talent discovery and development, as well as the development of the Royals Academy in Nagpur.

Welcoming Kumar to the family, Mike Fordham, Group CEO Rajasthan Royals, said: “Kumar brings a wealth of cricket knowledge both as a player and a leader. We are thrilled to have him join the team and we are confident that Kumar will motivate, challenge and inspire our players and coaches that will translate to success on the field.” 

An undisputed great of the modern game, Kumar scored over 28,000 runs for Sri Lanka over a hugely successful 16-year and has the highest Test batting average of any player in the last 46 years.

The southpaw first graced the IPL in its inaugural season back in 2008, and started with a stylish fifty on debut against MS Dhoni’s CSK. That first season saw him amass 320 runs in ten games, guiding Kings XI to a top-four finish. The following seasons saw the southpaw maintain the consistency that people came to expect of him, scoring consistently over 300 runs in his first four seasons. In his final IPL season, back in 2013, Sangakkara turned up as a leader for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, leading the team both on and off the pitch, helping them secure a playoff spot in an extraordinary manner.

He is highly experienced in T20 cricket, winning the ICC World T20 in 2014 and helping Sri Lanka reach the ICC World T20 finals also in 2009 and 2012. He played for T20 franchises in India, England, the Caribbean, Australia and Bangladesh. Since ending his playing career in 2017, after a glorious record-breaking summer for Surrey, he has remained deeply engaged with the game with various roles: he has been a long-term member of the MCC World Cricket Committee and became the first non-British President of the MCC in October 2019; he is a member of Sri Lanka’s National Sports Council; and he has embarked upon a successful broadcasting career as a regular expert commentator for SKY Sports and Star Sports.

Commenting on his appointment, Kumar Sangakkara said: “It’s a privilege to be joining the Rajasthan Royals and I am excited about the new challenge. To oversee the cricket strategy of a franchise in the leading cricket competition in the world, as well as building the development programs and cricketing infrastructure that will provide the future foundation of the IPL team’s on-field success, is an opportunity that really motivated me. I have really enjoyed speaking to the leadership group over the recent weeks and can’t wait to get going. The team includes some of the world’s best players and great personalities so it’s going to be fun and very exciting to work with this group.”

“I’m delighted that Kumar has come on board and we have already had some great conversations together. He is someone who has had an exceptional cricket career himself and obviously understands the modern game. It’s great to have an all-time wicketkeeping great with us, he is someone who’s donned many hats,  he was a fantastic keeper-batsman, he’s led Sri Lanka with grace and class throughout and has done it for years with the Sri Lankan national team across formats. He’s someone who’s shown great character both on and off the field and the values that one associates with him are the same which we embody here at Rajasthan Royals. It is wonderful to have someone like him at the helm and is going to be fantastic to learn from him. I can’t wait to get started and work with him in the coming seasons”, added Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson

West Indies cricket star Kieron Pollard, who has scored over 10,000 runs in the T20 format, is all set to be the captain of the Deccan Gladiators in the upcoming season of Abu Dhabi T10, powered by sky247net. The competition will be played at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi from 28th January – 6th February 2021.

Pollard expressed that the T10 format suits his style of cricket, “The thrill and excitement of T10 is limitless. But it’s actually not too dissimilar to the kind of cricket I grew up playing. It’s not about see ball hit ball. You need to be able to think on your feet, anticipate and execute plans without pausing too much. It suits me to be honest and my experience stands me in good stead when reading the opposition.”

Pollard added that a team is never out of the game in T10 cricket, “It’s (T10) a great concept and one that’s designed to create continuous excitement. You are never out of the game so those watching on the screen are glued to it every ball.”

The 33-year-old said that he is very excited to play with the likes of Sunil Narine and Imran Tahir in the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament, “I’m most excited about playing with the group that we have assembled at Deccan Gladiators. I can’t wait to go out there with match-winners like Narine, Tahir, Shahzad, Ingram, the local UAE star Zahoor and others. We also have a few surprises up our sleeves for our opponents.”

The Deccan Gladiators team owner Gaurav Grover expressed that the side is aiming nothing short of winning the trophy, “The target of Deccan Gladiators this time would definitely be to win the trophy. With the changes in the helm this year, there are high expectations from the Gladiators. We have taken care of every flaw we had, which might have been the reason for last year’s defeat (in the final).”

Grover added that the Gladiators have enough firepower to win the competition, “We have West Indian powerhouse as our captain – Keiron Pollard and our Icon Player himself is fearless and unbounded spinner – Sunil Narine. Also, our team is packed with threatening bowlers such as fast bowler Aaron Summers and (leg-spinner) Imran Tahir. Talking about batsmen, we have Mohammad Shahzad, who is also a wicketkeeper.”

A resilient performance from the Indian Junior Women’s Hockey Team against the Chile Senior Women’s Team in their fourth match of Tour of Chile saw the two sides play out a well fought 2-2 draw here at the Prince of Wales Country Club on Thursday evening. India’s two goalscorers on the day were Deepika (40′) and Gagandeep Kaur (55′) who led India’s fightback after Chile had twice taken the lead through goals from Mariana del Jesus Lagos (21′) and Fernanda Villagran (51′).

With three wins from three matches in their Tour of Chile, Indian Junior Women’s Team started the match brightly, as they tried to penetrate Chile’s defence, but could not find a clear opportunity inside the first 15 minutes. On the other hand, Chile tried to push the young India team on the counter attacks, with their tactic paying off in the second quarter.

It was in the 21st minute that Chile’s Mariana del Jesus Lagos found herself with enough time and space in front of goal to get her shot away, and give her side an important lead in the match. India were quick to fight back, and tried to take control of proceedings to find the equalizing goal before the half-time break, but came up against some resolute defending from the hosts as Chile maintained their one goal advantage.

A charged up Indian team took to the field in the third quarter, and were able to create a lot more going forward. After having been denied from multiple Penalty Corners, the Indian team finally found the equalizer in the 40th minute through Deepika, who finished off a beautiful team goal to make it 1-1. 

However, Chile did not get bogged down after conceding, and tried to look for an opportunity again in the match to take the lead. It was in the 51st minute that their efforts were rewarded, as the umpire awarded them a Penalty Stroke for an infringement by India inside the striking circle. It was Chile’s Fernanda Villagran who converted from the spot to restore the hosts’ one-goal advantage.

A late fightback from India resulted in another equalizer being scored, with Chile conceding a Penalty Stroke this time after their player was found to be infringing the rules inside the striking circle. Gagandeep Kaur stepped up to take the resulting stroke, and slotted it past Chile’s Goalkeeper to make it 2-2 in the 55th minute. Both teams tried to look for an opening in the last five minutes, but the goal never came for either, and the two teams finished level at 2-2.

The Indian Junior Women’s Hockey Team will continue their Tour of Chile as they play their fifth match on Saturday evening (locally) / early Sunday morning (Indian Standard Time), taking on the Chile Senior Women’s Hockey Team at 0400hrs IST.

(L-R) Cricketer Mohammed Shami, KKFI president Sudhanshu Mittal, Sports minister Kiren Rijiju, Wrestler Sushil Kumar, Ultimate Kho Kho promoter Amit Burman, cricketer Suresh Raina and Tenzing Niyogi, CEO, UKK.

While the sporting world is still trying to find ways to make a comeback fully after the coronavirus outbreak, the Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) along with Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) is all set to uplift the skillset of its players with the introduction of a revolutionary High-Performance Assessment and Scientific Analysis & Evaluation Programme–“Rise in Sports Excellence”—for the very first time.
During a rigorous camp of almost a month, scheduled from January 18 to February 16, 138 players, including 18 women players, will be monitored by vastly experienced experts at Manav Rachna Sports Science Centre in Faridabad and SGT University in Gurugram to develop a pool of athletes who are assessed, scientifically monitored and transformed to become champions of the game.    

The Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju along with Rajeev Mehta General Secretary, IOA and popular sporting personalities like India’s individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, Sushil Kumar, only Indian to win consecutive Olympic medals, and top cricketers Suresh Raina and Mohammed Shami were present on Tuesday to inaugurate the coaching camp, where Kho Kho players have been selected from across the country for one of its kind scientific evaluation program.

The state of art expertise of the country’s top sports-tech institutes—Manav Rachna Sports Science Centre and SGT University, have been roped in to roll out this mammoth initiative.

“I have always believed sports science is the future of sports. To make India a sporting powerhouse, each sport needs to be developed, especially indigenous sports like Kho Kho which is a speed-reliant sport. The federation and Ultimate Kho Kho have done a commendable job in putting together such an exhaustive plan in such a short time. I congratulate Sudhanshuji (Mittal) as well as Amit Burman ji for lending their support. Indian sports need the backing of corporates and the presence of Amit ji surely is a step in the right direction,” said the Sports Minister Rijiju.

A 30-day camp will see players being monitored and analysed. The findings and parameters ranging from sports physiotherapy, rehabilitation, injury management, biomechanics, biokinetics, sports performance analysis, nutritional guidance and posture corrections will be put into action. The training will also mark the resumption of the sport after almost a 10-month gap. This training is compartmentalised in three phases—transition, preparatory and competitive one.  

“I would like to thank our Sports Minister, Mr Kiren Rijiju for coming here today and motivating the players. This camp will be a milestone for Sports Science and Technology in developing our players in many ways and am grateful for the support towards development by the Ministry, Sports Authority of India and Ultimate Kho Kho, our partners in this vision development. Our motive will be to create a large pool of players who can be developed into world-beaters and game ready for the upcoming challenges,” KKFI President Sudhanshu Mittal said.

The Ultimate Kho Kho has been instrumental in investing and developing this home-grown sport. Close to 200 crores investment commitment has been made by the league promoter and Dabur group Chairman, Amit Burman for the next five years. While a major share of the investment is focused on the growth and development of grassroots and initiation of this scientific programme will help to build excellence which is key for any sport and its growth, globally.

“I have always focused on thinking ahead of time and developing and promoting ideas into brands. Ultimate Kho Kho is no different as we envision excellence at the grassroots and take the game to the next level. For the game to develop it is key that we introduce technology and upgrade and tap the potentials of our players, make them champions and world beaters, backed with high performance training,” UKK Promoter Amit Burman said.
Adding on the innovations, Tenzing Niyogi, CEO, Ultimate Kho Kho said: “Kho Kho has a deep cultural connect with a massive fan base. Ultimate Kho Kho with its latent demand holds the promise of a blockbuster league. With the influx of sports science changing the dynamics of training in team sports, this camp will help develop the athletes to transform and become champions of the game. During the camp we are also planning to test a new sports technology for tag sports in order to bring ‘edge of the seat’ action for audiences.”

An exhibition match was played where sports celebrities were teamed up with the Kho Kho players as the teams rolled out the fast-paced format which played under the revamped rules that are to be introduced during the Kho Kho league, slated for end of the year. The culmination of the camp will see players participating in a five-day tournament consisting of eight teams divided into two pools where players’ speed and gameplay will also be tested along with agility and strength conditionings.

JSW and GMR co-owned Delhi Capitals today announced the appointment of Pravin Amre as the team’s Assistant Coach for the upcoming two seasons of the Indian Premier League. 52 year old Amre, who served as the franchise’s Head Talent Scout between 2014-2019, will join the existing coaching staff of Delhi Capitals.  

On his appointment, Amre said, “I am grateful to the Delhi Capitals management for having me on board. With the team having reached its very first IPL final in 2020, this is certainly an exciting time to be back there. I look forward to working with Ricky again, and all the players.” 

“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Pravin Amre back to the Delhi Capitals side,” said CEO Dhiraj Malhotra, on the latest development. “Ours is a team with an Indian core, and that thought process applies to our coaching staff as well. Few coaches know the domestic cricket scene in India as thoroughly as Amre does. He has been instrumental in getting the likes of Shreyas, Rishabh and Prithvi to our franchise, and his experience will once again be extremely valuable for us. We are delighted to have him on board.” 

Amre, who played 11 Tests and 37 ODIs for India, has had a prolific run in domestic cricket as a player and coach. He coached Mumbai to three Ranji Trophy titles, and has also worked as a personal coach with several India internationals.

1970 waterpolo team.

Exactly 50 years ago, the Indian Water polo Team created history by winning the Silver Medal at the 1970 Bangkok Asian Games, which to date continues to be India’s finest performance overseas in an International Water polo Competition. To celebrate this memorable and historical achievement a Zoom Meeting has been scheduled for Sunday, 20th December 2020 from 12.30 pm to 1.45 pm. IST. 

The Swimming Federation of India has joined hands with the former players to make this event a grand success. 1970, silver medal winning team included,  Avinash Sarang, Tarun Goswami, Ashok Biswas, Piyush Mitra, Bharat Merchant, Samir Kapadia, Abdul Mutlib and Umaid Singh, Chand Ram Rana, Deep Narayan Singh & Pattabhi Raman.

Bharat Merchant

Out of the team of eleven team members we have Bharat Merchant & Avinash Sarang surviving heroes and legends of this incredible accomplishment will be a part of this Celebration and will share their preparation, journey through the five day Tournament, the exciting moments, the thrill and joy of this momentous occasion and their experiences while recreating those magical moments. 

Avinash Sarang

Through this Zoom Meeting, an honest and sincere effort is also sought to be made to revive interest in the Olympic Sport of Water polo by getting the new generation to be inspired by this remarkable achievement in Bangkok and subsequent Bronze Medal won by India at the 1982 Delhi Asian Games.

Bharat Merchant, the youngest member of the 1970 Team and top scorer for India in the Tournament, who has taken the lead in this endeavor, along with Arjuna  Awardee Avinash Sarang, who was a key member of the 1970 Team will regale participants in the Zoom Meeting with their experiences and the thrilling moments of India’s march to the Finals, where they lost a close & thrilling encounter to Asian Giants and reigning champions Japan.

Members from the 1982 Bronze Medal winning team and other prominent players who have donned India colours at various Asian Games & International Water polo Tournaments are also expected to join in the Celebration. 

Quote by Bharat Merchant, Team member, 1970 Asian Games-The Water Polo & Swimming Sport has built my all round personality, Physical & Mental, Water Polo have taught me to win all the battles of the Life, Made me Fighter with quality of NEVER TO GIVE UP until match End, Even after Defeat taught me to Prepare for Next win. The Water Polo Helped me to build my Professional career and my today’s all my Achievements are Due to Vigorous water Polo, I Played from my 10 year Tender age to the 25 Year. Thanks Water Polo with Big Cheer ! JAI WATER POLO !-

Quote by SFI- “The event is being celebrated and Swimming Federation of India is participating wholeheartedly. ” Mr Virendra Nanavati
Swimming Federation of India is thrilled to relive this moment of national pride on its golden jubilee alongside the living legends who made India proud on this day 50 years ago. “We take this moment to pledge our commitment to the sport of waterpolo and work with these legendary players to chart a new course for the sport in our country,” said Mr Monal Chokshi.

Brilliant unbeaten century by man of the match Delhi U-19 player Sanat Sangwan (101*, 8X4 2X6) helped Sonnet Club beat Maharaja Umed Singh Club by 38 runs in KAPS cup League cricket tournament here.

Naman Tiwari (90 runs & 2/17) and Sagar Rana (3/36) also played crucial roles in Sonnet’s victory.

Brief scores: Sonnet Club: 250/5 in 40 overs (Sanat 101*, Naman 90); Maharaja Umed Singh Club: 212/10 in 36.5 overs (Himanshu Sharma 57, Sagar 3/36, Naman Tiwari 2/170.