sports world

The sports wrap: 'I have game plan ready for R Ashwin,' says David Warner, and other top stories

BCCI withdraw Yusuf Pathan's NOC to play in Hong Kong T20 league; Sunil Chhetri became India’s all-time highest goal-scorer in league football.

The big story: ‘It’s going to be a great battle for both of us’

With wickets once again expected to offer turn, one of Australia’s major focal points will be the India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The visitors will look towards in-form batsman David Warner to lead the way, and the 30-year-old looks to be on top of things, claiming to have a “game plan ready” to counter the tweaker’s threat, PTI reported.

“I have to respect a player like Ashwin. He thinks like a batsman and I have to be disciplined against him,” Warner was quoted as saying. “I have a game plan for him - I have to bat against his strength. He is going to be ready for me and we both have to adopt to the situation. It’s going to be a great battle for the both of us. I have to bide my time,” he added.

Asked to comment on India skipper Virat Kohli’s explosive form, Warner was effusive in his praise for the young captain.

“Virat Kohli is in the form of the decade. He is a fantastic player and a great sport. He is exceptional in all formats and he is taking the entire country on a journey,” Warner said.

“He wants the country to ride with him. Virat is frank and he calls spade a spade. Joe Root, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis and Kohli thrive on responsibility. These young players are unstoppable. Virat is a great example of scoring big tons,” Warner added.

Other top stories

Cricket

  • Even as Australia’s skipper Steve Smith gave his team the license to sledge Virat Kohli & Co, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has said he would rather keep his mouth shut while dealing with the India skipper in the upcoming four-match Test series beginning February 23 at Pune. “I’m probably not going to say a thing to him,” news.com.au quoted Maxwell as saying in Mumbai. He (Kohli) is up and down with sledging. I suppose if you strike a chord with him or something gets him agitated to play a big shot, blokes are more likely to go for it.” 
  • Defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad will host runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening fixture of the 10th edition of Indian Premier League on April 5. The final will also be held at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on May 21.
  • India Under-19 rode on back of a fine century by 18-year-old Daryl Sunder Ferrario as they declared at 431/8 on day three of their four-day game against England Under-19 at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground in Nagpur on Wednesday.
  • India women romped to their fifth straight win in the Women’s World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday, beating South Africa by 49 runs in a low-scoring contest at the P Sara Oval.
  • Just days after granting all-rounder Yusuf Pathan a No Objection Certificate to play a Twenty20 Tournament in Hong Kong, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has done a U-turn, Indian Express reported.
  • The Pakistan Super League is likely to give franchises an option to draft new players if international players choose to opt out of the March 5 final in Lahore due to security reasons, Hindustan Times reported. “On February 22 we will do a new draft. We will put a formula in front of all the franchises and foreign players to let us know who will play the final in Lahore and who will not come,” PSL chairman Najam Sethi said on a Pakistan TV channel.
  • South African players and English players are likely to skip the IPL 2017 during the first week of May owing to the bilateral series between the two sides and the Champions Trophy preparations, which starts from June 1 in England.

Football

  • Sunil Chhetri surpassed Bhaichung Bhutia tally of 89 goals to become India’s all-time highest goal-scorer in league football as Bengaluru FC drew 1-1 with Aizawl FC in the I-League on Wednesday. Meanwhile, East Bengal were held to a 1-1 draw by Shillong Lajong.
  • Barcelona were dismantled 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the first-leg of the round-of-16 clash of the Champions League at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday. Angel di Maria scored a brace while Edison Cavani and Julian Draxler scored one goal apiece in the dominating show that saw Barcelona almost knocked out of the competition.
  • Kostas Mitroglou’s strike gave Benfica a 1-0 win in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Borussia Dortmund. The Germans will host the second leg on March 8, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
  • Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus broke a metatarsal in Monday’s 2-0 Premier League win at Bournemouth. The striker is likely to miss the rest of the season.

Athletics

  • Sprinting legend Usain Bolt stated that he has no regrets over announcing his decision to retire from the sport later in the year, “I’ve just done everything I wanted to do in the sport,” Bolt was quoted as saying after winning the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award in Monaco.

Chess

  • India International Master Padmini Rout held eighth seed Chinese GM Zhao Xue to a draw in the first game of the second round of World Women’s Chess Championship on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Dronavalli Harika also registered a draw against Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan.

Table Tennis

  • Harmeet Desai and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan entered the main draw of the ITTF World Tour India Open on Wednesday.

Hockey

  • Dabang Mumbai rode on skipper Florian Fuchs’ last-minute field goal to eke out a close 3-2 win over Delhi Waveriders and seal their place in the semifinals of the Hockey India League on Wednesday.
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