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West Indies Will Host 2018 ICC Women’s World T20

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The 2018 edition of the Women’s World T20 will be hosted by Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana and St Lucia from November 9-24, the ICC has announced.

Hosts Windies will defend the title they won with an eight-wicket victory over Australia in Kolkata in 2016.  Stafanie Taylor, who was named as captain of the ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year 2017, won the player of the series award in India and is expected to once again lead the Windies in front of a passionate home crowd.  The three venues were selected by Cricket West Indies through a bidding process and have been ratified by the ICC.  The preliminary round matches will be held at the Guyana National Stadium and Daren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia, while Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua and Barbuda will stage the two semi-finals and the final.

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “Windies women are the reigning champions and I’ve no doubt they’ll be looking to defend their title on home soil.  “We are keen to build on the momentum from this summer’s Women’s World Cup and I’m sure the players can rely on a warm welcome from the legendary cricket fans in the West Indies and we’re all in for a great experience in the Caribbean,” he said.

Windies captain Stafanie Taylor added: “As captain of the defending champions, we are keen on defending our title and since we know we will be at home, we want to use this as an opportunity to welcome the world to the region for top-class competitive Women’s cricket.”

The hosts will be joined by Australia, world champions England, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka who have all achieved qualification.

The remaining two spots will be taken by Bangladesh, Holland, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Thailand, Uganda or United Arab Emirates, all of whom will compete in the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier in the Netherlands from 3-14 July.

The November event in the Caribbean will be the first stand-alone ICC Women’s World Twenty20 after the past five events were played alongside the men’s event.  The Caribbean hosted the World Cup in 2007 and then staged the World T20 in 2010 when the league matches of the women’s tournament were played in St Kitts, while St Lucia hosted the two semi-finals.

The final in Barbados was played after the men’s final and was won by Australia when they beat New Zealand by three runs.

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POLITICS-GOVERNANCE

Makkal Needhi Maiam is the Name of Kamal Haasan’s Political Party

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Veteran actor Kamal Haasan on February 21 launched his political party Makkal Needhi Mayyam (roughly, ‘People’s Justice Forum’) at a public function in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Haasan unveiled the name and symbol of his political outfit in front a huge crowd at Madurai’s Ottakattai Grounds.

“This is a party for you, for the people. I am your instrument, you are the leaders, this is a crowd full of leaders,” Haasan said.

The party symbol, six arms interlinked around a star at the centre, is in the colours of red, white and black. The party flag, which is primarily white, will carry the symbol along with the party name.

Curiously, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leader Somnath Bharti were present on the stage with Haasan.

 

A lot of observers noted that while Haasan spoke about the name and the flag of his party, he distinctly failed to elaborate to the public what his party would stand for. The only issue he talked about at the launch event is corruption.

Kamal Haasan began the day of the party launch by visiting the house of former President A P J Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram. He took the blessings of Kalam’s elder brother Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraikayar, who is a centenarian.

Describing the former president as his ‘role model’, Haasan said in a tweet:

“Greatness can come from simple beginnings. Actually it will come only from simplicity. Glad to start my journey from a great man’s simple abode”.

Kalam’s family presented a memento carrying an image of the former president to Kamal Haasan.

On his way to Madurai, Kamal Haasan had a brief stop in Paramakudi. “I grew up in these streets,” the actor said there. “The way you have been waiting for me in this heat shows your love towards me… I will certainly come back to my people here.”

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Sardar Singh Returns, Named as Skipper for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

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Indian team announced for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament beginning in Malaysia on the 3rd of March; Sardar Singh returns to the side to take on the mantle of skipper and lead the team to glory.

Veteran Sardar Singh has got one more chance to prolong his international career after he was on Tuesday named the captain of the Indian men’s hockey team for the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, a tournament where three players will make their debut for the country.

Sardar, who is in the twilight of his career, has been in and out of the team in recent times and was ignored from India’s last two international assignments. Sardar last played for India at the Asia Cup but was dropped from the squad for the Hockey World League (HWL) Final last December and then for the tour to New Zealand.

But new chief coach Sjoerd Marijne handed another lifeline to the midfield ace when he was appointed to lead India at next month’s Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia after regular skipper Manpreet Singh was rested.

Sardar wants to continue till 2020 Olympics but with three big events — Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Cup — lined up this year, the Azlan Shah Cup probably is his last chance to impress upon the national selectors with the team think-tank setting their sights on a younger lot.

Coach Marijne too hinted that it is a big opportunity for Sardar to impress the team management and stay in the reckoning for future tournaments.

Sardar is one of the leaders in the core group and in Manpreet Singh s absence, he has been chosen for the job. He is an experienced player and having missed two tournaments previously, this is an opportunity for him to show his skills,” he said.

While Sardar will lead, striker Ramandeep Singh has been named vice-captain of the side.

The tournament will also witness three rookie players in Mandeep Mor, Sumit Kumar (Jr) and Shilanand Lakra, who are set to make their debut. While Sumit Kumar (Jr) is part of the ongoing senior men’s national camp, Mandeep Mor and Shilanand Lakra have been called-up from the junior men’s core group. The two were also part of the India colts team that won the bronze medal at the Sultan of Johor Cup last year.

By introducing new players to the senior fold, Marijne is looking at long-term gains for the team that includes the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Just like the New Zealand tour where four players made their international debut, the Azlan Shah Cup is a great opportunity for these new players to get international exposure against top teams, said Marijne.

It will only help us create a bigger group. Playing top teams in their first tournament will be challenging but this is also an opportunity for the seniors to help the youngsters adjust to this level, added the 43-year-old Dutchman.

Sardar will be in charge of the midfield alongside SK Uthappa, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma and Simranjeet Singh.

The defence will be guarded by Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Surender Kumar and newcomers Mandeep Mor and Nilam Sanjeep Xess while Suraj Karkera and Krishan Pathak are the two goalkeepers.

The forward line will feature Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep, Talwinder Singh and debutants Sumit Kumar (Jr) and Shilanand Lakra.

This tournament is extremely important for the players who are going because it is another opportunity for them to experience high-level competition especially from teams like Australia and Argentina,” Marijne said.

“This is a chance for them to show their capability in the international level and ensure their place in the squad for future tournaments.

The Azlan Shah Cup is a prestigious invitational tournament that will be played from March 3 to 11 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

Besides hosts Malaysia and India, the tournament will also feature world no. 1 Australia, world no.2 Argentina, England and Ireland.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Suraj Karkera, Krishan B Pathak

Defenders: Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Mandeep Mor

Midfielders: S K Uthappa, Sardar Singh (Captain), Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Simranjeet Singh

Forwards: Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep Singh (Vice-captain), Talwinder Singh, Sumit Kumar (Junior), Shilanand Lakra.

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Pune Based Rohan More Becomes the First Asian to Complete Ocean’s Seven

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Pune-based Indian long-distance swimmer Rohan More swam across the Cook Strait between North and South Islands of New Zealand in 8 hours and 37 minutes, becoming the first Asian and the youngest to complete it.

After waiting for a long time due to bad weather conditions, Rohan finally got a chance to swim on February 9.

Rohan had completed his first marathon swim at the age of 11.

With this, More becomes only the ninth person in the world to complete it.

He began swimming at about 9:30 a.m. from the North Island. For the first five hours, the water was calm and the temperature was around 19 degrees Celsius. However, as he progressed towards the South Island, the water temperature dropped by about four degrees Celsius, due to currents from the Antarctic water.

He fought bravely against the cold water and strong Antarctic currents to complete the swim in 8 hours 37 minutes.

Talking about his achievement, More said, “It is the greatest moment of my life as I swam across Cook Strait in New Zealand which was the seven and last in the Ocean Seven. I really feel very proud and emotional about this thing because after swimming this challenge I became the first Indian ever in the history to complete this challenge and only the ninth person in the world who has swum all the seven challenges in the Ocean Seven,” he added.

The Pune based swimmer also thanked his family members and friends for their support which helped him achieve this feat.

He completed the Triple Crown almost twenty years later, in less than 11 months and continues to set and accomplish marathon goals.

In 1996, he crossed ‘Dharamtar to Gateway of India Channel (35 km) in seven hours and 29 minutes.

More also completed six of the Oceans Seven swims between 2014 and 2016: English Channel (13 hours and 23 minutes), North Channel (12 hours and 43 minutes), Catalina Channel (10 hours and 17 minutes), Molokai Channel (17 hours and 28 minutes), Tsugaru Strait (10 hours and 37 minutes) and Gibraltar Strait (3 hours and 56 minutes).

He has received the Tenzing Norgay Award from the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The award, also known as the National Adventure Award, was presented by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The Ocean’s Seven marathon consists of seven long-distance open-water swims, which includes the North Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar. The swimming marathon is widely considered equivalent to the Seven.

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