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Delhi Capitals look to bolster their bench strength: Mohammad Kaif | Cricket News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Delhi Capitals will look to find back-up players during Thursday’s mini-auction in order to build a suitable bench-strength going into the upcoming edition of Indian Premier League, said assistant coach Mohammad Kaif.
DC finished runners-up in the last edition and would like to do one better with a good bench strength this year, which became a problem last season during the business end of the tournament.
“We have released a few players, so we will be looking to fill those gaps. I think flexibility is the key in the auction. One can have all the plans for the auction, but things can change on the auction table,” Kaif said.
“We have to take spontaneous decisions. Our main players have been playing continuously and there are no fitness issues as well. So, we’ll be looking to acquire some back-up players in tomorrow’s auction,” he added.
Commenting on the current squad, another assistant coach Pravin Amre said, “To be honest, if we are asked to play tomorrow also, we have a playing XI ready with us, so I think that’s the successful planning, and that’s what we learned from other teams also, who back their core for a long time.”



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UK study that will infect volunteers with Covid approved – Times of India

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LONDON: A study which will expose volunteers to the coronavirus is to begin in Britain within a month after it gained approval from the country’s clinical ethics body, the government said on Wednesday.
The study, the first of its kind in the world, will expose up to 90 volunteers between 18 and 30 years old to Covid-19 in a controlled environment, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.
The trial will look to establish the smallest amount of virus needed to cause infection, in order to help develop vaccines and treatments.
“While there has been very positive progress in vaccine development, we want to find the best and most effective vaccines for use over the longer term,” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said.
The study will “help accelerate scientists’ knowledge of how coronavirus affects people and could eventually further the rapid development of vaccines,” he said.
Britain, one of the hardest-hit countries in the world by the coronavirus with more than 118,000 deaths, was also the first Western nation to begin a Covid vaccination campaign.
The country passed a vaccine milestone at the weekend with 15 million people having received their first jabs.
The government is targeting another 17 million people by the end of April, including everyone aged 50 and above, plus starting on second doses.
The study, backed by £33.6 million ($46.6 million, 38.6 million euros) in government funding, will work in partnership with London’s Royal Free Hospital.
Its secure clinical research facilities are specifically designed to contain the virus, the government said.
Once the initial phase of the study has concluded, vaccines proven to be safe in clinical trials could be given to small numbers of volunteers who are then exposed to the Covid-19 virus, helping to identify the most effective vaccines.
“Our eventual aim is to establish which vaccines and treatments work best in beating this disease, but we need volunteers to support us in this work,” said chief investigator Chris Chiu from Imperial College London.
During the study, medics and scientists will be on hand 24 hours a day to ensure the safety of volunteers as well as monitor the effects of the virus.



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Fit-again Yuki Bhambri ready for another plunge after almost quitting tennis | Tennis News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: An unresponsive treatment and the monotony of the long rehabilitation almost convinced Yuki Bhambri to hang his racquet for good but a voice within kept telling him that he could still pursue the game he is so passionate about.
His perseverance, months of hard work and patience has now prepared him for another plunge.
Since October 2018, Yuki has consulted Indian, American and Spanish experts spending Rs 40 lakh for the treatment of a torn tendon in his right knee but it was not before he met Australian specialist, Doctor Ebonie Rio that he got the belief that he is ready for a comeback.
One of India’s best singles players in recent times, Yuki has announced his return from yet another injury-forced hiatus by entering the ATP 250 Singapore Tennis Open, starting next week.
“The option was, be done with tennis or try and get back. I felt there is still a lot of time left in me, so you come back and try again. There is no right or wrong, either you cry over spilt milk or try getting back,” Yuki told PTI in an exclusive interview.
It’s not the first time that Yuki has ended up losing a lot of time when his career that seemed heading for heights. An elbow injury and a knee injury before also halted his progress when he had cracked top-100.
This time it took him almost 27 months to get back to competition mode.
“Definitely, there are days when you struggle, doing the same exercises again and again, it gets monotonous. There were certain times in 2020 when I thought maybe I won’t be able to make a comeback because I had done about every possible thing for my knee and it was not working,” he shared his mental struggle.
“I had, fortunately, a lot of people for support but a lot of it has to come from within. Eventually, you have to do it yourself. Late 2019, when I was in Spain for treatment and it was not working, I was really down,” said the 28-year-old.
But why it always takes him such a long time to recover from his injuries that has marred his career.
“Every time I get injured it takes time to heal. If doctors say it will take one month, it will actually take two months, if he says six months, it will take eight months. This is something that I realised from my experience with injuries. So, mentally, I am a bit more prepared (for longer rehabilitations).
Yuki has trained only in Delhi for the last one and a half years with Aditya Sachdeva. It’s more about getting back in shape. He is spending almost three hours on courts and 90 minutes in the gym. But there is a concern as he gets for the Singapore Open.
“One thing I don’t have is absolute quality practice with quality players. I was in America, playing at a certain level. In Delhi, I have hit mostly with juniors. I feel ok but I don’t know what level I am at. It’s a different pace, speed. That is I am looking forward to see where I am at,” he said.
Playing at his peak towards the end of 2018, Yuki appeared destined for bigger things but he hit another roadblock in his stop-start career.
“It is difficult but after a certain point there is nothing I could do about it. Everybody knows, I am also pretty sure that I would have been top-50 in 2018, If I had played the whole year because I had the whole hard court season ahead with that American swing and the European swing. I was performing at the highest level.”
“In the last two months, I picked up the pace. I have got my rhythm back, if not completely, it’s 80-90 per cent. Some days it will bother, but not really to trouble me much. I don’t have to take many days off. It’s pretty used to the rigours of working out. I felt it’s time to try and get back on the courts.”
Yuki also shared how he ended up taking treatment from different experts, spending a lot that he had saved from the prize money earned.
“I got in touch with a tendon specialist in Australia in March 2020 because the job was not done after I spent 3-4 months in Spain. I also consulted Indian and American experts, I was all over. To some extent it (knee) responded to the Spanish expert but it was a little bit stuck. I still needed to change my exercises more to keep continuing specific work.
Dr. Ángel Ruiz-Cotorro is the surgeon in Barcelona who did my procedure which helped and Dr Ebonie Rio was my rehab specialist who really helped me get back to playing. The Australian was more about having a more polished rehab routine.”
Yuki will play with his Protected Ranking (127) which will allow him entry in nine tournaments in six months or 12 tournaments of his choice in as many months as per ranking eligibility.
While he struggled mentally and physically in the last years and a leading sponsor ended the contract with Yuki, Babloat did not desert him. Not only the racquet contract was kept, Yuki was also given a clothing contract.



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Nadal’s bid for record 21st Grand Slam title ended by Tsitsipas | Tennis News – Times of India

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MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal‘s bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title ended at the Australian Open on Wednesday with a quarter-final defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Nadal was overhauled 3-6, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-5 by the Greek in the evening clash at Rod Laver Arena.



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Rafael Nadal’s bid for record 21st Grand Slam title ended by Stefanos Tsitsipas | Tennis News – Times of India

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MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal‘s bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title came crashing to a halt at the Australian Open on Wednesday as Stefanos Tsitsipas rose up to topple the Spaniard 3-6, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-5 and reach the semi-finals.
World number two Nadal had not lost a set coming into the evening clash at Rod Laver Arena and was locked on target for the last four at Melbourne Park after roaring to a two-set lead over the listless Greek.

The match turned on its head when Nadal wavered in a messy third set tiebreak, and a rejuvenated Tsitsipas rallied brilliantly to take the match into a decider.
Capturing Nadal’s serve at 5-5 in the fifth, Tsitsipas saw two match points slip through his fingers as he served for the match but fired a backhand winner down the line on the third to claim one of his finest career victories.
“Well done for him, he played better than me probably in the important moments,” Nadal told reporters.
“I tried my best in every single moment … I think I stayed positive all the time during the match, fighting, and it was not enough. Sometimes it’s enough, today was not enough.”

(Getty Images)
Fifth seed Tsitsipas booked his second Australian Open semi-final and will meet Russian juggernaut Daniil Medvedev for a place in the decider.
“I fly like a little bird and everything was working for me,” the shaggy-haired 22-year-old said.
“I have no words to describe what just happened on court. My tennis speaks out for itself. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be able to fight on such level, just to be able to leave my all out on court.
“I started very nervous but I don’t know what happened after the third set.”
Tsitsipas avenged his harrowing straight sets defeat by Nadal in the 2019 semi-finals, when he was left shell-shocked by the Spaniard’s complete dominance.

Yet for all but three sets, Nadal appeared set to reopen those old wounds.
Tsitsipas slept-walked through the match before he knuckled down on serve in the third set.
He perked up visibly after battling to a 5-4 lead but Nadal remained impenetrable on serve.
It took the Spaniard to open the door with a pair of bungled overhead smashes, the second floating long from the baseline to give Tsitsipas a 5-3 lead in the tiebreak.
Revitalised, the Greek pounded Nadal’s backhand into submission and rushed in to thump a volley into an open court to raise three set points.
Nadal cancelled one of them with his own net-rush but finally relented after a baseline skirmish and retired to his chair fuming.
Tsitsipas was transformed and soon had Nadal clinging desperately on serve.
Nadal fended off break points at 0-0 and 2-2 but finally faltered at 4-4 in the fourth set before gifting it to the Greek with a slew of unforced errors.
The fifth followed the same formula, only with Nadal crumbling on serve at 5-5 after a wild forehand into the tramlines.
The stadium was empty barring a few coaches, officials and ballkids, but tension reached boiling point as Tsitsipas butchered a forehand on match point.
Nadal launched a ferocious forehand return to cancel a second match point but the Spaniard’s volleying let him down again as he swooped in to hammer straight into the net.
Tsitsipas made no mistake on his third chance to seal it, blasting a winning backhand that left Nadal’s record bid in tatters.





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Make people aware of ‘fraudulent elements’ taking money in Ram’s name: Uddhav | India News – Times of India

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MUMBAI: Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has taken a veiled swipe at the BJP, saying Shiv Sena workers should make people aware about “fraudulent elements” who are collecting money in the name of Lord Ram. Thackeray, who heads the Sena, was addressing party legislators and functionaries on Tuesday.
The Shiv Sena will conduct a ‘Shiv Sampark’ campaign from February 22 to 27 to reach out to people across the state to expand its base, Thackeray was quoted as saying by a close aide.
“Some people are collecting money in Lord Ram’s name. Shiv Sena workers should make people aware of such fraudulent elements,” he said, apparently targeting the BJP, his party’s former ally, over the campaign for collection of funds for the Ram temple at Ayodhya.
When common people face problems, they turn to the Sena, Thackeray said, adding that this relationship between the party and the people must be nurtured.
Party workers should tell people about the Sena-led coalition government’s achievements and convey people’s aspirations and expectations to the government, the chief minister said.
The Sena is in power in Maharashtra in alliance with the Congress and the NCP.



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Photos: Tiger Shroff spends his day off ‘Ganapath’ sets playing football with Abhimanyu Dasani, Aparshakti Khurana – Times of India

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Most other Bollywood actors would spend their day off the sets resting or catching up on some alone time, but not Tiger Shroff. The actor, who has been in action-mode for his film ‘Ganapath’, was spotted at a football field in Bandra, sweating it out with fellow B-town actors Abhimanyu Dasani, Aparshakti Khurana.

Our cameras got photos of the star in his spending his evening running around on the grounds and practising his goal kicks. The actor is part of a charity football league that also has Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan and many others teaming up to raise funds for a good cause.

Photo by Jayesh Ghotkar

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Photo by Jayesh Ghotkar

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Photo by Jayesh Ghotkar

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Photo by Jayesh Ghotkar

When not busy on the sets the actors are often seen meeting up to practise as football season draws close.

On Tuesday, Tiger made headlines when he shared a clip from the film sets that saw him nail a backflip while shooting an action sequence. The hunk, who is quite the acrobat and agile sure made the stunt look easy. “Love my job,” he captioned the clip.

‘Ganapath’ marks Tiger’s on-screen reunion with his ‘Heropanti’ co-star Kriti Sanon. The film that went on floors early this year is slated for a 2022 release.



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New Motera Stadium: 4 dressing rooms, LED lights installed to eliminate shadows, says GCA secy Patel | Cricket News – Times of India

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AHMEDABAD: The newly-installed LED floodlights at refurbished Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera will eliminate shadows, making it easier to spot the aerial balls during the upcoming day/night Test between India and England, starting February 24.
The world’s largest cricket stadium will also have 11 centre strips, which is also unique, along with never-before heard four dressing rooms with in-built gymnasium, said Gujarat Cricket Association’s joint secretary Anil Patel.

The Motera stadium had undergone extensive renovation which started when current BCCI secretary Jay Shah was in charge of state cricket unit.

With a seating capacity of 1,10,000, which is more than Melbourne Cricket Ground, the GCA will put up around 55,000 tickets on sale for the next two Test matches at the venue.
Recently, the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy’s knock-outs were held at the Motera.
“This is the only stadium in the world with 11 centre pitches on the main ground. Also we are the only stadium in the world with same soil being used for practice as well as centre strips,” GCA joint secretary Patel said.
“Instead of mast lights, we have installed LED lights on the entire circular roof for better visibility and to eliminate shadows,” he said.
Patel also said that state-of-the-art drainage system will help the ground dry up in quick time in case of a heavy downpour.
“Sand has been used underneath the grass. This along with a state-of-the-art drainage system will remove the rain water very quickly in comparison to other regular grounds.
“Even in case of 8 cm of rainfall during a match, the water would drain out very fast. This will reduce the chances of matches being cancelled due to rain,” said Patel.
He added that equipments worth Rs 2 crore were purchased just for the upkeep of the ground.
The stadium, spread in an area of 63 acres, also has 6 indoor pitches with bowling machines. This is in addition to the outdoor practice pitches and two practice grounds with a small pavilion area, said Patel.
“This is the only stadium in the world with four dressing rooms for the players. Each dressing room has a state-of-the-art gymnasium among other amenities. The stadium also has a clubhouse with 50 deluxe rooms and five suites,” Patel said during the media tour of the stadium.





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Priya Ramani acquitted in MJ Akbar’s defamation case: Read full verdict | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by former Union minister MJ Akbar. Ramani had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct in the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2018.
The court said it is shameful that crimes against women are taking place in a country where mega epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana were written about respecting them.
Read the full verdict:



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ISL: Kerala Blasters appoint Ishfaq Ahmed as interim head coach | Football News – Times of India

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PANAJI: Kerala Blasters‘ assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed will take over as interim head coach of the side for the last two games of the ongoing Indian Super League.
Earlier in the day, the club parted ways with head coach Kibu Vicuna on mutual consent on Wednesday after the side suffered a humiliating defeat in the season on Tuesday.
Kerala Blasters faced a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Hyderabad FC and is now mathematically out of the playoff race.
“The club can confirm that we have parted ways with head coach Kibu Vicuna on mutual consent. We would like to thank him for his contributions during the season and wish him all the very best,” the club said in a statement.
“Our Assistant Coach, Ishfaq Ahmed, will take over as Interim Head Coach for the final two games of the season,” the ISL side tweeted.

Kerala Blasters had a poor season as they won only three out of 18 games played till now. They are 10th on the ISL points table with two more matches left.
Hyderabad FC outclassed Kerala Blasters at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Tuesday. Hyderabad knew they were being watched by their closest playoff rivals, NorthEast United and FC Goa. They needed a statement of intent to make their top-four ambitions clear.
A brace from Fran Sandaza (58, 63′) and goals from Aridane Santana (86′) and Joao Victor (90′) helped Hyderabad climb to third on the table.
Kerala will now take on Chennaiyin FC on February 21 and NorthEast United on February 26 in their last two games of the season.





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