Weekly Digest (Jan 25-31): From Tamil Nadu winning SMAT title to start of tennis season

Tamil Nadu defeated Baroda in the final to lift the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy title in Ahmedabad, while the tennis season began in Australia.

Tamil Nadu lifted the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy title, while the tennis season began in Australia   -  TWITTER/GETTY IMAGES

Tamil Nadu defeated Baroda in the final to lift the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy title in Ahmedabad, while the tennis season began in Australia. Here are the top headlines from the week gone by:

CRICKET

Dinesh Karthik-led Tamil Nadu won its second Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy after it beat Baroda in the final by seven wickets in Ahmedabad on Sunday. (REPORT)

Virat Kohli remained the highest-placed Indian batsman at fourth position even as Cheteshwar Pujara rose a rung to sixth in the latest ICC Test rankings. (REPORT)

Premier all-rounder Ben Stokes, pacer Jofra Archer and reserve opener Rory Burns on Saturday had their first training session at the Chepauk after successfully completing six days of hard quarantine, while other members of the squad cleared their second COVID-19 test. (REPORT)

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The BCCI has decided to host the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season. In a letter to the state associations late on Friday, the BCCI secretary Jay Shah confirmed that the Board will conduct three tournaments for now - Vijay Hazare Trophy, the senior women's one-dayers and the U-19 Vinoo Mankad Trophy. (REPORT)

Following a challenging but successful tour of Australia, Cheteshwar Pujara is elated that the hard work and determination shown by an inexperienced Indian team paid off. (INTERVIEW)

Pakistan defeated South Africa by seven wickets in the first Test in Karachi on Friday, taking a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. (REPORT)

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Bangladesh completed a clean sweep of the West Indies by securing a 120-run victory on Monday in the third and final ODI. (REPORT)

For the first time in 87 years, the BCCI will not be conducting the Ranji Trophy - the country’s premier domestic tournament. Former India batsman and domestic cricket stalwart, Wasim Jaffer, believes that it is important for the BCCI to design a compensation package for the cricketers, so that it does not hurt them financially. (REPORT)

Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford will officially retire from international cricket in April this year, the ICC announced on Wednesday. Member of the ICC Elite Panel, Oxenford has officiated in 179 international cricket matches, including 62 Tests, in an umpiring career that began in January, 2006. (REPORT)

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India will gear up for the five-Test series in England with a four-day practice game against their own 'A' side at The County Ground in Northamptonshire in July later this year. (REPORT)
 

FOOTBALL

Liverpool and Manchester United had a mixed week on the field. Jurgen Klopp's Reds were knocked out of the FA Cup by the Red Devils with United pulling off a 3-2 win. However, after briefly topping the Premier League table, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's boys were first handed a shock defeat by Sheffield United before being restricted to a goalless draw at Arsenal. Meanwhile, Manchester City has made its way to the top of the table with a four-point lead thanks to wins over West Brom and Sheffield United.

Frank Lampard was fired by Chelsea halfway through his second season in charge of the London club after being unable to replicate his success as the club's record scorer in his first Premier League managerial job. Former PSG boss Thomas Tuchel was appointed soon after as his replacement.

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In the aftermath of his team’s goalless draw with Arsenal, United striker Marcus Rashford claimed he was racially abused through social media platforms, but he was only one of the many cases of racism English football witnessed this week prompting the FA to vow to work with the British Government and social media platforms to tackle racism

Arsenal saw some important transfer action with Mesut Ozil making a permanent switch to Turkish side Fenerbahce after being left out of the club's Premier League and Europa League squads for this season, and Martin Odegaard coming in on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season.

An ugly mid-pitch spat broke out in the  Milan derby with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku seen having a heated argument. The pair had to be restrained as the players left the pitch for the interval and were subsequently lucky to avoid suspensions or sanctions of any sort.

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Lionel Messi's most recent contract with Barcelona is worth up to 555 million euros (USD 673 million) over four seasons, possibly the most expensive contract ever paid to an athlete. The newspaper which reported the figure, El Mundo, is now facing a lawsuit from the club for publishing the details.

Cristiano Ronaldo could be in trouble after apparently breaking coronavirus restrictions on a two-day trip to the mountains.

Manchester United and US Women's National Team winger Tobin Heath has been ruled out for up to 12 weeks with an ankle injury. This can only mean that the 32-year-old is set to miss some crucial fixtures in the WSL that includes a trip to Merseyside alongside the Manchester derby on February 12 and potentially the SheBelievesCup

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Two-time World Cup-winning coach Jill Ellis is reported to have joined NWSL expansion franchise in Sacramento. She will also work on the men's MLS expansion side for the franchise in 2023.

The Premier League and Women's Super League will introduce concussion substitutions trials from February 6, England's Football Association said on Friday.

Podcast - The merger between ATK and Mohun Bagan for ISL 2020-21 seemed like a match made in heaven, but fans didn't look pleased. Our reporters Shyam Vasudevan, Aashin Prasad and Amitabha Das Sharma delve into the reasons behind fans' displeasure and the raging hashtag #RemoveATK in the latest episode of 'The Full Time Show'.

 

Moving on to Asia, there were several tournament schedule update this week. The next edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup will be held from January 20 to February 6. Meanwhile, this year's Asian Champions League and AFC Cup club competitions will be played in centralised group stages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AFC U-16 Championship Bahrain 2020 and the AFC U-19 Championship Uzbekistan 2020 were cancelled as well.

In the Indian Super League, ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC have faced some hiccups in their charge at the top of the table but the biggest story of the week is the envious new coach bounce NorthEast United is enjoying. Three wins in three games for Khalid Jamil's boys have brought some much needed optimism and energy to the side's campaign.

BADMINTON

The much-awaited domestic badminton season will return after almost a year-long COVID-19-induced hiatus with two senior ranking tournaments marking the resumption of the revamped circuit in April, the game governing body, BAI, said on Saturday. (REPORT)

Olympic silver medallist Mathias Boe of Denmark will coach the world number 10 Indian men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in the run up to the Tokyo Games. (REPORT)

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The "nightmare" that he endured while being confined in a bio-bubble in Bangkok made ace Indian shuttler HS Prannoy realise the importance of addressing the mental health concerns that sportspersons are facing in the post COVID-19 world. (REPORT)

Already out of contention for the knockouts, World champion P V Sindhu ended her campaign with a consolation win at the BWF World Tour Finals but Kidambi Srikanth had a disappointing finish after yet another close defeat (REPORT)

HOCKEY 

Indian junior women's team defeated the Chile senior side 2-1 in its sixth and last match to end its tour on an undefeated note. (REPORT)

IN PICTURES: 8 STARS OF 2020

Indian women’s team put up a valiant fight before suffering a 2-3 defeat against World No. 2 Argentina in the first of the four test matches on Tuesday. (REPORT)

Argentina registered its second successive victory in the test series against India, beating it 2-0 on Thursday.  (REPORT)

TENNIS

Rafael Nadal brushed aside questions about the Australian Open quarantine on Sunday and said it was time to get down to the business of playing tennis and entertaining fans around the world. (REPORT)

Indian tennis icon Leander Paes on Monday said he is eyeing a French Open comeback this year in his quest to make a record eighth appearance at the Olympics in Tokyo. (REPORT)

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Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal will start their 2021 seasons on February 2 when they lead Serbia and Spain respectively in the ATP Cup ahead of the Australian Open. (REPORT)

The Australian Open quarantine facilities are still holding 15 people, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in their lockdown, while 1000 players and their entourages have cleared quarantine, Melbourne health authorities said on Sunday. (REPORT)

Nick Kyrgios has likened Novak Djokovic to NBA player LeBron James in his influence both on and off the court but says he had a duty to call out the World No. 1 when he “lost his way” during the COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

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Andy Murray has entered a lower-tier challenger tournament in Italy next month after withdrawing from the Australian Open with the coronavirus. (REPORT)

The Australian Open will be allowed to admit up to 30,000 fans a day, around 50 percent of the usual attendance from February 8, Victoria State sports minister Martin Pakula said on Saturday. (REPORT)

Former world number six Carla Suarez Navarro said she dreams of a return to action following cancer treatment and this year's Tokyo Olympics would be the perfect stage to call time on her career. (REPORT)

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Japanese star Naomi Osaka has invested in National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team North Carolina Courage to become a team owner, the U.S. top-flight club said on Thursday. (REPORT)

Alexander Zverev believes allowing top players like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal more salubrious isolation conditions was a mistake ahead of the Australian Open. (REPORT)

SHOOTING

Divyansh Singh Panwar and Saurabh Chaudhary demonstrated brilliant shooting in the 10-metre events, but the rest of the Indian shooters got a taste of international competition in the two-day Asian online shooting championship organised by the Kuwait Shooting Federation. (REPORT)

 

ATHLETICS

USA's Rio Olympics gold medallist Ryan Crouser set a new world record in shot put with a throw of 22.82m, bettering a 32-year old record set by compatriot Randy Barnes. (REPORT)

Walker Reshma Patel set a new junior national record on debut, winning the 10000m Race Walk in 48 minutes 25.90 seconds at the 18th National Federation Cup Junior (U-20) Athletics Championships. (REPORT)

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The 24th edition of Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championships, which is an Olympic qualifying event, will be held at the NIS Patiala from March 15 to 19. (REPORT)
 

WRESTLING

Sonam Malik's dominance over Olympian Sakshi Malik continued as she registered her third win in as many face-offs against the latter to not just stamp her authority in the 62kg but also move closer to the Olympic dream on Day One of the 23rd Women’s Wrestling National Championships. (REPORT)

Asian champion Divya Kakran’s return to mat after 11 months was over in six minutes as the 22-year old failed to reproduce the form she had hoped for, crashing out in the qualification round itself of the 68kg on Day Two of the 23rd Women’s Wrestling National Championships here on Sunday. (REPORT)

MOTORSPORT

Team JK Tyre’s rockstar Gaurav Gill (co-driver Musa Sherif) raced to yet another title win in the FMSCI INRC Rally of Coimbatore for four wheelers at the Kethanur windmill farm on Sunday. (REPORT)

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Williams will take years to fight back from rock bottom in Formula One but there is a new sense of optimism, according to the team’s former driver and newly-appointed senior advisor Jenson Button. (REPORT)

Spanish motor racing team boss and former Minardi Formula One driver Adrian Campos, who helped compatriot and double world champion Fernando Alonso reach the top, has died aged 60. (REPORT)

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Ahura Racing's Anushriya Gulati scored a rare double in the JK Tyre FMSCI Indian National Racing Championship, claiming the LGB-4 Rookie crown as well as the women's category title over the weekend in Coimbatore. (REPORT)

Spaniard Carlos Sainz drove a Ferrari Formula One car for the first time on Wednesday and completed more than 100 laps at the Italian team's Fiorano test track. (REPORT)

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