Weekly Digest (January 17-23): COVID mars India's Women's Asian Cup campaign, India men's cricket team humbled in South Africa

From the Indian women's football team withdrawing its game against Chinese Taipei in the AFC Women's Asian Cup due to a COVID cluster in the team to the Indian men's cricket team's 3-0 loss to South Africa in the ODI series, here are the top sporting headlines from the week gone by.

The medical team waits along the ground as the match between India and Chinese Taipei was called off after several players from the Indian team were found COVID positive.   -  EMMANUAL YOGINI

From the Indian women's football team withdrawing its game against Chinese Taipei in the AFC Women's Asian Cup due to a COVID cluster in the team to the Indian men's cricket team's 3-0 loss to South Africa in the ODI series, here are the top sporting headlines from the week gone by.

CRICKET

Quinton de Kock scored a superb century as South Africa completed a clean sweep of its three-match one-day international series against India with a tense four-run victory at Newlands on Sunday. (REPORT)

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has confirmed that fans won't be allowed for the West Indies series, which will start with India's 1000th ODI in Ahmedabad. (REPORT)

Ahead of its debut in the Indian Premier League, the Ahmedabad franchise named Hardik Pandya as the captain of the team. (REPORT)

FILE PHOTO: A vital cog in India's scheme of things in white-ball cricket, the flamboyant Pandya bowled in just two matches in the recent T20 World Cup where India went out in the group stage itself.   -  AP

 

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is expected to begin on March 27 and the Board is confident of hosting the tournament across four venues in India - the Wankhede Stadium, Brabourne Stadium, DY Patil Stadium and the MCA Stadium in Gahunje.  (REPORT)

As many as 1,214 players - 896 Indian and 318 overseas players - have registered for the auction, the BCCI announced on Saturday. (REPORT)

The Lucknow IPL franchise has picked up India wicketkeeper-batter K.L. Rahul, Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and uncapped Indian leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi for the 2022 edition. (REPORT)

India will begin its ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 campaign against Pakistan on October 23 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. (REPORT)

The Ranji Trophy is set to be cancelled for the second successive season due to the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases. There is no window ahead of the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League, which is likely to begin on April 2. (REPORT)

Australia completed a dominant 4-0 Ashes series victory over England on Sunday by winning the fifth Test by 146 runs with two days to spare. (REPORT)

Pat Cummins led Australia to 4-0 in his first series as captain.   -  Reuters

 

Kolkata Knight Riders has appointed Bharat Arun as its bowling coach for the forthcoming IPL 2022 season. (REPORT)

Washington Sundar has tested positive for COVID-19 and is unlikely to travel to South Africa for the three-match ODI series. (REPORT)

Ten days after retiring from international cricket, Sri Lankan batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa has made a u-turn and will continue to be available to play for Sri Lanka. (REPORT)

South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Tuesday. (REPORT)

Ross Taylor claimed the last Bangladesh wicket in his final act in Test cricket to seal New Zealand's series-levelling victory by an innings and 117 runs in the second and final match on Tuesday. (REPORT)

The BCCI has postponed the ongoing U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy after several players tested positive for COVID-19. (REPORT)

Amid the rising COVID-19 cases across the country, the BCCI is deliberating on 'Plan B' for the home series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka and also the Indian Premier League. (REPORT)

FOOTBALL

A COVID-19 outbreak in the team forced host India to withdraw from its second group match of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup against Chinese Taipei on Sunday at the DY Patil stadium. (REPORT)

Medical team waits along the ground as the match between India and Chinese Taipei was called off after several players from the Indian team were found COVID positive.   -  EMMANUAL YOGINI

 

Manchester City's long winning run in the Premier League ended at 12 matches after a 1-1 draw at Southampton, which took points off the leader for the second time this season. (REPORT)

Edin Dzeko netted a last-gasp winner to help Inter Milan beat virus-hit Venezia 2-1 and move five points clear at the top of Serie A. (REPORT)

Real Betis continued its good run with a 4-1 win at Espanyol, strengthening its hold on third place in the Spanish league. (REPORT)

Former India player and one of India's most celebrated coaches, Subhash Bhowmick, passed away in Kolkata on Saturday. (REPORT)

Bhowmick, known by his nickname of 'Bhombol' in the city’s football fraternity, represented the last generation of players who experienced India making a podium finish in a continental championship. (File Photo)   -  THE SPORTSTAR

 

Australia women's captain Sam Kerr said it was an "amazing honour" to become the country's leading scorer after she netted her 54th goal, breaking the previous record held by former men's international Tim Cahill. (REPORT)

France captain Hugo Lloris chose to extend his stay at Tottenham beyond a decade by signing a new two-year contract. (REPORT)

FIFA president Gianni Infantino held talks with Premier League players, including Manchester United's Paul Pogba, on Thursday over changes to the international match calendar and player workload. (REPORT)

Diogo Jota's double earned Liverpool a comfortable 2-0 win at Arsenal in the second leg of its League Cup semifinal, setting up a Wembley showdown against Chelsea. (REPORT)

Barcelona’s list of disappointments this season got longer on Thursday with a loss to Athletic Bilbao in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey. Real Madrid also needed extra time at Elche but avoided an upset thanks to Eden Hazard’s late goal after the team went a man down and needed to come from behind to win 2-1. (REPORT)

Defending champion Algeria was dumped out of the African Cup of Nations in the group stage on Thursday with a 3-1 loss to an Ivory Coast team that was rampant at times and announced itself as a contender for the title in Cameroon. (REPORT)

Algeria captain Mahrez (R), missed a penalty in Thursday's 3-1 defeat by Ivory Coast as the reigning champion crashed out in the group stage of the tournament in Cameroon.   -  AP

 

Ousmane Dembele hit back at Barcelona by saying he "won't give in to blackmail" after the club's director of football Mateu Alemany said the winger must leave before the end of January. (REPORT)

Former Brazil forward Robinho had a nine-year sentence for the rape of a young woman upheld by Italy’s top court. (REPORT)

The Indian Super League (ISL) season continues to soldier on despite a COVID-19 outbreak inside the bio-secure bubble in Goa and multiple postponements. (REPORT)

TENNIS

Rafael Nadal, Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils and Denis Shapovalov made it to the men’s singles quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Sunday. (REPORT)

Rafael Nadal moved into the Australian Open fourth round after beating Russia's Karen Khachanov in four sets on Friday.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Local favourite Ashleigh Barty, Madison Keys, Barbora Krejcikova and Jessica Pegula reached the women’s singles last eight at the Australian Open on Sunday. (REPORT)

Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza announced that the current season would be her last on the WTA Tour after the first-round loss in the women’s doubles of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Wednesday. (REPORT)

India’s Sania Mirza and her American partner Rajeev Ram advanced to the mixed doubles quarterfinals of the Australian Open with a win in straight sets over Ellen Perez and Matwe Middelkoop. (REPORT)

Novak Djokovic arrived in his native Serbia on Monday after being deported from Australia because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19, ending his hopes of defending his Australian Open title. (REPORT)

India’s Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan have received a direct entry into the doubles main draw of the fourth edition of Tata Open Maharashtra, organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) and scheduled at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune from January 31 to February 6. (REPORT)

HOCKEY

Holders India thrashed minnow Malaysia 9-0 to start its title defence on an emphatic note at the women's Asia Cup hockey tournament on Friday. (REPORT)

In its bid to make the sport more safer for its athletes, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has allowed players defending penalty corners to keep their protective equipment on even after the ball goes outside the striking circle, but must remove them at the first opportunity inside the 23m area. (REPORT)

BADMINTON

India's P. V. Sindhu cruised past Malvika Bansod to clinch the Syed Modi International badminton championships in Lucknow on Sunday. (REPORT)

Sindhu, the top seed, easily pocketed the first game 21-11 before Kosetskaya conceded the second women's singles semifinal match. The Russian girl gave up the match due to stomach pain.   -  PTi

 

The Syed Modi India International men's singles final in Lucknow on Sunday was called off after one of the finalists tested positive for COVID-19, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said. (REPORT)

WRESTLING

After working with junior teams on international assignments, Indian Air Force coach Jitender Yadav will now be the chief coach of the Indian women's wrestling team. He will take over from Kuldeep Malik. (REPORT)

ATHLETICS

Olympic high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene is among 22 Russians given permission to compete in international track and field events as neutrals this year while Russia remains suspended, World Athletics said Saturday. (REPORT)

CHESS

World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen beat India’s R. Praggnanandhaa to claim the lead after seven rounds at the Tata Steel Masters chess tournament at Wijk Aan Zee, the Netherlands. (REPORT)

GM M.R. Lalith Babu won his third straight title when he clinched honours in the Marienbad Chess Open at  Marianske Laznein, Czech Republic on Saturday. (REPORT)

MOTORSPORTS

Mohammed Ben Sulayem of the United Arab Emirates was the first non-European president of motorsport's world governing body after being elected, said the International Automobile Federation (REPORT)

Formula One champions Mercedes agreed to let engine expert Ben Hodgkinson move to rivals Red Bull in May (REPORT)

India lost its seat on the FIA's all powerful World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) for the first time in more than three decades. (REPORT)

BOXING

Retained as Indian men's boxing's High-Performance Director after a few months of deliberation and discussion, Santiago Nieva says the immediate focus in his second stint would be to rebuild the team, which hit a low by ending medal-less in the Tokyo Olympics. (REPORT)

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