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Happy Birthday Captain Cool: India celebrates as MS Dhoni turns 39

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From veterans to present day’s superstars to fans, cricket fraternity has thronged to social media to celebrate the 39th birthday of the former and most successful captain of the Indian cricket team Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday.

Hailed as one of the greatest-ever captains in the history of the sport, Dhoni has won everything that a captain can win while playing cricket and remains the only international skipper to achieve the feat.

He has led team India to a ICC World T20 glory in 2007, ICC World Cup victory in 2011 before completing his ICC success with the Champions Trophy in 2013. He even took the Test team to the pinnacle of the ranking and earned the prestigious ICC Test Mace, becoming the first Indian captain to do that.

However, it had never been only about his leadership skill that made him the living legend he is today. Much before he became captain, the superstar in him had already taken birth, thanks to his powerful strokeplay and ice-cool determination to win matches from the jaws of defeat.

Apart from being one of the greatest limited-overs batsmen of this generation,  Dhoni is also India’s best-ever gloveman behind the stumps. His impeccable wicketkeeping skills have placed him beside the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Kumar Sangakkara and Mark Boucher as one of the best to have donned the keeping gloves.

Its been almost a year that he has been away from the cricket field, yet conversations about his return or future retirement have never died out in the time since and he still remains one of the most talked about cricketers in the present era.

Several members of the Indian cricket fraternity took to Twitter to wish Dhoni on his special day.

“Happy birthday to my Bittu from your Chittu. My friend who has taught me to be a better human being and stood by me in bad times MS Dhoni,” India all-rounder Hardik Pandya wrote on Twitter.

“Happy birthday to MS Dhoni…a true leader who led from front, a true brother who stands for his real brothers. A true fighter till the last ball in play. Thanks a lot brother for such great moments with me…loved every advise given to me and team,” S Sreesanth said.

“Many more happy returns of the day to a man whose composure and patience continues to be an inspiration,” wrote VVS Laxman.

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VIVO may not be title sponsor of IPL this year amid Indo-China dispute

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VIVO is likely to pull out as the Indian Premier League’s title sponsor for this year and is in talks with the BCCI for an “amicable separation” amid rising Sino-India diplomatic tensions.

The one-year pullout could be treated as a moratorium period and if the relations improve, BCCI may look at inking a fresh three-year deal with the company from 2021 to 2023 on revised terms. The IPL will be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 10 this year.

“Yes, the discussions are on between BCCI office-bearers (president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah) with the representatives of the company. There is a possibility that Vivo will not be title sponsors for one year,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Chinese sponsorship became a bone of contention after the BCCI declared it would review the deals following the violent clashes between the armies of both the countries in eastern Ladakh.

The clash, which led to the killing of 20 Indian soldiers, triggered public outrage and led to calls of boycotting Chinese companies and products.

While the IPL Governing Council on Sunday retained all the sponsors, including Vivo which annually pays Rs 440 crore (approximately) as part of a five-year deal lasting till 2022, there is a strong possibility that the company might part ways for a year.

The Board official PTI spoke to said that whenever a decision is taken, it will be amicable and the BCCI is not looking at encashing the bank guarantee.

“In different circumstances, if the sponsors don’t keep commitment, BCCI can encash the bank guarantee which it had earlier done in case of errant franchises. But here, both parties are looking at an amicable escape route,” the official said.

There were questions raised on the BCCI’s decision to retain Chinese sponsors even as the union government banned close to 60 Chinese apps and social media platforms.

“These are sensitive times and need a cautious approach. Once you had said that you will review sponsorship and then did nothing about it, would raise a question mark over your intent on dealing with the Chinese companies,” the official said.

The BCCI is already in talks with a couple of Indian companies who are believed to be interested in a short-term sponsorship deal — one year period.

“It will be difficult to make up the full amount (Rs 440 crore) in such a short time with the tournament being held overseas. Also, there won’t be much traction in an empty stadium. But we will come to that once VIVO officially quits,” he said.

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Indian Olympic Association chief urges country to celebrate Olympic Day

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Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra has encouraged the nation to celebrate Olympic Day on 23 June. He stated that there is a need to participate in such events to make India into an active sports participation nation.

Olympic Day is celebrated every year on 23 June since 1948 to mark the beginning of the modern-day Olympic Games.

“One way of making India embark on a journey from a sports-watching nation to a more active sports-participating nation is to commemorate such milestones in such a manner that people around the Olympic community would be inspired to play any sport of their choice,” he was quoted as saying by the Olympic Channel on their official website.

“There are countless ways in which we can do this, even with the social-distancing restrictions in place. It could be some form of physical activity that each of us undertakes. It could even be a way of encouragement to Olympic sport.”

“I urge India’s Olympic medallists and Olympians to lead the celebrations. It would be delightful to see our educational institutions get the student community involved,” he added.

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Tokyo 2020 CEO says 80% of venues secured for Olympics

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Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto stated on Friday has stated that 80 per cent of the competition venues have been secured for the rescheduled Olympic Games in 2021.

Muto told reporters that the secured events for the biggest sporting festival on the planet include the new National Stadium and that there ongoing talks to secure other facilities. The same has been confirmed in a report by Xinhua news agency. (via IANS)

“We will hopefully try to use the same venues,” he said. “The adjustment still remains but we are able to use 80 per cent of the facilities we were originally supposed to use.”

Muto warned that there was no guarantee that the Games would be able to take place in the summer of 2021, but he also stated that all measures would be taken to host the Games with the highest standard of safety, in case it happens.

“I don’t think there is anyone that can really promise that the Olympics and Paralympics will be held in 2021 for sure, 100 per cent in any circumstance,” he said.

“But we need to show the commitment that we will be opening the Games next year.”

“As long as we have sufficient measures against COVID-19, we will make sure the Games are held in 2021.”

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