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India vs Pakistan, ICC World Cup 2019: ‘This is not war’ – Fans make peace as India crush Pakistan

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Passionate fans from both sides of cricket’s fiercest rivalry preached sporting peace after India’s World Cup thrashing of Pakistan on Sunday in front of an estimated global TV audience of a billion people.

India extended their unbeaten World Cup run against Pakistan to seven matches with an 89-run victory in front of a vociferous, sellout Manchester crowd, largely down to Rohit Sharma’s superb 140 off 113 balls.

Pakistan, chasing an initial 337 to win were always behind the run-rate and finished on a rain-interrupted 212 for six, well short of their revised target of 302 in 40 overs.

Despite the volatile political relations between the two countries, the majority of fans were determined that the sporting battle remained good natured.

“India and Pakistan have long been rivals in the cricket field but we have to move on from the hatred,” Amit Jain, an Indian at the match told AFP.

“This is not war, so take it as a game. All those news channels that were trying to spread hate are looking for some other news now.

“This is done and dusted for them. So we should realise this and grow up,” the 43-year-old London businessman added.

Most of the Pakistan supporters trudged away from Old Trafford early when rain interrupted with their team struggling at 166 for six after 35 overs.

When the match resumed, Pakistan were left with a virtually impossible revised target of 136 more from five overs.

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“India is a great team, no doubt about it and (India captain Virat) Kohli is a man who leads from the front,” said dejected Pakistan fan Ashraf Ali.

“We knew we had little chance but had to keep our morale up by saying that we are going to win

“It was fun sitting along side our Indian friends and watching a good game of cricket. That’s how it should be. Peace is what we need.”

In India and Pakistan it was approaching midnight by the time the game ended.

At a packed outdoor screen in Gurgaon outside New Delhi, hundreds of people were glued to the game before the rain started during Pakistan’s innings, many of them with Indian flags and painted faces.

“Today the josh (patriotic enthusiasm) is at the top of the level. I can’t express in words,” Indian fan Satyam Mishra said in Gurgaon.

Some started to dance and celebrate as Pakistan’s batsmen began to falter and the match tilted in India’s favour.

“Thank God we are warring on the cricket field rather than warring between our borders,” Avaneesh Damaraju, a 17-year-old student, told AFP.

Fans in Islamabad braved the heat to watch the match on big screens in a public park, but they began to thin out rapidly as Pakistan’s loss became inevitable.

“My Pakistani patriot tweet for the day: It is just a game,” tweeted former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani.

Others were less sanguine.

“My thoughts and prayers goes out to the television sets across Pakistan,” tweeted one user along with a photograph of a man aiming an automatic weapon at a TV set airing the match.

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MS Dhoni army training: David Lloyd’s cheeky Twitter post leaves fans fuming

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A lot has been said about former India captain MS Dhoni’s decision to opt out of the upcoming tour of West Indies and his desire to train with the parachute regiment of the Territorial army. From speculations about retirement to his future role has been debated by pundits and fans alike.

Former England cricketer and commentator David Lloyd’s response to the news on Twitter though was quite cheeky. Lloyd responded to a tweet by Sky Sports Cricket with two ‘face with tears of joy’ emoticons and that has not gone down well with Dhoni’s fans.

Fans have slammed Lloyd for disrespecting Dhoni’s decision and there have been many angry reactions to the tweet. The wicket-keeper batsman had requested the Indian Army to allow him to train with a territorial army battalion of the Parachute regiment for two months. “The request has now been approved by the Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat and the honorary Lt Col would train with the Parachute regiment battalion,” top Army sources told ANI.

The Army, however, will not allow Dhoni, who holds an honorary post of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army, to be part of any active operation, sources mentioned. India will tour West Indies for three T20Is and as many ODIs, and two Tests which are part of World Test Championship from August 3 to September 3.

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‘MS Dhoni not retiring from cricket now,’ says top BCCI official – Report

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MS Dhoni, the former India captain, on Saturday made himself “unavailable” for India’s tour of West Indies which gave rise to the ‘has Dhoni retired?’ question but much to the relief of his billions of fans, Dhoni has ruled out immediate retirement a day before the selectors meet in Mumbai to pick the three squads for the upcoming away series, starting on August 3.

Amid mounting speculation around his international retirement after India’s semi-final exit from the recent World Cup, Dhoni has told the BCCI that he will take a two-month sabbatical from the game to serve his paramilitary regiment.

Dhoni is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army, “We would like to clarify three things. MS Dhoni is not retiring from cricket right now. He is taking a two month sabbatical to serve his paramilitary regiment which he had committed much earlier. We have now intimated his decision to skipper Virat Kohli and chairman of selectors MSK Prasad,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on Saturday.

The 38-year-old Dhoni’s refusal to take retirement now leaves the ball in the court of the selectors, who were expected to drop him from the squad for the West Indies. India will play three T20 Internationals, as many ODIs and two Tests in the tour starting August 3. It is believed that the selection committee chaired by MSK Prasad wants to move forward with an eye on future but they would also like to get a sense of where the Indian captain stands on this issue.

“The selection committee has always been clear on one issue. They have no right to tell anyone irrespective of their stature as to when they should call it quits but when it comes to team selection, it remains their domain,” a senior BCCI official said.

With Dhoni pulling out of the tour, Rishabh Pant is expected to be first wicketkeeper in all three formats while Wriddhiman Saha will be Pant’s understudy in the Tests.

From now, the focus will be more on T20 cricket keeping the World T20 in mind, which is scheduled to be held in Australia next year.

India will be playing a lot of bilateral three-match T20 series in run-up to the global meet and with Dhoni expected to play one more season of IPL with Chennai Super Kings, things are a bit tricky at the moment.

There are a few questions that the selectors need to answer.

Whether they see Dhoni playing till World T20? If the answer is yes, are they willing to give him 15 to 18 T20s during the phase as a keeper-batsman? If that answer is also yes, it would boil down to whether skipper Virat Kohli sees him as a batsman in T20s where keeping isn’t the primary skill required.

With Dhoni’s ever-declining hitting abilities, can he come in at Nos 6 or 7 where he might, at best, get 6 to 8 balls in most games and even less in some? If that answer is also yes, the next question that would crop up is if he can hit the likes of Jofra Archer, Jason Behrendorff or Mohammed Amir straightaway in the slog overs. There is a case about Dhoni’s stellar success in death overs at the IPL. He always gets one weak Indian bowler — say a Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel or Dhawal Kulkarni or Sandeep Sharma from whom he scores those 15 to 20-run overs.

But would that be possible against a Lockie Ferguson or a Pat Cummins? The current selection committee’s term ends in October when the BCCI elections are scheduled and they would like to put a transition phase in place in consonance with what the captain and the coach want.

However, once the board members take over after the elections and if Dhoni decides to stick with his decision of not retiring, there could be some twists and turns in the coming months.

Till then, all roads lead to the BCCI headquarters on Sunday where Prasad will address the most defining press conference of his eventful tenure.

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Sachin Tendulkar suggests unique alternative to ICC’s boundary rules to decide winner

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The final of World Cup 2019 saw a controversial ending with the hosts England being declared the winners after the Super Over against New Zealand ended in a tie. The Eoin Morgan-led side had scored higher number of boundaries in the regulation overs, and as per ICC rules, won the match and were crowned as the champions. As the debate over the rule carries on, India cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar came up with a unique alternative to decide the winner.

“I feel there should be another super over to decide the winner, instead of considering the number of boundaries scored by both teams. Not just in a World Cup final. Every game is important. Like in football, when teams go into extra time, nothing else matters,” Tendulkar was quoted saying by 100mb.

“No one lost the final,” New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said Tuesday as his team tried coming to terms with the gut-wrenching defeat against England in the World Cup’s greatest summit clash. Cricketers, current and former, shared New Zealand’s pain on losing the title on boundary count with many of them asking for a “serious look” into the rule, slammed as “absurd”.

“At the end of the day nothing separated us, no one lost the final, but there was a crowned winner and there it is,” Williamson told Newstalk ZB.

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