February 24, 2021


As Americans continue to weather the pandemic, the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and spending bill passed by the federal government in December brought an unexpected and lasting gift: a new national park.The 5,593-page spending package included a raft of provisions authorizing little-known projects — the construction of the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, for one — and giving lawmakers a chance to advance a variety of long-delayed initiatives. Among them was the elevation of the New River Gorge, in southern West Virginia, to the status of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the country’s other most renowned outdoor spaces. The designation of the area — roughly 72,000 acres of land flanking 53 miles of the gorge — as a national park and preserve creates the 63rd national park in the United States and completes a multigenerational effort, started in the mid-twentieth century, to transform a tired industrial area into a national landmark.“Towards the end of this year, with these big bills coming down, I decided to strike,” said Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican and the state’s junior senator, who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, introduced the New River Gorge legislation in 2019.“This was the right opportunity,” she said.A draw for rafters, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiastsThe gorge and its surroundings have been prized for decades as one of southern West Virginia’s more spectacular natural places.In 1963, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution seeking to designate the New River Gorge as a “national playground,” preparing to send the proposal to President John F. Kennedy, whose primary campaign was lifted substantially through support from West Virginia voters. But momentum to create a national recreation area stalled after Mr. Kennedy’s assassination later that year.Though the gorge remained a curiosity among rafters and outdoor enthusiasts, the area only received federal protection from the Interior Department in 1978, when it was designated a national river.Now, the outdoor offerings in the gorge have come to define the area as a premier destination for adventure sports in the East.The New River plunges 750 feet over 66 miles, resulting in long stretches of violent rapids that can reach a class five level, generally considered the most difficult that can be navigated by white-water boaters. (Licensed outfitters operate in several towns near the river, providing rentals and tours for rafting and kayaking.)The canyon walls, which soar as high as 1,600 feet, offer miles of cliffs that rank among the best in the East Coast for rock climbing. Sheer faces in the gorge made of robust Nuttall sandstone provide both traditional and sport-climbing routes across the difficulty spectrum.Bike routes are scattered throughout the park on both sides of the river, with options for both technical mountain biking and more casual pedaling along former railroad beds.A glimpse back in timeAccording to the National Park Service, geologists believe the New River — its name a misnomer used by early American explorers who often assigned the same name to any river they came upon for the first time — was a segment of the preglacial Teays River. This larger river, which traversed much of the current Ohio River watershed, was later diverted and broken up by glaciers. The age of the Teays is uncertain, but fossil evidence suggests it could be as much as 320 million years old, leaving its remnant, the New River, as quite possibly the second oldest river in the world.Beyond the millions of years of geological history on display, the gorge is also filled with signs of the region’s heritage as a major coal production hub.Miners once capitalized on the easy access to rich deposits of high-quality bituminous coal in the canyon, where the river had already shorn through hundreds of feet of rock. Especially after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway linked the New River coal fields to markets in 1873, dozens of boom towns popped up along the river’s edge, thriving well into the 1920s.In 1963, a coal mine was still operating in the gorge, said Dave Arnold, a state tourism commissioner who operated a rafting company for more than 40 years.“In ’76 or ’77, if you were in my boat, we’d have been floating down the river and I would have been showing you, ‘here’s an old coal tipple, here’s the old hotel at Caperton, here’s this and that,’” he said.The demand for coal around the turn of the twentieth century was so high that towns existed every half mile along up the river, according to the Park Service. As the industry went into decline, however, by the 1950s many were already abandoned, leaving ghost towns scattered throughout the gorge. Additionally, logging during the late nineteenth century stripped vast portions of the gorge bare, clearing enormous swaths of virgin forest.The park contains the remnants of communities such as Nuttallburg and Kaymoor, which still stand near the riverbank and are accessible from points higher up. Seams of exposed coal are visible along some trails leading into the gorge and its towns, where abandoned mine portals and the foundations of coke ovens remain.Restoring an ecosystem with diverse wildlifeDespite the environmental degradation and pollution that industry unleashed, some unique ecological features make the gorge well-suited to a diverse combination of wildlife, which has slowly reappeared as time has passed.The river lies at the center of a migration corridor where plants and animals that typically range further north or south come together, including several federally endangered and threatened species, such as the Virginia big-eared bat and the Allegheny woodrat.According to Lizzie Watts, the park’s superintendent, the river itself is also notably warmer than surrounding areas, making it a popular warm-water fishing destination with more than a dozen public access points. The river is one of the premier spots for smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast, and muskellunge and walleye are common in the park today.“The next generation will have the opportunity to see what, in the last 150 years, it looks like when an area goes from being logged and mined to left alone,” Ms. Watts said. “The ecosystem has come back to full trees and mature forests.”As federal protections took effect after the Park Service began overseeing the area as a national river in 1978, wildlife has largely recovered, and many see an opportunity to showcase the region’s natural elegance.“To show off our rock climbing, our extreme sports availabilities in that area, is just really exciting,” said Ms. Capito of what she described as a “kind of wild and wonderful part of our state.” ‘The cream of the crop’The National Park Service, created in 1916, oversees more than 400 areas across the country, including national monuments, seashores and battlefields as well as parks, which together total more than 85 million acres.While the new title for New River Gorge does not fundamentally alter the area’s day-to-day operations, both lawmakers and the Park Service tend to view “national parks” as the crown jewels of the park system — a protection granted to some of the largest and most prized tracts of the country.“National Park status is usually considered like the cream of the crop,” Ms. Watts said. “But it really is just another one of those names.”The New River Gorge does not match the scale of many national parks in the western United States, where Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone sprawl over more than 1 million acres each.Nevertheless, officials expect the new designation to bring a substantial influx of travelers, boosted in part by a dedicated set of enthusiasts who strive to visit every national park.In typical years, around 1.3 million travelers visit the gorge, according to the Park Service’s tourism data. Based on studies of other areas that received national park status, Ms. Capito said she expects to see visitors increase by as much as 20 percent.“It does feel like the very beginning stages of transformation for the whole area,” said Becky Sullivan, the executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’ll be very, very interested to see where we are in about 10 years.”Maintaining the community and its favored pastimesAs unique outdoor attractions throughout the Appalachian region have gained more national visibility, some concern has grown over the idea of a wealthy and mobile set from out of state trampling the communities adjacent to these places.West Virginia remains the second-poorest state in the country in terms of median household income, according to data collected by the United States Census Bureau. And while tourism has brought a needed injection of wealth to areas all around the gorge, it has also changed the makeup of neighboring communities, as more people have come to visit the park or settle down near it.Interest in the natural offerings around the park has brought slow but measurable change for small towns nearby like Fayetteville. Officials say that the advent of remote work during the pandemic has only hastened a trend of properties in the area being repurposed for vacation rentals and outsiders snapping up second homes.“You cannot find a house for sale in Fayetteville, because they’re just in such high demand,” said Sharon Cruikshank, the town’s mayor. “So that definitely changed the budgeting of the town as well as the county.”When legislation was first introduced to designate the area as a national park, pushback came from some locals. Hunters have long enjoyed access to secluded sections of woods around the gorge, and with hunting prohibited in federal parks, some protested the potential loss of thousands of acres of hunting grounds.In a compromise, more than 65,000 acres of the total area were designated as a nature preserve where hunting can continue as before, and only roughly 7,000 acres directly within the canyon are officially off limits as national parkland. A provision was included to empower the park to acquire more than 3,000 acres of private land around its current boundaries as well, to expand the size of the preserve and add public hunting grounds.In a nod to tradition, the legislation also enshrines the right for visitors to continue to make use of one of the park’s most famous features — the New River Gorge Bridge — at least once a year.BASE jumping, an extreme sport in which jumpers parachute from elevated structures or cliffs, is banned in every other national park.But, since 1980, BASE jumpers have been permitted to plunge from the top of the 876-foot-high bridge and parachute down toward the river once a year, on Bridge Day, held one Saturday in October. The legislation designating the area as a national park allows that tradition to continue.As many as 100,000 people typically come to watch the jumpers plunge, according to Ms. Sullivan, providing a major boost for businesses in the region. The event has only been canceled twice, including last year because of the coronavirus.Bridge Day’s organizers advise jumpers that the only dependable way to touch down safely is to plan to land directly in the river. In normal years, hundreds do so, often multiple times that day, gliding down and softly hitting the New River’s waters.

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The Golden State Warriors made the most of a second-quarter burst to eventually down the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-98. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green made several highlight plays to get the job done for the home side at the Chase Center.The duo didn’t even have to feature in the fourth quarter with six Golden State Warriors scoring in double digits to close out the game with ease. They even restricted the Cleveland Cavaliers well who shot less than 40% from the field.Cleveland Cavaliers get going early but Golden State Warriors eventually take controlIt was a fairly close affair in the first quarter. Stephen Curry stepped up for the Golden State Warriors and scored a quickfire 16 points but the Cleveland Cavaliers responded well. The likes of Collin Sexton and Jarrett Allen kept them in the running.Things changed towards the end of the second quarter where the Golden State Warriors went on a 23-8 lead to finish the first half with a 10-point advantage. The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t recover from there as the Dubs extended their advantage in the third quarter thanks to the playmaking of Draymond Green.The Warriors have held their opponent to 105 points or less, and 40.6% FG shooting or less, in 4 of the last 5 games— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) February 16, 202128 games into the season, the Warriors are the 8th seed in the West with a 15-13 record.Not too bad for the projected 14th seed ahead of the season. pic.twitter.com/GYc8ifhLdt— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) February 16, 2021I’d say it’s not the Cavs night. But not their month might be more accurate— 𝙅𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣 𝙍𝙤𝙬𝙖𝙣 🇨🇦 (@Cavsanada) February 16, 2021

Weird to see the Cavs down 20 against the Warriors. Usually doesn’t happen until June— Rashad (@rashadalaiyan) February 16, 2021Whispers* the nets showed how to stop a lot of the warriors plays….. (continues to whisper) but hopefully the rest of the league didn’t watch— IN THE LAB (@DevInTheLab) February 16, 2021Stephen Curry and Draymond Green too hot to handle for Cleveland Cavaliers The two veterans rose to the occasion again

Stephen Curry continued his tremendous campaign with another outstanding performance. He had 36 points for the Golden State Warriors tonight on 13-of-19 shooting including seven made threes. He’s on course to become only the third player in NBA history to record a 5-40-90 clip in multiple seasons alongside Larry Bird and Steve Nash.Curry was aided in his efforts by Draymond Green who’s been flawless as the primary playmaker for the Golden State Warriors. He’s averaged 11.6 assists per game since the start of February and had 16 dimes against the Cleveland Cavaliers.Steph Curry is averaging 30/6/5 on 50/44/94 splits.He’s carrying a team missing Klay Thompson and ALL 3 big men to a playoff spot in the West. Stop saying he’s in the MVP conversation…he IS the MVP. pic.twitter.com/sXHbJSB6mA— Guru (@DrGuru_) February 16, 2021

Steph Curry and Draymond Green, it turns out, are good basketballers.— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) February 16, 2021Curry is very nearly doing 50 40 90 on 30ppg while teams main goal is to harass him as much as possible since his star teammates are goneThis is going to be funny forever— Dom2K☘🤦🏾‍♂️ (@Dom_2k) February 16, 202110 straight games with 27+ points for Steph Curry is the longest such streak of his career— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) February 16, 2021Draymond’s passing x Steph’s gravity is the most lethal offensive combo in basketball— Antonin (@antonin_org) February 16, 2021

Draymond is avg’ing more assists (8apg) than points (5.2ppg). Who is the last qualified starter to do that?— sam esfandiari (@samesfandiari) February 16, 2021The Golden State Warriors will now take on the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to end their eight-game losing streak against the San Antonio Spurs.Also read: “Do you not think that affects someone mentally?” Draymond Green blasts the NBA for differential treatment of teams and players in trade situations
Published 16 Feb 2021, 12:08 IST

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FILE PHOTO – PSL chairman Philip Ella Juico during the 2020 league opening. TRISTAN TAMAYO/INQUIRER.net
Despite encountering turbulent times, the Philippine Superliga is in the process of engaging a new television partner in GMA 7.
PSL chairman Philip Ella Juico announced Tuesday at the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum that league officials look forward to forging an alliance with the Kapuso network since breaking up with TV5 has become inevitable.
“We remain as strong as before and even stronger now because the teams that we have are very committed. As we speak today, we are starting negotiations with GMA 7 as our new TV partner,’’ said Juico.
Once the deal has been sealed, GMA 7 will air the league’s beach volleyball tournament starting Feb. 26, featuring eight teams in a bubble tournament in Subic Bay, Zambales.
Juico said the PSL currently has four teams—Sta. Lucia, F2 Logistics, Chery Tiggo and a guest squad in Petro Gazz—while the league is seeking to add two to three more teams as soon as the GMA 7 partnership has been finalized.
He added Generika, Petron and Marinerang Pilipina took a leave from the league and reports have it that Cignal has decided to move ship to the Philippine Volleyball League.
“If Cignal is joining the other league, we have no other sensible reason to stay at TV5. We have to adjust to the reality of the situation and the signs of the times,’’ said Juico during the weekly forum backed by Smart, Go For Gold, Milo, San Miguel Corporation, Braska and Pagcor.
But while the PVL has gone professional under the supervision of the Games and Amusements Board, the PSL, which decided to move the projected March opening of its indoor volleyball to a later date, has opted to remain non-professional.
“Our board, our team owners, the ones who are still with us really want to stay non-professional. We realized that there is really no room for two professional (volleyball) leagues in this country,’’ said Juico.
“What good will that do to Philippine sports development? It doesn’t make strategic sense. Why do we have to move up if there is already a (pro) league there? We’ll just stay here where we are happy and have created a niche,’’ added Juico.

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After a bumpy start to the 2020-21 NBA season, the Golden State Warriors are getting back in form. They made several changes to their roster in the offseason and it took some time for the players to settle in. But with the All-Star break almost here, the Dubs are looking consistent. The credit for their newfound success goes to none other than their veteran duo of Steph Curry and Draymond Green. Recently, the two stars flaunted their skills against the Cavaliers in a comfortable 129-98 victory. Curry continued his hot scoring streak with 36 points against the Cavs. On the other hand, Green handled the facilitating duties for the team as he finished the game with 16 assists. The two stars have shouldered the burden for the team in the absence of Klay Thompson. But can the Warriors go all the way and win another championship? We will find out in the coming months. Steph Curry and Draymond Green: The two pillars for the Golden State Warriors Golden State Warriors forward Kent Bazemore (26) and forward Juan Toscano-Anderson (95) and guard Stephen Curry (30) and forward Draymond Green (23) during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsFollowing this sensational victory, Juan Toscano-Anderson gave an interesting post-game interview. He said: “I am a beneficiary of these guys, their hall of fame IQ. You know Draymond [Green] had 16 assists today and that’s amazing from our starting center. Last five games, he’s in double digits assists. … Either Steph [Curry] is open or Imma be open. “I’m aware that the defense ain’t gonna leave him so I just find those gaps and get those easy buckets. I know Draymond sees everything. Sometimes he sees it a little too quick before any of us see it, but it’s great to play with a guy like that.” Draymond Green has always been an amazing playmaker for the Dubs. Even during their stretch of dominance in the mid 2010s, he took on the role of a facilitator for their championship teams. This season, he is elevating his game further in that department. READ MORE | Steph Curry and LeBron James Ready to Move On From Intense Rivalry But is this enough for the Warriors to win another championship? Feel free to share your thoughts. Get notified about breaking news and watch highlights on the go; join the Arena on NBA Hoops

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GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 06: David Bakhtiari #69 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field on December 06, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)Restructuring David Bakhtiari’s contract will give the Packers over $8 million in additional salary cap room in 2021. What will Green Bay do with it?David Bakhtiari isn’t giving any money back to the Packers over the long haul, but his decision to convert a roster bonus into a signing bonus is giving Green Bay approximately $8.3 million more in 2021 cap space to work with. The pressure is now on the team’s front office to use the money to get Bakhtiari and his teammates back to the Super Bowl.Packers fans shouldn’t get too excited. This move won’t permit Green Bay to become massive spenders in free agency. At the moment, they’re still projected to be over the 2021 salary cap. Bakhtiari’s move gives the team some much-needed breathing room, but it won’t be enough to allow them to reel in a big-time free agent.This piece identifies three impactful moves the Packers can now make after the Bakhtiari news. None projects to be an absolute game-changer for Green Bay, but both could be very helpful in the team’s pursuit to give Aaron Rodgers one more shot at winning a Lombardi Trophy.The #Packers recently created about $8.3M in cap space by converting LT David Bakhtiari’s more than $11M roster bonus into a signing bonus and spreading it out over the length of the contract. He’ll make the same as before, but it gives GB some room to operate.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 13, 20213. Make J.J. Watt a competitive offerOver a dozen NFL teams have already expressed interest in Watt after the Texans’ decision to let him go. Predictably, the Packers are one of the interested parties.The $8 million and change saved via the Bakhtiari deal isn’t going to be enough to land Watt, but it gets Green Bay within range to land the veteran edge rusher. It’s unlikely that he’s going to make his decision based purely on money, but Green Bay still needs to make a credible offer if they want to fend off the competition. This move gives the Packers a chance to bring Watt home in free agency.

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Even in full-blown wars, the ace is only unveiled in special scenarios. Scenarios which can’t be unlocked with anything but the X-factor, the special weapon that holds the audacity to be a differentiator, a differentiator needed when the run-of-the-mill stuff can no longer work.Jasprit Bumrah is that precious jewel, the X-factor, the special weapon, the differentiator in Indian cricket. The skills, the temperament, the confidence, he is one of the best that Indian cricket have had in ages. He’s arguably the best pacer across all formats in world cricket at the moment. Short run-up yet great momentum. A chutzpah-laden jump, whiplash action from hyperextension, raw pace, dipping slower balls, killer yorker, wide-angle of attack. An ability to move the ball both ways, with accuracy and control, the deceptive change of wrist. And above all, a sharp brain, to work out a batsman’s technique, play with his head, and attack where it hurts the most. He’s GOLD for India. A bowler, who should be wrapped up in cotton wool and preserved. There have been great batsmen in the country, but very rarely as good fast bowlers. And that is why there is a greater need for India to be more cautious with him than others. No other bowler in the country walks into the XI across different formats, different conditions, and different countries but Bumrah. But that also means he is likely to be exposed to far more cricket than he ideally should be. And that is precisely where India will need to be careful.Given the team’s fast bowling resources for Tests in India, there is a strong case to not play the 27-year-old in home conditions at all. Even his selection for the ongoing Test series against England didn’t make much sense given the amount of cricket he had already played. He entered the home series having played 15 matches in IPL, three ODIs, one warm-up game, four Tests since September 19. He sent down 159.4 overs in these many Tests. He was even ruled out of the Gabba Test, which might well have been triggered as a result of his workload. In the hot conditions of Chennai, he had to bowl the most in an innings he ever had. No wonder the Indian pacer was rested for the second Test. But his selection in the squad itself was hard to comprehend, at least for me, given India have to play a lengthy white-ball series later, then there is the IPL and the much more important England tour lined-up. Not to forget, in the World Cup year, it will be great to try different combinations with Bumrah in the side so as to build up the team ahead of the megaevent than in it like the 2019 WC.Let’s take a look at how Indian pacers have fared in the last five years in India with a minimum of 10 wickets:
Indian pacers at home in the last 5 years  © Cricinfo Statsguru
India have quality pacers in Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and now Mohammed Siraj, all of whom are good enough with reverse swing and the old ball. And given how much of a factor India’s batting and in particular spin bowling assumes, there is hardly any need of Bumrah’s presence. Why expose him when India already have enough firepower for familiar home conditions? So, they shouldn’t. Also, in all honesty, Bumrah in India doesn’t make as massive a difference as he does in SENA, for him to toil hard on flat, unresponsive Indian surfaces or the ones that are tailor-made for spinners. However, in SENA conditions, he is invaluable given he leads the Indian bowling attack and turns into an X-factor, with his top-notch skills which are better than most others pacers as the below stats reflect.
Indian pacers in SENA in the last 10 years  © Cricinfo Statsguru
Bumrah has the best bowling average for any Indian pacer in SENA nations in the last decade. He is the third leading wicket-taker after having made his debut in 2018 in South Africa, which shows he is a class apart. The difference in his bowling average with others shows the gulf between him and everyone else and his significance.And when it comes to limited-overs cricket, he is unrivaled in the Indian team with his value arguably even greater than Virat Kohli given Rohit can make up for his failures but there’s no other pacer who comes even close to the diversity of the skills that Bumrah possesses. There is no better death bowler in the world than him forget India, where there is dearth of such options. And unlike Tests, India lack quality bench strength or even as many options in the colorful jersey. So, his value in white-ball cricket goes unabated just like SENA. Bumrah is a generational talent. India are lucky to have a match-winner like him. Now, it’s on the selectors, team management, and captain whether they use him in the best manner possible or leave a room for injury with the amount of workload there is for an Indian cricketer, who happens to be a fast bowler, a regular across formats, and an IPL star. He certainly can’t be wrapped up in a cotton wool and be preserved but used as judiciously as possible. To ensure that his body doesn’t break down due to excessive cricket and he continues winning games of cricket in years to come. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .

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India bowled England out for 164 in their second innings, with Axar Patel taking 5-60 and Ravi Ashwin 3-53 to secure a 317-run victory and level the series 1-1; the third Test begins in Ahmedabad on February 24

Last Updated: 16/02/21 9:32am

Virat Kohli ended his losing streak as India captain in emphatic style as his side crushed England by 317 runs in Chennai (Pic credit – BCCI)

Victorious India captain Virat Kohli felt his side’s “grit and determination” with the bat was decisive after they overwhelmed England by 317 runs to win the second Test in Chennai.
India’s batsmen mastered the crumbling pitch well enough on the third day to score 286 in their second innings and build an unassailable lead before bowling the tourists out for just 164 as they levelled the four-match series 1-1.While Moeen Ali’s late flourish for 43 off 18 balls represented England’s highest score in the match, India were indebted to centuries in each innings from Rohit Sharma and Ravi Ashwin respectively, as well as three other players passing 50. “Our application with the bat was outstanding in this game,” said Kohli. “The conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application, grit and determination to battle it out. Virat Kohli, who scored 62 in India’s second innings, was one of five home batsmen to pass 50 during the second Test “We didn’t panic out there, looking at the amount of turn and bounce – we trusted our defence and we scored 600 runs total. If we put up that kind of performance, then we know our bowlers are going to do the job in home conditions.”We believed we could get runs on that pitch and it wasn’t unfair if the toss went either way. I don’t think on that pitch it would have mattered very much.”If you look at our second innings on day three, we still applied ourselves and got almost 300. Both teams had to apply themselves and that’s what you want in Test cricket from the first session onwards.”Ashwin, who finished with overall figures of 8-96, was named player of the match but it was fellow spinner Axar Patel who grabbed the limelight in England’s second innings as he took 5-60 on his Test debut. Rishabh Pant stumped Dan Lawrence to reduce England to 66-4 on the final morning in Chennai (Pic credit – BCCI) Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, who had struck an unbeaten 58 in India’s first innings, also impressed with the gloves as he pulled off stumpings to dismiss Dan Lawrence and Moeen on the final day.”He’s worked a lot physically in (the tour of) Australia,” said Kohli. “He’s shed a lot of weight and become quicker on his feet and that’s showing. The way he kept on this pitch, with so much turn and bounce, was a credit to him for working so hard.”With a super-skilled batsman like him, you won’t really see the difference in batting, but when he moves with the gloves you can see the difference in his reactions and reflexes.”We want him to keep improving as a keeper and get stronger and stronger with his skill sets because we understand how much value he brings to the team.”The India skipper indicated that left-armer Axar would retain his place for the remaining two Tests in the series, which both take place at Ahmedabad. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel marked his Test debut with figures of 5-60 in the second innings (Pic credit – BCCI) The first of those is a day-night encounter, beginning a week on Wednesday, when paceman Jasprit Bumrah is expected to return to the India line-up after being rested for the second Chennai Test.”It’s a special moment for Axar and I’m very happy for him,” added Kohli. “He would have played the first game as well if he didn’t have that niggle and he was very keen to step onto the field. “As a left-arm spinner, when you get the kind of pitch that’s turning square, he was all smiles and he couldn’t wait to get the ball in his hand.”I hope he builds it up from here and has a strong couple of games going forward, so that he’s always in the mix to play cricket for India.”

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In 2020, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers were able to exorcise their postseason demons. The franchise won its first World Series Championship in more than three decades, while Kershaw was able to shed the ‘can’t win the big one’ label that had previously followed him around his entire career. Now, with his legacy firmly intact, the three-time Cy Young Award winner is openly contemplating his future. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Kershaw, who is in the last year of his current contract, had this to say when asked about an extension, “I don’t know. Honestly, I wish I had an answer.” Surely, that’s not the response the Dodgers faithful were hoping to hear, but at least the team brought in some reinforcements for when No. 22 does ultimately decide to hang ’em up. Which brings us to today’s quiz of the day. Kershaw has not gotten the ball for L.A. on Opening Day the last two years, but prior to that, he was a fixture on the mound, having pitched in eight consecutive Opening Days from 2011 to 2018, a franchise record. So with that in mind, how many of the pitchers with the most Opening Day starts for every MLB franchise can you name in five minutes?Good luck!

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Johnathan Thurston says he’ll strongly consider joining Queensland’s State of Origin coaching staff if offered a role for the 2021 series.The Maroons legend, who made 37 Origin appearances is widely tipped to serve as an assistant under newly appointed Queensland coach Paul Green.”Once you’re in it it’s very consuming, I love the Maroon jersey everything about it, so yeah if I get asked yeah I’d certainly consider it,” Thurston said.JT toasts the aggression reignited into Origin: JT’s Roast and Toast”I’ve got to talk to the boss first because four young kids at home, eight, six, four and two this year they are. The eight-year-old is going on 18 so it’s tough times for the wife.”Thurston and Green combined as captain and coach to deliver the Cowboys’ first NRL premiership in 2015 and JT believes his former mentor will make a seamless transition into Origin.”There’s been a lot of talk about his intensity and things like that, but it’s State of Origin, it’s the best players you’re working with,” Thurston said.”It’s about making sure everyone understands their role in the team and that’s what he brought to the Cowboys. “He’s one of the best footy brains going round Greeny, so I’m predicting our boys will go back-to-back with him at the helm.”  What Origin means to QueenslandersThurston’s home town of Townsville will host the first major match of the year when the NRL All Stars game kicks off on Saturday and he’s advocating for North Queensland to stage a State of Origin match as well. “Yeah 100 percent. Not only can we hopefully attract an Origin game but hopefully we can attract teams from other codes to come and play because it’s a world class stadium it’s a world class high performance centre … so that’s what we want.”For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

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