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Roger Federer tweets will not play French Open tournament

Sonu Kanojia

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Hindu World Bureau

Roger Federer announced through his twitter account that he will not play in the French Open, which is about to begins in two weeks, and will instead focus on the grass-court and hard court events ahead, including Wimbledon and the United States Open.

Federer tweeted,”Unfortunately, I won’t be playing Roland Garros this year. I’ll miss my fans in France, but appreciate your support.Federer missed last year’s French Open due to the injury – the first time he did not compete in Paris since his debut in 1999. He won the tournament for the only time in 2009 and is a four-time runner-up.

Federer has won three titles so far this season, including the Australian Open – his first Grand Slam success in five years. He also claimed the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in March and, two weeks later, won the Miami Open. The French Open would begins on 28 May.

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Yesterday Once More: MS Dhoni leads India for 200th time

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MS Dhoni

Dubai | Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday had a date with destiny as he got to lead India for the 200th time in ODIs, nearly two years after giving up captaincy on his own terms.

With skipper Rohit Sharma and his deputy Shikhar Dhawan being rested after four matches in six days, it was nothing but sheer destiny that India’s most successful captain walked out alongside match referee Andy Pycroft and Afghanistan skipper for the toss in their Asia Cup game.

Dhoni has never bothered about milestones and that is why he remained unfazed while calling time on his Test career with 10 short of 100 matches, a benchmark for any cricketer worth his salt. It didn’t matter to Dhoni one bit even though he had no competition.

No wonder when the decision to quit ODI captaincy was announced in early January 2017, his fans were less surprised. It didn’t matter that he had a chance to captain India in 200 ODIs. But then if destiny had made an elaborate plan, it was not in Dhoni’s hands to change the script.

“I was not really sure of where I am standing. I have captained in 199 ODIs, so this gives me an opportunity to make it 200. It’s all destiny and I always believed in that,” Dhoni said with a poker face when Russell Arnold posed the question at the toss.

Since numbers didn’t matter during his halcyon days, it was all the more expected that it would matter even less when he is in the twilight of his illustrious career. “It’s not in my control, once I left captainship,” he said when asked if he ever thought that he would be able to complete 200 ODIs as captain.

Then came the usual Dhoni answer.”Good to complete 200, but I don’t think it really matters,” he sounded business as usual. But people who were used to see him lead for 10 years were happy. “He is hundred percent the most popular Indian captain,” Sunil Gavaskar made the most telling statement.

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Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma lauds Indian bowling unit for consistency

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India

Dubai | India captain Rohit Sharma was all praise for his bowling unit, which has consistently kept opposition teams on tight leash ensuring the side’s smooth passage into the Asia Cup final.

India have assured themselves a spot in the summit clash after winning two Super Four Games against Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively. The Indian bowlers have restricted Pakistan to 162 and 237 in two games while bowling out Bangladesh for 173.

“The entire bowling unit stuck to their task and hats off to them. Repeated performances are challenging in these conditions and I don’t want to take any credit away from bowlers,” said Rohit, who was involved in a double hundred partnership with Shikhar Dhawan. Rohit mentioned Jasprit Bumrah for his exceptional bowling in the ongoing tournament.

“I think he’s (Bumrah) matured as a bowler now, played great amount of cricket and he understands his bowling. I think that’s very very important for any individual; Bumrah understands what fields he needs to set and knows how to keep it tight. Bhuvi also did the same,” the skipper said.

Rohit was also happy that the strategy of playing four spinners, including part-timer Kedar Jadhav, has clicked so far with Ravindra Jadeja’s comeback adding a new dimension.

“When Hardik got injured, the challenge was to field four spinners and we thought about a few combinations (3 seamers, 4 spinners) and in these conditions, it is important to take the pace and not give much pace. For Jadeja, to come out and perform like that is amazing.”  They now have 13 century opening partnerships and Rohit feels batting with Dhawan becomes easy as both of them are clear about their roles.

“With Shikhar, I don’t need to talk much. It’s important to let him be himself. We have batted enough to know each other to start off like that and we clearly know our roles. We always knew that the new batsman will find it difficult to keep going straightaway and Shikhar and I knew it.”

On his own batting, the skipper spoke about how he has worked on his pull shots which have worked well for him during this tournament. “Nothing is easy (talking about the pulls for six). I have really worked hard on those kind of shots. When it comes off it really looks nice and I’ve gotten out a few times playing such shots.

“I back myself to play those shots. It’s important to put pressure on bowlers. They have one of the great bowling attacks. Taking nothing away from their bowling and they have troubled us in the past.”

Dhawan said he has become sensible in his shot selection of late, in white ball cricket, and it’s from Rohit that he has learnt to convert those 50s into 100s’

“…he’s very good at converting those 50s into 100s and that’s something I’ve learnt from him. It’s good that we both value our wicket. When you play 20 overs on this track, it gets easy. The plan was not to lose wickets in the first 10 overs as you might not get runs easily early on,” Dhawan said.

“I wanted to be sensible with my shots and I’ve thrown it away in the past and I have learnt the lessons the hard way. That’s the good for me and it’s nice to have that balance,” Dhawan said. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed rued the couple of dropped catches of Rohit, which cost his team dearly in the end.

“We made it tough for ourselves by dropping those catches. We were 20-25 runs short and if we would have held on to our catches we could have possibly made things interesting.

“The wicket was a bit difficult to play on in the afternoon as the cracks had widened up. It wasn’t easy for a new batsman walking in. Had we got early wickets, this chase would have been certainly difficult. We have been losing a lot of wickets in the early overs and hence it becomes difficult to recover from such situations.” The Pakistan captain was all praise for the Indian centurions.

“The way they batted, all credit to them. Rohit and Dhawan were exceptional. They have shown better skills as compared to us. We need to work a lot on our skill level if at all we want to get into the final.

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Asia Cup: Mustafizur Raham keep Bangladesh in hunt

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Bangladesh

Abu Dhabi | Mustafizur Rahman held his nerve to bowl a fantastic final over as Bangladesh eked out a three-run win over a gutsy Afghanistan to stay afloat in the race for the Asia Cup final.

Afghanistan yet again came close to a victory against a top-Asian team but faltered at the finish line, losing the plot in the last 10 overs of the chase during Sunday’s match. They needed eight runs off the final over but experienced paceman Mustafizur conceded only four and also dismissed dangerous Rashid Khan (5).

Afghanistan looked well in control with Hashmatullah (71) and captain Asghar Afghan (39) going very strong after losing three wickets. They stitched a 78-run partnership for the fourth wicker but Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza dismissed both to puncture Afghanistan hopes.

Mohammad Nabi (38) and Samiullah Shenwari (23 not out) produced a quick-fire 46-run stand for the sixth wicket but that was not enough as they ended with 246 for seven while chasing 250.

Mahmudullah (74) made it a memorable match for himself. After batting well at a crucial juncture, he dismissed Afghanistan opener Mohammad Shahzad (53) and also took a catch of the rival skipper.  Bangladesh now need to beat Pakistan on Wednesday to qualify for the summit clash.

Afghanistan bowlers could not capitalise on a dominant start upfront and allowed Bangladesh to score a competitive 249 for seven with Mahmudullah and Imrul Kayes repairing the innings with fighting half-centuries.

Mahmudullah and Kayes (72 not out), playing his first ODI in almost a year, shared a 128-run stand for the fifth wicket to lift their side from a precarious 87 for five after electing to bat.

The inexperience of Afghan bowlers showed yet again as they allowed the rivals to free themselves from their clutches. Mahmudullah played aggressive after completing his 20th ODI, twice lofting star Afghan spinner Rashid Khan over the ropes.

Rashid was well handled by the two batsmen. He could get only one wicket today and gave away 46 runs in his 10 overs. It was key in Bangladesh’s revival.

Mahmudullah’s knock came off 81 balls with three fours and two sixes while left-hander Kayes consumed 89 balls for his calculative unbeaten knock, which had six shots to the fence. The partnership broke towards the end of the innings when pacer Aftab Alam had Mahmudullah caught by Rashid.

At the top, only Liton Das could make his presence felt with a 41-run innings whiler Mushfiqur Rahim (33) frittered away a good start by running himself out.

The pace trio of Aftab Alam, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Gulbadin Naib had succeeded in straight-jacketing Bangladesh batsmen, keeping them under a tight leash with disciplined line and length. Alam got the better of Nazmul Hossain (6) while Mohammad Mithun (1) was done in by Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Boundaries were far and few. Making it tougher for the Bangladesh was some terrific fielding by the gritty Afghans. After the top-order was removed, run outs of Shakib ul Hasan (0) and Rahim only added to their woes. However, Mahmudullah and Kayes ensured that the minnows do not take advantage of a brilliant start.

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