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Arun Karthik shines as Tamil Nadu makes consecutive Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy finals

Arun Karthik, who returned to his original state of Tamil Nadu after biding his time at Puducherry for the last season, guided them to their second consecutive Syed Mushtaq Ali Final as they beat Rajasthan by seven wickets at the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Stadium, Motera. 

Tamil Nadu didn’t get off to a good start chasing 155, set up by the team from deserts. They lost two quick wickets and that too of the two in-form batsmen in Hari Nishant and Baba Aparajith for just 17 runs on the board in the fourth over. It was then that Karthik, 34, walked in to bat alongside Narayan Jagadeeshan. The two of them then started the rebuild process and added 53 in 38 balls before Jagadesshan was removed by Ravi Bishnoi off 28. 

Karthik then started the onslaught alongside the skipper Dinesh Karthik and from 69-3 in 10 overs, chased down the target, scoring the next 89 runs in just 52 balls. Arun scored an unbeaten 89 off 53 balls with the help of nine fours and three sixes. 

Earlier, after winning the toss, Rajasthan decided to bat first and even after a quick dismissal of opener BS Sharma, got off to a flyer courtesy their skipper Ashok Menaria’s counter-attacking innings. Menaria, 30, made 51 off 32. Arijit Gupta was his partner in crime as the duo added 83 for the fourth wicket. But they were helped amply by some very sloppy fielding on the part of the Tamil Nadu players as both Menaria and Gupta were dropped twice each before Arun Karthik finally caught one to dismiss Menaria. 

Karthik in total held on to four catches and was one of the key elements of Tamil Nadu’s success in the comeback that they made after the Menaria onslaught.  Mohammed Mohammed was the pick of the bowlers for the Dinesh Karthik led side as he picked up 4/24 in the game. The Tamil Nadu team now awaits the winner of the second semi-final between Punjab and Baroda, which will take place later in the evening at the same venue.  

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Mountaineer, guide, Ladakh’s 1st professional cricketer: Kalyan narrates his heartwarming story

From almost quitting cricket to playing for Jammu and Kashmir, the first cricketer from Ladakh Skalzang Dorjey Kalyan in an exclusive chat with OneCricket talks about his journey and what brought him back to the game. Tell us about your journey I was born in Ladakh but brought up in Bengaluru. Actually, I belong to a village called Tukla. We are 8 siblings. My mother passed away when I was in class 10. My journey in Karnataka began when one of my uncles who was monk in Maha Bodhi Society in Bengaluru decided to take me with him. I was shifted to Bengaluru in class 4 in the year 1999. Before moving to Bengaluru, I only used to manage to go to school for 2 or 3 days because of the condition in my village. Initially, I stayed in B’lore for 3-4 years where the monks used to be our teachers. In 2001, Maha Bodhi’s second branch in Mysore was opened and the administration decided that we would be shifted there. We used to get free education there. Introduction to the game In 2003-04, we used to play in our hostel and later took part in a tennis ball tournament. MUCAC club. Manzoor Ahmed who was a university coach selected 3-4 students gave us free coaching and also free match practice. In 2005, I was selected for U17 Mysore zone for KSCA zonal tournament. Then I was selected for U19 for Mysore Zone. There was a player called Dhananjaya was selected for Karnataka Ranji team. He used to take care of us. I used to play with him. Education and further recognition In 2007 I completed my 12th and then did my graduation between 2007-10.. I started playing for YCC during this time and met Vinod sir there. He used to make me play every match in Bengaluru tournament. We used to play in the 4th division. I emerged as the highest wicket-taker in this tournament and was selected for Mysore University. After completing my graduation, I took admission in B.Ped in Mysore and also used to help kids there with their game. I then made a shift from YCC to Vijay Cricket Club which was 2nd division club but didn’t really get much game time because there were more senior players. Forced break from cricket Then came the cricket break in 2011. As I had completed my B.Ped, Monk in-charge asked me to be physical education teacher in the school. I worked there for 1 year in Maha Bodhi in Mysore in 2012. I wanted to do M.Ped but didn’t get a chance to execute my plan and went back to Ladakh. There I started as a tour guide. While I was working as a tour guide, one of my friends who was there with me in Bengaluru asked me to join Stok Kangri peak camp as manager. I became a manager there and worked for 1.5 months initially. I have some another friend in Bengaluru who called me up and suggested me to try working in Decathlon. I became a sales manager there. I was in Keshwa department. I worked there for 6 months but was not enjoying it because I didn’t get to play. It was as if I wasn’t doing anything for me. So, I left the company in 2013. Then I joined Stock Kangri peak camp again and worked for 5 years till 2018 at the base camp. Maha Bodhi has a branch in Arunachal Pradesh and the uncle who took me to Bengaluru asked me to go there. I used to teach in Arunachal Pradesh (Maha Bodhi) and did this for 2 years (8-9 months). Route back to cricket I went back to Ladakh. One of my friends, Tashinordu Jayo introduced me to one of the teams for the tournaments. There is only one ground in Leh where all the sports were played and it was shut. Tiptop club for which I started playing developed a ground. The spin doesn’t work in Leh. My coach said spin won’t work so I didn’t get to bowl much. I only used to bat and field. I played the first match because my fielding was good. I came at number 9 and scored four boundaries in four balls. The team management realised that I can bat. So they promoted me up the order. I batted at 7 in second match and scored a fifty and we won. From then on, I started to bat up the order. Then we had a match with a weaker team so the team decided to try the spin bowling too. I scalped a six-wicket haul. This was followed by a match against a Kashmir team in Q/F. They were a pretty strong unit and defeated us but I got 6 wickets and was later adjudged the emerging player in NDS T20 tournament. Every year I used to play and I got noticed. But I still wasn’t serious. Life away from cricket I went to HMI (Himalaya Mountaineering Institute) in 2017 for Basic Mount course and completed the course receiving a gold medal in Darjeeling. I then joined the Advance course in 2018 and was the best student in the technical course. Because I was born in Ladakh so that helped me a lot. Becoming the first Ladakhi to play for J&K In 2018-19 JKCA held a tournament for the first time in the history of Ladakh. This was also a kind of talent hunt. I played the tournament and won the man of the series. There were two coaches Hakim and Ejaz who had come and they selected some players for further training. I was one of them. The two coaches then scouted 3-4 players and called them to Srinagar. The Ranji team had already been selected but we still got the chance to be with the players in the nets. Then I started to play all the tournaments and got rhythm back. I was one of the players selected from Ladakh. I was selected for KC junior. I played first match for them and picked up five wickets. I got my enthusiasm back. Then I started practicing regularly in Leh. Due to the pandemic, we had no work so we just used to practice by ourselves. In Oct-Nov Ladakh Premier League was held and there were only local players and teams in this tournament. I won the man of the series in this as well. Leh District Association called me up and they told me that I was one of the players to be sent to JKCA. I came to Jammu and then gave trials, cleared the yo-yo test and certainly lived the dream of getting selected for the JKCA team. I had been picked up for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. What alterations do you want in Ladakh cricket? We have good and talented players and can have different team for the domestic tournaments. We wish this can happen in future. If we get the facilities and infrastructure the players will work hard and you would easily hear players coming from Ladakh. Tell us how life changed after getting JKCA call-up I got a lot of recognition from everywhere. It is like getting selected for India for the people in Leh and Ladakh. I have been getting a lot of support from all around. I also give a lot of credit to former interim BCCI president Vinod Rai. He said a Ladakhi player can be a part of JKCA team. JKCA started scouting players in Leh. The introduction of the new format helped Ladakh cricket to get some promotion. Captain Parvez Rasool has also encouraged the cricketers and has been inspiring them. If given a chance, which IPL team would you like to represent? It would be RCB because I have stayed in Karnataka so I know how things go there. I understand the conditions and everything there. Who is your role model? I really look up to Sunil Joshi, Pragyan Ojha, Daniel Vettori and Yuvraj Singh. What are your future plans? I just want to help people in Leh and Ladakh and promote the game. I really want to promote cricket in Leh and Ladakh as there are players who are very talented and enthusiastic about the game Tell us about your relations with J&K cricketers We have a mutual respect between us. There is no ego and we bond really well.


Jofra Archer downplays Indian spinners' threat; says India can't 'outspin' England

Although the upcoming Test series between India and England is set to throw intense battle between Indian spinners and England batsmen, pacer Jofra Archer has downplayed the threat of Indian spinners and said that the tourists have enough spinning options to challenge the hosts. Writing a column for the Daily Mail, Archer said that if the pitches will offer turn and bounce, English spinners can challenge Indian batsmen as well and that they will not be outdone in the spin department by the home spinners. Archer is banking on his experience of playing IPL in India but he also sees completely different challenges in Tests where batsmen have the time to wait for the bowlers to commit mistakes and hence the pacer said if the pitches will be placid, it would not make a great contest between the bat and ball. He hoped to get pitches that will have a good amount of bounce that can assist bowlers in the series that otherwise is to be dominated by batsmen. "I’ve played lots of Indian Premier League here but nothing in terms of first-class cricket, so the challenges of bowling with a red ball will become clearer. In the IPL the batters have to come at you, whereas in Test cricket they can sit on you for a full session if they want and if the pitch is dead there is nothing you can do about it." "So let’s hope we get some good wickets with a little bit of pace for the bowlers. Or even some turn, because if they spin, the matches will not be one-sided. We have good spinners in our squad and India won’t out-spin us," Archer wrote for Daily Mail. Archer missed the Test series against Sri Lanka preceding the series against India and came directly to India from the UK along with Ben Stokes and Rory Burns. He made the most of the break and arrived in India feeling ‘refreshed and recharged’ having visited his home in Barbados where he enjoyed more freedom from Covid-19 restrictions than in the UK. Archer will walk into the playing Xi after the selectors rested Mark Wood for the first two Tests of the series against India while the senior pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad were played only one game each on Sri Lanka in order to maximise the resources and keeping everyone fit and ready given the covid-19 related protocols and subsequent biosecure bubble arrangements. Archer said that the rotation policy being adopted by the team management is pragmatism and said if he is given the opportunity to play only two Test against India, he will be happy as it will give him a chance to give his best and then pass on the baton to someone who will be higher on energy and fitness. “I know that Stuart Broad talked about playing two of six Test matches this winter because the conditions do not necessarily suit fast bowlers and, similarly, if I play two against India I will be happy. As an attack, we must get used to more rotation and it feels good that any one of us can walk away from the team knowing that whoever comes in as our replacement will perform,” Archer wrote. “I guess for years it has been a big thing for bowlers to strive to keep their places in the team, but now it’s more like you are passing the baton over in as strong a position as possible.” The England team has arrived in Chennai for the Test series against India and will begin training starting February 02 while Archer, along with Stokes and Burns will be permitted to start their outdoor training a bit earlier because of their early arrival in the country.