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Jamshedpur FC's Gourav Mukhi handed six-month suspension by AIFF
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Jamshedpur FC’s Gourav Mukhi handed six-month suspension by AIFF

New Delhi, Nov 25: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) disciplinary committee on Sunday handed Jamshedpur FC’s Gourav Mukhi a six-month suspension with immediate effect for discrepancy in his registered age.

The committee found Mukhi guilty on the basis of the evidence presented by him, his admissions and the statements of the manager of under-16 AIFF academy in 2015.

Mukhi made headlines when the Indian Super League claimed that he, at 16, was the youngest ever to score in the tournament’s history. He had scored in Jamshedpur’s 2-2 draw with Bengaluru FC.

In addition, the AIFF disciplinary committee also observed that the existing registration of Mukhi, both in the Central Registration System (CRS) as well as the Competition Management System (CMS) shall stand cancelled and revoked with immediate effect, with liberty upon the player/ his appropriate club, to submit original valid appropriate documents for fresh registration under CRS and CMS.

The player was caught for age-fraud in 2015 during a national championship, after which the AIFF suspended the Jharkhand coach for one year and slapped a fine of Rs one lakh on the association.

Real Kashmir secure 2-0 win over Indian Arrows for maiden win at home
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Real Kashmir secure 2-0 win over Indian Arrows for maiden win at home

Srinagar, Nov 25: A super strike from Surchandra Singh and a well-judged header from Bazie Armand saw Real Kashmir pull off a superb 2-0 win over Indian Arrows for their maiden victory at home on Sunday.

Armand was rightfully adjudged the Hero of the Match for scoring a goal and playing a noticeable game in the midfield for the hosts.

With this win, Real Kashmir have now jumped up five spots to be placed at the 4th position with 7 points from 5 games.

The game began with I-League debutants Real Kashmir playing in Yellow while visitors Indian Arrows playing in orange.

The home side fondly known as the ‘Snow Leopards’ started the game on an attacking note, making an attempt as early as the first minute but were unable to find the back of the net.

The Arrows made a few attempts from both sides but couldn’t convert one. On the other hand, Real Kashmir, who have been winless at home so far, seemed in a hurry to score as they played long balls more often, taking advantage of their heights as against the young visitors.

Real Kashmir finally found some respite when Surchandra made no mistake in finding the back of the net from a brilliant cross from Mason Lee Robertson. This was the first goal that Real Kashmir scored at home, making the fans go on a frenzy.

The first half, however, saw the Arrows holding a higher possession. In the final few minutes, they made a few attempts but nothing close enough to shake the sturdy Real Kashmir defence.

The first 45 minutes of the game came to an end with the home side Real Kashmir leading 1-0 against Indian Arrows.

The second half began with the Indian Arrows going on an attacking note but the young colts seemed unlucky as they failed to convert any opportunity that came their way.

The hosts made their first change pretty early in the second half bringing in the experienced Danish Farooq in place of Nagen Tamang in the 56th minute.

Soon after, Indian Arrows came very close to scoring when Vikram Pratap Singh failed to shoot on target from a long ball from Amarjit.

Then, Real Kashmir had a golden chance to double their lead but a powerless shot from Mason Robertson saw Prabhsukan Gill collecting the ball without any problem.

Real Kashmir picked up their tempo and doubled the lead in the 68th minute. It was a beautiful corner kick from Surchandra, followed by a lofted shot from Danish Farooq to Armand Bazie which saw the Cote D’ivorian make no mistake in doubling the lead from an excellent header.

The hosts came really close to adding a third to the scoreline but couldn’t after Ravanan Dharmaraj failed to connect to the ball which was comfortably collected by Gill.

Indian Arrows were seen playing an organised game leading the possession but their inability to finish cost them the match.

Earlier, coach David Robertson started with one change bringing in Surchandra Singh instead of the regular Danish Farooq, while Floyd Pinto of the Indian Arrows started with three changes in the squad viz; Rahim Ali, Khumanthem Ninthoigamba and Vikram Pratap Singh.

Erratic Saina sinks, Satwik-Chirag also loses in Syed Modi International final

Erratic Saina sinks, Satwik-Chirag also loses in Syed Modi International final

Lucknow, Nov 25: Former champion Saina Nehwal failed to produce her best, losing in straight games to young Han Yue of China in a one-sided women’s singles summit clash at the Syed Modi International World Tour Super 300 here Sunday.

Commonwealth Games silver medallists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also went down in straight games against second seeds Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia to settle for the runners-up prize in the men’s doubles competition.

It was heartbreak for Saina, who couldn’t put enough pressure on Han, a 2017 world junior championship silver medallist, losing 18-21 8-21 in a 34-minute final to settle for another runners-up finish and pocket a cheque of USD 5,700.

Saina, who won a gold and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, had ended second best at the Indonesia Masters in January and Denmark Open in October this year.

In the men’s doubles, Satwik and Chirag squandered a 18-14 lead in the second game to lose 11-21 20-22 to world number 7 Alfian and Ardianto in a 38-minute match.

In the women’s singles final, the youngster from China, who had defeated former Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the semifinals, was a cut above the Indian, who struggled with her precision.

In the first game, Saina recovered from an early 0-2 deficit to lead 6-5. A net error and a weak return by Saina saw Han lead 8-6.

The Indian then reeled off four points, mixing smashes with angled returns, to move to 10-8 and then grabbed a 11-9 lead when the Chinese went wide.

Han pocketed three points but Saina again unleashed a down-the-line smash to claw back at 12-12 and then lead 14-12 with the Chinese going wide twice.

Saina kept using her smashes and angled returns to good effect, leading 17-12 at one stage.

Two miscued shots from Saina helped Han make it 15-17. The Indian smashed one to the net and also hit long and failed to reach a shot at the forecourt as Han led 19-18.

Han grabbed two game points when Saina left one at the back court and claimed the bragging rights when the Indian pushed one wide.

After a pep talk by would-be-husband P Kashyap, Saina returned to the court for the second game, which saw both the shuttlers gaining points from each other’s unforced errors to be tied 3-3.

Saina struggled with her accuracy even as Han grew in confidence, reaching 10-6 when the Indian found the net and then hit wide. Another frustrated return from Saina gave Han a 11-6 advantage at the interval.

After the breather, Saina tried to match her younger opponent in the long rallies but Han produced some precise cross court smashes and returns to keep her nose ahead.

Saina paid the price of leaving the shuttle too short as Han punished them, moving to 16-8 at one stage.

Han kept hitting some quality strokes, while Saina struggled. The result was Han jumped to a 20-8 lead when Saina hit long. When the Indian again erred with her length, the Chinese sealed her maiden win.

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Australia breeze to fourth Women’s World T20 title

North Sound (Antigua), Nov 25:  Australia breezed to their fourth Women’s World T20 title, thrashing England by eight wickets in the final here on Saturday.

England faltered with the bat after winning the toss, struggling to 105 all out in 19.4 overs with opener Danielle Wyatt (43) being the top-scorer.

Pacer Megan Schutt (2/13), leggie Giorgia Wareham (2/11) and all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner (3/22) led Australia’s clinical effort with the ball.

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Chasing a comfortable target, Australia raced to victory in 15.1 overs with Gardner and captain Meg Lanning remaining unbeaten on 33 and 28 respectively.

Interestingly, England had also mustered 105 against Australia in the final of the 2014 edition and even on that occasion, the team from Down Under cruised to a famous win.

With another emphatic win on Saturday, Australia extended their dominance in the showpiece event of the shortest format, lifting their fourth trophy in tournament’s sixth edition. Australia are also the most successful team in ODI World Cup with six titles.

However, Australia had not win a major event since their World T20 triumph four years ago, making Saturday’s triumph sweeter.

Their sole loss in the tournament came against India in the group stage before they bounced back to beat the West Indies in the semifinals.

Lanning, who hit the winning run, said being outplayed by India did not affect the team’s morale heading into the knock-outs.

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“The last two World Cups really hurt and we had to change a few things and move it forward. The group embraced it and it was a very satisfying win. The loss against India did not rock us – maybe a couple of years before it would have rocked us – but we were very calm,” said Lanning.

England, who downed an in-form India in the semifinals, had a forgettable day and their captain Heather Knight defended the decision of batting first.

“I thought it was a much better pitch than the semifinal. It skidded on a lot more. Dani (Wyatt) started really well. We just lost wickets at the key time and we lost momentum and we didn’t put a competitive total on the board. We thought there will be bit of dew but it skidded on more than what we anticipated,” said Knight.

“We didn’t probably adapt to the conditions as good as we could have. Australia were a better team than us today, congratulations to them. Now, we got massive Ashes series to look forward to,” she added.

For her all-round show, Gardner was named Player of the Match and Alyssa Healy collected the Player of the Series award from the great Vivian Richards.

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The final was expected to be a tense contest between the arch-rivals but Australia had it under their grasp ever since Schutt removed Tammy Beaumont in the fourth over.

Wyatt played a solid knock but did not get the support from the other end as wickets kept falling at regular intervals.

In the chase, Australia lost openers Healy (22) and Beth Mooney (14) for 44 runs before Gardner and Lanning shared an unbeaten 62-run stand to fashion a memorable win.

We've to perform at our best: Australia captain Zalewski

We’ve to perform at our best: Australia captain Zalewski

Bhubaneswar, Nov 24: Australia captain Aran Zalewski believes it will be one of the most open men’s hockey World Cups in recent times and his team will have to test themselves against the best to defend the title here.

“World hockey is close at the moment and very competitive and any team can win and obviously India at home with home crowd will be very tough to beat,” said Zalewski after arriving here with his team for the World Cup.

“We have a chance to test ourselves against the best in the world as we haven’t tested ourselves since Rio (2016 Olympics) so we want to do very well here,” he added.

It is a sort of home coming for Australia, who had claimed the Champions Trophy in 2014 and the Hockey World League Final in 2017 here.

Australia has Ireland, England and China in Pool B and head coach Colin Batch said it isn’t going to be an easy task for his side even in Pool Stages.

“We are the Champions but a long way from winning this tournament. We have a lot of work to do. We saw that in the Women’s World Cup, a lot of surprises sprung up so we have to perform at our best against Ireland in the first game and then see what happens from there, said Batch, a World Cup winner himself in 1986. 

“We haven’t seen Ireland for a while but they have played some good hockey. England we have played them a few times, they are a good side and China are a bit unknown so we just take one game a time.” 

Australia open their title-defence campaign against Ireland on November 30.

Shamim beats Gaurav in play-off, retains title

Digboi, Nov 24: Seasoned golfer Shamim Khan of Delhi got the better of Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh in a nail-biting play-off to retain the title at the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf tournament here on Saturday.

Shamim (70-70-65-74) had edged out Veer Ahlawat in a playoff last year at the Digboi Golf Links and he repeated the feat for the second year in succession after Gaurav (72-68-69-70) took him into the playoff.

After the two golfers were tied at the top at nine-under-279 following the regulation 72 holes, Shamim beat Gaurav on the third extra hole to pocket his third title in Digboi and secure his 16th win overall.

“This win comes as a huge relief for me as I’ve been struggling with an upper back injury since the start of the second half of the season. The injury has improved slightly but still gives me trouble. I’ve somehow played through it as the upper back isn’t much of a factor in golf.

“With this win I can look forward to steady progress in the money list over the remaining three events of the season.”

Shamim began the day as title favourite as he enjoyed a commanding four-shot lead after round three.

The two-time and reigning PGTI Order of Merit champion, however, slipped on the final day as his hitting and putting form deserted him resulting in four bogeys in exchange for two birdies.

Nonetheless, Shamim used all his experience to hold on to his lead till the end.

Gaurav, four off the lead in tied second after day three, struggled in the first half of his final round as he was two-over till the 10th.

But he then made a brave charge on the back-nine by stitching together five birdies and just one bogey on the last six holes.

Gaurav, who won his only title on the PGTI nine years back, drove the green on the 14th and sank putts from a range of eight to 20 feet on the 13th, 17th and 18th to stretch the match into a playoff.

In the playoff, the deadlock continued for the first two holes as both players made pars. On the decisive third extra hole, Gaurav missed his par putt from three feet while Shamim drained it from two feet to emerge champion.

Shamim thus took home the winning cheque worth Rs. 7,27,425 to move up from 15th to eighth in the 2018 PGTI Order of Merit.

Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta, who was also four behind the lead in tied second after round three, carded a 71 on day four to finish third at eight-under-280.

Mukesh Kumar of Mhow, a six-time champion in Digboi, claimed fourth place at five-under-283 while Kolkata’s Shankar Das, a three-time winner, ended fifth and four-under-284.

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3rd T20 International: Desperate India geared up for do-or-die battle

Sydney, Nov 24:  Staring at an imminent defeat after seven successive series wins on trot, India will be looking for yet another solid bowling performance against a brittle Australian top-order in third and final T20 International on Sunday.

India were in with a very good chance of levelling the series in Melbourne on Friday after reducing Australia to 132 for 7 in 19 overs but rain put paid to their hopes.

Now a win at the SCG will at least let Virat Kohli’s team share the bragging rights and more importantly remain in a good frame of mind before the real test begins at Adelaide on December 6.

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India are unbeaten in T20I engagements since July 2017, when they last lost to West Indies in a one-off game in the Caribbean. They have won 20 out of 27 T20Is since then in different conditions and against varying opposition.

In doing so, India are unbeaten in nine consecutive T20I series since August 2017, including a drawn two-match contest against Australia at home (October 2017).

They have won seven consecutive T20I series since the Nidahas Trophy win in the tri-series in Sri Lanka (also including Bangladesh) and beating England away 2-1 in the summer gone past, are the highlights of this unbeaten run.

Last time in Australia, back in 2016, India had won the T20I series with an unprecedented 3-0 margin.

Rain though has played spoilsport with their chance of winning a second consecutive T20I series Down Under. Perhaps the only silver lining is that they still can maintain their unbeaten record in this format with victory on Sunday.

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In order to achieve this, India will like to carry on from where they left off in Melbourne. The surprisingly unchanged bowling attack put in a more disciplined performance as compared to their Brisbane outing, and both pacers and spinners were able to put the Australian batting order under constant pressure.

There were hiccups in the field of course two dropped catches in keeping with a shoddy display in Brisbane as well. This is one area that the Indian team will be keen to improve on when the final game begins, for it could well be the difference again if the Australian batting clicks.

Pre-game in Melbourne, there was talk that the Indian team management might revert to type and bring back Yuzvendra Chahal to re-ignite his partnership with Kuldeep Yadav in a must-win game.

The stakes haven’t changed going into the series decider, yet India’s improved showing with the ball gives reason for picking an unchanged side.

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Given the situation, skipper Virat Kohli showed surprising consistency in team selection and continued to back Krunal Pandya in the all-rounder guise.

The latter put in an improved showing of 1-26 in four overs, bowling Glenn Maxwell with a slow turner. The SCG wicket is known to be helpful to spinners and thus there is no case to leave Pandya out.

It remains to be seen if India will be tempted to play Chahal nevertheless, if conditions do turn out to be drier than in Brisbane and Melbourne.

The only option to do so is in leaving out Khaleel Ahmed then, who despite being a touch expensive in the first game has justified his selection thus far.

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Dropping Ahmed won’t be easy, as Kohli adopted stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma’s plan (used against West Indies at home) to pair him with Bhuvneshwar Kumar first and bring in Jasprit Bumrah as first-change.

Leaving him out would mean Kumar-Bumrah sharing the new ball, and unless conditions demand it, the team management again might not be too keen to change what clearly worked in Melbourne.

Whilst the Indian team was waiting for the rain to stop and play to resume, it was also noticeable that Kohli was sitting padded up in the dugouts even as openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma warmed up.

It hinted at a possible re-promotion for the skipper to number three, in light of KL Rahul’s struggles off late. It is again improbable that the latter will be left out at Sydney, but Kohli batting at number three and boosting the top-order in the series’ finale could be India’s best bet.

Australian pacer Billy Stanlake, who twisted his ankle during pre-match warm-up on Friday, is slated to undergo a scan on Saturday.

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His availability for Sunday’s game thus is under doubt but the hosts haven’t yet named an alternative with Nathan Coulter-Nile stepping in to take his spot in the side in the second T20I.

Weather is set to relent on Sunday and unless conditions are drier than anticipated, Aaron Finch has no reason to change his playing eleven.

His side now stands on the cusp of a surprise series’ win against India, one thought inconceivable at the start of this week given the current turmoil in Australian cricket.

Teams:

India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant, Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Washington Sundar.

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Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

Match starts at: 1.20 pm IST.

Premise for demanding compensation from BCCI was not conclusive: PCB chief Ehsan Mani
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Premise for demanding compensation from BCCI was not conclusive: PCB chief Ehsan Mani

Karachi, Nov 22: Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani admitted that they didn’t have all ends covered while claiming Rs 447 crore compensation from the BCCI which is the reason why they lost the arbitration case heard by ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee.

The PCB had claimed a hefty compensation from BCCI alleging that they didn’t honour an alleged Memorandum of Understanding where six bilateral series between 2015-2023 was agreed.

The BCCI always maintained that the one page letter signed by erstwhile secretary Sanjay Patel was only a letter of intent and they could possibly have never played without government permission due to prevailing tension between the neighbouring countries.

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“It is disappointing. The fact is that before filing the case the PCB had consulted the queens counsel lawyers in England and were advised that the claim for compensation was strong and on this basis the PCB went into arbitration and litigation,” Mani said.

The former ICC President, however, made the point that there is always a risk involved in litigation.

“When I took over, the proceedings of the case were nearly complete and if we had withdrawn, it would have shown us as weak. But whatever the situation is right now, we have to face it and move on,” he said.

Mani replaced Najam Sethi who had spearheaded the move to file the litigation against the BCCI last year based on an alleged MoU.

Mani said personally he believed that ICC member nations should never go into litigation and arbitration and talks were the best options.

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“The ICC Disputes Resolution Committee didn’t accept the MOU as a legally binding agreement although they say morally India should have played against us. Perhaps the documentation on basis of which we decided to claim compensation was not as conclusive as we felt it was.” 

Asked about the BCCI official statement that India would now seek costs from Pakistan for the litigation, Mani said since they had won the case it was their right.

“If we had won the case we would have done the same. But we will also be filing for having a look at the costs involved in the case and how it should be shared.” 

Sethi had got the PCB’s Governing Board to approve an amount of one million pounds to cover costs of the litigation, which involved hiring top queens counsel in the UK.

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“Nearly 80 million rupees have been spent on the case,” a PCB source said.

The BCCI took the stance in the Dispute Resolution Committee hearings that the MOU was signed in return for Pakistan supporting the Big Three governance system and this didn’t happen, so there was no question of playing the series.

Mani, however, made it clear that Pakistan would like to maintain its relations with the Indian board on basis of equality and would not beg for resumption of bilateral ties suspended since Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.

PCB trying to convince Cricket Australia for two-match ODI series in Pakistan
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PCB trying to convince Cricket Australia for two-match ODI series in Pakistan

Karachi, Nov 22: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is trying to persuade Cricket Australia to play two match ODI series next year in Pakistan before the World Cup in England.

PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said that the five-match series is scheduled to be held in UAE sometime in late March and early April and PCB was trying to persuade the Australians to play two games in Pakistan.

A PCB official said that the series could be rescheduled as the Australians are keen to play it as close to the World Cup as possible. The World Cup is slated to start from late May in England.

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The source said that Pakistan also had a five-match ODI series in England just before the World Cup.

“Since we will be hosting the Australians, we have told them try to play two matches in Pakistan. The process is on but nothing is final as yet.”

Australia has not played in Pakistan since 1998.

Australia’s top batsmen, Steve Smith and David Warner will also complete their 12-month bans at the end of March and should be playing against Pakistan before the World Cup.

Ehsan Mani said that to persuade top teams to play in Pakistan it was a matter of changing perceptions about the situation in Pakistan.

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“Once anyone comes to Pakistan and views the situation by himself, it will not be hard to convince him that international cricket can return to Pakistan properly. But it is not easy trying to change the perception of people who have not been to Pakistan in recent times,” he said.

He admitted that Pakistan needed top teams to start visiting again to see the permanent international cricket to the country which has been on a hold since March, 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

Since than no touring side has played a full series including Tests in Pakistan and between September 2017 to April 2018 PCB was able to convince teams to come and play short T20 series including a ICC World eleven, Sri Lanka and West Indies.

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Mani noted that the Asian Cricket Council annual general body meeting held in Lahore last week was a good step forward for Pakistan cricket as ICC’s CEO Dave Richardson was also present and except for India, all the ACC member nations sent their representatives.

World Cup Hockey: It will be privilege to play India in first game, says SA captain Drummond

World Cup Hockey: It will be privilege to play India in first game, says SA captain Drummond

Bhubaneswar, Nov 22: Playing hosts India in the opening match of the World Cup Hockey is the kind of challenge any team awaits, said South African captain Tim Drummond.

South Africa will be playing India in a pool C encounter at the Kalinga Stadium on November 28.

“It will be a privilege to play India in the first match and experience the crowd. I have heard it is going to be very loud with all the cheering,” Drummond said.

“Though it’s not my first time in India, many of my teammates are travelling here for the first time and they are very excited to be playing in Bhubaneswar, which has great support for hockey,” the South African captain added.

He is confident that they will improve from their 10th place finish during the last edition.

“South Africa’s best performance in the past was finishing 10th and we will certainly be looking at improving that. Our aim is to give our best and make our country proud. We played four test matches against France before arriving here so we have had some good match practice ahead of the tournament,” he added.

The team’s have started arriving and Argentina, one of the formidable sides are already in the city.

Argentina’s dragflick sensation Gonzalo Peillat said, “It will be a great tournament, playing in Bhubaneswar again in front of a crazy crowd. The entire team is looking forward to it and are very excited to be back.” 

The Olympic champions have a new chief coach in Germ n Mariano Orozco, who replaced former Chief Coach Carlos Retegui in early 2018 and is a former defender for Argentina having played the Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004.

“I think we have good experience and have played quite a few tournaments in the lead up to the World Cup under new coach Orozco. We have been performing well under him,” said a confident Peillat.

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