India Beat Malaysia 4-2, Post First Win
- Nikkin Thimmaiah scored a brace as the Indian men's hockey team got the better of Malaysia 4-2 to register its first win in the round robin encounter of the 4 Nations Invitational tournament in Melbourne on Thursday. In a closely-fought contest, India scored two goals in the final quarter of the match to earn their first points at the tournament. India got off to a dominating start in the opening periods of the game, pressing high and consistently effecting turnovers to keep Malaysia in their own half. However, despite the overwhelming possession, there weren't many clear chances created as Malaysia's deep defence held firm and the two teams went into the first break locked in a stalemate. In the second quarter also the Indians dominated in the midfield but were unable to find a breakthrough in the final third.
- This lasted till the 24th minute of the match before Sardar Singh capitalised on a Malaysian mistake to launch an attack. His pass found Satbir Singh, who laid it off to Thimmaiah at the edge of the circle. Nikkin dummied the defender and cut into the circle, before unleashing a shot into the bottom corner to give India a 1-0 lead, which they held on to as the match went into halftime. Nine minutes into the third quarter, Malaysia hit back with an equaliser with Faizal Saari converting a penalty corner. The parity didn't last long though, as India won their first PC almost from the restart. From the penalty corner, Rupinder Pal Singh made no mistake and once again gave India the lead.
- The teams went into the final break with India leading 2-1. Malaysia had a flurry of PCs in the opening minutes of the final quarter. Shahril Saabah converted the second to draw level again, setting the stage for an exciting finish. The equaliser from Malaysia served as a blessing in disguise for India as they stepped up their game and started being more assertive with their possession, making more penetrations into the Malaysian circle. The dominance paid off in the 55th minute with Nikkin scoring his second goal of the game.India stepped up a gear and within a minute as Akashdeep Singh scored the fourth goal for India. Mid-fielder Harjeet Singh will lead the 18-member Indian men's hockey team in the Junior World Cup to be held in Lucknow from December 8 to 18.
- While the 20-year-old mid-fielder from Kurali in Punjab has been named as the captain, defender Dipsan Tirkey will shoulder the responsibilities of the vice-captain. Harjeet has been instrumental in the junior team's success in recent times. He also led the colts in Valencia, Spain last month where they won the four-nation Invitational Tournament beating Germany in the final. Earlier this year, Harjeet was also named as the "Jugraj Singh Upcoming Player of the Year (Men-21)" at the Hockey India Annual Awards and was rewarded for his consistency with a call-up in the senior men's squad for the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in April where the team finished second behind world champions Australia. Harjeet was also part of the Indian senior men"s team that won the silver medal at the FIH Champions Trophy in London this year where he replaced ace midfielder Sardar Singh.
Indian Women To Take Part, No Word Yet On Pak Playing
- The BCCI today confirmed that the Indian women's team will take part in the Asia Cup, beginning in Bangkok on Saturday, but uncertainty remains over the side playing arch-rivals Pakistan in the continental competition. "As of now, the Indian team will take part in the Asia Cup. But can't tell you whether India will play Pakistan or not," BCCI joint secretary Amitabh Choudhary told PTI 25 November 2016. India are scheduled to face Pakistan on November 29 after their tournament opener against hosts Thailand on Sunday.
- The International Cricket Council (ICC) has already docked Indian women six points for not playing Pakistan in three scheduled matches as a part of the ICC World Championship between August 1 to October 31, a move that has not gone down well with the BCCI. All this while, the BCCI, led by president and politician Anurag Thakur, has maintained that resuming cricketing ties with Pakistan is not possible due to cross-border terrorism. Considering the escalated tensions at the borders between the two countries, teams facing each other on the cricket field is a sensitive subject. Both Indian men and women's teams played Pakistan last in the World T20 at home in March-April.
- For the record, the Asian Cricket Council website has put out the entire schedule of the tournament, in which India's match against the arch-rivals has been scheduled as an "International T20" unlike some of the other matches in the same event. All the Asia Cup matches are scheduled to be held at the Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok. The six teams participating in the tournament are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand.
Australian Women Cricketer Rolton Inducted Into ICC's Hall Of Fame
- Former Australia womens captain Karen Rolton was inducted into the International Cricket Councils (ICC) Hall of Fame by Chief Executive David Richardson at a ceremony during the tea break on the opening day of the third Test between Australia and South Africa on Thursday. Rolton was presented with a personalised cap by Richardson as she became the 81st player to be inducted into the elite list and the sixth woman to receive the accolade.
- Also present on the occasion was Cricket Australia Chairman David Peever. Rolton represented her country in 14 Tests, scoring 1002 runs and taking 14 wickets. She hit 4814 runs and claimed 85 wickets in 141 One-Day Internationals and managed a total of 405 runs and 3 wickets in 15 T20s.Rolton said in an ICC release: "It's with great honour that I accept this award of being inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. To be acknowledged like this is something that I never expected and am truly grateful to be listed amongst some of my all-time cricketing heroes.
- "Cricket has been a part of my life since I can remember. From growing up in Adelaide and playing backyard cricket with my brother to captaining my state and country. It's been a childhood dream and one that I'm grateful for."I'd like to thank Cricket Australia, my team-mates over the years and most importantly my parents for supporting me playing cricket as a junior and right until the end of my career," she added. Reuters