Virat Kohli refuses to take anything for granted as India prepare to face depleted Australia

India start as big favorites to beat Australia across all three formats during their tour Down Under. (AFP)
Updated 20 November 2018
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Virat Kohli refuses to take anything for granted as India prepare to face depleted Australia

  • Australia are still without Steve Smith and David Warner following their bans for ball tampering.
  • Kohli, however, refuses to accept India are huge favorites to beat the hosts.

SYDNEY: India captain Virat Kohli insisted Australia still have the quality to upset his side in their Twenty20 series and said his team will be focusing on the “little things” to come out on top.
The visitors open their tour with the first of three T20s in Brisbane today ahead of four Tests and three one-dayers that will keep them in Australia until late January.
In the short format, they have been by far the better team in recent times. Australia have also been weakened by ball-tampering bans to key batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner.
“We definitely have a very strong side,” said Kohli, who last month became the fastest to reach 10,000 runs in one-day internationals, breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record.
“When we step on the field we have 11 individuals striving for excellence, they want to be the best they can.
“Those are the dynamics that have allowed us to play the cricket that we are and hopefully we can build on that.”
Despite Australia being without Smith and Warner — who will need to serve their full 12-month bans for ball-tampering, after Cricket Australia Tuesday ruled out any reductions — Kohli is adamant the hosts still pose a big threat.
“There’s no denying the quality they have in their side,” he said.
“They still have world-class cricketers, though missing out on two of the world’s best batsmen in not ideal for any team.
“But the guys they have, especially in the limited-overs game, can do damage at any point in time. You can never underestimate any side. We’re won’t be taking anything for granted.”
India arrived in Australia on the back of a home thrashing of the West Indies, but their form traditionally is more fragile on the road.
Kohli said they planned to “do the little things right so we can win more situations than the opposition.”
“We definitely believe we have the quality to win, but it will boil down to how we think in each moment in every game we play.”
Australia were beaten in both white-ball formats by South Africa in recent weeks, but skipper Aaron Finch is confident they can turn their fortunes around with a more assertive approach.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to come out and express ourselves, play some great attacking cricket, take the game on and really try and take it to India,” he said Tuesday.
And Finch believes they are close to winning their first series since new coach Justin Langer took over, after Darren Lehmann stepped down following the tampering row.
“India are in great form but we feel as though we’ve been building really nicely without getting results going our way so far,” he said.


Celtic win Scottish Cup to complete ‘treble treble’

Updated 26 May 2019
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Celtic win Scottish Cup to complete ‘treble treble’

  • Club appoint Neil Lennon as manager on a permanent basis

GLASGOW, Scotland: Celtic claimed an unprecedented third consecutive domestic treble after coming from behind to win the Scottish Cup by beating Hearts 2-1 thanks to Odsonne Edouard’s double at Hampden on Saturday.

The Hoops were on course for a first domestic cup defeat in 27 games when Ryan Edwards shot Hearts into a shock lead seven minutes into the second half.

However, Celtic quickly responded when Edouard leveled from the penalty spot and the Frenchman sealed another clean sweep of silverware by racing clear to score the winner eight minutes from time.

Neil Lennon was offered the Celtic manager's job on a permanent basis.

Despite consolidating an eight-point lead when Brendan Rodgers left the Scottish champions to take charge of Leicester in February to win an eighth straight Scottish Premiership, and now the Scottish Cup, Lennon had faced criticism for his side’s performances and style of play.

Celtic were again disjointed for long spells and could easily have been beaten but for a bit more quality and composure from a Hearts side missing a host of key players through injury. Edouard had the only decent chance of a poor first 45 minutes when he was played in by Tom Rogic, but John Souttar slid in to make a brave block.

Hearts had not won in five games since their semifinal victory over second-tier Inverness, but they made the breakthrough with their first big chance of the game.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Hickey fed Arnaud Djoum on the edge of the area, his miscued shot found its way to Sean Clare who backheeled to find the free Edwards to slot home.

Celtic seemed to need the shock of going behind to snap into action and leveled within 10 minutes.

Edouard was tripped by Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal, although contact was minimal and referee Willie Collum pointed to the spot.

Zlamal could have made amends, but did not get a strong enough hand to Edouard’s penalty to keep it out.

Celtic paid a club record £9 million ($11 million) for Edouard from Paris Saint-Germain 11 months ago and he took his tally for the season to 23 when Mikael Lustig’s forward header somehow evaded the whole Hearts defense.

Edouard kept his cool to slot past the advancing Zlamal and seal Celtic’s sixth domestic treble.

 

Tuchel extends deal to 2021

Also on Saturday, Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has extended his deal with the French Ligue 1 champions through to June 2021, the club announced.

The 45-year-old German took over in June 2018 and despite winning Ligue 1 has come under scrutiny after the Parisian club’s defeat to Manchester United in the Champions League last 16.

The news cuts short speculation that PSG’s owners would fire Tuchel and hire outgoing Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

“I’m delighted to extend my contract and commitment to Paris Saint-Germain,” Tuchel said.

“I’d like to thank the chairman and the whole club for their trust in me and my staff. This only reinforces my ambition to bring this team to the very top through hard work,” he told the club website

“I’m also very touched by the backing of our supporters, and I’m sure that the best is yet to come for our club.”