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Deepak Punia, Ravi Dahiya Qualify For Asian Wrestling Championships

Tokyo 2020 bound wrestlers Deepak Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya once again proved their mettle as they qualified for the Senior Asian Championships to be held in New Delhi from February 17-23. The trials were held at the K.D Jadhav Wrestling Indoor Stadium on Friday. Deepak Punia, who is fresh from a string of good performances which led to him becoming World No.1 and UWW Junior Athlete of the Year, has had a great start to 2020 as he qualified in the 86kg freestyle category by defeating 2014 Commonwealth Games (CWG) bronze medallist Pawan Kumar.

Ravi Dahiya also managed to qualify in the 57kg weight category when he dominated Pankaj of Air Force, defeating him with a score of 10-0.

"I am feeling very confident and I am hoping to continue with my good form. My goal and dream is to win the ultimate prize in Olympics, but for that I have to consistently perform and be on top of my game in the all upcoming international competitions," Deepak Punia said in a statement.

"I enjoy wrestling and I am currently enjoying the best time of my wrestling career so far. I am hoping to continue this momentum and try and win as many medals for India as I can, including Olympics. I promise that I will give everything to get that Olympic medal," Ravi added.

Virat Kohli Ends 2019 As Leading Run-Scorer Across Formats, Rohit Sharma Tops ODI Charts

Virat Kohli finished 2019 on a high, leading India's chase in the series-decider against the West Indies with a fine knock of 85 runs off 81 deliveries. In the process, the India captain ensured that he finished as the leading run-getter across all formats in the year with 2,455 runs. Rohit Sharma, who also scored a half-century in the third ODI against West Indies, finished a close second with 2,442 runs. Rohit Sharma did, however, end the year as the leading run-scorer in ODIs.

Kohli scored 1,377 runs in 26 ODIs, 612 runs in eight Tests and 466 runs in 10 T20Is in 2019. Rohit Sharma scored 1,490 runs in 28 ODIs, 556 runs in five Tests and 396 runs in 14 T20Is in the year.

Babar Azam finished third on the list of overall run-scorers with 2,082 runs in the calendar year, while Ross Taylor and Joe Root rounded off the top five with 1,820 and 1,790 runs respectively.

Shai Hope finished behind the Indian duo in the ODI run charts for the year, with 1,345 runs in the 50-over format. Aaron Finch was behind the West Indies opener with 1,141 runs while Babar Azam finished fifth with 1,092 runs.

Kohli scored seven centuries in 2019, including his career-high Test score of 254 not out. Rohit Sharma hit 10 tons, including a whopping five in the World Cup. 

Looking back at the year gone by, Kohli said after Sunday's match: "2019 has been one of the best years for Indian cricket. Apart from the 30 minutes in the World Cup, it's been a great year. We'll keep chasing that ICC trophy. But apart from that, the way we've played has been satisfying."

Rohit Sharma Scores His 28th ODI Century, 7th Of The Year: India vs West Indies

Rohit Sharma continued his rich vein of form in 2019 as he brought up his 28th One-day International (ODI) century in the 2nd match between India and the West Indies in Vizag on Wednesday. With his century that came off 107 balls, Rohit equalled Sanath Jayasuriya's tally of hundreds in the 50-over format. Moreover, Rohit Sharma is currently leading the pack of the highest ODI run-scorers of 2019 with over 1300 runs. With seven centuries, out of which five came during the ICC World Cup 2019, Rohit Sharma also has the maximum 100-plus scores in the year.

India, who trail 0-1 in the ongoing three-match series, came out all guns blazing after being put in to bat by the West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard.

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, who scored his third ODI century, stitched together a 227-run opening partnership to put the hosts in a commanding position.

Rohit Sharma, who was finally dismissed by Sheldon Cottrell for 159, now has eight 150-plus scores in ODIs. Australia opener David Warner has six, while Sachin Tendulkar and Chris Gayle have five each.

The West Indies made two changes to the starting line-up in their bid to take an unbeatable lead.

Fit-again Evin Lewis, who injured his knee while fielding in the deciding match of the Twenty20 International series won by India 2-1 in Mumbai, and debutant Khary Pierre came in place of Sunil Ambris and Hayden Walsh.

"Sometimes you don't know how the surface plays, so better to know what you are chasing," Pollard said at the toss. "Important game for us, opportunity to win the series."

India, led by Virat Kohli, made one change with paceman Shardul Thakur included in the XI in place of Shivam Dube.

Kohli admitted he would have chosen to field first. "It's about wanting to do well. Even the first innings should have a lot of runs on offer."

Russia Banned From Olympics By World Anti-Doping Body WADA For Four Years Over Doping

The World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday banned Russia from global sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics after accusing Moscow of falsifying data from an anti-doping laboratory. "The full list of recommendations have been unanimously accepted," said WADA spokesman James Fitzgerald, speaking at a meeting of the body's executive committee in Lausanne. "WADA's executive committee approved unanimously to assert a non-compliance on the Russian anti-doping agency for a period of four years," he added.

The ruling means Russian athletes will still be allowed to compete at the Tokyo Olympics as neutrals, but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.

"They are going to have prove they had nothing to do with the non-compliance, (that) they were not involved in the doping schemes as described by the McLaren report, or they did not have their samples affected by the manipulation," Fitzgerald said.

The independent McLaren report, released in 2016, revealed the significant extent of state-sponsored doping in Russia, notably between 2011-15.

Fawad Alam Included In Pakistan Test Squad After 10 Years

Pakistan have recalled left-handed batsman Fawad Alam for the historic two-Test series against Sri Lanka beginning next week. Fawad has been in great form in recent times. In the ongoing first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, he has so far scored four centuries playing for Sindh. The 34-year-old has so far played three Tests for Pakistan in which he has scored 250 runs, including one century. His last Test appearance came in 2009 against New Zealand. Besides, he has also represented the Men in Green in 38 ODIs and 24 T20Is.

This series will mark the return of Test cricket to Pakistan after 10 years. Sri Lanka were the last team to play Tests there, in 2009, when their tour was cut short by an attack on the team bus. Their return to play red-ball cricket in the country thus holds significance.

Pakistan recently had a poor outing on their tour to Australia where they failed to register a single win in three T20Is and two Tests they played.

The first match of the two-Test series will be played at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium from December 11 while the second Test will be held at the National Stadium in Karachi from December 19.

Sri Lanka visited Pakistan in September-October wherein the two teams competed in three ODIs and as many T20Is. Sri Lanka had last month announced their full-strength squad for the Test matches. The team, led by Dimuth Karunaratne, will leave for Pakistan on Sunday to take part in the series, held under the ongoing ICC World Test Championship.

Squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah, Usman Khan Shinwari.

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