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Though they are already out of reckoning for a berth in the final, India produced their best performance of the tournament to play out a 1-1 draw against Syria in the final league match of the Intercontinental Cup football tournament in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
18-year-old central defender Narender Gahlot, playing his second international match, gave India the lead in the 52nd minute but Syria restored parity in the 78th minute through Firas Al Khatib.
India have not had a good tournament. They lost 2-4 against Tajikistan and 2-5 against North Korea, and collected their first points of the tournament only yesterday. After experimenting for two matches, India head coach Igor Stimac seemed to have picked the best eleven in his starting line-up though central defender Sandesh Jhingan was left out after suffering a hamstring injury in the match against North Korea. The starting eleven on Tuesday had eight changes from the North Korea match.
To the credit of the Indians, the team maintained its shape throughout and did not give any clear scoring chances to their opponents who pressed really hard in the second half to win the match.
India ended at the bottom of the table with just one point. In the bargain, they spoilt Syria's hopes of making it to the finals. Syria, who needed a win to qualify for the final, ended third with four points from three matches.
Tajikistan and North Korea, who got six points each from three matches, will play in the summit clash on Saturday.
India had won the inaugural tournament last year.
India's badminton players had a mixed day at the $1,250,000 Indonesia Open on Tuesday, with two doubles pairs entering the second round of the BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament but one pair going down in their opening round of the women's doubles.
The men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty saw off Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin 21-19, 18-21, 21-19 in their opening match, which lasted an hour, for their fourth win over the Malaysian pair. The world number 20 Indian pair, who won the Brazil International Challenge in May, will face Indonesian top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo next.
The mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy also dished out an impressive performance, edging out Netherlands' Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek 25-23, 16-21, 21-19 in a match that went on for an hour and three minutes. It was sweet revenge for the India pair who had lost to the Dutch combination at the Malaysia Masters in January. Pranaav and Sikki will next meet top seeds Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong of China.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy fought hard before going down 20-22, 22-20, 20-22 to the Malaysian combination of Vivian Hoo and Yap Cheng Wen in women's doubles.
The Indian cricket board invited applications for the men's team support staff including head coach who will need to be less than 60 years of age with a minimum international experience of two years.
The BCCI has streamlined the process of hiring the support staff including head coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach and administrative manager. The application deadline for all the roles is 5 PM, 30 July.
According to a PTI report, before Ravi Shastri was appointed head coach in July 2017, the board had issued nine-point eligibility criteria which lacked focus and clarity. This time, it is only a three-point criteria for all the coaching roles including head coach besides the positions in the batting, bowling and fielding department. The head coach should have coached a Test-playing nation for a minimum of two years or three years with an associate member/A team/IPL side. The applicant also should have played 30 Tests or 50 ODIs. The criteria remain the same for batting, bowling and fielding coaches except the number of games played. The three personnel should have played at least 10 Tests or 25 ODIs and be less than 60 years of age.
The board's statement added, "The current coaching staff of Team India will get an automatic entry in the recruitment process." The current support staff comprising Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun, batting coach Sanjay Bangar and fielding coach R Sridhar were given a 45-day extension following the World Cup, covering the West Indies tour from 3 August to 3 September.
57-year-old Ravi Shastri was also India's director of cricket from August 2014 to June 2016, before being made head coach. India have not won a major ICC event under his guidance though the team did make history by winning a maiden Test series in Australia earlier this year.
Vijayveer Sidhu won a third gold medal at the ongoing ISSF Junior World Cup in Germany, combining with Rajkanwar Singh Sandhu and Adarsh Singh to clinch the men's 25m pistol event on Tuesday.
It was also the second gold of the competition for Adarsh Singh. India maintained its top spot in the medal standings after day three, with seven gold medals from a total of 16 medals won so far.
Tuesday's second medal for India came in the men's 10m Air Rifle. Hriday Hazarika, Yash Vardhan and Paarth Makhija won the team silver with a combined score of 1877.4, just 0.4 less than the gold-winning Chinese team's score.
However, junior world champion Hriday endured heartbreak in the 10m Air Rifle individual competition. He was leading until the 18th shot of the 24-shot final but a 9.6 on his 19th shot saw him slide down to fourth, which is where he eventually finished on a score of 207.3. Russia's Grigoril Shamakov won gold with a score of 250.0.
Updated Date: Jul 17, 2019 13:51:39 IST