NEW DELHI: The sporting world might have come to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Indian cricketers are looking to keep up their fitness game despite the virus-induced break. In fact, strength and conditioning and injury rehabilitation has been the focus for the players as they look to stay ready for live action once normalcy returns.Speaking to IANS, sources in the know of developments in the team management said that Virat Kohli and boys have been focusing on maintaining their fitness standards and the duo of trainer Nick Webb and physio Nitin Patel have also ensured that those — who had injury issues like Rohit Sharma, Deepak Chahar and Ishant Sharma — focus on their rehabilitation in this break. “The idea is to keep the players fit and raring to go. Strength and conditioning classes are on and as you are aware, the performance of the boys are checked by Webb and Patel through the Athlete Monitoring System (AMS). The duo give the players the required input after checking their progress on AMA. Apart from this, focus has also been on rehabs and treating niggles. “As you are aware, we had a couple of players who were injured before the coronavirus outbreak put an end to our series against South Africa. So, the physio has also been checking the progress that those players have made and ensuring that they reach the standards that a professional athlete must achieve before returning to live action. “In fact, when you are playing non-stop cricket and travelling like the Indian players have to, you also get niggles and that is not just restricted to the fast bowlers. It can also happen to batsmen and that is also an area that the support staff has been working on, to treat those little areas to make sure that the boys are not only fresh when they return to action, but also supremely fit,” the source pointed. Skipper Kohli had recently spoken about how he has been looking to maintain optimum fitness levels even while staying indoors. “Fortunately, I have all my gym equipment at home, so I am able to train and that’s not a problem for me. As far as the game goes, luckily, I am someone who has always been very keen on improving my mental state and not really focused on practising long hours in the net over a period of time,” he said on Star Sports. IANS Also Read: Virat Kohli tops Sachin Tendulkar when it comes to chasing: de Villiers
DEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photoMINNEAPOLIS — In a game billed as a match-up of two of the nation’s top running backs, Laurence Maroney stole the spotlight. However, a true freshman named Jonathan Casillas stole the game, and with it, Paul Bunyan’s Axe.Casillas, a first-year backup linebacker, blocked a Minnesota punt that was eventually recovered in the end zone with 30 seconds remaining in the game to give Wisconsin a 38-34 come-from-behind win in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.Gopher punter Justin Kucek bobbled the snap on a fourth-and-one from the Minnesota 17-yard line, and with Casillas closing in, still attempted to get the ball away. Instead, the kick traveled straight into the Wisconsin freshman’s arms and deflected into the end zone. Casillas then kept the ball in bounds where sophomore reserve cornerback Ben Strickland fell on it for the winning score.”First of all I thought [Kucek] was trying to run with it,” Casillas said. “So I was like, ‘I’m going to make the tackle’ … and then I saw him put the ball out, so I was like ‘Oh my God. I’ve just got to put my hands out and hope for something.'”Minnesota had one last chance, but return man Jakari Wallace fumbled the ensuing kickoff on a hit from UW reserve linebacker Josh Neal. Fellow backup linebacker DeAndre Levy recovered to seal the Gophers’ fate.Maroney carried the ball 43 times for 258 yards, including a 93-yard touchdown run in the loss. The Wisconsin defense failed to stop Maroney and backup tailback Gary Russell for nearly the entire game, but stopped Maroney one yard shy of a first down on Minnesota’s final possession to force the fateful punt.”We knew we had to make a difference as a defense,” defensive tackle Nick Hayden said. “We just had to give the offense a chance to score and that’s what we did.”Maroney’s score, the second-longest rush in school history, put Minnesota in front 17-10 2:34 into the third quarter after an even first half. The Gophers never trailed in the game’s second stanza until Strickland’s recovery, thanks in large part to the contributions of Maroney and Russell.In breaking the 200-yard barrier, Maroney became the first player in school history to record three such performances in one season. Russell supplemented the effort with 139 yards and two touchdowns of his own, a career high in yardage for the sophomore from Columbus, Ohio.”The thing they’ve got going, it’s a one-two punch,” UW defensive coordinator Bret Bielema said. “They’ve got two guys coming, they rotate those guys through. As soon as they see one guy put his hands on his knees, that he’s getting a little tired, they bring the other guy right in.”Both of Russell’s touchdowns came in the second half, including a one-yard plunge that extended Minnesota’s lead to 34-24 with just 3:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. Russell’s score capped a 19-play drive that spanned 80 yards and took 7:48 off the clock.”It’s frustrating because our defense, we’re a tough defense and to let a team drive on you like that, 19 plays, is not really saying that you’re a tough defense,” linebacker Dontez Sanders said.Wisconsin quarterback and Richfield, Minn. native John Stocco responded by leading the Badgers on a seven-play, 71-yard scoring drive, capped by a 21-yard touchdown to senior wide receiver Brandon Williams.Still trailing 34-31 with just 2:10 remaining on the game clock and only one timeout, the Badgers tried an onside kick, with punter Ken DeBauche doing the honors. DeBauche’s offering bounced off of Gopher cornerback Trumaine Banks’ hands and squirted all the way down the field to the Minnesota eight-yard line, where Maroney fell on the ball.Entering the match-up, the game was thought to be a showdown between Maroney and Wisconsin tailback Brian Calhoun, the two leading rushers in the Big Ten. And while Maroney ran for 100 yards in the first half, Calhoun started slow. He scored the first touchdown of the game with 25 seconds left in the first quarter to break a scoreless tie, but rushed for just 14 yards on seven carries.Calhoun came alive after halftime, though, to finish with 110 yards and three scores on the game to go along with three catches for 29 yards, all in the second half. Each of his scores cut the Minnesota lead to three points, with his final touchdown coming 3:45 into the fourth quarter to bring Wisconsin within 27-24.”The offense battled, kept us in games two weeks in a row,” Alvarez said. “And to get rewarded the way we did and sneak out of here with a win, it’s pretty good.”
Tipp FM’s Horse Racing Correspondent John Fogarty previews the local interest on today’s card: https://soundcloud.com/tippfmradio/lots-of-tipp-in-leopardstown-this-afternoon Over €86,000 is on offer for the winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup, the Grade One feature of today’s seven-race card at Leopardstown. After announcing his impending retirement yesterday, AP McCoy will be aboard the John Kiely-trained Carlingford Lough. The big race is off at 3.50pm.