Desi Talk – that’s all you need to know 29 Sports February 19, 2021 By Nick Said -NEW DELHI T he newly elected president of the All India Chess Federation, Sanjay Kapoor, unveiled a blueprint to turn the country into a chess su- perpower here on Sunday, starting with the decision to bid for the next avail- able Chess Olympiad and commencing a high-profile Indian Chess League soon. “We want India to become the chess destination for the world. We have drawn out a detailed plan to achieve this goal,” Sanjay said at a press conference, imme- diately after a power-packed AGM. He re- vealed that a foolproof bid would soon be prepared to bag the coveted world event as and when the process would begin. “For a long time, we have been keen on starting the Indian Chess League with an international flavour to popularise the game even more. The first edition, follow- ing the franchise-model, will be organ- ised before this year is through,” Sanjay, who is also the chairman of the Kanpur Cricket Association, said. “Not just that, we are also going to ini- tiate an AICF-Chess in Schools program to popularise chess at the school level. All our 33-State affiliates will be implement- ing this simultaneously. We want every school-going kid in India to play chess. This will help in developing smarter future generations, thanks to the life-skill benefits that come naturally from the game,” he added. Among the other major decisions taken at the AGM include single window registration for all players, the estab- lishment of a Centre of Excellence and Organisation of a Super Tournament. “The Super Tournament will see many top-level players in action. It will give our higher-ranked GMs an opportunity to compete with the best in business at home while also help upcoming young- sters improve by watching them from close quarters,” Sanjay explained. Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan un- derpinned the importance of the single window registration process too, saying that from now on every player will be registered for his or her district, State as well the AICF itself. “The Centre of Excellence will help tap and train talent at the grassroots level, with the ultimate vision of infusing at least 10 players from India in the Top 50 rankings of the world,” Chauhan said. - ANI India To Bid For Chess Olympiad, Start Indian Chess League, Says Aicf President Smith Calls For Strong Leadership From ICC To Regulate Power Of Big Three -CAPE TOWN S outh Africa’s director of cricket Graeme Smith has warned the International Cricket Council that smaller member nations must get their fair share of test tours against the so-called ‘Big Three’ or face future domination of the Twenty20 leagues. South Africa are smarting after Australia opted to pull out of a three-test tour in March due to COVID-19 fears even though the hosts said they had invested a consider- able amount of money to meet the visitors’ lengthy list of medical safety demands. It has left financially-stricken Cricket South Africa with a loss of revenue running into the millions of rands, and with no time to find another opponent to fill the void. They have written to the ICC to seek financial redress. Tours between cricket’s Big Three - India, Australia and England - remain on schedule for 2021. England and India are set to meet in nine tests this year, while Australia have already played the Indians at home and are also set for an Ashes series with England. “The game needs leadership right now that under- stands the complexities. I don’t think world cricket wants just three nations competing against each other in 10 years’ time. How does that benefit the game?” Smith told reporters on Monday. “That would amplify the (Twenty20) leagues and they will get bigger and bigger, and probably the rest of the member nations will have little or no (international) content. “The leadership at the ICC needs to address these issues now, which are being fast-tracked because of CO- VID. I think they have been caught a little off-guard.” Smith’s believes the Future Tours Programme, which sets out the cricket calendar for nations, has become too fluid with countries able to simply opt not to fulfil obligations. “FTP will be a hugely challenging thing going forward with potentially eight ICC tournaments in the eight years, an extended IPL (Indian Premier League) and a lot of the calendar dominated by India, England and Australia,” he said. “It makes it challenging for the rest of the member na- tions, and just amplifies the stress on the likes of us and the other members that are looking for good content.” Smith also admitted the relationship between South Africa and Australia has become “strained”, and that at- tempts to reschedule the three-test tour have so far met a dead-end. “We are trying to find a way to fit it into the calendar cycle, which for us is important. We have had some initial engagements with Cricket Australia. “It hasn’t been positive on trying to find a window, but we are working hard on it.” - Reuters REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro/Files The International Cricket Council (ICC) logo at the ICC headquarters in Dubai, October 31, 2010. Spinners Lead India To Crushing Victory Over England T he miracle England needed did not materialize as India crushed them by 317 runs in the second test in Chennai to level the series on Tuesday Feb. 17, 2021. Chasing a record victory target of 482, England’s last seven batsmen lasted a little over a session on the pen- ultimate day as they collapsed to 164 all out. Although it was a marginal improvement from the 134 they managed in the first innings, all 10 English batsmen fell to spin on a turning track where the ball kicked up dust on landing. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel claimed a five-wicket haul in his debut test while Ravichandran Ashwin’s tally of eight wickets and a century in the second innings earned him the man-of-the-match award. Moeen Ali smashed five sixes, including three in a row off Patel, to top-score for England with 43 off 18 balls, and captain Joe Root made 33 but his team’s run of six away test victories ended in Chennai. India will reach the final of the inaugural World Test Championship if they win the series. England must win both remaining matches to make the June final on home soil against New Zealand. “Our application with the bat was outstanding,” home captain Virat Kohli said after leading India to their biggest victory against England by runs. “Conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application to grit it out. It was a perfect game for us.” Resuming on 53-3, England lost four wickets in the morning session and it could easily have been five as Mohammed Siraj dropped an easy catch at backward point after Root, on 32, reverse-swept Kuldeep Yadav. By then England had lost all-rounder Ben Stokes who faced 52 balls for his eight runs before Ashwin dis- missed him and the touring side’s resistance effectively ended when Patel removed Root after lunch. Root mournfully stared at the spot where the ball had landed before kicking up to hit his glove en route to slip. Realizing the futility of defending, Moeen went on the attack and entertained the noisy crowd before Kul- deep had him stumped. “Credit has to go to India, they outplayed us in all three departments,” Root said. “For us, it’s bit of an education for us, we got to learn from this…we got to find a way to scoring runs in these conditions.” The third test, a day-night match, starts in Ahmed- abad on Feb. 24. India will be fretting on the availability of opener Shubman Gill who sustained a blow to his forearm and did not field on Tuesday. - Reuters Action ImagesviaReuters / John SibleyLivepic/Files Britain Cricket – India Nets – The Oval – June 10, 2017 India’s Ravichandran Ashwin during nets.