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2018: The year to be in Action for all

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(G.N.S) Dt. 01
New Delhi
There will be no dearth of major events in new year as stars from acroos disciplines have opportunity to prove themselves.
Hockey: Big events galore
Indian hockey team had a mixed year in 2017 but it ended on a positive not with victories for both men and women in their respective Asia Cup events and bronze medal for men’s team in the Hockey World League Final. 2018 would see the team competing in the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the Hockey World Cup.
The selectors have favoured young talent and have promoted several players from the team that won the 2016 junior World Cup to the senior side and many of them have shown great promise. For instance, Mandeep Singh as an attacker, Manpreet Singh in the midfield and Harmanpreet Singh and Dipsan Tirkey in the defence.
The women’s team won’t have as many expectations from them as the men’s side but after their triumph in the Asia Cup, they would be expected to win a medal at the Asian Games and also do well in other tournaments.
Cricket: India’s real test begins
After an extremely successful couple of years, mostly playing at home, 2018 would test the mettle of the Indian team as they would be playing against some top international teams away from home.
Virat Kohli has led his team to victories after victories in both ODI and Test format and has plundered runs in them but it would be this year that would determine whether he is in charge of a genuinely great Indian team or just a group of bullies in home conditions
His own performance would also be scrutinized closely.
Kohli has reached new heights of success in the last couple of years and if he could replicate that form outside the subcontinent, especially in England where he had a miserable time on India’s last tour, he would place himself among the all-time greats of the game.
The first big challenge awaiting the Indian team would be the tour of South Africa featuring 3 Tests, 6 ODIs and 3T20s. This series would be first major challenge away from home for Virat Kohli as well as coach Ravi Shastri
India had toured South Africa last time in 2013/14 and had remained winless. South Africa had struggled badly on their tour of India in 2015 and pitches were heavily criticised for being undercooked.
Hence, it is likely that South Africans would prepare seamer friendly wickets to gain home advantage, posing further challenge to team India.
An equally, if not more, tough challenge would be a 5-Test series vs England in England.
India had won a Test at Lords on their last tour but that was followed by three humiliating losses in the next three Tests.
Virat Kohli had failed to score even one fifty in the series while Pujara got just one. It will be an uphill task for the Indian side to wipe away the scars from that series.
At the end of the year, it would be clear whether India’s great success in the last couple of years is due to them being an all-time great Indian side or a function of doctored pitches and weak opposition.
FIFA World Cup
The biggest football extravaganza would return after four years in 2018 as Russia hosts the FIFA World Cup.
The stage is set for the two biggest stars of the game — Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo — to lead their teams and themselves to glory
Lionel Messi had to face the disappointment of losing in the Finals of both the World Cup as well as the Copa America and was so dejected after losing the latter that he announced his retirement form international football. But he has come back and hopefully there would be sparks from both players in the tournament.
The tournament would run from June 14 to July 15 and would involve 32 teams and would be the 21st edition of the tournament.
Other big names to feature in the event would be Neymar, Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
CWG & Asian Games
Australia’s scenic Gold Coast plays host to the 21st editon of the Commonwealth Games from April 4 to 15.
Indonesia would be hosting 18th edition of the Asian Games from August 18 to September 2.
Wrestlers like Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik would be in action and would be expected to return with a medal if not the medal — gold.
Another group that is expected to do well is that of shooters. The favourites to bring back medals would be Jeetu Rai and Heena Sidhu, both of whom did well in the World Cup last year.
Indian fans would be expecting a good haul of medals from badminton also. Nothing less than two golds would suffice for Indian fans in the Commonwealth Games while hopes would be high in the Asian Games also with China losing its domination.
Other prominent names for India in these games would be weightlifter Mirabai Saikhom Chanu who won a gold recently in the World Championships as well as the Dipa Karmakar, the gymnastic queen of India.
ICC Under-19 World Cup
The breeding ground for the future cricket stars of cricket, the Under-19 World Cup would be played from January 12th to February 4th in New Zealand.
The Indian team is coached by the legendary Rahul Dravid and is led by teenage prodigy Prithvi Shaw who made a big mark for Mumbai in his debut first-class season and is already seen as a future star by many.
Cricket: India’s real test begins
After an extremely successful couple of years, mostly playing at home, 2018 would test the mettle of the Indian team as they would be playing against some top international teams away from home
Virat Kohli has led his team to victories after victories in both ODI and Test format and has plundered runs in them but it would be this year that would determine whether he is in charge of a genuinely great Indian team or just a group of bullies in home conditions
His own performance would also be scrutinized closely.
Kohli has reached new heights of success in the last couple of years and if he could replicate that form outside the subcontinent, especially in England where he had a miserable time on India’s last tour, he would place himself among the all-time greats of the game
The first big challenge awaiting the Indian team would be the tour of South Africa featuring 3 Tests, 6 ODIs and 3T20s.
This series would be first major challenge away from home for Virat Kohli as well as coach Ravi Shastri
India had toured South Africa last time in 2013/14 and had remained winless. South Africa had struggled badly on their tour of India in 2015 and pitches were heavily criticised for being undercooked.
Hence, it is likely that South Africans would prepare seamer friendly wickets to gain home advantage, posing further challenge to team India. An equally, if not more, tough challenge would be a 5-Test series vs England in England.
India had won a Test at Lords on their last tour but that was followed by three humiliating losses in the next three Tests. Virat Kohli had failed to score even one fifty in the series while Pujara got just one. It will be an uphill task for the Indian side to wipe away the scars from that series. At the end of the year, it would be clear whether India’s great success in the last couple of years is due to them being an all-time great Indian side or a function of doctored pitches and weak opposition.

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