Indian talisman Sunil Chhetri says he hopes to continue playing and scoring goals for the country in the “foreseeable future”, his battle-hardened body getting a booster dose in the form of a landmark 77th international strike that drew him level with King Pele.
Chhetri, 37, equalled the legendary Pele when his 83rd-minute strike helped India beat Nepal 1-0 and saved his side from elimination in the SAFF Championship in Maldives on Sunday.
Even as his team goes through a prolonged lean phase, Chhetri’s goal-scoring prowess remains as good as ever, which is a testament to his consistency and dedication.
“I keep getting asked about my consistency, and I wish I had an answer. But the truth is, there is no blueprint. It’s more about wanting to turn up every single day and give it my best, which, thankfully, I’ve never fallen short of,” Chhetri told PTI after his latest strike.
Through his glorious journey, the deadly poacher from Delhi has played alongside former stars such as Bhaichung Bhutia and Renedy Singh in the national team, besides well-known international players in the ISL and I-League.
“I have been extremely lucky to have played with some great footballers who don’t get enough credit. I’ve learned something from every single coach I have played for. It’s the coming together of many things — big and small — and I hope to keep doing it in the foreseeable future,” he added.
Notwithstanding the occasional chatter around his age and his longevity, the Indian captain wants to keep playing in top-flight and has not given his future any thought.
“It might sound like a lie, but I’ve never given my future as a footballer any thought. Like I said, the one thing I probably do the best is wake up and turn up to train and play. I look forward to it, thoroughly enjoy it and haven’t ever wanted to stop doing it.
“My future plan with football is literally what my next training session will look like. I am fortunate enough to have a support system around me that makes sure I don’t need to think or worry about anything that isn’t football. It just makes it all the more easier to love what I do.”
Playing in his 123rd match for India, Chhetri struck a late goal on Sunday to place himself on a par with the Brazilian great (77 goals from 92 matches).
He is now joint third with UAE’s Ali Mabkhout (77) on the list of highest scorers among active footballers, behind Cristiano Ronaldo (112) and Lionel Messi (79).
Despite his innumerable achievements as a top-class striker at both international and club level and his success with the teams he has played for, Chhetri remains as hungry as ever.
“If there’s a trophy up for grabs, then I want to win it – it’s as simple as that. There’s not too many athletes or teams that are content with what’s in their trophy cabinet. I’m no different.
“On an individual level, I am not a big fan of statistics, milestones and accolades. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for all that I’ve got and achieved. But to win with my team — for country and club, that is everything.”
As with other sports, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the plans of most football teams and the India and Bengaluru FC striker is glad to be playing the game at the moment.
“Ever since international football restarted after the pandemic we have been utilising every FIFA window. Unluckily, I missed out on the matches against Oman and UAE in March (after testing positive for COVID). Those are the kind of matches which Indian football needs.
“At the same time, I understand that getting good games is tough owing to all the restrictions that pandemic has brought along with it.”
There will be plenty of activity surrounding women’s football in India next year (the country is hosting the AFC Asian Cup and FIFA U-17 World Cup), and Chhetri is delighted that the women have started getting opportunities to show their mettle in the sport.
The day Chhetri scored his 77th international goal, the Indian women’s team won their first of the two friendlies in Bahrain in a convincing manner.
“What also pleases me is that the Indian ladies have been travelling on exposure tours in preparation for the forthcoming AFC Women’s Asian Cup, and it was only last night they beat Bahrain 5-0.
“Like I always say, we need to keep playing better opponents if we are to improve and measure where we are, and how much more we need to do.”
Kohli is not tense about the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, said his valuable experience
Virat Kohli on Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Teo20 world championship (T20 World Cup) for an Indian team (Cheap Team) Fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar included in the squad (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) Exhausted from some time now. IPL this year for them 2021 (IPL 2021) This season has also been very bad. Although the captain of the equipment Virat Kohli (Virat Kohli) not t20 Before the start of the World Cup, all questions about the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar were set aside.. Kohli said he is not under any strain on the form of Bhuvneshwar. Also according to Kohli20 Bhuvneshwar’s experience in the World Cup can be very important for the team.
Kohli said on Saturday, “I am not at all worried about the shape of Bhuvneshwar. Their economic exchange rate in recent years has been very good.. as well as t20 His experience in times of pressure in a big tournament like the World Cup can be very useful for the team.. IPL I also played our team against Sunrisers Hyderabad. RCB certainly saw the match of. Bhuvneshwar brilliantly fought aga inst de Villiers in the latter.
New ball De nia by Be I can Hu effective
Kohli said about the suitability of Bhuvneshwar, “now they fit perfectlypalm which is good for our team. I am very sure that with the new ball he can prove to be very useful for us in these matches.. If the wicket helps the fast bowlers a littlepalm So Bhuvneshwar knows how to take advantage of that. so as I said before this t20 His experience in the World Cup will be very valuable for us.“
tell mepalm Teo20 India begins their campaign in the World Cup 24 From the great match against Pakistan in October. This is the last outing of captain Virat Kohli as captain.20 world cup is. Virat after this world championship20 I have announced the resignation of Team India..
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Tamil Nadu State senior athletics meet | Sathish and Kanimozhi hog the limelight
M. Sathish Kumar of Genesis Sports Foundation, Coimbatore, and C. Kanimozhi (Southern Railway) created new meet records in the men’s 5000m and women’s 100m hurdles events respectively on the penultimate day of the Tamil Nadu State senior athletics meet held here on Saturday.
Men: 5000m: M. Sathish Kumar (Genesis SF) 14:45.30s (NMR) (OR: G. Lakshmanan, St. Joseph’s, 14:52.24, 2011), 2. K. Mari Sarath (Prime SA) 15:12.20, 3. C. Manikandan (TN Police) 15:12.50; triple jump: 1. V. Arul Raj 10.84m, 2. A. Tamilselvan 7.57; 110m hurdles: 1. G. Nishanth Raja (Olympic Gold Foundation) 14.46s, 2. Veeraraghavendran (S. Rly) 14.88, 3. R. Sanjay (Erode) 15.14.
Long jump: 1. Elakiadasan (S. Rly) 7.79m, 2. M. Vishnu (Prime SA) 7.59, 3. M. Sandeep Vinsto (Elshaddai Sports GA) 7.50; high jump: 1. D. Deva Karthick (Nellai) 2.13m, 2. S. Veeramani (TN Police) 2.10, 3. R. Manivannan (TN Police) 2.10.
Decathlon: 1. S. Krishnakumar 2936 points, 2. R. Theivendiran (TN Police) 2661, 3. R. Praveenkumar (S. Rly) 2403.
Women: 5000m: Ranjani (SDAT, Tiruchi) 19:17.70s, 2. Lavanya Rajendran 19:20.90, 3. C. Dhivya (Gobi Arts SA) 19:39.30; javelin throw: 1. Saraswathi (S. Rly) 43.64m, 2. N. Hemamalini (PR SF) 42.13, 3. Rosy Meena (Prime SA) 41.57m.
100m hurdles: 1. C. Kanimozhi (S. Rly) 13.74 (NMR) (OR: G. Gayathri, St. Joseph’s, 13.88, 2015), 2. Nandhini (Achievers AA, Cbe) 13.81, 3. Keerthana (S. Rly) 14.17.
Shot put: 1. V. Nandhini (Royal AC) 12.93m, 2. K. Rubasri 12.82, 3. Saraswathi (S. Rly) 12.39.
Former TN cricketer Vasanth passes away
Former Tamil Nadu top-order batsman R.C. Vasanth Kumar passed away at 4 a.m. on Saturday following a heart attack. He was 45.
Vasanth, a dashing batsman in his playing days, had watched the IPL final on Friday night without any discomfort.
But his father R. Chandrasekharan, an accomplished off-spinner in his time, found he had breathed his last in the early hours of Saturday.
Vasanth made 1,097 runs in 22 First Class games at 32.26.
He notched up three hundreds and an equal number of 50s, with a highest of 151.
Vasanth, also the hon. secretary of Magnet Cricket Club, was active in cricketing circles.
The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association expressed its condolences at Vasanth’s unexpected demise.
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