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Sachin Tendulkar joined the deluge of tributes that has flown for Mithali Raj after she announced her retirement from international cricket.

Mithali retired as one of the greatest ever players in women's cricket.

Sachin Tendulkar has added to the deluge of tributes that have come for Mithali Raj after the former India captain announced her retirement from international cricket. Mithali retired as one of the greatest ever players in women's cricket with a plethora of batting and captaincy records to her name.

“Congratulations on a stellar career Mithali Raj! Your contribution to Indian Women’s Cricket over the last 23 years has been immense and you have been an inspiration to young girls wanting to play for India. Wishing you the very best for all your future endeavours,” said Tendulkar in his tweet.

Mithali drew curtains on a 23-year-long international career as the highest run-getter in ODIs (7805 in 232 innings at an average of 50.68). In Tests, Mithali represented India in 12 matches, scoring 699 runs. She also scored a double-century in the longest format of the game.

"Like all journey, this one too must come to and end," the 39-year-old said in a statement on social media.

"Today is the day I retire from all forms of international cricket."

Raj made her India debut as a 16-year-old in a 1999 one-dayer against Ireland and scored 68 against South Africa in a Women's World Cup match in Christchurch in March in what proved to be her last international outing.

Her tally of 10,868 runs makes her the highest run scorer of all time in women's international cricket.

"... the last 23 years have been the most fulfilling, challenging & enjoyable years of my life," said Raj, who led India to the World Cup finals in 2005 and 2017. Source : ht

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The 17-year-old Rohtak-born Shafali, scored a total of 159 (96 and 63) runs on her Test debut against England earlier this year and was the 'Player-of-the-match'. She is now part of the Test team for Australia.

Former India all-rounder Hemlata Kala believes that the role of aggressive opener Shafali Verma would be crucial in the upcoming one-off Pink Ball test against Australia Women as she plays "unique cricket" and there won't be any challenge for the teenager.

The 17-year-old Rohtak-born Shafali, scored a total of 159 (96 and 63) runs on her Test debut against England earlier this year and was the 'Player-of-the-match'. She is now part of the Test team for Australia.

"Shafali has an important role (to play) and I think she will be successful as she has been in red-ball (cricket), because her game is like that. She has a power-hitting game, so I feel that she will be successful," Kala, who has played seven Tests, said at a virtual con-call with select journalists.

According to Kala, who also served as the chairperson of selectors, along with Shafali, others batters need to also chip in.

"But along with it, I would like to say that for us along with Shafali, it is important that all batters click in this Test match, because everyone has a different technique. I feel Shafali’s role is crucial and she will play a very important role in this Pink Ball Test," added the 46-year-old.

Kala, who made her Test debut in 1999 and played her last Test in 2008, also said that the girls should think about performing better than what they did in England.

"I feel that the experience of playing a pink-ball test will help them in the future. We should perform better than what we did in the England Test and we should think on those lines," she said.

"I said that the Australia Test is important for us, because we are playing after a long (time) and also a new format. Every format is important for us. The 50-over World Cup is coming, so to check the skills, it is good that we play the test match, as temperament is seen in all things.

"We did well in England (and) I feel we will do better with pink-ball. We have good medium pacers – Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar and Shikha Pandey, and a leg-spinner, I think leg-spinner will be beneficial with pink-ball, I feel as far performance is concerned, it will be improved," she added.

The India Women’s tour of Australia will be aired on ‘Sony Six’ channels from September 21 from 5.35 AM. Source : ht

 

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The dates and the venue of the series, which was announced by Cricket Australia on Monday as part of its men's and women's schedule for the season, remain unconfirmed.

The Indian women's team is set to host World Champions Australia for a five-match T20I series in December later this year.

The dates and the venue of the series, which was announced by Cricket Australia on Monday as part of its men's and women's schedule for the season, remain unconfirmed.

The Indian women's team, which last appeared in the ODI World Cup in March, will next compete at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July before taking on hosts England in a white-ball series comprising three ODIs and as many T20Is in September.

"It is the start of an exciting eight months for the team that also includes a tour to India, home series against Pakistan, the opportunity to play in the Hundred and our own extended domestic season, before the T20 World Cup," Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said.

In addition, the Australian men's team will also visit India for a three-match T20 series in September as reported earlier.

The series will serve as preparation for the T20 World Cup scheduled to held Down Under from October 17 to November 14 this year.

However, the exact dates are also yet to be finalised. Though it is expected to be during the latter half of September as Australia are schedule to host New Zealand for an ODI series from 6 to 11.

Both the Australian men's side and women's team are the reigning T20 champions.

While Aaron Finch and Co. won the title last year and will aim to defend their crown at home, their female counter-parts had been crowned champions in 2020, after they beat India in the final.

The Australian men's team was slated to travel to India for a full series, including four Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is later this year but with the T20 World Cup being pushed back due to COVID-19, the red-ball games will now be staged next year in February and March.

Indian men's team's next assignment is a five-match T20 series against South Africa at home from June 9 to 19, followed by a tour of Ireland for two T20Is.

The Rohit Sharma-led side then takes on England in the rescheduled fifth and final Test, which was postponed last year due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Indian camp, on July 1.

The 'Men in Blue' are then scheduled to play a white-ball series including three T20s and as many ODIs against England. Source : ht

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Hardik Pandya capped off a brilliant season. As a batter, he finished with 487 runs at 44.27 and a strike rate of 131.26 and as a bowler picked eight wickets at an economy rate of 7.27.

Hardik Pandya's stellar captaincy during the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) took many by surprise. Not many were aware of his leadership skills, and the primary concern heading into the 15th season was around his fitness and whether he would be available as an all-rounder. Not only did Hardik tick all the boxes, but he also led the Gujarat Titans to their maiden IPL title. Impressed with his leadership qualities, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar backed the all-rounder for India captaincy as well.

Hardik capped off a brilliant season. As a batter, he finished with 487 runs at 44.27 and a strike rate of 131.26 and as a bowler, picked eight wickets at an economy rate of 7.27. While he did not bowl through the second half of the season, he returned with his career-best 3 for 17 in the final that helped Gujarat in restricting Rajasthan to just 130 for nine.

While Hardik ticked off the all-rounder box, shutting down concerns about his place in the Indian team with the T20 World Cup around, the 28-year-old also impressed veteran cricketers with his captaincy during the tournament which led to many backing the youngster to take up the role for the Indian team as well.

“Yes definitely. Not just my estimation, but everybody’s estimation (Hardik’s reputation as a leader has gone up). This was an aspect of his game which nobody had too much information about,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.

“We all knew what he could do with the bat, what he could do with the ball, but there was just a little bit of a concern before the start of the season about whether he would be able to bowl his full quota of 4 overs. He has done that, he has shown that. That all-rounder aspect is done, and everybody is happy.

“But this now, the way he has led the team, the way he has got them together, the way he has got them to gel together means he has got leadership qualities.

“When you have leadership qualities, it automatically opens the door for honours at the national level to be able to captain the Indian national team in the near future.

“So that’s exciting, there are 3-4 other names in the ring. I am not saying he is the next in line. But for the selection committee to have that option is fantastic,” he added. Source : ht

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Paris Awarded 2024 Olympics, Los Angeles Gets 2028 Games

Written by Thursday, 14 September 2017 06:21

The International Olympic Committee named Paris and Los Angeles as hosts for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics on Wednesday, crowning two cities at the same time in a historic first for the embattled sports body. Loud applause rang out at the Lima Convention Centre shortly after the IOC membership voted to approve a deal hashed out in July which arranged for Paris to be given 2024 and Los Angeles 2028. Paris and Los Angeles bid leaders joined International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on stage as the award was confirmed, embracing after an outcome hailed as a "win-win-win" by the IOC. Both Paris and Los Angeles made final presentations to IOC delegates before the formality of the rubber-stamp vote was taken.

"You can't imagine what this means to us, incredible, so strong," Paris 2024 co-chairman Tony Estanguet told delegates shortly before the vote.

It marked the final act of a campaign that had been stripped of the usual intrigue ever since Paris and Los Angeles agreed to carve up 2024 and 2028 in July following encouragement from the IOC.

Paris 2024 officials hugged and cheered following the vote, basking in victory after three previous failed bids to land the 1992, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The 2024 Games will mark the third time Paris has staged the Olympics, coming exactly 100 years after they last hosted the Games.

Los Angeles 2028 officials also celebrated the return of the Olympics to US soil.

The 2028 Olympics will be the first held in the United States since the chaotic 1996 Games in Atlanta.

It will also mark the third time that Los Angeles has hosted the Olympics following successful editions in 1932 and 1984.

"Los Angeles reflects the face of America's future and the heart of American values of inclusiveness, generosity and unity," Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said during his final pitch to IOC members.

- 'Too many losers' -

Paris and Los Angeles emerged from the initial bidding race for the 2024 Games after a number of cities withdrew citing waning public support and concerns over budget.

Hamburg, Rome, Budapest and Boston all fell by the wayside during the competition, reflecting the political difficulties in persuading voters that staging the Olympics is worth the multi-billion-dollar price tag.

IOC chief Bach first signalled publicly that the double-award of an Olympics could be on the agenda in December last year, lamenting that the bidding process produced "too many losers".

As the tussle for 2024 unfolded, and as the field thinned to leave just Los Angeles and Paris, the IOC's determination to secure two high-quality bids for the next two summer games became apparent.

In July, the IOC announced it would award the staging rights for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics at the same meeting in Lima, laying the way for a swift agreement between the two over the running order.

The drama-free conclusion to the race also eliminates the risk of the vote being tainted by the sort of scandal that has embroiled the ballot for the 2016 Olympics.

The IOC was left tackling a fresh wave of graft allegations last week when investigators in Brazil swooped on the country's Olympics chief Carlos Nuzman.

Nuzman stands accused of plotting to bribe IOC members into awarding Rio de Janeiro the 2016 Games at a 2009 vote in Copenhagen.

The allegations swirling around Rio's bid revived memories of the Salt Lake City bribery scandal, which led to 20 IOC members being either kicked out of the Olympics' ruling body or pleading guilty to accepting bribes for votes.

French investigators meanwhile have already announced they are investigating the 2013 vote in Buenos Aires which awarded the 2020 Olympics to Tokyo, following reports of secret payments into a Singapore-based bank account linked to the son of disgraced former world athletics chief Lamine Diack.

 

 

 

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Sachin Tendulkar Reveals The Lowest Phase In His India Career

Written by Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:53

Legendary Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday said the phase around the 2007 World Cup was the lowest ebb for Indian cricket.

Tendulkar said the Indian cricket team witnessed a lot of changes after the first round exit from the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and the move eventually reaped huge dividends.

"I think 2006-07 we were possibly our lowest (phase). We didn't qualify for the Super 8 stage of the 2007 World Cup. But we got back from there and started fresh thinking, we started moving in a new direction," the right-handed batsman said.

"We had to make a lot of changes. And once we had planned what we had to achieve as a team, we were committed to it and the results followed," he added.

In the 2007 Cricket World Cup, the Rahul Dravid-led India lost to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in group stages to crash out in the opening round.

"We had to change a lot of things. Whether they were right or wrong we didn't know. The change did not happen overnight. We had to wait for results. In fact it took me 21 years of my career to lift that beautiful World Cup trophy," said Tendulkar.

Tendulkar was part of the Indian squad which lifted the 2011 World Cup under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

 

 

 

 

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Perhaps we should have known Rafael Nadal would win the 2017 US Open as soon as he ended his 2016 season early to recover from a wrist injury. For as much fanfare as Roger Federer has received this year for his two Slam victories following an injury shortened 2016, it’s been largely forgotten that 2017 is the third season that Nadal has come back from injury to win at least two majors.

Sunday’s match was in practice as much of a foregone conclusion as it appeared to be on paper. That isn’t to say that Kevin Anderson didn’t acquit himself well in his first ever Slam final. But, Nadal’s unique brand of looping shots, quick movement and relentless pressure was always going to be a bad matchup for the 31-year-old South African. Anderson’s best chance at winning was to hope that he could have a banner serving day while his Mallorcan opponent arrived a bit off. But, neither was to come to pass.

Nadal began the match by putting Anderson under an immense amount of pressure. In the first game of the match, Anderson immediately was pushed by Nadal’s all-court game, and had to save a break point before getting on the scoreboard. After a quick hold from Nadal, Anderson once again found himself under pressure — barely surviving multiple break points to win a nearly 12-minute service game and even the match at 2-2. Offered only a brief respite as Nadal again held service relatively easily, Anderson finally succumbed to the onslaught and lost his serve at 2-3. After that point, Nadal never gave up the lead again. Each of the subsequent sets were easier going for Nadal, as he went up a break early and never gave Anderson enough breathing room to make a comeback, as Nadal took the match, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

What is even more impressive is that Nadal didn’t have to alter his game plan to ride roughshod over his opponent. In some ways, Nadal couldn’t have picked a better opponent for the title match than Anderson. While Anderson has an impressive serve and clean ground strokes, the 6’ 8” South African had difficulty moving up to Nadal’s angled looping shots. Then, when Anderson tried to move into the net, his awkwardness in the front part of the court became evident, as Nadal drew volley errors and passed Anderson repeatedly. Even where Anderson was able to hit impressive serves and booming groundstrokes, more often than not, Nadal was quick enough to get in place to hit an even more impressive shot past his opponent.

With his win, Nadal captured his third US Open title and his 16th Grand Slam title overall, leaving him within three titles of Roger Federer’s record of 19, as he was at the beginning of the year. Interestingly, each of Nadal’s US Open titles have come in seasons following a season in which he has been forced to take time away from tennis to recuperate from injury. In 2010, Nadal won his first US Open title, thereby completing his career Grand Slam and a three Slam season after his first major absence from the tour in 2009, where he was forced to skip the grass court season due to knee tendinitis. In 2013, Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic for the second time in a US Open final, after missing the London Olympics due to a recurrence of his knee problems. And this year's title follows a 2016 season cut short due to a wrist injury.

The Rafael Nadal who won on Sunday is a different man than the one who captured the 2010 and 2013 titles. In 2010, Nadal was at the end of what was his best season, winning the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open, and already making a case for himself as one of the game’s greats. Yet, when confronted with the possibility of his nephew joining the likes of Roger Federer, Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver in the top echelon of tennis, his uncle and coach, Toni Nadal was skeptical, “They're the best. Rafael is very far away from those guys. Rafael is a good player. I think he's a very good player." Even Nadal himself was inclined to defer to Federer, saying before the 2010 French Open, "If somebody says I am better than Roger, I think this person doesn't know anything about tennis.”

In 2013, Nadal was also inclined to defer to his Swiss colleague in the greatest of all time, or GOAT, debate, saying “the question about who is the greatest is not about me or Roger, it is more about Rod Laver or Roger.” That was at a time when Nadal was closing in on Federer’s then-record 17 major titles, and Federer was coming off his worst season in a decade. Certainly, most observers had already begun to assert that Nadal had a reasonable claim on the title of GOAT, with his winning record against Federer. Yet Nadal, whether because he was more comfortable as an underdog, or due to the humility inculcated in him by his Uncle Toni, was unwilling to join the growing chorus of people asserting his candidacy for GOAT.

Yet, when asked to wax rhapsodic about his friendly rival this week in New York, Nadal demurred and offered a sarcastic joke instead:

"I don't want to look like I gonna be his boyfriend, no?"

That isn’t to say that the two rivals aren’t still close. And, the fact that the two have combined to win all of the Slams in a year for the fourth time might be the best advertisement ever for Federer’s new Laver Cup competition, where Nadal is next scheduled to play after his win in New York.

But this year’s Nadal is a much more assured player and man than we have ever seen. He was forced to substantially reassess his game after disappointing seasons and a crisis of confidence in 2015 and 2016, and added the scouting based approach of Carlos Moya to his coaching team, just as his longtime coach, his uncle, prepares to move on at the end of the 2017 season. It’s not that Moya has made significant changes in Nadal’s game — those weren’t necessary — but rather he assisted Nadal in finding the small refinements to his serve, backhand and all court game that enabled Nadal to return to the top of the game. But, perhaps the fact that Nadal now is surrounded by a team that sees him as one of the greats of the game first — as opposed to a nephew who needed to be trained — has imparted an additional degree of self-assurance in one of the most assiduously humble champions in all of sports.

In a marked contrast to Sloane Stephens’ gleeful trophy ceremony on Saturday, Nadal accepted his trophy and check with quiet pride. Even when he was given the opportunity to address the crowd in Spanish, he stopped first to give encouragement to those who are suffering due to the hurricanes ravaging the southern United States, Mexico and the Caribbean before thanking his fans for their support. A younger Nadal would have felt the same sentiment, but may not have had the confidence to speak up on such issues.

But, as he bit into a Grand Slam trophy for the 16th time, a bit of the teenage wonder peeked out at the crowd. As difficult as it was to imagine Nadal reaching this stage a year ago, it’s is equally difficult to imagine him anywhere else a year from now. After a career that has demanded as much resilience as it has talent, Nadal has returned to the spotlight a more confident, assured man than ever before.

It will be a tall task for anyone to catch him now.

 

 

 

 

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Ravi Shastri raises player burnout issue with BCCI

Written by Saturday, 09 September 2017 11:27

Team India head coach Ravi Shastri has urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to provide the national team players adequate break between series in future to avoid player burnout.

Shastri, who joined the Committee of Administrators (CoA) meet on Friday via video link, shared his thoughts after his first tour since succeeding Anil Kumble as coach of the Indian team.

Shastri was unhappy with the limited gap between home series against Sri Lanka and the South Africa tour which starts in January next year. There will only be a one week gap between the two series.

India will play a series of five ODIs and three T20Is against Australia from September 17 to October 13. Four days later the team will play a series against New Zealand which will go on till November 7.

A week later Sri Lanka will play a full series against India from November 15 to December 24. Then, the team will be off to South Africa on December 28 where they will play three T20s, three ODIs followed by four Test matches.

He spoke about how England and Australia schedule tours where cricketers can take a Christmas break even on away tours and come back. India will be starting their home series against New Zealand during the Diwali period.

The BCCI expressed inability to have a longer gap for now between tours given the tight scheduling. There has been one practice game scheduled in South Africa before the first Test that likely to start from January 5, 2018, while team management wanted two practice games.

The team will depart for South Africa on December 28. The home series against Sri Lanka will finish less than one week before the team's departure. One option that may be exercised is to send the Test players early to South Africa for acclimatisation.

Shastri though, was satisfied with the England tour schedule which will also take place next year. He has requested the BCCI to take the captain and coach's suggestions in future while scheduling tours to avoid player burnout.

 

 

 

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Former Australian pacer Jason Gillespie is in talks to become Delhi Daredevils head coach for the next season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The 42-year-old ended his association with Yorkshire in 2016 and is currently part of Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League.

The Daredevils are presently without a coach in their ranks with Rahul Dravidhaving opted to continue as coach of the India under-19 team. This after the BCCI’s new rules regarding conflict of interest had left coaches and support staff personnel in the country to pick between working for IPL and national teams.

The Indian Express has learnt that Gillespie himself has shown interest in being part of an IPL team a few months ago. Gillespie has been part of the IPL in the past, after having been roped in as the bowling coach for Kings XI Punjab in 2011. Sources at the Delhi franchise, meanwhile, confirmed that talks are indeed on, but nothing has been finalised yet.

“He brings a lot to the table. He has vast experience behind him. He has shown keenness to be a part of Delhi team and talks are still on,” a Delhi Daredevils official said.

Impressive CV

Gillespie played 71 Tests and 97 ODIs in a career spanning a decade for the Australians during their indomitable reign as the foremost cricket team in the world, forming a deadly new-ball pairing with Glenn McGrath. He then made a very successful switch to coaching, especially at Yorkshire, where he lifted the struggling county from the second division in his first season before helping them win back-to-back County Championship titles in 2014 and 2015.

He was also attributed with playing a significant role in the development of Yorkshire cricketers who then went on to become England mainstays like Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and David Willey. There were even talks of him taking over the England job following the sacking of Peter Moores last year but it didn’t work out. Since ending his time with Yorkshire and returning to his hometown of Adelaide last year, he’s continued to be in high demand as coach.

In addition to being touted to become Australia’s bowling coach at some point, Gillespie’s already worked this year in an interim capacity with both Kent — as bowling coach — and the Papua New Guinea national team — as head coach. He was also named as bowling coach of the Australia A team to tour South Africa, which unfortunately got scrapped owing to the pay dispute crisis Down Under.

Recently, during an interaction with the media in Bengaluru at the National Cricket Academy Gillespie insisted that he is still committed to the Adelaide Strikers. “I do a little bit of work for Cricket Australia. I’ll be looking to see what other opportunities are out there in T20 leagues around the world,” Gillespie said. The pacer was in the city with other five Australian coaches to conduct a re-certification programme for Level 3 Indian coaches. In other Delhi Daredevils related news, India’s former pace spearhead, Zaheer Khan, has confirmed that he’s keen on playing in next year’s IPL.

 

 

 

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Former world champion Viswanathan Anand suffered a disappointing final round loss against Sergey Karjakin of Russia to finish joint eighth in the St Louis Rapid Chess tournament here today.

After raising visions of a good finish, luck did not favour Grandmaster Anand much on the final day as he was first held to a draw by Le Quang Leim of Vietnam in the seventh round and then shared points with Fabiano Caruana of United States in the penultimate round.

The Indian ace ended on seven points, coming through one win, five draws and two losses in the event that gave two points for a win and one for a draw.

Levon Aronian of Armenia topped the rapid section with 12 points in all. On the final day, Aronian scored two good wins and a solitary draw.

The American duo of Hikaru Nakamura and Caruana were right behind Aronian on 11 points each and Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi was fourth on 10 points. Lenier Dominguez of Cuba was right behind on nine points.

Le Quang Leim and Sergey Karjakin shared the sixth spot on eight points each while Anand, Garry Kasparov and Navara David of Czech Republic shares the eighth position.

The event is still only half way through as the players will change gears again and play the blitz that will have eighteen games in all and the winner in the USD 150000 prize money tournament will be decided by the cumulative score.

For Anand, the road ahead looks difficult but things can still turn around if he can start off with a few wins in the blitz. A five-point margin is huge and the turnaround can only happen with some massive scoring by Anand.

Garry Kasparov was again the big news of the day simply with his presence. However, Kasparov, once the best player on the planet, could not keep pace with clock or pressure and lost two games besides getting lucky and winning one against Leim.

It was a heartbreak for the yesteryear champion as he simply lost from a won endgame through a super-trick from David Navara in the first game of the day. Le Quang Leim dropped a rook in the next game from a playable position to give Kasparov his only victory in the event thus far while Caruana proved stronger in what was a tricky endgame in the final round.

Standings after Rapid: 1. Levon Aronian (Arm, 12); 2-3: Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura (both USA) 11 each; 4. Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 8); 5. Lenier Dominguez (Cub, 9); 6-7.

Sergey Karjakin (Rus), Le Qunag Leim (Vie) 8 each; 8-10: Garry Kasparov (Rus), V Anand (Ind), David Navara (Cze) 7 each.

 

 

 

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