Sports World, December 25, 2023: Rohit Sharma Faces Media For First Time After World Cup Final; Brazil Face FIFA Suspension - As It Happened

Indian captain Rohit Sharma addressed the media on the eve of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Centurion. Sakshi Malik hinted at the possibility of her retirement U-Turn. BCCI announced India's women's cricket squad for the T20I, ODI series against Australia

Rohit Sharma will lead the side in the Test series in South Africa but has been rested from white-ba

It may be Christmas, but for the Indian men's cricket team, the day was spent in anticipation of the all-important Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Centurion. Though their practice session was cancelled due to rain, Indian captain Rohit Sharma addressed the media on the eve of the game. Meanwhile, Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik hinted at the possibility of her retirement U-Turn. Elsewhere, BCCI announced India's women's cricket squad for the T20I, ODI series against Australia. Catch the highlights of all the sports news and events on Monday, December 25, 2023, here. (Cricket News | Football News | Wrestling News | December 24 Highlights)

11:59PM: And That's A Wrap

That's it from us today. We will be back tomorrow with the live updates from the Boxing Day Test matches in Centurion and Melbourne, in addition to all the other sporting action that unfolds through the day. Goodnight.

9:45 PM: Can Host 2036 Olympics At Ahmedabad's Sardar Patel Complex - Amit Shah

Union home minister Amit Shah has expressed hope that India can host the 2036 Olympics at Ahmedabad's Sardar Patel Complex, which is near the Narendra Modi Stadium in the city. Earlier, in October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India will bid for the 2036 Games. 

8:30 PM: IND Vs RSA Weather Update

The weather forecast for the first two days of the India vs South Africa Boxing Day Test match is rain-laden. The eve of the game also saw the Indian team cancelling its practice session due to incessant downpour in Centurion. Read our report to know more.

7:10 PM: FIFA World Cup 2034 In India? Here's The Latest

Putting a moratorium to speculations of India planning to co-host FIFA World Cup 2034, Saudi Arabian football federation president Yasser Al Misehal has said that the showpiece quadrennial event will be solely organized by Saudi. Read our report to find out more. 

6 PM: PAK Team's Christmas Gesture Wins Hearts

In a video posted by the Pakistan Cricket Board on X (formerly Twitter), the Men In Green's captain Shan Masood can be seen handing out Christmas gifts and sweets to the Australian team and their families.

Check out the wholesome video here.

4:59 PM: FIFA Delinks From Santosh Trophy In Arunachal Pradesh - Report

The global football governing body FIFA has reportedly distanced itself from Santosh Trophy being held in Arunachal Pradesh. The final round of the Santosh Trophy is slated to be held in Arunachal Pradesh in February-March 2024, and the body is apparently aware of the diplomatic implications it could have vis-a-vis China’s stand on the northeastern state. 

4:20 PM: Key Takeaways From Rohit's PC

Rohit Sharma highlighted some important points in his address in South Africa on the eve of the Boxing Day Test match against South Africa in Centurion. As a leader, he wants his team to "achieve" what other Indian sides in the past have failed to do in South Africa. Some of the major takeaways from his interaction with the media are as follows;

- "Want to enjoy the game", said Rohit ignoring the questions about his future in the team.

-  "I want to play whatever cricket is there in front of me," he said without elaborating his plans.

- On KL Rahul's wicket-keeping in Test cricket, he said, " "I am not sure how long KL Rahul would want to keep wickets but he is keen as of now".

-  "Shami will be a big miss for what he has done for us over the years. Someone will fill up (the) hole but it won't be easy," he said.

4:00 PM: Ravindra Jadeja Or Ravichandran Ashwin - Who Will Play?

India's Head Coach, Rahul Dravid, stated that they have the flexibility to choose between using two spinners or one spinner and four pacers in the 1st Test as per the match's requirements. He also hinted that KL Rahul may not have to keep against spinners for long as the pitch is more suited for pacers. Therefore, there is a likelihood that India may go with one spinner, making it more likely for Ravindra Jadeja to be included in the team.

3:40 PM: World Test Championship (2023-25) Standings

India are currently at the top of the table in the World Test Championship standings for the year cycle (2023-25) with a win and a draw from one series. South Africa have not played any match in this cycle so far and are currently in the 8th position just above Sri Lanka.

3:30 PM: Rohit Sharma On Mohammed Shami

Very important Test series. We have never won a series here. It's a big opportunity for us. We came close the last two times. That gives us a lot of excitement and encouragement to do our best. Our seamers have done well in Australia, England and South Africa. The seamers have to pull their weight in. Mohammed Shami will be a big miss.


3:10 PM: KL Rahul Confident About Keeping In Tests: Coach Dravid

KL Rahul has always been confident about keeping wickets in Tests and the upcoming series against South Africa will allow India’s new gloveman to do something different, head coach Rahul Dravid said on Sunday. Read more here

2:55 PM: WC Loss Was 'Heartbreaking' But We Have To Move On: Dravid

A professional sportsperson is immune to heartbreaks and is trained to move on quickly towards the impending challenge, India head coach Rahul Dravid on Sunday detailed how Rohit Sharma’s men coped with the heartbreaking World Cup final defeat to Australia. Read more here

2:48 PM: Predicted XI For IND Vs RSA, 1st Test


Predicted XIs

India XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Prasidh Krishna

South Africa XI: Temba Bavuma (c), Tony de Zorzi, Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada*, Lungi Ngidi*, Gerald Coetzee

*Players whose participation is subjected to their recovery after injuries.

2:35 PM: What Is India's Record At Centurion's SuperSport Park?

India are set to play their 1st Test at the SuperSport Park. The Proteas have played 28 matches at the venue and have won 22 times and lost three. The other three games were draws. As for Team India, they have played three games there, winning just one and losing two.


2:25 PM: IND Vs RSA, 1st Test Weather Forecast

As per AccuWeather, there are 58% chance of thunderstorms in the morning, and there will be periods of rain. The temperature will be around 23°c.

2:00 PM: IND Vs RSA, Head-To-Head Record In Tests

Both these sides have played each other 42 times in Test cricket, with South Africa having a slight edge against India, with 17 wins compared to India's 15 victories, alongside 10 drawn matches.

Total matches played - 42
IND won - 15
RSA won - 17
Drawn - 10

1:36 PM: Sakshi Malik To Make Wrestling Retirement U-Turn

The Wrestling Federation Of India (WFI) was dissolved on Sunday by the newly elected executive committee (EC), and that has seen former wrestler Sakshi Malik drop a major hint in considering her retirement. Malik said that she would reconsider her decision after the next governing body is constituted. "I will tell you about the decision according to the federation that would be formed," said Malik. 


Read more about it here

11:29 AM: Christmas Wishes From Pujara And Family

11:00 AM: Now It's Pakistan Hockey's Turn To Face Suspension

Pakistan hockey could face suspension from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) after the appointment of a new President of the Pakistan Hockey Federation by the Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar was challenged by predecessor, Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokar. Khokar, who has remained President of the Pakistan Hockey Federation since 2015, told a news conference on Sunday that he would challenge his removal and the appointment of Mir Tariq Hussain Bugti as the new President.

10:00 AM: FIFA Could Suspend Brazilian Football


FIFA warned Brazil it could suspend its national teams and clubs from international competitions if an intervention by its football body leads to the election of a new president in January. FIFA said in a letter to a Brazilian Football executive that the country's football body CBF could face suspension if it does not heed its call to wait and instead holds a swift election to replace Ednaldo Rodrigues as president regardless. The document was obtained by The Associated Press.

Read more about it here

9:45 AM: Pakistan Cricket Team Makes Changes For 2nd Test

Pakistan's injury crisis worsened for their 2nd Test agains Australia after left-arm spinner Noman Ali was ruled out after being diagnosed with acute appendicitis.
Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz will replace Ali in the squad, the selection committee said on the weekend.


8:49 AM: Rohit Sharma Has To Change His Approach For Tests

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has stated that India skipper Rohit Sharma will need to change his approach from ODIs to Tests. "For Test cricket, he has to change his approach completely because he has to think in terms of batting the whole day. If he bats the whole day, then clearly, with the range of shots he has got, he will be able to end up with 150-plus not, then India will be 300-plus or 350-plus," he added.

8:10 AM: Sir Jim Ratcliffe Agrees Deal To Buy Stake In Manchester United


More than a year after it was put up for sale, Manchester United said that British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe had agreed to buy a minority stake in the storied Premier League club. Ratcliffe, who owns petrochemicals giant INEOS and is one of Britain's richest people, has bought a stake of "up to 25 per cent" of the 20-time league champions and will invest USD 300 million in its Old Trafford stadium.

Read more about it here

7:58 AM: Sports This Week

Premier League returns with the Boxing Day fixtures as the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Aston Villa, all in action. Cricket sees the likes of Pakistan taking on Australia in the second Test whereas India take on the Proteas in Centurion.


7:53 AM: Good Morning And Merry Christmas

Here's wishing everyone a very happy and blissful Christmas and prosperous New Year.