With the Indian Premier League inching closer, all teams have started their preparations. Hardik Pandya, who was ruled out of India’s just-concluded limited-overs series against Australia due to lower back stiffness, also resumed training at the pre-season camp of Mumbai Indians.
Hardik Pandya has been associated with Mumbai Indians since 2015 and has been one of the key players for the three-time IPL champions. The seam bowling all-rounder while training was spotted trying to emulate former India skipper MS Dhoni’s signature ‘helicopter’ shot. He took to Twitter to share the video, captioned “Guess my inspiration behind this shot?”
Hardik Pandya along with KL Rahul are still under the radar for making sexist comments on a TV chat show. The duo were ordered to return from India’s tour of Australia, but were included again till investigations are on so as to prepare for the upcoming World Cup.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians will be eyeing their fourth IPL title. The 2013, 2015, 2017 winners have already begun preparations.
The Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians will face Delhi Capitals on March 24 at the Wankhede Stadium in their opener match.
Basil Thampi reveals how IPL has taken his game to the next level
Young Kerala pacer Basil Thampi feels the IPL has given him the confidence to bowl at just about any batsman in the world as the tournament is more challenging for the bowlers.
The 25-year-old uncapped pacer will be turning up for the Sunrisers Hyderabad this year after two seasons with the now dissolved Gujarat Lions.
“It is very challenging to bowl in the IPL because it is a batsmen’s game and we all know that. We should have confidence to bowl, that is the key. So, in the last three years I got the confidence to bowl at everyone. Whenever I get the ball, I want to deliver my best,” Thampi told PTI in an interaction.
The IPL season 12 commences on March 23.
Thampi is part of an impressive bowling line-up that also includes experienced swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul and left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed.
“This coming season I want to do well. The most important thing is if I get a chance, I want to do well for the team. From the last experience, I learnt a lot for this team,” Thampi said.
The youngster said he will mostly stick to his stock delivery, which is the yorker.
“Because I have good yorkers, I guess, and I want to stick to it and, with that, some variations,” the right-arm medium pacer said.
According to Thampi, the most important thing which he learnt from the senior pacers was how to prepare his body.
Thampi said he shares a good rapport with his co-pacers.
“We know each other. Khaleel, Sandeep and Siddharth Kaul, we have played together in India A matches. We are (always) sharing our thoughts on and off the field,” he said.
Sunrisers will begin their IPL campaign against Kolkata Knight Riders on March 24 at the Eden Gardens. PTI NRB SSR GK
PCB to pay $1.6 million to BCCI after losing legal dispute
The Pakistan Cricket Board has paid the BCCI approximately USD 1.6 million as compensation after losing the case in the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani claimed on Monday.
“We incurred costs of around USD 2.2 million on the compensation case which we lost,” Mani said.
He insisted that besides the amount paid to India to cover the costs of the case the other expenses were related to legal fees and travelling.
The PCB had filed a compensation case against the BCCI last year before the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee for an amount of around USD 70 million.
PCB had sought a huge amount from BCCI for not honouring a MoU signed between the two boards. According to the MoU, India and Pakistan were supposed to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023, which the BCCI failed to honour.
The Indian cricket board said they were unable to play against Pakistan as the Indian government did not give them permission. India also dismissed the Pakistan board’s claims as legally binding.
“The ICC committee did accept that Pakistan had a case and that is why the damages/cost we had to pay to the Indian board was around USD 1.6 million,” Mani said.
World Cup 2019: ICC leaving no stone unturned for security after Christchurch mosque shootings
There is no question of being complacent with security at this year’s World Cup following a mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques last week, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has said.
Members of the Bangladesh cricket team narrowly avoided being caught up in the shooting, which killed 50 people, by a suspected white supremacist last Friday.
Their third test against New Zealand that had been scheduled to start on Saturday at nearby Hagley Oval was subsequently cancelled and it also prompted calls from Asian cricket officials and politicians to step up security for touring teams.
ICC chief executive David Richardson said security was always an issue for his organisation and ensuring the May 30-July 14 World Cup in England and Wales was safe would be a priority.
“It has always been the case that we’ve had to make sure that we keep security absolutely priority, not only for the players but also for the visiting media, fans, spectators and everyone who attends the event,” Richardson was quoted as saying by cricket website Cricinfo.
“Something happening in New Zealand probably took a lot of people by surprise and it emphasised the need not to be complacent, especially going into the World Cup.
“I know the work done already by the security director together with all the security agencies in the UK, they are leaving no stone unturned, and if the threat level should rise in any way we will (further upgrade) the plans in place.”
Cricket teams have previously abandoned tours because of security fears but most had been in South Asia, including Bangladesh which Australia decided against touring in 2015.
Sri Lanka’s team bus was attacked by gunmen in Lahore during their tour of Pakistan in 2009. Six members of the team were wounded, while six security personnel and two civilians were killed.
Pakistan still host nearly all of their international matches in the United Arab Emirates due to ongoing security concerns.
New Zealand abandoned their 1987 tour of Sri Lanka following a bombing near their hotel in Colombo in which more than 100 people were killed.
They also abandoned a tour of Pakistan in May 2002 following a suicide bombing outside their hotel in Karachi.
BCCI case: Supreme Court appoints PS Narasimha as mediator
The Supreme Court, which was instrumental in appointing an ombudsman for the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) last month, devised mediation as a novel way of solving minor disputes between the Board and state cricket associations.
Enforcing this rule from Thursday, a bench of Justices SA Bobde and AM Sapre appointed the amicus curiae senior advocate PS Narasimha as the mediator and referred all disputes pertaining to release of funds and membership existing between state boards and BCCI to him. Interestingly, the proposal for mediation was mooted by Justice Bobde, who happens to be the judge who mooted similar proposal in the Ayodhya title suit case while sitting in a Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
While monitoring reforms in the BCCI, the Court realised that several applications had accumulated before it and the matters were becoming difficult to handle. In order to dispose the pending matters which involved petty issues, the Court proposed sending the matters to ombudsman. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for a cricket body in Gujarat claimed that the same could be handled by the amicus. If not, the parties were always free to approach the ombudsman.
The Court asked Narasimha’s willingness. He accepted but at the same time indicated that matters which involve modification of Constitution cannot be decided by him. The Court agreed. When it came to fixing remuneration, Sibal proposed a fixed fee for the mediator. But Narasimha was not keen. Thebench said, “These days people don’t trust anyone who does not take money.”
As a first case, the Court asked Narasimha to urgently look into a plea by the Maharashtra Cricket Association which stated that the Pune cricket stadium had been attached over dues outstanding to banks. The Association was starved of funds from the Committee of Administrators who are yet to release the money. The bench asked the mediator to address the concern.
Former BCCI President Anurag Thakur also sought Court’s intervention to allow him participate in BCCI’s functioning. He stood disqualified after the Supreme Court found him guilty of perjury and banned him from being involved with BCCI in any manner. The Court said “Now the matter is over, why do you seek to revive it,” as it refused to pass any order.
Virat Kohli needs MS Dhoni in pressure situations: Shane Warne
Team India still needs players like MS Dhoni to win the tough matches, according to legendary Australian bowler Shane Warne.
Warne praised India’s current captain Virat Kohli as ‘a terrific leader’, but also added that the team will need experienced players like Dhoni in a pressure situation. He added while it was easy to lead the side when things were going well, one needs the presence of experienced players to guide the team to victory during tough situations.
“Virat Kohli is a terrific leader but many a time we can have experience of MS Dhoni to help Virat when pressure is on. It’s easy to captain a side when things are going well but when it’s tough you need experience like you saw in MS Dhoni,” Warne said to ANI.
India failed to defend a huge total of 358 in recent Mohali ODI as Australia managed to level the series with a four-wicket win. MS Dhoni was not a part of the team for the match.
Warne also hit back at the critics of Dhoni, calling him a ‘great player’.
“MS Dhoni is a great player. He can bat anywhere whatever the team needs. He is adaptable and anyone criticising him has no idea what they are talking about. India need him in the World Cup. They need his experience and leadership skills on the field to help Virat Kohli as well,” he said.
Warne said that India will be one of the favourites in the 2019 World Cup. He said that though India and hosts England will head into the event as favourites, it will be Australia who have a chance of ultimately emerge out victorious.
“World Cup is very close. I think India and England will go in as favourites because of the cricket they played in the last six to 12 months…I believe Australia will win the World Cup as they are peeking up at right time but I think India and England are going in as the favourites,” Warne said.
IPL has set gold standard for operations globally, says ICC CEO David Richardson
ICC CEO David Richardson has denied reports stating the possible interference of ICC in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He said the primary objective is to ensure that other leagues around the world operate within a consistent framework.
“We are fortunate to have some outstanding T20 leagues, including the IPL, which set the gold standard for operations globally and this Working Group has taken into account those standards when developing the draft set of regulations. Our primary objective is to ensure other leagues around the world put in place the same minimum criteria and operate within a consistent framework,” Richardson said.
“Reports in the Indian media that the ICC is somehow seeking to interfere in or dictate to the IPL are wide of the mark. That is not the case. As the Chief Executives’ Committee and the ICC Board were advised over the past few days, the development of the Regulations has been led by the Working Group, on behalf of its Members, to ensure the long-term health and reputation of the sport internationally and domestically.”
The ICC had set up a Working Group in June 2018 to consider the sanctioning of events and player release.
“Poorly resourced and structured leagues are not sustainable in the long-term and may not support or invest in the growth and development of the game. They may also present challenges around corruption, failed leagues and non-payment of players all of which can damage cricket’s global reputation.
“They also recognize and encourage the important role that these leagues, when staged by or in partnership with Members, can play in the promotion of the sport, in raising operational standards, protecting the health, safety and welfare of its participants and enabling professional cricketers to reap the rewards of their talents by mandating minimum contractual protections for players,” he concluded.
Shoaib Malik to lead as Pakistan host Australia in five-match ODI series
Shoaib Malik will lead Pakistan during the five-match ODI series against Australia, beginning March 22 as captain Sarfaraz Ahmed is likely to be rested.
Wicket-keeper batsman Umar Akmal may be recalled as selection panel tries to find a replacement for the injured all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, ESPNcricinfo quoted chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, as saying.
Inzamam said that these changes would take place to ensure key players do not break down in the run-up to the 50-over World Cup 2019.
“This is my idea [to rest Sarfaraz] and a few others. Our players have been playing for quite long time. I don’t think players should play for that long. So I am resting those who are under a lot of stress from last five months and playing in all three formats,” he said.
“If you enter in any event, I have strong belief that you should go [in] with fresh legs, fresh minds, instead of having injuries like stiff backs, shoulder injury, elbow problem or hamstring injury. I don’t think we should enter into such a big tournament like this. We have to enter in the tournament with players who are 100 percent fit and fresh both physically and mentally. Within two months of time, starting from England series, we have to play around 20 to 21 games and it will be a hectic outing to England including practice matches,” Inzamam said.
With Inzamam’s growing concerns over the form of the left-arm quick Mohammad Amir, who picked up only five wickets in 13 ODIs since last January, the chief selector said Amir might not be an automatic selection as he is not looking in his best form.
“He [Amir] has enough time for the World Cup, he will be back in the rhythm. If a senior bowler like him looks out of form, off-colour, it’s a worry for us, but we still have time for Amir. We still have 10 one-dayers and two-three months. Amir can make a comeback. We will give him full chance to make a comeback. He is a big-occasion bowler and we need to have a bowler like him in our armoury,” he said.
Meanwhile, all-rounder Hafeez, who sustained a thumb injury while playing in the PSL last week, is expected to be out for two months, paving way for Akmal to make a comeback.
“I am worried about Hafeez’s injury. Doctors are telling me that it will take eight weeks. For the World Cup team you have been playing for quite some time and there’s not much room to make changes. After Australia series we have England series and then practice matches. We can see if Hafeez gets fit by then,” he said.
No letter so far, BCCI COA to discuss Pak match issue today
For the time being, there is no note that has been sent to International Cricket Council (ICC) from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) regarding suspending Pakistan from the world cricket body following the Pulwama terror attack.
The Committee of Administrators (COA) has not asked its CEO Rahul Johri to prepare a note in this regard. The only understanding between the two members of COA — Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji — is that this matter will be discussed formally when they both sit together in New Delhi on Friday— after Thursday’s Supreme Court hearing.
Now comes the point whether India can actually seek suspension of Pakistan Cricket Board from the ICC?
“Only BCCI general body meeting (GBM) has power to discuss any policy matter,” a top BCCI official told DNA.
The official said that Rai has not allowed the BCCI officials to call for any GBM or SGM (special general body meeting) to discuss anything so far and there is hardly any possibility that any of the three office-bearers would sign on any such letter.
“There is absolutely no constitutional or contractual way that we can force ICC to ban Pakistan. The ICC constitution allows members the right to participate in ICC events as long as they’ve qualified,” a BCCI official told DNA. Board secretary Amitabh Choudhary will be travelling to Dubai to participate in the Feb. 26-26 ICC meeting.
However, it has been reliably learnt that Rai wrote a mail to Edulji on Wednesday to know her views on “how to deal with demands of isolating Pakistan in ICC”.
As Edulji was in the Capital on Wednesday to appear in SC in person, over her differences with Rai on various BCCI issues including that of CEO sexual harassment, she put this issue on hold till the two meets on Friday.
“We will discuss all possible options tomorrow and do what is best for the country,” Edulji said after the SC hearing on Thursday. People within the BCCI have been vocal against not taking any such step which will jeopardise India’s chances of hosting any big international event in near future.
“We’ve been trying to host 2021 Champions Trophy and 2023 World Cup. If any such move comes, then obviously, India will not be allowed to host any international event,” said the source.
Another thing which goes against India is that equation within the ICC has changed in last one year or so.
SC appoints DK Jain as BCCI ombudsman, expresses concern over Vinod Rai and Dian Eduljee for ‘sparring’
Supreme Court appointed retired judge DK Jain as the ombudsman for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday.
All parties in this matter agreed and consented to this name put forth by amicus curiae PS Narasimha. DK Jain is expected to take charge at the earliest and will carry out all functions as per Article 14 of Chapter 9 of BCCI
Constitution which includes resolving disputes between Board members, associations and franchisees.
The apex court also expressed concern over sparring between the two members of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) administering BCCI. The Court asked amicus and CoA not to go public with their fight.
However, the amicus told the court that the problem was because earlier CoA had four members but now there were only two – Vinod Rai and Diana Eduljee.
In response to that SC said it would decide on appointing a third member. The judges indicated that they had a name in mind. Since the associations insisted on having an odd number as composition, they agreed on three but not five.
Mohammed Shami donates money to families of CRPF jawans martyred in Pulwama attack
Mohammed Shami has come forward to support the families of martyrs of CRPF forces. The 28-year-old has donated money to the wives of the jawans who lost lives in the Pulwama terror attack. Shami is the latest Indian cricketer after Virender Sehwag and Shikhar Dhawan to pledge help to families of the soldiers who lost their lives in the attack.
Speaking to ANI on Monday, Shami said Indian cricketers will always be there for jawans who protect the border while they are playing for the country.
“When we play for our country, they stand at the borders protecting it. We stand with the families of our jawans and will always be there for them,” he said.
When asked about the sporting relations with Pakistan, Shami said “whatever the government and BCCI decide, team India will follow it”.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan has said that he will be donating money to the families to the 40 CRPF paramilitary troopers who were killed in a terror attack and asked the others to do the same.
Former cricketer Virender Sehwag has announced to take complete care of the education of the children of CRPF jawans in his school.
“Nothing we can do will be enough, but the least I can do is offer to take complete care of the education of the children of our brave CRPF jawans martyred in #Pulwama in my Sehwag International School @SehwagSchool , Jhajjar. Saubhagya hoga,” Sehwag wrote.
Indian premier League (IPL) chairman Rajiv Shukla made it clear that there is no possibility of bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan unless they get government’s nod.
Shukla admitted to have faith in the concept of sports being above everything else but asserted that “if somebody is sponsoring terrorism” then it would obviously have an impact on sports.
Cricket Club of India (CCI) Secretary Suresh Bafna had said that India should not play a match against Pakistan in the forthcoming World Cup, adding since Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has not come out openly about the attack in Kashmir, it shows that they are at fault somewhere.
Around 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a CRPF convoy, while moving from Jammu to Srinagar, was attacked by a suicide bomber in Pulwama on February 14. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack.
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