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MSD-2; SUCCESS SOJURN CONTINUES

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Contemplating   a tiny take from the Oscar-winning movie Gladiator and Academy award-winning actor Russell Crowe’s fabulous narration from that movie only ‘Are you not entertained?’ and annexing with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s entire cricket life, one aspect which comes to mind, who is the greatest entertainer in the current crop of cricketers for India? Not in terms of off the field activities but in the means of closing the cliffhanger in the last penultimate over’s like a classic Hollywood thriller making the most of matches exciting, enthralling and above all entertaining.

India is a nation where cricket is treated as a religion and Tendulkars are worshipped as semi Gods. But for us what matters most is how to snatch a victory from the opposition jaw by a whisker. Hats off to the magician Mahi.

Six months ago his position in Indian side was uncertain and raised few eyebrows of cricket laurels. He proved his critics wrong. Be it in front of the stumps or behind the stumps he is the go-to man for captain Kohli in crunch close matches.

Dhoni’s average in one –the day is 52.07 in 341 outings. Dhoni’s batting record is Bradmanesque when it comes successful run chase in ODI(in a minimum of 20 innings) is 99.85. Even the great Virat Kohli, who is at the prime of his career, is ranked second best to 37 years old with an average of 99.84 in successful  ODI run chase.

Looking at recent IPL performances of MSD performance speaks augur well. He averages at an astounding average @42.12 accumulating 358 runs in 11 outings.IPL is the biggest entertaining platform for all the prime cricketer for showcasing and proving their net worth for their franchise. The Ranchi dasher is the best entertainer ever in this format also. Suddenly TRPs of television channels are surging in the closing overs in recent times. Maverick Mahi performances not only proved his prowess in front of stumps but his gloves work behind stumps is stupefying. Dhoni pulls off 2 stumping within 3 balls in last IPL match against Delhi Capitals 0.12 and 0.16 seconds respectively.

People not only get attracted to him in the cricketing arena but also in international relations and affairs. Recently Syed Akbaruddin India’s permanent representative at prestigious UN said,’ he followed Dhoni’s approach of never say times up and never give up early in his efforts to bring member nations on the same platform. “ He relates this to the bidding to list Massod Azhar as a global terrorist.

Before the dawn of Australia series those who have ridiculed and advised the master to hang up his boots, now gambling India’s World-cup winning chances on his presence and performance in the Indian side. That is why he is the true cricket legend for India in modern times.

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Sarada Prasanna Pattnaik is based out of Balasore, Odisha. He was earlier a banker and later a faculty at quite a few reputed colleges and institutions. He now teaches civil service aspirants in leading coaching institutes. He is the chief architect of Vidya Group of Educational Institutions. He is an author and a writer in the civil service coaching arena. Writing is his passion and he loves to pen down his thoughts on varied topics ranging from Literature, Politics, Science & Technology, Finance, Sports and Travel.



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Mahendra Singh Dhoni to serve in valley as Lt. Colonel of Territorial Army

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Former Indian cricket captain credited for achieving two prestigious cricket world cup wins for the country raising its prestige globally, Mahendra Singh Dhoni would serve the Indian Army at South Kashmir, the most sensitive terror-stricken area in Kashmir valley for 15 days from 1st August till 15th August, India’s independence day. He would be the first-ever celebrity to serve the country as an honorary Lt. Colonel in the terror-stricken South Kashmir Valley for 15 days incessantly performing the patrol duties on the border and other daily routine jobs as done by fellow army men.

Former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is an honorary Lt Colonel of Territorial Army, a status given to him for his outstanding contribution to Cricket for the country. He would during his 15 days duty try to bring the misguided Kashmiri youths in the national mainstream said the sources.

Speaking to the media, former cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said that he had volunteered to serve the territorial Army for 15 days as he wants to acquaint himself about the challenging and critical circumstances and situations our Army troopers and officers face and function in at the border and terrorists infested areas fighting against all odds.

The Indian Army had sought permission from the Defence Ministry on the request of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as it has been duly accepted. The senior officers have prepared the duty schedule for Dhoni for his 15 days stay in the valley.

In the past too Dhoni had visited the Army camps in Kashmir valley and had exchanged pleasantries in Army Uniform. He attended the award function at Rashtrapati Bhawan as one of the recipients in full-fledged Army uniform receiving the coveted honour Padmabhushan from President Ram Nath Kovind in Ashok Hall on Monday.

According to former cricket captain and honorary Lt Colonel of territorial army, Mahendra Singh Dhoni lauded the hard work and dedication of the Indian Army in securing our borders and protecting us by sacrificing their precious lives. He added that my 15 days physical duty along with jawans with the territorial army on the ground is a tribute to our warriors who lay their lives in the line of duty.

After receiving the award Mahendra Singh Dhoni wrote on Instagram with his picture in Army uniform: An honour to get Padma Bhushan and receiving it in Uniform increases the excitement ten folds. He further wrote: Thanks to all Men and Women in Uniform and their families for the Sacrifices they make so that all of us could enjoy our Constitutional Rights, Jain Hind.

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Aftermath of 2019 World Cup Cricket: the flip side

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Cricket is a game of uncertain, but the amount and nature of uncertainty level which gives us the thrill, excitement and euphoria made the game most unique among all other sports. The recent concluded quadrennial extravaganza of World cup 2019 is definitely one of those events where each game gives us such feeling especially the D-day or finale stands out among the all other the matches.

Though the event is marred by certain criticisms and controversies it has something to cheer for the crowd at the end of the day. Be it the game of host nation England or India or mercurial Pakistan, each cricket nation gives their best till the last league match between South Africa Vs Australia where a below average South Africa overpowered another tournament favourite Australia in a cliff-hanger. Apart from minnow Afghanistan, all the cricket nations give their best to reach the Semi-Final though it had given tough time India in their league encounter.

The team which impressed me as a cricket aficionado most that are team Bangladesh. They have played out of their skin and probably their best in the world cup so far to surprise and supersede others. If they maintain and sustain their level of performance, who knows  2023 world cup can be knocking their door.

Probably the important X- factor and the limiting one is the English weather. It is more than unpredictable than the Pakistan team. As a number of matches abandoned and highest any word cup, could not get the best team for the semis.

Another interesting factor is the condition and nature of the pitches used for matches. In a cricket match the 22 yard matters the most but in an unpredictable and uncertain way. But this trend reversed as in 90 per cent matches won by the team playing by winning the toss and opting for batting first. Going by this trend, runner up New Zealand the team who all most won the final but due to some interesting rules by ICC, they are deprived of the glory by a whisker.

Coming back to peculiar and controversial rules of ICC has raised the eyebrows of cricket pundits. Especially in the final match the super over concept after the tie between the two teams quite ludicrous.  Similarly, it won’t be ridiculous to say that a getting a six for an overthrow and which should be a five-run as admitted by the officiating field Umpire Kumara Dharmasena. The most hilarious part is deciding the winner on the base of a number of boundaries in the innings by each team. As some of the players of the NewZealand team had already spoken about the unaware of this boundary information after the match. In Football the winner is decided by extra time or penalty, same kind logic must be implemented here also with any doubt as strongly advocated by the great Sachin Tendulkar.

In the last but not least the failure of India in the semis has shattered and broken the heart of cricket fans all over the world. After topping at the group stage and playing some superb, adventurous and exciting cricket it is difficult to digest the defeat and elimination. But fans all over the world must repose and reinstate faith and hope in team India. As the test championship and world twenty-twenty is round the corner the team India should not lose their focus. This is the team who has performed all over the world in alien conditions like Australia, South Africa and NewZealand has a long way to go. Certainly, the form is temporary but class is permanent.

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World cup cricket 2019 winner paranoia: Predicting the unpredictable

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Summer comes in many ways for Indians. But this English summer has brought a special sensation that is World Cup Cricket. The quadrennial event has given some respite to the cricket aficionados in this scorching weather. In India cricket is religion and Tendulkars, Kohlis and Dhonis are worshipped as semi-gods. Their fanatic fans cannot digest the defeat at any means. The stubborn cricket lovers are completely obsessed with the team’s success and ultimately want to see captain Kholi conquering the world. Now the question arises, Can India deliver the goods? If not India who else will clinch the title? Predicting the unpredictable definitely needs a hail out of something as cricket is uncertain.

Going by the format and fixtures as each team will lock horn with 9 remaining teams(in total 10 teams are participating), it is early days to define and predict the form and momentum of the teams. As all the 10 teams are looking ominous and any team can surprise the stronger opponent on their day. Critically dissecting the results of matches till now have been played, no team looks to be underdogs or a dark horse. For an instance West Indies stunned and bounced out Pakistan comprehensively but battered, bruised and rattled Pakistan checked the juggernaut of the tournament most favourite English team in a close encounter. Most Interestingly Afghanistan surpassed Pakistan in the warm-up matches. Similarly, Bangladesh overpowered South Africa and gave a scare to the only undefeated side in four matches Kiwis in a cliffhanger. England completely outplayed Bangladesh by their batsman’s brute force but simply can not underestimate and undermine them by this performance.

Coming back to another favourite Australia, started positively by winning comprehensively over Afghanistan but narrowly escaped after the top-order collapse and thanks to some rearguard action mostly by Coulter-neil now can be called as an all-rounder now in this format against West Indies.

Now come to the most fan follower side all over the world that is none other than team India. The team looks to be an awesome touch. Openers are firing at the top but an unfortunate and untimely injury to Dhawan can be a big blow to team India ‘s world cup winning chances. But India’s has the sufficienct supplement in the form of stylish Karnataka opener  KL Rahul and who is going to replace Dhawan the Delhi dasher Risbah Pant. Rohit Sharma scintillating century against South Africa shows how good player he is in this format as rightly said by his skipper as the best one till now. King Kohli as arguably and undoubtedly the best batsman in the current scenario can tear apart any bowling attack in the world. His insatiable hunger for runs and gigantic one-day record definitely give some strong messages to the opposition. The only matter of debate the number –four in batting order looks to be little fragile but it was bit settled in the form by stylish K.L Rahul but an injury to Dhawan and pushing him to the top –order can be a lacuna in that position. But with the inclusion of Pant, can play some mind games in the opposition camp. Apart from number four conundrum, all places in the side look more settled and strengthened. Indian middle order with two mavericks in the form of Kedar Jadhav and Mumbai hurricane Hardikya can blow away any batting line up. All these descriptions without magician Mahendra Singh Dhoni are seen incomplete. His Midas touch reminds the black magic of witch that not only makes possible the impossible but can snatch the win from the opposition’s jaw by a whisker and handing over most unwelcome and unexpected defeat in no time. Not only his batting prowess but his glove work behind the stumps has been clueless for the opponent. The legend from Ranchi contribution to the game does not end here as his gimmick of marshalling fielders in middle and death overs and timely suggestion to the bowlers still shows why he is the boss on the field. Virat probably is a rare and only captain ever played in this format to give such responsibility and respect to his ex-captain. This show how team India is gelling together and contributing to the team’s success.

After a detailed analysis of batting-depth and power, we must look at the what Indian bowling offers to the opposition. It is a balanced one with seam, swing, speed and spin, every angle as per possible covered. Jaspit Bumarah speed and deadly toe-crushing Yorker can be lethal to any opposition, both at the opening spell and slog overs. Bhuvaneswar Kumar has already shown his swing and seam skill in the English conditions in both the encounter India has faced. Not to forget the Bengal speedster Shami, quickest for India to take 100 wickets in this format can be a handy customer in this temperate English conditions. The troika pace battery of India has probably the best ever India has for long to represent a world cup cricket.

As the progress of the event and with summer coming hard to the English soil, pitches will play some tricks in terms of spinning options. The spin twins Kuldeep and Cahal offer the varieties and mysteries to play some stratagem in the opposition. They complement in such a way that opposition faces an uphill task to free from their tight grip in the crucial middle orders. They not only squeeze the opposition but their ability to give crucial and timely breakthrough can split the backbone of the counterpart.

Cricket is a funny game as we analyze past world cup winners, apart from mighty West –Indies in ’70s and ’80s and the invincible Aussies in twenty-first centuries all winners are underdogs. They came from nowhere to clinch the prestigious title in cricket history. Be it Kapil’s 83 or Border’s 87 and moving on to 1992 the Imran Khan’s Pakistan and most interestingly Arjuna Ranatunga’s 1996 all are dark horses at the outset of the tournament. Thinking about mercurial Pakistan who could have not been able to play the semis in 1992 but the rain washed away the against most favourite and strong opponent the then England encounter, gives an important one point edge over Aussies and Indies. Like bad weather, this time is looming over ICC event and three matches have already abandoned anything can happen to the outcome of the quadrennial event.

Another aspect probably has not been noticed that is in the last two world cup the host has triumphed the trophy. Going by that trend England chances are pretty high in this year event. It has all ticks in the column to be a champion side. They have been relentlessly playing some serious cricket since their miserable failure in 2015 world cup.

Whatever may be the outcome, the cricket will win at the end of the day. Chauvinistic crowds must have a lot to cheer not only sixers but the wickets and catches. Cricket is a game of momentum, the team picks themselves at the right time and remain calm and composed in crunch situations will clinch the most awaited cricket world cup 2019. Fingers crossed.

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World Cup Cricket 2019 Selection Conundrum

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Selection is a negative process whereas recruitment is a positive one. Last week World Cup cricket 2019 Indian team selection speaks the same story. Be it Risbah Pant, Vijay Sankar, Dinesh Karthik or Ambati Rayudu, mention choices of many. Now the question arises do the selectors hit the bull’s eye or they simply missed a trick by a whisker.

Coming back to the above-cited players if we make one to one comparison, Pant looks to be a stronger and comfortable option rather than others. Starting from stalwarts like Sunil Gavaskar to Ricky Ponting everybody speaks augur well about the southpaw. Definitely, he is a rare breed and absolute murderer of a cricket ball. But he is purely picked as a middle order batsmen because his gloves work behind the stumps have raised eyebrows of many cricket pundits. Another interesting reason may be for his surprise omission is closing games, for which we may require nudgers and playing the ball in gaps for stealing single and converting ones into twos like the class of Michel Bevan rather than power hitting.

He might have proved his mettle in test cricket mostly overseas conditions with two exceptional and sensational centuries against England and Australia but his one-day performances do not sound well. His meek dismissals against weak opposition like West Indies and emerging and re-grouping Australian and below-par average 23.25 mostly in home condition does not cement his place in One-day team. Taking a risk can be a gamble in world-cup like event which may be a career-changing criterion.

Talking about Rayudu vs Sankar the earlier performance is better than Sankar. He averages in one –day at a healthy rate i.e, 47.06. But as rightly advocated by MSK Prasad, chief selector of senior cricket team BCCI,” Sankar is a 360-degree player”. Sanker bowling looks ordinary in Sub-continent conditions where he hardly bowls but in English condition, he can be a handy asset when the weather is overcast and the bowl will be taking in the air. He can give you some game-changing odd break-through. Sankar is an excellent fielder and his batting has come of age in recent times with rare failures(avg;33.0 both in India and overseas conditions).

Now taking attention to another debatable selection, Dinesh Karthik, who is picked purely as a wicket keeper batsmen with better keeping record than Pant and can be a good finisher in crunch situations though still not proved immensely in one-days. As Dhoni is no more getting younger and World cup is a long tournament, India may provide some rest to his all-time best finisher ever in this format.

Having discussed the selection conundrum we must remain sanguine that India must emerge as the conquering of the world cup one –day cricket. They should supplant their 83’s heroes by lifting the cup for the third time with a  trademark British champagne in their hands.

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Captains had earlier decided against Mankading: Rajeev Shukla

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Indian Premier League Chairman Rajeev Shukla has claimed that IPL captains, including Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had decided against ‘Mankading’ during a meeting held before one of the editions of the event.

Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandaran Ashwin kicked up a storm on Monday after running out Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler at the non-strikers’ end on his delivery stride, a legally permissible but controversial form of dismissal popularly called ‘Mankading’, in an IPL match in Jaipur.

Ashwin’s action was heavily criticised by RR’s brand ambassador Shane Warne, who also questioned those who found nothing wrong with it.Weighing into the matter, Shukla said a call had been taken to avoid such dismissals in a meeting of captains and match referees in which Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Kohli and Chennai Super Kings skipper Dhoni were also present.

“If I remember in one of the meetings of captains & match referee where I was also present as chairman it had been decided that if non striking batsman steps out bowler as a courtesy will not run him out @IPL @BCCI,” he tweeted.”Most probably this meeting was in Kolkata on the eve of one of the editions of ipl where Dhoni & Virat both were present @BCCI @IPL,” he added without specifying the exact edition before which this decision was made.Ashwin’s run out of Buttler is the first case of ‘Mankading’ in the 12 editions of the IPL.

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Basil Thampi reveals how IPL has taken his game to the next level

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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

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PCB to pay $1.6 million to BCCI after losing legal dispute

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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.

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World Cup 2019: ICC leaving no stone unturned for security after Christchurch mosque shootings

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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.

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BCCI case: Supreme Court appoints PS Narasimha as mediator

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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.

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IPL 2019: Watch Mumbai Indians Hardik Pandya copy MS Dhoni’s helicopter shot

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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.

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