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If It's Australia, It's About Baggy Green, Mental Disintegration And Final Frontier!

The team that has immortalised the Baggy Green cap is in India, and no wonder there is so much buzz around it because of the quality of the pitches (speculated though) that will be rolled out for the four Tests at Nagpur, New Delhi, Dharamsala and Ahmedabad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Australia needs to win one Test and India much more to proceed to the final of the ICC World Test Championship in London. Pitches in India in the past have been notoriously described as dubious, snake pits and what not. A few decades ago, Steve Waugh chose the mental disintegration strategy and labelled a Test series in India as the final frontier. He succeeded against most countries, but not in India. He lost 1-2 the famous series of 2001 when Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman turned the Kolkata Test around on its head with a 376 run stand. India went on to win the Chepauk Test too. The present captain, Pat Cummins, who won the home Ashes series against England 4-0 and beat Pakistan in its backyard 1-0, is hoping to outwit India in India for the first time in nearly 19 years. Cummins has not lost a Test series, but he and Australia know that India will be a tough nut to crack at home. In the last four home Test series against Australia, India won 10 Tests as against Australia’s one win.
Shubhman Gill


Litmus Test Awaits In-Form Shubman Gill Against Australia

Shubman Gill has been in good nick this season; he has collected plenty of runs, boosted by a maiden Test century in Bangladesh. He sustained his form in the home white ball series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand piling up 567 runs in six innings with big scores of 116 against Sri Lanka and 208 and 112 against New Zealand. The lean right-handed opener also showed his class with a lovely knock of 126 not out in the last Twenty20 match against New Zealand at Ahmedabad. In such great touch with the willow, executing splendid ground and aerial shots, Gill is virtually coercing the team management to pick him for the four Test series against Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India has to be on the positive side of the results in order to travel to the UK for the ICC World Test Championship title match in June. Gill is likely to be a walk into the XI because Shreyas Iyer needs time to mend his back ailment, but he will find the Australian bowling combination tough to deal with. He looked the part making 259 runs in three Tests of the 2020-21 series in Australia, but thereafter he did not set the home series against England on fire in early 2021. But with another one year of international cricket under his belt, he must be feeling a bit better before the litmus Test against Pat Cummins and company.
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Under-19 Team’s World Cup Triumph Gives A Big Boost For BCCI's Women's Premier League

Women’s cricket in India got a shot in the arm when its Under-19 team led by Shafali Verma beat its counterpart from England with clinical efficiency in the final to win the inaugural ICC Women’s Under-19 Twenty20 in South Africa. For long India’s senior women’s teams showed a lot of promise, but flopped in the ICC events. Now the pressure is on the team led by Harmanpreet Kaur to win the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in South Africa. The BCCI Secretary Jay Shah has announced a cash award of Rs 5 crore to the under-19 team. But there could be bigger rewards for the under-19 players when the auction is held for the inaugural Women’s Premier League that has a media rights worth Rs 951 crore and the five team owners have agreed to shell out Rs 4669.99 crore for the first 10 seasons. So the win by Shafali’s team could not have come at a better time than this. Not long ago there were doubts about the WPL getting quality Indian players, but it appears now that there will be decent numbers in the basket for the five franchise owners to pick from. The likes of opening batter Shweta Sehrawat, fast bowler Titas Sadhu, leg-spinner Parshavi Chopra, all-rounder Trisha Gongadi and left -arm spinner Mannat Kashyap, are likely to be in demand at the WPL auction.
WhatsApp Image 2023-01-28 at 15.33

Mumbai Falls By The Wayside Again In The Prestigious Ranji Trophy

Mumbai’s cricketing fortunes in recent times has been like a curate’s egg; while on the one hand the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has contributed to the national team, going back to from the heady days of Sunil Gavaskar’s achievements, on the other hand the cricketers representing the famous Lion Crest has not been able to maintain consistency in winning the Ranji Trophy, the symbol of supremacy in the broader context of India’s cricketing canvas. Last year it was outwitted by Madhya Pradesh in the final in Bengaluru, and on Friday (Jan 27), the MCA team marshalled by Ajinkya Rahane could not outsmart Maharashtra in the last group match, and as a consequence has been left by the wayside. Mumbai has won the Ranji Trophy 41 times, and those who have played a part in it have left a legacy to follow. The past teams played for pride. This season Mumbai did not have the class of 2009-10 and 2012-2013  when led by Ajit Agarkar and 2015-2016 when the team had champions and budding talents in Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer, Siddhesh Lad and Suryakumar Yadav. Mumbai has the exalted reputation as a champion side; and so, going seven years on the trot without the title will hurt the true blue Mumbai cricketer. From 2002-03 to 2015-16, Mumbai won the title seven times, it’s been barren thereafter!

India’s World Cup Woes In Hockey Continues!

Hope and ambition has turned into despair and anguish for the Indian men’s hockey team that was predicted to work wonders at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. Former stalwarts had gone to the extent of saying that the team will finish among the top three. But as it transpired India did not show the gumption to defend a 3-1 score, allowed New Zealand to restore parity and eventually lost in a shoot-out finish. The team that won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year had looked a world class side, but it could not brush aside the challenge posed by the Kiwis which was beaten 0-4 by Germany and 2-3 by Malaysia in the Group matches. The team came short on penalty corner conversions, but the experts are probably right in saying that India ought not to have frittered away the 3-1 advantage. It was a shock defeat because no Indian side had lost to New Zealand in the previous six clashes starting from July 2018. Odisha which has spent over Rs 1,000 crore to host the World Cup, and the State’s chief minister Naveen Patnaik must be a touch disappointed with India’s defeat in the PQF. Many  believed that India would actually win the World Cup after 48 years. But it’s once again a sob story.
sarfaraz khan


In The Queue Sarfaraz Khan Can Only Amass Runs, Not Take A Jibe At The Selectors!

Mohinder ‘Jimmy’ Amarnath once called the national selectors a bunch of jokers. A 1983 World Cup hero, Amarnath made the acerbic jibe at the selectors after not being picked in the Indian team in 1989: by that time he had played 69 Tests, scored 4378 runs with 11 x 100s, and played 89 ODIs and scored 1924 runs. Some three decades later, young and built in ample measure, Sarfaraz Khan is not in a position to take pot shots at the selectors that Amarnath did. The Mumbai right hander has been prolific in the last three Ranji Trophy seasons. In all he has amassed 3380 runs in 36 first class matches before the ongoing Ranji match against Delhi. There has been a hue and cry over his non-inclusion in the Test team for the series against Australia, the outcome of which would be  so crucial for India’s qualification for the ICC World Test Championship final. Skipper Rohit Sharma would like us all to believe that experience is the best option with himself, K L Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill and Shreyas  Iyer in the established batting line up and the selection committee  may believe that Ishan Kishan, KS Bharat, Suryakumar Yadav, Abhimanyu Easwaran (10000 plus runs across formats) and Rajat Patidar are already in the big picture along with Sarfaraz who will have to wait for the lucky day.
Collage Maker-17-Jan-2023-12

Smriti And Harman's Brand Gets A Rs 951 Crore Start For Women’s IPL

Women’s cricket in India is going places. Not long ago an IPLTwenty20 tournament to shore up India’s distaff cricketers was not on the anvil.  But the likes of Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemima Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh, Deepti Sharma, Harleen Deol and many more — who were relentless in their pursuit creating an attractive brand for the Twenty20 format – have successfully pressed for a glamourous event that has the possibility of becoming a roaring success. Very recently Jhulan Goswami — while responding to a specific question at the Dileep Sardesai Memorial — reiterated a view held by women cricketers that an IPL for them would be a game changer.  Jhulan touched upon the point of the women cricketers benefitting from more money. It has taken time, but the BCCI Secretary Jay Shah, has worked overtime to make his pet project a reality. After women’s cricket came under the BCCI administration some 17 years ago, the BCCI extended the monthly gratis to them, introduced the annual contract, lifetime achievement award, equal fee for Test, ODI and Twenty20 matches, allowances and more. As a first step towards making the WIPL a commercial viability the BCCI has sold the media rights for a cumulative sum of Rs 951 crore to Viacom18 for the first five years (2023-2027). So hopefully no more exhibition matches from this summer; but all intense, competitive and deadly!
Collage Maker-10-Jan-2023-12

Facebook : Shantanu Sugwekar with his daughter

MCA Election: Shantanu Sugwekar Gets Just 2 Votes Despite 74 First Class Matches, 5906 Runs

Remember Shantanu Sugwekar, the most talented batsman from Maharashtra in the 1980s and 1990s? Known for solidity and style, Sugwekar was one of those unlucky from Maharashtra who could not convince the national selectors that they were good enough to play Test match cricket for India. Milind Gunjal, Surendhra Bhave and a handful more like Shrikant Kalyani, Shrikant Jadhav and Santosh Jedhe gave their heart and soul for Maharashtra but none of them could tick the box that would have enabled them to play for India. They were fine individuals too, but somehow the voters of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) do not seem to appreciate their contribution to the State’s cricket. At the MCA election, Sugwekar who has played 74 Ranji Trophy for Maharashtra, 10 Duleep Trophy matches and one Irani Cup match for Rest of India and scored in all 6563 runs with 19 centuries and 26 half centuries and played 46 limited over matches and for India under-19 — received just two votes; his own and from another. The 56-year-old was a candidate for the post of a councilor; he did not fit into the internecine politics played by the MCA members. One can only pity, the likes of Sugwekar who are keen to get into administration but end up as also-rans. We care a fig for what you have done, is the message voters seem to be telling him.
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Suryakumar 'SKY' Yadav Is The New Darling Of The Crowd

The Indian cricket fan is so unique to the world of cricket; in the sense that he/she buys a ticket only with a fond hope of seeing the national team win even if the chips are down. About 25000 turned up at the Wankhede Stadium on January 3 and a narrow home team win — by 2 runs — resulted in a bigger turn out for the second match at the MCA International Stadium, near Pune. Hardly anyone among the 30,000 plus was ready to leave after Sri Lanka had dismissed the top 5 Indian batters for a frugal collection of 57 runs. The reason for not giving up hope; Suryakumar Yadav (SKY) was still in the middle. Such has been the kind of impact SKY has made on the Indian fan in a very short span of time, thanks to the slam bang variety of the sport. And SKY has his own inimitable style to executive strokes that can be found in coaching manuals and also find ways using his hands and wrists to send the ball racing to the fence and also soaring over the line. Though left hander Axar Patel swung that bat for optimum results to make the Sri Lankans anxious, Yadav roared into action to bring India close to the target. The Indian cricket fan was thrilled by the Yadav- Patel onslaught, but a tad disappointed by the 16-run defeat.
jasprit bumrah


Jasprit Bumrah To Be In The Thick Of Action, Very Soon!

The return of Jasprit Bumrah for the three-match one-day series against Sri Lanka was the biggest news on Tuesday (Dec 3). Bumrah has been India’s linchpin for almost seven years, but he missed the Asia Cup Twenty20 in September before making a brief appearance against Australia at Nagpur. He was ruled out of the ICC World Twenty20 in Australia. According to the BCCI the fast bowler who has taken 319 international wickets for India in 1893 overs has been declared fit by the Bengaluru-based National Cricket Academy. Bumrah was laid low by a serious back ailment. He was kept in cotton wool in order to give him a chance to fully rehabilitate himself for the four Test series against Australia set to start in Nagpur on February 9. India beat Bangladesh in the Two-Test series recently and is placed No 2 in the ICC World Test Championship cycle. A fit as a fiddle Bumrah will strengthen India’s attack, although he has taken only 14 of his 128 Test wickets at home. Clearly the spin friendly tracks will bring the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel into the picture against Australia, but Bumrah’s value as a speedster just cannot be discounted.  In the last Test match he played against Sri Lanka in India 10 months ago, he took 5 and 3 wickets.


Hardik Pandya Gets The Big Lift For White Ball Captaincy

It can be surmised that the non-selection of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, K L Rahul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka has to be seen as an upshot of India’s dismal showing in the Asia Cup in the UAE and in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Australia. India did not qualify for the semi-finals in the Continental tournament and was beaten hollow by England in the semi-finals of the World Twenty20. India was very lucky to get past Pakistan in the first match at Melbourne and rain-interruption paved the way for its win against Bangladesh and advance to the knock out. Overall, India, as a team, was far from convincing in the entire tournament in Australia. Kohli, though did show some pluck in Dubai and Australia. All are into their 30s and hence definite non-starters for the 2024 Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA. Failing to show the way for the team, and errors in team selection, has perhaps hastened Sharma’s exit from the Twenty20 scheme of things. That Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav have been named the captain and vice captain for the series against Sri Lanka is a clear hint that the BCCI wants a change and build a team for the future. A lot can change in the next 22 months, but one thing is certain and that’s the Twenty20 careers of Sharma and his ilk has seen the last days.
IPL Auction

Tata-IPL-16 Auction: A Far Cry From A Mickey Mouse Event!

After all, the TATA IPL player auction at Kochi turned out to be a far cry from a Mickey Mouse event! The so-called mini auction — the franchises had retained the core players — had all the ingredients to make the bidding of a few celebrity players electrifying. From the time Harry Brook — five innings, 56 runs, average 11.20 at the recent ICC World Twenty20 in Australia — was bought by Kavya Maran’s Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 13.25 crore, it was more or less a given that the real world cup winners in Jos Buttler’s England team would win a lottery. The Sunrisers were led by Brook’s numbers against Pakistan in Twenty20 and in the recent Test series in Pakistan (6 innings, 468 runs, 3 x 100s) and went after him. Then Sam Curran’s happy red-carpet home coming to Punjab Kings cost Ness Wadia Rs 18.50 crore. Chennai Super Kings in search of an all-rounder, motivator and leader got Ben Stokes for Rs 16.25 crore. The Ambanis armed Mumbai Indians with Australian Cameroon Green paying Rs 17.50 crore. The England players were bought for Rs 56.4 crore, a big chunk of Rs 167 crore spent. England’s World Twenty20 win in Australia, after thrashing India in the semi-finals, has indeed tickled the fancy of the franchises upon the Currans, Stokes and Brooks. And Joe Root for Rs 1 crore!


Kuldeep Yadav's Exclusion From Second Test Despite His Rich Haul Surprises Everybody

There is so much hue and cry around Kuldeep Yadav, all emanating from Bangladesh. Recalled for a multi-day Test match after a gap of 21 months — for the first Test at Chattogram — he took eight wickets, scored 40 runs, was declared the man of the match and then what happens! Dropped for the second Test at Dhaka because of the appearance of a green-top surface. Instead of Yadav, skipper K L Rahul goes for left arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat who had played his previous Test in the winter of 2010!  The tour selection committee’s choice of the seamer over the spinner has warranted a thumbs down reaction from former India captain and media personality Sunil Gavaskar. Obviously Yadav must have been hurt when he was informed about the captain’s decision. Not long ago, Kuldeep was one half of the callow, “Kul-Cha” spin-pair; the second half being Yuzvendra Chahal. These two wrist spinners of the unorthodox variety had replaced the then successful finger spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin- Ravindra Jadeja duo. Following their inability to get wickets against Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, both were given the short shrift.  Yadav and Chahal held their own — though Chahal never played for India in whites. Soon Yadav fell by the wayside and after a long time staged a successful comeback before the colour of the surface brought the axe down on him!
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@KMbappe and @ErlingHaaland

The Debate Starts, Kylian Mbappe Or Erling Haaland

The Qatar22 FIFA World Cup began with Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Lionel Messi creating all the noise because each one of them was chasing a dream of laying their hands on the silverware, but by the semi-finals the noise became shriller and around the two icons, Messi and Kylian Mbappe. Now that Messi has crowned himself with glory, the football world is trying to trigger a debate on the individual brilliance of Mbappe and another young kid on the block, 22-year old Norwegian Erling Haaland whose country was absent at Qatar. The Leeds born Haaland is a No 9 centre forward and plays for Manchester City for which he has played 13 matches and scored 18 goals in the EPL. He has played 23 matches for Norway and scored 21 goals. Mbappe has already earned the sobriquet “Bomber in the Box” and his hattrick in the final at Doha against Argentina has vaulted him to the super star category. Both are sprinters and they stun their opponents with explosive runs and reactions, a terrific virtue that is going to be copied by the present generation. Mbappe has already won the World Cup (in Russia 2018) and the silver and Golden Boot at Qatar, whereas Haaland will most probably make his World Cup debut in 2026 when 48 teams qualify for the FIFA World Cup Finals in the USA, Canada and Mexico.
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@KMbappe & Twitter

Clash Of Titans: Messi And Mbappe In The Race For The World Cup And The Golden Boot

Everything has fallen in place for the grand final of the Qatar22 FIFA World Cup on Sunday (Dec 18). The showpiece event that will bring the curtain down to one of the most unique World Cups is already billed as the clash of the Titans – between a legend in Lionel Messi and superstar Kylian Mbappe, a legend in the making. These two are the only premium class stalwarts who will be seen in action that will deliver the Champion side — Argentina or France. Both the teams lost a match each to Arabic speaking sides — Saudi Arabia and Tunisia in the group stage. But now the time is upon Argentina to win the World Cup for Messi, while Mbappe who has already won it in Russia’18, is anxious to win back to back for himself and for France. The crowd that will be close to 90000 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium — much of it wearing the blue vertical triband top — will root for Argentina. On another aspect, Mbappe and Messi have scored five goals each and so there is another race in the final for the Golden Boot that’s awarded to the highest goal scorer in the tournament. But Argentina’s Julian Alvarez and France’s Olivier Giroud with four goals each could come into the reckoning after the final. The number of assists and less time on the pitch will determine the winner.


India Must Win Against Bangladesh To Be In Race For ICC Test Championship Final

There is so much at stake in the two-Test series against Bangladesh that starts at Chattogram on December 14. India is placed fourth in the ICC Test Championship race for the 2021-23 cycle; it should be recalled that India lost to New Zealand in the final of the inaugural Test championship at Southampton last year. India, to be led by K L Rahul — in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma — cannot afford to lose to Bangladesh.  Only wins against Bangladesh will keep India in the fray; Australia is topping the leader board and it needs small points to assure itself of a place in the final. In fact, only positive results against Bangladesh will keep the home series against Australia in February-March alive. India is scheduled to play four Tests against Australia. Apart from Australia, the others in the running for the title match are South Africa and Sri Lanka which are placed second and third on the points table. Pakistan has virtually seen its hopes vanish following the Test series loss to England, which again is not really in the running. India’s problem is that it doesn’t have Sharma, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammad Shami. It’s going to be a tough for the stand-in skipper Rahul who said: “We know where we stand and what we need to do to qualify for the final.’’
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Home Stretch Drama For Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Modric

The Qatar22 FIFA World Cup has whittled down to 8 teams from a high number of 32. A great chance for each one of the qualifiers of the quarter-finalists to give their best shot. As the former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh said once; teams have to make their own luck. Brazil, the five time winner has been having the bragging rights as the king of the sport, but it faces the banana slip situation against the former Yugoslavia country — Croatia — in one of the quarter-finals clashes today, and Argentina faces the stoical Netherlands in another quarter-final brush. The Lionel Messi bandwagon was full throated at the popular hangout at downtown Doha on Thursday night (Dec 8) — Souq Wakif and Msheireb — and so were the Moroccan supporters dancing to the Arabic beat. The outcome of the last 8 will decide whether the champions of the last decade and more — Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Luka Modric — will go home or extend their stay here. The drama will continue on December 10 with the England Manager Gareth Southgate making moves to show the way for skipper Harry Kane to stop France’s Kylian Mbappe and eventually do a Bobby Moore (captain of England’s World Cup winning team in 1966) and Portugal’s new kid on the block Ramos taking the start and the centre stage against the Atlas Lions, Morocco.

FIFA Rankings Gets The Thumbs Up!

Rankings in the FIFA men’s is an indicator of the consistent performance of the teams in international tournaments over a period of time, and the outcome of the group stage matches and six pre-quarter finals confirms the standings of the top notch teams. Brazil, Argentina, France, England, Netherlands and Croatia feature in the top 12 rankings and they have taken their place in the quarter finals at Doha. Portugal takes on Switzerland and Spain will compete against the North African country Morocco in the last two rounds of 16 matches on Tuesday, matches that will bring a near perfect finish before the last eight ! Only Belgium, the No 2 ranked nation and a football powerhouse, Germany, Ranked No 11, do not figure in the race for the title. FIFA could not have been more happier than being in the present position with the popular teams from South America, Brazil and Argentina advancing to sustain the interest and also the European teams like England and France showing their mettle to drive the Qatar22 FIFA World Cup. The entry of Spain and Portugal to the last eight will give a thumbs up to the FIFA Rankings. Not just the teams, the champion performers like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Harry Kane have played their part to keep their country’s flag  flying and so also, FIFA’s.
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BCCI President Roger Binny On A Sticky Wicket!

Roger Binny is on a sticky wicket. A genuine all-rounder who manipulated the red cherry in an expert way, bagged plenty of wickets and played his part in India’s 1983 Prudential World Cup win, has been issued a Conflict of Interest (COI) notice by the BCCI’s Ethics Officer, Vineet Saran. Binny, 67, was elected unopposed as the president of the BCCI in October. He succeeded former India captain Sourav Ganguly. He has been asked to reply to the COI related notice before December 20. The apparent reason for the COI charge is that his daughter-in- law Mayanti Langer has a contract with Star Sports, the COI rule which is part of Justice Lodha’s Reforms in Cricket report, is seen now as a nuisance by the administrators and people in general are appalled that a non-controversial person like Binny has to face the charge at the instance of vested interests. A former senior functionary of the BCCI, Prof. Ratnakar Shetty says: “The COI rules need to be reviewed in the interest of BCCI.’’ He believes many cricketers are deprived the opportunity to be part of the cricket administration at the State and National level. Recently the BCCI got relief for a number of issues related to the governance aspect from the Supreme Court. The time has arrived for the COI rule to be reviewed and the Apex Court appointed Amicus to step in.
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So Far So Good By FIFA And Qatar!

Once the Qatar22 FIFA World Cup got rolling on November 20 with the match between Qatar and Ecuador, millions of fans have been engrossed in watching all the action with great relish. There would be disappointment among the locals because Qatar — which got an entry into the draw 32 because it had won the rights to be the host country — has been knocked out even before playing the last group match against the Netherlands. But the fans are having their fill of joy seeing the stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi scoring goals in their last World Cup. There have been quite a few thrillers like the match between Cameroon and Serbia, and Ghana and South Korea displaying the African brand of football. The FIFA and Qatar which has delivered an outstanding World Cup so far needs to be contended; there have been minor irritants, but these can happen in a tournament as humongous as the quadrennial event itself. The tournament will soon enter the Group of 16 from whereon elimination of teams will begin. But the happy news for the fans is Brazil, France and Portugal with six points have entered the Round 2 where the matches will turn into a real skirmish.  Argentina’s fate will be known on Wednesday — it plays Poland — and England known on Tuesday night after its match against Wales.
WhatsApp Image 2022-11-25 at 13.00

Brazil, A Class Apart, Rocks The Lusail With 88103 Spectators

Brazil, popularly known as Selecao, proved it is a class apart! For decades the many stalwarts of the South American country – a five-time World Cup Trophy winner (the Jules Rimet Trophy/ FIFA World Cup) — have proved to be the prime crowd pullers of the game and on Thursday (Nov 24) put out a number that validated its undisputed claim. The stunning Lusail Stadium awash with Brazil’s yellow top was packed with 88103 spectators, which was a few thousands shy of the 92000 plus spectators who filled the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the India versus Pakistan match of the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup on October 23. While the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador was seen by 67372 spectators here at Doha that can take pride in having created a fantastic Metro Network to make the transportation of the public easy and comfortable, Thursday was always marked as the `D’ Day for the 22nd edition of the competition here. Lionel Messi’s Argentina had already triggered interest with a spectator count of 88102 in the match it lost to Saudi Arabia at the Lusail, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal attracted a crowd of 42662 in its first appearance with a 3-2 triumph against Ghana in the third match on Thursday, Neymar’s Brazil team with a 2-0 win against Serbia made it a perfect day for its fans and for the FIFA too!
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Volunteers at the main Press Centre Information Desk

Volunteers Give Impetus To Qatar22 FIFA World Cup

Nothing spectacular may have happened in two days — match wise — of the Qatar22 FIFA World Cup at Doha.  One of the smallest countries in the world area wise — the Persian Gulf country ranked as the 164th tiny-dot nation in the globe, higher than Jamaica, Gambia and Lebanon, and below Falkland Islands, Vanuatu, Montenegro and Bahamas — is hosting the greatest sporting event, having won the bid long long ago. Qatar and FIFA’s masterstroke was that it rostered the 29-day event in November and December when the weather bureaus would report cooler climes and not in keeping with the trend of scheduling the event between May and July.  So far four matches have been played and all have reported excellent numbers with the opening match between Qatar and the fourth qualifier from South America, Ecuador reporting a 60000 plus turnout at the Bedouin-tent shaped Al Bayt Stadium. As the FIFA president Gianni Infantino articulated, attention has riveted on the beautiful game’s spectators who have saved hard-earned money for years to be part of the celebration of football in the Arab World. Qatar has been held in awe and admiration by the football community, but one has to raise a toast to the thousands of volunteers whose polite department has played its part in giving Qatar an exalted place in the football map of the World.
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Brazil Once Again The Favourite To Win "The Beautiful Game's” FIFA World Cup!

Qatar22 FIFA World Cup is almost upon us with the host nation — hoping to progress to the Group of 16 (second stage) — all set to challenge Ecuador, the fourth smallest nation in South America in the inaugural match on Sunday (Nov 20). Easily one of the greatest sports spectacle in the world ever since it was founded in 1930, the sport of football — that earned the sobriquet” The Beautiful Game” and was popularised by the greatest ever player — Brazilian Pele — has a mass appeal nonpareil. The Arab world’s first World Cup will be FIFA’s 22nd and the title has been won by Brazil five times, Germany and Italy four times each, Argentina, France and Uruguay two times each and England and Spain once each. As usual Brazil is the strong favourite to win the title and give Neymar his first World Cup, followed by Argentina which hopes to win the Cup and decorate Lionel Messi’s illustrious career. Cristiano Ronaldo will take the centre stage once again but his team Portugal is not as fancied as Brazil and Argentina or even Germany, England and France, the winner of the title four years ago in Russia. The Italians will be missed, but 32 qualifiers in eight groups will portray their brand of football to the millions watching the matches at the venues and on the small screen.

After Humiliating Defeat In T20 World Cup Will BCCI & Selection Committee Go For The Jugular?

Will heads roll following the Men in Blue team’s inept display against England in the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia? Not just going down to the Jos Buttler-led team, but beaten hollow defending a competitive total of 168 was most disappointing, which mirrored the inability of the bowling department to rise above the commonplace. The discerning were quite appalled at the team’s think tank for ignoring the claims of leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal right across the tournament. Rishabh Pant and Chahal ought to have been given permanency on the back of Pant’s run-getting ability on Australian pitches and the potential of Chahal in the big grounds. The BCCI whose president now is Roger Binny and the selection committee must look for ways to cause a big churn in the composition of the white ball teams. Hardik Pandya has to be the front-runner to take over as Twenty20 captain. Perhaps also the one day format should his back does not flare up.  The team needs to come out of the stereotype. The choices are limited; Pant has been named the vice-captain of the white ball teams and he could be given a run before next year’s World Cup in India. The BCCI is not known for knee jerk reactions… but fresh ideas are the need of the hour.
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Will Pakistan-England final draw big crowd?

Hayden Says India -Pakistan Match Was A Spectacle

The ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup began on a promising note for India when it scored a thrilling win against Pakistan at the Melbourne Ground on the first Sunday of the tournament ( Oct 23). Pakistan’s batting mentor and former Australian opener, Mathew Hayden said that he has not seen a sporting spectacle like that at the MCG, a famous cricket venue. Around 92000 paying spectators saw the India-Pakistan match The unfortunate aspect though is that India was given a sound thrashing by the England openers Jos Buttler and Alex Hales in the semi-finals whereupon Rohit Sharma’s team was ejected out of the final. India will not forget the drubbing. And as a consequence the vanquisher of the first Super 12 match will not be present in the cup final whereas the vanquished in the first match —   Pakistan will play the final against England. Beaten in the final of the Asia Cup in September by Sri Lanka, Pakistan is raring to go in order to win the title here. It was at the same venue in 1992 Pakistan led by Imran Khan won the World Cup defeating England in the final. Head coach Rahul Dravid could not hide his disappointment of losing to England in a manner to embarrass the team. The question is: what will the Indian supporters do with the tickets for the last match?


Suryakumar Yadav’s ``Bindaas’’ Batting Wins Praise From Rahul Dravid

Surayakumar Yadav has won the highest praise from his coach, Rahul Dravid. A bulwark of the Indian team for over one and half decade, Dravid has waxed eloquent about Suryakumar’s `bindaas’ batting in the Twenty20 format. A few hours after Suryakumar had taken the Zimbabwe bowlers to the cleaners in the ICC Men’s World Twenty20 in Melbourne, playing shots some of which one would not find in coaching manuals, Dravid who earned the sobriquet `The Wall” said: It’s a joy and pleasure to see the way Suryakumar deploys the willow. In the second match after his debut at Motera in March 2021, he thrashed the England bowlers for a 31-ball 57 that floored England and won the match for India. There was a Caribbean streak to his batting; it has not changed much after nearly 21 months. On November 6, Suryakumar — also known as SKY, an acronym derived from his name — went on a leather hunt against the hapless Zimbabwe bowlers and took 21 runs of fast bowler Richard Ngarava and closed out his innings at an unbeaten 61 off 25 balls with 6 x 4s, 4 x 6s; two of which were swept from outside the off stump over backward square leg and over fine leg. Sterner tests await Suryakumar Yadav in the remaining part of the World Twenty20.
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Virat Kohli's Prank Raises Bangladesh’s Hackles

Virat Kohli is in the news yet again. Not alone for his run getting ability —  he scored a third half century in the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup  against Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval — but also for a prank on the field that some believe was tantamount to faking a throw. Law 41.5.1 says that it is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batter after the striker has received the ball. The Law further says: It is for either one of the umpires to decide whether any distraction, deception or obstruction is wilful or not. The operative part is wilful which the umpires Marais Erasmus and Chris Brown deemed that Kohli’s mock throw was not wilful. Bangladesh’s Nurul Hasan though felt that Kohli’s action was to distract the player Hossain Shanto running towards the non-striker’s end, while the throw from Arshdeep Singh was directed towards the striker’s end. Obviously the on-field umpires did not intervene to summon the India captain Rohit Sharma or Kohli or have reported the incident to the match referee. It has been a matter of opinion among the fans and experts alike, but the umpires just went on with the game that India won by five runs.
Chetan Sharma


Gaffe or Prediction: Chetan Sharma Says India Will Win The World Twenty20 Title

Was it a gaffe or a prediction? Close to midnight Adelaide time on Monday (Oct 31), Chetan Sharma was in good form telling a long time journalist Vijay Tagore:  “I am watching the team, I am with them. They are playing brilliant cricket. There are no problems. We (India) will win the World Cup. Don’t worry,” said Sharma, the Chairman of the BCCI senior national selection committee who is travelling with the Indian team.  Sharma’s soothsayer-like statement came at the end of the answer to a question on Dinesh Karthik being preferred over Rishabh Pant in the first three matches of the ICC Men’s World Twenty20 against Pakistan, Netherlands and South Africa. Sharma has been the Chairman of the selection committee from December 2020 and obviously he is quite optimistic of Rohit Sharma’s team — that lost to South Africa last Sunday (Oct 30) — winning the World Twenty20 for the second time after 2007. Sharma began saying that it would be improper to comment when the World Cup is going on and that it is for the captain and coach to respond to questions on playing XI selections and that he would definitely do that after the World Cup is over. All this happened after he announced the teams for a white ball series in New Zealand and Bangladesh and also a Test series in Bangladesh. At the end of it all Head Coach Rahul Dravid said: We have to play very well in four more games to win the World Cup.
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T20 World Cup

Men In Blue Are The Real Crowd Pullers, Anywhere In The World!

More than 90000 spectators turned up for the India-Pakistan World Twenty20 match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23 and 36000 plus  for the India-Netherlands Group 2 league match at the Sydney Cricket Ground on October 27. The rest of the matches are going to be played at the Optus Stadium at Perth on Sunday (Oct 30) and Adelaide Oval before the last league match against Zimbabwe at the MCG again. The ICC has been smart to schedule India’s matches at venues that will draw a big crowd and rake in the moolah. Among the spectators are the faithful of the Indian kind from different parts of the USA, UK and Continental Europe. A Gujarati couple from Chowpatty, Mumbai but settled in Baltimore said they will follow the Indian team till the end and they have not travelled all the way from Baltimore just for one marquee match against Pakistan. Last October in the UAE, India lost the first two matches against Pakistan and New Zealand, but a year later Rohit Sharma’s team has reversed the trend in Australia by winning the first two matches. These two wins have raised the hopes of India winning the title, but as it happened in the third match on Thursday (Oct 27), Zimbabwe beat Pakistan by one run to almost eliminate Babar Azam’s team from the tournament. However with Virat Kohli ever so determined, India should reach the semi-finals from where it can be anybody’s game!
arshdeep singh


Arshdeep Singh: The New Sensation Who Puts Batters On The Backfoot

Arshdeep Singh has come a long way in a short span of time and proved his mettle in the big league of international cricket. He was sounded out at the back-end of the IPL Season 15 by the selectors that they are looking at him as a contender for the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup. And that’s because he is a left-hand seamer, and potentially long term prospect — a rare talent among the fast and seam bowling variety in India’s domestic circuit. Last Sunday (Oct 23), the young kid on the block silenced the Pakistan supporters among the 90,000 odd who had come to watch the India-Pakistan skirmish at the Melbourne Cricket Stadium. Making his debut in an ICC event for the first time, Arshdeep manipulated the ball into the right hander bowling from over the wicket and the Pakistan skipper Babar Azam was trapped in front first ball. It was the fifth time that Azam was dispatched for a first ball duck. Azam has scored 3231 runs coming into the match; he had baulked India in the last year’s World Cup opener in the UAE. Arshdeep went on to dismiss Mohammed Rizwan and Asif Ali in his second spell and now has a tally of 22 wickets in 14 matches. The Sardar is turning out to be a real find!
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Photo : BCCI

India Vs Pakistan: Will It Be A Super Sunday?

India captain Rohit Sharma was a cool captain, deftly fielding questions on the eve of India’s opening ICC Men’s Twenty 20 World Cup match against Pakistan at the majestic Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. He readily acknowledged that Pakistan has always been a competitive side ever since he played against them in 2007 for the first time and that the supporters would hope to see a good match. Sharma has been the full time captain of the Indian team across all formats since October 2021. At the outset he pointed out that giving security (of their position in the team) has been the biggest change in the last 12 months.  The highest run getter in the Twenty20 format – the second being Virat Kohli — Sharma confessed that the team knows that India has not won an ICC event since 2013, but is not burdened by such thoughts. India and Pakistan have played three matches in the last 12 months, one in the last year’s World Twenty20 and twice in the Asia Cup. Well into his 30s, Sharma will not have the services of Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja and so he will have to depend on the exploits of Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Hardik Pandya and Arshdeep Singh to deliver the goods with ball, and also hope the spinners rise to the occasion.
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From Wankhede, Joshi To Pawar, Political Power Play At The Mumbai Cricket Association

Politicians, who take pot shots at each other in the Legislative Assembly, and at the hustings in the lead up to the elections day, have in the last three decades, virtually taken ownership of the top post in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). And, Sharad Pawar has always been the playmaker when not occupying the MCA President’s post. He held the coveted post for 13 years with a resolution passed at a general body to extend his term beyond eight years. But it was the most affable personality in SK Wankhede, the assembly speaker who held the top post for 23 years — from 1963-64 to 1986-87. A former MCA official described Wankhede’s time as the most defining one in the history of the Association when it broke the umbilical cord with the Cricket Club of India and built its headquarters at D Road, Churchgate. Former officials also described Pawar’s contribution as significant because the Wankhede was refurbished for the 2011 World Cup and a new facility worth over many hundred crore now came into existence at the Bandra Kurla Complex. Manohar Joshi was MCA President for eight years and Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashish Shelar for around one year each. Vijay Patil hails from a family entrenched in politics and now Amol Kale, who is pitted against a cricketing hero Sandeep Patil is said to have good equations with Devendra Fadnavis. Truly, the politicians love the MCA.
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Sandeep Patil, A True-Blue Mumbai Cricketer Takes On Amol Kale For The MCA President’s Post

Sandeep Patil, Shivaji Park and Mumbai cricket’s“ladke’’, has taken a shot at the president’s post of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) that’s going to take place on October 20. Patil who became a darling of the Mumbai maidans clouting 6s in the 1970s and 1980s, went on to become the “Adelaide Hero’’ when he slammed a breathtaking 174 against the hostile bowling attack in Dennis Lillee, Rodney Hogg and Len Pascoe unleashed by the Australian captain Greg Chappell. This grand knock came on the heels of his 62 against Pakistan’s Imran Khan & Co, at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Raised at the Balmohan Vidya Mandir under the famous coach Anna Vaidya, Patil became a World Cup hero in 1983 hammering a 32-ball unbeaten 51 in the semi-final against England at Old Trafford. One of India’s brightest stars in the 1980s, Patil made a swashbuckling 129 in the Old Trafford Test of 1982, hitting six 4s in a single over from fast bowler Bob Willis. Patil played 46 matches for Mumbai, scoring 3144 runs with 9 x 100s and 18 x 50s. Patil was a great entertainer and brought joy to the spectators. Will the representatives of the 213 maidan clubs, 69 office clubs, 36 school and colleges and 51 former international cricketers throw their weight behind Patil or his opponent Amol Kale, who was the vice-president in the preceding three years?

BCCI Wrong Foots Babumoshai Ganguly With Roger Michael Binny

Who will question the wisdom of those calling the shots in the BCCI,  especially in the choice of its president, in the run up to the elections of a sports organisation that showed a red of  Rs 95 lakh in the mid-1990s, but in close to three decades has assets worth several thousand crore. The 1983 World Cup fame Roger Michael Binny who was a vital cog in the wheels of Kapil’s Devils, accounting for 18 scalps, has been handpicked to lead the BCCI for the 2022-2025 period. Three years ago the BCCI, after a senior politician’s intervention, sided with Sourav Ganguly, when juxtaposed against Brijesh Patel. Three years later, the same people have wrong footed Babumoshai Ganguly and gone for Binny, who has excellent credentials as a former cricketer and individual; he is also the president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association. Binny hails from Karnataka, sort of a BJP bastion. The Lotus blooming in the BCCI is evident with BJP MLA Ashish Shelar (close confidant of Home Minister Shah, and who will be in the vanguard to deliver the BMC to the party) being chosen for the Treasurer’s post. Jay Shah who strove for the Secretary ‘s powers to be restored in the Supreme Court for three years and who made sure of the  IPL money coming into the BCCI coffers during the pandemic will be the Secretary for another three year term.
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Mohammed Shami Or Deepak Chahar, The Hitchcockian Suspense Continues

Jasprit Bumrah’s back flared up and it straightaway pushed India back to the wall in gearing up for the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia. It would be a big shoe to fill for anyone as an eleventh hour replacement for him, even if it is a seasoned campaigner like Mohammed Shami or Deepak Chahar,  who is trying to find his feet into the world of international cricket competitions. Twenty20 format is cut out for those who have the stomach for a fight in each of the 120 balls. That’s why the name of Shami — with many matches under his belt — is being bandied about, though he has not sent down a single ball in a Twenty20 international for a year.  Recently Shami was laid low by Covid-19 and the decision makers are monitoring his recovery speed and trying to find out if his body will be able to withstand the strain and pressure the multi-nation competition will demand in Australia. The first challenge will be to deal with Pakistan’s successful opening pair in Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam on October 23 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. India needs someone to start with the Kookaburra ball along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the two Sharma’s– Chetan (Chairman, Selection Committee) and Rohit (Captain) – along with team’s Dronacharya, Rahul Dravid will pick Bumrah’s replacement soon.
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It's All About Jugglery Acts In The Bowling Department For Rohit Sharma!

In recent times India captain Rohit Sharma has been put through the wringer to learn quick lessons on the art of jugglery and find balance to the team in the Twenty20 format. A business-like captain, Sharma has had to mull over a lot with Head Coach Rahul Dravid to consult and pick playing XIs in the absence of fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja during the Asia Cup Twenty20 in Dubai, and also during the home international Twenty20 Series against Australia and South Africa. He has also been compelled to choose playing XIs without Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya and Arshdeep Singh. And yet he has led India to series wins against Australia and South Africa. But the high scoring match in Guwahati when India made 236 and South Africa replied with 221in a way exposed India’s shortcomings in the bowling department. India’s pace pack found it tough going with Arshdeep and Harshal Patel taken to the cleaners along with left arm spinner Axar Patel. Sharma has voiced concerns about bowling in the back end of the innings. Without Jadeja who is down with a dodgy left knee and Bumrah who is suffering from a back ailment, and as a consequence ruled out of the Twenty20 World Cup, Sharma would have to resort to some jugglery act again to find the balance in Australia. A tough ask on him, indeed!

Jadeja, Hooda And Now Bumrah’s Medical Problems Trouble India Twenty20 Squad

India’s Twenty20 World Cup plans are going off kilter. First, the competitive all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was not picked in the squad because of a knee surgery and thereafter Deepak Hooda and Jasprit Bumrah complained of back pain and have been rendered hors de combat in the ongoing series against South Africa. Should Bumrah be declared unfit to travel to Australia for the much awaited showpiece event in Down Under, it will be the biggest setback for Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid’s plan of action to make amends for last year’s dismal showing in the UAE when Virat Kohli’s team was eliminated before the semi-finals. With a peculiar action Bumrah has been the linchpin of India’s bowling department for six years. He has been wrapped in cotton wool though for meaningful deployment in the shortest format of the game; Bumrah has not featured in 65 Twenty20 matches after his debut. He has played in 60 matches for India and achieved a 74.58% success rate. He has taken 70 wickets in the first 6-over powerplay and in the back-end death overs. Bumrah was thrashed for 50 runs in 24 balls by the Australian batsmen in his recent Twenty20 at Hyderabad. An official statement from the BCCI said he has been ruled out by the medical team for the first match against South Africa at Thiruvananthapuram. More news is awaited!

Print Media Played A Great Role In Our Time, Say Gavaskar And Shastri

Little Master and legendary opening batsman Sunil Gavaskar and Champion of Champions of the 1985 World Championship of cricket in Australia, Ravi Shastri applauded the role played by the print media during their time. The two stalwarts of Indian cricket and now media personalities were feted by the Sports Journalists’ Federation of India at a function in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on the eve of the first Twenty20 international between India and South Africa. Gavaskar received an 18-carat gold medal and the Honorary Life Membership and Shastri, the Honorary Life Membership. “In those days, there was considerable interaction between the media and the players. There was a trust factor. You could talk and you could sense that they wanted you to do well, they wished you well and that they wanted you to go forward in your career and that they would help you with their articles. That was such a big thing for a budding cricketer,” said Gavaskar. On his part Shastri said: “You don’t know how thankful we are for that period of time because print media was king. If there is a recall factor of some of the games we played in the decades gone by, it is because of your articles.” Both Gavaskar and Shastri switched to media roles after retiring from all competitive cricket, the former though started writing even when he was playing for India.
Harmanpreet Kaur

Harmanpreet’s 143 Not Out Against England Reflects The Reignited Spark In Her

Harmanpreer Kaur who cracked a sparkling unconquered 143 against England in the garden city of Canterbury in Kent on Thursday (September 23) has not wasted time to show to the cricket world that captaincy does not affect her batting. Named captain of the Indian team after Mithali Raj bid adieu post India’s failed campaign in the World Cup in New Zealand, Harmanpreet has been in good nick starting from the ODI series against Sri Lanka in July this year. She made 44 and 75 at Pallekele, and has entertained the spectators at Hove and Canterbury. She has been criticised for not delivering consistent scores after a majestic 171 not out in the World Cup semi-final against England at Derby in July 2017. She averaged 21.67 in 2018, 38 in 2019 and 32.67 in 2021, but her average has shot up to 62.50 this calendar. She made a 109 in the World Cup match against the West Indies in Hamilton in March this year, but clearly the leadership role which was denied to her after the 2017 World Cup, has ignited the spark again. Harmanpreet has now scored five centuries in 123 matches/104 innings. She is the second highest run getter this year with 750 runs in women’s cricket in ODIs. No one knows what tormented her in the previous three years; maybe she was not made the captain!
Jasprit Bumrah


With Bumrah And Harshal Back In Action, India's Build Up Starts For Twenty20 World Cup

The men in blue team’s build up to the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in October-November would have truly begun with the first skirmish against the Aaron Finch-led Australian team at Mohali on Tuesday (Sep 20). The two teams will lock horns three times in all, and this Twenty20 series will be followed by a three match Twenty20 series against South Africa before the Rohit Sharma led team fly to the Southern Hemisphere for the global tournament. The focus will be on Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, both of whom were absent in India’s pace pack for the recent Asia Cup Twenty 20 in Dubai because of injuries. Bumrah and Patel will feature in both the home series, but the team management will have the option of resting them for a match or two. The selection committee has decided to rest Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (for the series against South Africa) and left arm seamer Arshdeep Singh for the series against Australia. These five will form the fulcrum of India’s fast bowling attack for campaigns in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide. The slow bowlers in the World Cup squad are off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and left arm spinner Axar Patel. The focus though will be on Bumrah and Harshal; their fitness is of paramount importance.
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BCCI Gets 'Piece' Of Mind In Touchy Cooling Off Case!

There is happiness among the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) members with the outcome of its petition to the Supreme Court seeking amendments to six rules of the Justice Lodha Committee rewritten Constitution (Rules & Regulations and Memorandum of Association). It took the BCCI some six years to convince the Apex Court that the structure of the cooling off period was flawed (it did not say so in its petition, but simply proposed a new structure). That Senior Counsel Maninder Singh was named the Amicus Curiae helped matters. The mandatory cooling off period has now been amended twice — in 2018 by the Justice Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud led bench and again on September 14, 2022 by Justices Chandrachud and Hima Kohli. The cooling off period mandated the BCCI and State’s administrators to take a three year break after a first term of three years; it was amended to two consecutive terms of three years at the BCCI and State level or a combined period of three years each at the BCCI and State. Now the cooling off period kicks in after two consecutive terms of three years each at the BCCI and State. The BCCI is okay with the cooling off period, but after six years in a row, at the BCCI and State level, separately! The 70-plus members will have to go though!
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If In Dubai, Shyam Bhatia Cricket Museum A Must Visit For All The Game Lovers

If in Dubai the cricketing faithful must visit Shyam Bhatia”s Cricket Museum. Dubai along with the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah is becoming a favourite neutral venue for tournaments like the ICC Men’s World Twenty 20 held here last year and the recent DP World Asia Cup Twenty20 tournament. But the Emirate is also famous for the cricket museum that Bhatia, now 80, has put in place in his Villa.  Bhatia’s family relocated to Ajmer in Rajasthan after partition, and it did not take much time for the young Bhatia to develop interest in the game. He played for Rajasthan and Saurashtra. He was transferred to Dubai by the New India Assurance Company in 1965, but he set up his own business in 1979 in building materials. He could not be far away from the thick of action in cricket though and he chose to found a magnificent Cricket Museum that many of the top cricketers have appreciated, including the legendary Sunil Gavaskar. Bhatia has an affinity for Test cricket and all his memorabilia collection and own creative ideas reflect this facet in his museum in Jumeirah. He met Gavaskar in 1971 when he was having dinner with Salim Durani and Ajit Wadekar at the Taj, Mumbai and since then they have been thick friends.
Dinesh Karthik


Twenty20 World Cup: Strong Contender India Has Issues To Troubleshoot

The Twenty20 World Cup is upon the strong contenders, challengers and the no-hopers, and all are getting ready for the big bash in Australia. India, was the winner of the inaugural event in South Africa in 2007 under the first time captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Thereafter India lost to Sri Lanka in the 2014 final and to the West Indies in the 2016 semi-final. In the last year’s competition in the UAE India was given knock out blows by Pakistan and New Zealand.  India will always be regarded as a strong contender because of the talent it showcases in major ICC events. But it needs to troubleshoot specific areas of the game in order to get its act going for Australia. The Asia Cup Twenty20 has exposed weaknesses. The issues on the face of it surrounds team selection. If Dinesh Karthik is considered a finisher, he should have been fielded in all matches to get him game time. He did not play against Hong Kong, and Pakistan/ Sri Lanka in the Super 4 stage. Sharma said that the team was able to get some answers from players – on their ability to execute roles — in the last few months. Virat Kohli had a good run, closing out with a first international Twenty20 century. But there are question marks against the team that is considered a strong contender.
Virat Kohli


Kohli Creates Buzz In Dubai With Bat And Words!

The arrival of Virat Kohli for the customary press conference after the loss against Pakistan in the Super 4 match of the Asia Cup Twenty20 created a terrific buzz. India had sent its vice-captain KL Rahul, Captain Rohit Sharma before the first match against Pakistan, and thereafter Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja and Head Coach Rahul Dravid on two match days and one before the last Sunday’s (Sep 4) match against the arch rival Pakistan. But Kohli was seen as sort of a maverick, especially when he was at the helm of Indian cricket until last October with Ravi Shastri as Head Coach. That view may not have changed yet after Rohit Sharma was made captain. Kohli was business like responding to questions from the Indian and Pakistani media. But his answer to a question that only Mahendra Singh Dhoni touched base and sympathized with him when a lot more had his mobile number (in the months he had ceased to be India captain and not getting the big scores and generally going through a rough patch) has made his own well-wishers wonder if the former India captain was grousing about some cricketers not calling him up during his difficult times. Some of them who have played with him are: Virendra Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma, Yuvraj Singh and the legend Sachin Tendulkar.
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Suryakumar Yadav’s Reputation Is SKY-Rocketing In Twenty20!

Suryakumar Yadav, aka by his popular moniker “SKY’’ is gaining reputation as a crack Twenty20 batsman. With every bright knock in the course of his 25 appearances for India since he made his debut against England at Ahmedabad in March 2021, the Mumbai right-hander has turned out to be a disruptor of rivals’ attacks and scored at rattling pace. He is the highest run getter for India in the shortest form of the game ever since he sported the men in blues colours for the first time. His swashbuckling 68 off 28 balls with half a dozen 4s and 6s each against Hong Kong in the Asia Cup Twenty20 match at the Dubai International Stadium evoked commendation from one of the greatest competitors in cricket and former India captain, Virat Kohli, who saw Yadav from close quarters lash four 6s of fast bowler Arshad Haroon in the last over of the India innings against Hong Kong. Yadav’s grand knock against an Associate Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) took him past Rohit Sharma’s 747 runs (figures after Yadav’s debut). Yadav has made 758 runs off 427 balls at a scoring rate of 10.65 with one century and six half centuries. With his brilliant knocks, Yadav appears to have made the number 4 spot his own for the World Twenty20 in Australia.
Hardik Pandya


Hardik Pandya Back In The Reckoning, Proves He Is Bankable All-Rounder

Hardik Pandya has his own ways of tackling a crisis like situation that India was facing against an upbeat Pakistan in the Asia Cup Twenty20 opener in Dubai. And indeed his captain Rohit Sharma and former India captain, and now the head coach Rahul Dravid are mightily pleased. His smart spell of four overs got him three wickets, and with the bat he delivered a 17-ball 33 runs. In short, he excelled in the two vital departments of the game and won the match for his side which may have been desperate to put it across a super charged opponent. Pandya has been in focus for the good and not so good ever since he burst into the national scene; in particular, he endured a rough time around the last year’s ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup and after India’s exit from the competition before the semi-finals stage. He was dropped like a hot potato from the home series against New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka before he applied himself to the task for Gujarat Titans in the IPL Season-15 and returned to the Indian team for the home Twenty20 series against South Africa. Since fortunes have swung in his favour; he led India in the three match series against Ireland in Dublin and now this superb show with the ball and bat against Pakistan.

KR Nayar

Virat Kohli All Set For A Twenty20 Century Against Pakistan On Sunday!

While the cricket world is vertically split on whether the much celebrated Virat Kohli should figure in India’s Twenty20 international campaigns, the former India captain is happily preparing for a significant milestone in the shortest format of the game. Kohli who made his Twenty20 debut against Zimbabwe at Harare on June 12, 2010 will play his 100th match against Pakistan in the Asia Cup opener at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday, August 28. Kohli, a fabulous batter across all formats is the third highest run getter with 3308 runs in 99 matches. The first two are New Zealand’s Martin Guptill (121 matches, 3497 runs) and India captain Rohit Sharma (132 matches, 3487 runs). Kohli has featured in 62 India wins. His highest is an unbeaten 94 against the West Indies at Hyderabad in December 2019. He has been most productive at No 3, making 2469 runs. He has accumulated most of his runs against Australia (718) and England (589 runs), but has been successful against Pakistan against which his scores are 78 not out, 9, 27, 36 not out, 49, 55 not out and 57. Not exactly in great touch in recent times, Kohli will be India’s choice at No 3 in the Asia Cup and the World Cup in Australia. He will be the second Indian after Sharma and the 14th in Twenty20 to touch the magic 100 match mark.
Rohit Sharma


Stiff Challenges Await Rohit Sharma, Starting With The Desert Variety!

After taking over the reins of  India’s  captaincy in Twenty20, one-day internationals and Test cricket and from a beleaguered Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma is set for challenges in the form of the Asia Cup Twenty20 in the UAE from August 28 and the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in October-November. Sharma’s stock will rise should he show the way for the men in blues team for trophy triumphs. A great entertainer in white-ball cricket, Sharma has demonstrated that he is his own man in terms of leadership. In the many months of the  post Kohli phase, after the last year’s World Twenty20, Sharma has led India in 16 Twenty20 internationals and won 14 recording 88% success rate. He has scored 449 runs too. But for the first time Sharma will lead in a multi-team tournament that has a champion team like Pakistan and equally quality outfits like Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Sharma will have Rahul Dravid by his side to give valuable suggestions on the playing XI and tactics, but the most successful captain in the IPL with five silverware wins for the Mumbai Indians would like to leave his mark in the Arabian Peninsula first, and then in Australia though he will be handicapped without the ace up his sleeve, Jasprit Bumrah in the Asian competition.
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The Shaheen Afridi Threat Looms Large As India-Pakistan Clash In Dubai On Aug 28

In less than 10 days’ time, India will lock horns with Pakistan in its Asia Cup Twenty20 lung-opener in Dubai on August 28. Flashes of last October’s deadly exploits by left arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi against the arch-rival in the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup come to mind; on that occasion the crafty Afridi outwitted India’s openers Rohit Sharma, trapped leg before and KL Rahul, clean bowled. The two peach of deliveries from Afridi sounded the death knell for India in the global event. Virat Kohli dug in his heels to make a stoical 57 in 97 minutes, but Pakistan made short work of India’s 151, winning by 10 wickets. India and Pakistan have not clashed again for 10 months, but Afridi, the master of swing and cut from bowling over the wicket, would like to hoodwink Sharma and Co. India would need a bit of luck to see through the new ball menace. Sharma has taken over from Kohli as captain, and it has to be seen whether a left-right combination will be tried to neutralise the probing opening burst by Afridi. Pant has opened in Twenty20 internationals just twice and hence it’s unlikely his batting order would be relocated to the top. He made a useful 39 at No 5 against Pakistan in the ICC event last year. But after a long gap, the Afridi threat looms large!
Collage Maker-16-Aug-2022-01

FIFA's Suspension Of AIFF Could Drag PM Modi To Clear Hurdles For Women's Under-17 World Cup

The FIFA decision to debar the All India Football Federation (AIFF) from its primary membership has apparently not gone down well with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was in the vanguard of promoting the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai in July-August and he doesn’t want anything in the way to impede India from taking the centre stage by hosting FIFA Women’s Under-17 World Cup from October 11. Ever since he became the PM in 2014, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs has been on an overdrive providing all facilities for the sports persons to excel at the Olympics, Asian Games, World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. The AIFF being run by the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) has been described by the World’s governing body as a “third party interference” and hence it wants the COA to clear the decks for an elected body in line with the FIFA charter. The FIFA has been having a dialogue with the Sports Ministry officials and top officials were told in no uncertain terms that the AIFF will be suspended from its primary membership. The FIFA Women’s Under-17 World Cup is in jeopardy now, but one can hope for a favourite outcome from a SC hearing on August 17. The FIFA also wants the AIFF to run the sport in India, not people without any obligation.
Tata Mumbai Marathon 2023 Launch PC pic

Eknath Shinde Gets 100/100 At TMM 2023 Launch Event

For his ready wit, Eknath Shinde got a 100/100 at the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2023 launch event held at the packed Regal Room at South Mumbai’s Trident Hotel on Wednesday (Aug 10). Dressed in his signature long-sleeve white shirt, trouser and the prominent round tilak on his forehead, Shinde created an electrifying atmosphere at the event saying: “What about our marathon; Mumbai to Surat and from there to Guwahati and to Goa. We did not know if we would be successful. But we won it eventually. But we have won only the half marathon now, we will win the full marathon in 2024.” The Maharashtra Chief Minister took a quick recall of the dramatic incidents that his supporters in the Shiv Sena were part of before taking control of Mantralaya. The Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was scheduled to share the stage at the unveiling of TMM 2023, but instead came the towering and erudite Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar. Also present at the high profile registration launch of the street race were the BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, Mumbai Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar and the Vice Admiral Krishna Swaminathan. As a parting shot Shinde said amidst a guffaw: “We not only run our marathons, but also make others run the marathon.” So many political connotations at a sports event, but Shinde won a lot of admirers!


Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!