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Jasprit bumrah

Photo : BCCI

Resting Bumrah Not A Wise Call Says Karsan Ghavri

India took the field for the fourth Test against England in Ranchi without its best bowler in the series, Jasprit Bumrah. The BCCI explained that Bumrah has been rested taking into account the “duration of the series” and the workload he has taken in recent times. It takes some guts to keep a player, nay a match-winner in many ways in the previous two Tests in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot, out of a winning combination. England would not be disappointed with the decision taken by the Indian team, selectors and the BCCI. With India leading 2-1 in the five-Test series the “rest Bumrah” call has not gone down well with former India left-arm seamer Karsan Ghavri. “When you are getting a chance to play for India, keep playing. The series is in a vital stage and to rest a key player in the middle of a series is not a wise call” said Ghavri who has taken 100 plus Test wickets. Beset with injuries to key players, India has been handicapped to field a full-strength team in the last three years. The national team’s head coach Rahul Dravid pointed out this aspect after winning the second Test in Visakhapatnam. Ghavri added:  “Bumrah could have taken a break after the fate of the series is decided, as much as he wants.” India may win the fourth Test in Ranchi and thereby the series, but England thinks it can win the series 3-2. So was it the right call to rest Bumrah for the Ranchi Test?

Photo : BCCI

Rohit Sharma Guarded On Yashasvi Jaiswal

Skipper Rohit Sharma held back his assessment of Yashasvi Jaiswal’s spectacular display with the bat in the third Test against England at Rajkot. “I won’t say anything on Jaiswal. Everyone is talking about him. Let him play. He is playing well, it’s good for us and he is in good form. I am not going to say much more than that. Itna bas hai abhi ke liye (this should be enough for now). Seven Test matches is only a small sample to pass judgment on a player, but Jaiswal has played seven Test matches without a break and has already won admirers from the cricket world. The Mumbai left-hander Jaiswal began with a century on debut against the West Indies in last July, was put through the wringer in South Africa by its fast bowlers and in the home series, he has taken apart the English bowling. It’s not the question of hitting the World’s greatest swing and seam bowler Jimmy Anderson for three sixes in an over and much more, it’s the manner of his batting that has seen him take the centre stage. A natural striker of the ball, Jaiswal has flayed England’s top pacers Anderson and Mark Wood and the inexperienced spinners.  A double century each in the Visakhapatnam Test and another one in Rajkot has earned him kudos, but the skipper who has seen Jaiswal score 171, 209 and 214, chose to be guarded.  POWERED BY : IDFC FIRST BANK
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Photo : @sarfarazkhan977

Another Khan On The Horizon, His Name Is Sarfaraz!

Call it a lovely cameo or what not, Sarfaraz Khan gave a master class to not only respond to the England spinners, but also flay them with a kind of confidence that not a single Indian batter has been able to since the first Test in Hyderabad. The surface may have been amenable to stroke play without fear, but the young debutant’s raw nerves exposed to the highest level of the game for the first time, smashed the England spinners all over the park, with his penchant for the slog sweep evident against off break bowler Joe Root. Sarfaraz has been reminding the selection committee of his gifts for a few years now, and he got the nod once both KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer were not in the squad picked for the third Test. It was an emotional moment for the Khan family, especially for his father Naushad who has chaperoned his son right through his career and with a dream to see the day he would walk out to bat for India. Sarfaraz with 10 years of first class cricket behind him and tons of runs and a good number of centuries showed courage and skill for an hour and twenty minutes and proved that he has the goods to succeed in Test cricket. So another Khan has arrived, not in the tinsel world though.  Can India ignore him for the Twenty20 World Cup!

Photo : BCCI

Ravichandran Ashwin Gets Ready For His 500th Wicket

Although off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has taken nine wickets in two of the ongoing Test series against England, it was not great going for the seasoned campaigner in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. The 37-year old has been taken apart by the sweep and reverse sweep shots employed by the England batters notably Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Joe Root. For the first time in the 36 Test series he has played over 12 years and three months, he has conceded in excess of four runs an over. His career average is under three runs an over. All said and done, Ashwin is on the lookout for his 500th wicket, a feat only the legendary leg spinner Anil Kumble (619 wickets) has achieved among Indians. He has 499 so far. He will be only the third finger spinner in the history of Test cricket to accomplish the unique record after Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800 wickets) and Australia’s Nathan Lyon (513). The Tamil Nadu bowler has turned out to be a match-winner in 56 Tests, with a majority of 42 at home and to a lesser number, 14 in overseas conditions. He has taken 25 wickets and more at five venues:  Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Nagpur. He has taken six wickets at Rajkot in a Test against the West Indies in October 2018. Ashwin will be keen to put this record behind so that he can focus to check the England batters who have been red hot with their flashing blades.
rahul dravid_004

Photo : BCCI

Rahul Dravid Hits The Nail On Its Head!

  Rahul Dravid hit the nail on its head while saying that “reading the game and game situation” is paramount in cricket, in particular Test cricket. The most famous “Wall” of Indian cricket, whose cautious, mentality was recently acknowledged by the former South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, had without pointing fingers at any individual, said that India was short by 70 odd runs in the first innings of the first Test in Hyderabad, and again after the 106 run win in the second Test in Visakhapatnam, he pointed out that India’s first innings score was under par and that the score, instead of 396 should have been 450-475, especially with Yashasvi Jaiswal getting 209. The former England captain Michael Atherton, the Chief Cricket Correspondent of ‘The Times’ wrote that the top and middle order Indian batters were careless in the first innings in Hyderabad. He did not name individuals, but he was referring to the careless shots played by Rohit Sharma, Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul. India’s head coach m said that it’s all about understanding that (reading the situation)and knowing that they are making the right decision to put them (the opponent) under pressure or recognise that this is the moment to soak in the pressure and be a little bit more conservative rather than attack. India lost the first Test partially because it was not able to score 500 plus in the first innings. 

Photo : X

It's Tom Hartley In Hyderabad, Will Shoaib Bashir Follow Suit In Vizag?

The story of the India versus England Test series so far has been the champion Indian batters being foxed by a tyro orthodox left-arm spinner in Tom Hartley in the first Test. Handed over the Test cap by former England captain Michael Atherton — both from Lancashire — the 24-year-old spinner was carted by Yashasvi Jaiswal in the first innings, but without showing any feelings of being embarrassed, Hartley, 6.4 ft in his socks, ran amok taking seven wickets in the second innings and inflicted a shocking defeat on India. The right-hand wrist spinner Rehan Ahmed turned out to be ordinary though. Now in the second Test, England which created a ruckus about Shoaib Bashir not being given the entry permit on time has included the off-spinner in the XI for the second Test. England which has been advertising the aggressive brand of cricket to sustain interest in the multi-day Test cricket has taken outrageous calls while choosing personnel, it has been peculiar for the five-Test series in India.  It may have erred in choosing its most experienced left-arm spinner, Jack Leach because of his hamstring and knee-related ailments, but Bashir was not available for selection because he did not have the Indian visa in Abu Dhabi where England ran the preparatory camp for 10 days.  But Hartley grabbed the opportunity and stunned the home team that was supposed to outplay the spinners. Bashir will be keen to make the ball obey his whims. The outcome of the second Test will indicate as to which team is likely to win the series.
ollie pope


Ollie Pope Leads "Bazball" Rough Up On India

Call it “Bazball” or whatever that is supposed to convey playing a brand of cricket to take the rival head-on and thereby entertain the paying spectator, England has sent across a message to India in no uncertain terms that its batters from 1 to 11 will go after its bowlers. In two opening stands in the first Test at the Uppal venue in Hyderabad, Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett swung their bats without fear of getting out to rattle up 55 and 45 runs before the first wicket went down. Clearly the camp the team held in Abu Dhabi to prepare for the five-Test series has yielded results. England made only 246 in the first innings and trailed the home team by 190 runs, but not perturbed by a daunting task, it roughed up the bowlers with the brilliant Ollie Pope collaring the spinners to make a near double century, though he was let off at 110 by Axar Patel and 186 by KL Rahul. From a clear first-innings setback England gave it a chance to cause a turnaround in the first Test and in the event of India going down will give plenty of thought for the national selectors to look at options in the bowling department. Moreover, questions will be asked about the attitude of the batters in offering catches when set. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul will do well to introspect.  All said and done the “Bazball” style has made an impact in India.
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Ben Stokes To Reach A 100 Tests For England, Very Soon!

Ben Stokes is all set to join the elite group of English cricketers who have played a century of Test matches and more. The ongoing Test match at Uppal here is his 98th which means the third Test at Rajkot will be his 100th. Previously 15 cricketers have played 100 Tests and more for England with the expert manipulator of the seam, Jimmy Anderson turning out in 183 Tests starting from 2003. Without a doubt the New Zealand-born Stokes who bats left-handed and bowls with his right hand has made a phenomenal contribution to England’s fortunes for 11 years, scoring 6117 runs, taking 197 wickets and 102 catches. On Friday, he gave an exhibition of top class batsmanship excelling in defense and attack, one that enabled his team to put up a competitive total on the board. Stokes bats at No 5/6 where he has scored 5449 runs before the start of the Test here. His highest scores in these two positions are 176 and 258. He has led England in 31 Tests and from mid 2022 has formed a successful combination with former New Zealand batter Brendon McCullum winning 13 Tests quickly adapting to aggressive ways of wielding the willow. In the last Ashes series he was close to the spectacular making 405 runs in nine innings and thwarting Australia from winning the series. His knock of 70 on Friday indicated that he could prove to be a long thorn in India’s flesh in the five Test series.
Tata ipl_002

Tata Group, All Set To Make The Big Splash!

That the IPLTwenty20 is a veritable cash cow was proved once again with the Tata Group not batting an eyelid to retain the title sponsorship of the popular franchise-based league. Two years ago Tatas had replaced the Chinese company Vivo as the title sponsor at a cost of Rs 370 crore. In the latest piece of action though, the Tata Group has chosen to shell out Rs 2500 crore for a five-year season from 2024 to 2028. Just come to think of it, the real estate giant DLF — not able to get a team – got the title sponsorship at Rs 40 crore a season in 2008. In that context, the Rs 500 crore average for one season after 16 years, has to be put down as a mind-boggling sum. No wonder the BCCI Secretary Jay Shah and the IPL Chairman, Arun Singh Dhumal have expressed delight at the final sum of Rs 2500 crore, well in excess of the base price of Rs 1750 crore. The IPL has seen a number of title sponsors including DLF, Pepsi, Dream11, Vivo and then the Tata Group. The Tata Group has a massive connect with cricket, especially in the inter-office tournaments in Mumbai. It had given employment to hundreds of cricketers and the likes of Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri and Sourav Ganguly were on its payroll.  The Tata Group has been a late entrant into the IPL bandwagon; it bagged the Women’s Premier League last year and for the second year running the Tata Group is all set to make the big splash! 
CK Nayadu

It All Began With Col CK Nayudu's 100-Minute 152 Against The MCC

The name of Col. C.K. Nayudu conjures up when cricketers in whites representing India and England gird up their loins for another Test skirmish. According to the famous ‘cricketwallah ‘ of Indian cricket, the late  Rajsingh Dungarpur, it was the lanky Nayudu’s ransacking knock of 152 for the Hindus against RC Chichester-Constable Marylebone Cricket Club at the  Bombay Gymkhana on December 1, 1926 that set into motion India’s recognition as a Test playing nation at London’s Lord’s Cricket Ground (June 1932). Nayudu was a giant, admired by many and not so by a minuscule, did the palm tree hitting act for 100 mts. He smashed the MCC bowlers for 13 x 6s and 11 x 4. India’s Test story began here with this knock that impressed none other than Arthur Gilligan — he did not play the match against the Hindus — who recommended to the MCC that India is ready for Test cricket. Since India’s first Test, the nation has played 64 Tests at home, won 22, lost 14 and drawn 28. India won the last Test series 3-1 in 2021, but three years later England appeared prepared to repel India’s spin tricks, with the master plan being drawn by Head Coach Brendon McCullum and Captain Ben Stokes who will only bat and not bowl because of a left knee surgery he underwent last November. England has not won a series in India since 2012 when it beat the home team 2-1. So some tussle on the cards from January 25 at the Charminar City with Rohit Sharma at the helm.
SKY shivam


Hardik Pandya Watch Out, India Getting Ready For The "SuryaShivam" Show!

Shivam Dube has struck the iron when it’s hot by knocking over the Afghanistan bowlers in the Twenty20 series outings in Mohali and Indore. It’s the time of the year when the locals in the northern plains and central India would devour the hot lip-snacking chole bhature, but those who thronged the stadium at Mohali and at the Holkar Stadium got a taste of the elegant and fluent left-hander’s stroke play and hitting. In the absence of the injury-stricken Hardik Pandya, the selectors in Ajit Agarkar, S Sharath, Shiv Sundar Das, Salil Ankola and Subroto Banerjee looked at Dube and the latter has not let them down. Dube is 30 plus and his style of going after the ball makes him a perfect fit for the 120-ball stuff of cricket. In his first 18 turnouts for the men in blue, he did not bat on seven occasions and was not out five times, but he had the talent which the selectors have recognised. Two unbeaten knocks of 60 and 63 against the fierce competitors from Kabul have almost confirmed his berth in the Indian team for the ICC Men’s World Twenty20 under the Manhattan and Caribbean skyline. His average is 45.83 after 20 matches at five positions in the batting order, but it is at No 4 now that he has staked a strong claim. Once Suryakumar Yadav returns to the fold, India can make the most of the “SuryaShivam” show! Why fret over Hardik Pandya?
Ishan dhruv

Ishan Kishan Out, Dhruv Jurel In!

Dhruv Jurel has played a dozen Ranji Trophy matches for Uttar Pradesh, two for India ‘A‘ recently in South Africa and one for Central Zone, and the BCCI’s national selection committee has told the cricket fraternity in India — in the circumstances caused by a petulant Ishan Kishan’s non-availability —  that the soon to be 24-year old from Agra is the best stumper after KS Bharat. Jurel is selected in the India team for the first two Tests against England to be played in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. He has scored 790 runs with 249 against Nagaland as his highest. After the ICC Under-19 World Cup in South Africa four years ago, the grapevine has been rife with his exceptional talent and it was not a surprise when Rajasthan Royals chose him for IPL 2023. The selectors are impressed with Jurel’s work as a ‘keeper, but his selection for the longer version of the game in the third season of his first-class career has still puzzled a lot of people. The serious injury to Rishabh Pant opened an opportunity for Bharat who has done duty in five Tests. Then Kishan got two chances against the West Indies last July before KL Rahul donned the big gloves in the two-Test series in South Africa, which may have got Kishan’s goat!  He created a vacuum by choosing to break from the ranks in South Africa, citing mental fatigue and at the first opportunity, the selectors, chose to come down hard on the erring cricketer’s attitude from Jharkhand. Has Kishan paid the price for erring?

Will England's 'Bazball' Style Succeed In India?

The five-Test home series against England will begin at Uppal in Hyderabad on January 25. Ever since the former swashbuckling New Zealand batter Brendon McCullum took charge as Head Coach from Chris Silverwood, and Ben Stokes took over from Joe Root, the Three Lions team has been playing the game in an aggressive and entertaining brand that’s come to be known as ‘Bazball’ style. The pitches curated by the associations in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamshala are most likely to be on the slower allied with variable bounce,  but this sluggish nature of the pitch may not deter England from adhering to the ‘Bazball’ that sustained interest in the ‘Ashes’  series in the English Summer of 2023. The full Test series at home is part of the third cycle of the ICC World Test Championship and hence big points will be at stake for each Test match. In the previous four Test home series against Australia, India won 2-1 and qualified for the final. Anticipating slow pitches that will afford a turn from the first session of the first day, England has packed its side with four spinners and has scheduled a training camp in Abu Dhabi before arriving in Hyderabad only three days before the first Test. After outplaying South Africa in the Cape Town Test, India skipper Rohit Sharma hinted at the ball turning from day one of a Test match.  What has to be seen is whether England will stick to the ‘Bazball’ style right through the series and mount pressure on the smart spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel.
Rohit virat


Kafkaesque Ways Of India Twenty20 Team Choices!

The selection of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma for the three-match Twenty20 series against Afghanistan is akin to Kafkaesque because these two much-celebrated batters have been overlooked by the selection committee since the ICC World Men’s Twenty20 semi-final against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 10, 2022. It appears now that the leading lights of this format are certainties for the Twenty20 World Cup to be held this June in the USA and Caribbean. India has played 25 internationals of the shortest version after the last World Cup in Australia, without these two, won 16, lost seven, and tied one match and the match against Afghanistan in the Asian Games final in Hangzhou was called off due to rain. Kohli has played 27 Twenty20 matches across five World Cups and Sharma 39 across eight World Cups. Sharma was part of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup that India won under the helmsmanship of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Over the last 14 months, the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya have been close to the spectacular. This is apart from Suryakumar Yadav who has led the second brigade well; leading by example he has amassed 857 runs. When the selection for the World Cup arrives, will the above-mentioned get their due or be dumped? India’s Twenty20 team post the last World Cup semi-final when it was thrashed out of sight by England, has to advance and not look back.
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Rohit Sharma "In Form" At The Newlands Press Conference!

Rohit Sharma used the words “shut up”, strong language from the captain of a team which had stunned South Africa by seven wickets in a game of cricket that turned out to be the sensationally shortest in Test match history. Rohit was an angry man, and he blew his top firing salvos at people griping at pitches that often afford copious turn from the first day of a Test match in India. It’s all the same he meant, excessive sideways movement of the surface (abroad) or a big turn from day one in India. He pointed at big cracks on the pitch at Newlands, a pretty venue because of nature’s gift in the form of Table Mountain. Rohit was in the ‘mood’ even to point fingers at the authorities for their prejudice while evaluating pitches. To sum up, Rohit voiced his opinion most directly. The spicy pitch that was exploited by the Bumrahs, Sirajs and the South African speed merchants resulted in the conclusion of the Test in 642 balls. There have been timeless Tests of eight balls an over, but a conventional game at the highest level — allotted 450 overs (90 overs a day) — is supposed to end on the fifth day. But the Newlands pitch for the second Test was full of life and it presented a series-levelling win for India.  All in a jiffy!  South Africa’s head coach and selector, Shukri Conrad dubbed the Test as a slugfest.

Newlands Has Delivered 4 Wins For South Africa, And 0 For India, So Far!

The dream of outsmarting South Africa in the two-Test rubber and winning a series for the first time in 31 years in South Africa — India played its first Test in the Kruggerand country in November 1992 — came down in a thud at the Super Sport Park in Centurion last week. The Rohit Sharma-led visitor came a cropper inside three days going down by an inning and 32 runs. KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and to an extent Shreyas Iyer (in the first inning) offered glimpses of the ability to foil a well-oiled bowling unit spearheaded by Kagiso Rabada; Rahul in fact constructed a classic century that lifted his reputation by a few notches. The short series of two Tests will be over by January 8 and Sharma will return home empty-handed because his team cannot win the series, but can only draw level. Newlands with its imposing Table-Top mountain has not once favoured India in six previous Tests and the odds look against it to cause an upset. This brings the million-dollar question of whether India’s bowling combination will have the strength to bundle out its rival for small totals.  They will go after Dean Elgar, who made 185 in the first Test and will lead the home team in his last appearance in International cricket. India’s best chance will be its new ball operators Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj. They have to do most of the damage; of course with substantial help from their batter teammates.
SaVs Ind


Centurion Has Sounded The Alarm Bells For India At Cape Town!

From the high hopes of winning the first-ever Test series in South Africa to finding ways to level the series is a massive change in perception of the team that was beaten hollow in the first Test of the Freedom Series at the lovely Centurion venue. Even after 30 years of coming here Indian batters are groping in the dark, clueless as to what’s coming at them from a champion operator Kagiso Rabada with the new ball and tyros trying to make their mark in their first Test. Rohit Sharma did not find the elevation of a pull shot in the first hour of the first morning when the home team challenged his team to face its pace battery.  And in the second innings was hoodwinked off the surface, and became a sort of bunny to the slenderly built practitioner of fast bowling Rabada — drawing comparisons with the likes of Allan Donald and Dale Steyn. Sharma who has carved a niche for himself in white-ball formats doesn’t have anything to show for in Test appearances in these parts. Cape Town in a few days, will give him two more chances, but more importantly, the team has to redeem itself against a team that has the power to do an encore. South Africa is keen and eager to hold on to the undefeated record.  Its coach Shukri Conrad said it aloud at the press conference. 
Rohit Sharma team

Will Rohit Sharma Go With Two Specialist Spinners At Centurion?

The captaincy duty will come calling to Rohit Sharma as the Indian team celebrates Christmas and gets into the Test match mode straight away. India begins its ninth tour of South Africa with the opening Test match scheduled at the Centurion on Boxing Day, December 26. First and foremost, Sharma will have to take a call on the choice of the third seamer. Jasprit Bumrah will return to the Test ranks after a hiatus of 18 months and Mohammed Siraj will be his new ball operator partner. The million-dollar question is who will replace Mohammed Shami, ruled out of the series because of a serious ankle injury. The name that crops up is the tall and gangling Prasidh Krishna who too has come back after a lower back injury. And will Sharma pick both left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin? The scales could tilt in favour of the speedster Krishna. The other options are Shardul Thakur and rookie Mukesh Kumar. With 90 overs to be bowled in three sessions of two hours each in a day, the captain could be in a fix. Moreover, Sharma will have to deal with Bumrah’s spells judiciously as a flare-up could whittle down India’s pace strength. Bumrah is a wicket-taker and he will start anxiously because he has not played the multi-day Test for a long time. A breakthrough or two from him will go a long way in hurting the South African batting lineup. Powered By: IDFC FIRST BANK
Sanju samson

Sanju Worth A Samson!

When the groundswell began to drift against Sanju Samson that he was wasting his talent, he chose the wine countryside of Paarl to notch his first significant knock in coloured clothing for India. The big hitter from Kerala shunned reckless shots and emerged with a three-figure knock in the third and final one-day international against the Proteas and won the man of the match award. Endowed with the ability to lift the ball for straight sixes, Samson was given the No 5 spot in the first two matches. He did not get to bat in the first match at the ‘Bullring! In Johannesburg, and scored only 12 off 23 balls in the second ODI that India lost. But on Thursday (Dec 21) skipper KL Rahul sent him at No 3 and this move appears to have played in the trick to make him responsible. Samson flexed his muscles from the fifth over of the match and after debutant Rajat Patidar was dismissed.  He faced 114 balls, struck 6 x 4s and 3 x 6s to make 108 and left the scene of action only in the 46th over.  Samson was not part of the World Cup squad with the selection committee going with Rahul and Ishan Kishan. Captain of the Jaipur franchise, Rajasthan Royals, Samson was high in Rohit Sharma’s estimation some six months before the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia last year.  But it was Dinesh Karthik who took his place and Samson missed the bus. Samson has proved that he is worthy of a place in the national team. 
womens team


A Whopping Rs 66 Lakh As Match Fee For Women Cricketers, All For A Month's Work!

These are good times for India’s women cricketers. Not just because of the packed international schedule against their counterparts from England and Australia, but also because of the monetary rewards that come with it. A large group of players who will play across formats (one Test each against England and Australia, three one-day internationals against Australia and six Twenty20 internationals together against England and Australia) will earn Rs 66 lakh! Thanks to Jay Shah, the BCCI Secretary who is in the vanguard of giving a fillip to women’s cricket, a pay parity for representing India across all formats was announced two months ago. The women players will receive Rs 15 lakh for a Test match, Rs 6 lakh for an ODI and Rs 3 lakh for a Twenty20 international. Two back-to-back Tests will amount to Rs 30 lakh, the three ODIs Rs 18 lakh and six Twenty20 internationals Rs 18 lakh. The women also get the same daily allowance as men. A few years ago the BCCI introduced the annual retainership cover and recently improved the monthly gratis for past cricketers who had played ODIs. The founding of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) last year turned out to be a big breakthrough that will fast-track the welfare of the distaff — game-wise, money-wise. In all a fantastic space to be in for the present generation and for the youngsters to take up the game as a recreation and thereafter as a career. But there is a lot more to be done at the grassroots and perhaps a revision of the annual retainers too!


Suryakumar Yadav, The Solo Man Of Twenty20 Cricket

Suryakumar Yadav is turning out to be unstoppable in the Twenty20 brand of cricket at the elite level. On Thursday (Dec 14) at the ‘The Wanderers’ in Johannesburg, also known as the ‘Bull Ring’, the flamboyant Mumbaikar and India middle order,  and captain,  smashed a 56-ball 100 with 7 x 4s and 8 x6s to give thousands of tricolour waving supporters a cheerful time. Yadav scored almost 50% of India’s score of 201 which the Proteas found an uphill task and lost by 105 runs. It was Yadav’s fourth century in a format of the game only two other distinguished batters — India’s Rohit Sharma and Australia’s Glenn Maxwell — have notched as many as four each. A remarkable feat in a format that gives an opportunity of 120 balls to a team to put a total on the board wherein 160 is a norm, but Yadav’s style of conversion rate of his copybook and innovative strokes into maximums (6s) propelled the score over 200 in the third and final match of the short series. The first match was washed out, South Africa won the second match on a revised score, but Yadav’s drive paved the way for a clear-cut Indian win. Yadav scored 117 against England at Trent Bridge and India lost the match, but his subsequent centuries of 111 not out against New Zealand at Mt Maunganui, 112 not out against Sri Lanka at Rajkot and 100 against South Africa at Johannesburg have come for a winning cause.
Amol Muzumdar

Women In Blue Headache For Amol Muzumdar!

India’s women in blue team lost the fifth straight Twenty20 international to England on home soil and thereby gave an immediate headache to its new Head Coach Amol Muzumdar. The first three happened in Guwahati four years ago, and the fourth and fifth at the Wankhede Stadium last week. Irrespective of the outcome of the third and final match on December 10 it has to be stated that the Indian batters’ display was very disappointing. A total of 80 was what it could muster in the second match; it was the lowest against England in 29 matches. With the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 scheduled for less than 12 months in Bangladesh, the signs are alarming. The team’s fortunes largely depend on the wherewithal of Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur to chip in heavily. All three fell cheaply in the series-on-the-line match and India caved in. The girls are raring to go, said Muzumdar in his first press conference after making a point that he will focus on fitness and fielding. It looks as though he will have to work overtime to set right the batting department too. The three medium pacers Renuka Singh, Pooja Vastrakar and Titas Sadhu will learn a lot from Australian bowling coach Troy Cooley, but somehow Muzumdar has to get the most experienced — Harmanpreet (14 years in international cricket) and Smriti (10 years) to click. Powered By: IDFC FIRST BANK

AB De Villiers's Remarks On ODI's Future Offer Food For Thought

The debate continues about the future of limited cricket (50-over format). The ICC has advertised the viewership numbers of the recent World Cup in India, surpassing the previous tournaments in England, Australia and New Zealand. There was a strong appetite to see the one-day variety, but one of the modern batsmen — a master of all he purveyed – AB de Villiers feels that the first innings played mostly in daylight and the second innings under the lights are two entirely different games, akin to chalk and cheese. The South African who lit the flame of electrifying batting across all formats and has played a massive role in the success of the IPL believes that the future of ODI cricket could be in the form of two Twenty20 format segments, with the team batting first for 20 overs, batting in the fourth and last set of 20 overs. All this means the ODI being reduced to 40 overs. A crowd puller, de Villiers believes that the toss should not become the game-changing factor. He has expressed his forthright views to the latest WISDEN Cricket monthly for a serious conversation among the cricket fraternity and the powers that be to take note of. The BCCI secretary Jay Shah has gone on record saying that the future of ODI cricket is secured after the response for the greatest show on earth in India.
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Is It Curtains For Pujara And Rahane?

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have not found a place in India’s Test team for the two-Test series in South Africa, the first of the new World Test Championship Cycle to start from Boxing Day (December 26) at the Centurion. Without a doubt, both are past their best and the selection committee with Ajit Agarkar in the chair believe that the time has arrived for Indian cricket to move on with alternative players like Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shreyas Iyer who have proved their mettle. Recalled for the WTC final against Australia that India lost at London’s Oval last June, Rahane made 89 and 46, but only 3 and 8 in two Tests against the West Indies in the West Indies. His Test career appears to have come to a grinding halt at No 85 in which he scored 5077 runs. Pujara, another stalwart of the last 13 years, made 14 and 27 in the WTC final. The steadfast right-hander from Rajkot; Pujara has played 103 Tests and played the four-Test series against Australia at home and the WTC final. He has scored 7195 runs. With KL Rahul and Iyer taking the middle order spots, it appears it is curtains for these two solid batsmen; the five Test home series against England will confirm the inevitable for them. There could be quite a few more like Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan who could be competing for the middle order slots in the future engagements of the WTC cycle.
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India Cricket Brand Set For A Big Splash In South African Summer

With 44 players being picked for the India ‘A’ team and the Senior team’s tour of South Africa, It will be truly an Indian Summer in the Rainbow Nation from December 10. Once South Africa moved away from the apartheid days and returned to the mainstream of international cricket some three decades ago, India has been a popular visiting team there. Dr Ali Bacher, a very influential administrator in the United Cricket South Africa was instrumental in his country’s first tour for an ODI series in the very early 1990s. The sad part after 31 years is that India will play only two Tests as part of the third ICC World Test Championship cycle at the Centurion from December 26 and at the Newlands ground at Cape Town from January 3. The selection committee has chosen 16 players for the Test matches and another 28 for the six white-ball series matches, for two four-day matches featuring the  India ‘A’ team against South African sides and for a three-day intra-squad match between the India players. It will be a terrific exposure for the fringe players of the India ‘A’ team to make the most of the opportunity.  With the Indian team on the cusp of a transitional phase, a bright performance with the bat or ball would indeed open the doors for successful players to be considered for the national team. Powered By : IDFC FIRST BANK 

Ravi Shastri's Thumbs Up To Indian Street Premier League

The street-smart cricketer, as Ravi Shastri put it, finally has received a big boost to showcase his talent in a national-level tennis ball competition. Shastri, a right-hand bat who bowled left-arm spin and a winner of the 1983 Prudential World Cup, was on most occasions stoical and unyielding. He attributed his learnings during his fledgling days of playing tennis ball cricket at Mahim’s Navjivan Society, especially essaying inside-out shots over cover and extra cover (off-side field positions) as one of the reasons for him to tame leg spin wizard Shane Warne in the latter’s debut Test in Sydney in 1992. Shastri made 206. After being in the game for over four decades — as a player, coach and media personality, Shastri believes that a cricketer learns to be street smart in building compounds, leafy streets, and maidans in the Indian subcontinent and also parts of the Middle East. This particular Mumbai and Indian characteristic is the reason for the founding of the Indian Street Premier League (ISPL).  The promoters are Ashish Shelar, a BJP bigwig in Mumbai and Maharashtra and BCCI Treasurer and Amol Kale, president, Mumbai Cricket Association. To start with six teams from Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Srinagar will play 19 matches from March 2 to 9 inside a stadium. A lot many things are not known, though; most importantly the player fee and prize money and plenty more!
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A Handful For White-Ball Captaincy, But Just Rohit Sharma For Test Cricket

For small mercies, there is not even a whispering campaign to sack Rohit Sharma as captain of the Indian team following the men in blue’s disappointing show and defeat to Australia in the World Cup. In fact, the “cricket diwane” have been quite sympathetic towards him because of the blistering and engaging ways of his batting, and leadership right through the quadrennial event campaign. But news in the grapevine is rife about the BCCI looking out for captains for white ball cricket. Still in the rehabilitation process after a left leg impairment that happened in the match against Bangladesh, Hardik Pandya has been replaced by Suryakumar Yadav for the five-match Twenty20 series against Australia. The selectors have also named Shreyas Iyer vice-captain for the last two matches at Raipur and.Bengaluru. It is not known if Pandya would be fit for the white ball (3 T20s and as many ODIs) series in South Africa to be played before Christmas: in his absence will the selection committee split the captaincy and give it to Yadav and KL Rahul? The two-Test series will be played from December 26 at the Centurion and Cape Town from January 3, 2024. And Rohit is certain to lead the team in these two matches. He had missed the previous series in South Africa that India lost 1-2 because of a hamstring niggle. India’s new WTC cycle starts with this two-Test series followed by the five-Test home series against England. India has captaincy options for the white ball format, but just Sharma for the Test rubbers. Powered by: IDFC First Bank
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ICC Pleased With A Record 1.25 Mn Turnout At The World Cup In India

The numbers are out and the International Cricket Council (ICC) has shouted from the rooftop saying around 1,250,307 spectators kept the turnstiles busy in the course of the 45 round-robin league matches and three knockout matches (2 semifinals and a final).  The numbers have proved that there are takers for the ICC’s signature events, most notably the men’s 50-over format World Cup. The number would be many times more if one took into account the tickets given to stakeholders other than the faithful. The ICC was lucky that the BCCI and thereby India, which was the only host, had the ready numbers willing to scrape the bottom of their pocket to get hold of the tickets made available online. One would be still disappointed by the turnout for the India-Australia final at the 132000 capacity Narendra Modi Stadium. The ICC said that 92000 plus turned up, less than the number announced for the India-Pakistan Twenty20 World Cup match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in October 2022. According to the ICC, 1,016,420 spectators passed through the turnstiles at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and 752,000 at the 2019 event in England and Wales.  A delighted ICC said: “We would like to thank all the fans who contributed to making the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 such a resounding success, and look forward to sharing more thrilling experiences for everyone in future ICC events.” Truly India has kept the ICC event and the format alive and kicking! Powered by: IDFC First Bank
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Power Play And Beyond Should Have Been Rohit Sharma's Mantra

Should not have Rohit Sharma looked at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final as a completely different ball game! Applauded for his brutal hitting to maximise the potential to gather runs in the first 10 over power play up to the semi-finals, Sharma had an opportunity to rise to the occasion and show a ruthless approach that would have taken Australia and its captain Pat Cummins by surprise.  Having been invited to bat, Sharma, according to the discerning, should have accepted the challenge by choosing defence as an option to blend it with his aggression and bat deep.  Probably close to 40 overs. “Australia and Cummins should have seen his face for many, many overs. This unyielding attitude and approach would have taken his game tactically to the next level,” felt a handful of former first-class cricketers. Sharma’s leather hunting methods brought him 597 runs off 474 balls, but the blind shot he attempted of the off-spinner Glenn Maxwell resulted only in a slice and once the ball was skied, Travis Head pounced on it to give the marching orders to Sharma. A chance to become a World Cup legend was lost:  1575 runs in three World Cups would not make him one. His 47 off 31 and 44 minutes was good,  but not as good as Marnus Labuchagne’s 58 not out off 110 balls and 133 minutes which has to be seen as the greatest support cast role played to the grand knock of an unbeaten 137 off 120 balls and in 166 minutes by Head.


Why Change 50 Over Format Asks Sehwag At The ICC Hall Of Fame Event

Virender Sehwag has been a smashing hit — in the traditional multi-day Test cricket and one-day internationals. Quick to earn the “Prince of Najafgarh” sobriquet because of his fearless and entertaining style of wielding the willow, the Delhi dasher thumped a 70-ball 100 against New Zealand at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo in August 2001. It was his maiden ODI century (15th match and 13th innings). In the next 12 years, he blitzed 14 more centuries in the 50-over format, including a double and scored 8273 runs. He was a trailblazer in many ways, changing the grammar of batting, “My philosophy was ” see the ball, hit the ball, not watch the ball and play the ball” the charismatic Sehwag told Ian Bishop at the ICC Hall of Fame, The Class of 2023 celebrity event at the Taj Lands End. Sehwag played 374 matches for India across formats and scored 17253 runs in a glittering career spanning one and a half decades.  Having played in 251 ODIs and won a World Cup in the 50-over format, he believes there is no need to tinker with it anymore.  “Why” he quipped when prodded to respond to the prevailing refrain that the ODI format needs to be reviewed for bilateral series between ICC member countries. The ICC should be pleased with Sehwag’s perception at its event. He also feels that all Test-playing countries should adopt the ‘Bazball” way of playing the game over five days — with emphasis on entertainment.
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Arjuna Ranatunga Kicks Up A Storm, Takes Potshots At Jay Shah

Arjuna Ranatunga, the maverick World Cup-winning Sri Lanka captain and politician has accused the BCCI Secretary and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) president Jay Shah of influencing the International Cricket Council (ICC) to suspend the full membership of Sri Lanka Cricket. The ICC Board consists of representatives of 12 full member countries, three associate member countries, the Independent Chairman from New Zealand, Greg Barclay, the Independent female director, Indra Nooyi and the Chief Executive Geoff Allardice. It’s virtually impossible for a single entity, in this case, Jay Shah — set to helm the ICC from the annual conference in 2024 — to influence the course of action the Board should take. In September and during the Asia Cup, Ranatunga had cast aspersions on the ICC and the ACC.  And recently the Sri Lanka sports minister citing a Law removed the SLC Board after the national team’s poor showing in the ongoing World Cup,  especially after being shot out for 55 by India, and appointed Ranatunga as head of an ad hoc committee.  This was good enough for the ICC to convene a Board meeting and suspend the SLC.  An ICC statement said that Sri Lanka Cricket is in serious breach of its obligations as a Member, in particular, the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government interference in the governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket in Sri Lanka.  All said and done Sri Lanka’s cricket appears to be down in the dumps. 

Concerns Remain About The Bilateral ODI Format

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is about nine days away from a glorious finish, but concerns remain about the sustainability of the format on a bilateral basis. The ICC’s global media rights — digital and television for 2024-2027 — have been won by Disney Star for around $ 3 billion for all signature events. The ongoing 50-over format World Cup has been far from a resounding success, save for a handful of matches in which teams competed to take the match to the wire. India’s men in blue have met with unprecedented success which will trigger a fresh wave of interest among the boys and girls across the country. Experts from England have suggested that the defending champion’s preparation was far from satisfactory after it won the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia last year. India played a maximum of 30 ODIs from October 1 last year, followed by New Zealand 25, and Sri Lanka 25. Australia played only 18 and South Africa 15. The numbers reflect dwindling interest for bilateral ODI series which India incorporates in good numbers to get a better deal from the broadcasters. The players may not be keen to get on with the 50-over format in the future as much as they would like to look at the Twenty20 franchise leagues. What will be interesting is to see what Saudi Arabia does after this World Cup.  The Arab nation has expressed interest in investing about $ 5 billion in the IPL.

What A Brutal Piece Of News For Hardik Pandya!

Fourteen days after he suffered an ankle-related injury taking a hard blow of a Liton Das straight hit in the World Cup match against Bangladesh, and walked off the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) international stadium alongside the Expressway between Pune and Mumbai, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that its event technical committee has approved fast bowler Prasidh Krishna as the replacement for the India all-rounder. On the eve of the India-Sri Lanka World Cup match, skipper Rohit Sharma elaborated on Pandya’s plight and the medical attention given to him at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. That he will not be part of the Men in Blue team for the ongoing World Cup must have been a piece of brutal news for the all-rounder. A livewire in the field with the ability to turn a match on its head with big hits with the bat in the lower order, strike with the ball and excel as a fielder, Sharma believed that for India to run a successful campaign in the World Cup, Pandya would have to perform with the bat and ball.  Laid low by a lower back ailment Pandya was out of action for many months from November 2021,  but he made a strong back and was all set to make the big splash in the World Cup,  but misfortune struck him and India with the ankle injury throwing him out of the tournament. Fate can be so cruel!  Hardik Pandya has been plain unlucky.  
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Shreyas Iyer Becomes A Petulant Child When Bowled A 'Bumper' By A Reporter!

Post-match press conferences featuring an India Men in Blue player are the most looked forward to event and it has been no different during the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Skipper Rohit Sharma has already made a few appearances, and has gone out of his way to give a detailed response to questions without losing his cool. On Thursday (Nov 2) the team nominated Shreyas Iyer to do the needful after his team had scored an emphatic 302-run win against Sri Lanka and qualified for the competition’s semi-finals. Iyer became a petulant child when asked about his problems and troubles against short balls and getting bounced out. Quite angry, Iyer, looking straight at the reporter asked: What do you mean by problems against the short ball? You guys have created this ‘mahol’ (environment). I know to tackle them (short balls), but batsmen can get out playing the pull shot.”  Iyer made the most of the opportunity against Sri Lanka by collaring their  attack — hitting 4s and 6s — and making a swashbuckling 56-ball 82, an aggressive undertaking that ensured India’s seventh win in a row in the competition. Iyer though left a bad taste in the mouth, by going after the reporter in a way he did — losing his composure. Iyer was in a completely jubilant mood though when Sachin Tendulkar named him as the best fielder in a sort of competition run by the team for every match to get the best out of a player in the field.

Free Water From BCCI, Cold Drinks & Popcorn From Mumbai Cricket Association Make For Happy Spectators

Water has always been a hot topic during an international cricket match in India with spectators not allowed to carry it to the stadium because of security reasons, mainly to act as a deterrent on the rowdy from throwing bottles in the stands and on the ground which can hurt spectators and players. Vendors pay a high sum to do business for profit at the venue making water and eatables a premium product for the spectator who has already shelled out good money for the match ticket. In these circumstances, the BCCI and Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) have done their bit to alleviate the cricket faithful’s distress by providing water for gratis at all World Cup venues. Jay Shah, secretary, BCCI used social media on October 5 to say: ” I am proud to announce that we’re providing free mineral and packaged drinking water for spectators at stadiums across India. Stay hydrated and enjoy the games!” After two World Cup matches the MCA secretary Ajinkya Naik made an announcement saying “MCA President Shri @Amolkk1976 the apex council members have decided to provide complimentary one-time servings of popcorn and a cold beverage to all fans attending World Cup matches at Wankhede.” In one stroke the BCCI made water easily available at the venues benefitting lakhs of spectators and the MCA added a cold beverage and the energy boosting popcorn for three matches at the Wankhede. Hope both extend the good practice during the bilateral series internationals for men and women!
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Dharamsala: The Trek Is A Beauty, Not So Much The Outfield At The Cricket Stadium!

Dharamsala as an ICC Men’s World Cup venue has squealed for the right and notorious reasons. The average quality outfield at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium has been rightly criticised, but the hillside venue — placed beneath the Himalayan slopes — has given all enjoyment to the teams that have played a match there so far. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, South Africa, Netherlands, New Zealand and India have had their share of good times there and soon Australia and its Tasman rival New Zealand will have brush there. While the players of teams may not have opted for trekking trails that enable one to admire the lovely sights of the Himalayan region, the support staff of the Indian team led by Head Coach Rahul Dravid went on a trek after the team’s emphatic win against New Zealand. Writing for The Times, London, former England captain Michael Atherton (he is the Chief Cricket Correspondent of the paper) described his 2700 metre Triund Trek as memorable and that that the HPCA stadium was a stunning sight in comparison with the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. A happy-looking Dravid — in a clip posted on the BCCI website — hoped that his sons could experience the richness of nature one day and that it was unfortunate the team could not partake in the trek because of the risks involved amid the World Cup. Why Dharamsala was chosen as a World Cup venue, everyone knows it now!
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Great World Cup Start For Mumbai Cricket Association At The Wankhede Stadium

It was a contentious allotment of tickets issue that compelled the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) to break the umbilical cord with the Cricket Club of India (CCI) and become independent building its ground on D Road, Churchgate in the early 1970s. The stadium was named Wankhede Stadium and the first Test match was played against Clive Lloyd’s West Indies in January 1975. In two years the MCA should celebrate the golden jubilee of the Wankhede Stadium — a venue that’s the pride of Mumbai cricket. On Saturday (Oct 21) a goodly crowd turned up to appreciate and applaud England and South Africa’s national teams that locked horns in a first World Cup 2023 match at the venue which is a stone’s throw from the Arabian Sea and the Marine Drive. The stadium has two gates named after renowned cricketers Vinoo Mankad and Polly Umrigar and stands named after Vijay Merchant, GS Divecha, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar and Sachin Tendulkar — all reflecting the thought process of the MCA administration over many decades, giving primacy to its cricketers. What’s missing is the proper acknowledgement of Ajit Wadekar as a Mumbai legend. The MCA and its 330-odd clubs should be happy that the locals bought tickets ranging from Rs 1000 to Rs 10,000 for the hospitality kind to get a feel of the World Cup that MS Dhoni’s India won at the venue 12 years ago. It was a lovely sight with spectators filling up the Wankhede stands for a non-India World Cup match. Super show, Mumbaikars!
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Kudos To Ahmedabad, Chennai, Mumbai; Thumbs Down To Pune!

While most staging associations of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup — all members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) — have gone out of the way to embrace the media by enhancing the get-up of the press enclosure and elevating the other services, the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) has adopted an indifferent attitude towards the media that has been accredited by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The decision to award five World Cup matches, including the high premium India-Bangladesh match to the Pune-based MCA at the expense of Nagpur and Indore stumped many observers of the game who have been on the administration side of the sport. The previous dispensation in Pune had taken the initiative to alleviate the concerns of the local and national media to an extent by providing easy access to the venue at Gahunje by putting in place a transport network (for two days, pre-match and match day) connecting a 20 km distance from the city centre to the match venue. When the stadium was constructed in 2012, those who ran the association did not even consider making a provision for a washroom for the media. An event like the World Cup should have driven sense in the present administration to create necessities for the media. Those who covered the first match between India and Bangladesh had to take up the matter with the BCCI representative who assured that the media’s concerns would be addressed. Only time will tell!
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Feel-Good Times For Indian Cricket!

These are feel-good times for the noble game of cricket, notably for Indian cricket. The faithful in India could not have hoped for a better and brighter start to the Men in Blue’s campaign in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup: after a shaky start against Australia — 2 for 3 while chasing 200 — India scored thumping wins against the five-time winner Australia, Afghanistan and bitter rival Pakistan in front of a mammoth crowd over 100,000 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Three wins in as many matches — with six to go in the qualification process — has revealed the ambition of Rohit Sharma’s team to make a strong bid for a third World Cup win. If the news from the cricket fields of Chennai, New Delhi and Ahmedabad was most satisfying, then the news of the game being included as a medal sport at the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 from the International Olympic Committee‘s 141st Session in Mumbai will give fresh impetus to the sport across the world, make it more vibrant in India which will target a medal at LA28. After the inception of Major League Cricket Twenty20 this year and followed by next year’s ICC Men’s World Twenty20 to be held in the USA, cricket is all set to go places in the USA and become an annual pit stop for the sport’s administrators to look at the country as the El Dorado to widen the interest for the sport among the native Americans.
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India-Pakistan Match: Pressure As Explained By Keith Miller And Babar Azam

The famous English television presenter Michael Parkinson asked the famous Australian all-rounder of the 1947 Bradman’s Invincibles about pressure in the game of cricket. Keith Miller was a wartime pilot during World War II and his response was as pithy as it can be.  “Pressure is a Messerschmitt (German Fighter Aircraft) up your arse, playing cricketer is not”, Miller replied.  The Australian was considered the second-best all-rounder only to the West Indian Sir Garry Sobers. On Friday afternoon (Oct 13) Pakistan skipper Babar Azam — at a pre-match press conference — was grilled about the pressure his team will have to face while facing India in the ICC World Cup match against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on Saturday (Oct 14). Azam who has led Pakistan in 36 one-day internationals and won two, but lost one match to India in the recent Asia Cup in Sri Lanka said: “We learn to handle pressure through experience. The more you go through it the better you know how to handle it. As a youngster, you feel that when I played for the first time, there was a lot of pressure.” Azam remained unruffled when asked a barrage of questions on pressure.  He deflected each one of them like a seasoned campaigner. Whatever may have been the outcome of the clash between the arch-rivals, pressure will build on the teams to qualify for the semi-finals.
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When And Where Did Shubman Gill Catch The Dengue Bug?

Where and when did Shubman Gill catch the dengue bug? That’s the question that has not been made public. Gill is the new kid on the block who has shown his class across formats and is destined to become India’s captain. By the sheer weight of the runs he had amassed the Punjabi Putra had sealed the opening slot with Rohit Sharma for the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. The right hander who brings in high style at the top of the order to add to the wide repertoire of strokes, scored 74 and 104 in the first two ODIs in Mohali and Indore, but was rested for the third ODI in Rajkot. Soon after the conclusion of the preparatory series against Australia, the Indian team took a charter to Guwahati for the World Cup warm-up and thereafter to Thiruvananthapuram. Gill did not practice in Chennai before the World Cup opener against Australia and it was revealed that he was hit by dengue. But was Gill sick before the Rajkot ODI? Rohit Sharma attributed the wholesale changes for the match to many reasons and he used the word sick. Averaging 70 plus in 2022 and 2023 Gill had teamed up with the India captain aggregating 1048 runs. Overall he has played 35 ODIs and scored 1917 runs. It’s unlikely that he will be seen in action anytime soon.  It’s a big blow for India’s Men in Blue that’s targeting the holy grail of international cricket.
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The Lukewarm Response To The World Cup Opener At NaMo Stadium Was Disappointing

A low turnout at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad for the World Cup opener between the 2019 edition winner England, and the runner-up New Zealand raised questions about the Indian cricket fan’s inclination to shell out money for the matches in which India is not a participant. The global competition got a great start with England making 286 runs and New Zealand, through Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra’s remarkable unbeaten centuries, making a hot chase and winning the match by nine wickets and plenty of overs to spare. The biggest cricket ground in the world with a capacity of 132000 can rarely get filled up; even if the home team is featured in it. But one and all is hopeful of all seats being occupied for the India-Pakistan skirmish on October 14. One may see the good old Chepauk — MA Chidambaram stadium — putting up the full house board before the first ball is sent in the home team’s first World Cup 2023 match against Australia on Sunday. When compared with the Motera venue in Ahmedabad, the other venues can hold only smaller numbers. India’s victory will trigger a massive interest for its subsequent matches in New Delhi followed by the ones in Ahmedabad and Pune. But the response from the locals for the World Cup opener was to say the least, very disappointing.
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NaMo Venue To Take Centre Stage, Not Once But Five Times During The World Cup

In a short span of a little over two and a half years, the Narendra Modi (NaMo) Stadium has become most relevant to Indian cricket. Willy-nilly, the member units of the BCCI have accepted the change in power centre in the last four years and thereby Ahmedabad has been favoured for many international matches. Renamed in February 2021 as Narendra Modi Stadium inside the Sardar Patel Sports Complex, with the third Test match against Joe Root’s England, the most talked about venue with a capacity to seat exceeding one lakh spectators will stage the final of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup on November 19. The NaMo Stadium will also stage four round-robin league matches including the inaugural one between the 2019 winner England and runner-up, New Zealand coming Thursday (Oct 5). The NaMo will also be the venue for the marquee ‘Ashes’ Derby between England and Australia, but NaMo’s biggest match of Titanic proportions will be India-Pakistan on October 14 when the State will be in the midst of Navratri festivities. India would have played against Australia in Chennai and Afghanistan in New Delhi before arriving in Ahmedabad for the third of the nine league matches. The news heard on the grapevine is that the fanatics supporting the men in blue are ready to shell out a couple of lakhs of rupees for a single day’s spectacle; all at the NaMo stadium.
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Asian Cricket Council

Axar Patel's World Cup Woes!

One can only pity Axar Patel for missing his first World Cup bus because of a left quadriceps tear he suffered during the Super 4 round-robin league of the Asia Cup in Colombo. The left-hander was in the thick of action against Bangladesh with his thigh strapped. He was hit a couple of times in his left and right hand which necessitated treatment on the ground. As a result Washington Sundar made it to the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka in Colombo. On Thursday (Sep 28), the deadline day to effect changes to the 15-member team for the World Cup announced before, the BCCI got to know from Nitin Patel — the physiotherapist attached to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru — that Axar cannot be in action for three weeks at least and so the selectors chose off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the official squad for the World Cup. Ashwin was always the front-runner, but once he took three wickets against Australia in Indore his selection became inevitable. The reason is that he is more experienced than Sundar who flew to China for the Asian Games and Ashwin flew to Guwahati for the warm-up games. Axar because of his all-round skills was in the original squad announced at Pallekele on September 5. Three weeks later Axar’s World Cup dreams lay shattered. He had played 54 ODIs, scored 481 runs, taken 59 wickets and was viewed as a solid utility player.

Rajkot Setting An Example, Creating World Class Cricket Infrastructure

The Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) has created infrastructure in Rajkot that could be incomparable in India. Perhaps in the world too. The SCA has reason to be a little upset about not being given an ICC Cricket World Cup match — just like the Vidarbha Cricket Association and MPCA  —  and the cricket fan may wonder why Lucknow and Dharamsala are given preference by the BCCI. But what other centres cannot boast about with pride is the practice facilities created at the SCA Stadium at Khanderi on the Rajkot-Jamnagar Highway. The SCA secretary, Himanshu Shah revealed that apart from 26 practice pitches an additional 12 have been created behind the East Stand. The SCA president and former Ranji Trophy captain Jaydev Shah said with pride about a second full-fledged venue 10 km from the Khanderi venue at Sanosaraa and also at Porbandar. The new venue has two grounds and a clubhouse. The SCA will now be the proud owner of five grounds within 10 km of Rajkot and close to 50 practice pitches. All thanks to the senior most Shah, Niranjan who has shown the foresight to create a massive infrastructure for the local talent to use, and venues that can be hired by other countries and clubs to prepare teams. The SCA can look at improving things at the media centre though!

Ash And Washy Get Into The Right-Hand Finger Spinner Fray

The ICC Cricket World is just a fortnight away and most of the teams are girding up its loins to compete hard in conditions that are most likely to show bias to the spinners. Surprisingly though India will be going into the multi-nation event with two finger spinners of the left arm variety and one of the Chinaman — leg spin and googly. A left quadriceps tear to the conventional left-arm spinner, Axar Patel may appear to have kept the door ajar for a right-hand finger spinner to find his way into the team that will be confirmed on September 28, a day after India plays its third and last one day international against Australia. The two contenders are Ravichandran Ashwin who has entered his 38th year but brings in a 113-match experience with 151 wickets at an economy rate of 4.94 an over. He played two matches of the 2011 World Cup that India won and eight matches of the 2015 World Cup. The veteran offy has played only two ODIs in the last six years, missing 122 matches. The second option is Washington Sundar who will be 24 in 13 days; he has played 17 ODIs and has taken 16 wickets. The final call may be taken by skipper Rohit Sharma. The three-match series against Australia will guide Sharma to make a choice should Patel be declared not fit for a competition that will be tough as it comes.
Arjuna Ranatunga

Arjuna Ranatunga Questions Integrity In The Governance Of Cricket

In a leafy Colombo suburb on Friday morning an animated Arjuna Ranatunga dressed in a Sri Lankan-style sarong and Deklo Technology T-shirt talked about Sri Lankan cricket with zeal. The captain of the 1996 World Cup-winning Sri Lankan team — a courageous individual who backed Muthiah Muralitharan to the hilt and who never pulled his punches back on matters — did not have anything tolerable to say about the way the game is administered in his country, and by the International Cricket Council. “I have raised questions on sports, in particular about cricket, a hundred times in the parliament,” says Ranatunga, the 59-year-old who underwent corrective surgery to treat a troubling hernia and shed his heavyweight status. Ranatunga was a member of the parliament and a minister till 2019 and as he says at present he is in the vanguard of a national movement. The daredevil captain who named Aravinda de Silva as the all-time best cricketer, says he does not like the idea of consultants and advisors because they do not have any responsibility.  He is startled by the decision of the Asian Cricket Council to provide a reserve day for the India-Pakistan match and surprised by the silence of the other cricket boards in the ACC. He says it’s the responsibility of the ICC to protect cricket and that more cricketers should be involved in the governance of the sport.
KL virat yadv


Rahul, Virat And Kuldeep Rock & Roll Against Pakistan

There was so much joy in the end after the rock and roll display by Virat Kohli and KL Rahul and thereafter by the Chinaman practitioner Kuldeep Yadav with the ball that cut Pakistan to size in the Asia Cup match at Colombo on Monday (Sept 11). India trounced Pakistan by 228 runs. India’s 27th win against Pakistan by runs. It was also India’s fourth win against Pakistan starting from the Asia Cup in Dubai five years ago. The big win at the rain-hit Premadasa Stadium helped Rohit Sharma to maintain a clean slate against Pakistan: 3 wins out of 3. It was not merely the emphatic victory, it was the way India’s batters went about repelling the rival team’s pace pack that had troubled India in Twenty20 internationals in recent times. Left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi had become sort of a bête noire, but for two days in a row, India’s top 4 sent him packing with Sharma flicking him for a first over 6.  Aspersions were cast on Rahul’s selection of Rahul for the Asia Cup and the ICC Cricket World Cup after he had gone down in an IPL match on May 1 and his thigh needed to be set right. An eleventh-hour inclusion after Shreyas Iyer complained of a back spasm, Rahul deployed his multi-faceted skills with the bat to stage a comeback with a bang, as they say; with a score of 111 not out!

KL Rahul Vs Ishan Kishan, The Debate Is On!

With every passing day, the debate continues around KL Rahul’s selection for the Asia Cup and ICC Cricket World Cup. The Indian team, especially its main players believe that a player like Rahul cannot be dispensed with easily with the World Cup on home soil scheduled from October 5. Rahul who is accustomed to facing the shining hard ball will bear the burden at No5 with skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill set to open the innings. With Rahul being given extra time to recover from the thigh-related injury, and set to walk into the team, the question that begs to be asked is: Will Ishan Kishan be given the short shrift? The flashy and flamboyant lefty hammered a double century against Bangladesh a few months ago, and recently he batted his way to a rousing 82 off 81 balls at No 5. Sharma hinted that there is a possibility of both getting the nod to be picked in the eleven. Kishan has been groomed to fill the vacancy caused by the absence of Rishabh Pant and everything pointed to the young fellow getting a chance to display his talent on the big stage. Rahul has been out of action since May 1 and he is being prepared for the India-Pakistan Super 4 round-robin league match on Sunday. He will be anxious on two counts — one is to be fit right through the match, and the second is to get runs!
Najam jay

Is India Afraid To Play Pakistan And Lose, Asks Najam Sethi

Even as six teams are competing for the Asia Cup a forerunner to the ICC Cricket World Cup, Najam Sethi, a journalist who has donned the chairman’s hat of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) a number of times and who has served under Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif used his X handle to take pot shots at the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) for mishandling the tournament. He vented his agony soon after the second half of the India-Pakistan match was washed off in Pallekele, Sri Lanka. The sauve Sethi slammed the ACC for not showing any interest in scheduling the matches in Pakistan or the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan was the only host of the Asia Cup, but became the co-host with Sri Lanka once BCCI decided that it will not send its team to Pakistan. What perhaps got Sethi’s goat was the Pakistan batsmen not getting a chance to chase India’s total of 266. Then after almost two hours of play, it was lost due to rain. Sethi went on an overdrive giving full details of the dialogue between the ACC president Jay Shah and himself. The matter has turned into a full blown tiff with Shah issuing a rejoinder explaining why the Asia Cup could not be fully played in Pakistan or the UAE. The Super 4 matches will be played at the rain-ravaged Colombo as scheduled, And Sethi has asked “Is India afraid of losing to Pakistan?’’
BCCI Viacom 18

Viacom18 Shows Commitment To Home Internationals

The BCCI global media rights for television and digital streaming rights have fetched Rs 5963 crore for the five-year cycle — September 2023 to March 2028. The new entrant in cricket broadcasting, Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd, has left others by the wayside and it will deploy its television channel Sports18 and digital platform Jio Cinema to broadcast the bilateral series home internationals. The Reliance Industries backed Viacom18 and made a big splash when it acquired the digital rights of the 2023-2027 IPL cycle and the full media rights of the Women’s Premier League. However, it has demonstrated a commitment to be the sole owner of the BCCI’s domestic bilateral series rights. There is a lot of glamour around the IPL, but the BCCI media rights represent the essence of cricket where the International Cricket Council’s full members play Test matches that are part of the World Test Championship and also the one-day internationals and Twenty20 internationals. These matches are the pith of the home international season and they attract millions of eyeballs Viacom18 has gone out of the way to acquire the rights for a sum that has given immense satisfaction to the BCCI. Viacom18 has made the commitment knowing that the home internationals will have value across all formats, in particular the multi-day Tests and Twenty20, but the BCCI media rights have proved that the game’s future is drifting towards digital viewership.


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.