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Rohit Sharma1


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!

India’s Ferrari Breaks Down

Team India’s Ferrari of a fast bowler has broken down and needs repairs. Only a lengthy time out can come to the aid of Jasprit Bumrah, the quick with a quirky action. A stress fracture of the lower back is about the worst injury that any fast bowler has to endure because rest and rehab rather than a quick-fix surgery is the only way out. Any expectation that Bumrah will be available for the T20 World Cup is overly optimistic. Ask Dennis Lillee, the guru among modern fast bowlers, and he will tell you all about lower back injuries and how painful fixing them can be. Neither front-on or square-on delivery style is to be blamed for fast bowlers tend to break down regardless of what is done. And modern fast bowlers have the additional burden of hard workouts at the gym every day, besides bowling. The BCCI and its IPL franchises may claim to have the best medical support teams at hand but there is no remedy for the stress, strain and the pivotal tensions that fast bowlers have to suffer. And Bumrah’s action is so unusual in the sense that it depends on his back strength more than momentum built up in the run-up. The Ferrari needs to go to the “garage” before hitting the road again. And that is a pity as it affects Team India’s chances in the T20 World Cup.

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.
Collage Maker-26-Sep-2022-03

The Champions of 1975 World Cup Winning Indian Hockey Team on the iconic Kalinga turf

Why Odisha Govt Is Betting Big Time On Indian Hockey Team

Ahead of the 15th edition of the Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup to be played in Odisha from 13 to 29 January 2023, the newly elected Hockey India President, Dilip Tirkey who was India’s erstwhile hockey captain, seems confident of Odisha’s preparedness.  According to Tirkey “Within three months India will be able to correct its identified weaknesses “. Tirkey is also bullish about India improving its competitive positioning during the tournament.  This observation comes from the fact that the Odisha government headed by Naveen Patnaik is obsessed and committed to restore back India’s lost pride of place. India has had no win since 1975 and Patnaik is keen that India reclaim its lost position. This is why his government has invested heavily in creating the world class infrastructure for nursing hockey players and eventually bagging the world cup right to host it in Odisha. Odisha is building India’s largest hockey stadium with 20,000-spectator capacity in Rourkela. According to Tirkey, proven coach and high-performance directors like John David, Edgar Maskar and BJ Kariappa have been roped in to spruce up training and fitness level of players. These three eminent hockey personalities are expected to play a major role in developing the hockey programme of Odisha state making it not just as the primary sponsor of world cup but a major nursery for grooming hockey talents in the country so as to win the World Cup.
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.
Carlos Alcaraz

A Lot More Will Be Heard Of This Young Tennis Star Star Carlos Alcaraz

They give him caffeine shots, which is perfectly legal, of course. And then they sometimes have to give him mild sleeping medication so he can rest properly, that is after hot and cold contrast baths. Every bit of his recovery from time on the court in competition is monitored by his team, which is why Carlos Alcaraz, the tennis player with a comet-like trail in becoming the youngest ever World No 1 at 19 and a Grand Slam winner as a teenager, is considered the Real McCoy of tennis. He was marked out for greatness some years ago but it took him a while to win a tour title. Once he did so last season, he broke through with four titles in the USA and Europe, beating Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the Madrid Open, before going on to win the U.S. Open title. He is no cyborg, but every inch the modern tennis player with a scientific training programme and on-court coaching with a former world No. 1 in Juan Carlos Ferrero. His trainer says he has a good genetic predisposition towards hard work. Alcaraz himself says, not immodestly, that he deserves respect – “I am 19 years old and I have worked a lot in a very hard way.” He is not going to fade out like other young winners of Grand Slams who broke the monopoly of the trio of all-time greats.
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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!
Collage Maker-13-Sep-2022-04

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.

CSK Moves Beyond Indian Shores, To Play In Cricket South Africa Tournament

Chennai Super Kings (CSK), an IPL franchise, is going global with the landing of a licence to participate in the CSA (Cricket South Africa) league in the city of Johannesburg. The 1st edition of the CSA tournament is likely to take place in January and February 2023. As it spreads its wings, CSK also appears to be conscious of the need to beef up its backend infrastructure. It is in the process of creating a high-performance centre on its land at Navalur near Chennai for providing state-of-the-art training facilities to cricketers and sports persons. The training facility will also have a sports complex and a cricket ground for Chennai Super Kings to have their pre-match practice sessions. The company has initiated steps to create the infrastructure towards this initiative. CSK has, in fact, floated a fully-owned subsidiary Superking Ventures Private Limited (SVPL). Incorporated on February 2, 2022, it is headed by KS Viswanathan (Kasi). Significantly enough, this new subsidiary has already provided a loan of Rs 190.70 lakhs to contractors. CSK has launched a Super Kings Academy to nurse young talents.  It has a tournament for corporations. It also has gotten into other franchise sports. Well, the newly-formed subsidiary could well be the fulcrum for all its new initiatives. CSK smells opportunities aplenty, it appears.

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.

Odisha Government Pulls Out All The Stops To Host Men’s World Hockey Cup In Jan 2023

Come January 2023 the entire world’s gaze will be on Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. Reason: The Odisha Government will be hosting the Men’s Hockey World Cup tournament. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has already unveiled the official logo for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023. FIH and CoA members have planned to visit Rourkela on September 7 which will be followed by the official draw for the tournament on September 8. Both the Odisha Government and FIH members confirmed that Odisha is well prepared to host the upcoming Men’s Hockey World Cup tournament in January 2023.The international hockey matches will be spread between Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium and Rourkela’s Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium which is nearing completion. Both cities will be beautified to welcome national and international players and visitors. The new Astro Turf stadium at Rourkela with a seating capacity of 20,000 and allied facilities is set to become the benchmark for global standard. Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra said, “We are eagerly looking forward to welcoming the top teams of the world.” VK Pandian, 5T Secretary said the Chief Minister has directed the state government  to use this forthcoming World Cup as an opportunity to showcase not only Odisha’s capability as a remarkable host but also promote the art, culture and heritage of the state”. Incidentally, the 5T governance model adopted by the Patnaik government stands for transparency, teamwork, technology and timeliness — leading to transformation.
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!
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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.
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As T20 Leagues Proliferate Cricketers May Have To Choose Between Club And Country

Cricket is broken, they said when Ben Stokes gave up ODIs to concentrate on his Test career. But even as the death of the 50-overs format was being freely predicted, ICC’s future tours programme is dotted with cricket in all three formats, as busy as ever. It’s not cricket that is broken but the bodies of star cricketers who are playing too much. The greatest danger ahead even as Trent Boult quits the New Zealand contract and predicates his playing future around various T20 leagues is that T20 franchises will soon be ruling world cricket. Indian IPL owners have bought into the Caribbean, South African and UAE leagues and soon the stars may be forced to make a difficult choice between club and country. Cricket Australia is prepared to spend a hefty packet to keep David Warner interested in the Big Bash rather than travel to UAE as expanding T20 leagues start cutting into the southern summer cricket scheduling in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Spectators used to own the game until the TV stations came along with their multi-million-dollar rights bids. And now it appears the T20 franchise owners, like the club-owning oligarchs of English football, are set to dominate world cricket.
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!
Avinash sable

Eddie Sequeira: Sable Should Increase Speed Between Hurdles To Have A Go At Paris Olympics

Avinash Sable is the new poster boy of athletics sports in India. The Beed-born track star from Maharashtra has outwitted a few champion runners in the 3000 metres steeplechase, an obstacle race run over seven and a half laps of 400m each. At the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, he startled a couple of Kenyans to win the silver medal in a new national record time of 8:11:2 seconds. A former Olympian who ran the quarter and metric mile, 5000 m race and the 3000m steeplechase, Eddie Sequeira (82) said: “Sable has the physique and he is good. If he can improve the speed between the hurdles, he has a good chance at the Paris Olympics in 2024. Steeplechase is not easy, I used to run it in the All India Steel Games. It’s tough. I am sure the coaches are working on his speed.”  Sable prevented a Kenyan 1-2-3 sweep that had begun in Melbourne in 1998. Sable is a special track athlete: apart from creating a new national record in 2019, he won the silver in the Asian Athletics Championship. He became the first Indian steeplechaser to run at an Olympics in Tokyo 2020 and to reach the final of the World Athletics Championships at Oregon22 last month. “He has been remarkable so far”, said Sequeira.  
CWG winners

CWG 2022: India No More Also-Rans In Any Sports

Impressive as the medal tally and a fourth place among countries, India’s performance at the Commonwealth Games is not to be judged only on the strength of the medal haul of 61. The intensity to push oneself to perform better and win medals on the strength of best personal effort marked India’s presence in Birmingham. Eight medals from Track & Field, traditionally India’s weakest area, included one from steeplechase with Avinash Sable, the first non-Kenyan to win a medal (silver) since 1994. A number of medals from India’s base strengths like in wrestling and boxing, besides badminton, helped boost the tally to a healthy level. The sweep in badminton in the men’s and women’s singles and men’s doubles was a triple delight but nothing may have warmed the cockles more than Sharath Kamal’s feat in winning four medals in table tennis at the ripe age of 40. Not only has he slayed the hackneyed phrase – age is just a number – but also proved that such a winner were he to be a country, he would have finished 16th in the medals tally. The women cricketers fluffed a great chance to down the Australians, failing to finish a chase they were handling so well so long as the skipper Kaur was in. India’s sporting enterprise is all set to conquer more frontiers in the forthcoming Asian Games and the Olympics.

Sanjeev Gupta: The Whistleblower Who Has Bowled Out Many

If Aditya Verma of Bihar was responsible for shaking veteran cricket administrators like a leaf through his famous Public Interest Litigation (PIL) of 2013 in the Bombay High Court which subsequently led to the downfall of a few mandarins of the BCCI and forced new governance/ accountability rules on the establishment following a Supreme Court order, Indore-based Sanjeev Gupta has been demonstrating the bulldog spirit to protect an Apex Court order that pertains to Reforms in Cricket. Always referring to Diary Number 24114 of 2013 and case number CA/4235/2014 in the Supreme Court, the indefatigable Gupta with the objective of seeking justice for the game and the institution, has written around one thousand letters to the BCCI’s Ombudsman and Ethics Officer (O&EO) pointing out violations that has occurred in the last three years. Recently he urged the BCCI’s new O&EO Justice Vineet Saran to resolve 26 pending cases in a time span of 24 months to 10 days. The pending cases relate among others to former India captain Virat Kohli, BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly, BCCI vice president Rajeev Shukla, BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal and Nita Ambani of the Reliance Industries. Following his previous complaints a few heads have rolled. He even gave up life membership of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association presumably to avoid a conflict of interest situation.

With No Amendments To MCA’s Constitution International Cricketers’ Voting Rights Remain Intact

Ultimately wiser counsel prevailed with a handful of past administrators of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) like Prof Ratnakar Shetty, Shripad Halbe, Ravi Mandrekar, Ravi Savant and Advocate Nilesh Khandre driving home the futility of a discussion on the proposed amendments to the Association’s Constitution. The MCA President, Vijay Patil too played his part by expressing his indignation at the proposal to cancel the voting rights of Mumbai’s 71 international cricketers. As per the Supreme Court order of August 2018, the MCA became a compliant body with the Bombay High Court appointed Committee of Administrators in Justices (Retd) H L Gokhale and V M Kanade registering the Constitution with the Charity Commissioner on September 12, 2018. The new constitution was in line with the BCCI’s and the former CJI RM Lodha authored Reforms in Cricket report, but MCA’s 330 plus clubs were not given the opportunity to consider it at a special general meeting. A senior member described the entire activity as fraudulent and amendment papers as “raddhi“. “There are anomalies between the MCA’s interlocutory application in the SC and the amendments unethically circulated to the members,” said a peeved member. Generally the MCA members feel that the Constitution in its entirety has to be considered at an AGM, rule by rule. “The primacy of the MCA cannot be diluted. I am glad it fizzled out,” quipped a veteran administrator.

Did You Know It Was A Sports Reporter Who Founded Commonwealth Games

Come the Commonwealth Games and the medals rush of all hues begin for India’s sports persons not accustomed to shine at the Olympics; to an extent even in the Asian Games. The CWG took its new avatar as Commonwealth Games in 1978 at Edmonton, Canada, from being known as the British CWG at Christchurch in New Zealand in 1974. But imagine a sports reporter being chiefly instrumental in founding the British Empire Games in 1930!  Canadian Melville Marks Robinson, Editor, Hamilton Spectator has been credited as the father of the games. At the age of 13, he was an office boy with Toronto Star. Apparently he dubbed the American team’s behaviour at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics as arrogant and obnoxious. “The Games should be merrier and less stern, and will substitute the stimulus of a novel adventure for the pressure of international rivalry”, he said soon after sowing the seeds for the CWG in the Land of the Tulips in 1928. There are 72 countries taking part in the Birmingham 2022 CWG. India has won 503 medals (181 gold) from the 1934 event in London. India’s strength was in shooting sports with 63 gold medals, overall 135. Birmingham put shooting on the hit list leaving India at a war of words with the organisers and the shooters’ dreams shattered.
Lalit Modi

Why Lalit Modi Will Never Come Back To India

The release of the book ‘Maverick Commissioner’ by Boria Mazumdar, which could also be the basis for a movie on the cricket admin hotshot who invented the IPL, created waves among cricket circles. Laudatory in many parts of the man who dreamed up a professional cricket league that subsequently became such a success as to attract more than a billion dollars a year in TV and digital rights, the book does not however bring out the details of why Lalit Modi remains a fugitive residing in the UK. It is no secret that Modi, the scion of an industrial family with a history pockmarked with eventful incidents in his student life in the USA, will be arrested by the Chennai Police the moment he sets foot in India. There is an embezzlement charge against him pertaining to alleged pocketing of $80 million facilitation fee from a labyrinth of payments of TV rights. A court in Mumbai is said to have ruled very recently in his favour while stating the principle that facilitation fees are part of legitimate deal making. Whether that extends to an individual allegedly taking it at the expense of the game is another matter. There is no denying that Lalit Modi marketed a fantastic product melding cricket, glitz, glamour and big biz that has become a global super hit in 15 years. However, he remains a fugitive.

The Apex Council Has Not Moved A Single Amendment To MCA’s Constitution, Clarifies Vijay Patil

“We have to nip it in the bud,” quipped a member of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) about the proposed amendments to the Association’s Constitution at a special general meeting on July 29. “The Apex Council of the MCA has not proposed a single amendment. The members have asked the MCA to place their suggestions at an SGM. I will say again that the Apex Council has not moved the proposals,” clarified Vijay Patil, president, MCA. The suggestions — placed before the AGM two years ago —  relates to denying voting rights to international cricketers who were made members following a Supreme Court order, removing the age bar on officials over 70 from contesting elections and giving full powers to the elected Secretary. An MCA member and a Constitutional matter firebrand at MCA AGMs is not sure if due diligence has been followed to convene the SGM. A few signatories to the proposed amendments have withdrawn. On December 20, 2020 the Shivaji Park Gymkhana informed the MCA that it is withdrawing support for the amendment to deny voting rights to international cricketers. The BCCI’s petition seeking six amendments is pending in the Supreme Court for 32 months. “I am not ruling out a mischievous game being played by a former BCCI functionary from South India who is well past the age of 70,” said a sharp mind in the MCA.

Stalin’s Attempt To Mend Fences, Asks Prime Minister Modi To Inaugurate 44th Chess Olympiad

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin is going all out to make the 44th Chess Olympiad an outstanding success. This mega event is to be hosted at the heritage town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), between July 28 and August 10. A stylised mascot Thambi has sprung up at many vantage points in Chennai. The historic Napier Bridge has been painted like a chess board and a teaser ad featuring Stalin and AR Rahman shot on it was released by the superstar Rajinikant. But, while doing all these publicity gigs the Stalin government seems to have conveniently forgotten to focus on their very own home grown heroes Viswanathan Anand, India’s greatest chess Grandmaster and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu, the new Grandmaster. Except for a “blink and you miss glimpse “, both were not highlighted in the publicity drive. Critics allege it was an intended snub for Brahmins. Stalin moved his pawn like a grandmaster when an opening presented.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him up to wish him speedy recovery when he was admitted to Kauvery Hospital for Covid treatment. Stalin quickly latched on to this bonanza door opener and requested Modi to inaugurate the Chess Olympiad, adding he would depute MP K Kanimozhi and TR Baalu to personally invite him. Perhaps, Stalin was trying to mend fences after DMK leader A Raja publicly threatened Modi that TN would secede if not granted more autonomy. But, will Modi inaugurate the Chess Olympiad? Wait and watch.
Collage Maker-22-Jul-2022-10

Rahul Dravid's Whimper About Scrap ODI Cricket In 2016, Has Become Louder

Will ODI cricket go to the chopping block?  Played over 60 overs a side, initially the 1970s’ new hit and style of play was frowned upon by the purists. Once the flannels gave way to coloured clothing at the 1992 World Cup in Australia, ODI cricket was given the notorious tagline ‘Pyjama cricket”. The new brand of cricket made Clive Lloyd’s West Indies “Kings of ODI cricket” after it won the 1975 and 1979 finals at Lord’s, and enabled Kapil’s Devils turn the cricket world upside down in 1983, but after 50 years ODI cricket that filled the coffers of the Cricket Boards with millions of dollars appears to have become a veritable humdrum. Rahul Dravid was the first to sound the alarm bells six years ago at the Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture.  “I think ODI cricket without context will struggle. All other ODI cricket should be geared towards preparing for the World Cup and Champions Trophy. People can play lesser ODI cricket and focus more (other formats),” voiced Dravid that was more of a whimper at the packed CK Nayudu Hall, Cricket Club of India, Mumbai. In the last few days Dravid’s thoughts have been echoed by Ben Stokes who has retired from ODI cricket. All said and done ODI cricket gets the crowd going and brings a lot of money to the ICC, BCCI and other cricket boards.

After Hockey, Naveen Patnaik Keen To Promote Chess In Odisha Via Schools & Colleges

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik seems to be taking a leaf out of Tamil Nadu which has emerged as the chess hub. It took a long while but it is yielding dividends to TN as it is hosting the International Chess Olympiad, for the first time, between July 28 and August 10 at Mamallapuram. This event will attract 2,000 participants from 187 countries. Naveen knows this is an incredible opportunity for Tamil Nadu and India to get recognition for hosting these international chess events across the globe and showcasing not only its economy but also augment tourism, cultural understanding just as Odisha did by hosting the Hockey World cup recently. Keeping long term aspirations in mind, Naveen Babu has taken the first baby steps in scripting government’s investment support to popularise, promote and nurture chess games in schools and colleges in a planned manner. It is understood that Patnaik’s interest in promoting chess culture in Odisha is only the starting point. It will require a lot of planning, training, patience, infrastructure support for tournaments and feliciting chess players with monetary prizes just as Tamil Nadu did. Going by Patnaik’s track record this task too will be accomplished in double quick time.


Cooling-Off Period Rule Hot On Sourav Ganguly And Jay Shah's Heels

Cooling-off period is  an issue that has been bugging the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for a long time; it’s a  significant governance rule incorporated in the Reforms in Cricket Report authored by the Supreme Court appointed Justice Lodha Committee. It was six years ago, on July 18, 2016, that the Court accepted the Lodha Report. But in spite of the review and curative appeals going against it, the BCCI has been petitioning the Court to allow it to amend its bylaws. After accepting a few modifications recommended by the Vinod Rai chaired Committee of Administrators (COA) the Court asked the Registrar of Societies, Tamil Nadu to validate the BCCI’s new constitution on August 9, 2018. The Court-approved Constitution prevents the BCCI to carry out amendments without its permission. One of the six rules the BCCI has sought relief from the Court is to modify the combined (BCCI and State Association) consecutive term of three years each rule for the cooling-off period to come into effect. The BCCI wants two consecutive terms independently at the BCCI and State. The BCCI also wants relief from certain disqualification rules for contesting elections, nomination of a person to the ICC and full powers of the Apex Council and Secretary to be restored. The Supreme Court is likely to hear the BCCI’s point of view soon.
Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra Looking For 90 M Plus Throw For World Championship Glory

Neeraj Chopra is girding up his loins in Oregon, USA, in order to rule the roost in javelin throw event of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.The 24-year-old from Panipat shot into global fame making short work of a world-class field in the Tokyo Olympics last August, became India’s first sportsperson to win a track and field gold medal at an Olympics and became the darling of Indian Athletics.  After the Tokyo glory, Chopra, a junior commissioned officer in the Indian Army, is looking to surpass his best and throw the spear beyond the 90-metre mark and become a top contender for the gold in less than 10 days. The javelin qualifications are slated for July 21 and the final on July 23. Chopra began his preparations for the worlds with a throw of 89.94 metres, a national record created at the Diamond League at Stockholm on June 30. “I am close to 90 metres. I know I can throw it this year. A lot of guys now are capable of throwing over 90 metres. I think it will take 89 metres plus to win in Eugene (Oregon).’ Grenadian Anderson Peters and Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch have touched 93.07 m and 90.88 m this season, just the motivation for Chopra to go for 90 m plus at Oregon.


England & Wales Cricket Board Rakes It In With The Indian Team In Full Flow

Thanks to the power-hitting displays by Rishabh Pant, Deepak Hooda and Suryakumar Yadav, it is turning out to be an Indian summer in the British Isles, with last year’s fifth Test being the showpiece event in Birmingham. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) relocated the Test from Old Trafford to Birmingham which is home for thousands of ethnic Indians. At stake for the ECB was a revenue of £ 20 mn from SKY sports from the one off Test. The Indians thronged the venue and saw Pant and Ravindra Jadeja score centuries before Jonny Bairstow’s centuries in each innings and Joe Root’s century in the second brought down the visiting team at Edgbaston. It has been a full house, and the moolah reeling in for Cricket Ireland and the ECB ever since the Hardik Pandya-led Indian team provided the fireworks in the Twenty20 bash at Dublin and thereafter Rohit Sharma took charge for three more at Southampton, Edgbaston and Trent Bridge where the Mumbaikar Suryakumar Yadav pummelled the England bowling for 14 fours and six 6s to give joy to the paying spectators. Sharma’s team is all set to play three 50 over matches against the home team at London’s ‘The Oval’ and  Lord’s and Old Trafford  to complete the Indian Summer before the team’s eight-match engagement at the Caribbean.

Djoker Has The Last Laugh In Bromance With Kyrgios

Novak Djokovic had the last laugh in his bromance with Nick Kyrgios as he kept his date with destiny in his 21st Grand Slam win. But just about. For a major part of the first set and in many parts thereafter, the explosive Aussie seemed the better player, serving solidly and dominating the exchanges as the Serb struggled to read his serve. It was his temperament that kept letting Kyrgios down as he muttered to himself, chattered to people in his box and imploded in the fourth set tiebreaker. The statistics are awesome – Djokovic is unbeaten at Wimbledon since 2013 across 39 matches but they don’t tell the real tale. Grass is not Djoker’s best surface though he has won seven Wimbledon titles, same as Pete Sampras and one behind Roger Federer. He has equalled Borg, Sampras and Federer in winning four Wimbledon titles on the trot. The grace of a multiple times champion, who has the albatross of being an anti-vaxxer on his shoulders, Djokovic came through in a difficult year in which he was hounded out of Australia and was underdone when Rafael Nadal outplayed him in a quarter-final at Roland Garros. It was poetic justice as a player a Covid-struck world loved to hate raised his game to beat Kyrgios and keep the long running race for Grand Slams with Nadal and Federer alive.
Bhosle and Patil

(L)Justice (Retd) Dilip Bhosale & Vijay Patil

Twist Of Tale Sees Justice Dilip Bhosale Appointed Ombudsman & Ethics Officer Of Mumbai Cricket Association


After a sort of Hitchcockian suspense, Justice (Retd) Dilip Bhosale has taken charge as Ombudsman & Ethics Officer of the Mumbai Cricket Association. According to people in the know of the intriguing outcome related to the nomination proposal by the MCA President Vijay Patil, the former CJ of Allahabad High Court received a wafer-thin 8-7 vote from the Apex Council, the decision-making body of the Association. Initially the numbers were stacked against the legal personality: it was purportedly 7-8 among the 15-member Apex Council of the Association. A preferred choice of Sharad Pawar, the kingmaker at the MCA for well over a decade, the 65-year-old Bhosale’s appointment will be validated at the Association’s AGM on September 28. The other development at the MCA, with the sudden change at the Maharashtra Government is of whispers being heard in the corridors of power about Amol Kale likely to be elected as President of the association. Reportedly a friend of the man in the news, former Chief Minister and the present Deputy Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, Kale was elected Vice-president unopposed three years ago. The MCA needs to thrash out a few issues with the government, and the prevailing sentiment among a large group of MCA with his chummy relationship with Fadnavis, can quickly fix nagging matters with the authorities.
Stokes - McCullum

Brendon McCullum & Ben Stokes

Steve Smith Mocks “Bazball”, The New Cricket Word After Batter

In the middle of a net session before the second Test in Galle, Australian batsman Steve Smith suddenly shouted “Bazball”. He was mocking the new buzzword to enter the cricket dictionary. But the English are mighty proud of having invented it to name it after their revolutionary new coach Brendon McCullum. He has taught them this method of a fearless approach to Test cricket in which they go after the bowling regardless of how tough or challenging the conditions or the state of the match were. Smith believes Bazball may not work when there is green in the pitch or the ball is turning square. But, in four remarkable fourth innings chases, England have rewritten the rules of batting and it has made cricket entertaining to watch. Bazball may not apply to all conditions but it is one hell of a way to play modern Test cricket, which would otherwise descend to chore-ridden cricket that even less people would watch than now. Many of the modern batsmen do play their own versions of the Bazball – like Pantball that Rishabh Pant plays. Team India may have been at the receiving end of Bazball but it was exhilarating to watch and they could adapt it too provided they can get over the superstardom of some of their greats like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and play more like a team with a positive approach.
Screenshot_20220705-091116_BCCI (1)


Fait Accompli Plight For Offie Ravichandran Ashwin At Edgbaston

The Virat Kohli-Ravi Shastri deduction in the English summer last year that Ravichandran Ashwin does not fit into the scheme of things for the Tests at Trent Bridge, Lord’s, Headingley and The Oval was assumed to be based on the conditions — weather and pitch. A like call was taken by the new combo in Jasprit Bumrah and Rahul Dravid for the newly time-tabled fifth Test at Edgbaston. They had no qualms to keep India’s most successful off-spinner on the fringes. It’s anybody’s guess as to what Rohit Sharma would have done had he not been struck by the Covid-19 bug and rendered hors de combat. On his part, Shastri, in front of the microphone at Edgbaston, explained the difficulties of leaving Ashwin out of the playing XI; he touched upon cloud cover etc.  It was a fait accompli plight for Ashwin though, once his name was not inked in the first eleven at Edgbaston. “Field the best XI” has been the refrain from experts, including the SONY Sports commentator, Graeme Swann, England’s most successful off spinner. Point blank he said, it will be crazy to leave out Ashwin from any Test India plays. Ashwin has played a Test at Edgbaston and the numbers he delivered in 2018 were: 4/62 and 3/59! His victims were Cook, Buttler, Stokes and Broad and Cook, Root and Jennings.
Sourav Ganguli (2)


Captaincy Muddle In Team India, Blame It All On Ganguly

It’s been 35 years since a fast bowler led India. Not since Kapil Dev was dethroned after the home World Cup of 1987 – due to issues involving commercial stickers on bats by Chancellor cigarettes rather than for losing to England in the semi-finals – has Team India even thought of a bowler as captain in Test cricket. While there is no taking away credit from Jasprit Bumrah for having risen to the Test captaincy, the BCCI must accept that it has created this captaincy muddle with so many bewildering changes. All of them were thrust on the team thanks to Rohit Sharma, elevated as triple format captain, running into all kinds of fitness problems before being infected with Covid in England. An ego clash between Virat Kohli and BCCI boss Sourav Ganguly had led to all the dramas we are witnessing today. By making a big issue out of Kohli’s desire to drop the T20i captaincy only to lessen the burdens of triple format captaincy, Ganguly had created the conditions for a peeved Kohli to quit captaincy altogether. Since then, we have had KL Rahul leading the Test side to cover for injury to Kohli and then Rishabh Pant leading in white ball cricket. Old timers might believe they have not seen two players more unsuited to leading Team India.
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Bumrah Says, As India Captain, He Won't Be A Copycat

Jasprit Bumrah has averred that he will be his own man, not a copycat, while leading India in the deferred fifth Test against England at Edgbaston. Bumrah is a man of action in the fast lane, and his rise as captain of the Test team has happened because of the sorry plight of Rohit Sharma, who is stricken with Covid-19.  Whatever it may be, will it be a case that fits into the adage “Too many cooks spoil the broth”? The head honcho of the Indian cricket team, Rahul Dravid, is quite emphatic, nay dismissive, about the hazards of having to work with different captains. Dravid was matter of fact saying that “It is what it is. Even I would not have predicted that there would be so many captains when I became the coach some months ago. We are not fazed by such situations. You have to react and deal with situations.” Dravid has been coach for Indian teams led by Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, across the three formats. And now, Bumrah, who will be the 36th captain to lead India in a Test match, his 30th in which he has taken 123 wickets. Taking centre stage is routine to him because he usually starts with the shining red cherry, but captaincy, after all, is another cuppa!
Praful Patel

Is Committee Of Administrators A Solution For Sports Federations?

Almost six years ago the Supreme Court of India found a way to set things right at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Following alleged malpractices in the IPL, the Apex Court appointed a Committee of Administrators (COA) to run the BCCI’s day-to-day affairs. The BCCI is still not convinced with certain reforms in cricket as recommended by former CJI RM Lodha; but in recent times the Courts — the Apex Court and the Delhi High Court have probably taken the cue from the BCCI case to sort out administrative and other matters at the All India Football Federation, Hockey India, and the National Federations of Table Tennis and Judo. In the year of the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham, England, the Courts have appointed COAs to make the federations compliant with the National Sports Code and “clean the administration” as described by a senior sports administrator. A couple of big guns — Praful Patel of the AIFF and Narendra Batra of the Indian Olympic Association — were unseated following the Court orders. Amidst all the hullabaloo around the maladministration of the sports bodies, a former table tennis player of repute, wondered whether the COA is the right way and solution to bring integrity in the functioning of the national sports federations.  Well, as of now, it’s like telling us: Like it or lump it!
Edgar Su

Clash Of Titans: Djoker Stands Between Rafa And Calendar Slam

Tennis’ great rivalry is set to resume at Wimbledon with Rafael Nadal, the champion with 22 Grand Slams, and Novak Djokovic seeded at the top to meet only in the final. Their quarter final at the French Open was a match for the ages in which Djokovic bowed to Nadal’s supremacy on clay. On grass, it will be a different Djokovic who could deny Nadal the greatest quest of his career of a calendar Grand Slam as the Australian and French Open winner of 2022 sniffs at a chance he has rarely had in his career. His 22 Grand Slams are weighted in favour of clay at 14 but he has two Wimbledon titles suggesting he can master the fastest of the four different surfaces too. Of course, Djokovic, the last player to come within a title of the calendar Grand Slam but was to be denied by Medvedev in 2021 when he was beaten in the U.S. Open, boasts of seven Wimbledon titles in his collection of 20. Nadal said after his French Open win that tennis was a passionate pursuit at which he also won titles but Djokovic is known to chase the record of Grand Slams. It will be 2022’s greatest match if the two gladiators get to the final.
Smitha Harikrishna

WC Batter-Bowler Smitha Harikrishna Won't Get BCCI's Monthly Gratis

A substantial increase in the monthly gratis announced by the BCCI for retired cricketers has brought joy to all of them. The Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) whose representatives — Anushman Gaekwad and Shanta Rangaswamy — are in the Apex Council of the BCCI conveyed its happiness to Jay Shah (Secretary, BCCI); some cricketers took to Facebook and Twitter outlets to thank Shah, but there is one unhappy soul — Karnataka’s Smitha Harikrishna — who is left wondering why she was given the go bye by her fraternity and the BCCI whose President is former India captain Sourav Ganguly. Smitha played 22 one day internationals from 1995 to 2000, 13 matches of which were in World Cups held in 1997 in India and in New Zealand. Those who argue for Smitha’s genuine grievance say that if those who have played only one Test (before the cut-off date of December 2004) can get Rs 30,000 a month, why is Smitha being discriminated against. Initially the BCCI took a policy decision to consider monthly gratis to women players who have played upwards of five Tests on or before December 31, 2004, but the Supreme Court appointed of Administrators extended the benefit to those who played even one Test match, leaving one day specialist Smitha in tears. The increase in monthly gratis payment has only compounded her woes.


IPL's $5.6 Billion Valuation Makes BCCI Bosses Feeling Richie '$$$' Rich!

One cannot grudge the BCCI functionaries if they feel like the fictional character Richie Rich, whose net worth was once valued at $25 billion. The fact is that the prime cricket property in the world with a famous acronym IPL — a Twenty20 tournament conducted by the BCCI — has been screaming about having crossed the $5.6 billion mark valuation; a far cry from the Richie Rich valuation and what the ideator of the tournament, Lalit Modi had predicted; between $8 to 10 billion for the 2023-27 period. But the BCCI top brass must be pleased as punch with Rs 47,000 crore valuation of the tournament that in 2008 was put in place by business tycoons from the textile, oil, beverages, real estate, cement, media, pharmaceutical, airport industry and celebrities from the tinsel town.  SONY Sports held the media rights for the first 10 years at Rs 8,200 crore plus and Star Sports held it for the last five season cycle for Rs 16,347 crore plus. And now the successful bidders for the 2023-27 cycle,  reported to be Star Sports for television and the Ambanis driven Viacom18 for digital, have to shell out Rs 4,750 crore and Rs 4,100 crore to the BCCI for each of the next five seasons. The BCCI’s Jay Shah and Brijesh Patel have every right to feel like Richie Rich!
Meethali raj


With Time Up On Her, Mithali Raj Calls It Quits!

Mithali Raj put an end to all speculation regarding future appearances wearing the India colours by announcing retirement from international cricket. Into her 40th year, it was time to move on for the prima donna of the national team after 23 years of playing Test, one-day internationals and Twenty20 cricket. Mithali took to Twitter to inform fans that she was bidding adieu to the game; her declaration coming a few hours before the BCCI announced Harmanpreet Kaur as captain of the Indian team for the white ball series (ODIs and Twenty20) in Sri Lanka. These two events happening one after another, sent the rumour mill on a spin with whispers that she may have been elbowed out. Mithali’s last assignment as India captain was the failed campaign in the ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. Her team lost four league matches and could not enter the semi-finals. For over a decade she had shouldered the task of scoring runs until Harmanpreet and Smriti Mandhana arrived on the scene, exhibiting lovely stroke play that riveted attention on them in domestic and international cricket. Then came Jemima Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Harleen Deol, Richa Ghosh and Yastika Bhatia; all of whom went after the ball and sent pulses racing. But the famous ‘Didi’ of Indian women’s cricket cannot be denied her exalted place in the pantheon of women’s cricket in the world.


Top Broadcasters Vie For Piece Of IPL Media Rights Pie, As BCCI Reaches For The Sky

The 15th season of the Indian Premier League concluded and with it, global media rights secured by Star India for Rs 16,347 crore for five seasons from 2018. SONY Pictures had won the first 10-year media rights for around Rs.8200 crore in 2008. Fifteen years back Lalit Modi, chief architect of the trailblazing Twenty20 league, monetised the franchise auctions and media rights for astronomical figures. The refrain in the ad world today is “sky’s the limit” for the next IPL media rights 2023-27 (in four categories) as IPL is the most premium product for advertisers now. “The IPL became a premium product after the first 10 seasons. Today corporate first set aside money for IPL, before considering other options. There are a number of them. The IPL is the pivot for broadcasting companies as a whole, not just their sports channels,” explained a doyen in the media rights business. The BCCI has pegged a high reserve price of Rs 32,890 crore for all four categories together. There are reports that TV18-Viacom, Disney Star, Sony, Zee and Amazon have bought the invitation for tenders. NP Singh, CEO & MD of SONY Pictures feels the need for a reality check on the reserve price following a drop in viewership for IPL-15. The weekend e- auction of media rights will quantify the windfall BCCI will reap.
Motorcade for Hardik

The Captain Hardik Pandya Transformation, Leading Him Towards Team India Coronation?

The campaign began after Hardik Pandya emulated Shane Warne, taking his debutant team to the final and winning the IPL. He is now tipped as a future Team India white ball captain. It’s not only his star turn with bat and ball that was impressive. His zen-like calm as skipper throughout the season was also notable, though he lost it when Shubman Gill declined a third run, and he was left facing a Warne-like ripper that pitched outside leg stump and spat as it spun to catch his outside edge. But, as Gill anchored the chase to a triumphant finish, it was well-deserved coronation time for Pandya. Controversy was his middle name as the tattoo-loving admirer and owner of the most expensive watches was once suspended for a sexist comment during a celebrity TV interview. Captaincy transformed him into a studious, responsible leader who has curbed his flamboyance to contribute meaningful contributions. Having faced the axe from Team India for not being able to bowl through a painful phase following back injury, Hardik worked his way back and bowled at close to 140 kmph in IPL to make his point. He was in winning teams four times before but, the 2022 win was special and it has spurred his ambition to contribute to Team India well enough to break a 11-year World Cup drought.
Hardik Pandya with IPL Trophy

Gujarat Titans

Tendulkar Joins The Hardik Pandya's Hurrah Parade, After Gujarat Titans Captain's Great IPL Escapade

The IPL Twenty20 competition is a different ball game from turning up for India duties. Performances in the most popular league may be put down as a flash in the pan but, Hardik Pandya, not long back known for his bling fetish, has refreshingly improved his excellent run of form in the TATA IPL-15; as a batter, bowler, fielder and now, as captain. Hardik’s makeover was applauded by his former Mumbai Indians icon Sachin Tendulkar on his Youtube show #SachInsightT20. “It has to be celebrated, Hardik has been a stand-out as a Number 4 batter and captain. He has outsmarted the opposition,” said the former master blaster. Hardik was the Titans’ highest run getter with 487 runs and chief wicket-taker in the title match. What’s so significant about these numbers is the manner in which he exhibited his gifts all through the tournament. In the final he broke the back of Rajasthan Royals taking 3 for 18 and chipping in with a weighty 34 runs with his bat. Hardik is being dubbed as a hero now, but his true test will come up against a strong South African Twenty20 team that will lock horns with KL Rahul’s team from June 9 in five matches. Hardik is a genuine talent though. The Indian team would hope that his lower back doesn’t flare up again!
Rajat Patidar

Photo Credit: RCB Instagram

Discarded At Player Auctions, Rajat Patidar Plays RCB Match Winner, @ Just Rs 20 Lakh

Rejected outright by all 10 franchises at the big player auction for the Tata IPL-15 in Bengaluru, Indore-born batter Rajat Patidar proved how the talent scouts hunting for gifted players were wrong in their assessment of his class and calibre. Even the United Spirits owned Royal Challengers Bangalore, which played him in four matches in season 2021 did not have a second look at him at the auction. But ‘kismet’ has its own ways to bring luck for a player. RCB chose the Madhya Pradesh bombarder as a replacement for the injured Luvnith Sisodia after the league had got off the ground and RCB had lost two matches. Being an uncapped player (not played for India in any format), the CTC to the Bangalore franchise was a meagre Rs 20 lakh. Patidar showed glimpses of his hitting ability in six matches before blasting away to glory with a 54 ball unconquered 112 with 7x6s and 5x4s. The Return of Investment on a start-up like player was humongous; the RCB eliminated the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group owned Lucknow Super Giants from the playoffs and got within striking distance of the title match. Former England captain and a busybee on Twitter, Michael Vaughan, described Patidar’s match-winning knock as: “Talk about producing when it really counts…incredible.”  A discard at the IPL auction, Patidar became overnight famous with a gem of a knock.
Dinesh Karthik


Gavaskar Wants DK As Batter In Indian T20 World Cup Team, Little Master Endorses Kartik’s Classy Form, His World Cup Dream!

Dinesh Karthik has thrown his hat in the ring for a place in the Indian team for the ICC Men’s World Twenty20 in the Australian summer this year. The smart stumper from Chennai is 36 and the selectors — all bowlers — believe that the keeper-batter who has played in two Twenty20 World Cups in 2007 and 2010, and scored 57 runs in five innings for an average of 11.40 has to be put on trial again for the big event Down Under. Karthik played his last Twenty20 international in February 2019.  He has now been selected for the five match Twenty20 series against South Africa to be played at five cities from June 9. Rishabh Pant is in the squad as first ‘keeper and vice-captain to KL Rahul and so Karthik will play as a specialist batter. None other than Sunil Gavaskar pushed his case saying: “Form is important. They say form is temporary and class is permanent and if a classy player is in form, then you must pick him. The way he is batting currently he should be considered and included as a pure batter and wicket-keeping should be an added option. Don’t think about his age.” For Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL-15, Karthik scored 177 @no7 in seven innings with a strike rate of 11 plus an over.


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!

So here we are raring to go.  But, when I look at the media landscape the disruption is indeed fast and furious. Technology is playing a very big role in how content will be consumed. In the past, we have seen how social media has disrupted the media world. Now, everybody is saying the same thing about ChatGPT. It has reached 1 million users in five days. Its scorching pace of growth is indeed frightening and will disrupt the media industry big time. My limited argument is can it do investigative stories, write gossip items using the digital world ecosystem. Unlikely. Clearly, the original content has to be created first — only then can ChatGPT do the magic. That’s what we promise to do – focus on original content.

Before I sign off, I am reminded of an old advertisement of the early sixties: “Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So we try harder”. Likewise I can say, we are two years old and we are trying even harder to be relevant to you readers.