Cricket-A$50m rebel contracts 'highly speculative'-Cricket Australia

Published on: Thursday, 30 April 2015 //
SYDNEY, (Reuters) - Cricket Australia have dismissed as "highly speculative" media reports that Michael Clarke and David Warner will be offered A$50 million ($39.37 million) contracts to defect to an Indian-financed rebel cricket league.

Cricket-Stokes is fitness doubt for England

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April 30 (Reuters) - England all-rounder Ben Stokes has a back problem and may miss the third and final test against West Indies in Bridgetown, Barbados starting on Friday.

Interview: Axar Patel Only my role in the team has changed, not my style

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Axar Patel had the best economy rate (6.13) among the bowlers who played five or more matches in the last IPL (Source: BCCI) Axar Patel had the best economy rate (6.13) among the bowlers who played five or more matches in the last IPL (Source: BCCI)

Last year, the Punjab spinners had played a major role in taking the side to the final of the IPL, but this time it looks that it is not going their way. Axar Patel talks to the Indian Express and explains where it is all going wrong for KXIP. Excerpts

Q. Last season was a successful one for you as you had played a major role in taking Kings XI to the final. But this time it seems not to be going your way. What could have been the reason? Is it due to the changes that you have brought to your bowling?

I won’t agree that my bowling has changed. When I was playing last year, no one knew me and my role was normal and easy. But now people know me and I am playing the role of a leader. Last year, I was bowling in the middle overs and now I have to bowl as and when the team needs me, which is to say that bowling in death overs and also in the first six. And when I am bowling in the death overs I am aware that my economy will go up, but yes I am taking wickets also. But once the team’s morale is down every one starts to think that there has been a change in my style.

Q. Last year you and Karanveer Singh were bowling in tandem. But this time with Karanveer not so effective, do you think you are getting enough support from the other end? Is it also affecting your bowling?

Yes I feel that could be one reason because we are not able to bowl in tandem, meaning that if I bowl a good over then the other bowler is not able to sustain the same discipline. Like in the first six overs, Sandeep Sharma and Anureet Singh are bowling well and we are not able to follow it up as spinners. So it could be a major reason you noticing a change in my bowling.

Q. These days you are bowling a lot quicker in the air with a sidearm action and going far too wide in the crease. For someone known to bowl with a high-arm action and mixing it up, making it difficult for batsmen, is this pressure that has forced you to bring about this change?

Obviously the wickets are very flat and that is one thing that is consistently on the mind. I usually beat a batsman with my quicker delivery and on the contrary I don’t think to bowl slow to trouble him because if I try to do what actually is not my style, I will be in trouble and the team will suffer as well. So I just rely on my strength and if my strength is not slow bowling then there are more chances of leaking runs.

Q. You have bowled in ODIs and your bowling speed kept varying between 80-90 kmph. But now you are trying to bowl a lot quicker. Don’t you think you are giving the batsmen an advantage to hit you because he can now use the pace. Don’t you think you should rather stick to orthodox spin?

Yes I am trying to mix it up so that a batsman stays in two minds. But when you are bowling in the death overs, you can get hit. So, keeping that in mind, I keep varying my bowling.

Q. How do you prepare mentally? Now that you are leading the spin department, do you think it is putting you under more pressure?

There is pressure now that I am the main bowler and it is difficult not to think of it any differently. But I just prepare myself to bowl to my strength and at the end a good ball is a good ball for any batsman.

Q. Last year you also bowled with a new ball. What do you think is better, bowling in the death overs or bowling with a new ball?

When I bowl tight there is pressure on the opponent team. But now my role has changed. I have to bowl when the coach and captain demand my services.

Q. Which is your stock ball, left-arm spin or armer?

I consider armer to be my stock ball.

Q. Are you seeking help of any former India left-arm spinner to improve your bowling?

No, I haven’t spoken to anyone as yet. But when I was in the Indian team, Ravi Shastri, who was a left-arm spinner himself, had asked me to ignore the advice of those who tell me to bowl slow or fast. He told me to keep doing what I was doing. As a left-arm spinner, the catch is how you kill a batsman mentally by bowling a slower one followed by a quicker one and sticking to a plan.

Q. But are you trying to follow up the way you generally bowl in the IPL as well? Are you bowling with a sidearm action so as to bring the ball into the batsman?

Yes in the middle overs. Because in death overs I try to bowl a lot fuller to the batsman and I think that is why I can’t vary my bowling much. I am also bowling a lot sidearm because if you have to dart it in you have to undercut it slightly, but it is only when I am bowling in T20. When I bowl in the nets, I go back to my orthodox bowling because if I have to play Test cricket I will have to bowl quality spin.

Q. On your batting?

I focus a lot on my batting when I go to the nets. T20 is such a format where you don’t get much time to get your eye in. So you get 5-6 balls and you can’t show your talent much. But whenever I get to bat I try to prove myself and my aim is to improve my batting as well.

Q. How big a platform is KXIP for you?

It is definitely a big platform for me as I have played just one year. I never got a chance being in Mumbai Indians, but Punjab has given me everything.

IPL back story: Batting heavy Bangalore run into MI’s masters of pace bowling

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MI (bt SRH)

What went right: While Lasith Malinga’s return to wicket-taking form has been the main reason behind the smiles returning to the Mumbai Indians dug-out, Mitchell McClenaghan played an equally crucial role in his team’s impressive win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, where they defended a below-par total of 157, dismissing Shikhar Dhawan and Ravi Bopara. Mumbai’s bowling is bolstered by the inclusion of veteran Ben Hilfenhaus.

What went wrong: Once Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard were dismissed there was no firepower left in the Mumbai lower-order to power them forward. Ambati Rayudu continued to be the biggest flop of the season for the former champions.

RR (No result vs RCB)

What’s going wrong: Shane Watson’s captaincy. Steve Smith had a 4-0 win-loss record before his compatriot took over from him. Since, Rajasthan Royals have won one match, lost two and had two matches rained off. Watson has looked panicky at the helm, and as a result even his most dependable bowlers have suffered, like Pravin Tambe did against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

What went right: Tim Southee finally proved that he can be a menace with his swing even in these conditions. He first got rid of Chris Gayle in the first over with a full delivery, before getting rid of Virat Kohli with a delivery that would have made James Anderson proud—an out-swinger that pitched on fourth stump, and had the RCB captain caught behind off the outside-edge.


Mumbai have shown in past seasons that they can easily get on to a winning spree after a slow start to their campaign. But the Royals will be keen to avenge their infamous defeat to the home team last year, which knocked them out of playoff contention. Karun Nair certainly will be looking forward to bat again at the Wankhede, considering he scored a triple-ton—in the Ranji Trophy final—the last time he took guard here.

At home, Delhi will try to avoid another batting freeze

DD (lost to RCB)

What went wrong: Delhi didn’t reach three-figures. Only three of their batsmen got into double-figures. They lost all 10 wickets with eight balls still remaining in their innings. Their big-money buys, Yuvraj Singh—who was once again found wanting against pace and bounce, this time from Varun Aaron—and Angelo Mathews, lasted all of six balls and totalled two runs. Delhi showed just why they have been perennial wooden-spooners in the IPL with their bowlers failing to take a single wicket and stop RCB from chasing down their target with almost 10 overs to spare.

What went right: Nothing. Unless you want to be slightly compassionate and say Kedar Jadhav’s valiant 29-ball 33 to avoid an even more shambolic humiliation.

KXIP (lost to SRH)

What went wrong: Manan Vohra came in for Virender Sehwag and failed to provide Punjab with the kind of ferocious impetus that they brought into vogue last season. Murali Vijay once again failed to make the most of a start, getting run-out for 12.

What went right: Axar Patel and Wriddhiman Saha, two stars of the IPL 7 campaign, finally came to the party, even if only in vain. Patel was at his miserly best for a change, giving away only 25 runs in his four overs, and he also got rid of David Warner. Saha was the lone shining light in the batting department, keeping the game alive with a 33-ball 42.


On the basis of how DD played against RCB, it’s tough to not imagine them occupying bottom-place. That privilege though rests with KXIP, who have failed to deliver an encore after a stunning run last year. And both teams know a loss here could well bring a premature end to their playoff ambitions.

Mayweather vs Pacquiao: This fight is not good versus evil

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George Foreman, Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao bout, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, boxing, sports, sports news, boxing news, indian express, indian express, news Floyd Mayweather Sr. (from left), Floyd Mayweather Jr. with Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach at the press conference in Las Vegas. (Source: AP)

Floyd Mayweather insisted that his blockbuster fight against Manny Pacquiao is about boxing and business, not angels and demons, as the rivals went eyeball-to-eyeball at their final pre-fight press conference.

Pacquiao goes into Saturday’s bout that has the boxing world buzzing trailing a mantle of humanitarian deeds.

Read: The Richest. The Biggest. The Greatest?

The two-term congressman tipped as a future Philippines president has left womanizing and gambling ways behind him and while he stands to make some $100 million for his night’s work on Saturday, the devout Christian says he hopes the intense focus on the fight will be a stage for the glorification of God. “I want to inspire,” Pacquiao said.

But Mayweather won’t be playing the devil, despite a history that includes two months in jail in 2012 for an assault on an ex-girlfriend in front of two of their children. “I am a realist,” said Mayweather, the 38-year-old American who has parlayed a perfect 47-0 ring record into a reign as the highest paid sportsman on the planet. “This fight is not good versus evil. It is one fighter who is at the top and another.”

It was Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach who first billed the fight as good against evil, citing Mayweather’s record of domestic violence. “For the first time in my life with Manny Pacquiao, this is the first fighter he hasn’t liked. I can tell,” Roach said earlier this month.

mayMayweather, an energetic trash-talker in his younger days, has often courted controversy — comparing himself favourably to Muhammad Ali and flaunting the perks his wealth has brought: houses, cars, even an airplane.

But Mayweather, who said this week he expects a payday of $200 million for this fight alone, says none of that will matter when he steps in the ring.

“I believe in my skills. I believe I will be victorious,” said Mayweather, who puts his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association welterweight belts on the line against Pacquiao, the World Boxing Organization champ who boasts a record of 57-5-2.

For more than five years, contractual hurdles and animosity between the camps kept the top pound-for-pound fighters of their generation from meeting in the ring.

George Foreman, Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao bout, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, boxing, sports, indian express explained, explained indian express, With the breathless anticipation has come a distinct backlash. The bout is hype. The boxers are past their prime.

Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, whose Top Rank Promotions is partnering with Mayweather Promotions to produce the event just as television rivals HBO and Showtime have come together in a rare partnership, said the experience had been “hellish”. However, the long-awaited bout has captured the imaginations of fight fans and casual observers around the world.

“I don’t take nothing away from Pacquiao, he is going to be an intriguing match-up on Saturday,” Mayweather said. “He didn’t get to where he got by not beating tough opponents.”

It’s that kind of measured respect that has Roach doubting that Mayweather’s heart is in the fight. “I wonder if he’s going to show up,” Roach said shortly before the fighters took the stage at the MGM Grand’s 1,950-seat Ka Theater – usually the home of Cirque du Soleil.

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson strolled in – only one of the boxing legends, A-list celebrities and casino high-rollers drawn to the event.

“I think he was forced into this fight,” Roach said. “I don’t think he wants to fight this fight. He didn’t get to pick his opponent.”

But the 38-year-old Mayweather said he no longer needs to indulge in trash talk. “Me speaking loud and having personality, I did that in the past,” he said. “I’m a lot older and wiser, this fight sells itself. I don’t have to do it,” Mayweather said.

Arum proud of his blockbuster

Boxing promoter Bob Arum, who is showing no signs of slowing down at age 83, says he will continue to make blockbuster fights until they “put me in a box.”

“My problem is when you get to be an age that I am you are afraid to stop because you wonder how long you are going to last,” said Arum. “If you just put your head down and keep going you figure to last longer than if you just quit. I will do it until they put me in a box or I can’t do it anymore.”

The numbers are staggering even for Arum who has promoted some of the biggest fights in boxing history. “I am not going to project any numbers because any number I say people will say ‘there he goes, bullshitting us again,’” Arum said. “If the numbers turn out to be what we hope for, each fighter will make more money than a complete major league payroll of most baseball teams.”

Arum described this as the most difficult promotion of his 50-year career. He said there is no rematch clause in the contract and he doesn’t want one.

With eye on defence, Van Ass to try out new players

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With an eye on the World League semifinals to be held in June, India coach Paul van Ass has decided to give seven players, who have been on the fringes, an opportunity to stake claim to the national team.

In addition to the 18-member squad which travelled to Malaysia for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in March, the Dutchman has included six more players for the four-match test series against Japan, which begins in Bhubaneswar from May 3. Van Ass, who has insisted the need to strengthen the back line, has included three young defenders — Harmanpreet Singh, Jasjit Singh, Gurmail Singh — for the series.

Harmanpreet has been impressive in the domestic circuit and was one of the better performers for Dabang Mumbai in the Hockey India League this year. Van Ass had highlighted the defence as one of the key areas that needed immediate attention after the Azlan Shah Cup, where India conceded several soft goals. “Our easy-going days are over and we are working harder in this preparation camp. We are rectifying our loop-holes, especially in defence,” he said.

Energetic midfielder Pardeep Mor and forwards Yuvraj Walmiki and Lalit Upadhyay too have been included in the squad. Walmiki, who was among the standbys, was a last-minute inclusion after Danish Mujtaba picked up an injury during the recently-concluded National Championships. Among the notable omissions was Gurjinder Singh, but he too is believed to be recovering from an injury. Walmiki returns to the India team for the first time since last year’s World Cup. Upadhyay, who was dropped after the Champions Trophy, will hope to utilize the opportunity to cement his place in the team after being in-and-out for a while. “We are reviewing our previous performances and working on various aspects. We are trying out new players in the tournament and will give maximum opportunities to all the players to perform on the field,” Van Ass said.

Sardar, too, said he expected the young players to gel well with the team. “We have brought back few young players. It’s good to have many options, which will help us to implement our tactics on the ground,” he said.

The Squad:

PR Sreejesh, Harjot Singh; Gurbaj Singh, Rupinderpal Singh, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, VR Raghunath, Jasjit Singh, Gurmail Singh, Harmanpreet Singh; Manpreet

Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Sardar Singh, SK Uthappa, Chinglensana Singh, Pardeep Mor; SV Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki, Mandeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah, S Singh, Lalit Upadhyay.

Dope-tainted Yuri set to return

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Yuri Ogorodnik was sacked in 2011 following the doping scandal — which involved the 4x400 metre women’s relay squad that had interestingly won gold at the CWG and the Asiad. Yuri Ogorodnik was sacked in 2011 following the doping scandal — which involved the 4×400 metre women’s relay squad that had interestingly won gold at the CWG and the Asiad.

Ukrainian-born coach Yuri Ogorodnik, at the ripe old age of 77, remains the man with the magic wand for the Athletics Federation of India (AFI). After nearly six months during which the pros and cons of appointing Ogorodnik were weighed by the sports ministry and his return hitting a roadblock in March, AFI has got its way and the appointment of the coach is now imminent.

Ogorodnik was sacked following the 2011 doping scandal involving almost the entire 4×400 metre women’s relay squad — all his trainees — which won gold at the CWG and the Asiad. The long-standing coach has had multiple stints in the country since the early 2000s. However, with the objective of seeing the relay squad reach the finals of the Rio Olympics next year, the AFI has been untiring in its push to hire the services of the Ukrainian.

AFI president Adille Sumariwalla has called on the sports minister, the sports secretary and the director general of the Sports Authority of India to impress on them the pressing need to have the coach, who has the experience of working with the Indian relay squads in the past.

The AFI’s renewed efforts were necessary after Ogorodnik’s return to India looked unlikely in March when the sports ministry concluded that his dismissal nearly four years ago, in the light of the dope scandal, was a black mark and hence decided not to hand him a new contract. That he is nearly an octogenarian and has been ill also went against him. But now the persuasive ways of the AFI seems to have worked and Sumariwalla says Ogorodnik is on his way back, a development a top official in the sports ministry confirmed on Thursday. “The AFI has received an unofficial commitment from the sports ministry that Ogorodnik will be offered a formal contract. It is likely to happen this week. The AFI is clear about the fact that he can produce results and we have conveyed the same to the sports ministry and the Sports Authority of India. While his contract was terminated in 2011 after the athletes tested positive, he has not been indicted by the two probes conducted in the aftermath of the doping fiasco. The athletes themselves have blamed the supplements, which they bought from the market, for the positive test. Moreover, our athletes have faith in him and believe he can help them achieve their potential,” Sumariwalla said.

An AFI committee of athletes, including Shiny Wilson, Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, Bahadur Singh and Manjeet Kaur have also recommended Ogorodnik’s name. With the athletics season underway around the world, it was also difficult for India to lure an established coach as most of them would have already signed contracts and begun training other teams. “It is important that we have a coach who is familiar with our athletes and knows them well. If a new coach is brought, it will take him or her at least a year to understand the training needs of our athletes and by that time the Rio Games will be upon us,” Sumariwalla added. “Yuri has already submitted a detailed training plan from January 1, 2015 till the end of the Olympics for our individual athletes. He has been able to do that because he has worked with most of these girls earlier.” In the absence of a foreign coach, who could be the unifying figure, the core of the women 400 metre runners, who will form the relay squad, are training at two different venues with two different coaches. India is the defending champion in the 4x400m relay at the Asian Athletics Championships. But with just a month to go for the continental meet in Wuhan, China, the core group of 400 metre runners are splintered, one set training in Patiala while another trains in Thiruvananthapuram.

MR Poovamma, part of the squad which won gold at the last edition of the Asian Championships in Pune and at the Incheon Asian Games, is training under Mohammed Kunhi in Patiala. Also based there are Ashwini Akkunji and Mandeep Kaur. However, Priyanka Panwar, a gold medal winner at Incheon and Jauna Murmu, train under RS Sidhu in Trivandrum.

“Once Yuri is on board we will have one camp at one venue under one coach. When a foreign coach is around, athletes will have to train under him,” the AFI president said.

IPL 8: KKR exact sweet revenge

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IPL 8, Indian Premier League, IPL 2015, KKR, Kolkata Knight Riders, KKR CSK, CSK KKR, KKR vs CSK, CSK vs KKR, Hogg, Uthappa, Russell, Cricket News, Cricket Robin Uthappa and Andre Russell put on 112 runs in no time to power KKR home at Eden Gardens on Thursday. (Source: BCCI/IPL)

Kiwi in yellow

Dwayne Smith was out first ball after Gautam Gambhir won the toss and decided to field on a good Eden Gardens pitch. Pat Cummins bowled a loosener wide outside the off stump and the Chennai Super Kings opener hit it uppishly towards cover. Ryan ten Doeschate took a blinder, diving to his left. Then, Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum took it upon himself to teach the young Aussie fast bowler a lesson. (Full Coverage| Fixtures|Points Table)

McCullum opened his account with a six over cover. Cummins over-corrected his line and bowled a wide down the leg side that went for four. McCullum charged down the wicket next ball and hit another six over the straight boundary.

Next over, Umesh Yadav was welcomed with a glorious cover drive by Suresh Raina but a turnout of over 60,000 was waiting to see McCullum in action. He didn’t disappoint.

Sixteen runs were taken from Cummins’s second over — a glance down the fine leg for four, followed by a pull to deep backward square for another boundary and then a ramp over third man for a six. It was absolute carnage.
Yadav removed Raina — caught by Piyush Chawla at mid-on — but McCullum was undeterred. He responded with two more boundaries. 52/2 after four overs and the visitors had a terrific start.

Chawla had removed McCullum with a googly at Chepauk. Here, the batsman gained an upper hand with three fours in the leggie’s first over. The fans were gasping for breath. Gambhir’s frown grew deeper.

44-year old Aussie

Under pressure, the Kolkata captain turned to Brad Hogg. The 44-year-old Aussie had an excellent game two days ago, playing as Sunil Narine’s replacement. Here, he accounted for McCullum with his first ball. The latter had misread the top-spinner and was caught plumb in front. Four balls later, Hogg fooled Faf du Plessis with a wrong’un. The batsman had walked down the wicket and attempted a push down the leg side. But the ball turned the other way and Robin Uthappa had an easy stumping. The wily old man put the brakes on.

The momentum had swung towards the hosts. Chawla went through MS Dhoni’s defence and at 72/5, Chennai suddenly had a rebuilding job to do.

But Hogg wasn’t finished yet. He came back for his final spell after Pawan Negi had clattered Cummins for three fours in an over. With two overs remaining, Chennai were aiming something in the region of 180. But Hogg dismissed a well set Ravindra Jadeja and then cleaned up Negi. Four wickets for 29 runs in four overs; it was an outstanding effort.

The finishing touch

Uthappa had thrown away a start at Chepauk. But today he was timing the ball beautifully. A four through mid-wicket off Mohit Sharma in the first over was gorgeous. Ashish Nehra was carted to the long-off boundary next over. But it was controlled aggression with Gambhir taking on the bowling at the other end.

The left-hander flattered to deceive. Then Uthappa had a reprieve with Nehra dropping a relatively easy return catch. The opener concentrated on building his innings.

Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav got out inside six deliveries; 109 runs were required from 11 overs. Uthappa was anchoring one end but Kolkata needed raw aggression at the other.

It was imperative to negate Bravo, Chennai’s best death-over bowler. Russell hammered him for two fours to lead the charge. Uthappa didn’t allow Nehra to hit the groove, taking two fours and a six in the first over of his second spell. Russell swatted Jadeja to the long-on boundary and then sent him to the ‘G Block’ top tier. The game was changing.
Bravo came back for his second over, Russell dispatched him over the deep mid-wicket boundary. The next ball went over the square leg fence. The Jamaican raced to his half-century off just 25 balls. Uthappa had reached there two overs previously – his first half-ton in this IPL.

The two remained unseparated till the end to add 112 runs (10.4 overs) for the fourth wicket. Kolkata won by seven wickets with one ball remaining. In hindsight, the missed stumping of Uthappa cost Chennai dear. Negi had beaten him in the air, but Dhoni fumbled. The batsman was on 28 then.

Robin Uthappa played a very sensible role, says Gautam Gambhir

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Robin Uthappa, Robin Uthappa KKR, KKR Robin Uthappa, Uthappa KKR, Gautam Gambhir, KKR CSK, CSK KKR, Cricket News, Cricket Robin Uthappa stroked a sublime 80 (not out) against CSK on Thursday. (Source: BCCI/IPL)

Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir said the seven-wicket over Chennai Super Kings tested the “character and temperament” of his team especially after the away loss against the same opponents a few days back. (Full Coverage| Fixtures|Points Table)

Robin Uthappa (80 not out) and Andre Russell (59 not out) struck belligerent fifties after veteran Brad Hogg’s 4 for 29 to help KKR return to winning ways with a seven-wicket win CSK at the Eden Gardens.

Playing the formidable CSK for a second time in two days, KKR, who lost by two runs chasing 135 in the first leg clash, had a stiffer target of 166 to chase after skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and once again opted to field.

“It was an important test for us after we missed out on the last game. It was a test of our character and temperament, coming back and performing here was a tremendous effort. I told the team it was an important test if we want to play like defending champions, I wanted them to play freely and that’s what Russell and Uthappa did,” Gambhir said after the win.

“We wanted to be positive and we picked wickets and then chased it down. At one point I thought we could contain them to 140-150 but in this format and on this quick outfield it doesn’t always happen. The firepower we have I knew we can chase it down. A lot of credit to Russell and Robin.

“One of them had to bat long, last couple of times I did it, one of the top three have to do it and that’s what happened. Robin played a very sensible role especially with Russell you can easily get carried away,” he added.

Losing captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni felt 166 was a defendable target.

“It was a very good score. We were there because of (Pawan) Negi. We lost wickets early but we are trying to explore that, we are a bit conservative,” he said.

He was little critical of Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling and said the team missed Ravichandran Ashwin.

“It was a very good effort but if Jadeja had bowled slightly better, I though this wicket would suit him, otherwise a good effort,” Dhoni said.

“Wrist spinners get more purchase on such pitches but Negi bowled well, despite giving runs, and his bowling was very good. Ashwin would’ve loved to bowl here. Once we are back in Chennai we’ll know how he is healing,” he added.

Rahul Dravid supports BCCI in eradicating bowlers with dodgy actions

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Rahul Dravid, Rahul Dravid Rajasthan Royals, Rajasthan Royals Rahul Dravid, Dravid BCCI, BCCI Dravid, Bowling action, Bowling ban, Cricket News, Cricket Sunil Narine was in the firing line again when he was barred from bowling his off-spinners in the ongoing IPL. (Source: BCCI/IPL)

Without mentioning any individual names, former India skipper and Rajasthan Royals’ mentor Rahul Dravid came out in full support of the BCCI move to eradicate ‘chuckers’ from the Indian Premier League. (Full Coverage| Fixtures|Points Table)

Dravid, during an interaction with reporters, said this decision of eradicating bowlers with ‘dodgy’ bowling actions should send a big message to the grassroot level, where the coaches can take corective measures so that the bowler rectifies it at an early phase of his cricketing life.

“I don’t want to focus on individuals. But I do support BCCI and ICC (International Cricket Council which has also cracked down on chucking) in eradicating bowlers with dodgy actions,” said Dravid.

He was reacting to a question on BCCI’s ban in bowling off spinners on Sunil Narine in matches conducted by it – including IPL in which the West Indian plays for Kolkata Knight Riders.

“I support it for a variety of reasons. People talk about these bowlers getting punished, but what about batsmen who face them and whose careers get ruined? What about other bowlers who have clean action but are sidelined in favour of these bowlers and are then lost to the game,” asked Dravid.

Dravid said this issue needs to be addressed seriously at the junior and schools level by the players’ coaches.

“We all can see this particular bowler has a different action, a dodgy action. What’s to be done about it. You have to correct him at the junior level. The message has to percolate to the grassroots level of the game.

“There was a time in Indian domestic cricket there were so many bowlers with dodgy action. It’s good that they have now decided to eradicate it. I welcome it,” said Dravid.

Dravid said he cannot comment on news reports tying him to an advisory job with the Indian team as he’s yet to hear anything of this nature from the BCCI.

“I have read it in the newspapers. I can’t comment on it as I don’t know anything on the issue.”

The BCCI, at its working committee meeting, had authorised President Jagmohan Dalmiya to constitute a cricket advisory committee comprising prominent cricketers who will share their recommendations on the overall conduct and development of the game.

Dravid’s name, along with those of his erstwhile India teammates Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly, were mentioned in some reports as those who would be inducted into the panel.

Shahid Afridi to retire from international cricket after T20 World Cup next year

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Shahid Afridi, Shahid Afridi Retires, Shahid Afridi Retirement, Shahid Afridi Pakistan, Pakistan Shahid Afridi, Afridi Pakistan Cricket, Cricket News, Cricket Shahid Afridi said his last remaining ambition was to lead Pakistan to the T20 World Cup title next year. (Source: AP)

Flamboyant Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi announced that he will retire from international cricket after the T20 World Cup to be held in India next year.

Talking to the media at a function, Afridi said his last remaining ambition was to lead Pakistan to the T20 World Cup title next year.

“I want to not only play but also captain the Pakistan team to the T20 World Cup title,” he said.

Afridi, 35, has appeared in 78 T20 Internationals, besides 27 Tests and 398 One-day Internationals.

He announced his retirement from Test cricket during the Pakistan team’s tour to England in 2010 after captaining the side in just the first Test at Lords. He has also retired from ODIs after the recent World Cup.

“Who does not want a happy ending to his career. I am looking at that in the T20 format. I never thought I would be at this level and play cricket for Pakistan team,” he added. Afridi said he had made up his mind to also quit T20 Internationals after next year’s World Cup.

“I have made up my mind but before that I want to also groom a future captain and vice-captain for this format with the Board’s support,” said Afridi.

He said that Pakistan needed to play attention to its domestic cricket structure and improve it so that more quality players could be produced in the country.

Yuvraj Singh ‘thinks’ Zaheer Khan will start against KXIP

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Yuvraj Singh, Yuvraj Singh DD, Delhi Daredevils Yuvraj Singh, Yuvraj DD Cricket, Zaheer Khan, Indian Premier League, DelhI Daredevils, Cricket News, Cricket Yuvraj Singh is not complacent when taking on the bottom-placed team in the table. (Source: PTI)

Still non-committal about Zaheer Khan’s first season appearance for Delhi Daredevils, Yuvraj Singh has hinted at the left-arm pacer’s inclusion in the playing XI during the team’s last home encounter against Kings XI Punjab in New Delhi on Friday. (Full Coverage| Fixtures|Points Table)

Zaheer, who was bought by the GMR-owned unit for Rs 4 crore, hasn’t played a single game for DD due to a hamstring injury. Yuvraj though is positive about his former India teammate’s return to the IPL field after the left arm pacer played his last game for Mumbai Indians on May 3 last year.

“I don’t know about the team selection, but I think he is playing. You have to ask the coach (Gary Kirsten) and captain (Jean-Paul Duminy) about this but I think he is starting,” Yuvraj told mediapersons at the eve of their eight match of the cash-rich league.

DD have had an inconsistent run in the T20 league so far, winning just 3 of the 7 matches, but Yuvraj believes the Jean-Paul Duminy-led side has played good cricket.

“I think we won two games in a row, we lost one and then won a game and then lost another one. It’s not that we are losing games in a row. We are winning and losing. T20 is a very unpredictable format, anything can happen on a day. But the point is that we need to win few more games consistently to qualify for the last four.

“I am sure we have the guys to do that and we just need two-three special performances in the next four games. We have had good wins and lost a few bad games, so we just need to fight till the end and try and win some games,” said the left-hand batsman.

Coming at the back a decent domestic season for Punjab, Yuvraj, who has been the season’s costliest buy for 16 crores, hasn’t had the best of times with the bat, 124 runs in 7 matches. The southpaw though is not too worried.

“It’s not easy because at times in domestic level at times you don’t play the quality of international bowlers, so at times it’s hard to come in and adjust quickly. I am trying to give any excuses but T20 is a different form of domestic season, you hardly get time to get set and play your game. But that’s the nature of T20 cricket,” he said.

DD have the advantage of getting the better of Kings XI in their first game in Pune but Yuvraj is not complacent when taking on the bottom-placed team in the table.

“Kings XI haven’t had a very good season, we know that but at the end of the day they came and beat Rajasthan Royals, playing very good cricket. So as I said T20 cricket is very undpredictable. Five overs can take the game away from you and we just need to concentrate on the things that we are doing well and if we can bat, bowl and field well then I am sure we can win,” he said.

“I think when guys have been playing in a team for a longer time and have been winning then they are confident. CSK has played consistent cricket and they have the confidence that they can pull it off in a tough situation and I think they have shown it, so they say it” said the 33-year-old player.

Also giving away the ‘You We Can’ bands to the scribes before the team puts on the Lavender couloured jersey for tomorrow’s game as DD celebrate ‘Cancer Survivor Day’, Yuvraj thanked the media for their continuous support for his cancer foundation.

“Thank You all for supporting the cause and wearing the bands,” said the cancer survivor.

IPL 8: I don’t see any reason why we can’t turn it around, says Rohit Sharma

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IPL 8, Rohit Sharma, Rohit Sharma MI, MI Rohit Sharma, Rohit Sharma IPL, Indian Premier League, Cricket News, Cricket Rohit Sharma is confident about MI doing well in the remaining matches of the IPL 8. (Source: PTI)

Mumbai Indians had a break of five days after their 20-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in a low-scoring Indian Premier League cricket game and captain Rohit Sharma said that the short respite was very helpful in recharging their batteries. (Full Coverage| Fixtures|Points Table)

“The break was important as we had been on the road for a while and some of us had played cricket for one and a half to two months. We were off cricket for two days and started training on Wednesday. We hope to recapture the winning momentum,” said Sharma ahead of their key match against Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium.

MI have won only two of their seven games so far but the India batsman was confident that they have a good chance to make the play-offs from this difficult situation.

“I don’t see any reason why we cannot turn it around. We have notched up the highest score in this IPL season and the other day we defended 157. We need to focus on performing every time. We need to concentrate on performing as a unit,” said Sharma.

He was referring to the score of 209 for 7 put up by MI against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 19 in an away game and their victory over Sunrisers in the previous game when they scored 157 for 8 and won the match by stopping their rivals at 137 for 8.

Sharma did not agree that MI’s opening combinations, after he had moved down to number four, have not been up to the mark.

“We are satisfied with Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons, who has already scored two half centuries. It all depends on what kind of start is given in the first six overs.

“They have given a decent start, especially in the last two games. Parthiv may not have gone on to a bigger score after getting a start but he is batting well and he knows it (not converting the starts into big scores),” Sharma said.

Sharma also stated that the team had very little reason to change its winning eleven, to indicate that new recruits Ben Hilfenhaus of Australia and Colin Munro of New Zealand will have to wait for their turn.

“Hilfenhaus has played in IPL in the past (for Chennai Super Kings) while Munro has a big reputation in T20 cricket. But I don’t see any need to change the outfit,” said Sharma.

Hilfenhaus and Munro have replaced injured original recruits Aaron Finch of Australia and Corey Anderson of New Zealand who could not take any further part in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Wankhede Stadium pitch curator Sudhir Naik said that MI’s chief coach Ricky Ponting had expressed his happiness at the type of track the team’s first home game was played on against Kings XI Punjab on April 12 and wants the same type of track to be prepared for all their home games.

“He said it was a very good T20 wicket and that he wants the same type of track to be prepared for all the games here,” said Naik.

MI lost to KXIP by 18 runs and by six wickets against Chennai Super Kings on April 17 before stopping the losing streak at home against Sunrisers.

IPL Live Score KKR vs CSK: KKR elect to field first against CSK

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ipl live score, ipl score, live ipl score, ipl 2015, ipl 8, live cricket score, cricket score live, kkr vs csk, kkr csk live score, ipl kkr csk, kolkata knight riders, chennai super kings, kkr csk ipl, indian premier league IPL live score, CSK vs KKR: KKR take on CSK at the Eden Gardens on Thursday. Catch all the action live. (Source: IPL/BCCI)

KKR win toss, elect to field first in the IPL 8 contest against CSK in Kolkata on Thursday. Catch the live scores and updates from the match here.

IPL Live Scorecard: CSK vs KKR

Catch the social buzz and stay connected: #CSKvKKR

The Build up

CSK look to go one up, KKR hope to make home advantage count

ipl live score, ipl score, live ipl score, ipl 2015, ipl 8, live cricket score, cricket score live, kkr vs csk, kkr csk live score, ipl kkr csk, kolkata knight riders, chennai super kings, kkr csk ipl, indian premier league IPL live score, KKR v CSK: R Ashwin played an important role as CSK restricted KKR. (Source: BCCI/IPL)

KKR take on CSK in the return leg at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. KKR haven’t played at their home for some time now and would look to avenge the loss they were handed at Chepauk.

Sunil Narine barred from bowling off-breaks in IPL

ipl live score, ipl score, live ipl score, ipl 2015, ipl 8, live cricket score, cricket score live, kkr vs csk, kkr csk live score, ipl kkr csk, kolkata knight riders, chennai super kings, kkr csk ipl, indian premier league IPL live score, CSK v KKR: Sunil Narine will no longer be able to bowl the off spin at the IPL. (Source: IPL/BCCI)

Kolkata Knight Riders off-spinner Sunil Narine has been barred by the BCCI from bowling his off-breaks. Though, he can bowl his other variations – the ‘knuckle ball’ and the ‘quicker straight ball’.

Cricket-Whatmore commits to Zimbabwe cricket

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CAPE TOWN, April 30 (Reuters) - Dav Whatmore has signed a four-year contract to coach Zimbabwe, the country's cricket board said on Thursday.

Zimbabwe first Test playing nation to tour Pakistan since 2009 Lahore attacks

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Zimbabwe Pakistan, Zimbabwe tour of Pakistan, Zimbabwe vs Pakistan, Pakistan vs Zimbabwe, Pakistan vs Zimbabwe Cricket, Cricket Pakistan Zimbabwe, Pak vs Zim, Zim vs Pak, Cricket News, Cricket The Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked as they toured Pakistan in March 2009. Since then no teat, has toured the country. (Source: Reuters)

Zimbabwe will become the first full ICC member nation to tour Pakistan in six years when it plays two Twenty20 internationals and three ODIs in Lahore from May 19-June 1.

“This would be an auspicious moment for Pakistan cricket and I am positive that it would open doors of international cricket in Pakistan,” Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said in a statement on Thursday.

“I am grateful to my counterpart in Cricket Zimbabwe, Wilson Manase, for acceding to our request of sending a full side on a tour to Pakistan.”

The first Twenty20 international will be the opening match on May 22.

The PCB has hosted Kenya and Afghanistan over the last couple of years, but no Test playing country has toured Pakistan because of security concerns since gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka cricket team’s bus in Lahore in 2009. Six police officials and a van driver were killed during the attack while some Sri Lankan players were also injured.

“I am indeed confident that Zimbabwe’s incident-free tour shall be the harbinger of more and more associate and full member nations visiting us in the months and years to come,” Khan said.

Cricket’s governing body, the ICC, has been informed of the tour but is yet to confirm whether it will send officials for the five international matches at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

Zimbabwe will send a team on Monday to review security arrangements before its national team arrives in Lahore on May 19.

Initially Pakistan had planned a couple of matches in Karachi but the PCB said Zimbabwe players expressed concerns over extensive travelling and the series will now only be played in Lahore.

Mohammad Hafeez’s maiden double swells Pakistan’s lead to 205

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Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hafeez Pakistan, Pakistan Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan vs Bangladesh, Pak v Ban, Cricket News, Cricket Resuming on his overnight score of 137, Hafeez continued punishing the Bangladesh bowlers and he slowed down only after reaching 190. (Source: Reuters)

Mohammad Hafeez struck his maiden Test double hundred as Pakistan feasted on Bangladesh’s limited bowling resources to post a commanding 537 for five wickets on day three and take charge of the opening Test at Khulna on Thursday.

Hafeez struck 224 off 332 balls as Pakistan, resuming on 227-1 in reply to Bangladesh’s first innings total of 332, wiped out the deficit by lunch before stretching lead with five of their top seven batsmen crossing the 50-mark.

Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed were unbeaten on 51 each at stumps with the visitors 205 runs ahead and looking in full control with five wickets in hand at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium.

Resuming on his overnight score of 137, Hafeez continued punishing the Bangladesh bowlers and he slowed down only after reaching 190.

He drove Mohammad Shahid for a boundary to reach 198 but could not score off the next 11 balls. He reached the mark against Taijul Islam, scampering for two before taking off his helmet and kissing the turf in a restrained celebration.

Hafeez, who fell three runs short of the 200-mark against New Zealand at Sharjah in November, added 227 runs for the second wicket with Azhar Ali (83) who was bowled by off-spinner Shuvagata Hom.

Next man in Younus Khan (33) was also looking good but was beaten by a Taijul delivery which spun past his bat and hit the top of his off-stump.

Hafeez fell to a soft dismissal after hitting 23 boundaries and three sixes, fluffing his sweep shot and gloving a poor down-the-leg delivery from Shuvagata to the leg-slip fielder.

Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (59) opened his account hitting Taijul for a six and went on to bring up his 27th Test fifty before becoming the left-arm spinner’s third victim in the match.

Cricket-Hafeez hits maiden double ton, Pakistan in control

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April 30 (Reuters) - Mohammad Hafeez struck his maiden test double hundred as Pakistan feasted on Bangladesh's limited bowling resources to post a commanding 537 for five wickets on day three and take charge of the opening test at Khulna on Thursday.

UPDATE 1-Cricket-Zimbabwe confirm Pakistan tour next month

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April 30 (Reuters) - International cricket will return to Pakistan next month with a short, limited-overs series against Zimbabwe, ending the Asian nation's agonising six-year wait to host a test team.
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