Will Take Up Four-Nation Proposal With Sourav Ganguly At Asian Cricket Council Meeting, Says Pakistan Cricket Board President Ramiz Raja

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Ramiz Raja says he will discuss his proposal to launch a four-nation ODI tournament with Sourav Ganguly.© AFP

Undeterred by India’s lack of interest, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja says he will discuss his proposal to launch a four-nation ODI tournament with BCCI counterpart Sourav Ganguly during the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting in Dubai on March 19. Ramiz told reporters at the national stadium in Karachi that he has proposed the tournament, also featuring Australia and England, to ensure that players from India and Pakistan get to play each other more often and to increase revenue for other member countries in the International Cricket Council.

“I will talk to Sourav Ganguly about it when we meet for the ACC meeting in Dubai. Both of us are former captains and players and for us cricket is not about politics,” he said.

“Even if India does not go with us on this proposal, we will think about launching an annual three-nation event with Australia and England in Pakistan,” he added.

The former captain also expressed confidence that India would come to Pakistan to play in the Asia Cup next year.

“I think they will come and if they don’t travel to Pakistan we will see what can be done,” he added.

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BCCI secretary Jay Shah has already shot down the proposal by Ramiz saying that India was more inclined towards globalisation of the sport and not any short term financial incentive.

Sri Lanka is due to host the Asia Cup T20 format event this year and the final dates for the tournament will be finalised in Dubai with expectations it would be held just before the ICC World T20 Cup in Australia scheduled in October-November.

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Indian Premier League 2022: Shane Watson Appointed Delhi Capitals’ New Assistant Coach

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Delhi Capitals on Tuesday appointed former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson as their new assistant coach ahead of IPL 2022 season. The 40-year-old joins the coaching staff comprising Ricky Ponting (Head Coach), Pravin Amre (Assistant Coach), Ajit Agarkar (Assistant Coach) and James Hopes (Bowling Coach). On his appointment, Watson said: “The IPL, the best T20 tournament in the world. I’ve got incredible memories as a player, first of all with Rajasthan Royals winning it in 2008, led by the incredible man Shane Warne, RCB and then CSK.”

“I’ve got incredible memories as a player, and now coaching opportunities. It’s come to be able to work under the great Ricky Ponting. He was an amazing leader as a captain, and now to be able to coach under him. He is one of the best coaches in the world now. So, for me to be able to learn the ropes under Ricky, I am really excited,” added the Australian.

“With Delhi Capitals, they got great squad, now is the time to win their first title. I am super pumped to get over there, work with the boys, help them out as much as I can and hopefully, we can win the first title. Can’t wait to get over there,” said Watson.

Considered one of the best all-rounders in white-ball cricket, Watson has been a part of two of Australia’s World Cup winning campaigns in the 50 over format — in 2007 and 2015.

At the 2012 T20 World Cup, he was named ‘Player of the Tournament’. Having represented his country in 190 ODIs and 58 T20Is, Watson has over 7,000 runs, and more than 200 wickets to his name in limited overs cricket.

In the Indian Premier League, the Queenslander has played for Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings and has won the title twice – with RR in 2008, and with CSK in 2018.

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Watson has 3,875 runs and 92 wickets to his name in the IPL, and has often been hailed as one of the tournament’s best all-rounders owing to his consistency.

Delhi Capitals open their campaign on March 27 against the Mumbai Indians at the Brabourne Stadium. The franchise is placed in Group A alongside Mumbai, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Rajasthan Royals and Lucknow Super Giants.

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WWC 2022 – Eng vs Ind

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Loss in 2017 final not important, “right now it’s all about momentum and that’s on our side,” she says of taking on England

But crucial knocks of 109 and 71 against West Indies and New Zealand, respectively, have served a reminder of the value she adds to India’s middle order.

“Big tournaments are very important and your role is more important, you need to take more responsibility and perform for your team. Maybe that’s the reason [I do well in World Cups],” she said a day before India’s game against England in Mount Maunganui. “I always want to give my best for the team but sometimes, things don’t go your way. But I’ll make sure whenever we play the World Cup, I’ll be there for my team.”

As opposed to her career batting average of 35.17, Harmanpreet averages a whopping 53.07 in ODI World Cups and has struck three of her four centuries in the format in world tournaments, her World Cup runs coming at a strike rate to 97. In fact, many of the highlights from her ODI career have come in World Cups. ODI debut – 2009 World Cup. Maiden ODI century –
2013 World Cup against England. Her only Player-of-the-Match award in the format – the 2017 World Cup semi-final, of course.

“We want to live in the present and focus on the good things we’ve done rather than think about past results”

Harmanpreet Kaur on playing against England

Smriti Mandhana, who was involved in a record partnership of 184 with Harmanpreet against West Indies, scoring a century of her own, had said Harmanpreet brought out her “best” self when “her back is towards the wall”.

Harmanpreet agreed that backing herself was the key to playing such big innings. “Sometimes, I just need to back myself and that’s what I’ve been doing, like before this West Indies game, and the New Zealand game,” she said. “When I bat with Smriti and someone who is already settled, it’s always easy for me to settle there and that’s what I enjoyed the other day.”

“The greatest thing was before the World Cup, we got a five-ODI series against New Zealand, and one T20,” she said. “Because of that, we got that momentum and got used to these conditions, and that is the reason which is helping us perform well.”

With two wins from three games, India now take on defending champions England, who are in danger of crashing out early after three losses in a row. England had beaten India in the 2017 World Cup final by just nine runs, but Harmanpreet said India were focusing on current form instead of past results.
“If we talk all over, we started that [2017] World Cup by beating England [in the league stage],” she pointed out. “And we can’t just focus on past performances. They had played good cricket [in the 2017 final] but right now, it’s all about momentum, and that’s on our side. We want to focus on our strengths. Past is history and if we focus too much on that, we’ll add to our own pressure. We want to live in the present and focus on the good things we’ve done rather than think about past results.”

The only aspect of India’s game that Harmanpreet was wary of was losing wickets in clusters, which has happened consistently. They were 112 for 5 against Pakistan, 95 for 5 against New Zealand, and 78 for 3 against West Indies, before the lower-middle order rescued them.

“Sometimes, we are losing back-to-back wickets and if we can work on that… otherwise, things are the way we want them,” she said. “Now is the time we just need to stay relaxed and enjoy the situation, because sometimes, that helps you perform better.”

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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ICC Women’s World Cup: India Aim For Consistency In Clash Against England

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Their confidence high after an impressive win over the West Indies, India would look for much-needed consistency with the bat against a struggling England in their fourth league stage match of the ICC Women’s World Cup on Wednesday. Currently placed third after a morale-boosting 155-run against the West Indies, India would like to keep the winning momentum going and maintain its stay in the top four especially when they take on table toppers Australia after England.

After an inexplicably slow performance against New Zealand when the Indian batters played out 162 dot balls, Smriti Mandhana (123 off 119) and Harmanpreet Kaur (109 off 107) produce a splendid batting display, slamming twin centuries against the West Indies to power India to their highest total (317/8) in the history of the showpiece event.

“I think for us, it is very important the way we performed in the last game; we just need to continue that, rather than thinking about what are your negatives and what are your positive points,” vice-captain Kaur told reporters on the eve of the game.

Both openers — Mandhana and Yastika Bhatia — showed intent from the very beginning, something coach Romesh Powar had stressed upon ahead of the match.

Mandhana played a fluent 123 run-knock while Kaur also continued her fine run, bringing up her fourth ton and the first since hitting the famous 171 not out against Australia in the 2017 World Cup.

The duo will be eager to continue in the same vein with the race for semifinal berths heating up.

However, all-rounder Deepti Sharma, who has been elevated to the top, has to do more with the bat as does skipper Mithali Raj, who has also been off the boil recently.

Young Richa Ghosh, who has been brilliant behind the wickets, has so far crumbled under the pressure with the bat. The 18-year-old is yet to replicate her sensational form against New Zealand last month.

India also have quality all-rounders with Sneh Rana and Puja Vastrakar already displaying their ability to convert a poor show into brilliant final outcome.

The bowling unit, that seemed a cause of concern heading into the World Cup, has so far delivered for the team.

While pacers Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar and Jhulan Goswami are doing a decent job, the bulk of the wickets have been shared between the spinners — Rajeshwari Gayakwad (7), who is third on the list of leading wicket takers in the tournament, and Sneh Rana (5 wickets).

Gayakward (3.36) and Rana (3.44) also have the third and fourth best economy rates in the tournament respectively.

On the other hand, England’s title defence has been off to a disastrous start. Heather Knight and Co. have lost all three of their matches to slip down to the seventh spot on the points table.

Their inability to close matches in the dying minutes has cost the defending champions dearly.

A loss against India on Wednesday mean the possibility of making the top four would be completely out of their hands, a prospect England would definitely want to avoid.

The defending champions have been sloppy on the field as fielding errors have crept into their performances with several dropped chances and missed stumpings.

Opener Tammy Beaumont continues to remain their star performer with the bat while spinner Sophie Ecclestone and all-rounder Nat Scriver are the team’s leading wicket takers with four scalps each.

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Squads: India: Mithali Raj (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Harmanpreet Kaur, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Rich Ghosh (wk), Taniya Bhatia (wk), Sneh Rana, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Jhulan Goswami, Renuka Singh.

England: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Amy Jones, Emma Lamb, Nat Sciver), Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt.

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IPL 2022 – New man on strike even if batters cross over when a catch is taken

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Number of reviews increased from one to two per innings in the upcoming season

Irrespective of whether the batters have crossed over or not at the point of a catch being taken, the incoming batter will be on strike, except on the last ball of an over, in IPL 2022. That, and the number of reviews going up from one – introduced in 2018 – to two per innings are among key updates to the tournament’s playing conditions, put out ahead of the upcoming season, starting March 26.

Covid-19 might be perceived as a lesser threat around India at the moment than it was even a few months ago, but there remains a worry that, like was the case with Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat at the recent BBL, teams might have a number of players unavailable for a particular match. In that case, where a team has fewer than 12 players available – 11 on the field, of which at least seven must be Indian, and one substitute – for selection, the BCCI, “at its discretion, will attempt to reschedule the match for later in the season”. If, for whatever reason, this is not possible, the matter will be referred to the technical committee of the IPL, and the decision of the committee will be “final and binding”.

Earlier, the rule was that if rescheduling the match was not possible, the franchise unable to field a team would be deemed to have lost the match, and their opponents would win full points.

The tweak in the law of the game vis-à-vis batters crossing over before a catch was taken and, the new batter going to the non-striker’s end, was changed by the MCC earlier this month, but the law comes into effect for international cricket only later this year, in October. The IPL has, however, decided to enforce it straightaway.

The decision to change the law came as a result of it being trialled in the Hundred last year, as a way of further rewarding the bowler for taking a wicket.

In terms of disciplinary procedures, the BCCI has said that “in the event post of Ombudsman is vacant then the Commission comprising of the members of the IPL Code of Behaviour Committee will step in to the role of Ombudsman”.

More to follow…

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India vs Sri Lanka: Sunil Gavaskar’s “Could Be The Next Big Thing” Prediction For India Cricketer After Test Series Win

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IND vs SL: Shreyas Iyer scored half-centuries in each innings of the second Test.© Instagram

The Test matches against Sri Lanka at home gave India exactly what the doctor had ordered in terms of confidence and stability after enduring a tough 2-1 Test series loss against South Africa earlier in the year. Under the leadership of newly-appointed skipper Rohit Sharma, India came out trumps against Sri Lanka, who were completely outplayed by a dominant Indian side . After an innings win in the first Test in Mohali, India registered a 238-run victory to whitewash the Sri Lankans in the two-match Test series.

But some fine performances all round from the Indian players will be giving Rohit Sharma and the team management a selection headache.

Shreyas Iyer, in particular, impressed everyone with a Test debut century against New Zealand at home last year and continued his good form in the home Tests against Sri Lanka.

Iyer scored 27 in the first innings in Mohali but roared back into form in the second Test where he played a gutsy knock of 92 runs in the first innings followed by a stupendous knock of 67 runs in the second.

This purple patch was also acknowledged by legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar in the post-match show on Star Sports.

Gavaskar praised Iyer for grabbing the opportunity with both hands and even said that he “could be the next big thing” in Indian cricket in the coming months.

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“Because anybody who plays the way he did…it is very attractive batting that he has, the shots that he has. He is a good-looking young man. So, it all points to the fact that in the next six-eight months he could be the next big thing in Indian cricket.”

India’s next Test assignment will be against England at Edgbaston from July 1.

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Dhaka Premier League – Hanuma Vihari and Abhimanyu Easwaran among seven Indians signed up by DPL teams

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Pakistan veteran Mohammad Hafeez and Zimbabwe allrounder Sikandar Raza are also in the mix

Vihari, who was a part of India’s Test XI, which completed a 2-0 sweep over Sri Lanka in Mohali and Bengaluru, will head home to Hyderabad for a short break before traveling to Dhaka. He is expected to join his team, Abahani Limited, later this week. He will miss the first three games of the season for the team, and Afghanistan middle-order batter Najibullah Zadran has been signed up by the club for those games.

Abhimanyu, captain of the Bengal first-class side in India’s domestic circuit and also on the fringes of the national Test side, which he has been with as a reserve in recent times, will turn out for Prime Bank. Rasool will play for Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi, Aparajith for Rupganj Tigers, Menaria for Khelaghar, Jani for Legends of Rupganj, and Gurinder for Gazi Group Cricketers.

Vihari, Abhimanyu, Aparajith, Menaria and Rasool aren’t strangers to the DPL, having taken part in it before Covid-19 struck in 2019-2020. Other prominent Indian players, like Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary and Yusuf Pathan, have also played in the DPL in the past.
This season, all the participating teams have been allowed one overseas player. Apart from the Indians, Pakistan veteran Mohammad Hafeez will play for Mohammedan Sporting and Zimbabwe allrounder Sikandar Raza will turn out for Shinepukur.

Traditionally a 50-overs tournament, the DPL was tweaked to a T20 format last year to give national players game time in preparation for the T20 World Cup in late 2021. That was also the only year when no foreign players were brought in.

The DPL features 11 teams, which will play each other once in a round-robin format. The top six teams then play each other in the Super League once. The bottom two teams from the league phase will be relegated to Dhaka’s first division league.

The addition of several overseas players adds some heft to a competition that will largely be devoid of local star power, as the national team is currently in South Africa preparing for three ODIs and two Tests. With the tour set to end on April 12, it’s likely the country’s top players will only be available for the last two weeks of the competition.

April to September is typically seen as a free window for India’s domestic players that don’t have IPL teams. While some head to Bangladesh for the DPL, some others, like Faiz Fazal, have featured in club cricket in the UK. This season, too, Cheteshwar Pujara will play for Sussex in the English county circuit.

This year, the BCCI is in the process of concluding the first phase – league and one pre-quarter-final -of a truncated Ranji Trophy, with the knockouts scheduled for June, after the IPL.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Shoaib Akhtar Trolls Pakistan After 1st Innings Collapse vs Australia

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PAK vs AUS: Pakistan were bundled out for 148 runs in the first innings in Karachi.© AFP

Ex-Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar slammed his country’s mediocre outing with the bat as they folded for just 148 runs in the first innings in reply to Australia’s 556/9 declared in the ongoing Karachi Test. The flurry of wickets that saw the back of seven Pakistan batters for just 100 runs on the board showcased the lack of application by the home team which disappointed many, including Akhtar. Akhtar took to Twitter to bring out his frustration, he wrote, “Haanji boredom duur ho gaya sab ka including me. 100/7 must be entertaining.”

After the pitch in the first Test in Rawalpindi was criticized for having very little assistance for bowlers, the Australian faster bowlers in Karachi exploited the barren patches in the Karachi track to good effect as they combined to claim five crucial wickets.

Skipper Babar Azam top-scored with 36 runs as he turned into a spectator at the non-striker’s end, seeing wickets tumble regularly from the other end.

Left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc was the main destroyer as he took three wickets for 29 runs in 13 overs, a spell which included five maidens.

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Captain Pat Cummins and all-rounder Cameron Green took one wicket each. Pakistan were bowled out for 148 in reply to Australia’s mammoth first innings score of 556/9 declared.

In their second innings, Australia were 81/1 at stumps on Day 3 enjoying a huge lead of 489 runs.

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ICC World Test Championship Points Table: India Jump To 4th Spot After 2-0 Series Win vs Sri Lanka

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IND vs SL: India moved up one spot in the latest updated ICC WTC points table.© BCCI

The Indian men’s cricket team moved up one place to take the fourth spot in the latest World Test Championship points table after their dominating performance on the third day of second Test in Bengaluru, which saw them clinch the series 2-0. The table is currently led by Australia, followed by Pakistan and then South Africa in the third place. India’s ascension in the points table comes after back-to-back victories in Mohali and then in Bengaluru. The series victory will bring in some much-needed relief to the Indian camp following their 2-1 series loss in South Africa earlier this year.

India, who started the series at fifth spot, came out victorious in the first Test in Mohali by an innings and 222 runs followed by a comfortable 238-run victory in Bengaluru.

India’s next assignment in the longest format will be against England on July 1 at Edgbaston.

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Moving over to the Test series in the Caribbean, the West Indies team were penalised two points in the ICC World Test Championship Standings after being found to be two overs short in the first Test against England that ended as a draw on March 13.

The second Test between West Indies will be played from March 16 at the Kensington Oval Barbados followed by the last Test from March 24 at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.

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IND vs SL: Ravichandran Ashwin First Player To Reach This Huge Milestone In World Test Championship

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Ravichandran Ashwin became the first player to take 100 wickets in World Test Championship.© BCCI

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin achieved yet another feat on Monday as India defeated Sri Lanka in the second and final Test by 238 runs in Bengaluru. Ashwin, who picked six wickets (2 for 30; 4 for 55) in the match, became the first player to take 100 wickets in World Test Championship (WTC). Ashwin, who had ended up as the highest wicket-taker with 71 wickets in 14 matches during the last WTC cycle, has already bagged 29 wickets in seven matches so far in the ongoing cycle, taking his tally to 100 in 21 games. Thus, becoming the first cricketer to achieve a century of wickets in WTC.

Ashwin is sixth in the current list of top wicket-takers in this WTC cycle, which is topped by his teammate Jasprit Bumrah (40).

Ashwin also surpassed former South Africa pacer Dale Steyn’s tally of 439 Test wickets to become the 8th highest wicket-taker in the history of the longest format on Day 3 of the pink-ball Test on Monday.

The 35-year-old now trails the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Shane Warne (708), and James Anderson (640*), Anil Kumble (619), Glenn McGrath (563), Stuart Broad (537) and Courtney Walsh (519).

However, he is third among current active players, behind England pacers Anderson and Broad.

Ashwin is also India’s second-highest wicket-taker after the legendary Kumble.

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In the first Test match of the series in Mohali, Ashwin had overtaken former India captain Kapil Dev’s tally of 434 wickets to become country’s second-highest wicket-taker in the history of Test cricket.

Overall, Ashwin has taken 442 Test wickets in 86 matches, including 30 five-fors and seven 10-wicket hauls.

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