Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cricket Australia likely to send their players to SLPL

Cricket Australia (CA) is likely to allow its players to participate in next month's inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) Twenty20 tournament.

CA's stand is in stark contrast to the one of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which banned its players from taking part in SLPL, leaving the island nation "surprised and hurt".

BCCI said the involvement of the Singapore-based private firm Somerset Entertainment Ventures in the running of SLPL was the reason for it denying permission to play for Indian cricketers.

CA acting chief executive Michael Brown said he would discuss details of the tournament, which runs from July 19 to Aug 4, with Sri Lanka Cricket officials at the International Cricket Council's annual conference in Hong Kong next week, but indicated it had CA's "in principle" support.

"We've got a number of CA camps during July, so our players will be training in preparation for the tour (of Sri Lanka) two days after the SLPL finishes - they'll be locked into camps," Brown was quoted as saying in The Telegraph. "For the other guys, we just need to find out what the comp is, who's involved.

"We want to support Sri Lanka Cricket, like we want them to support us. We want their players to play in our Big Bash."

The SLPL will be played in Colombo and feature seven teams, each with up to five international players.

The fact that Australia's tour of Sri Lanka begins with limited-overs matches should preclude any CA-contracted players from participating.

But some state players, such as Victoria's Brad Hodge and Dirk Nannes, and South Australia's Aiden Blizzard and Daniel Christian, are already confirmed participants.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bhopal to have international cricket stadium

With Bhopal fast emerging as a major sports centre in the country, the city will soon get a state-of-the-art cricket stadium as announced by the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

"As per the announcement by the chief minister we have identified land at four places near Bhopal for the construction of the international level cricket stadium," Bhopal Collector, Nikunj Shrivastava told PTI.

"We have identified nearly 50 acre of land each at Mugalia Chaap, Mugalia Kot, Barkheda Nathu and Fatehpur Dogra villages for the construction of the stadium and a proposal in this regard has been sent to the Sports Directorate for selecting the suitable land at any of the above places," the Collector said.

"Once they identify the suitable land, the district administration will allot it to the concerned agency for the development of the international level cricket stadium," he said.

After India's World Cup final victory over Sri Lanka in April this year, Chouhan had announced to build a world class cricket stadium in Bhopal soon.

At present, international level cricket matches in the state are held at Indore and Gwalior.

Bhopal also boasts of having National Sailing School at the famous Upper Lake where national level sailing and other water sports have become a regular feature.

Sports Authority of India's (SAI) Uddhav Das Mehta Central Regional Centre is also located in the city at Gora Bishankhedi village, spread across 100 acres.

The Centre has world-class sports infrastructure and hosts the conditioning camp for national men's and women's hockey teams.

Bhopal is also known as the nursery of hockey in the country and the city regularly holds Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup tournament.

MP's sports director, Sanjay Choudhry told PTI that keeping in mind the state's sports potential, the government has raised the sports budget to Rs 32 crore which is six crore more than the previous year.

Not only Bhopal, but Indore and Gwalior too have emerged as major sports centres in the state.

Indore not only hosts international level cricket tournaments, but also national and international level tennis, basketball, table tennis and shooting championships.

Gwalior also boasts of major sports facilities which included Captain Roop Singh Stadium for cricket matches and Laxmibai National University of Physical Education.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

India aim to strengthen hold, WI aim revival

It was not the most comprehensive of wins but having taken a morale-boosting 1-0 lead in the series, India would look to press home the advantage against a nervy West Indies in the second one-dayer, on Wednesday.

The four-wicket win in the first one-dayer came after a wobbly start and the second-string Indian team would be aiming to plug the loopholes as the series progresses.

Missing key players Sachin Tendulkar and regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the young team led by Suresh Raina benefited from the West Indians' follies in the lung-opener.

The Caribbeans, on the other hand, would hope to tilt the scale in their favour by picking up on the few positives they gained from the four-wicket loss at the Queen's Park Oval here on Monday night.

The hosts might have lost the first game by four wickets but they were probably 30 runs and a wicket away from walking away as winners.

Even though the pitch was sluggish, West Indies could have tested India with a score of 250-plus. That score was a possibility till key men Ramnaresh Sarwan (56) and Marlon Samuels (55), after an 82-run fourth wicket stand, departed in the final overs.

And when the Indians batted, another wicket around the midway stage with the visitors struggling at 104 for 4, could have brought them to their knees.

None of it happened and West Indies went down with five overs to spare.

Encouragingly for the hosts though, experienced batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan showed signs of returning to his best and there was much heart to be drawn in the performance of young spinners Devendra Bishoo and Anthony Martin.

West Indies could do with a little more firepower at their command in the second match and it wouldn't be a surprise if Kieron Pollard figures in the starting XI.

The all-rounder, without a fail, is an asset on the field and on his day, can win a game for the side with either bat or ball.

Pollard was left out of the game probably as a slap on his wrist for not preferring regional competition over the Indian Premier League (IPL). Now that the point has been made, he could be asked to bolster the side.

West Indies would also be encouraged by the lack of firepower at the Indians' command.

Even though the visiting spinners are difficult to get away, they are more economical than destructive in their spells.

Only if West Indies could rotate the strike - they played no less than 29.2 overs as dot balls on Monday - they could yet push Indians into disarray.

For Indians, the worry is the apparent lack of class among openers. Parthiv Patel and Shikhar Dhawan have been pitch-forked to fill in for the injured duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir and their start was not too impressive.

But India's strength lies in its middle-order which has a talented bunch of batsmen including Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. In fact, both of them came good in the opening match with half-centuries.

Only if West Indies could get into India's middle order quickly and strike one or two fortuitous blows, they could still get the Indians in a spot.

Even though spinners are a strength for the Indians and the hosts are playing into their hands, the visitors would be happy if openers could inspire faith and there is more firepower in their bowling attack.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra, preferred ahead of R Ashwin, was impressive and so was Harbhajan Singh but there was little to suggest the visitors have the necessary edge to their attack.

The pace department is missing Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel would have to produce a special effort to prove himself a worthy replacement.

But given that the West Indians are desperately missing a certain Chris Gayle, the odds still favour the Suresh Raina and his men.

West Indies: Darren Sammy (Captain), Lendl Simmons, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Carlton Baugh (wk), Andre Russell, Anthony Martin, Devendra Bishoo, Ravi Rampaul.

India: Suresh Raina (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli, Subramaniam Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ramachandran Ashwin, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Ganguly hopeful of playing in IPL 2012

After an ordinary showing in the fourth season of the Indian Premier League, former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly Thursday said he hoped to feature in the next season of the cash-rich league as well.

"A lot of players moved in to new teams. I have moved to Pune Warriors in the late stage of the tournament. Hopefully, I will feature in the next season as well," Ganguly said.

The 38-year-old, who was not picked by his old IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders this season, failed to find a team when the players went under the hammer for the tourney in January.

However, the window to the IPL opened for the charismatic left hander when he was included in the Pune Warriors side in the later stages of the tournament, replacing an injured Ashish Nehra.

However, Ganguly could score only 50 runs in three innings at an average of 25.00.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a programme, Ganguly predicted that the Indian team would win the West Indies series.

"India will surely win the West Indies tour. I am also backing them against England but beating them would be tough," he said.

India take on West Indies in June followed by a long tour of England in July.

The man regarded as one of the best Indian captains ever was all praise for the incumbent skipper M.S. Dhoni. "He is the main man. He has won us the World Cup and straight after that he led his team to IPL glory. He is a wonderful captain and a player."

Asked about India going into the tour without seasoned campaigners like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir, Ganguly replied: "It's a very good chance for youngsters."

He said youngsters like Wriddhiman Saha should make the best of any opportunity.

"For me, what's more important is opportunity. So if Parthiv (Patel) is there, I don't know how many chances he (Saha) will get. He should make the best of any opportunity," he added.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Indian cricket team arrives in West Indies

A depleted Indian cricket team, sans Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, arrived here for a one-off T-20 and an ODI series against the West Indies, starting on Saturday.

Smartly dressed in a tee and trousers, the Indian players landed at around 20.30 Hrs (local time) on Wednesday at the Piarco International Airport here and were received by officials of Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) and sponsors Digicel.

The Suresh Raina-led Indian side looked tired and exhausted after their long flight from Mumbai via London and Barbados.

Stand-in skipper Raina’s eyes were blood-shot from lack of sleep and a few team members looked dishevelled from the exertions of a long, trans-Atlantic flight.

Even though he looked tired and sleepless, Raina exuded confidence that his young team will do whatever it takes to win the lone T-20 game and the five-match ODI series against the Caribbeans.

“It’s a young side. The players want to do well for the country and themselves. They are extremely motivated,” said Raina after arriving here last evening.

Vice-captain Harbhajan Singh too opined that the starless Indian team would not be short of motivation in the upcoming series, irrespective of their relentless cricket schedule.

“These are young boys who are looking to build a career for itself. I don’t think tiredness or fatigue would be a factor,” said the off-spinner.