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Monday, May 30, 2011

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

BCCI reserves its judgement on Warne-RCA spat

The BCCI on Tuesday reserved its judgement on an acrimonious public spat between Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne and RCA secretary Sanjay Dixit after summoning both of them for a hearing.

Both Warne and Dixit appeared before a three-member IPL panel and gave their versions of the incident regarding the change of pitch and the subsequent events which have marred this edition's Twenty20 event.

Dixit had accused Warne of abusing him for not acceding to his request to change the pitch for Rajasthan's home match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 11.

"We had a long meeting and judgement is awaited. We were called together and separately. Hearing was held in a cordial atmosphere. Since it was a hearing, the proceedings were confidential," Dixit said after the hearing which lasted close to three hours.

The IPL panel that conducted the hearing comprised of chairman Chirayu Amin, IPL governing council member Ravi Shastri and IMG official John.

"The hearing was only about the complaint that I had lodged. There was no extraneous element. The three-member panel heard all our points and I will wait for the judgement as I still don't know when it's going to come," Dixit said.

It is not known yet when the BCCI will give its judgement on the issue. A top BCCI official indicated that a media release will be issued later in the day but it was not clear whether it would be the judgement or merely a press note on the proceedings of the hearing.

Warne, who was accompanied by Rajasthan Royals' CEO Sean Morris, was the first to leave after the hearing. Dixit was called for deposing later on.

Warne is alleged to have publicly insulted Dixit after an IPL match in Jaipur, calling him a "liar and egoistic", forcing RR owner Shilpa Shetty to intervene and apologise for the incident.

The ugly incident took place just after the prize distribution ceremony of the match between RR and RCB at the Sawai Mansingh stadium.

IPL is premier T20 event: Hopes

Dharamsala, May 15: Delhi Daredevils’ stand-in captain James Hopes was a disappointed man after his team crashed to a 29-run defeat against Kings XI Punjab. While speaking to the media after the game, Hopes said that his team did not execute the basics well. He also said that IPL is the premier T20 competition in the world.

Excerpts from the post-match press-conference:

On the game today

Today’s game kind of summed up our season. We got off to a pretty good start with the bat, then slowed down a bit and then tried and chase down 12-an-over for 10 overs which you aren’t going to do too many times successfully. And the fielding, we could have genuinely had them 2/10 and it would have been a whole different ball game.

On Virender Sehwag being missed by the Daredevils

He’s the world’s best opening batsman. Of course, we are going to miss him. Fact is he is not here. We’ve got to go out and play. It wasn’t our batting that let us down today. If you look at the game we missed chances, we missed half-chances and that pretty much summed up our effort.

On whether Sridharan Sriram’s over, which went for 25 runs, cost DD the game

Yes, but I bowled an over before that which went for 18 as well. So that could have made a difference as well.

On the playing conditions

Fast, bouncy [and it] seamed around about a little bit. About 160-170 on that wicket was about a par score. If they keep using the same wicket and the grass goes off, it’s going to get a little bit flatter.

On the motivation for DD now that they are out of contention for the Playoffs

If you look around the world this is the premier T20 competition. So if you are not motivated to play in this tournament you probably should not be here. It’s personal pride. We play professional cricket and we want to win every game we play. Tonight was about doing the basics well. And that’s what we didn’t do and that has cost us.

Sizzling Gilchrist conquers Bangalore

20 overs Kings XI Punjab 232 for 2 (Gilchrist 106, Marsh 79*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 121 (Chawla 4-17) by 111 runs

Adrenalin. Violence. And a lot of skill. The Dharamsala sky cracked with lightning and thunder but the real storm was witnessed from the bats of Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh. Gilchrist rolled back the years to produce a delightfully aggressive century and Marsh unfurled a gem of his own as the pair constructed the highest partnership in a Twenty20 game, 206 runs, to help Kings XI Punjab terminate Royal Challengers Bangalore's winning streak. With this massive 111-run victory, Punjab are level on points with Kolkata Knight Riders and also, racked up their net run rate.

There are many big-hitting batsmen but most of them tend to club, bludgeon, tonk, heave and thump. Gilchrist, though, rarely plays an "ugly" shot. He makes eye-pleasing classical arcs with the bat and tonight was no different. Marsh captured the mood best: "It was a privilege to watch it from the other end," Marsh said.

Gilchrist made his presence felt in the chase too, diving to his left to take a stunner to dismiss Chris Gayle and derail the chase. Ryan Harris removed both Gayle and Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar bowled his fifth maiden of the tournament, and Piyush Chawla bamboozled the lower-middle order with his googlies and legbreaks to grab four wickets but the night will be, as it should be, remembered for the carnage unleashed by Gilchrist the batsman.

He didn't start flowing until the seventh over, preferring to let Paul Valthaty play the role of aggressor. Gilchrist was on 2 off 9 deliveries, and Punjab on 30 for 1, when a short ball from Abhimanyu Mithun helped him kickstart his flashback. He swivelled to pull the white ball over the midwicket boundary to signal the beginning of the carnage. He then turned his attention to S Aravind, who had given only a solitary run from seven deliveries. He charged down the track to lift one over long-off and crashed another to the straight boundary. With Marsh collecting a six and a four, S Aravind leaked 21 runs in that eight over. The floodgates were well and truly open.

Kohli tried to the check the Gilchrist flood with the spin of Gayle. No luck, though, as he was swung for two huge sixes. It was in the 10th over, bowled by Charl Langeveldt, that Gilchrist really stepped up the violence in some style. He played the conventional and the short-arm pull to collect two sixes before he produced the longest six (122 metres) to complete the hat-trick. It was a knuckle-ball from Langeveldt but Gilchrist read it early and swung it way beyond the midwicket boundary. Langeveldt winced, Kohli stared into distance and the Punjab camp was agog with utter delight.

Bangalore's woes, though, were only to escalate from that moment as Marsh decided to weigh in with his own brand of aggression. He stamped his presence on the game in the 15th over, looting 30 runs off Johan van der Wath. It went for 6 6 4 4 4 6, as Marsh launched a stunning assault. Three fours sped to the extra-cover boundary, one six flew over midwicket, another sailed over long-off and the final six disappeared over the straight boundary.

By the end it was difficult to keep count of the sixes as the scorecard kept racing ahead as though it was on steroids. It was a violent violent night in the hill-town inhabited by peaceful monks.

CSA tight lipped on speculations of Kirsten becoming coach

Cricket South Africa [ Images ] (CSA) is tight lipped about the speculation that former India [ Images ] coach Gary Kirsten has emerged as the frontrunner for the position of new Proteas coach.

Dismissing talks that Kirsten, who lead India to victory in the World Cup on home ground, was the obvious choice, CSA said it had received "strong applications" from South Africa and abroad.

Former Pakistani coach Richard Pybus is considered to be a strong contender after Kirsten, while former New Zealand [ Images ] captain Stephen Fleming [ Images ] and former Australian all-rounder and Sri Lanka [ Images ] coach Tom Moody are also believed to be the other applicants.

CSA on Monday started interviewing potential candidates to replace Corrie van Zyl, who returned to his position at the CSA High Performance Centre after the recent World Cup in the Indian subcontinent.

Van Zyl, player representative Boeta Dippenaar, selection convenor Andrew Hudson and CSA chief executive Gerald Majola comprised the panel which put candidates through tough questioning before they also undergo psychometric tests.

The panel will make its recommendations to the CSA board after interviewing the candidates for the job.

CSA also still has to select a new captain for South Africa as Graeme Smith [ Images ] stepped down from the post after the world Cup, where the team was crushed in the quarterfinals against New Zealand.

Meanwhile, asked about Gary Kirsten's chances of succeeding the outgoing South African coach (Corrie Van Zyl), Johann Botha said, "I think honestly Gary has had a good time with the Indian team. If he takes over everone will be happy."

I hope we will do better in West Indies this time: Dravid

Former captain Rahul Dravid is hopeful about the Indian cricket team improving upon its 2006 performance in the upcoming tour of the West Indies.

During the 2006 West Indies tour, the Indian team created history under Dravid's captaincy when they won a Test series in the Caribbean for the first time in 35 years.

"We won the series there last time around but I hope we will do better this time," he said on the sidelines of a promotional event.

"If the West Indies play their full strength side, they will be a tough team to beat. But it will be interesting to see if they have their full side."

Dravid became only the second Indian skipper, after Ajit Wadekar, to have won a Test series in the West Indies when he led India to a 1-0 victory in a four-match rubber in 2006.

Will India play on Edgbaston's 'terror pitch'?

The recce committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), currently in England, has raised the issue of Edgbaston wicket, termed as a terror pitch by the English media after a recent match between Warwickshire and Worcestershire sent a few batsmen to the hospital.

The two-member team, comprising Ratnakar Shetty and Suru Naik, have held discussions with John Carr, cricket operations manager of the England and Wales Cricket Board, and the officials of the Warwickshire County Cricket Club. Shetty and Naik even spoke to venue's chief groundsman Chris Woods.

The ECB officials, it is reliably learnt, have allayed BCCI fears over the pitch stating that these are early days in the English cricket season. Besides, Carr told the board officials that the ECB would take special care in the preparation of the pitch for the Test match against India. Edgbaston will host India from August 10 to 14. It will be the third of the four Tests, India are scheduled to play in England this summer.

It is learnt that venue groundsman strove hard to impress upon the Indian officials stating that strip for the Test would be different from the one used for the recent match. Woods, who has been taking care of Edgbaston pitch for the last 20 years, is believed to have told the recce committee that the wicket for the recent was at one corner.

Colin Povey, the chief executive of Warwickshire county, told the board officials that the recent incident was because of the renovation that the county has undertaken. He assured the Indian side that there will be five four-day games at the venue before the India Test. He further said that three of those county matches will be televised.