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Saturday, March 3, 2012

No consensus on next year's IPL auction

MUMBAI: The nine franchises of the Indian Premier League (IPL) do not seem to be in sync over the rules that need to be framed for the auction process ahead of the fifth edition of the league in 2012.

While the franchises unanimously agree that all players from the sacked Kochi Tuskers franchise and those newly inducted should be included in the auction, there is no common consensus on the auction purse, tie-break rules and overall limit of the squad.
In a recently held meeting of all franchise CEOs, the minutes of which are available with TOI, there have been internal disagreements on the kind of money that should be allowed for spending; whether there should be a silent or open or unlimited bidding in case of a tie-break and should the number of foreign players in each team (currently 10 is the upper limit) be increased along with the number of foreign players allowed on field (four is the upper limit currently).

While the overwhelming majority view is that there should be no change, some franchises are open to the idea of including three additional slots for foreign players and an increase in the number of foreign players in the team.

One franchise CEO in particular wrote to the other team officials saying only those issues should be "represented (taken up with) to IPL where there is consensus".

Franchises have varied opinions on the value of the added purse - it ranges from $750,000 to $2m. However, the consensus view of most franchises remains at $1m.

Further, these franchises have absolutely no consensus on what rule should be implemented in case of a tie-break - some have suggested silent bidding, some open bidding and the others lots and unlimited bidding. Therefore, teams have left the entire decision to IPL, requesting only that "the spirit of the salary caps, while deciding upon the tie-breaker method, be kept in mind".

One area where all franchises are in unanimous agreement is the replacement of players. Replacement of player will result in franchise losing the agreed contract value of the new player from the purse.

Now, it is for the BCCI/IPL to reconfirm these provisions and ratify them. A governing council meeting is scheduled this weekend.

Cummins told to prioritise Tests over IPL

HOBART: Australian captain Michael Clarke and predecessor Steve Waugh on Thursday urged rising teenage pace star Pat Cummins to prioritise Test cricket over the lucrative Indian Premier League.

Cummins, 18, who is sidelined for at least six weeks with a bone stress heel injury, wants to play in the IPL, but there are concerns the youngster may overtax his body at a crucial stage of his physical development.

The youngster's manager Neil Maxwell has confirmed Cummins intends to nominate for the lucrative IPL auction ahead of next April's tournament.

But Clarke said he wants his Test players to "prioritise" representing their country ahead of the IPL and Champions League tournaments.

"The one thing I love about IPL is that every individual has the opportunity of making their own choice," Clarke told reporters ahead of Australia's second Test against New Zealand in Hobart.

"But I think the individual player needs to work out where his body is at and then make that decision at the time of going into the IPL.

"There's a lot of international cricket and I just don't want to see players not prioritising international cricket.

"Every player who plays for Australia, that is first and foremost and Test cricket being the pinnacle of that. Then if your body can handle you playing IPL or Champions League then that's up to the individual."

Amid a growing injury crisis in Australian cricket -- with Mitchell Johnson out for the entire summer season following foot surgery and opener Shane Watson troubled by calf and hamstring injuries -- Waugh cautioned Cummins to think again about joining the IPL.

"The priority has got to be playing for Australia, the baggy green (cap) is number one and everything else slots in underneath that," Waugh told The Australian newspaper.

"Obviously, there's money to be made from the IPL, but I think as a young guy with his potential and his star quality, he's going to make a lot of money out of the game of cricket.

"The IPL right now should be a fair way down on his radar.

"And if his body is a little bit susceptible to injury at the moment, his commitment has got to be playing for Australia first."

Cummins damaged his left heel during Australia's spectacular victory over South Africa in Johannesburg last month and has been unavailable for this month's two home Tests against New Zealand.

It was initially thought to be bruising but new scans have revealed a bone stress problem and Cummins is unlikely to bowl again until early to mid-January, Cricket Australia said on Wednesday.

As such he is likely to miss all four home Tests against India in a series that starts at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day, with further matches in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide throughout January.

Friday, March 2, 2012

CLT20 in India?

Buoyed by the success of Champions League last year, the organizers are mulling staging the event again this year in India. "With three IPL teams taking part in the tournament, the CLT20 league was a success in India. The organizers would surely want to host it again in India," a source said.

Though interested, Cummins not certain for IPL 5

MELBOURNE: A day after former Australian captain Steve Waugh warned Pat Cummins against falling for the lure of IPL cash, the teen pace sensation on Thursday said he will pull out of Twenty20 league if he feels it could have a negative impact on his national team performances.

Cummins has been ruled out for most of Australia's four-Test series against India due to a heel injury that he picked up during his seven-wicket haul on debut against South Africa in Johannesburg last month.

The injury, however, has not deterred the fast bowler from giving his name for the IPL auction next season. But Cummins said it is too premature to take a call on his participation in the cash-rich league.

"I've been talking to some of the other guys. It's a worthwhile opportunity going over there," Cummins said about his discussions with Australian teammates regarding the IPL.

"But to get in there you have to nominate right now. You can always pull out later. I think it would be great to play, but we'll look at it again closer to the date. If it's going to affect any other cricket over here...I definitely don't want it to be affected," he was quoted as saying by the Australian media.

If Cummins decides to play in the IPL, he will at least miss the first half of the tournament as it clashes with Australia's tour of the West Indies.

The IPL begins in Chennai on April 4 and ends on May 27, while Australia's tour of the West Indies stats from March 16 till April 27.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

IPL mulls 10 teams in 2014

NEW DELHI: With the 10th team's slot in Indian Premier League (IPL) falling vacant after Kochi Tuskers were shown the door, the league officials are now looking at filling that slot in 2014. In the recently held meeting of the team owners with IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, the proposal to include another team in the IPL, put forward by league officials, was discussed at length. 

This year and the next year's editions will consist of nine teams playing 76 matches in all. In 2014, if the 10th team comes into existence, BCCI may fall back on the old format of IPL 4. BCCI is looking at two groups comprising of five teams each with 74 matches being played, each team playing 14 league games. 

This year's IPL will return to its inaugural format, which saw teams playing each other on home and away basis. The only difference is that instead of 14 league matches, every team will get eight matches at home. This could result in substantial increase in their share of central revenue. 

Sources indicated that every team is at least guaranteed Rs 50 crore from the central revenue. "This is good news for all the teams. But we are not sure how it will benefit us if 10th team becomes part of IPL in 2014," a team official said. 

Clarke wants teammates to prioritise country over IPL

SYDNEY: Australian captain Michael Clarke wants his fellow players to prioritise national duty over playing in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) if their fitness for international cricket is not to be compromised.

Clarke has preferred playing for Australia by never featuring in the IPL since its inception in 2008. Though he doesn't want his teammates to follow his example, Clarke says a player's focus must be on the country.

"The one thing I love about IPL is that every individual has the opportunity to make their own choice," Clarke was quoted as saying by Herald Sun. "But I think the individual player needs to work out where his body is and make that decision at the time of going into the IPL."

"There is a lot of international cricket. I just don't want to see players' not prioritising international cricket. That is my goal, that every player who plays for Australia, that (role) is first and foremost, and Test cricket being the pinnacle of that," said Clarke following reports of young fast bowler Patrick Cummins and his senior mate Mitchell Johnson showing interest in IPL 2012.

Cummins is recovering from a foot injury and is doubtful for the series against India in two weeks' time. While Senior players in Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Ryan Harris, Doug Bollinger and Johnson are running against the clock to be fit for the highly anticipated contest starting with the first Test in Melbourne Dec 26.

Clarke says he is ready to offer advice to the players, including Cummins, on the country versus club issue.

"I don't know if it's my place. As Cricket Australia has said for a long time, it is really out of their control. It's up to the individual player. If Patty (Cummins) wants to come and speak to me, I'll be more than happy to give him my views on it."

"If your body can handle playing IPL and Champions League, that is up to the individual. I think that is great."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Majola claims conspiracy to oust him

JOHANNESBURG: Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola, who has refused to resign following investigation into allegations that he paid himself and other CSA staff huge IPL 2 bonuses without informing the board, on Friday claimed that "outside forces" are out to oust him.

"There must be something out there, because the entire board was unanimous and if they take a decision and then somewhere else there is another decision taken, then there must be something out there which is not operative in cricket," Majola said at a briefing by CSA on Friday.

"I don't know (who they are). I wish you could tell me," Majola said, two days after the Nicholson inquiry into the financial affairs of CSA suspended its work until January.

The inquiry was instituted by sports minister Fikile Mbalula following almost two years of wrangling over the IPL bonus, which has seen the former president of CSA, Mtutuzeli Nyoka, ousted twice after he called for an independent inquiry into the matter.

Majola also repeated his admission to the Nicholson inquiry that he had not complied with corporate governance laws regarding the bonuses by not adhering to section 234 of the Companies Act, although he added that he had followed the same processes after the IPL as he had done for the bonuses in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2009 Champions Trophy.

The IPL's second edition was hosted in South Africa because of security concerns around elections in India at the time.

Clearly irked by questions on whether he should resign because of the damage done to CSA's reputation, Majola wanted to know what the damage was.

Majola appeared to be oblivious to the fact that as the bonus saga dragged on, sponsors shied away from CSA and that complaints have been mounting at grassroots level about the lack of funds for developmental cricket.

Acting president of CSA AK Khan however, agreed that there has been damage done to the body's reputation.

"I would be naive to tell you that there is no damage, and I would be dishonest. Yes, there is reputational damage, there are relationships that have been damaged," Khan said, adding that CSA was working hard at addressing this with all the stakeholders, including the media.

Majola also denied knowledge of claims that there were missing pages in the IPL contract, which the provincial Gauteng Cricket Board had asked to see and received a threat instead from CSA of having international games taken away from the Wanderers stadium as punishment.

"There was nothing to hide in that contract," Majola said.

Khan would not confirm that the board would accept the findings of the Nicholson inquiry, expected to be ready by the end of February.

Smith, O'Keefe on the lookout for new IPL homes

SYDNEY: New South Wales pair Steve Smith and Steve O'Keefe, who are also housemates, are on the lookout for new homes in the Indian Premier League after the demise of their franchise Kochi Tuskers Kerala. 

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, they will be keen to attract the eyes of scouts when the trading window opens on Thursday. 

The pair face strong competition from former Kochi teammates such as Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene, VVS Laxman, Brendon McCullum and Brad Hodge in the trade period, which is open for players bought in last year's player auction. 

Teams have until January 20 to pick up a maximum of four players, while the player auction will be held in late January or early February.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

VVS Laxman may not get a team in upcoming IPL auctions

NEW DELHI: Already under severe pressure to retain his place in the Test squad, VVS Laxman'sIPL career may just come to a halt as none of the nine franchises are keen on roping in the senior batsman as a full-time player. 

Laxman, who was bought by Kochi Tuskers Kerala at a price of $400,000 during the last edition, will again go under the hammer along with fellow India players like Ravindra Jadeja, Parthiv Patel, Rudra Pratap Singh, Kiwi Brendon McCullum and Lankans Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan. 

While there would be a fight among the teams for Jadeja whose game suits the shortest format, Laxman looks like one of the bigger names who might just miss out. 

"This auction won't be a full-fledged one. The franchises have $2 million purse and teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore, Pune Warriors will come to the auction with even lesser money. All the owners will be very choosy about the players they will be zeroing on. I don't see Laxman fitting into the scheme of things," an IPL official said on Monday. 

Interestingly, during the last edition, Laxman had lowered his base price from $400,000 to $300,000 in order to attract prospective bidders. 

The BCCI has handed the franchises a list of 180 players excluding Kochi players, whose names would be inducted later. 

The parent body has instructed teams to choose around 50 to 60 names to make the auction short and meaningful. 

"Effectively, franchises will pick around 18-20 players amongst themselves. So there is no point in calling out names that would go unnoticed," a franchise official said. 

Asked what can be the way out for the 37-year-old Hyderabadi, a source pointed out, "If he accepts to be a mentor, then some franchise may just recruit him, but taking him as a full-time player is certainly not a wise business decision." 

Among the foreign players in demand, West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell with a base price of $100,000, can attract a number of bidders.

Simmons takes over as head coach of Delhi Daredevils

NEW DELHI: Current India bowling mentor and former South Africa international, Eric Simmons, was on Thursday appointed as the head coach of Delhi Daredevils in the forthcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.

Apart from Simmons, T A Sekar also makes a return to the Delhi IPL team as its mentor.

Announcing the elevation of Simmons as the head coach of the Daredevils team, the franchise owner GMR Sports said the move will help the side to regain its lost aura.

"I am sure that Simmons' taking over as head coach and Sekar's return as mentor will help the team overcome the disappointments of last season and become most competitive again," GMR Sports' business chairman Kiran K Grandhi, said in a statement.

The Virender Sehwag-led side finished at the bottom of the table in the last edition of the tournament earlier this year, managing to win just four matches out of the stipulated 14 games.

Sehwag, who is currently in Australia to play the four-match Test series against the hosts, said it would be exciting to work with Simmons.

"Eric (Simmons) has done a good job as bowling coach and now he can do that as the head coach. He can make a difference as he has been with the team for a couple of years. If someone else had come, he would have to start from the scratch. It is good Eric has taken over and I am hoping he will do a good job," Sehwag said.

Simmons, meanwhile, said it is an honour for him to be appointed as the head coach of the franchise.

"It is an honour and a wonderful challenge going into the new season. The IPL is a dynamic and exciting place for any cricketer to be involved in at the moment. To have the trust and confidence shown in me as coach is something I am grateful for," he said.

Sekar, who is back in the Daredevils fold after spending couple of years as the manger of Mumbai Indians, deposed faith in the team and said it would be exciting to work alongside Simmons.

"I have always believed that the Daredevils have a pool of talent that can make the opposition wary," he said.

"It will be wonderful working with Eric and his set of coaches, team manager Aashish Kapoor and the exciting bunch of players led by Virender Sehwag," Sekar added.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Andrew McDonald moves from Delhi to Royal Challengers

NEW DELHI: Australian all-rounder Andrew McDonald on Wednesday became the fifth player to be transferred during the IPL trading window, moving from Delhi Daredevils to Royal Challengers Bangalore. 

"Andrew McDonald, the fast-medium bowling all-rounder from Australia, will move from Delhi Daredevils to Royal Challengers Bangalore, for the 2012 season of the tournament," the BCCI said in a statement. 

The all-rounder is leading the Melbourne Renegades in the ongoing Big Bash League in Australia. 

"All-rounders are a priceless asset and we are pleased to add Andrew to our squad. He has excelled with bat and ball in different formats. We have no doubt that he will make a big difference to our prospects in the coming IPL season," said Avinash Vaidya, team manager, Royal Challengers Bangalore. 

TA Sekar, Head (Cricket), GMR Sports, the franchise that owns Delhi Daredevils wished the 30-year-old, who played six matches for them scoring 76 runs and taking five wickets, the very best.

"He would fit in well with the Royal Challengers Bangalore," he said. 

IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said more transfers are in the pipeline. 

"The process of player-transfers during the Trading Window is gaining in momentum, and we are likely to see more action in the days leading up to 20 January 2012, when the first part of the trading window will close," Shukla said. 

McDonald will move to Bangalore where he registered his most memorable performance in a Twenty20 match on Indian soil claiming four Royal Challengers Bangalore wickets for 21 runs in a Champions League match for Victoria in 2009.

Franchises to have $2 million cap for next IPL auction

NEW DELHI: The nine franchises of Indian Premier League ( IPL) will go into the auction for next edition of Indian Premier League with a purse of $2 million, as per the decision taken by the Governing Council at a meeting held in Chennai, on Saturday.

According to the information received, the auction for the fifth edition is scheduled tentatively on February 4.

"The $2 million purse has nothing to do with salary cap of $9 million that was there for auction held last year. It's a fresh purse and franchises will have to buy players within that amount. Obviously, there will be a chance to release players and bid for new players," a BCCI official said.

The Governing Council has also increased the number of players in each team from 30 to 33. The number of foreign players in each team will be 11 instead of 10 while two more Indian players can be added to each team's roster.

The matches will be played on home and away basis with each of the nine teams playing 16 matches at the league stage.

The play-off format remains the same with last year's finalists -- Chennai and Bangalore will also host the play-offs for the next edition.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Opening ceremony on April 3

Unlike in the past, the IPL 5 opening ceremony in Chennai will be held one day before the first game of the tournament. The first match of the IPL will be played on April 4 in Chennai. The ceremony would be a two-and-half hour event instead of the usual 40 minutes.

At 40, MacGill sets sight on IPL

MELBOURNE: Former Australian leg-spinner Stuart MacGill, who has come out of retirement to play in the Big Bash, the much-hyped Australian Twenty20 competition, wants to ply his trade in the cash-rich IPL.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, MacGill said that his name would be up for auction in February.

The 40-year-old, who remained in the shadow of Shane Warne, made a successful comeback with the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash, believes he can deliver in the IPL if picked by a franchise.

"I really don't want to get too far ahead of myself here, but I'm playing in the BBL because my kids thought I was getting old," MacGill told reporters on Monday.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Franchisees to meet in IPL workshop

NEW DELHI: The Indian Premier League (IPL) team owners are all set to meet its chairman Rajeev Shukla in a two-day workshop from January 9 to 10 in Goa. 

"IPL team owners will be attending the workshop on the opening day. If the franchisees have any issues, we will be discussing them. These team owners are equal partners in the league and if they have any issues with us, we will address them in this meeting," IPL chairman Shukla told TOI on Sunday. 

"On the second day, we are going to discuss several administrative issues related to the running of the league," he added. It was also learnt that some of the prominent owners likeVijay Mallya of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians' Nita Ambani are expected to attend the meet.

Cummins may skip IPL

MELBOURNE: Australia's rookie fast bowler Pat Cummins is mulling pulling out of IPL 2012 to take care of his young frame.

The 18-year-old,who made a sensational debut in South Africa earlier this year, has been sidelined by a serious foot injury.

He is due to resume running next week and there is a likelihood that he could be fit to face India in the last Test that begins in Adelaide.

"I've said the whole time that playing for Australia is my number one goal. I don't want anything to impact on that."

Friday, February 3, 2012

After much haggling, RCB retain explosive Chris Gayle

NEW DELHI/BANGALORE: It wasn't easy, but Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have finally managed to retain the explosive Chris Gayle in their squad for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Gayle, one of T20 cricket's biggest draws, came in as replacement for Australian quick Dirk Nannes last season and helped the team to the final. 

Gayle was on a one-year contract with the Vijay Mallya-owned franchisee. He had not been picked at the last auction because of a lack of clarity on his availability. However, RCB mentorAnil Kumble pulled off a coup of sorts by signing him on mid-season and Gayle promptly turned the club's fortunes around. 

With his signing, or re-signing, with RCB having been in limbo for a while, most of the teams were banking on his availability at the February auction. According to IPL rules, RCB, though, had first right of refusal and the deal was clinched with just one day left for the transfer window (which includes retaining of players) to close. 

RCB were able to retain Gayle, who were being chased most by Mumbai Indians, only after they bought out the contract of South African batsman Jonathan Vandiar. IPL rules allow each team to sign a total of 11 foreigners only, one up from last season, and now Vandiar must come back into the IPL fray through the auction if he so chooses. 

Last season Gayle had been signed on for $560,000 and that's the price he will officially continue to get. This, of course, means RCB will go into the auction with that amount deducted from the total purse of $2 million. Sources hinted that Gayle would earn "much, much more" for endorsement purposes. 

With Gayle out of the fray, the hottest property at the auction is expected to be India allrounder Ravinder Jadeja, with the Saurashtra player having made a convincing comeback into international cricket. 

According to the list released by the IPL, England spinner Graeme Swann has the highest base price of $400,000. Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson - who hasn't featured in the IPL so far - is also included in the list at a base price of $300,000. James Anderson too has a base price of $300,000.

Trevor Bayliss appointed KKR chief coach

NEW DELHI: The Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday named Trevor Bayliss as the chief coach of their side for the fifth edition of Indian Premier League.

Bayliss, who coached the Sri Lankan national team for four years, guiding them to the finals of World T20 (2009) and ICC World Cup (2011) will replace Dav Whatmore who is tipped to take over as national coach of the Pakistan side.

"We are pleased to welcome Trevor Bayliss as our head coach. With his rich experience, very successful track record and knowledge of the conditions in the sub continent, we believe he is the right person to take KKR to the next level of performance," Shah Rukh Khan, principal owner of Kolkata franchise was quoted as saying in a media release.

Bayliss on his part stated, "I have followed the IPL and KKR's performance and I am honored to become part of this team, which has already built a reputation as a very popular & professional franchise.

"The team, the support staff, the owners and management are outstanding and I look forward to working with everyone and striving for the highest honors," he further added.

Team's co-owner Jay Mehta feels that the Australian's personality, his humility and effectiveness will be an ideal combination for KKR.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Now, IPL owners to lock horns!

Another novel idea discussed during at the workshop was the likelihood of informal matches featuring the team owners. Tentatively, this owners' league will consist of nine matches and participants are expected to wear their team jerseys. The IPL is also toying with the idea of a 'Super Over' featuring celebrities and team owners, and trophies for the biggest six of the match. "The GC is trying to bring in new elements into the game to make IPL more interesting," a source said. 

Whatmore quits KKR, may join Pakistan

KOLKATA: Dav Whatmore has resigned as chief coach of IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders. The Australian has emerged as the front-runner to become Pakistan's full-time coach, though the Pakistan Cricket Board is unlikely to make any announcement before a possible meeting with Whatmore later this month.

Whatmore wished the team success in future without mentioning the reason of his resignation. "The team has progressed in the right direction. I wish the team continued success and look forward to them progressing to silverware in 2012. Many thanks to those who have supported and believed in me," Whatmore said.

KKR are expected to name Whatmore's successor by the end of January so that the new support staff is on board before the IPL-5 player auction, scheduled for February 4. "His decision to resign is to ensure that KKR is able to plan for the transition and we thank him for that," KKR CEO Venky Mysore said. "We have been most supportive of Dav's keen interest in pursuing an international coaching role and wish him the very best."

Whatmore replaced fellow-Australian John Buchanan before IPL-3 and was at the helm of the team for two seasons. The Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise finished sixth in 2010 under Whatmore. In 2011, a revamped KKR outfit under Gautam Gambhir's leadership reached the knockout stage for the first time.

Kochi players' interest will be protected: Shukla

HYDERABAD: The IPL governing council is yet to work out a plan to help the players left in lurch after Kochi's axing but the league's boss Rajiv Shukla assured that the interest of the affected players will be protected.

"We will decide on that in the next governing council meeting, Kochi players or others. But we will fully protect the interest of the players," he told reporters after a meeting of the governing council.

The Kochi franchise has been scrapped for breach of contractual obligations. Asked about Pakistani players' participation in the league, he said the issue was not discussed in the meeting on Friday.

"Pakistan was not on the agenda," he said. The Pakistani cricketers have not participated in the IPL since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Talking about the format of the cash-rich Twenty20 event, Shukla said any changes would be discussed in the next governing council meeting.

"Format will be worked out when the managements explore the options. It will be discussed in the governing council meeting which will be held soon," he said.

Shukla also refuted suggestions that the IPL had added to the player fatigue.

"We have three formats. There are very few common players. There is no fatigue in common players. To avoid fatigue, we said there should be proper coordination between physio and trainer", Shukla said.

"We will talk to the franchises to reduce the participation of players in parties that are held on the eve of matches. So that the players get rest. But, if you say that there is fatigue due to IPL, I don't agree with that," he said.

Asked about the request of Rajasthan players to shift the base from Jaipur to Ahmedabad, he said it is difficult. "Ahmedabad as a city bids separately. Governing council is not ready for that," he said.

The next meeting of the governing council will be held soon, Shukla added.

Kambli lashes out at Indian Premier League

NEW DELHI: Former India batsman Vinod Kambli lashed out at the Indian Premier League (IPL), saying that the cash-rich event tempts young cricketers to go for the quick buck, when their aim should be to play Test cricket.

Kambli said most of the youngsters have identified IPL as their only source of income in their bid to make fast money and obtain lucrative sponsorship deals.

"Today, the youngsters are looking to play in the IPL. Reason being fast money. One Ranji Trophy match and they are picked up for the Twenty20 tournament. From day one, their aim is to play in the IPL but one should understand that real cricket is Test cricket," said Kambli on Wednesday.

The former cricketer also compared IPL with a famous TV show 'Saas Bahu aur Saazish'.

"IPL is fun, entertainment and offer a short career with a lot of money. It's like 'Saas Bahu aur Saazish' serial," Kambli said at a sidelines of a function.

"It's for the youngsters to decide their priorities. We all know that IPL results in quick money, all the attention and facilities. But youngsters should give preference to the domestic cricket, which is the ideal platform to develop skill and temperament.

"When me and (Sachin) Tendulkar started our careers, there was no IPL. We gave preference to the domestic cricket because our aim was to play in Tests. Now, with IPL, so many matches are being played in two months' time and it's becoming like a serial. One day people would like to see a change," explained Kambli, who recently announced his retirement from first class cricket.

'Saas Bahu aur Saazish' is an afternoon daily on a national news channel that captures the excitement and news of popular serials across channels and the tele-world. The show gives a recap of the popular serials and predicts the likely turn of events in the following episodes.

However, when asked if he would like to join any of the IPL franchise as coach or expert in near future, Kambli said, "Of course, why not! I would like to get associated with any of the IPL franchise as a coach or an expert if provided with the opportunity. Coaching is the first thing on my mind now."

Meanwhile, former India wicket-keeper and current coach of the IPL franchisee Kolkata Knight Riders, Vijay Dahiya, begged to differ from Kambli's views on IPL, saying that the T20 event provides the right kind of platform to the youngsters.

"Everyone has a right to express his opinion. It's Kambli bhai's personal views and I respect him a lot. But I think IPL is a good platform for youngsters as it provides an opportunity to a player to select what kind of cricket he wants to play -- whether it's a longer format or shorter format," said Dahiya.

Kambli termed Indian cricket team's future as bright and singled out middle-order batsman Virat Kohli for special praise for his unbeaten knock of 112 against England in the second ODI at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Monday.

"Indian team's future looks bright. Youngsters are performing very well. Kohli played one of the finest innings of his career against England in Delhi. Young cricketers should take a lesson from Kohli's inning on how to approach a 50-over match. Kohli, under intense pressure, anchored his inning to perfection," he said.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

PCB not worried with IPL snub

LAHORE: The PCB says it is not concerned with the continued ouster of Pakistani players from the lucrative Indian Premier League. 

"We are not going to talk to anyone or convince anyone to take our players in the IPL. We, in fact, plan to start our own T20 Pakistan Premier League. So we are not concerned about the IPL," PCB chief Zaka Ashraf told a newspaper. 

The IPL  governing board and franchises have not selected or bid for any Pakistani player from the second edition onwards. 

The fourth edition of the IPL is due to be held in April and so far the organisers have not bid for any Pakistani players. 

"We have the capability of holding our own premier league and we have already spoken to major business houses and corporations to support us in this bid," Ashraf said. 

"We also plan to get some foreign players to appear in the premier league because once the league gets rolling things will only get better as far as participation of foreigners is concerned," he added. 

Ashraf also said that by launching its own premier league, Pakistan could not only raise the profile of the sport in the country and ensure financial rewards for the players. 

At present most of the Test playing nations including Australia, England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are holding major T20 leagues. 

Players like Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq are presently playing in the Australian Big Bash event and have also signed up for South Africa's domestic T20 event. 

The PCB is also due to take a decision on whether to allow its players to sign up for franchises in the Bangladesh premier league that will be held in March. 

Ashraf also said that Pakistan had no concern with India's stance on the umpires decision review system. 

"We will continue to support this system because we believe it has helped cricket and helps the umpires reduce errors in a match," he added.

Paddy Upton likely to join support staff of Pune Warriors

NEW DELHI: The Pune Warriors side is likely to rope in former mental conditioning coach of the Indian team Paddy Upton in their support staff for the fifth edition of Indian Premier League in April-May.

Upton was a key member of Team India's support staff during the victorious World Cup campaign last year.

The 43-year-old's role as Kirsten's deputy during the three-year stint with the national team had been applauded by one and all. He left alongwith Kirsten after the World Cup campaign and joined the South African national team as their mental conditioning coach.

"With Sourav Ganguly in as the mentor-cum-player, the team required someone who would work on the mental and physical aspect of the players. Paddy had a wonderful stint with the national team and his inclusion would only benefit the franchise," an IPL official said on Monday.

It has been learnt that former India captain Ganguly, who was a late entrant in the side in place of an injured Ashish Nehra last year, will take active part in making strategies and looking after the technical aspects.

The Sahara Group-owned team finished a poor ninth among 10 teams in their debut season last year. They had Geoff Marsh as the chief coach while Englishman Dermot Reeve and Praveen Amre were the two assistant coaches.

Marsh left the side to become coach of Sri Lankan team while Reeve wasn't given an extension.

Injured Pietersen could miss out on IPL riches

LONDON: Indian Premier League teams are unlikely to splash out cash to sign up England cricket star Kevin Pietersen, now that he has a fractured thumb.

According to The Mirror, Pietersen had hoped to play for England in Saturday's T20 at Eden Gardens, knowing a big -performance in front of an adoring Indian public would give him, or any others looking for an IPL team, a timely leg-up just weeks before the auction for next year's -tournament takes place.

But a fractured thumb suffered in the field on Sunday in Mumbai makes him a big doubt for the game, although he will have a fitness test on Friday in the hope he might still be able to make it.

The 31-year-old batsman is a cult hero in India thanks to his time as England captain when the side returned following terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008.

He also turned out for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League in both 2009 and 2010.

However, having seen his auction fee - the amount a team is willing to pay for his services - tumble from $1.55 million last year to $650,000 this year, there are doubts about him catching the eye of IPL franchises looking to bolster their squads for the spring.

Shah Rukh confident of good showing by KKR in next season

NEW DELHI: Kolkata Knight Riders might not have been able to get desired results in the Indian Premier League (IPL) so far, but its co-owner Shah Rukh Khan feels that the team is talented enough to make a strong comeback in the forthcoming season.

"The boys have been doing well. We are making consistent improvement in our game and with a couple of months break ahead of the tournament, if the team remains injury free, we hope of having a good training session leading into the tournament," said Shah Rukh.

The Bollywood star, who was in the city to flag-off the Airtel Delhi Half-Marathon, admitted that the attitude of country towards the sport was changing but insisted that the nation needs to develop a sports culture.

"First it was roti, kapda, makan, then there was a surge in the entertainment and in the coming years you will see people laying more emphasis on sports. I think all of us should come forward to sponsor sports, not only cricket but the other sports like shooting, hockey," said Shah Rukh.

Bipasha Basu, who was also present on the occasion, said the event provided a great opportunity for people across different sections of the society to come together and run for a cause.

"You will definitely see an increase in such events in the future. It provides an opportunity for the people across different segments to come together. It also helps in bringing people from two cultures together, which is really a great thing," said Basu.

Meanwhile, actor Rahul Bose, who ran the entire race, said it was an amazing feeling to run in front of the historic India Gate.

Gul Panag, another star from the Bollywood, said the "high" she gets from running cannot be matched by any other substance.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BCCI tells foreign players to sue Kochi Tuskers

NEW DELHI: The Indian cricket board has asked all international Kochi Tuskers cricketers to register a case against the defunct IPL team to recover their pending money. 

Since the players' contracts are between them and the franchisees, the BCCI has asked the cricketers to move against the team. As for Indian cricketers who played for Kochi, they have got 65 per cent of their salaries. 

International cricketers who played for Kochi included Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Brendon McCullum and Steven Smith. Earlier, these players were given verbal commitment from the IPL that the BCCI would protect the players' right, but things have turned out to be different. 

"We have been told by the BCCI to file a case against the Kochi franchisee, which doesn't exist. We are unable to understand what are we supposed to do from here," a top international cricketer who played for Kochi last IPL, told TOI. 

BCCI terminated Kochi's contract during its September AGM for breaching terms of agreement. The board also encashed the team's bank guarantee worth Rs 156 crore.