Feature Cricket

Brexit Worries for SA

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 9 March, 2019, 4:16 PM IST


Even as South Africa try to lift their morale in the course of the one day internationals series with Sri Lanka, there is undoubtedly a pall of gloom hanging around the still shocking announcement of Duanne Olivier going the Kolpak way. But it was looming on the horizon as the Brexit deadline drew closer.

For years, South Africa have had to deal intermittently with the problem of their national players abruptly shutting shop by signing Kolpak deals that effectively made them available for English county circuit but no longer available to represent South Africa. At the height of their success, just as they were realizing their potential in South Africa’s greens, it seemed South Africa’s promise has been snuffed out right in front of them. Repeated instances however did not prod Cricket South Africa to check the exodus.

The decision by Duanne Olivier, just as he was hitting his strides in Test whites and becoming a stronger candidate to make the berth for the ICC Cricket World Cup in June in England, to announce his departure from the South African cricket team, having signed the Kolpak contract continues to be a major talking point, a shock South Africa still seem to be trying to get over.

The fact that it has perhaps hit harder than it even did when Kyle Abbott was the last prominent South African cricketer to quit at the height of his success in national colours is telling of just how much of an impact Duanne Olivier has had in recent months. It is, also, evident of the fact that South Africa, despite a brave façade, are still very much in transition, not quite recovering from the larger-than-life losses of the retirement of Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers last year.

However, South Africa knew that not only was the Kolpak contract a perennial worry lurking in the shadows but also, that the Brexit decision arrived at by a referendum in Great Britain two years back was going to make for a greater push for cricketers to sign on the dotted line before the deadline. With the European nation yet to arrive at a Brexit deal, the idea of a no-deal Brexit is causing consternation not only within commercial establishments dependent on import-export barters and partnerships but also, cricket as a sport. With potentially unforeseeable changes on the anvil, there are perhaps more revelations in the offing but not quite on the level as that of Olivier’s that could be on the cards as the race to the Brexit deadline now gathers speed.

The Kolpak contracts have become a perennial problem for Cricket South Africa from the standpoint that cricketers not only earn a greater remuneration as a result of the rand to pound conversion rate but also, have a sense of security, particularly after Cricket South Africa were forced to follow the country’s sports laws that suggest heavy penalties including non-hosting of global events if not compliant with the mandatory inclusion of non-white players. With cricket also now subjected to the quota system, the uncertainty factor in the air has been more prominent leading to an exodus of players virtually en masse which has greatly dented South Africa’s potential to not only stay competitive but also, become a powerhouse looking for its first World Cup trophy.

With Brexit now throwing another spanner in the works, cricketers harbouring uncertainty over their future and doubts about their place in the national team will have already been scouted and scooped up in a hurry. It is a now a longstanding problem that Cricket South Africa have failed to check address in the past and indeed may now look helpless in the immediate future and an uncertain of their place going into the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Get Daily Updates From CricToday

Subscribe and get the latest Sports News delivered to your inbox.

Email is required. Invalid email address.
Feature Cricket

Friday’s result a wake-up call for high flying Indians

Partab Ramchand Updated: 9 March, 2019, 4:11 PM IST


Friday’s result was a timely wake-up call for the rather high flying Indians. Successive wins can give a side an illusion of invincibility and can lead to over confidence. Despite the victories and the current No 2 ranking this Indian team has weaknesses and the defeat to Australia will show them up as a good side and nothing more.

For some time there were rumbles that the middle order is not settled. Suddenly it is the top order which is the subject of much concern. It is difficult to win any match when a side is 27 for three especially when the target required is a stiff 314. And gallantly as Virat Kohli and others performed truth be told the Indians were always going to fall short.

The match also did little to boost the chances of Kedar Jadhav as he tries to stake his claim for inclusion in the World Cup squad. He did come up with a cameo with the bat but was harshly treated while bowling. Jadhav in fact was badly exposed and certainly the kind of tripe he sends down is not what the Indian team requires in the World Cup. With Vijay Shankar and Hardik Pandya now almost certainties to make the cut there could be place for one more utility player but that is not Jadhav.

One is also concerned about Kuldeep Yadav’s form. He picked up three wickets but at a cost and the danger is that opposing batsmen are able to read him better. A chinaman bowler like him is a precious talent and perhaps he should not be played again before the World Cup.

It is a pity that a regal innings by Kohli for once had to be in a losing cause. The Indian captain is in a league of his own and the manner he is batting of late the Australians can well paraphrase something that Bjorn Borg’s opponents said in the 70s when the legendary Swede was at his peak. ``We play tennis, he plays something else.’’ Kohli’s opponents could well be saying about the Indian captain that while they play cricket, he is playing something else.

News Cricket

Karachi set to watch top cricketers in PSL T20 finals

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 4:04 PM IST


Pakistan's biggest city is set to witness some of the biggest stars in international cricket over the next nine days as the last leg of Pakistan Super League begins on Saturday.

Shane Watson of Australia, Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy of the West Indies will be the star attractions in the Twenty20 format for cricket-frenzied fans in Karachi.

Watson will be playing in Pakistan 14 years after being a member of the Australia A team in 2005, while Pollard will be playing in Pakistan for the first time.

Sammy has been an unofficial ambassador of the PSL around the world since the league began in 2016. Sammy, who leads Peshawar Zalmi, won the second edition of the PSL at Lahore in 2017 as the PCB gradually started organizing more and more league games at home.

"It's been 14 years since I last visited Pakistan, a place with some of the most passionate fans in world cricket. Can't wait to give it our best shot in winning the trophy," Watson said in a video message tweeted by his team Quetta Gladiators.

Lahore, which organized the PSL final two years ago, was ruled out to host three of the remaining eight PSL matches after the recent political tensions between Pakistan and India forced a delay in opening of the international air space in Lahore.

This led the Pakistan Cricket Board to contemplate rescheduling the remaining eight games in Pakistan after organizing 26 PSL league matches in the United Arab Emirates.

But then Karachi, which also hosted the last year's PSL final, was chosen as the PCB was adamant to show the cricketing world that it's safe to again host international teams in Pakistan.

"The perception that foreigners have about the safety situation in Pakistan will change and they will be satisfied with the security arrangements," PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said in Karachi.

"I am delighted to welcome the foreign players who have come here for the PSL and I am sure it will help us in bringing more international matches to the country."

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Mani had said that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were the two teams which could tour Pakistan later this year if the PCB successfully organizes PSL games in Pakistan.

It's been 10 years since Pakistan hosted a fully-fledged bilateral cricketing series when terrorists attacked on Sri Lanka cricket team bus at Lahore in 2009.

Several key cricketing delegates from around the world that include top officials from the ICC, Federation of International Cricketers Association and Bangladesh Cricket Board will also oversee security arrangements during the matches in Karachi.

Tight security will be provided for the six franchise teams, including more than 13,000 policemen and 2,500 armed paramilitary personnel in place en route from hotel to the stadium and in the surroundings of the National Stadium.

Hundreds of CCTV cameras have been installed in and around the National Stadium to monitor the movement of spectators. Spectators have to show their original National Identity Cards along with their tickets at the entry points.

Defending champions Islamabad United will take on Lahore Qalandars at 7 p.m. local time (1400 GMT).

The main roads of the metropolis city have been decorated with lights and cardboard cut-outs of players on the roadside. There are also giant billboards showing several foreign players representing the six teams — Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Islamabad United, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans.

News Cricket

Pakistan want ICC to take strict action against Men in Blue for wearing Army Caps 

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 3:53 PM IST


Pakistan Minister Fawad Chaudhry has urged the ICC to take action against Virat Kohli-led team for politicizing the game by wearing army caps during the third ODI against Australia.

Indian players were sporting camouflage caps as a mark of tribute to the CRPF security personnel, who lost their lives in Pulwama terror attack.

Men in Blue also donated their match fee to the National Defence Fund, which will use the money to take care dependents of Pulwama attack martyrs.

“It’s just not cricket,” Chaudhry tweeted late on Friday. “By wearing the caps, the Indian team has politicized the Gentleman’s Game”, Dawn quoted the Information Minister as saying.

He insisted that PCB should lodge a formal protest against India.

“And if the Indian team does not stop wearing the caps, the Pakistan team ‘should (also) wear black bands to remind the World about Indian atrocities in (occupied) Kashmir,” said Chaudhry.

Many in Pakistan, including journalists Owais Tohid and Mazhar Abbas lambasted Team India for donning Army Caps.

“Sad to see war hysteria in Indian cricket team with great players like Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni leading it,” Tohid said in a tweet. “Heroes shouldn’t act like losers,” he added.

Abbas criticized the Indian players for their gesture. “Sports can defuse tension but not like this. Don’t (drag) cricketers in(to) politics.”

News Cricket

Virat Kohli joins Michael Bevan in elite list after 41st ODI ton

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 2:18 PM IST


Virat Kohli's batting average in ODIs has gone past 60 after he scored a magnificent hundred in the third ODI against Australia. Despite Virat's 41st ODI ton, India lost the match by 32 runs in Ranchi.

Men in Blue now lead the series 2-1 having won the first two matches in Hyderabad and Nagpur. This is the highest batting average Kohli has reached in his career thus far. Virat is now behind former Aussie batsman Michael Bevan, who reached an average of 62.1 in his 102nd innings.

Virat and Bevan are the two players who have gone past the 60 mark as far as average is concerned. West Indies legend Viv Richards is at the third spot in the list. He had touched 56.8 average in his 100th ODI innings.

News Cricket

Rishabh Pant to replace MS Dhoni

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 1:57 PM IST


Rishabh Pant will play as a specialist wicket-keeper batsman in the fourth ODI against Australia. With MS Dhoni being rested for the last two ODIs of the series, Pant can seal a slot in the World Cup squad. In earlier ODIs, Pant had played purely as a batsman with Dhoni donning the wicket-keeping gloves.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has the chance of playing on Sunday after Mohammed Shami was hit on the leg during the third ODI of the series.

Men in Blue will go in with couple of changes in the remaining games.

"We will have a few changes in the next couple of games but the idea is to tell the boys to put in match-winning performances and the boys will be looking to be in top form before the flight to England," Kohli said after the third ODI.

News Cricket

R Ashwin ready to grace Karan Johar’s popular show Koffee With Karan

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 1:46 PM IST


Koffee With Karan had to bear the brunt of fans when Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul made sexist remarks. They not only drew flak but were also suspended by the BCCI before being reinstated in their respective roles.

The governing body of Indian cricket was thinking of bringing a rule to bar players from participating in such shows. Despite BCCI's tough stance, R Ashwin is still interested to feature on Koffee with Karan.

He hosted a Q&A session on Instagram where he answered fans' questions. One of the fans asked him if he would fancy going to Koffee With Karan. “Sure,” he wrote.

Ashwin is currently out of the Indian team with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal preferred in the limited-overs side.

He has represented India in 65 Tests, 111 One-Day Internationals and 46 Twenty20 Internationals.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli has made it a joke: Mohammad Kaif after Kohli's 41st ODI ton

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 12:49 PM IST


Captain Virat Kohli scored 123 runs but India was prevented from clinching the one-day cricket international series when Australia won the third match by 32 runs.

Kohli reached his 41st hundred, and second in two matches, off 84 balls but after he was out at 219-6, bowled by leg-spinner Adam Zampa, India ran out of puff. Vijay Shankar, with 32 off 30 balls, was the second-highest scorer.

Kohli reached 50 off 52 balls, and picked up the innings' reins as he added 88 runs off 75 balls with Kedar Jadhav (26) for the fifth wicket. The skipper accelerated, attacking Marcus Stoinis (0-39) in particular.

Kohli didn't slow his pace as he hit 16 fours and a six in the 95-ball knock. As India crossed 200 in the 36th over, it seemed he would singlehandedly win the game.

However, Zampa bowled Kohli in the 38th over, with 95 runs still needed off 75 balls. And India's threat evaporated with him.

Mohammad Kaif took to twitter to laud Virat Kohli for his brilliant hundred. "It isn’t this easy. It isn’t a joke, but this man has made it a joke. 41st for King Kohli. #IndvAus," he wrote.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli issues a stern warning to Indian batsmen

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 12:45 PM IST


Indian team lost the third ODI against Australia in Ranchi by 32 runs. Barring Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, who scored 123 runs, all else struggled. Not even one batsman could score a fifty for India. And Virat Kohli has hinted for changes in the next two games. He doesn't want more batting collapses as well.

"We will have a few changes in the next couple of games. We have to figure out what those changes are. But the idea is to go out there and win matches and take a lot of pride in winning games for the country. That mindset will not change," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"We will have a few new faces and they will have to make the most of their chances because there is a World Cup coming and everyone wants to be on that flight. The guys are excited and looking forward to it. A little hiccup in the middle but we will regroup and come back stronger," Kohli added.

"The guys who have got out will want to make the most of the opportunity. We don't want collapses. We want partnerships that can get us going.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli makes a big statement about his 41st ODI hundred

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 12:34 PM IST


Captain Virat Kohli scored 123 runs but India was prevented from clinching the one-day cricket international series when Australia won the third match by 32 runs.

Australia cut India's lead to 2-1 in the five-match series. The fourth match is on Sunday in Mohali.

Australia made 313-5 after an opening stand of 193 between Usman Khawaja, 104, and Captain Aaron Finch, 93.

India was bowled out for 281 in the 49th over.

Only Kohli passed 35 in the chase. "In terms of hitting the ball, it was one of my finest innings. I was feeling good since ball one," Kohli said.

"We pulled things back because at one stage it looked like we would be chasing 350. I was told to expect dew in the evening, but none of it happened."

Australia was put into bat and Finch and Khawaja produced a mammoth opening stand.

Khawaja scored his maiden ODI hundred, and Finch crossed 50 for the first time since June 2018.

They plundered Mohammed Shami, who needed regular treatment after being hit on the ankle off a Finch drive, and benefited from dubious India judgment and fielding. India wasted a video review against Finch for lbw in the second over, and Khawaja was on 17 when he was dropped by Dhawan off Ravindra Jadeja in the seventh over.

Finch and Khawaja brought up their combined 100 off 99 balls on the best batting surface of this series so far.

They were close to 200 runs together when Finch was out lbw off Yadav in the 32nd over.

Finch sought a video review, which showed the ball pitching away from its original spot. However, Hawk-Eye claimed to suffer a technical glitch, the right decision was eventually made, and Finch walked.

Khawaja reached his hundred off 107 balls, and was out shortly afterwards, chipping Shami straight to midwicket.

"My previous high score was 98, so it was good to get those extra two runs," Khawaja said. "We weren't sure what a good score is and the bowlers bowled beautifully (to set up the win)."

Glenn Maxwell was promoted up the order and made 47 off 31 balls before he was run out by a deflection. That slowed Australia's momentum, though it crossed 300 in the 49th over, the first time any team has done so in five ODIs at this ground.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli breaks AB de Villiers’ world record

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 12:29 PM IST


During the third ODI against Australia, Indian skipper reached another landmark. Virat became the fourth Indian skipper and 12th overall to complete 4000 ODI runs as captain. He also surpassed AB de Villiers to become the fastest skipper to reach the 4000-run mark as ODI captain. AB had touched this mark in 77 innings while Kohli breached his tally in juts 63 innings.

Kohli reached his 41st hundred, and second in two matches, off 84 balls but after he was out at 219-6, bowled by leg-spinner Adam Zampa, India ran out of puff. Vijay Shankar, with 32 off 30 balls, was the second-highest scorer.

Kohli reached 50 off 52 balls, and picked up the innings' reins as he added 88 runs off 75 balls with Kedar Jadhav (26) for the fifth wicket. The skipper accelerated, attacking Marcus Stoinis (0-39) in particular.

While Kohli scored another hundred, Zampa undermined India again by trapping Jadhav, who was out trying to sweep.

Kohli didn't slow his pace as he hit 16 fours and a six in the 95-ball knock. As India crossed 200 in the 36th over, it seemed he would singlehandedly win the game.

However, Zampa bowled Kohli in the 38th over, with 95 runs still needed off 75 balls. And India's threat evaporated with him.

News Cricket

JSCA stadium should be renamed after Dhoni

Staff Writer Updated: 9 March, 2019, 12:19 PM IST


Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar feels that JSCA stadium should be renamed after MS Dhoni in a bid to give a fitting tribute to their beloved son. The Jharkhand State Cricket Association named one of the stands in Ranchi’s JSCA Stadium after MS Dhoni. The stand was inaugurated before the third ODI between India and Australia.

It was during the 46th over of the match when Sanjay Manjrekar asked Gavaskar, “Coming from a small town and leading an Indian team full of Superstars. Tendulkar, Dravid everyone played under him. MS Dhoni pavilion, what’s the stadium called?”

In reply, Gavaskar stated that JSCA should name the entire stadium after Dhoni's name.

“Good question, now that the pavilion is named after Dhoni, the stadium can be called after some national figure I guess. I don’t know which national/international figure in Ranchi is bigger than MSD. If anything, this stadium should have been called Mahendra Singh Dhoni Stadium, not just the pavilion whole stadium should have been called MS Dhoni stadium. That would have been the ultimate tribute from Ranchi to their beloved son,” said Gavaskar.

News Cricket

Matthew Hayden makes a big statement about Virat Kohli

Harshit Anand Updated: 9 March, 2019, 12:09 PM IST


Virat Kohli was at his absolute best in the third ODI against Australia in Ranchi. He notched up his 41st ODI century. Kohli was in full flow and hit 16 fours and a six in his majestic 95-ball 123 run knock. Kohli's last seven 50+ ODI scores in India have been: 121, 113, 140, 157*, 107, 116, 123. Unfortunately, his knock couldn't help India win the game and they lost the game by 32 runs. But, India are still leading the series 2-1 in the five-match ODI series.

The whole world is in awe of Kohli. And former Aussie opener, Matthew Hayden is no different. "Absolutely staggering. I am trying to think back, check the memory banks of brilliant players over the years. Maybe Brian Lara in his heyday, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly all these players have been on top of their game at various points in one-day cricket. But Virat Kohli is doing it so easy. He is drifting away to a hundred. Not only that, just the way he is transcending every game seems to be a different performance," Hayden said during the post-match show at Star Sports after Australia's win on Friday.

"Tonight, on a better wicket, he made it look so easy. He does play out of his skin. It was outstanding, no area was untouched. We all know he loves playing through the mid-wicket area but tonight he played some cut shots and took on the spinners. It was just a remarkable innings, can't say anything more than that. I think he has always got great energy and the intent and he's got the fitness to be able to do it. It's almost like one performance leads to the next. His tempo is incredible. We saw the likes of Vijay that had an opportunity to bat with him. That's only going to be good for India ahead of the World Cup," Hayden added.

News Cricket

Zampa opens up on whether he considers Kohli his bunny or not

Harshit Anand Updated: 9 March, 2019, 10:49 AM IST


  • Zampa has now got the prized scalp of Kohli three times on this tour.
  • Kohli had hit back-to-back fours off Zampa before he got cleaned up by him.
  • Zampa has done well so far in the ODI series

Virat Kohli's 95-ball 123 went in vain as Australia won the third ODI in Ranchi by 32 runs. Virat Kohli played a gem of a knock to notch up his 41st century. He looked in ominous touch before Australia's leg-spinner Adam Zampa got him out. Kohli had hit back-to-back fours off Zampa before he got cleaned up by the spinner.

Zampa has now got the prized scalp of Kohli three times on this tour, so far. Aussie leggie opened up on whether he considers the world's no.1 ODI batsman his bunny or not. “We bowled well collectively. The quicks upfront were amazing, Virat is a serious player, it was good to take his wicket when we did. I don't think he's my bunny, he's one of the hardest players to bowl to. I was under a bit of pressure, if he had hit a couple of more boundaries, the momentum would have shifted towards them,” said the 26-year-old.

Australian bowlers bowled with single-mindedness, they knew losing the Ranchi ODI would mean conceding the series to the hosts. “The message from the management and the coach was to take wickets, the mindset was the same. The wickets here in India are pretty good and the outfield fast, that has a say in your bowling,” the spinner added.

News Football

Tottenham to move into new stadium in early April

AP Updated: 9 March, 2019, 10:39 AM IST


Tottenham will finally move into its new stadium next month following seven postponements.

Spurs were due to open their 62,062-seat stadium in August, but construction delays caused a series of announcements starting last June that kept pushing back the opening and caused 14 of 19 home Premier League matches this season to be played at Wembley, the home of England's national team.

The north London club said Friday the new facility will open with a Premier League game against Crystal Palace or Brighton in early April.

The opponent depends on the outcome of Brighton's FA Cup quarterfinal against Millwall on March 17.

Should Brighton win, a previously postponed game against Crystal Palace would be the opener on April 3. If Brighton loses, it would play Spurs in the first game on April 6 or 7.

The club will stage two test events needed to obtain a safety certificate: a youth-team game on March 24 with a crowd of 30,000 and a legends game on March 30 with the crowd increased to 45,000.

Tottenham started playing at White Hart Lane in 1899, and the stadium had a capacity of 36,284 in 2015-16. A corner was torn down during its final season, reducing capacity to about 32,000 and allowing construction of the new venue to start.

Spurs originally planned to play at 90,000-capacity Wembley only for 2017-18 and move into the new stadium for the start of 2018-19. The new stadium will have the second-highest capacity in the Premier League behind 74,994 for Manchester United's Old Trafford.