News Cricket

'Test cricket is dying': ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 February, 2019, 11:06 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman, Shashank Manohar feels that Test cricket is dying
  • He said, "From 10 to 5 everybody has their own job to do so it is very difficult for them to watch this game
  • ICC Test Championship will commence from 2019 with nine teams participating in it

2018 was a year in which Test cricket prospered like anything. We saw the best of the format with teams putting up a brilliant show on display. But the International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman, Shashank Manohar feels that Test cricket is dying and the upcoming Test championship might generate some interest in the format.

"We are trying to see whether the Test championship can generate interest. Because Test cricket is actually dying to be honest. So to improve the situation, we are trying ways and means. The [ICC] board directors came to a conclusion that if we start a Test championship, it would keep Test cricket alive and generate more interest in the game," Manohar said.

"From 10 to 5 everybody has their own job to do so it is very difficult for them to watch this game. T20s get over in three-and-a-half hours, like watching a movie. Therefore, it is picking up very fast," the ICC chairman added.

Manohar also shed light on the feasibility of Cricket in Olympics. He said, "We are trying to take it to the Olympics but there are certain hurdles. The bigger issue is the Olympics is held over 15 days. How do you finish a world event of cricket in fifteen days? "For that, you need cricket stadiums also. Olympics are not held only in cricket-playing countries."

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News Cricket

Australia gets Ricky Ponting on board for 2019 Cricket World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 8 February, 2019, 11:00 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Ponting was part of Australia's World Cup winning teams in 1999, 2003 and 2007
  • He led Australia to World Cup triumphs twice in 2003 and 2007
  • Ponting will reunite with his former teammate, Justin Langer in the coaching set-up

Triple World Cup winner and two-time World Cup-winning skipper, Ricky Ponting will join Australia’s coaching staff for the World Cup in England and Wales this year. The ICC megaevent will begin from May 30. Australia will enter the tourney as defending champions.

Australia are five-time World Cup winners but have been in disarray for quite sometime now. Cricket Australia made this big announcement today. Ponting will reunite with his former teammate, Justin Langer in the coaching set-up. Langer is Australia's head coach.

“This appointment also provides an opportunity for Graeme Hick to focus on preparation for the Ashes,” said interim Team Performance Executive General Manager Belinda Clark.

“With two major events back to back we believe it is important to focus a number of staff specifically on one event. The appointment of Ricky is a part of this overall strategy.”

The Men in Yellow are currently ranked sixth in ICC Men's ODI Team Rankings. They have been found wanting in absence of their batting heavyweights, David Warner and Steven Smith. But the good news for them is that there are high chances that both the players will be available for selection in the World Cup.

News F1

 Azerbaijan renews F1 contract through 2023

AP Updated: 8 February, 2019, 10:56 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • The Azerbaijan street circuit was widely considered an unlikely F1 host
  • Baku renewed its contract to host the Azerbaijan Grand Prix through 2023
  • Baku's current deal was to expire next year

Baku renewed its contract to host the Azerbaijan Grand Prix through 2023, prolonging the stay of a circuit which initially struggled for acceptance in Formula One but has since become a fan favorite.

Baku's current deal was to expire next year but race organizers and F1 management signed the three-year extension, though an extension to 2025 had been possible under the old contract.

"I think that was a timeframe that made sense to both of us. We are at a period where we believe we are making exciting changes," Formula One Group executive chairman and CEO Chase Carey said, adding that a future long-term extension is possible.

"Certainly our hope is we have an agreement which goes well beyond the next five years, but as we get to that, we'll figure out how do we find the right solution for the long term, at that point in time."

The Azerbaijan street circuit was widely considered an unlikely F1 host when it held its first race in 2016 but has won popularity with fans after some unpredictable races. That included an unexpected third-place finish for Lance Stroll in 2017 and last year's fierce battle between Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, who eventually crashed into one another.

Azerbaijani organizers said the new deal was more favorable after attempts to seek a reduction in the fee they pay to host the race.

"We can already say that the new contract has been fairly significantly changed in relation to the old one," said Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan's minister of youth and sports.

That includes extra opportunities for the hosts to sell sponsorship.

"It's a commercial secret, but all this will bring us good, weighty dividends which we can see and feel," Rahimov said.

Relations between Azerbaijani officials and F1 owner Liberty Media haven't always been smooth. After Liberty took over the sport in 2017, it said it wanted to focus on what it saw as glamorous cities like Miami or Las Vegas, rather than markets like Azerbaijan with little racing tradition. However, it has since confirmed a race in Vietnam starting next year, while work is still ongoing on a deal with Miami after it failed to make the 2019 schedule.

The Azerbaijan deal is F1's first renewal this year and follows new deals for Belgium, Germany, China, Japan and Singapore over the last two years. This year's Azerbaijan GP is scheduled for April 28.

News F1

Haas changes F1 car from gray to black-and-gold for 2019

AP Updated: 8 February, 2019, 10:52 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were present at the unveiling of the 2019 VF-19 car
  • The Haas Formula One team has changed its livery from a metallic gray to a more dynamic black-and-gold
  • Haas improved to fifth despite early crashes and setbacks

The Haas Formula One team has changed its livery from a metallic gray to a more dynamic black-and-gold for the upcoming season.

Drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were present at the unveiling of the 2019 VF-19 car and its new sponsor, pulling off the covers at the Royal Automobile Club.

The American-owned Haas team, which uses Ferrari engines, made its debut in the 2016 championship.

After finishing eighth in the 2016 and 2017 constructors' championship, Haas improved to fifth despite early crashes and setbacks involving Grosjean.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says "the year showed, sometimes sharply, that we still have areas to improve on."

Magnussen was ninth in the drivers' championship and Grosjean placed 14th.

News Tennis

Defending champ Anderson out of New York Open with injury

AP Updated: 8 February, 2019, 10:47 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Kevin Anderson has withdrawn from the New York Open because of a right elbow injury
  • Anderson, ranked fifth, was hurt during last month's Grand Slam tournament in Australia
  • He was runner-up last year at Wimbledon

Defending champion Kevin Anderson has withdrawn from the New York Open because of a right elbow injury.

Frances Tiafoe, the American who reached the Australian Open quarterfinals before falling to runner-up Rafael Nadal, was added to the field Thursday. The tournament begins Sunday.

Anderson, ranked fifth, was hurt during last month's Grand Slam tournament in Australia. He was runner-up last year at Wimbledon and says his victory on Long Island "kick-started my year in 2018 and I was very excited to return."

His withdrawal leaves American John Isner as the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 9. Anderson outlasted Isner in a marathon semifinal at Wimbledon.

Australian Alex de Minaur, last year's ATP top rookie, also pulled out of the tournament because of an injury.

News Football

Police confirm Sala's body recovered from plane wreckage

AP Updated: 8 February, 2019, 10:41 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Search teams are yet to find pilot David Ibbotson
  • Sala had just secured the biggest move of his career after signing for Cardiff
  • Agony was prolonged for Sala's family by the difficulties raising the body to the surface

More than two weeks after the plane carrying Emiliano Sala to a new career in the English Premier League crashed into the sea, police confirmed that the body recovered from the wreckage was the Argentine soccer player.

A search of the seabed of the English Channel only discovered the Piper Malibu aircraft and the agony was prolonged for Sala's family by the difficulties raising the body to the surface.

"The news is so painful," Argentine President Mauricio Macri wrote in remarks translated from Spanish on Twitter, reflecting national concerns at home over the fate of Sala. "My condolences to the family, friends and teammates of Emiliano Sala on this tough moment. We are with you."

Search teams are yet to find pilot David Ibbotson, the only other person on board the light aircraft which lost contact with traffic control near Guernsey on the evening of Jan. 21 as it flew from the French city of Nantes to the Welsh capital Cardiff. At 28, Sala had just secured the biggest move of his career after signing for Cardiff.

In the south of Wales, they grieved the player who never got to pull on the Cardiff jersey.

"We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano," Cardiff City said in a statement. "He and David will forever remain in our thoughts."

News Cricket

MSK Prasad differs from Ravi Shastri, says R Ashwin is India’s no. 1 spinner

Staff Writer Updated: 7 February, 2019, 9:24 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

If Ravi Shastri is to be believed Kuldeep Yadav has raced ahead of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja when it comes to performance in overseas conditions.

In a recent interview with Cricbuzz, India coach made a statement that Kuldeep will be preferred over two senior pros whenever India play one spinner.

"He plays overseas Test cricket and he gets five wickets, so he becomes our primary overseas spinner. Going ahead, if we have to play one spinner, he is the one we will pick," Shastri told Cricbuzz.

However, in an interview with Sportstar, chief selector MSK Prasad stated that Ashwin continues to be India's no.1 spinner in Test cricket.

"Undoubtedly. There are no two ways about it. Ashwin is our No. 1 spinner and he is one of the best spinners in the world. In fact, every country we play, they always plan against Ashwin first compared to other spinners. He is our premier spinner," he said.

News Cricket

Langer sounds warning bell for players traveling to India, says team not final World Cup squad

Staff Writer Updated: 7 February, 2019, 9:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Australia will travel to India to play ODI matches and T20 internationals and head coach Justin Langer has clarified that the squad travelling to India is not Australia’s final World Cup team and there are still places up for grab.

Australia were recently defeated by visiting Team India in Tests and ODIs.

"Whether you are on this tour or not, there is still going to be spots up for grabs. But the World Cup is going to come up sooner than you know and guys like Steve Smith and Dave Warner are obviously going to bang very hard on the door. So there is going to be some competition there, but that’s good as there is going to be some guys that need to stay on their toes the entire time and keep playing great cricket every time we play."

In a major setback for Australia, Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the tour owing to his injury. "It’s really disappointing for him as he bowled so well in that last Test match. (It’s) disappointing for us as we would have loved to have him there, but hopefully, he will be right for that second leg against Pakistan" said Langer on his premier pacer.

News Cricket

Universe Boss Chris Gayle back in Windies ODI squad

Staff Writer Updated: 7 February, 2019, 9:18 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Chris Gayle has been named in the West Indies squad for the first two matches against England. He last played for his national team in July 2018 in a home series against Bangladesh.

The left hand batsman had made himself unavailable for national selection in order to play in the Afghanistan Premier League. He has scored 9727 runs in 284 ODI matches.

Courtney Browne, the Chairman of Selectors, has also shed light on Marlon Samuels’ unavailability.

"As we continue our Cricket World Cup preparations, the upcoming series against the top ranked ODI side is a great opportunity for us to gauge where we are as a team. This allows us to identify any areas that need addressing relating to selection and also helps the coaching staff to fine tune their game strategy," Browne said in press release.

"We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI squad for the first time. He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order. Shannon Gabriel remains very much in our World Cup plans but with a heavy workload expected in the Test series he will be considered for selection later in the ODI series," Browne added.

News Cricket

Costliest Ball Ever! Aussie bowler concedes 17 runs off 1 ball in Big Bash League – Watch

Staff Writer Updated: 7 February, 2019, 9:14 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Australian bowler Riley Meredith conceded 17 runs off one ball in a Big Bash League match between Melbourne Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes.

He was asked to bowl the first over of the chase but he ended up giving away 23 runs.

Riley bowled three no-balls and conceded 5 wides in his over and finished with figures of 1/43 in his 3 overs spell.

Here's the video:

It started when he bowled a no-ball on the fourth delivery of the over. He followed up with a wide that beat wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to the boundary, earning rivals 5 wides.

The next ball went to the boundary and was called a no-ball for height. Meredith overstepped again and Finch didn't miss out on the free hit as he wacked the delivery for another four.

Despite his over, Hobart Hurricanes were able to defend the total and clinched a 16-run win.

News Cricket

Sunil Gavaskar agrees with Ravi Shastri's view of batting Kohli at no.4 in World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 5:22 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian head coach, Ravi Shastri recently suggested that he is open to batting Virat Kohli at no.4 slot in 2019 Cricket World Cup that will take place in England and Wales. Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar also believes that there needs to be flexibility in India's batting cometh the World Cup.

"There needs to be flexibility. More the flexibility in the batting line-up, more beneficial to the team. Let's look at what happened in the Champions Trophy final. Rohit Sharma was dismissed by Mohammed Aamir early. When Virat Kohli came out to bat, the ball was swinging quite a bit. Pakistan were pumped up after having put 300 on the board," Gavaskar was quoted as saying by India Today.

"In such situations, an important player like Virat Kohli needs protection. He can come in at No. 4. Maybe the ball may not move that much when the No. 4 batsman walks out to the middle. Such moves can be beneficial to the team.

"Yes, according to the conditions, flexibility is needed. If not, Virat Kohli is suited to batting at No. 3. In conditions that are conducive to swing bowling, India can afford to play Virat at No. 4," he added.

News Cricket

MSK Prasad still has faith in struggling KL Rahul

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 5:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • KL Rahul is one of the most talented cricket players
  • He was also part of the Koffee with Karan controversy
  • Prasad says, "We really want him (Rahul) to make a strong comeback"

KL Rahul is going through a tough time. First of all, he endured a rough phase in Tests which led to his ouster from the XI in the red-ball cricket and then he lost his place in India's white-ball games against New Zealand. He was also part of the Koffee with Karan controversy that got both Hardik and Rahul plenty of flak on social media.

But Indian chief selector MSK Prasad still has faith in KL Rahul. “Everybody goes through those phases. Even the greatest of players have their ups and downs in their careers with regard to their form. We want KL to be among runs and that’s why we have included him against England Lions and BP XI match,” Prasad was quoted as saying by Sportstar.

He added, “We really want him (Rahul) to make a strong comeback by getting runs in whatever matches he gets. I am sure he will do so,” he said.

KL Rahul is one of the most talented cricket players going around in the Indian cricket. He has been out of form in the last few months but possesses huge potential.

Feature Tennis

Keen tussle for supremacy in women's tennis

Partab Ramchand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 5:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

There is no denying that Serena’s Williams’ fortunes are finally on the downslide. The great champion has reigned for so long at the top and with 23 Grand Slam singles titles she takes her place among the greatest to play the game but one is not sure whether she will achieve her lifetime ambition of equaling Australian Margaret Court’s all time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. She last won a Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2017 and then was runner up at Wimbledon and the US Open. At last month’s Australian Open however she went down to Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals and with the competition from the GenNext of players very strong even Serena could find it difficult to serve and volley her way back to the top. The 37-year-old is currently No 11 on the WTA rankings and that in itself is a tribute to her fighting qualities for she had slipped out of the top 100 after she missed a lot of tournaments following the birth of her child.

So perhaps it is time for the GenNext of players to stake their claim to reach the pedestal and symbolizing this was the crowning of the new world No 1 when the latest WTA rankings were released last week. Naomi Osaka took over at the top for the first time following her victory over Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final on Saturday. The interesting point to note is that had Kvitova had won she would have been crowned the new world No 1. That’s the kind of competition currently on in the women’s section and any one of half a dozen players is capable of winning a Grand Slam or taking over at the top.

At the moment however it is Osaka’s moment to savour following her second successive Grand Slam triumph after she won the US Open last year. But she will have to be on her toes if she wants an extended run at the top. Simona Halep, the women Osaka dethroned, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova besides Kvitova are all bunched together in the rankings and some of them are already Grand Slam winners. The tussle for top honours is bound to be extremely keen and interesting in 2019.

News Cricket

Lungi Ngidi says chokers tag doesn't affect us

Harshit Anand Updated: 7 February, 2019, 4:53 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Lungi Ngidi is likely to feature in the World Cup for the Proteas
  • The youngster is recovering from a knee injury at present
  • He feels the Proteas have got nothing to lose

Lungi Ngidi, who made a sensational debut against India in Centurion, last year, is recovering from a knee injury.at present The youngster has said that chokers tag doesn't affect us and the team will enter the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and Wales with low expectations.

The young pace sensation said that “As a team, you don’t see it as choking. People are allowed to play good cricket on the day. It’s all international teams so you can’t tell me you’re not going to lose a semifinal game.”

He added, “It is tough [to win a semifinal], and it hasn’t been able to be done in the past, but it could happen this year. That chokers tag is created by people, but I wouldn’t say it affects the team.”

“We’ve got nothing to lose. It (winning the World Cup) has never been done before by the cricket team, so we’re going there with a clean slate,” he said.

Feature Cricket

Day and Night Not Enough to Save Test Cricket

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 7 February, 2019, 4:48 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

As the action moves from Test cricket to the World Cup prospects, the angst over India’s refusal to play the day and night version in Adelaide will have been briefly assuaged. But it brings about the question: how important is day and night Test cricket and really, how feasible?

While the push for day and night Test cricket as also, the shortest format of cricket as are being introduced, has been tremendous, it has often overlooked the fact that while Test cricket itself has not always enjoyed fairness of pitches and conditions, more is being demanded of an ill prepared cricket world to reap the advantages of a radical idea called day and night cricket.

For one, not every stadium around the world hosting Test cricket is capable of hosting a day and night affair. With the conditions over lighting, the colour of the ball, the pitch conditions and the weather, it appears there is still a long way to go in terms of a fair assessment and universal standard before day and night Test cricket can be dubbed the messiah that saves the five day format.

Undoubtedly any innovation is at first a novelty and then an addiction provided it can provide all the pieces of the jigsaw or in the case of Twenty20, usurp the relevance of one day internationals by simply emulating the formula on a smaller, much faster scale. For Test cricket, while its greatest test of sustainability has come from the over commercialization of Twenty20 that has had the potbellied administrators running to the bank in glee, there is merit enough to understand that while the players may have compromised some of their skills for the game to barely go the distance of five days these days, not enough has been invested into making Test cricket as pliable as Twenty20 in the first place in the advent of the latter.

If anything, there has been this contentious issue that worldwide there has been a deliberate push by the cricket’s administrators to milk cricket through its easiest format, Twenty20, which calls for less fairer pitches, only more batting opportunities for the bludgeoning batsmen. While that equation has changed a bit in recent years with a change in perception, it has not been drastic enough to give Twenty20 the legitimacy to represent cricket as the game’s highest, most revered format. That day and night Test cricket has not been tested enough even at the domestic cricket level and yet is being pushed as the savior that upholds cricket in its most pristine avatar is foolhardy.

While the novelty of a day and night Test and the possibility of increasing gate revenue may be enticing, what has to be remembered is that day and night Test cricket can do only as much as a day affair that is the present Test cricket scenario and unless more is done in the area of preparing fairer pitches, of allowing players to shift formats with greater tour practice which has gone out of the window with the advent of Twenty20 and that the cricket administrators put more time, energy and money into marketing these Test cricket series, day and night cricket could simply go the way of Test cricket or worse, die out as an idea that never saw the light.