Bcci Cricket

BCCI Decides To Cancel Tours To Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe

Last week, it appeared that Indian cricket would finally get back to normal as the Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SCB) confirmed that it had worked out a deal with the BCCI to proceed with a bilateral series where India would tour Sri Lanka for a 3 match T20 and 3 match ODI series.

The series was expected to be the first both cricketing nations since all forms of cricket was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The short series was supposed to be ideal for both teams as they slowly get back into international cricket action. The confirmation was encouraging as millions of cricket fans were excited to see the men in blue back in action again.

India was supposed to tour Sri Lanka and then do a short tour of Zimbabwe and the two tours would be in June and July.

However, the BCCI has now confirmed that India will not tour both Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe due to the on-going concerns of COVID-19. There is no specific reason as to why the BCCI has suddenly decided to take a U-turn on the decision but it does not come entirely as a surprise as both the BCCI and the SCB had made it clear that the bilateral series would only take place provided both boards got the backing of their respective governments.

COVID-19 Threat Still Too Serious For India To Play

It is interesting to note that the BCCI is looking to resume international cricketing action with an overseas tour rather than a home tour. This is mainly because India is now in crisis mode having unenviably secured the fourth spot on the list of countries with the most number of COVID-19 restrictions. These numbers have exploded even though multiple states throughout India continue to be in different stages of lockdown.

The central government has not found a solution to curb the spread of the coronavirus and hence it appears that it is highly unlikely in the next two months that India would be in a position to host any cricket matches in India – be it international or domestic.

The only solution was to look overseas and get the Indian team to travel to resume cricketing action. However, it appears that this solution will also have to be placed on the back-burner as a BCCI official has confirmed that they have been in talks with the Central Government and the general consensus is that it is not safe for overseas travel at this point in time.

Focus Must Be On Training Rather Than Playing    

The recent discussions and decision to cancel tours to India and Sri Lanka have made it very obvious to the BCCI that they cannot rush the process and it is quite likely that Indian cricket will take another two or three months to resume.

The BCCI will have to focus on getting clearance first from the government on allowing players to resume training. The BCCI has made preparations to hold a training camp to get the Indian squad fit again in both mental and physical aspects. However, the camp cannot commence until the government gives the BCCI the green light.

Coaching staff of the Indian cricket team have mapped out a 6-8 week training program where they will use progressive overload to build the players up to test match fitness. Given the fact that it could take a minimum of 6 weeks before they are ready to play, it is highly likely that we are not going to see the Indian cricket team in action until late August or early September.

BCCI Unable To Make Decision On IPL Timeframe

The BCCI will not be impressed with the recent decision made by the ICC to postpone making a decision on the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in October in Australia. The ICC was expected to confirm last week whether the T20 World Cup would proceed as per plan or be postponed but the committee decided to wait till July before making a final decision. The BCCI is eager to host the IPL this year and was anticipating hosting the tournament in place of the T20 World Cup – if it gets cancelled. The BCCI will have to wait patiently till July to know whether it can fit the IPL in during 2020 or have to cancel the season!


Darren Sammy States There is Racial Abuse In The IPL

Former West Indian captain Darren Sammy, who led the Windies to an ICC T20 World Cup Championships wins in 2012 and 2016, has not played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for a number of years. Sammy has also not represented the West Indies for a number of years which has led many to believe that he has retired but that isn’t true.

Sammy recently caused a stir in the international cricket community when he alleged that he and some of his other mates who were black or dark skinned had been racially abused when they were playing in the IPL. Sammy claims that he and Sri Lankan team mate T Perera were subjected to racial abuse during their time with the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise.

Sammy took to Twitter to claim that in the past when his Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates used to call him ‘Kalu’, he used to think that it meant they were referring to him as a strong stallion. He claims that this was the term he and T Perera were regularly labelled with and they took it in a positive sense thinking it was a compliment.

However, he recently found out that the real meaning for the word ‘Kalu’ is ‘black’. Sammy admitted that he was very upset when he found out the actual meaning of the word, and only then realized that he and T Perera were being subjected to racial abuse by teammates who he thought were complimenting him. Sammy played for the Sunrisers during 2013 and 2014.

Sammy Calls On ICC To Take More Steps To Stop Racial Abuse

The murder of African American George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota has recently caused widespread protests all across the United States as well as in other parts of the world. The 46 year old was killed by police brutality on the streets while it was filmed by locals who begged the police to not knee-choke Floyd to death.

Top professional athletes across multiple sporting leagues including the NBA, NFL and MMA communities condemned the killing of George Floyd and campaigned for ‘Black Lives Matter’.

While the global spotlight is now on the Black Lives Matter movement, Darren Sammy has felt that this is an appropriate time to highlight some of the injustices he and T Perera have suffered in the IPL. Sammy has stopped short of naming those players who used the alleged derogatory term towards him and T Perera.

Sammy tweeted “@ICC and all the other boards are you guys not seeing what’s happening to ppl like me? Are you not gonna speak against the social injustice against my kind. This is not only about America. This happens everyday #BlackLivesMatter now is not the time to be silent. I wanna hear u”

ICC and IPL Yet To Respond To Racial Abuse Remarks

The ICC and the IPL are yet to respond to the allegations made by Darren Sammy. Sammy has also called on the cricketing community to step up and show support towards the Black Lives Matter movement but there hasn’t been a great response. The main show of support came from Sammy’s fellow West Indian team mates such as all-rounder Andre Russell and Universe Boss Chris Gayle.

Gayle also tweeted claiming that he travels the world extensively to play cricket and was constantly subjected to racism because he is black. Gayle pointed out that racism wasn’t restricted to football but was also very evident in the world of cricket. He finished off by saying that because he was black, he often got the end of the stick. The IPL prides itself on the being the biggest and richest domestic T20 cricketing league in the world. Players from multiple countries come to the IPL every year and play alongside Indian players in a month and a half long tournament. As such, the IPL could play a role in educating players about cultural differences and ethical behaviour.


Is The BCCI Pushing For T20 World Cup Cancellation?

The BCCI has a reputation for being a bully and forcing other member nations to give in to its demands because the BCCI has the biggest financial clout amongst all other boards and can put tremendous pressure on the International Cricket Council (ICC). There has been reporting circulating for the last month that the BCCI is pushing for the T20 World Cup in October in Australia to be replaced with the 2020 IPL.

Now former Australian captain Ian Chappell has come out and implied that he believes the BCCI will get their way and have the IPL replace the T20 World Cup. Chappell who is known for speaking his mind said that the chances of the T20 World Cup now taking place are between a Buckley’s and none.

For our Indian fans, this is an Aussie expression for saying there is just about no chance for the T20 World Cup to take place in October. The question we need to ask though is whether the BCCI is pushing for the T20 World Cup cancellation or is the BCCI pushing for the IPL to take place if the T20 World Cup is cancelled?

This is an important distinction to make but Chappell has not made this distinction in his comments. Mark Taylor, the former Aussie skipper did provide more insight into these questions and put things across from a logical perspective.

Mark Taylor Believes T20 World Cup Not Feasible Now

While Australia would dearly like to host the T20 World Cup in October and bring in big revenues for Cricket Australia and for the economy as a whole, it is a difficult proposition. Taylor said that the current COVID-19 situation made it difficult for 15 teams to travel down under during October-November.

The T20 World Cup will require a total of 45 T20 games to take place across 7 different venues which makes it a huge challenge for Cricket Australia and the players from 15 different nations considering the on-going coronavirus pandemic. If Cricket Australia should push ahead with the World Cup, it will most likely be without the fans in attendance which is another blow as Cricket Australia would lose out on ticket sales.

There has been no official confirmation from the ICC or Cricket Australia on the status of the T20 World Cup but there are rumours floating around that it will be postponed to 2021. Given the fact that it is going to be difficult for the ICC and Cricket Australia to proceed with the T20 World Cup, the BCCI could make the most of this opportunity.

BCCI Could Host 2020 IPL In October

Mark Taylor believes what could work in the BCCI’s favour is that a T20 World Cup cancelation will leave a gap in the cricket calendar for the IPL to take place. This will then take the onus from cricketing nations and give each player the opportunity to decide whether they want to travel to India in October to play the IPL.

The BCCI would be comfortable with this scenario as given the enormous amount of money involved, the majority of overseas players should be willing to tour India in October to play the 2020 IPL.

The BCCI for now has not said anything about rescheduling the IPL but BCCI Treasurer refused to be drawn into the argument by saying that it was up to the Australian government and Cricket Australia to decide whether they were proceeding with the T20 World Cup in October or not.

Can The BCCI Pull Off 2020 IPL In October?

Things are slowly but surely going in the right direction in India as the government is easing out of lockdown mode. The Indian team is looking to get back into action with a 3 match T20 tour of Sri Lanka which could most likely take place at the end of June or in early July.

The BCCI will be happy to get in a full IPL in October and the biggest challenge will be the weather. October is when the monsoon season is in full swing and it will be up to the BCCI to work out reserve days in case bad weather plays spoilsport. We will have to wait a few more weeks to know if Australia is pulling the plug on the T20 World Cup!

Icc New Chairman

Ganguly Is Best Suited For New ICC Chairman Role

Sourav Ganguly was elected as the new BCCI President in late 2019 and was given a term of just 9 months to in the leadership role. This was very little time for Ganguly to make a significant difference in Indian cricket but the ex-Indian captain shrugged of the limited time frame saying ‘whatever will happen will happen’.

The global coronavirus pandemic brought international cricket to a standstill in March 2020 and it appeared that Ganguly’s 9 month frame would become even more limited as there was very little the BCCI could do with the complete lockdown. However, what looked like a dull and dead period for Sourav Ganguly is blossoming into something that is a lot bigger and brighter.

There is now talk that Sourav Ganguly could very well be the next ICC Chairman as many stakeholders believe that he is the ideal man for the job. If and when Sourav Ganguly does take over this covetous position, it would not only bode well for the BCCI and Indian cricket but also take him to an even more lofty position within the international cricketing fraternity.

Shashank Manohar Decides To Step Down

Shashank Manohar, who is the current ICC Chairman has decided not to go in for a third term even though the ICC Constitution would allow him to keep his position. Manohar initially took on the role of ICC Chairman in 2016 and was the first ICC independent chairman. Prior to Manohar stepping into the position, it was occupied by the former BCCI President N Srinivasan who took on that position without being elected.

Shashank Manohar decided to stand for a second term in 2018 and remained unopposed as no other candidate filed a nomination to stand for ICC Chairman. His second term comes to an end in July and he will step down after the ICC annual conference. There were rumours floating around that the ICC would extend his term for a few months as international cricket continues to deal with the consequences of COVID-19. However, that will not happen as there are plans going on behind the scenes to get a new candidate elected as ICC Chairman.

Cricket South Africa Back Sourav Ganguly

Many believed that Colin Graves, the chairman of the English Cricket Board would end up replacing Shashank Manohar whenever he stepped down. That seems unlikely now as the BCCI decided to test the waters and check with Full Members whether they would back Sourav Ganguly for the new ICC Chairman role and the general consensus is that they have his back.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has been one of the Full Members who wasted no time in confirming they support for Sourav Ganguly. Top members of the BCCI including secretary Jay Shah, treasurer Arun Dhumal and Ganguly held discussions last week with CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith and acting CEO Jacques Faul.

Smith who played with Ganguly has backed him 100 percent for the ICC Chairman role and said that Ganguly has the credibility and the strong leadership skills to fill that role. CSA and the BCCI are currently in talks to reschedule their cancelled T20 and ODI series in March. The plan is to have South Africa tour India in August for a short tour of 3 T20 games. However, nothing is finalized as of now as both countries are still dealing with the coronavirus.

What Is The Process To Become ICC Chairman 

The ICC is yet to confirm what is the official process to become ICC Chairman. What we do know for now is that to be eligible for nomination, a candidate must have been an ICC Director or must currently be an ICC Director. An ICC Director is an individual who attends ICC Board meeting as representative of their country.

The ICC Board has a total of 15 directors and each director is allowed to nominate one candidate. Those candidates who end up getting two or more votes become eligible to contest the elections for ICC Chairman.

Given how powerful the BCCI is and how much sway it has with the other cricketing boards, be no surprise if the BCCI uses its long arm of influence to get the majority of ICC Directors if not all ICC directors to vote for Sourav Ganguly and make him the next ICC Chairman in July 2020.

Cricket Franchise

Factors That Determine Which Is IPL’s Most Popular Franchise

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been around for the last 12 years and has established itself as the richest T20 domestic premier league in the world. The IPL has a massive fan following both in India and overseas as the IPL features a mix of domestic players, rising stars and some of the top international cricket stars.

The IPL always has packed stadiums as fans show up in the thousands to support their franchises. There are 8 IPL franchises that take part every season and some of them are more popular than their counterparts. We take a look at the different factors that determine the popularity of each IPL franchise.

Championship Record  

The IPL is a closely contested T20 competition but over the years, a few teams have emerged as favorites because of their ability to win regularly and win under pressure. The IPL franchises that have won most IPL championships tend to be very popular because Indian fans love to support a winning team.

When we look at the 12 year history of the IPL, we find that the Mumbai Indians have won 4 IPL championships, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) come in second with 3 IPL championships and the Kolkata Knight Riders have won 2 IPL championships. However, CSK has made it to the IPL finals more often than any other team as they have ended up losing as 5 IPL championship finals. That really puts CSK ahead as they have been the more dominant team in terms of beating the rest of the IPL teams.

Star Power

Cricket stars are as big as movie stars in India and some might argue that they are even more popular that film stars. The IPL franchises that tend to draw a huge fan following tend to be franchises that have a lot of star power. The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is a good example of this. RCB have never won an IPL championship and in most IPL editions have played rather poorly.

However, they continue to be a fan favorite because they have always had a great line-up of stars. RCB is currently led by Indian captain Virat Kohli who is the biggest star in Indian cricket. Chris Gayle, AB Devilliers, Dale Steyn, Mitchell Starc and Muttiah Muralitharan have all represented the franchise.

CSK and Mumbai Indians outmuscle the rest of the teams as they have spent huge money to get the very best in the business. CSK has always had MS Dhoni as their captain and have had the likes of Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina and R Ashwin over the years.

The Mumbai Indians had Sachin Tendulkar first as a player and then as a coach. They are captained by Indian vice-captain Rohit Sharma and have had the likes of L Malinga, Kieron Pollard, H Pandya and Mitchell Johnson represent them.

The smaller franchises may not have huge star power in their players but their owners bring in the fans. Bollywood divas Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty own Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals while superstar Shah Rukh Khan owns KKR.

Social Media Following

Indian fans cannot get enough of the IPL and the players on the field and TV screens. They follow their favorite IPL franchises and players on social media which include Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. IPL franchise and IPL players have focused on growing their social media following with every edition of the IPL.

The Mumbai Indians and CSK once again dominate social media following with the Mumbai Indians showing 13.2 million Facebook fans, 4.4 million Instagram fans and 5.4 million Twitter fans while CSK has 12.5 million Facebook fans, 4.3 million Instagram fans and 5.4 million Twitter fans. KKR and RCB come in third and fourth while Rajasthan Royals is at the bottom of the list in terms of social media followings.

Market Size

One of the reasons why teams like Mumbai Indians and CSK tend to be at the top of the list in terms of popularity is because of market size. Smaller teams like the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab have less of a fan following than metro cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru.

Conclusion: The two most popular IPL franchise based on these factors are CSK and Mumbai Indians with CSK have a slight edge over Mumbai for now. However, Mumbai could very well surge ahead once MS Dhoni retires from IPL cricket.


India Willing To Accept 14 Day Quarantine To Play In Australia

For the first time in decades, there has been absolutely no form of cricket in either domestic or international arenas. The last cricket match that took place was on March 15 and since then domestic and international cricketers have been under house arrest in different parts of the world.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India had to postpone the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) and was hoping it would be able to get things underway by May 5. That did not happen and with every passing week, it looks highly unlikely that the IPL will take place this year. BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has given the fans no update as to what the BCCI plans to do and has preferred to stay silent for now.

However, BCCI treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal told the press last week that India were now looking ahead to the test series in December against Australia. India are expected to travel down under to play a 4 match test series against the Aussies followed by a 3 match ODI series. This is a big series for both India and Australia as it is expected to be a closely contested series and a series that will generate a lot of funds for both boards.

Dhumal said that as of now the BCCI and the players were willing to accept a 14 day quarantine for traveling to Australia as they knew how important the test series was.

Will Australia Permit India To Tour?

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that even when the country removes all restrictions and life gets back to normal, they will not open their doors to overseas travel for quite some time. The general consensus as of now is that Australia is likely to open up international travel only in December 2020 or maybe even early 2021.

Australia has only made a travel exception to neighbouring New Zealand for now. Australia is allowing foreigners to fly out of the country and back to their home country but are not willing to let anyone from overseas into their country. Before Australia could impose an international travel lockdown, they were requiring all overseas travellers to be subjected to a 14 day quarantine period for testing before being given the go ahead to travel in Australia.

The BCCI is assuming that Australia will either change its international lockdown rules by December 2020 or make an exception for the Indian cricket team. The BCCI is not taking it for granted that the Indian cricket team will receive a free pass into the country and is hence prepared and planning for a 14 day quarantine period.

The big question is whether Australia will make an exception for the Indian cricket team. There are on-going discussions between the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the Australian government about what protocols will be in place should the Indian cricket team tour.

How Much Money Is On The Line For Australia?

Richard Colbeck, sports minister in Australia is very keen to get the sports market up and running in Australia and knows just how important it is to get the Indian team into Australia. If India do not tour Australia, Cricket Australia is expected to suffer losses in excess of A$300 million.

There is talk that the two cricketing boards are looking at extending the test series from a 4 match series to a 5 match series. If the two boards agree and a 14 day quarantine is mandated, it could turn out to be a very long overseas tour for the Indian cricket team.

What About The 2020 World Cup?

Given the fact that Dhumal is making reference to India touring Australia in December 2020 and no mention is being made of the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia in October, it gives place for cricket fans to question as to whether the 2020 T20 World Cup has been cancelled. If the T20 World Cup is not cancelled, then India and all the other teams should be making plans for a 14 day quarantine in late September. Since there is no talk of any quarantine in September, it is quite possible that the T20 World Cup is being postponed and there is possibility that the 2020 IPL could replace the T20 World Cup in October.

Cricket Outdoors

Australia Dethrone India To Reclaim Top Position In ICC Test Ranking

The ICC updated their Test, ODI and T20 rankings and as a result there have been changes with all teams. India had occupied the number one test ranking for the last 42 months but are no longer on top as Australia have dethroned them and taken over the number one position. The Aussies now sit on the points table with a record of 26 matches, 3028 points and 116 on the rating.

New Zealand has taken the second place with 21 matches, 2406 points and 115 on their rating. India have dropped to third place after the new updates to the point table and now have a record of 27 matches, 3085 points and 114 on the ranking.

While Australia have taken over the number one spot on the ICC test ranking, India continue to hold the number one spot on the World Test Championship points table with 360 points. Australia are in second place with 296 points and the Kiwis are in third place with 180 points.

India’s Test Streak – Third Highest In History

A lot of Indian fans will be surprised to know that India now hold the record for the third highest streak in holding the number one test spot in cricketing history. The first highest streak goes to Australia who held it for 95 months during 2001 to 2009. This was a period when Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne were at the heights of their powers and Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting captained the Aussies. They were an unbeatable side and dominated just about every test series they played.

The second highest streak goes to the West Indies who held the number one spot for 89 months during the period of 1981 to 1988. This was a period when Clive Lloyd and Vivian Richards shared the captaincy and the West Indies had a deadly line-up of fast bowlers which included Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Colin Croft and Michael Holding.

India comes in third on the list for holding on to the number one test spot for a period of 42 months from 2016 till 2020 under the captaincy of Virat Kohli. India have done well under Kohli because they have clicked as a team in both the bowling and batting departments.

Virat Kohli Will Be Disappointed Deep Down

One of the biggest accomplishments that Virat Kohli will treasure in his cricketing career is taking India to the number one position in the ICC Test Rankings. When MS Dhoni suddenly retired from test cricket in 2014, the responsibility was thrust on Kohli’s shoulders and he handled it like a champion.

India claimed the number one spot in test cricket because of their performance between May 2016 to April 2017. During this tenure, India ended up playing 17 tests and won 12 of them. They had 4 draws and only 1 loss during this time with earned them a lot of points and pushed them to the top of the ICC test rankings.

The number one ranking in test cricket was a feather in Kohli’s cap and also head coach Ravi Shastri. The Indian team took a lot of confidence from the ranking and Shastri often told the media that India will play like the number one test team in the world even when they were on tour overseas.

While some might play down the value of the ICC test ranking, Virat Kohli will be hurting deep down. India were whitewashed in a test series in New Zealand earlier this year and Virat Kohli failed with the bat and as a captain. The loss of the number one spot will light a fire under Kohli and also give Ravi Shastri another major goal to work towards.

Ravi Shastri Has Work To Do

Head coach Ravi Shastri has enjoyed enormous success with the Indian team during his tenure as team manager and now head coach. However, India hasn’t done very well in the test arena and Shastri now needs to chalk out a workable plan that can get India back to the top.

Shastri loves to talk a big game but with the 2019 ICC World Cup failure and the loss of the no 1 test ranking, the BCCI needs to review Shastri’s performance as the team has lost a lot of momentum during the last 6 months. If the BCCI believes that Shastri and Kohli can once again plot their way to the top, they should back the duo. However, if BCCI President Sourav Ganguly is not impressed, it is time for India to find a new head coach.

Cricket Batter

We Analyse Whether The Extended Rest Will Help or Hurt India’s Top Cricketers

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the richest cricketing body in the world because the Indian market is very lucrative and it is also why the Indian cricket team has been playing non-stop cricket for so many years.

Rest Good For Mental Health

The hectic cricketing schedule has taken its toll on the mental health of a number of cricketers over the years. English cricketers Marcus Trescothick and Jonathan Trott could not cope with the stress of playing so many games away from home. Australian cricketer Glenn Maxwell came out in 2019 and asked for a break from cricket citing mental health issues.

However, you will not find any Indian players complaining about mental health issues. This is not because Indian players do not have any mental health issues but because of the stigma and consequences associated with taking a break from the game. Indian players know that if they decide to take a break, there is always another player ready to take their place and they know that it will be very difficult to get back into the thick of things!

Players also have a complex that they will be viewed as mentally weak and not being able to cope with the pressures of being a cricketer. This is why they prefer to suck it up, keep silent and continue to play a hectic schedule.

With the 2020 IPL being postponed, Indian cricketers have not played any cricket for over 5 weeks. Since India continues to be in lockdown mode, players have not been able to go to the gym or have a practice session in the nets. The extended break should benefit the core group of players that play ODIs, T20s and Test cricket.

However, the extended break may not be good for all Indian cricketers especially those on the fringes and domestic cricketers in general. This is because many of these cricketers were looking forward to the 2020 IPL to bring in a decent pay check and also impress the selectors.

With no confirmation on whether the IPL will take place this year, many cricketers will be anxious about their cricketing future and also their finances as the IPL tends to pay young talent fantastically well!

Rest Not So Good For Fast Bowlers

There is a common belief amongst fast bowlers from yesteryears that fast bowlers must bowl even during the offseason to keep themselves like a well-oiled machine. The extended rest has made it impossible for Indian fast bowlers to even exercise, let alone send down a few overs in the nets.

The spinners will not be impacted as much as the fast bowlers because there is a greater demand placed on the body and rhythm of a fast bowler. Fast bowling is all about rhythm and the extended rest will make it difficult for the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav to hit their straps when cricket resumes.

When a fast bowler does not have enough overs sent down during the off season and is rushed back into international cricket, they tend to break down quicker and suffer serious injuries. It will be up to head coach Ravi Shastri and the Indian think tank to work out a proper schedule of how to get the fast bowlers back to speed!

Rest Should Benefit The Batsmen

While the extended rest will hurt the fast bowlers, it should benefit the batsmen – at least most batsmen. The reason we cannot generalize is because some batsmen prefer to spend a lot of time in the nets to get their hand-eye coordination going. The lack of net practice will hurt batsmen who fall into this mould.

However, there are a few batsmen who need a break from cricket to get over that poor patch of form. Some of these batsmen include young Rishabh Pant, test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and Indian captain Virat Kohli. The break from cricket will help them start with a clean slate and will also have them hungry to score more runs!

Fitness Concerns

One of the biggest concerns that the Indian management will have to address is measuring the fitness of the core group of players. A lack of exercise, no access to the gym, no net sessions and being locked at home with access to home cooked food 24×7 might have gotten the better of some cricketers who might have let their fitness standards drop.

If cricket can resume in the next couple of weeks, the rest will have more benefits than harm in general. However, if cricket is pushed back for another month or two, then the rest will do more harm than good for India’s cricketers!


ICC Reports Match Fixers Are Targeting Cricketers During Downtime To Build New Relationships

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the cricketing world to a standstill as the last cricket match that was played was back on March 15. This was a game that took place in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and since them domestic and international cricketers from around the world have been quiet.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has sent out a warning stating that while the cricketers have been quiet, a number of known match fixers have been very active on social media. The ICC Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has been keeping a close watch on individuals who have a shady reputation for fixing matches and found that they are targeting cricketers who are active on social media during this time.

They are using this time to approach cricketers and try to build a relationship. This is the general modus-operandi of bookmakers as they never directly introduce themselves as a fixer. They build a relationship by establishing themselves as influential people who can help players get lucrative sponsorship deals and contracts with big brands. Players end up trusting these individuals and it is only then that an approach is made to spot fix or match fix!

No Cricket – No Money

ACU chief Alex Marshall said that this was a very tough time for cricketers, especially those involved in the domestic circuit as no cricket means they will be getting little to no money coming in. This made it a very opportunistic time for match fixers as it makes it easier for them to lure players with the promise of big money.

The ICC has been working hard to weed out corruption from cricket and educate players from all over the world about match fixers and the way they work. While the top international cricketers will not feel a pinch in their finances, the domestic cricketers and fringe players will be vulnerable to these match fixers who are looking to make the most of this opportunity.

The ICC remains confident that its efforts to combat match fixing and educate players over the consequences of match fixing will hold up during these tough times. The ICC is once again cautioning players to be aware of who is approaching them on social media. Cricket players have been told to immediately report any approaches made to spot fix or match fix. The ICC has not reported any new match or spot fixing approaching during this downtime.

Indian Cricket Tainted By Match Fixing

It is a known fact that match fixers pay special attention to the Indian cricket market as it is the most lucrative cricket market in the world. India is home to a population of over 1.3 billion people and the majority of them are avid cricket lovers.

Indian cricket has been tainted over the years as match fixers have managed to sway both players and team owners. Some of the players who have been targeted by match fixers include former captain Mohammad Azharuddin, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Manoj Prabhakar and Sreesanth.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) saw two of its popular franchises in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) suspended for two years after it came to light that the team owners had connections to known match fixers.

The Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) and the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) have also been tarnished with serious match fixing allegations going back to the last couple of seasons.

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has confirmed that the BCCI ACU is also keeping a close watch on players and are confident that if any of the Indian players are approached, they will immediately report the same to the ACU.

Indian Players Very Active On Social Media

The top Indian cricket players are usually active on social media but with all the downtime they are now spending a lot more time on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Just to give you an idea of how popular the top Indian cricketers are on Instagram: Virat Kohli has 54.7 million followers; MS Dhoni has 22.4 million followers; Rohit Sharma has 13.1 million followers; KL Rahul has 5.6 million followers and H Pandya has 10.8 million followers.

Indian players have been told that match fixers will create fake social media handles and approach them in the disguise of fans, gain their confidence and then make them an offer to spot fix or match fix!


Australian Captain Shoots Down Claims That Aussies Go Soft On India To Get IPL Contracts

Michael Clarke, the former Australian captain has created quite a buzz in the cricketing world by going on a popular radio show in Australia and making some serious allegations over the current Australian team.

Art of Mental Disintegration

Clarke, who was also referred to as ‘Pup’ by his teammates, made his debut for Australia when Steve Waugh was captain. The Iceman was the one who pioneered the art of mental disintegration during his leadership where the Aussies always resorted to sledging in the lead up to the game as well as on the cricketing field.

When Steve Waugh retired, Ricky Ponting took over the captaincy and continued the same brand of cricket. This brand of cricket was quickly embraced by players like Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Brett Lee and Michael Clarke who were never shy to get into their opponents faces and heads by resorting to verbal abuse or sledging.

The Aussies were the most dominant team in all forms of the game during this era as Waugh and Ponting had enormous success with this brand of mental warfare and took advantage of a talented bunch of players who were ready to take mental warfare to the opposition. Clarke did his best to follow the same brand of cricket during his tenure as captain.

Current Team Too Soft On India

Michael Clarke claims that the current set of Australia players have forgotten the Aussie way of playing cricket, especially when it comes to playing against India. Clarke says that the Aussies have gone soft and no longer engage in the art of mental disintegration when playing against India.

No one can argue the fact that the Australians are a lot softer in their approach to the game, especially during the last 12 to 18 months. Clarke claims that the Australians do not want to antagonize top Indian players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma because they are afraid that it might hurt them when it comes to the IPL auction.

Rohit Sharma captains the successful Mumbai Indians franchise and Virat Kohli captains the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). These two IPL franchises are known to spend heavily when it comes to acquiring foreign players during the IPL auction. Clarke claims that Australian players realize that these top Indian players carry a lot of weight during the IPL auction and they don’t want to sledge them and get on the wrong side of them.

This is because they fear that they might put in a word to the IPL franchise owners and deliberately overlook them or not push hard in the auction and bid a high price. In order to protect their financial interests and secure a lucrative IPL contract, Aussie players are now forced to abandon their sledging and be nice when they play India!

Tim Paine Disagrees With Clarke

Current Australian captain Tim Paine did not agree with Clarke’s assessment and claims that his players do not let any IPL contract get in the way of them giving their 100 percent for Australia, every time they take the field. Paine said when India and Australia play, both sides go hard at each other whether it is test cricket, ODIs or T20 cricket.

Paine pointed out that the Australians had deliberately toned down their style of play after the sandpaper incident in South Africa. The ball tampering incident resulted in both Steve Smith and David Warner who were captain and vice-captain at that time receiving a 12 month suspension.

When Paine took over the captaincy, he decided to change the way the Aussies played cricket and looked to rebuild the Australian’s team reputation and legacy with cricket fans all over the world. Paine said that when they played against India, they did not go hard at Virat Kohli because they realized that he was one of those players who actually raised his game when he was sledged and put under pressure.

Paine said the Australians were not afraid of resorting to on-field banter when it is required but focused more on letting the ball and bat do the talking these days. Paine also said that he had no plans of stepping aside and giving the captaincy back to Steve Smith now that his ban has expired. The Australians will focus on winning the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in October in Australia.