Monday, May 18, 2009

Rohit Sharma eager to take his IPL form into T20 World Cup

Rohit Sharma, who pulled off an improbable victory for Deccan Chargers against Kolkata Knight Riders Saturday, said his good performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will boost his confidence ahead of next month's Twenty20 World Cup.

Sharma's unbeaten 32 off 13 balls saw Deccan Chargers romp home with six wickets while chasing 161 in their must-win IPL game.

"Knocks like this would obviously boost my confidence going into the T20 World Cup. There is still some time left for the World Cup. We have some time to prepare it," said Sharma who has struck two half-centuries in the tournament.

Chargers needed 21 off the last over from IPL debutant Mashrafe Mortaza and Sharma kept his composure to hit two sixes and as many fours.

Sharma said he knew that Mortaza was under pressure after being hit for a four in the first ball.

"I knew that 21 runs in one over were not going to be easy. But when he (Mortaza) bowled a no-ball and I got a four, then I knew that it's easily possible because the wicket was good the ball was coming on nicely. If you hit the boundary off the first ball, the pressure is back on the bowler. I thought I must take full advantage," he said.

"Mortaza didn't start off that well and was under pressure. We decided to have a go. We had wickets in hand so that was not a problem."

"I knew that he would bowl right in the blockhole. So there was a certain plan that I decided and it came off very well."

[the artical was orgiginally published at http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/007200905171751.htm]

Delhi Daredevils vs Rajasthan Royals - Statistical highlights

Statistical highlights of Sunday's Indian Premier League match between Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals in Bloemfontein.

  • With four dismissals (2 catches and 2 stumpings), Dinesh Karthik has equalled the record for most dismissals in a match in the IPL. The first two players to achieve this feat were - Yogesh Takawale for Mumbai vs Rajasthan at Mumbai on May 7, 2008 and Morne van Wyk for Kolkata against Bangalore at Durban on April 29, 2009.
  • Munaf Patel (23 not out) has posted his best IPL score.
  • Patel's unbeaten knock of 23 off 10 balls is the highest by a No.11 batsman in the IPL, surpassing Makhaya Ntini's 11 off 12 balls for Chennai against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur on May 4, 2008.
  • Dinesh Karthik has performed exceptionally well in the IPL 2009. His batting average of 41.33 (248) is the second best after Abrham de Villiers' 67.50 for Delhi Daredevils .
  • AB de Villiers is the second player after Matthew Hayden (546) to complete 400 runs in the IPL 2009, aggregating 405 at an average of 67.50, including one century and three fifties, in 12 matches.
  • Villiers' unbeaten 79 off 55 balls is his second best innings in the IPL - his highest being an unbeaten 105 off 54 balls against Chennai Super Kings at Durban on April 23, 2009.
  • Tillakaratne Dilshan's run-aggregate of 329 at 41.12 in 12 games is the second best after Villiers for Delhi Daredevils.
  • De Villiers has received the Man of the Match for the second time in the IPL.
  • Rajasthan Royals' 14-run defeat is the ninth out of 28 played so far in the IPL. They have won 18 apart from a "tie" - winning percentage 64.29.
  • Rajasthan Royals have won six and lost six out of 13 played. One of their games was abandoned due to rain.
  • Delhi Daredevils have registered their second victory in five games against Rajasthan Royals. Their first win over Rajasthan Royals was by nine wickets in the 2008 edition of the IPL at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi last year.
  • Delhi Daredevils is the first team to post nine wins in the IPL 2009. With a 14-run win, they have 18 points and are on top of the points table.
  • The aforesaid win is Delhi's 16th out of 25 played in the IPL - winning percentage of 61.54.
  • Graeme Smith has posted his second duck in the IPL 2009.
  • Aavishkar Salvi (2/19) has registered his best IPL performance.
  • Johan Botha (37) has recorded his best innings in the IPL.

[the articel was originally published at http://cricket.rediff.com/report/2009/may/18/statistical-highlights-delhi-rajasthan.htm]

Chennai seek to cement semi-final berth

Big Picture

As the race for a place in the semi-finals intensifies, the entertainment value of the last few games has shot up drastically, with the audience treated to a series of last-over thrillers. Teams that began shakily have now emerged serious contenders while some that were resting easy at the top have been made to regret their slip-ups. But amid the unpredictability, there have been constants.

Kolkata Knight Riders have had a horrendous tournament and have been out of the running for some time but now they've even squandered the opportunity to determine who makes it to the top four, throwing away hard-won advantages to concede improbable victories. On the other hand, Chennai Super Kings have been highly consistent and now have their best chance of ending any mathematical possibility of not finishing in the 'safe zone'.

Chennai are currently placed second and will confirm their qualification for the semi-finals if they beat Kolkata. If they lose though, they'll face the frustrating prospect of having to rely on the outcome of their final league game against Kings XI Punjab, and possibly net run-rate to see where they finish. Kolkata have another chance to dent some hopes, but their torrid run combined with a recent tendency to be excessively generous to their opponents at the death means Chennai will have few fears.

Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)

Chennai - WLWWW
Chennai's march in the competition was boosted by a run of five-successive wins, ended by Royal Challengers Bangalore in Durban. However, a win over Mumbai Indians in their previous game made up for the blip, taking them to the brink of qualification. Their opening combination has been a worry. Matthew Hayden has been prolific, but has lacked support from the other end. The first-wicket has averaged 21.7 in the last six games, as M Vijay, Parthiv Patel and S Badrinath have struggled to bat long enough. Suresh Raina is Chennai's second-highest run getter but has managed one half-century in 11 games and 48 runs in his last three. Hayden's too far ahead to catch up, but Raina ought to make a greater impact at No.3. Their bowlers have proved reliable throughout, successfully defending targets in four of their last six games, and giving Bangalore a serious scare despite their batsmen posting just 129.

Kolkata - LLLLL
Of their last seven losses, four have been decided in the final over and the last two have been the most agonizing. Kolkata showed signs of revival, with their batsmen, especially the foreign recruits, stepping up. Brad Hodge, Morne van Wyk and David Hussey have each justified their induction and even their captain, Brendon McCullum, shrugged off his poor form, carting 84 against Bangalore in Centurion. But it was their fast bowlers who let them down badly after the spinners had put them in strong positions. Ajit Agarkar and Ishant Sharma fed Ross Taylor full tosses and he punished them to snatch an unlikely win for Bangalore. Bangladeshi fans desperately waiting for Mashrafe Mortaza's appearance were in for a nightmare. Their star player was unable to prevent Deccan Chargers from knocking off 21 required for a win in the final over and earned the dubious distinction of bowling the most expensive spell in the IPL this year.

Watch out for

MS Dhoni - His leadership has been impressive, and so has his batting. Dhoni has moved himself around considerably in the middle order, and backed up his two half-centuries with some cameos, proving effective at the death. With Hayden dominating the top order, Dhoni has been the stand-out player in the middle. He's been involved in four 50-plus partnerships in the last seven games, two each with Hayden and Raina, batting out till the end of the innings to string a favourable result each time.

David Hussey - Kolkata missed him for much of the IPL, but Hussey made an immediate impact upon his return from the UAE, providing the innings a major boost with two quickfire 40-plus contributions. He helped Kolkata almost double their score after the 15th over, clattering a 17-ball 43 against Deccan, and must ideally play a greater role with his offspinners, especially when the pace attack has proved his team's undoing.

Teams

Parthiv Patel opened for Chennai against Mumbai after sitting out for five matches, but suffered a first-ball duck. He could, yet again, make way for M Vijay, though Chennai may still give him another go. Jacob Oram has made just one significant contribution with the bat this IPL, and his average of 15.50 is disappointing. In eight matches, he's only bowled two full spells, and if his team wishes to strengthen its batting, George Bailey could be drafted in.

Chennai Super Kings: 1 Parthiv Patel/M Vijay, 2 Matthew Hayden, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 MS Dhoni, 5 S Badrinath, 6 Jacob Oram/George Bailey, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Sudeep Tyagi, 9 Shadab Jakati, 10 Muttiah Muralitharan, 11 L Balaji.

Kolkata's predominant concern in their previous couple of games has been their bowling. Agarkar has been their most expensive bowler - among those who've played five or more games - conceding 9.73-an-over, and Kolkata may look to bring in Ashok Dinda in his place. Mortaza's hammering at the hands of Rohit Sharma, much to the disappointment of those who so eagerly awaited his IPL debut, could cost him his place, and the team may want to induct Charl Langeveldt, whose inclusion in the XI is long overdue.

Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Sourav Ganguly, 3 Brad Hodge, 4 David Hussey, 5 Wriddhiman Saha, 6 Yashpal Singh, 7 Charl Langeveldt/Mashrafe Mortaza, 8 Murali Kartik, 9 Ajit Agarkar/Ashok Dinda, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Shoaib Shaikh.

Stats and Trivia

  • Chennai have averaged 37.2 per wicket in the Powerplay, scoring at 8.45 runs per over. Kolkata haven't done as well, averaging 23.61 per wicket and scoring at 6.43 an over
  • Balaji is the only bowler from the two teams in the list of the top ten wicket-takers in the competition, with 13 from 10 games at 18.92
  • Hayden has struck 21 sixes in the competition, the second-highest in the IPL this year, after Adam Gilchrist. He's followed by Raina with 17


Head-to-head record

The previous game between the two teams was washed out in Cape Town. Chennai emerged victors in both contests last year, with Hayden and Dhoni combining to complete a nine-wicket win in the first. In the second, Makhaya Ntini took 4 for 21, including a hat-trick, and the Chennai openers did well enough before rain intervened to win the match by the D/L method.

[the article was originally published at http://content.cricinfo.com/ipl2009/content/story/404794.html]

Four bookies caught betting on IPL matches

With the IPL-II on in South Africa the crime branch of district police nabbed four bookies from Aashiana on Friday for betting on the
tournament matches. Police recovered from them cash over Rs 50,000 along with 11 cellphones, television sets and diaries having records of the bets made by them and their clients.

Those arrested identified themselves as Vikas Gupta of Sector M in Aashiana along with Ashish Kumar, Mahesh Kumar and Sandeep Srivastava. Police said that Vikas owns a canteen in model wine shop while Ashish and Mahesh worked for Vikas by maintaining records of the bets made and Sandeep is a generator mechanic.

All of them were caught from Vikas's house in Aashiana. During the interrogation, they told police that they were engaged in the betting business and were betting on the tournament as well as the sensex.

SP crime, Nidhi Sonkar said the gang worked for its kingpins in New Delhi and Mumbai and those nabbed made around Rs 20,000 a month. The gang used code words to communicate and the word for betting used by them was KL (khai lagai).

They said that they noted down the amount that was at stake in the betting and if a person won the bet he was given nearly nine times of the amount that was on stake while the money lost by others involved in the betting was taken by those arrested.

They were running the betting racket from the past few months. Investigations were on with regards to the others who might be involved with them in the crime.

[the article was originally published at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Lucknow/Four-bookies-caught-betting-on-IPL-matches/articleshow/4543571.cms]

Friday, May 15, 2009

Katrina Kaif joins fans in cheering Royal Challengers


MUMBAI: As the Royal Challengers team battles it out in South Africa, the team got a boost from actress Katrina Kaif, the team’s brand ambassador, at an event organised for the Royal Challengers fans in Mumbai.

Kaif, who is an aficionada of the Red Battalion, joined the fans of the team in Mumbai to cheer the Royal Challengers before its match against the Chennai Super Kings. Katrina applauded the team’s efforts so far and sent her best wishes to the players for all their future matches.

She said, “It has been a great pleasure for me to be a part of Royal Challengers. The team has been performing well this season and I wish them all the best for the rest of the tournament. I would like to thank our fans and enthusiasts for their immense support and undeterred faith in the team and players. I will continue to cheer the Royal Challengers for every match they play.”

Kaif also gave away merchandise, hampers and prizes to the ten lucky fans who won an online and on-ground contest to join her at this event.

United Spirits president, MD VK Rekhi said, “We have a huge fan base here in Mumbai who have supported the Royal Challengers throughout the IPL season. We wanted to offer them an exceptional level of engagement and experience on behalf of the brand. The live match screening with Katrina is to engage the fans and institute a personal communication between them and their favourite team.

"Through this initiative, we also look to invoke more support for the team aligning with Katrina Kaif."

She will be cheering for the Royal Challengers across the country with Mumbai following the screenings in the hometown Bangalore and then Hyderabad.

[the article was originally published at http://www.indiantelevision.com/mam/headlines/y2k9/may/maymam52.php]

Sehwag : "Not easy to take the pressure"

Virender Sehwag was in high spirits after his team snatched an unlikely win against Team Hyderabad on Wednesday. It was extremely relaxing for him to close in towards a semifinal berth and that was evident in what he said.

According to Sehwag, IPL is probably more demanding than international cricket and a win like this helps the team to relax quite a bit. "I feel the pressure in IPL is more than international cricket," the dashing batsman said without mincing any words.

"After a loss in the IPL, there are bound to be meetings with the franchisee owners where you have to explain where you went wrong. That is not at all easy," he explained what an international player in the IPL has to go through.

"It’s better we win more, so that we don’t have to face these meetings," the Team Delhi skipper added. Sehwag hasn’t played quite a few games due to an injury and that has helped him take a few days off. "I had been to the Sun City, relaxed a bit, and of course, bought some diamonds," he said sounding relaxed after the nerve-wracking match against Team Hyderabad.

According to Sehwag, what is helping Team Delhi win despite the tremendous pressure is their balance. "It’s all about the balance. If you see, it’s not just one person who is performing. There have been many players who have won man-of-the-match awards for us and that’s why we’re still on top," Sehwag added.

The 30-year-old however made it clear that the race for the semis was still wide open. "All the teams have talented players and the table is pretty wide open. We’re not taking anything for granted as yet," Sehwag said.

For Team Hyderabad though, it was a crushing defeat and their coach Darren Lehmann was clearly struggling to come to terms with it. "It’s an unfortunate loss. And it’s unpardonable to lose seven wickets for 12 runs," a hurt Lehmann said.

[the article was originally published at http://ipl.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4531841.cms]

Bangalore RC, Rajasthan Royals earn thrilling wins in IPL

It was a royal special at Kingsmead as Bangalore Royal Challengers and Rajasthan Royals pulled off thrilling wins in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.

Bangalore beat Chennai Super Kings by two wickets to move into joint fourth position with Deccan Chargers and revive their hopes of reaching the semifinals next week.

Rajasthan cut it even closer in the second match, clipping Mumbai Indians by 2 runs when Mumbai needed four runs from the final over with three wickets in hand.

Rajasthan, the defending champion, rose to third in the eight-team table, while Mumbai slipped to sixth.

Delhi Daredevils lead the Twenty20 tournament with 16 points, followed by Chennai and Rajasthan on 13, but with Chennai enjoying a better run rate.

Mumbai looked like climbing to third with a victory when it needed four runs from the last over to over to overhaul Rajasthan's 145-7. But Mumbai, at 142-7 was all for 143 with a ball to spare.

"All credit to the guys," Rajasthan captain Shane Warne said. "It is these last games that show the spirit of your group. We just wanted to put up a good performance and not worry about winning or losing. But the guys came and showed the desperation and spirit in the side."

Warne, with 3-24 in four overs, was named man of the match, but pace bowler Munaf Patel led the attack in the last over.

He trapped Dhawal Kularni for 1 on the second ball, and Chetanya Nanda was run out for a duck on the third by a throw from Yusuf Pathan to make it 142-9. Harbhajan Singh came in and scored a single, leaving Mumbai needing three runs off the last two balls.

Lasith Malinga played on the off side and set off for a single, but Warne scooped it up and threw to Patel to run him out at the non-striker's end to end the drama.

"I felt towards the end there was a bit of panic and that cost us the game," said Mumbai captain Sachin Tendulkar, who was trapped by Warne for a 30-ball 40.

Bangalore's Vinay Kumar hit the wininng runs in their game with two balls to spare. Set a relatively easy target after bowling out Chennai for 129, Ross Taylor hit 46, sharing a 56-run fourth wicket stand with Virat Kohli (38 off 35 balls) to set up Bangalore nicely after a slow start.

Taylor fell with five runs needed off the last five balls and two wickets in hand.

Kumar then guided his team home in a nervous finish, benefiting from a misfield that allowed a boundary.

"It was a great effort," said Bangalore captain Anil Kumble, who took 2-12. "The bowlers were brilliant and the fielding was brilliant but we struggled a bit at the end. (Jacques) Kallis was brilliant up front .. .everyone contributed."

South Africa allrounder Kallis took 2-18 in four overs including a maiden. Kumar claimed 2-30 in three. The IPL's leading runscorer Matthew Hayden topscored for Chennai with 60.

Today, Kings XI Punjab plays Delhi.

[the article was originally published at http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=949564&lang=eng_news]

"Sticky Something' could be KKR Captain for IPL-3


The Fake IPL blog or FIP has an interesting quote in reference to the captainship of the team. The blog reads,” News from our camp is that Sticky Something has verbally confirmed his availability to Dildo for next season depending on certain conditions. The idea is to declare him captain in a few months, and then let him build his team and support staff.

Here, ‘Sticky Something’ is an indication towards the Australian Captain Ricky Ponting, who chose to stay away from the IPL this time, in order to give himself rest for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup and the Ashes in England.

Coach John Buchanan’s future in the Kolkata Knight Riders team also seems bleak. The FIP further says, “Director of Operations and Coach, who till 3 weeks ago were the most important designations in our squad, will now be part of the support staff. Sticky will also oversee a local talent scout after their tour of England later this year. Nobody knows Lordie's role next year.
Apart from the captaincy, the blog also puts an end on all the talk to SRK disinvesting his stake in the team. The mystery blogger tersely writes, “The team's not getting sold in a hurry, I can tell you this much.”

The Fake IPL Player blog’s popularity has soared to dizzying heights and the blog conducted an exclusive poll, wherein the readers were asked whether they wanted to have the identity of the anonymous blogger revealed. A large number of voters wanted the FIP to reveal his identity.

[the article was originally published at http://sports.in.msn.com/ipl/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3011020]

IPL 09 : Celebrity owners on a sticky wicket

There appears to be a strong inverse relationship between the celebrity status of the owner of an IPL team and its performance. Whether this relationship is also causal will be known after a few years.

However, as the table below suggests, the biggest celebrity without doubt is Mr Shah Rukh Khan. His team has the lowest score of three points.

Last year, in IPL-1, it was the Rajasthan team whose owner was not well known. It went on to win the tournament.

This year the team was taken over in part by Ms Shilpa Shetty who became a celebrity after her encounter with the late Jade Goody. Its performance has since declined.

The Bangalore team, which is as star-studded as a team can be, did badly last year but has improved its position this year. Mr Vijay Mallya, its owner, is known for his singular lifestyle, and is a global celebrity, not merely an Indian one. Mr Mallya’s Formula One team, Force India, is also near the bottom of the Grand Prix standings.

Mumbai stands somewhere in-between. Mr Mukesh Ambani, though as well known in urban India as Mr Barack Obama in the US, is not quite what can be properly described as a celebrity. His team has thus median points.

The Chennai team, on the other hand, is owned by the unassuming and unsung India Cements. It is at No 2 place with 13 points.

But it is really the Delhi team that proves the point beyond dispute. Its owner, GMR, is the least well known of all, and it has the highest number of points.

In 2008, after the 14 matches that lead to the semis, there was only one celebrity-owned team in the top four, Punjab. The bottom four had two celebrity-owned teams – Bangalore and Kolkata. Mumbai was in the middle like this time.

A former cricketer close to the current Indian team and also many of the players say that the key difference may lie in the interference factor. “You have to leave it to the coach and captain, you know, to decide things. The game is won mainly by on-field tactics, not off-field strategies.”

“I don’t think star status has much to do with it,” says Mr Anirban Das Blah of Globosport. “It comes down to the ability and focus of the owner which is not necessarily linked to being a star.”

In football, where there are not many celebrity owners, it is the reverse. Mr Silvio Berlusconi owns AC Milan, which is doing quite well. So is Manchester City, which is owned by a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family and member of the UAE’s Cabinet. Another celebrity is Mr Franz Beckenbauer, who is part-owner of Bayern Munich.

[the article was originally http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2009/05/15/stories/2009051552090100.htm]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

“Raj must have my nail marks on his arms”


If you don’t know anything about cricket but still go ahead and buy an IPL team (strictly to stay in the news and make some moolah), what can you do to make it look like you are crazy about the game? Lace your words with plenty of emotion, of course!

That’s exactly what Shilpa Shetty is doing, apart from flashing an unwavering smile constantly. So now we’re all suffering from an emotional overdose. Just see the sentiments and words she’s been throwing at us...

“It’s terrible to play against a friend’s (Shah Rukh Khan) team but all’s fair in love and cricket, I guess” Shilpa’s blog.

“Obviously it’s a game and we all want to win. However, there is a lot of camaraderie between us. We care for each other and even party together” On how much she, Preity and SRK love each other.

“I did go to meet Shah Rukh on the field but he had already left. Actually, it’s quite awkward to meet someone you know especially when you have won and the other person has lost. But then, we have been friends for too many years to let anything like that come between us” After Rajasthan Royals beat the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“But as we won, I was standing on a chair, screaming and shouting with two people trying to hold me. Raj must have several nail marks on his arms” After winning against the Delhi Daredevils.

“It was a fun day... Graeme (Smith) taught me how to bat and Shane (Warne) taught me how to spin the ball! We played for a bit and after I ran four times between the wickets I was gasping for breath” Shilpa’s blog.

We are sure you can’t bear the torture anymore, so we’re stopping right here!

[the article was originally published at http://www.masala.com/11981]

Mumbai Indians v KXP: Statistical Highlights


Statistical highlights of the Indian Premier League match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab.

  • # While chasing, the eight-wicket win is Mumbai Indians` first in the 2009 edition of the IPL.
  • a victory over Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians are placed fourth in the points table.
  • XI Punjab have lost six matches out of 11 played.
  • Sohal (43 off 23 balls) has recorded his highest IPL score, surpassing the 30 off 17 balls against Deccan Chargers at Kimberley on May 9, 2009.
  • -Paul Duminy (2/15) has registered his best bowling performance in the IPL, eclipsing the 1 for 15 against Delhi Daredevils at East London on May 8, 2009.
  • Tendulkar`s unbeaten 41 off 29 balls, is his highest score in his last seven innings in the IPL.
  • Bravo (70 not out off 59 balls) has registered his highest score in the IPL, bettering the 64 not out off 53 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders at Kolkata on April 29, 2008. The said innings is his third fifty in the IPL.
  • (4-0-9-1) has received his first Man Of Match award in the IPL for his excellent economical figures.
  • Indians have posted their fifth victory in the second edition of the IPL. Their eight-wicket win is their first in four matches against Kings XI Punjab.

[the article was originally published at http://cricket.zeenews.com/fullstory.aspx?nid=20196]

Murdered for watching IPL match

In an incident reported from suburban Andheri here on the night of Sunday May 10, an enraged father killed his son for watching the IPL cricket match on television, against his wishes.

The policemen said, Sandesh Kamble (24), who has been pursuing a course in computer repairs, was watching IPL match on television, after attending classes. His father Meghnad Kambale, 60, who returned home at around 10.30 pm, was irked by this sight. He asked Sandesh to switch off the television. After Sandesh refused to obey, Meghnad got involved in a verbal altercation with his son. Thereafter, he repeatedly warned his son to either switch off the television or face consequence thereof.

As Sandesh continued to defy his instructions, Meghnad turned livid, rushed to the kitchen, brought out a knife and stabbed his son in the chest. Thereafter, he came to his senses and carried his son with the help of other family members to a private hospital nearby. However, the youngster was declared brought dead.

The policemen arrested Meghnad and booked him for murder. They also conducted a test to determine as to whether he was drunk at the time of committing murder.

[the article was originally published at http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=59816&n_tit=Reason+for+Murder%3A+Watching+IPL+Cricket+Match!]

Fans vote for 'Fake IPL Player' identity


Even as the general elections head towards a climax, there's another poll unfolding — in cyberspace.

Between Saturday and Monday evening, nearly 29,000 readers of fakeiplplayer.blogspot.com — an Indian Premier League (IPL)-related blog that has spawned a cult following within the country and the Indian diaspora — have cast their vote to decide whether the mystery writer should reveal his identity or not.

The unknown blogger may not have turned out even once for his Kolkata Knight Riders team owned by actor Shah Rukh Khan, his rib-tickling posts have endeared him to thousands of fans, and attracted coverage by prestigious newspapers such as Britain's The Telegraph and The Independent.

"You rock, dude", is one of the most common refrains among fans, an overwhelming bulk of whom now wants to know who the cricketer-writer is, or if he is a cricketer in the first place, given his "mastery" over the English language.

Interestingly, the poll process has been initiated by the blogger himself, who goes by the moniker FIP (Fake IPL Player) and describes himself as a no-hope bench-warmer in a team that is at the bottom of the IPL heap with three measly points from 10 outings.

The voting follows a May 9 post headlined "It's decision time folks", where FIP wrote: "I had mentioned (in an earlier piece) about my decision to reveal my identity at the end of IPL... Whether FIP's identity should be disclosed or not, or how it should be taken forward, is as much as your decision as mine. I am putting up a poll on the right side. Pls take a few seconds to make your decision."

Alongside the post, FIP put up six categories, against any of which the blog's fans are required to mark their votes:

Yes, stick to your word man (to reveal his identity)

Yes, I'd like to see your a** kicked

No, let it (identity) remain a mystery

No, I fear for your safety

No, I want this to continue

Who cares a f***?

Till a little before 8 p.m. on Monday, nearly 19,000 blog fans or 64 per cent of the total "voters" till then had plugged for the faceless writer's identity to be revealed.

Wrote a fan under the pseudonym "Anonymous", echoing thousands of others: "of course! want your identity to be revealed. be a sport man! ppl wl love u all the more!"

There are others who noted his "celeb status", and advised him to hire a consultant to guide his career post-cricket, while another — clearly a die hard groupie — appeals rather plaintively: "If you reveal your identity and get your a** kicked, how can you do this next year?"

The popularity of the posts, most of which have attracted over 500 comments, stem from FIP's wicked wit, tongue-in-cheek sexual innuendoes, juicy details of players' drinking binges or womanising, and outrageous nicknames for fellow cricketers, the support staff, team owners including Shah Rukh, and IPL bosses and commentators.

Wrote he after a particularly humiliating loss that fuelled talks of staff sackings: "While our fielding coach was busy browsing naukri.com, our Throwing Coach accusingly glared at our wicketkeeping coach every time Skipper and Buddhiman Baba (Brendon McCullum and Wriddhiman Saha, both wicketkeepers) had their slip-ups in the outfield."

Then, not contented with taking a dig at these two coaches, FIP went for chief coach John Buchanan, referred to as "Bhookha Naan" in the blog: "I am waiting for the day Bhookha blames global warming for our performance."

Understandably, FIP's team management is livid, but the readers find the blog "awesome". Little wonder that the online edition of Britain's Telegraph newspaper ran a story under the headline "Fake IPL Player lights up Kolkata Knight Riders camp in South Africa".

And light up it has, and promises to do so for at least four more days —when polling ends.

[the orginal article was orginally published at http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/007200905121411.htm]

Indian Premier League's SMS game withdrawn

The controversial SMS game introduced in the Indian Premier League (IPL), which triggered strong criticism that it promoted gambling, was discontinued on Tuesday with organizers taking note of reservations expressed by sports minister M.S. Gill and many former cricketers.

The organizers decided to stop the game with immediate effect.
“There was no formal complaints about the game but the sports minister’s views were taken into account and the organizers have withdrawn the game,” said Rajiv Shukla, a senior Board of Control for Cricket in India official and a member of the IPL executive board.

Gill had last week denounced the SMS game in which fans made ball-by-ball predictions for cash prizes, saying it amounted to gambling.

“This is viewed as ‘openly encouraging gambling and betting’, which official bodies do not resort to, even in countries where betting is legal; all this ‘to make money and enlarge their TV viewership base’,” the minister said in a statement.

[the article was originally published at http://www.livemint.com/2009/05/12223828/IPL8217s-SMS-game-withdrawn.html]

Turning up the IPL heat

After three weeks of frantic, non-stop cricket, the battle for semi-final spots in the 2009 Indian Premier League is starting to take shape and Wednesday's key clash between leaders Delhi Daredevils and the Deccan Chargers at Kingsmead (4.30pm) is going to be keenly contested.

After a week's break, it's Durban's turn again to host the IPL circus with Wednesday's match followed by a double-header on Thursday. The final double-header will take place in Durban on Wednesday next week, completing a grand total of 16 matches in Durban - the most held in any of the eight venues.

Victory for the Delhi franchise, who also have a game in hand, would go a long way to confirming their position in the top four but the top of the table is so congested that a win for the Chargers would take them level on points with their opponents.

In such a tightly contested competition only one of the eight franchises, the Kolkata Knight Riders, are out of contention for the semis.

Delhi opener Gautam Gambhir has been deputising, pretty successfully, as the team's captain in the absence of the injured Virender Sehwag. One of the points of interest for another big crowd at today's match is whether big-hitting opener Sehwag will be fit to return and, if he does, who will make way for him?

Up until now Australian David Warner has played the big-hitting role at the top of the order.

Another fascinating development is that Glenn McGrath, who, despite being valued at $350 000, has yet to play a game in this year's tournament - easy money for him although it is no doubt frustrating for the most economical fast bowler in world cricket.

Perhaps the lean, lanky paceman, who retired from international cricket after the 2007 World Cup, is being kept out of the side by his compatriot Dirk Nannes.

Durban fans will again be keen to see the prolific AB de Villiers who has struck 271 runs for his team at an average of 67.75, the best of the tournament.

By contrast the Deccan Chargers have had a topsy-turvy time, winning their first four matches and then losing four of the next five. They will be hoping to continue the form they showed in their last match when they thumped 2008 champions the Rajasthan Royals by 53 runs.

After a sizzling start Herschelle Gibbs has suffered a big slump in form and was dropped for the match against Rajasthan. He hopes to return to action at Kingsmead, one of his favourite run-making grounds.

On Thursday the double-header will feature the Royal Challengers Bangalore against the Chennai Super Kings in the early match, with the 4.30pm clash between the Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals.

The pitch for all three matches will be the Test strip which provided some high-scoring matches last week. Former Kingsmead groundsman Phil Russell, who is helping with pitch preparation, predicted the surface would be a "belter" although a little slow because of the weekend rain.

[the article was originally published at http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=6&click_id=4&art_id=vn20090513064429456C804418 by Patrick Compton]

Taylor trumps McCullum in IPL cricket battle


Ross Taylor triumphed in the battle of the New Zealanders against Brendon McCullum Tuesday as Bangalore defeated Kolkata by six wickets in an Indian Premier League thriller.

McCullum struck an unbeaten 84 at Centurion Park as bottom team Knight Riders reached 173-4 from 20 overs only to be passed by Royal Challengers, who made 176-4 in 19.2 overs with unbeaten 81-run Taylor the hero.

Friend and foe praised Taylor after one of the most exciting finishes in the five-week Twenty20 tournament as teams chase a top-four finish and a place in the semi-finals next weekend.

"Ross was fantastic and took the game away from us after I thought our total would be good enough to secure victory," said McCullum of official man-of-the-match Taylor.

Bangalore and South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher added: "The innings of Ross was as good as it gets. We were under a lot of pressure to win and he pulled us through."

Taylor said: "The innings was a relief as I have been struggling in the IPL this season. I desperately wanted to repay the faith shown in me by the coaching staff."

McCullum struck two sixes and 10 fours as he stayed at the crease from start to finish of a Kolkata innings that gathered momentum in the second half after labouring to 69-2 by the 10-over 'tactical break'.

The Kiwi also pulled off the catch of the tournament so far to send South African Jacques Kallis packing after his opening partnership with Kiwi Jesse Ryder had yielded 58 runs for Bangalore.

Ryder departed five runs later and after Bangalore were in run-rate trouble for several overs, Taylor let loose and his five sixes and seven fours steered the team home.

Victory lifted Bangalore two places to fifth on the eight-team standings, one point behind defending champions Rajasthan Royals with three round-robin fixtures to play.

[the article was originally published at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i-I_msWqBUYF9CCK6D_L93pRCnzA]

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fake IPL blogger: All Rubbish?

My editor mailed me the other day asking me to do a piece on the "big buzz" of IPL-2, the 'fake player' blog. So, here I go, though, heart of hearts, I would rather stay off this, but then, the Editor's wishes are my command!

The TG (Today's Generation) simply loves this fake player blog going by the eyeballs and responses. I wasn't aware of this blog until a couple of weeks back when a friend mentioned it and urged me to take a look which I did at the first opportunity.

My initial reaction was one of shock at the content, the language and the sheer gossip. Truth to tell, I quite enjoyed the racy style of writing, but then, I said to myself that the blogger, who obviously has had good education, could have put the skill to better use than indulge in innuendos.

The internet offers unparalleled and convenient anonymity that this blogger has willfully exploited without a care in the world. However, I am sure, with some diligence, the blogger's code can be cracked and the writer identified. But then, it depends on how much credence you wish to subscribe to the blogger's writings. Some of my journalist friends, who are clued into the murkier side of cricket, have already speculated on the identity (some claim they have) of the blogger. A theory doing the rounds is that this blogger is not even part of the KKR team!

In any case, the blogger has said he (I presume it's a male) would identify himself on conclusion of the IPL. He has even cleverly put up a poll seeking the reader's votes on whether he should disclose his identify or remain anonymous. The poll also offers a few other choices that I would rather not mention here!

I do not like to get judgmental, but for the sake of this article, here are some of my thoughts:

One, the blog caters to our base instincts and voyeurism since the posts talk about the nocturnal activities of not just the players, but also the commentators and a few others who are closely involved in the IPL.

Two, the blogger dwells on team meetings, telephone calls, personal equations within the team without identifying the persons he mentions. Rather, he has tagged these persons with nicknames through which you can easily identify these worthies provided of course, you are clued in on the subject.

Three, the blogger has not cloaked himself in morality and in fact, justifies his "disclosures" by saying he is giving what the reader wants while being unmindful of the fact that in doing so, he is ratting on his mates. That, to me, is absolutely unforgiveable act of treachery and breach of trust (if you are serious about team sport, then you will know what I mean). I can sense a lot of bitterness that is never far from the surface.

Four, how much of truth is there in these posts? The blogger himself admits that he got his "facts" wrong on a few occasions, but attributes it to a deliberate ploy on part of the management just to prove the blogger wrong!

In conclusion, I would say that this blogger has succeeded in opening a can of worms. To be honest, I have never been a great fan of the KKR whose coach, John Buchannan has been as much responsible for the team's downfall as any player with his crazy theories and ejecting Ganguly from captaincy. Perhaps, it is time he junked his laptop.

The point is that these issues, as well as his own personal grouses (whatever they are), have provided the 'fake blogger' ammunition to fire the gun from an anonymous shoulder.

To say the least, this 'fake blogger' thing is likely to remain a mystery as to the identity of the author and his motives. Personally, it is a 'time pass' and one of those 'True confessions..' variety. But if you have a taste for such writings and snippets, then by all means, enjoy!

Having said that, I pray that this blog is not a harbinger of low-class e-journalism. Old fashioned you might call me, but I would like some sanctity (or what is left of it) of this game that I dearly love to be preserved and cherished.

[the article was originally published at http://sify.com/sports/cricket/ipl/iplfullstory.php?a=jflqCBfbdaa&title=Fake_IPL_blogger_All_bakwaas&scategory=Twenty20&event=IPL_2009]

South Africa coach Micket Arthur worried about SA cricketers


South African cricket coach Mickey Arthur is worried about his players suffering burnout ahead of next month’s Twenty20 World Cup in England because of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).

“I have it in the back of my head all the time that the boys could burn out during the IPL before the tournament (in England),” Arthur told the Afrikaans weekly Rapport here.

“The last thing I want is to take a team that is burnt out to England. That is why I am in regular contact with them and plead with them that they should condition themselves in a way that will ensure that there is still petrol in the tank for the tournament in England.”

Arthur said he was very proud of the performance of the South African players in the eight IPL franchise teams: “They are among the big stalwarts in their respective teams.

“I have been particularly impressed by the way in which they have taken on the responsibility to win the matches for their sides.”

Arthur appealed to his players to give him their best for just three weeks more in the England series, after which they could “go and relax for two months and forget about cricket altogether”.

[the article was originally published at http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/south-africa-coach-worried-about-cricketers-ipl-burnout_100191061.html]

Kings XI, Mumbai Indians in a must-win situation



Both Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab are in a must-win situation as they face each other in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Centurion Park here Tuesday.
The two teams have to win all their four remaining matches if they want to make the semi-finals. But Mumbai Indians will also be looking to avenge their three-run loss to Kings XI Punjab in their previous encounter April 29.

Both the teams have come back to their winning ways after having lost their past few matches.

Mumbai Indians comprehensively defeated Bangalore Royal Challengers Sunday and will be hoping to carry forward the winning momentum.

South African Jean Paul Duminy, the Man of the Match against Royal Challengers, said that Mumbai Indians will be looking for a win against Kings XI.

“It has been a good experience so far. But there are few more games that we need to win now. Hopefully, we can carry forward this winning momentum to the coming matches. I am happy that I contributed to my team’s cause,” said Duminy.

Mumbai Indian’s chief mentor Shaun Pollock said that the team is planning to take each game at a time.

“We know that if we don’t win all the matches then we will be out of the tournament. Our future is in our hands. We have to play matches against top five teams of the tournament. We would like to take each game at a time. At some stage in the tournament every team faces such situations,” said Pollock.

Mumbai Indians are one of the most balanced side in the IPL. With greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya in their batting line-up, they also have Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga in the bowling department. Zaheer, who missed the last match, is expected to be back in the side.

Kings XI Punjab also have a good batting line-up but their bowling and fielding hasn’t been up to the mark. The return of Australian speedster Brett Lee has, however, bolstered their bowling attack.

Lee, who is making a comeback from an injury lay-off, was the best Kings XI bowler in their win against Deccan Chargers Saturday. He also wielded the bat sensibly to take his team to a win with one ball to spare.

Kings XI coach Tom Moody said: “The competition’s particularly close. We obviously welcomed back Brett Lee; he made us a little more potent at the top with some pace. And he also showed his skills down the order to be able to finish the game (with a victory). His energy in the game was important.”

Moody, however, is not happy with the quality of cricket his team has played so far in the league.

“We haven’t played particularly played good cricket so far. And we look forward to improving every game we play,” he said.

The coach is worried about his bowlers’ inability to deliver in the death overs.

“So that’s something we need to address seriously. It is a good time for players to reflect and work on the areas that we need to polish up on,” Moody maintained.

[the article was originally published at http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/kings-xi-mumbai-indians-in-a-must-win-situation-preview_100191066.html]

Will McCullum resign as captain of KKR ?


Will Brendon McCullum live up to the claim he made and resign as captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders in the DLF Indian Premier League? Well, that's what he was asked after yet another loss to Delhi Daredevils. here are his answers.

On resigning: At the moment, all that I am focusing on is the next few games. Trying to do whatever I can, try as hard as I well possibly can to get something going. I was proud of today's effort, I thought the guys tried worked real hard. Disappointing that we didn't win, but I thought the effort and intensity on the field with the ball was fantastic. So if we can get a score of around of 120 it was great too. I know I mentioned that a couple of games ago and that is something that I have got to look at. Work out with the coaching staff next year, what the goal is. But whatever happens I will be totally committed to Kolkata Knight Riders and helping to get us get some results in the future that we all are immensely proud of.

On whether it is bad luck or bad execution: (Brendon actually, you called him Brian, KKR Director of Cricket John Buchanan tells the journalist) Brilliant.. a bit of both. When things are going for you, you get the luck. Things obviously aren't going for us at the moment. And we are not getting the luck go our way. There are other areas that come into play. Tonight we were little bit unlucky to be three down early on. I think it was obviously frustrating to lose an early wicket, the manner in which it was lost. And I guess it put us on the back foot. Little things like that..nicks going between the slips, having the fielder at third slip rather than first slip. Just little things like that..that doesn't seem to go your way. When you are hoping that it would. I think we can play better, that's for sure. In terms of luck, it is certainly not going our way at the moment.

On why KKR have slipped this time: It's hard to put your finger (on any one thing). We haven't played well at all..I guess consistently well across the board during each game. We get our batting going well and our bowling and fielding lets us down. We get our bowling going well and our batting lets us down. We are not consistent across all the areas of the game. Certainly not because of lack of trying, guys out there trying as hard as we possibly can. Unfortunately things aren't going our way. But we have just got to stay up, stay as hopeful, and I guess be as committed and positive as what we can do. At some point it will swing, you don't stay down forever. You just got to keep getting up and, at some point, luck and results will swing our way. I guess hopefully that's sooner rather than later. But we have just got to stay buoyant throughout.

[read more at http://www.khabrein.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22283&Itemid=60]

Questions over Amit Singh's bowling action


For the second time in a week, Rajasthan Royals fast bowler Amit Singh has been reported for a suspect bowling action.

Amit had been reported by umpires K Hariharan and Daryl Harper after Rajasthan's match against Bangalore on Thursday, but was included in the side to play the Chennai Super Kings on Saturday because he can continue to play until proven guilty of having an illegal action.

However the on-field umpires from the weekend clash in Kimberley, Gary Baxter and Kumar Dharmasena, reported the right-armer's action.

Video footage was then obtained and examined before the two officials, along with third umpire Amiesh Saheba, decided that further investigation was necessary under the Laws of Cricket section 24.3.

IPL organisers confirmed in a statement on Sunday that they have now referred the matter to the Rajasthan team management and the tournament's technical committee as per the Laws of Cricket.

He is the second Royals bowler to be cited during the IPL after doubts were raised over Kamran Khan's action.

[The article was originally published at http://www.cricket365.com/story/0,18305,6575_5312966,00.html]

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chennai Super Kings defeats Deccan Chargers


Splendid top order batting, combined with devastating bowling, helped Chennai Super Kings record its third win on the trot as it outclassed Deccan Chargers by 78 runs in an action-packed Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match here on Monday.

Chennai Super Kings had posted an impressive 178 for three after opting to bat.

Deccan Chargers never recovered after a catastrophic start and was bundled out for 100 in 14.4 overs.
Counterattack

Had there not been a counter-attack by Dwayne Smith (49) and Rohit Sharma (21), Deccan Chargers would have slumped to a more humiliating defeat.

Deccan Chargers had no idea that a disastrous start was waiting for it as its top three batsmen — Adam Gilchirst (0), Herschelle Gibbs (0) and V.V.S. Laxman (0) — went back without bothering the scorer.

From here, Smith and Rohit revived the innings with a dramatic 72-run stroke-filled partnership, but could not finish it off for their side.

Shadab Jakati excelled for Chennai Super Kings, picking up four wickets, but it was the pace duo of Albie Morkel (two for 24) and Sudeep Tyagi (one for 9) who set the platform for an exciting win.

[the article was originally published at http://www.hindu.com/2009/05/06/stories/2009050656371900.htm]

Gayle joins calls for IPL window


West Indies captain Chris Gayle has joined a growing band of international cricketers calling for a permanent window for the Indian Premier League.

Gayle leads the West Indians' defence of the Wisden Trophy at Lord's this week, having only been in the country since Tuesday morning due to commitments with Kolkata Knight Riders.

"There should be a window for the IPL where all players should be available, so that everybody can get the chance to be amongst and play against the best," said Gayle. "Make it just like a World Cup event, so that everybody gets a fair share of it."

Both the 29-year-old and Fidel Edwards were participating in the second season of the IPL as were England trio Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara, all of whom were back on these shores by last Friday.

Next year's IPL has been shifted to start in March, which will at least avoid a clash with the English domestic season, and staging it in a slot away from international scheduling appears to be the only way to preserve the pre-eminence of Test cricket.

Gayle was originally scheduled to join up with his colleagues over the weekend but requested to play another match for Kolkata Knight Riders, which meant he did not report to the team hotel until 48 hours before the start of Wednesday's first npower Test.

"We all knew this situation would happen. Basically it was a tour which was slid in," said Gayle, referring to the fact West Indies are deputising for Sri Lanka, who could not guarantee a full-strength side.

"We were all due at the IPL, so with it coming upon us we discussed the situation with the board members and they gave us permission to be back at a certain, particular time.

"It is nothing new, so people should not be surprised. No one is bigger than the game, so I asked for permission to come back a day later."

[the article was orginally published at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5jNQcT4KzGGIYJvBLWKYZjWZWu8uA]

Graeme Smith and Naman Ojha guide Rajasthan to victory in IPL



Openers Graeme Smith and Naman Ojha scored half-centuries while pace bowler Amit Singh took an impressive 3-9 on Tuesday to steer the Rajasthan Royals to a 78-run win over the Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.

Smith top-scored with 77, hitting 12 boundaries and a six, while Ojha faced 51 balls and struck five boundaries and five sixes for his 68 runs as Rajasthan reached 211-4, scaling the 200-run mark for the first time in the 2009 IPL series.

Punjab managed 133-8 in reply.

Smith and Ojha batted solidly to put on 135 for the first wicket, often coming down the wicket to the Punjab opening bowlers, offspinner Ramesh Pawar and pace bowler Irfan Pathan. There was little swing as expected at Kingsmead and the seam bowlers in particular fell short on length.

Smith and Ojha capitalised, mainly on the leg side, with Sree Santh and Yusuf Abdulla both costing 44 runs without a wicket.

"For them to play the way they did and set the tone was fantastic," said Rajasthan captain Shane Warne said of his openers.

Rajasthan then kept up the pressure when it came to bowling, with Singh taking two wickets in the first over. The 27-year-old right-armer got the very first ball to lift sharply for Sunny Sohal to offer a nick behind to Warne in the slips.

Singh struck again with his last ball of the over when Karan Goel, on one, mis-hit a shorter delivery and was caught at square leg by Shane Harwood.

Siddharth Trivedi then bowled Simon Katich (10) with a full toss which was inside-edged into the stumps to leave Punjab on 25-3 in the fifth over.

Kumar Sangakkara, who was dropped on one run by Warne, made another 10 before he was stumped by Ojha off Yusuf Pathan. Ten runs later Mahela Jayawardene, who added nine runs, was caught by Trivedi in the deep off Shane Harwood in the eighth over.

A sixth wicket stand runs between Yuvraj Singh (48 off 37 balls) and Irfan Pathan (19 off 17 balls) made sure Punjab's score was respectable.

Warne, who took 2-38 in his three overs, broke up the partnership when he trapped Pathan in front in the 14th over. Warne got his second wicket when Piyush Chawla came down the wicket in search of a boundary, only to be caught by Ravindra Jadeja at long on for six.

Yuvraj was the last wicket, top-edging a delivery from Amit Singh to square leg where Harwood took the catch in the 19th over.

"We bowled badly," said Yuvraj. "We didn't stick to our plans and didn't get the breakthroughs. We bowled badly at the death and gave away too many runs."

[the article was orginally published at http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=940178&lang=eng_news]

Andrew Strauss challenges IPL batsmen to rise to Test challenge


Andrew Strauss has challenged his IPL batsmen to prove they can switch from sloggers into battle-hardened Test men in the blink of an eye.

England's mammoth summer of cricket begins today at Lord's, and captain Strauss has his fingers crossed that Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, and Ravi Bopara can forget the IPL extravwithout aganza and remember what it takes to score a Test ton.

All three have only just returned from a stint in South Africa at the transplanted IPL and will try to prove that a lack of preparation and game time in English conditions won't get in the way of Test success.

"For the guys who've come in from the IPL to Test cricket their mindset the key," said Strauss, who is seeking payback against the West Indies after the series defeat in the Caribbean this winter.

"If they get that right then they'll perform well and at the moment it seems like they're in a good place.

"For the Twenty20 World Cup it was fantastic they were there, but for this Test series, it's important they put all that to the back of their minds and concentrate on what they are good at, Test cricket-wise.

"But they are all good experienced players and there is no reason why they can't do that. You don't want Test cricket to be devalued in any way, shape or form.

"There's a line there, and we certainly wouldn't want our players to be arriving two days before a Test."

Strauss was clearly giving West Indies captain Chris Gayle a nudge in the ribs for his 11th-hour arrival in England for the tour having stayed at the IPL to play in an extra match.

Gayle pitched up at Lord's on Monday having landed that morning to enjoy a blearyeyed net session which he claims did just the trick to get him ready for today's game.

Traditionalists will suggest his claims are nothing more than bravado, yet should he turn on the style at Lord's, then it will go a long way to prove the modern cricketer can have his cake and eat it.

Gayle said: "I'm good and I feel ready to go. Practising the day I got back wasn't difficult because you set your mind to do these things and it was good to have a hit and get a feel of everything so that I'll be ready for the game."

For Strauss the challenge this week is to bring an end to a rotten run of 14 series a win in the first Test match, and whether his men have been to the IPL or not he is demanding a ferocious start.

New head coach Andy Flower admitted in the Caribbean that it was a statistic that bothered him and he would be out to do things differently as a result.

The suggestion is that England players have been too relaxed before. Not this time if Strauss and Flower have anything to do with it.

Strauss added: "It is something we're mindful of and any thoughts of easing into the Test match summer, have to be avoided at all costs.

"A lot of that depends on our mindset and how we arrive at the ground in the morning and we want to put that record straight.

"We had good chats with the players and it looks like most of the guys have hit the ground running this season."

[the article was originally published at http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/2009/05/06/fired-up-or-burned-out-115875-21335716]

Gautam Gambhir scores sixth ton in IPL


Following are the statistical highlights from the game between Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders:

— The 58-run partnership between Morne van Wyk and Brendon McCullum was Kolkata's best for the opening wicket in the IPL 2009. The pair surpassed the 57-run partnership between Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle against Kings XI Punjab at Durban.

— Kolkata raced to their hundred in 14.2 overs, which is their fastest in IPL 2009. They had taken 15.2 overs for their 100 against Rajasthan Royals at Cape Town and also against Mumbai Indians at East London.

— Morne van Wyk (74) posted the highest score by a Kolkata batsman in IPL 2009, beating Brad Hodge's 73 against Mumbai Indians at East London on May 1.

— The maiden by Amit Mishra was the first by a Delhi bowler in IPL 2009

— Kolkata Knight Riders (154-3) posted their highest total in the IPL 2009, just beating the 153-3 against Kings XI Punjab at Port Elizabeth on May 3.

— Delhi Daredevils kept intact their record of not losing a wicket in the very next over after the strategy-break.

— Gautam Gambhir (71 not out) made his highest score in IPL 2009 and his sixth fifty in all IPL games.

— Delhi Daredevils provided the third instance in IPL 2009 of a side winning a match by nine or more wickets.

[the article was originally published at http://cricketnext.in.com/news/stats-gambhir-scores-sixth-ton-in-ipl/40611-27.html]

IPL launches new mobile lottery.. Its not betting says Modi


The Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday launched a controversial SMS game asking fans to predict the scores of a live match. The winners will get cash awards.

According to the rules of the game, the entrant will have to send the runs that will be scored off every ball of the next over (for example 3 2 4 2 6 6, like in a lottery ticket) and the people guessing six, five or four numbers in the sequence correctly will get a percentage of the kitty generated by the total number of people playing at that time. The minimum prize money for every over is Rs 10,000 and will increase after that, depending on the entries received, at Rs 5 per SMS.

While the early reaction from experts is that this is a form of online cricket betting, which is illegal in India, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi denied it. Its only about texting. Anyway, there is a lot of texting going back and forth, discussing the game. This is very similar to that, discussing the game amongst friends, he said.

The person in the stadium has no idea what the people are predicting. Its very difficult to fix the outcome of an over. I think, maybe one in a million. We have checked it out and looked at it very carefully. If that was to happen, we would shut it out absolutely, without doubt.

When contacted on Tuesday evening, an International Cricket Council (ICC) media officer said that the governing body had not heard about the game, but would anyway have no say in the matter because the ICC has no direct involvement in the IPL. The BCCI had, prior to the start of the tournament, refused to pay the $1.2m fees asked by the anti-corruption unit of the ICC, and the second edition of the IPL is not under the surveillance of the games governing body.

The game, 6UP, will be available only to Indian mobile subscribers starting from Wednesdays matches.

[the article was originally published at http://cricket.expressindia.com/news/IPL-launches-new-mobile-lottery--it-s-not-betting--Modi/455083]

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Gilly is a good captain says RP Singh

And now, the young medium pacer is making his presence felt in the ongoing IPL 2 in South Africa, becoming one of the leading wicket takers in the tournament. Hardly surprising, considering that he was the bowler with the second highest number of wickets in his kitty in the inaugural T20 World Cup, also played in SA. So, what is the secret of his success? Laughing aloud, he says, “Just keep it simple and follow the basics.” As an
afterthought, he adds, “It is important to identify the weak points of the batsmen.”

And will a good IPL season mean a recall to the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup? “I don’t know about my chances. I’m just working on my deliveries and trying to be accurate. I’m utilizing the time to become a better bowler,” he says. But he also knows that luck plays a role. “You need luck,” says the player, who knows how difficult it is to make a comeback in Team India: “I was not in the team for the New Zealand series. Out of a population of 100 million, only 15 make it to the team!”

Coming back to the IPL, RP Singh’s squad, Team Hyderabad, is doing well. “We are hoping to play in the finals,” says the bowler. What surprises many, is the transformation his team has undergone since last season. He reasons, “The players are the same. We are working as a tightly knit unit. Last year, we lost some close games. This year, we managed to win even in tight situations.”

But has a change in captaincy made a difference? “Gilly is a good captain. We follow a plan. He has vast experience and it is working to our advantage.” Playing under Adam Gilchrist sure is a boon for the Team India bowler: “Gilly said I have the talent to succeed. I need to be more accurate so that I can serve India for as long as I can.” Encouraging words, for sure!

So, did life change for him after IPL Season I? RP Singh quips, “More than the IPL, life changed for me after the T20 World Cup. Suddenly, I found fame and money coming my way.” But the bowler from UP has managed to keep a cool head. “I have not changed as a person. I’m humble and will stay true to my roots,” justifies RP Singh.

The eligible bachelor is all smiles when you ask him about marriage proposals. “Yes, shaadi ke offers keep coming,” he smiles coyly, adding, “But right now, I’m focussing on my game. My parents won’t pressurise me to settle down because they know that cricket takes up all my energy and time,” RP Singh signs off. Well, that explains the impressive statistics on the field!

[the article was originally published at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Entertainment/Gilly-is-a-good-captain-RP-Singh/articleshow/4482811.cms]

IPL committee advises rehab for Kamran

The Indian Premier League (IPL) technical committee, on Sunday, recommended a two-week rehabilitation for Rajasthan Royals pacer Kamran Khan who has been reported for a suspect bowling action.

According to an IPL release, the technical committee, comprising Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Lalit Modi, met in Johannesburg on Sunday to review the left-arm pacer’s action (as reported in Monday’s Late City edition).

The committee was also joined by Anurag Thakur and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi from India, via a conference call, after Rudi Koertzen and Gary Baxter reported Kamran for a suspect bowling action after the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals match at the Centurion on Thursday.

After the match was over, footage was obtained and examined by all the three umpires, including TV umpire Amish Saheba, and it was decided that further action was necessary under the Laws of Cricket, section 24/3, that governs the game. The matter was then referred by the IPL to the Rajasthan Royals team management and the technical committee, as per the Laws of Cricket, that govern the game.

Kamran, who has yet to play a first-class game, has been hailed by Royals captain Shane Warne as sensational.

[the article was originally published at http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090505/jsp/sports/story_10915629.jsp]

Jakati shines again for Chennai in IPL cricket

Left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati picked up 4-22 as Chennai Super Kings thumped Deccan Chargers by 78 runs for their third win on the trot in the Indian Premier League on Monday.

Jakati removed top-scorer Dwayne Smith (49) and Rohit Sharma in the space of four balls to help Chennai restrict Deccan to 100 all out in 14.4 overs in a one-sided contest at Buffalo Park here.

The 28-year-old unheralded bowler from Goa had also turned in a match-winning performance in Chennai's win against Delhi Daredevils on Saturday.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni earlier led the batting charge with an unbeaten 58 while tournament's leading run-getter Matthew Hayden slammed a 26-ball 43 to take Chennai to an imposing 178-3.

The win propelled Chennai to the top of the points table while Deccan slumped to their third defeat in a row.

Deccan's chase began on a disastrous note as they lost their explosive openers Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs inside the first two overs.

Albie Morkel snapped up Gilchrist off the first ball of the innings when he trapped the Deccan skipper plumb in front while Suddep Tyagi accounted for Gibbs.

Morkel returned to dismiss Venkatsai Laxman (0) in his next over but was unlucky not to claim Smith whose easy skiers were dropped twice in a row by clumsy Chennai fielders.

Smith, who also survived a crazy mix-up at the crease, briefly sustained Deccan's hopes, putting on 72 runs for the fourth wicket with Sharma (21).

But Deccan's fate was sealed once Smith was trapped leg-before by Jakati. The West Indies' all-rounder slammed five sixes and two fours in his 23-ball knock.

[the article was originally published at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gda0hEjtKC3zWR6MNQdM-GPL3fxw]

IPL teams may list on the stock market!

Like gladiators, cricketing stars from across the globe are battling it out for their respective Indian Premier League teams in the IPL T20 Cricket Tournament. The competition is on the cricket field today, but the day is not far away when it might move to the stock markets.

The huge success of the IPL has heralded a new innings in the history of Indian cricket. A huge money spinner, the two-year-old IPL is worth a whopping $2 billion, according the United Kingdom-based brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance.

"The IPL brand alone has a value of over $311 million. The brand can certainly create long-term value with its strong intrinsic strength and foundation. The IPL is just like any company today and it holds a long-term shareholder value. In 2-3 years, the IPL clubs may get listed on the bourses just like the popular English Premier League football teams," says Unni Krishnan, Country Manager, Brand Finance India.

This innovative form of the cricket has attracted a huge fan following across the globe. The IPL is a now a product with a 'made in India' tag and a huge brand value.

[the article was originally published at http://business.rediff.com/report/2009/may/05/slide-show-1-ipl-teams-may-list-on-stock-market.htm]

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kolkata lad wins it for Bangalore

Kolkata lad Shreevats Pratyush Goswami did it for Bangalore. The wicketkeeper batsman of the Bengal team played a huge part in securing for Royal Challengers only their second victory in the tournament.

Ironically, the team to suffer was the one from his very own backyard, the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Goswami had warmed the bench for the best part of IPL 1 and was played in three games. But in his debut game against Delhi Daredevils, Goswami had created a fine impression both in front and behind the wickets. He had struck a superb 52 off just 42 deliveries with 7 fours and a six as well for his miniature frame. Unfortunately for him, Royal Challengers lost the match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. After four straight defeats and just one win from five games, Royal Challengers wrung in a lot of changes to their playing eleven. While Robin Uthappa cooled his heels, Goswami and the other 19-year-old Manish Pandey were out in the middle.

[the article was orginally published at http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Kolkata+lad+wins+it+for+Bangalore&artid=tr4bIWHcvCE=&SectionID=Aw|qo8JJkxA=&MainSectionID=Aw|qo8JJkxA=&SEO=Manish+Pandey,+Shreevats+Pratyush+Goswami&SectionName=||WM0BI9WGM=]

IPL restrains Shilpa Shetty from voting


Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has flown to India from South Africa to cast his vote in the 2009 general elections. Actress Shilpa Shetty regrets that she won't be able to exercise her franchise this time because of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

'I just regret the fact that I won't be in India to cast my vote; I really wanted to this time. Elections have to be taken seriously if you are a responsible citizen. Unfortunately with the unexpected turn of events and the IPL being shifted to SA it's become difficult. I would not miss voting for anything otherwise,' the actress posted on her blog shilpashettylive.com.

'But to all those Indian citizens who want the best for our country, now is the time to make the decision, don't waste your democratic right to choose. Vote!' she added.

Shilpa is the co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals team of the IPL.

[the article was originally published at http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?a=je4mkmgjgee&title=IPL_restrains_Shilpa_Shetty_from_voting&?vsv=TopHP3]

Pietersen happy to leave on a high


Durban (PTI): Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Kevin Pietersen, who played his last game of this IPL on Wednesday, said it was a great feeling to sign off with a victory and hoped his side can carry forward the momentum in the remainder of the tournament.

Under Pietersen, Royal Challengers started their IPL campaign on a fairytale note, beating defending champions Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural match of the high-profile event.

Thereafter, the Bangalore outfit lost four successive games only to return to winning ways defeating Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets.

"Yeah I'm very happy. Came and won the first game, didn't go quite as planned in the middle but to go back now winning the last game feels great. Hopefully, the boys will carry forward from here and use the momentum for the rest of the tournament," said Pietersen, who will return home to join the national team for the Test series against the West Indies starting next week at Lord's.

"But in this form of the game, still there is lot of work to do. We just need to play as well as we can," he added.

[the article was originally published at http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/007200904292201.htm]

Delhi looks to foil Deccan's charge today

For the past year-and-a half, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have become synonymous with success. However, they have failed to make their presence felt in the IPL so far, which is surprising given how prolific they've been. "We have been doing well for the last one-and-a-half years, so I think we were bound to fail some time," said Sehwag.

Point taken, but they will need to get into the groove as the Delhi Daredevils next face the Deccan Chargers, a team riding high on the back of its openers Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs. They have been the most prolific and consistent opening pair in the league so far, keeping the Chargers a notch above the rest. "It's just going well for us. We have brought in quite a few changes in the team, and they seem to be working for us," said Gilchrist.

The amiable Australian, however, didn't agree that Gibbs and he gave the Chargers an edge over Delhi. "We all know how dangerous Sehwag and Gambhir can be. We are wary of them and they have the middle order clicking for them. So we just can't afford to entertain these thoughts," he said.

The middle order, especially AB de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan, have been exceptional, given that they've had to absorb the failure of the openers and then place their team in a winning position. "It's a good sign for the team that every time someone is doing the job for us," Sehwag said, placing his finger on individuals coming good at different times.

The defeat against the Rajasthan Royals would have surely driven home the point that the Daredevils can't afford another flop show from the openers.

The teams don't seem to have worries about their bowling. The Delhi bowlers might have had a few nightmares in the wake of Yusuf Pathan's brutal hitting on Tuesday, but it was clear that no attack could have stopped him, given the way he was middling the ball.

Brace up for what is going to be a cracker of a match.

[the article was oringially published at http://www.hindustantimes.com/highpl/storypage.aspx?id=ffb1d738-a064-4abe-870d-55972eb4c661&category=Chunk-HT-UI-IPLSectionPage-TopStories]

Punjab struggle to 119-8 against Mumbai in IPL


Kumar Sangakkara top-scored with an unbeaten 45 not out as King Kings XI Punjab limped to 119-8 against the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier league on Wednesday.

Lasith Malinga was the pick of the bowlers for Mumbai, taking 2-12 from his four overs.

Sangakkara was the only batsmen to make a real impression against the Mumbai attack, with opener opener Karan Goel the next highest scorer with 12.

Goel was the first wicket to fall, stumped by wicketkeper Pinal Shah after missing a ball from Harbhajan Singh in the fourth over.

Punjab failed to add to its score and were reduced to 2-18 when Ravi Bopara (6) was caught in the slips by Sachin Tendulkar off Dwayne Bravo.

Captain Yuvraj Singh (10) then failed to clear long-on with a low stroke off JP Duminy and was caught by Zaheer Khan.,

Mahela Jayawardene was also caught at long on for seven by Shikhar Dhawan, reducing Punjab to 4-52. Irfan Pathan was the next to fall, suprised by Zaheer Khan's extra bounce, and caught in the deep by Dwayne Bravo for seven.

Malinga got his first wicket when a ferocious inswinger hit Wilkin Mota (5) on the pads and found the stumps.

Two balls later Malinga clean bowled Piyush Chawla with a full delivery for 5.

Ramesh Powar was run out in in the last over by Shah for 10.

[the article was oringially published at http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=934773&lang=eng_news&cate_img=145.jpg&cate_rss=news_Sports]

T20 has nothing to do with age says Tendulkar


DURBAN: Old pros have certainly put up some of the best performances of the IPL so far and Sachin Tendulkar believes that Twenty20 format has nothing to do with age as it is thought to be by many.

Tendulkar has himself led the way for Mumbai Indians along with Sanath Jayasurya while the performance of Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly in the IPL have given further strentgh to the batting maestro's claim.

''I don't know who says that it's a young man's game.

Clearly, he doesn't know much about cricket. It's a cricketers' game so it really doesn't matter whether you are young or old.

It is a cricketer's match,'' Tendulkar told the official IPL website (iplt20.com).

Both Tendulkar and Jayasuriya, who is pushing 40, handed out a stern lesson to one and all in Mumbai Indians' win against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Both the batsmen also put up the highest opening partnership of the tournament. Just earlier in the day the other senior pros, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs showed just why they are still feared.

Tendulkar showed the way to Mumbai Indians in their last match with a match-winning 68 against Knight Riders which included a lot of power hitting and innovation as well.

The cheeky shot that he played off Chris Gayle certainly showed that age has nothing to do with this format. He scooped the ball from close to the short third man and got himself a boundary.

''That was an innovative stroke. I wouldn't say it is the most innovative one ever that I have played. But it was something different,'' said Tendulkar.

He shared a stand worth 127 with Jayasuriya and was all praise for his old comrade.

''It's fantastic, even last year I enjoyed batting at the other end and it was fantastic. He has got excellent hand-eye co-ordination, very quick feet, very quick hands. Needless to say that he is one of the best strikers in the world.

The rate at which the master blaster was going against the Knight Riders, a century was very much on the cards but the Mumbaikar does not have any regrets.

''I am not playing for 100s, I am playing for the team.

And, if I score a hundred even better for the team. The idea is not to chase a 100. If it comes my way it's fine.
''As long as my contribution is there for the team, that is what matters. If it has helped us to get to a good total, I am a happy person.''

[the article was originally published at http://www.sakaaltimes.com/2009/04/29135911/T20-has-nothing-to-do-with-age.html]