Tuesday, March 31, 2009

D-Day today for England - West Indies

TODAY COULD BE make or break for the final One-Day-International cricket match between England and the West Indies in St Lucia on Friday.

It could also be an indicator as to what direction the future relationship between regional players and cricket administrators will take.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) will hold crisis talks today to try and end the deadlock that threatens to lead to a boycott of the encounter at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.

WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine is expected to lead a delegation to meet WICB president Julian Hunte and his representatives in St Lucia to try and save this weekend's match.

The impasse has already seen regional first-class players go on strike, leading to the cancellation ten days ago of some 11th-round matches in the WICB's four-day competition.

WIPA has a long list of concerns with the way the WICB governs cricket in the region, including the contention that the board usually makes decisions without consulting the union as had been previously agreed between the two bodies.

While Ramnarine has declined to make any public statements, West Indies captain Chris Gayle and allrounder Dwayne Bravo have spoken of their frustrations. Last week Gayle rebuked the WICB, urging the body to get its house in order in its dealings with the players. He also hinted at a possible players' strike of Friday's game.

Gayle and Bravo are among five regional players who have signed on to the lucrative 2009 Indian Premier League (IPL), a tournament which clashes with the team's tour of England in May. This conflict is among the topics which are expected to be on today's agenda

Failed to consult

Bravo said yesterday the WICB had failed to consult WIPA when agreeing to the tour of England starting in May. Ironically, the West Indies replaced Sri Lanka on the tour because its board opted out of the series to allow its players to take part in the IPL.

"The WICB went on and signed that tour without letting WIPA know anything about the tour," Bravo said. "We signed our contract to go and represent our IPL team, now we are in a position where we have to choose whether to go and play IPL for the first six weeks or go to England. It is a tricky situation."

Bravo also rejected suggestions that the players were unaware of all the issues in their dispute with the WICB and had not been privy to relevant information from Ramnarine.

"[He] lets us know everything that is taking place so we are fully aware of everything that is going on in the meetings," Bravo said.

He added: "We are fully aware of what the WICB owes us. We know everything. We are never short of information. Whenever issues come up, the first person Ramnarine contacts is Chris [Gayle]; Chris calls a meeting, and lets the players know what is going on and we the players come up as a team, and make a decision on what we would like Ramnarine to go forward with."

Bravo also dismissed claims that the WIPA was only looking out for the benefit of the international players, and not for the all first-class players in the region.

"That doesn't have any truth in it at all!" he said. "Whenever we meet as a team, and whenever Ramnarine comes and talks with us, our main issue is about the first-class players.

"He keeps stressing on the first-class players, not too much on us, because we have it better off than the first-class players. Ramnarine is the only one who got first-class fees raised after so many years," he said.

Bravo asserted that the players were not greedy, but wondered what was wrong with them wanting a better deal.

He asked: "So why does a bank manager go to work every day? Why does a teacher go to work everyday? Why she don't just go and teach and don't study about money?"

Bravo added: "It's not only us complaining about money. You see teachers protest for salaries; you see people protest because of shortage of salary. . .

"But we have to understand and accept that the way how life is going, and the way how cricket is going now, it is more a business.

"It is still a sport, but there is a lot of business, there is a lot of money floating around. Players see opportunity where they could make other income. I don't see any problem with it."

[credit : http://www.nationnews.com/news/local/lead----D0596--BC-CRI-WestIndies-Dispu-03-30-0672-FRONT-PAGE-OT]

IPL would be a success - Shilpa Shetty

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty believes that IPL matches are going to be a success. The actress co-owns Indian Premier League (IPL) team Rajasthan Royals.

The second edition of IPL is taking place in South Africa. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to shift the Twenty20 tournament outside the country after state governments failed to assure security for the event that clashed with general elections.

Last year’s winning team, Rajasthan Royals will kick off the series with a match against Bangalore Royal Challengers at Newlands, Cape Town April 18 and the 33-year-old actress also admitted to undergoing pressure to maintain the winning streak.

Shilpa posted on her blog on board a flight to Cape Town, “Kudos to the South African government and South Africa cricket body who have welcomed us with open arms and I am really hopeful after attending the Australia vs South Africa Pro T20 Match on Friday, seeing the huge cricket fan base there, I am sure that the IPL will be hugely successful.”

[credit : http://www.freshnews.in/ipl-would-be-a-success-says-shilpa-shetty-134447]

There will be no woman around in IPL 2: Shonali Nagrani

Shonali Nagrani who last year anchored IPL season 1, will not be seen this time. “There will be no woman around, ” she said sadly.

This sexy model (Runner up Miss India 2003) has always been associated with cricket on Max. “I was there for the Champions Trophy (2006), World Cup (2007) and IPL first season. I just love this gentleman’s game", she gushes.

So will the absence of woman anchors affect this year’s IPL South African Safari? “It may, for woman on field add a flavor of colour to the proceedings, which anyways is already full of men.” She also felt that having matches at 4 pm will a hurt viewer ship, “as most people will be away at work.”

On IPL craze she says, “Its hit because players from different international teams get a chance to play together. And moreover as the matches are of a shorter duration, you can even party later on.”

If not cricket, Shonali is busy doing a reality show, “I am sorry, I can’t talk about it. But I will watch a few IPL 2 matches as I will be in that part of the world at the same time for something else.” Is it Fear factor 2? “I can’t talk about it.”

Besides anchoring (Salaam-e-Ishq and Great Indian Laughter Challenge) and hosting live shows, Shonali would not mind trying her hand at Bollywood at a later stage, "But I would never do fiction on TV as it takes away all your time.

I need to do other things in life as well. Agreed fiction pay’s more, but then you don’t even get the time to spend that money, " she reasons.

[Credit : http://www.santabanta.com/cinema.asp?pid=27199]

KKR to leave for South Africa without announcing squad

Kolkata, March 30 (IANS) Strange are the ways of the Kolkata Knight Riders. While it’s a normal practice for any team going abroad to announce the squad before leaving the shores, the Shah Rukh Khan-owned Indian Premier League (IPL) team feels otherwise.

Ahead of the scheduled deparutre for South Africa Tuesday, the KKR management also refused to disclose how many players will be part of the final squad or how many players will fly at a later date.

“Well, it’s a new country, the conditions will be different. We don’t want to bring all our options into the open,” said KKR CEO Joy Bhattacharya.

Bhattacharya said several players didn’t have a passport. “We want to take as many players as we can,” he replied when asked how many players will be flown in to South Africa in the first batch Tuesday.

The KKR, which had started a camp ahead of the IPL a week back, wrapped up their preparations in India Monday with a net session at the Eden Gardens.

KKR begin their campaign April 19.

The tune-up was marred by a controversy after cricket operations manager John Buchanan unveiled his plan for multiple skippers, thereby deposing local boy Sourav Ganguly from sole captaincy. The former Aussie coach named Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Brad Hodge and Ganguly as his four skippers.

Unhappy at being pushed out from his coveted position, Ganguy hit back with a series of media interviews where he made veiled criticism on Buchanan’s move.

The KKR pool of 28:

Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Ricky Ponting, David Hussey, Brad Hodge, Moises Henriques, Angelo Matthews, Ajantha Mendis, Charl Langeveldt, Mashrafe Mortaza, Sourav Ganguly, Ajit Agarkar, Murali Kartik, Ishant Sharma, Akash Chopra, Cheteshwar Pujara, Yashpal Singh, Iqbal Abdullah, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Wriddhiman Saha, Ashok Dinda, Debabrata Das, Mohnish Parmar, Anureet Singh, Arindam Ghosh, Sourav Sarkar, Shoaib Sheikh and Sunny Singh.

IPL clash resolved, Comrades to go ahead

With the 2009 Indian Premier League programme finally resolved and the fact that Sahara Stadium Kingsmead will not host a semi-final, the Comrades Marathon will go ahead on the stipulated date of May 24.

The two semi-finals will be stage on the Reef - SuperSport Park will be the venue for the first semi-final on May 22 while the Wanderers will host the second semi-final and the final on May 23 and May 24 respectively.

However Durban's world famous cricket venue will host 16 matches of the 59-game programme which will take the eight-team event to places such as Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, East London, Kimberley, Bloemfontein and Pretoria.

Though KwaZulu-Natal would have loved to have staged a semi-final they are not unhappy as they have 16 plum games at their home.

Now that it has been confirmed there's no semi-final the issue surrounding the running of the 2009 Comrades Marathon has been resolved.

"We have come to an agreement with the Comrades Marathon Association that they can have Kingsmead from May 21 onwards for their building process for the finish of the 2009 Comrades," said Cassim Docrat, chief executive of KwaZulu-Natal Cricket who held a meeting with the CMA at the weekend.

Normally the CMA would take three weeks to set up the finish area but with the last IPL match at the home of cricket being staged on May 20, KwaZulu-Natal have decided to allow the CMA to take over the venue as soon as the final ball has been bowled.

Docrat said that in future Sahara Stadium would not be hired out for a three-week period ahead of the race.

Dave Dixon, chairman of CMA, did not respond to telephone calls after the agreement between his organisation and KwaZulu-Natal Cricket.

'We will have to follow the guidelines laid down by the event co-ordinator'
Meanwhile all eight chief executive officers of the venues staging the 2009 IPL have been called to a meeting in Johannesburg on Monday to discuss the way forward for the megabucks event which will inject a huge amount of money into the South African economy over the next five to six weeks.

The cost of staging a single game at any one of the stadia around the country is expected to be R300000-800000, according to officials and each union staging the event is likely to make R125000-200000 a game.

Docrat said: "We have been asked to go to Johannesburg where we will be told how the entire IPL event will be staged in this country. I believe we cannot, as a host union, do anything we want to do while the IPL is being staged here. We will have to follow the guidelines laid down by the event co-ordinator, IMG."

Docrat said each centre would have a co-ordinator posted to the eight venues.

[credit : http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=6&click_id=17&art_id=vn20090330121137693C885634]

"I've learnt a lot from Jade Goody " - Shilpa Shetty

JOHANNESBURG: Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty says she has "learnt a lot" from her former "Celebrity Big Brother" housemate Jade Goody who died
of cancer March 22.

"Two years ago we were bickering and fighting on television and now when I look back it all seems so futile because she's not even there," Shilpa told www.thetimes.co.za. here when asked how she felt about Goody's death.

"Life is so unpredictable, may her soul rest in peace. I have no grudges, we patched up and became great friends," added the winner of the British reality TV show.

At the time of Shilpa's win, many had said it was because she had won sympathy from voters after being seen as the victim of alleged racism.

In the video interview to the South African website, Shilpa also spoke about her impatience with long cricket games and being stopped at an Indian airport because there was a criminal charge against her pending for kissing Hollywood star Richard Gere in public.

"The funniest thing was, I was leaving the country and they stopped me at the Indian airport because I had a criminal case! I don't want to give it too much importance. It's still pending. There are so many cases it takes time for the case to be heard," she said

Calling the pending case in a Rajasthan court the work of "a lunatic fringe", the actress said Gere would still be her first choice as co-star if she had to choose someone from Hollywood. "I've always liked Richard (Gere). I like him more as a person. I'd take his name first."

The actress was here over the weekend to support her Rajasthan Royals team for the Indian Premier League (IPL) which starts in South Africa April 18.

Refusing to name a favourite player, Shilpa said: "Whoever makes the most runs and gets the most wickets for the Rajasthan Royals becomes my favourite player. It gives them some incentive!"

Admitting to being a huge fan of Twenty20 cricket, Shilpa said she had never had the patience to watch a whole match.

"I've always been a very impatient person so even when I'm reading a book I always read the last chapters and the same with cricket, I always watch the last 20 overs."

[Credit : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ET-Cetera/Ive-learnt-a-lot-from-Jade-Goody/articleshow/4337934.cms]

Sunday, March 29, 2009

IPL’s exit sends out wrong signals to all

Only a reckless banker or a client-less astrologer will be willing to gamble their money and reputation on the outcome of the General Election.
But one thing is certain: if Congress performs poorly in urban India and fails to reap the harvest of youth votes it is banking on, a large share of the blame will go to the ‘munshis and managers’ who forced the T-20 IPL tournament out of India.

In the course of just one successful season, IPL had become one of the biggest global brands, comparable to Wimbledon and the football World Cup. The Central government chose to deal with this Indian achievement with the same bloody-mindedness it displayed in the allocation of 2G and 3G spectrum for the telecom sector. An outpouring of meanness drove the Nano plant out of West Bengal. Last week, P Chidambaram donned the mantle of Mamata Banerjee and forced IPL out of India. Like Mamata, who felt that Ratan Tata could be browbeaten because he was a hostage to money already invested in Singur, North Block proceeded on the assumption that the IPL was a helpless captive. And just as Tata had to cut his losses and resist blackmail politics, Lalit Modi inveigled IPL out of a desperate situation with a daredevil flight to South Africa.

The implications of IPL’s exile from India are awesome. There is, of course, the colossal loss of income for all those directly or indirectly involved in the cricket extravaganza — from humble vendors at the venues to the hospitality and travel industry. This, in turn, will have a bearing on government revenues which are already feeling the pinch of the slowdown.

But there is a more horrifying dimension which goes beyond accountancy. Chidambaram was being more than a little disingenuous when he argued that the IPL organisers were being unreasonable in putting entertainment above democracy. If it had been a case of adjusting the dates of a few matches to accommodate the policing arrangements for five different phases of polling, no one in the BCCI would have contemplated taking such an extreme step. The organisers agreed to add new venues such as Ahmedabad, Dharamsala and Raipur so as not to over-burden the administration of the metros. Gujarat, for example, accepted the offer of six games without any reservations; it had a problem with the date of a seventh match.

It is more than a little curious that the IPL faced resistance only from the Congress-ruled states. It was the firm no from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi that finally clinched the issue in favour of South Africa. In Delhi, where policing is under the direct purview of the Centre, even chief minister Sheila Dikshit was in favour of hosting matches. Yet, the police chief informed her and Delhi Cricket Association president Arun Jaitley that no permission would be forthcoming before, during and after the polling. As far as the Centre was concerned, IPL could go to hell.

The Government, it would seem, was intent on teaching the IPL organisers a lesson. Whether this was because of Lalit Modi’s proximity to Vasundhara Raje or prompted by a desire to deflate BCCI president Sharad Pawar is a matter of conjecture. Also, worth considering is the Congress Party pressure on the IPL to lift the total ban on political advertising at the venue and during the official telecast. Whatever the real story, there is compelling evidence to indicate that the government hostility was not prompted by national security imperatives. It can hardly be the case that terrorists were intent on targeting only Congress-ruled states.

The global message of the IPL flight to Africa is stark. India has sent out a loud and clear signal that the country is unsafe for any major event that involves international participation and crowds. The simple message: India is as dangerous as Pakistan.
India can only hope and pray that the world of global finance is mystified by cricket and fails to gauge the significance of the IPL fiasco.

If this self-inflicted ignominy is shameful, consider the other implication. India has proclaimed that it will respond to the terrorist challenge by running away from it. If terrorists target cricket, ban cricket; if terrorists frown upon a Rakhi Sawant Nite, deny permission to item numbers; and if zealots in Azamgarh want to impose an ideological veto on a political rally, meekly acquiesce. In an age of vote banks, this is called prudent politics.

No wonder, the latest batch of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists trying to cross the border carried T-shirts proclaiming ‘Jihad is my life.’ The army took them on frontally and did India proud. The vote-banker in the Home ministry would have responded differently. He would have banned T-shirts.

[credit : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Columnists/IPLs-exit-sends-out-wrong-signals/articleshow/4329083.cms]

IPL might get bigger : Preity Zinta

Preity Zinta, who co-owns Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kings XI Punjab, says the Twenty20 tournament moving to South Africa is like "asking Preity Zinta an actor to perform in a theatre where nobody knows her", but the Bollywood star also hopes the shift helps in making the event bigger.

"The option was to either have it outside India or not at all. No one is happy to shift from home ground. That thrill of playing across our own country at domestic tournaments is gone. Going to various cities with the matches is a high," Preity told IANS in an interview.

"But we've to be optimistic. Last year when the IPL started everyone thought it would flop. It became the biggest hit ever. Likewise, the shift to South Africa could make the IPL bigger," she said on a positive note.

The actress is a little upset that the IPL crisis coincided with the release of her film "Videsh - Heaven On Earth" in India.

"The timing of the IPL crisis was unfortunate. My most challenging film 'Heaven On Earth' is on release. I'd have liked more time nurturing it. You know I did 'Heaven On Earth' for myself... I just needed to connect more with my inner self. This film made me do that," said Preity.

Excerpts from the interview with IANS:

Was it a shock to you when the IPL was relocated to South Africa?

The option was to either have it outside India or not at all. No one is happy to shift from home ground. That thrill of playing across our own country at domestic tournaments is gone. Going to various cities with the matches is a high. However, people can still watch it on TV. That's still there.

But an Indian event shifted to South Africa?

I know. But we've to be optimistic. Last year when the IPL started everyone thought it would flop. It became the biggest hit ever. Likewise the shift to South Africa could make the IPL bigger. What else can I do except be hopeful?

But it's being translocated to a new culture and environment?

Of course, it is! But what can we do? I've always believed whatever happens in life happens for the best. The timing of the IPL crisis was unfortunate. My most challenging film, 'Heaven On Earth', is on release. I'd have liked more time nurturing it. You know I did 'Heaven On Earth' for myself. Lots of times I've done things for this reason and that. But this time it was entirely for me. I just needed to connect more with my inner self. This film made me do that.

Tell me about your preparation for the role.

I've worked quite a lot with battered women. I've studied so many kinds of mental disorders. Domestic violence comes much after other forms of disorder. Every scene in 'Heaven On Earth' rings true. I had a hundred notions on how to play the role. But when I met abused women I decided it has to be very real. I'm very proud of it. Let's see how audiences in India react.

So the IPL moving out of India is like uprooting a national event?

Exactly. It's like asking an actor to perform in a theatre where nobody knows
him. But we'll make sure that the quality and profile of the game don't change. Only two percent of the audience watches the game in a stadium. Most of them watch the game on television.

But there's that vibe when the game happens on home ground. That spirit can't be captured anywhere. Having said that I don't want to sound whiny and petty. I want to thank South Africa for agreeing to host the IPL games. They've gone out of their way to accommodate us, flung their fields open to us. I think South Africa will make a beautiful home for the games.

Wasn't the choice between South Africa and England?

Yes, there were several options. But it finally came down to choosing between those two countries. We didn't want to go into a place where there was too much rain. I think South Africa will be fun. Who knows, they might even allow me to play. That's my secret fantasy. Miracles do happen, you know.

Is it just elections that ousted IPL from India. Or was there a security scare after what happened to the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan?

I refuse to believe India is scared about the security. Does the country shut down because we can't get enough security? I think we need to vote even more carefully. We must put proper people in places of power. I don't think we should vote for anyone who has got criminal records. See their track records and then vote.

How will you be ready with the IPL in South Africa in time?

We Indians don't only exist in chaos. We thrive in it. Even last year when IPL happened for the first time we grappled with all odds. I know I'm going to have sleepless nights. But that's a different story. I can't pretend I'm not disappointed by the relocation. But South Africa is a terrific country.

I'll have lots to do besides cricket. In Punjab it was difficult for me to move out. Preity Zinta will have a blast shopping in South Africa. Preity Zinta, the team owner, is worried. We've no players from South Africa. Neither does Shah Rukh (Khan).

Are the boys demoralized by the relocation?

Their choice was between no IPL and IPL in South Africa.

[Credit : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bollywood/IPL-might-get-bigger-Preity/articleshow/4330193.cms]

Mohali teams fans, can chat with IPL players online

VADODARA: Fans of Team Mohali will be able to interact with their favourite cricketers during the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) next month. The team management has decided to allow the players of Team Mohali to chat online with their fans. It is probably the only team that has decided to allow the players' interaction with the fans online.

The players will be able to login on the team's website and chat with the fans an hour after the match is over.

"It is an innovative and exciting idea and I am looking forward to chat with my fans online. I have never interacted with cricket fans online and this is a great opportunity for me," said Irfan Pathan, who plays for Team Mohali.

"Such interactions will help us know the views and ideas of our fans. Many cricket followers want to ask lot of questions to the players and such chatting will help us connect with them," Irfan added.

The chatting facility is also expected to help cricketers, who will be playing in South Africa, connect with their fans back home. The Team Mohali players will also be allowed to post blogs on the team website wherein they will express their views on several aspects of cricket.

[credit : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Vadodara/Team-Mohali-fans-can-chat-with-IPL-players-online/articleshow/4331537.cms]

No Security for IPL? Its a national shame - Jaitley

Ahmedabad: Pulling up the UPA government for not providing security to the IPL cricket matches, BJP national general secretary Arun Jaitley said that the Union government's move has raised serious doubts on the security of all public gatherings including festivals and other public events.

Speaking at the 'Friends of BJP' meet at Thakorebhai Desai hall at Law garden on Saturday, Jaitely supported Narendra Modi's stand of inviting IPL to Gujarat. He said, "Not providing security to the IPL matches is a national shame." Ridiculing the IPL venue shift to Britain as ridiculous, Jaitley questioned if public events like Navaratri too will organised on foreign soil. "India is now compared with Pakistan when the issue comes to organising sports events. Britain has already withdrawn from a badminton tournament to be held here," he stated.

"The Manmohan Singh-led UPA government has failed to take certain policies and decisions for the security and development of the country," he alleged. He said that immediately after slowdown set in these countries, USA and Britain took certain proactive actions to counter it, but that the UPA government failed to do so even when recession is knocking on our doors," Jaitely accused. Talking about the delimitation, Jaitley said, "Delimitation of the election constituencies has been done for the first time after 1971 and there is now 35 % population living in the urban areas.During the next delimitation exercise in 2026, urban areas will house over 50 to 60% population.
Therefore, prominent people will have to join in active politics for the development of country."

Coming down heavily on laws such as Tada and Pota as well as on matters of national security, Jaitely said, "Tada was misused upon farmers during the Chimanbhai Patel' regime and was repealed right after 1993 Mumbai bomb blast. The UPA government also repealed Pota even after terrorists attacked the parliament and Akshardham temple. The Congress is playing vote bank politics by sacrificing national security."

However, even while firing salvos on rival Congress, the BJP leader skirted on the party's own sticky issuesof Maya Kodnani and BJP's Hindutva agenda with the plea that the former is an issue between the SIT and the judiciary, while he ducked the latter stating: "If you want to create controversy, I can't help you."

[credit : http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1243559]

Buchanan's captaincy theory absurd - Wadekar

Bangalore: Hitting out at Kolkata Knight Riders coach John Buchanan’s multiple captains’ theory as ‘another case of over-experimentation’, former India captain and coach Ajit Wadekar said that this theory will never work in cricket.

The southpaw also lambasted Buchanan for his comments on Indian senior batsmen like Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and V V S Laxman, questioning their fitness to play in the forthcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) in South Africa.

"Buchanan is just making a mockery of Twenty20 in particular and cricket in general. I don’t think this theory will work even in football, where a captain’s role on the field is limited as all the moves are done by the coach or the manager of the team sitting in the players’ box.

"It really sounds very funny to me as a single captain takes all the decisions on the field in cricket for a full season. I can understand if the captain fails to deliver for a long time, then there is a need for the change otherwise it will only add to more confusion," Wadekar told Cricketnext.com on Sunday.

"I was shocked to read somewhere that Sri Lankan skipper Kumara Sangakkara, who is definitely one of the most intelligent cricketers of modern times, saying he welcomed this theory. My question to him is will he be able to deliver the goods as captain if there are constant interferences from others during a tour? Leave alone in cricket, this theory may not work in any sport," he added.

"if Bachanan gets his way and implements this theory in South Africa, it will be a real disaster for the team. Because the players will be so confused with four different theories from four different captains, that they will be caught in two minds while attempting even basic things and in cricket if you are in two minds nothing will work for sure," Wadekar observed.

"You can take the present England team as an example, they have a very decent team but the players are totally confused to do even simple things on the field because the captaincy has changed hands as many as five times in the past one year or so. You just can’t have too many cooks as it is bound spoil the broth," he added.

"The best thing for Kolkata team is to allow Sourav Ganguly to continue as captain for the first ten or twelve matches and if he fails to deliver, then think about a change for the rest of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

"I also don’t agree with Buchanan’s observation that Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman are too old to play in the IPL as age has got nothing to do with playing any form of cricket as long as they are fit mentally and physically," Wadekar pointed out.

"Moreover, when you are playing any form of domestic cricket, the pressure is less and I don’t see any harm in the three seniors playing as they still have lot of cricket left in them and are quite fit," he added.

[credit: http://cricketnext.in.com/news/buchanans-captaincy-theory-is-absurd-wadekar/39524-13.html]

Kingfisher most likely to be the official partner for IPL - 2

Industry sources told Business Line, “Kingfisher Airlines was the official partner for IPL last year. And this time around too, it is almost imminent that Kingfisher will be the official carrier.”

While the Bangalore-based airline does not fly to South Africa, the details are being worked out on the arrangements it will make to ferry people there.

No domestic airline from India flies to South Africa. However, it being domestic league some enquiries have been made with certain Indian carriers. “Jet Airways has received initial queries about operating charters to South Africa for the IPL season 2. However, at this point in time, we cannot confirm anything,” said a statement from the Mr Naresh Goyal-owned carrier.

Among foreign carriers too, only South African Airways has direct flights. Emirates, Qatar Airways, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Egypt Air also fly to South Africa from India, but via different routes.

Apart from being the official airline in IPL season 1, Kingfisher Airlines had also bagged the rights for being the Official Umpire Partner for the league and sponsored all third umpire decisions during the 59 matches. The umpire partnership deal was worth Rs 106 crore for a five-year period.

Mr Mallya also owns one of the IPL franchises called Royal Challengers Bangalore through his flagship firm UB Group.

[credit : http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/3155556]

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

England loses the IPL race to South Africa?

NEW DELHI: The moment Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi switched his travel plans to go Johannesburg instead of London, it was evident where the second edition of the Twenty20 cricket tournament is headed.

Modi dropped enough hints in his now famous late night exclusive interviews to Indian television channels to suit the prime time overseas, that South Africa is his preference, the fickle late winter weather ruling England out.

He said the organisers needed to take the weather pattern into account besides other factors like the April 26 London marathon which could make getting rooms extremely difficult. And then there is the English County season and the Test and One-day series against the West Indies.

Modi had made it clear that South Africa is a more attractive proposition what with their domestic season ending before the IPL gets underway. In England, some key venues will not be available for the IPL games without disrupting their domestic programme.

Moreover, South Africa is closer to India and that would give a time advantage over England.

Importantly, in this time of recession, the cost of holding the tournament will be cheaper in South Africa than in England, though the overall expenses will go a manifold because of the switch from India.

The other vexed problem for the organisers was the TV rights issue. In South Africa, Supersport has the rights to the IPL as well as all international cricket played in the country whereas in England Setanta holds the IPL rights and Sky Sports the international rights. Sky will have to telecast the England-West Indies series when the IPL would be on.

Simply put, South Africa has good stadiums, impeccable facilities and perfect weather to boot. Of course, the presence of Indian diaspora will be as good as it is in England and they all enjoy the shortest version of the game as seen in the Twenty20 World Championship two years ago.

Multiple Captians for KKR in IPL

Kolkata, Mar 25,2009 (PTI) : Sourav Ganguly will no longer be the "fixed" skipper of the Kolkata Knight Riders as the team has decided to rotate captaincy in the second season of the Indian Premier League starting April 18 in South Africa.
KKR coach John Buchanan said the decision to have multiple captains has nothing to do with Ganguly's performance or fitness and denied any rift in the team.

"The decision has got nothing to do with Sourav's performance. Chris Gayle (West Indies), Brendon McCullum (New Zealand) and Ganguly will all captain KKR. There will be a nominated captain for each game," he said.

Ganguly, on his part, said his focus was to perform on the field.

"He is the coach, he has views. My goal is to score runs and take wickets," responded the former Indian captain when asked whether he was disappointed with the KKR's move.

Even before Ganguly could finish his response, Buchanan intervened to say "He is the King of Kolkata." "If you (the media) is going to make a big deal about it, go ahead, we are not going to do it. The concept of multiple captains is new and we will have to see how it goes," he said.

Asked how the team would cope with the conditions in South Africa, where the IPL was shifted after failing to get security assurance from the Indian government, Ganguly said, "It will be different to play there. Wickets will have bounce but let's see."

[credit : http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0/16F2E32F123F44B1652575840036EC08?OpenDocument ]

Let warm Durban host IPL final

JOHANNESBURG: Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock on Wednesday said Durban should host the final and semi-final matches of the Indian Premier League because of the favourable weather conditions in the city.

"Durban is the only city in the country with the warm weather to make it feasible to hold matches that deep into winter," Pollock said.

Pollock, adviser to the Mumbai Indians franchise, though was apprehensive how local fans would connect with the teams.

"Our fans may struggle initially to identify with teams. In that respect, it would have been better to have franchises based in particular cities to give people time to get to know 'their' team," he said.

The tournament will see 59 matches being played in five weeks, which Pollock said would be very demanding from players, who will shuttle between six different venues.

"It will also mean, with 25 players per franchise, that guys will lead a nomadic life on the road, unable to leave their stuff at their base camp," Pollock said.

[ credit : http://ipl.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Let-warm-Durban-host-IPL-final-Pollock/articleshow/4313265.cms ]

IPL ?? It’s action time at Napier

Oh, by the way, lest we forget, the Indian cricket team is currently in New Zealand for a Test series with the second of the three-match rubber commencing at Napier on Thursday! Jokes apart, the IPL has been hogging the limelight following the shift to South Africa, relegating Dhoni’s men to the background. India’s wonderful performance in the first Test that they won by 10 wickets has been overshadowed by the hoopla over IPL 2009.

Our cricketers must have heaved a huge sigh of relief when the IPL was rescheduled to start on April 18 that will provide them a few days to recover at home on their return from New Zealand before flying out to South Africa. Going into the second Test, it is to be hoped that the Indian players are not distracted by the IPL that follows a 45-day tour of New Zealand.

Honestly, I was glad that South Africa was chosen ahead of England, and to an extent, not surprised at all. More than the weather factor, it would have been an overkill of T20 cricket had England been the venue. With T20 World Cup scheduled to start within a week after the IPL and again, in England, it would have led to the dilution of the Cup.

As it is, there is far too much cricket being played to an extent that performances are quickly forgotten, victories are not savoured and there is no time for post-mortem of defeats. It is time that the ICC’s programme committee took a step back and put an end to this madness of non-stop cricket. But I wonder whether the authorities give a tuppence for such thoughts when the cash registers are ringing.

Be that as it may and reverting to the New Zealand tour, I am sure Dhoni would be keen on wrapping up the series – another historic achievement it would be – and to this end, might be reluctant to disturb the winning combination that had performed creditably in the first Test.

Going by reports, the Indian team is definitely enjoying itself with some well-planned rest day activities devised to keep them fresh in body and mind. The bounce and confidence that the team is radiating do not bode well for the Kiwis who can expect to be rolled over at Napier.

Barring Vettori, McCullum and to a lesser extent Ryder, the New Zealand side appears a patched up combination lacking in quality and the intensity that is needed to sustain high levels of performance over five days. It would seem that the Kiwis are far too much in awe of the Indians. New Zealand would have to play out of their skins to come back into the series, a task that appears hopelessly beyond them.

India’s main concern should be complacency, something they need to guard against. Cricket, besides being a great leveler, can be a cruel sport to those who believe they have everything sewn up. Although it is difficult to visualize a Kiwi resurgence, you cannot take anything for granted in cricket. In the event, the Indians would be better off by keeping it tight and going in for the kill at Napier.

The Kiwis have been hinting at a “green top” for the second Test in an effort to provide some assistance to their bowlers, but it could boomerang on them given the Indian seam attack. Zaheer and Ishant are undoubtedly the best new ball pair in world cricket at the moment and if the third seamer, Munaf or Balaji, gets going, then we could well witness a repeat of the Hamilton Test.

The series has turned out to be anything but a close contest with India the better side in every department. Kiwis have been not just outplayed, but also outclassed. We could well look forward to another Indian win at Napier if form book remains unchanged.

India are on a roll and the momentum is very much with them. The Kiwis better watch out!

[credit : http://sify.com/sports/fullstory.php?id=14874980 ]

IPL Shift won't hamper international cricket in India - Miandad

Karachi : Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad believes that relocation of the Indian Premier League would not have any adverse impact on future of international cricket in India.

"I don't think it will affect future tours. Because their general elections were a bigger issue for the government than the IPL and it had to be shifted by the organisers," Miandad said on Tuesday.

"Secondly, India is the biggest commercial market for cricket and I don't think the International Cricket Council or its member countries can afford to not to play in that country for any reason. There is lot of money involved," he added.

Miandad, who has played 124 Tests, also feels the Asian countries should sit together to find a way to restore cricket in Pakistan after the terror attack on Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

"After the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore obviously Pakistan cricket has been hurt badly. But overall I think the Asian nations need to sit down together and come up a joint strategy to provide security to touring teams that are acceptable to the ICC and its member nations," he said.

"I just feel that India has to play a lead role in ensuring security issues, don't kill the sport in the region," he added.

Miandad also hoped that the Pakistan cricketers who were stopped by the government from playing in IPL earlier, would now get a chance to appear after relocation of the tournament.

"I just hope our players also get a chance to play in the tournament now as it is not being held in India," he said.

[credit : http://sify.com/sports/fullstory.php?id=14874980 ]

BJP politicising IPL : Congress

New Delhi : The Indian Political League has upstaged the Indian Premier League.

The country today witnessed the spectacle of seasoned politicians sparring over cricket and exposing in the process how deep politics has struck roots in sport.

Home minister P. Chidambaram today picked up the bat from where Narendra Modi, who dubbed the IPL shift a “national shame”, and Arun Jaitley, who found India “almost clubbed with Pakistan”, had left off last night. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also got hit by a few political boundaries.

Chidambaram said he felt compelled to respond to some “unwarranted” comments that obliquely criticised the central government and deserved “a rejoinder”.

On BCCI president Shashank Manohar’s suggestion that the government’s attitude forced the transfer, Chidambaram said: “If he was referring to the central government, the remark is entirely unwarranted. If Manohar was referring to the state governments alone, I would like to remind him that state governments are ultimately responsible for maintaining law and order and one has to respect the judgement made by the state governments.” The home minister said there was no “reason to add politics” to a “shrewd combination of sport and business”.

Then he went on to strike back at Modi. “The most provocative comment has, expectedly, come from Shri Narendra Modi. He has described the decision of the IPL to go out of the country as a ‘national shame’. What is a national shame? Most people think that the Gujarat communal riots were a national shame.”

Chidambaram also referred to “backroom wizards” — a not-so-subtle reminder about the intricacies of governance at a time Jaitley is not contesting elections. “Chief ministers are not backroom wizards; they have to take frontline responsibility for providing security,” he said.

Chidambaram then named Jaitley who wears the twin hats of politician and Delhi cricket board official. “I know that Mr Jaitley has a penchant for exaggeration, but… he seems to have gone overboard this time.” Jaitley later said Chidambaram should concentrate on “the job assigned to him”.

Politics has become so closely associated with cricket that suggestions have been going around that the IPL could still be held in India as the Congress and its ally NCP have more or less formalised a seat-sharing deal in Maharashtra.

[Credit : http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090324/jsp/frontpage/story_10715502.jsp]