Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Adam Gilchrist to lead Deccan Chargers

Adam Gilchrist, the former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman, has been appointed captain of the Deccan Chargers, replacing VVS Laxman, who led the team during the inaugural season of the IPL. Darren Lehmann, the former Australia batsman, takes charge as coach, replacing former India player Robin Singh.

Gilchrist said it was a "tremendous thrill and honour" and looked forward to working hard and making the team successful. Gilchrist was Deccan's leading run-getter in the league's first edition, scoring 436 runs at 33.53. He led the team in eight of their 14 matches, after Laxman suffered a wrist injury.

"Adam Gilchrist commands respect within the team and right around the cricket world. He has redefined the role of wicketkeeper-batsman in modern cricket,"

Tim Wright, the Deccan Chargers chief executive, said.

"I am confident Gilchrist will unite Deccan Chargers' outstanding talent. Four members of our squad were on the India tour of Sri Lanka, more than any other IPL team, and the quality of our overseas players is well known. These players will play for Gilchrist.

"We are delighted to be giving Darren Lehmann his first post as coach and have no doubt he will be a great success,"

Wright said.

"He has already brought considerable energy into the group and has a no-nonsense approach to winning cricket matches. Lehmann is in India this week to run player trials in Hyderabad. We are looking to build a solid talent base for the future."

Robin, meanwhile, has said he will discuss his future with the franchise.

"I was aware of the discussions which had been going on for a while about some new appointments,"

he told.

"Definitely I will be featuring in some capacity in a role that is suitable and in line with what I would like to do. We will have to sit and have a mutual agreement on that."

Robin , who also holds the role of a fielding coach with the Indian team, expressed disappointment over Laxman being replaced.

"It's a bit sad about VVS, but it is for him to talk."

Deccan finished last in the inaugural edition of the league, winning only two of their 14 matches. The team's poor performance was surprising given a star-studded batting line-up, with Andrew Symonds, Shahid Afridi and Herschelle Gibbs joining Gilchrist, Scott Styris, Laxman and Rohit Sharma. While Symonds was only available for four games, Afridi and Gibbs both averaged below 20.

Friday, September 26, 2008

ICC To Hear Out ICL Owners

International Cricket Council president David Morgan has agreed to a request to meet with the owners of the rebel Indian Cricket League.

The ICL is not officially recognised by the ICC and has been in conflict with cricket's authorities since its inception last year.

Now Morgan has agreed to meet with Subhash Chandra of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, who own the ICL.

Morgan said:

"The ICL had previously written to the ICC requesting its approval and now it has asked for this meeting, to which we have agreed.

"All members of the ICC Board have been informed of this meeting and I will report back to those directors at the Board's next meeting, in Dubai on 14 and 15 October."

The ICC refused to comment on the subject of the meeting, but it is expected Chandra will wish to discuss the matter of official sanctioning for the ICL.

Representatives from the ICL are unhappy that the league's players are being prevented from playing top-level cricket, with a report on Zee's own website in July suggesting the matter could be taken to London's High Court.

At an ICC board meeting in the same month, the body formed a committee to look at the issues of official, unofficial and unauthorised cricket.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), whose vice-president, Lalit Modi, is the chairman and commissioner of the Indian Premier League, have an understanding with other major nations that individuals who participate in the ICL will not be allowed to ply their trade in any top-level competition.

Both Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Mushtaq Ahmed faced a battle to be allowed to play in the English County Championship this season after their participation in the ICL.

Since then, English Twenty20 Cup runners-up Kent have been prevented from taking part in the upcoming inaugural Twenty20 champions League, co-organised by the BCCI, because they have players who took part in the ICL.

High security arranged for Aussies : India

Indian government said that strict security has been arranged for the Australian cricket team and the visitors should not be worried in this regard.

Spokesman of the Indian government’s interior ministry Onkar Kaidia said that whenever a foreign team comes to India the government makes all out efforts to provide it suitable security to avoid any unpleasant incident and extraordinary arrangements have been made to provide security to the Australian team.

The spokesman further said that if more request is made regarding security then it may be considered but the visitors should not be worried as the most fool-proof arrangements have been made.

I had rejected IPL offer: Mashrafe Mortaza

Bangladesh vice-captain Mashrafe Mortaza said that he had rejected the offer from the management of the Indian Cricket League (ICL) to represent Dhaka Warriors.

Mahrafe Mortaza said in an interview that he had received many phone calls from the ICL, offering him to play for Dhaka Warriors but he preferred to play for his country instead of playing for the ICL.

He said it has now become the part of history and he did not think necessary to tell this thing anybody as he was not interested in that offer.

Mortaza further said that this is wrong to say that the Bangladesh players did not perform well in Australia due to the ICL offer. They made all out efforts for victory but unfortunately, lost the series 0-3 due to poor batting.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sri Lanka lifts domestic ban on 'rebel' ICL players

Sri Lanka will re-admit players aligned with the unauthorised Indian Cricket League into domestic cricket, officials said on Friday, in a move that defies the world cricket establishment.

"Players will be allowed to play for their respective clubs and share their expertise, but cannot represent the country,"
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) media manager Shane Fernando said.

The SLC had last year banned its five ICL players -- Marvan Atapattu, Russel Arnold, Upul Chandana, Avishka Gunawardena and Saman Jayantha -- from playing any official cricket matches.

The decision comes two days after the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) joined its counterparts from other countries in banning 13 players, including former captain Habibur Bashar, who has signed up with the ICL.

The ICL, bankrolled by India's largest listed media company Zee Telefilms, was launched last year in a direct conflict with the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The BCCI not only barred any ICL player or official from taking part in official cricket, but also convinced other boards to take similar action against their 'rebel' players.

The Indian board also started its own lucrative Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition, featuring the world's top stars, to counter the ICL.

Not surprisingly, ICL officials welcomed Sri Lanka's decision.

"This is a step in the right direction,"
ICL business head Himanshu Mody told the Cricinfo website.

"We hope that this decision will pave the way for Sri Lankan cricketers to play both for the ICL and their country in the near future."

The ICL's first season last year comprised Twenty20 and 50-overs-a-side matches between eight teams that included a mix of international players and domestic Indian cricketers.

Among the top stars aligned with the ICL are retired former Test captains Brian Lara of the West Indies and Inzamam-ul Haq of Pakistan, besides fiery New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond and veteran Chris Cairns.

The Dhaka Warriors will be added as the ninth team in the second season starting on October 10.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

BCB receives retirement letters from six players

Six leading Bangladesh players - Habibul Bashar, Aftab Ahmed, Shahriar Nafees, Farhad Reza, Dhiman Ghosh and Mosharraf Hossain - have informed the Bangladesh Cricket Board they intend to retire from international and domestic cricket. The news, announced by the BCB, follows a report in the Bangladesh daily Prothom Alo which said 14 players, including the six mentioned above, were set to join the Indian Cricket League. ICL officials contacted by Cricinfo said nothing had been finalised as yet.

The report said the players will represent the Dhaka Warriors in the ICL. Besides the six, those named include current internationals Alok Kapali and Nazimuddin, four players who represented Bangladesh previously - Mohammad Rafique (now retired), Tapash Baisya, Manjarul Islam and Mohammad Sharif, and Golam Mabud and Mahbubul Karim, currently touring Sri Lanka with the Bangladesh Academy team.

If such an exodus does take place the effect on Bangladesh's cricket could be disastrous; the ICL is not recognised by the ICC and players appearing in its tournaments are liable to be banned from all top-class cricket. In effect, Bangladesh would have to create a national side almost from scratch. The report quotes some of the cricketers as claiming their contracts would have a clause releasing them for national duty.

The BCB said the players hadn't stated a reason for their retirement announcement and expressed

"concern at the abrupt decision by so many players to retire from the game".

Aftab, Nafees, Reza, Ghosh and Mosharraf have been part of Bangladesh's recent teams while Bashar, Bangladesh's most successful captain, last played in February. The six have been summoned by the board on Tuesday to explain their decision.

The report suggests the main reason for the players risking their international careers is money. Those playing for the national team are expected to pocket around $200,000 each after signing the three-year contracts, several times what they can ever expect to earn while playing for Bangladesh; the academy players will receive $30,000 each.

That kind of money is a rarity in Bangladeshi cricket but is more common in the IPL; however, only one Bangladesh player is currently in the IPL - Abdur Razzak, who signed up with the Bangalore Royal Challengers.

The plan for a Bangladesh team in the ICL had first been floated last year, soon after formation of a similar team in Pakistan called Lahore Badshahs, captained by Inzamam ul-Haq. The Bangladesh captain, Mohammad Ashraful, told Prothom Alo he had been approached by the ICL to form a team but had turned down the offer.

Kiran More, a member of the ICL's executive board, said no formal agreement had been reached.

"We are currently in the state of discussion with a few Bangladeshi players but nothing has been finalised yet."

He, however, declined to reveal the names of the players with whom the ICL was in touch.

The new ICL season will begin on October 10, featuring 34 matches across four venues in India.

Friday, September 12, 2008

ESPN Star pay $1bln for Twenty20 Champions League rights

ESPN Star Sports will pay nearly one billion dollars for commercial and marketing rights of the Twenty20 Cricket Champions League.

The inaugural tournament will be held from December 3 to 10 with $6 million in prize money. It will feature eight teams, two each from Australia, India and South Africa and the champions from the England and Pakistan domestic leagues.

Organizers said on Thursday the broadcaster had bid $900 million for a 10-year deal, plus some $75 million for marketing.

"The commercial rights were won by ESPN STAR Sports with a bid of $975 million (including $75 million for marketing of the tournament)," they said in a statement. "This makes the Champions League Twenty20 the highest value cricket tournament on a per game basis."

The Australian, Indian and South African boards will jointly organize the Champions League, an off-shoot of a lucrative Indian version launched this year.

"We are absolutely delighted that after a fair and transparent process, we have what we believe to be the best commercial deal for the inaugural Champions League season and for cricket fans across the world," Lalit Modi, vice-president Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in the press release.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

India reject Champions Trophy in October 2009

The Indian board has rejected suggestions made during the ICC's chief executives' committee meeting in Dubai on Wednesday to conduct the Champions Trophy in October 2009 because it will clash with the "very important" one-day series at home against Australia. The issue now passes to the ICC Board, which meets on Thursday.

"We have said that the Champions Trophy in October will not be possible for us since we are hosting Australia at that time,"

Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, told Cricinfo.

"The one-day series against Australia is a very important fixture for us. It has been scheduled and we can't do anything about it. All the boards will have to find another solution or window for the Champions Trophy."

The BCCI is planning to hold the first of the seven one-day matches against Australia on October 13, three days after the conclusion of the Champions Twenty20 League, which it is organising along with Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa (CSA).

However, the Pakistan Cricket Board's chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi remained hopeful the Champions Trophy would be held next October.

"The future tours programme was discussed in detail on the first day of the meeting and besides India other countries have also said they can't change their prior commitments,"

he told PTI.

"But Pakistan is pushing for the tournament to be held in October because as it is the ICC has an agreement with its broadcasters that it can't postpone the tournament for more than 13 months."

The ICC board had, on August 24, decided to postpone the Champions Trophy that was originally scheduled to be held in Pakistan from September 12 after five of the eight participating nations expressed security concerns about the host country. David Morgan, the ICC president, said

"it was considered prudent to postpone the event to October 2009, a time when we all hope conditions may be more acceptable for all the competing teams".

The concept of an alternative structure to bilateral tours, including an enhanced Test championship, with the ICC taking a greater central "ownership" of the programme, was also discussed at Wednesday's meeting. However, sources said it did not appear to make much headway during the CEC meeting with a number of boards unconvinced about the idea, especially about the extent of their ownership and role under such an arrangement.

The concept was kicked off during the ICC annual conference in Dubai in July, and Cricket Australia was entrusted with the job of coming up with a plan. The key considerations were: all three formats of international cricket should be protected and promoted with Test cricket identified as the pinnacle of the sport; "icon" Test series must be protected; ICC should look at ways of taking greater central "ownership" of international cricket outside its events or at least providing for more consistency in marketing/promotion; and the concept of a Test Championship and/or play-off should be explored further.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jayawardene calls for single Twenty20 vision

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has said there should only be one major Twenty20 cricket event a year so as to preserve a balance with the Test game and ensure a fairer spread of the sport's riches.

Authorities in India, world cricket's financial powerhouse, were initially wary of the shortened format, which has proved popular with fans around the world after being pioneered professionally in the English county game.

But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has since embraced Twenty20 with the creation of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a lucrative competition featuring the world's best players appearing for franchise teams.

Now there are plans to expand the IPL and, in the meantime, English cricket chiefs, alarmed about losing control over their own players, have signed up to a million dollars a man winner-takes-all Twenty20 clash in Antigua in November against a Caribbean 'Superstars' side put together by Texan-born billionaire Allen Stanford.

Next year will see the launch of the English Premier League (EPL) and Jayawardene, a nominee for the International Cricket Council's player of the year award, due to be presented in Dubai on Wednesday, said the feeding frenzy had to stop for the overall good of the global game.

Jayawardene was in no doubt about what should happen next. "The way forward would be to have one big T20 tournament, whether that's IPL, EPL or Stanford, and it will accommodate everyone's interests.

"The best players will play over a short period and the income generated can be shared,"
the 31-year-old veteran of 98 Tests and 283 one-day internationals explained.
"That way, you still have your ODIs and Tests, and the FTP (Future Tours Programme) functions properly."

Sri Lanka's senior players are currently in dispute with their board over next year's hastily arranged tour of England, brought about by England's decision to break off cricket relations with Zimbabwe.

Jayawardene said the row revolved around financial security for his side which, for all the exciting cricket it often plays, is not considered a big commercial draw by other nations.

"There's no compromise when it comes to playing for our country,"
said ayawardene.
"We put everything on the line but, regardless of how well we play against England or Australia, we'll still get paid what we get right now (about 2,500 pounds per Test and 1,500 pounds for a one-day game).

"But when we're given an opportunity like the IPL, it's a chance to play six weeks of cricket and make the sort of money that the rest of the world makes just by playing for their countries."

Sri Lanka, a small island nation plagued by civil war, have consistently punched above their weight in international cricket but Jayawardene said a lack of matches was restricting their progress in five-day Tests, still widely considered as the pinnacle of the sport.

"I think we have only 10 Tests in the next three years. Out of that, we're playing Bangladesh (Test cricket's weakest nation) home and away. So where's our opportunity to climb up the ladder?"

Stanford call seals Harmison comeback

Stephen Harmison's transformation from international exile to a key member of all England's cricket teams was confirmed when the fast bowler was included in the squad for the cash-rich clash with Allen Stanford's Superstars in Antigua in November.

As recently as last month the Durham quick, who'd announced his one-day international retirement before the 2007 World Cup, was out of the Test side after being dropped following a poor display in New Zealand earlier this year.

But he starred in the final Test against South Africa at The Oval, where Kevin Pietersen marked the start of his England captaincy with a victory against the land of his birth.

Pietersen then helped persuade Harmison to end his one-day isolation and the bowler responded by leading England's attack in a 4-0 thrashing of the Proteas.

Now the paceman has been included in the 15-man squad for arguably the most lucrative match in the history of cricket, with the winners of the Twenty20 contest at Stanford's own ground in Antigua guaranteed an eye-watering million dollars a man each.

Even the four players who don't make the final XI will, if England win, get to share a million dollars of the Texan-born billionaire's money between them as they become the best-paid drinks waiters in the business.

Ever since he reversed his one-day retirement Harmison, who is also in the squad for the seven one-dayers away to India later in November, has been acutely sensitive to the suggestion he was doing it just for the money.

"Steve Harmison did say he didn't want to play in Stanford early on,"
said England's national selector Geoff Miller after announcing the squad at Lord's here on Tuesday.

"He didn't want to be seen to be coming back into the side just for financial reasons - but we want him to be in it and his results this year in both kinds of cricket show it's the right decision.

"We said 'we'll pick this side on cricketing factors and not on monetary factors'. We took the decision out of his hands and made it for him."

The squad is made up of the unchanged XI which defeated South Africa 4-0 plus original squad members Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Graeme Swann and Ryan Sidebottom, subject to the left-arm quick passing a fitness test.

In a separate announcement, former England captain Michael Vaughan was given a 12-month central contract despite the Yorkshire batsman's loss of form.

Vaughan, who led England to Ashes glory in 2005, resigned as Test captain after South Africa clinched their first Test series win in England since 1965 last month and was replaced as skipper by Pietersen.

Vaughan, who sat out the final match of the South Africa series, has struggled for runs this season. His last fifty, for Yorkshire, was followed by scores of two, nought, 21, nought and 17 against South Africa.

A break from cricket did not lead to an upturn in his fortunes when he came back, with the 31-year-old Vaughan, who hasn't featured in one-day internationals since England's lacklustre World Cup campaign in the Caribbean, managing just 10, nought and 19 in his next three innings for his county.

"The award of an England central contract to Michael Vaughan reflects the selectors' view that Michael still has a role to play in the England Test squad over the next 12 months,"
said Miller.

England are due to announce on September 29 their squad for a two Test tour of India in December.

Symonds cannot return to national team: CA

Cricket Australia said that now all-rounder Andrew Symonds may not come back to the national team and he has possibly played his last international match for Australia.

Cricket Australia had dropped Symonds for home series against Bangladesh for going on fishing by leaving the team meeting.

Later, it was reported that he would not be the part of the team for the tour of India also.

Chief executive James Suderland said that it would be a great loss for not having Symonds in the team but there are various talented young players who are eager to display performance in international cricket.

He said that Shane Watson could get full opportunity in absence of Symonds.

India's Ganguly may quit international cricket: report

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly may quit international cricket "sooner rather than later" with him facing the axe for the upcoming home series against Australia, a report said Tuesday.

The 36-year-old was left out of the Rest of India squad for the five-day Irani Cup match against Ranji Trophy champions Delhi in Vadodara from September 24, seen as a trial match for next month's Test series.

Ganguly's omission from a virtual Test line-up that includes fellow seniors Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Venkatsai Laxman means he is unlikely to figure in the highly anticipated series starting in Bangalore on October 9.

The Telegraph newspaper, published from Ganguly's home city of Kolkata, said the stylish left-hander may not attempt to make a comeback into the Indian team.

"The fight may just have gone out of Sourav Ganguly,"
the paper said in a frontpage story.

"The former captain could decide to call it a day -- sooner rather than later -- instead of striving for a return to the Team India dressing room."

The paper quoted an unnamed person close to Ganguly saying:
"I don't think he is hungry the way he was, say, two years ago."

Ganguly, India's most successful Test captain with 21 wins, was sacked in 2005 and later dropped from both the Test and one-day team after a public spat with the then coach, Australian batting great Greg Chappell.

But he returned to the Test squad in late 2006, emerging as the highest scorer in the away series in South Africa and making useful contributions against England and the home series against the South Africans.

The selectors, however, ignored Ganguly for the Irani Cup after he averaged just 16 in three Tests on the recent tour of Sri Lanka, which the hosts won 2-1.

Tendulkar, who averaged 15 on that tour, and Dravid, who averaged 24, were given another chance by the five-man selection committee headed by former Test captain Dilip Vengsarkar.

"I have no reaction, no comments,"
Ganguly told The Telegraph.

Friday, September 5, 2008

2009 Champions League scheduled for September-October

The second Champions Twenty20 League will take place next year between September 25 and October 11, and will feature 12 teams, four more than the first edition to be held between December 3-10, 2008.

Next year's league has been scheduled in the same month the ICC proposes to hold its Champions Trophy, which was postponed from September 2009 after five of the eight participating nations said they would not send their teams for the event given security concerns in Pakistan.

The dates were announced in a release issued by the three founding members - the BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa.

The 2008 Champions Twenty20 League was initially due to begin on September 29, the reserve day of the Champions Trophy final, but the ICC expressed its unhappiness over the scheduling. It asked the Champions League organisers to rethink the programme after which the tournament was shifted to December.

The 2009 Champions League will involve 12 teams and 23 matches, while this year's competition has eight teams - the winners and runners-up from domestic Twenty20 competitions in India, Australia and South Africa plus the winner of 2008 Twenty20 championships from Pakistan and the reigning Twenty20 Cup champion from England, Middlesex.

According to the Future Tours Programme, Australia are scheduled to play seven one-day internationals in Octover 2009.

ICC to introduce women’s ODI rankings

Women’s cricket takes another step towards integrating with the game at large with the ICC introducing ODI Player rankings. The rankings will be launched in October, ahead of India’s tour to Australia.

The news comes ahead of a busy year for women’s cricket, with two World Cups — 50 over and Twenty20 — to be played in the first half of next year.

The rankings, expected to raise the profile of the game and bring the spotlight on top players, have been put together by the same statistical experts who have put together the ODI Player Rankings for men.

The ICC decided to consider one-dayers only since a majority of women’s matches are played in that format.

Since 1934 131 women’s Tests have been played by 10 teams, with only Australia, England, India and New Zealand featuring in more than three each. The same logic applies to Twenty20s, of which only 19 have been played since 2004.

Lisa Sthalekar, the Australian vice-captain, said the introduction of the rankings would generate a lot of interest and competition among players and provide an additional challenge for each series.

“Not only will you want to help your team win the series but you will also want to improve your own individual rating as well. Hopefully the battle to be the number one in the batting and bowling ratings will generate a lot more media interest as well in women’s cricket,”
she said.
“Previously we have only had the Player of the Series award at major events and the Women’s Player of the Year at the ICC awards to give us any indication on who the best players in the women’s game are,”
she added.

Jhulan Goswami said
“it will increase the competition amongst the players, as everyone will want to be the number one player.”

Charlotte Edwards said
“we need to make sure that women’s cricket uses the next twelve months, where we have two major international events.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chappell takes on new coaching role in Australia

Former India coach Greg Chappell has been appointed as the new head coach of the Cricket Australia (CA) Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.

The CA announced Chappell's appointment on Wednesday, and the former Test batsman was expected to start his new role later this year.

The appointment follows his controversial and ultimately unhappy two-year stint as coach of India, which came to an end after the side's demise at last year's World Cup.

That was followed by a similar role at the Rajasthan Cricket Association's Centre of Excellence.

The 60-year-old said he was looking forward to passing on his experience to some of the country's most exciting young players in a new era of Australian cricket.

Chappell played 87 Tests and 74 one-day internationals and also coached South Australia in the Australian domestic competition.

CA's Centre of Excellence was launched in 2004 and replaced the Cricket Academy that was based in Adelaide for the previous 15 years.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hick to call it a day

Former England batsman Graeme Hick announced on Tuesday he will retire from county cricket at the end of this season.

The 42-year-old Zimbabwe-born player, who last played for England in March 2001, was one of the most prolific batsmen of his generation and has scored 136 first class centuries.

During a career which began in 1983 Hick scored 41,112 runs in 526 matches at an average of 52.23, with 294 scores of 50-plus in first class matches.