Ganguly credits 'Fitness regimes, fitness standards' for India's fast bowling rise

News Network
July 6,2020

New Delhi, Jul 6: India's cricket chief Sourav Ganguly says improved fitness standards and a change in culture have led to the country developing one of the world's best pace attacks.

Spearheads Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah are part of a battery of five formidable quick bowlers that have helped change India's traditional reliance on spin bowling.

"You know culture has changed in India that we can be good fast bowlers," Ganguly said in a chat hosted on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Twitter feed.

"Fitness regimes, fitness standards not only just among fast bowlers but also among the batters, that has changed enormously. That has made everyone understand and believe that we are fit, we are strong and we can also bowl fast like the others did."

The West Indies dominated world cricket in the 1970s and 1980s led by a fearsome pace attack that included all-time greats such as Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner.

Recently Indian quicks have risen to the top in world cricket with Shami, Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in a deadly arsenal.

"The West Indies in my generation were naturally strong," the former India captain said.

"We Indians were never such naturally strong... but we worked hard to get strong. But I think it is the change in culture as well that is very important."

Shami last month claimed that the current Indian pace attack may be the best in Test history.

"You and everyone else in the world will agree to this -- that no team has ever had five fast bowlers together as a package," said Shami.

"Not just now, in the history of cricket, this might be the best fast-bowling unit in the world."

Shami took 13 wickets during India's 3-0 home Test sweep over South Africa last year, while Bumrah has claimed 68 scalps in 14 Tests since his debut.

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We want to be in final and win it: Solskjaer after MU progress to EL semi-final

Agencies
August 11,2020

Cologne, Aug 11: After winning the Europa League quarter-final clash against Copenhagen, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that his side wants to be in the final and win the competition.

"We need to go that next step. The next step for this team as well. That's the challenge for them now. Okay, three semis [this season] but that's close, that's not where we want to be. We want to be in a final and we want to win it," the club's official website quoted Solskjaer as saying.

Manchester United secured a 1-0 win over Copenhagen in Cologne to book their spot in the semi-final of Europa League.

During the match, Manchester United were awarded a penalty in the 95th minute after Anthony Martial was fouled in the box. Bruno Fernandes took the responsibility and made no mistake in putting his club ahead of Copenhagen.

Manchester United will either take Wolves or Sevilla in the semi-finals on August 17.

Reflecting on Wolves and Sevilla, Solskjaer said, "Two good teams, definitely. We know everything about Wolverhampton. I had a last-16 round with Molde against Sevilla, so I want to get back at them for that as well, so I don't mind. We'll look forward to the next one and we can sit back and watch Wolves and Sevilla tomorrow."

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ICC Meet: BCCI hoping for formal postponement of T20 WC on July 20

News Network
July 19,2020

Dubai, Jul 19: On hold for the past two months, the fate of this year's T20 World Cup will be up for a decisive round of deliberation when the ICC board meets virtually on Monday with the BCCI hoping for a postponement to ensure that the IPL can go ahead.

The global event is supposed to be held from October 18 to November 15 in Australia but the country's cricket board had, in May itself, expressed its inability to host amid a second surge of Covid-19 cases in the state of Victoria.

With India's case load also exceeding the 10 lakh mark, including more than 26,000 deaths, the IPL, if it is held, is likely to move to the UAE once the central government gives its go ahead.

"The first step was postponement of Asia Cup, which has happened. We can only start to move ahead with our plans after the ICC announces the postponement. They have been sitting on the decision even after Cricket Australia said that they are not too keen on hosting the event," a BCCI Apex Council member told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

This year's T20 World Cup will likely be held in Australia in 2022 as India doesn't want to swap its 2021 hosting rights with Cricket Australia as of now.

That Australia won't be hosting the mega event was clear after the cricket board told its players to prepare for a white-ball series against England scheduled for late September.

CA has even announced a 26-strong preliminary squad for that tour.

The ICC, on its part, has maintained that it wants to explore all possible "contingency" options before taking a call of such immense magnitude. And it is not unusual for the governing body to wait this long.

"Pakistan was supposed to host the Champions Trophy in 2009. After the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus, everyone in their proper senses knew that PCB will never host a big event in distant future," said a source familiar with the functioning of the ICC.

"Yet, ICC deputed its employees in Pakistan for months when South Africa was already preparing to host the event. Everyone knew but a formal announcement of shift took months as threat assessment was part of protocol.

"The ICC couldn't have just postponed 9the T20 World Cup) immediately as initially, the top ministers of the Australian government expressed keenness to host," he added.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has also resigned itself to this outcome after vehemently opposing the Indian board.

The postponement of Asia Cup, which was supposed to be hosted by the PCB, to 2021 was a big blow to Ehsan Mani and his team.

"We have had a lot of discussions and the feeling is it (T20 World Cup) would not be possible this year. ICC has World Cups lined up in 2021 and 2023 so we have a gap year where we can adjust this event," Mani had recently said while talking to reporters in his country.

It has been learnt that PCB is contacting other boards in the hope of finalising some bilateral engagements as the national team has nothing lined up after its England tour.

Nomination process for Chairman's election:

The other issue that is likely to come up for discussion in Monday's meeting is the nomination process for the next independent chairman of the ICC after Shashank Manohar's resignation earlier this month.

It is learnt that there is no consensus on what should be the criteria in case multiple candidates join the fray.

"The board is not united on whether the usual 2/3rd majority to decide will be used (as its in case of policy decision) or the case of simple majority among the 17 board members," an ICC Board member said.

England and Wales Cricket Board's Colin Graves was considered the top contender with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly's name also being floated.

Ganguly's candidature will certainly depend on whether the Supreme Court waives off the cooling off period and allows him to continue as BCCI president beyond July 27 when he completes six years as an office-bearer in the Indian Board's state and national units.

When asked about the possibility of taking up the ICC job in a recent interview, the 48-year-old said he is young and and in no hurry for the position.

New Zealand's Gregor Barclay, Hong Kong's Imran Khawaja, who is currently the interim chairman, are also being talked about as potential candidates.

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Zero tolerance policy applies only to me: Kaneria criticises PCB after Umar Akmal's ban reduced to 18 months

Agencies
July 30,2020

kaneria_0.jpg

New Delhi Jul 30: After Pakistan cricketer Umar Akmal's ban was reduced to 18 months, Danish Kaneria criticised Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) policies and said that the 'zero tolerance policy' applies only to him.

"Zero Tolerance policy only apply on Danish Kaneria not on others, can anybody answer the reason why I get life ban not others, Are policy applies only on cast, colour, and powerful background. I am Hindu and proud of it that's my background and my dharma," Kaneria tweeted.

Earlier on Wednesday, Akmal's three-year suspension was reduced to 18 months by an independent adjudicator, former Pakistan Supreme Court judge, Faqir Mohammad Khokhar.

On April 27, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel, Justice (retd) Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan, had banned the wicketkeeper-batsman for three years after finding him guilty of breaching the PCB's Anti-Corruption Code in two separate incidents.

Akmal, on May 19, filed an appeal against the three-year ban imposed on him, seeking a reduction in the duration of the sanction. He will remain suspended effectively from February 2020 till August 2021.

The batsman said he might appeal again to get the ban "reduced further".

"I am thankful to the judge for listening to my lawyers properly. I will decide about the remaining sentence and try to get it reduced further. For now I am not satisfied and will consult my lawyers and family how to take this ahead," ESPNcricinfo had quoted Akmal as saying.

"There are many players before me who made mistakes and just look at what they got and what I got. So all I say right now is thank you very much," he had added.

On the other hand, Kaneria was found guilty of spot-fixing while playing for English club Essex and was banned from the sport.

Earlier this month, Pakistan's cricket governing body 'advised' Kaneria to approach England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) if he wants to play domestic cricket after the cricketer had appealed to the PCB, seeking permission to play domestic cricket. 

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