Melbourne lockdown should see ICC take final call on T20 WC: BCCI official

Agencies
July 7,2020

Mumbai, Jul 7: Australias second largest city Melbourne is set to go for another round of lockdown — for six weeks — from midnight Wednesday as the coronavirus has reared its ugly head in Victoria. And this has further confirmed that this years T20 World Cup in Australia is practically not possible. Even as the ICC keeps delaying the announcement, BCCI hopes that the official call will now be taken with this latest development.

Despite ICC's Financial and Commercial Affairs Committee (F&CA) chief Ehsan Mani as well as Cricket Australia making it clear time and again that hosting a T20 World Cup in the October-November window is practically impossible, the ICC hasn't made an official announcement and that hasn't impressed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Speaking to media persons, a BCCI official said that it is only the ICC which has kept speaking about delaying the inevitable — announcing a postponement — even as Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings wrote to the international body that it looks highly unlikely that a T20 World Cup can be hosted in these trying times.

"As it is there were so many logistical difficulties and that is perfectly understandable. The Australian government has been addressing the public health issue efficiently and there are regulations in place which are crucial to address the challenges. In that background even Cricket Australia has been practical in their assessment of the situation.

"With this present situation where Melbourne is in lockdown, the ICC really must take the final call of closure on the issue if they have any concept of responsible decision making," the official said.

Not just CA chairman Eddings, but also Mani — who is also the PCB chief — recently told the media that the T20 World Cup cannot be held in a bio-secure environment.

"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. God forbid if some player(s) falls ill or mishap occurs during the tournament, it will have a big impact and create panic in the cricket world and we can't take that risk. Having a bio-bubble environment is feasible for say a bilateral series like Pakistan in England, but it is very difficult when 16 teams are involved," he had said.

Cricket Australia's interim CEO Nick Hockley echoed the sentiments when he said the biggest challenge was to get the players from so many teams into the country.

"Our biggest challenge is getting 15 teams into the country. If I compare it with the prospect of a bilateral tour, you're talking about bringing one team in and then playing individual matches. But the prospect of bringing 15 teams in and having six or seven teams in one city at the same time, it's a much more complex exercise," he had said.

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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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BCCI going ahead with women's IPL on time: Sourav Ganguly

Agencies
August 2,2020

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New Delhi, Aug 2: BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Sunday said the Women's IPL or the Challenger series, as it is better known, is "very much on", ending speculation about the parent body not having a plan for Harmanpreet Kaur and her team.

The men's IPL will be held between September 19 and November 8 or 10 (final date yet to be locked in) in the UAE due to the surge in Covid-19 cases in India. The women's IPL will also be fit in to the schedule, according to the BCCI chief.

"I can confirm to you that the women's IPL is very much on and we do have a plan in place for the national team also," Ganguly told PTI ahead of the IPL Governing Council meeting later on Sunday.

The BCCI president, who is awaiting a Supreme Court verdict on waiver of the cooling-off period to continue in the position, did not divulge details but another senior official privy to the development said that women's Challenger will be held during the last phase of IPL like last year.

"The women's Challenger series is likely to be held between November 1-10 and there could be a camp before that," the source said.

The former India captain also said that the centrally contracted women players will have a camp which has been delayed due to the prevailing situation in the country.

"We couldn't have exposed any of our cricketers -- be it male or female to health risk. It would have been dangerous," Ganguly said.

"The NCA also remained shut because of Covid-19. But we have a plan in place and we will have a camp for women, I can tell you that," he added.

The BCCI's cricket operations team is chalking up a schedule where Indian women are likely to have two full-fledged white-ball series against South Africa and the West Indies before playing the ODI World Cup in New Zealand. 

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We have capability of making country proud at Tokyo Olympics: Rani Rampal

News Network
July 23,2020

New Delhi, Jul 23: With one year to go for the Olympic Games to begin in Tokyo on July 23, 2021, Indian women's hockey team skipper Rani Rampal on Thursday said the side has performed well against top teams in recent times and can do the same at the Olympics.

The Indian team has competed well against top teams in the recent past and has registered memorable victories at the FIH Series Finals and the FIH Olympic Qualifiers last year.

"We have competed against top teams in the recent past and we have shown that our team has the capability of winning a medal and making our country proud at the Olympics. We have a good group of experienced players, who are guiding the junior players very well. Our team has been getting better with each tournament we have played and we will definitely improve our game even further in the next one year," said the 25-year-old said in a statement.

Speaking about her participation at the Olympics, Rani said that the experience will help her make better decisions at the Tokyo Olympics.

"It was great to be a part of the Olympics in Rio. We made history by qualifying for the tournament after 36 years. It was a great feeling to be playing at the biggest of stages. Even though we didn't register the best of results, I have certainly learned a lot by playing the Olympic Games matches in 2016. I am sure all the players, who played in the 2016 Olympics, will make much better decisions on the pitch at the Tokyo Olympics, based on their experience in Rio," she said.

The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021, while the Paralympics will take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021.  

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