Mohamed Salah among 30 nominees for top African award

News Network
November 25,2019

Johannesburg, Nov 25: Trophy-holder Mohamed Salah is among 30 nominees named Sunday for the 2019 African Player of the Year award.

He is one of 10 English Premier League stars to make the list, which includes his Liverpool teammates Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.

There are two each from Arsenal (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe) and Crystal Palace (Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha).

Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) and Mahmoud 'Trezeguet' Hassan (Aston Villa) complete the contenders from the Premier League.

A further 12 nominees come from other European leagues -- France (three), Belgium, Italy, Netherlands (two each) and Germany, Portugal and Spain (one each).

Of the other eight contenders for an award introduced in 1970, five play for Asian clubs and three are based in Africa.

Egyptian Salah is seeking a Player of the Year hat-trick, but may be pipped for first place this time by Senegalese Mane, who is having an outstanding season with Liverpool.

Mane also helped Senegal reach the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final, which they lost 1-0 to Algeria in Cairo.

Other former African Player of the Year winners in contention are Mahrez, who captained Algeria to their first Cup of Nations title since 1990, and Aubameyang.

Madagascar, who took African by storm when reaching the Cup of Nations quarter-finals last July, are among five challengers for the national team award.

A surprise nominee for Club Player of the Year is winger Meschak Elia from the Democratic Republic of Congo club Tout Puissant Mazembe.

He recently received a worldwide one-year ban for falsifying his age while seeking a transfer to Swiss club Young Boys.

The winners of the various men's and women's awards will be announced at a ceremony in the Egyptian resort of Hurghada on January 7.

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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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Looking forward to playing with Virat, want to know what makes him tick: Kane Richardson

Agencies
August 5,2020

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New Delhi, Aug 5: "Want to know what makes him tick," said Australian pacer Kane Richardson will talking about playing alongside Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

The IPL 2020 will be played in the UAE from September 19-November 10 and the tournament will run for 53 days.

In the players' auction which was conducted in December 2019, RCB managed to bag key players like Richardson, Chris Morris, Aaron Finch, Dale Steyn, Joshua Philippe, and Isuru Udana.

In an interaction with news agency, Richardson talked about playing alongside Kohli and the learning curve which is in store for him by being in the same squad as Proteas great Dale Steyn.
"Huge. These guys (Virat, AB de Villiers) are the absolute legends of the game. Anything I can learn from them will be a bonus, that's for sure.

I am really looking forward to playing with Virat, there are few more competitive players in the world. I am really looking forward to seeing what makes him tick," Richardson said.

The 29-year-old pacer also said that he would want to learn from Steyn as to how to be consistent in all formats of the game over a long period of time.

"There are loads I can learn from Dale. He has been amongst the best at the highest level for so long. His control and ability to swing the ball without losing his pace is really impressive. 

I look forward to getting in his ear about how he performs so consistently over a long period, in all forms," said Richardson who has 39 ODI wickets to his credit.

Richardson has so far played 14 games in his IPL career so far and has picked up 18 wickets. The bowler played for Pune Warriors India in 2013, Rajasthan Royals in 2014, and RCB in 2016.

For this year's IPL, RCB has also bagged Australia's limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch, and Richardson thinks having a familiar face in the camp would help him to settle better in the franchise.

"Finchey is an awesome player and a fantastic leader. I am sure it will help to have two Aussies in the side along with Josh who is playing his first tournament after a massive summer in the BBL. We are all professionals, I'm sure it won't take long for us to gel as a side," Richardson said.

However, before the IPL starts, Australia is expected to tour England for a limited-overs series, comprising of three ODIs and as many T20Is.

The side was last seen in action in March this year as they played one ODI against New Zealand in Sydney. After the first match, the remaining two ODIs were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Talking about the series against England, Kane replied: "We will be fresh, that's one thing, while the England players have been in a bubble for some time now. As long as we get enough practice in before and possibly some centre wicket it should not be an issue."

"They are World Cup holders and the number one ranked side for a very good reason. It will be a tough series also given they will have played a fair bit of cricket together by then. We know we need to work hard on our one-day game which will be a priority over the next period," he added.

The pacer also talked about how the lockdown was like for him, and Richardson feels that everyone would come back strong as a result of this break.

"The break from playing has been refreshing, to be honest. We have come back strong and are well into pre-season training with our states. As a bowler, our loads are not at their peak but we are working towards getting ready for a tour of the UK in a few weeks," Richardson said.

The Australian quick has so far played 25 ODIs and 18 T20Is, managing to take 39 and 19 wickets respectively.

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Don't know why people compared me with Warne, says Anil Kumble

News Network
July 25,2020

New Delhi, Jul 25: Former India spinner Anil Kumble said that he has never understood why people compared him with Australia's Shane Warne.

Kumble was doing an Instagram live session with former Zimbabwe pacer Pommie Mbangwa and it was then that the spinner also talked about being the third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.

"It feels really wonderful to finish with these many wickets. I never bothered about statistics or what my average should be, I wanted to bowl the whole day and be the one to take wickets. To finish as the third-highest wicket-taker in Tests alongside Murali and Warne is very special. All three of us played in the same era, there were a lot of comparisons, I do not know why people compared me with Warne. Warne was someone really different and he was on a different plane," Kumble told Mbangwa during the interaction.
"These two guys could spin the ball on any surface so it became really difficult for me when they started comparing me with Warne and Murali. I learnt a lot by watching them both bowl," he added.

The Indian spinner announced his retirement from international cricket in 2008. He finished with 619 wickets in the longest format of the game.

He has the third-highest number of wickets in Tests, only behind Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Australia's Shane Warne (708).

Kumble is the second bowler in the history of international cricket after England's Jim Laker to take all ten wickets in an innings of a Test match.

He had achieved the feat against Pakistan in 1999 at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi. Kumble had bowling figures of 10-74 from 26.3 overs in the second innings of the Test match.
Kumble will be coaching Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL). 

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