Race to the top: Kohli chases Smith in ICC Test ranking

Agencies
September 10,2019

Dubai, Sept 10: Steve Smith and Pat Cummins on Tuesday consolidated their positions at the top of the ICC rankings after helping Australia score a 185-run victory over England in the fourth Test in Manchester to retain The Ashes.

Smith's player of the match effort of 211 and 82 runs in the two innings has lifted him to 937 rating points, only 10 less than his all-time best aggregate achieved in December 2017.

He is now 34 points ahead of India captain Virat Kohli and virtually assured of remaining at the top at the end of the five-match series.

A match haul of seven for 103 has helped Cummins equal his career-best aggregate of 914 points, which is the joint fifth-best of all time and joint best for Australia along with Glenn McGrath, who reached his best in 2001.

Cummins is a good 63 rating points ahead of South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, with India’s Jasprit Bumrah in third place. Josh Hazlewood is in the top 10 for the first time this year, progressing from 12th to eighth.

Jos Buttler (up four places to 37th) and Rory Burns (up six places to a career-best 61st) for England and captain Tim Paine (up six places to 60th) of Australia have also moved up the batting list in the latest rankings update carried out on Monday and which also takes into account performances in the Chattogram Test.

Afghanistan's 224-run conquest over Bangladesh in Chattogram has resulted in major gains for their players.

Former captain Asghar Afghan’s scores of 92 and 50 have taken him from 110th to 63rd position while Rahmat Shah’s century in the first innings has helped him move from 93rd to 65th.

Captain Rashid Khan’s player of the match effort of 11 for 104 has lifted him from 69th to 37th while all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has retired from Tests in 85th position after gaining 21 slots.

For Bangladesh, left-arm spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Taijul Islam have inched up one slot each to 21st and 22nd, respectively. Off-spinner Nayeem Hasan has advanced 21 places to 66th position.

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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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Suresh Raina, Harmanpreet Kaur appointed as global brand ambassadors of WTF Sports

Agencies
August 5,2020

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New Delhi, Aug 5: Indian cricketers Suresh Raina and Harmanpreet Kaur were on Wednesday appointed as the global brand ambassadors of the WTF Sports.

Raina is also joining the brand as a Strategic Partner. WTF Sports, a fantasy sports gaming platform, was today formally launched in India and globally.

The announcement was made through a web conference with prominent cricket host, Vikram Sathaye moderating and hosting the webinar and Vinit Bhatia, Manit Parikh and Yash Kadakia Co-Founders - India and Global, WTF Sports introducing the cricketers as the Global Brand Ambassadors.

Kaur said it was a perfect fit for her and she can use her strategy and experience while playing.
"WTF Sports was the perfect fit with me, I can use strategy and my experience while playing, I've actually learnt to strategize better as I've played along. Additionally, when we were under lockdown and I couldn't really practice, it was fun to come on the platform and feel like I'm still playing," Kaur said in a statement.

On the other hand, Raina said, "It is exciting to be a part of a fantasy sports platform like WTF Sports not just as an ambassador but also as the strategic partner, it is everything that I embody and what I believe in, it's fierce, fun and competitive."

The app currently hosts three major sports, multiple playing modes, and exciting contests, ensuring that sports fans can get more skillful by letting them strategize and use their sports knowledge into rewarding behaviour.

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I see Ben Stokes becoming one of England's greatest cricketers, says Dominic Cork

July 19,2020

Manchester, Jul 19: Former England pacer Dominic Cork reckons star all-rounder Ben Stokes will go on to become one of his country's greatest cricketers ever.

Stokes, the hero of England's World Cup triumph last year, sparkled with a fine 176 and powered his side to a strong first-inning total of 469/9 declared in the ongoing second Test against the West Indies here.

"I genuinely think he can get better because of his work ethic. He wants to bat, he wants to bowl, he wants to work on his game, wants to get better," Cork said on Sky Sports show The Cricket Debate.

"I know he works a hell of a lot on his bowling as well. I just see this man not becoming only the best in the world but one of the best we have had ever. That's how highly I rate him."

The former seamer thought things changed for better for the World Cup hero after the Bristol bar brawl three years ago.

Last year, Stokes himself had said that the unsavoury incident and the ensuing chain of events, which dogged his career for 15 months, may be the best thing that could have happened to him.

Following the incident in September 2017, Stokes was acquitted of affray by a Bristol court in August 2018, before the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) ended his 15-month exile after a hearing in December 2018.

Former England batsman Ravi Bopara also spoke about the remarkable change in Stokes' approach.

"I think there has definitely been a change with Ben. He has made his mistakes and learnt from them. He looks a formidable cricketer," he said.

"He is a fiery character and always has been - even if you are playing PlayStation in hotel rooms.

"But as he has had a more important role in the side as an all-rounder, making an impact with bat and ball, winning games for England, and since England have started looking at him as the main guy, his attitude has changed with it."

West Indies lead the three-match series 1-0 after their win in the opener at Southamton.

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