IPL all set to start amid covid surge

News Network
April 7, 2021

Mumbai, Apr 7: The Indian Premier League is not only one of the world's most lucrative annual sporting properties but also among the most durable, with not even the lengthening shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic apparently able to stop the Twenty20 juggernaut.

Last year's delayed tournament was shifted to the United Arab Emirates but the 14th edition returns to India, where the coronavirus situation has worsened significantly in recent weeks.

The surge in new cases could yet scupper plans to host the tournament in bio-secure bubbles at six venues across the country, starting on Friday in Chennai and climaxing at the world's largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad on May 30.

The Indian cricket board (BCCI), however, is bullish about the chances of pulling it off.

"We did it successfully in Dubai last year. We are confident we are going to do it again this time," BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly told the press.

Champions Mumbai Indians, captained by Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore get the eight-team tournament going at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Friday.

Both teams have already been hit by Covid-19 cases in their camps, however, raising questions over the effectiveness of the health protections afforded to the cricketers by the bubble.

Players will be well compensated for their stint in India as, even without ticket sales, the IPL was still worth $6.19 billion last year, according to financial consultancy firm Duff & Phelps. That was down from $6.78 billion in 2019.

The BCCI would have been left with a $542 million hole in its coffers if it had cancelled its flagship event last year but ended up with record TV and digital viewership.

With curfews currently in force in many Indian states, the IPL can be expected to surpass last year's viewership numbers with cricket fans in the world's second most populous nation set to be glued to TV sets and electronic devices.

Bhairav Shanth, the managing director of global sport consulting firm ITW, said interest among advertisers has been high this year and predicted a windfall for broadcasters because of the "tremendous" pull of the IPL.

"For a tournament that is having another edition barely six months removed from the last one, the appetite has been fantastic," Shanth told Reuters. "In 2020, there was a slight dip in deal volume and sizes.

"But now as we see this edition occupy the prime summer slot with nothing else significant on TV to compete against, we have already seen new partners come on board in the league at a premium of 30-40 per cent from what it was last year."

Even the recent spike in the number of Covid-19 cases has not deterred the cream of world cricket from heading to India, where the T20 World Cup will also be held later this year.

Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes has been delighted to see so many of his England colleagues plying their trade in recent editions of the IPL.

"Being constantly exposed to that is a huge benefit to us as a team, especially with the T20 World Cup coming up at the end of the year in India," he told Sky Sports.

"It's a great chance for the English guys to get more experience in these conditions." 

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coastaldigest.com news network
April 30,2021

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New Delhi, Apr 30: Veteran lawyer and former attorney general Soli Sorabjee passed away on Friday morning after contracting the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Sorabjee was 91. He was admitted to a private hospital in Delhi.

Sorabjee, a Padma Vibhushan recipient, began his legal practice in 1953 in Bombay High Court and he was designated senior counsel of the Supreme Court in 1971. He became the attorney general of India first from 1989-90 and then from 1998-2004. 

He was appointed by the United Nations as a Special Rapporteur for Nigeria in 1997 to report on the human rights situation in that country. Following this, he became a member and later chairman of the UN Sub Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights from 1998 to 2004.

He was a champion of freedom of speech and expression and had defended freedom of press in many landmark cases in the Supreme Court and had been instrumental in revoking censorship orders and bans on publications.

He was honored with the Padma Vibhushan award--the second-highest civilian award in India in March 2002 for his defence of freedom of speech and the protection of human rights.

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News Network
April 30,2021

New Delhi, Apr 30: The suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger flights to or from India has been extended till May 31. The international scheduled flights under select routes, however, will remain operational on a "case-to-case" basis, the director-general of civil aviation (DGCA) said on Friday.

"In partial modification of circular date 26-6-2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding scheduled international commercial passenger services to or from India till 2359 hrs IST of 31st May 2021. The restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA," the DGCA circular stated.

Many countries including the US, UK, Kuwait, France and Canada have banned flights from India, citing COVID-19 cases and the "double mutant" virus being found in the country. Iran, Kuwait, Indonesia and UAE are the latest additions to this list of countries that have banned India from their citizens' travel lists.

Australia this week suspended all direct passenger flights from India for the next three weeks due to the unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The suspension of international commercial flights comes as India continues to face the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. India recorded 3,86,452 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and 3,498 deaths, the health ministry data showed. A record 2,97,540 passengers were also discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, the health ministry data shows.

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coastaldigest.com news network
April 28,2021

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Mangaluru, Apr 28: A 25-year-old woman doctor who was undergoing treatment for covid-19 succumbed to the deadly disease in the city.

The deceased has been identified as Dr C C Maha Basheer of Palisseri Nabams House in Thalassery. Maha, who was five months pregnant, was admitted at Mangaluru Indiana Hospital.

The doctors could not save her baby. Although she tested negative in the test conducted two days back, she continued treatment following breathing problems. She was studying for MD at Kanachur Medical College, Deralakatte, Thokkottu, Mangaluru.

Maha was wife of Dr Savafar of Kasargod. She was daughter of C C Abdul Basheer and Nazriya Basheer. Maasin Basheer, Misnan Basheer and Milas Basheer are her siblings. Her last rites were held at Stadium Juma Masjid in Thalassery. 

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