Tuesday, December 21, 2010

IPL: HC quashes BCCI's termination of Royals

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday quashed the BCCI's termination notice against the Rajasthan Royals, giving the IPL 2008 champions a much-needed reprieve.

Even though the BCCI urged the court to revoke the stay granted to the Royals, the court decided to uphold the order that had been passed earlier by the arbitrator.

The court, however, asked the Royals to disclose their ownership details. The owners will also have to file an affidavit in court stating that they are in control of their respective companies.

The Court also directed Rajasthan Royals to submit $2.83 million as guarantee to the BCCI for the contract and $18 million as bank guarantee for the players.

The arbitration proceedings shall continue unless BCCI approaches the Supreme Court challenging the stay.

After Tuesday's decision, it is now clear that IPL 4 scheduled to be played in April-May 2011, will have 10 teams as was the original plan put in place after the end of IPL - 3.

The Bombay High Court had last week granted a similar reprieve to Kings XI Punjab.

On November 30, Justice B N Srikrishna, who was acting as arbitrator, granted injunction in Rajasthan Royals favour by staying the termination of its contract. BCCI then challenged this before the High Court.

SA coach wants referral system in all Tests

Johannesburg: South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl has called for the Umpire Decision Referral System to be used in all Test cricket.

The system, which allows players to challenge umpires' decisions, will not be used during South Africa's upcoming three-Test series against top-ranked India.

Speaking ahead of the series, Van Zyl said on Monday "it would be fair and good for Test cricket" for it to be used "throughout."

He says "It's difficult to see a referral system used in one Test series and not in another."

UDRS is in use in the Ashes Tests between Australia and England but India chose not to have it in South Africa, with India's cricket board saying it is still not convinced by the system. Both teams must agree to it being used.

Vettori blames seniors for India debacle

Wellington: Dejected after the embarrassing ODI series whitewash against India, New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori on Monday said senior players, including himself, will have to take the blame for the debacle.

"It's about players standing up and performing," Vettori told ONE News on the team's return to the country after a 0-5 drubbing in India.

"If we look at the reasons for the losses being because of selection or management structure, we are absolving the players and myself included - so the players need to stand up," said the talismanic leg-spinner, who has been leading the side since 2007.

Set to take a break to nurse a sore back, Vettori rejected suggestions that his multiple roles of being a captain, selector and key all-rounder were affecting the team's power balance.

Vettori said his teammates are "comfortable" with his multiple roles but conceded that the fans might be running out of patience considering that his side has now lost 11 one-day international matches on the trot.

"Yeah, of course, I don't blame them. This team is hurting itself. It's a miserable time for New Zealand cricket," Vettori said.

"We did so well in the first couple of Test matches and then to let it all slip in the last Test and the one-day series, it hurts. And the only reason you play the game is to win and the only reason a lot of New Zealanders watch us play is to see us win.

"So we have to give that to them as soon as possible or otherwise it's going to be really upsetting to a lot of people," he added.

Kiwi coach Mark Greatbatch echoed Vettori's views and said the team is "exceptionally disappointed and embarrassed."

Axed WC host Pak still earns millions

Karachi: Pakistan may not be hosting any match of the 2011 World Cup but the country' Cricket Board would still be richer by USD 15 to 17 million from the tournament.

Sources in the PCB have confirmed that the International Cricket Council and the three host nations of the World Cup - India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - have assured Pakistan it would get its share of hosting fees, sponsorship and ticket revenue earnings from the matches it was supposed to host.

Pakistan was given 14 matches including a semifinal of the World Cup but after militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore last year, the ICC shifted the games to other three host countries.

"But despite the disappointment of not being part of the World Cup as hosts, Pakistan has been reassured it would get the hosting fees of the 14 matches plus part of the sponsorship and ticket-sale revenues earned from these matches wherever they are hosted," one source said.

He said, in the recent executive board meeting, the new President of the ICC - Sharad Pawar - had assured PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt that Pakistan would benefit financially from the World Cup.

Since the attack on the Sri Lankan team, Pakistan has been forced to play all its home series at neutral venues because of the volatile security situation in the country.

But the source said despite playing at neutral venues, the PCB had still earned profits from its 'home' series played in the UAE, New Zealand and England in the last two years.

"Ijaz Butt has been lobbying effectively to ensure that Pakistan still retains the title of hosting rights of the matches moved from Pakistan, ensuring the PCB does not lose out on the hosting fees paid to countries by the ICC for the World Cup matches," the source said.

The source said besides getting a hosting fees of USD 10.5 million, the ICC and other host countries will also pay the PCB additional compensation for the loss of hosting rights.

The PCB had initiated legal proceedings against the ICC after it moved away the World Cup matches from Pakistan last year but both parties settled their dispute and reached an agreement on payment of hosting fees and compensation.

SA have special plan for Sehwag: Coach

Johannesburg: South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl said his team has worked out special strategies to counter the furious batting of swashbuckling India opener Virender Sehwag during the three-match Test series.

"We definitely have a few plans for (Sehwag)," coach Corrie van Zyl told the Afrikaans daily Beeld.

"Sehwag would realise very quickly that he was now in South Africa and not on the tame pitches of his homeland.

"I know he has been successful against us in the past, but that was mainly in India. Look at his record in South Africa.

"It is easier to bowl to him here than in India, where the bowlers are punished heavily for every small error," Van Zyl said.

Sehwag was recently described as the most destructive batsman in world cricket today by West Indian legend Vivian Richards and the Indian opener is currently toiling hard to get acclimatised with the conditions here.

Team India coach Gary Kirsten said Sehwag was of immeasurable value to the team.

"Even if he gets just 30 or 40, he does it so fast that he always places the opposition's bowlers under pressure. He also makes it much easier for the other batsmen around him, by taking the pressure of them," Kirsten said.

Sehwag has hit five centuries against South Africa in a 12 Tests, with his 319 off just 304 balls against the Proteas in Chennai in 2008 remaining his highest Test score.

Referral system could change: Lorgat

Adelaide: The head of the International Cricket Council said on Sunday the referral system for all Test series could undergo further review and that changes could be made.

The system has been debated since its trial introduction in 2008 and subsequent addition as an optional extra for all test series, particularly the element that allows competing teams to choose which decision should be sent to the third umpire for video evidence.

"From the start we've always had a very open mind about the referral system and we are always open to changes that can make the system better," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat told Australian Associated Press.

"I can't say what those changes might be, but we are open-minded."

Each team is limited to two incorrect referrals per innings under the system, and players are learning to choose their referrals more wisely to concentrate on obvious umpiring errors rather than marginal calls.

"More and more people are being won over to the system after having seen it or used it," Lorgat said. "There are still a few people who are not supportive of it."

England coach Andy Flower is among those who have advocated a return to the system used during the 2005 ICC "Super Series" between Australia and World XI, in which the responsibility for referrals was placed solely in the hands of the umpires.

But Lorgat said the system was gaining the confidence of players as more learned how to use it, citing the referral by England's Alastair Cook to correct a wrongful dismissal during the Adelaide Ashes Test as an example of its ideal use.

"It is not there to get a wicket when you are struggling to find one, it is there to fix the obvious errors," Lorgat said. "Alastair Cook's referral on the fourth day when he was given out caught behind off his arm was a classic example."

"That's exactly what it is for, and I'm quite confident we are near to the ideal. We will never have it 100 percent right," he added.

Record crowd expected for 4th Ashes Test

Melbourne: Cricket Australia believes the Melbourne Cricket Ground will host a world record crowd of 91,000 on Sunday's opening day of the fourth Ashes Test between Australia and England.

The record crowd for a cricket Test of 90,800 was set at the ground in 1961 during a Test between Australia and the West Indies. The opening day of the 2006 Ashes Test on the ground four years ago drew 89,155 fans despite cold conditions.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said on Tuesday that with the current series tied at 1-1 "the cricket gods are smiling on us all" and circumstances were ideal for a record crowd.

He expected 300,000 people to attend the match over five days.

Meanwhile, England coach Andy Flower and vice-captain Alastair Cook say they are unconcerned Australia may influence the MCG staff into preparing a pitch that suits the home team.

English media reported that two pitches had been prepared for the Test and it was likely the faster and bouncier of the two would be chosen for the game, as it would benefit the pace bowlers who led Australia to a series-levelling win in the third Test at Perth.

Cricket Australia rejected the reports, saying pitch preparation was left to local groundsmen.

England can seal a successful Ashes defense by winning at the MCG, but a loss would leave the tourists having to win the final Test in Sydney to hold onto the urn.

Despite the high stakes, Cook was fatalistic about any pitch switch.

"That's the beauty of home conditions isn't it? You can prepare a pitch to hopefully suit the home side," Cook said.

"That's what we try and do in England in certain cases and there's no reason why I would expect Australia not to do it.

"If you went to India, they played three spinners and produced a green seamer you'd be wondering what's going on, so that is what home advantage is and you'd expect everyone to do it."

Cook acknowledged he would prefer the MCG pitch to be less pacy than the one in Perth.

"As a batter you'd much rather it flatter," he said. "We obviously got outplayed a little bit in Perth, but our record on bouncy wickets is good back at home and at Old Trafford.

"Conditions change from week to week and it's how you adapt to those that determines how successful you are."

England played state team Victoria at the MCG immediately before the Perth Test and found the pitch relatively slow and flat.

"When we were there for the three-day game they were preparing two pitches," Flower said. "One looked barer than the other, and they were debating then which they wanted to use.

"They weren't that happy with the look of the slightly barer one, so more than likely they'll go with the one with more grass cover."

Australia coach Tim Nielsen said Ricky Ponting was still the best man to bat at No 3 for Australia, despite lean recent form.

Ponting has a fractured left little finger but is expected to play in the Melbourne Test.

"His best place for us to bat is No 3, for two reasons, one because that's where he plays his best and secondly he's the best No 3 we've got," Nielsen said.

"It was only a month ago that he got three 70s in a row in India and got run out twice, so he's finding ways of getting out."

Racist e-mail scandal disappointing: Gilchrist

Perth: Former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist on Saturday termed the racist e-mail scandal involving his country's police officers "very disappointing", but claimed that Indian students Down Under are "positive" about their stay.

"If it (racist e-mail) is a recent news, as we will try to find it out, and if it is proven to be correct then it is very disappointing," Gilchrist said.

The cricketer said the Australian government has taken up the recent racial incidents against Indians "seriously".

"It needs to be taken seriously. Our government and the education sector have certainly addressed it. Indian students there have been very positive about being in Australia and on (university) campuses. They feel safe," Gilchrist told a television channel.

Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday summoned Australian High Commissioner Peter Varghese and sought an explanation on the issue in which top Victorian police officers have been caught in a racist e-mail scandal joking about the electrocution of an Indian train passenger.

Gilchrist said Australia is trying to ensure that no racial incidents occur. "We have to work together to try and ensure that these incidents do not re-occur. I think we are trying to do that."

VVS, Gilly not in Deccan interest

Hyderabad:So now it's business time once again! IPL players' auction is round the corner and just like other teams, Deccan Chargers, too, are rolling their sleeves up to battle in the players' market. And since it is already confirmed that the big-hitting Adam Gilchirst is making his way out of the Hyderabad-based side, the options available for the 2009 champions make for an interesting reading.

Gilchrist, one of the best in the 'cricketing business', took the team's reins from VVS Laxman after the side had a disastrous inaugural season where it finished at the bottom of the points table. The swashbuckling Aussie not only brought immediate results in the next edition, but also enthused the spirit that was missing in the first season.

Though, touted as underdogs in the 2009 event, which was shifted to South Africa, Gilchrist, with good support from his former Aussie teammate Andrew Symonds and other Indian players took everyone by surprise by clinching the cash-rich event.

But since the left-hander has already made up his mind to look for other opportunities, it is interesting to notice the places he may go to.

It's already in the air that the new entrant, Pune Warriors, could take the services of the 38-year-old as he has got the perfect credence to lead the side. And with good players, decent support staff and owner's backing, he could definitely help the Sahara group-owned side to set off to a flier.

There is also a strong possibility that Kolkata Knight Riders, could rope in the experienced player, as Shah Rukh Khan and other co-owners are looking for a breath of fresh air, especially after the disappointment of the first three seasons, where it performed much below everyone's expectations.

If Sourav Ganguly — the present captain of KKR — leaves the Kolkata side, which very much seems to be on the cards, then Gilchrist could be the right person that coach Dav Whatmore and his team would like to work with.

And as the date — December 8 — to retain the four marquee players by each team is approaching, only Andrew Symonds and Kemar Roach are certain to have a long run for the Deccan side.

There is no chance that Herschelle Gibbs, who has been in the news lately more for his controversial book than his cricketing credentials, will be retained. It is also certain that Chaminda Vass, who is over 36 years of age, will make the cut. West Indian Dwayne Smith had already got an extended spell with the franchise, so it is unlikely that he would be a part of the set up this time.

Two other Australians, young Mitchell Marsh and pacer Ryan Harris who were impressive with the limited outings they got, are not the best bargains with the amount of money at stake.

Since maximum of only three Indian players can be retained by a franchise, for most of the players, it's a battle of survival as few may just not be picked by the same side or may be by any.

The most interesting case will be of VVS Laxman. The stylish Hyderabadi batsman has been on a roll — playing vital innings and scoring tons of runs — in the longest version of the game. But still many find him slow for the fast-pace cricket. His ground fielding, except standing in slips, has always been under the scanner.

And though it would be difficult to fill Gilchrist's shoes but another Australian, who is as competent as the left hander, Shane Warne could be the perfect replacement for the wicket-keeper batsman. The former Aussie great had a dream inaugural season with the Rajasthan Royals, helping them winning the trophy in 2008.

However, his availability will depend on whether the Jaipur-based team gets the chance to participate in the next edition. But if things go according to the BCCI's plan then Warne could well be in Deccan's dug out next season.

Warne's teammates in Rajasthan, Shane Watson and Yusuf Pathan, could also be the lucky one if being selected for the Chargers. Same holds true for Kings XI Punjab's Sri Lankan veterans, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. The two Sri Lankans are looking certain to leave the Mohali side, especially after the dreadful outing they had in the last three years.

So the stage is set and the players are ready to be under the hammer and now everything depends on how quickly Deccan charges itself up to make a move in the players' auction.