More than saying “Thank You” to the doctors, nurses and others who are fighting the deadly coronavirus, people in India treated this occasion during the "Janata Curfew" as if it were some festival. They changed the meaning of curfew, which is to stay at home, and took to streets to take out a procession. They clearly violated the lockdown, which was self-imposed on the request of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
BJP MP from Delhi and former team India opener, Gautam Gambhir did not like this behavior one bit and took to Twitter to show his displeasure against those people. In a strong-worded message he wrote, “You will also go and take your family too! Quarantine or jail! Do not be a threat to the whole society and stay at home! The battle is not with jobs and business, but with life! Those who provide essential services should not be disturbed. Follow the Lockdown!! Jai Hind.”
The deadly pandemic caused by coronavirus has already taken more than 14,000 lives across the world, with more than 3, 30,000 people being tested positive for it. Indians not maintaining self-quarantine and social distancing is surely a grave mistake which must be corrected in time, as it will lead to grave consequences.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is no more a possibility it seems. The cash-rich league has been marred by the spread of the coronavirus and the BCCI and IPL franchises were scheduled to have a customary conference call tomorrow (Tuesday). The call was scheduled to take the stock of the situation, but as it has been revealed, the call would now more or less be focused on what to do if there is no IPL.
“A scenario without the IPL will be the only item on agenda now. No one is going to talk about the possibility of the league now. The entire world is coming to a standstill,” a source has told sports business website, InsideSport.co
“The stakeholders will be informally apprised after the conference call with the franchisees tomorrow (Tuesday) even if a formal announcement is not made soon,” said the source. “They (the BCCI officials) are not even thinking about the IPL now. It will be insensitive to even think about the league in this situation when the coronavirus infection and death toll is rising by the minute. The situation will become clearer after the board members discuss among themselves during the day and inform us,” the source added.
The IPL this year was to be played from March 29 to May 24, but like many other sporting events, it stands postponed as of now, due to the coronavirus.
Ever since the young wicketkeeper-batsman, Rishabh Pant started keeping the wickets in red-ball cricket format, a lot was written about Wriddhiman Saha’s career in international cricket. The comparison between Pant and Saha also remained a constant topic of debate in the Indian cricket fraternity.
However, Saha recently made it clear that there is no rivalry or any competition between him and Rishabh Pant. Saha has said that he kept suggesting his young teammate about how to get better behind the stumps.
Speaking to IANS in his latest interview, Saha said, “We (me and Rishabh) keep joking around. We train together and we keep talking about the game and otherwise, also there are few things which we have had a chat about.
Saha also stated that he has asked Pant to try out a few things during his training session in order to improve his game.
"I have told Rishabh a few things which he will try according to his comfort zone. He will try during training. It's not like he will do it for one day and it will work. So, if he feels those things will work for him, he will try and implement them in his training.”
Saha was not a part of the playing XI for the two-match Test series against New Zealand as Pant was preferred over him. However, the 22-year-old left-hander failed to meet the expectations of fans and teammates.
Indian opener Rohit Sharma is spreading happiness in the gloomy days filled with the sad news of coronavirus. The star batsman tried cheering up the people by uploading a video on Instagram in which he can be seen playing cricket with his little daughter Samaira.
In the video, Rohit helps his daughter hold a cricket bat and play a straight drive. In the clip, one of Rohit's family members can be seen bowling at Samaira and the father-daughter successfully play the shot. After a few seconds both Samaira and the family member imitate something at which Rohit looks surprisingly, “What is she doing?”.
Earlier, India had observed a 24 hour “Janta Curfew” which was aimed at keeping people from coming out of their houses and decreasing the chances of the spread of the coronavirus.
Amongst all this, Rohit even posted a message to combat climate change. In one of his Instagram posts, Rohit mentioned how the levels of pollution have decreased due to lockdowns.
"Through these extremely difficult and dangerous times, Mother Earth has found a way to heal. Our planet has shown us what a difference a lifestyle change can make even in a short amount of time. We always wondered if it was too late to combat climate change but Mother Earth has shown us that we can reverse it and help her heal if we all do it together. Through these testing times, India has seen a major drop in its air and noise pollution levels, Venice has dolphins playing in their harbors, boars running around their streets, Rome has swans in their fountains and the pollution levels have dropped all over the world! This is the world we need to protect,” said Rohit Sharma through his Instagram post.
Few days after former Pakistani cricketer Rameez Raja called Haider Ali the next Babar Azam or Virat Kohli, the 19-year-old Peshawar Zalmi star has said that he can never match the level of his role models. Ali believes that he just can’t play like the Indian skipper Kohli or Pakistani batsman Azam but can surely improve his game to make a name for himself in world cricket.
The young Pakistani batsman, who scored 239 runs in nine PSL matches this year, has also made it clear that he wants to brush his batting skills to the extent that people compare him with Babar Azam and not Virat Kohli.
Expressing himself in a YouTube video, Ali said, “A batsman can never become like his role models, but can improve himself and develop shots as they play. I want to improve myself to the extent that people call me Babar Azam and not Kohli because Babar has good shots. I cannot become Kohli but can develop shots like him through practice. I’m Haider Ali so I can only become Haider Ali."
Speaking about his first meeting with Azam during a first-class tournament, Ali added that he got to learn a lot about so many things from the star batsman as Babar gave him some useful tips.
“I met Babar Azam during the first-class tournament and he gave me tips regarding my batting. We also get to learn a lot from him at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. He also supported me during PSL by boosting my confidence and advising me to keep scoring runs and leave the rest to Allah Almighty.”
The deadly coronavirus has halted the entire sports fraternity worldwide. Even one of the best T20 leagues around the globe, Pakistan Super League (PSL) came under the grip of this life-threatening virus as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) suspended the fifth edition of PSL before the much-awaited semifinals.
However, the national board is now planning to reschedule the remaining matches of PSL season five during the 10-day window available in November. The Chief Executive Officer of PCB, Wasim Khan, has said that if the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic improves in the next few months then the board will schedule the remaining PSL matches in November ahead of the next season.
“But we have to first sit down and discuss the situation with all the franchise owners because they are also suggestions that Multan Sultans which topped the points table should be declared winners or to have these remaining matches before the PSL-6 early next year.”
Khan also added that PCB is in a better financial condition in such hard times and it will not face any crisis for a year even if the coronavirus pandemic continues.
"The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the entire world and sports globally. In this crisis time at present, we have money and are not facing any financial crisis.”
Notably, Multan Sultans, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi have successfully booked their spots for upcoming semifinals clashes.
As it is the time of self-isolation for everyone across the world due to novel coronavirus outbreak, people are spending most of the time on social media. In order to keep cricket fanatics engaged, the International Cricket Council (ICC) came up with an interesting opinion poll. ICC asked the fans to pick a batsman with the best pull shot in the history of cricket.
While posting the pictures of Sir Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting, Virat Kohli and Herschelle Gibbs on its official Twitter handle, ICC wrote, "Which batsman, past or present, has the best pull shot, in your opinion?" Surprisingly, ICC did not include the picture of star player Rohit Sharma in a post.
As expected, the tweet caught the attention of every cricket fan around the globe on social media and it left everyone in splits. While some people picked the former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, others claimed that Rohit Sharma is better than Virat Kohli when it comes to playing a pull-shot.
The swashbuckling Indian opener, Rohit Sharma also took to his Twitter account to take a jibe at the ICC for not including his name in its latest post. Re-tweeting the post, Sharma wrote, "Someone's missing here?? Not easy to work from home I guess.”
Rohit is widely regarded as one of the best batsmen in the modern era of world cricket at the moment and when it comes to playing the pull shots, he has never failed to impress the audience with his big-hitting ability.
If the Indian Premier League (IPL) had a domino effect on other cricket ventures around the country and even partially around the world in their being indefinitely postponed, the idea that the IPL may not be able to get off at the tentative 15th April mark makes this a rather grim situation for franchisees, players and everyone alike.
It is normally that time of year when teams and fans are preparing themselves for an arduous two months of intense cricket, hectic traveling and scorching Indian summer heat. Simultaneously the glut of matches that the IPL represents is lamented upon even as cricketers, who normally talk up workload throughout the year, are surprisingly and not so surprisingly quiet about the toll that the IPL’s two months take.
In that sense, what should have been a grand build-up to the much-hyped money-spinner has been muted in the wake of the fact that the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) had to take cognizance that the IPL would not start on the originally planned date of 29th of March given that the IPL franchisee owners had expressed their reluctance to let the tournament’s thirteenth season get ahead without the presence of foreigner cricketers whose participation was in jeopardy after the government of India decision on visa bans even if days before the government had proposed the idea of sports, matches being played to empty stadiums.
In light of the fact that most metros in the country are under virtual lockdown, making regular daily life itself difficult, it would seem that the much-anticipated meeting between the BCCI and the franchisee owners is entirely a case of merely confirming the difficulty of the situation in planning the tournament ahead with much of the variables in flux.
Even if the BCCI would attempt to brazen it out in the face of a now increasingly possible scenario of a cancellation of the tournament altogether, it might be a case of the franchisees continuing to stand their ground given that even if the Indian government’s stance would change in fifteen days’ time which is hard to anticipate at this point, there are currently existing travel impositions by other cricket playing countries which would mean a tournament that continues to be significantly downsized if it were even to get underway.
With the absence of fan participation now seemingly virtually sealed, at least until the end of the Indian summer, unless an extraordinary scenario of circumstances evolve, there is no practical reasoning of how the IPL season 13 can take off the ground, even as theories abounded about how the BCCI might be able to lift its muscle to push the schedule around in the monsoon months. The Tuesday meeting might then be just a confirmation of the facts.
Even as anticipated losses are being tallied for broadcasters, the board, the players and the franchise owners, the very fact that this meeting itself is a teleconference virtually seals the fate of the tournament under the present country and global situation.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has backed head Coach Misbah-ul-Haq and his decisions regarding the national team. Although his stint as head coach of Pakistan Super League side Islamabad United was forgetful, to say the least. Islamabad, the two-time champions, were not even able to make it to the last four this time around. They had just seven points from 10 matches.
"We have full confidence in Misbah even now but as is our policy we will sit down and review his one-year performance after the World T20 in Australia in October. We allowed him to coach the Islamabad franchise as we wanted him to gain some experience as well in this position,” CEO of PCB, Wasim Khan told the media
Khan also praised Misbah for instilling belief in the team, saying the team has seen steady progress under him. "Since he took over as head coach we have seen steady progress in the national team's performances in Tests and T20 cricket," Khan said.
On the issue of team selection, Wasim Khan believes that Misbah would take his own call and they have given him the freedom.
"It is up to him what he's planning is for the team but definitely I am sure he and the other selectors would take into consideration performance of players in the PSL when they sit down to finalize teams for the Asia Cup and World T20."
Former Pakistani pacer, Shoaib Akhtar has blasted his countrymen for not following the guidelines issued by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus. He was apparently shocked to see roads full of people at such times when the virus has already infected more than 700 people in Pakistan.
"I went outside for some really important work today. I did not shake hands with anyone or hugged anyone. The windows of my car were closed the entire time and I came back home as soon as possible. But I noticed a very worrying trend outside. I saw 4 guys traveling on one motor-bike. People are having food together outside, traveling to other places. Why are restaurants still open, why are we not closing them," the former Pakistan pacer said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
He further compared the situations of the two neighboring countries i.e. India and Pakistan and asked people to learn from India. "In India, people have embraced a curfew. But here in Pakistan, we can't stop traveling," he said.
The Rawalpindi express also warned people to not believe myths and rumors and requested the Pakistan government to put a lock-down.
"Don't believe in myths that this virus will not spread in the summer or infect young people. People are roaming around freely, what is the need to go outside," said Akhtar.
"I request Pakistan government to take strong action and impose a lock-down. Please lock-down the cities. Italy made a huge mistake by not imposing lock-down early. People are dying there every day,” he added.
Former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum has finally opened up about his personal fallout with star Kiwi batsman Ross Taylor which eventually created tension between the two classic cricketers.
In his latest interview with Sky Sports Podcast, McCullum recalled the time when New Zealand Cricket decided to hold a public process to elect the new captain of the national team as Daniel Vettori announced to step down from his position. After lengthy deliberation, Taylor had piped McCullum for the role and took over as the captain of New Zealand.
“We had to go for an interview for the job. It was about presenting the map for the future of New Zealand cricket to a panel. I don’t really know what we were doing. If I had my time, I would’ve said ‘No I’m not going to come and go through the process, you appoint Ross as captain and then we’ll see what unfolds from there.”
“Calling it a ‘bad stain’ for entire New Zealand cricket fraternity, the former wicketkeeper-batsman also added that the fallout even put some pressure on his friendship with Taylor.
“It’s a bad stain for New Zealand cricket and put pressure on Ross and me. Then it led me to eventually take over the captaincy from Ross.”
Furthermore, speaking on his current relations with Taylor, McCullum went on to say, “We are not best friends. I have an immense amount of respect for him. He has a lovely family, had a great career. He is at peace and content in his personal life. He has done really well.”
As the T-20 World Cup inches closer predictably the speculation on MS Dhoni gains momentum. He retired from Test cricket midway through the series in Australia in 2014-15 to concentrate on the limited-overs game. He then lost the captaincy to Virat Kohli though he continued to represent the country. He last played for India in the World Cup semifinal against New Zealand in July 2019 and last played a T-20 international in February the same year.
Naturally there has almost feverish speculation about his future particularly since Rishabh Pant is around and now KL Rahul too has shown that he can double up as wicketkeeper in the shorter formats. Moreover, Dhoni himself has been pretty secretive about his future. He first gave non-committal answers to queries from the media and then told everyone to wait till January hinting that he might make his plans clear at that time. It is now the end of March, the World Cup is to commence in Australia in October and there no indication from him one way or the other.
Under the circumstances one cannot blame former cricketers from saying that it will be difficult for Dhoni to come back into the Indian team. Virender Sehwag who is not afraid to speak out his mind was among the first to say so and now Sunil Gavaskar and Venkatpathi Raju seem to have a similar view. Gavaskar feels that Dhoni will not be part of the Indian squad. He is of the view that the Indian team has moved on from Dhoni and his presence in the squad for the showpiece tournament is highly unlikely. ``Dhoni is not someone to make big announcements so I reckon he would silently retire from the game’’ said Gavaskar who added that personally he would like to see Dhoni in the Indian squad.
Raju too feels that a comeback from Dhoni would be difficult with the selectors having invested in two wicketkeepers. ``For any international sportsman to come back after such a long break is difficult. Age is also a factor (Dhoni will be 39 when the World Cup starts). Playing international cricket is never easy as it demands a different level of fitness and skills.’’
A lot has been made about the IPL being the platform for Dhoni to prove that he is still fit and deserving of a place in the squad. For one thing that may not be fair to Pant and Rahul who have performed admirably in Dhoni’s absence. And now with the IPL suspended and likely to be postponed Dhoni might not even have that platform. There is also this one last thought – he is no longer a centrally contracted player with his name not in the contracts handed out to 27 players by the BCCI in January.
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