Speculation is the name of the game

Partab Ramchand Updated: 17 June, 2020, 4:17 PM IST

Whatever predictions that are made right now about the immediate future of cricket can only be in the realm of speculation. Everything is so uncertain with the coronavirus refusing to abate. In fact, the cases and the death count keep rising by the day in various parts of the world. Given this grim and cheerless scenario, it is no surprise that players, officials, and administrators can only talk in terms of perhaps and maybes.

Among the discussions on various competitions the T-20 World Cup, the IPL and the Indian team’s tour of Australia predictably take pride of place. International cricket is set to resume with the England – West Indies Test series next month but even with that contest there is a lot to be done regarding security measures and quarantine with the focus also being on the changes implemented by the ICC and how these will be carried out. In a way, the matches will showcase the immediate future of cricket and how tours and tournaments will be conducted for the rest of the year at least.

It is clear that the BCCI will not give up hopes of conducting the IPL this year. They are looking out for any window – be it dates or venue. The first such opportunity was seen in the possible postponement of the T-20 World Cup wherein it was discussed that the IPL could be squeezed in through the October – November window. Then followed debates about the venue. India was clearly the first choice but if it could not be held because of the continuing coronavirus threat then the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka emerged as alternative venues. Then there was the question of timing with Sunil Gavaskar saying that there could be a realistic chance of conducting a truncated IPL in Sri Lanka from early September. His contention was that Australia might end up hosting the World Cup after having successfully flattened the Covid-19 curve. The IPL has been held abroad before with South Africa hosting the tournament in 2009 and the UAE hosting part of it five years later.

Then there is the issue of which is to get priority – the World Cup or the IPL with Allan Border for one saying that if the former could not be held the latter should also not be staged. Ian Chappell is of the view that India will have its way and will go through with the IPL come what may. On his part, Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts admitted last week that the conduct of the World Cup was ``at a very high risk’’ while adding that there was ``a nine in ten chance’’ that the Indian tour of Australia will take place while CA chairman Earl Eddings has conceded that conducting the World Cup appears to be ``unrealistic’’

Meanwhile India has called off tours to Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Sri Lanka and there is no guarantee there will not be more such cancellations in the near future. Yes, everything is quite fluid right now in the world of cricket and nothing can be stated categorically.

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Danielle Wyatt reacts to Arjun Tendulkar's senior debut for Mumbai

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 5:20 PM IST

Arjun Tendulkar, the son of Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, finally made his senior debut as he donned the Mumbai jersey during an Elite Group E fixture of the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2020/21.

After missing the first two games, Arjun played his first game during Mumbai's third game of the tournament. However, the pacer didn't have the best of outings as he finished his spell at 3-0-34-1.

Arjun had conceded 15 runs in his first over before returning to take the wicket of Haryana opener, Chaitanya Bishnoi. However, Mumbai ended up losing the game by 8 wickets, and thus, crashed out of the tournament with two games still to play.

The 21-year-old is expected to be retained in the line-up for the remaining games. After the all-rounder bagged his first wicket, he became one of the top trends on social media. England women's team batter Danielle Wyatt also reacted to the southpaw's debut.

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Wyatt, who is known to be a close friend of Arjun, lauded and congratulated the youngster for bagging a wicket on his debut. "Congratulations Arjun! Great start," the World Cup winner wrote on Twitter.

During an interaction with Cricket.com, Wyatt, who has after faced Arjun in the nets, said the youngster is getting quicker.

“Since then whenever I bump into Sachin or Arjun or whenever they come to Lord’s to train, I go to the nets and ask him (Arjun) to bowl with the new ball to me. But he is getting very quick now. He always says I will bounce you and knock your head off so I don’t like him bowling to me anymore. He is getting too dangerous to face,” Wyatt had said in June 2020.

Having finally made his senior debut, Arjun could be in action in IPL 2021 as he is now eligible to register for the auction. As per the norms, unless a franchise recommends someone, a player has to play at least one domestic game to enter the IPL auction.

He laughed about it: Shane Warne clears air with Marnus Labuschagne

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 4:45 PM IST

Legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne cleared up the comments he made about Marnus Labuschagne that earned him a fair bit of flak from the Australian fans. However, Warne on Saturday cleared up the comments he made about Labuschagne.

Warne was blasted by the Australian cricket fraternity after Labuschagne scored a ton on Day 1 of the fourth Test against India at Gabba. During the third Test, Warne, alongside former teammate and all-rounder Andrew Symonds, was reportedly heard using an 'expletive' while commentating on Marnus' batting.

"Jeez it's annoying. 'No!!!' Just f---ing bat properly," he had said according to World Wide of Sports.

Warne said he's a huge fan of Labuschagne's batting and added that the had already cleared the air with 26-year-old. The 51-year-old instead revealed that Marnus was 'ok' with it and the pair had a laugh regarding the same.

“I just want to clear something up,” Warne said on Fox Cricket.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Marnus. I’ve read a few reports saying ‘cop that Shane!’ about what you said about [him]. What I said about Marnus Labuschagne was ‘bat properly’. And what that means is none of that silly stuff of ‘wait on!’ and all of that carry on," he added

“Just bat, because you’re such a good player and yesterday I thought he didn’t do any of that stuff and he made a brilliant hundred.

It is something I won't regret: Rohit Sharma on first innings dismissal

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 3:54 PM IST

Indian team vice-captain Rohit Sharma has been facing a lot of criticism for playing an aerial shot off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, which led to his dismissal on Day 2 of the ongoing fourth Test in Brisbane.

However, Rohit, who played a knock of 44, said he does not regret playing the aerial shot, despite gifting his wicket to Lyon, who is making his 100th Test appearance for Australia. Instead, Rohit said that he didn't connect his shot properly.

"I reached where I wanted to reach, just that I did not connect with where I wanted to hit the ball. I was trying to pierce that long-on and deep square-leg fielder, I just did not connect with the way I would have loved to," Rohit said during a virtual press conference

"I actually liked what I did today, before coming here, we knew it would be a good pitch to bat, of course, there would be bounce and carry to the keeper, but this is what I enjoy," the 33-year-old added.

"Once I was in and I had played a few overs, I realised there was not much swing so I did little adjustment there, after that, it was an unfortunate dismissal, it is something I won't regret. I like to put pressure on the bowler once I am in," he further stated.

"That is my role in this team to keep putting pressure on the bowlers. The run-scoring has been slightly difficult for both the teams so someone needs to put their hand up and think about how to put pressure on the bowlers," he concluded.

India will resume day 3 at 62/2 after rain forced early stumps on day 2 at the Gabba. The visitors are trailing the hosts by 307 runs. The series is currently tied at 1-1 after the Sydney Test ended in a stalemate.

I was not allowed to carry anti-racism banners inside SCG: Indian Fan

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 3:03 PM IST

Amidst all the chaos regarding Indian players facing racism at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) during the third Test in Sydney, An Indian-Australian fan from Sydney has made shocking revelations regarding the same.

Indian pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj were allegedly abused by a section of the crowd at the SCG on Day 3 of the third Test before Team India had lodged a formal complaint with the officials.

Now, a fan has revealed that he was left feeling 'stripped and naked' after encountering racism at the venue. An Indian fan from Sydney -- Krishna Kumar -- has revealed he was stopped from entering the stadium with anti-racism banners on Day 5 of the Sydney Test.

Kumar said he was stopped by the security guards at the SCG and one of them even asked him 'to go back to where he belongs' for carrying the banners. He also revealed the Indian players on the ground were being continuously addressed as 'curry munchers'.

"Rivalry is good, racism is not", "No racism mate", "Brown inclusion matters" and "Cricket Australia - more diversity please" - were the four banners he was stopped from taking inside the stadium.

"He (security guard) told me, 'If you need to address this matter, go back to where you belong,' " Kumar was quoted as saying the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It was a very small banner. I made it out of my kids' paper roll. I want justice. I want accountability. I was feeling stripped, feeling watched and I went there to fight racism," he added.

"Why should I be stopped from addressing racism, especially at a ground where it was debatable whether it was happening or not? " he further stated.

"There were chants of 'curry munchers'. I was called a 'curry muncher'. The Indian team were called 'curry munchers'. That was going on loud and repeatedly," he concluded.

Kumar on Thursday filed an official complaint in the matter after meeting the NSW legal personnel. Meanwhile, ICC and Cricket Australia are also running a separate investigation on the same.

At least you’ll play one game: Nathan Lyon recalls his father’s funny reaction on his Test debut

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 2:26 PM IST

Nathan Lyon on Friday became the 13th Australian player to play 100 Tests in the 'baggy green' as he lined-up on Day 1 of the ongoing fourth and final Test in Brisbane. He marked his debut with the wicket of Rohit Sharma.

It has been some journey for Nathan Lyon, having made his Test debut in 2011 against Sri Lanka at Galle. As called by his teammates, 'Garry' has enjoyed a decade of success and will now unarguably qualify as one of the greatest bowlers to have ever graced the game.

Lyon is already the third-highest wicket-taker for the Aussies with 397 wickets to his name. And, considering the fact that he started his journey as a pitch curator at the Adelaide Oval, Lyon's story is nothing short of a fairytale.

In the same light, Lyon has now recalled the humorous interaction that he had with his father before putting on the Australian Baggy Green Cap for the first time. Lyon revealed that his father was happy that he would at least play a single Test match for Australia.

“I called Mum and Dad, I think Dad was out the back of Temora (NSW town) somewhere working. I said, ‘Dad, you won’t believe this,’ and he said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘I’m making my debut.’ He goes, ‘That’s all right, at least you’ll play one game,’ and he hung up,” said Lyon in a chat with Mark Howard on Fox Cricket.

Lyon said that his father got too emotional and hung up early to avoid a conversation. He also recalled that both his mother as well as his grandmother were crying and also added that his brother was totally speechless.

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“I’ve since found out that he was probably too emotional to talk. Then I called my brother, and he was speechless. Mum started crying… I called my grandmother and she started crying,” the off-spinner added.

Lyon would savour every moment he is spending at The Gabba as the match will determine the outcome of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which is currently tied at 1-1- after India salvaged a draw in Sydney.