Aaron Finch: IPL 2020 participation dependent on CA’s NOC

Aaron Finch: IPL 2020 participation dependent on CA’s NOC

Aaron Finch: IPL 2020 participation dependent on CA’s NOC


Australia limited-overs captain Aaron Finch suggested he would be willing to miss the early half of the Australian domestic season to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL) should this year’s Twenty20 (T20) World Cup be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That isn’t really up to me. I have a contract in place in the IPL and I have a contract in place with Victoria. If Cricket Australia grants the Australian players an NOC (no-objection certificate), there is every chance that we will all be able to play the IPL,” Finch told Sportstar. “But it is out of my control. At this stage, we are still planning for a World Cup until the official announcement is made.”

READ |
Players welcome Cricket Australia financial ‘reset’

Lack of crowds  

Contracted to the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), which signed him for ₹4.4 crore for the 2020 tournament, Finch, asked about the shape of cricket when it does resume in a changed universe, said Test cricket will remain the pinnacle of the sport, the financial allure of T20 cricket notwithstanding. “Test cricket is still the traditional form of cricket, so as long as cricket is being played, there will be Test cricket,” Finch said. “A good example of this is the first cricket being played post-lockdown is Test cricket in the UK (England takes on the West Indies in a three-match Test series). I am really looking forward to watching and seeing how it all unfolds.”

Asked about how the lack of crowds, should the Test and the limited-overs series against India take place behind closed doors, could affect the morale of the teams, Finch said Australia might have an advantage. “Some players thrive in the atmosphere of a big crowd, so they will have to adjust. Being professional sportsmen, we will need to learn to adapt to all conditions. India has some very passionate supporters who [make you] feel like you are playing against more than the Indian 11 players, so having no crowds will probably benefit our team.”

Finch (not in picture) hopes that the proposed Boxing Day Test later this year against India isn’t moved out of Melbourne. Photo: Getty Images

 

Boxing Day dilemma

There is speculation that the Boxing Day Test against India later this year could be moved out of Melbourne if the COVID-19 situation doesn’t improve in Victoria. On Tuesday, Melbourne, Australia’s second biggest city, went into lockdown amid surge in coronavirus cases.

Finch, however, is hoping that the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) will host the marquee clash as is the norm. “People will make the decision that is best for cricket and that will be having as many spectators at the game as possible. The Boxing Day Test is still six months away, so a lot can happen and change. Being the proud Victorian that I am, it would be a real shame for the Test match to be moved away from Melbourne,” he said.

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Siddhesh Lad, still waiting for a full IPL

Siddhesh Lad, still waiting for a full IPL


Mumbai cricketer Siddhesh Lad has been training at his terrace amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Every morning he wakes up and wishes for a better tomorrow as his city — the epicentre of the coronavirus accounting for more than half of Maharashtra’s two lakh cases — fights the virus.

Lad is used to hardships. He spent five years with Mumbai Indians for one match in the IPL, making himself the perfect model for character-building. The advice from superstars Mahela Jayawardene and Rohit Sharma helped him excel in domestic cricket. “I always tried to learn from my team-mates and coaches. I tried to observe their habits and traits. It was difficult to find a place in the XI as it is a star-studded team but Mahela was very helpful and I got to learn a lot from him.

“I feel progress happens at different times for different people,” said Lad in a chat with Sportstar.

IPL 2020, indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, would have been a fresh start for the middle-order batsman as he was traded to Kolkata Knight Riders by MI. No sporting action has been challenging for the uncapped talent.


New Zealand offers to host IPL, but BCCI’s priority is to host tournament at home

“I have never seen this city come to a standstill like this ever before. But things are getting better gradually. The authorities are doing an exceptional job of making sure we are safe. The people have shown great discipline in taking safety measures and shown great deal of patience.

“I have been trying to prepare mentally and physically at home. There isn’t a lot I can do considering the space constraints in Mumbai but I have managed to get some basic equipment and try it on my terrace [when it is not raining]. I am missing the skill part but there isn’t any option currently,” said Lad, who is also an occasional off-spinner.

In such testing times, Lad realised the importance of being employed as there is no clarity on the domestic cricket season either. “It is something that has crossed my mind to be honest but looking at this moment, I just want to get back to the field as soon as possible. I really hope things get better as the sports fraternity is suffering. I am fortunate to have been associated with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. My salary gets credited to my account every month. So now I really know the importance of being associated with them,” he said.

KKR, new dreams

The right-hander is raring to have a go at the nets whenever outdoor training resumes. He wants to face the pace batteries of KKR but it has been “emotional” to leave MI. “I am a professional cricketer and I would enjoy playing rather than sitting on the bench. I feel IPL is the biggest platform to showcase your talent because you compete with the best and elite players from all over the world. You actually come to know where you stand.


IPL 2020: Market not in a position to support T20 League, says Star India chairman

 

“I feel KKR has got exciting fast bowlers in the squad, almost every bowler clocks 140kmph. It will be challenging to face Pat Cummins and Lockie Ferguson at the nets,” he said.

Lad’s story could be similar to that of Suryakumar Yadav, who went to KKR from MI for opportunities. After three years with the Kolkata franchise, Suryakumar had a sensational comeback for MI, scoring 936 runs in the last two editions of the league.

Lad averages above 40 in first-class and List A cricket. In T20s, he is at 26.03 which is bound to get better with time and experience.

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New Zealand offers to host IPL, but BCCI's priority is to host tournament at home

New Zealand offers to host IPL, but BCCI’s priority is to host tournament at home


As the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, there seems to be a big question mark over the future of the Indian Premier League. While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is confident of hosting the tournament, there are doubts as to whether the league will at all be staged in the country or will be moved abroad?

After United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka, it has been learned that two other countries — including New Zealand — have shown interest in hosting the franchise-based league. “Some countries have shown willingness to host the tournament in case we cannot host them in India,” BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told Sportstar.

A few weeks ago, New Zealand declared itself COVID-19 free and even hosted the rugby fixtures in packed stadiums. However, the time difference and logistical issues could lead to difficulties in hosting the tournament in New Zealand.


BCCI’s Apex Council meet on July 17; India’s FTP, domestic season to be discussed

 

Dhumal stated that as of now, the Board’s aim is to conduct the entire tournament in the country. “As of now, we haven’t taken a call. Once we discuss, we will be able to explore the possibilities. The first priority will be to host the league in India. If at all, it is not possible to conduct the tournament due to the pandemic, then only we can think of overseas venues,” Dhumal said, admitting that some of the overseas boards did show willingness to conduct the league.

With the chances of T20 World Cup looking grim, the BCCI has already zeroed in on the end September-early November window for the IPL. While Dhumal having said that the first priority is to host the tournament in India, the franchises informed that nothing has been told to them so far. “We are in darkness about anything. We are yet to receive any communication from the Board. In our previous meetings, the Board officials told us that they are keen on hosting the tournament and are waiting for the necessary guidelines. We are waiting for clarity,” one of the franchise owners told this publication.


IPL 2020: Market not in a position to support T20 League, says Star India chairman

 

A few days ago, the BCCI had put out a tweet claiming that the IPL Governing Council will review the Chinese sponsorship models for the league. However, the meeting hasn’t been held yet. While the Board officials indicate that the Governing Council will meet soon, there is no time frame.

The Board’s apex council will meet on July 17 to discuss the road ahead and Dhumal said that the team is working on the SOP for the players and the stakeholders. While there are talks about the IPL, uncertainty looms large over the domestic season. “The cases are increasing across the country, so it’s too early to comment on anything. We will have to monitor the situation,” Dhumal said. Usually, the domestic season begins in August, but this time, that looks highly unlikely.

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IPL 2020 must happen, says Bhuvneshwar Kumar

IPL 2020 must happen, says Bhuvneshwar Kumar


 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar wants to play the IPL this year.

“The IPL must happen. The tournament is important for both cricketing and financial reasons,” said the India pacer at a webinar on Saturday.

Bhuvneshwar, who has 236 international wickets, had not expected the coronavirus outbreak to last this long. “After the first ODI against South Africa (which was washed out at Dharamsala on March 12), we were scheduled to play the second match at Lucknow, but the entire series was abandoned,” he said. “I was coming back to the Indian team after a gap of four months, following an injury. I had then thought it (the problem created by the virus) would be soon over.”

READ|
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One potential problem the coronavirus created for swing bowlers like him was the ban on using saliva on the ball. “I hope the ICC comes up with some artificial way by which we can shine the ball. You need to do it when you bowl in swinging conditions in (places like) England. Even the spinners need it,” he said.

M.C. Mary Kom, the six-time World boxing champion, was also part of the panel. She stressed on the need of being completely fit, even during the lockdown. “I train everyday. I keep myself fit though I don’t have all the equipment to train at home.”

Mary welcomed the decision to postpone the Olympics to 2021. She will be aiming to win her second Olympic medal in Tokyo.

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Starc provides video footage to prove injury for IPL insurance payout

Starc provides video footage to prove injury for IPL insurance payout


Australian pacer Mitchell Starc has furnished video footage of the second Test against South Africa in 2018 to prove that he got injured real-time and deserves an insurance payout of USD 1.53 million for losing his IPL deal with Kolkata Knight Riders.

Starc had filed a lawsuit against his insurers in April last year. The insurers, however, had disputed the timing of the injury in second Test at Port Elizabeth.

The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ reported that civil trial has been rescheduled to August 12 after mediation talks broke down last month when Starc’s manager Andrew Fraser provided footage from Fox Sports of the speedster bowling in the second Test.

The left-arm pacer had bagged a USD 1.8 million contract ahead of the 2018 IPL.

“The delay came after lawyers for the insurers argued they did not have enough time to assess the footage from March 10, one clip lasting one minute 37 seconds, and the second 7:25 minutes,” the newspaper report said.

However, Starc’s legal team argued that the insurers had 13 months to “review the case and seek footage.”

Starc needs to prove that “he suffered a single, sudden and unexpected event which occurred at an identifiable time and place”.

READ: Statistics of watching Test cricket

Starc had gone on to play the third Test of the series.

Both sides have filed medical reports claiming the opposite.

Starc took the help of orthopaedic surgeon Russel Miller, who said the injury was “complex and multifactorial” but “it is likely, on the balance of probabilities, that at specific injury occurred on 10/03/2018 which was associated with extreme physical activity including bowling on a pitch with ‘uneven footmarks’”

Doctor Seamus Dalton, on behalf of the insurer, said: “In my opinion the plaintiff did not suffer an injury or accident on 10 March 2018. Mr. Starc became aware of the onset of right posterior and posteriolateral calf pain during the course of the second Test. Onset appears to have been gradual and symptoms continued over the course of the Test.”

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Very sure of playing IPL if T20 World Cup is postponed: Warner

Very sure of playing IPL if T20 World Cup is postponed: Warner


Opener David Warner is “very sure and positive” that he and other Australian players will be able to play the Indian Premier League if the T20 World Cup is postponed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Though Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings has said that it is a bit “unrealistic” to host the 16-team tournament in October-November, the ICC is yet to decide the fate of the event and is expected to do so next month.

”…and if it is unlikely if the World Cup can’t go ahead, then I am very sure and positive that we will be able to come and play in the IPL if that replaces the World Cup schedule,” Warner was quoted as saying by India Today.

READ |
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“If that permits us from Cricket Australia giving the go-ahead to go over there, I am sure we will put our hands up and come and play cricket which at the end of the day is what we love.”

The southpaw himself had said earlier that hosting the T20 World Cup would be a tough ask considering the the number of teams involved. He said everybody is waiting for ICC’s decision on the matter.

“Look, there has been a lot of talk about the T20 World Cup being postponed, the challenges around getting every single nation that participates in the World Cup into Australia, given the fact that we have the quarantine for 14 days.

“Nevertheless, making sure we are restricting the chances of a Covid-19 outbreak back into Australia. Those restrictions are in place with the Australian government at the moment. We have to obviously abide by those rules and obviously we await the decision from the ICC,” said Warner.

He said most Australian players would want to play the IPL, which can be held in September-October, if T20 World Cup and Asia Cup are postponed.

“Look, most definitely all the players who have been selected and picked in the auction will put their hand up if we are permitted. One we have to get government clearance as well to travel.

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“If Cricket Australia allows us to go over there and participate, I am sure the guys will definitely be on board with that to be back up and running and playing cricket again,” said Warner.

Having missed the previous home series against India in 2018-2019 due the ball-tampering ban, Warner is looking forward to the next one in Australia this summer when two teams play four Tests.

Wary of Kohli

However, he would not want to provoke India captain Virat Kohli during the high-profile series.

“Virat Kohli is not a person to be poked and no point poking the bear,” he said.

On the upcoming series, he added: “It would be very surreal playing against India without the crowd. I want to be selected and be part of that series. Last time we were not bad but we were beaten by a good team and their bowling was relentless.

“Now, India has got the best batting line up and our bowlers will like to target and the Indian crowd will be eager to see that.”

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Vivo to remain IPL title sponsor

IPL Governing Council to review Chinese sponsorship deals


The Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council has convened a meeting next week to discuss the tournament’s various sponsorship deals. It comes at a time when the calls for boycotting Chinese goods are getting louder, following the stand-off in the Galwan Valley a couple of days ago.

The tournament has its title sponsor in Vivo — a chinese mobile brand. Even though the BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal had told Sportstar on Thursday that the Board is not thinking about severing ties with Vivo, he was open to review the sponsorship policy for the next cycle.

READ: Vivo to remain IPL title sponsor for now

The Chinese mobile phone brand bagged the sponsorship rights in 2018 for five years for Rs 2,199 crore (Rs 440 crore annually). Earlier, Dhumal had made it clear that Vivo’s contract will not be terminated. The treasurer had also admitted that the money earned from the Chinese company is helping India’s cause and ‘is not the other way round’.

READ: Harbhajan Singh supports boycott of Chinese goods

However, on Friday, the IPL put out a tweet saying that the Governing Council will meet next week to discuss the future course of action, raising question marks over Vivo’s future as the title sponsor.

“Taking note of the border skirmish that resulted in the martyrdom of our brave jawans, the IPL Governing Council has convened a meeting next week to review IPL’s various sponsorship deals,” read a tweet through the IPL’s verified handle late on Friday night.

At least four of the BCCI’s major sponsors have substantial Chinese investors. VIVO, the mobile phone manufacturer who is the IPL’s title sponsor, is a Chinese company whereas online fantasy entity, Dream11 – an associate sponsor of BCCI and IPL – has Chinese investment.

Similarly, Byju’s, the e-learning platform, and Paytm – India’s team sponsors and BCCI’s title sponsors for cricket in India, respectively – are also funded by Chinese entities.

While Friday’s statement was unattributed to any of the IPL or BCCI officials, the move comes hours after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed an all-party meeting about the standoff with China. BCCI secretary Jay Shah is the son of Home Minister Amit Shah while Dhumal’s sibling, Anurag Thakur, is the Minister of State for Finance.

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Harbhajan Singh supports boycott of Chinese goods

Harbhajan Singh supports boycott of Chinese goods


India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Friday declared his support to the idea of boycotting Chinese goods.

Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives earlier this week in clashes with their Chinese counterparts in the Galwan region of the Line of Actual Control. In an interaction with Sportstar on Instagram, Harbhajan said it would be right for Indians to boycott goods owned or manufactured by China.

“If we want to be self-reliant, [the boycott of Chinese goods] is probably the right thing. Everything can be made in India. We have a lot of capabilities. If we want to ban Chinese goods, we should. If they are attacking India and our soldier brothers, then ban their goods. Why should their country run via our money? I am with all those who say Chinese products should be banned [in India],” he said.

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He added: “Many people point out that celebrities endorse many [Chinese] products; I can assure you, I won’t be among them.”

He highlighted that the Indian Premier League is a brand in itself and it doesn’t require the support of Chinese corporations. “In the absence of Chinese sponsors, there could be many others. We have to decide whether the IPL is bigger or the brand. IPL doesn’t need any brand, IPL in itself is a big brand,” he said.

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