Apr 192014
 
IPL set for some serious fireworks

Indian bowler Sreesanth was banned for life for spot fixing in the IPL. Picture: AFP

Indian bowler Sreesanth was banned for life for spot fixing in the IPL. Picture: AFP Source: MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP

THE Indian Premier League has blasted off again — and could be even more explosive than when Brendon McCullum blasted 158 to launch the inaugural IPL in 2008.

The fireworks are set to detonate off the field.

As a corruption scandal continues to engulf the seedy underbelly of the competition, the contents of a sealed envelope given to an Indian court have the potential to rock world cricket.

The envelope was given to the court by a committee, headed by retired judge Justice Mukul Mudgal, which was investigating spot-fixing and betting in the IPL.

It allegedly contains the names of six international players including “sensitive information’’ pertaining to top Indian players.

Discovering “many allegations of sporting fraud,” the Mudgal committee ordered the sealed envelope only be opened by court judges.

Desperate to ensure the information was kept secret, the Indian Board begged the court not to divulge the contents of the envelope.

The matter could hardly be more serious.

Mudgal’s report found that a journalist, who was connected with recording of secret tapes for a sports magazine, could identify the voice of the current Indian player.

“The journalist refused to disclose the names of the Indian players involved. In spite of repeated requests to put the name of the said player in a sealed cover for perusal before the Supreme Court, the journalist appeared terrified and was very reluctant to do so and pleaded that it would be dangerous for the journalist concerned,” Mudgal’s report said.

The seedy saga has continued to roll on since Delhi Police arrested three Rajasthan Royals bowlers — Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — for fixing during last year’s IPL.

The players were allegedly promised money ranging from US$36,000 to 109,000 for each over. There were 11 bookies arrested in the sting and Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, already stood down from the ICC’s umpiring panel, was named as a “wanted accused’’ in a 11,609-page charge sheet.

Controversial N. Srinivasan has been removed as Indian board president after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, a Chennai Super Kings official, was indicted for betting and sharing team information.

With the corruption scandal flaring, it is little wonder the gloss has gone off the IPL and many franchises found it hard to sign up sponsors for this year’s tournament.

The enthusiasm among sponsors and fans for the IPL is simply not the same as it was in the first five years.

Even apart from all the dirty laundry being aired, it does not help put bums on seats or generate big TV audiences when the first phase of the IPL is being played in the United Arab Emirates.

Yet most of the players are still laughing all the way to the bank.

Despite some salaries taking a hit, Aussies Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson were both wearing million-dollar smiles after being bought at auction in February.

And there were rivers of gold for Indians Yuvraj Singh and little-known keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik.

Yuvraj was bought for an astonishing $2.48 million by Bangalore and Karthik was nabbed by Delhi Daredevils for $2.22 million.

But the big salaries and big hits could just be a back story.

World cricket and its jelly-belly corruption officials have never gone close to conquering the corruption scourge that keeps plaguing the game.

If the sealed envelope is ripped open, it will be landmark day for the game which will no longer be able to close its eyes and ears to some of the dark forces which have been eating away at it for decades.

Apr 032014
 
Sri Lanka in final after rain dashes Windies hopes

West Indies, chasing Sri Lanka’s 160-6, were 80-4 in 13.5 overs when a heavy downpour forced the match to be abandoned

Sri Lanka enter World T20 final by DL method (© AFP)

AFP

Mirpur: Sri Lanka reached the final of the World Twenty20 with a 27-run win over West Indies, the defending champions, after the first semi-final was ended by rain on Thursday.

Set a challenging 161-run target, the West Indies were well short on the Duckworth-Lewis method when a thunderstorm stopped play after 13.5 overs at the Shere Bangla stadium in Dhaka.

West Indies, who would have needed 108 to win on the D/L method, were 80-4 when play was halted.

The win was sweet revenge for Sri Lanka who lost the 2012 final in Colombo to the West Indies.

Sri Lanka will face the winners of the second semi-final between 2007 champions India and South Africa, also in Dhaka on Friday.

The final will be played in Dhaka on Sunday.

Dwayne Bravo hit a 19-ball 30 studded with three boundaries and a six to take the fight to the Sri Lankan bowlers who took three wickets in the space of nine runs after the West Indies had reached 25-0 in the fifth over.

Spearhead Lasith Malinga, who was leading Sri Lanka after their regular captain Dinesh Chandimal opted out due to lack of form, dismissed dangerman Chris Gayle (three) and Dwayne Smith (17) in his second over.

Malinga had figures of 2-5 in his two overs.

Leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna had Lendl Simmons lbw (four) to leave the West Indies struggling at 34-3 before Bravo and Marlon Samuels (18 not out) added 43 for the fourth wicket.

Bravo was smartly caught in the deep by Mahela Jayawardene off paceman Nuwan Kulasekara and three balls later the rain arrived in the aftermath of strong winds.

When Sri Lanka batted after winning the toss, Lahiru Thirimanne top-scored with a career best 35-ball 44, Tillakaratne Dilshan made a run-a-ball 39 and Angelo Mathews a fiery 23-ball 40.

Mathews hit two sixes and three boundaries to give the innings much-needed impetus before he fell off the last delivery.

Paceman Krishmar Santokie finished with two for 46 runs.

Thirimanne hit three boundaries and two sixes.

Sri Lanka had raced to 41 in the fourth over thanks to Dilshan and Kusal Perera (26), before they lost three wickets in the space of 15 balls.

Perera, who hit two fours and as many sixes off 12 balls, was bowled by Santokie before Jayawardene was run out without facing a delivery.

Kumar Sangakkara miscued a drive and was caught and bowled by leg-spinner Samuel Badree for one.

Dilshan and Thirimanne added 42 for the fourth wicket before Dilshan became the second batsman to be run out. He hit two boundaries and a six.

Scorecard | Blog
 

Mar 292014
 
Confident IPL 2014 will be successful, says Gavaskar

Gavaskar’s statement comes a day after the SC named him as BCCI’s interim head in place of the tainted incumbent president N Srinivasan

Confident IPL 2014 will be successful, says Gavaskar (© AFP)

AFP

New Delhi: Newly appointed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) interim president Sunil Gavaskar is confident that the 2014 Indian Premier League (IPL) will be successful.

Gavaskar’s statement comes a day after the Supreme Court virtually split the BCCI and named the legendary batsman and senior board vice president Shivlal Yadav as interim heads in place of the tainted incumbent president N Srinivasan.

“I had a meeting with IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal and the management staff in Dubai earlier Saturday. They briefed me on the various aspects related to the IPL 2014 and updated me on the current status of this year’s season which will commence April 16 in the United Arab Emirates. I am confident that the upcoming season of the IPL will be a successful one,” Gavaskar said in a statement Saturday.

A bench of Justice AK Patnaik and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla Friday had said that Gavaskar will only be in charge of the seventh edition of IPL and asked senior vice-president Shivlal Yadav to oversee the rest of the work of BCCI.

The court also barred all those associated with Srinivasan’s India Cements company, which owns IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, from functioning in the BCCI in any manner.

The court noted the offer made by Srinivasan that till investigation into allegations against him is completed, he will not discharge any of the functions of the BCCI chief.

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