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IPL 2019 likely to start early to give India break before World Cup – WSAIGO Sports
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IPL 2019 likely to start early to give India break before World Cup

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The IPL could be advanced by a couple of weeks and is likely to start on March 23 to accommodate the Indian team management’s request to allow their fast bowlers adequate rest before the World Cup starts on May 30.

India captain and coach Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri are believed to have laid out the need for at least a two-week rest period for their fast bowlers during meetings last month with the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and the board’s senior management team. They are also believed to have asked whether key players, including senior fast bowlers, could be rested from the IPL and adequately compensated if so.

These meetings, held in New Delhi and Hyderabad, were also attended by Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, vice-captains of the ODI and Test side respectively, and selection committee chairman MSK Prasad.

The IPL management, headed by chief operating officer Hemang Amin, is understood to have told the CoA that the Indian team management’s request would need the consent of the franchises, which could be hard to come by. This may have in-turn forced the BCCI into considering an early start.

During these meetings, ESPNcricinfo understands that the two-member CoA, comprising Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji, also made it clear to Kohli and Shastri that while India remain the No. 1 Test side, they have been “found wanting” in South Africa and England.

The CoA is understood to be displeased about some of the grievances put forth by the team management pertaining to inadequate facilities at the team hotel and players’ partners not travelling with the side. The CoA also apparently didn’t take too kindly Shastri’s comments about India being the best travelling team. The CoA is understood to have told Shastri that even if India is one of the best teams going around, people should be allowed to judge for themselves.

The BCCI is also exploring the feasibility of hosting IPL 2019 in India, but can only take a final call on this once the dates of the country’s seven-phase federal elections are announced by the Central Election Commission. A team has already carried out a recce in South Africa, should the IPL need a plan B. It is likely that a clearer picture will emerge ahead of the player auction in Jaipur on December 18.



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South Africa look to overturn recent record against Pakistan

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The big picture

The result of the Test series may be as disappointing for Mickey Arthur as it was gratifying for Otis Gibson, but in a World Cup year, it is the limited-overs results that will truly stand out. To that end, South Africa, desperate to finally snap their global tournament jinx, made an inauspicious start to their year, falling to a defeat they primarily owed to their own batting conservatism. It gave Pakistan, far better suited to the Port Elizabeth pitch than the hosts, the chance to break their duck on tour, condemning South Africa to their fifth ODI defeat in six matches between the two teams.

It is an odd defeat for South Africa to analyse, particularly given the batting scorecard, and the positives to be drawn from it. Hashim Amla roared back to form with a classy hundred, while Rassie van der Dussen enjoyed an excellent debut, pacing his innings better than any of his counterparts. As far as the bowling went, Imran Tahir was perhaps slightly removed from his brilliant best, while the faster bowlers were never likely to enjoy much assistance from the Port Elizabeth surface.

Faf du Plessis and his men will be likelier to find Durban more conducive to their skillset, though by no means is it as quick and bouncy as the ones in Centurion and Johannesburg. The increased pace and bounce it offers compared to Port Elizabeth will buoy Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier plenty, with Pakistan, who never themselves looked like taking too many wickets, also challenged to raise their game.

Pakistan couldn’t have asked for a better start to the series, eager for a clean break from their ODI form in 2018, where they began the year with a whitewash suffered against New Zealand and finished with just one top eight win all year. Having matched that number in just one game, they will feel eager to move into a commanding position in the series at a ground where they have won their last two ODIs against South Africa.

Mohammad Hafeez hitting the ground running allows Pakistan to balance their side once more, with the allround ability of Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf meaning they bat far deeper than their Test match side. Fakhar Zaman missing out in Port Elizabeh will have frustrated them, but Imam-ul-Haq’s return to form was timely, while Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali never allowed South Africa to get away in the first innings. There might still be plenty Pakistan have to work on, but reassuringly, there’s a lot they have to work with.

Form guide

South Africa LWLWW

Pakistan WWLLL

In the spotlight

For all of their brilliantly skilled batsmen and raw, fierce pacers, Imran Tahir could be the singular factor that helps South Africa break their World Cup duck in England. Without question, this is the biggest year of his career, his last realistic chance at a World Cup. It is a career that began in Pakistan over two decades ago, and while it has been a glorious success, it still requires a defining moment of fulfillment. Playing against the country he grew up wanting to play for, he hasn’t quite enjoyed as much success in South Africa as in the UAE. But here in Durban, he will have a better chance of success than when the series moves to Cape Town and Gauteng. His ODI average against Pakistan is 28, four runs up from his career average of 24. But in this of all years, against this of all teams, Tahir will be desperate to raise his game, and if there’s one player in world cricket who can make things happen by sheer force of will, it is the South African legspinner.

Pakistan’s victory masked somewhat Sarfraz Ahmed‘s continuing struggles in the two longer formats. Two half-centuries in the Tests have been blighted by what are now five single-digit scores on this tour. He has now been captain for precisely one third of his ODI career – 33 out of 99 matches. In that time, he averages 26.46 with the bat; he had averaged a shade under 35 when appointef. He has scored just 3 half-centuries as captain, only once in a winning cause, and surpassed 30 just once more. As evidence of his dwindling influence with the bat, Sarfraz has – in 17 of those 33 matches – either not come out to bat at all, or remained unbeaten on a score under 25. With the World Cup approaching, Pakistan cannot afford to be carrying any passengers, and Sarfraz will know that better than anyone else when he steps out.

Team news

South Africa are still without Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock, which means Heinrich Klassen will continue in the keeper’s role, with not too much alteration expected in the bowling department. Tabraiz Shamsi may come in if the hosts feel an extra spinner may help them on the surface, while Aiden Markram, who sat out of the first game, is an option replace Reeza Hendricks.

South Africa (possible): 1 Aiden Markram/Reeza Hendricks, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 Faf du Plessis (capt), 5 David Miller, 6 Heinrich Klassen (wk), 7 Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Dwaine Pretorius/Tabraiz Shamsi, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Duanne Olivie, 11 Imran Tahir

Pakistan are likely to field the same side for the second ODI.

Pakistan (possible): 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Fakhar Zaman 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Babar Azam, 5 Shoaib Malik 6 Sarfraz Ahmed (capt./wk), 7 Shadab Khan 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Fahim Ashraf, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Usman Shinwari

Pitch and conditions

It was suggested the ODI pitches may have less spice than the ones in the Tests, but even so, Durban does tend to keep the quicks interested. With the ground so close to the ocean, conditions can often be impacted by the tides. What appears certain is it will interest spinners more than the pitches the remaining three ODIs will be played on.

Stats and trivia

  • Pakistan have a winning record against South Africa at Kingsmead, having triumphed in three of the five ODIs the two sides have contested here

  • Despite three half-centuries and a hundred in ten matches at his home ground, Hashim Amla’s average in Durban is just 39.50, almost 11 runs fewer than his career ODI average of 50.34

  • Only two of the current Pakistan side played in the last ODI between the sides in Durban in 2013. On that occasion, Mohammad Hafeez became just the fourth batsman to be dismissed obstructing the field in ODIs, and the first under new rules



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‘Number of people’ approching ICC on alleged corruption in Sri Lankan cricket

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The ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has seen a “number of people” use the 15-day amnesty period for reporting corruption-related conduct in Sri Lanka, according to ACU chief Alex Marshall.

With ten days still go to in the amnesty period, during which the ACU hopes to gather evidence with which it may further its investigations in Sri Lanka, Marshall has once again urged those with information about corruption to come forward. While under normal circumstances, failure to report a corrupt approach may result in a ban, punishments for failure to report have been suspended under the amnesty.

“We are approaching the end of the first week of our 15-day amnesty to participants who have previously failed to report any information concerning corrupt conduct in Sri Lankan cricket,” Marshall said in a statement. “I am encouraged by the number of people that have come forward and the new information we’re receiving as a result. This intelligence is assisting our ongoing and wide-ranging investigations in Sri Lanka as well us enabling us to continue to develop a comprehensive picture of the situation there.

“I would urge any more players or participants who have any information concerning corrupt conduct to come forward over the next week and share it with us in the strictest of confidence without any fear of repercussions.”

The ICC has already charged three former Sri Lanka players, including Sanath Jayasuriya and Nuwan Zoysa, under the ant-corruption code.



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An island of legends: Desmond Haynes picks his greatest Barbados Test XI

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Ahead of England’s first Test against West Indies in Barbados, ESPNcricinfo asked Desmond Haynes, West Indies legend and Visit Barbados ambassador, to look back on the greatest players in the island’s history, and pick an all-time Barbados Test XI

Conrad Hunte (44 Tests, 3245 runs at 45.06)

I would have to give way to Sir Conrad at the top of the order, because he was simply the better batsman. He was a country boy from St Andrew who made 142 on his Test debut against Pakistan at Bridgetown, including two fours from his first two balls. In fact, he made a habit of getting off the mark with a four, which is amazing. As an opening batsman, you look back and see three slips and two gullies, no-one’s bowling at your legs, everyone’s bowling outside off to the fields on the off side.

Gordon Greenidge (108 Tests, 7558 runs at 44.72)

Our opening partnership broke records, but Gordon was the better player. His technique was super, especially against spin. And his double-century to beat England at Lord’s in 1984 was just unbelievable. I remember it very well as I got run out by Allan Lamb, and I still had my pads on while Gordon and Larry Gomes were setting about the runs. We were chasing 342 on the final day, and everyone thought we’d bat out time, but Gordon had a different idea. He thought that, if he got going, he could get the runs in an afternoon, and he did.

Everton Weekes (48 Tests, 4455 runs at 58.61)

Richie Benaud reckoned Sir Everton was the closest player he’d seen to Don Bradman. He made five consecutive Test hundreds, and then got run out on 90 against India – some people reckon he was already past the crease when he was given out! He was very classical and stylish, always looked the part, with his shirt buttoned up and a scarf round his neck. He hardly ever hit a six, he just kept everything on the ground. His legacy, alongside Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott, is what Barbados cricket is all about. If these guys could come from a tiny island in the Atlantic and become the best batsmen in the world, then we could too.

Seymour Nurse (29 Tests, 2523 runs at 47.60)

Seymour Nurse was my hero. He had the whole area of St James mesmerised when I was growing up. All of us loved him. We walked like him, talked like him, we tried to copy his shots. We used to watch him at Kensington Oval, the way he’d lean back to cut the ball and end up standing by the square leg umpire, the way he’d always get off the mark with a leg glance. He was super and stylish. He retired far too early, but went out with a hundred and a double-hundred in his final series against New Zealand. What a lovely way to finish.

Clyde Walcott (wk) (44 Tests, 3798 runs at 56.68; 53 catches, 11 stumpings)

He was so strong off the back foot, and his record is just incredible. Sir Clyde will be the wicketkeeper in my team as well, which is a role he played very well in the early years of his career. It’s hard luck on David Murray, who was a great student of the game, with a very good cricketing brain and, in my opinion, the best keeper that Barbados ever produced. But sadly his batting wasn’t strong enough to match the standards required for this all-time team. And besides, you simply cannot argue with the record and legacy of the 3Ws.

Garfield Sobers (93 Tests, 8032 runs at 57.78; 235 wickets at 34.03)

What can you say about Sir Garry? He is the best allrounder the world has ever seen, and the best overall cricketer, and he’s a lovely human being too. I never got to play against him, but I once faced him in an indoor net in Brisbane when he was coaching some schoolchildren. He was bowling back-of-the-hand wristspin, and asked me to pad up so I could show the kids how to face it. After five or six balls, he said “Stop, stop, you can’t play this either!” Sir Garry’s reading of the game was incredible. They used to say he’d leave a position in the field, go somewhere different – like from slip to silly point – and the ball would come straight to him. That’s the type of person he is.

Frank Worrell (capt) (51 Tests, 3860 runs at 49.48)

Sir Frank was the first black captain of West Indies, and a great leader, and everyone still talks about how he moulded the team, and brought them together. Look at what happened on that tour of Australia in 1960-61, when West Indies played with style and passion (especially during the tied Test at Brisbane) and thousands of people lined the streets to say farewell to the team after the series. This gentleman is considered to be one of the biggest icons we’ve had in Barbados, and his record speaks for himself.

Malcolm Marshall (81 Tests, 376 wickets at 20.94)

Macco had it all. Inswing, outswing, and a vicious skidding bouncer, but I’ve never seen anyone with a work ethic quite like him. He never practiced with a new ball, he used to look for one that had been half-chewed by a dog, then work on it, and still make it do something. And that’s the way to learn. He loved his stats too. I remember on a tour of Pakistan, he said to me, ‘the greatest fast bowler, Dennis Lillee, got one wicket here, so as soon as I get two, I’m better than him!’ Fielding at bat-pad, he was my buddy. I used to encourage him to run in hard at their bowlers, because in a few overs’ time they’d be bowling to me, and if he could inflict some pain on them, it’d make my life easier! We never had to do a lot of talking out in the field. We let the ball do the talking for us.

Joel Garner (58 Tests, 259 wickets at 20.97)

Joel would be my man for fixing up the tail, he had a serious yorker, and I remember a Test match here in Barbados when he broke Bruce Yardley’s toe. Malcolm was quicker, and Andy Roberts too, but Joel got awkward bounce from very close to the body, and the keeper would always be taking the ball above his head. He had a lovely approach to the crease too, very low into his last three or four strides before rising into his action, which was lovely to see. He just bowled straight, on a heavy back-of-a-length. Can you imagine trying to face him at Perth? He was just amazing in those conditions. I never saw anyone get hold of him and put some lashes in him.

Wes Hall (48 Tests, 192 wickets at 26.38)

This was a very easy choice. Any fast bowler who can bowl close to 100mph and deliver awayswinger bouncers is always going to be difficult to face. He had remarkable stamina, running in from the sightscreen for long spells. He was just an unbelievable athlete. Amazingly, he was a wicketkeeper when he started out, but one day he got up and decided to bowl fast and all of a sudden was the No.1 bowler in the world. He moved to Trinidad late in his career, and made a fantastic contribution there as a coach, bringing through so many youngsters.

Charlie Griffith (28 Tests, 94 wickets at 28.54)

There are so many Barbados fast bowlers to choose from, but Sir Charles gets in my team because of the partnership he forged with Sir Wes. He was a fearsome fast bowler. People used to seek him out in club cricket, hoping he wouldn’t bowl fast at them, but that never worked. He started out as an offspinner, but one day, when he decided to bowl quick, he took 7 for 1 and never looked back. Off the field he was a bus conductor, and that was inspiring too. Just look at the background of all of these guys, from such humble homes and upbringings. We’d look at the contribution they made to Barbados, and by extension West Indies, and think, we can do it too. As a youngster, all I wanted to do was play cricket for West Indies.

For the perfect holiday in Barbados, including how to get here, where to stay and what to do, go to VisitBarbados.org



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