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Smriti Mandhana to become first Indian to play in Kia Super League

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New Delhi, June 15: Indian Women’s Cricket team opener, Smriti Mandhana will become the first Indian player to appear in England’s Kia Super T20 League beginning 22 July.

Smriti was signed by defending champions Western Storm and will represent them in the upcoming edition of the tournament that features six teams.

The 21-year-old India opener has scored over 826 runs with the highest score of 76 in the 40 T20Is that she has played so far.

Mandhana has also played for Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia.

Last month, she captained the IPL Trailblazers in the one-off exhibition game organised by the BCCI.

After securing her signing, Head Coach of the Western Storm Trevor Griffin said, “We are really excited that Smriti will be joining us. She is one of the brightest young talents in the game at the moment. Although she is still young, she has a great deal of experience of the game at the highest level and we believe that she will prove to be an excellent signing.”

Looking forward to the new challenge, Storm website quoted Mandhana as saying ,”I am very excited to be playing for the Kia Super League champions. To be the first Indian player to appear in the tournament is a real honour and I hope that I can help Western Storm to more success.”

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Ganguly defends Pandya and Rahul, says ‘People make mistakes’

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Sourav Ganguly (File Photo)

Mumbai, Jan 17: Former Indian cricket team skipper Sourav Ganguly has defended cricketers Hardik Pandya and K.L. Rahul over their “Koffee With Karan” episode controversy, saying people make mistakes but everyone should move on and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Ganguly spoke at the trailer launch of the Hindi film “22 Yards”, with the cast members Barun Sobti, Geetika Tyagi and Chaiti Ghoshal and director Mitali Ghoshal here on Wednesday.

Pandya and Rahul were slammed over their sexist comments on “Koffee with Karan”.

Koffee With Karan

Despite an apology to fans and their own teammates, Pandya and Rahul were suspended by the BCCI and ousted from a three-match ODI series against Australia in Sydney.

Asked if modern day cricketers should be responsible while giving statements on a public platform as a whole lot of youngsters look up to them, Ganguly said: “I haven’t watched that episode. I watch ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’. Jokes apart, I feel that you can’t generalise that only modern day cricketers should behave responsibly. People make mistakes. Let’s not get too far into that.

“I am sure whoever has done it will realise that and come out as a better person. We are all human beings. We are not machines that everything you put in comes out perfect. You have just got to live life and let others live. They are responsible people. They may be role models but they are under pressure all the time to perform. Certain things happen in life and as everyone, we should move on and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Does he feel modern day cricketers of India aren’t responsible in their behaviour as compared to the past generation of cricketers?

Ganguly said: “I feel modern day cricketers are also responsible, disciplined and obedient. In life, certain things happen and you make some mistakes so, let’s not get too far into that. Look at Virat Kohli, he is such a fantastic role model. India is a fortunate country. Every generation produces players who all of us cherish.”

He said India has produced great cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli over the years.

“There was Sunil Gavaskar and when he retired, people thought who is next, then Sachin Tendulkar came and when Tendulkar retired, people again asked who is next then people saw Virat Kohli. So, we are a very fortunate country in terms of sports and a lot of these cricketers are fantastic human beings because they come from very middle class backgrounds and fight their way up.”

Bollywood has made films on the life of sports personalities like Milkha Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and now Kabir Khan is making a film on the Indian cricket team’s World Cup victory in 1983.

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IND vs AUS, 2nd ODI: India win by 6 wickets, level series 1-1

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Ind vs AUS 2 ND ODI
Photo Credit- BCCI


Adelaide, Jan 15: India defeated Australia by 6 wickets in the second One-day International (ODI) at the Adelaide Oval here on Tuesday.

With this, India levelled the 3 match series by 1-1.

Captain Virat Kohli was declared Man of the Match. He scored 104 run.

Chasing a competitive 299, the tourists banked on a collective batting effort from the top order, before a 82-run fourth wicket stand between Kohli (104) and Dhoni (55 not out) ensured the team’s win with four balls to spare.

Earlier, the Aussies rode on the batting heroics of Shaun Marsh (131) and Glenn Maxwell (48) to post 298/9 even after the Indian pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami shared 7 wickets between them.

Brief Scores: Australia 298/9 (Shaun Marsh 131, Glenn Maxwell 48; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4/45, Mohammed Shami 3/56) lose to India 299/4 (Virat Kohli 104, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 55 not out) by 6 wickets.

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Cricket board caught in a cleft stick

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Koffee With Karan

The euphoria of winning a Test series in Australia for the first time is over and the India teams focus is now on the World Cup in England this summer.

Before the first of the three-match One-Day series against Australia, the selectors and the team management seem to have finalised the World Cup squad. The loss in Sydney has triggered a debate over everything with the team.

The middle-order is seen wobbly, the so-called finisher is not to be found and there are the perennial questions about Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s batting, his scoring rate and whether he should bat at No 4, 5 or 6. One defeat, and there is a talk of more changes than one for Tuesday’s second match at Adelaide.

As luck would have it, the two certainties for the World Cup, Hardik Pandya and Lokesh Rahul, went on a bitchy television chat show and made themselves look like oafs. They lost their marbles and made some asinine remarks, trying to ape the stars from the tinsel world.

As if to match with the two morons, the Indian Cricket Board and its supervising body, the Committee of Administrators (CoA), complicated matters by not deciding quickly on the process of disciplinary action. The two players, who looked certainties for the World Cup till that fateful night with Koffee with Karan, have been suspended and asked to return home pending an inquiry.

They have been replaced by Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shekhar and exciting Punjab batsman Shubman Gill, 19, both coming through the rungs of domestic cricket and performing for India A and with Rahul Dravid’s strong recommendation.

The most unedifying aspect of it all is the way the chairman of the CoA, Vinod Rai, and the lone member Diana Edulji are quarreling over the quantum of punishment and how it should be handed.

The two do not act or behave like the members of the same committee, each one answering the other through the media. Some of their quarrels are farcically dragging on.

Both the Supreme Court and the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee tried to discipline the board. The Lodha Committee report went into areas which it could as well have left alone and then the CoA under Vinod Rai was formed to oversee the implementation the report.

The former Comptroller and Auditor General of India presided over a fairly impressive committee with historian and Ramachandra Guha, who also writes on cricket, former India captain of the women’s team Diana Edulji and Vikram Limaye, managing director and CEO of IDFC Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation.

Soon Guha soon quit, finding it difficult to carry on, and Limaye also went to take over as Managing Director and CEO of the National Stock Exchange of India Limited.

What is surprising is that the apex court did not think it fit to add two or at least one member more so that the CoA functioned democratically. Either the board or the two members of the committee have also not brought to the court’s notice the anomalous situation.

So much so every decision of the CoA is being hotly contested by Rai and Eduljee, starting with the ‘Me too’ case involving the board’s CEO, then on the quarrel between the coach of the women’s team and the senior most player Mithali Raj and the appointment of the new coach in place of Ramesh Powar, who tenure ended with the Twenty20 World Cup.

Rai and Edulji are it again. Now Rai is unwilling to be part of an inquiry process to decide on how to deal with Pandya-Rahul. Edulji is in favour of an inquiry by CoA, but Rai is opposed to it, saying it is against the board’s constitution.

Rai instead wants board’s CEO Rahul Johri to conduct the inquiry and submit the report to CoA to take action, but Edulji is opposed to it, carrying on her grouse against him as she wanted him sacked over ‘Me too.’

Eduljialways thinks of only extreme punishment for the guilty and it clearly appears even the board members are divided, some clearly backing the former Railway official.

To add to the mess, Union Minister and BJP MP from Asansol, Babul Supriyo, jumped in to lambast Edulji for trying to “destroy” the careers of Pandya and Rahul for their “inappropriate comments.”

In a longish tweet, Supriyo said: “There is ‘Thick’ line between reprimanding someone and destroying them!! My plea to these seniors: please behave your ages gentlemen & ladies…”

To make life tough for the two players, formers cricketers have also slammed them, almost forcing the board take strong action.

Not for tothing is the board caught in a cleft stick.

(Veturi Srivatsa is a senior journalist and the views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

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