Fund allotted for the opening ceremony of the IPL to go to the families of the Pulwama Martyrs

No IPL inaugural ceremony in 2019.

The CoA chairman, Vinod Rai has said that the money allotted for the opening ceremony of the IPL this year will go to the families of the Pulwama attack victims.

“We will not have any inaugural function for the IPL and the money budgeted for that goes to the martyrs’ families,” The budget for the IPL opening ceremony last year was Rs 30 crore,” he said.

Also ReadLet Pakistan be isolated in the cricketing community, says Vinod Rai

The cries – ‘Snap ties with Pakistan’ are getting louder by the day.

The BCCI has officially written to the cricketing world to sever ties with Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack that killed more than 40 CRPF personnel. In a letter to the global cricket body, the BCCI has also expressed concern over the “safety and security” of players and match officials for the World Cup in the UK, starting May 30.

India, however, needs a broad consensus in the cricketing world to isolate Pakistan. According to the ICC constitution: “A member may have its membership terminated if the Board of Directors considers that the member’s breach of its obligations as a member is sufficiently serious to warrant termination.”

Reflecting the current sentiment in India, former India captain Sourav Ganguly has called for cutting off all sporting ties with Pakistan, which former off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has echoed.

In its communication with the ICC, the BCCI has voiced  concerns following the terror attack on Indian soil by a Pakistan-based terror outfit.

It also has mentioned the global diplomatic support that India has received after the attack. BCCI has urged the cricketing community to sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates.”

“The BCCI also mentioned its concerns over the safety and security of fans of Indian cricket at the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The BCCI trusts that the ICC and ECB will ensure that the most robust security is provided to players, match officials and fans of Indian cricket for the upcoming World Cup,” it said.

Let Pakistan be isolated in the cricketing community, says Vinod Rai

Ref: The June 16 World Cup India-Pakistan tie.

The Supreme Court-appointed chairman of the CoA and a veteran bureaucrat, Vinod Rai states:

“Why should we shoot ourselves in the foot by not playing? We should seek their (Pakistan) ouster and remove them from the cricketing committee.”

Such an unusual extreme stand, by India standards on tolerance,  is being viewed as an unprecedented step in Indian cricket.

The BCCI does not want to forfeit the World Cup tie against Pakistan. It is working to join the Indian government’s efforts to isolate Pakistan in the wake of the ghastly February 14 Pulwama terrorist  attack.

The BCCI CEO Rahul Johri has already written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) urging cricketing nations to “sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates”.

“I look at it (the letter sent to the ICC) from the point of view that we are able to isolate Pakistan. Make it a cricket apartheid for Pakistan on the terror issue. The idea is to work hand in hand with the Indian government to isolate Pakistan in the cricketing community,” he said.

Rai said, “The present dispensation feels strongly about it because we reflect the sentiment of the nation. We are not a closed cricket community, we represent the nation.”

Sources said that by showing the willingness to respect the World Cup fixtures and preferring a parallel strategy of campaigning against Pakistan globally, the BCCI is avoiding the situation the national shooting body and the Indian Olympic Association find themselves in as India hosts a World Cup in the capital.

India has denied visas to Pakistan’s shooters. It then invited sanctions from the International Olympic Committee, and it will be able to host future international Olympic events.

The BCCI wants to avoid such a situation for itself. It would like to have a consensus of the cricket world and then act. It isn’t possible to just one fine day ask to remove Pakistan from the World Cup.

Gayle breaks Afridi’s record of most sixes in international cricket

Swashbuckling West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has broken Shahid Afridi’s record of hitting the most number of sixes in international cricket.

Gayle achieved this feat during his knock of 135 in the first ODI against England at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown on Wednesday.

Gayle, who smashed 12 sixes during on way to his 24th ODI ton, now has 477 sixes to his name. He achieved this feat in his 444th match while Afridi had smashed 476 sixes from 524 matches.

Gayle has now smashed 276 sixes in ODIs, 103 sixes in T20Is and 98 maximums in the longest format of the game.

Recalled by the Windies for the first two ODIs against England in preparation for this year’s World Cup, Gayle, last played for the Windies during a home series against Bangladesh last July.

Gayle has the most ODI hundreds (24) for West Indies, is their second-leading run-scorer in the 50-over format with 9,727 runs, trailing only Brian Lara (10,405) and his 215 against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup is the highest limited-overs score by a West Indies batsman.

Gayle’s record-breaking feat and his century sadly came on a day when England batsmen Joe Root and Jason Roy also smashed centuries to help their team successfully chase a mammoth target of 361 with six balls to spare.

David Warner Was The Mastermind Of Ball-Tampering Plot, Confirms Cameron Bancroft

Cameron Bancroft, who is serving a nine-month ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal, revealed on Wednesday that David Warner asked him to alter the condition of the ball in South Africa. Bancroft added that he went along with it “to fit in”.

“Dave suggested to me to carry the action out on the ball given the situation we were in the game and I didn’t know any better,” said Bancroft, whose ban runs out this coming weekend.”I didn’t know any better because I just wanted to fit in and feel valued really. As simple as that.

“The decision was based around my values, what I valued at the time, and I valued fitting in … you hope that fitting in earns you respect and with that, I guess, there came a pretty big cost for the mistake.”

Bancroft was caught on camera using sandpaper to rough up the ball.

Bancroft last week admitted he nearly walked away from the game to become a yoga teacher in the wake of the vitriol that met the tampering scandal.He is expected to make his return for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League on Sunday.(With AFP Inputs)

Ricky Ponting shocked by timing of Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft interviews

Ricky Ponting said that Smith will return to the Australian Test captaincy once his leadership ban is over. (File)

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting revealed that he was shocked after interviews of Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft were aired on Tuesday. The tainted duo of Smith and Bancroft were interviewed separately by former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist on Fox Cricket on Boxing Day.

However, the 42-year-old doesn’t believe that the current Aussie side will be distracted by ball-tampering saga dominating the headlines again. Ponting also backed Steve Smith to return to the Australian Test captaincy once his leadership ban is over.

“From a wholly journalistic approach, you can understand the reasons why it was aired today,” Ponting was quoted as saying by

“You’ve probably got a big percentage of the population watching the cricket today and they’ll be reading about it tomorrow. I can understand how that could happen,” he added.

“I’m not sure how happy the players would be about it or Cricket Australia, because it’s a pretty special moment in Australian cricket on a day like today. So, we’ll see what the reaction is,” Ponting said.

“I’ve seen a couple of headlines (since the interviews), which I’ve been shocked at, I must admit. Some of the things that have been said have been quite shocking to me,” he said, adding, “We’re nine months on from this stuff and there’s still a lot being spoken about what happened in Cape Town.

“Now that those stories are out there, it’s going to be interesting to see what the reaction is tomorrow in newspapers and news channels. There’s enough in those stories to raise a few eyebrows,” he concluded.

“It Wasn’t Easy To Check Emotions And Focus”: Mayank Agarwal On Debut

Mayank Agarwal now knows how mentally taxing a Test debut in Australia can be. Mayank Agarwal, who had to wait for his India debut for the past one year, said that he found it difficult to focus when he finally made his debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

“It was a tremendous feeling to get the India Test cap. I had a lot of emotions (running through mind) when I got the cap. I will cherish it for the rest of my life. The first thought was 295 (his India cap number),” Agarwal said after his impressive 76 at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.

But the occasion does get better at times, especially when someone scores a mountain of runs and is kept waiting for that elusive India cap. “It wasn’t easy to get hold of those emotions and focus there, but it needed to be done. I just stuck to my plans and just kept telling myself, ‘there is a plan that I have to go through and I am just going to stick to that’. Even though it was overwhelming, it was good and I am happy with the way I started,” Mayank Agarwal added.

Agarwal felt good that the seniors came up and egged him to leave a mark on his debut. “It’s a big stage, and a big opportunity, and I had the seniors walk up to me, telling that bigger the day, bigger the opportunity to leave a mark,” said Agarwal, who became only the seventh Indian opener to score a half-century on Test debut and also registered the highest score for a debutant Indian batsman on Australian soil.”I am happy but obviously I would have liked more (runs). I would definitely take 76 rather than take something less than that. That said I would have liked to go on, and score more runs and stay not out at the end of the day,” Agarwal seemed content.

For the past one year, it has been a case of living in hope for the 27-year-old but he never felt disheartened as he was constantly playing domestic and A-tour matches, which kept him in good stead.”Well, I was very happy when I got picked against West Indies. It was a big moment for me. From then on, it wasn’t in my hands. Deciding whether I am going to play or not, or getting picked or not is not in my hands.”But the good thing was that there was a lot of domestic cricket, and a lot of India A games. So, you make sure you go out there and give your best. Once you keep playing, you know those things don’t keep coming to your mind because you are focusing on that game and trying to win that game for the side,” Agarwal explained his mindset during the period.”You do think about it (selection) but then you are professional and you tell yourself “that’s no something you can control”.

So you move ahead, move on and see what’s next for you, prepare for that and once you are in, give your best,” he said.Agarwal feels blessed that he made his debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and also crossed every step towards international cricket with flying colours. “I just want to say that whatever happened and whatever kept happening, I feel very, very special. I am very lucky because I made my debut at MCG.“Every player has to go through scoring runs in Ranji Trophy and doing what he has to do. I did that and I am very happy about that.

And I learnt a lot as well. When you play Ranji Trophy for five years and play in all parts of India, you learn a lot from that. You face different situations, and it’s always a great learning,” he said.Asked about a flat pitch at the MCG, which showed some variable bounce as the day progressed, Agarwal replied, “I won’t complain about the pitch. I thought it was good to bat on. It did do a bit early on and it was slow. And as the day progressed and when we batted after lunch, it got a little quicker.”Obviously, I didn’t think too much about the wicket. I just wanted to stay blank and take it as it comes. I thought while I am at the wicket, let me assess the wicket and see how to go about this,” Agarwal said.

(With PTI inputs)