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Kapil Dev-backed Apne11 launched, more fantasy sports leagues in the pipeline

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L-R: Apne11 CEO Akshay Jaggi, Founder Ratul Sethi and 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev at the launch of the Apne11 fantasy gaming app in New Delhi.

New Delhi: It’s raining fantasy leagues in the country. Banking on the success of fantasy cricket leagues like Dream11, MyTeam 11, Howzat and many more, a new fantasy app—Apne11—was launched here on Wednesday with the backing of 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev.

Armed with the tagline #HunarJeetega, this unique fantasy sports platform gives every fan the opportunity to put his/her knowledge to test by choosing their own dream team from amongst the players on the actual field and be awarded points in accordance with the performance of the selected team combination. Based on the tally of points, the Apne11 user with the greatest score is declared the winner.

Expressing his views on the launch, Apne11 founder Ratul Sethi said, “The gaming industry is undergoing a revolution and with one of the world’s largest youth population, India is poised to become one of the world’s leading markets in the gaming sector. Taking forward the same vision we want to make daily fantasy sports game experience simpler & reach tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Our endeavor is to unite India in coming together to celebrate sports in the country.”

“While cricket and football is at the forefront of our current product design, we look forward to bringing all sports on one platform in the coming years.“he added.

With the number of online gamers to go up-to ten crores in a year’s time, All India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers said, “The Indian market is the fastest-growing fantasy sports market in the world, the market is projected to touch $5 billion in the next two years. As a game of skill, Apne11 connects the user with a platform where they can exhibit their knowledge and expertise of the game to win big”

Present at the launch, legendary cricketer and brand advisor for Apne11, Kapil Dev said, “I am thrilled to be associated with Apne11 as it will present an open opportunity for millions to compete against one another and have the chance to connect with sports on an even deeper level than before.”

L-R: Apne11 CEO Akshay Jaggi, Founder Ratul Sethi, Brand Advisor and legendary cricketer Kapil Dev and All India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers at the launch of Apne11 fantasy cricket gaming app in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Asked to name his all-time XI, Kapil could only manage to say that “it is a tough task, I keep losing to kids 11-12 years of age in fantasy games” and later after much persuasion the former cricketer said that 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh will definitely be part of it.

With three Group games already over for most teams in the ICC Cricket World Cup, the gaming app did miss the chance of capitalising on the pre-tournament buzz. However, when probed about the delay in the launch, Kapil summarised the reason saying “better late than never”.

Meanwhile, the gaming app will offer 100 per cent cash bonus deposits to new users and a one-of-its-kind opportunity to compete against the Haryana Hurricane by participating in the Kapil League. The highest scorer on Kapil’s leaderboard will stand a chance to win INR 25 Lacs! Further, 5 lucky winners will also get a chance to meet the legend himself.

Expressing his excitement, Apne11 CEO Akshay Jaggi said, “Fantasy sport has seen a massive growth in the country. If you see the last four years, the revenues have doubled. There’s a lot of audience that is captive. By 2020, there will be 400 million android users in the country. Only 5 per cent of the market is playing fantasy leagues at the moment. Just 15 per cent out of the 30 per cent active android users are into fantasy sports. If you equate 15 per cent out of 400 million, it will be a huge number. This is why we decided to launch Apne11. The aim of Apne11 is to be the No. 1 platform with the best experience ever.”

“If you want to launch any fantasy sports app in India, it has to be cricket as it is treated as a religion here. But it does not restrict you in making it into a bigger platform and catering to a wider audience. Our target sports are cricket and football. We want to launch fantasy football—the 11league—just before the start of the English Premier League (EPL), preferably in July. Hopefully, we will also get into other sports thereafter including Olympic sports,” Akshay said.

Smelling Coffee

Akshay has had a diversified background before becoming part of Apne11. From manufacturing roasted coffee in Indonesia to being part of TV production and Virtual Reality space, Akshay has seen it all. “I am actively involved in coffee—freshly roasted coffee is picking up in India. This is a unique concept that many people are unaware of. The East is adopting coffee and the West is adopting tea. With cultures mixing up, coffee will be a big thing in India especially manually cultivated, roasted coffee and speciality grains etc.,” he said.

“At one time we didn’t know what coffee beans were like and now I am into curing coffee from Indonesia. In India, we have vertically integrated into roasting coffee,” he signed off.

Here’s hoping Apne11 doesn’t get lost in a plethora of fantasy gaming apps and maintains its uniqueness throughout.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Awarding six runs for overthrows was a “judgment error” by umpires: Taufel

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New Delhi: Retired Australian umpire Simon Taufel, who is also on the MCC Laws sub-committee which makes the rules governing cricket, has said that there was an error of judgment on the part of on-field rules officials Marais Erasmus and Kumar Dharmasena in awarding six runs for overthrows on England all-rounder Ben Stokes instead of five.

Taufel was the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) manager of umpire performance and training as recently as 2015.

Speaking to Sydney Morning Herald, Taufel said, “There was a judgment error on the overthrow. The judgment error was the timing of when the fielder threw the ball. The act of the overthrow starts when the fielder releases the ball. That’s the act. It becomes an overthrow from the instant of the throw.”

Chasing 242 for victory, England needed nine from the final three balls of their regulation 50-overs. Stokes struck the ball into the deep off the third-last ball, and tried to complete a second run. However, a throw from New Zealand’s Martin Guptill ricocheted off Stokes’ bat as the batsman dived home, running away for four overthrows. England were awarded six runs.

But, according to Law 19.8, pertaining to an “overthrow or wilful act of fielder”, Stokes should only have been credited for five runs.

“If the boundary results from an overthrow or from the wilful act of a fielder, the runs scored shall be any runs for penalties awarded to either side, and the allowance for the boundary, and the runs completed by the batsmen, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the throw or act,” the law says.

Replays showed that Stokes and non-striker Adil Rashid hadn’t crossed at the time of the throw.

Taufel, who was named ICC umpire of the year every year from 2004 to 2008 and stood in the 2011 World Cup final, backed the on-field umpires but admitted that they had committed a mistake.

“…It’s unfortunate that there was a judgment error on the timing of the release of the ball and where the batsmen were. They did not cross on their second run, at the instant of the throw. So given that scenario, five runs should have been the correct allocation of runs, and Ben Stokes should have been at the non-striker’s end for the next delivery.

“We’re not perfect. You’ve got the best two umpires in the elite panel doing the final. They’re doing their best like the other two teams are. This is just part of the game. I think it’s unfair to say that the World Cup was decided by that one event.”

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SPN India to telecast the Ashes series, India’s tour of West Indies this monsoon

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Mumbai: Sony Pictures Network (SPN) India launches its campaign, #MoreCricket, for the upcoming high-octane cricket series, India tour of West Indies and The Ashes. With over 275 days of live cricket this financial year, the sports network will serve fans ‘more cricket’ on SONY SIX, SONY TEN 1 and SONY TEN 3 channels. In their first appearance after the Cricket World Cup, India will take on West Indies in the Caribbean islands and USA from August 3 to September 3, 2019 and the historic rivalry between England and Australia will be revived for The Ashes from August 1 to September 16, 2019.

The campaign, #MoreCricket captures the story of every Indian cricket fan, who loves to watch India cricket but is also no stranger to The Ashes. Four great teams are going to play in two rocking series and make the monsoons even more exciting for audiences across the country. The 40-second on-air promo showcases a cricket fan bored with the channels assigned in his pack. The cricket fan in him gets excited when he learns about the two upcoming smashing cricket series on Sony Pictures Sports Network. The film derives a similarity between a cricket fan and a peacock as both are going to be massively excited this monsoon. The campaign will have television, radio, print, digital and social media rollout.

India tour of West Indies, comprising 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs and 2 Tests, will be played across five scenic venues in Florida, USA and in West Indies from August 3 to September 3, 2019.

The 2019 Ashes series will be played in England from August 1 to September 16, 2019 at iconic venues like Lord’s, The Oval, Old Trafford, Edgbaston and Headingley. Australia are the defending Urn holders as they drubbed the English side 4-0 in 2017-18 series. The intensity of the rivalry makes all the players come in with their strongest performances as The Ashes is considered as one of the most important titles in their careers. While the Aussies have not won an Ashes away series since 2001, with the return of Steve Smith and David Warner, the team from Down Under is a formidable one.

Rajesh Kaul, SPN India Chief Revenue Officer, said: “Our campaign, #MoreCricket captures the sentiments of every Indian this monsoon. India has an insatiable appetite for cricket and starting August this year, our viewers can catch the top teams and players in the world in two of the most exciting cricket series on Sony Pictures Sports Network. With over 275 days of live cricket on our network this financial year, we will deliver on our commitment to showcase the best of cricket from around the world starting with the exciting India tour of West Indies and the hard-fought Ashes. This will be followed by multiple series hosted by Cricket Australia, Sri Lanka Cricket, Pakistan Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa which includes amongst others the New Zealand tour of Australia, England tour of South Africa and Australia tour of South Africa.”

Telecast Schedule:

The Ashes—live and exclusive on SONY SIX from August 1 to September 16, 2019.

India’s tour of West Indies—live and exclusive on SONY TEN 1 (English) and SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) from August 3 to September 3, 2019.

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Brand Lounge

Squash stars Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa sign with Baseline Ventures

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New Delhi: Baseline Ventures has announced the signing of two of India’s biggest squash stars—Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal—on their roster of athletes. Both the athletes have been flagbearers for the country in squash and grabbed headlines recently when they won the men’s and women’s title at the Asian Championships in May earlier this year.

Kolkata’s Saurav Ghosal has been a consistent performer for more than a decade and had recently reached his career-best ranking of World No. 10 in April this year, becoming the first Indian to break into the top-10 in the process. The 32-year-old had a prodigious start to his career and had become the first Indian to achieve No. 1 ranking at Junior level in the sport. He was also the first Indian to bag a medal in the sport when he secured a bronze medal at Doha in the 2006 Asian Games.

Joshna Chinappa has been one of India’s finest squash players who has been bringing the country medals for the last 15 years. In 2014, she paired with Dipika Pallikal to win India’s first Commonwealth Games Gold medal in Glasgow, a feat she almost repeated in 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast eventually bagging a silver. 2016 saw her break into the top-10 of squash world rankings. She enjoyed a successful campaign in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games where she won the bronze in the singles event and a silver in the team event. In June, she broke the record of Bhuvneshwari Kumari by lifting the national squash title for a record 17th time.

Chinappa expressed her delight on the development, saying, “I’m thrilled to sign with Baseline Ventures and am looking forward to a fruitful association with the company. I have a busy 2019 ahead and I hope to make it count by putting my best foot forward. Ghosal also expressed similar emotions when he said, “It’s been a good year for me personally. After achieving my career-best ranking, I’m really excited to have signed with Baseline Ventures.”

The company that was founded in 2014 is one of the leaders in sports, events, entertainment and licensing in India. They represent and manage some of the biggest names in Indian sports including P.V. Sindhu, Pankaj Advani, Prithvi Shaw, Smriti Mandhana and Ravindra Jadeja among others. Earlier this year, they had also signed shooters Apurvi Chandela and Saurabh Chaudhary apart from table tennis star Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and swimmer Sajan Prakash.

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