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India bowl out South Africa for 275, take 326-run lead

Press Trust of India

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Team India

Pune: Tail-enders Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander set an example of gutsy batsmanship as South Africa fought hard against a quality attack but could not stop India from taking a massive 326-run lead on the third day of the second Test here.

While a total of 275 in 105.4 overs is far from India’s mammoth first innings total of 601, the 119-run ninth wicket stand between Philander (44 not out) and an injured Maharaj (72) showed what the top-order could have done had they shown some stomach for fight.

The duo ducked the bouncers, defended doggedly and attacked the loose deliveries as the Indian bowling attack suddenly lacked answers during the final session of the third day, which certainly belonged to the Proteas.

Coming together at 152 for eight, Philander-Maharaj pair not only had a century- plus stand but more importantly consumed 43.1 overs, taking away a lot of second innings overs from India.

The pitch has shown no considerable signs of wear and tear over three days but nothing can be taken away from Philander, whose, defensive technique against Ravichandran Ashwin (4/69) and Ravindra Jadeja’s (1/81) tight bowling, was laudable.

After a point the two senior spinners looked a touch frustrated and Maharaj scored some useful runs against them and then against the second new ball.

It was a top notch effort from two individuals, for whom batting is not their primary skill.

Maharaj hit 12 boundaries even as he looked in pain while rubbing his shoulder. He was finally out, caught at leg slip by Rohit Sharma off Ashwin but after a satisfying day in office.

The highlights of the morning session was however Mohammed Shami’s hostile first spell and an acrobatic catch from Wriddhiman Saha while the afternoon session was all about relentless pressure created by Ashwin and Jadeja.

South Africa’s most experienced pair of skipper Faf du Plessis (64) and Quinton de Kock (31) tried to resurrect the innings with a quick stand of 75 runs but Ashwin removed the latter before lunch to make matters worse for the visitors.

Shami (2/44) bowled with a lot of fire, sticking to hard lengths during the session while Umesh Yadav’s (3/37) third wicket of the innings primarily belongs to Saha, who once again proved why he is rated as the best in the world.

On a pitch where Indian batsmen looked at ease, it was an every moment struggle for the Proteas batsmen.

Shami was getting the semi new-ball to dart back in after pitching while Yadav was primarily bowling outswingers.

Nightwatchman Anrich Nortje (4) was uncomfortable from the start with Virat Kohli setting an attacking field that included four slips and a gully.

Shami got deliveries to rear up from the length and one such delivery was awkwardly fended by Nortje and skipper Kohli at fourth slip took a smart catch diving to his right.

Theunis de Bruyn (30) hit a couple of cover drives but it was a moment of inspiration from Saha that brought about his end.

Trying an expansive drive off Yadav, De Bruyn’s hard flash was flying towards first slip and an aerial Saha plucked out of thin air, leaving South Africa tottering at 53 for five.

However Du Plessis and De Kock batted positively, punishing the loose balls and didn’t look in much trouble like the earlier batsmen.

Du Plessis had 10 hits to the fence including one maximum while De Kock hit seven boundaries.

It was Ashwin, who removed De Kock with a classical off-break that pitched on the middle and the southpaw was squared up and beaten trying to play for the turn with bails clipped.

In the post-lunch session, spinners took control as Senuran Muthsamy (7) shouldered arms to delivery from Jadeja that turned back sharply and he was adjudged leg-before

Brief Scores:

India 1st innings: 601 for 5 declared

South Africa 1st innings: 275 all out in 105.4 overs. (K Maharaj 72, F du Plessis 64, V Philander 44 not out; R Ashwin 4/69, U Yadav 3/37)

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Sourav Ganguly set to take over as 39th BCCI president, end 33-month COA reign

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Sourav Ganguly

Mumbai: One of India’s most decorated captains Sourav Ganguly will be taking over as the 39th president of the BCCI on Wednesday at its AGM, ending a tumultuous 33-month reign of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators.

Ganguly is the unanimous nomination for the post of BCCI president along with Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s son Jay as the secretary. Mahim Verma of Uttarakhand is the new vice-president.

Former BCCI president and current MoS finance Anurag Thakur’s younger brother Arun Dhumal is the treasurer while Kerala’s Jayesh George is the joint secretary.

However Ganguly will have a curtailed tenure of around nine months as he would need to demit office by the end of July, next year as per the provisions of new constitutions, which makes ‘Cooling Off’ period mandatory after six years in office.

Easily one of the most high profile names to assume office, Ganguly will make use of his experience gained as the secretary and later president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), which will come in handy.

He has set a few goals — primary being restructuring of first-class cricket as well as getting the administration back in shape along with getting India’s position of reverence back in the corridors of International Cricket Council.

With Conflict of Interest rules being an impediment, Ganguly will also face the challenge of having quality cricketers on board as far as the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and national selection committee are concerned.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to do something good,” the former India captain, who will have to demit office in July, due to compulsory cooling off period, had said last week.

The 10-month is a short period and it also needs to be seen how the former India captain handles the disqualified old guards like N Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah, whose children are now officially part of the BCCI.

Ganguly’s relation with IPL chairman Brijesh Patel, a Srinivasan loyalist will also be of interest.

Last but certainly not the least, his take on cricketing policies — Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s international future, Day/Night Test cricket, permanent Test centres will also be dissected.

For CoA, it was an eventful 33-month tenure that comes to an end.

CoA chief Vinod Rai informed the process that will be followed during the AGM.

“First the accounts will be passed for the past three years. Then the electoral officer will announce the election results as everyone is unopposed.

“Today we discussed some of the winding up issues and some minutes of the meetings were to be approved. We finalised tomorrow’s schedule in consideration with Sourav,” Rai told reporters after speaking to Ganguly.

Rai said that he was happy with the Supreme Court order on the day.

“Everything that the Supreme Court has done (orders), I have been very happy with it. We had asked for the directions as we could not have resigned. Since the Supreme Court appointed us, we had to be discharged from our duty from the court.

“Every decision was court mandated. We haven’t changed the constitution. Whatever was given to us, we have worked in that [framework].”

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South African cricket weakened by Kolpak, Brexit could improve situation: Du Plessis

Press Trust of India

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Team SA
Faf Du Plessis.

Ranchi: South African skipper Faf du Plessis on Tuesday rued loss of their players to county cricket under the Kolpak deal and hoped the situation would favour the Proteas post Brexit.

In the aftermath of the 0-3 series loss to India, Du Plessis pointed out that they were missing out on their best players due to the Kolpak deal.

“It’s sad for South African cricket not to have the option of their best players. Simon Harmer has had an unbelievable season. And it would be great for South Africa to be in a position where they could go, ‘He’s done well overseas. Let’s bring him on tour with us’,” Du Plessis said of the off-spinner who has done well for the Essex in the past two years.

“You are missing out on all your best players and your talent pool is all of a sudden a lot smaller. So that’s something that we’ve tried to identify to stop. But it’s been very difficult to stop.”

Harmer is one among the 60-odd players from countries around the world to have taken advantage of the European Union residency rules so that they could join county teams without being considered “overseas players” as per Kolpak accord.

But Kolpak deal also prevents them to represent their respective countries, leaving Cricket South Africa without the services of Harmer alongside pacers Duanne Olivier and Kyle Abbott who also opted to play in England.

In fact, recently retired South Africa great Hashim Amla is also set to sign for English county club Surrey with a Kolpak registration and Du Plessis saw it as a loss-loss scenario. Pacer Morne Morkel, who retired last year, is also playing county cricket.

“Even the guys going there post international cricket, like Hashim Amla, those guys, they won’t be playing domestic cricket back home. So you lose all of that experience, which would have helped the young guys so much.

“Playing with Hashim Amla is the greatest learning curve that you can get. Playing with Dale Steyn, playing with AB de Villiers, all those guys… so it’s about making sure that you can bridge that gap and finding ways to do it.”

“So that’s the situation where we need to get to. Because at the moment we don’t get the option of all the best players, you know. So that will always be a concern for us.”

“Obviously, from a financial point of view, the Pound is stronger than the Rand… But the lesser of those things that there are for players to go overseas, obviously, that that will be much beneficial for cricket in South Africa, because at the moment, we’re losing our experience in international cricket.”

But the no-deal Brexit could mean “Kolpak” cricketers are gone from the English county circuit by 2021, according to updated guidance from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Post-Brexit, the Kolpak deals would likely to cease at the end of the 2020 season as the ECB has issued an email to the 18 first-class counties noting a series of potential implications.

“So maybe, post-Brexit, guys will still go and play there, but you can still pick them for your country. Brexit will be one thing that will stop obviously the Kolpak players. So yes that would benefit SA cricket tremendous amounts,” du Plessis said.

The skipper however still believed that the counties may still find a loophole around by saying they have another overseas player.

“It will still mean that players will go and play there and will just be under a different name tag. Because opportunities are there for players in the domestic circuit in England,” he feared.

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Edulji reflects on CoA tenure, differences with Vinod Rai

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Edulji and; Vinod Rai

Mumbai: COA member Diana Edulji on Tuesday said there were serious differences within the Vinod Rai-led panel like there would be in a democratic organisation but there was nothing personal in any of their public showdowns.

COA, which ran Indian cricket for 33 months, will demit office on Wednesday with former India captain Sourav Ganguly taking over as the BCCI president.

“It was a good experience and a long journey, didn’t think that the journey would last so song, but I am happy with the end result that elections and office-bearers are coming back and BCCI will be run by them now,” Edulji, a former India captain, told reporters here after the final COA meeting.

Edulji and former CAG Rai often disagreed publicly on key issues, most notably over the appointment of national coaches, both men and women.

Edulji said she had no regrets.

“We have (had) our differences, and we have aired it also openly.. in any organisation that works. I have been always batted on the front foot but nothing personal, it was just (on) principals those stands were taken and that’s it.

“I have always called spade a spade and don’t hold back. It was a great learning experience handling BCCI and I hope I can do something more after I finish my cooling period,” she said..

She said that Ganguly becoming president is a welcome development

“It is good that a player (has become a president), he knows in and out what requires, when he was a player what he expected from BCCI, and now when he is sitting on that seat (what is needed). I wish him all the best.”

COA was put in place to oversee the running of the Board and implement Lodha reforms but was often accused of going beyond its brief.

Asked whether she was happy with the current state of the BCCI, Edulji said: “I would not want to run down the people before, I wouldn’t say that we have done a better job than them. Whatever role we had, we tried to complete our duties, let’s hope it goes forward and they will take in right spirit whatever we have done and move on life has to move on.”

She stressed on the importance of looking after first class players, something Ganguly has already spoken in favour of.

Lt (Gen) Retd Ravi Thodge, who was part of the COA for the past nine months, said it was a great learning experience for him.

“It’s been a great learning process, coming into the administration of cricket. We learnt a lot and I think we contributed to the best of our ability.”

All COA members will be paid Rs 10 lakh per month for the period of 2017, Rs 11 lakh and 12 lakh respectively for 2018 and 2019 respectively.

“The amount was finalised after discussions with Amicus Curiae PS Narsimha,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.

While Edulji and Rai are expected to be richer by Rs 3.5 crore each, Vikram Limaye, Ramachandra Guha and Ravi Thodge will be paid on pro-rata basis as per their tenure.

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