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Smith pulls Australia out of trouble on opening day of Ashes

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Steve Smith
Steve Smith scored his 24th Test century.

Birmingham: Steve Smith showed the world what they missed in the last one year with a sensational hundred to singlehandedly drag Australia out of a hole and help them post 284 before being bowled out in the fag end of the opening day of the first Ashes Test at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Thursday.

After Australia were reduced to 122/8 before tea with Smith at the crease waging a lone battle, the former captain, who returned to action recently after serving a one year ban due to his involvement in the ball tampering scandal in South Africa, struck 144 off 219 balls, his majestic knock laced with 16 fours and two sixes.

Smith first shared a 88-run ninth wicket stand with Peter Siddle who scored 44 off 85 balls, and then stitched together a 75-run partnership for the last wicket with Nathan Lyon (12 not out) to take the Aussies to a fighting first innings score.

For England, Stuart Broad grabbed 5/86 while Chris Woakes returned figures of 3/58 in the absence of pace spearhead James Anderson who got injured after bowling just four overs.

At stumps, England were 10/0 after two overs with openers Rory Burns (4) and Jason Roy (6) at the crease.

Smith brought up his 24th Test century with a delectable cover drive and celebrated in an emotional fashion in front of a packed crowd. He then took on the bowlers, hitting Woakes for two consecutive fours in one over before Broad nabbed his 100th wicket in Ashes by rocking his stumps. cricket news sports news

Broad and Woakes had maintained their good show with the ball in the afternoon session as the hosts reduced Australia to 154/8 at tea. With Australian wickets falling like a pack of cards, it was Smith who kept one end under control. cricket news sports news

Resuming the second session at 83/3, the visitors could manage 71 runs but lost five wickets, thanks to some lethal bowling by Woakes and Broad.

After six overs in the second session in which Australia had added 16 runs, Woakes trapped Travis Head in front of the wicket.

There was no stopping Woakes, who soon dismissed new man Matthew Wade (1) in similar fashion with just 105 runs on board in the 35th over. cricket news sports news

Broad then joined the party and dismissed skipper Tim Paine (5) cheaply after the Australian wicketkeeper’s mistimed pull landed safely in the hands of Rory Burns at deep square-leg. cricket news sports news

As wickets kept falling for Australia, it was Smith who kept the scorerboard ticking.

After Paine’s dismissal, the English bowlers didn’t have to work hard as they easily got rid of James Pattinson (0) and Pat Cummins (5), who were both caught plumb in front of the wicket by Broad and Ben Stokes, respectively, leaving the visitors reeling at 122/8.

Smith was then joined by Siddle, who showed some resistance with the bat as the former notched up his half-century in the 47th over. Smith kept on facing the England bowlers courageously to help his team touch the 150-run mark in the 52nd over.

The duo shared an unbeaten 32-run stand for the ninth wicket till tea which saw Australia averting an early all out in Day One. cricket news sports news

Earlier in the morning session, it was England all the way as an inspired show by the duo of Broad and Anderson in the opening hour pegged back the visitors who went into the lunch break at 83/3 in 27 overs.

Opting to bat first under overcast conditions, Australia got off to the worst possible start as they lost David Warner for just 2 in the fourth over, trapped in front by Broad. Interestingly, replays showed that the ball was missing the stumps but Warner didn’t review the decision. cricket news sports news

The pacer then removed Cameron Bancroft for 8 as Joe Root picked up a smart catch. It was a typical Broad dismissal as he got the ball to pitch just outside off stump in the corridor of uncertainty and the ball nipped in enough to take the edge and fly to first slip. cricket news sports news

Usman Khawaja’s dismissal was another case of the bowler being repaid for delivering it in the channel. Woakes pitched it just outside the off and Khawaja edged it for Jonny Bairstow to complete a regulation catch.

While Bairstow didn’t seem too confident, skipper Root got the decision reviewed and it went in England’s favour.

Having lost three wickets inside the first 15 overs, it was all about putting the head down and batting till stumps for Smith and Travis Head and that is exactly what the duo did as they went to lunch batting out 12 overs without handing England another wicket. cricket news sports news

While Smith looked to mix caution with a bit of aggression, Head was happy to take a couple of chances.

Brief scores: Australia 284 all out in 80.4 overs (Steven Smith 144, Travis Head 35; Stuart Broad 5/86, Chris Woakes 3/58) vs England 10/0 (Rory Burns 4 not out, Jason Roy 6 not out) at stumps on Day One.

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

Press Trust of India

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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

Press Trust of India

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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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