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‘Bangladesh are not here just to serve up balls to India’ – Coach Russell Domingo

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Bangladesh’s decision to bat first in Kolkata may look unwise after they were blown away for just 106, but it is the type of boldness that coach Russell Domingo said he wants to bring to the dressing room. Conventional cricketing wisdom certainly went with Bangladesh but there was also the perception that an inexperienced batting line-up was left to take on a red-hot fast bowling unit.

That plan which had already played out poorly for the visitors in Indore but Domingo said doing anything other than putting runs on the board would have been a negative approach.

“It was not a 30-over all out wicket. There’s no doubt that we didn’t bat well enough”

“Obviously, it was a terrible day for us but I really think it is important to understand that Bangladesh are not just here to serve up balls for India,” he said at the end-of-day press conference. “I know everyone was hoping Bangladesh can bowl first so India can get 400-450. But that’s not why we were here. We think the best way to win a Test match in India is to bat first. Ninety-nine per cent of the time you bat first in the sub-continent, on a good wicket. We have no qualms with the decision to bat first.”

ALSO READ: Bangladesh batting falls flat on big occasion

In time, Domingo hoped Bangladesh can approach big games as calm as they approached the T20s earlier this month, when they won the Delhi game to go 1-0 up in the series.

“When we won the first T20, our dugout was calm and no one was jumping up and down. It is a conscious thing we are doing, by not being surprised when beating India. It has to become something that we expect to do. When you win the toss in India, doesn’t mean we will bowl first because we are scared of getting bowled out. We are trying to make those brave decisions that will benefit us in the long run. There’s going to be some hurt and disappointment now, but hopefully we can continue making those brave decisions and it will ultimately help us.”

“We are a long way behind in Tests. Virat Kohli has 26 Test hundreds while our whole team has 16 or 17. We have to address that”

Domingo said that the big gap in experience and performance between the two sides is making a big difference in this Test series. He cited the example of Virat Kohli having more Test centuries than the entire Bangladesh team to explain the gulf between the two line-ups. Domingo said that no matter how well they were prepared for the pink ball, that gap would not have shortened in a week.

“I wouldn’t say we were underprepared for the pink ball. India had similar time to train. There’s a big difference between the two sides, regardless of six or seven days of preparation for the pink ball.

“We are a long way behind in Tests. Virat Kohli has 26 Test hundreds while our whole team has 16 or 17. We have to address that, going forward,” he said.

Domingo said that the batting line-up is short in confidence too, and they have a number of issues to deal with, which will take time to get over. “There’s lack of confidence. There’s lack of experience against this type of attack week in, week out. It is a bit of mental, technical and confidence.

“It was not a 30-over all out wicket. There’s no doubt that we didn’t bat well enough. We are facing some really world-class bowlers and coming short. We have to deal with a whole host of issues at the moment.”



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IPL franchises begin quarantining and testing for Covid-19

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A day after a few of the IPL owners had a meeting internally to discuss the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) draft sent by the tournament’s governing council, it appears that the teams have begun activating their own protocols prior to departure to the UAE for IPL 2020.

Mumbai Indians have started quarantining their Indian players in a hotel, with regular Covid-19 tests scheduled. Players who complete their quarantine will then be allowed to train at their facility in Navi Mumbai.

Rajasthan Royals too plan to conduct Covid-19 tests for their players and support staff over the next two weeks, prior to their departure to Dubai. Another franchise has asked their Indian players to home quarantine – as a precaution – while simultaneously initiating Covid-19 tests.

“Outdoor training is out of question still, we’re being cautious and since everything is still very uncertain with regards to SOPs, we’re awaiting a final confirmation,” a franchise source said. “We have put forward our concerns with the IPL governing council, hopefully everything will be clear this weekend so that we can start planning.”

Currently the IPL has laid out a stringent week-long quarantine process, along with four Covid-19 tests for players and support staff, before they can start training in the UAE. ESPNcricinfo understands that a number of franchises have sought a reduction in this quarantine period upon entering the biosecure bubble in the UAE.

While the IPL schedule hasn’t been announced yet, Sunrisers Hyderabad, for example, could potentially lose David Warner and Jonny Bairstow for the first two matches if they are to undergo the mandatory seven-day quarantine.

Both players would likely be arriving in the UAE from the United Kingdom following the conclusion of the T20I series between England and Australia on September 15, four days prior to the start of the IPL season.

Meanwhile, the IPL has also put in place stringent measures for ad shoots and promotional activities involving players. Players are required to have a 10-day gap between their shoots and their departure to the UAE.

The shoots can only be scheduled at ballrooms of a five-star hotel, in order to maintain social distancing norms, with a strict cap of five crew members allowed at the location of the shoot with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to prevent any physical contact.

The franchises are expected to meet the IPL governing council on Friday through video conference, while awaiting the finalised SOPs, which has delayed the departure of a number of teams.

Chennai Super Kings, for example, were looking at arriving in the UAE in the second week of August. That move stands cancelled because of the absence of a formal SOP. However, they have sent out a note to their Indian players to start arriving in Chennai once the IPL circulates the SOP.

Meanwhile, Kolkata Knight Riders are looking at having Abu Dhabi as their base from August 21 or 22, with the overseas contingent of Brendon McCullum, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell joining the team from the Caribbean after their CPL commitments end by September 10.

Kings XI Punjab too are looking at assembling their Indian squad together, before flying out to the UAE.



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Covid-19: PCB offers financial support to 25 unemployed Pakistan women cricketers

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To fight with the economic challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic, the PCB has announced a three-month financial support package for 25 unemployed national women cricketers. Under this scheme, the players who meet the eligibility criteria such as featuring in the 2019-20 domestic season, and are presently without a contract for the 2020-21 season as well as a day job or business, will receive a monthly stipend of PKR 25,000 (approx US$150) each from August to October.

In June, the PCB had announced a list of women’s contracted players, which included nine centrally contracted cricketers and as many emerging contracted players. These are 12-month contracts, which commenced on July 1. The latest PCB decision takes the count of women cricketers receiving PCB support to 43.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a halt to all women cricketing activities worldwide. This has adversely affected our women cricketers, some of whom are the sole breadwinners of their families,” Urooj Mumtaz Khan, the head of the PCB women’s wing, said in a statement issued by the board.

“As the women’s game is making steady progress, it was imperative that the PCB came up with this scheme to not only protect and support our players but to also make them understand and realise that the PCB values them and will look after them in difficult times.

“Forty-eight players featured in the 2019-20 national domestic season out of which 25 became eligible to benefit from the scheme. The remaining players are either contracted by the PCB or employed elsewhere.”

In May, the PCB had offered one-time support to 161 stakeholders through an identical scheme, including former men’s first-class cricketers, match officials, scorers and curators.



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Anjum Chopra wants BCCI to be ‘more specific in communication about women’s cricket’

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Anjum Chopra, the former India women’s captain and current television commentator, believes that the BCCI has a plan for women’s cricket but wants the board to communicate its ideas more clearly.

Speaking to PTI, Chopra said: “It’s not that the BCCI is not thinking about women’s cricket. I only think they need to be more specific in communication about women’s cricket.

“I firmly believe that they must be thinking about women’s cricket but the communication all this while has been very specific to men’s cricket.”

The BCCI has received criticism of withdrawing the women from a tour of England in September, owing to logistical issues arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Then there is the question of the Women’s T20 Challenge clashing with the WBBL.

Chopra said missing out on the England tour is “not nice” but Indian players’ participation in the T20 Challenge will still be useful preparation for next year’s ODI World Cup.

“It is heartening to see women’s cricket making headlines,” Chopra said. “They should have been a part of that England tour and it did not feel nice initially but the women’s IPL [T20 Challenge], irrespective of the format, will be helpful for World Cup preparations. Any form of cricket is good preparation.

“Missing out on a tournament is not nice, but logistically there may have been issues. And you can’t send an under-prepared team.

“If you see it in isolation, we may have missed out on an opportunity to play in England. The more the girls play the better it is, before playing a tournament of the stature of World Cup. [But] the assurance from the president [Sourav Ganguly] is a very good thing.”

ALSO READ: The issues facing India women’s cricket in the face of Covid-19

Chopra welcomed the decision to hold the women’s event in the UAE alongside the IPL, which will run from September 19 to November 10. The women’s T20 Challenge will coincide with the knockouts of the men’s league.

“I am definitely happy, it’s always nice to be part of any cricket anywhere across the world,” Chopra said. “They should have been nearing the final stages of the preparation for the World Cup by now, but because of the pandemic things did not go as planned.”



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