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BCCI ethics officer receives conflict of interest complaint against Virat Kohli

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A conflict of interest complaint has been filed against Virat Kohli for his positions in two business ventures.

Complainant Sanjeev Gupta, a life member of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, wrote an email to BCCI ethics officer-cum-ombudsman Justice (retd) DK Jain and a number of BCCI executives, including president Sourav Ganguly and CEO Rahul Johri, arguing that Kohli’s various posts were in violation of the BCCI constitution. In his complaint filed on July 4, Gupta said that Kohli’s co-directors at Virat Kohli Sports (LLP) and Cornerstone Venture Partners (LLP) were also directors in Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment Private Limited, a talent agency that contracts Indian cricketers and handles their branding and commercial interests. Justice Jain said he was examining the complaint.

“Shri Virat Kohli is occupying two posts at a time in blatant violation to BCCI Rule 38 (4) approved by Supreme Court Of India. As such, he must relinquish his one post at once in compliance. His two posts are covered as under: A – 38(4)(a) – Player and B – 38(4)(o) – Contractual Entity, to be read with BCCI Rule 38(1) (iii),” Gupta’s complaint said.

Rule 38(4) of the BCCI constitution prevents individuals from holding more than one of 16 posts: player (current), selector/member of cricket committee, team official, commentator, match official, administrator/office bearer, electoral officer, ombudsman & ethics officer, auditor, any person who is governance, management or employee of a franchisee, member of a standing committee, CEO & managers, office Bearer of a Member (state association), service provider (legal, financial etc.), contractual entity (broadcast, security, contractor etc.) and owner of cricket academy.

“I have received a complaint,” Justice Jain told PTI on Sunday. “I will examine it and then see if the case is made out or not. If yes, then I have to afford an opportunity to him (Kohli) to respond.”

Gupta had previously filed conflict of interest complaints against Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman and also Rahul Dravid. In each of those instances, the ethics officer had served notices based on the complaints, but the former cricketers were eventually cleared.



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Lanka Premier League postponed until mid-November

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The Lanka Premier League (LPL) has been postponed until at least mid-November, after Sri Lanka’s government insisted that anyone arriving on the island for the tournament would have to undergo a 14-day quarantine. With only 17 days to go until the scheduled start of the LPL, and with a two-week quarantine period representing a substantial cost for organisers, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was forced to rethink the tournament’s timing.

SLC had hoped Sri Lanka’s health ministry would allow a shorter and more flexible quarantine period for those directly involved in the tournament – players, broadcast crew, organisers and commentators – but with many of the potential new arrivals coming from nations dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks, government health officers had not consented.

“We’re not the experts, so we had to go with what the health ministry is telling us,” SLC vice-president Ravin Wickramaratne told ESPNcricinfo. “There’s a window from November 20th to December 12th, so that is what we are planning.” It was not feasible to simply push the tournament back several weeks, as it would then clash with the proposed dates for the IPL, which the LPL is unlikely to be able to compete with in terms of viewer interest.

ALSO READ: Bangladesh tour of SL could be rescheduled to October

Sri Lanka has largely been successful in containing the virus, recording even fewer official deaths than New Zealand. But that has been the result of stringent quarantine measures, which may even hurt the chances of international cricket resuming in Sri Lanka in October. Bangladesh are due to tour for a Test series during that month, with the BCB even asking to send a development squad, meaning there may be as many as 60 arrivals from Bangladesh. But if all of those flying in are required to undergo 14 days in quarantine, even that tour becomes less feasible, according to Wickramaratne.

“We have asked the health ministry to try and be more flexible going forward,” he said. “If they have to do a 14-day quarantine for the Bangladesh tour, then the costs of that will have to be borne by their board, and it becomes difficult.”

Playing the LPL at such short notice was always going to be a stretch given franchises are yet to be finalised for the five teams, while sponsors were yet to be found as well. The scarcity of flights into Colombo presented yet another serious logistical hurdle, with players and broadcast personnel needing to be flown in from various parts of the world.

SLC had confirmed an event-holder for the tournament in the Dubai-based Innovative Production Group (IPG), however, and IPG is expected to now work towards holding this tournament in November.

SLC has frequently failed to host a franchise T20 tournament. On at least four previous occasions, the board has announced a tournament that never materialised.



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Simon Kerrigan signs for Northamptonshire, three years after last professional match | Cricket

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Simon Kerrigan last made a professional appearance in 2017 © Getty Images


Simon Kerrigan, the left-arm spinner who played one Test for England in 2013, has signed a two-year contract at Northamptonshire, nearly three years since his last professional appearance.

Kerrigan, 31, was released by Lancashire at the end of the 2018 season after going a full year without making a first-team appearance, during which he put his playing career on hold to focus on coaching during a struggle for form.

Regrettably, he is best known for struggling badly on his Test debut against Australia at The Oval, during which he conceded 53 runs from his eight overs in the match. He was not immediately discarded by England, travelling to Sri Lanka with the Lions in the 2013-14 winter and winning a recall to the squad during the India series the following summer.

But his County Championship form tailed off somewhat: having taken 57 wickets at 20.89 in 2013, he averaged 35.36, 32.21 and 37.88 in the next three summers, before falling out of the first team in 2017. He joined Northants on loan for four games at the end of that season, but played club cricket for Fulwood and Broughton as a specialist batsman in 2018.

In 2019, he returned to bowling with a bang, taking 62 wickets at 8.48 apiece in the Northern Premier League to top the wicket-taking charts, and has trained regularly with Northants, travelling to Singapore with them on their pre-season tour. He has now signed a two-year deal with the club, which runs until the end of the 2022 season.

“I’m delighted to have signed,” Kerrigan said. “I’ve worked hard over the winter and went on the pre-season tour to Singapore with the club, and felt in a good place pre-Covid to push for a contract. I’m really happy that the club have put their faith in me and offered me a contract for next year.

“It’s an exciting time for the club with Sads [John Sadler] and Lids [Chris Liddle] coming in on the coaching staff along with being in Div 1 next year. I hope I can contribute a few five-fors to the cause and be part of some successful campaigns for Northamptonshire.”

“Since Graeme White retired from that side of the game we’ve been short of red-ball spin… so it’s great to have [Rob] Keogh and Kerrigan as a pair of red-ball spinners for Division One,” David Ripley, Northants’ head coach, said.

“Simon and I have kept in touch pretty much since he came on loan in 2017 and he’s bowled regularly with the squad too. I think where he is now is a really exciting place: he’s a bit more content in himself and his bowling is in a great place technically.

“I’m really excited: I’m pleased for him because he’s a cracking lad, a bit of a cricket badger and I’m really pleased we’ve given him and opportunity and I’ve just got that feeling it’s going to be a good story.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98


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SLC hopeful LPL can start on August 28 despite Covid-19 hurdles

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Sri Lanka Cricket remains optimistic the Lankan Premier League (LPL) can begin on August 28, although government health approvals are yet to come through less than three weeks out from the scheduled start.

SLC has now found an organiser for the tournament, however, signing a five-year deal with the Dubai-based Innovative Production Group (IPG), a company that has previously been involved in Pakistan Super League production and broadcasts. As per the terms of the deal, it is now down to IPG to find franchisees for the five proposed LPL teams, as well as secure sponsors, and conduct an LPL draft. According to officials 70 overseas players have expressed a strong interest in playing.

The major concern, however, is the quarantine period overseas players will be required to undergo upon arrival in Sri Lanka. Teams are not due to be finalised until next week, which means players are unlikely to arrive more than 10 days out from the scheduled start. At present, new arrivals on the island are expected to spend at least seven days in quarantine (they have the option of doing so at specially designated luxury hotels), which means players would have only a few days’ preparation with their teams, at most.

“We are ready to start on the 28th, but there are some areas where we will have to be in line with the health authorities,” SLC vice-president Ravin Wickramaratne told ESPNcricinfo. “By the 13th they will give us the guidelines as to what to do with the players. We had a couple of meetings with the health authorities, who have come up with health guidelines for tourists. They’d have to be in quarantine for seven days, but then their movements are restricted. We are trying to see whether foreign players can be excepted. We are not the experts, so we will wait for their guidance.”

Also posing a significant challenge is the scarcity of international flights into Colombo. Right now, tourism has ground to a halt, and repatriation flights account for the majority of arrivals.

“The other concern is some of the players coming from Australia, South Africa and England,” Wickramaratne said. “I think in England airports are operational, but other countries – their airports are closed. That’s what we will have to look into, whether we get those players to a central point and then charter them here. But we are still waiting for IPG to inform us who are the players, and where they are coming from.”

While government approval is being awaited, talks are understood to be ongoing between IPG and potential franchisees. IPG hopes to have awarded franchise rights by the end of the week, with the company apparently holding discussions with franchise owners from established leagues such as the IPL and PSL.

According to Wickramaratne, all franchisees who come on board will also be vetted by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit before the tournament can take place. In 2012, SLC had hosted a franchise-based T20 tournament that was dogged by corruption allegations, with Lasith Malinga even reporting a suspicious approach from a figure aligned with his then franchise.

Although originally SLC had announced that the tournament would be played in its four day-night venues, Wickramaratne has confirmed that the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo is currently out of commission due to ongoing renovation work. The tournament will instead only be played in Hambantota, Pallekele and Dambulla, which means Sri Lanka’s most populous city will not see any of the action.



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