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IPL 2020 – Chennai Super Kings’ Ruturaj Gaikwad unavailable for opener against Mumbai Indians



Ruturaj Gaikwad, the second player in the Chennai Super Kings contingent to test positive for Covid-19 last month, will not be available for selection for the team’s opening game, the IPL 2020 tournament opener against Mumbai Indians on September 19. Gaikwad has finished his two-week quarantine and is understood to be asymptomatic, but he is yet to clear the two mandatory Covid-19 tests put in place by the IPL for him to re-join the squad.

“We are waiting for BCCI to give us a clearance on Gaikwad. He has to undergo the fitness tests [as well],” Kasi Viswanathan, Super Kings’ chief executive officer, told ESPNcricinfo. Viswanathan said it could take “another two days at least” to get a clear idea on when Gaikwad could return.

Viswanathan said Gaikwad continues to remain in a separate isolation facility, outside the team hotel. Less than a week after landing in the UAE on August 21, 13 members of Super Kings’ set-up had tested positive for Covid-19 and were moved out of the team hotel immediately.

As per the IPL’s medical guidelines, any player in the bubble testing positive first has to isolate for 14 days followed by testing negative twice. The two tests are carried out on consecutive days. After that, he has to undergo medical tests put in place by BCCI’s team before he can start training.

India fast bowler Deepak Chahar, who was the other Super Kings player to test positive for Covid-19 last month, underwent a similar process. Chahar recovered in time to be ready for the opening match.

ALSO READ: Ruturaj Gaikwad in power-packed band of uncapped Indian batsmen

In the wake of Super Kings stalwart Suresh Raina’s sudden withdrawal from the IPL last month, the franchise had said it was confident Gaikwad could fill in for Raina. Gaikwad has scored more List A runs than anyone for India A in the last two years – 843 runs in 15 innings. All those runs came while batting at No. 3, the position Raina mostly batted at for Super Kings.

Gaikwad began the 2019-20 season with a below-par Vijay Hazare Trophy, the 50-over competition, but bounced back in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the T20 tournament. His tally of 419 runs in 11 innings at a strike rate of 146.30 was only second to Devdutt Padikkal‘s 580 runs in 12 innings.

Hazelwood and Curran’s availability for first match remains unclear

Viswanthan also said that the IPL has not yet given its final word on whether players arriving from the England v Australia series, which concludes on Wednesday, will be exempt from the mandatory six-day quarantine.

Super Kings have two players arriving from England series: Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood and England bowling allrounder Sam Curran. Considering the players would be moving from one bubble (in England) to another (in the UAE), franchises have been requesting the IPL to reconsider the quarantine period to make them available for the teams’ first games.

ALSO READ: David Warner, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins set to miss start of IPL 2020

The IPL is understood to have told franchises that it needs to be absolutely certain about the commute from England to the UAE – which would be on a charter flight – being safe. Only then can it take a final call, in coordination with the local government authorities in the UAE.

Viswanthan confirmed that all the players arriving from the Caribbean Premier League, including former South Africa legspinner Imran Tahir and West Indies allrounder Dwayne Bravo were fit and available for selection for the first match.

Super Kings, who finished runners-up last season in the IPL, are schedule to play three matches in the first week of the tournament. After the opening match against Mumbai in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Super Kings play Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah on September 22 and then travel to Dubai to take on Delhi Capitals on September 25.

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Recent Match Report – England vs Australia 3rd ODI 2020



England won the toss and chose to bat v Australia

England will bat first after winning the toss ahead of the third and deciding ODI against Australia at Emirates Old Trafford.

The sides are 1-1 in the series so far following Australia’s 19-run victory in the first game and their monumental batting collapse in the face of some wonderful bowling by Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran, which handed England victory by 24 runs in the second match.

Steven Smith is missing again after suffering a blow to the head during training, which kept him out of the first two fixtures. He had been in doubt after Justin Langer, the Australia coach, had described Smith’s nets session on Tuesday as “a bit rusty”. Marcus Stoinis, who has deputised at No. 3 in the first two matches, holds his place in an unchanged side.

Captain Aaron Finch said Australia were taking a “conservative approach” after Smith pulled up below par from training on Tuesday. “He was a little bit groggy and just wasn’t 100 per cent,” Finch said.

England have made one change, leaving out Curran for Mark Wood, who has overcome the ankle niggle which sidelined him from the second match on Sunday and who offers some extra pace, with play set to begin in gorgeous sunshine on a fresh strip with a short boundary towards the temporary stand.

England: 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Sam Billings, 7 Chris Woakes, 8 Tom Curran, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Mark Wood

Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Marcus Stoinis, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Mitchell Marsh, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

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CSA distances itself from Independent director Kula-Ameyaw after tweet against Momentum



Cricket South Africa’s Members Council has referred independent board director Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw to its social and ethics committee following a late night tweet against the financial services company Momentum, which announced it would not renew their ODI sponsorship deal. CSA have also apologised to Momentum for the Kula-Ameyaw’s conduct.

The tweet, which was posted at 11:35pm on Tuesday and has since been deleted, appeared to remind Momentum of the money that CSA and other South Africans, including government, invest in the company and raised questions about its transformation record.

“Momentum forgets that we invest hundreds of million in Momentum in our SOE (State-Owned Enterprises) investments and pension funds. I remember asking for the BBBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) certificate in my other board. Just check before you make an irrational decision.”

CSA called the tweet “unfortunate and unwarranted,” “distanced itself,” from its contents, and “sincerely apologised,” to Momentum. “We thank Momentum for the substantial contributions they have made towards cricket upliftment and the milestones we achieved through their sponsorship and we assure them, that we will continue to build on the successes to grow and develop the game of cricket even further,” Beresford Williams, CSA’s acting president said.

Momentum is a financial services company that offers insurance, investments and healthcare products and it has been a CSA sponsor since 2012. It will cease its backing for ODI cricket, the domestic one-day cup and several development initiatives once its contract comes to an end in April 2021, citing concerns with “the current state of affairs at CSA regarding governance and other reputational issues,” according to Carel Bosman, head of sponsorships at Momentum. However, Momentum will continue to back the national women’s team until 2023.

In a televised interview with news network eNCA, Bosman explained that the company sees it as their responsibility to continue to ask questions of CSA “There are matters that are concerning at Cricket SA and as a partner to Cricket SA we have to keep them accountable”. eNCA tweeted a clip of the interview and Kula-Ameyaw replied to it with the now-deleted tweet. She then replied to another user Dean Koen, who suggested all sponsorships should be withdrawn and that cricket should be about the players.

The reference to transformation is key because Kula-Ameyaw is also CSA’s transformation chair and it is under her ambit that the organisation’s Social Justice and Nation-Building committee is being run. She has been critical of the slow pace of transformation and appears to also suggest Momentum is not representative. Momentum, like all other companies in South Africa, is required by law to be compliant with the BBBEE Act, an affirmative action policy which Kula-Ameyaw mentioned in her deleted tweet.

CSA said that Kula-Ameyaw made her points in “her personal capacity,” and does not reflect the organisation “CSA wishes to reiterate that Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw did not act in her professional position as a non-executive board member of CSA,” Williams said. “While we respect the personal views of all South Africans, CSA wishes to distance itself from the articulations made by Dr Kula-Ameyaw on Twitter. We further wish to reiterate that CSA does not ascribe to the views expressed regarding Momentum and we sincerely value the benefits Momentum and all our sponsors bring in making cricket accessible and inclusive for all South Africans”

Kula-Ameyaw will now have to appear before CSA’s Social and Ethics committee, of which she is a member, and may face disciplinary action. “CSA is taking this matter very seriously and in light of the reputational damage potentially caused, CSA’s Members’ Council has referred the matter to the Social and Ethics Committee and once all internal processes have been completed, the necessary corrective action will be taken,” a CSA statement read. “As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the reputation of Cricket South Africa, the organisation’s management will be re-educating all its internal stakeholders on better understanding its Social Media Policy and to ensure employees across all levels understand the value afforded by sponsors and supporters.”

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Pakistan Cricket Board signs three-year broadcast deal with PTV



The PCB has signed a three-year broadcast deal with the state broadcaster Pakistan Television (PTV). The deal will see PTV broadcast all Pakistan’s home bilateral commitments as well as all domestic cricket.

The deal ends a brief period of uncertainty as the PCB’s five-year deal with Ten Sports ended earlier this year, in a shrinking broadcast market further hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. It marks a return of sorts for the broadcaster that played such a vital role in the growth of the sport with its broadcasts from the 1970s right up to the late 1990s. From the 2000s, until earlier this year, the PCB’s broadcast rights resided mainly with Ten Sports; PTV broadcast home games as part of a joint consortium with Ten Sports from 2012 until December last year.

Details of the deal have not yet been made public but it appears to be a departure from regular broadcast deals in which broadcaster and board agree on a total value the home board’s fixtures are worth and then the broadcaster pays that amount out over the course of the deal.

In this case, the PCB and PTV will share revenues made from commercial rights for fixtures in the calendar: the PCB taking a 57.5% share and PTV 42.5%.

Global rights for Pakistan’s cricket will be sold separately. The PCB will keep production rights of the broadcast and bear its costs, and there is expected to be an Operations Committee on which members from both parties will sit overseeing broadcasts.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will witness the signing of agreements between the PCB, PTV and cable operators regarding Pakistan Cricket Broadcast and Cable Distribution Rights at a ceremony being held in Islamabad today.

More to follow…

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