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IPL 2020 full coverage – Interviews, quizzes, analyses and more

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Here’s the best of ESPNcricinfo’s content from the IPL 2020 season. For the full schedule and team-by-team guide, click here.

Team previews

Kolkata Knight Riders: Explosive batting KKR’s biggest strength in pursuit of third IPL title

Rajasthan Royals: Combination questions for Rajasthan Royals with Ben Stokes doubtful

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Underachievers RCB look to new faces to fix old problems

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Inexperienced middle order the weak link for Sunrisers Hyderabad

Kings XI Punjab: Will leaving out Chris Gayle give Kings XI Punjab better balance?

Delhi Capitals: Capitals start with all bases covered – except big hits down the order

Features and analysis

Wristspinners are in, but don’t write offspin off just yet
Fingerspinners are increasingly making their presence felt in the powerplay in IPL matches, Andrew Fidel Fernando writes

Here’s an ideal starting XI for each 2020 IPL team
Former India, KKR and Rajasthan Royals batsman Aakash Chopra runs his eye over the IPL squads, picking ideal starting XIs for each team

How has the Chennai Super Kings Dad’s Army fared since the last IPL?
CSK have relied on players in their mid-30s and made it to consecutive finals. But with 16 months gone since the last IPL, can their experienced players still deliver?

Smart Stats: Why David Warner topped Virat Kohli in IPL 2016
The absolute values of Kohli’s runs in 2016 are immense, but what about the actual value and impact on matches? Did another player score fewer runs or take fewer wickets, but do so in more high-pressure and demanding situations?

The IPL can actually be good practice for the Australia-India series
Ian Chappell’s column

How do the 2020 IPL captains stack up?
We take a look at seven of the eight captains in this year’s IPL and their styles

Come to Think of it: Do you really want Virat Kohli in your T20 XI?
Why Kohli might not be the ideal T20 top-order batsman

Dream Team: One out of Kohli, Dhoni and Bumrah doesn’t make it to our best current IPL XI
Our panelists pick the best current IPL XI

How the Royal Challengers Bangalore have miscalculated over the years
As RCB look to arrest their slump over the last three years, they have assembled a team that looks more balanced than the one from last season. Here’s a look at some miscalculations they have made over the years

Nagarkoti, Ahmed, Bishnoi head line-up of exciting uncapped Indian bowlers
A list of uncapped Indian bowlers is a very exciting one, with proven campaigners at the domestic level and a smattering of Under-19 stars from the recent past

Padikkal, Gaikwad in power-packed band of uncapped Indian batsmen
A list of uncapped Indian batsmen features a couple of players who have been part of, and impressed in, the IPL already, and some who will want to make their maiden forays memorable

Who will fill in for Malinga, Raina and Harbhajan in IPL?
The trio, who are such huge IPL icons, have pulled out of the tournament. ESPNcricinfo looks at how their absence could impact their franchises

Who is the only bowler to bowl two Super Overs in the IPL and win both games?
Stats analysis: And what’s the fewest runs conceded in an IPL Super Over?

Young ‘uns and big guns
Tymal Mills picks an all-time T20 XI from among the cricketers he played alongside

Interviews

Andrew McDonald: IPL 2020 is going to be all about managing the individual Rajasthan Royals’ head coach discusses the challenges of franchise cricket in the Covid-19 era and the advantage of having multiple World Cup winners in the Royals squad

David Miller: ‘I’m in awe of Dhoni’s chases. I want to finish games like he does’
Miller on his role as a finisher, his learnings from watching MS Dhoni and playing alongside big names in the Royals side this IPL

From lockdown to IPL: ‘Can’t expect 100% intensity,’ say premier quicks and coaches With IPL 2020 set to begin on September 19, what will be the focus when they go out to train? We spoke to L Balaji, Irfan Pathan, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat and Sandeep Warrier to get an idea

KL Rahul: ‘Aggression for us will be to adapt, not go kaboom from ball one’ Rahul, who will make his debut as IPL captaincy for Kings XI, talks about his captaincy role model, working with team director and head coach Anil Kumble, and why Chris Gayle running singles might not always be a good sign.

IPL MVPs
We look at the six most impactful players in the history of the IPL using ESPNcricinfo’s Smart Stats tool (min qualification 60 matches)
Rank 1: Andre Russell
Rank: 2: Chris Gayle
Rank: 3: Shane Watson
Rank: 4: Sunil Narine
Rank: 5: AB de Villiers
Rank 6: David Warner

Quizzes

Which Pakistan player played for RCB in the 2008 IPL?

Who holds the record for the highest individual score for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL?

Videos

Vijay Shankar: ‘Looking forward to facing CSK’ The allrounder talks about Sunrisers’ strengths and his personal goals for IPL 2020

Andrew McDonald: Great confidence having Stokes, Archer and Buttler in Rajasthan Royals Rajasthan Royals head coach Andrew McDonald hopes the team can learn from the 2019 ODI World Cup winners

Shreyas Iyer: ‘I enjoy batting against Rashid Khan’ The Delhi Capitals captain on what he’s looking forward to in IPL 2020

Varun Aaron: ‘Want to take 16-plus wickets in IPL 2020’ Rajasthan Royals quick on what he’s looking forward to this season

Dwayne Bravo: I’ve got a new slower ball The 500-wicket man looks ahead to IPL 2020

KKR has been one of the top teams since 2012 – Venky Mysore “A lot of stars have to align to win championships,” KKR CEO says

Mute me: Will CSK make the playoffs this year? Watch Raunak Kapoor, Dustin Silgardo, Sreshth Shah and Karthik Iyer take on each other about all things IPL

Dwayne Bravo: ‘Feels like I’m turning 27’ Dwayne Bravo talks about staying fit and why he doesn’t care about being named the MVP in the IPL



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19 – Bangladesh batsman Saif Hassan returns positive again in second test

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Bangladesh batsman Saif Hassan has returned positive in his second Covid test which was taken exactly seven days after he first tested positive.

BCB haven’t added Hassan’s name in their list of 27 cricketers considered for the preliminary squad for the Test series against Sri Lanka. If he recovers in time, Hassan could still make the squad as he has played in Bangladesh’s last two Tests earlier this year.

Saif’s domestic and Bangladesh A form in the last two years got him a place in the Bangladesh Test squad against India last year but he didn’t make the playing XI that series. He made his debut against Pakistan in Rawalpindi earlier this year and played the one-off Test against Zimbabwe in February as well.

However, disagreements over Covid-19 protocols have continue to dog Bangladesh’s series in Sri Lanka, which is scheduled to begin in late October. Last week, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had informed the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) that the Bangladesh players would need to be in quarantine for one week upon landing in the island, before being able to train.



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England news – ECB announce 62 job cuts as Covid realities hit home

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The ECB has announced a major raft of redundancies as it grapples with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the ECB are to cut their workforce budget by 20 percent – a sum which equates to the removal of 62 roles from the organisation – with most of those involved informed of the plans on Monday afternoon. In addition, other staff will see their roles become part-time or seasonal.

While one or two areas in the business have been ring-fenced – notably safeguarding positions – the cuts will impact all departments.

Although news of the redundancies was expected – the new ECB Chair, Ian Watmore, had described them as “inevitable” a fortnight ago – the extent of them is more of a surprise and reflects the growing realisation that 2021 may be no easier than 2020.

While some of the cuts will come from a decision not to fill vacant positions, the vast majority amount to redundancies. Insiders say there were tears in the ECB offices at Lord’s as the decisions were communicated to staff.

The pay cuts which were introduced for ECB executives in April – 20 percent for most; 25 percent for the chief executive, Tom Harrison – have also been extended, although only until the end of October at this stage.

There is no further news at this stage about any decision to move the ECB’s base away from Lord’s. Given the reduced ECB headcount, it would seem the requirement for office space is likely to be reduced though the actual savings, in purely financial terms, are not thought to be significant.

In time, however, it still seems likely the ECB will seek a headquarters away from St John’s Wood; an area with an exclusive reputation that may not be appropriate for a national governing body which is intent on proving its accessibility to all.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left cricket facing its most significant challenge of the modern era,” Tom Harrison, the ECB’s CEO, said. “The game has already lost more than £100m, and the financial impact is likely to be £200m if there is further disruption next year, which many are expecting.

“When the crisis first hit, the ECB put in place a range of measures to save money in the short term including furloughing staff and significant pay reductions across the organisation, in addition to a recruitment freeze. It is now an irrefutable fact however, that the impact of this pandemic is significant and will be long-lasting. There is also deep uncertainty about the future, and it is vital we take more steps now to ensure the future financial sustainability of cricket in England and Wales.

“We must reduce the cost base across the game – and that requires the ECB to lead the way by reducing its own cost base.

“Given this new reality, if we are to safeguard cricket’s long-term future and still deliver on the growth ambitions of our Inspiring Generations strategy, it is clear the ECB will need to become a leaner and more agile organisation.

“Seven months ago, sharing a message of this nature was unthinkable. The position we had created to come together as a game and grow cricket on the back of a remarkable year in 2019 was truly game-changing. Our ambition and energy are unchanged, but how we get there now needs to look significantly different to what we originally planned for.”



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Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan – Our dream is to win the T20 World Cup

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A mere 16 years after becoming part of the ICC, Afghanistan gained Test status. Four games into their Test-history, they’ve already picked up two wins, including one against a far more experienced Bangladesh team. Their top players are already global superstars who feature in multiple franchise leagues.

Given the incredible speed of the nation’s rise as a cricketing force, it doesn’t sound implausible that their players are dreaming of winning the T20 World Cup. Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s all-formats captain and leading cricketer, believes they have the talent in all departments to pull off this dream, and only need the belief, which he feels will come with more matches against the top international teams.

“The biggest dream of the whole country was to be called a Full Member team and to play a Test game,” Rashid said on DRS with Ash, a YouTube show hosted by the India offspinner R Ashwin. “That was something which we were all hoping and praying for, the whole country, and we were not expecting that to happen as soon as it did. When you’re playing a Test game against India in India, it’s more than a dream for everyone.

“When we were playing against you guys in our first Test game, we didn’t know what we were doing. Everyone was just counting – I’m going to be the first one to hit a four, the first one to hit a six, the first one to take a single. Everyone was just so excited to play the first game and to get to the ground and do his best. It wasn’t the best game for us, but there were so many things we learned.

“I think the biggest achievement [for Afghanistan] should be, right now, what the team is looking for, what the country is expecting is, to win the T20 World Cup, because we have all the skills, talent, and we just need to have that belief in ourselves that we can do it. Talent-wise we are so good, we have the spinners, we have the fast bowlers, we have the batting skills as well. But what took us down in that Test was our experience against big teams, because we didn’t play enough cricket with them.

“The moment we play more series with them, we can become a better team. We are very famous for T20 players, but inshallah, that is a dream of mine and a dream of the country that one day we will win the T20 title and that will be the biggest achievement for Afghanistan cricket and for us as well.”

The next T20 World Cup is scheduled to be played in October-November 2021, in India. More immediately, Rashid’s focus will be on the IPL, which begins in the UAE on September 19. Rashid has been among Sunrisers Hyderabad’s key performers in his three IPL seasons so far, taking 55 wickets in 46 games at an average of 21.69 and an economy rate of 6.55.

Rashid carries good form into the IPL, having taken 11 wickets at 22.63, with an economy rate of 6.85, in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League.



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