Hello and welcome to the daily round-up of all the major stories happening in the cricketing world today.
First up is the confusion surrounding the commencement of IPL 2020, followed by Rohit Sharma speaking on his chances in Test Cricket. Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari score big in the warm-up match and Ravi Shastri demanding ruthlessness in the upcoming two-match Test series. And lastly, Rajasthan Royals are set to play two IPL games in Assam's Barsapara Cricket Stadium.
Here is a look at those stories in detail.
#1 IPL 2020 set to be delayed
The starting date of IPL 2020 might be subject to change after ICC snubbed BCCI's appeal of rescheduling Dubai meetings set for the same day. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had declared March 29 as the starting date of IPL 2020 after taking over the top BCCI post.
According to a source, ICC rejected BCCI's plea as the dates were confirmed by August 2019 itself including the dates of the next annual conference in Cape Town (to take place on July 17 & 18 this year).
“The BCCI had written to the ICC to request for a date change, but that wasn’t possible."
“The dates for these meetings (there is a series of ICC meetings in Dubai from March 27-29) were communicated to all the member countries in August last year. All the travel/accommodation/meeting space is booked for all the meeting participants accordingly.”
“The dates for all the ICC meetings are fixed well in advance. Even the dates for the next annual conference of the ICC, scheduled to be held in Cape Town on July 17 & 18 this year, were finalized last August itself.”
#2 Rohit Sharma cites examples of Hussey and Ronaldo to make a Test return
Indian vice-captain in the limited-overs format, Rohit Sharma is confident of cementing his place in the longest format, taking inspiration from former Australia captain Michael Hussey and Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sharma, who is nursing a calf injury and was subsequently ruled out of the New Zealand ODI and Test series, sounded hopeful of a strong show in Test cricket and stated how age was not an issue in the current era in any sport and people who were willing to learn always found a way out.
“There is a very Australian cricketer Michael Hussey, he made his Australian (Test) debut when he was 30. He played for 6-7 years and he is called Mr. Cricket. This is good learning for all of us, there is no age to start any sport.”
“Ronaldo is a big example. He lost his father at an early age. He was brought up by his mother alone, it was not an easy household to be a part of. But look where he is now. You can’t stop believing."
Here's wishing you a speedy recovery, Hitman.— BCCI (@BCCI) February 5, 2020
See you, soon 💪 pic.twitter.com/1qLkcRioWb
#3 Pujara and Vihari strike form, Shaw and Gill disappoint
The Indian team suffered a shocking batting collapse in the warm-up game against New Zealand XI, with eight players only managing single-digit scores. Hanuma Vihari scored a brilliant century to put forth his contention for a spot in the playing XI while Indian run-machine Cheteshwar Pujara scored a blissful knock of 93 runs.
However, Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, and Mayank Agarwal registered scores of 0, 0 and 1 respectively to leave the fans disappointed. With Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan ruled out due to injuries, two of the above three are set to open the innings in the 1st Test match in Wellington beginning February 21.
India all out for 263 in the practice game against New Zealand XI.— BCCI (@BCCI) February 14, 2020
Vihari 101 retd, Pujara 93 pic.twitter.com/8h0uONqFpx
#4 'Have to play like number 1 Test team,' says Ravi Shastri
Indian head coach Ravi Shastri has reiterated captain Kohli's words and demanded clinical stuff going into the Test series in Wellington starting February 21. Speaking ahead of the first Test, Shastri wants the team to be ruthless on all fronts and gather maximum points keeping in mind the World Test Championship.
Shastri also spoke about the rivalry and hype created around youngsters Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill and how it gels well for the future of Indian cricket. He explained how Gill was the batsman to look for, praising his cool and calm temperament at such an early age.
"We need 100 points to be in contention to play at Lord's (in the World Test Championship final). Two overseas wins out of six Tests will keep us in good stead. We play six Tests overseas this year (two in NZ and four in Australia). So, that's one objective. The other is to play like the world's No. 1 Test team, because that's what this team believes in more than anything else. On the Test front, that's what we're looking at," he told TOI.
“What a wonderful talent. I have been watching him closely for two years now and the way he’s gone about it, it was only a matter of time before he got here. Whether or not he plays in this Test (Wellington), we know for sure that he’s here to stay,” he said.
#5 Rajasthan Royals to play two home games in Guwahati
After an ugly spat due to the behaviour of the administrators of the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, the Rajasthan Royals contingent is set to play two IPL matches at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Assam.
RR earlier staged the IPL home matches in Jaipur as well as Ahmedabad, but due to the latter's unavailability, the IPL franchise looked towards Assam as a possible venue. RR's Riyan Parag will now get an opportunity to play in front of his home crowd.
Assam's Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took to Twitter to thank BCCI Secretary Jay Shah, who is understood to have played a major role in bringing the IPL to the North-East.
It is a moment of joy for us as @rajasthanroyals will play 2 matches in #IPL's next season in #Guwahati.— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) February 14, 2020
I appreciate Sri @JayShah for this great initiative for the people of #NorthEastIndia.
May the spirit of sports keep us united forever. @IPL@BCCI