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Good week for Indian sports, bad news for cricket board officials

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By Veturi Srivatsa

Good news for Indian sports in the last one week. The men’s and women’s teams have won the Twenty20 cricket series in Australia even as tennis star Sania Mirza claimed her first women’s doubles title at the Australian Open, and Pusarla Venkata Sindu clinched the Malaysian Badminton Masters. A rare coincidence!

The focus is back on the sports, coming out of courtrooms and board rooms, or so it appeared. But the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee recommendations to cleanse Indian cricket and its administration continue to be a subject matter of intense discussion among the state associations and officials, each one trying to read and interpret the fine print to suit his personal interests.

Even before the detailed Lodha Committee report is fully studied by state associations, as instructed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the appointment of Justice Ajit Prakash Shah as the board’s ombudsman, as suspected, is getting flooded with complaints, the initial ones on the alleged conflict of interest involving some top guns.

Smartly, Justice Shah lobbed the ball back into the court of the complainant, asking for the specific rules under which the allegations can be taken up for examination!

The complaint is against three high-profile administrators, two of these former India cricketers, Sourav Ganguly and Vikram Rathour. The third person dragged into the conflict is board secretary Anurag Thakur. A free-lance journalist from Mumbai found a serious conflict of interest with the functioning of all three.

It was pointed out that Ganguly has business contacts with owners of the new franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and Thakur and Rathour are said to be cousins and have business connections. The issue has apparently been raised because Thakur is the board secretary, and during his tenure as one of the principal office-bearers Rathour was appointed as a national selector.

Justice Shah has taken up the issue with Ganguly and the board for clarification, and even said that he had not heard from Ganguly, though the former India captain insists he had sent in his reply.

Thakur was quick to refute the allegations, stating his business relations with Rathour has nothing to do with cricket and that their families have known each other for four decades.

For good measure, Thakur points to a sinister motive behind the complaints as he sees names of only a particular section of the board officials are being dragged. He also defended the board’s media manager, saying he has no stake in the media company he has been linked to. What Thakur doesn’t say is that the media manager was involved with a couple of former Test stars as their agent.

Whatever Ganguly and Thakur might say, prima facie they cannot deny their personal relations with the people they are involved with and they have to come clean. The complainant has done extensive research before filing his complaints and it is up to the ombudsman to take the call.

Ganguly, who is a member of the IPL Governing Council, is a co-owner of Indian Super League football club Atletico de Kolkata along with well-known businessmen. Nothing wrong with the arrangement till one of the tycoons bought IPL’s new Pune-based franchise. It would be interesting to see how Ganguly explains it away logically with legalese thrown in.

In Thakur’s case it is more personal. He was joint secretary when Rathour was appointed as a national selector and he was secretary when the former India opening batsman got the extension, though Rathour qualifies by virtue of being a former Test player.

The crux of the matter is not whether Rathour deserves to be a selector, the complainant brought into focus Rathour citizenship, pointing out that he is a British and carries that country’s passport.

In the case of the BCCI’s media manager, the allegation is that a family member of his is taking care of his business interests. Here it must be mentioned that he also fits in with the media job as he had worked with electronic media for a few years before getting into event management. His proximity to some top players is all too well known. In the past, there were disparaging whispers about a board’s media adviser being a columnist.

Thakur has also obliquely stated that the appointment of the ombudsman has given rise to some people to make false allegations. Eventually, he has to explain his position and it is for the ombudsman to decide whether there is any conflict of interest in Ganguly and Thakur-Rathour business dealings.

The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), of which Ganguly is president, is the first state unit to officially come out with objections to 10 of the 21 recommendations of the Lodha Committee!

Good week for sport, bad news of board officials. (IANS)(Photo: www.holdingwilley.com)

(Veturi Srivatsa is a senior journalist. The views expressed are personal)

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9 Best Innings by Yuvraj Singh in One-day Cricket

The all-round Punjabi cricketer who made through everything from cancer to full-pressure innings

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The cricketer survives through cancer and came back shining. Wikimedia commons
  • Yuvraj hit 6 sixes off 6 balls in a match with England.
  • He was the Man of the series in an ODI series against Pakistan in 2006.
  • The cricketer has fought and survived cancer.

Yuvraj Singh, a cricketer who plays all forms of the game. He is an all-rounder, left-handed batsman, and slow left-arm orthodox bowler. The cricketer was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in 2011 in his left lung, he underwent a chemotherapy. After a break of almost a year, he made his international comeback in a Twenty20 match in September 2012.

He was many achievements to his name including that of Padma Shri Award and Arjuna Award. The Test of My Life: From Cricket to Cancer and Back is his autobiography.

Also Read: Cricket- A Fair Game or Farce!

Here are 9 best inning by Yuvraj Singh in One-day Cricket:

1. 139 vs Australia

He was playing the seventh match of VB series in Sydney on 22nd January 2004. In one of his finest efforts, he scored a 139 against Australia. Though India lost the match, but Yuvraj Singh did prove that he possessed match-winning capabilities.

2. 107 vs Pakistan

It was a five-match ODI series against Pakistan in March 2006. India’s target was 286, which was quite competitive as Pakistan was playing for pride. However, Yuvraj Singh along with M.S. Dhoni led India to an easy victory. India won the series by 4 to 1. Yuvraj had an unbeaten score of 107 off 93 balls. He was named Man of the Match and also Man of the series.

The Punjabi player slayed England when he shot 6 sixes of an over. Wikimedia commons
The Punjabi player slew England when he shot 6 sixes off an over. Wikimedia Commons

3. 103 vs South Africa

Another five-match ODI series, this time with South Africa in 2005. Though India lost this match by 5 wickets, Yuvraj Singh had scored 103 off 122 balls, it included 10 boundaries, out which 3 were sixes. He scored this century when the top batting order had failed. Singh had scored three centuries in that series, all three under pressure.

4. 110 vs West Indies

He was the playing in the sixth match of the Indian Oil Cup in Colombo on 7th August 2005. Yuvraj Singh is remembered for this match due to his angry gestures and annoyance at coach Greg Chappell’s criticism of his batting. He had steadied the score to 262 with 110 after the top order failed. India won the match by 7 runs.

5. 118 and 4/28 vs England

He picked four important wickets in this match, which included Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen. On 17th November 2008, it was the second ODI between India and England at Indore. He contribution was 118 to a 292 total score. India won the match by 54 runs.

Yuvraj Singh plays all forms of Cricket, he is an all-rounder. Wikimedia commons
Yuvraj Singh plays all forms of Cricket, he is an all-rounder. Wikimedia Commons

6. 58 vs England

This was the grand record-making match. It was in this match that Yuvraj hit 6 sixes off 6 balls. He scored 58 runs off 16 balls during the Super Eights match between England and Indian during ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Championship. India had won the game by 18 runs.

Also read: Has Cricket affected India positively or Negatively?

7. 70 vs Australia

Semi Final match between India and Australia of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup. In this match, the hits flowed off his bat in torrents and piloted India to a magnificent 188 in 20 overs. Yuvraj underlined his importance with a catch which sent back the dangerous Mike Hussey. India won the match by 15 runs.

8. 2/44 and 57 vs Australia

This was Ricky Ponting’s last match. The quarter-final match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 between India and Australia. He guided his team to a competitive total of 260. But Yuvraj foiled his plans with an all-around performance. He sent Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke to the pavilion and also scored a vital half-century which resulted in India’s unforgettable win.

The Test of My Life is Yuvraj Singh's autobiography. Wikimedia commons
The Test of My Life is Yuvraj Singh’s autobiography. Wikimedia Commons

9. 69 vs England

This was a time when India had consequently lost 9 one-day finals. England gave a heavy target of 326. India lost 5 wickets after the 1 wicket got off. When Tendulkar fell, many switched off their televisions as he went back to pavilion. However, there were two men still standing on the crease. Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif made a marvellous partnership that led to India winning the match. This was the match in after which Saurav Ganguly took off his shirt at Lord’s.