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RIP Richie Benaud: ‘From our broadcast box you can’t see any grass at all, it is simply a carpet of humanity’

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By Shilpika Srivastava

Richie Benaud once said, ‘My Mantra is – Put your brain into gear and if you can add to what’s on the screen then do it, otherwise shut up.’  Though, he lost the cancer battle, Benaud will always stay alive in the memories of cricket fanatics.

It was in November that he revealed that he was being treated for skin cancer.

Benaud, a pioneering leg-spin bowler, played in 63 tests, 28 as captain, before he called out for retirement in 1964 only to pursue a career in journalism & broadcasting.

First man to accomplish 2,000 runs and 200 wickets in Test matches, Benaud, in his entire cricket career, took 945 wickets in 259 first-class matches and made 11,719 runs, scoring 23 centuries at an average of 36.50.

‘Voice of Cricket’

Benaud, following the 1956 Ashes tour in England, completed a BBC course, which embarked his journey of a 40-year long association with the corporation.

With his first BBC radio commentary in 1960, he soon made an appearance on television. He also became the lead commentator on Australian television’s Channel Nine from 1977.

Benaud’s ground-breaking commentary, light delivery and striking appearance were affectionately parodied and imitated by cricket fans and comedians.

Remembered for one liners

Benaud’s witty, exceptionally sharp and perfectly-timed one-liners said during hundreds of One Day and Test cricket matches certainly make him much more than just a commentator. His few of the most famous one-liners are:

  •  ‘Marvellous…’ 
  •  ‘From our broadcast box you can’t see any grass at all, it is simply a carpet of humanity.’
  •  ‘The hallmark of a great captain is the ability to win the toss, at the right time.’
  •  His throw went absolutely nowhere near where it was going.
  •  That slow motion doesn’t show how fast the ball was traveling.

Indeed, Benaud’s legacy will live on in his quintessential one-liners. RIP Richie Benaud!

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Will the exciting lineup of new IPL Players get to play in the 2019 Cricket World Cup?

The bench strength looks impressive, but it has to be tested sooner than later.

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When will the exciting IPL stars get a chance if others are allowed to consolidate their positions playing at home? Pixabay

-by Veturi Srivatsa

New Delhi, October 23, 2017 :
 So much of cricket is being played around the world — Tests, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20s. The so-called pecking order is going for a toss with each passing series.

India, who got to the No. 1 position in the One-Day Internationals after beating Australia, vacated it for South Africa who went up beating Bangladesh.

Bangladesh are still playing in South Africa, Sri Lanka in the Gulf, home of Pakistan, and New Zealand are in India for a series each in the two shorter formats. Australia are getting ready for the Ashes and the South Africans will be looking forward to settling a score with India.

Every international side is seriously looking to the 2019 World Cup, building their core component, or is it rebuilding with less than two years for the mega event. Some top cricketers around the world are happy playing in the shorter formats to prolong their careers and with an eye on the pay packages.

There was a time good Test cricketers used to move into the One-Day format on the strength of their technique and fitness. Players now look to get into the Test squad on the weight of their performance in the ODIs. Both the players and the selectors are striking a blance between the long duration domestic cricket and the Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL).

India are going through a peculiar renaissance of sorts. Players who are thought to be indispensable not long ago are being rested, rotated and dropped whichever way one wants to take the selectors’ and team management’s perspective.

Not one or two players, practically the entire Test attack is banished to domestic cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajay Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav are playing in the ongoing Ranji Trophy just to keep them in the loop. Jadeja is, with a vengeance, scoring hundreds and taking wickets.

The captain and chief coach Ravi Shastri seem to be calling the shots. Virat Kohli, like his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is slowly seeing the back of senior cricketers who he feels are slow coaches in the field, Jadeja being the exception. Both Jadeja and Ashwin had to go out for their inability to take wickets in the middle-overs on a regular basis.

Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal are providing the variety in the attack and importantly they are taking wickets bowling at any stage of the match. Axar Patel is doing the backup job. If Ashwin and Jadeja are in consideration for 2019, then they should also get to bowl a lot of overs before their fate is decided once and for all.

If there are four players good enough to open the innings, none of them is being considered for a middle-order position. Actually, Lokesh Rahul is the man the team management wants to keep him in the squad. He also prefers to open the innings and he just couldn’t adjust at No.4 behind Kohli. Hardik Pandya was tried at four and looked good in one match and then he became a floater, pushing Dhoni up and down.

Ajinkya Rahane continues to be a stop-gap opener, getting an opportunity whenever Rohit Sharma or Shikhar Dhawan are out through injuries. Strangely, he is not seen as a middle-order bat after an impression was created that he cannot rotate the strike, though it was during his early years in international cricket.

The other middle-order slots are now with Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey, both have good performances and the powers that be think the two should to be nursed, particularly Jadhav who is not only a handy bowler but also a decent wicket-keeper in an emergency. Rahul is another who keen keep wickets. Amazingly, the squad to play New Zealand has a regular wicket-keeper, Dinesh Karthik as a batsman. He is also seen as a contender for the No.4 position.

Kohli continues to be the man to hold both the top order and in the middle, more so while chasing. His record is amazing going into his 200th match on Sunday against New Zealand in Mumbai. He has 12 hundreds more than Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly who had 18 each at the very stage of their careers.

Kohli’s faith in Dhoni as his onfield consultant gives a totally different connotation to captaincy. None of the Fab Four or Five ever looked demonstrably carrying the side as Dhoni looks today. The arrangement is working out perfectly fine. The two are pulling the the youngsters in the side with them to give them confidence.

When will the exciting IPL stars get a chance if others are allowed to consolidate their positions playing at home? When will Rishab Pant, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Nitish Rana or someone like all-rounder Washington Sundar and fast bowler Mohammad Siraj get a look in?

The bench strength looks impressive, but it has to be tested sooner than later.

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Veturi Srivatsa, a senior journalist and was first published at IANS. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at sveturi@gmail.com)

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Film Stars step out for a Friendly Cricket Match to Raise Awareness and Funds for Cancer Patients

Cricket is something everyone plays since childhood in India. It is the biggest sport in India and to mix it with a social cause is the best thing

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Rajneesh Duggal was part of the crew who played the friendly match. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 22, 2017 : Film celebrities like Rajneesh Duggall, Zayed Khan and Saqib Saleem stepped out for a friendly cricket match to create awareness and raise funds for cancer patients.

They played as part of the Ink Cricket Blast 2017 here on Saturday.

The cause is close to Rajneesh’s heart as someone in his family is suffering from cancer.

“This is a great initiative and I am always up for a social issue. This is something which is very close to my heart. Someone in my life has been suffering from it and cancer is something I’ve always personally associated with and I feel whatever I can do from my side, I must do,” he said.

“Fukrey” fame actor Varun didn’t participate in the game, but he was there to show support.

“There is always a connection with a social cause. If you combine sports with a social cause, there is nothing better than that! Cricket is something everyone plays since childhood in India. It is the biggest sport in India and to mix it with a social cause is the best thing,” he said.

Saqib said “it’s a great cause and cricket is religion in India”.

The actor is currently finishing a film with Taapsee Pannu. It’s tentatively called “Makhna”, which will come out early next year. (IANS)

 

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BBC Expands Indian Operations with Four Additional Regional Languages ; Indian Network now Biggest Outside UK

The Indian operation has now become the biggest outside the UK

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BBC news services are available online and on social media. IANS

New Delhi, October 4, 2017 : In its largest expansion drive since the 1940s, the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) has launched four news services in India in Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi and Telugu languages.

The new services are available online and on social media, with a Telugu TV bulletin, BBC Prapancham, starting on Wednesday, the news provider said in a statement.

BBC News already broadcasts to 28 million people in India in Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Urdu and English.

Director of BBC World Services group, Francesca Unsworth, told reporters on Wednesday that the i.

“Our values will remain the same with the new channels, which is to inform, educate and entertain… We do not want to be restricted to Delhi-centric, capital-based reporting and will bring out the stories of rural India,” she said. (IANS)