Auction rules are out, IPL teams can retain five players

DLF IPL Auction 2014

DLF IPL Auction 2014

The Indian Premier League is to conduct a fresh auction for the new season, but an overhaul of the teams is unlikely as new rules released on Tuesday allow franchises to retain popular faces. The IPL governing council has allowed the franchises to retain five players with an added option of ‘Right to match’ (first right of refusal). Earlier, there was a talk that the Season 7 of the cash-rich league could see new-look teams as all players would be available for auction.

Simply put, the rules work perfectly for bigger teams and perhaps that is the reason smaller teams have criticised the guidelines.

In all probability, MS Dhoni will continue to be the face of Chennai Super Kings flanked by Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin. Mumbai Indians can retain skipper Rohit Sharma and Royal Challengers Bangalore can have Virat Kohli leading the squad.

The auction will be held on February 12, and if necessary, on February 13. To balance the payment structure for both Indian and foreign players, the fee for all players will be calculated in Indian rupees. The measure has been taken considering the huge fluctuation in the
dollar rates.

Not all teams are happy with the decision to increase the number of players who can be retained to five (not more than four capped Indians). They say it has been done to favour the bigger teams (read richer teams).

“There is a dearth of Indian capped players and by allowing five players to be retained, the big teams will have the cream of the Indian players,” said a senior official of a franchisee, who did not want to be quoted.  “The strength of the team depends mainly on the seven Indian players…It is done to favour the good teams; it ensures that the weaker teams never recover.”

Another official complained about the way the ‘right to match’ (joker card or first right of refusal once bidding is over) numbers have been decided. “Why after allowing a team to retain five players, they should be given another joker card. On the other hand, a team which doesn’t wish to retain has been given only three joker cards.

“How can you reward (the bigger teams) more and more? The player regulation must be more tight. That is when the league can improve.”

Each Indian batsman is a match-winner!

Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara are bubbling with confidence and self-belief.

Pujara's technique and composure will be tested by Steyn and co. in South Africa. (IANS)

Pujara’s technique and composure will be tested by Steyn and co. in South Africa. (IANS)

The young and dynamic Indian team is embarking shortly on a tour to South Africa.

This is an exciting prospect, as it will be a good indicator about the true potential of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side.

Unfortunately, the tour includes just two Test matches. A true test would have been a series of at least four Tests as it would have brought out the ability, consistency, sustainability, fitness and strategies of both sides.

The mentality for the longest version of the game is entirely different and therefore, most recent Test matches have been finishing well before the last day.

The other disadvantage is that the team does not get the opportunity to change the playing eleven as in a two-match series it would be unfair to drop any player on account of a single failure. This at times can be very frustrating for the reserve players as their only contribution starts and ends with carrying liquid supplements.

India has selected a very in-form batting side. Each one of them looks a match-winner.

Virat Kohli, Shikhar DhawanRohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara are bubbling with confidence and self-belief. They have all established themselves creditably in their home conditions and for any sportsman the challenge of replicating it in unfamiliar ones is the true test.

They are bold and brash and one hopes they remain positive even when balls are whizzing past their faces or deviating appreciably off the wicket.

Due to the Indian Premier League, players are now quite familiar with each other and so one will see a bit of banter, stares and sledging which I feel does add to the drama and excitement.

India have strengthened their bowling by selecting Zaheer Khan, who I feel will bring experience and the left-arm variety to the pace attack. Both he and Yuvraj Singh have shown the importance of fitness in today’s game and the quicker Umesh Yadav or an Ishant Sharma imbibe it the better it will be for the future of Indian cricket.

Pakistan has shown that spin is an essential weapon to trouble the South Africans and therefore R. Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha will need to play a vital part in curbing their strong batting line-up.

The crucial aspect will be how the Indian batsmen handle the fast short-pitched bowling, as watching some of them playing the hook and pull shot off the front foot does not give me immense confidence.

Great players change their technique to overcome such situations and one hopes that the present Indian batting line-up is ready to do so.

The South African side must be itching to play a Test series at home. They seem very keen to establish their superiority and number one status and have now a mix of experience and youth in both their batting and bowling. It will be interesting to see whether they will prepare green tops for their bowlers. Their sole Test-class spinner Imran Tahir could also benefit from the extra nip as he is not a bowler who rips and turns it appreciably across a batsman.

Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have both stressed on the importance of India winning away from home as a true indicator to progress.


Kohli fastest to 17 ODI tons

Statistical highlights from the sixth ODI between India and Australia in Nagpur, another high-scoring run chase…!!!

Virat Kohli brought up his hundred off 61 balls, India v Australia, 6th ODI, Nagpur, October 30, 2013

Virat Kohli brought up his hundred off 61 balls, India v Australia, 6th ODI, Nagpur, October 30, 2013

  • Virat Kohli has taken 112 innings to hit 17 hundreds in ODIs, 58 fewer than Sourav Ganguly who was the fastest to 17 ODI hundreds before him. Saeed Anwar, the next quickest batsman to 17 ODI hundreds, took 177 innings.

  • Kohli aggregated 1000 runs in ODIs in 2013, when he crossed 82 runs in this innings. This is the third consecutive calendar year in which Kohli has aggregated 1000 or more ODI runs. He became the fourth batsman in ODIs after Sourav Ganguly (1997-2000), Sachin Tendulkar (1996-98) and MS Dhoni (2007-09) to hit 1000 or more ODI runs in three or more consecutive calendar years.

  • Kohli’s 61-ball hundred was India’s third-fastest in ODIs. He came close to bettering Virender Sehwag’s 60-ball hundred for the second time in 15 days. In the second match of this series, Kohli had broken India’s record for the fastest-hundred in ODIs, which was previously held by Sehwag.

  • Kohli scored his 11th hundred in chases and moved to second place, with Chris Gayle, in the list of batsmen with most centuries in chases. Sachin Tendulkar heads the list with 17 hundreds in chases. All of Kohli’s 11 hundreds in chases have resulted in wins. Only Tendulkar, with 14 hundreds in successful chases, has a better record. Five of these hundreds for Kohli have come chasing targets of 300 or more.

  • Kohli is the first batsman to make five successive scores of 50 or more in ODIs on two separate occasions. In his last five innings, he has scores of 68*, 61, 100*, 68 and 115*. Between February 28 and July 21, 2012, he had scored four centuries and a 66 in five consecutive innings.

  • MS Dhoni became the second India batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to aggregate 1000 or more ODI-runs against Australia. Dhoni has taken 29 innings, while Tendulkar took 20. Tendulkar has scored the most runs in ODIs against Australia. Dhoni scored his 34th unbeaten innings in successful chases. He has now moved ahead of Jonty Rhodes as the batsman to remain unbeaten the most number of times in successful chases.

  • The sixth ODI in Nagpur was only the second instance in ODI history that four individual centuries were scored. The first one also involved Australia, against Pakistan at Lahore in 1998. Australia ended up winning on that occasion, though.

  • India’s opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are by far the most prolific ODI pair of 2013: in 18 innings they’ve added 1068 runs at an average of 62.82. They’ve put together five century stands this year, no other pair has managed more than two.

  • Dhawan’s 100 – his fourth century in ODIs – took his aggregate in the format to 1000 runs. It took him only 24 innings to get there, which makes him the joint-fastest among Indians, with Virat Kohli. Only five batsmenhave got there in fewer innings.

  • Bailey’s series aggregate of 474 is the best by any batsman in a bilateral series. With one match still left, he has already gone past the previous record of 467, set by Zimbabwe’s Hamilton Masakadza in a five-match series against Kenya in 2009. Bailey is more than 100 runs clear of the next-best aggregate by an Australianin a bilateral series – Andrew Symonds had scored 365 in six innings on the tour to India in 2007.

  • During the course of his 156, Bailey went past 1500 ODI runs in only his 32nd innings. Only Hashim Amla has done it faster, in 30 innings.

  • Bailey has become only the ninth Australian to score 1000 or more ODI runs in a calendar year. In 19 innings this year, he has an aggregate of 1040, at an average of 69.33 and a strike rate of 98.29. Ricky Ponting achieved it six times, while Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Watson, and Mark Waugh did it twice each.

  • Shane Watson and Bailey both scored centuries, the first instance of Australia’s No. 3 and No. 4 batsmen getting hundreds in the same ODI. It was the tenth such instance for any team; the last time it happened was three years ago, in October 2010, by South Africa against Zimbabwe. It was only the third instance of two non-opening batsmen getting hundreds for Australia in an ODI.

  • Ravindra Jadeja, the bowler who finally dismissed Bailey is also the only one who has gone at less than a run a ball against him in the series. Against Jadeja, Bailey has scored 90 off 112 balls (run rate 4.82 per over). All the others have gone at more than six per over, with R Ashwin conceding the most runs – 106 off 86.
    Bailey v Indian bowlers in this series (Qual: 10 balls)
    Bowler Runs Balls Dismissals Runs per over
    R Ashwin 106 86 1 7.39
    Ravindra Jadeja 90 112 1 4.82
    Vinay Kumar 47 40 2 7.05
    Yuvraj Singh 45 35 0 7.71
    Ishant Sharma 44 31 0 8.51
    Bhuvneshwar Kumar 37 20 0 11.10
    Amit Mishra 33 28 0 7.07
    Mohammad Shami 29 16 0 10.87
  • Australia’s batsmen have struck 47 sixes in five matches in the series so far. It’s their highest in any bilateral series, and their second-highest in any series: they’d struck 67 sixes in 11 matches in the 2007 World Cup.


Kohli’s captaincy in focus against favourite opposition

MS Dhoni appeals for an lbw, India v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy, 2nd semi-final, Cardiff, June 20, 2013

MS Dhoni appeals for an lbw, India v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy, 2nd semi-final, Cardiff, June 20, 2013

Match facts

Tuesday, July 2
Start time 09:30 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

Triangular tournaments can be hard on the ego of the team that leaves the competition first. Unlike a bigger multi-team tournament, there is no consolatory semi-final finish, or a bronze medal. There is only a lonely last place. This series has just started, but with West Indies nine points clear of both India and Sri Lanka, that last-place tag, for now, has gravitated towards the two subcontinent sides. The familiar foes, who have played each other in five different countries in the last couple of years, both need a win in the last match of the series at Sabina Park to ensure some breathing space before the entourage moves to Port of Spain.

That these two teams know each other inside out is common knowledge. While the familiarity has worked in India’s favour as their batsmen have decoded the unconventionality of Sri Lanka’s attack, the same can’t be said about the latter. They have repeatedly wilted against India’s simple game plan – ‘whatever you score, we’ll do better’. The result is that when the two meet, it is almost like India’s XI is up against Sri Lanka’s IX, with the threat posed by Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis to other teams reduced to a dud against India batsmen.

In cricket, however, most of the times, it is not a test of man-to-man strength. A special innings, an outstanding spell or even an exceptional instance of fielding is all that is required to overcome an opposition. On Friday, it was Chris Gayle who did that; on Sunday, it was Johnson Charles who blazed away. Sri Lanka have players who can do that as well – Kumar Sangakkara showed it against England in a tall chase at The Oval during the Champions Trophy – but the question is, can they do it against India?

India’s juggernaut was brought to a halt on Sunday by West Indies, but only just. West Indies’ bowlers set a template on how to stifle India’s stroke-makers on a slow pitch, and their batsmen then rolled along comfortably as the surface eased out. In the absence of MS Dhoni, who didn’t take the field after injuring his hamstring while batting, India fought hard, but were tripped by a resolute last-wicket stand. Virat Kohli, the stand-in captain, admitted the team missed Dhoni’s calmness during that frantic ending.

Sri Lanka haven’t been in their best form, but as West Indies proved, this young Indian side is beatable. With Dhoni ruled out of the rest of this series, the balance between the two sides has slightly been redressed.

Form guide

India LWWWW (Most recent first, last five completed matches)
Sri Lanka LLWWL

In the spotlight

Virat Kohli‘s reputation in world cricket received a huge boost the day he hammered the Sri Lanka bowling for a breathtaking century in Hobart in February 2012 . He scored two more against Sri Lanka in his next two matches, then another one three matches later. Since then, he has gone through a lean phase against other attacks. But when India met Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy semi-final, Kohli helped himself to an unbeaten 58, dispelling any doubts about which team is his favourite opposition. In Kingston, Kohli will be burdened with captaincy, too, and it remains to be seen if he can flourish this time.

There is no doubt that Lasith Malinga has been one of the leading limited-overs bowlers in world cricket in recent times but what has been hard to fathom is why a top bowler has been unable to come up with a counter-strategy against Indian batsmen. He has ample skill, pace and variations in his armoury, but still he has failed to find the right combination that would work against the India batsmen. Players evolve during their careers but can Malinga do it?

Team news

While Ambati Rayudu was named as the replacement for Dhoni, the only reserve India batsman at the moment in the Caribbean is M Vijay, the opener. If he is included, the batting order will need a careful rejig. It is hard to see the team disturbing Rohit Sharma or Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order.

India (probable) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 M Vijay, 5 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Umesh Yadav

Sri Lanka’s move to open with Mahela Jayawardene and Upul Tharanga paid dividends, but the rest of their batting slowed the innings down on Friday. But they do not have much room to wiggle in their batting order. However, one move they might consider given the slow nature of the Kingston pitch could be to include Sachithra Senanayake.

Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Mahela Jayawardene, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Angelo Mathews (capt), 6 Lahiru Thirimanne, 7 & 8 two of Ajantha Mendis/Sachithra Senanayake/Jeevan Mendis, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Lasith Malinga

Pitch and conditions

The conditions at Sabina Park have meant batsmen have struggled for fluency in the first half of the match and they are likely to stay the same. It is a slow pitch with some lateral movement early on, but it eases out during the second half. Just like West Indies did both times, the team that wins the toss will prefer to field.

Stats and trivia

  • India and Sri Lanka have played 41 ODIs against each other in the last five years – that is 15 more than the next most-prolific match-up of Bangladesh-Zimbabwe. Overall, the two teams have met each other 140 times in ODIs, also a record. Australia-West Indies have played against each other 135 times.
  • It’s not a surprise then that three Sri Lankans and four Indians have scored more than 1000 runs in such contests in the last five years, the top-seven batting efforts against a particular team. Shane Watson, with 930 runs against England, is the eighth batsman in this list.
  • The India and Sri Lanka bowlers haven’t done quite as well as their batting counterparts. It’s understandable since most of these matches are played on flat wickets. For wickets taken against a particular opposition in the last five years, three Sri Lanka bowlers are in the top 10 for doing it against India. Lasith Malinga is there, too, but the opposition in his case is Australia. Only one India bowler – Zaheer Khan v Sri Lanka – makes it to the list.


“There were times when you are under pressure and you miss him (Dhoni) because he remains calm under pressure.”
Stand-in India captain Virat Kohli on the narrow loss to West Indies