Coronavirus in sport: Why the ICC needs to expand the possible ways to shine the cricket ball

Coronavirus in sport: Why the ICC needs to expand the possible ways to shine the cricket ball

On Thursday after the second day of the first Test between England and West Indies, fast bowler Mark Wood said that the English seam bowlers were using sweat from their back instead of their saliva to let the ball swing the ball better.

The fast bowlers union – a name coined by the late great Malcolm Marshall – had agreed that they would not use saliva on the ball, given the dangers it could pose given the impact the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 has had on the world, leave alone sport.

Wood – and in all likelihood – most fast bowlers, talking about ways to get the ball to do their bidding and most of them may use their sweat. Twenty-five years ago, another fast bowler – South Africa’s Fanie de Vlliers – had a unique way of getting the ball to swing. Instead of using saliva, Fanie would shove the ball into his armpit. Although the umpires often grumbled about it, Fanie reckoned using spit to shine the ball was even worse.

Australian paceman Merv Hughes had a different approach. He used the shining the ball as a way to intimidate the batsman. Tall, big built and with a walrus-like moustache, Hughes would lick the ball while glaring at the batsman and then rub the ball on his crotch while snarling at them. It’s difficult to point out the reason behind his success: the effect of the swing the ball got or the intimidatory tactics that he employed.

But the coronavirus pandemic and the reintroduction of cricket after a lengthy gap is the perfect moment for the ICC to rethink its rules for fast bowlers

Given that batsmen have the advantage in both Tests and ODI cricket, given the width of the bats, bowlers need to have some leeway and the best way they can have this by legalizing the tampering of the cricket ball.

Of course, we’re not talking about the way Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft did it, using sandpaper or a sharp object. We’re talking more of the use of petroleum jelly such as Vaseline instead of sweat, so that getting the additional reverse swing will help the bowlers.

Vaseline has been used a few times in international cricket, the most infamous case in 1977 when John Lever, a fast-medium bowler from Essex used it to give the ball extra swing in the third and final Test in Madras (now Chennai). England, which was led by the late Tony Greig, was leading the series 2-0. Lever reportedly tampered with the ball in the first two Test matches, but was called out for tampering with the ball only in the third Test.

England tried defending their actions saying that the Madras heat forced them to keep rubbing their eyes to take out the sweat, which inadvertently ended up on the ball, causing it to swing more. India captain Bishan Singh Bedi even commented that had there been an ICC at the time, a number of people from the English side would have been without jobs.

But 1977 was 43 years ago, and a lot has changed in cricket starting with neutral umpires, third umpires, and the use of technology to review an umpire’s decision.

If the ICC does expand the possible ways to shine the ball, it will be good for the game, and will give fast bowlers something to look forward to in a game that has suddenly become dominated by batsmen. And while Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Joe Root are some of the best in the business today, it’ll be interesting to see how their technique changes if the bowlers are given equal advantage. And adding that extra shine to the ball, may help make cricket great again.

Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-0 – highlights, stats and comments

Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-0 – highlights, stats and comments

On Friday, Manchester United became the first team to win four consecutive matches with a margin of 3 goals or more as they spanked Aston Villa 3-0 in a Fernandes-inspired performance that also saw another precise finish from Mason Greenwood.

Aston Villa actually had the better shots in the first exchanges and Trézéguet should’ve done better he dispossessed Paul Pogba in midfield.

The miss proved vital as Fernandes won and converted a penalty which Aston Villa felt was unfair.

The second goal was a thing of beauty, as Mason Greenwood continued to show why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he is the best teenage finisher he has seen as he took a 20-yard shot, with his ostensible weaker right foot, that left Pepe Reina rooted to the spot.

The teenager now has one goal less than most goals by a teenager in United colours, a record held by George Best, Brian Kidd and Wayne Rooney.

Paul Pogba finished off the game with a precise shot from outside the box to score his first goal since April 2019.

United could have had far more goals as Aaron Wan-Bissaka missed a sitter from six yard and Anthony Martial hit the bar.



- Manchester United haven’t lost a game since January.

- They have gone 10 games unbeaten, the current longest unbeaten run in the league.

- Manchester United are the firs team to beat an opponent on every day of the week in the Premier League

- Man Utd are the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive games by 3+goals.

- The result leaves United one point behind Leicester City as the race for Europe hots up



Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Mason Greenwood:

On Greenwood’s potential: “We’ll have to wait and see. He’s got to look after himself. I’m doing my bit to help him but he’s got to do it. He’s the one that’s got to turn in performances at training, in the games and to live his life properly. It’s all down to him. He can go as far as he wants to. He’s an exceptional finisher. He’s been in the club for so long and he knows what we want for him and he knows we believe in him. You can’t leave players out when they score goals. It’s almost impossible.”

Pogba on United’s season -

“We didn’t win the Premier League. We didn’t win anything this year so obviously we have to keep working. There is a lot to do. A lot. We’re pleased with ourselves but we know we have to carry on. We are a big club and we want to keep the level up always. The performance today and the last few weeks have been very good and are the standard of Manchester United.”

Former United captain Gary Neville on front three

“Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are matured, they are established, they are the real deal - the best front three in the Premier League. I was saying that even when Manchester City were winning the league. The three that United have got are not at the level of Liverpool's front three yet, you wouldn't expect them to be, but they have the talent and ability. "There were questions whether Rashford was good enough, whether Martial was good enough and Greenwood hadn't obviously emerged back then, but they are proving they are good enough, that they can play and that they will get better. The Liverpool front three are ahead, but it is exciting for Manchester United. If you believe in young players and give them opportunities in the positions they want to play in, you will be amazed what you can achieve."

Happy Birthday Sourav Ganguly: Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, others extend birthday wishes to former Indian captain

Happy Birthday Sourav Ganguly: Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, others extend birthday wishes to former Indian captain

The legendary former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly turned 48 on Wednesday, and the Indian cricket fraternity took to social media to extend birthday wishes.

Touted to be one of the best captains the country has ever produced, Ganguly is widely credited for making India an aggressive side and instilling belief in the team that they could win overseas conditions as well.

Sachin Tendulkar was among the first ones to extend birthday wishes to his former opening partner. "Happy birthday Dadi! Hope our off-field partnership keeps going strong like our on-field ones. Wish you a blessed year ahead," Tendulkar said on Twitter.

"Many more happy returns of the day Sourav Ganguly. May you taste ever more success and receive more and more love. Have a great day and year ahead #HappyBirthdayDada," said VVS Laxman.

Mohammad Kaif wrote: "From a fine batsman to an outstanding captain & now leading Indian cricket on the whole-here's wishing my favourite captain & mentor Sourav Ganguly a very happy birthday. But FAULADI SEENA dikha ke aise kaun chadhta hai, Dada #HappyBirthdayDada."

"Wishing a very happy birthday to the most dynamic and visionary captain of his time. It's a matter of immense pleasure to work with the man who took Indian cricket to new heights. Subho Janmodin Sourav Ganguly," tweeted BCCI Secretary Jay Shah.

"Leader of Men. God of off-side. Fighter. Happy Birthday, Dada. #HappyBirthdayDada," said Aakash Chopra.

Ishant Sharma said: "Shubho Jonmodin Dada Sourav Ganguly. A true inspiration for many! Lots of love and best wishes to you! Have a great #QuarantineBirthday!"

"Happy birthday dada! From a great captain to a brilliant administrator, you have donned them magnificently. Hope you continue your good work for the betterment of Indian cricket... Godspeed. Sourav Ganguly #HappyBirthdayDada," tweeted Pragyan Ojha.

Putting out various important achievements of Ganguly, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on their official Twitter handle wrote: "Third-fastest to 10,000 ODI runs. Holds the record for the highest individual score in CWC for India. 2003 ICC World Cup runner-up. Captained India to 11 wins in 28 overseas Tests. Happy birthday to one of India's most successful captains, Sourav Ganguly."

Popularly known as 'Dada', he had made his Test debut against England in the summer of 1996. He immediately made headlines as he went on to score a century in his maiden Test at Lord's. The left-handed batsman also went on to score a century in his second Test. Thus, he became only the third batsman to score a century in each of his first two innings.

The 'Prince of Kolkata' then announced himself in the ODI format as he won four consecutive Man of the Match awards in 1997. In the 1999 Cricket World Cup, Ganguly played a knock of 183 runs against Sri Lanka and was involved in a 318-run partnership with Rahul Dravid. In 2000, the match-fixing scandal engulfed the Indian camp and Ganguly was then made the captain of the side. It was a herculean task to manage the team in turbulent times.

The former skipper played 113 Tests and 311 ODIs for India. The left-handed batsman scored 18,575 runs across all formats in his international career. Ganguly had led India in 195 matches across all formats and managed to win 97 matches out of those.

(Inputs from Agencies)

Revealed - why no bookie dared to approach Sourav Ganguly to fix matches

Revealed - why no bookie dared to approach Sourav Ganguly to fix matches

In 2010, Sourav Ganguly admitted that he was never approached by a bookie. The real reason for that appears that Indian captain was seen as such a ‘patriotic captain’ that they were afraid he’d turn them in.

A bookie was quoted saying by Sports Keeda: “During the time Sourav Ganguly was the captain, most bookies wanted him to fix matches. Not just him, even Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble, because they knew if they could have them on their side, they could influence the entire team as per the odds. But, they also knew that it could never happen, because Dada was one of the most patriotic captains. The bookies were scared to approach him as they knew, he would turn them in. So, it was a grown consensus that Ganguly cannot be sold and no one had the guts to approach him, as it could put their business into jeopardy.”

It’s common consensus that Sourav Ganguly changed the face of Indian cricket when he took over, injecting a bad boy, arrogant attitude that was neither associated with Indians nor Bengalis.

While Dhoni is often credited with sudden decisions, Sourav Ganguly also made many of them including VVS Laxman to bat at number 3 in the iconic 2001 Eden Gardens Test.

Also, he decided to ask Virender Sehwag to open in Tests, which many argue changed the face of Test cricket.

He also backed MS Dhoni his eventual successor, picking Dhoni ahead of Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik. He told Mayank Agarwal, it was his job to pick the best team.

He also believed that Dhoni wasn’t just a ‘finisher’, but was equally adept as a top-order batsman.

Sourav Ganguly said: “He batted at No. 3 when I was captain and he got a 148 against Pakistan in Vizag in the old stadium and it was fantastic. I always believed that he should bat up the order because he was so destructive. The best players in the shorter format had the ability to hit boundaries at will. “You look over a period of time in the history of ODI cricket, the best players can find the fence under pressure consistently and MS Dhoni was one of the best. That’s why he was special.”

India vs South Africa- 3rd Test: India wins by an innings and 202 runs, complete 3-0 whitewash

India vs South Africa- 3rd Test: India wins by an innings and 202 runs, complete 3-0 whitewash

Ranchi: India completed a 3-0 whitewash of South Africa with yet another comprehensive innings and 202 runs in the third and final Test here on Tuesday.

South Africa were all out for 132 in their second innings as the final two wickets taken by Shahbaz Nadeem fell without adding any runs to the overnight total. South Africa were all out for 162 in the first innings after India declared at 497 for 9 in their first essay. Mohammed Shami took 3 for 10 while Umesh Yadav and Nadeem finished with two wickets each.

Brief Scores: India 497/9 decl. South Africa 162 and 132 all-out.


King Federer plays 1500th match at home

King Federer plays 1500th match at home

Basel: Roger Federer opened his bid for a 10th title at the ATP Swiss indoors in Basel on Monday, crushing German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in what was the Swiss legend's 1,500th career match.

This landmark 6-2 6-1 success in his hometown set the 38-year-old up for his tilt at a 103rd title. "I thought the match was good," Federer said. "I felt a nice spring in my step. I was quick to the ball and it didn't take me long to get used to the conditions, that's positive. There is a danger in playing Peter indoors since he's already had two solid qualifying matches. He also serves great indoors. But I was able to control things." Federer is defending the 2018 title at his hometown event. The victory improved his career record at the tournament to 72-9 and increased his Basel win streak to 21 straight matches.

Federer, who has made the Basel final on all of his last 12 visits, owns ATP titles this season in Dubai, Miami and Halle. The Monday rout took just 54 minutes with Federer forced to break back in the second set before sprinting to the win. He will face the winner from Radu Albot and Dusan Lajovic in the second round. Federer, the winner of the previous two editions, last lost here in the 2013 final to Juan Martin del Potro.

Australian Alex de Minaur beat Bolivian Hugo Dellien 6-1, 7-5, a victory which sends the wild card into a match with the winner from second seed Alexander Zverev and American Taylor Fritz. Henri Laaksonen knocked out French eighth seed Benoit Paire 6-3, 7-5 for the evening's second Swiss victory and German Jen-Lennard Struff defeated Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-2.

(By AFP)


KL Rahul batting at no. 4 biggest positive thing for Indian team: Virat Kohli

KL Rahul batting at no. 4 biggest positive thing for Indian team: Virat Kohli

Cardiff: India skipper Virat Kohli heaped praise on KL Rahul who struck a brilliant century against Bangladesh in the second warm-up game, saying his form was the “biggest positive” India would take into their first match of the World Cup against South Africa on June 5.

On Tuesday, Rahul scored 108 runs, which included 12 fours and 4 sixes during the course of his 99-ball inning, as India defeated Bangladesh by 95 runs at the Sophia Gardens. Although, BCCI chief selector MSK Prasad had nominated Vijay Shankar for the much-debated no. 4 spot, Kohli hinted that Rahul could take that position during the course of the showpiece event.

“The biggest positive to come out of this game was the way KL batted at four,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Kohli as saying after the match. “All the other people know their role pretty well, so it was important that KL gets runs because he is such a sound player. He can get the scoreboard ticking and you saw that — a great example of the skill-set that he has.”

Asked if he was ready to bat at the number four spot, Rahul, while being diplomatic, said he was flexible with any role the team gave him. “It is a team game and you need to be flexible and be ready to bat wherever, or as a player you need to be ready to take up whatever role is given to you,” the 27-year-old batter said. “Every batsman who has played at this level knows how to handle pressure and knows how to handle the roles and responsibilities given to him,” he added.

Cricket World Cup 2019 warm-up: West Indies defeats New Zealand after scoring 421 run

Cricket World Cup 2019 warm-up: West Indies defeats New Zealand after scoring 421 run

Bristol: West Indies defeated New Zealand by 91 runs in their final warm-up match at Bristol on Tuesday ahead of the upcoming Cricket World Cup. Chasing a mammoth score of 422, New Zealand lost early wickets and they were reduced to 33 for three. Martin Guptill (5), Henry Nicholls (15), and Ross Taylor (2) all failed to leave a mark.

Skipper Kane Williamson and Tom Blundell stitched a 120 run partnership, before Williamson (85) was run out by Fabian Allen in the 26th over with the team still requiring 287 runs for the win. James Neesham and Blundell put up a 69-run stand before Neesham’s (20) departure in the 34th over. Blundell brought up his century in 39th over.

Blundell (106) was dismissed immediately after completing his century. Despite, regular boundaries by the tailenders, the asking run-rate proved too much for the Kiwi batsmen and they finally lost the match by 91 runs.Earlier, century by Shai Hope and half-century by Andre Russell helped West Indies to score a mammoth total of 421 after being asked to bat first.

Openers Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis gave a solid start to the Windies innings as they stitched a 59 run-partnership before Gayle (36) was dismissed in the eighth over by Trent Boult. Shai Hope who came to bat at number three did not allow the momentum to slip away, and he along with Lewis built an 84 run stand. Lewis (50) was finally dismissed in the 18th over.

Hope was dismissed in the 36th over after playing a knock of 101 runs. Russell and skipper Jason Holder played quickfire knocks of 54 and 47 runs respectively to take Windies past the 350-run mark. In the end, Ashley Nurse scored 21 runs off just nine balls to take the Windies score above 400.

Trent Boult took the highest number wicket for the Blackcaps as he clinched four wickets. Medium pacer Matt Henry was taken to the cleaners by the Windies batsmen as he conceded 107 runs from his nine overs. New Zealand defeated India in their first warm-up match by six wickets whereas West Indies first warm-up fixture against South Africa got abandoned due to rain.

West Indies takes on Pakistan in their opening match of the World Cup on May 31 whereas New Zealand takes on Sri Lanka in their first match on June 1. Brief Scores: West Indies 421 all out (SD Hope 101, AD Russell 54, TA Boult 4-50) defeat New Zealand 330 all out (TA Blundell 106, Kane Williamson 85, CR Brathwaite 3-75 ) by 91 runs.

Cricket World Cup 2019 warm-up: India beats Bangladesh by 95 runs

Cricket World Cup 2019 warm-up: India beats Bangladesh by 95 runs

Cardiff : India thrashed Bangladesh by 95 runs in their final warm-up match at Cardiff on Tuesday ahead of the upcoming Cricket World Cup. Chasing a score of 360, Bangladesh got off to a steady start as their openers Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar stitched together a partnership of 49 runs. Jasprit Bumrah however, dismissed both Sarkar (25) and Shakib Al Hasan in successive deliveries to stage to allow India to gain the upper hand.

Das and Mushfiqur Rahim steadied the innings for Bangladesh and they put up a 120-run stand. Yuzvendra Chahal finally provided the much-needed breakthroughs to India as he dismissed Das (73) and Mohammad Mithun (0) in the 32nd over, with Bangladesh still requiring 191 runs for the win. Mahmudullah (9) failed to leave a mark as he was sent back to the pavilion by Kuldeep Yadav in the 36th over.

Rahim and Sabbir Rahman put up a brief stand of 25 runs but they couldn’t hold the fort much longer as Rahim (90) was clean bowled by Yadav. Rahim’s departure proved as the final nail in the coffin as Bangladesh lost their final four wickets in a hurry and they lost the match by 95 runs.

Earlier, centuries by KL Rahul and MS Dhoni helped India score 359 runs for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted fifty overs after being put into bat. The Indian team started on a slow note. The opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were not able to register comprehensive scores and they departed cheaply. Dhawan and Sharma were just able to score 1 and 19 respectively.

The skipper Virat Kohli played a knock of 47 runs to steady the ship for the Men in Blue but his dismissal in the 19th over raised alarm bells in the Indian camp. Vijay Shankar (2) also failed to leave a mark and the team was reduced to 102 for four.
MS Dhoni and Rahul then took the responsibility on their shoulders and they stitched together a partnership of 164 runs to take the team to a safe total.

Both the batsmen registered centuries and their form orders well for the team going into the World Cup. Rahul played a knock of 108 runs whereas Dhoni scored 113 runs. Hardik Pandya played a 21-run cameo to take the team over the 350-run mark. For Bangladesh, Rubel Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan scalped two wickets each.

India lost their opening warm-up match against New Zealand by six wickets whereas Bangladesh’s first warm-up fixture was abandoned due to rain. Bangladesh will take on South Africa in their opening match of the World Cup on June 2 whereas India takes on South Africa in their opening match on June 5.

Brief Scores: India 359/7 (MS Dhoni 113, KL Rahul 108, Rubel Hossain 2-62) defeat Bangladesh 264 all out (Mushfiqur Rahim 90, Liton Das 73, Kuldeep Yadav 3-47) by 95 runs.

World Cup 2019: 4 Indian cricketers who are likely to play their last World Cup

World Cup 2019: 4 Indian cricketers who are likely to play their last World Cup

The Indian squad for World Cup 2019 has many cricketers who are playing their debut World Cup tournament. KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Jasprit Bumrah are some of them. Also, the team also has some senior players who have a lot of international experience and will be guiding these youngsters during the tournament.

Some of these seniors, unfortunately, may be possibly playing their last World Cup tournament as they may retire from international cricket before the next World Cup, scheduled to take place in 2023. While some of these may retire from international cricket due to their age, some others may lose out their spot to youngsters. Here we take a glance at four such Indian cricketers who are likely to play their last World Cup tournament in WC 2019.

MS Dhoni

Well, it will be tough to see MS Dhoni retiring from Indian cricket. The man who brought all the top level cricket laurels for India through his guidance, will be most probably playing his last World Cup tournament. The first reason is that Dhoni is 37 year-old now and till the time next World Cup arrives in 2023, he will be 41-year-old. Although he may be still fit enough to play, but it is highly unlikely that captain cool will keep his career going till that age.

He has made Kohli his successor as skipper, and till the next World Cup arrives, MS would have surely inducted some of his captaining skills in Kohli. Dhoni has surprised everyone with his retiring decision in the past from Tests and captaincy, so MS may give another such surprise to fans before WC 2023.

Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan is just 33 years old at present and he will only be 37 during next World Cup. But Shikhar may lose out due to form to other youngsters who are well capable of taking the opening slot. KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, are examples of some. These players can replace Shikhar as opener in the future and as the latter is mostly capable of batting as an opener. He may have to pass on his place in the national team to others.

Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja worked hard to make a comeback in the national team this time and his dedication worked out. He has made it back to the squad this time but whether he will be able to play in next edition of World Cup is a tough thing to say. Being an all-rounder, Jadeja has been an important player but with many other youngsters coming up in Indian cricket with all-round abilities, another World Cup call for Jadeja is less likely.

Dinesh Karthik

After making his debut ahead of MS Dhoni, Karthik has a lot experience with the Indian national team. Karthik entered the World Cup 2019 squad after a stiff competition from Rishabh Pant for secondary wicket-keeper, and was finally chosen because of his better abilities behind the stumps.  At 33 years old, Karthik is likely playing his last World Cup tournament and next time, he may lose out his place to some other aspiring young wicket-keeper batsman. Pant is one of the biggest competitors to Karthik.