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Former India opener Madhav Apte dies at 86

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Madhav Apte, the former India Test opener, died in Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital on Monday, aged 86.

In his seven Tests for India in 1952-53, Apte averaged 49.27, the highlight being a match-saving, unbeaten 163 against West Indies in Port of Spain. Five of his seven Tests were played on that tour of the Caribbean, where it seemed he was the next big thing in Indian cricket, averaging over 50 and finishing second on the runs charts for India.

Shishir Hattangadi, the prolific Mumbai run-getter from the 1980s, confirmed the news of Apte’s death and paid tribute to him. “I hadn’t met him for a couple of months, he hadn’t been keeping well,” Hattangadi told ESPNcricinfo. “Age-related complications. I was told that he suffered a cardiac arrest this morning. The memories are of a lovely human being, he embraced sports romantics, a lovely man to spend time with.

“He would tell you stories of people and events you have only heard of. Never spoke about his own career. Very dignified, he didn’t want to talk about it. He was a senior that you respected, someone you could spend a lot of time with. A very simple man. A great loss, but he lived his life well.”

In all, Apte’s first-class career ran 17 years, from 1951-52 to 1967-68. He scored a first-class ton on debut for Mumbai in 1952, and promptly went on to make his Test debut as a 20-year-old during Pakistan’s tour of India later that year. Next up was the tour of the Caribbean.

ALSO READ: In conversation with Madhav Apte

Against a West Indies attack that included Sonny Ramadhin, Alf Valentine and Frank King, Apte struck 64 and 52 in the first Test, 64 again in the second, and followed that up with that unbeaten second-innings 163 in the third Test to secure a draw for India. Despite his tour average of 51.11, Apte never played another Test.

Following the tour of the West Indies, India had no Tests scheduled in 1954. He was part of the “Silver Jubilee Commonwealth XI” match in 1954, playing for India against West Indies, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the BCCI. But his form was on the downslide by the time India’s next Test assignment came about, and so he was overlooked.

He had begun his career as a legbreak bowler before intervention from the great Vinoo Mankad – his coach at college – turned him into an opening batsman. Apte later confessed that he learnt the art of batting by observing Vijay Merchant bat in the nets every morning in Mumbai. It was Merchant’s subsequent injury in 1952 that handed Apte a first-class debut for Mumbai.

After his first-class retirement, Apte moved to Malaysia on work but continued to turn out in the Kanga League in Mumbai, representing the club side Jolly Cricketers. He played over 50 seasons of the Kanga League, last featuring in a game at the age of 70. Between 1948 and 2002, Apte made more than 5000 runs in that league.

In 1989, Apte became the president of Cricket Club of India in Mumbai, one of the oldest clubs for the sport in the country. He was also instrumental in bringing a 14-year-old Sachin Tendulkar into the CCI side. Recalling what he thought of Tendulkar’s talent back then, Apte once said: “One sees a hell of a lot of talent at the age of 14, 16, and so on. Not all of that talent really matures because the future, no one can predict. [But] at that time, my comment in the dressing room was, ‘If this boy keeps his head on his shoulders, he will play for India sooner than later.’ But even the lord almighty could not have seen that he would go on to get hundred hundreds and so on.”



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Recent Match Report – India Women vs South Africa Women 2nd ODI 2019

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India women 248 for 5 (Raj 66, Raut 65, Khaka 3-69) beat South Africa women 247 for 6 (Wolvaardt 69, Pandey 2-38) by five wickets

In a reprise of her match-winning knock in the 2017 Women’s World Cup Qualifier final, against South Africa, that secured India the title off the final ball, Harmanpreet Kaur‘s unbeaten 39 helped seal the team’s highest successful chase in ODIs – against the same opponents – in Vadodara.

Set up by half-centuries from Mithali Raj and Punam Raut, India overhauled the 248-run target with five wickets and two overs to spare, meaning the hosts took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Harmanpreet walked in at a vital juncture in play, with both set batters, Raj and Raut, having departed in the space of four deliveries, to leave India at 196 for 4 and needing 52 off 59. Harmanpreet, who had neither batted nor bowled in the first ODI after having finished as the highest run-getter in the preceding victorious T20I series, had Deepti Sharma for company in the final leg of the chase on a pitch that eased up as the day progressed.

A 12-run 43rd over decisively titled the chances in India’s favour. Ismail, who had until then conceded 26 off her seven overs, was carted by Harmanpreet towards the midwicket boundary for the first four in a sequence of three. The last two – coming off the final two deliveries – had more of chance in play as both thick outside-edges flew past the wicketkeeper’s right to the third-man boundary.

Ayabonga Khaka bowled Deepti for a seven-ball 2 the next ball, but Harmanpreet’s experience shone through as she chipped away at the target, hammering the first six of the match off Khaka in the 46th over and two more fours in the 48th over against the same bowler. In wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia’s company, Harmanpreet closed out the chase with a single driven uppishly towards cover, where Marizanne Kapp dropped the right-hand batsman and appeared to have injured herself.

Earlier, South Africa’s woes were compounded by Raj and Raut who lifted India from 66 for 2 to 195 for 3. Their 129-run stand ended with Raj, who struck eight fours in her 82-ball 66 before top-edging a drive off a wide delivery to Wolvaardt at the cover boundary. Raut gave away her wicket next over, scooping Khaka straight to Kapp at short fine leg, but not before the No. 3 batsman had accumulated a gritty 92-ball 65, including seven fours, for her 13th ODI half-century.

“I wanted to finish the match,” Raut, the Player of the Match, said at the post-match presentation. “Maybe the shot was unnecessary. But we needed runs at that point and I was beginning to cramp a little. I have always loved batting with Mithali since my debut, whether in domestic games or international fixtures. There’s so much to learn from her. I would love to finish games like her.”

More to follow…



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Joe Root hails ‘really good appointment’ of new England coach Chris Silverwood

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England’s Test captain Joe Root has said he thinks Chris Silverwood’s appointment as Trevor Bayliss’ successor is “a really good” one.

Since succeeding Alastair Cook at the start of 2017, Root has had to put up with Test cricket being secondary to the white-ball game, with England’s main focus on the Champions Trophy and then the World Cup, but ECB managing director Ashley Giles has signalled that the focus will shift back towards the red-ball game in the coming years.

ALSO READ: England to prioritise Test cricket after World Cup focus – Giles

“I’m delighted for [Silverwood],” Root told BBC West Yorkshire. “He’s done some excellent work since he’s been involved in the team. “I’m sure you’ve heard all the reports on him: [he’s] very thorough, very well-organised, he knows exactly how he wants to take the team forward. He’s got a very good relationship with the guys, and I think that carries a lot of weight and goes a long way.

“He’s very knowledgeable, not just about his bowlers and how to take 20 wickets, but about cricket in general. He’s got a very good record in the County Championship with Essex, in the two years he was there. I think it’s a really good appointment.”

In his first outing in front of the media yesterday, Silverwood said that he was keen to make sure him and Root were singing from the same hymn-sheet as to how they wanted the Test team to go about things.

ALSO READ: Silverwood’s ‘wow’ factor before understated debut

“Joe and I had a good long conversation yesterday,” he said. “I want to make sure that from the get-go, Joe and I are aligned with how we’re going to go about taking the Test team forward.

“What I’m talking to you about now [are] Joe’s thoughts as well – the two of us are aligned, and have an idea of how we want to take things forward.

“We think about [batting for] long periods of time, and then we want to create a bowling attack that is absolutely relentless. We saw some examples of that this summer – the Aussies made our lives really difficult.”

Root also backed Jonny Bairstow, who has been dropped for the two Tests against New Zealand, to return to the side after working on his game while out of the squad.

“He’s very disappointed,” Root said. “We’ve had long conversations about it, and he understands that his performances over the last 18 months or so have slipped… and because of it he’s ended up being left out.

“But one thing I expect of Jonny is a response, to go away, work at certain areas of his Test game and use the opportunity with that extra bit of time off. When you’re playing all three formats like Jonny has for the past three or four years, you don’t get windows of opportunity to work at specific parts of your game – you’re always preparing for the next series or for the games in between.

“He’s got an opportunity now to go away, take that chance, and when he gets his opportunity to play again, to come and do what he does best, prove everyone wrong and cement his spot in the side. That’s the character he is.”



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BCB makes it mandatory for BPL teams to field a 140-plus quick and a legspinner

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Each of the seven Bangladesh Premier League teams for the upcoming season of the T20 tournament must have an overseas quick bowler who bowls above 140kph and a legspinner, who has to bowl four overs in each game, the Bangladesh Cricket Board director Mahbubul Anam has announced.

But he didn’t provide any clarity on how much the domestic cricketers would be paid. Khaled Mahmud, another BCB director, had recently said that the board, which has taken over the running of the BPL from the franchises, would try to match what the players receive as match fees for T20Is, but there has been no official confirmation of that. It’s important to remember that if a top domestic player takes part in all the BPL matches, the amount he makes will still be well short of what he would have made in the BPL previously.

“The players shouldn’t be worried about money,” Anam said. “We are holding this tournament by keeping them in mind. Salary isn’t very important, but it will definitely be respectable.”

Each team must also have an overseas coach, physiotherapist and trainer, while local coaches can only work as assistants to the head coaches. Anam also said that each team must appoint a BCB director as the team director.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the order about the 140kph quick bowler and legspinner has come from the Bangladesh team management, which, Anam said, has been concerned about the side’s ability against the two kinds of bowlers when playing internationally.

“BCB wants this BPL to be about improving Bangladesh’s cricketers in T20s, so we want to make sure that our batsmen and bowlers get enough opportunities [against quicks and legspinners], something that was not possible when it was a franchise-based BPL,” Anam said.

The BCB has reportedly received 390-plus registrations from players to be included in the draft, and there have also been requests put in by several coaches. With the BCB stipulating a sponsor for each team, they can bring overseas players from outside the draft too. Paying foreigners high salaries, however, might not sit well with domestic players, especially as the BCB’s message for the 2019-20 BPL is to be fully focused on the local talent.

As reported by ESPNcricinfo, the next edition of the BPL will not be a franchise-run affair and, instead, be owned by the BCB following a clash between the board and six of the seven existing team owners, Dhaka Dynamites the only exception.



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