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UAE duo ‘stood to make US$272,000’ in successful fix

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The two UAE players provisionally suspended for alleged breaches of the ICC anti-corruption code stood to make up to US$272,000 (approx.) if they successfully corrupted the games in the upcoming T20 World Cup qualifiers.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the players had been engaged in talks to carry out fixes – ranging from a session to a result – in three of the matches in the qualifiers, which begins on Friday with the UAE playing in the day’s second fixture in Abu Dhabi.

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The operations that have led to provisional suspensions of captain Mohammad Naveed and senior pro Shaiman Anwar was so planned that, it is understood, the players had contracts drawn up for the amounts that would be paid depending on the nature of the fix.

It is understood that investigations by the ICC’s ACU revealed that both Naveed and Anwar had been engaged by corruptors to fix the results and or session(s) in those three matches; the amounts involved were on a sliding scale of up to around US$272,000.

The ACU had been monitoring the players in question since the UAE’s tour of Zimbabwe in April this year. Among others being surveilled was Mehardeep Chhayakar, an alleged corruptor, originally from India, who has been involved with cricket in Ajman and is apparently known in gambling circles as “Gary”.

It was during that series in April, played in Harare, that Chhayakar is believed to have attempted to induce Qadeer Ahmed, the third UAE cricketer to be provisionally suspended along with Naveed and Anwar, into fixing in one of the matches.

Chhayakar, along with three other Indian men – all alleged corruptors – were detained by local police in Harare on corruption allegations at the time but released later. The ACU continued to keep a close eye on the movements of the four.

On October 6, the ACU brought in five persons for questioning, including the players charged today. It is understood that the ACU has kept the local police in the UAE informed about the developments.

The ACU handed the charges in person to Naveed and Anwar earlier on Wednesday; Qadeer is currently away in Pakistan while Chhayakar’s whereabouts are unknown.



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Lack of Tests ‘main difference’ between Bangladesh and India – Mominul Haque

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Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque is pleased that his side is getting to play more Test matches courtesy the ICC World Test Championship (WTC). Bangladesh are slated to play against Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand next year as part of the 2019-2021 championship, and a Test each against Zimbabwe and Ireland outside of it.

It is a jump from the number of Test matches that they were previously playing, which had prompted many complaints from administrators, players and coaches about the long gaps between Tests. Mominul, who is treated as a Test specialist, and therefore has to deal with long breaks between Test matches, said that the gulf between Bangladesh and India in the longest format was mainly a result of the difference in the number of matches the two teams tend to play.

“We are happy,” Mominul said. “The WTC is a huge opportunity for those who play Tests. It is a huge competition. If the ICC didn’t arrange this competition, we wouldn’t get many Tests. It will be better for everyone.

“We have to play a lot of Test matches. If you see in the last seven months, we have played only two Tests. We don’t play Tests like other teams. I think it is the main difference [between the two sides].”

Pressed for answers about Bangladesh’s big defeat in Indore, where their batsmen wilted under the pressure exerted by the “No.1 bowling attack in the world”, Mominul said that the opening batsmen could have made life a little easier for the rest of the line-up had they played out the first hour.

“The bowling attack was challenging. It would be easier for the rest of the batting line-up if the openers played out the first 15 to 20 overs.

“India have a threatening attack, but we also failed as a batting unit. They are the No. 1 bowling attack in the world. We couldn’t latch on to our chances also.”

Mominul also said that they were considering promoting Mushfiqur Rahim up the batting order, after his scores of 43 and 64 in this game. “Promoting Mushfiqur would be a positive sign, if the team management decides to. I think we can have that line of thinking.”



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Yuvraj Singh feels 100-ball cricket could spark ‘revolution’ like T20

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Yuvraj Singh, the former India allrounder, has declared his belief that 100-ball cricket could have an impact on the game similar to the creation of Twenty20.

The Hundred is set to be launched in England next year, with the ECB deciding to promote a new format as part of its bid to attract fresh audiences. Although Yuvraj is not due to be involved – only one Indian player, Harbhajan Singh, entered the draft and he subsequently withdrew – he praised it as an exciting concept that may come “close to a revolution like T20”.

Yuvraj, who retired from international cricket and the IPL in June, is currently participating in the Abu Dhabi T10, which got underway on Friday. Speaking to Maratha Arabians media, he suggested that 100-ball cricket was of interest to him.

“I think the new 100-ball format will be an exciting format, because it’s not T10, it’s not T20, it’s about 100 balls,” he said. “That I feel could be an exciting format, close to a revolution like T20 – but we have to wait and watch.”

While Eoin Morgan, England’s limited-overs captain who is also playing in Abu Dhabi, has described T10 as cricket’s perfect vehicle for Olympic inclusion, Yuvraj said the Hundred could also be an option.

“If the tournament [Olympics] is over about two weeks, I think 100-ball would be perfect,” he said. “If the tournament is, say, ten days, then obviously T10 would be perfect. Depending on the time frame of the Olympics. I think an Olympic gold is very prestigious, so it has to be something in which an athlete should be able to bounce back in situations, so you have to decide that.”

As for the merits of 10-over cricket, Yuvraj said he was uncertain about whether it would spread further, because “you don’t have any time to get set and get going”. Yuvraj made 6 off 6 balls in Maratha Arabians’ defeat against Northern Warriors as the T10 league opened for its third edition.

“It’s definitely an exciting tournament but I’m not sure, in terms of pacing yourself in a match – 50-over, Test match, T20 also you have time to pace yourself, but in T10 you don’t have time,” he said. “So I’m not sure, is it going to expand or is it not? T10 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai has been very popular, and the crowds have been huge, so I’m sure it’s something to look at.”



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‘Tell us your secret, we’re tired of only beating the bat’ – Ishant to Shami

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The giant strides made by India in the pace-bowling department in recent years were evident in their series sweep of South Africa, with the trio of Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma out-bowling their South African counterparts by a distance. The three fast bowlers took the majority of wickets in India’s innings and 130-run victory against Bangladesh in the Indore Test too, accounting for 14 of the 19 wickets Bangladesh lost to bowlers. Speaking to Harsha Bhogle for host broadcaster Star Sports after the game, the pacers indulged in light-hearted banter with each other, with Shami suggesting biryani was behind his success, Ishant mock-complaining about how no one treated him like a “senior”, and Umesh talking with glee about being given the license to do exactly as he wanted when batting. Excerpts here:

You (Shami) bowl very well in the first innings of course, but this ‘second innings Shami’ nickname that you have got, you’re the best in the world in the second innings. What’s the secret behind that?
Shami: There is no secret. We keep trying to pump each other up, and keep pushing each other, all the fast bowlers. It’s a difficult job, but we push each other, we joke with each other, that feels very nice. When we are on the ground together, we never feel like we aren’t enjoying others’ success. That’s special. There’s lots of things to say, but…

What are the things you can’t say? You (Ishant) are a senior after all!
Ishant: No, they don’t treat me like a senior at all (laughter). There’s no senior-junior here. But like Shami said, we enjoy each others’ success a lot. Yes, there’s healthy competition in the team, which should be there, because that’s when your performance improves. But at the same time, if you enjoy each others’ success, and whatever you spot of the others’ bowling you go and tell them, things become much easier as a team.

You’ve played almost 100 Tests. Is this your best phase as a bowler?
Ishant: It’s difficult to say. I’ve been playing for a long time. I’m only 31, but the body sometimes feels old (chuckles), after bowling so much. But yes, the way I’m getting wickets, and bowling in good areas, I’m bowling in different ways, so I’m enjoying it quite a lot.

And you (Umesh) are strolling up and bowling 140-145 kph…
Ishant: Come, come, it’s your turn.

Umesh: It’s in the genes and handed down by my family. Whatever I’ve learned from my father in childhood, he made me run around a lot and do lots of things, which is why I’ve reached where I am today. I try to maintain it.

You guys have changed the face of Indian bowling from the time when new-ball bowlers would bowl a couple of overs and then be taken off…
Umesh: Yes, earlier pacers would bowl only a few overs and then the spinners would come on with turning tracks. But the way all the bowlers are bowling together, we know what our strong point is, what our areas are and we plan that way. We try, for the first 10-15 overs or how much ever we bowl, if we can each take a wicket, then it’ll be better for our spinners. And our confidence is high since we’ll get to bowl again. If we take wickets, we’ll get more bowling, which is good for us.

“The batting coach and captain tell me to just enjoy batting. Lower down, if we can make 25-30 runs, it’s good for the team. If four of us can contribute 100 runs, it’ll be great for the team”

Umesh Yadav on his batting

He (Umesh) is bowling well, but what about his batting? The boundaries seem smaller now.

Shami: His power makes the boundaries in India seem small. The team has given him the full freedom – ‘Play the way you want’. When we go to bat, we don’t have any restrictions about what we have to do. If you are a batsman, you will naturally try to stay at the crease for as long as you can and score as many runs for the team as possible. That is very good, but for him, he has the freedom that he doesn’t need to stay at the crease or block, he just needs to hit. He can do whatever he wants!

We generally show highlights of your bowling, but we were showing your sixes package on air just now…
Umesh: Actually it’s like what Shami said. The batting coach and captain tell me to just enjoy batting. Lower down, if we can make 25-30 runs, it’s good for the team. If four of us can contribute 100 runs, it’ll be great for the team. But in the last match in Ranchi, against South Africa, the captain told me that we need to score runs quickly. He told me to go and do whatever I could. I just tried, and for anyone, if you start middling the ball, your confidence soars. I just tried to carry that forward. I am trying to do whatever my team needs. There have been times, like in England, where I had to stay at the crease and I did that too. But it’s my time to enjoy now, so I’m enjoying.

Excited about the pink-ball Test? They say it moves a lot, but how much more will you make the ball do?
Ishant: That Shami has to say, because when he played with the pink ball, he got five wickets in 11 overs. (Referring to a CAB Super League final in June 2016 between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore, which was played at Eden Gardens. Shami took 5 for 42 in 13.4 overs in the first innings, for Mohun Bagan, in the first pink-ball match played in India.)

I’ve been asking him, ‘What are you doing that whenever you hit the pads, it’s out. If someone pulls, it’s caught. We’re tired of just beating the bat’ So tell us Shami, we are tired with just beating the bat! (laughter)

Shami: Well… the best thing that is there in my mind is that from the side of the captain and coaches I’ve been given complete freedom.

Ishant: That way, even we have the freedom!

Shami: And the biggest thing is that I’m bowling with you guys. I don’t even need to think too much. I just need to focus on the one thing you need to do in Tests: put it in a good area. I do just that and you guys make it much easier for me, so there’s no pressure on me.

Ishant: We have asked you something else, you’re giving a different answer! (laughter) We are saying that the areas you’re bowling in, we’re bowling in them too. But when you hit the pads it’s in line with the stumps, and when we hit the pads, it’s missing the stumps. Why does this happen!

Shami: Well people say it’s biryani ka kamaal [It’s down to the wonders of eating biryani]. No, it doesn’t happen like that of course. But it’s just luck and God’s grace. One thing is that the line and length I’m focusing on is being executed. I’m getting success from that so I try to repeat that.

Ishant: Well bowled Shami.

Shami: Thank you.



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