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‘I literally was competing only with white players’ – Jonty Rhodes

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Jonty Rhodes, the former South Africa batsman, has admitted that he might not have been picked to play for his country had it not been for white privilege.

“I certainly benefited from the fact that I wasn’t really competing with 50% of the population,” Rhodes said in a recent interaction with The Hindu, Deccan Herald and The New Indian Express in Bengaluru. “I literally was competing only with the white players.

“You talk about white privilege and it raises a lot of heat and debate on social media but it is the case. I’m very aware of that. My cricketing statistics as a player were very average when I was selected.

“If I was competing with the rest of the country then possibly I wouldn’t have been picked. And I would not have been diving around the field.”

Rhodes was part of the first, mostly white generation of post-Apartheid South Africa internationals. The racial composition of the team has changed in the years since, with quotas coming into place for players of colour. The current transformation target for the national team is for six players of colour, including two black Africans, to feature per match, averaged over a season.

Rhodes is in full support of transformation quotas.

“We in South Africa have a legacy of apartheid,” he said. “How many generations does it take to address that? You still have disadvantaged communities based on race. So they might have political freedom but they don’t have economic freedom.”

The process of transformation hasn’t been straightforward, with several players, mostly white, giving up on playing for South Africa in order to take up lucrative Kolpak contracts in English county cricket. This has led to a depletion in the pool of talent and experience, particularly at domestic level, which may be one of the reasons behind South Africa’s poor results over recent months.

Since the start of 2019, they have lost a home Test series to Sri Lanka, failed to get past the league stage of the ODI World Cup in England, and suffered a 3-0 Test whitewash on their tour of India. They currently trail England 2-1 in a Test series at home.

Rugby has had a smoother ride with transformation, and a Springboks team led by Siya Kolisi, their first black captain, and featuring six players of colour, won last year’s World Cup in Japan. Rhodes believes rugby has done a better job than cricket has of reaching out to disadvantaged communities in South Africa.

“The biggest question for me is why in over 20 years have we not produced opportunities for young players in disadvantaged communities,” he said. “It’s not about racism. It’s about equal opportunity and that’s not happening.

“What rugby has done well is in building their structures, working in disadvantaged areas. Cricket has a lot to learn.”



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IPL 2020 – BCCI signs up Sportradar to detect betting irregularities

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Edited PTI copy

The BCCI has roped in UK-based company Sportradar to detect betting irregularities during IPL 2020.

“As part of the agreement, all matches in IPL 2020 will be monitored by Sportradar’s Integrity Services to detect betting irregularities,” a statement released by the company on Thursday said. “Sportradar will also provide a risk assessment to the BCCI, driven by intelligence and data-driven insights. Furthermore the BCCI will be able to call upon Sportradar’s Intelligence and Investigation Services during the term of the partnership, if required.”

An IPL source, who confirmed the development to PTI, said: “Sportradar has very recently red flagged at least half a dozen games in the Goa football league that came under a fixing cloud. They have also worked with FIFA, UEFA and various leagues across the globe.”

The BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit has, in recent times, tracked unusual betting patterns during state T20 leagues, including the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), as a major betting company stopped taking bets after unusual bets were being placed.

According to Sportradar, its Fraud Detection System (FDS) “is a unique service that identifies betting-related manipulation in sport. This is possible due to the FDS’s sophisticated algorithms and constantly maintained database of odds, which are leveraged for the purpose of detecting match-fixing.”

It is believed that the company tracks the odds and movements of at least 600 independent bookmakers to detect anomalies in betting patterns. It processes around 5 million data sets per day.

How Sportradar’s fraud detection works

As part of Sportradar’s fraud detection, a mathematical algorithm is used to study betting patterns. It is a “sophisticated model”, which monitors live betting during an event.

“There are 25 live alerts, which instantly identify irregular betting in the marketplace,” The Sportradar website says. “The mathematical model uses calculated odds, which runs alongside bookmakers’ odds, in order to highlight if the odds during a specific minute or time is out of line, and therefore, potentially suspicious.”

There are also “44 detailed pre-match alerts, which are based on odds movements observed at betting operators”.

“An alert is generated in FDS when odds at a bookmaker changes greater than pre-defined parameters.”



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Recent Match Report – Durham vs Yorkshire North Group 2020

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Durham 147 beat Yorkshire 104 (Potts 3-14, Coughlin 3-22) by 43 runs

Durham won their third successive Vitality Blast game by beating Yorkshire in a low-scoring affair at Emerald Headingley, maintaining their hopes of quarter-final qualification.

The visitors defended a 148 target against the under-strength Vikings, whose knockout hopes are all but over after a third straight defeat in which they were bowled out for 104 in the 17th over, losing by 43 runs.

Durham have seven points from eight games and jump to third in the North, three points behind Lancashire in second – their next opponents at Emirates Old Trafford on Friday. The best two third-placed finishers from the North, Central and South also qualify. Yorkshire have six points from eight games.

New-ball seamer Matty Potts led the Durham defence with a superb 3 for 14 from three overs, while Paul Coughlin also struck three times.

The hosts were hurt by the continued coronavirus-related absence of Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Josh Poysden and captain David Willey, who missed their second game in three days after the latter and his wife Carolynne tested positive.

ALSO READ: Willey tests Covid-positive, three team-mates ruled out of Blast

However, all players met up outside of cricket on Saturday and must undergo the 14-day self isolation period. They are unavailable for the rest of the group stage.

Durham reached 40 without loss after four overs, only to slip to 147 all out as South African fast bowler Duanne Olivier claimed 2 for 16 from four overs. In reply, Yorkshire lost England’s Dawid Malan for a golden duck and failed to recover.

Yorkshire, for whom stand-in skipper Adam Lyth and Jordan Thompson also claimed two wickets, and Durham came into this game in contrasting form.

And it was buoyant Durham who made a fast start having been inserted, with Graham Clark hitting three fours and a six in a brisk 28, the top score in the innings.

But Clark and opening partner Alex Lees fell within two overs of each other – Lees caught and bowled by Lyth’s offspin and Clark caught at long-on off the same bowler as the score fell to 57 for 2 in the eighth.

Ben Raine maintained Durham’s momentum with successive leg-side sixes to end the eighth over, but he was caught behind cutting at another offspinner, Jack Shutt – 78 for 3 in the 10th. Farhaan Behardien then dragged compatriot Olivier to mid-on in the 11th, leaving the visitors at 81 for 4.

David Bedingham was caught at deep mid-wicket off Thompson’s seamers, undermining Durham’s chances of reaching 150.

Brydon Carse counter-punched with a couple of lusty sixes down the ground off Shutt and Thompson, only to be caught behind the ball after hitting the second six as the score fell to 110 for 6 after 15.

Olivier further applied the brakes by getting Coughlin caught at mid-off in the 18th before Liam Trevaskis was run out in the 19th, in which Ben Coad also had Matty Potts caught at long-on. Scott Steel was also run out in the last over.

But that was far from the end of the drama. Lyth cut the first two legitimate balls of the innings from left-arm spinner Trevaskis for four, only to miscue Potts to mid-on in the second.

Next ball Malan chopped on, and when Harry Brook also miscued the same bowler to mid-on in the fourth, Yorkshire were 22 for 3 with their big guns gone.

Durham captain Nathan Rimmington then trapped Jonny Tattersall lbw as the score fell to 48 for 4 in the seventh, with 100 runs still required.

Will Fraine top-scored with 28, only for him and George Hill to fall in successive deliveries in the 10th and 11th overs, leaving the score at 73 for 6. Hill was bowled by Coughlin and Fraine caught behind off Carse.

The end came very quickly from there as James Wharton chipped Coughlin to cover. The same bowler later got Thompson caught in the deep.

Either side of the Thompson wicket, wily Trevaskis had Ben Coad stumped and Olivier bowled, sealing the win with 20 balls to spare.



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Recent Match Report – Somerset vs Glamorgan Central Group 2020

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Somerset 183 for 8 (Babar 114*) beat Glamorgan 117 (Overton 3-36) by 66 runs

Babar Azam‘s career-best 114 not out from only 62 balls set up a convincing win for Somerset in Cardiff, maintaining their outside chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

They also improved their net run rate, with Glamorgan losing ten wickets with 25 balls of their innings remaining.

The Glamorgan bowlers weren’t at their best, and the fielding was sub-standard, with Babar dropped twice. He then made the home team suffer as he guided his team to a total far beyond the par score at Sophia Gardens this season.

Glamorgan’s reply was a pitiful affair from the moment they lost their first two wickets in nine balls balls, with the game over as a contest when they collapsed to 47 for 5, and then 62 for 6 at the halfway stage.

Somerset, who were put in on the same slow pitch where Glamorgan defeated Northants the previous Sunday, lost two wickets in the opening three overs and were 39 for 2 after the Powerplay.

Steve Davies was the first to go when he was stumped from Prem Sisodiya’s quicker ball, and in the following over 18-year-old Will Smeed, who made 82 against Gloucestershire last week, mistimed an intended pull to give mid-on a simple catch.

Babar, who was dropped from a difficult chance to cover on 10, scored freely on either side of the wicket, and reached a rapid fifty from 34 balls, and put on 52 with Tom Abell for the third wicket, before the Somerset captain lifted Andrew Salter’s offspin to long-off.

Babar was reprieved on 67, when Marchant de Lange, whose first over went for 18 runs, had him dropped at third man, where Owen Morgan misjudged a top-edged cut. He was well supported by Lewis Goldsworthy, the 18-year-old debutant who impressed bowling offspin in England’s U-19 World Cup campaign.

Babar reached his century in the 19th over, the second fifty coming from just 23 deliveries, with the partnership for the fourth wicket yielding 110 in 10.4 overs. He also reached the landmark of 5000 runs in T20 cricket, becoming the third-fastest man to get there after Chris Gayle and Shaun Marsh.

Roelof van der Merwe started Glamorgan’s demise by having David Lloyd and Chris Cooke caught at backward point in his opening over, both by the substitute fielder George Bartlett. They reached 38 for 3 off the Powerplay, but the rot then set in as the batsman found ways of getting themselves out.

Morgan top scored with 24, but there was little resistance from the others, with the margin of victory testament to Somerset’s overwhelming superiority.

Matt Maynard, Glamorgan’s coach, rued his side’s slipshod effort in the field. “Catches win matches, and when you drop the world’s best T20 opener in the third over, you are going to suffer,” he said.

“I have been involved here for some years and have spoken about this, and nothing has happened. The fielding tonight was poor, and it has to improve.”





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