Connect with us


Sevens chief to advertisers – ‘We still love cricket’



Outspoken Seven chief executive James Warburton has backed away from a months-long campaign against Cricket Australia, stressing to advertisers that the free-to-air network “love cricket” even as they sit in the midst of an arbitration process geared at shaving a huge chunk off the rights fees due to the governing body.

Ever since reporting the network’s financial results in August, Warburton has slung plenty of barbs CA’s way, all with the objective of getting a reduction in the A$450 million deal signed in April 2018, of which almost 60% was paid for the rights to the Big Bash League, with the rest accounting for Test matches and women’s internationals and WBBL. Foxtel paid the majority of the total A$1.18 billion figure to broadcast every ball of a home summer behind its paywall, with exclusive coverage of Australia’s men’s ODI and T20I fixtures.

In late August, Warburton had labelled CA “the most incompetent administration I’ve ever worked with”, a “train wreck” and that “this is not an acceptable product and we will not support the season”. On Wednesday, however, as he tried to sell the summer to advertisers, Warburton had rather changed his tune.

“One of the most talked about issues involving our company this year is our ongoing process with Cricket Australia. To be 100% clear, we love the cricket and we have a huge amount of respect for the teams and the athletes,” Warburton said at the industry presentation.

“Ultimately, we pay for media rights to deliver you the quality and eye balls that best suits your needs, which is to deliver a return on your investment. We pay for and expect a first-class product and will hold Cricket Australia accountable to provide that quality this summer. Even if it means at times we are outspoken.”

Seven is seeking somewhere in the order of a 20% cut to its annual rights fees – currently A$82 million in cash and free advertising paid over three instalments – for each of the remaining four seasons of the contract. CA is believed to have offered a discount for this season, affected as it has been by Covid-19, but stopped short of any further mark downs. “We’ll go through the arbitration process,” Warburton said. “The ICACA has all the submissions and will be in a position to nominate an expert shortly.”

In September, Seven had claimed to CA that it would pay only one partial instalment of what it was contracted to pay for the entire summer, then backed down after sitting in breach of contract for more than two weeks and paying the remainder of the amount owed. CA has reserved its rights to take the matter to court, arguing that the arbitration avenue will not be binding. Warburton picked up on the current state of uncertainty about where India’s tour will start as another means of keeping pressure on CA.

“We do find it surprising that three weeks before the all-conquering Indian team is due, that Cricket Australia is still [looking for a] port for them to arrive,” Warburton said. “They’ve had the entire winter to make their plans, and the AFL and NRL have executed their seasons.

“We really hope for our viewers that they can deliver the Test series. But there must be huge pressure on NSW Health given Western Australia … and it looks like Queensland have all said no.”

Source link

Continue Reading


KCA President’s Cup – Sreesanth to return to action in Kerala’s inaugural T20 tournament



Fast bowler Sreesanth will feature in Kerala Cricket Association’s (KCA’s) inaugural T20 tournament – the KCA President’s Cup – which is scheduled to begin from December 17, pending the state government’s approval. It will be Sreesanth’s first involvement in representative cricket since the end of his ban for his involvement in the IPL 2013 spot-fixing scandal. It will also be the 37-year-old’s first chance to push for a return to domestic cricket. His last competitive match was in May 2013.

Sreesanth’s ban – initially a life ban – had been revised to seven years in 2019 and officially ended in September this year, following which he had expressed a keenness to play competitive cricket again. Kerala coach Tinu Yohanan had told ESPNcricinfo in September that the door is open for a Sreesanth return, subject to his form and fitness.

ALSO READ: ‘Door is open’ for Sreesanth to play for us – Kerala coach Yohannan

Sreesanth had been training with the Kerala Under-23 teams earlier this year, and has been on record stating that he has been working on his fitness from as early as last May. He is, by far, the biggest name in this six-team tournament that will be held in Alappuzha until January 3. He will play for the Kerala Tigers, captained by Sachin Baby. Sanju Samson will miss the tournament as he is on national duty in Australia.

India’s domestic season is yet to be officially chalked out as the daily Covid-19 numbers continue to be in excess of 40,000 new cases. In a September interview with the Times of India, Sreesanth said that the uncertainty around the domestic season had left him “shattered” and on the verge of quitting cricket, before suggesting that he would look to play abroad if cricket in India wasn’t a realistic chance.

“From last May, I have put my heart and soul into training,” he had said. “So when I read about domestic season being a non-starter, I was shattered. I even thought of quitting the game but thought I wouldn’t be doing justice to myself as all the efforts I’ve made to play the game would have gone down the drain. If the domestic season in India is cancelled, I will have to look at other options. If there is no cricket here, I might as well request the BCCI to allow me to play abroad.”

Source link

Continue Reading


South Africa vs England, 1st T20I, Cape Town



A few allrounders and at least six bowling options are what South Africa needs to get their team balance right, according to former captain Faf du Plessis.

“That’s a challenge that we are facing right now,” du Plessis said, after the five-wicket defeat to England in the first T20I. “We’ve lost Andile [Phehlukwayo] and Dwaine [Pretorius] which fills the role of a sixth bowler and we need six bowling options because if one guy goes on the day, it puts you under pressure. But with the balance of our squad, it doesn’t look like it’s possible to go for a six-man bowling attack. That’s why the allrounder plays such a crucial role in balancing the side.”

South Africa went into the series opener with six specialist batsmen, four frontline bowlers and a spin-bowling allrounder in debutant George Linde. Ideally, they would have also liked to have a seam-bowling allrounder but Dwaine Pretorius has been ruled out of the series with a hamstring injury and Andile Phehlukwayo was unavailable for selection. That meant that when Quinton de Kock was looking for some variety, he turned to Heinrich Klaasen’s part-time offspin.

ALSO READ: SA forego gestures and lose the plot – but at least cricket is back

Klaasen’s solitary over cost 14 runs, which shifted momentum towards England, but it was Beuran Hendricks’ 28-run over that sealed England’s win. Du Plessis cautioned against reading too much into de Kock’s decision to try something different, or into Hendricks’ expensive over, believing both would bounce back.

“My experience tells me that in the game of T20 cricket, someone is going to go on the night. I wouldn’t look too much into it if one guy goes for runs,” he said. “That’s the nature of the beast playing T20 cricket and I wouldn’t judge him too harshly. Tonight wasn’t his night.”

Asked if selection could have been different and Anrich Nortje, who lit up the IPL alongside Rabada, could have played as well, du Plessis indicated it was difficult to fit Nortje in, perhaps due to transformation targets.

“It’s tough on Anrich [because] it’s a balancing act with our team. We’ve got to try and get that balance right. He was on the short side of it today,” du Plessis said. “But he is bowling really well so we are expecting him to make inroads soon.”

“My role in working with Quinny and the bowlers is that it’s important for me to give advice, talk to the bowlers and make sure there is clarity in their plans”

Faf du Plessis is no longer captain but still has a leadership role

South Africa also have the option of including Jon-Jon Smuts, a top-order batsmen who bowls left-arm spin – though that is a similar option to Linde – or changing up their batting line-up to accommodate for Reeza Hendricks, who has not bowled in T20s. It is not clear if Phehlukwayo will be available for the next match, leaving South Africa with de Kock to solve things as he seeks to balance the side.

But du Plessis is there to help. Although he has relinquished the leadership, as the senior-most player in the side, du Plessis still sees himself as having a role to play in developing the next generation. That was evident when he led some of the on-field consultations, especially towards the end of the England innings.

“It’s important for my own role in the team to assist and help but I don’t look to interfere too much,” he said. “It’s great for Quinny to have the opportunity to learn about field placings and angles. My role in working with Quinny and the bowlers is that it’s important for me to give advice, talk to the bowlers and make sure there is clarity in their plans.”

Du Plessis also has a job to do with the bat and he did that in this match, where he top-scored with 58, picking up from where he left off as the leading run-maker for the Chennai Super Kings at the IPL. Not only did his knock change the tempo of the South African innings but it showed his intent to keep playing, for as long as he can.

“I had a really good six months off and had some time to reflect and put a lot of time into getting myself as fit and mentally strong as I can be,” du Plessis said. “I still feel like I have a lot left and I am not anywhere close to thinking I am stopping playing cricket. It showed in the IPL: I am moving around well, and I’m switched on and hungry for every ball. I am going to try and push on for as long as I can.”

Source link

Continue Reading


South Africa vs England 1st T20I Cape Town



Jonny Bairstow insists he doesn’t mind where he bats for England, as long as he has a role in the team.

Bairstow hit an unbeaten 86 from 48 balls – his highest score in T20I cricket – to carry England to a narrow victory with four balls of the game remaining in the first match of the series against South Africa in Cape Town

But he did it from No. 4 in the batting line-up having been demoted after England opted for Jos Buttler and Jason Roy as their openers and Dawid Malan as their No. 3. That left Bairstow – who is the only England player in the top 10 of the ODI batting rankings – batting outside the top three for the first time in more than two years and potentially facing a fight for his position with the likes of Joe Root and Sam Billings, neither of whom are in the team at present.

Given that this rejig came after he had lost both his place in the Test side and his full central contract, as well as being dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad for the final rounds of the IPL, Bairstow could have been forgiven for expressing some disappointment. Instead, he said he is determined to use his experiences in a constructive manner.

“I think you’ve two choices,” Bairstow, who made his maiden Test century on the same ground in 2016, said. “You can be disgruntled or you can use the experiences you’ve had previously – whether for England or at the IPL – and utilise them in the best way possible. I’m really happy with where my game is at. The calmness and composure was really pleasing. Seeing England over the line is important.

“I want to be playing cricket for England. I don’t mind [where I bat]. As long as I’m contributing and putting in match-winning performances, so be it.

“I was really pleased with how I played tonight. It’s a different role to what I’ve played previously, so going out and gaining confidence and contributing to winning the match is what it’s all about. I was delighted with the pace in which we structured the innings. To win with three or four balls left… I’m really happy.”

ALSO READ: A victory for England, a victory for the IPL

However, aside from Bairstow and a couple of colleagues – notably Sam Curran – England were not at their best. With 25 deliveries of the match remaining, they still required 55 runs and knew that, with Kagiso Rabada to deliver one of those overs, their chances were diminishing by the moment.

But then Beuran Hendricks bowled a horrible over – the 17th of the England innings – which occupied nine balls and cost 28 runs. Without it, England may have struggled to overcome what Eoin Morgan, England’s captain, termed “an above-par score” set by South Africa.

For while Morgan declared himself “very pleased” with the victory, he was not allowing it to mask a performance he admitted was “pretty average”.

“I thought we were pretty average apart from two or three guys,” Morgan told Sky Sports. “And when you win games of cricket like that when you don’t play your best cricket, it is very pleasing.

“There are areas with the ball that we missed; we were a tad too full in certain periods of the game. And then with the bat we were three-down early and did not build partnerships. But Jonny has had an unbelievably good day out on a wicket that was two-paced.

“When you win games like that and you’ve a lot [of improvement] to make up in all three facets [of the game] you can be pleased. I would imagine the more time we spend together and the more we play, the more we will get used to roles that we play and start to gel like we have in 50-over cricket. It is not doom and gloom but hopefully we will improve and progress in the next couple of games.”

Source link

Continue Reading