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IPL 2021, CSK vs DC – MS Dhoni

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“Our batters did a very good job to reach 188 because the first few overs the wicket was a bit tacky, till the dew set in”

MS Dhoni has hinted at being displeased with 7.30pm starts for IPL games in India. His reason: when you start at 8pm, the dew has already set in, thus not giving the chasing side any real advantage. However, if you start at 7.30pm, Dhoni said one team gets a good 30 to 40 minutes of absolutely dry conditions, which can make all the difference.

Dhoni was speaking to host broadcaster Star Sports after his side, the Chennai Super Kings, failed to defend 188 against the Delhi Capitals in dewy conditions. He said the pitch was tacky to start off with, making batting really difficult when they started their innings, but once the dew set in, the Wankhede Stadium track became the batting beauty it is known to be.

“You have to look ahead,” Dhoni said, when asked if he was happy with the recovery from a tough start. “Especially when you have dew in your mind and you are batting first, you want to get those extra 10-15 runs – that was normally in 8pm start games. [Now the] 7.30 start means the opposition will have at least half an hour when there will be very little amount of dew on the field, which means it will not come on as nicely as it will in the second innings. So you have to score those 15-20 extra runs to make it even, and after that also you have to get early wickets to make a big mark on the game.”

The Super Kings managed less than a run-a-ball in their powerplay, scoring 33 for 2 in that period after being put in to bat. A half-century from Suresh Raina, and some lofty hits from Ravindra Jadeja and Sam Curran in particular late in the innings though helped them surge to 188 for 7.

“Dew was one factor that was playing on our minds right from the start,” Dhoni said. “That is the reason why we wanted to get as many runs as possible. Looking at the wicket, our batters did a very good job to reach 188 because the first few overs the wicket was a bit tacky, till the dew set in, which was a good 45 to 50 minutes after the start of the game.

“If we keep getting dew consistently, then definitely 200 is something all the sides will have in mind [as a target]. But as I said the first half an hour is different, that’s where you have to get off to a good start.”

Dhoni did credit the Capitals bowlers for bowling well, but that advantage in the first half an hour is something even the Capitals batsman Shikhar Dhawan acknowledged.

The IPL switched from 8pm starts in India to half an earlier during the playoffs in 2019. When the league was forced to move to the UAE in 2020 due to the pandemic, the matches began at 7.30pm IST. Now, for this season, the early starts have been persisted with. The slow over rates during the competition have been a matter of concern for the organisers, with matches starting at 8pm regularly ending well past midnight.



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Hampshire sign Colin de Grandhomme for second half of T20 Blast

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New Zealand allrounder to stay in UK following World Test Championship final

Hampshire have signed Colin de Grandhomme, the New Zealand allrounder, for the second half of the T20 Blast.

Having undergone ankle surgery after missing the home international season through injury, de Grandhomme is expected to be fit enough to take his place in New Zealand’s Test squad for their tour of England, which includes the World Test Championship final against India at the Ageas Bowl from June 18-22.



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After IPL 2021 postponement, UAE becomes realistic contender for T20 World Cup in October-November 2021

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IPL 2021 was meant to be a test case for the BCCI to understand if the T20 World Cup could’ve been held in a ‘caravan model’

Will the postponement of the IPL have an impact on the 2021 men’s T20 World Cup, scheduled in India later this year?

It is clearly too early to say as the fallout from the postponement of the IPL is yet to settle, after the number of cases inside the bubble began to rise over the last few days. But ESPNcricinfo understands that while the ICC continues to monitor the situation in India, the UAE, which has been slotted in as a back-up venue, is now becoming a more realistic contender to host the global tournament.

As it stands, the T20 World Cup, comprising 16 countries, is scheduled to be played in India between late October with the final on November 14.

The BCCI recently shortlisted nine venues in India, which were proposed to the ICC, the host for global tournaments. An ICC team of experts from the biosafety, events and security wings was scheduled to visit India from April 26 to do an inspection of the venues but was forced to shelve that plan due to the travel ban imposed by the UAE to and from India.



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PCB launches parental support policy for all cricketers

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Women cricketers will get up to 12 months of paid leave, while male cricketers can get up to 30 days’ leave

The PCB has launched a parental support policy, which will allow players – women and men – to get paid leave during periods of pregnancy and upon the birth of a child. Women will get up to 12 months of paid leave, with men allowed 30 days. All players can benefit from the scheme immediately, and it will start with Bismah Maroof, who recently took an indefinite break to prepare for motherhood.

“The PCB has a duty of care towards its cricketers and, at every turn, it has taken measures to support them,” Wasim Khan, the PCB chief executive officer, said. “In this relation, it is appropriate that we have a player-friendly parental support policy so that our professional cricketers can feel fully supported during an important stage in their lives, without worrying about their careers.

“To have this policy for our women cricketers was even more significant. Women play a pivotal role in the development of society and our women cricketers have brought us laurels and recognition on the world stage. Now that we have a maternity leave policy, I am hopeful that it will attract more women and girls to take up the sport as this will help them strike a crucial work-life balance.”

The PCB’s central contracts don’t have any specific clauses covering parental leave. But the Maroof example has encouraged the PCB to look for an opportunity to review the contract clauses, making it more progressive. The term of the present annual contracts, for both men and women, ends in two months but the policy stands effective for any contracted player.

Apart from the paid leave, contracted women cricketers are guaranteed contract extension for the following year even after 12 months away. For men, the one-month leave has to be availed within the first 56 days of the birth of the child.

Women’s cricket took off properly in an organised fashion in Pakistan in the late 1990s. But several women cricketers have left the game after marrying or having children. There are exceptions. Batool Fatima became a coach, while Nain Abidi did play after getting married in 2017. Asmavia Iqbal retired from her playing career after marriage and took up a role as a selector. The new policy hopes to prolong women’s cricketing careers with the flexibility offered following the birth of children.

Key features of the policy

  • Women cricketers to transfer to a non-playing role until the commencement of their maternity leave leading up to the birth of their child
  • Women cricketers are entitled to take up to 12 months of paid maternity leave and will be guaranteed a contract extension for the following year, in line with their existing contractual arrangements
  • Upon conclusion of the maternity leave, the player will be reintegrated into cricketing activities and provided adequate medical and physical support in respect of their post-childbirth rehabilitation
  • If a woman player is required to travel for cricketing activities, the PCB will support the player by allowing her to travel with a support person of her choice to assist in caring for her infant child, with the travel and accommodation costs to be shared equally
  • Upon conclusion of the maternity leave, the player will be reintegrated into cricketing activities and provided adequate medical and physical support in respect of their post-childbirth rehabilitation

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent



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