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Sourav Ganguly to step down from RPSG-owned Mohun Bagan to avoid conflict with Lucknow IPL team

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RPSG Ventures Ltd, which owns the football club, secured the rights for the Lucknow IPL franchise on Monday

To avoid a potential conflict-of-interest controversy, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has decided to step down as director of ATK Mohun Bagan, the football team owned by RPSG Ventures Ltd, the Indian business conglomerate that on Monday bid a record INR 7,090 crore (USD 940 million approximately) to buy the Lucknow IPL franchise.

ESPNcricinfo understands Ganguly has initiated the process of standing down from his role at Mohun Bagan, one of two most venerable and popular clubs in Indian football, which is part of the Indian Super League. In addition to being one of the directors on the Mohun Bagan board, Ganguly is also a shareholder. It is learned that Ganguly will step aside from the role at Mohun Bagan for as long as he is the BCCI president, to avoid conflict.

The issue of the conflict surfaced after RPSG vice-chairman Sanjiv Goenka, the owner of Mohun Bagan as well as the as-yet-unnamed Lucknow IPL franchise, told CNBC-TV 18 on Monday that Ganguly was on the verge of stepping down. “Well, I think he is going to step down from Mohun Bagan completely… I think today,” Goenka told the business television network. “It is for Sourav to make the announcement. I mean, sorry. I think I pre-empted it.”

If Ganguly carried on occupying the positions both at the BCCI and Mohun Bagan, he would fall foul of the ‘direct or indirect interest’ conflict rule under the BCCI constitution. The rule states: “When the BCCI, a Member, the IPL or a Franchisee enter into contractual arrangements with entities in which the individual concerned or his/her relative, partner or close associate has an interest. This is to include cases where family members, partners or close associates are in position that may, or may be seen to compromise as individual’s participation, performance and discharge of roles.”

This is not the first instance of Ganguly being involved in a conflict of interest issue concerning his BCCI position. In 2019, Ganguly and his former India team-mate VVS Laxman were found to be in positions of conflict for holding more than one post in Indian cricket. Ganguly at the time was president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, advisor with the Delhi Capitals in the IPL, and was also working as a TV commentator.



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County news – James Neesham signs for Northamptonshire for Blast campaign

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New Zealand allrounder expected to feature in full campaign in 2022 season

James Neesham, the New Zealand allrounder, has agreed to join Northamptonshire for their T20 Blast campaign.

Neesham, whose heroics in the 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s were instrumental in that contest’s thrilling finish, gained a measure of revenge over England in the T20 World Cup in the UAE in November, where his 27 from 11 balls helped to eliminate Eoin Morgan’s men in the semi-final. However, New Zealand went on to lose the final against Australia.

In 181 T20 fixtures – 38 of which have come for his country – Neesham has made 2,360 runs at a strike-rate of 136.81, and taken 158 wickets. He has previously featured for Derbyshire, Essex and Kent in county cricket, and last season turned out for Welsh Fire in the inaugural season of the Hundred.

“I’m excited to get going with Northamptonshire in 2022,” Neesham said. “The club has a fantastic history in the Blast and I hope that we can recreate those successes from 2013 and 2016.”

Josh Cobb, Northamptonshire’s captain, played alongside Neesham last season, and is excited about the prospect of linking up with him again.

“Having spent time with him at the Welsh Fire in The Hundred last year I know what he can bring to us.” Cobb said.

“He’s a three-dimensional cricketer with genuine power and a high strike rate in the middle order, but it was his character that stood out to me. He’s someone who wants to win and is very selfless, he’s a real team-first kind of player.

“I’m looking forward to having him here as a leader, to pass on his experience and help drive us to be better.”

Assuming New Zealand’s international schedule remains clear, Neesham should be available for the duration of the Blast campaign in May, June and July – with the final at Edgbaston this year following closely on from the group stages to ensure that overseas players can take part. He will also be on hand for County Championship action in June.

“The opportunity to possibly play some first-class cricket for the county in Division One is also an exciting challenge.” Neesham said. “I look forward to linking up with everyone at Wantage Road soon.”



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Recent Match Report – Barishal vs Dhaka 5th Match 2021/22

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Shakib Al Hasan becomes the fifth bowler to take 400 wickets in T20 cricket

Minister Group Dhaka 130 for 6 (Mahmudullah 47, Russell 31*, Shafiul 2-20) beat Fortune Barishal 129 for 8 (Gayle 36, Russell 2-27, Udana 2-29) by four wickets

How the match played out
Andre Russell was in his element, following up figures of 2 for 27 with an unbeaten 31 off 15 balls, as Minister Group Dhaka beat Fortune Barishal by four wickets in Mirpur. This was Dhaka’s first win in three matches in BPL 2022 and Russell’s first major contribution this season.
Chasing 130, Dhaka were in early trouble at 10 for 4 in the third over. Left-arm quick Shafiqul Islam bowled Tamim Iqbal in the first over of their chase before Alzarri Joseph dismissed both Mohammad Naim and Jahurul Islam in the second over. When Shafiqul bowled Mohammad Shahzad in the next over, Dhaka were tottering.
Mahmudullah and Shuvagata Hom then steadied things with a 69-run fifth-wicket stand before Russell did what he does best: close out games with his big hits. Shakib Al Hasan, however, gave Barishal a reason to celebrate: he became only the fifth bowler to take 400 T20 wickets.

Earlier, Barishal had slipped to 23 for 3 in the powerplay, when they lost Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shykat Ali and Towhid Hridoy. The experienced pair of Shakib (23) and Chris Gayle (36) then added a semblance of respectability to their innings. But neither could convert it into a bigger knock, which left Barishal at 94 for 6 in the 16th over. Dwayne Bravo’s unbeaten 26-ball 33 then dragged the side to 129 for 8.

All six of Dhaka’s bowlers were among the wickets, with Isuru Udana and Russell taking two each. Meanwhile, Rubel Hossain, Hom and Hasan Murad all bowled economical spells.

Big hit
Russell’s big blows – a four and a six clobbered through square-leg off Joseph – gave Dhaka a huge sigh of relief. It ensured Dhaka were in touch with the asking rate before Russell rushed them to victory with a six and a brace of fours off Taijul Islam in the 17th over.

Dhaka captain Mahmudullah provided Russell great support at the other end, scoring a run-a-ball 47. He struck three fours and a six before he became Shakib’s 400th victim in T20 cricket.

Barishal made a decent fist of their defence, thanks to Shafiqul who bowled with good pace and a bit of movement with the new ball. He was well-supported by Joseph before Russell lined up his West Indies team-mate.

Big miss
Tamim missed out for the first time in three matches, getting out for a second-ball duck in this game. Dhaka’s top four managed only single-digit scores of 0,5,4,0. It could be an alarming sign for Naim and Jahurul who are yet to make a sizeable contribution this season.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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Zimbabwe cricket – Brendan Taylor says he faces ICC ban for delay in reporting approach

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Former Zimbabwe captain says cocaine involved in trap laid by alleged corruptors

Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has revealed that the ICC is about to “impose a multi-year ban” on his international career after he allegedly delayed reporting a corrupt approach “by an Indian businessman”. Taylor had met with the businessman in October 2019 after being asked “to discuss sponsorships and the potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe”.
Taylor delayed reporting that meeting in India because, he said, he wanted to protect his family. He describes substance abuse having taken place during that meeting in a statement on Twitter, which he says led to him being allegedly blackmailed. The men he had met, Taylor said, stormed into his hotel room the next day, and threatened to release video of the substance abuse unless he carried out spot-fixing for them. He was given USD 15,000 – which he said he took to flee India – and told it was a deposit for a future payment once the fix was carried out.

“It took me 4 months to report this offence and interaction to the ICC,” Taylor said. “I acknowledge this was too long of a time but I thought I could protect everyone and in particular, my family. I approached the ICC on my own terms and I hoped that if I explained my predicament, my genuine fear for our safety and wellbeing, that they would understand the delay.

“Unfortunately, they did not, but I cannot feign ignorance in this regard. I have attended many anti-corruption seminars over the years and we know that time is of the essence when making reports.”

Taylor also said he had “never been involved in any form of match-fixing. I may be many things but I am not a cheat. My love for the beautiful game of cricket far outweighs and surpasses any threats which could be thrown my way.”

The ICC has yet to comment on Taylor’s statement, and if he does – as he said – face a ban on his international cricket career, it’s worth noting he does not have much of one at the moment: in September last year he retired from international cricket, after a 17-year career.

Taylor’s statement does reveal, however, some of the difficulties in playing for Zimbabwe, which led to him eventually being prescribed a strong anti-psychotic medication. He said that at the time of the incident he hadn’t been paid by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) for six months “and it was questionable whether Zimbabwe would be able to continue playing in the international arena”.

Another former Zimbabwe captain, Heath Streak, was banned by the ICC for breaches of the anti-corruption code in April 2021. Streak was coach of the side during the World Cup qualifiers in Harare in 2018 and revealed in a recent interview with The Cricket Monthly that the coaching team had agreed to forfeit pay during that period, hoping that if Zimbabwe qualified, the ICC prize money for doing so would enable payments to be made eventually. Zimbabwe did not qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

“I would also like to let you know that on Tuesday the 25th of January I am checking into a rehabilitation centre to get clean and to get my life back on track. I have to tell my story now because I know people will want to hear from me. To try and understand what led to this point.”

Brendan Taylor

Taylor revealed that he will be “checking into a rehabilitation centre” from January 25th in order to deal with the substance abuse.

“I will admit that the past two years have been incredibly challenging, both personally and professionally and it is from absolute rock bottom that I am trying to climb out of this mess I made. My family and friends have been incredibly supportive of me and it is clear to me now that I have a much bigger problem which for some time has needed addressing.

“And so, I would also like to let you know that on Tuesday the 25th of January I am checking into a rehabilitation centre to get clean and to get my life back on track. I have to tell my story now because I know people will want to hear from me. To try and understand what led to this point. But for many weeks I will be away and trying to get better.

“l owe it to myself and to my family to get clean and to put them first. I have let a substance take control of me and impair my vision, my morals and my values and it is time that I prioritise what really matters.”

Taylor captained Zimbabwe in 71 games between 2011 and 2021 across the three formats. He was full-time captain between mid-2011 and mid 2014, before Zimbabwe went the split captaincy route and Taylor remained in charge only in Test cricket. Then, at the end of the 2015 World Cup, he retired from internationals and went to the UK on a Kolpak deal aged 29. In late 2017, he ended his Kolpak deal and returned to Zimbabwean cricket.



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