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Thursday,01-October-2020

International

Carlos Brathwaite: West Indies no underdogs, can win 3rd World Cup

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Buoyed by their performance against England at home, a rejuvenated West Indies side will go into this summer’s World Cup as a balanced unit. All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite feels that while they are not favourites to lift the cup, they are no pushovers either.

“I think the chances are good but I don’t think we will be favourites. And I don’t think we will be underdogs,” Brathwaite told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of a Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) event.

The hard-hitting all-rounder was roped in by the two-time champions for Rs 5 crore ahead of this season.

“We know what we can do, especially after the series we just had against England. So, it’s a balanced expectation in my opinion.

“The brand of cricket we played in the Caribbean, if we can replicate that in England, we will go somewhere close to challenging for the title. We have been traditionally a good tournament team. So, hopefully we can win the third World Cup,” said the Windies’ regular T20 skipper.

West Indies, led by Jason Holder, gave a good account of themselves in the recently concluded five-match ODI series in their backyard, with the series ending 2-2 as the third rubber was washed out.

The World Cup in England and Wales starts on May 30 with the Windies’ taking on Pakistan on May 31.

Brathwaite, who made a comeback to the ODI team for the England series, scored a counter-attacking 36-ball 50 in the fourth ODI remembered for Chris Gayle’s 97-ball 162 in Windies’ chase of 419. They lost the match by 29 runs. With the ball, he took five wickets in four games.

Best known for hitting four successive sixes to finish off England in the last over of the 2016 World T20 final at the Eden Gardens, Brathwaite said it’s a happy hunting ground for him and he is happy to be back.

“It’s kind of a happy hunting ground. I have had a few good games here. In the same World Cup, I had a good warm-up game with bat and ball. I had a decent game with the ball against India as well, though we didn’t cross the line.”

KKR will bank on Brathwaite to deliver the goods with bat and ball. Asked about his goal, the Barbados-born said: “I am not a stats person. If I get wickets and score some runs, take that one or two wickets that will take the team over the line..that’s more important.

“If I can help in significant wins and hopefully help the team win the trophy as well, then that would be a successful season for me, regardless of what the numbers say.”

The 30-year-old has blown hot and cold since the historic feat, only recently making a comeback since playing for the West Indies in an ODI back at the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in 2018.

“I may not be hitting four and sixes, but I am happy to be the one who comes in and takes crucial wickets or scores an important 20 or 25,” Brathwaite said when asked about his return and form.

“Not necessarily score a fifty or take a hat-trick to feel that I have contributed. So, that mindset has helped in the last couple of years.”

Brathwaite will join compatriots Andre Russell and Sunil Narine at KKR. “He is probably the best all-rounder in the world in this format. I will continue to learn from him,” he said of Russell.

Under the tutelage of head coach and iconic South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis, Brathwaite added that he would look to come out of the tournament a better cricketer.

“I have spoken to him about my batting — as to how I can be a more consistent finisher — that I want to be. It has been light-hearted mostly to be honest. He is very relaxed.

“I am really looking forward to learn more from one of the legends of the game (Kallis) and strong personality as assistant coach (Simon) Katich. Hopefully after this IPL, I will be a better cricketer.”

International

RR win toss, choose to bowl against KKR

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Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Wednesday won the toss and chose to bowl against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Both sides have made no changes to their squads and RR are looking for their first win outside of Sharjah.

RR have scored more than 200 runs in both matches, even completing a record run chase of 224 in their previous match. KKR meanwhile are looking to bounce back from a seven-wicket loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik(wicketkeeper/captain), Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Kamlesh Nagarkoti

Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler(wicketkeeper), Steven Smith(captain), Sanju Samson, Rahul Tewatia, Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Jofra Archer, Tom Curran, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot, Jaydev Unadkat

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New Zealand to start home summer against West Indies from November 27

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The New Zealand men’s cricket team will begin their home season against the West Indies with a three-match T20I series slated to start from November 27 at Eden Park. After the T20Is set to be played till November 30, the teams will play two-Test series from December 3 to 15.

Apart from the West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh are also set to visit New Zealand in the upcoming months.

Pakistan will be playing three T20Is and two Tests against the Black Caps from December 18 to January 7. The first Test against Pakistan at the Bay Oval will be the eighth Boxing Day Test in New Zealand and the first since the Black Caps beat Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in 2018. Wellington (five Tests) and Christchurch have hosted the others.

Then the Kiwis will take on Australia (five T20Is) and Bangladesh (two ODIs and three T20I) in February and March.

“Hosting these tours is incredibly important to us for two reasons: international cricket brings in revenue that funds the entire game of cricket in New Zealand and, also, it’s crucial that we look after the fans of the game and sport in general, especially during these difficult times,” said New Zealand Cricket’s CEO David White in a statement.

White said NZC was aware of the challenging circumstances in which many New Zealanders had found themselves in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and would be cutting the price of a adult ticket by almost half, to acknowledge this.

“It might sound counter-intuitive to be lowering ticket prices at a time of great additional cost and expense to the game, but we think it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

While no international side would be in New Zealand through the bulk of January and early-February, White said Kiwis could still look forward to top cricket.

“One of the silver linings is that our Super Smash competition, which will be played in that window, will now be boosted by the presence of Black Caps and White Ferns.

“It’s going to be the best Super Smash yet, I’m confident of that,” he said.

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Pakistan Cricket Board signs MoU with PITB for e-FOAS

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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) for the implementation of e-Filling and Office Automation System (e-FOAS) at the cricket headquarters.

Wasim Khan and Azfar Manzoor signed the MoU on behalf of the PCB and PITB respectively after the latter fulfilled the PCB’s requirements of providing a software that could improve day-to-day operations and also enhance the organisation’s archiving capabilities, stated PCB in a media release.

PCB General Manager – IT, Junaid Babar Khan: “The PCB was searching for a solution for electronic approvals with tracking to avoid delays in approvals as well as the management of office files for a quick reference/retrieval of information pertaining to any official matter or approvals or history.

“The e-FOAS has been developed by PITB with rich tools to help the PCB in its day to day office operations. This will not only help saving time and cost but also bring efficiency, enhancement and control that how official approvals are processed and data is maintained plus help archiving the old data,” he added.

PITB Chairman Azfar Maznoor said, “e-FOAS is a product of PITB and has been developed with the vision to fully automate the official disposal of work electronically which will result into better efficiency and will be a step towards paperless environment at PCB.”

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