Riyan Parag Thrives with Simplified Approach, Leads Rajasthan Royals' Charge

Riyan Parag Thrives with Simplified Approach, Leads Rajasthan Royals’ Charge

Riyan Parag, the young batting sensation from Assam, is finally showcasing his true potential in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season. After years of underperforming, Parag has adopted a simpler mindset, replicating the approach that has brought him success in domestic cricket.

With three half-centuries and a strike rate of 161.42, Parag has amassed 318 runs in seven matches, placing him third on the list of top run-getters in IPL 2024. “I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible,” Parag explained to Star Sports. “I used to overthink when I didn’t perform, but I realized that in domestic cricket, I don’t dwell on it. So, I decided to do the same here.”

Parag’s confidence has also been boosted by batting at his preferred number four position. “That’s my favorite spot,” he said. “It’s helped me a lot. I believe in myself, no matter the situation or bowler. I’m glad it’s starting to show.”

Parag’s resurgence has been a major factor in Rajasthan Royals’ impressive start to the season. The team currently sits in the top four of the points table, with Parag playing a key role in their victories.

Ahead of Parag in the run-scoring charts are Travis Head of Sunrisers Hyderabad (324 runs) and Virat Kohli of Royal Challengers Bangalore (379 runs). Rajasthan Royals will face Mumbai Indians in their next match on April 22, where Parag will look to continue his impressive form.

Wellington Crowned Plunket Shield Champions After Rain-Affected Final Day

Wellington Crowned Plunket Shield Champions After Rain-Affected Final Day

Wellington have emerged victorious as the Plunket Shield champions after the final day of their match against Northern Districts in Hamilton was washed out due to inclement weather. The match at Seddon Park was a virtual final, with Wellington and Northern Districts being the only two teams in contention for the title in the final round.

Wellington entered the game with a narrow lead at the top of the table and managed to accumulate sufficient bonus points during the first two innings to maintain their advantage. Northern Districts had a glimmer of hope after Tim Seifert’s century gave them a slender lead of 88, and they had Wellington reeling at 127 for 4 in their second innings. However, they were unable to take the field on the final day, handing the title to Wellington.

Wellington captain Tom Blundell expressed his satisfaction with the outcome, stating, “Ideally, you want to see the game go the distance, but it’s a competition where you work hard throughout the season. We’re unbeaten the whole season, so I think for me, we are the deserving winners.” He added, “It’s a pretty special day. For me, the Plunket Shield is probably the most rewarding trophy in domestic cricket. You play a whole season, and to come away with the Plunket Shield is a pretty special memory.”

Blundell played a pivotal role in Wellington’s triumph, scoring a century in their first innings to lift them to 323. He shared a crucial 77-run partnership with Ben Sears for the final wicket, earning vital bonus points.

Otago’s Dale Phillips emerged as the leading run-scorer for the season, amassing 686 runs at an average of 49.00, including two centuries in the final two rounds. Central Districts’ Greg Hay, who finished third with 643 runs at 49.46, announced his retirement from the game at the end of the season, signing off with an impressive 179 off 434 balls against Otago.

Wellington’s Nathan Smith was the top wicket-taker with 33 wickets at an average of 17.18, including two five-wicket hauls.

MCA Announces 100% Pay Raise for Senior Men's Team

MCA Announces 100% Pay Raise for Senior Men’s Team

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has taken a bold step by announcing a 100% pay raise for its senior men’s team from the 2024-25 season. This move is a significant boost for domestic cricketers and could potentially set a precedent for other state associations to follow suit.

The MCA’s decision was driven by a desire to incentivize players and prioritize red-ball cricket. The association believes that the Ranji Trophy holds a special place in Mumbai and that players should be adequately compensated for their contributions.

Under the new scheme, players’ earnings from the MCA will match their earnings from the BCCI during the domestic season. This effectively doubles a player’s income, providing a substantial financial incentive to perform well in domestic competitions.

The move is particularly beneficial for players who do not have an IPL contract. For example, opening batter Bhupen Lalwani, who played in all 10 Ranji Trophy games for Mumbai in 2023-24, would have earned INR 17.2 lakhs as match fees. Under the new scheme, he would have earned INR 34.4 lakhs, a significant increase.

The MCA’s decision has been met with praise from former players and cricket enthusiasts. Sunil Gavaskar, the legendary India captain, has voiced his support for extending a similar scheme to first-class cricketers across the country. He believes that doubling or tripling match fees would encourage players to prioritize domestic cricket and strengthen the feeder system for the Indian team.

The MCA’s move is not the first time a state association has considered such a measure. In 2022-23, the MCA proposed annual contracts for its players but the proposal was not passed by the Apex Council. However, with the current president, Amol Kale, at the helm, the MCA has revisited the idea and implemented it successfully.

The MCA’s decision is a positive step towards recognizing the importance of domestic cricket and providing financial security to players. It is hoped that other state associations will follow suit and invest in their domestic teams, creating a stronger and more competitive domestic cricket ecosystem in India.

Mumbai Reclaims Ranji Trophy Throne After Eight-Year Drought

Mumbai Reclaims Ranji Trophy Throne After Eight-Year Drought

Mumbai, the undisputed powerhouse of Indian domestic cricket, has reclaimed its throne as Ranji Trophy champions after an eight-year title drought. In a thrilling culmination to the tournament at the iconic Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai defeated a resilient Vidarbha by 169 runs on Thursday.

The victory marks Mumbai’s record-extending 42nd Ranji Trophy title, further cementing their dominance in the tournament’s history. The hosts set a daunting target of 538 runs for Vidarbha, who fought valiantly but ultimately fell short.

Vidarbha captain Akshay Wadkar showcased remarkable resilience with his first century of the year, while Harsh Dubey contributed a vital fifty. However, Mumbai’s relentless bowling attack, led by Tanush Kotian’s four-wicket haul and Tushar Deshpande’s crucial breakthroughs, proved too strong.

Mumbai’s triumph is a testament to their unwavering determination and the depth of their squad. Veteran cricketer Dhawal Kulkarni, who bid farewell to all forms of the game with the final wicket of the match, played a pivotal role in the victory.

For Vidarbha, despite their commendable effort, it was a case of heartbreak as they succumbed to defeat in the Ranji Trophy final for the third time after clinching two titles.

Mumbai’s Ranji victory marks a triumphant return to the pinnacle of domestic cricket, ending their eight-year wait for glory. It is a fitting tribute to the legacy of the Mumbai cricket team and a testament to the talent and dedication of their players.

Umpiring Blunder Mars Under-23 Col CK Nayudu Trophy Final

Umpiring Blunder Mars Under-23 Col CK Nayudu Trophy Final

Umpiring Blunder Sparks Controversy in Under-23 Col CK Nayudu Trophy Final

A major controversy has erupted during the Under-23 Col CK Nayudu Trophy final between Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, casting a shadow over the prestigious tournament. The incident in question occurred during the morning session of Day 1, when Karnataka opener Prakhar Chaturvedi was controversially given out caught-behind by the on-field umpire.

Replays clearly showed that wicketkeeper Aaradhya Yadav had grassed the ball, but the umpire raised his finger, leaving Chaturvedi and the Karnataka team in disbelief. The incident has sparked outrage on social media, with fans questioning the “level of umpiring” in the domestic circuit.

One fan took to Twitter to highlight the bizarre incident, urging the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to investigate and penalize the umpire. The tweet quickly gained traction, with many users expressing their anger and frustration.

“Level of Umpiring in our Domestic circuit. @JayShah @BCCIdomestic,” the fan wrote, accompanied by a video of the incident.

Some users even called for a ban on wicketkeeper Yadav for cheating.

“The keeper should be banned for two years from playing cricket,” one user tweeted.

The controversy has also raised concerns about the quality of umpiring in Indian domestic cricket. Commentators and experts have expressed their disappointment over the incident, calling for stricter measures to ensure fair play and accurate decision-making.

Meanwhile, the Ranji Trophy final between Mumbai and Vidarbha is also underway at the Wankhede Stadium. Mumbai set a target of 538 for Vidarbha after posting a mammoth 418 in their first innings, thanks to a century by Musheer Khan. At Tea on Day 4, Vidarbha were 155/4, with Karun Nair and captain Akshay Wadkar at the crease.

The umpiring controversy in the Under-23 Col CK Nayudu Trophy final has cast a negative light on the tournament and raised serious questions about the standards of umpiring in Indian domestic cricket. The BCCI is expected to investigate the incident and take appropriate action to ensure that such controversies do not occur in the future.

Rohit Sharma Inspires Mumbai Team with Ranji Trophy Final Visit

Rohit Sharma Inspires Mumbai Team with Ranji Trophy Final Visit

Rohit Sharma’s Inspiring Gesture: Supporting Domestic Cricket at Ranji Trophy Final

Indian cricket captain Rohit Sharma has demonstrated his unwavering commitment to domestic cricket by visiting the Wankhede Stadium to support the Mumbai team in the Ranji Trophy final against Vidarbha. Despite being unavailable to play due to India’s upcoming Test match against England, Rohit made a special appearance in the dressing room to offer encouragement and support to his teammates.

Rohit’s presence at the Ranji Trophy final underscores his belief in the importance of domestic cricket as the foundation of Indian cricket. He has repeatedly emphasized that players should prioritize playing for their state teams when fit, as it provides invaluable experience and helps develop their skills.

“It is important that we give importance to domestic cricket, which is the core of Indian cricket,” Rohit said recently. “When games like that happen, you see the quality and everything coming into display for everyone to watch.”

Rohit’s gesture has been widely praised by fans and commentators alike. His support for domestic cricket sends a strong message to young players about the value of representing their states and contributing to the development of the sport.

The Mumbai team, led by Prithvi Shaw, will be looking to secure their 42nd Ranji Trophy title in the final against Vidarbha. Rohit’s presence in the dressing room will undoubtedly provide an extra boost of motivation to the players as they strive to achieve their goal.

Rohit’s commitment to domestic cricket extends beyond his words. He has consistently made time to follow the progress of the Ranji Trophy, including watching the semi-finals involving Mumbai. His dedication to supporting the domestic game is a testament to his passion for Indian cricket and his desire to see it thrive at all levels.

Rahul Dravid Calls for Review of Domestic Cricket Scheduling

Rahul Dravid Calls for Review of Domestic Cricket Scheduling

Indian cricket team head coach Rahul Dravid has called for a comprehensive review of domestic cricket scheduling in India, following concerns raised by players like Shardul Thakur and R Sai Kishore. Thakur had expressed the need for more breaks between matches to prevent injuries, a sentiment echoed by Sai Kishore.

Dravid acknowledged the players’ concerns, emphasizing the importance of listening to those who are “going through the grind and putting their bodies on the line.” He suggested that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) consult with players to address the issue.

“We need to hear the players. They are the ones going through the grind and putting their bodies on the line, and if there are enough voices saying that, then yeah, I think there’s some need to look at it, and see how we can manage our schedules,” Dravid said.

The coach also urged the BCCI to examine the scheduling of other competitions like the Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy to reduce the pressure on cricketers.

“It’s a long season already in India. It’s tough,” Dravid said. “The Ranji Trophy is a long season, and if you add a Duleep and a Deodhar on top of that… Last year, if I’m not mistaken, the Duleep started in June, it was just a month after the IPL, and your problem in this situation is your best players, the guys who are pushing for selection for India, are the ones that end up playing the most cricket.”

Dravid suggested that some tournaments may need to be re-evaluated for their necessity in the current era.

“Maybe we need to re-look and see whether some of the tournaments that we are conducting are necessary in this day and age or if they are not necessary. There needs to be an all-round review [involving] coaches and players, especially the guys who are part of the domestic circuit,” he added.

Dravid Calls for Review of Domestic Cricket Schedule to Address Player Concerns

Dravid Calls for Review of Domestic Cricket Schedule to Address Player Concerns

Rahul Dravid, the head coach of the Indian cricket team, has called for a comprehensive review of domestic cricket in India, particularly the Ranji Trophy. Dravid’s comments come in response to concerns raised by players, including Shardul Thakur, about the demanding schedule and its impact on player recovery.

The Ranji Trophy, India’s premier first-class cricket tournament, has been criticized for its relentless schedule, with only three-day breaks between matches. This has led to concerns about player injuries and burnout. Dravid acknowledged these concerns, emphasizing the need to listen to the players’ perspectives.

“We need to hear the players. They are the ones going through the grind and putting their bodies on the line,” Dravid said. “If there are enough voices saying that, then yeah, I think there’s some need to look at it, and see how we can manage our schedules.”

Dravid also highlighted the issue of top players being unavailable for their domestic teams due to clashes with India A tours. This has deprived state teams of their best players, further exacerbating the challenges of the demanding schedule.

“Your best players, the guys who are pushing for selection for India, are the ones that end up playing the most cricket,” Dravid said. “They are the ones who end up playing a lot of cricket, and you also want them to be playing for India and India A tours. So it can get quite tough on a lot of those boys.”

Dravid suggested that a comprehensive review involving coaches and players is necessary to address these issues. He questioned the necessity of certain tournaments and emphasized the need to prioritize player well-being.

“Maybe we need to relook and see whether some of the tournaments that we are conducting are necessary in this day and age or they are not necessary,” Dravid said. “There needs to be an all-round review [involving] coaches and players, especially the guys who are part of the domestic circuit.”

Dravid Urges Iyer, Kishan to Prioritize Domestic Cricket for National Team Return

Dravid Urges Iyer, Kishan to Prioritize Domestic Cricket for National Team Return

India head coach Rahul Dravid has urged Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan to prioritize domestic cricket to regain their places in the national team. Both players have been under scrutiny for opting out of domestic cricket in recent months.

Dravid emphasized that playing domestic cricket is crucial for players to showcase their skills and force the selectors to consider them. He stated that contracts and selections are not his responsibility but that he values players who demonstrate commitment to domestic cricket.

Kishan has not played any BCCI-sanctioned cricket since opting out of the South Africa Test series, while Iyer missed the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals due to back spasms. However, Iyer has since returned to play for Mumbai in the semi-finals and is expected to feature in the final.

Dravid acknowledged that both players remain in contention for selection but stressed the importance of them performing well in domestic cricket. He highlighted that there are numerous examples of players who have been selected despite not having contracts.

The BCCI recently announced a Test Cricket Incentive Scheme that will increase match fees for players who feature in over 75% of Tests played in a season. Dravid emphasized that this scheme should be viewed as a reward for hard work rather than a financial incentive.

He praised the challenges and rewards of Test cricket, noting that it requires special qualities to succeed in the format. Dravid expressed hope that the recognition and support for Test cricket will continue to attract players to the format.

BCCI's Domestic Cricket Mandate Welcomed by Mohinder Amarnath

BCCI’s Domestic Cricket Mandate Welcomed by Mohinder Amarnath

BCCI’s Domestic Cricket Mandate: A Step in the Right Direction, Says Mohinder Amarnath

Legendary Indian cricketer Mohinder Amarnath has lauded the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to prioritize domestic cricket, making it mandatory for all fit and available players to represent their state teams.

“It’s a positive move that should have been implemented long ago,” Amarnath said at the launch of the JITO Premier League. “It should apply to all cricketers, not just a select few.”

Amarnath emphasized the importance of domestic cricket in developing players’ skills and fostering a strong foundation for the national team. “Everybody should play domestic cricket,” he asserted.

When asked about the specific cases of Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer being instructed to play domestic cricket, Amarnath stated, “There should be no need for warnings. Decisions should be made and applied to everyone.”

He urged the BCCI to enforce strict rules and ensure that all Indian players participate in domestic competitions. “Players cannot make their own decisions,” he said. “It’s up to the BCCI and state associations to determine what’s best.”

Amarnath also praised R. Ashwin for surpassing 500 wickets in Tests and playing his 100th Test for India. “He’s a fantastic cricketer,” Amarnath said. “I remember watching him for the first time when I was a consultant with Bengal Cricket. He showed his class immediately.”

Amarnath expressed surprise at Ashwin’s occasional exclusion from the team but expressed confidence in his continued success. “He’s a fine bowler both at home and overseas,” he said. “I’m sure he will keep performing and contributing to the team.”

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