TNCA Sends 19-Member Team to UK for Exposure Tour

TNCA Sends 19-Member Team to UK for Exposure Tour

The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) is sending a 19-member team to the United Kingdom from May 2 to 28 for a series of matches across various formats. The tour aims to provide exposure to the state’s players in different conditions.

The team includes players from under-19, under-23, and Ranji Trophy categories. Pradosh Ranjan Paul and N. Jagadeesan are likely to lead the side in turns. The team will play four two-day games, five one-day games, and a T20 against UK-based teams, including the second XIs of counties like Notts, Northamptonshire, Hampshire, Essex, and Warwickshire.

The players will be accompanied by six support staff members, including former India players Robin Singh, L. Balaji, and Tanveer Jabbar, as well as a physio and video analyst. Despite reaching the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy this year, TN has struggled in seamer-friendly conditions in recent years, and the tour has been arranged to expose players to different conditions.

“We are not worried about the results. We just want our players to experience new conditions and learn. Apart from match days, we will also have nets sessions. We plan to hire a batting consultant, like a former Test player, and a trainer for the duration of the tour,” said TNCA secretary R.I. Palani.

Meanwhile, former India fielding coach R. Sridhar, along with G. Jayakumar and Dr. Kinjal Suratwala, are conducting workshops for TNCA coaches and those of the 37 district teams. A total of 148 coaches will attend these across four batches.

The TNCA will also have four satellite centers ready this year. The centers in Trichy, Tiruppur, and Theni are already up and running, while the one in Madurai is under construction.

The Association will also conduct a 16-team T20 tournament next month featuring winners and runners-up of the second and third divisions and the winners of all zones in the fourth, fifth, and sixth divisions. The final will be played under lights at MAC Stadium on May 28.

ACA Issues Show-Cause Notice to Hanuma Vihari Over Political Interference Allegations

ACA Issues Show-Cause Notice to Hanuma Vihari Over Political Interference Allegations

The Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) has issued a show-cause notice to former India batter Hanuma Vihari, a month after he alleged political interference in the association’s decision to remove him as Andhra captain. Vihari has yet to respond to the notice, which was served after the ACA apex council meeting.

“We have served him a show-cause notice and are awaiting his reply,” an ACA official told PTI. The official emphasized that the association does not wish to prolong the issue and is seeking Vihari’s explanation for his public statements.

“This is just to find out what made him react the way he did last month. He has not reached out to us, so this is a chance for him to come out with his grievances,” the official added. “After all, we value Vihari and his contributions to the growth of state cricket.”

Vihari’s allegations stem from Andhra’s failure to reach the Ranji Trophy semi-finals for the first time, after losing to Madhya Pradesh. In an Instagram post, he declared that he would “never play for Andhra” again, citing political interference in his removal as captain.

Vihari’s post was followed by a letter of support from his fellow Andhra players. However, KN Prudhuvi Raj, the 17th player during the match against Bengal, denied Vihari’s accusations and accused him of making false statements.

The ACA’s show-cause notice is an attempt to address Vihari’s concerns and resolve the issue amicably. The association values Vihari’s contributions to Andhra cricket and hopes to find a solution that satisfies both parties.

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.

Shardul Thakur: The Cult Hero of Indian Cricket

Shardul Thakur: The Cult Hero of Indian Cricket

Shardul Thakur, the enigmatic all-rounder, has carved a niche for himself in Indian cricket with his unique blend of skills and unwavering determination. Known affectionately as “Lord” or “Beefy,” he has earned a reputation as a match-winner and a cult hero.

Growing up in a humble background in Palghar, Thakur’s journey to the pinnacle of cricket was not without its challenges. Despite his passion for the sport, he initially aspired to become a cricketer like Sachin Tendulkar. However, it was only after being selected for the Ranji Trophy that he realized his true potential.

Thakur’s rise to prominence was marked by his ability to deliver under pressure. He credits his upbringing and the hardships he faced for instilling in him a resilience that has become his trademark. “I like to excel in tough situations,” he says. “That’s what brings the best out of me.”

One of Thakur’s most memorable performances came in the 2019 ODI World Cup, where he emerged as India’s highest wicket-taker among seamers. Despite his impressive contribution, he faced criticism and was often dropped from the team. However, Thakur remained unfazed, believing that he deserved a fair chance to prove his worth.

“I understand that competition is always good,” he says. “But all I am saying is that you should be fair to everyone. Shouldn’t be like one fellow has one bad game and he is dropped, whereas another fellow is persisted with despite having two or five bad games.”

Thakur’s determination and self-belief have paid off. He has become a vital cog in the Chennai Super Kings franchise in the Indian Premier League and has earned a regular spot in the Indian Test team. His ability to swing the ball both ways and his aggressive batting style have made him a formidable all-rounder.

Despite his success, Thakur remains grounded and grateful for the opportunities he has been given. He credits his coaches and mentors for shaping his career and helping him overcome challenges. “I have never thought about what I would have been had I not been a cricketer,” he says. “I am just fortunate to be able to do what I love.”

Tanush Kotian Replaces Adam Zampa at Rajasthan Royals, BR Sharath Joins Gujarat Titans

Tanush Kotian Replaces Adam Zampa at Rajasthan Royals, BR Sharath Joins Gujarat Titans

Tanush Kotian, the Mumbai all-rounder who played a pivotal role in their record-breaking 42nd Ranji Trophy victory, has been roped in by Rajasthan Royals as a replacement for Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa.

Kotian, known for his crisis management skills, was acquired by the Royals at his base price of Rs 20 lakh. Despite retaining Zampa under his Rs 1.5-crore contract, the Australian opted out due to the heavy workload leading up to the T20I World Cup in June.

The 25-year-old Kotian, an off-spinner and a handy lower-order batter, had been expecting an IPL contract in 2023 after playing a vital role in Mumbai’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy triumph. However, he was reported for a suspect bowling action.

Undeterred, Kotian fought back and became the player-of-the-tournament in Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy triumph this season, scoring 502 runs and taking 29 wickets. Batting at No. 8, he scored an unbeaten 120 in the second innings and followed it up with an 89 not out in the quarterfinal and semifinal games against Baroda and Tamil Nadu respectively.

In another IPL replacement, Karnataka wicketkeeper-batter BR Sharath has been signed by Gujarat Titans as a replacement for Robin Minz, who was ruled out after getting injured in a freak motorcycle accident.

Sharath, who has played 28 T20s, 20 First-Class matches, and 43 List A games for Karnataka, has 328 T20 runs to his name. He will join GT for his base price of Rs 20 lakh.

Shardul Thakur Eager to Learn from Dhoni in CSK Return

Shardul Thakur Eager to Learn from Dhoni in CSK Return

Shardul Thakur, the Mumbai all-rounder who played a pivotal role in his team’s 42nd Ranji Trophy triumph, is eagerly anticipating his upcoming stint with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Thakur, who has previously played for CSK, is excited to learn from the legendary MS Dhoni, who will be leading the team in the upcoming season.

Thakur, who scored 255 runs and claimed 16 wickets in five Ranji matches this season, expressed his admiration for spin-bowling all-rounder Tanush Kotian, who was named ‘Player of the Tournament’ for his outstanding performances with both bat and ball.

“Dhoni sahab is there, he is one of the greatest cricketers ever in the world. I will play under him again and I have played under him before, so I will try to learn a lot of things and how he gets performance out of players,” Thakur said.

Thakur’s return to CSK marks a significant moment in his career, as it was with this franchise that he first made a name for himself in the IPL. He is confident that he can contribute to the team’s success and is eager to learn from Dhoni’s leadership.

The 17th edition of the IPL is set to kick off on March 22, with defending champions CSK taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening match. Thakur is expected to play a key role for CSK, both with his batting and bowling, as the team looks to retain its title.

Dhawal Kulkarni Bows Out in Style, Helps Mumbai Win Ranji Trophy

Dhawal Kulkarni Bows Out in Style, Helps Mumbai Win Ranji Trophy

Dhawal Kulkarni, the veteran Mumbai pacer, bid farewell to his illustrious career on a high note, helping his team clinch the Ranji Trophy title with a memorable wicket.

Kulkarni, who had expressed his desire to end his career on a high, was given the honor of bowling the final over by captain Ajinkya Rahane. With Vidarbha needing just 10 runs to win, Kulkarni rattled the stumps of Umesh Yadav, sparking wild celebrations among the Mumbai players.

The emotional Kulkarni was hailed as a hero in the post-match ceremony, and his teammates hoisted him on their shoulders in front of the home crowd. It was a fitting tribute to a player who had given his all for Mumbai over the past 17 years.

Kulkarni, who made his Mumbai debut in 2007, leaves the team after representing them in 208 matches across formats. He has taken 281 wickets in 95 first-class appearances, 223 wickets in 130 List-A games, and 154 wickets in 162 T20s.

Despite his impressive domestic record, Kulkarni felt he could have had more opportunities to represent India. However, he refused to dwell on the past, saying, “What’s gone is gone. I look at the future [rather] than what’s happened in the past.”

Kulkarni’s never-say-die attitude and longevity for Mumbai were lauded by his captain, Ajinkya Rahane. “Playing for 17 years for Mumbai is not easy. But the commitment and determination with which he has played day-in day-out every year has been amazing,” Rahane said.

Kulkarni’s retirement marks the end of an era for Mumbai cricket. He was a key member of the team’s golden generation, which won five Ranji Trophy titles in six years. His experience and leadership will be sorely missed by the team.

However, Kulkarni is not done with cricket yet. He plans to give back to the sport that has given him so much, whether it be through coaching or another role. “I’ve not thought about it much but cricket has given me so much that I want to give it back to the game,” Kulkarni said.

Mumbai Triumphs in Ranji Trophy, Rahane Leads Despite Personal Struggles

Mumbai Triumphs in Ranji Trophy, Rahane Leads Despite Personal Struggles

Ajinkya Rahane, despite enduring a disappointing run with the bat, expressed immense joy at leading Mumbai to their 42nd Ranji Trophy title at the Wankhede Stadium. Mumbai’s 169-run victory over Vidarbha marked a significant triumph for the team.

Rahane’s personal performance in the Ranji season was underwhelming, with his 214 runs placing him ninth among Mumbai’s run-getters. However, his crucial 73 in the second innings of the final, along with a 130-run partnership with centurion Musheer Khan, proved decisive in securing the victory.

“Even though I am the lowest scorer for my team, I am the happiest to lift the trophy,” Rahane said at the post-match presentation. “As a player, you will have ups and downs. It’s about creating an atmosphere in the dressing room and enjoying each other’s success. This is a special moment.”

Rahane attributed Mumbai’s success to the positive culture and attitude fostered within the team. “Last year, we failed to qualify for the knock-outs by one run. We had to create the right culture and attitude in the team. We created a fitness culture and I would thank MCA for providing all the support,” he added.

Rahane praised Vidarbha’s fighting spirit throughout the final. “I want to appreciate Vidarbha’s fight. Chasing 538, giving up is easy but they played really well.”

Player of the Match Musheer Khan and Player of the Tournament Tanush Kotian expressed gratitude for Rahane’s guidance. “I enjoyed batting with him,” said Musheer. “During our partnership, he would very nicely explain what he wanted from me.”

Kotian credited Rahane for helping him unlock his batting potential, which resulted in over 500 runs. “Last year I got a bit more confidence in my batting and I worked hard with my father. Ajju dada (that’s how youngsters in Mumbai team address him) also helped me a lot,” Kotian said.

Rahane acknowledged the contributions of retiring veteran Dhawal Kulkarni, who has played six finals for Mumbai and won five Ranji Trophy titles. “We have played for Mumbai since our U-14 days. We toured for India U-19 (New Zealand). Whatever I say in his praise would be less. His contribution is laudable. Off-field experience sharing and not also with those not in team.”

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.

Musheer Khan Breaks Sachin Tendulkar's Ranji Trophy Record

Musheer Khan Breaks Sachin Tendulkar’s Ranji Trophy Record

Mumbai’s Musheer Khan has etched his name in cricket history by becoming the youngest Mumbai batsman to score a century in a Ranji Trophy final, breaking the record previously held by the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.

The 19-year-old left-handed batsman showcased his talent and potential during the final against Vidarbha, scoring a remarkable 136 off 326 deliveries, adorned with 10 boundaries. Musheer’s stellar performance played a pivotal role in propelling Mumbai to a commanding lead of over 500 runs in the final.

Musheer’s journey to this historic achievement has been marked by consistent performances throughout the Ranji Trophy. In the crucial semi-final encounter against Tamil Nadu, he contributed a vital 55, setting the stage for Mumbai’s victory with his resilient batting.

Prior to his exploits in the Ranji Trophy, Musheer showcased his talent on the international stage, delivering notable performances in the Under-19 World Cup and Youth ODIs. With an impressive track record and promising potential, Musheer Khan emerges as a bright prospect for Indian cricket, following in the footsteps of his elder brother Sarfaraz Khan, who recently made his international debut with a string of impressive performances against England.

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