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Contracts of 130 players extended, KXIP let go of Yuvraj before IPL 2019 auction

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Mumbai : Yuvraj Singh was dropped by Kings XI Punjab ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction next month. Singh was earlier bought by KXIP in June 2017 at his base price of Rs 2 crore.

Rajasthan Royals let go left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat after paying a whopping Rs 11.5 crore for his services earlier this year.

Chris Gayle, who too was lapped up by KXIP at his base price of Rs 2 crore, has been expectedly retained after a productive run in the 2018 edition.

 

The deadline to retain players ended. According to a media advisory released by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), 130 players, including 44 overseas players have been retained by eight IPL franchises.

Royals released Unadkat but retained their another million dollar buy Ben Stokes. The had paid a whopping Rs 12.5 crore for the premier England all-rounder. Senior Australian batsman Steve Smith has been retained after missing the 2018 IPL due to the suspension.

Apart from Unadkat, the other players released by Royals are Anureet Singh, Ankit Sharma and Jatin Saxena.

Sunrisers Hyderabad has dumped injured Wriddhiman Saha along with West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite.

Apart from Gambhir, Delhi also released Jason Roy, Junior Dala, Liam Plunkett, Mohammed Shami, Sayan Ghosh, Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Naman Ojha.

The retained Delhi players include captain Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Amit Mishra and teen sensation Prithvi Shaw, who made his IPL debut in the previous edition.

Mumbai Indians have retained 18 players but released some top international stars like JP Duminy and fast bowling duo of Pat Cummins and Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman.

The franchise has also released 10 players which include one capped, five uncapped and four international cricketers.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mayank Markande, Aditya Tare, Ishan Kisan, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy and Suryakumar Yadav have been retained by the three-time champions.

To maintain the mix of experience and youth, the franchise has also retained Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting, destructive opener Evin Lewis and Kiwi pair of Mitchell McClenaghan and Adam Milne.

The management has also backed Australia’s T20 specialist Jason Behrendorff after the left-arm quick was recalled to the national side to face the Proteas.

Rohit — the most successful captain in IPL — will continue to lead the team next season.


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Most football associations support 48-team WC in Qatar:FIFA

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London: FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said, “Most soccer associations in the world back increasing the size of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams from 32, with some matches to be played in neighbouring countries.”

Infantino told in a news conference that the Qataris were open to the larger format.

“FIFA would make a decision no later than June, once a feasibility study is over,” he added.

 

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar in June 2017 that has complicated the prospect of sharing the tournament.

The countries accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, which it denies.

Speaking on it, Infantino said, “We are doing football not politics.”

FIFA voted in 2017 to increase the size of the tournament to 48 teams starting from 2026 but, since then, Infantino has been considering the possibility of bringing the change forward to 2022.

“Most football associations across the globe hope for opening up the World Cup to more teams,” he said, lamenting that continental champions such as Cameroon, Chile and the United States were absent from last year’s World Cup after failing to qualify.

“If it is possible to organise a 48-team World Cup in Qatar with some games in neighbouring countries, that will be great,” he further said.

Infantino also quoted that it was “premature” to speak of a planned joint bid from Spain, Portugal and Morocco for the 2030 World Cup, which would be the first time countries from different continents had applied to stage the tournament.

“I welcome all bids. The more the better,” he said.

Infantino was speaking following a FIFA executive summit in Marrakech which brought together some 60 football associations.

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Ready to bat anywhere:Dhoni

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Mumbai: Wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni, expressed his willingness to bat at any position in the Indian batting order, following a match-winning knock in the series-decider against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

The veteran, who was named as the man of the series following consistent performances in the ODI clashes, stepped up with a quality knock yet again following an early dismissal for the openers and skipper Virat Kohli.

The 37-year-old cricketer scored 87 runs in 114 deliveries, stitching an unbeaten 121 run stand off 115 balls with Kedar Jadhav, as India chased down a target of 231 with four balls to spare.

 

“I am happy to bat at any number. The important thing is where the team needs me,” said Dhoni.

“Whether I play at 4 or 6, we need to see if the team balance can be retained. I’m happy to bat lower down at 6. I can’t say I can’t bat at No. 6 after playing 14 years,” he added.

The cricketer was full of praise for Kedar Jadhav, who he credited for providing valuable support at the other end, on a slow wicket.

“It was a slow wicket, so it was difficult to hit whenever you wanted to. No point going after the bowlers who were bowling well, so we wanted to take it deep and that was the plan,” said Dhoni.

“Of course supported brilliantly by Kedar, who plays unorthodox shots. He did a great job in executing,” concluded the cricketer.

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Pakistan seek first win on SA tour as ODI battle begins

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PORT ELIZABETH: Pakistan will be looking to chalk up the first win of their South African tour when they face the Proteas in the first of five One-day Internationals in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s team, swept 3-0 in the preceding Test series, enjoy playing at St George’s Park, winning two of their three ODIs at the venue, with the other washed out.

Pakistan beat South Africa by 182 runs in 2002 when Abdul Razzaq and Saleem Elahi hit hundreds, and then by one run in 2013 in a game reduced to 45-overs-a-side due to rain.

 

South Africa hold an edge over Pakistan in ODIs as far as their head-to-head record is concerned.

So far, the Proteas have faced Pakistan in 73 ODIs, winning 47, losing 25 while one match ended in no result. Pakistan do not hold an impressive record (matches 29, wins 10, losses 18, one no result) in their matches staged against South Africa at the latter’s home venues).

Interestingly however, Pakistan on their last tour to the African country in 2013 when Misbah-ul-Haq the led tourists, clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1, the country’s maiden ODI series triumph on South African soil.

The tourists currently playing in South Africa have been dealt a boost with the news that Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock have been rested for the first two ODIs in the series — Saturday’s fixture and Tuesday’s match in Durban.

However, they will have to contend with fast bowler Duanne Olivier, who bagged 24 wickets at 14.70 during South Africa’s win in the Test series and now looks nailed to make his ODI debut.

Rassie van der Dussen should also make his ODI bow having finished as top-run scorer in the recently-concluded Mzansi Super League, South Africa’s new T20 competition.

The 28-year-old hit 469 runs in 11 innings, including four fifties, for champions Jozi Stars and should join Heinrich Klaasen — De Kock’s deputy as wicketkeeper-batsman — in South Africa’s middle order.

Left-handed Shan Masood could open the batting for Pakistan having impressed in the Tests while pacer Mohammad Amir is back in the visitors’ ODI squad for the first time since the Asia Cup staged in the UAE last September.

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