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Ranatunga says Sri Lanka heading for World Cup disaster

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Colombo: Sri Lanka cricket legend Arjuna Ranatunga predicted that the country would fall short at this year’s World Cup because of corruption by officials and player indiscipline.

Ranatunga, who captained the side that won the 1996 World Cup, doubted that Sri Lanka would even get past the first round of the tournament that begins in England on May 30.

“There is corruption at the board. Players are demoralised. Players are fighting with each other,” said the 55-year-old.

 

Ranatunga, who is currently Sri Lanka’s transport minister, is preparing a new bid to take charge of Sri Lanka Cricket.

He told reporters in Colombo that the national cricket board and several unnamed players were responsible for the national team’s recent poor performances.

Sri Lanka, who are currently touring Australia, lost the first Test by an innings and 40 runs after losing a two-Test series to New Zealand 1-0. Sri Lanka also lost the three one-day internationals and the one-off T20 match.

“We have to improve player discipline,” Ranatunga said amid social media squabbling between T20 captain Lasith Malinga and stand-in captain Tissara Perera.

Sri Lanka Cricket has warned both players to quit the personal attacks but the outbursts continue.

However, Ranatunga said Sri Lanka should be better motivated and psychologically prepared for the World Cup.

He said he would contest board elections this month on a promise to turnaround the national team.

“There are some players who are not playing for the country but for their own personal gain,” Ranatunga said, without naming alleged culprits.

“They will be kicked out.” The crisis-ridden governing body is expected to hold elections this month after a nine-month delay following the end of president Thilanga Sumathipala’s term last May.


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Hearing of Minerva Punjab FC plea against AIFF likely on Friday

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday is likely to hear a plea by the Minerva Punjab FC challenging All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) league committee decision not to postpone the February 18 I-League match against Real Kashmir FC in the wake of the Pulwama attack, team lawyers said on Tuesday.

In the plea filed by Minerva Punjab FC’s counsels Abhimanyu Tewari and Amitabh Tewari, the team said that it requested the AIFF league committee to postpone their match with Real Kashmir FC which was scheduled to take place in Srinagar on Monday.
Minerva’s fears were well founded and a request to postpone the match would not affect any party in the light of the extremely volatile situation in the Kashmir Valley, the advocates said.

In the plea, Minerva had also asked to shift the venue but it was rejected.

 

The decision of AIFF not to postpone the match is akin to forcing the players and spectators to play Russian roulette with their lives, the advocates said.

“The rejection is completely against all principles of equity and are violative of the Hero I-League regulations 2018-19 and the FIFA safety guidelines,” the plea said.

“The decision of the AIFF not to postpone the match is inequitable and has been taken without taking the situation into account and without accounting for the safety of the players and the spectators.”

The advocates said that Minerva has international players, who have been advised by their respective countries not to travel to Jammu and Kashmir.

“The AIFF is acting arbitrarily and without reason as earlier in the month the match between Real Kashmir FC and East Bengal was postponed on account of snow whereas the present situation is much more serious and lives of the players and the spectators are at risk,” the advocates said.

Moreover, Minerva is at a loss by not playing the match.

“Minerva is languishing at the bottom of the table and an adverse decision would lead to relegation from the 1st division therefore the decision to not play the match on the February 18 is completely bonafide in light of the security situation.

“A decision of awarding three points to Real Kashmir FC is beneficial for them as the same would propel them to the title with better goal difference therefore their insistence to play the match,” the plea added.

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After IMG-Reliance’s exit, Pakistan Super League gets new producer

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Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) were dealt a blow on Sunday when IMG-Reliance pulled out as producers and logistical support providers for the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The decision to pull out early into the season came after Pulwama terror attack in South Kashmir on February 14 left 40 CRPF soldiers dead. Immediately afterward, PCB announced they would sign a new partner soon and it has emerged that they have.

PCB has found a replacement for the remainder of the tournament with consortium of Blitz and Trans Group to help produce the PSL. “The Pakistan Cricket Board today announced the consortium of Blitz and Trans Group as the new live production partner for the HBL Pakistan Super League 2019,” the PCB said in a press release. “Blitz is the PCB’s broadcast partners in Pakistan, while Trans Group is the event management partners.”

The Blitz and Trans Group will begin their coverage of the PSL from February 20. The board stated that the group will provide same coverage the viewers experienced in the earlier matches of the league.

 

In the mail written to Sohaib Sheikh, General Manager Marketing & Sales PCB and PSL, and Kamil Khan General Manager Marketing, Digital Media and Sports Production at Pakistan Cricket Board, IMG-Reliance wrote: “Due to unfortunate events a couple of days back which resulted in the death of Indian soldiers, IMG Reliance is pulling out with immediate effects, from offering broadcast production services for PSL,” the source confirmed to IndianExpress.com. “The incident that occurred is deeply regrettable,” it further said.

PCB issued a statement in response saying, “We have been informed by IMG Reliance that they will be unable to partner with us for the remaining HBL PSL 2019 and PCB has reserved all its rights. The PCB always had a contingency plan in place, and we are confident we will be in a position to announce the new partner on Monday after the completion of the formalities,” said PCB’s Managing Director Wasim Khan.

The decision from IMG-Reliance came just a few hours after the broadcasting channel D-Sport suspended the telecast of the league in India. Even the official streaming service pulled out from coverage.

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Ross Taylor, Tim Southee shine in Bangladesh sweep

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Ross Taylor became New Zealand’s highest scorer in one-day internationals on Wednesday as he helped his side secure an 88-run victory over Bangladesh in Dunedin in their final official ODI before the World Cup.

The 34-year-old top-scored with 69, his 47th ODI half century, to move to 8,026 career runs and ahead of former captain Stephen Fleming’s 8,007 as New Zealand scored 330 for six at University Oval.

Tim Southee then took three wickets in his first two overs with Sabbir Rahman’s maiden one-day century not enough as Bangladesh were dismissed for 242 in 47.2 overs to give New Zealand a 3-0 series sweep. Southee finished with 6-65.

 

“I knew I was close at the start of the day … but that was only because I was told I was 50 runs away by a journalist yesterday,” Taylor told Sky Sports on Wednesday.

“It was nice to get the reception I got,” he added of the standing ovation he received when he reached 51 and the crowd were told of the significance of the score. “Very humbling.”

Congratulations @RossLTaylor amazing last 18 months and stellar career to date. Great player that I hope will set the bar high for the next. Well deserved and good luck over the next few months.

Taylor is in a rich run of form. He has scored 2892 at 68.85 with eight centuries since the last World Cup and averaged 91.28 last year, but sidestepped any questions about retirement.
“We’ll have to wait and see how the body is going,” said Taylor, who turns 35 on March 8.

“It’s definitely in your thinking, because you have to think about retirement after cricket.

“In saying that you still need to earn the right to play for the team. At the moment I’m really enjoying my time and hopefully I’ll have a couple of more years left in me.”

New Zealand have no more official ODIs before the World Cup starts on May 30, but Taylor said he felt they had learned enough from 3-0 series sweeps against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and a 4-1 loss to India to be competitive in England.

“I think we’re getting a good nucleus of depth in this team and hopefully we can go over and compete,” he said.

“I guess we need to have a full complement of batters and bowlers going well.”

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