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BCCI’s Indian Premier League googly may stump Star India

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Mumbai: After the successful completion of the Indian Premier League (IPL) during a global pandemic, the next season of the league in 2021 may reverse the fortunes of media rights holder Star India, if the Indian cricket board adds another franchise to the sporting extravaganza. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is gearing up to issue a tender document to auction one additional franchise for the league ahead of the 14th edition.

That will add one team and 16 matches to the league next year, taking the total number of matches to 76. In an unlikely case of the board deciding to add two teams, the total number of matches will go up to 94 in the current format, or 74 if the BCCI reverts to 2011 format, where there were 10 teams that played in two groups.

Addition of one team will increase Star India’s payment to the BCCI by ₹800 crore for the season. While having more matches should ideally increase Star India’s ad revenue, the need to hold more afternoon matches and the T20 World Cup next year could pose challenges in terms of ad rates.

“As per our contract with Star India, the BCCI can increase the number of teams as per its discretion and the rights holder will have to pay pro-rata basis for the extra matches,” said a senior BCCI insider with direct knowledge of the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Star India had acquired the global media rights for IPL for a five-year period starting 2018, for ₹16,347.5 crore. As per information sourced from the BCCI, Star’s winning bid was a front-loaded one, with payout for the first year at ₹4,333 crore, followed by ₹3,003 crore each for the subsequent years. For the 14th edition of the IPL, Star India’s per match payout will be ₹50.05 crore. Hence, for the additional 16 matches, the broadcaster will end up doling out ₹800.8 crore extra to the BCCI. A top source in Star India confirmed that the payout would increase to over ₹3,800 crore, but added that the BCCI had not yet informed the broadcaster about its plans to add one more team.

“While the BCCI is well within its rights to add teams, it should at least inform us. So far we only know of what has been written in press,” he said.

Sony Pictures Networks India , which had the rights to the IPL for 10 years since its inception in 2008, had paid close to ₹8,200 crore in total, or around ₹820 crore annually on an average.

While Star India managed to increase ad revenues by almost 30% to ₹2,700 crore on TV this year by holding on to ad rates of ₹12-12.5 lakh per 10 seconds, the next year will bring a new challenge in form of an ICC T20 World Cup — so the advertisers will have options. “This year was unique, but advertisers will have a choice next year with the World Cup,” said Vaishali Verma, the CEO of IPG Mediabrands’ Initiative India.

Moreover, the bigger worry for Star India, market experts say, would be the scheduling of the league next year.

“2020 was an aberration and the IPL has a set window during summers. There is not enough wiggle room to expand that due to bilateral ties and ICC tournaments. That would mean more matches will be played during afternoons, which don’t attract similar viewership. It will bring down the average viewership of the entire tournament,” said a sports marketing expert, who added that the BCCI wanted to add teams now to increase its own coffers after losing over ₹200 crore in sponsorship this season.

He said while the BCCI had maintained that it had been receiving a lot of requests from prospective team owners, the timing was curious.

Industry watchers said the Adani Group, Sanjiv Goenka-owned RPSG and media veteran Ronnie Screwvala have shown interest in teams.

BCCI’s IPL Googly may Stump Star India



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Australia experience holds key for spinners Ashwin, Yadav | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: The current Indian Test team is a bit fortunate to tour Australia within two years of their previous tour. Earlier, the tours were separated by a few years and that would make things difficult for players, especially spinners. By the time, they would adjust to the conditions and pitches, the tour would be over.
Past generations of spinners suffered from this. But when either Kuldeep Yadav or R Ashwin, or both, take the field on December 17 for the first Test in Adelaide, they will have an advantage and confidence to draw from their recent successes.
Both had performed well in the last Tests they played in Australia during India’s tour of 2018-19. While Yadav picked five wickets in the first innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in January 2019, Ashwin got six across two innings in Adelaide a month before that. Ashwin didn’t play the next three Tests due to injury.

But this time with him being fit, Ashwin will be in competition for a spot with Yadav who, being a wrist spinner, could be the preferred choice on Australian wickets that have been harsh for spinners from the sub-continent.
Harbhajan Singh, the former India off-spinner who toured Australia in 2003-04 and 2007-08 and played 103 Tests, and had great success against Ricky Ponting, explains why Australia was a tough place to bowl.
“It was difficult to bowl in Australia because by the time you would adjust to the wickets, the tour would be coming to an end. You would tour every four-five years. Their spinners would get more success because they knew the conditions better and well since it was their home,” Harbhajan told IANS, adding that adjusting to the lengths is the key.

Both finger spinner Ashwin and wrist spinner Yadav had reaped rich hauls last time also because the Aussies, missing David Warner and Steve Smith in that series as they were serving a ban, had packed their side with left-handers. Four of Ashwin’s six victims and three of Yadav’s five were left-handers. They found it hard to adjust to deliveries going away.
However, neither Marcus Harris nor Usman Khawaja and nor Shaun Marsh find a place in the squad for the current series. There are just Travis Head and Mathew Wade apart from the returning David Warner and only one of Head and Wade will get a look-in since the top-order, dominated by right-handers, is largely settled.

It could make things difficult. Prior to that Adelaide Test, Ashwin had taken 21 wickets in six Tests at an average of 54.71 in Australia. The six wickets in Adelaide helped him improve an average to over 48.
But against a settled Australian line-up, there is however still a way out — rely on bounce and not on side-spin.
Harbhajan has an advice: “The spinners need to adjust to the lengths very quickly. Also, they shouldn’t rely on sidespin, because you won’t get it. If it is happening, it is an advantage, but don’t rely too much on it. Indian spinners need to bowl a little slower to get the bounce.”
Having toured Australia so recently, it should not be an issue for Ashwin and Yadav.


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Australia experience holds key for spinners Ashwin, Yadav | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: The current Indian Test team is a bit fortunate to tour Australia within two years of their previous tour. Earlier, the tours were separated by a few years and that would make things difficult for players, especially spinners. By the time, they would adjust to the conditions and pitches, the tour would be over.
Past generations of spinners suffered from this. But when either Kuldeep Yadav or R Ashwin, or both, take the field on December 17 for the first Test in Adelaide, they will have an advantage and confidence to draw from their recent successes.
Both had performed well in the last Tests they played in Australia during India’s tour of 2018-19. While Yadav picked five wickets in the first innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in January 2019, Ashwin got six across two innings in Adelaide a month before that. Ashwin didn’t play the next three Tests due to injury.

But this time with him being fit, Ashwin will be in competition for a spot with Yadav who, being a wrist spinner, could be the preferred choice on Australian wickets that have been harsh for spinners from the sub-continent.
Harbhajan Singh, the former India off-spinner who toured Australia in 2003-04 and 2007-08 and played 103 Tests, and had great success against Ricky Ponting, explains why Australia was a tough place to bowl.
“It was difficult to bowl in Australia because by the time you would adjust to the wickets, the tour would be coming to an end. You would tour every four-five years. Their spinners would get more success because they knew the conditions better and well since it was their home,” Harbhajan told IANS, adding that adjusting to the lengths is the key.

Both finger spinner Ashwin and wrist spinner Yadav had reaped rich hauls last time also because the Aussies, missing David Warner and Steve Smith in that series as they were serving a ban, had packed their side with left-handers. Four of Ashwin’s six victims and three of Yadav’s five were left-handers. They found it hard to adjust to deliveries going away.
However, neither Marcus Harris nor Usman Khawaja and nor Shaun Marsh find a place in the squad for the current series. There are just Travis Head and Mathew Wade apart from the returning David Warner and only one of Head and Wade will get a look-in since the top-order, dominated by right-handers, is largely settled.

It could make things difficult. Prior to that Adelaide Test, Ashwin had taken 21 wickets in six Tests at an average of 54.71 in Australia. The six wickets in Adelaide helped him improve an average to over 48.
But against a settled Australian line-up, there is however still a way out — rely on bounce and not on side-spin.
Harbhajan has an advice: “The spinners need to adjust to the lengths very quickly. Also, they shouldn’t rely on sidespin, because you won’t get it. If it is happening, it is an advantage, but don’t rely too much on it. Indian spinners need to bowl a little slower to get the bounce.”
Having toured Australia so recently, it should not be an issue for Ashwin and Yadav.


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BAI assured of all help from the sports minister to conduct India Open | Badminton News

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HYDERABAD: India Open badminton tournament will be the first international tournament to be hosted by India after the pandemic struck with New Delhi set to host the BWF Super-500 event between March 30 and April 4.
With the Covid-19 protocols in place, there were doubts whether India would come forward to host this event.
However, when the officials of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) met sports minister Kiren Rijiju, the latter assured all possible help to conduct the event.
Incidentally, this would be the qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. It is only after 2012 that India got a chance to host a qualifying event for the Olympics.
But to host this tournament, India should relax a few of its Covid-19 norms.
BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania told TOI that the minister has responded positively. “I have explained in our letter of request to the honourable sports minister the importance of India Open as this will be an Olympic qualifier where top shuttlers from the world will be keen to participate only if the quarantine rules are relaxed. As per the current international norms a 72-hour prior test and Covid negative certification are made mandatory instead of 14 days of institutional quarantine,” Singhania said, adding that the minister had assured him all the support.
“We had a very fruitful discussion with sports minister Kiren Rijiju. He has assured all support and a prompt look to resolve the matter. We are all committed to bringing back the badminton action,” he added.
PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are more or less assured of qualifying for the Olympics. However, the hopes of Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal are hanging by a thread.
Even other shuttlers like Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy want to try till the end. A home tournament will do a world of good for the confidence of these shuttlers, who are battling against the odds.


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