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India vs Australia: Steve Smith blurs the lines of gamesmanship, again | Cricket News

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Shocked and hurt Smith denies ‘scuffgate’ allegations, Langer joins chorus
Having just recovered some batting form, Steve Smith once again finds himself at the centre of unsavoury allegations because of apparently incriminating video footage.
No stranger to controversies, this time it is Smith’s ‘quirk’, as the Aussies call it, of shadow batting at the crease, while India were battling to save the Test on Day 5 in Sydney, that has seen him being accused of blurring the line of gamesmanship.

Ever since the controversy broke out, the Aussie team management has been rallying behind Smith. They know that their best batsman should be free of distractions going into the decider in Brisbane.
A day after skipper Tim Paine defended Smith’s actions, coach Justin Langer took a more aggressive tone and said the accusations against Smith were ludicrous.
“I literally cannot believe some of the rubbish I have read about Smith. Absolute load of rubbish,” Langer said in a virtual media interaction on Wednesday morning.

“Anyone who suggests for one millisecond he was trying to do something untoward, they are way out of line. On that wicket, it was that flat, it was like concrete, you need 15-inch spikes to make an intent on the crease and he went nowhere near the crease,” added Langer.
Langer’s assumption that Smith went nowhere near the crease is far from true. Stump cameras had caught Smith shadow batting at the crease and also appeared to suggest that the former Aussie captain was trying to scuff up the batsman’s (Rishabh Pant) guard. And it is based on this video footage that several former players and commentators flayed Smith for his act.

Smith too admitted that he has been left stunned by the developments but justified his actions. “I have been quite shocked and disappointed by the reaction to this. It is something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers and then out of habit I always mark centre,” Smith was quoted as saying by an Australian newspaper.
The Aussie knows more than most what transgressing the line on a cricket field means. The 2018 Sandpapergate scandal saw him getting banned from all forms of cricket for a year and also robbed him of the captaincy.
Ever since his comeback, Smith has been trying to build a good-boy image and has let his bat do the talking. There is no doubt this controversy has put him under stress again. A ‘hurt’ Smith can be dangerous, especially when he feels he has been hard done by, so that’s something for the Indians to watch out for.



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Bruce Oxenford: Umpire Bruce Oxenford announces retirement from international cricket

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Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford on Thursday announced his retirement from international cricket after officiating in all three formats of the game for over 15 years.

A regular member of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires since 2012, Oxenford officiated in 62 Test matches, the last of which was the final game of the Australia-India series in Brisbane.

“I look back with pride at my international career as an umpire. It is still hard to believe that I officiated in close to 200 international matches. Such a long career was not really something that I had hoped for before commencing on this journey,” said Oxenford in an ICC statement.

The 60-year-old, who officially stands down in April, made his international debut at the Gabba in a T20 International between Australia and South Africa in January 2006.

He officiated at the last three men’s World Cups and the last three T20 World Cups. He was also a part of the officiating team at the Women’s T20 World Cups in 2012 and 2014.

Before becoming an umpire, Oxenford represented Queensland in eight first-class matches as a leg-spin bowler and lower-order batsman.

The Queenslander will continue to oversee domestic fixtures despite his retirement from international game.

“I would like to thank the International Cricket Council, Cricket Australia and all my colleagues in the ICC Elite and International panels for their support and encouragement over the years,” he said.

“I had a wonderful time as a match official and will miss the camaraderie that comes with being a part of such a professional group. I shall particularly miss seeing and interacting with the magnificent people who are part of the support structure of our game around the world.”

Oxenford said he is looking forward to umpiring in domestic cricket in his country.

“Most importantly, I want to thank my wife Jo, son James and daughter Kristen for all their love and support over the years. It would not have been possible for me to have such a long career without their sacrifices and for this I am eternally grateful.

“Whilst I will no longer stand in International matches, I look forward to continuing to serve the game that I love – officiating within Australia,” he added.



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Sourav Ganguly to undergo medical tests, decision on stent insertion after reports arrive: Doctor | Cricket News

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KOLKATA: A series of medical tests would be conducted on BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Thursday following which a decision might well be taken on the next course of treatment, a senior doctor at the hospital where he has been admitted said.
The former Team India captain, hospitalised on Wednesday for the second time in a month, was likely to undergo angiography, and doctors would subsequently decide if another stent insertion was necessary.

Earlier in January, he was diagnosed with ‘triple vessel disease’ and had a stent inserted in a coronary artery after suffering a mild heart attack.
Mr Ganguly slept well all night. He had a light breakfast this morning. A series of tests will be conducted on him today to decide on the next course of treatment,” the senior doctor, who is part of the panel attending to the cricketing icon, said.
Noted cardiologist Devi Shetty might fly down to the city later in the day to examine Ganguly’s condition, go through the test reports, and hold meetings with the doctors treating him, he said.
“Once the test results arrive, we will be able to determine if two stents have to be inserted to open the blocks in his arteries,” he added.
According to a source in the family, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called Ganguly in the morning to enquire about his health.
Senior CPI (M) leader Ashok Bhattacharya also paid a visit to Ganguly at the hospital.
The former left-handed batsman was on Wednesday afternoon rushed to the private hospital on EM Bypass here from his Behala residence as he felt “dizzy with slight discomfort in chest”, the family source said.
A green corridor was created by the city police for his smooth travel to the hospital.
A statement issued by the medical establishment on Wednesday evening stated that several tests were carried out at the emergency ward of the hospital, but there was “no change in his (vital health) parameters since his last hospitalisation”.
Ganguly has been admitted “for a check-up of his cardiac condition”, the statement said.


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HC issues notice to Virat Kohli, Tamanna on plea seeking ban on online gambling in Kerala | Off the field News

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KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday issued notice to Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and the state government in a plea seeking ban on online gambling in the state.
Besides Kohli, a division bench, headed by Chief Justice S Manikumar, also issued notices to Malayalam actor Aju Varghese and South Indian actress Tamanna Bhatia.
The celebrities are the brand ambassadors of online rummy games.
Petitioner Pauly Vadakkan alleged online gambling is now a growing menace in the state and the primary targets will be middle to low income group people who will be enticed to make easy money.
People who fall to the fraud platforms often use what is left in their life savings, he said.
The petitioner said there have been many reported cases across the state in which people have got scammed.
Referring to the recent alleged death by suicide of a 28-year-old man, an ISRO employee hailing from Kattakkada in Thiruvananthapuram district, the petitioner said the man had fallen in the trap of online rummy game and pushed himself to a debt of Rs 21 lakh.
Finding no means to repay the debt, he took his life, the petitioner alleged.
These platforms endorsed by celebrities, including Kohli, Bhatia and Varghese, attract their audience with fake promises while in reality the probability of such winnings are slim to none, thus making a fool of unsuspecting people, the plea said.
The petitioner submitted that at present the law governing gaming activities in the state, the Kerala Gaming Act 1960, does not bring within its purview any online gambling, wagering or betting activities.
The act extends to gaming activities conducted in a “Common gaming house” (which is an enclosed physical premise such as house, room, tent etc) by using any “instrument of gaming kept or used in such enclosed physical premises for the accrual of profit or gain to the person owning, occupying, keeping such instruments of gaming in the enclosed physical premises.”
“Thus a person sitting in his private house, using these online gambling platforms from his house arguably may not come within the definition of a common gaming house,” the petitioner said.
In the plea, the petitioner noted that various High Courts, particularly the high courts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, have directed their respective jurisdictional state legislatures to explore the possibilities regulating online gaming.
In Andhra Pradesh, an ordinance has been promulgated to bring online gambling activities within the purview of the existing gaming legislation, the petitioner said.
The plea seeks a ban or to regulate and monitor online gambling games by framing laws that includes within its purview games that are conducted online by using electronic gadgets including mobile phone, computers, laptops and other communication devices.


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