Pakistan players apply to IPL for Third edition

At least 12 players from Pakistan have applied to the IPL requesting to be placed 3rd edition auction. Still it is not known yet who all the players are, the report quoted a player as saying that most of the team currently touring Australia has been in touch with the IPL.

Earlier, IPL Chairman Lalit Modi had announced that if Pakistan players need themselves included in the auction group for the 3rd edition of the IPL, they would have to submit their names by December 31.

"All the players here have sent emails to Lalit Modi expressing their interest for next season," one of the players was quoted as saying by cricinfo. "We haven't yet applied for visas to India but we have the NOC's in place from the board."

An IPL official confirmed that "over 12 players" had applied from Pakistan though he was also unsure of the exact number.

For its part, the PCB has issued general NOCs for all its players to take part in the lucrative tournament, since it was keen that the players would not miss out on this edition after having missed the second IPL in South Africa.

However, with the uncertain political equations between India and Pakistan, it is not yet clear what kind of interest franchises will show in Pakistan players during the auction.

There is also the question of four players - Kamran Akmal, Sohail Tanvir, Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Gul - who already have contracts with IPL franchisees. These contracts have been suspended currently, and the franchisees will have to let go of other foreign players if they want to retain the services of these four.

Sangakkara replaces Yuvraj Singh as Kings XI Skipper

Kumara SangakkaraSri Lankan Captain Kumara Sangakkara has replaced Yuvraj Singh as the skipper of the Kings Eleven Punjab, the IPL team. The assessment has been reportedly conveyed to Yuvraj Singh by the CEO of the franchisee.

Yuvraj led the team in the first two seasons of the IPL, reaching the semi-finals in the 1st season, but not managing to repeat that success in the 2nd season.

Earlier reports suggested that Yuvraj Singh was being replaced because his approach was a problem and not because of the perform of the team.

Stuart Broad and James Anderson say no to IPL

England fasters Stuart Broad and James Anderson will not play Indian Premier League in 2010.

The fasters were in line for exciting opportunities in the cash-laden climes of the IPL but will instead turn their full attention to their International careers.

All-rounder Andrew Flintoff injured his knee while playing in the IPL last year while Kevin Pietersen had to refute claims he aggravated an Achilles injury while training with Bangalore Royal Challengers.

BBC radio quoted Stuart Broad, who also turned down an India term last year, as saying that his "First priority" was to represent his country.

As per the announcement released by a management agency representing Broad, the faster was quoted as saying that remaining fit for the Ashes was his main priority.

"Whilst the chance to play in the IPL is potentially a great opportunity, my first priority is, and always will be, to represent my country,'' Broad said.

"The IPL is a tournament I would like to play in at some stage in the future but my International career is my sole focus at this stage in my career," he added

James Anderson too had the same reasons to give and said, "I am proud to be playing cricket for England and my International career is more important than anything which is why I have decided not to compete in the IPL in 2010."

Faster Sreesanth suffering from Swine Flu

Opening fast bowler S Sreesanth was found to be suffering from swine flu, raising concerns about the health of both the Indian and Sri Lankan cricket teams with whom he travelled here from Nagpur for the 2nd T20 match.

S Sreesanth was admitted to hospital yesterday and late tonight it was confirmed after tests that he is suffering from Swine Flu.

Apart from Sreesanth, Indian cricket team manager Mayank Sekhar was also admitted to the hospital after developing flu-like symptoms last night.

"The manager has been admitted to the hospital only as a defensive measure after he developed cough and cold," Walia said.

Both the teams travelled to Mohali yesterday by a chartered flight from Nagpur where they played their 1st T20 match. S Sreesanth, who missed that match apparently due to a stomach upset, was on the flight.

No member of the Indian or Sri Lankan teams has so far revealed any symptoms of swine flu but all the players would be subjected to a medical check-up tomorrow morning, said Walia.

Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni coughed a few times while addressing a press conference here previous in the day but sources said that there was nothing to point so far that he was having flu. Besides Sreesanth and Dhoni, other members of the Indian team who travelled here are Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Yusuf Pathan, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Ashok Dinda, Sudeep Tyagi and Pragyan Ojha.

Yuvraj Singh sacked as Kings XI Skipper

There have been reports responsibility rounds that the Kings XI Captain Yuvraj Singh has been sacked from the captaincy by the team management.

Yuvraj SinghReports said that the team coach Tom Moody was unhappy with Yuvraj's approach which apparently led to his sacking. The report also stated that Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara would take over as the skipper of the Punjab team through the IPL 3rd edition.

Kumara Sangakkara, however, refused these reports and said, "I already have my hands full with the Sri Lanka job. I cannot take another one and I feel an Indian should lead an Indian franchise."

Praising Yuvraj, Kumara Sangakkara said, "He is a very good skipper and I enjoyed playing under his captainship in the IPL. I haven't heard anything of this sort"

Pakistan cricketers ruled out of IPL III

Pakistani players will not play in the Indian Premier League III 2010 as their board has failed to get their visas before the deadline for confirmation of participation, IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi said on Monday.

"We have been informed by PCB that they have not been able to get the visas as of now. So we are not being able to expand the deadline. Today is the complete deadline for confirmation of Pakistani players. The swap window is day after tomorrow," Modi said.

"Unfortunately, the Pakistani players are out and they will not be allowed to take part in the next IPL because we are handicapped by the fact that the exchange window is day after tomorrow. We are informing the teams that they now can go for the replacement of the Pakistani players," he told the Times Now channel.

The Indian Premier League III 2010 will be played different venues in the country in March-April.

Sachin to play Twenty20 cricket at Lord's

Middlesex say they are close to signing Sachin Tendulkar and Adam Gilchrist in a contract that will be partially funded by the MCC, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

Sachin TendulkarEnglish County Middlesex is signing the cricketing greats to play 5 T20 matches at Lord's - and are believed to have got the nod from Gilchrist, while Tendulkar is waiting for permission from the Indian Cricket Board to join.

"We expect to make an announcement shortly," Keith Bradshaw, chief executive of the MCC said. "The two clubs are working closely together."

Sachin Tendulkar, who completed 20 years in international cricket on Nov 15 will return to the England county trip after playing for Yorkshire in 1992 as a 19-year-old. He was the county's first overseas player and scored more than 1,000 runs averaging 46.52.

Adam GilchristAdam Gilchrist has never played for a county side, and this would be his first time. He is expected to continue his relationship with the Middlesex though, and could even represent the county in a 50-over match against Australia.

Though the signings are anticipated to cost a fair amount, the organizers expect to recover the money through gate receipts and lucrative television sponsorship deals, especially to India, once Tendulkar is signed on.

Jacob Oram and Kyle Mills ruled out of T20i

The New Zealand will be without two player of the squad for first T20 International against Pakistan in Dubai.

Jacob OramAll rounder Jacob Oram is returning to New Zealand on Thursday to be with his wife, Mara, who is expecting the couple's first child may be having the baby early.

Kyle Mills has a shoulder injury but is stay with the team. He is not expected to take part in the first Twenty20 International but may be available for the second match.

James Franklin, who has been sidelined with a back injury during the first part of the UAE ODI series, came through a light practice yesterday and may be available for the T20 matches.

The Blackcaps plays Pakistan in the first of two T20 Internationals at Dubai International Cricket Stadium at Dubai Sports City on Thursday 12 November, and the second the following day.

Dav Whatmore to coach Kolkata Knight Riders

Former Indian Skipper Sourav Ganguly said Dav Whatmore will be the coach of Kolkata Knight Riders in the 3rd edition of Indian Premier League.

Ganguly who is expected to be back as Kolkata Knight Riders Skipper in the 3rd edition, said, "I have been informed that Whatmore will be our next coach. I know him for a long time. It will be exciting to work with him."

Dav Whatmore"Whatmore is very experienced and I'm looking forward to his association," he said.

Meanwhile, an official declaration on Whatmore's appointment is still awaited.

When contacted KKR CEO Joy Bhattacharya told PTI that an official announcement on Whatmore's appointment would be made in a couple of days.

The Australian just quit from the post of director of operations at National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

Whatmore coached Sri Lanka to World Cup victory in 1996 and was also coach of Bangladesh team.

Shahid Afridi signs up with South Australia

Aiming a berth in the 2nd edition of the Champions League, South Australia has signed up glitzy Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi for their domestic T20 tournament, starting in December 2009.

Shahid AfridiSouth Australia officials believe that the inclusion of the hard-hitting all-rounder would increase their chances of making the final of the domestic big bash tournament, which will make them suitable for the cash-rich event.

Afridi has swapped Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis in the Redbacks' squad.

"We narrowly missed out on finals last season and these signings are definitely a boost to our quest to qualify for the Champions League 2009," SACA High Performance Manger, Jamie Cox said.

"I have made no secret of the fact that I view the Big Bash competition as the most commercial on the domestic calendar and the inaugural Champions' League also provides fantastic opportunities for young players to showcase their skills on the world stage," he added.

Afridi was the player of the tournament in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 and has a unbelievable strike rate of 147 in 24 T20 internationals. He also has best bowling figures of 4/11.

Afridi has played 285 ODI matches with strike rate of 110. He has also taken 264 wickets with best figures of 6/38 against Australia.

Glenn McGrath set to replace Daniel Vettori for Delhi

The Delhi Daredevils are set to change the injured Daniel Vettori with Glenn McGrath in their squad.

Glenn McGrathThe Daredevils' Chief Operating Officer, Amrit Mathur was quoted as saying, ""We have sought the approval from the organizers to replace the injured players and have given the names of McGrath and Yogesh Nagar, who were part of the new squad of 20."

The other players who are injured for Delhi Daredevils are AB de Villiers and Paul Collingwood.

The requests have just been proposed, and McGrath is expected to enter in Delhi pending their approval.

It may be reminded that after performing outstandingly in the inaugural IPL in India, McGrath was benched for the whole duration of the 2nd edition in South Africa 2009 and had even reportedly made comments about not returning for the IPL 2010. However, for now it seems McGrath is eager to fly in to the aid of Delhi.

No pressure on Deccan Chargers: Adam Gilchrist

Former Australian Opener Adam Gilchrist, who led the Deccan Chargers team to brilliance in the Indian Premier League-II earlier this year, is raring to imitate the feet in Champions League Twenty20, commencing from October 8.

Adam Gilchrist, who expressed watchful optimism about their performance in the upcoming 12-team tournament, insisted that the Hyderabad-based team is not moving any "extra burden" on the run-up to Champions League.

"I think there are expectations always at all times to do well," Adam Gilchrist said.

Meanwhile, the tournament is giving yet another chance to the controversial Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds to prove himself, as he is eyeing cashing in on the "benefit of taking rest".

Another member of the team, India cricketer VVS Laxman also said that his endeavour would be to put up his best in the upcoming tournament.

"I want to give my best in the tournament whenever I get the opportunity," he said.

Deccan Chargers would start their battle by taking on Somerset here on October 10.

Champions League Twenty20 teams and schedule 2009

Champion - New South Wales

: Deccan Chargers, Somerset and Trinidad & Tobago

Group-B: Eagles, New South Wales and Sussex

Group-C: Royal Challengers Bangalore, Cape Cobras and Otago

Group-D: Delhi Daredevils, Victoria and Wayamba

No.DateMatch DetailsTime (GMT)Venue
1.Oct 08Bangalore Royal Challengers v Cape Cobras - Cape Cobras won by 5 wickets
2.Oct 09Eagles v New South Wales
NSW won by 53 runs
3.Oct 09Deccan Chargers v Victoria
Victoria won by 7 wickets
4.Oct 10Cape Cobras v Otago
Cape Cobras won by 54 runs
5.Oct 10Deccan Chargers v Somerset
Somerset won by 1 wickets
6.Oct 11New South Wales v Sussex
NSW won by 35 runs
7.Oct 11Delhi Daredevils v Wayamba
Delhi Daredevils win by 50 runs
8.Oct 12Somerset v Trinidad and Tobago
TT won by 44 runs
9.Oct 12Bangalore Royal Challengers v Otago
Bangalore won by 80 runs
10.Oct 13Victoria v Wayamba
Wayamba won by 15 runs
11.Oct 13Eagles v Sussex
Eagles win super over method
12.Oct 14Deccan Chargers v Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago won by 3 runs
13.Oct 15Bangalore Royal Challengers v Victoria
Victoria won by 7 wickets
14.Oct 16Somerset v Eagles
Eagles won by 5 wickets
15.Oct 16Trinidad and Tobago v NSW
TT won by 4 wickets
16.Oct 17Cape Cobras v Victoria
Cape Cobras won by 8 wickets
17.Oct 17Bangalore v Delhi
Bangalore won by 8 wickets
18.Oct 18Somerset v New South Wales,
NSW won by 6 wickets
19.Oct 18Trinidad and Tobago v Eagles
TT won by 24 runs
20.Oct 19Cape Cobras v Delhi Daredevils
Delhi Daredevils won by 30 runs
21.Oct 21Victoria v New South Wales
1st semi-final - NSW won by 79 runs
22.Oct 22Trinidad and Tobago v Cape Cobras
2nd semi-final - TT won by 7 wickets
23.Oct 23
Final - New South Wales v Trinidad and Tobago
NSW won by 41 runs

* - Day night Match

Sehwag no longer to captain the Daredevils

Explosive opener Virender Sehwag today stepped down as the skipper of Indian Premier League team Delhi Daredevils, which appointed Gautam Gambhir as his replacement.

Virender SehwagVirender Sehwag, who is currently treatment a shoulder injury, cited his want to focus on his batting as the reason for stepping down.

Gautam Gambhir will now guide the side in next month's Champions League Twenty20.

"Sehwag has been a source of great strength and inspiration to the team. When he expressed want to step down in order to fully focus and concentrate on batting, we respected his conclusion and accepted his request," Daredevils owner GMR's chairman Srinivas Bommidala said in a statement.

Dinesh Karthik has been appointed Vice Captain.

Gautam GambhirVirender Sehwag thanked GMR for accepting his request, saying he would now exclusively focus on his batting.

"I would like to thank GMR for their understanding in accepting my request to step down. Personally, I would like to concentrate on my own batting and contribute to the team," he said.

"Gautam did a great job of captaining Delhi and also during IPL-2009 in South Africa this year. He has shown very good leadership skills and will bring fresh power into the Delhi Daredevils," he added.

Gambhir, on his part, said he would draw from his experience of leading the Delhi Ranji team on some while captaining the Daredevils.

Kolkata Knight Riders coach to be announced by month end

Kolkata Knight Riders is likely to announce the much-awaited coach's name before the beginning their season with three practice matches with Champions League T20 teams in Gurgaon.

Sourav Ganguly"West Indies skipper Chris Gayle is expected to feature in the three practice matches from October 3 to 5 but all depends on his availability," former India skipper Sourav Ganguly who is all set to return as KKR captain in IPL III, told PTI.

Asked whether the coach and skipper's names would be announced ahead of the three fixtures, the Bengal southpaw said, "Maybe... We are somewhat waiting for the announcement. But as I have said, I am more concerned about the team."

The Shah Rukh Khan-owned side has already interviewed the likes of Wasim Akram, John Wright, Richard Pybus, Dermot Reeve and Michael Bevan among the foreign prospective candidates.

In their coach hunt held at Shah Rukh's residence in Mumbai, the team think reservoir including Ganguly has also interviewed the likes of Lalchand Rajput, WV Raman, Ashok Malhotra, Sandeep Patil and Praveen Amre among others.

According to sources, the team has delayed the declaration of their coach as they were discussing about the availability of the Pakistani great.

"We will be playing three matches in Gurgaon. On Chris Gayle's availibility, it all depends if he is available in that time," he said.

"We have signed in few players and we will be signing few more. This time, we have got some more time to prepare. It's an important season ahead and we are better organised this time. We are very hopeful of a good performance this time around," Ganguly added.

The inaugural Champions League T20 will have 12 teams and will include the domestic Twenty20 winners of West Indies, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, as well as Delhi Daredevils, who topped the round-robin stage of the 2009 IPL.

The inaugural Champions T20 League will be held from October 8-23, just after the Champions Trophy.

The 3rd edition of the cash-rich tournament will be held from March 12-April 25.

Abdul Razzaq given clearance to join KKR

The Pakistan Cricket Board gave its go-ahead to all-rounder Abdul Razzaq to sign a contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders for the 3rd edition of the IPL.

Razzaq had met Ejaz Butt to inform him about the offer he has received from the Shahrukh Khan-owned IPL franchise and seek his agreement to play for Kolkata Knight Riders.

Abdul RazzaqAfter the meeting the PCB chairman permitted the cricketer to join the KKR team.

Razzaq, who quit the rebel Indian Cricket League earlier this year, has made his comeback to the Pakistan side during the Twenty20 World Cup in England, this June and also played an ODI series against Sri Lanka last month.

The 29-year-old right-hand batsman was all delighted to receive the PCB's permission to join the IPL.

"It is great news for me and I'm now looking forward to giving my best for the Kolkata Knight Riders," Razzaq said.

Ricky Ponting retires from International Twenty20

Aussie captain Ricky Ponting today announced his retirement from International T20.

Ponting, who will prolong to remain the captain of the Test and ODI sides, stepped away from the International T20 format in an effort to continue his playing career.

Ricky PontingAddressing the media, Shipper Ponting said: "After much thought and careful consideration I have advised Cricket Australia of my decision to retire from international T20 cricket."

"I have also spoken to Andrew Hilditch, Tim Nielsen and Michael Clarke and I feel this decision provides me the opportunity to continue my Australian Test and one-day career, an opportunity I am really determined about."

"As I said after the 5th Test in London, I am hoping to continue playing Test cricket for as long as possible and retiring from the T20 format gives me the best chance of doing this."

"I will now have set periods of rest throughout the Australian summer and while touring which I feel will be very favorable," Ponting said.

"While I will no longer be available for Australian T20 cricket, I look forward to playing with Tasmania's KFC Big Bash team where possible and to satisfying my contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League," he added.

CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said: "We are very supportive of the decision Ricky has made and understanding of the reasons behind it."

"Needless to say he will be a big loss to the T20 side but it does present opportunities for the other players and leaders within Australian cricket to gain further experience."

"While we have not seen much of Ricky in Australia's T20 matches in recent times, his innings in the first ever Twenty20 International against New Zealand at Auckland was probably the best innings I have ever seen in the T20 form of the game."

A formal decision concerning Ponting's replacement as captain of the T20 side will be made later in the year.

Disciplined Kiwis clinch a thriller win in T20

Jacob Oram and Daniel Vettori shared 5 wickets as New Zealand came from behind to stun Sri Lanka by three runs in a T20 international here on Wednesday.

The tourists, controlled to 141-8, hit back to keep the World Twenty20 finalists down to 138-9 in an anxious finish at the Premadasa stadium.

Oram VettoriJacob Oram finished with 3-33 and captain Vettori took 2-11 as Sri Lanka lost seven wickets for 71 runs after Tillakaratne Dilshan's brilliant 57 off 28 had boosted them to 67-2 in the seventh over.

Jacob Oram, bowling the final over with Sri Lanka needs nine runs with three wickets in hand, dismissed Malinda Bandara & Nuwan Kulasekara off the first two balls and allowed just five runs in the over.

Ian Butler, who did not play in the previous Test series which Sri Lanka swept 2-0, took 2-29 including the main wicket of Dilshan, who was snapped up a point by Ryder.

The second T20 match will be played at the same venue on Friday before New Zealand join India and Sri Lanka in a limited-over tri-series starting here on September 8.

New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond, returning to official cricket after two years, was plundered for four consecutive boundaries by Dilshan in his first over.

Bond, who broke links with the unauthorised Indian Cricket League to be qualified for New Zealand again, finished with 0-27 in his four overs.

New Zealand's innings rotated around Ross Taylor's 60 off 45 balls after Vettori won the toss and elected to bat on the slow wicket.

Taylor hit five fours and one six in his third T20 half-century, but the Kiwis lost five wickets for 19 runs after they had reached 117-3 in the 17th over.

Taylor brought up New Zealand's 100 in the 15th over with a boundary off Sanath Jayasuriya, and celebrated the landmark by pulling the next delivery over mid-wicket for six.

Man of the Match: Daniel Vettori

Lalit Modi expects IPL franchisees to break even

Even as contradictory reports come in regarding the profits or losses made by various IPL franchisees, the IPL Chairman & commissioner Lalit Modi has said it is also early to talk of losses since the numbers for the 2nd edition that was held in South Africa have yet to be worked out.

Lalit ModiIn an conference to the Hindustan Times, Modi said, "It's too soon to say that the franchisees are making losses yet. Unless we give them the numbers, how can they say that they have incurred losses?"

Modi was also positive about the franchisees making profits soon, and even said some of them would have done so this year itself.

"This year most of them will break even. They say they won't, by their estimated calculations. Then they definitely will in a three-four year period. In any case, we have certain them that we will cover them for this in the first few years."

Modi also protected the pricing of $250 million for a new team in the 2011 season against accusations that it was impractical, saying "It's definitely most realistic, and in fact, will be in the $250 to $300 million range."

Twenty20 has rendered ODI irrelevant: Warne

T20 has rendered one-day cricket inappropriate and the 50-over format should be done away with, according to spin great Shane Warne.

"I'll say it again; one-day cricket should go. It has evolved into T20," said the Australian star, asserting the game would be better off with just two formats.

"Cricket only wants two forms of the game. Something needs to be done about scheduling: it's been going on for too long," Warne wrote in his column for 'Herald Sun'.

The leg-spinner, who led Rajasthan Royals to a legend triumph in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League, remains a halt supporter of the T20 format and believes one-dayers simply has no business in the international calendar.

Shane Warne was equally critical of Australia's post-Ashes schedule which pits them against the same English side for a 7-match ODI series.

"Unfortunately, Australia now plays a series of ludicrous limited-overs matches against England, and then more one-dayers in South Africa & India, before the next Test in Brisbane in November.

"It is a joke that any international team has to play 7 ODIs after a 5-Test series against the same team," Warne said.

"There are only 9 Tests between now and the next Ashes series in Australia at the end of next year, but a ridiculous number of one-day cricket in the same era," he added.

Richard Hadlee says T20 could destroy Test cricket

One of the great all-rounders the game has known, and indubitably New Zealand's greatest ever player, Sir Richard Hadlee has made a strong request to the game's rulers: Don't let down our game.

Hadlee added his voice to the rising concerns of Twenty20 cricket via-a-via the traditional Test matches.

Heaving match schedules, the growth of Twenty20 and the vast financial lures for players from the IPL demand firm controls being put in place by the International Cricket Council, he says.

Hadlee was not induced that the game's ruling body had the forethought and vision to put aside monetary gains for the overall benefit of the game.

"We are in serious danger of having the decision makers betraying the game of cricket," said Hadlee.

"Everything evolves and things keep changing, but this is a revolution within the game of cricket.

"It's new, profitable, successful and brings in massive money. The danger is overload, that you have too much of it, and it swamps other forms of the game and compromises them.

"If one format of the game like Twenty20 eats the game as much as it is doing now - and potentially in the future - it is destroying the game of cricket as a total concept."

"The IPL is franchise cricket, it's club cricket, it is not international cricket. We are two years into it and you can see potentially that there will be more and more of it. It will consume the game. Once it has gone too far and people have grown bored with it, it will have destroyed test cricket and probably 50-over cricket," he said.

Coincidentally, Hadlee's comments came just a day after Shane Warne had advocated scrapping ODIs, and providing a window for the IPL.

Four new places announced for IPL III

Four new places and a third place play-off match will be launched in the III Indian Premier League which will get happening in Hyderabad on 12-3-2010 with a game between IPL II 2009 winners Deccan Chargers and the Kolkata Knight Riders.

The final of the 45-day Twenty20 cricket league, which showed a huge success in its first two editions in India and South Africa, would be held on April 25, IPL Chairman Lalit Modi declared after a meeting of its Governing Council at Mumbai.

IPL III will have four supplementary match staging centres - Nagpur, Vishakhapatnam, Ahmedabad and Dharamsala - and will also stage one extra match, the 60th, for the third place play-off, Modi said.

"The playing pane remains the same, 45 days", Modi mentioned, before adding that the Governing Council also decided to include two more franchisees in IPL IV to be held in 2011.

"There would be 94 games in all with each franchisee playing 18, instead of 14 preliminary phase games. But the pane would remain more or less the same," Modi said.

Afridi named Pakistan T20 Skipper

Shahid Afridi's dream of leading the Pakistan team came true as the glitzy all-rounder was today appointed skipper for the Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka in next month.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today ready an announcement to this effect but there was no mention whether Afridi would continue at the rudder of the country's T20 team.

"The chairman of the board, Ejaz Butt, has selected Afridi to lead Pakistan for the international against Sri Lanka," a spokesman for the PCB said. "A decision on future Twenty20 matches would be taken later on."

Afridi's slot came as Younis Khan stepped down after leading Pakistan to the Twenty20 World Cup glory in England last month. Younis Khan made it clear that he considered himself too old for the T20 format of the game and would not take back his decision.

Afridi, who connected the touring squad for the ODI series and the T20 tie last week, had earlier made it clear that it was his lifetime ambition to lead Pakistan in at least one international match.

The five-match ODI series is starting in Dambulla tomorrow, while Pakistan will play the only T20 match on 12th August in Colombo.

Afridi has captained his city, local and departmental teams in domestic cricket with mixed success.

"The decision reflects that the board and selectors are concerned about future of regular vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq in the Pakistan team particularly for limited-over cricket," one source said.

He has played in 23 Twenty20 internationals, scoring 371 runs at an average of 19.52, as well as claiming 33 dismissals at an extraordinary average of 15.57.

Sourav Ganguly back as KKR captain

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly is likely to lead the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 3rd edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Sourav Ganguly led in the inaugural tournament in 2008, but was controversially replaced by Brendon McCullum in 2009 - a decision that the then coach John Buchanan made.

Ganguly met authorization owner Shahrukh Khan in England when he was there to watch the ICC World Twenty20 Championship, and they talk about captaincy as well as appointment of the new coach of the team for the next season of the twenty20 IPL tournament.

According to sources, the KKR management will like to declare the decision later in the middle of August once the new coach is appointed. Though team management prefers Dave Whatmore for the job, Ganguly prefers John Wright.

The conclusion has come about because McCullum is likely to busy for a large part of the tournament since he will be on duty for New Zealand.

MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh to play in Corporate Trophy

A galaxy of the country's peak players, including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, are likely to take part in the inaugural Corporate Trophy limited overs tournament to be held from September 1 to 8.

Six centres: Chennai, Bangalore, Mohali, Cuttack, Dharamsala and Delhi have been short listed as venues and the draw and fixtures are expected to be announced by the BCCI on July 27.

The BCCI has already finalized 12 teams, including two from Air India, and four more corporates could be added to the line-up, in a tournament that will be boost for the upcoming short tour of Sri Lanka.

The Lanka-bound cricketers are expected to feel a short conditioning camp, either in Bangalore or Chennai, lasting four or five days at the end of August before they stand for their respective companies in the Corporate Trophy, according to BCCI sources.

Among the AI players who are expected to play Dhoni, showy batsman Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh as well as Irfan Pathan.

Miandad: T20 is 'fast food' & a bad habit

T20 is a 'fast food', bad habit and is posturing a major threat to Test cricket in the sub-continent, feels former Pakistan Test captain Javed Miandad.

Miandad spoken concerns over suggestions from the ICC to decrease Test cricket matches to four-days and introduce colored balls and colored clothing under lights in the traditional format of the sport.

"There is no doubt that Twenty20 cricket is undermining Test cricket and they are many reasons for this, take India's example. Players like Yousuf Pathan are more popular than most of his more illustrious teammates because Twenty20 cricket is in these days. It is just like fast food, a bad habit," Javed Miandad said.

Miandad, however, felt that the future of Test cricket faced no threat in countries like England, South Africa, Australia where it was still popular.

"It is in countries like Pakistan and India where it is under threat. One reason for this is also economic conditions of the people. Everything is so expensive for our masses," he said.

There have been suggestions from the ICC President, David Morgan about reducing Tests to four day matches instead of the traditional five days.

Morgan has said that Test cricket faces a challenge from the growing popularity of twenty20 cricket and there is a need to look at revamping the traditional format of the game.

However, Miandad cautioned the ICC against trying to change the traditional format of the game.

"Any moves to reduce the number of days in a Test or introduce night matches and colored balls will only prove counter-productive," he said.

The former Test captain said instead of taking measures that can threaten the spirit of the game the ICC should be looking at other ways to ensure all forms of the game survive together properly.

"The ICC should involve more former players in consultations and find ways to keep interest in Test cricket alive. As it is now Test cricket is about 90 overs a day you can't do more to get results," he said.

"Test cricket must remain the way it is or else cricket will lose its special appeal to the people as well. Cricket lovers want to see Test matches," he said.

New South Wales to approach Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi, who guided Pakistan to magnificence in the Twenty20 World Cup, may shortly receive an offer to play in Sheffield Shield for the Australian domestic side New South Wales.

The 29-year-old all-rounder helped Pakistan win their 1st major title in 17 years by thumping their sub-continental opponent Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the final at Lord's.

"Afridi is clearly one of the world's best T20 player, but also he would be precious addition to our dressing room, our young players would learn a lot from him."

"We would surely consider if he could be used for other formats," a NSW Cricket official was lined as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Afridi set up an excellent all-round performance through the tournament; scoring 176 runs in seven matches included two half-centuries and also gets 11 wickets with an economy rate of 5.32.

If the contract materialises, Shahid Afridi would become one of the high-profile players to join an Australian side, after NSW's selection of Kiwi Brendon McCullum for last season's Big Bash final alongside Victoria, the report said.

Younis Khan will not to reconsider Twenty20 retirement

The rising pressure on him to reconsider retirement from T20 cricket despite, Pakistan skipper Younis Khan on Tuesday made it clear that he not go back on his decision.

"I had determined before going to the World Cup I would leave no matter what the result. I don't want to be in a condition where I am left out of the team," Younis, who was mobbed by fans at the Karachi airport, said.

Younis Khan"I think now Twenty20 cricket is a very hard form of the game. It saps your energy in 40 overs. It is not easy cricket. I am also old for this type of cricket," he said.

"I became a more serious skipper after the early losses. I realized I had to be serious. I am happy that we could take so much joy to the people," he said.

"Our plan was simple. I decided to take the force and let the others to play freely. We gave a free license to Kamran and Afridi. It was decided that if they botched I would go into bat and take the pressure."

"I am always motivated by challenges and I perform better under pressure," he said.

Fired-up Pakistan lifted World T20 title

Pakistan won their 1st major title in 17 years when they stunned Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the World Twenty20 final at Lord's on Sunday.

Shahid Afridi hit an unbeaten 54 off 40 balls, his second following half-century, and former skipper Shoaib Malik made 24 not out through a match-winning partnership of 76 for the undefeated third wicket.

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected bat first. The Lankans slumped to 2-2 in the first nine balls and that became 34-4 before Skipper Sangakkara himself led the save act with a defiant unbeaten 64 from 52 balls. Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews put on 68 for the unbroken seventh wicket as Sri Lanka plundered 59 runs in the final five overs. Mathews returned unbeaten on 35 off 24 balls.

Pakistan got off to a amazing start when teenage fast bowler Mohammad Aamir sent back the in-form Tillekaratne Dilshan with the 5th ball of the match.

Dilshan, the tournament's leading scorer with 317 runs, miscued a pull shot off the speedy left-armer and was caught at toward the back square-leg by Shahzaib Hasan for zero.

Four balls later, Shahzaib grabbed his second catch at mid-off as Jehan Mubarak skied a leading edge off Razzaq, who shared the new ball with Aamir.

Jayasuriya counter-attacked with a six and four in Razzaq's second over, but the bowler hit back two balls later as the left-handed veteran edged a ball on to his stumps after making 17.

Razzaq, who replaced the injured Yasir Arafat after ending his links with the rebel Indian Cricket League, struck again in his third over when Misbah-ul Haq dived to his right at slip to remove Mahela Jayawardene for one.

Player of the Match: Shahid Afridi
Player of the Tournament: Tillekaratne Dilshan

Oval on high alert for India-Pakistan match

Security around the Oval cricket ground has been stepped up in view of the India-Pakistan Twenty20 warm-up match to be held on 03-jun-2009 with extra night watchmen and snuffer dogs pressed into service around the location.

It will be the first Indian-Pakistan cricket meet since the November Mumbai attacks, and officials are taking no chances to make sure that the match passes off peacefully.

Tournament director Steve Elworthy said, "The sporting landscape has changed hugely since the tragedies in Mumbai and Lahore. We need to be confident we're on top of the situation, which we are."

Security has also been stepped up in venues where the Sri Lankan Cricket team is scheduled to play, given the recent events in the island nation and expressions in London against the Sri Lankan government's offensive against the Tamil Tigers.

A dedicated Police Intelligence Cell headed by the former chief constable Sir John Evans, has been set up, with the mandate to supervise security arrangements for the whole Twenty20 World Cup tournament.

Windies warm to brash T20 style

Hands thrust deep in pockets and cursing their bosses through chattering teeth for agreeing to a Test series in chilly England, the World Twenty20 can't have come quick enough for the West Indies.

When WI captain Chris Gayle, who thrives on packed houses and warm weather cricket, surveyed the rows and rows of empty seats at Chester-Le-Street as his team suffered a second Test drubbing, his thoughts would have drifted back to the IPL.

Had not the West Indies Cricket Board stepped in to fill the Test gap left by Zimbabwe and then Sri Lanka, Gayle as well as other teammates would have been raking in serious cash in the IPL in South Africa.

The Skipper made it clear which aspect of the game he preferred when he arrived in England two days before the first Test having played for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening part of the IPL extravganza.

"Everyone knew this would happen," he said. "Maybe there should be a window for the IPL when all players should be available so everybody can get the chance to play against the best, like the World Cup."

The West Indian players, or at least some of them, are regularly at loggerheads with the WICB over financial rewards, although many have already reaped the benefits of Twenty20.

They came out on top in the unlamented Stanford Super Series last year when players became instant millionaires.

Their record on the international front has mirrored their unpredictable talents.

At the 2007 World Twenty20, Gayle smashed 117 in the game against hosts South Africa, and shared a record opening stand of 145 with Devon Smith, but still they lost.

They were then humiliated by Bangladesh by six wickets and failed to reached the Super Eights second round.

In all, the West Indies have won four of their 11 T20 internationals and will face a tough task to make the Super Eights in the 2009 event having been placed in Group D with Australia and Sri Lanka.

Their 15-man squad saw big-hitting Xavier Marshall recalled but Devon Smith misses out.

There are plenty of potential big run-makers in the West Indies line-up.

However, it's their ability of their wayward bowlers to keep a tight leash on opposing batsmen which will concern coach John Dyson.

In the second Test against England, the Caribbean side conceded 61 extras, 28 of them no-balls with frontline Fast bowler Fidel Edwards the worst culprit with 22 no-balls.

Andrew Flintoff ruled out of World Twenty20

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff was ruled out of the World Twenty20 competition which gets happening on June 5.

The 31-year-old - who had constant injury problems over the past few years - has failed to make progress in time from right knee surgery after he suffered the injury during the Indian Premier League series 2009 in South Africa.

Nick Peirce, the England and Wales Cricket Board medical officer, required to allay fears this could cast doubt on Flintoff taking part in the upcoming Ashes series 2009 where England will be seeking to recover them after the humiliating 5-0 whitewash in 2006/07 when Flintoff captained the side.

"Andrew Flintoff is making brilliant progress and there is no swelling or pain now in the knee," said Peirce of the all rounder, who was England's star player when they won the Ashes in 2005 which was the last time he scored a century for the England side.

"He has been putting in some tremendously hard training with Lancashire and should start running and practicing this week.

"We have obtained permission from ICC to name Adil Rashid as a replacement," said Miller, a former England spinner.

Deccan chargers are 2009 DLF IPL champions

For once, Ravi Shastri was entitled to bellow his lungs out on the mic and invite the world and its uncle to party, because this was an occasion that was worthy of some over-the-top hype. The finals couldn't have featured teams better suited to headline writers if it had been scripted - after all, these were the sides that were locked in a 'least-worst' contest last year. But in a true testament to the nature of T20 cricket, where the form of the day is what counts, they had risen to the summit of this year's contest.

It started off on expected lines - Anil Kumble won the toss and opted to bowl, Adam Gilchrist said he wasn't sure what he would have done on winning the toss.

With Kumble opening the bowling in recent matches, one of the most eagerly awaited battle-within-battles of the finals happened in the first over itself, when Gilchrist faced up to his opposite number. However, it was not a classic by any means - it was a hands down triumph for Kumble who bowled Gilchrist off the third ball of the match, giving his team a huge early advantage. Mindful of Gilchrist's penchant for swatting faster bowlers like so many flies, Kumble cleverly slowed down the pace of the ball, to lure him out and fool him with the wrong 'un.

Much like in the semi-finals, Kumble brought himself on for only one over inside the power-play. In the previous match, his target had been to get Hayden, this time it was Gilchrist. He failed then, but was right on the money today.

Hyderabad suffered another jolt when Suman was out to Vinay Kumar - the leading edge going in the direction of the covers, where Manish Pandey took a well judged catch despite the fact that 2 other fielders were running in, and no one called for it.

To have a reasonable chance at a match-winning total, Hyderabad needed Symonds and Gibbs to combine well. They did get a partnership going but were fortunate. Had Rahul Dravid - the world record holder for catches in Test cricket - not fluffed a sitter off Andrew Symonds. The unfortunate bowler was Vinay Kumar, and Symonds was then on 5 from 6 balls, and Hyderabad were 23 for 2 in 5.2 overs.

Hyderabad then had another slice of luck, when Gibbs edged a ball between the wicket-keeper and Dravid who was at a widish first slip off Kallis.

With Symonds opening his shoulders and looking dangerous, Anil Kumble went to his go-to bowler for tight situations - i.e. himself. The change worked, as Kumble got Symonds bowled, the ball looping off the batsman's thigh pad and onto the bails, and after a brief recovery Hyderabad were once again on the backfoot, heading into the strategy break at 62 for 3.

The Bangalore bowlers maintained the pressure, and it was a matter of time before something happened. Either Gibbs and Rohit Sharma would be successful in breaking the shackles, or would perish in trying to do so. Hyderabad had endured a 36 ball dry spell, boundary wise, but the batsmen finally found their timing and placement with a flurry of boundaries, and Praveen Kumar's third over went for 20 runs, both batsmen hitting him for sixes. The fifty partnership was raised in 41 balls, and both batsmen looked set to explode.

However, the finals had a set script to follow - everytime a batsman or partnership looked threatening, Kumble would bring himself on and get a wicket. That is exactly what he did in his fourth over - the 17th of the innings - by foxing Rohit Sharma who holed out to long off for 24 off 23 balls. Kumble wasn't done though, and off his final ball, scalped Venugopal Rao as well to leave Hyderabad 115 for 5 after 17 overs. Kumble returned with absolutely outstanding figures of 4-0-16-4, and appropriately enough, the last ball he bowled in the tournament got him a wicket.

The other bowlers followed Kumble's lead and Hyderabad were not able to get in a single big over at the end of their innings, and ended up with a slightly below-par total of 143 for 6. Herschelle Gibbs had carried his bat through the innings for 53 not out off 48 balls.

Bangalore, who towards the end of the tournament had discovered a realiable opening pair, started cautiously, with both Kallis and Pandey playing carefully at the start. They had wanted to build a good base, but purple cap holder RP Singh put paid to those plans when Kallis dragged a ball back, to send his leg-stump cartwheeling in the fourth over.

Bangalore's young success story, then fell to Hyderabad's young success story, when Pragyan Ojha got Manish Pandey off the first ball he bowled, edging the ball into Gilchrist's gloves. Ojha got further success when he outfoxed van der Merwe to get him stumped after a cameo innings of 32 off 21 balls. Then Harmeet Singh, who had an economy rate of almost 9 before this match, uprooted Dravid's leg stump when the latter tried to be too cute and moved too far across his stumps. At 79 for 4 in 11.4 overs, the match hung nicely in the balance. The side that won the next passage of play would be the one most likely to get their hands on the trophy.

In a pressure match, while chasing a decent total, the pressure got to Bangalore and from 99 for 4 in 14.1 overs, they slid to 110 for 8 in 16.4 overs, losing two big wickets in two balls to Andrew Symonds. First Ross Taylor pulled a ball straight down the throat of deep square leg, then Virat Kohli dragged his foot out of the crease to be excellently stumped by Gilchrist.

After that the writing was on the wall for Bangalore, and though Robin Uthappa managed to strike a six, he had been left with too tall a mountain to climb for a man who had been so out of form in the tournament. The Royal Challengers still made a spirited attempt, but fell short of the target by one DLF Maximum to end on 137 for 9.

It was thus Adam Gilchrist who lifted the silverware this time, ending season two of the IPL on a nicely symmetrical note - The last team last year was No.1 this year, while the the second last team came out second. A legendary, retired Australian cricketer beat a future India captain the last time, while a legendary, retired Australian cricketer beat an ex-India captain this time.

Full marks to Adam Gilchrist - he deserved every bit of the glory that came his way, though one couldn't help but feel for Anil Kumble who was at least as deserving of glory as Gilchrist, but unfortunately had to finish second.

Chennai Super Kings put Kings XI Punjab on the brink of elimination

After witnessing the ouster of the 2008 IPL champions in the hands of Kolkata, Kingsmead was ready to host another do-or-die encounter for Punjab against the Chennai Superkings. MS Dhoni won the toss for Chennai and opted to bat first. While Punjab had no changes in their eleven, Chennai replaced Jakati, Tyagi and Albie Morkel with Ashwin, Gony and Thushara.

With Hayden sitting out due to his injury, it was once again Parthiv Patel and George Bailey to open the proceedings for Chennai. While the pair were circumspect against Brett Lee, they took their chances against the likes of Irfan Pathan and Powar, taking Chennai to a steady start. Punjab turned the tables on Chennai by getting the top order in quick succession. Bailey was the first to depart when a throw from Yuvraj found the batsman short of the crease. His opening partner Parthiv Patel was the next man to go, bowled by Ramesh Powar after scoring 32 off 23 balls.

Kingsmead witnessed top order collapses earlier in the day with the batsmen failing to score for both Rajasthan and Punjab. The trend seemed to continue into the second match when Badrinath and MS Dhoni got out in quick succession, with a rejuvenated Sreesanth getting the better of the batsmen. In what could be termed as the ball of the tournament, Sreesanth emulating Waqar Younis, bowled a steaming yorker, castling the stumps of MS Dhoni. He went on to finish his spell with figures of 2/23.

Another wicket could have gone down for Chennai, but for a decision from the third umpire. Jacob Oram attempted a quick single and was found short of the crease. Luckily for him, the third umpire ruled the decision in his favour after replays suggested that Powar might have lost the ball during his attempt to break the stumps. When a furious Preity Zinta was fuming over the run-out decision going against Punjab, two more wickets went down for Chennai, bringing the smile back on the Punjab team owner's face. Mota and Chawla were the contributors for the smile, getting the wickets of Raina and Gony respectively. Punjab had more reasons to celebrate when Jacob Oram and Ashwin got out to Irfan Pathan in the 18th over, trying to go for quick runs.

The jinx of Chennai not having won a single match at Durban seemed to have hit them again when the batting failure saw Chennai end up with a score of 116/9 at the end of 20 overs.

Punjab started off the chase steadily, not wanting to give early wickets. However, MS Dhoni and co had other ideas, wanting to give Punjab a run for the money. They got a wicket early in the innings when Thushara dismissed Sohal. Not wanting to give away any freebies, Dhoni had his bowlers maintain a tight line. He employed Muralitharan early in the innings to make things tough for Punjab. His strategy paid off when the Sri Lankan Maestro got the key wickets of Simon Katich and Pomersbach and ended up with miserly figures of 2/8 off his 4 overs.

While Punjab thought that Yuvraj and Sangakkara would get the team out of trouble, they were proved wrong by Chennai. After the strangulation of runs, Chennai ran into the middle order of the Kings XI team. Raina was the first to break into the middle order dismissing Yuvraj Singh in the 13th over. Punjab's hopes rested on Sangakkara to pull off something special. But that was not to be as the Sri Lankan keeper was dismissed by Ashwin, who went on to take the wicket of Mota in the same over. The off spinning trio of Muralitharan, Ashwin and Raina caused enough damage from which the Punjab team could not recover.

They gave away just 38 runs off their combined 12 overs, most importantly picking up 6 wickets during that time. This eventually led to the Punjab team, losing the match by 24 runs.

Kolkata Knight Riders send Rajasthan crashing out

Some years ago, Laxmi Ratan Shukla surfaced as the lead player in India's search for an all-rounder. He disappeared into the huge expanses of domestic cricket after playing three one-day internationals. On Wednesday, we finally got to see a good all-round show from him as Kolkata Knight Riders scampered to a four-wicket win that sank defending champions Rajasthan Royals out of the Indian Premier League 2009.

With a hives of wickets falling around him as Kolkata Knight Riders chased just 102 for victory, Shukla stayed calm and collected as he made an unbeaten 48 (46 balls, three fours, two sixes) and shared a match-winning stand of 57 runs in eight overs with Ajit Agarkar (13 off 17) to steer the team home with three balls to spare.

Walking in at 37 for five in the 10th over, Shukla stood tall against every trick that Rajasthan Royals Skipper Shane Warne and the situation threw at him. Not for a moment did he seem under pressure and he came up with conventional and creative shots, taking a few risks along the way. Above all, it was a smart approach that smacked of a never-say-die spirit.

To give Warne due cricket, the Rajasthan Royals Skipper was aware that his team had made a sub-par score against steady bowling and electric fielding and made a clarion call to the fielders before they started their defence. And his squad responded magnificently in their bid to stay afloat in the race for the semifinals

Munaf Patel claimed two wickets up front while Amit Singh saw the back of the dangerous Brendon McCullum and panic seemed to strike Kolkata Knight Riders ranks. The scoring slowed down and it needed the calm and mature approach shown by Shukla and Agarkar for the team to be able to head home in slightly better frame of mind after a dismal tournament.

Earlier, Naman Ojha made 21 runs in the first over of the match against Brad Hodge but Rajasthan Royals were caught in a web of confusion, unable to make up their mind whether to seek a simple win that would still keep them in the race or for a big win that would make a huge impact to their net run rate.

Poor shot-selection and run out dismissals afflicted Rajasthan Royals through their innings and they were unable to make a score that could challenge Kolkata Knight Riders any more that it did in the end. On a day when their batsmen needed to fire big time, Rajasthan Royals had little to show for their determination.

Kolkata Knight Riders were indebted to South African paceman Charl Langeveldt who claimed three for 15 in his four overs on appearance in IPL 2009. Shukla was delightfully parsimonious in his four overs when he kept firing yorkers almost at will.