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Investment firm RedBird acquires 15 per cent stake in IPL’s Rajasthan Royals


Private investment firm RedBird Capital Partners, which has interests in the parent company of Liverpool and the Boston Red Sox, has picked up a 15 per cent stake in Indian Premier League cricket franchise Rajasthan Royals for an undisclosed amount.

The Royals won the inaugural edition of the popular tournament, which is played in the sport’s shortest Twenty20 format, in 2008 and are majority owned by London-based venture capitalist Manoj Badale’s investment firm Emerging Media.

READ: Ashwin ends WTC 2019-21 cycle as leading wicket-taker

Emerging Media and RedBird, which is founded by former Goldman Sachs Partner Gerry Cardinale, announced the stake acquisition in a joint statement on Thursday but did not disclose financial details of the transaction.

“The IPL is a dynamic league with a global audience and forward thinking mindset regarding fan and player engagement,” Cardinale said in the statement.

A source close to the deal placed an enterprise value of the franchise at between $250 million to $300 million.

Badale said the Redbird deal was an illustration of how popular the IPL had become.

“Such an investment is testament to the global standing of the IPL and India as an attractive investment destination,” said Badale.

The eight-team IPL features celebrity owners, including top names from business and Bollywood, and attracts the biggest names in world cricket to a nation devoted to the sport.

The television and digital rights for the tournament, which runs for about two months during a regular window in April-May, went for 163.48 billion rupees ($2.20 billion) to STAR Sports for a five-year period from 2018-2022.

ALSO READ: Kane Williamson after winning WTC Final: It’s a proud moment in New Zealand’s history 

Like most other businesses, the IPL’s finances were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic last year when India’s cricket board had to stage the event in the United Arab Emirates.

According to financial consultancy firm Duff & Phelps, the IPL’s brand value shrunk by 3.6 per cent to $6.19 billion last year because of the pandemic.

Rajasthan also saw its brand value dip by over 8 per cent in 2020 to 2.49 billion rupees.

Emerging Media also said in the statement it had separately increased its stake in the franchise to 65 per cent from 51 per cent.

The Redbird deal is the latest example of private-equity firms actively looking at sports teams as avenues for investment.

RedBird also recently picked up a minority stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns English football team Liverpool and baseball’s Red Sox, the XFL, and is also the majority owner of French football team Toulouse.

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Tony Palladino sues Derbyshire for discrimination following release from club


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Club stalwart did not get contract renewal in 2020 following mental health issues

Tony Palladino has launched a legal action against Derbyshire CCC, alleging wrongful dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of mental health.

Palladino, who became something of a club legend as he carried the Derbyshire attack for season upon season with his probing swing bowling, was released by the club at the end of the 2020 season in which he didn’t play a game.

While Palladino, who made his first-class debut in 2003, enjoyed a long career in the game and was 37 years old by the time he was released, it is understood he was very keen to extend his contract into this season.

The case is believed to hinge on whether a long-standing mental health issue which contributed to his unavailability in 2020 was held against him when it came to making a new contract offer, and whether he was led to believe he would be offered another year’s contract.

In his final two seasons, 2018 and 2019, Palladino claimed 78 first-class wickets for the club at an average of 21.69, making him the club’s top wicket-taker over the period. He also operated as the club’s bowling coach for a couple of years until the start of 2019. In all, he claimed 347 first-class wickets for Derbyshire at an average of 26.68, having moved to the club from Essex ahead of the 2011 season.

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Ishant expected to feature in England Tests despite getting stitches on right hand


The gash Ishant Sharma sustained on his bowling hand required multiple stitches but the senior speedster is expected to recover before the five-Test series against England, starting August 4.

The senior pacer sustained the injury while trying to stop a drive off his own bowling in the New Zealand second innings during the World Test Championship Final, which India lost by eight wickets. He was immediately taken off the field as he was bleeding profusely.

“Ishant has had multiple stitches on his middle and fourth finger in his right hand. However it is not very serious,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

“The stitches will be off in around 10 days and with six weeks left for the first Test against England, he is expected to recover in time.”

The Indian team on Thursday travelled to London from Southampton and will now disperse for three weeks.

“The squad travelled together to London. From here they can all leave for their respective destinations within UK for a 20 day break,” the official said.

ALSO READ |
Ashwin ends WTC 2019-21 cycle as leading wicket-taker

With most players having acquaintances in and around London, they are expected to be in the UK capital only.

“Some of them are tennis fans and if Wimbledon allows spectators, you might see them going for some of the show court matches. A few might be checking out if tickets for the Euro games at Wembley are available,” the source said.

They will all assemble together in London on July 14 and then travel to Nottingham where the first Test will be played.

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Peshawar Zalmi’s Ali and Asif suspended before PSL final


Peshawar Zalmi batsman Haider Ali and fast bowler Umaid Asif will miss the Pakistan Super League final against the Multan Sultans on Thursday after they were suspended for breaching the bio-secure bubble in Abu Dhabi.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said the incident occurred Wednesday and the decision to suspend both players was made by the tournament’s COVID-19 management panel hours before the final.

Ali’s suspension also forced the PCB to withdraw the middle-order batsman from the tours of England and the West Indies.

ALSO READ |
WTC final: Brendon McCullum feared world title would elude NZ again

“They admitted to charges of violating the health and safety protocols by meeting people from outside their designated bio-secure bubble and also failing to maintain the prescribed social distancing,” the PCB said in a statement.

Both cricketers didn’t interact with any other squad member at any time after the incident and have been placed in isolation.

Multan’s middle-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood has replaced Ali in the squad for the tours of England and the West Indies after chief selector Mohammad Wasim consulted both head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam.

Maqsood has been in prolific form in the PSL, scoring 363 runs in 11 matches at an average of 40.33 and a healthy strike rate of 153.

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People will remember those players forever, who make runs in Test: Sourav Ganguly



The 48-year-old cricketer-turned administrator recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his Test debut. Ganguly made his Test debut on India’s tour of England in 1996 at the iconic Lord’s Stadium. Speaking exclusively on Star Sports, the BCCI President shared his views on why Test is the ultimate format of the game.

“When we started playing cricket in our childhood, Test cricket was the ultimate cricket format and I think it still is the ultimate format. And that is why it is called Test cricket. I feel if a player wants to be successful and leave his/ her mark on the game, then Test cricket is the biggest platform one can get. People will remember those players forever, who play well and make runs in Test matches. If you see all the biggest names in cricket – all the greats – in the past 40-50 years; they’ve all had successful Test records,” said Ganguly – who played 113 Tests for India.

While sharing anecdotes from his Test debut at the Lords – where the stylish left-handed batsman from Kolkata slammed a ton – Ganguly said, “Not many get to play their first Test at Lords and I remember fielding at point – a packed stadium at the Lords. And it has always been a happy hunting ground for me – every time I have gone back since my debut.

“I was in awe to walk down the long room on the first day and luckily we fielded. Otherwise, as a batsman, I was supposed to bat at No.3. I got a 100 on a Saturday, which is probably the best day for Test cricket, with every seat being full. It was my Test debut and get to a 100. They say it can’t get better and the mindset of that Test match was remarkable. As you said, at the back-stands you get cheers for every shot you hit and then finishing at tea time on a 100 was special.

“I remember, during the tea, I was batting at 100 and I was mentally tired – more than physical – because, first 100, the emotions, the happiness, the highs make you tired as well. I was putting tape around the bat handle because it has just started to soften up, because of the bounce and the ball hitting at the top of the handle. I remember Sachin coming up to me and saying – you relax, have your cup of tea. So, I remember those moments I walked into the dressing room and everybody was standing outside the dressing room to cheer me, because of my achievement,” the Prince of Kolkata reminisced.

While talking about his journey in cricket so far, the current head of Indian cricket board, said, “The entire journey, making a debut in 1996, getting a 100 at Lords. Then in few years, getting to captain India, getting to build a team – probably people rated as good as anybody in the world with the successes. Then giving the captaincy off to somebody and still being a part of the journey of winning matches and seeing the national team develop, becoming a force all around the world – which started under your captaincy. And then being in a administrative role, trying to change the game. I feel very fortunate that during my tenure as a president, India won in Australia, 2-1, in a remarkable series. It has been a fantastic journey and as a sportsman, as a cricketer, you don’t expect anything better than this.”

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The Devon Conway magic to Keshav Maharaj’s hat-trick – World of Cricket


That man, Conway!

New Zealand hit top gear in its World Test Championship final preparatory mode to crush England by eight wickets in the second Test in Birmingham. Since the first Test ended in a draw, the victory handed the Kiwis a 1-0 series win.

New Zealand also tasted its first red-ball series win in England in 22 years and toppled India from the No. 1 spot in the ICC rankings.

Fast bowlers Trent Boult (4/85), Matt Henry (3/78) and Neil Wagner (1/68) shared eight wickets among themselves as England limped to 303 in its first innings. Opener Rory Burns (81) and middle-order batsman Dan Lawrence (81 not out) played well but they couldn’t convert their fifties into hundreds.

READ|
Pakistan drops Haider Ali from squad for PSL bubble breach

It was once again Devon Conway (80) who helped New Zealand to a healthy lead of 85 runs. The left-hander won the player of the series award for 306 runs in four innings, which includes a double ton.

Conway’s 122-run partnership, for the second wicket, with Will Young (82) set the stage for a handsome total. Veteran batsman Ross Taylor (80) finished the job by lifting the side to 388.

The English batsmen couldn’t figure out Matt Henry’s length in the second innings. They were five down inside 20 overs. Tail-ender Mark Wood (29 off 38) tried to salvage a bit of pride by hitting five fours and a six but England stopped at 122.

Needing 38 for victory, stand-in skipper Tom Latham (23 not out) took charge and hit the winning runs.

Shakib, why so serious?

Bangladesh international Shakib Al Hasan set a poor example of sportsmanship by kicking the stumps, and later uprooting and throwing them, after an lbw appeal was turned down in a domestic game.

Shakib lashed out at umpire Imran Parvez for rejecting the appeal against Mushfiqur Rahim in the Dhaka Premier Division Premier League clash between Mohammedan Sporting Club and Abahani Limited at Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Shakib Al Hasan lashed out at umpire Imran Parvez for rejecting an appeal against Mushfiqur Rahim in the Dhaka Premier Division Premier League clash between Mohammedan Sporting Club and Abahani Limited.   –  AFP

 

Furious with the decision, Mohammedan skipper Shakib kicked the stumps before rain stopped play. He had a heated conversation with the umpire. While returning to the dressing room, Shakib had a few things to say to the Abahani players which enraged Khaled Mahmud, the coach.

READ|
WTC final: Brendon McCullum feared world title would elude NZ again

The Bangladesh Cricket Board fined Shakib $5,900 for his actions and handed him a three-match ban.

“I am extremely sorry for losing my temper and ruining the match for everyone and especially those who are watching from home. An experienced player like me should not have reacted that way but sometimes against all odds it happens unfortunately. I apologise to the teams, management, tournament officials and organising committee for this human error,” Shakib later said in a statement issued on his Facebook page.

Keshav Maharaj’s hat-trick

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj became the second South Africa bowler to take a Test hat-trick, and the first in 60 years. His effort handed South Africa a 2-0 series win over the West Indies in St. Lucia. It had already won the first Test by an innings and 63 runs.

Fast bowler Geoff Griffin was the first to get to the milestone against England at Lord’s in 1960, which turned out to be his last international appearance due to suspect action.

Chasing 324 for an improbable victory, the Caribbeans folded for 165 with Maharaj returning 5/36. He dismissed Kieran Powell (51), Jason Holder (0), Joshua Da Silva (0), Kemar Roach (27) and Jayden Seales (7).

Under new captain Dean Elgar, who is hungry to rebuild the side and bring it back among the top three Test-playing nations, South Africa’s 158-run will be a huge boost to the sport in the country.

Keshav Maharaj returned with figures of 5/36.   –  AFP

 

In the first Test, a classic example of fine fast bowling, aided by sharp slip-catching, helped the Proteas gain a 1-0 lead. West Indies looked out of sorts against the pace and swing of Anrich Nortje. The delivery that kissed the top of Shai Hope’s off-stump was the ball of the match.

Nortje claimed seven wickets overall which includes a four-for in the first innings. His partner, Lungi Ngidi, picked a fifer as the West Indies folded for 97.

Quinton de Kock’s breezy 141 off 170 balls, which comprised 12 fours and seven sixes, lifted the Proteas to 322. The 225-run lead was too good for the home team as its batting woes continued in the fourth innings. This time, Kagiso Rabada picked up five to restrict them to 162.

Faf’s close escape

June 12, 2021 will be remembered for a long time in the world of sport. Two sportsmen faced serious threat to life.

Denmark footballer Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch due to a cardiac issue during the Euro fixture against Finland. And in the cricketing world, Faf du Plessis had a massive concussion after colliding with Mohammad Hasnain while trying to save a boundary in a Pakistan Super League match.

Faf du Plessis, who represents Quetta Gladiators in the PSL, suffered memory loss moments after the incident.   –  Rajeev Bhatt

 

The South African, who represents Quetta Gladiators in the PSL, suffered memory loss moments after the incident. “Thank you everyone for all the messages of support. I’m back at the hotel recovering. Have concussion with some memory loss but I will be fine. Hopefully be back on the field soon. Much love,” he later confirmed on Twitter.

The ordeal ruled him out of the league.

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WTC final: Brendon McCullum feared world title would elude NZ again


Watching the World Test Championship final with a nervous trepidation, former skipper Brendon McCullum feared that the Black Caps may yet again come close but would not win a world title.

However, McCullum’s joy knew no bounds when Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor took New Zealand past the finish line to be crowned the first ever World Test Champions.

New Zealand handed India an eight-wicket defeat in the rain-affected final to lift the inaugural WTC mace in Southampton on Wednesday.

McCullum was thrilled that the side’s maiden title has come in the traditional format.

“They’ve been on a pretty amazing journey for the last few years and they’ve been so close to tasting the ultimate success,” McCullum told ‘SEN Radio’.

READ|
WTC final venue shifted to Southampton due to UK government’s “hard” quarantine rules

“To do it in the purist form of the game is just something quite magnificent. I’m not sure it’s really sunk in just yet, to be honest.

“Overnight the game was on a bit of a knife’s edge, but it almost had the feeling of the previous two World Cups that we’ll get close but we won’t quite get across the line,” he added.

After bowling out India for 170 in the second innings, New Zealand cruised to the 139 target on the back of unbeaten knocks by skipper Williamson (52) and the experienced Ross Taylor (47).

READ|
‘Nice guys don’t always finish last’: Cricket fraternity hails New Zealand’s WTC Final win over India

“For them to be able to manufacture a result against the weather and a very formidable Indian side and to be able to do it on the biggest stage as well, is quite superb.

“I’m sure in the coming days and weeks, and even years, we’ll look back on this moment and just be so proud of what Kane’s men have been able to achieve and the heights they’ve been able to scale.” The fact that the win came against heavyweights India makes the victory even more satisfying for McCullum.

“For a country with pretty limited resources, it is pretty amazing, and to have done it against the powerhouse of world cricket on the biggest stage is something that makes it even more satisfying.”

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Pakistan drops Haider Ali from squad for PSL bubble breach


Pakistan has dropped Haider Ali from its tour of England and West Indies after the batsman and his Peshawar Zalmi teammate Umaid Asif broke COVID-19 protocols in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Abu Dhabi, the cricket board said on Thursday.

Both have been suspended from the PSL final against Multan Sultans later on Thursday after admitting to meeting people from outside their designated bio-secure bubble and flouting social distancing norms on Wednesday.

READ: Peshawar beats Islamabad, qualifies for fourth PSL final

“The two cricketers were found not to have interacted with any other squad members at any time after the incident and have been placed in room isolation,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement.

Sohaib Maqsood, who last played for Pakistan in a T20 match in New Zealand more than five years ago, will replace Haider in the squad.

Pakistan will leave for England on Friday to play three one-day and an equal number of T20 matches there.

Babar Azam’s side will leave for Manchester on Friday to play three one-dayers and three T20 matches in England.

From there, the team will fly to West Indies to play five T20 matches and two test matches.

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WTC final venue shifted to Southampton due to UK government’s “hard” quarantine rules


The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday defended its decision to shift the final of the World Test Championship from Lord’s in London to Ageas Bowl in Southampton citing “hard” quarantine rules enforced by the British Government.

According to information, ICC’s priority, when deciding in January, was to guarantee it could stage the Test match in safe environs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The ICC had few options since the United Kingdom was on complete lockdown.

As the apex body got down to picking an alternate venue, Southampton provided the best bio-secure environment that allowed both teams to train at the nursery ground and for India’s intra-team matches as well.

READ:Ashwin ends WTC 2019-21 cycle as leading wicket-taker

The plans were hit by the deteriorating situation in India, which was placed on a red list. It made it mandatory for anyone who came from India to undergo 10 days of hard quarantine with only 20 minutes of exercise per day.

The biosecure environment in Southampton allowed ICC to negotiate with the UK government to give the hotel at the Ageas Bowl “Managed Quarantine Status”.

It allowed the Indian team to do its quarantine at the Ageas Bowl hotel and train because they weren’t leaving the footprint of the premises. It was considered completely secure. Lord’s would not have been feasible, and the team would have been subjected to 10 hard days of quarantine in a hotel.

Reflecting on the weather, it is worth noting that the UK summer is two months into its cricket season. Four years ago, the Champions Trophy final was played in glorious weather. Had the match not been shifted to Southampton, the WTC final would have witnessed glorious sunshine in London. It is only the first time in 10 years that two days of a Test have been lost due to rain.

READ: Kohli says best-of-three series will be ideal to decide WTC

Had the ICC not chosen Southampton (the south coast is the driest place in the country), it’s quite likely it wouldn’t have been able to go ahead with the game.

What helped the ICC most was slotting a reserve day. In the end, the WTC final went through some anxious phases, but the concluding season was a tribute to the players and the organisers. Test cricket ruled supreme as far as fans of the game were concerned.

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