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BCCI-COA Spat Over India A Batting Coach Out In The Open

In yet another major difference of opinion emerging out of the vacuum that exists in Indian cricket management, the appointment of Vikram Rathour as the India A and U-19 batting coach has run into rough weather with questions of conflict of interest erupting since he is a relative of U-19 national selector Ashish Kapoor. It has also came to light that General Manager, Cricket Operations, Saba Karim, had suggested the name to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai.

But acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary in a strongly-worded missive, accessed by IANS, has raised Cain whether Rahul Dravid’s name is being misused in the whole process. Moreover, a bellicose Choudhary has been pushing the envelope as the officials who ruled Indian cricket for so long sense an opportunity to return to the opiate of power, controlling cricket in India and thereby the world as India remains the fulcrum of commerce.

In the letter to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, the Secretary has asked whether it was a conscious decision to appoint a British national as the India ‘A’ batting coach? Deeply disturbed over the arbitrariness of the entire process to appoint Rathour, he said, adding that he was not aware of any such advertisement for the post.

“I went through a news item that has been widely covered in the media today with regard to the appointment of Vikram Rathour as a batting coach for the India A team and was surprised to read it since I do not remember any advertisement for this position being published on any platform. Another aspect that I wish to raise here is the one that I have been raising ad-nauseam relating to the processes preceding decisions.

“What exactly was the process that was followed? Who first said that there was requirement for a batting coach (when none other than Rahul Dravid is the coach) and who proposed the name of Vikram Rathour? Knowing Rahul, I am certain that even if he would have recommended a name, he would not have said that processes must not be followed to engage the services of Vikram.

“I also see that the matter of conflict of interest has been raised in the media and I am surprised that this was not known to the persons making the decision since the crux of the conflict has been in the public domain at least for the last two and a half years,” he wrote.

Going forward, the acting Secretary also brought to light the fact that Karim and Rathour worked closely as national selectors and that was a point that was hard to miss. Nepotism is clearly what Choudhury’s letter is predicated on.

“Saba Karim and Vikram Rathour served as selectors together for about 4 years and I find it difficult to believe that such details were not known. Besides, considering Vikram is a British passport holder, was it a conscious decision that we are going in for a foreign coach?” he asked.

Efforts to get in touch with Karim over call and message failed. Interestingly, Rai made it clear that the protocol would be followed before any appointment.

“Has the person been appointed? See, if I appoint a Bank Chairman, first I do a vigilance check and then I recommend his appointment. So, his conflict statement has been sought and only today the thing has come and nothing has gone wrong. What matters is if it is factually correct on record and he has said he is related to Kapoor. The ethics officer then decides if there is conflict or not. Karim proposed it before the CoA today,” he said.

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Virat Kohli’s Top Test Rank At Stake As Kane Williamson Closes Gap

Virat Kohli’s (922 points) position as the top Test batsman is currently at risk as New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson reached his career-best 915 rating points and narrowed the gap with the India skipper, ICC announced on Monday. Williamson’s 200 not out against Bangladesh in Hamilton has lifted him from 897 points to within 7 points of Kohli. With two more Tests to go in the series, Williamson has a chance to regain the top spot, which he occupied briefly towards the end of 2015, according to an ICC website.

Williamson’s rating points are the highest by any New Zealander in Test cricket with Richard Hadlee the only other player from his country to cross the 900-point mark with a best of 909 points in bowling.

Openers Tom Latham and Jeet Raval have also made good progress after their centuries in Hamilton.

Among their bowlers, Trent Boult (down two places to eighth) and Tim Southee (ninth) remain in the top 10, while Neil Wagner is moving in the right direction, gaining three places and reaching 11th position after finishing with seven wickets in the match, including a five-wicket haul in the first innings.

For Bangladesh, left-handed opener Tamim Iqbal has gained 11 slots to reach 25th position after scores of 126 and 74, overtaking Shakib Al Hasan to become the top-ranked batsman from his country in this format.

Mahmudullah has moved up 12 places to reach a career-best 40th after scoring 22 and 146, while Soumya Sarkar’s one and 149 in Hamilton have lifted him 25 places to 67th position.

Mahmudullah has also gained three places to reach 63rd position among bowlers.

(With IANS inputs)

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Fans Line Streets To Pay Tribute To 1966 World Cup Hero Gordon Banks

Hundreds of football fans lined the streets to pay tribute to Gordon Banks on Monday as his funeral cortege was driven through Stoke, with former England teammate Geoff Hurst hailing him as a “superstar”. A five-car funeral cortege carrying the body of the World Cup-winning goalkeeper passed through Stoke’s stadium, stopping at the pitchside dugout for a few minutes. The various achievements of Banks, who also won the League Cup with Stoke and Leicester, were displayed on a big screen as a chant of “England’s number one” broke out.

Sheffield-born Banks made nearly 200 appearances for Stoke, in central England, and was named the club’s president following the death of Stanley Matthews at the turn of the century.

Banks, England’s goalkeeper during their triumphant 1966 World Cup campaign on home soil, died on February 12, aged 81.

He was probably best known for a wonderful save he produced to deny Brazilian great Pele in a 1970 World Cup group match.

A statue erected in Banks’s honour, holding the Jules Rimet trophy aloft, was decorated with several Stoke and England scarves.

The ground was adorned with shirts, flags and even goalkeeping gloves in tribute to one of the city’s favourite adopted sons.

Jack Butland, Joe Anyon and Kasper Schmeichel, the current number ones at the three English clubs Banks played for — Stoke, Chesterfield and Leicester, as well as England stalwart Joe Hart served for the funeral service at Stoke Minster.

Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final, delivered a moving eulogy in which he referred to his teammate as “a superstar on the field, (but) off the field he was an ordinary guy with no airs or graces.

“He was a joker, a funny man, for over 50 years and every time we met during our careers or years after he would come up and joke.”

Hurst started his eulogy by jokingly referencing his penalty that was saved by Banks in the League Cup semi-final between Stoke and West Ham in December 1971. West Ham were beaten after a replay.

Hurst said: “Gordon Banks… contributed to the worst moment of my footballing career.”

As well as Hurst, Bobby and Jack Charlton, both of whom started alongside Banks in the 1966 World Cup final win over Germany at Wembley, were among the attending mourners.

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High Court To Hear Plea Over Seating Block At Feroz Shah Kotla On April 25

High Court To Hear Plea Over Seating Block At Feroz Shah Kotla On April 25

The advocate said that there is chances that the DDCA may use the R.P. Mehra block. © AFP

The Delhi High Court has said that it will hear, on April 25, the plea seeking directions to Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) not to use the R.P. Mehra block at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium in the upcoming matches including the IPL till it is certified as structurally stable. Justice Vibhu Bakhru said that he will hear the plea along with the main petition which claims that the R.P. Mehra block was unauthorised and built without any sanctioned plan.

Petitioner Dinesh Saini’s advocate Tanuj Khurana told the court that India and Australia are going to play an One Day International (ODI) on March 13 and home matches of the Delhi Daredevils will be played at the stadium in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL).

The advocate said that there is chances that the DDCA may use the R.P. Mehra block without obtaining any permission from the high court.

The block, also known as the old club house, is a threat to public safety and must be sealed until the main petition is decided, the petitioner said.

He also said that the block is standing without any sanctioned plan and is a fire hazard.

Topics :

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi Cricket

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