Royals bowls, Southee in for Richardson

On a pitch being used for the first time in the tournament, Shane Watson decided to bowl first against the strong Chennai Super Kings batting line-up. Rajasthan Royals made one change to their squad from the previous match, bringing in New Zealand seamer Tim Southee, who used to be part of the Super Kings before, in place of Kane Richardson.

MS Dhoni said he would have batted anyway and hoped his team could use the heavy 93-run win in the previous match – against Delhi – as a benchmark. Super Kings went in with the same XI as the last game.

Royals XI: 1 Abhishek Nayar, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Sanju Samson (wk), 4 Shane Watson (capt), 5 Stuart Binny, 6 Steven Smith, 7 James Faulkner, 8 Rajat Bhatia, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Pravin Tambe Read more

Sachin Tendulkar returns from IPL to vote, urges Mumbaikars to turn out in big numbers

Sachin Tendulkar has returned to Mumbai from Dubai to cast his vote in the Lok Sabha elections. Tendulkar, who is an ‘icon’ with the Mumbai Indians team in the Indian Premier League, will vote on Thursday, the same day he will celebrate his 41st birthday.

Tendulkar, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, has urged Mumbaikars to come out in full numbers and cast their franchise. In his Facebook page, he wrote: “Every run counts in the game of cricket and every vote counts in an election. Don’t underestimate the power of your vote. In Mumbai to exercise my right. Hope you play your part – Please Cast your vote.” (Also read: Sachin Tendulkar better than Bradman, claims book based on forensic evidence)Read more

IPL 7: RCB play hard and party hard too, says Vijay Mallya

Giving a pep talk to his players, Royal Challengers Bangalore owner Vijay Mallya on Wednesday expressed his desire to see RCB lift the Indian Premier League trophy this year. “It is up to you (RCBians). You can do it. You know you can do it. Just go do it, and we want to take that IPL-7 trophy in our hand this year, so good luck to all of you we have a great team, great atmosphere. We play hard and party hard too,” he told players in an interaction on RCB’s official website. (Also read: Srinivasan taking ‘unilateral’ decisions, ‘rebel’ BCCI members want emergency meeting)

RCB will kickstart their IPL-7 season when they take on Delhi Daredevils in Sharjah on Thursday. Before the interaction, Mallya was seen welcoming the players and other support staff, but he was seen warmly hugging RCB’s new face Yuvraj Singh, who came in for heavy flak for his scratchy innings in the T20 World Cup finals against Sri Lanka. (Related: Karthik to lead Delhi Daredevils) Read more

IPL 2014: Upbeat Sunrisers Hyderabad bank on Dhawan, Steyn & Co.

Describing Sunrisers Hyderabad as a balanced side, the team’s chief coach Tom Moody and mentor Kris Srikkanth exuded confidence about a successful campaign in the upcoming Indian Premier League starting April 16 in Abu Dhabi.

“Obviously, we had a good campaign last year, given that it was our first IPL as Sunrisers Hyderabad. This year we feel confident again. We feel we have got a very good balance in our side that allows us to adapt,” Moody told reporters here.

Sunrisers Hyderabad had reached the play-offs last year. Srikkanth said the “core team” has been retained this year and that would ensure continuity.

“As far as we are concerned, I think the team is well-prepared. One thing, I just want to add on to what Tom said regarding the team aspect is, we got the core team with us. Read more

Indian Premier League: Was necessary to work towards a new Delhi Daredevils team, says Gary Kirsten

There has been a lot of talk about whether the decision of not retaining Virender Sehwag was justified, but Delhi Daredevils coach Gary Kirsten feels that irrespective of how it pans out in the Indian Premier League this season, that was the only way forward.

“At the auction we made a decision to select a new squad and not retain anyone from last year. We are looking towards working with a new squad. Don’t know whether it’s a right decision or not but that’s what we have gone for,” Kirsten explained while giving a defensive logic when asked whether it’s easier that there are no baggages of last year’s failure.

On the first day of Delhi Daredevils’ practise with new captain Kevin Pietersen and a new bunch of players, Kirsten emphasised on team bonding more than anything else. (Also read: Pietersen eager to work with Kirsten | Karthik looking forward to being coached by Kirsten)Read more

Indian Premier League: Sachin Tendulkar named Mumbai Indians ‘icon’

Defending Indian Premier League champions Mumbai Indians on Thursday named batting great Sachin Tendulkar as their “icon” ahead of the seventh Indian Premier League beginning in the UAE on April 16. (Read: Sachin Tendulkar adorns cover of 2014 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack | Wisden picks Shikhar Dhawan among its five Cricketers of the Year)

“We are very happy to have Sachin as the Mumbai Indians icon. I am sure the youngsters in the team will be delighted to have him around for guidance, and so would be the Mumbai Indians fans,” team owner Nita Ambani said in a statement.

Tendulkar was the icon player of the Mumbai Indians since the first edition in 2008 before he went on to win the title during his last IPL in 2013. Read more

Indian Premier League: Irfan Pathan eager to perform well in pursuit of 2015 Cricket World Cup berth

It will be a tall order to claw his way back into the Indian side in limited-overs cricket but Irfan Pathan will be aiming to make full use of the chances he will get while representing Sunrisers Hyderabad in the upcoming seventh edition of the Indian Premier League. (Read: You cannot run away from competition, says Irfan Pathan)

In his bit to get back that elusive seamer all-rounder’s slot, Irfan is expecting that the Sunrisers’ think-tank will make him bat up the order.

“Obviously, the aim is to play the 2015 World Cup. But there will be lot of matches before that and it is the ultimate goal to win my place in the national side back. I hope with VVS Laxman’s guidance, it will be a good journey for Sunrisers Hyderabad. One of my expectations is to get a chance to bat higher up the order,” Irfan told PTI during an interaction. (Read: Sunrisers Hyderabad appoint Shikhar Dhawan as captain) Read more

Why is United Arab Emirates an Indian Premier League venue? Sports Ministry asks BCCI

Less than two weeks before the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League is to start, the Union sports ministry has asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India to explain why United Arab Emirates have been chosen as a venue for IPL 2014. Sharjah, which was banned by India after match-fixing scandal broke in 2000, is one of the three venues that will host the first leg of the IPL from April 16. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the other venues.

In a letter addressed to Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI’s Chief Administrative Officer, on Friday, the sports ministry has asked the Board to explain as to “why a non-regular venue has been selected for holding some matches of IPL-2014 instead of choosing a venue which is on the regular international calendar of the ICC.”Read more

IPL ban for Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals – court

India’s Supreme Court intends to bar Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from this year’s Indian Premier League, which starts on 16 April.

The two teams are being investigated as part of an illegal betting and match-fixing probe.

Chennai have reached the last four finals, winning in 2010 and 2011.

Justice AK Patnaik, head of a two-judge panel, said: “Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals will not be allowed to participate in the IPL.” Read more

Arran Brindle: England all-rounder retires from international cricket

England all-rounder Arran Brindle has announced her retirement from international cricket.

The 32-year-old, who is a teacher, made her England debut in 1999 and played in 11 Tests, 88 one-day internationals and 35 Twenty20 internationals.

Brindle featured in three Ashes-winning sides and in 2011 became the first woman in England to score a century in men’s Premier League cricket.

“I will forever cherish the highs and lows of playing for England,” she said. Read more