DID THE AUSSIE COACH NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE BALL BEING TAMPERED?

Steve Smith sent home in disgrace, Darren Lehmann survives Smith and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, the player caught on camera attempting to doctor the ball with a piece of tape, have been banished for their role in an incident which has dragged Australian cricket's reputation through the mud. Vice-captain David Warner was also sent packing, amid reports of a massive falling out between him and the team's fast bowlers who feel they have been unfairly linked to the row. Wicketkeeper Tim Paine will take over the captaincy for the fourth and final Test starting in Johannesburg Friday, with hosts South Africa leading a bad-tempered series 2-1. Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns are jetting to South Africa as replacements. TIMELINE: How ball-tampering saga led to suspension of Smith, Warner, Bancroft But coach Darren Lehmann escaped punishment and will remain in charge, team management said in Johannesburg, with further sanctions on the three players to be announced shortly. "I understand and share the anger and disappointment of Australian fans," Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said of the controversy in the third Test in Cape Town last Saturday. "On behalf of Cricket Australia, I want to apologise to all Australians that these events have taken place, especially to...

SHOULD STEVEN SMITH BE HANDED A LIFE BAN?

Ball tampering row: Steve Smith & company deserve punishment, not vengeance Steven Smith, Australia’s Cricket captain who presided over the most demonstrably pre-meditated act of cheating on a Cricket field will not play in his team’s next Test match. He will likely be stood down from his leadership position longer than that. He would be ill-advised to try and see out a contract at the Rajasthan Royals and he should go stand in a corner, facing the wall, for the foreseeable short-term future. Suitable punishments for Smith have been discussed with life ban having been suggested too. The outrage, especially in social media circles, has reached such a fever pitch that those baying for blood will continue to bleat till they have been heard. The most absurd suggestion has compared the actions of Cameron Bancroft, Smith and David Warner, and anyone else in the leadership group, to match-fixing. If anything, this is the opposite of that, the worst thing a cricketer can possibly do. Match fixers undermine the credibility of a game, underperform for a fee, while this Australian team, was doing the opposite. Make no mistake, Bancroft and friends were trying to gain an unfair advantage over South Africa, to try and...

IS THE PUNISHMENT LEVIED ON STEVEN SMITH BY THE ICC TOO LIGHT?

Steve Smith, David Warner Could Be Banned For Life After Ball-Tampering Scandal Steve Smith escaped with just a one-match suspension and a 100 percent fine on his match fee even after admitting to hatching a plan along with a few other "senior players" to alter the condition of the ball to gain an unfair advantage during the third Test against South Africa in Newlands, Cape Town. However, if reports are to be believed this might just be the start of sanctions for the under-fire Australian cricketer. Captain Smith and his deputy David Warner are both facing life bans if the maximum penalty is applied under Cricket Australia's code of behaviour. Australian cricket board's Head of Integrity Iain Roy and team performance manager Pat Howard travelled to South Africa to begin interviews with Smith, Warner, Cameron Bancroft and coach Darren Lehmann as part of an investigation into the cheating scandal. According to a ESPNCricinfo report, after his investigation, Roy will then recommend the charges following which an independent commissioner will hold a hearing and decide the severity of the penalty. The maximum penalty available to the code of conduct commissioner is a life ban from the sport, added the report. Meanwhile, while Smith was banned...

IS THE BCCI RIGHT IN REINSTATING MOHD. SHAMI’S CONTRACT?

BCCI clears corruption charges; Mohammed Shami gets central contract The BCCI has handed Mohammed Shami a Grade B central contract after receiving clearance from the cricket board’s Anti-corruption Unit (ACU), which also paved the way for him to play for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL. The fast bowler’s contract had been held back pending investigation into the possibility that he had received money from a man through a woman based in Pakistan. While the Kolkata Police is probing the criminal charges against Shami, including Section 307 (attempt to murder), based on a complaint filed by his wife Hasin Jahan, the BCCI restricted its inquiry solely to breaching the anti-corruption code for the players. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) had asked the ACU chief Neeraj Kumar to look into whether Shami had taken any money from a certain England-based Mohammed bhai, sent to him through a Pakistani woman, Alishba, in Dubai. On Thursday, the BCCI release said: “The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India appointed Committee of Administrators had requested Mr Neeraj Kumar, former Police Commissioner of Delhi and Head of BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit, to investigate the allegations against Mohd. Shami insofar as they pertain to the provisions of the BCCI Anti-Corruption Code. SOURCE - THE...

IS IT FAIR TO COMPARE DINESH KARTHIK WITH DHONI AFTER JUST ONE MEMORABLE KNOCK?

MS Dhoni Is A Topper In University Where I Am Still Studying, Says Dinesh Karthik Dinesh Karthik became an overnight star when his match-winning knock of 8-ball-29 runs against Bangladesh helped India clinch the Nidahas Trophy on Sunday. However, Karthik still feels like a "student in a University where Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a topper", when comes to the tag of the best finisher. "When it comes to Dhoni -- I am studying in a university where he is the topper. He is one of the guys I have always looked up to. It is unfair to compare me with him," Karthik told media persons during an interaction, on Tuesday. Interestingly, Karthik made his international debut in September 2004 during Champions Trophy in England, three months before Dhoni's debut against Bangladesh in a bilateral series in December. In the next 14 years, Dhoni became India's most successful captain and one of its greatest limited overs exponent while Karthik struggled in the fringes, waiting for his chances. "His (Dhoni) journey has been totally different and my journey is a different one. He is a terrific guy. He is somebody who used to be reserved, shy. Today, he is a person, who is really...

HAS ROHIT SHARMA EXHAUSTED HIS CHANCES IN TEST CRICKET?

Rohit Sharma's talent overseas is like Anil Kapoor in Mr India: Twitter roasts batter after another failure Indian middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma got roasted by Twitterati after another failure in the first innings of the second test match in Centurion Park on Sunday. Rohit missed out on a big innings getting trapped lbw off Rabada. He scored only 10 before getting out. In this series so far, Rohit has scored only 11, 10 and 10 in the three innings. Rohit was picked ahead of Ajinkya Rahane in this Test series, and clearly Kohli's bold selection hasn't gone down well with Indian cricket fans. Rohit came into the series with a rich vein of form including an ODI double century against Sri Lanka last month. On the other hand, test Vice Captain Rahane had a poor test series against the Lankans. That forced Rohit's selection but so far he hasn't lived up to his potential. In a reasonably batting-friendly Centurion pitch, Rohit missed out and Twitter was brutal in calling him out and Captain Kohli's alleged bias towards Mr. Talent. SOURCE - DNA Opportunity for Rohit Sharma to Stamp Authority After Slip Cordon Lets India Down Again Cape Town: Filling big boots is...

IS THE INDIAN TEAM MISSING VIRAT KOHLI?

Overconfidence to experiments, dissecting Indian cricket team’s shocking display In a Virat Kohli-less India team, it was surprising to see Ajinkya Rahane’s name missing from playing XI in the first ODI against Sri Lanka - even when experiments have looked the norm in recent times. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA FULL COVERAGE) At the HPCA Stadium here, it took just two overs for Rahane’s absence to be felt. That was how long Sri Lanka took to hand the hosts the first jolt. A noisy crowd was silenced as Shikhar Dhawan was adjudged leg before off Angelo Mathews via DRS. If the star opener’s dismissal silenced the home fans, what followed left them in shock. A team of talented players, eyeing to become world beaters, crumbled in conditions aiding swing with bounce on offer. (Read | Dharamsala ODI loss versus Sri Lanka an eye-opener, says skipper Rohit Sharma) In the space of 27 runs, India lost six more wickets. Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, debutant Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were flummoxed as Sri Lanka bowlers breathed fire in seaming conditions. Experimentation group Karthik, Pandey, Iyer and Pandya belong to the ‘experimentation group’ in the Indian cricket team. They are still on trial as India zero...

HAS THE SMOG EPISODE AT KOTLE SHAMED THE CITY?

Kotla Test pollution woes: BCCI’s poor scheduling puts players’ health at risk Pollution levels in Delhi hit alarming levels in November for the second year in a row and threatened to disrupt all outdoor activities, leave alone sports. Yet, the Indian cricket board scheduled the Test against Sri Lanka in the Capital for early December. Surprisingly, the schedule was made only in October. (Kotla Test, Day 2 highlights) On Sunday, top BCCI officials were left red-faced after the second day’s play was halted briefly during the post-lunch session as many Sri Lankan players felt the effects of the haze and smoke that blocked the sun altogether for a while. (Kotla Test, Day 2 scorecard) At one point, it appeared the Sri Lanka camp was reluctant to continue playing, before India skipper Virat Kohli’s declaration salvaged the situation and allowed the Test to continue. The series that has been sharply criticised by Kohli for burdening the players could easily have been tweaked to allot the final Test to another venue. SOURCE - NDTV.COM Masks of shame at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi There is almost nothing Virat Kohli cannot do at the moment. On a day when he scored his sixth Test double-century, braving a back...

IS KIDAMBI SRIKANTH REWRITING INDIAN BADMINTON HISTORY?

KIDAMBI IS NEW KING Indians might still be putting together the jigsaw of getting the fastest tearaway in cricket, but in the meantime, badminton is offering the country some pure, unbridled rush of blood. On Sunday, Kidambi Srikanth beat Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 21-14, 21-13 in Paris to win the French Open Super Series crown, his fourth Super Series title of the year, further cementing his status as badminton’s King of Pace. “In conditions like where he has won, on fast courts, Srikanth is clearly the best player in the world right now,” coach Pullela Gopichand declared. Srikanth is now only the fourth men’s singles player to win four or more Super Series titles in a calendar year. The 24-year-old’s 2017 titles include two back-to-back wins (that’s 20 matches; 10 unbeaten each time). But it’s his utter dominance in fast courts, playing at an intimidating speed, that has been the feature of his tremendous run this year. There’s no top player Srikanth hasn’t sent packing in the course of the last six months, all on fast courts. He has twice beaten previous World No. 1 Son Wan Ho, effected a stunning turnaround against current World No. 1 and world champion Viktor Axelsen at his...

IS VIRAT KOHLI FROM ANOTHER PLANET?

VIRAT KOHLI CLOSER TO BEING GREATEST! Virat Kohli achieved yet another milestone in his career, completing 9,000 ODI runs during the third and final one-day against New Zealand in Kanpur. His deputy Rohit Sharma too struck his 15th ODI century as India were on course for a massive score. Requiring 83 runs to reach the milestone, Kohli achieved the landmark in his 194th innings and in his 202nd ODI. In the process, the Indian skipper emulated AB de Villiers, who held the record for being the fastest to 9,000 ODI runs. De Villiers had this record earlier this year when he got to the mark in 205 innings (214 matches). Now, Kohli holds the honour of being the fastest scorer of 9,000 runs in ODIs. Things got better for Kohli as he notched up 32nd century and his 2nd of the series as New Zealand struggled to contain the flow of runs. The latest knock was his sixth as skipper, the most by a skipper in ODIs. Ever since his debut year, the Indian captain has never averaged below 40 in a calendar year in ODIs and has scored 1,347 runs at an average of 74.83 this year. Last year, he averaged a...

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