ICC explores Olympic cricket possibility

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ICC chief David Richardson met the media in Dubai on Monday.

The ICC is exploring the possibility of making cricket an Olympic sport and is due to meet with IOC representatives next month.

Speaking at a news conference at ICC’s headquarters in Dubai, chief executive David Richardson revealed the agenda for the gathering will be “exploratory in nature” and to gauge interest in including cricket in future Games.

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Richardson suggested that the opportunity to make women’s cricket an Olympic sport will also be discussed, as well as the possibility of having cricket in the Paralympics.

It follows a push from England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves for cricket, which last featured at the 1900 Olympics, to become an Olympic sport “throughout a number of countries”.

“The plan is to meet them at this stage in mid-November, we are still trying to finalise a date but the invitation has come to meet,” Richardson told the assembled media in the UAE.

“Multisport federations like the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics have expressed an interest in cricket being part of those Games.

“The Olympics is not as nearly advanced in their discussions with us in that regard (as the Commonwealth Games’ proposal to have cricket in the 2022 event in Durban) but it’s a case we just want to explore opportunities.”

However, Richardson also said there were some reservations about the growth of the sport into the Games, notably scheduling in an all ready packed year-round international calendar and the fact competing on that world stage would not neccesarily represent the pinnacle for a cricketer given the other prizes, such as ICC events, on offer.

“Bare in mind it’s not just what cricket wants, cricket might want to be part of the Olympics but the Olympics might not want cricket,” Richardson added.

“They might want cricket subject to various conditions that we are not able to perform – we just need to find out from them exactly what they are thinking, how they are thinking and take it from there.”

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de Kock ton earns South Africa victory

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Centurion: Quinton de Kock.

Quinton de Kock hit 103 and Morne Morkel claimed four for 39 as South Africa brushed aside India by 18 runs in the third one-day international in Rajkot on Sunday.

De Kock, the 22-year-old left-handed opener, took advantage of a flat pitch to notch up his seventh one-day century – the fourth against India – that lifted the Proteas to 270-7.

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India were restricted to 252-6 in reply, despite half-centuries from Rohit Sharma (65) and Virat Kohli, who returned to form with 77, his first substantial knock after 12 barren one-dayers.

The win handed the tourists a 2-1 lead in the five-match series with the last two games to be played in Chennai (October 22) and Mumbai (October 25).

South Africa had won the opening game in Kanpur by five runs and India drew level at Indore with a 22-run victory.

Morkel was supported by spirited fielding by his team-mates in hot and humid weather which tied down the free-stroking Indian batsmen.

Sharma, who hit 150 in a losing cause in the first match in Kanpur, shared a 72-run stand for the second wicket with Kohli after Shikhar Dhawan had fallen for 13.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni then put on 80 for the third wicket with Kohli before he was removed by Morkel for 47 with his team still needing 78 off 49 deliveries.

Morkel sealed India’s fate by dismissing Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane off successive deliveries in the 46th over, both batsmen being caught at deep mid-wicket by David Miller.

Suresh Raina fell for a second successive zero, holing out in the deep against leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

Earlier, Faf du Plessis (60) shared a third-wicket stand of 118 with de Kock to lift the tourists to 205-2 in the 39th over when India hit back with three quick wickets to make it 210-5 in the 41st.

Du Plessis, who was caught off a Mohit Sharma no-ball when on 16, was dismissed by the same bowler to a catch at third-man, triggering the slide.

De Kock was run out in the 40th over after a misunderstanding with his skipper AB de Villiers, who was himself given leg-before in left-arm spinner Axar Patel’s next over.

Farhaan Behardien smashed a last-ball six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar to return unbeaten on 33.

Miller, promoted to open the innings with de Kock, scored 33 in a first-wicket partnership of 72 to give the Proteas a sound start, but the Indians kept the run-rate under check.

The Proteas had retained the same team for the third successive match, while India brought in leg-spinner Amit Mishra in place of fast bowler Umesh Yadav.

The one-day series will be followed by four Test matches.

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Scandal-hit Indian Premier League loses sponsor Pepsi

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VIVO has taken over as sponsors of the IPL for two years.

India’s cricket officials Sunday announced a new sponsor for the scandal-hit Indian Premier League (IPL) after Pepsi pulled out of the glitzy Twenty20 tournament.

Chinese mobile company Vivo is set to take over as sponsor of the eight-team franchised competition, the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said after a meeting.

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“The IPL title sponsorship right has been assigned to M/S Vivo mobiles. Vivo is to give the bank guarantee in next ten days,” a BCCI statement said, without giving details.

The board confirmed last week that it was in discussions with Pepsi to find a solution to some “concerns” raised by the global drinks maker, without detailing the problems.

Pepsi secured the sponsorship rights for five years from 2013 for nearly four billion rupees ($62 million). The company has not given reasons for withdrawing from the deal.

But the IPL has been hit by scandals, including allegations of corruption and match-fixing, that critics say has sullied the sport’s reputation in India.

A Supreme Court-appointed panel in July suspended two teams from the IPL for two years over illegal betting, throwing the competition into turmoil.

The BCCI, which oversees the hugely popular tournament, also announced on Sunday that it was seeking bids for two new teams to replace those suspended for two years.

ICC chief Narayanaswami Srinivasan agreed to step down as BCCI chief after being found guilty of a conflict of interest. He was at the helm of Indian Cements which owns the Chennai Super Kings, one of the teams suspended.

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