India star Axar Patel to join Durham for end of Championship campaign

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Patel will play in Durham's final six matches in the Championship.

Axar Patel has become the latest India player to sign up for a stint in English County Championship after penning a deal with Durham.

The left-arm spinner is currently playing for Kings XI Punjab in the ongoing IPL 2018 and will join up with Durham for the final six matches of the County Championship.

He will make his debut for the county outfit on April 19 in a clash against Glamorgan.

With this, the limited-overs specialist will become one of several team India players plying their trade in England’s domestic first-class competition this summer.

Skipper Virat Kohli has already been given the green light for a summer stint in county cricket ahead of India’s lengthy tour of England starting this August.

While his destination has not been confirmed yet, reports indicate that Kohli will sign up with south London outfit Surrey.

Along with Kohli, three other Indians have confirmed deals in county cricket with Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron signing up with Yorkshire, Sussex and Leicestershire respectively.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is expected to announce a county deal soon.

Patel, the only player to be retained by the Kings XI franchise ahead of the 2018 IPL, will be playing in county cricket for the first time.

The 24-year-old, who has made 38 one-day international appearances for his country and a further 11 in Twenty20s, will arrive at Chester-le-Street in August ahead of matches against Glamorgan, Northamptonshire, Sussex, Middlesex, Leicestershire and Warwickshire.

A club statement said: “Durham County cricket Club is delighted to announce that Indian star Axar Patel will join the club for the final six Specsavers County Championship fixtures of the 2018 season.”

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Star India bags broadcast rights for Indian cricket in deal just shy of billion-dollar mark

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It was another huge windfall for the BCCI as the auction finally concluded.

BCCI’s online auction for the broadcast rights to Indian cricket for the next five years finally came to an end on Thursday with Star India bagging the contract.

The winning bid by the broadcaster fell just shy of the billion-dollar mark at $945 million (Dh3.4 billion) approximately as the e-auction came to an end on its third day. Star India beat off aggressive competition from Sony India and Reliance Jio to clinch the deal.

This is a substantial jump from BCCI’s previous deal with the same broadcaster which stood at $750m (Dh2.7bn).

BCCI acting treasurer Anirudh Chaudhury took to Twitter and announced: “Congratulations @StarSportsIndia on bagging the BCCI Media Rights @ 6138.1 crores at an average of 60.1 crore per game.”

This is the second major windfall within a year for the world’s richest cricketing board after it sold the rights to the IPL for a whopping figure of $2.55 billion for a period of five-years to Star India itself in 2017.

The first of its kind online auction by the BCCI sees the value of the deal trump the IPL deal when it comes to the cost per match. The IPL deal values a single match at rupees 545 million (Dh30m) while value of each home match by India under the latest deal stands at 601 million (Dh34m).

The Indian cricket media rights are for a five-year cycle from June 2018 to March 2023 which covers 102 matches of the senior men’s team amongst others.

As things stand, Star India now rules the roost when it comes to Indian cricket, holding the rights to both the national team’s home matches as well as the lucrative IPL.

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Sourav Ganguly backs Rohit Sharma to become first batsman to score T20 double-ton

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Ganguly, Tendulkar and Rohit share a light moment.

According to former India skipper Sourav Ganguly, the day is not far away when Rohit Sharma will score a double ton in T20 cricket.

Ganguly made the claim during the book launch of his latest autobiography ‘A Century is not Enough’ in Mumbai on Wednesday. Accompanying the highly-decorated former skipper were the legendary Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit himself.

Praising the current India vice-captain and Mumbai Indians skipper, Ganguly backed Rohit to become the first T20 double centurion.

“Sachin scored his first hundred in ODI and taking inspiration from him, Rohit has gone on to score three double centuries in ODIs. The day is not far when we will see him scoring the first double century in T20s too,” he was quoted as saying by the PTI.

The 45-year-old was also asked by a member in the audience to give his views on the recent ball-tampering episode that has rocked Australian cricket.

Expressing sympathy for the suspended Steve Smith, Ganguly was confident that the former Australia skipper will be able to fight his way back into the side.

The trio poses with Ganguly's autobiography.

The trio poses with Ganguly’s autobiography.

“Smith is a good human being. Of course, what happened is unfortunate but I’m sure he will make a comeback to the Australian side and we will see him play again. I feel sympathy for him,” he stated.

The Kolkata-born left-hander also spoke in brief about his infamous run-in with former India coach and Australia captain Greg Chappell which had led to Ganguly’s ousting from the team.

“A big part of success in cricket, in any sport is how you handle your failures and tough situations. What happened during those days in Indian cricket was unfortunate but after losing my place in the team, I worked really hard to make a comeback. And when I finally made a comeback, I was much stronger mentally. I batted well in the last four years of my career and in fact Sachin always says that those four years were the best period of my life as a batsman,” Ganguly explained.

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