India could lose rights to stage Asia Cup 2018 over refusal to host Pakistan

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The Indian government refuses to provide visas to Pakistan cricketers.

India could be in danger of losing the rights to stage the Asia Cup 2018 after refusing to host Pakistan.

Cricketing ties between the two counties remain strained for some time now with the last bilateral series taking place all the way in 2012-13.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has recently filed a $70 million compensation claim against the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) for its failure to honour the MoU signed between the two governing bodies to hold a certain amount of bilateral series.

The BCCI officials now believe that it could lose the rights to hold the continental cricket competition if the Indian government’s stance of no cricketing ties with Pakistan continues.

Recently the government had refused to provide visas to the Pakistan U-19 squad for the U-19 Asia Cup following which the tournament was shifted to Malaysia.

PCB's Najam Sethi had recently filed a claim against the BCCI.

PCB’s Najam Sethi had recently filed a claim against the BCCI.

“If we didn’t get the permission to host the Pakistan’s Under-19 team from the Centre, it looks highly unlikely that we’ll get to do so in case of their senior team,” a BCCI official told the Times of India.

“The Pakistan athletes were given visas to take part in the Asian Athletics Championships, but the government says that cricket’s case is a bit different, since it has an emotional connect with people from both the countries. When we approached the government with a request, we didn’t get any response from them, but we need to decide fast since we need to inform the ACC soon,” the official added in the statement.

If the policy of denying Pakistan cricketers a visa continues, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), the hosting rights of the senior Asia Cup could well be taken away from India as was the case in the U-19 tournament.

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Afghanistan's Shahzad handed suspended 12-month ban for doping violation

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Shahzad will be eligible to play cricket again in Jaunary, 2018.

Afghanistan wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad has been handed a 12-month suspension from all cricket related activities after he pleaded guilty to breaching the ICC’s Anti-Doping Code.

The Afghan cricketer had failed an ICC out-of-competition testing progamme in Dubai on January 17, 2017.

Shahzad’s sample was subsequently found to contain traces of clenbuterol after testing. The drug is classified as a non-specified substance under the World Anti Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List.

The wicketkeeper-batsman admitted to the violation and has been handed a suspended sentence which started on the day he failed his dope test.

Hence, Shahzad will be able to return to cricket in over a month on January 17, 2018.

The 29-year-old had stated that he had inadvertently ingested the substance as a contaminant for a weight-loss programme he was undertaking at the time.

The ICC has accepted this reasoning from the Afghan player while making its final assessment, leading to a much more lenient sentence than the maximum four-years Shahzad could have been suspended for.

“Today’s announcement reinforces the ICC’s zero-tolerance approach to doping, and reminds all international cricketers that they remain personally responsible for ensuring that anything they eat, drink or put into their bodies does not result in an anti-doping rule violation,” ICC General Manager Geoff Allardice said in a press release on Thursday.

“It further serves as a reminder to all international cricketers of the dangers and risks associated with taking supplements. Before thinking about taking a supplement, cricketers should weigh up the risks and dangers of doing so and should fully research the supplement in question so they can make an informed decision” the statement from Allardice added.

Shahzad has been an integral part in the rapid rise of Afghanistan over the past few years which has seen them being awarded with a full ICC membership in July this year, hence making them eligible to play Test cricket.

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Kohli rises to No2 in the ICC Test rankings after extraordinary series against Sri Lanka

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Kohli scored 610 runs in five innings in the Sri Lanka series.

Following his remarkable series with the bat against Sri Lanka, India’s Virat Kohli has made a huge jump in the ICC Test rankings for batsmen.

The 29-year-old has risen from the sixth spot to now occupy the No.2 position in the rankings behind Australian skipper Steve Smith.

Kohli score a stupendous 610 runs in five innings in the three-match series at a staggering average of 152.50 to take the man-of-the-series award. He had recorded back-to-back double tons in India’s 1-0 win to overtake Brian Lara’s record of five double tons as Test skipper.

No other Indian batsmen apart from the legendary Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag have more than Kohli’s six double hundreds in the format.

The Indian skipper is already perched at the top spot in ICC’s rankings for the ODI and T20I batsmen.

The Delhi-born man has had a dream 2017 with the bat where he has scored 2,818 runs in international cricket with the help of 11 tons across all formats.

The Indian batsman now lies ahead of his English counterpart Joe Root in the Test rankings with team-mate Cheteshwar Pujara maintaining his fourth spot.

Kohli now has 893 ranking points, 45 behind Smith who has 938 points. He leapfrogged David Warner, Kane Williamson, Pujara and Root in the course of the series.

Only former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has held the top spots in all formats simultaneously in the history of the game while his compatriot Mathew Hayden has done it on separate occasions.

Kohli has never taken the No.1 spot in the Test rankings in his career so far.

India meanwhile continue to lead the team rankings with 124 points, 13 ahead of South Africa whom they visit for a bilateral series at the end of the year.

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