Shami named in India's Champions Trophy squad

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Defending Champions: India.

India brought fit-again fast bowler Mohammed Shami back into their squad to defend the Champions Trophy after ending their battle with the world governing body over financial conditions.

Shami and batsman Rohit Sharma are the only two changes from the team that played England in a three-match one-day series in India this year.

Shami was brought in at the expense of leg-spinner Amit Mishra while Sharma replaced Lokesh Rahul, who is recuperating from a shoulder surgery last month.

India’s participation in the premier 50-over tournament, to be played in England and Wales from June 1, had been in doubt after its powerful cricket board fought the International Cricket Council (ICC) over revenue sharing.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) missed the April 25 deadline to announce a squad and threatened a boycott over the dispute.

The BCCI, the world’s wealthiest cricket board, held a special general meeting on Sunday where members unanimously decided to take part in the Champions Trophy.

The BCCI is furious over the ICC’s decision last month to amend rules so that less money and power is held by cricket’s major powers — England, India and Australia.

The BCCI stands to lose $277 million in revenue over the next eight years under the sweeping changes.

The BCCI’s use of the Champions Trophy as a bargaining chip was strongly criticised and Indian cricketing greats including Sachin Tendulkar urged the country to compete.

The three-member selection panel avoided any major surprises, offering little joy to youngsters like Rishabh Pant despite his fine show in the Indian Premier League.

Pant, 19, was named among five players kept on standby, with Suresh Raina, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Dinesh Karthik.

India, who beat England in the 2013 final, take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening game on June 4.

INDIA SQUAD

Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Manish Pandey.

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BCCI confirms India will take part in the ICC Champions Trophy

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Ready to defend their Champions Trophy crown: India.

Holders India will take part in the Champions Trophy next month, the cricket board said Sunday, ending weeks of speculation over their participation in the event organised by the sport’s world governing body.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is embroiled in a revenue-sharing row with the International Cricket Council (ICC), announced the decision after a special general meeting in New Delhi.

“The BCCI SGM unanimously decided that the Indian cricket team will participate in the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy,” it said in a statement.

The squad for the 50-over tournament would be named on Monday, it added.

The eight-nation Champions Trophy will be played in England and Wales from June 1. India won the trophy during the last edition in 2013.

The BCCI had skipped the April 25 deadline for announcing a squad and threatened a pullout over its dispute with the ICC.

This stems from the ICC’s decision last month to amend rules so that less money and power was held by cricket’s “Big Three” — England, India and Australia.

The powerful BCCI stands to lose $277 million in revenue over the next eight years under the sweeping changes approved by ICC members.

The BCCI said it was keeping its legal options open, indicating the row was far from over.

“The Board unanimously authorised the acting honorary secretary of the BCCI to continue negotiations with the ICC in the best interest of the BCCI while keeping its legal options open,” it said in the statement.

The BCCI’s use of the Champions Trophy as a bargaining chip with the ICC had come in for criticism. Indian cricketing greats including Sachin Tendulkar urged the side to compete in the prestigious event.

A panel of administrators appointed by India’s top court to oversee the scandal-ridden BCCI had also asked the board to take a swift decision on the event.

Cricket’s massive popularity in India has helped the BCCI become by far the wealthiest of all of cricket’s national boards, netting massive money from sponsorship and TV deals.

Its last television rights deal with the Star network was worth a reported $750 million. But despite its rude financial health, the board has found itself embroiled in scandals in recent years, including accusations of corruption in the Indian Premier League involving a team linked to its former head Narayanaswami Srinivasan.

JOY CHAKRAVARTY’S VERDICT

First things first, the decision by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to send the Indian team to the ICC Champions Trophy is absolutely the correct one.

The BCCI may have its issues with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other member nations, but all such matters must be settled inside the boardroom and the animosity should not spill over to the cricket ground.

While it was supposedly a unanimous decision at the special general meeting, there is no doubt that BCCI’s hands were forced through the Supreme Court of India appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA).

At best, this can be called a tactical retreat until the time BCCI get its powers back from the court-appointed administrators. Once it gets complete autonomy, the Indian board will do its best to reinforce its position as the financial centre of cricket.

Now is the time to sit back and enjoy the tournament, but one thing is certain – if diplomacy does not triumph soon, be prepared for more fireworks in the future. The BCCI is never going to forget how it was embarrassed at the ICC.

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Harbhajan accuses pilot of racist, violent and abusive conduct

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Harbhajan Singh in action during IPL 2017 [Sportzpics]

India cricketer Harbhajan Singh lashed out at Jet Airways pilot Bernd Hoesslin on Twitter, alleging that Hoesslin had made a racist comment against an Indian passenger, physically assaulted a woman and abused a physically challenged man.

According to NDTV, the incident took place in early April when friends of Harbhajan’s wife Bollywood actress Geeta Basra were flying on a Chandigarh-Mumbai flight.

And, on Wednesday, Harbhajan took to Twitter to express his displeasure at the incident.

The off-spinner, who took his 200th wicket in T20 cricket on Monday, also tweeted to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting action to be taken regarding the incident.

Jet Airways, on their part, released a statement that mentioned that they have de-rostered the concerned pilot and that a full-fledged internal investigation is currently ongoing.

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