The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has nominated MS Dhoni for the third highest civilian honour – the Padma Bhushan – for his contribution to the game.
“Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been nominated by the BCCI for the Padma Bhushan award. It was a unanimous decision by the members. He has been one of the greatest names in contemporary cricket and the most appropriate choice of the Indian cricket board,” BCCI acting president CK Khanna told PTI on Wednesday.
The nomination of Dhoni was the only name sent by the Board and if the nomination if accepted, the wicketkeeper-batsman will become only the 11th cricketer from the country to receive the civilian honour.
“He is one of our greatest cricketers. Not many players have played 90 Test matches. There is no one better than him, who could have been nominated,” Khanna added.
Some of the other notable names who have been conferred with the prestigious honour are Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar.
— Doordarshan National (@DDNational) September 20, 2017
Dhoni has already been bestowed with the Arjuna award, the Padma Shri and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award so far in his illustrious career.
The Ranchi maverick had just recently become the first man to complete a century of ODI stumpings in the 5-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka.
One of the most successful captains the India has seen, Dhoni has led the side to two World titles – the 2007 ICC World T20 and the 2015 ICC World Cup.
The 36-year-old is closing in on the 10,000 ODI runs mark with 9,737 runs to his name in 302 games for India currently.
Dhoni is currently with the Indian team as they continue their battle with the visiting Australians in the limited-overs format.
He had scored a valuable 79-run knock in India’s win in the first ODI at Chennai after a top-order collapse had left the hosts looking vulnerable.
The two sides will lock horns in the second game of the five-match series at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.
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After experiencing the highs of a victory over Australia in the first ODI of the five-match series on Sunday, team India had to face the lows of an airport wait on Monday before embarking on their flight to Kolkata for the second game.
The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) posted a few pictures of the team at the Chennai airport as they killed time before their flight to Kolkata.
The Men in Blue though, seemed in high spirits as they waited for their flight. Most of the team members including Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya were seen sitting on the floor but it was MS Dhoni who seemed most at ease.
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 18, 2017
The former skipper, known for his cool and calm temperament, was seen casually lying down on the floor in complete peace.
It made perfect sense then for the BCCI to caption the pics as “That is how you relax after taking a 1-0 lead.”
Karnataka batsman KL Rahul did not miss the opportunity to catch Dhoni lying on the floor as he posted a picture of the 36-year-old lying on the floor.
Rahul wrote: “Travel days with the team be like…” on his tweet accompanying the picture.
— K L Rahul (@klrahul11) September 18, 2017
In the recently concluded ODI series with Sri Lanka, Dhoni had done something similar when an unruly crowd had held up proceedings in the third match at Pallekele.
As the players waited for situation to be handled, Dhoni, who was batting at the time, chose to kill the waiting time by lying down on the field.
On Sunday, the hosts had beaten Steve Smith’s men by 26 runs (D/L) to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Dhoni had once again played India’s saviour in the middle-order as his 79-run enabled the hosts to post 281 in their innings following a top-order collapse.
The next match between the two sides takes place at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.
Star India CEO Uday Shankar has made some frank revelations in a recent interview to the Indian Express.
Star had only just recently created headlines with its whopping bid for the consolidated rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Shankar was very forthcoming and blunt in his views about Test cricket and the value of the IPL rights over the BCCI national team rights.
With the BCCI rights for the Indian national team up for bidding next year, Shankar was asked about the possibility of Star India bidding for the same.
The CEO said, “It’s too soon for us to figure out whether we want to bid for BCCI or not. If we didn’t win the IPL rights then we had no choice. Now that we have it, the desperation is not so strong. Between the ICC and IPL, we still have a strong portfolio, especially because most of the ICC tournaments come before or after the IPL.”
Shankar said despite the mammoth size of the IPL bid, a whopping US $2.55 billion, it was not expensive compared to international benchmarks.
“Contrary to what everybody thinks and says, for us the IPL rights were not very expensive. For our internal benchmark, we compare it with the price we were paying for the BCCI rights, which is 43 crore. You are paying 43 crores for a Test and that too not for select Tests against Australia and England. And you have to pay 10 crores more and get an IPL right. It’s a no-brainer,” Shankar was quoted as saying.
The comments of the CEO in this regard were pretty interesting as he made it pretty obvious how lucrative the IPL rights were compared to that of the national team.
The Star India chief minced no words either while talking about the popularity of Test cricket.
When asked whether it made more sense for broadcasters to pursue franchise cricket ahead of Tests, the CEO said, “The whole question about Test cricket is answered by looking at any one stadium where a Test is being played. Except for the summer Tests in England and a few in Australia, have you seen a full stadium?
“In today’s world, who do you expect to be available on TV or in the stadium to watch a match that goes on for five days?”
Shankar alluded that Test cricket was facing a two-fold problem with regards to its popularity.
“The economics do not drive the game. The popularity of the game drives the economics. If magically all the stadiums were to be full and everybody who loves cricket was watching Test cricket, we would kill each other to go and bid for the Test rights.
“But Test cricket has a two-fold problem and that needs to be recognized. One, most of the Tests people find meaningless. Even today when India and Pakistan play or England and Australia play, people get excited about it because there’s a context. Most of Test cricket there’s no context.”
The second problem Shankar was referring to was the amount of hours of Test cricket watched by an average viewer in India. Contrary to popular opinion, the CEO believes that there has been an excess of Test cricket played by India in the past year.
“Second problem with Test cricket is that there’s too much of it. Last year in this country, India played 13 Tests at home. So 65 days of Test cricket in India, where data shows a person sees one out of 30 hours played during a Test,” Shankhar said.
From the comments of the Star India honcho, it is pretty evident that broadcasters see the IPL as a more lucrative vessel compared to the BCCI national team rights at the moment. Whether that picture changes next year when the BCCI rights are up for bidding remains to be seen.
For now though, franchise cricket is surely ruling the roost for Star India.