Tuesday, August 4, 2020

India-China dispute: Vivo retires hurt from IPL; BCCI looks for replacement

India China border row | Vivo | Indian Premier League
Images of raging protests against Chinese goods appear to have pushed the country’s third-largest smartphone player, Vivo, to temporarily step back from its title sponsorship of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
On Tuesday, officials of the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) said that Vivo had decided to pull out of the IPL’s title sponsorship for a year.
Vivo declined comment on the matter but the cricketing body, officials said, was seeking a one-year replacement for the brand since it could make its way back next year.

This arrangement, they said, would be for three years, stretching from 2021 to 2023 on revised terms, and would depend on the geopolitical situation between the two nations.
The original contract with Vivo was from 2018 to 2022 for Rs 2,200 crore. The firm was paying Rs 440 crore annually, but had been in the eye of a storm since the deadly clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh.
It is unclear who will replace Vivo, since the T20 tournament is only a month-and-a-half away. It will be held in the United Arab Emirates from September 19.
Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), who had criticised the BCCI’s decision to retain IPL sponsors on Monday, said that all other contracts with Chinese companies for the cricket league should be reviewed following Vivo’s exit.
Firms such as Paytm, Swiggy, Dream11 and Byju’s, which are associated with the IPL, have Chinese investments. Byju’s is also associated with IPL franchisees such as Kolkata Knight Riders.
“We have been running a ‘Boycott China’ campaign since June. The pressure on Chinese brands was growing. Vivo’s exit is a result of this,” Khandelwal said.
But persons in the know said that the entry of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, during protests on Monday drove Vivo to take the final call.
BCCI is said to be in continuous dialogue with Vivo for an amicable exit from the 2020 edition and has not floated a new tender yet for its replacement. It is expected to do so in the coming days.
Brands experts say that Vivo’s decision has come as a surprise. “I was shocked to hear about Vivo’s exit from the 2020 edition. But the protests were simply mounting. I see them back next year though, since they have not exited the India market,” said N Chandramouli, chief executive officer of brand insights firm TRA Research.
The share of Chinese brands in India’s smartphone market fell to 72 per cent in the April-June period versus 81 per cent in the first three months of the year, market researcher Counterpoint Research said last week, as most brands faced a supply crunch due to the lockdown. Imports by Chinese firms were also blocked at ports in June, hitting production and sales.
Experts say that it was important for Chinese firms to make their presence felt in the IPL, if they wish to gain share. A key reason for this being that the IPL this year will coincide with the festive season, an important period for handset brands. It also is the only high-impact sporting property from an India perspective this year.
That opportunity has clearly fizzled out for Vivo. Other handset brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus and Realme were busy preparing their media plans for the festive season, media agency executives said. They may now recast their strategy in line with current developments.
The Indian government has already banned 59 Chinese mobile applications after Chinese soldiers used stones, nail-studded sticks, iron rods and clubs to carry out a brutal attack on Indian soldiers after they protested the erection of a surveillance post by China on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control in Galwan. Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives in the clash, the biggest confrontation between the two militaries since 1967.

IPL 2020 in UAE: All about bowling and handling spin well, says Dean Jones | Exclusive

The Indian Premier League is all set to be played in the UAE from September 19 and one man who knows a lot about T20 cricket being played in the middle-east is former Australian cricketer Dean Jones. Deano, as he is popularly known in cricketing circles, has been associated with the Pakistan Super League as a cricket pundit and coach over the years.

Jones’ experience of having watched T20 cricket being played in the UAE from close quarters gives him an edge as a cricket pundit during the upcoming IPL. Speaking to Hindustan Times over phone from Australia, Jones said that it could all come down to who plays spin better as the pitches are going to get tired with so much cricket being played on them in extremely hot conditions.

IPL 2020 Full coverage

“Well, they will be using all three grounds at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. Whenever I have commentated there or coached in the PSL, I can say they all have their individual characteristics. You need to make sure you have got your match-ups right. The major concern for all the teams would be that with so much cricket being played on all three venues, the pitches will get tired and that’s only natural.

“So, it might come down to who plays spin better. Some teams might pick three spinners and only two quicks. At the start the pitches will be great to bat on but there is no doubt that they will get tired as the tournament goes on,” the former Aussie batsman said.

The matches will be played in three venues and the sizes of the grounds in these venues differ from each other. Jones said he would want the BCCI to conduct the matches in the original sizes of the ground and not pull the boundaries in as it would mean the teams would have to adapt to different requirements and make for interesting cricket.

“Sharjah is the smallest but Dubai and Abu Dhabi have big grounds. How the BCCI manages the size of the ground is going to be quite interesting.’

“I like it when grounds are played at their normal size. Abu Dhabi is big so it will give some help to the spinners and batsmen need to work on their running between the wickets. Dubai can be made as big ground and you can get caught at the boundary and Sharjah, well you can get hurt if you don’t get it right because mishits go for sixes there.

“They are all completely different sized grounds and I hope they will stick to the natural sizes of the ground,” Jones opined. Asked about players he is keen to watch during the season, Jones took the names of Shubhman Gill and Rishabh Pant.

“I want to see Shubman Gill open the batting for Kolkata Knight Riders. I think there is an opportunity for it now and the time has come for them to put him at the top of the order and let him play.

“I am also very keen to see how Rishabh Pant plays. He has been a bit up and down and it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of knowing that Dhoni is back playing,” Jones said.

The Australian has been a cricket pundit during previous seasons of the IPL and has been part of the Dugout broadcast on Star Sports, which is tailor made for cricket purists. Jones said the Dugout has been a great experience for him and he is looking forward to being part of it this year too.

“I have loved the entire experience. Scott Styris and I have been doing it for a couple of years. It’s different from what you see on the world feed during a broadcast. There are less ads and you see demonstrations and more analytics. It is more anecdotal as well where guys are talking about more stories. The world feed commentators don’t have that opportunity as they have more commercial responsibilities. We don’t have that. So, the purest of the cricket fans, the ones who want to know about the minutest details of the game will really like this.

“I hope to be doing it again this season, life is a little difficult and we hope to spread some joy with some good cricket,” Jones signed off

Sunday, August 2, 2020

IPL 2020: Final to be held on 10 November, reveals governing council; Chinese sponsors retained

New Delhi: The Indian Premier League's (IPL) Governing Council on Sunday decided to retain all its sponsors, including Chinese mobile company VIVO, and approved COVID-19 substitutions in the event to be held in UAE this year.

The tournament will be played from 19 September to 10 November at three venues in the UAE -- Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi -- subject to government approval, which is expected in the next couple of days.

"The 53-day tournament will witness 10-afternoon matches starting at 15:30 IST while the evening matches will start at 19:30 IST," stated a release from the BCCI.

"Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is still being prepared but there would be any number of COVID replacements this year," a BCCI official told PTI.

A lingering issue put to rest on Sunday was Chinese sponsorship of the IPL.

It became a bone of contention after violent clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh in June. India lost 20 soldiers in the showdown, causing outrage across the country after which the BCCI promised to review the deals.
"All I can say is that all our sponsors are with us. Hopefully you can read between the lines," an IPL GC member told PTI on conditions of anonymity after Sunday's meeting.

As IPL title sponsor, VIVO pays around Rs 440 crore per year, a five-year deal that ends in 2022. It would have been difficult for the Board to get new sponsors at a short notice given the current financially difficult climate.

In another major decision, the IPL GC also approved the women's IPL, a development first reported by PTI after speaking to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Sunday.

"Women's T20 Challenge will also take place in the UAE and will comprise three teams with four matches to be played during the IPL Playoff week," stated the Board's press release.

Forced out of India due to the rising coronavirus case count here, the IPL will allow unlimited COVID-19 replacements considering the delicate health safety situation across the globe. India's case load has surpassed 18 lakh with over 38,000 deaths.

"The final will be played on November 10 as it enters the Diwali week making it lucrative for the broadcasters," the IPL GC member said.

It is expected that the squad strength in terms of playing members will be 24 for the eight franchises.

"Also the BCCI has received presentations from a Dubai-based group on creating a medical facility in the UAE. The BCCI is also in talks with the Tata Group for creating a bio-bubble," the official said.

Major Decisions (Formal clearance by next week):

1. Tournament Duration (53 days)

2. Dates: September 19-November 10

3. Women's IPL approved

4. Squad Strength: 24 players

5. Any number of COVID-19 replacements

6. Tata Group and Dubai-based medical group to give presentation on creating bio-secure bubble.

7. SOP will be handed over to franchises in next 7 to 10 days.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Govt approval, schedule, sponsors: All 10 points to be discussed in IPL GC on Sunday

The IPL governing council will be updated on the status of necessary government approvals for hosting the T20 league in the UAE when the members meet on Sunday apart from deliberating a foolproof SOP on health safety along with a discussion on the Chinese sponsorships.

While the BCCI is all set to shift the league to the United Arab Emirates, it is learnt that status of government’s clearance is top-most in the 10-point agenda of the Brijesh Patel-led governing council.

It is expected that president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah, both of whose “cooling off waiver” case is in Supreme Court will be attending the meeting as permanent invitees along with treasurer Arun Dhumal and joint secretary Jayesh George.
“We have a meeting tomorrow but everyone is awaiting the clearances from the Home Ministry as well as the External Affairs Ministry for the tournament to be shifted to the UAE,” a senior BCCI official abreast with GC developments told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

It is learnt that the fate of VIVO, the Chinese mobile company which pays Rs 440 crore for title sponsorship will also come up for discussion.

The most important aspect will be the SOP that will be handed to the franchises for Monday’s discussion where they can raise their concerns.

“We have a meeting tomorrow but everyone is awaiting the clearances from the Home Ministry as well as the External Affairs Ministry for the tournament to be shifted to the UAE,” a senior BCCI official abreast with GC developments told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

It is learnt that the fate of VIVO, the Chinese mobile company which pays Rs 440 crore for title sponsorship will also come up for discussion.

The most important aspect will be the SOP that will be handed to the franchises for Monday’s discussion where they can raise their concerns.

2) Awaiting Government Approval

The BCCI is yet to get mandatory clearances from the Home and External Affairs Ministries before they can set the ball rolling. It is also understood that a formal approval from the UAE government is also awaited which will be procured by Emirates Cricket Board.

Also Read | ‘Would’ve gotten all 10 wkts against Pak a lot earlier had there been DRS’

3) Schedule, Duration

The tournament will be either of 51 days starting from September 19 or 53 days if the final is pushed back to September 10, which gives broadcasters to cash in on Diwali week.

4) Chinese Sponsorship deals in IPL to stay for now

Vivo is the title sponsors while PayTM, Dream 11, BYJUs and Swiggy have Chinese investments. Due to the prevailing tension between India and China, the matter will be up for discussion. In all probabilities, VIVO will complete the present contract which fetches BCCI Rs 440 crore a year as getting a new sponsor in the eleventh hour is difficult.

5) Standard Operating Procedure

The SOP is around a 240-page document that has been prepared and will be shared with the franchises. It includes all health safety related measures including the number of COVID tests that will be conducted and how the bio-bubble will be created.

There will be directives on Squad Strength (likely to be capped at 40, including players, support staff and management team).

While BCCI’s SOP can be upgraded by the franchises, they in no way can downgrade it.

It has been learnt that BCCI will let franchises decide on whether they would allow families (wives, partners, children) to travel with the players or not.

“The BCCI will only negotiate with the hotels and try to provide them with discount rates but it’s the franchise that needs to create the bubble as per SOP.”

6) WILL IPL GC members get to travel

Normally, the IPL Governing Council members travel to various venues -- whether India or abroad during the tournament but there will be discussions as to whether in these times with health safety being paramount, the members should be allowed to travel to watch the matches or not.

“There are a few senior citizens in the IPL GC and one needs to put a lot of thought whether travelling will be risky or not,” the official said.

7) Replacement Player

There will be discussion on how to procure replacement players in case players in the original squad are unable to travel. Like South Africa’s borders are closed for the time being and likes of Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir and AB de Villiers are important for their respective franchises.

8) ACU activities

Currently, BCCI’s ACU unit has eight full-time officers but even then, they would require more workforce with each team needing one integrity officer and also the hotels where the teams are staying need to be monitored as there would be other guests too.

“There is a possibility that BCCI can hire from ICC’s ACU team and pay a fee for their services,” the official further stated.

9) BCCI’s own medical unit

There will be discussion on whether BCCI will have their own medical unit travelling or prepare of team of medical practitioners based out of the United Arab Emirates.

10) Meeting with experts who devised ECB’s bio-bubble

The BCCI brass will also be meeting the team of experts assigned by the England and Wales Cricket Board to create the bio-secure environment for the just concluded series against West Indies along with upcoming one against Pakistan and the ongoing against Ireland.

IPL LATEST NEWS /IPL 2020 : Setback for Mumbai Indians and RCB, Sri Lankan duo can’t reach on time for IPL 2020


After InsideSport reported that England & Australian cricketers will be late by a week for the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) 13th edition in UAE, now we have reliably learnt that the Sri Lankan duo of Lasith Malinga & Isuru Udana will also be late for the event by minimum 7-8 days.

Mumbai Indians pace veteran Malinga and Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s new comer Isuru Udana, both are scheduled to play the Lankan Premier League (LPL) starting from Aug28th. Though their are still few question marks on the tournament, but according to the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), no Lankan player will be allowed to leave the tournament mid-way for IPL 2020 or any other tournament.

LPL’s finals is scheduled for 20th September, 1 day post the start of IPL 2020. Both Malinga and Udana also would need to quarantine themselves 72 hours after reaching UAE. All this will peg them back by minimum 7-8 days before they join their respective squads.

Malinga has been very important member of MI squad over the years with 177 scalps in 122 games. Despite of his waning skills, he is still considered as important cog in the wheel for the Mumbai team.

On the other hand Udana is a newcomer to the IPL and RCB fold and Virat Kohli’s team picked him up for his uncanny action and brilliant skill to change pace of the ball at his will.  

IPL 2020: ‘The likes of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard will struggle at this year’s IPL’

Raja feels that despite their ability to bat well against spin, the likes of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard – both of whom play for the fo...