Monday was the first rest day of IPL 2017, but sports columns on Tuesday (May 16) still had plenty to offer. Much of the attention was focused on the departure of Ben Stokes. The allrounder has been an influential member of the Rising Pune Supergiant side this season, and his replacement conundrum has remained a huge talking point against of Tuesday night’s Qualifier 1 against Mumbai Indians.
While there was plenty of praise for Jaydev Unadkat and Rahul Tripathi, the debate continued to rage about IPL teams ignoring some of the local talent.
Elsewhere, Shane Warne expects Joe Root, the new England captain, to change the way the team plays Test cricket.
Allrounder Ben Stokes’s absence may come to bite Rising Pune Supergiant (The Indian Express)
Ben Stokes was the man who grabbed the headlines in the auctions for the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League. The England all-rounder’s stocks had seen a rise after his performances against India in early 2017 and he was bought by Rising Pune Supergiant for a whopping Rs 14.5 crore. But he won’t be part of the Pune camp for the playoffs as he will join the England squad for their preparatory camp in Spain ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy.
Selection headache for RPS after Ben Stokes’s departure (Hindustan Times)
The departure of Ben Stokes has given Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) a selection headache as they sit down to finalise their playing XI for the 2017 IPL Qualifier 1 against Mumbai Indians, at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday. Dan Christian, who has played second fiddled to Stokes till now, will have to take on more responsibility when Rising Pune Supergiant take the field against MI. The Australian has done well with the ball but his ability with the bat is no way near to Stokes.
Gig without the frontman (The Indian Express)
Steven Smith wanted to field first. His dug-out wanted him to bat. But as the Rising Pune Supergiant skipper walked out for the toss at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium that evening, he was adamant about sticking with his gut. Luckily for Pune, Smith called it wrong in the middle and Virat Kohli duly gave the Supergiant camp their wish by putting them in on a tricky wicket. It was probably the first time fortune had favoured Pune during the season.
It’s home advantage v psychological edge (The Hindu)
Not many would have been surprised that the Mumbai Indians had sealed the top place in the league standings with a game in hand. However, not many would have predicted the second spot to be occupied by the other team from Maharashtra. In fact, on the back of the forgettable season it had last year, not many would have fancied Rising Pune Supergiant to even make the cut, let alone finish second.
DDCA questions ex-Judge call to give free passes to I-T, his staff (The Indian Express)
Members of the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) have questioned the distribution of complimentary passes for IPL games by Justice Vikramajit Sen, the High-Court appointed administrator in-charge at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, including to income-tax officials, members of the judiciary and four each to seven of his own office staff.
For every IPL game, DDCA gets 7000 passes from the Delhi franchise with Justice Sen having the discretionary power to issue them. Most of the passes are given to former players, clubs and underprivileged children.
Don’t read too much into IPL form, playing for country evokes different passion (The Indian Express)
The linchpins of Indian batting and the ‘mean machine’ of Indian bowling appear to be facing a form slump ahead of the Champions Trophy. But don’t read too much into it. India had an unusual home season before this year’s IPL. Thirteen Tests in six months is a crazy amount of workload – add a four-Test series in the Caribbean prior to the home season – and bodies started aching. Kohli hurt his shoulder during the third match against Australia in Ranchi, although it was a contact injury. The India captain missed the final Test of the series and the first three matches of the IPL.
Unadkat is a cut above the rest (The Times of India)
One of the refreshing themes of the 10th edition of the IPL has been the performance of the Indian fast bowlers.Bhuvneshwar Kumar leads the wicket tally with 25 scalps. Rising Pune Supergiant’s Jaydev Unadkat is snapping at his heels on 21 in just 10 games. Basil Thampi has impressed for Gujarat Lions and Mohammad Siraj has done well for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Of all these players, Unadkat has been the most impressive, because his success has coincided with his side’s rise and has played a key role in his team qualifying for the play-offs as the No.2 side in the competition. Unadkat’s ability to bowl slow offcutters outside the off-stump has made him a difficult customer.
Daring Tripathi has made his own destiny (The Hindu)
Tripathi went for Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) trials at the D.Y. Patil Stadium, slammed a few big shots and was drafted into a squad that had a new captain in Steven Smith. At 26 years, he cannot be called a spring chicken, especially after representing Maharashtra in 66 competitive matches. After two good seasons between 2014-16 (509 and 492), Tripathi had a dismal 2016-17 scoring just 185 in seven league matches. But once picked by RPS, Tripathi decided to make his own destiny.
IPL: Teams tend to ignore local talent (The Hindu)
The IPL has undoubtedly emerged as a platform for Indian domestic players to showcase their skills. However, for a majority of the 10 editions, most IPL franchises have tended to ignore local talent, instead preferring to rely on players from other States to deliver. Mumbai Indians is one such franchise which has drifted away from local players over the last few years. As a result, captain Rohit Sharma will be the lone local warrior for the home team when it takes the field for Qualifier-1 at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.
Industry delighted after BCCI reduces period of IPL rights (The Times of India)
The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to reduce the period for Indian Premier League media rights from 10 years to five has been praised by the cricketing world. In the tender floated by the board in September 2016, the broadcast rights were to be given for 10 years and digital rights for five years. The bidding process was cancelled due to a standoff between the BCCI and the Supreme Court appointed Lodha panel.
Not a batting paradise anymore (The Times of India)
Once a strip of heaven on earth for batsmen, the nature of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium has now changed beyond recognition. It’s no longer a bowler’s graveyard. Sunrisers Hyderabad, who won the title at this venue last season, will be acutely aware of that detail -that the technique and skill of their batsmen will be tested to the fullest -when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL Eliminator game on Wednesday. “This season the Bengaluru wicket has been a lot different to what it used to be. It was challenging,“ Royal Challengers Bangalore allrounder Shane Watson said.
Staging next month’s ICC Champions Trophy in England, where conditions are expected to help pace bowlers, will somewhat level the field, Chris Gayle said in Delhi on Monday. “It is sad West Indies is not there. That is the new rules ICC brought in (only top eight teams qualify). It is difficult to pinpoint one team (as favourite), especially because we are playing in England, and the conditions are going to be tricky,” says Chris Gayle.
Warne calls for more aggression under Root (Sydney Morning Herald)
Shane Warne expects new captain Joe Root to change the way England play Test cricket. Root will lead England for the first time at Lord’s on July 6 against South Africa, and Warne believes Alastair Cook’s successor will imbue his team from the outset with attacking intent. All-time great Warne was a notable critic of Cook in the early stages of the opener’s record-breaking stint as captain, and although he concedes improvements did come, the former Australia leg-spinner still anticipates Root’s style will be a whole new ball game.