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Kamran Akmal ready to pay fine for brother Umar, wants him to start rehabilitation programme

Wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal has come out in support of his brother Umar Akmal after offering to pay the fine imposed on his brother from his own PSL fee. He feels that it is important for Umar Akmal to start the rehabilitation programme. The 30-year-old cricketer hasn't played any forms of cricket since February 2020 after being suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for not reporting several corrupt approaches from bookies. 


The approach was made to him before the start of the PSL matches. Umar Akmal had requested the Pakistan board to accept his fine of 4.25 million rupees in instalments as he was going through a financial crisis. The fine was imposed on him by the Court of Arbitration for Sports back in February. He had failed to pay his instalments which halted his return to competitive cricket. 


“I am willing to pay the fine for my brother. I request the PCB they can deduct the amount from any payments due to me for my PSL matches,” Kamran said on Sunday.


“The money should not be such a big issue. They can deduct from my fees and even Umar whenever he plays his money will also come through the PCB only. I request the PCB to show some leniency and Umar is ready to pay the fine,” he further explained. 

The Court of Arbitration for Sport had reduced the ban on Umar to just 12 months but imposed a hefty fine on him for breaching PCB’s Anti-Corruption Code. It was back in April 2020 that PCB found Umar Akmal guilty of separate breaches of conduct. He has eventually handed a three-year suspension.

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Rahul Dravid predicts a 3-2 series win for India against England in the upcoming series

Former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid feels that India has a realistic chance of winning the upcoming Test series in England slated to be played in August-September. Dravid is the last Indian captain under whom India won a Test series in England way back in 2007. India have won a few Tests here and there but a series victory has eluded them in the last 14 years. Despite a promising performance in 2018, they ended up on the losing side by a 1-4 margin. The former Indian skipper and the Director of the National Cricket Academy, Rahul Dravid feels that it will be a “tough contest overall and a great series to watch. "I really do think India have a very good chance this time," Dravid was quoted as saying during a webinar organised by Live Aid India which is a trust to help people suffering from COVID-19. "There's no question about their [England's] bowling. Whatever bowling attack England put on the park, especially their seam-bowling attack, is going to be fantastic. They have a lot of players to pick and choose from and that's going to be terrific,” he added. There is no doubt about the fact that England have a top-class bowling line-up. However, their batting line-up looks brittle and was found out even in the series in 2018. It was Sam Curran’s all-round heroics all through the series which helped England recover from precarious situations and eventually win the series 4-1. However, the top order failed on most occasions which clearly indicates that a lot of work needs to be done in the top half of their batting order. "But if you look at their top six or top seven, you really think of one great batsman, a world-class batsman who is Joe Root. Obviously, Ben Stokes is another one, who is a good all-rounder, but for some reason [R] Ashwin seems to do well against him. And that should be an interesting contest. I know he's done well against him [Stokes] in India, but it'll still be an interesting subplot to the series,” Dravid said. "But I just think India will be well-prepared, have the confidence from Australia, there's lot of belief in the squad. A couple of players have been to England a few times, there's a lot of experience in the batting order this time around, so this is probably our best chance, maybe say 3-2 to India,” the former Indian skipper further added. Dravid also felt that not many teams get a chance to get acclimatised to the conditions for a full month. Following the ICC World Test Championship final, India will get a month’s time to get adjusted to the seaming conditions of England. "After the WTC final, they're going to be in England for a whole month before the Test series starts. I don't think any team has had that kind of time to prepare for a Test series,” he added. The Indian squad is slated to leave for England on 2nd June. They will first play against New Zealand in the Test Championship final. A few intra-squad games will follow before the start of the five-match Test series in England. "I think India will play really well in England this time," Dravid said. "It's a great opportunity we've got. After the WTC final, they're going to be in England for a whole month before the Test series starts. I don't think any team has had that kind of time to prepare for a Test series as India will have this time so that surely should be a great advantage,” Dravid said. In England, if there's one thing you've always got to respect, it's the conditions. It's slightly different from say an Australia or India. To some extent you sort of get the feeling [as batsmen] that you're never set. Even if you're set and you get a good start, batting on 30, 40, 50, things can change very quickly, the weather can change, the ball can swing even after it's 40-50 overs old,” Dravid further quipped.


Remaining IPL 2021 won’t be played in India: BCCI Prez Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has clarified that the remaining matches of the postponed IPL 2021 could not be held in India as of now. Owing to the damaging situation of Covid-19’s second wave in one of the World’s most densely populated countries, Ganguly said, “There are lots of organisational hazards like 14-day quarantine [before the tournament]. It can’t happen in India. This quarantine is tough to handle.” Further relegating the fact that IPL might be played in the Window of July, where they have nothing to play after the World Test Championship Final and the five-match Test series against England, the former India skipper said, “India is supposed to go to Sri Lanka for three ODIs and five T20Is [post the WTC Final]. [It’s] Too early to say how we can find a slot to complete the IPL,” Ganguly said. Reasoning that in hindsight anything can be said about cancellation of the league this year or it is organised in UAE like last year, the 48-year-old said, “You can say that now in hindsight that the IPL should have been called off earlier.” The Kolkata born player further went on to compare the English Premier League to IPL and the difference in which the matches were adjusted in the former after many individuals in the bio-bubble tested positive. “The English Premier League had so many people affected. But they could reschedule the matches,” he said. “But you can’t do that with IPL. You stop it for seven days and it is done. Players go back home and then the process of quarantine starts from scratch,” added the Prince of Kolkata. The IPL was suspended after two Kolkata Knight Riders players and a Chennai Super kings Bus driver tested positive for Covid-19 on May 3.


EXCLUSIVE | Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada have been very supportive: Avesh Khan

Delhi Capitals Avesh Khan was on a song during the IPL's 2021 edition after bagging 14 wickets in 8 matches for his side Delhi Capitals, just before the cash-rich league was suspended due to increasing cases of Covid-19 in the Bio-bubble. Nevertheless, the right-arm pacer had certainly shown enough mettle to knock the doors of the selectors. Avesh was recently named as one of the standbys for the World Test Championship Final and England Tests scheduled to begin next month. India will first play the WTC final against New Zealand in Southampton. In an exclusive chat with OneCricket, Avesh talked about his future plans, break on the IPL 2021 edition and the priced wickets of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. “It’s a great feeling. For now, the plan is to continue my form that I had in the IPL. I’m not really thinking much and just preparing myself mentally for the upcoming assignments,” Avesh said when asked how felt about the recent achievements. The Delhi based franchise has senior and experienced fast bowlers of the likes of Ishant Sharma and Kagiso Rabada in the ranks. Mentioning the learnings from the two pacers, the Madhya Pradesh pacer praised both of them and said that they are pretty supportive. “Ishant Sharma has been very supportive and I have learnt a lot of things from him especially how to use the new ball while Kagiso Rabada has always motivated me and suggests me to do what I have been doing and give my best,” he said. “It feels good when players of that stature guide and support you,” he added. When asked about the disappointment due to the suspension of the IPL 2021, especially after the way Avesh had fared in the competition, the 24-year-old suggested that there are few things which can’t be controlled and this was one of them. “See it’s not in our hands. The situation became bad and then a few players tested positive within the franchise teams so the tournament had to be put on a halt. The things and situations which are not in our hands, we can’t really think about them. I will try to continue the form as and when the tournament resumes.” Last year, the world came to a standstill after the Covid-19 outburst. This resulted in the country going under a lockdown. Talking about the same, the Madhya Pradesh cricketer explained how he kept himself fit during the challenging times. “I used to train myself and do a bit of bowling and tried to stay fit. We had to leave for the IPL as well that was held in UAE so we had to keep ourselves fit. No doubt, there were challenges,” Avesh said. The Delhi Capitals comprise decorated players including coach and two-time World Cup-winning captain Ricky Ponting. Talking about his bonding with Ponting, the right-arm pacer said that he shares a very good understanding with the coach and everyone else. “I have been associated with the franchise for the last four years now and I share a very good bond with the team management especially with Ricky Ponting. Apart from this, I have been playing with Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw for a very long time now so we do share a good understanding with each other. When you play for a franchise continuously and start doing well for them then expectations do rise,” he added. Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant was handed the captaincy of the DC unit for this IPL after regular skipper Shreyas Iyer got injured during the England series at home and was ruled out of the tournament. Quizzed about how different are the captaincy styles of the two players, Avesh revealed that there is not much of a difference as both Iyer and Pant back their bowlers a lot. “There is not much of a difference in the captaincy styles of both Pant and Iyer. The two players back their bowlers always. We have had a good time under Iyer’s leadership as well. The last two seasons have gone well for us while Rishabh has also led the team very efficiently in this edition of the IPL.” Avesh would probably count himself among one of the luckiest bowlers on the planet right now as he picked up the prized wickets of two of India's most celebrated cricketers, former captain MS Dhoni and current skipper Virat Kohli during the IPL 2021. The former RCB recruit explained that he had a certain plan for both the batsmen and was able to execute it well. “Obviously I felt really good after dismissing both Dhoni and Kohli. They are the legends of the game,” he said. “I had a plan for Mahi bhai. We had five players in the circle. Rishabh asked me to not be scared of getting hit for a six and this is what happened. Dhoni went after me but ended up playing the ball on to his stumps. Similarly, for Kohli I thought that getting the ball into him from outside off stump channel might fetch his wicket and it happened. He chopped that one into the stumps,” Khan explained. After the England series, Avesh once again has the opportunity to share the dressing room with Virat Kohli. Unable to hold back his excitement, the fast bowler said that he was looking forward to the opportunity. “I have shared the dressing room with Virat during the England series as I was with the team. I am really happy that I’m getting the opportunity again and would try to learn as much as I can from the captain,” he concluded.