Cricketer Josh Downie Dies After Collapsing During Net Session


Cricketer Joshua Downie, brother of Team Great Britain Olympian gymnasts Becky and Ellie, died after suffering a heart attack in the nets. He was 24.

Josh was given CPR by medical crew before being rushed to a hospital where he died. A talented cricketer, he had recently moved to Nottingham where he worked as a PE teacher.

His sister Becky, an Olympian, said, “No words can describe the pain we as a family are all feeling right now. The world is so cruel sometimes… Josh, you were the most amazing brother. We will forever be the Downie 5.”

Josh played for several cricket clubs including Hucknall CC, Fikserton & Thurgarton CC, and Burton Joyce CC, in Nottinghamshire.

In a statement, the Nottinghamshire Cricket Board Premier League said, “Everybody within the NPL community is incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Josh Downie, aged just 24. Our deepest thoughts go out to Josh’s family at this time, as well as all of those who knew him from his spells with Hucknall CC and Fiskerton & Thurgarton CC.”

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Pakistan Super League Resumption in UAE Unlikely After Travel Ban




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‘Such One-Sided Matches Are a Joke’


Pakistan on Monday completed yet another innings win over Zimbabwe for a 2-0 Test series clean sweep. However, former Pakistan batter Ramiz Raja has blasted the scheduling of such matches saying it will drive the fans away from cricket to other sports.

Raja was expressing his disappointment at the complete mismatch of skills between Pakistan and Zimbabwe that saw the tourists dominating the two Tests. Neither Test lasted more than four days.

“Such one-sided matches are a joke and it will force fans to watch other sports, instead,” Raja said on his Youtube channel. “Some people are of the opinion that when a weak team plays a strong one, you need to focus on what you learn from it rather than the outcome of the match.”

“You learn from the stronger team’s process and the way it adapts to the changing situation of a game. But I don’t think Zimbabwe learned anything from this series because they were continuously dominated by Pakistan,” he added.

Rashid Latif, a former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter, echoed Raza’s views.

“What is the purpose of such a series? It is good that Pakistan has got to play Test matches but in future the PCB must look at scheduling matches against stronger teams. We must not be afraid to match up against them,” Latif said.

He advised hosting more Tests against strong teams like England, Australia and New Zealand because these are the contests fans want to watch.

“When we face England, Australia and New Zealand, increase the Test matches because people want to see those two teams play. Don’t worry about winning and losing matches. We are already not playing against India and there are only five or six other teams that we should play,” he said.

Pakistan return home with dominating performances on African tour where they bested South Africa and Zimbabwe.

However, former Test batsman, head coach and chief selector Mohsin Khan said the team management needs to look why Pakistan ended up losing matches despite playing a depleted South Africa and a weak Zimbabwe.

“Unless we honestly review the strengths and weaknesses of our team we cannot improve. Zimbabwe was no match for us but what is worrying is we still lost a T20 match to them,” Khan said.

“South Africa were without six or seven of their main players in the white ball series yet we lost matches to them also. That is something we need to look at closely. I don’t think we gained anything from winning the Test series against Zimbabwe,” he added.

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Arzan Nagwaswalla’s Strength is His Ability to Generate Swing: Childhood Coach


In a few weeks’ time, Arzan Nagwaswalla will be on a flight to UK where he will be rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest global cricketing stars. The moment will be a culmination of a drive the 23-year-old has harbored since his teenage years when he first took the cricket ball in his hand and decided he wants to become a fast bowler.

While the entire country went on a rampant google search for his name right after BCCI announced his name as one of the standby players for the tour of UK, to those who have been following Indian domestic cricket, even for past few seasons, Nagwaswalla will be a familiar name. He has played just 20 first-class matches but his record is impressive – 62 wickets at 22.53. And that’s when he isn’t the one who takes the new ball for Gujarat.

When the coronavirus pandemic upended life as we know, cricket also suffered. However, earlier this year, Indian domestic cricket resumed with its two premier white-ball tournaments – Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Starved of competition for a long time, Nagwaswalla exploded with the white-ball, finishing as the second-highest wicket taker of VHT. In SMAT, he was Gujarat’s leading wicket-taker.

IPL came calling. After trials with a couple of IPL teams, the left-arm pacer landed as a net bowler for five-time champions Mumbai Indians. A month later, his stint came to an early end with the league being suspended but few days later, came that call from BCCI.

“Arzan came to me when he was 13 years old,” recalled his childhood coach Kiran Tandel in an exclusive chat with CricketNext. “Hunger for knowledge is what separates Arzan from others. He has that drive to make something of his life. Even when I wasn’t available for practice, he would call me up to enquire if I was free and ask to come down for drills.”

It was this drive that pushed Nagwaswalla forward, one day at a time. Together with his coach Tandel, himself a former professional cricketer, Nagwaswalla used to prepare makeshift wickets on which he developed and sharpened his skills.

“We used to work a lot. We have a ground nearby where we prepared the wicket ourselves. He wasn’t aware of it at the start. One day I spotted him practicing without (wicket). I told him that we have to do everything ourselves. From then on, he himself used to make wickets in the afternoon and practice religiously. He hasn’t lost that ambition and spirit even today,” Tandel said.

Nagwaswalla made his senior team debut for Gujarat in 2018. So what exactly did the selectors spotted that they deemed a rookie who has an experience of just 16 first-class matches fit enough to be in the standby-list of players for a high-profile tour where India will be playing six Tests including the final of the ICC World Test Championship?

“He has been performing consistently in the past few years across formats. Whatever be the format, he has the ability to pick wickets. Swing is his strength. I think it must have come to the notice of them (selectors),” explains Tandel.

Over the years, Tandel, who is a fan of left-arm pacers, reveals he worked on improving Nagwaswalla’s run-up. “I have always been fond of lefties; they have an advantage over others. I believe they catch up on things easily. I liked his action but his run-up was a bit problematic. So we worked quite hard on it. I told him if you sort out your run-up, your line, length and rhythm will automatically be taken care of,” he said.

While Nagwaswalla sweated it out in the punishing afternoons, he never compromised on his education. He passed his 12th exams scoring 80 percent and last year, completed his graduation.

And that in part is thanks to Tandel who, in his own words, priorities education over everything. “Arzan was always a bright student. Any kid who comes to me for coaching, I always tell them that their first priority must be education. Whatever time you can spare after studies, that you should spend in camps,” he said.

Now, Tandel and Nagwaswalla have a bit of work to do before the latter jets off to England. They will be focusing on just two things as he prepares for the long tour. “Fielding and spot bowling for an hour every day. We haven’t finalized the ground so far but we will soon enough. Now that he will be touring with the Indian national cricket team, we have to be extra cautious,” said Tandel.

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Aaron Rodgers to Washington just crazy enough to work



People are talking about Aaron Rodgers playing for the Washington Football Team.

Let me repeat that: People are talking about Aaron Rodgers playing for the Washington Football Team!

“The Washington Football Team, you need a name, get a name, but outside of that, I am going to tell you, this might be the perfect landing spot,” ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith says. 

He’s not the only one talking.

“I don’t think it’s remotely out of the question to suggest that Washington would be among the favorites to make it to the Super Bowl if it pulled off a Rodgers trade. Washington’s defense ranked third in the league in defensive DVOA last season and arguably got better in free agency by replacing Ronald Darby with William Jackson,” ESPN writer Bill Barnwell says.

Rodgers would be a transformative quarterback for a Washington team that has cycled through starter after starter over the past 25 years. He wouldn’t be a long-term solution, but for an organization that has been downright adversarial to its fans during the Daniel Snyder era and wasn’t exactly packing the stadium before the pandemic, he would represent a new era. The offensive line is questionable, but he could again look toward a promising one-two punch at receiver in Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.”

This is winning off the field, the very idea that one of the greatest quarterbacks of his time — the NFL’s 2020 Most Valuable Player, his third such honor — is being touted somehow as a good fit for the Washington Football Team.

And get this: No one is laughing. 

Washington has transformed from a toxic wasteland to the land of milk and honey. Well, skim milk and Splenda, perhaps.

It’s a testament to Washington coach Ron Rivera’s makeover of the franchise’s image — from abhorrent to attractive.

That image is a fragile one under despot Dan Snyder. Not long ago, Jay Gruden was the head coach of a football team that had just traded for highly-respected Alex Smith, coming off a career year in Kansas City at the age of 34. Now both of them are out of football.

Stuff happens. Washington Football Team stuff happens.

So if this is real life — if Rodgers really does want out of Green Bay at any cost — then Rivera and his Washington Football brain trust have to do everything they can to make this deal happen.

Anything less would be a failure.

If Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Allen or Taylor Heinicke is the starting quarterback for the Washington Football Team for the start of the 2021 season, and the 35-year-old Rodgers is starting for any team other than Green Bay, it would be front office malpractice.

This “plan” for the Washington quarterback position for 2021 is no plan at all. It’s still a clean-up on aisle four in the aftermath of Snyder’s disastrous pick of Dwayne Haskins at No. 15 in the first round of the 2019 draft.

A “plan?” Despite the love by some NFL media for the bearded wonder, the facts are this — Heinicke has played one playoff game more than Fitzpatrick over his 16 seasons and 165 NFL games.

I don’t know if even Vinny Cerrato would call this a “plan.”

Barnwell is right. Aaron Rodgers on this Washington Football team makes them a Super Bowl contender. It’s that simple.

I can’t fathom that Rivera and his newly-minted front office — former Carolina general manager Marty Hurney, former Detroit GM Martin Mayhew, former Indianapolis GM Chris Polian and others — don’t recognize the sense of urgency here and the moment at hand.

A quick rise to Washington Football Team glory by Rivera would solidify his power base within the building when he has to do battle with Snyder. It’s the Joe Torre blueprint from New York that empowered the manager to hold the meddlesome George Steinbrenner at bay during their run of World Series wins.

Of course, Rodgers’ presence would then make him the most powerful person in the building. It would be up to Rivera to make sure his new prized quarterback is his ally and not Snyder’s newest imaginary friend. That would be no small battle.

Rodgers would be the biggest jock Snyder would have acquired for his collection, and it would be difficult to keep the owner on his yacht and off the sidelines. Who knows how Rodgers would react? He’s only played for the socialist NFL team in his 16 seasons. He’s never had an owner who would want to be best buddies.

There were three quarterbacks picked in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft. Washington drafted one that year with the 25th pick, Jason Campbell. They traded for the No. 1 pick in that draft, Alex Smith, in 2018.

Aaron Rodgers is the only one remaining. Time to complete the trifecta.

You can hear Thom Loverro on The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

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Capitals proved to be good fit for Zdeno Chara late in career



Before Zdeno Chara had even signed for the Capitals, the defenseman and Washington coach Peter Laviolette met. They both knew the other from their years in the NHL — one as a player and the other as a coach — and they both live in Longboat Key, Florida.

But those conversations were the first time Laviolette and Chara really got to know each other away from the ice. And when Laviolette finished talking with Chara, he remembers promptly calling Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan, raving about Chara’s character and attitude and what he planned to bring to Washington, if Washington wanted him.

Chara became a free agent after 14 seasons with the Bruins. Boston opted to turn over a fresh leaf, moving past the 44-year-old defenseman who helped bring a Stanley Cup to the city. But the Capitals saw a place for the 6-foot-9 blueliner, and Chara has delivered on his end of the bargain.

“He has not dropped the ball at any point with what we’ve talked about,” Laviolette said. “He’s been a terrific player, he’s been a terrific teammate, and he’s all business. He came here for a reason.”

That reason was to play a key role for a team with playoff aspirations. He found that with the Capitals, becoming a fixture on the penalty kill while missing just one game. If he plays at least 12:30 in Tuesday’s regular-season finale against the Bruins, he’ll become the second defenseman since 1997-98 to skate 1,000 minutes in a season at the age of 44 or older.

And Chara was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on Monday, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies dedication and perseverance. None of that comes as a surprise to Laviolette, who realized when talking to Chara in Florida what he could bring to the Capitals if given the opportunity.

“I don’t think you could use two better words to describe a player or a person than dedication and perseverance,” Laviolette said. “Dedication for sure. Perseverance to keep pushing and playing the way he does at this point in his career.”

The Slovakia native broke into the league in 1997 with the Islanders, and he played eight seasons combined between New York and the Ottawa Senators before joining the Bruins. He earned the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s best defenseman in 2009. Two years later, he captained Boston’s Stanley Cup-winning squad.

When his time in Boston came to an end, Chara still felt he had more to give. He still enjoyed working out and skating each day. He wasn’t ready to hang up his skates, and another playoff push intrigued him. Washington proved to be a good fit, and those conversations with Laviolette helped bond the duo well before they shared a locker room.

“At the time we met, none of us knew this would kind of happen,” Chara said. “We were talking about hockey in general, but it was more getting to know each other better and getting the families together. So it was really nice to get to know Peter’s family and kind of get to hang out.”

The Capitals secured the No. 2 seed in the East Division, and they’ll face either the Bruins or the Islanders in the first round of the playoffs at Capital One Arena. Chara didn’t indicate if a potential matchup with Boston adds anything extra to that series, although he already scored against his former team this season.

But that’s not what drives Chara. He’s not after revenge from the Bruins for allowing him to leave. Instead, he’s grateful to play such an active role with the Capitals, continuing a 23-year NHL career in a new city and with a new team — yet bringing the same mentality each day.

“I love this game,” Chara said. “This game gave me and my family a lot, and I’ve learned a lot from this game. Obviously, I do my best every day I come to the rink and be a good example on and off the ice and do the things that can improve and make a difference for the team.”

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Report: Tebow-Meyer reunion on verge of becoming official



Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer are apparently getting back together, this time in the NFL.

The former Florida star and 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback is expected to team up with his college coach by signing a one-year contract to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the NFL Network reported Monday.

The league-owned network said the deal “could be official in the next week or so.”

The 33-year-old Tebow would be returning to the NFL after four years (2016-19) in the New York Mets’ organization and he’d be playing for Meyer for the first time since his senior year in 2009.

This reunion would come with a twist, though.

Tebow would be joining the Jaguars as a tight end. He switched positions after retiring from baseball in February. He worked out for Jacksonville a week later.

Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke are seemingly waiting until after this weekend’s rookie minicamp to get the deal done.

Tebow, who grew up in Jacksonville, could fill a huge hole with his hometown team. The Jaguars decided not to pick up a team option in veteran Tyler Eifert’s contract and traded oft-injured 2019 draft pick Josh Oliver to Baltimore. They signed run-blocking specialist Chris Manhertz in free agency, brought back James O’Shaughnessy and drafted Ohio State’s Luke Farrell in the fifth round.

Those were considered minor moves after Meyer vowed to completely revamp the position group. Tebow, at the very least, would provide a splash.

“That will be interesting to see how that contributes to us on offense,” Jaguars co-owner Tony Khan said recently. “Obviously Urban knows Tim really well, and Tim’s got a great history of winning. Urban really believes he can help us, and I think it makes a lot of sense. And it’s a position where we need to get better.”

But how much can a guy on the wrong side of 30 who’s never played the position bring to the team? Tebow’s value could mean as much off the field as on it.

Meyer has said repeatedly that signing players who already know his methodology would be helpful in Year 1. Tebow would become the sixth guy on Jacksonville’s roster who previously played for Meyer, joining Farrell, running back Carlos Hyde, guard Andrew Norwell, defensive end Lerentee McCray and defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton.

Tebow played quarterback for Meyer between 2006 and 2009, helping the Gators win two national championships while becoming one of the most recognizable – and polarizing – athletes in college sports.

He was a first-round draft pick by Denver in 2010, but his long windup led to a short NFL career. He spent time with the Broncos, the New York Jets, New England and Philadelphia. His last NFL game came with the Jets in 2012.

They cut him in April 2013, three months after then-Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell famously said he wouldn’t sign Tebow “even if he’s released.”

Tebow has received rock-star media coverage at every NFL stop and might get as much attention in Jacksonville as franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the top pick in the 2021 draft.

Tebow won a playoff game with Denver in 2012, but never developed into a consistent NFL starter. He declined several suggested moves to tight end – he even asked Meyer for guidance – and then ended up switching sports and joining the Mets.

“When he was a quarterback in the NFL, that was a big topic,” Meyer said at the end of the draft. “I was so busy I couldn’t give him the time. ‘What do you think? What do you think?’ And I didn’t know. I was too busy to even think it through.

“I know playing a position in the NFL without (experience), that’s a long shot. This was years ago.”

But when Tebow asked about an NFL comeback in February, Meyer invited him to the facility for a workout. Meyer made it clear he didn’t feel like he owed Tebow anything, either.

“I have one job and that is to win games with the Jacksonville Jaguars,” Meyer said. “If Tim Tebow or Travis Etienne can help us win, then that’s my job to get them ready to go play.”

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A Month Before Euro 2020, Uncertainty Off the Pitch and On


Postponed last year because of the pandemic, Euro 2020 finally kicks off in a month’s time when Italy face Turkey in Rome but the health crisis continues to cast a shadow over a tournament being held for the first time at venues all across the continent. UEFA’s focus this week is on the headache of what to do with the Champions League final amid pressure from the UK government to move the all-English showpiece from Istanbul to England. European football’s governing body has already dealt with similar difficulties surrounding the Euro, which will be staged in 11 cities, concluding with the final in London on July 11. Dublin was due to be the 12th host but was dropped in April after local authorities refused to give guarantees about a minimum number of spectators attending matches.

Its games have been moved to Saint-Petersburg and London, while Bilbao was dropped for the same reason but Spain will still stage four matches with Seville stepping in.

After a year of football in empty stadiums, UEFA was determined supporters would be able to attend games at the 24-team European Championship.

Munich: ‘No promises’

The remaining venues have all confirmed fans will be allowed to fill between 25 and 100 percent of capacity, with the exception of Munich.

The German city aims to host at least 14,500 fans at the Allianz Arena, but mayor Dieter Reiter said in April there had been “no promises, of any kind, to guarantee spectators”.

In contrast, Budapest could allow a full house of 61,000 at the Puskas Arena, albeit with “strict stadium entry requirements for spectators”.

Nevertheless, Euro 2020 will not quite be the pan-continental party envisaged when, under former president Michel Platini, UEFA announced the format of Euro 2020 to mark the 60th anniversary of the competition.

No travel exemptions are being made for ticket-holders, meaning those entering countries from abroad could have to quarantine on arrival. They may simply not be allowed in at all.

Fans who are able to get in will be assigned a 30-minute time slot to arrive at stadiums, in an attempt to limit gatherings outside grounds.

After all that, there will be the football, and the hope is the second 24-team European Championship will live up to expectations on the field.

The list of contenders is a long one, and it remains to be seen which teams might benefit from the one-year postponement.

Twelve months ago England were sweating on the fitness of Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford before the tournament was put on ice. Now the wonder is how manager Gareth Southgate will accommodate emerging superstars like Phil Foden and Mason Mount.

With group games at Wembley, and the incentive of the semi-finals and final being played at home too, England may sense this is their chance.

FRANCE AIM FOR DOUBLE

Yet they can hardly ignore the multiple threats from elsewhere, not least the one directly across the Channel.

France, after all, are the reigning world champions and aim to repeat their performance in 2000, when they won the Euro as World Cup holders.

“You don’t just win titles with a click of your fingers,” France coach Didier Deschamps told AFP.

“The other nations are progressing. They’re not sitting still, but when a competition starts we want to go as far as possible.”

Portugal, who defeated France in the Euro 2016 final, will not give up their title easily, even with Cristiano Ronaldo now aged 36.

However, they are in the same group as both Les Bleus and Germany.

There are nevertheless big doubts about the Germans, in their last major tournament before Joachim Loew stands down as coach.

Since making a mess of the 2018 World Cup, Germany have not had their problems to seek, including losing 6-0 to Spain and then being beaten at home by North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying.

After their own 2018 World Cup debacle, when coach Julen Lopetegui left on the eve of the tournament, Spain look in better shape now under Luis Enrique and will be at home in Seville in the group stage.

The Netherlands and Italy are two more rejuvenated teams playing group games at home, while World Cup semi-finalists Belgium remain the top-ranked nation in the world and are another side to be taken very seriously when the football, eventually, takes centre stage.

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What’s next for the Blue Jackets in post-Torts era?



COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Columbus Blue Jackets will take a deliberate approach to hiring a replacement for John Tortorella, who stamped his brand on the franchise over six seasons and carried it to unprecedented success.

“I think we’re going to take our time,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said Monday, a day after the apparently amicable break with Tortorella, the winningest coach in the team’s 20-year history.

“The league is still playing, there are some regular season games left and other organizations are going to make their decisions at the end of the regular season, maybe after the first round of the playoffs,” Kekalainen said. “So we’re going to make sure we do our due diligence with all the candidates we think are worthy of our consideration and would be a good fit with us. So we’re not in a hurry.”

Longtime NHL coaches Bruce Boudreau, Claude Julien and Gerard Gallant have been floated as potential candidates for the job.

The 62-year-old Tortorella was in the last year of his contract, and the separation wasn’t a surprise after a tumultuous season that saw the Blue Jackets plunge to last place in their division amid Tortorella’s admitted failure to influence the team culture.

Stars Zach Werenski and Boone Jenner were lost to season-ending injuries. The trade deadline brought the sell-off of beloved captain Nick Foligno and defenseman David Savard, two of the foundations of the team during Tortorella’s tenure, as well as veteran center Riley Nash. The Blue Jackets limped to an 18-26-12 finish.

The retooling will continue in earnest this summer.

“I think a lot of good coaches would agree with us that we have a lot of good pieces here,” Kekalainen said. “This year was obviously disappointing, but we made the playoffs four years in a row, and many of those core players are still here and still in the prime of their career. We have strong goaltending, we have one of the best D-pairings in the league (Werenski and Seth Jones) and some talented young players. I think we’re going to keep growing here, and I think we’ll find a coach who wants to be part of it.”

KEEPING JONES

Signing Jones, the team’s best player, to a long-term contract is critical on many levels. He will be an unrestricted free agent after next season and allowing a fan favorite to walk away would be poor optics for a rebuilding team trying to fight the narrative that nobody wants to play in Columbus. Based on the current market, the 26-year-old Jones will command around $10 million per year.

“He’s probably the most important piece to this puzzle,” veteran forward Cam Atkinson said.

ELVIS OR KORPI?

Columbus has a pair of proven No. 1 goaltenders whose contracts expire after next season. Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo both want to play regularly but were rotated this season when heathy. Despite a depressed goalie market this summer, one could be traded as the Blue Jackets seek established offensive players. Both goalies say they’d prefer to stay in Columbus and be the starter.

“Nobody is stupid here,” Merzlikins said. “We understand there are two No. 1 goalies on one team. I don’t think both are going to stay, but you never know. I don’t want to go into the business, but Korpi, he wants to play, I want to play, and to share the net I don’t think is best for our future.”

ATTRACT FREE AGENTS

Kekalainen is expected to look to free agency to add some offensive players, with the center position a priority. Jones said the players’ leadership group planned to meet with Kekalainen on Monday, and one of the topics would be the more aggressive steps the team can take to attract top free agents who want to play here.

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‘None of Us Knows What a Rearranged IPL Looks Like’


England cricketers are unlikely to be a part of the remainder of IPL 2021, if and when it is rescheduled, hinted director of cricket Ashley Giles. The IPL was suspended last week after rising cases of COVID-19 inside the bubbles in India. While there’s no clarity on the fate of the remainder of the tournament, there are reports that the BCCI will look at windows before or after the ICC T20 World Cup, scheduled for October-November this year.

India Captain Virat Kohli Gets Vaccinated Against Coronavirus

However, England have a busy season of cricket are are unlikely to be a part of the IPL. The players were given permission to miss Tests against New Zealand to be with the originally planned version of IPL, but such leeway is not going to happen this time.

“We’re planning on the involvement of England players in England matches,” Giles was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “We’ve got a full FTP schedule. So if those tours to Pakistan and Bangladesh (before the T20 World Cup) are going ahead, I’d expect the players to be there.

Varun Chakravarthy, Sandeep Warrier Back Home After Completing Mandatory Isolation

“The New Zealand scenario was very different. Those Test matches were formalised at the end of January, by which time all those contracts and NOCs were signed for full involvement in the IPL.

“None of us knows what a rearranged IPL looks like at the moment; where it’s going to be or when. But from when we start this summer against New Zealand, our programme is incredibly busy. We’ve got a lot of important, high-profile cricket including the T20 World Cup and the Ashes. And we’re going to have to look after our players.”

Earlier, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly ruled out hosting the rest of the tournament in India.

“India is supposed to go to Sri Lanka for three ODIs and five T20Is. There are lots of organisational hazards like 14-day quarantine. It can’t happen in India. This quarantine is tough to handle. Too early to say how we can find a slot to complete the IPL,” he told Sportstar.

“You can say that now in hindsight that the IPL should have been called off earlier. Mumbai and Chennai (bio bubbles) did not have cases. Only when the IPL reached Delhi and Ahmedabad did the cases rise. People will say a lot of things in any case. The English Premier League had so many people affected. But they could reschedule the matches. 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.

“…we would have continued if there were no cases. We would have completed the IPL. The players were in the bubble and there were no crowds at the venues. Players were not getting infected. Once the players got affected, we called it off. Look at leagues going around the world. They have had Covid cases, but they have continued.”

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