IPL: Sehwag and Gambhir’s route to remind the selectors of their captaincy credentials

The IPL returns with Indian cricketers at the helm of all but three teams, in a surreal re-enactment of the decade past, writes The Indian Express. “Sachin Tendulkar has stepped down from captaining the (Mumbai) Indians, while Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have taken charge of separate rebuilding projects. MS Dhoni defends a major title he won last year, while two men who have stepped in for him when he has missed matches for India, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, skipper Delhi and Kolkata respectively. Against this backdrop, Kohli remains captain-in-waiting at Bangalore. The future isn’t upon us just yet,” says the paper, adding that the future isn’t as clear as it seems.

“Sehwag, for instance, spent the entire tour of Australia as the unwitting subject of rumours suggesting a leadership rift between him and Dhoni. When Dhoni was suspended for the final Test, it was Sehwag who took over. Gambhir, meanwhile, has won six out of the six ODIs he has captained India in, and might have felt a little miffed that the vice-captaincy went not to him but to Kohli when Sehwag was rested for the Asia Cup. Both Delhi openers will want to remind selectors of their captaincy credentials with their IPL displays,” adds Indian Express.

On Monday, Kolkata bowling coach Wasim Akram questioned India’s selectors for promoting Kohli over Gambhir. “If I were Gautam Gambhir, I would certainly like to have taken this opportunity to prove a point as the KKR captain. He is a very good captain who leads from the front. I don’t know why the (Indian) selectors removed him from the post of vice-captain,” Akram said. “This is the first time I have seen a vice-captain axed for the team’s poor performance. This should make him more determined.”

According to a report in Hindustan Times, taking over as India’s bowling coach after the disastrous tour of Australia, Joe Dawes had his task cut out. For him, the message from the BCCI top brass is clear — to manage India’s scarce fast bowling resources and keep them fit. His predecessor, South African Eric Simons, drew flak for India’s toothless bowling Down Under and, before that, in England. There was no magical revival in the Indian bowlers’ fortunes during Dawes’ first assignment — Asia Cup.

“Since I joined in February, I won’t be able to comment on what happened before. But yes, I think we failed to execute our plans during the Asia Cup,” said Dawes, who is also Kings XI Punjab’s bowling coach in the IPL. “These days, there is very little margin of error. A plan works on some days and doesn’t on others. It was in Bangladesh that I had my first chance to interact with the team, and I think some of the plans could have been executed better,” the Australian said.

Meanwhile, the Star Group on Monday bagged the broadcast and digital rights of India's international cricket matches at home for a period of six years after bidding a whopping Rs 3851 crore (approx USD 750 million).

The Rupert-Murdoch-owned company beat competition from Multi Screen Media (Sony) to bag rights for all international matches at home and domestic events like Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and the Irani Trophy starting from July 2012 till March 2018, says a report in The Tribune.
The company's six-year contract is valued at Rs 3851 crore and will cover 96 matches in all. It would be coughing up Rs 40 crore per match on an average, much higher than the Rs 32.5 crore per match that Nimbus was paying the BCCI before its contract was terminate last year due to default in payments.