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Friday, April 11, 2014

IPL extravaganza to begin ... KKR hires explorer Mike Horn

Not many would be aware of the Battle of Hastings that took place in 1066 where the Normans decisively defeated English army of King Harold II.  Legend that the battle was won because Normans had prepared well before the war and ‘well prepared is half won’.

The IPL Circus is all set to begin in less than a week now…. IPL 7 would be in 2 phases – first leg of 20 (20T20) at Abudhabi and later at India….. with days to go, reports suggest that  many franchises are yet to finalise deals with sponsors. Some have  been unable to close deals, including finding a front-chest sponsor, a valuable space where the brand is most prominently displayed on the shirt front. Brand experts predicted a "tough year", claiming the franchises will suffer a deep cut of 20% in their sponsorship revenues, which will be exacerbated by the loss in ticket revenues as a result of the first phase of the tournament being played in the UAE. There are apprehensions that the overall revenues this season will be significantly lesser than previous seasons. "The gate money would be reduced, the sponsorship would be reduced, there are fewer teams so the central revenue would be also be reduced."

Away from IPL and T20, comes the news that Associate teams will have the opportunity to play Test cricket, with the ICC Board approving an ICC Test Challenge, which will take place every four years between the lowest-ranked Test team and the winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup. The inaugural Test Challenge will take place in 2018, with the intention of giving a context to the Intercontinental Cup. The Intercontinental Cup, spread out over two years, is a first-class tournament played among the Associate teams. According to the new proposal, the side ranked 10th in the ICC Test rankings on December 31, 2017, or at the conclusion of any series in progress at that time, will play two five-day Tests at home and two five-day Tests away against the winner of the upcoming Intercontinental Cup. The new proposal will give promising teams like Ireland a chance to take their international cricket to the next level.

The concept is not totally new ~ at Chennai league – the Palayampatti Shield is for the winners of 1st division league – every year 2 teams get relegated as the first 2 from the 2nd division enter the fray.  The Test challenge is not, however, intended to be a relegation process for any Full Member who may be defeated in the contest. Full Member nations will not, it is understood, lose their status and voting rights and their FTP arrangements are also expected to be completed.

As has been with IPL, there are bound to be many matters of interest preceding actual matches . Delhi Daredevils was the only IPL franchise not  to retain any players ahead of the 2014 IPL auction. There were a few strong candidates for retention, like Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen, David Warner and Mahela Jayawardene, but none were held on to. At the auction, Daredevils used their three right-to-match cards to buy back Pietersen, who was later named captain………. They have chosen the erstwhile successful Indian coach – Gary Kirsten, whose first task would be make players knowing each other.  Kirsten is back in India as coach three years after ending his highly-successful stint with the national team. Coaching in the IPL, he said, would be more "intense". Kings XI Punjab have roped in former Hyderabad spinner R Sridhar as fielding coach for IPL 2014. Sridhar, who began his coaching career in 2001, has been part of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and was the India Under-19's assistant coach during the recent World Cup in the UAE.

~ and KKR have hired explorer Mike Horn….. the South Africa-born adventurer who famously inspired the Indian team during their successful 2011 World Cup campaign, has joined Kolkata Knight Riders for a short stint ahead of the IPL season.  Horn is an extreme athlete whose feats include climbing the Broad Peak (more than 8000m) in the Himalayas without additional oxygen in 2010, becoming one of the first men to reach the North Pole without the aid of dogs or motorised transport in 2006, and circumnavigating the world on foot in 1999.

Besides his stint with the Indian team, Horn's other work in cricket includes working with the South African national team ahead of their victorious 2012 England tour, and with Mumbai Indians in the 2012 IPL season. He has also shared his insights with the South African rugby team, some European football teams and the French sailing team.
When the 1983 World Cup was won, PR Mansingh was the only official – the Manager who took care of the nets, travelling, ticketing, hotel booking and everything else.  In 2011, the list was too big….. and added to that they hired motivational talkers and spiritual performers earlier –Mike Horn gave the Team the pep talk ahead of the high octane semi final clash.  Not a single word on cricket but on adventure and the challenges of life in general.  Gary Kirsten ensured Paddy Uppington at mental conditioning coach and in turn Paddy  had another South African talking to the team  !!
It was stated that the concept was to keep the minds stress-free.   Mike Horn a South African explorer, studied Human movement Science [!] at the University of Stellenbosch and   worked in Europe as as a ski instructor, river and canyoning guide.  

In 1995, Mike Horn opened the "No Limits" Outdoor Activity Sports Centre in Switzerland. It was during this time that he broke the world record for the highest descent of a waterfall with a hydrospeed, on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica.  After Amazon expedition, he was fascinated by the sport of sailing.  Mike Horn was elected a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy in January 2007 in recognition of his ground-breaking achievements which reflect great triumph of the human spirit against daunting odds.  He has authored books about his expeditions which are best sellers in France.  He is considered a motivational conference speaker and gives both public and private appearances.  

You plan everything for succeeding … and some succeed naturally

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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