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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Dhoni quits ! - Gujarat to play Mumbai in Ranji Finals - Abbott and the Kolpak rule

He played in 10 Tests & 29 ODIs – took 39 & 34 wickets respectively  -   and is in news !!  

In the World of Cricket, what do you feel would be a World X1 – this man is news as he joins Brendan Taylor who signed a deal with Nottinghamshire.   

Back home, Jasprit Bumrah, with his awkward angles, steep bounce and minute deviations off the pitch had a career best  6 for 29 as Jharkhand, chasing 235, were bundled out for 111.  Gujarat thus entered the finals of Ranji -  their only other final came in 1950-51, when they lost to Holkar. They will play Mumbai, who have 41 titles already !

As you ponder, India was shocked by the decision of beloved Mahendra Singh Dhoni to step down as ODI/T20 captain too.    In Dec 2014, MSD mid-way during Australian tour, stepped down  at 33 years of age, having made his debut in 2005 and was captain for 60 of his 90 Tests.  Captain Cool, darling stumper, has excelled in every format - After taking over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid, Dhoni  guided India to victory in the 2007 World T20, 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy beside powering the team to number one ranking in Test cricket.  Dhoni has played 283 one dayers,  captained India in 199 of them - won 110 and lost 74. He was captain in 72 T20Is - won 41 and lost 28. He was also India's most successful Test captain, with 27 wins, 18 defeats and 15 draws.

A great motivator, he has been, MSD’s  last act before the BCCI issued an advisory to reveal that he had stepped down as India's limited-overs captain was a 30-minute long meeting with his Jharkhand team-mates on their Ranji Trophy campaign. He chatted with them about the highs and lows in a campaign that, in many ways, was pathbreaking. This was Jharkhand's first ever semi-final since their entry in 2004. In Dhoni's world, though, his decision to relinquish the captaincy might just have been another little thing. Over the last four days in Nagpur, there was little to suggest his hunger had diminished, or that his appetite for batting and those helicopter shots had abated. Much after Jharkhand were bundled out in the final session, Dhoni, with four bats of varying sizes and thickness, strode out for a range-hitting session on the centre wicket.

He did not miss many ! ~ India and his fans would miss him for sure !!

The  man in the 1st para  - Kyle Abbott's international career has effectively been ended following the second Test against Sri Lanka after talks with Cricket South Africa failed to dissuade him from accepting a Kolpak deal with Hampshire. "It has been one of the hardest decisions I've had to make but it is the right decision for me," Abbott said after the second Test concluded. "There have been a few evenings where I have gone to sleep wondering if I made the right decision and woken up in the morning knowing I have. The last few months [since I made the decision], it's about playing with the weight off my shoulders. In the last few months, I have never felt far away from being dropped. I've now played thinking if I do, it doesn't matter. I am really enjoying it. If I wasn't committed to South African cricket, I would have done this a long time ago.

"February would be four years since my international debut. Ever since I played in South Africa, at every level, there has always been a quota system. I have never used it as an excuse and I won't now. I need to pay bills, I need to buy groceries."Faf du Plessis, South Africa's captain, said: "That was not the way we wanted. It was something that we didn't expect and it was out of our control.  To the Captain, Team and the Board, there are things to be learnt !

Hampshire have confirmed that Abbott's county deal is for four years – he is not alone.  South Africa batsman Rilee Rossouw too  has ended his international career by signing a three-year deal to join English county Hampshire as a Kolpak player. Rossouw, 27, revealed his decision to leave South Africa on the same day that fast bowler Kyle Abbott let know his decision. 

The Kolpak ruling is a European Court of Justice ruling handed down on 8 May 2003 in favour of Maroš Kolpak, a Slovak handball player who was legally resident and working in Germany. The German Handball Association held that equality of treatment applied only to citizens of European Union countries (as per the Bosman Ruling) and not to non-EU citizens. The case was referred by the German higher court to the European Court of Justice, for a determination on whether the Association Agreement between Slovakia and the European Union provided equal rights for Slovak workers who were living and working legally within the EU. The Court ruled in favour of Kolpak.   

Thus the Kolpak Ruling declares that citizens of countries which have applicable Association Agreements with the EU, and who are lawfully working within an EU country, have equal rights to work as EU citizens, and cannot have restrictions such as quotas placed upon them. Such countries include those within the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states, such as South Africa, Jamaica and Zimbabwe. Players from countries with such deals with the EU can play cricket in any EU country without being considered an overseas player. This means they can sign contracts with English county sides without having to be fielded as overseas players.

A  Kolpak player however  must give up his right to play for his country during the length of his deal with a county.  When Eoin Morgan led England, remember he is Irish by origin, made his debut for Ireland but later played for England – he had at one point of time , Irish pacer Boyd Rankin, Kevin Pieterson, a South African,  Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior.

The man whose photo you saw at the beginning of the article is Dermot Reeve.  Gleaning facts further at Lancaster Park in Jan 1992 prior to WC – Dermot Reeve (Hongkong born) made his debut under Graham Gooch.  His teammates were – Greame Hick, Robin Smith, Alan Lamb, Chris Lewis, Derek Pringle, and Phil deFreitas – all from some other countries. .. .. and that is a World 11.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Jan 2017. 

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