Free entry for fans at Vizag
In an unprecedented move, the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) has declared that the entry for fans on day 1 of the second Test between India and England at Vizag will be free of charge.
In view of the Government's move on the currency, ticket sales for the Vizag Test have been severely hampered. The association had therefore, contemplated the possibility of the opening the gates for free on all the days but had to decide against it.
"This is the first Test in the history of Andhra Cricket. We want to see a full house but due to security apprehension we cannot go ahead with the plan. Anyone can enter if it is free entry. We will see how it goes on day one and if possible we may do so in the remainder days," the ACA secretary G Gangaraju told PTI.
The association also plans to fill the stands by bringing in about 5,000 school children. The stadium has a total capacity of 28,000 and the association is confident that at least 10,000 fans will turn up.
This will be the first Test match at the venue and a plaque to commemorate the event will be unveiled by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
Former India stumper and current chairman of national selectors, MSK Prasad, called the event a momentous occasion. "This is the happiest day since the Andhra Cricket Association was established in 1953," he said while citing that the association's credentials were firmly established when Vizag hosted 10 IPL matches at short notice due to the Maharashtra water crisis.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation seems to not only have affected the common people but also some of the cricketing stars. Indian Test team skipper Virat Kohli said that he couldn't pay the hotel bills in Rajkot following the surprise decision. Speaking at a press conference he said, "I was actually trying to pay my hotel bills in Rajkot not realising the fact that the old notes were not valid anymore."
He went on to say, "I could have actually signed on it and given it to people. The notes have become that useless."
Kohli said that though it has been a tough time for the nation, the demonetisation was the greatest move in the Indian political history and said he was pretty impressed by the decision.
The surprise idea of demonetisation took its toll on former England cricketers Nasser Hussain and Ian Botham on Wednesday, as the two legends faced difficulties in paying their hotel bills at Rajkot.
Talking to the media Nasser said, "Yes I was a bit concerned because I had a flight via Mumbai and I had used up all my cash to clear off hotel bills in Rajkot. And I wasn't sure if there would be cash available at the airport."
Ian Botham too chipped in with his complaint and said that he was unable withdraw money from ATMs nearby the hotel due to the long queues. India Today quoted him as saying, "Yes at Rajkot the long, long queues in front of banks was a regular feature. At first, we weren't able to fathom why this was so but the queues were there even when we were going back to the hotel at the end of the day's play."
The two players were worried about the situation and asked if it would affect the ticket sales in Vizag.
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland made a shocking statement on Tuesday following Australia's humiliating defeat in the second Test against South Africa. Speaking at a press conference yesterday he said, "Three months ago we were the number one team in the world in Test cricket and One-day cricket. We are not today and we are not shying away from that issue. It's my responsibility to lead the people to turn this around. We're lucky to be a Top 10 side at the moment."
Sutherland stated that though it was disappointing to see the team in such a condition, he was confident of his players bouncing back and making a strong statement. He also went on to say that he would let the board take a decision on his future.
It was a proud moment for Debbie Hockley on Wednesday as she was elected as the first woman president of the new Zealand cricket board. Hockley, a former national women's team captain and an ICC Hall of Famer was nominated for the position by the Canterbury cricket. The 54-year old will be replacing the out-going president Stephen Boock.
Hockly played for New Zealand for over 21 years and has represented them in 19 Tests and 118 ODIs. She will be the first woman president of New Zealand in its 122-year history.
During the general body meeting, Ingrid Cronin-Knight, another former New Zealand Women's team player, was elected as the director of the national cricket board. The 39-year-old Cronin-Knight had played three ODIs for the New Zealand Women's team in 2008.
England spinner Zafar Ansari praised the team's bowling consultant Saqlain Mushtaq for his efforts in the recent matches. The left-arm spinner said that Mushtaq has had a great impact on him since taking up the role of spin consultant.
Ansari said that having Mushtaq by the side helped him a lot during the Bangladesh tour as he gave him some valuable information regarding bowling in the sub-continent pitches. The young bowler went on to say that the Pakistani was efficient in boosting up the morale of the team. Cricbuzz quoted him as saying, "He also he acts as our cheerleader. He is very positive, he kind of boosts us all, makes us feel good about ourselves."
The English spinner also hailed former Indian cricketer Murali Karthik and out of favour spinner, Pragyan Ojha for their role in his development. Both the players played for Surrey and had helped out Ansari in learning the art of spin bowling.