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Cricket's dominance in India might not be fading just yet, but the team's performance has not been as compelling as the last decade and high-profile retirements since have also had an impact on viewership. Ashok Malik, in Asian Age, wonders if a saturation has been reached, especially with other sports enticing the average fan.
Cricket viewership, even Indian Premier League viewership, is not growing. It has either reached a ceiling (IPL) or a floor (Test cricket). Even limited-overs cricket (the Fifty50) game, the mainstay of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is showing a worrying pattern. On-ground presence is lower than previously. The BCCI is masking it by hosting matches mainly in smaller cities and towns, where the novelty may still be there. As for television, a comparison between the India-West Indies limited-overs series of 2011 and 2013 would be telling. Both series were played in India. The first was played in the aftermath of India's World Cup victory and showed a TRP of 3.4 (male/15-34/Sec A, B and C). By the 2013 series, the TRP number had fallen to 2.2. TRP figures for the just-concluded (October 2014) India-West Indies series were not immediately available.
If it is superheroes in Hollywood, it is sports biopics in India. After the stories of Olympic medal-winning boxer Mary Kom and legendary athlete Milkha Singh hit theatres, it is the turn of India's captain MS Dhoni.
MS Dhoni - the untold story is a biopic produced by Rhiti Sports, the company that manages Dhoni's commercial interests. The film, due to release in 2015, hopes to highlight Dhoni's life prior to becoming one of the most successful cricketers on the international circuit. It will be directed by Neeraj Pandey, who was at the helm of the acclaimed thriller A Wednesday. Sushant Singh Rajput, who is two films old and also has experience on the television circuit, plays the lead.
"MS Dhoni is one of the biggest sporting icons in this world, and his biopic will certainly be an inspiration to those who dare to dream and then go all out to achieve their dreams," said chairman of Rhiti Sports Arun Pandey.
Usain Bolt isn't a stranger to cricket. He played during his early years, did a number on Chris Gayle's stumps in a charity match in Jamaica in 2009 and almost turned out for Melbourne Stars during the 2012 Big Bash League. And he will be at it again when he squares up with Yuvraj Singh during an event at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium, on September 2.
Though Bolt's abilities on the open track are considerably more impressive, Gayle had a word of warning about Bolt the cricketer: "In a charity game he [Bolt] played against me, he almost knocked my head off with a good, competitive bouncer."
Bolt's trademark celebrations have been copied by cricketers, but here is a chance for catching the original one on a cricket field. Look out, Yuvraj.
Could Mitchell Johnson carry his Ashes form to South Africa. Damn right he could. At Centurion Park he ended with a career-best 12 wickets and inflicted some potentially serious scars on the South Africans. Writing for the Guardian website, Russell Jackson says that Johnson is now a must-view event, one where you stop what you are doing and race back to the TV set. It's a remarkable tale with, you sense, more to come.
He's also now an event himself, which is an astounding thing to achieve over the course of six Tests. It's Mitch as appointment television. It's Mitch as default headliner and Mitch as TV news bulletin place-setter. You find yourself rushing back with a drink in time for the first ball of his over. It's a cage fight and we're all clamoring for a better look. For opponents it's more about endurance and survival than winning or losing. In those six Tests he's taken 49 wickets at 13.14 with a strike rate of 27.1, a rare case of numbers doing justice to what you're seeing with your own eyes.
Mani Khawaja insists criticism against Najam Sethi's appointment as interim president of the PCB is a sign of people wanting to stir things up. He says Pakistan cricket is in good hands, even if they are largely inexperienced in cricket administration, through a satirical blog entry in the Express Tribune.
With a deteriorating infrastructure that was failing to produce quality cricketing talent, mired in controversies and allegations of nepotism and sexual misconduct, a very capable and seasoned pair of hands was needed to steer the ship back into steady waters.
And that is why the current government went with Najam Sethi, a senior journalist with no prior experience in cricketing matters whatsoever
Matthew Wade's date for the Allan Border Medal awards night, Julia Barry, wore a dress she designed herself and made by Shirley Keon from Keon Couture, while Mitchell Johnson's wife, Jessica Bratich, accessorised herself. How do we know that? Cricket Australia's commitment to make the awards night a glamorous event had them send out a press release with details of those attending and what they'd be wearing - in some cases down to jewellery and accessories. The event, held at Crown Casino in Melbourne, saw players and their dates arriving in 30 cars - the press release also detailing who would arrive in which car. And, hours after Oscar night, Hollywood was in attendance too - Shane Warne turned up to be inducted into the hall of fame.