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Cricket Buzz: Rs 40 crore prize money on offer for IPL playoffs

Last updated on: May 24, 2014 17:28 IST

Rs 40 crore prize money on offer for IPL playoffs

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The winners of this year's Indian Premier League title will take home Rs 15 crore while the losing finalists will bag Rs 10 crore, according to Cricket Board sources.

In addition to the top two finishers, the two teams that fail to progress to the Bangalore final from the playoffs will be richer by Rs 7.5 crore each.

The playoffs commence on May 27 with the first qualifier between the top two teams after the round robin phase scheduled at Kolkata with the winners straightaway reaching the June 1 summit clash.

The Eliminator between the third and fourth finishers on the league table is to be held at the Cricket Club of India's Brabourne Stadium here on May 28.

This would be followed by Qualifier 2 -- between losers of Qualifier 1 and winners of Eliminator -- at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on May 30.

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Image: Sunrisers Hyderabad cheer girls
Photographs: BCCI

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Cricket Buzz: 'IPL snub to Pak players has dented India's image'

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Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi feels Indian cricket's image has taken a hit worldwide due to the IPL organisers' decision to keep players from his country out of the Twenty20 event.

Talking to reporters in Lahore, the former captain said it was strange to see that while cricketers from all over the world were in the IPL, only Pakistani players were being sidelined by the Indian authorities.

"It is a setback for Pakistani players but overall it is the image of Indian cricket that has suffered because of this policy," Afridi said.

Afridi said Pakistan has always supported Indian cricket and even now was putting its hand out to have normal and cordial relations.

"I have always said that not only through politics but even through cricket, relations between the two countries can improve a lot," he asserted.

Afridi also talked about his future plans insisting he might quit playing one-day internationals after the 2015 World Cup.

"I will take a decision than on what to do after looking at my fitness and performances. But there is no doubt that this World Cup is of great importance and significance for senior players like me."

"Maybe after the World Cup I might decide to just focus on playing T20 cricket," Afridi said.

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Image: Shahid Afridi
Photographs: BCCI

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'There is a wish to be captain'

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Afridi quit Test cricket four years ago but has regularly played ODIs and T20 cricket. He has already represented Pakistan in three World Cups and captained the team to semi-finals in 2011.

Asked about the captaincy, Afridi said he had been asked a similar question after returning from the World T20 tournament in Bangladesh.

"Like every player I also have a desire to lead my country. I love challenges and I have a big heart and I am not one to run away from challenges. There is a wish to be captain and it will always be there."

Afridi was also candid when asked about his past differences with new head coach Waqar Younis.

"We have to forget past issues and if we remain adamant about not forgetting than it will not be beneficial for anyone," he stated.

Afridi also praised the setting up of a summer training camp and the focus on fitness.

"I have been playing for some 18 years so when there was talk about all this focus on fitness it was surprising. But now I can say it is good we have had this camp it will help us in the long run and I think Muhammad Akram deserves credit for planning this camp," he said.

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Image: Shahid Afridi


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Close to finishing match-fixing probe: ICC

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The International Cricket Council said on Saturday it is close to announcing its findings in a match-fixing case, which shook the game after New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum's testimony in the matter was leaked to the media.

The furore started after McCullum's statement to the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) was leaked to the media.

In that statement, McCullum claimed that he was unsuccessfully approached for match-fixing by a top player, who has been identified merely as 'Player X', in 2008.

Speculation is rife that 'Player X' is none other than McCullum's former New Zealand teammate Chris Cairns, who has vehemently denied the charge.

"We are at the end of the investigation. It is close to being finalised and I'm sure Chris Cairns will be spoken to and given an opportunity to put his side of the story," ICC CEO Dave Richardson told Radio Sport.

"The investigations that we are talking about are at an advanced stage and should be tied up a lot sooner than that. Having said that, I've seen how when law enforcement agencies are involved it does take some time," he added.

Reports claim that Cairns will leave for London on Saturday to meet ICC ACSU officials and the Metropolitan Police.

Apart from McCullum, who has been declared all-clear by ICC, the testimony of former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent was also leaked.

Vincent, however, is an accused in the matter and has been charged on 14 counts of corruption by the England and Wales Cricket Board for allegedly fixing matches in the CountyChampionships.

"Part of it does involve a police investigation in the UK, which I can't really vouch for as to when that will be finalised. But certainly from our perspective the investigations are close to finality and hopefully we should be making announcements pretty soon," Richardson said.

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Image: Dave Richardson
Photographs: Tom Shaw/Getty Images

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Axed Pietersen hits back at Downton

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Kevin Pietersen has hit back at suggestions that he was insufficiently motivated when playing against Australia last year and that he lacked backing from his team mates.

England managing director Paul Downton accused him on Friday of being "disinterested" on the pitch and having no support from other senior players prior to his sacking by England in the wake of the 5-0 Ashes thrashing by Australia.

"The suggestion that I was uninterested during the winter Ashes series against Australia is wholly untrue," Pietersen said in a statement.

"Although I was having injections in my knee which inhibited my mobility and my ability to field close to the wicket, I was fully motivated to play for England.

"While I accept that the series as a whole fell well below my own personal standards, I finished the series as the top scorer.

"I did, and continue, to have a good relationship with most of the England players, which has been subsequently highlighted by a number of press interviews."

The controversial batsman's England career was ended in February when he was left out of World Twenty20 in Bangladesh and the preceding tour of the West Indies.

Downton, who was instrumental in the decision to end Pietersen's international career, also said the batsman's stubborn attitude allowed Australian captain Michael Clarke to play him "like a schoolboy".

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Image: Kevin Pietersen
Photographs: Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

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'Will continue to abide by the confidential provisions contained in my settlement agreement'

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Pietersen played 104 test matches for England, averaging 47, but managed only two half centuries in the five Tests in Australia.

Pietersen, however, was quick to point out his decade-long contribution to England before he was unceremoniously dumped.

"With regard to the criticisms aimed at the way I play, which Paul Downton had said, I feel it's only reasonable to remind Mr Downton that this method has brought me over 13,500 runs for England in addition to being part of four Ashes-winning teams, and a World T20 winning side, all of which achievements I am hugely proud of," the 33-year-old added.

"I will continue to abide by the confidential provisions contained in my settlement agreement, which I believe applies to both the ECB and myself."

England's Ashes debacle also led to coach Andy Flower leaving along with batting coach Graham Gooch while spinner Graeme Swann retired before the end of the series.


Image: Kevin Pietersen
Photographs: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

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