When the Men’s CWC League 2 series kicked off in August, it was the first steps taken by some towards the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2023. This week saw the beginning of the Men’s CWC Challenge League series starting. Each of the two Challenge League groups, group A and group B, consists of six teams. During the next two and a half years, these groups will play a total of 15 matches. Group A includes Singapore, Qatar, Canada, Denmark, Vanuatu and Malaysia. Malaysia is also the hosting country for the first challenge within the league and is set to take place over 11 days from 16th to the 26th of September.
During this challenge, each of the teams within the group will be playing a total of 5 matches each. Group B includes Honk Kong, Italy, Kenya, Uganda and Bermuda. During the next three years, each of the teams in the two different league groups will compete against each other annually. During the next three years, the units within the two groups within the league will compete against one another for a total of 90 times, in 50 overs matches. The top teams within each of the leagues will be sure of a place to partake in the Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier playoffs, which will take place during 2022.
The Team Captains Commenting
Ahmad Faiz, captain to the Malaysian hosting team, expressed their excitement to be able to host the first part of the CWC Challenge. He is looking forward to playing against the other groups, and he is convinced that their team is completely prepared for the challenge. This excitement is shared by the captain of the team from Denmark, Hamid Shah. Their team is looking forward to competing against some strong teams within the newly set structure for the event.
Chris Tetley, ICC Head of Events stated that the newly introduced structure which will stretch over four years, to lead to qualifying for the Men’s Cricket World Cup is allowing teams to follow a simple structure to achieve a place within the glorious event. They were also glad to be able to host this event in Malaysia and to be able to work again in partnership with the Cricket Association of Malaysia. This is also the perfect opportunity for the ICC to explore the fantastic venues which are available within the country, which might become possible hosts for future ICC events.
The second group of teams will take each other on during the 25th of November to the 9th of December when the Men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League B event is scheduled to take place in Hong Kong. The Challenge Leagues, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 will all be running when it starts during May next year.
The Sri Lankan cricket board confirmed that they have received warning that their upcoming tour into Pakistan is under threat of possible terrorist attacks. This has urged them to reassess the current security measurements in place for the journey. The tour is set to take place within less than two weeks. Even though it can’t be said for sure whether the team would be in any danger at all at this stage, the memories of the terrorist attack which took place on the Sri Lankan tour bus and resulted in injuring many of their players during 2009, is still a fresh memory which they most definitely wouldn’t want to repeat.
According to the Sri Lankan cricket board, the office of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister received a warning from what they consider as a very reliable source, that the Sri Lankan cricket team will be targeted in a possible terrorist attack during their tour in Pakistan. The team was set to arrive on the 25th of September in Pakistan where they then would play a series of three ODI’s in the city Karachi, and three T20’s in Lahore, starting on the 27th of September.
The SLC is committed to providing safe and secure conditions at all times for their team while they are representing their country. Therefore they are currently reassessing the situation to determine whether the team will depart on tour. The cricket board requested the assistance of the Sri Lankan government to reassess the situation in Pakistan under the looming threat, to be able to determine whether the tour which has created much anticipation, will continue. Currently, a total of ten of the best players in the Sri Lankan team have already pulled out of the set tour since Tuesday, due to the threat made to their security. These players who wouldn’t be part of the trip if it continues, include Lasith Malinga, the Twenty20 captain as well as Dimuth Karunaratne, their captain to the one-day international team.
Previous Attack in Pakistan
During March 2009 the world of cricket was shaken when the Sri Lanka tour bus was the target of a terrorist attack. Militant shooters attacked their bus in Lahore. During this attack six of the players for the Sri Lankan team were injured, and a total of six Pakistani police officers and two civilians on the street were killed in the ambush which formed part of the attack. Since then Pakistan hasn’t hosted any more Test matches until now. They have been able to successfully host some limited-overs events against Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. These were done under severe security measurements and to restore the confidence of the international cricket world in their ability to host tours on local soil. Threats like these are now once again decreasing the determination of the world in their ability to be a hosting country.
Merely one win is needed for Thailand to secure a place in the ICCT20 World Cup set to take place in Australia next year. This has been a long exciting journey for a country with practically no historical cricket pedigree.
The career of Sornnarin Tippoch is a true reflection of the history of cricket in Thailand. Tippoch used to be a softball player and only got acquainted with cricket at the relatively late age of 20 years old. Only one year later, though, she was captaining the Thai national team. Now, 12 years on in her career, she is standing at the dawn of representing her country in the World Cup. Tippoch comes from a family living as farmers in the small community of Buriram. Buriram is a Thai province situated roughly 400 kilometres from Bangkok. This area has no links to cricket at all, yet when Tippoch was introduced to cricket during 2007, she was immediately excelling in the game.
Tippoch stated that she could relate well with cricket and switching over was easy because it was very similar to softball. Her love for the sport was immediate, and she also soon realized that cricket could be an opportunity for her to represent Thailand on an international level.
The Journey of Growth
During the early days, cricket was mainly a sport played by expats living in Thailand. Mohideen Kader, currently the CEO of Cricket Association of Thailand, has however been playing a vital role in changing that to becoming a sport enjoyed and played by the local Thailand people too. During 2007 a massive drive was launched by Kader to introduce young Thai games starts to cricket. These players, like Tippoch, was then recruited to play cricket for Thailand. From there, it purely became a force going from strength to strength. A massive breakthrough came when the government of Thailand recognized cricket as an official sport of the country. Since then it has grown to a competition involving more than 3 000 women in Thailand, with teams representing different age groups as well as both genders, in all 14 Thai provinces.
It was, however, the exposure which the women’s team had when playing on an international level, which caused the most significant improvement in their game. From 2013 onwards they have been part of the T20 World Cup Qualifier every year. They have also been able to win a Shield final and have been finishing fifth within this eight-team tournament. Winning Papua New Guinea would mean that for 2020 they would be competing in the World Cup.
The hope of Thailand is on this team to do just that, and because their squad has four bowlers who are boasting with the lowest bowling averages in the history of T20, this might be the year of a significant breakthrough for cricket in Thailand.
During the second test series of the Ashes being played between Australia and England, Jofra Archer, British fast bowler sent the Australian batsman, Steve Smith, collapsing face down after a bouncer hit him at a sickening speed on the side of his neck. Smith managed to walk off the field a little while later to have a proper concussion check done. This was done under the applause from the crowd. It was, however, upon return to the field that he got booed. Some sections within the British crowd wanted to send out a reminder about his 12-month ban due to ball-tampering.
ACA Speak Out against Verbal Abuse
The Australian Cricketer’s Association which acts as a representative body for the Australian cricketers, condemned the situation where an injured player is receiving abuse for a matter which was already dealt with. During a joint statement Alistair Nicholson, chief executive and Greg Dyer, president, also stated that not only does the sport of cricket deserve better behaviour, but especially so at Lord’s which many consider as the heart and home of cricket. They applauded Smith’s bravery and stated that his conduct should much rather be praised. Many other former stars on the Australian side also applauded the courage of Smith.
The consensus was that the correct protocol was followed to send the injured Smith off the field to be able to do proper checks to determine whether he has a concussion or not. In recent years the Australian cricket world already lost the former teammate of Smith at Sheffield Shield, based in Sydney, in 2014. Phillip Hughes got hit by a bouncer during a domestic game and died due to the injury. After Hughes’s unfortunate death, wearing a neck guard was introduced, but remained optional. During this recent incident, Smith was wearing a helmet, but no neck guard. The event might lead again to reconsidering the neck guard and maybe make it part of compulsory wear in the future.
Smith Missing Out on the Third Series
After Smith did return to the field, his performance was mostly unsteady. Now it was confirmed that the star performer on the Australian side would have to sit out for the third series. Thus far he has been delivering excellent performance with scoring two centuries during his three innings up to now. 144, 142 and 92 are what he managed to achieve before being hit by the bouncer.
Smith did pass the initial testing for a concussion, but then, later on, showed signs of a mild concussion and he was out of the rest of the match. Smith stated that he would be playing at Headingley if he was declared fit enough according to the set protocol to play. This is, unfortunately, not the case now. The Aussies will now have to face the English without their star player. Smith will be replaced by Marnus Labuschagne, who stands in as concussion substitute.
No more leather balls for the Early Cricket Club set in the town of Reading outside of London. This club is switching their leather balls to a more vegan-friendly option. Since they turned to a vegan-friendly menu two years ago, they are known as the vegan club in the cricket world. This new menu was accepted well by most, who fully understood the need to offer a list which allows all religions and dietary requirements to be able to join in.
Starting With Vegan Teas
The notion of turning vegan all began when the Gary Shacklady, the chairperson and founder of the club became vegan. He realized that almost all cricket club teas served ham sandwiches which he had to pass on with his newly founded dietary interest. The change was made to serve vegan beverages at the club.
Going the Full Distance
Keeping up with the vegan spirit, a new vegan-friendly ball was introduced to play. The animal-friendly option is manufactured of synthetic products, and it contains no parts stemming from animals. According to Shacklady, the ball’s most significant difference is that it is slightly harder to grip than the well-known leather version and it bounces more. The club still finds this ball a new replacement of the standard leather balls which the game is known for. They are, however, keen on finding an even better solution to fill the position.
Early Cricket Club
The club was founded only 12 years ago by Shacklady. Currently 33-years old, he is the youngest in the circles of cricket club chairpersons in entire England. Shacklady expressed his hopes that other clubs will soon follow in this notion with, especially within their league, the Berkshire Cricket League. Shacklady is a primary school teacher and said that when the new vegan menu was introduced about two years ago, it was accepted by the club members with little resistance. He is hoping that the new ball will be taken within the cricket world with the same ease as that the new menu was.
Currently, the club is serving meat-free spaghetti Bolognese, lasagne and Moroccan tagine instead of the usual beef and ham sandwiches. He also stated that when teams visit to play, they still enjoy the food and often stack plates up high. It is only seldom that someone would complain, but the reasoning behind the menu is to allow all to be able to eat. Except for his vegan background, Shacklady also felt the exclusivity of the meals when players of different religious backgrounds visited the club, which means that Hindu and Muslim players couldn’t join in on the feed. He is stating that the new menu allows for all to be able to eat.
The cricket club in Reading is nicknamed the vegan club, and it is, in fact, no surprise that they are the first to introduce a vegan option for the leather made balls used for so long in the history of cricket.