Qualifying Events for the T20 World Cup
Championships for 2021 have been postponed. This announcement was made by the
International Cricket Council, who confirmed that the decision was made after
reviewing the Covid-19 Pandemic. These postponements extend towards the
50-Overs Competition, which would’ve had their qualifying venues in June 2020.
This decision was collectively agreed upon by the ICC after Covid-19 has
infected 470+ thousand individuals worldwide, with it killing roughly 21+
thousand. Global spreading of this virus has put the world at a standstill,
forcing multiple sporting events to be postponed. This extends towards the
Premier League, La Liga and UEFA.
The Head of Events for the International Cricket
Council, Chris Tetley, provided an official statement to reporters. He
mentioned that the unprecedented circumstances worldwide are forcing the ICC to
postpone all venues until June 2020. Those postponements could be extended
after additional reviews with medical officials. Chris Tetley noted that
contingency plans would continue to be created, with the ICC hoping that both
the Men’s and Women’s events will be rescheduled for the late summer. Decisions
won’t be made based on finances but public safety.
The nation of India was slated to host the T20 World Cup Champion in 2021, which would’ve followed with them hosting the 50-Overs Competition in 2023. Those championship dates could be postponed with the alteration to qualification. It should be noted that the Women’s T20 World Cup was held in Australia during Late February – Early March. This venue was almost cancelled mid-way through over Covid-19 concerns.
India Isn’t Returning to Australia in 2020
When it applies to the Indian National Cricket Team, they’ll most likely have to postponement they’re involved with the Australian T20 Tri-Series. It was expected to be held between October to December, which might not be possible after the Australian government shut down borders for the next six months.
Its unknown is individual permissions will be made for the Indian Cricketers, with Australia have 2000 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Sixteen individuals have died, and the government is doing everything possible to stop increased exposure. Financial analysts in Australia have backlashed this decision, as a six-month closure on borders will have numerous adverse effects onto their economy.
The South African Proteas have just suffered a terrible defeat in a shambolic series in Ranchi. Their performance with both bat and ball was disappointing to say the very least, and throughout the three Tests, they were outplayed. These most recent stats reflect the worst in South African cricket history since 1992 when they returned to the international playing field. Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis is now grasping at Brexit as their hope to rebuild the once active Proteas to former glory.
Du Plessis believes that when Brexit finally comes into place and Britain withdraws from the European Union; they will enforce must stricter immigration controls in the country. This will result in fewer South Africans being able to leave our local sports scene and thus fewer South African cricketers in the County Championship. For some, this might seem like grasping at straw, yet we need to take note of the fact that more than 60 players from around the globe have already obtained residency in Europe and thus could join the teams in their new country of residence. As soon as that they have residency in a specific country, they are no longer regarded as foreign players.
The Kolpak Accord
The Kolpak accord came into place through a court ruling in 2003 in favour of a Slovakian handball player, Maros Kolpak. The decision determined that citizens of any country in the world have the freedom to move and work anywhere within the EU once they signed European Union Association Agreements. Thus then players couldn’t play for their home countries anymore. If the current Brexit plans go ahead, Britain will be out of the EU, and the Kolpak accord will come to an end in 2021 for cricketers. Du Plessis himself was also part of the same system while playing in England. He also referred to Simon Harmer playing for Essex for the past two years already and who hasn’t been in action for South Africa already since 2015.
When Brexit comes into place, and the Kolpak accord resolves, South Africa will be able to pick some of our South African players again to represent our national team, even if they are currently playing overseas. Now, according to Du Plessis, our best players leave the country and then the Proteas have to represent South African cricket with players who aren’t the best we have to show the world. Two such players who are greatly missed on our side are Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn. He stated that these guys not only delivered great play, but they provided a solid learning foundation for young and upcoming talent. Currently, the South African team needs to go through a phase of a rebuild, and Du Plessis has hope. He is very positive about the prospects of Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock. The rebuild process will just run much smoother if the new talent can grow under the experienced hands of some of these great players no longer available to SA.
After being suspended from the International Cricket Council as a member, for three months, Zimbabwe has now been readmitted following a meeting in Dubai. The suspension was due to political interference from this African country. Zimbabwe hasn’t been the only country suspended from the council. Another suspension which was already in place since 2016 against Nepal too has been lifted.
Zimbabwe’s Political Interference
Zimbabwe is a country that has been suffering a long past of political unrest and sensitivity. During July this year, the political leaders interfered by suspending the existing cricket board and by replacing them with an interim committee appointed by the government. The ICC didn’t approve of this action, and the country was suspended from the ICC as a member. This is not the first time that the country suffered some embarrassment within the world of cricket. During 2005 they ultimately suspended their involvement in Test cricket. This was due to a serious of rather humiliating performances and political turmoil spilling over into the sport. Even though they are still playing at the world’s top levels and are performing great at Twenty20 internationals as well as at one-day internationals, they are no longer competing in Test cricket since then.
Allowing Zimbabwe Back In
Recently a meeting was held in Dubai where the minister of sports accompanied Tavengwa Mukuhlani, the chairperson for cricket in Zimbabwe in the country, Kirsty Coventry. During the meeting, the status of Zimbabwe was reinstated since according to the ICC, they noticed commitment from the minister of sport in Zimbabwe to get cricket reinstated. According to Shashank Manohar, the chairman of the ICC, she proved herself to have a desire to improve the competition and the conditions under which the game is competed in, within the country. She has also complied unconditionally with all the guidelines and requirements which were set out by the board of the ICC. Now the Zimbabweans will be able to take up their place once again in the international arena. Their Under-19 team will be present in the Under-19 World Cup set to take place in January next year. They will also be presented at the ICC Super League which takes place later on in 2020. Currently Zimbabwe is in 12th place in the ODI rankings and unfortunately didn’t qualify for the World Cup this year.
Nepal’s Return to the International Arena
Nepal was suspended in 2016 due to their actions which breached the ICC rules which prohibits any interference from government side when elections take place to ensure that elections take place free and fairly. According to Manohar, Nepal made brilliant progress since then and thus was admitted to the board with certain conditions set in place. A transition plan has to be followed which has been developed with the Cricket Association of Nepal, aimed at supporting them into becoming a full member once again. The program will also include better control over funding.
For the first time in Australian cricket history, they will introduce a parental policy allowing players to take a year of paid maternity leave. When these cricketers have either given birth or adopted, they will be allowed to take 12 months of paid leave according to the new policy which is described as a game-changer.
The new policy was announced this week by both Cricket Australia as well as the Australian Cricketers’ Association. It supports professional cricketers throughout their pregnancy or adoption as well as their return back to the field. It will also assist them with their parental responsibilities. The policy will accommodate players by allowing up to 12 months of paid leave for those who are either giving birth or adopting.
However it goes beyond that as well, by supporting players who are in the role as primary carers of these young ones to get back to the field and it will also cover the expenses which are associated with caring for these children as well as when a carer has to be appointed to take care of the baby. This will include the costs of accommodation and flights involved to take care of the child. The child will be covered with these privileges up until the age of four years old.
Returning to the Field
This policy which will mostly benefit women’s teams in Australia, came into effect already on the 1st of July and has been under consultation already since 2017. It guarantees players who give birth and goes on maternity leave to a contract extension during the following year after they have given birth. Players will also be able to return to the field whenever they want within the year, subjected to being medically cleared as fit and healthy. All players in Australia with either state, national and Big Bash contracts, are covered by this policy. The policy also allows for players whose partners are pregnant or adopting but aren’t the primary carers themselves, to take up to three weeks paid leave anytime during the first 12 months after birth or adoption.
The primary purpose of the policy is to extend the careers of, especially female cricketers. Once a female cricketer becomes pregnant, it usually signals the end of her career said Alistair Nicholson, the Australian Cricketers’ Association’s chief executive. This often meant that female athletes in this sport have to make a choice of either pursuing their career on the field and miss out on having a family or deciding to have a family and they get robbed of the opportunity to reach their full potential on the ground. Alyssa Healy played a vital role in the process to get the new policy in place, and she considers this as a game-changer for the sport. She is proud of the fact the women will now be able to continue their careers and have the expenses of travelling with a child taken care of.
The Hundred Tournament is set to take off on July 2020. This brand new tournament is an initiative of the England and Wales Cricket Board to interest youth in playing cricket. Now it is slammed with criticism from those who are the strong advocates of a healthy lifestyle. Their main concern with the tournament is that it will promote obesity in the youth through their main sponsor, KP Snacks.
The Origins of the Hundred
This 100-ball tournament was a proposal by the ECB already made in September 2016. This followed after discussions between the Professional Cricketer Association, the Marylebone Cricket Club and 18 of the top cricket counties. The vote was far in favour of the proposed format. The format would be shorter than a Twenty20 with 100 balls in each innings and change usually ends following ten shots. Bowlers would deliver 5 or 10 balls but no more than 20 per game. The idea was to attract a new and younger audience to the game. It is a plan which Joe Root, current Test Captain to England welcomed.
Early this month the teams, as well as the branding of the tournament, were published with KP Snacks being the main sponsor to the event. This brought on a wave of criticism from various anti-obesity groups. They claim that KP Snacks are a supplier of junk food and that the brand will become the main focus in the minds of children. The KP Snacks logo is presented on the branding of each team’s clothing. Kate Cross, a cricketer for England, stated that she had hopes that this competition would inspire the younger generation to be more active.
The Involvement of KP Snacks
The Hundred Tournament is set to become a great deal of family fun with various men’s and women’s teams being involved from Cardiff, Leeds, Birmingham, Southampton, Nottingham and London. The tournament will be played at Lord’s as well as the Oval, and it will be broadcasted on BBC and Sky Sports. The ECB stated that their focus is to regain a family involvement in the game and that they want to connect communities. KP Snacks have an extensive portfolio including Skips, Hula Hoops, Butterkist popcorn and McCoy’s crisps. These snacks are part of the British households, and this is the market where KP Snacks wants to get involved in, promoting the game of cricket and educating people on the importance of a balanced lifestyle which entails enough activity.
The Anti-obesity Campaigners
This is not how the anti-obesity campaigners perceive the situation. The tournament and its main sponsor were slammed for using the opportunity to make junk food centre stage in the event, exposing the children to unhealthy products. The criticism is further fuelled by new legislation which prohibits companies whose products contain high amounts of fat, sugar and salt from advertising to those under 16. The counter-argument from these companies that their products can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet stays wholly ignored.
Ian Chappell, former captain to the Australians, voiced his concern this week regarding the effect which climate change has on the game. He stated that administrators in charge of governing the game need to keep the impact of climate change on consideration. This statement is based on the ever-increasing number of games which had to be abandoned due to rain since the UK hosted the World Cup.
During the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup many matches had to be abandoned as an effect of the constant downpour. This meant that the game was suffering severely under criticism for the number of events which washed away with unexpected rain. According to Chappell, it isn’t only the rain which fuels his concern but also higher temperatures which are experienced, and this is a reason for concern over the players’ health.
He stated that the delaying of games is very frustrating, but it would be even worse if players need to abandon the field due to the harsh sunlight. He stated that in future players would have to take better precautions to protect them against sunburn, heat stroke and skin cancer. Due to his battle with skin cancer, this is a matter close to the heart of the former captain. His solution for these concerns is an increase in day-night matches. He perceives day-night games as critical to the existence of Test cricket in the future.
The Future of Cricket
Weather and changing climate concerns are not the only threat which Chappell sees in the future of Test Cricket. Another would be the ever-increasing popularity of T20 cricket. Over the past couple of years, the popularity of T20 cricket exploded. T20 cricket is bringing along a different style of play, according to the captain. In T20 the batting varies significantly from that which is displayed in Test cricket matches. He believes that the artistry which is shown in Test cricket is replaced with a more aggressive approach in T20. This dynamic approach is entertaining to the crowds and hence brings along a higher degree of popularity among the supporters.
It might however also lead to the batting style which Test cricket is familiar for, to die out completely. Therefore he urges the development of batsmen to keep the craft of batting alive. He believes that if batting becomes nothing more than efforts to clear the boundary on regular intervals with sheer power, then the batting style which makes Test cricket brilliant, will be diminished completely and Test cricket will die out over time.
The 76-year-old Chappel urged roleplayers in the world of cricket to add their support behind the cause of climate change. He stated that the rising sea levels and other climate changes could in future be detrimental to the sport. He also mentioned the effect of a devastating drought which the Test-match city, Cape Town, suffered recently.
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.