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.
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.
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.
This week Cricket Australia made a formal announcement regarding their controversial decision of gender inclusivity. According to the new system, cricketers would be allowed to play according to the gender with which they identify and not their biologically born gender. This is the new policy in place for both amateur and professional cricket. Even though some are happy about the decision, some consider it the end of women’s cricket in the country.
Promoting Inclusivity in Sport
According to the CEO of Cricket Australia, Kevin Roberts, the policy is driven by their desire to ensure fair and inclusive play for all cricketers of the country. Clubs won’t be allowed to require these players to undergo a medical examination to determine whether they are allowed to play or not, yet players who would want to play according to their identified gender would have to produce statistics of 12 consecutive months indicating testosterone levels below ten nanomoles per litre. He furthermore stated that discrimination won’t be allowed within the world of cricket in Australia and that this policy will enable transgender players to be able to represent the country in elite levels. It will also apply to the grassroots level, and even in clubs run within neighbourhoods by parents, children would be allowed to play according to the gender with which they identify. This matter is so severe that one article was published already, stating that parents who are denying children this right could be prosecuted.
Hence guidelines on incorporating the new policy would be communicated to all local clubs. These guidelines would create a place of free and inclusive involvement for all players, coaches and volunteers. Australian women’s cricketer, Megan Schutt, echoes Roberts, in her excitement. She believes that the policy would create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, expressed his objections to the plan. He felt that it is an inappropriate way to enforce clubs to deal with the matter. He is also stating that he is convinced that there are alternative ways of dealing with the issue.
His objection is shared by a professor in Paediatrics from Western Sydney University. Professor John Whiteball is convinced that the policy is giving women cricket a death blow. It will tremendously reduce any hardworking female’s ability to achieve greatness. Physically she won’t be able to compete. He has also mentioned the destructive effect which it can have on a teenage girl’s confidence to have to compete with someone physically stronger than her, due to being transgender and identifying as a female, although it is not the person’s born gender. The policy can change the face of women’s sports completely. Even though it was meant to create inclusivity, there are, without a doubt, a large number of people who will most definitely be excluded from sports due to this.
The forecast has been made that when Australia is meeting England in this year’s Ashes five-game series, it is two very much mediocre test cricket teams competing against each other. It was expected that England’s glorious moments after winning the World Cup, only two weeks before the start of the Ashes, might come crashing down and so it did.
England’s Ashes History
There have been 27 Ashes series over the last 50 years. During this period England has only lost the first test twice before then going on to winning the series. This happened in 1981 and 2005, and both of these are referred to as miracle series. History also teaches us that during these 50 years of Ashes, Australia has either won or drawn the first test in 17 of the series and then they have won the series. Will this year be a repeat of past events or are there other factors to keep in mind?
England’s Poor Luck
This year England’s loss of the first test can’t simply be summed up as a poor play on the English side. They were struck with a bit of bad luck. Not only did England end up without their best bowler only one hour in of play, but they are also competing against stronger players. The best spinner of the series is indeed in the Australian team. The same goes for the best batsman. Australia is also holding the best pace attack on the two sides.
In comparison, the English team is riddled with weaknesses. They have six players who are injured or unproven and only have five players to show who is in good form and possibly placed in the correct spot. This led to their humiliation in the first test — a loss which only added to the mental scars gained from previous Ashes results. For England to get back into the game, they would need to fight not only a physical battle on the field, but also overcome the mental demons which they are struggling with now.
The Australian Performance
Winning the first test in the series was a significant boost of confidence on the Aussie side. This became their first win at Edgbaston in any form, since 2001. The Australians came to England without any fear factor accompanying them. They were fully aware that they have four consecutive losses of the Ashes series on English soil, but taking the first test gave them back their power, according to Shane Warne.
He also mentioned that it seemed that the English weren’t worried about the Australians ability pre-series, but the Aussies’ performance has given them a reason for concern. Even previous captain of the 2005 English Ashes team, Michael Vaughan mentioned on social media that the Australians came prepared and in good shape. He also said that the local team is not showing the much-needed movement. What the next few weeks will deliver is still to be seen. It seems possible that the Ashes will turn out to be a much more exciting event than expected initially.