The International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to approve plans for its long-awaited World Test Championship at a meeting in New Zealand this week, it was reported on Monday.
The sport's governing body has argued for years that a Test championship is needed to boost the five-day format's popularity as crowds and television viewers flock to the big-hitting Twenty20 version of the game.
But squabbling over formats and fears that some nations will be disadvantaged have twice stymied efforts to launch a league structure since 2010.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that plans for a nine-nation Test championship were now well advanced and the ICC was set to give the concept a green light on Friday at a meeting in Auckland.
It said the first edition of the competition would run over a two-year cycle beginning in 2019, culminating in a final between the top two teams at Lord's.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the league competition would give Test series a broader international “context”, making them more than stand-alone bilateral contests.
“You're also creating structure in such a way that you no longer have games without meaning. They are all part of a league championship,” he told the Herald.
Purists view Test cricket as the pinnacle of the sport but it has struggled, particularly in Asia, as lucrative T20 competitions such as the Indian Premier League have caught the public's imagination.
A recent innovation designed to reverse the trend is the introduction of day-night Test matches, which moves playing sessions to more spectator-friendly hours.
The idea of four-day Test matches has also been floated, although traditionalists oppose the move.
The Herald reported that the ICC will also look at a major shake-up of one-day international fixtures at the Auckland meeting.
It said a 13-nation ODI league was being considered, which would operate on a three-year cycle with results affecting World Cup qualification.
Under the plans, the number of ODIs in a series would be capped at three, ending the lengthy five-match series that are currently part of the international fixture list.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to offer $10,000 per match to each foreign cricketer who would play Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in the country, sources told DawnNews.
The incentive is aimed at attracting foreign players to play PSL matches being held in the country. This amount would be payed separately from all other payments.
In this regard, the PCB would add an extra clause in the contracts of foreign players. "$10,000 per match is not a bad option for foreign players because the PCB is planning to host at least 6 to 8 PSL matches in Pakistan for the 3rd Pakistan Super League. So if a player even plays only three matches in Pakistan, he will get straight $30,000," said a source privy to the development.
Pakistan has not hosted top-level international cricket — barring five limited over matches against minnows Zimbabwe in 2015 — since the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists in March 2009. Last month, in a first since the attack, Pakistan successfully hosted the World XI squad comprising foreign players in the Independence Cup 2017.
Since the 2009 attack Pakistan have been forced to play most of their “home” games in the United Arab Emirates — with the Pakistan Cricket Board complaining they have incurred losses of around $120 million.
But security has dramatically improved across Pakistan in the last two years, signalling hopes for the slow revival of international sport in the country.
Sri Lanka Cricket officials have said that the team will play one T20 in Lahore, subject to security clearance closer to the event.
In March, Pakistan successfully hosted the Pakistan Super League Twenty20 final in Lahore with English players Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan, West Indies' Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels and South Africa's Morne van Wyk and Zimbabwe's Sean Ervine competing.
Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah grabbed the key wicket of Dinesh Chandimal to leave Sri Lanka fighting to avoid defeat after the fourth day of the first Test in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The prolific wicket-taker took 2-25 as Sri Lanka struggled to 69-4, needing a rearguard action to save the Test.
Pakistan will be expecting to push for victory in the opening match of a two-Test series on the fifth and final day.
It was tough to negotiate spin on a fourth-day Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch, but despite a 32nd Test five-wicket haul for veteran Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath, Pakistan posted 422 to take a slender three-run lead.
Sri Lanka had made 419 in their first innings.
At the close, Kusal Mendis was batting on 16, with nightwatchman Suranga Lakmal on two, after a day of fluctuating fortunes.
Herath's 5-93 in 40 overs were well foiled by a brilliant 76 by Test debutant Haris Sohail, as initially it looked as though Sri Lanka would take a first-innings lead.
Pakistan then hit back in the second innings through Shah, who first had opener Dimuth Karunaratne caught for 10 and then dismissed first-innings centurion Chandimal, caught at slip, for seven.
Sohail followed his responsible knock by claiming Kaushal Silva's wicket, whom he trapped leg before for 25, while part-timer Asad Shafiq had Lahiru Thirimanne for seven.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan too were struggling at 316-6 and were in danger of conceding a healthy lead with Herath using all his experience and guile.
The 39-year-old left-arm spinner, who now has 394 wickets in 84 Tests, gave his team the much-needed wicket of a resolute Azhar Ali, luring him into an uppish drive which was brilliantly caught at short mid-wicket by a diving Mendis.
Azhar's defiant knock of 85 lasted more than five hours and included four boundaries, but with his dismissal Pakistan's hopes of building a lead looked slim.
But Sohail had other ideas as he added an invaluable 50 for the ninth wicket with tail-ender Hasan Ali to lift Pakistan from 340-8.
Sohail hit seven fours and two sixes before holing out to paceman Nuwan Pradeep, who finished with 2-77. Hasan's whirlwind 25-ball 29 featured three sixes and two fours.
The second and final Test — a day-night affair — will be played in Dubai from October 6.
KARACHI, May 3, (AFP): The Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday sent a legal notice to its Indian counterpart for failing to honour an agreement to play a bilateral series, saying this had cost them $60 million.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in 2014 under which they were due to play six series — four to be hosted by Pakistan — between 2015 and 2023.
But New Delhi denied clearance for the series following strained diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan owing to ceasefire violations in the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir.
PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said legal measures were being sought as Pakistan was suffering lost revenues. “We have initiated the legal process by sending BCCI a Notice of Dispute under the Dispute Resolution Committee Terms of reference of the International Cricket Council,” Khan told AFP.
“PCB has claimed the losses and damage suffered by it, which comes to around 60 million dollars, as a result of BCCI’s breaches of the agreement.”
Under the agreement India were due to take on Pakistan in November-December 2015, but they refused to play in the neutral venues of United Arab Emirates or Sri Lanka.
Pakistan is due to tour India in November-December of this year but that is also highly unlikely as New Delhi continues a boycott of bilateral series which started in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The attacks, blamed on militants from Pakistan, left 166 people dead including foreign tourists and brought the two nations close to another war. Pakistan did tour India for a short limited-over series in December 2012 but the arch-rivals have not played a full bilateral series since 2007.
The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also refused visas to Pakistan’s junior hockey team, wrestling team and squash players in the last 12 months.
Khan said if the BCCI did not reply in seven days the matter would be taken to the International Cricket Council’s Dispute Committee.
Cricket matches between Pakistan and India attract millions of viewers around the world and generate huge revenues. Despite the bilateral boycott the teams have faced each other in ICC events and are are due to meet in a Champions Trophy match in Birmingham on June 4 this year.
In a move deemed strange and irresponsible, a member of the Kuwait Volleyball Association and Head of the organizing committee of Kuwait Volleyball Association Championship Mohammad Al-Ansari denied the Under-15 volleyball team of Kuwait Sporting Club the honor of winning the championship cup by storming out of Yarmouk Sports Hall with the cup and the gold medals for the winning team.
This team had won the finals after defeating Al-Qadsiya team with a set score of 3/1. Kazema team came in third place.
After the Under-15 volleyball teams of Qadsiya and Kazema clubs were honored with their medals, and the first three players of the Under-15 volleyball team of Kuwait Sporting Club were given their gold medals, Al-Ansari decided to storm out of the hall with the rest of the gold medals and the cup, leaving the teams and the huge crowd of spectators shocked. Such an incident is unprecedented.
The board of Kuwait Volleyball Association is planning to take necessary action against Al-Ansari for his irresponsible, reckless and unacceptable action.
LAHORE: Pakistan after clinching the three One-day International matches series to the West Indies 2-1 has gained one ranking point to make it 90, strengthening their chances of qualifying for the ICC World Cup-2019, directly.
However, Pakistan’s position in the ICC ranking is unchanged as it is still at the eighth spot behind Bangladesh. However, after losing the series to Pakistan, the chances for the West Indies to directly qualify for the World Cup-2019 have further dented as it now has only 83 points to its name.
According to the ICC, host England and seven other countries have to qualify for the World Cup directly on the basis of their ICC world rankings, for which the cut-off date is Sept 30, 2017. The remaining four teams will come through a qualifying round to make it a 12-team event.
Meanwhile, upcoming stylish middle-order batsman Babar Azam, who aggregated 154 runs in the ODI series against the West Indies, including a century (125 not out) has improved his ICC ranking remarkably to stand at his career-best 8th place. Top scorer from Pakistan, Muhammad Hafeez (201 runs) also move back in top-20 places in the ranking as a batsman and by taking three wickets in the series he also improved his ranking as bowler by 10 points to come at 27th place.
“This was the final series before the annual update is carried out on 1 May to ensure the table continues to reflect teams’ recent form with older results being discarded. This means that when the ODI team rankings are overhauled on 1 May, the table will reflect all matches from May 1 2014 with matches played from May 1, 2016 to carry 100 per cent weighing,” a ICC press release said on Wednesday.
ICC ODI team rankings: South Africa119 points; Australia118; New Zealand113; India112; England108; Sri Lanka 98; Bangladesh 92; Pakistan 90; West Indies 83; Afghanistan 52; Zimbabwe 48; Ireland 42.
Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2017
Foreign players have tentatively endorsed the return of international cricket to Pakistan after their whirlwind trip to Lahore for Sunday's heavily guarded Pakistan Super League (PSL) final.
Players including winning captain Darren Sammy detailed a journey involving bullet-proof buses and closed roads, before they were rushed straight back to the airport with no time for celebrations.
The rest of the Pakistan Super League was played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but Sunday's incident-free final has opened the door to more international cricket with a World XI now scheduled to visit in September.
Several foreign players, including England's Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright, skipped the final over safety fears, but Sammy praised the arrangements in Pakistan.
“I only thought about security when I was on the bus,” added the two-time World Twenty20-winning captain, who led Peshawar Zalmi to a lopsided victory over Quetta Gladiators.
“Peshawar is like a family — once one foreign player was going there we were all going. It's like a brotherhood.”
A resurgence of attacks — including a suicide blast which killed 14 in Lahore — had raised concerns, but the final's successful staging was widely praised in Pakistan as a stand against militancy.
Asked whether international cricket should now return, Sammy replied: “It's not in my jurisdiction. Playing in Lahore was like playing anywhere in the world once I was in the stadium. The fans are just as passionate."
“It's a small step in the right direction — time will tell.”
Team-mate and England international Chris Jordan said he weighed his decision carefully and spoke with his family before opting to play in Lahore.
Jordan said, “You have to ask the bigger heads over there” about playing more games in Pakistan. But he said he would be happy to return “with the same set-up”.
“That level of security did help to put the guys' minds at ease so that we could get on with the game and put on the performance that we did,” said Jordan.
“That level (of security) is a level that made everyone as comfortable as they needed to be.”
Sammy said the journey was “Airport, hotel, stadium, airport. 3am to 3am. It was more or less in and out”.
Another Peshawar player, West Indies all-rounder Rayad Emrit, was a late replacement for the final and travelled for 25 hours to play in Lahore.
“There's always risk if you're playing in Pakistan. But to be honest when we got there I felt safe,” he said, calling the sold-out Gaddafi Stadium “electrifying”.
“We had armoured vehicles, took us straight to the hotel. They closed off all the streets and then back to the ground where they did the same thing."
“From the game we headed straight to the airport... No time (to celebrate).”