Pakistan revival strengthens with Windies T20s

Pakistani cricketers Babar Azam, right, hits the ball as teammate Fakhar Zaman looks on during a practice session at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on March 29, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 30 March 2018

Pakistan revival strengthens with Windies T20s

KARACHI: Pakistan will take another significant step toward the revival of international cricket as World Twenty20 champions the West Indies feature in three back-to-back Twenty20 internationals in Karachi from Sunday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board have put in place stringent security arrangements for the West Indies team, with 8,000 policemen and paramilitary personnel guarding the visitors in and around the hotel and stadium.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee David Boon will supervise the series while ICC general manager cricket Geoff Allardice and umpires’ manager Adrian Griffith will also attend the matches to oversee arrangements.
The series comes as Pakistan is enjoying guarded optimism over the return of international cricket, driven from the country after a deadly militant attack targeting the Sri Lanka team in 2009.
Earlier this month Karachi successfully hosted the final of the popular Pakistan Super League (PSL), becoming the second major venue to host international matches after Lahore hosted Zimbabwe in 2015.
Lahore also hosted the PSL final in March last year, three World XI matches in September and one against Sri Lanka a month later.
This year’s PSL final was the first major cricket event in Karachi since 2009. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said he was overjoyed at the return of international matches to his home city.
“This is a great occasion,” said Sarfraz, the only player in the squad who has played a limited over international in Karachi before.
“We saw a big crowd in the PSl final so I hope they will come in big numbers for the Twenty20 series.”
The other two matches will be played on Monday and Tuesday.
Pakistan have done well in the shortest format of the game, having won 14 of the 17 Twenty20 internationals since Sarfraz took over as captain in September 2016.
That helped them reach the number one spot in Twenty20 rankings, having won 2-1 in New Zealand in January this year.
Sarfraz said he hoped his team would keep the momentum.
“Whatever team West Indies sends we have to play at our best because they have good shorter format players,” said the captain, whose team has only lost three of their 11 Twenty20 internationals against the West Indies.
Pakistan have included three newcomers in batsman Asif Ali, allrounder Hussain Talat and paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi — after the trio fared well in the PSL 2018.
West Indies will be without their regular Twenty20 captain Carlos Brathwaite, who opted out of the tour over security fears while openers Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis, allrounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, and spinner Sunil Narine were not available for selection due to their commitments to the Indian Premier League.
Middle order batsman Jason Mohammad will lead the side, which has four uncapped Twenty20 players in batsman Andre McCarthy, fast bowler Odean Smith, left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul and all-rounder Keemo Paul.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Usman Khan Shinwari, Shaheen Shah Afridi.
West Indies: Jason Mohammed (captain), Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Andre McCarthy, Keemo Paul, Veerasammy Permaul, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels, Odean Smith, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams.
ICC match referee: David Boon (Aus)

England cricket players donate, take pay cuts amid COVID-19 crisis

Updated 05 April 2020

England cricket players donate, take pay cuts amid COVID-19 crisis

  • The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has said the season will not start before May 28
  • ECB’s centrally contracted women players to take a salary reduction for the months of April, May and June

LONDON: England’s centrally contracted male cricketers will donate £500,000 ($613,000) to the Board and charities while their women’s team counterparts have volunteered a three-month pay cut amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the players’ association (PCA) said.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has said the season will not start before May 28 and speculation has been mounting over how their leading players would respond to the situation.

“Following a meeting today of all of the England men’s centrally contracted cricketers, the players have agreed to make an initial donation of £0.5 million to the ECB and to selected good causes ...” the Professional Cricketers’ Association said in a statement.

“This contribution is the equivalent of all of the England centrally contracted players taking a 20 percent reduction in their monthly retainers for the next three months.

“The players will continue to discuss with the ECB the challenging situation faced by the game and society as a whole and will consider how best to support the ECB and both the cricketing and wider community going forward.”

The ECB’s centrally contracted women players have volunteered to take a salary reduction for the months of April, May and June in line with their coaches and support staff.

England women’s captain Heather Knight said: “All the players felt like it was the right response in the current climate to take a pay cut in line with what our support staff are taking.

“We know how the current situation is affecting the game and we want to help as much as we can.

“We will be discussing with the ECB further ways we can help the game in the coming weeks,” added Knight, who has signed up with the National Health Service (NHS) as a volunteer.

The ECB has announced a 61 million pounds aid package to help the local game withstand the financial impact of the pandemic.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is currently auctioning the shirt he wore in England’s 2019 World Cup final victory to raise funds for efforts to fight the coronavirus.