(MENAFN – Gulf Times) Fast bowler Mohamed Amir and batsman Haris Sohail have withdrawn from Pakistan’s England tour, citing personal reasons, the Pakistan Cricket Board said yesterday. Pakistan are due to play three Tests and three Twenty20 internationals starting in August, with hosts England providing ‘bio-secure arrangements in closed stadiums and hotels. ‘Amir has withdrawn so that he can be at the birth of his second child in August, while Sohail will miss the tour because of family reasons, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement.
Pakistan media reported Sohail does not travel without his family, and they are not allowed on this tour.
The England and Wales Cricket Board have provided special arrangements to reduce the risk of the coronavirus for their series against the West Indies — preceding Pakistan’s matches — with hotels inside venues at both Manchester and Southampton. Pakistan will send 28 players and 14 support personnel on the tour. .
ICC to use ‘common sense’
if players protest at Floyd death
Cricket’s world body has said it will take a ‘common sense approach to on-field protests over the killing of George Floyd when the sport resumes next month. Cricketers have joined other top sports stars in speaking out against racism and backing the Black Lives Matter campaign after the death of the 46-year-old African-American Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
The International Cricket Council has usually acted against players taking political stands. But it said in a statement: ‘The ICC stands against racism and is proud of the diversity of our sport. We support players using their platform to appropriately express their support for a more equitable society. We will exercise a common sense approach to the implementation of regulations in relation to this issue and they will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the match officials.
England fast bowler Jofra Archer, who was racially abused by a fan during a Test against New Zealand in November, called on cricketers to make a stand in a recent newspaper column.
South African cricket planning to restart with made-for-TV event
Cricket in South Africa is set to resume following the coronavirus lockdown on June 27 with a made-for-television event featuring three teams made up of the country’s leading players. Acting Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Jacques Faul told The Citizen newspaper that government approval had been sought for an event to be played without spectators at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
Faul said an experimental format would be used. It will be an opportunity for players to get together after being in lockdown since March and to provide match practice ahead of possible series against the West Indies and India in late July and August.
The players would assemble three days earlier in what CSA’s medical officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra, described as a ‘sanitised eco-system, with all players being tested for Covid-19 when they arrived and again five days after the event.
Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa announced on May 30 that professional sports could resume training, subject to government approval but a court ruling that lockdown regulations are unconstitutional complicated sport’s return, with new regulations needing to be gazetted.
Smaller ball, shorter pitch recommended to transform women’s game
New Zealand captain Sophie Devine has recommended using a smaller ball to make women’s cricket more attractive, while India’s Jemimah Rodrigues believes a shorter pitch is another innovation worth exploring.
The ball used in women’s cricket is slightly smaller and lighter than the one used in the men’s game but Devine favoured ‘a little trial and error and see if that worked. ‘I think if we are stuck with traditional formats, we’d be missing out on a lot of new players, new kids, new athletes to the game, she said.
Rodrigues saw merit in a shorter pitch to speed up the game and win more fans. ‘We can also be open to (a shorter pitch), try it out, said the 19-year-old.