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Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter
Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter
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Afghanistan Cricket Board’s Executive Director Hamid Shinwari Sacked By Taliban

Afghanistan Cricket Board’s executive director Hamid Shinwari was removed from the board by the Taliban. Taliban have sacked the executive director of Afghanistan’s cricket board.

Hamid Shinwari posted on his official Facebook page on Monday that he had been fired by Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s new Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani. He said he was not given any reason for his dismissal, but was told he would be replaced by Naseebullah Haqqani.

Afghanistan Cricket Board’s executive director Hamid Shinwari
Afghanistan Cricket Board’s executive director Hamid Shinwari Credits: Twitter

Afghanistan Cricket Board’s Hamid Shinwari Fired And Naseebullah Haqqani Appointed As The New Executive Director

It isn’t clear if the new ACB chief is a relative of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is sought by the FBI for questioning in connection with several high-profile attacks on Kabul during the Taliban’s 20-year old war with successive US-backed governments. The official Facebook page of the ACB has also announced the appointment of Naseebullah Haqqani (Naseeb Khan) as the new Chief Executive Director (CEO).

Naseeb Khan (Left) with ACB Chairman Azizullah Fazlik (Right)
Naseeb Khan (Left) with ACB Chairman Azizullah Fazlik (Right)

The Taliban’s order which banned women from sports – including cricket – has caused an international backlash. Cricket Australia last week threatened to cancel a match with Afghanistan’s cricket team to protest the banning of women from sports in Afghanistan. The official Facebook page of the Afghanistan Cricket Board also announced Naseebullah Haqqani as the new executive director.

Afghanistan’s Cricket Future Thrown Into Jeopardy After Taliban Takeover

Soon after forming an interim government, the Taliban banned women from playing cricket or any other sports, casting doubts over Afghanistan men’s team Test status. As per ICC rules, all Test-playing nations must have a women’s team as well. Cricket Australia (CA) said that its men’s team’s season-opening Test against Afghanistan, slated to start on November 27 in Hobart, will be scrapped due if the Taliban doesn’t allow women in sports.

Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. - REUTERS
Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. – REUTERS

Amid political uncertainties in the Asian nation, there were suspicions about the future of Afghan cricket. The Asian side is scheduled to play Australia in a solitary Test match in November, in what could be their first Test against one of the strongest nations in the world at Blundstone Arena in Hobart. The match will be played between November 27 to December 1 in Hobart.

Recently, Afghanistan’s three-match ODI series against Pakistan, which was due to get underway in Sri Lanka on Friday was postponed indefinitely as the war-torn country descended into chaos last month. The terror group took over Kabul on August 15 and the country’s democratically government collapsed.

The return of the militant group Taliban has sparked fear among Afghan citizens and the international community, reviving memories of the terror group’s previous stint in power. During the first rule, the Taliban imposed its harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Most forms of entertainment were banned – including many sports – and stadiums posed as public execution venues. Sports the Taliban allowed were strictly controlled and were for only for men to play and watch.

Afghanistan played its first test match in 2018, becoming the 12th test nation. Since then, they have played 6 test matches, compiling a record of 3 wins and 3 defeats. Afghanistan’s proposed series against Pakistan in Sri Lanka was recently postponed due to travel complications, with no commercial flights currently coming in or out of Kabul’s international airport.

Afghanistan Cricket Board has made it clear that the team will be ready for action when the 2021 T20 World Cup gets underway in Dubai. With an eye on the current turmoil in the Asian country, questions have been raised on whether the team will be ready to participate in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

England's Stuart Broad holds the ball to celebrate taking 500 wickets Martin Rickett/Pool via AP
England's Stuart Broad holds the ball to celebrate taking 500 wickets Martin Rickett/Pool via AP
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Stuart Broad Confirms He Will Be A Part Of The Ashes 2021/22 Tour If Fitness Permits Him

Stuart Broad confirmed that he will be part of the Ashes 2021/22 tour if his fitness permits him to play but added that England’s players still need more details about the Covid-19 restrictions they will undergo in Australia.

It is expected that some multi-format players will withdraw from the trip regardless of the final protocols that are put in place but Stuart Broad, who is a single-format player and could even have an outside chance of captaining the side if Joe Root isn’t available, has committed to being there. The pacer was ruled out of the recently concluded India Test series after playing the first Test when he suffered a calf injury.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

Stuart Broad Would Be Happy To Get On A Plane To Australia In November

England players have expressed serious concerns about the quarantine and bio-bubble protocols being put in place for the team when they tour Australia for the gruelling Ashes series, and there are speculations that some key players might pull out of the tour. Stuart Broad – a veteran of 149 Tests and who has taken a whopping 524 wickets opened up on the matter.

“If you ask me if I would be happy to get on a plane to Australia in November, I would say yes,” Stuart Broad said in his Mail on Sunday column. “I am working tirelessly to get there. I don’t feel there will be a postponement. In my mind, it is 100 percent clear that an England team of some description will embark on the tour.”

“It is now just a couple of weeks away from a squad being selected but players can’t sign up to something unless they know what they are signing up for,” Stuart Broad said

England's Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)
England’s Stuart Broad(Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)

Extensive negotiations are continuing between the two boards- ECB and CA to try and find compromises to maintain quarantine norms and living arrangements during the two-month trip with Australia continuing to battle significant Covid-19 outbreaks in Victoria and New South Wales, although there remains hope that restrictions will be eased by November end.

England’s multi-format players, such as Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, and Chris Woakes wouldn’t be willing to spend up about four months away from their families as they will fly to Australia straight from the UAE, where the T20 World Cup will be held. Some of the players will also participate in the second half of the IPL 2021. There is also a prospect of a postponed Ashes tour. Australia is the defending holders of the Ashes going into the series, having won in 2017–18 with the 2019 Ashes series ending in a draw.

Stuart Broad: ECB Informed Cricketers With Available Minimal Details Of Australia’s Plans For Ashes 2021/22

However, the final conditions of the tour largely rest with what Cricket Australia is able to negotiate with the federal and state governments in Australia. The biggest challenge is finding biosecure plans that allow the tour to move around the country.

“The ECB have tried to keep us as informed as possible with the information that they are getting from Cricket Australia,” Stuart Broad said. “It’s just that minimal detail has been available. I don’t think anyone can say hand on heart that we won’t be living in a bubble out there and that will be extremely challenging.”

The conditions of the initial 14-day quarantine period have been one of the key areas of discussion between the two boards. The England squad may be housed in a resort on the Gold Coast with a greater degree of freedom, although it may be limited to a period of training each day. India was permitted the same last season.

Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au

Recently the India Women’s squad, and the majority of the women Australia players, had to undergo two weeks hard quarantine in Brisbane ahead of their multi-format series.

“With the situation, Australia is in — with their own citizens struggling to get into the country — I am not thinking we will just be able to fly in with no quarantining, as if we are living a normal life, because the world is not a normal place at the moment,” Stuart Broad said.

“We need to be in a situation where we are allowed to train for between two and three hours a day. An international bowler rarely goes two weeks in a year without bowling,” Stuart Broad said.
While doubts about whether families will be able to travel have receded, there remain concerns about the conditions of their length of the quarantine period. The possibility of reducing the quarantine period for the squad, which will be entirely double vaccinated, had been raised. 14 days quarantine period is the federal government policy norm throughout the pandemic, so it would appear an unlikely concession.

Late last week a glimmer of a solution had emerged when the New South Wales government, who last season helped rescue the India Test tour by providing the necessary quarantine and training facilities, announced a trial program for a reduced seven-day home quarantine program that would begin in late September as part of the plan to open up international borders. However, progress would have to move quickly for it to be an option for the Ashes.

The Ashes between England and Australia is set to commence on December 8 in Brisbane.

Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
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Manchester Test Cancellation Leads To Ashes 2021-22 Uncertainty

Manchester Test – the fifth and final Test in the ongoing series has been postponed indefinitely in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak within the India contingent. BCCI said it was in talks with the ECB over conducting the Manchester Test at a later date.

The dramatic last-minute cancellation of the deciding fifth Manchester Test at Old Trafford between India and England has heightened the tension already surrounding the upcoming Ashes series, although English cricket’s top administrator still believes postponement is “probably not where we are going to end up”.

But with India having abandoned the fifth Manchester Test against England before a ball was bowled because of COVID-19 fears arising in a more relaxed ‘managed’ environment after officials deemed last year’s strict biosecure bubbles to be an unsustainable imposition on players in the long term, the upcoming Ashes could yet be played under tighter restrictions.

Manchester Test: The message on the scoreboard after the fifth Test was called off PA Photos/Getty Images
Manchester Test: The message on the scoreboard after the fifth Test was called off PA Photos/Getty Images

Manchester Test Cancellation Increased Tension For Ashes Which Would Be Played Under Tighter Restrictions

Several England cricketers have already expressed worries about the current situation in Australia, where arrivals are subject to lengthy quarantine, amid fears that their wives, girlfriends, and families may not be allowed to join them, as would normally be the case, at some stage during the five-match Ashes series.

It was not until just over two hours before Friday’s scheduled to start that the fifth Manchester Test was called off due to Covid-19 concerns within the India camp — a move that left English cricket facing a financial ‘black hole’ estimated at 40 million pounds ($55 million).

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Reports that Yogesh Parmar, a physiotherapist in close contact with the players had tested positive for Covid appeared to be the final straw in persuading an India side already missing head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar due to positive Covid tests, with senior physiotherapist Nitin Patel self-isolating, not to take the field in the Manchester Test in a series they led 2-1.

Meanwhile, suggestions India had been too lax in their approach to the new environment, be it Ravi Shastri’s presence at a London launch of his new book featuring some 150 guests, or reports that several of the tourists’ players were out in Manchester on Thursday night are unlikely to have gone unnoticed by Australian officials.

It remains to be seen how the boards can work out a window for the Manchester Test, though one could possibly be carved out when India returns to England next year for a scheduled limited-overs series.

Tom Harrison: Ashes Series Is A Massive Deal For World Cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board are currently in the process of trying to agree on a set of protocols with their counterparts at Cricket Australia, as well as the Australian government, under which the Ashes can operate. A complicating factor, however, is the ability of individual Australian states to impose their own unilateral lockdowns at a moment’s notice.

“An Ashes series is a massive deal for world cricket,” ECB chief executive Tom Harrison told The Times.

“I think (postponement) is probably not where we are going to end up. All the England players want to be part of it. I totally understand the players’ perspective on families being present and the conditions under which families are present. It’s a conversation we’re having with Cricket Australia and the Australian government.”

The latest edition of Test cricket’s oldest series is set to begin in Brisbane on December 8 before moving to Adelaide ahead of the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and further matches in Sydney and Perth.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. (Credits: Twitter)
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. (Credits: Twitter)

While Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth are largely virus-free and fans are allowed into venues, Sydney and Melbourne are both in lockdown battling outbreaks of the Delta variant with case numbers and deaths rising. Tom Harrison insisted the ECB were simply trying to get answers to questions being asked by England players and had no intention of making excessive demands.

“No one is being unreasonable,” he said. “We just need to get clarity as soon as possible.”

England does not yet know if star all-rounder Ben Stokes, currently taking a break from all cricket to prioritize his mental health, will be available.

Tom Harrison, however, said: “No player has said no (to the tour). We’re speaking to players a lot about this…There’s nothing more important than the health and well-being of our players.”

Ben Stokes, who announced an indefinite break from cricket due to mental health issues ahead of the England and India Test series, is highly doubtful to attend Ashes 2021. Ben Stokes is also not part of the upcoming IPL 2021 UAE leg and wasn’t included in England’s ICC T20 World Cup 2021 squad.

ACB president Hamid Shinwari. Credits: Twitter
ACB president Hamid Shinwari. Credits: Twitter
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Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Hamid Shinwari Urged Cricket Australia To Reconsider Decision And Play

Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Hamid Shinwari has urged Cricket Australia to not isolate Afghanistan from international cricket.

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) CEO Hamid Shinwari on Friday asked Cricket Australia (CA) to reconsider its decision not to host its men’s team for a Test in November after the Taliban banned women from playing the sport, saying such a move will only isolate the strife-torn country.

Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter
Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter

Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Hamid Shinwari Urgest Cricket Australia To Keep The Door Open For Afghanistan

Soon after forming an interim government, the Taliban banned women from playing cricket or any others sports, casting doubts over Afghanistan men’s team Test status. As per ICC rules, all Test-playing nations must have a women’s team as well. Cricket Australia (CA) said that its men’s team’s season-opening Test against Afghanistan, slated to start on November 27 in Hobart, will be scrapped due if the Taliban doesn’t allow women in sports.

In a statement, ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari expressed “shock and immense disappointment” at the potential cancellation of the Australia-Afghanistan Test, which he described as “sudden and unexpected”. The ACB CEO said there is an alternative to cancelling this “significant, history-making Test match”. But, instead of offering any such alternative, the ACB said it is “powerless to change the culture and religious environment of Afghanistan”.

Afghanistan Test Team
Afghanistan Test Team. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“We ask Cricket Australia and the whole cricketing world to keep the door open for us, walk with us, do not isolate us and avoid penalising us for our cultural and religious environment,” Shinwari said.

“We accept that CA sees cricket as a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level’. We understand, too, why, if recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated’, CA might believe they have ‘no alternative’ but to refuse to host the scheduled test match,” he said.

Amid political uncertainties in the Asian nation, there were suspicions about the future of Afghan cricket. The Asian side played its first test match in 2018, becoming the 12th test nation. Since then, they have played 6 test matches, compiling a record of 3 wins and 3 defeats. The team won against Ireland, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe (1 Test apiece) while they lost against India, West Indies, and Zimbabwe(1 Test apiece).

Hamid Shinwari Fears That If CA Decides To Cancel The Test And Isolate The Afghanistan Team, Other Countries Will Follow Suit

Hamid Shinwari said it fears that if other Test-playing countries follow CA, then Afghanistan will be alienated from the cricket world and the game may cease to exist in the country.

“If the CA decides to cancel the test match and isolate the Afghan men’s national team, it will have no impact upon those cultural and religious values as they stand. The spokesman for the government has unequivocally stated this,” he said.

Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. - REUTERS
Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. – REUTERS

He said the Taliban’s diktat regarding women’s participation in cricket is not substantially different from the ACB’s cultural and religious environment during the earlier governments. He also brought the International Cricket Council into the picture.

“ICC has been aware of our cultural and religious environment and it has taken a balanced, diplomatic, sensitive and considerate approach as we have worked to develop every aspect of the game of cricket in our country despite the situations we have faced.”

“We believe that the ICC has had the forethought to recognise and accept that we have been doing all we can to grow cricket in the traditional cultural, religious and changing political environments of our country”

“The alternative to cancellation of the test match would be for CA to take the same approach as the ICC. A considered, balanced, ‘cricket diplomacy’ would be far more productive for Afghanistan and for cricket than a sudden knee jerk’ reaction,” he added.

The Asian side is scheduled to play Australia in a solitary Test match in November, in what could be their first Test against one of the strongest nations in the world at Blundstone Arena in Hobart. The match will be played between November 27 to December 1 in Hobart.

Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Aghanistan. Credits: Twitter
Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Aghanistan. Credits: Twitter
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Mohammad Nabi Is Set To Lead Afghanistan In 2021 T20I World Cup After Rashid Khan Stepped Down

Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan’s all-rounder is set to take the captaincy of Afghanistan for the upcoming T20 World Cup after skipper Rashid Khan stepped down from the role on Thursday.

Rashid Khan decided to step down from captaincy after the spinner claimed that his “consent” was not obtained before announcing the squad for ICC men’s T20 World Cup slated to be played in UAE and Oman.

Mohammad Nabi (File)
Mohammad Nabi (File)

Mohammad Nabi To Lead Afghanistan As Rashid Khan Stepped Down As Skipper After The Squad Was Named

Mohammad Nabi, who had earlier captained Afghanistan, will be now lead the side. Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Thursday announced the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Minutes after the announcement, Rashid Khan said the selection committee and ACB didn’t obtain his consent for the team.

“As the captain and responsible person for the nation, I reserve the right to be part of the selection of the team. The selection committee and ACB has not obtained my consent for the team which has been announced by ACB media,” Rashid said in a statement on Twitter.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

“I am taking the decision of stepping down from the role as the captain of Afghanistan T20 side effective immediately. It’s Always my proud playing for Afghanistan,” he added.

In the squad, wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad was also named in the squad. Afasr Zazai and Farid Ahmad Malik were included as the two reserve players.

Afghanistan T20 Squad: Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen ul Haq, Hamid Hassan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Qais Ahmed  Reserves: Afsar Zazai, Farid Ahmed Malik

Cricket Australia May Scrap One-Off Test Against Afghanistan As Taliban Banned Women From Playing Cricket In Its Earlier Regime

Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has been named Afghanistan skipper for the upcoming T20 World Cup after star spinner Rashid Khan stepped down from captaincy protesting the selection of the national squad without his inputs. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is yet to officially announce Mohammad Nabi’s appointment as captain but the 36-year-old all-rounder tweeted that he has been chosen to lead the team.

Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. - REUTERS
Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. – REUTERS

The T20 World Cup is scheduled to be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14. Afghanistan has been in turmoil following the takeover of the country by the Taliban. Soon after forming the interim government, the Taliban banned women from playing cricket or any others sports, casting doubts over Afghanistan men’s team Test status. As per ICC rules, all Test-playing nations must have a women’s team as well.

Cricket Australia (CA) all but confirmed on Thursday that its men’s team’s season-opening Test against Afghanistan, slated to start on November 27, will be scrapped due to the Taliban’s order.

Tim Paine. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Tim Paine. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
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Teams Could Boycott Afghanistan At The ICC T20 World Cup 2021, Says Tim Paine

Tim Paine, Australia Test captain said the chances of its first-ever test against Afghanistan going ahead are “not looking good” with the Taliban unwilling to let women play cricket and questioned why the game’s governing body had remained quiet on the issue.

Australia is due to face the Afghanistan men’s team in Hobart from November 27 but Cricket Australia said on Thursday it would not host the side if reports that women’s cricket would not be supported in the war-torn country were substantiated.

Tim Paine (File Photo/CricketAustralia)
Tim Paine (File Photo/CricketAustralia)

Tim Paine Stresses That To Be A Test Playing Nation One Has To Field An International Women’s Team Too According To ICC’s Guidelines

Tim Paine also highlighted the International Cricket Council’s continued silence given that Afghanistan is due to take part in the Twenty20 World Cup, which starts from October 17 in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

“(The Hobart test) is not looking good, we are in a world of trouble no doubt about that, but the reasoning around it is probably fair enough,” Paine said on SEN radio.

“There are probably two levels to it. There’s the cricketing aspect to it from an ICC point of view that to be a test-playing nation you have to have an international women’s team, obviously with the Taliban at the moment banning women from playing any sport and that has implications at an ICC level.”

Afghanistan Test team
Afghanistan Test team

“Secondly from a female, human rights point of view, excluding half of your population from trying to do something is not on. I don’t think we want to be associated with countries that are taking things or opportunities off literally half of their population.”

Australia Test captain Tim Paine said Friday he believes teams could pull out of next month’s Twenty20 World Cup or boycott playing Afghanistan over the Taliban’s reported ban on women participating in sport. The International Cricket Council has yet to decide how to deal with the regime’s stance on women and the Afghan men’s team is still scheduled to play the event from October 17-November 14 in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Under ICC regulations, nations with Test status must also have an active women’s team and Australia on Wednesday said it would cancel a maiden Test against Afghanistan in Hobart in November unless the Taliban backtracks.

Tim Paine Finds It Strange As Nothing Is Heard From ICC Despite 2021 T20I WC Being A Month Or So Away

Tim Paine said he could not see how Afghanistan can be allowed to play in an ICC event under the current circumstances. Australia’s Test captain was fully supportive of Cricket Australia’s decision to signal the cancellation of the Hobart match

“At this stage, we have heard from Cricket Australia, we’ve heard from the Australian government, we’ve heard from the Australian Cricketers Association,” Paine said.

Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. - REUTERS
Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. – REUTERS

“But as yet we’ve heard nothing from the ICC, which I think is fascinating given there is a T20 World Cup in a month’s time and at the moment Afghanistan is in that. It will be interesting to see what happens in that space.

“Does the team get kicked out of the World Cup? I imagine it will be impossible if teams are pulling out against playing against them and governments are not letting them travel to our shores, then how a team like that can be allowed to play in an ICC-sanctioned event is going to be very, very hard to see.”

Cricket Australia (CA) all but confirmed on Thursday its men’s season-opening Test against Afghanistan, slated to start November 27, will be scrapped because of the Taliban’s ban on women’s sport.

Tim Paine backed the governing body’s strong stance, adding the relative silence from the ICC was “fascinating” and he can’t see how Afghanistan can be allowed to compete in next month’s T20 World Cup.

Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
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England Cricket Team Yet To Be Informed Of The Itinerary For The Ashes 2021/22 Tour

England cricket team is yet to be informed of the itinerary, travel plans, and accommodation for the Ashes tour. The Joe Root-led side is reportedly unhappy with the England Cricket Board (ECB) about being left in the dark regarding the proceedings.

The ECB is currently working with Cricket Australia to finalize the details of the tour slated to take place later this year. Skipper Joe Root and other senior players have reportedly been asking the ECB for updates, but there have been no developments to information as of yet.

England, PTI
England, PTI

England Cricket Team Yet To Be Informed Of The Itinerary, Travel Plans And Accommodations For The Ashes Tour

Response from Cricket Australia to the official tour schedule is being awaited so that England can confirm the availability of the players and send a contingent to Australia to win the urn back. The iconic five-match Test series last took place in 2019 and is at serious risk given Australia’s vulnerable condition with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic at the moment.

The nation recorded its highest number of cases involving the virus yesterday and has seen a surge of cases recently. There are concerns that the long-drawn-out series will not be possible given the rate at which Australia is closing its state borders.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes (Image Credit: Twitter)

England’s multi-format players, such as Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, and Chris Woakes wouldn’t be willing to spend up about four months away from their families as they will fly to Australia straight from the UAE, where the T20 World Cup will be held.

Some of those will also participate in the second half of the IPL 2021. There is also a prospect of a postponed Ashes tour. Australia is the defending holders of the Ashes going into the series, having won in 2017–18 with the 2019 Ashes series ending in a draw.

Ben Stokes, who announced an indefinite break from cricket due to mental health issues ahead of the England vs India Test series, is highly doubtful to attend Ashes 2021. Ben Stokes is also not part of the upcoming IPL 2021 UAE leg and is highly doubtful for the forthcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021.

Pacer Jofra Archer has been already ruled out from playing for the entire year. Hence he will not be part of The Ashes 2021 as well. Jofra Archer is preparing for a comeback to the field in March 2022. Olly Stone has also been ruled to due to injury. Joe Root might have a tough job leading the team in the absence of prominent players.

Jos Buttler Hinted He Won’t Be A Part Of The Squad Touring Australia If Families Aren’t Allowed In Australia

England’s players have already cast their doubts over traveling to Australia to compete in the Ashes. Jos Buttler has hinted that he would not be part of the squad if families are not allowed to travel together with the squad. Ben Stokes could also miss the series due to his indefinite break from the sport. The all-rounder is a doubt for the T20 World Cup in the UAE as well.

England batsman Jos Buttler
England batsman Jos Buttler (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Pace bowlers Jofra Archer and Olly Stone have already been ruled out due to injuries. Skipper Joe Root is also apparently worried about leading a weakened squad if senior members pull out of the tour. He believes this is his last chance to claim the Ashes as captain, and the task will be tougher fielding a second-string side against Australia away from home.

England had a horrid record in Australia in the recent past. They have only managed to rack up a single victory across the last two editions of the Ashes played Down Under. They lost the 2013-14 Ashes by a 5-0 margin and followed it up with a 4-1 defeat in the 2017-18 edition.

Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. - REUTERS
Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. - REUTERS
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Cricket Australia Unclear On Afghanistan Test Following Taliban Takeover

Cricket Australia’s chief executive Nick Hockley on Wednesday said that the call to go ahead with the one-off Test against Afghanistan lies with the Australian federal government.

Nick Hockley also said that the international cricket community is working towards understanding the implications of the Taliban taking over Afghanistan.

Cricket Australia's CEO Nick Hockley Image Source: Getty Images AsiaPac
Cricket Australia’s CEO Nick Hockley Image Source: Getty Images AsiaPac

Cricket Australia’s Chief Executive Nick Hockley On Taliban Takeover Before Afghanistan Test: It’s An Extremely Challenging And Complex Situation

The fate of the Afghanistan Test in Hobart later this year will rest with Australia’s federal government following the Taliban takeover of the country. The match, Afghanistan’s first Test against Australia, is due to take place from November 27 having been postponed from last season due to the pandemic.
It would not be Afghanistan’s first international cricket since the Taliban returned to power with the men’s team set to be part of the T20 World Cup in the UAE next month while there is the possibility they will also be involved in a tri-series with Australia and West Indies before that. The Under-19 men’s team has also recently arrived in Bangladesh for a tour.

“It’s an extremely challenging and complex situation,” Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s chief executive, told SEN radio, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.

Afghanistan Test team Source: AP
Afghanistan Test team Source: AP

“There are so many layers to it and it really does transcend cricket. The situation as it stands today, is that Afghanistan is a full member of the ICC, they’re due to play in the T20 World Cup, but we’re working very closely and having all the right discussions with the ICC, with the Australian government and ultimately we’ll take our lead from them. We don’t yet have answers but we’re in dialogue and taking advice from all the relevant organizations,” Cricket Australia’s CEO Nick Hockley added.

Afghanistan’s Test against Australia is due to take place on November 27. The Afghanistan cricket team is scheduled to travel to Australia in November of this year to take part in a Test match.

Amid political uncertainties in the Asian nation, there were suspicions about the future of Afghan cricket. The Asian side played its first test match in 2018, becoming the 12th test nation. Since then, they have played 6 test matches, compiling a record of 3 wins and 3 defeats.

Cricket Australia’s CEO Nick Hockley: International Cricket Is Working To Understand The Implications

Earlier this week, Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein had cited his concerns about the fixture and said he would seek guidance from the local Hazara community. It needs to be seen what happens to Afghanistan’s women’s cricket team. Under ICC rules, all member nations have to provide equal access to the sport for males and females.

“I think it’s something that is being keenly followed and observed. I think here in Australia, we’ve been a real driving force in growing cricket for women and girls. Absolutely we want to see cricket for women and girls growing and strong all around the world.

“As I said previously, obviously the current situation is very new, international cricket is working to understand the implications, but it is something we will continue to watch very closely,” said Cricket Australia’s CEO Nick Hockley.

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul (Image Credit: AP)
Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)

After the fall of the Republic of Afghanistan, the Taliban on Tuesday formed the interim “Islamic Emirate”, appointing hardliners in its new government who oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition.

Recently, Afghanistan’s three-match ODI series against Pakistan, which was due to get underway in Sri Lanka on Friday was postponed indefinitely as the war-torn country descended into chaos last month. The hardliners took over Kabul on August 15 and the country’s democratically government collapsed.

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Afghanistan And Australia Test From November 27 Will Go Ahead As Planned Confirms Taliban

Afghanistan’s Test match against Australia in November will go ahead as planned, confirmed Taliban, the new rulers of the country. The Afghanistan cricket team is scheduled to travel to Australia in November of this year to take part in a Test match.

Amid political uncertainties in the Asian nation, there were suspicions about the future of Afghan cricket. The Asian side played its first test match in 2018, becoming the 12th test nation. Since then, they have played 6 test matches, compiling a record of 3 wins and 3 defeats.

The match will mark the first time Afghanistan faced Australia in a Test
The match will mark the first time Afghanistan faced Australia in a Test. (AFP Photo)

Afghanistan And Australia Test Will Go Ahead As Planned: Taliban

But as of now, the Taliban has given the green signal for the sport to continue in the country. Afghanistan’s proposed series against Pakistan in Sri Lanka was recently postponed due to travel complications, with no commercial flights currently coming in or out of Kabul’s international airport. Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, has said that the Test match between Australia and Afghanistan will proceed according to schedule.

“[All previously organised matches] will continue without interruption, and [the Afghan team] can play with other international teams,” he said while talking to SBS Pashto.

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul (Image Credit: AP)
Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)

He went on to say: “In the future, we want good relations with all countries. When good relations are established, Afghan players can go [to Australia] and they can come here.”

The Asian side is scheduled to play Australia in a solitary Test match in November, in what could be their first Test against one of the strongest nations in the world at Blundstone Arena in Hobart. The match will be played between November 27 to December 1 in Hobart.

Cricket Australia Hints Planning For The Historic Hobart Test Is Underway

Cricket Australia (CA) has already begun making arrangements for Australia’s “historic” Test match against Afghanistan. A spokesperson for CA has said that planning for the game, which is to be played in Hobart, is underway. He further stated that CA and the ACB are on good terms and aim to make the Test match a reality.

“Cricket Australia’s planning for the historic first Test match between Australia and Afghanistan in Hobart is well underway. There is goodwill between CA and the Afghanistan Cricket Board to make the match happen, which immediately follows the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE in which the Afghanistan team is due to play.”

Cricket Australia
Cricket Australia

The spokesperson added: “CA will continue to work with the Australian and Tasmanian governments ahead of the Afghanistan team’s arrival planned for later this year.”

As of March 2021, Afghanistan has played 6 Test matches resulting in 3 victories and 3 defeats for an overall winning percentage of 50.00. The team won against Ireland, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe (1 Test apiece) while they lost against India, West Indies, and Zimbabwe(1 Test apiece).

Afghanistan Cricket Board has made it clear that the team will be ready for action when the 2021 T20 World Cup gets underway in Dubai. With an eye on the current turmoil in the Asian country, questions have been raised on whether the team will be ready to participate in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

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Ramesh Powar Asserts Indian Women Are Looking Forward To Australian Tour

Ramesh Powar, India women head coach has emphatically stated World Cup preparation assumes top priority, and winning momentum from there will be the best possible preparation for the team’s maiden pink-ball Test in Australia. It’s not often that India head into a tour of Australia being better prepared than the hosts, whose last international assignment was against New Zealand in April.

In comparison, India first had a home series against South Africa in March followed by a two-month tour to the UK in the summer. The worsening Covid crisis in Australia has forced a major reshuffle of the venues for the Indian women’s team’s forthcoming tour Down Under.

Ramesh Powar. (TOI Photo)
Ramesh Powar. (TOI Photo)

Venue Of India Women’s One-Off Test Against Australia Women Shifted

The historic one-off pink-ball women’s Test between India and Australia, scheduled to begin from Sept 30, has been moved from the WACA in Perth to the Carrara Stadium (known commercially as the Metricon Stadium) in Gold Coast in Queensland.

According to reliable BCCI sources, the three-match ODI series between the two teams, which will kick off the tour from Sept 19, has now been moved from North Sydney Oval in Sydney to Mackay, a city in Queensland. The other two matches are supposed to be held on Sept 22 and 24.

India Women
India Women. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Gold Coast, and not North Sydney Oval as initially planned, will now also host the T20Is after staging India’s maiden, much-anticipated pink-ball Test on Oct 7, 9, and 11. An official announcement regarding the revised itinerary of the tour is expected soon.

Australia is currently badly affected by Covid-19. The number of cases is constantly going up, which means no matches can be organized in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. All these cities are repeatedly going into lockdowns. This has forced Cricket Australia (CA) to move the ODI and T20I series out of Sydney to Mackay, and the pink ball Test from Perth to Gold Coast, which will also host the three T20Is now.

“However, this is also a tentative schedule, which CA has communicated to the BCCI. As per the altered schedule, the Indian team will fly tomorrow (Sunday) evening from Bangalore to Dubai in a chartered flight. From Dubai, the team will fly to Brisbane, where they will quarantine for two weeks before going to Mackay.”

“Everything is uncertain due to the concerning Covid situation in Australia. Let’s hope that the Covid situation doesn’t get worse in Australia, otherwise the tour itself may have to be called off even after the team reaches Australia,” reliable sources of BCCI said.

The Indian team underwent a camp in Bangalore in a bio-bubble. The five players who took part in ‘The Hundred’ in the UK will join the bubble on Sunday after a six-day quarantine. Ramesh Powar has said that despite the hype being built around the one-off pink-ball Test against Australia at the Gabba beginning September 30, the team’s main focus would be on the three-match ODI series keeping in mind the 2022 World Cup in March next year.

Ramesh Powar: India Women Prepared For Any Format And Happy To Tour Australia

Ramesh Powar also insisted while they’ve tried to prepare for the Test in the best possible way, taking markers and cues from their experience in England and situational awareness will be key to them competing well.

Ramesh Powar said that the 15-day conditioning camp at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru was an exercise in match simulations and team binding, adding that the focus was also on finding reserves capable of sharing pace bowler Jhulan Goswami’s burden.

“Looking at the current situation we are happy to go to Australia and keep playing cricket. After England, we had a one-month break and we back ourselves to do well, we have played enough in the Bangalore camp and are prepared for any format,” Ramesh Powar said.

 

Richa Ghosh , T20 World Cup Twitter
Richa Ghosh, T20 World Cup Twitter

“In the pre-departure presser on Saturday, coach Ramesh Powar, when asked about the possibility of the team’s schedule in Australia being altered due to border restrictions and Covid-19 lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne, said, “We are looking forward to a tour which is challenging and we all are excited to go there and put in our best effort to make it a good tour.”

Meghna Singh, Yastika Bhatia, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, and Richa Ghosh have been included in the Test and ODI setups of the Indian Women’s team for the tour of Australia in September-October. Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Priya Punia, and Indrani Roy, who were part of the Indian Test and ODI squads in England but didn’t get a game, have been left out.

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