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International

South Africa confirms first tour to Pakistan in 14 years

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The South African men’s cricket team will travel to Pakistan in January-February next year for two Tests and three T20Is, Cricket South Africa confirmed on Wednesday. The last time the two teams met in Pakistan was in 2007 when South Africa beat the hosts 1-0 in a two-match Test series.
The Proteas are scheduled to reach Karachi on January 16, serving out a period of quarantine before taking part in the first Test which starts from January 26 at the National Stadium in Karachi.

The second Test will start on February 4 at Rawalpindi and will subsequently be followed by South Africa’s first-ever T20I series in Pakistan, which will see all the three games played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
“It’s pleasing to see so many countries making a return to Pakistan – a proud, cricket-loving nation. Cricket South Africa is delighted to be counted among them. As someone who has toured the country on more than one occasion back in my playing days, I know how much passion the people of Pakistan have for the game as well as the love and support that the Proteas enjoy there as a team,” CSA Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith said.


“I would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the hospitality and transparency they showed our security contingent when they travelled over there a few weeks ago. The report on their findings and recommendations gives us confidence as an organisation that all of our team’s security, playing and accommodation needs will be met and that the wellbeing of the team will be the top priority. We look forward to embarking on this historical tour,” he added.
South Africa will become the fourth country to tour Pakistan in the last 15 months after Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.


PCB Director – International, Zakir Khan said: “South Africa confirming a tour to Pakistan and playing matches at the three major centres is a fabulous news for Pakistan cricket and its fans. South Africa is one of the most popular sides in Pakistan even though they last played here in 2007, but the fans have been following their performances closely and now look forward to welcoming them.


“Cricket South Africa and its players have a special bonding with Pakistan as a number of their star players visited Lahore with the ICC World XI in 2017 and have appeared in the Pakistan Super League with Faf du Plessis being the latest addition after featuring in the playoffs in Karachi,” he added.
Schedule:
January 26-30- 1st Test, Karachi
February 4-8- 2nd Test, Rawalpindi

February 11- 1st T20I, Lahore

February 13- 2nd T20I, Lahore
February 14- 3rd T20I, Lahore

International

Kane Williamson & Co move to Maldives after entry in England delayed

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New Zealand Test players Kane Williamson, Mitchell Santner and Kyle Jamieson, who were playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), have opted to spend extra days in Maldives instead of India after their entry in England was delayed by a week.

The three have flown to Maldives from where they will travel to England after about 10 days. They were supposed to fly to England from New Delhi on May 11 according to initial plans after the postponement of IPL.

“There have been changes to the arrangements for New Zealand’s UK-bound Test contingent, with Kane Williamson, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, and physio Tommy Simsek, transferring to the Maldives (rather than staying in New Delhi) ahead of travelling to England,” said a statement from New Zealand Cricket.

“The decision for this group to transfer to the Maldives was taken after advice that their entry into the UK, initially thought to be about May 11, was likely to be delayed a further week,” the statement added.

Williamson, Santner and Jamieson are part of New Zealand’s Test squad that will play two Test matches against England — between June 2 and 14 as well as the World Test Championship final against India from June 18.

“Blackcaps (New Zealand team) trainer Chris Donaldson, who initially signalled his intention to return home on one of the NZ-bound charter flights before returning to England, has instead opted to remain with the UK-bound players and is also in the Maldives,” the statement further said.

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Play IPL in England in September as top players will be there: Kevin Pietersen

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The availability of players from world’s top two T20 Internationals teams — England and India — should prompt the Indian cricket board (BCCI) to host the remainder of the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in England in September, said former England captain Kevin Pietersen.

The IPL was postponed indefinitely last week, after just 29 matches, as Covid-19 cases emerged in the bio-bubble.

The BCCI, which was left red-faced, is mulling over a window and venues to complete the tournament which still has 31 matches left.
Pietersen said that the matches should be held immediately after the India-England series in September.

“I have seen people talking about the UAE as a possible destination to finish the IPL in September but I actually think that the IPL should move to the UK,” said Pietersen in his blog on betway.com.

“There is a window in September after the England v India Test series has finished. All the best Indian players would already be there and all of the best English players would be available as well,” added the South African-born English player who was commentating at the IPL.

“Mid-to-late September is the most beautiful time in the UK. They could use Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and the two London grounds… There is also a good chance that crowds will be allowed in the grounds and there will be great atmospheres,” he further added.

“I have played internationals against India – one in particular in a World T20 against India at Lord’s – when it has felt like an away game because of how well Indian cricket is supported in the UK.”

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Mike Hussey and Balaji air-lifted to Chennai, put in isolation

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Mike Hussey and Lakshmipathy Balaji, the Covid-19 affected members of Chennai Super Kings’ coaching staff, have been flown to Chennai from Delhi in an air ambulance by their franchise and kept in isolation at a hotel in the city.

An official on Thursday told IANS, “They have been flown to Chennai in an air ambulance and have been kept at the Taj Club House in isolation.”

Both Hussey and Balaji had tested positive and were left behind as the rest of the team members, who reported negative tests, flew to Chennai soon after the Indian Premier League (IPL) was suspended on Tuesday.

While Balaji will then leave for home, Hussey will most probably be flown on a chartered plane to Maldives and stay there for a while before departing to Australia.

All of Hussey’s fellow Australians, who were part of the Indian Premier League — players, members of the coaching staff, commentators and other support staff — left for Maldives on Thursday morning.

They will do a two-week long quarantine before leaving for Australia.

The Australian government has banned flights from India till May 15.

After three Aussie players — Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye — had left for Australia earlier during the tournament after getting an inkling that the government would ban flights, commentator Michael Slater and umpire Paul Reiffel tried to leave but couldn’t since the ban was already underway.

Slater later escaped to the Maldives where the rest of the Aussies joined him.

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