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The ICC will revisit its decision to include an additional global event in its next eight-year cycle, a move that makes apparent the divisions within the game about how international cricket should move post 2023.

In an interview with ESPNcricinfo soon after being elected the new ICC chairman, Greg Barclay had said the decision taken by the ICC last year was no longer set in stone for 2023-31.

“No. We haven’t really built the calendar of events,” Barclay said. “There’s a lot of conjecture around whether it should be eight events, seven events, six events or whatever. I honestly don’t have a preference. What I want to ensure is that whatever we do end up with gives us optimum cricketing outcomes.”

That, effectively, marks a U-turn for the governing body, given that the ICC has already gone to market to tender eight events for the cycle – one each year for men and women. That roster included two 50-over World Cups, four T20 World Cups and two editions of an extra event that may have looked like a six-team Champions Trophy.

However, that extra event has been a bone of contention among members: some want it because they rely heavily on the revenues generated from an ICC event, while others feel it eats into their calendars where bilateral cricket might fit, which remains a lucrative property for them.

In some ways, the issue came to dominate the election that saw Barclay emerge victorious, and finding a balance and consensus among members would be among his most pressing tasks. ESPNcricinfo understands from multiple board sources, for instance, that executives from India, England, Australia and New Zealand – all of whom backed Barclay in the election – have been mapping out an alternative future tours and ICC events programme.

While greater details of these plans are still to emerge, it is clear that the re-addition of a Champions Trophy-style event is missing, thereby reducing the number of global tournaments over an eight-year cycle, and increasing the emphasis on the nascent World Test Championship and ODI Super League that got underway last year before being severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the ICC approved the extra event in 2019, the BCCI made its opposition plain, and was backed up by the ECB and CA on the premise that the game’s richest nations continued to earn the majority of their revenue from bilateral series and have argued that the introduction of leagues would, in time, contribute to an increase in the value of broadcast rights for bilateral meetings involving less financially healthy boards.

Matters will likely come out into the open at a scheduling meeting due to take place in December, to be attended by ICC management as well as chief executives from member boards. One ICC Board director confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that there were strong differences of opinion on the matter, though he insisted that fears of another Big Three takeover may be exaggerated. There is, however, clearly a degree of secrecy to the alternative plans. A number of officials who attended or were involved in the ICC meetings last week expressed ignorance of a potential alternative schedule, one suggesting that there was still widespread acceptance of eight ICC events.

“There was an analysis done around six months ago that showed little or no impact on bilateral cricket from playing eight ICC events instead of six,” the official said. “Following that, all countries have pretty much accepted that eight events will take place now and there was little challenge at the meeting the other day when the outline of eight events was presented.”

That suggests that, at the very least, there remains a fundamental disconnect between those who believe that ICC events revenue now represents the lifeblood of the majority of cricket’s major nations, and the boards of primarily India, England and Australia, with the co-operation of the game’s most sustainably-run smaller board, New Zealand.

Whatever direction is chosen, meanwhile, will play into the broader strategic review of the game – carried out by a global consultancy firm – currently ongoing. The report is not yet final, but at the ICC meetings last week, both the chief executives’ committee and the ICC Board were updated on the review’s progress. Barclay has stressed the need, with this review in mind, of a quick decision on what direction the ICC takes.

This off-camera battle, which has now played out over more than a year and well beyond Shashank Manohar‘s resignation as the previous permanent chair of the ICC, is only adding to numerous pressure points building up for the global game, as summed up by the Australian opening batsman David Warner when he was asked about priorities for scheduling.

“It’s an interesting question and a tough one for me to answer. You’ve just got to find time where you do have a couple of weeks off before you do play a series, which is going to be very rare because that’s an opportunity and a window to put something on, or someone else will put their franchise cricket on,” Warner said. “You’ve got the introduction of the 100-ball as well in England, which looks like a great tournament, but yet again next year it’s on the back end of the Test Championship final.

“Yeah there are only two teams playing that, but after that series I know Australia go to the Caribbean, so it’s hard to play everything. When it comes to that scheduling, they took out that T20 Champions [League] that was in September/October, they got rid of that, but then there was more cricket put on, which allowed that for the international calendar, which rightfully so takes more preference over the franchise leagues. But it’s a difficult one, those guys who do the scheduling and with the ICC putting the new Test Championship there.

“Then you have unprecedented times and the unique situation with the coronavirus, now it’s gone to a percentage of points on the table, so it’s difficult to get all these games in and then play all your other white-ball games and BBL and then the IPL as well which had to be moved, T20 World Cup had to be moved, is that going to go ahead in India next year, we don’t know. So it’s very hard, we can talk about it but it’s very hard to try and schedule that in.”

Additional reporting by Osman Samiuddin



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WTC 2021-23 – Geoff Allardice

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The ICC’s acting CEO has said teams will continue to be ranked based on percentage of points contested

The shift to a ranking based on the percentage of points contested, which came about thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, will extend into the second (2021-23) edition of the World Test Championship, with one caveat. Instead of 120 points being available over each series, independent of the length of the series, every Test match will now carry an equal number of points. At the end of the WTC cycle, teams will be ranked based on the percentage of points accrued over all the matches they have played.

The above points system was revealed by Geoff Allardice, the ICC’s acting chief executive officer, during a media chat organised by the ICC on Monday. As a consequence of several series in the first cycle of the WTC being postponed due to the pandemic, the ICC altered the points system last November, deciding to rank teams based on the percentage of points won from the series they contested.



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Eng vs NZ 2021 – ‘Players have got to show desperation and earn the right to stay in the side’

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Graham Thorpe, England’s assistant coach, has called on his team’s young batters to prove their “desperation” to stay in the Test team, after New Zealand’s eight-wicket win at Edgbaston on Sunday completed their first series victory in this country since 1999, and England’s first loss on home soil in seven years.

Thorpe, who was a part of the England team that slumped to the bottom of the unofficial world rankings with their 2-1 series loss in 1999, said that he hoped this defeat would spur a similar quest for higher standards among the class of 2021, after he himself played a central role in the Nasser Hussain-led team that went on to win four series in a row in 2000-01, including their first against West Indies in 32 years.

But, Thorpe warned, while today’s selectors were far more tolerant of short-term failure than they were at the start of his own career in 1993, the management would need to see evidence of greater mental application than was the case in the past two Test matches. That was particularly the case in the second innings at Edgbaston, where England slumped to 76 for 6 and ultimately 122 all out.

“We have some younger players in our team who are still developing and we’re wanting them to improve,” Thorpe said. “But sometimes the intensity and the spotlight of Test cricket, when you’re up against a good team like New Zealand, just highlights how much of a challenge our players found their decision-making and the execution of shots.

“Whatever technique you have, the basics are still the same,” he added. “You have to get in, you have to be positive in your defence, leave the ball well outside off stump and play straight. These are the things that have applied to batting in Test match cricket for as long as it has been going.



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England vs India women’s Test 2021 – Harmanpreet Kaur: ‘We may not have much practice, but mentally we’re prepared’ | Cricket

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‘Because of the struggles of past Indian women’s cricketers, we have this opportunity’ – Harmanpreet Kaur


Harmanpreet Kaur believes that a lack of adequate game time in the longest format in the lead-up to India Women’s return to Test cricket after nearly seven years can be offset in some measure by cultivating a positive outlook and heeding advice received from Ajinkya Rahane.

“I’ve played only two red-ball matches [in international cricket]. As a batting group when we have a discussion… this time we got a chance to speak to Rahane as well,” Kaur, the India Test vice-captain, said of her “easy and friendly talk” with her male counterpart in Southampton, where both the Indian teams served a hard quarantine upon arriving in the UK on June 3. “He shared his knowledge with us as to how to approach batting in the longest format and how one should divide their innings into parts.

“We may not have much practice under our belt [going into the Test], but mentally [we are prepared]. We’ve discussed a lot of things so we prepare ourselves well for the match. Even in the nets, we’ve tried to be in a good frame of mind because when you are happy, other than thinking too much about your batting, you tend to play well.”

The women’s team arrived in Bristol on Monday for the one-off Test against hosts England that begins on Wednesday. The opening fixture of a seven-match multi-format assignment, the Test marks India’s first outing in the format since the one-off Test at home against South Africa in November 2014. On the domestic circuit, the last multi-day women’s competition – the Senior Women’s Inter-Zonal Three-Day Game – was held in March-April 2018, in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kaur admitted that inadequate preparedness heading into the tour wasn’t ideal, but welcomed the revival of Test cricket for her team.

“Whatever time we’ve got [since coming out of quarantine], we’ve tried to simulate match scenarios as much as possible and tried to keep ourselves in the best frame of mind,” Kaur said. “We didn’t get much time to prepare, or any practice games. Individually, it’s imperative to adapt to the situation.



“We’ve never tried tinkering too much with Shafali because she is a natural player, and if you try talking too much technique or game planning with her, she can get disturbed because she is only 17″


Harmanpreet Kaur is all for letting Shafali Verma develop her own way



“The surfaces are different to what we get in India. We’ve practised against the swinging ball in the nets. We have a further two days – today and tomorrow – to prepare ourselves better for the match, so I hope we’ll be able to do that well.

“It’s a totally different scenario [to playing with the white ball]. I know we didn’t even get any domestic games with the red ball. In the upcoming season and years we’ll get more red-ball cricket also, which is a very good sign for us.”

As with Tests in the Women’s Ashes, the Bristol Test will feature the use of the Kookaburra red ball (the Dukes ball is usually used in England), with England captain Heather Knight saying last week that “we’re going to be using a Kookaburra in this match because that’s what we’re going to be using in the Ashes and it’s no secret this Test match is a huge part of our preparation going into that Ashes series and that Ashes Test match away from home.”

Kaur said that in the practice sessions India have had so far, the Kookaburra didn’t pose much challenge.

“Dealing with a Kookaburra didn’t feel too different because the ball size and weight is roughly the same [as the white ball we use in limited-overs cricket]. The last time we played [a Test], we felt the red ball was a bit heavier than the white variant, which makes you rely on your timing more. But the Kookaburra white and red ball feels the same; just the colour is different. We felt good playing with it because when you’re in whites and you play with the red ball, it’s a totally different feeling.”

When asked about the likelihood of 17-year-old big-hitter Shafali Verma making her debut on Wednesday, Kaur stressed that it was important for the senior players and the team management to refrain from talking shop too much with the young batter.

“We’ve never tried tinkering too much with Shafali because she is a natural player, and if you try talking too much technique or game planning with her, she can get disturbed because she is only 17 years old,” Kaur said. “To burden her with too many thoughts isn’t the right thing.

“All of us try to create a good environment for her to be able to feel less pressured and be able to enjoy her cricket well. She was looking great in the nets, and I hope if she gets a chance to play she’ll do better.”

As regards Jhulan Goswami, the senior-most bowler in the Indian attack, Kaur was hopeful that the 38-year-old pacer would replicate in this Test the consistency and success that’s been a hallmark of her nearly two-decade-long international career.

“She is someone who always takes the lead whenever we’re on the field,” Kaur said. “She’s always [been] special for us because her quota [of overs] is [important]. She will always give us breakthroughs whenever we need. Not only her but all the bowlers are very important because in Test matches you need breakthroughs, and I think she will be fantastic in this match also.”

The tour of England is also returning head coach Ramesh Powar‘s first assignment since replacing WV Raman in the role last month. Kaur, who is also India’s T20I captain, said her interactions with Powar on the ongoing tour had been no different to those during his first stint in the position which ended with the 2018 T20 World Cup, following a high-profile controversy involving himself, ODI captain Mithali Raj, Kaur, T20I vice-captain Smriti Mandhana, and several members of the now-defunct Committee of Administrators that was overseeing the BCCI.

“My interactions with him have been the same [as before]. He is someone who’s involved in the game all the time and expects the same of the players. Whenever you speak to him, you feel like you’re in a match. He asks you to imagine yourself in a match situation and figure out how you would react to it.

“I get a lot of information speaking to him because he, too, has played a lot of cricket, including T20 cricket. So the experience is the same. Whatever we had done in 2018, we are repeating those things now as well.”

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha


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