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Members’ Council likely to rescind CSA’s domestic restructure

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Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Members’ Council is likely to go back on their proposal of having a 12-team provincial set-up in place of the six-team franchise system. The decision was mooted during a meeting of the 14 affiliate presidents, who made up the council, in Johannesburg on Friday. The council also plans to appoint a committee to chart the way forward.

The decision of the Members’ Council comes 10 days before CSA’s board is due to deliberate on the organisational structure as well as the future of Chris Nenzani, the president, and Beresford Williams, the vice-president. The duo is under pressure to step down following CSA’s recent turmoil, which includes a stand-off with the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA).

SACA has opposed CSA’s plans of restructuring the domestic game because the move is seen as a way to cull expenses after the board projected losses of R654 million over the next four-year cycle.

The players’ body claimed it wasn’t consulted over the proposal, which would result in 70 cricketers losing their contracts, by extension their jobs, if the move was formalised. SACA also later launched a case against CSA on this very issue at the Johannesburg High Court. CSA responded to the showcause notice seven months later, in November.


All this took place under Thabang Moroe. The board CEO was suspended in December after CSA was mired in further controversy following the resignation of three board members and suspension of six staff members. Major sponsors pulling out of their contracts with CSA also played a part in Moroe’s suspension.

Since then, Jacques Faul has taken over as acting CEO. One of the most important items on his agenda is to repair CSA’s relationship with SACA and obtain clarity over the domestic system.


To that end, CSA appointed former ICC CEO David Richardson to head a steering committee to make recommendations on the domestic structure. However, SACA refused to engage while the matter remained sub-judice. If the Members’ Council formally withdraws plans to restructure the game, it is likely SACA will withdraw its case and agree to discussions with CSA.


It is imperative for talks to be held soon as the contracts of franchise and provincial cricketers will expire in April. If a new system is put in place, that leaves little time to finalise arrangements for the 2020-21 season.



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Adil Rashid signs white-ball Yorkshire contract but retains Test ambitions

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Adil Rashid has insisted that he still has ambitions of playing Test cricket for England, despite signing a white-ball contract with Yorkshire for the 2020 season.

Rashid ruled himself out of England’s upcoming series in Sri Lanka earlier this month, telling Sky Sports during the ODI series in South Africa: “I’ve got to go back into county cricket, perform, do well, and then get selected.”

But with fitness a constant concern due to his ongoing shoulder injury, Rashid has decided to focus on T20 cricket for the foreseeable future.

ALSO READ: Rashid rules himself out of England’s Test series in Sri Lanka

“I am thrilled to sign this contract with my home club and look forward to this season’s T20 campaign,” Rashid said. “I have decided to concentrate on white-ball cricket this summer in the lead up to the T20 World Cup. This is due to an ongoing shoulder injury, so it is important for me to manage my workload to give me the best chance of remaining fit.

“Although I won’t be playing red-ball cricket this summer, I still have ambitions of playing Test cricket in the future.”

Following Rashid’s controversial Test recall in 2018, which came months after he had signed a white-ball-only county deal, England changed their selection policy to only consider players for the formats they are contracted for domestically.

He won a Test contract for 2018-19, and signed an all-formats contract with Yorkshire for 2019, but his most recent first-class game was the Barbados Test last January. He has had to manage a persistent shoulder problem since the start of last summer, which forced him to take pain-killing injections to get through the World Cup and ruled him out of the end of the 2019 domestic season.

After a relatively quiet series in New Zealand in November, Rashid looked back at his best in South Africa, winning the match award in the third ODI for his 3 for 52. While his figures in the T20I series – two wickets and an economy rate of 9.00 – might appear underwhelming at face value, they were excellent in the context of a series in which the overall run-rate was above 10.

While Rashid’s deal technically covers 50-over cricket, he is unlikely to appear in the One-Day Cup – with the possible exception of the knockout stages – due to the competition’s clash with the Hundred, in which he is a ‘local icon’ player for Northern Superchargers.

It had long appeared unlikely that he would play red-ball cricket this season, with both Keshav Maharaj and R Ashwin set for stints as Yorkshire’s overseas players in the County Championship.

Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, said: “We fully understand Adil’s position and are happy that he will be available for Yorkshire in the Vitality Blast this coming season. Adil is a world-class performer and will obviously add great value to our T20 team.”



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England Lions tour game peters out into high-scoring draw | Cricket

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Sam Northeast bats for Hampshire © Getty Images


England Lions 613 for 8 declared (Sibley 103, Jennings 141, Lawrence 190, Bracey 58, Doggett 4-60) and 116 for 3 (Northeast 46*) drew with Cricket Australia XI 546 all out (Sangha 72, Lehmann 150, Edwards 192, Overton 3-100, Lawrence 3-94)

Sam Northeast made an unbeaten 46 as England Lions’ tour game against a Cricket Australia XI petered out into a high-scoring draw in Hobart.

With Jack Edwards resuming on 142, the hosts added 77 runs in 23.2 overs on the final morning, with part-time spinners Dom Sibley and Dan Lawrence wrapping things up by dismissing Mitchell Perry for 28 and, eventually, Edwards for 190.

The Lions then made 116 for 3 in a low-key third innings, with Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley and Keaton Jennings the men dismissed. Northeast scored quickly, stroking seven boundaries in his 57-ball innings, before the captains shook hands mid-afternoon.

Lewis Gregory and Richard Gleeson, who were absent through injury yesterday, remained unavailable on the final day. The Lions’ next game is a four-day, first-class game against a strong Australia A side under the MCG floodlights.

“There were a lot of positives to come out of the match in all phases of the game. It was tough for the bowlers on the pitch, but our bowlers stuck to their task during the last couple of days, especially with a couple of injuries,” said Richard Dawson, the Lions coach.

“The batting was an obvious highlight and it was pleasing to see three centurions in the first innings, with Dan Lawrence’s ability to push on on day two really putting us in a good position.

“We’ll face another tough match at the MCG against Australia A later this week, but it’s a great opportunity for the lads to experience a different challenge playing under lights. Our preparation over the past two weeks has been very good and we will be continuing this leading into the game.”

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Moeen Ali named Birmingham Phoenix captain for the Hundred | Cricket

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Moeen Ali is a local icon player for Birmingham Phoenix © Christopher Lee/Getty Images for ECB


Moeen Ali will captain Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural season of the Hundred.

Moeen, a £125,000 ‘local icon’ player for the Phoenix, has been handed the role ahead of a strong set of candidates including Kane Williamson and Liam Livingstone.

He grew up in Sparkhill, just a short distance from Edgbaston, which will host the men’s home matches, and his team will include fellow World Cup-winning Birmingham local, Chris Woakes, as well as Pat Brown, the young England seamer who made his T20I debut this winter.

ALSO READ: The Hundred – full squad lists

Moeen joins Eoin Morgan (London Spirit) and Aaron Finch (Northern Superchargers) as a confirmed captain in the competition, while Dane Vilas (Manchester Originals) and Sam Billings (Oval Invincibles) are likely to follow. Other teams’ decisions over their choice of captain might be affected by availability, with the possibility that Australian leadership candidates miss the latter stages of the tournament to play an ODI series against Zimbabwe.

“Every time that I come to Edgbaston it takes me back to some great first memories of coming here at a very young age,” Moeen said. “I grew up in this area and to be the first-ever men’s captain of Birmingham Phoenix in a new and inclusive competition that will reach out to communities and welcome them in is very special for me.

“We’re a tight-knit city in Birmingham. We have so much around us that brings the people together, no matter who you are or your background. I know how much of a uniting game cricket is and as a leader of the Birmingham Phoenix that is something I definitely want to promote.

“We are lucky to have some of the best players in the country in our squad but also some amazing overseas players, so we know that the cricket is going to be really exciting.”

Moeen’s record as captain has been honed by his stint in charge of Worcestershire Rapids, whom he led to consecutive Vitality Blast finals at Edgbaston, winning in 2018 and finishing as runners-up to Essex in 2019.

“Worcestershire is where I have developed as a player and as a leader and captaining them in high-profile games like at Finals Day will shape the way I will lead the Birmingham Phoenix,” he said.

“It will also help that I’ve got my Rapids team-mate Pat Brown too because he is one of the best young white-ball bowlers in the country and when you add players like Chris Woakes, we have a strong local flavour that I’m sure can bring home the title.”

Andrew McDonald, the men’s head coach, said: “Moeen is a fantastic allrounder and has the experience and temperament to lead the team. He started his cricket journey here at Edgbaston from a young age so it feels fitting that he will captain the men’s Birmingham Phoenix team.

“He’s involved in the local community in Birmingham and I know how much of a popular figure he is at Worcestershire too so I’m sure his efforts on and off the field will help inspire the next generation from our region and beyond to get involved in cricket.”

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