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England to wear Black Lives Matter logo on shirts for West Indies Tests

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England have announced that their shirts for the upcoming three-Test series against West Indies will feature the Black Lives Matter logo. The move mirrors that already taken by West Indies in asking to use the design by Alisha Hosannah, partner of Premier League footballer Troy Deeney.

The decision was taken by the ECB, fully supported by the England players led by Joe Root, the Test captain, and Ben Stokes, who will stand in for him during the first Test at the Ageas Bowl, starting July 8.

“It is important to show solidarity to the black community and to raise much needed awareness around the topics of equality and justice,” said Root. “The England players and management are unified in this approach and will use the platform of international cricket to fully support the objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists.

“The majority of us do not understand what individuals from BAME background have to go through when people make judgments because of the colour of their skin. As a group, we are learning about this and educating ourselves.

“There has to be equal opportunity and equal rights for all. We hope by making this stance we can play our part in standing shoulder-to-shoulder as a team and we hope that by continuing to raise awareness we can move towards a society in which the colour of your skin and your background has no bearing on your opportunities.

“It is very simple, we believe there is no room for racism or any form of discrimination, anywhere.”

Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, added: “The England and Wales Cricket Board fully support the message that Black Lives Matter, It has become a message of solidarity and a drive for progress and societal change. There can be no place for racism in society or our sport, and we must do more to tackle it.

ALSO READ: West Indies to wear Black Lives Matter logo during Tests

“Our support of that message is not an endorsement, tacit or otherwise, of any political organisation, nor the backing of any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity. We are aware of certain aspects of the movement that promote their own political views, and their actions are not supported in any way by the ECB and our players.

“This moment is about unity. We are proud that our players will stand alongside those from the West Indies and wear a logo that embodies that philosophy. It is fitting that they do so in solidarity with athletes from the football world who wore it first. Our thanks go to Troy Deeney and his partner Alisha Hosannah, creator of the logo, who generously agreed to share it with us.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that cricket is truly a game for everyone. We will shortly set out further steps that build on the work we have already done to make cricket more inclusive and diverse in order to address some of the barriers which still exist for some communities.”

Deeney added: “Alisha and I are immensely proud to be asked and take part in a monumental moment in world sport, this amazing decision by the England and West Indies cricket teams to show their support for Black Lives Matter.

“When I got the call, I didn’t hesitate to respond, because I know as sportspersons in the spotlight, how important our efforts are to bring about change and the role we play in moving towards change in our society. Watching cricket with my grandad shaped my childhood, so it’s great to be able to help England and West Indies Cricket to show their support in such a meaningful way.”



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Recent Match Report – Pakistan vs England 1st Test 2020

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Pakistan 139 for 2 (Azam 69*, Masood 46*) v England

Babar Azam and Shan Masood lifted Pakistan on a day punctuated by shifting fortunes on the field and above it as the first match in the three-Test series against England began.

A moment of silence to remember those who have lost their lives in the Covid-19 pandemic before play began under heavy skies put the match in perspective and emphasised the efforts of both countries to stage this contest behind closed doors at Emirates Old Trafford.

Having been in England for a month, preparing in the relative anonymity provided by England’s series against West Indies, Pakistan arrived to their first Test since February as questions swirled over their readiness to face an opposition which has three matches’ worth of competition fitness in them.

By the time rain brought about an early tea and delayed the evening session by nearly three hours, it was batsmen Azam and Masood who looked to be in a groove against a bowling attack that seemed to have turned rusty at lunch.

After his captain, Azhar Ali, won the toss and elected to bat first – opposite number Joe Root said he would have done the same – Pakistan opener Masood withstood a tricky period against Stuart Broad and James Anderson first up, accompanied by Abid Ali in a partnership that was approaching fifty when Jofra Archer entered the attack.

Having rounded off his first over with a couple of steepling bouncers which were evaded well by Abid, Archer struck with the first ball of his second over when he bowled Abid with a beauty through the gate and into off stump, thus ending a patient start by Abid and the partnership on 46.

After a brief rain interruption, Masood settled, guiding Archer through the bare gully region with smart, soft hands for four.

But then Chris Woakes, who had relieved Anderson after five overs, struck with a full delivery that thwacked Azhar Ali on the pad in line and sent him on his way for a six-ball duck, despite his swift call for a review, which only confirmed the lbw decision.

That brought Azam to the crease and he showed his class, somehow escaping a testing first delivery from Woakes that narrowly missed the outside edge and off stump and negotiating the ever-challenging Archer.

But it was against Anderson after lunch that Azam settled into his stride, finding the boundary three times in as many overs to bring his spell to a swift end.

Anderson even became the first bowler to be called for a front-foot no-ball – a rarity for him – by the third umpire in Tests under the new system being trialled during this series when he over-stepped bowling to Azam in the 31st over.

Meanwhile, Masood was enjoying almost as good a time against Broad and, by the time Root turned to Archer and the offspin of Dom Bess, the batsmen were in a decent flow. They put on 78 runs together and, as Azam brought up his half-century off just 70 balls with a punch into the covers off Bess and then passed it with two runs behind square off Archer, the rain hit.

By that stage, Masood had moved to 45 not out, Pakistan had recovered from 43 for 2 to 121 for 2 and the players faced a long stay in the dressing rooms.

Manchester was eventually bathed in bright sunshine but, by the end of mopping-up operations, play resumed under lights with the dim skies back overhead.

Archer, who had bowled one ball before the lengthy stoppage, finished his over with plenty of short stuff, which meant Root was forced to turn back to spin, bringing himself on with Bess.

Masood added just one run, having faced 152 balls – more than any other visiting opener in England since 2016 – for his 46 not out before bad light forced play to be abandoned for the day.

In the course of his innings, Masood had two lives, both from Jos Buttler off the bowling of Bess. On 45, he survived an edge through to the keeper, and he hadn’t added to his score when, after the rain break, he charged at Bess, attempted to hit the ball to the leg side but missed, only to be saved when the ball bounced out of Jos Buttler’s gloves. At the other end, Azam had moved to an unbeaten 69 off 100 balls in a third-wicket stand of 96.



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Vivo pulls out as IPL 2020 title sponsors

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IPL title rights holders Vivo have pulled out of this year’s tournament, ESPNcricinfo understands. The development follows a public outcry over the tournament’s association with Vivo, a Chinese company, following clashes at the India-China border in June.

Neither the BCCI nor Vivo were available for comment on the issue.

In June, the BCCI had said it would “review” the sponsorship deals concerning the IPL, but did not name any brand. “Taking note of the border skirmish that resulted in the martyrdom of our brave jawans, the IPL Governing Council has convened a meeting next week to review IPL’s various sponsorship deals,” BCCI said in a tweet posted on June 19.

According to India Today Vivo would return as IPL’s title sponsor for the 2022 and 2023 editions. It also has reported that the BCCI will issue a tender in the coming days to find a title sponsor for the 2020 IPL season.

Two days ago, the BCCI’s formal announcement – signed by secretary Jay Shah – of the IPL being played in the UAE between September 15 and November 10 mentioned Vivo as the title sponsor.

The decision is not likely to significantly affect the franchises financially. ESPNcricinfo spoke with several franchises, each of whom said that while the IPL was yet to inform them of the development, they were not fussed at the news. It is understood each franchise gets approximately Rs 20 crore per year from the Vivo contract. As far they are concerned, as long as the BCCI can rope in a replacement for Vivo, this development will not have any impact on them.

Vivo had bagged the title sponsorship for two years initially in 2015, and retained the rights signing a five-year contract (2017-22), paying about USD 341 million.



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Wasim Khan calls on England to tour Pakistan before 2022

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Wasim Khan is hoping England will send a T20 team to Pakistan ahead of their next scheduled visit in 2022.

England have not toured Pakistan since 2005-06 due to security concerns. But, before the Covid-19 pandemic, hopes had risen that they would return to the country in two years’ time.

Now, however, with Pakistan having helped England fulfil their international fixtures at significant inconvenience to their own players – they have already been in the country for a month and remain in lockdown – Wasim, the PCB chief executive, is hoping England can return the favour.

“England are due to tour in 2022 and we’d love to have them coming over well before then for a shorter tour,” Wasim told Sky Sports. “It’s something that we’ll speak to the ECB about. But it’s baby steps. There’s a lot of cricket still left to play. But we’re hoping in the near future England will definitely come.”

Wasim subsequently confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that he hoped England could send a T20 side to Pakistan. He accepted that “finding time in the FTP (future tours programme) could be the challenge at this stage” but suggested that a Lions tour, something he was calling for ahead of the dawn of Covid-19, would be “excellent as an alternative”.

ALSO READ: Jason Holder calls for reciprocal tour of Caribbean as West Indies fly home

While the ECB clarified there was no specific on-going discussion on the subject at present, it is not inconceivable the present global situation and the backlog in international fixtures could accelerate the usage of separate squads in red and white ball cricket.

England used something close to an A team for their recently concluded ODI series against Ireland – the final game featured four of the England XI that won the World Cup final – and they could potentially satisfy more requests for tours if they were to do so more often. West Indies have also expressed hopes England will tour in the coming months as they grapple with the financial ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whether such tours take place or not, England’s schedule is likely to prove hectic in the coming months. A limited-overs tour of South Africa is currently pencilled in for December, while they hope to return to Sri Lanka in January to fulfil the Test tour that was called off in March. They are then expected to play a five-Test series against India which may well take place in the UAE. The IPL runs from September 19 to November 8.



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