Cricket South Africa held its first cricket for social justice and nation-building meeting with more than 30 former players and coaches of colour on Sunday as it seeks to engage with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and address issues of discrimination. The inaugural session was chaired by outgoing CSA President Chris Nenzani, and transformation committee head Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw and ultimately did not feature members of CSA’s executive, including acting CEO Dr Jacques Faul and director of cricket Graeme Smith.
Faul and Smith were due to attend the meeting but were advised not to by Dr Kula-Ameyaw who told ESPNcricinfo that the board wanted to “take responsibility,” and allow “the former players the freedom to talk.” Although Dr Kula-Ameyaw informed the meeting attendees that Faul and Smith would not be in attendance when the meeting began, a number of players expressed their disappointment over the absence of key CSA personnel.
“They felt that many ‘talk shops’ have taken place in the past and that this time urgent action and implementation was needed to address their concerns,” a representative from the group said.
Dr Kula-Ameyaw indicated that Faul and Smith would be present at future meetings, which will take place in the coming months. “It was a board engagement, and we decided to host it as such. We could not throw our colleague (Smith) under the bus. We as the board taking responsibility,” Dr Kula-Ameyaw said. “We wanted the players to be free to talk. There is a lot of pain. At the next meeting, we can engage with someone like Graeme Smith.”
Faul said both he and Smith were interested in attending but understood that they may need to wait until later in the process to engage with former players of colour on what is a sensitive issue. “We were invited but then the board explained to us that it would be better if we don’t attend the first meeting so we allow the opportunity for players to speak freely,” Faul said.
While the meeting did not bring about any concrete solutions, it provided the opportunity for CSA to meet with former players of colour for the first time since the BLM movement gathered momentum in South Africa. Lungi Ngidi was the first player to express his support for the cause, when asked about it at a press conference after CSA’s annual awards, where he was named T20 player of the year. There, Ngidi said he would like to see his team-mates “make a stand” like the rest of the world.
The next day, four white former players, Rudi Steyn, Brian McMillan, Pat Symcox and Boeta Dippenaar, criticised Ngidi and asked him to campaign for mostly-white farm murders as well. That prompted 31 former players of colour and five current coaches to issue a statement backing Ngidi and imploring CSA to do the same, which they did. Alongside that, there has been an outpouring of stories of racial discrimination in the South African cricket community Last Saturday, when 24 South African players featured in an exhibition 3TC match, all involved wore BLM armbands and took a knee with CSA also committing itself to a process of healing and restoration, which it sought to begin on Sunday.
Recent Match Report – Pakistan vs England 1st Test 2020
Pakistan 139 for 2 (Azam 69*, Masood 46*) v England
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.
Vivo pulls out as IPL 2020 title sponsors
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.
Wasim Khan calls on England to tour Pakistan before 2022
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”.
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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