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The match could also be the first in Sri Lanka to host fans since the onset of the pandemic

A Sri Lanka Legends team is set to take on a team of current Sri Lankan cricketers, including those who have represented the national team, in a charity match on May 4 in Pallekele. The match is set to be televised and could also be the first in Sri Lanka to host fans since the onset of the pandemic – this, however, is still at the discussion phase with Sri Lanka’s health authorities.

Sri Lanka Cricket’s newly-appointed management committee will be overseeing the organisational aspects of the match. The committee was installed last week by Sri Lanka’s sports ministry to run day-to-day affairs at SLC until next month’s board elections, as the previous board’s term in office had expired.

“The whole country enjoyed watching cricket and watching these players playing again,” Arjuna de Silva, chairman of the SLC management committee, said. “At the same time we have not seen a live match for more than a year.

“From a spectators point of view it’ll be an exciting match, and from the current players’ point of view it will be a good experience, especially because many of them would love to play alongside their childhood heroes,” he added. “Some of the youngsters might also get an opportunity to play as well.”

It is understood that the match had been mooted ever since the Sri Lanka Legends team, which came runners-up in last month’s Road Safety World Series, had proved incredibly popular amongst Sri Lanka’s cricket-viewing public.

While the former stars set to turn out for the Legends’ team are yet to be confirmed, it is likely that Aravinda de Silva, who currently heads a sports ministry-appointed technical advisory committee at SLC, might play a part. However, neither Kumar Sangakkara nor Mahela Jayawardene will be available due to commitments with the IPL.



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More New Zealanders watching cricket than ever before

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More people watched women’s cricket than ever before and more cricket was viewed “on the go” during the home summer

More New Zealanders watched cricket than ever before during the first season of New Zealand Cricket’s six-year deal with Spark Sport and TVNZ. As per the findings, more people watched women’s cricket than ever before, more young people watched cricket and more cricket was viewed by fans “on the go” – via a range of mobile devices.

In a press release, NZC said that this was made possible because of the combination of free-to-air and digital subscription, a “ground-breaking arrangement which is taking cricket to not only more Kiwis, but demographics of New Zealanders previously lost to the game”.

The six matches screened live on TVNZ 1 reached 1.86 million viewers, while almost 240,000 Spark Sport viewers watched cricket during the summer. The most viewed T20I during the Australia series attracted 1.24 million viewers. The final ODI between New Zealand Women and Australia Women in Brisbane was viewed by 840,300 fans.

Without going into the numbers, the release said Test matches were also proving to be just as popular as T20Is. The most popular Test was the second one against Pakistan in Christchurch, which New Zealand won by an innings and 176 runs to wrap up the series 2-0. There was also an increase in viewership of both the men’s and women’s Super Smash, New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition.

NZC CEO David White said the results exceeded expectations and he was confident the reach will continue to grow.

“We’re hugely encouraged,” he said. “The production was professional; the look and feel was fresh and appealing – it was everything we were hoping for.

“On top of the increase in viewership, our latest census is also indicating a significant increase in the number of New Zealanders playing cricket – including a 12% increase in the number of female participants, and a nine percent increase in the number of males.

“We’ve also had excellent crowd attendances across the season, and we were well on track for sold-out crowds throughout the Australian men’s tour before COVID took its toll.”

Head of Spark Sport, Jeff Latch, said that getting younger audience on the board via streaming services was the game-changer. “To see these numbers in the first months of our six-year partnership is really encouraging, particularly when you consider sports streaming is still new to many New Zealanders and a sports streaming business like ours takes time to grow,” he said.

“It shows that New Zealand households are embracing streaming, which is consistent with the global experience, in which it is now the norm. We’ve unlocked a new younger audience with streaming given that close to half (47%) of our customer base is aged under 34 years old but are still catering to the traditional fan through TVNZ.”



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Marnus Labuschagne to miss white-ball tour of the West Indies

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Australian batter “deeply upset to miss out due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control,” says Trevor Hohns

Marnus Labuschagne is missing from the Australia limited-overs squad for a tour of the West Indies starting next month, after it was decided he would play out his current county stint with Glamorgan instead.

A vast preliminary squad for the tour – which may still theoretically be followed by a trip to Bangladesh for more white-ball matches – includes the likes of Matthew Wade, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Swepson, all of whom missed out on Cricket Australia contracts in the annual list.



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Eng vs NZ 2021 – Majority of New Zealand Test contingent arrives in UK

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All contingent members will spend the first three days in hotel room isolation in Southampton

The majority of the New Zealand Test contingent landed in London on Sunday after flying from Auckland via Singapore, for their tour of two Tests against the hosts and the World Test Championship final against India next month. The players and support staff were transferred from the London airport to the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, their base for the first two weeks of the tour.

An NZC release stated the squad is “adhering to strict health protocols”, starting with pre-departure vaccinations and Covid-19 tests, in the wake of the pandemic.

“While in England, they will operate in a ‘controlled team environment’ to limit outside contact and risk of transmission,” the release said. “All tour members will complete a daily self-reported health screening as well as undergoing regular covid testing.”



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