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Buzz: WI tour to go ahead despite COVID-19 breaches

November 11, 2020 16:14 IST
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Video footage from the facility in Christchurch showed some players had breached protocols

IMAGE: Video footage from the facility in Christchurch showed some players had breached protocols (Image used for representational purposes). Photograph: Martin Rickett/Reuters

Cricket West Indies see no danger of their tour of New Zealand being cancelled despite the team's training privileges being revoked after several players breached COVID-19 biosecurity protocols in their isolation facility.

Video footage from the facility in Christchurch showed some players had breached protocols by sharing food or socialising with team members outside their smaller biosecure bubbles, New Zealand's health ministry said on Wednesday.

There was no risk to the public, the ministry said, and the team are due to be released from the facility on Friday, pending a final round of COVID-19 Testing that was undertaken on Wednesday, and relocate to Queenstown for warmup matches.

 

Cricket West Indies Chief Executive Johnny Grave said there had been no suggestion from the ministry that the tour could be cancelled, and health officials had said the sanctions only related to the team training in Christchurch.

They expected the rest of the squad to arrive from the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday and go into isolation as planned.

"There was no mention of any change to the biosecure measures and protocols that will take place tomorrow when the players from the IPL land," Grave told reporters.

"We are expecting negative results from the entire touring party (currently in New Zealand) and they can be released on Friday and move to Queenstown."

New Zealand has successfully curbed the spread of the coronavirus after introducing a strict lockdown and tight border controls.

Almost all the country's small number of current cases are among people arriving from overseas, who are held in mandatory managed isolation facilities for 14 days.

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the team had been granted special exemptions to train while in managed isolation.

"In return they have to stick to the rules," Bloomfield said.

"They didn't do that."

Grave said the team would also conduct an investigation.

The first of three Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand is on Nov. 27 in Auckland.

Babar named Pakistan Test captain, takes charge of all three formats

Pakistan named Babar Azam as their new Test captain on Tuesday, putting the batsman in charge of teams across all formats.

Babar replaces Azhar Ali, who led Pakistan to a 1-0 series defeat in England earlier this year.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) made the announcement after Babar led the team to Twenty20 and one-day international series victories over Zimbabwe on home soil.

"As we are looking into the future, it is appropriate that we appoint him the captain now so that he continues to grow stronger with every match," PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said in a statement.

"I wish Babar all the best and remain optimistic that he will help Pakistan cricket make an upward movement across all formats not only through his performance but also with his positive attitude and result-oriented approach."

Babar has been a prolific scorer for Pakistan and currently ranks among the top five batsmen in all three formats.

The 26-year-old's first assignment as Test skipper will be the ICC World Test Championship matches against New Zealand, which will be played in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch from Dec. 26-30 and Jan. 3-7, respectively.

"I feel truly honoured to have been appointed Test captain and join some of the most iconic players who have captained Pakistan in the purist format of the game," said Babar, who took charge of Pakistan's limited-overs teams earlier this year.

"I am ready and prepared to take up the additional responsibility and the fact which gives me additional confidence is that I can do the job is the experience that is available to me in the changing room in the shape of the players and support staff."

PCB introduces 'whistle blowers' policy to combat corruption

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has introduced a 'whistle blowers' policy to combat any form of corruption or dishonest behaviour by any of its officers or players but warned against filing frivolous complaints.

The policy, approved at the Board of Governors meeting in Lahore, incorporates all relevant stakeholders in addition to PCB employees, officials, players and players support personnel.

According to the policy, any person who becomes aware of any matter or behaviour that may amount to 'whistleblower information' can report it to the Chief Operating Officer via email (whistle@pcb.com.pk) along with complete details, including supporting documents and evidence.

The PCB has assured it will keep the identity of the whistle-blower and contents of the report confidential, and will also protect the whistle-blower from any form of detriment, including discrimination, harassment or retaliation as a consequence of the disclosure.

But at the same time the Board's senior officials have made it clear that the policy should not be used for frivolous reasons.

"All stakeholders must use the PCB Whistleblowing Policy cautiously, wisely and responsibly as frivolous and unsubstantiated reports and allegations can cause irreparable damage to the individuals against whom reports are being made as well as their near ones," a statement said.

PCB Chief Operating Officer, Salman Naseer said, "While we are encouraging stakeholders in good faith to share information with evidence and supporting documents, we expect them to exercise this opportunity responsibly as any malicious or frivolous report can destroy the reputation and careers of honest, hardworking and promising individuals."

"Any whistleblower found to be deliberately misleading the PCB for personal gains and benefits will be subject to strict disciplinary action."

The PCB in line with its zero-tolerance policy over corruption has also moved a legislation with the government under which once it is approved by parliament it will become a law, criminalising all match and spot-fixing acts.

BBL: Marcus Stoinis signs contract extension with Melbourne Stars

Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has extended his stay at Big Bash League after signing a new contract extension with Melbourne Stars on Wednesday.

The reigning BBL Player of the Season has been a key figure in the Delhi Capitals' march to this year's IPL final in the UAE. His contract ties him to the club until the end of the 2023-24 season.

The extension will see the 31-year-old be part of the Stars for a decade after originally joining the club ahead of the 2013-14 season.

Stoinis said he is excited to commit his future to the Melbourne Stars as he is very close to the side.

"It was a pretty easy decision for me to extend my time with the Melbourne Stars. I am excited about what we can achieve in the future and I am grateful for the belief the club has shown in me. This team is an important part of my life each year," Stoinis said in a statement.

"We are a really close group and we are lucky to have some of the best members and fans in the league. While this season will a bit different normal, I hope that we will get a chance to play in front of our fans on home turf at the MCG and make it a special summer," he added.

Stoinis is currently the club's all-time top run-scorer and averages 39 with the bat for the Stars. He smashed an unforgettable 147* from 79 against the Sydney Sixers in January at the MCG.

Melbourne Stars General Manager Nick Cummins said the deal was a crucial step forward for the club's list.

"It will be no surprise to anyone that we wanted the BBL Player of the Season to extend his time with the Melbourne Stars by a further two years. Marcus is a proven match-winner who can take a game away from an opposition in a couple of overs. More than that, he is a very popular player with our members and fans and we look forward to continuing to share that success with him over the seasons ahead," Cummins said.

The news follows Monday's announcement that England World Cup winner Jonny Bairstow has signed with the club and is due to join up with the squad after Christmas.

He will be joined by batsman Will Pucovski and fast bowler Billy Stanlake who have also signed contracts with the Stars during the off-season. (ANI)

WBBL finals to be played under lights for the first time

Cricket Australia on Wednesday confirmed that the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) finals series will be played in evening prime time at North Sydney Oval, marking the first time in tournament history that both semi-Finals and the final will be played under lights.

The matches will be held on November 25, 26 and 28. The move to an evening prime time finals series will take the WBBL to more Australian viewers than ever before in just the tournament's second season in a standalone format.

It will also be a fitting end to a record-breaking rebel WBBL'06 season, which has been successfully hosted in a bio-secure hub Sydney amid COVID-19 outbreak.

More regular season matches were broadcast this season than ever before, with ratings highlights including a reach of over one million viewers for last Sunday's match between the Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars.

"The move to a full prime time Finals series is another major leap in the evolution of the rebel WBBL. As we pass the half way mark of our second standalone season, we are delighted to confirm that the pinnacle events of our season will be taken live into homes around the country at a family friendly time," Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia's Head of Big Bash Leagues, said in an official statement.

"This announcement is a Testament to the outstanding work of our clubs and the League who have delivered a safe and successful tournament thus far. We thank the NSW Government for recognising this and rewarding our loyal fans in Sydney," he added.

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Indian Premier League - 2021

Indian Premier League - 2021