Toss Afghanistan chose to bat v West Indies
Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan once again opted to bat after winning the toss in the third and final T20I in Lucknow with the series on the line.
Kieron Pollard said he also wanted to bat first as the teams batting first have gone on to win the first two games despite dew later in the evenings. West Indies won the first T20I by 30 runs before Afghanistan bounced back to trounce them by 41 runs and draw level.
West Indies made three changes to their XI. Lendl Simmons and Khary Pierre replaced Sherfane Rutherford and Hayden Walsh Jr, while Shai Hope came in for injured Denesh Ramdin, who has a left hamstring injury. Afghanistan were unchanged.
The match is being played on the same pitch that hosted the second T20I where West Indies failed to chase down 148.
Afghanistan: 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 3 Karim Janat, 4 Asghar Afghan, 5 Ibrahim Zadran, 6 Najibullah Zadran, 7 Mohammad Nabi, 8 Gulbadin Naib, 9 Rashid Khan (capt), 10 Naveen-ul-Haq, 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman
West Indies: 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Brandon King, 6 Kieron Pollard (capt), 7 Jason Holder, 8 Keemo Paul, 9 Khary Pierre, 10 Kesrick Williams, 11 Sheldon Cottrell
England Tests will never return to free-to-air TV, claims ECB chairman Colin Graves
ECB chairman Colin Graves has predicted that Test matches played in England will never return to free-to-air (FTA) television, claiming that broadcasters have to put up with “astronomical” costs to show a five-day game.
In an interview with the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, Graves warned that the next government should not interfere with how cricket sells its broadcasting rights, and suggested that the offering of short-form cricket on FTA TV next year was sufficient. The BBC are set to show ten games from the men’s Hundred, up to eight games from the women’s Hundred, two men’s T20Is and one women’s T20I live next summer.
“One of the first things I said as chairman was we want cricket back on terrestrial television,” Graves said.
“We have done it but Test cricket on terrestrial television is a totally different ball game. If you talk to broadcasters, none of them want it. It does not fit into their schedules.
“Can I ever see Test cricket being on free-to-air? No. I can’t see how they fit it in. The cost to do a Test match is astronomical from a broadcasting point of view. For a five-day Test you are talking production cost of a million quid so there is not going to be a queue even if they push it that way.”
The last Test shown live on FTA TV in the UK was the fifth Ashes Test in 2005, and the ECB came under pressure from a Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee in October for their decision to sell exclusive rights to Sky Sports.
Ian Lucas, the Labour MP for Wrexham, grilled senior ECB figures including Graves and chief executive Tom Harrison at an oral evidence session for the committee, and said he would “love to see at least one Test – the Lord’s Test, for example – on FTA TV”. The Labour Party’s manifesto for next week’s general election includes a pledge to add the Cricket World Cup to the list of ‘crown jewel’ sporting events that are broadcast on FTV TV, but does not mention Test cricket.
“If any government starts pushing free-to-air and says it has got to happen, they are going to take a chunk of money out of English cricket,” Graves warned.
“That is not just professional cricket. It will take a chunk of money out of recreational cricket, women’s cricket, schools, the whole shooting match. So we have to be very, very careful when we talk to governments and make sure they are aware of the situations they might want to get into.”
Graves’ five-year term as ECB chairman ends in November 2020. His replacement will be the first to be paid a salary, and the search for his successor is underway.
CSA CEO Thabang Moroe suspended for alleged misconduct
Thabang Moroe, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa, has been suspended with immediate effect, but with full pay, following allegations of misconduct. An investigation into his actions, which will include an independent forensic audit, is expected to be conducted soon.
Chris Nenzani, the CSA president, has been tasked with appointing an acting chief executive for the duration of Moroe’s suspension. Nenzani has been mandated to look at all options, including holding discussions with Dave Richardson, the former South Africa cricketer who was ICC chief executive till recently and is believed to be interested in getting involved with the CSA.
ESPNcricinfo understands that former chief executive Haroon Lorgat, Moroe’s predecessor, and former acting CEO Jacques Faul, have already been approached by several provincial presidents, but neither has heard from Nenzani yet.
Moroe’s suspension comes after five days of mounting pressure on CSA’s administration. There have been calls from several quarters for Moroe and the CSA Board to step down in the wake of a full-blown crisis spanning management, player and media relations, and financial affairs.
The catalyst for the recent sequence of events was the revoking of accreditation of five journalists on Sunday during the Mzansi Super League. No reason was given for the sanction but on Monday morning, Moroe told a national radio station that the board was unhappy with the reporters’ coverage of CSA. By then, CSA’s actions had been condemned by the South African National Editors’ Forum, South African Cricketers’ Association, and men’s Test and ODI sponsors Standard Bank, who also summoned CSA to a meeting that afternoon.
The reports CSA had problems with ranged from its disputes with SACA, including a court case over a proposed restructure of domestic cricket, the delay in appointing a director of cricket, which former captain Graeme Smith was being lined up for, the non-existence of a selection panel weeks before a series against England, and CSA’s mounting expenses – and debts – including that of running the MSL.
Taken together, this has left South African cricket in a state of turmoil, which will be discussed at a special sitting of the Board on Saturday, where it is hoped that clarity will be offered on key positions ahead of England’s visit.
Of particular concern is the position of director of cricket. Smith’s initial reluctance, and eventual withdrawal, was understood to be largely due to Moroe’s presence, and with Moroe suspended, Smith may be more willing to reconsider. However, there are less than three weeks before the Boxing Day Test against England, so decisions need to be taken swiftly.
More to follow…
James Faulkner set for Lancashire T20 Blast return in 2020
James Faulkner, the Australian left-arm seamer, will return to Lancashire for his fourth stint at the club for next year’s T20 Blast.
Faulkner first appeared for the county in 2015, and has been one of their overseas players in the Blast since 2018. This season, he took 11 wickets with an economy rate of 7.88 as Lancashire topped the North Group, but were beaten by eventual winners Essex in the quarter-finals.
“I am thrilled to be returning to Emirates Old Trafford for next season’s Vitality Blast,” Faulkner said. “It feels like a home away from home for me and I cannot wait to get started again in May.
“We were unlucky not to progress past the quarter-finals last year and we are all determined to put that right in 2020. We will be going all out to repeat the success of 2015, which remains one of the proudest memories in my cricketing career.
“Emirates Old Trafford is an amazing place to play cricket and I can’t wait to reunite with the squad next summer. I’m determined to win the Vitality Blast trophy back for the Club.”
Paul Allott, the club’s director of cricket, said: “James is a fantastic, well-rounded cricketer of significant experience and we are delighted to welcome him back to Emirates Old Trafford for a fourth season in 2020.
“He is the very definition of an all-rounder. He can bowl in any situation, which he has done successfully for us at both the beginning and back end of an innings, and is still a powerful batsman, not to mention his outstanding ability in the field too.
“His enthusiasm in representing the Red Rose is evident and he has established himself as a key figure in our T20 side. He is a proven winner and a great role model to the younger players.”
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