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Sana Mir takes break from international cricket; to miss series against England next month

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Sana Mir, Pakistan women’s most-capped player, has taken a break from international cricket to “plan and reset my future objectives and targets”. A PCB statement said Mir would miss next month’s ODI and T20I series against England in Malaysia. Mir, or the PCB, did not specify her exact reason for the break or when she would be back in action.

“I have decided to take a break from international cricket and, as such, will not be available for selection for next month’s series against England. I will utilise this time to plan and reset my future objectives and targets,” Mir said in the release.

“My best wishes will remain with the Pakistan national women’s team in the series against England and I am sure they’ll produce their best cricket.”

A training camp of 20 probables will begin in Karachi on November 21 before the squads for the ODIs and T20Is are announced on November 27. The team will depart for Kuala Lumpur on November 30.

The ODIs, part of the ICC Women’s Championship, will be played on December 9, 12 and 14 before the T20Is on December 17, 19 and 20. All six games will be played at the Kinrara Oval.



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Naseem Shah, 14-year-old Mohammad Shahzad in Pakistan Under-19 World Cup squad

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Pakistan have named at least four allrounders, including the 14-year-old Mohammad Shahzad, in their 15-man squad for the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa early next year. The in-form Rohail Nazir will continue to led the side, while 16-year-old quick Naseem Shah, who recently made his Test debut in Australia, also featured in the squad.

“We have planned extensively and tried our best to form a fine team,” Saleem Jaffar, the Pakistan junior team head coach, said at a press conference in Lahore. “Probables selected for the World Cup will give both coach and captain full options to form a balanced side. I hope this team will go good. But whoever is left out shouldn’t be disheartened because they are on a path that will take them to the professional cricket and this isn’t the end of world.”

Shahzad, a batting allrounder from Southern Punjab, caught the selectors’ eye at the ongoing Under-16 domestic tournament, where he scored 175 runs in two games and picked up six wickets.

“Shahzad is a good package; [he can] bat in the opening slot and bowl at medium pace, so we are also eyeing to tap someone who can be a good prospect in future like [Abdul] Razzaq,” Jaffar said. “This is the cricket that actually take players forward. He is young on the Under-16 circuit and has done really well recently. For us, winning is equally important but at the same time we are also giving them an international feel. This Under-19 circuit is an exciting cricket and such players are the future.”

Aside from Shahzad, the allrounders’ contingent comprises Abbas Afridi, Fahad Munir and Qasim Akram, who made it to the squad on the back of his impressive returns of 296 runs and three wickets and 260 runs and 15 wickets in the PCB Under-19 one-day and three-day tournaments respectively. Akram also made a mark at the recent Emerging Under-19 Asia Cup, and the tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka, where he scored 77 and 124 runs respectively.

Three out of the 28 probables – Ammad Butt Jr, Akhtar Shah and Saim Ayub – were not considered for selection because of injuries.

The 2020 Under-19 World Cup will be held from January 17, in South Africa. Pakistan, the 2004 and 2006 champions and three-time runners-up, are slotted in Group C along with Bangladesh, Scotland and Zimbabwe in the 16-team competition. They will kick off their campaign against Scotland on January 19 in Potchefstroom.



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South Africa lose title sponsor as freefall continues

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South Africa’s men’s team will lose their major sponsor, Standard Bank, who have opted not to renew their deal when it expires on April 30, 2020. This ends an association with cricket that dates back to 1998. Standard Bank sponsored South African cricket between 1998 and 2011, when it ended its sports associations with both cricket and football. The company then returned to cricket in 2016 and signed a four-year deal with Cricket South Africa (CSA) which is understood to be to the tune of R400 million (approx. US$ 27.3 million). Currently, they are only the title sponsor for the men’s team and their withdrawal is a direct result of administrative and governance problems at CSA which Standard Bank believes is tarnishing its reputation.

“Standard Bank is committed to upholding the highest levels of leadership, integrity and governance. In light of recent developments at CSA, which are a culmination of long-standing problems which have damaged Standard Bank’s reputation, it has decided not to renew its partnership with CSA,” Thulani Sibeko, Standard Bank Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer said in a statement released on Friday morning.

Cricket South Africa’s protracted problems, which include a court battle against the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA), projected financial losses of at least R654 million (approx. US$44.7 million) in the next four-year cycle, and the suspension of six staff members – three of whom were given notice of their suspension on Thursday – came to a head last weekend when five journalists’ accreditation was revoked during the Mzansi Super League (MSL).

On Monday, CSA CEO Thabang Moroe confirmed CSA made the decision because they did not approve of the way these reporters were writing about the organisation. That same day, Standard Bank expressed its “grave concerns,” about the situation at CSA and demanded a meeting with CSA to “know about developments within CSA, especially those that relate to governance and conduct.”

Sources told ESPNcricinfo that Standard Bank had been severe on CSA officials at the meeting and demanded they “clean up their act”. On Tuesday, Standard Bank issued a statement expressing its satisfaction that the meeting was “productive” and that they were left with the assurance that CSA would “urgently take the South African public into its confidence about the state of governance at the cricket administrative body”. It also said CSA had agreed to “urgently implement remedial actions to address stakeholder concerns, including the unacceptable manner in which it treated members of the media”.

However, just three days later, Standard Bank has confirmed it will not renew the sponsorship deal. Between Tuesday and Friday, three independent directors, Professor Shirley Zinn, Iqbal Khan and Dawn Makhobo, have resigned from the CSA board, and there have been calls from all quarters for the CEO and President, Chris Nenzani to step down.

Among the chorus has been former UCB managing director Ali Bacher, who was involved in mediating an agreement between Moroe and Graeme Smith, which would have seen Smith become director of cricket on October 1. Critiques have also emerged from development sponsors The Willowton Group and, last night, the Gauteng Cricket Board, the biggest provincial affiliate of CSA. In addition to the voices of dissent, CSA also faces allegations of credit card abuse from Khan, and a second commercial rights dispute with South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) in as many months.

Now, CSA has also lost its only major team sponsor after deals with Sunfoil and Momentum ended last year.



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Crisis in South African cricket – full coverage

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Crisis in South African cricket – full coverage



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