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Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Rizwan among released PSL players



For the fifth season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), teams were permitted to retain up to eight players from their previous roster. The category restrictions for retentions was a maximum of three Platinum, three Diamond, three Gold, five Silver and two emerging players. All six teams will go into the player draft on December 6 in Lahore to complete the rest of their squads from a pool of over 500 players.

The upcoming season starts on February 20 next year, and all 34 games will be played in Pakistan across four venues in the country. Some notable foreign players including Dale Steyn, Colin Munro, Alex Hales and Jason Roy, Chris Lynn and Ben Cutting have registered themselves to be drafted.

Quetta Gladiators

Retained (8 players): Mohammad Nawaz, Sarfaraz Ahmed (both Platinum), Shane Watson (Diamond, Player Mentor), Ahmed Shehzad (Diamond), Umar Akmal (Gold, Brand Ambassador), Mohammad Hasnain (Gold), Ahsan Ali, Naseem Shah (both Silver)

Released: Anwar Ali, Danish Aziz, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Fawad Ahmed, Ghulam Mudassar, Harry Gurney, Jalat Khan, Max Waller, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Azam Khan, Mohammad Irfan Jr, Rilee Rossouw, Saud Shakil, Sohail Tanvir

Trade: None

Relegation: None

Multan Sultans

Retained (7 players): Mohammad Irfan (Platinum), Shahid Afridi (Diamond, Player Mentor), James Vince (Gold, Brand Ambassador), Junaid Khan (Gold), Ali Shafiq, Shan Masood (both Silver), Mohammad Ilyas (Emerging)

Released: Andre Russell (not available in 2020), Chris Green, Dan Christian, Hammad Azam, Joe Denly, Johnson Charles, Laurie Evans, M. Irfan Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Junaid, Nicholas Pooran, Numan Ali, Qais Ahmed, Shakeel Ansar, Shoaib Malik, Steve Smith (not available in 2020), Tom Moores, Umar Siddiq

Trade: None

Relegation: Junaid Khan from Diamond to Gold, Shan Masood from Gold to Silver

Islamabad United

Retained (8 players): Shadab Khan (Platinum), Faheem Ashraf (Diamond, Brand Ambassador), Asif Ali (Diamond), Luke Ronchi (Gold, Player Mentor), Hussain Talat (Gold), Amad Butt, Musa Khan, Rizwan Hussain (all Silver)

Released: Alex Hales, Cameron Delport, Chadwick Walton, Ian Bell, Mohammad Sami, Nasir Nawaz, Philip Salt, Rumman Raees, Sahibzada Farhan, Samit Patel, Waqas Maqsood, Wayne Parnell, Zafar Gohar, Zahir Khan

Trade: None

Relegation: None

Peshawar Zalmi

Retained (7 players): Hasan Ali, Kieron Pollard, Wahab Riaz (all Platinum), Kamran Akmal (Diamond, Brand Ambassador), Darren Sammy (Gold, Player Mentor), Imam-ul-Haq (Gold), Umar Amin (Silver)

Released: Andre Fletcher, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Ibtesam Sheikh, Jamal Anwar, Khalid Usman, Lendl Simmons, Liam Dawson, Misbah-ul-Haq (not available in 2020), Nabi Gul, Sameen Gul, Samiullah, Sohaib Maqsood, Tymal Mills, Umaid Asif, Waqar Salamkheil, Wayne Madsen

Trade: None

Relegation: Imam ul Haq from Diamond to Gold, Umar Amin went from Gold to Silver

Karachi Kings

Retained (7 players): Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir (both Platinum), Imad Wasim (Diamond, Brand Ambassador), Iftikhar Ahmed (Diamond), Aamir Yamin (Gold), Usama Mir (Silver), Umer Khan (Emerging)

Released: Aaron Summers, Abrar Ahmed, Ali Imran, Awais Zia, Ben Dunk, Colin Ingram, Colin Munro, Jaahid Ali, Liam Livingstone, Mohammad Rizwan, Ravi Bopara, Sikander Raza, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari

Trade: Usman Shinwari released only to be transferred to Lahore Qalandars.

Relegation: None

ALSO READ: De Villiers to sit out PSL to manage workload

Lahore Qalandars

Retained (8 players): Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez (both Platinum), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Diamond, Brand Ambassador), David Wiese, Usman Shinwari (both Diamond), Haris Rauf, Sohail Akhtar (both Gold), Salman Butt (Silver)

Released: AB de Villiers (not available in 2020), Agha Salman, Aizaz Cheema, Anton Devcich, Asela Gunaratne, Brendan Taylor, Carlos Brathwaite, Corey Anderson (not available in 2020), Gohar Ali, Hardus Viljoen, Haris Sohail, Hassan Khan, Mohammad Imran, Rahat Ali, Riki Wessels, Ryan ten Doeschate (not available in 2020), Saad Ali, Sandeep Lamichhane, Umair Masood, Yasir Shah

Trade: Usman Shinwari transferred from Karachi Kings

Relegation: Salman Butt from Gold to Silver

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West Indies to wear Black Lives Matter logo on Test shirts



West Indies will wear a Black Lives Matter emblem on the collars of their shirts during July’s Test series against England.

Captain Jason Holder hinted in his first press conference of the tour that West Indies would look to support the movement in some way, and said in a statement on Sunday: “We believe we have a duty to show solidarity and also to help raise awareness.”

The logo used will be that worn on the shirts of all 20 Premier League football clubs since the sport’s restart earlier this month, designed by Alisha Hosannah, whose partner Troy Deeney is Watford’s captain. Deeney was contacted by CWI for approval, and the ICC gave permission for the emblem to be worn on the teams’ collars.

ALSO READ: Holder says ‘world must come together’ as West Indies arrive for historic tour

“This is a pivotal moment in history for sports, for the game of cricket and for the West Indies cricket team,” Holder said. “We have come to England to retain the Wisden Trophy but we are very conscious of happenings around the world and the fight for justice and equality.

“As a group of young men, we know of the rich and diverse history of West Indies cricket and we know we are guardians of the great game for generation to come.

“We did not take our decision lightly. We know what it is for people to make judgments because of the colour of our skin, so we know what it feels like, this goes beyond the boundary. There must be equality and there must be unity. Until we get that as people, we cannot stop.

“We have to find some way to have equal rights and people must not be viewed differently because of the colour of their skin or ethnic background.”

Deeney said: “Alisha and I are immensely proud to be asked and take part in a monumental moment in world sport, this amazing decision by the West Indies cricket team to show their support for Black Lives Matter.

“Watching cricket with my grandad, and seeing Brian Lara transcend from being a cricketer to a worldwide superstar, shaped my childhood, so it’s great to be able to help West Indies cricket show their support in such a meaningful way.”

The shirts are expected to be worn for the first time in this week’s first-class, four-day warm-up match at Emirates Old Trafford, which starts on Monday.

The ICC had previously told ESPNcricinfo that they would operate a “common-sense approach to the implementation of regulations” regarding demonstrations of solidarity with the movement, which would be assessed on a “case-by-case basis”.

England are also expected to mark their support for the movement during the series following discussions within the squad, and may also wear blue armbands in recognition of the contribution of NHS staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ECB announced last week that players would wear the names of cricket-supporting key workers on their training shirts ahead of the first Test.

West Indies’ shirts will also be the first to feature a chest sponsor, like those seen in football since the 1970s. The ICC’s chief executives’ committee ratified a change earlier this month to allow a relaxation of rules on apparel logos for the next 12 months, seemingly to help them maintain relations with sponsors during a difficult financial period.

Logos on the fronts of players’ shirts will not be permitted to exceed 32 square inches in size, as per the regulations for ODI and T20I kits. England are also expected to release a shirt with a chest sponsor in the next few days.

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England will pick strongest XI for first West Indies Test despite rotation plans



England’s bowlers have been told by the selectors that the team picked for the first Test against West Indies will be the strongest possible side, despite the acceptance that rotation will be a feature of the summer.

The 30-man training group named ahead of the West Indies series includes 18 seamers, with the ECB’s performance director Mo Bobat telling ESPNcricinfo last month that “our depth will get challenged” by a “pretty brutal schedule”. England are set to play six Tests in a seven-week window across the West Indies and Pakistan series, and the team’s management are expected to give opportunities to fringe players at some stage.

That could mean that Stuart Broad misses a Test match in England for the first time since 2012, breaking a streak that currently stands at 51 consecutive appearances at home. Speaking from the bubble at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday, Broad admitted that he was reluctant to miss any cricket, but accepted that there was a “bigger picture” for the support staff to consider.

ALSO READ: Broad working with psychologist to overcome closed-door concerns

“We’ve been told as a bowling group that the strongest team will be picked for the first Test. The aim is to get into that,” Broad said. “The last Test I missed in England was against West Indies in 2012, when I was named in the starting XI [before the toss] but it rained for the first two days and Andy Flower decided that a three-day Test match was one to take a rest from, over which we had an argument at the time.

“I don’t like missing cricket. I feel fit at the moment – my fitness tests have been as strong as ever in this come-back-to-cricket period – but we all know how hard fast bowling is. One of my strengths over the years has been to play consistently, so the body has been used to the workload, and it has never had that period of stopping, to then have that shock of coming back.

“That is the period we’re in now, and Ed Smith, James Taylor [England’s selectors] and Chris Silverwood [head coach] in the selection panel have been clear that, yes, we want to play our best team as often as possible, but we’re not going to put bodies at major risk.”

Despite his admission that he would rather not miss a Test, Broad conceded that the risk of injury will be heightened this summer. There have already been parallels drawn with football, where the Bundesliga and the Premier League have seen a spike in injury rates, and Broad used the example of James Anderson’s injury at Newlands to illustrate the problem.

“There is certainly no panic over the strength in depth of English fast bowling”

Stuart Broad

“We all wear these GPS devices now, and the stats that Phil Scott [England’s strength and conditioning coach] pulls together are quite interesting. He can almost predict when an injury might happen. If you bowl 25 or 30 overs in a day, you won’t get injured the next day – it’s a bounce of two weeks when the height of risk of injury comes, which is why rest and recuperation comes into it.

“If you’re in the team on July 8 and you do your job and bowl well and you bowl the team out by only bowling 20 overs in the Test then I’m assuming you’re going to play in the next game. That has got to be your aim, and I’d love the opportunity to start. It’s always going to be hard and frustrating if you’re told you’re not playing in a Test, but there is a bigger picture for them looking after us.

“We can see [from when] Jimmy came back on Boxing Day – we had a bit of illness, so he bowled loads on Boxing Day and then got injured ten days later. We want to avoid those sorts of things with our bodies not feeling as tough, as cricket-hardened as they would be in a normal summer.”

ALSO READ: England’s pace attack is their best since 2005 – Gough

If England do choose to rotate, they will not have any shortage of options to choose from. Players on the fringes of selection like Saqib Mahmood, Jamie Overton and Ollie Robinson will push for inclusion in the final squad for this series in a three-day warm-up match starting on Wednesday, while England have already used as many as eight frontline seamers in Test cricket in the past 12 months.

“You have 30 people trying to get in 11 spots, so training has been nicely intense,” Broad said. “The coaches have been telling us to make sure we control our intensity a little, because obviously if we come in and spike our workloads and get up to too high an intensity, we risk injury.

“There is certainly no panic over the strength in depth of English fast bowling. We’ve all come here fit and fresh, which is rare for a fast-bowling group. The dream ticket is to board a flight for Brisbane [ahead of the 2021-22 Ashes] and having this lot of fast bowlers all ready to go.

“Can we have Olly Stone, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, these sort of pace guys, Woakes, Curran, Broad, Anderson, all fit, fresh and ready to go? If we can, we’ve got a chance of winning there.”

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Stuart Broad working with England psychologist to beat closed-door concerns



England seamer Stuart Broad has admitted to concerns that international cricket will offer “more of a mental test” than usual this summer due to the absence of fans from grounds.

All six of England’s Test matches this summer will be played behind closed doors, with the ECB confirming on Friday that the three Tests and three T20Is in Pakistan’s tour will be staged without supporters present.

In a virtual press conference from England’s bubble at the Ageas Bowl, Broad revealed that he has been working closely with team psychologist David Young to find a way to “train his brain” into thinking he is in a normal Test-match scenario come July 8, and that has he taken on board his mother’s advice to replicating “the mindset of a 12-year-old”.

“I think the games will feel a bit different with no crowds,” Broad said. “International cricket certainly will be more of a mental test to make sure each player is right up for the battle, and I’m very aware of that. I’ve already spoken to our sports psychologist about creating a bit of a mindset around making sure I can get my emotions up to where they need to be for me to be at my best.

“If you put me in an Ashes game or a pre-season friendly, I know which one I’ll perform better in. So I’ve got to make sure my emotions are where they need to be for an international Test match, and that’s something I started working on in early June.

“It’s a worry for me, because I know that I perform at my best as a player under pressure, when the game is at its most exciting and when the game needs changing. And I know that there are certain scenarios that bring the worst out of me as a cricketer, and that is when I feel the game is just floating along and there is nothing [riding] on the game.”

The absence of fans may be felt especially keenly by Broad, who throughout his career has developed a reputation for bowling his best spells when feeding off the crowd’s energy.

In particular, Broad said that he hoped that by absorbing himself in battles against individual batsmen, he would be able to create “a bubble” around himself and bowl at his usual level of intensity.

“It might involve doing even more research into the opposition batsmen’s strengths and weaknesses so I’m very focused on getting in a competitive battle with the batsman instead of sometimes relying on the crowd to get your emotions going to be able to bowl at your best.

“I know that I do thrive off the energy of something happening in the game or a bit of excitement going on, or with a big battle going on. Maybe I have to pick more of a battle with the opposition and bring my dad [Chris, the match referee] into it a bit more.”

Broad said that he had spoken to his mum, Michelle, before leaving for the Ageas Bowl this week, who had told him to try to remember how it felt to play cricket as a child.

“My mum said something to me before I left. She said: ‘take yourself back to being a 12-year-old kid when all you wanted to play cricket anywhere you could’. I have a coffee in the morning overlooking a Test match ground: if you’d have offered me that as a 12-year-old – probably not a coffee back then – I’d have been buzzing. I’d have been so excited.

“[It’s about] trying to get that mindset of, yes, we’re playing a Test match for England, but when you were a 12-year-old kid, you’d have done anything to play cricket. Do you remember opening the curtains when there was a bit of rain on a Saturday? It was like heartbreak. It’s trying to have that mindset of it being exciting just to have the opportunity to play and have some fun. It actually gives you a bit of energy when you think like that.”

While Broad said that he felt “incredibly safe” and had no concerns about his physical health in the team’s bio-secure environment at the Ageas Bowl, he admitted to concerns about players’ mental health if things go wrong for them on the pitch.

“We’ve got to look after each other as players in this environment,” he said. “It is different being away from family and friends in the UK. If players go through tricky times while in this bio-secure environment – have a bad spell, have a bad day, have a bad week – you can’t escape the cricket at all mentally. If you nick off first ball, you’re then eating dinner overlooking the pitch that you’ve just nicked off on.

“If we get this wrong in these six, seven weeks then we could lose these series against two very good teams. We know the danger of both these teams. It’s probably the strongest West Indies side that I would have played against, certainly the bowling attack.

“We’ve got to make sure we get our bubble right to be able to perform at Test match level because mentally if you switch off at all at this level, it gets you, and we’ve got to adjust to the conditions we’re living in to be able to perform at our best.”

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