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ZIM vs PAK 2021 – Zimbabwe vs Pakistan matches will take place behind closed doors in Harare

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The two teams will play three T20Is and two Tests from April 21

Pakistan will play three T20Is and two Tests in Zimbabwe immediately after their white-ball tour of South Africa, and it has now been confirmed that all the fixtures will take place in a bio-secure bubble in Harare behind closed doors.

The series starts with the T20Is, which will be played on April 21, 23, and 25, and will start at 11am local time. The Test matches will follow from April 29 to May 3 and May 7 to 11.

Pakistan will travel to Zimbabwe with the same 35-man squad they have taken to South Africa. They touched down on Saturday and began training on Sunday after clearing their Covid-19 tests.

This is the second time Zimbabwe and Pakistan are meeting since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared last March. Zimbabwe made a trip to Pakistan to play three ODIs and three T20Is in October-November last year. Pakistan won the ODI series 2-0 and the T20I series 3-0. The teams have not played Test cricket against each other since Pakistan visited Zimbabwe in September 2013.



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Cricket Hall of Fame – Andy Flower and Kumar Sangakkara among 10 players inducted into ICC Hall of Fame

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Monty Noble, Aubrey Faulker, Learie Constantine, Stan McCabe, Vinoo Mankad, Ted Dexter, Bob Willis, Desmond Haynes also on the list

Ahead of the first-ever World Test Championship final, the ICC has inducted a special list of 10 players into its Hall of Fame. From the Australian allrounder Monty Noble, who made his debut in January 1898, to Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka batting great who retired in August 2015, these ten players’ careers span well over a century of men’s Test cricket.



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England vs NZ 2021 – Tom Latham sets sights on WTC final as NZ shift focus after historic series win

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First series win in England since 1999 was firm focus, says vice-captain

New Zealand’s series win in England is their first since 1999 and they have an opportunity to add the inaugural World Test Championship title next week when they play India at the Ageas Bowl.

Which is the bigger prize? “Both sounds pretty good,” Tom Latham, their vice-captain, grinned after leading them to victory at Edgbaston. “From our point of view, it was about coming here and focusing on these first two Test matches against England and trying to continue doing what we’ve been doing over a couple of years now. Now that we’ve ticked them off, it’s important that our focus shifts to India in a couple of days.

“It’s a fantastic achievement from the group. I think it’s important that we celebrate with each other. It hasn’t been done since ’99. For us to come here as a group, it was about trying to play our brand of cricket and I thought we did that really well over the four days and got our rewards at the end.”

While New Zealand’s recent record against England has been excellent – they have won four and drawn three of their last seven Tests against them, dating back to 2015 – their away record against the big three of India, England and Australia had been poor since that 1999 triumph, with just two victories in their previous 39 attempts. Latham said that his memories of seeing teams struggle on previous tours made the victory even better.

“I certainly remember staying up late, watching teams come over to England and playing Test cricket – at Lord’s, and all these iconic grounds. For us to come here and put a performance on the board that was true to us was really important.

“It was about trying to do what we do really well and I thought we did. [It’s] well documented that ’99 was the last time we’d won here and we have been here a couple of times in recent years and haven’t quite got the rewards. It’s certainly an achievement that’s worth celebrating.”

New Zealand’s series win also took them back to No. 1 in the ICC’s Test rankings, leapfrogging India, their upcoming opponents. They reached the summit for the first time earlier this year after beating Pakistan, before India nudged past them following their 3-1 series win against England in March.



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Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators, PSL 2021

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Gladiators allrounder stretchered off to an ambulance as second innings got underway

Playing his first match of PSL 2021, Quetta Gladiators’ Andre Russell was struck on the helmet while batting and later replaced by fast bowler Naseem Shah under the concussion-sub rule at the innings break. The decision to replace the allrounder with Naseem did not seem to go down well with Islamabad United; their captain Shadab Khan could be seen talking to umpire Aleem Dar before the second innings began.

During the first over of the second innings, Russell was stretchered out from the dressing room to an ambulance. He had received the blow to the head in the 14th over of Gladiators’ innings. He hit two sixes off Muhammad Musa in that over before he was slow on a pull shot to a bouncer from the pacer. After being struck, Russell was checked by a physio and allowed to continue batting, although he was out next ball, caught at third man.

The rules on concussion substitutes state that any concussed player can be replaced by someone outside the XI, as long as the match referee agrees that the incoming player is a like-for-like replacement. Although Russell is a pace-bowling allrounder and Naseem is a specialist fast bowler, the decision to allow Naseem as a replacement might have been based on Russell’s inability to deliver four overs in Gladiators’ bowling innings.

Naseem opened the bowling for Gladiators but, defending 133, conceded four fours in a 19-run first over. Gladiators went on to lose inside 10 overs, the first time in PSL history a side has won by the halfway mark. This was Gladiators’ first match after PSL 2021’s restart in Abu Dhabi.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx



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