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Match Preview – West Indies vs Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka tour of West Indies 2020/21, 2nd Test

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After a first Test that had started with a patented Sri Lankan batting collapse that almost anyone who had been watching them play cricket over the past few years could have predicted, here we are somehow entertaining the very real possibility of them securing a first ever Test series win in the Caribbean.

Now, of course, for this to actually transpire, it would require Sri Lanka to replicate, and most likely better, their performance from the previous week – certainly no little ask, but one considerably less farfetched than it might have been at the same point last week.



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Durham bubble breach – Gunathilaka, Mendis and Dickwella suspended from international cricket for one year

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They will not be allowed to play domestic cricket for six months, ruling them out for much of the next season

Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, and Niroshan Dickwella have all been suspended from international cricket for a year for breaking Sri Lanka’s bio-bubble on a night out in Durham last month. They have each also been fined 10 million rupees (USD 50,000 approx), and will not be allowed to play domestic cricket for six months, which rules them out for much of the next season.

In addition, they will be in probation for two further years, during which another year’s suspension will hang over their heads. SLC has mandated counselling with a doctor recommended by the board as well.



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The Ashes 2021-22 – ECB says ‘player and staff welfare the priority’ as it seeks Ashes talks with Cricket Australia

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ECB issues joint statement with PCA ahead of further Ashes discussions

The ECB has issued a joint statement with the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) saying it is committed to “putting player and staff welfare as the main priority” in the planning process for this winter’s Ashes tour of Australia.

Concerns have been raised about the nature of the touring party England will send, amid suggestions that families may be prevented from joining the group at any stage. With the Ashes set to follow on from a T20 World Cup in the UAE, some of England’s senior, multi-format players with young children, such as Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, could face months of separation from their loved ones.

The ECB held talks this week with the England players and representatives of the Team England Player Partnership. Further discussions are planned with Cricket Australia before tour arrangements are finalised, with the ECB stressing the importance of sending a team “to compete with the best players and at highest possible standard” as England’s men attempt to regain the Ashes.



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Barbados Tridents set to become Barbados Royals following IPL franchise takeover

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The owners of the Rajasthan Royals have bought a majority stake in the CPL franchise

The IPL footprint in the CPL has expanded further with the owners of the Rajasthan Royals buying a majority stake in the Barbados Tridents, which will now be known as the Barbados Royals. The Royals Sports Group are the third IPL franchise to own a team in the CPL after Red Chillies Entertainment, owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders, bought the Trinbago Knight Riders in 2015, and KPH Dream Cricket Private Limited, the consortium that owns the Punjab Kings, bought the St Lucia Zouks last year.

The Barbados franchise is one of the three teams to win the CPL title twice. The Tridents won the 2014 CPL under the leadership of Kieron Pollard, who is now captain at the Trinbago Knight Riders. In 2019 the Tridents ended the unbeaten run of the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final to win the CPL under the captaincy of Jason Holder. The Tridents failed to defend their title, however, finishing fifth in the 2020 edition with just three wins in 10 games.

The 2021 season of the CPL will be played in St Kitts & Nevis between August 26 and September 15. While Holder will remain the Barbados captain, Kumar Sangakkara, appointed as the Royals’ director of cricket in the IPL, will also oversee CPL operations. Sangakkara welcomed the addition of the Barbados franchise to the Royals’ “ecosystem”. He said the Caribbean talent could be utilised to “innovate and develop strategies” for the growth of the Royals group.
Manoj Badale, who owns EM Sporting Holdings Ltd, which recently increased its stake to 65% in the Royals franchise, said the “opportunity was too good to be missed” on the acquisition in Barbados franchise. According to Badale, the Royals Group will have an 80% stake with the remaining staying with the Texas-based Manish Patel, the principal of the CMG Companies. Patel had previously owned the Jamaica Tallawahs in the CPL from 2014 to 2016 before he sold his stake and re-entered the CPL by buying the Tridents in 2019 from the Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, who was previously owner of the Royals Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. Patel is also the owner of the Austin Athletics in the Minor League Cricket T20 competition.
Badale has long held a desire to create a commercial enterprise for the Royals group by investing across T20 leagues in the world. In 2010 the Royals had announced a global alliance when they joined forces with Hampshire, the Cape Cobras and Trinidad & Tobago to form a worldwide T20 brand. That venture did not take off, but the Royals have remained on the lookout for such opportunities.

“The idea of creating a global network behind the Royals brand is something that we are keen to do for many many years, It was the opportunity too good to miss” Badale told ESPNcricinfo. “The IPL is only on our screen for a short period of the annual calendar. Secondly, it gives our fans an opportunity to follow Royals teams across the world and in different locations. Thirdly, from a cricketing perspective to trial new things.”

Badale said the CPL investment had the support of the RedBird Capital Partners, who recently picked up a 15% stake in the Royals’ franchise in the IPL. The US-based RedBird has interests in the parent company of Liverpool and the Boston Red Sox. “They are hugely supportive of the Barbados acquisition.”

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo



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