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Devon Conway’s New Zealand residency confirmed to remove tour doubts

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The batsman is expected to make his Test debut against England after prolific limited-overs performances

Devon Conway has had his New Zealand residency visa approved, which means he will be able to return to the country after the tour of England.

Although eligible to play for New Zealand since last August, his residency application was still pending until a few days ago. Only citizens or residents are able to return under the government’s Covid-19 protocols so it could have caused problems for Conway touring but the doubts have now been removed.

“Very positive news came through a couple of days ago that that has been granted so he is allowed to come back into the country,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said. “We are really pleased for Devon and Kim, his partner, who have managed to get that over the line.

“I guess it’s one thing that’s been on his mind that’s not there anymore. Who knows, one less thing on his mind he might score more runs.”



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West Indies to host South Africa, Australia and Pakistan in bumper home season

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The summer will include four Tests, three ODIs and 15 T20Is in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup

Cricket West Indies has announced a packed home schedule for the 2021 season, which includes visits from South Africa, Australia and Pakistan. In all, West Indies will play four Tests, three ODIs and 15 T20Is from June 10 to August 24.

The T20I-centric nature of the summer will help the teams prepare for the upcoming T20 World Cup, which is currently scheduled to be held in India in October-November 2021. The series against Pakistan was originally scheduled to include three Tests and three T20Is, but CWI and the PCB have mutually agreed to replace one Test with two additional T20Is.

The first part of the home summer will see West Indies face South Africa in two Tests in St Lucia (June 10-22) followed by five T20Is in Grenada (June 26 to July 5). This will be South Africa’s first bilateral tour of the West Indies since 2010.

This will be followed by a white-ball-only visit from Australia, who are scheduled to play five T20Is in St Lucia (July 9-16) followed by three ODIs in Barbados (July 20-24).

Pakistan will play their T20I series over two legs – the first two matches in Barbados on July 27 and 28 followed by the last three in Guyana from July 31 to August 3. They will then move to Jamaica where they will complete their tour with a two-match Test series (August 12-24).

“Following the successful hosting of the all-format series against Sri Lanka earlier this year, we are delighted to announce that we are set to welcome South Africa, Australia and Pakistan to the West Indies,” CWI CEO Johnny Grave said. “To host three international teams back-to-back in five territories is unprecedented, and putting these fixtures together was an enormous Covid-related logistical challenge.

“We must thank the visiting teams for agreeing to travel at this challenging period for world cricket and we are especially grateful to our regional Governments who are playing such a vital role in partnering with CWI to ensure that International cricket can be hosted safely, while providing entertainment for our loyal fans and income for our cricketers and cricket communities.”

The entire summer will follow biosecure safety protocols, with players and team officials undergoing regular tests for Covid-19. A CWI release said it is yet to be decided whether fans will be allowed at the stadiums.



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Lord’s Varsity matches under scrutiny in gender equality row

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Pressure on Oxford and Cambridge to agree to T20 double-header or lose historic fixture

Marylebone Cricket Club has been asked to “step in” to find an “equitable solution” to a disagreement about gender parity in university cricket.

While the men’s Varsity Match – the game between Oxford and Cambridge universities – has been played on the main square at Lord’s for nearly 200 years, the women’s match has never progressed beyond the Nursery Ground. For many years, including 2021, it has not even made it that far.

Now a former Oxford University captain has written to key figures at MCC and requested they intervene to correct the situation.

Vanessa Picker, who was captain between 2017-20 and has founded the #StumpOutSexism campaign, contacted the MCC CEO, President and President-elect (Guy Lavender, Kumar Sangakkara and Clare Connor respectively) suggesting that “denying the women’s Blues access to Lord’s, while allowing our male counterparts to maintain exclusive access, reinforces damaging narratives about the inferiority of female cricketers.”

She went on to say: “In 2021, I strongly believe that the universities and the MCC should be taking steps to support men and women equally.”

Picker’s campaign actually stems back two-and-a-half years. But despite making numerous requests to the authorities at Oxford and Cambridge, correspondence seen by ESPNcricinfo shows that she has struggled to obtain the equal standards for which she has been aiming. For that reason, she has asked MCC to intervene to help persuade the universities to treat the men’s and women’s games equally.

While Lavender has declined the request for 2021 – he only received it on May 12 and the Varsity match is scheduled for May 23 – he did say MCC would be “very happy to accommodate a men’s and women’s T20 double header on the same day next year.”

Lavender pointed out that MCC were using the match on May 23 as a “test event” in a bid to approve a license ahead of the New Zealand Test at the start of June, and suggested the dispute was “primarily a matter for [the] respective universities”.



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India women tour of England 2021-22

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The squad hasn’t been named yet, but players have been asked to assemble in Mumbai on May 18

The India Women players are without central contracts from September 30, 2020 and aren’t sure if they will have signed new annual retainers by the time they board their flight to the UK on June 2 for a tour comprising one Test (their first in nearly seven years), three ODIs and three T20Is.

A BCCI functionary told ESPNcricinfo that the matter was wholly being dealt by secretary Jay Shah’s office. As of Friday (May 14) afternoon, the selection committee headed by former India left-arm spinner Neetu David hadn’t named the squad for the England tour.

However, ESPNcricinfo understands the players have been asked to assemble in Mumbai on May 18, and follow a two-week quarantine, like their male counterparts, before the entire contingent flies to the UK on June 2.

The only cricket the women players have played since their runners-up finish at the T20 World Cup in March last year has been the four-match Women’s T20 Challenge in Sharjah in November and two limited-overs series at home against South Africa, which they lost, earlier this year. Those defeats led to scrutiny on WV Raman’s position as head coach, and on Thursday, he was replaced by Ramesh Powar.



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