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On the ICC’s table – Future of ODIs, more teams in WTC, the extra ICC event

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Chief executives of cricket boards will start hammering out on Thursday what cricket’s next eight-year calendar will look like. CEC (the ICC’s chief executives’ committee) meetings on the 2023-31 cycle have so far been exploratory in nature, in trying to suss out member views on various competitions, ICC events and the growing space domestic T20 leagues now occupy.

But the real work of getting the calendar into shape begins now, with two broad questions to answer: one, how much time is available for bilateral cricket given ICC events and domestic T20 leagues; and two, what should the structure of international cricket, including the World Test Championship (WTC) and the ODI Super League, look like?

These discussions are likely to be more complicated than ever, and not just because a common virtual window for every board to attend from around the world is relatively short and tricky. The demands on the calendar are growing and have amplified, even from the last time these discussions took place, across 2017-18. Ahead of the meeting, we look at the four issues that need resolving in the next calendar.



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Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman join Bangladesh team bubble after quarantine

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Both players left quarantine on Monday night, 11 days after they arrived in Dhaka following the IPL’s deferment

Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman have started training with the Bangladesh squad after transferring from hotel quarantine to the team’s bio-bubble for the Sri Lanka series, according to the BCB. Both players left quarantine on Monday night, 11 days after they arrived in Dhaka following the IPL’s deferment.

Initially they were supposed to be in quarantine for 14 days, in accordance with the directive by the country’s health authorities for travellers from India, which is currently suffering a massive second wave of Covid-19 infections.

The BCB’s chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said that there was no “special considerations” being made for the two, given that they will remain in a bio-bubble all through the Sri Lanka series, which begins on May 23. Training for the series began today.

“The directive that they must practise while staying in a bio-bubble environment still stands. They are practicing while within the bio-bubble. This is not a special consideration. They have shifted from their hotel quarantine to the team’s bio-bubble,” Chowdhury said, adding that the pair had tested negative three times before joining the bubble.

The IPL sent the two players to Dhaka on a chartered flight, since air travel between the two countries has been suspended since April 14. A hard lockdown was enforced in Bangladesh since that day, following a spike in Covid-19 cases from mid-March. With India also experiencing a severe second wave, the border between the two countries was also shut from late April. Land borders were reopened earlier this month, with those crossing over into Bangladesh needing to undergo institutional quarantine for 14 days.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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Daren Sammy relinquishes captaincy at St Lucia Zouks

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Two-time World Cup winner joins Andy Flower as part of the backroom staff

Daren Sammy has stepped down from his role as St Lucia Zouks captain to become the franchise’s “T20 cricket consultant and brand ambassador” for the 2021 CPL season.

Sammy led the Zouks – who had previously reached the play-offs once in seven seasons – to the final last year, after they finished third in the league phase and then bowled Guyana Amazon Warriors out for 55 in the semi-finals.

Sammy himself faced 51 balls and bowled only three overs across his 12 appearances, and with his playing role increasingly limited, he will now join Andy Flower’s coaching staff instead.

Sammy, a two-time T20 World champion, is yet to confirm his retirement from all cricket, but has not played since the 2020 CPL final, and is now head coach at his PSL franchise, Peshawar Zalmi.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to have led and been a part of the St Lucia Zouks from its inception,” Sammy said in a CPL media release. “Even though some may say good things must come to an end it will not be in this instance: St Lucia Zouks and I will always be a team.

“But since venturing into coaching, I realise I have a new passion that can allow me to still contribute and play a part in taking the franchise forward on its quest to winning a CPL title and developing future stars.”

Flower, who called Sammy an “icon of West Indies white-ball cricket” and “the heartbeat of St Lucia Zouks,” said: “He’s decided to step away from playing after an amazing career both with the West Indies, where he led the side to two T20 World Cups, but also as a really inspirational leader, full of integrity, for the island. We want to continue our partnership with Daren coming in as part ambassador, part coach, part mentor alongside me.”

The Zouks also announced the retention of seven players from their 2020 squad ahead of the upcoming season, which starts on August 28 in St Kitts: Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Rahkeem Cornwall, Roston Chase, Obed McCoy, Mark Deyal and Javelle Glen.



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South Africa cricket – AB de Villiers decides ‘his retirement will remain final’

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Last month it had emerged he was in discussions over a possible South Africa comeback with an eye on the T20 World Cup

The chances of AB de Villiers featuring in this year’s T20 World Cup have dimmed, with Cricket South Africa stating that he has decided “once and for all, that his retirement will remain final”.



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