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ICC expands men’s world events – ODI World Cup to 14 teams

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The changes come into effect in the 2024-31 cycle, with the Champions Trophy also poised to return

The 2027 men’s ODI World Cup will feature 14 teams after the ICC Board on Tuesday decided to expand the quadrennial tournament in the 2024-31 cycle of events. Another marquee event that has been expanded is the men’s T20 World Cup. The tournament will comprise 20 teams and will be held every two years in the ICC’s next commercial cycle from 2023-2031.

The ICC has also decided to reintroduce an additional event in the form of the 50-over Champions Trophy in the next cycle of global events. The tournament will comprise the top eight ranked teams; the first edition will be played in 2025, followed by one in 2029.

The ICC Board also decided to retain the format for the World Test Championship (WTC) in the next cycle with the nine teams playing six series each to compete in the final every two years: 2025, 2027, 2029 and 2031. The inaugural edition of the WTC will culminate in the final between India and New Zealand from June 18-22 in Southampton. The second cycle will commence immediately after the title clash.

The 2027 and 2031 ODI World Cups will feature 54 matches each while the T20 World Cups, scheduled for 2024, 2026, 2028, and 2030, will comprise 55 matches each. The ICC Board also approved the formats for various global events with the ODI World Cups reverting to the Super 6s that was last seen in the 2003 edition held in South Africa. Fourteen teams would be split across the two groups of seven each, with the top three from each progressing to the Super Six stage, which would followed by semi-finals and final.

The T20 World Cup, meanwhile, will see its 20 teams spread across four groups of five each with the top two entering the Super Eights stage. The knockouts, comprising the semi-finals and a final, follow.

The Champions Trophy, which was last played in 2017, will retain the same format as in the past with eight teams split across two groups of four, and the top two sides from each group making the semi-finals followed by the final.

The expansion of the men’s ODI World Cup has been a longstanding debate ever since the ICC curtailed the tournament to 10 teams after the 14-team 2015 edition. The governing body subsequently launched the 13-team ODI Super League from 2020 to provide context to the 50-over game with the top eight teams directly qualifying for the 2023 World Cup. However, two of the 12 Full Members as well as some of the top Associates countries were left frustrated by the ICC’s decision to limit the ODI World Cup to just 10 teams.

To offset that change the ICC had decided to consider increasing the number of teams in the T20 World Cup, which it has reiterated will be the vehicle to expand cricket’s footprint globally. That decision on Tuesday received the backing of the ICC Board, which agreed to not only add four additional teams to the existing set of 16, but also have the T20 World Cup every two years.

“Having the ICC event schedule confirmed through to 2031 is a significant step forward for cricket and will form the basis of our growth strategy for the next decade,” Geoff Allardice, the ICC acting chief executive officer, said in a media release on Tuesday.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Complaint filed against Sabbir Rahman for alleged racial abuse and stone throwing

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Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club lodge the complaint for apparent offences against their player Elias Sunny; Rahman denies allegations

Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club has lodged a complaint against Legends of Rupganj player Sabbir Rahman for racially abusing and throwing stones at their player Elias Sunny. The alleged incident took place during the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) T20 match between Dhanmondi and Old DOHS Sports Club at the BKSP 3 ground in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Rahman, who had a match lined up against Partex Sporting Club starting later in the day at the BKSP 4 ground, allegedly abused Sunny, who was on the field, and threw stones at him shortly after arriving at the sporting complex.

Play was stopped for a few minutes when Sunny, fielding at the time, informed the on-field umpires Habibur Rahman and Mozahiduzzaman about the incident. After the match, Dhanmondi wrote a letter to the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) – the BCB committee that oversees club cricket in Dhaka – requesting disciplinary action.

“[Sabbir Rahman] used abusive and racially discriminate language against Sunny. As a professional cricketer, such behaviour is not only indecent but also a punishable offense,” the letter said. “In this case, you are specially requested to take disciplinary action against Sabbir Rahman.”

Sunny said that Rahman’s behaviour was not an isolated one. He said it had started earlier in the week when Dhanmondi played Rupganj.

“Sabbir started abusing me when I was batting against Rupganj on June 13,” Sunny told ESPNcricinfo. “I asked him thrice whether he himself understood what he was saying, but he kept repeating it. I got angry, after which the umpires had to separate us. But he kept calling me kalo (referring to his skin colour) repeatedly from the outfield. We won the match so I didn’t react too much.

“During today’s match, when we were fielding, Rupganj’s bus had arrived near the BKSP 3 ground. He started teasing me with the same kalo, kalo. I didn’t react at first. But shortly afterwards, he threw a stone at me. I maintained the protocol by telling the umpires. Play was stopped for a while. I also spoke to the match referee.”

Speaking to the Daily Star, Rahman denied that he had used a racial slur, adding, “There is no question of throwing a stone. Is it easy to throw stones? Why would I do something like that? He is my senior.”

The CCDM, which will hold a hearing on the incident, has to investigate the matter since Rahman was technically an outsider or bystander during the Dhanmondi-Old DOHS game. If the match officials of the Dhanmondi game also report Rahman, it would be used as evidence against him.

Rahman has a long record of disciplinary breaches. He received a six-month ban for abusing a fan on social media (that was later reduced by one month) in 2018. It came a few months after his central contract was revoked after he physically assaulted a fan during a first-class match in late 2017. During the 2016 BPL, the BCB fined him 30% of his BPL contract for “serious off-field disciplinary breaches”.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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Vitality Blast 2021 – Ollie Pope to miss four Surrey Blast fixtures after being required to self-isolate

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Batter comes into contact with Covid-19 carrier, but not while on England duty

Ollie Pope will miss Surrey’s next four T20 Blast fixtures after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Pope, the middle-order batter, had been due to link up with his county this week following England’s Test series defeat against New Zealand, but has been forced into self-isolation in line with track-and-trace protocols.

He will miss home games against Sussex, Hampshire, Essex and Somerset, but is expected to be available for the London derby against Middlesex on June 25. Surrey are currently unbeaten in their Blast campaign, having won each of their opening three fixtures.

“Ollie Pope will not be available to play cricket until June 24 having had contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19,” a Surrey statement said. “He will now have to self-isolate until that time.



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New-ball yorker, swinging in – how Wahab Riaz trapped Babar Azam for first-ball duck

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“I wanted to attack Babar from the very first ball, bringing the ball in to him using the blind spot,” the seamer reveals

Peshawar Zalmi’s two new boys Hazratullah Zazai and Abrar Ahmed may have caught the eye in a statement-making thumping of champions Karachi Kings but the win was set up by a rare bout of new-ball swing. And pace.
The example was set by captain Wahab Riaz with a searing first-over dismissal of Babar Azam before Sameen Gul picked up two in two in the third over – all three deliveries hooping big. Azam’s failure was a rare one for the Pakistan captain this season but so too was the method of Riaz’s success: a new-ball yorker, swinging in.

“In Abu Dhabi, the ball swings a lot under lights and it’s not just for me but everyone who is bowling with pace,” Riaz told ESPNcricinfo. “The first three to four overs are crucial and that is where everyone is trying to extract maximum advantage given the dew later on. Mostly, teams have been struggling against the new ball and losing a bulk of wickets early.

“With a new hard ball and pace, you will get everything if you bowl in right area. I had worked out a plan and wanted to attack Babar from the very first ball, bringing the ball in to him using the blind spot [the left-arm over angle creates]. But once the game goes on, after five overs or so, the swing is reduced and batsmen control back.”

The good work of Riaz and Gul was built upon by Ahmed, playing for Zalmi for the first time this season and in only his fourth T20 game since his debut in the PSL four seasons ago. Ahmed is a rare breed for Pakistan: a finger-spinner who can bowl the carrom ball; his 3 for 14 were the first wickets he’s taken at this level. He had caused a flutter of excitement when he emerged in the 2016-17 season for the Karachi Kings – then coach Mickey Arthur saw him potentially as an answer to Pakistan’s middle-overs bowling – but back injuries have kept him out of the game until last year.

The other new arrival, Zazai, then tore into the total, a remarkable 26-ball 63 on his PSL debut taking Zalmi to 99 in the ninth over, when he was dismissed. His fifty, off 17 balls, was the joint-fastest in the PSL. He took 21 off a Mohammad Amir over, and then 20 by himself off Aamer Yamin. The first six off the latter went outside the ground.

“When my shots started coming off early on, I thought I need to cash in as it’s my day today,” Zazai said after the game. “I liked all the sixes I hit today but the first one off Aamer Yamin was probably my favourite.”

The win took Zalmi to joint-second with the Lahore Qalandars, with some fresh impetus with Ahmed and Zazai in the squad now.



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