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Australia New Zealand news 2021-2022

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Australia to send a team without Test players as the series will coincide with Australia’s three-Test tour of Pakistan

World Cup finalists Australia and New Zealand have added a three-match T20I series in New Zealand next March in the lead-up to the 2022 World Cup which will run concurrently with Australia’s tour to Pakistan.

Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket confirmed on Friday that the two teams will meet in three T20Is in New Zealand on March 17, 18 and 20 in Wellington and Napier. Australia will need to send a separate T20I squad to New Zealand as they did earlier in 2021 when the two teams played a five-match series while Australia’s Test team was scheduled to play in South Africa, although the Test tour was subsequently cancelled due to CA’s covid concerns.

Justin Langer missed the New Zealand tour with senior assistant Andrew McDonald taking charge of the team. David Warner, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood also missed the five-match series in New Zealand. All would likely miss next year’s series as well given they will be required in Pakistan with the three Tests being played between March 3 and March 25. A three-match ODI series and one-off T20I will follow in Pakistan starting on March 29.

CA confirmed that once again another T20I squad would be selected without the first-choice Test players, with the Pakistan Tests taking priority.

CA chief executive Nick Hockley said the series was important for both nations despite it being shoehorned into the calendar alongside the Pakistan tour.

“New Zealand’s home summer schedule has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, and we are pleased to be able to support our closest neighbour with this T20I tour,” Hockley said

“As well as supporting New Zealand Cricket to host a full summer of international cricket, it will also be a great opportunity for our men’s T20 team to ramp up their preparations ahead of our home ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in October and November next year.”

NZC chief executive David White was grateful for CA’s support with New Zealand’s closed border causing issues in terms of getting teams to travel there.

“The impact of Covid-19 has meant a number of changes to our schedule – and we want to place on record our thanks to Cricket Australia for agreeing to send a team across the Tasman at such short notice,” White said.

“NZC and CA have always enjoyed a close relationship and we really appreciate the lengths they’ve gone to in order to help us.”

The two teams are also scheduled to play a three-match ODI series and a one-off T20I in Australia in late January, early February although border restrictions could still cause complications for that tour with the opening match set for Perth on January 30. Western Australia’s border could still be closed at the point depending on vaccination rates.



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Aus vs Eng, Men’s Ashes, 2021-22

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CA have confirmed that the relocated fifth Test will be under lights to fill the favourable timeslot

There has been a flurry of public lobbying from state leaders regarding the fifth men’s Ashes Test, with Tasmania facing stiff competition in its bid for hosting rights.

Cricket Australia confirmed on Monday the showpiece series finale, slated to start January 14, would not take place in Perth because of border restrictions.

Every rival state has since thrown its hat in the ring for what will be a pink-ball Test, ensuring broadcasters aren’t denied the prime-time fodder they would otherwise have access to. ACT chief minister Andrew Barr has also put forward a case for Manuka Oval.

CA, weighing up several factors, is expected to land on its replacement venue within a week. The obvious temptation is to bank the biggest cheque on offer, believed to be the MCG unless Tasmania premier Peter Gutwein or a rival leader tips in millions of dollars to bridge the gap.

Yet the decision will be more complex than just money, coming two months after CA’s state-association shareholders forced the resignation of chair Earl Eddings.

The governing body will be desperate to be as collaborative as possible, while also pleasing broadcasters and players, but finding the middle of that Venn diagram will be incredibly tricky.

Logistics will form a major part of the decision, with accommodation for the series’ travelling circus to be a key challenge in Melbourne given the Test overlaps with the Australian Open.

Tasmania premier Peter Gutwein urged CA to do the “right thing by the game” and lock in Hobart for its first ever Ashes Test, rather than staging two legs of the series at another ground.

“We are currently finalising our proposal to Cricket Australia, which we will submit within the next 24 hours,” Gutwein said. “We are very confident we can more than meet all of their requirements to host the fifth Test in Hobart.

“Hobart has only been allocated 13 Tests in the 32 years since hosting our first Test. CA should not be seduced by the larger states, they should act in the best interests of the country, make history.”

Similar sound bites came from around the country on Tuesday.

“Why not have it at the best cricket oval in the world?” South Australia premier Steven Marshall spruiked.

Marshall may have some support in the Australian dressing room. Captain Pat Cummins didn’t offer an opinion on where the final Test should be, but noted Adelaide Oval has “really nailed” what constitutes the best possible pitch for day-night Tests.

“At times in Sheffield Shield cricket [at other grounds], if the wicket is not quite right then you can see some long, slow pink-ball matches,” Cummins told reporters in Brisbane. “If it’s a pink-ball match and they get the wicket right, no stress from us [wherever it is played]. If it’s Sydney great, I can stay home, but I’m not too bothered.”



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Gary Stead on Kane Williamson’s elbow injury

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New Zealand’s coach also said he would speak to Ross Taylor about his future once the team returns home

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is unlikely to undergo surgery for his troublesome elbow, but could be out of action for around two months, according to head coach Gary Stead.

New Zealand next assignment after the just-concluded India tour is a two-Test series at home against Bangladesh, which begins on New Year’s Day, followed by a white-ball tour of Australia. If Williamson’s rehab goes according to plan, he might be available for the subsequent tour of South Africa in February although Stead insisted that no timeframe has been set for his comeback.

The elbow injury has been a long-standing issue for Williamson. It had flared up in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in the UAE, where Williamson cut short his stints at the nets to manage the injury, and troubled him in India as well. He sat out the second Test in Mumbai, with Tom Latham taking over as captain in his place.

“I think surgery is unlikely,” Stead said before returning to New Zealand with the rest of the squad. “With the tendon injuries around the elbow, my understanding of the situation from talking to our physio [Tommy Simsek] is all surgery would do is ensure rehab is done. If we don’t have to cut a tendon, our choice is not to do that as well.

“So Kane is going along okay. I expect it to be a sustained period of time. Last time, if you look after the World Test Championship [final] and before the IPL and T20 World Cup, was about eight or nine weeks. So, I expect it’s somewhere in that timeframe again… We’re trying not to put timeframes on it at this stage.”

‘Got to go home and speak with selectors and Ross’
Ross Taylor had a particularly dismal tour of India, managing a mere 20 runs in four innings. He hit his nadir in New Zealand’s second innings at the Wankhede Stadium where he threw his bat at each of the eight balls he faced before he skied a slog-sweep off R Ashwin and was dismissed for 6.

Stead pointed out that Taylor’s lack of game-time – he had not played a single competitive game between the World Test Championship final in June and the Test leg of the India tour in November-December – contributed to his struggles.

“Ross has had a disappointing tour by his standards, but he’s been an exceptional player for New Zealand for a long, long period of time,” Stead said. “So he’s not the only guy that has come to India or Asian conditions and struggled over here. I think there’s some factors behind it, with the lack of match-time beforehand. We had a number of trainings or a couple of trainings before the second Test that was washed out as well.

“I think Ross will look back and be disappointed at that himself. It’s a fine balance here, though, between trying to play aggressively and put the spinners under some pressure and also trusting your defence to bat for long periods.

“If you look throughout the whole Test, I think Mayank Agarwal was one of the few players that actually managed to do that and we still went past his outside edge on a regular basis as well. I think there were only two-three players in the whole Test match that reached 50 and Agarwal was obviously the exception in getting to a 150.”

Williamson’s injury-enforced absence means Taylor could still start the home Test series against Bangladesh at Bay Oval in the new year. Taylor is also three Tests away from becoming New Zealand’s most capped player in the format, but considering the progress of fringe players like Will Young, Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra, Taylor’s No.4 spot isn’t as certain as it once was.

“I think the thing that’s encouraging for our team is we have more options now than what we did have a year or two years ago,” Stead said. “You’ve seen the emergence of Will Young and Daryl Mitchell, in particular, who have come onto the Test scene and done really well.

“But let’s not also forget that Ross Taylor has an amazing record behind him as well. He’s been one of New Zealand’s premier batsmen for a long, long period of time, and you don’t lose that class just over one tour.

“I’ve got to get home and speak with the selectors and have a conversation with Ross as well, around where he sees his game going forward.”

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Pakistan Cricket Board and PTV settle broadcast dispute outside of court with PMO assistance

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Both parties are now expected to withdraw litigation, with a new revenue distribution model mapped out

The ongoing legal feud between Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Pakistan Television (PTV) has been settled outside of court, mediated by the Prime Minister Imran Khan‘s office. Both parties are now expected to withdraw litigation. The revenue sharing model, ESPNcricinfo understands, has also been revised, allowing PCB to take 72% of the share while PTV will take 28% out of the commercial deals, a significant change from the previous 57.5 – 42.5 arrangement.
The PCB had signed a three-year broadcast deal last year in September with PTV to broadcast home cricket, as well as an agreement with I-Media Communications Services, to ensure the PCB’s broadcast content is not redistributed illegally by cable operators. The model could have potentially had them earn in excess of USD $200 million, but last month new PCB chairman Ramiz Raja had unilaterally suspended the deal with PTV and terminated the I-Media contract to open a new tender for the media rights for Pakistan’s upcoming series against West Indies and Australia.

PTV had gone to Lahore Civil Court court to obtain a stay order against PCB’s abrupt move, and the two parties were struck in a legal wrangle – with PCB going to the High Court – with the West Indies series around the corner. The courts adjourned the hearings while the PCB was keen to go into fresh bidding and bring in new broadcaster; PTV, the state broadcaster, was unhappy with this and had a number of meetings to renegotiate with PCB, citing that they had never violated their agreements or defaulted on their payments.

The expected earnings from this deal would come from advertising revenue and also, for the first time in Pakistan, distribution revenue from the cable operators – the equivalent of revenues that broadcasters make from subscriptions – through I-Media. I-Media was meant to ensure that the distribution of cricket content would only be done through licensed cable operators, and the value of the content would be protected against potential illegal distribution. The production rights however had to be regulated by PCB on their own.

The deal with I-Media now stands terminated due to non-compliance on payments. The Pakistan government is yet to implement the Digital Pakistan policy, one part of which regulates the illegal cable operator business, though the plan is to have it done within a year.

The broadcast deal until last year was signed in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic in a shrinking broadcast market. It ended a long-running broadcast relationship between the PCB and Ten Sports, and there were no potential overseas takers at the time as international rights for PCB’s home series were sold separately to various channels around the world.

Recently though, Pakistan has had a few local sports broadcasters to choose from. The ARY Group has launched an HD sports channel, A-Sports, which covered the T20 World Cup and is presently broadcasting the Lankan Premier League. PTV broadcasts its content in standard definition, but ESPNcricinfo has learnt that the state broadcaster is set to upgrade their broadcasting quality to HD within a month.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent



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