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ICC announces nine-team Test championship & 13-Team ODI league

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The International Cricket Council (ICC)

Auckland, Oct 13: With an aim to bring context and meaning to bilateral cricket, a nine-team Test cricket league and a 13-team One-Day International league will start in 2019 and 2020, respectively, it was announced on Friday.

The Test series league will see nine teams play six series over two years — three home and three away, the International Cricket Council (ICC) declared after the ICC Board meeting here.

Each team will be having a minimum of two Tests and a maximum of five and all the five-day matches will culminate in a World Test League Championship Final, according to the statement.

“The ODI league will be a direct qualification pathway towards the ICC Cricket World Cup and will be contested by the 12 Full Members plus the winners of the current ICC World Cricket League Championship,” ICC said in a statement.

In the first edition of the league, each side will play four home and four away series each comprising of three ODIs moving to all teams playing each other from the second cycle onwards.

ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar said that the leagues are a genuine solution to bring context to bilateral cricket.

“I would like to congratulate our Members on reaching this agreement and putting the interests of the development of the game first,” Maohar said.

“Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but this is the first time a genuine solution has been agreed on,” the former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President added.

“This means fans around the world can enjoy international cricket knowing every game counts and in the case of the ODI league, it counts towards qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup.”

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “This is a significant point in time for ICC Members and our collective desire to secure a vibrant future for international bilateral cricket.

“The approval of both leagues is the conclusion of two years of work from the Members who have explored a whole range of options to bring context to every game.

“The ICC Board decision today means we can now go and finalise a playing schedule for the first edition as well as the points system, hosting arrangements and competition terms.”

The ICC Board here also approved a trial of four-day Test matches to run through until the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Members will be able to schedule four-day games by bilateral agreement and a set of standardised playing conditions will now be finalised.

Richardson said: “Our priority was to develop an international cricket structure that gave context and meaning across international cricket and particularly in the Test arena. This has been delivered and every Test in the new League will be a five-day Test format.

“However, throughout the discussions about the future of Test cricket it became clear that whilst context is crucial we must also consider alternatives and trial initiatives that may support the future viability of Test cricket. The trial is exactly that, a trial, just in the same way day-night Tests and technology have been trialled by members.

“Four-day Tests will also provide the new Test playing countries with more opportunities to play the longer version of the game against more experienced opponents, which, in turn, will help them to hone their skills and close the gap with the top nine ranked teams.”

Meanwhile, the ICC announced that the World Cup Qualifier will be held in Zimbabwe in March 2018.

Namibia have been confirmed as the host of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in February 2018 whilst the Netherlands have been approved as the host of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier 2018.

IANS

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IND Vs SL, 3rd ODI: India beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets, win series 2-1

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Visakhapatnam, Dec 17: India eased to an eight-wicket win against Sri Lanka in the decisive third and final One-Day International (ODI) at Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

After restricting Sri Lanka to 215 runs, Shikhar Dhawan’s 100 not out helped India canter to the big win with 17.5 overs to spare.

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Superseries Finals: Sindhu loses to Yamaguchi in final

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P.V. Sindhu
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Dubai, Dec 17: Indian star shuttler P.V. Sindhu lost to Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles final of the BWF World Superseries Finals here on Sunday.

Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu lost 21-15, 12-21, 19-21 to world No.2 Yamaguchi at the Hamdan Sports Complex.

IANS

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Knee injury forces Sania Mirza to miss Australian Open

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Kolkata, Dec 16: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza said on Saturday that she will not be taking part in the Australian Open early next year due to a right knee injury.

“Basically I have something that’s called a jumper’s knee. So it’s extrmely painful…like I am okay to walk but it’s painful to change directions and play. That’s the biggest problem. So I can run straight but I can’t actually do plyometric stuff on it,” the 31-year-old said told reporters on the sidelines of the Premjit Lall Invitational Tennis Tournament at the Jaidip Mukherjea Academy.

“When I spoke to my doctor a couple of months ago, they told me to take a couple of months off, then see how it feels before getting into a process of either surgery or injections or whatever.

“So when I saw them, the pain wasn’t less after two months. So mow we have to take a call whether we have to do a surgery or take a couple of injections.

“So it’s a little up in the air. I can’t tell you a definitive when but it won’t be before the next couple of months atleast. I will be missing the Australian Open for sure,” Sania added.

Sania said she will need time to get back on the court though expressing hope that she will take part in the Commonwealth Games (April 4 to 15) and Asian Games (August 18 – September 2) next year.

“Hopefully I will be okay for that. I’ve always said that every time people ask me about plans ahead, as tennis players we don’t know about our health. We don’t know where will be at that point. It’s still one year, it’s a long time anything can happen. Hopefully I’ll be healthy again,” the 31-year old former former world No.1 in the women’s doubles said.

Sania was the guest of honour in the three-day event alongwith former Indian tennis great Vijay Amritraj and Somdev Devvarman.

Asked if seeing so many kids in the academy asking for her autograph and a selfie reminded her of the first time she held a tennis racket, Sania said: “I was six years old. The coach did not want to take me as I was too small to play tennis at that time. My mum had to force him to take me. It was a big argument and then he took me.

“After a month, he called my parents and said ‘you have to come and watch her play because I’ve never seen a six-year old play like that. That’s how I remember my first memory of holding a tennis raquet.”

At the podium while giving away awards, Sania wished she spent more time playing in India.

“It’s good to be back in Kolkata. when Jaidip da calls us we come and that’s why we come. I miss playing in India. I am hoping for a women’s tournament as well,” Sania said.

IANS

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