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South Africa to host Pakistan in three Tests next season

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JOHANNESBURG: Cricket South Africa (CSA) have announced their home schedule for the 2018-19 season that will see tours by Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, with the focus on One-day Internationals ahead of the World Cup next year.

South Africa will also host a total of five Tests, 13 One-day Internationals and nine Twenty20 Internationals against these three nations.

Pakistan will feature in the marquee Boxing Day and New Year Tests as they tour South Africa for the first time since 2013.

 

The first Test will be played in Centurion from Dec 26-30, before matches in Cape Town (Jan 3-7) and Johannesburg (Jan 11-15). The sides will also clash in five One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals that will follow the Test series.

There will be a just a week’s break before the end of Pakistan’s tour and the arrival of Sri Lanka for Tests in Durban (Feb 13-17) and Port Elizabeth (Feb 21-25).

The sides will also be involved in a series of five One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 fixtures that will finish on March 24.

After the busiest home season in South African history in 2017-18, which included 10 Tests — one of which was the first day-night, four-day long format fixture — South Africa will have much less of a workload next summer. They will only play half the number of Tests but more than double in ODIs and T20s, as preparation for the 2019 World Cup.

That means the five major Test venues receive one match each, with a significant change in the hosting of the Boxing Day Test. Centurion’s SuperSport Park has been selected as the venue for the fixture, which will move inland after several years of being played on the coast.

Previously, the match has alternated between Durban and Port Elizabeth, with the rationale that holiday-makers from up-country would fill the stadiums but poor crowds over recent years have forced a change.

Though many Highveld residents flock to the sea over the festive season, a large number remain at home over that period and CSA have long spoken about trialling the Boxing Day match there.

South Africa’s summer will get underway with a limited overs tour by Zimbabwe that will include three One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 fixtures between Sept 30 and Oct 14 at some of South Africa’s smaller cricket venues.

CSA’s acting chief executive Thabang Moroe said that the scheduled 13 One-day Internationals during the season would enable the national team to fine tune their preparations for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.

“Following the outstanding Test match cricket played by the Proteas during the past season we can also look forward to plenty more world-class entertainment by our acknowledged stars during the five Test matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka,” Moroe said.

South Africa are ranked second in the world in Tests and ODIs, but only sixth in Twenty20 Internationals. Their next assignment is a tour of Sri Lanka that has matches in all three formats and starts in mid-July.


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Chahal registers best ODI bowling figures by a spinner Down Under

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Mumbai :Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal on Friday recorded the best bowling figures by a spinner in an ODI clash in Australia, during the series-decider against the Aussies in Melbourne.

Chahal picked six wickets while conceding just 42 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), registering a dominant performance against the hosts, in a crucial clash. He also became the first spinner to pick six wickets in an ODI in Australia.

The bowler’s excellent performance certainly played a key role in India restricting Australia to a total of just 230.

 

The 28-year-old cricketer further equalled the best-ever ODI figures registered by any bowler in an ODI clash in Australia, alongside former Indian fast-bowler Ajit Agarkar.

Agarkar had accumulated the same tally as recorded by Chahal, against the hosts at the same venue, back in 2004.

Australian paceman Mitchell Starc enjoys a bowling tally, which trails the figures registered by the duo by a single run, having picked six wickets for 43 runs against India at the MCG, back in 2015.

English fast-bowler Chris Woakes is the fourth name on the list, after accumulating figures of 6/45 against Australia in Brisbane, 2011.

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Phogat becomes first Indian nominated for Laureus Awards

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Mumbai: Ace Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat has become the first Indian to receive a nomination in the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Monica on 18 February.

The 24-year-old Indian, who made a sensational comeback after battling a long injury lay-off to win a gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Jakarta Asian Games in 2018, has been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year.

The Haryana wrestler, who was stretchered off after dislocating her knee during the quarterfinals of 50kg freestyle event at the 2016 Olympic Games, has been nominated alongside US Tour Championship winner Tiger Woods, who won his first tournament in five years.

 

Also nominated are four inspirational Winter Olympic athletes; Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, US ski racing legend Lindsey Vonn and Dutch Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee.

The last time an Indian sporting feat made its way to the Laureus World Sports Awards was in 2004 when the Indian cricket team and Pakistan cricket team shared the Laureus Sport for Good Award for playing an International match despite political tensions between the two countries.

Most recently, Magic Bus from India won the Laureus Sport for Good award in 2014. However, Vinesh makes history as the first Indian athlete to be nominated in one of the seven main categories at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

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All foreign stars will play PSL ties in Pakistan, says Mani

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LAHORE: All star cricketers will come to Pakistan to play in the eight matches of the fourth Pakistan Super League (PSL) scheduled for Karachi and Lahore, chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ehsan Mani said.

The PSL matches will be staged from Feb 14 to March 17 at three venues — Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi — in the United Arab Emirates before the remaining fixtures move to Pakistan with Karachi staging five games, including the final, and Lahore three.

Talking to media on sidelines of a friendly cricket match between the Sports Journalists Association of Lahore (SJAL) and the UK-based Pakistani journalists at the Gaddafi Stadium, Mani said a good number of star cricketers had signed up in the six PSL franchises.

 

However, because of security concerns, prominent overseas players have been reluctant to travel to Pakistan. But with the passage of time, the number of prominent cricketers willing to visit Pakistan has risen. In the recent development the ex-South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers has already pledged to play two matches of Lahore Qalandars in Lahore on March 9 and 10.

To a query, Mani said the talks with Cricket Australia are still on to convince them to send their national side to Pakistan for two games of the five-match One-day International series in the UAE in March despite reports of Australia’s expressing their reluctance regarding playing here.

The PCB chief declared that he has persuaded CA to send a security delegation to assess the current situation in Pakistan before taking a final decision, which is expected to be taken before the PSL begins in the second week of February.

Mani further said that talks were on with the cricket boards of South Africa and England to send different age-group teams to Pakistan.

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