England Cricket Team Passes COVID-19 Tests

Graeme Robertson / AFP / POOL


The England cricket team all passed coronavirus tests after all-rounder Moeen Ali was found to have Covid-19 and have been cleared to start restricted training in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, a spokesman said.

Moeen was found to have the coronavirus shortly after the squad arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday and has been put in isolation in a hotel away from the other players.

The result was an early blow to preparations for the two Tests in Sri Lanka that start in Galle on January 14. But the plans in the secure bubble in Hambantota in the south of the island are now largely back on track.

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“Good news from the camp all PCR tests from yesterday are negative except for Moeen Ali, and we can start controlled training this afternoon,” said an England spokesman.

Chris Woakes, who had been a close contact of Moeen, tested negative but will continue to isolate in his room. The tourists must undergo a third test on Thursday.

Sri Lanka have just finished a tour in South Africa where they lost two Tests and are due to return home on Friday. They will also have to go into a biosecure bubble.

Joe Root and his players arrived on a charter flight as nearly all international flights to Sri Lanka are banned and flights from Britain have been halted following the discovery of a new, more infectious coronavirus strain.

The 18-man England squad, with seven reserves, are resuming a Sri Lanka tour halted by the pandemic in March. England’s tour of South Africa was also cut short last month over coronavirus fears.

Nigeria Cricket Federation Appoints Gurusinha As New National Team Coach

File image of new national cricket team coach, Asanka Gurusinha.


The Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) has announced the appointment of Asanka Gurusinha as the new coach of the national cricket team. 

According to the federation, the new coach that will resume officially on the 1st of December 2020 will head the high-performance unit of the body and also act as a coach trainer and mentor indigenous coaches.

Asanka Gurusinha, born 16th September 1966, is a former Sri Lankan Australian Cricketer who commands an admirable 11-year international career, playing 41 Tests and 147 One Day Internationals for Sri Lanka.

A specialist left-handed batsman and a key member of the 1996 Cricket World Cup-winning team for Sri Lanka, Gurusinha scored 65 runs in the finals against Australia.

The 54-year old is a level 3 certified coach and was appointed Cricket Manager for the Sri Lanka national team in 2017. He has also served as the Consultant Regional Coach for Cricket Australia.

Reacting to the appointment, the President of the Federation Prof. Yahaya Adam Ukwenya described the move as timely and purposeful and appreciated the support of the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare.

“The appointment of Asanka marks another milestone in this administration’s desire to raise the standard of the game in the country both at the elite and development level,” he said.

“Internally, his appointment will greatly impact on our development structure as we look to begin our Accelerated Growth Program. On the big stage, Nigeria can no longer take a passing interest in World Cricket, we should be able to compete at all levels we play and not just make up the numbers.”

Hiring a foreign coach for the national team is one of the objectives of the NCF board and they believe the coach will contribute to the development of the sport in the county.

There are five (5) key strategic development pillars for which this present administration believed would lead to sustained growth and development of the sport in the country and one of those pillars is to,  Ukwenya stated, is to “Improve the quality of our players and officials at all levels through regular local and international competitions and development events.

”The successes recorded in the last 3 years have seen our national teams play at the highest level in world Cricket with our famous participation at the ICC Under-19 world cup 2020 in South Africa, senior men’s Twennty20 world cup qualifier 2019 in the UAE and the national women’s team world cup qualifier in Zimbabwe also in 2019.”

”In a bid to continuously improve and maintain the standard of our national team’s performance at the elite level, the federation have taken a bold step by hiring the services of a foreign coach of international repute and qualification with a proven track record at the highest level. This decision became imperative as Nigeria looks to compete at more international tournaments in the near future and also improve her performance in world Cricket rankings,” the NCF president added.

The official unveiling of the head coach is scheduled to take place on the 8th of December 2020 at the MKO Abiola Stadium, VIP Lounge, Package A, Abuja.


Will Saliva Ban Threaten Cricket’s Kings Of Swing?

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne plays a shot during the first day of the third cricket Test match between Australia and New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney on January 3, 2020.


An International Cricket Council board meeting on Wednesday could see the global governing body uphold a recommendation to prohibit the use of saliva in order to stop the transmission of the coronavirus.

Bowlers traditionally get the ball to move or swing in the air, thereby making it harder for batsmen to hit, by applying shine to one side via sweat — which can still be used — or saliva.

However, as a temporary measure to combat COVID-19, the ICC’s cricket committee has suggested banning the use of saliva.

AFP Sport shines a light on the issue:

Massie’s match

— One of the most extraordinary individual performances in cricket history saw Australia swing bowler Bob Massie take 16 for 137 on his Test debut against England at Lord’s in 1972.

Yet Massie won just five more caps and took only 15 more wickets, with the bowler himself saying he had struggled on a subsequent tour of the West Indies where he adjusted his action and was never the same cricketer again.

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Massie’s remarkable maiden Test and the lavish swing he generated at Lord’s led to suggestions he’d applied lip salve to the ball in order to maintain the shine — an accusation he has always denied.

“Some days things go just right,” Massie said by way of explaining his remarkable introduction to Test cricket.

Reverse swing

— It used to be thought that as a cricket ball got older it would swing less.

But a technique pioneered by Pakistan paceman Sarfraz Nawaz, partly in response to the slow and batsmen-friendly pitches of his homeland, led to the development of reverse swing.

“Just using sweat won’t be of much help because that will only make the ball wet and that shine will be missing,” said Sarfraz.

Sarfraz confused a succession of batsmen by bowling in-swingers with an old ball.

He helped compatriot Imran Khan add reverse swing to his armoury and in the 1990s there were probably no better exponents than the Pakistan fast-bowling duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.

In 1992, the pair took 43 wickets between them as Pakistan won a five-match Test series in England 2-1.

Mint condition

— Over time, teams all round the world came to realise that in order to generate reverse swing it was vital the ball was ‘looked after’ properly, with one side polished and the other kept bone dry.

Swing bowlers such as Andrew Flintoff, Matthew Hoggard and Simon Jones were pivotal to England regaining the Ashes from Australia in 2005.

But it was England opening batsman Marcus Trescothick who later revealed he had put Murray Mints sweets to good use in the field because sucking them stimulated most saliva, which could then be applied to the ball.

Play on with Pollock?

— It seems unlikely cricket chiefs will row back from the saliva ban but former South Africa paceman Shaun Pollock, even though he is a member of the ICC cricket committee, gave current swing bowlers a glimmer of hope by suggesting health checks in place for next month’s behind closed doors three-Test series between England and the West Indies might make it redundant.

“I think the environment that’ll end up being created is almost going to be like a bubble,” Pollock told the Following On Cricket Podcast.

“People will get tested, they’ll go into a two-week camp where they’re just going to sit and monitor how the conditions of their bodies change.

“And if there are no symptoms, it doesn’t really matter about shining the ball then, because you’re in the bubble and no one you come into contact with will have coronavirus.

“So you can just get on with normal proceedings.”

England Appoint Chris Silverwood As Head Cricket Coach

England’s new player Jofra Archer (R) poses with Chris Jordan (C) and bowling coach Chris Silverwood before a one day international between Ireland and England Malahide cricket club, in Dublin on May 3, 2019. Paul Faith / AFP


England have appointed Chris Silverwood as their new head coach to replace Trevor Bayliss, who stepped down last month at the end of his contract.

While former India and South Africa coach Gary Kirsten and Surrey’s director of cricket Alec Stewart emerged as contenders to succeed the Australian, Silverwood was described as the “outstanding candidate” by a three-man England and Wales Cricket Board selection panel.


Women’s Cricket Set To Take Centre Stage In Africa Qualifier


A busy, and pivotal week lies in wait for Africa’s women’s cricket, as they compete for the coveted ICC Women’s World Cup and Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier slots in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The ICC Women’s Qualifier, Africa 2019, begins today with the hosts set to get the ball rolling against Mozambique with defending champions Uganda also in action against Sierra Leone.

The tournament will be looking to build on an excellent run of African qualifying events of late, after a dramatic Under-19 tournament in Namibia, as well as the rapidly approaching Men’s T20 World Cup, Africa Finals tournament in Uganda later this month.

Uganda are the defending champions for the women’s tournament, after a memorable victory over Zimbabwe in Windhoek two years ago.

The hosts will be out to settle that score, and also to do well in front of their home supporters.

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As women’s cricket continues to flourish in Africa, it is tournaments of this nature that will ensure that the game thrives even further, and this is thus an important week for the region.

The group winners at the end of the week will contest the final, where the winner will seal passage to the Global Qualifiers.

GROUP A: Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Nigeria, Mozambique, Rwanda

GROUP B: Uganda, Kenya, Namibia, Sierra Leone

Nigeria’s U-19 Cricket Team Edge Closer To World Cup Qualification



Nigeria’s U-19 cricket team, the Junior Yellow Greens have continued their fantastic run at the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup, Africa Qualifier, beating Tanzania with 151 runs in Windhoek Namibia.

The team, still unbeaten, requires a win on Saturday against Sierra Leone to seal qualification for the 2020 World Cup in South Africa.

Riding on the spectacular form at the Qualifier the team has dispatched host Namibia, top-rated sides; Kenya and Uganda before dismissing Tanzania at the Wanderers Cricket ground today in Windhoek.

Tanzania had won the toss and elected to field first thereby sending in Nigeria to bat for the 4th consecutive time in this tournament. Elijah Olaleye and Runsewe Suleimon opened the bating with a comfortable display of 97 runs partnership in 30.1 overs before Suleimon fell for 43 runs off 89 balls. Danladi Isaac scored 31 runs of 40 balls as well.

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Elijah Olaleye, yet again produced a sublime display of bating prowess to hit 110 runs off 153 balls unbeaten in 50 overs.

Nigeria recorded their highest batting total in the tournament thus far with 211 runs for the loss of 3 wickets in 50 overs.

In the second innings, the bowling attack of the junior Yellow Greens was too strong for the Tanzanian team to contain with wickets falling at intervals. Captain Sylvester Okpe topped the onslaught with 4 wickets for 19 runs in 8.2 overs with an economy of 2.28 with Peter Aho coming to the party with 3 wickets, 3 maidens and conceded 7 runs with an economy of 0.87, while left hand seamer, Mohammed Taiwo got with 2 wickets.

Nigeria eventually restricted Tanzania to 60 runs all out in 27.2 overs.

Olaleye Elijah was named man on the match with his 110 runs not out off 157 balls.

Friday is a reserve day at the tournament, before the final round of fixtures on Saturday.

Ambode Receives Cricket Trophy In Lagos


The Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode has received the ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy at the state house in Alausa, Ikeja.

The trophy, which has been on a global tour of cities ahead of the 2019 Cricket World Cup taking place in the United Kingdom in June, arrived in Nigeria through Abuja on Monday, February 11, before making its way to Lagos on Tuesday.

The governor said, “I think a lot of people don’t understand cricket deeply because it has a lot of values that can be learnt from it. As a former Cricketer, which I played way back in secondary school, I appreciate the game and I look forward to seeing more young people learn from the game.”

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Governor Ambode said he was pleased that the International Cricket Council chose Lagos as the only state apart from the Federal Capital that hosted Cricket’s most prized silverware in the country.“It is indeed an honour to be the only governor to host the Trophy in the country,” he said.

Earlier, the President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, Professor Yahaya Ukwenya described Lagos as the “Cricket Capital” of Nigeria.

He added that the support from the state was one of the reasons that earned the federation the commendations that encouraged the international body to select Nigeria as one of the three destination countries for the Trophy Tour in Africa.

ICC U-19 World Cup: Nigeria Beat Tanzania, Book Place In Division One Qualifiers

ICC U-19 World Cup: Nigeria Beat Tanzania, Book Place In Division One Qualifiers


Nigeria’s U-19 Cricket Team, the Junior Yellow Greens, have beaten Tanzania by 35 runs to advance into Division One and booked a place in the African qualifiers for the 2020 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.

In the keenly contested first semi-final match on Sunday, the Nigerian team showed class over their opponent to maintain their unbeaten run at the ICC Division Two qualifiers in Potchefstroom, Senwes Park in South Africa.

Tanzania won the toss and elected to bat, taking early wickets in the innings to put the Nigeria batting side under intense pressure in the 50 overs match.

The last two partnership of the Nigerian batters, Ifeanyi Uboh and Segun Ogundipe boosted their runs by 80 runs to push Nigeria’s total runs in the first innings to 169 runs (all out) in 46.2 overs.

In the second innings, Tanzania looked determined targeting 170 runs to win but were overwhelmed by the persistence of the Yellow Greens bowling and fielding who stopped them at 134 runs (all out) in 43.2 overs.

Gokul Das of Tanzania boosted the runs for his team scoring 61 runs off 104 balls with a strike rate of 58.65 before being caught by Nigeria’s Mohameed Taiwo.

Nigeria’s Peter Aho was on top of his bowling taking four wickets after bowling his allotted 10 overs conceding 37 runs.

Also, Nigeria’s spinning duo, Sylvester Okpe and Isaac Danladi did the clean-up to limit the runs of the Tanzanians while taking wickets to seal Nigeria’s victory.

Okpe (who is also the captain of the team) took two wickets after bowling 10 overs and conceding 20 runs while Danladi took three wickets after bowling the last wicket in his total 4.2 overs, conceding just eight runs.

Nigeria’s Segun Ogundipe scored 62 runs off 68 balls with a strike rate of 91.17 to score the highest runs for his team and clinched the Player of The Match award.

Nigeria will play Sierra Leone in the final on Tuesday to determine who will emerge champion.

Nigeria To Play Tanzania In ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier


The ICC U-19 World Cup Africa Division 2 qualifiers semi-finals in Potchefstroom, South Africa are well underway with a lot at stake as the winners will automatically qualify for Division 1 and join Namibia, Uganda and Kenya.

The youngsters from Tanzania, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Mozambique have earned their right to be in the Last-Four and hope to continue with their rich vein of form as they aim to be among Africa’s elite.

Thirteen-year-old Haroun Kamara was Sierra Leone’s latest star turn at the ICC U-19 World Cup Africa Division 2 qualifiers, as his all-around display saw his side cruise to a fourth straight win.

Kamara, 10 days short of his 14th birthday, picked up four Swaziland wickets for 16 with the ball, before opening the batting and adding a breezy 27 to his performance.

Swaziland had won the toss and elected to bat first, but they were shot out for 81, in 35.3 overs.

Sierra Leone have impressed with bat and ball thus far, and they again applied the squeeze upfront.

Only Jawad Muhammad, with 22 from 44 balls, hung around for the Swazis, who all crumbled against the pressure.

In response, 82 was never going to trouble Sierra Leone’s well-stocked batting, and they wrapped up the chase inside 11 overs.

Captain George Ngegba (48) and Kamara added 60 in the first eight overs before they both fell with the end in sight.

Sierra Leone goes on to the semi-finals and looks like they will take some beating.

In the other match of the day, also in Group A, Tanzania booked their place in the playoffs, thanks to a well-paced chase against Rwanda.

Having been invited to bat first at the Witrand Cricket Field, Rwanda grafted to 134 all out after 40.1 overs.

Parfait Mugisha (29) again played his part, before Yvan Shema (36) and Amitie Iradukunda (34) brought some respectability to the total, with some middle-order grit.

Martin Sayal had struck two blows upfront with the new ball for Tanzania, and he returned with two more to close the innings.

That left the batsmen with a target of 135, which they chalked off with more than half their innings to spare.

Gokul Das (29 off 42 balls) was the mainstay, before Aahil Jasani’s classy 43 not out wrapped up the points.

Jasani struck five boundaries along the way, as Tanzania won comfortably, with 27.5 overs to spare.

Injured Anderson To Have Six-Week Break From Cricket

n this file photo taken on March 25, 2018 England’s James Anderson bowls on the fourth day of the day-night Test cricket match between New Zealand and England at Eden Park in Auckland. James Anderson is to have a six-week break from all cricket in a bid to ensure England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker is fully fit for an upcoming series with India, it was announced on June 10, 2018.


James Anderson is to have a six-week break from cricket in a bid to ensure England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker is fully fit for an upcoming series with India, it was announced Sunday.

The 35-year-old Lancashire swing bowler will use his time away from the game for what the England and Wales Cricket Board said was “rehabilitation” on a longstanding right-shoulder injury.

Anderson, who has taken 540 wickets in 138 Tests, will now miss Lancashire’s next two County Championship matches against Worcestershire and Hampshire later this month.

The five home Tests against India are crammed into a six-week period from August 1 and England coach Trevor Bayliss said it was “vital” that Anderson, who no longer plays international white-ball cricket, was as fit as possible.

“We have five Tests against India in a six-week period from August 1, which will be an intense and challenging period for all our bowlers, and therefore it’s vital that we ensure Jimmy goes into that series in the best possible condition,” said Bayliss in an ECB statement issued Sunday.

“Jimmy has to manage the issue with his right shoulder, and we’ve been advised that the best way for him to prepare for the India series is to take a six-week break from cricket now, initially to rest it and then to work slowly back to cricket,” the Australian added.

“That six-week period covers Lancashire’s two Championship matches over the next three weeks. We will then monitor to see where Jimmy is at and ensuring he is ready for the India series.”

Despite an injury to his bowling arm, Anderson played in both Tests of England’s recent 1-1 drawn series at home to Pakistan, taking nine wickets in total at an average of 19.11.

Pakistan Bans Sharjeel For Five Years Over Spot-Fixing

Pakistani cricketer Sharjeel Khan stands with his lawyer after the anti-corruption tribunal’s decision in Lahore on August 30, 2017./ AFP PHOTO / STR

Pakistan’s anti-corruption tribunal Wednesday banned opener Sharjeel Khan for five years over a spot-fixing case that has rocked the Pakistan Super League.

The 28-year-old dashing left-handed opener was provisionally suspended along with fellow opener Khalid Latif in February for violating the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) anti-corruption code.

The charges centered on a match between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai in February.

Off four balls, Sharjeel scored a single, failed to score off two deliveries and was then out.

Spot-fixing involves bets on the outcome of a passage of play, unlike match-fixing in which there is an attempt to prearrange the result.

Latif, who did not play in the game, was alleged to have orchestrated the deal.

Both were also charged for not reporting the matter to the PCB’s anti-corruption unit.

“Sharjeel is banned for five years, which has two-and-a-half years suspended,we investigated all the charges and found them correct.”said Asghat Haider, who headed the three-member tribunal.

The minimum punishment for the charges was five years with a maximum of a life ban.

Former PCB head Tauqir Zia and erstwhile Pakistan captain Wasim Bari were the other members of the tribunal formed in March.

Under the PCB code players can appeal rulings before an independent arbitrator within 14 days of the decision.
Four other players — Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan, Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Nawaz were also included in the investigation on multiple charges.

Irfan and Nawaz admitted not reporting the bookie’s offer. Irfan was banned for one year with six months suspended and fined one million rupees ($9,500). Nawaz was banned for two months (one suspended) and fined 200,0000 rupees.
The tribunal is expected to rule on Khalid Latif’s case next month.

Jamshed, who is being investigated by Britain’s National Crime Agency, was said to be the “go between” linking the players and the bookie.

His case and Hasan’s is still under investigation by the tribunal.


Theresa May Hosts England Women’s Cricket, Rugby Teams


British Prime Minister Theresa May hosted the England women’s cricket and rugby teams at Downing Street on Tuesday following their respective World Cup efforts.

The cricket team became world champions in July after beating India at Lord’s in London.

England fast bowler, Anya Shrubsole, who was player of the final after taking six wickets for 46 runs, said the World Cup showed how fast women’s sport is progressing.

“It was just a brilliant tournament to be a part of. Finish with two amazing semifinals and a brilliant final so I don’t think the tournament could have gone any better to be honest and it’s really shown how far the women’s game has come and how much further it’s got to go.

“I think that’s reflective in all sports here in England, is that women’s sport is moving at such a fast pace,” Anya Shrubsole said.

The rugby team fell short of World Cup glory after losing to New Zealand in the final in Belfast on Saturday.

Red Roses captain Sarah Hunter said despite coming second, the team feels proud to have inspired the next generation of rugby players.

“If you’d asked 18 months ago whether we’d be on prime time TV on a Saturday night and 2.6 million viewers tuned in and we’d be playing in a capacity crowd with majority of English fans over there, I think we’d say ‘are you joking?’ It is disappointing to have lost but we’re immensely proud of seeing and reading some of the messages about how we’ve inspired a generation and the nation has been gripped by our story and the World Cup final and hopefully inspiring that next generation of Red Roses to want to play,” Sarah Hunter said.