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Australia topple India as ICC announces altered points system for World Test Championship | Cricket News

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DUBAI: Teams will be ranked based on the percentage of points earned from completed matches to determine the finalists of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) next year, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Thursday.
The sport’s global governing body also decided at its board meeting to shift the women’s Twenty20 World Cup, originally scheduled for 2022 in South Africa, to 2023.
The change in WTC rule, prompted by the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed Australia (82.22%) to leapfrog India (75) to the top of the standings even though Virat Kohli‘s men had accumulated more points.

England (60.83) are third, followed by New Zealand (50).
ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said ranking teams based on points earned from completed matches reflected their performance and “doesn’t disadvantage teams that have been unable to compete all of their matches through no fault of their own”.
The ICC board also decided against extending the WTC cycle to allow teams complete their quota of matches.
“We explored a whole range of options, but our members felt strongly that we should proceed as planned with the first ever World Test Championship Final in June next year,” Sawhney said.
Six test series, including four involving Bangladesh, have been postponed or cancelled because of the pandemic.
The nine top test teams were originally scheduled to play six series each over two years in the WTC, with the top two making the showcase final in London.
The ICC also decided against putting three major women’s events in 2022, shifting the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa to 2023.
Next year’s 50-overs World Cup in New Zealand had already been postponed to 2022 following the COVID-19 crisis.
Women’s cricket will also make its Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham in 2022.



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Afridi misses flight to Sri Lanka, set to miss his team’s first two LPL matches | Cricket News

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LAHORE: Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afrifdi on Monday missed his flight to Sri Lanka and will be unavailable for at least the first two matches of his franchise Galle Gladiators in the inaugural Lanka Premier League.
The former Pakistan captain tweeted about the same, adding to the agony of the tournament organisers after a spate of heavyweight pullouts.
“Missed my flight to Colombo today morning. Nothing to worry, I’ll be reaching soon to take part in the LPL for Galle Gladiators. Look forward to joining my teammates,” Afridi wrote on his twitter handle.

Galle Gladiators will play their first match on November 27 against Jaffna Stallions, a day after the inaugural season opener between Kandy Tuskers and Colombo Kings.
The Gladiators play their second and third matches on November 28 and 30 respectively.
Afridi was named the captain of Galle Gladiators after Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga and Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed made themselves unavailable due to lack of preparation and national commitments respectively.
In the absence of Afridi, vice-captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa could lead the Gladiators in the first few matches.
The 40-year-old Afridi is heading to the LPL after having played two matches for Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League play-offs earlier this month, where he picked up three wickets in two matches.
Once Afridi arrives in Sri Lanka, he will have to undergo a three-day isolated quarantine before entering the tournament’s bio-secure bubble.
LPL’s inaugural season will begin this week despite star players such as Chris Gayle, Malinga and Liam Plunkett pulling out of the tournament.
In the tournament, five franchisees named after Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Dambulla and Jaffna will compete across 23 matches.



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Milan’s Ibrahimovic out of action for two weeks | Football News

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AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be out of action for at least ten days after picking up a muscle injury in the 3-1 league win against Napoli at the weekend, the Serie A club said on Monday.
The 39-year-old scored twice before suffering the injury as the Serie A leaders recorded their first league win in Naples for more than 10 years.
A club spokesperson said it could take between two and three weeks for Ibrahimovic to recover.
The Swedish striker, who has scored 10 goals in six league games this season, will likely miss Europa League matches against the French side and Group H leaders Lille and Scotland’s Celtic on Thursday and on Dec. 3, respectively.

Ibrahimovic could also miss the final group game against Sparta Prague. Milan are second in Group H with two wins out of three matches.
The Serie A leaders have 20 points after eight league games and face 15th-placed Fiorentina on Sunday.



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Australia experience holds key for spinners Ashwin, Yadav | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: The current Indian Test team is a bit fortunate to tour Australia within two years of their previous tour. Earlier, the tours were separated by a few years and that would make things difficult for players, especially spinners. By the time, they would adjust to the conditions and pitches, the tour would be over.
Past generations of spinners suffered from this. But when either Kuldeep Yadav or R Ashwin, or both, take the field on December 17 for the first Test in Adelaide, they will have an advantage and confidence to draw from their recent successes.
Both had performed well in the last Tests they played in Australia during India’s tour of 2018-19. While Yadav picked five wickets in the first innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in January 2019, Ashwin got six across two innings in Adelaide a month before that. Ashwin didn’t play the next three Tests due to injury.

But this time with him being fit, Ashwin will be in competition for a spot with Yadav who, being a wrist spinner, could be the preferred choice on Australian wickets that have been harsh for spinners from the sub-continent.
Harbhajan Singh, the former India off-spinner who toured Australia in 2003-04 and 2007-08 and played 103 Tests, and had great success against Ricky Ponting, explains why Australia was a tough place to bowl.
“It was difficult to bowl in Australia because by the time you would adjust to the wickets, the tour would be coming to an end. You would tour every four-five years. Their spinners would get more success because they knew the conditions better and well since it was their home,” Harbhajan told IANS, adding that adjusting to the lengths is the key.

Both finger spinner Ashwin and wrist spinner Yadav had reaped rich hauls last time also because the Aussies, missing David Warner and Steve Smith in that series as they were serving a ban, had packed their side with left-handers. Four of Ashwin’s six victims and three of Yadav’s five were left-handers. They found it hard to adjust to deliveries going away.
However, neither Marcus Harris nor Usman Khawaja and nor Shaun Marsh find a place in the squad for the current series. There are just Travis Head and Mathew Wade apart from the returning David Warner and only one of Head and Wade will get a look-in since the top-order, dominated by right-handers, is largely settled.

It could make things difficult. Prior to that Adelaide Test, Ashwin had taken 21 wickets in six Tests at an average of 54.71 in Australia. The six wickets in Adelaide helped him improve an average to over 48.
But against a settled Australian line-up, there is however still a way out — rely on bounce and not on side-spin.
Harbhajan has an advice: “The spinners need to adjust to the lengths very quickly. Also, they shouldn’t rely on sidespin, because you won’t get it. If it is happening, it is an advantage, but don’t rely too much on it. Indian spinners need to bowl a little slower to get the bounce.”
Having toured Australia so recently, it should not be an issue for Ashwin and Yadav.


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