The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is determined to "deliver meaningful and long-term change" after acknowledging sport is "not immune" to systemic racism.

George Floyd's death while in police custody in Minneapolis last month led to protests in the United States and far beyond.

Former England batsman Michael Carberry this week stated that cricket is "rife with racism" and "black people are not important to the structure of English cricket".

James Anderson, England's leading Test wicket-taker, said the national team will have conversations about what they can do to make a stand and be more active in combating racism.

The ECB says it will listen and learn from the Black Lives Matter movement and will act in a bid to break down barriers.

"We have listened carefully to those who have spoken out in recent weeks about their experiences of being black in cricket, sport and society," the governing body said in a statement.

"We admire them for being vocal on this crucial topic. We know that systemic racism spans institutions and sectors across the country and we know that our sport is not immune.

"We truly believe that cricket is a game for everyone but understand that sadly, barriers to its enjoyment exist for many communities. We have made progress in bringing cricket to more and more people around the country and it is our resolve to break down barriers and reform our structures everywhere across the game.

"In recent weeks we have reflected, and acknowledge that black players and fans, who have contributed so much to the history of our game, now feel disenfranchised. They do not feel as if cricket is a game for them. This must change.

"That is why it's so important that we continue to listen to the voices of those who have spoken out, to educate ourselves and face uncomfortable truths in order to create action internally and throughout the game, to ensure long-term change.

"We will now work to engage community leaders and black influencers within cricket so that we can review and evolve our existing inclusion and diversity work and specifically address the issues raised by the black community.

"From there, it is our overall desire to create demonstrable action, in order to deliver meaningful and long-term change that permeates every layer of the game."

Australia is ready to ditch the cardboard cutouts and welcome back thousands of spectators to its major sporting events, prime minister Scott Morrison has declared.

From July, venues with up to 40,000 seats will be allowed to operate at a limit of 25 per cent capacity, providing events are ticketed and seated.

Morrison confirmed the same guidelines could also apply to larger venues but said local health authorities would need to assess coronavirus risk on a case-by-case basis.

The news could mean events such as the NRL and AFL welcome back supporters next month, and it boosts the prospect of cricket's ICC Twenty20 World Cup taking place with fans in October and November.

Announcing the reopening of stadiums to fans, albeit with social distancing measures in place, Morrison said he was "sure that will be very welcome".

Australia's biggest venues, such as the MCG, Docklands Stadium and Stadium Australia, may also soon be back open for business.

"For the larger ones I would venture that it would be the subject of a discrete approval for each venue, that would be worked up with the chief health officer in each state or territory," Morrison said.

"So, by the time you get into July there may be that type of opportunity for the rules that apply to those under 40,000 to just carry over to those above 40,000, but that is not a decision that has been taken yet.

"These will be practical, common-sense issues, they'll be worked through by the medical expert panel over the next few weeks and I think that will give it greater instruction.

"The purpose of me flagging this today is so sporting codes, venues, state and territory governments, can engage in that appropriate discussion, know broadly what the parameters are which the national cabinet has set, so it means that people will be able to watch the games, not as cardboard cutouts, but in person, should they be fortunate enough to get one of those seats."

Australia has had over 7,200 cases of COVID-19, with 102 deaths, and there are fewer than 500 current cases in the country, the government said.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) insists CEO Thabang Moroe remains suspended despite reporting for work.

Moroe was place on leave in December, still on full pay, following allegations of misconduct.

CSA said then that an investigation would be launched to look into a "possible failure of controls in the organisation".

However, on Friday the governing body was forced to confirm that Moroe's suspension was still in place after he "purported to report for duty".

"The board of Cricket South Africa (CSA) met last night to deliberate on the events which unfolded at the head office of CSA today (Thursday) when the suspended chief executive officer, Mr Thabang Moroe, purported to report for duty," a CSA statement read.

"The board wishes to clarify that the chief executive officer was suspended in December 2019 pending the outcome of an independent forensic investigation into management practices at Cricket South Africa.

"The letter of suspension issued to the chief executive officer explicitly stated that he was suspended until the conclusion of the independent forensic investigation.

"This investigation is not yet complete and therefore the chief executive officer remains suspended and any assertion that his suspension was for a pre-determined period is without basis.

"The forensic investigators have indicated that their report is imminent."

Pakistan have confirmed that Haris Sohail will not travel for the tour to England because of coronavirus fears.

The middle-order batsman withdrew from selection for the three-match Test and Twenty20 series, with fixtures set to take place behind closed doors across August and September.

While Sohail's absence was made public on Thursday, it was only in naming the squad on Friday that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) offered a full explanation, having previously cited "family reasons".

A back injury has ruled out Hasan Ali, while Mohammad Amir is skipping the tour to be at the birth of his second child.

"Fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Mohammad Amir, and middle-order batsman Haris were not available for selection," read a statement from the PCB.

"Hasan is suffering from a back injury, Amir withdrew so that he can be at the birth of his second child in August, while Haris took the option of pulling out of the tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

Pakistan Under-19 batsman Haider Ali has earned a call-up, with Kashif Bhatti the other uncapped player included.

Chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said: "The selectors have picked a squad which gives us the best chance of success in England.

"It was a challenging process as the players have not played for an extended period of time, but nevertheless, with the month that we will have in England and the intense training we will undergo, we are confident we will get the players up to the mark to be ready for the three Tests."

Pakistan squad:

Squad: Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmad, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, Kashif Bhatti, Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah.

Pakistan will be without fast bowler Mohammad Amir and batsman Haris Sohail for their proposed tour of England.

Three-match Test and Twenty20 series between the two teams are due to take place behind closed doors across August and September.

Amir, who retired last year from the longest format, will not travel in order to attend the birth of his second child, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced.

Sohail has also withdrawn due to family reasons.

Pakistan intend to name a 28-player squad for the trip, with a match schedule yet to be confirmed.

West Indies are already in England for the first Tests of their hosts' truncated home season next month.

James Anderson expects England players to discuss showing solidarity with West Indies and the Black Lives Matter movement during their forthcoming Test series and called on cricket to do more to encourage inclusivity.

The Windies arrived in Manchester this week ahead of three Tests next month, which will take place behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.

Discussing his team doing their part to support protests that have swept the globe in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in police custody, West Indies captain Jason Holder stated that the tourists could take a knee.

"Protesting and standing up for what you believe in is noble and courageous, and something I would never disapprove of." Holder said.

Anderson is certainly of similar mind and conceded English cricket must do more to serve the BAME community after his former international team-mate Michael Carberry told ESPNCricinfo: "Cricket is rife with racism. Black people are not important to the structure of English cricket."

England's leading Test wicket-taker Anderson said: "I think it's been a thought-provoking few weeks for everyone. It's made me do a lot of thinking.

"We definitely will have conversations as players about what we can do to make a stand. It's something that as players and a game we need to be more active with.

"It's made me think about whether I've experienced racism on the cricket field. I couldn't think of any instances. I wasn't there when Jofra Archer was abused in New Zealand [in 2019].

"It also made me think, have I just turned a blind eye to things? I'll try and support my team-mates if they do suffer any abuse but have I been active in supporting them?

"The game in general as well - I saw the stat that there's one black player that's come through the state school system in county cricket. That's not okay. We need to actively make this game for everyone.

"It can't keep going the way it is. That's what I've been thinking about and is there more that I can do to help as a player."

England captain Joe Root could miss some of the upcoming series, with his wife Carrie due to give birth to their second child at the start of July.

Ben Stokes is in line to step up as vice-captain and Anderson does not believe the superstar all-rounder would be compromised by the extra responsibility.

"Ben's been the vice-captain for a while now," the veteran seamer said.

"He's grown and grown with that responsibility. In the dressing room he's really got a presence He's got the respect of the team.

"The natural thing to do is for the vice-captain to step up if the captain's unavailable. I'd fully expect him to do a great job."

The main challenge heading into the West Indies series for Anderson, as a master of seam and swing, could be new regulations that prohibit bowlers from applying saliva to the ball in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 37-year-old is stepping up his preparations by bowling at England and Lancashire colleague Keaton Jennings and acknowledges breaking the habit of a lifetime is tricky, although he still expects most of the usual assistance pace bowlers enjoy in English conditions.

"It's going to be unusual," he added. "For me it's a natural habit to put saliva on the ball so it's been interesting trying to stop yourself doing that.

"Fortunately in Manchester we get quite a lot of rain, so I've been able to shine the ball on the grass.

"As far as I'm aware we can use sweat, so that's something and it'll be enough to polish the ball for it to do something through the air.

"I don't think it's going to be a huge deal for players. We'll manage to prepare the ball well enough for it to swing."

James Anderson has thanked West Indies for taking the "scary decision" to play a Test series in England.

Like much of the global sporting calendar, the English cricket season has been ravaged by the coronavirus crisis, with no competitive action able to take place so far.

England will play West Indies in three matches behind closed doors next month, with the tourists based at Old Trafford.

The Manchester ground will host the second and third games as a bio-secure venue, after the Ageas Bowl in Southampton stages the opener.

It is hoped a Test series against Pakistan can take place in August, with the possibility of limited-overs engagements against the same opponents, Australia and Ireland on the schedule.

The United Kingdom has suffered more COVID-19 deaths than any other country in Europe, while the Caribbean has been minimally impacted by the virus compared to other parts of the world.

Anderson is not treating West Indies' opting to help get the international game back up and running lightly.

"From our point of view we're certainly very grateful that the West Indies are coming over here," he said.

"Obviously, with what's going on in the world, I imagine it's a scary decision for a lot of them, for all of them to make the journey over so we're hugely grateful.

"It's great for the game. It's brilliant that we are closing in on getting some Test cricket played after a decent lay-off."

Anderson, England's all-time Test wicket-taker with 584 victims, has managed to be creative in order to maintain his fitness during lockdown and in training with Lancashire.

The 37-year-old suffered injury setbacks when facing Australia and South Africa and feels Joe Root might look to rotate his battery of seam bowlers on home soil.

"Training has been going well," he said. "I've managed to tick over quite well during lockdown.

"I've luckily got enough space to fit half of my run-up in on my drive, so I've been ticking over with my bowling. When I came back to training with Lancashire I've not been going in cold.

"I felt like I hit the ground running pretty well. I've been enjoying being back."

Anderson added: "Obviously there are concerns about the fact we are not going to have had any competitive cricket before that first Test match and then we've got three Test matches in quick succession.

"So there are obviously things that we need to look at ahead of that in terms of workloads and whether we play all three as bowlers or whether we rotate.

"I'm sure the medical staff and the coaches are doing their due diligence on that; that's something we'll have to look at in a few weeks' time.

"But at the moment I'm enjoying myself, I'm enjoying being back and feeling really good."

Jason Holder says he will consult his West Indies team-mates regarding the possibility of making a "show of solidarity" in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Test series against England.

Elite athletes have spoken out against racism in society following the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Several teams in the Bundesliga, which was the first major European football league to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic, have also taken part in demonstrations.

Windies captain Holder was asked if similar actions will be taken by his team for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl, which will be played without fans in attendance, on July 8.

"It definitely - probably - will be discussed among us and we'll definitely decide how we'll go forward as a team with it," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"I just want to make sure whatever we do, if we do anything, that it is done the right way. Whatever point we make, if we do decide to show some sort of solidarity with it, we'll make sure everyone is on the same page.

"But I don't want to sit here and speak for the other members of the team without consulting them."

On the protests that have taken place, Holder added: "It [racism] is something that will probably be an ongoing discussion, probably way past our lifetimes. I think the greater message that could be taken for this entire experience is unity.

"Regardless of your race or religion, I think this is a situation for us all to unite as one.

"What has happened recently has definitely impacted the world, and the response from people around the world has been tremendous.

"We must acknowledge it. Protesting, and standing up for what you believe in, is noble and courageous - and something I would never disapprove of.

"I think it's a perfect time for people to really educate themselves on what goes on in the day-to-day experiences of people around the world, and make a change.

"Only when you educate yourself, can you have a better sense of what goes on around you.

"We must all come together; it's an ongoing debate, but equality and unity is my main takeaway from this."

The Windies arrived in Manchester on Tuesday as they gear up for the return of Test cricket, which has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Three players, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Darren Bravo, opted not to travel, but Holder says those who have feel "pretty safe".

"To be honest, I feel pretty safe. I must commend the ECB, they've been outstanding," he said.

"We had a chartered airline and arriving here in Manchester was pretty smooth. We just transferred directly from the plane through the VIP hall and then straight onto the buses directly to the hotel. We've had no real experience with anyone from the public.

"Everything so far has been rolled out perfectly and whilst it continues that way, I can't see much interference coming with regards to the series.

"Before coming here to England, we all knew what was being posed. We've all made a decision to come over here, not been forced, and we've done it because we want to be here, we want to play cricket.

"Personally, I'm happy to be playing some cricket, not many other nations are. Many organisations are taking pay cuts and we have suddenly got our opportunity now to make some money, so we have a lot of things to be thankful for and I think we just have to relish the opportunity and grab it with both hands."

The ICC has delayed a decision over the respective fates of the men's T20 World Cup and women's Cricket World Cup in order to continue exploring contingency plans over the next month.

Australia is due to host the men's T20 competition between October 18 and November 15 but the status of the tournament remains unclear due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while the women's 50-over event is slated to take place in New Zealand from February 6 to March 7 next year.

Last month, the ICC denied reports a decision had been taken to move the T20 World Cup back to next year, although Cricket Australia said it was braced for the postponement.

Following an ICC Board meeting on Wednesday, the governing body said it will "continue to assess and evaluate the rapidly changing public health situation caused by COVID-19 working with key stakeholders including governments to explore how the events can be staged to protect the health and safety of everyone involved."

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: "The situation surrounding the global pandemic is evolving rapidly and we want to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to make the right decision for the whole sport. 

"The health and well-being of everyone involved is our priority and other considerations fall out from that.

"We will only get one chance to make this decision and it needs to be the right one and as such we will continue to consult with our Members, broadcasters, partners, governments and players and to ensure that we make a well informed decision."

Pakistan have appointed Younis Khan as their batting coach for the tour of England.

Younis, Pakistan's most successful Test batsman, made his final appearance for his country back in 2017.

He will now help Pakistan in a coaching capacity as head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and his players gear up for a scheduled tour that comprises three Tests and three Twenty 20 Internationals from August to September.

The coronavirus pandemic had brought the cricket calendar to a halt but, with West Indies arriving in England for a behind-closed-doors Test series, Pakistan are making preparations for their tour.

In addition to appointing Younis, they have also named Mushtaq Ahmed as their spin-bowling coach. He has previously served in the same capacity for England.

Younis said: "For me, there has never been a bigger honour and a better feeling than to represent my country and I feel privileged to have been again offered the opportunity to serve it for a challenging but exciting tour of England.

"The Pakistan side includes some immensely talented cricketers who have the potential to achieve greater heights. Together with Misbah-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed and [fast-bowling coach] Waqar Younis, we will try to make them better and prepare them as best as we can with on and off-field coaching and guidance.

"We all know English conditions demand not only precise technique but patience and discipline, and if you can master these, then you will not only excel in England but anywhere in the world. With the quality we have in the team, I think we have a good chance to produce good results if we prepare properly, get our processes right and hit the ground running as soon as we land."

Misbah added: "When I took over the captaincy during a difficult period in 2010, Younis proved to be a great ally and support, and I am confident he will provide similar assistance as we head to England with a clear objective of putting Pakistan cricket back on the road to success.

"Mushtaq Ahmed is loaded with the experience of helping elite cricketers from different countries and is widely regarded as a mentor. Mushtaq is always involved in the game and this attitude will further help us in our pre-series preparations and enhance our prospects in the series.

"Due to events beyond human control, the series in England will be one of the most challenging and difficult and, as such, we need to have the best talent and brains on our side. Younis as well as Mushtaq clearly tick all these and additional boxes, which will assist us in achieving our targets."

Because of the challenge of keeping players in a safe and secure environment, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has elected not to hold a national team training camp prior to their departure for England.

The PCB has asked the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to bring forward that departure date to allow Pakistan extra practice time.

Jason Holder welcomed "a huge step forward" for cricket and sport as West Indies embarked on a trip to England for their three-match Test series.

The Windies have arrived in Manchester ahead of the planned behind-closed-doors Test series, which will start in Southampton on July 8.

They are the first international sports team to visit the United Kingdom since lockdown began in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

West Indies' 39 members of their touring group, which includes 25 players, tested negative for COVID-19 prior to their charter flight from Antigua and are now poised to be tested again.

They will enter quarantine at Old Trafford, which will host the second and third Test matches and serve as their base to prepare for the opening encounter.

Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo and Keemo Paul opted to withdraw from the touring party because of the pandemic.

But West Indies captain Holder was in a positive mood and aware of the significance of the trip.

"This is a huge step forward in cricket and in sports in general," Holder said, speaking before the team landed in England.

"A lot has gone into the preparations for what will be a new phase in the game.

"I’m happy for the support and well-wishes we have been receiving from our loyal and dedicated fans once it was confirmed the tour would go ahead. This has been a source of great inspiration.

"We have a fantastic group of cricketers, coaches, medical staff and support staff and I know everyone is eagerly looking forward to the start of the first match."

West Indies beat England 2-1 in the Caribbean last year but have not won a series in England since 1988.

Holder said: "There is expectation in the air that we will defend the Wisden Trophy and we will certainly put in the work and give it our all to keep hold of it."

Assistant coach Roddy Estwick was also optimistic about the team's chances if they can contain the England bowling attack.

"Three years ago, it was a very, very young unit," Estwick said of the team who lost the 2017 series 2-1 in England. "Now we've got seasoned Test players, we've got players with 50 Test matches.

"So I think once we can hit the ground running and get the preparation in, get some match practice under our belts, we can be a lot better.

"We've got youngsters coming through. If we can get scores on the board we can really challenge England because I know the bowling will be good."

West Indies have arrived in Manchester ahead of the planned behind-closed-doors Test series with England.

World cricket chiefs have approved a ban on using saliva to polish the ball and backed the introduction of coronavirus substitutes.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) gave its approval amid a raft of interim changes to regulations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting sport.

Rules on kit sponsorship have also been relaxed for 12 months, allowing teams to bring in extra revenue through placing a logo on the chest of their Test shirt and sweater.

There has been no international cricket since March due to the health crisis and the global governing body is keen to mitigate risks posed by the virus, protecting the safety of players and match officials.

Bowlers traditionally apply saliva to the ball to make it swing, but they will have to rely on sweat when the sport returns, with the use of any artificial substance already outlawed.

The saliva ban was passed despite a number of players, including former Australia captain Steve Smith, suggesting it would give batsmen an advantage.

Repeatedly breaching the new rule could result in teams receiving a five-run penalty.

An ICC statement read: "Players will not be permitted to use saliva to shine the ball. If a player does apply saliva to the ball, the umpires will manage the situation with some leniency during an initial period of adjustment for the players, but subsequent instances will result in the team receiving a warning.

"A team can be issued up to two warnings per innings but repeated use of saliva on the ball will result in a five-run penalty to the batting side.

"Whenever saliva is applied to the ball, the umpires will be instructed to clean the ball before play recommences."

Among the other changes will be the introduction of coronavirus replacements for Tests, but not Twenty20 internationals or ODIs.

If a player displays symptoms of COVID-19 during a Test series, teams will be allowed to replace them with "the nearest like-for-like replacement".

The ICC has also removed the requirement for a neutral umpire in all formats, due to restrictions on international travel.

With this perhaps leading to the use of officials with less international experience, an additional unsuccessful DRS review will be granted.

"This will increase the number of unsuccessful appeals per innings for each team to three for Tests and two for the white-ball formats," said the ICC.

"The ICC cricket operations team will support match referees when processing code of conduct breaches, and a neutral elite panel match referee will conduct any hearing remotely via video link."

Former England Test captain Kevin Pietersen does not want to see Ben Stokes made skipper should Joe Root miss a game against West Indies next month.

England are set to return to action with three behind-closed-doors Tests against the Windies at the Rose Bowl and Old Trafford.

However, current five-day captain Root may be missing for one of those fixtures as his wife, Carrie, is due to give birth, with the batsman conceding he would leave the bio-secure areas in Southampton and Manchester to attend the birth.

Root has not missed a Test since being named captain in 2017 but has backed current vice-captain Stokes to step up should he not be available.

However, Pietersen has advised against having all-rounder Stokes fill the void given his own brief experience of a role he had for only three Tests.

"Do I want to see Ben Stokes change from who he is and the current player he is? Probably not, Jos Buttler would be my guy," Pietersen, who resigned as England captain in 2009, told talkSPORT.

"The entertainers and the guys that have to carry the mantle in the team sometimes aren't the best captains and sometimes struggle with the extra added pressure.

"As a player you are looked at completely differently until that phone call comes and you are announced as the Test captain.

"Responsibilities change, communication changes, the way in which you carry yourself in the dressing room changes.

"I struggled with it, I absolutely hated it and I was rubbish. You have to change and I couldn't command the respect of the dressing room. You say something and it is frowned upon, it is a completely different story."

Shane Warne made an indelible mark on the Ashes on this day in 1993.

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