The ICC has suspended Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) with immediate effect to ensure the sport is kept free of political interference.

State-owned enterprise the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the entire Zimbabwe Cricket board last month, with an interim committee appointed to run cricket in the country.

SRC acted after issuing a directive that the governing body elective annual general meeting would be suspended amid allegations over the nomination process and the violation of ZC's constitution, along with "various other controversies".

The international governing body has now taken the decision to strip Zimbabwe of full member status, which puts their hopes of featuring in the T20 World Cup next year in doubt.

An ICC statement said: "The ICC board unanimously decided that the full member had failed to fulfil their obligation to provide a process for free and democratic elections and to ensure that there is no government interference in its administration for cricket.

"ICC funding will be suspended, and representative teams from the country will be barred from participating at ICC events, putting their participation in October's men's T20 World Cup qualifier in jeopardy."

ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said: "We do not take the decision to suspend a member lightly, but we must keep our sport free from political interference,

"What has happened in Zimbabwe is a serious breach of the ICC Constitution and we cannot allow it to continue unchecked. The ICC wants cricket to continue in Zimbabwe in accordance with the ICC Constitution."

The introduction of concussions replacements in internationals was also sanction at the ICC Annual Conference in London, with like-for-like replacements allowed to be made from the first Ashes Test between England and Australia next month - pending approval from the match referee.

Another rule change sees captains no longer facing a ban for slow over-rates.

West Indies fast bowling great Andy Roberts has hailed star batsman Chris Gayle as one of the game’s ‘great players’ but is convinced the time is right to walk away.

The 39-year-old Gayle had initially revealed plans to retire from international cricket following the ICC World Cup but seemed to have a change of heart just ahead of the tournament.  The batsman instead targeted the regional team’s home series against India as possibly his final matches for the West Indies.

The batsman did not, however, have an outstanding World Cup, scoring a total of 242 runs in nine matches as the team limped to a ninth-place finish.  Roberts, however, does not believe the player’s form merits immediate selection to the squad for the series.

“I watched Chris in the One Day series in the Caribbean [against England], I watched Chris in the World Cup and I am yet to see Chris Gayle play a cover drive on the ground in any of the innings he has played off the front foot. He takes his time early and I don’t know the reason because I’ve seen in the early that he gets a lot of balls to hit but he’s just playing himself in and then after that he just tries to hit everything out the ground and I don’t think youngsters can learn from that,” Roberts told the Antigua Observer.

“Chris has been one of our great players and I make no bones in saying that, but the time has come that we have to let the greatness speak for itself instead of trying to go on to achieve what he didn’t do because most West Indians were hoping that he would do.”

Former director of cricket Andrew Strauss wants England to succeed where they failed in the wake of 2005 Ashes glory and build a dynasty off the back of their Cricket World Cup triumph.

Strauss was part of the side that defeated Australia 2-1 in a thrilling home series 14 years ago and was then a key figure behind the scenes as England ripped up their white-ball strategy following a humiliating group-stage exit at the World Cup in 2015.

Having been forced to step down from his director role last year to support his wife Ruth, who was being treated for terminal cancer, Strauss witnessed the culmination of his planning as Eoin Morgan's men edged New Zealand in an epic final at Lord's on Sunday.

But Strauss issued a warning to the side ahead of the Ashes starting next month on the back of his own experiences as a player, when the Test side failed to win any of the three series following that famous 2005 win, before being whitewashed 5-0 in Australia when the battle for the urn was renewed in 2006-07.

"I think there are a lot of similarities there," Strauss told Omnisport at the world premiere of 'The Edge'. "I think the lesson from 2005 is that was a high watermark and then we retreated back again.

"We need to make this a sort of stepping stone to even bigger and better things. You can't beat winning a World Cup but you can create a dynasty for yourself in terms of performance.

"But not just performance, how you are. We want our players to be people that people want to aspire to be. I think we've got a great group of players that are able to do that."

Two of England's World Cup heroes, Jason Roy and Jofra Archer, are set to make the transition to the Test format – although the latter will only do so once he has recovered from a side strain.

And Strauss sees no reason why the pair, full of confidence after Sunday's dramatic victory, cannot transfer their skills to the longer form.

"I'm not sure either of them are actually white-ball specialists," Strauss added. "I think they've played white-ball cricket up until now, I think both of them are really well-seasoned to play Test cricket.

"It's not going to be easy, Test cricket is a different game and it challenges you in different ways as well, but I think they'll be incredibly confident.

"They've done it on the biggest stage of all which is a great hurdle to overcome, and we've got a great opportunity to beat the Aussies again, so let's take it."

Jason Roy's "bravado" will help transfer his form from 50-over cricket to the Test format, according to England fielding coach Paul Collingwood.

Roy was one of the heroes of England's triumphant Cricket World Cup campaign, contributing to the key run out of Martin Guptill from the final ball of the Super Over as the hosts defeated New Zealand courtesy of a superior boundary count at the end of an epic final at Lord's on Sunday.

And the opener's batting was a major factor throughout the tournament, scoring his 443 runs from just seven innings at a strike rate of more than 115, setting the tone for England with a typically belligerent approach alongside Jonny Bairstow.

Roy's form has earned a maiden Test call-up as England prepare to face Ireland over four days next week before the start of the Ashes against Australia on August 1, and Collingwood has no doubts the Surrey batsman's coursing confidence will aid his adaptation to the longer form.

"White-ball cricket and red-ball cricket are completely different ends of the spectrum," Collingwood told Omnisport, speaking at the world premiere of 'The Edge'.

"But if he can bring that kind of that form, and that confidence and bravado that he brings to that white-ball game, I'm sure he'll be able to go out there and succeed.

"He can quickly take a game away from the opposition if he gets on a roll, so it's exciting times to see people like that come into the side."

Ian Bell, a former Ashes winner alongside Collingwood, echoed his old team-mate's sentiments.

"I was really impressed actually at times with Jason Roy because even though he hasn't batted at the top of the order for Surrey, I thought there were times at the World Cup when the ball did move around and technically he played as well as anyone," Bell told Omnisport.

"He has an opportunity… when you face Australia in the Ashes it's high pressure and they've got one of the best bowling attacks in world cricket right now. It will be a challenge but there's no doubt he's got the ability to do something very special."

West Indies fast bowling legend Andy Roberts has blasted the captaincy of Jason Holder following a disappointing showing at the recently concluded ICC World Cup in England.

The regional team was tipped by a few pundits and fans to be capable of causing issues for the more fancied teams at the tournament but failed to live up to expectations. 

The same could be said for the 27-year-old Holder who headed into the tournament in a rich vein of form but failed to deliver a telling performance.  In his opinion, Roberts believes one of the biggest issues the team faced during the tournament was a lack of organisation and leadership.

“I don’t think too much of Jason Holder’s captaincy. He speaks well, but in terms of tactics on the field, I think he is found wanting and I don’t think he has the backroom staff. They weren’t experienced enough to help him so you have to look at a number of reasons why we did not go further in the tournament,” Roberts said in a radio interview.

“They had no plans because you had to have plan A, B, and then plan C; but their only plan was to bowl short and it showed throughout the entire tournament that they felt they could win based on the amount of – I can’t say fast bowlers – the amount of people they had with long run-ups and no head,” he added.

 

India legend Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not expected to travel to the Caribbean for the team’s tour against the West Indies.

According to reports, the team has opted to groom new wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant after Dhoni came under criticism for his performance during the ICC World Cup.

“MS [Dhoni] will not go to the West Indies,” a source with knowledge of the situation told Times Now News said.

“Going forward, he will not travel with the team within India or overseas as the first-choice wicketkeeper. Rishabh Pant will take over and there will be a grooming window for him until he settles down,” he added.

“During this time, MS will help in the transition. For all you know, he could be part of the 15 but not part of the 11. This team needs a guiding hand on multiple fronts and wishing MS away is clearly unhealthy.”

The tour will include 3 T20 Internationals, 3 ODIs and 2 test matches in the Caribbean.   The tour kicks off with the T20 internationals on August 3 and carries on until September 3, which marks the fifth day of the second test match.

Former England captain David Gower supports the decision to hand Jason Roy a Test call-up with the Ashes looming.

After starring at the top of the order in his country's victorious Cricket World Cup campaign, Roy was named in England's Test squad for the first time on Wednesday, as part of a 13-man party to face Ireland at Lord's next week.

The 28-year-old Surrey batsman, who averages 38 in first-class cricket, now looks certain to open in the first Test against Australia, starting on August 1, having earned selection through his excellent form in limited-overs cricket.

Gower told Omnisport: "Detractors will say that Jason Roy's first-class career has been nothing like his one-day international career. I put something out on Twitter weeks ago now saying 'the talent this man is, can we not adapt him to Test cricket?'

"There are people like David Warner who have successfully become great Test players having been one-day players; there are people like Rohit Sharma who will never play a Test match for India again despite the fact he's just got five hundreds in the World Cup, so it doesn't work for everyone.

"But we [England] don't have particularly great alternatives. My view is that if it works it will be fantastic. If it takes a while to get going, or if it takes him a while to learn the ropes of being a Test match player, then actually we're no worse off than we are at the moment.

"I would happily endorse him as a real talent, who with a bit of luck and hard work could knuckle down to it."

Fast bowler Jofra Archer - another standout member of England's victorious World Cup team - has also been tipped to play a role in the Ashes, although he will miss the Test against Ireland due to a side strain.

"Again, Jofra is an extraordinary talent, he's a brilliant talent," added Gower, a member of the England team that reached the 1979 World Cup final.

"While one would be careful maybe about his workload, as they are about all England's bowlers, which is only sensible, again he is such a beautiful raw talent that I would have him in the side."

 

- David Gower is touring theatres in October and November with his sell-out show 'On The Front Foot'. Buy your tickets from www.david-gower.com.

Jason Roy is set to make his Test debut for England against Ireland, putting him in line for an Ashes call-up next month.

Star batsman Roy is yet to feature in the longest format at international level but was vital to hosts England's Cricket World Cup triumph.

His form in that tournament has earned him a first shot at Test cricket, selected among 13 players to face Ireland in a four-day contest at Lord's with Olly Stone and Lewis Gregory the other uncapped men to earn a spot.

The trio are also included in a 16-man group for a pre-Ashes camp.

There is good news for England, too, with James Anderson's inclusion in the squad, the experienced bowler having recovered from a calf tear.

However, Jofra Archer, another waiting for a Test bow, and Mark Wood are both suffering with side strains.

Wood is set for four to six weeks out while Archer will have a period of rest and return from Barbados later this month, with national selector Ed Smith stating the latter will be out "for a while".

Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler - stars of the World Cup success - have also been granted leave until the pre-Ashes camp ahead of the August 1 opener.

The four-day clash with Ireland begins on July 24.

 

England squad in full for Ireland Test: Joe Root, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

England squad in full for pre-Ashes camp: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Jack Leach, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Inzamam-ul-Haq will step down as Pakistan's chief selector when his contract expires at the end of the month, he has announced.

The former batting great took on the role in 2016 after quitting as Afghanistan coach, overseeing success in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.

However, Inzamam has decided to move on following Pakistan's unsuccessful Cricket World Cup campaign, which saw them fall just short of the semi-finals.

"After more than three years as chair of the Pakistan men's selection committee, I have decided not to seek a renewal of my contract," he told a news conference.

"With the ICC World Test Championship, due to get underway in September, the ICC T20 World Cup in 2020 and the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, I believe it is the right time for the Pakistan Cricket Board to appoint a new chief selector who can bring new ideas and fresh thinking.

"I spoke to PCB chairman Ehsan Mani and managing director Wasim Khan on Monday and conveyed my decision to them separately.

"I also thanked them for backing and supporting the selection committee since taking over the reins of Pakistan cricket.

"The Pakistan cricket team has come a long way since the departures of stalwarts like Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan in May 2017 and is now destined for improved results as the youngsters have grown in experience and stature.

"They are now ready to excel and perform consistently across the three formats."

As well as backing Pakistan to enjoy success in his absence, Inzamam also acknowledged he may have made mistakes during his time in charge.

"It has been a pleasure to see these players grow and make names for themselves in international cricket," he said.

"I will follow their progress with interest because I firmly believe these players have all the ingredients to take the Pakistan cricket team to greater heights.

"The team could have performed better during my time than the results reflect and I may have inadvertently overlooked some potentially deserving players, but I have always had the best interests of Pakistan cricket foremost in my heart.

"I hope the passionate Pakistan cricket fans will understand and can see this in my decisions."

An Australia court has thrown out an appeal by media group Fairfax, which would have annulled damages owed to Windies star Chris Gayle who won a defamation suit against the entity last year.

Gayle took the publishers to court after allegations that he exposed himself to a female masseuse during the 2015 World Cup came out in several of its publications.  More specifically, it was alleged that the batsman exposed his penis and indecently propositioned the woman in a dressing room during the tournament.

The jury sided with the player, who strongly denied the allegations, in finding that the publishers acted with malice and accorded the cricketer damages amounting to US$211,000.  In its appeal, however, Fairfax argued that the jury should have been discharged after Gayle’s attorney attacked the credibility of the masseuse.  In response, the player’s legal team had appealed to increase the size of the payout to the West Indian star. Both appeals were dismissed.

 Fairfax newspapers are now owned by commercial broadcaster Nine Entertainment, which purchased the media company last year.

Ravi Shastri's future as India's head coach is uncertain after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) invited applications for his role and a host of other positions within its coaching and support staff.

Interested applicants have until July 30 to apply for the roles of head coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach and administrative manager.

The contracts of the existing coaching staff, led by Shastri, initially expired following the Cricket World Cup, which India exited at the semi-final stage courtesy of a surprise defeat to eventual runners-up New Zealand.

However, Shastri, batting coach Sanjay Bangar, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar were handed extensions to cover India's tour of the West Indies in August.

In a statement, the BCCI confirmed "the current coaching staff of Team India (senior men) will get an automatic entry in the recruitment process".

The BCCI also revealed its eligibility criteria for those hoping to serve as head coach, a role the 57-year-old Shastri has held since 2017 after previously leading India as team director.

To stand a chance of being appointed, applicants must be under 60 years of age and boast at least two years of experience as head coach of a Test-playing nation or three years of experience at either Associate member, Indian Premier League, first-class or an equivalent level.

They should also have played in a minimum of 30 Test matches or 50 ODIs and hold a BCCI Level 3 certification or its equivalent.

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead expects the ICC to review the rules that led to the Black Caps losing the Cricket World Cup final to England courtesy of an inferior boundary count.

In an extraordinary final at Lord's on Sunday, England ultimately prevailed after both teams had made 241 runs from 50 overs and 15 in the subsequent Super Over shootout.

Many observers felt another one-over eliminator would have represented a fairer way to decide the winners, rather than the champions being determined by the number of boundaries hit during the contest.

"I'm sure there's going to be many things they [the ICC] will look at over the whole tournament," Stead was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz. "I'm sure when they're writing the rules they never expect the World Cup final to happen like that so I'm sure it'll be reviewed, absolutely."

"The technicalities and stuff around the rules, they're different in all tournaments. We knew what it was, we were just one run short. It's a very, very hollow feeling that you can play 100 overs and score the same amount of runs and still lose the game. But that's the technicalities of sport sometimes."

The Super Over was only required after England benefited from an extraordinary slice of good fortune towards the end of their initial run-chase.

As he raced back to complete a second run with nine needed from three balls, Ben Stokes inadvertently deflected the ball to the boundary rope, ensuring England were awarded six runs.

Former umpire Simon Taufel claimed England should actually have been given five runs rather than six, as Stokes and Adil Rashid had not crossed at the point Martin Guptill threw the ball in.

"I didn't actually know that," said Stead. "At the end of the day the umpires are there to rule and they're human as well and like players sometimes errors are made.

"That's just the human aspect of sport and probably why we care so much as well."

Trevor Bayliss expects Eoin Morgan to want to lead England into next year's T20 World Cup amid discussion over whether he will remain as captain following their dramatic 50-over World Cup triumph at Lord's on Sunday.

England lifted the trophy for the first time as they claimed an incredible win over New Zealand, prevailing on number of boundaries after the scores finished tied following each side's 50 overs and then a Super Over.

The successful end to England's four-year journey to world supremacy on the ODI stage, the vision for which was laid out by Morgan after their humiliating 2015 campaign, has led to talk of the Irish-born batsman possibly stepping down as skipper.

However, Bayliss, for whom the victory marked his final white-ball game in charge, believes Morgan will want to stay on and try to guide England to another world title in Australia.

As England continued their celebrations at The Oval on Monday, Bayliss said: "There is a T20 World Cup coming up in 12 months which I am sure he will be more than up for. [But] that will be an individual decision for him.

"Morgs is the leader of not just the guys in the team but off the field as well. He is the one who has really driven this forward.

"I think the rest of the boys try and run through a brick wall for him and the effort that Ben Stokes put in yesterday was just an example of that."

Bayliss was not fully convinced he could bring England's dismal record at World Cups to an end when he was appointed four years ago, but the Australian will leave his post after the Ashes vindicated for a steadfast commitment to aggressive and positive cricket.

"I wasn't sure [when I started] but it was certainly a country with a long history of cricket and I knew that they desperately wanted to do better than they had been doing," Bayliss added. "[I was told] no stone would be left unturned in an effort to get that World Cup.

"It's justification for how we went about it for the last four years. At different times we have copped a bit of criticism but we had an end goal in mind and this is the result."

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