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."

A 13-man Sri Lanka squad will start a 12-day residential training camp in Colombo on Monday.

The players and four members of the coaching team and support staff will be based at the Colombo Cricket Club for just under a fortnight.

They will stay in a hotel throughout the camp and have strict health regulations to adhere on their return after a lockdown was imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The players called up were not named, but Cricket Sri Lanka stated they were primarily bowlers and the squad covers all formats.

They will undergo conditioning work after a lengthy spell without playing early in the Mickey Arthur era.

Sri Lanka are awaiting confirmation over whether they will host India and Bangladesh in June or July when they get the green light to play again.

Grant Flower expects Pakistan run machine Babar Azam to "break a lot of records" but fears there is a danger he could regret taking over as captain.

Babar is the top-ranked Twenty20 international batsman in the world and has established himself as one of the best players on the planet in all formats.

The 25-year-old was named T20I skipper last October and also took the ODI captaincy this month.

Flower recognised the elegant right-hander was a special talent when he first started working with him as Pakistan batting coach and believes he is destined for greatness.

He told Stats Perform News: "Babar is brilliant.

"The first time I saw him play and first time I worked with him - when I threw balls at him at the academy in Lahore - he picked up length so much quicker than the rest of the players and I think that's the hallmark of a great batsman.

"If you look at some of the best players in the world like Steve Smith, Virat Kohli et cetera, they pick up length really quickly and play the ball late, have a great eye and hand-eye coordination. He has that and I think he is going to break a lot of records.

"Even in T20 cricket he plays normal cricket shots and that is also the sign of a great player. As long as he stays humble, which I'm sure he will as he's a good bloke, there is no reason why he can't be one of the best and he already pretty much is."

Sri Lanka batting coach Flower hopes Babar thrives as a leader but fears his form could suffer due to the extra pressure on his shoulders.

The former Zimbabwe all-rounder said: "He's got a good cricketing brain but there's a lot of politics in Pakistan cricket and a lot of pressure from the public.

"If you start losing, it's one thing being the best batsman but that will put pressure on your batting skills and it can all come tumbling down pretty quickly.

"We've seen with great players in the past the pressures that captaincy can bring, but some players get better and if he gets better then the world is his oyster. Time will tell.

"But he seems pretty positive about it, I read what he said in an interview when he got the captaincy. I wish him all the best and hopefully all positives come with that."

 

- Grant Flower was speaking on behalf of The Conservation Games, a first-of-its-kind initiative from the Zambesia Conservation Alliance. To watch Grant in action, visit and subscribe to the Conservation Games channel on YouTube.

England have named 14 uncapped players among a 55-man squad to join up for England group training. 

Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Henry Brookes are among those selected yet to feature at international level, but there is no place for experienced duo Alex Hales or Liam Plunkett. 

David Willey, Ben Duckett and Dawid Malan, however, will be hoping to make a return for England after they were asked to report for sessions that will go ahead subject to government approval. 

Bowlers were able to begin individual training last week for the first time since they were forced into lockdown due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

There has been no confirmation of when England will play next, but a large training group was announced on Friday ahead of a proposed Test series with West Indies on home soil, as well as one-day games against Ireland.

England and Wales Cricket Board performance director Mo Bobat said: "It's really pleasing to be in a position to have players returning to training and a huge amount of work has been done by many to get us this far. 

"The pool of players will give selectors strong options when it comes to selecting squads across formats further down the line, as we move closer to our aim of playing international cricket this summer. 

"We will need to continue to work closely with our medical team and government to ensure that our return to training and play activities are in line with best-practice guidelines. 

"We're also really grateful for the positive and collaborative response from our county colleagues who are doing a great job at facilitating coaching and support for the players. The fact that we can call on our network to support the national effort shows the strength of our system." 

 

England training group: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Dom Bess, Sam Billings, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Henry Brookes, Pat Brown, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Brydon Carse, Mason Crane, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Joe Denly, Ben Duckett, Laurie Evans, Ben Foakes, Richard Gleeson, Lewis Gregory, Sam Hain, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Chris Jordan, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matt Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Adil Rashid, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, James Vince, Amar Virdi, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Cricket Australia (CA) is braced for a huge financial hit due to the possible postponement of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup, as well as playing home games without spectators. 

Speaking to the media on Friday, CA chief executive Kevin Roberts predicted the governing body stands to miss out on 80million Australian dollars due to the potential changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Admitting there is a “very high risk” of the global T20 tournament being pushed back from the original plan of October and November this year, Roberts outlined the expected missed income due to such a delay. 

However, the bigger blow is a home summer without any fans present at international fixtures, while there is also the extra cost of the biosecurity measures required to host opposing teams. 

"The likelihood of significant crowds is very slim - ordinarily that would deliver well over $50m revenue to CA," Roberts told reporters. 

"The T20 World Cup is a big question and that's a factor of perhaps $20m. We have been hopeful all along that it could be staged in October-November, but you would have to say there's a very high risk about the prospect of that happening. 

"And it's likely that our biosecurity measures that we need to put in place to deliver the season will cost in the order of $10m." 

Australia are due to host Zimbabwe in one-day internationals in August, then West Indies arrive for T20 games in October. As for Tests, Afghanistan are due to play one in Perth in November, followed by a four-match series against India, who complete their tour with three ODIs in January. 

New Zealand are the final visitors of a packed schedule, making the short trip for three one-dayers and a one-off T20 early next year. 

On the recently released schedule, Roberts remained cautiously optimistic, adding: “We're very optimistic that we will be able to stage the India men's tour and the other inbound tours for the season. 

"But we're realistic enough to know they will look very different to a normal summer. We have been forced to effectively plan for the worst and hope for the best." 

Chris Woakes would welcome Alex Hales back into the England team if the explosive batsman is handed the chance to atone for his off-field mistakes.

The Nottinghamshire opener could be handed another opportunity in international cricket next week when England's selectors are expected to choose Test and limited-overs training groups.

Hales recently told the Daily Mail he hoped "people can forgive and forget" his previous errors, notably the incident before last year's World Cup when he was dumped from England's plans ahead of a tournament they famously won.

According to widespread reports, that Hales has not denied, he tested positive for a recreational drug and received a 21-day ban.

His management company said at the time that Hales had completed "certain rehabilitation measures" and was "devastated" to then lose his World Cup place.

England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan spoke of a "complete breakdown of trust" as Hales, who has played 141 matches for his country, was dropped.

Yet Hales may not be finished as an England cricketer, with reports he and officials from the England and Wales Cricket Board have spoken recently about his future.

England all-rounder Woakes said of the prospect of a recall: "I don't know if it's 100 per cent the right decision. It's not for me to make that call. I'm a believer that people serve their time, so to speak.

"He's gone through a tough time with what he had to go through with being left out of the World Cup and then seeing that team go on to lift the trophy. That must have been difficult for him.

"It's not my call but I think Alex is a world-class player. I've played a lot of cricket with him over the years, from a very young age.

"In a way I felt sorry for him, but I understood the decision from the management, the captain and the rest of the team.

"I don't know 100 per cent what will happen but I'd be happy to see Alex back in England colours. I imagine the majority would have the view that I've just given, in terms of people do deserve a second chance. If they've gone away and worked on what they need to work on, I don't see why anyone would see it any differently."

Woakes is 31, like Hales, and he underlined how standards in the dressing room demand responsibility and accountability throughout the team.

"We've got a culture and an environment in the England squad that we all try to pull in the right direction and all try to do the best for the team," Woakes said.

"If Alex is willing to do that, I would imagine everyone would be happy to see him back playing for England again."

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts remains hopeful a squad will travel to England for a limited-overs tour in September.

The coronavirus pandemic has put the English season on hold until at least July 1, yet the England and Wales Cricket Board is still working on proposals to stage international games on home soil in 2020.

A scheduled Test series with West Indies in June had to be postponed but could still be part of a rearranged fixture list, with action potentially getting under way in early July.

Pakistan could also still visit to play Tests and Twenty20 games, while Roberts declared there is "some chance" Australia will make the trip - so long as there are no health risks - later than originally planned.

England were due to take on their Ashes rivals in a trio of T20 fixtures and a three-match ODI series in July.

"I think there's some chance we could send a team over," Roberts told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

"Obviously we won't jeopardise the safety of the players, but the best test of that is the West Indian and Pakistan tours of England before we're due to tour. We hope they go off without a hitch."

Wasim Khan, chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, told Sky Sports' Cricket Show that they intend to pick a 25-man squad for a tour that will see fixtures staged at biosecure venues.

"We are trying to get to England early July so that we can get the quarantine done," Khan said.

"If we can practise during that time then great, if not then it gives us just under three weeks to practise.

"We are told there are going to be two venues (to stage matches). We have not been told which the two venues are. We are also told there is going to be a third venue, which is going to be our base while we are in England."

There is a strong cricket theme running through sporting history on May 21 – as well as an unforgettable outing for Manchester United.

Saeed Anwar dazzled during a stunning innings for Pakistan that put him in the one-day record books, while the date is also notable in the history of Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians.

As for United, they were crowned champions of Europe for a third time in their history, but only after battling back from the brink to beat familiar foes in a dramatic final.

 

1997 – Anwar powers Pakistan with record-breaking knock

Anwar set an ODI record as he thrashed India's attack around Chennai, the opener making 194 from just 146 deliveries.

The left-hander hit 22 fours and five sixes – including three in a row off leg-spinner Anil Kumble – as he contributed the majority of Pakistan's final total of 327-5 in the Independence Cup fixture. The next highest score in the innings? 39.

Sachin Tendulkar eventually dismissed the centurion with the score on 297, though he made just four with the bat in India's unsuccessful reply. Despite a hundred for Rahul Dravid, they were bowled out for 292 to lose by 35 runs.

Anwar sat at the top of the highest scores list alone for 12 years until Zimbabwe's Charles Coventry matched his effort. However, in February 2010, Tendulkar set a new benchmark when he became the first batsman to score a double century in a one-dayer, doing so against South Africa.

2008 – Red Devils hit the spot to be crowned European champions

Moscow staged an all-Premier League final with a dramatic twist, with Chelsea missing their chance before United sealed glory.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the opening goal for the Red Devils when he headed past Petr Cech, but Chelsea levelled before the break when Frank Lampard reacted quickly to a deflection to score.

There were no further goals in the remainder of the 90 minutes or extra time, meaning spot-kicks were required. Ronaldo was surprisingly the first to miss, meaning John Terry had the chance to seal victory with the Blues' fifth effort.

Yet the Chelsea skipper crucially slipped and lost his footing at the point of contact, sending his strike against a post. Into sudden-death kicks it went and, with the score at 6-5, Edwin van der Sar guessed correctly to deny Nicolas Anelka and secure the trophy in the Russian capital.

2017 – Johnson does just enough as Mumbai win again

Mumbai Indians claimed a third IPL title thanks to a thrilling one-run victory over the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant in Hyderabad.

The eventual champions slipped to 65-5 in their innings but Krunal Pandya led a lower-order recovery, making 47 to get his side up to 129-8. Pune reached 98-2 in reply but despite a half-century from Steve Smith, came up agonisingly short.

After a late collapse left them needing 11 off the last over, they lost two wickets off as many deliveries at the start as Mitchell Johnson held his nerve with the game – and the trophy – on the line.

Needing four off the final ball to win (and three to tie to force a Super Over), Dan Christian was only able to pick up two as Washington Sundar was run out.

Shane Warne is more sentimental about representing Australia than he lets on, his former team-mate Jason Gillespie said.

In the wake of a recent Amazon documentary about the Australian cricket team, Warne hit out at the "verbal diarrhoea" from some of the country’s current and former players over the significance of the Baggy Green.

Warne pointed to an example of players wearing them when they went to watch tennis at Wimbledon, labelling it "embarrassing".

He auctioned off his Baggy Green to support the bushfire relief fund earlier this year and often preferred to wear white floppy headgear when he was playing.

Gillespie believes the hat has important significance to many players and believes it still means a lot to Warne, even if he has been "dismissive".

"If that's what Shane believes then... he's probably more sentimental about it as he probably lets on," Gillespie said to Stats Perform News.

"It did mean a lot to him. I think he was making a point and I think the point he was trying to make was that is it a piece of cloth at the end of the day."

Gillespie added: "What it symbolises and what is symbolises for me is the hard work, the sacrifice.

"The sacrifice not just for myself but I think of my parents, driving me around to cricket practice every week to play games on the weekends. 

"I remember at Christmas time when Santa got me a new bat or a new ball and after opening presents I would hound my dad to go up to the nets before Christmas lunch.

"I'm thinking, 'The poor man, all he probably wanted to do was to have a Christmas drink and to settle down for an hour but he's with his 12 year-old son up at the nets on Christmas Day'. 

"The pride in yourself for the hard work you put in and the reward - ever since I was six years of age, I wanted to play for Australia, it was just my whole being, my whole dream. 

"Everything revolved around doing the best I could to play for Australia and that's what the cap symbolises. I look at that cap and I think, 'I earned that cap'. 

"I know that Shane has maybe been a little bit dismissive about it but it still means a lot to him. He thinks of all the hard work that he had to put in. 

"But everyone is allowed to feel slightly differently about it and what it means to them. It doesn't mean that Shane cared any less, it was just his way. 

"He used to wear a more floppy hat and for more practical reasons. He didn't want to get sunburn from the harsh sun. 

"It meant a lot, it still means a lot to all of us. I'm fortunate to have my Baggy Green and it's tucked away safely so it's all good."

Jason Gillespie believes criticism of England fast bowler Jofra Archer might well be rooted in lazy stereotyping.

Archer excelled on his introduction to the international game last year, starring in England's Cricket World Cup win and then the 2-2 home Ashes series draw against Australia.

The 25-year-old claimed 55 wickets across all formats in 2019 but a tough tour of New Zealand and mixed fortunes as England were subsequently victorious in South Africa brought his performances into question.

Conjecture generally whipped up whenever the Barbados-born paceman let his speeds slip below the high speeds that allow him to thrill spectators and terrify batsmen.

Gillespie takes charge of Archer at Sussex when his commitments for England and in global T20 leagues allow.

A world-class seamer during his playing days for Australia, he feels the slights directed towards the player "couldn’t be further from the truth".

“I've been very excited by Jofra," he told Stats Perform. "Obviously, he plays at Sussex and my dealings with Jofra have been nothing short of fantastic.

"He's a very likeable young man, loves his cricket, very passionate, he's very hardworking.

"I’ve been pretty disappointed with some of the criticism levelled at Jofra. I think he suffers a little bit from perception. There's that laid-back demeanour that he has.

"He's got a few gold chains, he's got the different hairstyle, he’s got that sort of laid-back West Indian approach. He's Barbadian-born, so he has that approach.

"That perception of that laid-back attitude, people assume that he doesn’t care or he’s not putting [effort] in, and that couldn't be further from the truth. The kid lives and breathes cricket, and I think he's been fantastic."

Gillespie was tipped by some to be leading Archer in the next stage of his international career, with his name linked to the vacancy that emerged when Trevor Bayliss stepped down at the end of the Ashes.

The England and Wales Cricket Board ultimately entrusted bowling coach and former Essex head coach Chris Silverwood to step up.

Content in his roles with Sussex and Big Bash outfit the Adelaide Strikers, Gillespie insists his association with the role never amounted to anything more than gossip – although he would consider offers to work at international level.

“My name was linked with it but at no stage have I had an official interview or anything like that for any role," he explained.

"I think my name got bandied around along with a number of other coaches in the world. I'd love to be involved with international cricket at some point in the future.

"Right now, I’ve got a wonderful job at Sussex, a wonderful job at the Adelaide Strikers, and I'm really enjoying those roles.

"If something does come up in international cricket, you’d certainly have a look at it. As a career coach, you want to progress and work with the best players. Anyone would be open to having those conversations, but at the moment, my focus is on Sussex and the Strikers." 

Ireland will not play an international at home in 2020 after limited-overs games against New Zealand and Pakistan were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Black Caps were scheduled to visit in June and early July, playing a trio of Twenty20 fixtures in Bready before a three-match one-day series at Stormont.

A further two T20 contests were due to take place against Pakistan, listed for July 12 and 14 in Malahide, but those will also not go ahead as originally planned.

The latest update from Cricket Ireland follows on from the cancellation of the three ODIs against Bangladesh in May, though chief executive Warren Deutrom revealed there was no other option in the face of an ongoing global health crisis.

"We deeply regret that we can’t provide any international cricket at home to our fans this year, but we were always up against it with our entire home international programme coming in the first half of the season,” Deutrom said in a statement.

"We want to extend once again our sincere thanks to all those that worked so hard to facilitate what would have been 15 matches across seven venues over three months in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and England.”

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White remains hopeful the tour can be rearranged for a later date, adding: “I know our players, support staff and Black Caps fans were very much looking forward to the upcoming visit and are disappointed this decision needed to be taken."

Ireland are also set to travel to England for three one-dayers in September. It is possible that series is moved from the original dates, Cricket Ireland confirmed, with discussions still ongoing.

Babar Azam has been confirmed as Pakistan's new one-day captain, while Azhar Ali will remain in charge of the Test team.

Batsman Babar is to lead his country in white-ball cricket for the 2020-21 season, the Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed on Wednesday when announcing the new list of central contracts for the upcoming campaign, which begins on July 1.

The 25-year-old averages 54.17 in his 50-over career for Pakistan and sits third in the International Cricket Council’s batsmen rankings, behind India duo Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.

He had already replaced Sarfraz Ahmed in charge of the Twenty20 side but will now be skipper in the ODI format too, though it is unclear when Pakistan will next be in action.

A one-day tour to the Netherlands was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning they may not play a 50-over fixture until they take on South Africa in October.

Ali, meanwhile, is to continue in the Test job, with Pakistan scheduled to play a three-match series against England during a tour that also includes a trio of T20 games.

"I want to congratulate Azhar Ali and Babar Azam for getting captaincy extensions," Misbah-ul-Haq, chief selector and head coach, said. "This is absolutely the right decision as they also require certainty and clarity on their future roles.

"I am sure they will now start looking to the future and start planning so that they can build sides that can perform at the expected levels."

Meanwhile, Naseem Shah and Iftikhar Ahmad were the two new additions to receive central contracts – but Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz were all absent from the 18-man list.

Amir and Wahab "remain in contention", however, as Misbah is hopeful the experienced duo can help aid the development of Pakistan's up-and-coming fast bowlers.

Misbah said: "The selectors have made the tough decisions to leave out Amir, Hasan and Wahab but considering Hasan missed most of the season due to an injury and Amir and Wahab decided to focus on white-ball cricket, this was the right move.

"However, Amir and Wahab are senior and experienced bowlers and they remain in contention as we believe they can still contribute to the Pakistan men’s cricket team and also mentor our young battery of fast bowlers."

Graeme Smith made an immediate impact as South Africa's director of cricket and his full-time appointment can help the Proteas build for a brighter future, according to Enoch Nkwe.

After initially taking over on an interim basis late last year, Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed in April the former captain will be remaining in the role for a two-year period.

The 39-year-old - who scored 9,265 Test runs and a further 6,989 in ODI cricket - appointed Mark Boucher as head coach ahead of the home Test series against England, while another ex-international in Jacques Kallis joined as a batting consultant.

Nkwe is part of the staff as an assistant coach and feels Smith has already made a difference in the job, aided by his standing within the game.

"From a cricketing perspective, to have someone of his stature, you can almost see the confidence in general from a cricketing space, especially from the team," he told Stats Perform.

"He is an ex-player and an ex-captain who has a very good cricketing brain.

"It all happened very quickly in a short period of time. He was only initially in the position for three months and there was so much he needed to do. Understanding of systems, then at the same time try and help the Proteas and give as much support as possible to try to win and build the confidence of the public, so he had quite a lot on his plate I must say.

"Looking at the circumstances, I think he's done well. He's well aware of the circumstances and there is still a lot he needs to put in place from a system point of view.

"There's no doubt that will happen in the next couple of months and years, to ensure the foundation is as strong as it's ever been."

South Africa have struggled in all forms of the game, including failing to progress beyond the group stage of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, but Nkwe is confident Smith can help bring some much-needed stability, both on and off the field.

He added: "The fact that now we know we are dealing with someone for the next two years at least, we are able to strategically plan certain things and he will be accountable for that. Also, it will give us confidence in us being able to execute our plans properly.

"There are just so many things around his full-time appointment that, as a team, we know where we are going, what we need to do, and I look forward to not only the next two, but the next three years, because I signed until the 2023 World Cup.

"Even just in our meetings, his energy is felt and he's someone who has always has that presence. That's something that is very, very exciting and something we needed in South African cricket."

Ali Bacher has urged the cricket world to accept behind-closed-doors matches could be the salvation of the sport at international level.

Bacher, 77, went from playing for and captaining South Africa to becoming the most powerful administrator in the country by the turn of the century.

Now he believes cricket must unite behind rescue plans amid the global coronavirus crisis to avert a financial calamity, insisting safeguarding broadcast income must be the priority.

Only by putting on international matches can that be guaranteed, with Bacher urging governing bodies to be as creative and receptive to the new state of the world as needs be.

He told the Times of India: "So many of us wake up every day and hope that the virus has gone. This will not happen.

"World medical experts predict that this pandemic will last anything up to 18 months. The consequences for world cricket would be very serious, unless world cricket agrees to and allows international cricket matches to be played to empty stadiums.

"The massive global TV audience would not diminish and the income the Test-playing countries would receive from the broadcasters would allow them to survive this crisis, which is unprecedented since World War II."

Bacher has urged South Africa and India to consider switching their recently aborted ODI series to a neutral territory, such as the United Arab Emirates.

He said: "Our government medical advisers have gone public and said that the coronavirus will hit South Africa the hardest in July and August. Maybe Sourav [Ganguly, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India] and Graeme [Smith, South Africa's director of cricket] should be looking now at possible new venues like the UAE hoping that the airline industry will be functioning in August."

Usman Khawaja has revealed he is "very shocked" at the financial situation Cricket Australia (CA) finds itself in due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

CA stood down the vast majority of its staff on reduced pay from April 27 until the end of the financial year, with concerns over when international action will be able to resume.

Australia are due to stage the ICC T20 World Cup, as well as welcome India for a lucrative tour, yet their home schedule could be at risk because of the global health crisis.

Admitting it is disappointing how the situation has played out, Khawaja hopes CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) can work together to come through what he feels is a cash-flow problem that could have been avoided.

"I was very shocked. I knew our projections for revenue were still very high and I think they still are, depending on what happens with the India series," he told Fox Sports.

"It's a bit confusing. I don't have all the financial information in front of me, but it seems like it's more of a cash-flow problem at the moment.

"There's obviously a little bit of mismanagement there somewhere, with the portfolio and putting a lot of money into the share market.

"To me that's Business 101. To make sure you have enough cash reserves if c**p hits the fan.

"So I'm a little bit disappointed on that front ... but what's been done is done now, so it's just our responsibility as CA and ACA to work through this."

Khawaja was absent from the list of players to be handed national contracts by CA this week, having not played a Test since being dropped during the 2019 Ashes in England.

The left-hander, who averages over 40 in the longest format, still believes he is one of the best six batsmen in the country and feels the criticism of his play against spin is unjustified.

"Without sounding arrogant, I still feel like I'm one of the top six batsmen in the country," Khawaja said.

"My playing against spin has been right up there as some of the best in the county. Bar maybe Steve Smith, who is an absolute genius.

"But the most important thing is to score runs."

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