England have been drawn in the same group as rivals Australia for the T20 World Cup, while India have been placed in a pool with Pakistan.

The Super 12 stage of the 16-team limited-overs tournament will see England, Australia, South Africa and West Indies do battle in Group 1, along with two qualifying teams.

Group 2 will contain India and Pakistan, along with New Zealand, Afghanistan and an additional two qualifiers.

Eight teams are involved in round one of the tournament and will vie to fill those final four places in the Super 12.

Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia are in Group A, while Bangladesh, Scotland, Oman and Papa New Guinea make up Group B, with two from each pool to progress and join the highest-ranked nations.

A short round one stage will include 12 matches, starting on October 17 and the top two from each group progressing.

The winners of Group A joining the group involving England and Australia along with the runners-up of Group B. Bangladesh are favourites to win Group B - if they do, they will join the competitive group containing India along with the side who finishes second in Group A.

The Super 12 stage is scheduled to start a week later from October 24 and will consist of 30 matches, making up the bulk of the tournament.

Only four teams will emerge to contest the semi-finals, with the final then to be held on November 14.

It was confirmed last month by the ICC that the T20 World Cup will now be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman rather than India this year.

Australia was originally scheduled to host the 2020 tournament ahead of India staging it this year. 

However, the pandemic forced the ICC to postpone last year's tournament, giving Australia hosting rights for 2022.

A second surge in cases of coronavirus in India then forced a major change to the 2021 competition, which will still be hosted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

West Indies are the defending champions after defeating England in the final the last time this tournament was held back in 2016.

England and India are rated as the leading contenders to come out on top, ranked one and two in the world respectively by the ICC in the format.

England will be aiming to continue their fine T20I form on home soil when they take on Pakistan in a three-match series, starting on Friday in Nottingham.

Fresh off a 3-0 sweep in the ODI games against the same opponents, England switch to a format in which they have triumphed in five of their past six outings in their own back yard.

Indeed, they finished a 2020 season hampered by the coronavirus pandemic with three victories on the spin – another at Trent Bridge in the opener against Pakistan will match their longest winning run at home in 20-over action, having previously enjoyed a four-match streak from September 2014 to July 2016.

However, Pakistan won the most recent meeting between the teams in September of last year, a five-run victory in Manchester making sure that series finished level at 1-1.

The tourists will hope a change to T20 action can help them turn around their fortunes on this trip, considering they were outplayed by a makeshift England 50-over team that had been hastily put together due to COVID-19 protocols.

Eoin Morgan was among the regulars forced to isolate following positive coronavirus cases within the group that had been on duty for the ODI games against Sri Lanka, but the captain is back to lead a more familiar squad this time around.

Saqib Mahmood is included again after impressing in the one-day arena, while Lewis Gregory is also selected and there is a return from injury for Jos Buttler, too. Ben Stokes – captain of the 50-over side in Morgan's absence – is left out, however, having only just made his comeback following surgery on a broken finger.

Chris Silverwood will also be missing for the home team, with England's head coach taking a break from his duties. Paul Collingwood has been placed in temporary charge.

As for Pakistan, Imad Wasim has been recalled to a squad that also includes batsman Azam Khan, son of former national team captain and coach Moin Khan.

England are at home, but Trent Bridge has not been regularly used for T20 international fixtures in the past. The home side won by seven wickets against West Indies at the venue back in June 2012, having lost by the same margin when taking on South Africa there three years earlier.

 


In the (Mah)mood for more wickets

With England opting to leave out Sam Curran, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood – three likely selections for the upcoming Test series against India – Mahmood has an opportunity to stake his claim ahead of this year's Twenty20 World Cup.

The Lancashire pace bowler finished with nine wickets at an average of 13.66 in his three ODI outings against Pakistan, all while going at just 4.39 runs per over.

Brilliant Babar to lead the way?

Pakistan captain Babar Azam made up for two low scores with a sensational 158 in the third one-dayer, albeit his efforts came in a losing cause. His innings did at least strengthen his grip on top spot in the official ODI batting rankings.

He is just as prolific in T20I cricket, too. Since the beginning of 2019, the right-hander is the only player to reach 1,000 runs in the format (1,004), while no other has managed more scores of 50 or more across that period (11).

Key series facts

- Pakistan will be aiming for back-to-back wins in men’s T20Is against England for the first time, following a five-run victory in their most recent meeting (September 1, 2020).

- England are undefeated against Pakistan from their five multigame bilateral T20I series (W3, D2); their most recent such series in 2020 ended in a draw.

- Three of the four players with the best batting averages in T20I cricket (25+ innings) could appear in this series: Dawid Malan (47.4), Babar Azam (47.3) and Mohammad Rizwan (44.4). Only Virat Kohli (52.7) has a better average in the format than the trio.

- England have the second-best batting strike rate (148.9 runs per 100 deliveries) of any Test-playing country in T20I action since the beginning of 2019 (New Zealand – 151.5).

- Fakhar Zaman (948) is 52 away from scoring 1,000 T20 runs at international level; he would be the seventh man to achieve the feat for Pakistan, and the fourth fastest to do so (45th innings) if he achieves the milestone in the first match (Babar Azam – 26 innings, Mohammad Hafeez – 41 and Ahmed Shehzad – 42).

- Pakistan pace bowler Haris Rauf has taken 25 wickets in T20I action since the beginning of 2020; only two players have taken more in that time (Tabraiz Shamsi – 26 for South Africa and Ish Sodhi – 26 for New Zealand).

The T20 World Cup will now be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman rather than India this year, the ICC has confirmed on Tuesday.

Australia was originally scheduled to host the 2020 tournament ahead of India staging it this year. However, the pandemic forced the ICC to postpone last year's tournament, giving Australia hosting rights for 2022.

A second surge in cases of coronavirus in India has now forced a major change to the 2021 competition, which will still be hosted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The ICC had asked the BCCI to decide on the feasibility of staging the tournament, with BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla saying on Monday it had opted against remaining as hosts.

October 17 remains the start date for the competition, which will end with the final on November 14.

The Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground will be the four World Cup venues.

The first round of the tournament, comprising of eight qualifying teams, will be split between Oman and the UAE. Four of those teams will move into the Super 12s round, joining eight automatic qualifiers.

ICC CEO Geoff Allardice said: "Our priority is to deliver the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 safely, in full and in its current window Whilst we are incredibly disappointed not to be hosting the event in India, the decision gives us the certainty we need to stage the event in a country that is a proven international host of multi-team events in a bio-secure environment.

"We will work closely with the BCCI, the Emirates Cricket Board and Oman Cricket to ensure fans can enjoy a wonderful celebration of cricket."

India has recorded over 30 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, the second-most in the world behind the United States. Nearly 400,000 people have died from the disease in the country.

The UAE has had nearly 629,000 cases with just over 1,800 deaths.

West Indies are the defending champions having claimed a dramatic victory over England in the 2016 final in India.

England will be looking to extend their winning streak against struggling Sri Lanka when the Twenty20 series begins on Wednesday in Cardiff.

The three matches between the nations provide an opportunity to continue building towards this year's T20 World Cup, though the hosts are without two key players due to injuries.

Fast bowler Jofra Archer is sidelined after surgery on his right elbow, while Ben Stokes is not yet ready to return to England duty following a broken finger. However, the all-rounder is playing again for Durham, suggesting an international comeback is not too far away.

Reece Topley is another to be ruled out of action, with England opting for David Willey as an alternative left-arm bowling option. Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan have been injury doubts ahead of the opening fixture, though captain Eoin Morgan said on Tuesday he expects both to be available.

England's limited-overs skipper was also asked again about the possibility of a return for Alex Hales, with the batsman having not played for England since being withdrawn from the 50-over squad just prior to the 2019 World Cup.

"There are conversations to be had between Alex, myself and the coach and potentially a few of the players," Morgan told the media. "Trying to get those happening in Covid times has been an issue. They will happen at some stage."

England have won three on the spin against Sri Lanka, who have been beaten in nine of their last 10 completed outings in T20 cricket. Their solitary win during the miserable run came against West Indies in March.

In that same month, England lost a hard-fought series in India, going down 3-2 to Virat Kohli's side. Bairstow is one of a number of players back in the fold after heading home from the Indian Premier League earlier than originally scheduled once the tournament was halted due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hosts have an unblemished record at Sophia Gardens in T20 action too, winning all six games played there. This will be the first time they have hosted Sri Lanka at the venue.


Jonny be good! 

After isolating upon his return from India, Bairstow has been in outstanding form in the domestic T20 competition, the Vitality Blast.

The right-handed batsman has made 295 runs in four outings for Yorkshire, including hitting 112 against Worcestershire when needing a runner for half of his innings due to an injured ankle. Still, there is little need to move when you can hit boundaries – he has managed 26 fours and 18 sixes while scoring at a strike-rate of 175.59 runs per 100 deliveries while in action for his county in that competition.

Opportunity knocks

Chris Woakes is back for England, having not featured in a T20 at international level since November 2015. Like Willey, he will hope to make the most of any opportunity that comes his way in the series, which sees two games staged in the Welsh capital before concluding at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Sri Lanka, too, have some fresh faces: Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya Lakshan and Ishan Jayaratne have been included in a 24-man squad for both this series and the three one-dayers that follow. The tourists are without former captain Angelo Mathews, however.

Key series facts

- England lost their most recent men's T20I on home soil, against Australia in September 2020; however, the last time they lost two consecutive such matches at home was in August 2013.

- Since the beginning of 2020, Sri Lanka have the second lowest bowling dot-ball percentage (38.3 per cent) of any Test-playing country in the powerplay overs in men’s T20Is (Afghanistan 37.7 per cent).

- Sri Lanka have scored just 53.6 per cent of their runs from boundaries in powerplay overs in T20 games since the beginning of 2020, the lowest rate of any Test-playing country in that time.

- Morgan (201) needs just 13 runs to become the highest run-scorer in men's T20 clashes between England and Sri Lanka (Mahela Jayawardene – 213).

- Chris Jordan (12) needs just two wickets to become the highest wicket-taker in men's T20 games involving England and Sri Lanka (Lasith Malinga – 13).

Chris Woakes and David Willey have been named in England's squad for the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka at the end of June.

A key component of the side that won the 50-over World Cup in 2019, Woakes has not featured in the shortest format at international level since November 2015.

Willey, meanwhile, will hope to get the chance to impress ahead of the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in October and November this year.

Liam Dawson is also included in a 16-man party that is minus the services of injured trio Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Reece Topley.

"With the T20 World Cup only a few months away, this summer is about perfecting our team and continue to progress on the field," England head coach Chris Silverwood said.

"We want to approach every series with an influx of players aiming to win every match and giving us the best preparation as we get closer to the tournament.

"With several high-profile players missing through injury, it allows me to look at some of our experienced players who have not featured at this level for some time.

"The likes of Chris Woakes and David Willey are very experienced cricketers, and to have them both in the mix is exciting and shows the depth of squad we have available.

"I want our team to play an attacking form of the game. I hope we can continue to excite the England fans with our approach."

The three-match series begins in Cardiff on June 23, with the second game also taking place at the same venue the following day. The Ageas Bowl will then host the finale on June 26.


England squad for T20 series against Sri Lanka:

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

The Indian Premier League season will be completed in the United Arab Emirates during September and October this year.

A statement released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday outlined the planned resumption of a campaign that was suspended in early May amid the worsening coronavirus crisis within the country.

The 2021 edition of the Twenty20 tournament was halted following positive cases within the IPL bubble, forcing fixtures to be rearranged.

However, the BCCI's media release said the switch in location had been made to avoid clashing with the monsoon season in India, which usually begins in late May or early June and continues through into October.

Last year's tournament was staged entirely in the UAE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Mumbai Indians winning a fifth title by beating Delhi Capitals in the final.

As well as announcing a new venue for the IPL, the BCCI revealed they will "seek an extension" from the International Cricket Council over a decision on the T20 World Cup, which India is due to stage in October and November.

"The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday announced to complete the remaining matches of VIVO Indian Premier League 2021 season in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) considering the monsoon season in India in the months of September-October this year," the BCCI statement read.

"The decision was taken at a special general meeting (SGM) held virtually, where members unanimously agreed to resume IPL.

"The BCCI SGM further authorised the office bearers to seek an extension of time from the ICC to take an appropriate call on the hosting of ICC T20 World Cup 2021."

The fifth and final Test of India's series in England begins at Old Trafford on September 10.

Jofra Archer is focused on being fully fit for the T20 World Cup and England's Ashes tour to Australia later this year as he looks to finally get his troublesome elbow injury sorted.

Pace bowler Archer underwent surgery last week and, as per a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board released on Wednesday, is to undergo an intensive rehabilitation period before being assessed again in around a month.

The 26-year-old's absence is a blow to England ahead of a busy home schedule in all formats, with New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India all visiting for tours in the upcoming months.

However, Archer will only make his comeback once completely healthy, a decision made with his long-term future in mind as he prepares to be patient.

The T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in October and November this year, with England then travelling Down Under the following month for the five-Test Ashes series.

"One thing I am determined about post-elbow operation is not to rush my comeback because my primary focus is to be playing for England in the T20 World Cup and Ashes later this year," Archer wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

"Those are my targets. If I come back before then and manage to play in the home Test series against India – then fine, so be it. If I don't, I am quite prepared to sit out the summer.

"The way I am looking at things is that I would rather miss a few weeks of a year so that I have a few more years in my career.

"I just want to get this injury sorted once and for all and that's why I'm not looking that far ahead or at dates for a return to action — because if I don't get this right, I won't play any cricket. Period.

"I am not going to do myself any good by coming back before I'm fully fit, so I will take my time and do what is best for me and my life."

Archer, who had an operation on a hand injury earlier this year, attempted to make a return to action in domestic cricket for Sussex recently, only to suffer a further setback with his elbow during the County Championship fixture at Hove.

He has taken 42 wickets at an average of 31.04 in 13 Test appearances for Joe Root's side, while he is a key member of England's white-ball squads under captain Eoin Morgan.

England have Tests against New Zealand at Lord's and Edgbaston in June, with a five-match series in the long format against India beginning at Trent Bridge on August 4.

Several players who appeared in the Indian Premier League will not be involved against the Black Caps, while wicketkeeper Ben Foakes joined Archer and Ben Stokes on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury when slipping in the Surrey dressing room on Sunday.

Jos Buttler feels England's tour of India served the team well despite series defeats in the Tests, Twenty20 Internationals and ODIs.

England won the Test opener but went down 3-1 over four matches, while they twice led a five-match T20 series before a 3-2 loss.

The tourists were always chasing in the ODIs, both across the series – after India's opening win – and in all three matches, as they bowled first on each occasion.

Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes led a superb victory in the second ODI, but Sunday's decider saw India edge to a seven-run victory despite the best efforts of Sam Curran, who equalled the highest score for a batsman coming in at eight in an ODI with an unbeaten 95.

Defeat meant England have still only won one multi-game bilateral ODI series in India, losing the past six in a row.

The world champions have also been beaten in back-to-back series for the first time since a run of three in 2014 (two against Sri Lanka and one versus India).

But stand-in captain Buttler, who was defeated for just the third time as skipper in ODIs, maintained a positive outlook going forward.

"We've been a brilliant side for a long period of time now," he said. "I think we lost those two series [the T20s and ODIs], but that's two losses in our last 11 series.

"So, we're still a very good side, expanding that talent pool. There's been a few guys obviously missing from this side and guys coming in to have opportunities, which is fantastic.

"And that's been a big part of us getting better and better as a side. We never want to put limitations on what we're capable of. We'll continue to try to push the boundaries and strive to do that.

"And I think the exposure of players coming in and continuing to play in that fashion that we expect is great.

"Expanding that talent pool and pushing each other from within and building the strength in the squad, and the competition for places in the XI, is only going to continue to improve our side.

"So of course, it's again a long cycle looking ahead to a World Cup, but we always want to learn, and you want to win at the same time. We're of course disappointed when we don't do that.

"But of course, there are big pictures moving forward and we'll continue to be a very good side.

"There's more and more experience in guys, a lot of guys, in and around 100 caps as well. So, the experience in the squad is huge, and the exposure for other guys coming in is vital as well.

"I think we're in a really good place as a side."

England have a packed schedule this year before heading back to India in October for the World Twenty20, a tournament in which they were beaten in the final in dramatic fashion five years ago.

Buttler added: "We came here wanting to win. We play the game to win matches and to win series.

"And in the must-win games at the end of these T20 or one-dayers, we haven't quite managed to do that. So of course, we were disappointed with that.

"But there'll be some great learnings taken from the tour, some great exposure to players playing in this part of the world for the first time.

"I think once again expanding the talent pool available to us in one-day cricket, building ahead to the T20 World Cup in a few months' time and of course the 2023 World Cup later on down the line here as well.

"So, any time we expand that player pool, that creates competition, that creates better performance and that's the upward trajectory that we're always after as a side, that continuous improvement."

Virat Kohli has revealed he will open the batting during the upcoming Indian Premier League season as he prepares to take on that role for India in the Twenty20 World Cup later this year.

The 32-year-old was named at the top of the Indian order in a T20 international for just the second time since 2018 ahead of Saturday's series decider against England.

That decision paid off handsomely as Kohli struck an unbeaten 80 off 52 balls to help his country to a huge total of 224 and, ultimately, a 36-run victory that clinched a 3-2 series win.

And the captain explained after the match that he is planning to continue in an opening role for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL next month, with one eye on doing the same for India when they host the T20 World Cup in October.

"I am going to open in the IPL as well," he told Star Sports.

"Look, I've batted at different positions in the past, but I feel like we do have a very solid middle order now, and now it's about your two best players getting the maximum number of balls in T20 cricket. So I would definitely like to partner Rohit at the top.

"As I rightly said, if we have a partnership and we both are set, then you know that one of us is going to cause some serious damage. That's exactly what we want. 

"And the other guys feel much more confident when one of us is still in and set, they know that they can play more freely. 

"It augurs well for the team and I would like this to continue, and hopefully continue that form through to the World Cup."

Kohli also revealed that India's preparations for the T20 World Cup will be aided by a number of short-form games against England to be played after their scheduled Test series in August and September.

He added: "I just found out that we might have some more after the Test series against England.

"[We are] more or less sorted [in terms of who will make the squad]. We are very very confident. Very happy with how things have panned out. We just want to keep moving forward with more positivity and fearlessness."

India clinched a 3-2 Twenty20 series victory over England after coming out on top in a high-scoring decider at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The hosts triumphed by 36 runs as they prevailed for a second successive outing after being put into bat by visiting skipper Eoin Morgan, with the previous encounters all won by the team chasing.

Captain Virat Kohli – shifted up to open – led the way with 80 not out as India amassed 224-2, their fourth highest total in the shortest format.

Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan both made half-centuries as England raced out of the blocks in reply, yet their chase ran out of steam. Unable to hit boundaries regularly when it mattered, they finished up on 188-8.

India had also made a fast start when they batted thanks mainly to Rohit Sharma. He dominated an opening partnership worth 94, belatedly making a major contribution in the series with 64 from just 34 deliveries.

Ben Stokes finally ended the initial onslaught thanks to an inside edge onto the stumps, though there was little respite for England's bowlers as the runs continued to flow.

Suryakumar Yadav (32) wasted little time in going on the attack, hitting the second and third deliveries he faced during an Adil Rashid over for six, though the leg-spinner would later dismiss the right-hander thanks to a stunning catch in the deep.

Jason Roy ended up holding the ball, though his role was a minor one. Chris Jordan had taken a superb one-handed effort on the run from long-on, then passed it on to his waiting team-mate before stepping over the boundary.

Still, Hardik Pandya capitalised on his promotion up to four with 39 not out, combining with Kohli to add 81. Mark Wood and Chris Jordan both registered unwanted half-centuries with the ball, while Jofra Archer finished with 0-43 from his four overs.

England lost Jason Roy for a duck in the first over, yet Buttler and Malan made 52 and 68 respectively to keep the game firmly in the balance.

However, amid the run-scoring carnage, Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed 2-15, including the crucial wicket of Buttler. The seam bowler's economical four overs helped put the brakes on England, who were 104-1 at the halfway stage before slipping off the pace.

World Cup on the horizon

The top two-ranked nations in T20 cricket did not disappoint in a series that offered the opportunity to explore options ahead of the World Cup on Indian soil later this year.

Kohli finished up averaging 115.5, yet new faces Yadav and Ishan Kishan also caught the eye for India with the bat. Similarly, Malan – who became the fastest player to 1,000 international runs in the format – showed in the finale how he can change his approach, depending on the match situation.

Jordan goes the distance

Not for the first time in his career, Jordan produced a sensational catch, this time to see off Yadav. However, while a fantastic asset in the field, he has struggled to have an impact with the ball in the five games.

Between overs 17-20, Jordan has been hit for eight sixes in the series. That is five more than the rest of the England attack combined, while an economy rate of 13.5 in that period will be a concern for captain Morgan.

England's bowlers produced an outstanding performance to lay the platform for an emphatic eight-wicket win in the first Twenty20 International against India.

The tourists were bamboozled by spin to lose the Test series but found a pitch much more to their liking at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, a venue where they twice suffered heavy defeats to go down 3-1 in the longest format.

Jofra Archer led the way with figures of 3-23 as India – who host the ICC T20 World Cup later this year – were restricted to 124-7 after being put in by visiting captain Eoin Morgan.

England had no such problems in their reply, Jason Roy smashing 49 off 32 deliveries to help wrap up victory with 27 balls to spare. 

Jos Buttler contributed 28 in an opening partnership worth 72 with Roy, who hit three sixes before being trapped lbw by Washington Sundar, one of three frontline spinners selected by the hosts for the opener in a five-match series. 

By contrast, England fielded a solitary slow bowler in their XI. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid (1-14) claimed the prized scalp of Virat Kohli for a duck having opened the bowling in a T20 at international level for the first time. 

Archer and Mark Wood (1-20) also struck early blows as India limped along to 22-3 by the end of the batting powerplay. Shreyas Iyer led a recovery of sorts, top-scoring with 67, but their final total never appeared enough at the halfway point. 

Rishabh Pant (21) thrilled the crowd with an outrageous reverse sweep off Archer that went for six, yet could only pick out Jonny Bairstow when he flicked a full delivery from Ben Stokes into the deep. 

Iyer and Hardik Pandya (19) shared a half-century stand having come together at 48-4, only for the latter to become the first of two wickets in as many deliveries from the excellent Archer. 

England made sure there were no complications in the chase with a powerplay onslaught from their openers, allowing Dawid Malan and Bairstow to ease them to their paltry target, the duo finishing unbeaten on 24 and 26 not out respectively. 

South Africa have announced the appointment of Dean Elgar as Test captain, while Temba Bavuma is to take charge of the Proteas in limited-overs cricket.  

The announcement of the duo to their respective roles comes after Quinton de Kock had led South Africa in all formats on a temporary basis, though Heinrich Klaasen was in charge for last month’s Twenty20 series in Pakistan due to the wicketkeeper-batsman's absence.  

Cricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith thanked De Kock for his efforts as skipper, while made clear he will continue to play an “integral role” as part of the leadership group.  

Opening batsman Elgar – who has played 67 Tests and scored 13 hundreds in the format - will be skipper through the next cycle of the ICC World Test Championship.  

Bavuma, meanwhile, is to lead South Africa in the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cup tournaments, as well as the next 50-over World Cup, which takes place in India in 2023. He will also serve as vice-captain in Test cricket, too.

"We as CSA are pleased with the appointments of Temba and Dean and believe that we have the men who will lead the Proteas back to their winning ways of old," Smith said in a statement. 

"The pair bring the required stability in both leadership and form to turn the ship in the direction that will eventually bring trophies back to the cabinets. 

"Temba has been a strong and influential voice in the team in recent times and has shown consistency on the field in all formats, solidifying his place as a leader. He also has the trust and backing of the players and coaches around him.” 

On Elgar, he added: “Dean has made no secret of his Test captaincy ambitions over the years and we are pleased to have a leader who is ready, willing and able to step up to the massive task of turning our Test cricket fortunes around.  

"His role as a leader in the Test team has never been in doubt and I know that he relishes the prospect of captaining the Test team. We are confident that he will bring the same grit and determination to his captaincy as he has brought to his many performances on the field over many years."

West Indies star batsman, Chris Gayle, has admitted he contemplated retirement from international cricket but could not turn down the call to don the colours of the regional team once again.

Gayle, now 41, had initially announced his intention to retire following the 2019 ICC World Cup.  The player then targeted the One Day International series against India, shortly after the World Cup, as possibly his final hurrah.  Following a standing ovation received following the series, the batsman seemed to have a change of heart.

Two years later, however, the batsman has found himself in fine form and, on the back of an outstanding IPL campaign for Punjab Kings, could once again prove a major force for the West Indies with the ICC World T20 tournament on the horizon.  As such, the player was recalled to the T20 squad as the team begins a series of matches that will lead up to defending its title in India.

“Back then I thought about actually walking away from the game and people said, no, don’t do it, stay and play for as long as possible.  I decided I would actually continue playing the game of cricket,” Gayle told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“I wasn’t looking down this road.  I thought of playing franchise cricket and exploiting my talent to entertain the people as much as possible.  When I got the call and they asked if I was willing and interested, I said yes. Once I’m playing for the West Indies that’s where my heart is.  I’m never going to turn down anything pertaining to West Indies cricket,” he added.

“I decided I was full-on, I was actually in a tournament and they said ‘you know Chris this is the structure we have in place, so we need you to be a part of it, we need you to fit into what is basically set for the team, so I basically agreed to it.  I came back from Pakistan to be part of the set-up leading into the World Cup.”   

Mark Wood revealed he withdrew from the Indian Premier League auction so he could spend time with his family and to ensure he was not "goosed mentally or physically" in a big year for England.

Wood had put himself forward for an IPL stint at the highest base price (2 crore/£200,000), but opted out on the eve of the auction this week.

The paceman's decision came after he flew to India for the remainder of the Test series, five Twenty20 Internationals and three ODIs.

Wood, who was given time off after the Sri Lanka tour last month, says playing for England in his priority, with the T20 World Cup and an Ashes series in Australia to come after a busy summer on home soil - including facing India again.

The quick said: "I'm going to spend six weeks here in India and then it would be another eight weeks on top of that, so that's 14 weeks.

"We're in a strange situation with COVID and unfortunately you can't see your families during that winter period coming out with India, like we usually do. 

"I just wanted to be able to switch off, recharge and go back home for the second reason, which is being ready for England. 

"I've tried to prioritise that and think later on in the year we've got loads of cricket going on and I don't want my body to fail me or be a bit goosed mentally or physically going into the back of the year, with a World Cup, Ashes and big series against India at home.

"I wanted to make sure I was ready from that point of view and have some family time because this block is a long time away from home."

England all-rounder Moeen Ali was snapped up by Chennai Super Kings for £700,000 on Thursday and although Wood knows he may have missed out on a lucrative deal, the 31-year-old hopes to get another chance to play in the IPL.

"Obviously there's been some big names gone for some big money and never begrudge them that, I think it's life-changing money, so it was a difficult decision for me," he said on Friday.

"The plus side is you're not just going for money reasons, you want to prove [yourself] hopefully going into the World T20 and learn some skills. Plus I feel like I've got a little bit of unfinished business with the IPL, I feel like I didn't do very well well in one game for Chennai last time [in 2018].

"I'd like another crack at some point, I just didn't feel like the time was right. Every player has their own decision, but for me it was to prioritise my family and England."

Dwaine Pretorius starred with bowling figures of 5-17 as South Africa cruised to a six-wicket win over Pakistan to level their T20I series at 1-1. 

The Proteas fell three runs short in the first match on Thursday but comfortably chased down a smaller target of 145 this time around. 

David Miller (25 not out) and stand-in captain Heinrich Klaasen (17no) ensured South Africa reached their total with 22 balls to spare on Saturday. 

That came after Reeza Hendricks and Pite van Biljon both scored 42 to set the platform. 

Pretorius had earlier wreaked havoc as Pakistan struggled to 144-7 despite an innings of 51 from in-form opener Mohammad Rizwan, who scored a century in the opening meeting. 

The series will be decided in Sunday's third and final game, which will also take place in Lahore.

South Africa won the toss and opted to bowl, a decision which led to an ideal start when Pakistan captain Babar Azam (5) was trapped lbw by Pretorius from the eighth delivery of the innings. 

Babar reviewed the decision but the ball was crashing into middle and leg. 

After Haider Ali (10) and Hussain Talat (3) fell cheaply, Rizwan – who hit six fours and one six – built a partnership of 45 with Iftikhar Ahmed (20). 

However, those runs came at slower than a run per ball, with Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi (1-16) and JJ Smuts (0-20) all producing economical four-over spells. 

Even a quickfire 30 in just 12 balls from Faheem Ashraf could not get the hosts above 150. 

It looked like the sub-par total might be enough when Shaheen Afridi (2-18) removed Janneman Malan (4) and Smuts (7) inside 14 deliveries of South Africa’s reply. 

But Hendricks and Van Biljon combined for five maximums in a decisive partnership worth 77. 

Neither of them could see the innings through to its conclusion, but the outcome was no longer in doubt and Miller finished it off with a huge six and then a single off Iftikhar.

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