South Africa have postponed indefinitely proposed tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies and are unlikely to play again until November, Graeme Smith has revealed.

The Proteas were due to travel to Sri Lanka in June for three ODIs and a trio of Twenty20 fixtures against their hosts, only to cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For the same reason they called off a planned trip to the Caribbean set for July and August, when they were due to play two Tests and five T20 matches.

While there was hope of facing West Indies in September instead, director of cricket Smith admits such a scenario is impossible for Cricket South Africa (CSA) due to the rearranged Indian Premier League season.

Several of the country's leading names are contracted to franchises for the T20 tournament, which seems set to be staged in the United Arab Emirates this year.

"The West Indies tour has been postponed indefinitely," Smith told the media on Saturday.

"We are struggling to find the time with the Indian Premier League, when our players are likely to be needed from the beginning of September. Sri Lanka also [postponed].

"I expect that once things get up and running, our team, on the men's side, I would say from November onwards, if all goes well, it will be a really busy period for South African cricket, probably playing in times that we haven't played before and trying to cram in a lot of the missed tours."

As for his own situation with CSA, Smith reaffirmed his commitment to the role amid recent questions raised over his appointment, as well as the coaching staff he put in place.

Mark Boucher was named as head coach ahead of the home series with England, while fellow former international team-mates Jacques Kallis and Paul Harris were introduced to work as batting and spin-bowling consultants respectively.

"If you look at some of the things which are being said around appointments, my appointment and the appointment of my staff, I think some of those things are extremely unfair," Smith said.

"It was good to see CSA president (Chris Nenzani) put that straight with his most recent comments. But I have to come back to my value system and why I got involved in this job.

"Cricket South Africa courted me for a while, I went through the same interview process as everybody else in getting the job.

"I got involved because I have got cricket at heart and to be part of the solution. I want to help create a strong Cricket South Africa."

Australia have included an uncapped trio in their preliminary squad for the proposed ODI and Twenty20 tour of England in September.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Australia are due to play three T20s and three ODIs in England.

Although they have "several hurdles to overcome", Australia named a 26-player preliminary squad on Thursday, including the uncapped Daniel Sams, Riley Meredith and Josh Philippe.

"This preliminary list covers the contingencies of playing one-day Internationals and T20 internationals in bio-secure hubs with the likely prospect of not being able to bring in replacements should the tour proceed," Australia national selector Trevor Hohns said.

"The preliminary list includes several exciting young players who have recently excelled at state level and in the BBL. These emerging players are among those we would like to develop further as we believe they have a bright future in Australian cricket.

"The preliminary list also has a view towards the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup and in the longer term the 2023 ICC World Cup."

Philippe, 23, was the third leading run-scorer in the BBL last season, making 487 at an average of 37.46 for Sydney Sixers.

Sams, meanwhile, was the leading wicket-taker with 30 at 15.36 as he starred for Sydney Thunder, while Meredith, 24, took 10 wickets at 13.70 in just six games for Hobart Hurricanes.

Still, there remains uncertainty over the tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Cricket Australia (CA) executive general manager of national teams Ben Oliver said work was ongoing.

"The ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] are a long-standing and valued international cricket partner and we are doing all we can to give the tour the best possible chance of taking place," he said.

"We continue to work with the ECB and government agencies and a decision on the tour will be made in due course. 

"In the meantime, the identification of a preliminary list will enable us to work with players and states more directly on the preparation for the tour in the hope it can proceed.  

"The health and wellbeing of players and staff, along with our commitment to public health within our communities, remain our utmost priority."

Australia: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Michael Neser, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, D’Arcy Short, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

England's cricket stars have been urged to be careful about heading back to pubs and restaurants - with Ashley Giles warning they could be putting the planned schedule at risk. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said England will see a reopening of many drinking, eating and even entertainment establishments from July 4, and there may be a clamour to rekindle social lives. 

But with the coronavirus threat still present, there is no certainty such venues will be safe environments, even with social distancing measures in place. 

England are hosting West Indies and Pakistan in Test action in the coming months, they also play the latter in T20 cricket as well, plus have ODIs against Ireland and potentially limited-overs games against Australia to come. 

Former spin bowler Giles, now director of men's cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board, said it was important to be aware of the possible perils of mixing socially. 

"We haven't talked about banning them, but what we'd ask them to be is sensible," Giles said. "They have been throughout the whole process. 

"They need to continue that, because if you come back into an environment and you haven't been adhering to the guidelines then you put everyone else and the series at risk." 

England will be living in bio-secure environments for large parts of their summer, but squads for each series could differ, and there may be factors that mean players have to temporarily leave camp. 

The opening matches see England face West Indies in three Tests, with the first played in Southampton before back-to-back fixtures at Old Trafford.  

"It'll be quite strange," Giles said. "We could be in a situation where we have a very secure bubble for the second and third Test matches of the series and the rest of the world is operating at a new normal, with restaurants and pubs open again. 

"Our main responsibility is to get this series on the road and keep everyone safe, especially including the West Indies team who've done so much to come here." 

With 10 Pakistan players having tested positive for coronavirus, it remains to be seen whether they and England can go ahead with their planned series, although both sides are intending to do so at present. 

A backstop option could see England invite Ireland to step into the breach. 

Giles says that is not currently being discussed, adding: "As with this situation throughout, we've had to be agile and adapt very quickly to different situations, all of us." 

When England are locked together in camp, Giles says it will be the responsibility of everyone to guard against missteps, and he is braced for mistakes to be made. 

"I think it would be down to all of us to police it. The players are aware of the seriousness of the situation," he told a news conference. 

"People are going to make mistakes. We all are. We're all going to get it wrong. 

"It will be weird. Anyone who thinks this is going to be a holiday camp is going to be seriously mistaken. 

"There could be an opportunity for some guys to play golf on a course next door. But apart from that there's two sessions of cricket a day; there's going to be a lot of work. 

"But inside, social distancing still, wearing of masks, probably spending a lot of time on your own isn't a lot of fun and I think it's a bit of a culture shock." 

Giles said he was "quietly confident" about Australia visiting later this year, albeit there was "some nervousness" on the part of their Ashes rivals. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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." 

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."

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.

Australia coach Justin Langer is open to the idea of playing games behind closed doors once cricket can resume after the coronavirus pandemic.

Langer watched on as his side emphatically defeated New Zealand in a one-dayer played inside an empty Sydney Cricket Ground last month.

It was due to be the first of three matches between the trans-Tasman rivals, though the series was cut short due the COVID-19 outbreak as the Black Caps returned home in time to avoid quarantine restrictions.

While there is no immediate sign of a resumption to the international schedule, staging contests without any supporters could be a viable option in the future.

"The Australian cricket team are so fortunate to play in front of big crowds every time we play," Langer told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"But for the love of the game, and for still being able to entertain people through TV sets or radio, then there's value in that (playing behind closed doors).

"Yes, it's different, but we'll never, ever, ever take for granted how lucky we are, ever again. We are so lucky in what we do."

Australia are due to play a two-Test series in Bangladesh in June, followed by a limited-overs tour to the United Kingdom that runs into July.

 

West Indies veteran Dwayne Bravo believes the West Indies possess the tools to dominate T20 Internationals.

Bangladesh's tour of Ireland and England in May has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tigers were scheduled to play in a three-match ODI series and then four Twenty20 Internationals against Ireland during a trip that was to run between May 14-29.

However, the games were already placed in doubt after the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Friday that they will not stage any fixtures prior to May 28.

Cricket Ireland has now confirmed they will not be taking on Bangladesh as planned, with the T20 games having been scheduled to take place at venues in England.

"Once the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic was understood, and the advice of both Governments and partner boards was sought, it became increasingly unlikely that this series could proceed as scheduled," Warren Deutrom, chief executive of Cricket Ireland, said in a statement.

"We have a responsibility to protect the well-being of players, coaches, fans and the wider community, and will not hesitate to take a safety-first approach to our operations over coming months.

“We will continue monitoring the situation, and will liaise as necessary with relevant sports bodies, public health agencies and our stakeholders here and abroad, and provide further updates on the home season in due course."

The COVID-19 outbreak had already forced Bangladesh to shelve plans for a return trip to Pakistan, where they were due to play a one-off 50-over game and also the second Test of the series in Karachi.

Kevin O'Brien hit a match-winning six as Ireland defeated Afghanistan in a dramatic super over to avoid a Twenty20 series whitewash.

With all three matches being played in Greater Noida, India, the series outcome was already decided after the opening two contests were won by Afghanistan, but that did not prevent a thrilling finale.

Ireland posted 142-8 after winning the toss and electing to bat, Afghanistan debutant Qais Ahmad and Naveen-ul-Haq combining for six wickets as Gareth Delany top-scored with 37.

In response, an innings of 42 from opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz set up an intriguing run chase which left his side needing 16 off the final over.

It looked like it was all over for Afghanistan when captain Asghar Afghan (32) was dismissed with three balls left and 13 runs still needed. 

But Rashid Khan, helped by two wides from bowler Josh Little, hit a four off the last delivery to thrillingly force a super over as they ended on 142-7.

Craig Young then superbly restricted Afghanistan to only eight and although Ireland initially stumbled, leaving them needing three off the final ball, man-of-the-match O'Brien cleared the ropes.

Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 21 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match Twenty20 series.

Captain Asghar Afghan led the way with 49 from just 28 deliveries as Afghanistan – who won a rain-hit opening game between the teams on Friday - posted 184-4 in Greater Noida.

Openers Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz made 28 and 35 respectively while Mohammad Nabi contributed 27, with all Afghanistan's batsmen reaching double figures against an attack that used seven different bowlers.

Ireland’s reply was restricted by Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the spinner dismissing opening duo Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien on his way to figures of 3-38 from four overs.

Andy Balbirnie top-scored with 46 and Harry Tector hit 37, the latter becoming the last of Mujeeb's wickets, but they came well short in the final reckoning, finishing on 163-6.

Afghanistan will have the chance to complete a sweep when the third and final T20 takes place on Tuesday at the same venue.

Andre Russell blasted 40 off just 14 balls to see West Indies home against Sri Lanka, while Shimron Hetmyer and Brandon King also starred in a series-clinching Twenty20 victory.

Sri Lanka, who were inserted by the tourists, were restricted to 155-6 and Dasun Shanaka (31 not out) was their only batsman to score more than 23.

The home team needed something special from their talisman Lasith Malinga with the ball, but the captain's three overs cost 46 runs as King (43) set the tone with back-to-back sixes in the powerplay.

Hetmyer (43 not out) shared a 46-run partnership with King and then put on an unbroken 55 alongside Russell, who smashed six maximums to bring about the end in a hurry.

Sri Lanka lost the first T20 by 25 runs and this Windies victory, achieved with 18 balls to spare, gave them a 2-0 triumph in the best-of-two-match series.

Oshane Thomas was the star of that opening T20 and he claimed his sixth wicket of the series when bowling Avishka Fernando.

Fabian Allen accounted for opener Kusal Perera, who had made 66 in the first meeting, and Shehan Jayasuriya to return figures of 2-24 from his four overs.

Sri Lanka needed early wickets and though Lendl Simmons was bowled by Angelo Mathews, King had made 43 from 21 before he was dismissed.

Some quick thinking from Jayasuriya in the deep saw Rovman Powell removed, the fielder throwing the ball up in the air and catching it again after rolling back off the rope and onto the field.

Yet Hetmyer and Russell could not be stopped, the latter pulling a shorter ball from Mathews over the fence to seal victory.

Australia clinched the Twenty20 series against South Africa in emphatic fashion at Newlands on Wednesday, thrashing the home side by 97 runs in the winner-takes-all showdown.

In a lopsided encounter remarkably similar to the first of the three games between the teams, the tourists posted a challenging total before skittling their opponents.

Opening duo David Warner and Aaron Finch both made half-centuries as they powered Australia to 193-5 after being put into bat.

The Proteas – who managed just 89 when chasing 197 last Friday – lost captain Quinton de Kock early and never threatened in a reply that lasted just 15.3 overs.

Mitchell Starc claimed the key early breakthrough, bowling left-hander De Kock with the fourth ball of the innings, and also removed Faf du Plessis cheaply during the powerplay. The paceman finished with figures of 3-23, wrapping up the win by trapping Kagiso Rabada in front.

Ashton Agar also claimed three wickets, with the spinner coming close to recording a second hat-trick in the series after seeing off Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi with successive deliveries in the 15th over.

Tabraiz Shamsi survived to deny Agar another treble but South Africa did not last too much longer, bowled out for 96 – the lowest total posted in a T20I at the Cape Town venue.

They appeared set to be chasing well in excess of 200 when Warner (57) and Finch (55) were in full flow, the pair putting on 120 in 11.3 overs.

Australia rather lost their way after the well-set pair departed in quick succession, yet Steve Smith – who surprisingly came in down at number five in the order – benefited from a repreive when bowled by a Rabada no ball to make an unbeaten 30 in a hurry.

Starc's double strike had South Africa teetering and while Rassie van der Dussen (24) and Heinrich Klaasen (22) tried to repair the damage, the slow-bowling combination of Agar (3-16) and Adam Zampa (2-10) turned the screw. Fittingly, the impressive Starc landed the knockout blow.

The two teams now turn their focus to 50-over cricket with a three-match ODI series rounding out Australia's trip. The first match takes place in Paarl on Saturday.

Australia let a promising position slip as South Africa levelled the Twenty20 series with a 12-run win in Port Elizabeth.

The tourists crushed the Proteas by 107 runs in the opening game of their limited-overs tour on Friday, bowling their opponents out for just 89.

They appeared set to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series after restricting South Africa to 158-4 despite Quinton de Kock's 70.

However, they slumped from 98-1 midway through the 13th over to finish on 146-6, well shy of a target perceived to be below par at the halfway stage of the contest.

Steve Smith stole the show in South Africa's powerplay, despite the hosts powering to 59-0 thanks mainly to the efforts of skipper De Kock.

Smith produced an incredible piece of fielding in the sixth over, catching a shot over the deep midwicket boundary from De Kock and throwing it back across the rope before he hit the ground to prevent what looked a certain six.

De Kock struck five fours and four sixes but was eventually caught at long off as Australia fought back, Rassie van der Dussen's 26-ball 37 the other primary contribution as the Proteas' early impetus petered out.

David Warner (67 not out) and Australia captain Aaron Finch put on 48 for the first wicket in 4.4 overs before the impressive Lungi Ngidi (3-41) struck.

Warner and Smith appeared in cruise control, yet both could be considered guilty of not scoring quickly enough and the latter went for 29 off 26 balls when Faf du Plessis raced in from the boundary to claim an excellent catch.

Alex Carey fell to Ngidi for 14 as South Africa's death bowling came to the fore.

Ngidi claimed his third when Du Plessis produced more brilliance in the field, parrying a high shot down the ground to David Miller to remove Mitchell Marsh, though Australia still needed just 20 off the final two overs with six wickets in hand.

Yet Kagiso Rabada drew a leading edge from Matthew Wade at the start of the 19th, during which Warner spent just one delivery on strike. 

Australia required 17 off the final six balls but could manage only four, Anrich Nortje bowling Ashton Agar as South Africa completed a fine comeback to ensure the third and final match on Wednesday will be a decider.

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