Former Sri Lanka paceman Nuwan Zoysa has been hit with a six-year ban from all cricket after being found guilty of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.

The 42-year-old's suspension has been backdated to October 31, 2018 – the date when he was provisionally banned during his employment as Sri Lanka's bowling coach

An ICC Anti-Corruption Tribunal found Zoysa guilty of "being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspect(s) of an international match".

He was also found guilty of "directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any participant to breach Code Article 2.1". 

Zoya's third guilty charge was for "failing to disclose to the ACU [ICC Anti-Corruption Unit] full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in corrupt conduct under the code".

"Mr Zoysa has also been charged by the ICC on behalf of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) with breaching four counts of the ECB Anti-Corruption Code for participants for the T10 League and those proceedings are ongoing," an ICC statement added.

The quick played 95 ODIs and 30 Tests for Sri Lanka, with his last international appearance coming in 2007.

Alex Marshall, ICC general manager – Integrity Unit, said: "Nuwan played 125 matches for Sri Lanka, attending a number of anti-corruption sessions during a decade-long international career.

"In his role as a national coach, he should have acted as a role model. Instead, he became involved with a corrupter and attempted to corrupt others.

"Contriving to fix a game betrays the basis of sporting principles. It will not be tolerated in our sport."

 

Babar Azam became the fastest player to reach 2,000 Twenty20 runs in international cricket as he helped Pakistan secure a series-clinching victory over Zimbabwe on Sunday.

Captain Babar made 52 but it was Mohammad Rizwan's unbeaten 91 that powered Pakistan to 165-3 in the third and final game at the Harare Sports Club.

That total proved beyond Zimbabwe, though Wesley Madhevere (59) had the hosts in contention. They were 102-1 at one stage in reply, only to lose three wickets for eight runs to scupper their hopes.

Tadiwanashe Marumani departed for 35 to trigger the mini collapse and, despite 20 from Brendan Taylor, the innings fell away in the closing stages, finishing up at 141-7 to lose by 24 runs.

Hasan Ali was the star performer for Pakistan with the ball, taking career-best figures of 4-18, as the tourists bounced back after a first ever loss to Zimbabwe in the format on Friday.

With his side bowled out for 99 when chasing in the previous game, Babar opted to bat first after winning the toss. Sharjeel Khan fell for 18 in the powerplay but the skipper combined with opener Rizwan to put on a crucial second-wicket stand worth 126.

The partnership eventually came to an end when Babar was caught in the deep in the final over, with Fakhar Zaman then falling immediately in similar fashion as he registered a first-ball duck.

Luke Jongwe benefited from the late double to finish with figures of 3-37, giving him nine wickets in the series at an average of 8.77. He had claimed 4-18 in his team's victory but the hosts were unable to pull off a repeat result.

The two nations now switch their focus to Test cricket. A two-match series begins in Harare on Thursday.


Rizwan gets maximum rewards

As was the case in the opening fixture, the home team appeared in a strong position in a run chase, only to falter as the finishing line drew into sight. Madhevere hit seven of his team's 16 fours, yet they did not manage a solitary six between them.

Indeed, Rizwan was the only player to clear the boundary rope in the match, doing so three times as he registered a fourth unbeaten half-century in his past seven T20 games.

Captain fantastic in fine form

The ever-consistent Babar has now managed 50 or more on 11 occasions in T20 cricket for Pakistan since the start of 2019, a fine run of form that has helped him reach a notable personal milestone.

He made it to the 2,000-run mark in 52 innings - four fewer than India skipper Virat Kohli. His career average in the format now stands at a hugely impressive 47.32.

Jofra Archer is closing in on a return to action but will not play at all in the Indian Premier League this year, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced.

The pace bowler underwent surgery on his right hand towards the end of March having suffered damage to a finger while cleaning a fish tank.

Archer had also been bothered by a persistent elbow issue during the tour of India earlier in 2021, forcing him to miss the three-match one-day series against Virat Kohli's side.

The 26-year-old is set to resume full training with English county Sussex with the intention of making a playing comeback within the next two weeks.

"Archer returned to bowling this week with higher intensity, and the ECB and Sussex medical teams will continue to monitor his progress,” a statement from the ECB read.

"Archer will now step up his training regime starting next week and will be in full training with Sussex. It is expected that he will return to cricket in the next fortnight if he can continue to bowl and prepare pain-free.

"The ECB will confirm which matches he is expected to play in due course."

The absence of Archer is a huge blow for Rajasthan Royals, particularly as the IPL franchise have already lost England all-rounder Ben Stokes for the entire tournament due to a broken finger.

Archer claimed 20 wickets at an average of 18.25 in the Twenty20 competition for the Royals last year, posting an impressive economy rate of 6.55 runs per over.

Rajasthan have won just once in their opening four outings in the current campaign as they bid to qualify for the play-offs for the first time since 2018.

Zimbabwe registered a first win over Pakistan in Twenty20 cricket as the hosts came out on top in a low-scoring contest at the Harare Sports Club, levelling the three-match series at 1-1 in the process.

A 16th successive loss in games between the nations appeared on the cards when Zimbabwe laboured to 118-9 on a slow, used pitch.

Opener Tinashe Kamunhukamwe made 34 from 40 deliveries while Regis Chakabva added some much-needed impetus during his quick-fire 18, including hitting one of only two sixes in the innings.

However, Pakistan found the going tough in reply, even with captain Babar Azam making 41 at the top of the order.

The right-handed batsman hit five boundaries in a 45-ball knock that came to an end when he became the second of four wickets for Luke Jongwe, hitting a slower ball to Wesley Madhevere in the deep.

Pakistan were 78-3 at one stage but their final seven wickets went down for just 21 runs as they were bowled out for 99 in 19.5 overs.

Mohammad Rizwan (13) and Danish Aziz (22) were players to join Babar on double figures, with tail-end trio Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf and debutant Arshad Iqbal all dismissed in the final over without adding a run to the total.

Success at last for Zimbabwe

This was a long overdue victory for Zimbabwe, and not just because of their sorry run of results against Pakistan. They had not won a T20 contest at the ground in Harare since beating India there back in June 2016, losing seven on the spin since.

However, their impressive triumph on Friday sets up a winner-takes-all showdown in Sunday's finale, a game which precedes a two-Test series.

Dialling up impressive numbers

Jongwe's final figures of 4-18 are the best recorded by a Zimbabwe bowler in a T20 international fixture.

He celebrated each success by taking off one shoe and pretending to make a telephone call. It is fair to say Pakistan did not have his number, as a shocking collapse condemned them to just a third defeat in 10 outings in the format.

Pakistan sealed a 3-1 triumph over South Africa in their Twenty20 series despite almost matching a wretched batting collapse by the hosts in the Centurion finale.

The Proteas slumped from 109-2 to 144 all out amid a display of artless batsmanship to set Pakistan just a modest victory target, yet the chasing side almost threw away the match with an implosion of their own.

Eventually they won by three wickets with one ball to spare, Fakhar Zaman smashing 60 from 34 balls and Mohammad Nawaz clinching victory with a six when just two runs were required.

Babar Azam's century had spurred Pakistan to a nine-wicket win in the third game of this four-match series, but where that contest, also at Centurion, was a run-fest, with both teams topping 200, this time South Africa were masters of their own downfall.

Aiden Markram came into the match behind three successive T20 fifties, attempting to be only the third player, after Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle, to make four in a row.

He was the first batsman to be dismissed, however, lbw to Nawaz, and although Janneman Malan (33) and Rassie van der Dussen (52) then put on 57 for the second wicket, there was little other resistance to be found among the South Africa batsmen.

Faheem Ashraf tormented the top order for figures of 3-17 in four overs, while Hasan Ali rebounded well from being carted for 29 in his opening two overs, finishing with 3-40.

In Pakistan's reply, Fakhar came to the crease after Mohammad Rizwan slumped to a first-over stumping, and the left-hander soon set about the home attack, crunching five fours and four sixes before being caught as a wild swipe at Lizaad Williams sent the ball skywards.

His departure triggered the second heavy flurry of wickets in the match, Pakistan sliding from 92-1 to 129-7, needing someone to find some composure.

Nawaz was that man, first punishing Sisanda Magala for delivering two consecutive no-balls in the penultimate over, flogging his second free hit over the ropes. In a nervy final over, Nawaz (25 not out) picked off Williams from the fifth ball, pulling square over the boundary for the winning runs.

Chaos reigns

A contest littered with chaotic cricket was perhaps best summed up by the first delivery of the ninth over in Pakistan's reply. Tabraiz Shamsi's delivery was short, sat up and called for severe punishment. Even so, Fakhar looked sure to miss out on a boundary as George Linde moved to sweep up inside the boundary. Yet Linde inexplicably failed to get his body in the way of the ball. Really rather poor all round.

Hasan heroic

While Faheem and Haris Rauf (2-18) kept it supremely tight throughout their spells, the same could not be said for Hasan, who came in for some brutal early treatment. It takes sporting courage and skill to rebound from two horror overs, and he demonstrated such attributes by taking three wickets in his next two sets of six, including that of Magala from his final delivery.

Ben Stokes is set to be sidelined for up to 12 weeks, the ECB has confirmed, with the England all-rounder facing surgery on a broken finger.

Stokes was ruled out of the remainder of the Indian Premier League season after suffering the injury when he ran in from the boundary to claim a low catch and dismiss Punjab Kings batsman Chris Gayle in the Rajasthan Royals' first game of the tournament, which they lost by four runs on Monday.

An ECB statement read: "England all-rounder Ben Stokes will be out for up to 12 weeks after a repeat X-ray and CT scan on Thursday revealed that he has a fracture of his left index finger. 

"Stokes, who is currently in India with Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, will fly home tomorrow [Saturday]. He will have surgery in Leeds on Monday."

That timeline means Stokes will miss England's two-Test series with New Zealand in June as well as Sri Lanka's limited-overs tour of the country.

However, he could play some part in the ODI and T20I series with Pakistan, while he is scheduled to recover in time to face India in a five-match Test series starting August 4.

England get their summer schedule under way against New Zealand at Lord's on June 2.

Rajasthan Royals and England all-rounder Ben Stokes will miss the remainder of the Indian Premier League after breaking his finger.

Stokes did the damage when he ran in from the boundary to claim a low catch and dismiss Punjab Kings batsman Chris Gayle in the Royals' first game of the tournament, which they lost by four runs on Monday.

The Royals on Tuesday revealed that Stokes will play no further part in the competition.

A statement from the franchise said: "Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes injured a finger on his left hand while fielding during the team's match against Punjab Kings on 12 April 2021 in Mumbai.

"Subsequent investigations revealed that he sustained a broken finger, which will unfortunately rule him out of the remainder of the Indian Premier League 2021 season.

"Everyone at Rajasthan Royals absolutely admires Ben for being such a huge asset and a valuable member of the Royals family, both on and off the field, and wishes him a speedy recovery.

"We are delighted that Ben would like to stay with the group to provide his valued support and inputs off the field. In the meantime, we will be reviewing potential replacement options for the remainder of the season."

The England and Wales Cricket Board said it will confirm the next steps for Stokes after he is assessed over the coming days.

There was positive news on Stokes' England and Royals team-mate Jofra Archer earlier in the day, with the paceman given the all-clear by his hand consultant to resume training.

Archer, who underwent surgery last month, was given the go-ahead to return to light training this week, working closely with the Sussex and England men's medical teams.

An update on his elbow injury will be provided once he has resumed bowling and it is not yet clear when he will be available to play again.

Mohammad Rizwan was Pakistan's match-winner again as he carried his bat through a record-breaking run chase to beat an undermanned South Africa side by four wickets in the first Twenty20 International.

Opener Rizwan was the leading run scorer with 197 when these teams met for a three-match series in Pakistan earlier this year, and his outstanding 74 not out suggested he will again have a big role to play across four games in South Africa.

It was a much-needed contribution after the Proteas - missing a host of stars, including new captain Temba Bavuma - scored a competitive 188-6 at the Wanderers.

Stand-in skipper Heinrich Klaasen won the toss and elected to bat, and he was stationed at the other end of the wicket as Aiden Markram claimed a first T20I fifty.

Markram swiftly departed for 51, but Klaasen (50) followed him to the half-century mark before Pakistan belatedly slowed their hosts a little.

In reply, neither captain Babar Azam (14), caught by debutant Lizaad Williams, nor Fakhar Zaman (27) could provide Rizwan with a steady partner.

Tabraiz Shamsi (2-29) accounted for both Fakhar and Mohammad Hafeez (13), playing his 100th match in this format, before Beuran Hendricks (3-32) took two wickets in two deliveries, including Haider Ali after 14 off eight.

That pace was surpassed by Faheem Ashraf (30 off 14), though, and a partnership of 48 with Rizwan had Pakistan needing 11 from the final over.

Williams (1-39) was handed the ball and had opportunities either side of the dismissal of Faheem, but dismal fielding throughout fittingly concluded the chase - Pakistan's highest in T20Is - with a delivery to spare courtesy of an overthrow.

Klaasen steps up but fielders fail

Bavuma added to a long list of absentees, but South Africa's performance with the bat offered few excuses and Klaasen, captain for a fourth time, contributed handily.

A target of 189, boosted by the skipper's 50 off 28, should really have been beyond Pakistan, too.

However, Williams - the most prominent of three home debutants - was denied victory in frantic fashion, Faheem dropped before he was bowled and next man in Hasan Ali also escaping prior to the decisive final error.

Pakistan reliant on Rizwan once more

Pakistan named an array of batting talent at the top of the order, with skipper Babar opening and Fakhar given his T20 chance at number three following exceptional ODI form.

But it was Rizwan, Babar's opening partner, who again came to the fore in this format after his team-mates departed.

Rizwan had 81 more runs than any other batsman in the series earlier this year and is set to play a pivotal role again, although he will hope for more help from Babar in particular over the next three matches.

Sachin Tendulkar has returned home after the India cricket great spent close to a week in hospital following his coronavirus positive test.

The 47-year-old former captain revealed on March 27 he had been experiencing "mild symptoms", prompting him to undergo a check for COVID-19.

On April 2, he announced he had been admitted to hospital "as a matter of abundant precaution under medical advice".

Tendulkar, the highest-scoring batsman in Test cricket history with 15,921 runs, declared on Twitter on Thursday that he had left his hospital bed.

He wrote: "I have just come home from the hospital and will remain isolated while continuing to rest and recuperate.

"I would like to thank everyone for all the good wishes and prayers. Really appreciate it. I remain ever grateful to all the medical staff who took such good care of me and have been working tirelessly for over a year in such difficult circumstances."

England paceman Jofra Archer will require a fortnight of rehabilitation after undergoing surgery on his right hand.

Archer was ruled out of the recent ODI series defeat to India with an elbow injury and underwent an operation on his hand on Monday, repairing damage done when he was cleaning a fish tank in January.

The quick will miss the start of the Rajasthan Royals' Indian Premier League campaign as he recovers from the procedure.

"England pace bowler Jofra Archer underwent successful surgery to his right hand on Monday. A fragment of glass was removed during the operation to his middle finger on his right hand." an ECB statement said.
 
"He will now commence two weeks of rehabilitation. The consultant will review him before returning to training.

"Further update on his elbow injury will be provided once he has returned to bowling to assess the effectiveness of his recent injection.
 
"Archer suffered a cut to his hand while cleaning at his home in January shortly before flying to India to prepare for the Test series.

"The ECB's medical team managed the injury throughout the tour, and it did not impact on his availability."

The Royals start their IPL campaign against Punjab Kings on Monday April 12.

Justin Langer says there is "no captaincy position available" for Steve Smith after the former skipper expressed his desire to lead Australia again.

Smith's reign as Australia captain ended when he was banned from international cricket for a year and prevented from taking a leadership role for his country for two years due to the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

Tim Paine took over as Test skipper and Aaron Finch white-ball captain, but Smith stated that he wants another chance to take charge again.

"I've certainly had a lot of time to think about it and I guess now I've got to a point where if the opportunity did come up again, I would be keen," the 31-year-old told News Corp.

"If it was what Cricket Australia wanted and it was what was best for the team at the time, it's certainly something I would be interested in now, that's for sure,"

He added: "Time keeps moving forward, and I've learnt so much the last few years about myself and grown as a human being.

"I feel as though I'd be in a better place if the opportunity did come up. If it doesn't, that's fine as well and I'd support whoever is in charge the same way I've supported Tim and Finchy. I haven't always felt like I wanted to do it again. That's only come in the last little bit."

Yet Australia head coach Langer says both Paine and Finch are secure in their positions.

"We have two very good captains and two important competitions coming up – an Ashes and a T20 World Cup. Our future looks good," he told the ABC.

"Despite the media chatter there is no captaincy position available."

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."

India held their nerve to level the Twenty20 series against England at 2-2 thanks to a thrilling eight-run triumph at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

The home side posted 185-8 after being put in by Eoin Morgan, despite Jofra Archer claiming 4-33, while fellow pace bowler Mark Wood impressed again, taking 1-25 from his four overs.

However, for the first time in the five-match series, the team batting second were unable to reach their target, meaning the same venue in Ahmedabad will stage a winner-takes-all showdown between the teams on Saturday.

Jason Roy made 40 at the top of the England order and Ben Stokes smashed 46 at a strike-rate of 200 runs per 100 deliveries, only to be dismissed within sight of a first half-century in the format at international level.

Shardul Thakur dismissed Stokes and Morgan in successive deliveries at the start of the 17th over, yet it was all-rounder Hardik Pandya who was the pick of India's attack, finishing with figures of 2-16.

While Thakur was put under pressure when the equation of 23 runs from the final over was reduced to 10 off three balls, Archer's late boundary hitting was not enough for the tourists to snatch victory.

Suryakumar Yadav had earlier capitalised on the opportunity presented by an injury to Ishan Kishan, top-scoring with 57 from 31 deliveries for India. 

His innings included six fours and three sixes and proved crucial for the hosts, with openers Rohit Sharma (12 from 12 balls) and KL Rahul (14 from 17) once again struggling to gain momentum during the critical powerplay.

Virat Kohli had scored 150 runs without being dismissed in the previous two games, but India's captain was out for just one this time, beaten by a googly from Adil Rashid to be stumped by a distance. He finished the game off the field due to injury too, leaving Rohit in charge for the conclusion.

Rishabh Pant was also subdued in making 30, though Shreyas Iyer slammed 37 from just 18 deliveries to help compile comfortably the biggest total by either team in the series so far.

Jos Buttler played a starring role as his 83 not out saw England reclaim the advantage in their T20 series in India with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory on Tuesday.

England are on the brink of a first T20 series victory over India, now leading 2-1 with two matches to play.

In a match played behind closed doors at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium due to coronavirus restrictions, the tourists limited India to 156-6 despite a fantastic unbeaten 77 from captain Virat Kohli.

But England had few issues reaching their target, Buttler and Jonny Bairstow (40 not out) finishing things off to move within one win of a series victory. The two sides do battle again at the same venue on Thursday.

After an impressive India run chase to win the second match, England opted to bowl first when they won the toss and chasing once again proved to be the successful strategy.

Jofra Archer (0-32) dropped a return catch offered by Rohit Sharma (15) with his first ball bowled but Mark Wood - the fast bowler in electrifying form to claim 3-31 -  bowled KL Rahul for his second straight duck. The opener has one run in his past four T20I innings.

India did not get a boundary until the 21st ball and even then it was a fortuitous inside edge for Rohit.

He soon followed Rahul to the dressing room when Wood struck again in the fifth over, before Chris Jordan (2-35) had Ishan Kishan – man of the match on his debut last time out – caught behind for just nine.

Kohli and Rishabh Pant (25) slowly steadied the ship until the latter was run out and India looked out of contention at 87-5 with five overs to spare.

But Kohli starred to ensure his team at least had a score to defend by the time Hardik Pandya (15) was out from the last ball of the innings.

Jason Roy (9) and Dawid Malan (18) did not get going for England but Buttler was in control of the run chase, his 52-ball knock containing four maximums.

Buttler and Bairstow put on 77 together as England coasted to their target with 10 balls to spare.
 

Kohli spectacular again

India skipper Kohli scored 73 not out in the second match and he was even better here in another unbeaten innings.

He scored 77 runs from 46 balls with 12 boundaries - eight fours and four sixes.

The hosts scored 69 runs in the final five overs, an astonishing 49 of them going to Kohli in just 17 balls. Only Yuvraj Singh (58) has ever scored more in the last five overs of a T20I for India.

The only negative note for Kohli individually was when he dropped Buttler at point, but by then the result was beyond doubt.

100 up for Morgan

Eoin Morgan became the first England player and just the fourth cricketer to reach 100 T20I appearances.

It was fitting that England won to mark the occasion, though Morgan himself had one of his quieter games having not been required to bat.

The explosive England captain has 113 career sixes, a stat that puts him third overall and only behind Martin Guptill and Rohit in the shortest format.

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