The International Cricket Council (ICC), on behalf of its Members, today released the men’s Future Tours Programme (FTP) from 2018-2023. The FTP, which is available here, provides clarity and certainty around all bilateral international fixtures and incorporates all three formats of the game.

The result of a significant collective effort from the Members, with the support of the ICC, the FTP focuses on bringing more context to bilateral cricket. A World Test Championship has been created along with a 13-team men’s ODI league that will act as a qualification pathway for the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Nine top-ranked sides will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, which will run from 15 July 2019 to 30 April 2021. The sides will play six series in the two-year cycle on a home and away basis against opponents they have mutually selected. The two top-ranked sides will then progress to the June 2021 final to decide the World Test champions.

In addition, the 12 Test playing nations and the Netherlands, will participate in the 13-team ODI League, which will run from 1 May 2020 to 31 March 2022 and all the sides will play eight series over a two-year cycle on a home and away basis against mutually agreed opponents.

South Africa’s opening series in the World Test Championship is against India in India in October 2019, while their first ODI series in the league is against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in June 2020.

This league will serve as a qualification pathway for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. India (as host) plus the seven highest-ranked sides in the ODI league as on 31 March 2022 will qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, while the bottom five sides will get a second chance to qualify through the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

The principles followed by Members in the creation of this men’s FTP are as follows:

• Scheduling the appropriate amount of cricket in each format (home and away) for each Member;

• With matches scheduled at the preferred time of year in each territory;

• Inclusion of existing series that have already been committed to commercial partners (mainly in 2019-20);

• Providing optimum preparation for ICC Events by playing the same format immediately before the tournament;

• Sufficient time for Members to schedule their preferred bilateral content outside of World Test Championship and ODI league;

• Periods when individual Boards want to allow their national team players to be available to compete in domestic T20 leagues.

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson congratulated the Members for their efforts in the preparation of the men’s Future Tours Programme:

“The agreement of this FTP means we have clarity, certainty and most importantly context around bilateral cricket over the next five years. The World Test Championship will get underway next year with the ODI league kicking off in 2020 as part of the qualification towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.

“Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but with the release of this FTP, our Members have found a genuine solution that gives fans around the world the chance to engage regularly with international cricket that has meaning and the possibility of a global title at the end.”

Cricket South Africa Acting Chief Executive Thabang Moroe said: “The introduction of the World Test Championship and an ODI league will give these formats the much needed context to ensure their long-term viability along with the popular T20 format.

“The Championship and the league have been designed in a manner that is easy for all stakeholders, especially the fans, to follow as it leads up to a World Test Championship final and qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup which makes all International matches important.

“We look forward to following the progress of our Proteas in both these competitions and to the enhanced products that we will be able to offer to our fans, our commercial partners and our players during our various bilateral tours. It is truly a win-win situation for all.”

As part of the agreed international cricket structure, the ICC Board has already approved an additional ICC World T20 in place of the ICC Champions Trophy as well as giving Twenty20 International Status to all 104 Members.

The structure of the men’s FTP (2018-23) includes:

• ICC Cricket World Cup – 2019 and 2023
• ICC World T20 – 2020 and 2021
• World Test Championship
o Cycle 1 – 2019-2021 (final 2021)
o Cycle 2 – 2021-2023 (final 2023)
• All bilateral Tests, ODIs and T20Is outside of the above competitions

The South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) today welcomed the announcement by CSA that a new South African T20 competition will be launched and that the inaugural event will be played this season, in November and December 2018.

“The announcement of a new T20 competition is positive news and will be widely welcomed by the players,” said SACA chief executive, Tony Irish. “The fact that a broadcast deal has already been secured through arrangements with Supersport to take this event to fans in South Africa and globally, is further good news. Although we are not yet privy to the details of the deal or exactly how the competition is to be structured, it is hoped that the upfront involvement of Supersport will ensure its sustainability and promote its visibility.”

“We believe that it is critical for South Africa, as one of the world’s leading cricket countries, to have its own world-class T20 competition and that this is as attractive to players as some of the existing T20 leagues in other countries. Players and their performances will be at the heart of the success of the competition.”

“There is an enormous amount of work that will need to be done between now and the start date in November. SACA looks forward to engaging with CSA and Newco as soon as possible on all the details relating to the players,” concluded Irish.

England will play for the first time at home since their Women’s World Cup victory last year when they take on South Africa in the Women’s Championship series starting on Saturday.

The nine-run win over India at Lord’s on July 23 went down as a watershed moment for the women’s game.

With two memorable matches between England and South Africa also part of that tournament, the upcoming series is bound to continue to evoke interest in women’s cricket through the ICC Women’s Championship, established to give more regular competitive opportunities to the eight sides.

Just as the previous cycle of the eight-team tournament helped determine the direct qualifiers for the World Cup in England and Wales, the second edition of the ICC Women’s Championship is the pathway to qualification for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2021 in New Zealand.

Hosts New Zealand and the three other top sides from this tournament will qualify for the World Cup while the remaining four sides will get another chance through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier.

England captain Heather Knight is enthusiastic about their second series of the championship, which they start with two points from three matches on the points table following a series against Australia, the same as South Africa.

England also host New Zealand next month for their third series of the championship, getting a chance to strike rhythm in home games.

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England captain Heather Knight said: “It’s always good to play at home. Our opening game against South Africa will be the first time we’ve played at home since the day we lifted the ICC Women’s World Cup trophy, so that will be exciting.

“We’ll relish our own conditions but both South Africa and New Zealand are really good sides and we will have to be at our best to beat them.

“Our preparations have been good and the mood is really high. We can’t wait to get going again. It’s a massive year with the ICC Women’s World T20 taking place in November (in the West Indies) and we need to build momentum towards that. We have a good pool of players now and the competition for places has been helping us all improve.”

England defeated South Africa twice in Bristol during last year’s World Cup – by 68 runs in a high-scoring league match and by two wickets with only two balls remaining in the semi-final, and that is something South Africa want to rectify.

Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor, who notched up big centuries in that World Cup league match, are both part of the England squad while South Africa are looking to fast bowlers Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp and Ayabonga Khaka to make the most of the English conditions.

South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk said: “We’re quite excited. We know it’s going to be a big challenge. They are the World Cup winners and we know what they can bring in. They are fierce competitors so we are quite excited to see how we are going to match up against them.

“The World Cup was a great experience for us. We know the conditions really well. We will see what they give us. Last time was a bitter pill to swallow so it will be good to rectify what went wrong.

“As a captain, I will always back my team and I will say we have a very good chance against them. We have several world-class players in our side as do they. I think it is going to be a great match up and a very good series to be part of. 

“I have always loved our bowling, backed our bowling. I’m expected to see what our bowlers can do in these conditions. We have spoken a lot about our plans, in depth planning. If the batters start firing, we are as dangerous as any other batting unit in the world.”

In their respective first series, England lost 1-2 to Australia in an away tour while South Africa lost by the same margin to India at home.   

Kagiso Rabada say he is honoured to have received so many awards at the annual Cricket South Africa (CSA) awards function in Sandton on Saturday, but insists that all his Standard Bank Proteas teammates contributed towards his success.

In what proved to be a magical evening for the 23-year-old, he won no fewer than six awards. These included the South African Cricketer of the Year, SA Players’ Player of the Year, Standard Bank Test Cricketer of the Year, Standard Bank ODI Cricketer of the Year and SA Fans Player of the Year. He also won the award for the RAM Delivery of the Year when he dismissed David Warner in the third Sunfoil Test match against Australia at PPC Newlands in March this year.

His six-star performance means he now done it both in 2016 and 2018. No other cricketer has ever won more than five awards.

“I am grateful and honoured to have received these awards,” the young star said. “It means I’m doing something right. I’m glad to have done it for the team and for the country.”

It has been a remarkable year for Rabada who rose to the No. 1 bowling ranking in the world in Test match cricket, cracking the 900-point barrier and is currently the leading wicket-taker in the 2018 calendar year with 38 dismissals at an average of 19.65. He is also ranked No. 7 in ODI cricket and was named in the ICC Test XI for the 2017 calendar year.

“It felt good to do what I did, but at the same time, I really do think that the whole team contributed,” Rabada explained. “If you look at the Test matches we played, whenever we were in trouble, there was always someone different who bailed us out.

“There were guys like Aiden (Markram) and AB (de Villiers) and Dean (Elgar), who were consistent, but if you look at the roles that other guys played like a Keshav (Maharaj), like a Temba (Bavuma), like a Quinny (Quinton de Kock) at Newlands.

“Those guys are not getting too much recognition, but when you are in the changing room you see it all. I just feel like everyone contributed.”

Rabada’s on-field behaviour was a big talking point this past season after several run-ins with opposing batsmen. But he says he has learnt from what happened.

He continued: “There’s certain things that happened to me, some good and some bad, which I have taken note off and made a conscious effort to improve on them, whether it be on the cricket field or just in my life.

“That’s where I am at the moment, just trying to build on from last season and trying to be ruthless by bringing this on in the new season.”

The fast bowler is currently sidelined with a lower back stress reaction. He was ruled out for three months in early April, but says his rehabilitation is going well.

South Africa’s next assignment is a tour to Sri Lanka next month.
“I’ve been taking it one week at a time,” Rabada adds. “When I got injured there was a plan for three months that I should be ready for Sri Lanka, so let’s see if the plan is going to go accordingly.

“At the moment it’s all good. So, we’re waiting until July.”

The South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) today paid tribute to AB de Villiers who retired from international cricket yesterday.

“On behalf of the collective of South Africa’s professional cricketers I would like to congratulate AB on his stellar career as a professional cricketer and for his contribution to the game in South Africa,” said Tony Irish, SACA’s chief executive.

“It’s sad that we will no longer see AB in a Proteas shirt, but he has given many years to the national cause and he deserves all the accolades he is now receiving. I’m not sure that many people realise just how unrelenting the playing schedule is for a player like AB and how much it takes out of one, both on and off the field.”

“AB’s record in international cricket speaks for itself and one just needs to take in the public response to his retirement on social media to understand what he has meant to cricket fans in South Africa and around the world. I would, however, like to pay special tribute to him for the way in which he has conducted himself as a professional over a long period of time. When commenting on player welfare issues in a FICA player survey in 2016, AB said ‘I am a person first, and then a cricketer.’ I believe this gives some insight into AB and perhaps explains why he has earned the level of respect he has in the game. His unique skill combined with his level of personal development as a man has made AB de Villiers the cricketer he is today.”

“AB has played for his country for 14 years but has also led the way as a modern-day cricketer playing in cricket’s newly established global landscape. He has had huge success both with the Proteas and in the IPL, most recently with Royal Challengers Bangalore. He is one of a few cricketers who is loved as much by fans in India and as he is by those in South Africa. Other players may follow in his tracks but for any foreign player to achieve what he has in India it will take a special person.”

“We thank AB for his contribution to the international game and wish him all the best in his retirement,” concluded Irish.

The Momentum Proteas continued their winning ways when they beat Bangladesh by 17 runs in the first Cricket South Africa (CSA) Women’s T20I in Kimberley. They go one-nil up in the three-match series.

Shabnim Ismail was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3/19 in her four-over spell, including a maiden to help restrict the visitors to 110/5 chasing a 128-run target. Raisibe Ntozakhe (1/10) and Masabata Klaas (1/21) chipped in with a wicket each along the way.

Bangladesh’s Rumana Ahmed (36 off 41 balls) and Fargana Hoque (35 off 37) batted their side out of early trouble after losing the opening pair of Shamima Sultana (5) and Sanjida Islam (8) cheaply inside the first five overs. Ahmed and Hoque then went about reconstructing the innings, sharing a 72-run, fourth-wicket partnership before the former was toppled by Ismail. The bowlers squeezed away the overs, ensuring the tourists did not get over the line in the end.

Earlier in the day, the home side got off to a flying start with the bat thanks to a 77-run opening stand between Lizelle Lee (46 off 38 balls) and Laura Wolvaardt (30 off 22) after winning the toss and electing to bat first. Trouble came after the loss of Wolvaardt at the hands of Ahmed (2/19) in the 10th over. She and Khadija Tul Kubra (3/23) ripped through the South African top order, taking five wickets between them as the hosts slipped from 77/1 to 86/5 after 13 overs. They lost the openers, stand in captain Chloe Tryon (6), Mignon du Preez (1) and debutant Stacey Lackay (1) in rapid succession.

Marizanne Kapp added 11 runs to the scoreboard before she fell victim to Salma Khatun (1/12) off the first ball of the 19th over. Suné Luus took the innings in her own hands, blasting 28 runs from 23 deliveries including two fours and six, moving South Africa from 113/6 to a healthier 127 in the end.

The Momentum Proteas have shifted gears from the ODI series and are aiming to achieve another series whitewash, this time in the Cricket South Africa Women’s T20s starting in Kimberley on Thursday.

The three-match clash will see the last two fixtures played in Bloemfontein on the 19th and 20th of May.

Head coach Hilton Moreeng has resumed his duties after taking time off following the sudden passing of his father. He is pleased with the progress the team has made in the last two months since they had been together and is impressed with the manner in which they achieved their ODI series success. He said he is looking forward to seeing the same clinical approach from the first match of the T20 series.

Moreeng has identified certain areas that will require improvement if the team want to replicate the success of the ODI series.

“Having looked at the growing trend in the way that T20 cricket around the world is being played, we know that consistency with the bat is going to be very important,” he explained. “We have to look at getting scores that are above 120 in order to be competitive. It’s also important that we also find ways of capitalizing on every little opportunity to score runs during the middle periods of the game which is around where we tend to stagnate. We need to find ways of gaining momentum. That being said, I’m quite happy with how we approach the powerplay.

“The T20 format is a is a strength-levelling format. I’m sure that Bangladesh is going to compete in this format, so fielding is going to be key for us to make sure that we prevent them from taking easy runs and minimize those ones and twos.”

The coach wants to see his charges make full use of the home ground advantage and show their experience of the conditions in Kimberley as they prepare for their ultimate goal, which is to be ready for the ICC Women’s World T20 taking place in the West Indies this November.

“This is our home ground, so the advantage is ours,” he continued. “We’re really just concentrating on ourselves and focussing on what we need to do as a team. At the end of the day, each and every T20 game we play from now is to build towards the World Cup.”

All-rounder and team big-hitter, Chloe Tryon is looking forward to the return of her favourite format.

“The five-nil series win is a big confidence booster for us going into the T20s and the girls are really eager for the change of pace and are hoping to win three-nil,” she commented. “It’s a high-intensity format so the game plans are always simple. We’ve got some really big hitters in the team, myself included. I’m just really looking forward to playing my natural game, which is to be aggressive and help the team reach its goal.”

Proteas T20 squad:

Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province), Lizelle Lee (North West), Chloe Tryon (KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Shabnim Ismail (Gauteng), Ayabonga Khaka (Gauteng), Masabata Klaas (North West), Raisibe Ntozakhe (Gauteng), Suné Luus (Northerns), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Zintle Mali (Border), Stacey Lackay (Western Province), Tazmin Brits (North West).

The Momentum Proteas are set for the start of their five-match, One-Day International (ODI) series against Bangladesh in Potchefstroom on Friday. It is the first time in two months that the national team will play together and they are looking forward to facing the volatile visitors on their home turf.

Captain, Dané van Niekerk is anticipating ample improvement from her charges after their 2-1 home series defeat to India in February. Members of the team have had a lot of game time in the last eight weeks as they represented their provinces in Cricket South Africa’s various Women’s Provincial tournaments.

“It’s always nice to get together. It’s our second family, we speak about it all the time,” she commented. “It’s always nice to see the ladies and to see how everybody worked at home and where everyone’s at. I’m quite excited to see what they do (in this series).”

The skipper believes that the unchanged squad from the previous series against India bodes well for the direction her side is taking. She also reckons that this series will be a good step forward in preparation for their tour to England next month.

“We have pretty much the same team so it shows that the selectors have faith in the 14 players selected,” Van Niekerk continued. “The big thing for me is to win because that creates momentum for this series and it also gives us good momentum going into the series against England.”

On the advantage of playing against Bangladesh often, she said:

“We do know them very well. We know that they are fierce competitors, it’s always nice playing against them. We know that they throw a lot of spin (bowling) and that’s great for us because we’ve never been the best players of spin and the only way you learn is if you face it more often. If we can become fearless against spin (bowling) this series, we can get that monkey off our back. We’re quite excited, we’ve got the plan for their players, we know what they’re gonna bring. It’s going to be a really good series.”

FICA commends the ICC on introducing T20I status for all member international teams. In line with FICA’s 2016 International Cricket Structural Review, FICA supports inclusiveness across the game and the view that T20 is one key vehicle to growing and globalising the game.

FICA notes that new minimum standards will be developed to ensure T20I is sustainable and affordable. FICA encourages that aim to be balanced with the need to ensure appropriate protections are in place for players and other stakeholders as the game grows in volume and prominence in more countries.

Future Tours Program (FTP)

FICA notes that a new FTP between 2019-2023 was signed off in Kolkata and commends the ICC for taking steps towards creating more context in some international cricket. FICA is concerned that it has not seen the FTP, and looks forward to clarification on:

How the formats relate to each other and operate in a global calendar that is easy to understand for fans and players alike; and
How scheduling for the next five years addresses the positive but relentless growth of domestic T20 and clear shifts in the player employment market, many of which were highlighted in FICA’s Men’s Employment Report 2017 released earlier this month
FICA continues to advocate for clarity and simplicity in the global cricket calendar, and a balance between new domestic T20 and traditional international cricket focused markets.

Regulations

FICA notes the formation of a working group to consider issues around ensuring international cricket remains attractive to players. It is hoped that this working group will appreciate the critical importance of engagement with players and their collective representatives in order to establish a workable framework. Clarity in the calendar, incentivisation, and a fit for purpose regulatory framework will be important for the game and players moving forward.

FICA continues to oppose arbitrary or restrictive regulations imposed on players that are not part of a collectively agreed framework.

Player Behaviour

FICA is supportive of collaborative processes to address issues in the game and is encouraged that the culture across cricket at various levels will be reviewed.

FICA is concerned that the main published focus of the ICC review appears to be stricter and heavier sanctions on players. The players are a product of the professional and organisational environments they operate in, and any global review and process should not simply focus on player sanctions. A genuinely collaborative negotiation of codes based on reciprocity with those who run the game, coordinated global education, and syncing of international and domestic processes where possible, will all be important to the success of overall measures.

Concussion

FICA welcomes the introduction of concussion guidelines and looks forward to further engaging with the ICC to ensure that guidelines are based on science, and enforceable consistent standards to ensure players around the world are protected by the game.

Cricket Committee

FICA congratulates Belinda Clark on her appointment to the Cricket Committee. FICA continues to urge the ICC to afford women’s players the same right that men’s players have to a player nominated representative on the Cricket Committee, or other appropriate body. In FICA’s latest global player survey, 100% of women’s players believe this should happen.

FICA Executive Chairman Tony Irish said: “The global game is at a stage where the player dynamic that exists between the traditional international cricket landscape and the T20 leagues landscape has become one of the key factors driving the direction of the game. Collaboration with players and their representatives has never been more important and will be vital to success in the implementation of some of the important outcomes of this round of ICC meetings.”

For further information, please contact media@thefica.com

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