The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) today congratulated the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) on successfully negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on behalf of its members for the next five years based on the same partnership principles that have served the game so well, and including female players for the first time.

On behalf of the FICA Board, Tony Irish, FICA Executive Chairman said:

“We commend the ACA and Australia’s male and female players for the unity they showed during this difficult process. The ACA and the players they represent have come under enormous pressure in trying circumstances over the last year, and the outcome they have achieved is testament to that unity.”

“We particularly acknowledge the players who have stood up and spoken out, on behalf of their fellow professionals, and we applaud them for their leadership.”

“The majority of Australia’s professional cricketers were forced into unemployment and told they would not be back-paid. The ACA was deprived of vital information for much of the negotiating period. Repeated calls for the involvement of CA’s chief executive and proposals to mediate the issues (both of which would have led to a resolution of this dispute at an earlier date) were ignored. Yet despite all this the players and their players’ association showed tremendous resolve in ensuring that a fair revenue share model was retained, and that Australia’s female players were included in this arrangement”.

“This outcome is significant not only for the Australian players but also for players elsewhere around the globe. Revenue share is a key component in ensuring that players are genuine stakeholders in the game and we consider it to be international best practice in professional cricket around the world. The inclusion of women cricketers in this also leads the way in the women’s game which continues to grow and professionalise globally.”

FICA looks forward to continuing to assist and support other member players’ associations, and the newly formed Scottish Cricketers’ Association, being the first formally established players association in an ICC associate country. FICA will also continue to assist professional cricketers who wish to establish players’ associations in those countries where they currently don’t exist.

Reeza Hendricks smashed an unbeaten 173, his ninth List A century, as South Africa ‘A’ crushed Afghanistan ‘A’ by 164 runs in Pretoria to secure their second win of the tri-series.

Hendricks, who carried his bat through the innings, struck 14 fours and five sixes in his 145-ball knock as the hosts posted 336 for 5 after being put in to bat. Afghanistan ‘A’ had as many as six batsman crossing double digits, with the highest being Rahmat Shah’s 55 at No. 3. They were bowled out for 172 in 32.2 overs with Tabraiz Shamsi, the left-arm wrist-spinner, taking 4 for 19.

Afghanistan ‘A’ were up against it right from the outset as Hendricks and Henry Davids put on 79 for the opening wicket in 13 overs to set the platform. Mangaliso Mosehle was out for 17 but each of the other batsmen got among the runs. The middle-order lift was provided by Khaya Zondo, the captain, who made a 55-ball 62 during the course of a 135-run stand with Hendricks. The last 15 overs fetched them 144.

Afghanistan ‘A’ were rocked early when Dwaine Pretorius struck in the second over to remove Javed Ahmadi. He made it a double-strike by dismissing Usman Ghani in the sixth over. Rahmat hit five fours and a six to raise a half-century, but was trapped lbw by Shamsi to trigger a middle-order slide.

Najibullah Zadran (26), Afsar Zazai (24) and Shafiqullah (16) got off to starts but fell to expose the lower order. The innings was wrapped up when Dane Paterson bowled last man Fareed Ahmad to finish with three wickets.

Afghanistan ‘A’ have now lost both their matches in the tri-series. They take on India ‘A’ in their next outing on August 1 at the same venue – the LC de Villiers Oval.

Dean Elgar  was battered, bruised but unbowed but he and Temba Bavuma guided the Standard Bank Proteas to the less stormy waters of the close of play on the fourth day of the third Test match at The Oval in London on Sunday.

England nevertheless held an overwhelming advantage as they reduced the Proteas to 117/4 in pursuit of a victory target 492 from an initial 148 overs. Victory will give England a 2-1 lead in the series and will mean that they retain the Basil d’Oliveira Trophy.

At one stage it looked as though England would win the match on the fourth day after Ben Stokes back up his century in the first innings by dismissing Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis off successive balls with Bavuma coming to the crease on a hat trick.

But Bavuma, as he has had to do too often in the past, proved to be the right man to stabilize the innings in partnership with Elgar. By the close of play they had shared an unbroken stand of 65 for the fifth wicket with Elgar on 72 (111 balls, 11 fours) and Bavuma on 16 (59 balls, 1 four).

Elgar got hit on the hand several times and also on different parts of his body and, if he does go on to complete his 8th Test century, he will have earned it the hard day. This is his third half-century of the series and he has been far and away the most consistent batsman for his team. He was clearly in significant distress and many of his strokes were played almost one-handed.

He and Bavuma are certainly the best men on current form for the crisis in which the Proteas find themselves and it does pose the question as to whether Bavuma should be moved up the order for the final Test match at Old Trafford, starting on Friday.

The Proteas did a reasonable bowling job on the fourth day with Keshav Maharaj chipping away at the middle-order to take three wickets (3/50 in 13.5 overs) but the damage had already been done when England claimed a lead of 178 on the first innings and their position was consolidated by Tom Westley (59 off 141 balls, 11 fours), Joe Root (50 off 94 balls, 6 fours) and Jonny Bairstow (63 off 58 balls, 6 fours and a six).

Stokes was the pick of the England attack when it came to their turn to bowl (2/29 in an eight-over spell) but all the England bowlers proved hard to handle and the key fact is that they have been more successful than their Proteas counterparts in putting the ball in the right spot consistently.

Momentum Proteas skipper Dane van Niekerk, while disappointed with the loss, says she is proud of her team for reaching the semi-final and the manner in which they accomplished the feat.

The Proteas went down to the England in a thrilling ICC Women’s World Cup semi-final in Bristol on Tuesday.

The Proteas Women posted a modest total of 218/6 at the end of their innings after electing to bat first, however it was just enough for the hosts to seal victory in the final over.

“If you were in our change room you’ll probably be crying now – it’s tough,” Van Niekerk told reporters after their two-wicket loss.

“Especially losing a game so close, you know that hurts even more.

“We were kind of down and out half-way through (the game), but the character the team showed and the way they fought – it hurt even more. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough and we didn’t have enough on the board.

“The character and fight the team showed throughout the tournament. Not a lot of people thought we’d come this far and I’ve very proud of them.”

Van Niekerk thought her side were 30 runs short after England chased their target of 219 with only two balls to spare.

“We didn’t have a perfect innings, I think both teams made mistakes on the field. In every cricket match there’ll always be extras and mistakes and that’s part of the game,” said the Proteas skipper.

“Yeah, we were 30 runs short, but the way my team went out to try and defend that – I couldn’t ask for more.”

Van Niekerk thanked South Africans back home for their ongoing support throughout the tournament and looked to get to the final in the next World Cup.

“The support from everyone back home has been so amazing and I just want to thank everyone who has reached out to us and showed their support,” said Van Niekerk.

“We wish we could have done it for them, but we can take heart in knowing that at least at the next World Cup, we have the capability and ability to go all the way to the final. We hope we made South Africa proud.”

South Africa finished the round-robin phase of the competition in fourth place, only losing to England and Australia before their semi-final heartbreak.

Half-century and four wickets from Momentum Proteas captain, Dané van Niekerk and a 65-ball 92 by Lizelle Lee lay the foundation for a resounding, 115-run victory for the over India, breaking India’s unbeaten streak when the sides met for the 18th match in the ICC Women’s World Cup in Leicester on Sunday. It was a strong statement by the South Africans, whose victory today was their first against India in a World Cup.

The day started with Lee, hitting 10 fours and seven 6’s on her road to laying the groundwork towards her side’s 273/9 after they were asked to bat first. She did well to continue the team’s momentum after the initial loss off her partner, Laura Wolvaardt for one run, eight balls into the match. Trisha Chetty (24) provided support for Lee, sticking around for 45 balls as their partnership reached 91 runs for the second wicket.

Van Niekerk entered the match when her side were on a shaky 162/5 and proceeded to hit seven fours and a six to reach her 57 runs in 66 deliveries and steer the innings in a more stable position. Other notable batting contributions came from Chloe Tryon, who made another good cameo, scoring a rapid-fire 24 from 18 and Mignon du Preez, whose 22 off 29 balls helped bring calm to the innings after the loss of Lee.

India’s Shikha Pandey was the pick of the bowlers, taking three wickets for 40, while Harmanpreet Kaur (2/18) and Ekta Bisht (2/68) returned two scalps each.

Their batting reply was stifled by yet another top class bowling display by the South African skipper, who returned figures of 4/22 in her 10 overs. Two of those were the wickets of her counterpart Mithali Raj and Kaur, who both fell for ducks in the same over.

Deepti Sharma provided the last stand for India, top scoring with 60 from 111 deliveries (five fours) as everyone else except Jhulan Goswami (43), opener Punam Raut (22), and Bisht (13) returned single figures.

Van Niekerk is proud of the manner in which her side bounced back from their 68-run loss to England on Wednesday.

“I’m incredibly proud of the team, that’s the response that any captain wants to see after a loss like that,” she said. “It was a very tough loss, a lot of bowlers went and had a bit of downtime where they reflected on their personal performances and came back with plans on how they were gonna do better.

“It’s a very tough tournament, it’s hard on the body and it’s a long tournament as well. We’re not used to playing tournaments this long so I’m glad they took that time. I’m glad that they hurt (after the England match), because today they came back firing.”

South Africa are now one step closer to a semi-final qualification. They rise to fourth place on the tournament log, while India remain steadfast in second place behind defending champions, Australia.

Standard Bank Proteas test captain, Faf du Plessis will miss the opening Test against England at Lord’s to remain with his wife after the birth of their first child. Dean Elgar will stand in as captain, leading South Africa for the first time.

Du Plessis will rejoin the squad later in the week to prepare for the second Test at Trent Bridge which begins on July 14.

In du Plessis’ absence, South Africa look set to pick Theunis de Bruyn ahead of newcomer Aiden Markram, who was included in the squad as cover for du Plessis. De Bruyn was preferred over Markram in the tour match at New Road last week, and made his debut in South Africa’s most recent Test against New Zealand after Stephen Cook was dropped from the opening berth. De Bruyn scored 12 runs in the match and selection convener Linda Zondi confirmed that when the batsman was reconsidered for a Test spot it would not be as an opener. This is, therefore, an opportunity to blood him in the middle order.

“Theunis played the one Test match in New Zealand. There’s been a sense of fairness to players,” Russell Domingo, South Africa’s coach, said. “We haven’t really discarded a player after one Test match, or two or three innings. At the moment he would be ahead in the pecking order, ahead of a guy like Aiden.”

Even if Markram is made to wait, South Africa will still have at least one newcomer to the XI come Thursday. Heino Kuhn is set to partner stand-in skipper Elgar at the top of the order which means half of South Africa’s top four will be fairly inexperienced. Hashim Amla, with 103 Test caps, will bat at No.3 with Temba Bavuma and JP Duminy at No.5 and 6 respectively.

South Africa can call on seniority in the bowling department, though. Vernon Philander was passed fit after sustaining an ankle injury during a county stint at Sussex. His availability was particularly pleasing to Domingo, who regards Philander as among the tougher prospects for batsmen.

“Vernon is a fantastic bowler for us. He is probably the hardest bowler to face in our side and when he is not there, we tend to struggle a little but because he gives us that control but also gives us the cutting edge if there is something in the wicket and also balances our side with his batting. He is a fantastic cricketer.”

Philander will form part of a three-pronged pack alongside Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel. Duanne Olivier, Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo are the reserves.

With the focus on the make-up of their own XI as they “try to find out what the best combination is,” as Domingo put it, South Africa have not spent too much time weighing up their opposition. Like South Africa, England are under a new captain in Joe Root – although his is a permanent appointment – and Domingo suggested his side would look to a test a top order which continues to be juggled around.

“We haven’t looked too closely at their side. Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Alastair Cook, Stuart Broad, James Anderson are five seriously experienced players who are all match winners in their own right. They are a good side but they’ve also got some uncertainties,” Domingo said. “There’s a new opening batter in Keaton Jennings who has only played a handful of Tests and Gary Ballance has come back into the side. There are certain areas where they may be a little uncertain about that we want to expose.”

The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) today extended its support to the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) and its members. 230 professional cricketers, whom it represents, have been rendered unemployed following the ending of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the players and Cricket Australia (CA) and the failure of CA to negotiate a new agreement with the ACA based on the same partnership principles of the previous MOU.

FICA is concerned with CA’s desire to end the percentage revenue sharing model that has so successfully underpinned the partnership between the players and administrators in Australia for twenty years. The model has not only been hugely successful for Australian cricket but has been a model of best practice adopted by associations in cricket and other sports, worldwide.

FICA is also seriously concerned with CA’s approach to its dealings with the ACA throughout this ongoing process. FICA commends the ACA and the Australian players for their unity and resolve and for their consistent attempts to negotiate with CA in a professional and transparent manner, including their willingness to use independent mediation to reach a resolution.

FICA notes the indications given by CA that it may attempt to restrict now un-contracted players from competing in other cricket events by refusing to grant them a No Objection Certificate (NOC) or threatening them with future playing bans. FICA reiterates its strong opposition to any artificial restrictions that unfairly attempt to prevent players from earning a living and that have not been agreed with players or their representatives. FICA believes that such restrictions would be open to legal challenge in most jurisdictions as a restraint of trade.

The entire FICA Board has offered its support to the ACA and the Australian players.

Vikram Solanki, FICA President said:
“The players are the game. History has shown that where country boards work in genuine partnership with players and their representatives the game thrives and succeeds. Cricket is at a crucial moment in its history, with new and competing markets for players, fans and broadcasters. I believe that boards should be working more collaboratively with players in the current cricket landscape, not pushing them away.”

Tony Irish, FICA Executive Chairman and SACA CEO said:
“FICA and its member associations stand shoulder to shoulder in support of the ACA and the Australian cricketers in their current dispute with their board. As an important stakeholder in the game, players and their associations deserve to be treated with professionalism and respect. It is in the interests of everyone in the world game that the situation in Australia is resolved quickly and in a manner that is acceptable to the players collectively.”

Lisa Sthalekar, FICA Independent Board Member and ACA Executive Member said:
“It has been heartening to see the unity shown from the male and female players across Australia at a time when they have come under immense pressure. I know there is a lot of support around the world for the principled stance they are taking to maintain a genuine partnership for all players, not just a few.”

Graeme Smith, FICA Independent Board Member said:
“I was part of a revenue share partnership model for many years as a player and this was a critical factor in fostering the relationship between Board and players. In the current cricket environment where players have other options I don’t understand why a board would want to change a partnership that has proved to be successful.”

The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) today congratulated Ireland and Afghanistan on achieving full membership of the ICC and Mr Imran Khawaja on election as deputy chairman of the ICC Board and responded to other reported outcomes of last week’s ICC meetings in London.

Ireland and Afghanistan

FICA congratulates Afghanistan and Ireland on becoming full members of the ICC.

“The promotion of Ireland and Afghanistan to full member status is welcomed by FICA and we look forward to more countries being able to take this step in the future as one aspect of the global expansion of the game,” said FICA Executive Chairman Tony Irish.

International Structure

FICA notes, from media reports, that there appears to be some progress made on Test match and ODI structures, but that there still appears to be no formal outcome on this.  FICA continues to urge the game to prioritise changes to the overall playing structure in order to achieve the most sustainable future for the game and for its players.

The player trends and the shifts in the games’ employment market, highlighted in previous FICA reports, have continued over the last twelve months and the game is becoming increasingly club based and fragmented, creating different markets for players.  The latest T20 league in South Africa, along with the proposed English league, are yet further indications of the clear direction of the game and that the alternative domestic T20 market for players will continue to grow.

“Because of the current playing structure of the game, players are being increasingly forced to choose between the traditional employment market involving international cricket and the more financially attractive new markets in domestic T20 leagues” said, Irish.

“The international game is being seriously challenged by these domestic leagues for time, resource, players and fans not only as a consequence of their attractive nature but also because of failing traditional structures.”

“Putting the best possible structures and context around international cricket is vital to improve the international cricket product, but it is also critical that such structure creates a situation where domestic T20 and international cricket can co-exist, and not compete.  I fear for the future of international cricket if this change doesn’t happen soon.”

FICA believes solutions to imbalances in the structure of the game in the shifting landscape can be found in some of the following:

  • a genuine global structure and scheduling framework for all three formats.
  • a balance between the traditional and new markets which promotes the best players being able to play in a balance of both.
  • a collaborative international approach which includes looking at scheduling windows and at how other sports balance club versus country conflicts.
  • a fit for purpose global regulatory framework agreed with and bought into by, the players.
  • a decreased focus on tinkering with micro issues and delivery mechanics which simply ‘plaster over’ some of the current failings.

Financial Model and Governance

FICA congratulates Mr Imran Khawaja on his election as deputy chairman of the ICC Board and welcomes the appointment of a representative of the Associate countries to this position.

FICA also welcomes a further step towards the unwinding of the ‘Big Three’ financial arrangements and a shift towards recognized principles of good governance and, notably, both the inclusion of a female independent director on the ICC and a more equalized voting system around its table.

“It is hoped that the fairer distribution of financial resources across the game will now be utilized in each country in such a way that it maintains the playing strength of that country.   It is also hoped that the governance changes at ICC will promote prioritization of the global interests of the game ahead of regional interests” concluded Irish.

The Momentum Proteas got their 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup campaign off to a winning start when they beat Pakistan by three wickets at Grace Road in Leicester on Sunday. This win marks the side’s highest-ever World Cup run chase after they were set a 207-run target by Sana Mir’s charges.

With Pakistan put in to bat first, Bibi Nahida represented a crucial presence at the crease as fellow opener Ayesha Zafar (nine) and then Javeria Wadood were all bowled by Marizanne Kapp and Moseline Daniels respectively for 43/2.

With just 20 runs managed inside the second 10 overs, it was looking like hard work for Pakistan.

But Bibi – who was dropped by Ayabonga Khaka on 26 – brought up her half-century off 75 balls to steady the ship. Her effort eventually ended when she was run out by Ismail but Pakistan boosted its total later on despite losing Sana Mir and Marina Iqbal off Ismail’s bowling in the final over.

The South Africa openers set about their business well early on with Lee bringing up 1 500 runs in ODI cricket with a six over mid-on before reaching her 10th ODI fifty in dramatic fashion as Sadia dropped a catch at long-on to concede four.

But when Lee and Wolvaardt – who brought up her fourth ODI fifty off 81 balls – were dismissed in the 26th and 31st overs respectively, panic seemed to spread through the South Africa team.

Trisha Chetty (11) was caught at midwicket by Javeria before the latter ran out Kapp (one), Chloe Tryon (three) was bowled by Sadia and captain Dane van Niekerk (two) was another run-out victim, this time by Nain, with four wickets lost for 19 runs.

Mignon du Preez then holed out to Asmavia Iqbal at deep midwicket but Ismail held her nerve.

Losing six wickets in 49 runs was not ideal, but Ismail made her biggest contribution in the game yet, smashing three boundaries in the second-last over to secure victory for her side.

Ismail said: “It’s really important to start tournaments like this on a positive note because it gives you momentum going into the next matches. The confidence boost from today’s game is going to take us a long way in this tournament, just that belief that we can pull off a win even when it looks as though we are down and out showed us that we are capable of more.


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