An Echelon Media Company
Sunday December 10th, 2023

What now for 2020 cricket in Coronavirus? Four key questions

AFP – The coronavirus may have struck shortly before the English cricket season was due to start but it threatens to have major implications for the game worldwide.

English officials still believe they can fit a full international programme of three-Test series against both the West Indies and Pakistan, as well as one-day internationals with Australia and Ireland, into a season that won’t start until July 1 at the earliest.

But there is now an expectation matches will have to be played behind closed doors, in the short-term at least, as a way of stopping the spread of COVID-19.

That would, however, still allow the England and Wales Cricket Board to honour lucrative broadcast contracts and avoid the nightmare scenario of a completely wiped out season that could cost the organisation £380 million ($463 million).

Below AFP Sport looks at the key issues confronting cricket amid the pandemic.

Will teams go on tour?

— West Indies and Pakistan, two of crickets less well-off major teams, have both made encouraging noises about touring England, subject to health concerns and appear to ready to factor a 14-day quarantine on arrival in Britain, because of UK government regulations, into their planning.

Matches are set to be played at ‘bio-secure’ venues such as Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl or Old Trafford that have onsite hotels.

“We are trying to get to England early July so that we can get the quarantine done,” said Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan.

Australia were meant to play three Twenty20s and three one-day internationals in July but may delay their visit to later in the season after seeing how the West Indies and Pakistan series pan out.

“Obviously we won’t jeopardise the safety of the players,” Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

“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.”

What will cricket look like?

— Even if a rescheduled series between England and the West Indies starts in July, the game itself will look very different.

Not only will there be no spectators but wicket celebrations such as ‘high fives’ are set to be banned according to International Cricket Council guidelines issued last week.

Umpires have also been instructed to wear gloves to minimise the risk of infection, with bowlers no longer handing their cap and sweater to officials for the same reason.

Another ‘interim’ measure, which still requires approval at a June vote, would see bowlers banned from using saliva to shine the ball to aid swing, although they will still be allowed to apply their own sweat.

Travel restrictions could see two umpires from a home nation stand in a Test for the first time since 1994 when the ICC started moving towards neutral officials to counter accusations of bias.

The ICC’s cricket committee also said last week each team should be awarded an additional DRS review per innings.

Meanwhile, Chris Broad, the only Englishman on the ICC’s elite panel of referees, may have to officiate in matches involving his son Stuart, the England fast bowler.
What will happen to the Twenty20 World Cup and IPL?

— An ICC board meeting on Thursday May 28, could see the men’s Twenty20 World Cup, due to held in Australia from October 18, postponed.

Problems over flying in 16 teams to Australia may be reason enough to delay the event by a year.

That would allow the already postponed franchise Indian Premier League, the world’s wealthiest T20 competition, to go ahead in its place.

Manoj Badale, a part-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, told the London Daily Telegraph last month: “No IPL (in 2020) would be a big $600 million loss for the global cricket economy.”

South African director of cricket Graeme Smith has called for India’s Sourav Ganguly, a fellow former Test captain, to become the next ICC chairman.

The Proteas, hard hit by the low value of South Africa’s rand, hope to host a three-match T20 series against India in August.
What does this mean for women’s cricket?

— The women’s game was riding the crest of a wave after a crowd of over 86,000 in Melbourne saw hosts Australia beat India in the final of the T20 World Cup in March, shortly before global sport went into lockdown.

But Clare Connor, the ECB’s managing director of women’s cricket, has accepted her side of the game may have to be sacrificed completely in order for more lucrative men’s matches to go ahead this season.

But there are hopes a series with South Africa could still take place in September.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ADB USD200mn loan for Sri Lanka economic stabilization efforts

ECONOMYNEXT – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US 200 million dollar concessional loan to Sri Lanka to help stabilize the country’s finance sector.

The Financial Sector Stability and Reforms Program comprises two subprograms of IS 200 million dollars each, according to a statement by the ADB.

“The program’s overarching development objective is fully aligned with the country’s strategy of maintaining finance sector stability, while ensuring that banks are well-positioned for eventual recovery,” ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Takafumi Kadono was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The expected development outcome is a stable financial system providing access to affordable finance for businesses in various sectors of the economy.”

The ADB statement continues:

“Subprogram 1 targets short-term stabilization and crisis management measures that were implemented in 2023, while subprogram 2 is planned to be implemented in 2024 and focuses on structural reforms and long-term actions to restore growth in the banking sector.

The program will help strengthen the stability and governance of the country’s banking sector; improve the banking sector’s asset quality; and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance, particularly for women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest review, Sri Lanka’s economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization, although a full economic recovery is not yet assured.

The program is a follow-on assistance from ADB’s crisis response under the special policy-based loan that was approved for Sri Lanka in May 2023.

It is aligned with the fourth pillar of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility provided to Sri Lanka to help the country regain financial stability.

It is also in line with the government’s reform agenda, including strengthening the operational independence of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and its designation as the country’s macroprudential authority.

In designing this subprogram 1 loan, ADB has maintained close coordination and collaboration with the IMF to design targeted regulatory reforms for the banking sector—including the asset quality review—and with the World Bank on strengthening the deposit insurance scheme.

“The loan is accompanied by a $1 million grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory, knowledge, and institutional capacity building for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and CBSL.”

Continue Reading

Sri Lank in blackout as power grid hit by cascading failure

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka suffered a blackout as Saturday evening as the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board grid was hit by a cascading power failure.

The cascading failure is believed to have been triggered by the failure of the Kothmale-Biyagama transmission line.

“The Ceylon Electricity Board wishes to inform our customers that due to the failure of Kotmale – Biyagama main transmission line, an island wide power failure has occurred,” CEB Spokesman Noel Priyantha said.

“Step by step restorations are underway and it may take few hours to completely restore the power supply.”

With hydro plants running flat out, a outage of the line tends to create a big imbalance in the demand and supply, leading to tripping of more lines and generators.

Lines can trip due to lightening strikes, or equipment failures.

Sri Lanka last suffered a cascading failure in December 2021, due to the failure of the same transmission line.

RelatedSri Lanka power blackout as grid hit by cascading failure

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka to host regional Food and Agriculture Organization conference

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will host the 37th session of the Asia Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), from February 19-22, 2024 in Colombo.

The Conference will bring together agriculture ministers and officials from 46 countries across the region to discuss challenges in food and agriculture.

“The 37th APRC will provide a vital platform for regional collaboration, benefitting the agricultural landscape, fisheries sector and environment of Sri Lanka,” Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said at a press briefing on Friday (8) to announce the conference.

FAO has had an active presence in Sri Lanka for over 40 years. “FAO has supported the country in the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and the development of the fisheries sector for growth and climate resilience,” Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said.

“The APRC conference will be an opportunity to highlight the innovative approaches introduced in partnership with the government.”

By hosting APRC, Sri Lanka hopes to demonstrate the country’s dedication to the growth of sustainable agriculture, and showcase its commitment to sustainable agricultural development.

The APRC agenda will include a forum on agritourism, especially requested by the Sri Lankan government.

Continue Reading