Asia Cup shifted to UAE over India-Pakistan cricket row

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Cricket’s Asia Cup has been moved from India to the United Arab Emirates over Pakistan’s refusal to cross the border, as relations simmer between the arch rivals, the Asian Cricket Council said Tuesday.

The biennial event was due to be held in India in September, sparking protests from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) who called for the event to be relocated.

“This year’s Asia Cup is moved out of India to UAE and will be held from September 13-28,” Sultan Rana, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) development and event manager, said.

India has suspended bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan since the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on militants based across the border.

However India has continued to square off with Pakistan in international events like the 2016 Asia Cup in Bangladesh, the World Twenty20 at home and the 2017 Champions Trophy in England.

The Asia Cup has been marred by strained Indo-Pak relations since its inception when the UAE hosted it in 1984.

Two years later, India pulled out of the event in Sri Lanka, while Pakistan refused to send its team to India when it hosted the cup in 1991.

With Pakistan and India unable to host, Bangladesh held three straight Asian Cups from 2012 to 2016.

Rana said six Asian teams will compete in the 50-over Asia Cup.

“India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the five top teams while, there will be a qualifying round to select the sixth team,” said Rana, a former Pakistan first class player.

Meanwhile, the ACC Emerging Asia Cup was also jeopardised earlier this month when India refused to send their team to Pakistan to compete.

“Emerging Cup will now be hosted jointly by Pakistan and Sri Lanka in December this year,” said Rana.

India will play its Emerging Cup matches in Sri Lanka.

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Iceland to play maiden international cricket match against Switzerland

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The Iceland cricket team. Image - Krikketsamband Islands/Twitter.

Krikketsamband Islands (Iceland Cricket Board) have announced that the country will play its first-ever international match against Switzerland this August.

Iceland will be touring London in the summer and will play two T20s and an ODI against the Swiss on August 28 and 29 at St. George’s College in Weybridge.

Neither of the matches will have an official ICC status.

An agreement to the play the three international fixtures in England has been reached between the Iceland Cricket Board and Cricket Switzerland.

Along with the three matches between the two countries, Iceland will also be taking on an MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) XI at London.

Jakob Robertson, the Chairman of the Iceland Cricket Board, expressed delight at the latest development.

“Since cricket came to Iceland in 1999, the sport has been growing steadily and our national team has often played visiting cricket clubs, as well as touring England and Czechia. We’ve worked really hard to organize our first international fixture and we are beside ourselves with excitement in anticipation of the tour,” he said in a press release.

Switzerland is currently an affiliate member of the ICC while Iceland have ambitions for the same as they chase a membership of the European Cricket Council.

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IPL 2018: England batsman Ben Duckett draws Royal Challengers Bangalore fans' ire after innocuous social media post

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Duckett's Twitter profile was inundated with angry responses from RCB fans.

England capped batsman Ben Duckett found himself on the receiving end of a barrage of abuses from Royal Challengers Bangalore fans after his tweet on the IPL franchise went viral.

The 23-year-old Englishman had posted a tweet on Sunday ahead of the franchise’s IPL campaign opener against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.

“RCB’s team is a joke,” Duckett had written on Twitter.

While the intentions of the left-handed batsmen were to complement the franchise for their supreme wealth of talent, it was misinterpreted by the RCB fans on social media.

Duckett had already clarified his intentions an hour after posting the initial tweet with another one.

“A joke is a good thing by the way,” he had written.

The Virat Kohli led franchise went on to suffer a four-wicket loss at the Eden Gardens. By the time Duckett woke up on Monday, his social media page was flooded with angry responses from RCB fans.

Posting a screenshot of the vile messages he had received from fans overnight, Duckett wrote: “Woken up to these and many more horrible messages. Yesterday I referred to RCB as a ‘joke’ meaning they have such a good side with the likes of De Kock, De Villiers, Kohli, McCullum and lots of other world class players. These types of messages are not acceptable.”

Duckett has played four Tests and three ODIs for England so far in his career. While it is clear from his comment that the tweet was indeed a joke, he does now have first-hand experience of the madness that is the IPL without having participated in it.

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