Glenn Maxwell says watching Australia ball-tampering trio being treated like criminals left him shell-shocked

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Glenn Maxwell says the Australian team felt Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were treated like criminals during the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, and the ordeal left them shell-shocked.

Maxwell, who was one of three players rushed out to join the tour before the final Test in Johannesburg after the trio were sent home, said it had been extremely hard for the young squad to witness what happened to their teammates.

It was particularly tough for them to watch the televised emotional apologies from Smith and Bancroft on arrival in Australia, and chaotic scenes when Smith was booed and called a cheat while being escorted through Johannesburg airport.

“I think the way they saw it, it was obviously beaten up a fair bit and they’ve seen a couple of their mates treated like criminals,” he told Melbourne’s Radio SEN on Wednesday.

“That is a hard thing for you to watch as a teammate, and to what they went through, especially Steve Smith at the airport, that was a hard thing for everyone to watch.

“To then try and get yourself ready for a game of cricket a day later was extremely difficult, and I certainly didn’t envy their position at all. It was an extremely tough time for that whole playing group.”

The fallout had a big effect on the team as they slumped to a 492-run defeat in the final Test.

All-rounder Maxwell arrived along with opening batsmen Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns as the replacements and he thought he might be able to provide some energy and be a positive influence around the team.

But he admitted it had been harder than he imagined.

“I had thoughts of what it could be like, and I hoped I could’ve provided something different for the group when I got over there, whether it be energy, or just a happy face around the group to try and cheer them up,” he said.

“The enormity struck me at the end of the Test match when Boof (coach Darren Lehmann) had his goodbye speech and spoke about a few players in the group that he hoped could lead the group going forward.

“I think that’s when it all hit me and how hard it was for this young group.”

A tearful Lehmann quit in the wake of the scandal, staying on only for the fourth and last Test before departing.

His decision followed 12-month bans given to then captain Smith and his deputy Warner for the roles they played in the plot to cheat during the third Test in Cape Town.

Bancroft was banned for nine months for his part in the affair.

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Pakistan announces probable team for Ireland, England cricket tour

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Pakistan Tuesday announced its initial 25-member squad for the upcoming tours of Ireland and England, with fast bowler Wahab Riaz out of favour and key spinner Yasir Shah ruled out with injury.

The probable team members will join a training camp in Lahore from April 18-22 before leaving for the UK a day later to acclimatise ahead of what is expected to be a tough series.

Pakistan will play Ireland in the only Test in Dublin from May 11-15 – Ireland’s first since being granted Test status last year – before playing two Tests against England, starting at Lord’s from May 24 with the second at Leeds from June 1.

Express pace bowler Wahab Riaz, believed to be out of favour with the team management, was left off the list despite taking 40 wickets in the 11 Tests he has played since the Lord’s Test against England in July 2016.

Pakistan also suffered a setback on Monday when leg-spinner Yasir Shah was ruled out of both tours with a hip stress fracture.

Shah has taken 89 wickets in 16 Tests since July 2016, and was instrumental in Pakistan’s 2-2 series draw against England two years ago.

Middle order batsman Fawad Alam was included in the probable list after showing good form in domestic season, having last played a Test in 2009.

Line-up: Sarfraz Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Usman Salahuddin, Fawad Alam, Saad Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Asghar, Shadab Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Faheem Ashraf, Hussain Talat, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Musa Khan

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Zimbabwe confirm dates for T20I tri-series also involving Pakistan and Australia

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The T20I tri-series will be held in July.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) on Tuesday announced the schedule for the T20I tri-series also involving Pakistan and Australia in a press conference at Harare.

The cricketing board also released the dates of the five-match ODI series between Zimbabwe and Pakistan that will follow the T20I tri-series.

The T20I series will get underway on July 1 with the finals being held on July 8. Each of the three teams will play the others twice in a round-robin format before the best two sides advance to the summit showdown.

“Following months of negotiations, we are pleased to confirm we will be hosting a T20I triangular series involving Australia and Pakistan, followed by an ODI series against Pakistan,” Zimbabwe Cricket Managing Director Faisal Hasnain said.

“Playing two of the game’s biggest teams will provide us with a very welcome litmus test as we forge ahead with our plans to develop a stronger Zimbabwe side capable of consistently competing and winning against the best,” he added.

The ODI series between the hosts and Pakistan will begin five days after the tri-series on July 13 with the final match taking place on July 22.

SCHEDULE FOR T20I TRI-SERIES

July 1, Sunday: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan

July 2, Monday: Pakistan vs Australia

July 3, Tuesday: Australia vs Zimbabwe

July 4, Wednesday: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan

July 5, Thursday: Pakistan vs Australia

July 6, Friday: Australia vs Zimbabwe

July 8, Sunday: Final

SCHEDULE FOR ZIMBABWE-PAKISTAN ODI SERIES

July 13, Friday: First ODI

July 16, Monday: Second ODI

July 18, Wednesday: Third ODI

July 20, Friday: Fourth ODI

July 22, Sunday: Fifth ODI

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