ICC World T20 winners – Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Thisara Perera – were the first set of players to confirm their participation for the ICC World XI in a T20I against the Windies to be played at Lord’s on 31 May.
The match is being organised to raise funds for stadia in the Caribbean that were badly damaged following Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.
Afridi and Malik were part of the Pakistan squad that won the ICC World T20 2009 at Lord’s, while Perera was a member of the Sri Lanka side that lifted the silverware in Dhaka in 2014.
The three World T20 winners will lend a lot of weight to the ICC World XI side which will see more names being added in what is expected to be a star-studded line-up led by England’s white-ball captain Eoin Morgan, who has already been confirmed to lead the side.
Afridi said: “I am humbled to have been selected for such a noble cause. Cricket is one big family and no matter how hard and tough we play against each other, there is tremendous comradery within the group. As such, it is our moral and professional obligation to stand up and support whenever and wherever we can, to assist our members, colleagues and cricket fans.
“I am humbled to have been selected for such a noble cause”@SAfridiOfficial is joining the ICC World XI to face West Indies at Lord’s in aid of hurricane restoration in the Caribbean. https://t.co/c0bqcYqEdg#CricketRelief pic.twitter.com/FRt7wl79ou
— ICC (@ICC) April 19, 2018
“Lord’s is an iconic venue and the perfect location for this match. I have some fond memories of this great venue, having played the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999 and the ICC World T20 2009, and I look forward to visiting it again in May with an aim to entertain the fans.”
Malik said: “It’s a matter of great honour and pride to be selected in an ICC World XI and a wonderful opportunity to play along with and against some of the biggest names in world cricket.
“As much as the chance of figuring in such a select group, I also see this as an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful cause. We have all heard of the damage caused by the two hurricanes in the West Indies last year and it is really good to see so many cricketers come together for the objective of raising funds to repair the damage to cricket venues.
“That the match is being played at Lord’s makes this event extra special for me. Lord’s obviously is one of the most revered cricket venues but I also have some very delightful memories there. One that really stands out is anchoring the chase along with Shahid Afridi when we beat Sri Lanka in the final to win the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009.”
“That the match is being played at Lord’s makes this event extra special for me.”@realshoaibmalik is returning to the @HomeOfCricket as part of the ICC World XI! https://t.co/c0bqcYqEdg#CricketRelief pic.twitter.com/h6alobZfWT
— ICC (@ICC) April 19, 2018
Perera added: “I’m privileged to have made the World XI side for a second time after having also played in the series against Pakistan in Lahore last year. I’m looking forward to the match at Lord’s next month with great enthusiasm as this is one of those rare opportunities when you get to rub shoulders with the best in the world. To be playing alongside so many top players from different countries will definitely be a high point of my career.
“I’m also very happy because I have been given the opportunity to contribute in what I think is a very good cause. It is heartening to note that players have come together for helping rebuild stadia in the West Indies. The West Indies have contributed a lot to world cricket over the years and they deserve all support from our generation of players.”
Carlos Brathwaite-led Windies too are a strong side boasting big names like Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Samuel Badree and Andre Russell and will be looking to give off their best and show the might that helped them win the ICC World Twenty20 title two years ago.
The match is being staged to raise funds to rebuild and restore five major cricket venues at the heart of Caribbean communities that were damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The tickets for the match are now on sale at https://tickets.lords.org/ with all proceeds going towards rebuilding and renovating these major venues as well as other community cricket facilities. The venues that will benefit include the Ronald Webster Park in Anguilla, the Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua, the Windsor Park Stadium in Dominica, the A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground in the British Virgin Islands and the Carib Lumber Ball Park in St. Maarten.
Former Australia batsman and Surrey head coach Michael Di Venuto is open to the possibility of David Warner and Steven Smith playing for the county during their ball-tampering bans if the England board allow the duo to play English domestic cricket.
Former Australia batting coach Di Venuto said it would be “mad” to not consider the prolific batsmen for county cricket. The one-year bans handed down by Cricket Australia only cover Australia’s international matches and domestic games.
However, any stint in the county circuit will need clearance from the England board. “From an Australian perspective, it is probably important that they play a bit of cricket at some stage,” Di Venuto said.
“I don’t know if they are allowed to play in this competition. I know what it states in their sanctions that they can’t play domestic cricket in Australia. If they are in the right mental state to play cricket and the ECB will have to allow it to start with, then we’d be mad not to look at some of the world’s best players
The third player involved in the saga – Cameron Bancroft who was handed a nine-month ban – saw his deal with Somerset cancelled. Surrey were supposed to have Mitchell Marsh on board but his ankle injury after the South Africa tour ended those plans. South Africa opening batsman Dean Elgar has been signed in his place.
Australia will begin their hunt for the successor to Darren Lehmann on Friday with former opening batsman Justin Langer said to be the favourite to take the position.
A report in The West Australian said Langer was close to being named Australia coach after Lehmann stood down from the post in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last month. However, Cricket Australia said no decision has been made.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson said: “The process to be undertaken for the appointment of a new Australian men’s head coach will be discussed and agreed at the CA board meeting this Friday.
“No appointment has been made, and nor will any candidate be put to the board for ratification on Friday. We expect to have a clearer understanding of the approach and appointment timelines following this meeting.”
Langer, a former international team-mate of Lehmann, is among the front-runners for the position having enjoyed success with Western Australia and Perth Scorchers during his coaching career. The 47-year old has been successful as coach of WA and Scorchers over the last five seasons.
In that period, Langer has helped win three Big Bash League titles and two domestic one-day tournaments. Langer has been a part of Australia’s coaching contingent before – during the tour of the West Indies in 2016 and the home series against Sri Lanka thereafter.
The report in The West Australian said Langer had been “considering the position for several days”. The report further stated that “Langer believes the national coach should oversee all three formats – Test, one-day and Twenty20 – but former team-mates Ricky Ponting or Jason Gillespie are in the frame to take on the limited overs roles if the positions are split.”
Langer is regarded highly in Australian cricketing circles. It was Langer who urged Australian selectors to include Shaun Marsh in the Ashes side despite not scoring a mountain of runs.
Marsh’s returns in first-class cricket before his selection for the Ashes was decent at best – 236 runs from six innings at an average of 39.33 for Western Australia. However, WA coach Langer said Marsh was “in the form of his life”.
Marsh finished with 445 runs from five Tests, including two centuries and as many fifties as the Aussies won the series 4-0. In 2015, former India opener Gautam Gambhir turned to Langer to revive his international career. Gambhir played two more Tests for India after his stint with the Aussie in Perth.