India women's star all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur reportedly signs for Super League side Lancashire Thunder

Sudhir Gupta 27/06/2018
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Harmanpreet Kaur will have a maiden stint in the KSL.

India women’s star all-rounder Harmpanpreet Kaur is all set to sign for Kia Super League (KSL) outfit Lancashire Thunder for the 2018 edition according to latest reports.

The 29-year-old India star has already signed a contract with Lancashire Thunder according to a report by ESPNCricinfo and will be travelling to England on July 15. The KSL outfit are yet to make the announcement public as of yet.

This will be Harmanpreet’s first stint in the KSL after an injury sustained during the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup put paid to her hopes of turning out for the Surrey Stars last year.

She will become the second Indian cricketer to participate in the KSL in the coming season after Smriti Mandhana was bought by defending champions Western Storm.

The all-rounder shot to fame with her stupendous innings of 171 against Australia in the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup in England last year following which her contract with Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) outfit Sydney Thunder was extended by two years.

Harmanpreet scored 171 in the World Cup semi-finals last year.

Harmanpreet scored 171 in the World Cup semi-finals last year.

She finished as the Player-of-the-tournament in the recently concluded Asia Cup where India finished runners-up to Bangladesh. Hamrampreet has scored 156 runs in four innings during the tournament.

She will join up with her former Sydney Thunder skipper Alex Blackwell at Lancashire with the former Australia vice-captain taking up the role of the head coach with the outfit.

Harmanpreet has so far in her career played two Tests, 87 ODIs and 81 T20Is for the Indian women ever since she made her debut for the country in July, 2009.

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ICC research claims game is thriving among females and youth globally

David Clough 27/06/2018
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ICC chief David Richardson believes that cricket is a vibrant sport.

The International Cricket Council claim the sport’s global support extends beyond one billion people – with a thriving female and youthful demographic – according to a survey conducted across 14 countries.

ICC chief executive David Richardson says the statistics, provided by the world governing body’s largest global market research project, vindicates previous “gut-feel” of a “vibrant” sport.

As well as the headline figure, in a survey restricted to 16 to 69-year-olds in 12 full member countries as well as the USA and China, the average supporter age is a “relatively young” 34, and 39 per cent are female.

The findings may be especially reassuring to cricket lovers in England and Wales – where national governing body chairman Colin Graves recently informed them young people are no longer attracted to the sport.

Richardson interprets Graves’ remarks as a call to avoid complacency rather than a literal assessment, following the England and Wales Cricket Board’s own market research.

Speaking about concerns regarding young people failing to engage with the sport, Richardson said: “I don’t think that is a global trend.

Richardson is upbeat about the young demographic of fans.

Richardson is upbeat about the young demographic of fans.

“I would imagine that even in the UK this is something that Colin might have mentioned more to emphasise the need to not take things for granted – and to make efforts to attract youngsters to the game, and keep them entertained.”

Richardson is enthused by the ICC’s research.

“The one-billion fans figure shows we have a vibrant game,” he added.

“The other thing that stood out was the average age of our fan – bearing in mind we surveyed (only) between 16 and 69-year-olds – was 34.

“As sports go, (that) is relatively young, and maybe a point of difference for cricket, encouraging that we have a young fan base.

The ICC intends to use the project as a future benchmark.

Richardson said: “It was undertaken to enable ICC and members to better understand the growth potential of cricket, to enable us to make decisions based on insight rather than ‘gut feel’ – to understand where the potential lies.

“Beforehand, we had a gut feeling that the sport was a popular and vibrant one – but we didn’t know exactly how many players, and fans, we had.

“We are in the midst of developing a global strategy for the game.”

That does not appear likely to immediately include any re-expansion of the World Cup beyond 10 teams – a bone of contention with associate countries and their supporters, who were not consulted in the current document.

“We’ve dealt with this point on a number of occasions, but the point is we’re using the Twenty20 format to grow the game,” said Richardson.

“The research does (also) show that fans still love Test cricket – but the way to grow the sport is through Twenty20, and not the World Cup.”

Participation, as well as supporter, numbers have also been properly quantified for the first time – at above 300 million.

“What we’ve realised is we need to make cricket much more inclusive, much more (attainable) to everybody,” Richardson added.

“You should be able to play cricket wherever you are, whenever you want to, in whatever form you’d like.”

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Cricket Australia assessing security situation in Zimbabwe ahead of T20 tri-series after bomb blast in Bulawyo

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Australia are slated to tour Zimbabwe for a T20I tri-series.

Cricket Australia are closely monitoring the security situation in Zimbabwe ahead of the national team’s upcoming tour of the country for a T20I tri-series also involving Pakistan.

Australia are slated to take part in the tri-series at Harare which gets underway on July 1 with the finals taking place on July 8.

The country of Zimbabwe is currently preparing for a landmark election which is set to take place on July 30. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has called for the elections to bolster his government’s legitimacy, was the subject of a failed assassination attempt over the course of the weekend in Bulawyo.

Mnangagwa survived a deadly bomb blast which occurred during a rally held by his party at the Bulawyo stadium.

Pakistan are the third side in the T20 tournament.

Pakistan are the third side in the T20 tournament.

Following the blast, Cricket Australia has issued a statement that it is monitoring the situation closely although the board still expects the tour to go ahead.

“The safety and security of our players and support staff is paramount and as always, we will take advice from the relevant Australian authorities,” a Cricket Australia spokesman said.

Australia are currently in England where they are set to take on the hosts in a one-off T20I clash at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Wednesday. Post the fixture, a 14-man Australia squad led by Aaron Finch will depart for Zimbabwe for the tri-series at Harare.

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